Colonel O'Neill was stood with Teal'c at the bench nearest the doorway when Louis Ferretti entered the shower room. Though his team had been back for awhile, and were likely clean, dry and gathering in the commissary for lunch, he still needed to wash off the dust from the planet they had been exploring.
He had remained in the infirmary after his team had been released, awaiting an update on the medical condition of a scientist who had been injured whilst seconded to his team for a previous mission. SG-1 had arrived from off-world for the usual post mission medical during this time, and they endured several MRI's and the odd needle before they were declared fit, the result of a successful and for once peaceful mission from the SGC's flagship team. It was due to this sighting and his subsequent departure that he was not surprised to encounter them before they left the base.
He greeted O'Neill as he moved back to a bench but his voice was overshadowed by Major Carter, her cheery goodbye drifting through the doorway as she passed on her way home. Pausing in the process of removing his boots after freeing only one foot, the muscles in his back and arms protesting the action after the events of the day, Ferretti looked up in time to see O'Neill slam his locker shut and head for the door, Teal'c following in his wake, talk of "beer and the game" from the Colonel explaining Teal'c's civilian dress.
It was only as they turned into the corridor and Ferretti saw the Jaffa look back inside and dip his head in farewell that he noticed the other occupant of the room.
Jonas Quinn, the newest member of SG-1 and the SGC itself, was sat cross-legged on the bench against the far side of the room. The fatigues he wore were coated in dust, showing that he had yet to avail himself of the facilities. Ferretti watched as his hand dropped from the wave he had thrown after his team-mates, falling to his side to rest for a moment as he glanced up into the room.
When he failed to notice him, Louis realised he was hidden from view by a locker, and that his entrance must have been concealed from the Kelownan by Teal'c's body, just as he had not seen the aliens presence.
This quiet young man had been in his thoughts a lot recently, not only due to his alien origins, or his involvement in the incident surrounding Daniel's passing, though this was the initial reason for Ferretti's close observation, but mainly that nobody seemed to know anything more specific about him than his name, previous occupation and that he was always hungry.
The kid was alone a lot, Louis had discovered, he often saw him heading back to his room from the commissary, originally with his guard detail in tow, but these days unaccompanied, his head buried in a book or papers. Even now that he was a member of SG-1, he didn't seem to spend much time in the company of others. On occasion he could be found sparring with Teal'c, or discussing something with Carter in her lab. Ferretti had even seen the whole team seated in the commissary once, but he hadn't failed to notice the way Jonas had waited to be invited to join them at their table, invitation that didn't appear to occur all that often, like today for example, leaving the young man with only himself as company.
This was the reason Louis had first approached the Kelownan, thinking that in their grief befriending the alien in their midst had been overlooked by SG-1, but their initial grief had passed. They were moving on, missing Daniel for sure, but moving on all the same and yet, to Ferretti's disbelief and at times anger, they still didn't seem to think of Jonas all that often.
just didn't seem fair, the times they'd met up Ferretti had liked
what he'd seen.
Quinn appeared polite, excessively so at times, but friendly and enthusiastic about pretty much everything. The constant smile was mostly genuine, but was covering something, at least in Ferretti's mind, some sadness that resided in his eyes, that was hidden by the wonder and awe he experienced at each new thing, but that flared to life briefly every time he was stared at, every time the empty seats at a table became reserved on his approach, and whenever silence would fall as he passed a crowd in the corridors.
Ferretti's attention was pulled back to the changing rooms by a rustling of cloth as Jonas stood, hands moving to remove his T-shirt. Louis rose and moved forward, meaning to greet the Kelownan, but his progress stopped almost as soon as it began, a sharp in-drawn breath dragged from his lips as he saw the exposed skin of Jonas' back. The noise startled the young man causing him to twist around, revealing a chest almost as bruised and scraped as his back had been.
They stood that way for a moment, silent, until, his eyes darting away, Jonas dragged a smile onto his face and blurted out a greeting. The smile didn't have the desired effect. Ferretti could see the age of the bruises in the multitude of colours that lay across his body, see the strain in his face that was likely the result of acting normally all day when he had to be in some discomfort. What Ferretti couldn't see was why he had been pretending, why nobody knew, for no-one could as he would never have been allowed off-world in that condition, unless…
The thought that hit Ferretti then was one he really didn't want to consider, one that he couldn't believe, not in his heart, but one that his mind screamed explained everything and he was aware he would need to hear it denied to rest easily that night.
"This didn't happen off-world did it?" He spoke slowly and evenly, calm, if one didn't pay attention to the anger in his eyes, anger that he immediately tried to bank down when the only reply he got was a quiet "I'm sorry" as Jonas' head disappeared inside a clean T-shirt.
"Sorry? Jonas…" Disbelief was clear in is voice, the words escaping from between his teeth before he bit back the rest of the sentence. Arms that had risen to gesture wildly around his head sank back to his sides as he let out a sigh. "There's nothing to be sorry for, this shouldn't have happened."
Jonas said nothing. He stood, outer shirt now present and neatly buttoned, hands resting in his trouser pockets, head bowed slightly, silent.
"Who did this to you kid?"
The silence remained unbroken, Jonas still refused to meet his eyes, reminding Ferretti of their first meetings when the guilt the Kelownan had felt over Dr Jackson's death had weighed the heaviest, and the sharp glances and hard glares had banked his normally exuberant spirit.
"Oh Jeez" Ferretti muttered and then taking a step closer and speaking clearly once more continued, "If it was Jack you can tell me you know, I'll believe you, I won't want to but I…"
He didn't get any further. Jonas had burst into action; his head whipping up and shaking emphatically as the denial flew from his lips.
Ferretti let out a long sigh at that, relief flooded his mind with the confirmation of the Colonel's innocence, closely followed by confusion. Perplexed as to why else Jonas would have kept quiet about such obvious brutality he sank down onto a nearby bench, his hand patting the wooden slats beside him as indication that he wanted Jonas to join him. He leaned forward and dropped his head into his hands, fingers rubbing at his temples, pressing harder when he caught the quickly concealed wince as the muscles in the Kelownan's back pulled as he sat.
"I'm due at a debriefing now," Ferretti said looking across at Jonas, "but I'll come to your lab afterwards and then you and me are going to talk about this, so I want you to go there and rest up, okay, and that's an order kid"
Jonas smile slightly at the pseudo-command, and Ferretti felt his fears lift slightly. Though he was still concerned and reluctant to leave Jonas alone, he was aware that the time apart would allow him to gather reinforcements and work out what he to say at their next meeting in order to get the answers he wanted.