Ka

Author: Neiths Arrow

Pairings: None

Category: TeamFic, Angst

Rating: T

Summary: The original team takes a little vacation together.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Stargate story or characters (MGM Television Entertainment). I'm not making a profit from this fic.

Author's Note: Thank you Diane for your excellent work as a beta and for the encouragement to post my stories.

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"Come on Daniel. Let's go!" Jack O'Neill's impatient yell reverberated in Daniel's small apartment. The rest of SG-1 waited impatiently for the archeologist to come out of his room. They could hear furious slamming and thrashing through the walls.

Jack shared eye contact with Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter and rolled his eyes. She grinned in return. "Just like old times, sir?"

"Yeah! But there are some things I could do without." He gave a wry smile of remembrance.

He inhaled enough air to yell out, "Come on Daniel, I only have a few days of vacation. If you make me miss . . . ."

The door suddenly burst open to present an annoyed-looking Daniel pulling a small suitcase on wheels behind him. "Jack, we just got back from a mission. I needed time to get ready."

Jack responded with a singsong voice. "Teal'c and Sam had just as much time as you and they're both ready." He finished with a snarky smile. Sam and Teal'c looked like they would rather be anywhere else than to be ammunition in the old friend's continuous battle. Daniel sighed his frustration. Though he was really annoyed with the childish conversation, a part of him actually missed the juvenile sparring with words. He would never admit this to Jack, but Daniel suspected the older man knew this. It added to Daniel's frustration, so his voice came out harsher than he'd intended. "Look, Jack, I don't even want to go. Why don't all of you go without me? There's nothing there for me."

Teal'c begged to differ. "Daniel Jackson. Do you not want to see the Luxor Hotel? It is shaped like a pyramid."

Sam added with tongue in cheek humor. "I hear there's even an ancient obelisk buried underneath the pyramid." Daniel glared at her, but didn't respond.

Jack smiled and paused in appreciation of her joke before pulling out his car key. "No argument. You're going. This is old team weekend, and we're going to enjoy it." His voice cajoled into a softer tone. "Come on, it'll be like old times."

"Oh! You mean there might be Jaffa trying to kill us in Vegas?" Daniel gave a quick, fake smile. He couldn't help being snarky. When Jack had called a month ago stating that he wanted to spend his vacation with his former team, Daniel had balked. He refused to go until Jack promised that they wouldn't go to his cabin, and they wouldn't go anywhere where there were more animals than people. Daniel insisted on civilization. He should have known better than to trust his friend who had picked Las Vegas to satisfy those criteria. Before Daniel could even begin protesting, the airplane tickets and hotel suite had been reserved. Jack had asked them to trust him with the vacation location and plans since SG-1 was going to be unavailable off world. Daniel should have been suspicious, but he didn't have time to protest before the mission started. Now the original SG-1 team was headed out in Jack's SUV for a one-hour drive to Denver International Airport where they would wait one hour to catch the two-hour flight to Las Vegas.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The former teammates arrived at their hotel shortly after check-in time, but barely before the start of the early evening show that Jack wanted them to see so badly. Jack had insisted on seeing the Cirque du Soleil show 'Ka,' but had only been able to get tickets for the evening they arrived. The former teammates were behind schedule because their flight had left Denver late and they had trouble renting a car at the Las Vegas airport. While getting settled into their suite, Daniel continued his constant complaints about having to sit on the long drive and flight and then endure a long sit in the show.

Sam could tell that Jack was reaching the end of his patience. She looked to Teal'c for guidance and saw the Jaffa was also near the end of his tolerance for the archeologist's complaints. Sam tried to get Daniel's attention, but he was beyond reason and in full stubborn-mule mode.

Daniel had barely begun his next complaint when Teal'c stood directly in front of him. The result was that the smaller man's blue-eyes were staring into Teal'c's neck. It was very disconcerting – especially when he looked up into the extremely close, irritated face of a menacing Jaffa. Daniel realized that he had gone too far. There was no need for further communication on the subject as it was obvious the archeologist had gotten the hint, so Teal'c moved back to his vigil at the window overlooking the Strip.

After they picked up their show tickets, Daniel and Sam went inside to occupy the seats while Teal'c and Jack purchased snacks and beer. Sam chose this time to placate the archeologist. "Daniel. The General's missed us and he's gone to a lot of trouble to set this up. Could you please just be a little appreciative?"

"I would be if he would have just picked someplace that would have been of interest to all of us." He pouted.

Sam looked incredulous. "Daniel! Where do you think he would spend his vacation right now if he had a choice?"

Daniel frowned at the obvious answer. "That's easy – Minnesota at his cabin – fishing and feeding the mosquitoes."

Sam continued as if talking to a child. "What do you think Teal'c would like to do?"

His voice slowed down in wariness. "He'd be watching Star Wars again or he'd visit Rya'c."

Sam's blue eyes sparkled fiercely as she continued her questions. "Where would I be?"

He hoped he didn't insult her as he responded. "You'd be busy working on some piece of technology in your lab."

Sam raised her chin pointedly as she asked her final question. "OK! That leaves you. Where would you be?"

"On a fascinating archeological dig in Egypt studying ancient ruins . . ." His voice trailed off as he got the point. "There really isn't anything we would all like to do at the same time, is there?"

"No Daniel. This is as close to satisfying everyone as I can think. It certainly wouldn't be General O'Neill's favorite place to go. Of all of us, I think he is giving up the most. And he's doing this so he can spend some time with us away from the base."

Daniel looked ashamed. "I've been pretty selfish, haven't I?" He received a silent, meaningful glare in response. He sighed in resignation. "Sorry, Sam. I'll try to be a little more understanding. It's just that he can be . . . a little annoying at times."

She gave a big, cheeky grin. "I think he knows that . . . and I think he misses bating you."

They were interrupted as Jack and Teal'c re-joined them. With some slight shuffling, they chose their seats. Teal'c was on the far left with Jack to his right. Daniel sat next with Sam seated in the extreme right-hand seat. Teal'c looked around the large theater. His voice boomed loudly even though he tried to speak quietly. "O'Neill. What is the purpose of these many devices? I had anticipated a motion picture screen and a stage."

Jack gave him a sly smile. "Just watch, big man."

There was little small talk as the former teammates finally realized they had reached their destination after all the hours of travel. They could now relax. Jack quaffed his beer quickly and made a last restroom stop before the show started. While he was gone, Daniel asked Sam if she knew what the show was about. "I don't know. It's a Cirque du Soleil show. They're supposed to be really good."

"Is this a circus, Colonel Carter?" Teal'c leaned forward to see Sam's face as she responded. Daniel pushed himself against the back of the seat to get out of their line of sight, but also looked to the right for her response.

Sam shrugged her shoulders and shook her head as she silently mouthed that she didn't know.

It was at that point that Jack returned to sit between Teal'c and Daniel. "O'Neill, have you ever been a patron at a circus?"

Jack raised startled eyebrows at the question, and then scowled. "Oh no! Don't tell me you guys have never been to a circus before."

Daniel wisecracked. "Ok. We won't tell you."

Jack slowly closed his eyes and sighed in disbelief. "I can understand that . . . Murray hasn't been to a circus, but aren't you both supposed to be doctors? Shouldn't you be required to experience 'life' as a part of your education?" His question was met with silence.

Carter repeated Teal'c's question. "Sir, have you ever been to a circus?"

Jack paused a little too long in his answer. Sam's eyes widened in understanding. "Sir?"

Daniel was getting into the questioning now. He suspected that they might learn a bit more about the mystery that was called 'Jack O'Neill.' "Come on Jack. Fess up."

Jack's answer was almost a mumble. "I traveled with a circus for a year when I was 17."

He received three pairs of raised eyebrows in response to that revelation.

Further explanation was interrupted by the start of the show. Sam and Daniel shared a look. They would not let this one go and would ask for details later. They grinned at each other as the conspiracy was cemented.

Jack groaned because he knew the two scientists would grill him relentlessly after the show.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jack was awed by the show. It was unlike any circus he had ever seen. He owed Reynolds a thank you for his recommendation. 'Ka' was well worth the money he had spent on the best seats. Jack wondered how Teal'c was faring with this spectacular show. What he saw amazed and pleased him. The Jaffa was sitting enraptured like a child waiting in line for Santa Claus. He had an awed smile pasted on his face. Jack smiled widely in response. He turned to Daniel to see his face. Daniel was studying individual performers closely while probably missing the content of the show. Jack could picture him with a tape recorder noting the similarities between other cultures. Jack nudged the archeologist's side to redirect his attention.

Daniel had expected Jack to watch his responses closely. He didn't expect that Jack would nod his head pointedly to his left. Daniel got the hint and looked at Teal'c. The younger man's face widened in pleasure at seeing the Jaffa so enraptured by . . . anything. It was so rare to see the usually impassive face animated with emotion. Daniel shared a look of pleasure with Jack before nodding his head toward Sam.

They both looked to their right to find the Lieutenant Colonel looking closely at the technology that ran the show. Unlike Daniel, she scrutinized things rather than people. However, she wasn't so enraptured that she didn't notice the two men studying her reaction and trying to get her attention. She nodded her head up, in a 'what's up' gesture. Daniel pointed toward his left and Jack nodded to his left. Sam got the hint. They both knew the instant she understood, because her face lit up in a huge grin. Her blue eyes caught both Jack's and Daniel's eyes in turn as she shared the pleasure of seeing Teal'c's delight.

The show quickly caught all their attention. During one particularly poignant performance, they all surreptitiously looked over to Teal'c to find him with widened eyes and tears streaming down his face. Sam and Daniel's eyes welled up in sympathy for the wonders before them. Jack cleared his throat in discomfort at his own emotional response. The show moved on and before they knew it, it was over. As the performers re-entered the stage for their final curtain call, Teal'c stood up immediately to give a standing ovation. His teammates smiled to each other before joining him and the rest of the audience in the standing applause of appreciation.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Wow!"

"Daniel, you already said that."

"Wow!"

"Carter! You too."

Teal'c joined the exclamations. "I now understand the meaning of that expression."

Jack decided to take charge, like old times. "Look, we have a lot of plans for the morning, so let's hit the sack. Daniel, you take first watch."

Daniel looked up quickly with a puzzled expression on his face. Jack smirked. "Just wanted to see if you were paying attention." Jack's expression became serious as he hesitantly asked, "So, you guys think this was worth it?"

"Jack, if all we did was see that show, it was worth it. Wow!"

Jack wore a pleased expression. "Carter? How about you?"

"Oh yes, sir. The technology alone was worth it. How did they do that?"

"Teal'c, I don't need you to tell me. Your face said it all." He received a bow in response, but the look of pleasure was gone. The solemn Jaffa seemed to be preoccupied. Since they had seen him so expressive with emotion earlier, they noticed the contrast of his currently impassive facial expression. "T. You ok?"

"Yes O'Neill. I believe, as you said, that we should turn in now in preparation for our activities tomorrow."

They each retired to their respective rooms in the suite. There were three individual bedrooms and a pullout bed in the living area. Teal'c chose the pullout bed, since he disliked the isolation of a separate room while with his family.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jack was awakened in the middle of the night by . . . something. He wasn't sure what, but his special senses told him that something was wrong. He went out of his room to the common living area and tried not to disturb Teal'c. As he crept silently to the kitchenette, he heard an unusual sound coming from the couch. Teal'c was obviously having a nightmare. Jack had been away from gate travel with SG-1 for so long that he couldn't identify the sound at first. Having been the victim of many bad dreams, he pondered waking the big guy up. As he stood in hesitation, he heard the Jaffa's sharp intake of breath and then ragged breaths as if Teal'c had just run a marathon.

Jack grimaced. He was caught with his foot literally in the air. He couldn't possibly give the Jaffa a semblance of privacy by sneaking back into his room. SG-1 had an unwritten rule that no one asked the details of nightmares. The forced closeness when on missions necessitated this privacy. Jack was just deciding to place his foot down when Teal'c spoke breathlessly and with a warble. "O'Neill. I am aware of your presence."

Jack put his foot on the ground and with a moment of hesitation walked closer to his friend and colleague. "You ok there, Teal'c?"

"I am not."

This was a clear indication that the alien wanted to talk about what was disturbing him. Remembering that the others were probably sleeping in the other room Jack moved to the chair next to Teal'c's bed. He remained silent knowing that the Jaffa would speak if and when he felt ready to do so.

The dark silence of the hotel room was broken by Teal'c's low, rumbling voice. "Many years ago while serving as First Prime to Apophis, we visited a world. It had previously been ruled by another Goa'uld, but we defeated him in battle. The native people there were peaceful and primitive; they were very easy to subdue." The alien paused as he remembered details. "There was a young performer such as we saw last evening. She was ordered to perform for her God. The young woman was small in stature and appeared . . . fragile." This last word was said bitterly. Teal'c began breathing more rapidly as he continued. "During her performance, she committed an error." Teal'c's voice lowered in contempt. "Apophis was very displeased. He ordered that she be put to death. I attempted to speak in her behalf." The Jaffa lowered his head and his eyes glazed in remembrance. "Apophis was angered. He ordered that I kill her personally . . . and that she suffer." Teal'c's tortured eyes were running freely with tears as he relived the past events. His deep voice quivered with emotion. "I still remember her screams, O'Neill." He closed his eyes uselessly to avoid the painful images that replayed in his mind.

Jack O'Neill closed his eyes in sympathy for his friend's anguish. Once again, he was reminded of the age and experience of the warrior now before him. It humbled the aging General. Jack remained silent as he suspected Teal'c was not finished with his account.

The Jaffa's uneven, tortured breaths were the only sound in the room as he relived the young woman's death by his own hands. Through clenched teeth he eventually continued. "Apophis was pleased with her suffering." After some silence, he continued. "I had forgotten this incident until I saw the performer last evening."

Jack rolled tearing eyes up toward the ceiling. He knew the Jaffa couldn't see him because his head was lowered in shame. Jack was the last one to judge the horrors that Teal'c had been ordered to perform and he instinctively knew what his friend needed. He moved to stand by the larger man. Jack placed a hand on Teal'c's shoulder and gave him the privacy to silently cry his anger and pain. The two warriors shared this moment of anguish. Teal'c had often helped the younger Colonel O'Neill during their many missions when O'Neill had to make decisions that caused the death of others. Both men understood the torment of the deeds they had been forced to perform.

A quiet noise startled Jack and he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He kept his hand on his friend's shoulder as a blond head moved past him. Sam moved in front of the Jaffa to take the seat that Jack had vacated. She placed a supportive hand on the Jaffa's knee. Teal'c raised reddened eyes – expecting judgment, but found friendship in her crystal depths. The sudden appearance of Daniel didn't startle him. They made room for Daniel to sit by Teal'c and place his hand on Teal'c's other shoulder in support. The Jaffa's shoulders shook silently. The former teammates stayed this way for a while before sitting to talk into the night. Their plans for tomorrow could wait.

the end

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AN: I thought of this while watching Ka in Las Vegas. I wondered what it would be like to take Teal'c to see this absolutely wonderful show. This is what my muse imagined.