AN: I know it's been a while. I've just finished yr12 and all those who have gone before me will know what a chaos that last term is. Anywho, had a brain wave and have finished this. I'm working on about 3 other stories as well.
It was early morning when the group rose and ate breakfast, once again in silence. Cassie refused the food given to her and wouldn't talk to anyone, angry at the group's behaviour. They pulled down the campsite and sorted out their belongings, making sure each had their own and then stood in an uncomfortable silence near the DHD. Cassie smirked at the ironicness of it all; the group hadn't seen each other in five years, they were all supposedly angry at one another, yet none would move until Jack gave them the all clear.
"You're pathetic, you know that?" Four shocked faces turned towards Cassie. "Well what's your problem? No one's holding you here, you all despise each other, what are you all waiting for?" Her voice had risen slightly and Jack was glaring at her. She looked at Sam but the older woman refused to meet her gaze.
"Nothing." Daniel heaved his bag and strode towards the DHD, hesitating over the symbols. Cassie smiled cruelly.
"What's the matter? Forgotten how to dial?'
"Shut up Jack!" Jack was too shocked at the woman's behaviour to come back with a retort.
"You wouldn't have a clue." Daniel had turned on the young woman but she didn't flinch.
"I don't need to have one. How can you just leave? Did the past 10 years mean nothing to you people? How can you just walk away from all that?"
"You weren't there."
"I didn't have to fucking be there!" Hot tears were welling in her eyes. "Then again you wouldn't have noticed if I was would you? No, you all forgot about little Cassie, the little girl you promised a home to. You know mom had the right idea, anyone got a staff weapon?" Cassie was on the ground before she knew what had hit her and opened her eyes to see Teal'c holding an angry Daniel. Her cheek stung.
Cassie sat in shock, as did the rest of the group. No one had ever struck anyone else in his or her right mind, and no one had ever, ever laid a hand on Cassie. Sam was sobbing and Daniel was staring at his hand like it was something alien.
"See what you've become? Monsters. So caught up in your own feelings that you forgot about everyone else, forgot about your friends, about your family. That's why Hammond died alone, that's why Sam forgot how to cry and that's why you hit me." The last was said in a whisper, the young woman feeling more betrayed than ever. "So go, leave. I'm not going to miss you." Teal'c slowly let Daniel go, and the younger man staggered back to the DHD.
One symbol, then the next; each was pressed with a slow deliberateness as Cassie watched and hoped that somehow, Daniel had heard her, that somehow she could bring the group back together. The first sign was the shaking of Daniel's hands has he hovered over the 5th symbol. There was a groan and he fell against the DHD, the sobs racking his body. No one moved, until Cassie turned and began walking away from the group, back towards the town.
"You're just going to leave? After all you said to him?" It was Sam. Cassie turned and caught her gaze.
"Yes, it's only a monster. It's not human." Sam stood stunned, disbelieving what the woman had just said. How could she just leave him? They never left anyone behind.
"Daniel? Daniel, it's ok, she didn't mean it…" Sam was sobbing as she tried to pull Daniel from the DHD and into her arms. Suddenly she realised the truth of Cassie's words, realised what they'd all become and it was too much. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry." The words were repeated over and over again as she stroked his face, desperately trying to calm him and make him look at her. Her efforts were in vain though and she pulled away, ramming her fists into the dirt. Two strong arms soon came around her and she struggled but Jack wouldn't let go.
"Carter! Carter stop it! Jesus I'm sorry Sam, I'm-" He suddenly pulled away from her and instinctively she knew what he was going to do. Her arm came from nowhere and Jack's gun went sailing across the ground. The pair sat staring at each other in silence, Jack as white as chalk. A crackle of high energy caught the pair's attention and they looked to where Teal'c had vaporized Jack's gun. The Jaffa's staff weapon fell to the ground and he sat heavily, staring at nothing.
Minutes – hours - passed, the four members sitting silently contemplating nothing and everything. After some time, Jack rose unsteadily to his feet, Sam against his side and together they lifted Daniel between them. Once they knew he could walk the three staggered towards the last member who gripped Jack's outstretched hand and joined them, arm in arm, as they headed for the seclusion of the nearby tree line. Once there they huddled until dusk, as they managed to calm themselves. Sam had cleaned the cuts on Daniel's face and put cream on his bruised knuckles, he in turn had cleaned her hands of the dirt. Meanwhile, Jack and Teal'c had gone back to the gate to collect everyone's belongings, and had returned as quickly as possible, suddenly not wanting to be parted from the group.
"It was my fault you got so angry, I'm sorry Teal'c." Sam's whispered words were the first since the incident at the dialling device. The group was sitting in a close circle, realising they had to talk about the past and begin the repair before they could go a find Cassie. Teal'c bowed his head in acknowledgement and Sam buried her face in the crook of his neck, hugging his arm tightly. Slowly, each in turn, Daniel, Jack, Teal'c and Sam told their stories, each apologising when they felt necessary. Each apology was accepted, whether or not others believed it to be necessary. This was about healing for everyone. It would be years before the rifts were finally healed, but the beginning was welcome.
Night seemed to put no end to the busy town as the group wondered the streets in search of their niece. Peasants bustled about, jostling the group this way and that as they reached the square.
"She'll be with the beggar, I know she will." At Sam's words the group listened out for the haunting tune and at hearing none, Daniel began asking anyone who would stop and listen. Eventually they were directed down a poorer street of the town, where the beggar was playing to a small gathering of children. Cassie was there. Dancing as she had done the day before but stopped at the noise of their approach. The parties observed one another in the dark, neither noticing the children and beggar disappearing.
"Why are you here?" In the dim flicker of a nearby flame torch, Daniel could see a purple bruise developing on the woman's cheek and decided it was him who needed to bring her back. He stepped out.
"We promised you a home."
"I have no home." She was tying the scarf around her hair and slipped back into her shoes.
"We're your home and you know it. Please come back?"
"To what? You're all leaving, I'd rather be on my own than with only one of you." Sam interrupted.
"We're not going anywhere Cassie, not unless you're with us. There's truth to what you said but…you've got to understand. What we did to each other was…was very hurtful and I'm not sure whether we can ever fix it completely."
"But we're gonna try Cass. That means you too." Sam was grateful for Jack's input, not sure she could've kept her voice steady any longer. She had no idea how they were ever going to be what they had been, knew they couldn't. But if Cassie didn't return they had no hope at all.
"If we weren't still family, we wouldn't all be here. We kept the promise didn't we?" Everyone looked at Teal'c as he repeated the very words Cassie had said days earlier. The young woman eyed the group, trying to find the change that had occurred.
"Ok." She was immediately engulfed by Sam, who kissed her hair and cried, and finally the five of them made their way back to camp. They slept under the stars that night side-by-side with Sam and Cassie safe in the middle.
"Do you remember how I used to stroke your hair?" The older woman whispered, revelling in the knowledge that her niece, her girl, was back beside her. "You didn't like sleeping in a new place, and you grabbed my arm and wouldn't let me go until you were asleep. Teal'c found me and warned me that I was getting too attached to you. Never be afraid of that." Cassie was asleep.
The next morning was different from all the others. Breakfast, while not rowdy, was filled with quiet chatter as Cassie learned a little of what had happened in her family. She was sure she'd not been told everything, but knew in time she would come to understand, and that there were also things that she simply did not need to know.
"Well, now we've got to work out where to go. Five's a lot of people to find room for." Daniel's statement was met with a thoughtful silence until Jack cleared his throat.
"I…I know somewhere where we can go. I've had this planned for a long, long time, as you've probably guessed. Of course at the time, I never envision the situation would be…well what it is between us all. So I, I got a house; big enough for all of us and in a quiet place where we'd never be bothered. Admittedly it's no New York Apartment, a modern civilisation would be too risky for us –"
"It doesn't matter, as long as we're together we'll be alright." Jack squeezed Sam's hand and they shared a small smile.
"Well, my job is ancient history, not modern so I think I'll fit in just fine." Daniel said around a mouthful of food. Cassie burst into giggles, the group looking at her strangely.
I'm not sure what was so funny; maybe it was then that I caught a glimpse of the old Daniel, maybe it was the smile that I'd seen pass between Sam and Jack, or maybe it was because for the first time since meeting up with them all I realised I'd forgotten about earth for a while, and that was surely a sign that I was healing, that maybe we could be the family of my memory.