Astronomy Lesson
By: Lady Shelley

Summary: tag for season two episode Secrets, spoilers for same. Daniel tries to come to terms with events on Abydos.

Thank you to Lyn Townsend for the beta read!

As always, I don't own any of these characters, they belong to MGM Worldwide Television Productions Inc., Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Film Corp.

Author's comment: This is my first Stargate SG-1 fic, so please let me know if you see anything off in characterization. Additional note follows at the end of the story.

Internal thoughts/memories in italics.

Rated: PG

The embarkation room was dim and quiet, a contrast to the bright bustle of the day shift. He had wandered the base for an hour after the debriefing only to find himself seated against wall of the gate room. No one casually glancing down into at the gate would even see him seated as he was against the fall wall opposite the gate itself.

Dr. Daniel Jackson wasn’t actively trying to hide, only go unnoticed for a time. He sat with his back pressed against the wall, knees drawn up to his chest. His glasses perched on top of his head, his gaze flicking from one symbol to another on the gate itself.

He had only reported the facts of the trip back to Abydos. He was relieved Teal’c had kept his own report only to the essentials. After hearing from Jack and Sam about the abortive trip to Washington, they didn’t need his grief added to their own.

Taurus . . .

My Dan-yel

Serpens Caput . . .

Good Father, I ask your forgiveness, I have returned without your daughter.

Capricorn . . .

How long has she been here?
More than a season.

Monoceros . . .

You hate me.
No, no, I love you.

Daniel looked away from the gate as the memories flashed in his mind. A season or more! She had been there for several months and he had not known it. The pain of the lost time they could have had only compounded the pain of losing her again after the child was born.

Taurus . . .

The demon sleeps because I am with child.

Serpens Caput . . .

The knowledge she possesses could one day save your world.
I don’t CARE!

Capricorn . . .

You all right?
No, no I’m not …

The door to the gate room hissed open. Daniel watched an airman glance through the room on patrol and then leave. He had nowhere to go, and anyway no way to get there. Carpooling with Jack may be good for the environment, but made a fast get-away impossible. He didn’t want to be on the base. He wanted to be at home, or at least just away. He needed to settle what had happened in his mind before his well-meaning friends, especially Jack, decided to intervene and help.

He wanted to talk to Carter about her father. Finding out a parent had cancer was never easy to hear. Finding out after you have shattered the man’s dream for you, was even worse, he thought. But before he could help her, he needed to be sure his own pain was safely tucked away.

Taurus . . .

I’m not leaving her, Teal’c.

Serpens Caput . . .

But I will lose you Dan-yel!

Capricorn . . .

I will always love you.

The door to the gate room opened again and Daniel knew who would be standing there. The airman on duty must have passed the word along that he was sitting in the gate room, in the dark, alone. He kept his eyes fixed on the gate, refusing to watch as the body in the doorway moved into the room and slid down the wall to sit next to him.

"Anyone ever tell you what can happen if you spend too much time sitting on cold concrete?"

"Hi, Jack."

"‘Hi, Jack’? I’ve been looking all over for you and all I get is ‘Hi, Jack’?" Jack elbowed Daniel’s side and continued, "Come on, Daniel. Ya wanna tell me what’s going on in that head of yours?"

Daniel only sighed and let his eyes roam over the gate glyphs again.

Taurus . . .

I’m sorry Good Father . . .

Serpens Caput . . .

How long has she been here?
More than a season.

Capricorn . . .

Apo’phis is the father?

Monoceros . . .

I will always love you.

Jack watched as Daniel’s eyes moved back and forth along the gate. Leaning forward to get a look at Daniel’s face, he knew what the scientist was doing. He watched as Daniel quietly mouthed each of the symbols he was looking for, seeing the grief and pain etched in the kid’s face as he moved along the address.

It’s time we both got out of here for awhile, Jack thought to himself. They couldn’t really go too far, it was now 0330, and they had a meeting scheduled at 0900. He had spent the better part of the night checking Daniel’s regular haunts on base in an effort to get them both the hell away from the Air Force for a few hours. Not finding him in any of the usual places including his office, or the mess hall, Jack was surprised when the airman had informed him that he was sitting in the gate room staring, it seemed, off into space.

Well, even if they couldn’t go too far, they could definitely get out of here. Glancing himself at the gate, Jack knew just where to go. Where they could both deal with the pain and betrayal they felt. Standing, Jack bent over and held out his hand. "Come on, Daniel. This isn’t helping either of us. I think I need some air. Wanna join me?"

He watched as Daniel turned away from the gate to look at the hand in front of him. Then, with another small sigh, Daniel took the hand and Jack hauled him to his feet. Keeping a hand on Daniel’s back Jack led him to the elevators, and pushed the correct button to get to the surface. Daniel looked him, the question of where they were going clear in his eyes.

"Trust me, Danny-boy."

Daniel leaned against the back of the elevator and sighed again. Jack could see the man was tired, both physically and emotionally. Hell, he was tired both physically and emotionally. Remind me never to accept another award, Daniel, he thought to himself. The elevator ground to a stop, and waiting the bare minimum for the doors to open, Jack had a hand on Daniel’s elbow propelling the archeologist out and down the corridor to sign out of the base.

Daniel was surprised Jack turned left as he exited the mountain complex instead of right leading to the parking lot. Thankfully the August night air was pleasant and warm. The usual clouds and rain of the Colorado monsoon weather had dissipated hours ago, leaving the skies dotted with millions of stars. The setting moon gave just enough light to see where they were going, but left the night sky intact. Cheyenne Mountain was far enough outside the city limits of Colorado Springs to allow for a glorious view of the night sky, unfortunately, Daniel didn’t remember the last time he had come out to enjoy the show. Astronomy was much more Jack’s science than his own.

Daniel followed Jack along a path around to the backside of the mountain before the colonel left the trail to climb up to a natural shelf. Sitting down next to his friend, Daniel once again brought his legs up to his chest, wrapped his arms around his legs and rested his chin on his knees.

"Daniel, you’ve spent so much time studying the stargate, do you remember what those symbols are based on?" Jack asked quietly after a few minutes.

Daniel nodded and gazed up at the night sky. He could find Ursa Major and a few others, but he didn’t want to look too hard. Too bad Jack didn’t have the same idea.

"Now see, there’s Taurus and Orion. They both come up late this time of year. You’ll get a much better view of them in a few more months," Jack said pointing out the constellations.

Taurus . . .

More sorry for yourself it appears, than for Sha’uri.

"Serpens Caput, figures it would be part of a snake, is over there." Jack pointed at another quadrant of the sky.

Serpens Caput . . .

You forgive me?
God, there’s nothing to forgive.

"Monoceros can’t be seen this time of year, but Capricorn and Sagittarius are close together." Jack showed him where the two constellations were, the archer right below the goat.

With a start, Daniel realized about halfway through where Jack was going with the astronomy lesson. How did he know? Feeling Jack’s gaze upon him, Daniel turned his head to look back. Even though the colonel was blurry, he didn’t reach up for his glasses.

"Jack, she had been there for at least three months," he said quietly. "Three months! If only I had known." The pain and anger came out all at once and Daniel was practically yelling. "Maybe we could have done something so she could stay. God, do you realize I could have had three months with her, or more?" Daniel raked his hands through his hair in agitation, knocking his glasses off the top of his head in the process. He barely noticed as Jack picked them up and pocketed them.

"Why didn’t I stay in touch with them? We’ve had negotiations with so many other planets, why didn’t I at least check in? God, I am so stupid."

"Daniel . . ." Jack tried to interrupt, but Daniel ignored him.

"Do you know what I thought the first instant I saw her in that tent? I thought it was all a dream, that somehow the past year had never happened and she was still with me."

"Daniel . . ." Jack said again, a little louder this time.

"Then Teal’c was there pointing that . . .gun . . . at her and I realized . . ."



"You couldn’t have known. Don’t do this to yourself. You told them to bury the gate, remember. I heard you. How could you have known?"

Jack kept his voice low and calm. This wasn’t in Daniel’s report, nor Teal’c’s. No wonder the guy was tearing himself up inside. Might-have-been’s playing through the mind was never easy, in Daniel’s case, they were compounded by a year of emotional pain. Woulda, coulda, shoulda, Danny-boy. Some of the worst things you can say to yourself.

Daniel wrapped his arms around his legs again and was quiet. Jack sat silently beside him watching the night sky shift. The moon was almost set now and the sun would be coming up soon. Slowly the tension went out of the body beside him and Daniel looked up again at the night sky, his eyes flicking from one constellation to the next.

Taurus …

You forgive me?

Serpens Caput …

There’s nothing to forgive.

Capricorn …

Forgive me, Good Father.

Monoceros …

You hate me.

Sagittarius …

No, no, I love you.

Orion …

I will always love you.

"Thanks, Jack," he whispered.

"You’re welcome," Jack replied just as quietly.

Both men sat enjoying the momentary peace of the late night sky.

Daniel, his head now resting on his knees asked, "Do you think Kasuf will be safe with the child? Maybe I should have brought him back with me."

"No, Daniel. The baby is safer where he is. You had to let Ammau'net think Heru’Ur stole the child; you couldn’t have done that with the crowd in the gate room when Sam and I came through. You did the right thing."

"But …"

"No ‘but’s’, Daniel. It was the right decision."

"She looked right at us – me – before she left," Daniel said rocking back and forth on the shelf. "That’s good, right? I mean some part of Sha’uri is still there." Something of the host must remain.

"Yeah, Daniel, I’d say that’s a good sign."

Both men were silent. The stars were slowly fading from the night sky as the first signs of dawn began to peek out from the east.

"We will find her again, won’t we?" he asked the question with a longing sadness in his voice.

"I’m sure of it, Daniel."



"How did you know what constellations to point out?"

"Ah, Danny-boy," Jack said in his best Irish brogue, "That’s why I get to wear the eagles on my shoulders." Dropping the accent, Jack continued. "Besides, I have the address to Aybdos memorized, too. I was pretty sure when Airman Jeffries told me where you were, I knew what you were doing. Those were some of the first constellations I looked for when I got back after … well, after the first time."

Daniel felt his eyes start to slip to half-mast. The emotions from the last twenty-four hours had ebbed and left him high and dry. "Jack, I think I need sleep."

"Ya think?"

"Or at least three or four cups of coffee."

"Sleep sounds like a better idea to me." Jack got up and again offered a hand to the archeologist. "I’ll tell you what," he said, pulling Daniel to his feet. "It’s nearly 0530, that’s 5:30 am to you. You go crash for a couple of hours and I promise to come get you, with coffee, in time for our meeting with General Hammond about P3X-674."

Daniel had started back around the mountain, turned back and said, "Oh, wait, I need to find Sam. Let her know I’m sorry to hear about her father."

"Daniel, it will keep until later this morning. Sam probably isn’t even on base yet. Get some sleep, and some caffeine in your system, then go talk to her."

"Okay," Daniel said turning to walk back around the mountain again. The rest of the walk back to the base gate was made in companionable silence.

Reaching the security gate, Daniel automatically reached up for his glasses to sign in. Not finding them, he suddenly remembered his fit of temper and sweeping the frames off his head. "Damn, I’ll be right …"

He stopped speaking as Jack tapped him on the shoulder and opened the breast pocket of his fatigues to pull out the glasses he had rescued. "Here, I thought you might want these kept somewhere besides the side of a mountain."

"Ya think?" Daniel parroted Jack's favorite phrase. "Thanks, Jack." Daniel took the glasses and signed in for a new day.

We will find her again won’t we?

I’m sure of it, Daniel.

I will always love you, Sha’uri.


Author’s notes:

The astronomy should be relatively accurate for Colorado in late August, which is the month the episode originally aired.

The gate address for Aybdos was found at SG1 Web:

Though be warned flames will be laughed at hysterically.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 November 2005 )
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