Achieving Balance
by Marzipan77
GEN
Rated T
Takes place immediately after “The Devil You Know”
SG-1 redefines “all for one and one for all.”

 

The journey back from Netu contained that odd mix of raucous banter and deathly silence that always accompanied a narrow victory. Less cursing than Jack had been used to in his years in Special Forces – the result of either Carter’s presence or the Tok’ra’s – that bunch had always seemed kinda repressed to him. He admitted he probably missed most of the discussions, the rehashing of details for Teal’c and Aldwin’s benefit, the whispered conversations between Carter and her dad during the hours en route to the Tok’ra world – he kept slipping into a hazy limbo balanced somewhere between waking and sleeping.  Could have been the pain meds Teal’c had handed over, or the exhaustion.  Jack blinked his eyes open again when another silent pause lingered in the air.

Jacob lay on his side facing Jack, his eyes closed, the lines of worry and pain finally easing with every steady breath.  Carter and Martouf were sitting on one of the cargo crates, heads together, probably talking about Jolinar again.  What a mess. Jack had enough trouble dealing with the memories of one lifetime, he didn’t want to think about trying to process the emotional baggage of somebody else tangled up inside his head.  Carter was handling it – amazingly well, actually.  He squinted in the gloom, trying to read her expression, hoping she was gonna be able to keep herself separate from Martouf’s need to connect with his mate through her.  Jack wondered if Marty really needed the narcotic effect of that blood of Sokar to confuse him about who exactly it was that was sitting next to him.

He eased himself into a slightly less uncomfortable position, wedged in a corner between a crate and the bulkhead, fingers fidgeting with the clean new bandage Daniel had wound around his knee.  Jack frowned.  Where was…  His eyes adjusted and he caught sight of Daniel’s head just visible above the back of the co-pilot seat of the teltac, turned to face Teal’c who was doing the driving.  The other Tok’ra, Aldwin, elbows propped on the console between the two, was leaning forward as if in deep discussion.  Letting out a sigh, Jack crossed his arms over his chest and let his head drop forward.  Everyone accounted for.  A nice ride to the Tok’ra planet, a hop through the Stargate and he’d wash away the dirt and smell from his trip to Hell and slide between some crisp cool sheets on his favorite infirmary bed.  Oh, yeah.  There’s no place like home.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aldwin watched as Teal’c reached out one arm to steady his sleeping teammate just as the cargo ship shuddered its way from hyperspace.  Daniel Jackson tensed, his eyes opening wide beneath lowered brows.

“There is no danger, Daniel Jackson,” the Jaffa’s voice rumbled low in his chest.  “We are making our approach to the Tok’ra planet.”

“Sam?  Jack?”  Daniel tried to turn, to lunge from his seat to check on his teammates, but Teal’c’s hand was splayed heavily on his chest, holding him securely in place.

“They are well.  You have only been asleep a few minutes.  You must rest.”

“I’m fine,” Daniel forced himself to take slow, shallow breaths to counter the stabbing headache and the rising nausea.  Rising.  He stilled his movements.  Not a good thought.

Aldwin smiled.  “I shall be happy to check on them, Dr. Jackson,” he assured the human.

“No, I should…” Daniel’s refusal petered out in the face of Teal’c’s raised eyebrow and impassable restraint.  “Ah, okay, that would be great,” he smiled up at the Tok’ra.

Teal’c nodded and removed his arm, hands working quickly on the ship’s controls as he heard the voices behind him – information given and assurances received.  O’Neill’s sharp question, Aldwin’s faint reply, and Jacob Carter’s muffled laughter.

“Teal’c, I need…”

“You do not, Daniel Jackson.”

“I’m not…”

“You are.”

A heavy sigh from the man to his left, followed by a stifled groan brought Teal’c’s gaze back towards his teammate.  The scholar’s face was very pale beneath its layer of soot, bruises just now darkening to visibility along his jaw and temple. “O’Neill and Major Carter are well,” Teal’c whispered.  “We are near to the Tok’ra world and the Stargate.  All will be well.”

He watched as the young human nodded, once, but the tightness around his eyes and mouth spoke more loudly than words.  He could not yet yield his duty.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Teal’c had listened to the words of the Tok’ra Martouf, and of Major Carter and O’Neill concerning their imprisonment on Netu, had heard Daniel Jackson explain the torture of his teammates with the use of Sokar’s poison and the memory device, and had observed the young man carefully tend to his fellows.

Once he had convinced Daniel Jackson to join him in the cockpit in order to allow the others some quiet, and had seated him in the co-pilot’s chair, the scholar had fallen asleep almost instantly.  Aldwin had turned to him in confusion.

“Was Daniel Jackson injured?”

“Indeed.”

“Why did he not seek assistance?”

Teal’c had met the Tok’ra’s puzzled gaze calmly.  “Balance.”

“I do not understand.”

The Jaffa turned back to the controls.  “It is difficult to explain.  It took many months for me to understand this behavior of the humans.”

Aldwin had bent forward to lean against the center console so that he could better hear the Jaffa’s whispered explanation.

“You perceive that I am a warrior, bred for strength.”

“Of course,” Aldwin agreed quickly.

“O’Neill, as a leader, deviser of strategies and protector of his people, is without equal.”

“So I have been told.”

“Major Carter is clever and strong, quick to understand and to act.”

Aldwin sent a glance down to the sleeping human at his side.  “And Dr. Jackson?”

“He is wise.  Able to speak with many cultures, to bring truth to light and speed alliances and friendships.”

The Tok’ra hesitated.  “This is very strange to me.  So many disparate skills organized into a single unit.”

“It is the humans’ greatest strength,” Teal’c replied.  “We are united, joined, each one equally responsible for the success or failure of our missions.”

“Most Tok’ra work alone, relying only on himself and responsible for only himself.”

“And that,” Teal’c smiled, “is your greatest weakness.”

Aldwin was silent for a moment.  “And this balance of which you speak?”

“When one member is unable to fulfill his role, the others must compensate, must take on the responsibilities and functions of the others.  It is apparent that Major Carter was grieved by her father’s injury and deeply affected by Jolinar’s memories of her torture at the hands of Binar.  O’Neill was weakened by his injury.  And I was separated, sent to bring word to the Tok’ra.”

“And so…?”

“And so, Daniel Jackson absorbed the functions of his teammates, seeking a solution, taking action, organizing the escape with only small input from the others.  He has become protector, leader, soldier.  These are responsibilities he cannot easily give up until he has assured himself that he is no longer needed.”

The Tok’ra considered the Jaffa’s words.  “And when will that be?  When will he admit to his own hurt?”

Teal’c adjusted a control.  “Perhaps when he awakes.  Perhaps when we reach your world.  Perhaps when we return to Earth.”  He glanced at his sleeping teammate.  “Most likely it will not be until he ‘crashes,’ as O’Neill puts it, and himself awakens in the infirmary, his teammates at his side.”

Still feeling guilt at his own contribution to the humans’ plight, Aldwin frowned.  “He is very young.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c sighed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jack leaned heavily, letting Daniel take more of his weight as he stepped through the Stargate, gripping his shoulder tightly.  Damn youngsters, it was rude of Daniel to still have so much energy.

“Bring him over here, Daniel.”

Jack turned to Janet as she stood beside the gurney at the base of the ramp.  “I’m coming, I’m coming.”  He frowned at the sudden wobble in his friend’s step, and the trembling that shook through his lean frame.  “Daniel?”

Daniels’ grip tightened around Jack’s waist and he led the colonel to Janet’s side, helping him to shift his weight onto the gurney.

Jack’s hand shot out to wrap itself around Daniel’s wrist as he tried to back away.  “Hey, you okay?”  His eyes raked over the pale features, the hazy blue eyes narrowed against the bright light of the ‘gate room, the clenched jaw, purpling bruise coloring its length.  He saw the hesitant smile and lunged forward as Daniel’s eyelids fluttered.

“I have him, O’Neill.”  Teal’c’s hands closed over the scholar’s arms and guided him gently to the floor.  The medics circled, one holding Jack in place as his gurney was wheeled towards the exit, others pouncing on the fading archaeologist.

Blue eyes blinked, opened slowly to focus on Teal’c’s face above him.  “Home?” he whispered.

“We are indeed home, Daniel Jackson.”

“Okay, then.  I’m gonna…”  He relaxed into unconsciousness.

General Hammond stepped quickly to Teal’c’s side.  “Teal’c?”

“Daniel Jackson will be fine.  As will we all.”

End

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Stargate (II) Productions, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This is a parody for entertainment purposes only. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author. This story may not be posted anywhere without the consent of the author.