Stargate Horizons


The next day was Friday.  Sam was looking forward to the weekend.  Her father had promised that they could all go to the park for a picnic and some fun, if Mark felt well enough.

At lunchtime, Sam was pleased to see Daniel in his usual spot under the tree.  She didn't know why she kept feeling herself drawn to him.  She just was.  Without hesitation, she went over to him.


Daniel looked up at her, and she was surprised to see a tiny smile come to his lips.

"Can I have lunch with you?" she asked.

Daniel looked around, as if searching for someone.

"Who are you looking for?"

Daniel scribbled something on the piece of paper he'd been writing on and handed it to her.  "Your friends," it said.

"Oh.  No, I'm not eating with them today."  Sam sat down and took the sandwich out of her lunch box.  "Besides, they're only sort of my friends.  I'm new here, too.  We moved here only a month ago.  My dad's in the Air Force, and he just got transferred here.  He gets transferred a lot, and I hate it.  We're always having to move.  I can never make real friends because I lose them when we move someplace else."  She looked at Daniel, who appeared to be listening intently.  "Did you just move here?"

Daniel's head dropped, face turned to his lap.  He shook his head.

Sam was puzzled.  "You didn't move here?  Are you here only temporary?"

This time, Daniel shrugged.

"Don't you know?  Haven't your mom and dad told you?"

Daniel began hugging himself again, his head ducked even lower.  Sam saw a single tear drip down his face.

"What's wrong?  Why are you crying again?"

Daniel sniffled and wiped away the tear.  He wrote something on a new sheet of paper and gave it to her.  It said, "They're dead."

Sam stared at the paper, then at Daniel.  "Your mom and dad are dead?"

Daniel nodded very faintly, his face turned away.  She knew he was still crying.

"Oh."  Sam didn't know what to say.  She'd never before talked to somebody who was an orphan.  She knew that if something ever happened to her mom and dad, it would hurt a lot, even worse than when Grandpa Tom died last year.

"I'm sorry," she finally said.  "Who's taking care of you?"

"Some people," Daniel wrote, "Mr. and Mrs. Underwood."

"You don't have any other family?"

"Nick's my grandpa, but he doesn't want me."

Sam felt really sad all of a sudden.  Daniel's grandpa didn't want him?  How mean was that?

Sam didn't know what possessed her to say the next words.  "I'm going to the park tomorrow with my parents and my brother.  Would you like to come?"

Daniel turned a tear-streaked face to Sam, his eyes full of surprise.  He gave a tentative nod.

"Would it be okay with the people who are taking care of you?"

The boy frowned, then shrugged, which Sam guessed meant that he didn't know.

"How about if you ask them?  Then you could call me. . . .  Oh.  Um, maybe they can call and talk to my parents."

Daniel gave her a nod and another tiny smile.  Sam wrote her phone number down on one of the pieces of paper Daniel had given her.

"I hope they say you can come," she said, and she really did mean it.  She knew so little about this boy, but something about him made her want to know him better, maybe even be his friend.  "Maybe you should give me your number, too.  Do you know it?"

Daniel nodded and wrote it down for her.

They ate their lunches and chatted, Sam, of course, doing all the talking.  She talked about her parents, the other towns they'd lived in, what it was like living on a military base.  Daniel listened to it all in silence, his eyes watching her like he was actually interested, not just pretending.  Every once in a while, he asked a question or gave an answer to one of her questions by writing it down.

All in all, it was a nice lunch . . . until Bud Whitman spoiled it.

"Well, lookie here.  The retard and the geek," he said with his usual sneer.

"Daniel's not a retard," Sam instantly responded.

"Looks like a retard to me.  Or maybe he doesn't have a tongue.  Is that it?  Cat got your tongue, retard?  Come on.  Open up and show me if you have a tongue."

Daniel didn't respond, keeping his head low.

Bud took a step closer.  "I said open your mouth."

"Leave him alone," Sam said, getting to her feet.

"Why?  Whatcha gonna do about it if I don't, geek?  Tell your daddy?"

"I'll tell the teachers."

"They don't care about him.  Stupid retard."

Sam got mad.  "You're the one who's a retard."

The second the words were out of her mouth, she knew they'd been a mistake.  With a hard shove, Bud knocked her to the ground.  Fortunately, it was on the dirt around the tree, so it didn't hurt very much.

Bud loomed over her, and Sam was certain he was going to hit her.  Whether or not he would have was something she never found out.  In the next instant, there was a blur of motion, and Daniel was leaping onto Bud's back, pummeling him with little fists.  Taken completely by surprise, the bigger child fell.

A group of kids quickly gathered around, shouting.  It didn't take Bud long to get the much smaller Daniel off his back.  He drew his hand back and smashed his fist against the younger boy's face, who cried out in pain.  Bud then hit him again.

Sam saw red.  She jumped up and started kicking Bud in the ribs.  "Leave him alone!" she screamed.

Bud knocked her off her feet and was about to hit her when, suddenly, Mister Parker, the principal, was there.  He grabbed Bud by the collar and hauled him to his feet.

"What's going on here?!" he shouted.  He looked at Daniel, who appeared to be only half-conscious, then at Sam.  "Aren't you Samantha Carter?"

"Yes, sir."

"What's happening here?"

Bud started talking, but Mister Parker cut him off.

"I asked Samantha, not you, Bud Whitman."

One thing Sam's father had instilled in her was the importance of honesty.  "Bud was picking on Daniel, calling him a retard.  I got mad and said that Bud was the retard.  He pushed me down and was going to hit me, but Daniel jumped on his back and started hitting him.  Bud threw him off and hit him twice, really hard.  I started kicking Bud to make him stop hurting Daniel.  He then knocked me down and was going to hit me."

One of the teachers had arrived and was checking Daniel.

"How is he?" Mister Parker asked.

"I think he's okay," Miss Williams replied, "just stunned."

"That little retard attacked me first!" Bud yelled, pointing at the semi-conscious child.

"It sounds to me like he was just protecting his friend," the principal responded.  "I've warned you before about fighting and bullying, Bud.  This time, I'm giving you more than a warning.  You're on suspension for a week.  If I ever hear of you attacking another child in this school, you will be expelled."

"But you can't!" Bud wailed.  "My dad'll belt me."

"You should have thought of that before attacking two kids who are smaller and younger than you."

Just then, Daniel regained full consciousness.  His hand went to the left side of his face, which was already showing signs of some spectacular bruising.  Miss Williams helped him sit up.

"Are you all right, Daniel?" Mister Parker asked gently.

The boy nodded, his eyes going to Sam questioningly.

"I'm okay, Daniel," she said.  Then she smiled.  "You saved me."

Daniel's head ducked shyly.

"Take him to the nurse," Mister Parker instructed the teacher.  "Samantha, you go with them so that the nurse can look at you as well."  He turned to Bud.  "Go get your things.  You're done for today.  I want you back at school with a new attitude on Monday after next."

Daniel and Sam went with Miss Williams to the nurse's station.  Mrs. Cane clucked over Daniel, gently palpating his cheek and making him wince.

"Well, I don't think the bone's cracked, though that cheek's going to be mighty sore for quite some time."  The woman looked at Sam.  "And how about you, young lady?"

"I'm okay."

"Well, let me decide that for myself."

The nurse looked Sam over and found a small scrape on her elbow, which she cleaned and put a band-aid on.

"That should do you.  You'd better go on back to class.  You're already late."  The nurse gave Sam a note explaining where she had been.

Daniel got up, also prepared to leave.

"Not you, young man," Mrs. Cane said.  "I hear that you were kind of out of it for a while.  Go lay down on that bed and rest.  I want to keep and eye on you and make sure you're okay."

Daniel hesitated, his eyes meeting Sam's, then he walked over to the bed and sat on it.

Feeling a little shy, Sam came over to him.  She paused for a moment, then threw her arms around his neck.  Daniel stiffened.

"Thank you," she whispered.  Then, blushing, she hurried out of the room.

Sam was not looking forward to telling her parents about what happened.  She'd really rather not, but Mister Parker had talked to her after class and insisted that she come clean to her parents.  If she didn't, he would be the one to tell them.

Sam waited until after dinner.  Mark was in his room, so he wouldn't be there to make any wisecracks.

Hesitantly, she approached her parents, who were on the couch, watching TV.

"I, um . . . I need to tell you something," Sam said, her eyes on the carpet.

The TV was turned off.

"What is it, Sam?" Jacob asked.

"I, um, sort of . . . got into a fight at school today."

"You what?!"

Sam jumped at the sound of her father's raised voice.  He didn't yell often, but, when he did, it could be scary.

"Out with it, young lady," he commanded sternly.

Sam blurted out the whole story, from beginning to end.  Jacob listened to it all in silence.  His daughter was painting the young Daniel as some kind of brave hero who'd rescued her from a boy twice his size.  He had to admit that he was surprised by Daniel's actions.  The picture Jacob had gotten of him wasn't of a child who'd stand up and fight in a situation like this.

"Is Daniel okay?" Laura asked.

"I think so, but Bud hit him really hard two times, and he was a little bit unconscious for a while.  The nurse made him stay with her to make sure he was all right."

Jacob sat for the longest time, not speaking, his eyes on his daughter.  "Sam, you are aware that you're the one who started this fight by calling that boy a retard, aren't you?"

"But he was being mean to Daniel!"

"Yes, but calling someone names because they're doing the same is not a solution to the problem.  You and Daniel should have just gotten up and walked away.  And I'd already told you never to use that word."

Sam stared at the floor.  "Yes, sir."

"And when Bud started hitting Daniel, you should have called for help instead of kicking him."

"But he was going to hit Daniel again.  He might have really hurt him a lot, maybe even killed him."

Jacob almost smiled, but not quite.  "Oh, I doubt he'd have killed Daniel."  He sighed.  "But you are right that he could have harmed him more severely.  So, I can understand why you thought you needed to defend Daniel by attacking Bud.  I'm not happy with it, but I understand your actions.  You were protecting a friend, just like Daniel was protecting you."

In that moment, Sam realized that Daniel was her friend.  She barely knew him, hadn't even had a real conversation with him, but he was her friend.  Maybe he would even be her best friend.

"However, just because I understand your actions, it doesn't mean that you're getting out of this without punishment.  No trip to the park tomorrow."

"But we have to go!" Sam cried.  "I invited Daniel."

"Then you'll have to uninvite him, tell him that you're grounded for the weekend."

Tears filled Sam's eyes.  "B-but you don't understand, Daddy.  Daniel's mom and dad are dead, and he has no family because his mean grandpa doesn't want him.  And he's really sad because they're dead."

Jacob and Laura sat in surprised silence for several seconds.

"How did you learn this, Sam?" Laura asked.  "Did Daniel tell you?"

Sam nodded, sniffling.  "He wrote me notes.  That's how he talks to me."

"Who does he live with?" Jacob asked.

"He said their name was Underwood."

"He's probably in foster care," Laura commented.  "The poor child."

Sam was staring at the floor again.  "I wanted him to come to the park and play with us so that he'd be happy."

Jacob shared a long look with his wife, who, after a moment, shrugged, leaving the decision up to him.

The captain sighed.  On one hand, he firmly believed that his daughter should be punished for the fight, but, on the other hand, it sounded like Daniel could really use some cheering up and a day of fun.

"All right.  We'll go to the park tomorrow.  No TV or other privileges today, tomorrow, or Sunday."

Sam hugged him.  "Thanks, Daddy."

"Now go on to your room."

The girl hurried away.

"Oh, Jacob," Laura said sadly.

The captain sighed.  "I know.  Well, I guess this explains why Daniel is so withdrawn.  It probably hasn't been very long since his parents died, and the authorities just tossed the poor kid right into the foster care system, not explaining it to him."

"Do you think what Sam said about his grandfather is true?  What kind of man would turn his back on his own grandchild?"

"Not the kind of man I'd ever want to meet."

Laura kissed Jacob's cheek.  "Thank you for changing your mind about the park."

The man smiled at her.  "And if I hadn't?"

Laura's eyes twinkled.  "Then we'd have had a little discussion later tonight."

Jacob laughed.  "Have I told you recently that I love you, Mrs. Carter?"

Laura's expression turned thoughtful.  "Hmm.  Not recently, now that I think about it."  She got a kiss on the lips.

"Then I guess I'll have to remind you of that fact tonight," Jacob said with a special smile.

Laura didn't get a chance to reply, for Sam came running back in.

"I forgot that the people Daniel lives with were supposed to call and talk to you about the park, but they didn't call, so maybe you should call them."  Sam handed her father the piece of paper with Daniel's phone number on it.

"Okay, I'll give them a call right now."

An out of breath female voice answered Jacob's phone call on the fourth ring.  "Hello?"

"Hello, is this Mrs. Underwood?"

"Yes, it is."

"This is Captain Jacob Carter.  My kids attend the same school as Daniel."


Jacob could hear the sound of kids playing loudly in the background.  "Yes, did Daniel tell you that my daughter, Samantha, invited him to join a family outing we're having at the park tomorrow?"

"No, he didn't," Mrs. Underwood replied, clearly surprised.  "He got into a fight at school today and wasn't feeling well.  He went straight to his room."

"Yes, it was my daughter he was defending in the fight."

"Really?  Daniel didn't explain much about it."

Jacob briefly filled her in.

"Well.  I have to say that I'm surprised," Mrs. Underwood said.  "I'd have thought for sure that Daniel would have run away from something like that.  He never seemed the courageous sort.  I guess what they say about still waters is true."

"I'm calling to ask if it's all right for Daniel to join us tomorrow.  We'll come pick him up and have him back home in a few hours."

"Um . . . I don't know.  I don't really know you, and, these days, you have to be so careful.  You do understand, right?"

"Of course.  How about if I introduce my wife and children when we get there?" Jacob suggested.  "You can even call the base and confirm who I am."

"Oh, that won't be necessary, Captain.  Just you and your family come to the door when you get here.  When will you be arriving?"

"Around ten, if that's okay."

"That'll be fine."

"Thank you.  We'll see you tomorrow.  Goodbye."

No sooner had Jacob hung up the phone when Sam was asking, "She said yes?"  She got a nod from her father.  "Yay!  Thanks, Dad."

"You're welcome.  Now, back to your room you go."

Looking awfully happy for a child who was grounded, Sam bounded out of sight.

"I have to say that I'm quite interested to meet this Daniel," Jacob remarked.

It was just before ten a.m. when the Carters arrived at the Underwood home.  Mark wanted to wait in the car, but Jacob made him get out, and they all went up to the door.  Their knock was answered by a dark-haired woman in her mid-thirties.  Through the open door could be seen three children ranging in age from four to six running around, apparently playing Cowboys and Indians.

"Oh, hello," Mrs. Underwood said.  "You must be the Carters."

Jacob shook her hand.  "This is my wife, Laura, my son, Mark, and this is Sam."

"Hello."  The woman looked down at Sam.  "So, I understand that you were involved in that fight yesterday."

"Yes, ma'am," Sam replied.

"Well, I'm glad you weren't hurt.  Daniel's got quite a bruise on his face today.  It probably hurts like the dickens, but he hasn't complained.  Not that he ever says anything anyway."

"Then he doesn't speak to you either?" Laura asked.

"No, not a word.  I guess you must know that his parents are dead."

Jacob nodded.  "How long ago did it happen?"

"I'm not sure.  We just started fostering him, and we're the first family he's been placed with, so I guess it hasn't been very long.  He's an easy child to care for, quiet, well-mannered, never causes any trouble.  Yesterday's fight was a real surprise to us."  The woman smiled.  "Well, I'm sure you want to get going."  She turned and called Daniel's name.  "The Carters are here for you!"

A few seconds later, a boy with medium blond hair appeared from around the corner holding a small backpack against his chest.  His head was bowed, his shoulders slightly hunched.  The left side of his face was sporting a nasty bruise and looked slightly swollen.

"Hi, Daniel," Sam said with a smile.

The boy glanced at her very briefly, then turned his gaze back to the floor.

"Hello, Daniel," Jacob greeted.  "I'm Jacob Carter, Sam's dad."

The eyes flickered up to him for a moment.  In that moment, the captain noticed two things, the first being that Daniel had the most startlingly blue eyes he'd ever seen.  The second was that those eyes were far too old for such a young child.  There was a depth of pain and suffering in them that no child should ever possess.  Jacob had seen eyes like that before, within the faces of children in war-torn countries, kids who'd lost everything and witnessed horrors beyond imagining.  The sight of those eyes pierced right into the USAF officer's heart.

"Hi, Daniel," Laura said.  "I'm Sam's mom, Laura."

Daniel looked at her briefly, then back at the floor.

"Well, you have fun today, Daniel," Mrs. Underwood said.  She gave the boy a brief hug, though, to Jacob's critical gaze, it looked like she was a bit uncomfortable about the show of affection.

Daniel and the Carters went to the car, Daniel sitting in the back with the two other kids.  As they drove, Mark kept looking at the younger boy, who was sitting in the middle.

"So, how come you don't talk?" he finally asked.

"Mark," Jacob scolded.

"I just asked him why he doesn't talk.  It's weird.  Is it because his parents are—"

"Mark, that's enough!" Jacob commanded.

The ten-year-old sullenly turned his gaze to the window, saying nothing more.

They arrived at the park a short while later.  As the others began unloading things from the car, Daniel hovered uncertainly, apparently not sure what he should do.

"Hey, Daniel.  Could you grab that drink cooler?" Jacob asked.

Without hesitation, the boy did as he was asked, appearing to be happy that he was given a task.  He picked up another item as well without being asked.

They found an unoccupied picnic table and set everything on top of it.  Laura then spread out the big blanket on the grass.

"Can we go to the playground?" Sam asked.

"Sure," Jacob replied.  "Just don't swing too high this time.  Remember what happened last time."

"I won't."  Sam grabbed Daniel's hand.  "Come on."  She fairly dragged the boy away toward the playground.  Mark, who considered himself to be too old for swings, went off to the jungle gym, where another boy of around his age was.

Jacob watched the kids, his eyes often on Daniel.  Sam was already swinging high, but the boy seemed to have no interest in going high.  His head was still bowed, hands clutching the chains tightly.

"Did you see his eyes, Laura?" Jacob asked his wife softly.

"Yes.  That look in them.  It's like he's. . . ."

"Shattered.  Lost.  I've seen kids that have lost a parent.  Kids and grief are a funny thing.  Children don't handle grief in the same way adults do, especially the young ones.  A lot of the time, they act like nothing's wrong.  But Daniel. . . ."  Jacob shook his head.  "There's something about this that we don't know, something big.  I've been around children in a war zone, kids that have had all the child in them ripped right out.  What I saw in Daniel's eyes was an awful lot like that.  That boy was really damaged by something, and I wish I knew what it was."

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

News & Info      Fanfics      Message Board      Photos/Videos      Site Map      Contact Us

Stargate SG-1, its characters and all related entities are the property of Stargate SG-1 Productions (II) Inc., MGM Worldwide Television Productions Inc., Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp and Showtime Networks Inc / The SciFi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended. This website, its operators, and any content on this site relating to Stargate SG-1, its characters, or its distributors is not authorized by MGM, Stargate SG-1 Productions (II) Inc., or any personnel associated with Stargate SG-1.

All fan fiction, original artwork and photographs on this Web site are protected under copyright law and are the property of their creators, who retain all rights. All rules governing the unauthorized usage of copyrighted materials apply. The fan fiction, original artwork and photographs on this Web site may not be copied in any way except as expressly allowed by the owner. They may not be copied, in whole or in part, for the purpose of publication in any manner or form without the written permission of the owner. This includes, but is not limited to, placement of the text or images on another Web site. The stories included on this site are not intended for commercial profit.