Stargate Horizons


From his place on the couch, Jacob watched Daniel and Sam playing a game of checkers.  Normally, he'd enjoy watching the game, but his mind was not really on it.  Instead, it was on the boy playing the game, a child Jacob had come to care for deeply and to whom he and his family might soon have to say goodbye.  He had told Laura about the school in New York, and she was as upset as he was.  Of course, they hadn't breathed a word of it to Sam.  He just hoped that it would never be necessary.

Laura was not the only woman to have reacted negatively to the news given to her by her husband.  When Quentin told Kathleen the whole thing, she'd been horrified that the wonderful little boy who had spent so many delightful hours in their home might be taken away from all that he loved and tossed into some boarding school run by strangers who'd make no effort to care for the emotional needs of a child still scarred by tragedy.  She'd seen how upset Quentin was, the hours he spent frowning into the lit fireplace Saturday night.  When he suddenly told her that he was going to offer to tutor Daniel, she was all for it, even though it might mean some big changes in their lives.  If it meant that Daniel wouldn't be sent to that place, it was worth any inconvenience.

Throughout Monday morning and afternoon, Quentin was on pins and needles.  Lucy would be calling him after he got home to let him know what the decision was, and, for one of the only times since he became a teacher, he was wishing that the school day would hurry up and end.

He was out the classroom door two minutes after the ringing of the bell.  Once arriving home, he then had to suffer through another half-hour of waiting.  When the phone rang, he had the receiver in his hand partway through the first ring.

"What's the verdict?" he asked once it was confirmed that the caller was Lucy.

"Well, there was a bit of arguing back and forth, but, in the end, it was decided that we'd take you up on your offer, Mister Greer."

Quentin's breath caught.  "Then Daniel isn't going to be sent to that boarding school?"

"No.  He'll be staying in Rome."

Quentin collapsed on the couch, almost weak with relief.  "Thank you, Mrs. Merrick.  I can't tell you how relieved I am."

"Thank you, Mister Greer, for giving us a better option.  When do you believe that you'll be able to start Daniel's tutoring?"

"Well, I'll need to get some school books and other things, figure out the best schedule.  School will be letting out for the holidays in a little over three weeks, so I'd say it would be best to wait until next semester, after Daniel has had a few days to settle into fourth grade."

"I agree.  Oh, and be sure to keep track of all your expenses.  I'm going to see if we can reimburse you for your costs.  It's only fair, after all."

"Thank you.  I appreciate that.  A teacher's salary isn't anything to brag about."

When Quentin got off the phone, he looked up to see Kathleen staring at him from the hallway.

"They said yes?" she asked.

He grinned at her.  "They said yes.  Daniel won't be leaving us."

"Thank God."

Quentin picked up the phone.  "I need to call the Carters and give them the good news."

When the teacher told Jacob everything, the first words out of the Captain's mouth were, "I could kiss you for this, Quentin."

The teacher laughed.  "Maybe it's a good thing I'm not telling you this in person, then.  Our wives might get jealous."

Jacob let out a laugh of his own.  "Seriously, though, this is a very generous thing you're doing, volunteering to devote all that time without pay."

"Well, I'd be lying if I said that it was a hundred percent altruistic.  Though my decision was made mostly for Daniel's sake, I did it for one selfish reason as well."  Quentin paused.  "The truth is that the thought of never seeing Daniel again . . . well, it was pretty hard to take."

"I know what you mean.  Laura and I have been thinking the same thing, and both of us were trying to figure out how we were going to break the news to Sam.  I am so relieved that we won't have to.  So, when are you going to tell Daniel?"

"Well, I was thinking about going over there this evening."

Jacob smiled.  "Can't wait to give him the news, eh?"


"Well, I'm sure that he is going to be one very happy little boy."

When Quentin arrived at the Underwoods, Daniel was in his room.  Taking advantage of the fact that the boy didn't know yet that he was there, the teacher talked to Diane first.

"Has someone told you about what happened at the meeting regarding Daniel's test?" he asked.

Diane nodded.  "Mrs. Merrick told me.  She decided it was only fair that I know."  She stared at him pleadingly.  "Please tell me that they're not going to send Daniel to that school.  It would be so terrible if that happened."

Quentin smiled at her.  "He won't be going.  I offered them another option, and they took it."  He explained the deal.

Diane smiled in relief and clasped his hands for a moment.  "Thank you.  You have no idea how relieved I am to hear that.  Are you here to tell Daniel about the tutoring?  He's going to be thrilled."

Quentin headed to Daniel's room.  The boy was very surprised to see him.

"Hi, Mister Greer.  What are you doing here?"

"Well, I have something to discuss with you."

As Daniel sat on the bed, Quentin settled in the little chair for Daniel's desk, though it was actually way too small for him.

"This has to do with all those tests you took on Saturday."  Quentin saw the look that came over the boy's face.  "Hey, don't worry.  This is a good thing.  I promise."

"What about the tests?" Daniel asked, still worried.

"Well, the man who gave you the tests was very impressed with how well you did.  You see, he runs a special school for children who are highly gifted, like you are, and he wanted you to go to that school."

Daniel's eye clouded over with sorrow.  "But I don't want to go to another school."

"I know, Daniel, and we didn't want you to either, so I worked out something much better."


Quentin smiled.  "How would you like me to be your tutor?"

Daniel's eyes widened in surprise.  "My tutor?"

"Uh huh.  You'd still go to fourth grade next semester, like planned, and Mrs. Mason will still be giving you some advanced schoolwork, but, in addition, I'll tutor you for an hour or two after class and perhaps a bit on the weekends as well.  How would you like that?"

A light had begun to shine in Daniel's eyes.  "Then you'd still be my teacher?"

"Yes, in a way.  I'm also pretty sure that I can get my hands on any language tapes and books that you'd like me to, so you'll be able to get back to learning languages.  I might even be able to get some other linguistic materials."  Quentin smiled.  "I bet you'd love to learn some more dead languages."

A second later, Daniel was hugging him.  Quentin pulled the child close, laying his cheek against the golden hair.

"Thank you," Daniel whispered.

"You are very welcome, Daniel.  Everything is going to work out great."

As the days passed and Christmas drew progressively closer, Daniel's awe over all the decorations he saw nearly everywhere he looked grew stronger.  He'd never been in the States during this time of year, and, though he'd known that many homes and businesses were decorated for the holidays, it was the first time he'd seen it in person.

The boy was thrilled when the Underwoods enlisted his aid to decorate their house, and, for the first time since coming to live with them, his foster father talked with him for more than a couple of minutes and actually praised him for the good work he did in helping to hang lights and decorate the Christmas tree.

Daniel also received two other invitations to help, from the Carters and the Greers, both of which he happily accepted.  The boy had a great time at both houses, especially when a popcorn fight broke out at the Carters'.  Of course, the clean-up afterwards wasn't quite so much fun.

Yet, for all the joy the season was bringing, there was also sorrow.  This would be Daniel's first Christmas without his parents, and he found himself missing them more every day.  He thought about the Christmases he'd shared with them, the gifts they'd exchanged.  No matter where they were, even if it was on some dig way out in the Egyptian desert, his mom and dad had always made sure that on Christmas Day, they had a family celebration.  Sometimes, shortly before Christmas, they got together for a little party with friends and coworkers who celebrated the holiday.  It never failed that Daniel would end up with quite a few presents.

The subject of presents was another thing that was upsetting Daniel.  He received only a small allowance from the Underwoods, and what was left wasn't enough to buy gifts for all the people on his list.  In fact, he didn't even have enough to buy one good gift, let alone the ten that he wanted to get.

And so it was that, the closer December twenty-fifth got, the sadder Daniel became until, one day, Diane found him crying in his bedroom.

She sat down beside him.  "What's wrong, Daniel?"  She brushed a hand through his hair.  "Are you missing your family?"

The boy nodded, not looking at her.

Diane pulled him into a hug.  "Oh, Daniel.  I know how hard this time of year must be for you.  I know it was for me for years after I lost my father.  But I promise it'll get better."

"It's not just that," Daniel mumbled.  "I don't have enough money to buy any presents.  I want to get presents for the Carters, and the Greers, and Kenny, and Nathan, and . . . and you, but I can't get any at all."  More tears slipped down his face.

Diane was deeply touched that the boy wanted to buy her a Christmas present.  She wished that there was something she could do, but money was tight right now.

"Perhaps you could make the gifts," she suggested.  "Homemade gifts can be just as nice or even better than ones you buy in the store."

"But I don't know what I could make.  I sometimes made the presents for my mom and dad, but that was easier."

"Well, you just have to think about what everyone might like.  Would you like to go shopping around and see if you get any ideas?"

Daniel wiped his face dry.  "Okay.  Thank you Mrs. Underwood."

Diane took him and the other kids to the crafts section in a department store.  As soon as Daniel saw the modeling clay, he started getting ideas.  He recalled getting some from his parents once and using it to make an Egyptian statue.  He'd painted it colorfully and presented it to them wrapped in paper.  They'd loved it and took it along on almost every dig from then on.  Maybe if he got lots of the clay, he could make things for all the people on his list.

Daniel had brought all of his remaining allowance money with him, but found that it wasn't enough to buy a sufficient amount of clay, plus the paint.  Seeing the disappointment on his face, Diane 'loaned' him the rest of the money, though she really didn't have any intention of asking him to repay her.

That evening, the boy got started on his gift-making project, putting a lot of thought into what he'd make for each person.

Daniel wasn't the only person who was racking their brain to come up with the right gifts.  Unbeknownst to him, many of the people he was trying to decide on the perfect gift for was doing the same in regards to him.  Sam was driving Jacob and Laura crazy with her attempts to think of exactly the right present for her best friend.  On the Saturday prior to the last one before Christmas, they went for a full day of Christmas shopping in Syracuse, and Sam dragged her parents and brother around from store to store, searching for something just right for Daniel.  Of course, she wasn't the only one in the family to be looking that day for something to get the boy.  Naturally, their first thought was getting books, but they all decided that they wanted to go with something different.

It was near the end of the day when Sam finally settled on her gift for her friend, much to the relief of the rest of the Carter family.  Mark had gotten his gift for the boy hours ago.  Unfortunately, neither Jacob nor Laura had found anything with which they were completely satisfied.

The next day, Jacob and Laura went out shopping for gifts for their own kids.  Last year, they'd purchased a brand new bicycle for Mark, and, this year, would be Sam's turn.  As they looked over the selection of bicycles in a department store, Jacob found himself staring at one bike in particular.

Laura noticed the direction of his gaze.  "That's a boy's bike, Jacob."

"Yes, I can see that.  I was just thinking that all little boys should have a bicycle."

Laura stared at him.  "You're thinking of Daniel."

Jacob nodded.  "I know it's a lot to spend for a child who isn't even a relative, but. . . ."  He shrugged.  "If Daniel had a bike, he'd have a way to come over our place without someone bringing him.  He lives within bicycling distance."

Laura looked at the price tag on the bike and frowned.  "Perhaps we could find a good used one somewhere."

Jacob nodded.  "I suppose we could try."

Because it was Sunday, any bicycle shops that might have used bikes were closed, so Laura went bike hunting for Daniel the next day while the kids were in school.  She finally settled on a blue one that was in good shape, with only a couple of small scratches in the paint.  She was eager to see the look on Daniel's face when he saw it, just as eager as she was to see the expression on the faces of her own children when they got their presents.

A couple of days before the start of Christmas vacation, Quentin called Daniel over to his desk after the ringing of the final school bell.

"So, what are your plans for Christmas?" the teacher asked.

"I'm going to have Christmas dinner with the Underwoods and then the Carters."

The teacher smiled.  "Two Christmas dinners?"

"Uh huh.  The Underwoods have theirs on Christmas Eve, and the Carters have theirs on Christmas Day, so it'll be okay."

"Wow.  You're lucky.  Getting two Christmas dinners is quite a treat."  He smiled fondly at the child.  "If it wasn't for the fact that we'll be in New York City spending the holiday with my mother and a few other relatives, we'd have invited you to have dinner with us, but it looks like you're all booked up anyway.  However, we do have a present or two for you, so perhaps we can stop by your house on our way to New York.  We'll be leaving on Sunday."

Daniel's eyes widened.  "You got me presents?"

"Well, of course we did."

"Thank you, Mister Greer."

"You're very welcome."

The next day was the final day of school.  For virtually all of the kids, it was a happy day, and they were all bubbling with excitement, talking about the things they were going to do during the holidays.  For Daniel, it was both happy and sad.  After today, he'd no longer be in Mister Greer's class.  Even though he was looking forward to being in the same class as Sam and the tutoring he'd be getting from his former teacher, he was still going to miss spending the mornings and afternoons in class with the man.

At lunchtime, Daniel gave his presents to Kenny and Nathan.  Kenny had managed to scrimp and save up enough to get a little gift for Daniel, though he didn't think it was nearly good enough to thank the boy whom he thought of as his best friend.  Nathan felt terrible because he hadn't gotten anything for Daniel.

"I wanted to get you something, but I didn't have any money left," he said, staring down at the floor.

"It's okay, Nathan," Daniel assured him.  "I didn't expect you to get me anything.  I didn't have enough money to buy presents for anyone, so I had to make the presents.  You might not like what I made you."

Nathan looked at him.  "I bet I will.  You probably made something really cool."  He sighed.  "I wish I could have made something for you."  He pulled out an envelope.  "I did get you a Christmas card."

Daniel smiled and took it.  "Thank you."

At the ringing of the final bell, Daniel's eyes went to Mister Greer.  The man met his gaze for a brief moment, then stood up and told all the kids to have a happy vacation.

Daniel slowly gathered up all his school books and brought them to the teacher's desk, not looking at the man.

"Thank you, Daniel."  Quentin studied the boy's down-turned face.  "I guess this is it, isn't it.  I'm really going to miss you in class every day."

"Me too," the boy said in a low voice.

"Well, it's not so bad.  In another three weeks or so, I'll begin your tutoring.  I'll be looking forward to that."  Quentin grinned.  "Kathleen's looking forward to it, too, since it means that she'll get to see you every weekday.  She's gotten pretty fond of you, you know."

Daniel looked at him.  "She has?"

"Oh, yes.  You'll probably get fat eating all the cookies she'll be baking."  He paused.  "I probably will as well."

Daniel came around the desk and hugged the man.  "Thank you for being the best teacher in the whole world, Mister Greer."

Tears prickled Quentin's eyes, and he held the boy tightly.  "Thank you, Daniel, for being the best student in the whole world."

They pulled apart, and the teacher brushed a hand across the boy's cheek, feeling a little ache in his chest.  He put on a smile.  "Go on now, Daniel.  We'll see you bright and early Sunday morning, okay?"

Daniel nodded and, after retrieving the bag with his personal possessions, walked out of Quentin Greer's classroom for the last time as a student there.

On Saturday evening, the relatives of the Underwoods who would be visiting for the holidays began to arrive.  The first ones to get there were Paul's parents.  It didn't take Daniel long to start suspecting that the couple had negative feelings about the fact that their son and daughter-in-law were fostering kids.  They never said anything in front of Daniel, but the looks they gave him and the other children were not especially friendly.

Diane's mother was totally the opposite.  In fact, she just about smothered the four children with affection, and it got a bit overwhelming for Daniel, who escaped to his room as much as possible.

He was coming back out to get some water after one of his 'escapes' when he overheard his name being spoken.

"Surely he can't be as intelligent as all that," Paul Underwood's mother said.  "I'm certain that everyone is exaggerating."

Diane sounded irritated when she replied.  "I doubt that the director for that school in New York would exaggerate, Marsha.  According to Daniel's caseworker, he said that, with the proper schooling, Daniel could be put in the seventh or eighth grade."

"Well, I think Social Services is making a mistake not sending him to that boarding school," Paul's father said.  "Paul got an excellent education in boarding schools.  It also taught him discipline, something that is lacking in a lot of children these days."

"Daniel doesn't need to learn discipline," Diane said, anger now in her voice.  "He's a wonderful boy.  I never have any trouble with him at all."

"Well, just wait until he's older," Marsha said.  "The older boys get, the worst they become.  Of course, I'm sure that you won't have Daniel for all that long seeing as Social Services moves foster kids around from family to family."

Daniel's heart started to hammer in his chest.  He was going to be taken away from the Underwoods someday and given to someone else?

The boy rushed back to his room and sat on his bed.  He'd come to like living with the Underwoods, or, rather, with Mrs. Underwood.  She was nice.  If he was given to another family, they might not be so nice.  And what if the next family lived in another city?  Then he'd never see Sam, or her parents, or the Greers, or his other friends at school ever again.

When Diane came into Daniel's room just before bedtime, she found him lying awake under the covers, and it was easy to see that he'd been crying.  She sat on the edge of the bed.

"Daniel, what's wrong?"

The boy looked at her.  "Am I going to be given to other foster parents?"

Horrified, Diane realized that Daniel must have overheard the conversation that had been going on earlier.

She sighed.  "Oh, Daniel.  I wish I could say that wasn't going to happen, but there is a chance that it will.  Children in foster care don't always remain in a single foster home."

"But why?"

"That's just the way it is.  I don't like it either."

Daniel started crying again.  "B-but what if they take me far away to another city?  Then I'll never see anybody again."

"No, Daniel, that won't happen," Diane quickly told him.  "You know that deal Mister Greer worked out so that you wouldn't be sent to that school?  Well, part of the deal was that you'd stay here in Rome so that he could tutor you.  You won't be sent to another city."

"But I may be sent to another foster family?"

Diane's gaze dropped from his.  "Yes, though I hope it won't be for a long time, if it happens."

Seeing the sadness on her face, Daniel sat up and hugged her.  She hugged him back, fighting tears.  The truth was that she'd learned a few days ago that, after the holidays, she'd already be losing one of her foster kids.  Six-year-old Caleb had been with her for close to a year, and it had been decided that it was time for him to go to a new family.  Diane knew that, eventually, all the kids she now cared for would be taken from her.

The one that she dreaded losing the most was Susy.  Being only four, the little girl had fully bonded with her, calling her "Mommy", and Diane loved her like a daughter.  She wanted to adopt the girl, but Paul had refused to even consider it.  More than once, Diane had cried at the thought of one day saying goodbye to Susy.

There had been times when Diane had thought about leaving Paul, but, if she did, she couldn't be a foster parent, and the greatest joy in her life was the kids.  Of course, if she were to remarry, she could have children of her own.  The only reason why she didn't have her own kids now was that Paul didn't want any.  It had taken years to convince him to let them foster kids, and the only reason he agreed was because of the money they'd be paid for each child.

Diane felt in her heart that one of the reasons why Paul had no interest in children was his own upbringing.  He'd been sent off to boarding school at the age of seven and had remained in such schools throughout most of his childhood.  He had virtually no experience in what it was like to have parents taking care of him, to be truly loved by them, so how could he be expected to be an attentive father?  Thank goodness the same thing wouldn't be happening to Daniel.

It was eight o'clock when Quentin and Kathleen arrived at the Underwoods the next morning.  They were introduced to the visiting relatives and took an immediate dislike to Paul's parents.  They were glad to escape to Daniel's bedroom.

With a smile, Quentin handed two gift-wrapped packages to the boy.  "Merry Christmas, Daniel."

The child smiled brightly.  "Thank you.  Can I open them now?"

"Ah ah.  No jumping the gun.  You have to wait until Christmas morning."

"But you won't be here Christmas morning."

"That's okay.  We don't have to be here when you open them."

"But I want to open them when you're here.  I don't want to do it when you're gone."

Quentin and his wife exchanged a look.

"Do you think you could wait until we get back?" the teacher asked the boy.  "We'll be returning on Wednesday, the day after Christmas."

Daniel smiled.  "Okay.  I can wait."  He went over to his bed and pulled two packages out from underneath it, handing one to Quentin, the other to Kathleen, surprising them both.

"You got us presents?" the woman said.  "Oh, Daniel.  You didn't have to do that."

"I wanted to.  But I didn't buy them.  I made them."

Quentin smiled down at him, touched by the gesture.  "That's even better.  Thank you very much, Daniel.  We won't open ours either until we see you again.  Then we can all open the presents together.  Okay?"

Daniel gave them another smile.  "Okay."  He hoped that the Greers really would like the gifts he'd made.  He'd spent all last weekend and as much time as possible throughout this week working on the gifts for them and the other people on his list.  It has taken a while to decide what he believed would be the perfect gift for each person.  Some had been easy decisions, others much harder.

Daniel got a hug from the two adults and a wish for a happy Christmas.  As he watched them leave, a big part of him wished that he was going to New York with them.  Though he tried to give everyone a chance, he didn't like his foster father's parents very much, and he feared that Christmas dinner at the Underwoods wasn't going to be all that great.  But he'd be going to the Carters for dinner on Christmas Day, and that would be terrific.  They weren't going to have any relatives over, so it would just be him and them.  He'd be spending the entire day there, and Captain Carter had said that they'd have lots of fun.

Daniel didn't know that every member of the Carter household was dedicated to doing all they could to make his first Christmas without his parents as enjoyable as it could possibly be, to do everything in their power to keep the boy's mind off his loss.  One way or another, they'd make sure that this Christmas would be a happy one for him.

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.