Stargate Horizons


Much to Sam's disappointment, Mark awoke before she got the opportunity to squirt him with the water pistol.  After breakfast, she and Daniel resumed working on the science project.  After lunch, however, Jacob insisted that they take a break from it for some family fun.  It being too cold and wet outside, they played some indoor games instead.

It was going on eight p.m. when Jacob said it was time for Daniel to go home.

"No, I don't want him to go," Sam instantly responded.  "Why can't he stay longer?"

"You both have school tomorrow, Sam."

"He can sleep here and take the bus with me."  She turned pleading eyes upon her father.  "Please?"

Jacob hesitated.  He knew why Sam didn't want Daniel to leave.  Would it be better to mollify her fear and let the boy stay for another night or would it be better to make her face her fear and overcome it by showing her that Daniel would be safe at his home?  If she was older, he knew what his answer would be.  He'd say no.  But would it really hurt that much to let Daniel stay one more night?

"Would you like to stay another night, Daniel?" he asked the boy.  "Do you have clothes for tomorrow?"

Daniel nodded.  "I packed two changes just in case."

Sam jumped in.  "You see?  It's perfect.  Daniel's books are already at school, so we wouldn't even have to get them."

Jacob mulled it over for a few more seconds.  "All right, but only for one more night and only if Daniel's foster parents say it's okay."  His reward for the reply was a hug from his daughter.

Diane didn't object to Daniel staying another night.  This time, when he awoke the next morning, he found that he was still alone in the bed, Sam having remained in her own bed that night.

The best friends sat side-by-side on the bus.  It was no surprise that the other kids asked what happened to Sam's arm.  She told them, acting like it was no big deal.  When the kids found out that Daniel had been beaten up by Bud, some of them wanted to see his bruises, but he adamantly refused to show them.  He was happy when the bus ride finally ended.

The situation, however, did not improve once they were at school.  It didn't take long for the whole story to get around.  For Daniel and Sam, it was not pleasant.  Neither of them wanted to talk about what happened.

Mark, on the other hand, was eating it up.  He'd instantly been elevated to the status of a hero and got a whole lot of slaps on the back from the guys and smiles from the girls, some of whom had never even looked his way before.

It was at lunch when Kenny approached Daniel.

"Are you okay?  Did he hurt you really bad?" he asked in a soft, sad little voice, a look of sorrow and empathy in his eyes.

"No, not so bad," Daniel told him.  "He probably would have hurt me more if Mark hadn't come."

"I'm glad Mark stopped him and that he's never going to come back."

"Me too."

Kenny's voice became even smaller.  "Were you . . . were you really scared?"

Daniel nodded.  "I was afraid he was going to kill me."

"Are you still afraid of him?"

"Yeah, but I'm also really mad because he hurt Sam.  If he tried to hurt Sam again, I'd hit him and kick him as hard as I could."

"But he's a lot bigger than you."

"I don't care.  She's my friend, and friends are supposed to protect each other."

After school, Daniel went to Quentin's classroom as usual.

"Are you sure you feel up to a lesson today?" the teacher asked him.

The boy nodded.  "I feel a whole lot better now.  The bruises don't really hurt all that much anymore."

Quentin wasn't too sure of the honesty of that second statement, but let it slide.

After Daniel's tutoring was done for the day, he worked on his part of the science project.  He hoped that, this coming weekend, he'd be able to do what he'd planned on doing the previous weekend.

Quentin sat down in a chair and watched the boy work on the project.  It was an interesting study in the way Daniel's mind worked.  Unlike most kids, who'd want to get things done as quickly as possible, he never rushed and always made sure that things were done well and done properly.  The teacher recognized the influence of Daniel's past in the way he was.  Archeology required patience, an attention to detail, and, above all, the need to show great care with the things you handled.

"It's really going to be something else when you finish," the teacher remarked.  He smiled.  "I'm glad we took those measurements beforehand to make sure it would fit through the door."  The smile faded as he studied Daniel's face.  "Are you doing okay, Daniel?  You and I haven't talked about what happened."

The child stopped what he was doing.  "I'm okay."  He fiddled with the bottle of glue in his hands.  "I don't like to think about it."

"I can understand that.  Are you having nightmares?"

"Just the first night."

"That's good."  Quentin brushed the boy's hair from his face.  "If you ever feel scared or just want to talk about what happened, I'm always here for you, Daniel.  You can call me anytime."

Daniel was silent for a long moment, then, "Why are some people so mean?"

Quentin sighed, wondering how he could answer such a difficult question.  "There are so many reasons, Daniel.  We all have different personalities.  With some people, their personalities aren't so nice.  Maybe they have a really bad temper, or they enjoy scaring people, or they're just plain mean.  Sometimes, part of the reason has to do with the way they were raised or things that happened to them when they were a child.  Other times it's because there's something wrong inside their brain, which causes them to do bad things or not to care when they do something bad.  There is no one explanation, and, sometimes, there are several things all put together that makes someone mean."  He leaned forward and looked at the child in the eyes.  "But the thing you always have to remember, Daniel, is that there are a lot more good people in the world than bad people, and even some people who seem to be bad aren't all bad."

Daniel nodded.  "That's what my mom and dad told me."

Quentin got to his feet.  "Come on.  I do believe that there is some chocolate ice cream in the fridge, and we just might have some bananas and chocolate syrup left."

"But why can't he come over?" Sam asked her father plaintively.

"Sam, I told you yesterday that Daniel could stay just one more night.  He can't come stay with us every night."


"No, Sam.  And that's final."  Jacob's voice then softened.  "I know you're worried about him, but Daniel is perfectly safe at home.  Bud isn't going to hurt him."

Sam turned and fled to her room.  Jacob sighed, rubbing his face.  The pleas for Daniel to spend another night with them had begun shortly after dinner, Sam coming up with all kinds of reasons for why it would be a good thing.  She never mentioned her fear over Bud, but that was obviously the real reason why she wanted her friend close.

"Jacob, I know you believe this will pass, but I really think we should at least talk to someone," Laura said in a firm voice.  "Perhaps we could talk to the doctor who treated Daniel.  He might be able to give us some advice.  Sam had the nightmare again last night."

The captain looked at her.  "She did?"

Laura nodded.  "She didn't want to admit it, but she couldn't hide it from me.  She's terrified, Jacob.  She's afraid that Bud is going to come after her and Daniel one day and kill Daniel.  Nothing you or I say seems to be helping."

Jacob finally nodded.  "All right, Laura.  Get the doctor's number from Diane tomorrow and make an appointment with him for a consultation.  Just with us.  I'm not taking Sam there."

Laura relaxed.  "Thank you."  She paused.  "I really didn't want to have to go behind your back."

The captain looked at her.  "But you would have if I hadn't relented."

"She's my baby, Jacob, and it's tearing me up inside seeing her like this."

Jacob put his arm around her.  "I know.  It's hurting me, too."

Daniel was putting his stuff away in his locker when an especially timid and nervous Kenny came up to him.  The boy pulled him over to a spot where there were no other kids around.

"What's wrong?" Daniel asked him.

"I brought my violin with me today."  Kenny glanced at him shyly, then his eyes went back to the floor.  "Would . . . would you like me to play it for you?"

Surprised, Daniel stared at the smaller child.  He'd told Kenny before that he'd like to hear the boy play, but Kenny had said he'd be too embarrassed to do so.  What had changed?

"Sure, I'd really like to hear you play.  How come you're going to now."

Kenny shrugged infinitesimally.  "I . . .I just thought that maybe it would make you feel better about . . . about things."

"Oh," Daniel said.  Kenny wanted to play the violin for him because he got beaten up.  Knowing it was a really nice thing for the boy to do, Daniel thanked him.  "Where are we going to go?" he asked.

"There usually isn't anybody in the gym during lunch."

Daniel nodded.  "Okay.  I'll meet you there after the lunch bell rings."

Saying nothing more than that he was going to be meeting with Kenny, Daniel told Sam that he wouldn't be eating with her in the cafeteria.  He figured that she probably thought that the two boys would be getting together for Kenny's reading and writing lesson.

When lunchtime came, Daniel was delayed by some kids who wanted to talk to him about Bud.  After finally getting away from them, he ran down the halls toward the gym.  Unfortunately, a tree truck got in the way.  Actually, the 'tree' was his tutor, but it sure did feel like a tree when he plowed into the man.

Quentin managed to grab the boy in time to keep him from falling.  "Whoa!  Where are you in such a hurry to get to?"

"I-I-I'm just meeting Kenny, and I'm late."

"Ah.  Well, slow down.  I'm sure he'll still be there when you get there."

Daniel nodded and hurried away, keeping his pace to a trot.  Quentin watched him go, then frowned.  That was the wrong direction for the supply closet, the place the two boys usually held their secret meetings.  Had they changed the location?

Deciding that it would be best to know the new location, the teacher followed.  After a few moments, he lost sight of Daniel but kept going.  He frowned even more deeply when he realized that there was only one place the child could be going: the school gymnasium.

Quentin approached the door, intending to just peek inside and see what was going on.  His hand was on the door handle when he heard something that stopped him dead.  It was a solo violin.  More curious than ever, he opened the door as quietly as possible and looked inside.  Daniel was seated on one of the benches.  Before him stood Kenny Robinson, and it was he who was playing the instrument.

Awed, Quentin stood at the door and listened as a boy who could barely read played the violin with the skill of a child twice his age who'd had dozens of lessons.  It almost brought tears to the teacher's eyes, his heart swelling with each note played.  Kenny hadn't had any lessons.  Quentin was positive of that.  Yet his performance was almost flawless, every note in tune.

As the instrument fell silent, Quentin couldn't stop himself from applauding.  Startled, Kenny and Daniel looked over at the door.  The smaller boy blushed and ducked his head upon seeing his teacher.

Quentin came forward with a smile.  "Kenny, that was absolutely beautiful."

"Nobody was supposed to hear except Daniel," the boy mumbled, eyes glued to the floor.

"Well, I'm glad that I did hear."  Quentin knelt before him.  He took the dark-haired child by the shoulders and looked into his eyes.  "I mean it, Kenny.  It was amazing.  How did you learn to play like that?"

"My mom taught me some before she died.  She had lots of records.  I listen to them and try to copy the songs."

Quentin smiled, amazed by the child's skill.  "Do you know what you are, Kenny?"

The boy shook his head.

"You are a prodigy."

"What's that?"

"It's somebody who has an outstanding ability with something, someone who is very gifted."

A little spark lit in Kenny's eyes.  "I'm . . . I'm gifted?  Even though I can't read very well?"

"Yes, Kenny, you are.  The fact that you can play a violin like that when you've never received even one formal lesson is nothing short of extraordinary."  Quentin smiled again.  "Your mother would be very, very proud of you.  I'm proud of you."

An actual smile beamed across the young boy's face.  His hunched posture straightened.

"I'm a prodigy," he said, savoring the word.  At that moment, it didn't bother him a bit that he couldn't spell it.

Quentin got to his feet.  "We need to arrange for you to have music lessons.  I bet our music teacher, Mister Olin, would be happy to give you some."

Kenny's face brightened some more.  It didn't last long, however.  "Would you have to tell my dad?"

"Yes, he would need to be asked for permission."

The child's shoulders slumped.  "He'll say no.  He thinks playing music is stupid.  He only let me keep the violin because Mom gave it to me for my birthday."

Quentin frowned, thinking all kinds of unflattering things about the man he'd already come to dislike.  Though it wasn't a nice thing to think, it was pretty clear that the wrong parent had died in Kenny's family.

"Well, it doesn't hurt to try," he said.

He accompanied the two kids to the cafeteria, Kenny stopping on the way to put the violin back in his locker.  Then Quentin went in search of Rupert Olin to tell him all about the undiscovered musical prodigy they had in their midst.

The appointment with Doctor Pine was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at lunch.  Both Jacob and Laura were feeling a little ill-at-ease when they walked into the man's office.

"Take a seat," he said after shaking their hands.  "First of all, I want to ask how the children are doing physically.  I was very sorry to hear that young Daniel's had to suffer yet another trauma."

"Physically, they're all right," Jacob replied.  "Sam has a hairline fracture in her left forearm, and Daniel's midsection is pretty bruised up.  They'll both heal just fine."

"That's good.  Give me the details on the attack and what led up to it, and tell me what you know about these nightmares of your daughter's and this fear of hers."

Jacob and Laura told him everything they knew about the attack, the reason for it, and what Sam had been going through since then.

"It is quite common for victims of assault to be fearful that the assailant will come after them again," the doctor said.  "That is especially true in cases when the person is threatened with more violence if they go public.  Now, you said that this Bud Whitman is presently in Juvenile Hall?"

"Yes," Jacob confirmed.

"So, there really is no way that he could come and harm Daniel or Samantha again, at least not as long as he's there."

"We've explained that to Sam, but it doesn't seem to help," Laura said.

Doctor Pine nodded.  "This is the way in which adults and children differ.  If Sam was an adult, she would be able to logically reason out that she and Daniel were in no danger from Bud because he is incarcerated.  She might still fear him and worry that, someday, he'll be free and come after them, but it would be a fear of what might happen in the future.  In a child, however, imagination is far more fully developed than the capacity for logical thinking.  In Sam's mind, she imagines that Bud can somehow get to her and Daniel regardless of the fact that he's locked up.  Because of this, trying to use logic to calm her fears might have little impact.  Bud has become the bogeyman under the bed, the invisible monster that could pop out at any second and grab her.  We adults know that the bogeyman doesn't exist, but, to a child, he is very real."

"So, what can we do?" Laura asked.

"Well, in time, this fear of Sam's should fade.  As the days go by and the threat of Bud does not come to pass, Sam's fear will eventually disappear, though I think it's important that you not tell her when Bud is released from Juvenile Hall so that the fear doesn't resurface.  I'm assuming that he was expelled from the school."

"Yes," Jacob replied.  "So were the two boys who helped him."

"Then it's unlikely that she'll ever see him again, unless it's by accident.  I do not think that Bud will actually go after Daniel and Sam.  From what you've told me, Bud is a classic case of a school bully who is overcompensating for underlying feelings of cowardice and inadequacy, trying to make himself feel powerful and in control by victimizing children who are younger and weaker than him.  The fact that he was caught and is being harshly punished for his actions will very likely make him too afraid to do it again since he'd know that, if he attacked the children again, his punishment would be even more severe."

"And then there's the fact that my son threatened to kill him if he ever touched Daniel or Sam again," Jacob said.

Doctor Pine nodded.  "Though Bud would still harbor a great deal of anger and resentment toward Daniel and your daughter, he won't risk an even graver punishment by attacking them again."

"So, you're saying we should just wait and let this run its course?" Laura asked with a frown.

"That is one option.  You could schedule some appointments for her with me, but this really is a fear that Sam needs to conquer for herself.  There is one other option, but I'm not sure if it would be possible."

"What's that?" Jacob questioned.

"For Sam to meet with Bud, get an apology from him, and hear him tell her face to face that he isn't going to hurt her again.  Once you face the monster head-on and see that it's not really a monster after all, it loses its capacity to frighten you."

Jacob gave a humorless laugh.  "That's pretty unlikely, Doctor.  I can't imagine that boy ever apologizing for anything."

"Perhaps not, unless the fear of even more punishment was held over his head."

"You mean coercion, say you're sorry or else."

The therapist shrugged.  "It may not be exactly ethical, but parents frequently use coercion to make their kids do things they don't want to do."

Jacob frowned.  Could they actually do it?

"If you decide to let this run its course, and Sam hasn't improved in the next week or so, please do call me, and we'll schedule an appointment for her," Doctor Pine said.

The Carters left the man's office, deep in thought.  Jacob returned to work, but had a hard time keeping his attention on duty.  It was that evening after the kids were in bed when he finally decided to make a call.

"Hey, Quentin.  It's Jacob."

"Jacob.  What's up?"

"Would it be possible for you to get me the phone number of Bud Whitman's parents?"

There was a short pause before the teacher replied.  "Yes, I could get it.  Why do you ask?  I wouldn't advise you going over there and confronting him."

"A confrontation isn't what I want."  Jacob told the teacher about the meeting with the psychologist.

"So, you're hoping that Mister Whitman will agree to make his son apologize to Sam for what he did and swear never to do it again."

"Yes, but it would have to be to both Sam and Daniel."

"I suppose it's worth a try."  Quentin smiled.  "You want some backup?"

"From you?"  Jacob chuckled.  "How big is this guy?"

"Not that big, from what I recall.  I've only seen him at a couple of PTA meetings.  I wasn't offering the backup because I thought you'd be at risk of a thrashing.  From what I know, Ed Whitman is a strict disciplinarian, but he's not a violent man.  He actually did call the principal and apologize for the actions of his son."

"Yet he didn't call the families of his son's victims and apologize to them.  Thanks for the offer, Quentin, but I think I should do this alone, parent to parent."

"All right.  I'll get the number for you tomorrow.  Can I call you at work?"

Jacob gave him the number.

The next day, Jacob headed straight from duty over to the Whitman residence, not stopping at home to change out of his uniform.  The man who answered the door was not what he'd expected.  Tall and lanky, Ed Whitman looked little like his stocky son.

"Mister Whitman?  I'm Captain Jacob Carter, Samantha Carter's father."

The man stiffened.  "Captain Carter?  I suppose you've come for an apology.  Well, you have it.  I do not condone what my son did, and you can rest assured that I will not let it slide.  I have already been speaking with the commandant of a military school in Virginia.  He told me that it would be possible to enroll Bud there starting with the summer classes.  In a military school, my son will learn the true meaning of discipline."

Jacob studied the man, the ramrod straight posture.  "Were you in the military, Mister Whitman?"

"No.  A bad knee from an injury kept me out of the service.  But my father was a colonel in the Marines, and I did go to military school.  I learned the importance of discipline there, and so will my son.  He will not harm any more children.  You have my word on that."

"I appreciate you assurance, Mister Whitman, but I'm actually here for another reason."

Whitman frowned severely.  "If you're considering a lawsuit—"

Jacob held up his hand.  "No lawsuit.  We're not that kind of people.  This is about my daughter and a way that your son might be able to make amends to her and Daniel Jackson."

Whitman invited him inside.  When Jacob saw Mrs. Whitman, he found out where Bud's stocky build came from.

"All right.  So, what's this about?" Bud's father asked once they were settled in the living room.

Jacob started by telling the man about Sam's nightmares and her fear that Bud would return for revenge.  He then explained what Doctor Pine said about what might help Sam get past her fear.

Mister Whitman nodded sharply.  "If your daughter needs an apology and a promise from Bud, then she'll get one."

Surprised, Jacob paused a couple of seconds, not having expected it to be this easy.  "It would have to be done soon."

"Saturday morning at the Hall.  Would that be soon enough?  It can't be any sooner.  We'll be appearing before the judge tomorrow afternoon."

"Um . . . yes, that will be fine."

The two men stood and exchanged a brisk handshake.  As Jacob left a couple of minutes later, he wondered how he was going to break the news to Sam about what Saturday was going to bring.

Sam was clinging like a leech to her father's hand as they approached the doors to Juvenile Hall.  Daniel walked beside her, Paul Underwood on his other side.

It hadn't been easy getting Sam here.  It had been necessary to use a bit of trickery – and a little fudging of the truth.  He'd told Sam that Bud wanted to apologize to her and Daniel for hurting them and that Sam needed to let him do so, even if she wasn't willing to forgive him.  The captain just hoped that this didn't blow up in his face.  Ed Whitman might promise that his son would give that apology, but what if the kid refused?  It could cause even more harm.

Jacob glanced at Daniel.  The boy had been very quiet.  Outwardly, he looked nervous, but not fearful.

"You doing okay there, Daniel?" the captain asked.

"Yeah.  I know he can't hurt me and Sam again.  The guards won't let him.  That's what Mister Greer and Mister Underwood both said."

Jacob looked enquiringly at the man beside the boy.

"He was worried about it, so I explained that there would likely be a guard in the room," Paul said.  "I had him talk to his tutor about it since he seems to have a great deal of trust and faith in what the man says."

Sam looked at her best friend, seeing that he wasn't scared.  She didn't want to be a scaredy-cat, so she loosened the grip on her father's hand and finally let go.

After checking in at the desk, they were all led to a private room with chairs, a couch and a lone table.  Several minutes passed before the door opened again, and Bud Whitman came in, followed by his father and a guard.

The boy bore little resemblance to the child who had brutally hurt Daniel and Sam.  His nose was swollen and discolored, covered by bandages.  There was a healing cut on his lower lip and a bruise on his left cheek, another one on his jaw, all the handiwork of Mark.  But more than this was the boy's demeanor.  He appeared . . . cowed.  Jacob had to wonder how rough it had been for Bud in this place.  Very likely, there were kids here who were a whole lot tougher and meaner than the school bully, kids who'd probably been teaching Bud some lessons in fear and intimidation.  Perhaps, in the end, Bud would come out of this whole thing a better person.  One could only hope.

Jacob looked down at his daughter.  She was staring at Bud, a trace of fear in her eyes, but she was standing firm and hadn't drawn closer to her father.  Feeling very proud of her, the captain then looked at Daniel, and that's where he got his big surprise.  The boy was staring at Bud defiantly, chin lifted, little hands curled into fists, looking like he was ready to fight tooth and nail if Bud dared to do anything.

"Go on and say it, Bud," Ed Whitman commanded firmly.

Bud stared at the floor and mumbled, "I'm sorry."


"I'm sorry," the child repeated more clearly.


"And I promise I'll never do it again."

Mister Whitman looked at the two younger children.  "I apologize for my son as well, and I swear that you have nothing more to fear from him.  He will never harm you again."

The four visitors left the building a few minutes later.

"He looked really funny with his nose all swollen and purple," Sam remarked.

Daniel nodded.  "I bet it really hurts a lot."

"More than my arm did."

"And more than my stomach."

"His face looked a whole lot worse than yours did when he hit you that first time."  Sam grinned.  "Mark really messed him up."  She turned to her father.  "Dad, can we go to the arcade today?"

Pleased by his daughter's transformation, Jacob replied, "I'd say yes, but wouldn't you have a tough time playing the games wearing that cast?"

"There's some I could still play, and Daniel could play."

"I've never been to an arcade before," the boy said.  "Besides, I was going to work on the project today.  I want to finish the frame so that I can put the clay on tomorrow."

"Couldn't you do that next weekend?  We've still got almost a month and a half before the science fair.  That's plenty of time."

Daniel thought about it for a while, then nodded.  "Okay."

"Great!"  Sam turned to her father.  "Can we go, Dad?  Please?"

Jacob smiled, knowing he couldn't say no.  "All right.  Let's go have some fun."

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