Stargate Horizons


After leaving Daniel's house, Quentin and Kathleen went to the hospital, the teacher wanting to visit his student.  When they got there, they found the boy asleep.

Quentin stroked the bandaged head.  "I should have known.  I should have known that Kenny was being abused.  I look back on these months, and it seems so obvious now."

"You never saw any bruises or other injuries?" Kathleen asked.

The teacher shook his head.  "Not a mark.  I can only assume that his father inflicted most of the damage to parts of Kenny's body that would be covered by clothing.  Thinking about it, Kenny wore long-sleeved shirts often, even on warm days, another clue that I failed to pick up on."

"Quentin, you can't blame yourself for this.  Sometimes, child abuse isn't obvious.  Some abused children are very good at hiding it."

Quentin felt tears sting his eyes, his gaze remaining on the child lying in the bed.  "I think about what he's suffered, all the pain and fear and feeling like he couldn't tell anyone.  He must have felt so alone and helpless."

Kathleen wrapped her arm around his waist.  "Well, he's not alone anymore, and he won't ever have to fear being hurt by that monster again."

A doctor came in, and Quentin introduced himself and his wife.

"How is he doing?" the teacher asked.

"Pretty well.  It was a mild concussion, though the laceration in his scalp was quite deep.  He's very fortunate that it wasn't a more serious injury.  He also has extensive bruising on his left shoulder and upper left side that appears to be a day or two old.  We took a full set of X-rays.  There is evidence that Kenny suffered a fractured rib recently.  Judging by the amount of healing, I'd say it was around five or six weeks ago."

Quentin was horrified.  A broken rib?  He cast his mind backwards and recalled the two days that Kenny was out sick.  The timing was right.  The teacher began feeling ill.  Kenny had been there right in his classroom, silently suffering the agony of a broken rib as Quentin sat in the same room and remained blissfully ignorant.

"Was there any sign of other fractures?" Quentin asked past the Texas-sized lump in his throat.

"No, thankfully.  We probably got him away from his father just in the nick of time.  Based upon the evidence we have, the violence of the attacks had begun to increase.  It may not have been long before Mister Robinson critically injured or even killed his son."

The Greers left the hospital a few minutes later.  Quentin was silent the entire way home.  Kathleen looked at him often, seeing the emotional turmoil he was going through.  After a dinner of which the educator ate very little, they both settled on the couch.

"Talk to me, Quen," Kat said softly, using the nickname she used only when she was worried about him.

Quentin let out a shaky sigh.  "When I came upon Victor and the kids in the woods, I saw him hit Daniel.  I was so . . . so angry that I wanted to wrap my hands around his throat and choke the life out of him.  I have never been that angry before in my life.  It took all my self-control not to do more than just punch him.  And now I think about what he's been doing to Kenny, and it makes me want to go join the manhunt for him so that I can find him and beat the living daylights out of him."

"Can I join you?"

Shocked by the question, he turned to her.

"Quentin, what you're feeling is perfectly natural," she told him.  "If I saw that man, I'd want to get in a few kicks and punches, too.  I think a lot of other people would as well."

"I suppose so.  I've just never been the kind of person who resorts to violence.  People take one look at me, see how big I am, and they think I'm that kind of person."

"When, in reality, you're just a great big teddy bear."

"A teddy bear who's discovered he has a few sharp teeth."

Kathleen wrapped her arms around her husband's neck and kissed him.  "Yes, well, even teddy bears are allowed to growl every now and then."  She took his hand and got to her feet.  "Come on.  I'll massage that tension out of your shoulders."  She smiled.  "And if you play your cards right, I might think up a few other ways for you to release all that tension."

With a faint smile on his lips, Quentin allowed his wife to lead him to the bedroom.

Victor Robinson did not remain a fugitive for long.  He was caught that night while sneaking back into his house.  By then, the whole tragic story of what led up to this had been learned from Kenny.  Victor had been convinced that his son was an accomplice in Daniel's attempt to talk him into letting Kenny go out and play, that the two boys had planned it all out.  The man refused to believe Kenny when he said that he hadn't even known that Daniel was going to call.  This led to Victor giving his son a severe beating and, later, telling Kenny that he had to end his friendship and all communications with Daniel.

The authorities also learned that the abuse had begun a couple of months after the death of Kenny's mother.  Up until then, though Victor Robinson had been a strict and controlling parent, he'd never hit his son, except for spankings.  Right around the same time, Robinson began drinking heavily and started having problems at work, which likely contributed to the child abuse, the man taking out his anger and frustrations on his defenseless son.

Much to Daniel's chagrin, he found himself having been elevated to the status of a hero.  The story of what he did was splashed all over the news that evening and in the morning papers.  Of course, the kids at school found out, and Daniel was inundated with excited questions by what seemed to him like at least half the student body.  He heartily wished that he could go hide somewhere.

Sam stayed close to him all day, hovering around him like a protective mom.  The thought of what might have happened to Daniel if Mister Greer hadn't come to the rescue really scared her.  During a private moment, he admitted to her how afraid he'd been, how, in that moment that Kenny's father stood over him, he was sure that he was going to die.  Sam could have lost her best friend yesterday, and that thought made her want to never be away from him.

Daniel was relieved when the school day was over, and he could get away from all the looks and questions.  Unfortunately, his reprieve lasted only a few minutes.  As he and Quentin headed for the man's car, a news crew came running up to them.

"Hold it right there," the teacher said in a commanding tone of voice that made the reporter and cameraman pause.

"You can just turn right around and go back the way you came," he told them.  "Daniel doesn't need to have reporters bothering him."

"We just want to get his story," said the reporter.  "He's a hero.  It isn't every day that an eight-year-old child attacks a grown man to protect a friend."

"You're right, but, as you said, Daniel is a child and shouldn't have to put up with being hounded by the press."

With the tenacity that all reporters shared, the man looked down at Daniel and smiled.  "Wouldn't you like to tell everyone about what you went through, the things you were feeling?"

Daniel shook his head.  "No."

"You heard him," Quentin said.  "Now scoot before I have you booted off the school grounds."  He took Daniel's hand and continued to his car, ignoring the sounds of protest from the reporter.

"Everyone keeps calling me a hero, but I'm not really," Daniel said very softly on the drive to Quentin's house.

The man glanced at him.  "Why do you say that?"

"Because I couldn't protect Kenny.  I-I tried to.  I tried to hit Mister Robinson with the tree limb to keep him away, but he just grabbed it and took it away from me.  If you hadn't come, he would have hurt Kenny again and me, too.  A real hero would have stopped him, like the good guys in police shows on TV do."

"Daniel, that is just plain silly," Quentin told him.  "You were an eight-year-old boy up against a grown man.  You couldn't possibly have won that fight.  That doesn't make you any less heroic.  Heroes don't always win, Daniel, and they don't always keep the bad guys from doing bad things.  You saved Kenny by getting him away from his father, and you protected him to the best of your ability despite the overwhelming danger to you.  In anybody's books, that makes you a hero."

On Thursday, the situation at school was only a little better than it had been the previous day, but, by Friday, things were starting to settle down, the short attention span of the average child turning out to be a good thing for Daniel.

Daniel had wanted to go see Kenny, but was told that he couldn't right now.  He was worried about what was going to happen to his friend now.  Kenny's mom was dead, and his father was going to prison.  Who would take care of him now?  Would he have to be in a foster home like Daniel?

The boy spent a good part of the weekend at the Carters'.  It was the first time Jacob had seen Daniel since the incident, and the first thing he did was give the boy a big hug.  When Laura told him everything, his initial emotion was anger over what Victor Robinson had done.  Then came the thought of how very easily this could have ended in tragedy.  If the teachers' meeting hadn't been cut short or had even lasted just a few minutes longer, thereby delaying or even preventing Quentin's involvement, by the time someone discovered what was happening, it might have been too late, both children dead at the hands of Kenny's father.  Jacob hoped they put the bastard away for a long time.

It was at the end of the school day on Tuesday when, to his delight, Daniel spied Kenny walking toward him.

"Kenny!" he cried and ran forward.  "Are you okay?  Is your head better?"

"It still hurts where I hit it, but it's not too bad."

"I wanted to see you, but some people said I couldn't."

"I wanted to talk to you, too, and they finally said I could.  I wanted to thank you for helping me.  I don't know what would have happened if you hadn't come."  Kenny sighed.  "I wish we could talk more, but I can't stay."

"Where have you been staying?"

"At a place where they take care of kids until somebody else can take them."

Daniel's heart sank.  "Oh.  I stayed in a place like that after my mom and dad died.  Are you going to have to live in a foster home?"

Kenny shook his head.  "I'm going to go live with my Aunt Sally."

Daniel recalled Kenny telling him about her and all the dogs, horses and other animals she had.  But then he remembered that she lived in South Carolina.

Realizing what that meant, Daniel sadly asked, "Then you're moving away?"

His friend nodded, his expression revealing his sadness.  "She flew over here on Wednesday."  Kenny's sorrow deepened.  "We're leaving tomorrow."  He met Daniel's eyes straight on, a rare occurrence.  "I'm going to miss you."

Daniel was trying very hard not to cry.  "I'm going to miss you, too."

Suddenly, Kenny threw his arms around Daniel.  "I'll never forget you, Daniel," he whispered.  "Not ever."

Tears filled Daniel's eyes.  "I'll never forget you either, Kenny."

The boys parted, surreptitiously wiping away tears.

Kenny looked over at the woman waiting for him.  "I've . . . I've got to go."

"Can I give you my address?" Daniel asked hopefully.  "Then you can write me a letter."

Upon getting a nod from Kenny, he scribbled his address on a piece of paper from his notebook and handed it to the smaller boy, who stuck it in his pocket.

With a final goodbye, Kenny headed over to the social worker, and Daniel watched as one of his only true friends walked out of his life.

Daniel was in a low mood for the rest of that week despite the best efforts to cheer him up made by the people who cared about him.  It wasn't until the following Tuesday that Daniel felt he had a reason to celebrate.  It was Sam's birthday, and they were going to have a party for her at her house after school.

Daniel had been trying to figure out what to get her for a gift, but nothing seemed good enough.  He'd been nothing short of frantic on Saturday because he was nearly out of time and still hadn't gotten her anything.  Diane took him shopping, giving him several suggestions in an attempt to be helpful.

When Daniel at last found the gift he wanted to get for his best friend, it cost more money than he had.  Diane agreed to give him a loan, which the boy would pay off with his allowance.

It was not a big birthday party, only the friends Sam really wanted there having been invited.  She wished that Kenny was among them.  She missed him, too, not realizing until after he was gone how much she'd come to like him.  One person noticeably absent was Randy, the boy upon whom Sam had a brief crush.  Though she still liked him, she hadn't really talked to him all that much in the last few months.

Everyone had fun at the party and stuffed themselves with cake and ice cream.  They played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, and tag, and lots of other games.  Jacob had arranged to get off duty early and was able to join in during the last half hour of the party.

Once all the kids were gone except for Daniel, Sam went to the table where the gifts were and started opening them.  She deliberately saved Daniel's for last.  When she finally reached it, she found that it was quite heavy and guessed that it was a book.  She turned out to be right, but, oh, what a book it was.  Every page of the book about the solar system and universe was crammed full of photos and artist renderings of the planets, moons and stars.  Many of the paintings and illustrations had fanciful representations of fictitious creatures that might live on some of the other worlds of Earth's solar system, if such creatures really existed.  The book was up to date with all the latest things known about the universe.  Sam wanted to sit right down and read it from cover to cover, but curbed her enthusiasm.  Instead, after giving Daniel a big thank-you hug, she sat with him on the couch, and they looked at all the pictures, Sam explaining a fact or two here and there.

"I really want to be an astronaut when I grow up," she said.  "Maybe by then we'll be going to other planets, like Mars, and Saturn, and Jupiter.  Then I could actually see what they look like for real.  That would be so cool!"

Daniel nodded.  "You can take lots of pictures, like the astronauts did when they were on the moon, and they could be put in a book like this one."

Sam looked at him.  "It would be really neat if you were an astronaut, too.  Then we could go on adventures together."

"That would be fun, but I'm going to be an archeologist, like my mom and dad.  I've wanted to be one since I was really little."

Jacob sat on the couch beside his daughter and gave her a hug.  "So, how is my nine-year-old little girl?  Just think.  In another year, you'll be in the double digits."  He grinned.  "Yep, before you know it, you'll be an old lady."

"I will not!" Sam protested.

"Now, you're older than me," Daniel remarked.

Sam turned to him.  "Yeah, but only for a month and a half.  Then you'll be nine, too."

The remainder of the semester sped by.  For most kids, the upcoming summer vacation filled them with excitement and anticipation, but for one certain little boy, it also brought a feeling of sadness.

It was the day before the last day of school that Quentin noticed that Daniel appeared not only distracted but also a little down.  He took a seat beside the table that had been set up in the study for his pupil.

"So, why the long face?" he asked.

"It's almost summer vacation."

"Yes, it is, but that's usually a cause for celebration for kids, not a reason for mourning."

Daniel looked up at him.  "But I'm hardly ever going to see you, because I won't be coming here for tutoring."

Quentin now understood the reason for the boy's mood.  "Daniel, have you been thinking that, during the summer, Kathleen and I would have no interest in spending time with you?"

Daniel's gaze dropped to his lap, his shoulders shrugging.

"Well, if that's what you've been thinking, you couldn't be more wrong.  Come sit with me over there."

They went to the love seat and sat down.  Quentin put his arm around the boy's shoulder.

"Daniel, both Kathleen and I love the time we spend with you," he said.  "We really enjoy it.  In fact, she and I were talking just the other day about the fun stuff we could do with you this summer."

Daniel lifted his eyes to his teacher.  "You were?"

"You bet.  Being a teacher, I'll have a lot of the summer off, too, so my days will be free to do all sorts of stuff.  We can go to the park and have picnics, take day trips to places in the area.  You haven't been to the zoo yet or lots of other fun places, so that will definitely be on the schedule."  Quentin smiled down into Daniel's eyes.  "I promise you, Daniel, that we'll see lots and lots of each other this summer."

With a smile of joy on his face, Daniel threw his arms around Quentin, who hugged him back tightly.  He chucked the boy under the chin.

"So, no more long faces.  Okay?"

Daniel nodded.  "Okay."

The next day at school, Daniel and Sam said goodbye to some of their other friends.  They'd probably see a few of the kids from time to time throughout the summer, but others they would likely not see again until school resumed.

"I'm going to a summer camp where they have soccer and lots of other sports," Nathan told Daniel.

Daniel knew how much his friend loved sports, especially soccer.  "I bet that'll be fun."

"Yeah.  A couple of my other friends are going there, too, so it's gonna be great.  What about you?  Are you going to a camp?"

Daniel shook his head.  "No.  I don't know if I'd like camp anyway.  I'm not really very interested in lots of the stuff they do there.  But we might go on vacation at the beach with Sam's family and the Greers."


The two boys said goodbye and went their separate ways.

When Daniel got home, he was delighted to discover that he'd gotten a letter from Kenny.  He went right to his room and opened it up.

Hi.  How are you?  My Aunt Sally said that I should write you a letter right away to tell you how I'm doing.  She helped me a little writing it and made sure I didn't write any letters backwards.

It's really nice here.  One of the spare rooms is mine now, and Aunt Sally let me fix it up just the way I wanted.  We painted it my favorite color, and I've got lots of posters of birds.  And I've got my very own horse!  His name is Dusty, and he's a grey Appaloosa.  I get to brush him, and feed him grain, and do lots of other things with him.  I'm going to get riding lessons.  I wish you could come and visit.  Then we could go riding together.
I'm getting music lessons now.  My music teacher says that I'm really talented and could be playing in concerts in just a few years.  He called me a prodigy, just like Mister Greer did.  I'm also getting special schooling for my reading and writing.  I'll be going to a tutor two days a week all summer so that when school starts, I'll be reading a whole lot better.  Aunt Sally wants me to tell you thank you from her for helping me with my reading and writing.  She said that you were a really good friend for doing that.  She also says thank you for rescuing me from my dad.
My aunt is really sad that my dad was hurting me.  She was crying yesterday, and I asked her what was wrong, and she said that she wished she'd known that Dad was hurting me.  She said she would have stopped it a long time ago and made it so that I could live with her.  She hugs me a lot and tells me every day that she loves me.  I love her, too.  I think she's the best aunt in the world.  Sometimes, when I look at her just right, she looks just like Mom.
I have to go now.  It's almost dinnertime.  I hope you write back to me soon.
Your friend,

Daniel reread the letter twice, glad that his friend was happy.  After dinner, he wrote back, telling Kenny about some of the things that had gone on since the boy left and the plans for summer.  He ended the letter by saying that he hoped they could see each other again someday.

The month of June passed quickly for Daniel.  He spent a great deal of it with Sam and her family or the Greers, sometimes both.  There were also the days he spent doing things with his foster family.  They went to the park a couple of times and played games at home, including Paul, who seemed to smile a lot more now and spent less time fixing the old car in his garage and more time doing things with the kids.

It was on the last Saturday in June that the Carters and Underwoods all got together at the Greers.

"We have something to tell you," Jacob told the kids.  "We adults have been doing some talking and planning these past couple of weeks.  First of all, on the Fourth of July, we're all going to have a big party and barbeque here, then go and watch the fireworks."

"Wow, that'll be great!" Sam exclaimed, getting excited.

"There's more," Quentin said.  "We've talked about this vacation to the beach and, well . . ." he turned to Daniel, "how'd you like to celebrate your birthday on the coast with all of us?"

Daniel's eyes widened.  "Really?"

"Yep.  That's the week that Sam's father is going to be on leave, and your foster father was able to arrange to get vacation time for the same week."

"Oh, wow!" cried Sam, even louder than the last exclamation.  She threw her arms around her best friend, who was grinning hugely.

Independence Day was five days later.  Preparations for the big barbeque began that morning, the women going to the grocery store as the men set up things in the Greers' backyard.  Mark, Daniel and Sam helped the guys as Daniel's foster siblings played.

Hotdogs and hamburgers were that afternoon's fare, along with three different salads, soft drinks, and beer for the men.  Dessert was apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream.  They played games in the backyard, the adults eventually joining the kids on the Slip 'n Slide and running through the sprinklers.  Even Paul was talked into taking a crack at the Slip 'n Slide and was surprised by how much fun it was.

Though he had lots of fun, Daniel couldn't help but think that it would be even better if Kenny could be there.  He hoped that the boy was having a fun Fourth of July party with his aunt and would be watching the fireworks with her tonight.

That evening, everyone joined the big crowd gathering to watch the annual fireworks.  As the fireworks began, accompanied by oohs and ahs from the crowd, Daniel felt an arm go around him and looked up into the smiling face of his tutor.  He smiled back and put his much smaller arm around the big man's waist.

As he went to bed that night, Daniel's thoughts were on the trip they'd all be leaving on in just a couple of days.  There was only one way it could be better: if his mom and dad could be there, too.  But he'd have his best friend there, as well as many of the other people he'd come to love.  It was going to be a fantastic week.

Daniel had a ball on the trip to the coast.  He traveled with the Greers, and throughout the journey they sang songs and played games like "I Spy".  At the halfway point, the three car groups met up to take a little break.  Sam joined Daniel's car group, and then it was even more fun.

Their motel was within walking distance from a beach, and as soon as everyone was unpacked, they all went there.  It was too late in the day to play in the surf, so all they did was walk on the beach and look for seashells.

The next day was when the real fun began.  They spent the whole day on the beach.  There was a roped off area of the ocean that was safe for young children to play in, and the kids spent hours in the water.  Daniel got swimming lessons from both Jacob and Quentin and was soon paddling around with Sam, a smile coming often to his face over his achievement.

On the following morning, Daniel awoke with a big grin on his face.  At breakfast, everyone wished him a Happy Birthday and gave him hugs.

After breakfast, Daniel, the Carters and the Greers all went to a riding stable that offered trips on the beach.  The Underwoods stayed behind with the three younger kids, Paul and Diane deciding that Adam and Susy were too young to go on the ride and Caleb not wanting to go.

Everyone was quite impressed with the way that Daniel confidently mounted his horse and handled the reins.  Fortunately, all of the others had been on a horse at least once before, although Daniel was by far the most experienced.  Quentin was quite amused by the role reversal when his student began instructing him on the proper way to hold the reins and make the horse go where you wanted it to go.

The two-hour ride on the beach went by too fast as far as Daniel was concerned, but he was looking forward to what was coming next, a big picnic on the shore, after which he'd be given his presents.

Daniel's birthday party took place in a park that overlooked the water.  On one of the picnic tables was the pile of birthday presents, and Sam seemed to be more impatient for them to be opened than Daniel did.

That time came at last.  As the others looked on, Daniel unwrapped the presents one at a time, starting with the one from his foster parents.  It turned out to be a new backpack that could be attached to his bike, which would make it much easier for Daniel to go to school that way.  Inside the book bag were two hardcover novels, Kidnapped and Swiss Family Robinson, two books that he had especially liked from Quentin's library, a fact that Diane learned from the teacher.  He loved the gifts and gave Paul and Diane a hug.

He was surprised when he saw a gift from Caleb, not having expected to get any presents from his foster siblings.  It was a five-dollar gift certificate to a toy store.

"I didn't know what to get, so Mrs. Underwood said that I could get you a certificate so that you can buy what you want," Caleb explained a little shyly.

"Thank you," Daniel told him, thinking that he'd have to be sure to get a gift for the boy when Caleb turned seven in September.

Next came the gift from Mark, who'd gotten Daniel some Spider-Man comic books, explaining that it was about time that Daniel started reading comics.  The present from Jacob and Laura was an illustrated tome of world history that made Daniel's eyes open wide in delight and wonder.

When Daniel picked up the present from the Greers, he could tell that it was another book.  When he unwrapped it, he saw that it was the first book of an encyclopedia set.

"That's just the first one, Daniel," Quentin said.  "The rest of the set is waiting in my library for you to take home."

Daniel's eyes became enormous.  "You got me my very own encyclopedias?" he asked in a hushed voice.

The teacher grinned.  "We sure did.  The ones you've been using are pretty outdated, so we figured that you needed a new set.  I expect you to make good use of them."

Daniel threw his arms around the Greers, thanking them profusely.

Just as Sam had done on her birthday, Daniel saved the present from his best friend for last.  When he unwrapped it, he found that it was a handmade photo album that Sam had spent hours putting together.  Inside were all the photos that had been taken of Daniel with Sam, her family, the Greers and the Underwoods.

"There's lots more room for the pictures we're taking on this vacation," she said.  She paused.  "Do you like it?"

Daniel gazed at the photos documenting the happiest times he'd had since the day he met Sam nine and a half months ago, photos of Daniel's first Halloween, everyone dressed up in their costumes, the Thanksgiving he spent with Sam and her family and the following two days that he shared with the Greers and Jack, the Christmas spent with his foster family then the Carters, Sam's birthday party, the Fourth of July, and all the times in between those events when someone had decided to snap a picture.  They were all times that he never wanted to forget, and the pictures would help him remember.

Daniel closed the photo album and hugged it to his chest.  He looked up at the girl who'd given it to him.

"I love it.  It's one of the best presents I've ever gotten."

Sam gave him a megawatt smile, thrilled by Daniel's response.  "Mom helped me get all the photos from everybody.  I was afraid you'd find out when we got the ones from your foster parents."

Diane smiled.  "Yes, we had to sneak them over to the base."

Daniel put the album down and hugged his best friend.  "Thank you."

"Do you like the album?" she asked after they parted.  "I've never made a photo album before, but I wanted to make it myself because you made my Christmas present yourself."

"It's great.  I like how you wrote my name in gold.  It's kind of like my parents' names on the book they wrote."

"I did that with little sheets of paper made out of real gold that we got at the store.  They're really neat because they make it so that you can write anything in real gold."

Daniel's next surprise came when his birthday cake was revealed.  It was decorated with three little pyramids, a matching number of camels and a river that was obviously supposed to be the Nile.

"The cake is a gift from all of us," Jacob explained.

Daniel loved it and actually hated to see it cut into pieces.  Pictures were taken of it before that happened so that he'd have photos of it to add to his new album.  He was given the toy camels, two of which he then gave to Sam and Caleb.  He wanted to give the third to Mark, but the older boy insisted that he keep it.

After the cake was eaten, the kids all went to play in the playground, Diane joining them to push Susy on the swing.

Paul joined Quentin when he headed over to the restroom.

"I wanted to thank you for getting those encyclopedias for Daniel," Paul said, "although I have to admit that I'm thinking a lot about the, um. . . ."

"Cost?" the teacher guessed.

"Don't get me wrong.  I do really appreciate your generosity."

"Don't worry about it, Paul," Quentin assured him.  "One of the big advantages of being a teacher is that I can get a pretty substantial discount on educational materials, including encyclopedias.  Plus, a friend of mine has some connections and was able to get even more knocked off the price.  The encyclopedias were a steal.  Besides, I consider them to be more of an investment in Daniel's future than a gift.  He has an amazing mind and an incredible amount of potential.  I'm willing to do whatever I can to see that potential fully realized."

Paul looked at him.  "Daniel is very lucky to have you as his teacher.  With you in the picture, maybe he'll beat the odds that are against kids in foster care getting a college education.  I've been doing some reading on the subject, and it's not very encouraging."

"Oh, you can rest assured that Daniel will be going to college.  I'm going to make sure of that.  I've already mentioned him to several university friends of mine."

Paul smiled.  "It sure does sound like you've got a lot of friends and connections in the educational field."

Quentin laughed.  "I have my family to thank for that.  Both my father and his father were highly regarded university professors.  I was introduced into the world of higher education before I was even going to school myself.  My grandfather died when I was thirteen and my father when I was a graduate student, but, by then, I already had a lot of friends and acquaintances in the educational system.  I kept those connections alive even after I decided to become a grade school teacher instead of following in my father's and grandfather's footsteps."

Daniel enjoyed every moment of the rest of his birthday.  That evening was spent on the beach with a little campfire, around which everyone roasted marshmallows and told stories.  Daniel even shared a story from Egyptian mythology.

The boy had been sure that there would be no other surprises that day, but he was wrong.  Back at the motel, the Greers asked him to come over to their room.  When he got there, Kathleen was on the phone.

"Hold on a sec," she said into the receiver.  "He just got here."  She held out the phone to Daniel.  "It's for you."

Daniel took it, wondering who it could be.

"Hello?" he said.

"Hey there, kiddo.  Happy Birthday!"

"Jack!  Oh, wow!  You called for my birthday?"

"You bet I did.  I wish I could have been there to celebrate with you, but the call will have to do . . . oh, and the present I sent you."

"You sent me a present?"

"Sure did.  Quentin and Kitty Kat have been saving it until after we could talk.  So, I hear you got lots of great presents."

Daniel excitedly told his friend all about the gifts he'd gotten, then went on to talk about all the fun they'd had on the vacation so far.

"You're making me jealous," Jack remarked.  "You're having just too much fun.  Now I really wish I was there."

"Am I going to get to see you again soon?"

"Well, I'd really like to, but we guys in the Air Force are kind of short on vacation time.  But don't you worry.  We'll see each other again.  Maybe I can manage to spend next Thanksgiving over there, like I did the last one.  I'm afraid we won't be able to do that fishing I talked about this summer, but there will be other summers."

Daniel was very disappointed that he wasn't going to get to see Jack this summer.  "Thanksgiving is a long ways off," he said.

"Oh, not so long.  It'll be here before you know it."

They talked for a while longer, then Jack said that he had to go.

"I'll be looking forward to seeing you again, Danny," he told the boy.  "In the meantime, don't stuff that genius brain of yours too full of facts and figures.  You need to save lots of room for the fun stuff."

"I'll save room.  I promise."

"Good.  See that you keep that promise."

They said goodbye, then Daniel hung up.  Kathleen pulled a gift-wrapped package from the closet and handed it to Daniel.  He read the birthday card from Jack, then opened the present.  It was a jacket with embroidered patches on the sleeves that showed a jet flying around a pyramid.

"Wow!  This is great!" Daniel exclaimed.  He put it on and looked at himself in the mirror, admiring the patches.

"It sure is," Quentin agreed.  He turned to his wife.  "Did he have those patches made?"

She nodded.  "He knew of a shop that does embroidery designs to order.  When Daniel has outgrown the jacket, he can remove the patches and keep them or even put them on another jacket."

"It's sort of like the science fair project me and Sam did," Daniel said.

"You're right, it is," Kathleen responded.  "And Jack doesn't even know about that."

Sam thought that her friend's jacket was awesome when she saw it the next morning, also agreeing that it was a lot like their science project, except that it was a jet instead of a spaceship flying around the pyramid.  If it hadn't been too hot for the weather, Daniel would have worn the jacket that day and for the rest of their time on the coast.

The remainder of the vacation passed far too quickly for everyone, but when they at last headed for home, they were all feeling relaxed and happy, glad of the time they'd gotten to spend together.

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.