Incidents Series Part 12: The Ex-Boyfriend Incident
by Maureen Thayer
Content Warning: None
Author's Note: This is the 12th fanfic in the Incidents Series. I would highly recommend that you read the previous parts before this one, if you have not already done so, in order to understand the plot.
This story is told from Daniel's points of view.
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I am free at last.
Yeah, okay, so maybe semi-quoting the most famous line of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is going a little overboard, but I am just so delighted to finally be out from under the edict that has kept me a virtual prisoner inside the SGC. At eighteen, I am now free to leave the base and go into town almost any time I want to – with two unfortunate conditions. First, I have to have someone from the base with me, and, second, I can't be gone for more than a few hours.
I can't deny the wisdom of those conditions. If I was all alone and something happened, it could result in a whole lot of problems. Like, for example, what if I got into an accident and was taken to a hospital? The speed that my injuries started healing would be quite a source of interest. And then there was the matter of my facial hair. It wouldn't be long before people noticed the appearance of whiskers, which would very quickly grow into more than just a five o'clock shadow.
Considering the risk being taken in allowing me to spend time in public, I'm lucky that I am being allowed out at all. I bet there are some people who aren't happy about it. I probably have General Hammond to thank for my relative freedom.
I doubt it will surprise you that I wasted no time getting off the base, although I'd have left even earlier if one of my 'babysitters' hadn't pointed out that not may places would be open at seven a.m.
I glanced at those babysitters. All of my teammates had come with me, Jack explaining that the occasion deserved a celebration, not just because of my "parole" but also my entrance into the ranks of adulthood. We were in the midst of doing that very thing, enjoying lunch at a real restaurant rather than a fast food place. The morning had been spent going to a variety of places, including some book stores.
"So, I hear that you got a few presents," Jack remarked.
I smiled. "Yeah, and lots of cards congratulating me for turning eighteen. Ferretti's card was pretty . . . embarrassing."
"Oh? Do tell."
I felt my cheeks getting hot. "It . . . sort of had references to, um . . . girls." There was no way I was going to tell them that he'd jokingly said that he would arrange for some female "companionship" for me if it wasn't for all the problems involved in finding a woman who was drunk enough that she wouldn't notice I'd suddenly grown a beard sometime during the course of our . . . activities.
I have to wonder when I started participating in such activities the first time around. My memories are now of the summer before starting my third year in college. I'd had no girlfriends up to that point in my life. Actually, the center of my existence was apparently school. I had made the decision to get not just two doctorates but three – in philology, archeology and anthropology – and was cramming in as many courses as was humanly possible. As all the other college kids enjoyed their summer break, I was taking summer courses.
I understand why I was so focused on my education back then. I really didn't have anything else. I had no family, except for a grandfather I occasionally visited in the psychiatric facility he'd committed himself to, and I didn't have any close friends, no one to pal around with or even really talk to about stuff.
Even though I know why I was like that back then, it's still a little depressing. Things are so different this time around. I have lots of friends, people who are like my family. I enjoy doing other things besides studying. I've begun playing basketball with some of the guys on base, and I was invited over to watch a hockey game on TV with a few of them, a fact that had Jack grinning from ear-to-ear. I'm not really all that interested in hockey, but I like the idea of being included in the guy stuff, even if I would be drinking ginger ale as everyone else drank beer.
My life as an eighteen-year-old is so much fuller this time. Along with all the experiences I am regaining the memories of, I'm also learning and experiencing so many new things. I am now proficient in military hand signals and morse code and am going through basic survival training, hand-to-hand combat training, and am being taught Jaffa fighting techniques, to name just a few things. And, tomorrow, Jack is going to begin teaching me how to shoot. I'm kind of nervous about that. I'm not really all that keen on learning how to use a gun since I know that, sooner or later, I might have to kill somebody with one. Jack told me that I apparently had at least some experience with firearms when he first met me since I used a pistol without hesitation. That didn't surprise me. It could be pretty dangerous being out on a dig in a remote region. On my parents' digs, there was always a pistol or rifle available just in case, and the same was probably true for the digs I went on as an adult. Even so, this is one facet of my training that I'm not looking forward to, although I know that it is necessary and might save lives.
By the end of the meal, I could feel the scratchiness of whiskers beginning to sprout up and went off to the men's room to put on some more of the depilatory cream. It was working pretty well for me, enabling me to go a solid four hours without visible regrowth, and, fortunately, I wasn't having any problem with skin irritation. If it wasn't for that cream, it would be impossible for me to go anywhere in public.
We headed over to the theater and caught a movie, my very first R-rated one. Since I was being accompanied by people who were obviously adults, I didn't have to show the guy at the ticket counter the fake I.D. that had been given to me courtesy of the U.S. government.
The movie had too much action and not enough plot, but I still enjoyed it if only for the reason that I was there with my team as a fellow adult rather than a little kid.
We were coming out of the theater when Sam suddenly stiffened, her eyes on a man with blond hair who was approaching.
"Oh no," she said.
At that moment, the guy saw her and stopped dead. He then resumed walking, slowly closing the distance between us.
"Hello, Sam. It's . . . nice to see you," he said, looking a little uncomfortable.
"Pete. What are you doing here? I thought you moved back to Denver."
"I did. I got injured on duty and am on medical leave. I'm visiting a friend here for a few days."
"I'm sorry. Was the injury serious?"
"Not really. Got clipped by a bullet."
I was really wondering who this guy was. I could almost feel the tension between him and Sam.
Just then, he looked at me, and his eyes widened.
"I know you," he said. He stared at me even harder. "Yeah. You look just like Sam's teammate, the archeologist, Daniel Jackson. Are you his kid brother or something?"
"Ummm. . . ." I didn't know how to reply. Obviously, this guy knew at least something about the program and had met me before, but he didn't know what had happened to me.
"Actually, this is Daniel's cousin," Jack replied. "He's visiting from out of town."
The answer seemed to satisfy Pete, and he turned back to Sam.
"You look good, Sam."
"You do, too, Pete." Sam glanced at us, very clearly uncomfortable. "Well, uh, we have someplace to get to, and we need to get going. It was . . . nice seeing you again, Pete."
"Yeah, you too, Sam."
After exchanging awkward goodbyes, Pete continued to the theater, and we went to our car.
"Who was that?" I asked.
"Pete Shanahan," Sam replied. "We dated for a while."
"Is he in the military?"
"No, he's a cop."
"Oh. But he knows about the program?"
"Yeah. That's . . . that's a long story."
"Why did you break up?" Seeing the look on her face, I immediately apologized. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked."
"No, it's okay, Daniel. It's a natural question. For a while, I was spending nearly all my time at work and . . . doing some other things, and Pete wasn't happy about it. We got into some arguments, and I finally decided to break things off. I knew it wasn't going to work out."
I'd caught the little sigh she gave. "Maybe you can get back together now," I said.
Sam shook her head, her eyes not meeting mine. "No, it really is better this way."
I glanced over at Jack and Teal'c and noticed them sharing a long look. I don't know why, but I suddenly had a feeling that I was involved in this somehow.
A few snowflakes had started to fall, so we decided that we should probably return to the base. On the drive back, Jack struck up a conversation, but Sam's participation seemed a little forced. I wished I knew what to say to lighten her mood.
Once we got to the SGC, I went to my office. I saw that there were a few more greeting cards sitting on my desk, but my mind was not on what they might say. I was still thinking about Pete Shanahan and the way everyone had acted.
Since I knew that Sam wouldn't tell me if I asked her for details, I tried to think of someone I could ask. Not Jack. That would be too embarrassing for Sam. Then I thought of Janet. She and Sam were good friends, and, from what I'd been told, women talked to each other about their boyfriends. If anyone knew the story about Pete, Janet would.
I knew that I was being a busybody and that it probably wasn't any of my business, but I couldn't get rid of the nagging feeling that there was something about the breakup that had to do with me.
I went down to the infirmary. Janet was busy doing her rounds.
"Hello, Daniel," she greeted. "So, did you enjoy your day in town?"
"Uh huh. Um, something happened, though. At the theater, we bumped into Sam's ex-boyfriend."
Janet looked at me sharply. "Pete?"
"That's not good. Did he recognize you?"
"Sort of. He assumed that I was Daniel Jackson's kid brother. Jack told him that I was a cousin." I paused, not sure how to continue. "Sam was pretty uncomfortable."
"Yes, I should imagine that she was."
"Did they break up a long time ago?"
"No, it's only been around six weeks, I think."
Janet was handed some forms to sign, so she didn't see the look that was probably on my face. Six weeks? But that would mean that Sam was dating the guy during the first couple of weeks that I was a child.
I said goodbye to Janet and headed back to my office, thinking about what I'd learned. My memories of those first few days, when I was only four years old, weren't completely clear, but, from what I did recall, it seemed like Sam was at the SGC every day. My later memories were a whole lot clearer, and I couldn't recall a day during those first few weeks that I didn't see Sam, except one time when she was on a mission. She shared breakfast every morning with me, Jack and Teal'c, and she took care of me for at least a few hours almost every day.
So, when did she take time off? She couldn't have taken off more than a few hours on any given day.
I have no memories of having a girlfriend, but I do know that when you have a girlfriend or boyfriend, you're supposed to spend time with them.
I remembered what Sam had said about the breakup, that it happened because she was spending almost all of her time at work . . . and doing other things. Yeah, things like taking her downsized teammate to the park, and the zoo, and lots of other places.
I was right. This did have to do with me. When I got turned into a little kid, Sam felt that her responsibility was to help take care of me. Because of that, she didn't spend any time with her boyfriend, and they broke up. If I hadn't been turned into a kid, they might still be together.
Feeling really guilty, I went to Sam's office.
"It was because of me, wasn't it," I said.
Sam looked at me with a puzzled expression. "What are you talking about?"
"You broke up with Pete because I got turned into a kid. I found out from Janet that you broke up only six weeks ago. I remember you always being here, helping to take care of me during those first few weeks. That's why Pete got mad, and you guys broke up, isn't it."
Sam bit her lip. The look on her face told me that I'd guessed right.
"I'm sorry," I said, feeling even guiltier. "If I hadn't been turned into a kid, you guys would still be together."
"Daniel, it wasn't your fault. Come here and sit down."
I rolled a chair over and took a seat.
"When Pete and I first started dating, he had a real problem with the classified nature of my job," Sam told me. "He didn't want to accept that I couldn't tell him anything about what I did. Something happened that led to him being told about the program, and, after that, things were a lot better between us, although I still couldn't tell him about missions or anything that was going on at the SGC.
"When you got turned into a child, I wanted to be here for you as much as possible, especially when you were really young. I told Pete that some things were going on that meant I'd have to spend most of my time here at work for a couple two or three weeks. In the beginning, he seemed to be okay with that, but after the first week, he started calling me at work and asking if I could get away for a few hours. I kept telling him that I couldn't, and he started to get mad. He wanted to know what was going on here that was taking up all my time. I couldn't tell him, so that made him even madder. I was getting pretty ticked off, too. I'd told him that it would only be a couple of weeks or so, but he just couldn't wait that long. I began to realize that it wasn't going to work out between us, and so I broke things off with him."
Sam looked at me in the eyes. "It was in no way your fault, Daniel. I chose to spend all that time with you because I wanted to. It was my decision and mine alone, and I don't regret it, not for one minute." She smiled at me. "So I don't want you feeling guilty about this. All right?"
I smiled back at her, feeling better. "All right." I got up. "Sam, I never thanked any of you guys for being there for me. You just about put your lives on hold for me those first weeks. You, Jack and Teal'c were always there when I needed you . . . and even when I didn't."
Sam stood up and gave me a hug. "And we always will be, Daniel, just like you'll be there for us."
With another smile, I went to the door. "Oh, and, just between you and me, Pete was an idiot to screw things up and let you go. If I had a girlfriend like you, I'd do anything it took to keep her."
A huge grin beamed across Sam's face. "Daniel, that is the nicest thing that any guy has ever said to me. Thank you." There was a twinkle in her eyes now. "But, you know, Daniel, that statement works both ways. As far as I'm concerned, any woman who was your girlfriend would have to be an idiot to let you go, too."
I blushed, embarrassed by the compliment. I stammered out my thanks and left, thinking that, all in all, my first day as an adult hadn't been half-bad.
THE END . . . until Part 13.