|A Moment in Time by JakeFanatic|
The usual disclaimers: No copyright infringement intended. I love and respect the characters...and mean them no harm. :)
A Gift Across Time
A Mysterious Tok’ra Lady
Sam hugged Cassandra one last time. She pulled back to study the now-older woman’s gaze. This person who was so precious to them all in so many ways, for so many reasons, smiled into her eyes with a wisdom that spoke of a life well-lived and lessons well-learned. All Sam could think of was how proud Janet would be of their girl. They had all done their best, and apparently it had been enough. Cassie was everything any of them could have ever wished her to become. That knowledge made up for the ordeal they’d just been through, from the shock of being lost in the past to the struggle to find their way home again. And it was all thanks to General Hammond, who judging by Cassie’s current age, was long dead in this time they were so briefly passing through.
Trying not to think of all the other people outlived by this lovely old woman with the young girl’s eyes, Sam turned to join the others. Before she could take a single step, a gentle hand caught her by the arm.
"Just a moment, Sam. I...need you for something." Cassie smiled mysteriously, and led her away, as she reassured the rest of SG-1. "It’s all right. I promise. I can’t say more. The less any of you know about...anything the better. This is something only Sam can do, and it will in no way harm the timeline. I have that on very good authority. We won’t be long."
Trusting, curious, and not a little bemused, Sam allowed her old-young friend to guide her through a doorway to the rear. Cassie ushered her through, and then closed the entry almost silently behind her as she left her alone. Or so Sam thought.
It wasn’t until his quiet greeting that she realized she wasn’t alone. The familiar figure, complete with the military bearing a lifetime as Tok’ra would never dilute, emerged from the shadows and held out his arms. She walked into them.
He felt so solid, so...Jacob Carter. The little girl inside his grown daughter, the one who had been frightened of the weight of responsibility thrust upon her by a wayward solar flare, sighed and laid her head on his shoulder. His arms closed around her and he rubbed her back in a soothing circle, just as he had when she’d awaken from a bad childhood dream.
Sam felt the tension drain out of her. Her father must have felt it as well, because he let her go and studied her carefully. "You look tired."
"Not so much anymore."
"We only have a moment, so I’d better get started."
"Started? You sound like we’re having a race."
He chuckled. "In a manner of speaking. We’re racing time. I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but Selmak assures me it’s kosher."
"How is Selmak? Fine, I assume. You don’t look much older than the last time I saw you."
"We’re both in great shape. Our blending was the smartest thing I ever did in my life, Sammie. Except for marrying your mother." He paused minutely, listening to a conversation Sam was not privy to. "Selmak says hello, and to get on with it."
"What is ‘it’, exactly, Dad?"
"Just this." He stepped back several paces, reached out and took both his daughter’s hands in his own and bored his best I-am-your-father gaze straight into her heart. "George let me in on what’s going down right now. A long time ago. I was to be the backup, in case something happened to Cassie. Since it worked out the way it did, I talked things over with Selmak and we decided that we could do this without saying anything about your future that might be iffy for the timeline. The future you’re going to have that’s now my past. Nothing’s getting messed up. I promise. I don’t want you to take this as any kind of indication of some bad decision you may or may not make in your lifetime. It’s not. Your life was\is what it’s meant to be. And this is what I want you to know now, before you take another step into it:
"I am proud of you, Samantha Carter. I always have been, though I know I never said it often enough. Whatever choices you make in your life, they are your own. Nobody else has any right to try to influence you, sway you, or guilt you into doing anything other than follow your instincts...and your heart. There will be times when your old man will try your patience. What else is new? Even Selmak has not been able to sand off every single rough edge, in all this time. I am who I am, Sammie, take me or leave me. It makes me happier than I can ever say that you have always been able to see right through me, past me, when necessary, and come to a place where you loved me anyway.
"Your mother and I...we raised you like that. Somehow, in spite of everything that happened to us, you emerged on the side of light and love. I’m here to tell you now that you are the living embodiment of your mother, and that your presence in my life has given me great joy. I’m sorry for the times you’ve yet to live, when I unleash some smart aleck remark on you, instead of taking five seconds to encourage you and maybe give you an extra ration of strength or courage. So, I’m doing that now. In one dose that has to last you a lifetime.
"I love you, my precious child."
Sam could hear herself breathing. Her father was breathing too, of course, but all she could hear was her own breath, her own thoughts, and it all seemed to reverberate with the sense of family and faith that had poured out of him and into her. Time was slipping past them, already moving them away from each other. She forced herself to concentrate, took in his steady gaze, the way he stood...and, half-expecting to see a stranger there, all she saw was...Dad.
"You’ve changed, Dad."
"About time, don’t you think?"
"I don’t know. I kind of like the rough edges, though I’d never have admitted it to the...other you."
"Smart girl." He let her hands go, and gestured toward the door. "The thorns are still there, kid. I just know better now how to keep them from being so sharp."
They reached the exit, where her teammates, her friends, were waiting to go home. She hugged him fiercely, never wanting to let him go, yet knowing their stolen moment out of time had to end. "Thank you. I’ll always remember what you said."
"Good. You’ll need to. It’s taken me a long time to meld Jacob with the essence of Saroosh, and the other hosts who came before me, and become worthy of Selmak’s wisdom. I mean, I’m still Jacob, but learning the difference between a healthy ego and an overbearing one has been..."
A pause. Another sense of internal dialogue. "Selmak says the word I’m searching for is enlightening...but that impossible wouldn’t be out of line."
Sam laughed. "Is Selmak always right?"
"No! Well, almost always. But, it works both ways." Jacob released her from his embrace, and grinned wickedly. "Wanna hear a Tok’ra joke? Sure you do. A Tok’ra, and two Aasgard walk into a--"
Still laughing, Sam stepped through the door and shut it behind her. The last thing she heard was what someone who didn’t live her crazy life would think was her father talking to himself.
"Of course, she wouldn’t have understood the punchline. I don’t understand the punchline..."
~ The End ~
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