Just a Small Experiment - Part Six


At two o’clock, Danny laid down for his daily two-hour nap, giving Sam some extra time to think. Unfortunately it wasn’t a lot of help. The flustered woman finally decided to wing it, as she wasn’t a hundred percent sure what all her rules were either. She hoped she’d be able to give her young charge enough structure to provide the security he needed.

A little after four, when Sam could see that Danny was completely awake, she sat the boy down on the couch in the living room. “I think we need to talk,” she said simply. She sighed at the confused look she received in return. “I seem to have forgotten that you’re used to living with a lot of rules, and that you’re used to having someone tell you what to do all day. Since I haven’t been doing that, you must have been confused around here this past week. Am I right?”

Danny stared at her for a long moment, then nodded. “I didn’t know what to do.”

“And that’s not your fault,” Sam said quickly. “What I wanted to go over with you are my rules for the house, so you don’t have to be confused anymore. Will that help?”

“Yes,” Danny said, then nibbled slightly at his lower lip.

“I promise they aren’t anything to worry about,” Sam reassured him, inwardly flinching at the sign of nervousness. “I’m pretty casual here.” She leaned in close and said conspiratorially, “I leave most of the rules at work.” Danny smiled and relaxed, causing Sam to do the same.

Sam took a deep breath before continuing. “Why don’t we start in the morning and work our way through the day? If you have any questions, I want you to go ahead and ask. In fact, you can always ask me questions if you have them. You don’t have to wait until I ask if you have them.” She saw the look of understanding and went on. “When you get up in the morning, go ahead and make your bed and get dressed, then use the bathroom. I don’t mind what order those go in, and you don’t have to wait for me to do any of them. Do you understand?”

Danny blinked for a bit then nodded. “Yes, I understand.”

“When you’re done, you can either come and see if I’m ready yet, or wait for me in the kitchen. You can help me make breakfast, and then we’ll eat.” She paused for Danny’s nod of understanding. “Now, to be honest, I’m not sure what to do for the rest of the morning. What did you do where we found you?”

“They taught us things,” Danny answered. “I used the computer to learn new languages and how to read. I learned about numbers, too, but not as much as I learned about letters and words. And for an hour before lunch they would let us draw.”

Sam wondered at that last fact for a moment then returned to the matter at hand. “We can do something similar then, I guess. Probably not for the whole morning, since I don’t want you inside that much, but we can keep going with your reading and languages.” She paused for a couple of seconds. “Did you like drawing?” she asked quietly.

Danny gave her a small smile. “Yes, I like to draw.”

Sam returned the expression. “You draw very well. We’ll make sure you get to do that as much as you want.” The boy’s smile turned into a grin. “What did you do after lunch?”

“We did exercises,” Danny answered, his grin fading. “Then they told us about SG-1 and the other teams.”

“They read you our mission reports?” Sam asked. She had wondered about it, since Doctor MacDonald’s notes mentioned how familiar the children at the laboratory were with the various exploits of the SG teams, SG-1 in particular.

“Yes,” Danny confirmed. “But they weren’t as fun as the stories you’ve told me.”

Sam had to fight a smile at the obvious attempt to reassure her. “You still liked them, though, didn’t you?”

Danny looked down at his lap. “Yes,” he whispered.

This time Sam couldn’t hold the laughter back. “It’s okay, Daniel. You’re allowed to like all kinds of stories, no matter who tells them to you.” There was a moment of hesitation, but it wasn’t long before Danny brought his head back up and gave her a tentative smile. “Okay, it looks like I can work some outside activities into the afternoon after your nap. But I have to be honest, there are going to be a lot of times when I won’t know exactly what we’re doing for the day, or when our schedule is going to have to change for one reason or another. We’ll try to keep things the same as much as we can, but will you be okay with it if they do have to change?”

“When will you be able to tell me if they’re going to change?” Danny asked.

“I can’t always be sure, but I can promise to tell you as soon as I know. Will that be okay?”

“That will be okay.” Danny’s face scrunched up in thought. “Will you be doing all the things with me?”

Sam blinked at the unexpected question, then stopped herself from giving the automatic yes to really think about it. “No, not always,” she said eventually. “I’ll try to be nearby at least, but when I have to go back to work I won’t always be able to be around.”

Danny considered it. “Who will I stay with when you go off-world?” he asked.

“I, uh, I’m not sure yet. If you feel comfortable with her, I’d like to ask Janet - I mean Doctor Fraiser - to take care of you. But you don’t have to decide anything for another few weeks.”

“Will I get to see Doctor Fraiser while you’re still at home with me?”

“I think we can arrange that. And you’ll get to meet her daughter Cassie.”

Danny nodded. “The girl you brought back from Hanka.”

Sam’s eyes widened. “You really did hear all our mission reports, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” Danny whispered, suddenly unsure of Sam’s response.

“Hey,” Sam said softly, reaching out to rub the boy’s arm. “I’m not mad you heard the reports. I have to admit I’m a bit surprised you remembered that little detail, but I’m not mad.” She gave the tiny arm one last squeeze and brought her hand back. “That does bring up something else we have to talk about - what you can say outside the house and the mountain.”

Danny looked her straight in the eye. “The SGC and the Stargate are classified. Strangers aren’t allowed to know about them. Don’t say anything to anybody unless they can prove they already know.”

Sam gasped at the rote repetition of something that was obviously pounded into the children’s heads. “Um, yes. Yes, that’s right. I, uh, guess we don’t have to have that talk after all. But you might want to remember that everybody outside the program thinks Cassie’s from Toronto.”

Danny smiled. “Okay.”

She didn’t know how she did it, but she managed to return the smile. “Do you have any other questions?”

“What are we going to do for the rest of the day today?”

“Good question.” She walked over to the back door and looked outside. She frowned. “Well, since the weather has decided not to cooperate,” her expression deepened into a scowl for a moment at the mixture of sleet and snow that was coming down from the sky, “I guess we’ll have to do something in here.”

Sam led the two of them into the computer room where she had Danny show her how much he knew about the machine. Then they went online and started searching for language programs the boy could use in the future, as well as for children’s bedroom furniture. Then they played some games, Danny fascinated by the bright colors and seeming lack of educational value. But he grinned all the same, and every smile lightened Sam’s heart all the more. Sabrina had been right; giving this child a normal life wouldn’t be an impossible task at all.


* * * * * * * *


Sam wasn’t sure at first what had awoken her that night. A quick glance at the clock on her bedside table told her it was after two in the morning, and she pushed herself into a sitting position and rubbed her eyes. Then she heard it again, the sound that had pulled her from a deep sleep. Danny was screaming, a horrible, heart-wrenching sound. The woman was on her feet and heading for the other bedroom before she’d even finished registering the boy’s distress.

Sam fairly threw the door open, and once inside, she could see Danny thrashing around under the covers. He screamed once again, and she could see in the moonlight that came through the windows that tears flowed freely down his flushed cheeks. But he wasn’t awake. Sam moved quickly over to the bed and scooped the child into her arms, murmuring gentle, soothing sounds into his ear.

“Don’t fight me; let me hold you,” she whispered urgently when Danny started to struggle. “Let me show you I’m here, that it was all just a dream. Let me show you how much I care, and that you don’t have to be alone anymore. Please, please, just let me hold you. I care about you so much.” Sam was sobbing herself by the time she’d finished her plea.

Danny could feel the sincerity as well as hear it, and started to cry into Sam’s chest as she rocked him. One hand gripped the shirt of her pajamas. “They all went away,” he sobbed. “They all died and went away. They screamed and yelled, and there was blood, and funny smells, and I couldn’t get the door open, and...”

Sam held him tighter. “Shh, shh, that’s all over now. I know it had to be so scary, but you’re here now. You’re here with me.”

“You won’t go? You won’t go away?” Danny asked, his tears starting to lessen.

“Not if I can help it, Danny. Not if I can help it.” Sam kissed the top of his head and continued to rock him, although slower than she had in the beginning.

Danny sniffed a bit then pulled back slightly to look into Sam’s face. “Why did you call me Danny?” he whispered, his expression confused.

Sam stopped moving altogether, not having realized her mental nickname for her charge had slipped out. “I, uh, I guess it’s because tonight I realized how much I care about you all over again.”

“But my name is Daniel.”

“I know. But you know Danny is short for Daniel, right?” Danny nodded. “Sometimes people use shortened names for people they really care about. My name is really Samantha, but my friends and family call me Sam. My dad even calls me Sammy once in a while.” Sam sighed. “If you don’t want me to call you Danny from now on, I won’t.”

“You... you called me Danny because you care about me?” Danny asked thoughtfully.

Sam nodded. “That’s right.”

Danny licked his lips. “Then you can call me Danny.” He let his head fall back onto Sam’s chest and smiled when she gave him a brief squeeze in response.

“Thank you,” Sam whispered, her tears starting up again. She leaned her cheek against the top of Danny’s mussed up blond locks.

“Will other people call me Danny?” the boy asked quietly.

“Sometimes. But it won’t always be because they care. Some people do it just because they can or because they think it makes them sound more like a friend. You don’t have to let everyone call you Danny if you don’t want them to.”

Danny gave a firm nod. “I don’t want everyone to call me Danny. Only if they care about me like you do.” He snuggled slightly into her embrace.

Sam smiled at the sign of affection and squeezed him yet again. They stayed like that for a long time, both of them finally falling asleep still holding each other.


* * * * * * * *


About ten o’clock the next morning, the doorbell rang. Sam left Danny playing one of the internet games she’d introduced him to the day before and went to answer it. She was startled to see Teal’c standing there, a full grocery bag in the crook of one arm. “Teal’c!” she said in surprise. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

“I thought young Daniel and yourself would appreciate company, as well as some food supplies to replace what you have consumed over the past week.” The Jaffa gave her a small smile and slight inclination of his head.

“I think you’re right. Come on in.” Sam moved out of the way and gestured for Teal’c to come inside. “Daniel’s playing a game on the computer right now since the weather still isn’t too pleasant,” Sam told her friend once she’d shut the door behind him. “I’m hoping it’ll improve soon so we can at least take a walk through the park down the street.”

“A walk sounds like a pleasant activity to share,” Teal’c commented as the pair reached the kitchen.

Sam nodded as she began to help Teal’c put away the groceries. “I thought it would be a good first experience with being outside.”

Once they were finished, they went to the computer room. “Look who’s here, Danny. It’s Teal’c.” Sam smiled as Danny paused the game then looked over at the two teammates standing in the doorway. The boy gave the Jaffa a shy smile.

“It is good to see you once again, young Daniel,” Teal’c said with a bow of his head. Danny’s smile grew.

“It’s about eleven o’clock,” Sam announced, looking at her watch. “You can either keep playing your game or you can go to the kitchen table and draw. It’s up to you.”

Danny considered it for a moment, then shut down his game followed by the computer. He gave Sam a warm smile and headed for the kitchen.

Teal’c watched him go with a raised eyebrow. “Does Daniel not yet speak?”

“Oh, he does when we’re alone. I think he’s still a bit shy when it comes to talking to anyone else.” She gave the taller man a grin. “Although considering the smile he gave you, I don’t think it’ll be too long before he’s comfortable talking to you, too.”

“I look forward to that day.”

Sam gave a short laugh. “So do I.” She took a deep breath and released it, her smile fading. “Actually, you came at just the right time. I was planning on spending Danny’s drawing time working out the cover story of how he came to be with me. I’ve been thinking about what we discussed back at the mountain, and I realized it just won’t work. There are too many questions left unanswered.”

Teal’c considered it for a moment. “Your concerns are valid. I would be glad to assist you in developing a new explanation.”

Sam smiled once again. “Great. I’ll grab a notebook and we can hash this out here in the computer room.”

“Do you have any ideas for where to begin?” Teal’c asked once Sam was ready.

“Well, no one will buy I just suddenly decided to go out and adopt a child. There has to be a reason I’ve taken him in.” She blew out a breath, setting her bangs aflutter.

“Could you not have been named young Daniel’s guardian in Doctor MacDonald’s will?” Teal’c asked after a few minutes of thought. “I have heard of such things on various television programs.”

Sam blinked. “Why is it the simple answers are the hardest to come by?” She gave her teammate a wry smile. “I guess I’m too used to the complicated ones. Or I need to start watching more TV.”

The corners of Teal’c’s mouth twitched upward. “Indeed.”

“So, how did I know Doctor MacDonald?” She got to her feet and began to pace, her pen taping the notebook every couple of steps. “I suppose he was a friend of mine at the mountain,” she answered herself, stopping in her tracks.

“That would be a logical assumption, and one that would explain the lack of introduction to your brother and neighbors,” Teal’c agreed.

Sam nodded, writing it down. “What he did there would be classified, of course, so I wouldn’t have to explain that,” she muttered. “At least nothing beyond that he was a civilian scientist. I don’t think anyone would want to know much more than that anyway.”

Teal’c thought for a moment. “How will Doctor MacDonald have died in this explanation? How did young Daniel’s mother die?”

Sam cringed, drawing in a sharp breath. “Oh, I hadn’t thought that far yet. It’s a bit gruesome, isn’t it?”

“Yet it is necessary.”

“Yeah, I know.” Sam sighed. “I think I can only kill off one parent at a time. His mother died shortly after he was born, and Doctor MacDonald died in an accident on base a short while ago.” She shook her head. “I hate this.”

“I agree that it is not pleasant. But you must consider what questions you will be asked about young Daniel’s past and heritage, and be prepared to answer them.”

Sam frowned. “Right, I know, I know.” She shook her head to clear it. “Okay, Doctor MacDonald didn’t have many friends, and so asked me to be Daniel’s guardian in case something happened. Since he worked on base we never expected it would become an issue. But the accident happened, and I couldn’t go back on my word. And so, Daniel came to live with me.” She bit her lower lip for a moment. “What do you think?”

Teal’c gave a small nod. “I believe this to be acceptable. It is not too far from the truth. Is it not said that the greatest lies are those that are based on truth?”

Sam blinked. “Yeah, it is.” She thought of the way Doctor MacDonald got SG-1 all the information he could about the cloning experiment and what Teal’c and the colonel had told her about the geneticist’s last moments. “And I guess it’s not far from the truth after all.”

The Jaffa gave her a few minutes to regain her composure, then the two of them worked out the rest of the small details. Teal’c joined Sam and Danny for lunch on the physicist’s invitation, all three of them enjoying the time together. Danny was then happy to have Teal’c sit with him while Sam read them more fairy tales from the thick book she’d bought almost two weeks previously. The woman couldn’t help but smile inwardly when she saw her friend enjoying the stories as much as the child next to him. Soon after Danny laid down for his nap, Teal’c took his leave, promising to visit again soon.

Sam took some time after Danny woke up to explain to him the cover story she and Teal’c had come up with, becoming a bit disturbed at how easily the boy accepted the necessity of the tale. They spent the rest of the afternoon playing a game of “I, Spy”, Sam using the exchange to roughly gauge his level of understanding of the common items he was likely to encounter on a regular basis, as well as things like colors and shapes. After supper was quiet reading time, then the usual bedtime rituals. As Sam slipped under her covers, having sat beside Danny until he fell asleep, she reflected on the day, happily declaring it to have been good. Her last wish before she joined her ward in blissful slumber was that as many future days as possible would be just as good.


* * * * * * * *


Jonas stopped by the next day, nervously asking if it was all right if he visited. “Of course it is,” Sam replied, ushering him into the house. “Daniel will be glad to see you.”

“He will?” Jonas asked, blinking as Sam led him into the living room.

“He enjoyed your company at the mountain; he’ll enjoy it here. Looks like we have ourselves another visitor, Danny,” Sam called to the boy at the table in the far corner between the kitchen and the back door. Danny looked up from the art supplies he had just organized to his satisfaction and smiled shyly at the sight of another member of SG-1. “Told you,” Sam whispered into Jonas’ ear.

Jonas grinned at his reception. “It’s good to see you, Daniel. It looks like you’re really enjoying things here with Sam.” Danny’s smile grew, and he gave a short nod.

Sam looked from visitor to ward and back then gave Jonas a gentle push toward the couch. “Go ahead and draw, Danny. Jonas and I are going to talk on the couch.” She gave the Kelownan an inquisitive glance. “Unless you’d like to join him?”

Jonas shook his head. “No, that’s all right. I wouldn’t want to distract him. That and there’s a few things about work I need to talk to you about.”

“All right.” Sam’s expression turned serious and she sat down on the couch, shortly followed by Jonas and both of them missing the worried look the young boy gave them before returning to his own work.

“I’ve gone back to working on the tablet we found in the secret room on Abydos,” Jonas began. “This isn’t going to be easy; the language is one of the older dialects of Ancient. Combined with the missing pieces, I’m looking at quite a project.” He shook his head dismissively. “But I don’t think you can really help me with that.”

“Probably not,” Sam agreed.

Jonas’ gaze met hers. “We’ve been getting more and more reports from our allies that Anubis is getting progressively more powerful. The System Lords are getting nervous. That super weapon has totally unbalanced the scales of power out there. When General Hammond found out I was intending to come visit you today, he asked me to pass along the message that he’d like you to see what you can do to help come up with a plan to at least take out that weapon. He didn’t want to intrude on your leave, but...”

Sam held up a hand to stop him. “No, this is important.” She considered it. “I’ll need you to do something for me. I need as much information about the six Eyes of Power as you can get your hands on. See what the Jaffa and the Tok’ra know. Maybe there’s something in the way they generate their energy fields that can help us come up with a way to shut them down.”

“But what about getting onto Anubis’ ship? The Tok’ra haven’t been able to manage that yet, and no one can get into the important computer systems either because they’re all encrypted in one of the oldest Ancient dialects.” Jonas sighed. “We’re going to need to pull off something close to a miracle, aren’t we?”

“But those are our specialties,” Sam said with a shaky smile, glancing over at the kitchen table. Danny wasn’t facing them, but she knew he was listening to every word. “You’ve read our mission reports.”

Jonas also looked over at the boy. “I guess you’re right. I’ll make sure to get that information for you as fast as I can.”

Sam nodded. “Thanks. Now tell me what else is going on with you. Have you gotten up the guts to ask Lieutenant Rush out on a date yet?” She grinned wickedly.

“Uh, well...” Jonas stuttered, a blush starting to creep over his face.

The two friends talked until lunch, then spent time telling Danny about some of the people they met through the Stargate. Jonas left just before Danny laid down for his afternoon nap, assuring the boy he’d be back soon and being reassured in return by the smile his promise produced. Sam gave him a hug just before he walked out the door then said goodbye.

Sam returned to an anxious expression in Danny’s bedroom. “Can you stop Anubis?” Danny asked.

Sam sat on the bed next to him and met his worried gaze. “I can’t promise that, Danny. But I can promise that we’ll do everything in our power to try. That’s why I’m going to look at what those crystals are made of. I’m hoping that will give me an idea.”

Danny swallowed hard and nodded. “I hope so, too,” he whispered. “And I think it will.”

Sam just smiled and leaned over to kiss him softly on the forehead. “That’s another way for me to show how much I care,” she explained when she saw his confused look upon straightening. His confusion cleared and he smiled. “I’ll see you when you wake up. Sweet dreams.” Danny closed his eyes and drifted off, his expression never fading.

Sam wandered back into the living room and glanced over at the table where Daniel had been working. The picture he’d been drawing had been carefully put aside unfinished at lunchtime, but she hadn’t really looked at it when she’d moved it. Curiosity made her walk over and pick up the piece of artwork, and her eyes widened when she realized what she was looking at. There was a dark humanoid figure on the right side of the paper leaning back toward the near edge. On the left was the start of a four-person group facing off against the other figure. The one in the lead was the only one recognizable. She was slightly shorter than the other three, with short yellow hair, and her expression was stern as she held out something that looked like an eye of Horus from Egyptian mythology.

She slowly replaced the drawing and let her gaze drift off to nowhere, her thoughts drifting off as well. It looked like she and the rest of SG-1 would indeed be facing off against Anubis sometime very soon. She only hoped they could live up to Danny’s obvious confidence in them.


* * * * * * * *


The rest of the week passed quickly. While Earth’s allies hadn’t responded to the SGC’s request for information about the six Eyes of Power, Sam had worked on what information Daniel had put together about the Eye of Tiamat with supplemental information from Jonas. She had been surprised by what Daniel had managed to get from the Russians, but then the archaeologist had forged a unique connection with Colonel Chekhov. It was quite possible the Russian officer had facilitated Daniel’s research.

Sabrina came by just after lunch and spent some time with Danny while he played on the computer. After Sam put him down for his nap, the two women made themselves comfortable on the living room couch. “So how has the week gone?” the psychologist asked.

“It’s been interesting. We went over the rules like you suggested the afternoon after you left, and that night he had his first nightmare.” Sam gave the other woman a small smile. “He let me hold him. He actually let me comfort him physically.” She gave a short laugh and shook her head. “I also slipped and called him Danny.”

“How did he take it?”

“He wanted to know why I’d done it, then when I’d explained it was because I cared he said I could keep using it. But he’s decided that only people who really care about him can call him Danny.”

Sabrina grinned. “That’s excellent, Sam. He’s truly beginning to understand what it means to care about another human being, and he wants that for himself.”

Sam smiled, but it faded after a moment. “He’s been having nightmares almost every night this week, and during a few of his naps. Why now?”

Sabrina thought about it. “You explained the rules, so he knows how things work around here, what’s going to be expected from him. New people and experiences aren’t being thrown at him every time he turns around. He’s settling in, getting comfortable.” She met the blonde’s gaze. “He’s relaxed, so his mind has taken the opportunity to start working through the trauma it’s gone through. It’s hard, but just be there for him. Things will settle down after a while.” She frowned. “Keep me updated though. If it goes on too long, I’m going to need to know.”

Sam nodded. “Of course.”

“Has Daniel ever come to you after his nightmares? Has he ever been hurt and come to you for comfort?”

“No. I’ve heard him either screaming or crying and gone to him. The couple of times he’s hurt himself I noticed his reaction and... come to him.” Sam’s brows furrowed. “Does that mean something?”

“Yes and no. He’s still not completely comfortable with physical comfort, or he’d seek it. Considering his upbringing, I’m not surprised by this, mind you. He’s further along in regards to this than I’d expected actually. You’ve really made a connection with him.” Sabrina smiled.

Sam sighed. “Am I expecting too much by being disappointed by the fact that Danny doesn’t seek me out?”

Sabrina shook her head. “Oh, I think you know better. You’re just hoping for more, that’s all. And that is completely natural. It’ll come when it comes. Don’t try to force it.”

“I won’t.”

“Anything else of interest happen since the last time I was here?”

“We had a few visitors. Teal’c came by on Saturday.” Sam laughed. “I read those two fairy tales, and I think they were equally fascinated by them.”

Sabrina grinned. “I can just see that.”

Sam nodded. “I wish I would have had a camera. Then Jonas came by on Sunday. We talked about work for a while before lunch, then afterward told Danny about some of the people we’ve met through the gate. I had to reassure Danny that we were going to do our best to deal with Anubis, but it seemed to work. At least, he hasn’t had any nightmares about anything like that. They’ve all had to do with the lab.”

Sabrina scratched at the back of her neck. “He’s had it well-ingrained that he can trust SG-1 implicitly. Your reassurance that you would deal with Anubis is all he needs.”

“I guess I should take advantage of that while it lasts,” Sam said wryly. Sabrina chuckled. “Well, Janet and Cassie came over a couple of days ago, on Wednesday night for supper. Danny knows that I’d like him to stay with Janet while I’m off-world, so we’re trying to get him used to her while we don’t have to worry about me going to the mountain.”

“How did he handle Cassie?” Sabrina asked curiously.

“He was shy, and he stuck to my side like glue, but he didn’t seem to withdraw like he did with new people at the mountain. He knows where she really came from, though, so I think he was curious about her.”

Sabrina considered it for a moment. “I can see that. I doubt he’s ready to be alone with either one of them, but you’ve made a good start.”

Sam gave her a rueful look. “I’m not used to feeling this unsure about something. I feel like I need verification that what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis with Danny is the right way to go.”

“I think you’re more looking for reassurance than guidance, at least for the more common things,” the psychologist told her. “As for the touchier stuff... Well, those are the kinds of things I think we’d all need some help with, and help is all you’re asking for. You’ve been handling everything very well. You’re not putting decisions off until you can talk to someone, and you’ve picked a course of action and stuck to it. Danny feels secure here. He trusts you even beyond the rest of SG-1. That’s huge, and it wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been confident in yourself.” Sabrina smiled. “It may not feel this way, but you’re actually dealing with this situation like you deal with other situations. You’re working with the information you have on hand, getting more as it becomes available, and adjusting your plan of action as it becomes necessary. This just isn’t a science problem, and the results aren’t as obvious. The other thing to remember is that there’s no one way to raise a child, not even a unique case like Daniel. Do it your way. We’ll all help you in any way we can. And accept that you’ll probably always question yourself, at least on one level or another.” She shrugged. “Children are more flexible than a math equation. They bounce back from a supposed mistake or two.”

“I don’t like the idea of making mistakes with Daniel.”

“Every parent makes mistakes,” Sabrina said dismissively. “Like I’ve told you before, kids don’t come with instruction manuals. Just do your best. Daniel will care about you no matter what.”

Sam took a deep breath and released it. “I’m doing okay, aren’t I?” she asked quietly with a tone of realization.

Sabrina smiled gently. “You bet you are. Daniel’s amazing progress is proof positive of that.”

Sam swallowed and returned the expression. “This is going to be hard.”

“But the reward will be more than worth it.”

The two women shared a knowing look. Sabrina then reached out and gave Sam’s arm a reassuring squeeze, silently promising her continued support. Sam accepted it just as silently with a smile.

“So, what about Colonel O’Neill?” Sabrina finally asked.

“He called a couple times over the week, the first time to give me a hard time about not asking for his help with the cover story to explain why I’d taken Danny in. Teal’c helped me with that when he was here.” Sam shook her head with an amused expression.

Sabrina wore a similar one. “So what did you and Teal’c come up with?” she asked.

Sam explained the story she and her friend had created. “Everything’s in place to back it up legally. General Hammond took care of it after I talked to him yesterday,” Sam concluded.

The black-haired woman nodded. “It sounds good. So Colonel O’Neill hasn’t stopped by in person then?”

“No, but I’m not surprised. He’s trying to get over the feeling that Danny is here to take the place of Daniel Jackson. I can’t push him.”

“No, you shouldn’t. That’s what I was afraid was going to happen, but he’s doing well enough. He’ll deal with it eventually, and in the meantime he’ll be as good a friend to you as he can. You and the rest of SG-1 mean too much to him to do otherwise.”

“I know. I’ll take what he can give.”

Sabrina thought for a moment. “You said you made your cover story mainly to explain Daniel to your brother Mark. Tell me about him, about your family.”

Sam proceeded to do so, explaining Mark and Jacob and the relationships they shared. Sabrina added tales of her own family when the Air Force major reached uncomfortable parts of her story. The two of them got to know each other a little better during the exchange, which ended a little while before Danny was to wake up. The psychologist left with positive words and another admonishment to call her anytime if Sam needed her. Sam was sorry to see her go, but looked forward to the next week’s visit. Back to Gen Fiction          Back to Part Five          Go to Part Seven

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