It's been edited and proofread, but remains unbeta-ed at the present time. I'm not archiving it anywhere until its ready to go. So, if you interested, enjoy.
Title: Divided Loyalties
Spoilers: Mild spoilers of what is happening going into Season Nine.
Pairing/Character: Teal'c, Teal'c/Jack friendship
Summary: Teal'c reflects on his time with the SGC as memories, doubts, and insecurities haunt him, compounding his struggle to understand where his true loyalty should lie: to the Tau'ri or the Jaffa.
Author's Notes: Story mainly focuses on Teal'c, but there are small parts with Daniel, Landry, and Mitchell. Hammond, Janet, Sam, and Jonas are mentioned.
Disclaimer: Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters, titles, names, and back-story are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, SciFi Channel, and Showtime/Viacom. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be printed anywhere without the sole permission of the author. Realize this is for entertainment purposes only; no financial gain or profit has been gained from this fiction. This story is not meant to be an infringement on the rights of the above-mentioned establishments
"I have nowhere to go."
Those were words Teal'c had long forgotten and had left behind on a world that had become as foreign to him now as the Tau'ri world had once seemed so many years ago.
But now, as he stood alone, Teal'c was reminded of his isolation once again.
Beneath him, the Stargate remained still. This was how it had been for many months; its usage decreased more and more each day as the time of battle dwindled. The past few months had proven that the war with the Goa'uld was ending and that a new phase of life and responsibility had entered the SGC.
The Jaffa were free. This day, this dream, had finally come to pass. Teal'c had held onto the hope that his people would one day taste the joy of freedom and independence of the Tau'ri and strike together as one to reclaim their—
Teal'c paused, standing a little taller as he continued to gaze out of the briefing room. What was it that he wished for his people to reclaim? Did he wish for the Jaffa to recover their dignity? Their pride? Or perhaps he held onto the hope that they would reclaim their humanity…
The thought brought Teal'c both feelings of disgust and of longing.
A Jaffa is a Jaffa. From the time of his birth, this he was told. Jaffa were strong, shrewd, and loyal…to their god.
Humans were weak, he had been told. Only through the strength and might of the divine gods did humans hold any worth. Even the Jaffa held more value than the slaves brought from the worlds owned and governed by the Goa'uld. This was common knowledge.
Teal'c stepped away from the window, reflecting for only a brief moment on a lifetime of teachings by his first mentor. Through Master Bra'tac, he had been trained to become a formidable Jaffa, a cunning First Prime. It was through him that Teal'c had been able to learn what he had learned and use that knowledge to affect many outcomes on the lives of Jaffa.
As well as the human slaves of other worlds.
And now, he thought, as he slowly strode towards the exit, his years of servitude, his years of rebellion, and his years of fighting alongside those of the First World were over. At times, he was unsure if any of it had ever come to be.
Pausing, Teal'c found himself staring into the office next to the briefing room. Inside, he was certain he saw a glimpse of General Hammond as he once again studied a report from one of their missions. But then, it may have been O'Neill, sitting silently with his gaze cast outward, ineffectual in his battle against boredom.
But it was not.
"Something I can help you with?" General Landry asked, suspending his conversation with Colonel Mitchell.
Teal'c remained silent as he took once last look at the office. "You cannot."
With a slight bow, Teal'c acknowledged the soldiers in front of him before he began his careful stride down the corridor. He ignored the pursuit of footsteps behind him, but he did not ignore the words that fell on his ears.
"Teal'c," Colonel Mitchell said, his voice low, perhaps soft, "you're free to join us if—"
"Leave me be," he replied and continued to walk.
Colonel Mitchell did not press him any further, and indeed, let him be. That is where he left him as Teal'c continued his pursuit of something he did not know.
First, he found the room that had become his home. Teal'c stared at the door, recalling the many events that had taken place behind the sealed metal doorway. There had been pain, and triumph, sadness and desire. For eight years, this small room had been home to him.
He gazed at his abode again and was certain he could smell the sweetness of his candles as they burned within the confines of the room. Setting his jaw, he turned away, his mind in conflict over the contents behind those walls.
The Jaffa were gathering in great numbers at Dakara. With each passing day, another wave of Jaffa laid down their arms and came to take glory in the wonder of Dakara. Brothers and sisters united, as one, to finally taste their victory. Often, Teal'c found himself rejoicing with them, having left the SGC to join the Jaffa in creating a new government.
Yet, Teal'c had never fully abandoned his home on this world, leaving it as is. How could he help to unite all Jaffa if he could not—
There were many memories here. Teal'c left his room behind him, walking down the halls of the SGC once again. During his travels, here and abroad, he had seen many things. He had seen greatness and cowardness, love and hate. The memories were great, some as real as if they had just happened while others were like dreams that faded away.
As he continued to explore, Teal'c stiffened, catching the form of a woman rushing towards him. Doctor Fraiser ran, her heels clicking against the hard concrete floors of the SGC, as she hurried to assist in an emergency, or to save the fleeting life of one of her patients. She passed him and for a moment Teal'c smiled, catching the scent of the juniper perfume that she once wore.
But the scent was only a lingering one, he thought sadly, as he watched her ghost vanish into the stale air that choked this place.
Many memories and many ghosts of what was and what should not have been.
The political integrity of Dakara was in jeopardy. Jaffa against Jaffa, all vying for a place in the new government. This was not how it should be. This was not how their victory should come to pass.
Teal'c slowed his stride as he approached a dark laboratory room. There, he caught the sight of Colonel Carter. Gazing up at him, she caught his eye in a most delightful way, blushing as if she had been caught in project of great secrecy. Within her, Teal'c could sense the presence of a woman that had intrigued him from the start: a woman of intelligence and power, traits that Teal'c did not understand in women.
The women of the Tau'ri were not like the women of Chulak.
Pleased to see her, Teal'c stepped forward to meet his friend, only to find that she was gone, leaving dust and half-forgotten memories behind her.
It was all behind him now.
It should be all behind him now.
Sighing to himself, Teal'c quietly left the old laboratory of Colonel Carter, and forced himself to continue his trek through the halls of the SGC. It was not long before he found himself nearing the office and laboratory of Daniel Jackson.
Dark, the room was without life. From where he stood, Teal'c could see the silhouettes of many objects as they cast shadows on the artifacts that resided here. Sometimes the shadows appeared to take form, haunting him, reminding him of the atrocities he had performed as First Prime. But other shadows flirted with the light, flashing brief glimpses of Daniel Jackson or perhaps Jonas Quinn.
Quickly, they retreated and were nothing more than but shadows once again.
Ghost, shadows, memories—this is what made the SGC. But not only did he feel them here. They resided elsewhere, deep in the halls of the once great castles of Chulak, to the small hovels that were home to the outcasts, to even the ghettos of this world. Great or small, all Jaffa, all human, even all of the mighty Tau'ri held these things.
As he made his way towards the elevator, Teal'c realized he no longer could distinguish the difference. For now, they were all one.
Teal'c blinked, displeased how much this realization displaced his center of calm. It was only the mumblings of Daniel Jackson that provided Teal'c with an escape from his thoughts.
"Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked, watching as the scholar and warrior appeared to perform some kind of dance within the corridor.
"Teal'c," he replied, but did not speak more. Again, his body stirred with hard, jerking movements. Teal'c began to wonder if he had an insect within his clothing.
"Do you require assistance?" Teal'c offered.
"Uh, no, no." Daniel Jackson made a noise, one that sounded angry, before he made more frantic movements with his hands against his pants. "But have you seen my access card?"
"I have not." Soundlessly, Teal'c withdrew his own card and slid it through the swipe to access the elevator. A smile touched Teal'c's lips as he watched his friend continue to unsuccessful find his card. "Have you not searched your pockets, Daniel Jackson?"
Daniel Jackson paused, taking the moment to glare at him. Then, Teal'c was forgotten as he continued his vain effort to locate the card.
The smile on Teal'c's face only widened as the elevator door opened. Teal'c would have offered his own card to his friend, but an unexpected sight struck him.
Unable to hide his surprise, Teal'c stared at his former mentor. "O'Neill."
O'Neill's lips twitched, and slowly he raised his hand to reveal an SGC access card. He twirled it twice between his fingers before nudging his chin towards the console. "Punch it before he catches a clue."
Teal'c straightened his back, but did as he was instructed, regardless of the possible consequences. After he pressed his finger to the button that shut the elevator, he could hear the footsteps of Daniel Jackson as he ran towards them. While muttering, Daniel Jackson reached for the elevator, only to have the door close on his face.
The word "Jack!" was the last sound that both Teal'c and O'Neill heard as it echoed throughout the corridor.
"He is not pleased."
O'Neill shrugged, glancing away as he used the access card of Daniel Jackson to pick at his fingernails. "You know how hard it is to get away from him? Any man needs a few minutes to himself."
Teal'c found it difficult to hold back the smile that wanted to break across his face. However, not all of his resolve had been lost among his time with the Tau'ri, and he kept as impassive as he could.
"Was it not you that came here to seek out Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked.
O'Neill stiffened, though the move would be imperceptible to those who did not know him well. In the end, O'Neill brushed off the comment, as he often did with emotion and discomfort. The movement brought much sadness to Teal'c's heart.
"Yeah, well. Details," O'Neill muttered. He began to scrap at the side of the elevator walls. "So, how go the Jaffa?"
Whatever little amusement Teal'c had found in their conversation only moments ago, now vanished as quickly as it had come. "It does not go well, O'Neill."
"How so?" O'Neill asked, almost casual in his tone, though Teal'c could see beneath it.
"As more Jaffa gather, the process becomes more…" He paused, searching for the right word. "Difficult."
"Government building isn't easy," O'Neill admitted.
Already, long before the victory on Dakara, many of the Jaffa had begun to feel the Tau'ri and the Tok'ra were nothing but new masters. It was the right of the Jaffa to be treated as equals in the war against the Goa'uld. And now, as the war came to an end, the time had come for the Jaffa to fulfill its promise to all their brothers and sisters.
"Many Jaffa are blind to the greed of some of our leaders," Teal'c spat out bitterly. "They do not hold the ideals of freedom. They only do what is best for them."
O'Neill eyed him thoughtfully. "Charm, charisma, clout. I believe Daniel would jump in about now and say something about not just the Goa'uld having those traits."
Teal'c turned his head and stared at one of the walls of the elevator. Many Jaffa had begun to feel the Tau'ri and the Tok'ra were nothing but new masters. Perhaps there was some truth in those words. But perhaps it were the Jaffa themselves.
"Look, Teal'c," O'Neill began, "for what it's worth, I told Hank—"
"I cannot remain," Teal'c said firmly. He pushed back the strain that he felt. "I-I cannot."
Still refusing to gaze at O'Neill, Teal'c burrowed his thoughts and his very being into the wall to his side. For many years he had fought for this day, but he could not. There were so many things that he could not do.
Perhaps the identity they strove to obtain would become their undoing.
"Okay," O'Neill said softly. He spoke in such a subdued, sorrowful way that it made Teal'c abandon his confusion for just a moment. O'Neill stared at him.
"I suppose I should say something profound, something like 'home is where the heart is,'" he said.
Teal'c waited for O'Neill to continue. Instead, he sniffed, turned away, and used the access card to pick at a scrape on the elevator console.
He said no more.
Holding back a swelling of longing and regret, Teal'c swallowed hard. He allowed his set jaw to hold back the tension. After many years with the Tau'ri and in the company of O'Neill, he had come to learn some things were best left as they were.
Teal'c inhaled deeply, focusing his mind, and recalled the saying that many warriors of the Tau'ri used when parting ways.
"O'Neill," he said quietly. "It has been an honor—"
"Ah, ah." O'Neill grimaced, shifting uncomfortably. He slipped the card into his pocket. "I don't want to hear—"
He stretched out his hand.
Teal'c examined O'Neill's arm, and nodded, holding his hand out to complete the handshake.
He did not.
O'Neill pulled him forward, cementing their parting in a tradition Jaffa arm hold exchange. No words were spoken between them, but Teal'c would not have been able to speak had he wished.
Finally, O'Neill withdrew, clearing his throat at the moment the elevator opened its doors. To their surprise, Daniel Jackson, General Landry and Colonel Mitchell were awaiting them.
Teal'c felt his heart begin to warm again. Daniel Jackson was indeed most displeased. Glaring at them, he stood with his arms crossed over his chest. For a moment, Teal'c was uncertain if any time had passed at all.
"Ah," O'Neill said, his gaze falling to Daniel Jackson. "It seems that I have out warmed my welcome."
Daniel Jackson extended his hand, his palm open.
"What?" O'Neill asked.
"Are you starting trouble already, Jack?" General Landry asked, the amusement in his eyes almost betraying the firmness in his voice.
"What?" O'Neill repeated.
"Card. Now," Daniel Jackson said tersely.
"Touchy." Sighing, O'Neill handed him the card.
"And my car keys."
"Car keys?" Colonel Mitchell asked.
Without a sound, O'Neill withdrew the car keys from deep within his pockets and tossed them to their friend. Daniel Jackson did not flinch.
"And the pen Sam gave me."
Muttering, O'Neill reached one last time into his pockets and withdrew a slender pen. He returned the glare that had been given to him as he released possession of it.
Daniel Jackson sighed. "Anything else?"
"Nope, I think that's it." The mirth left O'Neill as he gazed at Daniel Jackson and exchanged a form of silent communication that Teal'c had learned to accept between them long ago. Then, O'Neill took the time to pat Teal'c on the shoulder. And squeeze. When Teal'c turned to acknowledge O'Neill, he felt the pain swelling within him once again.
He could not. He just could not.
Slowly, O'Neill released his hold before turning to Colonel Mitchell. "You. Come with me."
Colonel Mitchell nodded, following O'Neill as they headed into the elevator. Teal'c watched them go, holding firm as the doors began to close. Daniel Jackson remained by Teal'c's side, but with his eyes cast downward.
As the doors closed, Teal'c sent his final goodbye, catching O'Neill's gaze as they parted. O'Neill smiled, a lone smile, before holding up a small booklet. Ignoring the confused facial expressions of Colonel Mitchell, O'Neill pointed to his prize, victorious.
The doors closed.
The moment held long, with the three of them silent. Finally, life had to begin its march forward, with Daniel Jackson the first to speak.
"He has my address book, doesn't he?"
"He does." Teal'c paused, reading the mischief in his friend's eyes. "You were aware that he had your booklet, yet you let him leave."
Daniel Jackson nodded. "And, you knew he had it, but you didn't stop him."
The two of them walked quietly down the corridor together, following General Landry as they went. "What addresses do you keep within the booklet?" Teal'c asked at last, wondering if his suspicions were correct.
"Oh, you know." He grinned. "A few phone numbers, email addresses…for everyone. Maybe for people not even on this base anymore."
The grin spread to Teal'c's face as he imagined what O'Neill could do with this newfound information. It almost made him…wish to stay.
"Or this planet," Daniel Jackson added, gazing at Teal'c.
"I leave for Dakara momentarily," Teal'c said bluntly.
Daniel Jackson nodded. "I know. I know."
Teal'c was certain his friend would have said more, if not for General Landry. They slowed as the other man stopped, gazing at them pointedly before starting down another hallway.
"All I can say, if I get any email from Jack with Homer Simpson quotes, I'm coming after the two of you myself," General Landry said. "No matter where you are."
Daniel Jackson and Teal'c exchanged a surprised look.
They stopped for a brief moment by the office of Daniel Jackson before they, too, made their way to the elevator. Teal'c paused, glancing once more at this particular floor, feeling the swell of emotion as he left this place once again. He would return to Dakara and the political workings would move on. His life would move on.
But the ache would remain for Teal'c.
He could not. He could not…fully leave this place.
Part of him would forever dwell within these walls. If one listened carefully, one could even hear the careful breathing of the Jaffa who once lived here as he practiced kel'nor'eem, so long ago.
But that Jaffa was gone.
He could not. He must prepare to disembark. He could not.
"Come on," Daniel Jackson said softly. "I'll walk with you to the Gate."
Teal'c agreed with the gentle dip of his head, allowing for Daniel Jackson to accompany him as he prepared for…home.
But for Teal'c, he realized the word held no meaning for him. In fact, instead, he heard those first words echo through his mind once more, haunting him, tormenting him, teasing him with doubts of an unsure future.
"I have nowhere to go."