Title: It's All About Technique
Category: Sam/Teal'c friendship; Team; Humor
Spoilers: Season Two up until "Out of Mind"
Summary: Though a traitor, an outcast, saddled with the hardships of an enslaved people and a war against false gods, Teal'c learns that simplicity can hold a new kind of freedom.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Meg for looking this over. This was also for Meg for some help on a school project so Meg has stamped her identity all over this one.
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
There were days when Teal'c did not understand the Tau'ri.
The place known as Colorado Springs, while often mild, repeatedly had times of snowfall in the winter. Silently, Teal'c surveyed his surroundings. Why the people of this place needed ice within a building…this he could not understand.
"People here on Earth will use anything and make it into a game or a sport," Daniel Jackson told him. He stood beside Teal'c, his arms crossed as he stared at the great oval before them. "It comes down to the human need to control and create, even if just for leisure. In fact, in our society, 'create' is part of the word recreation," he added thoughtfully.
Teal'c did not find this information relevant, but remained reflective nonetheless. "Just like your hoc-key."
"Uh…yes, yes. Something like hockey. Only hockey is pointless."
"Hockey is not pointless," O'Neill said. As he shook his head, he reached down and grabbed his boot, beginning to untie his laces.
"Okay, I'm sorry. Not pointless," Daniel Jackson said. "Senseless."
"Pointless. Senseless." Teal'c detected the annoyance in O'Neill's voice. "Don't you listen to a word he says, Teal'c."
"I have already listened to many words."
O'Neill gave Teal'c a displeased look. "No, Teal'c. Just don't listen to him now. This is not senseless. Neither is hockey."
Teal'c's eyes fluttered as he returned his gaze to the ice platform. He was certain this was not wise.
As Teal'c had learned, the Tau'ri were often brash and did not think before they acted. True, this could be said of any Jaffa, as Teal'c had been impetuous many times in his youth, and when angered, even now. But Teal'c had seen the ways of the Tau'ri. They performed action without purpose. On the television, they jumped off bridges with nothing but a cord. This action was not for training in their warrior camps but for "thrills." These "thrills," as O'Neill called them, were meaningless to Teal'c. The First World was indeed a place of strange occurrences.
He would not have come if not for Captain Carter. She had given him many reassurances that this activity was indeed one that the Tau'ri often partook in for satisfaction. It was not some form of joke or torture invented by O'Neill. Remembering her enthusiasm, Teal'c turned his head to her, smiling inwardly as she tied some contraption to her feet.
The raised voices of Daniel Jackson and O'Neill brought Teal'c back to the moment. "It's good to know that we as a civilization have grown so much to turn to beating each other up with sticks over a glorified ritual object."
"Don't bash hockey." O'Neill grunted as he yanked off his boots. "Besides, we're not playing hockey."
"No. Walking on ice is so much better."
"Actually, you won't be walking, Daniel," Captain Carter said, calling to them as she walked with care. "Any jerking action will cause you to fall."
Daniel Jackson did not seem impressed. Teal'c had to concur. He did not enjoy this prospect either.
"I think…I think maybe Teal'c and I will just stay here and watch." Daniel Jackson's gaze fell to Teal'c, his eyes appearing to hold a deceptiveness that Teal'c felt was betrayed by the stiff motions of his body. "Right?" he urged.
"No," O'Neill said, silencing Teal'c before he could answer. "I didn't bring you here to warm the benches."
"We are not warming the benches, O'Neill."
"Damn straight." He leaned over and tied the last of his awkward shoes to his feet. It was then Teal'c noticed the sharpness of the blades beneath his feet. "You and Daniel get ready and let's go."
"Nope." He pointed to the both of them. "Now."
Daniel Jackson continued to voice his displeasure, but did as instructed nonetheless. Just as O'Neill and Captain Carter had done, Daniel Jackson reached down to untie his laces and remove his footwear. Teal'c began to do the same, mimicking his friend's actions. While Teal'c had prior knowledge that movement would require some kind of device to cut through the ice, as he had seen on television, he had not realized it would be as simple as mere blades embedded into small boots.
Teal'c looked down to his feet. This did not look well.
"Hey," Daniel Jackson said suddenly, pointing to O'Neill's feet. "You have cheating skates."
"Are you attempting to trick us, O'Neill?"
"No," O'Neill said defensively. "It's not cheating. They're skates used for hockey. They're just a little fancier."
"Different," Daniel Jackson mumbled.
O'Neill ignored him.
"Will this difference then not give you an advantage?"
"No, it just means he's going to show off," Daniel Jackson said warily. "And brag about it for months."
"You'll have fun," Captain Carter said. She had left them and entered the rink, hovering on the other side of the barrier as she spoke. "Anyone can skate with practice."
Teal'c sighed inwardly, glancing down to his skates once again. He could not see how these devices would be able to hold his weight on the ice. Much of his strength and stamina came from his ability to balance his form on solid ground, whether on earth or snow. The ice sheets of Chulak were traveled by use of Goa'uld technology.
Teal'c did not have practice.
Captain Carter must have sensed his indecision for she reached over and touched his arm. "It's not so bad," Captain Carter assured him. "It's all about technique."
Teal'c did not smile, but was appreciative of the softness in her voice.
"Here. I'll show you." Captain Carter pushed away from the barrier and entered the rink.
Teal'c kept his gaze focused upon her. He watched in rapt attention as Captain Carter used her muscles to push herself across the ice, gaining both speed and momentum. When she was sufficiently powerful, she leapt into the air, performing some form of jump, before her skating devices landed firmly on the ice.
Teal'c could not speak.
"What the hell," O'Neill swore, his face pinched with displeasure.
"Sam used to take skating lessons when she was a child," Daniel Jackson said.
O'Neill swore once again, his angry gaze flickering to Teal'c before settling back on Daniel Jackson. "You knew she was going to do that, didn't you?"
Daniel Jackson smiled sweetly. "Yes."
"That's not just skating lessons," O'Neill mumbled, fumbling over towards the entrance to the rink. "That was a Waltz Jump."
Teal'c and Daniel Jackson turned their attention to O'Neill. He coughed uncomfortably.
"Or so I think. Not like I've watched figure skaters or anything."
Daniel Jackson faced Teal'c and shook his head. It was in secret code to Teal'c to inform him when O'Neill was telling falsehoods.
However, O'Neill was paying little attention to them. For reasons Teal'c could not discern, he appeared angry with Captain Carter. The Tau'ri could be strange indeed.
"He doesn't want Sam to make him look bad," Daniel Jackson explained.
Teal'c nodded. O'Neill feared his status as a warrior had been compromised.
O'Neill appeared hurt. "Hey, I'm secure."
Daniel looked to Teal'c and shook his head.
"Why don't you show us, Jack?"
O'Neill was about to step onto the rink before he paused, turning to glare at Daniel Jackson, finally having caught his deception. "Oh, I don't think so." He motioned to Daniel Jackson and Teal'c. "No trying to get out of fun."
Daniel Jackson appealed to innocence. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
"It appears that Captain Carter is preparing for another leap," Teal'c informed them, weary of their discord. It could become most tiresome.
The three of them remained silent as Captain Carter performed another movement on the ice. It seemed similar to the prior leap. However, it was slightly higher.
O'Neill swore but Teal'c found Captain Carter's performance aesthetically pleasing. Satisfied, he turned to Daniel Jackson for confirmation.
Puzzled, he watched as his friend muttered, mouthing incoherently as he watched the movements of Captain Carter. His finger slid up and down against the air, as if he were attempting to count something that was not present.
"Whoa," O'Neill said, eyeing Daniel Jackson carefully. "Don't even think about it. You're not serious."
"You know, just because the academic community never took me seriously, doesn't mean I'm not serious."
"I think we've established that."
"It's just a matter of form and pattern." A determined expression entered the face of Daniel Jackson. His lips moved without sound before he brought his hand down. "That can be done."
O'Neill intercepted Daniel Jackson before he made it to the ice. "Whoa, there, Brian Boitano. How about starting small?"
"You wanted me to skate and now you don't?"
"If you want to land on your ass, sure. Knock yourself out."
"Thank you, Jack. I can always count on you for encouragement."
Teal'c sighed and tuned out the bickering between his two friends. Instead, he decided to focus solely on Captain Carter. She continued to move across the ice, occasionally making patterns, or turning to glide backwards.
The movements were calming for Teal'c. The women of Chulak rarely held the grace and power that Tau'ri women seemed to hold as one. Pleased, he stood patiently as Captain Carter finished her workout and joined him by the side of the barrier.
"Hi," she said, only partially breathless. Her skin gleamed with light perspiration. "Are you ready, Teal'c?"
He stared at the platform. "No."
"Oh, it's not so bad," she said again. "I won't force you to do anything like that." She grinned. "I was just-"
"'Showing off,'" he said, quoting Daniel Jackson.
She blushed. "So, you want to get started?"
Teal'c stiffened, again uncertain how his body could be sustained on such a slick surface. If need be, he could remain here and continue to watch Captain Carter. Then, he turned to O'Neill and Daniel Jackson who were still arguing, this time concerning the thickness of their insulation.
"I am ready, Captain Carter."
"Good," she said, her face beaming. She held out her hands. "Let's go."
Teal'c stepped forward, awkward on the blades. Carefully, Captain Carter led him forward, holding his hands as Teal'c entered the rink.
The feeling was strange. He felt the coolness of the ice rise upward, passing over his legs, yet he felt strangely secure, standing here, within the grasp of Captain Carter.
Slowly, she turned, coming to stand beside him. She placed her hands on his waist and began to instruct him on how to push forward. They remained close to the barrier, far from O'Neill and Daniel Jackson, but within distance of an exit in the event Teal'c wished to leave the ice.
Teal'c appreciated the kindness offered by Captain Carter, but he would not give in so easily.
He grunted, pushing off, and allowing himself to glide forward. He felt peculiar, off balance, and held out his arms in front of him.
This was not encouraging.
Captain Carter came to his side, grabbing his forearm, and supported him. "It's okay. It takes a while to get used to the ice."
By this time, O'Neill and Daniel Jackson had entered the rink. From his vantage point, it appeared as if…they were attempting to knock each other onto the ice.
"Boys," Captain Carter muttered, shaking her head. She gazed up at him, her eyes gleaming. "Promise me you won't act like that."
"I would never act in that manner with you, Captain Carter."
She smiled. "Good. Let's try again."
And they did. After several tries, with Captain Carter guiding him with each step, Teal'c found that he could glide quite easily as long as he had something on which to hold. He was not foolish enough to try the leaps that Captain Carter had performed earlier, but he knew that within time he would be able to master longer movements over ice.
"Wow, Teal'c," she said. "You're a natural."
Teal'c felt as if he were glowing. "I have a skilled teacher."
"Why, Teal'c," she said, her face breaking into an embarrassed grin.
"Let us try again."
For the next half hour, Captain Carter instructed Teal'c in the ways of the ice skating. He grew more confident, and stronger, and noticed another change as well. His mood had shifted, and for the first time in his life Teal'c felt as if he could soar above the pains and torments of his past.
Startled, Teal'c stopped. "So this is what it means to be free," he whispered to himself.
"I'm sorry?" Captain Carter asked, shifting her skates to stop in front of him. "Teal'c? Do you need to sit down?"
For a moment, he did not answer her, his gaze focused outward and towards both O'Neill and Daniel Jackson whose bodies were sprawled across the ice. Despite their arguments, despite their hardships and loss of loved ones, they seemed happy, rising above the stresses in their lives.
And by his side, Captain Carter, though concerned for him, seemed to have had lost the fine imprint of pain she had suffered this year, her worries of her father, and her confusion with the Tok'ra.
In this moment, in this time, they were all free.
"It is nothing," he told her. Smiling, he held her hands and pressed them to his heart. "I thank you, Captain Carter."
Puzzled, she eyed him carefully, though the smile never left her lips. "Why?"
"For showing me the technique."