Title: Playing the Right Hand
Category: UST, Pre-Ship
Spoilers: Ripple Effect
Summary: Teal'c considers that hand he's been dealt.
Author's Notes: Part Two in the five part series called Undulations. Any errors are my own, of course.
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
"It was you."
The words had refused to relinquish their hold on Teal'c. It had been several hours since the last team had been sent through the Stargate and had returned to their homes. Yet, he was still captivated by those words.
"It was you."
"Teal'c, it's your turn," said Colonel Carter. "Teal'c?"
Teal'c withdrew himself from his thoughts to focus on his hand. He spread the cards in a fan-like pattern and pondered which to choose. Concentration proved difficult.
"Do you possesses a ten?" he asked.
Colonel Carter shook her head. "Go fish."
Teal'c proceeded to fish. He picked up the first card from the center pile. It was a jack.
The card made Teal'c think of O'Neill. He had been informed of the incident with the teams from the alternate realities, having shared the same annoyance that Teal'c carried over the ordeal. While Teal'c did not believe it ran as deep in O'Neill, it was there nonetheless.
Teal'c had always felt the other realities were of little consequence. He had never felt they were of any use to him. He had never felt an emotional attachment.
He heard coughing. Teal'c glanced up from his cards to find Colonel Carter staring at him.
"I said do you have a queen?" she asked. Teal'c could detect a flicker of concern in her eyes.
"Indeed," he said, quietly handing her the card. "You may proceed again."
She hesitated, her scrutinizing gaze boring into him. "Do you have a five?"
"I do not," Teal'c said. "Go fish."
Colonel Carter complied, but her gaze did not leave him. "Are you okay?" she asked as she took a new card.
"I am fine," he replied.
"I don't know. I don't think so." She pursed her lips. "You just seem like you're a million miles away tonight."
"It was you."
He had been startled by Doctor Fraiser's words. He had not expected her to appear through the Stargate. Nor had he expected her to depart her secrets onto him.
She had been unable to tell Colonel Carter. He did not know why she would not share this information. Perhaps Doctor Fraiser wished for her to discover for herself. But she had not held the same restraint with Teal'c.
As he held Doctor Fraiser close and informed her that she would always be welcome, she had whispered in his ear. "Sam's maternity leave…it was you."
At first he was certain he had heard incorrectly. He did not show his surprise or his confusion. But as Doctor Fraiser and her team returned through the Stargate, he had caught the glimmer in her eyes. He had witnessed the truth.
His world would never be the same again.
Colonel Carter reached across the table to take his hand. "Teal'c, seriously, what's wrong? You can tell me."
Teal'c searched her face, warmed by her courage, her intelligence, and her compassion. He found himself wishing he could claim them as his own.
"It is nothing," he told her, forcing a small smile. "I am fine."
Colonel Carter appeared to sense he was not yet ready to talk. She squeezed his hand. "You know I'm always here for you."
He bowed his head. "As I am for you."
Colonel Carter seemed placated by those words. She tossed the cards on the table and stood, surprising Teal'c. "It's getting late, and I'm starving. How would you like to grab a bite to eat?"
The idea was more than welcome to Teal'c. "I would be honored to dine with you, Colonel Carter."
She grinned. "Great! Let's get going then."
Teal'c followed Colonel Carter out of her lab and into the hallway. He decided to bide his time and, as O'Neill had once told him regarding other matters, continue to play his cards right.
cross-posted to sg1_ripplefic, stargatefic, and gate_tales