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Monday, March 22nd, 2010 08:10 pm
A somewhat belated happiest of birthdays to [personal profile] abyssinia, co-mod and all-around wonderful person!

I regret to report that last year's birthday fic for Abyssis is still unfinished. Under the circumstances, the very least I can do is write fic for her icon prompt.

Jonas Quinn dreams of Daniel Jackson, or maybe he doesn't. A little bit of angst set just before Redemption. 1,350 words. PG.

Special thanks to Speedy Gonazales [personal profile] aurora_novarum for her quick and insightful beta!

Well Met at Midnight

Earth's hours and minutes don't mark time the way they do on Kelowna, but by any calculation, Jonas knows he ought to be fast asleep by now. Instead, he tosses and turns in his little room hundreds of feet below the surface of this world, unable to relax. He's used to spending long hours indoors buried in his work, but being buried under concrete and rock is much more uncomfortable. He's also used to being liked - it's part of his job to be likable, or it was, anyway - but it's different here. He feels smothered not just by the weight of the mountain overhead, but also by the overly stiff politeness and not-quite-disguised suspicion that he meets whenever he ventures out of the safety of his quarters or the little office he's beginning to claim as his own.

When he finally drifts off to sleep, he seems to also drift away from the room with its alien decor, morphing into a silent ghost cruising the stark corridors of this underground fortress. He wanders past blank-faced guards holding ugly weapons, floats down stairwells, and moves inexorably towards that final link to a home he can never get back. His feet settle gently to rest with a faint clang on the heavy ramp that leads up to the Stargate.

He slowly twists his neck, scanning the room, but the ubiquitous soldiers are missing. Even the heavy shutter that shields the control room is down. It's just him and the huge stone ring, facing one another in the silent landscape of his dreams. Almost absently, Jonas observes that he's not wearing the scratchy, stiff uniform they gave him, or even the formal robes he used to don when he served as liaison for the High Minister. He's wearing the casual gray fatigues of the Kelownan workplace - comfortable, practical, familiar clothing. He smooths a hand down the front of his shirt and wonders if he'll ever feel the sensation of Kelownan knits against his skin again.

A soft footfall behind him makes him turn, but it's only Doctor Jackson. He comes to a stop several feet away, hands in pockets, slouching comfortably in an outfit just like the ones that Jonas hates to wear. Jonas gives him a casual nod of acknowledgment, somehow incurious that the animated face is unmarred by the stained bandages and dreadful sores he saw when the man lay dying of naquadria poisoning. Jackson smiles and raises his eyebrows in greeting, and Jonas turns back to his contemplation of the Stargate.

"I'm sorry for what you've lost," Jackson says some undefined time later.

"I think you've lost more," Jonas replies without turning to face him.

"It's not death, you know."

"Close enough," Jonas points out, and though he doesn't choose to say so, the words seem to echo in the cavernous room: You're not here because of me.

The silence builds between them, at once uncomfortable and oddly serene. Mouth twisting into a grim smile, Jonas adds, "I told you I wanted to see what's beyond the Stargate. I didn't expect to see nothing more than an underground bunker. After what happened, though, I don't have the right to complain."

Even with his back turned, Jonas can still see Jackson rock back on his heels, brows drawn together now in furrowed thought. "I left Earth before this, you know," Jackson finally says. "At the time, I thought I'd be cut off from Earth forever. But at least I was welcome where I'd gone."

Jonas idly wonders if Jackson is trying to offer comfort or insult. It's difficult to tell, and strangely, he's not sure that he cares.

"You made a choice," Jackson presses. "And you think it was the right one, even if your circumstances now aren't ideal."

Jonas turns then, feeling his comfortable gray knits stiffen into the harsh material of Earth's BDUs. He matches Jackson now. "I made several choices," he says slowly. "One of them got you killed."

Jackson shrugs and shakes his head. "I made my own choice," he corrects. "No one asked me to jump through that window." He takes his hands out of his pockets and waves them vaguely. "It's just... impulse and action. It gets to be a habit after a while."

Jonas doesn't know how to answer this, so he says nothing. He's honest enough with himself to recognize and acknowledge that his frozen moment of terrified indecision didn't kill Doctor Jackson. But he's also honest enough with himself to recognize that it took too long to come forward and tell the truth about what really happened.

Jackson frowns sharply at the unspoken thoughts and lifts a warning finger. "No," he says flatly. "I know a little about the courage it takes to deny popular opinion and state what you know is the truth, even if no one else wants to hear it and you'll be reviled for it."

Behind Jonas, the Stargate begins to turn, stone grating against stone. He can hear the sharp thunk as chevrons lock in place, one after another.

"I would've liked the chance to get to know you better," Jonas finally offers. It seems an almost pathetic response, but he hopes Jackson knows that he's sincere.

Jackson smiles a little, his head tipping in a rueful nod. "We didn't have enough time, did we?"

Another chevron locks, and Jonas feels his shoulders slump as he answers, "No. We didn't have enough time at all."

He turns back in time to see the deadly beauty of the event horizon lash out in his direction, frothing entropy before settling back into cool blue serenity. He can't help but notice that despite the bright, shimmering light of the open Stargate before him, Doctor Jackson's shadow is cast in his direction, stretching over him. Jonas supposes that shadow will always dim everything he might say or do with the enormity of Jackson's presence... or absence.

"Look," Jackson says, stepping closer. "The SGC has a pretty decent track record with people who have to leave their homes and find a new place on Earth."

Jonas glances at him and keeps the bitterness out of his voice with careful deliberation. "How many other people come to Earth under circumstances like mine?"

Jackson's brows quirk up again, and his smile is quick and fleeting before his expression settles into something pained. "I did, when I first came back from Abydos. People died because of choices I made. General Hammond could barely stand to look at me the first time we met."

Jonas stares. "How did you gain their trust?" he asks, hearing the desperation in his own voice, the sheer hunger to know.

"I didn't give up," Jackson says simply. He reaches out a hand, but pulls it back before making contact. "Don't give up, Jonas."

"I..." Jonas starts, then stops, because he doesn't know what to say.

Jackson sticks his hands back into his pockets, gives Jonas a final nod, and dissolves into light.

Jonas wakes up, sitting bolt upright in the hard, narrow bed with the sheets made of some bleached material so unlike the rich hues of bedding at home. His hand brushes the foreign material of his sleepwear, the pajamas the SGC was generous enough to give him. After all, he fled Kelowna with nothing more than the clothes on his back and a small box of stolen naquadria tucked under his arm. It's all he had then, and all he can claim now. Blood price, peace offering.

He feels the wetness on his cheeks and bows his head, too resigned to defeat to even wipe the tears away.

Don't give up.

An echo in the air, or a wisp of memory from his dream?

He wonders if his imagined Doctor Jackson is even remotely similar to the one he'd liked so much but never got the chance to really know.

Don't give up.

"I'll try," he whispers to the silent room, and very deliberately wipes his face with his sleeve.

Three days later, he steps outside of Cheyenne Mountain for the first time when SG-1 takes him to see the X-302.

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Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
Nice, very nice.
Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 10:42 pm (UTC)
I have to admit that when I took the prompt for the Jonas Alphabet Soup, I was a bit wary of trying to write Jonas what with Season Six not being my favorite and Jonas not being a character that I every really warmed to. But I found him surprisingly easy to write for because we have so little canon about what he really did before he crossed paths with SG-1. So many different places a writer can take his character.