Title: One Day
Summary: Teal'c teaches his son an important lesson.
Characters: Teal'c, Rya'c, Drey'auc
Prompt: beatrice_otter at the tealc_ficathon - the three things she wanted to see were Jaffa culture/family life, Teal'c being wise, generation gap
Word Count: ~1,000 words
They sat around the fire in silence, just the two of them, while Drey'auc was in the house, putting away the remains of their dinner. It was warm so close to the fire and he had missed that, all of it. From the feeling of Drey'auc's lips on his and her soft skin against his, to his son Rya'c, who sat next to him now. Though now that his son was several summers old, he did not show his feelings to him. His son would be embarrassed by such a display of emotion from his father.
They did not sit in silence for long, and Teal'c had not expected it. His son was getting more curious about what his father was doing with each passing season and asked more questions every time he came back.
“How many did you kill for Apophis?” Rya'c asked.
Teal'c suppressed a smile, remembering how he had sat with his father when he had been young, asking the same questions, eager to hear stories of his father's battles. Back then he had been equally unschooled in the finer points of conversations as Rya'c now. But the young Jaffa would acquire these skills later. “Many,” he just answered.
Teal'c looked at Rya'c and saw his son's face changing into a familiar pout, as it always did when Teal'c would not answer his questions. Jaffa children grew up with stories of wars and honor and death, but Teal'c had so far refused to tell Rya'c anything more realistic than the tales that had been passed on for generations among the Jaffa. They were tales of great heroes and battles, the same tales that his fathers had told to him, sitting around a fire just like this one.
“Why will you not tell me, father? Surely I am old enough now.”
“Because you are still but a child, my son,” Teal'c replied, his voice soft, yet firm. He knew this was not what his son wanted to hear, but sometimes Rya'c needed a reminder that despite his blooming strength and rapid growth, he was still very young for a Jaffa.
Drey'auc returned and sat down next to Teal'c, who placed his hand on her arm affectionately. “What is the matter, my husband?” she asked.
“He is deploring me about my missions again,” Teal'c explained the situation to her.
Drey'auc tilted her head, thinking for a moment. “He will soon be old enough to begin his training,” she then said.
Rya'c nodded. “All the other fathers are telling their sons about their adventures, so that we may learn from them.”
“I do not go on adventures, my son,” Teal'c responded. “And how many I have killed in the service of Apophis is not a matter to be discussed like this.”
“Why not?” Rya'c asked and Teal'c knew that his son was testing his boundaries.
Only one year ago, he would have chided Rya'c for such an insolence and sent him back in. But Rya'c was growing older and Teal'c knew that he was starting to question everything around him. He remembered being a little older than his son now and doing the same. And he remembered how much like an adult he had felt when his father had talked to him like he was going to be an equal soon, not merely a child. Still, Rya'c was not grown yet and had much to learn.
“It is not a matter the be discussed lightly. Even though they are our enemy and we fight against them, the other Jaffa are still like us. They have families, just as we have and friends like we have as well.” Teal'c remembered how life had been like when his father had been Cronus' First Prime. The memories of his death were painful, but they had also taught him a valuable lesson about the people on the other side of his weapon.
Rya'c leaned forward a bit. “If that is so, why are they our enemies, father?”
Teal'c thought about how to phrase his reply so that his son would understand. “Why that is so is not our concern. But it is our duty to treat them respectfully if Apophis doesn't demand otherwise, because they are Jaffa like us and are following orders just as we do.” Teal'c carefully avoided calling Apophis a God around his son. He knew that this seed was something that needed to be planted into his son's heart with patience over time.
His son looked at his Drey'auc and Teal'c, confusion but also curiosity and willingness to learn clear on his face.
“What your father is saying is that they are not worth less because they do not follow our... Apophis as we do,” Drey'auc added.
Teal'c noted that his wife had avoided calling Apophis a God. He knew she was skeptical of what he thought and thought that he was endangering their child by exposing his family like this. But she was also loyal to her husband and supported him when he needed it. She was a good wife and he loved her.
Rya'c nodded. “Do you know some of the other Jaffa, father?”
For a moment, Teal'c contemplated telling Rya'c about his own childhood, growing up among Cronus' Jaffa and how he had missed his friends after being exiled. But Rya'c had to be gently prepared for what Teal'c would teach him about Apophis one day. First, he needed to understand this lesson. Then on this lesson another lesson could be built, until he had taught his son everything he needed to know. “Some, yes. They are not that different from the people of Chulak.”
“Maybe it would be nice to be friends with them,” Rya'c mused quietly, not looking at his parents anymore, but at the fire.
And there, Teal'c saw it in his son – the same flame that burned in him, the wish for all Jaffa to be free of their oppressors and to be equal.
“Maybe one day, we all will be,” Teal'c said and looked at the fire burning down in their midst. One day.