rydra_wong (rydra_wong) wrote in tealc_ficathon,
rydra_wong
rydra_wong
tealc_ficathon

Easy There, Steady Now - for deani_bean

Title: Easy There, Steady Now
Author: Rydra Wong
Rating: PG-13/R
Pairing: Teal’c/Cameron
Warnings: slash, violence, mild spoilers for season 9 through “The Scourge”
Word Count: 5148

Disclaimer: Not mine, not making any money out of ‘em. SG-1 belongs to many people who are not me; the title and summary belong to Richard Thompson.

Written for deani_bean’s request:

Three things you WANT in your story: Teal'c/Cameron or Teal'c/Daniel, plot, smoochies!
Three things you DO NOT WANT in your story: No Mary Sues (including Mary Sue versions of anyone on the show) or OCs, PWP, anything I won't write
What AREN'T you willing to write: het, character death, mpreg, self-mutilation, BDSM, h/c, incest, kidfic, non-con


Thanks for beta-ing to _minxy_ and robynbender.

Summary: “Jack-knife with a precious load / spills its guts all over the road / ‘Scuse me, I had to smile, / lost my grip too for a while … / I said easy there, steady now. / Easy there, steady now...”



**********

“So, any suggestions?” Colonel Mitchell says, rusty-voiced.

“In future, I believe it would be wise if you desisted from attempts to rescue me,” Teal’c replies. As he intended, Mitchell is startled into brief laughter.

Then he raises his bound hands to wipe ineffectually at the water on his face, and shudders again. His clothes are sodden, clinging, and he is barefoot on the muddy sand; Teal'c removed his boots before fastening the zip ties around his ankles. But he does not believe that it is the cold which is making Mitchell shiver.

The sample canister is heavy and cool in Teal’c’s hands, its seal tight and the LED of the power cell glowing; it is still possible that they could complete this mission. He stows it securely, then assesses their position in the gathering dusk. Safer to make camp where they are, on the lakeshore itself. The water can no longer be a danger to either of them, but fear of what it contains will keep the Unas at a distance; it is unlikely they will be ambushed again during the night.

“This is a temporary thing, right? We get back, ‘phone up the Tok’ra, the Asgard...”

“The extraction is now a simple procedure,” Teal'c agrees, offering as much calm as he can.

“Well, I guess this beats the trifecta. Jackson’s never been snaked, has he?” Mitchell closes his eyes briefly, then opens them again. “Hey, this mean I get to use all the cool Goa’uld toys?”

“These primitive symbiotes have no naquadah in their blood.”

“Damn.” The sincere disappointment on Mitchell’s face reminds Teal’c of Rya’c as a child, deprived of a treat he believed himself to have been promised.

He will not pitch the tent, he decides; it will be necessary to watch Mitchell and the tree-line simultaneously, to be able to move instantly. Instead, he checks the gear – weapons, tretonin, food, tablets for purifying water - then starts gathering branches for a fire. Drenched clothes and a cold night are the least of the hazards they face, yet they are not negligible.

Mitchell coughs, then grimaces. “Oh, man, that’s blood … Feels like someone took a cheesegrater to my throat. That’s just gross.”

Teal’c can see his adrenaline rush dying, watch him running down like a cheap clockwork toy, wound too tight and then allowed to chatter itself into silence.

“Uh … why am I still here? Not that I’m complaining, but … I mean, me, and not doing the whole flashing-eyes, world-domination thing.”

“Most probably the symbiote was immature. It will take time to gain complete control of the body.”

“Right.” Mitchell nods. “I'll let you know if I start jonesin’ for glitter or funky hats.”

Teal’c thinks of Kawalsky, blood and bone and brain tissue smeared on the grid of the ramp. He turns away, and looks for another branch dry enough to burn.

Later, balancing an MRE on his knees, Mitchell says, "If Sam and Jackson went back through the 'gate when I ordered, then the SGC's gonna know we have an Ori situation here, at least."

Teal’c makes a short noise of acknowledgement. "They will not risk a 304, after Tegalus. If they send back-up, they will seek to avoid direct confrontation with the Ori.”

"So, we head for the 'gate, first thing?"

A question, not an order, although with Mitchell it has always been hard to tell the difference.

Nevertheless, Teal’c finds himself surprised by how easily Mitchell has ceded command and permitted himself to be restrained. Their strategic instincts are often similar, and yet it shows an eagerness to trust that he would not have expected from someone who has known him for such a brief time.

“Will you look at that,” Mitchell says. P3X-888’s second moon is rising above the trees now, and he stares at it like a promise. When Teal’c glances over, he continues, grinning, “You gotta admit, that’s pretty cool. When I was a kid, my dad had these old science fiction paperbacks, some of ‘em looked just like that. Two moons, that’s how you know you’re really on an alien planet.”

“The planet of Chulak has two suns,” Teal’c points out.

“Huh.” Then, sideways and canny, scooping more food into his mouth with unexpected deftness: “You’re saying none of this is new to you? You don’t get amazed at anything anymore?”

“There is much in the universe that I find worthy of wonder,” he concedes.

He remains cross-legged by the fire while Mitchell wriggles clumsily into his sleeping bag. Meditation will reduce his body’s demands for sleep in the short term; when the need becomes pressing, he can sleep lightly while sitting and wake instantly.

For the present, he stares out over the lake, watching the night deepen until the broken reflection of the flames is the only thing differentiating water from trees from sky.

Glancing over, he sees that Mitchell is curled on his side, bound hands in front of his face, fingers interlocked, eyes shut and lips moving silently.

After a moment, his eyes snap open as if he feels the pressure of Teal’c’s regard. He glares indignantly for a second, face reddening as if he has been caught at a more intimate activity, then rolls over awkwardly.

A while later, Teal’c realizes that his gaze has been lingering on Mitchell’s back instead of the water.

**********

The following day, they cover less distance than Teal’c had hoped.

Mitchell’s jacket and boots are still damp; he insists on carrying his pack as they hike through the woods, but his bound hands impair his balance, making him clumsy. And he talks even more than usual, as if the sound of his own voice is a comfort.

Teal’c lets him take point, following behind with the compass and a zat. He only partially listens to Mitchell, most of his attention absorbed in scanning the trees for sudden movements or sounds, any rustle of leaves or snap of twigs that does not come from small animals or their own boots.

As ever, the lack of response does not seem to deter Mitchell from discoursing on such topics as how much their intel sucks, or possibly blows (momentarily diverting Teal’c into amused contemplation of the vagaries of the English language), the merits of various flavors of ice-cream (Teal’c is briefly moved to interject in favor of New York Super Fudge Chunk), possibilities for the next movie night, the makings of a fine redeye gravy, and a variety of anecdotes, most of which involve members of his extended family, explosions, or both.

“So anyway, I said, ‘Man, that thing’s gonna go up any second,’ - I said...”

Teal’c turns at the sudden silence and realizes that Mitchell has stopped, staring blankly into the trees. “What was I saying? I don’t …” Then, abruptly, tight-voiced, “I think I’m losing it.”

Teal’c catches up with him and grasps his arm firmly, feeling the faint tremor even through the mud-stiffened fabric of Mitchell’s jacket.

“I believe you were telling me how you came to learn Mandarin,” he lies smoothly. It may even be true, for all he knows.

Mitchell shakes his head dizzily. “Sure. Yeah.”

But he does not continue speaking. Ten minutes further down the path, he adds, casually, “Never gonna play poker with you, man, you know that?”


**********

By evening, they are still in the forest. Mitchell slumps down with his back against a tree and stretches out long legs to let Teal’c tie his ankles again.

“Now be a good time to tell you I’m really not into bondage?” he enquires.

In all his years with the Tau’ri, Teal’c has never found an appropriate response to such remarks, so he remains silent, his gaze on the wet leaves clinging to Mitchell’s boots.

"Damn, my head’s killing me,” he adds, more quietly; Teal’c has already noted his increasing pallor. "We got aspirin in the med pack?”

“Pain medications may reduce your resistance,” Teal’c tells him.

“No respect for your CO,” Mitchell mutters, without real heat.

Teal’c checks the containment unit again before setting up camp. Able to live and breed in the water without incubators or hosts, these primitive symbiotes may end the shortage of tretonin. Ironic that the Jaffa should depend on the Goa’uld still - though this time they may exploit rather than be exploited by them.

“Man, it's creepy thinking of having one of those things inside me,” Mitchell comments. Then he glances up and adds hastily, “Uh, no offense.”

“None is taken,” Teal’c says, allowing a flicker of his amusement to show.

Once Teal’c has started the fire, with a handful of dry moss for tinder, Mitchell says, “They should start putting marshmallows in with the MRE packs. Can’t think of a mission that wouldn’t be improved by S’mores -”

Teal’c hears the noise in the trees first and freezes, listening. Mitchell breaks off in mid-sentence, turning his head, trying to locate whatever has caught Teal’c’s attention.

Movement on at least three sides. Too purposeful for animals.

As the Unas emerge from the trees, Teal’c drops into a squat, to make himself appear smaller, less threatening, P90 balanced across his thigh. He counts at least five Unas, and presumes that more remain out of sight. Behind him, he can feel Mitchell’s stillness, wire-taut.

Whether these Unas have succumbed to the Ori or not, they will not welcome intruders into their territory. Once they were the stuff of his childhood terrors; now he knows them for another people willing to fight for their freedom from slavery. He does not wish to kill them unless there is no alternative.

The first Unas moves forward, a few low crouching steps nearer the fire. Not the leader, he estimates, but a subordinate. He suspects that the leader is the larger male who remains slightly behind, judging by the way the others look to him for cues. If necessary, he will shoot him first. He rests his hand lightly across his gun, fingers drifting closer to the trigger.

“Uh, ka keka,” Mitchell says, then repeats again more loudly, “Ka keka!”

The lead Unas lifts its head, listening. Teal’c does not take his eyes off it.

“Uman ka naya unas.” Mitchell stumbles over the words, awkward but clear. “Ka naya Dan-ell.”

The Unas stares at Mitchell for a long moment. Then it growls, but begins backing into the trees. The others follow its lead, one casting a curious glance back at them.

“Aka,” Mitchell says softly, mostly to himself.

Once he is sure the Unas have gone, Teal’c turns to give Mitchell his own curious glance, one eyebrow raised in question. He has almost become accustomed to being surprised by him.

Mitchell shrugs, bashful and pleased with himself. “Jackson wrote up a crib sheet, put it in the files.”

Teal’c inclines his head in a small bow, and Mitchell grins at him, face bright in the firelight.

He does not lack confidence, and yet he thrives on Teal’c’s approval. If Mitchell were a younger Jaffa, Teal’c would have no doubts about how to interpret his behavior. Custom and tradition would sanction relations between them.

But Mitchell is Tau’ri; Mitchell is his commanding officer. He does not treat Teal’c as an alien, yet neither does he try to pretend that Teal’c is human. He will not keep his distance, but Teal’c does not know how far his differences go, or where his limits lie.

A human with a symbiote in him, a Jaffa without one: there are no customs for this.


**********

He wakes to blackness - deep night - and for a moment does not know what woke him. There is the chill touch of moisture on his skin: dew, or a light rain.

The fire has burnt down to sullen coals, and Mitchell is crouching by it, coiled tight, staring into the dark.

It is only when he turns that Teal’c sees the white-gold flare of his eyes.

His zat is in his hands without conscious thought, before the light has faded. The Goa’uld raises his bound hands between them, as if in supplication, or to show him that it is still restrained.

He does not try to interpret the gesture but fires immediately, watching Mitchell convulse in the blue crackle then slump to the ground.

Once he is incapacitated, Teal’c rolls his limp body onto one side, unfastens his hands and then re-ties them behind his back. There are red marks on his wrists already, where the plastic restraints have cut into pale skin - too tight for comfort, but it would be no kindness to either of them to loosen them. As it is, the Goa’uld will be able to break them, sooner or later.

He will not underestimate Mitchell. He has sparred with him, testing Sodan fighting techniques against those Teal’c is familiar with. Mitchell is barely trained, but he veers unpredictably between clumsiness and grace, capable of landing blows he does not yet have the control to pull.

Smaller and weaker than Teal'c, of course, but with Goa'uld strength he might present a challenge. Teal’c is certain that he could subdue him if needed; he is less certain he could do so without injuring or killing him.

Mitchell groans, then suddenly thrashes, a panicked half-struggle.

“Colonel Mitchell,” Teal’c says sharply, and feels Mitchell’s muscles relax under his hands even before he twists his head round to look at Teal’c.

“What are you – what the hell just happened?”

“While you slept, the symbiote was able to take over for a short period.”

“Crap,” he mumbles. “Did I, did it …?”

“It was unable to cause any harm. The zat’nik’katel shot disrupted its control, perhaps for some time.”

He helps him up onto his knees. Mitchell jerks, shaking the contact off – not afraid, Teal’c realizes, but breathlessly angry and humiliated. Refusing to be afraid.

“Colonel Mitchell. You have what Colonel Carter has called 'a capacity for almost delusional optimism.’ I would advise you to utilize it.”

“Yeah, I’m workin’ on it.” Mitchell’s voice is shaky, halfway between laughter and panic, the tide of anger receding again to expose fear underneath.

He breathes deeply “So, it have a name? The Goa’uld. Thing inside me.”

“It did not speak.”

“Huh. Thought they all did the ‘I am your god, bow puny mortals’ number.” He deepens his voice, attempting to imitate that of a Goa’uld. The performance seems to buoy him up for a moment.

“Elvis,” he announces. “I’m callin’ it Elvis. That would totally work as a name for a Goa’uld. Later Elvis, anyway.”

It is something Teal’c has come to think of as characteristically Tau’ri: making mockery of what they most hate and fear, just as O’Neill will never speak of Ba’al without a joke.

Mitchell glances up silently then, and Teal’c realizes that, for once, he is looking for an answer, a response, as if he has run out of words with which to hold himself together.

Teal’c has no bright empty chatter to offer. He is always cautious when touching humans, conscious of their many taboos. But he reaches out a hand, carefully, and cups Mitchell’s face in his palm.

Mitchell stares at him, then squeezes his eyes shut, pressing his face hard into Teal’c’s hand, stubble prickling against his skin.

It is not the fact of Mitchell's desire that stings him, but the sudden nakedness of it. There is bravery in this too, he thinks, in wanting so transparently.

“I’m not gonna beg.” Mitchell’s voice is almost inaudible.

Teal’c realizes that he has been still for a long moment. He shifts his weight forward onto his knees, leaning in, close enough to breathe the same air.

Mitchell inhales sharply and twists his head, trying to reach Teal’c’s mouth – then stops abruptly, understanding. Teal’c cannot be taken as a host, but there is no assurance that this backwater Goa’uld knows that; the blood of a dying symbiote could kill them both.

Instead, Mitchell sighs and lets his head drop, nose bumping Teal’c’s cheek. He pushes closer, turning his face from side to side, rubbing blindly against Teal’c’s skin, frustrated and yearning, as if he could somehow breathe him in, draw strength from him.

His hair is damp with sweat under Teal’c’s fingers, and he has the sour smell of sleep and nightmares. Teal’c holds him as carefully as he would handle fire or a freshly-sharpened blade, anything dangerous and fragile, worthy of respect.

He is still half-expecting him to pull away when Mitchell’s mouth finds his jaw, a brush of dry lips before the wet within, the pressure of tongue, teeth - an exasperated almost-bite.

His own mouth is on Mitchell’s cheekbone then, blood heat under tired skin, bitter taste of dirt and rain on his tongue, Mitchell saying “Jesus” in his ear, his hand slipping down to the nape of Mitchell’s neck where the hair is cropped shortest, back again to feel the buzz of it against his fingers.

When he slides his hand under the edge of Mitchell’s jacket, shoving it back off his shoulders, Mitchell pushes hard into his grip, muscles moving under his T-shirt as he strains at his bonds.

“Yeah -” he says, mouth against Teal’c’s skin, then, fervently, “Teal’c.” He finds the sensitive spot at the corner of Teal’c’s jaw, just under his ear, and kisses there, mouth open and hungry and wet.

Teal’c imagines what that mouth might feel like on his nipple, what the weight of Mitchell's cock might feel like in his hand, and his grip tightens, thumb digging into the knot of muscle between neck and shoulder, deep enough to elicit a groan.

He has enough caution left to drop his other hand to Mitchell’s thigh, where he can pin him or block a knee strike if need be, anchoring him. Mitchell rocks into that pressure, hips lifting, and Teal’c lets himself kiss the corner of his mouth, close enough to feel Mitchell’s half-swallowed wordless murmur against his own lips. Too much of a risk. But he cannot bring himself to break off completely. Not yet.

Instead, he pulls back a little and lifts his hand to Mitchell’s face, tracing lightly down the straight nose. When Teal’c’s fingers brush across his mouth, Mitchell’s eyes open and he bites at the pad of his thumb, grinning; mouths it when Teal’c pushes it in, swirling his tongue around it hard, fierce and wistful - a promise for a future occasion they may not have.

Teal’c braces his hand on Mitchell’s shoulder again before he finally pulls away, as gently as he can. Mitchell sways towards him, stretching the contact out a moment longer, before he sits back on his heels, looking rumpled and dazed.

He lets his head drop, breathing hard. “This is a really bad idea, i’n’t it?”

“Indeed,” Teal’c says as blandly as he can, and watches Mitchell’s head jerk up again, a flicker of indignation in his face before he catches Teal’c’s eyes.

He gives a short laugh and a wince - “Ah, hell, my hand’s gone to sleep” – then shrugs awkwardly, trying to hitch his jacket up over his shoulders again. Teal’c grasps the collar and pulls it up, careful not to let his fingers brush against skin instead of cloth.

The moment has passed. Mitchell seems more solid, somehow, as if he has assured himself that his body is still his own.

“We will speak of this when we have returned to the SGC,” Teal’c tells him.

“Yeah. Sure. We’ll get a coupla beers, talk about the relationship. ” The brash confidence sounds a little like disbelief.

Teal’c holds his peace. He will not dishonor what they have shared by offering words of false comfort, as if to a child.

Mitchell sighs then, the tension breaking. “So, I’m thinking sleep would be a bad idea too. Is caffeine allowed?”

Teal’c collects the plastic sachets of coffee from the MRE packs and sets water on the fire to boil, adding more branches and prodding the embers back into brightness. The damp wood smolders before catching light.

He holds the mug to Mitchell’s mouth so that he can drink, watching the lines of his throat as he swallows.

When the mug is empty, Mitchell sits back again. “You got any cool Jaffa mind tricks might help?”

“I do not believe that any amount of mental discipline would suffice.”

“Well, cards are out -” Mitchell shrugs in demonstration – “it’s not gonna be light for a while yet, and I for one would rather not sit here listening to that thing gettin’ cozy in my cranium. Give me something. Anything.” His voice is weary.

Teal’c looks at him for a moment, reading the sag of his shoulders and the tightness in his jaw. He knows the taste of Mitchell’s skin now, the heat of his body. Like another form of sparring, he thinks: another way to know someone.

“It is most important to start by sitting with your spine straight,” he begins. “Incorrect posture causes unnecessary tension in the mind.”

Mitchell’s eyes flutter open for a moment. “My granma would’ve loved you,” he says, smiling. Then, composing himself, “Sorry. Go on. I’m listening.”


**********

In the morning, Mitchell refuses to eat (“If I eat I’m gonna puke, T”). Teal’c forces him to drink water, then pulls him to his feet, but does not touch him any more than necessary, protective of his dignity, of his anger.

This time, Teal’c carries both packs, and Mitchell does not protest. He is getting steadily more disoriented, blacking out for long moments, although the Goa’uld has not yet seized control again. It is as if Teal’c is watching someone drowning in slow motion.

Once, when he had been at the SGC for barely a month, he had come upon O'Neill leaning against a wall, talking softly to Daniel Jackson. “C’mon, Skaara, Sha’re - they're tough, they'll fight. They're not going to give up. We'll get ‘em back. You just have to hang in there.”

Daniel had looked up then, his eyes going wide behind his glasses as he saw Teal’c, and they did not continue the discussion in his presence. For his part, he did not tell them that it goes harder for the strong, that a host who struggles will merely take a longer time to break.

He and Mitchell walk in silence, trudging slowly uphill. The stargate should be visible over the next ridge.

They see the blue glow of the Prior's staff first, before they even reach the edge.


**********

There is nowhere else to go.

Once they have retreated out of the Prior’s immediate range, Teal’c finds a spot on the side of a hill that presents as suitable a campsite as any. It gives an adequate view of the surroundings, with an outcropping of rock at their backs making it potentially defensible.

Mitchell drops to one knee, balancing awkwardly on the stony ground. “We got a plan B?”

“The SGC will undoubtedly seek to render us all possible assistance.”

“So, we just sit tight and wait to be rescued?” Mitchell’s face is tired, under the smears of dirt. When Teal’c does not answer, he adds, “You don’t ever get down-hearted, do you, T? Not that I’m complaining, ‘s great, but …”

Teal’c thinks of despair, of dying endlessly in a computer game, things that are not in the files. He thinks of the number of days’ tretonin he has left in his pack.

“When I first came to Earth,” he begins, “I did not know how the Goa’uld worked their magic. Only that they were not gods. Since then, I have seen many things come to pass that I once thought impossible. What I believe to be possible or probable in any situation is not relevant. The only thing that matters is to select the correct course of action.”

There is a long silence, broken only by the faint rustle of wind in the leaves.

The Mitchell says, “So’s you know - I read Kawalsky's file, too.” He looks at the ground, refusing to meet Teal’c’s eyes. “It comes down to you or me, choose you. “

Before Teal’c can reply, Mitchell adds quietly, “That’s an order.”

Teal’c bows his head silently then, reaching out to rest a hand on Mitchell’s shoulder. This is a warrior’s right; he will not take this decision away from him. He will not tell him that he would never have made any other choice.

The wind is rising suddenly; he can hear the crashing of branches. The beginning of a storm, perhaps – they will need to take cover.

But the sky is clear.

He breaks the contact abruptly - Mitchell slumps, collapsing as if the touch was the only thing holding him up - and stands, scanning the valley for something he cannot yet identify.

From this vantage point, he can see that the movement of leaves and branches centers on a point further down the valley, where the trees are less dense.

Not a natural wind, but something artificial, foliage being forced aside by something invisible - a cloaked ship, he realizes. A ship is landing. A tel’tak, he guesses from the size of the disturbance. "Look.”

Mitchell does not look up. He is shaking his head, twisting, as if trying to throw something off. Then he grates, “No,” voice metallic and resonant.

Teal’c zats him and watches Mitchell struggle to the surface, gasping and blinking. He pulls him to his feet and into a stumbling run down the hill, one hand clamped round Mitchell’s upper arm.

They have almost reached the ship when Mitchell’s feet skid out from under him, his arm wrenched from Teal’c’s grip by the momentum of his fall. Unable to break his fall with his hands, he goes down hard, hitting the ground and rolling among the tree-roots and broken stones.

Teal’c is already reaching to help him when he sees that Mitchell’s hands are free.

He pulls back fast, raising his zat between them.

The Goa’uld in Mitchell’s body pushes smoothly to its feet and steps towards him, hands spread wide and head tilted, eyes flashing immaculate gold in the muddy face.

“Shoot again,” it tells him, amused and reasonable, “and you will kill the host.”

He does not hesitate - and yet he must have, for the barest fraction of a second, because his shot goes wild, skimming past Mitchell’s shoulder.

And by then the Goa’uld is already moving, dodging not away but towards him, grappling with him, slamming his arm up and away with inhuman strength before he can grasp his rifle.

He feels the blow in his gut, a teeth-jarring shock, and thinks at first that he has been punched. But when his grip loosens, the Goa’uld pulls away holding his Beretta. It calmly aims from a few paces away and shoots him in the stomach again. His knees buckle and the ground rushes up to meet him.

The Goa’uld steps over him and walks towards the clearing.

Teal’c rolls onto his side, presses his hand to his belly and watches blood seep between his fingers.

On the ground, the ship is de-cloaking, Colonel Carter and Daniel Jackson emerging almost before it has shimmered fully into view.

The Goa’uld moves towards them in Mitchell's loose lope. There is no naquadah in his blood: Colonel Carter will not be able to sense him.

Teal’c flattens one palm on the ground (the earth between his blood-slicked fingers filling his vision) and pushes up onto his hands and knees, clenching his teeth against the nauseating surge of pain.

He drags himself towards them: one agonizing lurch forwards, then another.

Surely they must be able to see him now. He is too far away to see their eyes, but the Goa’uld is not, and Teal’c sees him hesitate for a moment.

The he calls, human-voiced, “Man, am I glad to see you guys. Unas attacked us - Teal'c's down, he needs help.”

Daniel is hurrying towards Teal’c already. Carter slings her pack to the ground and drops to one knee beside it, putting her P90 down as she reaches for the med kit.

Mitchell is between them and the ship now.

Now Daniel is at his side, and Teal’c clutches at his arm, dragging him down, pulling both of them down as his own legs collapse beneath him.

“Daniel Jackson,” he gasps, with all the strength remaining to him. “He is Goa'uld.”

Daniel is capable of doubting everything in the universe, but he does not doubt Teal’c’s word. He is already lifting his P90 as he turns, aiming and firing in one smooth motion.

His shot hits Mitchell in the leg – a single shot, aiming to immobilize, not to kill.

The Goa’uld howls and Carter turns in time to see its eyes flash; Mitchell staggers but does not fall.

Then Daniel’s second shot hits him in the shoulder and he crumples. The noises he is making as he curls up on the ground are wholly human.

“We have to get clear of the planet,” Carter says urgently, her gun already back in her hands.

Daniel hooks an arm under Teal’c’s armpit and starts trying to pull him to his feet, and then he must have passed out, because there is nothing but blackness after that.

When he returns to consciousness, he is laid out on the floor of the ship, a pad of blood-soaked gauze pressed to his wound, Daniel Jackson’s hand holding it in place. The engines are starting, a dull thrum through the floor that he can feel in his back, in his spine.

Mitchell is lying near him, a hastily-applied field dressing on his shoulder. He flops out his free arm, fingers brushing Teal’c's shoulder awkwardly.

“Buy you a beer when we get back,” he says, a ragged whisper.

Then his expression shifts, slipping sideways like a mask, and Mitchell is gone again before Teal’c can remind him that he does not imbibe alcohol.

**********

Teal’c accepts the painkillers without protest. His injuries will be slow to heal. But he knows they would have killed a human, or a Jaffa who still carried a symbiote; he has learned to appreciate such ironies.

Mitchell’s body has no need of drugs, the Goa’uld within him repairing the physical damage with ease. Already he sits cross-legged, handcuffs fastened to the golden wall, still as a statue.

Teal’c recalls sitting in the same manner on another cargo ship, years before, absolute in his faith that he was the loyal First Prime of Apophis. He remembers O’Neill’s attempts to talk with him.

“Colonel Mitchell,” he says. “When we return to Earth, there is much we must discuss."

“Hey, Teal'c,” the Goa'uld says in Mitchell’s soft drawl, parody-perfect.

“I was not addressing you,” he tells it.

Outside the window, hyperspace rushes by in streaks of blue and violet, as the little ship carries them safely home.

Tags: ficathon 2006, teal'c/cameron
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  • 'The Sleeping Warrior' by Annerb

    Title: The Sleeping Warrior Author: Annerb Summary: Teal’c thought the hardest battles already won, but instead, the real struggles are just…

  • Update on missing stories

    So we're still missing three stories, though two of the authors in question have at least given me a tentative ETA for their arrival (any day now,…

  • Fic masterlist - 2009

    Thanks to everyone who's posted and also to everyone who's taken time to read and comment! Here's the masterlist of who wrote what for who, in case…