Legal stuff: Stargate SG-1 doesn't belong to me. Sigh. I think it belongs to Double Secret Production and Gekko Production and possible to some other guys. I don't intent to make money with this (no idea how I should achieve this, anyway). It's just for fun.

I haven't seen the second season premiere episode 'In the Serpent's Lair' yet. But the discussion on the StarGate Mailing List about a certain scene (yeah, as if I could stay away from spoilers ) made my little wheels spinning. This is the result. Contains Spoilers for: 'The Nox'

Copyright (c) June 1998 Petra Berghofer

The Promise
by Sapphire

"You think you would be able to see one of their ships through this?" Daniel leaned back on the railing, a beer in his hand, taking a sip.

'This' was Jack O'Neill's telescope, the one he kept on the small terrace at the back of his house. It was the night of the full moon, though it was not just any full moon. This night, there was supposed to be an eclipse of the moon. That had been reason enough for Jack to invite Daniel over so that they could have a good look at the moon when Earth's shadow would move over it, drink a few beers and talk. The 'talk' part had been Jack's main reason, but he hadn't told Daniel that.

Jack pondered Daniel's question for a moment. "Depends on how far away they would be. If it would be one of their pyramid ships, I'd say they would have to be at least within the Martian orbit, maybe a little closer than that. And if that's true, somebody else would have seen it before and we would be busy somewhere else."

Daniel looked up to the star-sprinkled sky, trying to trace some of the more familiar constellations. He wasn't an astronomer, but there were a few things he knew about the night sky. "Yeah, I guess we would."

"Daniel," Jack began, but then he stopped himself before he could ask the question that was on his mind.

The linguist looked down at his friend encouragingly. "Hmmm?"

"I just wonder ... you know that you're not a soldier." Jack played a little bit with the controls of the telescope to keep his fingers busy.

Daniel grinned. "Yep, you could say so. Why?"

"It's just ... what are you doing with us then?" Jack looked up from the scope and turned to Daniel.

Daniel pushed himself away from the railing. "What do you mean 'what am I doing with you'? You know what I'm doing with SG-1. I'm trying to get Sha're back." It was a sign of how much time that had passed since Daniel's wife had been kidnapped that he was now able to speak her name without his voice breaking. He might still dream about her every night, but during the day he managed to concentrate on more important things. Like getting her back.

"That's not what I meant, Daniel. Sorry if it sounded like that. No, what I meant was that you, not being a soldier, should have no business being with us when the bullets are flying ... or rather the energy bolts." Jack looked frustrated at his inability to express what he really wanted to say.

"You think I should stay back and let you handle the fighting and all that?" Daniel was beginning to sound irritated.

Jack hesitated for a second then he nodded. "Basically. Listen, Daniel..."

Daniel interrupted him. "No, you listen. I might not be a trained soldier and all that, and the things you showed me with the guns and all that, might not make me one. But if you think I'd stay back while you're out there looking for Sha're, you can forget it! I'm coming along, like it or not."

Jack sighed. He was not getting through. "Listen," he tried again a little bit more calmly. "I don't want you to stay behind..."

"Why don't you say so it the first place?"

"...but with all the action going on," Jack went on if he'd never been interrupted, "I just think it's too dangerous for you."

"It's because of what happened on P3x774, isn't it? Just because we almost got killed doesn't mean we will be killed on our next mission."

"Almost killed?!? May I refresh your memory: we have been killed. All of us!"

Daniel winced as he remembered their encounter with Apophis and his guards on the planet of the Nox. In an attempt to capture him, SG-1 had set a trap. However, the trap had sprung on them and they all had been killed. At least it had felt like that to them. Nobody should have survived the wounds they had received. But they had survived, thanks to the incredible healing powers of the Nox their wounds had vanished as if they had never been there.

"We survived," Daniel said, a little bit subdued. The experience had rattled them all. Something like that would rattle anyone. Not many people survived being dead. Well, maybe if you're a vampire or something like that.

"Yeah, this time we survived," said Jack and turned away. "But we've been damn lucky. Next time we might not be that lucky." He lowered his head.

"Listen, Colonel." Using Jack's rank as a way to get his attention, Daniel stepped up to his friend and grabbed him by the shoulder, turning him around, so that Jack had to look at him. "I know it's dangerous out there and actually I don't like it. But if I want to find

Sha're I have to be out there, risking my life if I have to. I'd do anything to get her back."

Jack looked up, listening to the urgency in Daniel's voice. He'd always known that Daniel's foremost goal in traveling with SG-1 was finding Sha're. But he'd never been aware of what Daniel was willing to do to get to this goal.

"Even dying?" Jack asked in a low voice.

Daniel closed his eyes for the fraction of a second, then he nodded. "Yes, even dying," he whispered.

For moment neither one them said a word.

Then Daniel looked up. "Jack, you have to promise me something."

"What?" Jack asked carefully.

"If...if it happens. If I should get hit or something like that, and am dying, and you have a chance to get away, promise me to go and continue to search for her."

"Daniel," Jack started, his voice a clear indication that he was about to protest the very idea that he would even begin to think about leaving Daniel behind.

"Jack," Daniel shook his head. He held up the hand holding the beer bottle to forestall further protests. "I didn't say it will happen. But if it should happen, you are the only chance I have left to save Sha're. Please."

A pleading Daniel was something only a totally heartless man would be able to withstand.

Jack sighed, then he nodded.

"Promise?" Daniel demanded.

Jack sighed again. "Promise!"

In his heart however he made another promise, namely the one that he would do anything in his power to see that it would never come down to it.

Daniel locked eyes with Jack, as if he could see in them what Jack was thinking. After a moment he looked away, apparently satisfied. He looked up.

"Look, Jack, the eclipse has begun." The young linguist pointed up to the sky where the Earth shadow had begun to darken a corner of the moon.

And as the moon grew darker and darker, Jack had the feeling that, no matter what he could do about it, one day it would come down to him having to fulfill the promise he'd give. He didn't like it a bit.

But a promise was a promise.

The End