“Remind me again why we’re having lunch in your office?” Jack said with a scowl, trying to find somewhere to set his food without upsetting Daniel’s work.
“Because a certain Colonel backed me into a corner, and the cafeteria doesn’t afford even the vaguest sense of privacy,” he countered smoothly just before the rest of the team walked through the door. “Sam, Teal’c! Thank you for joining me.”
“You are most welcome, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c said. He spotted the empty space on Daniel’s desk that Jack just had cleared of paperwork and set his own tray there, simultaneously taking the seat the Colonel had pulled up for himself.
“Hey, that was-“ Jack began to protest, but Teal’c gave every appearance of not knowing what Jack was talking about. Daniel and Sam hid their grins as Jack sighed and took a seat on one of the extra office chairs Daniel had brought in for the occasion. Daniel quickly cleared a space for Sam to put her tray, earning him thanks from her and a glare from Jack.
“So, I, uh, guess you’re wondering why I asked you here today,” Daniel said.
“Samantha Carter believes you are going to confess to having and illicit affair with Dr. Janet Frasier,” Teal’c stated.
“I didn’t say that!” Sam protested, blushing. “Er, not exactly
“I dunno, Carter, I can’t see Teal’c here coming up with ‘illicit affair’ all on his own,” Jack pointed out.
“On the contrary, O’Neill, I have learned much from watching professional hosts performing their specialties for live television audiences.”
Jack shot a look to Sam, who translated; “Judge Judy and Dr. Phil.”
“Er, be that as it may, I’m not having an affair with Janet,” Daniel said. “Illicit or otherwise. There is, however, a personal matter that’s been demanding my attention lately, as you appear to have noticed.”
“You have been in an awful hurry to leave work lately,” Sam said by way of apologizing for her earlier speculation. “We couldn’t help but notice that something’s up.”
“You have been unusually preoccupied,” Teal’c added.
“’Unusually’ as in ‘more so than usual’,” Jack said helpfully.
“Yes, well, as I’m sure you know, I’ve never really had any family here on Earth, especially now that Nick is gone,” Daniel said.
“Indeed,” Teal’c said while Sam nodded.
“Right,” Daniel said, taking a deep breath. “Except it turns out that’s not entirely true.”
“Sir?” Sam asked, instinctively turning to Jack for further explanation. Jack nodded and gestured for Daniel to continue.
“I recently discovered that I had a daughter who’d been given up for adoption shortly after she was born,” he explained quickly. “Her mother never told me about her, and I never knew of her existence until a few months ago.”
“I don’t understand; had
?” Sam asked hesitantly.
Daniel took another deep breath. The story only seemed to get more painful with each retelling. “She died. She had a younger sister, however, who I met when I went to look for Buffy.”
,” Sam gasped.
“No,” he said, stopping her short. “It’s... It is what it is. I can’t change the past. But that’s not what I wanted to discuss. We’re here to talk about Dawn.”
“Her sister,” Sam guessed, accepting his change of subject. Daniel was sure that Buffy would come up again later, but Sam respected that this wasn’t the time and it certainly wasn’t the place.
Daniel nodded. “She was placed in the care of some of her sister’s friends after Buffy died, but they’ve all been through a lot lately. From what I understand, things came to a head, and Dawn took it upon herself to, um…”
“She ran away and now she’s crashing with Danny,” Jack finished.
“You knew about this, sir?” Sam exclaimed.
Jack shrugged unapologetically.
“She is the reason you have demanded our attendance at dinner tomorrow,” Teal’c surmised.
“I can’t just want to hang out you guys?” Jack said defensively.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you both sooner, but… honestly, this is all pretty new to me,” Daniel said. “I wanted to give you a head’s up before tomorrow; I wish I could have done that
sooner, as well, but seeing as I didn’t know about it until yesterday…” he added, glaring at Jack.
“Of course, Daniel Jackson.” Teal’c said, nodding. “You wished to be certain of your situation before informing us. This is understandable. I would have done the same in your position.”
Sam’s nod of agreement was a touch too enthusiastic, and Daniel suspected that she didn’t feel entirely unhurt that he hadn’t trusted her sooner. Still, she followed Teal’c’s lead and accepted that Daniel had his reasons for hiding this from them. “So?” she said brightly. “Tell us about her.”
“What’s to tell? You’re going to meet her tomorrow,” Jack pointed out.
“She’s fifteen,” Daniel answered, ignoring Jack. “It’s not an easy age for anyone, especially someone who’s been through as much as she has, but she’s incredibly bright. She’s a great kid.”
“Good taste in movies,” Jack added. “Wish I could say the same for her taste in books, though.”
“She’s been working her way through my personal library,” Daniel explained at Sam’s confused look. “She has a real talent for ancient languages. I’m sure you’ll both like her.”
“I’d watch out if I were you,” Jack warned them. “She’s got Danny wrapped around her little finger already.”
“I will endeavor to resist such a fate,” Teal’c said solemnly, though Daniel was certain he detected a slight twitch at the corner of his mouth.
“Sorry, buddy, but I don’t think your Jaffa training’s going to help you on this one,” Jack said, shaking his head.
. . .
“I hear Cassie has a new friend,” Sam said as she fell into step alongside Janet in the hallway.
“Ah, so I take it the Colonel finally tricked Daniel into spilling the beans,” Janet guessed.
Sam nodded. “So you know about Dawn, then?”
“Ever since he called me in a panic the night she arrived, convinced that he’d caused her permanent emotional damage during the mere three hours she’d been in the state,” she answered with a wry grin.
“Oh, poor Daniel!” Sam said, stifling a giggle. “I can just imagine.”
“You know, believe it or not, he’s actually handling the whole thing very well. He may not have been well-equipped to take on a teenager out of the blue like that, but he’s really rising to the occasion.”
“We probably shouldn’t be so surprised. I mean, it is Daniel
, after all. After befriending an Unas, a teenage girl can’t be that much more difficult to placate,” she pointed out.
“Take Cassie for a month and see if you still feel that way,” Janet huffed.
“What do you want to bet he secretly went out and bought a stack of parenting books the first chance he got?” Sam suggested, causing them both to break into laughter over the mental image of Daniel furtively sneaking armfuls of books into his apartment under cover of darkness.
“I’ll have to ask to borrow a few; lord knows I could use some! Cassie’s been doing better since the incident with Nirrti, but she’s started seeing a new boy. To be honest, though, I think Dawn’s been good for her. She’s never really spoken to someone her own age who’s been through some of the same things she has.”
“Daniel said Dawn lost her mother and her sister?” Sam recalled with a frown.
Janet nodded. “Within a few months of each other, and her father’s been out of the picture for some time. She’s adjusting remarkably well, but she’s been through a lot in a very short period of time.”
“I wish Daniel had said something sooner.”
“I think he was just taking some time to get used to the situation before the rest of the team could swoop in and take over,” Janet suggested.
“I can be supportive without being pushy!” Sam protested.
“Uh-huh. You’ve known about her for less than a day, and I’d wager you’ve already thought about what kind of telescope you’re going to buy her.”
Sam’s face lit up. “I’d like to get something with at least a ten-inch lens, but Daniel doesn’t have a deck like Jack’s, so it would have to be-“ she stopped herself, guiltily biting her lip. “Ok, I can see where Daniel might think we could be alittleoverwhelming.”
“Don’t feel too bad; the first thing Jack did when he found out was subject the two of them to a Molly Ringwald movie night.”
Janet took in Sam’s calculating expression and grinned. “You’re worried she’s going to like Jack better than you.”
“I’m not worried, I’m just… strategizing,” she said thoughtfully.
“Strategizing how to make her like you best?” Janet deduced.
“Do you think Daniel will let me take her for a ride in the new X-302?”