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Kid Fic Alphabet Soup Entry

S is for Shadows and Substance by Thothmes (PG)

Summary: Parenthood is never easy, because you must parent the child in the moment, planning for the future. A look at SG-1 through their parent's eyes.
Word count: 4,501
Characters: Ronac and Teal'c, Jack and his father, Clare and Daniel Jackson, Jacob and Sam Carter
Era: Pre-Series
Categories: Kidfic, Fic, Genfic
Authors notes: No warnings, presented in birth order according to the show's internal clues about the character's ages.

Exerpt: The boy slept, small thumb hanging from the edge of his mouth, dark, soft, whisps of baby hair plastered in sweat across his brow, chubby cheeks moving as if dreaming of sucking from his mother's breast. Ronac felt a pang, a shiver of fear. He was so small. He had no prim'ta to protect him. Many young Jaffa died in the years before they came of age to receive one, as was right and proper, since only the strong should be granted the gift of long life and vibrant health that the gods gave. Ronac had been shocked on his return, when his wife had put this tiny scrap of a thing into his arms.

"He is too small!" he had gasped, and looked at his wife with disapproval. She was tall, among Jaffa women, only a few inches shorter than he himself, but she was slender. Perhaps he should not have married her for her strong character, and her ready smile. Their offspring was small and weak, and would not thrive.

The Dwelling of Ronac, First Prime of Cronus

Ronac rose from his seated position in front of the family altar at the completion of his kel'noreem, snuffing out each candle swiftly with a quick pinch of the fingers. He was careful not to linger with his fingers on the wick too long. Too short a pinch, and the embers would continue to glow, and the flame might rise again. Too long and he would burn his fingers, and his simbiote would not be pleased. It was his duty to please the young god within.

The sun had not yet crested the hills, but already a weak grey light allowed the outlines of the window openings to be seen. Moving silently, so as not to disturb the devotions of his wife, who had not yet emerged from the women's cubical, he walked silently over to the small enclosure where his son lay. Already three months old, and yet unnamed, because it was the place of a father to name him, and Ronac had been away in service to his God, Cronus, may his will prevail in the Counsels of the Gods, and may He be ever victorious. He had returned after many battles. My Lord Cronus was ever more daring in choosing his opponents and his strategies, seeking always to gain power and control, and Ronac had experienced moments of doubt, but as his simbiote reminded him even now, with a twinge in his gut, that was Ronac's failure of devotion. He should have had faith in the true glory of his God.

The boy slept, small thumb hanging from the edge of his mouth, dark, soft, whisps of baby hair plastered in sweat across his brow, chubby cheeks moving as if dreaming of sucking from his mother's breast. Ronac felt a pang, a shiver of fear. He was so small. He had no prim'ta to protect him. Many young Jaffa died in the years before they came of age to receive one, as was right and proper, since only the strong should be granted the gift of long life and vibrant health that the gods gave. Ronac had been shocked on his return, when his wife had put this tiny scrap of a thing into his arms.

"He is too small!" he had gasped, and looked at his wife with disapproval. She was tall, among Jaffa women, only a few inches shorter than he himself, but she was slender. Perhaps he should not have married her for her strong character, and her ready smile. Their offspring was small and weak, and would not thrive.

And she laughed at him! At her husband that she should serve without question as a Jaffa warrior serves his Lord!

"Had he been born any bigger, he would have been the death of me, his shoulders were so broad, even with the help my prim'ta grants, and he grows like the belly of Nerus at a feast!"

Still, he was so light, so small, so very easy to harm. And he needed a name.

Carefully, gently, stealthily Ronac rolled his sleeping son over onto his corded forearm and lifted him to his chest, but in spite of all his care, the baby woke, his dark grey baby eyes, not yet the deep dark brown they someday would be, rimmed with dark black lashes, looked up at his father, and he smiled the powerless, toothless smile of all small babes. This small scrap of life could not even bite his enemies yet.

Did I say "powerless"? whispered Ronac's mind. I am First Prime to a System Lord, and yet he has conquered my heart

He heard the soft padding of bare feet on the stone flags behind him, and his wife appeared, fresh from her kel'noreem, and she took the boy deftly from him, apologizing as she did so that he had been forced to attend to him. Jaffa children were the province of their mother until they were old enough to be sent to begin training just as they grew old enough to lose their first milk teeth.

Ronac watched her change the boy's diaper cloths with practiced ease, and put him to her breast, speaking softly to him. She had no fear. She lived each moment as if the boy's survival was foretold in the temple. It came to him then, as it should have long and long ago. When it came to giving her fragile heart, his wife, no matter how slender her long neck, no matter how gracile her arms, was stronger than him. She had to be.
He watched them for a moment, the boy snuffling and suckling, fingers splaying and feeling their way across his mother's breast, the chubby brown legs squirming in delight, his wife's face bent down to gaze into the boys eyes, singing a song of a mother's pride in her warrior son that his own mother had sung to him.

Perhaps the boy would grow to be a mighty warrior, broad of shoulder, carrying the bulk and muscle of one who would excel at feats of strength. And perhaps he would not, and he would be called to join the ranks of the priests. Ronac hoped he would live long enough to find out the answer. But if he took after his mother, and carried her spirit in him on his journey, he would be fine, no matter what happened.

Ronac walked over to the chair where his wife sat, and took her by the free hand. She looked up at him, questioning, and he gazed at her with love.

"I have chosen the boy's name," he said. "I name him for the character of his mother."

Her look was questioning, patient, but she remained silent.

"He shall be Teal'c for your great strength."

"Teal'c," she whispered, gazing on their son, "Your father honors me, even as he honors you. May you die free!"

"Aahhhhh" cooed Teal'c with a milky smile. But babies too have their work, and after that he said no more but applied himself with deep concentration to emptying the other breast.

Maple Street, across from the playground of the Carl O. Janson Elementary School Playground

Officer Charlie O'Neill sat on the hood of his police cruiser, and took a last draw on his cigarette, before throwing it down on the pavement, and snuffing it out with the ball of his shoe. Really, he should stop smoking. It would set a good example for the kid, and it would make his wife happy, but it was too late now, really. Pointless. The doc said they could cut out the lung, buy him some time, and the guy from the union said that his medical would cover it, and he could go on disability for as long as he lasted. He thought about it, hand to God he did, for all of five seconds, but then he said no. If he had to go, he'd go, He just hoped he had the courage to see it through. He needed to be brave. For the boy. For Jack.

That was why he was here, on a Tuesday afternoon, just as the school bell was about to ring. After the appointment, and the meeting with Mike from the union, and the call to the doctor's office, he needed to see his boy. He was worried about Jack. How would he learn how to be a good man without his father to show him?

Charlie took a deep sniff, and gazed up at the sky. He was not going to cry. Yeah, it was tough luck, but he would not cry, and especially he was not going to cry right out here on Maple Street, in front of all the kids. He was a grown man, dammit!

Joe, in the passenger side, was radioing the station to let them know where they were stopped. He had let Charlie be, given him space, asked no questions, and now he was running interference with the station. Good man, Joe.

Oh, he didn't worry about how his family would survive. His partner Joe and the guys down at the station would make sure the union did right by them, that they didn't want for anything.

But his wife just didn't understand how it was, to be a man. She wanted to soften Jack. Lately she'd been telling him that he needed to do something about Jack getting in fights. Oh, he'd seen the signs as much as she had, the torn t-shirts, the bruise here or there, the scrapes. The boy was quick, though. No black eyes. Charlie was kinda proud about that. He'd tried to explain to Kate that fighting was part of growing up. That there was a word for boys who didn't fight. The word was "sissy," and no O'Neill boy was going to grow up to be a sissy.

That was the whole problem with this cancer thing, Charlie thought, bending forward to hack, laboring for a few seconds before spitting on the road and lighting another cig. Fighting he knew how to do, but how could he fight his own body? He felt helpless. Helpless was not manly, so he couldn't let that show. He needed to show Jack how to be a man. How to face disaster like it didn't hurt.

The bell rang, and kids began streaming out of the school, and making their way home. There were orderly lines of kids with satchels, coats that were too warm for the mid-afternoon sun but had been necessary in the chill of morning over their shoulders, walking single file to the two waiting busses. Some kids burst out, like popcorn from a pan when the lid came off, and tore off home, yelling and whooping for all the world like it was June and summer awaited, leaving a scattering of mimeographed homework sheets here and there as they went. Some parents would be walking them back to look for those later! But where was Jack?

It took Charlie a while, but there he was, his short hair sticking up in the back since his mother's earnest wet combing of the morning had long worn off, army surplus day pack dragging down past his rump, and gaping open at the top. He was dragging his sweater in the dirt, and moving with some purpose toward a slight red headed kid, with hunched shoulders and thick black-rimmed glasses. The kid had BULLY ME written all over him, and it made Charlie proud to see Jack heading over to escort the kid home, right up until Jack sucker punched him. From behind. A smaller kid. With glasses.

Charlie dropped the cigarette, and began to run. Behind him he heard the cruiser door slam and the slap of running feet. It might only be two seven year old boys on a playground, but Joe, as always, had his back.

Well he was caught red handed being a bully, but the kid had cool. Within seconds, his father had him by the armpits, dangling five feet in the air, and the kid was trying to kick and flail his way out of the hold.

"You put me down right now,Mister!" he was yelling in his high boy's voice.

Then he saw Joe, who was helping the red headed kid up, and must have realized that he person holding him up was his dad, because he went limp, and waited to be put down. Charlie obliged, because he was trying to catch his breath.

"Time to lay off the doughnuts and do more jumping jacks, don't you think?" said his loving son.

By that time Charlie had his breath back, and he looked down on his son. The officer was still, even his hands, and his voice was low and quiet. The grunts who had served on Sgt. O'Neill's squad in Korea would have told the boy to run.

"Jonathan James O'Neill," he said. "Why did you do that? And this better be good!"

Joe had found the littler boy's glasses and had cleaned them with his pocket handkerchief, and was placing them gently back on the boy's face.

Jack scuffed his rubber toed Keds sneaker on the blacktop, and looked away from his father's cold dark eyes. Scuff. Scuff. Scuff. Then he looked up and looked his dad in the eyes. Mad as he was, Charlie had to admire the kid's pluck.

"He's annoying! He makes our team lose every time! Mr. Nelson always picks me and Ollie Johnson for captains, but we have an odd number of kids, and Johnson comes before O'Neill in the alphabet so Ollie always gets to pick first, and he is always the leftover 'cause we got a class of 29, and he couldn't dodge a ball if it was lit on fire and had teeth! And he whines! and he always has the right answer and he sits behind me, so if I get the wrong answer to a question, he gets it right and he makes me look stupid! And he can sit still better than a girl, even, so Mrs. McAllister likes him best!"

Mrs. McAllister was a Noted Authority in the O'Neill household of late, and Jack shared her pearls of wisdom frequently around the dinner table, so even though he was still plenty angry at his son, Charlie had to hide a smile. He suspected Jack had saved the worst for last. He also had to ruthlessly quash a glimmer of sympathy a-borning. He remembered all too well how hard it had been to sit still. Just this morning the Captain had spoken to him about fidgeting at roll call. He looked away from Jack and settled down on his haunches to talk to the other boy.

"What's your name, son?" he said gently, noting with relief that the glasses seemed to be undamaged.

"William," the boy said. "William Pankhurst Peterson."

Charlie refrained from rolling his eyes. Pankhurst! Jeez! Poor sucker.

"Well, William, we're going to drive you home and make sure you get there safely. I'm Officer Charles O'Neill, and this is my partner, Officer Joseph D'Abruzzo, and we're policemen here in town. From now on, if my son Jack or any of his friends give you trouble, you just have your mom or your dad call down to the station and ask for us and we will personally make sure that Mrs. McAllister knows exactly what happened, okay?"

He stood up to his full height again and looked down at Jack. If the boy's lip was slightly wobbly, and his eyes were a little shiny, he still stood straight and again looked his father in the eye. Good little man.

"Jack, I don't ever want to see behavior like that again. Not ever. There are times a man needs to fight in this world or bullies will just run right over him. I don't care how annoying anyone is, that is no excuse, do you hear me?"


"Now earlier, when you told me why you did this, why you were beating up on a smaller kid, were you whining?"

"No, SIR! Well, maybe a little."

"Do we whine?"

"No, sir."

"Next time I see you fighting it better be with some boy who's bigger than you, and it better be to stop someone from bullying. No son of mine is going to be a bully, is that understood?


"Now go on home, and tell your mother that I said you are to sit on the piano stool for an hour, by the kitchen timer, and if you wiggle, even a little bit, she is to start the timer over."

Charlie's smile was only half there, and it was not kindly. Jack would spend an hour (or so!) in Hell. Jack sniffed, and blinked, but no tears fell. He didn't argue. He just adjusted his pack and picked up his sweater, and started walking in the direction of home. After twenty feet or so he turned back.

"Dad?" he said, "You take care."

O'Neill-speak for "Pop? I love you."

On the way back to the cruiser with Joe and young William, Charlie took the nearly full cigarette packet out of his breast pocket, and threw it in the trash.

The Kitchen Tent, Abusir Temple Middens Excavation, Abusir, Egypt

Clare Jackson looked up guiltily from the day's paper, and swallowed down the last of her cooling coffee with a grimace. When would she learn not to let her attention span run away with her? Granted, it was a rare treat to get the Times out at the dig, and this one was only two days old, but Mel was probably already hard at work, and the sun was rising. Soon it would be too hot to work outside, and work would have to move into one of the tents until he cool of the evening.

On the way out she passed Daniel, and Fareed, the rais' son. Daniel was patiently showing the older boy how to sound out the letters in his primer. Again. This had to be, what? The third day, and again it was "r-a-s, ras, r-u-s, roos" head, heads she translated into English, and then into Dutch, Old Babylonian, and Ancient Greek, just for the exercise. Farouk, the rais, was a bright fellow, who ought to have been able to get a concession to excavate on his own, if it were not for the fact that he was Egyptian, and concessions were for professors from abroad. Fareed, Clare suspected, was a product of a home birth that did not go exactly according to plan, and was the worse for it. But Daniel, bless him, refused to let Fareed give up on learning to read.

"Rrrrrrr" said Daniel, pointing to the letter at the top right corner of the page, and rolling his "r" in local fashion.
"Ahhhh" The letter just to the left of the first.
"Sssss" To the left of that.

He resisted the urge to knock wood by rapping Fareed on the head. Knocking on wood was a Western thing, and poor Farouk wouldn't understand it. He'd just wonder sadly why Daniel did that to him. Then he would apologize. He'd been doing that a lot lately.

Daniel pointed to the first letter of the next word.

"Rrrrrr" he said.

And then the miracle happened.

Fareed put his nose nearly on the page, pointed to the letter, and then back at the first letter.

"Those two are the same!" he said.

"Yes," said Daniel. "Noticeably so."

Fareed put his face not three inches from the print, and seemingly breathed it in. He pointed to the page again.

"And that one and that one, those are the same."

"Yes." said Daniel.

He thought for a moment.

He took off his glasses, and handed them to Fareed.

"Try these," he said.

Carefully, as if he was afraid that they would break if he breathed too hard, Fareed put them on, and slowly, rapturously, broke into the biggest grin that either Clare or Daniel had ever seen on anyone. He reached shyly over and touched Daniel's fine slightly reddish brown hair, so smooth and fine and different from his own coarse sleek black hair.

"I can see every one!" he almost whispered. "And over there," he gestured at the desert cliffs across the Nile to the east, "I can see lines in that! It is not just a blob."

"Mom," said Daniel, "Can I?"

She knew what he meant. No explanations were needed.

"Sure," she said.

Daniel got up to head for their sleeping tent, but tripped before he had gone five yards. The desert floor was rocky and uneven. He got up, ignoring his skinned knee, and went back to Fareed, stepping carefully. He lifted the glasses carefully off the other boy's face and put them on his own.

"I'm afraid I need these to see where I am going," he explained. "Wait here!" and he departed again, at a gallop.

A few moments later, he was back, waving his second pair of glasses, his old pair, which they had kept as a back-up plan. Gently, he opened the case, and put the battered old slightly crooked frames on the Egyptian boy's face.

"For you," he said.

Fareed tried hard not to accept them. He was afraid that by admiring Daniel's wonderful glasses, he had obligated the Jacksons to give him a pair. It was a terrible breach of manners to make someone have to to give you what they need! Back and forth the two boys argued.

Daniel won.

"No, Fareed." he said. "You must take these, because you are my friend."

With that settled, the two boys sat down with the primer again, and Clare set off to join her husband.

" Was reading the paper today," she said as she settled into her square next to his, "All that news about Vietnam, and people burning their draft cards, and I was worried about Daniel. They keep saying the Americans will get out, but it just drags on, and I thought what if when he is eighteen, Daniel is drafted? He's such a gentle soul! How will he manage? But after what I just saw, you know what? He's headed for a student deferment, and a career as a professor, just like his daddy!"

By the time the sun was beating down on them enough that they retreated to the kitchen tent in search of liquids and a light lunch, Fareed was reading, slowly, laboriously, but reading.

As she tucked Daniel in that night, making sure that there was a blanket within reach at the foot of his cot, because the desert air could be cold at night, Clare looked down at her son, blinking owlishly up at her with his clear blue eyes now that his glasses were safely in the case for the night, and his world had shrunk to the small sphere around him that he could see without them. She stroked her right hand over his smooth, soft, rounded little boy's cheek.

"Whatever life brings, mon petit choux, don't ever lose your loving heart, Daniel."

Of all the boys in all the world, hers had the sweetest smile.

Family Housing, Travis AFB, USA

A balding, middle aged full bird colonel was pacing back and forth in front of one of the units of the family housing that clear Saturday afternoon, and blinds were twitching all up and down the street. All but the most recent arrivals to the neighborhood knew who the man was. That was not the question the watchers were asking themselves as they watched the man pace and mutter outside his own front door.

It was Col. Jacob Carter, and what everybody on the street wanted to know, but given what they knew of the colonel's quick wit and sharp tongue, were afraid to ask was "What has gotten Jacob Carter's panties in such a twist?

It was, as a matter of fact, a subject on the periphery of panties that was bothering Jacob. He'd been folding the laundry that had been abandoned in the dryer, wanting to get it out of the way so he could dry a few items of his own, including the shorts that he intended to wear golfing with the general on Sunday afternoon, when he noticed that the panties he was folding were no longer cotton and covered with cartoon daisies. They were plain white, and the waistband had lace. His little girl was growing up.

That was the real problem, and the reason he was marching back and forth, cursing himself for a coward, a lily livered chicken, a pantywaist! If his wife was still here, surely he could have had her talk to Sammie about the changes in her body, the monthly-- well, events that should be happening soon. His little girl!

Whatever happened to the little?

Not a minute, not an hour, not a day passed that he did not miss his beautiful, graceful, challenging, intelligent wife. He didn't need to close his eyes to bring her image to mind. All he needed to do was look at his daughter over the breakfast table. Sammie grew more like her every passing day. But she was gone, and he was the only one left. It was his duty, and Jacob Carter was not a man to shirk his duty.

He squared his shoulders and marched up the front steps to his execution. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the dropping of shades all down the street. He was very tempted to turn and stick out his tongue, but remembered his new rank and did not. Maybe majors did that sort of thing, but not full bird colonels, and certainly not generals!

Samantha, not surprisingly, was in her room, and even less surprisingly, she was working on some sort of problem set. Physics, by the look of it. She hardly noticed him standing in the doorway. After several throat clearings, and a tug on his collar, which seemed to be binding him, she motioned for him to sit on her bed, but went right back to her problem.

Jacob sat at attention, and tried to remember how to swallow.

Well, this is awkward.

Finally, she reached some kind of conclusion, and circled a number at the bottom of the sheet, and transferred it to the space at the end of the question at the top of the page. Then the engagement began.





They went several rounds before Sam, ever the budding tactician, broke the stalemate.

"I think we have established what we call each other," she said. "Are we doing this for a reason?"

"Well, I really would prefer for your mother to be here to do this--"

"I know, Dad."

Her voice was soft, understanding. A month ago it would have been sharp and accusing. Progress.

"Well, what I came to say--"

Once there were words, and a voice to say them.

Silence stretched out mercilessly. Jake kicked at her rug and fidgeted with the tassels on the bedspread. Sam waited.

This was hard, so hard.

"Do you know the meaning of the word, 'puberty' Sammie?" he finally said, almost in his usual range.

Sam sighed.

"Yes, Dad."

It was the world weary tone of youth, dealing with the astounding stupidity of age.

She uncrossed her legs, and in unconscious imitation of her mother's grace, despite long legs that she had not yet quite grown into, walked across the room, and after a moment's pause, she pulled a book out from her bookshelf.

She walked back and tossed it onto her father's lap.

Our Bodies, Our Selves it said, "By The Boston Women's Health Book Collective."

"That should answer any questions you may have," she said. "It's pretty comprehensive."

She went back to her physics.

For one of the very first times in her memory, her father left without getting in the last word.

And he took the book with him.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 8th, 2016 04:10 am (UTC)
It was the world weary tone of youth, dealing with the astounding stupidity of age.

"That should answer any questions you may have," she said. "It's pretty comprehensive."
:D:D:D you just made me laugh right out loud!!

reading Ronac and Charlie, I was forced to remember that even with hte current shit.. I guess we *have* .. sort of.. moved forward... or had.. maybe..

so glad Jack and Teal'c weren't so punch-requiring.

poor little Fareed. so many out there like him that don't get to meet a daniel.
Dec. 15th, 2016 09:11 am (UTC)
This small scrap of life could not even bite his enemies yet.

That made me laugh for the sheer ridiculousness and such perfect dad reaction!

Charlie O'Neill is a fabulous fellow, no question about it.

Daniel's glasses make their first ever star appearance!

"That should answer any questions you may have," she said. "It's pretty comprehensive."

::giggles:: Sam snark!

This was a lovely, lovely contribution, and thanks for being part of another Soup. :)

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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