Tara/Daniel mainly with some Dawn/JonasDescription:
Daniel and Tara, after almost four years together face one of the most challenging stages in their relationship. At the same time, Dawn is trying to come to a decision about where she stands with Jonas and where her future lies: with the SGC or The Council. Then, SG-1 goes through the gate on a mission that changes everything.Time line:
Dawn is at her last semester at a University in the Buffy Universe. Please note that this follows Buffy through the TV series but not the comics. For the Stargate Universe, this would follow after the show and Ark of Truth. Continuum would fall in the middle of this story. Disclaimer:
Joss makes all the money when it comes to Buffy, not me, so hats off to him. Buffy and company also belong to the WB, UPN, FOX, Mutant Enemy and others I can't remember. Stargate belongs to MGM, Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner and others I can't think of off the top of my head. I make nothing and own none of these wonderful characters (except Malita and Major Katrinka Burkhardt).Feedback:
Yes please. I love feedback. I may try to reply if I have time.Author's notes:
Thank you for all of you who have followed this series through the years. I know Shelter took me a long time to write. My daughter was born during the time I was writing it, and she takes up most of my time. I pretty much disappeared for the first several years of her life. Please remember this as I post this fic, as my writing time is much shorter with her in my life (which I’d have no other way).If there is anyone out there interested in BETA reading this for me, please let me know. I try to comb through my work, but there is a lot that I miss!!! I would appreciate another pair eyes to help.
Beep. Beep. BEEP. Daniel groaned as an insistent beeping sounded repeatedly in his mind. Through the foggy haze of sleep he grappled with the noise. It couldn’t be what he thought it was, especially since he just went to bed. Groggily, he opened his eyes and glanced at the clock. The time was fuzzy without his glasses on, but Daniel could easily see the time 6:30am. He stretched his arm out to bat at the clock, his fingers swatting at the off button until the room was once again filled with only the sound of Tara and him breathing. With a sigh, he sat up and ran his fingers through his hair with one hand while searching for his glasses with his other. Once a morning person, Daniel was starting to hate them now. The alarm not only interrupted the little sleep that he got, but it also announced the time that at least one of them would have to get up to get ready to leave. He looked over at Tara’s still sleeping form and reached over to lightly pat her arm. “Tara. Alarm just went off.”
Tara simply turned in bed towards him and frowned. “Five more minutes.”
It was the same request she gave him every morning. With a smile, he leaned down and kissed her on the cheek. “Five more minutes.”
Daniel padded across their room to the bathroom, trying to be as quiet as possible so that she could get a few more minutes of rest. He quickly went about his morning ritual. After washing his face in an attempt to wake up, he took a minute to stare at his reflection in the mirror. His eyes bore large rings under them from lack of sleep and worry. It had been a hard four years since Tara had descended and moved in with him. A lot had happened, and he kept on waiting for the day when it would calm down. He had first thought it was going to happen when they defeated the Goa’uld. Then the Ori happened while Tara’s team had been called to duty in Atlantis. They had tried to keep their schedules normal for Malita, but it didn’t happen. Tara would be gone for months, and Daniel spent a lot of time at the base. They weren’t the family that they had planned on being, but the three of them had pulled through. At least now Tara had been home safe in his arms for the last month and a half.
With a frown, Daniel rubbed his eyes as he thought back over the last few months. Tara had been in Atlantis. They loved her there, especially McKay who found that Ancient devices sprung to life around her, even more so than around Sheppard. Plus, with them battling the Wraith - who Faith deemed space vampires - it made sense that her team be there rather than fighting the Ori. Tara’s team had been to Atlantis several times, but the last time, his worst nightmare had come true. Tara had been taken by the Wraith. When he had found out, there was nothing that could stop him and SG-1 from getting there as fast as possible. The Wraith thought they were prepared to hold off Sheppard and his team. When you added SG-1 and Faith’s team to the mix, the Wraith didn’t have a chance. Daniel didn’t even have to fight. Everyone cleared the way for him, Dr. McKay and Dr. Keller so they could see to Tara. Daniel had personally carried her back through the gate to Atlantis, and they had been together since.
Today would be the first that either of them was going to be gone on a mission after her rescue. Tara’s team was going to a planet where they had found not only Ancient relics, but also writings about demons. She was supposed to be at the base by 0830 to have a checkup from Dr. Lam and then a debriefing before getting ready to gate through. Daniel was going to take Malita to school before coming into work. All he had planned for the day was to work in the office until 1500. Then he was heading off to pick up Malita before heading to the airport to also pick up Dawn and Buffy. A pretty easy day for him, but he couldn’t help worrying with Tara out there. It would be a long time before he would get the image of her hooked up to all those Wraith machines out of his mind, but he knew she needed to get back to work with her team. It was something that she needed to feel normal again.
Taking a deep breath, Daniel pushed himself up from the sink. It was time to face the day and somehow repress that gut wrenching feeling he had from the thought of Tara going back through the gate. He emerged from the bathroom to see her sleeping form in bed. Quietly, he approached the bed and reached out to her. Brushing some of her hair tenderly from her face, Daniel leaned down and kissed her again on the cheek. “Five minutes are over. I’m going to get some coffee started.”
Tara turned on to her back, stretched and smiled up at him. “I’m awake. I promise.”
Daniel grinned cheekily at her. “You know that you’re actually worse at getting up than Malita.”
“Ouch. Okay. I’m getting up. I promise.”
With a chuckle, Daniel kissed her one more time and then headed off to the kitchen. Behind him, he heard Tara groan as she got out of bed. He was right in that she had been having a hard time getting up in the mornings. After her incident with the Wraith, it had taken her time to have any type of energy. The Wraith had sapped so much from Tara, and it was sometimes difficult for her just to get through the day without completely tiring. This was another reason he was worried about her going through the gate. Daniel wasn’t quite sure she was ready yet. There was a part of him that hoped Dr. Lam would have her stay behind to strengthen up some more before going through.
The house was so quiet, and Daniel took his time going downstairs to the kitchen, enjoying it. Buffy and Dawn would be joining them that evening, and Daniel was sure the quiet would be gone for the next few weeks with house guests. After several years of hard work without a break, Dawn was going to come spend the next few weeks in Colorado with them for Christmas to unwind. While Buffy said she was joining Dawn to spend quality time with her, Daniel thought it might be more to keep an eye out for her baby sister. Even though Dawn and Jonas were still just friends, everyone knew that the two of them wanted more. To say Buffy was happy about it would be an all out lie. She didn’t like the idea of her sister in a relationship with anyone.
Daniel moved about the kitchen without thinking. He was on autopilot. Every morning he would start the coffee. His hands just automatically went through the task. The amazing thing was that, as Tara put it, Daniel’s coffee was still some of the best she had ever tasted even when he wasn’t watching what he was doing. He was famous at work for the coffee he made in his office, and here at home, it was better.
As the coffee started percolating, Daniel headed to the back of the house where Malita’s room was. He knocked on her door and called out, “Malita! Time to get up!”
Her reply didn’t come from her bedroom. Instead, she popped her head out of the bathroom across the hall. A toothbrush hung out of her mouth. Taking it out, she remarked, “Already up, Dad.” At least that was what he thought she said. With all the toothpaste she had in her mouth, it was a little hard to understand.
It didn’t surprise Daniel that Malita was already awake. She had been excited about seeing Dawn and Buffy. It was all she had been talking about for the last several weeks. Gone was the small slip of a girl that didn’t know any English. Now she was a junior high Colorado Springs girl through and through, even though younger in years than her classmates. While her speech still had a bit of an accent, she spoke impeccable English so fast, that Daniel sometimes had to make her repeat just to take in everything.
Daniel made his way back to the kitchen and started pulling out food for breakfast. If it was the weekend, he and Tara would work as a team to create a family style breakfast. With it being a weekday, Daniel simply pulled out bowls, silverware, cereal and milk. He poured orange juice for Malita, and once the table was done, grabbed a coffee for himself. Picking up a few papers from work he had been working from, he brought them to the table to work on while he waited for the others to join him.
In their bathroom Tara stood under the spray of the shower’s water. She savored the feeling of the hot water washing over her skin. Her eyes closed as she stepped even more directly under the flow of the water, feeling it as it ran over all of her. It soothed her nerves that had been building all night as she had dreamed about going back into the field. Even though she knew it was a routine mission for collecting Ancient and demonic information, it still worried her. The last time she had been on a routine mission, Tara wandered off away from her team. Tara had a feeling that it wouldn’t happen this time. There was no way Faith was going to let Tara get out of sight, not after what the Wraith had done to her.
With a groan, Tara’s hand moved to her chest only to hover where the Wraith had sucked the life from her over and over. They knew something was different with her, and decided to study her rather than kill her. Whatever life they took from her gave them a euphoric high, even after they would return her life force. She had thought that it was the Ancient in her, but according to the Wraith scientist that studied her, it couldn’t be that. The Wraith had fed on Ancients before, and none of them tasted like she had. That was why they continually fed on her, permanently leaving a scar that now marred what used to be her perfectly smooth skin.
Once Daniel had found her, she had worried that he would be put off from it; that he would no longer find her attractive. She had tried to find ways to distract him from being intimate, and he followed her cues until their first night back on Earth. Daniel had broken through the barrier that she had set up, and when he laid eyes up on her scarred form, he simply told her how beautiful she was before showing her how he felt. His lips had brushed over her scar lovingly as he whispered sweet nothings to her, and Tara realized she had nothing to fear. Daniel would always love her, no matter what. Since then intimacy hadn’t been an issue. Instead, the problem had been the nightmares and her lack of strength. It was Daniel who kept her going for the last month or so. Without him and the occasional visits from their teams, she wasn’t sure how she would have faced each day.
Already feeling tired, even though the day had just begun, Tara finished showering and went to dress for the day. She wore her regulation navy blue pants and a black form fitting tank. After sitting down on her bed and placing her shoes on, Tara sat for a few minutes. She closed her eyes and worked on evening her breathing. She really was feeling tired this morning, more than most mornings. Usually after spending a night with Daniel, Tara would wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. This morning she felt completely drained. Part of her wondered if it had anything to do with the fact she hadn’t gotten much sleep. She took a deep breath, and centered herself before getting up to join her family.
When Tara finally made her way to the kitchen she found Daniel and Malita both eating breakfast. Daniel was working on a bowl of Cheerios while Malita was talking over a bowl of Fruit Loops. She was regaling him of some story about one of her classmates. The little boy’s name was Anthony Parker, and Tara had been used to hearing stories about him the last few years. Malita always talked about him with disdain, telling them about the latest prank he had played on her. It made Tara smile, knowing that Anthony was only playing pranks on Malita because he liked her. Of course Tara wasn’t going to tell Malita or Daniel this. According to Daniel, no one was to like his little girl until she was old enough to date, which at last count was age thirty-five.
Tara sat down beside Daniel and helped herself to a bowl of Cheerios also. She quietly listened as Malita talked animatedly. Daniel would interject a comment now and then, which seemed to please Malita. The young girl loved having time like this with them. Unfortunately, until the last month and a half, their time together like this had been short. Malita had spent more time with Daniel than Tara, but she had also stayed with Siler’s family. His wife had taken to Malita, and his daughter was an excellent babysitter that they trusted. There was one time even when Giles came to stay with her while both Tara and Daniel were away for an extended amount of time.
Daniel finished his breakfast as Malita completed her story. After a final bite and drink of his coffee, he picked up his dishes, put them away in the dishwasher and then returned to the table. Leaning down, he kissed Tara on the cheek. “I’m going to go get ready now. How are you feeling?”
“Tired,” answered Tara.
Across from them, Malita frowned. She knew Tara wasn’t doing well. By the end of every day, her mom looked worn and drawn. She usually would go to bed early and then always seemed fine again in the morning. For her to be tired in the morning, that was different. Malita had already dreamed about why her mom was feeling so, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t worried. In the end, she knew it would be okay. After having premonitions through dreams for several years since her parents had been in the middle of a war zone on Kelowna, she had learned when to say something and when not to.
“Want a pick-me-up?”
Tara sighed. She tried not to have Daniel give her what he called ‘pick-me-ups’ but knew that to get through the day, she would need one. Slowly, Tara nodded.
Malita leaned forward and rested her chin in her hands as she watched her adoptive parents. Most of her friends found the idea of their parents showing any affection icky. Strangely, Malita found that she didn’t mind her parents being affectionate in front of her. With a smile, she watched her mom look up at her dad, who placed his hand on her mom’s cheek. Then, slowly, he leaned even further down and kissed her. A light passed between them that Malita could see where their lips touched. Her mom had once explained that her dad could channel magic from the Earth. Periodically, he would allow Malita’s mom to filter some of this energy from him, which is what they were doing right now. It always made Malita feel warm inside to witness this personal moment between them. It was a tender act, and her dad always performed it in such a loving way.
“Better?” Daniel could see that Tara’s cheeks had already taken on more color.
Tara nodded. “Much better. Thank you.”
Lt. Graham Miller walked through the silent halls of Stargate Command with a bag thrown over his shoulder. If someone had told him a few years ago that he would accept a request to rejoin the Marines and leave his station behind with the Army, he would have laughed in their face. Fighting demons was something he enjoyed, and he was quite good at it. The Army had been his life, the very air that he breathed, and he was said to be on the fast track. Then General Hammond from Homeworld Security had shown up to discuss the SGC. After talking to the General and having a video conference with President Hayes, Graham had locked himself away for two whole days to consider what ended up being the job offer of a lifetime. Sure, he was now second in command of his team below a woman that Riley called “The Evil Slayer Hell Bitch” but Graham found that it didn’t bother him. While Riley and Sam were still his family, so was his new team. Plus, face it, while fighting demons was a cool gig, fighting demons and aliens in space was even better.
Graham pulled his bag from his shoulder as he entered the gym. Jonas Quinn and Major Katrinka Burkhardt were already there. At the moment Jonas was adjusting a brace for his heavily scarred leg while Kat was doing a stretch Graham thought shouldn’t be humanly possible. Smiling up at him from her contorted position, Kat asked, “Warm up?”
Major Burkhardt was an engineer who had received her education by joining the Air Force. With a doctorate, the woman was smart while also fitting in amongst the officers. She could shoot a gun with precision that put many to shame and her strength wasn’t questioned. Her sense of humor was sarcastic, which fit well with Faith but also balanced with Graham’s calm demeanor. Her appearance was one of slender yet muscular. She was very pale with bright blue eyes and light blond hair. At the moment her hair was braided and knotted at the nape of her neck. It was an hairstyle she almost always wore when going on a mission.
Without answering Kat, Graham tossed his bag to the side and moved to the mat. Jonas got up with a wince and joined him. Frowning, Kat untangled herself as she glanced at Jonas. Graham caught the look and simply shook his head. The whole team knew that Jonas had problems with his leg. It was especially hard on Jonas in the mornings before he had worked out all the kinks. Jonas didn’t like talking about his leg, as he wanted to be treated like the rest of the team with no special treatment. Faith and Graham were both fine with that, but they still had talked to Jonas about what his threshold was. They needed to know the weaknesses of their team.
The three of them started by stretching and then moved on to the Jaffa exercise lok’nel. The door to the room opened up five minutes into their exercise. Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell grinned as he saw the group and then remarked to the man following him into the room, “Alright, you were right. I was running late and they’ve started without us.”
“Indeed,” Teal’c intoned simply, before moving over to the mat on the other side of Jonas. The Jaffa started in with the moves that he had taught the group while Mitchell went to the other side.
“What type of donut caused you to be late today?” asked Kat. “Glazed or chocolate?”
“None of the above. The name of the culprit this morning was Egg McMuffin.”
“I don’t know how you eat that type of stuff.” Kat frowned as she thought about what would happen if she ate like Mitchell. She had a feeling a few pounds here and there would be the least of her worries.
Graham turned to narrow his gaze at the two. “Would you two mind not talking through this?”
“Lok’nel is designed not only to build strength. Concentration during it also improves your mind,” Teal’c informed the group.
Kat grinned at Cameron. “Maybe you should practice lok’nel more often, Colonel Mitchell.”
Before Graham could ask the two to quiet down again, Teal’c remarked, “I do not believe there is much that Colonel Mitchell could do to improve his mind.”
Ignoring Mitchell’s quick victory comment, Teal’c added, “He is a lost cause.”
“Hey!” Now pouting, Cameron continued with the exercise. The group became quiet as they concentrated on their moves. They moved as one. It had become a morning ritual with them that had started when Faith officially joined the SGC. Every morning Teal'c and Faith would meet to exercise. After time, their teams joined. Before long, SG-1 and SG-18 had made it a habit when they were both there. This morning they were short a few due to Tara’s doctor’s appointment, Daniel taking Malita to school and Vala having to go through interviews with the IOA.
As the group finished and then moved on to slayer warm up exercises, Cameron asked Jonas, “So, what time did you get up this morning, Jonas?”
“Why does it matter what time I got up?” Jonas looked over from where Teal’c was helping him move into a more comfortable position. It was something that happened a lot through their workout sessions. Teal’c would silently move over to Jonas to readjust the man’s stance. No one said anything when it happened. While Jonas was capable of going through the exercises, Teal’c knew how to position him just right so that he was able to get optimal movement with his leg without being in pain.
“Just call it curiosity.”
“He wants to know when you got up to email Dawn this morning,” Graham explained in a straight forward way.
“What makes you think I emailed Dawn this morning?” Cameron’s answer was to give Jonas an ‘I can’t believe you just asked me’ look. “Fine. I got up at 2:00.”
“Great. You were supposed to get up at 2:30.”
“But he didn’t. He got up at 2:00. That makes me the winner.” Kat did a little dance before moving back into position for the slayer exercise.
“You bet on me?”
Kat shrugged, “I can’t help it. Betting on you against Colonel Mitchell is easy money for me. After being on the same team with you for the last few years, you’ve become nothing if not predictable.”
Daniel glanced over at his daughter, who was at the moment sitting with her feet on the car’s dash, talking to him about one the boys at school and her friend Ashley. She had been going non-stop since breakfast, and his only break from the story had been when he had left her with Tara so he could get ready. Even though she was young in age, she sounded just like her teenage classmates. With a frown, he eyed her feet and simply remarked, “Feet, Malita.”
Malita kept on as she dropped her feet. Then, in the middle of her story, she paused. With eyes that seemed to hold knowledge beyond her age, she studied her father. He had turned his attention back to the road in front of him. While Malita knew that he had been listening, she knew that his heart wasn’t into her story. His heart was where it always was, with her mother. The two had a love that Malita knew was special, so much so that her mother had given up ascension to save her father. Malita thought their story was romantic.
Her parents hadn’t talked to her much about it, but Malita knew that her mother had come close to dying in the Pegasus galaxy. When they had returned a little over a month ago, her mother had been a shell of what she had been. It was strange to see her mom so weak when she had always been strong. Malita watched as her mom had gained some strength back but then started to weaken again. When Malita truly concentrated, she could actually see power diminishing from her mother. While it worried her, Malita knew deep down that in the end it would be okay. At night she dreamed of her mother, once again strong. Knowing what was wrong also helped.
Malita slowly reached out and placed a hand on her father’s arm. He turned his sad eyes to her, and Malita slowly smiled. “Mom’s not getting better, is she?” She had to be careful how she approached this with her father.
“No. I don’t think she is.”
“Do you think Dr. Lam will let her go through the Stargate?”
“I don’t know.”
For a few seconds, the two were quiet. Then, Malita softly said, “I think there are dark days ahead, but in the end, Mom will prevail. She is strong, even when at her weakest.”
“I hope you’re right,” Daniel whispered to his daughter.
“I am.” Malita’s voice held only confidence. She turned away and watched out the window as they drove up to the school. Daniel pulled the car close to the curb and then parked. With a smile, she reached down and picked up her book bag before leaning over to give him a peck on his cheek and a hug. “We will be the family we always wanted. There will just be bumps on the way. Trust me.”
Daniel watched his daughter jump out of the car and run over to a group of her friends through the snow. While there were times that Malita acted like all other kids her age, there were other times that she surprised him. It was as if she had a keen view that not only gave her insight to circumstances beyond her age, but also bordered on the supernatural. She sometimes spoke of what was to come and never had been wrong. Malita had said Tara would be okay, that they would be a true family. This should lighten Daniel’s heart. All he felt was worry. What was it she had said also about the dark days ahead?
Tara sat on the edge of a bed in the infirmary with Faith sitting right beside her. The slayer had not left her side since picking her up for work, even during her checkup. Dr. Lam had made Tara go through a complete physical, which she had to admit tired her. Then the doctor had taken several urine and blood samples before leaving to do some tests. Next to her, Faith quietly remarked, “Maybe we should sit out this trip through the gate. SG-1 could cover it once Daniel arrives.”
“I’m not going to break, Faith.”
“Maybe not, but after your physical, can you honestly say that you should be going through the gate?” Faith got up and moved to stand right in front of Tara. She reached out, and in a move that was against the normal rough exterior of the slayer, tenderly lifted Tara’s chin so that she had to look Faith in the eyes. “You’re my watcher. If I wasn’t at the top of my game, would you let me go head to head against a big bad?”
“This is an information gathering trip. It isn’t like I am going into battle, Faith.”
“Tara, telling Daniel what had happened to you while we were in Atlantis was one of the most painful moments in my life. It broke my heart. I couldn’t bear to be in that position again, even if it was just to tell him that you got sick while on a mission. You may be my watcher, but when it comes to the gate, I lead. If I don’t think you should go through…”
With a sigh, Tara nodded. “I understand. How about we hear what Dr. Lam has to say, and then we go from there?”
“I’ll agree to hear what she has to say, but I don’t think you are ready for this. I know you want to be back with your team, but you don’t need to go through the gate to still be with us. You know that.” With a grin, Faith added, “Plus, I hear that Walter has a whole stack of paperwork to file for General Landry. He’s been counting down the days until your return.”
Tara actually laughed. “I must admit when I first joined the SGC, I would have rather been here filing or filling out watcher journals than going through the gate. It’s just that, well…”
“You’ve come to love going through the gate with the team?” Faith had realized this a long time ago. “We all knew that Tara. Why do you think we volunteered for research missions so much throughout the last few years? All of us relished the time you spent through the gates with the team. Once we realized you knew Ancient like Dr. J, we had a reason for you to join us other than just magic or demon research.”
“I’ve never gone a whole two months without going through the gate. The thought of staying Earth side even longer…”
“I’ll keep you Earth side until I know it’s safe for you, no matter how many months it takes.”
“Faith,” Tara softly begged.
In answer, Faith took a hold of Tara’s hands. She squeezed them, stepped closer and brought both of their hands to rest over her chest. “These last few years you have taken care of me, Watcher Mine. How many nights after patrol or trips through the gate have you spent time bandaging me up, making everything better? You’ve been not only my rock but that of the whole team. Let us return the favor… please?”
Tara was about to reply when Dr. Lam came out of her office. She slowly walked over to the two and then shook her head. “I can’t let you go through the gate, Mrs. Jackson.”
Tara shook her head. “What’s wrong with me? Dr. Keller said I would get my strength back. I should be ready by now.”
“I’m actually sending for Dr. Keller to see if she can come through the gate for a consultation.”
“You’re calling Dr. Keller from Atlantis for this?” Faith frowned at this news. While they could use the midway station to travel between the galaxies quickly, they normally didn’t do it lightly. Plus, Dr. Lam normally wasn’t one to ask for help. She was the type that didn’t need to, because she really was that good.
Dr. Lam reached out and placed a hand on Tara’s shoulder. “I believe that we shouldn’t talk about this until Dr. Jackson is on base. I’ve left a message for him at the gate to come to the infirmary as soon as possible.” Turning to Faith, the doctor added, “Can you find Colonel Mitchell for me? I want to talk to both of you along with General Landry about this.”
Faith nodded as the doctor then turned and left the room. In front of her, now pale, Tara quietly stated, “This can’t be good.”
“You don’t know that.”
“She wants to call in help from Atlantis and has asked for both you and Cameron. How can this be anything but bad?” Tara frowned as all sorts of bad thoughts flowed through her mind. What if she was dying? Could Dr. Lam be pulling everyone together to let them have the bad news? Maybe there was something Dr. Keller had missed. Jennifer said herself that there was a lot she was still learning about the Wraith. They could have done something that she couldn’t detect.
“Everything will be fine.” In her mind, Faith was thinking awful thoughts about the doctor scaring Tara – hell, even herself – like this. “I can stay here until Daniel arrives.”
“No. It’s okay. Go find Cameron. I’m not going anywhere.”
“Are you sure?”
Part of Tara wanted to say, “No,” to ask Faith not to leave her. Instead, she just sadly smiled and said, “I’ll be five by five.”