Colour of Truth
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them

Spoilers for 'Divide and Conquer' and 'Red Sky'. A 'Red Sky' episode addition. Set just before Daniel pleads for the townsfolk to move to another planet.

Contains swearing.

Work has been so mad lately that by the time I get home I'm too tired to write anything, so I apologise in the delays for next parts of things. Meanwhile, here's this.

For Puk. Just because.


Shit, shit, shit.

Damn xenophobic, arrogant bastards.

Richards and Harvey. Good men. Good people. Deserved so much better than being roasted by some Goddamned rocket explosion.

Richards saw Teal'c as his own personal hero. Over the past three weeks - whenever he wasn't working on the rocket - he'd be hovering around Teal'c as if despite all the horrors they'd seen in their work, the big guy fascinated him. Somehow he still managed to maintain that naivety that Jack doubted he himself had ever had.

He reminded him of Daniel.

Or at least how Daniel used to be.

And Harvey. He didn't know him as well as he knew Richards, but he was a good guy. Obviously had a crush on Aster before she...

Shit! Too many people were dying. Too damn many.

He kicked a tree. A big, strong, sturdy looking tree.

It hurt.

He did it again.


And again.


"What?!" He swung around, and almost immediately chastised himself. Teal'c was a convenient target. He had nothing to do with this. "What?" He repeated, sounding - if not feeling - slightly calmer.

"This is no point in injuring yourself."

He'd have to disagree. "It helps."

"How so?"

He stood there, gasping at his friend. Daniel had made his announcement to the town that he wanted to speak to them, and the townsfolk had begun filtering into the church some time ago. Jack observed angrily as more people headed towards it.

"They killed two of my men." He stated petulantly, repeating his phrase from earlier.

"Not all of them," Teal'c rebutted. "It was perhaps only three people, and we have been told that those who are guilty will be punished. Why should we not believe that?"

"Dammit Teal'c, it doesn't matter if they're punished or not; it doesn't change the fact that Richards and Harvey are dead! Because of their own ignorance, someone on this planet killed two men who were trying to *help*."

Teal'c lifted an eyebrow. "Was it not our own ignorance that led us to the current situation?"

Teal'c had hit the nail bang on the head. If they hadn't overridden the safety measures on the Stargate, they wouldn't have even come to this planet. The sun wouldn't have turned red, Carter wouldn't have suggested the rocket, she and SG-6 wouldn't have spent weeks refining the plan...

More than anything he was angry with himself, but he wasn't about to admit it. "Okay, so we screwed up, but we didn't do it deliberately. We didn't try to hurt anyone on purpose." Dammit, hadn't he been through this conversation earlier?

He wasn't going to abandon them, he was going to listen while Daniel tried to get these people off their asses and through the Stargate, but shit, he was angry. It wasn't often it happened. Not like this. When Skaara had been taken, or when Sara had been mugged while she was pregnant...this felt like that.

Teal'c didn't respond, and Jack was thankful. Spying a piece of log maybe a foot long on the ground, he started kicking it around. The problem with the tree was that it just stood there. This, at least, moved about. Made him feel like he was doing something instead of idly standing by.

*Now* Teal'c spoke up. "Why are you so angry, O'Neill?"

Jack couldn't even believe the question. "Did you not notice the big boom that killed two men?"

"We have lost people on missions before. Although the outcome is obviously regrettable in all cases, you appear to be taking this more personally than most."

"They were under my command. I was in charge of the operation on this side of the Stargate."

"Even so-"

"Christ Teal'c, it could have been you down there! It could have been any one of you. God knows Carter spent every available moment around that damn-"

And that was it.

With the expression of a man who had clearly made his point, Teal'c nodded once and meandered away.

Jack didn't even register what was happening.

She'd spent every waking moment at the launch site - and some of the sleeping ones, too. It was her plan, her baby, her idea. She'd overseen just about everything, and he'd admit he'd spent a few days around the launch site himself, just to see how good she'd become at bossing people around (although when he'd commented on it, she'd called it 'delegating').

Thank God she'd gone back through the Stargate herself to get that element. Thank God she hadn't decided to keep an eye on things, and hadn't asked someone from SG-6 to get it for her.

He should have felt guilty. He should have been feeling like absolute shit for being thankful that Richards or Harvey died instead of her.

He wanted to run back to the Stargate. He wanted to gate to Earth and tell her about the discovery he'd just made, about how glad he was just to know her.


The cynic returned.

Get a grip, O'Neill.

Daniel was on the steps outside the church, waving like a maniac. "Let's go!"

Ah, yes. Convince the townsfolk that they really did want to uproot and move to a new planet. Fat chance.

Kicking the log one more time for good measure, Jack tugged at his cap and headed towards his friend.

He'd be okay. She was Carter, and she was still here.

He'd be okay.


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