PG. Gen. S3 Pretense tag. For the Carnival of Squee Take Back the Glee Commentficathon, to the prompt “Jack and Skaara, post-Pretense: moonshine on Abydos.”
Disclaimer: These people do not belong to me and I am not making any money off them.
SG-1 brought Skaara home to Abydos themselves; Hammond even gave them leave to spend a few days there. It was a good thing, too, because within an hour after their arrival, the entire city was well on its way to smashed.
Much later, after the moons had risen and the fires had been lit, Carter was having her hands painted by a half dozen giggling young women, something Daniel explained was done for important women on important occasions. Teal’c had been swamped by a gaggle of children and was happily reciting SG-1′s exploits, in what Jack proclaimed the Sobriety Corner. Daniel, for whom this homecoming was more gratifying than the last, was speaking intensely and quietly with Kasuf in Abydonian.
Skaara took a jug of that throat-burning concoction of theirs and a couple hunks of roasted lizard, and he and Jack sat on a sand dune to catch up. The yellow glow from within the city walls spilled over and swayed across the desert. Even drunk, Skaara seemed to have no desire to relive the past two and a half years, nor to share his nightmare with his people; all most of them knew was that he had been a prisoner, and was now returned.
That decision told Jack more than any conversation could. The boy who had become an unlikely friend so long ago had been replaced by an astute, haunted young man. He would make a fine successor to Kasuf one day.
“I will earn my own living, O’Neill!” Skaara proclaimed in the night, waving his hunk of meat around. “Kasuf has promised me a mastadge bull and several young cows. They will be a grand herd!”
The kid’s smile had always been infectious. It did Jack’s soul good to see it on display again.
“And I will take a wife! Father says I am too young yet, but when my herd has doubled I will be wealthy enough to decide for myself. What is your wife like, O’Neill?”
Naturally, Jack was taking a swig from the jug when this question hit him. The stuff burned even more coming up through the nose than it did going down the throat. Skaara patted his back, laughing while Jack coughed.
“I’m not married, Skaara,” he said finally.
“But you are old and wise, O’Neill. How is it that you are not married?”
Jack took another sip, more slowly this time. He had lizard gristle stuck between his teeth. “I was, once.”
“Then your wife has died? I am sorry for your loss.”
“No, Skaara. On our planet a husband and wife can decide to end their marriage.”
“For adultery?” Skaara’s eyes grew wide and Jack saw the scales threaten to fall from his hero worship.
“No, no adultery. It can be for any reason. We just grew apart.”
“Then you must grow together again!” Skaara said with authority. “Like grafting two fig trees.”
It was on Jack’s tongue to explain that life was more complicated on Earth, but it wasn’t, really, especially for Skaara. Still, he couldn’t bear to dash all that hope. “Maybe someday,” he said.
“Certainly someday. You must speak with her as soon as you return.” Skaara grabbed the jug and lifted it in a sort of toast before gulping some down.
“Sure, Skaara,” Jack said.
Female laughter drifted out of the city gates. Jack wondered how Carter was getting along.
“When I marry, you will attend, yes?”
“Of course I will.”
“Good. Then you must assist me with another honor now.”
Jack’s alarm bells went off. On most planets, a statement like that was usually followed by a demand that SG-1 take part in some ritual that could only end in humiliation and official reprimand, or an order to hand over Daniel or Carter as a sex slave to a local dignitary.
“I must shave all the hair from my body,” Skaara said. “For purification.”
Jack coughed again. This was the kind of thing Daniel should have warned him about, and he was going to hear about it later. Loudly. “Shave it all off, you say? And you want me to …?”
“I cannot shave my own head, O’Neill,” Skaara said as if it were obvious. No doubt it was, to him. “I must ask my closest friend.”
“Oh.” That was. Wow. “I’d be honored, Skaara.” Jack clapped him on the shoulder and stole back the jug, so he could raise it up and pretend his eyes weren’t damp.
Skaara threw aside the charred bone and grabbed the jug again. Moonshine splattered on Jack’s legs, and on the sand. “Wonderful! We must begin right away.”
“Yeah.” Jack caught Skaara’s arm before he tried to stand. “You might want to let me sober up before you put a razor in my hand, buddy.”
Skaara’s laugh echoed over the desert. “You see? You are wise, my friend. We will return to Earth instead, and I will speak with your wife.”