Title: R is for Rebels and Regrets
Spoilers: Up to season 8 ("Threads")
Notes: Written for Jacob Carter/Selmak Alphabet Soup for Gen Fic Day (August 24, 2009). Not part of the "Daniel of Abydos" AU.
I. Sam(mie) and Mark
Sammie had decided at five that she was going to be just like Dad. That had been kind of nice until Dad found out that (a) it was no longer acceptable to call a really cool astronaut a kiddie name like 'Sammie' and (b) she thought her dad was an astronaut who possibly lived on the moon when he wasn't living in Washington D.C.
Then, one day, Jacob was late coming home from work, and his wife died. It didn't matter how much anyone regretted it; that was it.
Sam's idea of being a rebel was getting pissed off at her junior year physics teacher and handing in a week of physics homework in which every '-1' had been replaced with 'e^(i*pi)' and every trigonometric function had been written as an infinite series. As rebellious phases went, especially when his kids both hated him for what had happened to their mother, Jacob supposed it could have been worse.
Mark ran away from home. That was worse.
Not that Jacob cared, of course. Mark had made it clear that Jacob wasn't welcome in his life, so there was simply no excuse for Mark to be worming his way into Jacob's head.
That was what he'd thought, at least, up until he'd actually gotten a worm-like smartass in his head who disagreed very strongly with that sentiment.
You are the most stubborn human I have ever met, Selmak told him.
Shut up, Jacob told the snake in his head, feeling like he was a little kid passing notes in class while the teacher was giving a lecture. I'm trying to listen to Garshaw. You're distracting me.
I have met many humans. You are my twenty-first host, and I have lived on many planets.
Good for you, you old hag.
I believe, Selmak mused, sounding far too amused, that this would be a good time for me to call you a moron.
Will you stop stealing my insults? Jacob complained. And give me back my body!
In a minute, Selmak chided, and Jacob could have sworn he would have just been patted on the head if Selmak had had hands and didn't live inside said head. Do not sulk.
I'm not sulking.
"As you know," Garshaw said, staring at the hologram in the center of the table. "We have long believed that Setesh is still somewhere on Earth. Now that we have made contact with the Tau'ri, perhaps, with their help, we can find where Setesh is and destroy him. Martouf, as you have dealt before with the SGC, the Council would like you--"
"I will go to Earth," Selmak interrupted.
Garshaw paused. "Selmak, you have just returned from a mission."
Selmak shrugged. "I can handle one more. Afterward, perhaps we can stay on Earth for a short time with Jacob's people."
I hate you, Jacob told Selmak when an image of Mark's face floated unwillingly to his mind.
I am in your brain, Selmak reminded him. You cannot lie to me. The smug tone tapered away. Trust me, Jacob. You do not wish to live the rest of your life in regret.
There is nothing I regret about Mark.
There will be nothing to regret about Mark when I am done, Selmak corrected.
II. Old men
"Jacob Carter has had no more influence on me than any other host," Selmak said.
"There are those of us who disagree," Delek said as Jacob fumed and had to resist the urge to take over from Selmak and point out that he was still there--they were talking to his face, literally. "You have allowed yourself to get too close to these people, Selmak. Your true loyalties are in question."
Screw it, Jacob snapped at Selmak. Screw them! Sam's out there being chased by a Kull warrior!
Patience, Selmak said.
Jacob knew neither he nor Selmak was likely to live to the see the Goa'uld fall once and for all, but he also knew both of them wanted to go out fighting to the end. They were fighting for their children now, and he was not going to sit back and squabble politics while one of his children was out there. I'm taking over, Jacob warned. We're old, Selmak--we don't need our reputation to stay clean. If they want to call us rogue, let them.
Selmak nudged him gently. No. Let me handle this. I will not betray you and Major Carter, Jacob. We may not fear being branded rebels, but neither can we act like young fools and run blindly into the opposition. Trust me.
So Jacob sat back and tried not to think of Sam running around on the Alpha Site.
"The Replicators have launched their assault against the Goa'uld," Delek said. "Ba'al is prepared to hold them off."
Jacob shook his head. "Even if Ba'al knows what he's facing, and even if he's got all the Kull warriors still in his command, he's no match for a wave of Replicators. If Ba'al loses, the chances of stopping a Replicator infestation in our galaxy is almost zero."
"Perhaps," Delek said noncommittally.
"Look," Jacob said, then forced himself to shut up.
Sorry--I need you to wake up and talk, he said quietly to Selmak, prodding his friend's mind awake, then thrust him to the forefront. Selmak settled slowly into his body--Jacob wondered if everyone else could tell how old Selmak was feeling these days--and said, "The Tau'ri are the only ones who have successfully defended themselves against Replicators, and even then, they have only been able to fight a short time before they were forced to flee. If we work with them--"
"We have discussed this already," Delek said coldly. "An alliance with Tau'ri is not a possibility now. We will monitor the battle. That is all."
Jacob looked around the table and saw the no one else was speaking up in their favor. I have an idea, he told Selmak as Councilors and operatives alike dispersed. You know that device that keeps track of all our operatives? We can use it to hack into Ba'al's ships and keep an eye on the battle. At least the SGC will try to do something.
They will never allow us to take that device to the SGC, Selmak said.
I know, Jacob said. That's why we should steal it.
Selmak wanted to laugh. Jacob still always seemed so young to him, even when he felt old.
But that's why you like me, Jacob told him, and was answered with warmth and regret. He forced himself to ignore the latter. So? C'mon--let's steal it.
I do not have much time left. If we are to do this, I must leave you now. Can you succeed alone?
No, Jacob thought, and he would have lied and said something about everything being okay, but Selmak was in his brain, and there was no lying to Selmak. There's still time, Selmak. Not now.
Reluctance. A hint of relief, and of resigned excitement. Very well, Selmak said, and stood up with Jacob and left the chamber. When we take our shift at the monitor, we will take the device and leave through the Stargate. We may not be able to return, Jacob. In any case, I do not believe I will return.
Let's wait on that, okay? Jacob said firmly. I'm not coming back without you, anyway.
Well, Jacob told Selmak at the end as they looked out over Dakara, I guess this is it.
I am sorry, Selmak whispered. My dear friend. I have already made you a criminal to the Tok'ra, and now my death will be yours.
Hey, I'm the bad influence around here, remember?
Ba'al smirked at them across the Ancient device. "Dad?" Sam said nervously. "Selmak?"
Don't be sorry, Jacob assured Selmak. You gave me my kids back. You gave me the time of my life. We had a great run.
I never planned to let you die with me, Selmak said, and Jacob tried to push away the waves of sorrow as he said, "All right, Sam, try that one."
Let's get this last mission over with, huh? Jacob said. One last time. If Sam lives--if they live--that's all I want. If we're going out, we'll go out with a bang and take the Replicators with us. No regrets.
"Good," Sam said as the discrepancy between the readings dropped again. "All right. What else?"
One last time, Selmak agreed, and they marched toward their deaths--and their children's lives--together.