Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
"In war, there's no substitute for victory," Hank Landry smiled, and knocked over his king with his beer bottle, conceding victory to O'Neill in the chess game. "You have a knack for it." He reached across the board to clink his beer bottle against O'Neill's.
O'Neill shifted his eyes down to the chessboard, swirling the beer in the bottle.
"I appreciate what you're saying, Hank," he paused, pensive. "If this were a battalion of Jaffa, or if I were staring down a Goa'uld mother ship, I'd know how to deal with it. But I don't know how to fight a war with my own body. And I'm pretty sure I'm losing this one."
O'Neill looked Landry straight in the face as he said this last. And Landry looked him straight back, acknowledging the truth he saw there.
"Selling everything you own doesn't sound like putting up much of a fight."
"Just being practical. Don't worry, Hank, I intend to live until I die."
There was another pause, while O'Neill studied Landry's face.
"There's another reason.... I want to go to Edora. It's time."
"Again? This isn't another spec op?"
O'Neill chuckled, looking away, thinking of another time. "Oh, no, not this time. Hank, you know. I haven't been able to go back to see Laira and our kid since I made Brigadier. I want to spend what time I can with them now."
O'Neill's gaze remained far away. "I was so much at peace there. That's how I want to live out my life."
Landry had to look away. My God, if O'Neill hadn't come back from there the first time, where would the SGC be? Where would the world be?
"You never did tell your team?"
"Well, Teal'c. I just couldn't tell Carter - it's just complicated - and Daniel, well, he's Daniel. He'd have hounded me endlessly trying to fix it," O'Neill shrugged. "Of course, George always knew, since he had to authorize my visits back."
Landry did know the story. O'Neill had fallen in love with Laira while he was living on Edora after a meteor had hit and buried the Stargate. He thought he was trapped there, and their relationship had developed over many months. But he was rescued, and although he asked her, she would not leave her home to go with him to Earth. On a subsequent visit back to the planet a few weeks later, she had told him that she was pregnant. He had kept it a secret, worried that the NID, political or Goa'uld enemies would find out and put his child, her family, in danger. So there had been quiet visits over the years, stepping through the gate in the middle of the night when there were few around to notice, and only very trusted friends to send him on his way. Not all of those fishing trips had been to Minnesota.
"So, are you going to tell them?"
"When the time is right. I'm not ready yet."
"It's your call, Jack. Anything I can do. How do you want to play it?"
"Diplomatic mission with the Asgard. Thor still owes me."
"As do we all, Jack. As do we all. Peace, my friend."
Landry set his beer down, and began re-arranging chess pieces.
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