Spoilers: The Tok’ra, I & II
Word Count: 748
Written For: redbyrd_sgfic
Prompt: What was it like for Jacob, in the early days?
Jacob got through the first hour mostly on adrenaline and glee at not only being alive, but having no arthritis, shortness of breath, aches, or any other physical ailment. Not only that, but he was no longer retired—and to a fifty-five year old widower who’d been married to his job for most of his life and had spent his life rootless, transferred from post to post, retirement was almost as frightening (and just as fathomless) as death. By the time he realized that he was now committed to life among aliens (aliens!) that, despite his new best friend Selmak’s memories of, he’d never even imagined existed until less than a day earlier, he’d already said good-bye to Sam and Earth and his life there. It was kind of a shock.
Jacob didn’t exactly stop dead in his tracks, but he did give the weird blue tunnels around him a bit more of a look as he walked, tugging at the SGC-issue fatigues he still wore to get them situated properly. He realized, abruptly, that he should be cold. He could feel the temperature in the tunnels was chillier than he preferred, but he felt perfectly fine. He shivered slightly, realizing that Selmak had tinkered with his body without him even noticing it.
Malek and Anise walked past him, carrying equipment to Anise’s new lab. Stacked on top were a few of Freya’s old-fashioned paper journals. Malek gave him an odd look. And Jacob realized that he’d never met either Malek or Anise before. Or Freya. And that he’d seen them and not only recognized them, but had recognized them as Tok’ra, by the symbiote inside them, not the host. Was that how the other Tok’ra were going to look at him? Selmak’s host, not Jake? He concentrated on holding his breathing steady.
There was nothing to worry about. Selmak would never shove him aside; he hadn’t known the symbiote long, but there was an intimacy to blending no amount of time could match in a “normal” relationship. The symbiote was an alien, but still a good guy. Jacob knew that. But the idea that he was half-way across the galaxy, alone among aliens …. He shook his head. There was work to do. He was a key figure in the Tok’ra hierarchy—as long as he did what the little voice in his head told him to, he thought with a snort—and couldn’t exactly take a powder right now. Jacob had never let his own fears get in the way, and he was damned if he was going to start now. It was just going to take a little time to work through, he assured himself.
Would you care to allow me to take over, while you acclimate yourself? Selmak asked diffidently, startling him.
Jacob paused, uncertainly. So far, Selmak had been very respectful and had let Jacob call the shots. With advice and commentary, but still, she—he?—hadn’t even asked for a test-drive. The idea of letting someone else move his body around was pretty freaky, but … it was Selmak’s body too, now. That was the price for good health and long life, and he’d known about it going in. And they had lots of things to do, getting everyone settled into the new base, figuring out what information Cordesh—or the Goa’uld who’d taken Cordesh’s host and his life—had, and how to safeguard against it. They didn’t really have time to wait for Jacob to settle in. Okay, he thought to Selmak, trying to project calm certainty despite his anxiety. It was a necessary ability for an officer, but he wasn’t sure how well it would work with someone currently sharing his head.
It doesn’t, really, Selmak thought back to him. But it helps you cope, which is the important part. You don’t need to change who you are, you know. Just …learn to share.
And what if I’m not good at sharing? Jacob wanted to know.
Then we may have a problem, Selmak said. But I think you underestimate yourself. Relax. I’ll take good care of you.
Jacob closed his eyes. He was going to have to learn to do this sooner or later. It was part of the deal he’d agreed to. Better to get it over with now, while he was still riding on the high from being healed. He squared his shoulders. Okay, let’s do this.
Jacob’s eyes opened. He walked briskly down the hall, a passenger in his own body.