A Dark And Empty Reflection
by Emily M.

You sleep in a palace. The girl who brings you your breakfast glares at you and flinches when you talk to her, but you sleep in a palace.

You are surrounded by luxury. There is gold on the walls and silk on the bed and your outfit is exquisite even if it reminds you of the old Star Trek episodes you used to watch with your father. You have a dozen servants--slaves, you remind yourself because servants have a choice--at your command.

You're greatest luxury is your thirteen year old daughter who now hates you.

There are, in fact, very few people in this world who don't hate you. Sha're, you're sure, hates you most of all, though Ammonet is fond of you in her way. Perhaps she's simply bored, because there is surprisingly little fun to be had in a Goa'uld palace. She once complained of being stuck on Earth. You can't imagine anyone with the kind of power she has being stuck anywhere, but you held your tongue and suggested a game. She rounded up a dozen people and made them take on impossible challenges. She killed them when they failed.

You were thinking of chess.

It occurs to you that you've spent more time in the company of Sha're Jackson than her husband was able to and despite Ammonet's near total hold over her, you believe that you've seen flashes of the true woman inside. It makes you wonder how much control the Goa'uld really have over their hosts. Perhaps Ammonet was asserting control when she slit Daniel's throat. Perhaps that's why she keeps you around. You were the one to lead Apophis to the Alpha site and the remnants of the SGC. It must be hell for Sha're to spend her time around the woman who gave her husband up to his executioners. You don't blame her for hating you, but there are only so many times a mother can watch her daughter die before she cracks.

You know you will remember that day for the rest of your life. You will remember how Cassandra watched you with unshed tears in her eyes as you gave addresses, names and even strategic capabilities. You will remember how she called you "coward" and "traitor" and "bitch." You will remember how Apophis smiled as you tried to explain it to her and laughed as you begged him to keep her alive.

Cassandra turned her back on you that day and hasn't forgiven you since, but you have Apophis' word that she'll be safe and you cling to that every day. It's all you have left.

If Jack were here, he'd call you a fool for trusting a Gould, but Jack is dead. Jack who looked at you with pity instead of blame. Jack who held you when you cried even after what you'd done. Jack who confided in you the night before his execution that the only person he blamed was himself. For not listening to Daniel. For not stopping this when he had the chance.

You told him that there's no guarantee the address Daniel brought back through that mirror was even valid in this universe. You told him that even if it was, there's no way SG1 alone could have stopped the attack. But sometimes, in the late afternoon, you look out from one of the windows atop Cheyenne Mountain across the Colorado landscape and watch the sun set. Sometimes, you picture a world where SG1 did go through, a world where Apophis and his ships never landed. You dream of a world where you don't sleep in a palace.


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