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Stargate: SG-1
Teal'c. Vague spoilers through something like late S9. The title is taken from the Yeats poem of the same name. Blame and heartfelt thanks to [livejournal.com profile] synecdochic.
"...as bright as Bra'tac's eyes would burn as he trained Teal'c and spoken of the falsity of all the Goa'uld and how the Jaffa might strike someday, they'd been a bare ember compared to those two Tau'ri."



Easter, 1916.


When Cameron asks, "What, exactly, was it that made you decide to save Colonel O'Neill and his team, way back on that first mission of theirs to Chulak?", after rereading all of the mission reports involving the Jaffa after his first experience with the Sodan, Teal'c doesn't say anything for a very long time.

"His eyes," Teal'c says, finally. "I saw in them a strong and fierce warrior with technology that might stand against the Goa'uld and not give way. But I also saw a freedom that burned bright, a freedom that could light the way for my people."

What he doesn't say is:

He'd been terrified by it. Not just of O'Neill's eyes but of Daniel Jackson's as well. They both burned so brightly with their freedom that he could not understand how Apophis did not see the flames around them.

Bra'tac had taught him of what might be, had taught him how to bide and ameliorate the excesses of their Gods; but as bright as Bra'tac's eyes would burn as he trained Teal'c and spoke of the falsity of all the Goa'uld and how the Jaffa might strike someday, they'd been a bare ember compared to those two Tau'ri.

They were beautiful and terrible, as terrible as his own God, and the only thing that had given him the strength to save them, to follow them, to follow that bright and burning light, was the even more terrible thought that he might never see that light again. More terrible still was the thought of being the wind that blew out the only freedom he had ever seen.

So he saved them.

What he doesn't say is:

He had not thought to join them, to bring his cause to them; had not thought beyond the Tau'ri's lives and the lives of the people he had spared. He had not thought of rebellion of the Jaffa, of Bra'tac's cause, of defeat of the Goa'uld.

And he had been lost once the immediate threat was gone. He had been lost when O'Neill asked him to follow; he followed almost blindly, hardly seeing anything.

For months, he'd doubted himself, doubted Bra'tac, doubted the falsity of the gods, doubted the worth of freedom that was so bright but burned to the touch. But as he had told O'Neill:

He had nowhere else to go.

What he doesn't say is:

To this day, he doubts. For now the Goa'uld are overthrown, and the Jaffa freed from their oppression; a great nation of Jaffa built and it and Jaffa society run not by false gods but by Jaffa themselves.

And still, they are not free.

In the Jaffa nation, Teal'c sees forming what once he saw in their Gods--cold cruelty and indifference, selfishness, and disregard and punishment for any who do not obey their demands.

Bra'tac still hopes to bring change from within--as he brought change from within as Apophis's First Prime; Teal'c respects and admires this but he cannot bring himself to attend the Jaffa High Council any longer. Their eyes are...

If he must be around eyes that burn, he would rather they burn with freedom than with hatred.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-09-28 08:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] green-grrl.livejournal.com
This is beautiful. I love that Teal'c saw in Jack and Daniel's eyes the strength to stand up to the "gods" -- something they end up doing time and again over the years, despite having neither superhuman strength nor millennia of knowledge to draw upon.

And the Free Jaffa, what they're doing to themselves breaks my heart. You've captured them perfectly.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-12 09:41 pm (UTC)
ext_1941: (Default)
From: [identity profile] sg-fignewton.livejournal.com
Wow. Just found this on [livejournal.com profile] green_grrl's rec and... whew. I love the insight into Teal'c - uncertainties, and the eyes that burn with freedom, and the pain of knowing that even now, the struggles isn't over. It hurts that the Free Jaffa aren't what Teal'c longed for, doesn't it?

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-13 11:52 am (UTC)
niqaeli: cat with arizona flag in the background (Default)
From: [personal profile] niqaeli
Gosh! Thank you. :)

I've always thought that the real tragedy of the Jaffa is not their slavery and the struggle of it--sad and horrible though that is--but that, freed, they turned themselves into what their oppressors had been. It's not a new story, in history, of course; in fact, probably the most common story to be found of those who have overthrown a prior power and then found themselves in the position of power... but a tragedy all the same.

And I've always felt for Teal'c, who fought hardest of all the Jaffa for the sake of the Jaffa's freedom, to sit there and have to watch and see his beloved people turn themselves into the very thing, the evil, that he freed them from.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-15 03:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bratfarrar.livejournal.com
Lovely look into Teal'c's (that looks wrong) motivations for staying with the SGC - I've always wondered a little why he didn't return to the Jaffa, and this feels like the right answer.

I just recced (http://community.livejournal.com/canon_library/5322.html) this story over at [livejournal.com profile] canon_library, because more people need to read it.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-15 09:03 pm (UTC)
niqaeli: cat with arizona flag in the background (Default)
From: [personal profile] niqaeli
Oh, gosh. Thank you for the compliment and thank you for the rec! :) It's really awesome to hear that this rang true for you.

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-15 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wildcat88.livejournal.com
Found this at the canon_library. What a lovely look at Teal'c and the Jaffa struggle. I, too, wondered why he wouldn't return to his people.

If he must be around eyes that burn, he would rather they burn with freedom than with hatred.

What a fabulous line (and explanation).

(no subject)

Date: 2007-08-15 09:11 pm (UTC)
niqaeli: cat with arizona flag in the background (Default)
From: [personal profile] niqaeli
:) Thank you!

I think Teal'c's storyline is possibly the biggest tragedy in Stargate; he sacrifices everything for his people and ends up with nothing he could truly call a victory in the end. It's natural for a slave people to seek power so that they can never be enslaved again but in doing so they become the thing they hated. But it must have been incredibly hard for Teal'c to watch that, especially having lived in America as long as he did.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-02 04:45 pm (UTC)
ext_1941: (Default)
From: [identity profile] sg-fignewton.livejournal.com
I'm reccing Teal'c in [livejournal.com profile] stargateficrec this month and I just had the immense pleasure of reccing (http://community.livejournal.com/stargateficrec/974650.html) this. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-02 05:46 pm (UTC)
ext_3557: annerb icon with scenes of all team variations, my OTP (Default)
From: [identity profile] aurora-novarum.livejournal.com
Came via fig's rec at [livejournal.com profile] stargateficrec. You captured Teal'c's moment of [in]decision so beautifully. And how Teal'c's time with the Tau'ri has made him see the Jaffa with new eyes.

The burning eyes imagery is woven through the story very expertly. Great job.

(no subject)

Date: 2008-01-04 06:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kuonji14.livejournal.com
This is a beautiful, concise portrait of Teal'c. It doesn't diminish his on-screen presence, even as it adds a human element of ambiguity to it. I love this, thanks!

(recc'ed here via stargateficrec)

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