A/N: Dates have been doctored to fit the timelines, obviously - taking as reference 1996 as the year of the first Abydos mission.
The doorbell rang insistently.
Jack, who'd just flopped on his couch with an oversized t-shirt and the tv remote control, went to open none too happily.
He found the tall, dark form of his most stoic team-mate on the doorstep and tried to ignore the dread rising in the pit of his stomach. Some damn alien better not have attacked on his one day off…
"Teal'c!" he exclaimed with faked over-cheerfulness. "Not that your company isn't great and all, but this is supposed to be my first real break since… those… Goa'uld…" he slowly trailed off, his train of thoughts derailed as his entire concentration focused on the bundle in Teal'c's muscled arms.
Which… looked… like a child.
The bundle sniffed a little and blinked huge, frightened green eyes at him, clutching at Teal'c's garish Hawaiian shirt with a sort of quiet desperation.
Jack raised a finger in question and pointed sharply at the strange apparition in his friend's embrace, all the while opening his mouth to ask the million questions racing through his mind only to close it again because his brain was apparently incapable of formulating even the simplest one.
Teal'c's deep and gravely voice rang out, in the measured tone of perplexity that Jack had come to associate with his 'Tau'ri-are-weirder-than-I-thought' moments: "O'Neill," he said, "are children not treasured among the Tau'ri? I was under the impression that they were to be protected at all costs. Was I mistaken?"
Jack frowned with sudden unease and let his hand drop: "No, Teal'c, you're right," he murmured quietly.
"Then how do you explain this?" asked the former Jaffa almost angrily and dropped the coat he'd bundled the child in (and it most definitely was a child) dramatically.
The little body sported a flourishing pattern of nasty bruises and even a few cuts.
The child squeezed his green, green eyes shut, whimpering in pain and fear.
Jack felt the sudden urge to break something.
The necks of whoever abused the child would do perfectly…
Several hours later, SG-1 was gathered in the debriefing room in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.
Jack had figured that the quickest way to get the child – who turned out to be a boy – to a trustworthy doctor, without getting immediately detained as suspects of child abuse, was to ring up Dr. Fraiser, even if she, too, was supposed to be on holiday.
Janet had dropped everything for this and brought her daughter Cassandra along too. The sweet girl had done wonders to distract and relax the child; but even then, it had been a task getting him to say anything at all, let alone something that would be of use.
The confused tale they'd slowly put together with patient questions spoke of indifferent cruelty and deliberate abandonment and had Jack growing more and more murderous with every evidence of malnutrition, neglect and abuse Janet's scans kept adding to the boy's file.
Eventually they'd got a name – Harry Potter – and General Hammond, looking grimmer than when Earth was under threat, had promised to look into it.
Now they were waiting for him.
Carter looked close to tears. Daniel had retreated to his depressed-anger mask and appeared almost as stoic as Teal'c. Jack had been utterly unable to sit still and was pacing. And viciously tormenting the piece of elastic cloth he'd been given after he'd cracked the third ruler.
He stiffened when the door opened. Everybody else straightened, tense.
The General entered briskly, mouth set in a firm line. To their surprise, he was followed by Dr. Fraiser.
"Harry is fine," she reassured them quickly. "I've left him playing with Cassandra under Dr. McKenzie's supervision."
Jack started pacing again. The General took his place at the head of the table.
"We've managed to trace a Harry Potter, age four, supposedly living with his maternal aunt at Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey."
"In England?" asked Jack, surprised.
"Supposedly?" asked Carter frowning.
"What about his parents?" asked Daniel at the exact same time.
The General acknowledged Daniel's question with a nod, but turned to Carter first: "They've had guardianship of the child for the last three years. However, when interrogated about his whereabouts, they claimed he 'ran away'. No report to the police or anyone else for that matter, no attempts at finding him, nothing."
The looks they exchanged were increasingly darker.
"I called in a few favours from the UK branch of the SG program and they sent an agent over. He got the distinct impression they didn't give a damn. They certainly couldn't explain how he came to be in the USA, nor seemed interested in finding out."
There were a few growls at this.
"However their son, who is the same age as little Harry, let it slip that, and I quote from the report I was sent, 'Aunt Marge is taking care of the freak, so of course he isn't here to bother us no more'. A Marge Dursley has been apprehended as she arrived at the London Heathrow airport. Her travel documents show that she left with a minor of whom there is no trace and that she claims not to know. She and the Dursleys are currently under arrest, until the situation is clarified."
Everybody smiled darkly.
"They forwarded what few records they have on him – no medicals, of course, no schooling…"
More angry frowns.
"The birth certificate indicates 07/31/1994 as the day of his birth."
There was a moment of silence as they digested what they'd heard.
"These are his mother's records," went on the General, shuffling some official-looking papers: "Lily Potter née Evans, born 01/30/1974 in Cokeworth, died 10/31/1995."
The General paused.
"She was young," murmured Daniel sadly, "and Harry would have been what? Fifteen months old?"
Jack took his seat, feeling unease again: "What about his father?"
The General looked at them all seriously: "Officially, he doesn't exist."
The General nodded. "His name – James Charlus Potter – appears on the marriage certificate as well as Harry's birth certificate. And nowhere else."
"How is this possible?" asked Carter incredulously.
"The guys over the pond claim to have double-checked. The paper trail for him is next to non-existent… and most likely forged on top of that."
They gaped at him.
"It's like he appeared out of nowhere just to marry Lily Evans."
SG-1 traded meaningful glances.
"Are you thinking what I think you're thinking?" asked Jack in his typical hip attitude.
Carter turned to the General: "Sir…" she started, then seemed to think better of it and rephrased: "What exactly are you trying to say, sir?"
The General looked at Doctor Frasier, silently inviting her to continue.
She took a deep breath: "The situation will probably make more sense in light of some of my findings. Specifically, that Harry's brainwaves have a range of frequencies wider than those of an average human."
It was Daniel who voiced their incredulity: "Are you saying that he's an alien?"
"No, no," said Janet quickly. "He is mostly human."
"Mostly?" asked Carter.
"The physiology is overall ours. Just… not only human."
"So the kid's father was an alien," summed up Jack.
"In light of everything, that seems to be the most likely explanation," nodded the General sharply.
He collected his papers smartly: "Until further notice, SGC has taken over temporary guardianship of the minor Harry James Potter." He smiled: "UK hasn't even objected. I get the feeling they're too ashamed that something like this happened on their watch."
He stood up: "Since he's already familiar with you, SG-1 will be in charge of watching over him until we get to the bottom of this and figure out what to do."
"Yessir!" they chorused.
And for once, even Jack didn't make any smartass comments.
Daniel ran a hand through his hair wearily, then quickly adjusted the glasses he'd inadvertently upset.
How had he gotten chosen for baby-sit duty? He didn't have a clue how to handle a child and felt quite helpless at the mere sight of little Harry in his study.
Cassandra and Janet had gotten the boy brightly coloured clothes that had delighted him and he looked a little more like a normal child – if you ignored his pallor, skin-and-bones frame and the fading bruises that peeked out of his red Scooby-do t-shirt.
The child looked lost, standing in the middle of the room, too still and too tense for a boy his age and watching him rather warily.
Daniel was at a loss. How, oh, how had he gotten roped in baby-sitting the kid?
Not that he minded! Certainly not: but he'd been in the middle of deciphering a most fascinating set of texts, copied from an abandoned planet whose civilization appeared to have been destroyed but had to have been quite advanced judging by the art and architecture left. The language utterly eluded him – a rare challenge.
Thankfully Harry was a quiet child and seemed well able to entertain himself.
He looked amazed at being allowed in such a big room and a little scared too. For a while, he just stood hesitant and still in the middle, as if he didn't know how to move in such a space, or didn't dare. It saddened Daniel, who remembered the mentions of a 'cubbor:'.
Almost desperate to give Harry a better time then he was used to, Daniel cast about for something, anything, that could interest a child. But of course, his study had nothing of the sort...
Unless... his eyes fell on one of the most recent relics he'd collected, a spherical metallic orb from the planet whose language still eluded him, which was light, shining and covered in beautiful etchings of serpent-like creatures and spiral symbols.
The iconography was typical of the culture. Daniel theorized that snakes had to have been worshipped as deities, or at least, as symbols of divinity. Or else unbelievably common. But that was beside the point.
He grabbed the globe and turned it over and over.
It was sturdy – Jack had accidentally dropped it back on the planet and it wasn't even scratched – it was pleasantly cool to the touch, it didn't have any dangerous points or small breakable and potentially swallow-able parts...
"Hey, Harry," he called out cheerfully, turning to the boy with the brightest smile he could summon and trying to ignore how he jumped and flinched at being addressed. "Would you like to play with this?"
The 'toy' was clearly a stroke of genius. Once Harry got over his amazed shock, Daniel was free to loose himself in his research while the little one happily played on the carpet, over the moon at his 'p:esent'.
He was so happy at such a small thing, and so quiet, that Daniel could have almost forgot he was there... until he heard the hissing.
A dishevelled and excited Daniel burst into Carter's lab, where Jack and Teal'c were patiently waiting for the blonde Captain to realize that in order to face the latest alien-related crisis, her technobabble needed to be translated into English so that they could understand it.
Startled, the three stared at their bespectacled friend talking so fast that he didn't manage to finish some words before the next tumbled out, at the weird alien 'toy' he was waving madly at them, and at the petrified, silently crying child perched on his hip.
"Alright," Jack took charge, snatching the boy and the alien thingie from Daniel and throwing the latter to Teal'c. "I don't know what's going on and there's no chance I'll ever understand what you're babbling if you don't slow down, but one thing is clear, you're scaring the kid, so... STOP."
Daniel fell silent, abashed.
A small, desolate voice whimpered from Jack's arms: "...'m so::y."
"Oh, sweetheart, don't worry," cooed Carter, earning some really weird look from her team-mates, "I'm sure it's not your fault."
The child sniffed a little and looked at her imploringly: "I just wan:ed to hear the 'tory. I didn' know it's not 'llowed. I p:omise!"
SG-1 turned to Daniel expectantly.
The archaeologist gestured to the sphere Teal'c was holding: "That thing," he cried triumphantly, "is a recording device!"
All gazes turned to the object, except for Jack, who had felt the boy in his arm stiffen at the loud voice and had a sudden insight in the problem.
"Give it to Harry," pressed Daniel eagerly. "Go on, give it to him!"
The child whimpered again when Teal'c held it out for him.
Jack swung him up so that they were eye-level. "Harry," he said very seriously, "Daniel is not mad. He's not shouting because he's angry at all." He ignored the dismayed gasps from around him. "He's shouting because he's excited. He gets like this some times. It's not a bad thing. In fact, it's a good thing. A good kind of shouting. Ok?"
The child stared at him wild-eyed, but Jack could feel him relaxing under his hands. He smiled to further reassure him.
"I'm sorry, Harry, I didn't think," added Daniel, abashed. "I didn't mean to scare you! I was just... what you did is incredible!" His eyes lit up and he didn't even notice that his voice was raising again.
"See?" said Jack quickly. "A good kind of shouting."
Daniel startled, but little Harry looked warily intrigued by the idea.
He turned huge green eyes on Jack, all seriousness: "I no bad?" he clarified.
Jack stifled his grin and answered with just as much seriousness: "You good."
The boy relaxed completely and then scrunched his nose in confusion: "But why?"
Everybody turned to Daniel again, but the bespectacled man could only gesticulate wildly toward the orb and between it and Harry, evidently excited beyond words.
Teal'c observed the sphere more closely: "There doesn't seem to be an activation button, DanielJackson."
"It's voice-activated!" was the enthusiastic retort.
"A vocal command?" asked Carter, puzzled. "How could Harry have guessed it?"
"What, like, you have to tell it 'Open Sesame'?" asked Jack flippantly, shifting Harry to one arm so that he could snatch the orb from Teal'c. "Open sissy!" he cried dramatically at the thing. "Open sayso! Open, says me!"
"Oh, well, you do it then, if you're so good!" pouted Jack.
The child eagerly grabbed the orb and turned it around until the biggest snake-etching faced up.
And then he hissed at it.
It was all Jack could do not to drop the kid in his shock. He was hissing, like a snake, no two opinions about it. He was so stunned he didn't even register that the sphere was hissing back, or hear Daniel's smug yelling about the 'acoustic and articulatory properties of a language based on sibilant semivowels'.
"Well," he commented faintly. "I guess the 'alien father' theory has just been verified."
Once again, SG-1 was gathered in the debriefing room, this time so that Daniel could try and convince General Hammond to authorize an unprecedented off-world stint for a four-years-old.
"...and in short, General, I believe that to take Harry on P6X-2442 would be an unparallelled opportunity to study it as well as to find out more about his origins and how to best care for him and all in all, well worth the few risks involved..."
"I know, I know, it's irregular, but the potential benefits..." Daniel trailed off as his brain caught up with his ears. "What did you say?"
"I said yes," was the almost amused answer. "The off-world mission is approved with the parameters you have requested. Including little Harry Potter's presence."
There was a moment of shocked silence.
Jack frowned and opened and closed his mouth around the question a few times before actually formulating his incredulity: "You're letting us take a civilian child through the Stargate? Seriously?"
The General grimaced and then looked almost embarrassed: "Normally I wouldn't even consider it, of course, but..." he sighed. "NID is after Harry," he confessed.
SG-1 was suddenly galvanized to attention, scowls and snarls and very definite mutters flourishing: "Sir! You can't...!" - "Those utter bastards..." - "My patience with them has expired." - "Over my dead..."
The General raised a hand sharply: "They have persuaded the President to allow a search of SGC for an 'alien menace'. If they find it, they are authorized to take it away, no questions asked."
"But...!" - "Sir!..." - "What the..."
"That is why," continued the General, raising his voice over the vehement protests, "I want Harry off-world while they're here. If they don't find him..."
"They cannot take him," concluded Jack, looking pleased. "I like this plan. When are we leaving?"
"As soon as possible."
"Sir... what if they come back later?" pointed out Carter reluctantly. "We won't be able to keep Harry off-world indefinitely."
To their surprise, the General smirked: "Didn't I tell you? I'm having Harry's papers... adjusted, to show him born on USA soil. As an American citizen, and underage at that..."
"They cannot touch him!" concluded Daniel triumphantly. "That's great!"
"I love this mission. Tweaking the NID bastards' noses and getting paid for it," summed it up Jack. "Sweet."
There was a hitch in the plan.
Apparently, the horrid woman that had taken Harry to the States to abandon him had told him that they were 'going on vacation' and when Jack unwittingly used the same line to tell him about their little 'trip', little Harry panicked.
It broke their heart to hear him plead so desperately: "I be good! I be good, I p:omise! Please! Please, no vacation! Please, don' go 'way!"
It took them a while to calm him down and reassure him that they weren't about to abandon him.
At least, the Stargate cheered him up. His chocked sobs dried up completely in front of the wonder that was the huge ring.
Jack, who was carrying him, held the child close and wondered how to answer the unvoiced curiosity that was clear in those green eyes, too big for the thin face.
Even Carter wouldn't try the whole 'we're going to be demolecularized, transmitted over two thousand light years through subspace, and then rematerialized on the other side' explanation with a four year old.
However the best he could come up with was: "See that kind of ring thing? The techs up there," he gestured to the control room window but Harry didn't take his eyes off the huge Gate, "are going to put some symbols in their computers, then the ring will spin around and lights will come on, and then it will kind of flush sideways..." he motioned haphazardly with his free hand, trailing off under the combined force of Daniel's 'I'm-cracking-a-rib-in-the-attempt-not-to-laugh' gaze and Teal'c's deadpan stare.
Fortunately right at that moment the activation sequence was started and Harry gasped quietly, watching in amazement as the ring started to spin and vibrate.
SG-1 smiled. They were so used to it all by now, that they had almost forgotten how astounding it was for someone new to it. It was refreshing to see Harry's big eyes become huge and round in wonder.
When the last symbol was locked, a violent burst of energy shot out of the ring, like a contained explosion of silvery-blue water blasting their world with piercing power.
Harry cried out softly in shock, reflexively clutching Jack's shoulders.
The vortex settled into the familiar event horizon, a shimmering light blue veil of vertical liquid light, and Harry whispered, amazed: "What was that?"
"That was an unstable vortex, Harry. Huh, it's..." Carter hesitated, clearly not knowing how to explain it without any technobabble involved.
"We call it 'kawoosh'," interjected Jack cheerfully.
Carter glared at him, but Harry nodded seriously: "Kawoosh," he repeated solemnly, clearly agreeing that the name was perfect.
"And now that it's over, but the Gate is working," went on Jack, "we have what we call the puddle."
"It's like water with light in," whispered Harry in wonder.
"Now we're going to go in, ok?" asked Jack.
Harry finally tore his eyes off the Stargate to stare at him. "Is it goin' to hurt?"
Jack blinked, surprised by the question.
Teal'c's deep voice said shortly: "No."
"Oh, ok, then," said Harry relaxing immediately.
They moved instinctively slower than they had grown used to, letting Harry savour the mix of excitement and fear that walking up to the Gate's odd, permeating energy evoked.
The shimmering surface was mesmerizing and the child held out a little hand before they even reached the event horizon, seemingly incapable of stopping himself.
They all shared smiles and Jack stopped a moment before stepping in, letting Harry stroke the surface of energy lightly, sending concentric light ripples off towards the edges of the ring. He knew the weird sensation well – the coolness of the indescribable substance and the buzz of energy that was more felt than heard and the inexplicable pull that the vortex invariably exerted on living matter. Harry drew in a sharp breath, completely fascinated.
"You ready?" Jack asked.
Harry's head snapped to the right to look at him. After a long moment, he nodded.
And Jack, the child securely held in his clasped arms, stepped through.
As usual, his mind conjured up the lengthy instantaneous journey through the tunnel of marble-neon cerulean energy that he couldn't possibly be actually experiencing. As usual, Jack refused to even try and comprehend how the ancient device worked and what effect it was having on his psyche. Not to mention his body particles. As usual, his first instinct upon being spat out of the arrival gate into a ghostly town of honey-coloured ruins, was to check his surroundings for Goa'ulds, potential threats, Goa'uld ambushes, potentially hostile aliens, Goa'uld traps, traces of Goa'uld passage...
Unlike the usual routine, however, he was soon distracted by the unexpectedly elated bundle in his arms, who was clutching his shoulders so tight it almost hurt, but at the same time, was bouncing on his hip with utter glee.
"Again!" screeched Harry joyously, right before bursting out in mirthful laughter. He twisted a little in Jack's grip and shouted once more: "Le'ss do it again!"
Jack smiled, amused: "That was fun, huh?"
"Yes!" cheered Harry, throwing his arms up in the air.
Jack intercepted Teal'c's gaze and nearly laughed out loud as well.
"You are a strange child, HarryPotter," was the former Jaffa's only comment, but Harry was too excited to pay him any mind.
"Hey, you there!" called Daniel from somewhere among all the rocks. "Come have a look. This place is a treasure chest of artefacts!"
Harry frowned perplexed and Jack chuckled: "He means his toys, Harry."
"Oh!" the child brightened up. "Can we go see then?"
And they did.
By sheer coincidence, the total time that took one Albus Dumbledore to be informed that something was wrong at the Dursley residence, find the time to check it out, just about have a heart attack at realizing Harry Potter was no longer there and the Dursleys had been arrested, quietly panic, call for a search of the missing boy-hero, run into walls not even magic could get through, get mightily frustrated, finally accept that he wasn't going to be told where the child was and resort to a Locating Ritual to find him, amounted exactly to the time needed for SG-1's uncharacteristic mission to be approved, prepared, and launched.
Thus, when the Ritual was performed, with half the Hogwarts staff assisting the Headmaster and pompously stern Ministry officials monitoring every step, little Harry Potter was on the other side of the Galaxy, happily rummaging among alien artefacts that responded to his enthusiastic hissing.
It was really too bad that magic had been developed exclusively on Earth and by Earth-bound people, and thus did not take into account the possibility of off-world trips. Because while Harry played under the double glare of two distant, twin suns, the wizarding world panicked and despaired at the news that Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, was dead.