This series is a long trip back into the later childhood of Dr. Daniel Jackson from the unfortunate death of his parents at the age of eight through his emancipation from the foster care system at the age of sixteen. This is an in-depth character study not only of the child, but the people who were formative in his development to who we have come to know and love through the Stargate series. This series focuses on the events that influence his personality, his intelligence, and his temperament, and primarily goes through his educational and interpersonal history as he interacts with the community around him. These are the stories of those who have cared for him from his teachers, his case worker, and the friends he's made along the way. No man is an island and a community raises a child. Both are true.
The character Daniel Jackson in the Stargate universe (Stargate the movie, Stargate: SG-1, and Stargate: Atlantis) is widely loved and written about by the multitudes of fanfiction writers. In addition to being considered "cute", "gorgeous", and "a hunk" by many of the fangirls out there (and some fanboys!), many relate to him because of his innate goodness and personality (I fall into the second category). Here we see a guy who is unafraid to stand up for his moral convictions, who is a certified genius, and can probably quote off Shakespeare in all 23+ of his languages, though the idea of Shakespeare in Goa'uld is a strange one I might have to delve into later. In addition, he's been quoted by his fictional teammates as the "conscience" of the SGC and his team, SG-1, and is generally a good guy. There's very little not to like about him, and as we travel through the gate and years we see a very multi-dimensional character in Daniel Jackson.
Several people have expounded on Daniel's childhood, which even from the movie we know he is raised in foster care. By the second season we know that he witnessed his parents' deaths, and in the episode "The Crystal Skull" we first meet his maternal grandfather, Nicholas Ballard, and his choices about Daniel's well being as a child. Very little else is given to us, and I see it as a wide open canvas to explore. I have read many "young Daniel" stories, but by the end of them, I often ask myself the same question: If all these bad things happen to Daniel (repeated sexual abuses, near physical torture by his foster parents, constant malnutrition and neglect, and in one case child prostitution) how does he possibly come out relatively unscathed from his childhood to receive multiple doctorates, make it to the SGC with almost a constant goofy grin on his face and an innocent demeanor, and return to become the stalwart conscience of the SGC for over a decade? His general demeanor and temperament is contradictory to the types of abusive childhoods I've read in the past. Without some sort of positive influence on the child's life, there would be very little expectation for a person as great as Daniel to emerge. I don't see him as an adult who was abused as a child; his relationship with Shau'ri seemed quite healthy, and he was truly head over heels for her. We don't know what occured behind the scenes and in the bedroom, but I don't think Daniel could have been truly as happy on Abydos as he seemed if he had any kind of abnormal relationship issues stemming from child sexual abuse. The adult Daniel we see in the series, in my conclusion, is that while we can certainly include plenty of angst into his childhood, is not a Daniel who suffers from some of the tortures fanfiction writers have placed upon him.
In the argument of nature vs. nurture for Daniel's development, I conclude that both are factors in his personality and temperament. I like to believe that Claire and Melbourne Jackson were great parents to Daniel, as we have seen no canon argument to counteract this. The issue of Nick Ballard, on the other hand, is an interesting one that I will include throughout the years in the series, and will continue later on in this essay. Eight years old, the age at which Daniel lost his parents, is still early in the formative years for personality. While the foundations of his caring and ethical personality were set by his parents, a constant abusive environment (whether it be sexual, emotional, or physical) would have created an indelible footprint in Daniel's personality. I can't see Daniel being as trusting and open as he is in the series if he did not have a positive environment in which to flourish. He had to learn to be trusting somewhere, and if we wait until he was old enough to go to college, the damage would have already been done. I insist then that Daniel had to have some sort of positive environment and had a community of people who cared for him and to whom he admired and modeled his behavior.
On a third note, I can't possibly believe that all foster families are as horrific as they are written to be. There are good and wholesome people who choose to foster and adopt kids all the time, and by writing that Daniel had only the horrific and abusive families as frequently written in fanfiction, is a gross injustice to all the good foster parents out there. On a personal note, if circumstances financially are great and I am unfortunate enough not to find a husband to share my life with and have children of our own, I would like to foster when I'm older. Foster families are a necessary function in our society. But that is not to say that there aren't those that take advantage of the system. The system, in my opinion, is the true enemy here, and as I depict through the series, its the system that causes more angst than some of the families. On a side note, I am using artistic interpretation on his foster situation to account for his lack of "family" when it seems that Daniel has nowhere to go (both in the movie and after Children of the Gods)
I am guilty of being a Daniel-whumper, very guilty indeed. Throughout the series, Daniel will be whumped repeatedly by bullies, the public school system, and moronic Social Services workers (but redeemed by the awesomest of caseworkers). Daniel though, will be surrounded by a positive community of people who know and care about him, and help to foster the good nature and disposition that Daniel expresses throughout the movie and series. He will be challenged to become a better person positively through school and the community as well as to learn from his experiences. I will not (and this I promise) put Daniel through any sexual abuse. As I've written before, I don't see any evidence in the series that would point to that in the childhood, and I've created more than enough angst to keep me happy through dealing with the inadequacies of the foster care system and the New York public school system. I also will provide Daniel with several good aspects to his childhood: his acceptance into the best of private schools in NYC, caring teachers and mentors through the school, friends and their families who take notice of Daniel, an extraordinary case worker who bends over backwards to help Daniel, and even an awesome family or two. My decision to put Daniel into a private school has many factors: 1.) As Daniel moves between foster families, there is no guarantee that his education is a priority; 2.) in a school system like the NYC Public schools, as great as many of the schools may be, Daniel can easily be lost and become invisible--the bureaucracy of the school system is a monster too great for just a single kid to fully overcome. The system is simply too large; and 3.) For Daniel to receive his multiple doctorates at so young an age required a strong and challenging environment that was centered around him so that he could fully exploit his natural genius. For him to attend UCLA, Columbia, or other prestigious universities as have been semi-canonly described (the movie has him earning one degree from UCLA, and doubtless he attended other high end schools to become a leader in his field at 26-30 and study/teach at the Oriental Institute in Chicago), he would have to either overcome all the above whumpage plus shine brighter than everyone else in the NYC public school system, or have a hand and come from a prestigious high school.
Putting him in private school also brings Nick back in his life. Ah, Nick. Nick isn't a bad guy; his focuses were just a little off back in the seventies when Daniel was being raised. After all, he was going on a semi-crazed hunt for his ziggurat with a crystal skull that would transport him to see the giant aliens again. I use Daniel's experiences through life to also define Nick as a over-serious scholar who is absent-minded and yet singly-minded on academics. He read all of Daniel's papers even when institutionalized and supposedly kept up with the archaeological community throughout the years. I hope to describe Nick as a grandfather who sees Daniel as a hindrance to his own academic goals, but also as a grandfather who looking back after a few years, realizes that he does need to care for Daniel. Nick puts all the marbles into play to put Daniel into private school; it serves all his needs. Daniel's education is once again a priority (as Nick's is to him) and he feels like he is in Daniel's life without Daniel being a hindrance to his own vital work. Its a good middle ground for Nick, and it defines the man we see in Crystal Skull as well as explain Daniel's attentions toward the man who left him to be raised in foster care.
I've attempted to remain as canon as I could with my own plotlines. Naturally I'm not fully in canon, but with so little to go on, its easy to get sidetracked. I've also tried to stay away from many of the stories I've already read. My greatest failure on that part is the childhood of Daniel. I don't have the heart for his time with his parents to be anything other than idyllic. He's going to suffer enough through the next eight years, so I don't see a point in having the first eight years suck either. I've taken liberties with his pre-US education and the languages he speaks before his parents' deaths. I hopefully (as its not all written yet) to explain each of my choices in this matter thoroughly, but I chose to give Daniel the languages for the communities in which he lived with his parents. His first language is Arabic, having spent much (but not all) of his time in Egypt with his parents. It would have been the language spoken by the laborers and their families. I also gave him Greek and Latin, as each were the primary languages in which classical history was written. To study Thucydides, Homer, Socrates, Aristotle, Josephus, and Virgil in their native languages is romantic to the historian in me, and if Melbourne and Claire were as hardcore about history as they seemed to be, they too would appreciate the variations in translations. The two of them would have instilled the love of history and languages in their son, which shows in his similar and eager enthusiasm for those fields.
For those of you questioning why Daniel didn't know English right from the giddy-up, let me explain. For me, the kid was already fluent in four languages (the fourth being ancient Egyptian) and part of me really likes the idea that Mel and Claire were introducing Daniel to languages as they encountered them. Having not been in the United States or other English speaking countries, they simply hadn't gotten to it yet. I also like the idea that Mel and Claire shared English as "their" language--if they fought or argued or whispered secret no-nothings into each other's ear, Daniel would not have understood it. Daniel didn't need English before he became a foster child; he was able to clearly communicate and receive a first class education (through the ripe age of eight) in the native Arabic language (where his parents planned to remain most of the time) or in Latin or Greek, which were usually required languages for historians and archaeologists. Nick certainly had the ability to communicate in Latin (even if South America was his speciality, Latin plays a huge role in the conquistador era and the Catholic Church, let alone the fact that Spanish is a derivative of Latin) and could communicate with his grandson in it.
sg_fignewton for her work on the meta.</div>
And so, onto the stories:
The stories will be linked to the individual LJ journals and fanfiction.net pages as they become available. I must note that I am writing this series completely out of order, so there are planned chapters that fall in the middle of completed chapters that I haven't even touched on yet.
|1. The Immediate Aftermath||here||here|
|2. Going to School||here||here|
|3. The Field Trip to the New York Museum of Art||here||here|
|4. The Weekend at the Library||here||here|
|5. Finding out About St. Antholian's||here||here|
|6. First Day||here||here|
|7. Settling In||here||here|
|8. Moving Day||here||here|
|9. Day Off||here||here|
|10. The School Counselor||here||here|
|11. Summer School||here||here|
|12. The Weekend at the Orphanage||here||here|
|14. Shopping Trip With Mrs. McPherson||here||here|
|15. Visiting His Parents||here||here|
|16. Final Placement||here||here|
|17. College Applications||here||here|
|18. The Smithsonian||here||here|
|20. The Fifteenth Year||here||here|
|21. The Ballard Connection||here||here|
|22. The Urquhart Epilogue||here||here|
|23. The Institutionalization||here||here|
|24. Air Force Requisition||here||here|
|25. "Not So Terrible"/Prologue/Epilogue||here||here|
The series was originally intended to be about 25 parts (not because it was a nice even number, but originally I had 25 different story lines. Now, after actually writing a good chunk of this (though nowhere even near half!) I've actually encapsulated some stories that are thematically similar into a single storyline, cutting four original stories into one. I also chose to delete one story entirely, as Daniel had enough whumping already.
Finally, a clear disclaimer:
I don't own Daniel Jackson, nor do I own Nicholas Ballard, Claire Ballard Jackson or Melbourne Jackson. They belong respectively to RDA, Gekko, Sci-Fi Channel, and a whole slew of other people I can't name off the top of my head. I am certainly not making any money off of this in anyway. I'm only playing in the Stargate sandbox; the sandbox isn't on my property. No copyright infringement intended.