The Masks We Wear
I still can't believe that this kid's my brother out of all things. The truth is that after all these years it's almost too much for me to wrap my mind around that concept. This is the last thing I was expecting to find when I boarded the plane that brought me here but there's no question in my mind that he is telling the truth. There's something in the way he talks, in the way he moves, that is deeply familiar... and in a way that is the problem when he asks me what I've been up to for the past thirty nine years or so. Okay so maybe the problem has more to do with the last nine years, rather than with the thirty years that came before them but that's not really the point.
The point is that the first part of the story is easy enough but after that things do get complicated... how am I supposed to explain what happened when I went public with my theories or the insanity that's been my life ever since? The truth is that I don't think I can. I had never really given much thought to how deeply intertwined my life has become with the stargate program until now when I'm struggling with the realization of how much I can't tell him. The truth is that the fact that I don't have a family of my own means that the whole issue of the secrets I have to keep had never been much of an issue and I wasn't prepared to have it ambush me here and now. Unlike most of the people I work with I don't even have a half-believable cover story... I've never needed it before.
The thing is that ever since I went public with my theories, and especially in the years since I came back from Abydos, my social life has been mostly restricted to the SGC where my past is known and not an issue but here I'm dealing with an entirely different situation. This is not something I'm used to and I can't help but feel like I'm treading on very thin ice and I fear that the slightest mistake could easily turn into a major disaster.
The problem is that I don't want to lie to my brother but at the same time I know telling him the truth is not an option either. It's a delicate balance I'm having to try to maintain and even though I'm doing my best to be careful I am well aware that in my excitement I've let slip a couple of things I shouldn't have, things that could have led to some rather awkward questions --things I'm not willing to deny, like my marriage to Sha're-- but luckily he doesn't seem to have noticed any of my little indiscretions. Still, I have to be more careful if I don't want to get us both in trouble and I know it.
The point is that I haven't been particularly successful in lying to him but at least I have the rather doubtful comfort of knowing that I'm not alone in that regard. We are both keeping secrets here. Even though I've just met the kid the truth is that it was almost painful to watch him admit to being a fraud... especially because if the information Sam and Jack have managed to gather on him and Ellison is anything to go by, then he is as much of a fraud as I am, the only difference is that he is keeping his secrets out of loyalty whereas mine have to do mostly with issues of national security.
And that brings me to the question of how much does he know about me. I know there's too much I don't know about him and even the information Sam's managed to find on him has suddenly been rendered mostly irrelevant because it approached the riddle that is Blair Sandburg from the wrong angle. What I need to know has nothing to do with Blair Sandburg, anthropologist and self-confessed fraud and everything to do with Blair Sandburg, the man who would admit to a non-existent fraud to keep those he cares about safe.
Yes, I know why he did it, or at least I think I know. Having found myself dealing with the shadier side of the military more than once I can understand the dangers his dissertation posed and I can't help but admire him for what he did... not that I can tell him that, after all, I'm not supposed to know anything about it in the first place.
That is what makes me feel like this situation is so utterly insane.
The thing is that this whole trip was based on a false premise, one that assumed that Blair Sandburg represented a threat, however minor, to the SGC's security and we prepared ourselves accordingly. Our unofficial mission statement was to make sure he gave up his inquiries by convincing him that I had renounced my crazy theories, that I knew better. It was a simple enough mission I guess... or it would have been if he had been looking into the SGC in the first place, but none of the things I had planned had prepared me for the reality of what I found when I got here. None of it had prepared me to face the fact that I have a brother.
What I do know is that he was right when he said that even thinking about the relationship between us in those terms sounds more than a little weird, in fact I suspect it is weirder for me than it is for him. He has known about me for a while now, he's had time to come to terms with my existence and even before he received his mother's letter he must have known that there was a possibility that he could have a half-brother somewhere... for me that was never something I thought was a real option. I knew my parents, both of them and I knew I was an only child, end of story... or so I thought.
Well, the good news is that we've got time, time to get to know each other... and I'm looking forward to it. I don't know him but I think I'm going to like him. The information Sams managed to find on him is interesting enough, he obviously has a brain and there are enough similarities between us to make this work, the only problem are our secrets --both his and mine-- and that means that we will have no choice but to keep our masks on.
I wish it could be different, I really do, but at the same time I know there's nothing I can do about it. We may be brothers but we are also adults, we have a background and a history that we don't share... a history we can't share. We both have loyalties that have to come first. I may not like the idea of having to lie to him but I do understand why those lies are necessary and in spite of those difficulties what I've found here today is more than I could have dared to hope for.
For over thirty years now I've been alone. Sure, there was Nick, at least on paper, but he was never there for me, not really... not when I needed him to be. He was never a constant presence in my life and now here I am. I am looking into my brothers eyes and I am struck by the realization that I'm not alone, that I have a family beyond the one I've managed to make for myself at the SGC, beyond the one I left behind on Abydos, the one I lost to Apophis first and then to the fight against the Goa'uld in general.
I'm not alone and that is a thought that is most definitely going to take some getting used to.