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Near the end of "Life"…

'Why didn't she tell me?'

The question has been shouting around his brain since the moment he'd finally put it all together in Annie's living room.

'He was dealing with a lot of stuff at the time.' What the hell kind of an answer was that?

What had he said, done, that made having a baby alone easier than saying, 'Hey, Matt, you asshole, you're going to be a father, man up!'?

(Or had she been alone? Had there been another guy? Or had her parents gone all parent-of-the-year on her and she'd figured, screw making life any more complicated than it already was?)

Yeah, he knew he'd been kind of a jerk when she'd told him. 'But we only did it once!' - he remembered saying that. And he guessed he'd seemed pretty angry, but really it had been more at the whole situation than at Annie.

'I'm not keeping it,' she'd said, and honest-to-God he couldn't remember how he'd responded.

But… why'd she even told him, if she'd been sure about having an abortion? It had to have been a test, her telling him she was pregnant. And he'd failed it, he admitted it, he'd failed it.

God, why hadn't she told him about his son?

Back to square one again, and now here's Eli, avoiding his psych eval, even though, by local standards, Eli's pretty damn sane as far as Matt's concerned.

"Oh, you start opening up, you end up saying all sorts of personal stuff you probably shouldn't," Eli say, and, yeah, Matt's been there with school counselors and the SGC, though for Matt it had always been a relief, the unloading.

"And then you have to live with these people, see ‘em every day, have her give you weird looks as she passes you in the hall. Gets awkward," Eli says.

'Her?' Oh, Eli means T.J. Matt's about to say T.J.'s pretty harmless, what on earth would anyone want to hide from her? Then he remembers, Eli's got his own little secret.

After getting back from Snake World and recovering from his venom shot, he'd been assigned the task of going through both kinos' data banks to see if there was anything useful they'd missed in their first go-through, when they'd been trying to figure out how to find and kill the beasties. Seeing Eli's conversation with T.J. (of course, T.J.) about their families had felt really intrusive; he didn't need to know that stuff.

Eli, in particular - it was obvious that his mom being HIV positive was a big deal to him, though in Matt's world it beat being dead at 28 and 30 like his parents by a long shot.

Matt's hoping Eli will go now, but instead Eli plops down in the seat next to him, and says, "Chloe tells me you're a dad! Congrats! You've got yourself a Mini-Matt!"

Out of nowhere, just like that.

"See?" Eli says. "That's what I'm talking about. I speak and say things I shouldn't and I talk before I think..."

"It's okay," Matt says.

"No, no! Look at you! You're bummed. You just found out that you have a son! But now he's probably not ever gonna get the chance to actually meet you and that sucks. You don't wanna talk about that!"

Now Chloe was blabbing about it? It was all over the fucking ship now?

Eli says something and leaves, and Matt's back to square one again. Why hadn't Annie told him?

Why keep the secret?

Had him being the father been Annie's secret? Had she wanted the world to think it was someone else? Then why name his son after him?

Or had keeping the knowledge from him been Annie's secret? The secret she couldn't let out? Like Eli and his mom?

Fucking useless, these secrets, and, hell, if Chloe was going to tell the whole ship about little Matt let her, he wasn't going to hide that he had a son. He wasn't going to be owned by some damn secret.

* * * THE END * * *