Thanks for my BETA Lydia2 for correcting this story and helping me out.

It's an AU story, shortly after the episode of the 'Shades of Grey'



Ancients' trail

Chapter 1

The winter sun shone on the frozen Minnesota land. Snow and ice covered everything. On the side of a frozen lake stood a lone figure, a boy who couldn't be more than seven. His mouth and nose were covered with a long scarf, only his deep chocolate brown eyes were visible and some brown curls hung out from under his hat. He wore warm winter clothes and shoes.

Jack O'Neill looked around the frozen land once again and stepped carefully onto the frozen lake. He listened for the sound of a crack that would tell him if the ice wasn't strong enough to support his weight, but he heard nothing.

He slowly put his whole weight on that foot, and started to move toward the center of the lake with his fishing pole in his right hand. He had always gone fishing with his grandfather, but since the old man died it was the first time he had gone. Jack was alone; his parents was too busy to come with him or have time to care about him.

When his life got too much for him, he would run away to the woods, sometimes just for a walk, sometimes for fishing. He liked to be alone in the forest, it helped him to think and sort out his life. It made things feel simpler than they were.

He was halfway to the middle of the lake when a small cracking noise caught his ears. He stopped instantly. He knew that sound didn't bid well at all. He lay down with one fluid movement. It was a very old trick that his grandfather had shown him. This way his weight could dissipate more and perhaps, just perhaps the ice would remain in one piece while he started to scramble very slowly away. He looked down at the ice to find small cracks that were visible around his arms. This was bad, a very bad sign.

The noise of the cracking ice sounded louder with every movement. He was almost at the shore when the lakeís surface gave way and collapsed under him. His eyes widened, but before he could panic, he fell in the water and his head sank under the surface.

The ice cold water soaked through his clothes, making them feel as though they weighed a ton. The added weight pulled him deeper, and though he tried to surface again and again, he was unable to keep his head out of the water. When he emerged he got a gulp of air. Then he sank down again under the surface.

For a moment he sank deeper, and he watched helplessly as the darkness around him grew darker. His breath ran out as he tried to swim up, then his shoe fell off making him weigh less.

He kicked the shoe off of his other foot and pulled off his heavy jacket. The sudden loss of weight made it easier to swim up to the surface. As he tried to pull himself out of the lake, the cold winter air almost cut in his skin. His whole body trembled from the cold and fatigue. His fingers felt numb. When he climbed onto the bank, his breathing was erratic.

He needed to move knowing that if he didnít find shelter he would die. He gathered all his strength and climbed to his feet. His legs shook so much, they almost gave way under him. His arms wound around him to try to keep himself as warm as he could.

He walked toward the hillside where he knew there were some caves big enough for him to fit. He tried to move as fast as he could, but the snow on the ground and his shaking legs slowed him down. The sun slowly disappeared on the horizon, and the temperature dropped.

His eyes closed on their own accord, though he tried to keep them open. But his fatigue won over his determination, his feet slipped out from under him and he rolled down the hillside. He tried unsuccessfully to slow down and protect himself. With a thud he landed on some rock at the opening of a cave. It cut into his arm and he felt his frozen skin open and his warm blood slide down his skin.

His head throbbed, his muscles ached, his whole body hurt. He gingerly climbed to his feet, and made his way toward the cave, which he climbed inside. The moment his feet touched the floor, warm air hit his cold skin. The lights flickered alive. On the wall some alien writing appeared, glowing on the dark smooth surface.

Jack was awed, he had never seen anything like that before. He moved closer to the far side of the wall where the foreign writing appeared on the thin air before him. As he held out his hand toward it, his fingers ghosted over the symbols, and at his touch they moved.

A sleepy smile slid over his face, he moved his finger down them left, the symbol moved with him. He felt drained and sleepy. His mind was foggy. He sank down beside the wall, his eyes closed, and he fell asleep.

The next morning he woke up feeling warm and well rested. His body ached but it was no long numb. He straightened his arms and legs, and climbed to his feet. The cave was warm, the symbols on the wall glittered.

His gaze moved around absorbing the view, the plainly unnatural smooth black walls. His gaze fell upon where the previous night the symbols appeared in the air. There was nothing. He bit his lower lip as he moved toward area.

The shimmering symbols were there again. He moved closer and without really thinking about it, he moved the symbols. He didn't know what they meant, but somehow it seemed the right thing to do, like something was talking to him, like the feelings he got sometimes. He played with them, his eyes were trained on them and he was lost in his own little world when he heard someone calling him.

He blinked. Someone was calling him. Someone familiar.

"Jack!" it was his father.

'Oh man Iím doomed. Father will be so angry.' He groaned. Turning around, he left the cave not noticing as he walked away that the warmth and light went off.

As he climbed out of the cave, he looked back one more time. ĎI will come back!í He swore to himself. His fatherís urgent call broke him out his trance.

He would be back tomorrow, he thought. But he couldn't find the cave for a long time.


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