'I don't like most of what you say.' Jack's words repeated endlessly in Daniel's mind as he sat in the infirmary, his sprained wrist bandaged tightly and in a sling held against his chest. Of all that had happened with Reece it was Jack's hurtful words he couldn't get out of his head.
Daniel was waiting for Janet's permission to leave but his thoughts wouldn't give him any peace. Janet had stood over him while he swallowed some painkillers and he knew they were accountable for some of his current mood. The painkillers also meant he would have to stay in the mountain overnight, wouldn't be able to drive himself home.
Daniel sighed. Once Jack would have been waiting to take him home either to his house or stay with him at Daniel's apartment, just to keep an eye on him and make sure he was okay - those days were now gone.
'How has my relationship with Jack deteriorated to this level?' Daniel wondered. Looking back he could almost pinpoint the exact time their friendship started to unravel - the NID sting to catch Maybourne. Things were said - hurtful things. 'Just to get you to leave.' Jack told him. Then why, after all this time, did the words still have the ring of truth? Have the power to hurt and make him doubt himself.
Before that, Daniel had looked upon Jack as more than just a friend, had trusted him for guidance and support. To find out the lengths his friend would go to, the things he would say and do to complete a mission had knocked the foundation out from under Daniel.
Things had gotten pretty hectic afterwards; he and Jack had never sat down and taken the time to talk things through, what with his appendicitis and the whole Replicator incident. When Jack, Sam and Teal'c returned from off world after the nine days they were stranded, it was like Daniel wasn't a member of the team anymore - the three of them had bonded, been through this life or death experience together and, by Daniel's exclusion, it seemed that he was now on the outside looking in.
Nothing changed in the missions that following - especially Euronda. It was like a rift had formed - a rift none of them wanted to acknowledge, let alone try to fix.
Then the whole Zartarc episode. Daniel sighed softly. He knew at the time more had gone on than they were willing to tell him - had felt this added exclusion like a steel door between himself and the rest of his team. From that time on it seemed Jack didn't even want to be around him. Neither did Sam or Teal'c. Without knowing what had happened Daniel had been pushed away by the people he loved most in the world.
Finally he'd put it down to something he'd done, once again screwing up any chance he had of happiness. He'd had three wonderful years with his new family, SG-1, and now that was gone - so he pulled away. He attempted to undo the last three years, to view the other members of SG-1 as just teammates again. It hurt too much to be part of something that was falling apart. It wasn't until many months later, after allowing the doubts to color his behavior with not only the rest of the team but everyone he came in contact with, that Daniel had asked Teal'c outright what happened.
"O'Neill and MajorCarter failed the initial test because they withheld the fact that they have feelings for each other. O'Neill said he would rather have died himself than left MajorCarter." Teal'c's words hadn't surprised Daniel. Jack wouldn't have wanted to leave any of them behind. What Daniel was surprised by was the revelation of feelings between Jack and Sam. He knew Jack found Sam attractive and knew Sam greatly admired her C.O. but romantic feelings?
If it were true, why didn't they want to tell him? Jack was supposed to be his best friend. Daniel was beyond mere hurt - for months he had thought he had done something - now to find it was nothing to do with him at all but regardless he was being punished. Daniel lost a great deal of respect for both Jack and Sam.
Sam had told Daniel in the past how she agreed with the Air Force Regulations and why they existed, she had shyly admitted to a crush and a bit of hero worship of Jack but nothing she was willing to risk her career on. Sam had explained to Daniel how careful she always had to be to make it plain she had not gained any favors by using sex - yet there she was giving Jack those looks, looks that were obviously returned.
Did they think no-one noticed? Did they truly think what happened would stay in that room? Tapes of the Zartarc sessions were made, people saw them. There's no way this could stay in the mountain; too many people who held grudges against SG-1 and Hammond had spies within the SGC ranks. Who could tell what sort of long-term damage this had done to Sam and her career? Only time would tell.
And Teal'c? Daniel's relationship with Teal'c had been put under so much stress in the past yet they had managed to not only overcome it but to forge a deep friendship. What had changed? Now, instead of pulling together, the whole Zartarc episode drove a wedge between them as well.
Daniel sighed. Though he had tried not to he still loved Jack, Sam and Teal'c, he'd been unable to stop himself. Surely he had learnt his lesson before - everyone he became attached to ended up leaving him, one way or another.
"Well, I've had enough," he thought. This last episode with Reece graphically demonstrated the chasm between him and Jack. It seemed a line had been drawn in the sand with Daniel on one side and the rest of SG-1 on the other. Daniel was now sure they no longer needed or wanted him around them.
Daniel had been, for quite some time, quietly checking out his other options. He'd been out of the archaeology community for the last six years but his recent research had found that things were now different, a changing of the guard as it were. The major players of before were now overshadowed by younger, freer thinking intellects. This could affect Daniel's chances of once again doing what he loved for a living and being at least partially accepted by his peers.
But more and more lately he had felt the need to return to Abydos, be amongst Sha'ri's family, people who loved him and accepted him. His visits to Abydos had been few and far between recently. Daniel had begun to question if he could live out his life on Abydos, the pyramid was still vastly undiscovered - he could spend many years working there. This time he would ensure the Stargate remain buried.
Things in the SGC were changing and Daniel believed he was holding SG-1 back. Let them get a fourth who was military, more in line with what they need. 'I've got to get out of here,' he thought with a great deal of anger, pain and frustration.
"You're okay to go, Daniel," Janet told him, her concerned eyes on her friend. She had overheard Colonel O'Neill's comment about not liking most of what Daniel said and was hurt for the gentle man sitting on the gurney in front of her - not by only the words but also by the tone of voice. The colonel's remarks had become more harsh and hurtful towards the younger man over the past couple of years and Janet sympathized with the archaeologist. As her brown eyes met his bright blue Janet knew. She knew he had reached a decision and was leaving.
Janet had known this day was coming for some time. SG-1 had once been so close, she had loved to watch them interact together, the caring, the bond of such a tight unit. It had saddened her to watch that fall apart. Daniel, more and more, seemed to be excluded and she watched the hurt in his eyes, watched him pull away to stop the pain. Even Sam, who Janet always thought of as Daniel's surrogate older sister, didn't seem to care for him anymore. Too busy. Once Janet would have had to shoo the rest of the team away while she treated Daniel - now they were too busy to even come to make sure he was okay.
Though she tried not to, Janet had found herself pulling away from Sam, Jack and Teal'c - turning more towards Daniel. Usually she tried to keep emotional distance from all her patients but Daniel got in under her skin. He was unique and she felt an almost maternal love for him - strange as she was only a handful of years older than him.
"You have to do what's best for you," Janet told him, tears in her eyes. Showing him her understanding and giving support as she pulled him into her arms for as tight hug as possible, bearing in mind his injured wrist. Her breath caught slightly on a sob as she felt his free arm surround her to return the hug, his head briefly resting on her shoulder. "Never forget that Cassie and I love you," she whispered into his ear.
"I won't. I love you both too." Daniel pulled back from her embrace. "I have to leave," he told her quietly, earnestly. "I can't take it anymore, Janet. I tried to be what they wanted, but I can't. I don't know what I did to Jack and Sam and Teal'c but they've closed ranks together and I'm always on the outside looking in."
"I don't know what to say," Janet said, how could she dispute what she had seen with her own eyes? "I don't know what happened either."
"I know about the Zartarc Detectors and what happened between Jack and Sam," Daniel announced. "I asked Teal'c."
Janet closed her eyes briefly. "That was a long time ago." She didn't bother to make any denials. She knew that Jack and Sam's supposed feelings for each other had created unease within the team, created a large chasm between them all.
She had never agreed with leaving Daniel out of the loop but had been overridden. As an honorable Air Force officer Janet had, to a large degree, resented Jack and Sam soliciting her silence on an issue so totally against regulations, in effect using their friendship to force her to go against her own principles. She'd also felt strongly, at the time, that this issue was too important to be brushed under the carpet. It had needed to be discussed within the team. Now it was too late.
"Its effects are still hurting the team," Daniel said, grimacing as he stood up. "But that's not all. They just don't want me around anymore. I think it's time I got on with my life."
"Where will you go?" Janet chest felt tight with the sudden realization Daniel was planning on going away, maybe far away. Would she and Cassie ever see him again?
"Well, I have a few options. I was a pariah within the archaeology community for most parts, but ideas are changing out there. People are more open now; some won't care what I think as long as I can do the job. Alternatively I may just go through the Stargate and stay on Abydos." Daniel held Janet's eyes and hands for some time, watching his friend's eyes fill with tears for him. Bowing his head, he released her and quietly walked away; not hearing the faint sob Janet was no longer able to hold in.
Daniel went to his office and began the task of fully categorizing all the unfinished translations he had on his computer. He was lucky; he had a great assistant in Nyan to complete the rest. Over the next several hours Daniel finalized everything then, in the early hours of the morning, wrote out his resignation letter. Not once in all the long hours since Reece had been 'killed' had any other member of SG-1 even come to see him. In the past he would have had at least one of them with him at all times while he was in the infirmary, now they didn't even care that much about him. To Daniel this was the final sign that his leaving was the right thing for all of them.
'Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Jackson,' he told himself. 'It's not the first time you've been alone, the people you care about not caring about you. Move on.'
He rested his weary head on his good arm on his desk refusing to let the tears fall. He'd been fighting drowsiness caused by the pain medication for hours now so easily fell asleep. An hour later he woke, made coffee and re-read his letter of resignation. Sighing deeply he leaned over the desk and affixed his signature with a flourish. Picking up the letter he made his way up to see General Hammond.
Outside the base commanders office Daniel paused to take a deep steadying breath before knocking. "Enter," the voice commanded.
"Can I have a moment of your time sir?" Daniel ducked his head around the corner into the office.
"Yes Dr. Jackson, come in and have a seat." The general's face broke into a welcoming smile, Daniel felt his gut clench. "How's the arm?"
"Fine, sir." Daniel looked at the man behind the desk as he sat in the offered chair. Over the past five years he had developed a strong relationship with the general, one he cherished, one that never faltered, when everything else had fallen around him. Daniel knew he could rely on this man. "Thank you for asking." The words emerged softly.
"Where are the rest of SG-1?" Dr. Fraiser had given Hammond a report on the damage to Daniel's arm. He hadn't asked but there had been something in her tone, something underlining her usual unemotional tone that had bothered the general. He leaned forward now in concern as he waited for his answer.
"I don't know," Daniel admitted, his long fingers absently playing with the bandage, his eyes downcast. "I haven't seen any of them since Jack shot Reece in the gateroom yesterday."
"None of them?" the general asked in surprise. He knew things had deteriorated between the members of SG-1 but he didn't think it was this bad.
"No sir." The emotion in Daniel's eyes as he raised his head was like a punch in the gut to Hammond. He sucked in a breath and watched as the young man handed him a folded piece of paper.
"What's this?" He took the paper opening it instinctively.
"My letter of resignation," Daniel explained in an unemotional tone. Hammond looked up; Fraiser knew about this, this explained the 'something' he had picked up in her tone earlier.
"I . . .I can't accept this," Hammond stuttered.
"I'm sorry but you have no choice." Daniel shrugged, allowing a slight smile to pass his lips. "Last time I checked this is a free country."
"Dr. Jackson, we need you here. Your expertise is invaluable. I'm sorry, I can't let you go, you are too important to the SGC and Earth as a whole." The general paused, wishing he were more surprised by this turn of events than he was. Truth be known he had mentally been making plans to cover this very scenario for some time. Hammond knew the Pentagon would never allow Dr. Jackson to willingly leave the program, he was considered far too important. Hammond had thought of several plans to keep Daniel; he just had to find the right one.
"I'm no longer the right person to be in SG-1." Daniel's tone was certain and Hammond knew better than to attempt to change his mind, at this time.
"I may have an alternative for you," he said instead. "I can offer you a transfer if you want, to one of the new SG teams."
Daniel leaned forward, his eyebrows climbing in inquiry. "New SG teams?" Daniel had thought of asking for a transfer but knew none of the other teams were currently missing any members. To hear of new teams was a surprise to him.
"The Pentagon has approved four new SG teams, to be formed in the next couple of months," Hammond explained. He knew Daniel kept a track of the current teams and would know there were no vacancies at present. "SG-17 will be the first contact/explorer team. Your experience would be an invaluable inclusion. Would you be interested in joining them?"
"General," Daniel sighed, now the decision was imminent he felt he was ready to finally have closure on Sha'ri's death and where better than Abydos, among the people he had loved and lived with during his marriage? "I wish to return to Abydos." Daniel felt comfortable discussing this with the general, who had also lost his wife. "I never allowed myself to properly grieve for Sha'ri, to let her go. I . . I need to - it's past time."
"Temporarily?" Daniel lowered his eyes and didn't answer. "Dr. Jackson, please don't do anything rash. We . . . Earth needs you and your expertise."
"At this point I really don't know what I want to do, sir," he said quietly.
"Why don't you take some personal time, two weeks? I'll allow you to go through the Stargate to Abydos," the General said slowly as he watched the young man in front of him, a man he had come to care about very much over the past five years. It had hurt him to watch the pain the break-up of his flagship team had caused this man. He wasn't sure what had happened, but he had his own suspicions. SG-1 were once so close. He felt a father-like love for this young man, and a great pride. "As long as you return then and discuss this with me further."
Daniel thought for a moment, then nodded. "Thank you, sir," he said with a small smile. "I would appreciate that. I still want to leave SG-1 though, effective immediately. Give them another fourth."
"I'll inform the rest of SG-1," Hammond said, his lips tightening. Was he wrong to have allowed things within SG-1 to go on the way they had for so long? Should he have spoken to Colonel O'Neill in an effort to find out what was wrong and fix it? Much of where the SGC was today was due to the unique combination of people who made up SG-1, but most particularly because of Daniel Jackson.
Hammond sighed. He had become very attached to many people under his command but Dr. Jackson most of all, despite their less than auspicious first meeting. Hammond now knew he would do what ever he could to help Daniel through this, whether it was to help him get settled on a new team or allow him the right to live his life off world with the Abydonians, if that was what he wanted. He and Earth owed this young man too great a debt.
"Thank you, sir." Daniel was grateful. "I have completed what translations I can and left the rest with Nyan with notes to finish. I like to go now, I just need to change and collect a few things from my office."
"Yes." Hammond stood up. "I'll let control know. Whenever you are ready you can go." Daniel smiled thankfully. "The rest of SG-1 are off duty until tomorrow. I'll explain to them upon their return."
"Thank you, general." Daniel solemnly reached out to shake the offered hand; his eyes meeting the general's and he knew he had this man's support and understanding.
The next day the remaining three members of SG-1 were sitting in the briefing room. "Where's Daniel?" Jack asked. He hadn't seen his friend since he had left him next to Reece on the floor of the gateroom the day before yesterday. Knowing how angry Daniel had been with him, Jack had decided the best thing was to allow Daniel time to cool off.
Jack had left the base after the sweep for an uncomfortable night at home, worried for his friend and concerned as to where their relationship was headed. They had been so close once but a set of circumstances had pushed them apart. Jack was never good at talking about his feelings but he wanted to breech that distance, get them back to where they once were. He just wasn't sure if that was what Daniel wanted.
"I haven't seen him since he went into the gateroom to talk to Reece," Sam said, guilt suddenly filling her. When had she become so used to Daniel being able to take care of himself that she stopped looking out for him?
"Nor have I." Guilt also filled Teal'c.
The three of them sat there, the realization sweeping through them that none of them had even bothered to see if Daniel was okay. None of them had seen their friend for two days, not since the day that had been so filled with anguish for the young man.
Hammond walked out of his office, a stack of files in his arms. He dropped them loudly onto the wooden surface. Looking around the table he made eye contact with all. "SG-1 are temporarily off rotation." Jack, Sam and Teal'c could feel his displeasure and anger with them. "These are personnel files," he formally told them. "My recommendations are noted but I'll leave it up to you who you choose to be the new fourth member of SG-1."
"What?" Jack sat forward in shock. "Why?"
"Dr. Jackson has handed in his resignation." The general glanced around the table at the surprised looks.
"No, he can't leave," Sam said.
"Major, I am well aware of exactly how important Dr. Jackson is to the SGC and Earth. The only way I could persuade him from leaving was to give him two weeks personal leave in return for a promise that he would return here at the end of that time with his decision on whether he will remain with us. Regardless, if he does decide to stay with the SGC, he has still requested a transfer out of SG-1. He will be reassigned when the new SG teams are formed in two months." Hammond took a certain satisfaction in the reactions of the people before him, disappointed with all of them that this situation had been allowed to escalate to this level.
"Transfer?" Jack stood looking around at the equally shocked faces of his team. "I'll have to go and talk to him."
"Sit down, colonel!" All could see Hammond take in a deep calming breath. "Dr. Jackson's not here."
"Not here?" Sam said as she struggled to accept what she was hearing.
"He left yesterday," Hammond informed them. "He's gone through the Stargate to Abydos to be with his family."
"Without us?" Jack asked.
"It's a personal matter and not your concern, Colonel O'Neill," The general said coldly. His eyes held Jack's for several long seconds before his expression softened and he explained. "He needed time to finally grieve for his wife. Perhaps this time apart will allow you the opportunity to review your behavior and decided if you wish to convince Dr. Jackson to remain in SG-1." Hammond could see his comments hit the three people hard. "I expect you to narrow down this pile to the person you want for your new team member, temporary or otherwise, within the next few hours. Dismissed."
After one final long look at each of the remainder of his flagship team, Hammond turned and left the room, firmly shutting the door to his office behind him. Disheartened Jack stared at the stack of files. How the hell had things gotten this bad? He didn't want to choose a replacement for Daniel; he wanted Daniel in SG-1. The team needed Daniel.
"Sir?" Jack turned to face a bewildered Sam. "Daniel requested a transfer?" Sam was extremely hurt but also choked with guilt, this was her fault - wait, it was Teal'c and the Colonel's too. They had all known for months that Daniel wasn't happy - had felt him pull away. They'd been too 'busy' to find out why. Or was it that they'd hoped it would sort itself out? But now he was gone to Abydos alone. Just that thought alone made her stomach clench - Daniel was such a trouble magnet - he needed them. 'And we need him,' Sam thought in conclusion unable to stop the flood of tears rising in her eyes to fall onto her cheeks.
Jack picked up the files. "Let's go to my office," he suggested quietly, still rocked by the fact that Daniel didn't want to be in SG-1 with them . . .with him anymore. Sam stood, wiping the tears off her cheeks.
"How's Dr. Jackson's arm, Sir?" Sergeant Siler asked as they passed him in the hall.
"Arm?" Jack asked in query.
The tall sergeant gave him a puzzled look. "Where the robot hurt him. I took him to the infirmary myself." Siler frowned; realizing that none of them even knew Daniel was injured. His lips tightened in silent disapproval. Turning he continued on his way, not waiting for his answer.
"Daniel was injured?" Sam asked softly as she exchanged guilt filled looks with Jack and Teal'c.
"Come with me," Jack said, changing direction to head towards the infirmary.
"Janet," Sam stopped her friend from leaving her office and, after they were all inside, closed the door. Jack placed the stack of files on Janet's desk. "What did Reece do to Daniel?"
Janet crossed her arms, looking at the three people in front of her, three people she'd once had a great deal of respect for. "Badly sprained his wrist when he tried to shut her down." Janet sat down in front of her desk, eyeing the stack of files. She guessed what they were, knew the general had informed SG-1 they needed a new fourth and would have handed them the new personnel files
"Janet," Sam said. "Daniel's gone to Abydos. He's transferred out of SG-1."
"I know," Janet informed them calmly, ignoring the shocked looks thrown her way. "Can you blame him?" she asked, letting her anger come through in her tone. "The way you've all been treating him lately." This time the shocked looks were exchanged amongst them. "I've watched you push him further and further away. He's only human. I guess he decided that if you didn't want him anymore then he didn't want you."
"No!" Sam cried. "That's not how it was."
"Really?" Janet turned her friend. "How long since you had coffee with him in his office?" Sam bit her lip, lowering her eyes. Janet turned to Jack. "How long since you spent time with him outside the SGC?"
"We've been busy." Even to his own ears his answer sounded lame.
"So am I but I made sure I had dinner with Daniel at least once every month. To show him how much I care for him." Janet swallowed a sudden lump in her throat. "Daniel is so special; he's the kindest, sweetest man I have ever met. He tried to change, to fit in with what you seemed to want him to be. He couldn't and he blamed himself for this whole mess. He's so used to not being wanted that he automatically put the blame onto himself."
"DanielJackson has known about what happened with the Zartarc Detector for almost a year." Teal'c spoke up, at long last feeling he needed to share this with his other two teammates. "I informed him when he questioned me. I did not feel it was right to keep something so important from one of our own team. I am disappointed that neither of you had informed him."
Jack and Sam, unable to meet his gaze lowered their eyes to the floor as Teal'c looked from one to the other. For many months Teal'c had stood by and watched his friends, not knowing how to fix the situation arising from the Zartarc episode. Seeing DanielJackson pull away he was not sure how to approach the young man to offer his support and reaffirm their friendship. Guilt at his own inaction swamped him and his throat felt unnaturally dry. He had let DanielJackson down, someone he admired and cared for deeply, and now the gentle scholar had gone off without him for protection and Teal'c was greatly troubled.
"It was agreed to keep it in that room," Sam said. "It was for the best."
"Not when it affected the whole team," Teal'c stated with certainty. Over the bowed heads of his remaining teammates his gaze met Janet's and they both nodded in agreement.
"It's not like we're ever going to act on it," Jack stated.
"No, it's over," Sam stated surely. "The Colonel and I just let our loneliness and need for love put us off track for a while but it was only ever about caring too much." She blushed at admitting so much but raised her head to hold Jack's gaze steady. She had wanted to bring this out into the open for some time - had felt it had clouded their relationship for too long. Now Sam thought about it, she realized it had affected the team to the extent that Daniel no longer felt a part of it. "Our careers mean too much to both of us to risk on nothing more than a fling."
"I care about all my team more than I should," Jack stated. "That includes you and Daniel." He said to Teal'c.
"Not that you've shown lately," Janet commented coldly.
"I know," Jack admitted, sank into the nearest chair.
"Daniel has gone to Abydos to be with the only other people who love him unconditionally," Janet said, tears in her voice. "How could you have let this get to the point that he may well decide to remain and we'll never see him again?"
Two weeks later SG-1 exited the Stargate on Abydos. The time had dragged for the team. They had been on one mission without Daniel and they all knew they had to get him back. Strangely, even though Daniel wasn't militarily trained, they had all felt less safe without him there, not only to back them up but think them out of any situation they may have found themselves in.
Now they were on Abydos and impatient to collect their missing teammate and friend. The day was particularly hot and the hike to the town was long and wearing. "Forgotten how damn hot this place gets," Jack said to no one in particular.
Finally they walked under the city gates. Looking around the town was silent, no people moving anywhere. O'Neill looked at his watch. It wasn't that early, was it? In their eagerness to see Daniel again had they failed to take into account the time difference in Abydos compared to Earth? Jack frowned, no it was late morning, where was everyone? In relief they watched as Kasuf, Daniel's father-in-law, walked to meet them.
"Kasuf," Jack said in welcome.
"Greetings." Kasuf nodded to Jack, Sam and Teal'c.
"Where's Daniel?" Jack's stomach was in knots in anticipation of seeing his friend again. As much as Jack hated talking about his feelings, over the last two weeks he, Sam and Teal'c had spent a great deal of time discussing and dissecting all the events and missions of the past few years, being open with each other. The bottom line was that they all desperately wanted Daniel back; the team was hollow without him. They all knew things had been going wrong lately - they had all lost their edge, had lost allies not made any, and it was because Daniel's skills weren't being utilized. SG-1 were not fulfilling their true function and it could prove to be ultimately disastrous for Earth.
Kasuf gave him a long hard look. Jack shifted uncomfortably, obviously Daniel had discussed the situation with SG-1 with Kasuf and it was obvious where Kasuf's loyalties lay, with his son-in-law as they should. "There was a great celebration last night," Kasuf finally said, holding his hand up to shield his eyes from the bright sun. SG-1 exchanged surprised looks all thinking Kasuf looked the worse for wear. Jack wondering if Skaara's moonshine was to blame. "My son Skaara was married."
"Skaara? Married? That's great." Jack said. "Congratulations!"
"Danyel is still asleep." Kasuf turned, without further comment. "Come, he is this way."
SG-1 were led to a house within the center of the city. Kasuf opened the door and ushered them through. Before he could follow he was hailed from another Abydonian. "I must leave. It is time for Danyel to be up - he is within."
The small dwelling was tastefully appointed and consisted of a main room, with another off to one side behind a closed door, which they assumed was the bedroom.
SG-1 entered the bedroom, which is still in relative darkness. "Daniel?" In the dimness they could make out Daniel's back as he was lying on his side facing away from them. Walking to a window, Jack pulled back the heavy drapes to flood the room in sunlight.
Startled Daniel rolled onto his back and towards them and SG-1 got a brief glimpse of a naked woman in bed with him before Daniel could shield her with the bedclothes, his blue eyes narrowed in anger. "Um . . we'll wait outside." Sam said uncomfortably backing from the room with Teal'c. Reaching over she took Jack by the arm to pull him back too - he seemed rooted to the spot in surprise.
Daniel emerged from the bedroom a few minutes later followed shyly by an Abydonian woman; both dressed in the traditional robes. Daniel put his arm around the woman's waist to bring her forwards. "This is Jack, Sam and Teal'c," he told her softly, indicating his friends. Daniel looked up, "This is Zahra. My wife."
SG-1 looked at each other in shock. "Wife?" Zahra raised her head shyly and her exotic beauty amazed Jack, Sam and Teal'c. Sha'ri had been beautiful but this woman was truly exceptional. Unexpectedly, deep blue eyes shone out of a perfect face which was framed by long straight black hair falling to her waist. Zahra leaned in and whispered into Daniel's ear. "Do you want breakfast?" Daniel queried. All nodded, having been too tense to eat back at the base. "Yes, please," Daniel told Zahra, who held his hand briefly before leaving the room.
"Okay, Daniel. What's going on?" Jack asked as soon as the door closed.
Daniel took his time sitting down, ignoring Jack's question. "What are you doing here?" he asked with anger in his tone.
"We came to talk to you, Daniel," Sam said, distress clear in her voice. "We want you to come back with us. We need you." Daniel looked up at this; the surprise in his eyes hurt Sam more than she could have said.
"You heard that Skaara got married last night?" he asked.
"Yes, it's great!" Sam truly meant it. She was relieved Skaara was finally getting on with his life, becoming a normal man again after the horrible ordeal of being the host of a Goa'uld for over two years.
"So?" Jack was also happy for Skaara but was more concerned, at this point, as to what the hell Daniel thought he was doing getting married again.
"Skaara was betrothed to Zahra's younger sister. Jamila couldn't be married until her oldest sister was." At his teammates' confused expressions, he explained further. "I made a deal with Skaara that I would marry Zahra so he could finally marry Jamila."
SG-1 digested this information for a moment. Then Sam leaned forward to ask, "Were you married last night too?"
"No, Zahra and I have been married for over a week," Daniel answered.
"Must have been a pretty quick decision," Jack said, leaning back as Zahra entered the room carrying food for them. After serving all with a basic meal of bread, cheese and fruit, she took a seat next to her husband. In the time she had been gone Zahra had plaited her hair and the thick braid hung heavily over her shoulder. Jack, Sam and Teal'c couldn't help but notice the obvious adoration in the look she gave Daniel.
"Daniel, we want you to return with us." Daniel started shaking his head before the words had even left Jack's mouth. "You belong with us in SG-1." The blue eyes raised to meet Jack's brown, a frown furrowing the younger man's forehead.
"Daniel, I know things haven't been easy lately." Sam ignored Daniel's snort. "Please come back with us." She reached out a hand to place over his entwined fingers.
"I don't know if I want to," Daniel told them squarely.
"Did you miss us at all, DanielJackson?" Teal'c asked. As their eyes met, Daniel felt the first stirrings of the old feelings for his friends, feelings he had ruthlessly suppressed over the past two weeks in an effort to convince himself he could live without ever seeing them again.
"Yes," Daniel answered Teal'c's question truthfully. "But it's complicated now."
"That's an understatement," Jack said, his eyes moving to the beautiful woman sitting glued to Daniel's side, it was obvious she understood and was digesting every word. Jack found himself held by another pair of intense, intelligent blue eyes. He had the feeling she didn't hold any of these visitors in high regard; that her first loyalty was to her husband.
"Please Daniel." Tears in Sam's eyes. "Please let us talk about this. We know how badly we have let you down and how much we love you and want you with us."
"Yes, DanielJackson. We must talk," Teal'c said earnestly.
Daniel sighed and nodded. Just having Jack, Sam and Teal'c seated before him brought back so many memories, not all of them bad as he'd tried to convince himself they were.
Over the next few hours SG-1 discussed all the problems that had plagued them over the past two years - it was good to finally air all the hurt and misunderstandings, Daniel secretly surprised at how open Jack was. This, more than anything else, convinced him everything would be okay between them. The question of whether he could return to Earth though was still unresolved.
"General." It was later that day and Jack had made the solitary trip to the Stargate to check in with the SGC. He had used the trip to plan his next line of attack, Daniel was being worn down, Jack was sure of it - he knew his friend well. Just a bit more pushing and he would cave in. Of course, Zahra created a whole new set of problems, but Jack was sure they could come up with a workable solution. Thinking of Zahra Jack thought how hard her life was here, where every day was a struggle against the harsh elements. Earth and its conveniences would make her life so much easier and that could be another angle to attack Daniel from.
"Is Dr. Jackson coming home?" The General's voice came in loud and clear over the MALP.
"There is a slight problem, sir." Jack scratched his head as he looked into the camera on the MALP.
"Problem?" Hammond queried.
Jack was aware that the transmission was far from private. He clenched his teeth; he'd already decided the general needed to know. "Daniel's . . um married again."
"What, how?" The general was completely surprised. When he had last spoken to Daniel he was going to Abydos to get over his wife, his first wife that is.
"Long story, sir," Jack said. "We'll tell you about it later."
"We need him here, colonel." Hammond quickly recovered from his surprise. This could be exactly what young Dr. Jackson needed. "His wife is more than welcome to return with him and live on Earth." Unknown by Daniel plans had been put in place for Sha'ri, had she been saved, to remain on Earth to allow her to blend in with the Tau'ri. Those same plans would now be utilized for Daniel's new wife.
"I'll tell him that sir," Jack said, and meant it. He needed all the ammunition he could find to fire at Daniel to break him down.
Jack returned to Nageda and met up with Teal'c as he entered the city. Entering Daniel's home they walked in on Sam and Zahra having a quiet obviously in-depth conversation. Jack frowned as both women jumped in surprise, Carter blushing slightly as she turned her face away. Zahra, after taking one look at them, stood up and quickly left the room.
Jack watched Daniel's wife leave with a frown. He was picking up that she didn't like him very much. "You okay, Carter?" Jack asked as he turned back to face his 2IC, whose cheeks were red.
"Yes, sir." The answer was short.
"You sure?" Jack bent down to peer into Sam's face. Her obvious discomfort with this subject was like waving a red cloak in front of a bull, he now just *had* to find out.
Sam sighed as she turned to fully face her CO. "No, sir. Um . . . Zahra was just telling me about her wedding night." Sam paused and Jack felt his own face heat not sure he should push anymore, no matter how much he was enjoying teasing Carter.
He'd missed this, missed being able to lightly tease his 2iC. The Zartarc incident had damaged their relationship to such an extent he could barely talk to her, let alone interact with her the way he had in the past. Clearing the air between them recently had been like lifting a large, heavy and uncomfortable weight from his shoulders and he felt years younger.
Deciding he was having too much fun to stop, Jack threw Teal'c a grin before he nudged Sam to get her to answer. She threw him an exasperated look before drawing in a deep breath. "It's just that . . .well this culture has some really antiquated traditions."
Jack raised an eyebrow as she paused, knowing this wasn't it and not prepared to let her wiggle off the hook. She sighed loudly and dramatically. "The bedclothes from a newly married couple's first night together go on display in the square." At Jack's blank look Sam continued with obvious annoyance at having to spell it out so clearly for him. "To make sure there's blood from the bride." Sam said this in a rush.
Jack leaned back in surprise, definitely feeling a blush move up his own face. "Too much information, Major." Was all he could choke out. He looked over at Teal'c, who stood regally near the door as if that distance could divorce him from this embarrassing discussion.
"I'm so glad I live on Earth in the time I do now, that's all." Sam said in a small voice.
Jack nodded in agreement. "Well, what's the gossip?" he asked, thinking he better not push Sam anymore, even though he could see the twinkle in her eyes.
Sam sobered, she too was enjoying the freedom she had to once again lightly banter with her CO, something she'd missed very much over the past couple of years. Sam was not sure how much to tell about what she had learned during her talk with Zahra but knew the colonel and Teal'c were only interested out of concern for Daniel. "Zahra loves Daniel," she said at last.
"This is obvious," Teal'c stated. They all thought of the way Zahra looked at Daniel, the unmistakable love, and the three of them shared a smile.
"She was one of Sha're's closest friends," Sam continued and they quickly sobered at the mention of Daniel's first wife. "Zahra used to pester Daniel for stories about her people's history. She has been very interested in the writings in the pyramid and the map room."
"She is very intelligent," Teal'c said. "Intelligence in women is not accepted or expected in this culture."
"Yes, another of the old fashioned traditions they have for their women," Sam said. "Daniel had taught her to speak and write Egyptian as well as English during his visits over the years, though they could never be alone together, always had to be with others or with Zahra's chaperone. When he came back to bury Sha'ri he was so unhappy, she fell in love with him then and has loved him ever since. For Zahra, being married to Daniel is like a dream come true."
"How do you think Daniel feels about her?" Jack frowned as he sat at the table, drumming his fingers on the scarred wooden surface.
"DanielJackson cares for her deeply," Teal'c stated.
"Daniel won't forget that the last time he gave himself wholeheartedly he lost his wife and we all know how hard he took that." Sam sighed.
"We will do all in our power to keep ZahraJackson safe." Teal'c said with conviction. Sam and Jack exchanged hopeful glances.
"So, what else did you talk about?" Jack queried after a moment.
"She's just so young and innocent," Sam stated, her cheeks flushing again.
"Not anymore," Jack sing-songed back.
"Yeah." Sam sighed. "Because her mother died many years ago and she doesn't feel comfortable discussing this with anyone here, she had no one to talk to about . . . you know, stuff."
"Well, hope you were able to sort her out Major." Jack smiled as Sam's cheeks flushed again. "How old do you think she is?"
"Daniel says she's only twenty-two," Sam answered, valiantly trying to bring her blush under control. "Only a year younger than Sha'ri would have been if she was . . still alive."
"Twenty-two!" Jack said thinking of the nearly sixteen years difference in age between Daniel and his new wife. "Hell!"
Jack, Sam and Teal'c all turned as a noise in the doorway announced the arrival of Daniel. "So, Daniel," Jack said as his friend joined him at the table. "This is some holiday."
Daniel sighed, running a hand through his hair. "This is the last thing I expected too, guys. I came here to finally try and get over Sha'ri. Now I find myself married to a young woman who was her friend, someone she had grown up with."
"It must have been a pretty quick decision," Sam stated.
Daniel nodded. "The day I arrived here Skaara explained why he couldn't marry Jamila. Things move pretty quickly around here at times. Within two days Zahra and I were married." Daniel patiently explained. "Skaara deserves happiness more than anyone. He has been in love with Jamila for years. And, I guess, I had made up my mind when I arrived that I wouldn't be leaving Abydos again."
"And now?" Jack asked nervously.
"I don't know. The way of life here is so simple compared to Earth. It's hard to give up," Daniel said, his eyes meeting Jack's. "And it's just so nice to have people in my life who actually listen to me when I talk, like what I have to say." Jack bit his lip, knowing this criticism was justified. How often did he tune Daniel out? Too often, especially lately. No wonder Daniel was angry, and hurt.
"But Daniel, the Goa'uld are still out there," Sam said earnestly. "They could come here at any time."
"I know." Daniel released a deep sigh. "I've been spending a bit of time in the Pyramid and found a portion of the wall describing something called 'The Eye of Ra'. I haven't found it yet and I don't know what it is but I think it's very important, maybe a weapon. I need to speak to Jacob about it."
"How come we've never seen Zahra before, Daniel?" Sam asked. Though the rest of SG-1 hadn't been back to Abydos as many times as Daniel had over the past five years, they had still accompanied him several times.
"Zahra was here each time we visited. I even told you about her." At his teammates blank expressions he explained. "She was the one working on deciphering the hieroglyphics in the pyramid."
"Ah, another archaeologist in the family," Jack' said with a grin, then continued, "Hammond said Zahra is welcome back on Earth."
"Daniel, have you given any thought to returning with us?" Sam didn't even try to disguise the pleading tone of her voice; she desperately wanted Daniel to come back with them.
Daniel looked at them all in turn. "Zahra and I have discussed it," he said, clearly indicating that it was no longer his decision alone. "She is willing to return to Earth with me. I can promise no more than that. If she doesn't like it then we'll both be returning here. I didn't make this commitment to her lightly."
"O'Neill," the excited voice hailed him. Jack turned to see Skaara running down the street towards him. "It is good to see you again," he said more formally as he came to a halt.
"Yes, you too. I heard congratulations are in order." Skaara's face broke into a huge smile.
"Thanks to Danyel." Skaara's eyes narrowed suddenly. "Have you come to take him away? Danyel said he might be staying with us now."
"Skaara, he belongs with us," Jack said, he knew how much Daniel meant to Skaara, to all the Abydonians, but he didn't belong here. Daniel was too important to SG-1 and Earth.
"He was not happy, now he is. You do not take proper care of him," Skaara reprimanded him. Jack could see how much Skaara had matured; now showing the qualities that would make him a good leader to his people when Kasuf was gone. "Now he is married again, he should stay here with us."
"I know but we need him," Jack said. "On Earth with us."
Skaara sighed. "We have told him we wish him to live here with us and he said he hadn't decided. Now he is married it is no longer his decision alone."
"Would Zahra want to live on Earth?" Skaara knew Zahra well and Jack waited the answer to his question with trepidation.
"Zahra will go with Danyel. She loves him," Skaara stated without hesitation. "There are many here who do not treat her with respect. Many believe the talk of a curse, the mothers and sisters of her dead betrothed blame her, it has been hard for her for many years."
"Curse? Dead betrothed?" Jack queried.
"It was believed that she was cursed when they both died." Before Skaara could explain any further Jack noticed his eyes light up as a beautiful woman joined him at his side. "O'Neill, this is my wife, Jamila."
Jack's eyes scanned the young woman held at Skaar's side, looking for resemblance to Daniel's wife. Except for Jamila's eyes being brown instead of the intense blue, the resemblance was clear though Jack felt Zahra was more beautiful. Regardless Skaara had gotten himself a stunning wife and Jack was very pleased for the young man.
"Carter, Skaara said Zahra had two betrotheds what happened to them?" Jack jogged to catch up to his 2IC, who was just stepping out of Daniel's house.
Sam turned to face her C.O. "The first one died in the battle the day Apophis took Sha'ri and Skaara. From what I've heard it sounds like the other one died from a heart attack, sir," Sam answered. "He was only young but had always been a bit sickly, he was running one day and just dropped dead."
"And they blamed Zahra," Jack said, half questioning.
"The first one, well that was Apophis but, when it happened again and they didn't know how he died or why . ." Sam shrugged. "Sir, they're superstitious."
"Yet they let Daniel, whom they all love, marry her." Jack said.
"You know how Daniel is, sir. He couldn't be talked out of it once he had made up his mind." Sam answered. "Everyone prayed for him constantly until the wedding. Now they all believe the curse is broken."
"So, Daniel." It was later that day and Sam finally had Daniel alone for a few minutes. "Tell me about this tradition involving the bridal bedclothes." After being teased herself Sam thought it was time to turn the tables onto one of the men in her team and who better than the bridegroom himself. She watched with secret delight as Daniel blushed.
"Um . . . it's an important ritual and is still practiced on Earth to this day in some cultures," he said in a rush, his eyes downcast, his discomfort obvious. At Sam's chuckle he looked up. "Sam!" he said in complaint, joining in her giggles as she threw her arms around him and they held each other tightly for several minutes, both hopeful for the return of their close relationship.
"I always thought there might be a secret chamber here," Daniel led them down a hallway within Ra's pyramid to stand before a painted wall. They had made the trek across the sands in the early morning, bringing the day's supplies with them, planning to spend the day searching the pyramid.
"Can you read it?" Sam asked, her eyes moving from the ancient paintings to Daniel's face, enjoying the intense interest which lit her friend's face.
"This section of the wall talks about Ra and how he draws his power from the sun." Daniel said, making a sweeping gesture with his arms. In the very centre of the wall was a cartouche and in its centre was a ruby. Daniel moved his fingers over the hieroglyphs. "It says: 'The rays of the sun will reveal all.'" Daniel stepped back to view the entire wall again.
"Rays of the sun." Sam repeated, looking up at the ceiling. "Light. Maybe a torch." She dove into one of her pockets and brought out a small torch. Walking to Daniel's side she shined it at the ruby. Nothing happened. Sam's shoulders sagged.
"The rays of the sun on the fresco are red," Daniel noted after a moment.
"What?" Jack asked.
"The rays are red." Daniel said again pointing to the wall. "Sam, can you shine your laser site at the eye instead of the torch?"
Sam put the torch away then brought up her P90. As the red laser hit the center of the jewel, the door creaked slowly open to reveal a hidden room behind. Dust floated down all around. Daniel used his hand to fan away the dust before taking a deep steadying breath and entering the room.
This chamber had been sealed for many, many years. All his life Daniel had read of the Egyptian digs and had been fascinated by the tales of archaeologists being the first to enter the tombs of the Pharaohs after thousands of years. Now he was following in their footsteps. It was like a dream come true for him.
All around him were Ra's treasures, piled on tables and stacked around the room. The torch beams picking up the gold and other precious metals and stones used to decorate these treasures. After slowly doing a full tour of the room Daniel stopped to stare down at a broken tablet on one of the trestles.
"Daniel, what is it?" Sam asked moving to his side after noticing his sudden stillness.
"This is written in one of the oldest dialects of the Ancients." Daniel said in awe.
"Can you read it?" Teal'c asked as he looked over Daniel's shoulder. The table was broken into two uneven pieces but he could see most of the carved writing was still intact and legible.
"Not yet. But I want to take it back to Earth, compare it to my notes." Daniel moved his fingers gently over the surface in reverence. "I have the feeling it's more valuable than anything else here."
"More so than the Eye?" Sam asked, eyeing the broken tablet uncertainly.
"Yes." Daniel stated.
"What if the Eye's not here?" Jack asked from his position in the opposite corner where he was idly picking up and putting down items that caught his eye.
"It's here." Daniel did a full turn in the centre of the chamber, his eyes tracking the markings on the walls. "Maybe there's a secret compartment."
"A secret compartment inside a secret chamber?" The amusement clear in Jack's tone.
Daniel shrugged as he graced his friend with a smile. Picking up a golden bar he began taping the walls, listening for a hollow sound that would indicate a space behind. Finally he found one behind another fresco depicting two figures. "This is it."
"What's it say?" Sam asked as she came to stand at his shoulder.
"Um . . . there are six eyes." Daniel frowned in concentration as he translated the hieroglyphics. "One held by each of six Gods, Apophis, Osiris, among them. All the eyes are powerful on their own but when used in combination the power is increased ten fold."
"How are we to open the panel?" Teal'c had come to stand on Daniel's other side.
Daniel bit his lip. "Only a Goa'uld can open this," he stated. "Sam," he picked up a ribbon device he'd seen nearby and held it out to his teammate. "Could you try this?"
"Daniel, I don't . . ." Sam began not wanting to take the device.
"Please Sam." Daniel pleaded. Biting her lip Sam took the device and fitted it to her fingers. "Just concentrate on this area." Daniel advised pointing to a point in the center of the two figures.
Sam took a deep breath and aimed at the specified area. Nothing happened for a moment then the panel swept back to reveal a hidden compartment; it's only contents a large jewel similar to the medallion Catherine had given Daniel.
"Wow." The exclamation whooshed from Sam.
"What?" Daniel frowned at his friend, putting a hand on her arm.
"The feeling is so different when it's used not to kill." Sam said quietly looking down at the ribbon device shinning in the torchlight. Daniel raised his eyebrows. Sam smiled. "A good different."
"Why don't you take it back with us?" Daniel asked. "In fact we should take back anything we think might be interesting. The Abydonians don't need it and it'll only fall in Goa'uld hands one day."
"If this thing is so powerful, what do we do with it?" Jack had the Eye in his hand and was turning it over and over.
"If we take it to Earth and the Systems Lords find out won't they come to get it there?" Sam asked.
"We could give it to the Tok'ra." Daniel suggested.
Jack shook his head. "How about we give it to Thor. He can put it somewhere the Goa'uld can't get to," he suggested. All nodded in agreement.
SG-1 along with Zahra exited the Stargate on Earth two days later. Daniel glanced down at the young woman at his side, feeling a fierce pride in his new wife. She was standing looking around curiously, no sign of the scared young woman who keep him up all night with her worries.
"General." Taking his wife's hand, Daniel led her down the ramp to stand before General Hammond. He had spent much time explaining to Zahra the command structure of the SGC and Earth Infirmary. "This is my wife, Zahra."
"Mrs. Jackson." General Hammond took the offered hand, suddenly mesmerized by the blue eyes shining out of the beautiful face before him. It took him several moments to recover. "Welcome to Earth."
"General." Jack greeted his commanding officer.
"Colonel, please report to the infirmary with your team and Mrs. Jackson."
As they moved through the base it seemed to Jack that nearly all the personnel had found some reason to pass by them. All eyed Zahra with great interest; obviously the news that Daniel had re-married had spread like wildfire through the base grapevine. Many turned to crane their heads back in amazement. 'Yeah,' Jack thought his eyes briefly resting on the beautiful young woman calmly walking with them, 'Daniel sure knows how to pick them.'
After SG-1 are checked out Jack, Sam and Teal'c leave Daniel and Zahra in the infirmary to report to General Hammond for a briefing.
"Daniel married Zahra so Skaara could marry the woman of his choice." Jack explained to the general. "It seems no one else would marry her. She'd already lost two betrothed and everyone thought she was cursed."
"So the only reason Dr. Jackson married her was because of Skaara?" The general asked curiously.
"I don't know, sir. Maybe only partially. Zahra loves him, though." Sam said. "Very much and has for many years."
"Yes it is obvious she feels great love for DanielJackson." Teal'c stated.
"And Daniel wouldn't have married her if he didn't feel something for her." Jack stated. "It's just that she was a friend of Sha'ri and he's known her for many years. Who knows what he feels for her."
"She is exceptionally beautiful." Teal'c added. "He feels great affection for her, if not more."
"It's a bit like history repeating itself though." Jack pointed out and they all sat lost in thought for a few minutes.
"Do you believe Dr. Jackson married Zahra because she resembles his first wife?" Hammond finally asked, Jack shook his head but it was Sam who spoke up.
"She doesn't look like Sha'ri," Sam said slowly, "not really."
"I agree." Jack said. "There is a general likeness but they are quite different."
"In looks and in demeanor," Sam said in clarification.
"ZahraJackson is . . . different from all the other women we saw." Teal'c said.
"Yes. But she does closely resemble her sister." Sam answered. "I asked about her eyes and apparently her grandmother had the same eyes. At some point in time one of the ancestors must have not been Egyptian."
In the infirmary Janet suggested that Daniel and Zahra might like to shower and change out of their Abydonian robes. The giggling could be heard out in the infirmary. Half an hour later the young couple emerged from the shower, Zahra's hair was still wet. "Have fun?" Janet asked, smiling - it had been a long time, too long, since she has seen Daniel this happy and carefree.
It's quite an adjustment for Janet - Zahra is only a few years older than Cassandra and married - to Daniel, whom Cassandra has had a crush on for quite some time. She was going to have to give a lot of careful thought as to the best way to break this news to her daughter. Maybe Sam could help? Give her and Sam a chance to mend some of the bridges that had fallen between them over the past two years too.
"So much water." Zahra's eyes were enormous in her beautiful face. She was dressed in blue scrubs and the colour only accentuated her extraordinary eyes. Daniel was grinning down at her. She moved closer to him to rest her face against his shoulder.
"Well, let's get started." Daniel sat with Zahra during the tests, carefully explaining what was happening, soothing the stings from the needles. Janet watched them, impressed by Daniel's way with Zahra. She found herself enchanted by this lovely young woman. Janet had never had the chance to meet Sha'ri but had heard how strong she had been. Zahra was different; there was a childlike innocence and softness about her that made you want to protect her, though there was a wise ness to her eyes. Janet sent a prayer to any God who was listening to keep this woman safe - for Daniel's sake as well as their own.
"I'll have the results by morning," Janet said, resting her hand briefly on Daniel's arm. She was so happy he was back; having been worried he may have decided to stay on Abydos. Janet and General Hammond had a closed door discussion on SG-1 and Daniel, both extremely concerned with the flagship team and the change in direction they had taken over the past few years. Hammond knew they weren't being utilized to the best advantage and was taking steps to change that. "I'll bring some of Cassandra's clothes in tomorrow, they should fit Zahra."
Zahra, though cleared by Janet and the Air Force a week ago and happily living with Daniel in his apartment, was still coming to Cheyenne Mountain each day rather than stay at home by herself.
The level of technology on Earth compared to Abydos was constantly amazing her. Daniel had watched with much amusement as she'd discovered his office refrigerator for the first time. Just the previous night she'd watched over Daniel's shoulder as he'd viewed the footage they'd filmed on Kelowna that day.
She walked to the control room and stood in the doorway, unnoticed, watching her husband and his friends. They were watching more MALP transmissions as SG-1 prepared to go to Kelowna for the second day. Zahra frowned, staring transfixed at the images on the screen, her hand suddenly moving to cover her mouth.
"Do not go through to that planet." Zahra stated suddenly, all turned to watch her enter the room and move to Daniel's side. Her eyes were wide and filled with tears, their blue intensified by the whiteness of her face.
"What?" Daniel asked, his arms instinctively moving around her, concern evident on his face as his eyes moved from the woman in his arms to Jack, who shrugged having no idea what was going on.
"Danyel, please do not go." Zahra broke down, crying. "If you do bad things will happen." Her fingers clutched his jacket.
"Dr. Jackson?" General Hammond queried from where he stood at Daniel's shoulder.
Daniel turned to look at the general then at his teammates before turning again to the almost hysterical woman in his arms. "I can't leave her like this, sir." At his words Zahra buried her face into his shoulder, sobbing, her arms moving around him to hold him tightly.
"And I won't go without Daniel," Jack said.
"Okay," Hammond decided, watching Daniel and Zahra with concern, "we'll re-schedule for tomorrow. Contact the Kelownan representative, Jonas Quinn, and let him know."
"Sir!" Sergeant Davis called out in alarm a few hours later when the SGC attempted to contact Kelowna to finalize arrangement for tomorrow's visit. Hammond and SG-1 quickly rushed to his side. "The MALP image . . ." A wildly waving arm indicated the now static filled screen. "A massive explosion . . the MALP image showed an explosion destroying the city and the gate on P2S-4C3!"
"What?" The exclamation burst from the general, bewilderment clear in his gaze as he studied first the screen then the shocked look in the technician's face. "Try redialing."
All held their breaths as the chevrons engaged. The seventh engaged then . . . nothing.
SG-1 looked at each other. "Oh, my God. If not for Zahra we would have been there and . . ." Sam's voice trailed off. They all spent several shocked minutes thinking about the consequences. Jonas Quinn and the other Kelownans were likely all dead. "And if we hadn't had the iris closed . . ." her voice trailed off again, all with her suddenly aware of the possible consequences this could have had for Earth.
Jack looked at Daniel. What had Zahra seen that had scared her?
"So Daniel." Jack was relieved to find his friend alone in his office. "Where's Zahra?"
"Janet's doing some tests in the infirmary, they shooed me out." Daniel looked up as Jack and Teal'c entered the room. Teal'c moved to stand against the wall while Jack walked towards the desk.
"What's the story with Zahra and this . . . prediction thing?" Jack idly moved around the office after picking up a stone statue off Daniel's desk to examine more closely, unconcerned at Daniel's wince and obvious worry for the statue's safety.
"I honestly don't know." Daniel sat back, rubbing a hand over his tired eyes, obviously relieved when Jack placed the statue back where he'd picked it up from. "All she would say is that she didn't like the sound of the Kelownans. That she had a bad feeling when she saw the MALP images."
"This happen often?" Jack slumped in the sofa against one wall in Daniel's office.
"She says no, but I think she lied to me," Daniel said, disbelief in his tone that Zahra would do such a thing. "I'm going to wait and talk to her more tonight."
"No need," Sam said from the doorway. "I just left Zahra in the infirmary." Sam paused, surprised by the strong protective feelings she felt towards Daniel's young wife. "This has only happened to her once before. Zahra's brother Paolo, as a child, was chosen by Ra to be one of this body slaves. She 'saw' his death in an explosion of fire." Sam paused again. "Paolo was on Ra's ship when you nuked it."
Jack sat for a moment lost in thought. At the time he and Daniel had sent the bomb up all they'd thought about was destroying Ra. It wasn't until later, after the jubilation had died down, that it had hit them both. "The children!" they'd turned to each other and said in unison, both of them horrified that the innocent children had been killed along with Ra. Now to hear Zahra's brother was one of those innocents, brought it all back to him. He sat consumed by feelings of regret and loss.
"This second vision has scared Zahra," Sam said, bringing Jack's attention back to her. "She doesn't want to be different, she had enough of that on Abydos. She's worried now we won't accept her because of this." She turned to put a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "She's worried you won't want her anymore."
Daniel's eyes closed briefly, before he sighed. Pushing back his chair he stood up from the desk. "I'm going to collect my wife and take her home," he told his teammates. As he walked down the long empty corridor Daniel thought over what had happened earlier that day. He understood and accepted intuition more easily than the average person - he used it himself to make the jump in logic to solve translations.
He entered the infirmary minutes later. He moved to the door in Janet's office. When Janet looked up, he simply raised an eyebrow in enquiry. "She's cleared to go," Janet said quietly.
Daniel nodded and went to find Zahra lying asleep on the bed in the corner of the infirmary, the one Janet jokingly referred to as 'his'. She looked so small and defenseless and Daniel felt his heart contract. He sighed, he'd been holding himself back from Zahra, not wanting to be hurt again if he lost her like he did Sha'ri and his parents. He now realized that he was hurting her and himself, as well as denying himself so much, by not giving into Zahra's love.
He had to accept that he could never bring Sha'ri back, all he could do was never forget her, never forget how much he loved her, still loved her. The love he now felt for Zahra didn't diminish what he'd shared with Sha'ri.. He also had to accept that you couldn't live your life scared to feel anything in fear of being hurt.
"Hey," he said softly as he reached Zahra's side, taking one of her smaller hands in his, marveling silently at how delicate it was. Her eyes flew open, startled and he saw the fear, knew it was fear of rejection. He drew her up into his arms and held her close for a long moment. "Let's go home," he whispered into her ear as he pulled back to look deeply into her eyes. Zahra searched his face for a moment before her radiant smile lit up the room.
As Daniel helped Zahra from the bed, he kissed her hand, which was clutching his like a lifeline, and was enchanted as Zahra giggled. They looked up and came to an abrupt halt as they spied Jack, Sam and Teal'c standing in the doorway. Teal'c raised his eyebrow expressively, as tiny smile teasing his lips.
"We're leaving too," Jack explained, shifting awkwardly from one foot to the other. "We thought we'd walk you two up top." He smiled at Zahra and she grinned back before walking confidently with SG-1 towards the elevators.
The sizzle of the meat cooking on the barbeque lending background noise to the noisy chatter of the crowd of people crammed into Jack's backyard. This gathering had been planned for weeks, a late wedding reception for Daniel and Zahra.
Over the intervening weeks Zahra was still making the trip to the mountain each day and staying overnight or with Janet when Daniel was off world on missions. She was busily learning all she could about her new home. Jack, Sam and Teal'c were now convinced she and Daniel were planning on living on Earth permanently and not returning to Abydos.
Zahra's intelligence was already showing through. She assisted the SGC personnel with translations and was already well on her way to mastering the navigation of the internet, something Jack had never been able to do.
In fact it was Zahra who had found an error in Daniel's translation of the Ancient's language and work on the tablet they found deep in Ra's pyramid was now progressing at a much quicker rate. The information emerging was pointing to a Lost City of the Ancients and a weapons stash the SGC wanted to get their hands on.
Zahra and Cassie had quickly become good friends, Cassie loving the fact that there was now another alien near her own age living on Earth with whom she could talk to without having to hide her past. She had quickly gotten over the fact that Zahra had married 'her' Daniel and the young women had several times been shopping together for clothes and other female items of apparel, a chore Daniel was grateful to be free of.
"Congratulations, Daniel." Jack's voice pulling Daniel's attention away from where his wife was surrounded by a crowd of women in the corner. Turning the archaeologist saw his friend salute him with his beer.
"Thanks Jack." Daniel smiled, something he was doing much more of lately, to his team's delight. Daniel was contented and it affected the whole team, giving them a peace they had been without for some time.
Jack sighed, looking out onto his backyard and the happy crowd filling it. 'Life's good,' he thought as he sipped his beer.
|Genres:||Alternate Universe, Angst, Drama|
|Summary:||Things take a different path from the end of Menace - slight touch on the events in Divide & Conquer.