Daniel has good and bad days. Days when he can remember the little nuances of life ... and days like today. From the moment he got out of bed, through the daylight hours, and now into the evening, the enforced amnesia he suffered at the hands of the Ascended has haunted him. Affecting his concentration, eyes wide when I question him, staring at objects, touching them, studying them.
Little by little, item upon item, pieces of Daniel's life had found their way into my house. Memories align my bookshelves, the mantle, paraphernalia from Daniel's life ... his life before. Taken from storage to tweak his memory ... taken from storage so Daniel will remember us. Pieces of his life moved to invoke the pieces of our life.
Looking at the weeks since Daniel's descension -- us was one of the things he didn't have a problem recalling. The incident that led to his ascension is still locked away ... a key I would like to be misplaced permanently. Jonas is a stranger, but friends and family at the SGC are remembered as such. Individual occurrences a little hazy, but remembered with excellent clarity with prompting. PhD intelligence ... left in place, the reason he gets angry and frustrated at times.
His quiet contemplation has turned to subdued anger after I find him studying his framed picture of Sha're. In retrospect, Daniel became entranced by the photo last evening ... tonight finds this 2 dimensional view of his wife held reverently in his hands. From my viewpoint, I take note of the gentle caresses of Daniel's right thumb as he traces the image of Sha're. His body stiffens and he turns slowly towards me. Don't ask ... please don't ask ... I plead silently. There is only so much strength this old Colonel has before my resolve will break. I am far from comfortable with the idea of having to explain to my lover the life and death of Sha're and the role she had played in his life combined with the fate of the Abydonian people.
Daniel's eyes meet mine and I realize that I would have rather told him about Sha're than see the look that is now reflected in those eyes -- Anger ... recriminations ... hatred. I close my eyes in defense against the onslaught of emotions. Daniel has taken off by the time I open them.
I find him in the spare bedroom, standing before the opened window, hands clasped behind his back, at parade rest, the coolness of the spring night seeping into the bedroom.
"Daniel?" I cross over the threshold, hesitantly calling his name.
"Adrift." The resignation in his voice chills my soul. I am in within a hair's breadth of Daniel, with hands dying to soothe ... but I must wait for his decision.
"Adrift ... without anchor ... mooring, lacking security ..."
"I'm quite aware of what the word means ..." I cringe at the harsh tone of my voice.
Daniel whips around to face me, face flushed. "I know you know what the word means. But do you know what it means in reference to me? Do you see what I've lost? What is now gone because of me?"
Gently, and with great caution, I take his hands in mine. "You remember this?"
A silent nod is my answer.
"Anubis would have killed them."
Jerking his hands from my grip, Daniel wraps his body in a self-hug. "Punishment ... they ascended as punishment ... so Oma could teach me a lesson ... show me what interference does ... what I did."
"You saved them."
"I lost them. I sentenced them to a life ... I took away their choice, Jack."
I'm incredulous that he is able to recall this particular memory and I question him about it.
"Oma didn't want me to forget what my tunnel vision ... my inability to see the consequences to my actions ... my punishment. I lost them ... Kasuf, Skaara ..."
The anger reflected in those eyes ... is self-directed, and for a moment, I curse Oma for what she has done ... how this incident is going to further mark Daniel's psyche.
"... There is no more going back. I didn't say goodbye ... to them ... to Sha're. I will never visit her grave again ... Ever! The Stargate ... their lives ... Skaara will never marry or father a child ... Kasuf will never ..."
"Daniel ... you seemed happy when you came to ... umm ... visit me when you glowed ... when you were with Oma. I'm sure the Abydonians ..."
"I remember none of that ... just this. My time with Oma ... is unobtainable. I just know I took away the choice from the people I loved. They would have rather died fighting Anubis than be forced against ..."
"You don't know that!" I yell, more from frustration than anything else. I grab his shaking body into my arms. He sheds no tears, but Daniel is quivering in my arms. "You don't know that. You don't," I whisper into his ear.
My eyes are drawn to a reflection in the window ... a glow. I smile against Daniel's shoulder as I hear a familiar voice ... a voice that, in reality, has no place being in my spare room.
In an instant, Daniel's head shoots up, eyes wide in disbelief. "Good Father?"
Daniel steps from me. I hold my position ... and I watch Daniel's tentative approach to the man who had earned his respect and the title 'Good Father.' The darkened room begins to lighten with the glow from a number of Ascended beings. I smile as they solidify into Abydonians ... Kasuf, Skaara ... people I don't know, but who were a part of Daniel's extended family. The scene as they hover around Daniel, near but unable to touch, is vaguely reminiscent of Daniel's departure from Abydos after Sha're was captured by Apophis. Talking murmuring ... my eyes fill with unaccustomed tears for Daniel.
"They love him," a familiar, soft voice to my right states.
"Yes they do, Oma." The sadness that had filled me only moments before seemed to dissipate in her presence.
"You love him."
"He is loved here ... in this home ... on this world. Remind him of that."
I watch as the people of Abydos return to their ascended form ... the room slowly returning to it's darkened state as these Ascended beings take their departure one by one. Though glowing, Kasuf remains, touching first Daniel's cheek, then wrapping his form around Daniel. I hold my breath, terrified for a moment that Daniel is going to go with him ... and join his Abydonian family. But Daniel is left standing, his head hanging after Kasuf's departure.
"Sometimes the ship must be adrift in the storm before it appreciates its moorings, Daniel."
He keeps his back to her, unable to face his judge. "Thank you for letting them say goodbye."
Oma is gone ... Daniel and I are again alone in my spare room. It is a room crowded with emotions and memories. Cautiously moving into Daniel's space, I take him in my arms, a little surprised that he lets me. I am unable to give him what Oma did ... knowledge, the universe. I can only offer him a place in my life and a home where I hope Daniel will find his moorings.
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