by Rebecca Ratliff
DATE: February 2003
ARCHIVE: If I haven't submitted to your archive, please ask. (I'll say yes, I just like to know where it is.)
RATING: PG-13, adult language & situations
SPOILERS: Season 6, foreshadows Full Circle & early season 7
SEASON/SEQUEL INFO: Late season six, before Full Circle
SUMMARY: Daniel sees where things are heading. Why does everything have to be about goodbyes?
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Short, sweet, and kinda sad.
DISCLAIMER: "Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the authors. Not to be archived without permission of the author."
To all appearances, all was eternal peace. The great river flowed as it always had, as it always would, past quiet mud-brick villages where people lived in comfort and plenty. Every year, life-bringing floods covered the fields that later grew food enough for all. One could stand on one's roof and look across the river to the lands of mortals in the east, but the trials and tribulations there were far away. One might go back to grant one's descendant's prayer, or to be with loved ones about to embark upon their own voyage across the water, or even to be reborn and live another short span of years there, but here was home. Here nothing changed. Here all was comfortable order, and those who sought adventure could look for it elsewhere, thank you very much.
On the roof of one cozy little mud brick house, four tent poles held up a striped canopy that shaded a sitting area from the midday sun. A troubled man stood leaning on one of those tent poles, looking out into the mist that hung low over the river.
"The waters ripple, though no stone has yet been cast."
"Or we just didn't see who threw it," he replied, sitting beside his small, white-robed companion. "Our little sneak was here on the roof last night. He scared Sha're."
"He grows bolder."
"My journey doesn't end here, Oma."
"You have foreseen this, haven't you, Daniel?"
"Yes. Whatever I have to do, take care of my wife and her son."
"I swear it."
"Oma, if it ever seems like I'm a disappointment to you, I'm sorry. I never wanted that."
"You never will. Daniel, beloved son, nothing you do will ever disappoint me as long as you walk your path, because I have faith that it leads you into light and back to me at the last."
"So do I," he replied.
"I have had enough of our little sneak. Tell Sha're he will not trouble you again. I know your time with her is even more precious now."
"Daniel, nothing you do could ever disappoint me."
"I love you, Oma Desala. You'd think I'd have learned to say that more often."
"They are the hardest words to say. I love you too, my son. Daniel, if the worst comes, I will stand at your side though the heavens fall."
Daniel took her hands, smiling. "Do you have any idea what that means to me?"
Sadness filled her age-old eyes. "But that isn't what you need, is it?"
Daniel shook his head. "We both have our parts to play in this. You have to take care of Sha're and Shifu for me. And someone has to be here to change things. A heroic last stand won't get it done. Talk to Orlin, to the Jaffa ascended. Ascension has turned into a dead end, a cosmic ivory tower. You're the one who can do something about that but you have to stay here. If that means you're the one who has to kick me out of here, then that's how you play it."
"Now you sound like Jack."
"He's right more often than he's wrong, and you know it."
"You will lose your memory of your time here. Maybe even of your time with Sha're."
"If I do, it won't take her long to remind me," he smiled. "Don't be afraid, Oma Desala. I'm not. This is where my path lies."
Daniel held Sha're close.
"What's wrong, my Dan'yel?"
"Sha're, my light, my life. I don't think I'm going to be here much longer."
"Am I the first woman to send her husband off to war?"
Surprised, he drew back to look her in the eyes. "How did you know?"
"I knew when you came to me that it was only for a season. You fly too high, too soon. Have I not seen you look to the east with longing for our loved ones there? When you hear the call, go with my blessing and fight well. I will pray for you every evening, I will lie with you in our dreams every night, and every morning I will look to the rising sun for your sails on the water. When the time is right, beloved, return to me victorious, and then we will never part again."
Daniel held her tight and kissed her. Why did it always have to be about goodbye? Why couldn't he just get everyone he loved in the same place and stay there for a while? "I'll do you proud, Sha're. I'm sure as hell not putting us all through this so that I can go off somewhere and lose!"
She laughed and Daniel found himself laughing with her. "Make love to me, my Dan'yel. Stay here with me, lie with me, every second until you must go. Fill me with the joy of you. Eternity is not enough!"
"We're getting a head start on eternity." He kissed her, hungry and passionate. The past was past and gone. They stood on the brink of an uncertain future. They had now, and if Daniel was destined to lose this memory, he knew that Sha're would keep it safe for him. Faith endured. Love endured, for all time. There was no greater lesson he could learn than that, here or in the mortal realm. For now, he lost himself in Sha're, and for now, that was the only thing that mattered.
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