“Ari,” Daniel called to his daughter, “Donna is here.”
Daniel turned to the pretty blonde teenager standing, waiting to go shopping with his daughter, “You may as well come in and wait.”
“Thanks, Dr Jackson,” Donna smiled, taking the seat he offered.
“I’ll go and get her,” Daniel told her, worried that Ari hadn’t appeared almost instantly.
Donna watched her best friend’s father disappear; she really didn’t get her mother’s fascination with him.
“Ari,” Daniel called, pushing open the door to his daughter’s room, “Honey, Donna is waiting for you.”
Daniel found her standing staring in the mirror; it still took his breath away that she was the spitting image of her mother; the only difference her crystal blue eyes.
“What’s wrong?” Daniel asked when she didn’t look at him.
“Last night I had this dream,” she turned to him, wearing a serious contemplative expression, “What does the name Ammonet mean to you?”
Daniel’s eyes widened in shock, he’d never told Ari about what had happened to Sha’re.
“I take it a lot,” his daughter frowned, “Dad, my dream scared me; a lot.”
“Dreams can’t hurt you,” Daniel soothed, hugging her, “Now go and enjoy yourself this afternoon. Make sure you go to Jack’s after and be there by five at the latest.”
“I will,” she let loose a dazzling smile, giving him a hug before she grabbed her bag and disappeared downstairs to join her friend.
Daniel stood in his daughter’s room for a few minutes, smiling at the eclectic collection she had. Her schoolbooks were scattered over her desks along with a few extra language books, the baseball glove sitting on the chest of drawers, a painting of Hanka by Cassie on one wall, a picture of them taken on her sixteenth birthday and finally Sha’re’s picture sitting beside her bed.
“I have to tell her,” Daniel whispered, tracing the outline of his long lost wife’s face, “I have to tell her everything because she’s going to have to face it all very soon. I wish you were here to help me with this.”
Closing his eyes, he grimaced as he heard the door slam, announcing his daughter had left before sighing; he had to give her answers. Setting the picture down, Daniel left the room, his mind dwelling on how to tell her.
“Had any ideas on what you’re going to do with Ari?” Jack asked as he and Daniel headed down to the infirmary to collect the child from Janet’s care.
“Not yet,” Daniel sighed, “I can’t keep asking Janet to take time out of her schedule to baby-sit. I need a Nanny of some sort.”
“Well,” Jack gave a strange half-smile, “I have an idea.”
“Am I going to like this idea?” Daniel asked with a frown.
“It’s a good idea,” Jack told him, “I promise.”
“What is it?”
Daniel choked slightly, “Excuse me?”
“My ex, Sara could care for her,” Jack told him, giving him a thoughtful confused look, “Who’d you think I meant?”
“I don’t know,” Daniel lied, “Are you sure she’d want to?”
Jack nodded, looking a little guilty, “I ran into her a few weeks ago, she was telling me she was thinking of doing something like this.”
“Jack,” Daniel stopped walking, “You have to understand that as Ari gets older her abilities are going to manifest themselves more and more. How do you plan explaining that to her?”
“Magnets,” Jack grinned, leaving Daniel standing staring after him.
Donna was Ari’s best friend, they’d survived school together since the beginning but despite the years they’d known each other, Ari had always been a bit of a mystery to Donna. There was a strange confidence in everything she said and then there was the look Ari got when someone told her something they wanted her to believe and to be honest, Donna found it quite scary sometimes.
“Are you okay?” Donna asked finally when Ari walked past the shop they’d been heading to.
“What?” Ari stared at her before realising, “Sorry, I guess I’m…”
“Miles away,” Donna completed.
“Couple of million of them,” Ari murmured, “I had a really weird dream last night and it’s sort of playing on my mind.”
“What was it about?” Donna asked, leading them into the store.
“Nothing really,” Ari shrugged as she examined a top, “Just strange images and names. My mom was in it.”
Donna was caught out by that admission, Ari never talked about her mother. In fact Donna didn’t even know exactly what had happened to Ari’s mother whether she’d died, left or something else.
“Doing what?” Donna tried to sound casual while holding a skirt against her.
“Nice,” Ari nodded before returning to the conversation, “She was protecting me.”
“I don’t know,” Ari smiled suddenly, “But I can still feel where she kissed me.”
“What happened to your mom?” Donna asked, hoping she would get an answer other than ‘she’s gone.’
“She died when I was a baby,” Ari said after a moments silence, “I guess I never say it cause I have this insane hope she’ll appear at the door one day.”
Donna forgot about pretending to browse, “Is that why I never got a straight answer?”
Ari shrugged, “That and I sometimes feel she watches over me and Dad. Did you ever feel that?”
“Oh,” Ari looked slightly amazed, “I guess it’s just me.”
Sara stared at Jack, completely stunned.
“I know this is hard to take in,” Jack started.
“Hard?” Sara asked in disbelief, “Jack, you’re asking me to believe that this child can…”
“Ari,” Daniel said softly, “I know I told you not to, sweetie but show Sara what you can do.”
Ari bounced in his lap, reaching out to take the soft toy Daniel was holding before grabbing it when Daniel placed it on the table out of her reach.
“Oh my…” Sara breathed, watching the child laugh as she cuddled the toy.
“You see why I can’t leave her with someone who doesn’t…who can’t…” Daniel sighed, “Sara, I will understand if you don’t want to take this on because caring for a kid is hard enough without Ari’s extra talents but Sara, I want to have Ari cared for by someone I can trust.”
“And you trust me?” Sara challenged, “You don’t know me.”
“But Jack does,” Daniel replied, “And I trust his judgement. I trust him with not only my life but the life of my daughter.”
“What if I don’t want to?” Sara turned to Jack, “Everything you’ve told me…”
“I know you well enough to know you won’t say anything,” Jack shrugged, “But I also know that you already adore Ari.”
Sara laughed, “How can I not. Daniel, I would love to care for Ari when you need me to.”
“Thank you,” Daniel smiled, “Thank you.”
“Daniel,” Sara smiled when she opened the door to find him waiting there, “Jack’s in the back garden, fighting with something or other.”
“Thanks,” he smiled at her, “Ari will be coming here after shopping with Donna.”
“Sure,” Sara laughed, “There’s plenty of food and you know it’s not a problem.”
Daniel gave her another smile before walking through to the back garden to where his best friend had given up whatever he’d been doing and was now leaning back in a chair with a cup of coffee. The years had barely touched Jack as they hadn’t touched Daniel; both had been subjected to repeated use of the sarcophagus, which had muted the ageing process considerably.
“I was wondering where you were,” Jack said in way of greeting him, “What took you so long?”
“Ari asked what the name Ammonet meant to me,” Daniel dropped into the opposite seat.
“What? Where did she hear that?”
“She dreamt it,” Daniel took a mug of coffee himself, “I think we’re coming to the time.”
“Ari’s destiny,” Daniel grimaced, “I don’t want her to have to do this, I tried to stop it but I can’t.”
Jack took a long drink watching his friend, “Daniel, we’ve always known this day would come. Ari’s a strong kid and with everyone behind her, she’ll deal.”
Daniel sighed, “I’ll tell her tomorrow when we go to the base. I think I’ll give her one more night innocent. Free of what happened to…to her mother and who she really is.”
The two friends talked for the next few hours until the moment Jack reached for the beer he had sitting there and it moved out of his reach.
“Ari,” Jack growled, “Don’t do that?”
“How did you know it wasn’t Dad?” the teenager appeared; leaning over his shoulder, a smile covering her face.
“Cause your Dad knows better,” Jack laughed, giving her a hug.
“Get anything nice?” Daniel asked his daughter as she took a seat beside them.
Ari shrugged, “A few things.”
“Are you coming with me to the base tomorrow?” Daniel asked.
Jack saw Ari’s eyes light up at this and frowned, “Ari, you’re sixteen. How can you enjoy working on translations?”
Ari gave a very Daniel-like shrug, “It’s hard to explain. I just love a challenge.”
Jack rolled his eyes, “She’s definitely your kid, Daniel.”
Ari and Daniel left Jack and Sara’s after dinner. Once they reached home, Daniel disappeared leaving Ari with a strange feeling from him. After she put away all of her purchases, Jack kept reminding her she was unnaturally tidy for a teenager, she went searching for Daniel.
She found him sitting on the roof, staring up at the sky.
“It’s okay, honey,” he called, “Come on up.”
Climbing up to join him, Ari slid to sit beside him feeling him place the blanket around her. She turned to watch him, seeing the picture of her mother held tightly in his hands.
“She was very beautiful,” Ari said tentatively, her father never talked about her mother, everything Ari knew came mostly from Jack.
Daniel let out a sigh, “Yes, she was,” he pulled her close to him, “You are the image of her.”
Ari smiled up at him.
“I know I’ve never told you anything,” Daniel looked into his baby’s eyes, “But I find it so hard to talk about her. I loved your mother so much, I never thought I would ever find something like that.”
“Dad, you don’t have to…”
“No, I want to,” Daniel hugged her, “When my parents died I felt so lost. I was just a kid who’d just arrived in America for the first time and I was thrust into a place I didn’t know with people I had no idea about. I was alone for a long time until I went to Abydos, the first moment I saw your mother I was instantly in love with her. The day she died I felt like I was in a huge black hole, you were with your grandfather so I was alone.”
“But you had Jack and the others there,” Ari said.
“No,” Daniel whispered, “I couldn’t believe that, I pushed them away until they managed to remind me I wasn’t alone.”
“Why did you leave me with my grandfather?”
“To be honest,” Daniel sighed, “Because I didn’t think I would be able to be a good father to you.”
“That’s silly,” Ari laughed.
“Ari, when I first got you back I took you away,” Daniel reminded her, “Changed my name and tried to pretend all my friends no longer existed. I thought I could protect you that way.”
“Dad, I grew up with a family who love me,” Ari told him, “I would love to have had Mom here but in a way she is. I have these abilities that come from both of you, abilities I don’t understand but it means she’s with me.”
“You’re your mother’s daughter alright,” Daniel gently kissed his daughter’s forehead, “But we both have to be up early to go to the SGC so go get some sleep and don’t worry about your dreams.”
“I love you, Dad,” Ari kissed him before heading back down.
“I love you, sweetie,” Daniel called before looking back at the picture, “I love you too, my beautiful Sha’re.”
Daniel glanced over at where his daughter was working, feeling a smile cover his face; she was brilliant. Ari had her father’s thirst for knowledge and gift for languages. Checking his watch, he saw it was almost time to meet Jack for the big confession.
“Ari,” he called, pulling her out of her work, “I’ve got to meet with some of the archaeological staff after that I need to talk to you.”
“Your mother,” Daniel replied, “Could you go see Jack while I’m at this meeting and when I get there we have something very important to tell you.”
“Dad, is it that bad?” Ari asked, worried about the feelings he was giving off.
Daniel sighed slightly, “Just go see Jack just now and I’ll be there as fast as possible.”
“Sure,” she shrugged before wandering out of the office.
Jack gave her a small wave as she looked through his window.
“Commander Ivanov,” Jack waved to the man, standing in front of his desk, “Our new Russian Liaison. Meet Arianna Jackson.”
Ari gave a bright smile to the young man standing stiffly.
“Hello,” he said in Russian, “A pleasure to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” Ari answered in perfect Russian, making the young man jump.
“Ari is the daughter of Daniel Jackson,” Jack said with an amused smile, “I’m sure you’ve heard of him.”
Jack quickly dismissed the man and grinned at Ari, “Nicely done kiddo.”
She shrugged, “Jack, what’s going on with you and Dad?”
“We just have some stuff to tell you,” Jack placed his hand on her shoulder, “About the past and about your Mom.”
“You know you’re worrying me,” Ari whispered.
Jack squeezed her hand as his phone rang, “Look, while I get this you go wait out there.”
With a sigh Ari nodded, leaving him to work. Taking a seat in the briefing room, she leaned on the table wondering what was going on.
Ari looked around the briefing room nervously. It wasn’t like this was the first time she’d ever been here but this time felt different. She could sense her father’s trepidation over whatever it was he had to tell her. Ari had always known she was different from other kids. She could move things with her mind, she could tell when people were lying to her and she could sense her father wherever he was.
As Jack and Daniel arrived in the briefing room, at the same time the alarms sounded around the base. Rolling his eyes, Jack led them down to the observation room.
“It’s the Tok’ra, sir,” the young tech reported.
“Open the Iris,” Jack ordered as all three of them headed into the Gateroom.
“Jacob,” Ari grinned.
Jacob Carter/Selmak bounded down the ramp and quickly hugged the teenager, “You look wonderful, kiddo.”
“You too,” she smiled, “How are you Selmak?”
“Very well,” Selmak replied.
Jack was always amazed Ari could hold a conversation with both Jacob and Selmak without so much as blinking or getting confused.
Jacob placed an arm around Ari’s shoulders and the four of them headed back up to the briefing room.
“Jack,” Jacob Carter said as they sat down, “We just found something.”
“It’s a cavern,” Jacob explained, pulling out a scrap of paper, “The whole place is covered with writings and this symbol was found at the entrance.”
“That symbol was at the entrance to the Abydos cartouche,” Daniel sat at Jack’s side, staring intently at the symbol.
Jacob smiled, “Are you sure?”
“I saw it every day for several months,” Daniel replied, “I need to see this.”
“Daniel, what about Ari?” Jack asked softly.
Daniel turned to his daughter, sitting quietly next to Jacob; she smiled in understanding.
“You can tell me when you get back,” she told him.
Daniel placed an arm around her and gently kissed her forehead, “I’ll be back as soon as I can, I promise.”
“I’ll stay with Jack and Sara,” Ari told him, “No worries.”
Daniel smiled at her again before turning to Jacob, “I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”
“SG22 will be going with you,” Jack told him, “Just in case you need someone to fetch and carry.”
With a nod, Daniel left as Jacob went to say hello to a few people.
Jack placed an arm around Ari, “You know you never cease to amaze me,” he told her, “You’re not like any other kid.”
“This is important to him,” Ari shrugged.
“Nothing is more important to Daniel than you,” Jack reminded her, “You have always been his top priority.”
“I know,” Ari gave him a mysterious smile, “I know.”
Daniel wrote down his latest observations, rolling his shoulders to loosen them out a bit. The SG team with him were young, so young but full of enthusiasm for the discoveries they’d made.
Sitting back from his work, his mind drifted to his daughter. He loved her so much and was constantly surprised by her. Jack often remarked that she was unlike any other kid her age and Daniel supposed he was right. Ari had never been a sulky rebellious teenager; she was happy and well adjusted taking everything in her stride something Daniel had been very thankful for. It did help that she had the rest of the original SG1, Sara, Janet, Cassie and Nick there for her whenever she needed to talk.
Her gifts had been hard for her to understand and had originally scared her, especially when she realised none of her friends could do the things she could. Daniel would do anything for her and once he finished here, he had to explain what had really happened to her mother.
One good point of Ari’s gift was she could sense him and his well being no matter where he was. At least she wouldn’t have to worry about him while he was off world.
Jack found Ari sitting in Daniel’s office. What had once been her play area had been turned into a small study area for her so she could work where Daniel could keep an eye on her.
“Hey, you hungry?” he asked, making her jump slightly.
“Yeah,” Ari replied, trying to hide what she’d been looking at.
“What is that?” Jack pulled Daniel’s chair over to Ari’s desk.
Ari nervously produced the picture of Sha’re that usually sat on Daniel’s desk, “I was just wondering…”
“Wondering what?” Jack looked at her concerned, Ari was never this nervous around them.
“What she was really like?” Ari sighed, “Dad doesn’t talk about her. Though he tried to a few nights ago, I know how much it hurts him so I’ve never asked him any more than he told me.”
“Well, I never knew Sha’re as well as I would have liked to,” Jack told his best friend’s daughter, “But I can tell you what I noticed about her.”
Seeing the light in Ari’s eyes made Jack smile, she was so like Daniel it was sometimes unnerving, “Well she was very sweet, very kind and very protective of your dad. When we were hiding from Ra, she made sure he drank the water and her hand was never far from his arm. She was the one who organised the rebellion after Ra had kidnapped us,” Jack laughed, “You did not mess with your mother.”
“She loved him,” Jack gently squeezed Ari’s hand, “She loved him so much and I know she loved you.”
A small tear escaped Ari’s eyes but she was smiling, “Thank you.”
Jack placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, “No problem, kiddo. Now come and eat.”
Daniel shifted Ari in his arms as he walked towards the gravestone. Steven had seen him already and made a comment though the look on his face at seeing Ari made Daniel want to laugh.
“Look who’s back,” Steven said, walking over to him.
“Hello, Steven,” Daniel replied blandly, “Nice to see you again.”
“Who’s this?” Steven asked.
“This is my daughter Arianna,” Daniel explained, “And before you ask her mother is dead.”
“I’m sorry,” Steven’s voice was hoarse but he couldn’t help smiling as Ari caught his hand and started shaking it.
“She likes you,” Daniel felt a smile tug at his lips, “Be honoured.”
Steven couldn’t help but smile back, “I am.”
“Daniel?” the voice he’d been really dreading called to him.
“Hi, Sarah,” Daniel turned to her, starting at how little she had changed.
“You look good,” Sarah smiled, turning her attention to Ari, “Though you seem to have a surprise for us.”
“Sarah, this is my daughter Ari,” Daniel introduced them, not being able to help feeling smug at the amazed look on her face.
“Hello, Ari,” Sarah smiled, moving to touch the child.
Ari started to squirm, trying to get away from Sarah.
“She doesn’t seem to like me,” Sarah sighed.
“Guess not,” Daniel shrugged, trying to soothe his daughter, “It’s alright baby. Sarah’s an old friend. It’s alright.”
At his words of comfort, Ari calmed resting her head on her father’s shoulder her thumb stuck in her mouth but her eyes watched Sarah warily the whole time.
Daniel grimaced as he opened his eyes to Janet’s penlight.
“Ari?” he whispered.
“She’s with Sara O’Neill,” Janet assured him, “She’s fine.”
Janet frowned in confusion, “Knew what?”
Daniel rubbed his eyes, trying to get his focus, “She knew Sarah was a Gould.”
“Are you sure?” Janet asked, “Ari doesn’t have any Naquada in her blood. I’ve checked.”
“She knew anyway,” Daniel smiled as he fell asleep again, “She knew.”
Daniel checked his second watch set to the planet’s time, he hadn’t realised it was so late. With a sigh, he closed his notebook and placed it inside his pack.
It was strange, after all these years sleeping on the ground was not his favourite thing any more, he preferred his bed and knowing his daughter was in the next room safe. He knew he didn’t have to worry about her, Ari stayed at Jack and Sara’s so often she actually had her own room. Daniel frowned as he remembered the reason Ari did have a room with them.
Trying to protect her had caused her more pain than he had ever wanted his baby girl to know.
Daniel blew out the candle, settling down to sleep not seeing the shadow cross behind him. Daniel fell asleep quickly not feeling the drug being administered into him.
Ari sat cross-legged on her bed in her second bedroom, reading one of her father’s books.
“Isn’t that a bit out of your league?” Jack asked, leaning against the doorframe.
“Nope,” came the reply.
Jack rolled his eyes, “You’ve got a phone call. It’s Nick.”
Ari dropped the book and scrambled into the hall to get the phone, “Nick?”
“Hi, sweetheart,” the vampire greeted her, “Where’s your Dad?”
“Off world,” Ari answered, “Where are you?”
“At the moment I’m in Iceland,” Nick told her, “A friend of mine asked for my help.”
“When will you be coming to see us?” Ari demanded, “I haven’t seen you since my birthday.”
“As soon as I’m finished here,” Nick promised, “I will be there and stay as long as you want me to.”
Ari grinned, “Good.”
“Tell me what you’ve been up to,” Nick demanded.
Jack smiled seeing Ari walk into the kitchen to join him and Sara.
“Good,” she smiled, “Has Dad called in yet?”
“I checked in with the base before Nick called,” Jack told her, “They haven’t checked in yet but they’re not due to for another three hours.”
“Your father won’t miss the deadline,” Sara assured her, “He can’t remember when he’s meant to eat but if it’s contacting you he’s never late.”
Ari grinned, “So I can come to the base?”
Jack rolled his eyes, “How can I stop you?”
“Good, cause Captain Walker has promised to show me the latest additions to the artefacts,” Ari grinned.
Jack groaned, “You’re as bad as Daniel.”
“I know,” Ari smiled; leaning her head against his arm, looking up to him with large innocent eyes, “But you love me anyway.”
“General,” the technician at the controls greeted him when he and Ari entered the control room.
“Any word from Dr Jackson?” Jack asked.
“Not yet,” the tech replied, “He still has an hour.”
“Guess these scribbles are more interesting than we thought,” Jack teased.
Ari smiled slightly, “Can I go see Captain Walker then? She is expecting me.”
Jack smiled, “Go and I’ll have you called when your Dad checks in.”
Ari flashed him a brilliant smile before disappearing, making Jack laugh as he went up to his office to start his own work.
Daniel walked into the Gateroom, wondering why he was here. Looking over to the ramp, he saw his daughter standing facing the open wormhole.
“Ari?” he called, walking towards her.
She turned to him and Daniel gasped in horror seeing the staff blast burn covering her chest, similar to the one that had killed her mother.
“Daddy,” she whispered before she collapsed into his arms.
“Ari!!!!!!” Daniel cried, “No Ari!!” he tried desperately to find her pulse but he couldn’t, she was gone.
Tears started to stream along Daniel’s cheeks as he held her body rocking her gently.
“It’s okay, baby,” he whispered to her, “You’re with your Mom now. She’ll look after you.”
“Daniel,” Jack’s voice called.
“Go away,” Daniel whispered.
“Daniel, we just want to help,” Sara said.
“Go away,” Daniel snarled.
“Daniel,” Jack said softly.
“I said GO AWAY,” as Daniel snapped everyone standing nearby was thrown backwards as Daniel continued to grieve.
Watching from a safe distance, Osiris smiled.
Captain Michelle Walker smiled as she looked over at the teenager, sitting engrossed in a book far in advanced for her age. Michelle had been surprised when she’d arrived in the SGC that this kid had free run of the base but, like everyone else, she’d fallen under the spell of Arianna Jackson.
“I’m just going to lab 5,” she told Ari, “I’ll be back soon.”
“Sure,” the absent reply came.
Michelle laughed as she left the room; Ari was so like her father sometimes. She started slightly seeing General O’Neill walk towards her.
“Captain,” Jack greeted her.
“Good morning, General,” she smiled.
“Is Ari still in your office?”
Before Michelle could answer, Ari’s scream echoed through the hall.
Hearing his surrogate daughter scream his name, Jack ran to the lab to find her on the floor; her arms wrapped around her knees, tears streaming along her cheeks.
“Ari?” Jack knelt beside her suddenly finding her holding onto him tightly.
“Some…some…something’s happened,” she choked out, “Dad...he…he…his mind…it screamed,” her breath was coming in gulps, “Tell me…he…he…he won’t leave me again? Please…Jack…”
“It’s alright, honey,” Jack rocked her, ignoring the stiffness in his knees; “Daniel would never leave you.”
Ari’s tear filled blue-eyes stared at him, “He…he…he did once.”
Jack sighed, “You know why he did that, Ari. You know he didn’t want to hurt you but at the time he thought that was the best thing to do.”
“But he…he left,” Ari cuddled into Jack’s protection further.
“Okay, honey,” Jack soothed, “Here’s what I’m going to do. After I manage to struggle to my feet, I’m going to get them to dial up the planet he’s on and find out what’s going on.”
“Okay,” Ari whispered.
“What do you mean he’s missing?” Jack yelled.
“Sir, he went to his tent to work on some of our findings and then sleep,” Major Kent reported, “We assumed he was still sleeping.”
“Is there ANYTHING that could tell us what happened?” Jack yelled, “His daughter is in a state here.”
“General,” Kent told him, “Give me a few hours.”
“You have two,” Jack snapped, motioning the tech to shut down the Gate, “Son of a…Sergeant, dial up the Tok’ra.”
Jack fumed, waiting as the Gate dialled; he’d left Ari in the infirmary with Cassie, hoping she could calm the teenager down. Ari was terrified of Daniel leaving her after the last time; though Jack was amazed she could even remember it.
“Chevron Seven is locked,” the tech told him.
“General Jack O’Neill to Sam Carter,” Jack called; “Sam, you there?”
“Jack?” Sam Carter’s voice came over the speaker just before her face appeared on the screen, “What’s going on?”
Jack took a deep breath, “Daniel’s missing.”
“Teal’c and I will be there in a few minutes,” Sam said, “Shut down the Gate.”
Jack nodded to the technician, “Send them straight up to my office.”
Daniel groaned as he woke up. Looking around he frowned, this wasn’t right. How had he ended up in a cell? How had he gotten here?
It didn’t matter to him; the only thing that had truly mattered in his life was gone. His daughter, his baby had been taken from him; just like her mother, his wonderful wife had been. Curling up in the cell, Daniel felt tears slide along his cheeks. Not since Sha’re had died had he felt this empty.
“I’m so sorry, Ari,” he whispered; curling into a ball, mourning his adored daughter, “I’m so sorry.”
Nick dug into his pocket, trying to find his phone as it continued to ring.
“Nick, it’s Jack.”
“Jack?” Nick asked, getting a sinking feeling, “What’s happened?”
“I’m not sure,” Jack replied, “Just get here as fast as possible.”
“Is Ari alright?”
“Still working on that one,” Jack said, “Get here as soon as you can.”
“I will,” Nick promised, hanging up.
Daniel had to be in trouble, otherwise Jack wouldn’t have called.
“Keep calm,” he murmured to himself, getting worried over his friend was not going to get him to Colorado any faster.
As he got ready to leave, he quickly found the number he wanted and let it dial.
“Yes?” the annoyed answer came.
“LaCroix,” Nick said, “Ranon was right. I think it might have started.”
Without waiting for an answer, Nick hung up before heading to Colorado.
Sara jumped when the phone started to ring. Hitting save on the computer, she grabbed the phone, “Hello.”
“Sara,” Jack said tersely, “I need you to come to the base.”
“Why?” Sara asked uneasy.
“I just need you to get here for Ari,” Jack told her, “I’ll explain when you get here.”
“Sara, please I have to go but I need you to get here as fast as you can,” he said, “Please.”
“I’ll be there as soon as possible,” she promised before he hung up.
Switching off her computer, Sara grabbed her jacket and her bag, hoping this wasn’t going to be like the last time Jack had called her to the base.
Sara grabbed the phone, “Hello?” she called over the noise of Ari crying.
“Sara,” Jack said, “I need you to come to the base and I need you to bring Ari with you.”
“Jack, what’s wrong?” fear filled her.
“I don’t have time to tell you,” Jack replied, “I need you to bring Ari here.”
Sara stiffened as it hit her, “What’s happened to Daniel?”
“I’ll tell you when you get here,” he promised before hanging up.
Quickly Sara fixed Ari and got her into the car, aware of how quiet the child was suddenly being after spending a good part of the morning screaming.
Sam met them at the entrance quickly hugging Sara, which shocked her before she led them down into the depths of the mountain.
Jack was pacing, waiting for her and instantly hugged her too.
“Okay, Jack what’s wrong?” Sara demanded as she held Ari close.
“The planet we just left were building some sort of bomb,” Jack explained, “Their tests went wrong and Daniel, he stopped it before it killed everyone.”
“So, doing this he…he,” Jack sighed, “He got a lethal dose of radiation.”
“He’s…he…” Sara trailed off, looking at Ari who was staring sadly at the wall.
“Come here, honey,” Jack reached out to the toddler who moved into his arms and cuddled against him, “He wants to see her.”
Watching Jack take Ari to see her father, Sara felt tears fill her eyes, they were going to lose Daniel.
Sam took in a deep breath as she and Teal’c walked through the Gate into the Gateroom, she missed this place a lot.
“General O’Neill said to go straight up,” the young tech told them.
Teal’c nodded and motioned Sam to lead the way, following her up the stairs.
“Finally,” Jack frowned as he hugged them both, “Sara is on her way to be with Ari.”
“What happened, Jack?” Sam asked, taking a seat.
“To be honest I don’t know,” he shrugged, “Ari suddenly started screaming and crying saying something has happened. She can’t feel him anymore. From what she manages to say between sobs is that something bad has happened to him.”
“Is he still alive?” Teal’c asked.
“We don’t know,” Jack replied, “Ari can’t tell.”
“That’s impossible,” Sam said, “Ari has always been able to tell Daniel’s alive.”
“Except when he was ascended,” Teal’c reminded her.
“I doubt he would do that again,” Sam argued.
“I’ve got the SG team he had with him trying to find out what happened,” Jack finally managed to get their attention, “Nick is on his way too.”
Sam looked at him confused, “Why?”
“Cause he’s her guardian,” Jack reminded her with a sharp look.
“You believe that the reason for Ari’s abilities has arrived,” Teal’c gave him a hard look.
“Daniel does,” Jack replied, “That’s why I wanted Nick here as well. Cause it looks like we get to tell Ari about her past.”
Sara found Ari sitting in the infirmary on one of the beds; leaning against the wall, her knees pulled tightly up to her chest, tear stains on her cheeks. Cassie saw Sara and walked over to her.
“Hey,” she greeted the older woman.
“Is she alright, Cassie?”
Cassie shrugged, “She stopped crying, finally and she’s just sitting there. If something has happened to Daniel, I don’t know how she’ll cope.”
Sara rested her hand on Cassie’s shoulder; Jack’s other surrogate daughter before going to see Ari. Sitting on the bed beside her, Sara gently stroked Ari’s long dark hair, “Hey, sweetheart.”
Without a word, Ari leaned against Sara’s shoulder, her blue eyes blank as she stared at the opposite wall; Sara pulled her closer rocking her.
“They’ll find him,” she whispered, “I know they will Ari, they’ll find him.”
Ari listened to the soothing words as she fell asleep.
“Hey, Ari,” Jack gently shook her awake, “Time for school.”
Ari opened her eyes and stared at him, “What?”
“Its morning,” he smiled, “You’ve got to go to school.”
“But what about Dad? He…”
“We’re working on it,” Jack stroked her hair.
Ari sat up to face him, “Jack, I can’t concentrate knowing…”
“Ari, sweetie,” Jack soothed, “If you’re here you’ll distract us. If you’re at school, at least I know where you are and that Daniel won’t kill me when he gets back for keeping you off.”
She sighed in defeat.
“Go get a shower, Sara brought some clothes for you,” Jack told her, “And there’s someone waiting to see you in the commissary.”
Annoyed Ari did as she was told, showering quickly and changing into some clean clothes before heading to get some breakfast.
“Well finally,” a voice greeted her.
“Nick!!!” Ari ran and jumped into her ‘uncle’s’ arms.
Nick held her as she hugged him tightly, “You okay?”
A small nod meant Nick let her go and Ari sat in the seat across from him, taking the plate of food he pushed towards her.
“When did you get here?” she asked.
“Just before dawn,” he smiled, “Honey, I know you’re worried but Jack and the others will find him.”
“But I can’t,” Ari whispered, “He’s not in my mind. Nick, something has made the link sever and I don’t feel him. What if he’s dead this time?”
“Don’t say that,” Nick scolded, “Daniel will be fine. Now Sara is waiting to take you to school,” he stopped her from speaking, “I agree with Jack. You should be there where we know you won’t cause trouble.”
Ari frowned at him before sighing, “Fine, I’ll go and stare into space in a classroom.”
Nick smiled, “That’s my girl.”
“Ari,” Sara said softly, “We’re here.”
“Oh,” Ari turned to see her friends and classmates, milling around happy in their own little worlds.
“Ari, I know…”
“Please don’t tell me not to worry,” Ari sighed, “I can’t help it. I’m scared, Sara and being sent away…I’m not a child.”
“No, you’re not,” Sara agreed, “And that is why you’re not going to be childish and demand to be let off school today.”
“Sure” Ari agreed, looking sadly at the woman who had practically raised her as her own daughter.
“You have your phone?”
“One of us will come and collect you after school,” Sara told her, “Call us if anything comes to you.”
“I promise,” Ari hugged Sara quickly before stepping out of the jeep her head held high.
Sara watched as Ari walked over to her friends. There was a natural grace within her that Daniel once said was from her mother, someone Sara had wished many times that she could have known. With a sad smile, she started the jeep and headed back to the base to see if the others had found anything.
“No leads?” Sam demanded disgustedly, “How can we have no leads?”
“Apparently nothing was disturbed,” Jack was pacing the briefing room, “This was set up.”
“How did you work that out?” Nick asked.
“Because this was too neat,” Jack explained, “They didn’t go after any of the others there, nothing was taken and they got him without him knowing about it.”
“Run that past me again?” Sam asked.
“If Daniel had been aware of being abducted,” Jack explained, “He would have called out to his daughter. Even if he didn’t want her to know.”
“Are we assuming he’s dead?” Nick asked.
Jack shook his head, “Too much trouble just to kill him.”
“Whoever has him knows enough about their link to be able to sever it,” Jack said before shaking his head worriedly, “If they’ve managed to convince him somehow…” Jack’s head came up from its brooding position, “Ari is dead.”
“What?” Nick, Sam and Sara all snapped as Teal’c raised an eyebrow in confusion.
“That’s the only way that Daniel would lose contact with her,” Jack cried, “We won’t be able to get to him if he thinks he’s lost his daughter.”
“She could,” Sam reminded him.
“I’m not taking her offworld,” Jack told them, “She’s too important to allow to fall into Gould hands.”
“Then who the hell could get through to him?” Nick asked completely frustrated.
Daniel frowned as he heard a voice call to him, intruding on his grief.
“Dan’iel,” the voice was more insistent and so familiar, “Look at me, Dan’iel. Open your eyes, my husband.”
Daniel jumped at those words and his eyes snapped open to the unbelievable sight in front of him.
“Sha’re?” he breathed in amazement to find her kneeling in front of him, concern covering her face.
“Yes, love,” she smiled at him with relief.
“Oh God, I’m sorry,” he cried in despair, “I failed you.”
“You have not failed me,” Sha’re assured him, “Why would you ever think that?”
“Ari’s dead,” his voice was flat, “I got our daughter killed.”
“Ari is not dead,” Sha’re told him.
“I saw it,” Daniel whispered in despair, “I held her body, like I held yours with a staff blast wound to the chest.”
“Dan’iel,” Sha’re said, very slowly and deliberately, “Arianna is NOT dead. She is safe on Earth with Jack but is afraid something has happened to you.”
“What?” confusion filled his voice, “But I saw…”
“How did you get from there to here?” Sha’re asked.
“Look where you are,” Sha’re told him, “Think where you were before you saw her die.”
“But I saw her die,” Daniel whispered in pain.
“If she was dead, my Dan’iel I would know,” Sha’re reminded him.
“Oh God,” Daniel breathed as realisation finally sunk in, “Is she okay?”
“She will be once she knows you are safe,” Sha’re smiled tenderly at him, “She loves you so much.”
“You watch us?” he asked in shock.
“Of course I do,” she laughed but her voice and eyes filled with sadness, “I cannot be with you both but I can watch over you and our baby girl as she grows up.”
“She loves you too,” Daniel told her, “I’ve always made sure she knew about you.”
“I know,” Sha’re smiled brightly, “Call to her and she will find you.”
“I miss you,” Daniel whispered, “Even after all this time; I miss you as if it were only yesterday I lost you.”
“You never lost me, my husband,” Sha’re told him, “Close your eyes,”
Daniel did as she said and felt her lips brush against his in a gentle kiss, which very quickly deepened. Daniel reached out and touched her face, pulling her closer tasting the salt from their tears.
Sha’re finally broke the kiss, “Call to our daughter my love.”
Opening his eyes, he found she was gone.
He took a deep breath to calm his racing heart, “I love you,” he whispered to her before focussing on his daughter, “Ari!!”
The teacher was droning on and on about some book Ari had read years before and hadn’t enjoyed then. She was worried about her father and she was worried about the others going to find him. She was frustrated that they’d made her come to school when she wanted to be involved in finding him.
Ari jumped in shock; knocking the desk, making Donna jump beside her.
“What?” Donna demanded quietly.
“Nothing,” Ari replied shakily as she started searching through her bag for her phone.
Ignoring the teacher call her name, Ari ran out of the classroom dialling the SGC as she walked.
“This is Arianna Jackson,” she told the operator who answered, “I need to speak to General O’Neill.”
“Ari, what’s up?” Jack asked the instant he answered.
“Dad’s alive,” she cried, “He’s on P4X 118.”
“Are you sure?” Jack demanded.
“Yes,” Ari snapped, “Jack, he doesn’t have a way home without someone going to get him.”
“Don’t worry,” Jack soothed her, “Someone will pick you up after school okay.”
“‘Kay,” Ari whispered.
“Sweetheart, I’ll get your Dad back,” Jack told her, “I promise.”
Hanging up the phone Ari leaned against the wall, there he was in her mind. Alive, sad and yet strangely elated.
“Daddy,” she whispered, “Don’t leave me again.”
“Ari?” Donna called appearing, “You okay? Miss Granger was wondering if you were ill.”
“No,” Ari smiled, her cheeks slightly flushed, “I’m okay. Now I’m okay. He hasn’t left me again.”
“Daniel, what about your daughter?” Jack asked as he stood in the strange dreamscape Daniel had pulled him into.
“I’m doing this for her,” Daniel explained, reaching out to touch the child Jack held in his arms, “I might be able to make sure she never has to fulfil this prophesy thing of the vampires.”
“Jack, please understand,” Daniel whispered, “I don’t want to leave her but…” he trailed off and smiled at the toddler, “I want you and Sara to care for her together. Please.”
“Where will you go?” Jack asked.
“I don’t know,” Daniel smiled sadly, tears in his eyes, “Take care of my little girl.”
Jack nodded, “I promise.”
He watched Daniel walk through the Stargate when suddenly he was in the infirmary again.
“Is she asleep?” Jack asked when Sara came back into the kitchen.
“No, but she’s not crying anymore,” Sara sighed, “He told you he wanted to leave?”
Jack nodded, handing her a mug of coffee, “He thinks he can stop her from ever having to use her abilities against the Gould.”
“What do you think?”
“That I’m gonna miss him,” Jack closed his eyes against the swell of emotion that suddenly hit him.
“Jack,” Sara slipped her arms around him, pulling him close to her.
“I’m sorry Sara,” he whispered into her hair, “Daniel just…”
“He meant a lot to you,” Sara gently wiped the tear that was slipping along his cheek.
“Daniel was the one that brought me back from the edge after we lost…lost…”
“Charlie,” Sara completed for him, the deep hidden sadness appearing in her eyes.
After a few moments holding each other, Sara moved back and took her coffee back off the counter, “Maybe I should get going.”
“Sara, don’t,” Jack said quickly, “Please just stay here tonight. For Ari. She needs more than just me around her for a while. To reassure her.”
Sara looked into his eyes and smiled softly, “Of course I will.”
As she went to finish her coffee, Ari started crying again.
“I’ll get her,” Jack said.
Sara lay awake, watching Jack as he slept just across from her in the double bed. Ari rested between them sleeping finally.
In the time she had spent caring for Daniel’s daughter, when he was working or on the rare occasions he went off world, Sara had come to adore the child. She had been drawn into the small family of SG1, Janet and Cassie and could feel the hole Daniel’s ascension had made even in the few hours since he’d left.
Jack was so angry and worried for Ari, Sara knew she couldn’t leave him alone. Reaching out she gently slipped her hand into his before closing her eyes to sleep.
Ari watched Jack’s jeep draw up at the school, smiling as he got out and waved to her. Walking over to him, she started to run as her father appeared as well.
“Careful,” Daniel said softly as she threw her arms around him.
“I thought you were gone again,” she whispered, hugging him tightly.
“Never again,” he reminded her, “Come on. Let’s get out of here.”
Letting him go, Ari climbed into the back of the jeep and settled back relaxed to know her father was safe. Safe and already arguing with Jack, life was back to normal.
Ari sighed as she closed her eyes to sleep, safe in knowledge her father was home and downstairs watching TV. They had come straight home after she’d been collected from school and she decided to take a nap before dinner, needing to rest after the emotional roller coaster she’d been on for the past few days.
When she opened her eyes, her room was dark and the clock read nine o’clock.
“Great,” she murmured, feeling hungry.
Pulling herself off the bed, she was suddenly aware of someone else in the room with her. She spun and found herself face to face with a man, who was strangely familiar.
“Well,” he smiled at her, “You were extremely brave over the past few days.”
“Who are you?” Ari demanded, backing away from him.
“Your past,” he told her, “Your father’s past.”
“I don’t understand,” she whispered, trying to push him away with her mind and not being able to do it. Fear filled her.
“You have a destiny,” he told her, “Something none of us want you to face but we can’t prevent it. The only thing we can do is be with you.”
“Who are you?” she demanded getting angry.
“Someone who loves both you and your father,” he smiled, “Don’t tell Daniel you saw me. It’ll only upset him.”
A knock made Ari jump and turn to her door; turning back her ‘guest’ had disappeared.
“Ari, honey,” Daniel said as he entered her room, “Are you hungry?”
“Yeah,” she said slightly breathless, “I should get something to eat then go to bed. School tomorrow.”
“Actually, you’re not going to school tomorrow,” Daniel told her, “There’s a few things I have to explain to you sweetheart. Come and get some dinner.”
“Dad,” she called as he was leaving.
“Please don’t leave me again.”
Daniel reached out and pulled her into a tight hug, “I won’t. I promise.”
Ari was now getting exceedingly worried.
Her father was never happy when she missed school; he rated her education as a very high priority. But today he’d brought her to the SGC and sat her down in the briefing room.
“Before I left, I said I had something very important to tell you,” Daniel started his explanation, “Ari, no matter what I tell you, just remember that you are the most precious person in my life and I would never do anything to hurt you.”
“Dad, you’re scaring me,” Ari whispered.
“I’m sorry, honey,” Daniel told her, “But you need to understand why I hid this from you.”
“Hid what?” Ari asked slightly bemused.
Daniel sat down beside her, “What I told you about why I came back to Earth from Abydos wasn’t exactly accurate.”
“I thought you and Mom came here after the Gould kidnapped my uncle,” Ari frowned confused.
Daniel took a deep breath, “I came back to Earth after Apophis took Skaara and your mother.”
Daniel gently brushed his hand through his daughter’s hair ,trying to quash the pain that had risen from having to tell her this, “Sha’re was possessed by the Gould Ammonet.”
Pain marred Ari’s face at the horror her mother endured, “But you got her back, right?”
“A year after she was taken I found her on Abydos pregnant,” Daniel explained, “With you and your brother.”
“What happened was, you were conceived just before she was taken but the Gould held you in stasis until Shifu was conceived,” Daniel watched the disbelief that was filling his daughter’s eyes, “I delivered you both but I had to leave you with your grandfather and I had to let your mother go.”
“Why?” Ari managed to ask.
“So you could live,” Daniel told her, “It was the only choice I had. A few months later, your grandfather called us to help as Ammonet had taken you both as well as hostages from Abydos. I stupidly headed after her and she caught me in the grip of the ribbon device.”
“No,” Ari cried.
“There was nothing I could do to get away from it,” Daniel continued.
“Don’t tell me.”
“Teal’c had to…he had to…”
“He killed her?” Ari asked in a small, horrified voice.
“He saved her,” Daniel stressed, “But before that happened, she managed to contact me. She told me where you were hidden, to forgive Teal’c for what he had to do and to care for both of you.”
“So where is he?” Ari asked, “What happened to my brother?”
“When we finally found Kheb, there was the alien being called Oma Desala,” Daniel explained.
“The bitch that took you away,” Ari snapped.
“Language,” Daniel scolded her, “Oma cared for both of you. Shifu holds all the knowledge of the Gould and needs to be protected from them. I couldn’t protect you both. I was only able to take you.”
“Why did you never tell me this?” Ari asked sadly.
Daniel sighed, “Because I never wanted you to know the horror your mother went through and I wanted you to be as normal as possible.”
“What’s so special about now?” Ari asked.
“That’s the next part of the story,” Daniel looked up to see Nick in Hammond’s office waiting for his cue to join them, “And this is why you can do the things you can.”
Ari watched her Uncle walk in to join them and take a seat, “Why is that?”
“A group back when Ra was still on Earth wanted a way to destroy the Goa’uld,” Nick explained, “They took two families. Into the son of one, they placed the abilities your father has and into the daughter of the other, they placed the ones your mother had. The plan was when the children were old enough, they would marry and produce a child with the abilities you have.”
“Why didn’t it happen?” Ari asked her eyes wide.
“The Gould found out about the plan,” Daniel told her, “The girl’s family were taken through the Stargate to Abydos to hide them. Ranon went with them to protect her and her descendants.”
“While the boy, who produced your father’s line, was protected by many through the years,” Nick smiled.
“Wait,” Ari frowned, “You said Ranon, as in Uncle Ranon?”
“But that would make him…” she stopped in mid sentence, trying to calculate and believe the number she’d come up with, “He’s not a…”
Nick frowned, “I guess it’s time you knew the truth about me too.”
“What truth?” Ari asked.
Daniel let out a sigh turning to his ‘brother’, “Show her.”
Nick stood up, moving away from them and let his vampire face appear. Ari screamed in shock, her mind lashing out throwing him away. Daniel managed to catch Nick before he went slamming into the concrete wall.
“Thank you,” Nick nodded to Daniel as his face returned to normal and he turned to Ari. She was out of her chair pressed against her father fear in her eyes, “Ari, you’ve known me all your life.”
“What are you?” she whispered fearfully, pulling her father’s arm tighter around her.
“He’s a vampire,” Daniel told her, “About eight hundred years old.”
Ari stared into the youthful face of her uncle, “But…”
“Sit down again, honey,” Daniel coaxed taking the seat beside her, “The Old Ones were Vampires also and so is Ranon. Nick is both my Guardian and yours, directly from the line of the Old One originally assigned to our family.”
“So I’m somehow supposed to destroy the Gould?” Ari demanded.
“That’s the prophecy,” Daniel shrugged, he took her hands, “I don’t want you to have to do this but I think there’s no choice.”
“I tried, Ari,” Daniel told her, “I tried to change this, to stop it but I couldn’t. That’s why I left, to try and change it.”
“That’s why you left?” Ari’s eyes filled with tears, “That was the reason?”
“Yes, sweetheart,” Daniel hugged her, “I thought I would be able to change it. You know I would never leave you for anything…I thought it was the only way. I was wrong.”
Daniel sat on the infirmary bed, waiting.
He knew his name; he knew the others names but he still didn’t have a clue who he and they were.
“Hey,” Jack appeared at the door, “Got a few people to see you.”
“Who?” Daniel asked curiously, he felt as though there was something he was really missing but it wouldn’t come.
“Well, my wife for one,” Jack laughed, “Which I have to thank you for by the way.”
Jack laughed, “Sara and I got back together cause of a promise I made you.”
“Good, I think,” Daniel shrugged.
“And there’s someone else,” Jack told him.
“Sara,” Jack called.
Daniel watched as a little girl of about three years old toddled in with a blonde woman holding her hand, “She’s gorgeous,” he smiled at the girl who had curly black hair with wide clear blue eyes.
As she made it to him, the girl giggled and reached up to him; Daniel leaned down and picked her up to sit beside him.
“Dada,” she laughed, hugging him as Daniel stared at Jack.
“This is Arianna,” Jack told him, “Your daughter.”
“Ari,” Daniel breathed, recognition dawned. Picking her up and holding her tightly he gently kissed her forehead, “My little Ari.”
“Ari?” Sam called as she walked into the dark VIP room.
“What?” the sullen reply came from the bed.
“Can I turn on the light?”
“Do whatever you want,” Ari told her with a deep sigh.
Sam flicked on the light and saw Ari sitting against the headboard, her knees pulled up to her chest confusion and pain filling her eyes. Sam took a seat beside her.
“You left pretty fast,” Sam said softly, “Want to tell me what’s wrong?”
“Did you know my Mom?” Ari asked her hopefully.
“I met her once,” Sam answered, watching the girl’s hope deflate, “Just before Apophis kidnapped her.”
“Dad doesn’t talk about her much,” Ari whispered, “He tried to one night and he was so upset, I guess I know why now.”
“Ari, the only thing you need to remember is how much both your parents love you,” Sam told her, “When Daniel got you back from Oma, he wanted to protect you from everything to do with the Goa’uld.”
“He and Nick took you to a small town where he changed his name so no one here would find you,” Sam shrugged.
“Why would he do that?” Ari asked.
Sam gently brushed Ari’s hair out of her face, “He was so scared he would lose you too.”
“I’m really scared,” Ari confessed, “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”
Sam pulled the teenager into her arms and hugged her tightly, “You don’t have to be afraid, Ari. We’re all going to be with you. I promise.”
“Okay,” Jack said as everyone sat around the table, “Daniel, you want to tell me what happened?”
Daniel shrugged, “The first thing I remember after going to sleep in my tent was walking into the Gateroom and seeing Ari standing on the ramp,” he reached out and placed his hand comfortingly on Ari’s shoulder, “She turned and she had been shot by a staff blast, exactly like Sha’re.”
“That was your panic,” Ari whispered.
“I lost it,” Daniel continued, “And I heard your voices,” he turned to Jack and Sara, “But I was just so grief-stricken, I threw you away, or whoever it was pretending to be you. The next thing I remember was waking up in a cell.”
“Why didn’t you call to Ari then?” Jack asked.
“I thought she was dead, Jack,” Daniel replied, “I mean I’d just seen it and it blotted out all rational thought.”
“How did you finally realise that Ari was still alive?” Sara asked.
Daniel swallowed hard, “Sha’re.”
“What?” several voices cried.
“She’s been watching us, honey,” Daniel told his daughter, “And she pretty much kicked my ass for wallowing in my grief.”
“She watches us?” Ari asked, glancing around the room.
“Apparently she always has,” Daniel gently squeezed his daughter’s hand, “She’s very proud of you, Ari, very proud.”
A small tearful smile covered Ari’s face. Sara pulled her into a hug and her eyes met Daniel’s.
Sara could hear Ari crying again.
Since Daniel had…left she wouldn’t sleep through the night. When Jack was here, they took turns in walking her in the hope of getting her back to sleep but Jack was offworld. With a sigh, Sara pulled herself out of bed and headed into Ari’s room.
Sara stopped dead in the doorway as she saw a woman leaning over Ari, she was about to call out but found she couldn’t.
The woman lifted Ari from the cot, gently stroking the child’s back as she held the little girl close. Ari stopped crying, resting comfortably on the woman’s shoulder. Very quickly, Ari was sleeping and the woman gently replaced her back in her cot softly kissing the child’s forehead. Sara managed to move from her spot to the woman who smiled at her.
“Thank you for caring for her,” the woman said softly, her voice slightly accented before she turned away, walking away into the darkness and disappearing.
Sara stared at the empty space before looking down at Ari who was sleeping peacefully. Glancing up the photograph that sat next to Ari’s bed caught her eye and Sara found she was staring at Ari’s visitor.
“Dad,” Ari whispered as they sat in his office much later, “You know you said you saw Mom.”
“Yeah,” Daniel’s voice was quiet.
She hesitated for a few moments, “I…I saw someone too.”
Daniel turned at her shocked, “Who?” he demanded.
“I’m not actually sure who he was,” Ari frowned, “He said I wasn’t to tell you but I…”
“It’s alright,” Daniel told her, “What did he say to you?”
“Just that he was proud of how I’d handled myself over the past few days,” Ari shrugged before frowning, “He said when I asked who he was that he was our past. He said he loved us both and not to tell you.”
Daniel’s mind was buzzing, “What did he look like?”
“A little like you actually,” Ari told him, “But with darker hair and eyes.”
Daniel frowned and started hunting through his desk finding a book. Inside was a photograph and he handed it to his daughter, “Is this him?”
“Yes?” Ari nodded, “Who is he?”
“Dad,” Daniel breathed in amazement.
“I think that was my father,” Daniel gave a half-laugh; “I wish I’d seen him.”
“Dad,” Ari whispered, moving to him, “It’s going to happen very soon, isn’t it?”
“It is,” Daniel replied, “But I’ll be there through everything. You won’t be alone I promise.”
Ari stepped in and hugged him tightly, “I love you, Dad.”
“Love you too, sweetheart,” Daniel whispered, holding onto his daughter, “I won’t let anything harm you.”
Sara and Sam sat watching Jack as he paced, both woman waiting until he was ready to listen to them.
Finally he threw himself into a seat.
“Are you ready to talk to us?” Sara asked sarcastically.
“About?” Jack asked.
Sam shared a look with Sara turning back to Jack, “Elli feels that we should take Ari off world and…”
“No,” Jack cut her off, “No way in hell am I putting that girl anywhere that the Gould can get their hands on her.”
“Jack,” Sam said calmly, years of dealing with him meant that he couldn’t frighten her, “What Elli is trying to remind us is that Ari is a weapon to destroy the Goa’uld, taking her off world isn’t exactly a bad idea.”
“Carter, remind the snake in you that taking Ari off world is not an option,” Jack snapped, “She stays on Earth perfectly safe.”
“Then how does the prophecy get fulfilled?” Sam asked.
“Do you think I care about that?” Jack cried, “I will not sacrifice Ari’s life on the word of some thousand year old prophecy that none of us actually believe in.”
“Jack is mad,” Nick murmured as he joined Daniel in the small office, “Pretty much spitting fire.”
“I’m not surprised,” Daniel shrugged, “I’m not too happy about the idea of Ari leaving Earth for any reason. I don’t care about the prophecy either.”
“And yet you left your daughter for a year because you thought you could stop it,” Nick reminded him, “Daniel,” he sighed, seeing his friend’s anger, “I don’t want to put Ari in any danger either but you have to remember she’s not a child. She’s grown up around very strong people who’ve taught her to fight. Not to mention the strength you and her mother have passed along to her. Ari has to face this. No matter what you try to do to stop it you can’t. You’ve already proved it.”
“So what?” Daniel snapped, “I’m supposed to allow my daughter, my little girl to walk into danger? I’m her father; I’m supposed to protect her.”
“And you do,” Nick reminded him, “But Ari was created to fulfil this prophecy.”
Daniel turned on him, “She was created because Sha’re and I loved each other. Nothing more.”
“Just get out,” Daniel sighed, “Nick, go before I throw you out.”
With a sigh, Nick left his friend alone to contemplate what he’d said.
“You know I’d really appreciate if you didn’t upset him,” Ari stopped Nick in the corridor, “He’s having a hard enough time having seen my mother. He doesn’t need all this on top of that.”
“Ari,” Nick sighed, he hated having to argue with her.
“It’s my understanding that if this is going to happen then nothing will stop it. Right?” she asked pointedly, seeming much more mature than her sixteen years.
“True,” Nick nodded.
“Then leave him alone,” Ari said sharply, “Don’t make him think about it.”
Nick nodded, “You really are exceptional sometimes, Ari. Do you know that?”
“No, I’m not,” Ari replied.
Nick hugged her quickly, “I’m sorry, honey but this is why I’m here. I’m your Guardian but I also have to serve the prophecy.”
“Do you even believe in it?” Ari demanded.
“I believe in LaCroix,” Nick told her, “And he believes in it.”
“Fine,” she told him, “Just leave Dad alone or I will make you hit the wall.”
As she turned and walked away Nick smiled, she was more than ready to face anything that came her way.
“Ari,” Donna called waving her over, “What was up yesterday? Where you ill?”
“My Dad was on a business trip and we thought he’d been lost,” Ari explained, “He let me stay off yesterday since I was so worried about him.”
“You still look a little pale,” Donna told her.
“Yesterday was kinda weird,” Ari shrugged, “It doesn’t matter. Everything’s back to normal now.”
Donna groaned as the bell rang signalling their first class, Ari grinned and motioned her to hurry up. As she entered the classroom, Ari stopped as she suddenly caught sight of a man watching her, the same man she’d talked to a few nights previously her grandfather.
“Ari?” Donna called, “You alright?”
“Yeah,” Ari managed to say, joining her friend in class wondering why Mel Jackson was not only watching her but allowing her to see him.
Ari wandered through the halls of the SGC after school, her mind still going over the two sightings of her paternal grandfather. She stopped as she accidentally walked into one of the members of SG4.
“I’m sorry,” she said, helping him pick up the supplies he had been carrying.
“It’s okay,” he told her, “Could you grab them from over there.”
Ari turned to pick up some rolls of bandages, feeling a sting on her arm; she turned to see him standing above her with a syringe but when she tried to throw him away she couldn’t focus, falling to the ground trying to call for help as the world turned black.
“Jack, have you seen Ari?” Daniel called to his friend, “She’s meant to be with Captain Merton working on the translations from P99 7KK.”
“Haven’t seen her since she left for school this morning,” Jack replied, “She’s probably found something interesting to stare at and has lost track of time. Like someone else I could mention.”
“No idea who you’re talking about,” Daniel replied before frowning as the alarms sounded, “Who the hell is that?”
“How should I know?” Jack demanded, “Come on.”
They jogged through the corridors, arriving at the control room as the Gate burst
“General,” the tech nodded, “SG4 is calling for you.”
Jack frowned, “Captain Herd?”
“General,” Herd said, swallowing as she pushed a hand through her hair, “Lieutenant West is missing.”
“Missing?” Jack asked.
“We did a perimeter sweep leaving him to set up camp,” Herd explained, “When we returned he was gone and the equipment we brought the container was half empty but in it we found something.”
“What?” Jack demanded, “Come on, Herd don’t keep us in suspense.”
She took a deep breath and held up a small rectangular card, “This.”
“That’s Ari’s Id card,” Daniel gasped, “She’s off-world.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” Herd told him, “If I realised that…if I…”
“Pack up and get back here,” Jack ordered, “Now.”
“Yes, sir,” Herd nodded before the Gate shut down.
Jack turned to Daniel who was taking deep breaths, trying not to lose control in the middle of the control room.
“Danny, up to my office now,” Jack told him before leaning over the tech, “I want Carter, Teal’c, Knight all in my office.”
“Yes, sir,” the young tech replied.
“Daniel,” Jack said worriedly as his friend sat silently in the office.
“Just a minute, Jack,” Daniel held up his hand, “I’m trying something.”
Jack motioned the others to come in as they arrived; they all waited until Daniel sighed in annoyance.
“Okay, guys,” Jack said, “Look Ari’s gone. One of SG4 somehow managed to kidnap her and she’s off-world now.”
“What?” Sam cried.
“I can’t find her,” Daniel added in a soft voice, “They’re somehow blocking her ability to contact me.”
“We need a plan and we need one now,” Jack told them.
“The only thing we can do is go after her,” Nick said, “We travel to that planet and hope we can find something.”
“No,” Daniel replied, “Not yet. There’s something I need to try first.”
“Daniel?” Sam cried in disbelief, “We have to do something. If we don’t the Goa’uld…”
“I know,” Daniel turned on her, “Ari is my daughter and this is my decision. I know what I’m doing so let me try this before you start running around and possibly getting my baby killed.”
Without another word, Daniel stalked out.
Sam stared at her retreating friend open-mouthed.
“Well let’s get a plan together in case whatever he’s going to try doesn’t work,” Jack told them.
“I should let Ranon and LaCroix know what’s happening,” Nick said, “They’re in town anyway.”
“Why?” Jack asked.
“I called them when Daniel went missing,” Nick explained.
“Then get them,” Jack told him, “We’re going to need all hands on deck. Because I’m not letting Daniel lose his daughter.”
Ari could feel someone stroke her hair, a gentle presence soothing her fears. Someone kept giving her injections; she couldn’t focus her mind enough to call to her father or to even open her eyes properly.
She was scared but even her fear was muted by whatever she had been given. A tear slipped along her cheek as she wished to be home, safe with her father and family.
“Daddy,” she murmured, “I want to go home, Daddy.”
“Shh,” a voice soothed as the gentle touch to her face became more prominent, “He will come for you. Do not worry my baby, my beautiful Arianna. Your father will come but until he does, I will hold you.”
As Ari slipped into sleep, Sha’re pulled her daughter closer; Daniel would arrive soon.
“Dad,” Daniel called as he entered his office, “I know you’re here so show yourself.”
“Daniel,” a voice came from behind him, making him spin to find Mel Jackson standing looking as he had the day he died.
Daniel was choked for a few seconds, amazed that his father was before him but he soon refocused on what he had called him for.
“Dad, where’s Ari?” Daniel demanded.
“I can’t tell you that, Danny,” Mel replied.
Anger filled Daniel’s eyes, “Why?”
“Screw the prophecy,” Daniel snapped, “This is my daughter, your granddaughter not some inanimate object. I won’t abandon her like you did to me.”
“That’s not fair,” Mel told him reproachfully, “We died.”
“You abandoned me the moment you were dumb enough to walk under the coverstone,” Daniel replied, pushing a hand through his hair becoming even more desperate, “I won’t abandon her. Please, Dad.”
“I can’t, Daniel,” Mel told him softly, “And I don’t need to anyway. You can find her, Daniel.”
“Is she okay?” Daniel asked after a few seconds.
“Sha’re is with her,” Mel replied, “But you have to get to her as fast as possible.”
“How?” Daniel whispered, “I can’t find her unless she calls to me.”
“Yes, you can,” Mel told him, “Yes you can.”
Ari curled into the feeling of comfort beside her, not sure why there was such comfort. She wanted to go home and go to school, go shopping, see her friends anything but be here.
“Ari,” a voice called to her, a voice she didn’t know but it felt familiar, “Ari, open your eyes.”
She tried to open her eyes, “Can’t,” she mumbled.
“Ari, you have to look at me,” the voice insisted, it was a man she finally worked out.
“I can’t,” she cried
“Yes, you can,” he told her, “Look at me. Ari, do it.”
At his command, she managed to force her eyes open focusing on a man about ten years or so older than her kneeling beside her. Seeing her blue eyes open, he smiled at her.
“Who…who are you?” Ari pushed the question past her dry throat.
He smiled at her, “Shifu.”
“Shifu,” she frowned in thought before it hit her, “My brother, kind of.”
“That’s right,” he gently took her arm, helping her to sit, “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
“But you can’t be Shifu,” Ari’s head was pounding, “You should be my age.”
A wry grimace covered his face, “Apophis placed nanites in me to accelerate my ageing. Oma stopped them when I was about ten years of age.”
“Oh,” she managed to say, “Where are we?”
Shifu sighed, “A Goa’uld has managed to abduct you. Daniel is looking for you, I promise but you have to help him.”
“I can’t do it,” Ari whispered, “I can’t do anything.”
“You’re strong, Ari,” Shifu told her, “I know you can. I have to leave but you’re not alone.”
“Yes, I am,” Ari sighed.
Her brother reached out and touched her cheek, “No, you’re not. That comfort you’ve felt since you got here…”
“That was you?” Ari asked.
“No,” he smiled, “It was our mother.”
He leaned in and gently kissed her cheek, “You can call to your father and fight off the Jaffa. Just believe in yourself.”
The door opening made her turn and when she glanced back Shifu was gone. She set her jaw determinedly; they weren’t giving her anything else.
Daniel sat in the briefing room, listening to everyone arguing over what they were going to do. Ranon and LaCroix had arrived while he was talking to his father and were both being very vocal in their opinion.
A gentle hand touched his shoulder and he saw Sam motion him to come outside with her for a private talk. No one noticed them leave and Daniel stood against the wall to see what she wanted.
“You are the only one who can find your daughter,” Elli told him, “Everything they are saying is useless until you locate her.”
“Well thank you for that piece of useless information,” Daniel snapped sarcastically.
“Elli is only trying to help,” Sam took control, “I know you’re upset, Daniel but yelling at everyone is not going to help Ari.”
“Do you two practice stating the obvious,” Daniel snapped, his father’s cryptic message was preying on his mind and their comments weren’t helping him work out what he needed to do.
“Daniel,” Sam started.
“Sam, I need to think not get stupid platitudes thrown at me,” Daniel cried in annoyance, “God, you were so much easier to talk to before you got Elli.”
With that he stalked away.
“What’s happening?” Daniel cried as he came flying into the infirmary Ari held in his arms.
The four year old squirmed and he let her down, holding onto her hand as he waited for Jack to give him an answer.
“It’s Sam,” Jack said very softly, “She’s been hurt, badly.”
“How bad?” Daniel asked, feeling Ari’s arms wrap around his leg tightly.
Jack shook his head, “Don’t know yet. Frasier’s still working.”
“Where’s Teal’c?” Daniel noticed the lack of his other friend.
“Just getting cleaned up,” Jack explained, “He saved a kid from a Jaffa and got covered in mud. Janet made him go take a shower.”
“Has anyone called Jacob?” Daniel leaned down and picked up Ari who was silently staring at them.
Jack nodded, “Yeah. Hammond called him the moment we got back.”
“Uncle Jack,” Ari’s soft voice made him turn to see her holding her arms out to him, “Need a hug?”
“I’d love one,” Jack took the girl from her father and held her close, smiling as she gently kissed his cheek.
“Janet makes everything better,” the little girl told him seriously.
Jack gently kissed the top of Ari’s head, “Usually.”
“Dr Fraiser is the best,” Teal’c stated as he entered the room.
“Tea’c,” Ari cried happy to see him, twisting in Jack’s arms and holding out her arms so the Jaffa would take her.
Teal’c obliged smiling as she cuddled him, “Are you being a good girl?”
“Uh hu Uncle Tea’c,” Ari told him, “I’ve been very good, tell him, Daddy.”
Daniel smiled, “That’s right, sweetie.”
“Colonel, Daniel, Teal’c,” Janet appeared from the infirmary.
“How is she, Doc?” Jack demanded instantly.
“She’s stable,” Janet told them looking exhausted, “The wound to her arm was superficial but when she fell…”
“What?” Daniel asked, “Janet, what’s happened to her?”
Janet dropped her head, “She’s paralysed at the moment. I don’t know if it’s permanent or not as there is considerable swelling around the area.”
“Can we see her?” Daniel asked.
“Only one at a time,” Janet told them, “She’s also very groggy and more than likely won’t know you’re there.”
Jack decided to go in first. Daniel took Ari and sat down with her on his knee.
“Is Auntie Sam okay?” Ari asked her lip trembling.
“Auntie Sam was in an accident,” Daniel explained, “She’s been hurt really, really badly but your Aunt Janet has made her mostly better. But the medicine she’s been given is going to make her very sleepy.”
Ari slid a finger into her mouth as she thought, “I have to be very quiet?”
Daniel nodded, “It might look scary because there are lots of machines attached to her but I promise they are there to help her get better. Okay?”
“Okay,” she nodded.
“You’re a good girl,” Daniel told her.
Ari gripped Daniel’s hand as they walked into Sam’s room, he felt his throat constrict seeing Sam look so pale and fragile.
“Daddy,” Ari whispered, “Can I talk to her?”
Daniel picked up his daughter and smiled, “I think that’ll make her feel much better.”
Ari nervously took Sam’s hand, “Get better, Auntie Sam,” she whispered, “Daddy is upset ‘cause you’re not well.”
Daniel smiled slightly; Ari was such a sweet child.
“Ari,” Sam murmured, opening her eyes slightly, “Tell your Daddy not to worry.”
Ari nodded, “I want you to get better so you can play more games with me.”
Sam smiled tiredly, “I will, sweetheart I promise.”
Daniel saw Janet motion him that his time was up and he nodded.
“Ari, we have to let Auntie Sam get some more sleep,” Daniel told his daughter.
“Night, Auntie Sam,” Ari waved as she wrapped her arms around Daniel’s neck, burying her face against his neck as they left the room.
Daniel saw Jacob standing there, waiting to see his daughter but he paused for a second to give Ari a hug.
“Is he okay?” Daniel asked Jack.
“If Sam is paralysed,” Jack told him, “Jacob wants her to take a Tok’ra symbiote.”
Daniel paced his office, trying to work out how he could find Ari when she couldn’t call to him. He was so frustrated; he hadn’t felt like this since Sha’re had…of course.
Daniel closed his eyes and hoped to hell this would work, “Shifu!!!!!!!!!”
“You wish my help, Daniel?” a voice said from behind him.
He turned and smiled to see the man before him, “You’re looking well.”
Shifu smiled, “You look awful but I believe I can remedy that. Ari is as safe as is possible for now.”
“You’ve been to see her?” Daniel asked.
“She needed someone to pull her out of the daze from the drugs they have been giving her,” Shifu explained, “Her mind is clearer now and hopefully she will be able to call to you very soon.”
“Do you know where she is?” Daniel demanded.
“I am not allowed to tell you,” Shifu sighed, “But…if you go where she was taken to. She will find you.”
“Are you sure, Daniel?” Nick asked.
“Shifu wouldn’t lie to me,” Daniel reminded them.
“How can you even know this truly was Shifu?” Elli asked.
“I know my own son,” Daniel replied, “Look, we have to go to where Herd took her to. If I can get there I can find her.”
“Okay,” Jack said finally, “Nick, Sam, Teal’c and I will go to.”
“Shouldn’t Ranon…” Nick started but was cut off by Ranon who shook his head.
“You are the child’s guardian,” Ranon reminded him, “It’s your burden.”
He nodded and turned back to the rest of the group, “When do we leave?”
“In one hour,” Jack ordered, “So move, get ready.”
“You are the strongest amongst all who go after Ari,” LaCroix reminded him as they stood in the room Nick was using, “It is your duty to protect the girl above all others.”
“I’m not going to let the others die,” Nick replied, “They’re my friends.”
“You must serve the prophecy as I have done,” his ‘father’ sighed irritably, “I don’t care about your friends. Protect Ari. That is all that matters, Nicholas, you know this.”
“I do,” Nick sighed, “But to protect Ari, she needs her father and his friends, therefore…”
LaCroix let out a cross between a sigh and a groan but nodded, “And take care of yourself, Nicholas. Janette will not be happy if you get yourself killed.”
Nick gave a small smile and placed his hand on his ‘father’s’ shoulder, “I promise.”
With a nod, Nick left to join the others at the Gate and LaCroix sighed, “Take care, my son. Come back to me.”
“Jack, you know you don’t have to come,” Daniel said softly as they waited for everyone else to arrive.
“I have to, Daniel,” Jack told him, “I love her like she’s my own. Besides Sara would kill me if I let you go without me.”
Daniel gave a half-smile, “I can’t lose her, Jack. Ari is my world and if I lost her I would not have anything left.”
“We’re getting her back, Daniel,” Jack told him, “Because I’m not going to accept anything but her safety.”
Sam appeared checking her equipment, she stopped at her friends.
“Daniel,” she said softly, “About earlier…”
Forget it,” Daniel told her, “It doesn’t matter.”
Sam gently squeezed his shoulder, “We’ll get her.”
“Indeed we shall,” Teal’c agreed as he and Nick joined them.
“Are we all here finally?” Jack asked before turning to the tech, “Start dialling.”
The young tech nodded and started the sequence. They stood in silence waiting.
“Chevron Seven Encoded,” the tech announced just as the wormhole burst to life.
“Let’s go bring our lost sheep home,” Jack stated as they started up the ramp and walked through the Stargate.
“Ari, you have to be patient,” Daniel said as she cried out in frustration when the ball shot past her, “And you have to concentrate.”
“I am,” she snapped, “This is just so hard.”
Daniel took her hand and gently touched her cheek, “I know, sweetie but it’s very important you learn to control your powers.”
Ari grimaced, at thirteen she wanted to be out with her friends but her father insisted that Sunday afternoons were for practice until he was sure they had her abilities under control. Up until now she’d had very limited powers but on reaching puberty her abilities had exploded almost out of control, including influencing a teacher to give them homework of watching the latest movie at the cinema over the weekend. Daniel hadn’t been too happy about that.
The powers she had that came from her father were sometimes more like a game, it was her other powers that scared her more than anything. Daniel had taught her to meditate so she could focus her mind and he had told her how proud he was that she had mastered this so quickly.
“How about we do this for another half hour then go get some ice-cream?” Daniel offered, “Then you can call Donna and see if she wants to come over to play for a while.”
“Dad, I’m thirteen,” Ari cried, “I don’t play.”
Daniel laughed and gently kissed her forehead, “Do we have a deal?”
She rolled her eyes at him, “Deal.”
Ari had never influenced anyone before, well not purposely but she had to convince the Jaffa he’d given her the drug. He came closer to her and she squeezed her eyes shut, trying to remember the lessons she’d been given.
You’ve finished your job. Leave now.
Opening her eyes, she saw him leave and she sighed in relief. She’d actually done it, her father would be so proud. Ari still couldn’t focus properly to call to him yet but decided getting away from the Gould, whoever it was, was the best idea she could have.
Standing at the door she reached out with her mind and found the control that locked the door. With her face set in deep concentration, she almost jumped for joy when the door opened.
Very slowly Ari crept out the cell, noting the empty corridor.
“This isn’t right,” she murmured, “But no other choice.”
She chose a direction hoping this would take her to safety but as long as it took her away from the Jaffa, she’d be happy until her father got here. Meeting her brother, semi-twin was the only way to describe him, she felt like a part of her was complete. Ever since she’d learned about him, she’d wanted to meet him and let him know that no matter what they were still family. That was the one major thing Daniel and Jack had always instructed her, family were the most important thing and family was not only blood relations.
Ari came to the end of the corridor and a door, hoping this was the way out she concentrated and made it open. As she ran through, she stopped as she came face to face with a blonde woman whose eyes glowed.
“Welcome child,” the Gould said to her, “I am Osiris.”
Ari tried to retreat but two Jaffa grabbed her arms, her fear filled her rendering her powerless.
“Now all you have to do is call to your Daddy,” Osiris laughed, “And when he’s here,” the Gould leaned down to her ear and whispered, “I’m going to kill him and there will be nothing you can do to stop me.”
Daniel shivered as he stepped out of the wormhole and onto the planet. He knew Ari was very mature for sixteen but she was still just a girl, his little girl and he was terrified.
“Ari’s got a good head on her shoulders,” Nick reminded him, “She’s going to be okay.”
“Nick, she hasn’t contacted me,” Daniel replied, “Until she does, let me worry.”
Nick nodded and turned as Jack called to them.
“Okay, guys,” Jack said, “Let’s head to the camp and see if there’s any clues to where Ari was taken.”
Sam and Teal’c took point with Daniel just behind them as Jack and Nick fell in step at the rear.
“He’s worried,” Nick answered Jack before he even asked.
“No kidding,” Jack replied, “So, what is your job here?”
“I’m Ari’s guardian,” Nick reminded him, “Although I’ve done a great job so far.”
“None of us could have predicted this,” Jack told him with a sigh, “The only thing we can do now is find her and get her back home safely.”
Nick shivered, “It’s not that long since we thought we’d lost Daniel.”
Jack shrugged, “He does that a lot, or he did before she came into his life.”
Nick laughed before adjusting his sunglasses slightly, “But it’s a nice day.”
Ari stared at Osiris, her mind flicking over what her father had told her. The host had once been a friend of his, an ex-girlfriend even and now she was the face of a mortal enemy. Someone who wanted to destroy him and all he loved.
“You were such a beautiful child,” Osiris said as she gently stroked Ari’s face, “Very perceptive as well. You wouldn’t allow me to hold you, though on reflection I don’t know if I would have been able to stop myself from snapping your neck.”
“Go to hell,” Ari spat at her.
Osiris laughed before her hand swept across Ari’s cheek making it sting, “You shall be more respectful of you’re elders or I shall not just slap you child.”
Ari glared at her with ice in her blue eyes.
“Now, I know what you can do child,” Osiris told her, “I watched you influence my Jaffa, I saw you escape your cell and I know you can contact Daniel Jackson with a thought. So you will call to your father and bring him here.”
“No,” Ari whispered.
Osiris gripped the girl’s throat and started to squeeze, “Call to him or you die.”
As the Gould squeezed, tears spilled along Ari’s cheeks and she closed her eyes throwing out the thought; “Dad.”
They were browsing through the abandoned campsite when Daniel suddenly stiffened.
“Dad,” Ari called to him, “Help me.”
“Ari, where are you?”
“In a Goa’uld ship, Osiris has me,” Ari told him, “But it’s a trap. Osiris wants you here. She’s going to try and kill you.”
“It’s alright,” Daniel soothed his daughter, “Just lead me to you.”
“I’m scared, Daddy,” Ari cried.
“I know, honey,” Daniel tried to calm her; “I’ll be there soon. I promise.”
Daniel let the contact break allowing his mind to linger on her so that she could feel his presence before he turned to the others.
“Ari just contacted me,” he told them, seeing relief cover all their faces, “Osiris has her.”
“It’s a trap,” Jack stated.
“Ari said that too,” Daniel shrugged, “That’s why I have to go in alone.”
“Daniel, you can’t.”
“Daniel Jackson, that is unwise.”
Daniel grimaced as the voices all yelled at him; only Jack was silent, his dark eyes boring into Daniel.
“If I go in then Osiris is going to let me get to Ari,” Daniel explained, pleading his case to Jack; “If I can get to Ari, I can help her. Osiris isn’t going to be able to stop both of us.”
“Why has Ari not already used her abilities to escape from Osiris?” Teal’c asked.
“Because she’s afraid,” Daniel explained, “It’s paralysing, only Osiris pressuring her made her contact me, so I go in with you guys waiting to join us as soon as you can but quietly.”
“It’s a good plan,” Nick said, “With one exception. I’m Ari’s Guardian, I need to be there.”
“No,” Daniel snapped.
Their eyes locked but it was Daniel who conceded, “Fine, but stay out of sight.”
“That won’t be a problem,” Nick smiled at him.
“Dad,” Ari cried, twisting out of the Jaffa’s grip she ran to him.
Daniel caught her and gave her a brief hug before pushing her behind him.
“Daniel Jackson,” Osiris crowed, strutting to stand in front of them, “This time you shall not escape me. You shall die and I shall use the weapon Apophis created to become Supreme System Lord.”
“No,” Ari whispered, gripping her father’s arm, “I won’t help you.”
“You have no choice,” Osiris told her in a mock sweet voice.
Ari’s blue eyes flashed with ice, “Yes, I do.”
She could feel the power building up within her and stepped out from her father’s protection. Holding up her hand, she stopped the Jaffa as they moved to grab her and Daniel, repelling them with a shield.
She could feel the power…her power…the power she had been created to use…
Ranon stood staring at the woman.
“Why would you wish to help us?” he asked, suspicious of her.
“The Goa’uld shall become a plague within this universe,” the woman stated simply, her clothes a brilliant white almost blinded him yet he couldn’t remove his gaze.
“We’re going to stop them,” Ranon replied.
“Your magics are strong,” she told him, “But they are not strong enough to remove all the creatures.”
“As long as we remove the ones here,” Ranon replied, “Nothing else matters.”
She laughed but there was no humour within it, “You are wrong.”
“How?” Ranon demanded.
“Although you remove one, another shall rise to take its place,” she told him, “You must remove them all and you must do it in one fell swoop.”
“There is no way to do that,” Ranon argued, “Our magic has nothing that powerful.”
“But I do,” she told him.
She held out her hand and two glowing crystals appeared, “Together these can destroy the Goa’uld throughout the entire universe yet spare the hosts.”
Ranon looked at them in confusion, “Just those?”
She nodded, “Use them in the exact way you have planned. Within the girl, place this one,” she revealed one that pulsed faintly purple, “And this one within the boy,” she held up the one pulsing faintly green, “When they create the child, the power shall be there ready to be released.”
“Why?” Ranon demanded, “Why come to us? Why not do this yourself?”
She dropped her head, “My kind feel they should no longer take a part within the affairs of those on this plain. We are responsible for allowing these creatures to move so freely and I shall no longer just stand back and watch.”
Ranon nodded; reaching out for the crystals, he shivered feeling the tremendous power he held within his hands.
“Who are you?” he asked as she turned to leave.
“I am called Oma.”
Daniel didn’t know what he was doing but he stepped to one side of his daughter as she glared at the Gould in front of them. Placing his hand on her shoulder, he suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder and glanced over his shoulder, feeling a jolt as he saw Mel Jackson standing there and just behind him was a man Daniel suddenly realised was his grandfather then his great-grandfather and so on back through to the original man the Vampires used for the prophecy.
As he stared at his father realisation hit him, if his ancestors were here then that meant…turning he saw his wife standing, resting her hand on their daughter’s shoulder. Behind her was her mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and Daniel smiled to see how similar they all were.
Sha’re turned to look at him and he gazed at her…
“You’re worried,” Sha’re stated as they sat waiting for the ones from Earth to return.
“A little,” he admitted, “I keep thinking that I’m going to end up fighting to stay.”
Sha’re frowned, “You think O’Neill will try and make you leave? He wouldn’t, would he?”
Daniel shrugged, starting to pace, “I don’t know. I mean he did say he was going to lie for us so something must have happened to make him come back and that means he had to tell his superiors we were all still alive.”
Sha’re moved and stepped directly in his path, reaching out to gently touch his cheek, “Worrying about things you can’t change isn’t good for you, my husband.”
“It’s something I can’t help,” Daniel laughed.
“Maybe I can take your mind off it,” Sha’re leaned closer to him and brushed her lips to his.
Daniel smiled moving closer to her and deepening the kiss, feeling her arms slide around him. His wife gave a mischievous giggle as she moved away from him before shedding her dress.
“Sha’re,” Daniel said, “The others are outside.”
“We will just have to be very quiet,” she laughed as she started to pull off his robes.
Daniel relented, sliding out of his robes before pulling her down onto the mat on the floor; resting on his wife who looked up at him, stroking his arms.
“Maybe this time we will get the child we want,” she whispered.
Daniel gently rubbed his nose against hers, making her laugh, “Maybe,” he leaned close and kissed her.
Daniel loved watching Sha’re as they made love. Her dark eyes filled with such passion as they kissed and fooled around but as he moved deep inside her, she half-closed them, her lips parted slightly as she sighed with pleasure. Suddenly her eyes opened wide and she gasped. Daniel was sure he saw a faint purple glow within her eyes, as Sha’re saw a faint green glow within his.
Sha’re held Daniel as they lay together, somehow she knew deep down that she would never get to do this again. She knew that they had made love for the last time and she wanted to cry but couldn’t.
“I love you,” Daniel whispered to her as he moved to get dressed.
Before she could answer, the room shook and she knew she was going to lose him but there was nothing she could do.
Ari didn’t know how but the power filling her suddenly seemed to double and she focussed on Osiris.
“Stop,” Osiris cried, twisting futilely to move from where she stood held there by Ari, “I am…a God…you cannot…” the Goa’uld suddenly screamed and fell to the floor before the cry changed to a woman’s cry.
Ari started to shake as the power within her manifested in a wave of energy that swept through the room before moving out onto the planet and beyond into the universe.
Ari stopped shaking and started to crumble to the ground. Daniel caught her and hugged her tightly as held onto him.
“It’s okay,” he soothed, “It’s over. You’re okay.”
He helped her to stand again smiling at her, “There’s someone I want you to meet.”
“Who?” Ari asked, wondering who could be in this place that her father would actually know but as Daniel moved from in front of her she gasped, “Momma?”
Sha’re stepped forward and gently touched Ari’s cheek, “Hello, my beautiful Arianna.”
Ari gasped and moved into her mother’s arms, holding her tightly unable to stop her tears.
Daniel turned to find Nick standing in awe of what he’d just witnessed.
“Remind me never to annoy her,” Nick said with a smile.
Daniel grinned as he watched his daughter crying in his wife’s arms, “Just like her mother.”
“Daniel?” a soft voice called from the floor.
Daniel started as he realised Sarah was lying there, free of the Gould and completely confused. He grabbed Nick’s arm and they both knelt beside her.
“Sarah?” Daniel asked, helping her to sit up, “You okay?”
Sarah stared at him, “What happened to you? You look so much…” she trailed off as she looked around and down at her own clothing, “It wasn't a dream, was it? I really did those things.”
“No, Osiris did those things,” Daniel gently assured her, “Nick is going to stay with you while I check on my daughter.”
“I’ll take care of her,” Nick assured him, “And I’ll contact Jack.”
Daniel sighed in relief; he couldn’t handle Jack just now. Before he reached where Sha’re and Ari were standing with several of Sha’re’s ancestors, he came to Mel Jackson.
“Dad,” Daniel couldn’t keep the smile from his face.
Mel didn’t say a word instead he pulled his son into a tight embrace, Daniel knew what Ari must be feeling in Sha’re’s arms as he held onto his father for a few minutes.
“Your mother and I are so proud of you,” Mel whispered to him, “She wishes she could have been here too but it was only those from the line that were able to come and support you both.”
“You have to tell her I love you both,” Daniel managed to push past the tears threatening him, “That I miss you always.”
“It is time for us to leave,” Mel said, “Tell Ari she is always watched over by us and we love and are very proud of her.”
“I will,” Daniel watched as his father stepped back to rejoin the other men from the Jackson line who suddenly faded into nothingness.
Taking in a shuddering breath, Daniel turned to where only his wife and daughter stood.
“You have to go too?” Daniel asked Sha’re sadly.
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Don’t,” Ari cried, “Please stay, stay with us.”
“I cannot. I no longer exist on the same plane as you,” Sha’re’s dark brown eyes filled with tears, “I love you both so much and I am always with you, Arianna but I am not allowed to stay.”
The girl let out a sob and wrapped her arms around her mother’s slender form; Daniel moved and wrapped his arms around them both, tears filling his eyes also.
“Come on, honey,” Daniel moved her away from Sha’re.
Sha’re gently kissed Ari’s forehead, “I love you, Arianna.”
“I love you too,” Ari whispered as she gripped her father.
Sha’re turned to Daniel, “We always seem to be saying goodbye, my husband.”
Daniel nodded and kissed her, holding her tightly with his free arm, “I love you,” he sighed as she stepped away.
She took one last look at them both before she faded into the background. Daniel wrapped his arms around Ari as she started to cry.
“Let’s go home, Ari,” Daniel whispered.
Ari sat in her room in the SGC.
She had been staring at the picture of her mother since she’d come here to supposedly get some sleep. They’d left the ship in silence; Nick carrying Sarah as Daniel guided his daughter to where Jack, Sam and Teal’c stood waiting for them. No one said a word as they headed back through the Gate.
Ari had submitted to all the tests the doctor wanted to run before finally escaping to be alone and sort out how she felt. She could feel her father’s sadness at the fact he’d never see her mother again. All her life Ari had been told how much her mother had loved her but now she had felt the full force of it and the hole in her heart seemed to grow even larger.
A gentle knock preceded Nick opening the door.
“Can I come in?” he asked softly.
“Sure,” she whispered.
Her uncle sat beside her on the edge of the bed and picked up the picture of Sha’re, “You know that was the first time I saw her too,” Nick told Ari, “I always wondered what she was like and now I know.”
“I wanted her to stay,” Ari whispered achingly, “It would have been wonderful to be a family, to have Dad smile all the time the way he did when he was with her.”
“I know,” Nick replaced the picture, “I talked with Jack. They’re getting reports that all the Goa’uld are gone, the hosts are alive though just like Sarah.”
“I destroyed an entire race,” Ari gasped, “Didn’t I?”
“No,” Nick gently touched her cheek, “You had no control over what happened, Ari, you have to speak to Ranon and he’ll explain it properly to you.”
“I feel different,” she told him, “But…I don’t know how to explain it.”
“From what I can tell Ranon can explain,” Nick suddenly hugged her, “I am so proud of you, Ari.”
Daniel sat beside Sarah’s bedside waiting for her to wake up. He remembered thinking he’d get to do this for Sha’re once but that had never been the case, he’d had to visit her in the morgue and instead of warm flesh waiting to wake, he’d stroked her cold skin like marble.
A gentle pressure on his shoulder made him turn to see his daughter standing beside him.
“Is she okay?” Ari asked softly.
“According to Cassie she’ll be fine,” Daniel replied before tilting his head at her, “How are you?”
“I don’t know,” she shrugged, “Nick told me we have to speak to Ranon.”
“I know. He told me that too,” Daniel wrapped his arm around Ari’s waist, pulling her into a hug, leaning his head against his daughter’s shoulder, “Once I know Sarah’s okay we’ll go and talk to him.”
“Daniel?” Sarah mumbled, “What…”
“Sarah, its okay,” he soothed, “You’re safe and Osiris is gone.”
Sarah looked at him and seeing his daughter she gasped, “I’m so sorry, I…I…”
Ari took her hand, “I know it wasn’t you.”
Sarah turned to Daniel, “She’s very like you.”
Daniel laughed and hugged his daughter quickly before turning back to Sarah, “I’m going to get the doctor then you need to get some more rest. We’ll leave you and come see you later.”
Ari waited for Daniel until he had got the doctor for Sarah, he then placed his arm around her shoulders.
“Let’s go see what Ranon has to say,” he said as he led her along the corridor.
Ranon sat in the VIP room Jack had set aside for him simply waiting for them. He took Ari’s hand and gently hugged her.
“I am so proud of you,” he told her, “Both of you.”
“Thank you,” Daniel said, leaning against the end of the bed, “What is it you’re going to tell us?”
Ranon laughed, “You have always been far too impatient, Daniel.”
“Ranon,” Ari whispered, “I destroyed an entire race today.”
“Are the Tok’ra dead?” Ranon asked.
“Then not all are dead,” he smiled gently at her, “And there was nothing you could do to stop it, child.”
“Then explain,” Ari snapped, “Tell me what the hell happened?”
“Ari, long before you were born, long before anyone here was born other than me,” Ranon gave a wry smile, “The Goa’uld had taken over the Earth and myself and several of my kind planned to get rid of those on Earth. But before we could, I was visited by a being who told me that the child we were creating had to be much more powerful than that, she gave us the power to destroy all Goa’uld.”
Daniel frowned, “Who is she?”
“I shall explain in good time,” Ranon told him, “Far too impatient,” he shook his head before coughing, “Now, we empowered the children and then had to hide them. I went with girl to Abydos and knew how to recognise when the descendent of the boy would arrive. The day you did I rejoiced.”
Ari laughed, “You left Earth because someone betrayed you right?”
“Correct,” Ranon nodded, “He then helped a certain Goa’uld subvert our magics to create something different. Another child.”
“Shifu,” Daniel completed.
Ranon nodded, “Apophis probably didn’t even know that Sha’re was the one who held the powers until Ammonet discovered it. Once the boy was born it became apparent that each child would need guidance with the powers they were each receiving.”
“That’s why Oma took the boy,” Daniel deduced.
“No, Daniel,” Ranon sighed, he’d been dreading this, “Oma was the one who gave us the extra power for the child to destroy the Goa’uld.”
“Then who…” Daniel trailed off, “Sha’re?”
Ranon nodded, “Sha’re did die that day but Oma ascended her so she could care for her son, leaving you to care for your daughter.”
“We…we were together when I ascended,” Daniel whispered in amazement, “I remember that.”
“And now Shifu no longer needs my guidance,” a gentle voice made both Daniel and Ari spin.
“Mom?” Ari gasped.
Sha’re smiled as she and Shifu stood.
“I thought I’d never see you again,” Daniel whispered to his wife, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I never knew this would happen,” Sha’re told him.
“What would happen?” Ari demanded.
Ranon smiled, “Now Shifu is old enough and there is no more danger from the Goa’uld to him, Oma has agreed that he no longer needs his mother.”
“What?” Daniel asked, “What does that mean?”
“It means I can be with you again, my Dan’iel,” Sha’re smiled, reaching out and touching her husband’s cheek.
Ari’s eyes widened in amazement.
“Though Shifu still will need someone to be there for him,” Ranon continued, “Which is why I am finally being released from Earth.”
“You’re going with Oma?” Ari asked sadly.
Ranon enfolded the child in his arms, “I will still visit you, my dear Arianna.”
“You better,” the girl whispered.
Daniel watched his daughter say goodbye to a man she’d called uncle most of her life before turning to the woman at his side.
“I am truly here, my Dan’iel,” Sha’re told him, “I will not leave you again.”
“Good,” he sighed, slipping his arms around her and holding onto her tightly.
“Mom,” a voice interrupted them.
“Shifu,” Sha’re moved away from Daniel and opened her arms to her son who hugged her tightly, “I love you.”
“I know,” the young man smiled reminding Daniel so much of Skaara.
“You will come visit?” Daniel asked.
“If you want me to?” Shifu replied slightly unsure.
“You’re my son,” Daniel told him, “Of course I want to see you.”
“And I want to see you,” Ari added.
Shifu grinned and hugged his sister, “Look after them.”
Ari nodded stepping back allowing him free and joining their parents as Ranon joined Shifu.
Sha’re cuddled closer to Daniel pulling Ari close to her as a bright light filled the room. Once it had subsided only the three of them were left.
Glancing up to where her parents were staring at each other, Ari grinned, “I’ll go let Jack know about this.”
“Sure,” Daniel murmured.
Ari rolled her eyes and left them alone. Once outside she leaned against the door a smile covering her face, “Just another normal day in the SGC.”