It had been three days and Mitchell had been back through the Stargate twice, each time returning with more and more frustrated looks on his face.
That was all right. Daniel understood that part. Actually, he probably understood that part even better than Mitchell did.
It had been three days since they landed on M2R-617 and met the locals: a tribe that don’t even have the Goa’uld in their legends, but still worship an elite class of gods, the Yosari. Their headman, an elderly fellow by the name of Freilan, didn’t recognize any of Daniel’s references to the Asgard, or the few obscure Norse protection myths Daniel could remember. Instead, when asked about their gods, Freilan told them that the Yosari were once people like them, but ones who had lived so far above reproach that instead of dying, they joined and became one with the universe.
After Mitchell’s short but loud meltdown, Daniel got out of Freilan that he’d never heard of the Ori, or anything even similar. Freilan, apparently sensing their confusion, took the opportunity to tell them the creation myth of the Yosari, and led them to the Yosaren, a member of the village who could communicate with the Yosari. Freilan explained that there was always a Yosaren, but only one, with someone new in the village possessing the power as soon as the former died. Or, in one unique case, after the Yosaren had been judged guilty of stealing from other villagers. The gods were wise, Freilan told them, and knew when a new Yosaren was needed.
It was fascinating. Daniel had questions for days and both Sam and Mitchell knew it. The looks in their eyes were the ones they got when they knew they were going to have to drag Daniel out of a place while he was still protesting that there was more to be learned.
Vala, with all of her usual tact, was finally the one who said, “You know, these Yosari sound like Ascended Ancients, don’t they?”
Fortunately, they arrived at the home of the Yosaren before Freilan could ask to clarify, or Vala could continue to blaspheme another culture’s religion. Again.
Less fortunately, the moment they walked through the Yosaren’s door, the petite, middle-aged woman inside gasped, stood up, and hit Daniel in the head with a candlestick.
When he woke up, he was in a single-room locked building somewhere. Probably still within the village limits, because he could hear movement and voices outside, but Daniel couldn’t have said where for the life of him. The building had no windows, even in the door, and only poor pre-industrial construction let any light filter in at all. He only found out later that Mitchell’s first journey back through the ‘gate was while Daniel was unconscious and the villagers were refusing to let anyone on the team see him.
As it happened, the Yosaren had seen something around Daniel, and had taken the precautions necessary to subdue a “false god.” Apparently, when the Yosari appeared to her, they were bathed in light. The difference between the Yosari and Daniel was that Daniel was corporeal, and the Yosari were not.
Daniel received this explanation some numbers of hours after having woken up. He estimated some rather great number of hours, as he woke up during the day, watched day turn to night, then back to day, and stay that way for a while before anyone saw fit to check in on him.
He was also given an apology for the head wound and some sort of nuts and berries salad. Freilan and the Yosaren, with at least four armed guards behind them, had then asked Daniel about a hundred questions, at the end of which they conferred with one another for a few minutes, and then declared Daniel not dangerous.
After he had finished eating, Daniel was escorted to a room in the Yosaren’s home, and again locked in, though this time he had windows. They were barred shut, which was inconvenient, but apparently the difference between dangerous and not dangerous was windows, and Daniel wasn’t going to argue.
He stayed in that room for another two days, answering questions and trying unsuccessfully to ask his own. At some point the Yosaren seemed to have decided that Daniel was not a false god, but instead one of the Yosari made human. The questions after that were all trying to figure out why Daniel had been kicked out, so to speak.
Since Daniel had, in fact, been kicked out by the Ascended Ancients, answering those questions was a bit awkward. What was more awkward was when the Yosaren tried to help Daniel to re-Ascend. She was good at it, was the thing, likely being told how to do it by whatever Ascended beings were calling themselves the Yosari and posing as gods. Daniel, on the other hand, didn’t particularly want to Ascend, which confounded the Yosaren to no end.
Just before dinner on the third day, Daniel heard the first sound of his team since he’d been knocked out, with Mitchell saying loudly, “Right, yes, I’m sure he’ll forgive you, it’s all good.”
The door to the cell opened to a somewhat horrified-looking, hand-wringing Freilan, with Mitchell and the Yosaren behind him.
“Right, Daniel?” Mitchell said. “You’ll tell the Yosari just how great it’s been here, won’t you?”
“Oh, sure,” Daniel agreed automatically. “Great time.”
Both the Yosaren and Freilan looked relieved. Mitchell looked frustrated, but only when the other two weren’t looking.
“Perfect,” Mitchell said. “We’ll just go report that now.”
Freilan ushered Daniel out of the cell like Daniel was a state guest, all the way to the Stargate, where Vala, Sam, and Teal’c were waiting, all with their own pasted-on smiles. Freilan shook Daniel’s hand aggressively before backing off, calling out, “The Yosari are love,” and then hurrying back to the village.
“What-” Daniel started, but was cut off.
“Nope, no questions, just back through the ‘gate, we can talk about it there,” Mitchell said.
Daniel stared at Sam after he heard her snort, but stood silently while Mitchell dialed the ‘gate looking like he had both a migraine and the smell of rotten eggs permanently in his nose. Daniel didn’t comment that, really, he was the one who ought to be annoyed, because he was the bigger person. Also, Mitchell still had his weapons.
Once back, Daniel better understood Mitchell’s mood. He only had a moment of bone-melting relief before Jack’s voice came over the speaker into the gateroom. “Well, it’s about damn time. Daniel! Your office, now!”
Mitchell gave his own sag of relief at that and slapped Daniel on the shoulder. “He’s your headache now.”
“How long has he been here?” Daniel asked, following the rest of the team out of the gateroom.
“Since yesterday,” Sam answered. She stopped Daniel to give him a firm hug. “It’s good to have you back. We were worried, then Jack was worried, and you know how that goes.”
Vala squeezed Daniel’s arm and smiled while Teal’c placed his hand on Daniel’s shoulder. “I’d gush,” Vala said, “but General O’Neill is really mad, so I’ll save it for later. You can take me shopping and tell me all your woes.”
Daniel detoured from the route to his office to drop off his tac gear and change back into civilian clothing. Specifically, civilian clothing he hadn’t been wearing for the last three days. Jack would be annoyed, but then, he would also probably appreciate the smell.
The moment he entered his office, Daniel was grabbed and put through an impromptu injury patdown, Jack growling something about, “Goddamn Ascended-worshipping yokels, couldn’t you have at least gotten kidnapped by someone we could at least ransom you out from?”
“Hi, Jack,” Daniel said, pulling Jack into a kiss. “I think you gave Mitchell a stroke.”
“Well,” Jack said, “he lost you. It’s his job not to lose you. I put it in bold in his contract.”
Daniel laughed and Jack scowled.
“Come one, you can debrief Landry later,” Jack said. “Right now, we’re getting steak.” He started pulling Daniel out of his office, and Daniel shrugged.
As kidnappings went, it had been a fairly mild one. He could let Jack rant a while before taking his own turn; it was practically a cornerstone of their relationship. “How long are you in town?” Daniel asked.
Jack’s hand was pretty firmly holding Daniel by the elbow as he tugged Daniel along through the base. He snorted, then replied, “I might have torn out of DC by yelling at one of the Joint Chiefs. I don’t think they’ll want me back particularly quickly.”