I'm sitting at the General's table at a pre-mission briefing watching Daniel give his power-point presentation. I'm listening, jotting down important aspects for my own area of expertise, but I'm also enjoying the view.
Daniel is on a roll. Evidently, the UAV that we sent out yesterday has pinpointed some interesting ruins that he's certain will give us the answers to Life, The Universe and Everything. He's got his lecture mode in full swing and is going on and on about cuneiforms, ancient Mesopotamian carvings and of course, old gods of the culture. His eyes are bright, his expression happy and his voice confident.
General Hammond is sitting at the head of the table with a bemused expression on his face. You can tell the General is happy to have our Daniel back with us. And it's more than just having his premier archaeologist back under his command. It's having a good friend, a favored son, and a respected co-worker return to us. When he heard that we'd found Daniel, alive and well on P4T-3G6 the General met us at the Gate wanting to see for himself that the young man he'd grown so fond of was really, truly back. I also know that the General has gone way above and beyond to get Daniel un-declared deceased again. I have no idea how many hours were put in or which strings were pulled but, Daniel's Social Security number, driver's license, his GS-rating, and DOD employment status all reappeared overnight, as if by magic, under the direct orders of one George Hammond. From what I understand, he even got Daniel back pay by changing his status from KIA to returned MIA. It's just what makes General Hammond such a great leader, taking care of the minor things like these for us, his subordinates.
Teal'c, our teammate is thoroughly enjoying the entertainment. That he loves his Danieljackson as kinsman or brother-in-arms, I don't know which, is obvious to anyone who takes the trouble to look beyond the quiet expression and protective facade of the big man. He would do anything for Daniel, for any of the team for that matter. When Daniel left us, you could tell it just ripped his heart out. And when Teal'c was so deathly ill trying to save Bray'tac, Daniel came to him in his ascended form and helped him to hold on to his sanity and his life. >From an inauspicious beginning they have built a deep and abiding friendship.
I glance at Colonel O'Neill. He's leaning back in his chair, apparently fascinated with the performance of 'his' archaeologist. He's also doodling on the legal pad in front of him. It's a picture of a man in a boat with a fishing rod. There is a Goa'uld death glider on a strafing run, but the figure in the boat is shooting back at it with a Law's rocket...at least that's what I think it is. With the Colonel's artwork it could be anything. But the expression on his face is one of rapt concentration. He seems particularly interested in watching Daniel's hands as they swing and sway in the air, elaborating and punctuating our teammate's words, making his point emphatically. The Colonel notices that I'm watching him. He catches my eye and winks. He's a happy man.
When we lost Daniel, I was afraid that we'd lost the Colonel too. My boss is a deep well of secret feelings, dark and often misunderstood. He's often perceived as a bit dense and a hard ass military type but when we're in trouble, there is no one, and I do mean no one, I'd rather have on my side. So when Daniel was exposed to the deadly radiation on Kelowna, the Colonel did everything in his considerable power to save him.
But...there are some things that mere mortals can't do. We even called in my Dad with his Tok'ra healing skills only to be told the damage to our friend was irreversible. Colonel O'Neill had been standing by, watching, and I'm sure praying...when he suddenly told my Dad to stop, let him go. We couldn't believe what we were hearing...but in the end, we all knew the Colonel was right. We wouldn't be doing Daniel any favors. It was for the best to let him go. Then I saw the most amazing thing...Daniel, as an ascended being...going away and leaving us behind. Stunned doesn't quite cover what I was feeling. Pole-axed comes to mind or maybe flabbergasted.
But, in spite of the manner, Daniel was gone from us. My little brother, my best friend, my pseudo-sibling, the other half of my wonder twin act, had left...gone on to bigger and better things...or so we hoped.
But, my God, the hole he left in our midst. It was a huge black cold chasm that we kept running into, stumbling around and colliding with every waking moment. I missed him so much. The Colonel once called him the soul of our team; as usual the man was right.
One night, I was walking past the armory. The door was open, and there sat the Colonel. He was cleaning his weapon; at least I think he was. What I saw was Jack O'Neill sitting there on the boxes of ammunition, holding his pistol. Just holding it, and looking at it. Thinking about... something. When he noticed I was there, he just looked up at me, didn't say a word, and pushed the door closed. I've never been so scared in my life. The next day, when I saw him, we both pretended that it had never happened. But we both knew it had.
Then came that horrible fiasco with the Tok'ra symbiote. I felt like my world was coming to an end, like when my mother had died. First Daniel, now the Colonel. I know I was the one who talked him into accepting the Tok'ra. He certainly wouldn't have accepted it on his own...he would have died first. Thank God, we got him back.
We know now that Daniel had a hand in that too. That he came to us: Teal'c, me, and even Jonas, and gave us a plan to rescue the Colonel. Then, he stayed with his friend until it all came together. It seems our Daniel couldn't keep his fingers out of our little cookie jar after all.
Later, when I had heard that both of the men had seen Daniel in their hour of need, well, I admit I was a little jealous. Why them, I whined, why not me? Wasn't I as important to him? Wasn't I worth a little risk too? Then I really felt bad, guilty. I was still confused, but I told myself that it didn't matter. There were more important things to do. The Colonel said Abydos was in danger, that Daniel had come to him again and asked him for help.
Well, of course we did. And there he was, appearing and disappearing like Alice's Cheshire cat, coming in and well, if not saving the day, at least trying. He found the eye of Ra, found the tablet of the Ancients, and translated the damned thing. Him, not Jonas or me. And then he was gone and so was the planet. All those people, gone, ascended...at least that's what Skaara said. But, Skarra hadn't seen Daniel either. Where was he? No one knew, and we were all afraid to guess.
And I mean gone, no word or sign of him. The Colonel was worried, heck, we were all worried. Jonas was bound and determined to find the lost planet. He so wanted to repay Daniel...even though we didn't know what had happened to him. But, Daniel had said, 'Don't lose this tablet.' And that was enough for him.
I watched the Colonel carefully for a while. I didn't want another scene like the one I had glimpsed in the armory, but that wasn't a problem. Instead, the Colonel started walking the halls again, as if looking for something...or someone.
Then, on the lost planet, or planet of the lost...another miracle! Daniel, alive but unknowing. He had amnesia. He'd been found by some of the nomadic people who inhabited the largest city on the planet. We convinced him to come back to the SGC with us and then we jumped head long into a battle to save Kelowna from Anubis. The Colonel and I were flying the SGC's version of a death glider, Jonas and Daniel were on Anubis's ship and Teal'c had gone as emissary to Yu.
But like all great adventures, it was soon over. Suddenly, we lost Jonas and gained Daniel back. The impossible had come to pass. I missed Jonas; he was a nice guy, a good friend and had certainly borne the onus of Daniel's disappearance uncomplainingly. But somehow, it just didn't matter...Daniel was back. And all was right with my world again.
The briefing is coming to an end. Daniel has sat down and is trading quips with the Colonel, just like old time. Teal'c is nodding, the General is smiling and I'm happy. Happy for my General, my Colonel, Teal'c and myself.
You see, something happened to me last week. I was on my way back to my office, when I went around the corner too fast and collided right into Lou Ferretti. I lost my balance, and fell; hitting my head on the corner of a table that was sitting out in the hallway for some reason. I had been stunned, the breath knocked out of me.
When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was Daniel, kneeling beside me and touching my cheek with concern. It was then I had a little memory flashback.
I was in the cell on Nirrti's planet. I had been exposed to the cellular alteration beam, the Colonel and Teal'c were in another cell and I was alone. As I lay on the hard cold bunk in my cell, I opened my eyes, and saw Daniel. He was sitting there with me, I could almost see right through him. He smiled encouragingly and said. "Hold on, Sam. It'll be all right. All you have to do is hold on...Jack will figure something out." Then, I blinked and he was gone, except for the warm feeling that I was safe...in spite of what was going on around me.
I had that same feeling as I lay on the cold hard concrete floor. Daniel bending over me, smiling, and saying. "Hold on, Sam. It'll be all right...all you have to do is hold on...until Janet gets here."
I reached out and took his hand. "You were there, when Nirrti had me. You came to me too."
He shook his head, and replied honestly. "I don't remember Sam, I really don't. But if I could have, I'm sure I did."
Then Janet showed up and I was taken to the infirmary and pronounced fine and fit and released. And I realized that he had come to me, I just hadn't remembered it until yesterday.
So today, I came to the briefing and I remembered again, how much Daniel means to us, and how special he really is.
As we leave the room together, I watch the Colonel tease and laugh again, I see Teal'c being pleased and relaxed and me, me? I just feel complete.
Our Daniel has come home.