An A.U. Stargate novella
Contains angst, drama, more angst, a little humour.
Summary: How Daniel Jackson left S.G.-1 ~
without dying ~ (and the door is left
References to: 'Stargate' - the movie; 'Children of the Gods'; 'Serpent's Lair'; 'One False Step'; '1969'; 'Legacy'; 'Forever in a Day'; 'Shades of Grey'; 'The Other Side'; 'Divide and Conquer'; 'Absolute Power'; 'The Light'; 'Menace'
WARNING: a little 'military' language.
Disclaimer: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
"into the shadows
Lyrics: Queen Music Ltd./E.M.I. Music Publishing Ltd. 1984.
Chapter 1: Dissonance
"And furthermore, Daniel," Colonel O'Neill stated as S.G.-1 were gearing up, "I do not want you wandering off on your own the minute we set foot through the gate. I know there's an interesting looking"
"Jack, would you please stop talking to me like I'm five years old. I am thirty six, for Chrissakes, and I"
"have two Ph.D.s. Yeah, we all know that."
"And while I may have been a little naïve the first time we went through the Gate"
"Naïve? You were an accident waiting to happen, Daniel...."
"That was six years ago, Jack! These days, I'm perfectly capable of"
"....No, strike that. You were an accident that happened! Only you could have been dragged half-way across a desert by a mastadge and"
"And saved several thousand lives, Jack."
"Bomb," Daniel replied with quiet malevolence.
Major Carter and Teal'c exchanged concerned glances. Although this had all happened before they joined the Stargate Project, they both knew the principal details of the very first mission. O'Neill's mouth had tightened to a thin hard line.
"Well, if Dr. I'm-Way-Smarter-Than-You-Are Jackson hadn't opened the damn' 'Gate in the first place, the bomb wouldn't have been necessary."
"So if I hadn't opened the 'Gate, you think Apophis wouldn't have come through anyway? Huh? At least we knew what we were dealing with. If we hadn't, we'd all be Goa'uld slaves by now, and Teal'c would be giving you orders instead of the other way round."
"Enough already," O'Neill said in repressive tones.
"I don't know why you're being so pissy about this. The highest sentient life forms we've seen within fifty miles of the 'Gate have been cervine. Erm, that's deer, Jack," Daniel replied with a pitying look.
"I know that, smart-ass, and you don't know what else is out there - like whoever built that temple-thing or the town nearby."
"It's an acropolis, Jack, and the 'town' is in ruins - probably has been for centuries."
"Look, Daniel, I assess the risks. It's my freakin' job to assess risks, and I will not have you endangering my team under any circumstances! You got that?!"
"What danger could anyone possibly get into in the hundred yards between the 'Gate and the acropolis. It's open ground. You're getting paranoid, Jack."
"Shut up, Daniel!" O'Neill snapped, pushing past the archaeologist on his way out of the room.
"That the best you can do, Jack?" Daniel called after him as he strapped on his side arm and followed him towards the 'Gate Room.
"What's gotten into those two?" Major Carter asked Teal'c unhappily. "I mean, they often went head to head before, but lately, everything seems to be so much more personal."
"I too have noticed an increasing level of friction between Colonel O'Neill and Daniel Jackson during the past few months. It grieves me deeply," Teal'c replied.
"Well, they have been under a lot of stress lately."
"As have we all, MajorCarter," the Jaffa responded pointedly.
"Ye-es," she agreed, "but it's been quite a while since any off us had more than a couple of days leave. Perhaps if we all had some serious downtime - a real break - things would get back to normal."
"Perhaps so," Teal'c said, inclining his head. "I will raise the subject with General Hammond upon our return."
When they reached the 'Gate Room, their two colleagues were standing on opposite sides of the ramp and about as far from each other as they could get. It did not bode well for their reconn. mission to P4X-111.
Chapter 2 - Prelude
At the highest point of a gentle escarpment was an acropolis. Extensive creamy-white ruins clustered behind a large, white marble, temple-like building.
Below it, the ridge dropped down into a wide valley. The little river at the bottom meandered away into the distance where the planet's sun glinted on an expanse of water, either a large lake or a sea. The immediate margins of the river supported a number of trees similar to willows and osiers, together with an abundance of reeds.
Beyond the river margins, the land was parched. The sun had bleached all the colour from it. Stunted trees like olives, and prickly bushes dotted the valley sides here and there. Short sun- scorched grasses managed to put forth a few new green shoots on which a number of tiny deer-like animals grazed.
Up above them, almost shining against the deep cobalt blue sky, the acropolis' temple with its triangular pediment and its many fluted columns stood as if on guard . A little further down along the crest of the ridge stood a large dark grey circle which looked down the valley like the brooding eye of a god.
The deer looked up as an unfamiliar sound drifted across the land. It was followed by several more, unsettling the animals still further. As the watery splurge of the event horizon spewed outwards, they took off in panic.
First to set foot on to the new world was Major Carter, closely followed by Dr. Jackson. He strode past her, his face set and grim, and set off along the ridge to the acropolis.
"Ah, Daniel," she began as he passed her. And got a filthy look in response.
Teal'c appeared next. He took in the departing figure and the worried face, and grimaced.
"I have a bad feeling about this, Teal'c," she murmured.
"As have I, Major Carter, aas have I."
A few minutes later, Colonel O'Neill appeared. He'd been button-holed by General Hammond just as he'd set foot on the ramp, thus giving his recalcitrant archaeologist a head start. He was both displeased and unsurprised to see the object of his annoyance hot-footing it towards the acropolis.
"Daniel!" he barked, "come back here right now!"
Dr. Jackson just kept right on walking.
"Daniel! I said come back here now! That's an order!"
Daniel paused on the steps for a moment without looking round, then disappeared into the building. O'Neill took off after him on the double.
Chapter 3 - Molto passionato
The cella, enclosed within the colonnaded peristyle, was cool inside and dim after the sun's brightness. Once his eyes had become accustomed to the change in light levels, Daniel could appreciate the soft pastel glow which filled the chamber. The light came from the square doorway and from a large round opening high up in the opposite wall. It reflected from the brilliant mosaic of the floor to the pale marble walls and ceiling.
Daniel looked around in awe at the beauty of place - felt the stillness and spirituality of it - stared in wonder at the enormous ivory statue of a seated god behind a large white marble altar. The Hellenistic inscriptions all around offered him the cultural balm his learned soul craved after all the battles he'd fought against the Goa'uld.
He was entranced. All the resentment that he'd felt building up seemed to slip away as he stepped into another world - the lost world of past times. Shedding his pack, he crouched down and began reading the inscription on the side of the altar...
~ This is the - ah - resting place - of that which - um - fell from the - heavens, and ~
When Colonel O'Neill first entered the cella, he thought for a moment that Daniel had disappeared somewhere, or was hiding from him. ~ As well he might... ~ Then his eyes picked out the crouching figure before the altar. Like a sacrificial lamb?
Daniel became aware of footsteps approaching him. Forgetting for the moment the circumstances of his last 'conversation' with his friend, he said eagerly,
"Hey, come and look at this, Jack!"
"You cannot do as you're told, can you, Daniel?!" his 'friend' barked.
Daniel jerked his head round and looked up into O'Neill's glowering eyes. His little bit of 'Paradise Regained' fell away from him like tiny pieces of confetti. He slowly stood up, the excitement dying from his eyes with the smile from his lips.
"You just disobeyed a direct order" O'Neill continued.
"Really? Well, that's fair enough, I think. You never listen to anything I say..."
"What's that supposed to mean?!"
"You ignored everything I told you about Reece. We could've found out how to control the replicators, but oh no! She was just a machine to you."
"Oh, so that's what all this is about," O'Neill grunted.
"I was getting through to her!"
"Oh, for crying out loud, we've been over all this! You know I couldn't take the risk!"
"You! You, you, you! It's always about you! I was the one who was taking the risk! And gladly! It was working - she was beginning to trust me - TRUST. ME, Jack. Something you never do," Daniel sneered.
"I do," O'Neill protested.
"Maybe once upon a time, Jack. Not these days. Instead, you come in with guns blazing"
"If I hadn't, S.G.C. could've been overrun with her bugs"
"But it wasn't! She was stopping them. She was the only one with a handle on them - the only one who knew how to control them! They could overrun the whole freakin' Universe, Jack, and you're only concerned about the great Jack O'Neill's little bit of it!"
O'Neill took a deep breath. They were getting nowhere fast here.
"This is entirely beside the point," he snapped. "I will not have you gallivanting off and doing your own thing every fucking time we step through the 'Gate. You are putting my team in danger!"
"Oh? So you're saying you no longer consider me a part of your team? Well, that doesn't surprise me. It's what I've been thinking for a long time now."
"What?! Hey now, don't go putting words into my mouth, Daniel!"
"Oh I don't need to do that, Jack. You've got quite enough of your own! These days, though, they're mostly limited to 'Shut up, Daniel!' every time I try to make you see that there might be a better way to do things than yours. Which usually results in someone getting killed Mr. Black-Ops Colonel!"
"You don't have a compassionate bone in your body, do you?" Daniel wondered.
"Huh? Where did that come from?" O'Neill asked.
"You just walked off, Jack. Shot Reece and then just walked off. Never bothered to ask me how I was - how I felt! Never even offered me a hand up. Just walked away and left me sitting there, on the 'Gate Room floor with a sprained wrist..."
O'Neill stared at Daniel open-mouthed.
"Nothing to say, Jack? Think you'd better get yourself another archaeologist then. I know - how about my friend, Robert Rothman? Oh no, you can't have him, can you? I'm forgetting. You killed him too"
O'Neill recoiled from the sting of the words - instinctively struck back - almost stopped the blow connecting. But the back of his hand met Daniel's cheek. The impact echoed around the chamber. Jack gasped, his face stricken with the shock of what he'd just done.
"I was choiceless - you know I was!" he whispered.
"Oh yes, bring it on, Jack," Daniel said scornfully, eyes watering from the blow. "Violence - the Colonel O'Neill answer to everything! Well, not any more - not for me, Jack."
Daniel picked up his pack and stalked off towards the doorway.
"Come back here, Jackson!"
Daniel paused, looked up at the ceiling, then continued.
"That's an order," O'Neill added.
Daniel stopped again and waited for his commanding officer.
"What the Hell do you think you're doing?" O'Neill asked, standing at his side and staring at his profile.
"You wanted me back at the 'Gate - I'm going back to the 'Gate," Daniel replied quietly, looking resolutely ahead and not at Jack. "Good enough for you Colonel?"
"No!" O'Neill said vehemently. More softly, he went on, "not... good enough. For Chrissakes, what's happening to us, Daniel?"
"I don't know," Daniel said, looking down unseeingly at the beautiful shiny mosaic beneath his feet. "You tell me, Jack. For months now, you've been acting like I don't exist. Except when you've treated me like a lackey. Well I've had enough. Finally. I'm leaving."
O'Neill stepped in front of him and grasped Daniels' arms to stop him moving forward.
"No! Daniel, I'm... sorry... I didn't mean to"
"No? But you did, Jack, you did. It seems to have become a habit with you... 'I don't like most of what you say, but I try to resist the urge to shove you through a wall.' Kind of says it all, really. Doesn't it? Well Doctor Jackson is going somewhere where he will be appreciated."
"I refuse to let you leave like this, Daniel"
"So what're you going to do, Colonel O'Neill? Shoot me?"
With that, Daniel pushed Colonel O'Neill aside and marched out of the temple.
He strode back to towards the Stargate, nose defiantly in the air. Failing to watch his footing, he stepped firmly on a loose rock. And sat down. Hard. On his ankle. Something snapped. Damn' ligament. It wasn't the first time he'd done it...
Cursing through the pain, he stayed where he was for a few long moments. He struggled to his feet as his team mates came racing to help him. Jack reached him first, but Daniel handed him off.
"I'm fine, Jack," he said through gritted teeth. "I don't need your help - thank you."
He limped off past Sam and Teal'c, head down, not looking at them. Sam regarded his departing back with dismay. The red mark across Daniel's cheek didn't escape Teal'c's notice. He drew his own tolerably accurate conclusions and shot a baleful glance at O'Neill. The colonel's expression remained inscrutable.
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