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Author:  dennydj
Category:  SG-1, Friendship, Future Fic
Word Count:  1573
Warnings:  Character Death (but this is primarily about friendship)
Notes:  The title is from a prayer by Bishop Kenneth Untener

The first one to go was the last one he expected.

It surprised him, both by the unexpectedness of it and by the depth of his pain over it.  He hadn’t lost someone he considered family in a long time.



Politics had done what the Goa’uld hadn’t been able to:  silence Teal’c’s voice.  After a hundred years of struggling to free his people, Teal’c had died at their hands.  He’d led armies, flown ships into battle, and fought stealthily alongside the Tau’ri, trading his staff weapon for a P-90.  But in the end, a dispute between those he considered brothers caught Teal’c in the middle and he was cut down while trying to mediate. 

He smiled at the thought of his Jaffa friend as a diplomat. 

It had happened before the world changed, when he’d still been allowed through the gate, and the surviving members of SG-1 had gone to Chulak to honor their fallen teammate. 

As they stood beneath the blazing alien sun, little did he realize that it was the beginning of the end. 

~oOo~

It was a crisp autumn day when the second one happened. 

The world was in chaos and he only heard about it later, when it was over.  The people of Earth had been told about the Stargate, sparking a battle for control of it by countries once considered allies.  The Chinese had come out on top, but only after a surprise attack with weapons their teams had pilfered through the gate. 

Cam had died doing what he loved:  flying.  His jet was shot down as he defended the SGC. 

By the time Cam’s body was recovered, things had changed again and he wasn’t allowed to attend the funeral.  Sam brought the news when she came for her weekly visit. 

He closed his eyes as he remembered Cam’s easy-going manner, and how he’d come to respect the pilot who’d taken charge of a member-less SG-1 and managed to pull them together as a team again. 

But now the band would never get back together.

~oOo~

The day was crisp and clear when he learned of the third one. 

He looked up, over the barbed wire, to a bright, blue spring sky, the sun falsely promising better days to come.  It was one of those days that smelled of freshly mown grass, a light breeze bringing the scent of hyacinth to mingle with it.  He could picture the vase on her lab table filled with the bright purple blooms.  The same lab table where she had worked tirelessly all those years, giving her all to the Stargate program in an attempt to make the universe a better place. 

So it was not surprising that she’d died sabotaging technology that would have been used to destroy everything the SGC had worked for.  No one would ever use the Asgard core again.  Jacob would be proud. 

He was told she was buried next to her mother.  He’d almost fallen into despair at not being able to attend the funeral, until he thought of her playful smile, the softness of her grey-blue eyes, and the feel of her arms around him when she hugged him.  He decided he’d rather remember her fierce intelligence, dedication to her friends and their cause, and, of course, her love of blue jello. 

It had given him the strength to go on.

~oOo~

A winter chill had settled in his bones the fourth time it happened.  He’d wanted to deny it, to discount the sparse information that had been surreptitiously passed to him.  But he couldn’t—there were still people loyal to SG-1 who’d risked too much to make sure he got the information for him to dismiss it. 

And he’d taken it as hard as he had the others, despite the outward squabbling and teasing.  Deep down, she had been another lost soul, scarred by unspoken hurts, afraid for the world to see too much.  It had formed a bond between them, a bond that was now severed by her death. 

They said Vala had died trying to protect the people who’d once been her ‘subjects.’  He wiped the moisture from his eye and smiled with pride at how far she’d come, and tried not to think about never seeing her again. 

Of course, it was rather bittersweet since she was the reason he was here.  He wouldn’t blame her, though; it had been his choice. 

When the announcement came that all aliens were to be rounded up and confined to Area 51, he’d defied the directive and helped her escape through the gate. 

Aiding the ‘enemy’ was treason, and the new regime dealt with it harshly; as harshly as they’d dealt with the military leaders who’d fought against them. 

~oOo~

One by one his personal losses had stacked up.  There was only one thing that kept him going now.  He didn’t know how it had been arranged—he had a feeling Walter had something to do with it; even under these conditions, the man knew everything that was going on—but it had saved him from the pit of despair. 

It was down to just the two of them now, and he held tightly to each moment they had together.  Which wasn’t exactly true since they were separated by a thick cement wall.  But they could talk, when the guards weren’t around, and when they were, or it was late at night and darkness shrouded them, they would tap their words on the cold cement, each comforted and reassured to know the other was there. 

He smiled, remembering when Jack first taught him the code. 

“You’ve never used Morse Code?”

“I’m not military.”

“You weren’t a Boy Scout?”

“No, Jack, I wasn’t.”

“Huh.  Who’d a thought?”

It had been another language for him—rarely used until now, but he was thankful Jack had taken the time to teach it to him. 

He picked up the small pebble he kept hidden and tapped his message on the wall.

“Asleep?”

A long silence preceded the reply.  “What do you think?”

“Me, either.”

“What’s the point?”

“To rest.”

“Can’t if you talk all night.”

He chuckled at the familiar banter—didn’t matter if it was spoken or tapped.  Playing the game would keep their minds off of tomorrow.  “I can stop.”

“No.  You can’t.”

His smile broadened before melancholy crept back in.  He tapped again.  “Regrets?”

“Don’t go there.”

“OK.  Proudest moment?”

Another pause and he strained to hear the reply. 

“Now.”

He swallowed hard, fighting back tears.  “Me, too.”

“Thank you.”

“Ditto.” 

He leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes.  In the end, they were simply prophets of a future not their own.  Others would have to carry forward that which they’d started.  All that was left was to stand proudly beside the friend who had made the journey with you—unremorseful, undaunted, unbroken—and face what was to come. 

~oOo~

To his surprise, he had fallen asleep.  The clang of the door down at the end of the hall woke him and he momentarily panicked until he found his pebble, then realized he didn’t need it anymore.

“I’m here, Jack.”

“Good to know, Daniel.”

He stood and looked through the bars as two guards stopped at Jack’s cell.  They opened they door and entered, and he could hear the chains being snapped into place.

Two more guards stopped at his own door, unlocked it, and entered.  So they would go together.  Somehow, it was a relief. 

A few minutes later, he stepped outside the prison walls into another clear, sunny day, the blue sky once again defying his inner darkness with the false promise of summer days to come.

But there would be no more summer days; no hikes on alien worlds, no camping under strange starts, no evenings with popcorn and movies and animated conversations among friends.  Despite all they’d accomplished over the years, all the knowledge they’d gained, all the allies they’d made, Daniel found his only thoughts were of his friends, his family.  The lives he’d touched and that had touched his were all that mattered in the end. 

Sha’re and Skarra were gone long ago, along with the Abydonians.  Many others had been lost along the way, including the Asgard and their beloved Janet Fraiser and General Hammond.  His more recent losses were fresher and sat heavily on his heart:  Teal’c, Cam, Sam, and Vala.  And now all that was left were the two of them, just like it had been in the beginning so many years ago.  A final small bit of grace—they’d go out together. 

Daniel was led to the platform and set into position next to Jack, who cocked a lopsided grin.  “Been a hell of a ride.”

“Well, this one may be over, but we could be stepping onto another one.”

Jack’s eyebrow shot up.  “You’re not talkin’ about—”

“No, I don’t think ascension’s on the table anymore.”

“Good.  I don’t think I wanna be a glowy, white octopus.”

“Don’t say ‘Ka’ until you’ve tried it.”

“You just said it wasn’t on the table.”

“Yeah,” he said mischievously, “but you never know.”

Jack shook his head and smiled and Daniel smiled back. 

The sun rose in the clear blue sky, the promise of summer days to come only temporarily disturbed by the sound of shots echoing off the cement walls. 

End



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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
eilidh17
Nov. 25th, 2012 01:50 pm (UTC)
You already know what I think of this story. Sad, yes, but oh so amazing! The friendship, not only between Jack and Daniel, but the rest of the team, just bleeds through so clearly. Each story, each ultimate ending for them was perfect in its own way.

Of course, you know in my mind that while the bullets rang out... other powers came into play.

HUGS XX
dennydj
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:14 am (UTC)
Thanks, C! I was hoping the friendship outshine the sadder parts. And yes, I knew you'd have your own idea of what came next. :-)
milanthruil
Nov. 28th, 2012 10:13 pm (UTC)
I have so many feelings over this story right now. So sad, but with the perfect touch of fond memories. And Jack and Daniel being Jack and Daniel. <3

Katt
dennydj
Nov. 29th, 2012 03:18 am (UTC)
I'm glad the good feeling it gave you outweighed the sad. I really wanted to show that in the end, our friendships are what's most important. Thanks for reading!
madders_ahatter
Dec. 1st, 2012 05:17 pm (UTC)
What a tragic end for our heroes! At least the first four got to go out in action. Still, they went together, and that is how it should be. Very moving.
dennydj
Dec. 1st, 2012 06:34 pm (UTC)
And that's what I was hoping would come through: no matter how things end, their friendship is what matters most. Can't imagine them *not* going together! Thanks for reading. :-)
sidlj
Dec. 2nd, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
Wow. That they would go, smiling at each other. Sad, but ideal in a way.
dennydj
Dec. 3rd, 2012 02:30 am (UTC)
If they're going to go, how better than side by side? :-) Thanks for reading!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )