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Episode Alphabet Soup: Y is for Yearning

Title:  Y is for Yearning
Author: dennydj
Genre:  Angst, drama
Word count:  3424
Summary:  Episode tag to Forever In A Day
Notes:  Written for sg_fignewton's Episode Alphabet Soup.  Thanks to eilidh17 and marzipan77 for their invaluable help with this story.

He woke disoriented, still tethered to the realm of dreams.  Soft light filtered through the slats of the window blind, enough to discern the familiar furnishings of his bedroom.

Instinctively, he reached out, his hand searching for the body that should be lying next to him, the one that had been there only hours before.   But the space next to him was empty and cold, the warmth of his dream dissipating as his mind became grounded in the present.

Sha’re was gone.  Irrevocably lost.  She had never lain next to him in this bed, in this house, and never would.  But he could still feel the ghost of her touch as her fingers gently stroked his face.  Could still smell vanilla and sandalwood mixed with something that was uniquely Sha’re.

She had been here—but she hadn’t.

Daniel squeezed his eyes shut as though it would allow him to draw her back from wherever she’d gone.   Seconds and minutes passed, the light intensifying behind his eyelids.  He opened his eyes, finding the room transformed by daylight, the shadows banished along with his dreams.

The jarring buzz of the phone severed the last thread tethering him to his dream world.

“Hello?”

“Daniel—briefing in forty-five minutes!”

“Hello to you, too, Jack.”

“Are you still in bed?”

“No, I’m in the shower.”

“Funny.   Get your butt in gear.”

They were scheduled to go off-world tomorrow.  For some reason, he was having trouble getting excited about the prospect.   He’d never find the one thing he’d always searched for.  No matter how many ruins they explored or new cultures they met, they would never take the place of that ‘one thing’.

“Daniel?”  He’d taken too long to answer and now he had to deal with ‘concerned Jack’.

“I’ll be there; don’t worry.”

“Tick tock, Daniel.”

He hung up the phone and lay staring at the ceiling.  He reached out, once again finding the space next to him cold and empty.

~o~

Daniel turned his engine off and scanned his surroundings, realizing he was in the Cheyenne Mountain parking lot.  He also realized he had no memory of the drive up the mountain.  He was going to have to pull himself together or they’d decide he wasn’t fit to go off-world after all.  Strangely, that possibility no longer scared him.

He locked his car, passed through security, and took the elevator down to the SGC.

Daniel braved the gauntlet of the SGC corridors, passing airmen and civilians who tossed subdued greetings at him or nodded awkwardly.   Finally, he reached his office where he ducked inside and shut the door.  Everything was as he left it, but it felt different.  The walls of books and artifacts had always been secondary to the central focus of his life, and now they held little appeal.  The only indication of that focus was sitting in the wooden frame next to his computer.   He picked up the photo and stared at the soft, brown eyes that looked back at him with affection.

A knot formed in his chest, twisting tighter and tighter, as though being pulled from both ends.  He was no stranger to loss; was familiar with its affects.  But somehow this was different.  It left a deep yearning that was not going to be filled by history, or languages, or the study of ancient cultures.  All of his future hopes and dreams were gone, destroyed in the blink of an eye by the blast of a staff weapon.  He felt as though he’d been struck by that blast, and it left a gaping hole in his soul.  He wondered if he was as irrevocably lost as Sha’re.

A quick search of his desk produced his file for the briefing.  Another folder was nestled underneath it, and Daniel laid his hand on it, considering its contents.  He had wrestled long and hard with the decision and, despite the events of his ‘dream’, he was sure he was making the right choice.

Daniel gathered it up with his briefing folder, and with a last glance around his office, headed for the briefing room.

~o~

Everyone else was already seated around the table.

General Hammond acknowledged him as he entered and waved him to a seat.    “Doctor Jackson.”

Daniel gave him a weak smile and quickly filled a cup with coffee.  The only open seat was the one next to Teal’c.  He hesitated before pulling out the chair, setting his file and coffee on the table then sitting down.  Teal’c glanced at him, giving him the slightest dip of his head, before focusing his gaze straight ahead once again.

He’d told Teal’c that he’d done the right thing, choosing to shoot… kill… Sha’re.  Teal’c had done it to save his life.  His brain knew and accepted this—his heart was another matter.

Jack was watching him closely; most likely scrutinizing his behavior for any sign that he shouldn’t be going off-world.  Sam—Sam just had that sad smile that was supposed to be comforting, but instead wound the knot in his chest even tighter.

“Doctor Jackson,” Hammond said, “would you—”

“Unscheduled off-world activation!”

The announcement sent everyone hurrying down to the control room.

“It’s SG-11, sir,” Sergeant Harriman said as they arrived.

“Open the iris!”

The SFs stood with weapons ready as the iris whirred open.  A single member of SG-11 stumbled through the ‘gate.  No one followed.

Captain Evans, his face flushed and his breaths coming in choked gasps, looked up at the control room. “General, my team needs help.”

“Where is the rest of your team, Captain?”

“Trapped, sir.  In a chamber with some kind of invisible force that’s hurting them.”

“I’ll assemble a team immediately,” Hammond assured him.

“I think we’re gonna need one of the archaeologists, and maybe one of the linguists, too, sir,” Evans added.  “The door to the chamber has some unusual writing on it, and Doctor Cole thinks there might be a code on it that will release them.”

Doctor Maggie Cole was the archaeologist assigned to SG-11.  She had been with the program about a year, and Daniel had worked closely with her during her orientation.  She was sharp—if she thought translating it would release them, she was probably right.

“We’ll send someone to translate it, Captain.  Get to the infirmary and get checked out.”

“Sir, requesting permission for SG-1 to do the S & R,” Jack said.

The general’s eyes flicked to Daniel before resting on Jack.  Daniel knew Hammond was asking if he was fit for the mission.  Was he?  Daniel thought about Maggie, a woman he had recommended for the program.  Bright, capable, young, with a family and her whole life ahead of her.  She had something to live for.  He couldn’t turn his back on her, not if there was a chance he could help her.

“Are you sure?” Hammond asked.

Now Jack turned his gaze on Daniel, who met the scrutiny unwaveringly.  Before he could speak the words to convince Jack he could count on him, his friend faced Hammond and replied, “Yes, sir.  SG-1 is ready.”

~o~

Daniel tried to focus on the symbols in front of him and not the cries of the pain-wracked people trapped just a few feet away.

Sam was occupied taking readings outside the chamber where SG-11 was being held in a brilliant white light.  Jack was pacing by the door, while Teal’c stood just outside on sentry.  Evans hovered nearby, not wanting to leave his teammates.

Doctor Cole had been able to give brief answers to a few of Daniel’s questions, but basically, no one had a clue what had triggered the chamber to shut them inside.  The writing on the panels next to the doorway appeared to be a mixture of Phoenician and Phrygian, and was challenging his translation skills.

He risked a glance at the chamber.  The three members of SG-11 were all lying curled on the floor, their moans becoming softer and softer.  Daniel’s stomach churned-they couldn’t survive much more.  Maggie opened her eyes and squinted up at Daniel.  Save me, she pleaded silently.

Deep, brown eyes filled with sorrow, regret… and love, looked across at him.  Lips that had kissed his parted, her final words flowing out along with her life.  “I love you, Danyel.”  And then… stillness.  Emptiness.  Pain.  Grief.   “I love you, too.”

“Daniel?”

Sam’s voice pulled him back to the present.

“You okay?”

“Fine.  I’m fine.  What were you saying?”

“That I can’t find a control panel.  I’m going to try disrupting the frequency of the beam and see if it will shut down.”

“Good idea.”

“You might want to step back.”

“Right.”

He backed away from the wall as Sam activated a piece of her equipment.  The beam holding SG-11 wavered briefly before an arc of light shot out and struck Sam’s equipment, sending her flying across the floor.

“Sam!”

“Carter!”  Jack rushed across the room and knelt next to Daniel as he checked her over.

“Still breathing,” Daniel announced.  But she was out cold and her hands had burns on them.

Teal’c entered the room and stood over them.  “What has happened to Major Carter?”

“She tried to shut down the beam,” Jack explained.  “We need to get her back to the SGC and get some engineers in here to figure this out.”

“Jack, I’m making progress,” Daniel said.  “Let me stay and finish.”

Evans waved agitatedly at his trapped team.  “We can’t just leave them!”

“We’re not abandoning them,” Jack frowned, narrowing his eyes at Evans before turning his gaze to Daniel.  “Are you sure you can translate this?”

Daniel wasn’t sure of anything anymore, but a feeling welled up from deep inside him.  He wasn’t going to give up; he wasn’t going to abandon Maggie or her teammates.  “Yes, I can.”

Jack’s jaw twitched under the pressure of his decision-making.  His gaze turned to Teal’c.  “T, stay with Daniel.  Evans and I will take Carter back to the SGC.”

A fraction of hesitation preceded Teal’c’s reply.  “As you wish, O’Neill.”

Teal’c?  Jack was leaving him here with Teal’c?  “But shouldn’t—”

“Can it, Daniel.  Decision’s been made.  If you can’t figure out the translation, Teal’c can blast them out.”

“What?  You don’t trust me to figure it out?”

“I trust you.  I just like having a Plan B.”

Jack gathered Sam in his arms and followed Evans out of the building.

Teal’c dipped his head to Daniel and took up a position by the doorway.

Daniel turned back to the writing on the wall.  His gaze flicked to the people trapped within the beam of light, minute twitches the only sign they were still alive.

Pushing the image away, he focused on the text in front of him.  He could do this.

A pattern emerged and his heart sped up as the mix of languages gradually became clear.  There was a warning, and a list of consequences for not heeding it.  The beam was—

A familiar whirring sound pierced the silence.  Daniel looked to the far side of the room where a space in the ceiling was opening.  He forced down panic as he realized there was nowhere to hide.  And if he’d read the script correctly, a Goa’uld was coming to collect whomever had sprung his trap:  SG-11.

Teal’c reacted instantly, taking up a position behind a column that was the only thing between the chamber holding SG-11 and the ring platform.

“Daniel Jackson—you must work quickly!”

Daniel’s gaze darted from SG-11 to Teal’c.  It was suicide.  “Teal’c, you can’t—”

“You must hurry!”

The rings deposited two Jaffa and Teal’c fired quickly, taking them down before they had time to react.  Daniel had no doubt more would be coming.

He reached up and grabbed his radio.  “Jack!  We need help!”

Teal’c was putting his life on the line to give him a chance.  He turned back to the writing, pushing aside the imminent threat as he searched for the information he needed.  Running his fingers across the raised script, he sorted and translated the hybrid text.

It was a riddle based on ancient Phoenician history, something only a priest or historian would know.  Lucky for him, he fell into the latter category.

There were two control pads, one on either side of the door, each requiring its own sequence.  They weren’t obvious, but if you had correctly solved the riddle, easy to find.

“Daniel Jackson!”

Teal’c’s warning sliced through his focus.  The rings deposited four more Jaffa.

“Almost!” he shouted, turning back to the left panel and pressing the symbols he’d deciphered.

Staff weapon blasts rent the air, one impacting the wall above Daniel’s head.  He heard Teal’c returning fire and glanced back before diving to the other side of the doorway.

Daniel pulled his Beretta and joined Teal’c as he fired on the remaining two Jaffa.  Even as they exchanged fire, the rings activated again.  Daniel hit one of the Jaffa and Teal’c took out the other.

Aware he only had seconds to act, Daniel turned to the second control panel and searched for the remaining symbols.  Staff fire started up again just as Daniel pressed the first symbol.  Fire exploded in his shoulder and he was slammed against the door panel.  It was a familiar pain, just like he’d felt years ago on Apophis’ ship.

Apophis.  The parasite who’d stolen Sha’re.  Who’d stolen his life, his hopes, his dreams.  Just like another Goa’uld was going to do to SG-11.   No one should have to suffer like Sha’re did.  A familiar rage boiled up inside him.  To give up now would mean the Goa’uld had won.

Gritting his teeth, Daniel blinked the sweat from his eyes and searched the panel for the final two symbols.  Behind him, Teal’c continued to defend their position—to protect him.

There—the last two.  Daniel pressed them in order and the chamber shimmered just before the beam disappeared.

Silence had fallen behind him and he slowly, painfully turned, still gripping his weapon.  The invading Jaffa all lay dead.  Teal’c was lying sprawled on his back at the base of the pillar.

“Teal’c!”

Daniel staggered to him and knelt.  A blast had hit just to the left of his symbiote pouch.

He looked up at Daniel.  “Are they free?”

“Yeah, yeah, the beam is down.”

“Good.”  Teal’c closed his eyes.

“Hey, stay with me,” Daniel encouraged.  “Help will be here soon.”

Teal’c opened his eyes and looked Daniel over.  “My symbiote will heal me, but you are also injured.”

“It’s not bad.”  Not like yours. 

“Yet you were able to complete the translation and disable the beam.”

“Only because you had my back.”

“I will always ‘have your back’, Daniel Jackson.”

Daniel’s throat tightened.  “I know that, Teal’c.  I’m sorry I ever doubted it.”

“I understand.”

Teal’c had been ready to die for him, and to save SG-11.  He’d always had Daniel’s back.  Daniel had just been too overcome by grief to remember that.

Moans from the other chamber pulled his attention back to where SG-11 was stirring.  Maggie Cole opened her eyes and squinted as she searched her surroundings before zoning in on him.

“Doctor… Jackson?”

Commotion at the building’s entrance spurred Daniel to lift his Beretta again, and hiss at the burning in his shoulder as he leaned protectively over Teal’c.

“Daniel?”

Jack appeared in the doorway, MP5 sweeping the room.  Behind him, Evans did the same as they cautiously entered.

“It’s all clear,” Daniel assured them, relaxing.  “At least for now.”

They had no idea if the Goa’uld had given up or was re-grouping.

“We must go,” Teal’c said urgently, obviously thinking the same thing.

“Daniel, can you help Teal’c?” Jack asked, his gaze moving from Teal’c to Daniel’s injured shoulder.

“Yeah, I can,” Daniel replied, his gaze meeting Teal’c’s.

“Good, get movin’.  We’ll take care of SG-11,” Jack said moving towards the chamber.

~o~

Daniel poked at the Jello on his tray and watched as it jiggled in the dish.  Every time he’d been stuck in the infirmary, he’d been given Jello to eat, as though it had some magical property that healed.  The last time he’d been here…

He closed his eyes and laid his head back against the pillow.  The last time, he’d been recovering from the effects of the ribbon device, and from the loss of the person he held most dear.  Magical Jello couldn’t fix that—nothing could.

The curtain between dreams and the waking world blurred once again, and Sha’re’s beautiful face shined down as she leaned over him.  His skin tingled where her fingers caressed his face with feather-light touches.

“My Danyel.”

“Sha’re.”

“You must forgive Teal’c.”

“I have.”

“That is good.  Now sleep, my love.  I will be waiting for you.”

“Waiting?”

“For you to finish your journey.”

“Because it’s not over yet.”

“Not yet, my Danyel.  Not yet.”

“Daniel?”

Sha’re’s face faded as he opened moist eyes to find Jack standing next to his bed, looking at him with concern.

“Hey, Jack.”

“You okay?”

“Yeah, fine,” he replied, swiping at the dampness on his cheek.  Jack watched him suspiciously.  “How’s Sam?” he asked, glancing a couple of beds away to where Sam was sleeping.

“ Better.  Fraiser’s keeping her while her hands are healing.”

“Good thing she woke up before you got to the ‘gate.”

“Yeah.  She was just pissed that when we got your call, I wouldn’t let her come with us.”

“I bet,” Daniel chuckled.  “What about Teal’c?”

“Still doing kel-no-reem.  Junior’s just about healed him, though.”

“I’m glad.  It looked pretty bad.”

“How’s the shoulder?”  Jack picked up Daniel’s Jello and sniffed it, wrinkling his nose.

Daniel shifted uncomfortably.  “Not too bad.  Teal’c was hit worse than I was, but he’ll probably heal faster.”

“You’d rather have a Junior of your own?”

“Uh, no thanks.  I’ll just heal the old-fashioned way.”

“You’ll be back at it before you know it.”  Jack put the Jello back on Daniel’s tray and shoved his hands in his pockets, his face neutral.  “That is, if you want to.”

It wasn’t a casual statement, though.  Jack was waiting for a decision.  Daniel had never mentioned the contents of the second folder he’d brought to the briefing, but he was pretty sure Jack knew what he was planning to do.  Did he still want to do it?  Was he ready to walk away from the SGC?  From SG-1?  Sha’re had told him his journey wasn’t over yet.  Maybe there really was something out there that he was destined to find.

“You and Teal’c made a good team,” Jack said, apparently taking Daniel’s silence negatively.

“We almost got killed.”

“But you didn’t—and you saved SG-11.”

And it felt good.  Once they’d been freed from the beam, they’d started to recover.  Fraiser had checked them over and released them, only ordering them to rest in their on-base quarters until she was sure they didn’t have any lasting effects.  SG-11 had stopped in to see how he was doing, and Maggie had given him a gentle hug, and whispered, ‘thank you’.  She hadn’t died—was whole and healthy, and able to return to her family.  It had been worth it.

“Look, I know you’re still dealing with losing Sha’re.  Just remember, we’re here—all of us—if you need to, ya know, talk, or… anything.”

Jack offering to talk?  He really must be worried that Daniel would quit.  It was true he was no stranger to loss, but he realized he was a stranger to sharing that loss with people who were close to him—people who were family.  Maybe instead of keeping himself closed off, keeping everything locked inside, he needed to allow them in.  Maybe he needed to lean on them, just a little bit.

“Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

“What?  I can do the talking thing.”

“Right.  You avoid it like the plague,” Daniel chuckled.  “I appreciate the offer, but I’m not going anywhere.”

“You’re… you’re not?”

“Nope.  Let’s just say that there’s something through the Stargate that I think I have to be the one to find.”

Jack’s forehead wrinkled in confusion.  “I have no idea what that means, but I’ll buy it.”

A shiver ran up Daniel’s spine, like the fingers of a ghost.

Jack patted him on the shoulder.  “Glad you’re staying.”

“Me, too.”

Jack smiled and sauntered out of the infirmary.  Daniel laid his head back on the pillow and smiled, the scent of vanilla and sandalwood and something else teasing his nostrils.

End

 

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
eilidh17
May. 26th, 2014 01:29 pm (UTC)
Me three! I'm eternally grateful he stayed, even when he did take that awful year or so hiatus!

Beautifully written, Denny. I loved the added bonus of an action scene with some great Daniel and Teal'c interaction.

Well done!
dennydj
May. 26th, 2014 01:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! And thanks bunches for your help with the story. :-)
roeskva
May. 26th, 2014 05:18 pm (UTC)
That was a great tag to an episode that was very difficult. Well done!
Poor SG-1 - they always tend to lose those they love.
dennydj
May. 30th, 2014 04:27 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed the fic. And yes, they do lose too many loved ones.
gategremlyn
May. 26th, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC)
A perfect moment for Daniel and Teal'c to reconnect. Of *course* he stayed! (Would we let him do anything else?)

The healing properties of jello may have to be investigated further.

The little echo of "I have no idea what that means...." is also excellent--and chilling.

Beautiful work, Denny!
dennydj
May. 30th, 2014 04:30 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked it. There surely must be something special in the jello for it to be featured so often!
sg_wonderland
May. 28th, 2014 07:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, I really really like this! Just the right blend of angst and action.
dennydj
May. 30th, 2014 04:30 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! Glad it worked for you. :-)
sg_fignewton
Jun. 17th, 2014 07:11 am (UTC)
“I will always ‘have your back’, Daniel Jackson.”

Daniel’s throat tightened. “I know that, Teal’c. I’m sorry I ever doubted it.”


::melts::

Oh, this is fantastic! Daniel thinking of quitting and then determined to tough it out so that someone, at least, will get home to her family. Teal'c protecting him. Daniel being Daniel. Jack being a good friend. Wheee!

And that last vision or whatever of Sha're... ::happy sigh::

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I blame you for picking Y and me for taking so long to work my way down to the alphabet to read this, but thanks so much for contributing. :)
dennydj
Jun. 22nd, 2014 04:13 am (UTC)
So glad you liked it! Thanks for reading and letting me know. I'll try to choose a letter higher up the line next time! :-)
sg_fignewton
Jul. 30th, 2014 09:54 am (UTC)
Look what I just got to rec! :)
stargatesg1971
Jul. 30th, 2014 10:18 am (UTC)
What a beautiful piece and an awesome tag for such a dramatic/heartbreaking episode. I just want to give Daniel a big hug. This is wonderful blend of angst and action. Thanks for a great read!
dennydj
Jul. 30th, 2014 09:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I think there would have been a lot to resolve after this ep, and a lot of emotions to sort through. Let's all give Daniel a big hug! :-)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )