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A Tragic Story, The Final Chapter

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He had been awaiting the summons. When he felt the pull of the Others on his life force, he didn't resist. He'd known it would be coming, ever since he had quite literally been jerked off the command deck of Anubis' ship

One would think that the glowing ethereal quasi-matter he now was wouldn't have much to grab on to. He'd certainly not had a lot of luck coming into actual contact with any of the Others. Of course, he hadn't made much of an effort in that direction. There wasn't anyone he had wanted to make actual physical contact with. Even in his corporeal form there were only a few people he had enjoyed touching and being touched by.

He was seemingly transported from his place of solitude to being the center of attention of a large group of Ascended life forces. As he looked around him, he tried to identify the different personalities that he knew. There was Oma, a rather large powerful glow; and Shi'fu, smaller but perhaps a bit brighter. The Others had gathered, some he had seen before, and some that he hadn't.

Actually, as he had told Jack, he hadn't met many of the others. Oma kept herself and her chosen few close together and separated from the company of the others. Whether it was her doing or the actions of the others he could never find out.

He began to receive impressions from the group. There were those of disapproval, some even of disgust and shock. How dare he interfere with mere mortals? What business of his was it? Couldn't he just get on with his life and forget about their little lives?

What? What did they mean...little lives...this was Jack and Sam and Teal'c! They weren't little, nor were they unimportant. And Anubis, well, Anubis was almost one of them. The Others should have done something about him themselves a long time ago.

"No, it doesn't work that way." The thought planted itself in his brain.

"It never does, does it?" he thought bitterly. "After all, they're only *my* family. Jack is only the savior of the Asgards, Sam is only one of the smartest people I know, and Teal'c is only the spear point of the Jaffa rebellion. What do you mean, they're of no importance to anyone? How can you think that? How can you possibly believe that?"

"They are not important to us. They are small in the grand scheme of things." The thought was cold in his head.

"They're not small to me!" He replied angrily. "Perhaps your consciousness, your path is too narrow to fit all the greatness in the universe!"

"Daniel, please."

"No! No Daniel please! You cannot see beyond the confines of your minds. You've freed your bodies from restrictions when you became ascended...but your minds and thoughts are still imprisoned by narrow-minded bigotry. You cannot see so you will not help!"

"They do not need our help."

"Not against their equals, no. But they need your help against Anubis. He is, or was, one of you!"

"It is not our place to interfere."

"It should not be your place to stand idly by and watch either. You have the power to change things for the better, for everyone, yet you will not use it! Why?"

"We are not gods."

"No, but you allow others to claim that title. They are not gods either."

"We do not allow it. We do not participate."

"That's right, because you choose not to act, thousands maybe millions die everyday."

"It is not our place to interfere."

"Negligence is a sin. Abandonment a crime. Carelessness a transgression. Who do you answer to? Who will stand up for you and yours when you become the targets? Who will speak out for you when the Goa'ulds or the Replicators or some other evil comes for you? There will be no one left! You will be alone against your enemies because you allow your allies, and those who could be your friends to die alone in the darkness. You...you are pathetic!

*****

catch me as i fall
say you're here and it's all over now
speaking to the atmosphere
no one's here and i fall into myself
this truth drives me into madness
i know i can stop the pain if i will it all away

*****

He awoke. He was alone. He was naked. He was frightened. He didn't know who he was. He felt the nerve endings in his skin under a painful onslaught of grit and wind. He could taste skin, muscles and sensations of the blood in his mouth. He smelled the dirt encroaching upon his sinus cavities forcing odors on his olfactory glands. Then, he heard sounds...voices...vibrations traveling through the air impinging upon his eardrums. He opened his eyes, now seeing colors, shapes that ran riot as the light rays carried the spectrum into his optic nerves overwhelming him. His senses revealed to him that he'd been discovered. There were men looking at him, pointing at him, and talking.

But in the end, they were kind folk. People who picked him up and took him into their homes where they nurtured and protected him. He was lost and afraid, they gave him a place. He was hungry and thirsty, they gave him nourishment. He was confused and knew not himself, but in that, they could not help him. He was nameless, they called him Arum.

Then, the others came. Arum had been walking in the woods as was his habit, when strangers saw him and brought him to the team that called itself SG-1. There were four of them...there should be four...it seemed right to him...but still somehow wrong.

The leader looked at him in shock, surprise, recognition. He said a word...'Daniel'. His world shook to the center of his universe. He denied them, and he fled.

-------

When Jack saw Daniel, he knew him immediately. Only the presence of the natives and SG-5 stopped him from running over to him and literally throwing his arms around the other man. But...there was something terribly wrong...and when Daniel didn't recognize him, Jack experienced the childish urge of wanting to fall down on the ground screaming and crying about the injustice of it all.

It wasn't fair, damn it! It wasn't. This couldn't be right. Daniel had to know him...had to remember. So, after sucking it up and carrying on, Jack knew that they had to get him back to the SGC. No doubt in his mind, nor Carter's either, evidently. Jack never knew what the two of them had talked about. But then, suddenly, Daniel was coming with them. He would remember. He had to remember.

*****

i'm frightened by what i see
but somehow i know that there's much more to come
immobilized by my fear
and soon to be blinded by tears
i can stop the pain if i will it all away

*****

The oddly quiet man came through the Stargate with them. He entered the wormhole and stepped out into the forgotten, unknown world on the other side. There were more people there that said they knew him, but he didn't know them. Another man, smaller, older called his name. Another woman, smaller, darker gave him glasses so that he could see. Others he didn't recognize at all smiled at him with warmth and welcome.

Then the tall man, Jim, no Jack, took him to a place of comfort and quiet. There were things there that were familiar. Jack said that they were friends and he looked terribly lonely. But Jack was kind and gentle. He allowed him to be alone with himself. That was what he wanted? Right? To be alone, so that he could think.

That night he remembered Sha'uri. He remembered his gentle, loving, child-bride of one year. Then he remembered Ammonet, the evil ancient creature that stole her from him. He remembered her life...and finally he remembered her death. He could recall the bone crushing agony of the ribbon device, the numbing sorrow of her death. He wanted to run, to flee back to the village and the people who had befriended him. He wanted to deny the battle, run from the pain. He wanted to be Arum again; he wanted to hide from Daniel and all his sorrows.

He saw the face of her liberator. He knew the man Teal'c, who for some reason, was ashamed of the actions that he had taken that fated day on Abydos. Daniel knew that his friend had done what was right, what Sha'uri had wanted, what was the only thing possible.

Then, he recalled Samantha, her quick fire wit that could equal his passion for knowledge, her enjoyment of learning and her zest for life. How she had been there for him as a colleague, a sister and, yes, occasionally as a mother.

He also remembered he knew Jack too. He knew him as a firm friend, one whom he could always rely on. But, there was something more...something deeper...something infinitely more precious. He knew it, he just didn't know what it was.

He was pleased to find that he had enjoyed such friendships. And he was sure of his place with them when, in the locker room, he had told Jack. "I remember...enough."

Then had come the adventure.

*****

don't turn away
don't give in to the pain
don't try to hide
though they're screaming your name
don't close your eyes
God knows what lies behind them
don't turn out the light
never sleep never die

*****

After Jonas Quinn had left and he had turned around, there stood Jack. He was slouched against the massive doorway, watching him. He'd obviously been watching him for a while.

Dinner had been at seven. They had all gone to Jack's place, ordered in pizza, and watched a movie. When Jack had invited him to stay over no remarks had been made. It was as if it had been expected.

Jack showed him to the guest bedroom. There had even been some clothes that fit him in the closet. Daniel had thanked him, showered and gone to bed. Then he had dreamed...and he remembered.

Jack O'Neill had awakened with the feeling that someone was in the house. 'Well, of course there was. Daniel was there, and he was awake'. Jack thought perhaps the younger man couldn't sleep, or had a nightmare. It was his duty as a host to check, just to be sure.

He had found his house guest in the den looking out the large picture window. Daniel was standing there, back towards him, haloed by the moonlight that was filtering down through the thin, wispy cirrus clouds of the night sky. The beams caught the tousled fair hair and made it look soft and inviting. He was wearing a heather gray sweatsuit that seemed to glow, luminous in the silvery light. The sight of him took Jack's breath away. Unconsciously, he jammed his hands into the pockets of his pajama top.

"Hey, you okay?"

"Yes, thank you, I'm fine."

"Couldn't sleep?"

"I slept for awhile. I dreamed."

"Bad dreams?"

"No."

"Good dreams?"

"Dreams teach, Jack. They show us many things."

"Shi'fu said that." Jack frowned at the memory.

"Yes, yes, he did."

"That was a while ago, Daniel. A couple of years."

"It doesn't make it less true." He turned to look at Jack. "In fact, I learned a lot tonight."

"Oh?" Jack walked over to stand next to him.

"I remembered...things." Daniel said in a soft voice.

Jack looked at him curiously. "What did you remember?"

"I remember...being here before."

"You were here many times."

"I remember that bedroom." Daniel looked at him and smiled shyly.

Jack nodded, "That's good."

"And I remember your bedroom."

"What? What do you remember?" Jack had to turn and step away from the other man. But when he looked back, Daniel had followed him.

"I remember...enough." He was close enough for their bodies to touch. "I remember your warmth, your strength. your hands on my body." He paused, looking down for a moment, then back up into Jack's face. He continued, his voice soft and low. "I remember the taste of you in my mouth. I remember your scent on my breath." He caught Jack's look, locking eyes with him. "I remember the sound of your voice in my ears as you cried out my name, and I remember the sight of you in my heart." Daniel paused, then took a half a step forward. He reached out and pulled Jack's left hand out of the pj's pocket, holding it in his right, then he continued. "I know the power in your body, the ecstasy of your love and the exultation of your surrender."

Jack could only stare down wordlessly at their joined hands. Finally, he spoke. "Daniel?"

"Jack." He smiled gently, no longer timid. He carefully, slowly, put Jack's hand against his own chest.

"Oh, God, Danny!" Jack tugged his right hand loose and pulled him into his arms. They touched, then came together, holding each other gently in a warm embrace. "Daniel, I missed you so much."

"I know," the younger man murmured into his neck. "I can tell."

Jack pulled back from him. "I don't want you to feel uh, obligated...."

Daniel guided him back to the couch, never releasing his hand. "No, not that, I knew when you first saw me in the village that you were...different, special. That's why I ran...I was afraid...like Peter in the courtyard."

Jack looked at him in confusion. "Like who?"

"I denied you, three times...I'll never deny you again."

"I'm not asking anything...except for you to stay with me...us...here. We need you Daniel."

The younger man leaned into him, then paused, a hair's breadth from their lip touching. "You've got me Jack."

Jack looked up into the inviting eyes and sank towards him, their lips meeting gently, hesitantly. But when the other's mouth opened to him he took the invitation into his heart. As they sank down together on the couch, the moon looked down upon them, casting its light upon their renewal and carrying their voices in the night.

*****

fallen angels at my feet
whispered voices at my ear
death before my eyes
lying next to me I fear
she beckons me shall I give in
upon my end shall I begin
forsaking all i've fallen for I rise to meet the end

*****

Next: A Horror Story: The Final Chapter