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Foxfire

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He found the picture tucked inside an old Foxfire book, one of the few references they had for the bulk of the work they did now; drying berries, smoking salmon--the runs had restored themselves remarkably fast once the dams came down--even tanning hides (a job Daniel usually tried to beg out of but Sam never let him). In the photo, faded to sepia and the edges soft with age and handling, Vala peers over his shoulder at something out of frame while Teal'c stands in the doorway. He wasn't sure, but he thought they might be in Sam's lab: the angle looked right.

Sam came into the library just then, Nessa and Paulo trailing behind her; she looked tired, and her limp was more pronounced than usual. "Daniel," she said, but he interrupted her.

"Was this--did you take this?" He thrust the photograph at her. It was hard to look at it now, so much later, and see Teal'c's strong face, the smooth skin of Vala's cheek, those long lashes. She never lost the lashes, even to the end.

As Sam took the picture from his hand, her face blurred; he turned away from the kids' curious faces. They wouldn't remember Vala much, or Teal'c at all.

"Oh," said Sam, and touched the surface of the photo delicately. "No," she said then, her voice soft. "I think it must have been Cam--you remember, at the beginning, the way he had that camera, making us all stand for pictures until Teal'c threatened to take it away?" She smiled, tucking a long grey strand of hair behind her ear. Despite all her attempts, she could never keep her hair successfully confined: bits were always falling loose, into her eyes, her work, her lunch.

Few of Cam's pictures had ever made it out of the mountain, given the security protocols; Daniel wasn't sure how this one survived. When Sam handed it back, he took it with unsteady fingers, holding it carefully by the edges as if touching the image would smear their faces into blurry nothingness. It was so sharp and vivid: much clearer than his memory, now.

"Yes, I remember," he said, and slid it back into the book. In twenty years Paulo or Nessa would open this, looking for information on how to build a mandolin, perhaps, and discover this photo of three complete strangers, just another mystery of the world that was now gone. "I remember."