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Fanfiction: The Dark Side

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S4 Absolute Power
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Daniel/Team friendship.  Daniel/Skaara friendship.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.  Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

The Dark Side


The control room was silent. The wormhole had blinked out of existence. Daniel Jackson stared at the empty circle of the Stargate. His chest felt about to burst, filled with so many emotions he didn’t know what he felt, how he felt. The sharp pain of renewed grief for the loss of his wife competed with the new regretful grief he felt for the loss of Shifu and for the family he and Sha’re might have built together. So many emotions from the dream he had been given were mixed in with that; shame, regret, guilt swirled around his head along with confusion and bemusement. He didn’t know where he belonged anymore; whether the life he had chosen was right anymore. He blinked back tears and spun on his heel; his only thought was to escape from the compassionate stares and pitying looks of everyone around him.

‘Daniel.’ He heard Samantha Carter’s quiet call and ignored it. He couldn’t speak. He charged down the stairs and out into the corridor. His only aim was to get to his office. He took the stairs rather than waiting for the elevator, stumbling up them, almost falling in his haste. His breathing became ragged as he kept up his fast pace and he was out of breath by the time he staggered over the threshold of his office door. He slammed it shut and kept the overhead lights off, the room illuminated with only the small desk lamp he’d left on earlier. He walked over to the picture of his wife, Sha’re, and picked it up. He could barely see it; the tears he had been holding at bay blurred his vision and fell unheeded down his cheeks. He reached up and clumsily removed his glasses, uncaring as he plonked them down on the side bench. His fingers tightened around the frame he held.

He was unaware of the door opening, of Jack O’Neill slipping inside, not until the older man cleared his throat.

‘Daniel.’

Daniel turned away from him and swiped at his face. He took a deep, trembling breath. ‘Go away, Jack.’ He figured it was the answer the Colonel wanted to hear and he wasn’t sure he could handle talking to Jack given his dream.

You never were too bright.’

Had it really been his voice mocking Jack’s intelligence with cold superiority? Daniel shivered. It wasn’t him. He knew Jack wasn’t the dumb soldier he sometimes played at being. He realised suddenly that the military man hadn’t left. He looked back over his shoulder quizzically.

Jack’s warm eyes caught his and the open understanding in the Colonel’s gaze had Daniel turning away again, a sob catching in his throat as his head bowed. ‘Go away.’ He pleaded, closing his eyes. He sank blindly to the floor.

A second later, he felt Jack sit beside him and Jack’s hand come to rest at the back of his neck in silent support; his friend was there for him, he wasn’t leaving. Daniel clutched the photo to him, brought his knees up to his chest; his head lowering to them as he cried in earnest.

The two men didn’t move for a long time; Daniel huddled over crying with Jack sat by his side, hand on the younger man’s neck to provide him with the comfort of another human touch, another human presence. Daniel’s tears subsided and they still sat together. He felt Jack’s hand slip away. He missed it. The warmth had kept him anchored.

‘You want to talk about it?’ Jack asked finally. His eyes darted to Daniel’s, and away again.

Daniel shook his head and shifted. He stretched out his legs. ‘Not really.’

‘Yeah.’ Jack murmured understandingly.

They were quiet for a long moment.

‘I know it’s stupid,’ Daniel began, ‘but I’m going to miss him.’

‘It’s not stupid.’ Jack gestured at the picture Daniel held. ‘He’s a part of her.’

The archaeologist let go of the picture enough to view Sha’re’s face; her beautiful smile, her dark expressive eyes, her thick wavy hair. He could almost feel it beneath his fingertips, the scent of it…

‘I miss her.’ Daniel said softly. ‘Every day.’

‘I know.’

And because Jack really did know, because he lived with his own personal grief and guilt every day, Daniel felt strangely comforted. He let his head fall back against the wall. He closed his eyes and let his mind drift back over the events of the day; finding Shifu, returning with him, telling him of Sha’re and of their need of the knowledge the boy carried…he felt a frisson of fresh guilt.

He had promised Sha’re to keep her child safe and he had almost broken that promise when he had asked Shifu to remember. If Shifu hadn’t sent him the dream…he sighed. He frowned. He had found Shifu with the others undergoing a za’tarc test. His eyes snapped open and he looked at Jack questioningly.

‘What?’ Jack asked.

‘You were testing Shifu with the za’tarc machine.’ Daniel couldn’t keep the hint of accusation out of his voice – the suspicion that they had been about to interrogate a child.

Jack’s eyes flashed angrily as he read Daniel’s mind correctly but his voice was even when he spoke. ‘The Tok’ra suggested we verify that he was a Harcesis and what he had done to you using the machine.’ He held Daniel’s eyes firmly. ‘That was it.’

Daniel nodded. He grimaced. ‘That must have been weird for you. Seeing the za’tarc machine again.’ He commented. Jack and Sam had been falsely identified as za’tarcs – innocent individuals brainwashed by the Goa’uld into being assassins – Daniel knew it had led them to some uncomfortable revelations about their feelings for each other although he didn’t know the full story about their confessions and doubted he ever would. The couple were unsurprisingly tight-lipped given their military relationship, and the other witnesses to their confessions, Janet Fraiser and Teal’c were both very discreet.

‘Weird.’ Jack agreed gruffly.

The internal phone rang.

Jack patted Daniel’s shoulder and hoisted himself to his feet. ‘I’ve got it.’ He plucked the grey phone from the wall. ‘O’Neill.’ He listened for a moment and his gaze dropped to the floor as he nodded. ‘Understood. Thank you, Sergeant.’ He placed the phone back into its cradle. He stuck his hands in his pockets and turned back to Daniel. ‘Debriefing in thirty minutes.’

Daniel nodded.

‘You want me to stay?’ Jack asked gently.

He shook his head and moved to get up. Jack took a step forward and held out his hand. Daniel took it gratefully. He allowed the older man to pull him up. Jack let go of him.

‘Well, I’ll…’ Jack pointed at the door and spun on his heel to leave.

‘Jack.’ Daniel looked over at him as Jack was part-way out of the office, backlit by the bright corridor lights. ‘Thanks.’

Jack nodded and closed the door behind him.

Daniel’s eyes fell back onto the picture he held. He sat down and his fingers drifted over her face again.

‘What do I do now, Sha’re?’ He murmured. ‘What do I do now?’

o-O-o

Sam couldn’t believe that she had volunteered to help Aldwin pack up the za’tarc machine; she disliked the equipment, the room, the memories that flashed through her head. The one of Jack describing how much he cared for her, that he would rather die than lose her was treasured – it was the closest she had ever gotten to hearing him say he loved her despite the feeling feelings discussion they’d had once as Jonah and Thera. But the memories that followed, of realising the za’tarc was Martouf, of killing him in the gate room were heart-wrenching. Her grief and Jolinar’s all mixed up in one uncomfortable bubble.

Why had she volunteered again? She mused. Because she had wanted something to take her mind off Daniel, she remembered. The Colonel had gone after the archaeologist when he’d left the control room with the words ‘I’ve got this.’ It had been clear that she and Teal’c hadn’t been meant to follow.

‘I take it you have seen that…that kind of the energy being before?’ Aldwin asked breaking into her thoughts.

‘Yes.’ Sam replied. She handed him a part of the machine. ‘Oma, the alien, who protected Shifu on Kheb, had the same ability to turn into pure energy.’

‘It was remarkable.’ Aldwin’s voice held a note of awe.

Sam allowed herself a small smile. ‘We saw her take out a whole party of Jaffa.’ She noted. ‘It was pretty impressive.’

‘I take it that was your reason for allowing the child to leave?’ Aldwin asked.

‘Partly.’ Sam agreed. ‘I don’t think we would ever have been able to get to the information in Shifu’s subconscious.’

Aldwin shot her a curious look and gestured with the wrench he held. ‘You almost sound pleased.’ He commented.

‘I guess I am.’ Sam admitted. ‘It didn’t feel right putting a child through all…’ she waved at the chair and the remaining parts of the machine, ‘all this.’ She sighed. They had tried to justify to themselves. It had been so tempting to believe that they could extract the information they needed that could lead to the downfall of the Goa’uld but wishful thinking to believe any harm they caused the boy could be miraculously wiped away by Oma again. She was pleased they had been prevented from being able to do it; saved from themselves.

‘Do you not believe it would have been worth it?’ Aldwin asked.

‘I think if we had gone ahead and if we had damaged the child then we would be no better than the Goa’uld.’ Sam said slowly. She handed him the last part.

‘Thank you for assisting.’ Aldwin said as he packed it into the silver case.

‘No problem.’ Sam said dismissively.

‘I understand after what happened with Martouf that this can’t have been easy for you.’ Aldwin said awkwardly.

Sam gave him a tight smile. ‘No.’ She agreed. ‘Not easy.’ She stepped back and crossed her arms over her chest. ‘By the way, Anise promised that we would have the results of the, er, autopsy, and any other information about the za’tarcs that was learned from analysing an intact brain.’ Martouf’s brain. She pushed the thought away. ‘Do you know when we’ll get that?’

Aldwin blinked at her as though startled by her question. His eyes fell from hers quickly. ‘I’m not certain.’

She frowned. She was certain that he was lying. ‘Aldwin…’

‘I should be getting back to the Council.’ Aldwin said hurriedly, picking up the heavy case. ‘I will relay your request.’

‘It’s not a request.’ Sam pointed out tersely. ‘It’s simply the information we were promised.’

‘Of course.’ Aldwin said, evidently trying to placate her.

‘After all,’ Sam said smoothly as he took a step toward the door, ‘we have a treaty which states we must share all relevant information like we shared the discovery of the Harcesis child with you.’

Aldwin stopped and turned back to her. He seemed about to say something to her but he obviously changed his mind when he suddenly dropped his gaze. ‘I’m sorry. I will try and get the information for you.’

‘Thank you, Aldwin.’ Sam said. ‘Please tell my father I’m asking after him.’

‘I will.’ Aldwin bowed his head a little. ‘Goodbye.’

‘Goodbye.’ Sam nodded at the SF by the door. He could escort Aldwin back to the gate room. She slumped against the table and stared at the chair.

This doesn’t have to leave this room, sir.’

Jack’s warm brown eyes regarded her with concern – concern for her. ‘And we’re OK with that?’

They had been naïve – she had been naïve to suggest it, Sam realised in hindsight. How did you pretend you didn’t love someone? She sighed. She wished she could figure it out. It had been hard, twice as hard after the whole memory stamp thing. She felt they had just got back on even keel.

‘Major Carter.’ Teal’c walked into the room, hands behind his back. ‘Colonel O’Neill asked that I collect you for our debriefing.’

Sam nodded. She could understand why the Colonel had sent Teal’c. It would have been too much, the two of them standing back in the room together among the ghosts of their confessions. It was easier that it was Teal’c. They walked out and headed to the elevator.

‘How’s Daniel doing?’ Sam asked as she pressed the button to call it.

‘O’Neill said that he would be fine.’ Teal’c responded. The lights glanced off his dark bald head and the glittering gold symbol.

Sam sighed. ‘He’s been through so much.’

The elevator arrived and they both stepped into the small box.

‘I wonder what dream Shifu gave him that convinced him that it was wrong to try and extract the information.’ Sam mused out loud as she stared at the floor counter.

Teal’c raised an eyebrow. ‘The Harcesis child proved to be a very powerful being.’

‘Indeed.’ Sam quipped.

Teal’c shot her a mock look of outrage at her stealing his line and she grinned back at him.

‘It’s strange.’ Sam said frowning suddenly. ‘I mean, if the boy was so powerful, why give Daniel the dream? We were never going to be able to extract the information from him.’

Teal’c inclined his head. He shifted position a little. ‘It is unfortunate. The information within the Harcesis child would have enabled us to fight the Goa’uld.’

‘Actually, I’m glad we couldn’t, Teal’c.’ Sam said. ‘It was wrong of us to think about putting a child through that.’

‘Do you consider the life of one child more important than the future of your whole world, Major Carter?’ Teal’c asked. ‘Are sacrifices not sometimes required from us?’

‘I know that, Teal’c.’ Sam’s mind flitted to Martouf again, back to the room with its locked-in confessions. ‘I just think if we use a child, doesn’t that make us just as bad as the Goa’uld?’

Teal’c’s eyebrow rose again as he considered her words. The elevator doors slid open and Sam walked out before he could reply. She headed for the seat next to the Colonel.

Jack looked up and smiled at her as she sat down and he nodded at Teal’c.

General Hammond and Janet Fraiser exited the General’s office and took their seats.

‘Where’s Doctor Jackson?’ Hammond asked as he sat down.

‘I’m here.’ Daniel’s voice preceded his entrance at the stairwell. He hurriedly took a seat next to Janet. ‘Sorry.’

‘That’s OK, son.’ Hammond said compassionately. His pale blue eyes scanned the younger man with concern. ‘Can you explain exactly what happened here today?’

‘I’m not sure I can.’ Daniel admitted. He leaned forward on the table. ‘I talked to Shifu as you asked. I explained about the Goa’uld and how the knowledge he carried could help us.’ He paused. ‘And then he touched me.’

‘Touched you?’ Janet asked. ‘How?’

‘Just a touch.’ Daniel shrugged. He pointed at his forehead. ‘Here.’

‘I found you passed out.’ Jack said. ‘Shifu claimed he was teaching you.’

‘He was.’ Daniel confirmed. ‘I, er, I thought I woke up in the infirmary and I, er, suddenly had all this knowledge in my head. In my dream.’

‘Knowledge?’ Sam asked curious.

‘All this Goa’uld knowledge, I guess.’ Daniel’s blue eyes met hers. ‘I thought, well, I thought he’d given me what we asked for; the knowledge of the Harcesis child.’

‘Do you remember any of it?’ Hammond just beat Jack to the question.

Daniel shook his head. ‘No, ah, that part of it is kind of fuzzy.’ He fidgeted with his glasses. ‘I remember something about satellites and that’s about it.’

‘What do you remember?’ Janet interceded.

‘That in giving me – us – the knowledge, it led to the world being destroyed by evil.’ Daniel replied.

‘Well, that sucks.’ Jack proclaimed, lightening the tension in the room.

Daniel smiled gratefully.

‘I get the impression that’s there’s more to it than what you’re telling us, Doctor Jackson.’ Hammond stated.

‘The rest is kind of personal, General.’ Daniel said quietly.

‘Doctor Fraiser?’ Hammond asked. ‘Was there any sign that the boy was…was a…was…’

‘A glowing energy being, sir?’ Janet supplied dryly. ‘No. His blood tests and other physical examinations came back normal. I can’t explain it.’

‘They must be able to make themselves…solid.’ Daniel thought out loud.

‘OK.’ Hammond sighed. ‘I guess we’re done here then.’

‘Actually,’ Daniel raised his hand, ‘I’d like to request that I go back to Abydos, General.’ He wet his lips. ‘I, uh, I need to tell Kasuf about his grandson.’

‘Doctor?’ Hammond turned to Janet. ‘Are there any affects from this dream Doctor Jackson had that would prevent him from travelling off-world?’

Janet glanced at Daniel who gave her a pleading look. ‘Physically, there’s no sign of any adverse effects, sir.’ She confirmed cautiously. ‘But I would prefer that someone go with him in case there is a delayed reaction.’

‘SG1 can back him up, sir.’ Jack offered immediately.

Sam nodded in agreement. She wanted to be there for Daniel.

Hammond nodded. ‘Agreed.’ He looked at Daniel. ‘You have twenty-four hours. I’ll let the control room know.’ His gaze swept around the table. ‘You can leave as soon as you’re geared up.’

‘Yes, sir.’ Jack answered.

Hammond left.

‘Thank you.’ Daniel said quietly to Janet before he slipped out of the room.

Janet sighed and glanced at Jack and Sam. ‘Look after him.’ She ordered.

‘We will.’ Sam promised. She looked back at Jack and Teal’c, and saw the same determination and commitment to keeping her promise in their eyes. They would all look after Daniel.

o-O-o

Skaara knew where to find Daniel when he woke and realised the other man was missing from the tent they shared. He pulled on his cloak and drew back the flap to the tent’s entrance. It was dark outside; the early hours of the morning before most Abydonians rose to start the work for the day. He glanced at the small Tau’ri tents set up to the side. There was no movement. He determined that O’Neill and Major Carter – Sam as she insisted on being called – were sleeping. There was no sign of the Jaffa. Skaara smiled. He figured he knew exactly where Teal’c was too.

He made his way through the maze of tents to the outer part of the encampment, towards the towers of the stockade. He walked confidently. This was his home. He knew every walkway, every path. The wind blew and he caught the sting of sand against his skin. The scents of the camp filled his nose; the animals, the spices, the faint hint of perfumes and the more earthy sweat of the humans. It was all familiar, comforting.

He met Teal’c exactly where he had predicted; at the base of Sha’re’s favourite tower. Skaara’s teeth flashed white in the darkness as he smiled at the Jaffa. Teal’c guarded his brother-in-law well, Skaara thought as he gripped the ladder and headed up. Daniel was already sitting cross-legged looking out at the desert.

Skaara sank into a similar position. ‘I thought I would find you here, Daniel.’ He pronounced Daniel with the Abydonial lilt that turned it into Dan-yel.

Daniel gave a half-smile. ‘I always feel so close to Sha’re here.’

‘Me too.’ Skaara admitted. ‘I miss her less when I watch the sun rise. It reminds me that she loved life.’

‘I wish you could have spent time with Shifu.’ Daniel said softly. ‘He reminded me of her.’

‘Perhaps I will one day.’ Skaara said philosophically. He glanced at Daniel. ‘He did not remind you of Apophis?’

His brother-in-law flinched. ‘No, not Apophis.’ He pulled his robes closer around his body; the air was chilly. ‘I had the chance to speak with the host once. Shifu kind of reminded me of him. He’s a special boy.’

Skaara noted the wistfulness in his voice. ‘You wished he stayed with you?’

‘Yes.’ Daniel said immediately. He stared out into the lilac sky. ‘No.’ He gave a laugh. ‘I don’t know.’

Skaara laughed with him and slapped a hand on his shoulder. ‘You are not making sense, my brother.’

‘No, I guess I’m not.’ Daniel admitted. He looked over at the younger man fondly. ‘I wanted Shifu to stay because…because he’s a part of your sister, my wife.’

‘He’s the son you should have had together, no?’ Skaara said softly, understanding. ‘Family.’

Daniel nodded. ‘But I know it wouldn’t be safe if he stayed and I…I couldn’t protect him.’ He gave another quick smile. ‘Although he might be able to protect himself given what he’s become.’

Skaara nodded. His dark eyes took in Daniel’s pale face and the shadows under his eyes. ‘Something else troubles you, Daniel.’

‘Yes.’ Daniel didn’t deny it. He looked at Skaara. ‘Shifu gave me a dream to prove how bad it would be if I had the knowledge of the Goa’uld. I don’t remember a lot of the specifics but I remember what I did; how I felt.’

Skaara’s face sobered. ‘It is a terrible feeling to be consumed by their evil.’

‘Yes.’ Daniel agreed softly. ‘Terrible.’

‘Yet it is also tempting, no?’ Skaara surprised his brother-in-law into looking at him with startled blue eyes. He almost smiled at the shocked expression. ‘The Goa’uld wield much power, Daniel. They hold life and death in their hands. I cannot deny that it is thrilling. I have seen it.’ He sometimes wished he couldn’t remember any of it but he could. ‘I have felt it.’

‘How do you,’ Daniel stopped and sighed. ‘I’m sorry. You probably don’t want to talk about this.’

‘If it helps you, brother, I will talk.’ Skaara assured him.

‘How do you deal with it?’ Daniel asked. ‘With knowing what you know of the evil that they did? What Klorel did?’

Skaara considered the question seriously. ‘It is not easy.’ He sighed and looked out into the Abydonian sands. ‘When I first returned I would tell myself, it was not me who did those things; who felt that way. It was the demon inside.’

‘You were right.’ Daniel said.

‘It was the demon but as days passed, I missed the power, Daniel.’ Skaara shook his heads, the braids flying around him. ‘I craved it again.’

‘What did you do?’ Daniel asked quietly.

‘I refused to give into such craving.’ Skaara replied simply. It had been hard; every day telling himself that he would not trade his freedom for the Goa’uld’s power but he had done it.

‘Shifu told me that the true nature of a man is determined in the battle between his conscious mind and his subconscious.’ Daniel said. He patted his shoulder. ‘You’re a good man, Skaara.’

‘Tell me of this dream you say he gave you.’ Skaara encouraged. As the sun rose, he listened as Daniel told him all of the dream he had; of slowly demanding more for his knowledge, of sending Teal’c to his death, imprisoning Sam, destroying the world. It sent a shiver through Skaara but he understood Daniel’s struggle to reconcile the man he was with what he had done in his dream when under the influence of the Goa’uld’s evil.

‘Have you spoken with O’Neill and the others about this?’ Skaara asked softly.

‘No.’ Daniel flushed. ‘It doesn’t matter. None of it was real.’

‘It was real to you.’ Skaara pointed out. He gazed out into the yellowing sky. ‘You should talk with them.’

‘Maybe.’

Skaara smiled. The day had started and in the distance he could hear the camp stirring. ‘I must go.’ He got to his feet. It was not him his brother needed. ‘We will speak again later?’

‘Sure.’ Daniel nodded. His gaze had returned to the outside and the warmth of the suns rays stretching out across the dunes.

Skaara climbed back down the ladder and halted by Teal’c. ‘He needs to speak with you.’

Teal’c raised an eyebrow and inclined his head in silent agreement. Skaara walked on; his brother-in-law would be fine.

o-O-o

Daniel allowed himself a small sigh of exasperation when Teal’c entered the tower. The Jaffa crossed the room and sank into a cross-legged position with an ease that Daniel envied.

Teal’c rested his staff weapon on the floor in front of him and let his gaze travel outwards across Abydos.

‘Skaara sent you, didn’t he?’ Daniel muttered, pulling his Abydonian robes closer.

Teal’c inclined his head. ‘He believed you needed to speak with me.’

‘He thinks I need to talk about the dream.’ Daniel admitted huffily. He didn’t need to talk about the dream – and to Teal’c? How could he tell him about the dream? About what he had done in the dream? He shook his head.

‘Do you need to talk about the dream?’ Teal’c asked bluntly. His dark eyes hadn’t moved from the sunrise in front of them.

‘No.’ Daniel immediately denied. He didn’t want to talk about it; he wasn’t talking about it.

‘Then we shall not talk about it.’ Teal’c said firmly.

Daniel wondered at the lack of relief at the Jaffa’s simple acceptance of his answer. ‘And if I did want to talk about it?’ He asked hesitantly.

‘Then we shall talk.’ Teal’c’s dark gaze slid to Daniel’s.

The archaeologist registered that the Jaffa would listen if he wanted to talk or would be silent if he didn’t; it was completely Daniel’s decision.

‘In the dream,’ Daniel began without consciously making any decision, ‘Shifu gave me all the knowledge of a Harcesis.’

‘The knowledge of the Goa’uld.’ Teal’c murmured.

‘Right.’ Daniel wet lips nervously. ‘At first, I could only access the technical knowledge and I remember being excited because we were finally going to be able to protect ourselves. We finally had an advantage.’ He shivered. ‘But then, I started to think that I was entitled to things, to respect. I began to make demands.’

‘Like a Goa’uld.’ Teal’c surmised.

‘Exactly. Just like a Goa’uld.’ Daniel sighed deeply. ‘I began to think I knew better than everyone; my desires, my wishes were more important. And I had power; I had the knowledge.’

‘So you began to use it.’

Teal’c’s quiet statement had Daniel nodding. ‘It was small things at first; disturbing people just because I could when I wanted something, or demanding that I be served lunch first or suggesting we didn’t include our allies.’ He looked away from his friend. ‘But then I began to demand more.’ He paused. ‘And they gave it to me.’

‘Because you had the knowledge to save them.’ Teal’c said.

‘Yes.’ Daniel rubbed his head. ‘I, uh, I sent you on a mission where I knew you would be captured, tortured and killed. Jack suspected but he couldn’t prove anything.’ He risked a look at his friend. Teal’c showed no sign of shock or surprise. ‘And that was just the beginning. I had Sam imprisoned because she worked out my plan; I would have killed Jack after I made him witness the destruction of the world.’

‘And these things trouble you?’ Teal’c said.

‘Of course, Teal’c.’ Daniel said fiercely. ‘It might have been a dream but it was me.’

‘But it was not you.’ Teal’c contradicted. ‘In the dream you had been burdened with carrying the evil of the Goa’uld.’ He shifted to look at the archaeologist fully. ‘The Harcesis child gave you the dream for a reason.’

‘Yes, to show that the evil he carried would always win out but I don’t see…’

‘I believe you have missed the essential point, Daniel Jackson.’ Teal’c interrupted forcefully.

Daniel stared at him. ‘What?’ He asked frustrated.

‘Why did the Harcesis child show you with the knowledge in the dream?’ Teal’c expanded. ‘Why did he not simply show you a future where we had gained the knowledge from him directly and the world destroyed itself?’

‘I don’t know.’ Daniel admitted slowly. ‘I haven’t really thought about it.’

‘You said something when you spoke with him.’ Teal’c continued. ‘You said that the true nature of a man is determined in the battle between his conscious and subconscious mind…’

‘And that the evil within Shifu’s subconscious was too strong to resist.’ Daniel continued. ‘That the only way to win is to deny it battle.’ He finished impatiently. ‘I don’t know how that…’

‘If you, Daniel Jackson, who are pure in spirit could not resist the evil, who among us could?’ Teal’c responded. ‘Was that not the lesson Shifu was teaching you?’

Daniel opened his mouth and closed it again. He blinked as he considered Teal’c’s words. ‘I hadn’t thought of it like that.’ He blushed at the pure in spirit; he wasn’t sure he deserved that. He said as much.

‘I get that it was a dream, that I wasn’t exactly myself but that I could even consider doing those things?’ Daniel sighed.

‘It is only human, is it not, to feel anger when you have been wronged?’ Teal’c said. ‘I understand that some part of you may still feel anger towards me for the death of Sha’re.’

‘You mean subconsciously?’ Daniel mused. He guessed it was possible. He had forgiven Teal’c but the Jaffa had fired the shot that had killed his wife no matter that it had saved Daniel’s own life.

‘Yet I also know you would never act on this anger; that your forgiveness toward me is real.’ Teal’c continued determinedly. ‘You have never hesitated to save me nor offer me comfort in my own time of need. You are truly a brother to me. Vengeance is not your way.’

‘Wow.’ Daniel said eventually. ‘I don’t know what to say.’

Teal’c smiled evidently satisfied.

Daniel contemplated the Jaffa’s words. Teal’c was right, Daniel realised. He would never think of doing any of the things in his dreams normally. Shifu had been trying to teach him that the Goa’uld evil was too powerful to resist and he had succeeded.

‘It was so seductive.’ Daniel commented. ‘All that power.’

‘Have you ever watched Star Wars, Daniel Jackson?’

‘Star Wars?’ Daniel was a bit disconcerted by the change in subject but he acquiesced. ‘Sure. Why?’

‘I have found it to be a fascinating examination of good versus evil.’ Teal’c said matter-of-factly.

‘OK.’ Daniel was amused. He couldn’t quite imagine Teal’c sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and a Star Wars movie.

‘The trilogy shows that power can come easily from anger, from negative emotions; from the dark side of the force.’ Teal’c continued enthusiastically. ‘Because the power can come easily, it is most seductive as the young hero discovers when he is tempted. It is when he chooses to take the more difficult path to power that he is triumphant because good may be a more difficult path but it is ultimately more powerful than evil.’

‘That is so deep.’ Daniel said, wondering whether he should be worried or glad his friend had found such meaning in the movies’ stories of space battles.

‘They are deep films, Daniel Jackson.’ Teal’c said solemnly.

‘Thanks, Teal’c.’ Daniel got to his feet and the Jaffa followed. ‘I guess we should get back to the camp before Jack starts worrying.’

‘I believe that would be wise.’ Teal’c noted.

Daniel took one last look from the tower. The sun shone brightly; the sands were gold with sunlight. He considered Teal’c’s words again.

It is when he chooses to take the more difficult path to power that he is triumphant because good may be a more difficult path but it is ultimately more powerful than evil.’

Daniel smiled. Shifu had told him he needed to choose a different path. Maybe it would be more difficult but it wouldn’t lead him to a place where he would consider using a child to gain knowledge or to use knowledge that was itself inherently evil. He could no longer want to destroy the Goa’uld simply to avenge Sha’re or to appease his own guilt at what had happened to her. There was another path where he could make a difference and atone for his mistake. He didn’t know where his decision would lead him and he could feel his own fear at letting go of that anger toward the Goa’uld…of the unknown path ahead, but as a slight breeze ruffled his hair, he felt a sense of peace settle in his soul.

‘Hey, Teal’c.’ Daniel called out as he headed toward the ladder.

Teal’c turned to him questioningly.

‘How about I come and watch Star Wars with you tonight? I’ll bring the popcorn.’ Daniel suggested. ‘That’s if you don’t mind watching it again.’

‘I would be honoured.’

‘Good.’ Daniel gripped the ladder and suddenly looked at Teal’c suspiciously. ‘How many times have you seen it anyway?’

‘Tonight will be the sixth occasion.’ Teal’c informed him happily.

‘Sixth?’ Daniel’s eyebrows rose. He hid the smile as he made his way down the ladder.

o-O-o

Shifu sighed as Daniel left the tower. A look of childish disappointment briefly disturbed his calm expression.

‘You want to stay with him.’ Oma appeared by his side; a tall willowy brunette with intelligent eyes and a warm, enigmatic smile. The white robes she wore matched the Abydonian style of dress as did Shifu’s.

‘He is a good man.’ Shifu responded to her question. ‘He loved my mother very much.’

‘He loves you very much and you love him.’ Oma’s arm slid around his young shoulders. ‘Your paths may cross again.’ She said comfortingly.

‘I am hopeful.’ Shifu said brightly.

‘Yes,’ Oma said dryly, ‘we should talk about the dream you gave him.’

‘I was teaching him.’ Shifu said stubbornly.

‘You were interfering.’ Oma tapped his nose.

‘You did not prevent it.’ Shifu pointed out.

Oma sighed but her eyes twinkled.

‘He has chosen a new path.’ Shifu said confidently. ‘He knows he strayed too far along the other.’

‘He has yet to let go of his burden though.’ Oma chided Shifu.

Shifu frowned. ‘He has let go of his anger.’

‘But not his guilt nor his grief.’ Oma said. ‘Both tether him still to the past.’ She smiled thoughtfully as she considered the blue-eyed archaeologist. Shifu was right; he was a good man. ‘His journey is not yet over.’ She murmured; Daniel Jackson interested her, he interested her a great deal.

fin.

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