Note: This story is dedicated to ForCryinOutLoud, who keeps reminding me I'm supposed to be obsessed with Stargate, and not Farscape...
Also, this is kind of a depressing fic. No character death aside from those that are canon, but still...depressing...
Daniel walked down the corridor. Many people passed him, and he recognized almost all of them. But he said nothing to them, and they didn't say anything, either. The lights were dimmed, signifying the night shift, but Daniel had no reason to leave--no real place to go. He never had before, either.
He had wandered around these halls countless times. Letting himself get carried away in the movement, absorbed in the simplicity of doing nothing at all but going room to room, floor to floor. This night, however, there was no comfort in it. Everyone he passed was in mourning, which really, was far too common in this place.
The dim lights only added to the feel that something here was missing. Daniel wished he didn't know what it was.
He turned the corner and paused. Sam was sitting on the floor, her head buried in her hands and her back against the wall. He got down on his knees beside her when he realized she was crying. He hesitantly reached out a hand, but pulled away before he could touch her.
He heard her whisper something, but didn't catch the words. The words didn't matter, anyway, he could imagine what she said. He got to his feet and backed away, his heart breaking to leave her there alone, but he had no other choice. He couldn't help her, so he kept walking.
Life could be so painful. Sometimes he could not even think about all the people he had lost, could not comprehend it. Then he would think of Cassie, who had lost everyone, and he could put it back into perspective. He had it easy. He was lucky. Everyone always said so.
And death, it really wasn't so bad when you thought about it. He should know. He'd been there before, a few times, actually, though it was true he had never stayed that way. It was always the people left behind that felt the most pain.
He saw a flicker of candlelight, and stopped to lean in the doorjamb of Teal'c's quarters. He had his eyes closed, sitting in the middle of the floor, poised for Kel-no-reem. Daniel had tried the meditation before, but sitting next to Teal'c had always brought more comfort to him than the act itself.
Cautiously, he lowered himself to the floor, though he was certain, there would be no comfort for him now. He placed his hand over a candle flame, watching the fire flare up, and he heard Teal'c whisper his name.
Uneasily, he got to his feet and backed away. Teal'c's eyes jerked open in surprise, but Daniel didn't stay, and Teal'c did not follow him.
He started walking again. He saw Hammond briefly, talking with Janet. She had been crying, and so had he. Like with the others, there was nothing he could to do ease their pain so he did not try. There was no use to it, nothing that could be changed now. There was only the way things were.
Just like all the other losses, there was no going back. Sha'uri, Kowalski, Rothman, so many others he had lost count. He had needed to stop counting, because the number had become too high to bear.
Sha'uri's death alone, he had never thought to survive. Life without her had been hard enough when he had himself convinced he could still save her, life having failed had never seemed to him life at all. But he had lived, Jack, Sam, Teal'c--they had all become reasons, and so had the gate.
There was so much good left to do, and he supposed, really, he still had a chance even now to make a difference. Maybe more chance now than ever before. But there was so much pain to be found on the other side of that gate, as well, as there was pain everywhere. Whenever they finally found a Utopia, there was always a hell hidden beneath the surface and it's never good enough. They can never do enough, and so many people had died that shouldn't have.
He supposed he had done some good this time, saved lives certainly, but only for a time. They hadn't changed because of him, and everything that had happened could only happen again. History had a habit of repeating, and people were so hard to change. Usually the change came too late, always too late, and they only realized they should have done things differently as they died.
He was being morbid, but he figured, that after everything, he had the right. Jack was always telling him he had his expectations of people set too high, and maybe he was right. Maybe that was why he was constantly disappointed, constantly failing to make a difference.
But he had made a difference this time, he reminded himself. This time, he had. He had never seen himself as a hero, and the people he had saved certainly didn't see him that way, but he had done something heroic. He could admit that; hold onto that as his one real accomplishment. And he could live with that. Or die with it, as the case may be.
Inevitably, he found himself where he always did when he had tired of wandering aimlessly, his office door. He saw Jack inside, sitting on the edge of his desk, his closed diary held loosely in his hands.
Daniel came to stand a few feet in front of him, and noticed the half empty bottle of Vodka held precariously between the fingers of his right hand. His thumb was caressing the binding of the leather journal, and Jack looked like he hadn't slept.
"I'm not doing this again, Danny boy," he said. "I can't. I've mourned too many times already, and this time is once too much."
"I'm not asking you to," Daniel whispered.
"Damn it, Daniel!"
The Vodka bottle shot past him, crashing into the wall. Clear liquid splashing against the mask hung on the wall, until it slipped downwards to the floor.
Daniel wanted to ask if that helped, but he didn't, he knew it didn't. And Jack wouldn't hear him, anyway.
Jack threw his journal angrily on the desk, picked up one of his priceless vases in its place, and then he threw it across the room. It shattered in a hail of shards, scattering across the floor. Jack picked up another, and another, and Daniel wondered vaguely when someone was going to come stop him.
A small clay bowl, the one he had found on PX-12456, one of a kind, flew straight at him. He felt it melt right through him, coming out on the other side to crash against the wall and fall to pieces with all rest.
Jack let out a sob and fell back against the wall, before sliding slowly to the floor. "I'm not mourning for you again, Daniel. Not this time."
Daniel closed his eyes, so he wouldn't have to watch anymore, and wished he were still real.
Note: This is a Meridian tag, but I didn't say that earlier because it's supposed to be a bit of a surprise ending. Don't know if it worked, though...