A/N: Enormous thanks to my beta, Verb, who practically held my hand through this last chapter. Much of the latter half is due to her. Thanks.
Daniel gated to three different uninhabited worlds before he reached his final destination, Sansara. He jumped off the platform and began a quick march to the temple. Adrenaline pumping, his mind was working even faster than his heart. He'd waited ten months for this – to see her, cradle her in his arms, and touch her soft skin. His fingers throbbed with need to touch. He had lived with this image for almost a year and finally the time had come. His need to hold her was so intense he was dizzy from the potency of it.
Without noticing where he was, he burst into the clearing surrounding the temple. He pulled himself back into the sheltering jungle darkness and watched for Chandani.
She stepped from the recesses of the temple onto the top step. Punched in the gut by her presence, Daniel gasped for breath. He'd forgotten what just the thought of her could do to him. The nausea began to return and he shoved it down. Now was not the time to deal with that.
She was still so slender. Surely, she couldn't be so slender so quickly if there had been a baby. Please, God, let there be no child. Daniel's heart pounded with hope.
Chandani turned back to the doorway hidden in shadow and gestured for someone to come forward. Daniel watched as a servant approached the priestess with a small bundle. Chandani took the bundle gently and began descending the stairs. The servant retreated back into the temple and the door once again made itself invisible.
Chandani continued on the path toward the jungle where Daniel was hidden behind a Banyan tree. As she approached his position, he stepped onto the path in front of her.
She opened her mouth to scream, but Daniel pulled her hard against him and clamped his hand over her mouth. "Do not say a word. Do not scream and I will not harm you. Understand?" Daniel's voice was tight with tension behind his clenched teeth.
Wide-eyed, Chandani nodded her agreement.
Daniel gradually released his hand from her mouth. When he felt sure that she would remain quiet, he stepped back and gazed down at the infant in her arms.
Looking back at him was a perfect replica of him. Blond fuzz covered her head and her large blue eyes followed his. All his tension faded way as he made eye contact for the first time with his daughter.
"My god, she's beautiful." Daniel tenderly reached for her cheek with his fingertips, but Chandani jerked the baby away from his touch.
"She is mine. You should not have come back. Why are you here?" Chandani's voice displayed no emotion other than annoyance.
"I've come for my daughter."
"She belongs to the temple, to Vishnu. You have no part in her life."
"I have every right to be a part of her life! You are not fit to raise a child. I'm taking her back with me to raise her on Earth." The fear and anger Daniel had kept under tight control for the past ten months was finally erupting.
"You have no right to her."
"You had no right to rape me!"
Chandani raised her chin slightly and maintained her chilly calmness in the face of Daniel's ire. "I do not understand why having sex with me was so bad. You were privileged I allowed you to touch me."
"Touch you! God, I wanted to hurt you! On my world, what you did is second only to cold-blooded murder!" Daniel ran his hands through his hair in frustration. "You profess to avoid violence at all cost, but you used drugs and violence to take from me what I would not give. You stole a life from me. You stole her from me." Daniel reached out and snatched the infant from her mother's arms. He turned, intent upon returning to the gate, when Chandani whistled. Almost immediately, six large men, pointing swords at him, surrounded Daniel.
"You said you would never use violence." Daniel's disdain evident in his voice.
"I said violence could not be used to defend me. I did not say I would not use violence to protect that which is mine." Chandani moved toward Daniel to retrieve the baby.
At that moment Jack, Teal'c, and Carter came forward from behind the trees, weapons raised and aimed at the half dozen men surrounding their teammate. "I suggest you drop the swords and leave." Jack's voice was calm, and his team recognized the threat in his voice.
The men looked to Chandani for her order. She nodded once and they complied with O'Neill's order.
"Jack! How did you know where I was?" Daniel clutched the baby a little tighter to his chest.
Jack kept his weapon and his eyes on the men who were now behind the priestess. "I knew something was wrong before we left the SGC yesterday. I followed you and figured you were probably coming here. You've been a mess since we left here ten months ago. I didn't know you'd come to kidnap a child."
"Not a child, Jack - my child." Daniel's voice was soft and tender.
Jack's grip tightened on his P90. Child? The thought hadn't even occurred to him. Brilliant, O'Neill – first, you can't figure out what's wrong with your best friend, and then you feel like an ass because the answer was right in front of you the whole time.
"Her purpose for raping me was to get pregnant. It wasn't just the rape that bothered me. It was the thought that a part of me…" Daniel swallowed hard, fighting to control his voice. "That my child would grow up without me. I'm taking the baby home with me." Daniel looked pointedly at Chandani. "She's going to be raised with love and not by someone who would do the things you've done."
"She must be raised here. She is the future of my people." Chandani's voice displayed emotion for the first time. "Without her my people have no one to protect the temple."
"Surely, there must be some other way. Couldn't you just have another child with someone who is willing?" Sam offered.
"Yes, but Vishnu would have to choose and he chose Daniel." Chandani moved closer to Daniel, her voice dropping and becoming seductive. "I do not understand why you have a problem with this. She will have a good life. She will be educated and protected."
Daniel turned to face her. "I have a problem because you left me no choice. You drugged me and used me to get what you wanted, giving no thought to what I wanted." He gazed down at the infant cradled in his arms. "On our world you cannot treat people like that."
"Colonel O'Neill, I believe that DanielJackson has every right as the father of this child to determine how she is to be raised. She," Teal'c's eyebrow raised toward the beautiful woman, "has lost all rights to the child because of her actions."
"OK. We're all agreed that we stand behind Daniel in this?" Jack's gaze shifted between Carter and Teal'c. He knew they'd be breaking all kinds of regulations if they helped Daniel.
They looked at Daniel, who was gazing at his daughter, completely enraptured by her, and both nodded in agreement.
"OK. This is how this is going to go down." Jack turned to Chandani. "We're going to quietly go back home with the baby and you're not going to make a move toward us. You're not going to order your men to make a move toward us. If you do, people will die – maybe including you, if I have anything to say about it." Jack waved his weapon to make his intentions clear. Daniel had lost too much in his life and Jack wasn't going to let him lose a child. "Capisce?"
Chandani's eyes blazed in anger, but she nodded quietly. She recognized the fierce protection this man felt towards Daniel, and knew he would follow through on his threat.
The team surrounded Daniel and his daughter protectively and began the trek back to the gate. Jack, displaying his Special Ops training, turned occasionally to make sure no one was following. Reaching the gate, Sam had begun dialing home when Chandani and about 20 armed men moved out from the jungle behind the gate to face SG1.
Chandani moved through the circle of guards and approached Daniel. "Give me the child."
"See, now how did that happen?" Jack was sure they hadn't been followed. He must be slipping.
Chandani gave a humorless chuckle. "I know a quicker way here. It is my planet. Give me the child."
"No! She's mine!" Daniel curled himself protectively around the sleeping infant.
Chandani smiled. "You do not know the mistake you have made." She raised her arm.
Jack turn to his left, hearing the telltale signs of a glider on a steep approach. "Aw, crap. Carter!"
"On it, sir." Sam fired toward the guards that were blocking her path to the DHD, and finished the dialing sequence.
"I will find a way, Daniel Jackson, to get back the child for Vishnu." She stepped back and was ringed up to the glider.
Daniel closed his eyes, both in regret for lose of life and in fear, wondering if they would make it off this planet that had taken so much from him, and yet given so much back. Looking down at his daughter, he was glad for her existence. Raising her would become the most important thing he could ever do with his life.
"Daniel!" Jack's voice broke through his thoughts. "We need to get going – now!"
Daniel looked up to see the glider circle the air above them, and again start in a deep decent, headed straight for them and the stargate. He ran past the dead and dying men on the ground, past Sam, past Teal'c, and headed straight for the event horizon, holding his daughter tightly to his chest.
"Close the iris!" Daniel caught movement out of the corner of his eye, saw Jack, Sam and Teal'c land on the ramp, vaguely registered Jack's voice. Seconds later, the unmistakable sound of a large object crashing against the iris echoed around the gate room.
"Well." Jack cleared his throat, "I guess you get sole custody, then."
Daniel looked up at Jack, fumbling for words to express his thoughts. "I didn't want to hurt her, Jack. I just…wanted a better life for my daughter." He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to contain the emotions welling up inside.
Jack's voice was soft, "I know, Danny, I know." He clasped Daniel's shoulder, "Whatever you need to raise your daughter… We'll all be there for you."
Daniel opened his eyes and caressed his daughter's tiny cheek. His eyes brimming with unspilled tears, he looked at all three of his friends. "I know you will."