Title: The Assistant 01 – My Invisible Friend
Author: dietcokechic
Email: 6 (pre episode 1)
Spoilers: None
Series Summary: The continuing tales of Kira, Daniel's former Barista and her new job at the SGC.

Author's Notes: Sorry for the massive Barista-esque drought. There was the final push to finish my Master's Degree (done!) and then I was laid up for a while following a little surgical adventure (ooo - do I have some good hosptial H/C fodder!). However, I'm back and am going to do my darndest to post at least two stories a month. Maybe more often if they're not too long. I'm a little nervous about starting something new, so in the beginning, these are going to be short but sweet (i hope!) I'm a slightly insecure dietcokechic as I start this series, so please give me lots of feedback, okay? So without further ado...The Assistant (yes, I know. Very original, n'est pas?)

"I start tomorrow, you know," I announce, as I slide my feet gently through the well-trampled woodchips. I absently rock back and forth a few times before pushing off and gaining air. I lean back and pull on the chains, encouraging the swing to gain altitude and speed. I inhale deeply in nostalgic happiness as I swing higher and higher. I look around and am once again amazed that no one seems to know about this place except myself. I glance scrumptiously to my left.

Well, almost no one.

"I know," Daniel answers softly from the swing next to me. I never actually see him arrive, I mean there is no discernable difference in air movement or anything. Just one moment I'm swinging by myself, and the next, I'm swinging alongside Daniel. I chuckle to myself at the absurdity of the situation; his presence doesn't even surprise me any more.

"What's so funny?" Daniel asks, looking at me with those startling blue eyes of his. I'm still a little discombobulated at seeing those expressive eyes up close and in person - ghost-Daniel never shows up in glasses. Usually he's in khakis and a cream sweater, but sometimes he appears in jeans and a black t-shirt looking every inch of the Daniel Jackson who kissed me on my 21st birthday.

Oh, happy memory!

Oh, I don't know, Daniel," I begin wryly. "It might have something to do with the fact that I don't even think it is strange anymore that you're here."

"Would you rather it feel strange?" He asks seriously. I'm certain he's recalling those earlier "visits" when I alternated between hysteria and denial. The first time I saw him, I thought I had completely lost it and literally scrunched up my eyes, stuck two fingers into my ears and hummed. Ghost-Daniel stayed for only a few minutes before he realized I wasn't all that 'receptive' to his presence. The next time, he waited until I had swung by myself for a while before appearing. In hindsight, that might not have been any better, as he scared the living bejeezus out of me, causing me to fall off my swing. We both figured it out in the end, and now after ten days, it just would feel empty without Daniel. Which is crazy, I know. Daniel isn't really here.

But he sure seems real to me.

I let out a small sigh, growing more and more maudlin with the realization that it will be several days before I'll be able to return. And that makes me sad, as here is the only place I ever see Daniel. Oh don't get me wrong, I know he's a hallucination. I mean, I know Daniel is dead – but here in this park, he's here for me.

Good thing for me I already passed that mandatory psychological assessment, eh?

We swing in amicable silence for several long moments. "Daniel?" I ask glancing over at him.

"Hmm?" Daniel doesn't say much during these visits. Usually he just swings with me and listens and I tell him how much I miss him, or how nervous I am about starting my first "real" job; a job that I accepted primarily because I wanted to work with a brilliant man. A brilliant man who died just a few weeks after offering me said job. A brilliant dead man who apparently has nothing better to do than haunt his favorite ex-barista on swingsets.

"I'm never going to see you again after I start work, am I?" I'm determined not to cry, but can already feel my eyes filling with tears. Suddenly I give a watery snort – I'm crying because I'm afraid my invisible friend is going to disappear? How's that for nutty!

"Kira," Daniel begins, as he motions for me to stop. "You're not crazy." He gives me a genuine 'I'm serious here' look.

"You know," I begin. "I'd have an easier time believing that if I hadn't attended your memorial service three weeks ago." Ghost-Daniel sighs and shakes his head in frustration.

"I really thought they weren't going to have one this time," he mutters. "I distinctly remember having this conversation with Jack, and he assured me that if I ever died again, there would be no memorial unless he had a body." He had this conversation with Jack? How morbid. Suddenly, it hits me.

"Died again!" Daniel just waves his hands absently.

"It's a long story," he begins. "Well, several long stories, actually..." his voice trails off in memory and I smile in anticipation. I really can't wait until I get to hear these stories.

Hold on.

What am I saying! Daniel isn't really here. I'm becoming angry with myself for trying to make this delusion something it's not.

"I am really here, Kira," Daniel tries again. "You're not crazy," he insists. "And I am really here."

"Really?" I ask skeptically, as I hold out my arm and watch as it passes right through him. I try not to shiver at the emptiness.

"Well, maybe not corporeally," Daniel explains, "but I am here."

"Uh huh." As if I'll believe that.

"You're worse than Jack," Daniel pouts. At that, I do laugh. Nice to know I can create imaginary friends with nuance. Daniel tries again. "Three months ago, you never even knew it was possible to visit other worlds, Kira. What's so hard to believe about..."

Ghosts?" I fill in helpfully.

"Non-corporeal friends paying you a visit." I'm not really certain what to make of this when Daniel, or rather Ghost-Daniel does a strange see-thru flicker. He frowns in frustration.

"I have to go, Kira," Daniel says hastily, as he shimmers again. I can see him concentrating on something. "Existing and talking at the same time is really much harder than it looks," Daniel says in a strained voice. He fades even more and I'm certain he's going to vanish for good this time.

"I'm going to miss you, Daniel!" I cry, wanting more than anything to give him a hug. Even in his flicker-state, Daniel can see how much all of this hurts.

"Talk to Jack, Kira," Daniel manages to whisper right before he disappears in a bright burst of light. My breath hitches a little as I struggle not to cry. James Stewart's imaginary 6-foot rabbit Harvey never caused him to cry, so why does my 6-foot Daniel make me want to? I sit back down on the swing and take several deep breaths as I try to get control of my emotions. An eternity seems to go by as I sit there in silence and think. Eventually, I begin to swing again, still thinking. If anyone had told me six years ago, I'd get hired by Professor Yummy to work for the military (the same military where Tall Cute Guy worked), I would have thought they were completely bonkers.

Kinda like me talking to an imaginary friend.

"Ah, what the heck," I mutter, as I jump off the swing. Jack's known me for nearly six years. Somehow I don't think he's going to have me committed if I admit to talking to Daniel every now and then. And who knows?

Maybe hallucinations are contagious.


More Notes: I wrote nearly this entire chapter in one fell swoop very late at night. The very night in fact that I was supposed to go to bed early in anticipation of my first day back at work. I had eight weeks (in theory) to write, and yet, it wasn't until I tried to get a good night's sleep that inspiration struck and I had to write this all down. My muse definitely has a sense of humour. Or evilness - I haven't decided which.

Please let me know what you thought of this chapter. I promise to get Kira into the SGC next week.

© February. 21, 2006