CHAPTER ONE: AFTER SHA'RE

After Sha're, life became more focused. My interests became more focused. My priorities changed. If you asked some people, I was probably still a "geek", but had started to carry a gun, a big gun. I was chasing the bad guys in hope of finding, and later avenging, my wife.

Within a few months, I barely recognized myself. Although I'd eventually been given office space at the SGC where I brought everything I could find referencing Egyptology, ancient languages and mythology in general, the time I spent with my books and research was greatly reduced. Jack insisted I spend at least two hours a day in the gym when we were on Earth. He told me with his inimitable sarcasm that he wasn't going to be responsible for my "scrawny butt" forever and expected me to hold my own in a fight.

Jack O'Neill was going to take some getting used to; a brief trip together to Abydos was one thing, but working with him, every day, day after day, I knew that would be a challenge.

It seemed we had a "difference of opinion" on everything. And that was putting it mildly. He was a bona fide military mind. Not exactly a straight arrow, but certainly a military strategist who respected the chain of command, Jack was a conundrum. A man not afraid to speak his mind, often in sarcastic, offending quips, he was the model of loyalty once that loyalty had been earned. He wouldn't hesitate to put his life on the line for any member of his team. I had to like the guy and I certainly admired his strength of purpose. I have to admit, at the beginning, some of his intensity scared me. In the long run, I think it was that intensity that bonded us together. It was an intensity born of tragedy and loss.

Sam quickly became the sister I'd never had. A lovely, intelligent, genuinely friendly human being, she welcomed just about anyone and tried to see the best in them. Her warmth helped me survive those first few months of military frostbite when I was frequently put off by the lack of human feeling and compassion I saw around me at the SGC.

Then there was Teal'c. What can I say? He scared me for a long while. After all, he was the one who had taken Sha're in the first place. A big part of me wanted nothing more than to kill him, not work alongside him. What was Jack O'Neill thinking? This man was the enemy.

It took me a long time to really trust Teal'c. I think I blamed him for Sha're's loss until the day he actually killed her body and the parasite, Amunet. Then in many ways, that particular nightmare was over. As hard as it was to know Sha're was gone for good, there was closure in seeing her body die, some peace in knowing her suffering was over. This innocent, simple girl who'd wanted nothing but to be loved was finally free.

For me, her actual death marked another turning point in my life. My purpose, the whole motivation for being in the Stargate program, was gone. I had to ask myself, why would I stay? What was left for me? The answer was fairly simple when I looked for it. In spite of myself, I'd made friends. Me, the orphan, the one always hanging on the outside, looking in, I was part of something. A program, a campaign, a battle; more importantly, I was part of a family. Sometime while I wasn't watching, Jack, Sam, Teal'c and I had become family for each other. As real and certain as anything sealed in flesh and blood, we were bonded, in the best and truest sense of that word.

A/N: Just a short starting piece to set the scene for the chapters to come. Hope you like it. I'd appreciate any and all feedback as this is my first time trying to write Daniel in any detail.