CHAPTER SIX: MOVING ON
The air was hot and dry, typical desert heat. He'd have to get used to that. He certainly had enough creature comforts in the estate to make up for any temporary discomfort caused by the oppressive weather. He didn't remember it being like this on Abydos. Terrain looked the same, but always felt more comfortable. Maybe it was just because Sha're was there. Who knows? Right about now Daniel wasn't sure of much of anything.
He'd taken up residence at Nick's place about a month ago. Before finally settling in, he'd wandered around England looking for Sarah's family and then spent time traveling through Europe. He wasn't in any particular hurry to get to Egypt. Though it was a mecca for most archeologists, Egypt held few secrets for Daniel Jackson. And Daniel desperately needed to find new secrets that could hold wonder for him again.
What had started as running away from the pain had turned into a quest of self discovery. He needed to find out who he was without someone to take care of in his life. For the past fifteen years he'd felt responsible either for a wife who needed him desperately or for the fate of the known universe.
True to his word, Jack O'Neill had kept in regular contact during Daniel's sojourn. Wherever he found himself, Daniel wouldhave a phone or e-mail message from Jack, Sam, the twins and sometimes even Cassie and Janet. Teal'c sent snail mail. More often than not he was treated to Jack's inimitable humor, Sam's gentle concern or cute hand drawn pictures from his honorary niece and nephew. He knew he was loved by these people. Moreover, he knew without a doubt that failure to keep in touch would lead to a surprise visit from a certain Lieutenant General. As much as he missed his 'family' he knew this wasn't what he needed. So he faithfully contacted Jack at least once a week, if only to say 'hello' and let him know he was still among the living.
Once Jack, Sam and Teal'c put him on the direct flight for Cairo some 7 months ago, he'd stopped briefly at his grandfather's estate outside Giza. After greeting the caretaker and sundry servants who watched over what was now his estate, he'd dropped off the steamer trunk and booked a flight to London. Knowing that wouldn't have been Jack's idea of a good plan, he hadn't told his friend that this was his preferred destination. He just knew he couldn't leave Sarah all alone quite yet.
The whole idea wasn't as morose as it would have looked to Jack at first glance. Daniel's plan was to look up any family members Sarah might have lost touch with over the years and let them know what had happened to her. He wanted people who lived close by to know about her.
It hadn't taken long. Though Sarah hadn't shared much with him about her family over the years, within a week of searching genealogical charts, he'd discovered information leading him to cousins who'd been separated from Sarah when they were children. Although Daniel had placed a death notice in the local papers around the time of Sarah's burial, her cousins had known nothing of it as they were on a dig in Scotland at the time. There are no coincidences.
In the weeks he stayed with Sarah's distant family, he learned precious information about his wife's childhood. And he allowed them to thank him for caring for their cousin during the final struggles of her life. Living close as they did to the family mausoleum, they assured Daniel that Sarah would never be forgotten in her native land.
After his time in England, Daniel went on to travel through Europe, Asia and northern Africa, resigning himself to the fact that he would end up in Egypt eventually. He immersed himself in research into ancient religions during his travels. Though as an archeologist he had a good basic knowledge of world religions, he'd never approached the study from a personal standpoint. Now he had a different perspective.
His quest had turned into a search for a genuine higher power, an understanding of something more powerful than himself. He searched for a meaning for it all, meaning that wouldn't collapse under the weight of his loss. Ascension, to his surprise, had never provided all the answers he needed.
Seems his life was a matter of changing perspectives.
By the time he returned to Egypt, nearly ten months after Sarah's death, Daniel was ready to settle down, at least for a little while. A big part of him wanted to go home to his friends, but knew it wasn't time. Although he'd begun to sleep better and was able to get through the better part of a day without crying when he thought of Sarah, he hadn't found the peace of mind he craved.
Instead, he made himself at home on Nick's estate. He'd been here for visits as a child, but that was such a long time ago. The estate covered a couple of acres of land. The main house was elegant, covered with artifacts from the years Nick had spent exploring all corners of the globe. It was more than enough to hold his interest at least for a short time.
Soon he found himself missing Nick. It had been almost 10 years since his grandfather had stayed behind with the mysterious giants on P7X-377. Yet another person lost to Daniel, or so he thought.
Just when he found himself feeling very alone in this big house, he stumbled upon yet one more neatly packed archive box. This particularly box was loaded with Nick's journals. Daniel had modeled his own journaling habit after Nicholas Ballard, his maternal grandfather. So he had a pretty good idea that opening these notebooks he'd find more than just random recollections of an old man. They contained a well thought out recounting of Nick's own struggles over the years.
As Daniel sat down to read his grandfather's notebooks he was amazed to find that Nick had gone through similar struggles as a young man. In spite of his far reaching travels, Nicholas Ballard had struggled mightily to find a deeper meaning behind love, life and loss.
As he learned about his grandfather, Daniel learned about himself.
Nearly a year after he'd left Colorado Springs, Daniel Jackson sat down to write his weekly e-mail to his friend, Jack O'Neill.
It's 115 degrees in the shade here today. How is it for you? I bet you have snow since it's December.
I've sent Christmas gifts for Jake and Grace, hope they like them. I know nothing can match the art work. Please make sure they know Uncle Danny saves every drawing they send me.
I finished Nick's journals today. He's really quite a man you know. I hope I turned out like him at least a little. Actually I think I did. I'm finding that I struggle in the same ways and we look for the same things.
I don't know for sure when or if I'm coming back, Jack. I know I promised to think about coming back after a year, but I don't think I'm ready. I need more time. I promise I'll keep in touch.
I miss everyone. It's just not time… yet.
The End ( of this particular story)
A/N: Daniel's ongoing emotional recovery will be part of the continuing Alone series, beginning with the upcoming Part 5 Saving the World. As the series progresses, there will be more details about what Daniel discovered in Nick's journals and his discoveries during his time away from the team.
Thanks for reading this piece. I was surprised at the small number of hits this particular story received beginning with the first chapter. Not very many people gave this one an initial look see, even checking out the first chapter.
Obviously, all of you reading this sentence made it to the end and aren't the ones to ask, but any insights would be appreciated. Hoping for a more robust response to the next story!