How I Have Changed

(I couldn't think of a better title – sorry)

Disclaimer: SG-1 and its characters do not belong to me, despite how much I wish they did and I am not making any money off this venture. Suing me is pointless because I don't have much; all they would get are my cats, television, and my dishes.

A/N: Constructive feedback is always welcome. I wrote this in a hurry, so be forewarned.

Eleven years ago, fresh from a disappointing and humiliating lecture, I was brought into Operation Bluebook, also known as the Stargate project. Little did I know then that I would travel to another world, meet people whose ancestors came from ancient Egypt, kill a false god, and fall in love with one of the most beautiful people in the entire galaxy.

Fast forward to 2006.

Here I am, sitting in the forward galley of the Odyssey, a spaceship, which is partially built with alien technology and human ingenuity, running away like the devil is on us from the jaffa planet of Chulak. I had checked my weapons in at the armory, endured a post-mission physical, and seen how Vala was fairing.

Vala Mal Duran: a liar, a cheat, deceptive, vain, infuriating, and whole bunch of words that I could use to describe her. However, that would only cover a small part of her personality.

She was also caring, understanding, sacrificial, honest (to a point), self-less, and a mother without her promised child; a child that I had attempted to kill and regretted not taking the chance to do so.

This was not a real child, as I had told Sam in the infirmary. Adria was an Ori in disguise, a way for the Ori to cheat the system and keep from creating a direct confrontation with the Ancients.

Sam had said that there was no way that I would have killed a child. I one hundred percent disagree with that sentiment. The only thing that kept me from pulling the trigger was the Prior arriving and yanking the Nine Mil out of my hand. Adria was a symptom of disease that Vala and I had inflicted on the galaxy and I had an absolute moral obligation to help find the cure. If it meant ending the life of a young human-Ori, then so be it. The greater good had to be served, not the conscious of an archeologist.

My announcement had come as a surprise to many, especially Sam and Teal'c. Mitchell just shrugged and nodded an understanding. Sam and Teal'c however were shocked that their friend would contemplate such a thing. If Jack "Black Ops-Hard Ass" O'Neill had made such an announcement, there would have not been a shock to the system. However, it was him, Daniel "Peaceful Explorer-Tree Hugger" Jackson that had declared that if given the chance he would have killed Adria.

The truth was, he admitted to himself, that he wasn't the person who he had been eleven years ago, when he had first opened up the Stargate. He wasn't the same person that had lost his wife to the Goa'uld seven years ago. He wasn't the person who had died and ascended to a higher plane of existence four years before. He wasn't the person who had been forced out of the glow-club and rejoined with SG-1 three years ago. He wasn't the person that was willing to try to talk everything out first, to stay way from the gray areas that clouded morals and empathetic minds.

Yes, there were still some aspects of the old Dr. Jackson around, but, he acknowledged, had become tempered due to his experiences. He was less trusting, less open to others. He was less likely to want to sit around a fire, smoke the peace pipe, and see to it that everyone went home happy.

These days I am more sarcastic and cynical. Jack had once said that I was in danger of becoming more like him. At the time, I retorted with some smart-ass comment that we both laughed at.

He was right though (not that I would ever admit it to Jack's face). I had changed. I knew how to use, breakdown, clean, and re-assemble a P-90 with expert precision. I had gained a love of C-4 (blowing up a Goa'uld mother-ship and those stupid bugs from the Gamma site helped). I lifted weights, played basketball, and drank beer. I didn't flinch or shy away from dead bodies or being the cause of the dead bodies. I did my job and went on. I had become a soldier, no longer the geek that the Marines picked on in the hallways of the SGC like they did back in the beginning. I was seen as an equal by the men that lived by the motto of the Corps, as one that could be trusted to watch their backs.

I didn't regret that. That growth had helped to save many of my friends' lives, so I had no cause for complaint.

I no longer saw things in black and white, but also the gray. I lived in the gray area for a good portion of my day. Only when I was able to leave the mountain, go home and turn on the evening news was I able to step out of the gray and see things in black and white. Yes, the brutal murder of the mother by her son was black. Neighboring towns and communities helping the small town in Missouri that was hit by the f-5 tornadoes was white. Life on Earth was more straightforward than else where in the galaxy, so it seemed.

The past seemed more straightforward and uncomplicated the further along I went.

It's just that there are moments when I remember how naïve I had been and for a moment look upon that as something to be nostalgic about. Things had been clearer back then. The Goa'uld had been the enemy, but a predictable enemy. The Jaffa had been relentless at times, but again, predictable. The Replicators, well definitely not predicable, but at least they had been mechanical bugs, not living creatures. Now with the Ori and their Priors, things were cloudier, less predicable, and a hundred times more dangerous.

Maybe things weren't as simple and clear back then, but compared to what I've seen lately, I almost see Apophis as something nostalgic (almost, I am not that far gone yet). At least back then, I wouldn't look upon not killing a child with regret.

I have changed.

point of view switch

"Goody," Daniel mutters out loud suddenly, broken from his introspection by the arrival of Sam and Teal'c in the galley. While he was not mad that his friends were there, he did not want them to try to make him open up and share his feelings with them.

"Daniel," Sam said, smiling hesitantly, holding something in her hand behind her back.

"Sam, Teal'c. You need something?" Daniel asked, looking up at the duo, smiling as he did. "What do you have behind you Sam?"

"I brought you some chocolate chip cookies," Sam hedged.

"And I brought you some coffee," Teal'c intoned, producing a large thermos and mug from behind him.

"And what's the price of said cookies and coffee?" Daniel asked, trying to reach for the gifts, but found that the pair held them slightly out of reach; bastards.

"Talk to us Daniel. What's going on in that head of yours?" Sam pressed, sitting down at the bolted down gray table on an equally gray bolted down bench.

Daniel smiled. At least his friends still cared. Maybe things hadn't changed that much after all.

"Just thinking about changes," Daniel began, sipping the coffee slowly from the mug and munching on one of the cookies, content for the moment that he was among friends, that Vala was safe, and SG-1 had cheated death once more. Tomorrow would bring more changes, for life was a constant process and journey to be taken.

Final note, this kind of popped into my headand demanded that I write, least I fall back asleep and have another nightmare from hell.

Also, I have no idea if the gun Daniel had was a 9mil; I am just assuming because it is a standard weapon that people qualify on in the Army, and I figure that what is good for the Army is good enough for the Air Force runs and hides from all of the Air Force people and wing-wiper fans.

It's kind of random, but I thought it was interesting how the character of Daniel has grown over the past ten years, probably more so than any other character from the show. I do appreciate feedback, do hit the reply button. I know it's not the greatest story around; I am not deluding myself, but it is something that I wanted to get off my chest and put it out there. Thanks for reading and have a great day.