Disclaimer: I don't own 'Stargate: SG-1' or any of the related characters; you should know the drill by now. Also, thanks are due to MaureenT, whose exceptional 'Stargate' fanfics are what first got me interested in the Sam/Daniel pairing originally, to say nothing of the invaluable information and suggestions she has provided for some of the later chapters

Feedback: I'd appreciate it, believe me

Child of the Ancients

Looking at the sight in front of him, Daniel almost couldn't believe it; Liam and Adria had originally met when Adria was trying to destroy a planet, and now, just moments after Liam had been sent onto Adria's ship for what everyone knew would be their final battle, Liam was once again standing in the SGC, having teleported down to a position just in front of the Stargate, Merlin's body at his feet and Adria standing alongside him, looking more like a frightened child than the devoted conquering leader she'd been earlier.

Daniel had joined Jack, General Landry and the rest of SG-1 in the dialling room after the alarms had activated- with Mitchell in command of Odyssey, the rest of the team were left with nothing to do but wait until they received confirmation one way or the other about his mission-, and were watching the scene in front of them with baited breath as the security teams that had assembled in response to the incursion alert. Sam and Daniel were naturally concerned about their son, but everyone present was noting that Liam seemed to be in good shape, while Adria was the one of the two who showed any real sign that something was wrong given her obviously shaken stance; whatever had happened up there, it had clearly had a significant impact on Adria.

"Easy!" Liam said, holding up his hands in a calming gesture as he looked anxiously at the group of marines around him, even as Adria simply stood behind him with her head bowed and showing no signs of concern or fear at her current circumstances. "We don't have a problem here; Adria's called everything off and she's willing to go to a cell until we can... I dunno, straighten something else out."

"Uh... hold on a minute here, just let me straighten something out before I start to question your parentage," Jack said, holding up a hand as he activated the radio from the dialling room to address the gateroom inhabitants, looking uncertainly at the boy who he partly considered a nephew despite the limited time they'd spent together so far. "You're saying that the person who was created to lead the Ori armies... has quit from her job?"

"Yes," Adria said, her voice trembling slightly as she looked up at the source of the voice that had just addressed her. "I... I do not know what I want... but I do know that I..."

She swallowed slightly, her eyes briefly wandering over the people standing behind the glass window that separated the dialling room from the gateroom, before her gaze settled on Vala.

"I... I want to know my mother," she said at last, smiling awkwardly at the dark-haired ex-thief. "And I... I want to do it on her terms, not my fathers'."

"Oh," Vala said, looking slightly awkwardly back at Adria, before she looked over at her teammates. "Could she...?"

"Be lying?" Sam finished for Vala, shrugging slightly uncertainly even as she kept her voice low and her head slightly turned to one side; Adria didn't look like she had the necessary focus to read minds, but since Liam had never demonstrated that power himself- Oma probably hadn't wanted to give him any excuses to grow apart from other people- they had no way to know what Adria's actual limits were. "It's not impossible, but I don't think that Liam would have just let her beam down here if he thought she wasn't telling the truth, and she just looks... well, she's too obviously shaken for it to be faked."

"Indeed," Teal'c said, nodding thoughtfully as he looked at Adria for a moment before he looked back at his teammates. "If Adria wished to deceive us, she would appear more certain about what she sought to accomplish by coming here; the fact that even she is uncertain about what she wishes for us to do with her at this time lends weight to the idea that she is telling the truth."

"Plus, there's the simple fact that any kind with you two and Oma as examples probably wouldn't fall for any kind of crap Adria might try to pull on him," Jack said, shrugging slightly as Daniel looked at him in surprise. "Hey, she got a bit on my nerves with the whole 'non-interference' thing, but she wasn't exactly stupid apart from the Anubis thing, and I'm fairly sure she learned enough from that to ensure that Liam wouldn't make her original mistakes."

"Uh... right," Daniel said, before he turned to look at General Landry, who was looking between the various members of SG-1 in a slightly pointed manner.

"It's safe," the archaeologist said at last, his teammates nodding in agreement alongside him.

Nodding back at them in response, Landry activated the radio once again.

"Stand down," he told the security team gathered around the Stargate, his tone solemn as he looked at the obviously shaken Adria. "It's... well, it's over."

As the men around the two part-Ascended beings lowered their weapons, Daniel and Sam were in each other's arms almost before they realised it, smiling in relief at their son's continued existence.

Even if they'd had faith that he could make it out of the Ori ship alive- Merlin's training aside, Liam had shown himself to be a fairly resourceful young man in their time together-, no amount of faith could surpass the simply joy of having him back and alive.

"I'll just... go," Vala said, indicating the door to the control room before she hurried out of the room and down the corridor to the entrance to the gateroom, ignoring the slight stares she was receiving from her teammates.

Even she wasn't entirely sure what she was about to do when she'd left the control room, but as soon as she walked through the now-open doors of the gateroom and saw Adria standing there, looking lost and alone and child-like in a manner that she'd never looked even when she was a child physically, she knew that it didn't matter.

Whatever had happened between mother and daughter before now, right now, her daughter needed her, and Vala was going to at least try and be the kind of mother that could help her daughter.

"Hey," she said, smiling awkwardly at her daughter, before she looked slightly uncertainly at Liam. "So... what did you...?"

"I just shut down the part of her mind that was linked to the Ori," Liam replied, shrugging slightly as though discussing that kind of thing was normal. "She remembers everything she did, but without them telling her that they're right in the back of her mind like they were before, she's-"

"I... I can speak for myself, Liam," Adria said, looking at him with a slightly scolding smile before she turned to look at Vala. "As Liam said, without my fathers present in the back of my mind to... support me... I have realised that I do not know the things I believed I did."

"Including everything you tried to tell me about Origin?" Vala asked with a hopeful smile.

"Among... other things," Adria said, nodding at her mother. "I recall the message that the text was created to spread... but I am no longer sure that this... invasion... was the way to spread it; religion should be a choice, and not something forced upon them..."

She paused for a moment, looking down as she held her hands out in front of herself, before she spoke again. "But I... I don't know what I should do now."

Even though her daughter looked like she was only a few years younger than her, Vala couldn't suppress the maternal urge she felt at those simple words.

She hadn't forgotten what Adria had tried to do in the past, but equally, it was clear that whatever Liam had done to her had changed her for the better; for all intents and purposes, the Adria that had been wasn't here any more.

"Come on..." she said, smiling uncertainly at her adult daughter, as she place an awkward arm around her shoulders; Adria's apparent age wouldn't make bonding easy, but Vala was going to try and be some kind of parent to her. "Let's go and... talk."

As Vala led Adria out of the gateroom, Mitchell almost didn't need the confirming nod from Generals O'Neill and Landry to know what he had to do next as he headed out of the dialling room and down to the gateroom as the puddle jumper with the Sangraal attached to it.

Adria might have called the immediate attack on Earth off, but as long as the Ori themselves existed, the possibility of another attack would always remain unless they ended all possibility of future conflict for good, and the only way to accomplish that was to use the Sangraal.

None of them were exactly comfortable with that situation, but since it had been Mitchell who had lead them on the mission that resulted in Daniel activating the long-range communication device that lead to them making contact with the Ori in the first place, he had thus volunteered to be the one who activated the Sangraal.

As he walked into the gateship, Mitchell smiled grimly at the sight of the object that Merlin and Liam had constructed together over the last few weeks; he might not like the idea of the boy he partly considered a nephew helping to develop a weapon of genocide, but the prospect of the freedom they'd provide for the people of the Ori's home galaxy after it was activated helped him to feel a bit better about what they had planned.

"We're ready here, sir," Mitchell said, his tone solemn as he looked back at the observation booth, picking up the last crystal from where it lay near the Sangraal.

"Insert the crystal and proceed to dial the 'gate," Jack said, his arms folded and his expression grim as his gaze shifted from Mitchell to look at the Stargate in front of him, giving no indication how he felt about the order that he'd just given.

As Mitchell placed the crystal in the Sangraal and turned to dial the jumper's DHD, he wondered how things had come to this.

The fact that the Ori were near-omnipotent arrogant psychos who'd happily curtail human development across the galaxy to support themselves made what he was about to do easier, but that didn't mean he wanted to do it; genocide was genocide, no matter how long the other race had lived or how much they might deserve whatever was coming to them...

But, in the end, Merlin had been right; there was no other way to ensure that the Ori were stopped for good apart from killing them all right now, no matter how much Jackson and the others might wish that there was another way available to them.

With that thought, he entered the eight-chevron address that Sam had calculated was the address of the Ori galaxy from this network, tapped the necessary controls to set the jumper in motion- apparently that kind of simple command just required someone to be inside; it was the more complicated piloting feats that relied on the Ancient gene-, and then hurried out of the back as the jumper advanced towards the Stargate, a solemn tone to the advance that nobody felt inclined to break by speaking as the jumper passed through the event horizon, the wormhole shutting down as it passed through to the other side.

It was done.

The Sangraal was on its way to the Ori home galaxy, and it would soon destroy the Ascended who had suppressed and manipulated the lower beings of their galaxy for so many years.

Damn, Mitchell thought grimly as he looked at the deactivated Stargate. I'm going to need a few drinks after this...

After doing something like that, it would take some kind of monster for someone not to need to take a break from reality for a while...

"Will it work?" Jack asked after a few moments of silence, looking over at the Jackson family- even without any official documentation completely sorted out yet, Sam already looked the part as she stood alongside Daniel and Liam, one hand on her son's shoulder and an arm around Daniel's waist- inquiringly, the rest of SG-1 gathered around them as they stared at the now-deactivated Stargate.

He might have faith in Merlin's expertise in principle- the man certainly hadn't let them down while he'd been with them, and he'd won more than a few points with Jack for his decision to side with the SGC when the Ancients tried to take over Atlantis-, but that didn't mean he wasn't entitled to feel somewhat anxious when relying on new technology that he didn't fully understand.

"Well, Merlin did tell us that the Sangraal was programmed to generate an 'anti-Ascended' energy shield when it was in the last stages of the countdown to activation- he didn't say what it did exactly, although I'm guessing it's something like the energy generated by the Staffs-, so, unless he made some kind of mistake in the last stages..." Daniel said, shrugging slightly as he looked at Jack.

He didn't finish his sentence, but Jack didn't even bother making a joke about the silence that had fallen over the usually articulate archaeologist; they might have just saved the world, but they had paid a heavy price for doing so no matter what spin they tried to put on it.

God... they'd just committed genocide...

It was one of those things nobody really wanted to do- even when fighting the Goa'uld, the idea of killing them off completely had always seemed horrifying; it was one reason they'd occasionally just tried to manipulate some Goa'uld against each other-, but, at the same time, Jack couldn't bring himself to really feel sorry for the Ori.

They'd tried to establish total authority over a galaxy that might have been willing to leave them alone if they'd been left alone in return- it wasn't that likely that they'd have just sat back and allowed the Ori to enslave a galaxy of people once they'd found out about it, but at the same time it was so far away that it wasn't likely that the IOA or Homeworld Security would have been able to put that much effort into working out what to do next-, and had ignored any of their prior attempts to establish some kind of diplomatic resolution to the problem; they'd made their bed, so the SGC had been left with no choice but to make it a coffin.

It sucked, but that was the way things went; the Ori had pushed against them, and they'd left everyone at the SGC with no other choice but to push back.

Jack just wished that he could be totally sure about where they were all going to go from here; you couldn't just kill a society's gods and leave them to pick up the pieces...

A few hours later, Sam stood alongside Liam in the facility's morgue; Daniel was currently helping Vala, Adria and Jack draw up the first draft of a possible new treaty between the Ori's former forces and the rest of the Milky Way galaxy, but Liam had wanted to take a last look at Merlin's body before they contacted any Ancients to ask for their advice regarding whatever funeral preparations the Ancients might practise.

"Are... are you OK?" Sam asked after a few moments of silence, looking uncertainly at her son as he stood silently beside her, gazing at the body of the man who had taught him so much in the short time they'd had together.

"I... I miss him," Liam said, sniffing slightly as he looked at the body lying before him before he turned to look at Sam. "I always knew that what I did couldn't keep him around forever..."

"But you wanted to believe he'd be there," Sam said, smiling sadly at her son as she crouched down to give him a brief hug, wishing that she could have waited longer before she found herself forced to teach her son this kind of lesson. "Liam, the hardest thing in this world is recognising that we can't keep the people we care about with us for the rest of our lives; eventually, whether through old age or something else, we'll always be separated from those we love. All we can do is treasure the time that we do have with them, and hope that we used that time well."

It wasn't the best thing she'd ever said, she was willing to admit- Daniel was the diplomat of SG-1; the rest of them just improvised when they were in a position where they had to talk to other people-, but judging by the smile on Liam's face, he seemed to appreciate it nevertheless.

"Thanks, Mom," he said, returning her hug with his own tight squeeze. "I love you."

I love you...

Liam might have said it before, but somehow, it meant so much more to Sam now.

Before, they'd also had to worry about the implications of Liam's 'destiny' to confront Adria, or they'd had to go to Atlantis to find whatever Merlin had hidden there, or he'd been busy with his training with Merlin, but now...

Right now, when Sam looked to the future, all that she could see was the possibility of a long, happy life with Daniel, with Liam as their son- and maybe a few more conventional children 'thrown in' for good measure-; considering that she'd privately believed that her chances at a conventional relationship had ended when she broke up with Pete, that was far more than she could have ever expected.

She wouldn't be so self-centred as to think that the family she now had with Liam and Daniel made up for the fact that they'd just committed genocide, but it helped her feel slightly better; no matter what guilt they might face for what they'd done in the future, she'd have her family to help her through it.

"I love you too," she said, smiling down at her son as he looked up at her, his eyes gleaming with that same joy that his father always had whenever he'd made some kind of discovery that answered so many of his current questions. "And... whatever you decide to do with yourself now that you're living a normal life... I will always love you."

"Thanks, Mom," Liam said again, still grinning gratefully up at her. "I'll... keep that in mind."

"Just don't use it as an excuse to slack off when the time comes for you to go to school," Sam said as the two of them turned to leave the morgue, Sam pausing to move the sheet back over Merlin's body as it lay on the gurney before leaving the room with Liam.

"Aw, Mom, you know how smart I am-" Liam began.

"Personal opinion isn't the same as documentary academic reference, Liam," Sam replied, still smiling as they walked through the corridors of the SGC. "Your father and I are proud of the progress you made in your lessons with Merlin, but you're not going to have an entire life defined by what you've received because of how you were born..."

After the nightmarish few moments where she'd thought that Liam might be dead, the simplicity of being able to talk about his future scholastic career was definitely a refreshing change of pace.

Later that night, as Daniel returned to his apartment after a busy day at the SGC- drawing up the necessary details for a treaty with a group who had practically no experience with even the idea that there might be people outside of their own galaxy a few months before now-, he was only partly surprised to find Sam sitting on his couch, a pensive expression on her face as she looked up at him.

"Hey," she said, walking over to give him a welcoming hug. "Liam's already asleep in the guest room- I thought he needed something more normal than guest quarters back at the mountain-, so I thought I'd just... wait."

"Thanks," Daniel said, smiling briefly at her before he sat down beside her, staring up at the ceiling. "It's... been a busy few hours."

"What does the treaty consist of?" Sam asked.

"Well, we didn't want to create too great an upheaval in their society, and our ability to stay in contact with other galaxies is fairly limited, so we're basically agreeing to stay out of each other's affairs," Daniel said, smiling slightly at her. "With Adria having expressed her own doubts about Origin, not even the Priors were sure where to go, and with Tomin- Vala's husband, you know- having already begun questioning the Ori's approach and interpretation of the Book of Origin even before we did anything here, we thought that it would be best to leave him and a few others to try and reinterpret the Books to approach a more benevolent attitude towards interacting with others than what they've done so far."

"You think that he can do it?" Sam asked.

"Well, Origin itself wasn't flawed- most of it depended on the interpretation of the Priors preaching it and the manipulations of the Ori themselves-, so Tomin's got a good basis to work with," Daniel said, smiling slightly hopefully at her before his expression became more dejected as he sat forward, his head bowed in obvious regret. "I just... I wish there was another way..."

"I know," Sam said, leaning over to place a hand around his shoulder as she smiled reassuringly at him. "But... we gave them every chance we could to back down, and they didn't take it; we didn't have any choice."

"Yeah..." Daniel said, nodding grimly before he smiled slightly over at Sam as another thought occurred to him. "And, on an encouraging note, at least our son made the right choice when he realised that he could make one."

"Saving Adria like that?" Sam replied, smiling back at Daniel in understanding. "Yeah, I know what you mean..."

Liam's decision to cut Adria off from the Ori was definitely making things somewhat complicated for the IOA back at the SGC- even the most hardened of them had trouble condemning Adria for something that even she seemed to be genuinely apologetic for in her current condition-, but Sam and Daniel both couldn't help but feel proud at the idea that their son had chosen the more complicated method of victory, attempting to help Adria rather than simply trying to kill her.

"So... what now?" Sam asked, as she looked uncertainly at Daniel.

They might have overcome the Ori, but they still had so many personal details to deal with; Vala had her relationship with Adria to try and straighten out, developing a plan for the Ori society to survive wasn't the same as successfully putting that plan into action, and then there were such minor issues as what was to be done with their captured Ori battlecruiser, to say nothing of waiting for Daanar's planet to return to the real universe...

"Tonight..." Daniel said, pausing contemplatively for a moment before he looked at her with a warm smile. "Tonight, I just want to hold you, and think about the life that we've got waiting for us and Liam now that the war's over, and the life that Tomin and the others can make for themselves now that we've defeated their gods... and not think about what we had to do to give them that life."

"OK," Sam said, nodding at Daniel with a smile of her own, understanding his need to focus more on what could be controlled right now. "Then that's what we'll do."

As she held Daniel in her arms, in that moment and for the rest of the night, Sam felt a certainty in what the future held for them that she had never felt before.

What they had done to get to this stage might have been questionable at best, but they had saved so many people with their last action, both in terms of lives saved and in terms of the freedom that they would now possess to grow and develop beyond the previous limitations forced on them by the beings who had set themselves up as gods over their home galaxy and had sought to do the same here...

There would be challenges up ahead for all concerned parties- Adria and Vala's tentative attempts to develop a new relationship, Liam's incorporation into regular life on Earth, the possibilities presented to them by the continued presence of the Tria's crew on Earth and in Atlantis...

But, if Sam and Daniel had learned anything from recent events, it was that they could accomplish anything if they worked together as members of SG-1.

They had always been a surrogate family for each other ever since they had first come together as a team, and just because that family had expanded since its formation didn't make it any less valid.

Whatever challenges the SGC might face in the upcoming weeks and months as they tried to help Adria and the former Ori forces accept the 'death' of their gods, or whatever issues might emerge as a result of the Ancients' attempts to find a place for themselves in a universe that had moved on since they had first established the Stargate network, the newly-formed Jackson family and their respective friends and allies could at least be sure that they were going to face it all together.

Their relationship might not have been conventional, but neither of them would change what they'd been through and the renewed connection they now shared with each other for anything. Liam might have been a surprise discovery when they went to Daanar's planet, unaware of the existence of the 'Child of the Ancients'- to use a nickname Liam had acquired at the SGC-, but now that he was here, Sam and Daniel could hardly remember what life had been like without Liam Carter Jackson in their lives.

AN: And there we have it; the story concludes- any changes from this point onwards can be left to your discretion, although I was thinking that the Atlantis expedition manage to save the Ancients during the Replicator assault by luring the Replicators in after converting the shield into an anti-Replicator weapon like they did in the show-, and I hope all of you enjoyed it.