Disclaimer: If wishes were horses
Notes: I'm sorry...
The first time it happened, it had taken years of patient study and meditation.
He had secluded himself, isolating himself both physically and emotionally from others. Then he had begun the careful separation of his self from others while weaving through the complicated realization of the interconnectedness that defined creation. It was a philosophical understanding that surpassed both written and spoken languages. He could never hope to describe the realizations. He could never really pass on that understanding or that knowledge.
But he had tried.
He had taken on a pupil. He'd sought to pass on that understanding before he was finally set free.
He hadn't been entirely sure he had succeeded.
The second time it was an accident.
He hadn't meant to do it.
He hadn't meant to tug that particular metaphysical thread and release himself. Spinning out the carefully woven patterns of creation into oblivion.
He wasn't even sure what he had done to make it happen in the first place.
The third time it was by unconscious choice.
Too many things had gone wrong. Too many things were being left to chance.
He could fix those wrongs, but he had to be quick about it.
And he had to come back as soon as he'd done what he'd set out to do.
The fourth time it happened, he could only remember the sweetest of voices.
The fifth time it was for love.
The sixth time it was hatred.
The seventh time – the seventh time was an impossibility that he still could not understand no matter how he tried.
He'd offered someone of great compassion and serenity the one thing he truly desired. And as a gift, that same man had taken him along for the ride. He'd brought him to paradise, because that what the man had thought he wanted.
When he finally realized his mistake, he had another supporter.
There were so many times he could still remember. Just faintly, like a whiff of perfume long after the wearer had left the room. He could remember the vague reasons why and how and sometimes when. If he reached hard enough he could even remember outstanding details of the life he had led.
But the one thing that was always the same, were his reasons for coming back.
He'd grasped the indefinable meaning and connection, but he was one of the very few who had. And the others did not want to hear about it. They did not want to be lectured about their responsibilities. They did not want to acknowledge that they were responsible.
He left, time and time again, because of the arrogance and the superiority that they could not justify. He left because they would do nothing and he couldn't do that. He couldn't sit back and not reach out. He couldn't turn a blind eye to the suffering and the pain and the destruction. He couldn't tilt his chin up at amazing advances that they had achieved.
So he came back, time and time again.
Each time he lost a little something in the return journey.
He had actually lost count of the number of times he had gone back. But he had hope for this time. He had more help this time around. More were beginning to see what he had been saying. They could no longer truly ignore his warnings when their galaxies were being torn apart around them. But they tried, oh how they tried.
"Colonel!" Rodney snapped. "Have you even been listening to me? You looked like you were a million miles away."
John pulled out his most charming grin. He remembered mastering it a few lifetimes ago. "I was just thinking," he told the agitated scientist.
Rodney snorted at him. "And what could you possibly have been thinking about that would make you not listen to my explanation. For Christ's sake, I was telling you about how we think we might be able to make our own bastardized versions of ZedPMs!"
"Past lives," John said simply.
Some piece of technology he had never seen before had pushed through his reconstructed patterns. He'd gotten better over lifetimes at putting himself back together. But there were still places where his reconstruction was weak and he was vulnerable.
He took a moment to wrap his hands around Rodney's throat. He would curse the man for forcing him to start from scratch. It would take another lifetime to get back to where he had been – if he could ever get back to Atlantis. And he didn't have the time to start rebuilding all over again.
And then a thought came to him, nearly blinding him.
This time he didn't have to start all over again.
After all, if Dr. Daniel Jackson could come back from the dead like some sort of team mascot, why couldn't he?
So he took in a deep breath and began the careful process of putting the patterns that were John Sheppard – this time around at least – back together.