Death isn't easy, it isn't fair, and it most certainly isn't accomodating.
An Aeda Harrison/Daniel Jackson story (there are four so far).
It is January 25th and it has been exactly 5 months since Daniel Jackson disappeared off the face of the universe.
The spring semester started three days earlier, though Aeda Harrison missed the first day of classes because she had a panic attack in the parking lot and had to get Karen Jefferson to drive her home. Because of this delay, she is seeing her students for the first time. There are fifty fresh faces gazing at her from amongst the lecture hall bleachers and she finds herself slowly panicking. She takes a deep breath and wills the fear away.
It has been a little more than eight months since she last set foot in a lecture hall. A little more than four months since she finally crawled out of bed and acknowledged the existence of the world, and as those faces stare at her she wonders if it was too soon.
There is a single familiar face among the crowd, that of her graduate assistant Greg. She smiles widely at him, mostly in relief, and is happy to see him return it with an almost imperceptible nod of encouragement. She takes a deep breath, pulls her incredibly bushy hair up into a messy ponytail, and turns to her students with what she hopes is perceived as confidence.
"Good morning," she says and is pleased to hear it repeated back to her in a chorus of eager voices. She reasons that these students must be juniors and seniors, as she has never taught a class of freshmen and sophomores that sounded that awake and functioning at ten o'clock in the morning.
"Welcome to Quantum Theory, a class in which we will discuss just about anything. Including black holes, wormholes, alternate dimensions, parallel realities, and anything else you've managed to digest from science fiction and feel like throwing at me."
The class smiles at her and she begins to feel comfortable again. She walks around the desk, sits on the edge of it, and surveys her students. They seem to fit all manner of stereotypes – from the jock, to the diva, to the science nerd, and even, in two cases, the clandestine Russian mafia. She explains her goals for the semester, has Greg hand out the syllabus, and fields questions about her teaching methods like an old pro. Even with the New England winter raging outside, she feels a familiar warmth spread through her that she hasn't felt in months.
She has missed Daniel every second of every day and in doing so has forgotten that she misses teaching almost as much.
She glances at her watch, which tells her she still has twenty minutes of their time. When she glances up, she catches the eye of a young woman dressed completely in black, save the yellow scarf tied around her neck. Aeda smiles at her.
"What's your name?" she asks.
The woman blushes, two rosy spots appearing at the high points of her rounded cheekbones. Aeda instantly feels a rush of affection for her. She thinks it may be because in that moment, in her short-lived embarrassment, Aeda sees herself in the young woman.
"Madeline Goodman. Maddy."
This is one of Aeda's favorite names and she feels her smile widen. "Do you read science fiction novels, Maddy?"
Madeline shakes her head, her long fingers playing with the frayed ends of the scarf as though separate from the rest of her body. "No, but I watch science fiction TV shows."
"No one reads anymore," Aeda exclaims in mock exasperation and a soft wave of laughter flutters across the students. "Don't worry – I intend to change that in due time." She smiles at their groans and returns her attention to Madeline. "Well, then, what is your favorite sci-fi show?"
The woman smiles. "I loved Quantum Leap as a little girl and I'm a huge X-Files fan." Madeline pauses, looks at Aeda with a thoughtful expression. "Do you think a person could really do that, leap from one body to the next?"
"Stranger things have been known to happen," a male voice states from the back of the classroom and Aeda shifts her gaze away from Madeline's round face to seek out the student speaking. When her eyes finally land on his face she has to bite down on her lip to keep from yelling out in shock. The man is instantly familiar, in a way that makes the bottom drop out of Aeda's world, and she finds herself growing dizzy with the realization of it.
When she had first arrived at the SGC, Jack had told her a story about the two times they'd lost Daniel, about how he had died and had ascended and had come back to them as good as new. For the first month after Cameron had handed her Daniel's dog tags, she'd waited for him to arrive in her bedroom, to comfort her and tell her that he'd be back someday.
He never came and a small part of her, the angry part, believed it was because he didn't love her enough, that if he really did love her as much as he had said, he'd find any way back to her – Ancients be damned.
Now, dressed in his academic uniform of jeans, dress shirt, and corduroy blazer, he had returned and she can't help but wonder if she is hallucinating his presence. She looks at Greg and is not all that surprised to see concern and worry on his typically smiling face.
"Greg, do you see that man in the corduroy blazer back there?"
Greg looks up at the back of the lecture hall and then back at her. The concern and worry have equally tripled. "Dr. Harrison, there isn't anyone back there."
"I was afraid of that," she says quietly.
Daniel smiles at her, waves, and puts his feet up on the back of the chair in front of him. She doesn't know whether to be scared silly or absolutely furious. So, in order to delay the decision of which emotion to portray, she does the next best thing: she passes out and hopes that Greg will somehow manage to catch her before she hits the floor.
Thanks to all my reviewers - you guys rock! Oh, and a big shoutout to Verb, katejones2005, and Terelou who left me reviews for the last Aeda/Daniel story I wrote - I know it was sad and I thank you for it. :-)
Thanks for reading!!!!