Why were there gigantic clamps pressing on all every side of his head? Oh. There weren't. It was just the major headache he had acquired after downloading whatever it was into his brain.
Daniel moaned weakly, making an attempt to sit up.
Ow. Why was Vala talking so loud? Didn't she realize his ears were already ringing?
Daniel grunted in reply.
"'S he awake?" another voice yelled unnaturally loud. Daniel waved an irritated hand at Cameron, eyes staying firmly shut, trying to convey the concept of lowering the volume.
"I take that as a yes."
Obviously Cam didn't get it.
Daniel made another attempt to sit up when a sudden wave of images swarmed his mind. He fell back into Vala's lap abruptly as he tried to understand their significance.
Vala and Cameron watched Daniel's pained expression slide into a familiar look of hard concentration. His forehead creased deeply, pupils flitting wildly underneath his eyelids. Vala felt his body tense slowly, and then all at once relax. His eyes snapped open to immediately find hers. He smiled wryly at her.
"Could I have some help up?"
Vala smiled back at him and scooted out from below him. She stood and held a hand out. He clutched it like a lifeline and she watched as every last muscle in his arm tightened as he tried, once again, to pull himself up. He started to fall back and Cameron ran behind him to keep the archeologist from hitting the floor. With a combined effort the three of them finally managed to lift Daniel up to a sitting position and keep him there.
"How you feeling?" Cameron asked, frowning in concern. Daniel frowned irritably and waved a hand at Cameron again, shutting his eyes in pain. Cameron jumped away to avoid being swatted and, his brow furrowed, stood up. Vala watched him for a moment before looking back at Daniel and kneeling in front of him.
"Just—shut up, 'kay?" Daniel interrupted, the look of concentration coming across his face again.
It was…like thousands of annus mirabilis. Astonishing, breathtaking, all around extraordinary. And that didn't even come close to describing what was whirling around in his head. He could see hundreds of people he had never before seen yet he knew every single one of them as well as he knew the team, some even better. There was Arthur, Uther, Kay, Ector, Lancelot, Gawaine, Elaine, Bors…even his old owl, Archimedes. Wait. Daniel had never had an owl! Heck, he'd never had a single pet in his entire life…except those fish. Suddenly he realized…
He had Merlin's memories.
A smile grew onto his lips and he immediately dug into the 'data', eager as a kid on his birthday.
Vala watched Daniel with fascination that was steadily turning into concern. With every minute that passed, the creases in his forehead deepened, making him look older and older. It was more than slightly unnerving, seeing as she had noticed a couple weeks ago that the look in his eyes had seemed older. And there were definitely times she had thought he had been on the verge of just giving up. Vala fought away the thought of what would happen if Daniel ever did give up.
The smile on his face had lightened her heart but after realizing the rock-solid concentration wasn't dissolving, she had had to fight the urge to whisper his name and shaking him out of it.
What are you seeing, Daniel? Vala thought desperately, biting her lower lip. Is it worth it?
A/N: I love reviewers and live for constructive criticism!