Dr. Daniel Jackson stood in the gate room facing a startled Jack O'Neill. Daniel knew that they weren't actually in the gate room, but were in fact in some sort of representation of it in his own mind. At least that's what he assumed it was. He could only guess at what was going through Jack's head. A moment earlier, Jack had stood in the medical isolation room at the side of the bed on which Daniel's body laid, watching as Jacob Carter attempted to heal the dying archeologist. Even now, in his own mind(or where ever this was), Daniel felt the agony being brought on by the radiation sickness that ravaged his body, and the feel of the Goa'uld healing device trying to repair the damage. It all seemed distant, but definitely still there. For the moment, however, what was happening out there was not quite as important as what he now had to do. He focused all of his attention on Jack, who was staring at him, obviously amazed to see his friend standing in front of him, unbandaged and looking rather healthy.
"Daniel." It was all Jack said, but coming from him it meant so much more than just a name. It was a statement of relief at seeing Daniel unharmed and at the same time a question, asking if he was actually there and alright.
"Yeah." Daniel's response was also just one word, but the meaning was clear: Yeah, I'm okay. It's really me and I'm okay.
No one said anything after that. The silence seemed to stretch on forever. Daniel wanted to break it, but wasn't quite sure how to proceed. He knew what he had to do, what he had to say, just as he knew how Jack would react to it. His friend positively would not like what Daniel had to ask of him. Actually, Jack would hate it. He wouldn't understand. And he would never grant Daniel's request. Never. How could Daniel have ever thought this was a good idea? How could he have…
"Did you want something?" Jack's question interrupted Daniel's thoughts and gave him the courage to say what he knew he had to.
"Yeah. Tell Jacob to stop."
Jack looked at him as though uncertain he'd heard correctly and then simply asked "Why?"
"Because I'm ready to move on."
Jack looked concerned as he asked "You just… giving up?"
Oh God! Daniel thought. He thinks I just want to die! Which couldn't be further from the truth. He didn't want to give his life up. He wanted to do more with it. Daniel thought about everything Oma Desala had said. He thought about the possibility of ascending, and all that he could accomplish from a higher plane of existence.
"No." Daniel said. "No, I'm not giving up, believe me."
He turned to look at Oma Desala, who stood at the bottom of the ramp leading to the Stargate. Jack did the same. Daniel didn't think he'd really taken notice of her presence until now. Once their attention had turned toward her, Oma smiled at them. The light around her glowed brighter until she seemed to become one with the light. Then the glowing formless shape of Oma Desala rose and floated over to the 'gate. She spread out, filling the inside of the ring with her light. When she was done, the Stargate looked active, though Daniel knew that stepping through it wouldn't take him simply to another planet, but to a whole new state of being.
Forcing his gaze away from the Stargate, he looked back at Jack. "You remember Oma?"
"Sure." Jack wasn't just acknowledging his memory of the ascended woman. He was also letting Daniel know that he now understood why he'd made his earlier request. But understanding a request and granting it were two very different things. Daniel knew he'd still have to convince Jack to help him ascend.
"I think I can do more this way." Daniel stated. And that was enough of a reason for Daniel to take this step. He'd spent years trying to make a difference, to help anyone he could. Sometimes he'd gotten frustrated when it seemed there was little he could do to improve things on a larger scale. But with the knowledge and power he'd gain from ascending, he'd be able to make things so much better for everyone. The ability to do more for others was the reason Daniel wanted this so badly. But he knew that Jack wasn't concerned with what was best for everyone out there in the universe. He was concerned with what was best for his friend. And he'd never let Daniel do this if it was only for the benefit of others.
"It's what I want." Daniel said, almost pleading. He hoped Jack would listen. Jack did want what was best for Daniel, but wasn't always willing to trust the younger man's judgment when it came to deciding what was actually best for him.
Jack stared at Daniel, obviously still undecided.
"I have to go now." Daniel said gently. "Everything's going to be fine. Please Jack, tell Jacob to stop."
Daniel figured that he had to have finally gotten through to his friend and convinced him that this was the right thing to do, when he saw the expression on Jack's face change. His eyes had hardened and his jaw was set tightly. Daniel had seen this face many times over the previous five years. Jack was bracing himself for a fight.
"No." Jack stated firmly. "No, Daniel, I won't let you throw your life away this easily."
"Jack, I'm not throwing it away. I won't be dead. Not really."
"You want Jacob to stop healing you." Jack declared.
"Once he stops, you'll die."
"So…then you will be dead."
"Yes. I mean no."
"Yes." Jack said.
"No." Daniel had no intention of getting into one of their rather childish arguments, so he quickly continued talking before Jack could get out another Yes. "Jack I'd be ascending."
"Which means what exactly?"
"I don't know." Daniel had to admit. "But I do know that I would be able to do more than I could if you force me back."
"Force you?" Jack stared at him incredulously. "Daniel, I don't think anyone should have to force you to want to live."
"Jack, it's more complicated than that." Daniel was getting more frustrated by the moment.
So was Jack. "Damn it, Daniel, you're the one that's making it complicated. It's life or death and I'm choosing life!"
"It's not your decision to make!" Daniel yelled.
"The Hell it's not!" Jack yelled back. "You are still under my command and I'm ordering you to live."
Even though he knew he'd lost, Daniel tried one last time to make his friend understand. "Jack, please. I have to do this. You have to help me."
"No, Daniel." Jack's response was quiet, almost inaudible. "I won't let you die."
Daniel felt tears coming to his eyes, and looked down at the floor. A long moment passed. Neither of the two men said a word. Everything had already been said. They may have stood there in silence forever, but suddenly the room grew darker. Daniel looked up and felt his stomach sink as he realized that the Stargate had shut off. Oma Desala had left and taken any hope of ascension with her.
Suddenly the pain that had seemed so distant only moments ago flared up, and Daniel let out a cry. He saw Jack move forward, coming to help, but then everything went dark.