The weather was cool. The sun hung lazily in the sky, energy-drained after such a busy day. It dipped low, sipping at the darkening water, recharging itself before venturing to the other side of the world to shine once again. The darkness deepened and the air filled with the deep sounds of frogs conversing and crickets courting in a long session of natural music. The wind shifted and rustled in the trees, tickling the leaves and releasing a sigh as it blew past the two men sitting on a wooden dock. One had reclined against the rough wood, fingers laced behind his greying head and fishing rod pinned between bent knees. The other man held his rod steady in a sure yet distracted grip.

Daniel stared out over the lake, inhaling the scent of green and disturbed water, watching the fireflies as they slowly ventured out and experimented in dance. He was a little surprised that they were out this late in the year. He shifted slightly and adjusted his grip on the pole, musing over the fact that, after sitting there all day, neither one of them had caught a damn thing. Teal'c had once commented that there was no fish in Jack's pond, and said that Jack had responded, "It's not about the fish. It's about fishing." Teal'c had accepted the statement with his usual upturned eyebrow, and later confided to Daniel Jackson that he wasn't certain he totally understood the reference. Daniel had smiled. He agreed to fish Jack's offer to fish because he needed the companionship, and because he was holding out some hope that there really were fish in that pond.

Jack seemed to have dozed off. Daniel glanced at him, then carefully removed the pole from his knees, placing it on the scarred deck. His attention returned to the water. The moon was rising, pooling below in a white, wavering image. Hypnotized, he watched and his mind spouted out complimentary images of its own accord. White. Clarity. Ascension. His trip to heaven that had turned out to be so much less.

It left plenty of questions in his mind. His faith had been shaken; his faith in humanity, in goodness, in right always prevailing and things coming full circle. Over the years he had seen reliable scientific facts ripped to shreds before his eyes. He had seen gods rise and fall. Hell, he'd even died. . .several times. Seven years ago he was Daniel Jackson, scholar, husband, happy. Now. . .now what was he? A bit jaded. Angry. Once again innocent to the mysteries of the world, because he now once again had to question everything, and right when he thought he was finding some answers. Instead of leaping forward, he had fallen about eight million steps backwards, and he was still on his knees from the impact.

For instance, exactly who was the creator? Who was God? Was there one? Was there eternal life, a heaven, or was it all a myth like so many others stories of faith he had seen? He was beginning to come into line with the Buddhist belief of reincarnation, hell, look at him. He was living proof. As a scientist his religious beliefs veered a bit from the conventional, but he did have his faith. And now. . .now what?

Now what did he have?

A fishing pole.

He had been through so much. Why he, why not someone else? Did he have a different chemical makeup that jinxed him to the world? Was it because he could cope? Learn? Adapt? Insufficient data. Insufficient resources.

Insufficient reasons.

Jack snored lightly. Daniel looked at him, then shook his head and chuckled softly. He remembered something else the Buddhists said. Live for the moment. The moment was what mattered, it was where you were, it was what you had some measure of control over. The past was but a memory, the present stretched forwards in thousands of invisible lines. All you could do was hang on. He smiled and at musings and returned his attention to the water.

Just hang on, and keep fishing.