NOTE from the PHOENIX: I am SO sorry it took soooo long to finish this story. I have no excuse, I am scum.
'I...I've changed my mind...this is a terrible idea.'
"Relax, Gaius, everything's gong to be okay."
"Daniel?" Janet asked.
"Gaius is getting cold feet."
"Can you blame him? He's been at war with these people his whole life and now you're asking him to just walk into their capital city unarmed."
"Yeah, that does sound crazy when you put it like that."
"All your plans sound like that when someone else reads them back to you, Daniel." Janet chuckled.
Daniel smiled and tightened his hold around Janet's waist. They were riding a large gray horse back towards the main city. Gaius and his three most trustworthy men and Ezra were with them on horseback as well. The gun had quickly convinced the rest of the camp that Gaius was not to be challenged. He had placed his second in command while he traveled with Daniel and Janet back to city in hopes of a treaty. They had been traveling for just over a month and would arrive at the city gates soon.
'What is that?' Gaius pointed off trail. 'It looks like a metal bird.'
"Janet look at that. It's a UAV."
"Well you didn't think that the General was just going to give up on you, did you?"
"You mean 'give up on us'?" Daniel corrected. "No."
"I can't wait to be home."
"Neither can I."
'Daniel? That metal beast, was it a friend of yours?' Gaius asked.
'Sort of.' Daniel smiled. 'When we get to the city don't be surprised if you are instantly arrested, but don't worry I'll talk them out of it.'
'Daniel, when we get to the city I won't be surprised if I'm instantly killed.'
'That won't happen.'
'I wish I had your optimism, my friend.'
'Daniel,' Ezra spoke up 'I wish to thank you for all you have done, but my son is right. There is a good chance that they will slaughter us all before a word is spoken.'
'I spent a good deal of time with them, they are not mindless killers. Even war has rules and they will follow them.'
'That is easy for you to say.' Ezra smiled.
'What makes you think that?'
'You see the good in everyone.'
Daniel chuckled and shook his head sadly. Janet gave him a questioning look and he translated the conversation for him. She agreed with Ezra and smiled brightly. Trying not to worry about the future Daniel just enjoyed the peaceful time riding with Janet.
A week later they were within sight of the vast stone city. Daniel pulled his and Janet's horse to a stop and the others followed suit. He instructed everyone to take the saddles off their horses and to remove anything that looked like it might conceal a weapon.
'I will ride in naked if that's what it takes.' Gaius announced as he took off his shirt.
'I think you're stripped down enough. Remember your mother is with us.'
'Speaking of which, if I am killed promise that you'll watch after her.'
'Nothing is going to happen to anyone.' Daniel assured.
"Daniel, maybe we should go first." Janet suggested.
"No, if Gaius and the others are found here on their own they will be killed."
"Janet? Are you okay?"
"I'm a little nervous."
"About going into the city or the prospect of actually going home?"
"A bit of both."
Janet chuckled and wrapped her arms around Daniel's waist. Leaning down he gave her an affectionate kiss before helping her up onto the horse's bare back. Once everyone was mounted again they slowly made their way to the city. It didn't take more than a few seconds for the alarm to go out. Soldiers rushed to them, however, even with bows drawn no one took a shot.
'Stay back, Savages!' One of the city men snarled.
'I demand to speak to General Ilis.' Daniel ordered. 'Bring me Barin, he will tell you that I am from beyond the Great Ring.'
There was a murmuring among the armed men who had greeted them. Eventually someone went off in search of Barin. When the brought him the older man's face lit up with a bright smile. He rushed up to Daniel as Daniel slid down from his place on the horse. Barin threw his arms around Daniel's neck and hugged him warmly.
'Daniel! Doctor of the Dead, you're alive!' Barin greeting gladly. 'And your friend the Doctor of the Living, it is good to see that you are also well! Your friends from the far side of the Ring will be most happy to have you returned.'
'I certainly hope so.'
'They returned many times looking for you, sadly I always felt that the savages killed you both.'
'They are not savages and I have come to talk to Ilis to work out a truce.'
'A truce? That will never happen, you should just return to your own people and let us deal with our own affairs.'
'I've already mettled in your affairs when I brought Janet here to save Ilis's life. He owes me an audience.'
'Very well. However do not be disappointed if he has your savage friends slaughtered.' Barin looked at Gaius and his friends. 'The men will have to be restrained if they are to be before General Ilis.'
'I will agree to be bound, but I refuse to kneel.' Gaius growled.
Barin nodded and Gaius and his company jumped down off their horses. Ezra stayed close to her son as the soldiers bound his hands behind his back. Janet looked apprehensively at Daniel but he smiled to let her know that everything was going as well as could be expected.
They were led through the city to the sounds of jeers and threats as they made their way to the capital building. A messenger had been sent ahead to tell Illis what was coming his way and when they arrived he was sitting in his throne with a look of disgust on his face as he glared at Gaius. Illis turned his eye to Daniel and his expression softened somewhat.
'I am pleased to see you alive, Daniel from beyond the Ring. Your kinsman were most insistent on your return and our relations were beginning to spoil when you could not be found.'
'I would be dead if it wasn't for Gaius.'
'Is Jhan no longer in command?'
'No.' Gaius growled. 'I killed him.'
'I'd expect no better from your kind.'
'Jhan was ruthless and deserved no better.' Daniel replied evenly. 'General, I am not here to talk about which side of this war is right and which is wrong, if there even is such a distinction. I am here to simply end this war.'
'There is not room in this world for both of our kind.'
'I know, that's why I want to take them through the Gate...er...Ring to a new world.'
'The world beyond the world is sacred! It is not for mortals.'
'I'm from there...I'm mortal.'
'It is your home, not theirs.' Ilis spat.
'I'd argue that point, but once again that's not why I'm here. There are many worlds that the Ring connects to, one where they can be at peace, and therefore so can you. General, is it really worth it to lose more of your men to slaughter these men?'
'They are animals, they can not even treat their women with respect.'
'That is changing.' Gaius said firmly. 'This woman here is with us as an equal.'
'Is that true?' Illis asked Ezra.
'Yes.' Ezra nodded.
The General thought about what he had been told and got to his feet. Janet took a nervous step forward as Illis approached Ezra. Daniel stopped her, and whispered for her to just watch. With a flash of silver Illis had a knife against Ezra's throat.
'No!' Gaius roared and surged forward only to be stopped by two guards. 'No! No, please! Kill me if you must, but if you are true men of war and honor you will let her live!'
'Relax, Gaius.' Illis smiled. 'I simply wished to see if you truly cared for a woman or if this was all an act. I can see your concern is real.'
'General,' Daniel said 'does this mean that you will let them leave?'
'Will your people come and escort them through the city to ensure that war does not erupt within our streets?'
'Then we have an agreement.'
General Illis had freed Gaius and his men and wanted to celebrate the end of the war with a feast on the spot, however, Daniel and Janet were far too eager to contact home to eat. Illis understood, but still had preparations for a meal started. He walked and talked with Gaius while they all made their way to the Gate.
"How do you do it, Daniel?" Janet purred.
"Daniel, these two sides have been at war for hundreds of years and it took you ten minutes to get them talking like old friends."
"Often times all two waring sides need is a third party to step in and translate for them."
"Well you did a wonderful job."
Daniel chuckled as Janet ruffled his hair. Stepping up to the Gate he ran his hand lovingly over the DHD before placing Earth's address into the familiar device. Gaius yelped in shock as the vortex snapped out at them. Daniel wondered if he had ever truly believed that the 'Ring' worked.
'Is this good-bye, my friends?' Gaius asked.
'Not just yet.' Daniel smiled. 'Besides we still need to help you to a new world.'
'Thank you for everything, you are truly a messenger of the Gods.'
'Not even close, but 'you're welcome'.'
Having knocked on the SGC's door Daniel shut down the wormhole so that they could dial back. It didn't take more than a few minutes for the Gate to spring to life once again. It looked like they had interrupted a ceremony. Jack and Sam rushed through the Gate in their dress blues, and Teal'c quickly followed in his formal Jaffa robe.
"Daniel! You and your sick sense of timing!" Jack roared as he threw his arms around Daniel in a powerful hug. "I should have known that you were just waiting for this day."
"This day? What day is that?"
"Your funeral of course."
"Is that why you're all dressed up?" Daniel chuckled.
"Yup. I told them you weren't dead. Carter what did I tell the Brass?"
Sam had Janet locked in a warm embrace, but she still heard the General's request.
"Something along the lines of: 'If Daniel were dead, he'd be pestering me by now'."
"That sounds like Jack." Daniel smiled. He switched places with Janet and gave Sam a hug. "It's good to see you Sam."
"You too Daniel. And for the record I didn't think you two were dead either."
Janet squeaked in surprise as Jack embraced her and lifted her up off the ground in his excitement. Daniel looked at Teal'c and received a deep bow. When Teal'c looked up again he had a slight smile on his normally stoic features. Daniel laughed and took a moment to enjoy the feeling of the reunion.
"So," Jack smiled "when's the wedding?"
"Wha...what?" Daniel stuttered.
"Don't give me that, Daniel." Jack reached out and dragged Daniel into the embrace that he still had Janet in. "My keen eyes see all, and they saw how you two were snuggling when we first stepped through."
"Sir," Sam interrupted "perhaps we should get everyone home, rested, all that stuff."
"Right, right." Jack nodded. "Teal'c dial that thing home and let them know we're coming."
Teal'c nodded and dialed the Gate and sent through the code. When Jack went to haul Daniel through he asked for a few more minutes with Gaius. Jack nodded and he took Sam and Teal'c back through. Daniel turned to Gaius and let him know that he would return soon to help with the relocation.
"Did you really need to talk to Gaius alone?" Janet asked.
"No." Daniel admitted. "I wanted to talk to you."
"Here I am."
"Going home...does it mean that what's happened between us has to end?"
"Only if we want it to."
"I don't want it to...what about you?"
Daniel leaned in and kissed Janet gently. Before she could protest he gathered her up in his arms and carried her towards the Gate as though he was a new groom carrying a bride over a threshold. He stepped up to the horizon and paused for a moment.
"It's going to be a different world for us, Janet."
"I know, but it is still home."
"Then let's go home."