Title: A Better Place

Rating: G

Spoilers: general for Stargate: the Movie

Summary: short episode addition to Stargate: the Movie

Author's Note: written as part of my 'Operation: Rewatch' Fic-a-thon – stories are in no way connected, however

Date: 9/07/09

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I just like them :)

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I hadn't had the opportunity to speak to him before he left, and something told me that my efforts wouldn't really have been appreciated anyway. But the man stepping back through the stargate now was very different to the one that had left. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought he was someone else entirely.

He walked through the gate with a lightness that wasn't apparent in his previously weighed down form. And though his eyes still carried a darkness, a pain I knew nothing about, he allowed a small but proud smile to show on his face for his men.

The returning team were burnt all over, a glowing pink competing with a healthy layer of dust for a place on their skin, but all were grinning despite this. The colonel slapped each one of them on their shoulder as they passed by him down the ramp.

It wasn't until O'Neill turned away from General West and walked towards me with purpose that I realised the person I had been waiting for was not going to appear. And with that thought the gate shut down, leaving the room far darker than I would have expected. He stopped in front of me and the kind expression on his face only further enforced my belief that something amazing had happened out there. He reached out to grab my hand, leaving something behind when he pulled away.

I upturned my hand and saw, resting in my palm, the pendant of Ra I had given to Daniel before he left. There were grains of sand wedged between the links of the chain and they fell out, softly scratching my skin. The metal was warm, no doubt from being held tightly in Colonel O'Neill's hand, but I allowed myself to believe that it held the Abydonian sun along with it's soil.

"He, uh, he wanted me to give that back to you," O'Neill said, tripping up slightly. I couldn't help but think that the tightly controlled man who had left Earth days before would not have allowed himself to do so. "It seemed important to him."

I wrapped my fingers tightly around the pendent, not yet knowing the part it had played in their mission. I didn't yet know that it had gotten them mistaken for gods. I did not yet know that it had paved the way for communication with an entire civilization. I did not yet know that an alien had ripped it from Daniel's neck before proceeding to kill him. All I thought of was the young man whom I had enlisted to help us, and the complete wonder his face had held as he waled up the ramp towards the stargate.

I looked back at O'Neill, "Thank you, Colonel."

"He did good out there," he said sincerely. "You would have been proud of him."

"I am proud of him," I said.

He smiled and patted me on the shoulder as he left to clean up, a gentler version of the acknowledgement he had given his men. His touch infused some warmth back into my chilled body and I marvelled at the effect that Daniel and this mission had had on such a hard man. I had come to care for Daniel, and I would miss him; but, I thought, lifting the pendant around my neck once more, I would take comfort in the thought of him being in a far better place.