E-MAIL: paravati@optonline.net

STATUS: Work in Progress

CATEGORY: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Daniel/Janet

RATING: PG-13

SEASON: 5

SEQUEL: End Game Par 1

SUMMARY: DISCLAIMERS: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. We have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the authors. Not to be archived without permission of the authors.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Daniel has to finish the game without Janet or his teammates at his side

End Game Part II

SGC - The night before departure:

Sitting across SGC's briefing table from Colonel Simmons, Senator Kinsey, and their various entourages, Daniel had to work hard to stifle a yawn. General Hammond looked at Daniel and sympathized with the young archeologist. After sitting through countless briefings with Dr. Jackson, he was well aware that Daniel was a million miles away in thought. General Hammond sighed, Daniel knew better than anyone else sitting at this table, himself included, what exactly was at stake in this situation. This treaty had made strange bedfellows of Kinsey and Simmons. The droning and arguing of both Simmon's and Kinsey's voice was remnant of fingernails on a blackboard.

"Headache?" Colonel Simmons questioned with concern after noticing that Dr. Jackson had closed his eyes and proceeded to rub his temples.

The tone in his voice even made General Hammond glance in Daniel's direction.

Daniel did not open his eyes and he certainly did not want to visit the infirmary by admitting to the pounding behind his closed lids, so he lied and answered "Tired."

"That's understandable Dr. Jackson, but are you aware…"

Daniel had no interest for whomever made that remark, but he was done, finished, wanting out of this room, end of game. He leaned forward, eyes wide open and ablaze with countless emotions. "Aware, believe me gentlemen, no one at this table is more aware of what is at stake here than I. I certainly do not need anyone from Washington, the Pentagon, NID or whatever rock you've crawled out of to remind me of this fact. Get it through your heads, when I…SG-1 step through that gate tomorrow, we do it in the interest of the people of Earth, and with the exception of General Hammond, not the bureaucratic assholes who are sitting around this table." He stood up so abruptly that his chair rolled halfway across the briefing room. He said "Goodnight" to General Hammond and started gathering his paperwork.

Daniel got as far as the door to the briefing room when Senator Kinsey spoke up "A little bit of an attitude problem, Dr. Jackson, considering these bureaucratic assholes pay your generous salary." The smug look on Kinsey's face made even Hammond want to kick his teeth in.

Daniel turned around and in a calm voice replied "Fire me. Say the word and tomorrow morning instead of gating to Nuzar, I'll be gone." Kinsey sputtered angrily, for once at a loss for words.

"Checkmate". Daniel said quietly exiting the room.

General Hammond took in the stunned looks of the people sitting around his briefing table. Smiling inwardly 'You just made Colonel O'Neill very proud'. Then General Hammond wondered if he could get a copy of the security camera's tape of this incident and give it to the Colonel for a Christmas present.

General Hammond stood. "I'm letting you know at this moment that this meeting is adjourned. Your presence when Dr. Jackson…and SG-1 step through that gate tomorrow is not needed nor is it welcomed. The President will notify your respective offices when they return. Good night".

Daniel threw his paperwork on his desk and flung his body onto the couch in his office. 'Shit…I really lost control there'. Head in his hands he wondered about Simmons' concern and Kinsey's anger 'Too many hidden agendas '. Pushing himself off his couch with a sigh, he began to pace his office. Overwrought with anxiety, too much nervous tension in his body and mind to enable him to contemplate sleeping. Unconsciously, with methodical, almost compulsive movements, he began cleaning his office.

Daniel surveyed the completed task …files put away, desk cleaned, bags packed, personal matters attended to…he jumped when he heard Teal'c call his name.

"DanielJackson".

Daniel turned to face the Jaffa who had entered his office "I'm sorry Teal'c, can I help you."

Bowing his head, Teal'c asked solemnly "I would be honored if you would join me in Kel-no-reem".

"Thanks, Teal'c. I will join you in your room in a few minutes".

Teal'c bowed his head in response leaving Daniel's room. Daniel smiled in satisfaction. He never would have been able to obtain any type of sleep tonight, meditating with Teal'c would be the perfect answer. He turned off the light and locked his office door before continuing to Teal'c's room.

***********************************

Dr. Joe Lyons was more than a little on edge leaving SGC this evening. 'Almost home free' he thought to himself getting into the elevator and pressing the button that would take him to ground level. He exhaled, not even aware he had been holding his breath. He allowed himself to relax; he hadn't come in contact with the people holding his leash even though he was aware that they had arrived on base. Dr. Lyon's didn't even look up when the elevator stopped at another floor, but his heart started thudding in his chest when the elevator came to an abrupt halt and he realized that he was stuck in an elevator with Colonel Simmons and one of his henchman.

The military grunt grabbed Lyons by the throat effectively pinning him up against an elevator wall.

"You lying piece of shit", Simmons said. "I sat across from Dr, Jackson tonight…and he sure as hell doesn't look 100% to me. This is your only warning, if this treaty is not ratified because he falls ill, your ass is mine."

Motioning for the grunt to release Lyons, Simmons disengaged the halted elevator and departed at the next floor. Rubbing his bruised neck, Lyons glanced upwards realizing that the security camera in the elevator had been removed. He knew that this hadn't been a chance encounter, but his heartbeat quickened with the confirmation of the missing camera.

********************************************

Daniel stretched his arms over his head and checked his watch in the glow of the candles in Teal'c's room. He had time for a shower and coffee before leaving. Untangling his legs from the floor position, he rose slowly and quietly so not to "awaken" Teal'c. The meditative state has done more to relax him that he believed would have been possible and for that he gave quiet thanks for good friends.

This time in the early morning, the halls of SGC were eerily devoid of human noise. Lights were muted and conversations were in whispered tones. Showered and dressed, Daniel leaned against his desk savoring a mug of coffee from his office coffee machine, inhaling deeply the fumes. Draining his cup, he dumped the coffee that remained in the pot, rinsed it, and moved the button into the "off" position. Picking up his duffel bag and briefcase, surveying his office one time Daniel started his journey to the embarkation room.

Daniel entered the gate room surprised to see the General and Teal'c there. He had hoped for a quick getaway, but he should have known that was neither Teal'c's nor the General's way of showing support. General Hammond took a look at Daniel's manner of dress and smiled.

"Taking the casual approach, Dr. Jackson?"

Pushing his glasses up his nose, he smiled shyly. Rather than his usual suit and tie used to impress the dignitaries, Daniel had on his SGC uniform. He shrugged and answered sadly "This is who I am…who I've become. This is whom the Nuzarians want to see".

The General stepped forward to shake Daniel's hand "Good luck and God speed". He pulled Daniel into a bear hug and whispered in his ear "Come back safely to us". Daniel stepped back, overwhelmed to see a hint of moisture in the General's eyes.

"I intend to sir. Sorry, I am leaving you the mess to clean up with the Jack and Sam". Daniel audibly sighed and hung his head, "And probably Janet and Cassie. I'm sorry".

"DanielJackson, do not lose your way over this treaty".

Daniel laughed "Actually Teal'c that was never my intention. Turning serious again "I have a request…please watch over our friends".

"I have promised that to you already, but it is my wish to accompany you to Nuzar and watch out for you".

"Sorry, my friend, that is how they want to play this game".

Daniel looked at the clock on the wall and gave the thumbs up to the technician in the control booth. Nodding his head in acknowledgement, the tech began the dialing sequence to Nuzar. After the seventh chevron was locked and the wormhole stabilized, Daniel began his walk up the ramp. Before entering the event horizon, he turned and took in the surroundings of both the gate room and his friends at the bottom of the ramp as if imprinting them to memory, nodding, he turned and entered the shimmering horizon.

General Hammond and Teal'c stood in silence after the Stargate winked out. Taking a breath, Hammond touched Teal'c's forearm "Teal'c would you care to accompany me to the commissary for breakfast".

"It would be a pleasure General Hammond".

*******************************

1 The Letters

2

3 Janet

Janet was mentally berating herself on the drive to the mountain. She really hadn't meant to be so short tempered with Cassie. She hated starting the morning off with arguing, slamming doors, and harsh words. Cassie was being, well being a typical teenager and Janet was just being a bundle of emotions. Going back to work…a rushed phone call from Daniel last night no phone call this morning …this treaty…Daniel. Sighing, she knew it all came back to Daniel. Checking the clock on the dashboard, she started humming along with the song on the radio. At least she had time to see him before he left which lifted her spirits somewhat. Pulling into the first checkpoint on the mountain the guard on duty greeted her warmly, welcoming her back. She flashed him a smile when he informed her that Dr. Jackson asked that she go to his office when she arrived at SGC. Parking the car and checking the time again, Janet was satisfied that there was enough time allotted to visit Daniel before morning report in the infirmary. Waiting impatiently for the elevator to make the trip down into the bowels of her workplace, Janet's mind wandered playfully over the amount of time before work interfered and her and Daniel's ability to play "Beat the Clock" again.

She entered his office quietly, chuckling to herself as she locked the door behind her. Janet called Daniel's name softly, no answer. Walking in a circular pattern, Janet sat at Daniel's desk chair confused. Her eye caught an envelope bearing her name in familiar handwriting leaning up against Daniel's computer screen. Janet's heart started pounding as she reached with shaking hands to retrieve the letter from its resting-place. Taking a moment to close her eyes and take a deep breath, Janet knew there was no way that her mind could convince her heart that this letter contained anything she wished to read. Not willing to put off the inevitable a moment longer, Janet gently opened the envelope.

My Janet,

The Nuzarians requested one last dance before the treaty was to be ratified. They have chosen me as their dance partner and alone I have left to finish these negotiations. Please try to understand my behavior and omission of truth…inflicting that on you was harder for me than having to step through the gate in the morning without my teammates at my side.

A few days ago, I told General Hammond that the only memorable accomplishment in my life was deciphering the code to the Stargate. After leaving you tonight, I know that not to be true. I now know my best accomplishment has been my ability to open my heart and life to you.

I love you,

Daniel

At that moment all the pieces of the puzzle fit into place. The insomnia, the nightmares when he did finally sleep, the frantic grasping at normalcy…Janet looked around Daniel's office. Daniel had returned here last night to put his life in order, closing her eyes and holding the letter tightly in her hands, she realized this mission was one step beyond just gating to Nuzar and having the agreement signed. She sat in Daniel's quiet office willing her body to make a move, any type of move, to bring her to reality, but her mind refused to cooperate so Janet stayed wrapped in the comfort of Daniel's office devastated.

Cassie

Cassie jumped into Dominic's car waiting in her driveway; her body physically vibrating with anger. Dominic barely got out a "Good morning" before Cassie proceeded to vent.

"My mother makes me so angry", Cassie said between clenched teeth. "I mean, I know Daniel had to go out of town for a few days, she was like all over my case this morning. God, she made like not getting a telephone call from Daniel this morning was my fault."

Dominic smiled as Cassie punched her backpack in frustration. He attempted to placate her by suggesting that they get some fast food for breakfast before school. Dominic's reward was a smile and a squeeze on his arm from Cassie. "Good idea" she echoed.

Dominic maneuvered the car through the drive thru at the restaurant and pulled into a parking spot to eat their breakfast. Dominic reached into back of the car and gave Cassie a crumpled envelope from his backpack. "This is for you from Dr. J…I mean Daniel."

"What is it?" Cassie inquired putting her half-eaten breakfast sandwich back in the bag.

Dominic gave Cassie a look "It's a letter Cassie…from Daniel. He gave it to me last night and asked that I give it to you this morning before school. He seemed to want someone with you when you read it."

Cassie ripped open the envelope; she was clueless as to what it would contain. The outside world seemed to fade into the background as she read the salutation.

To the daughter of my heart,

I need to leave for awhile. It was a decision that was out of my hands from the beginning, but I agreed and now it needs closure. Please remember Cassie; don't let anger at things out of your hands take control…please take care of your mom for me. You are a special person for this world and in my life and I need you to remember…riding with clouds between my knees was never my idea of fun.

Love

Superman

The look on Cassie's face reminded Dominic of a caged animal he had seen once at the zoo. The need for flight had overtaken every moment the animal made. Gently he tried to remove the letter from her trembling hands.

"No", she screamed, the sound bouncing off the closed car's windows. She clutched the letter to her chest "I want…I need my mom NOW…take me to the mountain…I need to go right now."

"Cassie, we have school".

"I don't give a shit about school, I need to see my mom". Tears were starting to form in her eyes "If you won't take me to the mountain, I'll walk." To Dominic's horror, she opened the car door and made a move to leave.

"Don't Cassie close the door, I'll take you". Breakfast forgotten…Dominic put the car in gear and sped off to take Cassie to her destination.

4 Jack

Jack was a creature of habit. If he didn't spend the night at SGC before a mission, his routine at home never altered. He got up, showered, quick glance at the sports section of the morning's paper and then he would go to SGC to have breakfast with his teammates before departure. Unlocking his car door, Jack became aware of a piece of paper under the driver side wiper. Lifting the wiper blade, he cautiously removed the paper, first realizing that it was a sealed letter and then recognizing the handwriting as Daniel's. Getting into his SUV, Jack threw the letter onto the passenger seat, started the car and began his morning drive to SGC. His eyes were constantly being drawn over to view the letter sitting on the seat. Concentration lost, Jack maneuvered the car to the side of the road to read Daniel's letter.

Jack,

I beg your forgiveness. I was a harsh judge when you went undercover to infiltrate the ring of SGC personnel stealing technology. I tortured you with the idea of "why couldn't you trust us…me?" Well people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones or place judgement before they walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Jack I have taken up residence in a glass house and my shoes are worn from walking that mile. By the time you are sitting in your car reading this letter I will have long since gated to Nuzar. The Nuzarians required, requested, demanded (It's amazing the linguist in me is not sure what is the correct terminology) only me. General Hammond and Teal'c can give you the remainder of the details. I can only hope that you will be a more forgiving person than I was. I am sorry for the past and I am sorry for what needs to be done now.

Daniel

Jack took the letter and crumbling it in a fit of anger, he threw the paper in the confines of the car. The letter bounced off the closed passenger side window, landing on the dashboard. Jack drove away, mind racing at a thousand possibilities, the largest one his anger at Daniel. Jack also was furious with General Hammond and Teal'c…'Daniel saw fit to confide in Teal'c, but not him. Why not?' At the next light, Jack began to pound the steering wheel in anger, then in frustration and then slowly the emotions dissipated into fear…and the Colonel's pounding of the wheel faded out. Jack took the crumbled letter from the dashboard and with great reverence smoothed it out, folded it and placed it in his jacket pocket. When the light turned green, he continued to the mountain to receive the answers from General Hammond that had not been forthcoming in the letter.

Sam

Sam was also a creature of habit, whether it was ingrained from having a father in the military, her own military training or just her type of personality, one would never know. She would also shower, dress and head towards the mountain to have breakfast with her teammates. But while Jack would read the morning's paper, Sam was a child of the technology world and once she reached SGC, Sam would go to the commissary, grab and coffee and retreat back to her office. Turning on her computer monitor she checked the time before the briefing…almost twenty minutes. Sam smiled to herself, she had noted that Janet's car was already in the parking lot and Daniel's office door was closed…leaving little if anything to the imagination as to what they were doing.

Her computer voice droned "you've got mail" and Sam opened the screen displaying her incoming mail. One was an article from a college colleague she had requested, one from her brother Mark, containing pictures of his family, the last email was from Daniel…checking the time she noted that Daniel had sent it last evening. Leaning back in her chair, finishing the last of her coffee, she opened the email from Daniel.

Dear Sam,

I can see you in my mind sitting at your computer…about twenty minutes before the briefing, sitting in your chair reading your mail, just finished cup of coffee by your side. As I write this, in less than 12 hours I alone will make the journey to Nuzar to ratify this treaty. The Nuzarians desired my singular presence on their planet. There are extenuating circumstances to this agreement, General Hammond and Teal'c can explain them. Sam, I need your strength of spirit. I know you have an abundance of it, I've relied on it plenty of times, through good and bad. Please don't let our friends, our family; be destroyed by the guilt for me gating to Nuzar. If I return I don't want to pick up the pieces of the people I love. Please help Janet and Cassie remember why this needed to be done. Make sure Janet knows how much I love her. Help Jack not let his anger or guilt consume him. The Nuzarians are good people and whatever the outcome, this journey needed to be completed. When I walk up that ramp, even though SG-1's physical presence will be missing, their support and friendship will be my guide.

Love

Daniel

"If" he returns. "If" he returns…In stunned silence, Sam contemplated hitting the delete button. If the email no longer existed, the inferences it contained also would vanish. Sam hit the print button and the printer spit out a hard copy of Daniel's email. She ripped it off the printer and held it to her chest, her heart pounding. Sam's mind began to function in overdrive. She knew without a shadow of a doubt that Janet wasn't with Daniel in his office, Daniel was already on the other side of the universe by now. Janet was in Daniel's office, alone…Sam's first order of business was to help Janet like Daniel requested and Major Carter took off down the halls of SGC at a dead run.

General Hammond and Teal'c sat quietly in the General's office. Hammond again glanced at the clock counting the minutes before he had to justify to the remaining members of SG-1 as to why he let Daniel Jackson go solo on this one. Giving answers that he himself really did not believe. On cue the telephone on his desk rang, breaking the silence.

"Hammond here" Teal'c watched the General nod his head slowly. "Of course, no it's alright. No, I'll send someone to the gate to get her. Thank you". Hanging up the phone, he felt as if he had aged ten years since Dr. Jackson imparted this news to him on Friday.

"That was the front gate. Cassandra Fraiser is there demanding to see either her mother, a member of SG-1 or myself. The front gate has Dr. Fraiser and Major Carter signed in but they are not answering pages." The tired man ran his hands over his face. "It begins Teal'c". The General went to rise from his seat. Teal'c rose placing a hand gently on the General's forearm "I will get CassandraFraiser and bring her here".

"Thank you Teal'c", the General replied gratefully resuming his seat.

"To speak honestly GeneralHammond, I would rather meet Apophis and a battalion of Jaffa than have to face Dr. Fraiser's daughter".

"I understand perfectly Teal'c…I understand".

General Hammond stood after Teal'c departed his office. The need to see the Stargate was overpowering and he moved into the briefing room. With hands clasped behind his back staring through the picture window into the gate room, the General was so completely lost in thought he did not even hear Colonel O'Neill enter. Jack stood next to General Hammond mirroring his position.

"General?" Jack questioned "something you forgot to tell us?"

Turning to his 21C, the General motioned towards the briefing table. He took his customary seat at the head and Jack sat to his left.

"General…I", Jack began.

Hammond silenced Jack with a movement of hand as the door to the office opened, allowing Teal'c followed by Cassie access into the briefing room. Cassie ran to Jack like she was 10 years old again. Dropping her backpack to the floor, she threw her arms around the Colonel. Jack acknowledged Teal'c with a bow of the head which Teal'c returned. Jack's feelings towards Teal'c, and maybe even the General, was one of betrayal. He gently dislodged Cassie's arms from around his neck and guided her to the seat next to him. Out of the corner of his eye, Jack saw Janet and Sam enter the room. Janet looked shell-shocked and something else, Janet looked angry. Actually, angry was too gentle a word. Janet was pissed. Janet took the seat next to Cassie, grabbing her hand to comfort her daughter. Sam sat across from them. Teal'c took the seat to the immediate right for General Hammond. Jack looked across the table in realizing in irony that a chair had been left empty for Daniel.

Before anyone had a chance to say anything, General Hammond repeated to the table members the story conveyed by Daniel Jackson just 72 hours ago, for the sake of Cassie, he left out the 'may not be returning in the same condition that he left'. General Hammond knew that Cassie understood the unspoken truth. It was one thing to use your imagination, another thing to hear your worst fears voiced. General Hammond made sure that they were aware that nothing anyone could have done would have prevented Daniel Jackson from going to Nazur. General Hammond's hands had been tied…the subterfuge of not letting his teammates aware of his plans was Dr. Jackson's doing.

Jack leaned back in his chair, digging the heels of his palms into his eyes. Removing them, he shot forward slamming his hands on the briefing table. "What the hell was he thinking? How stupid could he possibly be? Teal'c you knew and didn't say anything? General Hammond? Washington asks you to jump General and you ask how high…you were willing to sacrifice Daniel to get what they wanted? Jack fired the questions off when after another, neither waiting nor requiring an answer.

"Colonel O'Neill…shut up", Janet screamed with vengeance. "How dare you try to place blame on Daniel? We have no one to blame but ourselves." Janet placed her hands gently on the table, almost caressing the surface with her fingers. She hung her head and upon looking up, her eyes were bright with unshed tears.

"What did we expect", Janet asked quietly. "Daniel couldn't be honest with us, we wouldn't let him. Every one of us, with the exception of Cassie, permitted Daniel to get backed into a corner. He let each of us knows how unhappy how consumed, overwhelmed and frightened of failure he was. What did we do? We send him on a vacation…he didn't want that…he wanted us to be there for him…and we failed. We all have to share in this guilt. I know I didn't ask because I was afraid of the answer. I became no better than those bloodsuckers on Capitol Hill. I could taste those research advances". Motioning with her chin towards Sam, "you mentioned on numerous occasions in Daniel's presence the benefit the fusion generators could provide the Earth". Turning with accusatory towards Jack "He knew how you felt about their advance weapons technology. Daniel didn't want to fail; he didn't want to disappoint his friends. As a doctor, I saw he was physically and mentally falling to pieces, but I was terrified to ask him the right questions, I didn't want to know the answers. So I took care of him the best way I knew how, and avoided the obvious".

"Doctor Fraiser…if you were so concerned about Daniel's health, why didn't you speak to General Hammond and not permit him to go through the gate?" Jack asked.

"Why didn't you…" Sam pointed a finger in Jack's direction. "I told you Janet was concerned with Daniel's behavior, and you just brushed it off. And you have the audacity to blame Daniel for this".

This was turning into shambles. Even Teal'c had gotten into the foray when Sam accused him of not confronting Daniel. They were supposed to be a team, a family… Hammond glanced at the only quiet member at the table. Cassie sat head hanging down, arms wrapped around her body, an echo of Dr. Jackson's comfort position. Hammond tried to gather everyone's attention by first clearing his throat. The finger pointing, guilt and accusations kept rebounding around the table. He called out "People". He watched with growing alarm, as the people around the table, were totally oblivious to him and Cassie. Jumping out of the chair and slamming his hands so hard on the table that he felt the pain all the way to his elbows "Enough", he screamed. The silence was immediate and Janet and the members of SG-1 shared a mask of shame on their faces.

Recalling the contents of Daniel's letter, Sam had a sharp intake of breath. 'Daniel was right. We are consumed by our own guilt, twisting it into anger at our friends, our family'. Her heart broke at the sight of Cassie's body language. Before Sam had a chance to gather her ideas into a coherent thought process, General Hammond broke the silence.

"People, sniping at each other and pointing fingers, will not make anyone feel any better about this situation. This is a no win scenario, a waiting game. Based on Dr. Jackson's advice that any dialing of the Stargate to the Nuzarians' home world will negate the treaty, the President has ordered SGC to sit tight and wait for his return. We all know Dr. Jackson well enough to understand that he was always willing to sacrifice himself to benefit others. He always had the ability to place himself in the line of fire to protect an idea. Remember those ideals…honor his beliefs. Dismissed". General Hammond knew that he was going to have to work hard at keeping an SG-1 together for Daniel to return home to and with those thoughts he left the briefing room for his office and closed the door.

Janet was the first to speak. "I'm sorry…I wasn't thinking…"

Jack got up from his chair and gently placed his hands on Janet's shoulder's "Nothing to forgive, we all weren't thinking. Come on Cassie, I'll drive you to school".

For the first time since this ruckus began, Cassie lifted her head and met her mother's concerned gaze. "No. Please let me stay here today with you mom? Please" Cassie's pleading eyes boring into her mother's soul.

Janet gave Cassie a half smile. "I'd like to have you on base with me today, honey."

"Janet, why don't I take Cassie to my lab for the morning, then we will have lunch together and see about this afternoon."

"Thanks Sam". Janet got up slowly, kissed Cassie on the head and stated "I'll be in the infirmary…back to work". Janet left, Teal'c left, Sam left her arm around Cassie's shoulders.

Colonel O'Neill was alone with his thoughts after everyone had departed the briefing room. Drawn to the window overlooking the embarkation room, he placed the palms of his hands against the cool smooth glass. Within moments, he rested his forehead between his palms. "Daniel, how could you, you left me behind. I thought you remembered, no one gets left behind."

Sam entered her lab, there were plenty of things to lose herself in, but she doubted the ability to become consumed enough to not think of Daniel would be happening any time soon. She turned to Cassie who had been silent the whole journey to Sam's lab. Cassie had seated herself in one of the lab chairs; Sam smoothed the young girl's hair away from her face to maybe get a better idea of her mental status.

"Mom was wrong", Cassie whispered softly.

"About what?" Sam inquired taking Cassie's cold hands in her own.

Cassie picked her head up to meet Sam's gaze "I knew he was unhappy, that something was wrong. He came right out and told me".

"Cassie?"

"Daniel never, ever treated me like a child…or my friends. He talks to us and..and he listens when we talk. He never judges me…or anybody else. Some people act like teenagers are invisible, not Daniel. But I didn't listen to him when he needed me." Cassie took a wavering breath and continued "One day, he was driving me to school in mom's car, and I put my favorite CD in, just background music cause, Daniel and I were talking. After one song, Daniel got really quiet and asked if I could hit replay and let the song play out again. I could tell he was listening to the words. When we pulled in front of the school, I remember turning to him to say goodbye and he looked really upset. He told me that's how he felt, like those words in the song. He told me that's how people saw him. I even bought him a copy of the CD for himself, 'cause he enjoyed it so much. I started to kid him about the song, he played it all the time". Cassie started to cry in earnest. "See I knew, and I said nothing…I felt like mom, if I asked him and he told me something I didn't want to hear, then it would become real and I would lose him".

Sam gathered Cassie in her arms. Physical contact slowed the flow of Cassie's tears and Sam heard her mumble "Want to hear the song? I would feel better if someone else listened".

"Of course Cassie", Sam let Cassie go. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, Cassie rummaged through her backpack pulled out a portable CD player and CD. Placing the CD in the player she placed it on the worktable next to Sam, putting the headphones gently over Sam's ears, Cassie hit the play button and the music and words entered Sam's soul:



I can't stand to fly

I'm not that naive

I'm just out to find

The better part of me

I'm more than a bird…I'm more than a plane

More than some pretty face beside a train

It's not easy to be me

Wish that I could cry

Fall upon my knees

Find a way to lie

About a home I'll never see

It may sound absurd…but don't be naive

Even Heroes have the right to bleed

I may be disturbed…but won't you concede

Even Heroes have the right to dream

It's not easy to be me

Up, up and away…away from me

It's all right…You can all sleep sound tonight

I'm not crazy…or anything…

I can't stand to fly

I'm not that naive

Men weren't meant to ride

With clouds between their knees

I'm only a man in a silly red sheet

Digging for kryptonite on this one way street

Only a man in a funny red sheet

Looking for special things inside of me

It's not easy to be me.

Sam could not remember the last time she cried, the last time she hurt enough to remove her emotional barriers. 'We missed it Daniel, it was right in front of us at all times, and we missed it. You never asked for help before, you didn't know how to. This one time you wanted us, needed our help, you gave us all the clues and we didn't listen'. Sam put her face in her hands and began to sob.

The early evening was cold but Colonel O'Neill couldn't bring himself to go inside and get a jacket, he couldn't even manage to retrieve another beer for himself in the kitchen. After the briefing he had spent hours sitting in the infirmary watching Janet cope, sitting in Daniel's office and wandering the haunted halls of SGC, he had needed to escape and he ran. Ran to the place in the world where solace was available. His roof...the place where he could touch the sky. The guilt he felt was overpowering and had numbed his mind and body. This was an incident that should never have happened, an opportunity for the good of Earth that blindsided everyone excluding one. God, the opportunities to stop this before it had gone this far, were so very numerous. Janet's concerns about nightmares Sam echoing Janet's concerns and voicing a few of her own. My god, even Daniel had eluded to them. Running his hands through his short hair and he took a ragged breath. At the briefing Daniel's empty chair sat as a testament to their guilt, Jack had difficulty meeting General Hammond's eyes. The emotion mirrored in the General's eyes was palpable. If only the General had taken up Daniel's threat to withdraw from his work on the treaty…we wouldn't be where we are now.

So many incidents spring to mind…his irritability, letting Janet take him from the infirmary, his fighting with Dr. Warner to leave, knowing that the obelisks on the planet would not be finished by him, he knew his clock was ticking. Even though Daniel informed the General he hadn't been aware of what was required of him until recently, Jack now believed that was another of the lies that Daniel had told to assuage the inevitability of Teal'c's and Hammond's guilt. Jack knew beyond a certainty of doubt, that Daniel knew he was going to have to make the ultimate sacrifice for this treaty. Peering through his rooftop telescope he whispered to the night air "I know you are out there Daniel, just stay safe for us".

Nuzar

Daniel leaned back in his chair enjoying the conversations that were floating around him. Although he had immeasurable trepidation as his placement of Earth's '"finest" in the eyes of the Nuzarians, he felt only comfort and safety around these people. He had tried to convey to the General and Teal'c that it was not the test the Nuzarians wished him to participate in that set off his alarm bells, it was the fact that there was no safety net for him. At this moment in time, he alone in the Nuzarian's eyes was the key to Earth receiving technology.

"All is well, Dr. Jackson?" questioned Cial.

"It's Daniel, please. Yes, everything is fine." Daniel yawned, covering his mouth in embarrassment. "Sorry".

Rising Cial motioned to Daniel to follow him. "Don't be…it has been a long day. I will escort you back to your quarters.

Joining Cial, Daniel had to admit to himself that he was grateful for the chance to rest. In actuality he could not comprehend his state of exhaustion. When he gated here, although it was 0530 Earth time, Nuzar's time was afternoon. The council had greeted him, shown him to his quarters and then escorted him to a dinner in his honor. During dinner, Daniel had attempted to bring the conversation to the required test, but Osta, the High Council leader, had held her hand up. "All in good time, Dr. Jackson". It was said with finality, as close to "shut up, not now" as these people would get. Daniel got the hint, letting the Nuzarians guide the direction of discussion around the dinner table.

Daniel sat at the edge of the bed, on the cusp of sleep. He had showered and changed into sweats when a feeling of exhaustion so encompassing overcame him forcing him to the position he was now in. He gasped and his eyes opened wide momentarily as he felt a presence touch his mind. Daniel's eyelids drifted shut again as he swayed in his sitting position. The overpowering need to rest brought Daniel to a prone position on the bed, where he enveloped himself in the blanket. In a matter of moments a soft yellow beam of light momentarily surrounded his bed and he issued forth a small whimper as the presence again touched his mind.

The Test:

The heat of a desert sun warmed Daniel's face and arms. He breathed deeply of the desert smells, smiling as a long hidden feeling of home and contentment invaded his body and mind.

"Happy?"

Daniel jumped at the sound of a voice so close to his ear. "Cial? This is the test?"

Nodding his head "This and more".

"Where am I?

"Your body is in your quarters, your conscious is here with your memories. No one can see you, but you will view yourself reliving these memories".

"Oh, not always my idea of fun", his arms snaking around his body for comfort. "Why this?"

"Daniel you are aware that we believe in action speaking louder than words. We know you to be a good and fair person. We need to see your actions…in your life… to back up our beliefs" Cial replied patiently

"Are you staying with me, is this like the Christmas Carol, are you the ghost of Christmas Past?" Daniel asked, panic creeping into his voice.

Fixing Daniel with a look of puzzlement he responded "We…the Nuzarians High Council, will observe your life".

"You're telling me that you are watching me replay my life for you, on a screen…the High Council is the audience."

Cial sighed "For want of a better analogy, Daniel yes. Only bits and pieces we are searching for. You may hear us ask questions, answer them to the best of your ability. But be warned, these questions are to answered."

"Earth's capability to obtain technology is going to be based on my memories…my life?" Daniel asked incredulously.

"Did you think we were going to torture you, string you up and draw blood".

Eyes downcast, Daniel replied "Cial, I would have preferred that". Motioning with his hands to encompass the area "To me this is torture".

"I do not understand, Daniel" Cial questioned.

Looking at Cial with a sad smile Daniel answered "You will, Cial, you will". Turning back he noticed Cial had departed.

"Danny? Danny…you're home".

"Mommy".

Daniel's head jerked upright at the sound of the two voices. Almost thirty years had passed, but he still heard that voice in his head. "Mommy", the grown Daniel said softly as the woman appeared from the side of the structure. She dropped to her knees as a small blond boy appeared running up the walk and flung himself into her arms. She picked him up covering him with kisses. "I missed you Danny".

"I missed you too Mommy, but Daddy and I had an enlightening time. Right Dad?"

Daniel swallowed as his father walked to his wife hugging both Claire and Danny together. "You had an enlightening time, Mel?"

'I remember, I remember'…Dad took me to the city…we had dinner with some government officials regarding…' Daniel racked his brain trying to think why he went with his Dad to the city.

"Mel, did you make arrangements for the coverstone to coincide with our arrival at the museum?"

Daniel started to pant as a wave of sickness overcame him accompanying the roaring in his ears. He knew if he didn't sit, he would pass out…but how was that possible if he really wasn't here. Here being Egypt, six weeks before his parent's death.

"Cial", he screamed "I need someone…"

The head of the High Council appeared before Daniel. Gently she bent down until eye level with Daniel.

Panic-stricken, Daniel looked up at her eyes wide with shock. "How come I can feel things, heat of the sun, sadness…emotions…when my body is somewhere other than here".

She looked deep into his eyes answering "The mind is a powerful tool."

Daniel stood up shaking, the full understanding of what she was inferring hitting home. "Oh my god, that's another part of the test my reaction while the events were playing out and how I react to seeing them unfold again. Because now I have the knowledge of the outcome".

He turned away from her, arms wrapped tightly around his upper torso in an attempt to halt the shaking that was threatening to overtake him. "We must commence Daniel".

Closing his eyes, he drew a ragged breath and turned around. She was gone. Daniel took a deep cleansing breath striving to achieve the feeling of contentment that he had experienced when he had first "awoken" to this memory.

Smiling, he watched himself struggle in his mother's arms. "Mommy, put me down…I'm too old to be held like this".

Laughing Claire put him down, kissing the top of his head before releasing him. "No matter how old you are Danny, you will still always be 'my little one'."

"Moommmm".

Daniel chuckled. That was the exasperated tone of voice he used when annoyed with Jack. Shrugging his shoulders he realized 'some things never change'.

He wanted to grab that little boy and to tell him to remember everything, every smell, every voice, every kiss, every hug, because those memories were going to have to last him a lifetime. But he couldn't, so as an adult he approached them slowly, wanting to remember them, wanting so badly to touch them one more time. But this obviously wasn't like the Gamekeeper's planet, his parents couldn't see him, he couldn't participate in the life unfolding before him."

He heard a voice gently ask him "Dr. Jackson, what are you looking at?"

"Happiness, I'm looking at true happiness, it will be countless years before I have it again", Daniel was finally able to admit that statement to himself.

He followed his mother and father as they walked into the house swinging Danny between them. Walking through the door he was taken back by the change in scenery…the house's interior had now become the walls of the Museum of Art. Daniel continued walking through the cavernous halls, well aware of what would be waiting for him at the end. Daniel actually heard his parents before seeing them. Voices echoing through the museum, Mel and Claire were issuing orders to the crew. Quickening his pace, upon entering the room, Daniel looked down at his younger self involved in an activity on the floor. Daniel quickly glanced at his parents standing under the coverstone. Closing his eyes and wishing them a silent goodbye, he turned his back on the scene and concentrated on Danny, sitting on the floor coloring. Daniel remembered his parents buying a pad and colored pencils for him to draw with. The promise of a special dinner if Danny could just be quiet and let his parents finish. Daniel sat on the floor with his back to the coverstone facing Danny.

"Why don't you wish to watch your parents, Daniel?"

"I've seen the scene before" was the answer that Daniel gave. The question was repeated countless times by the High Council his answer obviously insufficient to meet their needs…Daniel chose to ignore them. He grimaced as he felt their presence touch his mind with more acuity. Daniel chose to forego answering despite the increasing pain and his concentration was focused solely on the little boy in front of him.

Daniel had seen his parents die too many times on the Gamekeeper's planet, and had no desire to have that scene replayed. Daniel wished he could grab his younger self from this room and run, living with their death at been horrible, witnessing it had been the worst nightmare imaginable leaving Daniel with a lifetime of scars. Danny was bent over concentrating on his coloring when the whine of a straining wench drew his attention towards his parents' work area. "Mommy?" Daniel's breathing quickened becoming synchronized with Danny's. The chain gave way and the coverstone fell with a deafening crash, Danny's eyes widened in shock; Daniel's eyes filled with tears. Even though he knew it was impossible, Daniel made a grab to hold onto this child before he reached the coverstone. And the blood, Daniel remembered with sickening clarity all the blood pooling at the base of the coverstone. Danny passed right through him screaming "No" with heartbreaking anguish. Daniel drew his legs tightly to his chest resting his head on his knees. He flung his arms over his head effectively covering his ears to shut out the anguished cries he had made so many years ago.

"Sorry…so sorry Dr. Jackson. Sorry…" the hushed voices of the High Council reverberated in Daniel's mind and for a moment in their shock, the Council released their hold on him and the hard floor of the museum became the bed in his quarters. Within seconds, Daniel felt them drawing him back but not before he was able to curl into a fetal position coccooning himself in the blanket for comfort.

The next cessation of memories became a repeating nightmare. Foster home after foster home. The Nuzarians couldn't grasp the concept and continuously questioned Daniel with "Who took care of you".

Always Daniel responded sadly "Myself".

The concept of no one wanting a child was incomprehensible to the Nuzarians. If a misfortune happened within the Nuzarian family, gladly a neighbor, friend, distant relative or even a stranger would welcome these children with open arms. Children to the Nuzarians were believed to be a blessing, were revered and belonged to all. The Nuzarians were of the belief that their children were the gateway to the future.

The High Council received a front row seat as to how Daniel was treated when misfortune fell across his hearth. From the Peterson's home, where he was one of six ignored foster children, to the Winston's with the drunken abusive father, to the Schultz's, who were god fearing people and came home and beat their children every Sunday after church. The High Council made sure that Daniel took a walk down memory lane with almost each and every family.

"This home is different Daniel", stated Ular.

Leaning against the kitchen wall, Daniel inhaled deeply. "Yes, this one was different. I was happy here…happy as I could possibly be. And love. They loved me…and I was okay with that."

Daniel took in the scene in the small comfortable kitchen. He was sitting with his foster parents the Lowes; he was what 15, 16 years old already he had received his college acceptance. They were older than most of the parents Daniel had lived with. Ellen Lowes was a teacher Patrick Lowes a professor of history at the local college. Daniel was a challenge to them, smart and bright and he had blossomed the three years he had been under their care. Daniel remembered as tears filled his eyes…"I let them call me Danny, no one besides my parents ever called me that".

Cial asked with concern "You were alright then, you had your family".

Trying not to lose patience Daniel responded "Cial my family died when I was eight years old. What I had were two people I cared for very much, who loved me and I was grateful because they led me that last step of the way."

"They must be proud of you now Daniel" Osta asked gently.

"No, they died in an accident before I even made it home for Christmas break." Daniel did not stem the flow of tears that fell as the warm kitchen melded into a cold college dorm room. He now stood, arms wrapped around his body for comfort being mirrored by his younger self, the telegram informing him of the accident crumpled on the bed.

"The state found you another family, a good family for you to live with, correct," Ular inquired.

"No, I was too old. I became a ward of the state and lived happily ever after for quite some time looking after myself. I don't mean to sound bitter", the college dorm melded into the library. "I made friends and was happy. I was in my element. I was learning…that's what I used to get me by. My thirst for knowledge".

Daniel led the Nuzarians through his maze of memories of college and graduate work. The memories halted at his work with Dr. Jordan. Looking at his younger self, Sarah, and Steven he remembered what they had been fondly called the "Three Musketeers". While it lasted, those had been wonderful times, those three wonder kids had doors opened for them in academia that Daniel could only dream about during his younger college days.

The memory crystallized into Dr. Jordan's lab, where the three were arguing.

"What is happening Daniel?" Cial questioned.

"My beliefs interfered with our friendship. I believed that the pyramids were older than the Egyptian culture, " Daniel sighed heavily "and I was left going down with the ship".

"You fought for your convictions", Osta said "There is nothing wrong with that".

"I lost two good friends and respected Dr. Jordan enough not to drag him down with me…so the path I took was lonely".

Daniel now stood in the back of an auditorium watching his younger self lecture to an almost empty hall.

"This is what my colleagues thought of my convictions", Daniel said sadly gesturing with his arms at the hall. His frown became a smile as he recalled one very special person, who attended that lecture. "But see that person there", Daniel said pointing "that person, in that one seat, with one idea changed my life like no one else had ever done."

"Who was she Daniel?" Ular questioned.

"She is Catherine. Catherine put the Stargate and me together like two pieces in a puzzle. She believed I could open the gate and…well, I had no where else to turn. Later SG-1 gave her a gift in return. One of the best things I believe was ever done through the Stargate".

The scene melded into the room that housed the language of the Ancients. "We brought the love of her life, Ernest, back to her. He had been stranded on this planet for over fifty years".

Daniel walked around listening to his longhaired self from 5 years ago explain the room that contained the writings of the Ancients to those standing with him. A sudden realization just occurred to Daniel "Wow, guys, can we stay here for awhile or come back later. Whatever you want. When we are finished…cause I can… you see I can be here for a while and try to decipher. I didn't have time before with the storm…with the rush and everything. Everything was lost, but see if it's in my memory and I would….

"Daniel", Osta called quietly, attempting to get his attention.

"But if you have patience" Daniel was practically vibrating with excitement.

"Daniel", Osta reprimanded Daniel as one would an errant child. "Later".

Taking a deep breath Daniel replied "Later is good".

"Tell us about the Gamekeeper". Cial asked.

"Can't you pull my memories…isn't that what you are doing?" Daniel asked confused.

"No, Daniel. We are searching and prodding, we can take them, but prefer that you offer them freely". Ular explained patiently.

Osta answered "Daniel we are supposed to ask you the questions, remember. Now about the Gamekeeper".

"No", Daniel answered emphatically.

"No is not an option Daniel. Both of our planets have quite a lot riding on your cooperation".

"I know, but..." Daniel fell to his knees holding his head. He bit back a moan as he squeezed his eyes shut in pain. The Nuzarians were taking their "prodding" to the next level of pain. Opening his eyes slowly, he once again found himself in the Museum of Art. Kneeling in the line of vision of the younger version of himself and Sam dressed in 70's clothing. Holding his head and standing upright on shaky legs. "Well that was interesting. I obviously have no say in this matter. Hope you don't mind if I stand in the back of the room, seeing this once in a lifetime was once too many."

The High Council has reached their limit "Stop Dr. Jackson. Stop and listen to us…you knew the rules and the ideals before you stepped through the Stargate".

Daniel halted, wrapping his arms tightly around his middle. Suddenly acutely aware that there was no one watching out for him, no one guarding his six. "Sorry". Daniel barely had a moment to catch his breath before the pain and bombardment of questions started. Watching his parents be crushed beneath the coverstone and the ensuing questions, left Daniel confused and disheartened over the turn of events and he began questioning if he was wrong about the Nuzarians.

Daniel no longer attempted to suppress any "requested" memories. If he felt the High Council prodding him, he gave it over. Standing over himself and Hathor while she raped him in the VIP room at the SGC not that many years ago sickened Daniel. He felt a piece of his conscious break and knew it would be a matter of time before the High Council would hit on the correct memory before he shattered.

The Unas, Nox, Tollans, Enkarans, and the Gadmeer. The High Council and Daniel visited them and others. Questions that Daniel would never have asked, never wanting to know the answers, were brought to the forefront and answers forced.

'And lest we not forget children, on our vacation we saw Sokar, Apophis, Seth, Cronos, Osiris and the Destroyer of Worlds. Also we must remember the fun time had by all when we had the option to blow up a submarine with your team mates on it or watch them get eaten by Lego bugs' Daniel said to himself, channeling Jack. Daniel gave free access to Urgo, SG1's clones, Jack and Teal'c's time loops thinking that maybe even the High Council could use a laugh.

There was no rhyme or reason in the order the High Council pulled memories. Daniel was a little peeved when he stood in an ISO room gazing at a very recent memory of him and Janet curled on the bed sleeping IV's and oxygen running into his prone body. "Stop! This has nothing to do with me being an equitable and fair man. This is voyeurism. Leave these memories alone". Daniel yelled.

"Quiet" Osta reprimanded. "Daniel something is wrong with this memory. A part that will have repercussions is hidden".

The High Council had again warmed to Daniel once he permitted free domain of all his memories; Daniel treated their change in attitude with uneasiness. "Daniel, stand quietly and open yourself to this memory. I'm sorry Daniel, but I feel a strong need to unlock whatever is covered here."

Osta appeared before Daniel her presence forcing eye contact. Something happened in this room…can you tell me anything".

Swallowing audibly Daniel began. He began to tell Osta the complete story of the entity, Janet and Cassie, Jack, Sam and Teal'c. In this one-on-one session with Osta he unveiled himself; not as Daniel Jackson, mediator; not the archeologist, Dr. Jackson; nor the explorer, a vital member of SG-1. Daniel uncovered to Osta the man that made up all those people. Osta was taken back by what she perceived to be the complete and utter honesty of Daniel Jackson.

Osta pointed drawing his attention to the room around him. Daniel shook his head. "This is like a tickle, a dream…I can almost grab it". Daniel's eyes opened widely as his memory returned. "I had IV's and oxygen and was uncomfortable, but I…" Daniel closed his eyes rocking back and forth on his heels as the memory came forth and played out in front of them. Opening his eyes, I remember, Janet had left…and I was waiting for Jack to come back, he was really pissed at Janet..."

"Daniel", Osta cried impatiently.

Shaking his head "Sorry" As Daniel voiced his returning memory, "I remember Dr. Lyons and two men in uniform that I didn't recognize then…but I recognize them now. They were in the briefing room the night before I left to come here. Dr. Lyons came in, injected me with something, and mentioned to me that…that…that Washington had enough of sick and missing archeologists and that I had to be up and working on this treaty. Ohmigod…he works for SGC…and he's probably NID". Daniel immediately began pacing. "I recall the pain, it was horrific. I drifted in and out of consciousness; Lyons lied to SG-1 and the other doctors about the entity leaving residual…. can't recall all of it. Just the pain…and he threatened me. Told me the best part about this was that I wouldn't be able to tell Jack anything because I wouldn't remember…but I do. I need to go back now, to tell them". Daniel begged Osta.

"No", the High Council answered as one. "You need to stay and finish what you started Daniel.

"Please…let me go home. I started nothing. The High Council chose me. Washington chose me. I'm still in the dark about what you need from me, what you are searching for. I want to end this game." Daniel looked at Osta with pleading eyes, he was close to breaking, he knew, she knew and she was trying to prevent it.

Osta stated "Understand this Daniel. What we are doing is not a game. There is no turning back. Our laws and society dictate this must be carried through to a conclusion. There must be one fair and equitable person on your planet to warrant our sharing technology. As hard as these memories are, see the big picture, this is about benefiting Earth… this is not being done to torture you." Daniel hung his head and Osta continued "Your body in the quarters is reaching the end of its endurance."

"I…I don't understand", Daniel stammered.

"Your body is not in a stasis chamber it is just taking up residence in that room. Your body has only been at rest; your conscious is here, so REM sleep cannot be achieved. In the four days you have been here, there has been no partaking of nourishment or sleeping".

Incredulously Daniel echoed, "Four days?" Images of friends and family waiting home starting crowding his thoughts pushing out his ability to think clearly.

Softly Osta reminded Daniel "To go home, we must finish".

Eyes closed and head bowed, Daniel acquiesced.

"Tell us about the memory you have managed to keep hidden from us…tell us about Abydos".

Daniel answered with silence.

The question was insistently repeated "Tell us about Abydos".

The pain brought Daniel to his knees again and then gradually subsided. Daniel awkwardly pulled himself to a standing position. Osta had returned to wherever the High Council was and with a sigh Daniel began. Reminiscent of the beginning of this nightmare, he again felt the desert heat warm his body. The desert sounds and smells enveloped him. In full lecture mode, Daniel spoke of his first mission with Jack, Feretti, Kawalsky and General West. Ra and the people of Abydos. Sha're. Kasuf. Skaara. The destruction of Ra, the people of Abydos freed. Jack leaving to return to Earth, Daniel's happiness…a sense of belonging…a family. Finding the cartouche room. Uncovering the Stargate…a box of tissues…SGC returning …Apophis…the real nightmare beginning.

What he wasn't prepared for was the next question. "Daniel, why did you open the Stargate at Abydos. After a year, why. Weren't you happy? Hadn't you been looking for happiness?" Didn't you want to spend you life with Sha're?"

Daniel had asked this question of himself thousands of times. "It wasn't enough that I was happy…I opened the gate not to dial other worlds, but in the hopes that someone from Earth would return to Abydos. I was terrified that I would never be able to share my discovery with anyone. My wife spent the remainder of her life as a Goa'uld because I was so hell bent on being right. I wanted to make sure no one was ever going to leave a lecture that I gave again. My egotistical attitude eroded my ability to foresee the consequences of my actions and I destroyed the people of Abydos and my wife. She paid with her life because of my arrogance".

Pausing, Daniel shifted his stance. Sliding to the floor, Daniel pulled his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around them for comfort. The memories were rolling over one another, the shifting of scenery taking on a roller coaster affect. Daniel spoke for hours, occasionally halting to regain control. He never moved finally closing his eyes against the onslaught of memories. Listening to Sha're's voice evoked unspeakable emotions within him. Daniel's mind would not permit him to open his eyes and look upon her. Daniel refused to gaze upon his younger self. In reality Daniel wanted to take that person and throttle him, make him see the happiness before him; tell him that contentment and joy was in front of his face, not through the Stargate. The guilt Daniel felt from his actions without gazing upon her was destroying him. His only awareness of the change in setting was the feel of the air or the sound of the voices from his memories. Daniel spoke of Ammonnet, returning to Abydos, delivering her baby, promising to protect the child. Ammonet attempting to kill him, Teal'c killing Ammonet…freeing Sha're. Sha're's message through the ribbon device. Locating Kheb, locating the child, Oma Desala. Leaving Kheb, leaving Sha're's son behind. The dream Shifu imparted to Daniel. Sha're gone…Shifu gone…dream gone.

"Daniel, you remember the knowledge from the dream".

Daniel lifted his head in surprise. "No" and with frightening intensity he added to the High Council. "Do not prod…I do not want to remember".

"Why" Cial questioned.

"A wise person once told me the only way to win the battle, was to deny it." Daniel replied again resting his chin on his knees. He waited a few minutes, actually astonished that the High Council was willing to accept that answer. "I beg you, please leave that memory alone." Daniel paused, feeling the Nuzarians "prodding" gritting his teeth and refusing to give over that memory. "I will die rather than giving anyone access to that memory".

"But the knowledge the Harcesis child had…if you could remember it, Earth would need no allies in your battle."

Daniel answered wearily "Earth is richer for encountering some of our allies. Richer than if I retained the knowledge of the Harcesis…and far safer. Daniel cradled his head in his arms; the pain intensifying as the Nuzarians attempted to reach the hidden memories of the dream. Daniel built an imaginary wall around the knowledge stubbornly refusing to give the Nuzarians entry. As the pain increased in magnitude, Daniel was aware that his surroundings had changed and that his consciousness had been returned to his body in his quarters. Stiffly he rolled off the bed and fell; his hands and knees impacted the floor painfully. The nausea was overwhelming forcing Daniel to vomit as the pain's tentacles reached down his neck and traveled his spine. Still Daniel held firmly and refused to submit to the Nuzarians. "Give us access to view the memories Daniel".

"No. I would rather die". Daniel's last thought before losing consciousness was how badly he had misjudged the Nuzarians and how he failed the people of Earth and SGC.

Osta stood making eye contact with the High Council members surrounding Daniel in his quarters "I must ready myself to visit Earth". Glancing down at the still figure curled in a fetal position at her feet the sadness evident in her eyes. "The test has been completed."

TBC