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Title: “Renaissance: X is for Xenos (Strangers)”
Author: [personal profile] marzipan77
Fandom: SG-1
Pairing: None
Rated: T+ for language and memories of violence
Summary: A series of fics beginning at Daniel’s descent back to Earth from the Ascended Plane. Chapter by chapter, these fics, about 1000 words each, beginning with “A”, will explore Daniel’s attempt to regain his memories, his mortal existence, and his place within the SGC and on SG-1.
Warnings: Angst/Emotional Whump/Memories of Death
Disclaimer: I don’t own Stargate, or Jack, or Daniel, or anything but my cats.
Written for the Alphabet Challenge on the Stargate Drabbles List.
Summary: Is he ready to say good-bye to Arrom?


"Great perils have this beauty: that they bring to light the fraternity of strangers." Victor Hugo

His fingers brushed against the brittle branches, remembering the rough feel of the bark, the dusky scent of the leaves as they crumpled beneath his feet, the way these simple sensations had grounded him, reminded him of his humanity, taught him, again, how to walk and stand and live within the confines of a body of flesh and blood. He'd tried so hard – fought so hard to shut away the memories, to silence the inner voices that called him by an unfamiliar name, so afraid to hear their frantic pleas and accusations. Daniel turned back into the cold wind, indifferent to the hurried military time-table. He stood, hands deep in the pockets of heavy, green fatigues, booted feet solid against the ground, eyes dry behind his glasses, and looked up at the Stargate.

He heard the men move in the chill air, blowing on chapped hands, weapons clanking, cloth rustling, muttered voices being carried off by the wind. They were watching him, waiting, but Daniel didn't give in to the impatience of their restlessness, the demands of their stares. He breathed deeply of the oddly scented air, filled his lungs with its familiarity, and let Arrom's inner voice whisper through his mind. He'd brought Arrom – the Naked One - home, and the lonely man's shattered fears and desperation had swirled through him once more before they faded, draining down Daniel's motionless body and away into the alien soil.

He heard Jack order the others away, urge them towards the village to begin the evacuation of the people through this … this Chappa'ai, this Circle of Woes, this Doorway to Heaven.

"Does the Ya-eger Manget Makaka still cause you pain, my friend?"

Daniel closed his eyes and smiled. "Shamda."

A warm presence at his side welcomed him, a gnarled hand on his shoulder, a gentle voice colored with good humor touched him and he turned his head.

The well-creased eyes twinkled in the morning light. "It seems I can no longer call you Arrom." Hands disappearing behind his back, Shamda nodded towards the Ancient device. "Have you taken up your journey, then?"

The warmth of dry robes against his frozen skin, the caring eyes of a grieving mother in a candlelit tent, unasked for comfort and concern humbled him again and Daniel blinked his eyes dry. "I no longer sit in the darkness, Shamda."

A shadow of memory darkened the old man's eyes for a moment before he straightened and his voice took on the semblance of the stern, cranky elder. "Good," he snapped. "And I hope you have been broken of this habit to stand outside in the cold, winter rain?"

Another presence, firm and steady at his back, shifted and Daniel didn't have to turn to see Jack cross his arms atop his weapon, dark eyes narrowed in a mock harshness that echoed Shamda's perfectly. "Huh. Yeah, I wish I could tell you that, Shamda, but sometimes Doctor Jackson here still doesn't know enough to come in out of the rain."

The elder's gaze flicked over Daniel's shoulder before settling again on his. "'Doctor Jackson'?"

"Daniel." He brought one hand to his chest, touching the memory of softness that the elder's daughter had once placed there, over his aching heart. Arrom's heart. So tightly shuttered and shut off from the pain and loss and terror that accompanied his stabs of memory until these strangers, these simple, welcoming people coaxed him back to life. "I'm Daniel," he repeated, believing.

"And so your journey continues," Shamda nodded gravely, "as do all of ours, whether we will it or not." He lifted his face as if scenting the wind. "And change comes with the morning, as it should."

Change. Arrom had feared it as cruel, callous fingers that had sought to wrench him from his sheltered life here, tearing away the shroud of nameless loneliness that he'd wrapped so firmly about his existence, intent on burying his future along with his past. Now Daniel knew that he'd once pursued change, had raced after it as if it could save his soul, as if it could distance him from his direst mistakes, confuse the regret and despair that constantly chased after him. He had changed, he admitted ruefully to himself. From cherished child to unwanted complication; from oblivious scholar to careful explorer; from husband to widower; and from empty shell, from Arrom, into Daniel Jackson – friend, teammate, brother and son.

"You know what they say." The tightness of Jack's voice drew Daniel's gaze to the deep-set brown eyes, shadowed by a frown and by the depth of his understanding. "'The only constant is change.'"

Shamda shifted closer behind him. "'No one knows the thickness of the grass on the other side of the hill unless one travels there.'"

Daniel's lips quirked into a smile. "'When one door closes, another opens.'"

He watched Jack refuse to grin. "'If you don't like the weather in Colorado, wait ten minutes.'"

Shaking his head, Daniel turned to face the path to the village, listening as Jack and Shamda fell into step behind him, discussing life and weather and lessons learned. His back to the wintry sun, Daniel considered the shadow stretching out before him, sliding over the frozen blades of grass, the scattered stones, visibly shortening as their journey continued. His gaze wandered across ancient monuments now crumbled, the bare bones of an Ancient civilization showing through the soil. The power of Vis Uban lay in the past, in the careful guardianship of the ages, hiding the Ancients' story within its stony mantle. Arrom had done the same for him – had sheltered him from the storms of memory, from the harsh winds of change and despair until Daniel Jackson could be guarded by more caring hands. Not the kind, gentle hands of strangers, but the strong, certain hands of friends.

The galaxy was bracing for battle, searching for a weapon to use against Anubis, scurrying to herd those at risk away from danger. Functioning on little sleep and snatched meals, cursory briefings and not enough information, cautious assistance from the Tok'ra and the worry of Teal'c's solo mission eating away at their trust in any possible victory. These friends had made demands on his heart, on his loyalty, on every drop of his sweat and ounce of his struggle. They forced him into shape, jealously claimed his spirit, so that he had no time for fear, or self-reproach, or the lure of memory. And here they were, he and Jack, strangers just days ago, now pacing slowly through an alien landscape, trading stories and making allies. It seemed so normal, so routine, and so foolish on the face of it that it was … comfortingly typical.

As the village came into view, Daniel smiled and let Arrom go, let him slide away to mingle with the laughing children and hurrying villagers, the shadows and stories of those who had given birth to him. "Thank you," he whispered, and lifted his face to the demands of the future.
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