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Title: “Renaissance: Y is for Yet”
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.

The planning was done, the false tablet planted, Shamda and the villagers settled on a world Daniel didn't remember among other wanderers who made no claims of ownership on the land beneath their feet. And Daniel no longer fought the truth that his own wandering had brought him home.

He turned right at the tunnels' intersection and then stopped. Frowning, he lifted his head and brought both hands out of his pockets, scanning the empty hallway in both directions as if he could find a reason his restless feet had brought him here, in the small hours of morning, exhausted from chasing furtive dreams in the darkness. Again.

The empty corridor echoed his slow footsteps, the dimmed lights another reminder to his sluggish mind and heavy limbs that the outside world was dark and quiet. The door ahead stood open a few inches and Daniel watched as one hand rose to push it open. The room was filled with shadows: the lingering sensations of broad shoulders crowded together, the echoes of many voices humming just outside the range of hearing. The glow from one window drew him on and he moved forward slowly, silently, maneuvering past tangled cords and the legs of chairs that reached out to trip him, all leftover from the endless series of briefings that had woken memories of frustration and loss, and wounds physical and invisible that had been analyzed within this room, under the watchful eyes of a concerned general, with the help of his team.

Daniel slumped, his left shoulder against the glass, one knee bent, and the fingers of his right hand splayed against the clear, cool surface. One technician stood on the metal ramp below him, disturbing the display, and passed some kind of scientific device over one section of the Stargate as if he was a stage magician wielding a wand. But no doves or rabbits appeared, no colorful scarves or paper bouquets, and, after he'd walked away, the Ancient device still stood – immovable, unchanged with in its concrete prison.

On many worlds it was revered – a thing of divinity or superstition, touched only by gods and demons who knew the proper rituals to bring it to life. On others it was a lifeline connecting lonely peoples with those who could trade for food or medicine or allies against their enemies. To the Goa'uld it was a means of conquest and domination, and, at least once, a way of escape. But on Earth, it was a secret hidden from all but a few, buried in concrete beneath a mountain.

Daniel no longer doubted the bonds that held him to this thing; everything he'd read, every memory, words spoken directly and overheard revealed that that Stargate and he were intricately entwined. It dominated his life and directed his future, and, in a few hours, he'd walk through its ring and take up his truncated journey as if his year of absence, his year of death and ascension had never happened.

And yet…

His sigh steamed the window with fog, hiding the glyphs, the dead eyes of the chevrons, and the cold silver surface that mocked him with its silence. Daniel closed his eyes and rested his forehead against the glass. No wonder he retreated to this place again and again, contemplating the alien ring at the base of the mountain. Hadn't Jack's comment back on Vis Uban, back when Daniel could barely string any coherent memories together, told him that no one was surprised that this piece of technology was closer to Daniel's heart than any person could ever be? The Stargate demanded his mind, his life, nearly twenty-four hours in each of his days, but even the complexity of its circuitry and the mystery of its origins seemed simple in the face of Daniel's intricate and difficult connections with the human beings that surrounded him. His teammates. His friends. His family.

It was those connections that peppered his dreams with familiar aches and woke him to wander the empty hallways, searching for something that was still lost. Each face came, now, with its proper name, invoking warmth, trust, guilt, anger – a wealth of emotion, a jumble of memory, and a yearning to reach past the blurs and blanks that muffled his reactions to find the right hands to grasp, strong and firm, that would pull him all the way back. Back into that shared companionship, into the deep connection so that he could hear the unuttered words and effortlessly interpret the silences, the half-glances, the frowns and the fidgets. Daniel had been welcomed back, touched, held, grounded – and yet he still seemed to stand outside in the cold. Watching. Helplessly disconnected.

"Thought I'd find you here."

He didn't flinch, didn't turn in surprise or stumble away from his too telling pose against the glass. His heart didn't beat faster or his breath gasp in his throat. Somehow, he'd known that Jack was there. Daniel smiled, eyes still closed. Feet shuffled beside him, and, in his mind's eye, he saw the colonel lean one shoulder against the glass, his shadowed gaze taking in Daniel's vulnerable stance.

"You okay?"

Daniel turned his head, blinking even in the dim lighting, his forehead creasing in thought. A simple question, two words, spoken by one or the other again and again in their long, complex friendship. He knew the expected answer; his mouth even opened to parrot the response. But something almost hidden behind the man's strength, buried deep in the dark eyes, stopped him. A wariness; an uncertainty at odds with Jack O'Neill's fierce confidence.

"Jack?" There he stood, a friend, a leader, the one man, Daniel knew, who held tightly at the center of Daniel's existence while the storms roiled and calamities crashed around them. But it was as if the pane of glass beside him had slipped across his memories, an unbreakable, transparent shell that kept Daniel isolated, afraid to grab onto that connection.

"Daniel." Jack dropped his eyes to something bundled up in his long-fingered hands. "Listen," he hurried on, "Carter and Teal'c, they wanted to make a big deal out of this." He waved one hand, his gaze still lowered. "Wanted to do it up right with ceremonies and speeches and cake," Jack glanced up for a second, a spark of life cracking his careful facade, "and, while I admit, the suggestion of cake nearly had me, I thought, maybe … not."

Daniel's breathing stuttered as he realized what Jack was holding in his hands, what held the colonel's gaze and focused his attention. Drab green. Wrinkled and worn. Slightly frayed at cuffs and hem. Softened by age and handling, its patches dark circles, no longer gleaming new in the filtered light from the window. A jacket – his jacket.

"I know it hasn't been enough time – that we're throwing you back into things way too fast," Jack kept going, obviously determined to shoulder through the awkwardness. "You don't remember enough, haven't had time to deal with this place, with us." Jack's chin came up, searching gaze resting now on Daniel's face. "Haven't had time to make any decisions." He shifted his weight and stood, a smile barely visible, and shook the BDU jacket out in his hands.

Daniel stood straight to mirror his position.

"I just want you to know that, for me, for us, the decision's already been made. And, even though you might not believe it, or trust it yet, you've always been a member of SG-1." Jack turned the familiar patch towards him, one crooked thumb rubbing against the silver threads. "And, even if you don't trust us completely – yet - we trust you."

Something let go within Daniel's chest, leaching warmth through his body to nestle deep within his soul. The hand he needed, the firm grasp that could pull him back the last few inches to fit comfortably within his own skin was right there in front of him. He thought he heard the crackling of glass. Daniel stretched out his hand.
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