The Disappearance of Daniel Jackson

Author: Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Angst, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - March 9-21, 2009
Spoilers:  Fire and Water, Learning Curve (both minor)
Size:  65kb
Written:  August 8,12,16-18,20,26, September 9,11-12, 2005 Revised for consistency: August 13, 2007
Summary:  When Daniel disappears without a trace, Jack tries to figure out how to find an archaeologist in a haystack, or is that a universe?
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  QuinGem, Claudia, Tamara, Ali, Linda!

The Disappearance of Daniel Jackson
by Orrymain

“Jen, haven't we been through the volume discussion before?” Daniel asked his teenage daughter from the doorway of her room over the garage.

“Sorry, Daddy, I'll turn it down,” Jennifer said, closing her Teen People magazine to adjust the volume on her stereo.

“Thank you,” Daniel acknowledged as he turned and walked back down the stairs.

“Volume police?” Jack asked as he stepped into the living room, having just finished checking on the sleeping twins.

“Oh, yeah,” Daniel affirmed, walking over to the sofa and plopping down.

Jack watched with unease at his lover's body language, his internal 'Daniel Alarm' beginning to beep slightly.

“Angel, is something wrong?” Jack asked, walking over to the sofa and sitting down next to his husband.

Daniel took a big breath and groaned, “Gawd, I thought it wouldn't matter anymore.  Uh, it doesn't matter, Jack; not really,” the archaeologist said, facing his lover.  “But, gawd, it's frustrating!”

“I get that, but what exactly is frustrating?” Jack asked calmly.

“Close-minded, Budge-loving, image is everything people,” Daniel opined as he stood up and began to pace.  “You'd think after all these years, he'd have learned something, but, no, he's stuck back in the dark ages of archaeology.”

“Who?” Jack asked innocently.

“I can't believe how little tolerance he has.  Jack, in archaeology and anthropology, tolerance, ac...acceptance, understanding -- all those things -- are required.  We're researching the past, trying to increase our awareness of societies, see how what happened then effects us now, and ...”

“Daniel, what are you talking about?” Jack asked, sitting forward on the sofa, his two hands clasped together.  “Maybe more importantly, *who* are you talking about?”

“Craig.  Craig Martin.”

“That's very helpful, not,” Jack responded.  “Who's Craig Martin?” Jack raised his hand as Daniel was about to speak.  “... other than being a close-minded lover of Budge with no tolerance and understanding.”

Seeing Jack's smirk, Daniel crossed his arms, saying, “At least I know you were listening.”

Jack got up and walked to his soulmate, cupping his face, his thumbs gently caressing Daniel's cheeks.

“I love you,” Jack spoke gently.

“I love you, too,” Daniel sighed, easing into Jack's embrace.  “I'm sorry, Babe.  He got me so wound up.”

“It's okay,” Jack soothed, kissing Daniel's neck and rubbing his back.  “Wanna take a minute to regroup or just tell me now?”

“Regroup, for just a minute,” Daniel sighed as he enjoyed the feeling of his lover's arms around him.  ~This is all I'll ever need.~

“Okay,” Jack said with a smile as he continued to hold his lover.

“That's better,” Daniel said two minutes later, finally pulling back from his safe harbor, his Jack.  “Today at ...”

Both men groaned when they heard the crying of the babies filtering through the air.

“I'll check on them,” Daniel said, giving Jack a kiss and then going upstairs to see what was happening with the twins.

Jack looked at his watch to see how much time they had before the rest of their brood returned home.  Chenoa and David were at the Wilsons for the afternoon, and Sam had 'toddler-napped' the Munchkins for a shopping outing.

As he moved towards the kitchen to check on the chicken's progress in thawing out, Jack heard a ring and detoured to the counter, picking up the phone.

“Jack, it's Megan.  We have a tiny problem,” Megan Williams, the Director of Operations for Jack and Daniel's company, J-O Enterprises, spoke over the line.

“What is it, Megan?”

“Daniel left so abruptly a while ago that I didn't have a chance to talk to him about the Clooney project, and we're on a deadline.  Jack, I just don't feel comfortable making the decision on this one.  If we allocate too much of our resources on this job, I'm afraid that when Abayomi needs us for that Kenya project, we'll be understaffed and not properly prepared.”

“Okay, let's start at the beginning.  Daniel left abruptly?” Jack inquired.  ~Bet that is tied in to what he was about to tell me.~

“Well, I couldn't blame him.  That Craig Martin sounded like a real Neanderthal to me.”

“Craig Martin,” Jack sighed.  ~Bingo!~  “Tell me what happened.”

“Oh,” Megan responded, suddenly a bit uneasy.

Sensing her hesitation, Jack assured, “Megan, Daniel was just about to tell me when the twins woke up, crying from their nap.  You'll just be saving him a few steps by giving me a summary of the blow-by-blow.”

“Well, I didn't hear everything, but Mister Martin made an appointment at the last minute.  He claimed he wanted us to do a survey on some property in Texas.  Daniel's schedule had an opening, so I marked him down, but then Daniel got involved in a teleconference call, and I wasn't able to tell him about it in advance.”

“So what happened?”

“Mister Martin walked in just as the teleconference ended.  Daniel walked out with some notes and instructions, not realizing we had a client; well, I thought he was a client,” Megan explained.

“Then why was he there?” Jack inquired.

“The first thing out of his mouth was, 'I knew it had to be you', and he started talking about Daniel having crawled out from under the trash and asking questions about where he's been.”

~I would have kicked his butt and ...~  Jack coughed at his thought and then asked, “Did Daniel kick him out?”

“I think Daniel was surprised.  He stared at Mister Martin for a moment and asked him what he wanted.  When Mister Martin raised his voice, Daniel led him into his office.  After that, I don't know what went on, except, of course, that Mister Martin left in a huff, and two seconds later, Daniel walked out and asked me to cancel his last appointment of the morning.  He told me that he'd call later.  I forgot about the Clooney Project until reviewing my 'To Do' list for the day.”

“Megan, one of us will be over in about an hour.  Does that give us enough time?” Jack asked, checking his watch again.

“Mmm, yes, I think so.  I need about thirty minutes to really go into the implications of accepting or not accepting the project.”

“Will do.  One hour, and thanks for the information,” Jack said appreciatively and then disconnected the call.

====

Daniel smiled as he walked back into the living room.  His husband was on the sofa, patting the spot next to him in invitation.  The younger man sauntered over to the sofa and sat down, snuggling into his lover.

“Everything okay upstairs?” Jack asked.

“Mmm-mmm.”

“And how about with you?” Jack inquired as he fingered strands of Daniel's silky smooth hair.

Daniel sighed, “I had a bad morning.  It was, uh, like a retro-early nineties thing.”

“Megan called,” Jack said informatively.  When Daniel turned his head to face him, Jack continued, “She told me about Craig Martin, at least, what she knew.  How about filling in the blanks?” he coaxed.

“Craig and I were both working on our PhDs in anthropology at the same time.  He was, uh ...”

“Jealous?” Jack guessed.

“Yes, I guess so.  I was at the head of class ...”

“So what else is new?” Jack teased as Daniel groaned.  “Sorry, Love, but you're a genius, and I don't think you should ever have to apologize for that.”

“Thanks, Babe,” Daniel said, feeling the tremendous strength and support coming from his soulmate.  He took a deep breath.  “Jack, I guess Craig was to my anthropology studies what Steven was to my archaeology studies.”

The 'Steven' was Steven Raynor, who was now deceased after a run-in with the Goa'uld in Egypt.

“That says it all,” Jack quipped.  “Did he have anything worthwhile to say?”

“No.  He'd come across one of our brochures and saw my name.  He wondered if it was me; so he faked an important job.  He said the usual derogatory remarks; nothing we haven't heard before.  He thinks cross-pollination of cultures is as lame as pyramids being used as landing pads for alien spacecraft,” Daniel sighed.

“Do you think he'll come back?”

Sighing and shaking his head, Daniel answered, “No, he just wanted to speak his mind, wave his own success at me, and tell me I was the world's greatest fool.  Jack, I'm okay.  It was frustrating, that's all.  J-O has been so successful.  It's not that I expect old colleagues to accept me, but I figured they'd at least leave me alone.”

Jack placed a kiss at the side of Daniel's head and whispered, “I love you, Angel.”

Turning his body around to face Jack, Daniel raised his left hand to caress Jack's cheek.

“And, Babe, that *is* what matters.  Craig Martin and others like him don't mean a thing.  Gawd, I'm mad at myself for even getting upset.  I ... I just wasn't expecting it.”

“It caught you off-guard,” Jack stated in understanding.

“Yeah.  Hey, Megan didn't call just to tell you about Craig,” Daniel said, knowing their friend and employee would not call for something like that.

“No, no, she didn't.”

After Jack explained the purpose of the call, Daniel sighed, “I'll go, Jack.”

“You sure?  That idiot might come back.”

“So what if he does?” Daniel replied nonchalantly.  “I have a door for my office that I'm not afraid nor too proud to use, and our Director of Operations knows the number to call.”

“That's my Danny,” Jack responded with pride.

“I love you, Jack,” Daniel said as he moved in for a kiss.

====

Unfortunately, Daniel's hopes had proven a little optimistic.  Over the next couple of days, Craig Martin had phoned J-O several times and dropped by unexpectedly three times.  It was now the third day since his initial 'visit', and once again, Craig showed up.  Unluckily, Daniel had been walking a client out when Craig began berating Daniel for his insane views, questionable skills, overrated intellect, and geeky personality.

To stop the tirade, two of J-O's male workers had to physically restrain Craig while Daniel escorted the client to his vehicle.

“Roger, I apologize for the disturbance.  I'll phone you with the results as soon as I get the call from our people.”

“Don't worry about what that man says, Daniel.  My company has been very pleased with the efficiency and accuracy of J-O Enterprises.”

“Thank you,” Daniel said softly as they shook hands.  He watched the man drive away, then twisted his body around to stare at the house that served as the headquarters to J-O Enterprises.  ~This has to stop.~

Daniel walked back into the office and stared at Craig Martin.  He noticed that the entire staff was ready to step in should things progress into any type of physical altercation.

“Craig, I've been very patient.  I know we had our differences in college, and I know you don't understand why I, uh, seemingly popped up out of nowhere.  Unfortunately, I can't answer your questions just to satisfy your curiosity or whining.”  Daniel shook his head.  “This is my company, my husband's and mine, and frankly, I don't freakin' care that you think I'm some misfit or worse.”

“Husband.  I always knew you were a ...”

“That's enough, Mister Martin,” one of the employees interrupted as he gripped Martin's forearm a bit tighter.

“Then I guess you knew something I didn't, but that's neither here nor there at the moment,” Daniel responded.

Daniel started to cross his arms, but mentally, he stopped himself.  He was going to be strong and stand up for his chosen way of life and his company.  Instead, he simply stood tall as he spoke with his antagonist.

“Here's the deal.  You leave here now and just ... go on your way, and that'll be the end of it; but if you come back or make another phone call, then I'll have a restraining order issued against you for harassment and stalking.  I have connections, Craig, so please don't challenge me.  I won't put our employees or our partners at risk because you have some old grudge to fulfill.  It's your choice.”

Daniel nodded at the employees, who released Martin and stepped back a foot or so.

Craig straightened his blazer in a huff.  His inclination was to charge at Daniel, and for a second, he considered it; that is, until he noticed the employees shifting their positions and slowly but steadily moving to stand near Daniel's side.

“You're not worth it,” Craig spoke angrily and then stormed out of the house.

Daniel sighed and looked down for a moment.

“Doctor Jackson-O'Neill, you have our complete support,” Ty Harper spoke on behalf of the entire staff.

“Thank you,” Daniel spoke quietly.  Then the archaeologist smiled at the employees and said good-naturedly, “No more goofing off.  Back to work!”

With smiles and laughter about their 'slave-driving' boss, the workers headed back to their tasks.

Approaching Megan, Daniel motioned to Karissa to come over as well.

“Megan, Karissa, if Craig Martin calls again, or if he shows up, you are to call the police.  Hopefully, he'll, uh, just go away, but just in case, I'm going to alert our lawyer.”

“Okay, Daniel,” Megan answered while Karissa nodded.

====

Entering his office, Daniel made one other phone call before calling Mark Kingston, their lawyer.

“Carter.”

“Hey, Sam, it's Daniel.”

Sam heard the reluctance in Daniel's voice, immediately alerting her that something was wrong.

“What's up, and how can I help?” the blonde asked.

“Uh, I'm sure it's nothing, but you know how Jack and I are now with the brood.  I just want to make sure there's not more going on here.  I mean, uh, I'm positive there's nothing untoward going on.  I know the guy, and ... well, I just don't want to take chances.”

“Okay.  Daniel, what are we talking about?” Sam asked.

“Oh, sorry,” Daniel spoke softly.  “I'd like you to do a standard background check on someone I went to college with for a while.  He's been causing some problems.  I think he's just a jerk, Sam, but ...”

“But we don't take chances with the brood,” Sam interrupted.  “Give me the details.”

“Thanks,” Daniel replied and then gave his friend the required information.

Daniel was fairly certain that Craig was being obnoxious and wasn't tied in with anything more devious and underhanded, but for the safety of the Jackson-O'Neill children, he felt he had to take this precautionary step.

====

“Be good at Aunt Sara's,” Jack said as he bundled the Munchkins in their winter coats, scarves, and gloves.

“We be good,” Jonny answered for the triplets.

“And you two mind Aunt Janet,” Daniel said as he gathered the eighteen-month-old twins together and made sure they were warmly wrapped for the winter weather. Two giggles were the response to their father's admonishing.  “I mean it now.  No ice cream if you misbehave.”

“We good,” Jenny said with a sigh.

“That's my princess,” Daniel responded, giving her a kiss on the forehead.

**What would we do without ice cream?** Jack silently chuckled.

**I don't know, Babe, and I don't want to find out, either.**

“Mouseketeers, get a move on!” Jack shouted out to the lagging children.

“Sorry, Dad,” Jennifer said, walking out with Chenoa in her arms.  “The brush snagged in Noa's hair.”

“It hurt,” the almost four-year-old curly-haired girl responded.

“Aw, sorry, Sweetie,” Daniel replied, reaching over to squeeze her hand gently.

“Okay,” Jack said.  “Remember, Daddy and I have to be at work for two days.”

“We're going to miss you so much, but Aunt Sara and Aunt Janet will take good care of you.”

Jack and Daniel had agreed to go on a mission involving the Hedronix, a race that was being very helpful to the Tau'ri in their ongoing battles with the villains of the universe.  The Hedronix had a special trust in Daniel and insisted on occasional visits from him.  Thus, after putting in a regular day at the SGC, late that afternoon, the lovers would be gating to the Hedronix home world where they'd spend the night and two-thirds of the following day participating in discussions and cultural events.

Jack's ex-wife Sara and her husband, Mark Wilson, would be caring for the Munchkins, Chenoa, and Jennifer while David and the twins would be staying with Janet who was in the middle of a week-long downtime and didn't have to worry about reporting for duty at the SGC or the Air Force hospital.  Bijou and Katie, the two beloved beagles, would be staying with the Wilsons as well.

Outside, it was lightly snowing, so the entire family was bundled up in their warmest winter clothes.

With last minute instructions given, Jack loaded up the SUV with the Wilson brigade while Daniel made sure the twins and David were secured in the truck.  The children situated, the lovers both stood by the driver's doors of their vehicles, gazing into each other's eyes.

**Love you, Angel.**

**You're my world, Jack.  See you at the Mountain.**

====

“Wow, an actual overnight mission,” Sam said, smiling as she stood in Daniel's office later that morning.  “It's been a while since we've stayed overnight off-world.”

“I admit I'm looking forward to seeing the Hedronix again; they're a fascinating people, but, uh ...” Daniel said, trailing off without finishing his thought.

Sam smiled sweetly as she said, “But it's hard to leave the brood.”

“It's torture, but, uh, it's good for them, too, to get experiences away from us and our home.”

“Oh, I have a meeting in five.  See you this afternoon,” Sam said as she hurried away.

Daniel nodded as Sam walked out.  With his coffee cup empty, he stood and refilled it, stopping to stretch for just a moment.  Taking a sip of the hot brew, he sighed contentedly and then put the mug down on his worktable.  A moment later, he walked to his bookshelf and picked out a reference book he needed.

Returning to his worktable, Daniel sat down on his stool and began to review a tablet brought back by SG-2, hoping to get it translated before lunch.

The linguist reached out in front of him with his left hand to turn the page of  one of the books he using.

“Okay ... okay ... okay ... the beauty of the war.”  He paused.  “Beauty of the war?  No, that can't be right.”  He smacked his lips and frowned in concentration.  “Okay, uh, what if that's not war, but ...”

Daniel stopped, his mouth open as he stared at his left hand.  His thumb had just disappeared.  As he brought his hand to his face, turning his palm towards him, three fingers faded.  Bringing his right hand to an equal position, he realized the same thing had happened to it.  Yet, strangely, he could still feel the pen he was holding.

“Okay, this isn't good,” Daniel spoke aloud as he methodically analyzed what was happening to him.

In a rippling wave, the archaeologist disappeared.

====

At noontime, Jack was whistling as he entered his husband's office.  Looking around, he called out, “Daniel?”  Jack saw the almost-full cup of coffee, the open books, and tablet.  Nothing seemed out of place.  ~Must be in the bathroom.~

The general waited for a minute, but then decided to take care of some pending obligations, knowing he'd see Daniel in a couple of hours for the mission.

====

Jack was running behind schedule.  At the last minute, he'd had to fill in for Colonel Rappaport in a training seminar.  There'd been some excellent questions about the firepower, handling, and maneuverability of the X-305, the latest evolution of space fighters, and Jack had let the meeting go on longer than he should have.

As a result, the general wasn't surprised when he hurried to the locker room and found it empty, figuring that the rest of SG-1 were waiting in the gate room.  After a stop by the armory to pick up his weapon, Jack made his way to the embarkation room.  Entering, he looked around for his lover.

“Sir,” Sam said in greeting.

“Daniel?” Jack called out as he continued to search the room.  “Carter, where's Daniel?”

As she looked to her left at Teal'c, the blonde colonel responded, “I thought he was with you.”

Jack groaned, “He's probably bogged down in that translation he was working on this morning.  I'll go get him.  You two wait here.”

====

“Sir?” Sam asked when Jack returned to the gate room several minutes later.

“He's not there.  I checked with several of his staff; thought maybe he'd gotten involved helping one of them with some rock analysis or whatever, but none of them have seen him today at all.  Where in Netu is he?” a frustrated Jack snapped.

“O'Neill, do you believe harm has come to DanielJackson?” Teal'c asked, sensing his friend was concerned.

“When I went to Daniel's office just now, everything was exactly like it was a couple of hours ago when I went in there.  His coffee was cold.”  Jack looked up at the control room.  “Walter, page Daniel.”  Jack looked at Sam and ordered, “Check with the security gate.”

“Yes, Sir.”

====

“I'm sorry, General.  He's not on the base,” Sergeant Davis reported.

When Daniel hadn't responded to the page, Jack ordered a search of the entire base.  Sadly for Jack, the search of the facility had come up empty.

“Sir,” Sam said as she hurried into the control room.  “I've checked all the logs.  Daniel hasn't signed out, and your truck is still in the parking lot.”

“Well, he didn't just disappear,” Jack snapped.  “I want to know where my ... where Daniel is -- NOW!”  Jack paused, getting his anger under control.  “Carter, check the tapes.  Teal'c, I'd like you to go through the Gate.  Tell the Hedronix we'll have to reschedule.  Don't lie to them.”

“I do not lie, O'Neill,” Teal'c said with an intense stare.

“I know; it's just they're sticklers for the truth.  Tell them Danny's missing.”

Teal'c nodded and motioned to the control room to dial the address.  He understood that the aliens didn't think much of radio transmissions.  The Hedronix were people of honor and respect, and they preferred to transact any business in person, not over the impersonal airwaves.

Frustrated, Jack stormed out of the control room and commenced a level by level search of the SGC on his own, only his search included some of their favorite hideaways.  He even checked their outside hideaways, though it was snowing heavily.

Finally, a defeated Jack returned to his office, collapsing into his chair.  After a moment, he leaned forward and, with his elbows on the table, he leaned his head into his hands.

**Danny, where are you?**

====

Having seen their team leader return, Sam and Teal'c, who had just returned from meeting with the Hedronix, walked to Jack's office.

“No luck?” Sam asked gently as she tapped on the door and then walked in.

“No, not a sign,” Jack answered.  “Carter, what about the surveillance tapes?”

“I've checked them, and I think there's something you need to see,” Sam told the leader of the SGC.

Jack, Sam, and Teal'c walked to Sam's lab where the tapes were.  The tapes covered both corridors outside of Daniel's corner office.  Sam played the relevant tape from the first corridor, pointing out the key moments.

“This is Daniel when he first arrived at work.  See, he's using his card key to open his office.  This is at 0823.  Now,” Sam fast-forwarded the videotape, “this is one of Daniel's staff entering the office.”

“Carpenter,” Jack said, referring to John Carpenter, one of the civilian archaeologists working at the Mountain.

“There!”  Sam pointed to when Carpenter left, carrying a folder.  “There's Daniel by the shelves.  You can see him just through the door.  He's saying something to Carpenter.  See, he stops, turns, and nods.  This is at 0902.  Now,” Sam again fast forwarded the tape, “This is me going into the office.  Daniel and I chatted for a few minutes, and I left at 0945.  Then you show up, Sir, at twelve-hundred hours.”

“Who went in next?” Jack asked.

“No one until we began searching for Daniel.  I've checked the tapes for this corridor and the other corridor where the second office door is.  Daniel never left his office after entering it that morning, and no one else went inside.  From a check of the logs, he had two incoming phone calls, both internal.  I checked with his staff, and John said one call was from him before he went to Daniel's office; the other was from Doctor Lee.”

“What are you saying, Colonel?” Jack asked sharply.

“I'm saying that Daniel entered his office, had a couple of visitors, began to work, and, well, disappeared,” Sam answered.

“Went poof?” Jack asked in a patronizing tone while moving his two hands apart.  “What did he do?  Just snap his fingers and wish himself off to Oz?”

“Do you have another idea, Sir?” Sam asked, ignoring Jack's bad attitude.

Jack sighed, “No.  We had to insist on privacy,” Jack lamented, referring to their agreement that all security equipment in their offices were off unless the Mountain went to DEFCON 3, at which point they were automatically activated; this meant the cameras inside were not on to catch the moment of Daniel's disappearance.  “Contact Thor.  Maybe he knows something,” Jack ordered, adding as an afterthought, “... or did it, in which case the little gray guy and I are going to have a little chat.”

“I'm on it, Sir,” Sam said, walking out of her office with the intent of heading to the control room where she would attempt to contact the Asgard.

“Carter,” Jack called out.  “I didn't mean to snap at you.”

Sam smiled and nodded before going on her way.

“How may I be of assistance, O'Neill?” Teal'c asked.

“I don't know, T.  I'm not sure what I can do, either.  Let's hope Thor has an idea.”  Jack saw Teal'c staring at him.  “What?”

“Why are you not more agitated that DanielJackson is missing?” Teal'c asked inquisitively.

Jack snorted, “Give me five minutes, T, and I will be.”  Jack shook his head and let out a puff of air.  He leaned his hands against the edge of Sam's worktable and spoke as he stared down at the tabletop.  “I have to believe he's okay; I can't fight the air.  He has to be okay.  He has to be,” Jack said as his mind retreated somewhere deep inside of himself, to a place where the essence of his lover was.  **I don't know where you are, Angel, but I know you're out there somewhere.**

====

Somewhere deep in the galaxy, Daniel stood, staring at his hand, which had suddenly reappeared in stages.

“Okay, this is weird,” the archaeologist spoke.  Unnerved, he looked at his surroundings.  “Definitely, uh, not in Kansas anymore,” Daniel said, wishing Jack were by his side to make the reference to Oz.

The scientist walked slowly around the room, studying every corner and every nook and cranny of the strange environment he had been thrown into.  He was in a long room with strange symbols scrolled over the walls.  The symbols were large, each roughly two-inches in height, and they were raised, as if affixed to the walls.

Looking up, Daniel saw nothing but black.  He couldn't tell if there was a ceiling since he couldn't see anything but darkness.  For a moment, seeing the walls so tall, he felt like he was suffocating.  Quickly, he looked down, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.

“Okay, there's plenty of air.  Keep moving,” Daniel told himself.  He moved back and forth as he took note of the symbols on each wall.  Then he looked straight ahead and realized that every time he thought he was close to the end of the corridor, he wasn't.  “It's ... it's like a ... a tunnel that keeps expanding.”

Daniel turned around, walking backwards for a moment, considering where he had come from and how far he had walked.  Looking down, he became aware that the floor was solid and firm and yet was soft to the touch.  He knew this because, for the first time, he realized he wasn't wearing any shoes or socks.

~Great.  They have a shoe fetish?  They?  Who is they?~  Daniel made a complete one-hundred-eighty-degree circle and then yelled, “Hello?  Hello?”

With a sigh, and not having received a response, Daniel continued walking the unending corridor, hoping to find something or someone to help him figure out where he was and why.

====

“I am sorry, O'Neill.  I do not know where Doctor Jackson is, but I shall, as you say, get on it,” the alien spoke.

“Thanks, Thor,” Jack said appreciatively, after which the Asgard disappeared in a flash of light.

“General O'Neill, is there anything I can do?” Colonel Reynolds asked a few minutes later upon entering Daniel's lab where Jack was keeping vigil.

Jack shook his head, but said, “Just keep this place running.”

“Yes, Sir,” Reynolds said, doing a quick salute and heading for the control room.

“Sir,” Sam said, passing Reynolds and entering, with Teal'c right behind her.  “Uh, bad news.”

“You mean more bad news?” Jack asked quietly.

“It's snowing,” Sam informed him.

“Thanks for the weather bulletin, Carter,” Jack retorted.

“No, Sir, I mean we're snowed in.”

“WHAT?” Jack asked, jumping up and intending to exit the room.

“O'Neill,” Teal'c said in an urgent tone, grabbing Jack's arm.  “The brood is safe with SaraWilson and DoctorFraiser.  Would not a phone call be more prudent?”

“No.  They think we're on an overnight mission anyway,” Jack commented.

“Maybe it's actually a good thing, Sir,” Sam suggested.  “I mean, uh, this way, they don't have to know about Daniel ... do they ... Sir?”

Jack sighed, then nodded, grateful he wouldn't have to phone his children and pretend Daniel was fine.

~He'd better be fine.~

“That is true, O'Neill.  DanielJackson will be safe by the time the snowstorm has ended,” Teal'c announced determinedly.

“See that in your crystal ball, did ya, Teal'c?” Jack barked.

“I do not need to see into the future, O'Neill, to know that DanielJackson's place is here, by your side, and with the children in your care.  He would not let them down, or you.  He will be back,” Teal'c stated definitely.

Teal'c's faith resonated through Jack, and his resolve strengthened.

“Teal'c, contact the Nox.  Maybe Lya knows something about who might have done this.”

“As you wish,” Teal'c said, nodding his head and then exiting the office.

**Okay, Danny, hang in there.  The cavalry is coming.**

====

“Okay, well, look,” Daniel called out.  “I've been here ... gawd, I don't know how long I've been here, but I'm here, and I'm a little tired now, so I'm just going to sit down here until you decide to talk to me.”  He slid down onto the unusually soft floor, leaning back into the symbols involuntarily.  Startled slightly, he leaned forward as he sat.  “I mean, uh, someone, or something, had to bring me here.  Hello?” Daniel called out again.

“Hello, Daniel Jackson,” a voice said.

Daniel looked around, trying to find the person belonging to the female voice.  He stood, briefly wiping his hands against his green BDUs.

“Uh, hello, where ...”

“Here,” the voice answered, prompting Daniel to turn around, gaping at the lifeform that had just appeared in front of him.

At the end of the corridor was a creamy-colored glow which slowly formed into the shape of a question mark.  At the hook portion, Daniel could make out a face.  The huge brown eyes blinked.

“Who, uh, are you?” Daniel inquired.  “And where ... what is this place?”

“I am Quiesivila,” the alien replied, her shape changing to form a circle.  “This is the Pronista, the place of our klironoma.”

“I don't know what that means,” Daniel responded.

“What was before by those who came before,” Quiesivila explained.

“Your ancestors?” Daniel asked.

“Those who came before.”

~That didn't help,~ the archaeologist thought as he looked around the corridor.  He glanced at the symbols briefly, then back at Quiesivila.  “Okay, but why am I here?”

“You are Daniel Jackson,” Quiesivila responded as if that should answer Daniel's question.

“Actually, it's Jackson-O'Neill.”  Daniel's statement was met with silence.  “Okay, well, why am I here?” he asked again.

“You are Daniel Jackson.  This is the Pronista, the place of our klironoma, of those who preceded us.”

Confused, Daniel sighed and stared at the unfamiliar symbols.  He flashed back on Nem and his adventure below the ocean of Oannes several years earlier.

~At least Nem told me what he wanted.~  Daniel looked back at the lifeform, its shape flickering somewhat.  “Look, I need more help here.  What is it you want?”

The alien changed again, now resembling a star.  Its face was at the middle right arc.

“We have lost the knowledge; it is required to change.  We must have it,” Quiesivila said, a sadness in her tone.

“Knowledge?”  Daniel looked at the walls, full of writings.  “You mean this?  These symbols?” he asked, raising his left hand to point at one of the walls that were full of symbols.

“We must evolve,” Quiesivila said.  “It is our way, but to evolve, we must take all with us.  Time is short.  We require the knowledge.”

Daniel shrugged as he walked the corridor, concentrating on the patterns and types of writings.

“This could take years, decades, even.  I don't know this language,” Daniel told the alien being.

“You are Daniel Jackson.”

“Why do you keep saying that?” the linguist finally asked.

“You are known throughout that which is home to all,” the alien explained.

Daniel's eyes rolled in his head as he searched for the answer.

“The galaxy?”

“Yes, throughout all,” Quiesivila answered as she changed into a cylindrical shape, her face at the top of the form, not visible to Daniel.

“That's pretty funny,” Daniel snorted.  “On Earth, they think I'm a joke; in outer space, I'm famous.”

“We require the knowledge; you will provide it.  It is necessary; time is nigh,” Quiesivila lamented, ignoring Daniel's prior comment.

“You said you lost the knowledge.  How?”

“When last we evolved, we grew reticent.  We tired of the memories.  We played, but we cannot deny who we are.  Our nature is to progress, to question, to remember.  If we do not evolve, we will cease to exist.  We require the knowledge.  Please,” the entity said softly.  “You are our only hope.”

Daniel blinked.  He didn't feel threatened by the lifeform before him, but at the same time, he wasn't sure he could help.

“I'll try.  Back in my office, I have some equipment I need.  I can take some pictures and ...”

“No, the time is nigh.  We must have the knowledge,” Quiesivila insisted as she shifted into a lightning bolt, her face visible at the top of the object.

“Why do you keep changing your shape?” Daniel finally inquired.

“It is how we evolve; soon we will be different, but only if we have the knowledge.”

“Uh, and what happens if you don't?” Daniel asked.

“We cease to exist.  All we are will fade.  Eons of our klironoma will be forgotten.  We ...”  A glowy tear fell, creating a puddle on the soft floor.  “We will have failed.  Our disgrace will be all that remains.”

Quiesivila closed her eyes, her sadness evident.

“Where are the others?” a curious Daniel asked.

“Others?” Quiesivila asked.

“The rest of your kind,” Daniel clarified.

“They are here,” Quiesivila answered as she turned into a heart.  “And they are there,” she answered, transforming into an arrow pointing upwards at the darkness.

“Ooooooh,” Daniel responded, stepping back a few feet after looking up and seeing glimpses of eyes, looking down on him.  “I'm willing to help, but I need something to use as a point of reference.  Uh,” Daniel moved to the symbols and shook his head.  “I don't recognize any of these, but some of the words you use ...”  Daniel paused, and then asked, “What do you remember of the ... knowledge?”

“In the ximerian of us, we were entimos.  We worked; we died.  We changed. Then we were dentralis, providing shade, learning from others who passed by.  Then we were different, but I know not how.  I have lost the knowledge. You must ...”

“Uh, wait,” Daniel requested as he pondered some of the words used by the alien.  “Ximerian ... uh, beginning or maybe dawn.  Entimos?  En...bugs?  They were insects?” Daniel mumbled as he paced in a circle, his hands twirling around in front of him as he thought.  “Insects turned into trees?  That doesn't make sense.”  Looking at the alien, Daniel said, “Your language sounds like a Greek derivative.”

“We do not know Greek.”

Daniel sighed, “There's a place on Earth.  We call it Greece.  The people who live there, their language is much like yours.  I need reference material from my lab.  You have to let me go back.”

“There is no time.”

“Look,” Daniel said sternly.  “I've been here before, being kidnapped by someone who wanted my help.  I was willing to help him, but I didn't like being held against my will.  I did it; I gambled and let him use a device on me that recalled knowledge in my mind that I couldn't recall on my own.  I did it because living without my friends, without being in my home, wasn't worth it.  Well, now I have a family, and I know they're worried.  I won't help you unless you let me communicate with them.”

“There is no time,” the entity stated again.

“But without my references, I can't help you anyway, and I won't even try unless you let me communicate with them.  I need my books, and I need to let my family know that I'm okay.”

“You do not understand,” Quiesivila stated sadly as she turned into the mathematical sign of pi.

“Then help me to understand,” Daniel requested.

Within seconds, Daniel's body shuddered as Quiesivila joined with him.

====

A new day dawned, Jack hadn't slept a wink.  Neither Thor or Lya had anything positive to share, and Jack despaired at having nowhere to look for his missing husband.

The snowstorm was still raging, closing off many of the roads.  Jack wished he could talk to their children, but then the brood believed Jack and Daniel were both together on some Air Force mission.  They didn't expect to hear from their parents until later that day.  If Jack called, it would only alarm them since Daniel wasn't there to talk to them, too.

The general broke a pencil in two as he sat at his desk.  He was at war with himself.  Half of him wanted to be calm.  After all, he knew Daniel was alive; he just didn't know where he was or what he was doing.  The other half of Jack was angry, wanting to yell, bark out orders, and find a Goa'uld to kill.  At the center of Jack's battle was the fact that Daniel had repeatedly reminded him that tearing into their friends was wrong.

“Sam and Teal'c are family, not punching bags, Babe,” Daniel had told him not long ago.  “And neither are Sergeant Davis or Sergeant Siler, or any of the people at the SGC.  Just ... just take a deep breath when you want to lash out at them, and remember that whatever has happened isn't their fault.”

Daniel's reminder had come during a lighthearted discussion about past events at the SGC when Daniel had ended up in some kind of peril.

~But I love you, Danny, and I can't stand it when you aren't here.~

It normally wasn't easy for Jack to quell his anger, but this was not the usual situation.  As he tried to do what Daniel wanted, Jack's emotions almost cancelled each other out, leaving him with lots of concern and few options for channeling it.

“Maybe Daniel is in a meeting,” Jack offered to no one.  “We don't know where he is or why, right?”

“Right,” Sam hesitantly replied, not sure whether or not she should have responded.

“Carter,” Jack greeted as the woman slowly walked into his office.  “So Daniel could be in a meeting, right?” Jack asked, hoping Sam would play along.  “It's as possible as anything else, isn't it?”

Nodding, Sam answered, “Right, Sir.”

~Bless you, Carter.~  **Danny, I'm sorry, but I'm not very good at trying to remain calm when you're not here.  GET BACK HERE!**

“O'Neill,” Teal'c said as he walked in.  “Ardyl of the Hedronix wishes to meet with you.  He has heard a story that he believes may help in the search for DanielJackson.”

Without missing a beat, Jack, Sam, and Teal'c had on their gear and were on their way through the Stargate to visit with their friends.

====

At the capital city of Hedry, SG-1 met with Ardyl, the leader of the Hedronix.

“General, walk with me,” Ardyl requested, motioning for Sam and Teal'c to remain behind, which they did after Jack nodded to them.

“What do you have to tell me, Ardyl?” Jack asked.

“We have many visitors, some come through your Stargate and others come in their own way.”

“Ships?” Jack quizzed.

“In their own way,” Ardyl answered vaguely.  “In a time past, when I was much younger, we had one such visitor.  His name was Quiesivo.”

“Human?” Jack inquired.

“Perhaps once, but when Quiesivo was here, he was a cloud,” Ardyl explained.

Jack stopped walking.  He starred at Ardyl and echoed skeptically, “A cloud?”

“Yes,” the alien nodded.  “He watched over a part of our land for a long time.”

“Ardyl, I don't mean to sound like I don't believe you, but a cloud?” the general asked as he gripped his weapon tightly.

Ardyl smiled and nodded, saying, “Quiesivo was not a normal cloud.  He told me he was an Allasan.”

“What's that?” Jack inquired.

“He told me only that they exist to change.  They learn, grow, share, and then they change.”

“Did this Quiesivo change?”

Ardyl nodded and said, “One day, I looked up and the cloud began to transform itself into other shapes and objects.  He thanked me and my people for helping him to add to the knowledge of his people.  The next time I returned, Quiesivo was gone.”

“That's a nice little story, Ardyl, but if you don't mind my asking, just what does this have to do with Daniel?” Jack asked impatiently.

“A traveler to our world many days past told us of his encounter with an Allasan named Quiesivila.  The traveler was a healer and a reader of the mind, so he claimed.”

~Great!  There's bull throughout the universe, but I still don't get it,~ Jack thought.

Ardyl continued, “The traveler had been abducted for one cycle of the sun of his planet.  I do not know how long that was.”

“By this Allasan?” Jack asked.

“Yes.  According to the traveler, Quiesivila was trying to regain something she'd lost.”

“Which was?”

“Knowledge.  Her history; the past,” Ardyl answered.

“Ardyl, this is all very interesting, but let me repeat.  *What* does this have to do with Daniel?”

The leader of the Hedronix answered, “When Quiesivila realized the traveler couldn't help her, she sought out his mind in desperation.”

“Sought out his mind?” Jack questioned.

“For a moment, she jumped into the traveler's body and became one with him,” Ardyl relayed.

“Eww,” Jack responded automatically.

“When the Allasan returned, she thanked him and set him free, saying she was sure he had given her the answer -- Daniel.”

“This traveler knew about Daniel?” Jack asked incredulously.

Smiling, the leader of the Hedronix remarked, “Daniel is known throughout the universe.”

Jack sighed, “How nice for him to be famous.”  Jack shook his head and then spoke apologetically, “I didn't mean that.  I'm worried about him.”

“I understand, Jack,” Ardyl spoke compassionately.  He stopped walking and faced Jack.  “The traveler indicated that Quiesivila was desperate.”

“Do you know where can I find this Quiesivila?”

“I don't know, anymore than I know for sure that Quiesivila is an Allasan.”

“Thank you, Ardyl.  Ah, the traveler.  Any idea where I can find him?”  Ardyl looked down, as if considering his answer.  “Ardyl?”

“The traveler has a new way of life now.  He is much different than how he was in the past.”

“Ardyl!” Jack prompted a bit more aggressively.

“I do not know the name he went by before.  I only know that he is one of a few who survived the destruction of his world.  It is how he knew about Daniel, from the past, but that is all I know,” Ardyl said truthfully.

Jack nodded, and the two returned to the others.

====

Back at the SGC, Jack was on the phone with General Hammond, filling him in on the situation and hoping Hammond would have some suggestions for him.  When an airman interrupted him, telling him that Sam needed him in Daniel's office right away, Jack quickly concluded the call.

“General, I'll call you back.  Carter may have something,” Jack said, hanging up the phone and hurrying to his lover's lab.  As Jack's hand touched the frame of the doorway, he saw inside and came to an abrupt stop.  “Whoa!”

~This is weird.~  Sam stood in the middle of an empty office.  “I came by just to see if maybe we'd missed something and ...”  She shrugged as she extended her arms out at the nothingness of the room.

“Where'd everything go?” Jack asked.

“I don't know, but you have a message, Sir,” Sam said, pointing to the wall behind Jack.

Jack moved to the middle of the room and turned around.  Written on the wall were the words:

J.,

You were gone.  I'm helping someone.  Don't have time to explain.  I'll be okay, and I'll be back as soon as I can.  It's her last chance, J.  I have to do this.

L.Y.S.M.

D.

“That's Daniel's handwriting,” Jack commented.  He reached up to touch the writing, surprised when the word he touched flexed.  “Holy smokes!” he exclaimed, stepping back.  When he did, the word retook its shape.  “Carter?”

“I don't know, Sir.  I've never seen anything like it,” the colonel commented.

“He came back, and took everything?  Why?” Jack asked as he stared at the completely empty office.

“Maybe this Quiesivila can't transport a single thing,” Sam wondered.

“She took Daniel.”

“Yeah,” Sam said, looking down and around at the vacant room again.  “But he's human; maybe that makes a difference.”  Seeing Jack's disbelieving look, Sam simply shrugged and stated, “There was no warning.  No one knew anything about this until I walked in here.”  Watching Jack stare at the writing, she asked, “What are we going to do?”

“What can we do, Carter?  No one has a clue where he is.  Ardyl says this Queesy gal isn't bad.  He thinks Daniel is safe with her.”  Jack sighed, reluctantly stating, “I guess all we can do is wait.”  He looked anxiously at his watch.  “But he'd better get back here soon, or I'm going to have to lie to my kids, and I *don't* want to lie to them.”

“I understand, Sir,” Sam stated and then left the room.

Dejectedly, Jack looked around the vacant office.

~You'd better come home soon, Danny.~  Jack thought about the traveler Ardyl had told him about.  ~And it better not take a year.~

====

In the corridor, about three yards from the beginning of the writing, Daniel sat Indian-style on the comfortable floor.  He had three different reference books open.  Looking up at the eyes that gazed down on him, he called out, “I, uh, need that brown book.  That one, on the second shelf, third one from ... yes, thank you,” he said as the book appeared in front of him.

The linguist was stunned that his office was assembled in its totality above him, where the eyes were.  All he had to do was call out what he needed, and in no time at all, it would be at his feet.

“Okay ... yes ... maybe ...”

Time passed as the scholar used his knowledge and skills to translate the symbols.  He was amazed when his body was levitated, allowing him to study the writings at the top of the tall walls as well.  He'd made progress, but there was still a lot to learn about the language before he could really know the meaning of the symbols.

====

Daniel sighed.  He'd been working for hours or maybe days.  He just didn't know.  He was tired and looked over at Quiesivila.

“I can do this, but it's going to take time.”  Daniel stood up, walking towards the entity which was now in the shape of a bottle.  “Look, I understand that you don't have a lot of time left, but I'm just one person.  Translating this would take a year, maybe more.  You don't have that much time.”

The bottle cracked, becoming a box with Quiesivila's face in the middle of it.

“Then we will cease.”

“No,” Daniel assured.  “On Earth, I have a staff that can help me.  If we took pictures of the walls, then each person can work on a section.  Please, let us help you,” he begged.

Suddenly, the eyes above the room closed, and Quiesivila was pulled up with them.  Daniel watched as the separate beings grouped together, becoming one.  As he pondered what was happening, a voice startled him.

“I'll start over here.”

“I'll go work at the end.”

“I'm going to work up high on this middle section.”

More voices rang out as the startled linguist stared, thinking, ~Okay, I am officially losing my mind.~

“Hurry,” Quiesivila pleaded.  “The time is nigh.  We cannot maintain this strength for long.  Please.  We require the knowledge.”

Daniel nodded, as did the hundred copies of himself.

“Well, I guess it beats a Xerox,” Daniel quipped before returning his focus to the task at hand.

====

“The Allasans are known to us, O'Neill,” Thor communicated through the waves of space.  “They are a peaceful race.  If they have Daniel Jackson, he will be returned, unharmed.”

“Wish I could be that sure, Thor,” Jack commented.

“I will endeavor to locate them.”

“Thank you,” Jack said solemnly.  When the transmission ended, he stared over at Sam and Teal'c.  “What's the weather report?”

“One more day of this.  We haven't had conditions like this in years,” Sam reported.

“Good timing, I guess,” Jack spoke softly.  He shook his head and said, “I have to lie to my kids.”

“Maybe, uh, you could just say Daniel is ...”  Sam stopped.  The Jackson-O'Neills simply did not lie to their children.  “Sir, why don't you just tell them you're calling for both you and Daniel and that you'll explain everything later?”

“They'll want to talk to him,” Jack commented.

“Tell them DanielJackson is on a quest,” Teal'c suggested.

“A quest.  Yeah, thanks.  Do you two mind?” Jack said, wanting to be alone when he called the children.

Sam nodded and immediately left the office, but the Jaffa remained behind.

“O'Neill, you must trust Daniel Jackson,” Teal'c said positively.

Jack nodded and said, “I do.  It's the Allasans I don't trust.”

“The children are strong, O'Neill.  They have proven that.”

Jack looked over at his alien friend and smiled in gratitude.  Yes, the brood were strong, and just like their parents, together, they were unbeatable.

“Thanks, T.”

Alone a few minutes later, Jack picked up the phone, holding the receiver in front of his mouth.  Suddenly, he hung it up.

**Help me, Angel.  What do I tell them that's not a lie?  How do I make them feel safe when I'm scared to death?**

The mighty military man closed his eyes, praying for the right words to come.  It was going to be a long and lonely night.

====

“Got it!”

One by one, the Daniels completed their portion of the translation.  The real Daniel looked at Quiesivila and stated, “This is, uh, great, except there's a problem.  They, uh, me ... I mean us ... gawd ... it's great that we're done, except there's still a ... a lot of me, and I don't have all the ...”

Daniel's eyes grew wide as one by one the copies jumped into his body.  Each remained a few seconds, their mind transferring what they had learned to the real Daniel, after which they hopped out and morphed into nothingness.

“Oh, well, that was ... interesting,” Daniel said after the last image of himself had emptied their brain and disappeared into nothingness.

The scientist had no clue how much time had passed, but suddenly, he knew the answer to the puzzle that had been in front of him.  He had the knowledge that Quiesivila sought.

At that moment, Quiesivila returned to her spot at the end of the corridor.  She was now shaped as a book.

Daniel smiled, saying, “Of course.”

“Time is nigh,” Quiesivila said in a drained voice.  “Please -- the knowledge.”

Daniel nodded his assent, and in a flash, Quiesivila joined with him, absorbing all the knowledge of her people's past that had been forgotten.  When she was done, she separated.  Her smile was bright as she turned into the form of a human.

“Thank you, Daniel Jackson.  You have saved us.  We are grateful.  The time ... it is now.  Goodbye.”

“Goodbye,” Daniel whispered.  He looked up and saw the eyes were all gone. Looking forward at Quiesivila, he saw her shape dissolving, becoming transparent.  “Incredible,” he spoke softly.

The corridor became so bright that Daniel had to shield his eyes.  For a moment, he looked at the walls, shocked when he saw they were now barren of the symbols that had been there earlier.  As he reached out to touch the wall, it faded.  Taken aback, he faced the other wall and discovered it, too, was fading.

The blinding brightness ebbed until, finally, Daniel could again look over where Quiesivila had been.

The linguist was speechless as he beheld a wondrous sight.  Slowly, he smiled and nodded, whispering, “Way to go, Quiesivila.”  Then, remembering his own life, the man extended out his right hand and moved forward urgently, “Uh, wait.  Don't forget ...”  In a rippling effect, Daniel's body disappeared as it had done so before.  Moments later, he and his belongings reappeared in his lab at the SGC.  “... me.”  Looking around, he smiled.  “That was weird.”

====

~I can't put this off any longer,~ Jack thought.

Jack and Daniel had been separated from their family for over two days now. On the first night, Jack hadn't had to call the children; they believed their parents were on an Air Force mission and wouldn't be back until the following afternoon.  On the second night, Jack had mustered all the courage he had to call the children, telling them that the snowstorm was so bad that he and Daniel had to remain at the SGC.

In a joking manner, Jack had told the kids what Teal'c suggested, that their daddy was on a magic quest, and maybe if he was lucky, he'd find the bathroom in the basement of the Mountain before midnight.  His teasing and forced lightheartedness distracted the children enough that a promise that they'd all be together again the next day satisfied the brood.

~Got off lucky last night, but I know I won't today.~  Now, Jack gathered together all of his strength and bravado and began to phone his children again.  This time, he was going to have to tell the youngsters the truth, that their daddy was missing.  ~Missing?  What do I say he was doing?  And how do I explain that I wasn't with him?~

Jack knew Daniel would want him to make sure their children felt safe and secure, and since there was little he could do at the moment to find Daniel, he had decided to gather them up and take them home.  He began to make the calls.

“Hey, Son.  Yeah, I'll be home soon.  The roads are finally clearing ... Daddy?  He's ...”

“He's right here,” Daniel interjected, moving speedily into his husband's office, a warm and hungry smile on his face.

“Daddy's right here.”  Jack stood, his eyes locking onto Daniel's.  “I love you,” Jack said with a cracking voice.

“And I love you, so much,” Daniel responded, bringing his hand to Jack's cheek.  The lovers shared an all-too-quick yet very intense kiss before Daniel took the phone.  “Which one?”

“Little Danny,” Jack answered without letting go of his lover.

“Hey, Munchkin!  How ya doin'? ... yeah, Dad and I have missed you so much ... Snow?”

Jack nodded and mouthed, “Snowstorm -- started the day we got here; that was two-and-a-half days ago.  Roads are clear now.”

Daniel smiled and continued, “We'll build a snowman.  Dad and I will be there in a little bit.  Love you.”  Daniel leaned over to hang up the phone.  “So it's been ...”

Jack cut off his soulmate's words with passionate kisses, tender touches, and longing looks that lasted for thirty minutes before the couple finally decided to communicate with something other than their bodies.

“Danny, where have you been?”

“I don't know.”  Seeing Jack's frustration, Daniel explained, “I don't, Babe.  I was in some long room or something.  It was a ... a corridor with writings on the walls, and Quiesivila wanted me to translate them.”

“Queasywho?” Jack asked, returning to his dumb general act since his lover was once again safe in his arms.

“It's a long story, Love.  How about I tell you about it on the way to pick up our children?”

“You realize, Daniel, we'll be breaking protocol.”

“No, I'm, uh, briefing the general who will then debrief me, and, uh, then we'll communicate.  Boy, will we communicate, and then, uh, eventually, we'll report in to General Hammond.”

“I love how you think, Danny,” Jack happily responded.

After saying a quick goodbye to Sam and Teal'c, the lovers checked out of the SGC and headed for the Wilson's and Janet's to collect their children, none of whom would ever know that their daddy had been somewhere deep in the galaxy during the snowstorm that had kept them all at their Aunt Sara's and Aunt Janet's homes for an extra day.

====

Late the next afternoon, Jack and Daniel reported to the SGC to fill Hammond in on what had transpired.

“What kind of knowledge did this being require, Doctor Jackson?” Hammond asked as he sat at the head of the long conference table.

“It was all their experiences, what they had learned.  Sir, the Allasans are what some might call reincarnated shape shifters.”

“Excuse me?” Hammond asked, feeling totally confused.

Jack, however, smiled at his lover's choice of words, loving how Daniel had been firmly indoctrinated in television folklore over the years, having used a 'Star Trek' reference in this instance.

“The Allasans go through various life cycles,” the archaeologist explained.  “Uh, they might be a person or a tree or, uh, well, this chair I'm sitting on.  They are living when they exist as those objects, learning from whomever or whatever crosses their path.”

“Are you saying they communicate?” Hammond asked.

“When they're a chair?” Sam questioned skeptically on Hammond's heels.

“Yes and yes,” Daniel answered.

“That goes along with what Ardyl said, General,” Jack added.  “He said the cloud that called himself Quiesivo talked to him and the other Hedronix regularly.”

“About what?” Sam asked, unable to take in the concept.

“Who you are, what you like ... the weather,” Daniel answered with a shrug.  “Apparently, the reason for the Allasans existence is to learn, and they do that by gathering information and sharing it with the others.  Once they do, their shape changes.  Now, there's a period of time before this change when each of the Allasans returns to this corridor to, well, share what they've learned.”

“Like Merrin?” Jack asked curiously, thinking about how the nanites of the young Urrone children allowed them to learn a lot quickly and then pass that knowledge on to others via an injection.

Daniel smiled, answering, “In a sense, the concept is the same.  Each of the Allasans tells what they've experienced, and then they reflect on all they've learned throughout time.  That's where the problem was for Quiesivila.  Somewhere along the line in her existence, she ...”

“What form was she?” Sam asked curiously.

“Uh, she was a beach.”

“An entire beach?” Jack asked skeptically.

Daniel laughed, “Okay, maybe I should say she was ... sand on a beach.  She, uh, got distracted, and she stayed too long.  She ... played, instead of learned.  I don't really understand all of this, but if an Allasan doesn't continue in its true function, their memories fade.  Somehow, the memories leave the individual entity and form in that hall where I was.  The only way for the Allasan to continue is to somehow reacquire the knowledge, and when they do, the writings leave the wall and return to the Allasans.”

“Daniel,” Jack said, leaning forward, his elbows on the table, a pencil twisting between the fingers of his hands.  “Didn't you say that Quiesivila said all of the Allasans would die?  I don't get that.”

The linguist sighed and wet his lips before answering, “The Allasans are linked together.  If something ... normal had happened to ... well, cause Quiesivila to, uh, die, then the rest of her race would continue, but losing their knowledge and causing it to go on the walls, actually draining away from their essence would have caused the race to ... become extinct in a few short hours.”

“And once you were able to restore this knowledge, the Allasans simply went away?” Hammond asked.

Daniel smiled, replying, “No, Sir.  They ... procreated.  It was ... amazing; it was ... beautiful.”  Daniel realized his eyes were misting.  He looked down and swallowed, trying not to be caught up in the emotion.  “General, when the eyes disappeared, and I looked over at Quiesivila ... when she ... floated away, she ... erupted into hundreds of ... babies.”

“Indeed?” Teal'c inquired as a question.

“Yes.  I mean, uh, not babies like human babies, but little masses of energy, each preparing to learn the knowledge of the Allasans, and once they do, they go out into the universe.  It's an interesting culture.  I, uh, asked Quiesivila if it was possible to exchange more information about our cultures.”

“And?” Jack prompted.

“She smiled, and said there were always possibilities.”

====

“So all that shape shifting she did while you, all of you, translated the writings was normal?” Jack asked as the lovers drove home from the SGC.

“Yes.  As their knowledge is shared with each other, they randomly go from shape to shape, and when the process is completed, they ... reincarnate into whatever shape they'll be for the next life cycle.”

“Do they choose it?” Jack asked.

“No,” Daniel answered, shaking his head.  “They just travel.  It's like sleep, I guess, and then they awaken as whatever they are.  It was fascinating, Jack.”

“Too much like Nem for my taste,” Jack said from his spot in the passenger seat.

“In some ways, but not all,” Daniel observed.  “Quiesivila was willing to let me come back; she didn't force me to stay.  What she did do is beg me to understand.  Once I did, I had to try and help.”

“Danny, when she joined with you ...”

“All she got was the knowledge and a basic understanding of human beings.  Jack, when she jumped in me, it was just a quick moment, but there was one second where I knew all I needed, and she got all the knowledge.  Allasans don't invade people's privacy; they can't.  There's something in their make up that says if they use their, uh, jumping ability to ... well, eavesdrop or read minds, they would be repelled.”

“Like bug spray?” Jack teased.

Daniel chuckled and said, “Something like that; they might even die; I'm not sure, but jumping is, uh, well, outlawed, except in specialized cases, like what Quiesivila did.”

“What about you, Love?  Did you retain all the knowledge that your hundred selves learned?”

“I wish,” the younger man sighed.  “I know what I learned, and I have the basic understanding of the Allasans, but I don't know everything that was on the walls.  I wish I did.  They live an incredible, almost unimaginable existence, Jack, one unlike anything I've ever seen before.”

There was silence for a couple of minutes and then Jack reached over and put his hand on Daniel's thigh.  He rubbed gently and shook his head.

“The dangers exist whether or not we go through the Stargate.  Geez, Danny, you're an intergalactic hero.”

Daniel chuckled, refuting, “No, I'm not, but I had something they needed.  I'm glad I was there to help.”

Jack sighed, “I wish they would have asked first.”

“Quiesivila was afraid; I told her I needed to come back, Jack, but that's when you were off-world.”

“Let's not talk about this anymore,” Jack suggested, not wanting to think about the worry of the last couple of days.

“Okay.  What would you like to talk about?” Daniel questioned.

“The kids are with Sara and Janet,” Jack smirked seductively.

Daniel grinned, but said, “They're expecting us within the hour.”

“Bet I could talk them into three,” Jack seductively smirked.

“Jack, that wouldn't be fair, would it?” Daniel asked, lust in his eyes.  “I mean, uh, they've just had them for three days.”

“So what's three more little tiny hours?” Jack asked, smiling as he dialed his cell phone.

“Gawd, I love you,” Daniel spoke

“I love you, too, Angel.”

United in their desire, Jack and Daniel set about to fire their flames of passion, once again basking in their eternal nation of two.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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