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I Will Remember You: Part 1 – Meridian

Categories: Angst, Drama
Rating: PG-13
Content Warning: None
Spoilers: Meridian, Revelations
Author's Notes: This is the first story in a 4-part series, covering portions of the events in Meridian, Metamorphosis, Full Circle and Fallen/Homecoming.  The story takes an AU turn in Part 3 and 4.  A portion of the lyrics from the song "I Will Remember You" is quoted in each part and has some connection to what takes place in the story.

I'm so tired, but I can't sleep
Standin' on the edge of something much too deep
It's funny how we feel so much, but we cannot say a word
We are screaming inside, but we can't be heard

– Sarah McLachlan, "I Will Remember You"

Daniel was going to die.  The cruel and terrible reality tore through Sam's heart, ripping it to shreds.  So many times, they'd almost lost him, so many times when death almost took him, other times when it did, but then gave him back.  But, this time, there would be no reprieve, no miracle.  Only one small hope remained, that they would reach the Tok'ra in time, and one of them would succeed where Sam had failed and heal Daniel from the radiation sickness ravaging his body.  And if that one hope was lost, he would be gone, truly gone.  She would lose him, the most wonderful friend she ever had.

Sam choked out a sob, tears welling from her eyes yet again.  She hadn't slept at all last night.  She couldn't sleep, though exhaustion bore down on her like a lead weight.  Every time she closed her eyes, all she saw was an image of Daniel dying, the line on the heart monitor going flat as she watched helplessly.  No one had expected him to survive more than fifteen hours, yet, somehow, he had held on.  But the time would come when he could hold on no longer.

Sam knew that she was not the only one who hadn't slept.  Janet had refused to rest since it happened, refused to give up hope that, somehow, some way, she'd be able to save her patient, her friend.

Sam thought about what her life was going to be like without Daniel, and the pain was almost too much to bear.  God, it hurt so much.  Sam felt like a part of her was dying with him, the best and brightest part of her.

Just then, there was the announcement of an off-world activation.  Sam wiped her tears away.  She got up and went to the restroom down the hall to wash her face.  She looked at the reflection in the mirror and saw a woman with dark, haunted eyes, the eyes of someone who was about to lose somebody they loved.

Closing those eyes for a long moment, Sam took a deep breath and returned to her office.  Half an hour later, she was called to the briefing room and learned that Jonas Quinn had stolen some Naquadria and brought it through to them.  And then she learned the truth about what happened that day, Daniel's act of heroism and sacrifice.  It did not surprise her, for it was the kind of man he was, a man who would give his life for someone he didn't even know.

Sam left the briefing room, her steps leading her to the infirmary.  She had not been able to bear going there since her failed attempt to heal Daniel with the healing device, her guilt over the failure eating away at her.  But she needed to go there now.  She had to tell her friend that his actions had resulted in something important, something that could help them all.

Sam entered the infirmary.  Janet was just exiting Daniel's room, her posture speaking of her exhaustion.

"How is he?" Sam asked.

Janet gazed at her, brown eyes dark and deep with sorrow.  "He's slipped into a coma."

No!  It couldn't be!  She had to talk to him.  She had to tell him about Jonas.  She had to tell him so much more.

"I don't think he's going to be with us for much longer," Janet said, the slightest of tremors in her voice.  "He should be gone already.  I don't know how he can still be alive."

Sam fought to gain control of herself.  "C-can I see him?"

Janet nodded.  She touched Sam's arm comfortingly, then walked away.

With a shaking hand, Sam opened the door and went inside.  Daniel's entire face and body were swathed in bandages, only his lips and eyes remaining uncovered.  The sight the bandages and the knowledge of the terrible necrosis that lay beneath nearly made Sam flee the room.  She approached the bed, taking a seat in the chair.  For several seconds, she just sat there, trying to find her voice.  When she spoke at last, she managed to keep her tone steady.

"Just so you know, Jonas had a change of heart.  He stole some Naquadria for us.  He took a big risk.  He said it was because of what you did.  I think it could be important, and I wanted you to know that."  Sam's control began to break apart as words from her heart welled out.  "You have an effect on people, Daniel, the way you look at things.  It changed me, too.  I see what really matters."  Sam's control shattered into a million pieces, spearing into her heart.  "I don't know why we wait to tell people how we really feel.  I guess I hoped that you always knew."

Covering her face, Sam cried, her body wracked with sobs.  There was so much more that she wanted to say, so many more things that she wanted Daniel to know, but the words wouldn't come.  She felt like she was standing on the edge of an abyss, a deep chasm into which she would soon fall and never emerge.

It was in that moment that Sam knew what that abyss was, what her heart had been trying to tell her for so long.  She loved him.  She loved Daniel, more than as a friend, more than she'd ever loved anyone in her life.  She loved him, and she was going to lose him.

Why now, when it was too late, did she realize this?  How could life be so cruel?  It was taking him away from her, and he'd never know how much he meant to her.

A voice deep inside Sam was screaming, crying a denial that she alone could hear.  This can't happen.  God, please.  This can't happen.  She couldn't lose him.

Sam did not know how long she had been crying when Janet came in, knelt by her side and wrapped her into a tight embrace.  Sam buried her face against her friend's shoulder.

By the time Sam stopped crying, she felt weak and almost ill.  Janet led her out of the room and to the doctor's office.  The astrophysicist didn't care about all the people who saw her red eyes, the tear tracks on her face.

In the office, Janet handed Sam a box of tissues.  It was then that she saw that the doctor had been crying, too.

"He means so much to me, Janet," Sam said in a ragged voice.  "I never knew how much until now."

"I know, Sam.  He means a lot to all of us.  Colonel O'Neill sat at Daniel's bedside for three hours even though Daniel lost consciousness shortly after he arrived.  He didn't leave until Jonas Quinn got here."

"What are we going to do without him, Janet?"

"We'll carry on, just like Daniel would want us to."

Sam left Janet's office a while later and went to her quarters.  She took a very long, hot shower, trying to calm herself.  By the time she got out, she was more in control.  She had to get through this.  She had to be strong.

Sam went back to her lab and tried to work, but it was useless.  When there was another announcement of an unscheduled activation, she had to wonder who it was coming through this time.  It turned out to be her father, and, for the first time, Sam allowed herself to hope that her best friend could be saved.

Hammond, Janet, Sam's teammates and her father all gathered in Daniel's room.  Sam gave Jacob the healing device, and he held it over the archeologist's body, activating it.  He was like that for only a moment.  When he spoke again, it was with Selmak's voice.

"His condition is grave.  I do not know if I can save him.  And, even if I can, I do not believe I can restore his full, healthy state."

'But he'll be alive,' was the thought that went through Sam's mind.  "Do what you can," she said.

Jacob raised the device over Daniel and began the task of healing him.  Sam watched intently, a single phrase going through her mind over and over again.  'Please let this work.'

Only a couple of minutes had passed when Jack suddenly said, "Jacob.  Stop."

What?!  What does he mean stop?  Daniel will die!

Sam's father stared at the colonel.  "Are you serious?"

"It's what he wants."

No, no, no!  It isn't what he wants.  Daniel doesn't want to die!  Sam felt like screaming at her C.O., telling him that he was wrong.

Jacob turned to Janet.  "Someone else want to tell me what to do?"

"Just let him go," Jack softly said.

Jacob stopped, lowering the healing device.  Sam wanted to cry out in objection, to make someone see that this was so wrong.

The objection went unvoiced, for, at that moment, to Sam's horror, Daniel gave a final breath, then the EKG flat-lined, her nightmares coming true.

"Colonel?!" Janet cried, a desperate plea in her voice.  None of them heard Sam's silent cry of denial.

And that's when something amazing happened.  Daniel's body began to glow, his entire form enveloped in a brilliant white light.  Sam knew what she was seeing, for she had witnessed it twice before.  Daniel was ascending.  He was ascending!

So many emotions were passing through Sam as she watched the man she loved reach ascension.  And then he was gone, and the only thing that remained was a feeling of emptiness.  Daniel was gone, and she would never see him again.

Hastily excusing herself, Sam fled the infirmary.  She ran to the privacy of her quarters.  There, she broke down and cried for the man she knew that she'd love until the day she died.

It had been a week since Daniel left them, one of the worst weeks of Sam's life.  General Hammond had given SG-1 that time off.  It wasn't enough.  Now, standing in Daniel's office, Sam knew that no amount of time away could truly have prepared her for coming back to this place with the knowledge that he was gone, probably forever.

Sometimes, it felt like it was all just some horrible nightmare from which she'd soon awaken.  But, other times, the reality of it all fell upon her, crushing her with its cruel weight.

As Sam touched Daniel's things, looked around at the place that was so strongly connected to him, her heart broke all over again.  There had been no memorial service, no gathering to honor Daniel.  That felt so wrong.  Yet, at the same time, Sam was glad that there had been no service.  A service would mean that he really was dead, and Sam couldn't bear to think of him like that.  It hurt too much.

But Daniel wasn't dead.  Though his physical body may have died, the things that made him who he was, the essence of his heart and soul, were still alive.  Yet, though Sam knew this to be true, she still grieved, for she also knew that, though the man she loved was still alive in some form, she would probably never see him again.

Sam had been there for just a few minutes when General Hammond came in.  She knew that his words to her were meant to bring some measure of comfort, but they didn't help.  All Sam could think about was that she'd give anything to have Daniel back.

Finally, Sam knew it was time to leave the office.  She touched Daniel's journal one final time, then headed for the door.  Before going through, she looked back.

"No matter how long I live, I will always remember you, Daniel," she whispered.  "I will always love you."

Sam then turned and walked away.

THE END . . . and to be continued.

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