I Will Remember You: Part 2 – Metamorphosis
Categories: Angst, Drama, Action/Adventure
Content Warning: Mild Profanity, Violence
Author's Notes: This is the second 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.
Remember the good times that we had?
I let them slip away from us when things got bad
How clearly I first saw you smilin' in the sun
Wanna feel your warmth upon me, I wanna be the one
– Sarah McLachlan, "I Will Remember You"
Unseen and unheard, Daniel gazed at his former teammates from the other side of the cell bars. His friends were prisoners of Nirrti, and Daniel knew that they were in grave danger. He also knew that there was nothing he could do to help them.
Not for the first time, Daniel felt the rules of the Ascended chafing at him. It had not been so at first. He had enjoyed his new existence. But ever since he watched Jack repeatedly tortured by Ba'al and had been unable to step in and stop it, Daniel had begun to feel more than a little disillusioned with ascension. It was definitely not all it was cracked up to be. Sure, in the end, he had figured out a way to help his friend, but he'd pretty much had to sneak behind the backs of the other Ascended to do it.
Daniel passed through the bars and entered the cell containing Sam and Jack. He looked at the astrophysicist. He'd missed her, a lot more than he had thought he would. During these months, he'd found himself thinking about her a lot. Several time, he'd looked in on her, just to see how she was doing. One of those times, he'd found her crying while holding a photo of him. He hadn't gone back since then.
Gazing at her now, Daniel found himself thinking of their years of friendship. They used to have a lot of good times together, passion for their work joining them in a mutual quest for knowledge. He smiled as he recalled the times when they put their heads together over some project, staying up all hours of the night to solve some mystery. Those had been good times.
And then Sha're died, and nothing meant the same anymore. As the months passed, Daniel's sorrow over Sha're's death and his growing feelings of failure and worthlessness began weighing down his spirit, and those good times with Sam began slipping away, growing fewer and farther in between. Thinking about it now, Daniel regretted that. But it didn't matter now, did it. He would never get the chance to have that with Sam again.
Other memories came unbidden to Daniel's mind, the first time he saw her, the look of eagerness and wonder on her face. He could still so clearly see the smile lighting up her face in the Abydonian sunshine when she first laid eyes on the pyramid.
Why was he doing this? Why wouldn't these memories of Sam leave him alone?
Just then, the men named Wodan and Egar approached. Egar was half-carrying a barely conscious Lieutenant Colonel Evanov.
"Woodman, buddy," Jack said. He paused, but got no response. "Listen, I think we're dealing with a bit of a misunderstanding here."
Sam spoke up. "Do you really think Nirrti will keep you alive with these powers after she's finished her experiments? She's using you."
Wodan telekinetically lifted the door of the cell Jack and Sam were in. Egar dropped the Russian on the floor and shoved him inside. The two members of SG-1 dragged him to a cot.
"What'd she do to him?" Jack asked the two horribly deformed men.
They did not reply. Instead, Wodan pointed at Sam.
"You are next."
"No!" Daniel cried, knowing what would happen if Sam was taken.
"Ah, I think I'm next," Jack said.
"Nirrti has asked for this one," Wodan insisted.
"And I'm asking for you to take me inst—"
"No!" Wodan yelled, telekinetically shoving the colonel backwards a step. Jack rubbed his chest, clearly in some pain.
"All right, look," he said. "If you really can see in my mind, you know we came here to help you."
"I did sense that when you first arrived," Egar responded, "but when I looked deeper into your mind, I realized you would sacrifice us all, if necessary, to destroy Nirrti."
"That's not true."
"You cannot lie to me." Egar looked at Sam. "Come!"
Sam left the cell and turned back to Jack. "At least I'll find out how the machine works."
As Sam was led to Nirrti's lab, Daniel was beginning to panic. He knew what that machine would do to her, what would happen to her. She would die.
No! There had to be something he could do, some way to stop this!
Nirrti was studying a crystal as Sam was brought into the lab.
"Major Carter," she said. "I am pleased to have such an excellent subject. I might even consider you for my new host."
"Over my dead body," Sam responded defiantly.
"True. That is far more likely. Now . . . step inside."
As Sam stepped up onto the platform, Daniel's fear escalated. Then the machine was turned on.
"Let's see what you're made of," Nirrti stated coldly.
An instant later, Daniel sensed pain spear through Sam, pain that soon became agony.
"Stop it!" he screamed. "Stop hurting her!"
Fury and anguish took hold of him, and he strode forward, his will firming. And then someone was standing in his way.
"You cannot interfere, Daniel," the woman in his path said.
"Oma, please! I can't let her do this! Sam will die if I don't stop it."
"A butterfly's life may span only days, but the flowers still bloom and grow."
"I don't give a damn about your Zen wisdom, Oma. She's my friend, and Nirrti is killing her."
Sam let out a scream. Daniel pushed past Oma and went up to the astrophysicist, hands clenched, anguish tearing him apart.
"Please," Daniel begged. "Please let me stop this."
"I cannot, Daniel. I'm sorry."
Daniel started to cry, grief choking him. "Sam. Oh, God. I'm so sorry."
All at once, Daniel knew what he could do. He could not save Sam from the machine, but he could do something else.
Not caring if Oma objected, Daniel stepped up onto the platform of the chamber, entering the field of energy that was tormenting Sam. He wrapped his arms around her, knowing that she could not feel him. Then he closed his eyes.
'The pain is fading, Sam,' he said in his mind. 'Feel it fading.'
He sensed Sam's body begin to relax as the pain eased. It did not go away completely, but Daniel knew that it was now bearable, one that Sam, with her great strength, could withstand. He wanted to take the pain from her completely, but then Nirrti would wonder what was going on.
"I won't let you die, Sam," Daniel promised in a trembling voice. "I swear. Somehow, I'll save you."
As the minutes passed, Daniel stayed where he was, shielding Sam from the worst of the pain. He could feel what the machine was doing to her, how it was ravaging her, and it felt like it was killing him, too. He wanted to hold her for real, to tell her that he was here.
It was in that moment that Daniel realized the truth, something he'd failed to see all this time. He was in love with her. He didn't know when it happened, but, somewhere along the way, she had become more to him than just a friend. Daniel was stunned by the revelation. He'd found someone to fill the place in his heart left empty by Sha're's death, and he hadn't even known it.
But his realization had come too late. He and Sam could never be together. Yet again, life had cursed him in the matter of love.
At last, the machine was turned off. Sam was weak, drenched in sweat and barely hanging onto consciousness. Daniel had to fight not to catch Sam as she collapsed, wanting so badly to cradle her in his arms. It was Egar who caught her instead.
"Enough," Nirrti said coldly. "She has served her purpose."
Egar dragged Sam off the platform.
"Bring me the one called Jonas," Nirrti commanded Wodan.
As Sam was taken away by the two men, Daniel turned and glared at the Goa'uld with hatred.
"You will pay for this, Nirrti," he said.
Though Daniel knew that she could neither see nor hear him, she must have sensed something, for her eyes cast about as if searching for someone.
Sparing no more attention for her, Daniel followed Wodan and Egar as they took Sam back to her cell.
When the two deformed men attempted to take Jonas, the Kelownan sprang a surprise attack that, apparently, the mind-reading Egar had failed to anticipate.
As Jonas struggled with Egar and Wodan stepped in to put a stop to it after preventing Teal'c from getting out, Daniel wanted to help the Kelownan, to give him the strength to overcome Wodan's telekinesis, but the former archeologist knew that Oma was watching him. So, he stood there and did nothing as Jonas was overpowered and led away.
Daniel turned his attention back to Sam. Jack was speaking to her encouragingly, telling her that she was going to be all right. Sam replied that she didn't think she was, and Daniel knew it was true. If something wasn't done soon, she would die, just as Colonel Evanov was dying.
Daniel made an oath that, no matter what, he would not let Sam die. If there was no other way, he would ascend her, though he knew that it would make him an outcast like Oma, that it might even lead to him being punished in some way. But he didn't care about that. All he cared about was saving Sam, the woman he now knew he loved.
Daniel knelt beside her, his eyes traveling over her face, seeing the pain that she was trying so hard to hide from her teammates.
"I'm so sorry, Sam," he said. "I'm sorry for so many things. There's so much that I wish could have been different. How could I have been so blind to how I feel about you? I see it now and it seems so obvious. But I couldn't see it before, when it might have made a difference. I was too wrapped up in my grief over Sha're to see that I love you."
Daniel reached out to touch her cheek, a ghostly caress that he knew she wouldn't feel. At the moment that his fingers would have made contact with her face if they had been solid, Sam's eyes filled with a look of puzzlement. Her hand went to her cheek.
Realizing that she was somehow sensing his touch, Daniel laid his hand over hers.
"I love you," he murmured.
Sam's eyes turned and appeared to gaze right into his. "D-Daniel?" she whispered.
Jack, who had been at the cell door, looking down the corridor, turned to her. "Did you say something?"
Knowing that he could not let the others learn of his presence, Daniel stood and stepped back.
Sam's eyes blinked a few times. "Um . . . no, sir," she said. "It's nothing."
Jack approached and sat down beside her on the cot. "We'll get out of this, Carter. We've been in tougher spots than this."
"Yes, sir," she responded, though her voice lacked any conviction.
Just then, Evanov began coughing, clearly having trouble breathing.
Sam looked at him. "You in pain?"
The Russian nodded. "Something is happening. I can feel it. Is there water?"
"We'll ask," Jack told him.
"Try to rest," Sam instructed.
Teal'c came up to the bars separating his cell from that of the others.
"I have been attempting to communicate with the other prisoners, but they also believe Nirrti is a god. They will not listen."
Jack jerked his head toward Evanov. "He's in pretty bad shape."
"He appears to be suffering the same symptoms as Alebran."
"We got to get to that guy . . . what's his name?"
"No, the other one."
"Egar," Sam said.
"Yeah. I mean if he can read my mind, why can't he read Nirrti's?"
"He can't read minds all the time. Otherwise, he would have known Jonas was gonna jump him."
"Perhaps he is afraid to look into the mind of one he perceives as a god," Teal'c suggested.
Sensing that Sam's pain was getting worse, Daniel turned to her. She was still trying to hide it, but Jack saw her discomfort.
"Nothing. I'm fine."
Jack stared at her, obviously not believing her. "Get some rest. That's an order."
"Listen to him, Sam," Daniel told her. "You have to conserve your energy."
Sam let out a tired sigh and leaned her head against Jack's shoulder, her eyes closing. They were closed for only a moment when Evanov began wheezing and gasping for breath. To Daniel's utter horror, he watched at the Russian was turned into a puddle of liquid, just like what had happened to Wodan's brother, Alebran, back at the SGC.
"God," he whispered, knowing that Sam would be the next one to meet that horrible fate. No! That wasn't going to happen to her. He would not let it!
Daniel stormed out of the cell and strode away a few yards. "Oma! Show yourself. I know you're still here."
Oma Desala appeared before him. "I am here."
Daniel stepped up to her. "Evanov is dead, and Sam soon will be. How can you just stand there and do nothing? How can you make me do nothing?! God, how can your people be so cold and heartless?"
Oma gazed at him sympathetically. "We are not heartless, Daniel. I understand your pain. But there is so much that you do not know."
"I don't give a damn about your secrets right now. All I care about is that Sam is going to die if something isn't done. How could me saving her, saving one life in this huge universe, be so awful? How could it hurt anything?"
"We do not have the right to choose whom we will save and whom we will allow to die, Daniel," Oma told him gently. "Months ago, you told your friend, Jack, that you did not have the right to play God. Nothing has changed."
"Yes, it has!" Daniel cried. "Everything's changed! I was an idiot to say that to Jack. It isn't playing God to help your friends, to do whatever is in your power to save them. I have all these powers, and they're worthless! What good are they when I can't even use them to save the woman that I lo—" His voice choked off. He drew in a deep, shaky breath. "I don't know what your reasons are for not interfering, for allowing evil to continue when you could put a stop to it, but whatever they are, they're wrong, you're wrong."
Oma stared at him in concern. "Daniel, do not let your anger and grief lead you to do something that I will have no choice but to stop."
Ignoring her words, Daniel returned to Jack and Sam's cell. The anger and fear were eating away at him. Even if he could ascend Sam before she died like Evanov, that wouldn't save Jack or Teal'c. It wouldn't save Jonas, who, at that very moment, was probably being put through the same thing that Sam was. How could he save everyone? Ascend them all? Would Oma allow it or would she put a stop to it? Somehow, he had to stop Nirrti, but in a way that wouldn't force Oma to step in. But how?
Sometime later, Jonas was brought back. For some reason, he appeared to be okay. He'd also been gone a lot longer than he should have been. Daniel wondered what had happened. He should have gone to see, but he hadn't wanted to leave Sam.
As Jonas entered the cell, he looked about. "Evanov?"
"Dead," Jack told him. He raised his voice, his gaze going to Wodan. "Just like Alebran."
Egar and Wodan exchange a look, but said nothing. The door to Jonas and Teal'c's cell was lowered into place, then they moved toward the one holding Sam and Jack.
"Yeah, that's right," continued Jack. "Nirrti killed your brother. Go ahead. Take a look in my mind if you don't believe me. Better yet, look into Nirrti's head.
"That is forbidden," Egar stated.
"No kidding," Jack responded.
"Because she's hiding something!" Jonas declared.
"She is a god," Egar said. "She would know."
"She would not know, because she is not a god," Teal'c corrected.
Wodan telekinetically lifted Jack and Sam's cell door, and Daniel realized that Jack was going to be the next one taken.
"O'Neill is next," Wodan said, confirming Daniel's belief.
Jack pointed at Evanov's empty cot. "Look. She just killed a good man. She's gonna do the same thing to the rest of us."
"Together you're stronger than she is," Jonas said. "You just don't realize it."
Wodan pulled Jack toward the cell entrance with the power of his mind. Jack signaled that he'd cooperate and was allowed to exit the cell under his own power, after which Wodan closed the door.
As Jack and the two native men walked down the corridor, Daniel following them, the colonel began talking again.
"You know, you're right. I did want to kill her, but if you look into her mind for a split second, you'd want to do the same thing for what she's done to your people."
It was then that Daniel suddenly knew what he could do, the way that he could save his friends. When Jack was Ba'al's prisoner, Daniel had helped to free him by implanting the thought in Teal'c's mind to contact one of the Goa'uld and give them the location of Ba'al fortress. What he did then he could now do again.
The former archeologist turned his attention to Egar and very carefully infiltrated the man's mind.
"You know he speaks the truth," he silently whispered. "You have seen it in his mind. If you do not do what he asked, you will be betraying your people. Nirrti is not a god. She will not know. See what lays within her mind."
As they entered the room with the machine, Daniel kept talking to Egar, gently and subtly convincing the man to read the mind of the woman he believed was a god. Jack and Nirrti were now talking, but Daniel paid no attention to them, all his focus turned upon Egar.
Just then, Jack exchanged a glance with the man, his eyes encouraging Egar to take the chance. In that moment, Daniel saw Egar make the decision to do it. The man's gaze dropped to the floor for a brief moment, then his eyes widened in shock.
"Stop!" he cried. "What he says is true!"
Nirrti stared at Egar in surprise.
Wodan turned to him. "My brother?"
"She murdered him. She has murdered hundreds of our people, and she intends to do the same to us."
Apparently realizing what Egar had done, Nirrti cried out, "Jaffa, kree!"
Nirrti's Jaffa aimed their weapons, but they never got the chance to fire. Wodan used his powers to disarm them and then broke their necks.
"I command you!" Nirrti cried angrily.
Wodan raises his arm, and she began to choke, her body lifting a few feet off the floor.
"Wod. . . ." she choked out.
"Stop," Jack told the deformed man.
"I am your god," Nirrti managed to gasp out, amazingly still arrogant even while being choked to death.
"We need her alive," Jack said. Seeing that the man wasn't going to stop, he then said, "Wodan, she's the only one who can help your people."
"I can make you more powerful than your wildest dreams," Nirrti gasped.
Her words fell on deaf ears. With a quick gesture, Wodan snapped her neck, and she fells to the floor, her eyes flashing one final time.
"Why did you do that?" Jack asked.
"She deserved to die," Wodan answered.
"She was Carter's only chance."
"Not so, O'Neill," Egar responded. "Before she died, I looked into Nirrti's mind and took what I needed. Hurry, while there is still time."
They all hurried back to the cells. Daniel was alarmed by Sam's appearance when they got there and knew that she had only minutes left to live. He did not take his eyes off her as she was rushed to the machine, prepared to ascend her if they didn't make it in time.
The relief he felt when she was placed in the machine and, minutes later, was once again healthy and whole was more than words could express. He ached to hug her, to kiss her and tell her that everything was going to be all right now.
Daniel remained with his teammates as, a while later, they returned home. He didn't want to leave. He wanted to stay there with Sam. He wanted so much more. He wanted to hold her and feel the warmth of her body in his arms. He wanted to be the one she loved, the one with whom she'd spend the rest of her life.
But he could have none of those things. He was no longer a part of her world. He needed to walk away, to say goodbye and try to drive these feelings from his heart. Even as he had that thought, he knew it would be a futile quest. He would never be able to drive these emotions away. He would love Sam forever.
As Sam sat on the exam table in the infirmary, waiting to be examined, Daniel stepped up to her, his eyes taking in every inch of her face, implanting it deeply in his mind.
"I will always love you, Sam," he told her in a voice she could not hear. "And even if I never see you again, I will always remember you. Forever."
Daniel then turned and walked away, his heart crying in silent sorrow.
THE END . . . and to be continued.