TITLE: Across The River - Rothman
SPOILERS: At least three, but there's more
SEASON/SEQUEL: Middle of 4th
CONTENT WARNINGS: No bad words
SUMMARY: Reflections on the living by someone who isn't.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Stargate SG-1. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only. No money has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. This story may not be posted elsewhere without the consent of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Big thanks to Lems for betaing this story.
What? That was my life?
I mean...what happened?
One minute I'm on P3X-888 looking for Daniel, the next minute, I'm here.
It's not bad here, but it's boring. At least it is for me even though there are some people up here that are really enjoying themselves. We're all waiting for something, but no one can tell me what. I was just told to wait for whatever it is I'm supposed to wait for and entertain myself until then.
Okay, but entertain myself how? I mean, it's boring here.
I could talk to someone, but I never learned how to relate to people. I was always happier around fossils and artifacts. They don't have to carry on a conversation to be interesting. I've even gone exploring, but there's not much to excavate either.
So, I'm bored.
Here's just not the way I imagined it. Out of all the cultures I've studied, I don't think anyone every really described the afterlife as....this. I think the Abydonians come the closest with their belief of going Across The River. There's a river that flows nearby, and that's what we've all crossed to get here. Other than that, nothing even looks familiar.
I can't believe how I got here.
One day, I'm working as a gopher for Doctor Patterson, fetching and carrying everything for him on one of the most unfriendly digs I had ever been on, when I get a call from Daniel Jackson. I hadn't heard from him in over three years, and he offers me a job. Tells me that he needs scientists that aren't so mired down with facts that they can't see the truth. I didn't even give him a chance to tell me what the job was. If I was working for Daniel, then I'd have a chance to do more than fetch and carry.
Maybe I should have asked.
When I was working on my bachelor's degree, Daniel already had one PhD. When I was working on my Master's, he had just earned his 3rd degree. He was archaeology's golden boy, and I was one of the people he always invited on digs. I never did know why he bothered with me. I'm good at what I do, but I've never been good with people. I told Colonel O'Neill that I could tell what a fossil had for breakfast, but people were too recent. I always got along with Daniel even if I'm not in Daniel's league. Nobody is, or was, but we all wished we were.
I always liked working for Daniel. He always treated his research assistants like people, gave us full credit for our discoveries. Once, on one of his digs, I discovered a tomb that dated back 4,000 years. Any other archaeologist would have claimed the find for themselves, but Daniel made sure that I got the credit.
That's just the way he is.
That's why I didn't bother to ask what the job was.
So, for whatever reason, he calls me and offers me a job. I not-so-politely tell Doctor Patterson he can fetch and carry for himself. I was on the first plane to Colorado.
Maybe I should have taken the first plane to anywhere else but Colorado.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I found once I got there. Okay, the Stargate aside, I never did like working for the military. They never want to listen to civilians and are always yelling orders. Who do they think they are?
All that soldier stuff never bothered Daniel. He knew how to handle it. He knew how to handle them without breaking a sweat. I think it's because he was never impressed with someone just because they were high ranking officers. Maybe people like General Hammond knew that they didn't just get Daniel's respect, they had to earn it.
But it was a good job even if I did have to put up with the military.
Too bad working with the military got me here.
Part of it's my fault. I wasn't paying close enough attention. I mean, I usually don't stay someplace where people don't like me that much, and they didn't like me at all. General Hammond never had any patience with me. I could tell that when he ordered me to figure out the crystal skull that made Daniel disappear. O'Neill didn't like me at all, but Daniel told me that the Colonel always had problems with scientists, even him. Major Carter always compared me to Daniel. Usually, that's a compliment, but I think she's used to having an archaeologist around who could think faster than she could. I wanted to tell her how rare that was. And Teal'c....he was the first alien I ever met. Maybe it would have been better for me if he had been the last.
I probably wouldn't be here.
Daniel told me to give them time, so I did. I kept telling myself that we all had a job to do, but what it was I wasn't exactly sure. I didn't really understand what we were there for at first. When I found out, that's when I knew why Daniel hired me.
Three weeks after I got there, Daniel's father-in-law (I didn't know he had one) sent a message that the Goa'ulds were attacking. General Hammond sent a lot of troops through the Stargate. Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c brought Daniel back, unconscious, on a stretcher. Major Feretti and Colonel Makepeace brought back a dead woman on another stretcher. I learned that the woman had been Daniel's wife Sha'uri who had been turned into a Goa'uld. Daniel had a wife he had been searching for. That explained how he had a father-in-law.
Then I understood why Daniel had put up with the military for as long as he had. It was personal for him. We had to fight the Goa'uld and free every person enslaved by them. I didn't know that Daniel had signed me up as one of his crusaders to put a "human" face on the war we were fighting and not let the military run rough-shod over the galaxy. Once I knew that, I understood why civilians and scientists had to be at the SGC. In some ways, we were even more necessary than the military. We were there to discover the truth behind the facts, and Daniel trusted me to help him do that.
He couldn't carry the whole load by himself.
Daniel kind of disappeared for a few weeks after that and told me to handle things. I really appreciate the fact he had that kind of faith in me, but I was never so happy to see anyone when he came back to work. Everyone expected me to do the same kind of work Daniel did. How do you explain to those military types that no one can do what Daniel does?
Easy. Write it up in triplicate and send it through the proper channels. They would have the information processed by Christmas.
When he came back, things got back to normal for a while. Daniel still had to find his brother-in-law and stepson (I didn't know he had those either). His work with SG-1 kept him so busy that he had to mete out all the archaeological assignments to the rest of us. I could see what it cost him. There were a lot of times we'd both stay late just to look over artifacts that Daniel never got a chance to see and the other archaeologists couldn't decipher. He was missing it, but those military types just kept him too busy to do anything else.
It was a lot easier to run the department when his appendix burst. If I had any problems, I could always find him in the infirmary. Pretty soon, I had to sneak in when Doctor Fraiser wasn't looking. I don't think she liked it when her patient wasn't getting any rest.
Then we found the remains on P3X-888, and he really pushed to be the one to lead the dig with me as his assistant. An archaeological dig meant that we were in charge and got to order those military types around.
There was no way I was missing that.
I think I should have.
The Unas attacked....
Daniel was dragged off....
I ran for help....
We went after them....
I don't know exactly how the Goa'uld got me. I mean, I didn't even know they were there, and we had been there for three weeks. Even if we were tired, we shouldn't have stopped by that lake. We should have kept looking for Daniel. Maybe I'd still be there instead of....here.
Here's not as boring as I first thought it was, but it's...here...not there.
Daniel's wife Sha'uri has set up camp where I crossed. I think she's waiting for Daniel to get here. I only saw her in person the one time, but I had seen her picture in Daniel's office before. She's a lot prettier than I remembered, but I just said hello and went on my way. Talking with people, even dead people, just isn't easy for me.
There's a lot of people here from the SGC, even every member of every previous SG-11. I even met Major Kawalsky. He ended up the same as I did. Dead with a snake in his head.
Know what really gets me?
I didn't get a chance to do anything.
I went to college, came in top of all of my classes, got to help out for a few months at a top secret base, go to other planets -- but I didn't get a chance to do anything.
I mean, that was my life?
I've heard that I'll feel better about being dead once I've been here a while. That's when I learned about this trick the river can do. If you look in the water, you can see people you know. I didn't have much family and only a few friends. I did check on Daniel. I saw him and SG-1 hiking back to the Stargate on P3X-888, so I guess that meant he was okay. He was tired and kept stumbling. Finally, Colonel O'Neill just locked his hand around Daniel's arm and told him to walk, that he'd navigate. I think Daniel was literally asleep on his feet by the time they got back to the gate, but Colonel O'Neill never let go of him.
I never had a friend like that.
I'm not jealous. I had always been happy with what I had and my abilities because I knew I was good at my job even if some of the military didn't think so. I could have told them that all of them paled in comparison to Daniel, even smart ones like Major Carter, but I didn't.
So, I'm waiting like everyone else. I guess I'm okay with being dead and being here.
I'm not as bored as I was.
I'm just still wondering what happened.
Feedback isn't necessary, but it's always appreciated.
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