"Jesus! Daniel! Don't scare me like that! Carter is just over there!" Jack points in the generic direction of where Sam is working.
"Carter again, huh?"
"We're on duty."
"But you're not together again, are you? How long is this break?"
"Unusually nosy, aren't you?" Jack sighs unhappily. "No, we're not together again. Won't be together again. Do you know what happened? Marty returned! Alive and well! I mean, isn't that completely crazy? He died years ago!"
"Uh, yeah." Daniel nods.
"Uh, yeah? Is that all you have to say? The Tok'ra have examined him and his snake, and they say that not only is it him, them, genetically, but they're also sure they're not clones, and not from another reality. Which they can apparently tell." Jack snorts.
Daniel is silent for a moment. "They were ascended."
"Martouf and Lantash. They both ascended. Elliot too, but he wanted to stay ascended."
"They, uh, ascended? And now they've returned, like that, that, Orlin-fellow did?" Jack asks.
Daniel nods. "Yes." He makes a motion to push at his glasses, but since he's ascended, it doesn't work that way.
"He didn't have memory loss, though."
"No, because he wasn't a human to begin with. I mean, I know Lantash isn't either, even if Martouf is, or was before he became Tok'ra. Anyway, Lantash is closer to us humans, so like a human, his brain can't hold the vast knowledge of an Ancient. Even despite the genetic memory stuff."
Jack nods. "Right. Like when I got all that memory dumped in my mind by the database-thingie. Mortal minds can't store all that."
"Exactly. And forgetting everything is part of forgetting that - their own memories from before they ascended will return. You, uh, you should tell Sam."
Jack sighs. "I will. She's worried for him, even though he's already starting to remember." He shakes his head. "She's obviously in love with him - and him with her. I kind of suspected it before, before he was a zatarc, but I didn't want to see it. Now - well, Sam and me doesn't work out, but I still love her, as a friend. I'm happy for her."
"That's really nice, Jack!" Daniel smiles. "What about you? Is there someone else you're interested in?" He subconsciously licks his lips.
Jack hesitates, then shakes his head. "Nah, don't think so. Listen, Daniel. It's always great to chat, but I'd really like to be alone right now, okay?"
"Okay. Okay, Jack." Daniel sighs and disappears.
He hangs around for a little while though, watching as Jack is deep in thought. Daniel would really like to know what he is thinking about. He actually feels hopeful Jack is interested in him, but how to make him admit it!
Some weeks pass, and Daniel watches now and then, as Martouf and Lantash slowly regains their memories and starts a relationship with Sam.
He also watch as Jack seems down, but not out of jealousy of Martouf and Lantash. Daniel visits now and then, and every time Jack seems happy again.
Daniel decides it is time to descend, but not until he has helped SG-1 against Anubis, who he has just found out is going to go to Abydos to get the 'eye of Ra' to power his new superweapon.
That he can't be allowed to do, and Daniel decides to interfere, even if it means the other ascended will punish him.
He is on his way to do just that, when Oma Desala appears before him.
"Daniel! Are you sure you want to do this? You know how the Others look on interfering with the lower planes." Oma says.
"Yes." Daniel nods. "I'm sure. I just can't let Anubis do this. I don't understand how any of you can! I mean, he's part-way ascended! He holds all the knowledge of an ascended being! Why didn't you make him forget it?"
"We would have, if we had descended him fully." Oma admits. "However, if someone truly does not wish to be descended, we cannot force them more than part-way, such as this. The person has to comply for us to descend them fully."
"So they also can't do that to me?"
"No, but do you want to be like Anubis? He will never again be accepted in to our ranks! His only options is staying the way he is, or descend fully and become mortal - and forget his ascended knowledge."
"No, I don't want to become like him."
Oma nods. "I will try to stop the others from punishing you. I think I will be able to, as there are quite many who agree with you."
Daniel shakes his head. "Don't. Stop them, I mean. I have decided - I want to descend."
"You want to become human again? Mortal? Like your friends?"
"Yes, but not until I have helped SG-1 against Anubis."
Oma nods. "You are doing this for love, just like Martouf and Lantash. It is a powerful feeling, one many of my kind have forgotten. Good luck, Daniel. I will help you as much as I can."
A long time later.
"We found something you might want to see." Reynolds says.
Jack, Sam, and Teal'c walks towards them and look.
"Daniel?" Jack asks, his voice breaking at the sight of the beautiful young man, whom he had never thought he would see again as a mortal.
"Arrom." Khordib says.
"Arrom?" Jack asks.
"It's what we call him." Khordib says.
"It means naked one." Shamda says."
"That's how we found him in the forest, two moons ago." Khordib says.
"Seems he doesn't remember who he is." Reynolds says.
"Colonel, that's just how Martouf and Lantash appeared in, uh, in my house. Naked, and with amnesia." Sam looks at Daniel. "Daniel?"
"Right." Jack nods, unable to take his eyes of Daniel. Naked? He smiles a little to himself at the thought.
Sam approaches Daniel, smiles and reaches out to touch his shoulder. "It's okay. It's me, Sa-"
Daniel puts his hand up to stop her from touching him. Sam nods, understanding he is confused, but a little saddened he doesn't seem to remember her at all, which Martouf and Lantash did fairly immediately.
"Do you not recognize us, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c says.
"I'm sorry." Daniel walks away.
The team turn to watch him go.
"Not even me?" Jack shouts after Daniel, who stops for a moment, looks at Jack and frowns. He seems to consider saying something, then turns and leaves.
Daniel is sitting in a tent. Jack enters.
"Please leave me alone." Daniel says, not looking up.
Jack does not accept that, and sits down opposite him.
"I'm Jack O'Neill. And, barring some freakish similarity, you are Dr. Daniel Jackson."
"This tent is all I know. These people, they're all I know. Before I woke up in the forest, I don't remember anything. I've tried. I've tried to remember who I was before. Sometimes I think it's right there, floating in front of me, and all I have to do is reach out and grab it. I try—and it's gone."
"You were a member of my team, SG-1. You're a friend of mine. Last year, you died."
"Obviously not. You just sort of died. Actually, you…ascended to a higher plane of existence. Last time I saw you, you were helping us fight Anubis."
"Yeah. Kind of an over-the-top, cliché bad guy. Black cloak, oily skin, kind of spooky. Anyway, obviously since then, you've retaken human form, somehow. I—" Jack pauses as his words register and he shakes his head. "Actually, I can see how this might sound a bit unusual…"
"A bit? Why am I here?"
"Hey, why are any of us here?" Jack grimaces at his bad joke. "Honestly, I don't know, but you've got to trust me. You are Daniel Jackson. Think of it this way: out of all the planets in the galaxy, why this one if not for us to find you?" He points at Daniel.
"So you're saying a higher power had a hand in putting me here?" Daniel says, sceptically.
"I don't know. That was generally your department." Jack sighs. "Daniel. Danny - you're my. My best friend. Please tell me there is something! Don't you remember me at all? Just a little bit."
Daniel looks at Jack, then smiles sadly. "There is, something. I don't know what, but - it hurts thinking about it. Somehow it hurts, trying to remember you. Jack."
Jack sighs again. "Yeah. I may not always have been as good a friend as I should be." He looks into Daniel's beautiful eyes and takes his hands. "But I promise I will do better in the future. If you'll just try to remember me!" He begs.
Sam walks over to Jack who is just leaving Daniel's tent, he looks sad.
"Remember when I said it was like talking to a wall?" Jack says.
"It's just like when Martouf and Lantash had just descended. They didn't remember anything either."
"No, but from what you told me they didn't actively try and stop you from helping them, and they were friendly."
Sam gives him a wry smile. "True. Daniel is being difficult?"
Jack nods. "Unfortunately."
"Well, you know Daniel. He can be that way sometimes - mostly if he feels he's been treated wrongly in some way."
"How could he be! He doesn't remember anything about anything we've said or done!" Jack exclaims, frustrated.
"Maybe he does, at least subconsciously. Martouf and Lantash felt they knew me immediately, and also had some, uh, feelings associated with me." Sam blushes.
"Yeah, but that's because he loves you. Daniel doesn't love me!"
Sam looks at Jack as if she considers saying something, then shakes her head. "He's your friend. Maybe he remembers something. Something that seems small to you now, but he doesn't remember that you worked out your, differences. Or whatever. He only remembers that something in connection with you hurt him. Does that make sense?"
Jack sighs. "Yeah. It does. More than you may think."
"Daniel? Can I come in?" Sam pauses at the entrance to the tent.
Daniel blows out a candle he has just lit, leaving the interior of the tent fairly dim. "Sure."
Sam sits down and looks at Daniel. "So-"
"What did you say your name was again?" Daniel asks.
"Samantha Carter. You used to call me Sam."
"Yeah, well, like I already told, uh, Jack-"
"I guess what I don't understand is why you aren't dying to know all about who you are." Sam says.
"I am. And I'm not."
"See, it's the not part…"
"What if I don't like who I was? What if I don't want to be that person? What if I don't have it in me to make up for something I've done wrong?" Daniel sighs.
"I have to admit, that never occurred to me. Look, we all thought we'd lost you at one point." Sam is quiet, collecting herself. "It was one of the hardest things I have ever been through. You were—you are—brilliant. One of the most caring, passionate… You're the type of person who would give his own life for someone he doesn't even know."
"Well, that doesn't sound so bad."
"If you had one fault, it was that you wanted to save people so badly, y—you wanted to help people so much, that it tore you apart when you couldn't make a difference."
"That actually sounds kind of hard to live up to."
"All I know is that if I were you, I would definitely want to get to know me—you."
"I get it."
"Come back with us. Let us show you who you are instead of just telling you."
"I'll think about it."
"OK." Sam sighs, again considering how to ask him about Jack. She decides against it and begins to rise from her seat.
She stops at the tent entrance and turns back to Daniel. "Yeah? You know, you never call me that!"
"Was there ever anything between us?"
"Us, uh… No, no, not in that way. We—we were really, really good friends." Sam looks at him, really not understanding.
"OK." Daniel smiles a little and nods his head.
Sam decides to make a gamble and sit down. "Actually, I wanted to ask you something. You know, Jack? He doesn't understand what you meant by feeling 'hurt' when you try to remember him. What did you mean by that?"
Daniel frowns. "I don't know. It's just, when I see Jack, when I think of him - I get all these, feelings. They don't make sense, but when I try to think of him, I feel a bottomless, sadness."
"Sadness? You know, I think you're mistaken. You and Jack are good friends. Great friends. I can't imagine why you'd feel sadness thinking of him. Maybe because you miss him?"
"No, I don't think that's it. More like, because I know there is something that will never happen."
Sam takes a deep breath. "Please her me out now. I think, I think you and Jack - that you may have feelings that are, more than friendship."
"What do you mean?" Daniel frowns.
"You know. Love."
"I do feel love, but I also feel love for you. Not the same, though."
Sam grins. "I think I understand. Daniel - whatever you feel, I very much suspect Jack feels it too. Please, come back with us. Try to remember - I have a feeling it will be worth it!"