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Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 07:54 pm
Written as backup for Off-World Alphabet Soup, and quite likely to undergo a title change when I find out which letter actually needs to be backed up. :)

...Yes, the title has been changed. It was originally "Judgment Day." Both titles fit, I think, although the emphasis in each is different. Perhaps the current one is a bit more hopeful, though.

The problem with amnesia is that memories aren't always in context. Missing scene from Fallen in Sam POV as the team tries to deal with Daniel's self-doubt. Includes references to certain episodes from S1 and S4. ~ 2,100 words. Rated PG.


Xenolalia

Xenolalia: the ability to speak a language which a person has not actually learned.

Sam had to keep consciously slowing her steps to follow Colonel O'Neill's steady pace through the woods of Vis Uban. She wanted to be through the Stargate now, now, now. She wouldn't truly believe that Daniel was coming back with them until he was actually safely on Earth.

Even now, she realized, she was crowding Jonas, almost stepping on his heels. She blew out a soft breath and eased back a little. She was supposed to be watching their six, after all, while Teal'c took point. Another ten minutes, perhaps, and they'd be dialing home. Home. With Daniel.

With Daniel, who still seemed uneasy and uncertain, despite his decision to go with them. He said little, ignoring the colonel's frequent stabs at conversation, and his eyes kept flickering from one member of the team to the next. The grip on his small bag was white-knuckled.

They'd get him home to safety, Sam told herself, and back to familiar surroundings, and his memory would come back.

Of course it would.

Ahead of her, the colonel had stopped trying to get Daniel to talk to him, and was now chatting with a kind of forced lightness with Jonas. It was actually working, Sam noted with relief: Daniel's posture relaxed a little as attention shifted away from him, and he seemed to be listening to the conversation with interest.

"...while we can, Colonel," Jonas was saying. "I'm sure you understand that."

The colonel gave a half-shrug. "Can't say I do, Jonas." Sam couldn't see his face, but she could easily picture that self-deprecating quirk to his mouth as he added, "You know me. I'm not all that bright when it comes to -"

He broke off abruptly, and wheeled to face Daniel. Sam, too, had seen the sudden stiffening of his shoulders, heard the choked gasp.

"What is it?" Colonel O'Neill demanded, and it seemed to be exactly the wrong thing to do, because Daniel was backing away from him, and looked about two seconds away from bolting into the woods to escape... what?

"You said I was a good person." It was a strained whisper, harsh with accusation, directed at Sam.

"You were," she said, bewildered.

"You are," corrected the colonel, his eyes narrowing, and Sam could see how much he wanted to reach out and grab Daniel by the arms to drag him back to the Stargate. But any attempt at force would only backfire disastrously. Even now, Daniel's weight was shifting in preparation to run, and Sam was almost distracted from the crisis by her fascination at her ability to read his body language so effortlessly. His memory might have been lost, but his physical responses hadn't changed....

His memory.

"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?"

What had he suddenly recalled that could disturb him so badly?

"Daniel," she called, keeping her voice soothing and calm. She moved forward slowly, allowing him to gauge her approach. "Daniel, we know you. Whatever it is you think you're remembering, it must be out of context. Could you tell us what it is, and allow us to explain?"

He darted a glance at her, then back at the colonel. His eyes were still wide, his breath still coming in rapid gasps, but at least he hadn't made a break for it yet. Teal'c had turned back at the sudden tableau, but he kept his distance, careful not to alarm Daniel further.

"Jonas," the colonel said, his gaze still fixed on Daniel's face and his tone almost expressionless. "Head for the Gate. We'll catch up with you in a bit."

Jonas bit his lip, but nodded. "I'll see you soon," he said. He gave Daniel a respectful nod. "You, too, Doctor Jackson," he added. Then he turned on his heel and walked rapidly up the trail, pausing only to exchange a few quiet words with Teal'c before disappearing out of sight.

Teal'c lifted his chin to regard Daniel with solemn regard, then turned and paced further away, stopping when he was far enough to avoid looming but still close enough to hear what was said. When Daniel's tense gaze darted towards him and away again without any lessening of tension, Colonel O'Neill shifted his weight, flicking a hand signal in Sam's direction: Let's take it slow. Don't spook him.

Daniel warily looked at each of them in turn, then relaxed a little. Sam caught her breath against a surge of hope. He'd seen their minute gestures, the slight changes in their expressions, and he'd understood them. Somehow, that inexplicable bond that tied SG-1 together was still there.

"Okay, Daniel." The colonel jammed his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels. "Carter asked a question."

How much was it costing him to cede this moment to her? Sam followed his lead and adopted a casual, non-threatening stance, even as she took another cautious step forward. Daniel had responded to her when she'd tried to convince him to leave with them; maybe she could coax him into explaining himself now.

"You are a good man." She willed her expression to be steady and reassuring. "I don't know what you remember, or what you think you remember. Tell me, please."

Silence stretched, twanging. Daniel's breathing grew more rapid again. The distant call of some alien bird seemed startlingly loud as they all waited. Out of the corner of her eye, Sam saw the colonel open his mouth, then press his lips firmly together. They needed patience, not pressure. It hurt to think of Daniel as some half-tamed creature poised for flight, but until they were safely back in the SGC, no one wanted to risk losing him.

She watched Daniel visibly steel himself. "I'm a murderer," he said, his voice barely audible. "I - I've killed..."

"You're not a murderer," Sam rebutted strongly.

He licked his lips.

"You're not," she insisted, wondering what desperate firefight off-world had flashed into Daniel's mind.

"But I have killed."

"Many people kill," she said, keeping her voice calm and steady with an effort. "It doesn't define you. We've been fighting a war against a powerful enemy for a long time. You've killed in self-defense, or to defend others. That doesn't make you a murderer."

His brows shot up in an expression of cynical disagreement so hauntingly familiar that it was all Sam could do not to rush forward and fling her arms around him in reassurance. Careful, she told herself sternly. They'd seen his apparent aversion to touch, and they couldn't afford a misstep now.

"So I'm part of some war-mongering, trigger-happy kind of -"

"You're not a soldier, either," Sam interrupted, fighting once again to avoid an obvious reaction to this leakage of the Daniel they once knew so well. The man standing in front of her, uneasy and uncertain, was not the academic product of multiple universities with an ingrained contempt and rejection for the military. This was Arrom, who only knew that he instinctively rejected the idea of himself in battle without actually knowing why... or knowing what a "trigger" was, either.

"Worse than a soldier, then," Daniel snapped. He crossed his arms and glared. "At least a soldier can claim he was only following orders when he kills."

Sam could feel her face going blank, which was an admission in itself. The colonel's relaxed stance didn't change, but she saw Teal'c's expression flicker as Daniel pivoted to face him directly.

"Why should I trust a word any of you say?" he demanded. He took a step forward, apparently willing to confront the person who hadn't come chasing Arrom into the tent when he'd first retreated from them. "Why should I believe you?"

"Have we given you cause to distrust us, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked in turn. Sam wondered if Daniel accepted that apparent calm at face value, or if he read the strain in Teal'c's expression without actually understanding how he could .

"You - you're all in the same uniform, you carry weapons like they're part of you, and I'm supposed to just take your word for it that I haven't killed hundreds of thousands of people?"

Hundreds of thousands of people?

"Say what?" Sam blurted.

It was a stupid, ridiculous thing to say, but to her relief, it seemed to work. Daniel turned away from Teal'c to frown in her direction, his skepticism morphing into confusion. "What?"

"Daniel, you never - it's impossible to think you would ever do such a thing." She swallowed bile against the thought, then said firmly, "There has never been a time when anyone asked you to do something like that, and you never would." A suddenly memory flared in her mind of that disastrous mission two years ago, when Daniel had actually been talked into trying to assassinate a roomful of System Lords, but she forced it back down. Even if Daniel remembered that incident without the context of knowing what the Goa'uld represented, it didn't match what he was saying now.

The shattering of glass and the dying squeals of infant symbiotes echoed in her brain. Sam made herself forget that, too.

"And if I remember doing it?" Daniel challenged. "If I know I gave the order and watched all those people getting -"

"It didn't happen!"

He scoffed openly, waving his hands in yet another painfully Daniel-like gesture. "Oh, so I dreamed it, right?"

It was the colonel's turn to react unexpectedly, and the sudden torrent of profanity he unleashed left even Sam, who had long since become inured to barracks language, blinking in surprise.

Daniel's brows rose again. "If that's your opinion of -"

"Yes, Daniel, it is. Because you did dream it."

"Really."

"Yes."

Daniel snorted. "Like I died, I suppose."

"Come to think of it, the same oh-so-helpful aliens were responsible for both." Colonel O'Neill had abandoned his pose of unruffled calm. He was now every inch the commanding officer: forceful, demanding, compelling.

Sam would never dare challenge the colonel when he was like this. Daniel, on the other hand, had always refused to be intimidated by homicidal System Lords, much less Colonel O'Neill in command mode. The stubborn expression on his face spoke volumes now.

"You know, Jim, if you're going to make up stories, you might try to be a little less -"

"You dreamed that, Daniel. It never happened. Teal'c isn't dead, Carter's not in prison, and Moscow is still there."

Daniel blinked, visibly staggered, even as Sam traded incredulous glances with Teal'c. Moscow is still there? What?

"If - if it was a dream, then how do you -"

"I said you were a friend of mine," the colonel said, and just like that, the anger was gone again. "Friends tell each other... things. Sometimes."

"Things" like dead sons, Sam thought numbly, and tried not to visibly react to the pain she could hear in that level tone. The two men were staring at each other, and she didn't want to disturb whatever silent, fragile communion they might achieve. She didn't need to understand what they were talking about, anyway; she just needed Daniel to agree to come home.

It was Teal'c who finally broke the frozen silence. "Daniel Jackson. There is much you do not comprehend, and much that we can tell you. You cannot judge your worth without knowledge, and it has always been your nature to seek what information you can. If we have not yet earned your trust and friendship, will you not at least come with us so you might learn more?"

Daniel broke away from the staring contest to regard Teal'c with a rueful expression. "That's... I think you people really do know me."

"We do," Sam whispered.

"We do indeed," Teal'c agreed. "So we ask again, Daniel Jackson: will you come with us?"

"Um." Daniel looked at Teal'c, then glanced at Sam, and finally turned towards Colonel O'Neill.

"Yeah," he said at last. "Okay."

Two colloquial Americanisms from a man who insisted that all he knew was Vis Uban.

"Glad to hear it," the colonel said evenly. "Go ahead, Teal'c. I've got our six. Carter? You're with Daniel."

Teal'c inclined his head in agreement and resumed his trek toward the Stargate. Daniel hesitated a long, agonizing moment before he nodded and followed.

Letting out a slow, careful sigh of relief, Sam fell into step beside Daniel, leaving Colonel O'Neill to bring up the rear.

He was coming back with them after all. They were going to bring him home.

End notes: In retrospect, I can squeeze this into the Echoes square in my bingo card, which I foolishly supposed I would complete over a year ago. Echoes of Daniel's self, you might say...
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 08:29 pm (UTC)
So plausible! Thank you.

I love stories about Daniel getting his memories back. Canon really underplayed it.
Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 11:45 am (UTC)
Post Fallen/Amnesiac Daniel stories are my MOST favorite, and I so love that you wrote this from Sam's POV.

Stored, stashed away, saved to my favorites folder.

Thank you <3
Wednesday, July 29th, 2015 05:35 pm (UTC)
I can see this happening! Thanks for this :)
Monday, August 31st, 2015 06:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love this! It's a brilliant character piece, and it makes so much sense that Daniel would get very confused by such a terrible memory, especially out of context.