Divining the Truth

Author: Autumnglory

Rating: PG
Category: Friendship, romance

Spoilers: Season 8, Reckoning Parts 1 and 2, Threads

Disclaimer: Not my show, not my creation, not my characters... goodness knows I'd treat them better if they were! All hail those who own SG1--I'm just playing in their virtual sandbox.

Author's Note: This story follows QUID PRO QUO, a missing scene from Reckoning 2. QPQ sets up a reality that is played out here... what do you say to your best friend when you've been inside her mind? This story assumes that, given the events in Reckoning 2, Daniel has gained the ability to use the Ancient skill of opening the human mind to another for the purposes of sharing information. The timeframe is approximately a week or so after Threads.



Some of the ancients, divining the truth yet from far away, reckoned that the soul knows things because it is composed of them.
--Thomas Aquinas, PHILOSOPHICAL TEXTS, 13th century



The walk by the river was, in a way, an escape from the world--from the world of Cheyenne Mountain, anyway. In the moisture-heavy air and water sound, it was somehow easier to detach from all those aspects of a job that was more of a life. Colonel Samantha Carter measured her pace beside Daniel Jackson, both silent. It was a special place, this river... a world apart from uniforms and security and secrecy. Here, there was no "Colonel" or "Dr. Jackson"--it was simply Sam and Daniel, two friends together, stepping back into the mundane world which had, in its own way, become alien to them. Traveling through time and space in secrecy has a way of doing that.

The sounds of traffic and the human noises of the park fell behind them, allowing space to be... just that, to be. Somewhere beyond the park, across the green, a church bell chimed the hour, and somewhere, a dog barked in response. How odd, Daniel thought, that sounds like that could be so... unfamiliar. I've been spending too much time at work...

But even now, in the act of stepping away from "work," he still had a job to do. Sam had cornered him, finally, as he knew she would, and demanded of him why he had been avoiding her. There was no sense in denying it; he HAD been avoiding her for several days now, but it was more of buying himself time than anything else. With the question, his reprieve was up... and it was time to 'fess up, catch up, what-have-you.

'I only wish I knew what to say...'

"Daniel?" Sam's voice was soft, no longer the clipped military tones she wore in uniform. That single word held a multitude of questions--questions she did not need to voice, because he knew them already. Close to a decade's worth of friendship imparted that near-telepathy, but for once, Daniel did not wish for it. Sam's eyes scanned his face, and he could see the hurt and worry there. He closed his eyes against it... so much had happened in the past few days that causing his best friend anxiety and concern was simply icing on the cake.

'Let's see... I got kidnapped by a meglomaniacal killing machine that makes the third Terminator look like Barbie, managed to help stop the replicators from overrunning the universe, accessed the latent knowledge of the Ancients locked away inside my head, got killed (again), ascended (again), and descended (again--and naked again, what's with THAT?)--but that's no news to her; that was the easy part to explain. Now, I have to tell my best friend that in the process of doing all of the above, I've been inside her head, inside her most intimate thoughts, and know pretty much everything she never wanted to share with me...' He sighed again. 'All in a day's work, I guess...'

He looked at Sam again, and the expression on her face tugged at something deep inside him.

"It's kinda complicated..." he began. "But I guess I'd better start with what you know, and try to go from there..."

****

They sat by the bend in the river, side by side on a rustic wooden bench, neither looking at the other. Daniel's hands were folded, elbows resting on his knees. Sam sat straight against the back of the bench, too rigid with too much information.

"So... you've essentially... downloaded all of my thoughts and memories that the replicator had stored in her mind?" Sam's voice was slightly strained.

"Not so much downloaded, no... more like... experienced." Daniel did not look at her, and his voice, too, was edged with discomfort. It was unnatural, and he hated the feeling. He and Sam had always been able to talk about anything... anything at all.

But now...

"Experienced," she said, frowning.

'Well, how else do I say that an angry replicator started pelting me with various and sundry thoughts and physical memories from your entire life, trying to throw me off the trail of a way to defeat her?'

"Look, Sam... it's kinda hard to explain... but... I've been trying to find a way to tell you..."

"By avoiding me."

"...pretty much since I got back. It's not exactly the easiest conversation to start, you know. I mean, what do I say... Hey, Sam, how's it going, I'm back from the dead, and oh by the way we need to talk because I kinda got into your subconscious mind by accident while I was away..."

"Okay..." She leaned forward, matching his position. "I'm thinking this is going to be a fairly long conversation... and we've only just gotten started."

Daniel gazed out over the river, resigned and pensive. "I'm thinking there's probably a better way than a conversation to let you know exactly what you need to know."

"And that would be..."

"I can show you," he said simply, the tone matter-of-fact, but the voice edged with a peculiar softness. His eyes met hers, and there was something in them--some expression Sam could not name or place. "It's one of the things... one of the things I learned. She didn't mean for me to learn it, but..." He trailed off. "I can show you... bring you inside MY mind."

Sam studied her friend's face for a long moment. What she read there was more emotion than expression; she could feel his discomfort rolling off him like raindrops, though he'd long since come in from the storm. He didn't want to show her, to bring her into his mind... of that much, she was certain. And there was a distance there, too... a distance she hadn't felt between them since... since...

'Since he came back that first time.' She remembered the hurt all too well, the realization that all the time she'd thought Daniel dead, he'd been "ascended"--not dead at all, just changed, once removed from the physical reality of her world. Not dead, though she'd grieved his passing, ached with loss... and then discovering that he'd visited both the general and Teal'c. And when he'd come back, at last--returning to the physical world bereft of memory--it hadn't been the same at all between them. She wasn't sure if it had been her, or him, or both... but...

It had hurt. Losing Daniel the first time had been worse than having a limb wrenched away without anesthesia... losing him again, losing that rapport and camaraderie they'd always shared, had been worse, in a way. She'd tried to keep it hidden, tried not to let him know, tried to be glad of his return (and she was, she was glad, if that was the right word for it, though it felt too mild a term). But there had been a distance between them for a time, something that had lasted too long, until once again they grew into one another's company.

And now...

'And now, he knows... everything.' She could see it, read it in his eyes, in his face. 'He knows everything I ever knew, and he doesn't want to know, and doesn't want me to know how much he knows... all that and so much more...'

Sam drew a deep breath, trying to keep the shudder from giving her away entirely. Did she really want to know all that he'd seen? Did she need to know? It was Daniel, for goodness' sakes... Daniel, her best friend, closer to her than a brother, and yet more than a brother, better than a brother, because the bond between them had sprung up of its own volition, rather than being an obligation of blood. If there was anyone in the world... in the universe... she would trust with her every secret, it was Daniel. She knew him well enough for that...

Sitting so close she could feel his body's warmth blending with her own, Daniel dropped his eyes... and for all the closeness, seemed light years away.

'And that's why you know it's hurting him right now... know that he thinks he's violated you, somehow, and has to make it up to you by coming clean. Even though he didn't choose it, didn't force himself upon your mind, HER mind, in a sort of mental rape by proxy, he feels like he did, and he needs you to tell him it's all right.' She ducked her head, caught his eye... and the unveiled guilt and shame she saw there cried out to her in a tone more piercing than anything audible. 'If anyone's mind was raped, it was his... SHE did that, the soulless, cold machine, and didn't think anything of it; it wasn't rape to her, it was data retrieval, but that doesn't stop it from being what it is... and dammit, he's blaming himself. Daniel... that is so, so... YOU.'

She swallowed hard, touched his hand.

"Show me," she said, giving his fingers a gentle squeeze.


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