a thousand petals, a thousand paths

The last true memory he had was the reflection of his own face in the protective glass before he emptied his clip through the shielding layer.

.

His parents were dead. He had had only eight years with them before they died, eight years of being part of a whole. He had warned them, he had seen it, he had begged them. But they had refuted his warnings and they had been crushed. And Daniel was dead.

His grandfather had spurned him. Interested more in the figments of a dead civilization’s imagination, he had spurned the bewildered, brilliant boy and left him to a system that fostered only loneliness. And now his grandfather was traveling again without him. And Daniel was dead.

He had confided in Sarah with everything he thought, everything he felt, and she had laughed. He had offered up the results of his startling research and she had turned away. And now she was no longer herself and had vanished light-years away. And Daniel was dead.

He had unburied the Gate. He had deciphered its mysteries and he had opened the world to an entire universe of wonders. And evil had come through that circle of light and poisoned the well. And Daniel was dead.

He had spent a year with Sha’re, feeling what it meant for a soul to truly find it’s mate. He had lost her, found her, lost her again, then spent a lifetime in a one short moment. Then Teal’c had killed her. To save him. And Daniel was dead.

The child was gone. He had thought himself strong enough to find a way to use knowledge, his great weapon, but one small hand on the forehead had shown him how very wrong he was and always would be. He was no match for his darkest impulses. The boy was gone. And Daniel was dead.

He had killed, he had maimed, he had been cruel, he had been unkind. He had seen wonders of unbearable beauty, he had traveled between stars, he had done his best and his best had not been enough. Nothing he brought to the cosmic table had been enough to stem the tide of darkness that was sweeping across the galaxy. Nothing could be changed. And Daniel was dead.

Were there any other ways? Was there another option? One that might redeem himself in the primal eye of the universe?

.

“Because, despite the fact that you’ve been a terrific pain in the ass for the last five years, I may have, might have, uh, grown to admire you a little, I think.”

*The people closest to you have been trying to tell you that you have made a difference. That you did change things for the better.*

“You have an effect on people, Daniel. The way you look at things, it changed me too. I see what really matters.”

*The universe is vast and we are so small.*

“If you are to die, Daniel Jackson, I wish you to know that I believe that the fight against the Goa’uld will have lost one of its greatest warriors. And I will have lost one of my greatest friends.”

*There is only one thing we can ever truly control. Whether we are good or evil.*

.

The first true memory he had was his reflection in Jack’s eyes before he said the words that emptied his soul and left him without his excuses. “Tell Jacob to stop.”

There was a lifetime in that one moment and the connection was still there. The tears sprang to his eyes as he smiled and shook his head. “I’m gonna miss you guys.”

And Daniel walked to the reflection and passed through it.

.:.

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