An Ancients Wrath
By Abby Ebon
Disclaimer: Don't own Stargate SG-1/Atlantis : The Lost Empire.
'There is something I'm missing here…' Daniel thought to himself as he went over all that was left of Milo Young, his notes. He didn't pay time mind as he went through it all so thoroughly that it made his head ache. Milo didn't keep the best of notes, and while Daniel was brilliant, there were different kinds of genius among academics. Daniel had been raised with Anthropology never far from his mind or heart. Milo had had to learn that, what he had liked – at least in college – was the way people wrote, and how writing related to language and theology; a belief in gods. Or rather that advanced beings had helped language along. It was why Milo wrote notes with pen and paper even though laptops and all the benefits of technology had been available for his use.
They still were, but the field of history was rooted with written word on stone and aged yellow fabrics and papyrus. It was hard; looking on such all day long, then to turn to a computer and realize how much time had passed. There were days Daniel was glad for all the advances in mechanics, and there were days when he wished it would all slow down so he could catch up.
Since he'd found proof of the Stargate, one part of the theory Milo and he had worked out in the college dorms; proving it had consumed his life during college, and after he'd been all but laughed out of serious academics – his professional life had been shaped by the Stargate before and after the military had played catch up.
The other part of the theory that Milo had taken up, was finding hard evidence of the shifts in language and knowledge of the ancient times that were out of dust, proving that the ancestors of humanity were just as smart as any modern man or woman could be. There were so many people, who didn't fulfill their potential in the present day, so how could it be that they could claim simple superiority based upon being descent. It said something about society, that they valued the parent and the grand parent, but did not value the ancient ancestors being smart.
People of the modern times were like children, not knowing their parents until it was too late to. Milo and Daniel had been determined, having no parents of their own, being orphans in their own way that they would not let history slip so easily, and claiming brotherhood by the blood they shared genetically with distant human ancestors.
So Daniel hadn't been surprised by the race of Ancients, and not about finding alien life that claimed to be god-like. It had been their theory brought to life, his and Milo's, and not many people got to see a theory, a dream, become reality. Albeit a reality neither could tell to anyone on Earth: Daniel had known that if anyone could be trusted to continue his life's work here at the SGC, it was Milo. He'd told them that he was the best there was, and they'd trusted it. Now, he was gone.
'Gone where, when?' Daniel demanded of himself, closing his eyes and trying to touch that cornerstone of knowledge he held. It was as cold as stone, unyielding. It was still there, but dead, and where once it had felt as if he could be anything, touch anything, know anything, there was a silence. He didn't know now – didn't know anything that he hadn't known before dying, before becoming a Ascended, and he had doubts, dark ones, that even that was not sacred.
That he had lost something, perhaps something he had had and it was lost now. He feared that it was something he needed, something that made him who he had been. There was no one he could dare tell those fears to. He could have told Milo, maybe.
'Too late…' Daniel regrets that, more then anything. And he's glad to feel that, to know that that part of him isn't lost.
He sighs, and as if it's a sign, there is a knock on his office door. An office that could have been his and Milo's had things been different.
"Alright in here?" Jack asks, careful. Daniel knows this feeling between them, uneasiness, a feeling as if the footing isn't certain, it isn't the same. It never will be the same as it was before – they have to relearn all the steps. At least Jack seems willing to try, there is still that, that bond, that show of friendship – or perhaps, rather, of comradeship.
Daniel can live with that.
"No, no it's not alright. Milo is gone, Jack - and I can't even read the hints – if there are hints here, and I feel as if I'm missing something, something easy, something right in front of me!" Daniel does feel that, and it's frustrating enough to have him on edge with worry.
"Maybe a fresh set of eyes?" Jack's talking about Carter, Daniel knows.
"Sam's brilliant Jack, but she isn't this kind of academic." Daniel gestures, disgusted, to the room which surrounds them – including his notes, to Milo's notes - to the very books on the shelves.
"I was talking about taking a break." Daniel thinks 'oh' grits his teeth and keeps his mouth shut.
"If you're not having any luck, you can try again." Later, is more then heavily implied.
Daniel wishes it were that easy, that he could be so at ease, but he worries that the reason he's not seeing something here, something he knows is here to find – isn't that it's lost, but that he's something in himself, some instinct or ability that would make this as easy as all that.
Worse, that he still may be loosing it, even as he sits hear and speaks to Jack.
"Later may be too late." Daniel says softly, not saying that it may already be too late anyway. Jack knows that, and he doesn't say it because they both are hoping it'll turn out that that sick feeling is wrong and this can be fixed.
Jack's eyes skim over the notes, the books, and Daniel wonders what he sees.
"Well what are you looking for?" Daniel laughs, as he realizes, answers to the Ancients, to the ancestors. He uses a joke he and Milo had had in college.
"Atlantis!" Daniel answers the other half of the joke, when he's faced with Jack's frown. The answer to the ancients, Milo had always teased. There were lost cities throughout history, scattered over the known world over every country and sea. They only had to be found.
Milo had even had a book about them, or rather – one, Atlantis -The Shepherd's Journal he'd called it, left to him by the Whitmore Trust.
"That's it!" Daniel says standing, his eyes wide and his smile wider.
"What?" Jack's brows are raised in worry, or amusement, so Daniel feels as if he has to prove it to him, that he's not forgotten, not crazy, that he's got this under control and he can fix this, he can find Milo Young.
"Atlantis…" Daniel says as he goes to the shelves, finger running along the book spines until he comes to a book that isn't a book at all, but a journal.
"I know where to find Milo." Daniel opens it, skims to the back, where Milo's notes are. The notes are in his hand writing, but the name – the name isn't Milo Young, its Milo Thatch.
"Where, Atlantis? Daniel, I got to tell you - that's far-fetched, even for us." Jack's doubt is thick in his voice, as is his worry.
"Look at these notes, his notes – the notes by Milo Young, okay?" It was a clue, that Milo had always loved hand writing things so much so that Daniel would know his handwriting anywhere, any when, no matter how impossible it all seemed, that it led to this.
"Yeah, I see them – I see a lot of them." Jack must wish he doesn't, Daniel thinks, but then he shows Jack The Shepherd's Journal, flipping to the back, where notes fill added in pages.
"Whose hand writing is this, Jack?" It's a demand, and Jack O'Neill looks, between the pages and the notes.
"Milo's…" He frowns as if wishing Daniel to get to his point.
There is a signature on the pages, and Daniel shows it to him, gleeful.
"Milo Thatch, Milo Young, don't you see, they are one and the same!" There is a date under that familiar handwriting, and it takes Daniel's breath away. Jack sees that date too.
"He…he might be dead, Daniel." It's a fact he has to face, but doesn't want to – not after figuring it out. Not when this might not be a victory, but a defeat. He doesn't want to go to have missed a funeral, to go to a graveyard and see his friend's name on a marker.
"Why didn't I ever notice the similarities?" Daniel wonders, hurt and aching with the thought that maybe Milo had known all along.
"You weren't looking for them." Jack puts a hand on his shoulder, and it eases the tenseness he feels tightening around his throat, the pain.
"Dr. Jackson, sir?" One of the trainee SG men stands uneasily at his door, holding a phone.
"Yes?" He asks, feeling empty.
"A call, sir, a Dr. Ringla. It's about Dr. Milo Young." The phone is offered, and Daniel knows he had to take it. He has to offer some kind of explanation.
"Dr. Ringla, its Daniel Jackson. Milo…" He falls short of it, of finishing the thought aloud, as if to say it will sentence Milo to what's already come to be. He closes his eyes and breathes, and into the silence, Dr. Ringla speaks.
"I have a message for you, from Milo; he wants to see you, Dr. Jackson." He doesn't know what to say, and then he does.
"He's alive?" If he's alive and using Dr. Ringla to call him up, of course he is. It's a stupid question, but it's full of hope and disbelief.
"He's waited a very long time, Dr. Jackson, perhaps too long – will you see him or not?" Dr. Ringla's voice demands respect and sense, she is strict and will have no stupid and obvious questions out of him to waste her time with.
"Yes, yes of course." Daniel shares a look with Jack, who shares in his surprise and delight.
"Then tell these soldiers to stand down and let us into Cheyenne Mountain." Daniel shakes his head in disbelief.
"You're outside..? Yes, yes, of course." Daniel hands the phone over to Jack, knowing he'll soon be up to date, even as he takes quick strides to the entrance of Stargate Command. He has no doubt that he'll soon see Milo again. Not the same, but old, and he has to wonder what Dr. Ringla really meant by Milo not having long.
How long did he have?
Daniel knows he'll soon to find out, whether he wants to or not.