I'm toying with this story at the moment – not really sure where it's going and I'm hoping that if I start posting it, bit by bit – I'll get some inspiration from you guys xx
Let me know what you think...
Standing In The Shadow of Everyone Else Who Came Before.
Daniel sighed heavily as he pulled into the parking lot at Oregon State Hospital.
It was time to face up to the fact that Nick was gone and probably not coming back.
Knowing that he was going to collect several large boxes, he chose the parking spot nearest to the exit, turned his engine off and rested his head back against the headrest. He needed to gather the strength to return to the old battleground. It had been years since he'd visited this hospital and it bought back memories of bitter rows and resentment, rows which had ultimately led to Nick kicking him out of his life.
Time and circumstances had now changed his view on his grandfather's obsession with the Ballard skull though. He now knew that Nick had been right all along and he felt more than a pang of guilt for not believing him in the first place. Things could have been so different between them if he had.
Daniel had often wondered what sort of a life he would have had if Nick had adopted him after his parents death. His grandfather hadn't really paid him much attention as a child, infact he'd been overly stern and critical about everything he'd done. Nicholas Ballard was old school, he believed that children should be seen and never heard and had almost laughed at the prospect of giving the grieving child a steady home and influence in his life. Daniel would have just got in the way of Nick's studies which the older man deemed as far more important than family.
Life without a family had been hard for Daniel. No one had really wanted a grieving child who'd learnt to cope by withdrawing. Many foster parents had tried to coax him out of the shell he'd crawled into but Daniel had not let anyone in, preferring to throw all his time and efforts into his studies. It was easier that way. Infact he'd never really fitted in anywhere until he'd join SG1. Each foster family had other children and he got lost. Each school deemed him as brilliant but social inept and college had viewed him over achiever who bordered on almost eccentric in his ideas and beliefs.
Catherine Langford had saved him really and he'd viewed her as more of a grandparent than Nick had ever been to him.
But, Nick was his grandfather and as Daniel was his next of kin, it was his duty to now clear out his belongings and complete the story told to the hospital by Stargate Command.
Nicholas Ballard had passed away peacefully in his sleep while visiting his grandson.
If only they knew the truth.
"We just need your signature on these, Doctor Jackson."
Daniel smiled at the receptionist and took the papers she handed to him.
"His room is the third on the left down the corridor."
"I remember, thank you," Daniel looked up from flicking through the papers and smiled again. "Are these all his official documents?" He asked as he returned his attention to the paper work.
"They are the ones that were transferred with him when he first came here although I do believe he has other correspondence in the bottom draw in his closet. He was a very private man."
"Yes he was," Daniel agreed and then quickly signed the acceptance sheet and handed it back to the receptionist. "Do you have the key?"
"Yes, of course." The receptionist quickly returned the paper into Nick's file and grabbed the key off the board. "I'm so sorry to hear of his passing," she stated as she then led the way down the corridor. "He was a good man who will be sorely missed."
"Thank you. It was very peaceful." The lie tripped off Daniel's tongue very easily almost too easily. He supposed that lying came easy since he was used to lying about every aspect of his life now.
"It was nice that he was with family." The receptionist paused outside Nick's door. "Would you like someone to help you, Doctor Jackson?" She asked caringly.
"No, I'll be fine," Daniel, flashed her a reassuring smile. "I'd rather do it alone."
The receptionist returned his smile. "I understand," she sympathised as she unlocked the door. "Just call if you need anything." She opened the door and then stood to one side to let Daniel pass.
"I will, thank you," Daniel replied.
"I'll leave you to it then," the receptionist smiled again before leaving Daniel to his task.
The room was stark and clinical. Nick was never one for family photos or 'nik nak' clutter. Everything had a place, which was funny considering his outward appearance of a bumbling professor.
There was a storage room full of his life's work though, something that Daniel had sorted out when his grandfather was first taken into care. That storage room was a job for another day; today Daniel needed to concentrate on packing away Nick's personal life, to finally erase his grandfather from his time on Earth.
Where to start?
He grabbed one of the boxes the nursing staff had kindly sorted out for him and made his way over to the walk in closet. Nick's clothes would be donated to charity, mind you most of them were threadbare and in need of repair or actually throwing out or burning. Plaid jackets, most of them with patches on the elbow and plain trouser's were the favoured garments in his grandfather's wardrobe and Daniel carefully removed each item, folded them and placed them in the box. Shoe's and ties followed along with thin neutral toned sweaters. Once the box was full, Daniel sealed it with tape and placed it in the corner. He then moved on to the draws and meticulously packed away the contents, not really concentrating on what he was doing until he came across a large book tucked away in the corner of the bottom draw. He carefully removed it and made his way to the bed where he sat down and started to thumb through it.
Nick's childlike handwriting was almost impossible to decipher but Daniel soon became aware that the book was a diary of some sort. Although it wasn't something he'd written in daily, it was obviously something where Nick had documented important times of his life in.
Daniel scooted back so he rested his back against the bed head, flicked to the last page and started to read.
Today I lost my beloved Elizabeth. Her long fight came to an end and she is finally at peace. Claire and I have to move on in life without her. I'm going to take her to Egypt to escape the memories, I know it is no place for a thirteen year old but I will home tutor her. My work has to go on.
Daniel had no idea that his mother had been so young when her own mother died, it explained alot. Nick had already been saddled with one child in his life, no wonder he didn't want adopt Daniel. He'd forgotten how many times he'd asked about his family, Nick had always had the habit of changing the subject and Daniel hadn't delved any further. This book now gave him the opportunity to find out more about his grandfather and mother's lives and he eagerly continued to read on.
Claire is settling in well and shows a great passion for history, Egyptian history in particular. I am learning more and more about my child, she has a great thirst for knowledge and is not afraid to get her hands dirty.
A young girl with pigtails and a toothy grin smiled back at him from a photo and Daniel traced the outline of her face. His mother had been so beautiful as a child. He'd seen pictures of her as a grown woman but this was the first as a child and it took his breath away. Her expression was of such amazement and intrigue as she worked alongside the archaeologists on a dig in Egypt – her eyes shone with wonderment and Daniel found it difficult to tear his gaze away. He was quite obviously his mother's son in so many ways. After turning several pages where Nick documented his studies over the span of several years, Daniel came across another photo of his mother. This time she was arm in arm with a very familiar young man.
Today Claire bought home a suitor, a very suitable young man who is studying to be an archaeologist also. Although he seems painfully shy, I do approve. Not that I would tell them, respect has to be earned and he has yet to do anything to earn it but Claire seems happy. They are returning to university and their studies in the morning. I shall miss them.
His father was just as Daniel remembered him, tall, dignified and with an air of authority about him. Even at a young age, his parents looked perfect together.
I had word today that Claire and Melburn have wed. Apparently, I was invited to the wedding; I must have mislaid the invite – not that I would have attended as I am at a very important place in my skull research. I wish them well, none the less.
His grandfather's words and phrases became more clipped and vague as Daniel read on. More and more of the book was taken up with stories of Nick's work; his family seemed to be an afterthought.
Claire cabled me today. I am a grandfather (I despise that title with my very being.) Daniel was born a week ago. They have invited me to New York to see him but I am so close to my discovery.
Daniel sighed and rubbed his eyes, the tug of a headache pulling from nowhere. He was in two minds whether to read on or not. All the good work done to repair his and Nick's relationship over the past few weeks was fading away as he was reminded repeatedly what a selfish person his grandfather was. The fact that he hadn't attended his only child's wedding or the birth of his grandson was unforgivable in Daniel's eyes. It just confirmed that Nick was so totally submerged in his obsession that nothing else mattered.
Claire, Melburn and Daniel joined me on my dig this week. Their knowledge and hard work was appreciated but it was no place for a child. I asked them not to bring him again.
The words on the page brought a lump to Daniel's throat. There was a photograph attached to the entry. A small golden haired boy, struggling in his father's arm as they posed in front of a pyramid. Daniel flicked through the next few pages. It was the only photograph his grandfather had of him and that spoke volumes. He was obviously not wanted by Nick and clearly got in the way.
I have returned to New York. My darling Claire was killed in a tragic accident along with her husband. Their funeral was today. I had not seen Daniel for years and he has has grown so much. I was asked to take the boy in as there were no other family on either sides but I declined. There is much I need to do and there is no place for a child in my research. I took him out for tea and explained everything. There will be others who will care for him.
It was as simple as that. There was no forethought, no question. Nick didn't want him – that was that. One last supper and then he disappeared from his life.
There was no remorse, he just walked away and left him with strangers.
Right at this moment, Nick was the stranger to him.
How could he have left him like that?
Daniel glanced through the rest of the book, looking for mentions of him, of his parents but there was none just pages and pages of research until the entry about Belize and Nick's run in with the crystal skull. After that, the rest of the book contained ramblings of a man who seemed to be losing his mind as he had lost his family