Daniel paced back and forth across the hallway outside of the infiramary. Vala sat in a chair near the door, eyes watching him restlessly. Teal'c and Bra'tac were standing against the same wall. Sam and Jack were sitting against the other wall, Jacob between them. It wasn't until they had seen the agony on the boy's face that they realized just how close he and Kara were.
Mitchell came walking up, looking concerned. "Anything?"
Daniel shook his head. "Dr. Lam hasn't come out yet."
"Well, the techs are going over the data from the planet. I don't think I've ever seen them so excited," he tried at a humorous tone, but it died out. Taking a deep breath Cam slid down to a sitting position against the wall to wait with them, Daniel resumed his pacing.
"She knew this was going to happen," Jacob mumbled, barely audible with his head in his hands.
Sam rubbed his back comfortingly. "Why do you say that?"
Jacob sat up. "She knew something was going to go wrong, maybe not this precisely, but she knew." He gave a humorless laugh. "She knew and I didn't do anything." He leaned forward into his hands again and fell silent.
After what seemed like hours, but was really only minutes, Dr. Lam stepped out into the hallway, looking grim. Vala stood up and went to Daniel, grasping his arm tightly.
"I'm afraid there's nothing I can do. She damaged far too badly internally. I've made her comfortable, that's all I can do."
Vala turned her face into Daniel's chest and cried. He stroked her hair while looking at the doctor. "You're absolutely sure? Don't we have a hand device lying around somewhere that we can use?"
"Even if there was Dr. Jackson…I don't think she would let us."
"She seems to have accepted her fate. All she wants right now is to see you."
"All of us?"
She shook her head. "Just you Dr. Jackson."
Daniel stepped back from Vala, holding her at the shoulders and looking into her eyes.
"Go on," she said, wiping her eyes.
He leaned forward and kissed her chastely, an act of comfort.
Inside the infirmary it was cold. He knew it was just his imagination, the knowledge of all the people he had known who had died here, including himself. He took a few deep, steadying breaths before walking the length of the room, to the bed at the very end of the row. Kara sat in the bed looking perfect. She seemed so fine that he was sure Dr. Lam had made a mistake, but getting closer he could see the pain in her eyes, and knew that it was the truth.
He sank down in a chair next to the bed, avoiding eye contact.
"Is this how we're gonna spend my last moments?" she asked after several minutes of silence. "You sitting there, refusing to accept this?"
He looked at her, a slight quirk of a smile playing across her face.
"It's not funny."
"Oh, I'm not laughing about the dying part, I'm laughing that it's taken me dying to bring us together."
She was making him feel uncomfortable, because she was right. Things had been awkward between them, and he'd only realized just how much she'd come to mean to him since seeing her bleeding in his arms.
"Look, I asked you to come in here because I knew what you wanted to ask me."
He looked at her confused.
"Don't play dumb, you're not very good at it. Ask what you wanted to ask."
He sighed. "Fine, why did you do it?"
She smiled at him. "Isn't it obvious?"
He shook his head.
"I lost my father before I even knew him, I didn't want her to lose hers," she nodded to the infirmary door behind which was Vala. "Not when I could help it. Besides, having me around would just have made things weird. It's better this way."
"Don't say that."
"Look, I don't have much time left and I want to see the others before I go, so here." She reached over to the bedside table and picked up a battered old book. "I know you kind of already have one," she said, handing it to him, "but this one is a little different."
He opened it to see his own handwriting. "My journal?" he asked, astonished.
"Jack managed to rescue it for me." She flipped the pages to about halfway through. "Here's where it gets different."
Daniel looked at the handwriting that was both familiar and not. It resembled his, but was enough different to let him know it was hers. "Thank you," he said, looking back at her. She had tears in her eyes.
"You're welcome. Now, I need to say some goodbyes." She took a deep breath.
"Do you want them all at once?"
She thought for a second. "Could I maybe speak to Jacob first?"
In a few moments the boy was sitting on the bed next to Kara, Daniel, not being asked to leave the room, was standing near the door.
"Hi," Kara said timidly.
Jacob glared at her. "You knew this was going to happen, didn't you?"
Kara shrugged, then winced. "Maybe."
"Damn it Kara."
"Look, I didn't ask you in here to argue, I wanted to apologize. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you, sorry that I'm leaving, but before I do I want you to know…"
"I know," he said in a softer voice.
"No, I have to say it." She took a deep breath. "I love you. And nothing's ever going to change that."
He smiled at her.
Daniel was taken aback. He suspected, based on the boy's reaction, that theirs was a much deeper friendship, but he had never imagined.
Jacob brushed her hair away from her face and kissed her, a reflection of the kiss Daniel had given Vala moments before.
"You can let them in," Kara said when Jacob had moved off the bed to the chair, but still holding her hand.
The others all crowded around the bed; Daniel was holding onto Vala and Jack reached out subtly and took Sam's hand in his, giving it a light squeeze.
"Guys," Kara said. "Don't look so somber, please. I'll be around."
They looked at her in confusion.
"What do you mean?" Daniel asked.
"You don't think Oma would have me do this without some kind of insurance policy, do you?" She closed her eyes and smiled, a faint glow seeming to emanate from her. "Thanks guys," she said quietly, "for everything."
Jacob let go of her hand and stepped back, enveloped by his parents' arms. The light around Kara grew, until it was so bright they could barely look directly at it. And then it rose into the air and disappeared, leaving and empty bed.
"Sir!" Sam ran down the hallway to catch up with Jack. She was still mulling over the events of the day; the events of the week. All of it seemed a blur, but she knew what she had to do.
"How can I help you Carter?" Jack asked.
Sam looked up and down the hallway. Though there was no one else there she still felt awkwardly exposed. She took Jack by the arm and pulled him down one of the side hallways.
"Carter?" he asked.
"You said we'd talk about it later. This is later Jack."
He sighed, he'd been afraid of this. "Sam, maybe now isn't the best time…"
"Sure it is." She thought for a second. "That boy needs us Jack; he needs us to be there for him. I saw the way you looked at him; it was the same way I looked at him. I'm not scared anymore." She knew she wasn't being entirely coherent, but she didn't care. "I've been running from you for almost 12 years. Well I don't wanna run anymore. I want it all. I want you, I want that boy, I want your stupid cabin with the lake with no fish, I want to live my life."
"Sam," he tried to say, but she wouldn't let him get a word in.
Finally, more to shut her up than anything, he grabbed her and kissed her. Kissed her the way he'd always wanted to. She was stunned for a moment, but then she was kissing him back. It looked like she would finally get everything she'd ever wanted.
"I missed you dad," Cameron said. "I've had a strange week."
"Wanna tell me about it son?" his father said.
Cam sighed. "I can't, you know that. But I just wanted to say thanks."
"Just for everything you ever did for me. I've witnessed a lot about family lately, and I just wanted to make sure you knew how much I appreciate you."
His father smiled at him. "I know son, I know."
Teal'c and Bra'tac stood in the gate room as the stargate activated. Teal'c gave his son an encouraging look. It was not as strange for him as for his teammates, but the sudden arrival of a new son had had its effect.
They turned to the gate at the sounds of boots on the metal. The gate shut down behind the two men, who stepped forward.
"Tek'ma'tae Master Bra'tac," Teal'c said to the older Jaffa, clasping his arm in welcome.
"Teal'c, it is a pleasure as always."
Teal'c turned to the other Jaffa. "Rya'c," he said fondly, taking his older son in a hug.
"Father," Rya'c said. "It has been many months."
"That is has. How is Kar'yn?"
"She is very well. We await our first child."
"So Bra'tac told me," said Teal'c proudly.
"Is this him?" asked Bra'tac, stepping forward to where the younger Bra'tac stood.
"Yes," said Teal'c. "This is Bra'tac. I believe his friends call him Bray, which might be less confusing."
"Indeed," said Bra'tac.
Rya'c stepped forward somewhat warily. "I am Rya'c, brother." He clasped Bray's hand in the usual Jaffa greeting.
"I have often heard of you," said Bray, returning the greeting.
Teal'c smiled, pleased to see his sons getting along so well.
Bra'tac turned to Teal'c. "I am pleased that your son will be joining us, but can we not entice you to join him."
Teal'c shook his head sadly. "I feel I am still needed here among the Tau'ri."
Bra'tac nodded. "Well old friend, there is much needs attending to. I regret that our visit has to be so short, but Rya'c and I must return to Chulak."
Teal'c nodded. He took Bray off to the side as the date was being dialed. "I am sorry for the pain that you must be feeling at the loss of Kara Jackson. If you wish, you could delay in joining your brother."
Bray shook his head. "I will be fine."
Teal'c smiled. "I have become quite fond of you," he said in a manner unusual for him. "I am glad you are a part of my life." He pulled the boy into a hug. Letting him go they walked back to where Bra'tac and Rya'c stood waiting.
"Tek'ma'tae Teal'c," said Bra'tac. "Until we meet again."
Teal'c watched as his sons walked away from him and smiled. He knew they were going to turn out fine.
Daniel sat in his lab, flipping absentmindedly through the pages of the journal. He didn't know how to feel. For one there had been the unusualness of witnessing someone else experience what he had experienced when he ascended, and then there was the obvious emotional stress of watching someone he cared about die.
There was a knock on the door and he looked up to see Vala standing there, looking radiant. "How are you doing?" she asked him.
He sighed, looking back down at the journal. That was an interesting question. He was about to open his mouth to respond, when his eye caught on a passage.
Today's the anniversary. Mum's really down, like she is every year. It's hard to see her like this, especially this year, when I know that I'll be seeing him, and she won't. I know that she wants nothing more than to be celebrating her life with him every year, not her life without him. And it's hard at times, as I see her wondering. Wondering if he really loved her the same way she loved him. She's afraid that if none of this had happened, they wouldn't have stayed together, that he would have gotten bored with her. I know he loved her, I've read his journal. But she doesn't know, and how do I make her believe me…
"Marry me," said Daniel suddenly, looking up from the journal.
"What?" asked Vala, taken aback.
"Marry me. I love you, and after everything that's happened this week I want to make sure you know that…in case anything happens. So, what do you say?"
Vala smiled. "Of course."
9 months later
The gang was all gathered in the hall; Jack and Sam sitting next to each other with their fingers entwined, the rock on Sam's finger glinting in the fluorescent light. Jacob and Cam sat on the floor playing cards. They had become pretty close over the months, the older man treating the younger like a little brother. Generals Landry and Hammond sat across on the other side of the hall, chatting nonchalantly. Teal'c stood by, stoic as usual.
The door to the infirmary opened and Daniel stepped out, clad in scrubs and looking thrilled. "She's beautiful," he said proudly.
The others had gotten to their feet when Daniel opened the door.
"Can we see her?" Sam asked.
Daniel led them back into the infirmary, to the bed where his wife was holding their child. He sat down on the bed next to Vala, brushing his fingers across the little girl's sleeping head.
"She's beautiful," said Sam.
They stayed in the infirmary for awhile, keeping the happy family company, but after awhile it became clear that they needed their rest.
"We'll go now," said Sam. "You should sleep."
"Besides," added Jack. "We've got to go get the kid ready for school." He tousled Jacob's hair lovingly.
"Oh that's right," said Daniel. "Starting college in the fall, how exciting."
"Good thing he takes after his mom, or I never would have been able to afford it."
Daniel laughed. "Well, have fun. I'm sure we'll see you before long."
The others expressed their congratulations once more before leaving the infirmary.
"I hope I'm not interrupting," said a voice after they had left.
Vala and Daniel looked up to see Kara standing in the corner, an eerie light emanating from her.
"Kara," Daniel said, surprised.
"I told you you'd see me again," she said with a smile. "I see you have a healthy little girl." She said, taking a step forward.
He nodded. "I hope you don't mind, but we didn't name her Kara, not her first name anyway."
Kara shook her head. "I didn't expect you to name her after me."
"Well, we did name her after you, sort of," said Vala.
"Her name is Peyton Kara Jackson," said Daniel. "Peyton means warrior, which her big sister definitely is."
Kara smiled. "Well, I'm happy to see that you are all fine."
"Can't you stay?" Daniel asked, sensing the closure in her voice.
"Sadly no. And I don't know when I'll see you again."
Kara laughed. "I um, wasn't very good at playing by the rules. Oma says I'm too much like my father for my own good." She glanced at Daniel, who was smiling. "I chose to take that as a compliment."
"So what's going to happen?"
"I don't know," she said in a tone of voice that said she was lying. "But I'll be around, just maybe not right away."
She stepped back as if to go.
"Wait," said Daniel. "Thank you."
Daniel glanced down at his daughter, and when he looked back up she was gone. He sighed, turning to Vala and kissing her on the forehead. Vala yawned and Daniel took Peyton out of her arms, letting her settle back into her bed. He sat down in the chair next to the bed, smiling down at the gorgeous little bundle he was holding.
"Thank you," he whispered again.
And he could have sworn he heard, as if a whisper on the wind, "You're welcome."