“And you make number five.”  Daniel held the picture aloft, squinted at the grainy image and snorted a soft “humph”, before tucking it the top of his shirt pocket.  He’d already collected four similar pictures over the last four days.  There was a definite trend to the placement of the pictures.  He’d found each of them at the base of his locker, one edge tucked under the metal support so it wouldn’t be kicked around, and every one of them covered in a protective sheet of plastic.

Closing the flap of his pocket, he quickly scanned the room to see if he was being watched, and finding no one, he locked his locker and set off back to his office. 

The significance of the pictures was a mystery to him, even though the images were slowly gaining familiarity.  Laying them out in the order he’d collected them, Daniel scanned each one carefully, looking for some hidden clue that would steer him towards an answer.  He knew he had them all, a number was written on the corner of each one – one of five, two of five, etc.  So what did it all mean?

Someone was definitely trying to tell him something, coax him in a certain direction.  He had the feeling it was his team.  In the weeks since he’d descended, they’d tried to help him recover the smaller details missing from his memory.  Moments that while insignificant on their own, built a better picture of whole events when collected together.  With a snort, he compared their efforts to trying to unravel the confusing plot of a very bad ‘B’ movie. 

Usually their attempts at helping him were pretty straight forward.  “Hey, Daniel, do you remember…” and “What about the time we…”  So why go to all this bother with discreetly placed pictures?  Or better still, what was the point with them all being in black and white?

Shrugging at his lack of understanding, Daniel laid his hands palm down on either side of the row of pictures and stared hard at them. 

The first picture was one taken of his team some time before he ascended.  He could tell because his side-burns were longer and his muscle tone was leaner.  The rest of his team showed similar differences from how they looked now.  Sam’s hair was slightly shorter, Jack’s hair seemed darker, which, being a black and white image, could only mean that it probably had more color back then.  Teal’c was the only one who didn’t seem to have changed much in the year or so he’d been gone.  The Jaffa stood proudly at the back of his team, the point of his staff weapon jutting up from behind Jack’s head, his gaze steely. 

Daniel tried to place when the shot might have been taken, but the background appeared to be one of the giant security doors on the lower level – probably the gateroom – so nothing prompted his memory there. 

The second picture was of Sam.  Back towards the camera, she was looking over her shoulder, her brows raised high and mouth slightly open like she’d been caught in the act of doing something mischievous. She was mostly in uniform, the only exception being a pointed hat on her head with a white ball of fluff on the top.  Around the brim was a thick stripe of the same fluff and in the one hand she held near her face was some sort of leafy shrub. 

Like pictures one and two, number three left Daniel feeling none-the-wiser for its meaning, but slightly bemused over its content.  One of the first things he’d been re-introduced to when they’d returned him to duty with SG-1 was the need for secrecy as far as the Stargate program was concerned.  The people of Earth were, for the most part, oblivious of the Stargate and everything that had been discovered beyond it, and the governments of the planet that were aware of its existence went to great pains to keep it that way.  So, he’d signed a non-disclosure agreement and solemnly promised to uphold the manifest of the SGC and its alien allies… which left him wondering why anyone would be allowed to take pictures in the gateroom and keep them as keepsakes.  He’d ask Sam later.

Picture number three showed a powered-down gate with a massive spruce tree sitting in front of it.  Perched on top of the gate was a smiling Sargent Siler with a wrench in one hand and a giant angel in the other, and wearing a hat similar to Sam’s from picture number two.

Brows heaped in confusion, Daniel bit down on his lip and cast a doubting eye over the first three pictures.  So far, the hat was the only common theme, though he was almost sure that if the pictures had been in color, he could probably get a better impression of what was going on. 

If the first three pictures confused him, then number four left him gasping for air.  The first time he’d looked at the picture after pulling it out from under the edge of his locker, his breath had caught in his throat, and swallowing hard, he’d had to force himself to give it a second look. 

He’d seen images of himself and the rest of his team in the many mission folders he had been reading through since his return, but nothing so far had had this sort of affect.  The picture was of him, but it was the total lack of memory that went along with it that was the most disconcerting.  The other images had at least stirred up vague images and snatches of events, enough to settle his slowly rising anxiety levels and frustration, but this picture did nothing for him.  He was relaxed in a chair, feet up on a small table and a glass of something in his hand, but it was the smile that got him… and the hand cupping the side of his neck. 

His posture was relaxed, his smile genuine, and the hand – even though the owner was not in the picture – suggested a deep friendship, affection.  None of which Daniel remembered. 

He pushed the picture aside, almost flicking it like a bug that annoyed him. 

A date and time scrawled on a card that was bordered by some fancy scroll Daniel didn’t recognize.  This was picture number five.  Looking at his wristwatch, he double checked the date and time with the clock on the far side of his office.

“Today?” he whispered to no one in particular.  The time was only an hour from now and yet he was no closer to understanding what was expected of him. 

Friendship, surprise, a giant tree, a face he no longer recognized, and a date and time - they all meant something…

“You ready?”

Daniel jumped, startled.  Jack was standing slouched against the doorway to his lab with his hands in pocket, one brow arched high. 

“Jack!  I didn’t hear you,” Daniel said slowly, confusion etched on his face.  “Could have sworn I closed the door when I came in.”

“You did.” Jack pushed off the wall and walked across to the bench.  “Something you never used to do.”

“Close my door?”

“Yep.  You always had it open.”


“Things change,” Jack finished for him.  “So, you worked it out, yet?”  He nodded towards the pictures.

“Not really.  They don’t quite…”  Daniel stopped and slighted his eyes at Jack.  “You put these out for me to find, didn’t you?  This is your doing?”

“Yes… and no.  It was a team effort really.  You know, if you could just keep yourself to some sort of daily routine, we wouldn’t have had so much trouble leaving these things out for you,” he said, picking up the first picture and tossing it back down again.  “There were a few times we nearly lost these to curious marines and cleaning crews.”

“They might have made more sense out them than me,” Daniel mumbled in return. 

“What was that?”

“Nothing, I-” He rested his chin in his hand and waved at the pictures.  “I’m guessing this is supposed to remind me of something?”

“Well, yes.”


“And it didn’t?”

“Do you always answer a question with a question?”

“You know,” Jack said, waggling a finger in the air, “we do this all the time.”

“Do what?”

“This.” He waved a hand between them.  “I ask something, you respond with a question.  That type of thing.”

“Except I asked the question first.”

“Not the point.”

“I think it is when you use an example that puts you in the right.”

“Come on, Daniel,” Jack whined.  “This is getting us nowhere and Carter and Teal’c are waiting for us.”

“For what?”


“What are they waiting for?  It has something to do with these pictures?” Daniel scooped them up and held them out to Jack.  “This is some sort of event?  A festivity?”

Jack swiped the pictures from his hands and shuffled through them, selection one.  “This didn’t do it for you?”  He held out the picture of the tree standing boldly in front of the Stargate. 

“Other than wondering how you managed to get away with taking stills inside a top secret establishment, no, not really.”

“Not really?”

“More like, not at all.”

“I thought you said you memories were coming back?”

“They are… sort of.”

“Well, I can see we’re going to have to work harder on this whole remembering thing because this team really needs you whole again.”

“I can do my job,” Daniel ground out.

“Wasn’t implying you couldn’t, but there is more to being whole than just knowing how to do your job.  Rejoining the human race kinda requires you know things like, oh… I don’t know – Christmas perhaps? Getting together with friends, turkey, presents, and Carter’s boozed up Christmas pudding… that kinda thing.”

“Right… Christmas, you say.  Sounds like fun.”

“It is.  And don’t forget right after Christmas we have our New Year’s celebration, followed closely by Valentine’s Day, team movie night, jello wrestling, and fishing at my cabin.”

“Jello wrestling?”

“Don’t tell Carter.”

“I fish?”

“Of course you fish; I can’t believe you don’t remember.”

“I can’t believe I liked to fish.  Seems I’ve got a lot more remembering to do then I realized.”

“Yep.”  Jack clapped him firmly on the back.  “Don’t worry; we’ll make sure you don’t miss anything.  Now, about that fifty bucks you owe me.”


The End



link image
link image
link img
link img
link img
link image
isis link
  lk lk lk lk lnk  
  Hawk50 Nancy Bailey Carrie AnnO  
link img
link img
link image