Five times Daniel almost left the SGC

This story was written for a Pentangular Gate prompt.

~o~

He almost left before he started. He liked the puzzle of the capstone with its intricate signs and symbols; he hated the military presence with its intricate signs and symbols. He'd tried to turn a seeing eye to one and a blind eye to the other. Had he had anything in the way of resources, he might have walked out the big, thick metal door (if they'd let him). But he had nothing except an insatiable curiosity and an empty bank account. Instead, he walked up a metal ramp into a big, blue puddle, and changed his life forever.

He almost left when Sha're's baby did. Because it was the ultimate in insanity to believe that an alien with unknown powers could care for a flesh and blood little boy who should have belonged to him and didn't; a flesh and blood child who was Harcesis, the child of Apothis and Amunet. He had no trouble with insanity, of course; he'd been insane before. But this kind of insanity, staying where he no longer had a purpose, almost drove him away. Still, he had people who needed him in some small way (even they weren't his flesh and blood), and he needed them, too, in some small way.

He almost left when Jack became a general. Not because he couldn't survive without him. He could (and would and did), but because it felt like fragmenting yet another family. He didn't know if he had that kind of strength left in him. Only Jack had been able to help him navigate the military mysteries, one of the few languages Daniel didn't speak well. Only Jack had kept him safe on either side of the 'gate. But Sam was family too. And Teal'c. And the 'gate still had a ramp that lead to a big, blue puddle.

He almost left when they found Atlantis. And then he couldn't because Jack, of all people, wouldn't let him. But Jack left him—again, this time to go to Washington which was a long, long way away. Sometimes it seemed even farther than what waited for him on the other side of the 'gate. Eventually, the lure of Atlantis was too much for him to resist and for Jack to deny. Then Daniel couldn't leave because Vala (brazen, outrageous, bizarre Vala) tethered them together, and tethered them both to the SGC. It had taken him so long to get the powers that be (Jack, in other words) to finally let him go where his skills were most needed, and Vala took the opportunity away in a matter of seconds. Between her and Mitchell (outgoing, gung-ho, desperate Mitchell) he didn't stand a chance.

He almost left when his face went back to normal, after he got rid of the prior's scars. But there was the Ark to find (sloppy archeology aside) and the Ori to defeat and the world to save--again. They had—again. At a cost—again. He wasn't as flexible (mentally or physically) as he used to be, and it took longer for him to heal. That might have been a clue that he should leave. After more than ten years, he should have learned his lesson and finally let the big, thick metal door not hit his ass on the way out.

But he stayed because his ethics, which had learned to bend and stretch after ten years with the military, hadn't bent to the point of breaking. He stayed because Jack still bothered him and protected him (even from Washington). He stayed because Sam still challenged him, and Teal'c still treated him like a brother. He stayed because brazen, outrageous Vala, and outgoing, gung-ho Mitchell had begun to grow on him. He might eventually admit they were family too.

He stayed because the ramp still led to the big, blue puddle.

 

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