The Scarf

by Winterstar

Category: Angst, Drama

Rating: G

 

 

            It smells of her still. When he lifts it to his face he detects that spice that hung about her, a fragrance both inviting and forbidding. He inhales it, drinking it in to love it and hate it. She had been his albatross and his charm. She reminded him that he needed to live and that made her a blessing and a curse.

            Vala.

            All that is left of her is the scarf he holds and caresses. He despises it because he wants to be free of her, released from her spell but he fails. She’ll be with him always. From the moment she zatted him on the Promethesus to the last time he heard her voice from the echoing cockpit of the cargo ship, Vala held a part of him. His heart, his soul? He could not define how Vala possessed him, but she did. Somehow, someway. Daniel drops his head in a bow, thinking he should pray for her but chuckling to himself. Who was the god of con-artists and thieves? But the levity is fleeting and he finds himself collapsing onto his folded arms on the desk.

            Everyone leaves. They all leave.  Even SG1 had broken and his adopted strange little family had fallen apart.  Though Mitchell attempts to piece it together again, the fit isn’t quite right. Like a suit jacket that is too small, it binds across the shoulders and is too short in the length at the arms. SG1 doesn’t fit him anymore.

            Vala does.

            “Did,” he whispers and wonders at his conclusions. Why would he identify himself with a scoundrel of a woman instead of the few remaining fragments of SG1? He tries to reason it out, tries to see that it is because Sam is really not back for good. She’s on loan from area 51, and she has other priorities, other people depending on her and calling her family now. He tells himself it is because Teal’c is part of the Jaffa nation now, becoming a founding father of a whole new nation. He nods when he thinks of Jack, his first friend in the Air Force’s Stargate project. Jack is gone, moved on with others calling him friend now. He reminds himself of these facts and knows that it does not truly mean anything.

            SG1 is pieced together now and he has to fit since his trip to Atlantis is a dream now. He has to see this thing through, has to make sure the Ori do not overwhelm his galaxy, his Earth, his home. But he wonders what home is now?

            Vala is home.

            He frowns. When did she become so entrenched in his thoughts? He is lonely, he admits this fact. But is he so lonely that he settles on someone like Vala? And why must he categorize her as if she is a sickness? An ailment that he must shed?

            He grips the scarf, touching the weave as if it is one of the artifacts laying about his office. In a way it is an artifact. The last vestige he has to symbolize Vala, that she was once part of his life. His shoulders slump, he can’t hold them up anymore, he can’t hold it in. The grief, the frustration, the guilt.

            She is gone because of him, she took the risk because of him. He wouldn’t listen, waved off her chatter because of the constant din she had become to him. She and she alone saw beyond what was happening, made that simple leap in logic and took the risk to save our galaxy from the Ori. She went alone. Alone. It was his fault she went alone, his fault she is lost.

            Vala lost.

            A shiver runs up his spine. She is gone and there is a hollowness inside of him. He knew it was there before she came through the ‘gate. Her absence allows it to grow, to eat him from within, the void becoming something of his companion. It replaces her and it haunts him.  He squeezes his eyes closed and tries to ignore the hole, the thud of his heart.

            “Daniel Jackson, are you unwell?”

            He lifts his head from his desk and squints at Teal’c. Is he unwell? He smiles a bit and he hopes his friend doesn’t realize the expression does not reach his eyes. Slipping on his glasses he says, “I’m fine.”

            Teal’c steps into the office and he knows the warrior does not believe him. He sees a softness shift over the muscular form. “Is there something I might do to assist you?”

            Daniel doesn’t try to smile this time. Teal’c understands him too well, knows all his past pains and his weaknesses. He wonders if he has any strengths. The SGC, the government values him, he doesn’t doubt that but he does know his life has bits and pieces, broken and shattered. His soul is like the fragments of SG1 stitched together but frayed and strained.

            “I don’t think so, Teal’c.” He nods. “Thanks.”

            “Perhaps you need mediation Daniel Jackson.” Teal’c stands with his hands behind his back, relaxed, composed.

            “Perhaps.”

            “You grieve for Vala.”

            “Perhaps.”

            Teal’c doesn’t move any closer but somehow Daniel feels him hover, embracing and supporting. “Vala was the bane of your existence.”

            “You can say that again.” He pinches the bridge of his nose, doesn’t look as he knows that Teal’c will have briefly taken him seriously and considered repeating his statement.

            “But still you wish her here.”

            He gently sets the scarf on his desk, examining the knitting and the fibers. It’s a cheap thing, and he has no idea where she found it. Surely it was not something she brought with her, it is not her style. It is not her, but it is her in everyway. He recalls her hair, her smile. He recalls how the smell of her hung about him when she stood too close to him in his personal space, when she touched him. He thinks of that touch, knows when she came to close to him he felt threatened, thrilled.

            “Yes,” he states. It feels good to just say it, to admit that he misses her. Is he some kind of masochist? She was everything but easy to deal with. She was frustrating, exasperating, challenging. He pursues his lips and says again, “Yes.”

            “It is right that you should Daniel Jackson.”

            This puzzles him and he looks away from the weave of the scarf. “How do you figure, Teal’c?”

            “Vala, though at times the very definition of frustrating, she was always willing to -as some of the Tau’ri sometimes say – to step up to the plate. And in this way she reminds me of O’Neill. Her loss then is a great one.” He bows his head and when he lifts his eyes to Daniel he says, “And this is worthy of grief.”

            He cannot speak as the grief bubbles up into his throat and constricts it. He has lost so much in his life. This is just one more loss, and yet it is the most recent and hurts the most powerfully.

            “Perhaps your grief is enhanced by the recent upheaval in your life, in all of our lives.”

            And for the first time, Daniel realizes that Teal’c is saying that he is grieving the loss of Vala as well. He has come to Daniel for companionship, to mourn together.

            “Do you believe as Colonel Carter has theorized that Vala yet survives?”

            “Knowing Vala, I would say yes.” Daniel smiles and this time feels the flush of the emotion heat his face and warm his eyes.

            “Heidi-ho campers,” Mitchell enters the office, strolling as he does. His whole body emanates naiveté and excitement. “How about we all go down for some chow. I’m starving and my grandma always said a growing boy needs his grits.”

            “I do not believe you are a growing boy, Colonel Mitchell.”

            “Never contradict a Southern grandma if you know what is good for you,” Mitchell says and claps Teal’c on the shoulder. “Sam’s waiting, Jackson, you ready for some eats?”

            He opens a drawer, folds Vala’s scarf and gently places it in the drawer. He closes the drawer as if he is shutting away his grief and his guilt. He glances up at Mitchell and smiles. “Sure, I’m hungry.”

            He isn’t Jack and this isn’t SG1 – not the original SG1. It doesn’t quite fit, but like any suit he can alter it, change it so it does fit. This SG1 might not feel like family or home yet but it has too. He doesn’t have any other place to hold onto yet. He has only this.

            As he stands to follow the new incarnation of SG1 to the cafeteria, he briefly touches the drawer that holds the scarf and whispers, “My Vala.”

END

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