Part Ten & Epilogue
“Jack,” whined Daniel. “Can’t we do this later?”
“Nope. You are going to get your check up by Dr. Brightman while we talk.”
“Dawn?” Daniel asked. “Do you still have the drawing?”
“Oh, yes,” Dawn moved from where she had been leaning on a wall, watching the whole scene with amusement on her face. Pulling out the picture, she handed it to Jack and then stepped back.
“The picture in your hands was drawn by… ouch!” Daniel looked over at Dr. Brightman, who kept an oblivious expression on her face when it came to his pain. Wincing a few more times as she felt his ribs and then started on inspecting all of his cuts, making sure they weren’t infected, Daniel continued, “…drawn by Tara when she was six. According to her, uh, friend, Willow, Tara said that she had drawn it after a dream.”
“Danny, do you hear what you’re saying?” asked Jack, pointing to one of his ears. “What you’re saying is mad.”
“Tara was a powerful witch, General O’Neill,” Dawn jumped in. “If aliens exist, why is it so hard to believe that she had some sort of prophetic dream?”
Jack turned his gaze back to Daniel, who continued, “Look at the stars, Jack. They’re symbols.”
“Okay, so maybe that is just a little uncanny, but there is only six.”
“We don’t need the seventh, because we know the point of origin.”
“And what about the symbol for the point of origin when it comes to this planet?”
“Look under the hill.”
Jack went to look at it as SG-1 ran in. Dr. Warner, who had come in early to start his shift followed them in, pointing to a bed. “Lay her down.” Almost as soon as Teal’c had laid down a slip of a girl, Dr. Warner was already checking her.
“What happened?” asked Jack, eyeing the girl in the bed. She had to be about five years old. Her skin was pale with several bites marring it. The clothes that she wore appeared to be rags, and her hair was a deep black full of mattes.
“The cave we went to search wasn’t for survivors, but another nest,” commented Sam.
Faith expanded, “I think that the ‘inhabitants’ of the planet have split into different territories. We were followed until we were about an hour from the caves.” Planting on a fake smile, she added, “But at least this trip we discovered one very important fact.”
“And what is that?” asked Jack.
“They still have a human food source, which means survivors.”
Stepping away from Daniel, Dr. Brightman ordered, “You can do your briefing later. If SG-1 would please find a bed.”
“Hold on Brightman.” Jack held out a hand for everyone to halt. “SG-1 has one more quick mission to go on.”
“Jack?” asked Sam.
Handing her the paper, he remarked, “Daniel thinks that the coordinates on this piece of paper may be the planet Tara is on. I want you to give the place a quick search.”
“Do you have any more information than this, Daniel?” Sam asked, looking very skeptical as she asked.
Before he even asked Dawn had Tara’s book in his hand. Opening to the watercolor that looked just like her happy place, he showed it to her, pointing to the structure in the picture. “Look for this.”
Placing her hand on Daniel’s shoulder, Sam nodded, “Sure thing. Don’t fret, Daniel. We’ll be back as soon as possible.”
“Okay, anyone have an idea of where to start?” asked Sam right after they stepped through the Stargate.
“The structure appeared to be on a hill in the picture,” stated Teal’c.
Turning in circles, Faith looked at the land all around her, “So we go to higher ground?” Then, pausing in her study of the land around her, Faith added, “or we could take that road and see where it end. If there’s a town nearby, maybe they would know about anybody new in the area.”
“Road it is,” Carter stated.
The three followed the road for quite sometime until finally they happened on a small village. It appeared as if it was a town out of medieval times in its stonework and building. From what they could see of the people, they preferred bright colored clothes, and dressed almost in the style of gypsies. Sam noted that one of the villagers had already noticed them, and as they came closer, she started towards them, her posture showing that she was very sure of herself. The woman walked straight up to them and stopped. Bowing slightly, she raised her head and asked, “I am Altia. Are you visitors from afar?”
“We come from the Stargate,” answered Sam.
“Ah, the Chappa’ai. She said people would come through it, looking for her.”
“She?” asked Faith.
“Yes. We found her several moons ago, naked in the woods. She was confused, and spoke of strange things.”
“Confused?” Sam frowned.
“Many think she is touched in the head.” Smiling, the woman added, “But she must be right, for she said you would come.”
“Can you tell us where to find her?” asked Sam.
The woman pointed towards a hill in the distance. “You will find her at the old ruins. Since appearing, she has stayed there, waiting.”
“Thank you, Altia.”
Bowing again, she smiled, “I gladly help a Fallen.”
Mirroring the bow, Sam then led the group away from the village towards the hill. “It appears that TaraMaclay may have her memory,” stated Teal’c, breaking the silence.
“We don’t know that,” replied Sam, “but it is weird that Altia was told that we would come.”
“A fluke?” asked Teal’c.
“I doubt it,” Faith commented. “I never heard of Tara being prophetic, but she was a powerful witch who ascended. Who knows what type of powers she has now.”
“If she’s descended, then she should have no powers,” commented Sam.
“And Daniel had no memory when he did so,” Teal’c pointed out.
“Yes, but when Orlin descended, he had all his memories,” Sam pointed out.
The three continued in silence, not knowing what to expect. Their thoughts were muddled, but once they came to the clearing at the top of the hill, their minds became clear. There, sitting on a wall that led from a structure that could have once been part of a small castle, sat Tara. She was dressed as the people of the planet and smiled as they approached.
The group stared at each other. No one knew what to say. Did she actually remember them? Was she human again? So many questions… Then, Tara slowly stood up. She slowly closed her eyes and then opened them again, staring at the group in front of her as a single tear made its way down her cheek. “Where’s Daniel?” That single question answered so many of theirs.
Daniel sat quietly in the infirmary, waiting and watching over the young girl SG-1 had brought in. She looked like a small, fragile, China doll. Her body was battered and looked weak, but according to Dr. Warner, now the doctor in charge since Brightman had left ten minutes earlier, the child was stable.
The sound of a throat clearing in the doorway caused him to look away. She was there, standing in front of Sam. Her eyes bore into him and she slowly smiled. He wanted to rush over to her, but even though he had known for some reason she would be returning with SG-1, it still froze him. Walking across the room, Tara came to a stop right in front of him. Her hand reached up and she gently placed it on his cheek. A sob sounded in her throat before she whispered in hushed tones, “Now I finally know what you feel like beneath my fingers.”
A smile slowly grew on Daniel’s face. Leaning forward, resting his forehead against hers, he remarked, “You remember.”
“I remember you.”
Pulling away, he took both of her hands in his and asked, “Just me?”
Laughing, she shook her head, “I remember my life before my ascension, but when it comes to my time as an ascended being, all I remember is the time I had with you.” Turning to where everyone was standing, she added towards Jack, “Sorry General O’Neill, but I have no recollection of any Ancient secrets.” Grinning, she then turned to Dawn, “And yes, Dawn, how could I forget you?”
Squealing, Dawn threw herself into Tara’s arms. “It’s so great to have you back,” she commented, adding as she stepped back, “And Willow will be overjoyed to see you.”
Tara and Daniel both visibly stiffened as Tara asked, “Willow?”
“She brought Daniel the book and is at his house.”
“Daniel?” Tara turned to him, her eyes questioning.
“She wants to see you, Tara.”
Tara slowly nodded. She could tell that it was tearing him apart, knowing that her past girlfriend, the one she had thought was the love of her life, was at his home. Sighing, she asked, “How long until I can get out of here?”
Sighing, Tara sat all by herself in the infirmary. Everyone, even Daniel and Dawn, had been called to a quick meeting. It was just her and a small girl. Her mind kept on jumping to one subject, Willow. What was she going to do? She knew that Willow was in a relationship. The only memory she had of her ascension without Daniel was when she had visited Brazil. Willow had been happy, and Tara had a feeling unless things had changed dramatically, probably still was. Then again, her coming back from the dead in a sense was dramatic. Would Willow want to get back together, to start where they had left off?
Beside her a small whimper sounded. Getting up, Tara moved to the bed the girl was occupying. She was muttering something in a language not English. Tara smiled as she noticed a few words in Celtic and Latin. Apparently all her studying Latin and Celtic for spells had paid off. Leaning down, she whispered, “Shhhh… Rest, little one, rest…”
The girl’s eyes opened for just a second, large round blue eyes staring at Tara before they closed again. She had looked so scared, and as she closed her eyes, she knitted her brows as if she was purposely closing them really tight. Leaning in, Tara smoothed out the girl’s hair, ignoring the mattes, and slowly started to sing a song that her mother used to sing to her. It bounced back and forth from English to Latin, and as she sung quietly, the girl slowly drifted back to sleep. When Tara finished, a voice behind her commented, “That was beautiful.”
Turning, Tara smiled at Daniel. Dawn was standing beside him, and Tara had a feeling it was so she could be there if he had a dizzy spell. Tucking hair behind her ear, she explained, “The girl woke up. I think she speaks some form of Latin mixed with Celtic. As I only know a few words here and there, I’m not even sure I correctly stuck to the song my mother used to sing to me.” Looking around, anywhere but him, she asked, “When can I leave?”
“Where do you want to go?”
Turning her gaze back to him, she asked quietly, “May… maybe your place?”
“Right. You probably want to see Willow.”
“Yes, but…” Tara sighed as he turned.
Handing Dawn the keys to his car, Daniel remarked, “Feel like driving us home, Dawn?”
“Sure thing, Dr. Jackson.”
Tara sat down on the couch, Willow taking a seat across from her. After reaching Daniel’s house, Willow had thrown herself at Tara, hugging her. Not able to help herself, Tara hugged back, enjoying the feeling of Willow’s arms around her. The two had talked for some time, and now were settling down on the couch, everyone else in their perspective rooms. Across from her, Willow reached out and took her hands, “It’s great to have you back. So much has happened.”
Nodding, Tara softly replied, “I know.”
“You do?” Willow seemed to contemplate this. “Are you talking about what you and Daniel saw while you were ascended?”
“Yes.” Dropping her eyes, Tara squeezed Willow’s hands as she asked, “How is Kennedy?”
“You know?” Willow’s voice was low. “Are you angry with me?”
“Angry that you moved on?”
“I still love you, you know?”
“Yes, but you love her too.” Tara sighed and tried to speak several times before commenting, “You should be with the one you love.”
“I am. Right now.”
Tara shook her head. “No. Kennedy’s your future, not me.”
“Tara?” Willow whispered.
“I’ve changed, Willow. I’m not the same.”
“Neither am I. That doesn’t mean…”
“It means that I don’t want to go back to that life, fighting demons.”
“We don’t have to,” Willow remarked, her voice full of emotion. “Giles would understand if I…”
“No. I mean that I want to stay here, not with you.” The words were harsh but said quietly. Tara knew that she had no choice. It was all she could do to get through. “The day I was shot it ended. You went on with your life and that is what you need to keep on doing.”
“And what, you are going to get on with yours with… with Daniel?”
“Maybe.” Closing her eyes, she whispered, “I love him, Willow. I love you, but you were my past. Daniel, he…”
“…is what you want for your future.”
“And if it isn’t what he wants?”
“Then I’ll survive, without him or you.” Getting up, Tara added, “I saw the two of you together. Kennedy loves you and you love her. Don’t let your past get in the way of that.”
Kissing Willow softly on the forehead, Tara then glided out of the living room into the hallway. She knew that Dawn was in one guest room and that Daniel was at the far end. Reaching his door, she knocked softly on his door, entering when she heard a quiet, “Come in.”
Daniel actually was lying in bed, not a shred of paper in sight. “You were getting ready to sleep. I’ll come back…”
“No.” Moving to where he was sitting up some, he added, “You want to talk?”
Nodding, Tara closed the door behind her and moved to where she was sitting on the bed next to him. “Willow and I…”
“…are going to Brazil,” he finished for her, turning his head away from her as he spoke.
“No. Willow is going to Brazil, but I’m not.”
“Huh?” Daniel turned back to look at her. “But she means so much to you.”
“I would not feel at home with her.” Tara turned her gaze to the bed, not wanting to meet his.
“And what, uh, would feel like home?” Daniel asked.
Linking her fingers with his, still not looking up, she answered, “Here. I… I lo… love you…Daniel Jackson.”
Daniel squeezed her hand. “And I love you.”
Looking up, tears in her eyes, Tara slowly smiled. It was evident in his eyes that he was speaking the truth, that he now remembered their time together. Closing the gap between them, her lips met his in a hesitant kiss. This was new territory for her, and she had to admit that she didn’t feel let down when he returned the kiss gently. Chuckling, he whispered, “How I wish it didn’t hurt to move.”
A Short Epilogue: On To a Sequel…
One week. It had been one week since Tara had found herself once again human. Part of her wondered if she had always known that this would be a possibility. There was the dream she had as a child, the picture that led Daniel to her. It wasn’t as if she was prophetic in any way, at least not that she knew of. However, there had to be something. Had Oma planned for this to happen all along? Had Tara just been a puppet for her or maybe some experiment? She didn’t have the answers, but part of her couldn’t help but contemplate the possibilities.
Starting over was actually turning out to be pretty easy. Dawn, who had watched over Daniel as she had asked, was still around. The two had caught up and spent time bonding again. There had been movies, shopping and several conversations on where all the Scoobies were in their lives again. Out of all the Scoobies, she was glad that it was Dawn. The young woman was someone she felt comfortable with, probably the most comfortable out of all the Scoobies.
Then there had been Faith. As she had only met her once – in Buffy’s body – she wasn’t sure about the dark Slayer. However, after getting to know her when they were both on base, the two actually found themselves getting along. Of course, Faith did most of the talking, but that didn’t bother Tara too much. Faith said everything she was too scared to say, and then some of course.
Oh, and one can’t forget Daniel. Knowing someone when they are ascended is completely different than interacting with them after being descended. Tara knew it would be different, but was pleasantly surprised in exactly what the differences were. He was still the same Daniel in his outlook: positive and completely giving himself to his beliefs and desires. Then again, she hadn’t considered his constant obsession for coffee and work. It didn’t bother her though. He was Daniel: someone that knew her deeply and loved her for all she was.
Since SG-1 had found her, Tara had visited the SGC on several occasions, once for a debriefing on what she remembered. Her other visits had come to include the young girl that had been discovered on the planet where Daniel had been captured. Her name was Malita. Maybe it was because of that first night, but she had come to prefer Tara to all the others at the SGC. Daniel thought it had to do with the fact Tara had sung her to sleep that first night. As it was, the most anyone ever got out of her was in Tara’s presence.
So, all in all, her new start on life was going well, and Tara had to admit that it wasn’t all that bad when it came to the fact she crossed those fine lines.
Dawn looked up as General O’Neill entered the briefing room with someone she hadn’t met. Colonel Carter, Teal’c and Daniel all gave the new arrival a wave or nod, while Tara just smiled softly. As they sat down, General O’Neill turned his attention to Dawn. “I have been giving our early discussion of a trip through the Stargate some thought, Dawn, and as all the teams are very busy at the moment, I believe I have come up with a solution.”
“You mean you’re actually going to let me go through the gate?” A smile grew on Dawn’s face at the idea.
“As Daniel is getting better, and is in the very capable hands of Tara, we thought we’d give you a vacation before returning to England. I would like you to meet a past member of SG-1, Jonas Quinn, your guide to Kelowna.”