alyndra: (SG-1 & Gate)
alyndra ([personal profile] alyndra) wrote2006-09-10 07:09 pm
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A little Stargate SG-1 ficlet.

Daniel won’t ever tell his team that they’re all Greek myths.

He’s known which myth was his for a long time now, though for years he hoped it wasn’t. But Orpheus, the great songwriter, lost his wife of a single year to snakebite. He entered the gate to the underworld to bargain with the god of death for her return, and charmed the old ferryman with one song and the three-headed dog with another. He reached his goal, and pled his case, and Hades’ queen was moved, and guided her husband to mercy. (Daniel remembers Amonet looking at him, on Abydos, before turning through the gate with Apopis. He tells himself she only cared about the child.) All Orpheus had to do was walk out without looking behind him, trusting that his Eurydice would be following. So he walked up the path, the interminable journey to the land of the living, and not once did he look behind, not until he stepped out onto the clean green grass of daytime, but when he turned and reached for her, he saw that she was not yet free, and could only watch as she was snatched away from him forever.

When he’d first read that myth in grade school, he’d thought Orpheus was an idiot, to come so close and balls it up at the last minute. He’s older and wiser now, but when he sees that story, he still can’t help thinking, Idiot.

Jack’s myth is easy, too, once he thinks about it. He’s never told Jack, because first Jack would laugh and repeat, incredulously, “you think I’m Hercules?” and then he’d be insufferable about it, and when Daniel would finally explain – “Heracles accidentally destroyed his family, and spent the rest of his life trying to make up for it,” then Jack would get very quiet, and never bring the subject up again. Daniel thinks he could handle the first two responses, but very little is worth reminding Jack of his pain.

Teal’c’s story didn’t hit him until he was rereading a book of Greek myths, and then it was so obvious he wondered why it hadn’t occurred to him before. A young Titan questioned the gods, and when the answers were not satisfactory, he took matters into his own hands. Prometheus brought fire to mankind, and taught him how to use it, because he saw that they lived in darkness and fear. But when the gods found out, Zeus chained him to a mountaintop, where he watched helplessly as the humans were punished for accepting the gift. For many, many years Prometheus remained on that mountain, where every day an eagle came and ate his liver. But every day he healed himself, and could not die. He could not free himself until Heracles, as one of his labors, climbed the mountain and destroyed his chains.

Of all his team, Teal’c is the one Daniel’s come the closest to sharing these thoughts with. Maybe he will, someday: he thinks Teal’c might understand. But the stories are too personal and private for everyday conversation, and the right time hasn’t yet come.

He searched a long time for Sam’s story. Perhaps something to do with troubled love, or a warrior woman. But the one he kept coming back to, even though it didn’t feel quite right, was the story of Arachne. She was a young but very skilled weaver, but she allowed pride in her skill to overcome good sense, and boasted she was better than the gods. Athena heard, and came to smite her, but Arachne, cornered, proposed a contest. The contest took all day, and overawed all those who saw it, but in the end Arachne lost her life and shriveled into a spider, tugging at the strands of her web. She wove more brilliantly than anyone, and so became nothing but a weaver.

Eventually Daniel realized that the reason the story didn’t feel quite right was because it was only half over.

He’ll never, ever, tell Sam. Knowing his own story didn’t help him change the ending, and he thinks it’s kinder to let her live without that kind of knowledge. Besides, he could even be wrong.

But after Sam, he's stopped looking for other people’s stories.