Smooth Runs the Water by Weirdgirl42
Summary: Their lives were as good as they could have imangined. But that couldn't last.
Categories: Sheppard/Teyla, Ford/other, McKay/Weir, Other Pairing Characters: None
Episode Related: None
Genres: Drama
Holiday: None
Season: Future Season
Warnings: None
Crossovers: Stargate: SG-1
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: No Word count: 7627 Read: 1453 Published: 2005.02.13 Updated: 2005.02.13
Chapter 1 by Weirdgirl42
Author's note: I suggest you read my previous story "Never Did Run Smooth" before reading this as you may be quite confused if you don't.

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Never Did Run Smooth

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Olivia McKay walked out of her family's lodge and squinted against the bright sun light. She threw her sleeping bag over her shoulder and made her way to the drying lines that were tied between their lodge and John and Teyla's. She hung up the sleeping bag to air out in the sun just as two girls ran out of the adjacent lodge. Olivia smiled as seven year old twins Mia and Gwen ran up to her.

"Hey guys, what's up?" asked Olivia.

"Daddy said that we could go fish with Jack," Gwen replied.

"But only if you take us," added Mia. "So will you?"

"Peter and Janet are already down there," Gwen finished.

Olivia looked up to see John Sheppard walk up behind his daughters. "Is that true Uncle John?"

"Yeah I just don't want them walking down to the lake by themselves. Teyla's with Sam and your mom, and I've gotta go with your dad to fix the dam or the irrigation system isn't going to work when we need it to."

"I was gonna go down to the lake anyway," Olivia told him, stopping his explanation.

"You sure you're feeling up to that?" Rodney McKay asked, coming to stand next to John.

"I'm sure Dad," Olivia replied. She had been sick for the past week with a flu bug that had been going around but wouldn't seem to go away with her. She'd feel slightly better only to be feverish and lightheaded the next minute. This morning had been the first time in six days she had felt well enough to go outside. "Can I go?"

Rodney sighed, "Yeah go, have fun. But come back if you start feeling bad."

She turned to Gwen and Mia, "Let's go," she said.

The girls waved goodbye to their fathers and the three of them made their way down to the lake.

In the ten years since the remaining members of SG1 and AR1 decided to leave Earth for they, along with the Athosians and other residents of Atlantis, had formed a self-sustaining community. They built small homes from log posts and cloth and material from tents that they had brought in abundance from earth, grew food, fished, and lived their lives with the knowledge that they were as safe as they could be. They had decided to call the planet Kylene, Daniel said it was a Celtic name meaning `little piece of land', and this name suited their home.

Their lives were a strange mix of technology and an almost indigenous lifestyle. The children were taught in a traditional earth setting three days out of ten, which Rodney and Sam had painstakingly decided was a week on Kylene, and the other days were expected to help with whatever needed to be done, or simply play and learn in other ways. The children of earth-born parents knew the culture of the Athosians and grew up alongside the children of the Athosians.

When they came in sight of the lake, Gwen and Mia dropped Olivia's hands and ran to the edge of the dock where Jack O'Neill was sitting with a fishing pole in his hands. Next to him sat his daughter Janet who was eight, and Aidan and Natalie's middle son Peter who was 7. Jack waved for Mia and Gwen to come onto the dock and they happily obeyed. He handed them each a fishing pole and they sat down, legs swinging out over the water. Jack looked up and smiled at Olivia who smiled back.

She looked around the small sand beach and saw George O'Neill and Matti Beckett sitting off to one side playing in their own little world. The two had been inseparable since they were toddlers, being only a year apart in age.

Standing near them skipping stones out over the water was Annie Ford. Olivia smiled to see her friend and ran over to her. When she got there she had to catch her breath. Annie looked over concerned, Olivia was never this winded from running such a short distance.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

Olivia smiled at her friend, "Yeah," she said. "I'm just still not feeling a hundred percent."

"Well maybe you shouldn't be out here then," said a voice from behind them.

Olivia and Annie turned to see their friend Torran walking towards them. Torran was almost exactly the same age as Olivia, having been born in Atlantis only a month after her. Because he had lived on the mainland, it wasn't until coming to Kylene that they had met and become friends. John called the three of them `the three musketeers' which had required a lengthy explanation and almost a full week of bedtime stories from Daniel.

Daniel Jackson was the third and final remaining SG1 member on Kylene. Teal'c had stayed a year before deciding to move back with Rya'c, his wife Kar'yn, and Brat'ac. The remaining members of the Jaffa resistance had set up a home on another planet after the Goa'uld wars.

Unlike the rest, Daniel had never married. Olivia, with whom he had become close over the years, had asked him once why. She and Torran had been sitting with him on the dock. He told her that he lost a wife to the Goa'uld, and he'd watched the other woman he loved be killed by a Jaffa. He said that two loves were enough for any man in one lifetime. Instead he had become an uncle to most of the children on Kylene. They loved his stories. He told them everything from old myths and legends from Earth, to recounts of SG1's adventures, to stories of the Goa'uld wars. And no one was a bigger fan of Daniel's stories than Olivia and Torran.

Now, Torran put a hand on Olivia's shoulder, "Maybe you should go back and rest," he said, concern masking his dark eyes.

"No," said Olivia, "this is the first day I've felt well enough to go outside and I'm going to enjoy it." She bent down and picked up a smooth stone and with expert skill she skipped it five times on the water. "See," she said to her friends, "I've still got it. Come on, let's see if Jack has enough poles for us too."

The three of them walked out onto the dock and Jack handed them poles. "Is it alright if we take the boat out?" Torran asked.

"It's alright with me," replied Jack. "Just stay where I can see you."

They agreed and soon were rowing out onto the lake. When they got far enough out that the water was deep but close enough that they could still see the dock, they stopped and cast their lines. They talked, and joked, and laughed until it was midday. Annie noticed that Olivia was beginning to look tired. She glanced over at Torran who understood her meaning. He drew in his line and took up the oars.

"I'm hungry," he said as he began to row back to shore. "Let's get some food and then we can go see if Livi's father's pushed anyone into the river yet."

Olivia laughed. "I bet not," she said, "but only cause Uncle John's there to hold him back."

Once they were back on land they pulled the boat up onto the beach and set it next to the five or so others just like it. Then they made their way back to the main area of buildings and grabbed some food from Annie's home. After they had eaten they headed to the river and walked up the shore a ways to where the dam was. Before they were in sight of it however, they heard voices coming.

"Okay, that should do it!" Rodney McKay was shouting. He, John, Teyla, Aidan, Daniel, Torran's father Damian, and another woman named Enye were standing in the waist-deep water of the wide pool that formed below a waterfall. They were pushing a log into the dam. Almost at once the river flow decreased significantly and the water in the pool began to rise. Olivia, Torran, and Annie ran over to where their parents were climbing out of the river, clothing dripping.

"You fixed it," Annie said.

"Piece of cake," replied John.

Aidan looked over at his daughter, "You guys catch anything?" he asked.

"No," replied Annie.

"She had one but it broke the line," said Olivia.

"Besides," added Torran, "Jack's always saying that catching fish isn't the point."

It was then that Rodney noticed that Olivia looked a little pale. He put a hand to her forehead and felt a slight heat radiating. "You still not feeling well?" he asked.

"I was until a little while ago," Olivia said with a wry smile.

"Okay," Rodney told her, "back to bed. Your mother's going to kill me for letting you go out."

"Where is Mom?" Olivia asked as the group headed back for the village.

"She's with Sam and Walter working on some sort of new design for the controls of the irrigation system."

When they got back to their home Olivia drew back the flap and made her way to her sleeping area. The small lodge was divided into three areas. The largest area held supplies and three chairs while the other much smaller areas held makeshift beds. Olivia crawled inside her sleeping bag and closed her eyes. She felt her father's hand brush the hair back from her face.

"You need anything?" he asked.

"No," she replied softly.

"Okay," he said. Then he quietly stepped back outside to join the others.

It wasn't until much later, after the sun had set, that Rodney and Elizabeth came back for the night. Rodney set about lighting the small lamp as Elizabeth whispered that she was going to check on Olivia. Rodney pulled out the plans for the irrigation system that Elizabeth, Sam, and Walter had been working on and began to study them. Trying to foresee any potential problems with the design.

"Rodney!" came Elizabeth's voice.

He jumped up, grabbed the lamp and quickly went to Olivia's room. Elizabeth was crouched down next to their sleeping daughter who's skin, Rodney could see in the dim light, was a pale shade of yellow.

The color drained from Rodney's own face. "I'll get Carson," he said.

XXXXXXXX

When Carson rushed into the room Elizabeth stood and moved so the doctor could crouch down to the Olivia's side. Carson put a hand to the girl's forehead and Olivia stirred in her restless sleep. He looked up at Rodney and Elizabeth, "We need to move her to the med tent," he said.

Rodney nodded and picked Olivia up, he was shocked to realize how light she was. He knew she had been sick be he hadn't realized she had been sick enough to lose that much weight. He carried her out of their lodge and across the camp to the med tent.

Carson followed but first turned to Elizabeth, "Can you wake Natalie up?" he asked.

"Yes," replied Elizabeth, "of course." She ran off in the direction of Ford and Natalie's lodge and in doing so passed by John and Teyla's. John, hearing the commotion, had emerged and caught her by the arm as she passed.

"What's the matter?" he asked.

Elizabeth looked back at him with unshed tears in her eyes and John could see that she was on the brink of shock. "What's the matter?" he said again.

"It's Livi," Elizabeth said. "There's something wrong with her. I have to get Natalie. She's sick, her skin is yellow and she won't wake up."

John put his hands on her shoulders, trying to calm her however slightly. "I will get Natalie, go to the med tent," he said gently, but firmly.

Elizabeth nodded and took off towards the other side of the camp. When she got to the med tent she saw that Olivia was laying on the raised bed that John and Carson had built. Carson was listening to her breathing with his stethoscope. Rodney stood to the side looking on, his face masked with panic. Elizabeth went to him and he put his arms around her. They both watched as their friend examined their daughter.

Natalie rushed in a moment later. "What's going on?" she asked.

"I'm not sure," replied Carson, pulling the stethoscope from his ears. "We don't have the equipment to do proper tests but if I had to guess I'd say her liver was failing. But I can't for the life of me figure out why."

"Obviously a tissue sample is out of the question. Are we set up to do any kind of blood analysis?" asked Natalie.

"We could. But even if we find out for sure that it's her liver. We won't be able to do anything. I can put her on antibiotics but we have no way of doing a transplant even if we had a donor."

"Well, let's start her on the antibiotics and see if anything changes."

The two doctors set about helping their young patient while Rodney and Elizabeth still stood staring at their daughter who's skin had turned an even darker yellow. Just then John stuck his head in and motioned for them to come outside. Elizabeth hesitated but Rodney whispered in her ear, "We can't do anything for her now."

They followed John outside the tent and found Teyla, Sam, Jack, Daniel, and Ford standing their as well.

"Do they have any idea what's going on?" asked John.

"They think her liver is failing," said Elizabeth, wiping the tears from her face.

"Is there any way we can get through to earth?" asked Ford.

"No," replied Jack. "Hayes told me they were shutting the program down. We have no way to be sure that hasn't changed. If we went through we could be going right into the iris. And even if we had a GDO, they've disconnected all the computers."

"I'm going to go through the gate to Teal'c and see if we can contact the Tok'ra," said Sam.

"Thank you," Elizabeth said.

"She'll beat this thing," Jack told them.

Rodney and Elizabeth looked at each other. They wanted to believe him. The group disbanded, leaving them alone outside the med tent. They could hear Carson and Natalie talking inside about the proper doses of various medications. Elizabeth leaned her head against Rodney's chest, beginning to cry softly. He kissed her hair as his own tears fell silently.

XXXXXXXXX

The next few days were both a blur, and the longest any of them could remember. Though Olivia had shown some signs of improvement after receiving the antibiotics, after a day and a half she had grown worse than before. Carson and Natalie were at a loss. They told everyone there were still a few things they could try, but the fear was plain in their eyes.

Sam had returned only to say that a message had been sent but there was no way of knowing when or even if the Tok'ra would respond.

They took turns sitting with Olivia so she wouldn't be alone. On the third day since she had been bought in Daniel, Torran, and Annie were all sitting around her bed. Though she slept most of the time, for the moment she was awake. The four of them had been fairly quiet until Olivia spoke.

"Tell us a story Daniel," she said her voice quiet and weak.

"What kind of story?" asked Daniel.

"Not a Stargate story. An old story."

Daniel thought for a minute. "Did I ever tell you the story of how Athena was born?"

"I do not believe so," replied Torran. "She is the goddess of wisdom am I right?"

Daniel nodded. "Well, Zeus was not exactly what someone would call a one woman man. He had a lot of affairs. One of the women he had an affair with was his cousin Metis who then got pregnant. Zeus, not one to leave things to chance, went to an oracle who told him that Metis would bear twins. The first would be a girl who would be a powerful goddess and an ally to Zeus, and the second would be a boy that would overthrow him."

"I bet Zeus was pleased," said Olivia, smiling through half closed eyes.

"Not quite. See he decided he didn't much care for that idea so he went to Metis and swallowed her whole. So, thinking that everything will be fine now, he goes back to his business of being the ruler of the gods. Then one day he starts to have this really bad headache. So he calls over his son Hephaestus and asks the other god to crack open his skull. Hephaestus does this and out pops Athena in full body armor. She became the goddess of wisdom and a great hunter. And Metis lived on inside Zeus's head, sometimes giving him advice."

Torran smiled, "That is a good story," he said.

"Well obviously it put her to sleep," Daniel said quietly, nodding his head to where Olivia lay asleep. Just then Carson came in and began checking her over. He sighed as he felt her forehead and listened to her heartbeat and lungs.

The three of them watched the doctor for a moment before Torran jumped up suddenly and ran out of the tent. Daniel turned to Annie, "Will you stay with her for a minute?" he asked.

Annie nodded.

Daniel stood and patted her shoulder. "I'll send someone else in soon." Then he walked out of the tent and scanned the area. He didn't see Torran and wasn't sure which direction he had headed. He saw Sam and Walter Davis heading towards him. "Did you see Torran just now?" he asked.

"Yeah," said Walter. "He went running down to the lake."

"Where are Rodney and Elizabeth?"

"I think John finally convinced them to sleep," replied Sam.

"Do you guys mind sitting with Annie in there?"

"We were just going to do that," Walter said.

"Thanks," Daniel told them. He headed down towards the lake and soon saw a lone figure sitting out on the dock. He walked out and sat down next to Torran who hastily wiped his eyes.

They sat not speaking for several moments.

"You want to hear something stupid?" Torran said at last, still staring out across the water.

"I'm sure it isn't stupid but I'll listen anyway," Daniel answered.

"I think a part of me always thought that it was just a matter of time before Livi and I...I think I always assumed we'd be together eventually. I've half loved her since we were children. I always thought that one day we'd be married and have our own children."

"That isn't stupid," Daniel said, putting a hand on the young man's shoulder. "Have you told her this?"

"Not in so many words," replied Torran. "I believe she knew...knows how I feel just as I know how she feels. I just believed we had more time."

"You still have time," Daniel said. "The Tok'ra could show up any time. And she may start responding to the treatments."

"It is the will of the ancestors I guess," Torran concluded.

"You know," said Daniel, "I've met the ancestors. And I wouldn't be too sure of their will. Livi is a strong person and she will fight."

"I do not doubt her strength," said Torran. "But can you tell me that you do not also believe she will die?"

Daniel was silent and Torran nodded.

"You're both still very young," Daniel said after a minute. "But if you love her, and you never tell her, you'll regret it for the rest of your life."

Torran turned towards him, "As you do?"

"Yes," replied Daniel softly.

Torran now saw for the first time the depth of pain that Daniel's eyes held, "I will remember that," he promised.

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Elizabeth blinked her eyes against the dark as she realized that Rodney was not lying next to her. John had all but dragged them here and forced them to sleep. She hadn't wanted to at first but she had to admit he was right. It was the first real rest they had gotten in three days and they weren't going to be much of a help if they collapsed from exhaustion. But now she feared that Rodney had not slept. She sat up and heard muffled noises coming from Olivia's room. She stood and pulled aside the cloth.

Rodney was sitting next to Olivia's bed with his head in his hands. Elizabeth sat down next to him. She knew what he was feeling because it was what she was feeling as well. She also knew that nothing she could say would make it any better. Fourteen years of marriage had taught them to read each other better than anyone had before. She knew he would talk when he was ready, as he knew the same about her. So she just leaned her head against his shoulder, telling him without words that she was there.

"I can't help but think that if we'd stayed on earth none of this would've happened," Rodney said at last.

Elizabeth was taken aback. In the ten years since they'd left, she'd never heard him once say he wished they hadn't. She had been worried at first that he would miss working in labs and the work he had been doing on earth, but he never gave any indication that he was unhappy. Now, to see him so wrought with guilt was breaking her heart.

"There's no way of knowing that this wouldn't have happened," Elizabeth replied.

"It was my idea to come here," he said.

"You can't blame yourself for what's happened. This isn't anyone's fault."

"I know that. But a part of me can't help thinking it."

Elizabeth took his face in her hands. "We can't change the past," she said. "If we had stayed, than Olivia wouldn't have been happy."

"I can't fix this," he said, his voice holding the sheer desperation they both felt. "I can always fix everything, but I can't fix this."

Elizabeth pulled him into her arms and they held each other for several minutes. "She needs us now," Elizabeth said. She pulled away. "She needs her dad."

Rodney nodded and stood up, helping her to her feet as well. He pulled her against him one more time and kissed her forehead. "I love you," he whispered.

And with that they made their way back to the med tent, back to their daughter.

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"It's been five days and we still haven't heard anything from the Tok'ra," Sam said softly to Jack, aware of the fact that Rodney and Elizabeth were standing nearby. The whole "family" had gathered outside the med tent because Carson wanted to talk to them. Everyone knew the news could not be good. They all could see that Olivia was getting worse.

"I don't think it's going to matter," said Jack.

Carson came out of the tent. "I'm sorry," he said. "But she's not responding to any treatments."

Elizabeth choked back a sob and Rodney slipped his arm around her shoulders. "How long?" she asked.

Carson shook his head, "It's impossible to say..."

"Damn it Carson," said Rodney, "weeks? Months?"

"Days," replied Carson solemnly.

With that Annie broke down and began to cry. Aidan pulled her into a hug. Jack held George close to his side while Sam tried to comfort Janet. Cassie turned her head and began to cry into her husband Rowan's shoulder. Torran dug his palms into his eyes before taking off down towards the lake, his father running after him.

"Does she know?" said Elizabeth.

"No," Carson said.

Elizabeth turned to Rodney, "She would want to know." Rodney nodded and the two of them went into the tent.

Olivia looked up as they entered. Seeing the tears in her mother's eyes she knew what Carson had told them. "It's bad, isn't it?" she said.

Elizabeth sat down next to the bed and gently stroked her hair, "Carson says the treatments aren't working."

"I'm gonna die aren't I?"

Elizabeth couldn't respond. The tears welled up in Olivia's eyes and Elizabeth took her daughter in her arms, rocking her like a child. "I don't want to die Mom," Olivia sobbed.

"I know baby."

Rodney stood off to the side, unable to offer any comfort. Not trusting himself to speak. For a brief moment he wondered if the fear of this was why he'd never let anyone get close before Elizabeth. But the thoughts were washed away as memories of his daughter took their place.

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After a moment Teyla spoke, "I am going to go check on Mia and Gwen," she told the rest who were still standing outside the med tent.

"I have to check on Peter and Colin," Natalie said, following Teyla away from the tent.

All of a sudden Walter turned to Jack, "What about the Kelowans?" she said. "Maybe they can help."

"Who are the Kelowans?" asked Aidan.

"Jonas's race," replied Jack.

"Do you really think they could help?" Cassie asked.

"Their medical technology could work," answered Walter.

"I'll go," said Daniel. "It's worth a shot."

"I'll go with," said John. "It'll be safer that way. And it's better than sitting here feeling useless."

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The next morning John and Daniel stumbled out of the wormhole and Daniel's mouth dropped.

"Did it always look like this?" John asked him.

Daniel shook his head. All around them there were piles of rubles. Daniel could see that the entire city had been leveled in what Daniel could only assume was the explosion of a naquadria bomb.

Just then they heard rustling to their left. They turned and saw a young man step out from behind a fallen beam. "Who are you?" he asked.

"Um...I'm Daniel Jackson, this is John Sheppard. We came to ask for help but obviously you aren't in the position to give it."

"Daniel Jackson?" asked the man. "The one who stopped the bomb all those years ago. From earth?"

"Uh, yeah," replied Daniel. "That's right. What's your name?"

"Asher."

"Look, Asher," John interjected, "we don't have a lot of time."

"Are there other people still alive?" asked Daniel.

Asher nodded, "Come with me."

He led them down several corridors and pushed open what seemed to be the only door still intact. Inside was a large room that held about fifty people. Some were obviously very ill while others looked to be relatively unharmed. Asher ran over to one corner of the room where another man was kneeling down giving water to an injured woman. Asher whispered something into the man's ear and the man stood.

Daniel's mouth dropped again, "Jonas?" he asked.

Jonas Quinn walked over and pulled Daniel into a hug. "I don't think I've ever been happier to see anyone," he said. He pulled back, "How did earth find out what had happened? We tried to make contact but we never received word back."

"Earth didn't find out," said Daniel. "We don't live there anymore. It's a long story," he added seeing Jonas's confused look. "We came because we need help. The daughter of a friend of ours is dying and we thought you might be able to help. But I can see that isn't going to happen."

"No," agreed Jonas. "As far as we know we're all that's left on this part of the planet."

"What happened?" asked John.

"The inevitable I guess," Jonas replied, not hiding the contempt in his voice. "Once the naquadria bombs went off it was pretty much over."

Daniel looked at John for a moment. John nodded his head once. Daniel turned back to Jonas, "Okay, we live on another planet now. It's not anywhere as advanced as Kelowna or Earth but it's safe. We can explain how it happened later but for now, anyone who wants to is welcome to come back with us."

Jonas smiled but then his face fell, "What about your friends' daughter?"

Daniel just shook his head.

Jonas nodded his understanding, "I'll get everyone ready," he said. Then he turned back to his people.

"Bring any supplies you have," John yelled after him. He looked at Daniel, "What do we do now?" he asked.

"I don't know," replied Daniel. "I don't know."

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Jack found Rodney sitting on a fallen tree staring out over the lake. It had been just over three hours since John and Daniel had gone through to Kelowna and Rodney had disappeared. Jack sat down next to him.

"Elizabeth sent me to find you," he said.

Rodney was silent, staring down and playing with something in his hands. He followed his gaze and saw that Rodney was holding a gun. "Rodney," he said. "What are you doing?"

Rodney just looked up at Jack, his eyes blood shot from tears and no sleep. Until that morning he hadn't left Olivia's side for more than a couple of hours.

"Rodney," said Jack, "I know this seems like the only option but trust me, it's no solution. It'll just hurt more people."

"I'm a match," Rodney said.

"What?"

"I made Carson do the test."

Understanding dawned on him then. "There's no guarantee the surgery would work anyway. Carson and Natalie aren't set up to do anything like that."

"I know that," said Rodney. "But she's my daughter. You of all people should understand that. If I can give her any chance..."

"No," said Jack forcibly. "I can understand what you're going through. I was here a lot of times after my son died. Believe me, she wouldn't want this. I've seen the way she loves you, she wouldn't want this." He reached over slowly and took the gun, Rodney didn't resist.

The two of them sat in silence for a while.

"We should get back," said Jack standing. "Livi's asking for you."

"Yeah," agreed Rodney. He moved to stand up then stopped, "Hey Jack?" he said.

"What?"

"Don't tell them okay?"

"Sure." He squeezed the younger man's shoulder and an understanding passed between the two of them. They were drawn together by a bond neither wanted.

XXXXXXXXX

Daniel and John watched as the surviving Kelowans readied themselves to go through the gate, the healthy ones helping the injured ones. John was grateful that none of the injuries were that severe. Daniel watched as John pushed the chevrons and the gate activated.

"I'll go through and warn them what's coming," said John.

Daniel nodded. As the people began to walk after John through the event horizon he couldn't help but feel the pain of guilt. Though many lives might be saved today, the one he had meant to save would be lost.

"It's strange," Jonas said, coming to stand next to him, "it feels like yesterday I was helping other cultures relocate because of tragedy. I never thought I'd be relocating myself."

"Yeah," said Daniel. "This does bring back memories."

Then it hit him.

"I'm an idiot," he said.

Jonas turned and looked at him, "What?" he asked.

Daniel shook his head, his face half way between disbelief and laughing. "I'm an idiot," he repeated. "Go through," he told Jonas. "I've got to go somewhere else first."

XXXXXXXXXX

Jack watched as the gate deactivated. Sam was hugging Jonas, tears in her eyes. Jack turned to John, "Where's Daniel?"

Jonas heard the question, "He said he had somewhere else to go before he came back."

John shrugged, showing his ignorance at Daniel's plan. "How is she?" he asked.

Jack sighed, "Not good," he replied. "Carson says it could be anytime now."

John resisted the urge to hit something, "Damnit," he whispered.

In the med tent Elizabeth and Rodney sat on either side of Olivia's bed. Carson and Natalie had left to look after the new arrivals but there was little they could do anyway. She was slipping away. They heard a noise and turned to see Torran walk into the tent.

Olivia smiled to see her friend. She saw the look on his face that said he had something to say. "Mom, Dad, can Torran and I have a minute?" she asked, her voice raspy and weak.

"Sure," said Rodney, "we'll be outside."

Elizabeth rested her hand on Torran's shoulder for a moment before they left. Torran watched them leave and then went to sit beside Olivia. He reached out and tentatively took her hand.

"You've come to say goodbye?" Olivia asked. "Everybody else's already been. I was afraid you wouldn't come."

"Of course I would come," Torran said. "But I won't say goodbye."

"I'm dying Torran." Her face held a sad smile, "Nothing's going to change that."

"I did not come here to say goodbye. I came here because I promised Daniel."

"Promised what?"

"You have been my greatest friend since I was four years old. In all my life I've never met another person like you. I told Daniel that I had always believed we would be married some day. That we would watch our own children grow." Torran wiped his free hand across his eyes, trying to hold back the tears he knew would fall regardless. "I promised Daniel I would tell you that I love you. And that no matter what happens, a part of me will always love you." Torran smiled, "I sound like one of Daniel's stories."

Olivia blinked away the tears, "Yeah," she said, "you do. But I always did like Daniel's stories. Do you remember when he told us about dying?"

"Yes. He said it was like floating."

"On water. As if your body was weightless and the current pulled you along. With waves lulling you to sleep." She closed her eyes. "That doesn't sound so bad."

Torran sobbed once through his tears. "No," he said, "it doesn't. But I will miss you.

"Me too. But no goodbyes right?"

"Right," he said, seeing that she was beginning to fade. "No goodbyes." He stood and raised their joined hands to his face. He kissed her hand, then leaned over and gently brushed her lips with his. As he moved to leave she stopped him.

"Torran?" she asked.

"Yes?"

"Tell my parents...I'm ready."

Torran nodded and walked out of the tent. A moment later Rodney and Elizabeth entered again. They sat on either side of the bed. Olivia looked first at Elizabeth.

"I'm not...scared anymore Mom," her breath was coming in gasps now and it was hard to breath.

"You don't have to be," Elizabeth said.

"I love you."

"I love you too baby."

Olivia then turned to her father. She took a few hard breaths. "Will you tell me a story?"

"What story?" asked Rodney.

"Doesn't...matter."

Rodney thought for a moment. "On the day you were born," he began, "a man showed up who wanted to hurt us. He was very sad, and very angry. John came and told me that your mother had been hurt and that you were on the way."

"Uncle John...said...you almost killed him."

"That's right I did. But he stopped me. And then we waited for hours to find out if you were okay. Carson came out and told me you had been born. A beautiful little girl. And when I held you I knew that you would be special. And that I would love you forever."

The tears were running down his cheeks and Olivia reached up with great effort to touch his face. "I'm sorry Daddy. I never...wanted to make...you cry."

Rodney covered her hand with his. "Livi listen to me very carefully okay?"

Olivia nodded.

"Of everything I've ever done in my life. On Earth, on Atlantis, and here. Out of all of that, the best decision I ever made was your mother. And the best thing I ever did...was you. You are what I'm most proud of. Being your dad is my greatest accomplishment. I love you more than anything."

"Love you too." She was struggling to keep her eyes open.

Elizabeth pushed the hair away from her face. "It's okay," she said, "sleep now."

With that Olivia closed her eyes and drifted away.

When Elizabeth and Rodney walked out of the tent, they looked into the faces of their friends, their family, and simply shook their heads.

"She's gone," Rodney said.

Sam buried her face in Jack's shoulder as George and Janet clung to their parents. Teyla and John held their own children as their own tears fell. Each family drew together as the weight fell upon them. Jack briefly thought of Daniel, who was now too late, and how this would affect the man who had grown so close to the young girl.

Rodney and Elizabeth, their grief to great for tears, stood together as they had all these years.

XXXXXXXXXX

Rodney found Torran sitting by the river. He sat down next to him. It had been almost four hours since Olivia had died, no one had seen Torran sneak off and it wasn't until a little while ago that they noticed he was gone.

"I didn't think it would hurt this much," Torran said, his voice quiet. "I was too young to understand when my mother died but I still didn't think I'd feel so empty."

Rodney put his arms around the boy's shoulders.

"I'm sorry," Torran said. "I know my pain is nothing to yours."

"No," said Rodney, "you can't help the way you feel." He was silent for a minute before speaking again. "We're gonna have a funeral. It's something people do on earth. Kind of like your passing ceremonies but a little different. Elizabeth and I wanted to know if you would speak at it."

Torran paused, "What would I say?" he asked after a moment.

"You can decide that. Just talk about Livi."

Rodney and Torran then sat side by side for almost an hour, lost in their own thoughts.

"We should go back," Rodney said at last. "Your father was worried."

"Everything there has so many memories," Torran all but whispered.

Rodney didn't respond at first. He listened to the water moving over the rocks. He looked up and above the trees he could see a faint trace of sunlight breaking through the overcast sky. "Because as clich as it sounds," he said, "she won't ever really be gone."

Torran looked at him and Rodney could see that he didn't buy it.

"I know that seems simplistic and stupid answer a grownup gives which doesn't really help at all but...think about it this way; you know who General Hammond was right?"

"Of course."

"How?"

"Daniel's stories mostly. But Jack, Sam, even Walter all tell stories about him."

"Right," said Rodney. "He's not really gone."

Torran seemed to understand, "We just have to tell stories."

Rodney nodded and stood up. He held out a hand and helped the boy to his feet. Torran looked back at the river.

"Daniel once told us dying was like drifting on a river," he said, tears forming in his eyes again.

Rodney pulled him into a hug.

"I'm sorry," Torran said into Rodney's shirt. "You shouldn't have to deal with me too."

"Don't be sorry. It's gonna be okay somehow."

They pulled apart and began the trek back to the camp.

XXXXXXXXXX

Rodney had gone looking for Torran about fifteen minutes when Jack turned at the sound of footsteps running down the path from the Stargate. He looked and saw Daniel sprint into the camp. "Jack!" he called.

Jack moved to stand in front of him and put a hand out to halt the younger man. "Daniel," he said. "She's gone."

Daniel's face fell. "When?" he asked.

"A few hours ago."

"That's okay, it could still work."

"What are you talking about?"

"I figured it out Jack. Look." He turned and allowed Jack to see past him.

Jack looked and saw another figure walking towards them. His face broke into a grin, "Lya," he said softly.

The woman approached and smiled at Jack, nodding her head slightly. "It is good to see you again Jack O'Neill," she said. "I see you and your friends have learned much."

"Yes," replied Jack. "We have."

"Perhaps you are not as young as you once were. Daniel Jackson has told us of Olivia. We are willing to assist. But if we are to help the child we must not delay. She must return with me to our home world."

The three of them made their way quickly to the med tent where Olivia's body still was. Elizabeth was speaking to San but looked up when she heard them coming.

"Daniel," she said.

"We may have a way to bring her back," said Daniel. "This is Lya. She's from the Nox. They can help. But we have to bring Olivia to their planet, and we have to hurry."

"I don't understand," said Elizabeth, "how is this possible?"

"I don't know," replied Sam. "But I do know that Apophis killed me once, and they brought me back."

Elizabeth was overcome with too many different things to respond. She just nodded and watched Jack and Daniel head into the med tent. They emerged a moment later, Daniel holding Olivia in his arms.

"I'm coming with," said Elizabeth, following Daniel and Lya towards the Stargate.

Sam looked up at her husband. "This could work," she said.

"I know."

"I can't believe we didn't think of it before."

"Well, thank god for Daniel."

"We need to find Rodney."

"I don't know if I want to get his hopes up," Jack said. "It'd kill him to have her die twice."

An hour later Rodney and Torran walked back into camp. They paused and took in the scene around them. Everyone seemed to be excited about something. They walked up behind Carson who was standing with Walter and Natalie.

"What's going on?" asked Rodney.

"Rodney!" cried Carson turning to his friend, "there you are! We sent people out to look for you."

"What's wrong?" Rodney was beginning to panic. This day had already been the worst of his life, he didn't want to know how it could get worse.

"Daniel came through the gate with an alien of some sort. He and Elizabeth took Livi back through the gate to the alien's planet."

"Why?" asked Torran.

"Carson, what alien?" Rodney demanded. He didn't understand why they took her through the gate. She was dead, there wasn't anything to be done anymore.

"I can't remember. I think it was the Nacks or something like that."

"I don't understand," said Rodney. "What does he think they'll do?"

"Dad?"

Rodney froze. He swallowed twice and then slowly turned around to where the voice had come from.

Elizabeth and Daniel were walking up the path from the Stargate. Elizabeth had her arm around Olivia who was looking at her father with wet eyes.

Rodney broke into a spring but stopped when he stood only inches from her. He reached out a hand and touched her face. Olivia covered his hand with hers, "I'm here Dad," she said. "It's me."

Rodney pulled her into his arms and held her tight. She hugged him back just as fiercely. "How?" he whispered.

"The Nox," supplied Daniel. "They brought me, Jack, Sam, and Teal'c back once. I can't believe we didn't think of it sooner."

Rodney pulled back a little and kissed Olivia's forehead. Then he reached out and drew Elizabeth into the embrace as well. He held his family now, when he feared he never would again.

When they finally broke apart Rodney moved and hugged Daniel, "Thank you," he said.

Daniel patted his back and smiled.

Meanwhile people had begun to gather around. There was hugging and crying that lasted what seemed like hours. Finally, Olivia came to stand in front of Torran who had been staying off to the side.

"Hey," she said.

"Hello."

They looked at the ground, neither wanting to be the first to make eye contact. Olivia gave in, "Did you mean it?" she asked, looking up. "What you said?"

"Yes."

"Okay." She paused, "Me too."

Torran looked up, a small smile on his face. "Really?"

"Yeah."

This time Torran grinned outright, he wrapped his arms around Olivia's waist and picked her up off the ground, spinning them both around. Olivia laughed, "Hey! Put me down! Is this any way to treat someone who was just dead?"

Torran complied but kept his arms about her waist. "Do you really mean what I think you mean?"

"Yeah. I can see all of what you saw. But I think for now, let's just be...us. Okay?"

Torran hugged her again briefly, "I can do that," he said.

Rodney and Elizabeth watched the exchange. "We're gonna have to keep an eye on those two," Rodney said.

Elizabeth just smiled.

"Did you know about this?" he asked.

"I had my suspicions."

Rodney just shook his head, but he was smiling. He reached down and wrapped her hand in his. Then he leaned over and kissed her. "I love you," he said simply.

Elizabeth smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder. "She's what I'm most proud of too," she whispered, watching Olivia with Annie, both of them talking a mile a minute.

"It's hard not to be."

"And you're the best decision I ever made."

Rodney cocked his head slightly, causing her to look up at him. "Oh really? Better than the time you decided to partake in the Athosians' `ceremonial drink' and the dance on the..."

Elizabeth kissed him. After all these years it was still the only way to shut him up.

The End
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