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Written for the sguoa monthly challenge on LJ. Tag for The Shroud.

Sometimes Daniel thought he'd been afraid all his life.

If Daniel really wanted to think about it – which he didn’t right now – he’d been afraid pretty much all of his life. In fact, fear had become a familiar, somewhat tiresome shadow in his life, rather like an annoying roommate who you don’t know how to ask to leave.

However, fear could be advantageous too. There was no doubting that, especially since he’d joined the Stargate Program. Fearing you were about to die or be taken over by a Goa’uld would make you take risks you never thought you were capable of.

His first memory of being truly terrified had been when his parents were killed. That incident had been so shocking that his mind had blessedly blocked most of the horrifying details… until they’d stumbled upon the Gamekeeper, and then he’d had nightmares for weeks. He’d been afraid of being left with Nick because he barely knew him and he was still grieving and wanting no one else but his parents. Nick had rejected him anyway and everyone had said that was a good thing because his grandfather was crazy, and now, thinking about that, he could just add guilt to the fear because Nick hadn’t really been crazy at all.

When Sha’re and Skaara had been taken by Apophis, the fear he’d felt for them had stolen his breath and his reasoning. So much so that when he was mortally wounded on Apophis’ ship, he’d felt some relief that he would no longer be conscious of his guilt once he died. A blessed oblivion.

He’d died so many times that it had become something of a joke between him and the team. And he honestly didn’t fear death anymore. He always had to remind himself that next time… next time there might not be salvation but he’d made his peace with that as much as he’d forgiven Teal’c for killing Sha’re and learned to make peace within himself for losing her in the first place.

Death was nothing to be feared after all he’d seen and done. He didn’t welcome it as he had when Oma had come to him and offered him ascension but he’d learned too that existing on a higher plane of existence didn’t mean that made you holier, better or greater than anyone else. Probably less so, from what he’d finally learned when his memories had started to return in bits and pieces. He’d discovered that ordinary folks, like Jack, and Sam, and Teal’c, and even Vala, had much more honor and faith and strength than the Ancients had ever given them credit for.

Still, this time, he knew he wasn’t going to die… at least not right away. Jack would probably kill him for doing what he was about to do but he really hoped that this would be the one time that Jack would get why he was doing it and know that he hadn’t just jumped into this situation with his eyes closed and his feelings open. Then again, Jack wasn’t much into feelings and they’d had that argument way more times than he’d felt afraid.

This time though he was terrified beyond belief but he knew he had no choice.

‘For the good of the many’, he thought to himself and had to suppress a hysterical laugh at the Star Trek reference but it had never been as true or as important than it was now.

Taking a deep, slow breath, he closed his eyes and thought of his friends as he leaned into Adria’s embrace.

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