Title: Symbols of the Heart
Date: November 25, 2003
Category: Romance; fluff; maybe a teensy bit of angst (I couldn't help it!)
Spoilers: Umm... Forever in a Day, but I think that's all.
Summary: Why is Daniel wearing a beaded bracelet all of a sudden?
Archive: Gateview; Dan&Jan Archive; anywhere else, please ask permission
Feedback: Yes, please!
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Author's notes: This is my response to the challenge to come up with a reason why Daniel's wearing a beaded bracelet in the new season 7 promotional pics (if you haven't seen the pics I'm talking about, check out the gallery on Michael-Shanks.net. This is the fastest I've ever written and posted a fic, so if it sucks, please go easy on me! ;)
*Many thanks to the folks on the DanandJan list for the constant inspiration, and to my mom (aka Urgo) for the excellent beta job. :)
Naimah gazed thoughtfully at the young man standing at her herb stall. She found it hard to believe that only two days before, she had feared him and the others who had come through the stone circle with him. A lot had changed in such a short time. She now found herself growing quite fond of these travellers who had saved her life and the lives of the rest of her people from the sickness that had been slowly wiping out the people of her world. In all of her 74 years, she had never seen a sickness that could sweep through a village so quickly and kill so many, yet as soon as these people had arrived, they had told the village elders that they knew of a cure, and that they were willing to share it freely.
As one of the chief healers among her people, Naimah had been among the first to witness the miracles these strangers could perform with their foreign medicines and the amazing devices they called 'technology'. They had earned her people's trust and respect, and Naimah had come to see them as her friends.
Especially this man - the kind, gentle soul named Daniel Jackson, with the strange black circles around his eyes. Never had she come across a man who had the courage and tenacity to stand up to Elder Coman without flinching, and win the cynical old man's trust so quickly. Something about the handsome young stranger seemed to speak directly to a person's heart. He had certainly earned his own special place in hers.
He and his teammates had come to her market stall that morning to inform her of the progress they had made during the night, but she had requested that he stay behind and chat for a while when the others moved on to continue their work. Since then, he had been talking very excitedly about some writings he had found nearby. While she didn't understand any of what he was talking about, his enthusiasm over doing something he was obviously very passionate about made a refreshing change from the monotonous drone in the voices of the rest of the people she met in the marketplace. She was content to merely listen to the sound of his voice and study him closely as he spoke, rather than trying to follow along with what he was telling her.
"Naimah? Have you even been listening to a word I've been saying?"
The question broke the old woman out of her reverie. While the words could have been deemed disrespectful, his tone and his expression held nothing but gentle, reverent humour. He was not offended; he was merely amused.
"Of course I have," Naimah said with a most unconvincing, mischievous smile.
Daniel laughed, shaking his head. "I don't know why you keep asking me to tell you all of this, Naimah. I must be boring you to tears by now."
"Never!" the old woman said, reaching up to give him a firm pat on the cheek. "I love listening to you speak... even if I do not understand what you are saying."
Daniel folded his arms. "Uh huh," he said with a grin.
Quickly searching for a way to change the subject, Naimah spied something on the man's wrist that she had failed to notice before. The sleeve of his jacket had pulled back slightly to reveal a rather wide black band with a large circle covered with strange symbols attached to it. Curious, she unfolded his arms and unabashedly yanked his wrist closer to her face to get a better look. She marveled at the tiny details on the round device and watched as one long, thin piece of metal inside it moved slowly, little by little, around in a circle. "What does this symbolize?" she asked in fascination.
The question seemed to confuse the man for a moment. "Symbolize? Uh... nothing. It's just a watch. A timepiece... it shows me what time of day it is."
Naimah was baffled by this statement. "Can you not see by looking at the position of the sun or moon in the sky what time of day it is?" she asked.
Daniel smiled and shook his head. "Most of my life is spent working in an underground facility, so it's really a lot easier to use this instead."
"I see." Naimah paused for a moment, not sure how to ask the question that had sprung into her mind at first sight of the black band. She finally decided to just come straight to the point. "In our culture, a band around a man's wrist is a symbol of his commitment to his mate," she said, watching him closely for his reaction.
She was not disappointed. Daniel did a perfect imitation of a fish as he stammered his response. "Oh... really... Um, in our culture we have something similar. For us it's a ring - a band of gold worn around the third finger of the left hand."
Naimah was still holding onto his left arm by his sleeve, so she grabbed the hand in question and flipped it over in an exaggerated search for what was clearly absent. "You do not wear such a ring."
"No. No, I don't."
Naimah looked up at him with narrowed eyes. "You do not have a wife, Daniel Jackson?" She could have sworn she saw a blush begin to rise to his cheeks at the way she was staring at him, which only made her stare even more scrutinizing than before.
"Uh... no. Not at the moment," he replied as he shifted his feet nervously.
"A handsome young thing like you has no wife?" the old woman asked in mock amazement.
Daniel laughed. "I wouldn't exactly call myself 'young', Naimah, and you only added on the 'handsome' part to flatter me."
"Nonsense!" Naimah waved off his objection as though it were a pesky insect. "Compared to me, you are no more than a boy." She reached up to grab his chin in her gnarled old hand, giving it a slight shake as she continued, "And a more handsome face these eyes of mine have never seen! Now... why no wife, hmm?"
She knew the answer before he spoke, just by the way his smile slowly faded and the look in his eyes grew wistful. "I had a wife once. She, uh... she died a few years ago."
Naimah's heart softened even more towards this man at his quiet statement. "I am sorry."
"Thank you," he said, forcing a smile.
They stood in respectful silence for a moment as Naimah inwardly said a prayer for the dead and Daniel seemed lost in a memory.
The old woman was about to speak again when they were joined by another of the travelers from Earth - the woman named Janet Fraiser, whom Naimah understood to be a healer among their people. She and a handful of other travelers had arrived shortly after Daniel Jackson's small group, bringing with them the life-giving medicine that was ending this horrible sickness for good. Naimah liked and admired Janet Fraiser very much, though she had not had much of a chance to speak to the small, confident, tenderhearted woman on a one-on-one basis. She had seen enough of her to know the strength of her will and her determination, however, as the young woman had begun struggling to save the lives of the sick villagers immediately upon her arrival, and she had scarcely allowed herself a moment's rest ever since.
"We're just about done here, Daniel," Janet said after acknowledging Naimah's presence with a respectful nod. "The sick villagers are all resting comfortably, the rest have all been inoculated... looks like this virus is finally under control." Janet then turned to the old woman as she continued, "Naimah, your people are going to be fine. Give the sick a few more days to rest, and they should be as good as new."
"Bless you, child," Naimah said, bowing her head in gratitude.
Janet bowed her head graciously to the old woman in return.
Daniel smiled, looking down at Janet with something akin to pride shining in his eyes. "So, you're going back?" he asked, the presence of the petite doctor seeming to make him forget about the wise old eyes that were trained upon him.
"Yes, I see no real reason why my team should stay," Janet replied. "I think SG-1 can handle things just fine from here." She spoke casually and gave him a tiny smile, but her hand lifted almost involuntarily to her forehead in a gesture of weariness.
Daniel immediately looked concerned. "Hey. You okay?" he asked, laying a hand lightly on her arm.
"Fine, yeah. Just tired. It's been a long couple of days."
"Yeah, no kidding. I've hardly seen you take a break, let alone get any sleep," Daniel chided, his voice gentle and tinged with worry.
Janet seemed to find this statement amusing. "It's a bit ironic to hear those words coming out of your mouth, Daniel, considering I've said the same thing to you in that exact tone of voice countless times."
"Well, never let it be said that I don't listen to my doctor," Daniel teased her.
Janet laughed and turned to go. "I'll see you tomorrow, Daniel."
"Okay," he said, his voice barely above a whisper as he finally allowed his hand to drop from where he'd rested it on her arm. "Bye."
With one last nod to Naimah, Janet began walking away.
"Take care!" Daniel called after her.
Janet turned to wave briefly; then she joined her team on the other side of the marketplace where they were packing up the last of their equipment.
Naimah had watched this exchange curiously. It hadn't taken her long to reach what she knew, after her many years of experience at people-watching, was the correct conclusion about Daniel Jackson and Janet Fraiser. She chuckled to herself, took out a beaded bracelet from among the many items scattered around her stall, and offered it to Daniel.
He took the object from her after shooting her a questioning glance. "What's this?" he asked as he examined the wooden beads of white, red, yellow, blue, and green, strung together in random order on a slightly elasticized string.
"Love beads. For a man who loves and wishes to wed," was the simple reply.
Daniel looked at her in stunned surprise for a moment, before he ducked his head and grinned. Once again, a blush crept across his face as he asked, "Is it really that obvious?"
Naimah chose not to answer that question, and instead handed him another bracelet that was identical to the one he was holding. "Its match. For the woman he is pursuing," she told him, inclining her head knowingly.
Daniel breathed a laugh, gingerly fingering the dainty beads on both bracelets. He looked up again a moment later and nodded gratefully. "Thank you."
Naimah raised her eyebrows in a wordless question, reading the man's heart and silently willing him to follow it.
He stood there looking thoughtful for a moment as he glanced back and forth between the bracelets in his hands and the woman standing across the square. Suddenly seeming to come to some decision within himself, he slipped one onto his wrist. "Excuse me, I'll be right back," he said hurriedly, and without another second's hesitation he jogged over to the others as they were beginning to walk away towards the stone circle. "Janet, wait up!"
Naimah looked on in amused fondness as Daniel caught up to the others, took Janet's arm, and led her aside while the rest of the group went on ahead.
Janet seemed to listen attentively as he spoke, first looking concerned, then confused, and finally glancing over at Naimah in surprise. A slow smile spread across the doctor's face as she spoke to him, and although Naimah could not hear their words, she could tell by the broad smile that broke out on Daniel's face that she had said what he'd wanted to hear.
He slipped the remaining bracelet onto her wrist, took her hand in his, and leaned down to kiss her cheek. As he did so, Janet wrapped one arm around his neck, and they shared a brief but sweet embrace. Once they released each other, Janet continued on her way, though their hands remained connected for as long as possible as they stretched out their arms and kept contact right down to their fingertips.
"I may just be an old woman and not a seer nor a prophet," Naimah muttered to herself as she watched, "but it appears to me that those two will be wearing bands of gold before long."
Janet was still looking back at Daniel as she walked away, lifting her hand in farewell.
Daniel returned the wave, and stood rooted to the spot until the group was out of sight. Only then did he seem to remember Naimah, and he quickly turned and jogged back over to her stall. "Sorry about that," he apologized. "Where were we?"
Naimah smiled wisely and gave his hand a fond pat. "Wear it with pride, my child," she said, knowing that he understood the symbolism behind the token he was wearing, and what his giving the bracelet's twin to Janet had signified.
He smiled and nodded, visibly touched, as he laid his other hand over hers and gave it a light squeeze. "I most certainly will," he said sincerely. "Thank you."
The added confidence in his poise and the extra sparkle in his eyes told her that he already did.