by Emily M.

She was like him once. Before the plague took everything. Before the learning, before the knowing, she was like him.

Once, she was a woman, a healer, a mother. A citizen of the greatest civilization the galaxy has ever known.

They were the Ancients. They named themselves so. Their kind had prospered for all the time known to all the peoples of the galaxy. They fostered the newer races. The Asgard and the Nox looked to them for council. They formed the alliance and led the other races into a period of prosperity and learning.

The plague began generations before she was born, but it continued despite everything her people did. Each generation of her people lost something of itself in the fight. They were a wise people. They preserved their legacy and their knowledge, but they truly believed that they would win in the end. They were the people who had created the roads between the stars. They believed in themselves and in their technology.

That changed. She changed. She changed the day she saw her child die from an illness that had evaded her all her life.

She learned in those days the hubris of trying to control nature. The universe cannot be controlled, and it can never be fully understood or mastered. It can only be accepted. She learned these things and she joined the others. She ascended.

She gained knowledge and enlightenment, but with all gains there must also be loss.

There was a loss of self. There was a loss of understanding. In knowing the great secrets of the universe and what it is to be ascended, she ceased to understand what she had been.

She watched with interest and then with sorrow as the centuries turned to millennia and all they had built slowly drifted away. She saw the rise to power of a race that had once been nothing more than an intellectual curiosity and she saw the horror that they were capable of. She watched their stargates being used for terrible things.

Her own people no longer seemed to care. She cared.

She was afraid.

There were lines that were not to be crossed. There were rules that could be bent and rules that were to be abided by absolutely. She walked a razor thin edge, and she never fell.

She did what she could.

They called her many things. They called her Oma--mother--and she began to see them as her children. She cared for them. She helped them. She taught them. They followed her.

She loved them and loves them all still, even when they fail to understand what she has tried to teach.


He can't sleep. The pain is beyond the reach of the medicine, but it's more than that. His mind seeks something that is beyond its grasp, like fine powder that slips through his fingers no matter how hard he holds on.

He is missing a part of himself. His knowledge of who he is remains incomplete because he doesn't know who he was. If he is the same person he was a year ago, then he has gained nothing from his journey. If he is not that person, then he does not know how he has changed. That scares him, more than anyone knows. It is a conflict that isn't going away, but he will learn to deal with it. That which cannot be corrected must be endured. The universe can never be controlled. It is a lesson she learned early, but one which he was unwilling to accept.

There is no noise here save the beeping of machinery and soft movement of nurses on the night shift. No one holds vigil over him because his injury is not considered that serious. A flesh wound is not so bad when compared to some things, though the resulting infection worries them.

She numbs the pain receptors around the wound on his leg, finishing the job started by the Demerol. The lines in his face smooth and he relaxes against the bed. He never asks for more medicine than they give him. It is a form of penance for a crime he's not sure he committed. Once, she taught him to release his burden, but that lesson like so many has been forgotten. Now he carries his guilt like a great weight, made worse because it is of an unknown quality.

She should not have allowed him to go so far, but she had to see how far he was willing to go. And perhaps there was some part of her that allowed it because his frustrations mirrored her own. Because leaving Anubis as he was and giving him such a decided advantage was unjustifiable. Because it was their responsibility even if the others no longer saw it that way.

And perhaps she was too close to him. She always is too close to those who were just beginning to travel the great path. They come to her full of fire and spirit and she quells it and teaches enlightenment and peace. Part of her will always long for the time when she had passion instead of peace.

But he had too much passion. He strived for too much, pushed too hard. Had he stayed longer, he would have learned. Mountains cannot be moved, but stones can be shifted. In time, the same result can be achieved.

She lets some of herself wash over him and he opens his eyes, but sees nothing that should have disturbed him. Yet somehow he knows that she is there, and that she still cares for him. Perhaps it is some form of comfort.

Once, he was like her. Now their paths have diverged again. She leaves him. There is nothing more she can do here.


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