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Whispers of the Gods

Title: Whispers of the Gods
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Summary: AU for FiaD; Sha're isn't used to the silence. Written for gateverse_remix, based on Scotoma by rydra_wong. (AU)

"Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson




It's strange, having her own body back.

It's stranger having her mind back.

Sha're isn't used to the silence inside. She's used to being the silence, the not-thoughts in the back of Amaunet's head, pretending she isn't there. Used to skimming the edges of Amaunet's mind, holding on to as much of herself as she can without Amaunet noticing that she's there, monitoring Amaunet's thoughts to make sure they don't stray too close to places Sha're doesn't want her to go.

Only now Amaunet's gone, and there are no thoughts aside from Sha're's own. It's like the moments after one of the sandstorms on Abydos: the silence is too loud, the sun's too bright, the landscape has shifted and everything is too-sharp and too-wrong. (It doesn't help that the place of Daniel's people is not a place she is used to; there are no shadows, but at least there is noise.)

Sha're hums, sometimes, under her breath, because it helps, the noise and the familiarity of it. She carefully doesn't think about whether the songs are familiar because they're ones she knew or because they're ones Amaunet knew.

#

Teal'c comes by once, soon after Amaunet's been taken away. Sha're sees a flicker of surprise in his eyes, quickly masked. He didn't think she'd be awake yet, she thinks; or maybe it's something else. But he recovers quickly, says: "Sha're." Her name is fluid on his tongue, hitting the pronunciation that not even Daniel had managed to capture. "You are well."

Apophis, she knows, hated Teal'c for his betrayal. Amaunet, when she bothered to think of him, did so with bored indifference: Amaunet-as-Sha're never knew him, and Amaunet-before-Sha're never bothered to know him. And Sha're herself--

"Yes," she says.

It seems like a lifetime ago, when she was chosen to become Amaunet. When he chose her, out of a handful of equally scared girls all alike. She wonders if he's forgot, but doubts it; there's a wary stillness to him that could just be his nature, could be Jaffa training, could be any number of factors. Or could be that he remembers things more vividly than she does.

She thinks about her words before she speaks, trying to choose them carefully, but what she wants isn't there. Finally she says, softly, "You were the one to take me." It's not a question, because they both know it. It's just defining the arena they are standing in.

Teal'c, if possible, goes even more still. His jaw clenches, releases; there is a brief burn of anger in his eyes, and she doesn't think it's for her. "I am," he says simply. Offers no excuses, no justification, just silence. Accepts the way things are without trying to redefine it.

Sha're holds his gaze for a long moment, again weighing her words carefully. "I bear you no ill will." If it wasn't what he was expecting her to say, he gives no sign of it. "It was Apophis' doing, his responsibility, not yours." She doesn't speak of half-remembered kindness, because she can't think of the correct words for it.

He inclines his head slightly, and says only, "I am glad you are well." Disappears, and Sha're gives a huff of frustration, because she can't tell whether or not he actually heard what she was trying to say.

#

She's lived with Amaunet for so long -- with, inside, part-and-yet-separate -- that she almost doesn't notice the voice inside her head, the one that sounds like Amaunet. The thought-voice comments on the people around her, their fashion choices, quiet snide commentary that slides into Sha're's thoughts like it belongs there.

When she does notice, it scares her.

#

Teal'c is in kel'no'reem when she visits, surrounded by candles that flicker in the draft of the door opening. (The Amaunet-voice within Sha're approves, silently.) He doesn't move or open his eyes, and she almost turns to leave when he speaks: "Sit." One word, but it is a request, not a command.

She sits, and his eyes open, dark and unreadable. For a moment, neither of them speaks. Teal'c is one of the few people she knows who can meet silence with silence; the Goa'uld like to talk to hear themselves talk, and the Tau'ri, most of the time, like to talk so there is no silence.

Sha're wants to talk so she doesn't hear Amaunet in her mind, but her tongue is heavy.

Finally, she says, "Are there many like me?" The words are badly chosen, ambiguous, and she clarifies, "Those who were once Goa'uld."

"I know of one," he says, and he seems to almost-smile. "I believe he is your brother."

"Skaara," Sha're whispers. She feels a spike of happiness that's almost painful; she had long since thought him dead. (She hadn't known he'd been taken until she saw him with Amaunet's eyes, a fitting host for her son, and Sha're had curled despairing into the back of Amaunet's mind to keep herself from fighting for Skaara's sake. Fighting would not have saved Skaara, and it would nave brought herself to Amaunet's attention.) "He is -- alive? and himself?"

Teal'c inclines his head slightly. There's definitely a smile, though it's more in his eyes than his mouth. "Indeed. I believe he returned to Abydos."

Which is home, she thinks, only it's no longer home. She doesn't examine too closely the twist of something -- fear? -- that she feels at the thought of Abydos.

"No others?" she asks.

"It is... extremely rare... for a host to outlive its symbiote." Slightly more of a smile, there; he knows, Sha're thinks, that he is stating something that is fairly obvious. "Why do you ask?"

Sha're looks at one of the candles, focusing on the brightness of the flame. "Amaunet is gone," she says slowly. "I know this. But... could she still live? Here," touching her head, "part of me."

Teal'c is silent. "I have not heard of such a thing," he says finally. "I do not know for certain that it is impossible."

The candle's flame doesn't flicker. Sha're bites the inside of her lip and nods, standing up. He has said nothing she hasn't already considered, based on her memories of Amaunet's knowledge, but there are answers she would have liked less. "Thank you," she says, and turns to leave.

"Sha're." Teal'c's eyes are closed again, like he is sliding back into the meditation she'd interrupted, but he says, "Major Carter would be a good person to talk to about this."

Sha're smiles. Major Carter -- ("Call me Sam, please," with a quick flash of grin like she's embarrassed to be asking) -- is the only one who treats her like she's normal; to the other Tau'ri, Sha're is an oddity and a curiosity, something to be feared or laughed at or stared at or ignored. Something that is breaking, broken. Not human, not any more.

There are some that, Sha're knows, manage to see past that brokenness. Sam doesn't even see it; all she sees is Sha're. It is part of why she's spent so much time in Sam's company.

#

Sha're doesn't quite forget Teal'c's suggestion, but it never seems like the right time to bring it up, until it comes up in a later conversation that Sam was a host once.

Hosts don't outlive their symbiotes, especially not with the Goa'uld. Sha're is an exception, and Skaara; and, apparently, Sam.

Some time later, when they are not working and when they are alone, Sha're asks, hesitantly, "Do you... ever hear the voice of the Goa'uld?" Sam looks blank for a moment, so she clarifies, "The one that you were host to."

"Oh," Sam says, quick, embarrassed, "it wasn't--" and then she stops and shakes her head, dismissing what she had been about to say. She considers Sha're's question, thoughtful, picking it apart like one of the Goa'uld trinkets she's been studying. "Sort of," she says after a while. "I mean, mainly it was just memories, remembering flashes of things I hadn't experienced. But I... really, I never really noticed it, but sometimes it was kind of like I was hearing thoughts that weren't quite mine and could have been Jolinar's. So, I guess, yeah."

Her expression is full of the kind of sympathy that comes from shared pain rather than pity. Sha're is grateful for that.

"It doesn't mean you're crazy," Sam says, and apparently she's been hearing the things that Sha're isn't saying. "And it doesn't mean that Amaunet's still there, I promise. It's more like..." She looks around, grabs a nearby pad of paper, and draws a quick symbol, pen pressing deep against the paper. It's Apophis' mark, not Amaunet's, but Sha're doesn't correct her. "Okay, this page is Amaunet," Sam says. She tears the top page off, crumples it and throws it away; the page below is clean. "This is you. And if you look--"

There are faint indents in the paper, an echo of the symbol she'd drawn.

Sha're nods.

#

She does not return to Abydos. It is no longer home.

She lived in the desert much of her life, and then in gilded shadows while she was Amaunet, but somehow the metal and concrete of the SGC is where she finds comfort. Where she finds home.

It takes her a while to make sense of that, until she realizes that home isn't the SGC itself, after all, but the people. Her Daniel may not be there (though no one seems entirely convinced that he won't return), but she has made friends, and she has made a difference.

On Abydos, she is dead; as Amaunet, she is dead; here, she lives.

#

She gets assigned after a while to one of the teams. Not SG-1 -- that isn't even a possibility, and she would not want it if it had been -- but a different one. Its primary purpose is information-gathering, not direct contact; it is in some way a form of fighting while staying in the shadows.

The first time through the chappa'ai, Sha're is dressed as the others on the team are (her team, she thinks, and wants to smile), and there is a gun at her waist, an odd weight that she will become used to. She hesitates before stepping through the shimmering surface.

It's not that she's never done it. Sha're herself never had -- there hadn't ever been a place to go to -- but Amaunet-as-Sha're had used the chappa'ai multiple times, enough that Sha're is used to it. She knows what it feels like, knows the split-second infinity of cold rushing silence before you step out the other side, taken apart and put together whole again.

"Hey, it's okay," one of the team members said. He's smiling at her, a friendly encouraging sort of expression. The whole team had been more than welcoming to her, almost eager, but some more than others, and he was one of the some.

"I know," Sha're says. "It is."

She steps through the chappa'ai. The air on the other end is clean and cold, and Sha're can't hear Amaunet in her mind at all.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
qem_chibati
Mar. 26th, 2008 09:29 am (UTC)
Oh. That is beautiful.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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