So instead of doing homework I played Percy (interimminister
) on hp_dungeons
Now for some Stargate stuff:~*~*~
Jack rapped on Daniel's screen door, a tinny, aluminum sound, but he obviously couldn't be heard over the rise and fall of chanting. The voice called "Al-akba!"
-something-something, a flowing musical sound. He finally just let himself in, dumped the fruit basket on Daniel's counter and turned the corner to find Daniel kneeling on the livingroom floor, eyes closed, lips moving voicelessly to the recording.
"What the hell's that?" He was used to weird sounds coming out of Daniel, but usually his taste in music was normal. If a little new-age-y and bland.
Daniel startled. "Oh. I'm studying the Koran." He reached up and turned the stereo down. "It really is meant to be heard rather than read."
"Islam?" Jack frowned. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't those guys just attack
"No..." Daniel turned to him, lips parted in surprise. "A bunch of crazies did."
"Yeah." Jack nodded slowly. "Like I said - didn't those guys just attack us?"
"There are four billion Muslims, Jack. I think we'd notice if they all attacked."
all those people dead in New York."
"Here. Listen to this." Daniel sighed and turned up the jibber-jabber. Jack listened for several moments with a puzzled expression on his face. "It says, loosely translated of course, that one can defend oneself but that 'Allah loves not the aggressor.'"
"Hunh." It could very well say 'bananas ten dollars a bunch,' but Jack took his word for it.
"I have a hard time reconciling what is said in the Koran with what people, some
people, do. But it's always like that with religious philosophies."
"It brings out the crazy in all of us?" Jack quipped, recalling Daniel practically talking to himself a minute before.
"No. They make handy excuses when you're pissed off." He turned up the chanting. He started making quiet, small gestures, hands at his chest, hands up...
This was too weird. "What are doing?"
"Huh?" Daniel stopped the gestures. "Oh. I didn't realize I was doing that." He smiled, eyes vague and distant. "When I was five or six my parents were in Cairo, stocking up between digs. We'd been there a lot, and five times a day there'd be this... sound... this singing voice throughout the city, from the rooftops, everywhere. And almost everyone would stop and leave. It was like a magic spell was cast. Well I was a pretty curious little kid."
Daniel chuckled a little. "It had been nagging at me for a while, I remember. So I just sort of... followed them. I guess I was a little late and small enough that nobody noticed me as I stepped into these beautiful arched buildings, following that sound. People were bowing and it was all so peaceful.
"I suppose people must have noticed me then, but they stuck to their prayers. They were doing the same things, so I started imitating the men," Daniel said, slightly starry-eyed, repeating a few of the gestures. "Later, the Sufis were very amused. They bought me some juice while we waited for my parents to find me."
"You were in Cairo and your parents lost track of you
"I was pretty good at giving my babysitters the slip. But yeah, they were frantic. I was in a lot of trouble." Daniel smiled guilitily. "But after the Sufis told them what had happened, they thought it was adorable. They asked me to show them what I learned and the Sufis walked me through it again. They took a lot of pictures." He stood and pulled an old bound volume off a shelf. "I have some of them here, I think."
"Baby pictures?" Jack perked up, reaching for it. Blackmail time. "You've been holding out on me."
Daniel handed him the photo album and Jack started paging through. Daniel had definitely been an only child: there were tons of pictures of very blond, grubby little kid. No naked pictures to tease Daniel with, disappointingly.
"Anyhow, I can't seem to reconcile that memory with all the crazy stuff." Daniel looked wistful. "Sometimes when I miss my family I play some recordings from Cairo, or listen to the recitation."
Daniel turned up the floaty chanting while Jack paged through the photo album.
Camels and people in turbans, a picture of a huge crew at what looked like a flattened construction site where Daniel stood out like a white dot - he turned the page - and smiling very intellectual-looking parents. They both wore glasses, Jack noted, deciding Daniel looked more like his mother. Then there was his grandfather Nick, looking a lot younger, in front of a museum display.
And more museums, museums, museums... they all started to blur together.
Jack pointed to a later picture, one that was more recognizably Daniel, albeit with white-blond hair and ultra-tanned skin. But the glasses had finally appeared. "Where was this?"
"Oh, I dunno. The museums started to all seem the same. Just different layouts everyone would argue over," Daniel said absently. Jack returned to the earlier Cairo pictures which were at least a place
, and studied them. Daniel's lips moved with the chants, but he didn't say anything, seeming a million miles away.
"I'd like to go there with you sometime," Jack mused.
"To a mosque?" Daniel blinked, startled from his reverie.
"No. To there - Cairo." Jack gestured to the photos.
"Yeah, I guess it is the closest thing I have to a 'hometown.'" Daniel was thoughtful. "It probably looks really different now. I haven't been back there in over fifteen years."
"Then it's about time you went."
"All right... yeah. Let's do it." His face returned to the present, eyes sparkling and lively. "But you can't go to Cairo without at least visiting a mosque." Daniel smirked at Jack.
Jack's eyes narrowed at him, thinking this over. "Okay. Deal." He jabbed a finger at Daniel. "But start wearing a turban and I'll leave you there."
(Ooops. Late for tutoring.)
ETA: Finished it after I returned from work.