Robert Rothman put down the print he'd been looking at. "So it really meant mush."
From the stool he was perched upon, Daniel pointed at the curvaceous word. He knew now that it had been written by Brown. "Yup. It's an insult for them. At least, when it applies to one of them. They didn't seem to mind that I was a, a Fleshed. All the contrary, actually."
"Crazy stuff. Even now, it doesn't make sense."
"It wasn't meant to. They were just writing random thoughts on the wall."
"But why did they bother writing at all, then?"
Daniel turned his mug of coffee between his hands. He'd been unable to sleep. Every time he'd tried, Brown's gaze had insinuated itself in his dreams, and he'd woken up screaming. At least he hadn't petrified again.
Because of that he had had a lot of time to think. He had pondered all night on what had caused the Gorgons' madness. The answer had come at dawn, when he'd remembered Grey and Brown's features behind the snakes and the eyes. "Senility," Daniel answered. "They had a purpose, but they lost it."
"You're pitying them."
"Well, you know what? I don't. They just freak me out."
"You're a smart man, Robert."
"Uh-uh. You know I'm a digger for sarcasms."
"I wasn't sarcastic." Daniel stared at his boots. The scratch was still there. "I panicked. I didn't tell the others. Okay, I told Jack. A little."
"She petrified you. That's a good reason to panic."
"No. This fear was physical. I couldn't help it, and it could have killed me, but at the same time it didn't feel as bad as when I couldn't communicate. Imagine that, imagine me, unable to talk or read, or translate languages."
Robert coughed. He sat at the table and put his chin on his fist. "It's over."
"What if I get aphasia, later? You know, when I grow older, or if I have an accident?"
"Yeah, that could happen. I just don't think you'll grow old enough for that."
Daniel opened his eyes wide. "This is not what I needed to hear."
"I know, sorry. I'm not good with that crap. You should go ask O'Neill, he's better than me."
"Better? That's the guy who wanted to kill you for no good reason only a couple of days ago."
"I'm not you. Just go."
Daniel looked at the door. "I might just do that."
"You will? Could you do something for me then?"
"Punch him. Take him on the ring and knock him out. I would do it myself, but I want to have a chance to become senile one day."
A few years ago, had someone told Daniel he would like hitting a bag and prefer punching a man, he would have laughed. But Jack had taught him that working up a sweat was a good way to deal with all this meaning of life stuff that kept trotting through his brain. And working up a sweat with someone else was even better.
Daniel cracked his fingers and smirked. "You know what? I'll definitely do that."
After all, they still had an argument or two to settle.
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