SUMMARY: It’s 2995 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, and Daniel’s marooned with a Sam who’s making moon eyes at him, a Jack’s who’s determined to get under his skin, a ship to repair, a rebellion to plan, and a big pile of Jaffa in the basement. At least Teal’c’s cool. Dedicated to everyone who watched Moebius Part 2 and thought, “WTF did they just do to my Daniel??? Strand him in hell with Teal’c and the Kama Sutra Twits?” I wrote the story to find out, and it turns out maybe it wasn’t so bad after all.
CATEGORY: Humor, drama, angst? I’m not sure!
TIME: post-Season 8
SPOILERS: Pretty much anything through the end of S8
WARNINGS: J/S are not together - if that’s a problem, you may want not to read. Alt-Sam has a crush on Daniel, but nothing comes of it. Some people feel this has hints of alt-Jack/Daniel slash, but I think that’s just because I had to make fun of Alt-Jack for speculating on Daniel’s orientation.
COMPLETED: July 2005
CREDIT: A million thanks to my fabulous beta, Redbyrd, who pointed out mistakes and some very nice missed opportunities!
AUTHOR’S NOTES: This story quickly outgrew my original plan, so I’m writing a sequel to it, and I will post a link to it here (and on the main page) as soon as I’m done with it. The original plan was to have Alt-Jack and Alt-Sam set up house with each other, Daniel say good riddance, and focus on his relationship with Alt-Teal’c. But Alt-Jack and Alt-Sam resisted, demanding a chance to experience "the Daniel factor" they’d missed out on in their timeline.
“This is ridiculous,” Daniel Jackson grumbled suddenly, reactivating his communication device and speaking into it. “What’s the holdup?”
Teal’c watched the young man, curious to hear the answer himself. No reply was forthcoming from the occupants of the small time travel ship.
Daniel Jackson clicked his transmitter again. “Jack, my people are standing here holding off twenty Jaffa, and for all we know they’ve already called for reinforcements. We need to move that ship now.” He watched the ship with an expression of exasperation.
After a moment, Colonel O’Neill and Doctor Carter emerged from the jumper ship. They made their way cautiously past the Jaffa, staying out of arm’s reach. As soon as they were clear, Daniel Jackson turned to Katep on the ridge and shouted in what struck Teal’c as a strange blend of languages. ”Sha’lokma’kor! Semu. Alive!”
Katep and the others swept down the dunes and swarmed on the Jaffa, confiscating weapons and binding hands. Daniel Jackson carefully watched both his troops and the immediate vicinity, ready to give commands the instant the situation changed.
As Colonel O’Neill came to stand beside Daniel Jackson, he joined the younger man in his vigil. “Thanks for the rescue.”
“Yeah,” Daniel Jackson said in a preoccupied tone. “We’re going to need the ship.”
Doctor Carter looked down.
O’Neill frowned. "You’re going to need me, too, unless you’ve sprouted a new gene since you came here." When Daniel Jackson failed to respond, O’Neill looked away and asked. “Where’d you learn to command troops like that?”
Daniel Jackson continued scanning the horizon for reinforcements as he answered. “Had a good teacher.”
O’Neill shifted his weight from one foot to the other, attempting to look bored. But to Teal’c, he radiated curiosity and anticipation.
Daniel Jackson caught Katep’s eye and made a signal with his arm. Katep signaled back. “Teal’c, would you make sure they get the Jaffa back to the mound and secure them? And in the name of all that’s good, see that no one gets snaked by a symbiote jumping out of a pouch.”
“That is most unlikely, Daniel Jackson,” Teal’c began to explain.
“I know, but something like it happened once.” He shrugged. “Call me overcautious. Actually, you can just call me Daniel.”
Teal’c bowed his head in acknowledgment, and turned to see Katep and the others starting to march the Jaffa across the bowl.
“Wait,” O’Neill put in. “You’re just going to hold the Jaffa prisoner?”
Daniel frowned. “Well, we move in a few days, right? We can hold them that long.”
O’Neill shrugged, then nodded uneasily.
“Don’t you think slaughtering them all might affect the timeline a little?” Daniel asked, startling Doctor Carter.
“Yeah,” O’Neill replied with a frown.
Daniel shook his head and looked away. “Come on.” He started walking toward the ship without making certain O’Neill followed.
Frosty. Frosty was a good word for it, Jack thought. Like a fudgsicle - icy and hard, with a stick up his rear. The other Daniel had been all infectious enthusiasm and passion, dragging Carter halfway across the continent on her frequent flyer miles to try and interest Jack in something so far off his menu he couldn’t even develop a taste for it.
This Daniel wasn’t unfriendly, exactly, but the man was cold and efficient, and left no doubt as to who’d be giving the orders. A lot of men – particularly full colonels in the U.S. Air Force – would have considered it a threat to their manhood. Not Jack O’Neill. He didn’t have enough manhood left to threaten. If he’d thought putting on the uniform and picturing himself as some intergalactic hero was going to salvage it, he’d have been sorely disappointed. Fortunately, he hadn’t. He wondered briefly if the other Jack – General Jack O’Neill (gag) – had lost his family, too. Well, he must have if he’d gone off gallivanting through time with two geeks and an alien. Or maybe they were only geeks in his reality.
What had happened to that funny little academic who had to feel his way around a room when he lost his glasses, but didn’t break under torture? Or had this guy ever been him? Why did they even look alike in different realities? Why weren’t any of them llamas, or stadium seats, or Venus Flytraps? To your left, you will see Reality Number 317 from the Third Fruited Plane of Existence, in which Jack O’Neill is a sentient slice of boysenberry pie-
“Are you doing it?” Danny asked, squinting at him in the sun.
And what was with him thinking of this guy as “Danny” all the time? He wasn’t exactly the cute and cuddly type. “Doing what?”
“Imagining the ship invisible,” he said slowly, like he was talking to a kid he’d caught napping in class.
“Oh, right.” Jack closed his eyes, imagined the ship not being there, and opened them again. Still there. “I got nothing.”
“Okay,” Danny sighed. “Something must be damaged.”
Suddenly Jack felt something warm brush his hand, and Danny was pulling the remote cloaking thing out of his closed fingers. He looked at the younger man curiously, but Danny was already walking toward the entrance of the little ship. Jack glanced at Sam, tagging along behind them, and she managed an awkward little smile.
As they entered the ship, Danny stared pointedly at the wires dangling down from the panel Sam had been working on.
“I… I was working on that when the Jaffa showed up,” she explained.
“Can you fix it?”
She nodded, then realized Danny wasn’t looking at her. “Yeah, given some time.”
“Well, if we get this thing moved and cloaked,” Danny murmured, “you can have some time. Can we move?”
Jack shook his head. “I tried to take off before, and it wouldn’t go.”
“It got here just fine,” Danny pointed out.
“Doesn’t mean the landing didn’t damage something,” Jack counterpointed. “I did exactly what I did before to fire her up, and I’m tellin’ ya, it’s not working.”
Danny looked skeptical – if not downright exasperated - but just turned away with an almost imperceptible shake of his head. Just what the hell was this guy’s problem? “This way,” Snotboy muttered as he headed toward the cockpit. “Sam, you can stay back here and work. Focus on getting the ship to move for now, since this position’s known. We’ll worry about cloaking later.”
Jack rolled his eyes at Carter, but followed Danny. If the kid… Kid? The guy had to be forty. Anyway, if he wanted to get into an irritation match, Jack was his man. “You know, I keep thinking of you in my head as Danny.”
Danny glanced over his shoulder without really meeting Jack’s eyes. “Well, don’t.”
“You can’t tell me what to think.”
Danny turned back to the front and rolled his shoulders, then stretched his neck. “I meant don’t call me that.”
“Why not?” He stepped up beside him.
Danny motioned to the pilot’s seat and sat down in the co-pilot’s chair. “Because it’s not my name and I probably won’t even respond. Now, if we-”
“Well, what should I call you then?”
Danny stared at him for a second, then looked around the cockpit. “Daniel’s fine,” he said in a flat voice. “Or Jackson. Or Dr. Jacks-”
“Is that what the other me-“
“No. Uh, which? Look, will you just-“
“He called you Danny, and somehow-“
“No, he never called me Danny,” he answered in a strained voice. “Not after I told him to stop, anyway.”
“What a-ha?” He was definitely getting impatient.
“He wanted to call you Danny. And somehow I knew that.”
Danny closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “No, you didn’t. It doesn’t work that way. The fact that you both want to call me by a nickname just indicates some shared personality trait between the two of you. Or maybe in both realities, you’ve known someone named Danny before.”
“Nope. Never.” That was a lie, but since Jack knew for certain it wasn’t the reason, he figured that was okay.
“It doesn’t mean there’s some magical bleed through between realities. If you feel like you know me, that’s…” He trailed off, looking down like he’d just said more than he meant to.
“What?” Jack pressed.
He shook himself out of it. “That’s just you. No matter what you have in common, you’re not… him.”
So what, then? Jack wasn’t the type to feel connections to people he’d just met. There had to be something else going on here. “But he did want to call you Danny.”
Danny stared at him. For a second, Jack thought the look on his face was softening – then he spoke, just loud enough for Sam to hear, too. “Well, maybe. So did Sam’s dad, Jacob. In fact, Jack and Jacob had an awful lot in common. Roughly the same age, both called me Danny, both hardass career mil-“
“Hey, hey!” Jack snapped. “Knock it off.”
“What?” Danny continued, taunting. “You afraid I’m going to tell her how much she resembles your ex-wife?”
“Shut up, and leave her out of this!” Jack demanded, putting just enough sincere plea into his voice to get Danny’s attention.
Over by the circuit panel, Sam was looking very, very confused. Clearly Danny had some idea what had been going on in the ship earlier - which was creepy - and he wasn’t above using any knowledge at his disposal to make people back off. But Jack wasn’t going to let him drag Sam into what he’d started.
“Sit down,” Danny said in a voice so calm and dismissive that Jack bristled and just stood there. The corner of Danny’s mouth quirked. “Fine, just stand there.”
Jack sat down. “You know, you are nothing like the Daniel in our reality.”
“I know the feeling. Now, what we-“
“I liked him.”
“That’s fabulous. Really. Sounds like it did him a lot of good in the end. We need to move-“
“What exactly is your problem?”
“What’s my problem?” Danny snapped, suddenly sitting forward aggressively and narrowing his eyes. “My problem is that there may be Jaffa headed here any minute, and you’ve already tried to hold up the operation once, and now you’re doing it again. We need to get this ship moved. Unfortunately, you’re the only person I know who can move it, and instead you’re sitting here… bleating about what people used to call each other five thousand years in the future!”
Jack kept his face composed, but inwardly - bingo! A reaction from Iceman. “I do not bleat.”
“Just move the goddamn ship.”
And now to see if he could totally send the guy apeshit. “You know,” he said slowly, not remotely hastening to follow the order, “you really look hot when you’re angry.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sam’s head snap around to listen. He braced himself for a tantrum. Possibly even blows.
Danny’s eyes narrowed a little more, but then the groundhog saw its shadow and he reverted to his former frozen state. “Well, I’ll be sure to keep my temper around you. I know how difficult it is for you to stay focused around people you find attractive.”
Damn. Matching Danny’s calm, Jack replied, “Don’t worry - you’re safe.”
Danny looked relieved. “Really? Huh.”
Jack stared at him, trying to gauge whether he was serious or just messing with him. After all, aside from that brief snip of film, he had no idea what “General O’Neill” had been like. General. Unbelievable. Maybe the guy had slept his way to the top, as Jack sure couldn’t imagine any other way any version of him would attain that rank. Second thought – as he pictured Sara laughing her ass off at that one – he decided that was even less likely than just plain earning it. Nah. The other O’Neill must’ve blackmailed his way into the position.
“Now,” Danny continued with a little lilt to his voice, “we need to move the ship over behind that ridge I showed you.”
Oh, so he was enjoying himself now, was he? “I know,” Jack growled.
“Then why don’t you do it?” Danny asked in that maddening calm.
Jack turned his attention to moving the ship, satisfied that underneath it all, he’d irritated Danny just a little. The Daniel from his reality had so wanted to be a part of that whole team vibe, and Jack hadn’t kept him alive long enough to see it. Nor Kowalski, damn it.
This Daniel didn’t seem to miss his team or want to get to know their replacements – but that was just tough. They were all stuck here together.
Sam stifled a burp – travel and unfamiliar foods always did that to her. Jack gave her an amused glance before returning his attention to the conversation taking place in the corner around a table.
“That would expose the left flank,” Daniel was saying.
Teal’c looked at him uncertainly.
For a second, Sam thought Daniel was going to smile – the look on his face was almost affectionate. “Teal’c, you’re still thinking like the first prime of Apophis. These people are not warriors – we need minimal casualties.”
Teal’c straightened and lifted his head. “I see.”
They’d finally gotten the jumper moved, and Sam had made a lot of headway on the cloaking repairs – at least she was pretty sure that’s what she was fixing – while the guys went around looking at weapons and troops and the landscape. Then Daniel had announced it was time for the evening meal.
Dinner hadn’t gone too badly. Jack had kept trying to talk to Daniel, draw him out, and Daniel deflected most of the questions. By the end of the meal, they didn’t know anymore about him than they had when they saw the tape. But now he knew all about how they’d been brought together suddenly just within the past few weeks, and how their Daniel had died.
And if Jack even remembered her kissing her on the ship, he wasn’t letting on. Not so much as a funny look. She had kind of thrown herself at him. Maybe he just wasn’t that interested.
She cringed, feeling confused and adrift. Stuck here forever…
Jack walked over to join Daniel and Teal’c in their strategy session, so Sam figured she might as well tag along.
“How’s dinner settling?” Daniel asked as they approached, a knowing twinkle in his eyes.
“Better than MRE’s,” Jack said amiably.
“Interesting,” Sam said honestly.
“You get used to it,” Daniel said, with the flash of what might have been a smile. “It’s really just good Middle Eastern cuisine.”
“I noticed that,” Jack commented.
Daniel nodded. “You know, maybe we should all turn in for the night. Katep’s got room for the two of you –“ he said to Sam and Jack – “and Teal’c can kel’no’reem in my tent.”
“Ream?” Jack echoed. “What?”
Daniel’s eyes narrowed slightly. “A Jaffa meditation they practice in lieu of sleep.”
“I will show you the way,” Katep said, appearing just behind Jack.
Jack turned a questioning gaze on Daniel.
“Goodnight,” Daniel said pointedly. “See you in the morning.”
Jack followed Katep out of the tent. Teal’c left next, apparently already knowing his way to Daniel’s tent. Daniel was rolling up the scroll with the battle plan when he realized Sam had lingered. He turned to her briefly, raising an eyebrow, inviting her to speak.
And Sam got a vicious case of stomach butterflies. For someone so… so… educated and cultured, he was incredibly intimidating. And not just because he had a pair of eyes experienced divers could drown in. She had a creepy feeling he could see right through her. “Uh… um…” She gulped, not at all sure she could continue.
He looked at her thoughtfully. “You okay?”
She forced herself to remember the other Daniel, the sweet and approachable one – even though there was a chance the two men had nothing in common – and finally managed to blurt out, “How did you know my dad?”
His face softened, and he sat down on the edge of the table, which brought him down to just below her eye level. “He was an Air Force general. He used to join us on missions sometimes.”
“R-really?” she stammered. “You called me ‘Colonel’ on the tape.”
Daniel nodded. “Yeah, your counterpart was a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.”
She couldn’t begin to fathom. “And Jack?”
“He was our team leader for a long time. Then he was promoted to general and your counterpart took over the team.”
“And Teal’c was…”
“Teal’c betrayed Apohis to save our lives.”
“Oh, so… same here. And, um… you?”
He turned back to the table, apparently looking for something on it. “I was the archeologist who figured out how to dial the Stargate.”
“But you were on the team?”
His mouth quirked. “If I remember correctly.”
There was one more question she had to ask, and even though she’d gotten past her initial trepidation, she wasn’t sure how he would take it. “Were we friends? I mean the other me and you?”
Daniel stared at her. “Sure.”
“The reason I’m asking is,” she rattled on, “the Daniel in my timeline – even though we didn’t know each other long, we sort of really clicked. And I miss him. I don’t expect you to be just like him, but I think maybe you’re more like him than you seem, and it’s just that you’ve uh… had different life experiences… and uh… I guess what I’m trying to say is, if we’re stuck here for the rest of our lives, I hope we can be friends.”
Daniel looked down at his knee, and stared intently. Sam got the feeling she’d really thrown him somehow – a feat she would have classified as impossible a few minutes ago. “What was he like?”
“Our Daniel? Uh, he was… he felt like he was meant to be a part of something big all his life, and when we found out about the Stargate, he was determined we would get to go. Said he wouldn’t leave me behind, either, because we were supposed to be a team. He was…” she chuckled at the memory. “He kept withholding bits of information from the military when he was doing the translation, so they’d have to keep us on. And then when he realized they weren’t going to let us go through the gate anyway, he dragged me off to go see Colonel O’Neill and get him to vouch for us.”
He barely smiled again. “Did it work?”
“Uh, no,” she said. “But later they brought Colonel O’Neill in, and we managed to talk him into it then.”
He lost the smile. “Let me guess. Colonel O’Neill was retired and probably a mess, I had some loser job teaching somewhere-“
“English as a second language.”
“They thought your theories about the pyramids were wrong,” she added by way of explanation.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s a universal constant in every reality. Really makes a guy wonder.”
She gave him a moment, but he didn’t say anymore. “So?”
“Can we be friends?”
He frowned and glanced around at nothing in particular, and for the first time reminded her of the other Daniel. “Well,” he said slowly. “It’s not a question of… did you ever have a dog that died when you were a kid?”
“Um… a cat,” she answered, taken off guard by the topic change.
Daniel nodded. “And can you imagine if your dad had just gone and bought you another cat that looked identical to that one, and given it the same name, and expected you to treat it like it was the same cat?”
“Uh,” Sam chuckled nervously, not at all humorously. “He did, actually. I guess he thought he was helping. But it was… creepy.”
Daniel looked vaguely horrified. “I’m sorry to hear that.” Then he shook his head and returned to his topic. “Do you see the relevance here?”
“I’m sorry,” she muttered. At least he’d opened up to her at least that much. “But we’re not expecting you to treat us like the people you knew. Just…”
“I know,” he nodded, looking down again. For a moment, she thought he was going to confide something, but then he worked his mouth for a second, and finally said, “It’s an adjustment.” He shifted his weight off the edge of the table. “I’ll show you the way to Katep’s.”
She turned as he ushered her out with a hand on her back. She didn’t want to push her luck, but there was something else she needed to know. “Uh, Daniel?” she said as they passed under the tent flap.
“Was there, uh…” Whoa, her throat was going to close up before she could get this one out. “Was… uh… uh…” Her voice was shaking.
Daniel frowned. “Was there what?”
“Ever anything between us?” she blurted out rapid fire. “I mean, your us.”
He stared at her for a second. “Um, no. Not like that. We were just… very good friends who’d, uh… been through a lot together.”
“Oh,” she murmured, sounding more disappointed than she’d intended to.
“Why?” he drawled.
“I just thought…” she muttered uncertainly. “It’s just, the Daniel in my timeline… uh…”
He stopped walking and stared at her, gobsmacked. “Exactly how much did you two ‘click’?”
“Oh, no, nothing like that,” she said hurriedly. “I mean, we’d just met and… um… no, nothing like that.”
He crossed his arms. “You mean nothing like whatever I interrupted going on in that ship?”
She felt herself blush – how could he have known? She’d never literally wished for the earth to open up and swallow her whole, but that sounded right just about now. “How did you…”
“…know you’re interested in Jack? Let’s just call it a lucky guess.”
Ooookay. She shook her head and continued, hoping she wouldn’t just make it worse. “We just, uh… there was a sort of… well, I thought it was a mutual, um… attraction, but maybe it was just me…with the other, um… you.”
“Oh, for God’s sake,” Daniel muttered. “Please don’t tell me you’re… both of us?”
“Well, no, I mean…” She couldn’t finish. Well, yeah, both of them. Hell, she couldn’t remember the last time a man had treated her with anything like respect. Come to think of it, respect wasn’t the first word to come to mind with Jack, either, but he’d been… what had he been, exactly? Now she was confused. “I don’t know.”
He clapped his hands down on her shoulders and gave her a gentle shake. “Okay, listen up, Sam. I’m only going to say this once, and that’ll just have to do for the next five thousand years. Get. Your. Shit. Together.”
“…shit. I’d suggest a little visualization exercise - take some time this evening, maybe, pick out an object in Katep’s tent and imagine it’s Sam Carter’s emotions. Introduce yourself to them. Imagine them introducing themselves to you, because trust me, you guys have never, ever met.”
“Um…” She was pretty sure he’d just insulted her, but he’d said it in such a stern big-brother sort of way that she was having trouble taking offense. “I’m not that repressed.”
He took his hands away from her shoulders and looked at her gravely. “Then why are you interested in two guys you just met?”
She blinked at him. “Well, I mean… have you seen you?”
He ducked his chin, but not before she saw a grin. “And have you seen you?”
“That was a joke,” she informed him. “I mean, not that you’re not…”
“I get it,” he smiled. “But don’t you think it’s… I don’t know - weird that you’ve traveled through time, you’re helping to plan a rebellion that’s going to change the destiny of humans throughout the galaxy, and the foremost question on your mind is when you’re going to…” He finished with a meaningless hand gesture in lieu of the words.
She stared at him, fully intending to argue… but he was exactly right. Why was she even thinking about men at all? Ten years ago, there would’ve been nothing in her brain but the science behind all this, the thrill of discovery, the thirst to understand more. But ten years ago, she’d thought her career was on a fast track, and her father would eventually be proud of her.
God, he’d have loved her as a lieutenant colonel. She bet the other Sam Carter hadn’t spent a lot of time worrying about men and – “Wait a second. You assumed I was repressed because she was?”
He looked embarrassed. “Yes. I’m sorry; that was unfair.”
“No, I’m asking." She shook her head. She needed to know if the Sam Carter who’d been an intergalactic space hero had also been a miserable mess, because if she had, then that meant it wasn’t her life that was screwed up, it was… “Was that just your opinion, or did she tell you something?”
The look on his face told her a lot: something had happened, and he wasn’t sure he should tell her. And she definitely wasn’t sure she wanted to hear. But she raised an eyebrow, prompting him to answer.
After a brief glance away, he did. “An enemy of ours – not the Goa’uld, another one – designed a nanotech machine-creature of sorts, based on Sam’s personality, knowledge and feelings. It was so powerful, it was poised to take over the whole galaxy with its own kind, killing all organic life in the process.”
Okay, so she really really wasn’t going to want to hear this. Tough. She had to know.
“It came to us, and played Sam for information. Sam thought she could play it right back, since it was based on her. And it outsmarted her. It knew her moves better than she did.” Suddenly he started laughing, and couldn’t seem to get stopped. “It’s really kind of funny, if you think about it!”
Yeah, it was. She was standing in ancient Egypt with a madman. On the other hand, if what he was saying was true… he was kind of entitled, wasn’t he? “Are you sure it wasn’t the differences between it and her that fooled her, because-“
He shook his head. “No. I mean, it was different – it was an evil killing machine – but what it used to trick her was her own denial.”
She blinked at him, waiting for clarification. “Of?”
Daniel took a deep breath. “Of her desires. Instead of just accepting that she wanted things she couldn’t - or shouldn’t - have, she tried to convince herself she didn’t want them.”
“How do you know?”
“The Replicators were capable of literally reaching into a person’s brain to get the information they held,” he explained, his expression resolute. “When it did that to me, I returned the favor.”
She stared at him, a chill traveling down her spine. And back up. And down again for good measure. Suddenly, a horrible thought struck her. “Is that why you had to come after the ZPM?”
He frowned. “No, but damn, that would have made a good story. No. But it was the reason I died.”
“Yeah. The fourth time.”
“Well, technically, I was dead for a few minutes at this Goa’uld pleasure palace, too, and once when I was in this old man’s body…” he shuddered. “But I don’t really count those. Don’t want to sound like I’m just going for drama.”
“You, uh…” she was trying to hold onto some semblance of the topic, of what was really being said here amidst the avalanche of everything not said. “So ultimately, you died because of me? The other me?”
“You could look at it that way,” he said, shrugging. “I do. Not that I’m bitter.”
She scrunched up her face in distress. “You don’t look dead now.”
He grinned again and looked to the sky. “Friends in high places.”
She stared at him, completely at a loss. She wondered how Carl Sagan would have handled this moment.
Suddenly, Daniel’s face softened again. Beyond softened – he looked chagrined. “Sorry to lay all that on you. Maybe a tad bitter. Anyway, it wasn’t you, and I shouldn’t have dumped it on you.” He looked to the east and pointed at a cluster of three tents. “Katep’s tent is the middle one.”
“Oh,” she said nervously. “You don’t suppose there’s anywhere else I could sleep?”
Daniel smiled slowly, getting her meaning. “Well, Katep and his wife and baby will be right there, so there’s no threat of privacy. Which…” he frowned, “I assume will have an inhibiting effect.“ He muttered something under his breath about Jack and locker rooms.
Right. Okay. She nodded and made her way to Katep’s tent. As she walked away from Daniel, his words from earlier in the day rang in her ears: Jack and Jacob had an awful lot in common. And he’d known somehow she was attracted to Jack.
Sam knew she had issues with her father’s approval, and seeking it by proxy from other men. That had come up in the therapy she’d gone through after he’d died. Unfortunately, knowing it and stopping it weren’t the same thing. Had her counterpart pursued something with the other Jack? There had to be rules against that kind of thing, didn’t there?
And what had the… Replicator, he’d called it – what had it used against Sam? Desires she was in denial about having.
What if she’d taken some huge risk that banked on the nanotech machine not being able to kill the people she’d loved? If so, she’d been wrong – it apparently hadn’t had a problem killing Daniel.
It was too much to take in, too much to consider. She’d think about it tomorrow.
“No, you gave me so much!”
With a start, Daniel woke up to find Teal’c sitting beside his pallet, observing him. Then he realized that passionate whisper had been his own voice. “Oh. Was I talking in my sleep?”
“You were.” Teal’c answered.
“Sorry I disturbed you.”
“You did not. I had completed kel’no’reem.”
Daniel frowned. “What was I saying?”
“You spoke a name over and over,” Teal’c answered. “Sha’re. Then you said ‘there is always a way out’. Then you spoke the name Jack several times. And finally-“
“You gave me so much,” Daniel finished.
Teal’c inclined his head in confirmation. Daniel sat up in his pallet and rubbed the back of his head.
“You are troubled by events from your past,” Teal’c observed.
Daniel considered giving a flip answer, but Teal'c was being too sincere. “Yeah. When I’m reminded of them.”
“Did you witness the deaths of your comrades?”
Insert knife; twist. And yet he found himself taking pride that Teal’c assumed he could handle such a blunt question. “Yes, I did.”
“You were unable to save them,” Teal’c surmised in a heavy voice.
Daniel stared at him. God, he was so much like the other Teal’c. He got it. He understood the pain. “Yeah.”
“How did they come to be captured without you?”
Daniel looked away. He knew if he didn’t respond, Teal’c would drop it and probably never ask again. But he’d never recounted this story out loud before, and suddenly… he wanted to release the burden. He took a deep, bitter breath. “Jack managed to hide me and create a diversion.”
Teal’c looked thoughtful. “He chose your life over his own.”
“Yeah,” Daniel managed through a suddenly tight throat.
“How, then, did you come to witness their executions?”
Daniel decided right then and there that Teal’c would have made one helluva counselor. Maybe if any of the ones he’d been sent to after his parents’ deaths had been this unafraid to talk about what had happened, he’d have learned to talk about it. “It didn’t happen immediately. Ra held them for three days while his Jaffa traveled around, bringing people from all over to witness what happened to those who dared to rebel. Katep and I worked for two days to come up with a plan to save them. You, uh…” he smiled briefly. “You wouldn’t believe some of the things we considered. We finally came up with one we thought was worth the risk.”
“No,” Daniel said wearily. “It required SG-1’s cooperation, so Katep managed to sneak me in to where they were being held. I told them the plan, and they refused to go along with it.”
“For what reason?”
“A very good one, actually: it was almost a guarantee that a lot of Egyptians would be killed. They weren’t willing to risk that just to save their own lives. And they hadn’t come up with any ideas, either. I kept trying to come up with something, right up to the last possible minute.”
“There was no way out.”
“Not this time,” Daniel whispered. “I knew someday we’d finally walk into something we couldn’t walk out of, and there’d be no reprieve. I just… I never expected I’d be the only one left behind.”
Teal’c waited a moment before speaking. “You are angry with them for dying.”
“I thought I’d made peace with it,” he acknowledged. “Until they showed up.”
“They?” Teal’c repeated, his inference obvious: not me?
Daniel smiled at him in the darkness. It had taken him a while to figure that one out, too. “When I first met the Teal’c in my timeline, he had just chosen my wife to become a host to Apophis’ queen. I didn’t blame him for that – in fact, I blamed myself - but it was a painful reminder, and it took a while for us to get past that. For some reason with you…” He couldn’t bring himself to say it. He hated talking about his feelings.
“The bond of camaraderie seems to have anticipated the actual meeting.”
Daniel stared at him. “That’s… a really beautiful way to put it. So you… you noticed it, too?”
“Indeed,” Teal’c smiled. “I also observed that you seem resistant to the overtures of friendship made by Colonel O’Neill.”
Daniel frowned. “Well, I was irritated with his lack of focus today, but that doesn’t mean-”
“You are uncomfortable in his presence, and mask it with indifference.”
“Can’t fool you, huh?” Daniel smiled wryly.
“You do not seem uncomfortable with Doctor Carter.”
“No, I’m not,” he confirmed. “No pressure, no expectations.”
“You believe O’Neill expects something from you?”
Daniel looked at him for a second. “I’m getting that feeling. You see, all Jack – my Jack – and I did for eight years was push each other’s buttons.” That wasn’t quite fair, and he found after a moment he couldn’t leave it at that. “Actually, we pushed each other to our fullest potential. Brought out a lot of the best in each other.”
Teal’c looked thoughtful. “That sounds like a positive experience to me, Daniel.”
Whoa, he really was going to call him just Daniel? Cool. Back on track… “Oh, it was. Jack was… the best friend I ever had.” He shrugged and stared across the tent at nothing in particular. “I don’t think history’s going to repeat itself with this version of him.”
“Perhaps something of equal value will occur, if you allow it.”
Daniel nodded. “Yeah, I know. But if it doesn’t… what if this Jack does some of the same things that the Jack I knew did, only this one has different motives? Will I end up questioning my friendship with the Jack from my timeline?”
Teal’c inclined his head, considering. Or, possibly, thinking Daniel was an idiot. And maybe he was.Continue to Part 2.