Category: Pre-Slash, Angst, Drama, Missing Scene/Epilogue
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: 1 - June 19, 1998
Spoilers: Solitudes (minor), There But For the Grace of God, Politics
Size: 21kb, ficlet
Written: April 5-6,19, May 26, 2005 Revised for consistency: January 14, 2007 Tweaked: December 27, 2009 Tweaked: December 27, 2009
Summary: Does anyone believe Daniel's story about having been in an alternate reality?
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Claudia, QuinGem, Sue P., Kat, Ali, Allexandrya, Mama Bear!
Doctor Daniel Jackson had already been treated for the staff blast wound on his arm, and he'd told his tale to General Hammond and SG-1, but not one of them believed a word he'd said. His story about an alternate reality where 'duplicates' of themselves lived similar yet different lives sounded like a fairytale, and though they couldn't explain his physical injury, not one member of SG-1 nor Hammond bought his report.
Sometime later, in Jack O'Neill's office, the room the colonel loved to claim didn't actually exist, Daniel continued to plead his case with the man who was both his CO and his friend. He reminded Jack of what had happened in the other reality and how strangely they'd perceived the situation to be as well.
“What are you talking about? You've never been in this facility until now,” Catherine Langford challenged.
Standing across from her was Daniel Jackson, only in this world, Daniel was a virtual stranger. It was like a bad dream to the shaggy-haired archaeologist.
After uttering a sound of complete disbelief, Daniel responded anxiously, “Okay, um ... I figured out how to work the Stargate. You recruited me to translate the cartouche found at Giza. I went through on the first mission, through the Stargate, to Abydos, and unless the last two years have been some, wacky, wacky dream, I am a member of SG-1.”
//End of Flashback//
“Jack, I'm telling you it was a nightmare, but it was a very real nightmare, and what happened to those people in that reality could happen to us if we don't take action now. I know it sounds crazy; even Catherine thought I was a lunatic at first.”
“I buy that. You had a ... wacky dream.”
“Your words, Daniel.”
“Taken out of context,” Daniel argued, his arms crossed so tightly across his chest that it was possible he could collapse at any moment with broken ribs.
“Daniel, come on, you have to admit this is a bit of a stretch.”
“I know it sounds crazy. That's how Catherine felt. It's how the rest of you there felt, too, until Apophis' ship landed on top of the Mountain. Jack, it didn't sound sane to me either at first.”
Her long hair a visible reminder that Daniel wasn't in his own world, Sam explained, “Okay, the theory is that there are an infinite number of alternate realities. Some of them are very different, and some are almost identical.”
“That has to be what this is! So that this isn't ... my world at all; this is ... some sort of,” Daniel let out a hauntingly nervous laugh, “other dimension?”
//End of Flashback//
“I'm sure the other me was just as annoyed at Carter for giving me a headache.”
“No. Jack, you two were engaged.”
Jack raised his eyebrows in disbelief as he asserted, “Daniel, now see, that's your imagination. Carter and I would kill each other after five minutes together.”
“Actually, uh, the two of you seemed, uh, well ...”
“I don't care what we seemed. Don't you think it's funny that of all things you could have mentioned about that alternate reality that one of the first things out of your mouth was Carter and me being engaged?” the older man questioned curiously.
“Well, it was hard to miss. I mean, you were hugging and ... kissing ... in the control room.”
“Okay, now you're really scaring me, Daniel. As you very well know,” Jack said quietly but pointedly, “I don't have feelings for Carter.”
Jack didn't want to think about why it was so important to him that Daniel believe that, not that he had to wonder about it. He knew why, and he wondered if Daniel knew why, too. After all, Daniel knew Jack was in love with him. He'd found out in Antarctica during Jack's recuperation from his injuries sustained after the Stargate had malfunctioned, so why all the talk about Sam now? Could Daniel care more than he let on? Was he jealous?
The colonel pondered the possibilities, but in the end, he knew two things. First, he was letting his wishful heart get the better of him, and second, all this thinking, wondering, and pondering was giving him a headache.
“I didn't say you did,” the archaeologist answered.
“Then why the engaged bit?”
“Jack, what are you talking about? I told you, several times now, that in the alternate reality you and Sam were ...”
“Don't say it, not again. Talk about wacky dreams.”
“It wasn't a dream, Jack. How did I get this?” Daniel asked as he pointed to his wounded arm which was now in a sling.
“I don't know.”
“You think I just willed a staff blast injury to myself?”
“No, of course not, but ...”
“Or I just randomly wrote down a set of coordinates and that I'm willing to jeopardize all of our lives because I want to explore some unknown place.” Daniel saw Jack's stare, one that said, 'bad example' since Daniel had more or less tricked his way into going on the original mission to Abydos by claiming to know the coordinates home, when, in fact, he didn't. “Okay, now, right now, is that what you think, that I'd lie to you about these coordinates?”
“No, Danny, I don't think that, but alternate realities? I just don't get that.”
“Apophis' fleet is out there, Jack, and they're coming,” the archaeologist maintained. He heard his friend's disbelieving sigh, and inside, Daniel felt numb. Here he was, once again having to prove himself. He just didn't think he'd have to fight so hard with Jack, not with so much evidence to support his case, especially the physical injury. Dejected, he backed off. “I'm sorry you don't believe me, even when faced with the truth. I'm ... going to my office. I'll see you at the briefing.”
Jack sighed and sat down in his office chair. Glancing at his watch, he saw that he still had some time before he needed to put on his blue uniform for the briefing with Senator Kinsey.
~Kinsey. I haven't met him. I wonder what he's like.~
Jack picked up a pen and began doodling on a notepad, surprising himself when he sketched a man, and that man turned out to be Daniel.
~Not a good thing to be caught doing here, O'Neill.~ Mentally apologizing for the act, Jack crumpled up the paper and put it in his pocket. ~You have some funny notions, Daniel: two-way mirrors. Who do you think you are, Alice in Wonderland?~
“Sir, do you have a minute?” the blonde captain inquired as she stood in the doorway.
“Come on in, Carter.”
“Colonel, maybe we should go back and get that mirror.”
“As much as I'd like to indulge Daniel, Carter, right now we have a briefing to go to,” Jack responded a bit gruffly.”
“Maybe the mirror would help. I mean, if Daniel can ... I don't know, show us what he did, or ...”
“He said that world was destroyed.”
“Yes, I know, but maybe he can ... turn it on.”
“Turn it on? Carter, I'm not crazy about Daniel touching something and then all of us ending up lost in space, for real.”
“But, Colonel ...”
“Look, I know you want to believe Daniel. So do I,” Jack insisted. ~I do want to believe him, but this is one friggin' story he's telling.~
“What he's claiming is theoretically possible,” the astrophysicist put forth.
“I want to believe him,” Jack repeated more softly.
“We all do, and the fact is, that we can't afford not to believe him. Can we?”
“I don't know. Right now, I have a headache.”
“Daniel wouldn't make up those things,” Sam asserted, not sure who she was really trying to convince.
As she spoke, Sam's fingers nervously tapped on the edge of Jack's desk. She looked down at her CO for a brief second and then off to her right.
“It's against regulations, Carter,” Jack responded forcefully. ~Not to mention I'm in love with that geek who caused this little situation.~
“I know that ... Sir.”
“Carter, I have to get ready for the briefing.”
“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged and then slowly retreated out of the colonel's office.
~Dang it, Daniel, now you've put that girlie gunk in her head. I really don't like that look in her eye. It's hungry. If it was in your eyes, though.~ Jack made a 'brrrr' noise and shook his head. ~You can't afford to be thinking like this, O'Neill.~
Jack stood and headed towards the locker room. He hadn't gotten very far when he heard a deep voice.
“Teal'c,” Jack returned, stopping and turning to face the Jaffa who stopped and placed his hands behind his back.
“DanielJackson perceives the Goa'uld attack to be real.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Should we not assist him in his efforts to convince GeneralHammond to order a mission to the coordinates he brought back?”
“Teal'c, we don't know what happened.”
“We know what DanielJackson says. He is our teammate, is he not?” the Jaffa questioned sternly.
Jack nodded, said a quick 'Yes', and then continued to the locker room. When he got there, he sat on the bench and stared at the lockers.
~Yes, he's our teammate, and I love him. What if I make an insane decision to support an insane idea that was the result of a fall or something? What if I make it worse? What if we open up the Gate and open the door to an enemy worse than the Snakeheads, and all because I'm in love with Daniel?~
Jack leaned forward and stuck his head into the palms of his hands. It was a quiet moment during which he let his self-doubts take temporary control.
~What if I trust him because I love him and the world ends? Alternate realities: geez, that's a bad B-movie.~
The Air Force colonel sat up straight. He wasn't sure what to do, anymore than he knew how this meeting with Senator Kinsey would go. Knowing he needed to get his head together, Jack pushed out his personal doubts and dressed for the briefing.
“Jack, you have to talk to the general,” SG-1's archaeologist insisted as the team assembled in the conference room.
“Daniel, give it a rest, at least until this briefing is over.”
“I hope we have that long.”
“Daniel, you don't have a timeframe,” Sam pointed out, not understanding the urgency that her teammate felt.
“No, but every second counts, Sam. H...how do we know Apophis isn't out there right now? May...maybe they'll land during the briefing.”
“Daniel, not now,” Jack ordered, walking over and sitting down at the table.
**You don't believe me,** Daniel accused, using their private communication, something neither of the two men understood and were still not comfortable with.
**I didn't say that,** Jack refuted.
“What?” Daniel asked.
At the same time, Jack turned and asked, “What?”
Sam and Teal'c looked at each other, and then suspiciously at their friends.
“I thought you said something,” Daniel said.
“Yeah, me, too, about you,” Jack responded.
The two teammates shook their heads. Jack rested his face on his left hand which was braced against the long conference table, while Daniel stood anxiously a few feet behind him. They'd already experienced their silent communication at various points throughout the year, but it was still new, and sometimes, it startled them, as it had a few moments ago.
Minutes passed, and Jack was bored. He tapped his pen against his notepad and checked his watch for the sixth time.
“Well, he's late,” Jack said impatiently when 1400 hours, the scheduled start time, had come and gone.
As he paced the room, stopping next to Daniel who stood near the door, Teal'c observed, “You seem more apprehensive of this hearing than you are of battle.”
“I prefer battle, actually,” Jack responded, still staring down at the notepad.
Daniel remarked, “I'm sure once we tell him that Earth's future is at stake ...”
Jack interrupted, “Daniel?” He turned his chair and stood up, moving to stand in front of his teammate. “Let's just keep the alternate reality story as our little ace in the hole, shall we?”
Looking at Teal'c for a moment, then at Jack, the archaeologist quizzically asked, “Why?”
At that moment, a group of military personnel entered the room. Quietly, Jack responded, “Just because,” and patted Daniel supportively on the upper arm.
Daniel was frustrated, and Jack was concerned. They appeared to be on opposing sides of the fence as the meeting got underway.
The session wasn't going well. Kinsey, as it turned out, was not a supporter of the Stargate program. He thought it was a Pandora's Box, and Earth had only invited trouble by opening it. He also believed it wasn't worth the billions of dollars per year that it took to keep the SGC up and running.
The group had been reviewing missions for forty minutes, and tempers had already flared. Those were mere skirmishes to what was about to burst forth.
Kinsey challenged, “You have no fear of it, do you, Colonel? It's like a game to you.”
“No, Sir. Anything as powerful as the Stargate deserves respect. We know how dangerous it is to do what we do; we also know how important it is.”
Sam insisted the program was needed for Earth to gather technology and weapons, but Kinsey retaliated, “Not at this price, or this level of competence.”
General Hammond bristled, “My people are the *best* out there, Senator!”
Kinsey was unmoved as he handed down his mortal verdict.
“I'm sorry, General, but your best is not good enough. I do not approve of, nor support, this endeavor, and I have heard *nothing* here today that would change my mind. I intend to shut the Stargate down.”
The room quieted, and Kinsey nodded to Samuels. They began to pack up their papers. Jack looked over at Daniel who exchanged a very brief glance with him and then swiveled his chair around.
“Senator, please listen to me,” Daniel pleaded, standing and walking to the other side of the table and then down the room towards the senator.
Jack remained seated, but he hated what was about to happen. His teammate, his friend, the man he loved, though that love was unrequited, was about to put his professional future on the line for some wacky dream.
~Alternate realities.~ Jack cringed inside. ~Daniel, don't.~
“I think he has made up his mind, Doctor Jackson,” Lieutenant Colonel Samuels said, but Daniel ignored him and charged up to the senator.
Daniel spoke passionately and quickly to the stubborn politician, his words coming like rapid-fire ammunition as he desperately tried to convince Kinsey that all of them were in danger.
“You want your one reason, I'll give it to you. What if I told you I knew that they were coming, in ships? What if I said that a ship larger than the Great Pyramids was going to land right on top of this mountain, in a matter of weeks, maybe days?”
~Crap, Daniel, you're forcing the issue.~ Jack waved his left hand to the side slightly in an 'of course' motion and then scratched next to his left eye, his face crunched the entire time as he listened to Daniel. **Why can't you let that wacky dream of yours go?**
**Why can't you believe me?** Daniel silently retaliated in this still new silent communication that he and Jack seemed to be sharing.
In fact, had he had a chance to think about it, Daniel may not have responded at all, but hearing Jack's question in his mind, Daniel's response had been automatic. If the two were going insane, they were apparently going insane together.
“Then I would be curious to know why you've waited until this moment before saying so,” Kinsey replied.
~I so don't want to hear this.~
“Because I didn't think anyone would believe me ...” Daniel answered, the vulnerability and abandonment reeking through his voice.
Sam immediately reacted to her teammate's words, turning in her chair slightly as she concentrated intently on what was being said.
~Oh, Daniel, I'm sorry. This must be torture for you. Come on, Samantha, take a stand.~
From his chair nearby, Jack, too, reacted, thinking, ~Danny, it's not that, exactly.~
Jack was in torture at the moment. So much was on the line, and he knew he was about to make a choice -- Daniel or perhaps the end of his career.
The archaeologist continued, “... and if I didn't live through it myself, I'm not sure I would, but it is a fact; and if you shut this program down, you will have robbed us of our one chance to stop them before they get here.”
It was done. Sam was the first to support the younger man. Like Jack, she knew the risks, but her friend and teammate had just taken a stand, and she was bound and determined to support him, at least here in the briefing, against Kinsey.
Daniel had told Kinsey about another civilization where the Goa'uld had destroyed their world, and how they'd given him a warning. Unfortunately, Kinsey was doubtful when Daniel told him that none of the others had been witness to the experience.
~Daniel needs our support. He's earned it.~ Sam spoke up as she stood. “Sir, we think Daniel may have experienced an interdimensional transfer to an alternate reality.”
“I beg your pardon?” the senator inquired.
Daniel explained, “The moment I touched an alien artifact on 233, when I was separated from the rest of the team, I was actually transported to an alternate reality where Earth was already under Goa'uld attack. I got this when I was there,” he concluded, holding the paper with the coordinates in his hand.
Kinsey felt like he was in a psych ward and, full of exasperation, responded, “My heaven, I've heard enough of this.”
The heated argument continued until finally Kinsey wanted to know why, if Daniel's theory were true, the Goa'uld had waited until now to launch an all-out attack.
~DanielJackson is a man of honor. He is my teammate. He is my friend. His words are true.~ As he stared out the briefing room window at the Stargate, the Jaffa stated forcefully, “It would take time for Apophis to assemble the necessary forces.”
Appreciative of the support, Daniel immediately picked up the ball, adding, “Right, their society is feudal; it would take time to build an army. Look, all I know is the location that they are going to launch the final attack from. If you don't believe me, just let us dial in the coordinates, and let us go there and find out!”
Jack listened, his heart and his military mind full of black and white facts battling inside of him.
“Senator, they are coming,” Daniel warned.
Undeterred, Kinsey dared, “Then I say, let them come!”
~That's it. Even if I don't exactly believe every word he's said, I know one thing: I do believe in Daniel. I'd rather be fishing anyway ... and Kinsey's a total jerk.~ His decision made, Jack dived in with, “Where do you get this bureaucratic bull? You're talking suicide.”
“Colonel O'Neill, you under estimate this great nation,” Kinsey responded.
The bureaucratic war was a long way from over, and together, SG-1, including Jack, battled the politician alongside Daniel. They were united, but even so, for the moment, Senator Kinsey won the round. They argued in vain for a few more minutes, and then Kinsey and his party left, leaving a devastated SG-1 staring out at the Stargate -- the soon to be deactivated Stargate.
Though Jack was still struggling with the concept of an alternate reality, and he still wasn't convinced it wasn't just a wacky dream, he knew that whatever happened, he'd support Daniel. He'd already taken a stand for his friend and teammate, but he wondered if it was enough.
“Danny, time to go,” Jack called out as he walked into Daniel's office just before eight o'clock that night.
“Jack, we can't stop trying.”
~Not now; I'm tired.~ Jack felt his muscles tightening. He wanted to relax, not fight. “Danny, I'll make you a deal.”
“A deal? For what?”
The older man replied, “Let's go home, to my place. We'll put on some steaks, watch a silly movie, and just relax.” Jack held up a finger, signaling for the younger man to let him finish. “No shop talk. No Goa'uld. No funny mirrors. Not tonight. Tomorrow, we'll come back here, fresh, and take it from there.”
“You'll talk to the general?” the younger man prodded.
“Yes, I'll talk to Hammond.”
“It's late for steaks.”
“Danny, it's never too late for steaks.”
“Well, I'm not sure about that, Jack. I mean, are we talking rare, medium, well-done, or burned?”
“Don't be a smart aleck, Daniel.”
“Don't burn the steaks,” Daniel snarked in reply.
“Me? Never. Now, about that silly movie. I was thinking 'Young Frankenstein'.”
“Or maybe 'Silent Movie'. Great film; only word spoken is by a mime. Mimes are great, Danny,” Jack opined as he led them out of Daniel's office.
Curious, Daniel asked, “What do you know about mimes?”
“That I'd make a horrible mime, and so would you.”
Jack chuckled, “You love to talk too much. Mimes don't talk. Now, as I was saying ...”
It was crazy to give into the merriment of his friend, but Daniel knew deep down that nothing could be done tonight. He also knew that Jack had stood up for him, even if he didn't really believe him.
Daniel was certain the worst was yet to come, but tonight, he was equally certain, he'd be laughing and having a good time in spite of himself. He knew, too, that it was because of Jack O'Neill, his friend, his best friend.
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