Double Double, Toil and Trouble
The first thing that he became aware of as consciousness slowly made its way back was that his head hurt horribly. After what seemed an interminable amount of time of listening to the sound of his heart beating in tandem with the pounding of his head, he started to make out the familiar sounds of the goings on of the infirmary. God, how many times had he woken up in this place? If this kept up, Janet was going to start charging rent.
The second thing he was conscious of was that, when he attempted to move, the rest of his body hurt nearly as much as his head. He heard someone groan, and then realized it was him. He felt a hand gently stroke his head.
"J'ck?" he whispered.
Impartial hands suddenly grabbed his arm, taking his pulse, his blood pressure. Pain flared in his head when an eyelid was propped open and a light flashed brightly. Attempting to turn his head from the agony, it was held firmly and the torment was repeated on the other side. He heard another groan coming from afar, and biting his lip, attempted to stifle the sounds of his distress.
After what seemed like an eternity, he felt a burning sensation in his arm, then blessedly the pain in his head began to recede to near bearable proportions.
"J'ck?" he attempted again, licking his lips.
"Shhhh, it's okay, you're safe now," a female voice spoke near his head. He felt the hand on his head again, fingers stroking his hair.
He thought he knew all the nurses and doctors who worked in the infirmary; hell he'd stayed there often enough to know their whole life stories. He couldn't place this voice, although it seemed vaguely familiar. Maybe he should try opening his eyes now. Ow, no, bad idea. Shit, he didn't remember the infirmary lights being that bright before.
"Janet, could you turn the lights down a bit?" he heard the voice say.
"J'net?" he asked. "Whurss J'ck?" Darn, what was wrong with his mouth. And where was Jack? Shouldn't he be sitting here beside him, waiting impatiently for him to wake up? If not Jack, then Sam or Teal'c? Did something happen? Were they hurt? Or worse?
"Sam! Teal'c!" He tried lifting his head, and pain flashed through his brain, driving down into his stomach and wreaking havoc in the form of nausea. He lifted a hand to his mouth, and found that his muscles barely obeyed.
"Easy Danny, it's okay, your friends are okay." There was that oh so familiar voice again. Why couldn't he remember her name? Or her face? "Can you open your eyes? The lights shouldn't bother you now."
"Dan, open your eyes." Ahhh, that voice he knew well. Now he'd get some answers. "Janet? Where's Jack?" He decided to try to brave the pain again, and squinting, opened his eyes slowly. Better, the pain was manageable. He saw a blurry outline before him and blinking several times, it slowly focused into Janet's concerned face.
"Hey, welcome back, Danny," he heard the mystery voice say softly beside him. Turning his head painfully towards the sound of her voice, he saw a middle aged stranger sitting beside him. He noticed that she was holding his hand. How couldn't he have been aware of someone holding his hand? He looked at her again, and knew that he had seen her before. She had blond hair, which was streaked with gray. Her piercing blue eyes reminded him of someone. She smiled at him. Damn, he knew he'd seen her before, seen that smile before.
"Who are you?" he asked the stranger. "Janet, what's going on? And why didn't you answer me, where's Jack? Or Sam and Teal'c? And what happened, why am I here?" Whatever Janet had injected Daniel with was helping, he was starting to feel more like himself.
"They're fine, Dan. They're just a little…indisposed right now." She looked up past Daniel.
"What do you mean, indisposed?" he asked, turning to look in the direction Janet was staring, and saw a very familiar face.
"Jack! Finally. What's going on? What happened? Are you all right? Where are the others? Are they okay?" Daniel's gunfire questions didn't give Jack a chance to answer. "God I feel like I've been hit by a steam roller. Oh, and by the way," he said to the woman, "I didn't catch your name."
Looking at Daniel with a strange look on his face, Jack jumped in while Daniel took a breath. "Dan, don't you recognize your own mother?"
"Whaaa…What? My mmmother? What kind of sick game are you playing?" Daniel realized she was still holding his hand and he attempted to pull it away. Pain flared in his shoulders, echoing back into his skull. Closing his eyes, Daniel said, "damn you, Jack, this isn't funny." He opened his eyes and glared at Jack, and then at the stranger, angry that she'd even agreed to be a part of such a stupid joke.
Even in his own anger, he noted that Jack himself looked stiff, angry. And the anger was definitely aimed towards Daniel. Great, what had he gone and done now? And why couldn't he remember whatever it was that had gotten Jack mad at him.
The woman looked at Daniel sadly. "Danny, honey, don't you recognize me?" his mother asked, worriedly.
"Okay, you've had your fun, Jack. You know my parents are dead, so whatever this is, it won't work. Now will you please tell me what's going on, before my head falls off?" Daniel started to wonder if he was dreaming, perhaps that was why Jack was acting so cold, and was going along with this farce. "And where's Sam and Teal'c? What aren’t you telling me?" Turning to his other friend, he asked, "Janet, why isn't he answering me?"
"Dan, what's the last thing you remember?" Jack asked, ignoring Daniel's questions. He picked up one of the implements on a nearby table and started toying with it.
"Um, this morning, going over the pictures the UAV took of P3S 985, just before we were due to go through the Stargate. You came by and we argued over what to pack, remember? You wanted me to leave all my notes and books behind, said they'd be too heavy to lug around." Even though the lights were dimmed, they were starting to hurt his head again. He closed his eyes, trying to curb the pain.
Jack remained silent. Daniel could hear footsteps slowly approaching, plus the tap tap of a cane. Damn, what was wrong with his friend? Why was he being so quiet? Why was he ignoring his questions?
"Jack?" Daniel asked softly // tell me what's going on //.
The footsteps stopped by his bedside. He felt four pairs of eyes staring at him. Opening his own reluctantly, he saw a gray-haired, middle aged man painfully leaning on a cane, standing beside the woman claiming to be his mother. Upon seeing the man with the woman, everything clicked into place. He realized now why her eyes had looked so familiar; they were the same eyes that stared back at him whenever he looked in a mirror. He remembered the last time he'd seen this couple. It was nearly thirty years ago, when they were much younger, and had died in front of his eyes, crushed to death in a terrible accident.
He tried telling them that they were dead, that they weren't supposed to be here, but he couldn't get the words out. He knew he was losing it, he was having trouble catching his breath. He heard Janet say something about hyperventilating, needing to relax, but at that point he didn't care, because his vision slowly grayed out. The last thing he heard before his eyes rolled back and he lost consciousness was his mother's voice calling his name.
- - - - - -
Jack O'Neill would have paced the confines of his cell if his body had been up to it. As it was, he was so sore and exhausted that it was all he could do to remain sitting upright in his bunk, trying to stay awake. Carter had already succumbed to her exhaustion, she was lying curled up in the bunk beside his.
They'd been placed in this holding cell upon their arrival several hours ago. Soon afterward, they had been individually escorted to the infirmary for a multitude of tests, least of which was to see if they had been taken as hosts by the Goa'uld. They had each tried to catch a glimpse of Daniel while they were in the infirmary, but he must have been placed elsewhere because there had been no sign of him. Their inquiries about him had also gone unanswered.
Jack didn't remember ever being so physically exhausted. They'd only been on that damned planet for a couple of hours, total. Of course, running and fighting on a planet that had double the gravity of earth would explain why his muscles now felt like wet noodles. The plan had been to go in for a quick looksee. Teal'c had thought that there might have been a cache of weapons on that planet. He had remembered stories of a heavy gravity world where a minor system lord had hidden his armament in the hopes of gaining an army.
Jack was very worried about his friend, the last time he'd seen Daniel, he'd been unconscious and barely breathing. Of course, being zatted twice within a short period of time would do that to a body. Being zatted twice within a shorter period of time would kill. They'd had no choice but to come here and literally beg for medical assistance for Daniel. His last sight of his friend was when they had carted him off on a gurney to the infirmary, just before he and Carter had been dumped here in this cell.
And then there was Teal'c. They had separated him from his teammates, escorted by several well-armed SFs to what Jack assumed was a more secure area. He hoped they were treating him properly, he'd told Teal'c to submit to these people as he had been led away. Jack hoped someone came to talk with him soon, because he thought that if he fell asleep now, he wouldn't wake up for a week. He had to stay awake, he needed news of Daniel, needed to speak to those in charge, convince them that he required their help to get back home. Every time he closed his eyes, he could still picture Daniel falling heavily to the ground, blue sparks radiating off his body from the zat blast. The last thought that went through his mind as sleep finally took over was that he was never, ever, going back to a heavy gravity world.
- - - - - -
When Daniel became aware of his surroundings once again, he found himself lying on his side on the hospital bed. From the awful taste in his mouth, he realized he'd been sick, although he had no recollection of it. The pounding in his head wasn't quite so fierce, but his body still felt extremely heavy and sore. Lying there quietly, he listened to the familiar sounds of the infirmary. He was trying to come to grips with what had happened earlier, when a slight rustling of paper nearby interrupted his thoughts. Opening his eyes cautiously, he saw Jack sitting on a chair nearby, going through some notes.
"Jack," he called softly.
Cold brown eyes looked up at him. Closing the folder, he put it aside as he turned towards Daniel.
"Jack, please, tell me what happened? What did I do? Why are you angry at me?"
Daniel thought he saw a perplexed look flit over Jack's face before the cold mask descended again. Okay, he was getting the silent treatment. He could give as good as he got. The sounds of clicking heels heralded the Doctor's arrival. Ignoring Jack, Daniel attempted to turn onto his back. "Janet, why am I so tired and sore?" he asked, wincing as he tried to find a comfortable position.
Looking at the Colonel for permission, she answered, "Mister Jackson, you were hit by a zat blast. Your body has experienced an intense systemic shock. You're going to be fine, but you will need several days of rest before you start feeling stronger."
"A zat blast? But I've been zatted before, it's never made me feel this bad."
"You were zatted twice, Dan," Jack said.
Forgetting that he wasn't talking to Jack, he blurted, "and when have you started calling me Dan…wait, Janet, you called me Mister? Why is that? What the hell is going on? Jack, will you PLEASE tell me what happened. Okay, what? Is it April Fool's? But no, that's not right because we're in August. This is starting to get very …"
He realized what Jack had just said. "What? Zatted twice? Well, I guess that explains why I feel like shit." Turning to Janet, he asked, "would this cause amnesia? Because I seem to have a very huge gap of memory missing. And by admitting to this I hope I'm not certifying myself for Mental Health once again, but things are appearing to be very strange around here."
Standing up, Jack asked, "Doctor Fraiser, can he get up? The General has convened a meeting in 30 minutes. I'd like Daniel here to attend."
"I'd recommend he stay in bed for the next several days, Colonel, but seeing what's happened, I'll have him ready in time for the meeting." Jack nodded, picked up his file, and walked away.
"What do you mean, what's happened? Jack, what meeting? Will someone please tell me," he yelled at Jack's retreating back.
- - - - - -
Jack and Sam had been roused by several SFs and escorted out of their cell. Glancing at his watch, Jack figured he'd been asleep for only 3 hours, Sam for 5. It didn't feel like it had done much good, except to make his body even more stiff and sore than it had been before he’d fallen asleep. Trying not to limp, they followed the SFs to the main briefing room.
A middle aged couple were already seated at the far end of the table. Jack and Sam went to their usual seats, near the head of the table where the General usually sat. Kawalsky was there, talking with an aide, leaning against the glass overlooking the Stargate. Jack nodded at his friend, the man cautiously nodded back.
Daniel thought he'd never make it to the briefing room on his own two feet. Barely halfway there, he stumbled and had to stop to catch his breath. He suffered Jack's support, it was either that or falling flat on his face. He childishly felt that he didn't want Jack to touch him when his friend was in this mood. He felt nervous around him, not being able to put his finger on the reason behind this feeling. It was as if he was a stranger.
By the time they reached the briefing room, Daniel's main focus was to find a chair before falling down or passing out. Seeing someone approaching him, he looked up and saw Jack come up before him and take hold of his shoulders to help support him. Jack! Wait a second. Jack was standing right in front of him, and there was Jack standing beside him. There were two Jacks, and from the look on his face, the one standing in front of him was definitely HIS Jack! Grabbing his arm as his Jack helped him into a chair, his brain finally clicked and he partially understood what was happening. The knowledge that he wasn't going crazy was such a relief.
At the sound of someone entering the room, Jack had turned and saw a very shaky and pale Daniel being aided into the room by Jack's double. He quickly stood up, Sam at his heels, to help Daniel over into his vacated chair. "You okay?" he asked as Daniel more or less flopped down into the seat, his legs apparently giving out. A wince followed by a curt nod was his answer. Daniel had grabbed Jack's arm upon seeing him, and hadn't let go. Sam knelt beside Daniel, checking him over. Jack sat down in Sam's vacated chair, placing his hand over Daniel's.
"Oh God, you have no idea how happy I am to see you guys," Daniel told Jack and Sam. He could see the look of worry combined with relief on his friends' faces. Glancing over at the other man who was seating himself opposite Daniel, he continued, "the Colonel over there wouldn't tell me anything. I don't remember what happened, they told me I got zatted. I'm assuming that we went through a quantum mirror?" Daniel closed his eyes momentarily and leaned his head against the back of the chair, trying to gather strength. He would rather be lying in the infirmary at the moment. That admission to himself and the worried look on Jack's face let him know that he wasn't quite out of the woods yet.
"You hit the nail on the head, Daniel," Jack said. He was relieved to see Daniel mobile, his imagination had started making him believe that maybe the worst had happened to his friend, especially when none of his 'hosts' were forthcoming with any news. "We went to P3S 985, we found plenty of Jaffa instead of guns, you got hurt, we came here. In a nutshell, it was a trap."
"You mean it was a trap?" he asked, his eyes still closed.
Jack looked at Sam, startled. "I think I just said that, Daniel. Are you all right?" He could see how pale Daniel was, slight tremors were coursing throughout his body. Jack didn't think Daniel should have been let out of the infirmary.
"Oh, sorry, I think my brain's starting to catch up now."
"The Jaffa were expecting us. They came at us with zats and staff weapons."
"And you came here because … I was injured?"
"Daniel, you were in shock, barely breathing. We couldn't get to the Stargate, the mirror was your only hope."
Daniel turned his head and gave Jack an intense look. Embarrassed, he looked around the table. Spotting his parents’ doubles, he took a deep breath and said to them, "I'm sorry for freaking out earlier. I, um, guess seeing you came as a bit of a shock."
"Don't worry about it, Dan," his father said, smiling gently. Daniel ducked his head.
Jack had been wondering who the older couple was. Finally he nudged Daniel with his elbow. Looking at Jack questioningly, Jack nodded his head slightly towards them. Daniel frowned and then looked at Jack quickly. "They're my parents, Jack. Claire and Melbourne Jackson." Jack's eyebrows nearly landed in his hair.
Claire added, "we're so sorry we upset you. We just thought you'd be more comfortable waking up and seeing someone you knew. We had no idea that in your world, your parents were dead." She was remembering his disjointed words when he'd passed out in the infirmary earlier.
The arrival of two SFs and Captain Carter escorting Teal'c interrupted their conversation. Nodding towards the man's bound hands, O'Neill signaled that they were to release him. As his handcuffs were being unlocked, the Jaffa took the time to calmly look over the room. With a wave of his hand, O'Neill invited the warrior to take a seat. Taking several steps into the room, he stopped beside Daniel and, placing his hand on his teammate's shoulder, said quietly, "I am pleased to see that you are much recovered, DanielJackson." Daniel tipped his head back slightly to look at Teal'c and answered "Thanks Teal'c. They treating you okay?"
"I am well." He shared a look with his Commanding Officer, nodded once, and continued on to take a seat. Satisfied that Daniel wasn't in any immediate danger, Sam got up off the floor and sat down beside Teal'c.
Colonel Jack O'Neill, second in command to StarGate Mission, carefully watched the reunion between SGM’s four guests. That the concern of his double for Daniel Jackson was without doubt genuine, as was the affection the younger man obviously had for him. He had deliberately kept Daniel Jackson in the dark as to the events leading to his arrival at the SGM. Jackson's reactions corroborated the story told by the newcomers.
General Hammond entered and assumed his seat at the head of the table. Before the General could begin speaking, a breathless Dan Jackson entered the room in a rush. Stopping beside O'Neill, he asked, "why didn't anyone tell me about this meeting?" O'Neill shrugged, and said sarcastically "didn't think you'd be back from clubbing so early in the morning." Taking in Dan's expensive clothes, gold earring, fine gold necklace and bracelet, and bloodshot eyes, O'Neill figured he must have come straight from his latest party.
O'Neill tried to curb his irritation at Dan. When he had first met him nearly four years ago, he thought that the man showed promise. They had become good friends, but unfortunately, things didn't work out. Sure, the man pulled his weight amongst the civilians, and his deductive reasoning was without doubt on the side of genius. But he had become such an irritant in O'Neill's life that he now made every effort to keep away from him. These days, the man had one goal in life – party party party.
Dan glanced at the visitors, and O'Neill saw his eyes widen when he took in the sight of his own double. While Dan moved on to take a seat at the end of the table, O'Neill took the time to compare the visitors to his own people. The two Carters were very similar, same short hair, same clothes, same build. They appeared to be identical twins. The two Jacksons differed in that the visitor's hair was much shorter and obviously had not been bleached. His Dan's longer hair was always carefully coiffed and he had undergone corrective eye surgery several years back, so he didn't need to wear glasses. The visitor was also wearing BDU's, which Dan would probably never have been caught dead in. And of course the other Daniel Jackson didn't have a scar running from his eye halfway down his cheek.
His own double looked older, more tired. His hair was more silvered than his own mostly brown hair. This man obviously cared about his team members, possibly even more so than he did for his own. He wondered if that could be an asset, or would it turn into a disadvantage. He'd love to discuss it with him.
Daniel hadn't had the time or energy to even think of whether his double here was alive or not. In both alternate worlds that he'd known about, they had been killed. He felt like a destitute cousin compared to his alternate; his drab BDU's compared poorly to Dan's more elegant and expensive clothing. Stealing a look at his double, he was surprised to see him staring back at him with a sneer on his face.
"People," began the General. "We seem to have experienced a fairly strange occurrence here today."
"Not so strange to us," interrupted Jack. O'Neill glared at him across the table. Jack raised his eyebrows questioningly.
Glancing at Jack before continuing, the General said, "our guests tell us that they come from another reality." Looking over at them, he continued, "seeing how you're all perfect doubles of one another, I can't see any other explanation."
"Guess you haven't met the robots," muttered Jack. Daniel glanced at Jack quickly, hoping that the General hadn't heard that. He frowned. He didn't want to start explaining Harlan and their other mechanical doubles.
"Doctor Fraiser assures me that your DNA matches those of our people exactly." Nodding at his guests, he continued. "I'm assuming that you're telling me the truth, and that you're not clones that have been planted by some intricate Goa'uld plot; and are actually visitors from another reality who have come through the mirror gate which we found of P3S 985."
Captain Carter spoke up. "Sir, we went through that mirror several months ago when it was first discovered on P3S 985. We found that it was simply a portal to another planet."
O'Neill asked, "isn't that where we found all those Goa'uld weapons and other junk?"
"What weapons?" Jack said. "You mean you stole from…"
Daniel interrupted. "Isn't that what we were going to do, Jack?" Jack shrugged sheepishly at Daniel.
Looking at his double, Jack said, "I guess that's why the Jaffa were a little ticked off when we went there today. They probably thought we'd be back, or rather you'd be back, and were waiting for us, er, you."
Carter continued. "Since we also found a Stargate on the planet, we figured we'd go back and explore at another time. Both planets were double the gravity of earth and remaining there for long was very difficult. We brought the mirror here to study, but since that time, it never worked."
Sam exclaimed. "The mirror doesn't work?" Turning to Jack, she continued. "Sir, we need to fix it in order to get back to our own reality." Daniel leaned his elbows on the table dejectedly, and lowered his face in his hands. Jack glanced over at him worriedly.
"There's no indication that the mirror is a portal to an alternate universe," argued Carter.
Sam interrupted "But that's exactly what it is – you didn't go beyond that planet that you 'mirrored' to, did you? If you had attempted to return to earth using the Stargate, you would have arrived at our version of the SGC."
"But that's impossible, we would have known," Carter exclaimed.
"No, not unless you remained in our reality and didn't contact earth. And not unless you stayed there for no more than 48 hours. Then you'd have started experiencing entropic cascade failure, or at least those with living doubles would have." Sam looked up at the General. "Which brings us to this subject – Sir, within 38 hours, we'll start experiencing tremors and soon after, they'll end up killing us."
"What are these tropical waterfall thingies you're talking about, Major" O'Neill asked. Jack snorted.
"Entropic cascade failure. It's a side effect of travelling through the quantum mirror. It's a temporal distortion caused by the increased entropy of both versions co-existing in the same reality. They occur within 48 hours, and since we've been here nearly ten hours, we've only got about a day and a half before they start."
"I so don't want to experience those," Daniel said, dejectedly. He sighed, and sat back in his chair.
Dan spoke up. "What about us? Are we going to get those tremors also?"
"No, it only happens to those who aren't in their proper universes, and only if their alternates are alive."
The General asked, "isn't there anything we can do to prevent these tremors?"
Sam replied. "We tried, but there was nothing we could do. When my double came through to our world seeking our help, she had to return to hers because of the tremors. They were pretty painful."
Daniel tried to shrug off his fatigue. He sat up straighter in the chair and asked, "what about the mirror on P3R 233. Couldn't we use the Stargate to go there and use that mirror to get back home."
"You mean there's another mirror?" O'Neill asked, incredulous.
"Yes, Daniel went through that one by accident. And no, I don't think that the mirror on P3R 233 would connect to our reality from here. If this mirror is a one way deal, it was probably built specifically to travel through our two realities exclusively." Sam's explanation hadn't convinced Daniel, and he frowned at the thought that maybe she was wrong. He didn't have the energy to argue with her.
Carter spoke up "Could the mirror work only in heavier gravity? Maybe we need to return it to the planet where you found it, for it to work."
Sam nodded her head in agreement.
As everyone contemplated what Carter had explained, Daniel looked up at his parents and asked quietly, "If I may ask, who, um, who opened the Stargate here? Was it you?" He looked at Dan, who was lounging in his chair, then glanced back at the General, finally looking down at his hands.
"No, Mister Jackson, it wasn't Dan," the General answered.
"Uhhhhh, sorry, that's Doctor Jackson," Daniel said apologetically. Eyebrows rose at that.
"You're not military," Dan queried, surprised.
O'Neill muttered to himself, "oh here we go."
Daniel laughed at the thought. "No, I'm a Doctor of Archeology and Linguistics."
"But you're part of SG1."
Daniel nodded. Dan looked at O'Neill, unbelieving. "Jack…" he started.
O'Neill put a hand up as Dan had begun speaking, "Don't say it, not a word."
"Dan, not a word." Dan closed his mouth, glared at O'Neill, then glanced quickly at his parents, and hung his head.
Trying to get the conversation back on track, Claire answered Daniel's question. "Actually, your father and I were the ones who figured out the symbols on the Stargate."
"Geez, mom, you're not his parents," Dan complained.
"Dan, in all likelihood, we would be if we hadn't died in his reality."
"But that still doesn't make you his parents." Turning to Daniel, he asked, "how old were you when your folks died."
"Eight," he answered.
"See, he barely remembers them. So please stop talking as if he was my brother."
"Dan, that's enough," Mel exclaimed. Dan turned and scowled at his father.
Claire continued. "It took Mel and I a year and a half to translate the symbols on the Stargate and…"
Jack interrupted "A year and a half? It only took Danny here two weeks to figure those out." Jack looked smug. All the doubles were gaping at Jack's comment. Daniel looked embarrassed, not wanting to be made to look smarter than his parents.
Dan said incredulously "You?"
"Two weeks?" Mel and Claire exclaimed together.
"Ummm, yes" Daniel said, not being able to meet their eyes.
"Well, Colonel, looks like your Dannyboy there is quite a compliment to your team," Dan said sarcastically. Jack glared.
"Gentlemen!" General Hammond barked. Both Dan and Jack turned to the General and ignored one another.
Jack said to the General. "Sir, from the little I've seen here, there doesn't seem to be much activity. How many SG teams are there?"
"We have three teams, Colonel."
"Three?" Both Daniel and Sam exclaimed together.
"What's wrong with that?" O'Neill questioned.
Jack answered, "Oh, considering that we've got over fifteen at the moment..." He saw the unbelieving looks all around. "Well, we do," he insisted.
"How often do your teams go offworld?" Sam asked.
"Our computer is able to give us at least one viable planet every six to eight weeks," Carter answered.
Daniel couldn't help himself. "General, when you first went through the Stargate, did you go to Abydos?"
The General nodded.
"Did you kill Ra?"
"Kill Ra?" The General was astounded.
Kawalsky spoke up from where he had been listening to the conversation. "Are you kidding?"
"We know he's out there, but Kasuf always warns us when he's expected to show, so we time our visits to Abydos accordingly." O'Neill sat back in his chair, fiddling with a pen.
Carter added, "we have a trade agreement with the Abydonians; we help them mine their Naquada in return for a little skimming off the top."
Ra doesn't know we're here," Kawalsky added.
"Sooooo, Kasuf's children?" Daniel probed. "Are they alive?"
O'Neill answered, "You mean Skaara?" Daniel nodded. "And Shau're" he added.
"Yeah, sure." We've been helping Skaara train his militia, he's gotten to be quite the warrior. And the girl's married, got a couple of kids hanging around her skirts."
Daniel closed his eyes in pain at the crude words.
O'Neill laughed at the memory, "You know, old Kasuf tried to marry her off on me. I couldn't accept, of course, being married and all, but I remember she was one heck of a looker. Still is."
O'Neill looked up, seeing Daniel's drawn face, and then looked at Daniel's team members, their scowls and glares finally registering. Even the Jaffa looked angry.
"Whaaat?" he asked.
"Oh, um, it's just that, um, in my reality, I was married to Shau're."
"Oh great, not only does he get to explore the galaxy, he goes and marries an alien," Dan said sarcastically.
"Mister Jackson," the General said. "If you continue in this manner, I will have you removed from this meeting." Embarrassed, Dan looked down at his hands, not meeting anyone’s eyes.
Carter asked gently, "was married?"
Teal'c answered for Daniel. "Apophis abducted DanielJackson's wife and used her to host the Goa'uld Ammonet. She was recently killed." Of course Teal’c didn’t mention the fact that he was the one who had pulled the trigger and killed Shau're in order to save Daniel’s life.
"I'm sorry, Daniel," he heard Claire say. He nodded once in acknowledgement. He felt Jack's hand on his shoulder, and took a deep breath.
General Hammond returned to the earlier conversation. "I assume, then, that you've had dealings with Ra?"
"Oh, you could say that. We killed him when we first went to Abydos," Jack said nonchalantly. "Right now the head honcho guy is Apophis. Teal'c was his First Prime, but he left his service and saved our lives, helped us escape from Apophis' prison."
"Um, General," Daniel said, clearing his throat, trying to gather his composure. "I take it that nobody discovered the ruins with the Stargate addresses on Abydos?" His question was answered by everyone's baffled expressions.
Daniel continued. "Then I assume you haven't met many Goa'ulds?" The General shook his head no. "Then that's probably a good thing because we ended up pissing quite a few of them off in our reality."
Daniel leaned over towards Jack, losing his balance in the process. Catching Jack's shoulder with a shaking hand to hold himself steady, he said in a low voice, "Jack, we have to help these people. If Ra or Apophis or just about any other Goa'uld or Minor System Lord learns about them, they're not going to be able to defend themselves."
Knowing that everyone could hear their conversation, Jack replied to Daniel in a low voice, "Daniel, this isn't our problem. Our concern right now is getting back home."
"It is our problem. How can we go home and live with ourselves knowing that we didn't even try to do something. I know I couldn't."
"Daniel. Drop it."
"No, Jack. Look, we could at least give them the gate addresses to our allies, and warn them which planets to stay away from. It's not like we're giving away state secrets. It'll just give them a head start, an advantage. Jack, it could mean the eventual survival or destruction of this world!"
"Mister, er Doctor Jackson, what are you talking about?" the General inquired.
"Sir, we've managed to gain allies from other races, they've been a huge help in the war against the Goa'ulds."
"Daniel," Jack warned.
"Jack please, we have to do this."
"Sir," Sam interjected. "I agree with Daniel. They've only got three SG teams! Three!" She shook her head in amazement. "And how can they survive if Ra decides to invade? We barely survived Apophis!"
Daniel straightened and leaned back in his chair, removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. His headache had returned full force.
Teal'c joined the conversation. "O'Neill, I concur also. It would be to our benefit to aid this world. We could request their assistance in return."
"Colonel O'Neill," the General said, turning to Jack. "Exactly what kind of assistance do you need from us?"
Jack spoke quickly. "We need to return through the mirror to our own reality, so the first thing is to get the mirror working. Hopefully before the tremors start. Once that's done, we need armed support to help fight the Jaffa on our side of the mirror. They had the gate wired so they were alerted when we came through, so I expect them to have armed guards waiting for us now. Essentially, we need backup to help us retake the 'gate so we can get back to our reality. Once we're through, you can come back here through the mirror. And hopefully bury it somewhere to prevent the Jaffa or Goa'uld from following you through to this reality."
"Considering that it's most likely our actions that caused the Jaffa to wire the gate, as you said, when we brought back the arms from that planet…" The General was pensive. "Very well, we'll see what we can do. We'll consider a trade. Our support to get you back home, and any information you can give us on viable planets, allies, possibly translations on some artifacts that have eluded us." Jack nodded his agreement. "Major and Captain Carter, would you be willing to work together to attempt to repair the mirror?"
"Yes, Sir," Carter replied.
"I've already had a chance to work with myself," Sam said to her counterpart. "It was … interesting." Carter smiled back at Sam.
Jack said to the General, "Daniel knows most of the 'gate addresses. He could go over the ones you have and compare…"
Claire interrupted, "I could help you with that, Daniel." Her son snorted. Daniel ignored him and said he'd appreciate her help.
Looking at Teal'c, Mel asked, "do you think you could help us translate some of the artifacts that were found on the planet? They're written in Goa'uld. We found quite a collection of them along with the weapons on that planet in…I guess in what is your reality." Teal'c nodded, and Daniel added, "I can help you with that, too."
Dan burst out laughing. "Don't tell me you speak Gou'uldese?" He straightened up slightly. "Geez, Dad, I think you'll end up liking this version of me better than me," he said sarcastically.
"Keep this up and I might arrange to trade you," his father retorted.
Daniel asked his counterpart, "I take it you haven't studied languages?"
"Oh, I did, but it got boring. After a dozen or so, I decided I had better things to do," he smirked.
Teal'c answered, "DanielJackson is an accomplished linguist, and has learned many new alien languages." Daniel interjected, "Er Teal'c…," clearly embarrassed. Teal'c ignored Daniel and continued. "I do not know for certain how many offworld languages DanielJackson has since learned, but it is close to the dozen earth languages that you have studied." He said this last bit while staring at Dan. Dan scowled back at Daniel, then said, "looks like you didn't have much of a life if you spent it wasting your time in school." Daniel looked away.
His head was throbbing. Daniel reached over and attempted to pour himself a glass of water with shaking hands. Jack quickly took the carafe out of his hands and poured the water himself. Daniel took the water thankfully.
Jack looked at Teal'c and asked, "Teal'c, would you be willing to teach some of their men the ways of the Jaffa, so they can at least know what to expect when they meet up with them?" Teal'c nodded his agreement to his Commanding Officer.
Claire had watched the interplay between Jack and Daniel, and said to the General, "Sir, if I may, Daniel is still suffering from the effects of the shock to his system, and exhaustion from his experiences with the heavy gravity planet. With your permission, I'd like him to return to the infirmary so he can get some rest."
"No," Daniel said firmly.
"She's right," Jack argued.
"What?" Daniel nearly shouted. "Jack, no! We barely have more than a day to do all of this, I don't have time to lie down and rest."
"Mister Jackson," the General started. Both O'Neill and Jack said together, "That's Doctor Jackson." Dan's scowl grew darker as he stared at his counterpart. "Doctor Jackson," he continued, "Colonel O'Neill is right. I suggest you return to the infirmary and have Doctor Fraiser take another look at you."
Jack thought that Daniel looked terrible. "Danny, let's get you to Janet, have you checked out, swallow some pills if you have to, then you can go play with your mommy." Daniel scowled at Jack. "We'll make sure you get all the rest you need when we get back home, even if our Janet has to tie you to the bed."
The General stood up. "Very well then. Mr. Teal'c, you may begin by assisting Doctor Melbourne Jackson with the translations, and then brief my men on whatever you deem essential. I will hold you to the condition that you be escorted by two armed SFs at all times." Teal'c nodded his compliance. "Major and Captain Carter, you will begin work on the mirror. Doctor Jackson will assist Claire Jackson once he has been checked out by Doctor Fraiser. Colonel O'Neill, you will also assist Claire Jackson. All right, people, dismissed."
- - - - - -
Janet, against her better judgement, gave Daniel more painkillers for his headache, ordered him to get a decent meal, and admonished him to return to see her if he started feeling worse. At the moment the last thing Daniel wanted was to eat, the pain in his head was making his stomach queasy, but he wasn't going to admit that to Janet. He nodded his agreement to Janet's orders, but had already decided that he'd wait before eating.
While Janet had been examining him, Jack had been busy with Claire Jackson, going through the various Stargate addresses that he remembered. He came to collect Daniel when Janet phoned to let him know she was ready to release him.
On the way to the lab, Jack spoke up. "Daniel, I've explained about our allies, told them about the Nox, the Tok'ra, the Tollans, even the Asgaard. You'll have to come up with the gate addresses, though."
Daniel nodded. He stumbled slightly. Jack quickly caught Daniel's arm to steady him.
"Jack, I'm going to start with trying to explain where the Stargate addresses are buried on Abydos. Oh, and we're going to have to warn them about the Goa'ulds here on earth. They don't know about Hathor, Seth or Osiris and Isis."
Jack nodded, and continued. "I've already given them the gate addresses for Cimmeria and Chulak, and, oh, the Land of the Light. There's a few others but I wasn't sure of the symbols. You'll have to check to make sure I got 'em right. But I'm pretty sure I did. Mostly, that is."
Daniel nodded, and stumbled again. Jack grabbed his arm and stopped his friend. "Hey, you okay?" he asked, concerned.
'Um, yeah. Headache. My legs feel like jello. I really, really just want to go lie down for a couple of days, but I know that's out of the question."
"Yeah, my legs kind of feel like that too. That's the last time I'm going to go play outside in the gravity," he joked. They started walking again.
"We're going to have to tell them about the second Stargate here in Antartica also. They'll have an advantage if they can get the DHD from it connected here at the SGC, ah, I mean SGM."
Daniel stumbled again. "Do they have an Iris set up on the Stargate here, too?" Jack nodded at Daniel's question.
"Thank God for that. By the way, thank you for letting me help them. We couldn't just leave them here like this, it wouldn't be right."
"I know." Jack knew Daniel had been right. At least this way they would have done all they could to help this world in the fight against the Goa'uld.
- - - - - -
Jack arrived at the Colonel's office with Daniel's list of 'gate addresses and detailed notes. It had taken them several hours to get the list completed. He had just returned from the infirmary after dragging Daniel back there, insisting he rest for a couple of hours. Daniel had been looking terrible, and Jack had noticed that his speech was slightly slurred. After one look at Daniel, Janet had insisted he lie down, at the threat of sedating him if he didn't obey. Jack told him he'd be back for him in a few hours. Daniel's eyes had closed even before Jack had finished talking.
Needing to take a break, he had offered to bring the list to his alternate. Knocking at the door, he saw that O'Neill was on the phone, but he waved Jack inside.
Trying politely not to appear he was listening to the conversation, Jack walked over to some photos and plaques on a shelf by the door and started looking them over. Suddenly the words caught Jack's attention. "That's right, we won't be able to go out tomorrow like I promised, son. Something's come up."
"Son?" As Jack turned towards O'Neill, one of the pictures on the shelf caught his eye. Picking it up, he saw that it was a picture of O'Neill, Jack's wife Sara, and a blond teenage boy. Charlie!
"Give mom my love, willya? Bye kiddo." As he hung up, Jack saw a smile on O'Neill's face.
Jack waved the picture and asked softly, "Charlie?" O'Neill nodded, his face questioning.
"My Charlie died nearly four years ago." Jack put the picture back on the shelf, and picked up another.
O'Neill looked at Jack. "Four years ago? Oh God, the gun?" O'Neill stared at Jack with horror. "I barely stopped Charlie from shooting himself with my sidearm four years ago." He looked at Jack with understanding. Jack turned away to compose himself, didn't want to see the pity in the man's eyes. Damn. His Charlie was alive. Jack was beginning to understand what Daniel must have felt when he first saw his parents earlier today.
"What's he like?" Jack asked softly, looking at the picture in his hands.
"He's a good boy. I couldn't have asked for a better son. Look, I'm sorry, this is kind of awkward."
"You and Sara, you're still together?"
"I'm glad. My Sara left me after I came back from Abydos. Not that I blame her, I was going there on a suicide mission."
"Oh God. Both Charlie and Sara. I don't know what to say. How could you have kept on going after that? I don't know if I could have."
"Yeah," Jack replied softly. "I didn't want to, no one should outlive their own kid." He swallowed hard to get rid of the lump in his throat. "I guess I have Daniel to thank for that. He's the one who talked sense into me. He actually threw himself before a staff blast, took the shot that should have killed me." He ran his hands over his face. "So, does Charlie still like baseball?"
O'Neill grinned. "Oh yeah. He's on a scholarship."
"Way to go, kiddo." Jack grinned also. He was pretty proud of his kid.
Jack continued to look at the photos and he spotted several of Dan and Charlie. Holding one up questioningly, O'Neill explained. "Dan and Charlie were pretty close for a while. Almost like brothers. Charlie was devastated when Dan pushed him away."
"Dan got himself into some trouble about 15 months ago. Gangs, drugs. He ended up nearly killing someone. The only thing I'm thankful for is when this started happening, he cut Charlie off completely. He could so easily have exposed him to that shit, but he chose to stay away."
"Sounds like he really cares for Charlie."
"Yeah, he does. I'm worried now, though. He's started spending time with Charlie again."
"Maybe he's cleaned up his act."
"Yeah right. You saw what he was like today when he came to the briefing."
"I saw someone who was ticked off at you, and was most likely exhausted. I've seen my Daniel like that more times than I've cared to."
"Exhausted, sure if you consider he'd been partying all night long. And coming down off a drug high."
Thinking of when Daniel had been addicted to the sarcophagus, he mentally compared his memory of Dan's actions this morning during the briefing. "No, I don't think so. I've seen Daniel high, I don't think Dan was today. I think he was just pissed and tired."
- - - - - -
Leaving O'Neill's office, Jack went to the nearest washroom and locked himself in. Charlie! Charlie was alive here. Shaking and fighting back tears, Jack grieved for the son he had lost and for the fact that his double still had a son. For a split second Jack toyed with the idea of killing him and taking his place. Common sense took over, hell if he stayed here, who'd watch over Daniel? Laughing to himself, he washed his face and made his way to the Jacksons' lab.
Upon entering the room, he found it deserted except for Dan. He was sitting at his mother's computer, going through the information that Jack and Daniel had provided. He was so intent on what he was reading that he didn't notice Jack standing in the doorway.
Jack thought that it was incredible how the man looked so much like Daniel, and at the same time, could be totally different. The guy looked and acted like a spoiled playboy, but watching the intense concentration on his face at the moment, he was purely Daniel. Jack suspected that the playboy act was just that, an act.
He took a step back to leave before he was noticed, but Dan must have sensed him, because he looked up at him. A scowl formed on his face, until he realized that Jack wasn't the Jack he expected to see. A shy smile appeared fleetingly on Dan's face, and then he looked back at the computer screen and admitted to Jack, "this is amazing. All these worlds…you've done so much compared to us."
"Different timeline made all the difference. You've been lucky, in a sense. You haven't really pissed anyone off so the Goa'ulds haven't come looking for you." He took a few steps into the room. Jack toyed with a gadget sitting on the table. He looked up at Dan.
"I hear you and Charlie are close."
Dan smiled widely. "Yeah, he's a great kid. I hope to have one of my own just like him some day." That smile, Jack, thought, it really did light up his face, just like Daniel's. He liked it much better than the sneer Dan had been wearing during the meeting.
"What about you? What's your Charlie like?"
"My son died almost four years ago, Dan."
"Oh shit. I'm sorry, I didn't…God, I hate it when I do this." He turned away, embarrassed.
"Hey, you couldn't know. It's okay." He walked over and hopped up onto on the table beside Dan's chair.
"Look, I'd like you to do something. Daniel's really not doing very well, and there's so much information he has to get down for you guys."
Dan glanced up at Jack quickly, then looked away.
"I get the feeling that if the two of you could work together… it would probably help things go more smoothly. He could probably give you the basics on the Goa'uld language and script. It would help if you could translate the various artifacts. You could help him accomplish all of this that much faster."
"We, um, kinda didn't hit it off too well, you know."
"You could always apologize," Jack said with a smile.
Dan continued to stare at the computer. "He kind of did something with his life, didn't he?"
"Daniel? Don't kid yourself, he had it really rough. He never even had a real family past the age of eight. You could say he was happy during the one year he had with Shau're on Abydos. He spent the last few years searching for her, hoping to free her from the snake that possessed her. When she died, he took it hard. It's only now, really, that he's accepting his role with us for what it is. We're a more than a team - Daniel, Teal'c, Carter and myself. We're family."
Dan frowned slightly at this.
"He envies you your parents, in a way. The life you had growing up in a loving home. I look at you and I see so much of Daniel in you. But I also see a young man who's hurting terribly. I know, because I've seen the same thing in Daniel."
Dan lowered his head to his chest, his arms wrapped around his body. Suddenly, he raised his head and his eyes angrily flashed at Jack. "You don't know a thing about me. Don't try to make me into your sniveling little wretch of a friend. I'm not him, and you don't know the first thing about me."
Dan stood up and started for the door. Jack put his hand out gently to stop him and said, "No, you're not him. But you're still hurting. Some kinds of hurt don't go away, they just fester inside until it tears you apart and you end up doing something you'll regret later. I also know that sometimes it helps to talk to someone who's impartial. Looks like I'll be here for a while…if you want to talk…"
Dan brushed Jack's hand away and walked out.
- - - - - -
Jack decided to stop and see if the Carters had made any progress with the mirror. Upon entering Captain Carter's lab where the mirror had been transported, all he could see were wires coming out of the interior of it leading to all sorts of doodads and doohickeys. He hoped that they knew what they were doing because the guts of the mirror seemed to have been removed and were lying around on the table and floor in pieces.
Jack spied both Carters kneeling on the floor before the mirror; each had a hand inside the mirror. He guessed that they were trying to either take something out or put something in. Both women had stripped to their black short-sleeved T shirts. Both were wearing blue airforce issue pants. Both had the same haircut. Shit!
"Carter, what's the status?" he asked, not looking specifically at one or the other.
One Carter turned to look at him and smiled. She removed her hand from the interior of the mirror and wiped it on her pants while sitting back on her heels. "We're putting it back together now, sir."
The other Carter must have finally gotten the piece she was fiddling with inside to fit because he heard an audible click. She removed her hand and also wiped it on her pants.
"We're pretty sure we know what's wrong with it, sir," replied the other Carter.
Looking from one to the other, Jack didn't know which to question further.
"Um, so, what's wrong with it?"
Both Carters looked at each other and grinned. "He can't tell us apart," one said to the other. Laughing, she stood up and walked over to one of the blinking doodads.
"That's not true," Jack denied.
The other Carter stood up also, but much more slowly and painfully. Aha, his Carter, still feeling the effects of the heavy gravity planet.
Nodding at her when she finally got to her feet, he said, "So, Major, can you tell me whether or not we'll be going home soon?"
She grinned. "I hope so sir. Actually there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the mirror itself. The problem is that it’s here on earth."
The other Carter continued, while checking numbers flashing on another doohickey. "It's the low gravity here that's preventing the mirror from working at this end. That's why you were able to come here, it works on a heavy gravity planet, but as earth's gravity is lower, the mirror won't work from here."
Sam continued, "We're going to have to transport the mirror back to P3S 985, and hope that it works there."
"And pray that we haven't missed something crucial."
"I'm pretty sure we haven't."
"So it's gonna work once we move it out there?" Jack asked.
"We won't know till we turn it on."
"Oh, now isn't that peachy."
"Colonel, how's Daniel?" Sam asked.
"He's resting at the moment," Jack said.
"Is he all right?" she asked worriedly.
"I don’t know. I hope so." Jack turned and left the room.
- - - - - -
Jack was sitting with Teal'c and the Jacksons at the commissary, eating a late meal. Two armed SFs were standing conspicuously by the doors. Dan entered the room and spying Jack, grabbed a cup of coffee and sat down at the table next to them, taking the seat beside Jack. His mother smiled at him, his father ignored him.
Jack noticed that Dan had changed his clothes. He was wearing faded jeans and a black T-shirt, and his earring and other jewelry were gone. Giving Jack an apologetic smile, he said, "about our conversation earlier. Umm, I think maybe you were right on some points." He looked down at the cup cradled between his hands.
Jack waited for him to go on. The Jacksons had stopped talking and were listening to their son.
"If you think I can, er, help, I'd like to maybe, um, learn what he can teach me about the Goa'uld language. If I can get a start on it, I can probably decipher the rest eventually." He looked up quickly and glanced at Jack, then at Teal'c, returning his gaze to the coffee cup.
Teal'c interrupted. "There is insufficient time to teach someone to speak the Goa'uld tongue, O'Neill."
"Ahhh, but Teal'c, we're talking about Dan here. Remember, his brain is the same as Danny's. How much time d'ya think it would take our Daniel to learn, hmmm?"
"You have a point, O'Neill. But will DanielJackson be well enough to attempt to teach him?"
Dan's father said sarcastically "Oh, so you've suddenly decided that you want to help us out now? What, your friends decide to stop clubbing all of a sudden?"
Dan didn't look at his father, but said quietly. "Dad, I want to help. You know how I feel about things here, and I know that I haven't been very…nice…lately. I guess I'm saying I'm sorry." He looked up at started intently at his father. "I really want to help."
"Dan," his mother started.
"No, Claire, let him be. If he wants to help, fine. Let him work till he gets bored again."
Mel got up laboriously and limped out of the room. His mother patted her son's hand for a moment, smiled encouragingly, and followed her husband out of the room.
Jack looked at Dan and when he caught his eye, he said, "Let's go check on Daniel. If the Doc lets him out, we'll see about you learning language number thirteen. Teal'c, I'll come get you if Daniel's not up to this, you could maybe teach Dan some of the basics."
Teal'c remaining sitting, but inclined his head in agreement.
- - - - - -
Jack stood by Daniel's bed, watching his friend sit up groggily. Jack had hated to wake Daniel up, he hoped that the several hours of sleep he'd had would be enough to help him get through a few more hours of work. Janet clearly hadn't wanted Jack to disturb him, but if they were going to help these people, they were going to need Daniel.
He himself was only able to keep working due to the stimulants that Janet had handed out. He felt like he wanted to join Daniel in that bed and make like Rip Van Winkle.
It was only when Daniel got up off the infirmary cot that he noticed his double leaning against the wall by the door. Looking at Jack, he tilted his head towards Dan in a silent question.
"What?" replied Jack to Daniel's look.
"What's he doing here, Jack?"
"Waiting for you."
"Waiting for me for what?"
"Waiting for you to go teach him Goa'uld."
"Yeah, right" Daniel said, smiling. Daniel had started walking unsteadily away from the cot.
Daniel froze at Jack's words. He turned at Jack and started at him incredulously. "You're serious?" At Jack's look, Daniel continued. "You expect me, to work with him? Mister toyboy over there?"
"Danny, he really wants to help."
"You're kidding? For how long? Till he finds something more interesting to do?"
"I think there's more going on here than we know about. He really does want to help. Give him a chance. I think that working with him is going to make it much easier on you…if you can give him a crash course while you're looking over some of the artifacts, he can take over after you leave. That way they'll have somebody here who can speak and read'n'write Goa'uld. It's an advantage we can't not give 'em."
"Jack, I can't believe you're doing this to me…".
Daniel realized that Jack had a point. He stopped by the door, looking at his counterpart. Dan pushed off the wall and straightened up. "I should apologize for what I said earlier," he started.
Daniel nodded. "Look, it's okay. Let's just get on with it. Jack says he wants me to give you a crash course in Goa'uld. There's some similarity to the Abydonian tongue. How fluent are you in that?"
Jack asked, "You two don't need me anymore, do ya?" They both shook their heads distractedly. He grinned and went off in the other direction.
They started walking towards Dan's office. He replied to Daniel's question. "I know some basics, Mom's better at it than I am, though."
"But you've been to Abydos, haven't you? You should have picked up the language."
Dan pulled out a chair for Daniel as they entered his office. He laughed mockingly. "Oh, yeah, go offworld. Now there's a joke."
"What's so funny about that?"
"Like they'd let a civilian go."
"You mean you don't know? They don't allow civilians offworld. All personnel who go through the gate are either AirForce or Marines. We have to give crash courses on archeology or languages or whatever else they think they might need last minute, and then hope for the best."
"But that's incredibly stupid? How can they know what they'll need until they get there?" Daniel was shocked.
"During the first mission to Abydos, they sent a civilian with the team, and Steven, well, he got killed. After that, they decided only military personnel would go through the Stargate."
"Steven Rayner, one of my best friends."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I know Steven, we were good friends too, until I sort of blew it."
"I had to leave him and Sarah, and Professor Jordan. My wild ideas at the time was starting to discredit the Professor, so I decided it best to distance myself from them."
"Oh. So you know Sarah."
"Were you close?"
"At the time, yes. Why?"
"What? Congratulations!" Daniel couldn't believe it. Finally, one world where not only his double and his parents were alive, but his double had found someone to love.
"Nobody knows about it yet, you're the first person I've told so far."
"I'll keep your secret, don't worry." Dan nodded his thanks.
"So, when Steven died, I gather there was no sarcophagus around?"
"You've never heard of those? It's Goa'uld technology. It'll heal injuries, even bring someone back from the dead."
"Now there's something we could use."
"Yeah, us too, but we've never been able to get our hands on one. There are other problems associated with them, though." He remembered his time of addiction to a sarcophagus, and quickly changed the subject. "I gather that you'd have liked to go" he waved with his hand "out there."
Dan gave him a wry smile. "Yeah, as soon as I heard about the Stargate, that became my dream. I thought after a while the General would give in and let some of us civilians through, but my father convinced them that it was safer to keep us here on earth. He was very upset when Steven died. I tried talking to the bigwigs, but they remained adamant. No exceptions. I kind of drove them crazy about it. Especially Jack." He smiled slightly at the thought.
"So that's why your Jack…well, I'm going to recommend that they change their views on sending out civilians. Hey, with a bit of basic field ops, they wouldn't be able to do without you out there." Daniel grinned. "You'd need to get into shape first."
"Not a problem, I work out regularly with a couple of friends who just happen to be jarheads." He grinned back at Daniel.
They'd been working for a couple of hours when Dan noticed that Daniel was starting to lose track of his thoughts. He excused himself for a moment and picked up the phone. Daniel sat back with his eyes closed and listened to Dan talk to the other person on the phone. "Yeah, hi it's me. Look, could you do me a favour and pick up some coffee and a couple of sandwiches…yeah, I'm in my office. Thanks sweetie."
Turning back to Daniel, Dan asked, "when was the last time you ate something?"
"Where? On your world?" Dan teased.
Daniel nodded wearily. Dan was shocked. He said, "that's almost 23 hours ago! No wonder you're tired, your blood sugar must be non-existent."
"Twenty three hours? How long did I sleep?"
"Your last nap was for nearly 8 hours."
"Shit, I told Jack we needed to get this done. He shouldn't have let me sleep so much."
"Daniel, you did as much as you could. We've gotten all of the gate addresses down. Thanks to you, we're going to be incredibly busy in the next few years."
A knock at the door announced Sarah bearing a tray laden with several sandwiches and two cups of coffee. At the disappointed look on her face, Daniel realized that she had expected to be sharing the meal with Dan. His double realized that too, and he quickly got up and took the tray from her. Putting an arm around her shoulders, he held her close and said softly, "sorry sweetheart. Daniel needed something to eat, I didn't think to explain."
She put a hand to his mouth, silencing him. "Shhh, I understand. You're exhausted, not thinking straight," she replied in her lilting voice. She kissed him ardently, then pulled back. "That'll teach you to work twenty four hours straight on a translation, and then staying up another twenty four while trying to learn a new language."
She turned to look at Daniel curiously, and said, "it's incredible, the two of you are totally identical."
Fingering his scar, Dan said, "well, not quite."
Daniel smiled at her gently. "And you're exactly like the Sarah in my world."
"You knew me there?"
"But I see that I make you sad. We weren't close, then?"
"Yes, we were. It's just that, my Sarah, she became a Goa'uld. She was taken over by Osiris."
"Me!" Sara exclaimed. She looked ill. Dan took her in his arms and held her close.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you," Daniel said.
"She'll be okay, won't you, sweetie," She nodded against Dan's chest. "You'd better go, we still have a lot of work to do." He took her chin in his hand and kissed her gently.
"Daniel Jackson, behave yourself in front of um, yourself." She giggled, kissed Dan once more, then walked over to Daniel, kissed him on the cheek, and left the room.
Dan busied himself handing out the coffee and sandwiches. "I don't know what she sees in me, but I swear she's kept me sane this past year. I got into some trouble after I found out I wouldn't be going off world. Umm, drugs, and I, er, joined a gang. When I finally decided to get clean, she was there for me the whole time. Dad's never really forgiven me, I guess I disappointed him." He fingered the scar under his eye. "That's when I got this. Got into a fight when I was high, nearly killed the other guy. That scared me so much that I quit cold turkey. You have no idea what it's like losing control like that."
"Actually, I do. I went through a period of addiction, not drugs, um, something that happened offworld, with the sarcophagus. That's one of the problems that comes with it, if someone who's not injured uses it, they become addicted to it. Jack's the one who pulled me through." Daniel sipped his coffee. "I almost killed Jack when I was coming down. I still have nightmares about that."
"Looks like we're more alike than I first thought." Daniel looked up at his counterpart, and returned the smile he saw on the other's face.
"You said your dad hasn't forgiven you for getting into trouble. Have you and he actually talked about it?"
"No, and I don't think I want to. I, um, kind of made things look like I'm still part of the gang. Like at the meeting, dressing like I did. They thought I'd gone out partying, when the whole time I was buried under tons of translations."
Daniel laughed. "When you walked into the briefing, I thought your Jack was going to turn you over his knee."
"Yeah, I've been running him hard, too. I just get so frustrated."
- - - - - -
Jack had come by twice in the past several hours to check up on Daniel. He could see that even though the work wasn't physical, it was definitely taking a toll out of his friend. Dan had glanced at Jack worriedly the last time Jack had been there. This third time he came armed with Claire, both carrying heavily burdened trays. The two men were still working enthusiastically side by side. They seemed to be getting along together as well as the Carters were.
"Okay, I think it's more than past time you guys took a break," Jack said, placing his tray on top of the papers spread out before Daniel. Claire placed hers in front of her son.
"But Jack, we're just at the point where…" Daniel whined.
"This is a really interesting part…" Dan complained.
"Ah ah," Jack said, shaking his finger between them. "No arguments. Both of you are going to eat. I want to see everything disappear off of those plates."
"Jaaack, really, I want to finish..."
"Daniel, you're not doing another iota of work until you've eaten. That's an order."
"Is he always this bossy?" Dan asked.
"Actually, he's kind of lenient today. Usually he's more of a nag."
"Daniel," Jack growled. Daniel reluctantly picked up a fork and started picking at his meal.
"Dan, you heard the man. I don't see you eating either."
"Mooom! You're not going to start too, are you?"
"Only if you give me grief. You eat now, you get to work sooner." She grinned up at Jack. It was amazing how similar both Daniels were.
- - - - - -
Teal'c had been systematically cataloguing and translating a variety of artifacts collected from the various forays the SGM teams had made. Some of the work was easy as he and DanielJackson had already translated them in their own world, but there were several of which he had never seen before, and the languages and scripts were not familiar to him. These he had put aside in the odd chance that Daniel would be able to look at them before they left.
Mel asked O'Neill if he would mind bringing the artifacts which Teal'c had culled over to Daniel and Dan. He thought maybe Daniel would have a chance to go over the artifacts and start translating some of them.
O'Neill passed Claire and Dan in the hallway on his way to Dan's office, both bearing the remains of a meal on trays. He had come to speak to Daniel and heard voices coming from the open door. As he approached, he realized that his counterpart was talking with Daniel. He didn't want to eavesdrop, was going to knock on the door, until he heard his name mentioned.
"So, any sparkage between this world's O'Neill and Captain Carter?" Daniel was asking. Daniel remembered in both other alternate universes, those two had either been engaged or married.
"Nuh uh, O'Neill's still married," Jack replied quietly.
"Married? Oh, to Sara?"
O'Neill thought that his counterpart nodded, because he didn't hear a reply.
"Oh, then Charlie?"
"Jack, I'm sorry."
"No, don't be. God, just think, Charlie's alive! He hadn't survived in the other alternate world you went to either. At least here, one of my other selves managed to save our son. My son. My only regret is that I won't be able to see him."
O'Neill decided he'd come back later, and turned around and returned to his office.
- - - - - -
Walking into Jackson's lab a short time later, O'Neill saw Dan look up at him with a genuine smile. Which quickly turned into a scowl when he realized that he wasn't Daniel's Jack. O'Neill realized that it had been too long since he'd since such a smile grace this man's face. Lately he usually wore a sarcastic or cynical look on his face. He missed seeing Dan looking at him kindly.
Handing the box over to Daniel, he nearly gasped in shock when he got a good look at him. The man looked on the verge of collapse. Dark circles rimmed his eyes, he was pale, and his hands were shaking. Glancing at Dan, he inclined his head towards Daniel while Daniel rummaged through the box. Dan nodded his head, then shrugged his shoulders. Actually, Dan didn't look much better. His eyes were bloodshot, he was also obviously exhausted.
"Doctor Jackson, don’t you think you should take a break?"
"Geez, you sound just like my Jack. Doesn't he, Dan?" Daniel said.
"You do know you look like shit right now, don't you," Dan answered back.
Ignoring Dan, Daniel continued to rifle through the box. "Colonel, I'd like to ask you about your view on civilians being permitted through the Stargate."
Colonel? Oh, we’re being official now, are we? Jack thought to himself. "Not gonna happen," admitted O'Neill.
"No, I want to know what you think. You, personally."
O'Neill chewed his bottom lip a moment. "Okay, personally, I think that letting anyone who's non-military through the Stargate is asking for trouble. We need people who have had combat training, who are able to follow orders, who know what to expect. Anything other than that is unacceptable."
"You know, that's exactly what Jack thought at first." Stilling his hands and looking up at O'Neill, he continued. "Just because you lost one civilian on your first outing, doesn't mean it would happen every time. What if, let's say, you took Dan here, and maybe even a couple of other archeologists or linguists or anthropologists, and put them through basic field operations, you know, taught them how to use guns, hand signals, all that stuff. Made sure one military team member was with them at all times for safety's sake, even start with only the uninhabited planets. Don't you think it would be worth the trouble in the long run?"
"You're kidding me? You want me to take civilians through the 'gate?"
"We have a civilian on nearly every SG team. It's worked out in most cases. Actually, it's become a necessity."
O'Neill stared at Dan. "What have you been telling him?" Dan glared back at O’Neill.
Daniel retorted, "Don't you start on him. I've been with SG1 from its inception. I know what it's like out there. As a matter of fact, I died on the first mission. And again several months later. And nearly died a few other times. That didn't cause Jack to kick me off the team. I know that with proper training, Dan would be an indispensable addition to your team. Having an archeologist or a linguist or an anthropologist on the team means making decisions on the spur of the moment. Not having the proper information available on hand can be more dangerous than worrying about whether your civilian can handle himself. If you don't want him on SG1, fine. Put him on another team. But send him out there. His talents are wasted here. And Sarah, she could be placed on another team. Send her to archeological digs if you don't want her put in a dangerous situation. There are plenty of planets that are safe and are archeological wonders. Jack! They're all wasted here. Let them go and do what they're best at. Please, go talk to my Jack about this." Lifting his eyes, he looked at Jack intently.
Daniel resumed rifling through the box. Suddenly, something caught his eye. It resembled a stone tablet, made of some kind of iron, about a foot in diameter. It was covered in writing, with hieroglyphs surrounding the outer edge. Daniel took the artifact with shaking hands. He stared at it for a long time.
"I've seen this before," Daniel muttered. "The hieroglyphs are clearly Egyptian, but the writing, it's a mixture of ancient Latin and Greek, but the words definitely aren't. It's like it's written in code. I can't read it, but I know I've seen it before." He rubbed his face tiredly, his eyes were having trouble focusing on the writing. He could remember that when he had first seen this writing, his eyes also hadn't been focusing properly at the time.
"Where did I… Machello! This was written by Machello!" He waved the tablet in Jack's face. "I have to see Sam, she's seen this before, maybe she can help me translate it."
Daniel pushed his chair back and stood up, but his legs gave out and he landed heavily on the chair, and nearly fell off. Both Dan and O'Neill grabbed him to hold him upright.
"Whoa, head rush" he moaned. A second later, he stated the obvious. "Um, Jack, my legs don't seem to want to hold me up."
"I can see that. Okay, change of plans. I'm going to get Doctor Fraiser."
"Jack no!" Daniel exclaimed.
"Doctor Jackson, look at you, you're about to collapse."
"Jack, please. I'm okay." His shaking hands and pallor contradicted his words.
"No, you're not."
"You don't understand. This is important. It could mean the difference to both your world and mine," he tried to argue.
"Ah ah," O'Neill said, waggling a finger in front of Daniel's face. Daniel looked up at him, unsure if he had heard right. This was the Colonel O'Neill of SGM, wasn't it? He sure sounded like his own Jack. He leaned his head against the back of the chair, his energy depleted.
"Daniel?" Dan said anxiously.
O'Neill was astounded as the worried look in Dan's face. The man had surprised him repeatedly in the past several hours.
"Look, help me get him to the infirmary. Then you take that rock over to his Sam, then find his Colonel and tell them to meet me in the infirmary."
Dan nodded, taking one of Daniel's arms and putting it over his shoulder.
- - - - - -
"It's definitely Machello's writing," Sam confirmed to both Colonels and Dan. "But I can't translate it. Machello never had time to teach me the code."
"Who's this Machello guy?" O'Neill asked.
"Some scientist who created all kinds of stuff and booby traps to destroy the Goa'ulds. Never trusted the guy, though." Jack quipped.
They were standing near the entrance to the infirmary, watching while Janet bustled around Daniel. He had either fallen asleep or fallen unconscious as soon as his body had been horizontal. O'Neill couldn't help wonder at the willpower the man had been exhibiting.
Dan said, "I think the hieroglyphs here say that it's some kind of weapon. I would think that the script inside describes the weapon, either how to make it or where to find it."
"The only thing we can do is to give you the gate address to Machello's world. He may not be able to help you, he was in suspended animation when we found him, close to death. Even if you do resuscitate him, there's no telling if he would live long enough to help you, or even that he'd be willing to do so."
Sam handed the tablet back to O'Neill. "So, Major, what's the prognosis on the mirror?"
"We're nearly ready to transport it to P3S 985. Two more hours, maybe." O'Neill nodded.
Taking Jack's arm, O'Neill steered him away from Sam and Dan. "Look, your Daniel wanted me to talk to you about the civilians on your team."
"I'm guessing that Dan wants in on the action?" O'Neill nodded. "Then let him. You're severely limiting your options when you don't have the best resources with you. Daniel's part of SG1, but most other SG teams have at least one civilian member. Just think, with all those planets we've given you to explore, do you really not want an archeologist or linguist on your team?"
Jack saw that Janet had finished with Daniel, he excused himself and went to sit beside his friend's bed, Sam following right behind him.
O'Neill looked at Dan. "So, you're really serious about going through the 'gate," he inquired.
"Like this is news. You know that's what I've always wanted to do. Even mom wouldn’t mind going through."
O'Neill looked towards the sleeping Daniel. "You haven't exactly been acting like someone I'd like to have on my team."
"How do I know this isn't just another phase you're going through. That you won't get bored in another couple of months, decide to take off again. Or get high again."
"God, the only reason I acted stupidly then was because I was so frustrated here. You didn't let me do anything except look at things second hand. Damn, I do have a degree in archeology. I do know languages. Yes, I don't know as many as he does, but it's not too late to learn more. I want to do this, I want to go through with you. I want to be able to help."
"I don't know if I can trust you."
"That's understandable, I haven't made it look like I was trustworthy, have I? Look, I haven't touched the stuff in close to a year. I haven't even been to the clubs since then. Every time you thought I was out partying, I was locked up in my room working on translations."
O'Neill looked at Dan unbelievingly.
"Check with mom if you don't believe me. I couldn’t have been having a good time and doing all those translations at the same time."
"Why did you try and make me believe you were being irresponsible?"
"Because you hurt me when you didn't want me on the team. I guess I wanted to hurt you too."
Jack shook his head. "You're sure you want to do this?"
"As sure as I've ever been about anything in my life."
"Okay, I may regret this, but…meet me in thirty minutes. You're getting a crash course on weapons, and whatever else I think you'll need."
"You'll accompany both SG1 teams to P3S 985. I think that Doctor Jackson may need your moral support if the mirror doesn't work. And if I like what I see, you may be assigned to a few missions in the near future. But you make sure you do exactly what I say." O'Neill walked away, aware of the grin on Dan's face. He tried to hide his own smile.
- - - - - -
When Claire arrived at the infirmary to visit Daniel, she found the Jaffa sitting by his bedside. Coming up to the bed, she smiled at the warrior. He nodded a greeting at Claire.
"I must leave now, it is good that you will sit with him. His sleep has been disturbed by dreams," he said to Claire. Teal’c stood up and offered her his chair.
"Does this happen often?" she asked curiously, sitting down in the chair.
"Upon occasion. ColonelO’Neill is usually there to help calm him when it does occur."
Teal’c took his leave from her; he went on his way to the Stargate to assist in moving the mirror back to its original position on the planet.
Daniel stirred slightly in his sleep. Glancing over, she saw his lips moving. She could barely make out what he was mumbling. She leaned over, listening intently. "Baba, baba laa." // Daddy, Daddy no //.
"Shhhh," Claire whispered, stroking his forehead gently, trying to ease him out of his dream.
"Mama, laa! Khali balak, ha yokaa!" // Mommy, no! Look out, it's falling //.
Claire realized then that Daniel was dreaming about seeing his parents die when he was a child. Trying to soothe him, she answered him in Arabic. "Shhh, mafish haga, ya habibi, Mama hena," she whispered softly. // Shhh, it's okay, sweetie, mommy's here //. She remembered the little boy she and Mel had brought to America for the first time, who was more comfortable speaking in Arabic than in English.
"Mama?" Daniel asked, opening his eyes and looking around, slightly confused.
"Danny, shhh. Da helm wehsh bas, ergaa nam." // It's just a bad dream, go back to sleep //.
"Claire?" he asked, looking at her, bewildered.
She nodded. "Rouh nam," // Go to sleep //, she repeated.
For the first time since that terrible accident years ago, Daniel woke up from his usual nightmare to the comforting sight of his mother's face. He shut his eyes contentedly, sleep overtaking him once again.
"Mama hena," // Mommy's here //, she said softly to herself.
- - - - - -
They had finally gotten the be-damned mirror back to its niche on P3S 985. It had taken lots of sweat, swearing and maneuvering to get the thing into position. It was heavy to start with, but it had doubled its weight back on the planet. They decided not to attempt activating it on the off chance that there were Jaffa in the vicinity of the mirror on Jack's world. The mirror was nearly invisible if it wasn't activated as it blended quite well into the wall. So hopefully the Jaffa didn't know of its existence yet, unless one of them accidentally found it the way Daniel had in the first place. They hoped for the best, and prayed that when it came time for SG1 to return home, the mirror would function properly.
They all returned to SGM for a few hours' rest before they would be escorting the visitors home. They still had quite a few hours to spare before the tremors started, and they had all been working hard. Both O'Neill and Jack decided to grant everyone several hours worth of sleep before going back to P3S 985.
- - - - - -
Daniel woke in a panic, for a moment not knowing where he was. Trying to catch his breath, he became aware of someone sitting beside him, patting his shoulder. He opened his eyes and saw Dan's father sitting by his bed.
"Are you all right, do you want me to get Janet?" Mel asked.
Daniel shook his head. "No, I’m okay. I was just a little disoriented. Um, Claire was here earlier," he said, looking around sleepily.
"She went to get some rest. She told me you had a nightmare. I never realized what you must have gone through when your own parents died," he told Daniel. "You still have nightmares about it?"
"Yeah. I think that seeing you and Claire kind of triggered them, I hadn't had any for a while lately."
"I'm sorry we've upset you so much."
"Oh no, don't be. You have no idea how much seeing you both has meant to me. I always wondered what the two of you would be like, and now I've had the chance to find out." He smiled shyly at Mel. "Can I ask, um, your leg. Was that from the incident where my parents died?"
"You mean the accident in the museum?"
"Yes, Dan saw the coverstone start to fall, and he screamed. His warning gave me just enough time to push Claire away, but my leg got caught underneath. I always cursed the injury, but after having met you, I realize now that even though I'm crippled, at least I'm alive. It's funny how things have a way of falling into perspective." He laughed softly at that.
"Dan loves you, you know," Daniel said sleepily, his eyelids beginning to droop closed.
"Excuse me?" Mel asked, wondering why Daniel was changing the subject.
"Go talk to him. You're both so stubborn. I know now where he gets it from," he muttered, as sleep claimed him once again. Mel smiled, he knew also where Daniel got his stubborn streak from.
- - - - - -
Jack stopped at the infirmary to check up on Daniel before heading off to bed. He arrived there to see Melbourne Jackson sitting beside his friend. Daniel was sleeping very deeply.
Nodding at Dan's father, Jack placed his hand on Daniel's forehead for a moment, saying goodnight in his own way. He was about to leave when Mel spoke up. "You care for him a great deal, don't you?"
"Yeah, he's my best friend."
"It's amazing how he turned out quite differently from my own son."
"Really? I don't see much of a difference."
Melbourne looked up at Jack, confused.
"Look, I haven't been here long, but in the short time I've come to know Dan, I've seen many of the qualities in him that I admire in Daniel. Both of them are caring persons, wanting to help any way they can. Sure, Dan got into a bit of trouble, but from what I heard, he's straightened himself out."
"Where have you been hearing this crap?"
"From the man himself. He and Daniel and I were talking, he admitted to having gotten in with the wrong crowd. But he’s kept up the appearance of doing so for the past year to get back at you and the Colonel."
"And you believed him?"
"For crying out loud, he's your son. Don't you know when he's hurting? You and O'Neill knocked his dream out from under his feet, and when he made a mistake and got caught up in drugs, you weren't there to help and support him."
Daniel stirred slightly in his sleep. Jack's lowered his voice, thinking that his tone might be disturbing his sleep.
"I've spoken to the Colonel, he's going to put Dan on the team. Let him prove himself. It would mean a lot to Dan if you went and showed your support. He cares for you a great deal, you know."
"I don't know, I don't want to lose my son."
"Doctor Jackson, if you don't do this, you might still lose him."
- - - - - -
"Dad?" Dan asked sleepily, having woken up to the sound of his bedroom door opening.
"Can we talk?" Melbourne limped heavily and sat down on the edge of Dan's bed.
"If it's about my going to P3S 985 with Jack, there's nothing you can do to change my mind or his. It's been decided." He sat up and leaned against the wall.
"I've been told that you've been lying to me the past year." Dan looked at his hands, fiddling with the edge of the blanket. "That you've been putting on an act to make me look like some kind of idiotic fool."
"No! I didn't try to make you look like a fool. I wanted to hurt you. That's the only reason I did drugs. Not because I enjoyed them, but because you hated them. You prevented me from doing something I wanted. I couldn't be part of an SGM team, so I figured that I'd be part of something you hated. So I joined a gang. Now who's the dimwit here?"
"But why did you keep up the act? Your mother told me today that you've been off drugs for over a year, but you kept on acting like you were going out every night."
"Yeah, I, um, didn't know how to stop the act once I started. I would see you get mad each time I came in dressed up like an idiot, and I kept thinking how I was getting my revenge back at you. Until I met Daniel, I didn't realize how stupid I've been. I should have come and told you sooner, and asked for your forgiveness. I'm really sorry, Dad. I…"
His words were muffled as his father grabbed him and hugged him hard against his chest. Dan reached up and returned the hug. God he'd missed his father's affection so much.
"I don't like you going out there, Dan, but if it's what you want, I won't deny you your chance. Just promise me you'll be careful, I don't want to lose you." Dan nodded, too choked up to speak.
- - - - - -
When the Airman knocked on the door, Jack forced himself to get up. He'd had nearly eight hours of sleep, but it felt like he was still thirty six hours short of a good rest. He'd been to the heavy gravity planet twice in less than two days. He'd had too little sleep, he was emotionally exhausted, he was worried about Daniel, worried about getting his team back home.
He'd hadn't slept well, he’d had nightmares about Charlie's death, probably triggered by knowing that this reality's Charlie was still alive. He thought that maybe he should go see Sara when he got home, he should keep in touch, talk, let her know he still cared, even if they weren't still married.
Getting to his feet, he trudged to the infirmary to rouse Daniel. He had a hard time waking him up. He finally got him up on his feet, dragged him to the showers and then to the commissary. Joining Dan and the Carters there, he tried to coax Daniel to eat something. For all his efforts, Daniel only managed to drink a bit of coffee.
They had been on this alternate world for less than 40 hours. It should have been too soon for the entropic cascade tremors to come upon them. Unfortunately, due to his already weakened condition, Daniel was the first to experience them.
They'd been sitting at the table for only a few minutes, when suddenly Daniel moaned, and tensed up. He jerked back sharply and started shaking, as if he was experiencing convulsions, all the cells in his body appeared to be coming apart. It lasted for nearly a minute, and when it was over, he lay sprawled in Jack's arms, unconscious.
- - - - - -
Claire was sitting beside Daniel's bed, and looking down at him, she realized that he was awake and watching her. She smiled.
Daniel saw her smile at him, and his heart ached at the thought that his own mother would never be able to tell him what she thought of him, whether she was proud of his accomplishments, his achievements. What she thought of his friends, his beliefs, his ideals.
He felt something wet slide down his face and realized that he was crying. He brought a hand up to wipe away the tears, hoping that Claire hadn't noticed. Before he could do so, he felt Claire gently wipe his tears with her hand.
"I'm sorry," he said, embarrassed at being caught in a moment of weakness. "I don't mean to act like an idiot."
"Why would I think that? It's obvious you're exhausted, your emotions are just close to the surface right now. What were you thinking of that made you so sad?"
"Oh, um, actually, I was thinking of you. Or rather, what you'd think of me if you were really my mother." His voice was slightly choked up, and he kept swallowing to keep the tears at bay.
"Oh, but I am your mother, or actually I would be her if she was still alive. And I can tell you what I think of the young man lying in front of me right now. I'm very proud of him. He's grown up to be a caring, loving person, even with all the hardships he's had to endure in life. A man who's concern for other people is foremost in his beliefs. A strong, spirited, conscientious young man." She stroked his hair. "I'm sorry you're going to have to leave, because I'd be very happy to call you 'son'."
Her words touched Daniel and the tears started up again. She got up from the chair and sat down on the bed, and gave Daniel something that he hadn't experienced in nearly thirty years - a mother's hug.
- - - - - -
The second set of tremors hit Daniel ninety minutes later as they were all assembled in the embarkation room, ready to gate out to P3S 985. Instead of delaying their departure, they sent the assembled marines onwards to '985, and the two SG1 teams waited for Daniel to recover sufficiently to join them.
Coming to with his head supported on Sam's lap, Daniel looked up blearily at his friend. He remembered the pain of the tremors, it had felt like his whole body was attempting to pull itself apart. He looked around, saw that they were still in the embarkation room.
Jack helped Daniel sit up, waiting for him to regain his equilibrium. Dan came and kneeled by his side, and when he was ready, both Dan and Jack helped him stand. They made their way slowly to the Stargate.
Upon stepping out of the 'gate, Daniel immediately fell to his knees. If Jack and Dan hadn't been helping him, he would have probably injured himself. As it was, his body was too weak to support himself in the heavy gravity. They helped him to the nearby cave containing the mirror, and gently sat him down. Dan immediately settled beside him and kept him company.
Dan and Sam were assigned to stay with Daniel, to safeguard him from the Jaffa in their world. The plan was to go through the mirror, and then fight their way to the Stargate. The others would return home and they would bury the mirror to prevent any Jaffa from following them through. C-4 had been planted all around the mirror in expectation of their return.
Jack held his breath while Sam attempted to turn the mirror on. He let it out in a rush when he saw the block of stone turn shiny and reflective. Quickly, before losing the element of surprise, O'Neill gave the command to send the first wave of marines through to attack the waiting Jaffa, who could be seen in the depths of the mirror. Due to Daniel's continued weakness, Sam and Dan remained on this side of the mirror until the way was safe.
The battle was short and swift. The Jaffa had never known of the existence of the mirror and had been totally unprepared for the attack. Dan and Sam remained standing watch over Daniel, who, unable to remain upright, leaned wearily against the stone walls of the cave near the mirror while the battle raged on in the other reality. Within a short period of time, Jack came to the mirror and they saw him wave them on in.
They helped Daniel to the mirror, all three placed their hands on the reflective surface, and were transported over to Daniel and Sam's universe.
Now that they were back in their own reality, there was no danger that Daniel would experience another tremor. Their main concern now was to get him safely back to the SGC, and into Doc Fraiser's hands.
Daniel could hear the battle outside the cave, and he tried to follow the happenings through the communications coming from their radios. He was so tired and feeling unwell, though, that his brain couldn't seem to make out what was happening out there.
With the way to the Stargate finally clear, Jack and O'Neill returned and both assisted Daniel to his feet. Slinging one arm over each shoulder, they helped him to the Stargate. Sam had dialed the coordinates for home, and sent the code over the GDO. Now that the Stargate was active, there was no danger of the Jaffa dialing in. She turned to say goodbye to her mirror-team.
Teal'c came over and took Daniel's weight from O'Neill. Jack extended his free arm and shook O'Neill's hand. He said softly to him "take care of Charlie and Sara." O'Neill nodded solemnly. Jack then nodded towards Dan. "Watch him carefully, he's going to drive you crazy. He won't listen to you, he won't stay put, and he'll wander all over the place. But you'll soon find that he's indispensable, and you never knew how you got on without him."
To Dan, he said, "go easy on the Colonel, willya." Dan laughed. Dan came up to Daniel and said gently, "Thank you for everything. If it weren't for you, I'd never have gotten to follow my dream. I'm sorry I won't see you again, it would have been nice to have had a brother."
Daniel replied weakly, "A brother, yeah. That would have been nice. Love our parents for both of us, won't you?" Dan nodded, tears in his eyes.
Seeing that Daniel's legs were ready to give out on him, Teal'c bent down and took Daniel in his arms. Daniel rested his head against Teal'c chest. They turned and headed for the Stargate. Teal'c went straight through the Stargate without stopping, but Sam and Jack turned at the event horizon and waved, before stepping through.
- - - - - - -
Two days later, after having spent the majority of that time sleeping, Jack was hunting for his backpack where he'd placed copies of the stuff they'd worked on at the SGM. He needed it for his debriefing with General Hammond, scheduled in an hour's time. He had just checked up on Daniel, Janet would be releasing him this afternoon, and Jack was going to be taking Daniel home with him for the next few days to recuperate.
He finally found the backpack, and rummaging through it, he found two thick envelopes; one was addressed to himself, the other to Daniel. Curiously opening the one with his name on it, he was astonished to find it filled with pictures of Charlie, all taken within the last four years. God bless O'Neill!
Glancing at Daniel's package, he opened it and saw that it was similarly filled with pictures of Claire and Melbourne Jackson. God bless them all!
Author's Comments:A thousand "shokrans" to Moona, for being ever so sweet and doing the translations for me
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DISCLAIMER:The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.