Title: The Best of All Possible Worlds

Author: DebC

Email: debcmeadowbee.com

Fandom: Stargate SG-1

Rating: PG

Pairing: Sam/Daniel

Spoilers/References: Cold Lazarus. There But for the Grace of God, Politics, Point of View

Set During: Season Three

Summary: Daniel Jackson contemplates other possible realities

Disclaimers: Stargate belongs to MGM & Sci-Fi. The fanfic is mine. The title is from Voltaire's epic, Candide.

Notes: This is my first Stargate SG-1 fic and it was written as a gift for my dear friend Azar. I'm new to Stargate, and have only watched season 1, 2 and most of 3 on DVD, plus what's on the Sci-Fi Channel on Stargate Monday. So... if there's mistakes or it doesn't gel with current canon, that's why.

Thanks to Medie for the research material, answering my numerous questions, and the beta read. Also for the often hilarious side-comments. It really is Jack's fault! ;-)

"The Best of All Possible Worlds "

One would think that saving the world--anyone's world--would make you feel pretty darn good, right?

Not for Daniel Jackson, it didn't. Once the mission was over and he, Jack and Teal'c had returned from seeing Doctor Carter and Major Kawalsky back to their reality, he felt strangely like all their efforts had been for naught. Futile. Pointless.

What had they accomplished, really, he wondered as he sat in front of the quantum mirror randomly dialing other realities. After one glimpse of each world, he'd quickly change the setting and another would appear. Most of what he saw was just variations on a theme.

"Daniel?"

His head turned to see Sam standing in the entranceway behind him. She stepped further the room when he looked at her.

"What're you doing in here in all by yourself?" she asked and then added, "General Hammond says we have to box that thing up now."

"So it can be destroyed," Daniel clarified.

"Well, yeah." Sam walked over to stand behind him. "Personally, I'd love the chance to study it, but orders are orders."

"Yeah..." Daniel dialed one more and quickly changed it when two heavily armed Jaffa came into view. "I keep looking for one that doesn't have the same bleak outlook. Almost all of them have been under Go'auld attack."

"In theory..." Sam came up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure there is one," she told him. "But the odds of finding it are... "

"Infinite... yeah, I know, I know!" He moved as if to set the device down and then changed his mind, turning the dial one last time. Briefly, instead of an overrun bunker or armed guards, the images of two familiar figures appeared in the mirror. He was sitting in front of the quantum mirror--only without a dialing device in his hand--and she had a hand on his shoulder.

Daniel's alternate self jumped up from the chair, and just as he did, both the remote device and the mirror suddenly shut off.

"Did you see that?" Daniel said as he jumped up from his chair. "That was us, Sam... us I mean... it was us! And they know how to make this thing work!"

Sam smiled at his excited gesturing. Sometimes, her husband was too adorable for words. Especially when he got worked up about something new. He literally glowed then--so full of light and hope--and that always made her smile because she remembered the depths of his despair when Jack brought him back from Abydos. His wife, Sha're, was dead--having died trying to keep Apophis's Jaffa from taking her brother. The only thing that brought Daniel out of deep depression was his desire to go to Chulak and bring Skaara home.

"Do you think we can convince General Hammond to let us study it some more?" Daniel went on, babbling, oblivious to the tender look in Samantha Jackson's eyes.

"He thinks we should destroy it, but I'll be it you catch him tonight at the party... in a good mood..."

"Party?" His exuberance was replaced by one of confusion. "What party? It's not someone's birthday is it? Because if it is, I did just back from a mission and my name better be on the card already." He paused and then added, "It's not your birthday, is it?'

Sam laughed. "Of course your name's on the card, and no, it's not my birthday."

"Oh, whew!" He looked relieved for a moment and then the confused look returned. "Whose party is it, then?"

"Colonel O'Neill and his wife are having their--"

"--vows renewed tonight. That's right; Jack mentioned it before we left for p3x-549." He paused and then grinned. "What did we get them?"

Again, Sam laughed. "Don't you want to be as surprised as Jack and Sara?"

"An interesting ceremony, Daniel Jackson."

Daniel turned his head to the left, acknowledging Teal'c as he came to stand beside him. Teal'c had a glass of champagne in his hand, but he wasn't drinking it. "It was nice." It had been nice. Jack and Sara had decided not to make a big deal about it... they'd already been married once, divorced, and remarried just two years ago. But ever since, they'd had a party and renewed their pledge to each other in the company of family and a few close friends. Considering all they'd been through just to get back together, Daniel thought it was fitting.

"Will you and Major Carter be performing the ceremony next month as well?" Teal'c asked.

"Ummm... ahhh... next month?"

"Next month. Is not the anniversary of your marriage to Samantha Carter at that time?"

"Ummm..." Daniel opened his mouth, feeling somewhat like a fish, then closed it. Feeling more like a fish. He honestly had not realized that his anniversary was in a month. His and Sam's first anniversary. "Yeah, it is, but not everyone renews their vows every year."

"Why not? Do they not still love their mate and wish to remain with them?"

Daniel bit his lip. Even after two and half years on Earth, Teal'c was still making sense out of their customs. How to explain... "Yes, yes, they do... or should... but it isn't required that they go all out like this."

"I do not understand... go out where?"

"Go all out... it's an expression." Daniel opened his mouth, shut it and looked around. "Here, an anniversary is more like celebrating your birthday. Do you remember last year when Cassie turned eleven? We all went to Janet's house, had cake and ice cream... gave her presents?" Teal'c inclined his head, with an expression Daniel took to mean he did in fact remember. "That's what it's like. Your family and friends give you cards, wish you a happy anniversary... sometimes there's a party like this one only without the ritualistic renewing of vows... but sometimes you just do something alone with your spouse. Something romantic and meaningful only to yourself."

"I see." Teal'c got quiet and then asked Daniel what he and Sam would be doing.

"I..." The fish expression was back. "Not sure. I think we're just gonna wing it."

"Wing it?" Teal'c echoed, his next question broken off when Jack slapped him on the back and thanked them both for coming.

Daniel followed them back to the dining room where Sam was standing between Janet and Drey'auc and dessert was about to be served. Cassandra was helping Sara set plates on the table and casting shy glances at Ry'ac. They were close in age and both at that point of first crushes. Cassie blushed when she set a plate in front of Ry'ac and then teased him counter- act the blushing. He pretended not to notice.

Daniel never stopped being amazed at how well the Jaffa family had acclimated to life with their new Earth friends. They had a house on the military base just outside the Cheyenne Mountain complex. Sara O'Neill was teaching Drey'auc to cook American cuisine. Ry'ac went to school with Cassandra and was learning baseball from Jack. Teal'c was learning that it helped to look intimidating when angry neighbors came over to complain about baseballs flying through their windows.

"So, what got into you today?" Sam asked her husband as she pulled the covers back on the bed and slid between the sheets. She rested a hand on his bare chest, just over his heart.

"What do you mean?" Daniel closed the book he was reading and dropped it on the night stand next to their alarm clock. He removed his glasses and rolled over on his side so he could look at her. His eyes were clear, except for the love she saw reflected in them.

"You were quieter than usual. What were you thinking about?" She'd seen him talking with General Hammond after dessert, and couldn't help but wonder if he'd obtained permission to study the quantum mirror further.

"That the General was right," Daniel said, surprising her. He leaned in on his elbow, invading her space. "We don't need to go monkeying with that mirror in the hopes of finding a better reality."

"Why's that?" He was close enough to kiss her now, and leaning closer. Sam knew that playful look on her husband's face. It meant only one thing.

"Because nothing can possibly be better than this..." and then he kissed her.