Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: eh. No sex. Angst. Whatever.
Notes: This one is fangirljen's fault, for putting the idea into my head. And then it exploded.
SPOILERS: Moebius, and everything leading up to it.
Character: Daniel Jackson.

Veracity
by ALC Punk!

He's been waiting for centuries.

And while he could count them, down to the millisecond, he'd rather not. It would drive him insane. He thinks Sam would have been fine with the steady progression of numbers. A dry kind of clinical detail that he, Daniel, was never fond of. He liked to get his hands dirty, liked to feel and experience and know.

Of course, in his current state, he can't actually interact. He's had to watch the planet evolve, the centuries change people. He's had to watch, knowing there are so MANY things he can't change.

He can't ever change the past (his futurepresentpast), or things will never be fixed.

Only allowed to observe, to watch them all muddle through life.

He's there when Amelia Carter dies, crying for her children. He's there when the Drs. Jackson perish beneath fake ruins, their son watching with blank eyes. He's there when a little boy plays with his father's gun and pulls the trigger. He's there when a father's symbiote is horribly destroyed inside the womb, poisoning his blood.

And it hurts. On some level, he can feel the cold that began five thousand years before as he watched rich red blood spill crimson on yellow-white sand. It spreads, filling his veins, filling his heart (if he still has one). Freezing it to ice in his chest.

Daniel wants to call to them, wants to talk to them. To spill a millennia of pain and sorrow and talk of the things he's seen. Who Jesus was, why men died on crosses, how Washington truly crossed the Potomac (cowering under the gunwale, sick in a bucket) and a thousand other things that history has forgotten. That time has changed, that the world has evolved away from (and into).

But he's not supposed to. He can't interfere, or the future will be uncertain.

Truth and consequences.

He watches them, hungrily. Watches them discover each other, grow and change.

This isn't new; he was there the first time, after all. But this is them, before the pain and tortures, before the deaths. Before Sam and Jack were so awkward with each other, before he and Jack moved to a strange friendship that feels half-sexual, before Teal'c understood Earth humor.

Before he watched them be executed before his eyes on the sands of Ancient Egypt.

There were the other three, of course. The alternate universe versions who were like them and not alike.

Sam (call me Samantha) Carter, with her mannerisms and nervousness, the way she bit her lip. Almost like his Sam, but not quite. And the differences were like salt in a wound. He missed her, missed late-night conversations, random babbles that would make Jack's eyes glaze.

And Jack... He'd never realized how much he valued Jack's friendship and understanding, even when they were driving each other up the wall. This one was different. More assured, confident. Strangely predator-like when it came to Sam.

Teal'c was the hardest, of course. Because Teal'c had once claimed that only the original was the one that mattered. And yet, even as Daniel had held the jaffa as he died, symbiote matured and burned to keep it from infecting anyone, he could feel the soul of his friend. The man who'd killed his wife and would die for him.

But the ones he watches now are the ones who are his in some indefinable way.

He remembers too much, and can change so little.

Even Kelowna is the same.

Daniel Jackson feels no remorse as his younger self (so full of vigor and life and impetuousness. And he misses that) works out the way the universe works. Discovers what he can and can't do. And, in the end, stumbles and falls.

It hurts to watch himself return to the life he'd left. But this is how it should be.

Sometimes, Daniel almost takes that step. Tells Jack, tells Sam, tells Teal'c. The things they're doing wrong, what they need to fix.

But the time-line has to stay true. He can't save Sam from Fifth, he can't save Jack from Ba'al, he can't save Teal'c from Heru'ur. He simply has to watch and let them endure. It scares him how much they endure. How much he endures.

He can't save Jonas from Anubis.

It's fast approaching, he thinks, as he watches it all. Fast approaching, and soon he can stop the pain.

The idea came to him centuries before.

It's the only glimmer of hope in his life (which isn't a life so much as it is a living death--and he never thought he'd believe that). He knows the tape will be found, he knows (because he made himself see) that they will be just fine without him.

They are waiting, he thinks, as the diner appears. As Oma and his other self talk. As Anubis reveals himself. Like a VCR on fast forward, he watches the intricate dance.

Split-second timing, and Oma moves to stop Anubis. And Daniel simply moves with them. Two against one, and the catatastrophic release of energy sends all three into an abyss. An abyss Daniel is sure he knows the other side of.

When he opens his eyes, a boy is staring down at him, his smile soft.

"Welcome, Daniel." Skaara's inflections haven't changed.

"I want to die."

"Yes."

There is nothing more.

f-