AN: Okay, this is a little free-write that I did one night around three in the morning after watching Past and Present. Recently I was cleaning out my files and came across it, so I thought I would post it here. I'm not sure what I think of it, so if you have any insight, comments, criticisms, or just general thoughts, please let me know. Thanks, and enjoy!

Spoilers: Past and Present, minor for Children of the Gods and Forever in a Day

Warning: No resolutions

Then and Now

Doctor Daniel Jackson bent over the impossibly tall pile of translations and paperwork on his desk. It was nearly four in the morning and he was exhausted, but he refused to give in to his body's demand for sleep. He knew that if he lay down the dreams would come, perhaps not for a few hours, but they would come, and fatigue was infinitely preferable to dreams.

He reached for the coffee pot on the corner of the desk, belatedly realizing that it was empty, and had been for hours, and put it back with a sigh. Words and letters in alien dialects swam across his vision, and he blinked rapidly. It was no use; perhaps if he put his head down and closed his eyes… just for a moment…

"I sense we knew each other well, before my memory was lost. Did we?"

"I'm not Ke'ra, am I? I am the murderer that you said I was! I need only smash these vials together to create a poisonous gas that will fill this room!"

"Here me my Danyel…"

"There is this other part of me that would gladly watch you die!"

"All debts have now been paid."

"Step aside Daniel!"

"There are two people inside of me, and one of them is a monster. In time, she will win."

"I love you, Danyel."

"Ke'ra…"

"I'm not her!"

He reaches out to Ke'ra, who holds the two vials above her head. Suddenly she flings them down, the glass shatters, a poisonous green cloud envelopes her. She begins to sob as the cloud distorts her figure, her face twisting grotesquely. Then she is Sha're, and the sobs become cruel laughter as she turns glowing eyes upon him.

The ribbon device is burning his forehead, he feels that all-too-familiar pain searing through him. He is going to die.

He is going to die on Klorel's ship; he is going to die alone on a goa'uld mothership because he is too worthless as a soldier to kill three Jaffa guards without Jack's help.

And then Jack is hugging him, they are in the Gateroom and Jack was hugging him because he is glad Daniel isn't dead. Jack cares about him, just like Sha're.

But Sha're is dead now.

"I love you, Danyel."

"I sense we knew each other well, before my memory was lost. Did we?"

"Promise me you will save the child."

"Sha're…"

"There are two people inside of me, and one of them is a monster. In time, she will win."

"Ke'ra…"

"I'm not her!"

Someone touched him, and Daniel jerked away from the hand, gasping as he jumped up from his desk, his chair toppling over onto the floor.

"Daniel?" He looked up into concerned brown eyes.

"Jack?" Daniel blinked at him, fighting off the remnants of his dream. His glasses were crooked and he straightened them, using the distraction to still his panicked breathing.

"You okay?"

"What? Uh, yeah, I'm fine… ah… what time is it?"

"Almost 0900," Jack said after consulting his watch.

Daniel blinked again. "Oh."

"You here all night?" Jack asked.

"Yes… yes I was." He shook his head to clear it and went back to his desk, righting the chair and gathering up the papers he had scattered. When he had finished straightening them he looked up to see Jack still standing patiently a few feet away.

"Oh, Jack, did you… did you want something?"

"Well, since you asked..." There was a teasing note to Jack's voice which Daniel ignored. "Actually, I came to apologize."

"A… apologize?"

"You were right. About Ke'ra."

Daniel picked up a few papers and stared at them. It was the work he'd done the night before, and it only took him a few moments to realize it was worthless. He dropped them into the recycling bin beside his desk.

"Yeah, I guess I was," he answered. He looked up at Jack. "Jack… would you really have…"

"Have what?"

"Shot her?"

"Yeah, I would have."

"Why?"

Jack's fingers did the twitchy quotation thing again as he answered; "'Destroyer of Worlds.'" Daniel didn't know if he wanted to laugh or cry.

"The scarlet letter, huh?"

"What?"

"Nevermind."

Jack stared at his friend, wishing he could get inside Daniel's head. In some ways, Daniel was reacting to Sha're's death the same way as Jack had to Charlie's. He avoided company, even that of his teammates. Occasionally he would sit with Teal'c while the Jaffa engaged in kel'no'reem, but he made it very clear to everyone that he did not want to talk about his loss. That Jack could understand, and it scared him that Daniel might fall prey to that same depression that had brought Jack right to the brink of suicide. But instead of no longer caring about anyone, Daniel seemed to care more. He was more focused on his work than ever, and each little detail suddenly became of great importance. Then, when they had come to Ke'ra's planet, he had wanted to help her. Of course, Daniel always wanted to help people, but more than that he wanted to help Ke'ra, to succeed with her where with Sha're he felt he had failed.

"Daniel, if you want to talk…"

"No.

"Daniel, I'm your friend. I know how you're feeling right now…"

"No. I'm fine Jack."

"Really."

"Really."

"Because you don't look it. And that hum-dinger of a nightmare sure didn't look it."

For a moment Jack saw something akin to fury in Daniel's eyes, but it was immediately replaced by weariness and grief.

"Leave me alone, Jack," Daniel murmured, wrapping his arms around himself.

Jack reached out to put a hand on his shoulder, but Daniel took a step back, maintaining the distance between them. It was always the same; Jack wanted to touch Daniel, to offer him that measure of physical comfort when there didn't seem to be words enough to make the hurt go away. He wanted to gather Daniel in his arms and hold him as he had in that storeroom when Daniel had been suffering that terrible withdrawal from the sarcophagus.

But the invisible barrier that Daniel put between himself and other people, the one Jack had worked so hard to breach in the years that they had been partners, had been resurrected when Teal'c was forced to kill Sha're to save Daniel's life.

Jack studied the slumped shoulders of the young man before him, seeing the self-hug that told him more than anything else how much Daniel was hurting. He had seen the posture often enough when Daniel was worried or nervous about something; it had been a constant since they had lost Sha're.

"Daniel…" again he reached out, and again Daniel rebuffed him, turning to the pile of papers on his desk.

"Jack, I have a lot of work to do."

"Yeah, okay." He started toward the door, then stopped and turned back to look at the tiered archaeologist. "If you, you know, need anything…"

Daniel nodded without looking at him. "I know."

"You do?"

"Yeah." Daniel favored him with a small smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "I know."

"Okay then," and Jack stepped out into the hallway, closing the door softly behind him. He resisted the urge to hit something, at least until the passing airman had rounded the corner.

fin?