hey guys! I am soooo sorry this took so long. But in december I was trying to get the christmas story done, then there was Christmas vacation, and now midterms...ugh. But here's the next chapter, and if you like it and still want me to keep going with the story 'please' tell me. I've left this one hanging so long I don't know who's still interested so please let me know if you are and if you are why and what ya think. I'd appreciate it a lot if you would. :) Thanks all! Enjoy!
Jack O'Neill was torn. He wanted to see Daniel…he wanted to see him so badly it hurt, but…but he couldn't face him. Not yet, anyway. At first he'd thought he could. He had been looking forward to seeing his long lost best friend for months, but at the last moment he'd fled from the control room before SG-1 had brought Jackson through the stargate. He'd shut himself in his office, thoughts in turmoil and heart aching.
What's wrong with me? He wondered silently. But he already knew the answer; he just didn't want to admit it. He certainly didn't want to think that he might be right. Even though he knew Daniel, knew that his friend never had and never would blame him for what had happened to him in this reality, part of him still worried what this other Daniel Jackson would think of him.
Finally, though, he'd had enough of his own sulking.
"This is ridiculous," Jack sighed, standing. He'd recently been informed that Daniel and SG-1 were in the commissary now. Daniel knew about his and Sha're's child and was apparently as happy as any parent suddenly surprise with such news should be, and then some. Now if O'Neill could only bring himself to show his face there.
Before he was sure he knew what he was doing, Jack's feet carried him from his office, down the corridor and to the elevator. A short ride up just a couple of floors or so and he was on the commissary level. The smell of dinner wafted down hallway from the double doors that led into the eating area, and O'Neill realized that he was, in fact, hungry. Despite that, he went more slowly down this corridor, and stopped before coming close enough to be able to see through the plastic pane windows set into the flimsy, gray swinging doors. If he kept going now, there would be no turning back. If he caught even a glimpse of Daniel, he probably wouldn't be able to stop himself from running up to him and scooping his friend into an embarrassing bear hug.
Jack could hear SG-1 inside in lighthearted conversation, and could almost make out Daniel's voice among them. He didn't try to hard to, though, because that would compel him to go inside just as much as catching sight of him would, and we wasn't sure he was ready for that. He stood at the door to the commissary for another few moments warring with himself until a passing airman on the way in stopped to ask him if he needed anything. Startled, O'Neill replied no and started to drift away from the commissary. When he once again came to an empty corridor, Jack picked up speed and fled back his office.
Daniel looked over his shoulder toward the doors to the commissary at the sound of a slight commotion outside the doors. He shrugged to himself and turned back to the group at the table he sat at when only an airman came through the doors a moment later.
"Is something wrong, Dan'iel?" Sha're asked from her beside him.
"No, just thought I heard someone…" he trailed off, shaking his head. "Never mind."
Mitchell picked up a chicken nugget, tore it in half and popped one of the two pieces into his mouth, grinning. "Is alternate universe hopping hazardous to your mental health?"
Carter swatted his shoulder. "Oh hush. If it were, we'd all be crazy."
"I wouldn't be," Vala pointed out. "I've never used that thing."
"Good point, but I was only kidding."
Daniel grinned and returned his attention to Sha're, who was holding Danny in her arms while she fed him a bottle. He watched them, smiling to himself, until Sha're noticed and glanced at him again.
"Do you want to do this?' she asked, indicated the baby with her head.
"Uhm, yeah," he admitted sheepishly. "Can I?"
"Of course." Sha're gently took the bottle from the baby's mouth and set it on the table long enough to hand him over to Daniel, who took his son in his arms eagerly. Danny started to cry when the bottle was taken away, but Sha're shushed him quietly.
"It's all right, Danny. You can have it back is a moment. Just let daddy feed you now, all right?"
As promised by Sha're, Daniel got the bottle back into the baby's mouth quickly and he clamed down, settling into his father's arms. Daniel, meanwhile, was smiling uncontrollably again.
"So…what about my SG-1? My friends'll want to know about this too; I want them to know…" Daniel started. "I'm trying to figure out how that's going to work though. We don't know if it's safe for babies to 'gate travel, and quite frankly I don't want to try it, but you also said it would be dangerous for them to come here too…"
Mitchell looked thoughtful for a moment. "It's getting kind of late today, but we could go pick them up in the morning and bring them here for a little while. Couldn't we, Sam?"
Carter nodded. "Sure, as long as they don't stay long--just a few hours. But that's long enough, isn't it?"
Daniel nodded. "Yeah. Okay, that sounds good," he answered absently, eyes never leaving Danny, smile never wavering. Carter had to grin at him.
It wasn't long before the hungry, healthy baby finished the bottle, and Daniel set the empty container on the table. Almost immediately after, Danny fell asleep in his arms. The others had finished eating and were up and cleaning off the table, putting up their dishes and throwing away their trash when Daniel stood and handed the boy back to his mother.
"Here you go," he said quietly, still smiling at both his wife and his son.
"You do not have to give him back so soon," Sha're chuckled.
"I know…but I have to go do something."
Carter looked at him, an eyebrow raised. "Daniel, are you thinking what I think you're thinking?"
Jackson shrugged. "I don't know; does what you're thinking have anything to do with Jack?"
"Yes," Carter sighed. "But there's no telling what he's feeling right now."
"Actually, I think there is—which is exactly why I'm worried about him."
Mitchell crossed his arms. "So…."
"I think I should go talk to him."
"Are you sure that's such a good idea?" Carter questioned.
"I didn't say it was the smart thing; but it is the right thing."
Now it was Teal'c's turn to raise an eyebrow. "Is that not a line spoken by Milo Thatch in Atlantis: The Lost Empire of Disney, Daniel Jackson?"
Daniel looked completely lost for a moment, before what Teal'c had meant clicked into his mind and he remembered the movie the jaffa was talking about. "What? Oh…yeah, it is." He smirked. "Hey, if everyone I meet is gonna compare me to the character I might as well act like him and use his lines, huh?"
Carter shook her head, smiling in amusement. "Whatever."
Then Daniel got back to the topic at hand. "Sam, I really am worried about him. I think it'll help if I go find him."
The colonel thought for a moment more and then shrugged. "He did seem a little more subdued this morning than I thought he would be—"
"Uh huh," Mitchell snorted.
"Okay, fine, a lot more subdued than I thought he'd be at the idea of seeing you again than I thought he'd be. But if anyone can bring him out of it, Daniel, I guess its you."
"Hopefully…"Daniel trailed, already uncomfortable. "So…catch up with you guys a little later?"
Sha're nodded. "I'll still be on base. I will not leave until you are ready to."
"Right, uh…where am I staying while I'm here?" he asked curiously.
"With me, silly," Sha're answered with a smile.
"Ah. Oh, well, I mean that makes sense, but…are you sure that's okay? Not imposing…?"
Sha're sidled up closer to him and pecked him on the cheek. "No, Dan'iel. You are my husband. How could you be imposing?"
Daniel felt his cheeks heating up involuntarily. He was still overjoyed to be here with her, but being so long without her had almost made him forget how the little thing made him feel. Already he could see that this settling into being husband and wife again—though of course with many differences from his life on Abydos—was going to take some major getting used to.
"I knew that," he recovered quickly.
"We have plenty of room for you. I had an apartment but before I had Danny the air force supplied me with a small house instead. Granted, it really isn't much larger than the apartment was, and is actually on the same street, which was convenient when I moved, but it will be nice to have a real house to bring the baby up in. And there is more than enough room for only three people."
"Right, that's good," Daniel nodded. Then he leaned down and kissed her. "Okay; I'll find you after I talk to Jack then, all right?"
"Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm tired and I'm going home," Carter announced, coming around the table. "See you tomorrow," she said, giving Jackson a hug.
Daniel returned the embrace warmly. "See you later, Sam."
"Bye guys," Carter said, letting go of Daniel and starting for the door.
"Later, Sam," Mitchell called, raising a hand in farewell. Carter waved and then was gone, pushing out through the swinging doors.
"Well, I'd better go find Jack then," Daniel sighed, heading for the exit himself.
"He'll probably be in his office," Mitchell offered.
Jack was still holed up in his office when there was a soft knock on the door. He'd tried and failed to get through another annoying stack of paperwork that had found its way to his 'in' box, and as he sat staring blindly at the picture frame on the corner of the desk his mind was too fuddled to notice.
It was SG-1; the original SG-1, from back in the good old days…before Daniel had died. They all had a copy of it--even Sha're. They were standing, lined up shoulder to shoulder at the base of the ramp. Carter had been in a mood, and she'd wanted a picture, so she'd asked Sergeant Harriman to snap one before they'd left one morning. Walter had been only too glad to. The picture was from only a few weeks before his death, actually, shortly after he'd gotten that drastic haircut that had scared the heck out of everyone at the SGC. Well, all right at had scared his friends at first. The nurses in the infirmary that so often housed the young scientist, however, had taken to it quickly--much too quickly, for O'Neill's protective taste.
Daniel…for cryin' out loud, why couldn't Jack just go up there and face him? The general sighed heavily, not noticing the office door as it opened a crack, and then swung open enough to let someone through before closing again.
It wasn't until a hand and a black BDU-sleeved arm came into view, picking up the frame, did O'Neill notice that anyone was there.
"I remember this; Sam was in one of her oh-wait-let's-take-a-picture moods," said a voice above him. It was a voice that a year ago he would have never expected to hear again.
Jack looked up quickly, freezing when he saw who was standing beside his desk, looking at the picture that was now in his hands.
The archaeologist looked up from the snapshot and flashed a smile at him. "Hey, Jack."
"Hey…" Jack trailed, standing slowly. Daniel put the frame back on the desk where it had been and stuck his hands into his pockets.
"Why are you sitting around down here?"
"Oh, uhm…lots of paper work; not easy being The Man and all…" O'Neill answered. Even before he said it he knew Daniel wouldn't believe it. "Really sorry I wasn't there when you came through, but there was…stuff to do…"
Daniel shrugged. "That's all right; I understand." But Jack had been right; he wasn't believing the surface meaning of O'Neill's answer. Instead, beneath the surface of his reply was a whole other meaning to the words 'I understand'.
Jack gulped. "Uh, right." Darnit. This was it. Daniel was standing right in front of him. Only in his mind had he ever hoped that he would see his friend again, and now that he was here…his mind wouldn't work. There was so much he knew he wanted to say, but for some reason he couldn't. He'd never been good at this type of thing…
"So uh….how's things in your…reality."
Jackson shrugged. "Okay, considering the Ori are on a crusade to take over our galaxy."
"Day just got better?"
"Oh yeah." Daniel grinned, his face lighting up suddenly. Jack didn't have to ask why; he'd seen that look in the mirror on his own face before, a long time ago….just after Charlie had been born. After a moment the archaeologist's face straightened again. "That's not why I came down here though."
"Ah…" O'Neill looked away as the office fell into an uncomfortable silence. Daniel was the one to break it.
"It wasn't your fault, Jack." When the general didn't answer he continued earnestly. "What happened to m--the me here wasn't your fault in any way, shape or form. You looked for me and Sam for days, and as soon as you had something you came as quickly as you could. You can't fault yourself for that. You did everything you could."
Jack grimaced and glanced up at him. "Did I?"
Daniel just looked at him, his gaze unwavering. "Yes, you did." Then a small smile crept its way across his features. "I came here to cheer you up, Jack, not let you beat yourself up in front of me."
O'Neill swallowed. "But I let you--I let him die."
"There was nothing you could have done. I should know. I was there. I died there just the same, Jack; the only difference is that Amaunet decided to revive me, and in your reality she didn't."
"Then I guess the other me feels just as guilty."
"Well…at first he did--but then he figured out what I'm trying to tell you and cut it out. Now you gonna listen to yourself or not?"
"Why does that sound familiar?"
"Probably because its what we told general--excuse me, 'Lieutenant' Hammond back in '69, but seriously, Jack, listen to me…"
"Okay, okay, sorry," O'Neill sighed. "It's just that…I mean I just…" But he trailed off, unable to finish. Losing you hurt too much to just accept. I had to blame 'somebody'. It's always been a habit to blame myself… But somehow, something in his friend's eyes told him that Jackson understood anyway.
"I know, Jack," he said quietly.
Of course he did. He was Daniel Jackson…
He was Daniel Jackson.
Before Jack knew what he was doing he'd thrown his arms around his friend, embracing him tightly. Daniel hugged back just as firmly, sensing the comfort that he needed.
"It's good to see you," Jack said finally, when he found his voice again.
But still he didn't let go; and he didn't feel any shame about it either. Certainly the general didn't want to and didn't plan on doing anything like breaking down and crying right here at the SGC, but there was no reason not to be happy and let at least someone know it. Granted, his eyes weren't the driest they could have been, either, but hey, this was his best friend that he hadn't seen in seven years. Who was going to blame him?
Daniel only smiled.