Author: Jedi Buttercup
Summary: This was SG-1. 1100 words.
Disclaimer: The words are mine; the world is not. I claim nothing but the plot.
Spoilers: Stargate SG-1 8.20 "Moebius Part II"
Notes: For the multifandom lyric wheel, for maevebran. She requested "All for One" by Blackmore's Night.
Daniel stared thoughtfully out over the water, an absent frown tugging at the corners of his mouth as he listened to Jack and Sam argue about the deeper meaning, or lack thereof, behind the presence of fish in Jack's pond.
As light-hearted as they sounded, Daniel knew the good-natured banter only skimmed the surface of the unspoken questions all of them still had about what had happened. That was half the reason the team had arranged for this group vacation at Jack's cabin, after all; they'd instinctively sought each other out after the ZPM had been sent off to Atlantis, disturbed by what-could-have-beens stirred up by the sight of their own faces on a five-thousand-year-old video recording, and had decided to take a week's leave together.
He still had a hard time believing that Sam-- any version of Sam-- had ever agreed to let the team take the risk of time-traveling in the first place. If the slightest thing had gone wrong during their alternate selves' mission to the past, all of this-- their presence here, their history together as SG-1, and even the existence of the SGC as an organization-- might never have come to pass. And yet, because SG-1 had taken that risk, they had salvaged a ZPM and been able to send desperately needed help to the Atlantis expedition at the eleventh hour. Could Elizabeth's team have weathered the Wraith attack on the Ancient city without that help? Would the Tau'ri, as a free world, have survived the consequences if the mission had gone drastically wrong? Almost as unnerving was the sure knowledge that somewhere in Egypt, even now, the bones of another, older Daniel Jackson and that Daniel's team slept under the desert sands, mute testimony of their dedication to duty and to each other.
Had that other, presumably identical copy of SG-1 died quickly, fighting in the uprising against Ra? Or had they perished slowly, worn down one by one after years of survival in a culture so far removed from their own? They'd have lost Teal'c early on either way, as even if they could have secured him a new symbiote immediately to replace his reliance on tretonin he'd still have died when that symbiote matured, but the others could have lived for quite some time among the independent cultures that sprang up after Ra's departure. It could never have been more than survival, however; they'd never have been able to settle down, or have children, or contribute in any meaningful way for fear of impacting the future.
There was no proof either way, and no way they could ever know barring another unlikely time travel incident, but Daniel found himself hoping for their other selves' sake that it had been the former. Maybe it was the faint, pleasant haze lent by the alcohol, or the refreshed feeling of being a team that had slowly been slipping through their fingers since Jack's promotion, but it seemed to him that together, SG-1 had always faced and overcome any obstacles sent their way; it was when they stopped believing in each other that they tended to falter and come to grief.
That subject had been on his mind a lot in recent weeks, ever since the defeat of Anubis during his little vacation at Oma's celestial diner. Daniel had gladly accepted Oma's offer to Ascend the previous time he'd died a supposedly permanent death, convinced that his mortal friends didn't need him and that he could do so much more at her side than he ever could limited to a merely human existence, but he'd known better than to agree the second time around.
Over the weeks and months Daniel had spent among the Ascended he had realized just how wrong his reasons for joining them had been. He had discovered again and again that without Jack, Sam, Teal'c, and the other friends and family he'd claimed during his years with the SGC, nothing he accomplished meant anything at all, and that acting on his own only ever ended in misery. When he'd unexpectedly found himself on that in-between spiritual plane again after his deadly encounter with Replicator Sam, it had only taken a brief thought of the blood of his wife's people still staining his hands to strengthen that resolve. As Teal'c would say, he would rather die free than ever make such a mistake again. The shackles the Ancients had chained themselves with, no matter how much power and knowledge they granted, were not worth the cost to bear them.
He took another sip from the chilled can of beer still clutched in his hand and let his mind drift. He never would have imagined, that day he'd stood on a sidewalk in the rain listening to Catherine Langford's offer, how much devastation, both personal and literal, he would face because of that choice-- but neither would he have believed the depth of the connections he would forge with his teammates, and how thoroughly they would enrich his life. Even in their worst times they'd always come back together in the end; they'd fought, and fallen, and fought again, lifted a glass to one other, and put their shoulders back to the trace more times than he could count. All for one and one for all; they'd become the SGC's very own musketeers.
Of course, even Dumas' legendary Three had gone their separate ways in the end. Daniel cast a glance back over his shoulder at Teal'c, sprawled in a lawn chair with a faintly amused expression on his face, then over at Jack and Sam, still squabbling as she cast out a line, and wondered where they'd all be in a year's time. Elizabeth had all but offered Daniel a golden ticket to Atlantis, redeemable any time he wanted, and with the Goa'uld gone the others finally had the chance to pursue individual goals of their own that had been put on hold during the long war. The new Jaffa Nation wanted Teal'c, and who knew-- Jack and Sam might even finally test the example their counterparts had presented in so many of the alternate universes they'd encountered.
He would never again make the mistake, however, of assuming that just because the team was separated physically they were also divided in spirit. No matter who wore the actual patch in future, or whether they ever gathered like this again, this was SG-1, and the ties they'd forged over the last eight and ten years went deeper than blood and bone.
Whatever future they were destined to face, they would face together. Not alone.