One More Chance by Sistine
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Category: Slash Pairings
Genres: Alternate Universe, Angst, Established Relationship, Missing Scene/Episode-Related
Rated: Teen
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: Tag to Moebius. Daniel doesn’t want any substitutes for his Jack so how will Alternate-Jack deal with that?

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Story Notes:
This is taken from the middle of my unfinished novel (that will likely never get finished now!). It can stand alone as a story though, and that's why I'm posting it as an early Christmas present :)
Giza, 2999 B.C.

“This is a bad idea.”

“It’ll be fine,” Jack O’Neill, formerly of the US in the year 2004, promised his lover.

“Then why won’t you let me go with you?” Doctor Daniel Jackson protested. There was to be a recon of the pyramid temple and Jack had told him to stay home.

Jack caught the linguist in his arms and held on tight, savouring what could be their last time together. “Because I need to know you’re safe. And if - if - this fails, you’ll be these peoples’ last hope. Okay?”

“No pressure,” Daniel agreed dryly after a few moments. He didn’t like it but he would do it. Besides, he was wearing the amulet Catherine Langford had left him, just as he had on that original mission, and he really didn’t want to repeat that scenario. He knew he couldn’t talk Jack out of this rebellion attempt either. Both he and Teal’c wanted to get back to their time and had become restless. Daniel didn’t take it personally; he knew Jack was more comfortable in the twenty-first century. “Come back to me, Jack.”

“I will,” Jack promised. “We’re going to spend the rest of our lives together by the lake in Minnesota - naked, of course.”

Daniel smiled at the attempted joke. Then he kissed Jack with all the love he could muster, pleased to have had a year being Jack’s lover without the rules that had hampered them in the future. “I love you,” he whispered, resting his forehead against Jack’s.

“I love you too, Spacemonkey,” Jack declared. He took off his dogtags and wedding ring, and handed them to Daniel. “Look after these for me. I’ll be back for them.”

Daniel swallowed hard as his fingers closed around the items. “I will,” he promised, even though he had the feeling that Jack never would retrieve them. “Be careful,” he whispered.

“Always,” Jack replied softly. Then, after a final kiss, he was gone.

Daniel wrapped his arms across his chest and went over to the doorway of the tent to watch Jack walk away from the village. He needed that one last look because he had a feeling that despite Jack’s promise, he wouldn’t be with his lover again.

He really hated being right sometimes.

**********
Giza, 2995 B.C.

Daniel sat down in his tent to write out his text for the tablet Sam said he was supposed to write. No, not Sam - Doctor Carter. However much she might look like the Sam he had known, it wasn’t her. Just as the other Teal’c and Jack weren’t the ones he had known.

His fingers tightened on the piece of charcoal, snapping it in two. God, he missed them all much! It had been nearly four years since their deaths while the first rebellion was still in the planning stages. He had considered turning himself in at time, his grief overwhelming him as he watched the deaths of his family, but he hadn’t because he had wanted to fulfil Jack’s final wish to plan another rebellion. Which he had. With the help of an alternate SG-1. Which had been more painful than he had let on.

To see their faces again, to hear their voices - especially Jack’s - had been so hard. All he had had before were memories and then for them to suddenly appear… He felt old. He hadn’t even been surprised at their arrival - seven years of going through the Stargate had made him jaded. If it had all happened when the Stargate program was still new, his reaction would have been totally different. But it hadn’t and they weren’t. He was just so tired of being alone. Even though he had a new surrogate family amongst the villagers, he had kept a part of himself distant, and that part was tired and alone.

Looking down at the broken pieces of charcoal between his fingers, Daniel thought it a fitting example of what had happened to his life. He doubted there would be any hope of him getting together with this Jack; Carter had confided in him about the kissing on the Ancient ship. So it seemed that this Jack - O’Neill, Daniel supposed he should think of him as - was no different to all the other alternate O’Neills they had found.

“Am I interrupting?”

Daniel lifted his head to see O’Neill standing in the entranceway to the tent. Framed in the outside light, O’Neill looked just like Jack had on the last day Daniel had had with him - except for the BDU’s - and the linguist’s heart wrenched. However, he showed nothing of that on his face. “No, not really,” he replied casually.

O’Neill slowly entered the tent. He had spent a few moments observing Doctor Jackson discreetly and had seen the grief in the younger man’s body language. He supposed it must be hard for the doctor to have lost his friends only to have others turn up wearing their faces. “You did a good job with the rebellion,” he offered.

“Thanks.” Daniel looked down again so that he didn’t have to look at O’Neill.

“So, I was wondering… how come you didn’t die with the others?” Dammit, O’Neill, that was not what you were supposed to ask!

“Jack told me not to go with them on the scouting trip,” Daniel related off-handedly.

“Why? Because you’re a civilian?”

Daniel grimaced at the prejudice. “No, because he wanted me to be safe if something went wrong.” Which it had.

Jack was confused. “I thought you said it wasn’t because you’re a civilian?”

“It wasn’t.” Daniel wasn’t going to say any more about it; let O’Neill work it out for himself.

“Then why… Oh.” Realisation hit Jack. “You’re gay.”

“Bi,” Daniel corrected him. “And so, Colonel, are you.” He felt a tiny thrill at putting the shocked expression on O’Neill’s face.

“I am not!” Jack automatically protested. He didn’t have relationships with men, so technically he was straight. “Are you saying that you and the other Jack were lovers?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” Daniel stated. He could hear the disbelief in O’Neill’s voice and steeled his heart against it. This wasn’t his Jack, he reminded himself; his Jack was keeping an eye on him from above. Not as an Ascended being but somehow, Daniel knew that Jack was still out there.

Okay, Jack could see how the other him had been attracted to Jackson - the guy was gorgeous! But that didn’t mean anything in his timeline. “Well, it’s not going to happen between us,” he stated.

“Yeah, I got that loud and clear,” Daniel said sarcastically. “Don’t worry, you can pursue Doctor Carter to your heart’s content.”

“Thanks,” Jack responded in kind. “I feel so much better now I have your permission.”

Daniel ignored him; he was well-practised in that art. “Just think about one thing.” He lifted his eyes to O’Neill’s, the blue burning with a deep sorrow. “How do you address Doctor Carter?” Then he turned his attention back to the papyrus in front of him.

Stunned at the clear dismissal, Jack stood there for a few moments more, then slowly turned and walked out of the tent. Despite not wanting to think about the question, his mind supplied the answer: Carter. He called her Carter. Not her given name but her last name as if she were in the military. He would have to remedy that.

Changing direction, he headed to her tent; he needed to check on a few things.

Back in the other tent, Daniel focused on his writing to keep the memories at bay. And at the end of the tablet, he put an extra bit of writing that only his future self would be able to read - information about him and Jack. Hopefully, his new future self would be able to keep Jack for longer.

**********

An hour later, Jack decided that he had made a big mistake. He was sitting there in Carter’s - Sam’s - tent, eating food he couldn’t identify, and she was prattling on about wormhole physics and time travel and a bunch of other stuff he didn’t understand. He tuned her out and just sat there assessing her. She was pretty - in a geekish sort of way - with a nicely curved body that was currently hidden under baggy brown robes. And when she smiled, her face lit up and she became beautiful. But he wasn’t sure if that was enough to compensate for her scientific prattle.

His thoughts drifted to what Jackson had said and then onto the man himself. The geek he had met back in the future - 2004, A.D., that was - had not impressed him. The man had shown every tendency of being like Carter, not being able to keep his mouth shut. The guy had blindly trusted that Teal’c would turn and help them, and that had got him killed. But there had been an innocence and wonder in him that Jack had noticed, and a determination that he had admired. And he had to admit to a certain… reaction when the man had had his hands all over him. But that didn’t mean anything. No way.

This Doctor Jackson was so different. The loss of this friends obviously haunted him, and he was a lot more solemn than his counterpart had been. Not to mention better looking. Suddenly, Jack wonder what this Jackson would have been like when the Stargate was made to work in their timeline. Had he displayed the same sense of wonder and innocence? And what else had Jackson been through in all those years of going through the gate?

How different his own life would be if his timeline had unfolded in the same way. He would have been exploring other planets for the past eight years instead of lazing around on his fishing boat, never really getting over Charlie’s death.

And he could have loved again. He knew that his counterpart would never have broken the rules to be with Daniel for anything less than a committed relationship because he and the other Jack were - had been - essentially the same.

So maybe he should find out just what the other him saw in Jackson before he got too involved with Carter. After all, they were stuck here permanently, they couldn’t go back to their own time. He owed it to himself not to pick the wrong one to be stuck with.

“Jack?” Sam repeated, becoming aware that the man had tuned her out. Hurt sliced through her; she had thought he was different. “Jack?”

“Sorry.” Jack snapped out of his thoughts. “I was just… absorbing everything.” Technically that wasn’t a lie - it just wasn’t her words that he had been absorbing.

“I know it’s an awful lot to take in,” she said, reassured that he had been listening. “But think of what a unique experience this is!”

“Yeah, stuck in the past with no electricity, no TV, no hockey, no fishing, nothing to read…” Jack listed off all the negatives. “And we can’t do anything to change that because that will change the timeline and another version of us might turn up.”

Sam was briefly silenced by the frustration in his voice. Then she timidly asked, “But you want us to be together… right?” Jack’s kisses had aroused her more than any other man she had known and she believed that was love.

Oh boy, Jack thought; how do I get out of this? “We barely know each other. Let’s give it some time, see what happens, okay?” he suggested, a feeling of dread inside him. If Carter thought she was in love with him, things could get very… messy.

Reluctantly, Sam nodded. “O-okay.” They had all the time in the world now - unless, of course, they ceased to exist when the timeline was back to how it should be, in which case, she wouldn’t be worrying about it.

“Good, that’s settled.” Jack sighed with relief. “Well, I’d better get back to my tent and get a good night’s sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.” He awkwardly kissed her cheek, then stood up and walked out of the tent.

Sam sighed as he left; she didn’t want to wait for him but she would if she had to. He was the one, she just knew it.

**********

In the days that followed, Jack tried to get to know his ‘teammates’ better but he especially concentrated on Daniel. The younger man was resistant though, and Jack often saw him in the company of Teal’c. He often heard the two of them talking late into the night and he found that he was jealous; Daniel should be talking to him, not the Jaffa. By all accounts, in Daniel’s timeline, the two of them had been lovers and best friends. So why didn’t Daniel want to be friends with him?

He was so wrapped up in working out the answer, he didn’t realised when he started thinking of the younger man as Daniel instead of Jackson.

If he had asked Daniel about why they weren’t friends, the answer would have been given very quickly. Daniel thought O’Neill was a jerk. The linguist had watched O’Neill deal with Carter and noticed that the former didn’t even seem to care that the latter was mooning over him. O’Neill was practically ignoring her and Daniel felt very sorry for Carter. So he tried to befriend her, and attempted not to make too many comparisons between her and Sam. This version of Sam was a lot more insecure, possibly due to the fact that she hadn’t joined the Air Force or that her academic peers didn’t recognise the genius they had in their midst. Daniel found himself reassuring her whereas his Sam had always been the one to reassure him. The reversal struck him as wrong and sometimes he was hard-pressed not to yell at Carter, especially when she was praising O’Neill for some reason or another. In spite of that, he still found that he liked Carter for who she was.

Out of the three alternate SG-1 members though, he found Teal’c most like his counterpart. The same sense of honour and the wish for all Jaffa to be free was there, and Daniel immediately felt at ease with this Teal’c. They spent many evenings together talking about how the timelines had turned out. Teal’c was most interested to know that in Daniel’s timeline, the Jaffa were free and the Goa’uld were virtually wiped out. And Daniel was very pleased to know that in the alternate timeline, Sha’re and Skaara had never been taken as hosts. At least that had been one good thing about that timeline, Daniel thought.

“Hey, Daniel,” O’Neill said, entering the linguist’s tent.

“O’Neill.” Daniel kept his greeting neutral. The man reminded Daniel too much of the soldiers he had gone to Abydos with the first time - and that wasn’t a good thing. He had noticed a lot less compassion and tolerance in O’Neill than had been in Jack; O’Neill was one possibility of the path Jack had been headed down before joining the Stargate Program. Daniel recognised the signs - willingness to go on what was likely a suicide mission, an apparent lack of emotions - but there was also an arrogance there that his Jack had never displayed. Overall, O’Neill didn’t come out too favourably when compared to Jack.

“You busy?” O’Neill, who Daniel noticed was now wearing the traditional robes that he would blend in, came further into the tent.

“Yes, actually.” He had been busy carving the tablet for his future self to read before he had got caught up in his own thoughts.

Jack rolled his eyes; he was so sick of this! “Listen, Danny, I know I’m not your Jack but you could at least give us a chance to be friends.”

Daniel gritted his teeth. “Don’t call me that.”

“What? Danny?”

“Yes. My name is Daniel.” The nickname was only ever his Jack’s to use.

“O-kay.” Jack didn’t know what the big deal was but he would go along with it. “So, Daniel, can we be friends?”

“Uh, no, I don’t think so,” Daniel replied.

Jack raised his eyebrows. “Excuse me?”

“My friendship with Jack originated from beer and hockey nights, and the History Channel, and from sharing many life-and-death experiences,” Daniel explained. “We actually had very little in common. You and I have nothing in common. What do you suggest we bond over? The local moonshine and a dance around the campfire?”

There was a sarcastic tone to the voice that Jack didn’t like but he ignored it. “It would be a start.”

“I don’t like you,” Daniel stated bluntly. “You might wear the face of my lover but you’re not like him. My Jack would never have treated Sam like you do yours,” he continued, ignoring the fact that it had been himself on the end of such treatment at times and that his Jack had indeed strung Sam along for several years.

“Yeah, yeah, he was a saint,” Jack grouched, waving a dismissive hand. “Tell me, how long did it take you two to get together?”

Daniel looked away. “That’s none of your business.”

“That long, huh?” Jack easily interpreted the reaction. “I bet you were pleased when you guys got stuck here. No more rules to get in your way.”

“Get out,” Daniel said quietly but firmly. If O’Neill kept this up, the conversation would soon get very heated and Daniel didn’t want to get into this right now.

“No,” Jack refused. “I want to know why the other me picked you over Car… Sam. I mean, she’s clearly begging for it and yours probably was--”

“Don’t you dare insult Sam like that!” Daniel’s eyes flashed with anger. O’Neill had hit too close to the mark. Daniel had always known that Sam had a thing for Jack but she had quickly gotten over it once they were stranded and she learnt about the relationship. In fact, she and Teal’c had even become lovers, which Daniel had been relieved about.

“Hit a nerve, did I?” Jack said observantly. He put his hands on the table opposite Daniel and leaned across so that their faces were close. “Still not confident that you were his first choice?”

“Oh, I’m very confident.” Daniel pulled out the chain he wore around his neck, which was normally hidden by the robes. Alongside the gold amulet were two gold rings and a set of dogtags. Daniel isolated one of the rings and held it out for O’Neill to see. “He gave me this just before we left to come here.” Tears started to well up in Daniel’s eyes at the memory.

Jack stared at the wedding ring; he had got it so wrong. And now he had probably blown whatever chance he’d had with Daniel. “Look, I’m sorry,” he said in a more reasonable tone.

Daniel snorted in disbelief and moved away, tucking the chain inside his robes again.

“I shouldn’t have said all that stuff.”

“No, you shouldn’t have,” Daniel agreed. “But at least you’ve confirmed why we could never be friends,” he continued sadly. “Please leave.”

Jack considered arguing but one look at the bowed head convinced him not to. Dejected, and angry at himself for making things worse, he walked away.

Daniel allowed the tears to fall down his cheeks. He craned his head to look at the ceiling and softly said, “I miss you so much.”

**********

From his invisible place at Daniel’s side, Jack O’Neill watched his lover cry. The Oma Desala who existed in this time had helped him to ascend so that he could stay and watch over Daniel - as long as he didn’t interfere. He had occasionally popped into Daniel’s dreams but that hadn’t been enough. He wanted to hold the younger man in his arms and O’Neill had just given him a way to do it. It was probably immoral and all sorts of similar things but Jack didn’t care; Daniel needed him.

Jack followed O’Neill back to the latter’s tent and once they were alone, slid into his counterpart’s body.

**********

“Daniel.”

“I thought I told you to go away,” the linguist said without even looking at the figure in the doorway.

“I promised you I’d come back.”

Daniel’s head snapped down in shock. The man looked like O’Neill but something had changed. The attitude O’Neill usually displayed was no longer there. “Jack?”

“Yes, Danny.” Jack smiled lovingly at him.

“But… how?” Daniel couldn’t believe it. A part of him said it couldn’t be happening, that it was just O’Neill trying a new way of getting to him, but the words… how would O’Neill know what Jack had said to him on that last morning?

“A friend of yours helped me ascend,” Jack stated, leaving the long explanation for another time. He stepped forward and took his lover into his arms. “Doesn’t hold a candle to being here with you though.” Holding Daniel was just as good as he remembered it to be.

Daniel opened and closed his mouth several times before he managed to ask, “But won’t you get into trouble from the Others?” He wanted to relax into Jack’s embrace but he needed to truly believe first.

“I’ve just descended. They can’t touch me,” Jack said confidently.

“You… you just took over O’Neill’s body?” His eyes started to fill with tears of happiness.

Jack shrugged. “He was an idiot. He didn’t appreciate you.” He brought one hand up to wipe away Daniel’s tears. “He’s still in here somewhere. We kinda… melded, I think.”

“Jack…” Daniel wanted to protest, to state that it was just like being a Goa’uld, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it; he hadn’t liked O’Neill much anyway. “How do I know it’s really you?” He could easily be hallucinating.

“Because.” Jack’s answer echoed that of many years ago when they had dealt with the shape-changing aliens of Tonane’s world.

Daniel smiled at the answer. It did sound like his Jack. But… “I think I need a little more proof.”

Jack grinned and then whispered something into Daniel’s ear.

His mouth dry with sudden desire, Daniel stared at the warm brown eyes in the slightly different face. “It’s really you,” he whispered.

“It’s really me,” Jack agreed. Then he drew Daniel into a passionate kiss that promised that they would never be parted again.
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