***** DANIEL. ******
He came through on a Monday morning. Just a quiet, slow morning. Sam and I were in the lab, desultorily working on nothing much. We'd left Jack and Teal'c in the conference room, discussing the hockey game Jack had taken Teal'c to at the weekend. Just an ordinary start to an ordinary, uneventful week. Until the alarm sounded.
Sam and I dashed into the gate room to find Jack, Teal'c and a whole load of soldiers already there. They were pointing their guns at a confused, crumpled figure standing in front of the gate.
It was me.
"What happened?" he asked. I moved forward, in front of Jack. His - the other Daniel's eyes widened as he saw me. He wore no glasses, and his hair was as long as mine had been before one too many jokes from Jack about wearing ribbons in it to keep it out of my eyes had finally prompted me to have it cut. Apart from that, he was me.
"You tell us." Jack said.
"I'm... I'm not sure." he said slowly... then he saw Sam moving out from behind Jack and staring at him curiously, and I standing to one side, watching him.
"I'm not where I think I am, am I?" he said.
"Where do you think you are?" I replied.
"There was a mirror...I tried to pick it up to take with us...there was a flash..."
"The quantum mirror!" I yelled. "He's come from another universe!"
"Great." Jack whispered to Sam. "Another visitor from Oz."
We took him to the infirmary so Janet could check him for any ill-effects.
We were all a bit wary after what had happened to Sam's double.
"You're there." he said, pointing to Teal'c. "But you aren't, Doctor Frasier. We have a Doctor Wilkinson. He keeps yelling at me for getting shot."
"Well, some things never change." Jack murmured. Sam smiled, and Daniel Mark II (as Janet had christened him) glanced over at them curiously. Jack was sitting on the bed, looking puzzled. Sam was standing beside him, explaining something to him, and Jack's confused look was beginning to clear. It was a familiar scene, but our visitor seemed puzzled.
"Aren't Jack and Sam there?" I asked.
"I'm not sure but...are you two married here?"
Jack and Sam looked up, not surprised, but resigned. Sam smiled a little, but Jack seemed indignant.
"Oh for crying out loud!" Jack said. "Is their ANY reality where we aren't together? Is the universe playing one great cosmic joke on us?"
"No, I didn't mean to each other." Daniel MkII said. That shut Jack up, and the smile faded from Sam's face.
"My Jack is still married to Sara." he continued.
"Oh." was all Jack said. He very obviously did NOT look at Sam.
"So who am I married to?" Sam asked.
****** JACK ******
Oh wow. Talk about a shock. That one really threw me. Sam and Daniel? I mean, me and Sara, sure, I can see that being true, but Sam and Daniel? The thought's never crossed my mind (except that once, and I wasn't really thinking straight then.). The whole idea just seemed...wrong. I glanced up at Sam. She and Daniel exchanged one horrified glance, then looked away. I can see why they were horrified. The whole basis of their relationship had been changed in one second. And in some way, so had mine and Sam's. It wasn't just that in that reality I still loved Sara. It wasn't that I had chosen Sara over Sam (why?). It was that the man I thought of as my brother and the woman I'd thought of as...as...there isn't a word for it. Hell, I was confused. Really confused. And I don't like being confused, so I took it out on my usual victim...Daniel. Not my Daniel though. Daniel MkII.
"So...you and she..."
He nodded. I tried to remain calm. There was no reason to be angry. It was none of my business who Daniel married, or who Sam loved. But it hurt. I knew she could never love me, but thinking of Sam actually loving someone else...that hurt.
"What about Sha're?" I couldn't help asking. Grief flooded his face...so like my friend's face...and I almost felt guilty for asking. Almost.
"Apophis tried to make her a host. She killed herself rather than be taken."
Behind me I heard Daniel wince, and I was sorry I'd hurt him. That didn't apply to his double though.
"And that's when you and Captain Carter...?" I was being unnecessarily cruel, I knew that, and not just to him, but to Sam too. I couldn't understand why. It was a different world, different people, different feelings. What they did had no bearing on what we felt (or so I'd told myself after Sam O'Neill had come through).
"No...you make it sound grubby...it wasn't like that!" he said, his voice desperately eager to explain, to make me understand how much in love him and Sam were. "It was almost a year before anything happened. I don't know if the timescale's the same here, but nothing happened till just after Jack and Sara got back together after the crystal thing!"
Oh God. I'd come so close to going back to Sara, if she would have me, but in the end, I'd walked away. Could that have made a difference to Sam? What was going on? What was true there, needn't be true here... It was all too much to take in. I had to leave, sort myself out.
I left, taking care not to look at Sam as I did so. When ever I looked at her, she always knew exactly what I was thinking. Useful in combat situations, but not something I needed right now.
****** JANET ******
Sam tried to meet Jack's eyes as he went past, but he kept his head down. She looked hurt by this lack of communication from a man who normally shared every thought with her, and she sat down at the bed. Daniel MkI muttered something about clearing the air, and left. That left me alone with Sam, Daniel MkII and Teal'c, who was watching silently from the corner. I glanced ober at him, and he just inclined his head silently, enough to let me know he was there if things got violent, or if he was needed. The atmosphere was NOT friendly.
"Seems I managed to upset everyone." Daniel MkII said, looking so much like a kicked puppy I just wanted to comfort him.
"I'm not upset." I told him. "It's just...relationships are a little different here."
"So I see." he said. He glanced across at the disconsolate, thoughtful figure of Sam. Whatever they felt about each other in this reality, it was obvious that he deeply loved her in his. I couldn't help wondering if she loved him as much...if she really cared, or whether she still carried a torch for Jack...if she had ever carried a torch for Jack, whether her and Daniel's relationship beginning just after Jack had gone back to Sara had been just a coincidence. I half wished I could meet her, ask her, and I half-wished this Daniel had never come through.
Daniel MkII looked at Sam, his face as eloquent as our Daniel's. His expression was one of utter adoration, remorse he'd hurt her, and shyness about speaking to her. What worried me was that I'd seen ALMOST the same expression on our Daniel's face when he looked at Sam.
Not that I'm suggesting he Daniel MkI loves like that. Only that he does love her, in a way, and that way could so easily change from sister to wife.
In a way, we had got used to reassessing Sam and Jack's relationship in light of revelations from alternate realities. Things had settled down comfortably into the expectation that whatever else happened 'over there', Sam and Jack were together in every sense. And that, in turn, made their eventual romantic relationship inevitable. Suddenly, everything was turned on its head. Sam and Jack weren't always together. It wasn't a certainty that they would fall in love. Sam and Jack were no longer definitely destined to be together.
I could see that had shaken Jack badly. Good. He was getting complacent.
"Sam?" I asked gently. She looked up in surprise.
"How long before he starts to react like our other interdimensional visitors?"
"Ummm, not long. We should maybe share some information, then send you back." she said to Daniel MkII, approaching him cautiously, almost as she was afraid of him.
"Ok." he said. "Sam'll be getting worried anyway."
She frowned at this reference to her other self.
"I didn't mean...I didn't realise you and Jack were together here." he stammered. "I'm sorry I messed things up."
Sam could never resist Daniel when he was trying to apologise (neither can I, truthfully), and she smiled gently.
"You messed nothing up. We're not together."
"Oh. It's just he...he reacted so strongly...I was sure."
"Sure he loved you."
****** TEAL'C. ******
We had all arranged to be in the briefing room to compare realities and share information. I was not required to be there, but Dr. Frasier had requested my presence 'in case things get a bit...you know.'.
I did know. The general feeling on this base is that I am innocent, and in Earth matters, this is true. I am not innocent in matters of love though. I have loved, deeply and strongly. I have loved from afar, never sure if my love is returned. I have given up the ones I love to save them. I see more, and know more of love than my Earth friends realise.
Daniel Jackson MkI and Daniel Jackson MkII are sitting on either side of Major Carter. She looks uncomfortable. She glances neither left or right, but sometimes, she looks quickly at Colonel O'Neill.
Colonel O'Neill looks at no one. He is tapping his pen furiously on his pad, faster and faster. His face is set, his expression fixed, but the sharp movements of the pen against the pad more than reveal his feelings.
Daniel Jackson MkI is confused. He glances at Colonel O'Neill's pen, trying to read his thoughts. He also glances at Major Carter, trying to get her to look at him. She does not.
Daniel Jackson MkII is also trying to get Major Carter to look at him. He is also fascinated by Colonel O'Neill's pen. He does not look confused though, he looks worried. And in pain. He doubles over. Dr. Frasier is by his side in an instant, and a moment later takes him to the infirmary. Major Carter follows in her capacity as the only scientist in SGC to understand what is happening.
All is quiet, save for the constant tap tap tap of Colonel O'Neill's pen.
"Jack, could you stop that? It's a little irritating." Daniel Jackson says. Beside me, I feel Colonel O'Neill tense, and I realise he is about to snap.
"Irritating? I tell you what's irritating!" he shouts. "What's irritating is you carrying on this 'I care about Sam, she's my friend' act all these years, when really..."
"Really what Jack?" Daniel Jackson yells back, also tense. "She's not here, you can say what you like! Come on Jack!"
"Ok then! When really you've been after her all this time!"
"I have not!"
"Oh yeah? Tell that to the other guy!"
"Jack, I am not about to marry Sam!"
"Why not? What the hell's wrong with her?"
"Nothing! She's an absolutely perfect human being that I feel privileged to know! But I am not in love with her, and she is not in love with me!"
That seemed to calm Colonel O'Neill down, and he returned to his seat.
Daniel Jackson continued, in a quieter tone of voice. "Look, Jack, I like Sam. I adore Sam. I would do anything for her. But we are not in love, and we are not about to marry. If everything that happened in an alternate reality was mirrored here, you and Sam would be married by now."
"That is a logical argument." I said.
"Teal'c." Colonel O'Neill replied, turning to me. "Has anyone ever told you you sound EXACTLY like Mr Spock?"
****** SAM. ******
Daniel MkII was suffering, so it was decided we should send him back. We all came through the gate, but eventually, only I went through the mirror with him, for just a moment. I glanced back. Through the mirror I could see Jack watching me, worry furrowing his brow, trying to look unconcerned as always. It was no good though, I knew him too well now. But he was another world away. And in this reality, Daniel loved me. I turned to him.
"I'm sorry." he said.
"For messing things up."
I shook my head. "No, you brought a lot of things to the surface. Things that needed to be seen."
"What will happen now? Between you and Jack I mean."
I shrugged. "I don't know. Probably nothing. Jack will never voluntarily admit what he feels, and I...don't know what I feel. It'll probably be safer all round just to pretend this never happened, and go on as before."
"It's a wasted opportunity. One day later maybe too late."
"I know." I whispered. "I just don't think either of us are ready to change yet."
I looked up into his eyes. I saw utter and overwhelming love there, love I've never seen anywhere else. Or perhaps I haven't looked for it anywhere else. I don't know what made me do what I did next. Perhaps I just wanted to see what it felt like. Perhaps I just wanted to taste the love I could feel. Perhaps I knew Jack was watching, and I wanted to do to him what he'd
done for me. I wanted to make him realise that were other possibilities, that nothing is fixed in stone. Perhaps, ultimately, I just wanted to punish him for kissing Samantha O'Neill while I watched.
So I reached up, and kissed Daniel gently, but for a long time. I felt... nothing. Only friendship, and shame that I should have done was ultimately a petty spiteful thing. I pulled away.
Daniel smiled gently, and walked off.
I know what I should have done now. I should have gone back there, forced Jack and I to talk, to take advantage of a moment when his feelings were close to the surface, forced our love for each other out in to the open. I should have taken advantage of what that other Daniel has stirred up, seen what emotions he's caused, taken adavntages of the changes between us all he's made.
I walked back through the mirror. I ignored Jack, ignored the hurt in his eyes, ignored the feelings that for one precious moment, he was showing to me, and walked past him. I couldn't do it. Not today. Not now. Maybe not ever.
I couldn't tell him I loved him.