Jmas Fan Fiction

Title: Shadows in a Mirror
Date: May 7, 2001
Status: Complete
Author: Jmas
Category: Drama, angst, h/c
Rating: PG-13
Email: jmasg1@bellsouth.net
Archive: Stargate Fan, Heliopolis, Belle, Place of Our Legacy
Spoilers: 2010, In the Serpent’s Grasp
Summary: Space and time converge to give Jack a look at what the future may have held.
Author's note: Another of the 17 missing scenes or tags for season 4.
Disclaimer: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa’uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
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Shadows in a Mirror
By Jmas

~*~

He dreamt of dying...

Dying in a last-ditch effort to redeem himself, his team, and his world. The feeling of hope regained - so nearly too late - was overwhelmed by the realization that he had failed.

His friends lay dead all around him. Teal’c had been the first to fight, the first to fall. Daniel’s eyes stared directly at him, the clear blue so recently full of pained regret now clouded in eternal apology. Carter was just ahead, still and seemingly already stiffening, but Jack was sure too far from the gate to have sent the message through.

It had been so close. So damn uselessly close. Humanity would die and SG1 was responsible.

Jack closed his eyes and welcomed the darkness.

He hoped it would last forever.

~~~~~

Jack opened his eyes.

The television hissed, casting a nauseating speckled pattern to dance over every surface of the room. Jack looked around a few moments in confusion, expecting to see the images from his dream.

‘Dream, hell....’

Shivering a little in the draft snaking its way through the barely-cracked sliding doors leading to the deck, Jack started to remember. He could see Daniel slumped in the lounger, still asleep. They’d all talked well into the night, primed with a generous supply of hard alcohol - this night had required something much stronger than beer. The bloodstained note had left them all feeling more than a little fragile in the greater scheme of things and none of them had wanted to talk about what it all meant. Somewhere, somewhen, one or more of them had died to get the note through, rescuing them from a fate they would - now - never know.

The newly-licensed Teal’c had driven Carter home hours ago - Jack had finally convinced Hammond and the higher-ups that the if the big guy could handle a death glider in close maneuvers Colorado traffic couldn’t be that much of a challenge - then returned to base from there. Despite the seemingly copious amounts of bourbon the jaffa had consumed, Jack was sure Junior had taken care of any lingering effects it might have caused in Teal’c’s system. Not that Teal’c ever really got drunk, just more mellow and inscrutable.

‘Something damned unfair about that...’

Daniel had been wired - way too wired - his brain putting dozens of different scenarios to work to explain the note. The rum and Coke had only made things worse, sending the generally voluble scientist into hyper-mode until he’d finally crashed after expanding for the fourth - or was it fifth? - time on the topic of Past, Present, and Future as Related to the Persons of SG1. Once the theories had diminished to a soft, buzzing snuffle none of them had wanted to wake him. It was Daniel’s way to talk through his problems or to isolate himself away with them; they were just glad this time he’d chosen to talk.

Sitting up slowly, mindful of the preliminary twinges of what promised to be a Class A hangover, Jack again shivered in the draft from the door. It was growing colder and the light afghan Carter had thrown over Daniel earlier would soon be little more than a sponge for the damp night air. The part of Jack’s brain that remembered the lessons the dream had taught him, remembered the four years of caring for one another that had lately become a lower priority than it had ever been before, knew he couldn’t let Daniel catch pneumonia sleeping on his deck. His team, his responsibility. It felt good to remember - even if it made his head ache with more than the incipient hangover.

Standing gingerly and holding his head steady as he went, Jack moved toward the glass doors, noting his own decrepit state in his reflection in the glass. The snow pattern from the television cast an eerie quality over him that almost made him feel like the ghost he’d become in his dream.

The possibility they would eventually run out of cosmic goodwill existed - always had. It was part and parcel of the job description, somewhere under the ‘give pieces of your soul at regular intervals’ clause. They’d all given more than their share; let pieces slip away, sometimes knowingly and willingly because the cause was sufficient. Sometimes though, the pieces were ripped away, leaving them broken and bleeding and not always mindful that the rest of the team was just as splintered as they.

Quietly sliding open the door and stepping out onto the deck, Jack noted the wisps of fog moving in, glowing in the filtered moonlight and contributing even more to the surreal atmosphere the night had taken on. Daniel’s face was pale in the strange light, already Jack could see moisture from the damp air settling in the younger man’s hair. The after-image of Daniel’s dead eyes seemed to lay over Daniel’s quiet face for a moment, another pseudo-ghost like the one Jack had seen reflected in the door.

Shivering and closing his eyes to stop the memory, Jack sank down into the deck chair beside Daniel. He knew he should wake the Daniel, if only for the sound of another voice to drive away the shadows that seemed to lie between reality and dream tonight.

But, no. Not yet.

It wasn’t a totally uncomfortable eeriness, knowing the warning note signed in Jack’s own hand and blood had likely saved them from pursuing a path that had obviously been worth dying to prevent. Jack was more certain than ever that his dream was more than just a dream. He smiled a little at the memory of Daniel’s voice - it seemed so long ago now - protesting that what they all believed was Daniel’s dream was real. They’d saved the planet on the strength of his conviction, his ability to make them believe in the ‘dream’, and Jack was as sure now as he’d been then that they - or rather their future selves - had just done it again. It was real.

Feeling a chill on his skin, Jack looked up knowing what he would see. Daniel was awake, looking over at him in concern. Jack just shook his head, he couldn’t explain. Not now. Maybe not ever. Daniel nodded in return and pulled the afghan more closely around him, settling back to wait.

And Jack knew Daniel would wait as long as necessary, providing quiet support until Jack was ready to talk - or not. And if they never spoke about it at all, that was okay too. Daniel would be there, as always, and that would be enough.

The light from the television still flickered through the doors, its reflection swirling over the glass like the quiescent surface of an active stargate. Jack found himself mesmerized by it, searching the nonexistent depths for answers he didn’t even have questions for. He didn’t have to look to know Daniel watched too, but Jack wondered just what his friend’s questions were. He had a feeling they wouldn’t be so very different; Daniel always seemed to more readily grasp the bigger pictures Jack suppressed until they came back to haunt him in dreams.

Past, present, future...

Would the sacrifice made by the future be enough to ensure their survival? Maybe. Maybe just from this one threat, making a way for yet another to come in its place. They could only wait, live the lives the sacrifice had made possible, and hope to be as ready to meet what the future might bring.

Beside him Daniel sighed and whispered, “It’s getting cold, Jack.” In other words, Daniel had found his answers and was sending out a quiet probe to see if Jack had done the same.

Scratching his rough-stubbled cheek, Jack looked over at his good friend and grinned. Maybe not all the answers, maybe he’d never have those, but he had enough now to lay the ghosts to rest and to know their sacrifice would not be in vain. The memory of this night - of the dream - might fade over time, but Jack knew he’d never forget the lessons learned.

Getting to his feet, Jack extended a hand to help Daniel disentangle himself from the afghan. From the way Daniel was wincing, Jack figured they could both look forward to morning hangovers. But considering the weird turn the night had taken, it was worth it.

As Daniel moved toward the glass doors, he suddenly looked up, the reflection of his eyes seeming to stare right into Jack’s. No death this time, no apology, just a warm promise of friendship no matter what the future might bring.

It was enough.

*fin*

 

 

 

 

 

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