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15 April 2007 @ 03:39 pm
8 April 2004, 3:51 p.m. (the Hotel California remix) [Stargate SG1; Jack/Daniel]  
Title: Continuum (the Hotel California remix)
Author: merryish
Summary: They're only getting closer.
Rating: PG
Pairing: Jack/Daniel
Fandom: Stargate: SG-1

Original story: 8 April 2004, 3:51 p.m. by tripoli


Remix:

Continuum (the Hotel California remix)

~

2009 Jul 16, 1600Z

Years ago, Jack held Daniel in his arms, warm and sunlit in the dozing hours of a late summer afternoon. Half his thoughts were conscious and half were dreams, all of them content and heated. Later they made love as the sun dropped behind the mountains; later Daniel cooked for them; later, they tangled together in Jack's wide bed and slept.

Now, Jack waits on the pel'tak of an empty ship, his breath an icy fog in the still, still silence. His shivers stopped minutes or years ago, when the hallucinations faded and left him with nothing but his slowing heart to mark the time.

Below, on a world Jack never walked, people he has never known wind their way through lives he wouldn't understand, trapped in their own endless history. Behind him, in a dark, golden hallway, two dead Hound guards with a dead mission lie stiffening in their own frozen blood. Around him, pale planet-light casts black, empty shadows at strange angles and sheds silver over lifeless controls and panels.

Before him, a splinter of light breaks through the last monochrome moments of Jack's life and expands into a flame of warmth and color. Jack blinks, a painful scrape of movement, almost audible.

Gilded and smiling, Daniel crouches on the deck, elbows on his knees, hands dangling. His eyes are clear and infinitely kind, and Jack can't tell if the glow is coming from above or from inside. He reaches out, muscles stiff and slow, pathetic: half an inch, an inch, is all he can manage. Daniel reaches out, too, hand ghosting over Jack's face, his arm, his hand, immaterial. Warmth floods all the places Daniel tries to touch, and spreads out through Jack's body in welcome fire. When it stops, Jack can reach out again, really reach, and when Daniel reaches back, they touch.

Jack's eyes widen. So does Daniel's smile.

"Daniel," Jack says, and if it's his last word in this life, he thinks he's chosen well.

Daniel's eyes kindle. "Hi, Jack."


July 16, 2009, 3:55 p.m.

In his heart, Daniel is bathed in warmth and sunlight filtering through a western window. The gentle ache in weary muscles eases, smoothed away by rough, strong hands less than an hour past. He can still feel it, a liquid rush and tremble, hear his own voice and Jack's following, hoarse and low. Inside, Jack's arm covers him, Jack's breath pushes slow and warm against his throat, and the afternoon stretches out forever.

In this cold room, breathing filtered, antiseptic-scented air, Daniel removes his watch and his glasses. He feels Sam's eyes on him, wide and wet and frightened. By the door, Teal'c stands a silent, certain watch. No measured rush to the gate this time, no ship to steal, no orders to disobey; just the three of them in this room, retrieval more than rescue. A rescue of last resort. Teal'c watches because he's always been their watchman, their first and last defense; Sam cries because she's helpless, and she loves them.

Daniel takes off his jacket and his shoes.

Years ago, Jack's couch held him up and warmed him, and Daniel stared at the ceiling with its familiar bumps and whorls and patterns, wrapping each second in memory so thick and strong he could carry it with him anywhere, any time, always. Now he stretches out on the barren desk, cold feet hanging off the end, his crumpled jacket pillowing his head. The world aches around him, a pressure he's grown used to again, a pressure he's relearned to love. Sam's hand closes around his left, a fragile trembling grip, and Teal'c comes to stand beside him, palm pressing gently across his forehead.

"I have to go," he tells them. He presses sorrow into his voice, a sorrow he can't feel, a lie. A gentle one.

He can feel the edge beneath his feet. The leap, the flight, too many heartbeats away.


2009 Jul 16, 1605Z

"So," Jack says. "...not a hallucination?"

Daniel laughs softly; Jack can feel it in Daniel's fingers, still clasped around his hand. "Nope."

There's a sadness in Daniel's eyes, beneath the strength, beneath the fine layer of joy. Jack's voice is low, but steady, as he says, "Not exactly a rescue, either, I take it."

Daniel shakes his head. "'Fraid not." Jack watches him for a quiet, measured moment, and Daniel shrugs. "Close as we could get."

"Where are you?"

"Here."

Jack's eyes narrow. "Where else are you?"

Daniel's gaze wavers, but only for an instant. It comes back focused and sure. "Just here."

"Goddamn it, Daniel!"

"I pick my own battles, Jack. You know that."

"Yeah, but do you have to keep picking the ones you've already lost?"

Daniel shrugs, a ripple of whatever under cream cable knit.

Jack uses Daniel's hand to pull himself up to his feet, then lets go, backing out of the light. "What makes you think I'm any more enlightened now than I was seven years ago?"

"Seven years," Daniel answers dryly. And then he grins, swift, into Jack's heart like a knife. "Plus, my vast store of otherworldly knowledge."

Jack snorts. But he steps closer. On the one hand, glorious noble deep-freeze death. On the other hand, Daniel. So he takes a deep breath, and another step. And another.

Seven years ago, he'd never seen Daniel smile like that.


Now

Years later, Jack will reach into Teal'c's broken body with immaterial hands and draw the living soul of him into a larger world, with larger battles than his warrior's spirit has ever known. Years later, Daniel will touch Sam's thin, pale lips as she closes her eyes and breathes a last shallow breath, and lift her from her fragile shell of age and death into a peace and purpose no mortal life could never encompass. Years from now, together, they will walk across the face of worlds not yet made, guides and guardians.

Right now, Jack puts his hand back into Daniel's and holds firm. "Okay," he says, "so how does this work, exactly?"

Daniel rolls his eyes, and waves a hand at Jack's chest. "Look down."

Jack is glowing. His eyebrows climb. "Uh...did I release my burdens when I wasn't paying attention?"

Daniel's mouth quirks up at the side. "Yeah. You did."

Jack looks at the space around them, at the darkness, at the frozen, lifeless ship. He looks at Daniel, through light like an endless summer afternoon. Daniel looks back.

"So," Jack says, content. "This is the Afterlife, huh?" The light between them builds and brightens, and the ship recedes.

Daniel's grin widens. His hand is warm and strong in Jack's, his face open. "There isn't any after," he says. "Just life."



# # #
 
 
 
The long dark wet t-shirt contest of the soul.: sg1invistripoli on April 22nd, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful story, and what a lovely thought, that SG-1 will be SG-1 forever.

Jack is glowing. His eyebrows climb. "Uh...did I release my burdens when I wasn't paying attention?"

Daniel's mouth quirks up at the side. "Yeah. You did."


I loved this especially--not just the idea that Jack's at some kind of peace with himself, but that he did it the old-fashioned way. It's very true to character, if Jack were ever to ascend, and I thought it kind of filled in the gap between the Jack we last saw and the Jack who Daniel's meeting on the ship.

Great job, and thank you for getting such an awesome story out of my dinky little one-off drabble.
Merry: SG1 - DHDmerryish on April 29th, 2007 05:28 pm (UTC)
Now that it's reveal day I can tell you how happy I was to get to work with your story, and how it made my heart ache to read it. It made my heart ache to change it, too, because it was really perfect as it was, and I had to kind of break the thing I loved best about it - the kind of perfect circularity of it - to write the remix. But it was challenging and fun and satisfying - so I'm really, really glad I had the chance to play with it.

So thank YOU! =) I had a blast, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.
eve11eve11 on April 22nd, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is just achingly beautiful. Sad and painful and hopeful.
Merrymerryish on April 29th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it worked for you - the original was so lovely, I almost hated to remix it, but I had a really good time doing it. =)
AN ENIGMA GAVE A PARADOX A VERY SPECIAL HUG: family tiesmelayneseahawk on April 22nd, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. Now I ache, but in a good way.
Merry: SG1 - DHDmerryish on April 29th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it. =) That was what I was aiming for, so this was really good to hear!
aurora_novarum: daniel by moonshaydeaurora_novarum on April 23rd, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
Aw, this was the part that got me: No measured rush to the gate this time, no ship to steal, no orders to disobey; just the three of them in this room, retrieval more than rescue.

I like the way that you mention all of SG-1 ends up glowy. "there isn't any after, just life." A fitting ending.
Merry: SG1 - Daniel smilemerryish on April 29th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Jack and Daniel are, in my heart anyway, meant to be together, but it only REALLY works for me if it all works out for the team, too. =)
Blue: Jack/Daniel - The Lightblue_meridian on April 24th, 2007 01:50 am (UTC)
Someone had it bookmarked at del.icio.us. So I read the original before continuing onto the remix.

Remembered to breathe.

Read remix with trepidation.

Gave a sigh of relief because yes. In the end they'll come together because they've relied on each other so long, because they've defined themselves by each other when they weren't looking. And Jack-! It's simple, really. What burden can compare to Daniel? And once he stops thinking about it... well, yes.

Daniel's grin widens. His hand is warm and strong in Jack's, his face open. "There isn't any after," he says. "Just life."

Fantastic.
Merry: SG1 - Jack watching Danielmerryish on April 29th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
:: beams ::

The original was a REALLY hard act to follow. tripoli's story was heartbreaking because they've earned happiness, and none of them deserves to die alone, and of course that's the most likely way it would happen; I could only remix it because SG1 lets us have it both ways, and I needed it to be both ways.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it. =)
mostly waving: sg1: jack abysswinterfish on April 25th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
Oh, beautiful! I love that Jack is still so Jack, even when glowy. And also that SG1 will end up together in the end. :)
Merry: SG1 - DHDmerryish on April 29th, 2007 05:36 pm (UTC)
They absolutely will. I believe! =)

Thanks for letting me know you liked it!
sunnyd_litesunnyd_lite on April 28th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
"Uh...did I release my burdens when I wasn't paying attention?"

Daniel's mouth quirks up at the side. "Yeah. You did."
That's our boys!

a larger world, with larger battles than his warrior's spirit has ever known. Teal'c would like that.
And Sam's there too!

"There isn't any after," he says. "Just life." Ahhh!

Loved it!
This is great and love that you included the whole team.

Merry: SG1 - Daniel smilemerryish on April 29th, 2007 05:41 pm (UTC)
I'm a team girl, what can I say? That's why the original hit me so hard. Tripoli's story may have been a drabble, but it's the first drabble that ever brought tears to my eyes. Reason says it would end like that for at least one of them - lost somewhere alone - which breaks the team and breaks our hearts when we read it.

But canon says death doesn't have to be the end, so putting them back together seemed possible and fitting and - me being who I am - necessary. I'm glad it worked for you!
Advection: jd someday just beganadvection on April 29th, 2007 05:49 pm (UTC)
::speechless::

This is so beautiful.

::loves::
Cellicelli on April 30th, 2007 02:08 am (UTC)
That's just awesome.
green_grrl: SG1_JDCanongreen_grrl on May 3rd, 2007 07:30 pm (UTC)
Aw, crap. I'm crying and it's gorgeous!!!

"Daniel," Jack says, and if it's his last word in this life, he thinks he's chosen well.

Teal'c watches because he's always been their watchman, their first and last defense; Sam cries because she's helpless, and she loves them.

"I have to go," he tells them. He presses sorrow into his voice, a sorrow he can't feel, a lie. A gentle one.

Jack is glowing. His eyebrows climb. "Uh...did I release my burdens when I wasn't paying attention?"
Daniel's mouth quirks up at the side. "Yeah. You did."




pixielady: Jack/Danielkuwdora on May 4th, 2007 03:36 am (UTC)

OMG this is ABSOLULTEUY AMZINGINGINGAAMAZING.

*Flails!!*

Ankhankh_lj on May 21st, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
"Years later, Jack will reach into Teal'c's broken body with immaterial hands and draw the living soul of him into a larger world, with larger battles than his warrior's spirit has ever known. Years later, Daniel will touch Sam's thin, pale lips as she closes her eyes and breathes a last shallow breath, and lift her from her fragile shell of age and death into a peace and purpose no mortal life could never encompass. Years from now, together, they will walk across the face of worlds not yet made, guides and guardians."

Beautiful. Beautiful enough to make me cry.
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