Once Upon A Time
written by: Ozymandia

Rating: PG
Spoilers: Anything from the movie to The Light is fair game and might be
directly or indirectly mentioned.
Pairing: J/D Preslash
Warning: Language. Angst.
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me, and neither does anything else currently in my possession. Suing
me is useless, and will bring you nothing but lawyer's fees.
Author's Note: As usual, thanks to BabsN for her support and commentary. Thanks to
Epee for helping me check facts. Thanks to Twocats for the help with spelling. And
thanks to Nut for just listening to me ramble in chat.

*Once upon a time a man lived in a house with his family. Life was
good for this man; he had a loving wife, an adoring son, and a job he had
always wanted. Sure, sometimes this man had to do some damn
distasteful things at work, but overall he was happy, he was satisfied.*

*The man wondered if there was any way that his life could get better.
He couldn't remember a time in his life when he had been so happy. He
was grateful for all he had, and he thanked whatever powers that might
be out there for bringing it to him. *

*One night he came home from work to find his wife waiting for him, a
smile on her face as she told him of the wonderful things their son had
done during the day at school.*

*The end.*

*Once upon a time...*

A gunshot rang through the air.

Jack stood up. His training kicked in instinctively.

Before his heart started to beat again, Jack knew that the sound had
come from his house.

By the time he had turned towards the front door it dawned on him that
it was upstairs, in his office, where he kept his own gun.

He grabbed the doorknob knowing that the only person who could have
fired that gun was Charlie.

Clearing the threshold, the thought crossed his mind that Charlie knew
better than to play with a loaded weapon. If his son had ignored all
of his mother's warnings, Jack was going to kill him.

Feet flying, heart pumping, Jack barely breathed as he took the stairs
three at a time.

At the landing his arm hit something standing on a table. He was
halfway down the hall before he heard it crash.

His office door was closed. Jack threw it open, his eyes taking a
moment before they sent the message to his brain that what he was
seeing was real.

Guilt slammed into his stomach hard as he realised that he didn't have
to kill his son for breaking the rules.

He already had.

*Once upon a time, there was house in the suburbs. It was a haunted
house, and within its walls were two ghosts, a man and a woman.*

*These two ghosts each lived alone. They passed each other in the
halls without ever seeing each other. They shared a bed, but never touched
each other. They walked past two locked doors, but never entered

*Behind one locked door lived the spirit of a little boy. Behind the
other, a monster that existed only to bring the man and woman grief. A
monster that looked like a roll top desk with drawers that never

*The end.*

*Once upon a time...*

The fire finally burnt out.

Jack was alone with his despair in the dark. There was nothing unusual
in that. He liked it that way, or so he kept telling himself.

If nothing came near him, he wouldn't be able to destroy anything else.

But now, in the middle of a desert, on a world light years from home,
he was failing in that goal.

He'd let himself be affected, somehow by the geek with the allergies.
Daniel had gotten past Jack's defenses so quickly that his head was
still spinning.

And Daniel cared.

Daniel didn't know what Jack was capable of. Didn't believe that Jack
could really set a bomb and blow up some damned alien piece of rock and
sand that looked like it was a threat to Earth.

That look they'd exchanged before Daniel had headed to sleep burned
into Jack's brain. Daniel was disappointed. Not with Jack, and who he was,
and what he had to do. Oh no. Daniel was disappointed because Jack
wanted to die. Jack got the feeling Daniel wasn't happy with that at

Guilt crept through Jack's chest. Daniel believed in him, for some
reason saw something in him that not even Jack had known was there.
Daniel honestly believed that Jack would protect these people and would
do what was right regardless. He believed Jack was a good person.

They'd never discussed it, but Jack knew that was what Daniel was

A small, stubborn warmth lit itself deep within Jack.

He would do his best to follow his orders, and to keep Earth safe.

But he'd also do his best to protect Daniel. Get the man home. Do
what it took to make him happy.

Jack stood, dusted the sand off of his pants, and headed towards his

For the first time in months, he had a purpose.

*Once upon a time, there was a soldier with a secret.*

*He had rescued a far away land from destruction, a destruction that he
was supposed to bring. He had met an archaeologist who had given him a
reason to live. He had felt other things also, feelings he had not
allowed himself in many years.*

*The soldier wasn't sure which part of this secret was worse. On one
hand he'd disobeyed orders. On the other, he'd fallen in love with the

*The archaeologist, however, had fallen in love with a beautiful woman,
and the soldier knew that his love would never be. So he had promised
the archaeologist that he would protect this new world by telling
everyone that it had been destroyed. The archaeologist was happy with
this, and the soldier walked away, knowing that even if he couldn't
have the archaeologist, at least he had done something good.*

*The soldier lived with this secret for a year, until two other
soldiers showed up at his door, talking about the other world.*

*He was taken to the mountain where a new and fierce general

*The end.*

*Once upon a time...*


Jack was relieved when General Hammond finally sent him home.

It was hard enough explaining this mysterious other alien who had swept
through the Stargate, injuring his men and walking away with Sha're and
Skaara. It was damned hard explaining why Abydos still existed. It
was harder explaining why he'd let Daniel stay behind.

He strode through the halls as he considered the debriefing. It had
been long, that new scientist taking great pains to explain about the
map room, and how there must be a network of Stargates, and planetary

Carter wanted to stay on base tonight and figure out if they could
reach any of the planets. She was welcome to it, Jack thought. He, for one,
wanted to get home, drown his sorrows in a case of beer, and try to
ignore the thoughts that kept popping into his head every time he saw

He turned a corner and there was Daniel, as if just thinking about him
had conjured him out of thin air. Jack briefly considered walking by.
It was the smart thing to do. It was the safe thing to do.

Too bad he'd never really played it safe before.

He stopped in the hallway, considering this man in front of him.
Daniel was dressed in a plain olive drab jumpsuit, one that was at least a
size and a half too big. Long hair fell over his glasses. He was leaning
against a wall, a look of utter despair on his face.

This wasn't right. Daniel had just lost everything and was blaming
himself for it. He was being treated horribly by Hammond. He had no
status, no rights, nothing.

And it was all Jack's fault.

Jack felt something inside himself crack, and he knew he couldn't leave
Daniel here alone. Someone had to take charge and do something to help
before Daniel was lost to grief and self doubt.

He crossed over to where Daniel was standing, forced himself to meet
the desperate blue eyes that looked up over dirty lenses.

"They don't know what to do with me," Daniel said quietly. "I don't
know what to do with me."

The crack grew and shattered, and Jack knew he was lost. He loved this
man enough to do whatever it took to save him. And right now, that
meant getting him the hell out of here, to someplace where Daniel would
have a chance to start healing.

Jack jerked his head towards the exit. "Come on," he said. And he
headed off, knowing that Daniel would follow.

*Once upon a time there were two friends.*

*They were very different, these two friends. One was career military,
a hard man who was trained to make hard choices. The other was an
anthropologist, a brilliant linguist who could convince strangers to
become allies. *

*The two friends worked together, spent their downtime together, and
grew very close.*

*Then one day one of the friends stepped through a mirror. When he
came back, he was convinced he could save the world.*

*The end.*

*Once upon a time...*

Earth from space was beautiful.

There was a peace, a tranquility, that Jack had forgotten was possible.

He was aware of Bra'tac in front of him, gazing down on this strange
world also. He looked over and saw Carter and Teal'c in the other
glider. He was going to die, but that didn't matter. He had help save
the world, again. But he'd lost something in doing it, lost his heart
and soul.

Jack flexed his hand, the stickiness of Daniel's blood long since dried
and faded to brown.

SG1 had succeeded, had defied all the odds, had broken every regulation
to follow Daniel. Jack had been willing to throw away his career and
his life, do what Daniel had been so adament needed to be done.

He knew they'd have been heroes, if they'd made it back home. There
would have been a celebration at the SGC, and a party afterwards.
Somewhere nice, with beer and steak. It would have been fun.

Now they were dying, about to burn up in Earth's atmosphere. Daniel was
dead, burnt up in the explosion of the two motherships, if he'd lived
that long.

He closed his hand again. Turning his head he saw Carter watching him
from the other glider.

"It's going to be a beautiful sunset, sir." Her voice was tinny
through the communication device, but he could hear the awe in her voice.

It was fitting, somehow, that SG1 would all go together. It was the
way it should be. The only way it could be.

"You know, Captain... this wasn't such a bad day after all."

*Once upon a time there was a man who worked for the Air Force, part of
a secret project in a mountain in Colorado.*

*He loved his job. It involved lots of travel and adventure. It also
involved working with a group of people he really liked.*

*He worked hard, and looked after his team. He tried to keep others
from seeing that he cared deeply for one member of his team. He tried
to keep that caring from affecting his job.*

*One day he was called into an office and told about thieves and
technology. He was told to work alone, and pretend that he was
something he was not. He was told there was no option.*

*He knew that to make this work, he'd have to do things to hurt his
team. He knew that the one he cared about the most would pay the
highest price. *

*He knew he'd have to be damned convincing. And he was.*

*The end.*

*Once upon a time...*

Jack let the weights rest on his chest. The metal bar pressed down on
his ribs, not quite pain, but uncomfortable and awkward.

It fit the way he'd been feeling the last couple of days.

The sting had gone well. Maybourne, Makepeace, and their little band
of merry men were safely behind bars. The Asgard, Tollan, and Nox were
thrilled. Hammond had hinted that there might be a commendation in it
for Jack.

Jack's arms started to burn from the strain of holding the weights at
such a difficult angle. He let them relax a little more, the pressure
enough to make it hard to breathe.

It was the first time in a long time that Jack had obeyed orders,
consequences be damned. He'd been a good soldier, and a shitty human
being. That had been part of his daily life, not that long ago. It
had been easy to do, to play with people's minds, to torture them, to kill
them. It had been part of what had made him such an asset to the Air

And now...

The mission was a success. He had walked away unscathed. No bullet
wounds, no arrow heads, no staff blasts.

A heave and a push, and the bar was resting back on its support.

Jack wondered how long it would be before the team forgave him. He
wondered how long it would be before he forgave himself.

*Once upon a time, on a world far away from here, someone turned on a

*It was a fountain of light and colour on an apparently empty world.
It had been off for a very long time, and when it came to life it
celebrated with a wondrous display.*

*And those that had turned on the device were amazed, and they gazed
upon it with longing and desire, until they were called back to their
own dull world and their own dull life.*

*And one by one they pined away for the machine and its delights,
succumbing to its song as sailors so long ago had fallen victim to the
song of the sirens.*

*And yet one man survived, dragged back from the edge before he
disappeared, forever.*

*The end.*

*Once upon a time...*

It was the click that stayed with Jack.

If the phone had continued to ring, they could have assumed that Daniel
was still on his way to the mountain. Jack might have stayed at the
base, waiting for his friend to arrive. They might never have known
anything was wrong until the police called to say they had a body.

Jack dropped down on the steps of the dais, head bowed. The sheer
heartstopping terror of seeing Daniel on the wrong side of that balcony
rail was something he'd only felt once before.

A strange duet began to play in his head at the thought. The sound of
a gunshot, then that horribly final-sounding click. Over and over he
heard it: bang and click, bang and click. Jack ran his hands over his
face as if he could somehow scrub the offending memories away.

He was sure this was some weird side effect of the light addiction. It
had been a horrific week of withdrawal and moodines and fights that
gave the word bitchy a whole new meaning. The team was avoiding each other,
by mutual consent. They took turns watching the gate, but other than
that they barely interacted at all.

Jack missed Daniel. Since Sha're's death the two men had spent a lot
of time together. They would just hang out at home or at a bar, relaxing
in each other's company. The conversation had been light and
meaningless, but friendly. Jack would kill to have it back during
their confinement.

Footsteps joined the cacophony in his head, a strange counterpoint with
their irregular rhythm. Jack was strangely disappointed when they
stopped and left him alone with the phone and the gun once again.

He looked up, startled, as a hand dropped onto his shoulder, shaking
him gently. Daniel was beside him, kneeling on the dais, concern and
confusion fighting for control of his features.

"Are you OK?"

Daniel's voice shattered the soundtrack that had been battering Jack's
defences, bringing with it the blessed calm and warmth of their

Jack smiled for the first time in days.

*Once upon a time there was an Air Force colonel who led a team of
intrepid travelers across the galaxy. They were a motley crew: an
alien, a scientist, an archaeologist, and the colonel himself.*

*These travelers had many adventures on many worlds. They lost friends
and made new ones; they fought battles against the enemy out there, and
the enemy at home; they hunted for those who had been lost to them, and
along the way they found what they were looking for.*

*The end.*

*Once upon a time...*

The pounding grew louder and more insistent.

Jack hauled himself out of bed, wondering why someone was at his front
door at three in the morning.

He made his way through the house in the dark, pausing at the door long
enough to peek through the blinds to see who it was. A familiar shape
stood silhouetted in front of the streetlight. Jack flicked on the
foyer light and swung the door open.

Daniel stood on the step, looking momentarily blinded as the light hit
his eyes. Jack smiled, and stepped back, patiently holding the door
open until Daniel had stopped blinking and walked inside.

They headed to the living room in silence. Jack watched Daniel
carefully, noticing the hesitation as he chose a seat, and the grip
that he held on his coat. He thought feverishly of the three weeks stuck in
that damned Goa'uld pleasure palace. Maybe he had given something
away. He reviewed conversations and arguments hoping for a clue. He
needed more time.

"Coffee?" Daniel shook his head. Jack dropped into his favourite
chair, uneasy about the discomfort that was radiating off of Daniel. He knew
he wasn't going to like this conversation already.

The silence stretched on for several minutes. Jack wished Daniel would
get it over with. He hoped that Daniel would say nothing at all.

After an eternity Daniel spoke. "Back on the planet, I... I got the
feeling that maybe... well, that maybe there was something going on?"

Jack's chest tightened painfully. He'd thought he'd been so careful.
Obviously he hadn't.

"About that." Jack's voice failed him, and he had to look away from
Daniel, away from the look of confusion that crossed his face.

A sigh, then the sound of the jacket being set down on the table. "I
thought so." Daniel's voice was strong and clear, and it surprised
Jack into turning back towards him.

Daniel was smiling, a small, confident smile aimed straight at him.

Jack smiled back. "Yeah. About that..."

*Once upon a time there were two men. *

*They had met a long time before, when they had nothing, when they were
alone and their lives were in tatters.*

*In spite of their differences, they became good friends. Over time,
they became family.*

*Finally, they became one.*

*And they lived happily ever after.*

*The end.*


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