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Story Data

Posted June 23, 2006

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Series: Moebius Man

Title: Desert Dreams

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG-13.

Summary: Stargate SG-1, Highlander. He has awakened from death before, often enough that it has lost the element of surprise, but never has it been like this. 1200 words.

Spoilers: Stargate SG-1 through 8.20 "Moebius, Part II"; Highlander in general.

The heat is the first thing he is aware of: sunlight like molten gold pouring down over his skin, stinging flesh rendered pale by genetics and long absence from his homeland. And yet this is not his homeland, not either homeland, not as he recalls them: the air is too clean for the Egypt of his birth, the color of the sun subtly wrong for the Abydos of his marriage. Sweat pours down his back, dampening the rough fabric of his handmade garments.

Around him, all is violent motion; his ears are filled with the soundtrack of war. Explosions, screams, staff blasts, glider engines overhead-- the Goa'uld versus primitive Man, a scene he's become all too familiar with over the last nine years. Voices fade in like a badly dubbed movie: Jack, Sam, Teal'c, an army of Jaffa, a mob of slaves, his own voice screaming in three different languages. Not finding the words fast enough. Not moving fast enough, either.

The scents of blood and charred flesh fill his nostrils as a sudden impact knocks him to the sand. He remembers more, in those vague seconds before the pain hits him: Sam protesting days before that a premature move could contaminate the timeline, Jack cursing Ra's troops that morning as their secret meeting turned into an ambush. Then the too-familiar burn of a staff wound claims his attention, sending him spinning into the depths with dark thoughts of Janet, of Ra, and of sarcophagi.

The presence of death is the next thing he is aware of: the silence of death surrounding him, the scent of death overwhelming his senses, the press of corpses weighing him down. For a moment, he believes himself back with Teal'c and Bra'tac amidst a slaughtered army of Free Jaffa, trying to keep them alive with only one symbiote between them-- but the sensations are too immediate, too corporeal for that. He is still in Egypt, and something else is wrong with that memory...

Comprehension filters in, colored slightly with fear. He has awakened from death before, often enough that it has lost the element of surprise, but never has it been like this. Never has he come back to himself alone, still lying where he had fallen. Nor has he ever remembered any event from his first Ascension so clearly. Something different has happened this time, and he is not sure he wants to know the cause. This is not his original body, after all; it is quite possible that the Others took the opportunity to meddle when they facilitated his return to the Tau'ri.

Warm fingers press against the back of his shoulder, then at his throat, distracting him from that alarming line of thought. An excited voice babbles in his ear in a dialect of ancient Egyptian: I have found Dan'yel, he is alive!

The weight shifts from his back, and his world spins as strong hands turn him over. Sand trickles down his collar, into his nostrils, and he coughs reflexively. "Jack..." he groans hoarsely, reaching automatically for his friend.

...He asks for Oneel, the voice above him says, in a more subdued tone of voice.

Daniel blinks open his eyes, alarm swirling through him. The mid-day sunlight blinds him immediately, and he raises a shaky hand against the onslaught. "Jack?" he asks again.

The sand shifts at his side; Katep kneels next to him and carries on a hurried conversation over his head. Daniel hears none of it beyond the first, chilling sentence: Oneel is dead...

He closes his eyes and sinks back into the sand.

Daniel woke with a gasp, heart racing from the intensity of the dream. If it could be called a dream. It felt more like a memory-- not his own, of course, but one which some other Daniel had lived.

It had seemed so simple when they'd found Ra's ZPM buried with a videotape detailing another SG-1's plan to travel through time to retrieve it. Too simple, in fact; the presence of the ZPM meant that the team had succeeded, but what had happened to them after that? Daniel admired Teal'c's steadfast belief that their reality, their timeline, was the only one that mattered, but this other SG-1 wasn't just any alternate team, it was their team. Cast adrift through time-- in their own timeline-- five thousand years ago, but otherwise no different.

He could feel it, in the dreams; this wasn't the first time he'd seen through his other self's eyes, and that man's memories and emotions were so close to Daniel's own that they lingered with him after he woke, snarling and complicating his life at the Mountain. The first time he'd dreamed of the aftermath of the failed rebellion, huddling in a hastily erected tent with Katep and the other survivors, he'd woken himself with a cry of grief and hadn't been able to relax until the next briefing at the Mountain. Though he'd known intellectually that Jack, Sam and Teal'c were safe in this timeline, that they had not been captured and tortured by Ra while Daniel lay regenerating in the desert sands, some terrified, lonely part of him had not quite believed it until he'd seen them again.

His fluency in several ancient languages and dialects had improved notably in recent months, seemingly without effort or study; his skill with a sword had similarly skyrocketed, leading to much sarcastic commentary from Adam. The (much) older man had looked forward to playing the part of a teacher this time around, but so far Daniel had needed little more than a refresher course. He had no idea what was happening to him, save for a vague suspicion that Oma may have known him much longer than she'd ever let on; Adam had said he'd buried other-Daniel's body two thousand years ago, but where had his Quickening gone?

Sooner or later, he knew he'd have to tell Jack about what he knew, and what he suspected. The rest of the team had already noticed that something was going on, though they had no idea what. But Adam didn't trust Jack yet-- or more accurately, General O'Neill-- and Daniel didn't blame him. After all, the instant Jack found out about Daniel's past and present Immortality, he was likely to guess the truth about Adam, and a human who could live forever would be an extremely tempting target for unscrupulous agencies working for the same government Jack reported to.

It was going to take time. Months, maybe years; too long for Adam to keep staying with Daniel as an 'old friend from out of town'. Luckily, the Mountain was always in need of social scientists-- the backlog of work that piled up when Daniel was in the field was one of the banes of his existence-- and a linguist of Adam's caliber would be snapped up as quick as Daniel could recommend him. If he could just get Adam to sign the papers, he'd have a front-row seat to all the reasons Daniel couldn't just walk away from this life, and the caliber of people Daniel had backing him up.

It was going to take time. Fortunately, time was something Daniel now had to spend.


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