J/D Ficathon: Substitute for Love - for [profile] chattycatsmeow

Jul. 11th, 2007 08:01 pm
ankh: (Daniel reading)
[personal profile] ankh
Title: Substitute for Love
Pairing: Jack/Daniel
Rating: NC-17
Words: 6955
Season/Spoilers: Tin Man (s1). Set around end of season 3. Assumes Double Jeopardy never happened.
Prompt: Requirements: 1. Team fic; 2. J/D Mission!Sex. Optional Request: Use this line any way you want to, spoken by any character you want: "It didn't taste like that last time"; Happy ending.
Note: Unbeta-ed (and probably rough as heck) to make the deadline. This was written for the 2007 Jack/Daniel Ficathon, hosted by [personal profile] trelkez . The masterlist of terrific J/D fic can be found HERE
***

Substitute for Love

This fic assumes Double Jeopardy didn't happen. Because it so didn't. Lalalala.


"So in your opinion P9Q759 isn't a viable -" General Hammond broke off as the sound of the gate once again being activated interrupted the debriefing of SG-1. Without another word he left the room, SG-1 trailing in his wake. From the gateroom they heard the metallic scrape of trinium plates sliding into place over the activated stargate, abruptly shutting off the rippling blue and white of the event horizon.

"What teams are due back?" Hammond asked, staring at the iris currently sealing off the base from the rest of the universe.

Harriman glanced up, chipmunk face mildly perplexed. "None, sir. The last team checked in at 1900 hours."

"And how many times...?"

"Twelve so far."

Hammond frowned at the gate as if by doing so he could decipher its secrets. Since six o-clock that morning the gate had been activated off world several times. Of course the iris had remained closed but there had been no tell-tale thud as something on the other side tried to reintegrate, no signal sent through to indicate friendlies trying to reach them.

Major Carter was peering over Lt Simmons' shoulder, frowning at the records displayed on the computer.

"Sir, there seems to be some sort of pattern forming."

"A pattern?"

"Yes sir. Each time the stargate has been activated for a different period of time before being shut down from its place of origin. If you look you'll see the pattern is starting to repeat itself after six attempts."

"Not seven?" Daniel asked, his mind immediately drawing the obvious conclusion.

"No. But without the point of origin…"

"So using the earth point of origin as a starting point…" Daniel murmured.

"And moving clockwise, matching the number of minutes to the glyphs…" Sam added.

"We get an address." Sam and Daniel smiled at each other, pleased with their conclusion.

"Good thing the address doesn't include the 39th  symbol," Sam said to Daniel and they shared a grin.

Jack scowled, unnoticed. He grabbed the cup of coffee next to Daniel and pointedly took a large gulp. His nose wrinkled. "It didn't taste like that last time."

Daniel was oblivious. "Oh! What if they've excluded the point of origin to give them 38 symbols?"

Teal'c leaned a fraction towards Jack and informed him. "That was Sergeant Harriman's coffee. I believe he uses Nutrasweet."

Jack made a choking sound.

"In that case we'd be counting from…"

"Okay, stop!" Jack snapped, pausing to scrape at his tongue with his incisors. He noticed Daniel frowning at him and stopped. "What's with the 38 symbols?"

"Jack, there are 39 symbols on the stargate."

"A wormhole can only be maintained for a maximum of 38 minutes. So if someone was trying to keep the gate active for three minutes to match the third symbol…"

"Okay, I got that. So what's the address?"

"Well, we'll have to match the pattern to the symbols and establish whether the Earth point of origin really is being used as the starting point…"

"And that will take?"

"Ten minutes," Sam replied.

Hammond nodded. "Go right ahead, Major. This is turning into a damned nuisance. And it could indicate one of our allies needs our help."

"Why not use that Satan box-"

"Sagan," Daniel muttered.

"-we've been giving out like party favors. That whole radium-"

"Iridium," Sam mouthed.

"- leaving a signature thing," Jack wondered aloud, ignoring his two scientists. "Or use a damn radio?"

Sam and Daniel blinked. Twice.

"Oh. Huh. Um, I have no idea," Sam said, first to recover, "and we won't know unless we establish contact. With your permission sir…?" Sam said pointedly and moved to stand next to the computer, Simmons and Daniel.

*

Sam was true to her word. After ten minutes she was informing the others, "P3x989." She winced and waited for the colonel's reaction.

Jack gave an expectant look.

"Altair," Teal'c muttered to himself. He looked uncomfortable with the thought, one hand clenching across his stomach.

Jack gave Daniel a 'Huh' look.

"Harlan's planet," Daniel elaborated.

"With the robots?" Jack almost yelped.

"Yes, sir."

"Why? They were supposed to bury the gate!" Jack complained.

Daniel gave him a long look. "Would you?"

"Yeah!" Jack snapped, defensively.

"And?" Daniel probed, eyebrows raised in his 'I can smell bullshit from a mile' expression.

Jack sighed and grumbled. "OK. So I'd probably unbury it soon after. That place really sucked."

"They may need our help," Sam said.

"How? Harlan made them 'better'." There was an edge to Jack's voice, the discussion clearly making him feel as uncomfortable as Teal'c looked. He and Teal'c shared a look of understanding and matching scowls and stood a little closer in solidarity.

"Sir, that place was falling apart. Maybe they need to leave?"

"How? They needed to stay to get power."

"Maybe they came up with another power source?" Sam speculated. "If I were in that situation and gate travel was possible, I'd design a portable power source. Just because they are robots built to repair the complex we saw doesn't mean they're incapable of creating devices unrelated to their assigned task…"

Daniel nodded. "Or incapable of a desire to explore beyond their world. Harlan said he downloaded a copy of our consciousness into the machine bodies."

"Exactly! If they are us-"

"They are not us!" Jack growled. "They look like us but they're not us. Right, Teal'c? Back me up here, buddy."

"Indeed. We know they are not flesh and blood, merely designed to give them the appearance of living beings. Such constructs could be programmed to use any sense of affinity against us. It would be wise to be wary."

"Thank you!"

Sam looked across at Daniel for support.

"I think we should check that everything is okay," Daniel said.

"I agree." Sam turned to Teal'c. "These contructs as you call them are highly sophisticated technology. Do the Goa'uld have anything like them?"

"They do not." His face registering his distaste, he admitted, "There may be some strategic advantage to be gained from establishing contact with these duplicates." He didn't look happy with the thought.

Jack gave Teal'c a look of betrayal.

Having been content to let SG-1 thrash out the pros and cons of a mission, Hammond decided now was the time for a decision. He looked round at his premier team than let his gaze rest on Jack. "This is your call, colonel. Do we establish contact? In your opinion is this Harlan a threat?"

With the eyes of his team on him, at least two of them willing him to agree, Jack considered their options and reached his conclusion. Damn it. "No sir," he admitted with reluctance. "He screwed up the first time but we were okay and I don't think he really meant any harm. The robots might disagree… Sir, I think we should go. See what's going on. If they've unburied the gate there's no knowing what they've been up to."

"Okay, colonel. I'll leave you to deal with this. But do it soon. We can't be shut off from our gate like this."

"Yes sir. Permission to go tonight after sending a probe. We can be ready to leave by 2100 hours."

"Permission granted, colonel. Check in as soon as you know something."

*

"Well?" General Hammond asked, face expectant. He had been hoping to leave early to attend Kayla's recital; without Asgard beaming technology that wasn't going to happen and he was not in a happy frame of mind.

Sam frowned. "The probe indicates... Maybe you should see this for yourself," she said, a hint of a smile on her face.

Beside Hammond, Jack tugged at his shirt sleeve and wondered if he could manage to grab a shower before setting off. Carter's tone caught his ear and he peered at the monitor showing footage from the origin of the coded address. He did a double take when he saw a brown-haired version of himself looking back and waving. Oh, for cryin out… Clearing his throat he spoke into the microphone linked to the probes audio. "What do   you want?"

"So you finally figured out my message?" robot O'Neill said, smirking into the camera. "Well, when I say you, I know you didn't figure it out, Jack."

Jack glared. "It wasn't complicated. Why didn't you just use a radio?"

The robot froze mid-grin.

Jack gave a bark of laughter. "You were too busy over-thinking, right? I thought Harlan said he made you 'better'?"

"Um, Jack?" Daniel murmured, shooting a wary look at Hammond.

"Sir? I think perhaps we should find out what he wants?" Sam interjected, years of discipline keeping the impatience out of her voice, though she did slide a look across at Daniel and exchange a 'we can't take him anywhere' look. They both offered placating smiles at General Hammond who merely sighed, resigned to whatever was about to unfold.

"Fine," Jack groused. "Let's ask the machine what's got its wires in a knot. What do you want?"

The other O'Neill smirked. "We need your assistance here. Well, actually, we need Daniel. You can stay home and watch the game."

Suspicion edged Jack's response. "Why do you need Daniel? You have a Daniel already."

"We figured your Daniel will have had more time to figure out that writing at Heliopolis."

Daniel pushed forward until he was near the microphone. "You have more writing? What does it look like? Can you send a sample? Can-?"

The smile on robot O'Neill's too-perfect unmarred face was affectionate. "Hey, Daniel. You guys coming over? I'll cook if you are. Of course, you'll have to bring your own food but I bet I can still cook a mean barbeque."

Jack exchanged a look with General Hammond and some unspoken message passed between them. "All of SG-1 will pay you a call."

"I'll go set the table." The robot wandered off out of shot and the wormhole was disengaged.

"Okay. That was weird." Jack gave a little shiver and rubbed a hand through his silvering hair.

*

The android Jack was waiting for them on the other side, alone.

Jack gave him a look of suspicion. "So. Where's this thing you want Daniel to look at."

"Nice to see you too, Jack."

Jack narrowed his eyes. "I see me in the mirror every morning."

"Little grey on top aren't we?" Robot O'Neill ran a hand through his brown hair. "I mean aren't  you. How are the knees by the way?"

Jack heard a murmured "Jack" to his left and bit back his immediate response. Jaw clenched, he ground out, "Let's just get this over with."

A wry smile crept onto the robot O'Neill's face. "Still not comfortable with this, are you?"

"Not really." Jack huffed and looked self-conscious. "Look. It just feels…"

"Weird?"

"Yeah."

"I get that." His gaze slid across to Daniel, who was watching human Jack with a sympathetic eye. "Hey, Daniel. You look ... well. I like the shorter hair. Suits you."

"Ah. Thanks." Daniel frowned, looking around, but the confusion looked false. If anything, there was a knowing look in Daniel's eyes. "Where's the other me?"

"Somewhere else."

Raised eyebrows and a slight pout greeted that reply. "I can see that. What happened?"

Given it was a robot, there was a surprising amount of transparent…well…shiftiness. The robot was looking downright 'did not chop down the cherry tree'. "What do you mean?"

Daniel gave the robot a look of reproof. "The other me. He would be here if everything was okay and you wouldn't need me to look at anything for you. If I - if he was still functioning he'd have been here to greet us. I would have. For that matter so would Teal'c and Sam."

"They're off exploring - they're due back soon. Harlan's gone."

Daniel gave the robot O'Neill a penetrating look. "The robot me is dead. What happened?"

Human-looking hands clenched, human-looking lips thinned. "There was an accident."

Jack took a step forward into his robot double's personal space, bristling with aggression. "What kind of an accident? What the hell happened to him? Why didn't you take care of him?"

"Jack," Daniel said soothingly before turning his attention to the robot. "Then he is dead. Like the first Teal'c?"

"No. There was no problem with the transfer. It happened topside. We were looking for Harlan. He's dead, too. Once we got this place functional again Harlan had time to brood. He went looking for the family home. Daniel went looking for him. Took a portable power supply deal Sam had been working on. It would have run out after a month. He's been gone three months."

"You looked for him?" Teal'c asked, his voice a threatening rumble.

"Of course I looked!" robot O'Neill snapped. "Damn it, you think I would have just left him? You want to know the damnedest thing? Sam was working on this tiny battery deal. Lasts a lifetime - well, she reckons around two hundred years. I think the idea of living another two hundred years without a purpose in life freaked out Harlan. He was always going from one crisis to the next, never had time to think about his life. This place was all he knew. We all went looking for them. Teal'c found Harlan. He'd gotten rid of the power pack. Just waited to die. Daniel ... wasn't around. We looked. He's out there, like Harlan..."

"What if he has Harlan's power pack?" Sam suggested while taking an unconscious step closer to her Daniel.

"Still would have run out a month ago. And how come he didn't come back?"

"I'm sorry," Daniel said, and, oddly, there was a trace of guilt on his face as though he had been responsible.

"Yeah. Well, I do need something from you, Daniel."

"The translation?"

"No."

"No, damn it!" Jack spat out, grabbing at Daniel's arm and hauling him away from the robot O'Neill.

Sam brought her weapon up reflexively, while Teal'c stepped forward, ready to respond to whatever threat Jack had detected.

"Sir?"

"I know what you want!" Jack growled. "No way in hell."

Daniel frowned, now truly confused. "Well, I wish someone would explain it to me. You want us to bring you back with us?"

"He wants another Daniel!"

"Wha -? Why? There's nothing to translate. Is there?"

"I miss him," the robot confessed, subdued.

"You do?" Daniel asked, touched and drawn to the sadness in the robot's eyes. No matter how synthetic this other Jack was, that emotion seemed real.

"We'll be going home now. Have a nice life."

"Jack, wait."

Jack swung round to face Daniel, trying to rein in his anger and impatience to be gone. "No, Daniel. Do you know what he wants to do? He wants to have a robot you to play Transformers with. Well, no way pal."

"What? Only you're allowed, is that it?"

"No. You don't have the right to go around creating copies of people like a damn Xerox!"

"I think this is my decision, Jack," Daniel protested.

"What! You're actually going to listen to this guy? And the other you you'd be making? He doesn't have a say in the matter? Jesus, Daniel..."

"Jack, I want to hear the reasons why I should do this. I'm capable of figuring out why I shouldn't."

Passionate outrage twisted Jack's face. "How can you even be considering this?"

"Because. You're asking me to."

"That thing is not me!" Jack said explosively.

By contrast, Daniel's voiced dropped, softened. "I need to do this, Jack. I need to ask questions."

A brief examination of Daniel's face told jack what he needed to know. "Fine. Go knock yourself out." Jack stomped off in a fury, looking for something to kick.

There was a discreet cough from the left. Daniel and robot O'Neill looked across to find Sam looking uncomfortable. "So… Where are Teal'c and me?"

*

"After we'd stopped searching for Daniel's body… It's pretty nasty out there. The last search we did, Sam and Teal'c had to haul me back here before I was too damaged to absorb power. The radiation and acid rain is bad enough but add the storms -"

"They're not dead too, are they?" Daniel asked, shooting a concerned look at his friends, as if discussing their robot counterparts demise was tempting fate.

"No. We took a lot of damage but the synthesizer and incubator fixed us up. Sam figured out a way of contacting the Nox, so she and Teal'c paid them a call and hopefully the Nox will let them talk to the Tollan. We don't want to stay here forever and I think Sam would like to talk to Nareem." He looked at Sam, who was listening, and smiled at the faint flush that pinked her cheeks. "You always did have a soft spot for that guy."

Before Sam could be further embarrassed, Daniel said, "The Tollan freed Skaara. They removed Klorel. Skaara's fine and back on Abydos."

Robot O'Neill smiled. "That's good news." His smile faded as he continued, "They haven't come back. To be honest, I wouldn't blame them if they stayed there and left me to rot. I've been an irritable son of a bitch."

"We came back from Tollana a month ago. They weren't there."

"Tollana?"

"The Tollan home world."

"Well, they only left a couple of weeks ago. It's been kind of quiet around here."

"Why are you still here? You could go anywhere."

Robot O'Neill grimaced as though in pain. "Alone?"

"This kind of thing happens, Jack. You lose people. You move on."

Sam shifted, a little uncomfortable with the tone of the conversation, then exchanged a look with Teal'c. "We'll just be over there, checking out the computers."

Robot O'Neill waited until they were out of earshot before he said, "Not if I can do something about it." He gave Daniel a searching look, gaze fiercely tender. "You know, you'd be a lot more sympathetic if it was someone else I'd lost. Why does it being you make it so hard to understand? Would you say that if it was Sam? Teal'c?"

"I have doctorates, Jack. I can help you with archaeology, anthropology, I can even be your linguist. But repairing things?"

"Why would that be the only reason? You think I - we just want you back on the team because of your skills?"

"It's nice that you're missing me on a personal level but people die. No matter what your bodies are made of you're still people. You can't cheat death forever. You eventually have to play by the rules."

"Oh yeah. You always play by the rules, don't you?" O'Neill leaned in closer, his voice barely above a whisper. "Tell me. If Jack died right now and there was a way of bringing him back, would you do it?"

"I - "

More stridently he repeated, "Daniel, would you do it? I know you'd do it. You used the sarcophagus on Sha're. You wouldn't do that for Jack?"

There was no hesitation. "Yes. But he'd be Jack. The Daniel you get will be me. Not the old Daniel. I - there's a lot of extra baggage with this model."

"I miss you."

"You lost your Daniel - whoa. This is weird." Eyebrows twitched, various emotions flashing across Daniel's face, too swift to pinpoint.

"Isn't it?" the robot agreed with a gentle smile, watching closely as Daniel collected himself.

"What I'm saying is you lost that Daniel. I'm a different person." His hands provided a sudden source of fascination, Daniel's head bowed so that the robot had to tilt his head and lean forward to peer into Daniel's face. "So much has happened."

"You ever find Sha're?" O'Neill asked gently.

Daniel's head lifted and he flinched when he registered how close robot O'Neill was. "She's dead."

Synthetic eyes close briefly, though the flash of regret in them looked human enough. "Ah. I'm sorry."

"It wouldn't be the Daniel you know. I've changed."

"You're still Daniel. I can overlook a few minor faults in the programming," O'Neill said with a crooked smile.

There was a loose floor tile at Daniel's feet and he toed it restlessly, shoving his hands into his pockets to still their restless flexing. His words were brutally frank, but his voice was filled with sympathy. "I can't do this just because you're lonely. I can't create a substitute Daniel just because you ask me to. We could take you to Tollana, they could-"

"Daniel, dammit, listen to what I'm saying to you. I miss you - him. I miss Daniel. I was in love with Daniel. I don't want to carry on without Daniel in my life. Can I spell it out any clearer?"

Daniel's entire body stilled. "What?"

"Yeah. Me and Daniel. In love."

"But -"

"I know. That whole married thing. We didn't have that any more. Really were starting fresh. I always was a little in love with you and I don't see how that would change no matter which Daniel it was."

"Oh. I don't know what to say."

"Like you were always a little in love with me."

"What! I uh-" Daniel looked around nervously, relieved to see both Sam and Teal'c were too far away to hear the discussion and Jack had disappeared.

"Come on, Daniel. I got to know that other you real well - and not just that way."

"Oh. Oh! You - that-"

"Well, you know. When a boy robot and a boy robot love each other very much…"

Daniel glared.

More seriously, the robot continued, "We talked a lot. 'fessed up to a few things. Are you going to deny you feel more than friendship for him? Well, for me any way. I don't know if you still feel that way about him. Maybe he became even more of a pain in the ass and you moved on."

"I really - I don't -" Daniel fumbled for the words to explain. "But to do this to - well, to myself, I guess. Make a substitute Daniel for you to, um, love. I'd be doing to him, to the other me, exactly what Harlan did."

"You were okay with it."

"Was I? I spent all that time lying on a table with my mouth taped shut, remember? I have no idea how that other Daniel felt."

"He found it fascinating," Jack said, face softened at the memory.

Daniel watched, fascinated by the play of emotion on the robot's face. "So he said. But he may have said that to reassure me."

"Would you?"

Daniel considered the question for a moment. "No. To someone else, perhaps. Not to myself. I'd have to be honest. I think. But how do I know how he'd feel? How would he feel about being a replacement for the Daniel you lost?"

"I would love him, Daniel. Try to imagine it."

"I can't. I get so far then I can't -"

"I want him back. I want my life back."

"I want to give you that. But only if it's what he wants - the replacement, the substitute we're talking about. Tell me, Jack. The Daniel you lost. Was he happy?"

"Yes, I made you - him - happy. You told me that you'd finally found a place you belonged. I want that back, Daniel. I want that happiness. I can make you happy again. Are you really happy now?" He moved in closer, his expression full of intense longing. "Maybe you and Jack haven't got the guts or the sense to grab what you can while you can, but I did. We did. I just want a second chance to have that again." He stepped closer, voice deepening with emotion as he whispered, "I promise I'll make you happy. With the new power pack the whole galaxy would be ours to discover, together."

The sudden sound of an alarm broke the mood. Sam and Teal'c ran over. "What's going on?" Sam snapped out, eyeing robot O'Neill warily.

Teal'c moved forward and stood beside Daniel, glaring pointedly at robot O'Neill until he took the hint and moved away from Daniel.

Robot O'Neill rolled his eyes. "What's happening is what I figured might happen. Your Jack decided to pay a visit to the synthesizer and incubation chamber and activated the forcefield. We'd better go switch off the alarm. He's going to be pissed at getting caught." Robot O'Neill sounded pleased at the thought.

*

Having established that Jack was fine, if indeed pissed at having been busted with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, SG-1 left the two O'Neills together.

"What were you planning to do? Blow it up so Daniel couldn't help me?" robot O'Neill asked, mockery in his voice. "Sorry the forcefield screwed with your plans."

Jack regarded him, his face very still, his gaze grim and promising a world of pain. "I know what this is about. What was going on between you and the other Daniel."

The robot shrugged. "The special ops death glare doesn't work on me by the way. As for you knowing? I knew it wouldn't take you long. I told Daniel. About how we feel about him."

"Dammit, you had no right," Jack spat out furiously.

"Oh, stow it. What? You won't let yourself have Daniel so no other O'Neill can? Look. I liked Daniel. He liked me. We got together. We were in love. Now, if that's a problem for you, tough. I don't give a damn. Now, I have a way of getting Daniel back. Can you honestly tell me you wouldn't do the same?"

"He won't be Daniel! He'll be a robot, just like you!"

"Just like me. Exactly."

"How can it be real? You don't have bodily excretions, right? You can't taste him. You can't feel his heartbeat."

"Every plus has a minus. You got a pulse, I got Daniel. I got to have Daniel's love for two years. We both have different lives, Jack - but we both have different needs. And I love Daniel." He gave Jack a speculative look. "That love didn't come from all this," he ndicated himself and complex around them. "It was already in place, just waiting for me to do something about it. And since I'm you -"

"You're not me."

"No? How about we let your Daniel decide."

"You just stay the hell away from him!" Jack said menacingly.

"Why? I'm the new improved model - with enhancements."

"Hey, that never needed enhancing!" Jack said with a scowl.

"I meant your mind - which is still stuck in that sewer. What are you afraid of? That I'm more Jack O'Neill than you are? That Daniel might prefer this Jack to you? Harlan made me better in oh so many ways…"

Jack grabbed the robot by the front of his jumpsuit, thrusting his face into the robot's cocky smiling visage. "I'll pull those goddamn wires out your throat if you try anything with him!"

"Face it. You want him. I know you wanted him years ago and that kind of thing doesn't change so easily."

"He's my friend."

"That's what I used to tell myself. And he could be so much more. You're just too afraid to try. And now that Sha're is dead you're running out of excuses."

"It's against regulations." Jack's grip relaxed a fraction, the impossibility of the situation with Daniel hitting him anew.

"Oh yeah. And you were always so careful about those, weren't you. You've got to accept it - you're a coward. Maybe I should put a move on Daniel, show him what he's missing."

Jack gave a guttural roar and launched his fist at the robot's face. The robot barely moved beneath the impact and gave Jack a pitying look as Jack clutched his hand. "Dammit!"

"Hey, here's a saying for you - try love not war. You'll find it less painful."

"Not always," Jack mumbled around his wet knuckles as he sucked them to ease the pain.

"That's a risk you just have to accept."

"Jack?"

Both Jacks looked up to find Daniel in the doorway, a strained look on his face.

"I'd like to stay here for the night. Think things over. Sam said she'd like to look over the technology. Teal'c said he'd stay with her."

Jack looked reluctant and he shot a resentful look at his robot double. "One night. I'll be on watch. I don't trust this guy." Narrowed eyes bore into the robot.

The robot chose to ignore Jack. "There are proper bedrooms with actual beds on the lower level. You should be comfortable there. I'll take you there now so you can settle in for the night." The robot hesitated a moment then said gently to Daniel, "I've sprung a lot on you, I know. Whatever decision you make, I'll respect it."

Daniel opened his mouth to reply but closed it abruptly when human Jack tugged him away.

"First we have an overdue check in to take care of."

*

The steady hum of machinery was almost soothing. Jack had checked on the robot O'Neill at 0200 and found him lying on a slab like a corpse laid out for an autopsy. Freaked, Jack had made his way back to the bedrooms allocated. The beds looked comfortable but he had yet to try out his and wasn't planning on doing so. His current position, propped up outside Daniel's room with his MP5 resting on his thighs while his butt grew numb from the metal grating it rested upon, wasn't exactly comfortable, but he'd experienced worse.

Jack knew the robot O'Neill, if it was indeed a copy of his own consciousness, would never hurt Daniel. What he also knew, and it was something he had no intention of revealing to anyone, was that if he had lost Daniel to some accident and was living alone, and likely to be alone for the next few thousand years, he would be doing exactly what the robot him was doing. And if he was being brutally honest with himself, if the robot didn't try to sneak in to see Daniel and persuade him while human Jack was sleeping, then he truly was a 'better' man that Jack. Because Jack would be pleading with Daniel and using whatever emotional blackmail he had in his arsenal to get Daniel to agree.

A noise to his left had him rising to his feet, swiftly and silently albeit not as smoothly as in his special ops days. The impressive bulk of Teal'c moved into view, low light levels bleaching his face, casting it in purple shadows. With enviable grace, Teal'c lowered himself beside his friend, face set forward.

"You keep watch, O'Neill. You fear an attempt to sway Daniel Jackson or a forced submission to your robot double's demands?"

The sigh in response was soft but heartfelt. "I can only go on what I'd do, T. If there was a way to get Daniel back…" He looked across at Teal'c until the other man turned his head to meet his gaze. "You know that the robot…me and robot Daniel were, um, playing with each other's hard drive if you know what I mean?"

Teal'c's lips curved into a rich smile. "You are hardly subtle. I understand that they were lovers. I also understand that this is something that had its roots from an earlier time." Teal'c's smile gentled. "You should go to Daniel Jackson."

Jack closed his mouth abruptly with a sharp click of teeth. As surprise faded, he pointed out, "Well that's not happening tonight. I still don't know what the son of a bitch me is going to do."

Teal'c rose to his feet effortlessly. "There is but one way to enter this section of the complex. Major Carter spent the past three hours ensuring your privacy. I have now begun my watch, O'Neill. Rest assured no harm will come to either yourself or Daniel Jackson." He placed a hand on Jack's shoulder, fingers clenching briefly into the fabric of the crumpled green shirt. "Be at ease, my friend, and be assured that your Daniel Jackson is indeed yours, and that no other O'Neill can compare."

*

Jack entered the bedroom, soft-footed, and quietly stripped off. As he slid into the bed occupied by the sleeping Daniel he told himself it was to keep his friend safe. He told himself the bed was so big it could easily accommodate two adult men without there being physical contact. He told himself the things he had learned today would have no impact on this new day, and it would be the same as any other occasion he had shared sleeping accommodation with Daniel off world.

Daniel stirred at his presence and awoke. As he focused on Jack, Daniel's eyes told him everything had changed.

"It's me," Jack whispered, feeling a little ridiculous. "You know. Real Jack."

"I know. You smell right," Daniel whispered back. And darted a swift tongue across Jack's throat. "Taste right, too."

Jack had wondered if they would talk about things. Daniel liked to talk, to analyze and hypothesize.

Daniel was naked. It all happened so easily that, for a moment, Jack wondered if he was lost in fantasy. Daniel simply slid over Jack, propped his arms either side of him, and kissed him.

Jack tugged Daniel down fully, feeling the weight of Daniel pushing him into the mattress. He could feel the ridges of ribs and the contrasting softness of Daniel's abdomen pressed against his chest and belly. Jack's shorts were tugged down clumsily, fabric clinging where it wasn't wanted until it was close to being torn in frustration, just enough to allow his erection to slid against Daniel's hardening length. Jack's hands slid round Daniel, cupping the curved, firm ass and tugging him down, closer, tighter against him. He thrust up, grinding their erections together, no thought of taking things slow, just animal instinct driving him to savour this moment with Daniel, to answer desire with desire. His thrusts grew wilder, one hand moving from Daniel's ass to rest on his bucking hips, steadying him as he rolled them over so that Daniel lay, panting, beneath him. He took Daniel's hard prick in an ungentle hand, firm demanding strokes dragging an orgasm out of Daniel. Daniel bucked helplessly as Jack continued with slower gentler strokes, Daniel's hips snapping up automatically even though he was spent, the last echoes of pleasure pulled from him. Jack pushed down, smearing his erection in the slick heat of Daniel's semen-covered groin and belly, grinding against him as though trying to absorb Daniel's essence.

Daniel grasped the rocking hips above him, steadying Jack as Jack humped frantically against Daniel, trying to come, trying to claim, as close as was possible without actual penetration.

Jack choked out some incoherent sound that was part demand, part declaration. He gave a sob, then he was coming, his climax a fierce and wild thing that left him drained and slumped against Daniel.

Daniel soothed and petted him and Jack hid his face against Daniel's shoulder, feeling unmanned by what was happening. He whispered, "My Daniel," and clutched the other man to him, fingers clenched into soft flesh, blessed warm flesh and bone and blood that flushed skin, and his grip was hard enough to bruise. Exhaustion finally sent him tumbling into a peaceful sleep.

*

"Did you try to convince him not to help me?"

Jack looked up briefly from checking his MP5. "That's none of your business."

"So you did." The robot's gaze sharpened as he picked up on something different about Jack. He gave a sudden bark of laughter. "You had sex with Daniel."

Jack was torn between bristling with outrage and looking smug. He thought he was too old to blush so he put the sudden heat on his face down to bad air conditioning.

The robot's laughter eventually died but a smile lingered on his face as he regarded the other Jack. "You're going to find this hard to believe but I'm actually happy for you. Smartest thing you've ever done."

"Actually, I believe you mean that. You'd want Daniel to be happy, me being happy is just a by-product."

"There is that", the robot admitted then shook his head. "No, I'm honestly happy for you."

He seemed about to say something more when an alarm sounded, blasting from the main chamber. Both Jacks exchanged a look.

"Is that-?"

"Security alert we installed in case of visits from the Goa'uld. An unauthorized person has entered the complex." Robot O'Neill pressed a button on a wrist control and the alarm stopped abruptly. In the sudden silence they heard Daniel yell "Jack!"

They both started running.

*

The first new arrival they saw was the robot Sam. She was smiling uncertainly, instinctively moving closer to Teal'c when she saw human members of SG-1 staring at her. "What the- Jack?" She glanced around until she spotted the robot O'Neill sprinting into the room. "What's going on?"

Behind Sam, the familiar sight of Nareem stepped forward between the protective wall formed by robots Sam and Teal'c. A fourth person in Tollan clothes stepped forward, leaning on Teal'c for support.

Robot O'Neill didn't answer. His eyes were on the fourth person, the beloved face scarred, showing the metal beneath the synthetic skin. There was a pathetic sound, something that sounded close to a whimper, then robot O'Neill was rushing forwards to pull robot Daniel into his arms.

Jack watched his counterpart having an emotional breakdown on the ramp and had to look away. He wandered over to others in the group, smiling at Nareem in greeting and nodding at the robot versions of Teal'c and Sam. "So. Anyone want to tell me what the hell is going on?"

Nareem finished greeting Major Carter, his eyes still warm from their exchange as he met Jack's questioning look. "It is good to see you all. I…trust you are in fact human?"

"Yep. The real deal. All organic. So what's going on? I thought the robot Daniel was…dead. Ceased to function. Whatever." He saw robot Sam wince and grimaced. "Sorry."

"Samantha contacted the Nox and both she and Teal'c came to Tollana, asking for our help. When we discovered that their friend Daniel was lost somewhere on this planet we came by ship to search for him. We located him some considerable distance away, outside of the range of the power source. We were able to restore his power. Unfortunately, his physical body has suffered considerably due to the severe elements of this planet. We do not have the technology to repair him, certainly not on the ship though perhaps in Tollana… But no matter. Samantha informs me that they have a device that will do the repairs necessary to restore their friend to his previous condition."

Jack blinked. "And you're okay with all this?"

"I am sorry, I do not understand?"

"They're robots."

"Yes. That contain the essence of your team. Samantha feels that her friends will be prepared to return with us to Tollana, where they will be most welcome."

Jack gave a cynical smile. "All that sweet technology must be a point in their favor."

Nareem frowned, a faint smile that was not a smile on his face. "I won't pretend the technology will not prove fascinating to our scientists, but the reason I insisted I be the one to return here is because these are copies of your team. We owe a debt of gratitude to SG-1, especially Daniel Jackson." He glanced across and watched robot Sam chattering to her human counterpart and his eyes warmed. "You know I have always held Samantha Carter in high esteem. Whatever her physical body may be, her spirit is that of the human Samantha Carter. I could never stand by and do nothing while she required aid."

Jack pulled a face that could possibly be interpreted as a grimace of apology then patted Nareem on the arm. "For what it's worth, I'm glad you got the Daniel robot back." He left Nareem and wandered over to the human Daniel, who was watching his robot self being kissed by his lover. Daniel's face was drained of color and Jack stepped towards him a little bit faster.

"You okay?"

Daniel frowned, horror on his face. "Jack, I was going to say yes. I was going to do it. What if I had? I'd have doomed a version of me to playing wallflower while those two…" he indicated the canoodling robots and seemed unable to continue.

"Nah, my robot would have suggested a threesome," Jack said casually then could have bitten his tongue off.

There was a muffled snort from Daniel. "Thanks for that image, Jack. It still would have been a huge mistake."

Jack regarded the robots for a moment then said softly, "I wouldn't let him be left alone."

Daniel looked at him, eyes questioning, though the tentative smile waiting to happen seemed to indicate he had some idea of what Jack was saying. Just to make things crystal clear, Jack elaborated, "The new robot you. If you'd gone ahead and let him be made, then the other Daniel and shown up, I'd have made a robot me. Hell, I'd have insisted they make another me." He gave a snort of laughter, embarrassed at his sudden emotion, at the way his throat felt like it was closing up, and the way Daniel was staring at him as if he was something incredible. "Robot O'Neill over there would hate that, but I'd have made sure we didn't leave another you alone. The new robot me would take care of him."

They both looked across at robot O'Neill, who was guiding his lover in the direction of the synthesizer, presumably to begin repairs. They pictured his reaction to another robot O'Neill invading his territory. Robot O'Neill's confused look at their loud laughter made the picture all the sweeter.
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