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Title: "Moment of truth"
Author: Dhae Knight
Word Count:
Pairing or Featured Characters: Jack/Daniel
Rating: PG
Warnings and/or Spoilers:
Entire series, plus movies. Multiple character deaths.
Author's Notes:
This was written in an effort to write a happy death-fic. I sincerely hope it works a
The end is coming for two old heroes, but Jack has one last thing he has to do.

Moment of truth

It was the last one he had to do. The last time he'd have to sit beside a death-bed. Even with that comfort, it wasn't pleasant by a long shot. It had to be done, though, so even if they had him hooked up to oxygen-tanks, and even if they had to wheel him in in a wheelchair, Jack was going to be there. For the last time.


Daniel was looking surprisingly good for a dying man. He'd lost all of his hair in his 60's, but Jack had had more than 20 years to get used to the Yul Brynner-look. His eyes were sunken and pale, and his lips had a faint blue tinge, but that aside his color was good and even though he sometimes seemed very distant, most of the time he was alert; his mind as quick as ever.

"Hey Daniel," Jack said, glancing at the nurses who hastily retreated. Once they were gone, he took Daniel's hand. Wouldn't do to give them ideas. "How are you?"

"Dying, Jack, how are you?"

Ahh... it was always good to bask in Daniel's dry sarcasm. Jack was going to miss that.

"Oh, same old, same old. And I'm 95, you know. I don't think I've got the bulk of life ahead of me here..."

Daniel laughed, but it changed into a nasty bough of coughing, interspersed with desperate breathing. Once he had it under control again, he leaned back, exhaling cautiously.

"So... what brings you here?"

"Oh, you know. Dying friend, stuff like that."

Daniel smiled.

"All this way, just to say goodbye. I'm touched, Jack."

"Yeah, not just. I went to Teal'c and Carter, too."

"And Hammond. I know."

"See... the thing is..." Jack fidgeted for a moment, then blurted it out: "You can't ascend."

"What? Why?"

"Because it's not the right thing to do." Before Daniel could turn his annoyed look into words, Jack raised his hand. "I know, I know. That's why I had to hang on long enough to be here, now. You've been ascended. You think it's the right thing to do."

"It's where we're going to end, Jack. It's the final stage of our evolution!"

The same passion and fire. All these years, and that was still the core of Daniel's personality.

"No, Daniel, it's not."

"What?" Completely confused, now, and it was an effort for Jack to keep his smile hidden. Blindsiding Daniel had always been such a thrill.

"The Ancient's didn't evolve, Daniel, they escaped. Into an evolutionary niche." Another hand, raised preemptively to keep Daniel from interrupting. "You were always the one who said I wasn't stupid, and I don't have a lot of time to be creative and let you figure it out for yourself, do I?"

Daniel shook his head mutely.

"Good. The Ancients stopped evolving. The Asgard don't evolve, either. They're almost as stagnant as the Ancients. The Nox... well they're not hopeless. They evolve, but slowly. The only ones who got it in time, and who lived by it, are the Furlings."

"What? Jack, we never met the Furlings!"

"No, we didn't. And then again. We worked with two of them at the SGC."

"Jack - and I mean this in the nicest possible way - you've lost it."

"Shut up Daniel, and listen! The Furlings figured out, long ago, that if you refused death, you stopped evolving. It happened to the Ancients and the Asgard. The Nox developed techniques that allow them to live for centuries, which has slowed their evolution by... a lot. Now, we don't notice this, because they're so far ahead of us, but the Asgard will never be able to evolve their way out of the dead end they're in. The Goa'uld suffered the same problem, to some extent, as did the Tok'ra."

"Okay, look. I don't understand a word you're saying Jack, but if I ascend, I keep living. I still have the chance to do something."

"No you don't. And even if you did... Daniel, I don't want you to ascend."

"Why not!" Desperation prodded at him, made him reveal what he normally never would have.

"Because I don't want to live the next few hundred lives without you!"

"What? What!?"

"Uh... forget I said that, Daniel."

"No chance! When the hell did you start believing in reincarnation?"

Jack fidgeted as much as he could in his wheel-chair.

"Oh... about 22 years ago, give or take."

"Twenty... Jack, that was around the time Hammond died!"

Way back when, Jack would have gotten up and paced. That option closed to him, he'd have stood 'at ease'. That was what he tried to do now, in his chair, rigid and still.

"After I found out about Hammond's cancer, I got a call from Siler."

"Siler the..." Oh, how he'd missed that elaborate handwave that arthritis had never killed entirely. "That Siler?"

"The one and only. I went up to see him in Wisconsin. He... showed me things. Things that made me believe him when he told me he was an alien. Told me his was a Furling."

Stunned silence, but although Daniel was old, his brain hadn't slowed perceptively.

"Jack, that's ridiculous! Siler was around during that first mission to Chulak. He can't have come through the gate!"

"He didn't"

"So... what? There's a ship out there?"

"No. Siler was born on Earth. His people - the Furlings - came through the gate. Back when the Ancients were still around. Some of them hung around when the Ancients went away."

"But... but... the physicals?"

"Apparently, the Furlings are shape-shifters. They can change form - not easily, but just enough to be useful. With their technology, they can do even better. They can change right down to the DNA. They've never been discovered because there's nothing to discover. Every test will tell you they're human, because they are. The only difference you'd find - if they let you - is a minor anomaly in their brain-waves. And only if they're conscious and not trying to hide it."

"Jack... what you're saying... it sounds crazy."

"I know. But it's true."

"And... this Furling told you that...?"

Jack sighed and closed his eyes briefly, rubbing at them with a tired hand.

"In dying and being reborn we allow our physical bodies and our minds to evolve. And the 'being reborn'-bit is apparently important. It allows us to learn all over again, every time around."


"I know, I know. Can you just..." He trailed off, and when he spoke again, it was so quiet it was almost as if he'd rather not be heard. "Do you still trust me with your life, Daniel?"

It was flattering that Daniel responded almost instantly. "Of course I do, Jack!"

Brown eyes, paler now, met blue eyes and held. "Then trust me now, Daniel. Please!"

Daniel sighed, coughed slightly, then leaned back, his hand seeking out Jack's.

"So you think we'll meet again?"

Jack grinned, his usual cocky grin. Older, but no more wise. "Of course we will. Carter, Teal'c and Hammond, too."

"And what will we do," Daniel asked, tightening his hand around Jack's meaningfully.

Jack relaxed, his final battle already won. "Oh... I think we'll figure something out next time around."

"Like some of the things we never talked about this time?"

Jack's smile was gentle. "Oh, I think that's a safe bet."

"I'll look forward to that, then," Daniel said and closed his eyes. For a moment, Jack thought that was it, but Daniel was always more resilient than you'd give him credit for. "I'll tell you one thing,though. I'm not looking forward to being 16 again."

They laughed and talked and laughed again, touching freely, as if there had never been laws and customs holding all that affection in its straightjacket.

Eventually, they both fell asleep. Daniel in his bed, Jack slumped over the bed from his wheel-chair.


The next morning, that was how the nurses found them. Small, happy smiles still on their cold faces, and underneath Jack's body, their hands still intertwined.

"This was a happy end," one of the nurses commented.

If Jack and Daniel could've heard her, they would have laughed. Because she was wrong.

The end.

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