Summary: Letters written and never sent, from one team member to the others.
Word count: 1,352 words
Characters: Mini!Jack, SG-1 classic team
Era: Classic team, post-Daniel's return
Categories: Future-fic, canon compliant, mini!Jack, angst
Author's notes: Post-“Fragile Balance” fic; spoilers for that, but not much else. Brief reference to non-canon, non-team romance.
Q is for Quitting
These documents were written in a notebook and secreted behind a file cabinet in the home of the missing man. Dates are not reliable, since the only ones we have come from the documents themselves, but the style of notebook supports a starting date around 2004. The only evidence remaining in our file are copies, which were accidentally left behind when the scene was taken over and the rest of the evidence confiscated by the Air Force, without explanation.
How long did you think it would be before you heard from me? I bet you hoped you never would. I can't blame you for that, I guess; nothing like an exact copy of yourself to make those old knees feel stiffer, those eyes dimmer, to make your whole existence a feel little more meaningless.
You could've let me take some of my CDs, you know. Any idea what kind of looks I get as a 16-year-old, buying operas in the record store? Let's just say I've started doing it on the sly; it wasn't doing much for my reputation with the ladies or as a badass. But no, you got to keep it all; the most I got to keep was our first name.
If I sound grumpy, well, let's see, why would that be? You told me that if I ever needed anything, I should get in touch with you. That worked just peachy last week—not only is my clearance revoked, which I expected, but no one will take my calls or put me through to anyone in the command structure.
Now, for all I know, you're dead or lost on an uncharted planet. Don't sneer; we both know how hard it is to forget that itch. You're never gonna want to stop, even though everyone else will do their damnedest not to let you through the Gate.
But I think you're ignoring me on purpose. Maybe I should just show up at the mountain one of these days, see where that gets me. Annoying you for a day might be worth a night in the stockade.
Getting a chance to do it all over again isn't all it's cracked up to be. Not that we both didn't know that when I told you I was going to try.
Underneath this, in a forceful scrawl:
Dammit, I can't send this.
After this, there is what looks like a grocery list, followed by several pages torn out.
Teal'c, it's not like you're ever going to see this, so I'm just gonna ask.
What was it like? Leaving your whole life and trying to start a new one with people you didn't know on a totally new world? I guess it's not quite the same thing. After all, you weren't a copy. You could hold onto who you were, knowing that you had made that choice on purpose—maybe not knowing what it would be like, but trusting that it was the right thing to do.
I admire that. How steady you are in yourself. Great for a soldier; better for a man and a father.
What did you miss most? Drey'auc? Your son? The food? (I'm still not old enough to buy beer. It sucks like you would not believe.) Did you miss the power you had? You never showed me and Hammond anything but respect, so....
Hey, thanks for that, by the way.
What's that you say? I should try respecting the people in my new life?
Marcia the checkout clerk. Amalie the prettiest girl in class (and way too young for me, hormones be damned). My landlord, who I'm sure is a spy for you guys. The teachers, who all hate me (just like last time I was this age).
That's a tall order, T.
Maybe I'll try kel'no'reeming instead.
This letter is unsigned. The handwriting on the page that follows is sloppy, staggering. The paper is stained with liquid of some kind.
I'm drunk right now. Yes, I had someone buy it for me; no, I don't give a crap. Guess I've lost my tolerance, or my body is smaller or something, because two beers never got me drunk in my life.
Miss me? I'm guessing not, since I haven't heard from any of you, including “the original,” since he dropped me off at the high school. Anyway, you've got him; I'd be too much of a good thing.
I miss you. I miss Sam. Don't tell her I said that. I mean, she's probably married some nice guy by now, or she's about to be promoted to lieutenant colonel (actually, probably both, and the ceremonies will be back to back). I miss Teal'c's stupid hat.
I'm angry you let me go like that. It's not like I decided to quit. Why should being a clone change anything? That's not fair, I know. It was weird talking to robot SG-1. It's got to be like that, except if you sliced me open, I'd just bleed blood instead of machine oil.
If you're ever in town, stop by the local diner. I'm a sous chef there now. Can you imagine? Getting bossed around by the most obnoxious, officious man I've met—which, after the SG program, is saying something.
This pretty 40-something waitress keeps wanting to take me under her wing. It'd be cute if she wasn't completely my type. She's just trying to be nice and I keep avoiding her like it's creepy.
You'll be glad to hear I'm doing well in school. Not like you did, I'm sure, but history and science are way more interesting this time around. I never realized how boring most people's lives are. I used to think I'd give anything for that; for a quiet retirement in the suburbs with Sara and Charlie. Maybe I'm not the kind of person who can do that well.
Don't think I'm doing this well.
I keep not sending letters to you guys. They'd just be confiscated. And they're not censored enough for the Post Office. Maybe I'll send this one, though. Just as a reminder.
Three years ago today.
More pages are torn out here. The last document is precisely written, although clearly a rough draft; words and phrases are crossed out and rewritten.
June 23, 2011
That's the last rank I know you had, so please forgive me if you've become a brigadier general since the last time I saw you. I would expect nothing less.
I think I've found something that makes this little life worth living. I could write this to Daniel or Teal'c, but I sometimes imagine that you think of me and wish me well, and would like to know that I've found a purpose or some peace.
I don't have those yet. Maybe that's normal for a mid-50s general in the body of a 22-year-old.
But I think I've found family. Her name's Annette and she's 32; she loves classical music and was a military brat. I think she assumes my bad dreams (I kept those, yep) are PTSD from some horribly traumatic childhood; I'm not sure how long I can let her go on thinking that, but I'm not going to put my life on hold because I used to be someone else.
I'm still Jonathan O'Neill. That just means something different than it used to.
Let me know if you ever manage to convince the government to declassify the Stargate; it would make my life a lot easier in the future.
And if you ever need me—if the original bows out or something—give me a call. I might not come, but you know, I still miss it sometimes.
Have a great life; enjoy every moment you can. It's not easy, but it's the only way to go.
All the best,
Jonathan O'Neill has now been missing for roughly two months. No trace has been found and no sightings reported within the state. The possible victim's girlfriend maintains that he would not have left on his own, so the case will remain open for now. If the Air Force knows more, they're not telling us.