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Fanfiction: Five Minutes

Fandom: Stargate SG1
In an alternate timeline, Jack considers how much difference five minutes made to his life.
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: Gen but if you want to see ship, feel free :) Spoilers for Continuum and SG1 including S10. Missing scene for Continuum. 
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.

Five Minutes

Colonel Jack O’Neill stormed down the corridor of the submarine and away from the ward room with the three strangers who had all looked back at him with an eerie knowing familiarity. He gave a brief report to the skipper and headed for the quarters he’d been assigned to write up the events of the past few hours in more depth for his superiors. They could determine what they wanted to do with the freaks they’d found.

Alternate timelines.

Energy vortexes and wormholes.

Travelling to other planets.

Who the hell would believe all that crap?

Jack opened the small laptop and began to type. It took moments to outline the search they had performed; how he had found Mitchell and…his fingers paused over the keyboard.

He hadn’t asked the woman’s name and she hadn’t given it. Damn. She looked like Mission Commander Samantha Carter but she had said she wasn’t an astronaut. Maybe it was just a coincidence that she looked like her. Either way he’d have to go back and confirm it.


He tapped his fingers restlessly before completing the rest of the report swiftly. He tried not to think too much as he detailed Jackson’s claim…

Eleven years ago your son accidentally shot himself with a loaded nine millimetre he found in your closet.’

He pushed the thought out of his head and completed the rest of the report. He read back through it. They’d searched; they’d found; the three strangers were strange. End of story.

Eleven years ago your son accidentally shot himself with a loaded nine millimetre he found in your closet.’

Jack pulled out the photo of Charlie he had in his pocket. A blonde haired, brown-eyed young man smiled back at him. They’d had some tough years after Sara had died from an incurable cancer but they’d come through them. Charlie wanted to be a doctor; he was at medical school, doing well. Sara would have been proud of him, Jack knew he was.

Eleven years ago your son accidentally shot himself with a loaded nine millimetre he found in your closet.’

A memory stirred; long buried in the recesses of Jack’s mind, and it pushed its way forward relentlessly.

A summer’s day.

The sky was a brilliant blue and the sun shining. Sara sat out on the steps of their house. He had been home between missions and had managed to leave the base early. They had kissed and hugged. Sara had shown him a drawing Charlie had drawn at school…

Where is Charlie anyway?’ Jack asked, looking around and catching sight of the abandoned bike on the lawn.

Inside, I think.’ Sara said absently. She got to her feet. ‘I’d better make a start on dinner.’

I think I’ll find Charlie; play some catch.’ Jack followed her. They separated in the hallway, Jack heading up the stairs. He passed Charlie’s empty room and frowned, a strange instinct uncurling in his gut. He pushed open the door to the master bedroom.

Charlie spun around; Jack’s gun was in his hand.

Jack’s eyes widened with horror. ‘Charlie,’ his heart was in his throat, ‘put the gun down on the bed.’ He kept still. He couldn’t remember if he’d loaded it but he could see the safety was off and if he had there was a fair chance Charlie would either shoot himself or Jack accidentally.

Charlie looked as terrified as he felt.

Do as I say, Charlie.’ Jack repeated forcefully. ‘Put it down now.’

His son swallowed hard but slowly placed the gun on the coverlet. As soon as Charlie relinquished it, Jack crossed the room in a couple of strides. He grabbed Charlie’s shoulders roughly.

What the hell were you thinking?’ Jack said with furious relief.

I was trying to find the water gun.’ Charlie stuttered out. His brown eyes were glistening with contrite tears.

Jack looked at him blankly before the memory of the toy he’d confiscated a couple of days before came shooting back to him.

Don’t you ever pick up my gun again.’ Jack ordered. ‘You understand?’

Charlie nodded. He wrenched himself out of Jack’s bruising grip and ran from the room. Jack heard Charlie’s bedroom door slam shut. He knew he should go after him, apologise for yelling, for holding him so hard but…he felt shaky. Jack sat down heavily on the bed and picked up the gun.

Jack?’ Sara entered with a confused frown. ‘What’s going…’ she stopped at the sight of the gun in his hand. ‘Jack?’

I found him in here with it.’ Jack admitted, not looking at her.

Damn it, Jack.’ Sara snapped angrily. ‘I’ve told you before about locking it away. You know how I…’

I know.’ Jack cut her off. His hard brown eyes met hers. ‘I’ll take care of it.’

Sara’s jaw tensed as though she wanted to say more but was holding back. She gave him a cursory nod and turned on her heel. He could hear her knocking softly on Charlie’s door, asking Charlie to let her in.

Jack’s hand was shaking as he unloaded the weapon. He had a strange feeling he had literally dodged a bullet.

Jack stared sightlessly at the monitor.

Eleven years ago your son accidentally shot himself with a loaded nine millimetre he found in your closet.’

Five minutes.

If he had arrived home five minutes later; would Charlie have shot himself? Would it have been fatal? Jackson hadn’t been that explicit but the way Carter – whoever she was – had ducked her head…a shiver ran through him.

No. It couldn’t have been fatal. If it had been fatal he would have never survived it; he would have eaten a bullet himself. He was sure of it. He was certain he wouldn’t have been travelling to other planets through a Stargate – whatever the hell that was.

Obviously some things are different in this timeline.’

No kidding.

He frowned as he realised that somewhere in writing his report he had started to believe them. He shook himself briskly. So they’d made a lucky guess. He was a military man; he had guns; it was a guess that his son might have picked one up once…only how did they know he had a son? He rubbed a hand over his face. He didn’t care. They weren’t his problem.

Jack saved his work and got to his feet. The woman’s name and he was done. Out of it. They could babble to whoever else they wanted about timelines and wormholes. He yanked open the door and strode purposefully back to the ward room. He almost bumped into her as she stepped out of the head he was so focused on getting there.

‘Woah.’ He grabbed her to steady their balance.

She took a step away from him and rubbed her arms. Her blonde hair was loose around her shoulders, her face was pale, and he caught a glimpse of red-rimmed eyes before she ducked her head.

Jack cleared his throat. ‘I need your name.’ He made an impatient gesture. ‘For my report.’

She gave a grim smile, her blue eyes flashing at him. ‘I thought you recognised me.’

‘As you said,’ Jack said mockingly, ‘obviously some things are different in this timeline.’

Pain zig-zagged across her face at his harsh words and Jack felt like a complete heel - the lowest of the low; he shoved the feeling away. ‘You did say you weren’t an astronaut.’ He pointed out evenly.

For a second he thought she wasn’t going to answer him.

‘Colonel Samantha Carter.’ She took a deep breath and looked at him. ‘Is that…’

‘Who I thought you were?’ Jack nodded. It was a shame she wasn’t the same Samantha Carter he had thought she was when he’d met her back on the ice. At that moment, she had been nothing more than an attractive, fascinating woman, one he might not have minded knowing better. He gave her another brisk nod and made to turn away.


The urgency in her voice stopped him and he turned back, scowling inquisitively.

‘I just…’ Sam looked down as though gathering her courage before she met his eyes again. ‘About before…’ she sighed, ‘we shouldn’t have brought Charlie into it and we’re sorry about that.’

Jack didn’t know how to reply to the sincere apology; he was too disconcerted at the knowing look in her eyes at why he’d been so angry at them.

‘We’re really pleased for you. About Charlie, I mean.’ Sam smiled sadly. ‘The Jack we knew would have given anything…’ her voice seemed to fail her and she looked away hurriedly. She took a step back towards the ward room.

‘Five minutes.’ Jack bit out unwillingly.

Sam looked at him quizzically.

He shoved his hands in his pockets and checked the young guy on guard duty; he was studiously ignoring them. Jack cleared his throat and lowered his voice. ‘Eleven years ago, I arrived home and found Charlie in my bedroom. He’d found my gun in a closet.’ His brown eyes held hers even though he was unsure why he was explaining it to her. ‘If I’d been five minutes later...’ he shrugged.

Sam’s eyes softened on his.

‘Look, I still think your story is way out…’ Jack pulled a hand out of a pocket and waved it vaguely in the air. ‘But before, I might have, maybe, said some things when I was angry…’

‘Like I said, we understand.’ Sam murmured with a smile.

‘Yeah, well…’ he had no idea what to say to her. In less than an hour, she and the two men with her would stop being his problem and he couldn’t deny he was relieved about that. There was a large part of him that just wanted to forget the last few hours had ever happened as if on some deep level he knew his comment in the ward room was truer than he had ever imagined; that he didn’t have to understand what they wanted to explain, didn’t want to because it was better that he didn’t.

Sam took a breath and her eyes ran over him as though she was committing him to memory. She looked at him sadly. ‘Goodbye, Colonel.’

Jack didn’t stop her when she walked away again. He watched as the door to the ward room closed with a dull finality.

Obviously some things are different in this timeline.’

Thank God for that, Jack thought quietly as he walked away to finish his report; thank God for the five minutes that made his timeline, his timeline and not theirs.





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