AN: And here's the final chapter; hope you all like it
As he felt himself leave wherever he'd been and return to his body, Daniel winced at the renewed sensation of pain throughout; he'd never returned directly to a damaged body after spending time without one.
Still, the fact that he felt pain at least confirmed that he was alive; he might not have directly experienced the afterlife before, but he was fairly sure he hadn't done enough over the years to merit going straight
to the bad place when he finally died for good (Even if he'd probably need to answer for some of things he'd done at some point…). Slowly sitting up, Daniel winched slightly as he took in the sight of the body lying where Voldemort had been standing earlier; judging by the burn marks around the body, along with the sparkling magical residue around the more exposed injuries.
!" at least two different voices yelled before Daniel felt someone land on the ground beside him. Looking in the direction of the sound, he saw Hermione and Sam crouching on either side of him, his closest female friends looking anxiously at him as he blinked his eyes open.
"Are you all right?" Hermione asked. "The backlash of that blast-"
"Was nothing," Daniel said, smiling weakly at his friends as he sat up, trying to sound more confident than he felt; he wasn't ready to talk about his vision just yet, even if he ever would be. "I've taken worse…"
His voice trailed off as he realised that there was a sudden increase in silence despite the battle that should have still been raging around them. Looking up, he took in the sight of his assorted friends, both past and present, gathered around the outskirts of Hogwarts and the shattered remnants of Voldemort's ship, staring in surprise as their Death Eater adversaries all fell to the ground, clutching their arms in obvious agony before they all went silent, lying still on the ground.
"What happened to them?" Fred asked, looking incredulously at the fallen Death Eaters as SG-1 and SG-M gathered around Daniel. "I mean, they all just… keeled over when Voldemort went down…"
"Goa'uld ego combined with dark magic," Daniel said grimly, as he got back to his feet and looked at the nearest fallen Death Eater, his eyes focusing on a burn on the sleeve around their left arms. "The Dark Marks already gave Voldemort a strong connection to his Death Eaters; I wouldn't be surprised if he deliberately tied the Dark Mark in with his own life essence when he brought them back together this time around."
"You mean… he deliberately tied the Death Eaters to him via that… tattoo… so that if he died, they'd all
die?" Sam said, looking at Daniel incredulously.
"I am sure that there are many Goa'uld who would seek to ensure such a thing if they knew how to achieve it," Teal'c said grimly.
"It's not that much of a stretch, either," George noted. "I mean, if Hermione can do an enchantment that causes someone to break out into boils if they break their word when all they've done is sign a parchment, Voldy could easily take it to the next level and do something that would make these sods die if he snuffed it."
Daniel allowed himself a slight grin at George's nickname for Voldemort; after so many years feeling like he was the only one who was willing to use Voldemort's name, it was refreshing to hear other people doing it.
"Well, at least we don't have to worry about trials now," Hemione said, smiling slightly as she studied the fallen Death Eaters. "I was not
looking forward to having to find incorruptible jurors for that one…"
"Quite," Tonks said grimly, the solemn expression on the face of the usually smiling woman reinforcing just how dire things had been back then better than almost anything else could have.
"So… it's over?" Mitchell asked, looking at the fallen Death Eaters with a slight smile. "Always nice when the bad guy ends up destroying themselves."
"Quite," Lupin said, smiling slightly at the thought before he looked back at the assembled wizards. "So… what do we do now?"
"Right now?" Hermione said, shaking her head as she smiled over at Daniel. "Right now, I need to come up with a statement I can make to the press that announces the resurrection and certain defeat of Voldemort without bringing up the return of Harry Potter into the bargain, and then… well, we'll take it from there."
"Sounds good," Daniel said, nodding at Hermione in approval, grateful for her recognising his wishes before he even needed to ask.
He might have returned to the wizarding world for the duration of this crisis, but he'd made a life for himself as Daniel Jackson that he wasn't yet ready to give up; disclosing Harry Potter's return might make it easier to accept Voldemort's return and downfall, but if it was possible to tell the story without that element coming in, he had faith that Hermione would find a way.
Once that was dealt with, then
he could talk with his old friend about taking their new working relationship further than these last few missions…
A couple of days later, Daniel sat in his hotel room in London, studying the treaty-related paperwork that he'd been sent to finalise before bringing it to the Ministry, contemplating everything that had happened over the last few weeks.
With the defeat of Voldemort and the simultaneous death of most of his Death Eaters, the British wizarding world had lost a substantial portion of the more prominent pure-blood families, leaving Hermione in the awkward position of promoting various half-blood and muggle-born wizards who could fill their seats, essentially turning the wizarding world on its head like she'd been trying to do since becoming Minister. The SGC had managed to salvage the majority of the components from Voldemort's ship before Hermione or McGonagall had to alert the wider Ministry to the Death Eaters' attack, allowing them to come up with a plausible cover story. As far as the wider wizarding population was concerned, Voldemort had returned thanks to a previously-unknown horcrux and managed to mount a new attack, only to be destroyed when various American allies had come to assist in the defence of Hogwarts (It had been impossible to deny Voldemort's return after so many people had seen him, but they had been able to conceal the existence of the Goa'uld from those who couldn't know, and Hermione had assured everyone that there was no way for Voldemort to have an additional horcrux without fracturing his soul to the point where he would be unable to even think clearly).
While the SGC worked on using the salvaged components in their next major ship-building project- the ha'tak was too damaged to be rebuilt, but enough components had survived for them to be used in construction for other projects- Daniel had taken it upon himself to make plans with Hermione to continue the SGC's working arrangement with the Ministry of Magic beyond the current crisis with Voldemort. Hermione was naturally interested in donating the resources of the magical world to assist in exploring the galaxy in general and dealing with the Ori in particular, and Lupin, Tonks and the twins had expressed an interest in continuing to work with the SGC, even if Fred and George noted that their own business would have to come first if they had to make a choice. They were having to open negotiations with the American Ministry as well, but since most countries had their own wizard governments to limit the risk of them being discovered by muggles unintentionally intercepting their messages, negotiations were still being conducted with both groups independently. It would take a while before all the kinks were ironed out, but plans were already being made to assign at least two wizard teams to the SGC and to Atlantis itself, along with a few wizards being deployed to various offworld bases to test how magic would respond to various conditions and vice-versa.
The manner in which they came together might have been dark, but Daniel had to admit that he was grateful to see how easily his friends as Harry had accepted his life as Daniel, as well as the other way around, both on the small and larger scale. The IOA were interested in additional magical resources being provided now that they were aware of the wizarding world, but Hermione and Daniel had made it clear that the Statute of Secrecy would still be the primary guideline for further interaction between them; only those who needed to know about the presence of wizards in the SGC would be aware of the nature of their new members.
On a personal note, Daniel and the rest of SG-1 were enjoying the chance to talk with his old friends now that they didn't have to worry about the next crisis. While Daniel sometimes felt embarrassed when his friends from Hogwarts brought up some of the things he'd done back then, in general he enjoyed the chance to hear more details about how life had been for everyone since he'd left the wizarding world, and he was already making arrangements to visit the Weasleys on his next leave from the SGC. Even outside their friendship with Harry/Daniel, the two groups were forming their own bonds; Teal'c and the twins had actually started an unusual but interesting friendship, the Jaffa intrigued at the possibilities offered by their joke shop, and Daniel wasn't the only one who'd noticed that Hermione was spending a lot of time discussing the possibilities of further collaborative efforts with Mitchell in particular (Neither of them were apparently willing to say anything definite, until the treaty was finalised, and the rest were respecting their privacy, but there was definitely something there).
Personally, Daniel thought that each of them would be good for each other; Mitchell had a similarly jocular manner to Ron, while possessing a professional approach that Ron had never quite mastered, who wasn't particularly intimidated by Hermione's reputation among the wizarding world and position in the British government, while Hermione gave Mitchell a fascinating partner who would always be able to surprise him.
If only he could find the opportunity…
The sound of a knock on the door distracted Daniel from his thoughts. As he got up and opened the door, Daniel was apprehensively surprised to find Sam standing on the other side; he'd been trying to focus on his work to escape
this kind of conversation…
"Hi, Daniel," Sam said, smiling awkwardly as she stood in the door. "Can… can I come in?"
"Sure," Daniel said, stepping aside to let his friend into the room. "I was just, uh, going over some of the finer points of our new deal with the Ministry…"
"Yeah, I heard," Sam said, smiling back at him. "Everything's in order, right?"
"Yeah, it all seems straightforward enough," Daniel said, nodding at her. "Various sub-clauses about the SGC not asking for magical assistance in doing anything unless they're certain we have to be able to do it to save lives, the Ministry not requesting magical technology or trying to release it to the public without our approval…"
"In other words, each side is making sure the other can't take advantage of them," Sam said, sighing slightly as she looked over at his desk.
"It's just in case anything comes up in the future," Daniel said reassuringly. "I trust Hermione and General Landry, but I think we can both agree that the last thing we want is to give the likes of General Bauer or Minister Fudge full access to what their counterparts would be capable if things go wrong at either end."
Sam simply nodded in silent acknowledgement of Daniel's point as she looked around the room, before she finally came to her decision.
"OK, this is direct, and I know that there's no simple answer, but I have to ask; are you all right?" the astrophysicist asked, looking uncertainly at the archaeologist/wizard. "I mean, you've been through a lot in the last few weeks, what with everything you've been forced to dig up in order to help us when you probably never wanted to go back in the first place, and that's before you think about who you were dealing with…"
"And I've put my issues with that part of my life to rest, along with a great deal of other things," Daniel replied, smiling reassuringly at Sam. "It was hard seeing Voldemort and Snape again, but I was able to see them defeated again as well, and I've even managed to reconnect with some old friends; it might not have been my choice, but I wouldn't run away again now that I'm back."
"That's…" Sam said, before she simply smiled at him, clearly regarding that as the best way to express herself without saying something might be taken the wrong way.
"It doesn't change anything, you know," the archaeologist said.
"What?" Sam asked.
"Just because I'm glad to be back in touch doesn't mean I'm going to go
back," Daniel clarified. "I'll always miss that life, don't get me wrong, but I'm comfortable with who I am as Daniel Jackson now. Being Harry Potter was fun, but Harry had his time; Daniel's who I am now, and even if he's now inherited Harry's friends, he's all I need or want to be."
It was a weird way of phrasing how he felt, but judging by the smile on Sam's face, she understood what he was trying to say and agreed with the sentiment.
"Well," Sam said, smiling at him in understanding, "for what it's worth, I have a feeling I would have liked either of you, whenever I met you."
"Thanks," Daniel said, smiling back at her before another thought came to him.
He hadn't felt inclined to discuss what he'd experienced in the moments after he'd been caught in the backlash of the last spell he had exchanged with Voldemort, but the memory of what he'd experienced during that last conversation with Ginny was still clear in his mind… specifically, her encouragement to at least try and move on.
He wasn't sure where this was going to go, and it could turn out that it would never amount to anything, but if he didn't take a chance, he'd never know, and he had
just been thinking that he needed an opportunity…
"If there's anything else you want to ask about Harry Potter…" Daniel said, looking at Sam in silence for a moment, his long-honed linguistic skills suddenly inadequate for the task at hand, before he finally finished it. "Maybe we could… grab a drink and talk about?"
"A drink?" Sam repeated, clearly sensing from his tone that he was talking about something more than their standard night out as friends…
"If you don't-" Daniel began, after the silence became awkward.
"No," Sam said, smiling at him in hesitant understanding, the smile becoming broader as she looked at him. "I… I'd love to."
As Daniel smiled back at Sam, each of them fully aware of what he had meant by asking his question and curious about where things would go, Daniel was struck by how uncertain he was about what was about to happen.
Even with Voldemort gone, the Ori were still going to be a significant problem, and then there was everything they still had to follow up regarding their discoveries in Merlin's library…
But he knew one thing for certain; whatever changes he was about to experience in his life, he would make them with the comfort and friendship of friends from his past as Harry Potter, as well as those he'd made as Daniel Jackson… and, just maybe, he and Sam were going to have the chance to take the first few tentative steps to become something more than they had been.
Maybe all he'd needed to remind himself to take a chance for the future… was to remember the odds he'd overcome in the past.
AN 2: And there you have it; after a period of writing that covers years, I've finally concluded this storyline, which I hope has met with the approval of you who have stuck with Harry/Daniel to the end.
Before anyone asks, I'm not sure if I'll write a sequel; this storyline was fun, and I have a couple of ideas about where I might take this series in future stories, but I don't have anything definite in mind long-term and I have other projects that I'd like to work on more. If inspiration strikes and I feel inclined to do so, I might try and write more in this series looking at what happened to the Stargate Program with wizarding back-up, but as it stands, that's not going to be in the foreseeable future (Although if anyone wants to have a shot at writing a sequel themselves, feel free; just let me know and include a reference to this story before you post anything).