The Look in your Eyes
All publicly recognisable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
This story is rated PG-13 and is a tag for Serpent's Lair. It was written in response to a challenge on the h/c list to write a scene in first person (thanks AJ!). Well, having access to Daniel's Diaries guess who's head I attempted to get into<g>.
Note to Graculus - I know what you're thinking :)
Oh God! I can hear them coming. Booted feet echoing down the corridor. 'Daniel, watch our backs.' Sure Jack. No problem. I'm an archaeologist by the way, but hey, I've done the training. Hand to hand combat. Small weapons. Learned how to keep my head down and my mouth shut. Hell even learnt how to follow orders… when I have to. Like right now. Watch your backs. Raise the alarm. Keep you safe, and keep myself out of trouble. Play my part in the team.
Yeah, see. I've learnt to be part of the team. Learnt the lesson so well Sam just handed me her automatic weapon without so much as a second thought. Yep. Done that course too. MP5 - I can strip and clean one as fast as any marine - okay, nearly as fast. I've done it all. Everything you demanded of me to earn my place on the team. Hours in the gym - running, swimming, weights. 'Stamina, Daniel, you need stamina.' Sure Jack. Whatever you say. Whatever it takes. Just so long as I can keep going through the 'gate to look for Sha're. Except that mission's kinda been blown out of the water right now. Thanks to that quantum mirror - suddenly we're neck deep in trouble. The world is neck deep in trouble. God, they're coming!
I stamp down on the panic. I can do this. I *have* to do this. Pistol in my left hand. Sam's weapon in my right. It's heavier than I remember. There! Two of them. Staff weapons raising as they wheel round the corner and see me. It's me or them! Weapons fire spits noisily across the open corridor, and suddenly I realise I'm the one doing the firing. Training kicks in. Oh God! Oh God! The first one hits the floor, crimson gushing though the grey sheen of his uniform. Then the second. Sparks flying off his metal breastplate before the bullets penetrate and he goes down.
Feet! I can hear more feet. I gulp in air, my heart pounding so loud I can barely hear myself think. How many are coming? How many can I hold off? I've got to protect the team. I turn my head towards the chamber I'm guarding, a part of me realising the sizzle of zat discharge has stopped. I don't know what's happened - have we got the upper hand or are you and the others now prisoners of Korel? Either way I have to warn you, have to let you know you may have company from this direction.
"Jack!" My tone is urgent as I yell your name, my call half question, half statement.
A flicker of movement pulls my attention back. God, where did he come from?! He's right on me, staff raised, death flowering like a rose as it opens and spits white hot fire towards me. I pull my arm up. Open fire. Aiming wildly. Hear the bullets impact against the metallic wall. Sparks fly. The sudden stench of burning flesh fills my nostrils. And then the wall impacts with my back, knocking the breath from me, and I slam face down on the floor. What the hell happened? Am I…?
Got to protect the team! My hand closes around Sam's weapon, your voice loud in my head. 'Daniel watch our backs'. I pull myself upright, the same wall that just winded me now the only thing keeping me vertical. Pain spears through my chest as I lift the gun, squeeze the trigger, darkness tingeing my vision as it kicks back against me. Somebody cries out. The unmistakable sound of a body hitting the floor. Got the bastard! You're safe.
You're safe. I did my job. I watched your back, Jack.
The moment of exultation vanishes as raw pain assaults me. The walls of Korel's ship loop sickeningly around as realisation presses in, and then you're there. Raw anguish in your face as you look down at me.
You hesitate for a moment and I see you physically wipe the shock from your expression, kicking back into soldier mode. With one fluid movement, you're crouching in front of me, peering around the edge of the wall, zat gun at the ready. It's okay Jack, I did my job, the corridor's empty except for three dead jaffa. Satisfied you turn back to me, stuffing the zat into your jacket, your expression one of frustration. "Damn it!"
Thanks Jack. That's just what I need right now, you being ticked off with me. But then I realise you aren't angry with me, you're angry with the world, the world that keeps hurting those you care for. Almost as quickly the thought vanishes as you move closer, your hands expertly exploring my clothes, eyes narrowing as you register just how badly I've been shot. My heart's still pounding from the nightmare I've just lived through, adrenaline keeping the pain at bay, but I know it's not good. I can tell by the tight line your lips have formed. My mind is racing, wondering what the hell you are doing? I'm terrified more jaffa are on the way. Terrified not for myself, but for you, for the others. I watched your backs. Paid the price. That's the way it goes sometimes. No regrets. Unless you make my sacrifice meaningless by getting yourself caught or killed. You have to go! Desperation rises as I realise your intention, and I throw at you the first thing that comes to mind to make you leave.
"I'm dead anyway!"
With a glare, your anger flashes over me, into me, and I know it was the wrong thing to say, that you don't accept that. You won't accept that. Your words turn thought into speech.
"I'm not leaving you here!"
Then your fists are folding into the cloth of my jacket, pulling me forward as you struggle to get me upright. Pain spears through my shoulder, robbing me of breath, anger of my own taking flight. God damn it - you're meant to be the soldier here, the tactician, the one used to making the tough decisions. Why can't you see what is so obvious?
"Just get out of here!"
The pain notches my voice several tones higher, and you hesitate. I snatch another breath, realising I have only a few seconds to persuade you.
"Get out of here. You're just going to blow up with the other ship anyway. What difference does it make? Go!"
The words tumble from my lips, barely making sense as I fight against the pain. I lock my eyes on yours, willing you to make the right decision. The decision of a soldier.
Uncertainty flickers in your expression, and I know you're calculating the odds. Gratitude engulfs me, gratitude that even though the situation is impossible you're still trying to find a way out, for both of us. But there is no way out, not for me, and there isn't time to say all that needs to be said. Instead I push all my energy, all my emotion into the only words I have left.
"Just go. I'll stay and watch your back."
I watch as your hand reaches out to my face, cupping my cheek with a tenderness I didn't expect. Tears prick at the back of my eyes, but I force them away. No. I have to be strong. You still have a job to do. A job I can no longer help with, but which I will not hinder you in.
A barely perceptible nod, the simplest of expressions that telegraphs the most complex of emotions, and then you turn away. I don't expect you to look back. And you don't.
As you disappear from my view I tilt my head back against the wall, letting my breath out with a sigh, ready to let go. I'm so tired. So very, very tired. Bone weary with fighting. For the earth. For Sha're. For everything I believe in. I can't do it anymore. A soft laugh escapes me as another thought crosses my mind. Hell, I've even died too often already. This time though, this time it's for real.
Coldness is seeping through me now and I shiver. So this is how it ends - alone on an alien space ship, the fate of the earth in the hands of my three closest friends. Hardly the scenario I'd imagined back in high school when selecting archaeology as a career.
But I won't complain. I've had good times - better times than I ever imagined I would have. The sweetest of months with Sha're, and then, in the blackest of moments, new friendships, new family to care for me and to care for in return. I guess I never really expected a happy ending, but I can't help wishing I had chance to say goodbye, to explain to Sha're that I never gave up looking for her. To tell Sam she was the dearest of friends, the sister I never had. To explain to Teal'c how much I valued his presence in my life. To tell Jack…
Jack. Damn it! His face flashes before me shattering my maudlin acceptance of imminent death. 'I'm not leaving you here.' A fresh chill pervades me that has nothing to do with the blood oozing from my shoulder or the cold metal at my back. That look that you gave me as you backed away, I'd seen it before, late one night when we'd both drunk enough to loosen our tongues and bare our souls. Somehow the conversation had slid away from the dreadful performance of your hockey team and come to rest on the subject of honour. Codes of honour. We'd chewed the principle around, batted back and forth a lazy argument about honesty and wandered into hypothetical debate. To be honest I can't remember all the detail, but I remember the look on your face as you told me 'I'd never leave one of my team behind' - each word punctuated by a wave of your beer bottle. That look, Jack. God, if you knew what pain you´d telegraphed. I knew then and there you'd been on the receiving end of being left behind. I could only guess Iraq - you never talk about that no matter how drunk you are. But for one brief moment the armour plating that you wear over that particular hole in your soul slipped, revealing the raw open wound that was hidden beneath.
I saw that look just now, as you turned away from me. And I know with certainty that you'll never forgive yourself if I die on this godforsaken ship. You'll always tell yourself you left me behind, won't you Jack? That wound is so deep in your psyche, that my futile words about watching your back are just that - futile, like trying to stick my finger in a damn.
Shit! I can't let that happen. There has to be a way… The sarcophagus! If I can get to the sarcophagus, then maybe there's a chance…
Gripping Sam's gun as tightly as I can, I push myself away from the wall, gasping as the pain renews its assault. I have to do this! Inch by agonising inch, the memory of your face drives me forward. Guess that would surprise you, huh? Not Sha're. Not the SGC. Just you Jack.
Dead man walking… I grit my teeth and pull myself forward another inch. Okay, not walking… crawling. Dead man crawling. Another few inches of floor slide beneath me. I can do this. I pull in another breath, grit my teeth against the impending agony and force myself forward. I can do this. I must do this. Because I can't die, Jack. I can't die knowing I'm responsible for that look in your eyes.
Loved it or hated it? Click my sig and let me know!