Memories from a century past
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.
Category: Missing scene, angst
Series: Number 16 in Scribe's Shower Scene Series
Season/spoilers: 2010 - season 4
Summary: Was it just Sam's appeal that brought Jack back to the team in 2010?
Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, he isn't mine, but I wish he was... plus the usual MGM are great and worthy.
Author's Notes: This one is for especially for Jack fans.<g>
Just go! I'm dead anyway. What difference does it make?
Jack jerked awake, driving the imagined smell of burnt flesh from his lungs as he gasped for breath. God! That was the third time in a week this particular nightmare had dragged him from his sleep with an almost overwhelming sense of dread.
He threw back the sweat-damp sheet that was entangled around his bare body and swung his legs over the edge of the narrow bed. Elbows on his knees he
buried his face in his hands, trying to drive the image of Daniel's death from his mind. Blood and smoke. Pain and anguish. Daniel's cheek cupped his hand.
That moment on Apophis' ship had been one of the worst of his life.
Slowly his breath evened out and he scrubbed a hand through his hair as he corrected himself. No, he was wrong. Walking away and leaving Daniel to die
alone had been one of the worst moments. He'd relived that particular memory in his dreams a hundred times since. Discovering how Daniel had defied the
odds only gave his nightmares more detail. Funny how easily his mind could supply images of his friend dragging himself through the corridors of the mother ship, his path marked by a darkening trail of blood, yet it refused to ever conjure up the comfort of hugging a very alive Daniel at the foot of the ramp.
He rubbed his face wearily and peered at the red glowing figures on his alarm clock. Six-fifteen. He might as well forget trying to go back to sleep. Even after all these years of living in the cabin, his body was still tuned to military time. That he'd slept past six o'clock was little short of a miracle. Besides, he didn't want to risk sleep again just yet. The images that were waiting to ambush him were too painful.
What to do instead, though? The abrupt awakening had left him feeling sluggish. What he needed was a shower. He sniffed at his armpits and wrinkled his nose, the late summer warmth of the cabin and the nightmare had also left their mark. Yes - definitely time for a shower.
With the slowness of someone caught in that never-never world between sleep and full wakefulness, he pushed himself to his feet and walked into the living area.
The cabin was sparsely furnished. A rough wooden table dominated the available space, two upright chairs facing each other over the tangled fishing line on its surface; close to the open fireplace was a battered armchair covered with discarded clothes - swaeters, pants, a single grey sock. The far end of the cabin was home to a small kitchen, the sink still bearing last night's dirty dishes.
A towel was hanging over the back of one chair; shower gel sat in a pint-sized coffee mug on the windowsill by the door along with his toothbrush and toothpaste. Armed with these bare essentials and still totally naked, Jack stepped into the chill air outside the cabin and picked up a large, old-fashioned leather
bucket from the porch. As he headed towards the dock, his thoughts drifted back to Daniel and the last time he'd visited - or, to be more accurate, the only time Daniel had visited.
"Ummm… Jack? Where's the shower?"
Jack glanced up from the fish he was preparing for breakfast. "Bucket's on the porch. Lake is at the end of the dock."
"Excuse me?" Daniel's eyes widened in surprise as Jack shrugged towards the outside door. "That's a joke, right?"
"No, Daniel. It's not a joke. You're not in the city anymore."
"But…" Daniel looked stunned. "It's 2007, Jack. My car has more amenities than this place!"
"So go shower in your car."
"I didn't mean I had a shower…"
"You're getting soft, Daniel. For a guy who happily lived on Abydos…"
"That was different," Daniel snapped, clearly in need of both a shower and a dose of caffeine. "The Abydonians didn't have any choice about how they lived. You're doing this because…" He waved a hand in the air and winced, apparently not wanting to finish the sentence.
Jack pounced. "Because what, Daniel? Because I don't want my nose rubbed in Aschen technology every time I step out my front door?"
"You know I never really figured you as a technophobe."
"Yeah well. You missed a lot of things towards the end there." Jack felt a petulant thrill of satisfaction as Daniel visibly flinched at his accusation. The victory was brief, though, as Daniel came back harder than ever.
"I never missed the fact you don't like scientists, Jack. That is the problem here, isn't it? That the Aschen are a bunch of alien scientists who are way smarter than you?"
Now it was Jack's turn to react. Did Daniel really think he was that shallow? He opened his mouth to retort, then thought better of it. Instead he returned to the start of the conversation, his tone crisp.
"Bucket's on the porch, Daniel. Lake is…"
"At the end of the dock." Daniel finished the sentence with him.
For a moment the two men stared at each other, the simultaneous words sparking a dozen memories. It was Jack that looked away, determined not to give in to either nostalgia or sentimentality. He picked up a fish and slit along its belly with one smooth cut, throwing his retort over his shoulder.
"Yeah, it's like that proverbial short pier. Have a nice, long walk, Daniel."
The visit had gone downhill from then on. Daniel had tried to make peace, but Jack refused to let go of his anger. On the third day, when Daniel stubbornly raised the subject of the Aschen once again, they'd had an all-out shouting match, which ended with Jack sleeping out in the woods while Daniel drank his way through most of the bottle of single malt he'd brought Jack as a gift.
The following day Daniel was too hung-over to argue further and Jack's body was letting him know loud and clear that sleeping in the open was a young man's indulgence. Forced together, they spent an embarrassed few minutes attemptting to apologise and finished the whiskey over a game of chess in the evening.
For once though the familiar pattern of argument and apology didn't clear the air. Instead the half-spoken sentences simply drove their differences underground; the making up less about accepting each other and more about glossing over the cracks.
When Daniel left at the end of the week, Jack didn't expect him to return. Three years on and he hadn't been proven wrong yet.
Jack couldn't help but stop to admire the view as he reached the end of the dock. Even after all this time, the beauty of the mountains still captured his attention. More so on a morning like this. The sun was barely above the horizon, its pale yellow light casting a magical aura across the landscape. Tendrils of mist skated like wraiths on the smooth surface of the lake, and here and there a fish would break free of its aquatic home to send out ripples, each one a miniature tsunami.
Jack sighed. He was getting too damn poetic in his old age. If he wasn't careful he might actually read that book of Shakespeare's sonnets Daniel had given him for his birthday a few years back. The thought brought him up sharp as he wondered if Daniel realised the book was one of the few things he'd kept from his days with SG-1. Not that it mattered. It was all over. Done, finished, buried. He'd just concentrate on the here and now. Maybe get himself a dog...
He tossed the bucket into the water, waited patiently as it filled and then hauled it up by the rope attached to the handle. Taking a deep breath, he bent his knees, hoisted the bucket up and emptied its contents over his head. His breath exploded in shocked exclamation as the icy cold water deluged him. Damn, but he would never get used to that.
Wearily he picked up the shower gel, squeezed a generous helping into the palm of his left hand and began to massage it into his body. A second helping was rubbed vigorously into his hair, producing a cap of pine-scented bubbles that threatened to slide down his forehead. He swiped the worst of them away, flicking them irritably onto the wooden dock at his feet. If only he could flick other irritations away so easily. Irritations like Carter, for one. Just who did she think she was, turning up out of the blue to lecture him about saving the world? If she really thought he'd change his mind now…
He cut the thought off. Saving the world - damn right it had become old.
A strand of determined bubbles tried to make a break for freedom just to the left of one of Jack's ears. His right hand brushed them away as he turned to face the lake and pulled in another long breath. Okay - time to rinse.
Jack stretched his arms skywards, the muscles across his shoulders and upper back glistened in the early morning sunlight. For one brief moment every sinew tensed as he stood on tiptoes, his calf muscles lengthening into tight chords, hollows forming in taut buttocks. Then, with the softest whisper of displaced air, he launched himself up and out, his naked body executing a graceful curve as he dived into the glacial waters of the lake.
This time he was ready for the cold, was exhilarated by it. He arrowed through the water, expelling breath as he went, bubbles of oxygen and soap mingling together and racing towards the surface,
'We left him behind!'
The shock of sudden memory knifed into him. God, where the hell did that come from? Jack arched his back and pushed towards the sunlight, gasping air as he broke the surface.. He shook his head to clear the water from his eyes as he turned towards the dock, almost expecting to see Carter standing there. There was nothing expect the leather bucket and his discarded towel and toiletries
Damn it! His nerves had been jangling ever since her visit. He hadn't had a flashback in years. Apart from being estranged from his team, life had been good - relaxed. Boring even, which had suited him just fine. Hell - he'd even got used to the fact Daniel seemed to have given up his annoying habit of dying every few months.
Four strokes took him to the dock and he hauled himself out of the lake. He may have aged over the past few years but living in the wilds certainly hadn't affected his physique, if anything it had made him stronger. The welcome sight of defined muscle along his arms received only the briefest moment of attention, though, as he snatched up his towel, still unable to shake off the feeling that Carter was near by.
'We left him behind!'
The haunted expression on her face during the time they believed Daniel had burnt to death on a volcanic planet was suddenly fresh in his memory. The
emotional pain was something they had shared - all three of them. The loss of Daniel too raw, too unbelievable…
Jack sighed. And now Carter was planning to go off to save the world again. Which meant Daniel and Teal'c would be too. Not only that, they were going
up against the Aschen - a race Jack was convinced was as evil as any the SGC had ever encountered. A fact Carter finally seemed to have woken up to. He
shivered at the thought and set to drying himself more vigorously.
The unease in his stomach refused to budge. Damn it. His team had been through so much in the past. Sounded like Carter wasn't exactly having a ball now either. Could he really just let them head into danger without him to watch their backsides?
He tied his towel around his hips and picked up the bucket, knowing there was only one acceptable answer to that question. No. He couldn't just stand by and let them attempt to save the world on their own. He'd never be able to live with himself if they got themselves killed.
He took one last look at his lake and then headed towards the cabin. It was time to go home.
Besides - it had been far too long time since he'd had a hot shower.
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