Author: LAIsobel PM
When she needed him, he wasn't around. Now he is alone, thinking, hoping, trying to believe that it will all work out eventually. The question is – will it? Sort of a song-fic with emphasis on Jack. Inspired by Tom Petty's song from the Elizabethtown.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - J. O'Neill & S. Carter - Words: 4,799 - Reviews: 3 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 2 - Published: 09-24-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7408204
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I absolutely love the soundtrack to Elizabethtown. I love the movie as well by the way :o) And the song It'll All Work Out by Tom Petty just wouldn't leave me alone. I know I have other stories in progress but this wouldn't leave me alone. So my mind and my hands took the lead, no thinking, no hard trying, just pure writing… and this is the result… I managed to surprise myself again :o))
Timeline: sometimes after Affinity
Spoilers: up to the end of Affinity – episodes directly mentioned by few words (I hope I haven't forgotten any…) = Emancipation, Broca Divide, First Commandment, Solitudes, Singularity, In the Line of Duty, Secrets, Grace, Heroes, Affinity, Death Knell, Divide and Conquer
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, just my muse :o))
Beta: nope so far but as I know her she will knock herself out later :o) Alia – the story is all yours :o)
Special thanks: Hana CZ – you did a marvelous job! Thanks for all your help with this piece!
BLUE-EYED MYSTERY by Isobel
It was summer and Minnesota was as nice as usually. Mornings still could be a bit cold but the days were amazing. After the last few weeks, maybe months, Jack O'Neill really needed some time away from everything. And driving over to his cabin seemed like the best idea that time. He knew he would have just a few days, three or four maybe but even one whole day would be enough for him. The trip itself was like a healing miracle for him.
The weather seemed to be a bit crazy, yeah, but other than that this place did what it was supposed to do. It calmed him and soothed his nerves. The silence and nature around, he would always find his serenity there. The place could always help him to heal at least partially the wounds he had on his heart and deep within his soul.
Few years ago he took Cassie with him. She was a great kid. She had always been. Janet was ill that time and actually welcomed the offer. The two of them had a good time here. Of course it was a bit difficult, she was a teenager after all, but somehow the deep connection they had found worked well for them.
They had fun. They were fishing, they went hiking, they had some grilling in the backyard, they enjoyed watching stars and they especially loved the time they spent by figuring out new names for star constellations.
He really loved the time spent with her. All the talking, laughing, joking, teasing, all the silent moments. She even managed to change the place a bit. He had one wall almost empty. It seemed fine to him but she had a different opinion. So now he had his own picture-wall. Cassie wanted to buy picture-frames so they would all look the same but he had another idea. He was quite skilled when it was about working with wood. So he showed her how and they made the picture-frames together back then. She just had to promise she wouldn't tell anyone. They really didn't need to know.
The next Christmas Santa brought him some new carving tools and other equipment. Yup, Cassie had told somebody. He had an idea about who was it but he had never brought it up.
He stopped by the wall to take a look at it. He loved it. They picked some really interesting pictures of him, of his son, his friends, there were people from the base, some of his old pals, even some of the Aliens. Cassie just marked those as "Costume-dress parties" so it wouldn't be suspicious. She was actually kinda smart when she wanted to be.
One particular picture caught his attention. It was taken during the first garden party they had after Cassie had joined them on Earth. His team was there as well as Fraiser, Hammond, Siler and few other people. It was actually a good party. This picture was taken during it. And he really liked it because the people on it had no idea about Siler taking it. Carter and Daniel were chasing Cassie around, all of them laughing. Teal'c was standing there, silently observing. The picture was taken at the precise moment when Cassie had bumped into him. Well, he was an Air Force Colonel but even he could get surprised sometimes.
So now he had a picture of him at the ground, shocked and amused, with Cassie lying over him, laughing so hard she was almost crying, with Daniel holding Carter and keeping her from falling down, from tripping over the two of them on the ground, both laughing. The picture was screaming at him that they had fun that day, that they enjoyed every second of it… they were not team-mates or coworkers there, they were friends.
Carter was wearing faded blue jeans, white blouse and soft black leather jacket that day. She looked so content and free. He would never forget it, he was sure of that. Carter….
It took her so long to be herself around him. She was so stressed all the time, trying to be the soldier and scientist. It was driving him crazy but he didn't know how to change her. Everytime when he thought she would finally drop the façade and be the woman, the crazy blonde she was deep down, something would happen and things would change again.
He had to grin then. Yeah, she used to be one tough soldier. But then the universe decided to make fun of them and showed him her other sides. He was sure that it was not okay for a CO to see his 2IC half-undressed, dancing by a fire on foreign planet after drinking some sweet purple stuff. Oh yeah, they would still tease her about that. She would tease him back, she had some material to do so, true, but he really loved that mission anyway. Especially when Teal'c had decided that it was enough, grabber her, threw her over his shoulder and took her into one of the houses.
She should have felt more okay around him but nope, she was more and more tensed when they were off the base and off the clock. And then he saw her in those killer blue dress and he would always be grateful that Daniel had been there with him. He wasn't sure about what he would have done that day. He felt the blood rushing through his veins, the heat spreading through his body.
When they got home, she didn't give the dress to Daniel. Yes, she kept them after the whole kidnapping fiasco. And as many other artifacts the SG teams were bringing back regularly, she was supposed to hand them to Daniel and his team, for studies and so they could look into some Earth references. But this time she just kept them. And nobody knew. Only he did and that was just by accident. But well… He used to have fantasies about that particular piece of clothing for a very long time.
All in all, it was a very tough mission and he was worried that after the experience she would try to put distance between them again, well, she didn't get the chance to do so. The 'touched virus' got them and he was sure that he would always blush at the memory of her dressed in that little tank top with her dog tags hanging around her neck, attacking him and trying to seduce him in the locker room. He was supposed to drag her to the infirmary and not to talk to her. Instead of that, he remembered quite well what he had told her. She asked him if he wanted her and he – although he was supposed to stay quiet and say absolutely nothing – he had to tell her 'not like this'….yeah…'not like this'!….so far he wasn't really sure if she remembered that. But well, he remembered the sweet little tank top and even Daniel landing on the control room floor, so….
Anyway, they teased each other more often after that. And he was enjoying every second of it. From mare co-workers they somehow switched to being real team-mates and then they've slowly become friends. Slowly, step by step. Now he knew he would never be able to express the level of his gratitude.
Having Carter as his friend was even better than having her as his 2IC.
He loved the picture. She was wearing that leather jacket. Was she aware of the effect it had on him? Seeing her in the leather jacket that afternoon made his blood boil in the first moment. And from more than just one reason. He could remember the first time when he met her at the parking lot, when his heart had stopped beating for a moment because of the breathtaking sight. There she was, dressed in leather, straddling her bike, taking off her helmet and gloves. If that wasn't every man's fantasy…
He tried to tell her to be careful and not to get hurt. And she made him speechless by showing him all the possible protective pads she had. She was in love with the speed and adrenalin but she was also being responsible. She smiled at him then and they walked in together, both in pretty good mood, it was reflecting at their faces, in their eyes. Hers were sparkling, he was sure of that.
Oh yeah, her eyes. Since the moment she walked into the briefing room they were haunting him during days and during nights. The way they kept on shining and sparkling, bright and full of life. No matter where, on a desert planet, in the middle of deep forest, while being soaked from the rain or freezing from the cold, her eyes would still look amazing. They were magical.
They really were the gates to her soul, he knew. The color would change like the weather – abruptly, drastically, in a short moment. Sometimes the change would come slowly and sometimes with such a force. But no matter what the magic would still be there. Like the peak of her soul exposed for him to see it and to acknowledge it.
Her eyes would tell him more than any words ever could. With every thank you and apology, there would be more written in there.
When they talked about Hanson, when she confessed about all she had been put through with him, her eyes were filled with pain and regrets. She was sorry about all the outcomes. They talked and then she thanked him but he knew that the majority of everything had been left unsaid. Or when they talked about his little boy he noticed the tears, compassionate and painful tears of shared tragedy. Oh yeah, he let his guard down that afternoon. She was never supposed to find him and he was never ever supposed to tell her a thing. But she just was there and he, for once, needed and wanted to talk about it. And God it helped!
He himself had always a very good feeling from being there for her when she needed him. He supported her with the decision to let Fraiser adopt Cassie, he could tell from the way she was looking at him how grateful she was. Maybe she was a genius, brilliant and gorgeous but she could still be a bit unsure of herself. And it felt good to be one of those people to change that.
As far as he knew she had no idea about all he had said about her when the Air Force was struggling with the idea of letting her work again after the whole Jolinar incident. They wanted to keep her grounded, she was supposed to stay on the base like forever, never being able to work off-world again, or at least in foreseeable future. So he went and he told them his opinion. And Hammond was almost forced to ground him after that. But it worked.
Jack knew that Hammond had told Jacob about this. The old General had teased him about it numerous times. But Jack was sure that it was one of those things that had helped Jacob to accept him as his daughter's CO, and most importantly as her friend. He just had to wonder… did he know about how much had Sam told him about him? He was almost sure that Jacob had no idea.
Actually, that was hell of an afternoon… for a few days Carter was a wreck. And he just couldn't stand it anymore. So after making sure that Daniel would be at least a bit okay after the whole Sha're incident on Abydos, he left the base and went to see his 2IC. Surprisingly she let him in and they talked… well, she did most of the talking. It was all about her dad. Then she thanked him, he hugged her and the next day things were looking better.
He was proud that he had been almost always able to help her through some difficult times. And one part of him was also proud of her. She managed to be there for him, to crack his shell and make him talk about things he had never talked about. And then once, when it really mattered, he failed her. Well he failed her more than just once but he'd like to believe that he had fixed the issues and saved their mutual deep friendship. Only once…
When she got lost on Prometheus he was sure that he would go crazy from all the waiting and pointless trying to find her and help her. Some people tried to talk to him but it was just a waste of time. He was being an ass and he knew it. He just couldn't survive the thought of leaving her and of losing her, giving up on her. He just couldn't.
And then there she was, lying in the infirmary bed for hours. He didn't want to leave her. Nobody tried to ask him to do so … ok, there was one nurse looked like she was about to but then she just brought him coffee and snack. No questions asked. Thankfully. He lost track of time. He had no idea about how long he was sitting there, watching her breathe, sleep, hoping that she would open her blue eyes and smile at him.
And then she woke up and called him. But she used his given name. It was so rare that it scared him. His self-preservation instinct kicked in. And so he asked, his words still resonating in his mind, and she understood it completely wrong… and they were back to square one. He should have said something, done something. He should have tried to explain, to apologize, whatever… But he failed her. And it was exactly this moment when he lost her.
And it hurt. Maybe it was because he started to think that their time would come, sometimes…later…but that it would. Of course he was tired of the waiting but he thought, no he knew, it was worth it. He was supposed to man up and deal with it… but no, once again, he spoiled everything and made things worse. He was a fool. There was nobody to blame but him.
It was not fair! Okay, life had never been fair, right. Damn!
He knew they had their good times and pretty bad times. Since the very beginning they had been struggling with the part of their lives where they were supposed to be honest and talk to each other. But both of them had the Air Force drilled so deep inside that overcoming their instincts seemed to be impossible.
The first time they actually managed that was after being rescued from Antarctica. It was like they knew they had to talk, they had to fight it and that they needed it in order to survive and stay friends. So she took her IV with her, talked Daniel into bringing them two huge cups of hot chocolate and then she came to his bed, sat down next to him, handed him one cup and waited. After some time he asked her where she wanted to start. And so they talked and it was exhausting and difficult. Of course, they hadn't managed to cover all they needed to but it was a good start.
Oh boy, and they both had screwed up more than just enough through the following years. But somehow they always managed to work through everything. They just left some … issues … to be dealt with later. No, they really couldn't deal with them back then, it would be against all the rules, against everything they believed in and they had decided very very long ago that they would not jeopardize themselves, their friends, the program and their team. So their personal issues had to stay locked away.
He should know that it wouldn't work for them forever.
More than just once he should have stopped, take a deep breath, yell at Carter and make her talk to him. They should have done it. They should have crossed all the necessary stupid lines and make it work. But no, they just couldn't do it, could they?
And so when she needed him the most, he failed her again. When Janet, her best friend died, when he was supposed to be there for her, when he was supposed to stay with her, let her cry and scream and run and run after her and then cry and scream along with her, he failed her. She was in so much pain from losing Fraiser. She was beyond worried about losing him. And still it wasn't enough for him to do something.
Sure, she broke down in his arms in that room. And yes, he broke down in hers. They were quite a pair of grieving people, right? And sure, they shared some more tears and innocent hugs while dealing with the situation, with what it had done to Cassie and to other people around them caring about Janet. But they had never really dealt with it. Damn. This whole thing was supposed to bring them closer and let them fix all that had been broken, one step after another small step. But instead of that they just drifted apart. A lot. Everything just because of … what exactly … fear?
How stupid was that, huh?
One part of him was trying to tell him that by that time she had already been another man's girl. Well, of course, she belonged to nobody but herself. But she was dating that cop, and Jack was painfully aware of that…oh yeah…after they saved her from being killed by that superdrone, he went over to her place. He wanted to see her, to make sure she was okay, he wanted to talk to her, to hold her, he wanted to break the ice and come out open. Nothing was worth losing her, watching her die or feeling her drift away from him. He thought that… But when he arrived she wasn't alone. The cop was there with her, sitting next to her on her couch, holding her.
Jack felt his heart break all over again, he went home and decided not to destroy her life by doing something stupid. It was not like he wished for them to break up…
But since Janet's funeral things had just stopped being as they used to be. Something was missing. A key element. They managed to work together, to be friends, yes of course, but their relationship had changed. And not for the better.
Everything went just wrong. And it still hurt like hell. Probably, he should have known by then that they needed crazy and stupid things to work.
Then the destiny thought that it would be real fun to see him suffer a bit more, oh so typical. There he was, standing in the middle of Carter's lab, watching the ring. The ring. The cop proposed to her. And she wasn't sure about it. She wanted him to talk to her…him from all people…or was she giving him the last chance? Oh yeah, any other guy would probably tell her to leave the cop and spend the rest of her life with him…yeah other guy would but not him.
Of course, he wanted to stop her, to say no to the cop but he wanted her - he needed her - to figure it out by herself. He had nothing to offer her. Well, unless you counted just more unsure moments, more waiting, more hoping and pretending.
He knew he would never ever in his life be able to forget that day. Never. He was supposed to do something! Say something! And yet, he couldn't. He knew he shouldn't. It was a deep conflict inside of his heart. And although he was sure that what he did was right, he regretted it as well. He let her go and once again he lost her.
Jack finally went to the back of the house. It was raining outside, the sky was dark grey and the clouds were heavy. The rain wouldn't be stopping anytime soon. It was evoking some sad memories and also bringing him strange comfort….
The worst thing was that he had lost her too many times already by doing the same thing, or by not doing anything at all.
One of the biggest mistakes of his life was that panic-filled decision to leave their feelings in that damned room. He loved her so much… it scared him and the result of all that was their own little catastrophe. So many things had happened to them and in the end when she was asking him to reach out for her and take her into his arms he, instead of that, pushed her away into another man's arms…into marriage.
So, right then Carter was with her fiancé visiting her brother in Denver. One big happy family. Yes, she deserved to be happy, to have family. She deserved the marriage, nice house and husband. And he wished nothing less than just all of that for her. And a lot more. However, he knew he couldn't have given that to her, not yet anyway. She deserved the good and happy life and he was supposed to be glad for her. Well, part of him really was, but the other part just couldn't stop having doubts.
Jack knew that the cop wasn't that good for her. That guy had some pretty bad sides Carter had no idea about. Or did she? She was pretty smart after all, right! On the other hand, she could be a bit blind sometimes, when she...oh… was she really so deep in love? Oh, this was all bad, too bad…
Jack could feel the pain spreading in his heart, the ache, he felt the tears in his eyes and feeling weak for a moment, he just stepped out into the rain. But it wasn't really helping.
He really used to believe that they had a chance. He had never loved anyone like he loved her. He thought that they just needed time and lots of hope and that it would all work out just fine. But now, she was with another man. She was with her fiancé. She decided to move on when he pushed her away….yes, HE pushed her away…so, she just did it, tired of waiting and pretending, she moved on.
What was he supposed to do now? The same? Yes… sure… there was just one little problem. He didn't want to move on, he didn't want to try to find somebody else to be by his side. He knew her. He really did, didn't he? All her bad and good sides, all her moods and quirks and desires, he knew her soul. And she knew him. Oh, she knew him so well. The connection was so deep and intense that it just had to mean something! No, there was just one woman, just one. And it had been so for a very long time.
He was beating himself up whole night, thinking, remembering, trying to find peace and closure, trying to decide what to do and how to act. One part of him wanted to get drunk and another part knew that it wouldn't have helped; he had to be sober while going through this.
And so in the morning he looked like crap, he was exhausted and he wanted nothing else but to disappear. He realized that he didn't want to be selfish. Yes, the whole "I can't have her so nobody else will either" had come to him. And he didn't want to be like that. No. They had never promised each other anything. How could they, huh? They had barely talked about this particular very personal issue and feelings.
The sun was rising on the horizon. This day would really be nice. And here he was, again thinking about her, Carter. Well after the amount of sunrises and sunsets they had witnessed together….actually, she had been with him every single time, either in person or as a thought in his heart. Was that pathetic? Maybe. But it was the love he felt for her.
And so he realized the most important thing. The kind of feelings he had for her would never go away, it would never fade and it simply would not disappear. He loved her and if it meant to stay put and wait, to care for her and to watch her being happy with another man, well, then he would do the necessary. Everything was better than seeing her unhappy and troubled. And God knew he had caused her enough worries and troubles and pain to last two or three lifetimes. She just deserved more than that… she deserved better.
Maybe in few months she would come to him with white envelope, asking him to come to her wedding. And his heart would break all over again. But he would pick up the pieces – he knew how to do that - and be there for her, among her friends and family, watching her walking down the alley, looking breathtakingly beautiful as usually, happy tears in her magnificent blue eyes, her lower lip trembling a bit as usually when she was nervous.
Yes, he would be there. He wouldn't fail her, not ever again.
Jack sat down behind his cabin, hot coffee in his hand, still thinking about his blue-eyed mystery named Samantha and the role she had in his life. He was one lucky bastard to get the chance to love her. No, it would just never go away, would it? He had actually understood that already after all those years… it wouldn't go away, never.
Maybe, just maybe, even this part of his life would simply work out somehow on its own. Actually since meeting Carter, things would always work out eventually. Yes, somehow…
A/N: Here are the lyrics. At first I wanted to include them into the story but somehow they didn't fit in between the paragraphs that much. So – the story is based upon them, you can tell, it's obvious, but they stand alone here. It's an amazing song! And as the story – filled with deep thoughts, regrets, pain, guilt, hope, love and something indescribable.
It'll all work out - Tom Petty
She wore faded jeans and soft black leather
She had eyes so blue they looked like weather
When she needed me I wasn't around
That's the way it goes, it'll all work out
There were times apart, there were times together
I was pledged to her for worse or better
When it mattered most I let her down
That's the way it goes, it'll all work out
It'll all work out eventually
Better off with him than here with me
It'll all work out eventually
Maybe better off with him than here with me
Now the wind is high and the rain is heavy
And the water's rising in the levee
Still I think of her when the sun goes down
It never goes away, but it all works out