Author: Jeff Baker (aka, Jeff-B, JA Baker, Sinister Dexter)
Pairing: None
Rating: PG
Archive: Just ask me first.
Feedback: Would be grateful.
Disclaimers: If I owned it, I'd not be writing fan-fiction now would I.
Summary: Jack feels his age

Spoilers: None

Getting Old

Jack looked at his reflection in the mirror, and saw an old man looking back.

He always got like this after a bad mission: The Tok'ra had come to them with information about a base Anubis was using to launch attacks on free worlds, and General Hammond had given the green light for SG's 1 and 2 to do a recon mission.

Things had gone bad from the start: the gate on the other side had been more heavily defended than anticipated, and no sooner where they through than they found themselves in a firefight with the defending Jaffa. They had been pinned down by heavy staff-weapon fire, and if not for Jonas' quick re-dial of Earth, they would have been all killed or captured.

As it was Carter, Teal'c and half of SG-2 where in the infirmary. They had all been given orders to take a few weeks off, so he had changed and driven home, intent on having a shower and a beer, in that order.

But now he stood before the bathroom mirror, looking at the old man he saw. His once black hair was turning gray/white, and their where more and more lines on his face then he cared to admit.

A few years back, he would never have gotten his team into a mission like that: the Intel had been minimal, and no MALP had been sent through, but still he had agreed to the mission, despite a strong feeling of foreboding.

He was getting slower: it had taken him a lot longer than it should have to realise it was a trap, and to yell to the others to take cover. The ever-present pain in his left knee had slowed him down, and when he saw the energy-bolt aimed at Carter, he had been to slow to knock her out of the way. She had taken the blast in the shoulder, limiting the damage, but he still felt like it was his fault.

He had tried to return fire, but the Jaffa where protected by pre-arranged fire-holes, and had almost every angle covered. Jonas had ducked down and run to the DHD, quickly punching in the coordinates for the gate on Earth. He had sent the signal from his GDO and jumped through without waiting for the confirmation signal. His actions had put his own life at risk, but he had undoubtedly saved them all.

Jack had lifted Carter over one shoulder and carried her to the gate. Teal'c had covered them and SG-2 as they had started to fall back, but had taken a staff-weapon blast to his left leg, sending him toppling through the gate. Jack had turned, his P90 held one-handed, and had covered SG-2 as they pulled out, the un-wounded caring the wounded. He had jumped through the gate at the last possible moment, accidentally dropping Carter when they exited the gate back here on Earth.

Jack ran the tap for a moment, and then splashed some cold water over his face. He had once thought hat his greying haired gave him a look of distinction, but now he knew that it was a sign that he was too old for his job. There were younger, faster, officers who could easily replace him as head of SG-1. Even Carter, when she recovered, would probably do a better job.

He looked at the reflection, and knew that any thoughts or finally retiring where just pipedreams. He was still needed: Thor had, for reasons of his own, decided that Jack was the official contact man for the Asgard when they wanted to talk to Earth, and even if he quit, that wouldn't stop the little gray alien beaming him up every time he wanted to talk.

Jack smiled at his reflection: the real reason he stayed was he was too stubborn for his own good. He had been with the Stargate project ever since the first mission to Abydos, and he intended to see it through to the end. He rubbed his chin, "A few years in the old warhorse yet."

The End.