Title: The Task at Hand

Author: Eleri McCleod

Email: elerimc@lycos.com

Status: complete

Category: Drama, Angst, episode based

Pairings: none

Spoilers: Meridian, Revelations

Season: 5

Rating: G

Content Warnings: none

Summary: En route to evacuate Heimdal, Jack has time to think.

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret productions. No copyright infringement is intended.

File size: 4k

Archive: Jackfic, FF.net, Gateworld, Heliopolis, anywhere else, please email me.

Author's note: As I watched "Revelations" the other day, this scene just wouldn't let me go until I wrote this. Thanks for reading. Any mistakes are my own.

As always, any and all feedback is appreciated.

(c) Eleri McCleod, October 2003


Slide upper receiver onto lower receiver.

Ignore it.

Lock upper receiver into position.

Focus on the task.

Slip magazine into place.

Don't listen.

Slap magazine to lock.

It wasn't working. Quiet though they were, he could still hear them.

"You continue to mourn the loss of Daniel Jackson."

"Yeah, I do. Tell me I'm not the only one."

"I will perform the proper rituals when the opportunity presents itself. Until then, this mission must take priority."

"Please, Teal'c. Don't give me that 'way of the warrior' crap. I get enough of that from Colonel O'Neill."

His hands froze on the weapon, eyes staring sightlessly. Disappointment roared through him at her words before he could stop it. After all the years, all the trials and missions, all the loss, she still didn't understand him. Didn't understand that he couldn't talk about it, couldn't admit it, couldn't acknowledge it.

If he talked about it, it became real. If he admitted it, it became fact. If he acknowledged it, it became truth. And it was the truth he couldn't handle.

Their words washed over his still form, hands growing white on the butt stock. It was obvious she was upset with him. She even seemed to be mad at Daniel. At least Teal'c seemed to understand.

"Daniel Jackson has ascended to a higher plane of existence. Many Jaffa have dedicated their lives to achieving such a goal."

"So I'm supposed to celebrate?"

If he kept his hands busy, he could keep his brain busy. Methodically talking himself through mundane tasks, like disassembling and reassembling the P90, was all that was standing between him and acknowledgement, between him and truth.

"It is a great accomplishment."

But as their conversation floated from the cockpit into his soul, his hands couldn't move, his brain couldn't direct. All he could do was think.

Daniel had left them. Not by accident, not without knowledge. Jacob could have saved him. No, Daniel had made a choice. He'd chosen to leave SG1. He'd chosen to leave his best friend.

What was it that Carter wanted to say to him? What did she want him to say? There was nothing to say. His friend had made his choice. And now the one left behind had to stay busy. There was more than one reason he'd asked General Hammond to keep them in the rotation.

He would have agreed to help Freyr even without the situation in its current state. But when he'd agreed, he hadn't thought ahead to the hours of nothing on the cargo ship. Now time was too empty and the P90 was no longer doing its job as the pair in the cockpit discussed what he couldn't.

"We were a team, Teal'c. No one can understand what we went through together, what we mean to each other. So maybe Daniel has achieved something of great cosmic significance, I don't know. And to be honest with you, right now I really don't care. I'd rather have him back."

He waited in silence, hands remaining motionless on the weapon as he waited for the reply. What would Teal'c say? He'd already admitted to understanding where Daniel was now. How did someone respond to that?

"As would I."

The emotion revealed in the three words stopped his breath. How he wished he could admit it as his friend had just done, openly, honestly and without avoidance. But he wasn't built that way. Deep down he knew he never would be.

His hands relaxed on the weapon as his breath returned and his eyes focused once again. 'As would I.' The words scraped over the hurt and disappointment he could never let out, digging into the open wounds. They were too new; none of the protective scars were in place yet. Maybe once they were, maybe then he could-

Shutting down the thought completely, he took up a firm grip on the P90 once again. This time with eyes closed, he ordered himself, forcing his brain into tight concentration.

Push magazine release.

Focus ...

Remove magazine.

... only on ...

Push disassembly button.

... the task ...

Separate upper and lower receivers.

... at hand.