Author's Note: This is a short story written in Jack's POV. Um, mostly this is just something I wanted to try considering I'm stumped on the thirty other stories I'm working on. But this is my first try at something like this so, please, no flames. Suggests to improve future (?) stories like this would be appreciated.
Other than that, I hope it doesn't confuse you too much. And, please, R/R… I might be offended to the point of not posting any other stories in the future if you don't…
Summary: Oh, this is hard… um, let's see… Jack's POV… He's in a room for most of it (not telling which)… talking to Daniel about stuff… it's really a cute, twist-ending kind of thing… you'll like it, trust me!
Cautions: Story meant to be confusing; your own analyzes of the story required
Parings: Now that would spoil everything, now wouldn't it?
Disclaimer: I own nothing except all the spelling mistakes, grammar problems, and the word order. (Oh, and the title. Don't cha like it?)
A Talk In Waiting
With the back of my seat against the wall, my feet pushing off of the small table in front of me, my eyes slid shut. I was tired: mentally, physically, and emotionally tired slapped on top of just plain boredom, never a very good mix with me.
In my hand I couldn't help but play with the, now cold, coffee cup. The only thing so far to hold my interest for more than ten seconds. Maybe Danny was right about me having the attention span of a two year old, they only focus on things for- what?- two minutes tops?
Blinking my eyes open, they adjusted within seconds to the dim lighting of the mountain- never could figure out why they spend so much on the lights if they can't get some that actually light the place. Oh well. Starring down at my lap, the shimmering of the dark liquid caught my attention. The reflection of the light staying in the same place even as the liquid splashed, my turning it disrupting its own flow.
But, like always, my attention wavers a minutes or so later. This was taking forever! How much longer could they possibly be!
Glancing around the empty room, a bored sigh escaped my lips. Daniel wouldn't be back for a few minutes because whatever he had to do. Which means another boring ten minutes with no one to talk to but myself.
Looking down at my standard issue watch, I couldn't help but groan. I'd waiting out here for over six hours! Six! Well, the time sure flew by- I could have sworn that it had been six days.
Even through my rants to myself, my gaze didn't leave my watch. A small smile tugged on my lips… oh, I lost count years ago of how many I had lost to the Goa'uld. How many times they thought that our watches were horrible weapons! I wonder what they actually did with them… and our other stuff that we never got back? You know, with the amount of GDO's they must have acquired it's a wonder they never used that damn Goa'uld superiority to figure them out.
Tipping my head back in frustration, I almost winced when it came in contact with the cold, hard walls. Though that had been the intent, sometimes I forget how hard they can be. How… cement like they were.
That's another thing. Again, so rich and spending so much money but… why gray? Gray and green they're just so… bland. Why not pastels? Or… I don't know, something… perkier. Something… prettier. Something… other than gray! But, then again, I guess white might drive us all even more insane, if they were black we wouldn't be able to see period, and, well, pastels would probably start scarring me after a few days. Not to mention we'd get laughed at by the Goa'uld the next time they had to "visit".
Bringing my hand up from my coffee cup, I tried rubbing more life into my features, still a bit dazed by everything… still exhausted by just sitting there. Closing my eyes probably wasn't a good idea either. Sleep was just too tempting.
Putting my chair back in the "proper" position, my feet slumped back onto the floor. With my cold coffee mug safely on the table, my cramped body made a futile effort of standing, my arms just too weak from everything to push myself out of the chair. Grunting with effort, I was only able to do so on my third try, my body hunching over, sore and knotted.
After pushing the shirt of my crumpled and dirty uniform, and with my back to the doors, I tried stretching out, the movement hardly comfortable. Just as I went to crack my neck, the sound of the door opening startled me, making my sore body spin, awkwardly, to see Daniel entering to room, two steaming cups in his hand.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," Daniel apologized, his face as solemn as, I guess, mine must have been.
"It's ok, Danny." Reaching out to take the cup he offered me, I was barely able to hear him mumble something about that I might need it. "Thanks."
"When was the last time you slept?" He asked, talking a seat opposite mine while I remain standing- pacing almost.
"Oh, I don't know. Well, I didn't sleep much worrying over the mission, and then I had first look out- which, of course, was the one we had to leave during. I haven't slept at all today so, I'd have to say, about sixty, seventy hours ago," I rambled. It was true, I hadn't had much chance to sleep in some time and I knew what he was about to get at. Not that I'd be able to sleep anyway. I was much too worried.
"Daniel, I will after."
He just looked at me for a minute, I guess deciding whither or not I actually would. "Are you sure?"
"Yeah," I responded after a second, not wanting my answer to sound too rushed or unthought.
"Ok." I knew Daniel was only saying that so he didn't get on my bad side right now, he knew that was hardly what he or I needed.
A good ten or so minutes passed between us, neither saying a word. We both just sipped at our coffee, me passing back and forth, much to his annoyance. But, amazingly, he said nothing. A soft smile was his only response to it.
"You're smiling. What about?" I questioned, my pacing already in the past as I looked at him.
"It's just… I was remembering your wedding day…" his smile grew to a soft chuckle as he recalled, "You were so nervous, you wouldn't know that you had gotten married once before. With your sweaty palms, going on in a nervous rant… as you paced back and forth."
The memories of that day came back to me, most having been blurred through my butterflies. My own smile grew as I remembered more about that wonderful day, the day I married…
"Yeah, and Teal'c!" I laughed, Daniel joining along as we recalled the same instance. "He was so against that tie…"
"And the tux! He didn't have a clue what to do with either of them."
"That's right. You had to help him get into most of it," I remembered, one of the few moments that I was able to smile before the event, my nerves just not letting it happen.
We sobered, our laughter dying down as we fell back into a second silence, this time far more comfortable. But, was broken, when I recalled, "I seem to remember a certain doctor and archeologist dancing with each other that day. You remember, a nice slow dance. Which one was it?"
"Jack," Daniel groaned, a blush entering his features as he, obviously, had not remembered- or known- that I had seen. Then he just shrugged, trying to make me stop my onslaught of embarrassment. I did, only because I couldn't remember much more.
Sitting back down in my chair, he startled me a second time in that hour with his sudden, unexpected laughing fit. "Danny, calm down. What's so funny?" I tried to coax out of him, his laughing out of control.
"Member… Siler… pool…" he tried to tell me, none of the words clicking together. When his breathing came back under control, somewhat, he tried again. "Remember… Siler's face… when he lost… the pool by one day!" A second fit of laughter over took him before I was able to catch onto his message.
A smile slowly crept over my face, my mind going back to that scene. I aloud myself to chuckle at the memory. At the time I hadn't known what he was ranting about. It wasn't until I confronted a much richer Daniel that I knew what had gone on behind my back.
"And it was that newbie, down in the science labs, that won. Siler was so mad… he had had that slot for five years!" Daniel continued, still out of breath from his laughter.
I just shook my head. Though I had never known about the pools before, I didn't protest, too much, when I found out that Kawalsky had started pools on when they would get together. Which then was followed by when they'd first date, get married, and so forth- and that was all long before they had even thought about any of that.
"Oh, your feelings for each other were soooo transparent!" Daniel exclaimed, as if reading my mind. He must have been right- that or everyone was really bored- because, by they time they had gotten married, the pots were in the hundred thousands! Too bad I wasn't eligible to bet, it couldn't have been that hard to win then.
Daniel paused, having nothing more to say, as he took a sip of his coffee. For a time, neither of us said anything, just thought on our own. But Daniel soon broke the silence again when he asked, "Do you remember when I first found out? Teal'c and I?"
I smiled at the memory, a three-year-old memory. "Yeah, you ruined a very intriguing conversation," I scolded, more jokingly, still a little pissed at him… but, then again, I found out the answer later.
"I can still remember the look on her face…" his grin broadened, his eyes glazing over as his mind retreated to P4X- whatever it was. The corners of my own lips tugged up into a smile, remembering the day in the woods. By then we had been hiding our new, more intimate relationship- even from our team- for almost two months. But, because Danny and Teal'c were supposed to be out at the 'gate, we didn't think about it.
Of course that was when Daniel and Teal'c decided they needed to ask me something in person rather than over the radio. If I hadn't been so upset with those two at the moment, I probably would have laughed at the look on both hers and Daniel's face. Oh god, it was priceless!
"That was one interesting five months, keeping that whole things a secret," Daniel recalled.
"Yeah. I was pretty impressed that, in seven months, only two people found out and that we managed to only tell one other person."
He nodded before he became visibly bewildered. "Wait, who did you tell?"
"I thought… never mind."
"Nothing… just, I thought she figured it out."
"No, we told her. You know… for… other things," I admitted, starring down at my coffee mug.
Another silence clouded over us. But, as always, Daniel managed to find something to say. "Do you remember how, after we found out, the two of you would always sleep in the same tent?"
"Yeah, what about it?"
"Well, just… there was this one mission when SG-… must have been five, arrived two days later or whatever." A soft laugh accompanied his words when he told me, "Major… um, Quint seemed very interested in our sleeping arrangements… he didn't think that it was proper to have you two in the same tent, that we should have put either me or Teal'c with her."
"Why didn't he bring this up with me?"
"Well… I have no idea. But… I just remember telling him some weird story about how we chart out who shared a tent with Sam based on the type and length of the mission. Then there was a whole thing about trying to keep the three of us on a rotating schedule so it was even but not. Then he tried to figure it all out by asking me the last time we shared one… I accidentally told him something like five missions ago. Then covered that with explaining I only share a tent with her on missions beginning on Fridays, flatlands, or… I think something to do with previously occupied world that no longer has inhabitants or something like that."
"And he bought that?"
"Oh, I think he was too confused by the time I finished."
Laughing, it felt good, sounded good, but only covered over sorrow. Only kept you from remembering how you really feel for a moment. For a short time you can always forget it but it doesn't go away… not for a while.
"Yeah, life sure has been interesting for the past few years. Very interesting," I mumbled, but whither or not I meant in a good or bad way, I don't know. Perhaps both… we'd had our share of problems, losses, and so forth but that didn't uncount everything else that had happened to me... my friends, family, and all the good times we, amazingly, saw.
The newest silence took over. Silence. Yeah… such an ironic term. No matter how quiet a room is it will never be silent. Some kind of creak or squeaking noise that, normally, wouldn't even be heard is seemingly magnified in silence. And then, within that silence, your mind runs thousands of thoughts through your mind- what to say, what to do, and so on- just to try and brake the silence.
Yet, it was still silence…
Setting my coffee mug down, I pushed myself up, straightening once again. Walking around the room, I realized how little I had actually looked at it in- what? Must be almost seven hours now- the time I had been in there.
It used to be used as a medical storeroom, something they had tons of already, but this one Janet had turned into a small waiting room, realizing that she needed one to keep the SG teams in while she worked. She always seemed to hate it when we loamed over in the doorway or other side of the Infirmary rather than going home or whatever. I guess that's why I'm here now: staying out her way.
"So," I ask, just trying to break the loud silence. "Hear from Teal'c yet?"
"Uh, no. They still haven't reported in, but I'm sure it's nothing. Right?"
"Yeah. Probably just got sidetracked or whatever. Besides, the terrain's rocky, they might have misjudged their timing," I added, remembering how hard it had been to hustle back to the 'gate.
Well, that helped. A whole few seconds of talking just to lapse back into this pathetic silence. Daniel's foot tapped beatlessly on the floor, the sound seeming to echo endlessly in the room. I was tempted to tell him to knock it off but decided it was better than no noise. Better than true silence.
"How are you holding up?" Looking over my shoulder at one of my few good friends, I could see the worry in his face. The concern he had for, not only me, but also what was going on in the other room.
"I'm alright, Daniel. Just… waiting."
"Right. Waiting. Worst part, isn't it?"
"Always is," I softly replied, no longer looking at him. A tear formed in my eye, splashing on the tip of my slight grin. "You know, I couldn't decide if I wanted to get the year over with because… I wanted her back on the team or…"
"Yeah. Is she still planning on coming back? I mean, she seemed content with just research," Daniel commented. True, she did like it and would have more time at home but she also told me how much she missed traveling through the 'gate and all the adventures and so on.
A soft laugh escaped my lips, it sounded a lot more like… well, I don't really know what it sounded like. Not a laugh. "I still remember how bewildered Janet had been. She had no clue whither or not the 'gate would cause a problem."
"Well, she had already gone through it for a few weeks before we found out."
"Yeah, she said something about being too soon for the 'gate to do much but she was concerned about travel later on. And afterwards. It'll be at least two or three months before Janet will let her go back through."
"Not that she minds. Plenty of time off," Daniel commented.
"Yeah," I agree, finally turning to look at him. I could tell he was still worried about me, especially once he could see the traces of my tear, but he wouldn't push. He never did, not about that kind of thing. Something I admire about him.
A light creak of the door turned my attention away from Daniel. Janet stood there, in the doorframe, her face solemn and tired. "We should go in now," Daniel's voice whispered to me. A slight crack in his words told me of his deteriorating control without my ever seeing his face.
I just nod, my body uncertain of how to do anything else. As I walked to the doorway Janet stood inside of, I could feel my legs turning to jelly, my nerves messing with both my head and stomach. Putting her hand on my arm, her soft words comfort me as she stepped out of my way.
Though I knew the situation, knew what had gone on in the room during my absence, I was neither prepared nor ready for the scene in front of me. Hidden in the clear box, a tiny baby squirmed against the light blue blanket. Wires and tubes surrounded his tiny frame; machines nosily working in the background as they indifferently kept the child alive.
My hand ran over the cool surface of the plastic, my eyes drinking in the sight of the little boy. A sad yet joyous smile tugged at the corners of my lips. With a nod from Janet, she silently gave me permission to touch him, to really see and feel that he was alive.
Even as I smiled, my mind reeling with the thought of the child's survival, a salty tear fell on the plastic box guarding the boy. My face wet with joy and sorrow over the child's birth.
As gently as I could, I ran my finger over his miniature arm, the feeling of his soft, velvety skin lost beneath the rubber glove that separated me from him. Protected his undeveloped body from my germs and the outside world.
When my hand reached his, I was surprised at how small his own fingers seemed. So small, so much tinier than my own. I remember Charlie at that age, so small and fragile, but he had never been like this little baby.
As more of my tears fell, I hesitantly removed my hand. Though I would have delighted in the idea of staying longer- until the boy was better- I knew that it was time to leave. To do what else was needed.
To see her…
I could almost imagine her beneath the white sheet they would have, undoubtedly, covered her with. The paleness of her body, how vulnerable and still she must look. The blood…
Janet seemed to understand my next journey- the object of my next question. Wordlessly, she lead me over to the curtained off section. A small squared off area where she was… where…
"If you need me, I'll be right over there with Daniel. Ok, Jack?" Her tone was soft, caring, as she gave a supportive smile. Again, I only managed a simple nod. Pathetic as it was, I still hadn't a clue what to say, what to feel, what to do. So, I just nod and walk, bit by bit, to the white curtain. Pulling it away…
And there she was. Just lying there. Still and pale. There was visible sign of blood, on both the floor and her, but most had been cleared away. Most likely cleaned before we were aloud in. Before they would let us see either of them.
Stepping closer, my heart clenched, my mind dizzy as it spun out of control remembering the events leading to that moment. The mere sight of her caused my tears to fall yet again, for my stomach to heave from the stress and worry of the day.
Moving closer, my hand grasped hers. It felt colder but not altogether devoid of heat. She was so pale- she had lost so much blood. The tips of my fingers brushed against her cheek as they pushed back a lock of hair, the same lock having fallen in her eyes so many times before.
Bending over, I placed a light kiss on her forehead before I released her hand. Straightening, a sad smile graced my lips, my sleeve being used to wipe of my face. My feet squeaked on the freshly washed floor as I turned to walk away, but all I could hear was the steady beating of the heart monitor in the background.
See, I told you you'd like it. But no, no one ever listens to me *wipes away fake tears*… but, well, I'm used to it. Please R/R and tell me what you think about it… your perception of the baby and the person Jack went to see, who they were talking about and so on…
And, just to say it now, no, there won't be a sequel. That would ruin the entire point of writing this in the first place… no matter how much fun I think it would be, I'm not going to.