Author's Note: So! This one is going to start out sad, just so you all know. Don't hate it, though. It's going to be a good story, and I've been working it out in my head for quite a while now. Once again, has taken away a symbol that I use in my writing - why is that, do you suppose? Since I can't make the symbols that I used to separate Talon's speech from Melony's, I have to come up with a new method. Talon's speech will be in italics Melony's will just be there.
Disclaimer: I don't own SG anything. I own Mitchell, and Talon, and anyone else I make up. All others are not mine, unfortunately!
"Ashes to ashes... dust to dust... Where man comes from the ground we now return our friend and brother there, trusting in you, Oh Lord, to take his spirit into your arms and comfort him as we try to comfort those he's left behind. Amen."
There was a murmur of Amens in answer to the final prayer, and all eyes watched as an honor guard of Military personnel approached the flag-draped casket. They gently and reverently took the flag from the casket and folded it, then solemnly marched it over to the waiting group of relatives who were dressed in the deepest black.
The flag was handed over to a young woman in the full military dress of an Air Force Colonel, and she clutched it close for a long moment, then turned to an elderly woman who was already in tears and being supported by five young men, all weepy-eyed, and all dark-haired and handsome.
"Mrs. Anderson, the people of the United States of America want to express their sympathy and their gratitude to you and your family for the sacrifice your grandson has made in the defense of this country."
Her voice was soft, but steady, although there was an agony in her pale eyes that went all the way to her soul. She handed the flag lovingly over to the elderly woman, and broke protocol by giving her a tight hug, unable to help herself.
"I'm so sorry..."
"Thank you, Melony..."
Emma Anderson took the flag that had draped her youngest grandson's casket, and wept softly, and Melony Mitchell turned to the boys – who were really fully grown men, of course – and snapped off a salute to them, which all the Military personnel in the crowd echoed. She held it for a long moment, then lowered her hand, and turned on her heels and walked away from the ceremony, determined to get away from the crowd before she broke down and cried.
As she left, she could hear the guns going off in salute. They covered her sobs well.
Where are you going to go?
Nowhere. I don't want to do anything.
I'm sorry, Melony
I know, Talon.
How could she not know? He was inside her head, of course. She knew everything that he was thinking, like he knew everything she was thinking. Of course, he was also sharing her loss just then, and there was nothing the symbiote could do to ease the pain of her broken heart. He could – and did – shower her with all the affection and love that he could, but the loss was still so fresh, the pain so great, that there was no comfort.
You shouldn't drive
She was walking towards the parking lot. Of course, she'd come to the cemetery in the limo with Brad's grandmother and brothers, so she didn't have anything to drive, anyways, but she couldn't stay and take the limo back with them. She couldn't face them.
It's not your fault. You weren't even there
I should have been.
There's nothing you could have done
She knew that, of course. The accident had been so sudden, and so unexpected – what accident wasn't though? – that no one could have prevented it. One minute SG-2 had been on a routine recon mission – it wasn't as if they had to worry about Jaffa ambushes anymore, after all – and the next, an unstable swath of ground had crumbled underneath them and the entire team had plummeted into a sinkhole. Simmons had lived long enough to call for help, but by the time O'Neill had gathered a rescue team, there was nothing to rescue but the bodies.
It'd been a long time since the SGC had lost an entire team, and the shock had been plain in Jack's voice when he'd sent Melony the message to come home. She'd known before he said anything that something catastrophic had happened. Nothing shook Jack, but this time he was rattled. She'd broken off her negotiations with the minor – very minor – system lord Calypsos, and had rushed home as fast as Fuglier could get her there. Only to find she was only in time for the funerals.
She'd been leaning against Jack's truck, her head buried in her arms. She felt his hand come down on her back, and the other take her arm, turning her. Mitchell allowed him to turn her, and she was engulfed in a hug, her face pressed tightly against his chestful of ribbons. She didn't even notice. All she could do was sob as she clung to him like a lost child.
"What am I going to do, Jack?" she asked him, brokenly.
"I don't know, love."
O'Neill's voice was just as broken. He'd known those lost, and they were his men. He felt just as empty as she did. Or very close to it. Even as he held Melony close, giving her all the support he could give her, he was clinging to her as well. Brad's had been the last of the funerals, and the capper to the roughest week he could ever remember having. At least in the last couple years.
He didn't know how long they were there. Melony didn't, either. Suddenly, though, they weren't alone. Daniel came up behind the two and pulled them into a rough hug, holding both of them tightly.
"Let's get you two out of here," he murmured.
Melony nodded, wordlessly, her face still buried in Jack's chest. She couldn't stay. As the bugle started playing taps, she broke down once more, her knees buckling. If not for Daniel and Jack holding her so tightly, she would have fallen. As it was, they both supported her, and managed somehow to get her into the truck.
"I'll drive, Jack." Daniel said.
O'Neill nodded, and handed over the keys.