He peeled the banana without any enthusiasm, removing its' outside shell with slow, lethargic fingers. The cafeteria, unusually busy for a Monday morning, was filled with the voices and the laughter of the personnel of the SGC. Putting the peel down by his plate, he looked down to the fruit that was usually the high point of his breakfast. Suddenly, it held no appeal to him. Sighing, he set it back down with the rest of his untouched meal. He rubbed at his eyes with his free hand and tried not to think. Sadly, he couldn't help it. His mind was always thinking, always analyzing. It was a downside to hisincreased intellect, something that he usually appreciated having.
Today was a day he'd dreaded, from the moment when he'd sat down in his new quarters at the base, and remarked the calendar they had on the wall. He'd converted the day to match the Earth calendar, and circled it almost unconsciously in bright red ink. That date, that anniversary held a memory that was still as fresh in his mind as the translations he went through yesterday. Jonas tried to push it away; to throw it to the furthest reaches of his mind so that he could try and survive this day.
His concentration in his efforts were broken when two of his fellow members on SG-1 strode through the door. After selecting their choices, Major Carter and Teal'c headed over to his table. On any other day Jonas would have welcomed them, excited for the chance to bond with his team-mates. On any other day, he would have been happy to have someone sit with him, instead of being by himself. Today, however, he wanted nothing more than to crawl back to his room and curl up into a ball.
"Hey, Jonas!" said Sam, offering a smile to her Kelownan friend. "How was your weekend?"
"Fine." he answered, trying to force a grin.
"What did you do?" she continued, placing her spoon into her bowl of Cherrios. It was a cereal kind of morning, she had decided.
Noting the apathy in her companion's tone, she looked up from her bowl and towards him. He looked tired, mellow even. He was slightly pale, and with shock she noticed the untouched plate of food before him.
"Are you feeling okay, Jonas?" she asked, concern apparent in her voice.
"You should visit the infirmary if you are ill, Jonas Quinn." added Teal'c in his infinite wisdom.
Putting his hands up to his face, Jonas sighed in exasperation. It wasn't their fault, he reminded himself, they were only being good friends.
"I'm sorry, I have to go. I'll see you bothin an hour for the mission." Rising up from his chair, he attempted another smile and left the room.
As they watched him leave, Sam and Teal'c exchanged confused looks. "What was that all about?"
They were running, so fast he could barely see the obstacles around them. Her hand was in his as they ran, and he was pulling her with him, keeping her with him as long as he could. But her fingers were sliding in his grasp; she was being drawn in.
"You can't save me, Jonas." she whispered, before falling into the black hole of death.
A loud gasp brought him out of his troubled sleep. He was out of breath, and was tangled up in the small blanket he had cast over himself. Looking over to the small digital clock beside his bunk, he groaned. He had five minutes to get to the gate room and onto today's mission. Grabbing his pack and jacket, he sprinted down the halls of the SGC, blowing past people without even a word. Finally getting to his destination (with one minute to spare), he burst into the room to find his team waiting for him silently.
"Glad you could join us." remarked Jack sarcastically.
The seventh chevron locked into place, and the gate came to life. Following the rest of SG-1 through the event horizon, he tried in vain to recall the details of this particular mission. Something to do with cataloguing a certain set of ruins or... something.
Coming through onto the other side, he was greeted with rain. Rain pouring down from anywhere and everywhere. Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter and Teal'c were already pulling out their rain coats to try and defend themselves from the deluge. Jonas followed suit, but reluctantly. The rain felt right to him, soaking him down to the bone. How easy it would be to just give in and let it take him away from here... No. He shook his head to clear the thoughts away. In thirteen hours this particular day would be over and he could start again. Just make it through the day, he told himself. Make it through today.
The ruins turned out to be of ancient Greek descent. As far as Jonas could tell, it was the decaying remains of a temple, obviously in homage to some long forgotten god, and an outdoor theatre. Their were inscriptions along the walls of the temple, identifying it as the place of worship for the lesser goddess Dolores. Goddess of sorrow, he remarked, chuckling softly at the irony. He was suddenly overcome with a complete and utter tiredness, and he rested his head against the cold wall of the temple. Closing his eyes, he tried to clear his thoughts.
Unbeknownst to the pensive Kelownan, his friends were observing him with quiet concern. This wasn't the normal smiling Jonas Quinn that they knew. Something was bothering him, and it had to be something big.
"What should we do?" asked Sam, looking towards Jack.
"What are you looking at me for? I don't know what to do!"
"Perhaps we should attempt to distract him, with a film perhaps." suggested Teal'c.
"Sorry T," responded Jack with a grin, "I'm pretty sure that Star Wars can't solve this problem."
The three friends continued to discuss their options as Jonas leaned against the wall. He could hear them talking, and was touched by their worry for him, but he didn't think that they could do anything about it. He didn't want to bother them with his own personal problems. Besides, he was sure that Colonel O'Neill could care less about what things went on in Jonas' head. After all, Jack would still have his best friend around if it wasn't for him.
Stop it. Get back to work.
As he heeded his own advice and returned to his translations, he overheard a snippet of their conversation once more. "Maybe it's a Kelownan holy day or something." remarked Jack, from behind him. Ha. Kelownan holy day indeed.
He slowly stripped every soaking garment from his body, down to only his undergarments. He picked up a nearby towel and dried off his hair, barely noticing when water splashed down into his face. He grabbed a pair of pants and a shirt, black as always, from his small closet and got dressed. He was determined to go down to the cafeteria and force himself to eat something. Only six hours left, he reminded himself. The day was almost over.
The rest of SG-1 had watched him with ill-hid concern on their way back from their mission. As they had walked from the ruins to the Stargate, several conversations were initiated, but died all in their infancy. Jonas had proved to be unresponsive, and by the time they stepped through the event horizon on Earth, his three companions had all but given up.
As opposed to the morning, the cafeteria was almost always abandoned in the evening. Jonas was used to eating by himself at night, wishing that he had somewhere, someone to go home to like everyone else. He grabbed a plate and filled it with chicken, salad and of course, his customary banana and went to sit down. He poked the chicken with mock interest, but determined that no matter how hard he tried, he wouldn't be able to eat.
The door to the mess swung open, and he watched as Samantha Carter walked through. She headed immediately to the desserts and grabbed the last dish of blue Jell-O. Obviously pleased, she walked over to where Jonas was seated and proceeded to eat it with much enthusiasm.
"So, Jonas," she started, between mouthfuls, "Mind telling me what's up?"
He smiled, albeit weakly, at her. "Nothing, Major, I'm fine."
"You can call me Sam."
His smile grew, and for a split second he was happy. "Thanks."
"No problem." she said, as she took her final bite of the dessert. Sighing with disappointment, she placed the spoon down into the bowl and leaned back in her chair. "You know, you can tell me what's wrong, Jonas. I'm not blind."
"It's not important."
"Jonas, you haven't touched your chicken or your salad, let alone your banana. Now if that's not a cry for help in Jonas-speak, I don't know what is."
"The day's almost over; I'll be fine tomorrow." he said, trying to reassure her.
"You're not getting off that easy, Jonas."
He sighed, and rubbed his eyes. Maybe it would be best to tell her? Maybe then the weight sitting so heavily on his heart would lift?
"Today..." he started, not sure how to continue.
Sam sat patiently, not saying a word. The silence in the cafeteria seemed to be swallowing him up, and he felt a sudden need to break it.
"Today's the anniversary of my wife's death." he said softly, looking down to the table in front of him. He placed his hands upon it, and remarked that he could still see a faint white line from where a certain ring used to sit. He'd removed it only a year ago, and some days he still felt naked without it.
Sam's face reflected shock. She never knew that Jonas had even been married. It had never really occurred to her that he might have left someone behind when he came here. He'd risked everything he'd ever known to try and atone for something that was not completely his doing, and she'd never even considered that he might have someone waiting for him back home.
"It's been five years." he said softly, and he explained to her what had happened on that day so long ago.
Sprinting through his office building and down five sets of stairs, Jonas Quinn was very late. He was supposed to have left fifteen minutes ago for his lunch date. Narelle was not going to be pleased.
He shot out onto the street, and almost collided with an older man, who shot him a less than gracious look. He decided that he'd rather show up to his appointment late than dead, and slowed down. The day was beautiful around him; no clouds in sight, while small birds sang in the trees doting the boulevard. Small children played in a nearby park, while their mothers looked on.
He started to whistle, a catchy tune that his mother had sang to him while still a baby. He was happy to see Narelle; she'd be gone for a week on a study of the Mount Etery ruins. Jonas lamented the fact that even though they held the same degrees from the University, they had completely different occupations. She was an archaeologist with the National Museum of History; he worked on the newly formed Naquadria Project for the Kelownan Research Council. However, he was happy that they were able to meet for lunch today. It had been her idea, she said that she was something very 'important' to talk about with him. Then again, everything was 'important' with his wife, ranging from his disorganized desk to his housework abilities. How two people with such opposite personalities had fallen in love was completely beyond him.
As the young scientist passed a sidewalk kiosk, he remarked that flowers might help her forget his tardiness. He looked them over, then decided on some red and purple grandia blossoms. Narelle liked the colour purple. Paying the old woman behind the booth, he picked up his flowers and continued along his way.
The next thing he knew he was lying on the ground. An explosion had rocked the the street, and all around him people were strewn about. He pushed himself up to his feet, the flowers forgotten on the cold pavement. Smoke was rising from about five hundred metres down the road, near the park where they were supposed to meet.
A cold feeling formed in the bottom of his stomach. Ignoring the pain in his leg, Jonas sprinted down the road blindly, looking at everyone to see if they had brown hair and green eyes. Men, women and children were gathered all about, some injured and some not. In the distance, he could hear the sirens of the ambulances coming and the wailing sound to arms of the Kelownan army.
Arriving at the park, he fought the urge to vomit. A smoking crater was all that remained of a magnificent war memorial in the centre of the park. Bleeding corpses were thrown about, and he couldn't help but think that he had unwittingly wandered into the middle of a war zone.
He spotted a familiar jacket among the debris on the ground, and he ran to it. Gently turning her over, he gazed into the eyes of his wife. She had a long piece of concrete through her leg, and the left side of her chest was nothing but a bloody mess. Her eyes reflected the unimaginable pain she was feeling, and Jonas barely felt the tears start to fall from his own eyes. Recognition dawned in her features, and she brought one shaking hand up to his face. He grabbed onto it with his own, and tried to speak.
"You're going to be fine, Narelle. Just wait for help to come, okay?"
A faint smile tugged at her lips. "You know it won't matter."
"No, no, they can help you. You'll be fine!"
"Jonas..." she started.
"I can't lose you Narelle! Stay with me!"
Her body shook as she coughed, and her lungs struggled to breathe in air. "I-...I love you, Jonas."
He angrily wiped away his tears and tried to focus his sight. "No, no, you can't go Narelle! I love you! Stay with me!"
Her hand went limp in his, and he shivered with grief. The world, so beautiful only moments ago, collapsed in darkness around him. Overcome with emotion, he fell down beside his fallen love. She was gone, and part of him died with her.
"I know she wouldn't want me to be this way, she was always concentrating on the future. But every time I feel like I can finally move on, that I can finally live again, my heart stops and I think: what if I forget her? What if some day I don't think of her and I forget her voice, or the way her nostrils flared when shelaughed, or how she'd always say 'I'll see you.' instead of goodbye? I can't let go." Jonas's eyes seemed to glaze over, and he was fighting tears. Sam had never seen him so vulnerable, so emotional before.
She reached her hand across the table and took his cold, clammy one into hers. "Jonas, it's okay to feel that way. And you will forget things. Everyone does. I can't remember my mother's voice, let alone her laughter. But I still remember her."
He looked up from the table, and straight into his friend's eyes. "So, you think that I should move on? Stop mourning for something that I'll never have again?"
"Just because she's gone doesn't feel you won't fall in love again. You'll remember her forever, Jonas, but I think that you can love someone else again. You're still here, and I think that she'd want you to be happy."
For a long moment he considered what Sam had said. He turned it over in his mind, pensive upon it. His grief had become second nature for him, and it was going to be hard to let it go. But something had lifted from him tonight, something that had been there for a long time. And though it might be a while before he was ready to face the romantic world again, he finally felt that he was starting on the right path.
He grinned to Sam, and she smiled back. "Now, I think that Teal'c may be lonely watching Star Wars by himself. Shall we see what all the fuss is about?" she asked.
"Right behind you." he said, still smiling as he stood from the table. He barely noticed as the time on his watch switched to another hour. For the first time in half a decade, this day was just like any other day.