Title: forsaken (1/2)
Rating: PG-13, minor language, violence
Summary: Jack wakes up in a nightmare and yearns for the dream he lost
Classifications: Angst, POV, S/J, team friendship
Archive: Yes, SJD and Heliopolis
Disclaimer: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.
Author's Note: I was in a dark mood, what can I say.
Feedback: Yes, please.
I am floating, endlessly floating. I don't know where I am, only that she is here with me. She is always here. Her hand is in mine and she is calling me Jack. We sit closely together, laughing about this and that and I can feel her hand playing in my hair. She whispers softly against my neck, and there is a smile on my lips. How long we are like this, I cannot tell. I simply am, content and peaceful, until one time she pulls away. Her face is sad as she pushes back from me. My hands are empty once more. Her words reach me as if from a great distance, "It's time to wake up, Jack." She is drifting further and further away, taking with her all peacefulness. I struggle to follow her, my mouth wordlessly screaming, but she continues to fade. My legs will not move and agonizing pain begins to crawl down my back. My head throbs and I swear I can feel the warm stickiness of blood in my eyes. I watch her as long as I can, before she is taken from me by harsh light and cold hands.
Awareness comes to me in flashes. A penlight shines in my eyes and I hear snatches of voices. There are disembodied words. I hear such things as "temporary paralysis," "brain damage," and "coma." My throat burns and I am aware that my breathing is not my own. The mechanical rise and fall of my chest is disconcerting and I fight it, desperate to call out her name, to ask why she has abandoned me. The voices become sharp and hands are pressing me down. Soon everything begins to soften and my body lies numb. I am left in the darkness with nothing but echoing pain and pressing loneliness to keep me company.
When next my eyes open I can see Daniel sitting by the edge of my bed. He looks worn and old, but his eyes are bright as he notices me. "Jack," he gasps, his hand grabbing mine. "How do you feel?"
He seems breathless and fearful as he waits for me to answer. It is only in this moment that I sense that my throat is now free and my breath is my own. "Daniel," I croak, barely more than a rasp, but apparently, it is enough because Daniel's eyes shine wet with tears, clearly relieved. "Jack, thank god," he quietly whispers before other hands press into my body and I can no longer see him.
Sometimes I am able to fade back out, but she is never there. My only companion is aching pain. Whenever they come, asking their questions, my only reply is for them to stop the pain. The unfamiliar faces cringe with pity before they fill my veins with sweet oblivion. No matter how much they give me, though, I can't find my way back.
One day there is a new face, one who refuses to honor my requests. She is a small woman with sharp eyes and hair in a careful bun. I ask for more drugs but she shakes her head and looks at me piercingly. "Sorry, Colonel, but it's time to wake up." If I squint my eyes, I can almost believe that she is Janet. I look away in disgust and refuse to cooperate in any way. I just want the pain to stop.
Whoever this new woman is, she must have never heard of the Hippocratic oath. I am left shivering and sweating with fire burning down my spine. I beg for more relief, but none comes. Sometimes there are cool hands on my forehead and I think I may have heard Daniel's voice, but none of it matters. I will do anything to find the floating darkness once more. Finally, I am sure I will die from the agony and I am glad, glad that there will be an end. I scream out her name, pleading her to come back to me, and finally black oblivion comes.
I can hear a steady beep and soft voices in the distance. There is still pain, but my head is clearer. Cracking open my eyes, I see a gray ceiling extending above me. I breathe deeply and stretch my mind, trying to separate the real from the imagined. I can't remember why I am here. Not-Janet approaches my bed carefully; I only remember that the agony was her fault. I follow her with my eyes as she punches buttons on a machine by my head and writes notes on a clipboard. Eventually, she meets my eyes with a serious, penetrating gaze. She puts a soft hand on my shoulder and carefully says, "Welcome back to the world of the living, sir." Suddenly, I can't be angry with her anymore and I close my eyes once more, submitting to the pull of sleep.
My first night of natural sleep is permeated with sharp images that I can't quite place. My nose is filled with the scent of scorched earth and screams echo in my ears. I can see the glowing face of a wormhole. I wake breathless.
When next Daniel comes to sit by my bed I find it within me to ask what has happened. His face is haggard; all boyishness has left the features I once knew so well. "It all went to hell, Jack," he says, his voice breaking. "You've been out for six months. They said you would probably never wake up again and even if you did…" Unwillingly, my mind begins to ask the questions I have been avoiding. Why is Daniel the only familiar face I have seen? Where are Teal'c and Hammond? Where is Sam? I can't give voice to the words, but Daniel knows my thoughts. Words fail him and he moves to leave the room, promising to let me read all the reports. As he exits the room, I notice for the first time that he walks with a heavy limp and a cane. At the ankle of his pants, I see the glimmer of light reflecting off of his metal limb. I can't help but wonder how much has been lost while I slept.
Not-Janet with the sharp eyes does not approve of my reading material. She hovers nearby, convinced that my health is too fragile to know what has befallen my world. The report is written by Teal'c. There are no others by the members of SG-1 to accompany it. Why is easily apparent. In Teal'c's rigid, stately prose, it is revealed that I took a hit to the head and spine from an aggressive race SG-1 ran into on PY6-978. My unconscious body was pulled through the Stargate by the infatigable Jaffa. Teal'c had also helped Daniel through, who had lost his lower left leg in the attack. And Sam…dear god, Sam. She never made it off that planet. She had guarded their escape and fallen to enemy fire. Teal'c, as strong as he is, could not carry them all. I wonder how he has handled this fact.
There is one additional sheet of paper in the back of the file. It is signed by a General whose name I am unfamiliar with; dated two months after the attack on PY6-978. It officially closes the career of Major Samantha Carter, declaring her MIA. They never found her body. I have no tears, only a heavy fatigue. I fall asleep, clutching the paper to my chest.
A young man starts coming to see me once a day. He lifts and moves my legs and asks be to wiggle my toes. I ignore him, looking off to the side, counting the cracks in the concrete walls. Not-Janet comes back with harsh words, but I ignore her too. Daniel is the only one I will speak to, and only because I feel he has already lost too much. He does not ask annoying questions like the rigid man with a moustache who came by for a while when I first woke up. Daniel understands me; he understands our loss.
One day I ask about Teal'c and he tells me that he returned to Chulak to lead the Jaffa rebellion three months after. Neither of us ever needed to say after what. Hammond had been reassigned and I had been given up as a lost cause. Once Teal'c knew Daniel would survive, he had disappeared back to where he had come from. He probably believed he had failed the Tau'ri cause, or maybe he just couldn't handle being here anymore. I can't blame him.
I do wonder where that left Daniel. He had been alone for months, forsaken by his team, left to deal with his new life and disabilities on his own. I wonder if the young man that came to bug me everyday used to work on Daniel too. We never speak of his leg, just as we never speak of my back and the sad, pale, atrophied legs that are hidden beneath the hospital blankets.
I eventually bully Daniel into giving me a mirror. I am shocked by the gray, thin face that stares back at me. The only color found is in the nasty scar that stretches from my nose across my eye and up to my hairline. I gently run a finger down the puckered skin and Daniel tells me that I had been lucky not to lose my eye. Our eyes meet over the mirror and we both smile humorlessly at the absurdity of his statement. Luck was something neither of us would believe in again.
Daniel and I are silently playing gin when I finally ask him what the hell he is still doing here. I know without asking that he has stayed this long tied to a vague hope that I might survive. But now I am awake, I will survive. But Daniel seems to die a little bit more each day I see him. He needs to leave these gray halls and the ghosts that haunt them. Of all of us, he is the only one left with a chance to really live. I am the last thing tying him here and I can't help but know that it would be better for him if I had died. "I'll never be the same again, Daniel. You need to leave while you still can." He doesn't acknowledge my words, but I know he has heard them.
After that day, Daniel begins to come see me less and less and somewhere in the distant reaches of my now-dead heart, I am glad. I am glad that one of us may come out of this whole. I begin to feel complacent, my life falling into a pattern of sorts. People continue to come see me, to ask me do things, but I am silent, actionless. I think of the past, try to crawl back into the bright moments from my life. Unfortunately, the past is not quite done with me. I am not left alone to slip into oblivion.
It's been five days since I last saw Daniel when the dreams come back. I relive the ambush on that planet every night for a week. I feel the pain searing into my back, the crushing blow to my head. The dream always ends with darkness, my ears full of her death scream. One night, after the darkness, I see the glowing surface of the Stargate. I can feel strong arms pulling my inert body and blood trailing down my face. Weakly, as if my body is made of the heaviest stone, I turn my head away from the blue light to see the battlefield that has stolen my life from me. I can see her, for the first time since I woke so many weeks before. She stands on the distant side, her arms reaching out towards me. Then she points and following her arm, I can see vague dark forms dragging another between them. There is a flash of golden hair. Before I start awake, I feel her breath against my face and her voice harsh in my ear. "Jack."