Summary: He only did it for her.
Classifications: Missing Scene (Abyss), Angst, S/J
Disclaimer: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-1, 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: This is in response to the GateShip Wednesday Shorts "Abyss" Challenge. But I have blown any word count so spectacularly, that I'm not sure it even counts:) Not exactly a drabble..huh?
Jack thinks he must be dead. Maybe Daniel had finally followed through. There is a brief beat of guilt that his friend had had to do that for him, but it's quickly eclipsed by the simple relief that the pain is gone. He feels no body, he's just…floating. In fact, he feels nothing at all.
This isn't really what he thought death would be like.
A cloying moment of panic presses into his consciousness, but he forces himself to calm and take a deep breath.
A deep breath?
Wait a minute…
Jack desperately stills his mind, stretching outwards with everything he has. For long minutes there is nothing, and then, oh-so-softly in the distance he finally hears something: a constant, rhythmic drip.
Blood? Acid? Tears?
It doesn't matter, he decides. Meaningless, because any of those answers led to something he couldn't contemplate. Violent rebirth in a sarcophagus.
He really, really hopes this is death.
But then something else begins to slowly encroach, voices in the distance, garbled as if being transmitted too slowly underwater. Who was there? Baal? Daniel?
Even the mere echoing thought of the name brings vicious tumult to Jack's mind. Something gradually rises and he realizes that he is not alone. Some ghostly tendril of Kanan remains, screaming for the woman. There is rocking dizziness and Jack doesn't know if it is because of the lingering whirlwind of Kanan's feelings or because of Jack's disbelief that he has to spend his afterlife with the Tok'ra still snaked to his consciousness.
Talk about cruel and unusual punishment.
Kanan begins to fill Jack's perception and he is forced to remember the moment of union.
Kanan doesn't understand Jack's tangled feelings of disgust, abject terror and helplessness when he enters. The Tok'ra has only ever known a willing mind. In his curiosity he pokes and prods, honing in on Jack's most precious moments and most heavily guarded thoughts with cruel efficiency. Jack struggles, but his weakened body is no match and Kanan is relentless, pulling his memories apart, piece by delicate piece.
Wide blue eyes behind a plastic mask.
Soft words hovering in the air.
"You only do this for her," Kanan observes. "Even though you abhor it and would rather die…you do this for her." Jack can tell that he is more than slightly in awe, confused by his unfathomable choices. Kanan begins to prod further, as if to understand.
A vision of Sam, a thin wavering shield standing between them and almost obscuring her beautiful face.
"How can you surrender everything for her?" Kanan asks, not comprehending sacrifice that did not benefit the greater good.
Jack finally manages to pull up strength from his last reserves, refusing to let Kanan root around something so precious. The image slips and the woman's face changes, ever so slightly.
Jack stares at the face in fascinated horror. "How can you not?" Jack finally responds.
Somehow he can feel Kanan flinch back, something twisting loose and Jack realizes with revulsion that Kanan had abandoned her.
Jack struggles not to let the name tear out of his throat. Kanan's phantom wants to weep and wail, but Jack does not budge. He will not betray her. Not like Kanan did. He bites down hard on his tongue, swallowing the word.
The pain surprises him.
Should dead people feel?
There is pressure on his arm, and Jack is forced to realize that maybe he wasn't quite dead. The touch is soft, though, almost comforting.
The distant murmuring continues. Something begins to build in Jack's chest with appalling momentum and after all the hours and days of endless struggle, he finds Shayla's name helplessly bursting forth. But just as it leaves his mouth it shifts…transforms…
The roughness of his own voice startles him, but not as much as the ready response to his utterance.
The touch on his arm tightens and he can feel the softest breath against his cheek. "I'm here…." The voice nearly breaks before it comes back stronger and faster as if she can't stop the tumble of words from her lips. "You got yourself out. You're going to be fine… You're going to be fine."
He's not quite sure who exactly she is trying to convince. Even with his eyes closed and his head fuzzy, he can hear the guilt lurking in her voice.
You only do this for her…
It is only a whisper inside his mind and Jack can feel the final thread of Kanan fading into the distance.
With a great deal of effort, Jack twists his wrist so that her hand is clenched in his. He wants to ask her to stay by his side, to not leave him. To let her be his anchor, his tether to reality. To tell her…
But he clamps down on the words just as surely as he had fought back Shayla's name in Baal's presence. He will not betray either one of them.
So he bites his tongue until he can taste the metallic tang of blood, swallowing the words.
Refusing to feel bereft when her hand eventually slips from his.
As he finally submits to the pull of cool, calm unconsciousness, Jack's left with a pressing feeling of loss that he can't quite distinguish as his or Kanan's. But in the end, it doesn't really matter.
Because he only did it for her.