The Life he Left Behind


Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate or anything related to it. I make no money from this. I do it only to shut up the voices in my head.

Summary: After the events in 'Beneath the Surface' Jack can't deal with his feelings for Sam and leaves the SGC to help his ex-wife, unaware that Sam's life is about to change forever. J/S


Jack O'Neill walked into his ex-wife's home. "Sara! You home?" he called out, shutting the door and meandering his way through the familiar house.

"I'm in the bathroom. I left you some food in the fridge. Help yourself. I'll be out shortly," his ex-wife shouted through the bathroom door.

Jack went to the kitchen and pulled out the plate obviously meant for him. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. 'Not bad'. He thought, stuffing the plate in the microwave. Watching the plate spin around in the small oven, Jack thought back to his former teammates. It had been two years now. Two years today that he had left them. Two years since he had seen the best friends he had ever known.

Sure, they had called. A lot, actually. Pleaded and begged for him to come back. They even tried using her to make him come back. But, that just angered him more. It was because of them and their stupid rules that made him leave in the first place! And then, as soon as they feel like they're losing control of him, they tell him Carter needs him. How dare they! He still remembers it. She was the only one who didn't call. Daniel had called him almost everyday telling him they needed him to come back. Even Teal'c called once. But, when General Hammond called and ordered him to return, Jack flipped.

Hammond told him Carter was going through something traumatic and he needed to be there for her. Him! Can you believe it? They were ordering him to come and take care of his second in command. The one woman in the world he wasn't allowed to have inappropriate feelings for. The one woman in the world, he wasn't allowed to love, was the one woman in the world who he couldn't stop loving! How could they ask him to come back and take care of her? Did they have any idea at all what he was going through? He was pissed. Pissed at himself. Pissed at her. Pissed at the Air Force. Pissed at everyone. He told Hammond exactly where he could stick it. He resigned right then and told Hammond to never contact him again. And, so far, for two whole years, he hadn't. Jack missed him. He regretted his words now. Heck, he regretted them the moment he said them.

He missed them. All of them. But, especially her. Major Samantha Carter. He hadn't seen her since that day he ran out of the briefing room. He knew coming here was only an excuse, but, he had to get away. He couldn't take it anymore. It was one thing to push your feelings aside, be friends if you will, if you're not aware of what you're missing. But, once he knew, he just couldn't go back. It was that stupid ice age planet! They stamped their minds. Made them think they were other people. Jonah and Thera. He knew. He knew making love to her was not a good idea. He knew, and he didn't care. He knew he loved her. That was always the one thing he was sure of during the entire ordeal. That was the one thing they were unable to take from his mind. He loved her!

The nights they had together on that planet were like a dream to him now. But, he didn't care. He didn't know it would be so hard. Finding out who they really were. But, it was. It was damn hard. He had been so rude to her after they returned. He had such a hard time trying to go back to CO and 2IC. He was frustrated and took his anger out on her. He felt bad. Two years later, he still felt bad. He hurt her. She was grieving, too. But, he couldn't see past his own misery to notice hers. He just wanted to get away. Get away from the stupid people, the stupid life, the stupid job that made the rules in the first place! So, when he got the call from Sara at Cheyenne Mountain that her dad had a massive stroke, he went running. He ran right out of the briefing room, right out of the mountain, right out of his life.

He could have returned. Mike survived. He had a long road ahead to a full recovery, but he lived, none the less. Jack could have gone back when Mike was in the clear, but he didn't. He stayed. With Sara. With Mike. Away from the pain and misery that was his life. He had hurt Sara once. Long ago. When Charlie died. He wasn't there for her. Now, with her dad in poor health, Jack promised to make it up to her by staying and helping with Mike. He didn't have to. She never asked him. But, he did. As much for himself as for Sara and Mike. He stayed.

Sara had moved to Chicago the year before the stroke. She was offered a great job and Mike was eager to return to his home town. When she received the call from the hospital, she freaked. She didn't know who to call, but, she knew she didn't want to go through the trauma alone. So, she called Jack. He was there with her in only a few hours. Together, they sat in the waiting room. Holding hands, praying silently that Mike would be okay. So much like that horrid day when their son had shot himself.

When the doctor told them Mike would have to go through intense physical therapy to regain the strength and use of the right side of his body, Jack volunteered to stay in Chicago and help get Mike back and forth to therapy. At first, Jack stayed with Sara. They had loved each other deeply, once. They thought they could go back to the way they were before. It worked for a few months, then they came to their senses. It was hard for either to admit, but, the truth was, if Sara had not become pregnant with Charlie in the first place, they probably never would have been together as long as they were. They did love each other, but, some people are just not meant to be together. They soon realized, they were not meant to be. However, once they decided to become friends, they became closer than they had ever been before.

Jack pulled his dinner out of the microwave and sat down at the table. Just as he had finished the last bite, Sara entered the room.

"Hey, Jack. Was it good?"

"Very. Thank-you," he answered, looking his ex-wife over. "You look nice."

"Thanks! David is taking me to that new Italian restaurant that opened last weekend."

"Well, he will be the envy of every man there," Jack stated, getting up and kissing his ex-wife on the cheek. "So, where's Mike?"

"He's out back in the garden. He's so thrilled he can use both arms again, he's going a little overboard. I had no idea he could enjoy gardening so much," she said, shaking her head as she talked about her dad. She was so proud that he had come so far in his recovery. David soon arrived and the two left for their date, leaving Jack to keep Mike company for the evening.