Summary: Surprise visitors from Jack's past give him an unexpected opportunity to heal old wounds. J/S
A/N: His Past Returns to Heal is Part 3 of the Alone series, but can be read on its own.
Chapter One: Nightmares
The night was bleak and cold. Darkness encompassed the young teen as he rode his mountain bike at top speed around the curving streets of his Chicago suburb. To make things worse, the rain had turned icy and he felt pellets of hail hitting his face. He didn't care. He had to catch up. He was behind. The car was too fast for him. He couldn't catch it.
The boy was a star athlete. Always had been good, or so everyone told him. In peak condition, but still, he wasn't good enough. He'd never been good enough to stop the destruction he watched happen over and over again.
If only he could catch him this time.
The car rounded the final corner. He heard the shattering crash one more time and the scene changed. The funeral, the end.
Jack woke up with a start, sitting ramrod straight in the bed, eyes wide.
The recurring nightmare had started shortly after his father's death. Within a few months, he'd gotten used to. It was the same old nightmare, all the time. He came to expect it. In his dream he was always on his bike trying to catch his father's car before it could go off the road and down the embankment. The dream didn't logically make a lot of sense, it didn't follow the events of that night, but hey, what nightmare did? In reality, Jack hadn't known about his dad's death until the next morning when the police came to the house.
The memories always came flooding back when Jack would awaken from this particular dream. How his father had gone out drinking at his favorite watering hole, one last time. It wasn't odd that he hadn't come home that night. He'd often stay all night at the bar or go home with a woman he'd met that night. (After the fight with his son just two months before his death, Jonathan O'Neill had stopped bringing women home with him.)
Once he'd started Special Forces training, this particular nightmare was replaced by nasty dreams of wartime horrors. Jack wasn't sure which was worse. At least he'd been used to his pathetic family story. He'd learned to take it in stride and slough it off come morning. But as an adult, he was out of practice.
The "father nightmare" restarted after the twins were born. He'd have it a lot when Sam wasn't home. Like most of the nightmares, it seemed to stay at bay when Sam was close by. If he had the dream when Sam was with him, she would console and comfort him. At first, the soldier in him had been humiliated. Eventually, the man inside felt safe enough to pour out his heart to the woman he loved.
Jack was shaken from his musings by the insistent ringing of his cell.
"O'Neill, your presence is required at the SGC immediately. Samantha's team is overdue. Doctor Frasier will be at the house presently to watch 'the munchkins'". Teal'c delivered his message with the matter-of –fact calmness Jack had always envied.
All the same, he felt like he'd been kicked in the gut, caught his breath and asked briefly, "Sam…?"
"There is no word on her condition, but we have been told the team has sustained injuries."
"I'm on my way as soon as Janet arrives."
Janet arrived within fifteen minutes of the call from Teal'c. After kissing each of his sleeping children and thanking Janet for her help, Jack headed to the SGC, taking back roads he knew were seldom patrolled, allowing him to break the speed limit with impunity.
Jack and Sam had been married three years now. They'd moved back to Colorado Springs from a 2 year sojourn in Washington D.C., a little over 3 months ago. They'd been blessed with twins, Grace and Jake, now two-year-old angelic terrors.
The past three years had been challenging for the O'Neills to say the least. They'd dealt with new jobs, new homes, startling telekinetic powers suddenly developed by Sam, and NID intrigue. To make things worse, Jack, and with him his wife, had come head to head with one of his worse nightmares, his own alcoholism.
Throughout these years, the strength of devotion between Sam Carter and Jack O'Neill had grown, proportionate to the adversity they'd faced. As if their personal challenges hadn't been enough, the development of strong telekinetic powers in their two young children had stretched their adaptability to its limits. The subsequent trip to Kheb where they'd sought help from the Ancients and the discovery of a secret plot involving the Trust and one of their most valued friends in the Washington area had finally convinced them that it was time to return home to the Springs.
In addition to parenting and family life, which both Jack and Sam now viewed as their top priority, responsibilities to the Air Force, the SGC, the Pentagon and even the NID remained important parts of their lives. Since relocating to the Springs, Sam was once again integrally involved in the SGC labs as well as reclaiming her role as team leader on off world missions requiring her special expertise. Jack had worked out an arrangement where he could do much of his Homeworld Security administrative work from home, Nellis or Star Gate Command. The agreement was that he would be available in Washington at least twice monthly for meetings with the Joint Chiefs. To that end, he and Sam maintained an apartment in the capitol. As much as possible, she and the twins would accompany Jack on these trips.
Jack's life had never been happier or more fulfilled. The nightmare he'd had tonight was nothing compared to the present day waking nightmare of loosing any member of his present day family.
Jack O'Neill waited nervously in Hank Landry's office. He didn't do waiting well. Called as he was at 0300, he was tired, yes, but more fearful than anything. Jack O'Neill didn't do fear well either. If he was afraid, he seldom showed it.
He was showing it now. Pacing Landry's office, fiddling with everything in site, he'd already punched a hole in the wall and Landry himself was ready to order him to the infirmary to wait it out.
"Jack, there's nothing either of us can do at this point but wait. Sam will make it back."
"That's just it Hank, there should be something I can do. My wife is out there risking her life and I'm flying a desk. What the hell am I thinking?" the overwrought husband asked, kicking his friend's wall for the umpteenth time. "Okay, let's send a message through the MALP. Maybe there's news."
"Incoming traveler," a familiar voice announced, relieving Landry of the need to contradict his superior's suggestion. Within seconds both men were bounding down the stairs to the control room.
Holding his breath as the chevrons lit and the gate turned all too slowly, Jack was more than ready when the iris opened. To his great relief, four SGC personnel came through the gate, his wife one of them, looking none the worse for wear.
She looked surprised to see him entering the gate room at what could only be described as a barely restrained gallop. Before she knew it, he was on the ramp wrapping his arms around her and holding on tightly
"You look awful," she told him, gazing at the stubble on his face and the circles under his eyes. "Are you okay?"
"I'm just fine, now you're home," Jack answered, swallowing hard to prevent leakage of any of the tears that threatened to make their appearance. Sam got the message, sensed his discomfort and motioned him from the gateroom.
"You're okay, right?"
"I'm fine, Jack. I'm sorry you were so worried. We couldn't get a coherent message through the gate, too much interference."
"Teal'c told me there were injuries. I thought…"
"I'm fine, really," she said, discretely turning towards him in the hallway to search his eyes. "I promise, I'll tell you all about it in gory detail when we get home. Can you wait for me? Shouldn't be more than an hour."
"Sure thing…I'll be in Landry's office…" Jack reluctantly parted from Sam to wait in Hank's office while she showered and completed the official debrief. Arriving at Landry's door, he met a young airman, obviously intimidated by the three star General standing before him.
"Sir, I have a message for you, sir. It's from Doctor Frasier," the frazzled twenty-something airman stammered.
What now? Jack thought.
"Thank you, airman. You're dismissed."
A/N: Welcome to a new story. The plan is to give you a glimpse of Jack and his family of origin. (Obviously, we have little if any information about Jack O'Neill's parents in Stargate canon, so I made it up. What can I say?)
Hint: A surprise character appears in the next chapter.
Hope you enjoy the story. Again it is an integral part of the Alone series, but can be read and enjoyed, I think, as a stand alone.
Please, please, please review! Thank you