Crystal Memories

By Lorraine Anderson

Jack stood in the gate room, looking at the Stargate.

"Afraid it's going to fly away?"

"Daniel?"

"Jack?"

"You've been standing there for ten minutes."

"I have?"

"Mmm, hmm." Daniel pushed his glasses up and his hair back. He knew he was the best person to talk to Jack, but it hurt him to see him like this.

"It's just so darn fascinating, you know?"

"I know."

They stood still for a second. C'mon, Jack, say something. When it was clear that Jack wasn't going to say another word, he continued: "Dr. Fraser would like to see you."

"She would?"

"She said something about checking you for radiation. She's already checked the rest of us, but you were -- more exposed."

"Yes. I was." The tone was dead.

Daniel sighed. "Jack, look at me."

He remained looking at the Stargate.

"Jack. That was not Charlie."

A pained look came over Jack's face. "I know."

"I know you know."

"Then why did you say that?"

Daniel pulled at Jack's shoulder and turned him so that he was looking at Daniel. "Because I don't think you were entirely convinced. I know you saw the entity change, but it was Charlie. Charlie as you remembered him."

"Yes."

"It hasn't been that long ago."

"I know."

Daniel looked at Jack. "I think you need to go back to your room." He put an arm around Jack's shoulders. Jack let himself be led from the Gate room, and down the corridor, fortunately passing very few personnel. He pushed him into the room and down onto the bed. "I think you need a nap."

Jack looked up at him. "I'm fine. Really."

"Okay, Jack. I'll let Janet know where you're at."

Daniel left Jack's room and went to the infirmary. General Hammond looked up. "I got him to go to his room, General."

"Thank you, son." Hammond looked relieved. "I hope he'll get the rest he needs. He was worrying me. I've never seen him quite like that."

Daniel nodded. "I have."

"I know you have."

Janet looked at General Hammond. "I'd prescribe a good cry, but I know soldiers aren't supposed to cry."

Hammond smiled sadly, looking reminiscent. "But fathers do. Maybe this will help him let Charlie go."

"Maybe."

Hammond smiled at Daniel. "You just keep being yourself. He'll get over it."

Daniel looked at Hammond. "I'm not -- comfortable with him being my father figure."

Hammond grinned. "You've never been in the service, son. Stay here long enough, you'll get used to it."

Daniel smiled sadly, thinking of Shar'e. "I hope I'm not here that long."

Hammond's grin faded. "I hope you're not either, son."

Daniel left the infirmary. Hammond and Fraser looked at each other. "You know, General," Fraser said. "I love them all, but they are not the most stable of teams, are they?"

Hammond stared at the door. "But they're the best team I've seen. And that helps a lot to get over their individual quirks."

Janet shrugged her shoulders and smiled sadly. "I hope that's enough."