AN: this is just a short wee bit that I did to get me back into writing after being away on holiday. For anyone waiting for an update on 'The Forsaken One' it's coming soon, I've got about half of it written.

Let me know what you think :O)

***

Jack felt the sorrow build in his chest as Vala stared back at him from her own personal hell, screaming silently for a lifeline. He could see it in her eyes, the pain that none of the others could ever comprehend, he was the only one who could see how badly she was really bleeding.

They weren't that close, only having met a few times, but in a way he felt honoured to be the one to see her like this. He expected her to go to Daniel or maybe Sam or Mitchell but here she was, standing in front of him, pleading for him to understand. To make it better, to tell her it was going to be alright, that one day the pain would become bearable.

He wanted be able to tell her these things, to tell her that there would come a day when it wouldn't be all she could think of.

But he couldn't.

He knew it was a lie.

You never get over the death of a child, you just learn to live with the pain.

He crosses the space between them and gently wraps his arm around her shoulder. He can feel her trembling beside him but knows enough about her not to deepen the sentiment. He knows all she needs is the contact of another human being.

He remembers watching the tapes of her and Adria, when she thought her daughter was dying and the tender way she brushed the woman's hair back from her face and gently clasped her hand. All her pain and sorrow and shame crackling around her like static electricity.

Her head lolls against his shoulder and tears begin to soak his shirt collar. He knew he was crying before but feeling them seep against his skin is so much worse than watching them fall from her sad grey eyes. Pity and grief well up in him again.

None of this is right.

None of this is fair.

He had learned that lesson a long time ago, that the universe was impartial and unfeeling. He knows she knew it to but is now only learning how uncaring it really can be. His heart breaks with hers all over again and he closes his eyes willing time to stop for just a moment. He wants it to stutter, to slow and stop just long enough for him to get a grip on his old pain and for her to release her new one.

He needs to cope and she needs to vent.

He's grateful that they have one another in that moment. That they can stand in an abandoned office and grieve in privet, yet with the knowledge that they aren't grieving alone.

For Adria.

For Charlie.

For the people they used to be before the universe took away what made them whole.

He knows that she's become the centre of them all, the thing that binds his old team together into something new. She is the centre and they are her gravity, they hold her together just as much as she does for them.

She turns her face further into his shoulder and through her tears he hears her ask the one question he doesn't have the answer too.

"Why?"

It's asked so softly and with so much pain that he knows he can't lie to her, he can't give her some empty platitude or an answer he doesn't himself believe in.

"I don't know."

She nods and then looks up him. She no longer has that desperate look in her eyes but what he sees there is so much worse because it's the same look he saw in the mirror everyday after Charlie died. Before he stepped through the gate and found his salvation.

It's the look of a person who's resigned to the fact that there are some wounds time cannot heal, some pains that goes too deep. He finally pulls her in to a hug and prays that she'll survive this. And when she pulls away from him, wipes her eyes and straightens her jacket he knows that she will.

She is the centre and the centre has to hold.

Everything else is just gravity and tears.