Title: Holding

Rating: PG

Spoilers: minor spoilers for whole series, Fallen/Homecoming

Summary: Something Jack does every day

Author's Note: Written for the Gateland writing challenge 'every day'

Date: 25/10/09

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Day 1

Stepping into the lift, Jack pressed the button only to hear someone call out to him.

"Hey, O'Neill, hold up."

He held the door open, allowing Kawalsky time to make it down the hallway and offer him a smile of thanks. They both wore the uniform of the SGC and matching bemused expressions as they faced their first day at their new job.

"So," Kawalsky said, rocking forward on his feet. "Anything new with you?"

Jack shot him an incredulous glare, only to laugh at the ridiculous expression on his friend's face. He slugged him in the arm and pressed the button for level 28.

"Let's get to work."

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Day 1286

Stepping into the lift, Jack pressed the button only to hear someone call out to him.

"Wait, hold the lift!"

He caught the door just in time for Carter to slip between, grazing his hands as she did so. He immediately set his eyes forward, not trusting himself to look directly at her in such a confined space – especially after all the turbulence and revelations of the past few weeks.

"Morning, sir," she said, uncomfortable but ever polite.

"Carter," he chanced a quick glance in her direction – wow she was close.

"Have a good weekend?"

"Oh yes, marvellous, thank you…"

"Really? What did you do?"

Jack panicked. Why couldn't she be like everyone else and just clam up when she was nervous? "Um. Curling."

"You went curling?" He could hear the laughter bubbling under her voice and knew that her eyes were doing that gleeful 'I'm-not-laughing-at-you' thing he prided in bringing out in her.

"Yes, Carter, curling. It's a hobby."

"Okay, sir."

Having exchanged pleasantries and eased some of the unbelievable tension, silence fell on them once more.

"Ah, sir?"

"Yes."

"Are you going to press the button, or shall I?"

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Day 1587

Stepping into the lift, Jack pressed the button only to hear someone call out to him.

"Hold the door please."

It was a crisp firm voice that caused Jack's insides to clench sickeningly. He briefly considered letting the door slide close but just knew that it would be making it worse for himself if he did. Looking resolutely (not guiltily) at the floor he saw a pair of shiny black pumps stop mid step outside the lift, and then manoeuvre with ease around the landmine that was Jack, his crutches, and IV frame. Jack meekly pressed the button to take them to the infirmary and waited.

When it came, Janet's voice was calm and steady, making the hairs on Jack's neck rise. "I believe I left you strict orders to remain in bed, Colonel."

To fight, or not to fight? "Yes, ma'am."

"You do realise that you could get in a lot of trouble to openly defying medical orders?"

Visions of very large, very sharp needles filled his head. "Yes, ma'am."

She shifted to face the ashen faced man sharing the lift, pale only partly due to his injured state. "So, Colonel, what are we going to do about this little situation?"

Jack lifted his eyes to the smug woman with the raised eyebrows. Janet was very receptive to bribery when it came to her more difficult patients, and he just knew he was about to pay through the nose.

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Day 2203

Stepping into the lift, Jack pressed the button only to hear someone call out to him.

"Hey, ah… Jim!"

Jack groaned and held the doors open for the newly descended and completely forgetful Daniel. Standing next to him, Daniel offered up the huge grin he had been sporting ever since he had rediscovered coffee.

As the doors slid closed, Daniel took in the deep breathe that usually signified he was about to let loose a barrage of questions. Jack wondered if there would ever be a time he didn't fear being caught in a lift with Daniel.

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Day 2920

Stepping into the lift, Jack pressed the button and automatically shot out his hand to prevent the door from closing. When no voice called out to him, he felt himself crumble to the floor, his back hitting the far wall as he slid down into the corner, hearing nothing but the mechanical creaks of the lift echoing down the empty hallway.

He hadn't cried when the ships appeared on sensors, bigger and closer than they could ever have imagined. He hadn't cried when they realised there would be no eleventh hour rescue from the Asgard. He hadn't even cried when he saw the piles of bruised and broken bodies littering the halls. He had simply steeled himself beyond the point of return and dragged himself away, refusing to acknowledge what was undoubtedly a mop of gold hair, the glint of glasses, and even the lone staff weapon fallen alone in a doorway.

But stepping into that lift and knowing that there was no one – no one – for whom he would be asked to hold the door for broke him completely. Sitting crumbled in the corner, tears streaming down his cheeks, he rode the lift all day.