Summary: Jacob Carter knew all about betrayal. Written for the Jacob Carter Alphabet Soup Anthology.
All in the Family
Jacob Carter knew all about betrayal. He had experienced it so often during his lifetime, he was sure he could take insurance out on it. Not to say that he liked the feeling though - the sting no, the pain that came with it was worse than a gunshot wound in the gut. A bullet wound only hurt for a week or so. Betrayal, on the other hand, hung around for what seemed like forever. A broken heart sometimes never healed.
And still, he had to deal with it on a regular basis, or so it seemed to him. He stared at the coffin being lowered into the ground, his heart bleeding scarlet tears that echoed the soft sobs coming from his daughter, Samantha. She stood next to him in the bleakness of the bright sun, her beautiful young eyes swimming with tears. Jacob wanted to help her, to hold her until she felt whole again, but he was afraid she would push him away, adding more guilt onto his already heaping plate of remorse and denial - too afraid that the act would be more than he could take.
Jacob's son, Mark, stood next to his sister, one arm around her shoulders, hugging her tightly as she cried. There were no tears on Mark's face, but Jacob knew better than anyone that the kid was taking this loss hard. Their mother was dead, killed in a car accident, and Jacob frowned at the anger that surged up inside him. He wanted her back. He loved her so dearly, always anxious to get home to be with her and the kids, never once believing that she would leave him. She was his rock, and he would have sworn she would be there forever.
But now she was gone. He tried to stifle the anger that still raged inside. She had no right to leave him alone with two children who not only blamed him for her death, but now hated him, their own father, with everything they had. It wasn't entirely his fault, he tried to reason with himself. He wasn't even there. Just because she had taken a taxi instead of waiting for him to pick her up...
He coughed quietly, covering up his own sob. It did no good to go over the details now. He had learned a long time ago that the coulda, woulda and shouldas never helped in any situation. All he could do now was try to make peace with his children and move on.
But it would take so much to do that. They hated him. He knew that and to be honest, he understood why. Still, he was their father. That should mean for something. He blinked back the tears that threatened to fall, hating the pain that not only came from his wife's betrayal, but also from his kids.
His cousin came up to him and Jacob looked up, surprised that the service was over. He allowed her to hug him, but he was in no mood to do anything other than nod at the sympathies she offered. She moved on to Sammie and murmured softly, trying her best to help, while Jacob turned to deal with the rest of the mourners, anything to keep from dwelling on the loss of his entire family, of the betrayal of the heart.
The party was in full swing when Samantha walked in the door. Jacob stared at his daughter, smiling with pride as he watched her make her way through the sea of dress blues. She was walking with a man Jacob assumed to be her commanding officer, but it was his Sammie that captured his eyes. She was definitely beautiful in her uniform and Jacob almost missed hearing what his old friend George Hammond had to say.
"You should be very proud," George said quietly, his eyes also on Sam. Jacob nodded, only too anxious to tell her how much she meant to him. He bounced a little on the balls of his feet, anticipating her happiness when he told her his news. He had worked hard to get Sam this commission, a job he knew that she would kill for.
But then came the crushing feeling of defeat when after all the small talk with Jack O'Neill and George, Sam had turned down the very opportunity he was offering her. He knew that she wanted it. She had always wanted to be on the Space Program, ever since she was a child. Who did she think she was kidding? He stared out the window of the empty office he had found and fumed at the injustice of it all.
She was still mad at him about her mother's death, he decided. Why else would she turn down the opportunity of a life time? Certainly not so she could continue with her job to study "Deep Space Telemetry". He grimaced at that thought, wondering if she would ever tell him what she was really working on.
He heard the door open behind him and he turned toward her, determined not to let her denial hurt him. But he could tell that she knew about his illness, a fact that deflated the wind from his sails in keeping it a secret from her.
It hurt even more to realize that even the fact that he was dying wouldn't sway her to take his help. He could tell she was hurting at the thought of losing her father, but he also knew that her stubborn pride was going to keep her from taking him up on the offer. She was still angry, and Jacob turned away from her, unable to keep his own anger at bay. All that work he put into to get into that program was for nothing.
"I'm sorry Dad," she said sadly.
Yeah, Jacob thought with that old familiar pain in his heart. Right.
Mark's house was really nice, Jacob thought as the car he was in pulled up to the driveway. Sam stopped the car and turned it off, waiting quietly while Jacob visibly pulled his thoughts together. This was it, he thought as he stared at the house for a moment, ignoring the soft questions coming from the Tok'ra inside his head. Jacob wanted to see his son again, had wanted it for a long time now, but he still had his misgivings. Despite Sammie's words to the contrary, he worried that Mark still hated him. He wasn't sure he could deal with that.
"No need to worry," Selmak said, his soft whispers heard only by Jacob. He had long since gotten used to the voice in his head, but still went to great pains to make sure to hide that fact. He could just imagine what his old buddies would say if they thought he was "talking to himself."
He nodded slightly, his eyes still on the house. Mark had forgiven him, Sammie had said. She even went so far as to say that Mark had forgiven him a long time ago, just too stubborn to be the one to give in. "Like father, like son," she told Jacob with a wry grin on her face. He had tried to look innocent, but Sammie just laughed and hugged him, telling him once again without words that she loved him just as much as he loved her. Her anger and accusations had disappeared somewhere along the road during the past several years, and he was glad to have her back again.
"You ready?" Sam asked with understanding shining in her eyes.
"Yeah," he said gruffly, still a little worried. Sam grinned and got out of the car, leaving Jacob no choice but to follow. They walked up the sidewalk, side by side, Jacob resisting the urge to hang back.
Sammie said all was forgiving, he told himself firmly, then smiled broadly when the door opened and his grandchildren came running out to meet him. The small smile on Mark's face told Jacob that he definitely had a chance, and he vowed not to screw it up this time.
"I believe I mentioned that you had nothing to worry about," Selmak's voice said, just before Sammie whispered, "I told you so."
"Whatever," he said sarcastically, hoping his tone would shut them both up and for once, they took the hint.
"Hey Dad," Mark said, as Jacob and Sam walked into the house with the kids in tow. His son's expression showed his own doubts, but Jacob took matters into his own hands and pulled him into a big hug, holding tightly as Mark hugged him back.
He needed this, Jacob realized, when he finally let go. It was the start of a new beginning for his family. Pain and betrayal behind them, they were now ready to move on and he smiled softly at his kids, who in turn grinned back with goofy smiles. It was like old times, a far cry from the hurt he experienced every time he thought of their hatred, and he relished in the happiness he now felt.
They were a family again and he intended to keep it that way, no matter what.