Mirrors and Memories

Summary: Henry can laugh. Jack still can't. Tag to This One Time at Space Camp. Jack/Allison.

A/N: Don't get me wrong, I love a good Zane and Jo fic as much as anyone, but while everyone is jumping and jolting at their new drama, I'm busy tapping into the somehow unseen potential of Jack and Allison during this episode. So this is a perspective fic, as well as a slight missing moment for This One Time at Space Camp.

Jack supposes he can see the humor in the situation. There's a grown man crying over what is essentially nothing, his eyes screwed up as he wails like a baby. Jack pats Dr. Hughes awkwardly, reassuring him that everything is alright, that everything will be alright. Henry stifles a laugh at the scene, and Jack attempts a resigned smile back, but it falls flat.

Because it's not very funny at all.

It's been quite awhile since he's had to think about it. He tries not to, most days. He doesn't want to remember feeling the warmth leave Allison's body, or the blood on her face, or the silence of her heart. He doesn't want to remember that feeling of grief, so strong and powerful that it felt like his heart had been torn out his chest. And he doesn't want to remember the feeling of his soul being ripped down the middle, or the way he had screamed on the inside, or that hollow emptiness of having his life, his world, stolen from him.

But here it is now, again, reflected back at him in the form of Dr. Hughes. It's Jack's memory on a different face, but it's real. The feelings are real. The pain is real, brought back from the past to haunt him, to remind him that it happened. Allison died, and even though he knows she's safe now, anguish wells up inside him at the memory.

"I'll take you to see her," Jack tells Warren, and he realizes that the rush is as much for Warren's sake as it is for his own.

He needs to see Allison and hold her tight, he needs to feel her warmth and hear the beating of her heart. He needs the reassurance of her solid presence so that he can remember: everything really is alright.

Jack tells Warren to get into his jeep, and the man responds without enthusiasm. He looks so broken and Jack turns away. He nods at Henry and gets into the jeep as well.

It's an uncomfortable drive. Hughes is wiping away tears, his nose running. Jack knows that he's looking into a mirror of the past. This was him, once upon a time. He can still feel it, like a wound, bandaged but bleeding through.

"Is she really okay?" Warren whispers suddenly. Jack forces back a lump in his throat. So stupid, he thinks, to get caught up in this. It's not real anymore.

"She's absolutely fine. I promise." Jack assures him. "We'll be there in another minute."

When they arrive, when they first see Allison, Jack doesn't even think to hold Warren back. The man nearly tackles her in what seems to be a tight and overwhelming hug. "Allison, you're okay." he tells her, the pure relief and joy evident in his voice.

Allison hugs him back, shooting Jack a look of bemusement. "Yes, I am. Now, you have to listen to me. You're sick and we need to help you, okay? We're gonna restrain you and help you get better." At this, she nods to the security team standing just to her right.

"Allison, I feel fine," he says as the men move in to grasp him by the shoulders.

"Do you trust me?" she asks softly, giving him the look that Jack never could refuse.

Dr. Hughes blinks, like he's never heard of such a question. "Of course I do."

They all begin walking to the medical ward, Warren letting the security team lead him without a fight. Allison falls behind to walk with Jack. "I'm guessing you had an interesting point of view, huh?" she asks quietly, and her eyes tell him that she knows. Somehow, some way, she knows that he's just relived the worst day of his life.

Jack swallows hard, but he pushes the thought away and takes her hand into his own. It's soft and warm, her fingers lace naturally with his, and this is his reassurance. "That's just a memory now," he replies, managing a small smile. "And this?" he squeezes her hand gently, and she returns the favor. "This is real, and you're still here with me, and that's all that matters."

Allison smiles softly. "Jack Carter? Do you have any idea how much I love you?"

Jack thinks of the grief that broke him, but more than that, he thinks of her hand in his and the smile that saved him. The smile that saves him every time.

"You know, I think maybe I do."

A/N: Come on, Jack and Allison shippers! I want to see more stories from you guys so I can get my fix of them! And while you're at it, please leave a review? They're much loved and appreciated.