Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them. I don't.
Okay, this is set after 'Seth' so Jacob is around before he and Sam head off to see Mark. However, this is not an episode addition.
Spoilers for 'Message In A Bottle' and 'A Matter of Time'.
Slowly but surely I'm working my way back into this writing thing...many, many thanks to Vicky, who gave me the ending. Literally.
Grabbing a warm mug of coffee in one hand, Jack altered the angle of his telescope with the other.
It had been a while since he'd had or taken the opportunity to enjoy the view from his roof, so fifteen minutes ago he'd made the first of several journeys up and down the side of his house.
Now here he was sitting in a collapsible chair, sipping a drink and staring up at the galaxy.
Sure, he'd seen many of those stars a lot closer and in ways more fantastic than he ever could have imagined, but there was still a lot to be said for the simple pleasure of sitting on a roof, on a cold night, with a warm drink and a spectacular view.
It made him feel...insignificant. Absolutely tiny. Infinitesimal.
Mostly, it made him feel like he wanted a dog.
But he couldn't; he'd been over this countless times with himself. In the kind of work he did, there was no guarantee he'd be back in three days or three months, or that he'd even stay alive for that long. It wouldn't be fair to him, or the dog.
Crap, this had to be bad when he was getting maudlin over a do-
His phone started ringing.
Unbelievably grateful to whoever was phoning him at this not-so-ridiculous hour, he grabbed his cell phone out of his jacket pocket with the hand that had previously been playing with the telescope, and deftly flicked it open, careful not to spill his coffee. "O'Neill."
His brain processed the information it had just received: Voice. Male. Known. Jacob. Worried.
The temperature of the blood in his veins dropped by ten degrees. "What happened?"
"It's Sam. She had an accident."
One land speed record and run in with a traffic cop later, Jack burst through the doors leading into Memorial Hospital. Barely pausing, his gaze instantly locked onto the overburdened desk that served as reception.
Having long since lost any sense of decorum - and he was hardly the most gracious man at the best of times - he pointed at the first person he saw who looked like they could conceivably work at a hospital. "You!"
The woman he had addressed was holding enough paperwork to plug a landfill site and was studying him disdainfully.
Jack didn't care. "I'm looking for a Sam Carter. She was brought in about thirty minutes ago. Hit and-"
He swivelled towards the direction of the familiar voice, and saw Jacob jogging towards him. Thank God. Someone who knew what they were doing. Jack started walking in the direction Jacob had come from; assuming that was where Sam was. "How is she?"
"She's okay, Jack." Jacob immediately turned and re-tracked his own steps. "I tried to tell you it wasn't serious before you hung up but...what's that on your shirt?"
Jack could still feel the stickiness against his stomach and the top of his jeans, but continued peering into every room he passed. "Coffee."
"Yes Jacob, coffee. You know, coffee? Brown. Wet. That stuff your daughter drinks too much of when she really should be sleeping?"
Frustrated at the luck of success in his search, Jack grabbed the next person he saw in what he hoped to god were hospital clothes. "Sam Carter? Hit and run? 5'9ish? Blonde? Attractive?"
A hand grabbed his elbow, and in a move that might as well have been pulling him around by the ear like some scolded six-year-old, Jacob took him to the right place.
She was sitting on the side of a hospital bed, wincing. A nurse or doctor was doing something to her right arm.
Sam had obviously changed into civvies after finishing at the SGC, because she was wearing black jeans and a white top.
And shit, there was so much blood on that white top.
She did look, however, like she was going to live.
Trying to calm himself he casually walked in, not really caring if he was interrupting any conversations. "Carter,"
Her head snapped up. "Sir!"
He strolled until he reached the side of the bed, and then sighed dramatically as he made a show of looking at her injury. It did look quite nasty... "Now what I have told you about shaving with anything but an electric razor?"
A smile cracked across her face, and the relief that flooded through him was almost indescribable. Somehow it was worse than the fear that had been pounding in his head since he answered the phone.
He shoved his absurdly dry hands into his pockets. "What happened?"
"We were crossing the road," She nodded to her dad. "To get something from the local store. Car came out of nowhere."
"Probably a drunk," Jacob muttered, before continuing the story. "Though she insisted she was fine even as her top changed colour," He mock-glared at her. "*I* insisted on taking her to the closest hospital."
That explained why she wasn't at the SGC. No doubt had Fraiser been here she would have been giving orders left and right, yet seeing to everything herself. In fact, hers was the only diagnosis he'd trust at the moment.
Problem was, she wasn't there. "How you feeling?"
"Okay," She shrugged, then winced, silently apologising to the man who was stitching up her arm. "Nice little cut, and a bruise on my as...hip that you wouldn't believe. Aside from that? Fine."
Good. Good. That was very good. He even said so. "Good." Yep, this was very good.
So why did he feel like he was suffocating? "You want anything?" Really, he just wanted an excuse to escape for a few minutes.
Fortunately, she was complying. "Water?" She looked at the nurse/doctor/guy in hospital clothes who nodded his consent, before she looked back at Jack. "Water, please."
"You bet." He was backing out of the area already, having pulled his hands out of his pockets and waving them about unnecessarily. "Jacob?"
The General was frowning. "I'm fine, Jack."
"Good. That's really good." Ending by giving everyone in the room a thumbs-up, he finally realised he was totally losing it. Turning away he practically ran out of sight.
Desperate for something to do so he wouldn't have to think so much he actually did start to look for some water. Coming across a dispenser with those cone shaped cups, he pulled one free and lifted it under the tap. He raised his free hand to operate the tap, but...
His hand wouldn't co-operate.
His hand - more absurdly than the dryness - was shaking.
What the hell was *that* about?
Still ignoring everything he was telling it to do, Jack's right hand moved up - then forward - until his elbow was resting on top of the water dispenser, then that same hand moved over his face and into his hair.
And there was no sound and no sight and no touch and no taste and no smell...
And then he closed his eyes.
The paper cup in his left hand crushed between his fingers.
He jumped. Literally. Coughing in a bad attempt to cover up his surprise, he immediately yanked his arm down and began trying to revive the crumpled cup. "Heya Jake. What's up?"
Unsurprisingly, Carter's dad ignored the question. "You all right?"
"Just tired," He responded immediately, now poking bumps out of the cup with his index finger. "I was nearly asleep when you called."
"Which is how you got coffee all over yourself, right?" The disbelief was obvious.
He stopped poking, still staring at his hands. "Right."
Jacob pulled another cup out and handed it to him. "Here,"
"Thanks." Throwing his cup into the bin obviously intended just for cup disposal, Jack took the new one Jacob was offering, keeping his eyes lowered the whole time - and not entirely sure why. This time he quickly filled it up. "So what's up?"
"Changed my mind. Decided I was thirsty after all."
Nodding, Jack stepped away from the dispenser and stepped around Jacob.
Why did he keep saying his name?
Stopping with great effort, Jack slowly turned around and forced himself to meet Jacob's gaze. He felt like wincing. "Yeah?"
Jacob kept his voice lowered; Jack hoped it was because of the nature of their work and not for any other reason.
"You and her...SG-1. All of you face extraordinary circumstances on a daily basis; the threat of some kind of grisly death by some bizarre method is something you've almost come to expect."
Well...that was cheery. "So?"
"You didn't anticipate the fact that it could happen here. On Earth. Having nothing to do with your work. You've...started to believe that you were safe."
Jack didn't say anything, mostly because Jacob was completely and utterly right. He, Jack O'Neill - the one person who should have remembered better than anyone that absolutely anything could happen - had deluded himself into thinking that Earth was safe territory.
The truth was, it was as dangerous as any other planet he'd visited.
Sure...so this planet wasn't overrun by Jaffa, or connected to a black hole, and it actually had at atmosphere...
But things still happened here. Life.
It didn't stop just because he happened to be on Earth. If anything, this was where life was more important.
Still with nothing to say, Jack turned and walked back towards Carter, knowing Jacob was behind him the entire time.
He found Carter, passed the cup to her good hand and watched as she talked aimlessly about something to her dad, smiling occasionally, wincing at other times, and just being Sam Carter throughout.
When an orderly came in and asked for Mr Carter, he and Jacob answered together. Realising what he'd done and that it was too late to back pedal, Jack decided simply to shrug at the look Jacob gave him.
Yeah, this was good, he thought as Carter grinned.
This was life.
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