Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
Spoilers for 'Fire and Water'. General knowledge of the show. Set pretty much anytime you want before season six.
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He'd slept through his alarm. That never happened. That never, ever happened. Given his history, his career, and his training, he *never* overslept. He had to be awake and alert at a moments notice, never knowing what corner danger was going to jump out at him from.
Okay, so there may have been one or two instances where an excess of alcohol may have lead to a great deal of confusion, but he preferred not to get so drunk that he had no idea where he was when he woke up.
But it was only that once or twice, under extraordinary circumstances.
Yet today, Jack had slowly woken up - in his own bed - at just around noon.
The moment he was actually up he was alert of course; there were some things all those years of 'classified missions' were never going to change.
He had a quick shower, dressed in jeans and a black shirt, and headed to the kitchen. Once there he poured himself a glass of juice - finally deciding after seeing Teal'c do it a few times that drinking out of the carton was just gross - and was contemplating what to have for breakfast.
Examining the contents of the fridge, he pondered his options: something healthy like fruit loops, or should he go the whole hog and have bacon and eggs? Fraiser would likely kick his butt if it was the latter, but hey - *he* certainly wasn't about to tell her, and there was no one around to tell her-
The phone rang.
If that was Fraiser, it'd be too creepy.
Placing his glass on the counter, he picked the phone up while he continued the examination of his fridge. "Yeah?"
How did that guy manage to sound so surprised by everything? Hadn't he known full well whom he was calling? "Daniel," Bacon?
"Thank God, we thought...well, I thought...it doesn't matter what I thought."
"What?" Mind you, he did *love* Fruit Loops.
"Nothing, it's nothing, I just...this is the sixth time I called."
Dimly realising Daniel was concerned, Jack half-heartedly offered an explanation. He really was starting to get hungry. "I was asleep."
"Of course. Of course. Well...I'll be there in an hour, all right?"
"Sure. See you then." He hung up quickly, deciding on Fruit Loops - they'd be much easier to prepare and he was almost starving by now. As his stomach growled he heroically grabbed the milk from the shelf and closed the fridge door.
Absently noticing the day-by-day calendar on his fridge door - a gift from Cassie - was still on yesterday's date, he pulled off the small, single sheet of paper to reveal today's date.
And then he remembered.
Oh, today was her funeral.
Crap, how he could forget something like that?
Sighing, he opened a few cupboards, found a bowl, and poured the Fruit Loops and milk into it. Locating a single spoon, he leant against the counter and started shovelling the food into his mouth.
It didn't help any. Even when he was finished, he was still hungry.
Fine, Fruit Loops *and* bacon and eggs. Fraiser'd never know.
While he was frying the bacon, he started going over his speech, trying to memorise it. He'd spent hours on the thing and he'd be damned if he was going to forget it. Hammond had actually offered to let someone else do it for some bizarre reason, but Jack was her immediate superior. It may or may not have been in the job description, but he had a responsibility to do it.
And he'd have to wear his dress uniform. Again. Damn, that thing itched in *all* the wrong places.
Sighing, he stopped abruptly, realising what an asshole he was being. This was not an inconvenience. This was Carter. She was a good teammate, excellent at what she did, and a fine officer. Her death was a great loss to the SGC.
Breaking the news to Jacob had not been easy. The older man hadn't wanted to believe it had first; had only started to believe it when they took him to see the body. Selmak had taken control then, to allow Jacob the privacy of dealing with his grief without everyone watching.
About the only thing a symbiote was useful for.
Blinking, he realised that acrid smoke was starting come off the frying pan. He'd been so caught up in his thoughts that the bacon was completely burnt. Shrugging, he decided to eat it anyway.
It didn't help any.
Daniel had arrived with the words, "Hey Jack, how you doing?"
In fact, after Daniel had driven them to the base (as if Jack wouldn't have been capable of driving himself, but Danny had insisted), that was pretty much how everyone had greeted him. Some were different to others - "If there is anything you wish to discuss, O'Neill?" - but the sentiment remained the same.
He knew why they were doing it, of course. She'd been lost under his command. She was his 2IC. He *got* it.
It was also starting to bug the hell out of him.
Not that he said that. Because if he said it he suspected he'd actually shout it, and that wouldn't do at all at her funeral. It would upset Jacob.
After making his way to the locker room alone - finally shrugging Daniel off somewhere around the coffee machine in the commissary - he got changed into his dress uniform. Checking his reflection in the mirror above the sink, he pulled at his sleeves and adjusted his tie, vividly remembering wearing the same outfit for Daniel's 'funeral'.
Not that he'd actually been dead, though. The boy certainly had a habit of narrowly escaping the clutches of the Grim Reaper.
Her death hadn't been like Daniel's. No imagined or 'fake memoried' event. He'd seen it happen; carried the body back himself. Been told the wounds were so bad that even a Goa'uld healing device wouldn't have made a difference.
Carter would be treated to the same service Daniel had, all those years ago. The Stargate had been her life and breath these last few years; the thing she had been most committed to. It was what she wanted, and it was only right.
Patting at his head, trying for once to tame the ruffled mess that was his hair, he stepped out into the corridor.
He made his speech. People cried. Jacob received the flag - although Jack didn't know where he was gonna keep it. Her body was sent through the gate to a planet where the Stargate was blocked by something they couldn't get through. Daniel said her "essence would be spread throughout the gate system, and in turn, the universe."
Jack thought she'd go splat.
He didn't say it, though.
The wake was at his house - he'd insisted. However, Daniel, Teal'c, Fraiser and Hammond had insisted that they'd take care of the supplies. It gave Jack one less thing to organise, so he wasn't going to argue with them.
A lot of people came. Almost everyone at the SGC actually, and he couldn't help but wonder who was running the base at the moment. What would happen if they were suddenly attacked by someone or something that could penetrate their iris?
Ah, well. Odds were he wouldn't live long enough to find out.
Everywhere he turned people were talking about her; something she said, did, or discovered. She seemed to do a lot of the latter.
He spent as much time as he could with Jacob, keeping him company. It had, after all, been hardest on him. Selmak had retreated for a while, giving Jack the opportunity to properly express his honest condolences. Jacob had appreciated it, although he had obviously been confused and frowned through most of their conversation.
Excusing himself, Jack made his way to the kitchen. That damn hungry feeling still hadn't gone away. During his short journey five - *five* - people had cornered him, telling him how sorry they were that Carter had died. He felt like telling them to go speak to Jacob; hell, she was *his* daughter. But he'd endured, nodded, and moved on.
Fruit Loops. He had to have Fruit Loops *now*.
It was all he could do not to shout at Cassie when she interrupted his eating, but she was Cassie so he kept quiet. Besides, she was crying. This had obviously been tough on her.
He hugged her, told her everything was going to be all right, that Carter was 'in a better place now' (he hated that term), and finished his Fruit Loops.
It didn't help any.
Feeling exhausted - these things always drained him - he excused himself under the pretence of using the facilities. Escaping to his bedroom for a few minutes, he sat on the edge of the mattress. He just needed to sit, just needed to...
Collect his thoughts.
Now, that was a bizarre phrase. Maybe he'd actually ask Daniel if he knew where it originated from one day. Really...collecting his thoughts? Why would he need to? It's not like his thoughts had been sown on some field and had to be harvested. They were right there, in his head, well within reach.
Collecting his thoughts...did you get limited edition thoughts? Were rare thoughts more expensive than the common ones? Was your brain worth more if you thought a thought that no one had ever thought before?
If that were true, then Carter's would be the most expensive brain that had ever existed.
Chuckling at his own thoughts, he realised something was on his skin. On his face, to be exact.
Was there a leak, somewhere? Was it raining? No, a quick inspection of the world outside his bedroom window confirmed that it wasn't.
He couldn't possibly be crying. He didn't cry; that wasn't who he was. He was Jack O'Neill; cynical, smart ass, warrior, fighter. He didn't have to 'deal' with his emotions, they were just *there*.
But he didn't cry. He never cried.
Yet there was another one. And another.
And then he couldn't stop them.
The hunger in his stomach was bigger than ever: a gaping chasm that desperately wanted something to fill it. He'd have eaten his mattress right then if he'd believed it would help, but he was dimly starting to realise that nothing was ever going to make the hunger go away.
Jacob was next to him. Jack had no idea how he got there or how long he'd been there, but he was sitting next to him.
They didn't hug, exactly.
That wasn't who they were.
But Jacob put an arm around him, so Jack reciprocated, trying to force the hunger out of his stomach.
It didn't help any.
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