Jackfic Archive Story


The Loss of Innocence

by Gallagater

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).

The Loss of Innocence

Author: Gallagater

E-mail: 7j4him@prodigy.net

Challenge vignette for the phrase 'crack the whip'

Rated: C

Warnings: none

Spoilers: none

Pairing: none

Summary: A different time, a different place - Who defines the rules of a game?

Author Notes: I've been remiss lately in participating in the word of the month. Please accept this attempt as an appetizer with the promise that a more substantial offering will soon be presented.

"That's what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end" Lise Hand

* * * * *

The air was alive with extremes: the bite of the wind seeking refuge down an unguarded neck; the brilliant sky so pure with innocence no cloud would dare mar its perfection; the laughter of children joyfully indicating weekend freedom only achieved in the release from the bondage of school. Those lucky enough to own a pair, donned skates .The others, wearing shoe leather and fearful of missing out on the fun, were lured onto the ice, sliding gracelessly but cheerfully alongside their more fortunate companions. Cold feet were a small price to pay and there were no observers today, only participants.

Dazzling colors litter the ice. Had a bird from some tropical paradise left the warm sanctuary of its native home and witnessed the gaiety of hues in the woolen scarves, hats, and mittens, it would have perished of longing, had it not first keeled over outright from exposure. A human kaleidoscope knit together with the yarn of grandmothers' needles, shielded from the bitter cold in their woolen armor.

A new life forms on the ice, rising from the unorganized, free-spirited amoeba - a chain, asexual beneath the layers of clothes. Male . . . female, it mattered not a whit as they clasped hands. Had it not been for the ice making it permissible to ignore your neighbor's gender, wind-burned cheeks would have stained scarlet at the thought of holding a girl's hand.

Excitement electrifies the line, charging through each participant, sparkling eyes signifying membership in the brotherhood - a blistering current so strong had it been in any other form even the thick ice would have succumbed and reverted to its summer attire. It was time. Free play had ended, its demise unmourned as more and more joined the line until the ice was free, save one new sentient being - the whip had been born.

He found himself the last in line in this human train, the caboose, not by happenstance, but by choice. He could just as easily have been the locomotive- had been on many occasions - and would be again. But today, he had chosen this position. The entire line's excitement fed into him. The anticipation of what was to come, his for the taking- a transfusion of adrenaline which fed him and kept him alive and helped to make him who he was.

Slowly - agonizingly so - the game began. The leader chose the design, creating an original pattern on his icy canvas that, once gone, would never again be repeated. His movements, quick and sure, echo down the line. As the wave builds across the frozen pond, the tension in this human thread increases, stretching muscles and resolve to maintain the pace - stretching all to the breaking point.

The whip cracks and down the line small hands part like beads of sweat flung from a brow, and what was part of a whole now scatters.

He is trapped in a force stronger than his own will. For a brief moment he fights it, before surrendering himself to the inevitable. As the butterfly fights for release from its chrysalis, he opens his arms and embraces the metamorphosis - no longer one of many, but a newly created individual.

In that moment before nature's law claims dominance, he is free, chaff spinning before the wind - flying.

The promise of warmth draws them - a crackling fire waiting patiently on the shore. The bonfire is content in the knowledge sooner or later it would no longer be ignored, but would take center stage in a circle of rosy cheeks and frosty hands momentarily devoid of their mittens. It only has to wait - wait and send out its invitation that might be briefly disregarded, but could not be ignored forever.

And then the cycle is repeated. A new leader is chosen and the whip cracks again.

* * * * *

Crack the whip - just as Poe's raven cried out, 'Nevermore.' He would never again experience the luxury of an untarnished childhood memory. A frozen pond . . . a youthful game . . . fellowship and laughter . . . winter in Minnesota. And as the leather tore into his flesh and the laughter of his captors tore deeper into his soul as they played their sadistic game, Jack O'Neill bitterly swallowed his screams and mourned the loss of innocence.