Learning to Live With It Part 2
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).
Title: Learning to Live With It Part 2
Author: Su Freund
Category: Angst, Drama, Action/Adventure
Content Level: Age 13+
Content Warnings: Minor use of mild language
Pairings: Jack & Sam
Spoilers: General S9 spoilers
Summary: After Sam's death, Daniel and Teal'c try to console a distraught Jack
Sequel/Series Info: Sequel to Learning to Live With It Part 1
Copyright (c) 2005 Su Freund
Art Credit: Fulinn28 made a nice little book cover to illustrate this chapter from a cap of Jack and Daniel. It can be viewed here: https://www.ficwithfins.com/AA3_1/archive/2/learningto2.html Thanks Bonnie!
Author's Note: Many thanks to Bonnie for beta reading this fic and correcting my dumb errors and making useful suggestions
Learning to Live With It Part 2
Once at Jack's, the three friends sat in virtual silence, stunned by the events. Daniel was worried about Jack. He looked like shit. They were all in mourning, all badly shaken and affected by her death, but none more so than Jack. Daniel had seen Jack deal with death before, but had never encountered this reaction.
"I need to find out why she's dead." Jack declared out of the blue, "I need to get my hands on the bastards who killed her!"
Daniel considered that an angry Jack could be pretty dangerous, but an angry Jack was better than the numb shell they had brought home.
"I believe we would all wish to do that, O'Neill," Teal'c agreed.
"Did she talk to either of you two about anything that might help?"
Both men shook their heads sadly.
"What did she tell you Jack?" Daniel asked.
"It was something to do with Area 51. She didn't say. All she did was call to ask for my help. She told me her life was in danger. I took that seriously. It's not like we haven't had trouble in the past. Seems like I was right to take it seriously."
"Possibly. Or some other crackpot organization. Man are they gonna regret this!"
Daniel believed that. If he had to, Jack would spend the rest of his life destroying whoever was responsible.
"She's dead, and it's all my fault," said Jack bitterly.
"It's not your fault, Jack. How could it be? No one blames you," Daniel responded.
"I blame me!" Jack exclaimed. "If I had kept my eye on the ball. Area 51 is my responsibility. If I had got to her sooner. If I'd insisted she come round here. If I could have saved her..."
"Jack, that's way too many ifs!"
"I should have been able to save her Daniel."
Jack got up, walking out of the room, and Daniel and Teal'c exchanged looks.
"Should one of us follow him, Daniel Jackson?"
"You know Jack. He probably wants to try to deal with this alone, just like he tried to deal with their break up alone."
"But it appears he did not deal with their break up."
"No, I don't think he ever did."
"Should we leave?"
"Well, I'm staying right here, for now. How about you?"
"Teal'c, what are we gonna do without her?"
"I know not."
"Is it just me or does the world seem like a different place right now?"
"It is not merely you."
"God, I'm not sure how I'm gonna deal with this myself, let alone how I can help Jack through it."
"Perhaps we all need each other?"
"Yeah, I think we probably do old friend."
As the two friends talked about Sam, trying to provide mutual comfort, Jack had curled up in a little ball on his bed, thinking, or not. He was trying to keep his mind blank but that wasn't possible. All the 'what if' scenarios kept running through his head; the what ifs about their relationship and the what ifs about her death.
He wanted to be left alone in his misery but knew Daniel and Teal'c would not comply, so all he could do was walk away and makes himself as alone as possible. Jack recognised he should be grateful to his friends. They would be pretty upset themselves, still suffering from the shock of it like he was, but they wanted to be there for him. Yes, he should be grateful, but he wasn't.
He wanted peace, he wanted to die, but not before he had avenged her. Then he could have both. He would welcome it. He wanted to scream aloud and for a long time, sob his broken heart out and to smash everything in the house, but he did none of those things. Instead, he lay in silent misery, turning in on himself.
After about an hour, Daniel wandered in, poking his head round the door to see if Jack was awake. Of course he was awake. Right now he wasn't sure he'd ever sleep again.
"Daniel, I need to be alone," he said before his friend could speak.
"I don't think so Jack."
"Scared I'll do something stupid?"
"Yeah, although I think you might wait until you get to the bottom of what happened."
"You can guarantee I'm gonna be doing that!" Jack answered empathically.
"I don't know how much I trust you on this, Jack. I know what you're capable of."
Jack unwrapped himself from his cocoon, stretching out on the bed and looking at Daniel.
"So I haven't a hope in hell of getting rid of you, right?"
"Right. Teal'c said we need each other now, and he's right. We are all going to miss her. Something this dumb should never have happened. She deserved better. She deserved to live to a ripe old age with kids and grandkids around her. She deserved some happiness."
"She wasn't happy?"
"I don't think so. Not without you around, Jack."
"I don't think so. No matter what you believe, no matter what happened between you, she loved you Jack. Always had, always would."
"That's crap. I don't want to talk about that."
"Maybe if you did, it would help."
"Psyche 101 again Daniel? You always were persistent, I'll give you that."
"We all loved her, but you most of all."
"But she never felt the same."
"I think you're wrong."
Jack turned to silence once again, not able to travel that road.
"Do you think any of us can imagine a world without her in it?" Daniel asked after a while.
"Daniel I don't want to talk about it. Give it up."
"But I do want to talk about it! I need t-to... awww crap, Jack, I'm heartbroken too!"
Daniel flopped onto the end of the bed, putting his head in his hands and Jack realised, with horror, that his friend was sobbing.
"Daniel?" he probed gently, "God, Daniel, please don't do that."
"Why the hell not? Because I'm a guy and guys shouldn't? I told you, I loved her too. And you won't even talk about it. You're my best friend. Who else should I talk to?"
"Best friend?" The statement caught Jack off guard.
"Pretty much, if you have to rely on someone as anally retentive as me to be your best friend!" Jack's tone held a self deprecating but humorous tone and Daniel smiled.
"You, Teal'c, Sam... all my best friends."
"Oh, man... Daniel!"
"You're a crap best friend, do you know that?"
"It seems very likely. You could have chosen better."
"It's not really as if I chose anything. It just happened. Jeez, Jack, I've hardly seen you for months because you tried to force me to choose between you and Sam."
"I did not!"
"You did. Never in so many words, but you did."
"So you chose Sam."
"Not really. You think I could have made that choice, or even wanted to? You made the choice Jack. You withdrew. I've missed you, dammit. It sounds unlikely, I know, but I have."
Jack was more than surprised by Daniel's words and thought about it for a while before he answered. Daniel was right; he had withdrawn. He must have been a living hell for the dogged Daniel to give up on him.
"I-I'm sorry. I guess I never realised I was doing that. I'm sorry."
Once again, Daniel was surprised. Jack rarely apologised for anything even when he knew he was wrong. Obviously Sam's death had affected him way more than even he realised. Some of Jack's behaviour was a touch out of character. If he was surprised by the words, he was shocked by Jack's actions when his friend pulled him into a bear hug.
It wasn't the first time it had happened, and it was generally a gesture of comfort, although sometimes of joy, but it was a very rare thing. He wondered whether Jack was getting in touch with the inner Jack as a result of Sam. That seemed pretty laughable and so unlike Jack, nonetheless, might provide a partially logical explanation.
After a while Jack disentangled himself from the comforting embrace. He wasn't sure he was very ready for comfort, although his friend Daniel obviously was. They sat in an uncomfortable silence for a few minutes until Daniel spoke again. He wasn't ready to let this go, to let Jack go.
"I know you're not a wearing your heart on your sleeve kind of a guy, Jack, but I guess I am."
"Maybe that's what went wrong," Daniel heard Jack say under his breath.
"What went wrong? With what? You and Sam? Don't you know?"
"No. We never discussed it."
"Guess I'll never know now."
"That must be tearing you apart."
"Jack, I'm so sorry, I wish I'd known."
"It wouldn't have made any difference, would it?"
"Maybe I wouldn't have let you push me out of your life so easily."
"I shouldn't have shut you out."
"You would never have let me in."
"But that didn't mean I had to cut you out. It was bad enough that almost everything I did reminded me of her, Daniel. Y-you..."
"I wish you hadn't cut me off, Jack, but I do understand."
"I cut Teal'c off too. Any idea what he thinks about it?"
"You could ask him."
"What, is that too hard for you, Jack?"
"Probably." Jack's chuckle had a slightly bitter tone. "Talking of T, the poor guy's sitting on his own. Don't you think we ought to join him?"
"Sounds like a plan."
Daniel would have liked nothing better than to continue their conversation, but Jack was right about Teal'c. Besides, it was likely that Jack thought the situation an excellent excuse to pause their conversation, if not stop it altogether. He had already revealed way more than he might normally, but these were not normal times.
"Are you gonna make it Jack?" Daniel asked as they were leaving the room, gravely concerned for his friend.
"I don't know Daniel. It's too early to say. But I do know that, despite everything, she would have wanted me to. That helps a little."
Jack said it to comfort his friend, with no real belief that he would make it - not this time - but Daniel took it at face value, nodding and giving him a brief smile, and they re-joined Teal'c, all three men trying to appear as if they were coping with her loss.
There was along, hard road ahead for all of them, and none of them could see the end of it.
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