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).
Category: Action/Adventure, Angst, Humour
Spoilers: Heroes and Lost City
Season: Season 7, at the start of Lost City 1
Sequel/Series Info: N/A
Content Warnings: None
Summary: Bregman learns more than he'd expected to.
Author's Note: As ever, un-beta'd - all mistakes belong to the author. Feedback always welcome.
"Okay, Colonel," Emmett Bregman glanced briefly at his notes, "first question."
O'Neill shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his gaze wandering over the film unit and Rundell before returning to Bregman. "Okay," he said softly.
"Colonel O'Neill, you are the leader of the SGC's flagship team, SG-1, as well as Second-in-Command of the SGC," Emmett began, laying the groundwork for the interview.
"That's correct," O'Neill nodded.
"That's a great deal of responsibility, Colonel," Emmett smiled. "It seems that the safety of Earth rests fairly often on your shoulders, Sir."
"It's not like I'm on my own," O'Neill seemed amused. "Apart from General Hammond and my team, there are three hundred and twelve Marines, Airmen, and civilians assigned here. Nothing would be possible without all of them."
Emmett nodded. "Understood, Colonel, but I've heard you described as the heart and soul of the SGC."
Incredibly, O'Neill blushed. Emmett was more than a little shocked that he had inadvertently managed to embarrass him.
"Not me," O'Neill shook his head firmly. "If you want to understand the heart and soul of this place," he gestured around him with his hands, "then you need to talk to everyone here. We have a difficult job, made harder by the fact that we have to do it in absolute secrecy. There are countless stories of bravery and sacrifice that the world will never know about. There are no fanfares, there's no outside recognition of the work we do, and the price we sometimes have to pay to do it is incredibly high. I'm not just talking about the teams that regularly go offworld, I'm referring to all the people who work here, who make sure that the teams we send out have as much support as we can provide them. And if any one person is - was - the heart and soul of this place, it was Janet Fraiser." There was no mistaking the pain in O'Neill's eyes as he spoke the Doctor's name. "Janet was a constant. If you got hurt or sick offworld, you always knew that Janet would be there for you, that she and her staff would move heaven and earth to pull you through. Even on the occasions when we lost someone, we knew that there was no one else who could have done more. It's her, and the others like her, that are the real heart and soul of the SGC."
There was silence for a few moments after O'Neill finished speaking. Emmett closed his notebook with a snap. "Let's take a break, Colonel," he suggested quietly. "I don't know about you, but I could do with a coffee and something to eat."
"Ah, sure," O'Neill stood somewhat gingerly, his hand straying to his left side - something which Bregman didn't fail to notice, but decided not to mention right at that moment.
James and Wickenhouse fell in behind as Bregman and O'Neill headed out of the briefing room into the corridor. Colonel Rundell excused himself - he had other work to attend to and would rejoin them after their break.
"How's the recovery going, Colonel?" Bregman wanted to keep the Colonel talking, worried that he'd retreat back into sarcasm and jokes if he didn't.
O'Neill shrugged, and then winced as the movement aggravated his injured ribs and muscles. "Fine, should be back to full duty next week. Look, why don't you just call me O'Neill or Jack? `Colonel' sounds so - " O'Neill waved his hands vaguely, " - oh, I don't know, so formal."
"Okay, Jack, if you call me Emmett," Bregman smiled, obviously pleased. Maybe he really was breaking the ice with the Colonel.
As they made their way through the corridors to catch the lift to the commissary, O'Neill was greeted by everyone they passed, most of whom expressed their pleasure at seeing the Colonel back on duty in the Mountain. Even more interestingly, O'Neill returned each greeting with a name, and a comment or question that clearly indicated his knowledge of that person. Not just other SG team members, but SFs and maintenance staff, everyone. For a man whose record, at face value, indicated a military hard ass, he seemed incredibly relaxed and easy going with his subordinates. There was no doubting the esteem in which O'Neill was held by virtually everyone Bregman had encountered at the SGC, from General Hammond down. He was beginning to understand why.
As they headed for the Commissary, O'Neill took the time to revise his original assessment of Bregman, and had to admit that he'd sold the man short when he'd first learned of his plan to document the activities and people of the SGC. The fact that Kinsey had been involved certainly hadn't helped him to formulate a good initial impression.
The stocky filmmaker seemed to genuinely want his documentary to show more than just the dry facts. From the preliminary copy that Hammond had shown him, the film was as much a celebration of the people who dedicated their lives to serving their country - or more accurately, their planet - at the SGC as it was about the marvel that was the Stargate. He'd also treated Janet's loss with dignity and respect, and that counted for a great deal with O'Neill.
Entering the Commissary, his eyed flicked up to the clock on the wall and he made a decision.
"Excuse me, I just need to make a quick call - I'll be right back," he suited action to words, striding quickly over to the internal `phone on the wall next to the other exit, leaving Bregman and the two Technical Sergeants in the queue.
"Sure, Jack," Bregman nodded, looking slightly puzzled.
O'Neill spoke quietly into the `phone, glancing at Bregman and the others every so often. Finally he was done and joined them at their table after a quick detour through the line to pick up a coffee and a piece of pie, an enigmatic smile hovering on his lips.
"So, you three up for a little trip?" he asked casually, after sampling the pie.
"A trip, Jack? I don't - " Bregman broke off, his eyes widening as he understood what O'Neill really meant. "You wouldn't kid about a thing like that, would you, Jack?"
"Well, actually," O'Neill grinned mischievously, "I would." He laughed at the disappointment of Bregman's face, "But in this case, I'm not." He took another bite of the pie, followed by a sip of coffee, then stood. "Follow me."
The Colonel made no attempt to disguise his laughter as he glanced behind him to see Bregman and the others nearly knocking their chairs, and each other, over as they scrambled to follow him. At a nod from Bregman, James and Wickenhouse raced back to the briefing room to gather their equipment, settling for a couple of state-of-the-art hand held digital video cameras and as many blank tapes as they could find, catching up rather breathlessly with O'Neill and Bregman outside the SG-1 locker room.
Inside, several airmen were laying out equipment and clothing on the benches. There were several sets more than they would need as the airmen hadn't been sure of sizing.
Bregman checked that James was recording before he turned to O'Neill. "So, what's happening, Jack? Where are we going?"
"SG-2 has been assigned to retrieve a UAV from PC3 179. As far as we can tell, it's an uninhabited world which we hope will prove to be a rich source of Trinium - that's a really strong metal that we don't have here on Earth. The mission is basically to retrieve the UAV, as I said, and to gather soil and rock samples for further testing." O'Neill had opened his locker and extracted his own clothing and equipment as he spoke. "Uh, Sergeant James? You want to ditch the camera while I get changed here, buddy? You might also want to get changed yourself. We only have fifteen minutes to get ready."
"Um, oh, sorry, Colonel," James grinned and turned off the camera, setting it aside while he changed.
O'Neill merely nodded then quickly stripped down to his shorts, dumping the clothes he'd taken off in the hamper in the corner of the room before beginning to dress in desert camouflage.
Bregman, James, and Wickenhouse exchanged shocked glances, but said nothing, as they took note of the old scars that liberally adorned O'Neill's torso and limbs, as well as the livid bruising still visible on his left side. Tearing their gazes away, they scrambled to be ready in time, unlike the Colonel who, while he didn't seem to be hurrying, was nevertheless ready and waiting for them long before they'd finished dressing.
"Everyone ready?" O'Neill ran a quick professional eye over his charges as he closed his locker. "Okay, campers," he grinned, "next stop the gate room!"
"Hey, Lou! Got room for some hitchhikers?" O'Neill called out as he led Bregman and the film crew into the gate room.
Ferretti groaned. "Just tell 'em to make sure they get my best side in all their shots, Colonel!" He'd already been briefed by the General to expect extra people on this mission.
"Then just make sure you keep your back to the camera, Lieutenant Colonel, and there'll be no problem!" O'Neill shot back, smirking when Ferretti's team tried to smother their laughter.
Bregman's heart was racing as he finally realised that O'Neill hadn't been stringing him along - he really was going to go through the Stargate. He turned to ask the Colonel a question, but held off for a moment as he watched O'Neill accept various weapons from the Armoury Technical Sergeant. Belt knife, boot knife, 9mm with four additional magazines, P90 with 5 additional magazines, what he could only assume was several blocks of some kind of explosive - C4, he guessed - several remote detonators, and a really strange looking weapon, shaped a little like a coiled snake seen in profile. At O'Neill's nod, the Sergeant moved to provide James, Wickenhouse, and, more surprisingly, Bregman himself, each with a 9mm and four additional magazines.
"Colonel - ?" Bregman gestured to the gun now secured at his hip.
The easy-going facade slipped for a moment as O'Neill turned to look at him, and Bregman got his first real glimpse of the battle-hardened soldier beneath. "Just because a planet seems to be uninhabited and safe doesn't mean that is," the Colonel informed him gravely. "It never hurts to be prepared."
Bregman nodded solemnly, understanding even more that there were risks every time these people stepped through the gate and into the unknown.
O'Neill grinned suddenly, immediately lightening the mood. "So, ready to go to Oz, Emmett?"
"We're really going to do this, aren't we?" Bregman whispered as the gate began to spin.
"Yeahsureyoubetcha," O'Neill's grin widened as he moved to stand between Bregman and Ferretti while they waited for the wormhole to establish.
Bregman, James, and Wickenhouse all flinched when the wormhole wooshed into existence, their faces full of wonder.
Several moments passed while Hammond and the control room crew rechecked the images being received from the MALP that had been sent through earlier. It looked clear.
"SG-2 and guests, you have a go," Hammond's voice was startlingly loud over the speaker system.
Both O'Neill and Ferretti looked up towards the control room window and snapped off quick, somewhat sloppy, salutes to the General before heading towards the ramp.
"Hope you guys didn't have a big breakfast," Ferretti's grin was truly evil as he took in the expressions on the film crew's faces.
"Move it out, gentlemen," O'Neill gestured for the film crew to follow SG-2 and precede him up the ramp.
"Aah, trees," O'Neill drawled lazily as he exited the wormhole and looked around him. "Oh, and look at that, they're beige!"
SG-2 secured the gate area while they waited for Bregman and his crew to regain their composure.
Planet Beige, as O'Neill had immediately christened it, was actually fairly pleasant. The day was warm, and the air refreshing and clear.
The morning passed relatively uneventfully. Ferretti's team established the direction that they needed to take in order to recover the UAV and they headed out at a fairly easy pace.
O'Neill had readily acquiesced to Ferretti's request that he take point, glad to have something to do other than babysitting the film crew.
It was pure chance that James happened to be filming the Colonel, who was about one hundred yards ahead of the main group, when he suddenly froze, moving quickly into a crouch and holding up a clenched fist, before opening his hand again and making a downward sweeping motion with his hand and arm.
SG-2 immediately went to ground, pulling Bregman, James, and Wickenhouse down with them.
"What - ?"
Ferretti cut Bregman's question off with a gesture, his eyes glued to O'Neill, who was now signalling for them to take cover while he investigated further.
The seven men moved hurriedly into the trees, heading for the cover of the shrubs and bushes at the edge of the tree line. There was now no sign of O'Neill.
"What's going on, Lou?" Bregman was careful to keep his voice low.
"The Colonel spotted something. He's gone to check it out, meanwhile, we stay here until we know more." Ferretti informed him quickly, eyes never ceasing to scan the trail for signs of O'Neill.
"How long do you think he'll be?"
"As long as it takes, Emmett."
They were distracted by two clicks coming from Ferretti's radio. The Lieutenant Colonel immediately responded with a click of his own.
"He's on his way back now. Keep alert, people."
They strained to catch a glimpse of the returning Colonel. Five minutes passed with still no sign of him.
"Why did he signal on the radio like that, Lou?"
"So that you don't shoot me when I turn up," O'Neill's voice came from the bushes a few feet away.
Ferretti immediately spun toward the direction the voice came from, barely managing to stop himself from bringing his gun to bear on the bushes. "Goddammit, Colonel!" he hissed.
"Something wrong, Lieutenant Colonel?" O'Neill asked, eyebrow raised in inquiry as he emerged from the cover of the bushes.
Ferretti rolled his eyes and sighed before returning to the matter at hand. "What's happening, Sir?"
"Jaffa. At least twenty that I saw, just up around the next hill," O'Neill informed him grimly.
"What the hell are they doing here?"
"They seem to be waiting for someone. They have quite a little ambush set up back there," O'Neill shrugged.
"Did you manage to see their tattoos?"
"Oh, yeah," O'Neill's posture was rigid, fairly screaming tension and stress. "They're Ba'al's." His eyes were agate hard when he lifted them to meet Ferretti's gaze.
Ferretti swore viciously, an expression that Bregman couldn't quite define in his eyes as he looked at O'Neill. Worry? Sympathy? Anger? Perhaps those and more.
"So, what do we do now?" Bregman asked, looking from Ferretti to O'Neill. He was a little surprised when O'Neill deferred to Ferretti, before he remembered that, officially, this was the Lieutenant Colonel's mission.
"Now we get the hell out of here," Ferretti signalled his team to move out.
"JJ has the six," O'Neill quipped, disappearing back into the bushes after a nod from Ferretti.
"We're pretty sure that the System Lords have managed hack in to our radio transmissions. We're working on a new encryption system, but until it's implemented, we have to be careful. The last thing we want the Jaffa to know is that anyone from SG-1 is on this planet - especially Colonel O'Neill. Instead of using `SG-1 niner' as he normally would, the Colonel will use `JJ' if he has to use the radio."
"How would they know that anyone from Earth is here?"
"The MALP is still where we left it at the gate - I'd say it was a pretty obvious first clue."
"But what's the difference if they know the Colonel is here as opposed to your team, Lou?"
"Every member of SG-1 has a price on their head, the reward is payable by any of the System Lords. One of the System Lords - Ba'al - has offered double the posted reward amount if the Colonel is delivered to him, alive or dead."
"Let's just say that Ba'al feels that he and the Colonel have some unfinished business," Ferretti shrugged, unwilling to say more.
"Wait! Didn't Jack say that the Jaffa here are Ba'al's?"
"Yeah," Ferretti sighed. "Baker, you've got point - head out now and scope things out. We'll follow in three minutes. Stay away from the trail."
"Yes, Sir!" Baker headed off at a careful run, staying along the treeline for a few metres then moving further into the forest, angling to approach the gate from the south.
"SG-2 two to SG-2 niner. Colonel, we have a problem," Captain Baker's voice was hushed.
"SG-2 niner, go," Ferretti responded immediately, signalling the group to stop and stay hidden.
"We've got a dozen hostiles here, Sir."
"What's your status, Baker?"
"I've taken cover in the trees to the southwest, Sir, it's a secure position for the moment."
"Understood. Maintain position until we join you," Ferretti thought for a moment then keyed his radio again. "SG-2 niner to JJ."
"You heard, Sir?"
"Yeah. And just to make it perfect, the other group seems to have gotten bored and is heading your way as well. It looks like they're hunting someone or something."
"D and c, Lou. I'll distract the guys at the rear, and that should also draw some of the others away as well. Once the numbers are down, you go and get help."
"Only way, Sir. We'll be back."
"I'll be waiting. Oh, and if you've got any spare stuff, feel free to make a donation - it might be useful."
"I think we can help you out there, out," Ferretti clicked his radio twice then turned to his team. "Okay, we join up with Baker and wait for the Jaffa to split up. Jones, give me all the C4 and triggers that you have. Move it out, and stay low."
"Wait! You mean we're just going to leave Jack here?" Bregman was shocked.
"No, Mister Bregman, we're not! We're just going to get you guys out of here and then come back with reinforcements and bring him home," Ferretti told him flatly. "We do not leave our people behind!" he hissed angrily.
"Oh, uh, sorry, Lou," Bregman nodded, suitably chastised. "Um...`d and c'?"
"Divide and conquer, Emmett," Ferretti's grin was feral, "and no one does that better than the Colonel." He took the explosives and triggers that Jones had handed to him and stashed them inside a thick bush. Carefully breaking one of the bush's branches, he stepped back to survey his handiwork. "That'll do it," he nodded. "Okay, let's move it out! Stay low and move fast, people!"
O'Neill worked quickly, placing the C4 carefully to ensure that the cliff face would fall as he wanted it to. He had a few minutes until the Jaffa behind him would reach the outcrop that he'd just mined, and decided to use the time to set up another couple of surprises for them further up the trail.
Everything was ready, so he took cover and waited. A rustling in the bushes a few yards away alerted him that someone or something was approaching. His eyes narrowed even as melted silently back into the undergrowth. He'd been certain that there were no unaccounted-for Jaffa between himself and the gate, and he would have seen if any of the other group had broken away. This could complicate things.
The rustling moved closer to the position he'd been in a few moments before. O'Neill went absolutely still as he saw a figure emerged from the bushes, the man's attention locked on the trail where the Jaffa would appear in a few minutes. The Colonel's eyes widened when he recognised the newcomer.
"Well, you're a long way from home, aren't you?" he drawled quietly, staying hidden from sight.
The effect on the other man was startling. He jumped and spun around, searching the bushes for the source of the voice.
"Hi Jacob, fancy meeting you here."
The debris from the demolition of the cliff took out half the Jaffa. Eight of the Jaffa at the gate immediately headed off in the direction of the explosion. SG-2 waited until they were well away before launching their attack on the remaining Jaffa around the gate. It was quickly over, and they wasted no time in dialling up and returning to Earth.
"SGC niner to JJ, respond please. What is your status?"
"This is JJ. Do not, repeat, do not send anyone through the gate. We've got about sixty Jaffa here, with more on the way. The dance floor's getting a little crowded."
"Understood," Hammond's expression was tight. "What can we do to help you?"
"Not a lot, Sir. But I've met up with an old friend, and I've got the care package that Ferretti left, so the odds are a whole lot better than they were." The smile was obvious in O'Neill's voice.
Hammond grinned and raised an eyebrow. Only O'Neill would consider two against sixty to be a lot better than one against sixty. "Care to give me a hint, Son?"
"Let's just say it's a two for one deal, Sir, almost like family. We're bingo for food and water, so we'll probably just wait it out and head through the gate when it's quietened down - you know how patient I can be, Sir."
"We'll leave the light on, JJ. SGC out."
"Thanks, Sir, good to know. JJ - oh, and friends - out."
"Close it down, Sergeant."
Hammond turned to where Carter, Jackson, and Teal'c stood at the entrance to the control room. "What the hell would Jacob be doing on that planet?"
"No idea, Sir," Carter shrugged. "You know the Tok'Ra never tell us anything about their operations."
"Unless they want our help," Jackson added with a wry smile.
"Well, I don't think we'll have to wait for long before we find out."
"I thought the Colonel said that they'd wait it out, General?" Bregman was obviously confused.
"Actually, Emmett, he said exactly the opposite," Jackson told him quietly.
"I don't understand...?"
"When the Colonel said that they were `bingo' for food and water, he meant that they had virtually none. They're going to have to act sooner rather than later, and they won't be using the Stargate - it's too heavily guarded." Carter took up the explanation.
"Doubtless O'Neill and JacobCarter will lend a ship from the Jaffa."
"Borrow, Teal'c," Jackson corrected with a grin. "Although `steal' is probably a better word, given that I doubt they intend to give it back."
A little over two days later, the SGC received a radio transmission from O'Neill advising that they'd be arriving shortly. He also requested that a medical team be waiting in the south western corner of the external car park. Since this was the area set aside for helicopter landings, he knew that it would be clear of obstacles.
Hammond had authorised Bregman to film the Colonel's return.
There was a shimmer at the appointed end of the SGC car park, which was shielded from the NORAD car park by a thick stand of trees. Suddenly, the shimmer turned into a small ship resting on the asphalt. As the door slid open, the medical team hurried forward, closely followed by SG-1, Hammond, and Bregman and his crew.
"Jacob needs help - both he and Selmak are hurt," O'Neill wasted no time in directing the medical team into the cargo hold as he stood stiffly and moved away from the pilot's chair.
Carter flashed a quick smile at her CO before hurrying after the medical team.
"Are you okay, Jack?" Jackson gestured at the blood covering one side of O'Neill's uniform.
"A little tired, could do with a coffee, oh, and the knees are a bit stiff, but otherwise pretty good," the Colonel glanced down at the front of his uniform as if seeing it for the first time. "Oh, yeah, I think most of this is Jacob's."
Jacob glanced at the entrance to the cargo area as the orderlies lifted him onto a stretcher. The sight of his daughter brought a smile to his face despite his injuries, which were indeed severe.
"Hey, Dad," Carter took up a position on the other side of Jacob to Doctor Warner.
"Hey, kiddo," Jacob reached out and touched her arm with a weary smile as the orderlies picked up the stretcher they'd placed him on and started to head out of the ship.
"How're you doing?"
"Hanging in there. Selmak still needs a bit of time before she can do anything for me," Jacob smiled weakly. "How's Jack? He ended up with a pretty nasty wound from that Jaffa's knife."
Jackson, hearing what Jacob had said, turned accusingly to O'Neill. "Ja-ack?"
"Hey, you never asked about the blood there," pointing to his back, O'Neill smirked even as he stumbled, saved only from falling by Teal'c's steadying hand.
Glancing over at the pilot's seat, Hammond was more than a little disturbed to see the blood staining the back of the chair and pooled on the seat. "Bring that second stretcher in here and get Doctor Andrews up here, now!" He issued the order to one of the SFs guarding the doorway.
"For crying out loud, Sir," O'Neill complained even as his knees buckled, "I'm fine, really! I'm - whoah!" his legs suddenly gave out beneath him and once again only Teal'c's quick action kept him from hitting the deck, literally. "Maybe I'll just have a bit of a lie down," he murmured as Teal'c assisted him onto the stretcher.
"Good plan, Jack," Jackson quipped as he stood aside to allow the Doctor to examine O'Neill.
Bregman went looking for the Colonel to say goodbye, only to find that he'd been discharged from the infirmary and had left the Mountain the day before. Disappointed, but understanding that the hyperactive O'Neill would have bolted as soon as he was able, he took his leave of General Hammond and Colonel Rundell, promising to send them the finished product as soon as he'd completed post-production. Despite the tragedy of Janet's loss, he was happy that he'd done his best to show the world - if they ever got to see the documentary - exactly what kind of people they had working on their behalf on the SGC front lines.
Three weeks later.....
"Hey, Janet," O'Neill murmured softly as he eased himself down to crouch beside the newly erected headstone. Placing the small bouquet of brightly coloured flowers carefully near the base, he lifted his hand, allowing it to rest lightly on the cool granite. "Cassie's doing okay, I think, and the rest of us are hanging in there as well. It's just not the same without you there to bully us, though, you know?"
O'Neill was silent for a while, staring off into the distance. Returning his attention to the headstone, he seemed almost embarrassed. "You're going to be pissed at me, Janet, but, well, I think I might be seeing you soon," he reached down and fiddled with the bouquet, adjusting its position slightly. "I kinda did it again - the whole alien head sucky thing," he closed his eyes, head bowed. "Yeah, I know, stupid, huh? But I couldn't risk Carter or Daniel, and if it works, it'll be worth it, right? That whole `save the planet' thing again," he shrugged.
"Anyway," he rose to his full height, fingers still lightly in contact with the top of the headstone, "I guess I'll be seeing you soon, Doc, and you can tell me in person how idiotically reckless I've been. Just hold off on that damned penlight and those huge honkin' needles, okay? Probably too much to ask, right? Napoleonic power monger," he smiled gently, giving the granite one last caress before turning and walking slowly back to where he'd left his truck, head bowed in thought, hands jammed securely into trouser pockets, but more at peace than he'd been when he arrived.
Emmett Bregman held his breath until the Colonel was safely out of earshot, desperately afraid that O'Neill would think that he'd been spying on him. He'd been in the area and had decided to stop by the cemetery to pay his respects.
He hadn't expected to see Colonel O'Neill here, and certainly hadn't meant to eavesdrop, but he'd found himself frozen in place, unable to move away. O'Neill's words, although softly spoken, had carried clearly, and, while Bregman didn't know the details of whatever had happened, it was obvious that the Colonel didn't expect to survive this time. From the information he'd been given when he'd been preparing for the documentary, he knew enough to figure out that O'Neill had somehow come into contact with another of the Ancients' repositories, although this time it sounded as though he'd done it deliberately.
He felt almost sick with guilt over what he'd just witnessed. And still, a part of him wished that he'd had his film crew with him. He'd learned more about the intensely private Colonel in the last few minutes than in all the time he'd spent at the SGC. People deserved to know about O'Neill, not to intrude on his privacy, but to show them what it meant to be a real hero. The documentary was, in its own way, a tribute to Janet's heroism and sacrifice, but no one would ever know the real O'Neill, see the heart and soul that he showed only when he thought no one else was looking.
Wiping the tears from his eyes, he moved from where he'd been standing, partially hidden in the bushes, and approached the grave almost tentatively, carefully placing the single rose he'd brought with him next to O'Neill's bouquet.
"If you do see him soon, Janet, look after him, okay? And try to go easy on the penlight and needles."
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to