Treasures from the Heart
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).
Nothing could have prepared me for my first trip through the Stargate. Those who had traveled through it before tried to tell me what to expect, but I still emerged on the other side dizzy and a little nauseous. I did survive the trip though, and I look around curiously, seeing the confines of Stargate Command for the first time.
The room I end up in is not very impressive. The Stargate is surrounded by gray walls, with a walkway that leads down to the ground. There are several people waiting at the bottom of the ramp. Many of them have weapons, but I see some familiar faces and this calms me. One man, in particular, has caught my eye and I can't stop staring at him as my companion and I walk down the ramp. It is Jack, and he stands there dressed in clothes made of blue cloth, grinning at me with a smile that has been known to make me weak in the knees when he was a part of my world.
"Fair day, Laira," he says to me. His smile is warm and welcoming, which goes a long way in easing my fears. I was a little worried that maybe he did not want to see me again.
"Fair day, Jack." He is so handsome. I continue to stare at him, temporarily forgetting that I have come to meet his superiors and to talk about the treaty. He stares back at me for a moment, then turns to the man standing next to me. "It's good to see you again Doren. I'm glad you could make it." Doren nods his head in greeting, but I can tell that he is worried. It's not everyday we are faced with men holding weapons.
"It was hard to find someone who would be willing to go through the Stargate with me," I hear myself say. "Everyone else was afraid they would not be able to go back home."
Jack nods his head in agreement, as he continues to stare at me. Apparently he has learned a lot about my people during his stay with us. He suddenly remembers that we are not the only people in the room and he turns to the man that is standing next to him. "General Hammond, this is Laira and Doren, Laira, this is General George Hammond, the commander of this facility."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, ma'am," General Hammond says. He is wearing the same jacket that Jack is wearing, although he does have a different adornment on his chest.
"Thank you, General Hammond. Doren and I appreciate the invitation to come for a visit. My people have told us of your generosity while they were stranded here."
"That was an unfortunate incident, one which turned out happily," he replied. I return his smile, then turn to the other familiar faces in the crowd.
"Fair day, Laira," Samantha Carter says with a smile. She is wearing the same jacket that Jack and General Hammond are wearing, but she wears her jacket over a short skirt. I must admit that I am a little embarrassed to see this, as the women of my world do not show so much skin. But Samantha does not seem to be worried about it, so I diligently try to hide my embarrassment.
"Fair day, Samantha." I return the hug that she gives me, although I sense that she is holding back. I pull back to look into her face, wondering what was wrong, but she smiles and I think that maybe I am being a little over anxious.
"Laira," Daniel Jackson says, as he too, pulls me into a hug. "It's good to see you again." Daniel's smile is just as warm as Jack's, and I bask in the welcome I have received.
"It is good to see you again, as well, Daniel. Garan misses you and your knowledge. He often wonders how you are faring."
"I'm doing well." It really is good to see him. I still remember Daniel's enthusiasm in trying to save my people. He was very forceful in arguing over the futility of staying behind. I was grateful that most of my people believed in him.
Teal'c bows his head when I turn to him. I have always admired this man. Jack told me what Teal'c had given up to free his own people from slavery, and I admit that I could not comprehend doing the same. He gave up his family to fight his enemies and to make things easier for those who would follow him. This is hard for me to understand. Family is what holds me together. Losing my husband nearly cost me my sanity. I could not imagine doing what Teal'c had done. But because of his sacrifice, many of his people are now free and many more will know what freedom is because of men like Teal'c. I bow my head to return the greeting, then tell him, "I am glad that you are well."
He smiles at me, just as Jack comes up and takes my arm. "Walk with me," he says, and I have the sudden urge to cry. His words bring back memories that still haunt me with the sweetness of them, and I try to smile to hide my pain.
He sees through my pain, though. He tilts his head slightly in an attempt to look into my eyes, but I turn away. This is supposed to be a joyous reunion.
"We have a treaty to discuss," I tell him. I cannot let my emotions get in the way. He has his life here on Earth and I have mine on Edora. We literally live worlds apart. It does no good to bring up the past.
The meeting went well. My people will benefit from the knowledge and tools we have acquired through the treaty. We are treated to a meal, although Doren and I are unsure of its content. But it is tasty and I must admit that I have developed a fondness for a food that Jack says is a traditional dish among his people. It is called Jello and it comes in a variety of colors.
"Come on," Jack says, as he takes my hand in his. He is insistent that we go for a walk, and I take his hand as we leave the room. I know that he wants to talk, as do I, and I am anxious to be alone with him. We walk down a hallway, but stop when we reach a doorway. He slides something through what he calls a "reader", then we stand there waiting - for what, I am unsure.
He smiles warmly at me, as we stand there staring at each other. I finally have to look away, but my attention is caught by the colorful adornment he wears on his jacket and I just have to ask. "Will you tell me what this is?"
"Just some medals."
I've come to know Jack and his ways very well. Because of this, I know that the medals represent something important. He is smiling at me, the guilty smile he uses when he has done something good for someone, but does not want to acknowledge it. He is a very humble man, and his smile tugs at my heart. This is one of the things I love about him.
"What did you do to earn them?" I ask. I was right. His expression now becomes uneasy, but I am determined to know everything there is to know about this man, so I resort to coaxing. "Come on. What did you do?"
"Oh, just saved the world a couple of times," he responds with exaggerated pride. "Helped some people out of a jam, you know. That sort of thing." He is smirking by now, and I find myself smiling back at him. I have missed him dearly.
The door slides open and Jack stands back to let me enter first. I am a little hesitant, as the door opens up into a small room. There is nothing in the room, but he is insistent. I step in and look up at his face, wondering what he has in mind. The door closes and I grab his arm, terrified as the floor moves.
"It's okay," he tells me, as he places his hand on my arm. "It's an elevator." His smile warms my heart and I have always trusted him, but I still have to hang onto his arm. This is too strange for me to comprehend.
The room finally stops moving and the door opens. We step out into another hallway and I blindly follow Jack as he leads the way. We reach another door and he turns to look at me with the crooked grin that has always enveloped me in a warm glow. Oh how I love this man.
I try to smile back at him, but he knows me too well. He knows of the sadness that dwells inside me. His smile dims and he pulls me into a hug, holding me tightly to his chest. "I've got a surprise for you," he says, as he pulls away and looks into my eyes. "Come on."
The door opens up to the world outside of the Stargate Command Center. I am amazed how similar it is to my own world. While there are no homes or lakes nearby, there are trees everywhere. Jack takes my hand to lead me away from the people who are standing around the entrance and I follow him to a clearing that looks out over the mountains.
"Your world is beautiful," I tell him. He nods his head, as he looks around, then smiles at me when I ask, "Where are the lakes filled with fish this big?" I hold my hands out wide to illustrate how big, and Jack's smile grows wider.
"That's in Minnesota." He has that look on his face, the one that he gets when he talks of his home. I am now thoroughly confused, as I thought that this was his home.
"I thought this was Minnesota."
"Nope. This is Colorado," he says, as he puts his hands into his pockets. "Nice mountains - if you like that sort of thing, but nothing compared to Minnesota. Trust me on this. You'd like Minnesota."
"From the way you talk of it, there is no other place like it."
"Then I taught you well." I shake my head at this logic, but I keep the rest of my thoughts to myself. He is in his glory when he speaks of his home. His enthusiasm takes away my sadness and I must admit that I very much prefer this side of Jack O'Neill.
We walk around the area, talking of the past we shared and of the people Jack had come to know during his stay in my home. I answer all his questions about my neighbors, bringing him news that seems important to him. I spoke of my son, Garan, and his upcoming union with Naytha, and of Paynan's new well, and how he wished Jack were there to help him dig it. Jack scoffed at that. Paynan didn't even like him, at least as far as Jack was concerned. I don't bother to correct him. We both know the truth on that issue.
The sky is getting dark, and I know that my time with Jack will soon be over. He realizes it, as well, because he stops, turns to face me, and places his palm against my cheek. I can't help but lean into his hand, feeling the warmth of his touch and his gaze, as he stares into my eyes, telling me in his own way that he does not want this to end so soon.
We both know that it has to. Our separate worlds demand it. But I still wonder what path our lives would have followed if his friends had not found a way to rescue him.
"I have something for you," I tell him, as I step back from his touch. I miss the warmth already, but I know that I will always carry his memory with me. He is a part of me now.
"What?" he asks. He is intrigued, but it is the tender way he still looks at me that brings on my smile. I will miss him for a long time to come.
I am now a little embarrassed. What if he doesn't like it, or thinks it's just something silly? I am a little hesitant to give it to him now, but he is having none of that.
"Come on. What is it?"
"It's just a little something that I thought..." I can feel my face turn an even brighter red, but I don't want to back down now. "I thought you might want something to remember me by."
He is staring at me now. I smile at him timidly, as I worry about his thoughts. Will he think I am too foolish? "I don't need anything to remind me of you," he tells me, as he stares into my eyes. "You are always with me."
Tears spring up in my eyes at his words, but I refuse to cry. Neither one of us needs to deal with the tears right now, so I straighten my shoulders as I reach into the pocket of my dress. "It is just a little something my mother gave to me when she died. I want you to have it now."
I hand him the pendant my mother had always cherished, and watch his expression as he looks at it. "It looks like a boat," he says, almost in awe. I nod at him, and he smiles brightly at me. "Where's the little guy with the fishing pole?"
I have no idea what he is talking about, but I don't think he really cares. "I can't take this, Laira," he says. "Your mother wanted you to have it."
"And I want you to have it," I insist, as I close his fingers over the pendant.
He looks at again, then smiles at me. "Thank you. It reminds me of Garan's canoe."
"I know," I respond with a nostalgic smile. "I always knew where to find you when you weren't working."
He does not bother to look chagrined. In fact, he smirks at me. But he doesn't get the chance to respond, as a voice calls out to us from the building.
"Jack! There you are. Doren wants to finish the negotiations so that he can leave."
I cannot help but feel guilty at Daniel's remark. I had forgotten all about Doren in my quest to be alone with Jack. But I am also saddened that our time together has come to an end, especially since we had not talked about what was really important. But then again, it was probably better that we didn't. Jack has his responsibilities and I have mine. Sharing our regrets would not make things any easier.
Jack and I stare at each other, knowing that this was goodbye. I give him a small smile, then turn to walk back into the building. Now that I think on it, there really isn't anything we can say to each other that hasn't already been said before. His actions speak louder than words and I know his feelings for me run just as deep as my feelings for him. We just were not fated to be together.
He stands there in his uniform, the medals that were received with honor blazing on his chest. I stand at the end of the ramp surrounded by the people who have treated me with kindness, but I can only stare at Jack. He is so handsome in his uniform, as he stands there strong and proud, while the gleaming medals decorating his chest create a colorful contrast to the solid blue jacket. But it's the look in his eyes that have caught my attention. There's a look of sadness and hope, dwelling peacefully along with loyalty and love in his eyes, and I find that I am mesmerized by them. He continues to stare at me as a slow smile forms on his face and I smile back. He knows very well the effect he has on me.
This is a memory I will cherish forever. The memory of Jack in his uniform, with the medals he earned through bloodshed and pain, standing straight and tall with his pride and his loyalty. He is a warrior who would push away his own happiness in order to save his world from destruction, just as he had done when he had first come to my world.
The alarms start blaring and a voice announces the chevrons being engaged. I take a deep breath then tell my Earth friends goodbye. When it is Jack's turn, he pulls me into a hug, then takes my hand and puts something into it.
It is one of his medals. I look up at him, confusion mixing with heartache, but he is smiling again.
"I had some extras lying around," he assures me with a shrug of his shoulders. I know better though. All of his medals are important to him. I trace the surface of the medal, then look at him with a smile.
"Thank you," I tell him sadly. I will keep this with me forever, but I know that I don't have to tell him that. I am sure he already knows.
He steps back and I turn to walk up the ramp. But I have to take one last look.
He is still there, staring at me and he gives me a wave as I stare back at him. This is our destiny. The medal in my hand will remind me of it when loneliness overtakes me. Jack will always be with me in my heart and in my memories. Nothing can take that away from me. I turn once more and walk into the swirling Stargate, the edges of the medal cutting into my hand as I clutch it tightly.
Fair day and be well, Jack.
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