Title: Going Home
CONTENT LEVEL: C
Summary: A response to the Jackfic MC word; `Embark`. Janet sets off on a journey.
Author Notes: Thanx to Hoo for searching endlessly for a piece of music for me so I could settle on the title…..still haven’t found it but I know it’s there, so the title stays. To Dee for the part beta…I’m too impatient to get the other half done. Saddo, I know J And to `mother` (Arnise) for the expansion suggestions. Hope it was enough.
*** This story is for Karen of Knoxvilla, her brother, and her wonderful parents. ***
As a doctor, Janet Fraiser had heard of such things, but up until Daniel’s `death`, nothing had ever really and truly convinced her that there is anything beyond this life. Even then, she had been left with some nagging doubt. She knew Daniel died - she was there - and she knew his body was given a proper funeral; she was there also. But to have him return months later, seemingly in his own body, was something of a mind boggler. However, in her seven plus years with the stargate program, Janet had seen enough alien gadgets to make her suspect interference. Who was to know 100% for sure that Daniel hadn’t been `saved` by……something? His body taken and restored to health by some race even greater than any Ancient we know of?
Now she knew. She understood.
It *was* an Ancient that received Daniel in death. The very same Ancient who received her.
She had no recollection of the blow that ended her life. There had been no warning, no pain, just a feeling of displacement. One second she was working on one man, airman Wells, the next picking herself up off the ground.
“What happened?” She shouted to Daniel above the gunfire.
Daniel didn’t answer, his attention was on the service man lying next to Wells.
“Janet!” He yelled.
“Right here, Daniel,” she answered, moving in to help.
There were two people lying injured on the ground, but what she saw both amazed and scared her at the same time. It took a few seconds for her to realise what she was seeing. The second person was herself.
Janet back paddled with shock. Unable to take her eyes off the surreal scene, she only stopped when she backed up to a tree.
Daniel was yelling for a medic, people were running and shouting, guns and staff weapons were sounding all around. It was chaos. Then John Neely, one of Janet’s nurses appeared, and began to work on the body in front of her. After a few moments he looked at Daniel and shook his head, and it was then that realisation dawned.
`Oh, sweet Jesus! No! It can’t be. Keep trying, John,” she begged, throwing herself on her knees beside the young medic. “You have to keep trying!”
There she saw the gaping hole the blast from the staff weapon had left in her chest. Looking back at it later, Janet would realise that there was nothing John Neely could have done and that he must have known that, but bless him, he had tried to help her.
“I’m sorry, Dr Jackson,“ Neely said. “There is nothing I can do here. She died instantly.”
The words echoed in Janet’s head, making her dizzy.
This couldn’t be happening. It had to be a bad dream.
`Any minute now`, she thought, `any second I’m going to wake up and everything will be all right. It has to be. Cassie would be so angry if I left her alone. Oh no, poor Cassie. This can’t happen to her for the second time. It just can’t!`
As her fear became all consuming, her brain began to work over time.
`May if I could get to the stargate….. get home…..then I’ll see I was right. That this really *is* just a bad dream.`
And with that, she turned tail and bolted like the hounds of hell were at her feet. Through the confusion she ran, blind to everything around her.
Finally, she burst through a cluster of thick trees and into the long clearing in which the stargate lay. The `gate was open, and Janet couldn’t believe her eyes as she saw Daniel and John Neely carrying a stretcher bearing airman Wells disappear into the swirling particles. How on earth had they beaten her back to the gate?
Janet then noticed another man approaching the steps. Teal’c. His face was grim, and there was a weariness in his step. In his arms he carefully and with great dignity carried a body that she recognised as her own. As he walked up the steps to the stargate Janet ran forward shouting, trying desperately to get Teal’c’s attention.
“Teal’c! Wait! Please!”
As she reached the bottom of the steps, Janet thought she had been heard when the Jaffa hesitated for a second. He then took a deep breath, and closing his eyes, stepped through the gate. As he did so, Janet took the steps two at a time and followed him through moments before the gate disengaged.
Janet was confused when instead of stepping out into the gate room, she found herself in the infirmary. Jack and Sam were in the room.
“Sir heard you were up and around.”
“Yeah,” Jack hissed in pain as he pulled his shirt gingerly over his head. “Still a little tender but they said I could go home.”
“We're lucky that staff blast hit you where it did. That new vest
insert works well.”
“Didn't help Fraiser much.”
Sam looked at her feet. “No.”
After a moment Jack asked, “How's Cassie?”
“She's a strong kid, she survives …you know?”
“Yeah,” Jack sighed. “You speaking at the memorial?”
Sam nodded and took a deep breath. “Sir. I...I just wanted to say. When you were lying there I….I'm really glad you're okay.”
There was a moment of awkwardness as Sam been to cry. She looked away, trying to stop the tears from coming. Jack took a step closer, and when she glanced toward him opened his arms to her.
Janet blinked and found herself in Sam’s lab. She saw Sam was crying and took a step toward her as Teal’c walked into the room.
“Hey Teal'c,” Sam sniffed into a tissue and tried to smile. “General Hammond asked me to speak at the memorial service.”
“I am aware,” Teal’c nodded gently.
“I don't know what to say, nothing seems good enough.”
“I believe you should only speak from your heart.”
Sam nodded. “I gotta go pick up Cassie.”
“Major Carter,” Teal’c carried on. “I have pondered what I would say were I given the chance.”
“Really?” Sam asked, a little surprised.
“But I believe it would be best if it came from you,” he said softly.
Sam took the piece of paper Teal’s offered and read. She then smiled, and cried and hugged her friend.
"Tell me she's not dead!"
The words were angry, the voice desperate and frightened.
Janet turned from the window she was inexplicably staring out of to see her daughter’s ashen face.
When Sam didn’t answer, Cassie looked to Daniel.
“Daniel, *please*,” she whispered.
When Daniel didn’t answer, Cassie flew to Sam, sobbing.
Janet took a step toward them both, choking back a sob.
“It is impossible for you to return as you once were, Janet Fraiser.”
Janet started at the sudden appearance of a woman in a flowing cream robe.
“You must leave the behind the things which bind you to the place you know as Earth. The time has come for you to move on.”
“I can’t leave,” Janet cried. “I have a daughter, family, friends. A life!”
The woman smiled sympathetically. “The time in which a soul his bound to it’s earthly body is short. You must try to understand. That life is no more.”
“No! I can’t leave.” Janet insisted. “What about my daughter? She’s already lost a mother once, it can’t be allowed to happen again. She *needs* me! And I need *her*.”
“Cassie will be all right, Janet,” the woman replied. “There will be someone to help guide her, always. Just as there will be someone to guide you as you embark on your new journey.”
Janet stared for a long moment, and suddenly she knew who this woman was.
The woman smiled and bowed her head graciously.
“I’m not ready for this,” Janet said sadly. “I can’t just leave like this.”
“That emotion is usual,” Oma replied. “Therefore it is important that you make peace with yourself. To see that life does go on for those left behind.”
“Although my time here has been brief, it has been without a doubt indelible. I will remember every one of you, and I thank you all for your hard work. I'm not one for long goodbyes, so without further ado it is with great pleasure I introduce you to your new commanding officer, Brigadier General Jack O'Neill.”
Janet stared at the woman standing at the podium in the gate room. A woman she didn’t recognise at all. She turned as she heard the doors open, to see a blues dressed Jack O’Neill walk into the room. The room came to attention as Jack walked up the ramp to the podium, as the stranger stood down and went to stand with the Sam, Daniel and Teal’c.
“At ease,” Jack ordered. “You all know how much I *love* speeches, so I'll make this short. I wish I could say I didn't owe anything to anyone, but the truth is I wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for the courage and support of each and every one of you. I hope I can be as good a leader as we've had in the past, and as good as you deserve.”
“Hear, hear!” Daniel applauded, the rest of the room following him.
“The other reason I took this job was so I could do really cool stuff like this; it is with great pride that my first order of business as commander of this base is the announcement of the promotion of Major Samantha Carter to Lieutenant Colonel.”
Sam blushed, embarrassed. When Jack jerked his head at her she grinned and walked up the ramp to him.
“The President of the United States has placed special trust and confidence in the patriotism, integrity and abilities of Major Samantha Carter.” Sgt Davies announced. “Major Samantha Carter is promoted to the grade of Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force.”
Jack finished pinning on Sam’s new insignia and both saluted each other.
“Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter,“ he stated solemnly, as the room burst into applause once more. “Now, raise your right hand and repeat after me; I, insert name.
“I, Samantha Carter …”
A loud pop followed by a squeal, split the air. The came a giggle that Janet knew so well. Now in Jack’s back yard, she watched as a more mature Cassie laughed as Jack pretended to pick a champagne cork from his teeth and grinned.
At that moment, Sam appeared on the porch steps carrying a huge cake with candles, and singing Happy Birthday.
“Oh no!” Cassie cringed, and giggled a little more as everyone joined in.
Sam placed the cake on a table and as they finished singing, she pushed Cassie toward it.
“Don’t forget to make a wish,” Daniel called.
As the twenty one candles were extinguished, Sam nudged Cassie’s shoulder.
“What did you wish for?” she asked, grinning.
“Ah ah. She can’t tell, or it won’t come true.” Jack stated.
Cassie smiled, tears suddenly pricking her eyes. “It’s okay, Jack. I think I can tell this time. I wished my mom was here.”
Jack gave her a sad, sympathetic smile, pulled her into his arms and hugged her for long moment. He then reached for a glass and handed it to Cassie before taking one for himself.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he said, a little too brightly. “I give you, Cassandra Fraiser.”
“Wow, this is way fancy,” Cassie said in awe of her surroundings.
Sam laughed. “We know what it was like to be a college student. All the scrimping, living out of bean cans. So we thought it’d be nice to celebrate the end of those years with something nice.”
Cassie smiled across the table at her friends and protectors. “Thanks guys. I appreciate you bringing me somewhere like this.”
“No problem, kid.” Jack grinned. “You *are* paying, right?”
“If four bucks will do it, then tonight’s on me,” Cassie laughed.
George Hammond chuckled.
“You know, Cassie,” he said. “After all that’s happened over the years, all that you’ve seen and dealt with, it amazes me how you turned into such a level headed, smart and not to mention beautiful, young lady.”
Cassie blushed and glanced across at Sam, who smiled and took her hand under the table, giving it a squeeze.
“You’ve worked extremely hard at getting your degree, and I know your mother would be proud with all you’ve achieved,” he carried on. “I also know that the goal you’ve been aiming for is to do the same type of work Dr. Jackson does. So I had a word with a certain *individual* and he agreed with me. A position has opened within the SGC for an assistant to Dr. Jackson. And, President Haynes himself has told me to tell you, that if you would like it, the job is yours.”
For a long moment Cassie gawped, unable to say anything. She then got from her chair and went around to where Hammond was sitting. Fighting back tears, she threw her arms around him.
“Thank you, general,” she whispered in his ear. “I promise I’ll make *you* proud.”
Janet Fraiser smiled to herself as he whispered back “You already do, Cassie. You already do.”
Janet could feel the warm sun on her face. A gentle breeze caressed her skin and played along the hem of the summer dress she was wearing. She opened her eyes and looked across the park.
The place was packed with people of all ages, running, playing or sitting enjoying the sunshine. Across from where she sat, a group of children were playing base ball. After a while, Janet noticed one boy seemed distracted by her presence and kept stopping to look at her.
Eventually, the ball came her way and the boy came to fetch it. Janet watched as he approached, and decided there was something very familiar about him. She picked up the ball, which had rolled under her seat and held it out to him. As the boy took the ball, Janet suddenly remembered where she had seen his face.
It was in a picture frame, on mantle shelf, in a house in Colorado Springs.
“Hello, Dr. Fraiser,” the boy said with a familiar, disarming smile.
Janet smiled back. “Hello, Charlie. It’s nice to meet you at last.”
`If only Jack knew,` she thought. `Oh God, I wish I could let him know.`
“He knows,” Charlie said, as if reading her mind. “Deep down…. my dad knows.”
“Charlie, come on!” one of the boys called.
“Bye, Dr. Fraiser,” Charlie said. As he turned to go, he looked over Janet’s shoulder. “There’s someone here for you.”
She turned and saw a woman walking toward her across the park. As the woman got closer, a smile lit up Janet’s face, and her eyes filled with tears.