Title: Faces of Agony
CONTENT LEVEL: C
Spoilers: Heroes, Not really spoilers, but very slight references to Shades of Grey, Matter of Time and Upgrades.
Summary: A ficlet in response to the Jackfic MC, Agony.
Agony comes in all shapes and forms.
Spreading the newspaper on the kitchen counter before him, Jack O’Neill propped his chin in his hand, looked at the first clue to the demon crossword and sighed.
Monday morning. The start of a brand new week. One which could very well come to hold the record for exciting new discoveries and adventures. Possibly. A week which could very well see him impress Carter by not only finishing the crumby crossword, but doing it correctly. Probably not.
Jack sighed again and turned the page on the puzzle. His eyes flicked across the story titles.
`Garbage man finds $10,000 in rolled dollar bills in trash can behind Sushi restaurant. “Now that’s MY kind of sushi roll,” he says.`
`Rabbit the size of a corgi in bid become record breaking heavy weight bunny.`
`Third nun quits convent to elope with new found love. “It’s becoming a habit,” says Mother Superior.`
Jack groaned and turned the page.
He scanned the print without taking anything in, until an ad in the corner caught his eye.
`Learn to speak another language. Fun and easy to do. Choose from a variety of languages including; German, French, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Thai and many more.`
Jack had learned a couple of languages while in training, it had been a necessary part of life. One that involved going into places he shouldn’t have been, and having to be able to pass himself off as one of the locals. Arabic had been a language he had found challenging, but thinking about it, as he was now, he reckoned that maybe the English language would be one of the hardest to master.
So many words in the English dictionary had different ways of spelling and double meanings. One example that came to Jack’s mind was bear, the animal. There was also bare, as in to carry something. Bare as in to lay open something, like ones soul. And there was bare, as in buck nekkid. Jack grinned and turned the page, as his thoughts flew briefly to his 2IC.
`250 killed in Indian earthquake. Agony for families as many victims are women and children.`
Agony, Jack thought, was another word of many faces. A master of mental anguish, as well as physical pain.
There was the agony of watching your hockey team getting trashed. Jack scrubbed a hand over his face as he recalled Avalanche sinking in a sea of misery the night before.
The there was the agony of really wanting to ask the girl out on a date, but being terrified of rejection. He remembered sitting in the bar with Frank Cromwell and agonising over how to approach Sara in case she laughed at him. In the end Frank had lost his temper and told him in no uncertain terms to stop being such a chicken shit and just ask her already. What Frank hadn’t know was that Jack had known he loved Sara since the day he set eyes on her. For her to refuse him would have ended the dream. In the end he did ask, and she didn’t blow him off.
The agony came much later when their world was torn in two by a single gunshot.
There was the mind numbing agony that goes with knowing that your only child is lying in a grave because of your own carelessness. An agony Jack knew would never leave him until the day he died.
There was the agony of lying in a bloodied heap, watching a helicopter fly away. Knowing that if by some miracle you *did* make it out of that God forsaken place in one piece, the friendship with a man you considered your brother, was completely and irretrievably dead.
There was the agony of knowingly lying to your team members and friends. Seeing the shock and disbelief, and not being able to reassure. Jack recalled the conversation he had had with Daniel, and how hurt his friend had been when he made out that their friendship was not as solid as they had thought.
There was the agony of not being able to admit you loved a person because the job description disallowed it.
And there was the agony of not being able to do anything to help, as a young and vulnerable person loses something so precious for a second time, that life for her would never be the same. Ever.
Turning the last page, Jack realised he hadn’t read a single word. He folded the paper and pushed it to one side. He’d read it later. Right now he had an appointment.
He stood and walked in to the hallway, where he retrieved his jacket. As he shucked into it, he felt the pull of an injury he had suffered two weeks before. An injury that would have killed him, had it not been for a thin sheet of metal.
Now all that was left were odd twinges. Something that could be easily hidden from even the most experienced eyes.
Today, Jack O’Neill had an appointment for a final check up. He knew from experience that he would pass the tests, and a paper would be signed declaring him fit for duty.
But every day, in most peoples lives, agony lifts it’s head in some shape or form.
And today Jack O’Neill’s agony came from knowing that Janet Fraiser’s name would not be on the bottom of that paper.
~~ end ~~