Learning to Live With It Part 4
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 4
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: Jack and Jon discuss a painful subject and, after a run in with the police, the devastated and angry Jack lashes out at a friend
Sequel/Series Info: Sequel to Learning to Live With It Part 3
Copyright (c) 2005 Su Freund
Art credit: Thanks to Fulinn28, who made the lovely book cover that illustrates this fic on my site. I have a soft spot for Michael Welsh after his terrific performance as the cloned Jack O'Neill and couldn't resist the temptation to adorn a book cover with him. If you want to see it, go here: http://www.ficwithfins.com/AA3_1/archive/2/learningto4.html
Author's Note: Many thanks to Bonnie for beta reading this fic. I am always grateful for her wisdom.
Learning to Live With It Part 4
When Jon hadn't returned within a couple of hours, Daniel got worried and Jack said he'd go to find him.
"I know the kind of places he might go better than anybody," he said to explain his action, insisting that he go alone. He needed some peace too.
He found Jon at the park staring at the small lake and ducks.
"Jon? You okay?"
"What do you think?"
Jack sat down on the bench beside him.
"You've been carrying a torch for Sam all this time?" he asked.
"Come on Jack, maybe it's all faded a little with time and lack of contact, but it's still there. Something like that doesn't simply go away."
"No, I know. I'm sorry. I hadn't seen her for a while either."
"You hadn't? Aren't you working together anymore?"
"No, I'm in DC now. General O'Neill to you."
"General? I-you made General? Holy crap!"
"Kind of hard to imagine, isn't it?" Jack smiled ironically.
"Didn't you ever try to make a go of it with Sam?" Jon asked, curiously.
"Yeah, eventually. Probably left it too long."
"She dumped me, if it's any of your business."
"What? Dumped you? What the heck did you do to her?"
"Nothing Jon, really. I don't know what happened. All I did was love her. I thought it was so simple, but it obviously wasn't."
"Oh man, I'm so sorry."
"Yeah, me too. But it's way more than too late now, isn't it? Now all I want to do is get the bastards who killed her. At least I can get some satisfaction from that."
"Right. I kind of like that idea. Let's go home and get down to business, huh?" Jon got up and started to walk towards Jack's with Jack in tow. "We can talk about your screw up later."
"Think you could have done better?"
"Maybe. Ever think you might have been too old for her?"
"It crossed my mind, but you were way too young for her, Jon."
"Yeah, I guess it would have been a disaster either way, huh?"
"You'll get your chances."
"Not sure I want them."
"Given up, Jack? That's so not like m-you."
"It isn't the first time though, is it?"
After that, the pair fell silent until they reached Jack's house, both contemplating their pasts and their potential futures.
"Crap, cops!" Jack exclaimed as they approached and he noticed the unmarked car parked outside of his house. "Didn't they give me enough hassle yesterday?"
"It's a universally recognised truth that cops think they can never give you enough hassle, unless you actually want them for something, in which case they stay away in droves. Guess we'd better face the music."
"You mean I'd better face the music."
"Why are they hassling you? Do they suspect you?"
"I don't know, maybe. I'm a witness, Jon, I saw the car blow up with Sam in it."
Jon inwardly cringed at the notion and Jack swallowed the emotion that the memory stirred in him. He saw her blonde hair, her turning to do something, and the huge ball of flame as he watched from the floor of the lot in stunned amazement. Sam had burned up inside. He sincerely hoped it had been over quickly and she hadn't suffered.
"What?" Jon exclaimed, shocked, "You never said anything. Jeez! That can't have been a good thing," he sympathised.
The police went over and over his story again, seemingly sceptical of something, and he couldn't think of what it might be. They even had the temerity to ask if Jack had been in a relationship with her.
"A relationship?" he retorted, "We worked together in the same team for years, I was her CO, for crying out loud. Of course we had a relationship." His tone was sarcastic.
"We mean a sexual relationship, a romantic relationship, General O'Neill."
"Briefly. After I stopped being her CO. It didn't last. Satisfied?"
"When was that?"
"Am I a suspect?"
"This is just routine, sir."
"Have you got any suspects?"
"We can't tell you that, sir. We'd be grateful if you could answer the question."
"When you had your relationship."
"Ah! Months ago, a year maybe, more."
"Did you part amicably?"
"You suspect I've had a grudge all this time and blew up her car for revenge, while I was just a few feet away? Give me a break."
"We come across some pretty strange stuff in this job sir."
"Yeah, I'll bet you do. I didn't kill her. She is the last person I would ever kill. I care about her... cared, cared."
Jack hung his head in his hands, feeling emotionally rung out. By the time they left he was drained, but trembling with anger.
"How dare they suspect it was me. As if I could do that to Sam, I could never hurt Sam!" he raved.
"We know that, Jack, but they don't. Cut them some slack. They're only doing their jobs," Daniel said, trying to placate him.
"Doing their jobs? Those two were Detective Tweedledumb and Sergeant Tweedledumber. They won't find out Jackshit. Christ!"
"Jack, calm down. You haven't eaten all day, have you? Maybe you need something to eat."
"Daniel, stop it! I told you before!"
Jack lashed out, hitting Daniel in the face, much to everyone's amazement. Teal'c got up and grabbed Jack by the arms.
"O'Neill, you must calm yourself. You have injured Daniel Jackson. This I cannot allow. I will be forced to restrain you."
"Isn't that what you're doing now, T?"
"Look, I hate to break up a party, but haven't we got some work to do?" Jon intervened, and they all turned to look at him. "Jack, go eat. You know how you get when your blood sugar is low. Cranky. I'll make a start. I don't need any of you looking over my shoulder, okay? And can one of you make me a sandwich?"
"I will go with O'Neill to the kitchen and make him eat. We will bring you a sandwich later, Jon O'Neill," Teal'c said, "Daniel Jackson, are you alright?"
"I'll be okay. Just get him away from me, Teal'c."
Daniel was pissed and feeling highly unappreciated. Did Jack believe he was the only one hurting? Selfish bastard! In the kitchen Jack sat sullenly as Teal'c started to make a sandwich.
"Eat, O'Neill," he demanded, placing one in front of him.
"Teal'c I don't..."
"I said, eat." Teal'c sat opposite him, looking menacing.
"Alright, already, I'll eat."
As he munched on the sandwich, Jack appraised Teal'c expression.
"Don't look at me as if I'm an idiot," he accused.
"Perhaps I look at you that way because you are one. You do injury to those who would help you and are your friends."
"Yeah, I'm sorry about that."
"It is not I you should apologise to."
Teal'c appraised his friend, who looked weary and upset. He thought he detected slightly watery eyes and this surprised him. O'Neill was not one given to crying.
"You would weep for her O'Neill?"
"Not really me, is it?" Jack managed to look a little sheepish.
"If you wish to, I would think no less of you my friend, but do not imagine that you are the only one of us affected by her loss."
"God, poor Daniel, I must go..."
"No, you must not. You must eat and give Daniel Jackson some time to calm down. He is angry with you, and for good reason."
"I know. you're right, I am an idiot."
"I am glad that we agree on something, O'Neill." A ghost of a smile appeared on Teal'c lips.
"Was that an attempt at wit, T?"
In response, Teal'c squeezed Jack's arm with affection.
"I have missed you, O'Neill."
"Indeed. And I will miss Samantha Carter greatly. She was a true warrior and friend." Teal'c looked a little sad.
"Yes, she was."
"We are all hurting, O'Neill, you must not forget that."
"You mean I'm being a selfish bastard."
"If that is how you wish to interpret it."
"You're right. I am. Sorry. I've been a selfish bastard for a whole year now, since Sam and I... no good going over that old ground."
"Indeed not. We must find her killer and I will strangle him with my bear hands."
"Not if I get to him first, T."
"I do believe that your retribution should take priority, O'Neill."
"Right now I just wanna make the son of a bitch suffer before he dies," Jack said with a vitriolic tone.
"That could indeed be most satisfactory."
Back in the living room, Jon was concentrating on trying to hack through to Area 51. It was a tough cookie, particularly when trying to do it undetected. That might not be possible, in which case this could be a very short ride.
"Isn't this all a little strange for you, Jon?" Daniel asked.
"Um... yes. Go figure!"
"Meeting us all again, particularly in these circumstances."
"I think I know all the things that are strange about it, Daniel. At the risk of sounding like Jack, can you just shut up so I can concentrate?"
"I'll go find out what's happening about sandwiches."
'Caught between the wrath of two Jack O'Neills,' Daniel thought, 'that's more than any man should be asked to do.'
He peered over to look in the kitchen and saw that Jack looked a lot calmer, so decided to risk it and wander though.
"Daniel! I'm so sorry Daniel," Jack said as he walked in.
"I didn't mean... it's been an emotional couple of days."
"I know. We're all pretty emotional Jack. This is Sam we're talking about."
"I know it's not easy for you either, Daniel."
"Good. I'm glad you know that. Let's all try to pull together to get this thing done, huh? Now, I came in to check on sandwiches."
"Screw sandwiches. I'll order lots of take out instead."
By using various obscure back door routes, it took Jon a few hours to hack in safely. During that time, it was driving Jack nuts to be so helpless to act, so he called Hammond to see if there were any police reports he could lay his hands on yet. Hammond promised to try. Jack didn't know what else to do. They needed information before they could act.
"Eureka!" Jon cried.
"You've done it?" Jack asked.
"Wasn't easy, but I'm in and without anyone knowing, I think."
"You think?" Jack looked worried. He could just imagine the reaction in the Pentagon if he got caught hacking into a computer system, let alone the system of a base he was actually in charge of.
"I'm pretty confident they would never trace it back here, although this is the government of the United States we're talking about, anything is possible. So, now what?"
"We try to find out what's going on."
"But where do we start?"
"Okay, I figure it must be linked to someone playing with alien technology when they shouldn't." Jack suggested.
"Or stealing it. That's happened before." Daniel added.
"Yep, or stealing it."
"I concur," agreed Teal'c.
"So, we need to find discrepancies?" Jon asked. "Needles and haystacks come to mind."
"So let's get going."
"We don't even know for sure there's anything there." Jon responded. "Look, it's getting late and I've been working flat out for hours. I need a break. Best thing would be to come back to it in the morning."
"I'm not exactly a patient man, Jon, I'm surprised to find you are."
"I'm just being pragmatic. It could take a while to find anything so let's start afresh."
"If you come out of their network what happens?" Jack asked.
"Now I've hacked in once, I know what I'm doing. It won't take so long to hack in again."
"Okay, it sounds reasonable," Jack agreed, partly reluctant, but he was a pragmatist too, of course. "Leave your stuff here, and come back in the morning. Daniel and Teal'c can pick you up on their way over. In fact, I'm sure they can give you a lift home now, can't you Daniel?" he hinted heavily.
"We're not staying?" Daniel queried.
"I really could do with some peace around here. It's not that I'm not grateful, really, but I just need to be alone, in my own house. I need some space," Jack explained.
"Please guys. If we aren't going to get any further with this tonight, just give me a break."
"Okay, if you insist. I just don't like the idea..."
After they'd left Jack got himself a cold beer and flopped on his couch. He'd resisted drinking up until then in case some of his brain actually turned out to be in demand. All in all it hadn't seemed a productive day, but maybe that was because he hadn't done anything positive. He hadn't realised how long it could take to hack into a computer system and he wondered how Jon had the patience, figuring there must be something more thrilling about it than he imagined. Jack felt frustrated by his inactivity.
He downed a couple more beers and contemplated what tomorrow might bring, hoping it would bring some answers to his numerous questions. But some of those would never get answers. For that, he needed Sam, and she was gone.
Resisting the impulse to give into his emotions and sob his heart out, he dragged himself to bed longing to find peace in sleep for a while because, in his dreams, maybe, just maybe, she could live again.
Additional Authors Note, Christmas 2005: I'm taking a Christmas break, going away for a while, so there will be no updates to this fic until sometime in the New Year. You have been warned!
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to