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Gone
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Age Friendly!

Title: Gone
Author: Venom_69.
Date: 15-2-2003
Copyright to Venom, 2003

~*+*~

Jack knew that it had to be said.

He also knew that he had to be the one to say it.

That didn't make it any easier. And it didn't give him any comfort in
the knowledge that if he said it, then maybe things would be better.
He was a soldier, surely he could say three little words without
throwing in a sarcastic comment.

How the hell was he supposed to say this? And to *her* of all people.

Not that she was a bad person, on the contrary, but because it was
*her* and because of the *thing* -as it was best called- between
them, it made it ten times as hard. He could probably say it to
Teal'c, and Jack had vague feelings that he already had, thanks to a
bottle of Scotch, but not to her.

Hell, even Jonas would be better.

Three words. Three syllables.

Should it really be so hard to say something so simple?

~*+*~

Walking through the halls of the SGC, after almost seven years of
serving and practically living there, was like walking through your
own home. You could do it in the dark if you had to-and Jack had- but
you always saw something new every time you walked through the place.

For example, today he had seen two lieutenants sneaking into a closet
together, and he doubted that it was to check for supplies. He had
noticed that there was a piece of paint chipped from the walls in one
section of the complex. And he had heard the soft whimpers coming
from one of the office's. He knew where it was coming from, there
were no surprises when he walked into the room.

But there was still something about seeing Carter cry that was too
disconcerting for his liking. Hell, he'd only ever seen her do it,
like…..twice.

She heard him enter, and heard him close the door to the office. From
her position at the desk, her face buried in her hands, it was only
his cologne that told her exactly who was intruding on her brooding
session.

"Sir." She acknowledged, feeling her anger towards him come back ten
fold to what it had been earlier.

"Hey Carter." He smiled, though it was as forced as the one she
returned. "Whatchya been up to?"

Sam couldn't help herself. Despite the fact that she knew she would
regret any form of outburst later, she exploded. "You arrogant, self-
centered son of a bitch!" She yelled.

"Carter!" Despite his tone, he wasn't really surprised at the anger.

"He *died!*"

"Ascended." Jack corrected, though he knew it would do little to help
the conversation reach friendlier terms.

"Whatever." She shrugged. "He's *gone* and all you want to do is
throw us back into work?"

Jack had heard what she'd said to Teal'c on the Cargo ship, before
they came out of hyper-space. About them being a team, she was right,
naturally, but he couldn't just sit around and wish that Daniel
hadn't…..gone. "What else am I supposed to do?" He snapped.

"God, sir. He was our best friend, and the first thing you do after
he dies is tell the General that you want us to keep working? Why?"
Her tone had change. The anger was gone, and it was replaced with
despair.

"Because….." He couldn't say it, he *wouldn't* say it. Not now, not
ever if he had anything to do with it.

"Because, sir?" She blinked several times. "Come on *Jack.*" His
eyebrows shot up at that. "You may say that we loose people all the
time, and that everyone is expendable, but Daniel was different. So,
why did you throw us back into work so soon? Haven't you heard of a
grieving period?"

"I know more about grieving than you think Carter." He snapped.

She paled. Charlie, of course. But that still wasn't an excuse. "What
would you have done if one of us had been so distracted with grief on
the last mission that something had gone wrong?" She asked calmly,
now standing in front of him, her blue eyes wide. When Osiris had
asked her where Daniel was, Sam though she might crack. The only way
to stop herself looking weak had been internally turning her anger
towards O'Neill for putting her in that situation.

He would *not* say it! "I don't know Sam."

Sam took a small step closer to him. "We should be helping each other
through this, but you're just shutting us out. Bottling this, along
with so much more up in here." She placed a hand on his chest, just
over his heart and stared at it. "Sooner of later it's going to break
from all the pressure. We can't just forget him." She whispered.

Jack decided, that no matter how much didn't want to say it, how he
knew that those three little words would break down the walls
surrounding his heart, he knew that now was the perfect time. He
could *feel* it. He sighed, looked down at her, and uttered the three
words that he knew she was waiting to hear.

"I miss him."

Sam wrapped her arms around Jack and, silently, they let their tears
fall for a man who probably wasn't dead.

~*+*~

Jack and Teal'c were walking towards the elevator. He and Carter had
hugged for almost half an hour, talking quietly in Daniel's office.
When they had left on their separate ways, he had headed straight to
the locker room to get changed. "We're not that much of a nuisance
just yet." He told his friend.

Teal'c's reply wasn't exactly comforting. "Of that I am not so sure."

"Hey." Sam smiled as she and the General met them at the
elevator. "Heading home?" She asked.

"Actually, Teal'c and I are going to stop off for a bit to eat,
interested?" He offered casually.

Sam knew that it was an offer for the three of them to hold their own
form of a memorial service, together, how it should be done. "Sure."
She smiled.

Jack turned to Hammond. "General?" He asked.

Hammond shook his head. "You three go ahead, I've got some work to
do." He replied, walking away.

A gust of wind blew through the corridor. "What was that?" Sam asked,
and Hammond stopped.

"Perhaps a malfunction in the ventilation system." Teal'c offered
with a slight smile.

Jack nodded, unconvinced. "Yeah that'd probably it."

Sam turned back towards Hammond. "Bye sir, have a good night." She
called and he smiled.

Another, more gentle, gust of wind blew through the hall, and
suddenly he felt peaceful.

Jack smiled.

~*+*~

*End*

{LEW and I, on trying to decide what SG-1 video to watch.}
Me: Which one are we going to watch?
Lew: `And we're walking…..?'
Me: Yeah. Put that on.
Lew: Is that 2010?
Me: Yep.
*Looking at the spine of the video's.* Lew: Which one is it?
Me: number 41.
Lew: You're sure?
Me: I'm a walking Stargate dictionary, what do you think?
Lew: You need a life.