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Fanfiction: A Tale of Two Jacks - Part II

For disclaimer and author's note, see Part I.

 

A Tale of Two Jacks Continued


Jack palmed his baseball cap as SG1 made their way down the ramp just behind the injured SG17 who they had liberated from a very furious Neanderthal tribe. Jack noted with approval the waiting medics moving in on the SG team as he acknowledged General Hammond at the bottom of the ramp with a nod.

'One SG team retrieved, sir.' Jack waved his cap in the direction of SG17. He sobered a little. 'Suggest we block that lovely planet from the dialling computer.'

'There could be some potential in an anthropological study. The tribe there is fascinating.' Daniel jumped in. 'Obviously, we would need to do a risk assessment...'

'Done.' Jack shot back. 'It's too risky.'

'Jack.'

'Daniel.'

'Gentlemen,' Hammond interrupted briskly.

They both turned to look at the SGC commander with identical apologetic looks. Jack noticed Sam lowering her head to hide a smile and Teal'c glance away to hide his amusement.

'Sorry, sir.' Jack said.

Hammond looked at the four of them as though considering something. 'I need to see you all in my office now.' He marched off before they could question him.

SG1 looked at each other with bemusement and concern. Hammond's request was unusual. Jack shrugged as the rest of the team looked to him. He led the way upstairs. The General waited for them by his door. They filed in and stood in front of his desk.

Hammond closed the door and went to stand behind the desk. His pale blue eyes travelled around the team. 'Four hours ago while you were on P5X777, I received a phone call from the Halleville police department who were trying to reach Colonel O'Neill in respect of his nephew, Jackson Samuel Murray.'

Jack tried hard not to squirm under Hammond's relentless gaze and the way Daniel's eyebrows rose.

'I confirmed the boy's age and appearance, and realised that they were referring to the clone of the Colonel.' Hammond stated dryly. His eyes flickered to Sam who flushed brightly.

'So, what's he done now?' Jack asked, trying to draw Hammond's attention away from Sam and the issue of the new identity.

Hammond's gaze snapped back to his. The General pressed his lips together. 'He tackled a young man who was holding a gun and about to open fire on a crowded bus station.'

'Is the Colonel - I mean, his clone, OK?' The red flush leeched quickly from Sam's face as her brow lowered in concern.

Hammond sighed, looking distinctly as though he'd prefer to be somewhere else. 'I regret to inform you all that he was shot saving the security guard and died at the scene.'

There was a stunned silence.

Jack shook himself. 'I'm sorry, sir, I thought you said...'

'I did.' Hammond confirmed. He gestured at them. 'I sent a team to take custody of the body and his personal effects.' He glanced up at the clock. 'They should be back in an hour.' He sat down in the leather chair behind him. 'I realise this is a shock.'

Jack held back the retort that sprang to mind.

'Yes, sir.' Sam said softly.

'Obviously, given the clone's unique situation, I believe it would be best to have a cremation.' Hammond pressed his lips together briefly. 'You may want to consider if you want to perform some kind of small ceremony. I'll leave it to you.' He nodded at them. 'Dismissed.'

They filed out and headed down the corridor in silence. The elevator arrived and they entered quickly; the doors closed and left them in relative privacy.

'Jackson Samuel Murray?' Daniel asked quietly.

'Figured it had to be better than John Smith.' Jack replied.

Daniel gave a nod of agreement.

'I believe a short ceremony would be appropriate under the circumstances for us to honour his sacrifice.' Teal'c said. His stern expression didn't invite argument.

The elevator doors opened and they made for the infirmary.

Jack suffered through the checks and he was grateful to be released. He avoided the others and stayed in the locker room for a long while, resolutely refusing to think about the clone; about his death; about anything. He drove home and parked before he let himself think about it.

He looked at the house shrouded in early morning darkness. He glanced up at the roof. He got out of his truck and walked over to the ladder. He climbed up and made for the chair. It only took him a few minutes to dismantle it. He pulled out the empty envelope and read the scrawl - his scrawl.

'You don't know how damned lucky you are. Keep them safe.'

Jack's fingers tightened around the paper, crumpling it. He dumped it back into the chair, replaced the cushion and sat down heavily.

He felt old.

The mission had been tough; a marched walk through muddy forests and damp caves followed by an extraction of injured personnel. Every muscle in his body ached; every joint twinged. He was getting too damned old for field work. He should have let the clone take over. He could have retired with a clear conscience. His mind drifted to Carter and he shook her image away again rather than linger on the thought of what could have been.

He rubbed his head and closed his eyes, falling into an uneasy nap.

A noise jerked him awake.

The sky was turning from indigo to lilac; the sun rising.

Jack looked towards the ladder and relaxed when he saw Daniel's head appear. He turned back and waited.

The archaeologist sat down beside him in a cross-legged position, resting his back against the side of the chair.

'I don't want to talk about it.' Jack said, crossing his arms and staring out at the sunrise.

'I know.' Daniel said simply.

The morning breeze washed over Jack; soothed him. 'Teal'c?'

'Downstairs with doughnuts.' Daniel confirmed.

'And Carter?' Jack asked trying for a casual tone.

'Blowing something up in her lab.'

Sounded like Carter. Jack sighed and got to his feet. 'Coffee?'

Daniel nodded and stood up. He suddenly looked over his shoulder.

Jack looked at him questioningly.

'Did you hear that?' Daniel asked, frowning.

'What?' Jack answered.

'I thought I heard...something.' Daniel shrugged the thought away.

Jack gestured for Daniel to make his way down. He cast one final look towards the chair.

'You don't know how damned lucky you are.'

His clone was wrong.

Jack knew exactly how lucky he was.

o-O-o

He was supposed to be dead.

Jack blinked up at the cave ceiling with a frown. He pulled up the rough tunic he wore and his hand felt his side. He looked down at the smooth flesh of his abdomen with amazement. He was still fifteen but whole and un-bloodied.

That couldn't be right.

And where the hell was he? He sat up and looked around tentatively. It was a cave. The rock was a yellowy-red. There was a fire casting light and shadow onto the walls. It reminded Jack of...

'Good. You are awake!' Skaara's familiar intonation had Jack's head snapping to look for the Abydonian.

Jack felt slightly light-headed. He glanced over at where Skaara was poking at the fire with a stick. 'You know who I am?'

Skaara nodded as he walked over to sit beside him. 'Oma explained.'

'Then you know I'm not your O'Neill.' Jack ignored the sharp pain in his chest at his rough assertion.

Skaara shrugged and placed a hand on his shoulder in greeting. 'You are O'Neill.'

'And that's OK with you?' Jack blurted out.

Skaara grinned, squeezed the shoulder he clasped gently and let go. 'You are welcome here, my friend.'

Jack's head was spinning. He remembered Oma's words; '...there is a life waiting for you; should you choose wisely.'

'I'm not Ascended.' Jack checked.

'You are not.' Skaara confirmed.

'And Abydos...' Jack let his question trail away.

'Abydos was destroyed.' Skaara said. 'Just as you died, so did my people, my family.'

'But Oma saved them, right?' Jack checked again.

Skaara nodded. 'She moved Abydos to a different plane of existence. The spirits of those who are gone still live here. They will grow old and move on in their time.'

'Move on?' Jack questioned.

'To the next life,' Skaara confirmed, 'or to Ascension.'

'And if I wanted to move on?' Jack asked, thinking of how ready he had been in the final few moments; of Charlie.

'Then we will talk; you will go to sleep, and...' Skaara said.

'And I don't wake up.' Jack completed. It was a tempting thought...Abydos had been Daniel's home not his but...but he could have a life on Abydos. He was with a friend. He could help them; work beside them; live with them. He could live. A different life perhaps to the one the Original O'Neill had lived but wasn't that a good thing? It was a unique life; his own.

Skaara nodded with satisfaction and got up, seeing the decision to live in Jack's eyes.

Jack settled back and looked around the cave. He remembered how O'Neill's life had begun again in the same cave after being prodded somewhat ruthlessly by Daniel, and by Skaara's hero worship, into caring about living again. It seemed right that his life should begin in the same cave too. He looked into the fire and pondered briefly of all the warnings Oma had listed; of her prediction that there would be a death and shivered despite the heat.

Keep them safe. He thought as hard as he could as though to send his message across the stars to O'Neill; keep them safe.

fin.


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
sewitsme
Jul. 28th, 2010 02:59 pm (UTC)
Season 7 -
I'm so glad I checked back to your page Rachel. These parallel stories are so rich in personality and add so much texture to the established episodes. I love the foreshadowing of the arrival of Cam and the telegraphing of Sam's restlessness and uncertainty towards Jack. It paves the way for the arrival of Pete and that whole debacle. I'm so looking forward to many more pages of your wonderful tale.
rachel500
Jul. 29th, 2010 03:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Season 7 -
Hi - thank you as always for the feedback. It makes sense to me that given Cam is the squad leader in the flashback in Avalon for the Antarctica battle that he would have been in the initial batch of pilots. And yes, we are leading up to Pete, aren't we... :)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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