SG-1 FIC: Family Ties - Part One - He Sleeps
When I wrote this ficlet, I had left the ending open, thinking that I would just leave it that way. It seemed to be a great place to end it. But the people who read this story had other ideas. lol They wanted to know more. So I wrote a second one, again thinking I was finally done, but then somebody else told me that I need to add more. I may eventually get around to writing another one (maybe two, because I want to write one extra POV) then this series is finished.
Summary: An Alternate Universe in which Jack and Sara never got divorced. Sara reflects on their relationship. Part One of the "Family Ties" series. Part One is in Sara's POV and Part Two is in Jack's.
He is sleeping. It’s rare that he sleeps so soundly, but he is and I can’t find it in my heart to wake him. I won’t wake him, knowing that he needs this sleep in order to heal the fever that is raging inside him.
I watch as he breathes in and out, his chest rising and falling with each breath. His expression is serene at the moment, but I know that this could change at any time. He has wakened from nightmares in the past that have scared me with the intensity of his yells. Sometimes I can figure out what he is dreaming about and sometimes I can’t, but I still pull him into my arms and hold him, knowing that he won’t share those dreams with me. He would rather deal with the terrors of the night on his own, keeping me in the dark as I wonder who, and what, he dreams about.
This is the way of life that I have come to know ever since I married this man. He rarely tells me anything of his work, his past or his feelings. I accept this from him, knowing that part of the reason is that it is hard for him to express himself. He has learned from experience to keep a tight rein on his feelings, while his training and the type of work he does demands that he keeps those secrets to himself. I know that he has his secrets, but I also know that I love him and will deal with the secrets he keeps in my own way.
His skin feels hot to the touch, but I don’t call the doctor. They would take him away and keep him on base for days, or weeks at a time if they knew he was sick. I know that I am selfish in keeping him here with me, but he is my husband and I hate that I am kept in the dark about his well-being when he is not with me. It’s bad enough he doesn’t talk to me about anything he does, where he is at when he is away on a mission, or who he is with. He will go away for days at a time, sometimes months and I sit at home, alone and scared, waiting to hear if he has survived the mission. It’s lonely being the wife of Colonel Jack O’Neill, but sometimes the sacrifices are worth it.
I lay my head on his chest, listening to the beat of his heart as I find myself dwelling on the past twenty years. Jack has been a huge part of my life for the majority of those years. We’ve had our ups and downs, as well as many separations, but we still ended up together and I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if it were any different.
Most of the times that we were separated were due to Jack’s career in the Air Force, but I still remember the time when our son Charlie was playing with Jack’s gun and accidentally shot himself with it. I close my eyes in pain as I think back on that time. Charlie survived the accident, but Jack had a hard time dealing with the guilt that had piled up on him. He and I both knew it could have been worse, but while I was just grateful my son was alive, Jack became angry and aloof, refusing to talk to me about his anger and eventually leaving Charlie and I alone as he dealt with his guilt. It took some doing on my part to convince Jack that I still loved him, but Jack had a hard time forgiving himself. I finally had to corner him in the apartment he had taken up residence in and explained to him in great detail that we needed him and that neither Charlie nor I would be happy without Jack’s influence in our lives.
I lift my head from his chest as he mumbles something and I look into his face to see if he is awake. He is still asleep, but I can tell that he is restless, perhaps dreaming of whatever terror his mind has conjured up this time. “I’m here,” I whisper as I reach over to caress his face. He calms down a little and I lay my head back down on his chest, worrying that I may be doing him harm in keeping him here with me.
He is sick, but I know that if I call Janet Fraiser, the doctor based out of Cheyenne Mountain, she will insist that he be taken to the base and I will not be able to stay with him, in fact I won’t be able to even see nor hear from him until he calls to tell me that he has survived. This is hard for me to deal with, especially since I already worry for his safety when he is on a mission. Worrying whether he will live through another sickness is hard for me, mainly because they will not tell me what the illness is.
Jack is involved in some top-secret project that requires him to be gone for days, weeks and sometimes months at a time. He has often come back from those missions with an illness that I am not permitted to know about. And each time, he stays at the infirmary there on the base, a place where I am not allowed to even think about visiting. So I sit at home, waiting for a phone call from my husband to tell me he is going to live and will be home soon. As the wife of an Air Force officer, I know that one of these days there will be officers standing on my doorstep instead of the phone call, but I also know that I rarely think of that except, of course, in my own nightmares.
His chest rumbles just before he coughs and I raise my head once more to look into the face of my husband. He is so sick, but typical Jack, he doesn’t tell anyone until it is too late. To him, being sick is a weakness that he can’t afford to live with, so he denies it until it becomes apparent that he is not going to get better on his own. Only then will he give into the weakness of his illness and go to see Janet for a miracle cure.
Because of the nature of Jack’s job, I was informed to notify Janet the minute I think Jack may be sick. Even though Jack is not the type to reveal anything to me about anything he does at work, they worry that he might inadvertently say something if he became delirious. They also hinted that Jack will sometimes be exposed to various illnesses that may not be apparent to them right away, and that it is up to me to watch for any symptoms that may indicate something is wrong. Something is definitely wrong with my husband now and I sigh as I realize that I will have to call Janet so that she can meet Jack at the infirmary.
I get comfortable again, but raise my head once more when I hear Jack call my name. “Sara,” he says weakly, “What time is it?”
Turning to look at the clock, I see that it’s almost 1:30 in the morning. I turn back to tell him, but I stop when I see the look on his face. He reaches out to touch my face, staring at me with such an intense look and I find that I am a little frightened. He is trying to tell me something and even after twenty years of marriage, I am at a loss as to what it is.
“It’s 1:30,” I tell him, smiling to let him know that everything will be okay. He continues to stare at me while he strokes my hair and I feel a lump form in my throat as the urge to cry takes over. “Jack? What is it?” I ask, as I stare into the brown eyes I have loved from the moment I first saw him.
“Did you call Janet?” he asks. I shake my head, knowing it wouldn’t do me any good to lie to him.
“I was lying here debating on whether I should or not.”
He doesn’t respond, just gives me a sad smile. Tears well up in my eyes as I see that smile. He knows me too well, I realize. He knows why I didn’t call. “I think you should call,” he finally says, still stroking my hair.
I nod at him, unable to speak through my tears. He reaches over to wipe the tears from my cheek and I grab his hand to keep it there. I need this closeness right now, because I know that once he leaves here I will be alone again.
Jack coughs once more and I sigh as I reach for the phone. He gets up to head for the bathroom and I hear him curse as he stumbles in the dark. I close my eyes in defeat when his cursing is followed by the sounds of retching.
I am still sitting on the bed with the phone in my hand when Jack finally comes back to join me. “They will be waiting for you,” I tell him, unable to keep the sadness from my voice. He hears it and he understands. I have to admit that I am grateful for that.
“It’s probably just the flu,” he tells me as he pulls me into a hug. “I’ll be back before you know it.” All I can do is nod, as I hug him back. “The last time I was sick,” he says as he hugs me tighter, “Daniel and Janet both promised me that if I was to ever get sick again, they will call you at least once a day to keep you informed if I am not able to do it myself.”
I find myself nodding at him again. “The hardest part is the worrying. I can’t help but worry about you Jack,” I tell him, as I valiantly struggle to keep from crying.
“It’s just the flu,” he says as he pulls back to look into my face. He is smiling at me with the smile that melts my heart into a puddle every single time and I smile back at his tactics. After twenty years of marriage, he knows just what to do to keep my spirits up.
“Just the flu,” I respond. He is going away again after just coming back from wherever he has been and I try to smile bravely at him as I automatically gather his clothes for him. It’s funny that even though I didn’t officially join the Air Force, I’m still the soldier, bravely waiting at home for news of my husband, whether it is regarding his sickness or his well-being.
Jack stands up as he buttons his shirt, but he immediately sits back down and I just manage to catch him before he lands on the floor. He is heavy and he drags me down with him until we are both on the floor with his head in my lap. I move away only long enough to go get the phone, then come back to sit with him and hold him close as we wait for the ambulance to come take him back to the base, my tears streaming down my face while he sleeps.