I find myself studying the nape of his neck like I expect all the answers to be written there - like I need an excuse to do that. Shouldn't have let myself get involved, should have kept my distance, but I never was one for leaving well alone. That was never me, no matter how much trouble it got me into.
Every time he does it, I flash back to that moment. It's burned into my brain, something I'll never forget even if I live to ninety, which is something that some days looks increasingly unlikely. Hell, not if he has anything to do with it anyway - I'll worry myself into an early grave if nothing else.
If I had a lick of sense, I'd walk away. Turn tail and run, more like. Give it all up for lost, choose another path, anything but put myself through this. If I had any sense. Of course, when it comes to him, that's the one thing I don't have. No sense, no self-control, zero willpower whatsoever.
He hisses to himself, before his pen scratches furiously across the paper he's studying, crossing out the words there like he's writing with venom as well as ink.
"Tell me you're not on that ship," I'd said, and he'd told me what I wanted to hear. He wasn't lying, he wasn't up there - at least not then. That came later. The shortening-Jack's-life-by-ten-years moment for the day came after that.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by anything that he does, not by now. Like I said before, I keep going back to that other time. Standing with Sha're in his arms, going back into the lion's den, putting himself at risk to try and help her, our eyes had locked together and he'd said those three words.
Not the ones I wanted to hear. The ones that seem to mean so much on this planet and most others we've come across. I've heard him say those words since then, but not just to me, so that I know in some ways they don't mean a hell of a lot to him anymore. Or to me either. We have three more. Ones that tie us together, ones that are ours. Ones we don't share with anyone else.
'Wait for me' he'd said, and he should never have expected me to.
How could he? We hardly knew each other, didn't like each other all that much, but still he trusted me to wait for him.
And I did.
He turns another page, and he's silent this time. No scribbling out of mistranslated words, no curses muttered under his breath in some language I've never heard before. I guess whoever wrote this part of whatever it is he's reading did their job right, anyway.
Guess he was right all along. Guess he knew me better than I knew him, even then - he must have seen through the pain I was holding in front of myself like a shield, straight through to who I am.
How could he know I wouldn't leave him, hell, leave anyone behind if I had anything to do with it? Walking away from anyone makes me feel like I leave a piece of myself behind, like it's whittling away at who I am till nothing remains. I close my eyes for a moment at the images that flood my brain. I don't want to remember, but what choice do I have?
I push the memories to the back of my mind, returning them to where they live, then open my eyes to find he's stood up from where he was sitting.
"I'm done," he says, turning to me from straightening the pile of papers he'd just put in the out-tray. "Sorry I made you wait for me."
And it isn't.
Disclaimer : Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is written for entertainment purposes only - no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story-line are the property of the author - not to be archived elsewhere without permission.