Warnings: None at all
Summary Sara had always been Jack's lifeline whenever he faced mortality. Missing scene from Brief Candle.
Author's Notes: Written for the Epistolary Alphabet Soup Anthology sponsored by sg_fignewton. Didn't get a chance to have a beta look at it, so apologies in advance. :)
Message in a Bottle
It sucks getting old. Jack O'Neill sat on Pelop's throne in the temple and ruminated on his life, which by his reckoning was currently forty years old going on ninety. May even be a hundred. Who could tell?
He was on a fast track toward death, and there seemed to be nothing anyone could do about it. Even with Carter and Doc Fraiser working on a cure, he knew there was probably no way out. He straightened out his legs to work out some of the achy kinks in his joints, and then grimaced as pain raced up from his kneecaps.
God, it really sucks to be old.
He let out a deep sigh, then turned his attention to the notebook he had in his hands. He was dying, and sitting here alone, trying to make sense of it all, yet his mind had drifted down a familiar path, one that always took him to Sara when the pain was too much to bear, or when he needed to focus on something other than what fate put in front of him. His ex-wife had always been his lifeline, pulling at him to make it home even when the odds were against that very thing. But he focused on her memory whenever he needed to fight for survival in whatever predicament he ended up in and this time was no different.
He stared out at the room in general for a moment, trying to decide what to write, for this was his answer to this particular predicament. A letter, instead of just relying on memories and hallucinations, although it may come to that if old age had its way. He remembered his grandfather before he passed on to the great fishing pond in the sky. The old man couldn't remember anything about his children or grandchildren, but he talked constantly to the memory of his own wife. For hours. Jack had to smile at that memory. Then frowned as the thought came to him that he might be doing the same thing in a few more days. And all because of a piece of cake.
No need to dwell on mistakes that put him in this position. He sent a glower toward the group of young people who were having a discussion about what to do with the stranger. Kynthia turned toward him at that moment, and Jack's mood lifted slightly. It wasn't entirely her fault, he told himself for what seemed like the hundredth time. She didn't know this would happen.
He gave her a small smile, then turned back to the notebook, took the pen and wrote, Dear Sara. It was a start anyway. He tried to think of what else to put on the paper, but the bitterness he felt toward this whole mess made it hard to concentrate. His whole life, what little was left of it, was in ruins. He stared at the words, wondering why he had even bothered with a letter. It's not like Sara could do anything. He was still a dead man as far as he knew. This letter was like a message in a bottle. He could wax poetically about the meaning of life and it would still probably end up in a file folder marked Top Security and buried deep within the SGC.
Silence fell over the room and Jack looked up to find that he was alone again, the others having left. He was glad for this. Nothing like peace and quiet to liven up a pity party. He looked down at the words once again, then closed the notebook and tossed it and the pen on the floor. Maybe memories were the better route to go after all. He couldn't concentrate on writing a letter anyway.