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"…I’m lost without your love
Life without you isn’t worth the trouble of
I’m as helpless as a ship without a wheel
A touch without a feel
I can’t believe it’s real..."
Bread 'Lost Without Your Love'
He couldn't look at her. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't look at her. If she had just listened, if she hadn't insisted…No, this wasn't right! He shouldn't blame her! But no matter how hard he tried, looking at her only brought home the point that she was at least partially responsible for the death of his Wife. He shook himself mentally. Sam had had no way of knowing what was about to happen, blaming her did nothing to ease the pain! Besides, she was doing enough of that herself.
Sam watched him, noted that he wouldn't look in her direction. Knew that he was blaming her. He had every right to do so. Teal'c and Casey were dead because she had refused to stop trying when she had known in her heart that she couldn't fix that damned power grid.
The debriefing was short. All of the CDs that had been recorded, all of the tracings that had been made were already over in the Center. No one was looking at them though. No one had the heart to, at least, not yet.
He sat at his desk, staring at the pile of notes that would someday be a book. Didn’t give a damn if it ever happened. He couldn't focus his mind on anything. Duncan had said something about a memorial service. That he should think about what he was going to say. What he was going to say. At a memorial service for his Wife. This wasn't supposed to be happening! They were Immortal! They were supposed to have forever! He was The Chosen, she was His Chosen…
He jumped to his feet, shoved his hands into his pockets, shoulders hunched forward, and began to pace. She had asked him if he ever thought about retiring. He had, often. He should have done it! Goddamn it! I should have followed my instincts and retired! She'd still be alive, still be near him, he'd still be able to hold her in his arms…
Why couldn't he save her? Why hadn't the Triad helped him? Anger flared, raced through his veins. "First! First, where are you?" he demanded loudly.
Soft light began to glow in one corner of the room. "I am here, Chosen."
"Why? Why didn't you help her? Why didn't you help me save her?"
"It was not allowed," First replied sadly. She and her companions had watched, hoping that The Chosen would remember his…gift…in time. His Chosen had remembered, but it had been too late. "I am sorry, Chosen."
"Yeah, so am I. Go tell your boss that I quit. I'm not doing it any more. If I couldn't even save my Wife, I sure as hell can't save anybody else! And now that Casey is gone-" his voice broke, he struggled to maintain control. "I have to take care of our children…my children…alone. I’m not going through that goddamned 'gate again!" His eyes were full of anger…of pain…of loss so overwhelming that not even the gods could fathom its black depths.
"I will speak to my…superiors," First replied, flinching slightly from the ice in his voice, his eyes. She wouldn't tell them everything that The Chosen had said, at least, not the quitting part. However…
The Second noticed the look on her companion's face, turned to Third. He had seen it as well. They both smiled. If anyone could do this, First could!
A A A A A A
He stared into the freezer. Everything she had cooked was still there. He reached in and took out one of the lasagnas. His heart clenched with pain when he realized that her hands had held this dish, had layered the noodles in the casserole. He shoved it into the microwave. Usually while he…she…waited for the casserole to thaw, they would talk about their day. Now, he stood alone…lonely…broken hearted…empty. He looked around the kitchen. She was everywhere he looked. He closed his eyes. He couldn't stay here. He couldn't leave here. God, he just wanted the pain to go away! He wanted her beside him, alive and warm and laughing and looking up at him with those beautiful green eyes, eyes that were always so full of love and laughter and happiness.
"'Ungry!" Nicholas said, toddling into the room.
"You are, huh? Well, dinner will be awhile yet." Daniel forced a smile, picked up his son. Noted that Nicholas needed to have his hair trimmed. He thought about that first haircut. How Casey had begged him to wait. Why the hell hadn't he waited? So a few people thought that his son was a little girl…it wouldn’t have been forever. She only needed more time…wanted Nicholas to be her baby for just a bit longer…another baby. She had wanted another baby. They'd never had that discussion about it. Now they never would. He missed her so damned much!
Emily wandered in, looked around, then went back towards her bedroom. She hadn't said much in the past couple of days. He didn't know what to say to her, how to help her. Hell, he couldn't even help himself! She wasn't eating, either. If this kept up, he'd take her to the doctor.
Nicholas squirmed to be put down. "Mommy home now?"
He closed his eyes against the pain. "No, Little Man, Mommy isn't coming home," he said softly. He opened his eyes, looked down at his son. The tot didn't understand. Would probably continue asking when his Mommy was coming home. Memories of a nightmare flooded his mind. Could he take comfort in the fact that she wasn't curled up in the corner of a padded room, alive, yet not alive? Even in that situation there was always hope though, wasn't there? I miss her so much! he screamed silently to the heavens.
The microwave beeped; he swore out loud when he realized he had forgotten to turn the oven on to preheat. She never forgot to preheat the oven. It was a little thing, but it was enough to bring the tears again.
A A A A A A
Duncan had given them the rest of the week off. Like he needed that right now. What he needed was a project to lose himself in…something that would keep him busy for the next fifty or sixty years, just until the pain had subsided a bit. He shook his head at the thought. He had the kids to think of, to take care of. He sat on the deck watching Nicholas play in the yard.
Emily wasn't due home from preschool for another hour. She still wasn't speaking. Snuggle time was now something to be endured, a part of their routine that he clung to, because it was something Casey had always loved. But his daughter withdrew even farther from him as he read each story at night. Turned her head when he kissed her goodnight. She was angry. Hell, he was angry, too. Dr. Montigue and Dr. Blackstone had both encouraged him to let Emily deal with her loss in her own way. It would take time, they told him. Just be there for her, they said.
It had been six days, ten hours and twenty-seven minutes since he had lost her. It felt like forever. Felt like just minutes ago. He was still as lost, still as utterly devastated, as he had been in that moment when he had felt her…disappear. He had already informed Duncan that he wouldn't be going through the Stargate again. He wouldn't quit working at the Center, but he wouldn't be a part of an SG team. Not without Her. He was already making arrangements to do most of his work from home. It broke his heart to think that Casey would have been thrilled with the arrangement.
Jack had told Daniel that he had retired completely. He was staying home with his daughters. He had dealt with losses all through his career. This was more than he could take. He hadn't just lost teammates, he had lost best friends…family. Sam was still working on the base, but she refused to go through the 'gate as well. SG-1 was no more.
Daniel stood up and wandered into the house. Stumbled over one of Nicholas' trucks, bruising his bare foot, let out with a string of curses. Lately everything seemed to irritate him. That thought poked the back of his brain. He dropped onto the sofa and turned the TV on.
"…memorial services for Casey Jackson, wife of renowned archaeologist Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c of Chulak, the Jaffa who helped start and organize the rebellion among the Jaffa in this galaxy, will be tomorrow at Hope Memorial Park. Mrs. Jackson and Teal'c were killed during a mission to help save the Oannes. Mrs. Jackson was…"
He turned off the sound, watched the collage of pictures that they showed of her. She was beautiful…so damned beautiful. But those pictures showed only her sweet face. They didn't show the light that was always shining in her eyes, light from her heart that lit every room she walked into, lit his path as he walked beside her through life; didn't show the wicked sense of humor that revealed itself at the oddest times; didn't show the tenderness with which she raised her children; didn't show the passionate woman who could send his soul and body soaring; didn't show the woman that filled his every moment, filled his senses. The pictures could never show what an incredible woman his Wife was…had been. The tears began to fall…again.
A A A A A A
The park was filled to capacity with people. Everyone there had been touched in one way or another by Casey or Teal'c. Store clerks, box boys, mailmen, delivery van drivers, base personnel, even the young man who had danced at Casey's birthday party, crowded together near the small dais that had been set up in one corner of the lovely expanse of green grass and flower beds. The sun was just setting, and everyone in the park was holding a candle. It was an awe-inspiring sight. If he had actually been able to see it, to appreciate it.
Daniel looked out over the crowd, not surprised at the number of people who wished to pay final respects to his Wife. That thought made him gasp with pain. He didn't even bother to wipe the tears away. It wouldn't do any good. There would only be more, and more still. Just when he thought he couldn't cry again, the sobs would wrack his body until he ached.
Duncan had finished speaking. The Highlander was looking at him. Daniel stood up, managed to get to the podium without falling. Even in the candlelight he could see that many of the faces in front of him were streaked with tears. How dare they! How dare they grieve for her? They knew nothing of her! These people, these strangers had no clue what an amazing woman his Wife was! They didn't know! He was the one who had lost his very soul! How dare they weep!
He gripped the wooden rostrum tightly. Closed his eyes for just a few seconds. Fought to rein in his raging emotions, the anger that burned in him, the grief that overwhelmed him. He took a deep breath. "I'd like to thank you all for coming out this evening. It means a lot to know that Casey-" his voice broke, he lowered his head, took a few more seconds to regain control. "She was the most incredible woman I've ever known. She was the most beautiful woman I've ever known, not just on the outside, but inside as well. She touched everyone she met with her kindness, with the light that burned from within, from her heart. She was the best part of me; she was everything to me. I have no idea how I'm going to make it without Her." He made his way back to the chair he had been sitting in. He couldn't stand any longer.
A A A A A A
When friends and family gathered at the house afterwards, he sequestered himself in his den. He didn't remember inviting any of them. He supposed that Erin was taking care of everything. He really didn’t care. He just couldn't sit and make chitchat as if nothing had happened. He was sitting in the chair, his head back, eyes closed, when he heard the pocket doors open, then close again quietly.
"I'm so sorry, Daniel."
He tried to smile. Couldn't do it. "I know, Sam. It wasn't your fault."
"Yes, it was. I know that you believe that, too." Her voice was raspy. Jack said she hadn't been sleeping, that she was having nightmares.
He shook his head. "No. At first, maybe. But you had to try. Casey wouldn't have left until you tried again."
"Can we ever be friends again?"
The question opened his eyes, brought his head up, pulled him to his feet. He looked at her. She seemed…lost…haggard… forlorn. Without a word he pulled her into his embrace. "We've always been friends, Sam. We always will be," he whispered, hugging her tightly.
"If you need anything…"
"I'll call you first thing," he replied. He kissed the side of her head. "Better get back out there before Jack gets the wrong idea about us."
She giggled, it ended in a strangled sob. "I'm so sorry."
"Me, too," he whispered.
Sam pulled away, wiped the tears from her cheeks, then from his. She slipped out of the room, left him alone with his grief, his loneliness, his pain. His constant companions now.
A A A A A A
He had noticed the symptoms of withdrawal three days after their return from PY2 498. Hadn't recognized them for what they were until almost eight days later. Dr. Montigue had given him a dose of the 'anti-Hathor' vaccine. It hadn't helped much. The shot of methadone at least helped control the shakes and the irritability. What he needed…what he wanted…was a long, hot, wild incredible dose of his sweet, sweet Angel.
He stood up and started pacing. He had to get out, get away…a quick call to Erin, and thirty minutes later he was sitting at the lake. How often had they come here, made love in the back of the jeep? He closed his eyes; could smell her…taste her…feel her satiny skin beneath his fingertips. Images of her beautiful body filled his mind…things that they had done together… moments of passion and pleasure and pure, sweet love. Never again, his mind told him. She's gone. You'll never hold her again.
"Never say never, Daniel."
He whirled around to look in the backseat. He could have sworn he heard her voice! He closed his eyes again briefly, then looked out across the lake. Was he going to lose his mind to this agonizing grief? Did he even care? Thoughts of Emily and Nicholas crashed through his brain. They needed him. He would tell them every night, every day, how much their Mommy had loved them. What a beautiful, amazing woman she had been. He had to get a grip on himself, keep it together, for them. For Casey. His sweet, beautiful Wife.
His heart still aching, his soul still in shreds, his mind still burdened with his devastating loss, he drove home. Someday he would be able to think about her without feeling as if he was going to implode from the pain. That someday was very far away. Until then, he would focus on his children…their children.
A A A A A A
He opened his eyes. Squinted against the sun that fell across the sofa, and his face. After four weeks he still couldn't sleep in their bed…his bed…that damned big lonely bed. He sat up, rubbed his hands over his face. He stumbled into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. He had forgotten to set it up again last night. Probably because he'd had a few shots of Southern Comfort. Just to help him get to sleep. Truthfully, he'd had more than a few shots. Didn't even remember stretching out on the sofa. Didn't remember much of anything after he grabbed the bottle as soon as Erin had left, taking Nicholas and Emily with her.
He fumbled with the filters. He hadn't had a decent cup of coffee since…he cut that thought off. While the coffee brewed, he crossed his arms over his bare chest and leaned back against the counter. His eyes moved around the room, just as they always did when he was in the kitchen …Her kitchen. When his gaze stopped on the calendar his heart stopped beating, remembered why he had needed so much Southern Comfort last night. Today was their anniversary. Their 10th anniversary.
Ten years ago today he had made Casey his own. He closed his eyes as the memories washed over him. Her smile had been so bright, her eyes so full of love when she had walked across the beach towards him…Her voice had quavered just a bit as she vowed herself to him forever, even though at the time he had still been mortal. How she had laughed as they danced, holding tightly to him, how they had made love all night, until they were almost too exhausted to make it into the tent. He ran a hand over though his hair. I miss her! Oh, god I miss her! his soul cried out.
Tomorrow was his son's second birthday. Erin was baking a cake. He had told Sam and Tessa that this year there wouldn't be a party. Nicholas was young enough that he'd never miss not having one. He just didn't have the strength to do more than make it through each day. Anything above that was beyond his capabilities at the moment. Life was moving ahead. He was merely being carried along with it, no longer a participant. He didn't want to be a part of what was going on around him…not without Her…his very heart and soul.
Daniel barely made it through the day. He spent most of it locked in his office in the mountain. No one bothered him; he was certain that he was hemorrhaging 'leave-me-the-fuck-alone' vibes. He attempted to work on the book. Could only sit back and remember the mission that had afforded him the discovery that made the damned thing possible. She had danced for him on that mission. Twice. Her beautiful body had enticed him, tantalized him, teased him, her eyes had sent messages of love to him…she had sent him sailing to the heavens afterward. He closed his eyes, tears on his cheeks, remembering every touch, every caress.
At three o'clock he called Erin, asked her to take the kids home with her. She didn't ask questions. He figured that she knew that he was going to get drunk. He'd done that a couple of times now. Each time he made sure that the kids were safe with their grandparents. Just because he needed to completely fall apart was no excuse to put his kids in harm's way. The only thing she said to him was to be safe.
A A A A A A
He parked in front of Rinaldi's. Stared at the building for a few minutes. This was where Casey always came when she was feeling frightened…angry…out of control. He was feeling an unhealthy amount of all three. He went inside.
John, the bartender, looked up when the man walked in. "Doctor Jackson," he said in way of greeting. He figured the man had probably already heard enough 'I'm-so-sorry's' to be ready to scream. So he didn't say it. Even though he was. Casey Jackson had always been a favorite of his. "What can I get for you?"
"What She always had when She came in here," was the quiet response.
With a nod, John gathered the items together, put them on a tray, took them to the corner table that Casey always preferred, and where Dr. Jackson was sitting now. "If you need anything else, just call out," the bartender said.
Daniel nodded. He poured the first shot. Licked his hand, sprinkled salt on it. Remembered watching Casey do this the night that he and Jack had left for Arconia. He licked the salt, downed the shot, then took a lime wedge and sucked on it. The tequila burned all the way down, sat in his empty stomach burning even more. He did another shot. And another.
John watched, knew by word of mouth that Dr. Jackson wasn't a drinker. He made a phone call. No way was he going to let the man walk out of the bar and try to drive. No way was he going to allow the man to sit there and drink alone, either. He needed a friend with him right now, whether the good doctor realized it or not.
Twenty minutes later Jack O'Neill walked in. He didn’t say a word as he glanced around. He just grabbed a shot glass as he walked by the bar, sat down, and started drinking with his friend.
"I can' do id'," Daniel said after a few minutes. He was slurring his words, could barely hold his head up.
"Can't do what?" Jack asked just before he downed a shot.
"Live without Her."
Jack only nodded. When the call had come through, Sam had reminded him what today was. "I know, Daniel."
Daniel did another shot. Could barely get the glass to his lips. "I miss Her."
Again, Jack nodded. "I know, Daniel."
"Hi!" a perky voice said from somewhere just above them.
Jack looked up and grimaced. "We're having a private conversation," he said gruffly.
The blonde woman smiled innocently, and sat down. "That's okay, I don't mind," she giggled. She looked over at the very handsome, very drunk Dr. Jackson. This was her shot at getting the man home and into her bed, and she wasn't letting anyone, including Brigadier General Jack O'Neill, stand in her way.
"We do," Jack said. This was the nurse that Daniel had complained about. He remembered the woman trying to flirt with his best friend when Daniel was holding Casey in his arms as she fought against Nergal's invasion into her mind.
The woman glared at Jack for a second, then turned her attention to her prey. "Hi, Daniel."
Daniel looked at her, tried to focus bleary eyes on her. "Do I know you?"
She giggled. "Yep. I take your blood pressure before and after your missions. Most of the time," she added. There were times when one of the other nurses beat her to him.
He frowned. He didn't particularly care for that nurse. She was always trying to flirt with him. "Oh," was all that he said.
"So, what brings you out this afternoon…er…this evening now," she giggled.
Jack gave the woman a hard look. "I'm only going to say this nicely once. We don't want any company."
"I haven't heard Daniel say that," she challenged.
Even in his state of inebriation, Daniel was aware enough to know what the woman was up to. Experience was an excellent teacher. "It's Doctor Jackson to you, and Jack is right. We don't want any company," he said, enunciating each word carefully, his voice hard and bitter.
Her eyes narrowed. "I just thought I'd offer my condolences…a bit of comfort. You must be lonely now that your wife is dead. I can give you what you want, you know."
Daniel winced at the words. "What I want is my Wife back! Unless you can bring Her back, get the fuck away from me!" he shouted.
The blonde blinked in surprise, her mouth dropping open. She had never heard Dr. Jackson speak like that to anyone, even when he was angry.
"Today is his wedding anniversary," Jack said coldly. "Understand?"
She nodded numbly. She had thought that his presence in the bar meant that he was on the prowl for some companionship. Something told her she had just made a fatal mistake. Even when Dr. Jackson was ready to reach out for female intimacy, he would never look in her direction, not now. She stood and nearly ran out the door. She would never again flirt with the man. It would be a waste of time…and probably anger him as well. Crushed, she made her way home, where she would spend the rest of the evening alone - crying.
Jack watched her leave. "How about I take you home. You look like you're ready to pass out."
As much as he wanted to argue, Daniel only nodded. He had a bottle of Southern Comfort that had been his friend since the third night Casey had been gone. A couple of shots were the only way he could get to sleep. He'd have those two shots, and hopefully pass out. Then he wouldn't have to feel any more. For just a few hours the pain would be numbed, the loss would be pushed to the back of his mind, his arms wouldn't reach out for her. For just a few hours.
The older man gently led his friend out the door and to his Suburban. Once at the gray house, he dumped Daniel on the sofa, tucked the blankets around him, and left him snoring in peace.
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