||I instinctively reach for his hand as I walk up the front walk. It's been years since I have been here; I think it is his first time even in California. Defiantly the first time he has met Mark. |
He squeezes my hand, reassuring me that it will be ok. How can it be? I am here to deliver the second hardest news Mark has ever had to hear. And the worst thing is I can't tell him were or how, or why Dad died. All I can tell him is that...
"Dad is dead." The words tumbled out as soon as I saw my brother stand there.
He blinks a few times, taking in both Daniel and me. "Wh-what? Sam, what's going on? Who is this guy?"
"I'm Daniel Jackson, I work with Sam." He holds out the hand that had been holding mine, Mark takes it after eying Daniel once more. I want to tell Mark he is not going to bite; in fact he is quite nice.
"Mark... Dad..." I feel tears rise.
"Yes that is what you just said. I don't believe it for a moment. He just talked to me... he was fine... asked how the kids were doing..." I watched as he struggled to process the news.
"Mark, we are here to pick you up so we can fly to DC. Dad is going to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. We are here to pick you up to come with us to the burial." I sucked in a ragged breath and felt Daniel move closer. "It was what Dad wanted. He wanted us to be there together and... Gawd, Mark, grab a bag, we have to get back to the plane."
I watched as Mark swallowed, I knew he could not really believe Dad was gone also. It was hard when our mother died, but we thought we would have a long time with Dad, especially once he was blended with Salmak. He simply nodded and turned back into the house and told his wife that he had to go � would call from the plane.
Turning back to the car that drove us to Mark's, I was struck by the fact that my brother and best friend were flying to DC, to bury my father, our father, our ally. I choked on tears as I watched the buildings pass on the way back to the transport.
Washington was another kind of blur. I was grateful for the driver's silence as we drove through the city to get to the cemetery. Mark and I talked as we flew cross-country, and Daniel had been there to let me cry on his shoulder.
"So you are sure he did not suffer, no heart attack?" Mark said, breaking the silence. I closed my eyes and once more wished I could tell my brother what our own Dad had been doing for the past 5 years.
I felt Daniel's hand rest on mine as we entered the cemetery. "I'm positive. He simply drifted.." drifted away." I bit the tears that were already flowing, and wiped my hands down my face. "The doctors were positive nothing else was the cause. Please, Mark, this is already hard enough."
"I'm sorry, Sammy, I'm sure it was hard to be there," he pulled me into his arms and whispered "sorry" into my hair. Pulling back, I saw he also had tears glistening in his eyes.
I placed my hat on my head, and pulled at my dress blues. I hated that I had to even wear them normally - basics were just more comfortable - but dreaded it when they made an appearance due to some great calamity. Daniel was wearing a nice suit, with a blue tie; small planes dotted it - nice touch of Air Force.
The three of us turned and followed the small crowd of people to where my father's tent was. It was time for Mark to say a proper good-bye to our father, and for us to maybe rebuild the ruble of our relationship.
I left the gravesite, wanting to be alone as I gazed among all the other small white crosses. Each one was a story of who was beneath, if they only knew the story of my Dad, they would not believe it. I spotted a small bench and headed for it.
I was not surprised that Daniel came up beside me and placed a reassuring hand on my shoulder. I was not surprised when he slipped beside me on the bench and wrapped his strong arms around me. I was surprised when he started to murmur some words in ... Latin?
"Daniel...?" I asked quietly as I leaned back to look at him. His face was bent toward me, inches would close the gap � it almost took my breath away.
He placed a finger on my lips, a warm strangely comforting gesture, and continued.
"Desideramus te, Jacob, sed, progredimur. Fortis et fidelis, in nomine tui, provebimus." He finished and closed his eyes, leaning his head down to touch mine. After a moment, he said it again, whispering the translation "We miss you Jacob, but we go on. Strong and true in your name we shall move forward."
Tears once more burned my eyes and I tried to brush them away, only to feel his lips kiss them. I felt as if I was being taken away, the lightness of them was all I needed at that moment. I wanted to bring my lips to his, but knew if I dared move I might wake and find it all a dream.
"I think we need to get back," Daniel whispered into my hair.
I nodded, not wanting to move and break the spell he had once more casted upon me.
I just wanna know you're gonna be happy. That was what Dad wanted. And I told him I was. Maybe I was just trying to kid myself... let him know I was really going to be ok. I would be - was - happy. Then after it all I ran to the place, the person I knew would help me find that happiness. Not Pete - we were over - not Jack - although he tried his best. But Daniel - the brilliant, blue-eyed, scholar who is my best friend, and sometimes more in my dreams.
As we walked slowly back to where Mark and a handful of Air Force personnel were standing, I looked at Daniel.
You're gonna be happy, kiddo.
I know I am, Dad.
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