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Stargate SG-1 fic: Seeing Past the Red

And another angsty, sad little thing.  Damn Dumbledore quotes about death (over at [info]fictionland ).

Seeing Past the Red
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Stargate SG-1
Jack/Sam friendship
571 words
rating: PG
WARNINGS:

Jack’s done some horribly things in his life but Sam tries to get him to see past, to understand they don’t tell who he really is. Inspired by this Harry Potter quote: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.

Jack can still feel the blood on his hands. He looks down at them hugging his beer bottle. He thinks if he looks hard enough he can still see it. The blood. So much blood. So many missions. He never asked questions, just did as he was told. He was good at it.

He’s so lost in his own thoughts he doesn’t hear the chair scrape away from the table. He’s startled when a voice speaks softly into his ear—just loud enough to be heard over the din of the bar.

He glances over at Carter, her eyes full of understanding and sadness. “It wasn’t your fault,” she says again.

Jack snorts. “Right.”

“Sir…” She sounds irritated now. His anger rises and he pushes up from the table, his chair toppling to the ground.

With shaking hands he tosses some loose bills on the table and nearly stumbles from the bar. It’s been a long time since he’s been this drunk. Not since… He squeezes his eyes shut trying not to think about it but it all just runs together. So much blood.

In the alley he doubles over and just misses his shoes. Carter’s by his side by then, standing close but not touching him. She’s offering the only kind of support she thinks he’ll accept. He’s almost grateful she’s there.

“What do you want?”

She answers by crossing her arms resolutely over her chest, determination setting her jaw. Jack gets it. She’s not leaving. Slowly he stands up—with a slight wobble—and faces his 2IC. She looks concerned and it’s because of that he lets her guide him into her car.

She fastens him in then slides into the driver’s seat but doesn’t start the car. She grips the steering wheel tightly, hands twisting the leather. He can tell she’s building up to something.

“What is it, Carter?”

“It wasn’t your fault.” She sounds like a broken record.

“Tell that to the dead kid.”

“You did what you had to do, sir. He would have killed us all.”

He knows that but all he can see is the blood. “There’s been so many, Carter. So much blood.” Everywhere. Covering his hands. “I’ve done things. Bad things.” He’s rambling now, his alcohol addled brain not censoring his words. He leans his head against the window and tries not to see red.

Carter takes a deep breath. “Sir, what you did in the past… is in the past. That’s not who you are; it’s what you did.”

“Is there really a difference?”

“I think so. In the time I’ve known you you’ve never done anything to hurt anyone if you could help it.” She pauses and he can see her chewing her lip before she continues. “I’m proud to be your second, sir. Proud to be learning from you. Proud to call you a friend.”

And Jack could see it—the pride beaming from her bright eyes. And the forgiveness for his past. Forgiveness he found so hard to give himself. God, she’s so young. Without really thinking he reaches over and lets his fingers slide down her cheek. Her eyes track his hand then move back up to his face, a small smile pressing the corners of her mouth.

“You’re smart, Carter,” he mumbles and lets his hand fall back to his lap.

“Yes, sir,” she says softly as she starts the car. “Now let’s get you home.”

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