Stargate SG-1 fic: The Mountaintop
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
It’s Father’s Day and Cassie is finally understanding the significance of all these Earth celebrations. All it took was a little trip to the top of a mountain.
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
I learned pretty quick that on Earth there are certain days that mean a great deal to certain people. Christmas. Thanksgiving. The Fourth of July. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Over the year’s I’ve celebrated them all. For me, for my friends, my mom, the world. But Father’s Day was one that escaped me.
Mom—Janet—told me to spend the day remembering my father. But the whole thing was a new concept to me. Every day on Hanka was reason to celebrate our parents. Any relationship really. When you live in constant fear of the Goa’uld destroying your life you begin to focus on those things—things that really matter. But I tried because she asked me to. It just made me sad, though.
There was this one day, though… I think I was fifteen. I remember the weather was gorgeous, the sun shining and you could see for miles. Forever. Jack took me to the top of this mountain where we just stood and watched the valley below. The trees swayed in the cool breeze, birds floated on the air above us. In the distance you could just see the highway snaking through the pass, people going about their lives oblivious to our scrutiny from high above.
Jack didn’t say much while we were there. Mostly his words were lessons about hiking, telling trees apart, bird calls. Not falling off the cliff. And what to do if I found myself lost in the woods. A lot of it I already knew but I listened intently because it was Jack. Even at my most rebellious I’d do anything to not disappoint him.
When the sun started falling to the West he put his hand on my shoulder and I knew our quiet day alone was coming to an end. But what surprised me more than anything, more than him just popping up at our house and expecting me to follow along, was what he said next.
His voice was so soft I almost didn’t hear it over the calls of the hawks, the rush of wind through the branches of the nearest trees. “I used to take Charlie here,” he told me. “A long time ago. I’m sure he would have loved to have been anywhere else but…” He trailed off, his gaze looking out to the surrounding mountains. “It seemed important.”
He squeezed my shoulders then put his shades back on. I tried to ignore the glassy look to his eyes. Or the way his voice trembled ever so slightly. Those weren’t the kinds of things you brought up with Jack. They’d only be met with denial. Instead I caught up with him twenty feet down the path and slipped my hand into his. He looked down, completely caught off guard, and seemingly confused. I let my cheek fall against the worn denim of his jacket, the warmth of his body quickly pulling through to my chilled cheek. I couldn’t help but rub against, finding instant comfort in the closeness.
Jack halted, his eyes fixed on our interlocked hands. I have no idea what was going through his head. I’m not sure I wanted to. Jack has too many secrets. Too many skeletons in his closet as Mom used to say. But, really, I didn’t have to know exactly what he was thinking because I’m sure it was pretty close to what I was feeling. I wrapped both arms around his, tugging him forward but his feet wouldn’t follow. I finally stopped and stared up at him, hoping he’d move. Or just say something. Anything.
He swallowed hard. Once, twice… three times before he seemed to get control. “Cass…” His voice caught in his throat. It was almost painful to watch him like this, completely at a loss for words, confused and emotionally raw. I was never more thankful for his sunglasses because I didn’t want to see his eyes.
A few beats and I couldn’t stand it any more. I let go of his arm and slid my arms around his waist, letting my ear rest against his chest where I could hear his heart beating in a steady, if rapid, pace. Slowly, his arms fell around me, engulfing me in a sense of contentment and warmth and safety that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I hadn’t even known I was missing it until that moment. And then it all came rushing in.
Or out. Because I couldn’t stop my tears like Jack could. He didn’t say anything, just held me until the sobs stopped. Then he wiped my face with his rough fingers and gave me that lopsided grin. “What was that about?”
I took a deep breath. The debate over what to tell him lasted only seconds because, really, the only thing appropriate was the truth. “I love you,” I whispered, the words fluttering away on the wind.
Jack shifted his weight. Pulled at the cuffs of his jacket. Fidgeted with the contents of his pocket. All signs of discomfort but I didn’t care because I needed to say this stuff. Now before I lost my courage. Before it was too late like with Mom.
“I love you and I don’t care if you think I’m crazy for saying it. Janet has been great all these years, taking care of me and being the best mom I could hope for… And I know today is Father’s Day and you’re missing your real kid-” The tears sprung into my eyes, unwanted, blurring my vision of Jack’s face. “But I’m glad you brought me here. And I’m sure Charlie loved the time he spent with you even if he complained because I can’t imagine being anywhere today but with you. You are the closest thing I have to a dad and I don’t know what I’d do without you and I’m sorry I didn’t get you anything, sometimes I’m so selfish-” The words rushed out, some I hadn’t intended to say at all.
Jack let me catch my breath without a word then, when I was resembling a less insane person, he hugged me tight and whispered in my ear. “Thank you, Cassie, I really needed to hear that.”
And then we went back to the car and for the first time in years I fell whole. I had Janet and I had Jack and that was really all I needed. I knew they’d both do anything for me and would be there for me as long as they possibly could. Watching Jack as we drove down the mountain I had a feeling he was thinking the very same thing. And feeling just as content.
And that’s when I got holidays.