Fingerlengths (PG)

word count: 1,147
Rated: PG
Written for [info]rowan_d with the following prompt: Sam/Jack angst, please.:) Prompt quote:
"I felt every ounce of me screaming out,
But the sound was trapped deep in me"
--'Signal Fire' by Snow Patrol

Washington is a blasted heath.

Daniel might have been surprised to hear Jack use that term. Daniel thought he didn’t know anything about Shakespeare specifically or literature outside the Simpsons generally.

Daniel would have been wrong.

Jack knows quite a bit of Shakespeare. He just doesn’t like it.

In this moment, surrounded by charcoal, personal preference doesn’t seem so important. The phrase is apt.

A stroke of luck had seen Jack camping outside the city that Friday night. For the first time in his life he is thankful for light pollution. Bloodied and burnt by the unexpected wall of flame he staggered to the remains of his truck and limped into the city.

Nothing is left.

Jack doesn’t know if it is the Ori or the snakes or even the damn Chinese. There is no-one left to ask.

He binds his wounds roughly with strips torn from the dress blues abandoned on the back seat. Then he turns his eyes westward.

The sun is burning orange on the horizon when he finally finds an intact gas station. The walls are scorched, but the second pump he tries works. He fills the tank then rifles the shop for food and water. As the sun burns the back of his neck he traces his route on a pilfered map spread across the hood of his truck.

On the map it seems like nothing.

He finally runs out of gas somewhere south of Illinois. Perhaps. The road is destroyed in parts, damaged in others. Route markers are few and far between. There are no people. No bodies. Nothing but charcoal and dust for twelve hours until the truck finally sighs to a stop.

He staggers from his seat and seeks out the stars, looking for familiarity in the constellations. Sam has told him repeatedly that none of the star systems with Gates are visible from Earth but he still instinctively looks for them every time.

Once he caught her doing the same but he never bothered to call her on it.

He packs up as many supplies as he can carry, stuffing the pockets of his clothes and his camping bag. The map goes inside his jacket against his heart.

Cheyenne is underground.

He curls in a cornfield, or what remains, stalks bent and bowed from the concussive blasts. His legs ache painfully from the walk, he thinks, but he bends over them anyway, finally removing the make-shift bandages he applied a lifetime ago.

The burns are now an angry red, turning black at the edges. Purple streaks move up his legs towards his groin.

He knows that’s a bad sign.

There’s nothing else but to bind the wounds again and try to sleep.

He walks through the damp of the morning then sleeps for a few hours in the worst heat of the day. Then he walks some more. There’s nothing behind him but charcoal and dust. Ahead there’s Cheyenne. Underground.

He lies down to sleep under an abandoned wheat thresher and wishes he has a jet.

She’s walking beside him. She must be. He can hear boots crunching steadily in time with his. Daniel always manages to trip on air and Teal’c walks to his own beat. She always falls in step with him, walking beside him in complete harmony. So it must be her.

He turns his head occasionally and sees a glint of yellow hair. Then he wakes and realises that it’s just the sunlight reflecting off the burnt grass.

After a while he stops looking. Instead he just concentrates on the sound of her boots.

His legs ache but he keeps pushing forward.

He puts one foot in front of the other and falls into step with her.

He rations his food, but it’s not enough. Not for all of them. Teal’c can go for days without food and water but Daniel and Carter need their fair share.

For some stupid reason he only remembered to pack candy bars and gas station crap. He searches his pack twice and doesn’t find a single MRE.

There’s no one to blame but himself. He’s the one responsible for packing his own mission bag.

He can only hope that help finds them soon. George will send a rescue party through the ‘Gate soon enough. The SGC doesn’t leave men behind.

They say that all over the air force, but in the SGC they mean it.

He curls up to sleep and he worries for Teal’c and Daniel and Carter. Especially Carter. It’s his responsibility to get them home again.

With her it’s something different he’s always been too frightened to name. But she has to stay safe.

The nights merge into days merge into nights. He’s fallen and he doesn’t remember how.

There are no people. Only charcoal. And fire. Fire in his legs that burns to his groin.

Cheyenne is underground. Fire couldn’t burn right through a mountain.

“Actually, sir, if the weapon that caused this is powerful enough, it might be possible.”

“What like a nuke?”

“Possibly, sir. But nothing like what we have on Earth. However, if the weapon had been enhanced with naquadah...”

“Aah! Carter!”

“Sorry, sir.”

Later he struggles to his feet and can’t find her.

“Carter?” he calls.

“Carter? I was kidding!”

She doesn’t answer.

She comes and goes, falling in beside him on her own timetable.

The map in his jacket is worn at the edges. He can’t remember why it is important anymore, just that it needs to be kept safe.

All he knows is that he has to get to her. Has to make her safe.

His face is pressed to the dirt, the soil cool against his skin.

She’s here now, again, but soon to go, again.

He clings to her tightly, feeling the soft skin of her hands against the slick sweat on his skin.

“Doctor Lam’s on her way down, sir. She’ll fix you up, and you’ll be ok,” she says. He can hear her voice cracking and it breaks his heart.

“Don’t go, Sam,” he whispers, knowing that she will.

He can see her face now, drifting in front of him. She looks terrified and frantic, her skin pale and blotchy and wet with tears. “I’m right here, sir. I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m going to get to you, you know. Cheyenne’s underground. That’s no problem unless they have a naquadah enhanced nuke, you said.”
“I’m here, sir.”

“You said. I’m going to get to you.”

She leans forward, and he feels the cool pressure of her lips on his forehead. “You did, sir. You got to me.”

“No, naquadah?”

He thinks she laughs. “No, sir.”

Suddenly she’s crying, and it brings him back from the blackness. “Sir! Sir! Come on sir, you have to hang on!”

“Sam. Safe,” he whispers.

“Yes, Jack. I’m safe.”

“That’s good,” he whispers and lets go.
  • Current Mood: morose morose
GAH!!! That's AWFUL!!! I mean...it's excellent, but... IT'S AWFUL!:D:D

Thank you!! But you're killin' me, here...*g*
Oh, my goodness. This is lovely. Awful, excellent (as Rowan said), and lovely.
B-b-b-but... *wails* He survived the apocalypse and umpteen million days cross country and then you kill him. I think you may have broken my heart! *sobs*

But so utterly awesome. It's gems like this that are the reason I love apocafic. *g*

*uses most appropriate icon ever*
You are so mean! *sobs some more*

But no, really - this was most excellent. I love the dream-like hallucinations and the way that you have everything fade in and out of clarity, it's beautiful and heartbreaking and just amazing.