Of Love And Loss
Part Two of the Life Is A Bridge Series
"Jack?" Daniel Jackson squinted up at the roof of the house.
"What do you want, Daniel?"
"Do you mind if I come up there for a minute?"
"Why should I mind? Knock yourself out. Aren’t you afraid of heights though?"
"Oh. Well, like I said, knock yourself out."
"I hope not."
"Sorry. Bad choice of words."
Daniel finally heaved his trembling form onto the roof and took a couple of shaky steps toward the edge of the roof where Jack sat, unconcernedly swinging his legs.
"Sit down, Daniel, before you fall down."
Daniel sat slightly behind Jack and tried not to look down. The two men sat in agreeable silence for some time before Daniel spoke again. "I wanted to say I was sorry. About Kowalski. He was a good guy."
Jack nodded. "Yeah, he was."
"I, um, didn’t know him that well and I know we didn’t get on too well at first but I liked him."
"Yeah, me too."
This time, the silence stretched into discomfort and Daniel struggled to his feet. "I just wanted to say I was sorry. I know he was a good friend to you. If you need to talk or anything, well, you know where I am. I know how it feels to lose someone you care about."
Jack nodded again. "Thanks. I’ll be fine."
Daniel stood for a moment watching Jack then turned to leave. Abruptly, he stopped. "Where’s your telescope?"
"Huh? Oh, I didn’t need it anymore."
"Well, you’re not up there anymore." Jack gestured skyward with one hand. "So I don’t need to be keeping an eye out for you up there now, wondering what you’re doing, if you’re okay."
"That’s what you were doing?"
"Thanks. That’s good to know. I mean, I thought, well, you don’t know me that well."
"We’re friends, Daniel. That’s what friends do. Look out for each other. Watch each other’s backs."
" I haven’t had a lot of people I could call friends in my life. Too much moving around, you know? Foster families and stuff."
Jack finally turned and looked at him. "That must have been tough."
Daniel shrugged. "Yeah. You know. Jack, can I tell you something?"
Daniel fidgeted with the cuff of his jacket and when he spoke, he didn’t look up. "I really liked Kowalski. When he died though, the first thing I thought of was that we’d failed in finding a way to get the Gou’ald out of Sha’re and Skaara."
Jack stood then and moved to Daniel’s side. "That’s understandable."
"Is it?" Daniel glared at Jack then, his eyes glittering with unshed tears. "A man is dead and he suffered terribly and all the time, all I could think of, all I could see was Sha’re. Everything he suffered, I compared to her suffering. When he was crying out in agony, it was her screams I could hear."
"You think I haven’t done that?" Jack asked gently. "With Charlie? You think I didn’t wish it was someone else’s kid, then hate myself for the thought?"
"I kept thinking I was glad it wasn’t you. You’re the only family I have left."
Jack smiled. "I'm family? Guess with what we've been through, we're the closest thing to family we have. I've been there, too, Daniel. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve thought, thank God, that’s not my family."
"What if we can’t bring her back, Jack? What if nothing of the host survives?"
"That’s bullshit and you know it." Jack pulled the other man roughly into an embrace. "This will have an end, Daniel. You will find Sha’re and go home to Abydos with her. I promise you we won’t ever give up."
He stood and weathered the storm of the other man’s grief then wrapped a strong arm about his shoulders. "Let’s take this conversation inside, huh? You got time for a beer?"
Daniel nodded then scrubbed at his eyes with the heels of his hands. "Sure."
Jack led the way back to the ladder. "Let’s go toast Kowalski. I’ll tell you a couple stories about him and me. The man was certifiable."
"Don’t look down, Daniel. Just don’t look down."