I'm fond of tragic pairings, I think. And in fandom, you can play with just about anything. So, even though I'm probably one of two people that like them, that's okay. This is for me anyway :)
Title: Something Old
Category: Ship, Drama
Spoilers: Only Jack's whereabouts as of Season 9
Summary: Something old can easily become something new.
A/N: Any errors mine. Just another excuse for me to avoid my long gen fics. Let's see how long it takes for this one to get flamed ;)
Disclaimer: Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters, titles, names, and back-story are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, SciFi Channel, and Showtime/Viacom. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be printed anywhere without the sole permission of the author. Realize this is for entertainment purposes only; no financial gain or profit has been gained from this fiction. This story is not meant to be an infringement on the rights of the above-mentioned establishments
Another year, another problem.
Only these days, they were different kinds of problems.
Jack sighed and leaned back into the cushions of his booth. All around him people buzzed and chattered about this and that, lost in the loud hum that typified the bar scene. He couldn't hear a damn thing on the TV, but that's not why Jack had come here tonight anyway.
He glanced down at his watch before he scanned the room for his buddy Chuck. He caught sight of a few young couples flirting, some college age boys roaring at the game on the tube, and some singles just hanging around the bar itself. So far, no Chuck. But Chuck was notorious for being late; it wouldn't be the first time.
Jack remembered the times when he, Chuck, and their buddies would hit the town and get themselves into whatever kind of trouble they could. Those were the days before he'd gotten married. Those days seemed so long ago.
He cleared his throat as he picked at the label on his beer bottle.
Time had a way of changing things.
His thoughts turned to SG-1. Normally, around this time of year, he'd invite them over to watch the big game. They'd always come up with some lame excuse to get out of it, but they'd end up at his house anyway.
He wondered how his house was doing.
He wondered where the hell Carter, Daniel, and Teal'c were now.
Jack tapped at the edge of the table and searched the room again. Still no sign of Chuck. Bastard. Well, there was no way he was going to sit here and wait all night.
After downing the rest of his beer, Jack started for the bar. He saw a couple of ladies sitting there, one a brunette, the other a blonde. Jack ignored the flare of pain he felt in his knees and slid into the seat next to the blonde.
"Hey, Mike," he said. He held up his bottle. "I'll take another. And how about one for the pretty lady here?"
While the bartender went to grab them a couple of cold ones, Jack cleared his throat and put on his best smile. But when she turned to face him, the smile was wiped clean off his face.
Sara eyed him for a moment before she turned her attention back to the bowl of nuts in front of her. "Nice to see you too, Jack."
"What the hell are you doing here?" he asked.
Sara shrugged. "I could ask the same of you."
"Yeah." Jack nodded as he accepted the bottles. He held up the one for Sara and waggled it invitingly.
She bowed her head, attempting to hide a smile, as she grabbed the beer. She stared at the bottle for a moment before she finally looked at him. "So, tell me that you're still not trying to pick up women this way?" she asked.
"It worked once, didn't it?"
"You only thought it did."
"Or maybe I'm just that good," Jack said, flashing a grin.
Sara rolled her eyes, but he saw the sparkle in them, a gleam that caused the unwelcome memories to bubble to the surface again. He felt his grin start to fade, the dull ache return. He stared at his bottle and tried to push them away.
"So, what brings you out east?"
Sara shrugged again. "My dad passed away last year and I wanted a change. So, I made a change."
Jack nodded, still focused on his bottle. "I heard about that. I would have –"
"You were busy," she said quietly. "I know."
The two fell silent. Jack never thought a bar could become so quiet, but in that moment, it seemed like everyone had stopped talking. He shifted in his seat, just waiting for the din to block out any of the discomfort he was feeling. Talk about awkward.
At least Sara seemed just as uncomfortable. She kept glancing over her shoulder, as if she were looking for some kind of escape. But Jack had to give her credit. She was a strong woman. She'd always been a strong woman. She'd always stood her ground, no matter what.
No matter who'd hurt her.
"So," she said, forcing a smile, "I heard you were promoted. Congratulations. I hope you enjoy it."
Jack sighed. "I got some stuffy desk job. I spend my day pushing paper for bureaucratic assholes."
She shook her head. "You never were one to take to the humdrum of an office job."
"Desk job," he enunciated. Then, he took his hand and started making a straight, thrusting motion as he continued. "I swear, these pencil necks have are so tight, you'd think they had –"
She placed her hand on his and brought it down. "As much as you love the field, Jack, you're not as young as you used to be."
"Hey. I still have what it takes." He sat a little taller. "I'm like wine. I get better as I age."
She laughed. "I wish I could say the same."
"Oh, come on, Sara," he said, raising the bottle to his lips. "You look the same as when I first met you."
"I think the beer's clouded your head."
"Maybe," he said with a shrug. "But…" He turned away from her, averting his gaze to the game on the TV. "It doesn't change the way I see things."
She looked away and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. He was positive he saw her blush. Satisfied, Jack leaned back on his stool and took another swig of beer.
"Oh, you can wipe that smug look off your face," she said with a smirk.
"I have every reason to be smug," he said.
And he did. He found the fine lines by her mouth didn't bother him. Neither did the crow's feet by her eyes. Even now, after all these years, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever known.
He had to fight the urge to reach out and touch her hair, just once. Setting his jaw, he glanced back down to his bottle and fought the sharp pain that suckered him in the gut.
"Jack," she said, her voice becoming soft and sorrowful, which had the immediate effect of tensing him. "Do you ever have regrets?"
"All the time."
She reached out to touch his hand again, but after pausing for a second, she withdrew and ran her fingers through her hair instead. "Sometimes I wish we could change things," she admitted. "Fix those mistakes."
"Me too." He swallowed hard. "But I can't ever be that man again, Sara."
He thought of all those promises he'd made. He thought of all the promises he'd broken. There were just some things he could never forgive about himself.
Jack glanced at her, seeing the tumult of mixed emotions brewing in her eyes.
"I know," she whispered. "But I'm not asking for that man."
Jack arched his eyebrows.
She smiled, a nervous but confident smile, and extended her hand. "Hi, I'm Sara."
A slow grin spread across Jack's face. "The name's Jack." He squeezed her hand and slid a little closer. "So, what brings a pretty lady like yourself here tonight?"