catch22girl: (jack/teri by indilime)
[personal profile] catch22girl
I blame this one on Bridget.

Title: Late in the Game
Author: Catch22Girl
Spoilers: 4x24
Summary: A near-death experience.
Disclaimer: Characters not mine, belong to FOX and Real Time Productions. Title and song mentioned in story is "Don't Give Up On Me" by Solomon Burke. Lyrics can be found here.



Jack needed to time it perfectly. He felt the cold spreading from his fingertips and the darkness he fought against he now ran towards. Clock stopping, lying down in blood, choking pain radiating up his arm, into his chest and the urge to scream suppressed. He could hear his own heart slowing and he remembered the sensation from before, but there was no tunnel, no light that time - just an endless void. His eyes closed and the world melted away in a brilliant burst of agony.

He was prepared for the nothingness, for the true end, but instead he found himself in front of a house. It took him a moment to recognize it, but he felt the softness of the grass under his shoes and he found himself walking to the door, unable to believe it existed. Even if this was only his brain's way of dealing with death, he reached out and walked into the house, feeling her presence in the house, but he didn't see her.

He cradled his hurt hand against his chest and went through to the living room, knowing the layout of this house even asleep, more than half-drunk and stopped in front of a familiar set of photos. A song started from somewhere behind him....

"Please don't give up on me..." a man was singing and Jack caught a glimpse of a woman reflected in the glass of a picture frame.

An arm slipped around him and he closed his eyes, suddenly fighting tears. Against his neck a breathing pattern he'd recognize anywhere, had heard when he was sleeping in their bed alone, afterwards, in hazy dreams, had imagined when high in Mexico and listened for as he wandered from woman to woman.

"What are you doing here?" She whispered and he leaned back for a moment, holding her hand against his chest. "You have to go back."

"I know," he breathed in return, looking down at the floor, waiting for her to reject him, for her to push him away because after all if any woman deserved to, it was her. But he missed her so much, with her for 16, without for six. And felt internal panic at leaving her now, even if she didn't want him. But he couldn't turn around, because he knew if he saw her, if he kissed her, if he remembered how she felt in his arms, he wouldn't feel his body trying to struggle back to life. He wouldn't care about time passing and hadn't he given up enough? Even if he survived, he'd be dead.

She pressed her lips to the back of his neck and he was surprised to hear a strain in her voice when she spoke again. "I don't blame you."

"You've seen..." he felt an ache in his chest as he tried to get out of the words.

"Yes, but I know you, Jack. I always have....even when you forgot," She lifted his hurt hand and gently kissed the back of his hand. To his horror he felt wetness against his fingers and although it hurt, stitches wanting to rip open, he pulled her other arm around him and felt her cheek rest against his shoulder.

"You have to go back," she repeated.

He shook his head, holding onto her tighter.

"My husband wouldn't let them win," she whispered.

"Jack!" Tony's voice interrupted the music like a scratch on an old record.

"I miss you so much..."

"I miss you too," she admitted reluctantly.

Jack turned around, but Teri was gone and the room was growing brighter, and he closed his eyes against the glare, the music fading into the background. He felt a pressure in, no, on his chest and blinked open his eyes to find Tony trying to bring him back.

A rough palm was against his face and he couldn't decide whether to be relieved his plan worked or disappointed.

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December 2011

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