Disclaimer: Stargate: SG1 and all related items do not belong to me. Only the story and all original characters therein are mine. No copyright infringement intended.
Spoilers: Up to “Ascension”, season 5.
Pairings: Sam/Orlin, Sam/Jack, Daniel/OC, Janet/Evan Lorne
Summary: Fourteen years down the line Sam’s life is rapidly falling apart. In a desperate attempt for answers, Sam finds herself being forced to face the past, but she’s not sure she’ll receive a warm reception from old friends, or that she’ll ever be able to love again.
Word Count: 42,726 words
Dedication: For loriel_eris, because she’s stuck with me since the beginning and loved this story as much as I did.
Notes: I posted the first chapter of this fic way back in March 2003 and I made a lot of headway with it before stopping. I didn’t pick it back up again until the end of 2006. I’ve actually had it finished since sometime in 2007, but after the initial rush to finish it, I didn’t want to so much as look at it again, because I’d read it so many times. Finally, I’ve pulled it out and dusted it off as much as I can. I can’t seem to get the start re-written, so I can only hope you’ll forgive the fact that the writing isn’t exactly my best in the initial stages and will stick with it until the end. It is, after all six years old!
* * *
* * *
She stared at the stone, unable to believe what had transpired, unwilling to believe that it had really happened. She was alone; once more she was on her own in the world. She had her children and she would never stop loving them, but for the first time in thirteen years, she felt completely and utterly alone.
Her life hadn’t been an easy one, but their time together had made everything seem so right that it made all the tough times worth while, because he would always be there for her at the end of it. Now he was gone forever and there was nothing in the world that could change that. Nothing would be the same again.
She reached her hands to cover her face, but there were no tears. All she could feel was the endless sensation of loneliness that encompassed her. All she was left with was the paralysing knowledge that he had left her forever and she didn’t know what to do. She took a few steps towards the hole in the ground, staring as they lowered the wooden box, willing herself to feel something, anything at all, but there was nothing.
The people around her began to leave and still she stood at the edge of his grave, watching as they quickly filled it up taking him away from her forever. Something stirred in her and was quickly silenced as she came to the realisation that she wasn’t ready to feel yet, she wasn’t ready to mourn him, to accept that he was really gone. She looked at his gravestone one last time, before turning to walk away.
She didn’t look back.
* * *
The house was full of people, but it felt so empty without him. Sam glanced around the room and took a moment to compose herself before anyone noticed her. Taking a slow, deep breath, she calmed her thoughts and entered the room, her eyes instantly locating her best friend.
“Hey,” Terri moved towards her and pulled her into a hug. “How’re ya doin’, sweetie?”
“I’m okay, Terri. Where are the kids?”
“The girl’s are out back with Mike. He said somethin’ about showin’ ‘em the finer points of hockey. And since he’s the one teachin’, it might take a while.”
Sam smiled a little, but not even she was convinced with its sincerity. “But they’re okay?”
“To be honest, honey, I really don’ think they understan’ what’s happened.”
“I don’t think any of us do,” Sam said softly and Terri nodded. “Where’s Liam?”
“He’s in his room. Won’t come out and he’s not speakin’ to a soul.”
Sam closed her eyes and took a deep breath before nodding. Terri smiled and moved to intercept a neighbour before they could reach Sam and she was grateful. Moving quickly to the stairs, she made her way to her son’s room, stopping briefly at the door, a faint smile on her face as she looked at the hand made hanging on it that stated it was ‘Liam’s room’. Orlin had made it almost twelve years ago and it had been in the same place from the minute that Sam had brought their son home from the hospital. She smiled as she recalled that it had originally said ‘Laura’s room’, as Orlin had been convinced it would be a girl. He had completely forgotten about it until Sam had laughed. With a quick wave of his hand it had changed as Sam had muttered, “show off”.
There was a crash inside the room and she threw open the door, looking frantically for her son. She stopped as she spotted him sitting on his bed, staring at the broken glass on the floor. On closer inspection she saw that it was the glass from a photo frame. The photo that had sat by his bed since the day it had been developed.
“He’s not coming back.”
“No,” she said, sitting on the bed next to him. “Your father’s not coming back.”
“He said he’d always be here.”
“And he will, he’ll always be in our hearts.”
“You don’t believe that.”
“Yes, I do.”
“No, you don’t!”
Caught off guard by the anger in her son’s voice, Sam turned to look at him in shock. It almost hurt to stare at him. He was the very image of his father, from the sandy hair to the sparkle in his hazel-green eyes, everything about him was the same including the even temperament, which was why this sudden outburst had her so surprised.
“He left us! Why can’t you just admit that makes you mad? He left us and I hate him for it! He promised me he’d always be there to look after you when you got sad and he’s not here anymore! Why can’t you say you’re mad too? Please be mad too.”
Sam sat motionless, watching as her son broke down in front of her and something inside snapped. “I’m mad too, Liam. I’m so mad that he was taken away from us and I hate him for not still being here, I hate him for it, too, honey.” She pulled him into her arms as she felt the sting of tears in the corners of her eyes as she glanced at the floor, staring at the photograph in the shattered frame. He was there, frozen in time with his arms around her and a five year old Liam. He smiled up at her and she felt the walls break. She curled up on her son’s bed holding on to him as they wept.
* * *
Almost two years later
“Sarah! Alice! Hurry up or you’re going to be late for school!” Sam moved quickly around the kitchen, filling up the packed lunch boxes with fruit and a chocolate bar. When the children had first gone back to school, she had started out with just the fruit, but it seemed their father had had the habit of giving them chocolate and there had been an outcry, so she had made a deal. They got the chocolate if they ate the fruit as well.
“Momma, Ali stole my pencils again!”
“Alice, give your sister back her pencils and will the two of you please get a move on? Liam, how’s that homework coming?”
“It’s not here!”
Sighing at the frustration in her son’s voice, she closed the last box and made her way up the stairs to his bedroom. “What do you mean it’s not there? You finished it last night, I watched you put it in your schoolbag.”
“I put it in my schoolbag?” Liam crossed the room and raided through his back, looking back at her a few moments later with a sheepish grin on his face. “Oops.”
Sam rolled her eyes and laughed. “Why do you never think of the most obvious place?”
“Dad always said I got that from you. Lots of brains and no common sense.”
“I have common sense!”
“Too much most of the time and not enough when it counts!”
“Will you stop quoting your father and please come down stairs?”
“Hurry up then.” Sam smiled and ruffled his hair before moving quickly down the hallway as the sounds of an argument drifted towards her.
“Give it back!”
“No, it’s not. Momma and Daddy gave it to me!”
“It’s not your one, it’s mine.”
“Girls! What’s going on?” Sam entered the room and pulled the two apart. “What are you fighting about?”
“That’s my locket!”
“Sarah, honey, can I see the locket?”
Reluctantly, the girl handed over the thin silver chain and Sam turned it over in her hands before giving it back. “Alice, it has an S on it, that’s Sarah’s locket.”
“Then where’s mine?”
“Let’s have a look. Did you have it on when you went to bed last night?”
“I don’t know.”
Hearing the wavering in her daughter’s voice, Sam turned round and almost smiled at the pouting lip that was slowly shaking. “Come here, little one.” Lifting the girl into her arms, she resumed her search of the bed but found nothing.
“Hey, we’ll find it, don’t cry.”
“Liam, I’m not deaf, you don’t have to shout so loud. What is it?”
Liam bounded into the room and smiled at his sisters before walking across the room. “Look what I found, monster.”
“I’m not a monster!” Alice cried.
Liam stuck out his tongue. “Are too! Did you lose this?” He held up a silver chain and she snatched it from his hands.
“My locket!” She squealed and reached out to her brother hugging him.
“Get off!” Liam said with a smile.
Shaking her head, Sam put Alice back on her feet and secured the locket around her neck before fixing Sarah’s. “Now, we’re going to be late, again! Grab your stuff and let's go!”
* * *
“Morning, Isabelle, any messages?”
The young brunette behind the desk smiled cheerfully as she handed Sam a bundle of papers. “Jodie MacFarlane called again. She said you had some information on the Allan project that she needed, but she’ll call you back.”
“I gave her a copy of that file yesterday!”
Isabelle smiled. “I told her that. She lost it.”
Sam smiled ruefully. “That girl would be the next Einstein if she could actually remember where she’d put anything. Any other calls?”
“Yeah, Terri called. She said to remin’ you that you’re s’pposed to take the kids and go to theirs for a barbecue. I also heard Mike in the background, he was yellin’ som’thin’ about prawns.” Isabelle frowned as Sam laughed. “I take it that means somethin’?”
Sam shook her head. “Trust me, Iz, you do not want to know.”
“I’ll take your word for it. There was also a message left on your machine last night, will I patch it through?”
“Yeah, give me a minute to get things settled and I’ll buzz through when I’m ready.”
Sam bent forward to open the door with her elbow, trying desperately not to spill coffee all over her files. When the door budged a little, she kicked it open the rest of the way and almost fell onto her floor. She dropped the files on her desk and moved to the window, opening it a little more than Isabelle had that morning. She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment.
It was a bright day and she wished she was out in it, but it was, unfortunately also a Thursday, which meant that it still wasn’t the weekend and she had to work. Sighing, she moved towards her desk and flopped into her seat, swivelling round to face her desk. She leaned forward and her gaze stopped at the photo of her family. It had been taken the previous February when Orlin had convinced them to go to Europe. The kids had loved it and so had Sam, when she had actually managed to stop thinking that they were being traced by the government somehow. The photograph had been taken at Buckingham Palace by another tourist; she and Orlin were sitting on the ledge of a large fountain, Liam and the twins were sitting on the ground in front of them making funny faces. The photo beside it had been taken the same evening. It was her favourite picture of her and Orlin. She was sitting on his lap and they were laughing; they hadn’t even realised that Liam had been preparing to take a photograph until the flash had gone off.
She reached out and touched his face, tracing the outline of his jaw with her finger. She missed him so much it physically hurt. She still thought about him every day, still wished he was there. She would hear a funny story or see something that made her angry, or happy, or sad and she would go home to tell him and he wasn’t there. Liam or the twins would say something or do something that would make her laugh or make her proud and he wasn’t there to share it with her. She hated being alone.
Her telephone buzzed and she jerked out of her thoughts, tapping the intercom. “Sorry, Izy, I’m ready for that message now.”
“Sure, but your kids' school is on the phone, they wanna to talk to you.”
Panic coursed through her. “Put it through.”
“Sure thing, Annie.”
“Hello?” Sam asked quickly.
“Speaking. Is there something wrong?”
“Well, to be honest, Ms. Walker, I’m not entirely sure what to make of the whole situation. There’s been an…incident. I don’ want to alarm you, but I think you’d best come down to the school straight away.”
“Are my children okay?”
“Your girls are fine and, as far as we can tell, so’s your son.”
“What do you mean, as far as you can tell?”
“Like I said, Ms. Walker, I really think you should come down to the school.”
“I’m on my way.”
There was a click as the conversation ended, but Sam was already on her feet and grabbing her jacket. Making sure she had her keys, she ran from the office.
“Everythin’ okay, Annie?”
“I’m not sure. I have to go. There might be something wrong with Liam.”
“Okay. That gentleman who left you a message last night is on hold at the moment. What will I-“
“Take a message, I’ll call in later for it.”
“Sure thing, Annie. I hope everythin’s all right. You give Liam a hug for me.”
“I will, Isabelle.”
The drive to the school was short; a lot shorter than it would have been had she been paying complete attention to the speed limits. There was a constriction in her chest at the thought of something being wrong with her son and she had to get to him as quickly as possible.
Pulling into a parking space, she quickly turned off the engine and jumped out of the car, barely giving herself the time to lock it before running towards the entrance. She moved quickly through the colourful hallways and reached the reception, instantly pressing the bell for attention.
A plump, elderly woman emerged from behind a glass door and made her way to the desk. “Can I help you?”
“Ms. Annie Walker, I’m here to see Mrs. Connor.”
“One moment please.” She picked up the telephone and pressed a button, announcing Sam’s presence and placed the receiver down a moment later. “Mrs. Connor will see you now. Do you want me to show you the way?"
“It’s okay, I know the way.” Sam turned and quickly ran towards the office, knocking loudly on the door the moment she reached it.
Entering the room, she moved instantly to Liam who seemed to be more than a little scared. “Liam, honey, what’s wrong?” When he said nothing, she turned questioningly to Mrs. Connor. The headmistress was a stern looking young woman, but Sam knew her to be very warm hearted. At the moment, however, she seemed a little frightened herself.
“I’m not entirely sure, Annie. It seems that an elder boy was pickin’ on Liam and-”
“Oh, God, honey, are you okay?”
“He’s perfectly fine. Unfortunately, that’s the problem.”
“Excuse me?” Sam stood up, not quite sure she had heard the woman correctly.
“That came out wrong. What I meant was, the boy tried to hit Liam, when I say there was a problem, I mean that his fist didn’ hit Liam."
“And how is that a problem?” Sam asked angrily.
“Because the boy’s fist seemed to go right through Liam’s head.”
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