I've been trying to write this weekend, and it's been slow in coming. A few weeks (months?) ago, ankhsign
wrote some 'five things' fic which she said got her writing going again, so I thought I'd give it a go. She's right, though, it does exactly that. It's not my usual style, but that's okay - I'm writing. Four times Jack didn't leave a man behind, and one time he did
1) Jack was fourteen when the geeky kid, Michael or Mitch or Martin, was goaded enough to come out to the woods with Jack and some of the cool kids and then lost his balance at the edge of Walker’s Gully. It was a fifteen foot drop, with rocks and a creek at the bottom, but the geek somehow managed to only get bruises and twist his ankle so badly the doc told him later he’d need crutches for a month. None of the rest of the gang went down with Jack to help the geek, and some of them thought the whole thing was hilarious, but Jack knew enough to know when he should be responsible. Jack asked Michael or Mitch or Martin if he was okay, then pulled him up, put his arm around Jack’s shoulders and dragged him the long way home through the gully leaving the kid to his silence. Nobody thanked him for it, not even the geek, and Jack didn’t think any more about it until two weeks later when the geek dumped his crutches at the side of the tracks and walked in front of a train.
2) When he was almost seventeen he had a Friday and Saturday night job where he hauled sacks of packages back and forth, back and forth from trucks to trains, a never-ending stream of utterly unimportant deliveries going from big city Chicago to TinyTown Missouri or Tennessee or Ohio. One night Jack was bored and intrigued and reckless, and climbed into one of the dark coaches because he wanted to see what TinyTown actually looked like. Two other guys were already hiding behind stacks of packages when he joined the coach, then another got on at the next stop, and another two stops later. Jack was wondering what the hell had possessed him to even consider doing this when three of the guys started to beat up on the other for being a faggot, and though Jack figured maybe the guy shouldn’t have flaunted it so openly, he still flung the coach door open and shoved the gay guy out into the dark before he jumped out himself. Jack was grounded for a month.
3) In NoName, Iraq, way before the Kuwait thing, Jack’s CO fucked up and got himself and two other men shot dead in the space of twenty seconds. Jack wasn’t the next in line for command of the unit, but Nunez would have had them crawling in circles before he admitted he wasn’t ready and that his own wound would slow them down unmanageably, so Jack whacked him on the back of the head with a rock and took over. Thirty two hours of hiding in ditches, dealing with a pissed off Nunez (who gave in when he realised he had no support or respect at all from the three remaining soldiers), killing patrols silently, learning when to breathe and when not to, and requesting evac on a radio that worked sometimes but mostly didn’t, and Jack didn’t once think of leaving the arrogant prick behind. He lost his promotion that year, but made Captain the next after Nunez had been kicked out for conducting unbecoming.
4) At his thirtieth birthday bash it was after one in the morning and only him, Jones, Wallis and O’Leary were left. Three of them had planned on going in all full of bluster to the drag bar on 23rd and leaving O’Leary there with a ‘date’. Only Jack wasn’t drunk enough not to remember that O’Leary had inclinations he thought he’d managed to keep to himself, so he steered them to the strip club on 19th instead and they all piled into a cab together to go back to base with no secrets spilled that shouldn’t have been.
5) Daniel had told him to go, to leave him, and it was good logic because they were all going to die anyway. And if Jack left now then they might, just might, have time to save the whole planet. Their team of four - now three - with Bratac as an interloper would be responsible for everyone on Earth just going about their business none the wiser, when all Jack wanted to do was sit with Daniel and make his final minutes a little less alone. Instead, Jack touched Daniel’s face one last time and headed towards the rings without him. Because you never left a man behind until you did.