I own nothing. Obviously.
Of the things she remembers from her childhood, there are some things she wishes she didn’t. But that would be unfair, because to forget would be to forget him, and the wonderful things that came after, when the sun came back into their lives.
She remembers when things had begun to change. She remembers sitting in the sunlit kitchen, waiting for Charlie to come back with more colouring pencils for their school posters when the shot rang out. She heard her mother screaming and the sound of her father bolting through the front door and upstairs.
She remembers watching her father fall apart when the doctor strode down the antiseptic halls to tell them her brother was dead.
She remembers the day two men in dress blues had come to see her father, or rather, the shell that wore her father’s face. When she and Charlie turned ten, they had been given separate rooms. Charlie had chosen to keep their old room while Dawn got the upstairs guest room. For those strange tearful months, she had been afraid of going into her brother’s room, because that’s where he would be, unspeaking, unmoving, simply staring at the reminders of the boy who was gone.
The boy who had been her other half.
She crouched in the bushes down the side of their house, watching as the car pulled away, as the two men discussed her father and brother. It was horrific, what had happened, but this abrupt and honest outsider’s reaction somehow brought it home, all over again. She hid in her room until that night, when her mother began shouting, and her father came and told her, very softly that he was going away, and that he loved her very, very much.
Afterwards, her mother moved about the house like a shadow. She wouldn’t kiss him goodbye, though Dawn clung to his hand and begged him not to leave.
“I’ve gotta, sweetie.” He smiled for the first time in months, albeit weakly. “They’ve got a mystery for me to look after.”
“Yeah, sweetie, like Scooby.”
This was comforting somehow, an anchor amongst the sudden irrational fear of him leaving – he’d left so many times before – something almost instinctive telling her he wouldn’t be coming back. Maybe it was the look on his face, the way the light outlined him as he walked to the car.
Her mother cried then, and many times after. Dawn had a panic attack about two weeks after he was gone because – based on Sara’s reaction – she thought he had died. She went and stayed with her grandparent for a few days after that. Later, Dawn realized that she wasn’t far wrong. Jack had gone looking for an ending, and Sara had begun to grieve for him.
He was gone for three months, but when he came back…
When he came back it was with a will to live, with clear eyes and her brother’s ghost blown free from his shoulders.
Now, as she wakes from her doze, head lolling and sleep-mussed against her father’s shoulder, she sees Daniel fully asleep in the opposite armchair. Teal’c is kneeling next to the TV, changing DVD’s, and she can hear Sam quietly attempting to make hot chocolate in their kitchen.
Later, she and Sam will share a blanket and sigh and giggle at their favourite chick-flick, and the boys will sit through another late night screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Dawn remembers that things have gotten so much better since she was ten, and that things may always seem darkest before sunrise.AN:
Review, and Merry Christmas.