Shadows in the Forest

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Jack(s)
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:46 pm

hey everybody, here is the next part. Have fun and leave a comment if you like. Would make me happy :)
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“Mum,” with that she was focused on the Colonel’s chest and she tried to get the attention of her mum who was talking to another doctor. “Mum, is that normal?” She was getting inpatient.

“Hold on a second Cassie, you see I am in a conversation with another person. It is rude to interfere.” Janet explained and turned around to her conversation when all the attention shifted by one sentence.

“Mum, his chest is rising, he is breathing on his own!” She was losing herself out of her mother’s grip and was already next to the side of the bed. Taking the large hand in hers, she started to stroke it and was speaking softly to him.

“Cassie, this is probably just the rest of air pressing out of his body. I wish it would be true though.” Janet explained but the other Doctor agreed with the Girl.

“She is right, his chest is going up and down. He is breathing on his own. Very shallow I may add and slow, but he is breathing on his own.” Already attaching the monitors back on to see the hard data on the screen he smiled at Janet and turned his face to the figure he was just astonished by.

“And you Sir, better get back on track now. You’ve been a hell of a fighter and I want to see you winning the race at the end.” With that he left happy that he had to phone the mortuary to let them know what had happened.

Janet struggled to grasp the scenery in front of her. Now she clearly could see his chest falling and rising again. It seemed to get stronger by the minute. As she watched his face, the realisation hit her. His face had changed.

His peaceful pale face had now the grimace as if someone were in pain. She rang his bell and immediately the Doctor came back.

“He needs some more pain medication. He is stressed. His body has to work harder now to support him.” Janet advised and pointed out the deep stress lines which where all written over the Colonel’s face.

“Cassie, are you ok here or would you like to leave?” she addressed her daughter after a while.

“I am fine mum; I will stay with Uncle Jack. He needs to know that someone is here. Someone who loves him.” She smiled and turned back to him

“Ok, I need to make a phone call. I will pick you up after.” With that she left the Colonel`s room and took her mobile phone out.
She had to notify the General and after that she would phone Sam. She knew that both held their breath the whole time and she also knew that the Major would tell Daniel and Teal`c the good news.

As she told the General what had happened, she was sure that he referred to Jack as a son of a b… in a very soft voice. She could literally hear the rocks fall from his heart.

Going back to the hospital room she had a very large smile on her face. From far away she could see Cass standing outside. With a questionable look she greeted her daughter.

“Doctors are in with him and checking him over. You know with his pneumonia stuff going on and all.” She explained in a manner as she knew it all.

“Sure, I was expecting something like this. What do you say, are you feeling like a little celebration tonight? We could have a takeaway and if you like we could invite Daniel and Sam. I believe Teal’c is still on Chulak with his son.” The Doctor smiled and waited patiently for the answer she was sure would come.

“Sounds good! Shall I asked them, or will you do it? What kind of take away would you like mum?” Cassie’s voice was almost flipping over itself.

“You can tell them Cass. I would say we eat Pizza. The Colonel loves Pizza and I think he would be happy for us if we celebrate a bit in his honour.” She stated and unlocked the car they had reached by now.

Cassie texted Sam and told her to come at a specific time for dinner to her mum’s house and that she should not forget Daniel.

Xxx

Fraiser`s House

The doorbell rang and as Cassie opened the front door, her best friends had been standing there grinning in competition.

“Come on in, food should arrive in a few minutes. Mum is in the living room. Make yourself comfortable. Daniel? Sam? What would you guys like to drink?” Cassie was trying very hard to be the perfect host. She was so young and still, this team of human explorers had been there for her when she had needed them the most.

“Just a coke for me, thanks.” Daniel replied and walked over to Janet.

“What you got Cass?” Sam challenged the girl with a smug smile.

“Beer, Jacks favourite brand if I may add; coke, water, white and red wine.” She beamed with excitement.

“I’ll take a beer then. How come you have the Colonel’s beer here?” Sam wondered.

“Mum said we should celebrate his will to live and who doesn’t know that he loves beer and pizza? He always has the same Lager bottles at home when I visit him. Ergo, it must be his favourite beer. I think as a Colonel you earn enough money to buy the stuff you like.” She stated.

“True, I like the idea of having the Colonel’s food here, like he would celebrate with us.” Sam agreed.

Cassie gave her a bottle and got herself a lemonade. The Food arrived shortly afterward and all four sat around the big table laughing and joking all evening. The time was filled with memories of their mutual friend: his innocent behaviour he would have from time to time and his stubbornness; his shy looks sometimes where he looked like a little boy who had done something wrong; his comments he would throw around and his bravery. Everybody had some stories to tell and nobody realised how the time went flying by. They talked till deep into the night and Cassie was ever so happy that her mum not said one word about staying up that late.

Xxx

Colorado Springs, Fort Carson, 5 weeks later

Cassie was sitting next to her friend. She had talked to him over the last few weeks; had decorated his room and read stories to him. Every spare minute she was with him. Over time she had learned how to stimulate his muscles with gentle exercises. The nurses had been very nice and friendly to her and had taken the time to educate her a bit in that field.

“Uncle Jack, I need a break. I will get something to drink and be back in a minute. Just do not go anywhere. Otherwise I must activate a search party for you." She chuckled over her own joke and turned toward the door. Out of the corner of her eye she was sure that she saw his right index finger moving.

Turning around she looked at him in disbelief. “Uncle Jack?” she called him and stepped back towards the bed again. She was watching his fingers.

“Uncle Jack? Are you awake?” She called him again and was not sure if she was happy and full of joy or if it scared her. There was his body laying motionless for over a month and suddenly he wakes up? Did his body heal himself enough to allow his owner to regain consciousness?

Cassie had so many questions but first she needed to make sure that what she believed she saw was real and not an image of what she wished to happen.

“Uncle Jack? Can you open your eyes?” she looked at his closed lids and stepped back a bit as those started to flicker. Nearly falling over herself, she tried to grab the bell to notify a nurse. She would know what is happening here.

It did not take long for a nurse to show her face. “Hey Cassie, what is your need?” she asked as she stood in the door

“Not me. It’s him. I think he is waking up! His finger twitched and his eyelids flickered.” She bubbled in excitement.

The nurse came in and stepped closer to the officer’s bed. “Colonel O’Neill?” She took his wrist and checked the pulse. It was correspondent with the heartbeat the monitor showed.

“Colonel O`Neill, can you hear me?” she tried again, looking over to the waiting Girl, who was so full of hope. She did not see any differences in his behaviour…till the heartbeat went faster. She looked at the screen and then at her patient again. It looked like he had more colour in his face than just a minute ago.
“Colonel, it is time to wake up. You’ve slept long enough.” She tried to encourage him to take the final steps.

His eyes begun to flicker again and opened for a split second before the lids shut again. His heartbeat came down and all was back to normal.
Cassie looked at the nurse with a questioned look. “What was that?”

“He is trying to wake up. You were right when you called me for help. It will still take a bit for him to come around and break through the fog around his brain. His body seemed to be ready now after the trauma and ordeal he had to take. Press the bell again when he is awake and has opened his eyes. This might take another hour or even longer. That’s up to him.” She smiled and left the room.

Cassie sat herself down again, forgotten was her thirst and she was determined to help the Colonel to wake up. She watched him like a hawk and every time he was stirring a bit, she was there to tell him that he was not alone, that he had friends he could count on and after a while, which seemed for Cassie a very long time, his brown eyes showed themselves.

He was staring at the ceiling and when Cassie talked to him, he was not taking any notice of her. Cassie pressed the bell again as she was told and took his hand in hers.

“It’s good that you are awake now Uncle Jack.” She bit herself as she wanted to tell him how worried everyone was but was sure that this was the last thing he wanted to hear. “Now my one-sided conversation is not as boring anymore.” She smiled.

As a Nurse came in with a Doctor she left. She knew every time someone came, she had to leave due to privacy reasons. But now she was happy to leave as she would phone her mum and Sam and they both would notify the rest.

“Mum, mum he is awake. He opened his eyes and his finger moved. He seems that he is not really responding when I spoke to him, but he is awake. You coming to the hospital?” She spoke so fast that Janet hat trouble following her.

“Slow down. This is very good news and I am glad that he is awake. I will come to you in a short while. If possible, I will bring Sam with me. That should encourage him further. Take care my darling.” After giving her daughter a kiss through the phone she hung up. Far too important had been the news she had just received.

Cassie walked back to Jack’s room and waited. By the time she was allowed back in he had his eyes closed again and appeared to be sleeping.
The girl sat herself next to his bed and watched the sleeping man. The feeling she had now was far more positive than it was before, and she was sure he would beat the odds.

Xxx

SGC, Infirmary

Janet Fraiser just received the news she was waiting for so long. She cheered in her office after she ended the call and was dancing. Her favourite patient managed to tick off another milestone on the long road to full recovery.

Her staff smiled and smiled even more as everybody received the good news. Janet hat realised on the behaviour of the staff, the SGC was not the same without the Colonel. He made this place so much more alive. It was time for him to come back.

Like walking on air, it did not take her long for her to make it to the General’s office. Apart from her medical staff no one so far knew the news. She could hardly wait to tell him.

She knew how close this both men where. Like father and son. She knocked on the door and waited patiently till the call came.

“General, Sir.”

“What can I do for you Doctor?”

“Permission to leave the base early and go to the hospital to visit Colonel O`Neill.” Janet struggled to keep a straight face.

“Why? Has anything happened to the Colonel?” for the first time he looked up from his paperwork.

“Well, one can say that. He is on the way to coming around and waking up. Sir, he is coming out of his coma!” Janet smiled and waited till the news reached the Generals braincells.

“Permission granted but under one condition.” He smiled at her from one ear to the next.

“Sir?”

“Tell him greetings from me. I will see if I can visit him in the next few days. Dismissed.” With that he bowed his head again and started on his last file on his desk. The paperwork seemed never to get less. So many permits for everything, it was just getting ridiculous.

“With pleasure, Sir.” Janet left the office and made her way to Major Carters Lab. Knocking on the door, she walked right in and told her friend the news as well.

“I am in the middle of a very important thing. I will ask the General if I can come with you. Otherwise my shift is finished around 6 tonight.” Sam stated

“That’s fine, you can come later.” The doctor smiled and left for the elevator which would bring her to the top of the mountain

Xxx

Colorado Springs, Fort Carson

Cassie was dozing off herself as the door opened and her mother stepped into the room.

“Hey darling. How is the Colonel doing?”

“Hey mum, he is sleeping again. The Doctor said that it is normal when a coma patient wakes up but his moments to be awake will be longer each day and he will start to respond as well to his surroundings. I hope the Doctor is right.” Cassie beamed.

Janet looked at the peaceful figure in his bed. The white bandage from his head came off last week and a nurse had given him every day a shave, so he always looked presentable.

The heard monitor painted the line in a near perfect innuendo as Janet saw the right index finger twitching.

“Mum, look. It happened again. That was what I saw earlier and then his eyes flickered. Eventually he had opened them but did not react to my voice whatsoever. I asked the Doctor about it and he said it is normal, that he needs time to come around. He also said that it is too early to make any predictions about his wellbeing.” It just gushed out of her.

“That is right, he can have all the time he needs so long as he comes around and his health improves to normal or near normal. So, it will take time and patience, love, and friendship to get through this.

“Hello Colonel” Janet greeted him after he had managed to open his eyes again.

This time he was moving them, and it seemed he wanted to know where he was. Janet stepped into his vision field and smiled at him. Putting a hand on his arm she started to explain where he was. Following her voice, Jacks eyes locked with hers and stayed there.

Jack managed to stay awake for a few minutes this time before he fell asleep again. For Janet it was the most wonderful joyful moment in the last few weeks.

“You will see, Cassie. Tomorrow he will manage to stay awake even longer. It is important to give him time. His brain needs to adjust to the new environment and get around what had happened.” She smiled at her daughter and sat on the other chair in the room.

Xxx

SGC, Carters Lab

Sam was not able to concentrate anymore after her friend paid her a visit. The news about her CO gave her butterflies in her stomach area like a teenager fresh in love. She checked the time and realised that only ten minuets had passed since she was gone. Packing everything up she decided to go to the General and ask for early leave today so she could get to the hospital herself.

She knocked on the door and waited, tip toeing around till the call came for her to enter the room.

“Major, what can I do for you?” the General asked her innocently.

“General, I am sure you have heard the news about Colonel O`Neill. I came to ask for permission to take some early leave today to visit him.” She smiled shyly.

“What took you so long?”

“Sir?”

“What took you so long Major?”

“I don’t follow”

“Doctor Fraiser was here about 15 minutes ago. I was sure you would come with that question immediately after. So, what took you so long?” His face twisted into a broad grin.

“Sir, I was trying to finish work on an artifact, one that an SG team had brought back last week but I realised that my concentration was off after I heard the news. I was trying to stay professional, but I had no success in that matter,” she stated.

“Permission granted. Get yourself out of here and take whoever wants to go with you. This is great news and I do not want to be disturbed by a certain archaeologist in the next few minutes with the same question. Dismissed.” He smiled understandingly knowing how close his flagship team were.

“Thank you, Sir.” With that, she left his office and went directly to her teammate.

Xxx

“Daniel, you want to come?” Sam did not even say hello. She did not want to lose more time than she already did and waited impatiently for her friend to get his nose out of his books.

“Huh?”

“Daniel, I am going to the hospital. You want to join? The General had already given permission for you to tag along. So no more disturbing the man.” She smiled and explained the obvious.

“Yeah, give me a minute. I need to finish something first.” He did not even check with Sam if this was ok but realised the nervous impatience as soon as he heard her foot tapping.

“Sam, you are not helping.”

“Do not want to. Hurry up or I go without you.”

“Jeez, you’re already like Jack.”

“Meaning?”

“Never mind, let’s go.”

He grabbed his jacket which was hanging on the door and locked his office behind him. Sam was already on the way to the lift. It would take a while for the car to come and by the time Daniel arrived, the lift was there as well.

Xxx

Arriving at the Hospital carpark, Sam had found a parking space straight away. She knew from previous visits that this was highly unusual.
They went directly to the room of their friend and knocked softly on the door before entering. Janet sat with Cassie next to the bed and both had a nice conversation. Turning their heads to see who was coming, Janet waved her hand to signal them both to come in.

“Hey, did not realise you were coming so soon. What happened to the worktime till 6 pm?” she smiled good knowing the answer already.

“Did not work. How is he doing?” Sam confessed,

“He was awake a few minutes ago. Still trouble to stay focused but he was longer awake than the time before according to Cass. I am sure he will wake up again, just stick around. We can organize another two chairs. Should not be that hard.” The Doctor smiled at her friends.

“So, he is definitely coming around? Meaning out of the coma? Back to land of the living?” Daniel wanted to have this cleared up before he got himself all excited.

“Now who sounds like Jack, huh?” Sam questioned him in a mock state of indignance. “But Yes Daniel, exactly that’s what it means. It took him long enough.”

While there had been chatting, Cassie watched her friend in bed closely and as his eyes opened again, she notified the chatterboxes behind her.

“Eyes open again.”

The same second it was quiet in the room. Sam had stopped speaking the word itself and now the so to speak pin could have dropped.

“Colonel, hello again. You remember me?” Janet gone into his vison field again and waited till his eyes locked on her face. This time she did not have to wait as long as she had before which she took as a good sign. He was well on the way to recovering.

“Sir, I’ve got someone who would like to see you.” She smiled and pushed Sam into his vision field.

“But only for a short time. He is not fully aware now and we don’t want his brain to overreact and shut down the body again.” She whispered to Sam; a nod signalled her that the Major had understood.

“Hello, sleepy head. It’s me Carter. I am glad that you finally decided to join our little group again. It was kinda lonely without you. But for now, it is enough to know that you are awake again. I hope you get better over the next few days.

She could have sworn that the Colonel gave her a smile while listening to her words. Those brown eyes looked at her and spread a nice fluffy feeling through her body.

“Have another good rest. Sir. I will pop in tomorrow and see how you are doing.” She lightly squeezed his arm and gave him one of her lovely smiles she only had reserved for him.

Turning around she announced that she would wait outside, giving Daniel the opportunity to have a quick say to his friend.

“Hey Jack, I am glad that you are awake now. You should have seen Sam. She was so worried about you. But anyway, just get back to your normal self and all is fine.” He waved a quick goodbye to his friend and left like Sam leaving only the Doctor and Cassie in the room.

Sam was waiting in the hallway outside her CO`s room. Looking out the window at some birds who were chasing each other and wiping a single tear away she turned around as she heard the door open. Daniel was standing in front of her and spread out his arms.

“Come here Sam,” he said softly and took her in a tight embrace as she took his offer.

“He looks so fragile in there. That is not the strong Colonel we know. That scares me.” She sobbed into his shoulder.

“Sam, look. He is strong as ever and he will get back on track. When he is back, he will annoy the hell out of us again, break stuff in our labs and tell crappy jokes. So, my advice is, enjoy the time you have right now and make the most out of it. He will be back sooner than you think. All he needs is a spark to light his spirit again. When he has that spark, there is no stopping him. He is way too stubborn. Give him that spark Sam. You will see what happens after that.” Daniel rubbed his hand in circles on Sam`s back and tried to soothe her as much as he could.

Janet left the room now as well with her daughter in tow. “Hey, it’s overwhelming isn’t it?” she stepped closer to her friends.

“Yes, I have seen him before in a hospital and many times in the infirmary, but he looks different today. His eyes are sunken in and his cheekbones protrude more than usual. I think the interesting part will be, how will he cope with the recovery and therapy. Was it not said his vertebras has been bruised? I am sure they are not right yet, and he will need some help. That will be frustrating for him and we need to be there for him. He needs to gain weight.” Sam realised that she had lost herself and stopped, took a deep breath and wiped her face.

“He will be ok. It’s Jack we are talking about. The devil does not even want him because he is too much trouble. He is still here. We will all help him,” Daniel stated and continued with an idea he had. “Who wants ice cream?”

He looked around at the small group, but no reaction came from the three pair of eyes. “I know a very good one. Called Baskin Robbins Ice Cream and I am buying.” He tried to lure them out.

“Ok, me then,” Sam smiled.

“Count me in as well,” Janet stated and Cassie nodded too fast with her head that Daniel was scared it would fall off in the next second or so.

All four of them laughed and started to walk out of the hospital. Tomorrow they would be back and the day after and the day after.

Xxx

Border between Montana and Wyoming

An old rusty car was driving along on highway 89 and for the drivers the sign for the state border was already in sight. Some country music was playing out of the radio.

“Another five miles and we are in Montana.”

“Sounds good, but we need to take a break as well soon. I need to go for a little Joe`s,” the man on the passenger seat declared.

“Hold it till we are over the border.” The driver looked grim out of the windscreen window.

He could hear a siren behind him and looked in the back mirror. Three black cars with the red and blue lights came closer fast. With this old car, there would be no escape. He did the only thing that would make sense to him. He pulled over and waited.

Not ten seconds later and both men had been surrounded by the state troopers. One of them had told them to present their driver’s license and the registration papers of the car. The others had been standing by with guns ready to draw.

The speaker took the papers and had gone back to his car to get it checked over. As he came back, he signalled his colleagues that they had found what they had been looking for.

“Step out of the car with your hands so I can see them. Driver first.” He shouted and all six weapons were trained on the driver. If he would play stupid, he would be dead in the same second. Nobody wanted that and everybody tried to stay as calm as possible. Luke opened the door and stepped out with his hands held up high.

“On your knees, hands behind the head,” came the next command which he complied with in an instant.

Another Officer stepped out and laid handcuffs on the driver, helped him up and guided him to one of the trooper cars. Then the same procedure happened to the man in the passenger seat. He was taken to a different trooper car.

The state trooper in charge of this little mission radioed to his head office that they had taken the two men sought with vigilance.
The convoy of four cars turned around and made their way back to the head office in Cheyenne. By the time they would reach the destination, the state troopers of Colorado would be already informed of the catch they had made.
------------------------
TBC

hope you all liked it next part will come some day early next week. stay safe every one
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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tvero80
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by tvero80 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:50 pm

:D I'm relieved ! Thank you , Jacky !! Great chapter ! :)
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Veronica LAKings

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Jack(s)
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Fri Jul 24, 2020 8:48 pm

thaaaaaanks V. 😀
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by bftlovesRDA » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:43 pm

Yay! Yippee! Woohoo! GREAT chapter! And the Colonel is breathing on his own and is waking up! Good news for sure!

Many thanks for your efforts and for posting this great section today! Looking so forward to more!
B

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Jack(s)
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:13 am

thaaanks B 😁
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Monika » Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:59 pm

Jacky,
Great in every way. :D :D :D :D
Look forward to more.

From Monika with love
"As long as I always think of you and wish me somethings which I think is unattainable, there is no reason to be hurt by others."

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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Sun Jul 26, 2020 1:03 am

Daaaaaaanke Monika 😁
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:47 pm

next part comes a bit earlier due to me not having time to post the next two days. hope you enjoy this chapter like you enjoyed the rest so far...
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Xxx

SGC, Hammonds office, 9 hours later

The phone rung and the General picked it up. His mood was not the best at the moment as he sat all day doing his paperwork. Every time he was sure he was finished, his aide brought him some more. He hoped that whoever was on the other side of the connections had a good reason to disturb him at this time of the night.

“Hammond,” he barked into the receiver.

“General Hammond, this is Officer Blake from the state troopers Colorado, headquarters in Lakewood.” He cleared his throat and gave his interlocutor time to get his thoughts together.

“Officer Blake, what can I do for you?” Hammond switched his tone.

“I would like to have the honour to inform you that we have the two fugitives in custody who did something to one of your men. My men are bringing them in as we speak.”

“Thank you, Officer Blake, that is indeed wonderful news. If possible, just keep me posted about how it goes further in the framework that should allow it for you.” He smiled to himself. Who had thought that he would have gotten such good news at this time of the night?

“You are very welcome, General, and I hope your man is ok.” With that he hung up. Work waited for him and he had a ton of paperwork to do before his new guests would arrive.

Hammond stared at the phone and with a sudden outburst screamed a “yeeha”. At the same time, he put his fists in the air. He felt so good. Two less scumbags on the loose.

His aide knocked on the door and came in without waiting. With big eyes he stood there in the middle of the office floor.

“General? Are you ok? Do you need any help?”

“No thank you Airman. All is good. I just had a phone call with good news.” He smiled at the young officer and watched him leave.

Now it was definitely time to go home and have a good rest. His watch showed him that it was way after midnight, and he would be here again in around six hours.

At this time, it was just the health of the Colonel left to be sorted out and his world would be fine again.

Xxx

Colorado Springs, Fort Carson

The next morning brought sunlight. The warm beams invited the birds for an early sing along. The hospital staff had been busy, and the morning visit was in full swing. This morning, Jack was awake and looked at the ceiling. As his door opened and a team full of Doctors entered, he looked confused.

“Good morning, Colonel O`Neill. I heard that you finally have decided to join us. It is nice to finally meet you in person now that you are awake.” He smiled and Jack focused on the speaking man in the white coat. His brain was not as fuzzy today as it was yesterday and the focus seemed to work better as well.

The Colonel tried to reply but apart from lip movement, nothing happened. No sound wanted to come out and he started to panic already.

“Colonel, calm yourself down. This is perfectly normal. Give yourself some time and you will see. Everything will come back. That`s it, slow your breathing; there is no need for you to panic. You are in very good hands. When you are feeling better, say tomorrow, I will fill you in with what we know happened when you were brought here. Your friends will be happy as well. You had visitors every day. Especially a teenage girl. She was very helpful to my staff. Is she your daughter?” the Doctor explained and out of habit he asked Jack a question he was not able to answer verbally.

He just moved his head slightly to the left and right and hoped the Doctor would understand. He was tired already and wanted to sleep. When would they leave? His eyes started to droop, and he just heard out of the distance how the team of doctors said their goodbyes.

The darkness welcomed him. In here he was free. No pain and nobody who wanted something of him. No harm and no torture. The darkness was his friend.

The morning had come and gone. He dozed on and off and felt relatively fresh in the afternoon. He looked at the door and was waiting to get some visitors but so far nobody dropped in. He began to get bored. Trying to remember what happened left a black hole in his head. The more he tried to remember the bigger the blackness became.

He had to wait till someone would fill him in. He wanted to know where he was as he did not recognise anything in here. Not the room, nurses who
came in occasionally or the Doctors he saw this morning.

He wanted to know what happened, how long he was here already and a lot more. He had so many questions and no answers to them. He remembered the trip he had planned with Cassie. It was all carefully planned out. Then it had gone south. But he could not remember what happened next. He tried to move and was not able to. His back hurt and he had nearly no feeling in his legs.

Looking down at them, he managed to move his right hand onto his thigh. He barely registered a feeling. So, he started to gently poke himself and after a while he started with scratching. All sensations had been there but very far away. What was going on?

He let his arm slide off his leg and took a deep breath, releasing it very slowly. He would have to wait till someone was coming to explain to him what the hell was going on.

Closing his eyes again, he welcomed his friend the darkness.

Xxx

Early afternoon, Cassie’s School

The hours ran through the whole morning and soon it was time for Cassie to go to her daily visit. She was looking forward to it all morning and now with her Uncle Jack coming around it was even better. They could talk and laugh, and they could do silly things. She was so excited. Over the last couple of weeks, she had spent no time with her friends after school at all. She had a far more important matter at hand.

Her school was not so far away from the hospital and she used to run all the way just to speed up the waiting time she could see her favourite person on this planet. She loved all of them but with Jack it was different. They both had a bond she would and could not describe to another person.
She was sure that her mum would come after work, probably with Sam so she would get a taxi home. Running past a toy store she popped in and checked out the latest soft toys. She found a dog which looked like a white, black, and grey Australian shepherd. Counting her money, she was already looking forward to his face. Everybody knew how much Jack loved dogs and silently she was hoping to cheer him up a bit.

Making good progress, she was standing, heavy breathing, a few minutes later in front of his door. Knocking softly, she opened it and peeked in it. His eyes had been open, and he was looking at the ceiling again.

“Hey Uncle Jack.” She came in and greeted him cheerfully. Making herself comfortable she looked at him. His response was still slow but better than yesterday. His head rolled to the side and he was looking at her.

“How is it going? Nice to see you awake.” She bubbled excited. Giving him a minute to clear his mind she could see how he worked on it to focus on her.

“Wat…” he managed to bring out. His throat was so dry that it felt like sandpaper.

“Uh, hold on. I do not know if I can give you some. Just wait a second, I will ask.” With that she was gone.

Coming back a couple of minutes later she had a beaker with a straw in her hands. Smiling over her whole face she carried her belongings like a little treasure.

“They said you can have water but very carefully. So, we do this very carefully.” She placed the straw in his mouth with a lot of caution. He sucked on it and grimaced as the cool liquate touched his throat. The first few sips had been extremely painful but after a while it had become easier.

The straw always came and vanished. The Teenager made sure he would not be to greedy. Even he knew that he had to be careful, his mind was just not there yet. So, controlling it was very difficult.

Cassie took the beaker away after it was half empty. “The rest you will get later. Your stomach needs to get used to it first again so no rushing at all.” She announced with a cheeky smile and added “I hope that feels better.”

Jack smiled at her and nodded slightly with his head. “What happ..” he swallowed “…ened?” he asked softly.

“Uncle Jack, I am not sure that I am the right person to tell you. Can we not just wait till mum comes later? Maybe you would get upset or anything could happen.” She declared.

“K” he nodded and closed his eyes. His back was killing him, and he wished someone would help him.

“Are you in pain?” Cass knew his expressions quite well by now. “I will go and get someone who can help you.” Without waiting she was already gone.

A few minutes later she came back with a nurse in tow. She explained already why she wanted her to help her friend and as the Nurse came in, she asked the Colonel gently where it hurt.

“Back, … kill me” he pressed out

“Is it your Back that is hurting?” She wanted to make sure she got him right.

A nod on his account confirmed it and she pressed the bell. Soon one of her colleagues came and helped her to tip the Colonel on to the right side, pushing some soft cushions behind him and careful not to mess up the flow from the IV lines.

“How is that? It should help you to ease your pain. I will tell a Doctor to come by and explain what happened to you and why you are experiencing your back pain. Would be this ok with you Sir?” the Nurse smiled and after he nodded with thanks, she left the pair alone.

“Uncle Jack, you want to sleep?” Cassie asked, still holding the plush dog in her hands

“No, tell me…” he coughed and grimaced at the crappy feeling his body was sending him. “Tell me from school.l”

“Oki, today we had sports day and all different exercises…” she explained with her hands and showed him with her whole body, using the space they had in his room and what she had to do. He followed her the whole time and tried to concentrate on what she was saying. After about half an hour he was exhausted and fell asleep.

Cassie had realised it, stopped and placed the dog in his bed and left his room. It was time for a little break herself. Entertaining an adult could be very challenging. She was just happy that he would get better. She sat outside the cafeteria and enjoyed an ice cream she had bought for herself watching the little birds fighting over a little piece of waffles. Life could be so innocent and wonderful.

Xxx

SGC, Carters Lab

Major Carter had achieved a lot in a whole day’s work. The evening was here and by now it was time to wrap everything up and see how her CO was doing. She wished he would be here in the infirmary. It would be so much easier to visit him in between. But it was as it was, and she was sure he would come bac to lead SG1 through the stargate again and kick some Goa'uld ass.

On her way out she was checking in with Janet, who had an emergency on her hand. One of the SG teams came under fire and the result showed in lots of burn and shot wounds. Janet had asked Sam earlier that day if she could take care of Cassie again and the Major had acknowledged this with
no problem.

She did not mind at all to take care of her friend’s daughter and right now she knew anyway where to find her.

It took about 20 minutes for her to reach the hospital. Her spirit was cheerful, and she was curious how the Colonel was today.
Knocking on the door, she entered quietly not knowing what to expect. She saw how her CO was laying a bit to one side, smiling, and listening to the girl in front of him. Sam stepped in and took her seat next to Cassie who had stopped her animated talk now.

“Hi Sir, how are you doing today?” she smiled as she realised how much his focusing had improved since yesterday.

“Good,” he whispered.

“Hey Sam” cassie grinned at her friend and was looking around. “Where is mum?”

“She had an emergency at work, you have to stay with me tonight again. Hope that’s ok,” she smiled, knowing that the teen loved staying with her.

“What emergency?” Jack asked softly.

“One of the SG teams had a rumble with an unfriendly species on another planet.” Carter explained. She knew that her CO wanted to be kept in the loop. There was no tiptoeing around it.

“Sam, Uncle Jack had asked earlier questions I did not want to answer without consulting one of you older ones.” She smiled in his direction and got a faint smile back “How much would you like to tell him?”

Sam thought about it before asking her commanding Officer and friend. “Sir, I can answer some questions and I know that I don’t have to sugar coat it for you. Are you up to the truth or shall we wait till tomorrow?” She waited till she got a reaction from him.

Jack was tired but he also wanted to know what was going on. He tried to push his weakness to the side and nodded in agreement to listen to her.

“Well, where do we start.” She took a deep breath and exhaled it slowly “What do you remember?”

“Having a trip with Cass.”

“You remember two bad guys?”

“No.”

“Ok, so right from the start then, Cass, you have to help me a bit here and fill in some stuff.” Sam requested of the teen who was ever so happy to help her friend.

About an hour later, the Colonel was filled in with the concern of what had happened. Now he needed to speak to a Doctor to clarify the extent of his injuries. So far, he had not seen one for the rest of the day.

“I think we should go, Colonel. You look tired and I think Cassie was here long enough for the day. Have a good rest and we will see you tomorrow.”

She got up, signalled Cassie to do the same, grabbed her belongings and walked towards the door. As she turned around, she realised that he was already sleeping…with his new toy dog at the side.

“Where does the dog come from Cassie?” Sam wondered while walking to the car.

“I bought it for him, so he has a companion when we are not with him. He loves dogs, right?” the girl explained her train of thoughts.

“Yes, he does. I am sure he loved your present.” The Major smiled in return.

Xxx

Colorado Springs, Fort Carson

Jack had a good night’s sleep and after the morning visit from his Doctor team he was a bit wiser about his injuries. The bottom line for him was, if he puts a lot of effort in, he will walk again. If not, he can end up in a wheelchair and this option was not going to be the outcome at the end of the tunnel.

No, he would show all what it means to be Colonel Jack O`Neill, Officer in the United States Air Force. He was proud of what he had achieved so far and was curious about where his future would lead him. But all in good time. Not that he had the most patience anyway, but he had to find it somewhere. The Doctor had explained to him that it will take time. So, no need to get frustrated over it.

He felt so good today. He wished someone would come and spent time with him. That is when he found the plush dog. Taking it in his hand, he turned it around and started playing with the toy. He let him talk and answered him back. He wondered briefly where it had come from as he could not remember anything on that matter.

He could remember the conversation with Carter the day before. She had told him what had happened, and Cassie had told him as well that he is a hero and had saved her life on more than one occasion. He never felt like a hero. He just had done what other people would have done as well. At least so he was hoping.

Xxx

Carter`s Home

The table was set, and the food was on it. Cassie wanted spaghetti with meatballs and lots of cheese. Now she sat at the table with the dish in front of her. Eyes so big, for Sam it looked like they would fall out any minute.

“So how is school going Cass?” Sam ask casually while eating.

“Oh good, I just had a test in chemistry and biology. So, I hope I have done well. Math is next week,” she answered while stuffing her mouth with a fork full of spaghetti.

“You need help in any way, or you got it covered?”

“I am good. We’ve got a good teacher.”

“That’s good to know. Good teachers are very rare these days.”

“If you say so.”

Silence crept across the room. Just the noise from the cutlery on the plate was noticeable.

Xxx

Colorado Springs, Fort Carson

Jack was laying on his back and stared at the ceiling above him. Lots of thoughts had been coming and going through his head. So far, he did not have any memory about what had happened and right now he was not even sure he wanted to remember. From what he had learned of Cassie and
Sam, this adventure, he easily would have skipped over it if he had known before.

The painkillers still had done their job, and he felt just fine. He remembered back to when the nurse came earlier and announced to him that from tomorrow on they would start on a solid diet again. First just food easy on the stomach and after a week going completely back to normal. He was looking forward to the chewing part. He wanted to taste again.

Looking at his dog, he smiled. His suspicion had gone to Cassie and when she would come the next day, he would have to ask her if she knew anything about his little buddy. Looking and turning the toy around he was thinking about a name.

He had Zoe and Andy. Cassie would have to decide which one of them would go for the dog. He checked his watch and realised it was way after
22.00. Time for him to sleep.

With a bit of a struggle he moved himself in a more comfortable position. His mattress would do the rest. Oh, how glad he would be when the time comes, and he could get a normal mattress again; but he did understand the fact of the pressure preventing mattress.

Xxx

The next morning came for Jack earlier than he wanted it to have come. Having a restless night, he was tired when the Doctors came in, like every morning. The Chief medical doctor had come in and was standing now with the clipboard at the end of his bed.

“Colonel O`Neill. How are we this morning?” he smiled.

“Doc, I am not at work. Jack will do me just fine.” He muttered under his breath.

“Ok then Jack, how are you this morning?”

“Just peachy.”

“Any concerns on your Part?”

“Got some needles in my legs.”

“I bet you have, as I explained before. You’ve got a severe form of bruised vertebrae. The blood flow in your legs is still not at its best. As you may know when your limbs fall asleep, they have a feeling of needles when they wake up. This is happening to your legs. It will just take a lot longer. The
exercises the therapist can do with you will, hopefully, speed up this progress a bit. You need to get on your legs as soon as possible and try to walk again.” The doctor explained.

“How long?” Jack looked at him and then at his legs.

“This depends on your will to achieve. Slight bruising takes about six to eight weeks. In your case it can take up to six months. You will have to wear a back brace as well to support your lower spine area. A specialist will come and take your measurements to get the right aid for you.”

“Six months?” Jack looked at him and bit his tongue to not say anything out in frustration.

“That’s the cautious prognosis with your injury at the current time. Jack, you must be patient. It always takes longer to build and rebuild then to destroy. You should know this. So, give your body the time it needs.” The Doctor cleared his throat. “Any other concerns you might have so far?”

“None, thanks for ya time Doc.”

“Any time. I wish you a god day. We will see you tomorrow morning.” With that he turned to leave the room.

Jack waited till all the white coats had left his room. Closing his eyes, he felt helpless. One of his windows were always open and he listened to the birds singing their morning song. What he would give to go outside, smell and breathe the fresh air, see the trees and the sun, the sky, and the clouds. Feel the fresh air on his skin.

Opening his eyes again, he looked around his room seeing flowers, wellbeing cards and balloons. His room was typically decorated in the style of a hospital room. He sighed deeply wishing it were already afternoon and Cassie or Sam would come. He would even take Janet to talk to, so long as he had someone to sit with him. He was bored. And Jack being bored was never a good idea.

A couple of minutes later a nurse came in. Feeling interrupted in his moody state, he glared at her.

“Morning Sir,” she smiled, ignoring the look she just got off him.

“Morning,” he grumbled.

“Sir, I am here with one of our technicians. The Doctor told me that you are not in need of all the monitors anymore. In the last couple of days, you already improved and there is no need for you to be more monitored.” She smiled while giving the Colonel the update.

“Sweet,” was his only response.
It did not take long to get all the monitors detached and out of the room. Jack was sure he would be moved from the ICU station in the next few days, maybe even today.

“Sir, I am also here to get your breakfast order. Your note says it has to be a light diet, so no bacon this morning.” She smiled again while taking her clipboard and a pen.

“No bacon then, hmm. What’s with sausages?” he grinned.

“No sir,” the nurse laughed. “You can have tender meats, such as fish, pork, beef, and poultry, tofu, broth, smooth nut butters, eggs, for lunch thoroughly cooked skinless, seedless vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, and carrots, plant-based milk alternatives, such as almond milk, walnut milk, flax milk, and coconut milk, fruit juices, puddings and custard, refined grains, such as rice, white bread, Cream of Wheat, and pasta, dairy, weak black tea, green tea, and some herbal teas.”

“And there I was thinking you never take a breath.” Jack answered in relief as the young nurse was finished.

“Sorry Sir, this was maybe a bit too fast. Would you like me to repeat it slower for you?” slightly blushing she offered.

“No, it’s ok. I take some eggs if this is ok.”

“Would you like a slice of plain toast with it?”

“Just one slice. You are coming back later for the lunch or do I have to make up my mind right now?” Jack had gotten tired and just wanted to be alone.

“It’s up to you. If you like I can come back. In case you would like to think about it.”

“If this is not too much trouble then yes.”

“Sure thing, I will come back later.” She turned around and left his room quietly.
Not even waiting till the door was closed he shut his eyes and drifted off wondering briefly why he was always so tired when he was in a hospital or the infirmary.

Xxx

SGC, Carters Lab

Daniel strolled in and waited silently at the door till his friend was finished with the documentation she just scribbled on a note pad.

“Morning Daniel” Sam smiled after looking up and checking on her visitor

“Morning Sam” he came a bit closer “Anything new on Jack? How was he yesterday when you had been visiting him?”

“He seemed ok. Tired. Not grumpy yet but give him time it will come. He still had his monitors and IV attached to him. Cassie and I filled him in in the past events. He claimed that he could not remember a thing.” She stated.

“Hmmm, from what I have heard. No wonder. His body was severely abused by those maniacs.” He started wrapping his arms around himself.

“No, its no wonder. I just wish he would stay out of trouble. But then, that’s him. He needs the action I believe.” Sam concluded.

“Jack is a soldier. Maybe not just the action he would miss but he has a strong sense of right and wrong. What I don’t understand is, why did he have a quarrel with those men. He had Cassie with him. Surely, he would not just tell them to f off for nothing. “

“From what I got from Cassie; those guys had not been nice to the waitress. He just wanted to make sure they would leave her alone. And for the other action part, you may be right. I mean he was looking forward to a nice week in nature. He knew it would be nothing around there apart from a teenage girl, the trees of Colorado and the wildlife.”

“Ah, that’s sounds like him. Defending the weak. That’s why we love him.” Daniel looked around as if looking for something.

“Have you lost something?“ the Major asked, puzzled.

“The time, it’s lunchtime and originally I was asking you if you would like to spend your lunch break with a friend.” He grinned in a shy manner.

“We still can do this. I am just about done here anyway.”

“I will wait outside.” With that he left the lab.

Xxx

Colorado Springs, Fort Carson

The morning has come and gone. Jack had enjoyed his light small breakfast. The Doctor this morning had told him that he would be transferred to a different unit as he seemed to be out of the woods after ICU standards. His monitors have been disconnected and apart from the IV drip, he was completely free from machines. Till the time would come to be moved, he would take another nap.

A nurse had been with him earlier and helped him with getting comfortable again. She had washed and shaved him. Put him in a new hospital gown and played for him some of his favourite music.

Closing his eyes, he remembered that he had to speak with Janet and make an apology to her. He had brought Cassie in danger and he would understand if she would not trust him again with her daughter. It sure would hurt him and he would be sad, but the life of the teenager came before his. That was a fact. His friends would always come before him.

He also had to speak to Cassie alone. Last time she was here there was Sam around so he could not have a conversation under four eyes. He needed to be apologetic towards her as well and tell her how proud he was of her. She had done so well for her age and he could have not asked for a better person in his life that he could call friend.

But first he needed sleep. His friends would come soon enough. He just hoped that it would still take a little while. Snuggling up with the dog he closed his eyes and drifted off.

Xxx

Colorado Springs, School

Cassie looked at the big white clock in her classroom. She had already two tests behind her today and now, all she wanted was to go to the hospital and talk to her friend and make his time as short as she was able to.

She had trouble concentrating and listening to the teacher as to what she was saying. Her train of thoughts always went back to her friend. She saw him laugh, smile, looking seriously and she heard him scream. Tears welled up in her eyes when she heard her name.

“Cassandra Fraiser, are you joining in the conversation or would you like to have a written invitation?” She heard the teacher addressing her while the class broke out in a soft chuckle.

“I am sorry Miss Anderson, what was the question again?” Cassie smiled.

“What was your biggest adventure so far?” With an astonished look she watched her student. It was not like Cassie to repeat a question.
Cassie was thinking about the time she had met SG1 and they had saved her from her planet. How Sam have stood by her in that bunker when she woke up in the elevator. She remembered her previous days with the Colonel. That was hardly anything to mention in her class. So, she smiled and replied, “My life is pretty boring. I think the biggest adventure was when a friend of mine gave me my dog as a present.”

“Oh, I bet you have some good stories to tell about what you have experienced with your dog.” She smiled and turned forwards the whole class. “You all have one week to write an essay with a little adventure you have experienced. No longer than 500 words.” She looked at her watch. “Class dismissed.”

Cassie could not wait to get out of there. She had her stuff packed up in seconds and basically ran out of the room. A few minutes later the trusty hospital came into view. She slowed down so she would not be out of breath too much when she came into his room. If Jack was asleep and she breathed very loudly, she might wake him up. That she could not do.

It seemed very busy today and she did not want to trouble anyone as she made the decision to just walk over to his room in the ICU. The door was open, and a nurse was just on it with taking the decorations down and stripping the bed. As she did not hear the girl entering the room, she was close to a heart attack as Cassie started talking to her. Cassie had never met her before when she asked, “Where is he? He was feeling better. I know that.” She struggled to keep calm.

“Where is whom?” The nurse turned around, swallowed a scream, and knocked the plush dog from the nightstand.

“My friend, the Colonel. Where is he? The man who was in that room. Is he ok? Why is the dog not with him?” Cassie started to get impatient and frustrated. Wherever he had gone, they did not take his dog.

“He is ok, calm down. Go to the reception as you should have done at the start and they will tell you where to go.” Explained the nurse, now a bit annoyed herself.

“And what happens to his decorations and the dog?” Cass was curious.

“Goes in the bin. You want the dog?” she asked.

“Yes!” Sad, Cassie grabbed the toy from the nurse’s hand and left the room.

She walked back to the reception desk and waited her turn. The friendly woman knew her already and it did not take long for her to explain to the girl where to go now.

Cassie followed the directions and a short time later; she was standing in front of a large blue door. The numbers told her that it was HF 203. The room she was looking for.

Knocking softly, she opened the door a bit and pushed her head through. She could not see if Jack was asleep or awake. Coming in very quietly, she took a chair and sat herself next to his bed. He still had his cast on his leg, and she was wondering when it would come off.
Interested but not daring to ask she was wondering how his ribs had been healing over the time. She looked down at the dog in her hand and as she looked up, his eyes had been fixed on her.

“Hello, Uncle Jack.” Cassie greeted him a bit startled.

“Hey Cass, you have found me. Good,” he swallowed hard.

“Yep.”

An awkward feeling of silence fell over the room. Cassie had so many questions but did not know where to begin.

“Cass, we need to talk” Jack began after a while.

“Do we?” Cass replied and Jack could hear the sarcasm in her voice.

“Yes, look. You are upset. I can see that and understand.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I just need to tell you something.” he looked at her and took a deep breath, “Cassie, I wanted you to know that all that happened in the last few weeks. I am very sorry. I hope one day you can forgive me. I wanted to tell you that I am so proud of you and I am very grateful that you saved my life.” He paused to see how the teen would take it on board. He just had to get it off his chest, and she could decide afterward if she still wanted to be around him or not.

“From what Sam and you told me, you are my hero, Cass. I would not be around anymore if it were not for you. I promise, I will make it up to you if you like once they let me out of here,” a shy smile crossed his face.

“Listen, you saved my life before and that so many times. If someone here is a hero, then it’s you. And for the record, there is nothing to forgive. I am happy for just the way it is. Apart from the hospital. It would be great if you could come out of here soon.” She smiled and played with the dog she still had in her hand.

“Is there anything you would like to talk about? Maybe something that’s on your mind and you don’t like to talk about it with anyone else?” Jack offered. Even he knew that he himself felt not up to it and he was already tired again. He wanted to make sure the girl was safe and would stay sane.

“Sam offered me the help of a shrink. She said I need the help of a professional as she was not the right person for that kind of thing. If you like we can talk over what happened. I am just not sure this is the right thing to do now. You are still looking weak and tired. You sure you don’t want to wait?” Cassie offered.

“I am sure, Cass. You need to clear your mind. Talking over thing that happened can help. My guess is you did not talk to a professional then, right?”
“Nope.” looking out the window on the other side of the room, she started, “I was scared. It took me ages to not wake up at night and see you falling in my dreams. You screamed. Every single night I had the same dream. The earth gave away and you screamed. Uncle Jack, I do not want you to feel bad. But how do I get this out of my head?” She turned her head back to him and saw a single tear running down his right cheek.

“I am sorry Uncle Jack. Please do not cry. I am sorry, I just should have not talked about it.” She felt stupid now. He was still weak, and she bothered him with her problems.

“Cassie, that’s ok. I am so sorry that you had to experience this. If I could, I would take it back. We would have never gone into this diner and we just would have a good time up the mountains. I wish I knew how to help you. I wish I could take those dreams off you. I wish I could take your burden and make you happy and cheerful again. You are far too young; you need to play and laugh and do stuff that kids do at your age.” He turned his head and looked towards the window now.

“That’s part of growing up. I am happy and cheerful and laugh a lot and now that you are getting better my life will be too.” She smiled at him.

“Thank you!” He closed his eyes before another tear could escape. He had such a good friend. There was no syllable of prejudice to be heard.

Cassie did not know how to react. She waited a few seconds before she stood up, placed the dog next to him in his bed and left the room. A bit of fresh air would do her good. This was not the conversation she wanted to happen today, and she certainly did not want him to be feeling bad. With time, they both will get over it. That she was sure about.
------------------------------------------------
TBC

Next post will come when ever. Need to write it first so may take a little bit...
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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bftlovesRDA
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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by bftlovesRDA » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:12 am

Whenever the next part comes, it will be very welcome!

This part is so good and so well done. Thank you for the effort to write this and to post it.

LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
B

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Re: Shadows in the Forest

Post by Jack(s) » Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:51 am

Thanks B. glad you like it. emotional stuff is not really my strong suit...
"Dogs are my favorite people !!!"
"I've got to have fun or it's not worth it."
RDA

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