Well-Wishers

Title: Well-Wishers
Author: Christina A.
Fandom: Farscape with a tidbit of Stargate SG-1
Pairing: John/Emily (OFC)
Characters: Jack Crichton, Emily Crichton, with an appearance by Jack O’Neill
Category: AU, Angst, Drama, Original Character
Warning: VERY Angsty!
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I do not own Farscape. O’Bannon and the Hensons do. I do not own Stargate. Cooper et all and MGM do. I did, however, create Emily.
Author’s Note: This is perhaps the most heartwrenching fic I have ever written. For some reason, Emily is a character that does angst and sadness so very well.

Summary: This is the fourth story in the pre-mission series… and a VERY angst filled one.

Well-Wishers
by Christina A.

Well-wishers.

Why the hell were they called ‘well-wishers’ when all they did was hover around and spread heartache?

“We’re so sorry for your loss.”

God above but how she hated those words! She hated them all to the point that if one more person uttered them to her she was going to scream at them. Scream at them to leave her the hell alone.

She didn’t want their ‘well wishes’.

She wanted her husband back. She wanted to run back to that moment in time where she had the power to try to stop him from going on the mission. She wanted to hold him one more time and never let go. She wanted to cling to him, cry, beg, or throw a tantrum. Anything that would make him stay.

He would have been angry with her… enraged to a level that he had never been before. But that would have passed. It would have passed, and she wouldn’t be sitting in her house now surrounded by ‘well-wishers’ who did nothing but watch her when they thought she wasn’t looking. They all just watched her and their eyes didn’t speak of well wishes…

They spoke of pity.

She hated the pity most of all.

Besides, he wasn’t listed as officially dead. What he was listed as was ‘Missing: Presumed Dead’. In Emily’s mind there was a big difference between the two. In her mind, she still held out hope that somehow John would miraculously return.

She had to pause in her hopeful thoughts to play the role of understanding widow as yet another person approached her. ‘Go away,’ she thought even as she let herself be drawn into the person’s embrace. She heard the inevitable words… “I’m so sorry, Emily.” This time they were followed by, “He was such a good man.”

She literally had to bite her tongue to keep herself from screaming at this woman. She felt the pain from it. Somehow, it grounded her. If she was feeling, she was alive. She was alive and more than likely, her husband wasn’t. She felt the ever-persistent pressure build up in her face again and had to fight the urge to cry. She managed a meek “Thank you” and let go of the woman as if her arms were on fire. The ‘well-wisher’ didn’t seem to notice.

She sat back down again on the couch and looked around. This was her house. Since yesterday she’d ceased to consider this place her home. It was a shell. A shell that now only contained the ‘memories’ of his laughter… of his teasing. It held ‘memories’ of happy moments… little arguments… intense making up. It held all these memories so tightly that she literally saw them everywhere she turned. But this wasn’t her home anymore. She was disconnected from it in every way… because that was safe. In being disconnected she didn’t have to come to terms with the fact that John was ‘missing: presumed dead’.

Right now, her house was soaking up new ‘memories’. Only what Emily wanted to do most with these new memories was douse them with gasoline and set the entire wooden structure on fire. She stood abruptly and caught herself just in time before she shouted out everything that she was thinking.

‘Get out of my house!’

‘Leave me alone!’

She turned on her heel to flee. Right now, it was probably the best solution because she wasn’t sure how much longer she was going to be able to control the impulses. Of course, the chest of someone suddenly blocked her route out the back door. “Damnit,” she swore and then looked up into her father’s, John’s father’s, face. “Sorry, Dad. I was just going…”

“Emily, I want you to meet a friend of mine.”

She heard the sadness in Jack’s voice. How selfish was she in thinking that she was dealing in this heartache alone?! She couldn’t run out now. No matter how much she wanted to; she wasn’t going to leave Jack Crichton alone to deal with all these ‘well-wishers’. She let him take her hand and walk her over to his friend. The face looked familiar, but she couldn’t put a name to him.

“Emily, hon, this is my good friend, Colonel Jack O’Neill.”

That name… where had she heard that name before? She reached out her hand like an automaton and said the words that everyone expected to hear. “It’s nice to meet you, Colonel O’Neill.” Of course, she prepped herself to hear his standard response. ‘Nice to meet you, Emily. Wish the circumstances were better.’ It was the typical ‘well-wisher’ response.

What she heard instead was… “Nice isn’t exactly the word I’d use right now. More like it sucks majorly. But if that’s what you wanna use, I’ll play along.”

She was actually more than shocked to hear that. Because he was right, it did suck. But there wasn’t anything she could actually say to it. She merely nodded her head in agreement. It was as if the action, though, caused the pent up tears to spring forth from her eyes. She wiped at them angrily and had to look away from the visage as it portrayed an understanding of the depths that none of the other ‘well-wishers’ could convey.

She felt her father’s arm come around her shoulder and felt the comfort of his chest as it pressed up against her cheek. She’d been holding it in for hours now, refusing to cry in front of the ‘well-wishers’. But the pull of comfort, understanding, and love she felt from the circle of Jack’s embrace caused those infuriating walls to come crumbling down.

She’d let herself believe that she’d cried all the tears she had to cry for John. She’d lied to herself and everyone else who asked her how she was doing and she’d responded, “I’m okay. Thank you.” What she didn’t see was the look of pain in her father’s eyes. What she didn’t hear was the man named Jack O’Neill helping him to take her out the back door. What she didn’t see was the pitying looks of all the ‘well-wishers’ who just knew that it was ‘Only a matter of time until she had a breakdown’.

If she had known the latter, Emily Crichton may have set the house on fire. So it was best that her face was buried in her father’s chest and that the unknown friend (though she swore she remembered him from somewhere) was helping the two of them out the back door and onto the patio.

Her first real sensation, other than the pain in her chest from the gut wrenching sobs, was that the bench she was sitting on was cool. The air outside was cool. It was unusually cool weather to be having in Florida. Her second sensation was the feel of wetness on the top of her head. It actually caused her scalp to itch a little. She didn’t reach up to scratch it though as her arms were wrapped too tightly around the waist of someone. But who was it?

Oh yeah.

Jack. Her father. Him, she remembered. All of this led to her third sensation. Her heart hurt. This had to be what it felt like to have your insides try to relocate themselves outside your body. Each beat felt a little more painful. Each intake of breath felt like her lungs were on fire. There was an anvil resting on her chest, all the while she was crying enough saline water to float a barge down a river.

She’d done all this before. Not twenty-four hours ago, in fact.

The last words she’d heard from John was him calling out her name. ‘Emily. Emily can you hear me! What’s happening? What is that?’ and then the forlorn ‘Houston, this is Farscape 1. I’m trapped in what… what the HELL is that anyway?’ It was followed again with, ‘Emily… I love you.’

Why, oh why, oh why did those words have to replay now? Why did they have to come floating into her mind when the sheer abject horror of the moment was at its apex? Was it some kind of self-induced torture or did the rage over the one-dimensional aspect of the ‘well-wishers’ push her to it? Was she purposely being thrust back to that moment in time where the world actually had four dimensions for her? Was it reminding her of the one time when her life existed here on Earth but ended in space?

She had a feeling it was all of those. All of those and more if she were being honest with herself. And if she were being honest, it would be the first time since the ‘suits’ declared John ‘Missing: Presumed Dead’ and the ‘well-wishers’ flocked to her house like vultures hovering over carrion.

Of course, in her more rational moment, she would realize that she wasn’t being fair to the people inside. They really weren’t vultures. Their words of sympathy weren’t insincere. Everyone in there cared for John in one way or another. Everyone in there cared for her as well. She had friends in there. Jack, Olivia, and Susan had friends in there. She wasn’t being fair to them to get so wrapped up in her own grief.

But then again…

Those people would go home tonight. They would go to their homes and curl up into bed with their spouses or significant others. Most, before they closed their eyes and fell asleep, would be grateful for what they had. Grateful because how sad was it that poor Emily had to face that cold, empty bed in her house alone. They would be thankful that they weren’t her.

Those thoughts caused even more rage to build inside of her. Rage that was coupled with grief so intense she didn’t think she’d ever find her way out of the pool of muck she was drowning in. Those two emotions coupled with the last and that was guilt. She shouldn’t be so selfish.

But then again, what did she have to be selfish about? Hadn’t she just lost everything?

She wasn’t sure how long they sat there on that bench on her patio. She wasn’t sure how long those strong arms embraced her… how long the world continued to spin on its axis without Emily caring whether it did or not. She wasn’t sure, and she really didn’t care.

Eventually, however, the sobbing eased, her grip relaxed, and some of her anger dissipated. Eventually, she was able to look up into the face of the man who held her and she knew, beyond a doubt, that she wasn’t alone in her grief. She also knew that it was okay to feel as dejected as she did. He was feeling it too.

“I want them all to go away,” she said softly, knowing that he would understand. “I don’t want anyone in my house right now, but you and my sisters. That’s not wrong, is it?”

“No, Emily, it isn’t.”

“I mean, I know they mean…” she practically choked on the word, “well.”

“They do. But you’re left thinking about how they could possibly understand even a minute amount of what you’re going through.”

“If someone would have looked at me and said, ‘I know how you’re feeling’, I think I may have decked them. They can sympathize, but Dad, no one *knows* how I’m feeling. The only one who does is me, and hell, I’m not even sure myself.”

“You’re right, honey. No one knows how you’re feeling.”

“And you know what else?” she continued. It was as if once she gave words to her thoughts, she couldn’t stop. “You know what gets me more than anything is that most of those people hugged me, said they were sorry, but tonight… tonight they get to go back to their homes… they get to kiss the people they love… they get to hold each other. And what do I have?!” She pulled away and felt the hot sting of tears again. “I have nothing. When everyone goes home… when you leave, when Olivia and Susan go home, I have nothing but the cold hard walls of this house and I hate it! I HATE IT!”

She sat there, feeling her father’s eyes on her. Of course, he’d been in this situation before. Leslie had died of cancer not five years before. In five years, he’d lost his wife and his son. Emily was almost sick with the realization of what she’d just done to him. When she looked back up at him, all the rage was gone. “I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve that.”

“Don’t,” he said, his voice so soft it could have been carried on the breeze. “Don’t apologize for letting yourself speak everything you’re feeling. And mostly, honey, don’t apologize for saying it to me.” He took her face in his hands, and she watched as tears slipped down his cheeks. “But I do want to make one thing very clear to you. You are *not* going to be alone. Hell will freeze over before I leave you alone in this house by yourself. We are a family. And family doesn’t let a member grieve without support.”

She swallowed thickly and managed a nod. “I know. I mean, here,” and here she pointed to her head, “I know. But Dad… my heart… it’s torn… and I can’t figure out… I mean, he should be here. He has to be here. I can’t do this without him. I can’t.”

“You can,” Jack Crichton reiterated, “You can and you will. You will because it’s what John would want. Do you honestly believe that he would want you to stop living? And I’m not suggesting you go out with every man you see, Emily? I’m not. What I am saying is that you aren’t alone. You don’t have to do this alone. I’m here for you. If you go on for anyone, go on for me. Okay?”

So much loss. She was looking into the eyes of her father and in them she saw so much loss, pain, and heartache. She couldn’t begin to fathom what he was going through. Losing a spouse… then losing a child. Or simply losing a child. How difficult was that? How did a parent rebound from such a loss? Parents weren’t meant to outlive their children. Humans weren’t wired to be able to deal with that kind of grief. It was then that she vowed that no matter how deep in her own grief and anger she became, she would remember that he too had pain… that he too needed love and support. She vowed right then that she would be the one to give it to him. They would share in the anguish together. “I promise, Dad. With everything that I am, I swear to you that I won’t give up.”

He placed a soft kiss on her forehead and said, “I think we should go back inside.”

She shook her head. In all reality, once it hit her where she was, she didn’t want to go anywhere. “I think I may sit out here, Dad. I just want to think.”

“Want me to stay? I will.”

She shook her head. The last thing she trusted was her voice. She looked out into the sky, watching as more and more stars twinkled into view. Of course, she knew they weren’t really twinkling. She knew that the Earth’s atmosphere was what gave off that impression. But still, she let herself believe that they were twinkling. She didn’t say anything more as her father stood, placed a kiss on her forehead, and walked back into the house.

*-*-*

“She gonna be okay?” Jack O’Neill questioned of his friend when the retired Colonel walked back into the house.

Jack Crichton stood beside his friend and sighed as he said, “Yeah. In time. She’s a lot tougher than what she looks. But…”

At the other man’s pause, he gently prodded, “But?”

“But there may come a time when… I have to… When she’ll need to…”

“Look,” O’Neill turned to more fully face the newly grieving father, “when the time comes that you have to be the one to make her go on with her life, you call me. You know, Jack, about the work I do.”

The former astronaut nodded. Actually, though, he’d found out quite accidentally. “I do.”

“If you need to…”

“You can use her?”

“You’re kidding me, right? It’s geek central over there. A scientist with her skills would be priceless.”

“Geek Central,” Crichton reiterated with a small smile. “Jack, letting her go is going to be one of the hardest things I ever have to do. I always promised my son if anything happened, I would take care of her. If I send her to you…”

“I’ll protect her with my very life. You have my word on it.”

*-*-*

Emily sat on the bench, her eyes never wavering from a certain point in the sky. It would be coming soon. She always knew exactly where to look and when to look there. She looked down at her watch again and then back up to the sky. The Earth continued to rotate, as if nothing was wrong with any of the inhabitants that lived upon her. Either that, or she just didn’t care.

Right on schedule, the tip of Cassiopeia came into view. And shortly thereafter she saw it… EmilyMine. Silent tears slipped down her cheek as Emily went back to that night. For a moment, all the cold was gone. For a moment, she felt John’s arms around her. For a moment, she heard his voice and felt his breath on her ear as he said, ‘I can give you a star. That one. I was going to name it EMC. But somehow, that didn’t quite fit. So, I named it EmilyMine. It can still have the initials EM, but won’t be confused with ElectroMagnetic.’

She didn’t dare close her eyes for fear that if she did, her star would disappear. It would slip through her fingers just like John had done. The arms that she felt holding her right now would slip away. Even as she thought it, the sensation faded and she was left with his voice in her ears. His voice telling her about her star… the one he’d given to her. The one that let her know beyond a doubt that he loved her. She heard those words again, whispered on the breeze as the evening chilled once again. ‘I love you, My Heart.’

Emily Crichton wasn’t done with tears. She wasn’t done with tears, sadness, anger, rage or even grief. She wouldn’t be for a very long time. But the one thing she did know… that for a time in her life… she was loved. Loved more than most people ever hoped to be. And she was a very lucky woman to have had it. At that thought, she whispered softly, “I love you too, Jonathan Robert Crichton, Jr. With all that I am.”

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