The First Sign of Madness
By Eilidh17


Jack tossed back his sixth scotch for the night and let its smooth flavor warm the back of his throat and work its way to his stomach.

“The last one was for you, Danny.” He saluted, raising the empty glass. “This one’s mine.”

And that makes how many?

“Who cares?”

I do.

“Right, well you can take the half of my mind that’s yours and get the hell out of here.”

You’re not mad.

“Of course I am.  Something about talking to ones self and the first signs of madness.”

Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness?

“That’s the one.”  Jack tipped the bottle and watched as the scotch hit the melting ice and swirled around the edges of the glass.  “Answering myself as well.  Is that one of the signs?”

You’re not mad.

“You keep saying that.” 

And you won’t listen.

Jack discarded the glass and held the half empty bottle up to the light.  “Daniel never liked scotch.  He couldn’t handle the stuff.” He shouted out. “One drink and he was anyone’s!” Slumping back into the chair, he kicked the table angrily. “Anyone’s…”

I could have been yours.

“How could I have been so stupid?”  The bottle thumped down heavily on the coffee table and droplets of scotch sloshed out the top. “I admired you.”

You said that.

“Shut up!” Jack released the bottle and held his head in his hands. “Just shut the fuck up!”

Don’t do this, Jack.

He sat up straight, blinked away the numbness from the booze and swallowed back its bitter taste.  “Daniel?”

Took you long enough.

“No, no, no.” Rocking back and forth, Jack spied the bottle and pushed it away. “Definitely no more for you tonight, O’Neill.”


“Go away!”  Jack kicked back from the chair, and capping the bottle, thrust it back onto the mantle.  “You’re not here, you died, and I am not sitting here having a conversation with my dead best friend.”

You’re standing.  I’m ascended, and… best friend? 

“Yeah,” Jack sighed and let out a sobbed chuckle, “my best friend.”

I miss you.

“Then come back to me.  Come back to us.”

I can’t.  Not yet.

“You’re not real.”  Jack palmed away stray tears and wiped them on his shirt. “If you were real, I would know it.”

I’m here, standing right next to you.

He bit back the urge to look around but it was too strong.  “This is stupid.”

Right here.

Subtle at first, like a lingering kiss, warmth blossomed on Jack’s forehead and wound its way down his cheek to his lips, pausing for a moment before trailing down his chest and settling there.





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