An Open Journal
by Eilidh17

There is something innately personal about a journal.  Not so much the crisp white pages waiting to become the recipient of wise words or sordid tales, nor the variety of covers that bind them.  No.  Journals were much more than that.  They were the window to the soul, and in this case, an intimate look into the reflections of someone he thought he knew, and then discovered he really didn’t.
Jack O’Neill treasured very few things in life.  He’d learned the hard way that life had a nasty habit of taking away that which he held dear and leaving him emotionally barren.  So as the years crept achingly by, Jack boxed those emotions away behind witty one-liners and snippy sarcasm as a way of coping with circumstances he didn’t want to face.
It was far easier to school your emotions and present a tough exterior than it was to face yet another loss.  Besides, if the Air Force had taught him one thing, it was that the only person you can truly rely on is yourself, and never try to follow another person’s agenda. Jack believed this, lived by the simple credo, and up until a year ago it had served him well.
Until Daniel had died.
Jack had found Daniel’s journal open on his desk in the quiet hours after his friend had passed.  His favorite pen resting atop a sentence left unfinished, and Jack wondered what had distracted Daniel enough to not bother completing his thoughts. But he respected the man’s privacy, even in death, and so he had chosen not read it.
It didn’t last long though.  Fascination became curiosity, and days later in the privacy of his own home, with his guard crashing around his feet, Jack opened the journal and learned more about Daniel than he ever had when the man was alive.
The journal wasn’t complete by any means; in fact it barely covered the last few months of his life, but it read like a repertoire of their sins, and he knew that even from the ascended grave, Daniel was reminding him of how strained their friendship had become.
Jack always believed the connection between them was unbreakable, and he guessed Daniel probably had as well, but something had changed.  Somewhere along the path that marked their long history together, they’d gnawed at each other one too many times, and finally striking a raw nerve, they’d lost their cohesiveness.
Amongst all the sad words that marked a dying friendship, and Daniel’s battles with his own demons, Jack found strength and a measure of courage he’d thought he’d lost when Charlie died.  Funny, he had mused, that everything he’d struggled to be, could be inspired by the words of a friend he so desperately needed back.
Something had changed on that day, and without even knowing it, Daniel’s journal had become Jack’s.  From one unfinished line he carried on with his own story, and as the days flew past, the journal was filled with whatever random thoughts and off beat comments had flowed from his pen.  If it wasn’t news about events at the SGC, it was a line of some poem or saying Jack had found enough meaning in to remember.  Disasters shared pride of place with hard fought victories, and birthdays with anniversaries, even the ones he didn’t care to reflect on.
To say the whole experience was cathartic was to be stating the obvious, and Jack’s comments soon became the type of personal conversations he wished he’d taken the time to have with Daniel when he’d been alive.  Too many nights he had spent staring at the unfinished game of chess they’d started over two years prior, and wondering why it was so much easier to say what he felt about Daniel when he wasn’t there to hear it.
Today though, well . . . today was special.  The journal whose pages had reconnected him to his friend was going back to its owner, back to the one person he thought he’d lost forever but who was now returned.
But not until he added one final entry.
“The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as the charm of music dwells not in the tones but in the echoes of our hearts.”
—John Greenleaf Whittier

The End


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