Five things Hammond hid in the desk drawers in his office.
Many thanks to Denny for the beta.

Gone

 

Jack stood in the doorway with his team behind him. No mission had ever been as difficult as this. He swallowed hard. Daniel rested a hand on his shoulder while Teal'c and Carter moved in to close ranks. Assured by their support, he stepped inside. “We've got an hour to secure the room.”

Without speaking, the team members moved to their assigned posts. Jack tackled the file cabinet, handing any questionable or confidential materials to Carter who secured them in a lock-box. Teal'c took care of the walls removing certificates and credentials, while Daniel went to the desk. For a few minutes, the only sounds in the room were the shuffling of paper and the small movements of people packing away a person's life.

Jack steadied his hands, working slowly and carefully through the top drawer of the cabinet until he heard a chuckle behind him. With a frown, he turned to see Daniel sitting in Hammond's chair, bent over to peer in a drawer. Along with photos of Hammond's family, the top of the desk now held pens, pencils, little post-it notes, and paper clips.

“Daniel?”

“Sorry,” Daniel said. His head came up slowly, a small smile still on his face. “I'd forgotten how comfortable this chair is.”

Jack relaxed a bit. “It irritated the hell out of me when he took that chair to Washington.”

“I only got to sit in once. It was during that training session with Haley and Lieutenant Elliot.” He patted the arms. “It's a good chair. Solid. Nobody filled it like General Hammond.”

Everyone went back to work. Daniel continued to empty the drawers. The soft slide of each drawer and the rustle of pens, pencils, and paper filled the silence--until Daniel chuckled again.

“I'm not sure that you're completely in touch with the seriousness of the situation, Daniel,” Jack said.

Daniel dropped his head in embarrassment. “Sorry, but I think you'll like this one.” He waited until the others gathered around before he put his treasure on the desk.

“Is that where it went? Carter, I thought you'd taken it.” Jack picked up his yo-yo and put the string on his finger. With a practiced flick, he set the yo-yo in motion. “General Hammond, you dog, you.”

“I wonder how he got it?” Sam asked. “I wonder why he's still got it? He must have brought it with him from Colorado Springs, right?”

“I would assume that Sergeant Harriman was responsible for procuring it for the general.”

“That wouldn't surprise me, Teal'c,” Daniel said. “Is it significant that I found the yo-yo right on top of a stash of chocolate bars?”

“He probably got those from your office, Daniel, or maybe yours, Carter.”

“General Hammond would never do such a thing, sir,” Sam insisted, “not to Daniel and me.”

“No, huh? Well, I'm taking my yo-yo back.” Jack gave the toy a last flick and stuffed it in his pocket. “It's personal and it doesn't need to be inventoried.”

“Sure, Jack,” Daniel muttered.

The next time Daniel made a sound, a small gasp of surprise, Jack didn't hesitate to go over to the desk. He noticed Carter and Teal'c did the same. “Now what?”

“I think it's a photo album.” Daniel dropped a sizable album on the desk and started to flip through the pages.

“Is it pictures of his granddaughters?” Sam asked. “We've got a box for personal items. I'll just add it--”

“No,” Daniel said, continuing to turn the pages. “It's an album of the SGC. I think there's a picture in here of every SG team we've ever had, mostly team pictures taken in the 'gateroom. He's even got a picture of Kawalski in here. And Janet.” His hands paused and he ran a finger over the photo of the doctor they still missed. He closed the book. “This must cover years. What do I do with it? It's not really personal, but it's not really work-related either.”

“It's ours,” Jack said, grabbing another box. “It should go back to the SGC to be archived in the base library.”

“It can't go back to his family, Daniel,” Sam added. “Even if it's not strictly work-related, the contents are still confidential.”

“Right.” Daniel placed the album in the new box and went back to work.

About fifteen minutes later, their jobs almost done, Daniel said, “Um... guys.” He held up a long envelope for all to see. “This is for us.”

“Us?” Sam asked. “As in--” she waved a hand around the room, “us?”

“It's got our names on it: Daniel Jackson, Jack O'Neill, Samantha Carter, and Teal'c.” He held it up to the light and then shook it. “It has a piece of paper inside. Should I open it, or should it be inventoried with the rest of the stuff?”

“If it's addressed to us, I think we should open it,” Sam said.

Daniel looked at Jack for permission.

“Carter's right. It's not going to be top-secret information in an envelope like that. Besides, like she said, it's addressed to us. Open it.”

They gathered around as Daniel carefully tore the envelope and pulled the paper out. He scanned it quickly. “It's addressed to SG-1 with our names after it. It must have been written awhile ago because we're not SG-1 anymore.” He took a deep breath. “My friends,” he read, “if you're reading this then I'm gone, and you've come as I requested to clean out my office. Let this be the last time I get to torment my favorite team.

“I've update this letter to you every year since our first together and secured it in my desk. You'll find a similar letter addressed to my daughter and her family in my office at home. I'd appreciate it if you would see she gets it.

“As a career officer, I've always been aware of the possibility that I'd die while in the employ of the United States Air Force. I doubt I died in the field but I don't doubt I died doing a job I love.

“I hope I haven't taken all of you away from anything crucial. As of the writing of this letter--” Daniel stopped to check the date. It had been written three months ago. “--you, Doctor Jackson, Colonel Carter, and Teal'c, are with the new SG-1 battling yet another threat to humanity, and you, Jack, are in Washington trying to smooth the way for them to keep doing it. Whenever I think of the four of you, however, I think of SG-1, and it's SG-1 I've asked to carry out my final wishes. I know I can trust you to take care of my personal effects.

“I want you to know it was my honor and pleasure to serve with each one of you. You are the country's finest (yes, Teal'c, I include you in that), and I have watched with awe and amazement as you gave so freely of yourselves to secure our safety and our freedom, and the safety and freedom of others many light years away from Earth.

“It was a greater honor and a privilege to have your friendship. The laughter and the tears we've shared over the years have made me a better person. Nothing in my life but my family and my service to my country has meant more to me.

“I am not a man for goodbyes so I won't say it now. Be safe and well. Take care of each other. I know we'll meet again.”

Daniel passed the letter to Jack to see. “It's just signed George.”

Jack took his time and read through the letter before he passed it to Sam who did the same.

She passed the letter to Teal'c. “Now I know he's really gone.”

Teal'c read the letter and handed it back to Daniel who slipped it in its envelope and put it in his jacket pocket. After several minutes in which no one spoke, Daniel bent down and pulled one more item out of the back of the bottom drawer. It was a flask.

“I should have known,” Jack said with a chuckle. “Um, Carter, you want to see if you can--”

“Be right back, sir.” She darted out the door and came back with four small paper cups from the water cooler. She kept two and passed one each to Jack and Teal'c.

“Pour it out, Daniel,” Jack said. “If I know Hammond, that's the good stuff.”

Daniel poured, filling each cup until the flask was empty. He put it on the table and took his cup from Sam. He sniffed the contents. “Yep, that's the good stuff.”

“Teal'c you want to start us off?” Jack asked rising to his feet.

They all stood as Teal'c lifted his cup. “To a great warrior.”

Sam lifted hers and added, “To a patient friend.”

Daniel brought his cup to the middle and said, “To a kind and loving man.”

Last of all Jack brought his cup to join the others: “To one of the finest officers—one of the finest men I have ever known.”

They joined their cups together over Hammond's desk and then downed the liquid.

Daniel coughed and wiped his eyes. “Oh, yeah, that's the good stuff alright.”

They crumpled the cups and threw them in the garbage. Each person went back to work sorting and saving. In a few minutes, everything was boxed and labeled. Personal items were in a box directed to the general's family, items that needed to be secured were in a locked box which would be given to the Joint Chiefs, and sundry office supplies were in a box to be given to the general's aide. The box for the SGC sat under Daniel's hand.

But for the boxes, the desk stood empty awaiting its new owner.

“That it?” Sam asked.

“For now,” Jack said. “We'll go to the house tomorrow.”

“Who will replace General Hammond?” Teal'c asked.

“No one,” Daniel said sharply. “Someone will have his job but no one will ever replace him.”

The four of them stood looking at the bare walls of the empty office.

“I want that chair back,” Jack said, pushing it out of the way. “I'm going to requisition it before I leave the building.”

Teal'c picked up one box and Daniel another. As Sam reached for a third, Jack stopped her.

“Wait. One more thing.” He stepped back from the desk and pulled himself to attention. Sam did the same. After a crisp salute, Jack said, “General Hammond, it was an honor serving with you.”

Sam picked up a box and Jack the last.

They pulled the door shut behind them.

~::~

 

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