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A Moment in Time

Guest princess.sparkle

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Type of story: oneshot

Main Characters: Jack and Rachel mainly, few other characters

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Drama

Does story include spoilers: Yes, UK spoilers

Any warnings: Not that I can think of

Summary: 5 lines max - Rachel and Jack are together ten years from now, Jack is very ill and in hospital.

"Mummy, can we go and see Daddy now?" the young girl of five, her hair a mass of golden curls, her hazel eyes full of hope that she'd be granted permission to go in and see her daddy, stood in front of a weary eyed Rachel. She knew he was sick, she didn't quite understand what was wrong with him. But she knew she missed him.

She often heard her mum and the other doctors and her Granddad Tony talk about his liver. Her and her older sister Lily were sat down one afternoon and told that their daddy wasn't feeling too well and would have to spend some time in hospital. They were told that mummy and daddy loved them very much and that they'd be able to visit him in hospital while he got better. They were told that they could ask questions whenever they liked and that they weren't to be scared or worried. That daddy would get better soon.

"Has daddy got a cold?" asked Chloe, not quite understanding why daddy had to go to hospital. Why couldn't he stay at home and drink chicken soup and curl up under a blanket like she did when she was sick?

"No, sweetie. It's a little different to a cold." Rachel had rubbed her shoulder gently and kissed her on the head. "Lily, are you ok?" She asked turning to the older daughter who sat there silently, a look of blankness on her face. Rachel went to stroke her silky, straight, chocolate coloured hair, she'd stared straight ahead and not responded. It looked like tears were going to fall from her eyes, but Chloe never did see them fall.

"Not quite yet sweetheart." Rachel spoke gently to her daughter, tenderly stroking her head and pulling her small body towards her. She hugged her close and Chloe could feel her mother's heart beat.

"He's not going to be ok, is he?" The same look of blankness ocuppied Lily's face as when she was first told daddy was ill. There was no point crying, it wouldn't make him better. It wouldn't make the cancer go away. It couldn't save him. She'd cried for her mother but that didn't bring her back. She was five when she looked through a photo album and saw a beautiful young woman with dark brown hair like her own holding her.

Her name was Martha she'd later been told. And she was Lily's mother. Her real mother. She'd been gently told that she'd died when Lily was just one year old. She had a disease called cancer. They told her she loved her very much, that she'd always be watching over her. Jack and Rachel had explained that they both loved her very much too, that Martha was a wonderful woman and that Lily was very precious. Rachel had explained that she was as much her baby as Chloe. But she still cried, she cried as she held that picture in her tiny hand, as her daddy held her close to his chest, she cried her little heart out but it didn't matter. She never got to see her mummy. It made no difference then, why should she bother crying now? The cancer had killed her mother, why would it be any different with her father?

"Sweetie, your daddy is a strong, strong man. He's a fighter, just like you." Rachel tried to reassure her. She wanted her to have hope, to believe, to hold onto something that may never be. She did not know which was more cruel and painful - a hope that would never be realised or no hope at all. She wanted to hope, she wanted to hold onto something, some sort of belief that it would be ok, for her daughters' sake, she told herself that she did, she urged herself to, but she did not know if the fire deep inside her heart still burnt or whether it had long been extinguished. Afterall she had seen the scans, she was a doctor and she knew it was bad. Really bad.


The girls had since fallen asleep, their eyes heavy and tired. They were urged to go home with Aunty Leah and Aunty Colleen, with promises that they would return in the morning.

Rachel and Tony sat side by side as they watched Jack inhale in and out. His body was a shadow of what it used to be. Where once he was strong and well built, he now seemed fail and weak. His skin was plae and dry, his head bald from the chemo and his eyes sunken. They watched as his chest gently rose and fell, they watched ech breath urging him to fight on, to refuse to have the fire that burnt deep within him extinguished.

"I wish I could fight for him." Tony spoke monotonously not for a second taking his eyes off of his precious son.

"You do. You fight with him everyday." Rachel wept, turning to look at the man she had once given her heart to, yet she held on to Jacks hand, silently urging him to take somesort of comfort from her presence, from her love. Who knew, thought Rachel. Who knew all those years ago that they'd be here, in this moment.

Tony had broken her heart when he told her suddenly that he couldn't marry her. That he wasn't in love with her. That she wasn't enough.

"Tony, you can't do this. We have a future together- I know we do ok? I love you." She'd insisted desperatly trying to convince him not to leave her. Not to break her heart.

"I'm sorry Rach, I just - I just don't love you anymore." He'd sounded so blunt, so severe. Rachel was too distrught to realise that as he spoke those cruel, hard words he hadn't looked her in the eye. She'd later found out that Tony had discovered he couldn't father children and knowing Rachel's desire to be a mother he'd broken her heart in a bid to save it. By then it was too late, too late to go back. She'd already had Jack's baby and they'd planned to get married.

It was a year and half after Martha lost her battle with cancer that Tony and Rachel's relationship came to an end. A year or so after that Rachel came home to find Jack, unusually he wasn't drunk that night, as he'd been almost every day and night since Martha died. He was just lost. Lost like Rachel, they had sought comfort in eachother that night and Rcahel fell pregnant. She'd decided to keep the baby straight away. There was never any doubtt, a baby was what she had wanted for so long there was no way she could possibly not keep it.

She'd somehow found a way to tell Jack when hee was sober, or as sober as Jack could be at the time. Somehow he found the stregnth and determination to over come the drinking. He'd tried before, for Lily's sake but he always fell short of the final hurdle. But this time he went to all of his AA meetings and began to make plans to be a dad again. Somehow, somewhere along the line he and Rachel found a love for each other. It wasn't an all consuming, passionate love like they'd both experienced before, but it was love. It was an enduring love, that gave strength to them both and allowed them to be a family. Jack, Rachel, Lily and Chloe.

Until - until the cancer. All the years of heavy drinking had caught up with him. He had liver cancer. When they opened him up it had spread everywhere, his heart, his lungs, his stomach. There was nothing theycould do to save him. Nothing at all, they'd told him. He'd had chemo, but that wasn't enough, the outcome would be no different.

Rachel and Tony caught each other's eyes as silent tears ran down both their cheeks. They were alone in their pain, but somehow united.


the following morning

The girls had come early that morning. Leah had gotten a call asking her to bring the girls. It was time to say goodbye to the man they so dearly loved. Luc had come too.

Rachel had already been with him for over an hour before she'd asked him if they should call the girls.

"These last years, I've loved them you know? Every second." He'd held her hand with all the strength left in his body as she'd laid her head beside him. "I'm so sorry Rach-"

"Sorry, what for?" She asked lifting her head up to look at him.

"For this, for everything I've put you through."

"Jack it's not your fault ok. It's-"

"Rach if I hadn't drank, if I hadn't-, then none of this..." His voice trailed away as he was overcome with regret and sadness.

"That doesn't matter now Jack. I don't blame you ok? Please, please know that?" Rachel pleaded with her husband, desperate for him to believe her. "Jack you have given me two wonderful children and I wouldn't change that for the world."

"Rach, be happy ok? Whatever you do promise me you'll find a way to be happy?"

"Jack, I-"

"Promise me Rach, please. Promise me you'll be ok. That you'll do whatever it takes to be happy?"

"I promise." Rachel blubbed through the tears.

"I love you, you know? I really love you."

"I love you too." She sunk her head into Jack's chest as gently as she could. She held him and let him hold her like they'd done so many times before.

Alf had been in to see him, then Luc and Tony. Rachel led her girls in gently gripping their tiny hands. Chloe saw Granddad Tony sitting in the corner, Uncle Luc stood there, his eyes were all red.

They sat down, Chloe and Lily either side. Their dad took each of their hands in his. "Hey Lil, Chloe." His voice was quiet, almost a whisper. "You look beautiful, you know that." Chloe didn't know why but she wanted to cry.

"You like my nails daddy? They're pink, look."Chloe held her hand up for her father to see.

"Very pretty" he managed to smile. He looked at his older daughter who sat there, refusing to look her father in the eye.

"Lil, I love you, you know that? I love you both very much. And I always will, no matter where you are, I will, always, always love you both so much."

"Are you feeling better daddy?" Chloe asked, her gentle voice crying out for some beacon of hope.

"Chloe, daddy has to go away now." He could see her little eyes crease up as tears began to flow down her rosy cheeks.

"Why? Why can't you come home with us?" She wept.

"Sweetie, it's just the way it has to be. But even though I won't be with you at home, even though I won't be there to take you to school or play dolls with you, I'll be watching over you ok? So be good for your mummy 'k?" She nodded as she continued to look down at her hand through her tears. "Chloe, you remember that teddy I gave you for your birthday? The big one?" Again Chloe nodded her little head, "Whenever you miss me, or you want a hug, you hug him ok? And I'll be hugging you right back. I promise." His voice began to break as he pulled Chloe in towards his chest and lay her head on him.

As Lily sat there, it felt like there was a flood of tears inside her waiting, begging to be released. But she refused. She couldn't cry, she was afraid that if she did she wouldn't be able to stop. Mum, Grandad Tony and Uncle Luc had taken Chloe outside, promising her choc chip ice cream. It was just her and dad.

"Lily, Lily I need you to promise me something." Jack looked at his oldest daughter, who still would not look at him. He knew her, she was stubborn, like her mum. On the outside she seemed so together and strong, but she had the softest heart. "Lily, I need you to promise me you'll look after your sister, and after your mum. Can you do that for me?" His voice was a gentle whisper and called out for Lily to look at him. She couldn't not look any longer and as she did, that flood of tears was finally released. And she buried herself in her father's chest like she had done so many times before, except this time was different, this time would be the last.

"You're leaving. Just like mum." Came her muffled cries after a while.

"I know sweetie." Jack cried with his daughter. "But you have so many people to look after you, they all love you so much. And you will always, always have a mum, you know that? Rachel loves you so much, just as much as she does Chloe."

She nodded her head, she knew Rachel loved her, she loved her too. But she'd still miss her dad, and she still missed her real mum. Everyday.

"You remember that time I took you to see the sunrise?" Jack asked, holding her close to him he heard a muffled 'yes', "You remember that bird singing - that beautiful sound? Well whenever you here that, whenever you see a sunrise, whereever you are I'll be with you."

"Promise?" Lily lifted her head from her dad's chest and looked into his eyes.

"I promise." Jack assured her with every grain of strength in his body, "I'll never leave you. Ever."

It was over soon after that. Rachel couldn't remember much but she remembered all of them in that room. Sat around his bed as he softly slipped away. The girls were lying either side of him and Rachel was gripping his hand. Tony was close by, as he was his whole life. Luc was there too and Alf and Leah and Colleen. They were all there.

They took his body away after that, wheeled way, a white sheet lay over him. A man who had been so full of life and love and laughter was led away with just a cold, blank white sheet over him.

She held her girls, she held them close to her. She tried to give them all the comfort she could muster from her own body but knew that it wouldn't be enough. She didn't cry. Not yet, there'd be plenty of time for that later.


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