Disclaimer: I don't own anything, but a DVD, even though I'd like to.

AN: This story might seem a little odd at first, but basically, it is glimpses/vignettes of all the futures Jack could have had if he had lived. Hopefully you enjoy it and leave a review! A writer's best friend is feedback!

Xx 1 xX

Jack looked out, a boyish innocence and wonder reflecting in the depths of his eyes, upon the vast blue ocean in front of him. Living in the middle of the landlocked United States had afforded him limited access to this natural wonder, but he had always wanted to see it.

He turned around and faced the blonde standing behind him with a broad grin. "We should have taken this trip a long time ago, Sammy." he said.

"Well, Jack…"she she said with a step towards him. "Now that you're here, what do you wanna do?"

Jack deliberated for a second before immediately grabbing her hand. "Let's swim!" he decided, dragging his friend towards the swell and through the cool morning mist collecting in the air above the sand.

"It's freezing!" she exclaimed, but allowing herself to be dragged along the rocky coastline.

"I don't care!" he yelled, pulling her along faster. "You only live once!"

Sammy laughed. "You're crazy!"

He finally stopped at the water's edge turned back towards her with an eyebrow raised and a crooked grin. "You ain't seen nothing yet." he warned.

His hand dropped her and his fingers went to the hem of his shirt. He tugged the thing over his head and tossed it away as if it meant nothing. His jeans quickly followed, as did his shoes and socks, and soon his clothes were scattered haphazardly. As the wind picked up, it drug them further across the beach.

Jack sent a wink Sammy's way before taking off into the subzero water in just his boxers, splashing all the way.

She watched in amusement as he visibly shivered, but refused to give up and get out. Then he suddenly dived headfirst into oncoming wave. After an obviously struggle, he stood up, water dripping from his sandy strands and in tiny rivulets down his face as he waved for her to join him. Sammy shook her head, but he was quick to look at her with those puppy-dog eyes he knew she couldn't resist. She sighed at the weakness in herself and quickly stripped down to her bra and panties.

'Jack was right…' she mused as she ran into to the water after him. 'You do only live once.'

Xx 2 xX

"Can you believe that paper Professor Sheridan assigned, man?" Jack asked, coming up behind his friend exiting the lecture hall and clapping him on the shoulder.

"Dude, it's way harsh." he agreed. "He wants us to write a five page analysis on Mozart's Moonlight Sonata AND have it done by tomorrow. We should never have signed up for Music Theory 101."

A group of pretty girls pushed past the pair in the rush, but turned around to catch a quick glimpse at Jack. "It's not that bad…" he said, waving at the girls and emitting a chorus of giggles from them. "And it definitely has it's perks…" Jack finished wistfully.

"I'm glad you're enjoying college life." his friend remarked bitterly.

Jack turned towards him, still smiling. "Don't worry, David." he said, throwing a comforting arm around his friends shoulders. "I'll hook you up. Besides, you have that whole nerdy thing going for you. Chicks dig that."

Xx 3 xX

Jack climbed the 600th step with just as much enthusiasm as he did the first and turned and looked behind him at the lagging girl. "Come on, Jess! Only 119 more steps to go!"

The dark haired girl waved her arm in the air unexcitedly. "Whoo…" she said, exhaustion clear in her voice.

"Oh, quit it, Jess! It's not as much fun if you don't climb to the top." Jack took a lung and skipped three steps at once.

"I'm sure it is…" she grumbled under her breath as she took another slow step. "But you can't go all the way, so I guess our fun will be cut short by an elevator."

"You know I can here you from up here!" he called down to her.

"Good!" she yelled.

When finally they got to the elevator, Jess made quite a dramatic scene as she pretended to fall down dead onto the floor, scary quite a few old ladies.

At the top, Jack held his arm out for her in a mock gentlemanly gesture. They were just two street kids from Detroit who were lucky to score tickets to Paris.

"Wanna look over the edge?" he asked.

"Yeah…" she smirked. "as long as you don't try and push me over."

"On my honor." he replied, laying a hand over his heart as he puffed out his chest.

"You look like an idiot." she laughed.

"And you-" he said, reaching out to tug on one of her kinky curls. "look like a poodle."

Jess slapped his hand away in annoyance. "Oh, hardy-har-har." she remarked sarcastically. "I'm sorry "Mr. My hair is so sexy!" that we all can't live up to your standards.

"But my hair is sexy." he said thickly.

Jess sighed, shaking her head. "Whatever will I do with you?" she asked, walking around him and over to the edge.

Jack followed her like a puppy and met her at the railing, which she had begun to lean against as she looked out over the immense, near ancient city. The sun had turned golden, a sign of it's imminent disappearance, and accented stunningly with her mocha skin.

"It's beautiful, isn't it?" she asked, turning her brown eyes towards him.

His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her under the last straining rays of the sun. It was funny how he could be figuratively and literally seeing her in a new light. He coughed and cleared his throat. "Not as beautiful as you." he said with a charming smiled.

She laughed. "That was almost smooth, Mercer."

He frowned and rolled his eyes at himself. Jack should have known cheesy lines like that would never work with Jess. He leaned himself against the railing in defeat, hanging his lanky arms over it. He wondered if a big enough gust of wind could knock him over, but decided it was impossible and jumping would probably be the best option if it got rougher.

Jess came up behind him and rested her chin on his shoulder. "Aww! I'm sorry, but you know we're friends."

Rather than argue, Jack did the most impulsive thing in his life. He turned around quickly, before she could move, and grasped her face between his hands. She gasped like a girl in those old time movies as her brown eyes met his blue eyes in confusion before he lowered his head to hers. Jess stood stock still as his lips touched hers, wanting it or too shocked to move. She couldn't decide which, but as her hands moved on their own violation and felt his hair in between her fingers, she had a pretty good idea.

Xx 4 xX

A girl crept into the dark bedroom. It was quiet, except for the occupant's breathing. The sun was just about to rise. Her ocean blue eyes squinted as they tried to adjust themselves to see in the dark, making sure she was careful not to trip over her pudgy little legs. She didn't want him waking up before she got a chance to do it herself. Sighing in relief when she made it to the side of the bed without incident, she began to lift the corner of the comforter.

Suddenly, two strong hands grabbed her and pulled her into the bed with him.

"Daddy!" she squealed as her tickle torture ensued. "I-I was su-supposed t-to wake YOU up!" She tried to speak through her laughs and ended up gasping for air.

He let up with the tickling and sat back with a grin "Well, Avery… I wanted to surprise you."

She shook her head of chocolate curls. "That's not right, the daughter wakes up the daddy on Christmas. It's the rules." she reminded him with a toothless smile.

"Ooooh! That's right!" he said, hitting his head and eliciting a giggle from his daughter. "I forgot about the rules. I'm sorry…" Jack hopped over to the over side of the bed and slid under the covers. "Go back to bed and we can start over."

"No! Daddy!" she exclaimed, grabbing his arm and trying to pull him from the bed. "I want to open my presents now!"

"Alright, Alright…" he said, pretending to let her drag him out. "I guess we can break the rules just this once, right?"

"Okay…Just this once." she reminded him.

"Yes!" He scooped her up in his arms and swung her around. "You know I love you." he said, pausing to look her in the eyes.

"I love you." she said, resting her forehead against his. "Daddy?"

"Yeah, baby?"

"Do you think mommy will come home for Christmas?"

Jack hesitated, almost losing grip on Avery in aftermath of her question. "I-I… I don't know sweetheart." he said honestly, his heart clenching tightly in his chest at the sight of the crestfallen look that crossed her features. "But maybe… And your uncles and cousins will be here. It'll be fun."

"Okay…" she said quietly, as if she was resigning herself to the letdown she knew was coming, and rested her head against his shoulder. Suddenly all her excited energy dissipated.

Jack sighed and carried her from the room.

If only her mother loved him like he did her. If only she wanted Avery. If only he had a better job. If only he could have kept her. If only. If only.

There were a lot of If Only's. Jack knew she wasn't coming back. Suki was a wild child, a restless spirit that could never be reigned in. She was born to wander and wander she did. Suki wandered away from her family and never came back.

Jack decided it was better to not dwell on the If Only's and think of the positive. It hurt less that way.

Xx 5 xX

Jack sat backstage and listened to the thousands of people screaming his name in the area just outside the curtain.

It was crazy, he knew, it must be a dream.

He never expected that this poor, foster kid from Detroit could make it big and have his wildest dreams come true.

A young coordinator with a headset attached to his head almost past him, not recognizing him in this slouched and nervous looking position, but quickly recovered and turned towards him. "Oh, there you are. Five minutes until show time, Mr. Mercer." he said, before moving along.

"Hey!" Jack said, stopping him in his tracks.

The coordinator turn again to Jack, taking of his headset for the time being. "Yes, Mr. Mercer."

Jack cleared his throat. "Um… I know this may sound odd, but is this real? I mean, is this really happening?" he asked.

"Yes…" The coordinator smiled. " I believe it is."

"Okay, good… I was going to ask you to pinch me, but I thought that may be an awkward sounding request." Jack laughed nervously.

"Right.." he laughed as well. "Will that be all?"

"Yes, thank you…"

The coordinator nodded before going on his way, leaving Jack alone again. He sighed as he stood and stretched, before going to get his guitar.

Later, on the stage with the audience singing along to his songs and his guitar strapped around his body, Jack Mercer will realize he has finally arrived.