Dreamer of the Day
By Marzipan77

 

Written for the Any and All Challenge on stargatedrabbles
Lady D gave us a list of 75 words and asked us to use “any or all” of them in any form. Loving a challenge, I decided to use them all.
GEN
Rated T
Epilogue to Absolute Power

“…the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” Thomas E. Lawrence

<<Images splashed across his mind.  Dark.  Enticing.  They pulled at him, devouring, wanting him.  His head thrashed back and forth on the crisp white sheet.  He cursed himself for his need to return to them, wanting to feel the enrapturing hate, the deep fulfillment that came with the pain he caused, the lives he took.  The desire made him frantic- he tried to clamp his lips shut against the animalistic whine that was growing in his throat.  No.  He wouldn’t- he couldn’t go back there.  It wasn’t him.  It wasn’t.>>

“Dammit, General, I knew calling them in was a mistake!”

Hammond leapt to his feet, shoving his chair behind him with such force that it rolled back five feet to trap itself against the metal railing of the spiral stairs that led to the control room.  “Well they’re here now, Colonel, and they’re not the only ones demanding some answers,” he snarled, his face beet-red with rage.  “I wouldn’t want to turn my worst enemy over to the Tok’ra’s tender mercies, let alone someone I’ve come to think of as a friend.”

Jack O’Neill swept both hands through his graying hair, a new wave of guilt suddenly replacing his anger.  “I know that, sir.  It’s just…”

“Instead of growling at me, Colonel, why don’t you give me some options here,” General Hammond struggled to lower his voice back to a normal level.  “According to my orders I must present Dr. Jackson for their examination before nightfall or risk our treaty.”

“Sir,” Walter Davis’s bald head poked up over the leather back of the general’s chair as he mounted the stairs, “Dr. Frasier would like to see you in the infirmary.”

“Oh, what the hell now?” Jack spun on the unflappable airman.  The thought of trading Daniel to keep the snake-heads happy ate at his gut.

“Colonel - enough!”

Davis stepped further into the briefing room, ignoring the glare from SG-1’s CO.  Everyone had been on edge since the team had brought the strange young boy back through the wormhole from Abydos and Jackson had inexplicably blacked-out.  “Dr. Frasier says there’s some kind of complication with Dr. Jackson,” he stated, keeping his eyes fixed on the general and his body out of the direct line between the colonel and the nearest exit.

Hammond caught his 2IC’s eye for a scant second before both men were striding towards the elevator.  The diminutive CMO of Stargate Command was waiting for them.

Janet ushered the two men into her office and closed the door firmly.  At the bleak look on her face Jack threw himself into a nearby chair and hid his face in his hands.

“This isn’t going to be good news, is it?” he muttered.

The doctor perched on the edge of her desk, her face drawn into its professional mask.  “I don’t pretend to understand what happened here, sirs, or how Shifu sent Dr. Jackson into such a deep sleep state.”  Jack felt her frustration.  “I also don’t know why he woke up, what happened to the boy, or how Daniel got back here to the infirmary in his current state.”

Jack’s head jerked up at Janet’s last statement, but the general’s heavy hand on his shoulder kept him silent.

“What do you know, Dr. Frasier?” Hammond demanded, still fuming from the way this situation had dissolved into rapid-fire actions that were completely out of his hands.  It had only been 48 hours since that child stepped down from the ramp, but already one the members of SG-1 was compromised, the Tok’ra were demanding answers, and General Vidrine was breathing down his neck.

The doctor’s hand slapped down on a thick folder.  “I know that the man who wandered in here two hours ago, completely distraught, exhausted, and on the edge of collapse did not in any way resemble the Daniel Jackson who had raced out of here to find Shifu when he abruptly woke up.”  She shoved her hands into the pockets of her white lab coat as if to trap them.  “Just what happened in that ‘gate room?”

“I wish I understood that myself,” Hammond replied, eyes shifting to O’Neill.

Jack stood, trying to pace within the tight confines of the doctor’s office before settling with his back against the closed door.  “All I know is that when one of those glowy, tentacly aliens shows up, you’d better get out of its way.  We learned that on Kheb.  As for what the hell happened between Daniel and Shifu…”  He shook his head.  Daniel had held it together until the kid disappeared through the wormhole, but one look at the barely concealed agony on his face and Jack had him escorted right back to the infirmary.

“What’s his status, doctor?”

“Physically, Daniel is running a slight fever, his blood pressure is low and he’s showing some of the symptoms of shock.”  She picked off the points on her fingers.  “Nothing to be too concerned about.  But mentally, he’s confused, anxious, miserable.  I’d have to say he’s on the verge of a complete breakdown.”

<<Escape.  He had to get away from here.  Leave.  The sounds of movement, quiet voices, and compassionate murmurs made him wince.  Alone.  He would be safe alone, away from everyone he could hurt so easily.  He opened swollen eyes, fingers scrabbling to pull out wires and tubes.  Cold.  Cold against his feet.  He had to run, get away.  Firm hands stopped him.>>

Hammond grasped at the straw the doctor was holding out.  “So you’re saying it would be dangerous to allow the Tok’ra access to Dr. Jackson in this condition.”

The look in Janet’s eyes was part steel and part sorrow.  “I have no idea what this condition is, General, but I’ll gladly drug him into oblivion and tell the Tok’ra he’s in a coma before I’ll let them get their hands on him.”

Jack smiled- no love lost there.  He could count on the doc.

The clash of falling metal and raised voices sounded through the door and Jack flung it open and burst into the infirmary, already half-knowing what he’d find.  Teal’c.  The gentle giant was holding the struggling archaeologist’s back tightly against his chest, his arms criss-crossing Daniel’s and his large hands wrapped around Daniel’s wrists.  The young man’s bare feet battered against the Jaffa’s legs, but Teal’c never moved.

It was the look on Daniel’s face that pierced straight through Jack’s heart.  While Daniel’s body was completely bound by Teal’c’s strength and kindness Jack could tell that his mind was thrashing to break free of other, more sinister bonds.  His eyes stared, open so wide the white seemed to burn around the bright blue irises.  And even more disturbing- Daniel’s lips were moving, mouthing the same word over and over again, but not a breath of sound escaped.  ‘No… no.’

Jack gently touched his teammate’s cheek with one hand, trying to get him to focus- to see him.

“Daniel.  Daniel!”

With a sharp gasp Daniel blinked and suddenly stopped struggling, his body a dead weight in Teal’c’s arms.  Jack watched helplessly as tears filled the young man’s eyes, his tongue flashing against his dry lips before they pulled back into a miserable parody of a smile.

“You should have done it sooner,” Daniel’s voice sounded so calm, so normal.  “Don’t…” he shuddered, suddenly cold against the warm body of the Jaffa, “don’t wait so long next time.”

“To do what, Daniel?” Jack whispered, brow furrowed in confusion.  He watched Daniel’s eyes beginning to close, his muscles loosening as he succumbed to whatever was in the needle Janet had driven into his arm.  He grabbed Daniel’s legs and helped Teal’c position their teammate on the infirmary bed, medical staff rushing in to fold the padded restraints over Daniel’s wrists and ankles.  Finally, he waved them away, wanting to connect with his friend before the drugs took him.

“Daniel, what should I have done?” Jack demanded softly, leaning over to bring his face close to his friend’s, searching the half-lidded eyes for answers.

“Killed me, Jack,” Daniel sighed, as if explaining something to a child.  “Promise…” one hand flailed, reaching towards him and Jack unconsciously caught it in his.  “Promise to kill me sooner, Jack.”

~~~~~~~~

The knock on his office door was not unexpected.  “Come!”

Aldwin, the bland faced Tok’ra who had been sent to test the veracity of the young boy known as Shifu with the zatarc technology was ushered inside by two armed SFs.  The general waved the airmen away and waved at the empty chair across his desk.

“General, my mission dictates…”

“Son,” George Hammond interrupted with an icy smile, “as I’ve explained.  Dr. Jackson is still in isolation.  Our Chief Medical Officer is concerned that the strain he’s undergone over the past 48 hours has affected his immune system and has greatly lowered his resistance to infection and illness.”  He continued to flip through the seemingly banal report on his desk as he glanced down to make sure he’d gotten the terminology right.  Dr. Frasier’s crib sheet was coming in handy.  “Unfortunately, until she signs off on the young man, my hands are tied,” he bluffed.

“I understand your concern for Dr. Jackson,” Aldwin replied, “but the treaty between the Tok’ra and the Taur’i clearly states that we share information that would be essential in fighting the Goa’uld.  While I would dislike risking Dr. Jackson’s health to any possible injury,” he returned Hammond’s smile with a matching one of his own, “the hour is late.”

Hammond stood, subduing the urge to remind the Tok’ra just how forthcoming their people had been with Goa’uld intel and stuff the treaty down the his throat.  “Indeed it is,” he apologized warmly.  “And, forgive me for being a terrible host.”  The general gestured for the Tok’ra to follow him from his office.  “We can offer you one of our VIP rooms here on base for the night, or you’re welcome to contact your people and ‘gate home – we can radio you as soon as Dr. Frasier releases her patient.”

Aldwin dropped his head and the familiar glint in his eyes when he raised it told the general that the symbiote was in control.  “Perhaps the Tok’ra should pursue this query with your government, General Hammond.”

“You go right ahead,” Hammond dared him, throwing his shoulders back- no smug alien was going to pull an end-run around his command.  He looked at his watch pointedly.  “The Joint Chiefs should be available for a conference call in about nine hours.”

“Very well, general,” the Tok’ra bent his head in acknowledgement, realizing he had been beaten.  “I will remain here.  Perhaps I can speak with Dr. Jackson via one of your observation rooms in the morning if he is… feeling better.”

Hammond’s eyes narrowed.  “We’ll see.”  He nodded at the two airmen waiting by the door.  “These officers will show you to your quarters.”

<<No.  I wouldn’t.  Not Teal’c, not Sam.  The smoking crater where Moscow used to be.  How many dead?  13… 15 million.  Blood all over my hands, soaking into me, staining my soul.  No.  Already stained.  Already soiled or I wouldn’t have… couldn’t have…

“The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.”

What?>>

Daniel tried to reach up to feel whatever had brushed gently across his face, but his arms were heavy, weighted, they wouldn’t respond.  He turned his head, rubbing his cheek across the smooth surface beneath it.  He knew he was warm, enveloped in something soft.  He could hear sounds coming into focus around him.  He tried to open his eyes, hoping, yearning to awake, to be safe, to be saved.

No.  His muscles jerked suddenly and he screwed his eyes shut, back arching against the memory.  Not to be saved himself, it was too late for that.  They had to be made safe from him.  Only one way.  Jack’s way.

“Jack!”

Hands on his shoulders, pressing him back into the bed.

“Daniel!  Hey, take it easy.”

More sounds, feet, voices.  More hands.

“Dr. Jackson, I need you to open your eyes for me.”

Janet?  She… she wasn’t there, was she?  What did he do to her?  His eyelids fluttered.  He had to see, was afraid to see.  He bucked against the weight that held him down until he felt his forehead strike something.

“Ow!  Dammit!”

Jack?

“Calm down, Daniel, you’re going to hurt yourself.”  Smaller hands against his face, holding him.

“Himself?”  Snide. Worried. “I can tell you’re awake, Daniel, your aim’s too good.  Listen to the doc.”

“Jack.”  He turned towards the voice, the one he needed.  The one that wouldn’t abandon him to the darkness inside.  “Jack.”

“Yeah, buddy, I’m here.”  Jack’s voice sounded tired now, the hand on his face felt cool.  “You’d see that if you opened your eyes.”

He slitted his eyes open, just enough, just enough to see.  It was him.  Jack.  “Knew it,” he whispered, relief making him weak until the moisture began to bead on his lashes and blur his vision.  “Knew I could count on you.”

Jack fingered the cut on his lip where Daniel’s head had caught him and smeared the spot of blood on his sleeve.  He fixed his eyes stubbornly on Daniel’s.  “Not going anywhere.”

“Did you bring it?”  He frowned.  This was important.  Vital.  He had to know.  “You did, didn’t you?  You didn’t forget?” 

“Colonel,” Janet warned, “we need to keep him calm.”  Daniel’s blood pressure was spiking again, but she couldn’t risk another sedative this soon, not with the imbalances she’d already found in his blood work.

“What, Daniel, did I bring what?” Jack asked gently, trying to keep Daniel’s attention, to ground him with familiar words.  He brushed one hand through his teammate’s short hair.  “Sorry, but the doc won’t let me bring you coffee just yet.”

“No, Jack,” he rocked his head frantically from side to side against the pillows until a strong hand grabbed his chin and made him stop.

“Hey, take it easy.”  Jack knew it came out like an order rather than encouragement, but he was seriously getting freaked out.  “I’m sure I have it.  And if I don’t, I’ll go get it, I promise.”

Daniel felt his eyes wanting to close again, his thoughts swirling, dredging up the pain on their faces.  He struggled, grimacing, lips pulled back against his teeth.  “Get it, Jack.  You have to get it,” he hissed, fighting to channel all of his energy, his focus into this one thing, the only important thing.

Jack felt Daniel’s desperation.  “Get what, Daniel.  Tell me.”

His eyes closed and the darkness was there, waiting, welcoming him.  “Your gun, Jack.

“What?  Daniel, stay with me,” he shook the archaeologist’s chin until the blue eyes flipped open again.  “Why do I need my gun?”

“To make me safe,” Daniel pleaded, eyes wide with fear.

His hands clenched in frustration.  “You’re safe, Danny,” Jack insisted.  “I promise, you’re safe.”

No.  Not safe.  He dived back into the darkness.  Not unless he was dead.

~~~~~~~~

<< I’m not.  I’m not him.  I couldn’t be him.  No.  Hunger for pain and thirst for domination filled him again. Oh god.  I am.  The same.  No glowing eyes, but underneath, within… >>

Another breath of wind murmured across Daniel’s face, cooling him, bringing a moment’s peace.  He kept his eyes closed, his breathing deep- he didn’t want them to look, to see, to see his nakedness.  They might see the other one, the one within who wanted to kill and destroy.  Even Jack might not be quick enough to stop him.

<< “We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.”>>

Daniel felt the frown crease his forehead.  Who? Jack wouldn’t be caught dead saying something like that.  Not Janet or Sam.  Teal’c- Teal’c had caught him, held him when he wanted to escape, to run for miles and miles away from the truth, away from himself.  But this voice was light, too insubstantial for the weighty Jaffa.  He sensed a smile.

<< “The music does not play the musician.”

“Shifu?”  Daniel opened his eyes.  He was standing in Shifu’s guest quarters, his shadow falling black and thick before him.  He shivered.  Filaments of gleaming light shifted around his shoulders and the hated shadow wavered uncertainly.  The glow faded behind him, and suddenly the darkness was gone.  Daniel turned.

“The dreaming is over.”  The young man, clothed as an Abydonian, stood before him.

“You could have fooled me,” Daniel muttered, lowering himself carefully to the bunk.  He slid the glasses from his face and rubbed his eyes.  “What’s happening?  Is this real?” he whimpered, knowing any answer the boy gave would be meaningless.

Shifu settled himself quietly at Daniel’s, pensive, waiting.

His breathing began to hitch again as the memories crowded in.  Daniel pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes until the flashes of red and yellow swallowed up all the blood he’d spilled.

The boy gazed up, serene, and stretched out one hand to touch Daniel gently on the forehead.  The images snapped off like a light.  Groaning, Daniel opened his eyes and blinked down at the child.  “Wha- what did you do?”

“You have been hurt by this teaching.”

Hysterical laughter burned its way from his gut and burst from Daniel’s throat.  “What did you expect?” he gasped.  “You- you showed me the darkness of my own heart, the lust and pride that I hide even from myself.”  He sat back against the wall and rested his aching head against the concrete.  “You taught me that I’m no better than my worst enemy.”

Shifu frowned.  “This evil lies not within you, but within me.”

“Well, it’s within me now, you made sure of that,” Daniel cried.  “Why me?  If you’d given the knowledge to someone stronger, someone more worthy…or just told me, explained how easily we could destroy ourselves with it…”

 “Only those who have felt the blade can understand the wound.”

“Right,” Daniel sighed, exhausted, tired of fighting.  He closed his eyes and folding his arms over his chest.

“I came to you to learn of my mother, and you have shown me that she was very strong.”  Shifu’s voice was unexpectedly hesitant.

“Yes, she was.” Daniel’s eyes filled and he heard the harshness in his voice as he echoed the words he’d spoken before.  Feeling the touch of a small hand on his arm he reached out with his and covered it.

Shifu turned his hand until their fingers intertwined.  “You are also strong.  Strong enough to bear this truth for a short time.  Strong enough to stop your people.”

“I’m not,” he breathed.

Daniel felt the boy’s smile warm him as the light grew against his eyelids and his fingers were left numb and empty.  He knew his time in this safe place was almost up.  “Wait!”  His eyes flew open as Shifu took his true form.  “You said I was strong enough to bear the truth ‘for a short time.’”

The light pulsed, brightened, but Daniel felt the darkness edging in again.

“Once the vine is cut, the branch will wither.”>>

“Can’t you just tell me,” Daniel begged.

Rustling fabrics to his right made him turn his head.

“Daniel?”  Wary brown eyes swam into view.

“Jack?”

“What do you want me to tell you?” Jack asked carefully.

“What?”  Daniel tried to push himself up and felt the tug of restraints against his wrists.  “Maybe what the hell is going on and why I’m tied to the bed, for starters.” He rolled his head on the pillow taking in the blurry details of an isolation room.

“Ah,” Jack rubbed at the back of his neck.  “You don’t remember?”

“Remember?”  Images swallowed him- Teal’c kneeling at his feet, Sam cold with rage, Jack hurled through the air- all at his desire, for his pleasure.  A feeling of despair curled through his chest.  “Yes,” he winced, “I remember.”  As he watched the memories began to blur at the edges, losing color, losing focus. They were fading, narrowing, as if he was watching a film in which he’d played a part.

Jack leaned closer.  “You remember asking me to kill you?”

Daniel closed his eyes for a moment against the pain in Jack’s.  “I’m sorry.”  He looked up.  “I had to work through some things.”

“Dammit, Daniel,” Jack’s anger burned the air.  “What the hell did that kid do to you?”

“Please, Jack.”

The urgent tone of his teammate’s voice brought Jack up short.

“Don’t make me tell this story twice,” Daniel asked, praying that Jack would see the sincerity in his eyes.

The colonel hesitated, then nodded once and walked towards the phone next to the door.

Jack listened carefully as Daniel told his story.  Before the general arrived Janet removed the bandage from Daniel’s forehead where he’d smacked it against Jack’s teeth, and gave him some Tylenol for the headache that kept his eyes slitted against the light.  His voice was low, controlled, as if he was reading from a report, trying to distance himself from his actions within the dream, but Jack had seen the torment on his friend’s face, and remembered the desperation in his pleas.

At one point Janet demanded that Daniel be allowed to rest, and her patient reluctantly agreed to a fifteen minute break.  Jack had met Hammond’s eyes outside the isolation room, walked to the nearest empty store room and punched the concrete wall.  The pain helped him stay in control during the rest of Daniel’s statement.

“General.” When Daniel had finished he looked Hammond in the eye for the first time since he’d begun speaking.  “We can’t let the Tok’ra, the NID, anyone get access to this information.  The whole point of this was to teach us that the genetic memory of the Goa’uld is laced with evil.  Nothing good can come of it.”

Hammond straightened.  “But you do remember some of this information, Dr. Jackson?”

Daniel shook his head and forced himself to smile tightly.  “Not the technology, sir.  That’s long gone.  And the rest,” he clenched his hands beneath the sheet where he hoped the others couldn’t see.  “Shifu told me it would fade, and I’m very happy to say that it is.”  He slid his eyes towards Jack.  “Of course not before I made a fool of myself.”

“And how long do you think it will be until the memories are gone for good and you’re all fine and dandy and not demanding that I shoot you?” Jack wondered aloud, dark eyes not missing a thing.

“I don’t know about fine and dandy,” Janet replied curtly, “but Dr. Jackson’s last round of blood work came back normal and his blood pressure is back on track as well.”  She smiled down at Daniel before turning to face the general.  “I’d like to observe him for at least 24 hours just to make sure, sir.”

“Very well.”  General Hammond stood and moved next to Daniel, placing one strong hand on the young man’s shoulder.  “Dr. Jackson, sometimes I find myself wondering just how I’d deal with some of the things you’ve managed to survive in your young life.”

The archaeologist blinked up in confusion at the unexpected remark.

“I wish I had your talent with words, but let me just say that I am proud to have you in my command, and damned lucky to call you my friend.”  Hammond reached down and unbuckled the strap around Daniel’s right hand, then shook it firmly.  “You are undoubtedly one of the finest men I’ve ever met.”

Daniel felt his skin flush and dipped his head, touched by the general’s words but especially by the small gesture of trust.  “Sir, I…”

Hammond smiled and patted his arm.  “Son, you just concentrate on feeling better.  Let me take care of the political fallout.”  He leaned in closely.  “That’s why they pay me the big bucks.”

Jack waited until the others had gone before approaching him.  He didn’t have to say much, Hammond took care of that, but he could read behind the weariness in the blue eyes.  “Can you do it, Daniel?  Can you let it go?  Put it behind you?”

“I hope so,” Daniel answered honestly.

Jack’s mouth tightened.  “Listen up, then, because I’m only going to say this once.  You may have lost some faith in yourself here, thanks to that kid’s meddling.”  He leaned closer.  “But you’ll never lose our faith in you.”

The warm presence of his friend washed over him and Daniel closed his eyes to feel another presence closer still.

<< “Sitting peacefully doing nothing, Spring comes, and the grass grows all by itself.”>>

Daniel smiled.

end

 

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