Sheets damp and tangled around legs that were tones and defined, Daniel Jackson presented the picture of tortured sleep. His brow was creased, eyes shut tight against any stray light that might somehow, some way, make its way into his room, deep in the heart of the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. One arm was slung up over his head, hand curled into a relaxed fist of sorts, while the other hand lay splayed across his stomach over the thin white cotton of his t-shirt.
He sighed in his sleep, a half moan escaping from barely parted lips. It was loud in the otherwise silent room, shattering that quiet that comes with sleep.
Daniel rolled onto his side, the sheets only tangling further around him. His hand fell away from his stomach, flopping bonelessly onto the standard issue bed of his ‘home away from home’, the quarters that he’d been assigned upon admission into the Stargate program, though he’d rarely used them. He had a much more comfortable bed at home.
The tiny crinkles around his eyes lessened minutely and a tiny, nearly imperceptible smile turned up one corner of his lips before a sigh broke from between them, followed by a name.
He didn’t recognize this place, though he couldn’t say that it honestly mattered to him, either. PX…something or other, of that much he was sure. It looked like any one of the dozens upon dozens of stuck in the past planets that he’d had the joy to visit over the years. The sun was a golden orb in the blue sky, raining down warmth on his skin. The clearing was easily large enough to accommodate a small village, just as it was, with trees providing a natural boundary on all sides. Everywhere he looked villagers were just…living. Going to market, tending their chores – they did it all with little smiles on their faces and a greeting on their lips. It was this kind of simple life that he sometimes found himself envying when he went off world.
As he watched from the edge of the market a figure broke free from the crowd, wandering towards him with single-minded purpose. Recognition flooded through him and a smile touched his lips as golden hair caught in the sun.
She paused, a frown creating her pretty features. When had she let her hair grow out…and curled it no less? Not that he was complaining, the small ringlets suited her facial features, providing a natural and radiant frame to her face.
“Who is Sam, my love?”
Not Sam, his brain supplied belatedly as the oddly metallic voice came from her mouth. This was Jolinar. His…Lantesh’s…mate. God, why was it so hard to keep things straight now?
This was also not real, he was forced to admit. Despite the feel of wet earth beneath his booted feet and the smell of fresh bread in his nose, this was either a dream or a memory. Or, he added as an afterthought, a dream influenced by memories. That was the theory he was going to lean towards, anyway, given that he was seeing Sam as Jolinar, here in this place. His mind had grasped onto his memories, Lantesh’s memories, and was weaving them into something that he found quite pleasurable, if not mildly disturbing.
“No one,” he offered with a hesitant smile, discreetly looking her over. She was dressed to blend with the villagers while he was still in his BDUs. But, as all dreams seemed to go, what seemed to be odd to him was overlooked as nothing out of the ordinary to the occupants of the dream itself. Fragmentary peoples and personalities that his imagination was supplying from snippets of memories.
“You appear troubled,” she frowned before her expression faded into another smile. “Yet you are here and well – the raid went as planned?”
Daniel forced himself not to move out of reach as she laid a gentle hand on his arm, sparkling eyes meeting his. “Um….yes. The raid went well.”
She smiled wider. “One day Ra shall fall once and for all.”
Memory, perhaps, after all. A conversation, encounter, from before the fall of Ra and long before Jolinar and Lantesh would be separated by the harsh realities of death.
But why show Jolinar as Sam instead of the host the symbiote had occupied at that time? Was it not bad enough that he was having these…feelings for her when he was awake?
“I’ve gathered things for a picnic by the lake.”
Sam would –never- lick her lips like that. Daniel felt his skin heat up in a flush and he knew he could deviate from the memory, force the dream to adhere to what he wanted instead of the direction it was taking on its own.
But he didn’t want to.
It was Lantesh’s influence and that remaining portion of Jolinar that remained in Sam, but that wasn’t all. Sam was one of his closest friends and, somewhere in the back of his mind, he’d wondered what it would be like to be something more with her.
And now he had all of these urges, feelings, that were making things complicated…
He took the hand she held out to him, reveling in the feeling of warmth on warmth, flesh on flesh.
“A picnic sounds great.”
Daniel wrestled with the conscious world, unwilling to give up the dream that had invaded his mind. It was a welcome respite from the nightmares of nights prior or the dreamless sleep Lantesh had been able to bless him with on a few occasions. Those nights were torturous and this…was a slice of heaven. But sleep was fading fast, something was going off nearby. An alarm steadily blaring its wakeup call. He slowly opened his eyes as slumber lost the last of its hold on him, sending him jolting back to waking.
He sighed in frustration and reached for the off button on the alarm, sending the room back into blessed silence. The dream had been getting…good. Perhaps a little too good, given that Sam was only his friend, not to mention a coworker that he had to be able to look in the eyes each and every day.
Yet…it had felt so good.
// You care for her, why do you not act on those feelings?//
The archaeologist rolled his eyes. It was too early in the morning to deal with deep, meaningful topics such as this, and he communicated as such to Lantesh.
//I apologize if the memory disturbed you, Daniel. I will attempt to shield you from other such intrusions if they cause you worry or irritation.//
“It’s not that,” Daniel muttered when it became clear that telling Lantesh he didn’t want to have this conversation wasn’t going to work. For all that he thought he’d gotten somewhat used to having the symbiote in his head, there were still things that annoyed him.
Like not being able to get away from that voice in his head. The one that had hundreds of years of experience under his proverbial belt and was more than ready to share it with or without being asked.
//Then what is wrong?//
“She’s…Sam,” Daniel shrugged. “I wouldn’t want to lose a friend just to gain a girlfriend for a week or two.”
//I would not trade the time I had with Jolinar and her hosts for anything,// Lantesh offered after a few moments of silence. //The Tok’ra live knowing with every breath that we may very well die at any moment. Love is cherished and revered when it is found, however brief it may be.//
For once, Daniel didn’t have the slightest clue how to respond.