A Broken Dream
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or Stargate. No profit is made here.
Timeframe: After seventh season Buffy, previous to Stargate the movie.
Hey people. This is just a little rabid plot bunny that ate its way out of my brain late one night. Just for practice I decided to try it from a first person perspective. I really interested in everyone's impressions of how it worked out. Please tell me.
I break out of the nightmare with a jerk. Sitting up, trembling, I feel my heart doing its best impression of Thumper, on speed. The room is still dark; the sun hasn’t risen yet and I do my best to stifle any noises as I shift out of bed.
I don’t want to wake her.
A glance shows me a tousled blond head still half buried in the blankets. No movement. Good. I’ve given her enough to worry about over the last few weeks.
She knows something’s wrong. Stupid or unobservant are not words that apply to my girl. She’s about as far from those two things as it’s humanly possible to get.
That’s not to say she has any real clue as to what’s been upsetting me. Oh, she guesses a lot of things. But the truth? No. No one in this universe would guess that.
On this planet anyway.
I hate worrying her. I hate it. Particularly now.
I pad down the hallway and end up in the kitchen. The light over the sink is painfully bright after the darkness of the bedroom, a harsh acidic glare. That kind of discomfort is a relief, in comparison.
She got transferred to the Pentagon just a few weeks ago. “Officially” to work on classified data analysis.
She was practically levitating when she came home from the briefing. I think she literally bit her tongue to keep from even hinting to me what it had really been about. I’ve never seen her that excited about… well, anything. She wanted to share it with me but couldn’t. Classified.
Not that she actually told me that. Because even the fact that it’s classified is, well, classified.
Opening the fridge I stare into it.
Milk. They say warm milk helps you sleep, and God knows I can use the help.
I tug the milk carton out of the fridge and put a pan on the stove. I pause. Nutmeg? Nah.
Staring absently into the pot I stir, waiting for it to heat.
It’s not like she could hide it from me. I mean, hey, spouse here. I know her pretty well and she doesn’t get that excited over data analysis. Not the kind they’d be doing at the pentagon, anyway.
I sigh. The milk starts to bubble and I remove it from the burner. A few moments later I’m holding a warm mug and passing from the kitchen to the soothing half-light of the living room. I settle myself in one corner of the couch.
It’s not the fact that she’s lying to me that’s killing me. I have things I haven’t told her either. It’s the fact that I know what the briefing was about, what it means. Some part of me has been expecting it.
But I’d prayed that I had gotten it wrong and this was all some freakish coincidence.
I wasn't wrong.
God help me.
* * *
Something pulls me out of sleep. The bed doesn't feel right, warmth, a presence missing from where it should have been. I drag my head up trying to shake off the muzziness of sleep.
Alex isn't here.
Reaching an arm out, I feel last fading heat of his body. The faint sound of movement comes from the direction of the kitchen.
This is really beginning to worry me.
I slip out from under the covers but hesitate momentarily at the bedroom door.
Alex has always been prone to occasional bouts of moodiness, a sharp contrast to his normal good humor. Usually he would fall into these moods on particular dates, or when he's reminded of certain things in his past. Things he won't talk about, even to me. But I can see them in his eyes, see their marks on his body.
He wears his scars casually, most of them aren't visible with clothes on, the obvious exception being the eye. I know he doesn't think about them, most of the time, but sometimes something reminds him and a shadow passes across his face. But only sometimes.
But whatever this is is different, he's hurting. And it isn't passing or getting any better.
Why won't he talk to me?
The carpet is soft under my feet as I slip down the hallway. It's the thick pile type that tries to swallow your feet every time you put a foot down. A bit luxuriant for my taste, but Alex likes it.
The light over the sink makes me squint. The kitchen is empty. There's a pan siting in the sink that wasn't there when I went to bed.
I move back to the hallway and stop in the door to the living room .
There he is.
He's sitting wedge in one corner of the couch nursing a mug and staring blankly into the shadows of the far corner. There is this look on his face that twists my stomach in knots and makes me want to put my arms around him and sooth whatever is causing it away.
But I can't.
He won't let me in.
* * *
I sigh as the warmth of the milk seeps into my stomach. I'd much rather be lying in bed with a far more comforting human warmth next to me.
But I'd just wake her up, and worry her more.
My, the shadow on that wall are fascinating tonight. Hum. Much the same as last night, come to think of it.
My brain is trying to avoid the issue. A self-defense reaction I suppose. It's just trying to protect itself from the stress of contemplating where I am and what it means for the one woman in this universe that I love.
I tear my eyes away from the shadows. They aren't that interesting anyway. Same-old same-old.
How did I get here?
That’s the easy part to answer. Well, non-technically speaking.
Me, plus proximity to Hellmouth, plus misfired spell, plus interrupted ritual, equals me in what I think is a parallel universe. I think. It's not like I have Will or Giles here to answer my questions.
I can only go on what I know and I've seen evidence of alternate universes before. Doppelganger Willow was certainly an eye-opener. In more ways than one.
But is this just an alternate universe? Ohhh. Hell no.
No doubt the Devil is laughing his ass off.
I hope he sprains something.
Because I know this universe. I've seen it before. Though I didn't realize it at first.
It is so similar to my own. Everything is the same. Except for the lack of vampires, demons, Hellouths or any other thing even remotely supernatural. Like home, just without the dark, psychotic edge.
God and the Devil must have had a betting pool as to when I'd realize.
I grimace and take another sip of milk.
I hope they both sprain something.
Making a new life, letting go of the old took time. I moved, settled in. And then I met a girl.
Isn't that how it always starts with me?
She seemed familiar but I couldn't place her. It was the familiarity that gave me the courage to strike up a conversation. I mean, she was standing in a public bookstore paging through a book on something called Quantum Nucleonics. That alone should say we had nothing in common.
It was a little awkward at first, but we hit a rhythm and pretty soon she was laughing, and I was entranced.
I asked her for coffee. Needless to say, she accepted. Then she told me her name.
The familiarity clicked.
But it had to be coincidence.
So I put it aside. There had to be a lot of Samantha Carters around the multiverse. So what if this one look quite a bit like a certain actress back home?
She was also in the military. Air force.
For the first time thoughts of home faded into the background.
She was, and is, amazing.
Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. I saw the other signs, but by that point I think I just didn't want to know. To believe it.
A dad named Jacob. A brother named Mark. A degree in Astrophysics.
Then she got reassigned. The moving didn't bother me; the kind of carpentry work I do I can do pretty much anywhere. But something about the move pinged in my memory.
Then she levitated home from the briefing.
And looking in her eyes, I knew.
None of it was coincidence.
Something brings me out of thought and makes me turn my head. Some old instinct from my Sunnydale days.
A figure stands in the living room doorway. God she's beautiful. Her profile is highlighted by the light from the kitchen. It catches her cheekbones and shines off blond hair. Her eyes...
The look in her eyes.
That bites deeper than anything I am doing to myself.
I'm hurting her.
I close my eye and turn my head away.
* * *
His head turns away.
Damn it. Why won't you talk to me?
Pain, fear, a touch of anger all flicker.
He knows he's hurting me, us, but he still won't talk.
I turn in the doorway, back toward the bed and then stop.
The haunted pain from that single glimpse of his eye holds me. It reaches me in spite of my own pain and anger. The man has wrapped himself so tightly into my soul that I can't simply walk away. No matter the provocation.
* * *
It's amazing how much your ears can tell you about someone you know so well. She turns to leave. I can hear the motion. And then I block it all out.
I don't want to hear her walk away. That would break me.
But maybe it's for the best.
A weight settles on the couch and a warm form leans against me. My eye fly open and I stare down at the crown of her head as she settles it on my shoulder.
My chest feels tight, my vision blurs; her message is clear: I'm not going away. I'm here. I love you.
I turn into her a little and suddenly my arms are around her. I don't register doing it.
What do I do? I know what her life is going to be like for the next ten years or so. As long as I don't change things she'll be alright. But she's going to suffer.
I don't want her to suffer.
And I can prevent it. But what else will happen if I do? If I change something and she dies or someone else dies that didn't before, it will be my fault. They saved the world by such a small margin so many times.
Me simply saying the wrong thing could end the world. And more, because so many others will depend upon Earth's actions. My Sam is a critical part of all of that.
If I don't tell her and she finds out...
She'll hate me.
I hold her closer.
What do I do?