Jackfic Archive Story

 

Nothing More Than Dreams - General Jack Year Three - Part Seven

by Flatkatsi

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).


Nothing More Than Dreams

Memories and reality came crashing together as I struggled to rise, throwing off the hands that held me down. There were voices calling but I couldn't hear the words through the pounding pulse of my heart. I pushed away and shuffled backwards until I felt a wall, solid and reassuring against my back.

"O'Neill." Then, "Jack."

That one voice registered. The voice that had been with me all along.

Oh crap! I came back to reality with a thump.

I stopped moving, but kept my eyes closed.

Not good. No. Not good.

Crap.

I had to say something, so I opened my eyes and looked up.

"Hey, T. Did you just call me Jack? Way to go, big guy." I tried to keep my tone light, but the worry in Teal'c's face proved I hadn't succeeded.

He sat back on his heels and I took the chance to get up off the carpet. My joints protested the sudden movement, and I had to use the arm of a nearby chair to help straighten.

My three friends were all now standing, having beaten me up by several seconds. I was certainly the focus of everyone's attention.

Daniel was the first to break the uneasy silence. "Well, what happened? Did you remember anything?"

Enough. Too much. Not enough. Take your pick.

I gave a quick nod. "Yeah. Look, give me a minute, will you? I need to get a drink." Daniel made as if to hand me my wine glass, but I shook my head and headed for the kitchen, the others following as if they were afraid to let me out of their sight. There was a taste in my mouth that was eluding me, familiar yet not familiar. Whatever it was, it was damned annoying. I filled a glass with water and gulped it down in one long swallow.

The taste was still there, not as strong, but present nonetheless. I refilled the glass and carried it back into the lounge room. It wasn't until I was seated that I spoke.

"I don't know what's going on. I saw something, but whether I remembered it or I imagined it is the real question."

"What did you see, sir?" Carter hesitated, as if unsure. "Can you tell us?"

I stared down into my glass, watching the water ripple slightly. "It was a face."

"Someone you knew?"

"Yes." I nodded at Daniel's question. "But I can't... Something isn't right."

"What do you mean?"

"It's as if I'm remembering, but I can't see how that's possible." I lowered my voice, thinking out loud. "It didn't happen."

"What didn't happen?" Daniel had obviously appointed himself as spokesperson for the group.

"Nothing. Nothing happened."

"But who did you see, Jack? It could mean something."

"No. It doesn't." Daniel reeled back a little as I shouted. "It didn't work, okay." I felt rage burning inside me and barely managed to continue. "Now, I think I'm going to have an early night. Lock up when you leave." Inside I was shaking, still partially locked in nonexistent memories.

I made to get up, but a hand reached out and snared me, pulling at my arm. I caught it and twisted, hearing a crack.

The cry of pain, high pitched and anguished, registered in the maelstrom of emotions tumbling through my brain and I blinked.

Carter was doubled over, clutching at her left wrist.

Oh god!

I lurched up and ran for the bathroom, reaching the toilet just in time.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

"O'Neill!"

He wouldn't stop thumping on the door. From my position on the floor by the tub I could watch the wood reverberate with every hit.

"O'Neill!"

And he wouldn't stop shouting.

I was cold and numb and all my joints ached.

"O'Neill. I shall wait no longer. If you do not open this door within the next sixty seconds, I shall break it down."

What did it matter? It was just a door. I watched with interest as it bowed inwards, a loud boom resounding through the confines of the room. Another boom and the wood around the handle splintered and fell onto the tiles.

"O'Neill." He was in and over to me, the door hanging from its hinges. "You cannot remain here. Come."

Teal'c was always a man who knew his own mind. When he said something he meant it. I came - half dragged and unprotesting, all the way to my bedroom.

"Undress."

Huh?

"Put on your sleep attire and get into bed."

I obeyed while he watched, his arms crossed over his wide chest. At one point, as I slipped under the covers, he disappeared for a minute, reappearing with water and two tablets I recognised as the sleeping pills Kasanji had prescribed. He held them out wordlessly and I swallowed them down.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Voices murmured from the hallway, quiet but clear enough to hear.

"How was he when he came out of the bathroom?"

Daniel.

"He did not come out. I went in. He did not speak, nor did I attempt to speak to him."

Teal'c.

"You're angry."

Carter.

"I know he was not to blame, but the fact remains that he hurt you."

I rolled over to face the open door and found Carter looking straight at me.

"He's awake."

She entered, the others close behind, and I saw the whiteness of plaster showing below her sleeve. She came to the bed and sat on the edge, next to me, then twisted, reaching down and taking me in her arms.

"I'm sorry." I whispered, holding her gently, mindful of her injury.

"I know. It's okay." She brushed a kiss across my cheek and sat up, but left her hand on my arm.

It wasn't okay. It was far from okay.

"You worried us, Jack." Daniel knelt next to the bed. "Sam refused to go to the hospital until you came out, but you wouldn't answer. I'm sorry we left."

He was sorry they left? I would have thought they couldn't wait to get away.

Especially Carter.

I rolled onto my back and shut my eyes.

"We've been talking..." Daniel paused as if expecting me to comment, but then carried on. "We think it would be best if you saw Doctor Kasanji again. We don't seem to have been much help."

Yeah, plus I wigged out big time. I could see why they didn't want any more to do with me and my problems.

I nodded and turned away to face the wall. After a while I heard them leave.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

The smell of burnt toast had my stomach protesting before I was even halfway to the kitchen. I was surprised to find Daniel buttering what looked like the last of a tall pile of sacrificial offerings.

What was he doing here?

"Morning. Want some?"

I shook my head but he pushed a plate with a couple of slices towards me anyway, along with a large mug of coffee.

"Teal'c went for milk for the cereal. The only carton you had in the fridge was one solid mass. Sam's in the shower. We found a plastic bag to put over her wrist." He gestured with the butter knife towards a half open drawer, bags poking out through the gap. "Hope you don't mind." I pulled a chair out and sat, ignoring the toast but sipping the strong, black coffee while he kept talking. "I don't think Teal'c will be much longer if you prefer cereal."

"Oh, hi, sir. I didn't realise you were up. I hope the shower didn't wake you." Carter sat down next to me and I moved my chair a little sideways to make room. She smiled at Daniel. "Teal'c back yet?"

"No, but I've made some toast you can share while you're waiting."

Carter gave the blackened pile a considering stare and her smile widened. "Thanks, but no thanks."

Daniel shrugged. "I like it this way. It has more taste."

They were acting as if nothing had happened, but it had. I could see the cast on Carter's wrist.

They chatted while I drank coffee.

Teal'c's arrival with the milk set off a new flurry of activity, with Carter looking for and finding the cornflakes and Teal'c fixing himself some eggs.

Daniel refilled my coffee.

They wandered in and out, doing who knew what, whispering together. I wondered when they were going to leave me alone.

"Sir." Carter stood in front of me, flanked by Daniel and Teal'c. "I've talked to General Hammond."

I nodded and waited. She was going to press charges. Assault.

It didn't matter anyway.

"He called Doctor Kasanji and ordered a full copy of your medical records be sent to him. You have an appointment to see him tomorrow afternoon."

I drank coffee while Daniel spoke.

"I spoke to Doctor Kasanji, Jack. He just called, but I told him you were asleep. He said General Hammond had authorised him to speak to me and he let me know that he's scheduled you for several tests. Apparently he wants to rule out a physical cause for these symptoms." He paused. I drank from an empty coffee cup. "The first test is at the Academy Hospital in an hour, so we better get going."

I hadn't heard the phone.

I took the mug to the sink and rinsed it then headed for the bedroom with Daniel following, watching my every movement as I put on my shoes and found my jacket and everything else I needed.

The drive to the hospital was done in silence. Teal'c pulled into the parking lot and we headed for the front desk. Carter spoke to the receptionist. I waited.

She nodded to the others and they took up their now customary position on either side of me as she led the way.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

CT scan, MRI, x-rays, blood tests, urine samples - you name it, they did it.

All day.

And Daniel, Carter, and Teal'c followed me around the whole time as if they were afraid I would escape while they weren't watching.

It was all useless. Totally useless.

Teal'c stood over me that evening, glaring at me until I finished the bowl of soup he put in front of me, then he handed me two more sleeping pills.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

Daniel woke me soon after eight.

They were all still there. At some stage they must have gone home, because they had different clothes, but I had no idea why they had come back.

Teal'c intimidated me into eating a piece of toast and then I went into the lounge room and watched ESPN. I shook my head at Carter's invitation to have some lunch and studiously ignored Teal'c's dark looks. I assume they found something to eat because they sat in the kitchen, their voices low but constant, until they shepherded me into my truck for the drive to Peterson.

They were still with me when I reached the door to Kasanji's office. Carter knocked and I got shuffled to the front to be the first to enter.

The doctor had already risen and was standing in front of his desk, waiting. I saw a momentary look of surprise cross his face then he stepped forward.

"Colonel Carter, I presume." He put a hand out and shook hers gently, his eyes already fixed on the cast on her left arm. "That looks recent."

She nodded. "Yes, but I'd rather not talk about it." She smiled pleasantly. "It was such a stupid accident I feel embarrassed."

He gave a short laugh of understanding and moved on to Daniel and Teal'c as I stared at Carter in amazement.

Was she covering for me? She met my gaze and inclined her head in quick acknowledgement of my unspoken question.

"Although I am pleased to meet you all, may I ask why you're here?" Kasanji's words brought my attention back to him.

I waited for their answer with as much interest as the doctor.

There was a moment of silence as my three ex-teammates exchanged slightly embarrassed looks then Daniel once again took up his role of communicator.

"We wanted to make sure Jack got here."

"Was there any reason why he wouldn't?"

For once Daniel seemed at a loss for words, but Teal'c stepped into the breach.

"General O'Neill has not been himself these last two days. However, he has remembered more details of the dreams he is experiencing. It is for this reason we felt it would be beneficial for him to speak with you again."

Kasanji turned to me. "And how do you feel about the prospect, sir?"

I shrugged.

He seemed to take that as a positive, as he ushered the others to the door with a few pleasantries.

I wandered over to the water cooler and took a long drink, the same strange taste in my mouth once more.

Snow drifted down and filled my mouth.

"Jack, we'll be waiting."

Voices calling. Jack.

The door shut.

My body shook as it hit something solid.

"Sir, let's take a seat."

I was back in the doctor's office, a cup of water in my hand and ice all around.

Kasanji had my medical file. I'd recognise it anywhere by its sheer bulk. He tapped its cover with his red-and-blue-stripped pen, placing it on the table between us and picking up a much smaller folder instead. He looked down at it, reading as I sat in my now customary chair.

"First let me begin by saying, sir, that if it hadn't been for the unusual circumstance of your first consultation with me I would have ordered these tests before speaking with you. At your age a physical cause for these symptoms is much more likely. However, having said that, I have here the results of all but a few of the tests, and we can rule out many of the more common causes for sleep disruption and nightmares. You'll be pleased to know there are no signs of any infections, brain tumors, brain bleeders, or immune disorders such as Lupus." He pointed to the slim folder and looked at me as if to gauge my understanding of what he had just said.

I grunted a confirmation.

"Of course, that doesn't mean there isn't a physical cause - just one we haven't found yet. Given your extensive history of injuries, it is a distinct possibility." He put down the test results and picked up the other folder, needing both hands to keep it balanced. "I spent yesterday going through this, and I have to say I'm astounded by some of the items. I know I don't have the full story, and probably never will, but it certainly made for interesting reading."

Interesting.

Yes, well... Not quite how I would have phrased it.

I realized the doctor had stopped talking and was watching me. The silence stretched on for a few more minutes.

"I sense a change in attitude, General." He waited, but then continued when I didn't answer. "Perhaps if you begin by telling me what you remembered?"

"It wasn't much."

"Go on."

"A face."

"One you recognized?"

I nodded. "Yes."

He sat back. "Was it someone in a position of authority?"

"Yes."

He nodded to himself as if I had confirmed something. "Have more of the details become clearer?"

"No, not really. And anyway, it isn't real. It's just a dream."

Isn't it?

"Sir, there is nothing in your file to suggest you are likely to suffer hallucinations - either physical or mental. These dreams are more likely to be suppressed memories of something that did in fact happen."

I looked down at my fingers, flexing them.

"What we need to do is understand what triggered them and why you suppressed them in the first place."

"I would have thought that was obvious." I could feel the anger building again, my voice rising. "And they aren't real. They can't be."

"Good."

I looked at him in surprise. "What?"

"That's the first sign of the man I meet three days ago since you walked in here. Then you were in charge, angry but in control. That's changed. Now I see a man confused, depressed, and defeated."

"I'm not defeated. I wouldn't let that bastard defeat me!"

Never.

"Is it the guard?"

"No. I told you before; this has nothing to do with Iraq. This is some sick figment of my imagination I've dredged up from somewhere." My head thumped. "It didn't happen. I wouldn't have let it happen."

"You wouldn't have let it happen?"

"I don't know. Wouldn't let, didn't - whatever." I put my head back and shut my eyes. "Look, can I get an aspirin or something?"

"Have you taken anything today? Any medication?"

"No. Just those damn sleeping pills of yours last night, and before you ask, yes I did sleep, and no, I didn't have any bad dreams."

I just wanted a couple of aspirin, and I didn't need to sit through an interrogation to get them.

Kasanji got up and went over to his desk. I heard him pass my request on and it wasn't more than a minute or two before there was a discrete knock on the door. I didn't look up until he was standing next to me, a glass of water in one hand , the pills in the other. I gulped them down eagerly.

"How bad is it?"

I opened my eyes and gave him an enquiring look.

"The headache." He waved his hand vaguely. "I see from your records that you have a history of headaches."

Yeah. Stepping through the gate had its price.

"I did. Not so much now. I don't travel as much."

"And? You didn't answer my question."

"It's manageable." I sat up. "See. Better already."

He gave a quick smile of disbelief. "I'm sure." His pen tapped on the test results. "You're several pounds below your normal weight. When did you last eat?"

"I had breakfast."

He stood without comment and crossed to his desk again. I heard the word 'sandwiches' and tuned out, shutting my eyes again until his footsteps told me he had returned to his seat.

"I've ordered some food. While we're waiting I'd like to discuss the dreams." He picked up his notepad and turned back a few pages. "Please describe the latest dream in as much detail as you can." He looked at me over the top of his glasses and waited.

I shut my eyes again, putting my head back as I tried to remember as much as possible.

Tried not to remember.

"It wasn't a dream." He didn't speak, so I continued. "I have had some limited experience with a meditation technique and I remembered details while doing it."

"Did you try to remember or was it involuntary?"

"I was trying to remember."

Not remember...not wanting to face...

"Sir. General O'Neill?"

I straightened and gave him an irritated glare. "Do you want me to do this or not?"

"Sorry." He made a note and I wondered what he could possibly have seen worth writing down in that exchange. "We'll start with how you felt - physically I mean. You mentioned cold?"

"Yes." I tried to relax as much as possible. I had to do this. "I'm very cold, frozen. Numb." That was it - numb. I felt numb. "Like I'm not there. At least not completely."

"Is there anything else?"

"Pain." I pressed a hand to my chest. "Here."

"Are you moving?"

"No. I'm being moved."

He made another note, his pen moving quickly.

"Anything..." A knock at the door halted his words and an airman entered carrying a tray of food. Kasanji picked up the files on the coffee table and gestured at the airman to put it down in their place. I stared at the assortment of sandwiches and pastries, my stomach roiling.

He handed me a plate. "I know you don't feel much like eating, but you must."

Rather than argue, I took a plain cheese sandwich and nibbled at it, alternating bites with sips of water. It seemed to take forever to finish. Kasanji pushed the dish towards me again but didn't protest when I shook my head.

"Tell me about the hands. Think about it for a moment - is there more than one person?"

Isn't one enough?

"No." I hesitated, feeling their touch. "Yes. More than one." Stroking. "No... I don't know."

"What do they do?"

"Push. Hurt."

Shit!

The sandwich almost reappeared, but I swallowed and grabbed for the water. "Can we not do this right now?"

Kasanji nodded. "Of course. There's no hurry."

I rubbed my hands across my face, feeling worn and used.

"Now you've described what you feel, I'd like you to tell me what you see."

Him. But not him.

It was all wrong.

"White. I see white. That's all - just white. Everything's blurred, unfocussed."

"That isn't all."

It wasn't a question and I knew what he wanted. "No. The last time I saw a face."

"Blurred?"

I wish it had been.

"No. He's the one thing that's clear."

"And you have no doubt who it is?"

"None." He waited as I struggled to say it. Why was it so difficult? It hadn't happened. "It was my first CO after I graduated."

He turned to my file again, flipping over to the first section. "You were based at Hurlbert Field?"

I nodded. "Yes."

He flipped pages and I could see he was puzzled by something. He frowned and tapped the pen against his teeth again - a habit I was beginning to find annoying.

"Tell me about your CO. Did you have a good relationship?"

What?

"What the hell is that suppose to mean?"

"Nothing, sir, but I can see it means something to you."

I controlled my temper, worried at my own inability to keep my normal tight rein on my emotions. "We didn't get along." He didn't speak and I knew he was waiting for me to continue. "He was a bastard. Still is."

"Still is? You've kept in contact?"

"Hell, no! I ran into him a few months ago and again about...."

It all fell into place with a bang that should have been heard out in the corridor.

"General?"

"I saw him. At the Academy. The first nightmare was that night."

It was true. Kasanji had called them repressed memories. I called them denial. I hadn't fought. I'd frozen. They were his hands. His lips. He had been laughing at me - that comment to General Kerrigan. He was happy to have me under him.

I had given in.

"Ramsey. Colonel Ramsey. He made advances to me when I was first assigned to his command. It didn't happen that way at all. I spat in his face." I was trying to convince myself, but I could feel him.

"Did you report it?"

"I didn't think he was worth the hassle." I found out differently, but by then it was too late.

Something didn't add up.

"It's snow."

"What is?"

Snow. Falling.

"It's snow. The cold - there was snow. But that can't be right."

He put a hand out. The movement caught my attention and brought me back. I look at him, seeing his face instead of Ramsey's.

"Wait. Let's take this slowly." He glanced at his notes again and I realized they now covered several pages. "You saw this Ramsey the day before you experienced the first nightmare. Why then? Why after all these years, especially as you say it wasn't the first time you'd seen him recently?"

"He was with a boy. I remember thinking he was probably one of Ramsey's conquests. But he was only a kid - a cadet."

"And that upset you?"

"Of course it did! I wanted..." What had I wanted? To save him? "I wanted to stop him."

"Did you?"

"I didn't have to. The boy was his grandson. But Ramsey and I exchanged words and he ...there was something he said..."

"Yes?"

"He made a comment that implied we had had sexual relations. I thought he was just trying to upset me. Put me off. I was competing in a shooting competition. I ignored him."

"Sir, I think we have to explore the possibility that he wasn't lying."

I knew that.

"I made sure I was never alone with him. Plus, there wasn't any snow. It's snow in the dream."

I clung to that. It proved the nightmare was wrong. It wasn't real.

"Your records show you spent some time on a winter training exercise out of Ellsworth. There was an incident." He leaved through the pages. "Let me find it...ah, here it is. You were admitted to the base hospital with a grade three concussion and several cracked ribs."

"Ellsworth?" I shook my head. "That can't be right."

He pushed the file across the table to me. There it was in black and white. I had been in the base hospital for several weeks.

"I don't remember this at all."

"Retrograde amnesia is not uncommon in the case of a severe concussion. The accident could explain the dreams. You said you had pain in your chest - the injury to your ribs."

"So, it was real. Or at least partly. I could have imagined the rest."

Lips on mine. Hands groping.

"Not necessarily."

No.

Standing, I turned my back on him. I had my answer. It was explained.

It was.

It was over. I could sleep.

But I knew I couldn't.

I wanted to kick something. Hard. But instead I turned back and sat down.

"I know. There's more, and I have to find out the truth."

He nodded. "Yes, you do. But we have a place to start." He gave his watch a quick glance. "We'll end this here, sir. I'd like you to see me again tomorrow at the same time. Please make sure you have a proper meal tonight and I want you to take the sleeping pills." He held up his hand as I made to protest. "I know you don't want to, but you need to get some proper rest."

I agreed reluctantly.

xoxoxoxoxoxo

They were waiting, standing near the stairs, and I wondered if they had been there the whole time.

It was in the car on the way home that I finally realized. The taste, the one that had been in my mouth for days. It was the taste of anesthetic. I had been frozen.

Maybe it was just what it seemed at first - a dream. Just a dream brought on by a concussion.

Nothing more.

TBC


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