It had been one week since the very in depth nightmare had first occurred. Since then, Julian had dreamed of being tortured, bullied at school, buried alive, and operated on by that Romulan. It always ended the same, with a lick on the face and the words "You're so delicious."
As time passed, the intensity of the nightmares had somewhat decreased but he still always woke up in a cold sweat. After he awoke he could never remember a lot of the details. It frustrated him to no end that he knew he had a nightmare about a Romulan, but he simply couldn't remember exactly who he was.
Sighing, he leaned back in his chair, placing the PADD down onto his work desk. Did his dreams mean something? Surely they did! He doubted it was just a coincidence that he dreamt six days in a row about a Romulan, after he came back from Romulus. Something must have happened, but he simply couldn't think what.
Maybe it's a delayed response to my fear of my old teacher. Julian used to have a Romulan teacher when he was younger, before his enhancements. As a young student, Julian had always been the first to start and the last to finish. He was so eager to do the tasks but just couldn't! His teacher grew more and more agitated with him with every passing moment.
He remembered the time he was taken out of the classroom and the teacher talking to him about his homework, about how it wasn't good enough. Julian remembered how scared he felt at being singled out, the Romulan towered over him and he felt so tiny!
Deciding that his teacher from school and his recent visit to Romulus had a lot to do with the nightmares, he rubbed his tired eyes. He had done everything he needed in the Infirmary; everything was up to date, no patients. He just had to inform his nurse his shift was over, and then he'd go and visit the O'Brien's.
Raising himself from his chair, he turned round to walk to the main room when he heard footsteps. He walked in further to see the potential patient and was surprised to see who it was.
"Captain!" Julian exclaimed as he caught sight as Sisko standing in the Infirmary, cradling his right hand. "What happened?"
Sisko visibly started at Julian's voice. He turned round to face his CMO with an embarrassed smile.
"I was playing baseball in the holosuite with Jake" Sisko explained as Julian approached him and gestured to the nearest biobed. "I think I'm getting a little too old to slide headfirst into home."
Julian examined the injured hand carefully, not wanting to do any more damage. He could see it was bruised and by the way some of the fingers lay, it looked broken. Just to double check, he applied a gentle pressure and knew for sure the bones were broken when Sisko winced. "It looks like you have several broken fingers," He flashed his captain a smile as he gently placed the wounded hand onto the biobed. "Don't worry, Sir. I'll have you fixed up in no time at all."
When Sisko nodded, Julian turned around to gather the necessary equipment he would need to treat such an injury. Collecting a nearby tray, he moved to the storage area to place the tools onto the tray.
He placed each and every tool in neat precision onto the tray without thought and strolled back to the Captain, who was sitting patiently.
"Won't be long, sir," Julian called when he came to stop by the biobed, carefully picking up the injured hand. He reached down to the tray to grab the first necessary tool- his laser scalpel- but all of a sudden pulled his hand back uncertainly. He frowned at the device, why did he hesitate? It was just a scalpel, a tool he had used many times. Why did he feel so scared when his fingers brushed against the metal surface?
Pushing away the stupid thoughts, he once again reached for the scalpel. At the slightest touch, he immediately froze. He smelled the acrid stench of blood. But that wasn't right! Sisko wasn't bleeding, why-
Noticing the doctor freeze and stare in confusion at the scalpel, Sisko became slightly concerned "Something wrong?" he asked.
Julian couldn't hear him; everything was quiet around him. All he could hear was a distant scream, begging for mercy and pleading for someone to believe they didn't know anything.
Feeling a sharp pain, he looked down at his arms and blanched at the sight. His left arm was cut open from his shoulder to his wrist, blood streaming down from the wound and staining everything red. The pain was excruciating! It felt as if his arms and muscles had been sliced down to the bone. He couldn't stop the salty tears dripping off his face and falling onto the open wounds.
Sisko saw the pure horror on Julian's face. He observed as Julian's gaze moved from the scalpel and onto his left arm. He had never seen Julian look so utterly terrified and he was intent on finding out what it was that was causing the abnormal behaviour.
About to call out again, he saw Julian's face change from terror to intense pain, he winced and tears began falling out. "Doctor!" Sisko called out as he went to place a hand on Julian's shoulder, only for Julian to tear it away and collapse to the floor.
No! This couldn't be! Not his arms! The wound was so deep! Near enough irreparable! No! He wouldn't be able to use his arms again! He needed his hands! He was a Doctor! What's a Doctor without his hands? Oh God, Make it stop. MAKE IT STOP! PLEASE! MAKE IT STOP!
Sisko jumped up off the biobed and knelt beside Julian, who had sunken to the floor, clutching his arms tightly. His eyes were squeezed shut, his mouth moved but no sound was coming out. Staring intently at Julian's face to try and see what caused this dramatic change, Sisko noticed the tears for the first time, streaming freely down the Doctor's face.
Enough! Sisko had to intervene. He reached out with his good hand to grab the young man's shoulder, squeezing it firmly.
"Doctor!" Sisko whispered, not wanting to startle him. Julian just continued to hold his arms, tears overflowing as he began to whimper. "Doctor!" He tried again more forcibly, but to no avail. "Julian!" Sisko shook the young man, trying to pull him out of the nightmare only he could see.
Finally, Julian seemed to come back to reality as his eyes snapped back in to focus. He stared at Sisko with a look of confusion and fear on his face. His mouth hung open in utter shock.
Uh oh. Sisko feared he made it worse. The look Julian had on his face was unlike any he had ever seen. Oh, he had seen pain, fear, terror, shock. But never all at once and never on Julian. This wasn't right…
About to ask if Julian was okay, he startled as Julian rose to his feet, swaying unsteadily and gripping the biobed for support. Sisko followed suit and raised himself up to face Julian. "What happened?" Sisko questioned. "Are you alright?"
Julian blinked at his Captain, wondering what on Earth just happened. He couldn't remember anything. One minute he was about to heal Sisko's hand, the next minute he was on the floor holding his wounded arm. Wounded? Looking down, he expected to see blood or bruises or something. He was confused and worried when there was absolutely nothing wrong with his arm, but he was sure it was hurt.
Realising he hadn't answered the Captain's question; Julian raised his head to look Sisko in the eyes. He was just as shaken and confused as Sisko. Swallowing the lump in his throat, Julian answered quickly. "I-I-I'm fine now. Sorry, sir, but I, uh, need to go. I'll have one of the nurses come and heal you."
He didn't even wait for a reply when he stumbled out the room in search of a nurse, leaving Sisko alone by the biobed.
Sisko frowned as his CMO left him. Something was definitely wrong. He would have to keep any eye on Julian.
Julian found a nurse. Thank God! He wouldn't have to call one. He walked up to her and put on his best smile, pretended everything was absolutely fine "Captain Sisko is in there," he pointed to the adjoining room "He's broken his hand; you should heal it. I have some, er, very important thing do in my office." He lied and then smiled once more and entered his office. He immediately shut the door behind him and slumped against it, sliding down to the floor as he tried to deduce what had happened.
He was just going to do a tiny bit of surgery with a tool he has used countless times! Why had such a simple procedure bothered him? And what was that memory? It was so graphic! And detailed! It reminded him of the nightmare he had the night he came back from Romulus. Remembering nothing about what happened in the real world other than seeing the worried face of Captain Sisko, he felt like he was on the edge of a breakdown. And in front of Sisko too! Oh God, he had a fit right in front of his captain!
Julian buried his face in his hands, groaning at his embarrassment, but more worried than anything. What was happening to him?
To be continued...
Thanks for reading! Be sure to read part two, which will be posted by GeorgieGinger!