.torn apart. season four. absolute power. tag .

Power surged through him, coursing out savagely from the tips of his fingers. There was a flash then. A scream. Someone in pain, but even as something in him was horrified he felt himself smiling.

With a gasp, Daniel shot up from the bed, his hands clawing at white sheets--trying to find something to anchor him, keep him from everything that haunted him each time he shut his eyes.

It was Jack this time.

He'd killed Jack this time. And he had enjoyed doing it.

It isn't real, he would always whisper when he woke. Something in him always said back, oh, but it could have been. One different move from any of them, and it could have been.

He'd never told anyone about what Shifu had shown him--that year he had lived in his mind. They would only laugh if they knew. They'd think it was ridiculous. It was too real to him to find funny.

He had lived it. In his mind, granted, but he hadn't known that at the time. And he felt so much older now. As though he had dreamed a thousand years instead of just one.

He kept trying to convince himself that it wasn't really a possibility, what he had seen, but only an exaggeration. A worst case scenario that even had he taken the knowledge, never would have come to be. Someone would have stopped him.

But would they have really?

He wasn't naïve anymore. He knew how far the government would go to protect Earth. They would risk working with a Goa'uld if they thought they could gain from it--they would have worked with him. They would have stood by as he slowly took over the world.

Still, something about that seemed wrong. He had no delusions of grandeur. Could he really accept the fact that perhaps if one thing had been different, he would have found a way to take such total control?

Jack wouldn't have let it happen. Sam wouldn't--well, in the dream, she had tried to stop him. The Pentagon had let him fire her when they realized she might hinder the 'protection' he was creating for Earth. But Jack--Jack would have stopped him.

Jack was the only one in the dream that was wrong. If Jack had known, as he had seemed to, that Daniel was responsible for Teal'c's death then Jack would have confronted him. He wouldn't have quietly disappeared.

He wouldn't have waited so long to pull out a gun. He shouldn't have.

But maybe he would have.

It was hard to say. He and Jack had an unspoken agreement that they would rather die than be a host to the Goa'uld. And maybe he hadn't had a snake wrapped around his spinal cord, but in that dream, he'd been turned into a Goa'uld as sure as any host.

Jack would have stopped him.

He would have. He would have stopped him. Jack wouldn't let him do those things.

Daniel closed his eyes, and a vision of Sam flashed in his mind. She fell to her knees, screaming all the way down. He snapped his eyes open again, breathing heavily and feeling suddenly dizzy.

He'd had nightmares like these for years--but all the times before, he had been the one on the other side of the ribbon device. He longed for those nightmares now, when all he had to worry about was his own pain--they were so much easier to face.

He could hear his heartbeat, even over the roaring of the cars traveling down his sleepless street. His eyes strayed to the phone, and for a moment, he almost picked up. At the last moment he pulled his hand away. Jack had enough problems. He didn't need his as well.

He lay back down, and threw his arm over his eyes. He tried to remember the times he had been happy. Abydos was the first to enter his mind, but the place that had been his home twisted and disappeared, and he found himself back in the SGC, throwing Teal'c across the room with a ribbon device he had no real power to control.

He pressed his eyes shut tighter, trying to block everything out, but the visions only became clearer. With a groan, he opened his eyes. He stared up at the ceiling fan above his bed, watching as it spun around and the street lights reflected off the blades. He let himself become absorbed in its motion, trying to let it lure him away.

But the screaming in the back of his mind would not quiet, and one after another, he had to listen to his friends cry out in pain. Pain he had caused. Well, he hadn't really caused it. But he remembered it like he had.

He remembered everything about it so clearly. He remembered it with even more precision than he could recall all the things that had actually happened to him over the years. And it didn't matter how many times he reminded himself that none of it was real.

He toyed again with the idea of talking with someone, but dismissed it once more. It isn't like anyone else could ever understand--and the last thing he needed was to have it pointed out that none of it happened. He knew that already. The problem was, whether or not it had happened didn't change the fact that it tormented him still.

He tried to hold his eyes open, afraid to even blink, but this was another night among many in which he sought to avoid sleep--and it was catching up with him. People had noticed the shadows under his eyes, and this morning, he'd caught Jack watching him as his hand shook.

He couldn't avoid closing his eyes forever. He twisted his hands again around the sheets, and allowed sleep to pull at him. By the time his hands had relaxed and he was sleeping, he had been drawn back into the nightmare.