Notes: I've been wanting to do this one for a while, but couldn't think of a way. Then this his this afternoon. And I liked the way it played out.
This one is totally and utterly for Liz.
Illusion of Memory Drowned by ALC Punk!
The first time he wakes up, he can't help but ask her. His voice echoes in the room -- and it feels cold, he thinks. Because cold is the way to identify the phenomenon of his breath misting into space.
He has a memory, he thinks it's the first one he's ever had, but he isn't sure how he knows that. A grey room, with concrete walls and a machine that fills him with dread. He can see himself sitting in it. I care about her, he thinks. What a simple explanation. I wonder what it means.
This first memory is followed by others, and he tries to make sense of the fact that he isn't seeing them through his own eyes.
Until he turns his head and can see her nearby, looking at something. His own voice startles him. "Who am I?"
She looks up, blonde head tilted to one side. "Mine."
The answer is irrefutable with what he knows, and just enough. For now. He closes his eyes, and thinks, dolmata.
The second time he wakes up, she isn't there. He can feel that she's busy elsewhere, and so he sits up and looks around. The decor isn't great, grey chips and matte-black floor. And he knows he once said something about the style of the ghoul.
No. Not the ghoul. Wrong spelling, right pronunciation. In a flash of memory, he sees a pyramid exploding. Daniel, he thinks, we were wrong.
Daniel and Teal'c come in flashes. Moments of laughter, and tears. He doesn't remember the tears, and knows instinctively he wasn't there for them. Edora, he thinks. This is like Edora.
But that's wrong.
His restless movements attracted her. "You should still be sleeping."
He looks at her and finds his lips twisting, "Who am I?"
"Incomplete." But she smiles and reaches out to touch the side of his face. "Now lay back down."
She isn't supposed to be tender, he thinks.
Memories are cascading through his mind, the next time he awakens. They are fast and furious, full of pain and anger and death and destruction. And they're all from the wrong perspective, but he can't quite figure out why.
Only one or two stand out properly, and he remembers Ba'al and torture, and wonders if it was her fault again.
Impressions of the room solidify, and the memories suddenly freeze. He knows this place.
There is an inexplicable moment of panic, and then she is there, hand touching his cheek. "Sshh, shhhh. It's all right. You're alive and well."
But not whole. "Who am I?"
"A reflection of her memories." She says and then smiles.
And he remembers that smile and knows it's not supposed to be his. "Carter --" the name must be wrong, because she freezes and moves away from him.
He's left feeling like he's committed a vast sin.
"Of course you wouldn't remember." There's something oddly derisive in her tone, and she turns back to him, smiling again. "I love you."
The words blur into his memories, and everything should feel right yet doesn't. He finds himself falling asleep again. Damn, but he's sleeping a lot.
She is controlling his waking and sleeping, he thinks with startling clarity. He's been awake longer, this time. He hasn't asked her the question she seems to be waiting for. On some level, he wonders if this was always inevitable.
There are differences between her and the woman he first mis-took her for. A latent cruelty that flashes out on the edges of his vision, and he knows some of the memories are constructs, and some of them are real. And only two of them are legitimately his, but he isn't going to press the issue, because he thinks things might be okay this way.
He never used to lie to himself this badly.
Or maybe he did, but then, she always said he was a simple guy.
The blonde head comes up, those blue eyes stare at him for a moment, and she almost smirks. "Hey."
It's a difficult thing to know he isn't who he's supposed to be. Ironically, he wonders if this was all the Asgard plan, or if this is simply a new species propagating itself by any means necessary.
"Who am I?"
Reflections, incomplete, nobody.
"Jack." Her tone is amused, "Hit your head again, did you?"
He isn't Jack, but he's content to let her think he is. "Maybe. C'mere and kiss it better?"
She chuckles, and the undertone of destruction sends shivers down his spine.
The room is still cold and grey, lifeless, like the replicators. Bugs, he thinks as she moves towards him. We're nothing but parasitical bugs.
When they kiss he wonders how the world will end for the real Jack O'Neill.
Then he doesn't think at all.