Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate, or Daniel, or anything cool. :/ And is this really necessary?
AN: this story is a vignette involving Daniel contemplating his childhood and adolescence while in foster care.
Summary: That's the thing about working in a military environment – people don't want to talk about the past very often. Which is fine by me.
Warnings: this story deals with the after effects of childhood sexual abuse (non-graphic, but it's in there). Read at your own risk.
God, please…please…this has to stop!
It's early – maybe 0200 hours, if that – when I wake up, jolted by the nightmare, a cry half emerging from my throat, and a sick feeling in my belly, burning for release.
I push down the bile, the thoughts, the very muffled pain and try to focus on something safe – something good – anything by the dream, the images, the past. I do not want to get sick again, but the images are coming quicker now, more insistent – relentless. I can feel it coming…the sick…and I know I need to get out now. I can only hold off the inevitable for a few moments, I know this from experience, and so I rise gingerly – not wanting to disturb Jack or Teal'c.
A brief glance then: I watch them enviously as they doze.
Jack breathes evenly, lightly snoring, one hand curled up under his chin like a little kids, as he turns every few seconds. He's a light sleeper at the best of times, so I say a silent prayer that he was not awoken by my nightmares.
Teal'c, conversely, is dead to the world - his face serene, no movement coming from his side of the tent.
Neither has heard me.
In fact, the two look about as blissful as anyone can look while sleeping in such a cramped space, in desert territory no less…
The only good thing about the desert is that it does get cool after the sun goes down, and the winds can testify to this fact as they're now whipping about, howling in the night.
Yet, peculiarly, I am coated with sweat – a scent of sweet and sour, like bile, stomach acid – and for one insane moment I wonder if I've vomited in my sleep, unaware.
But that's crazy. I couldn't have slept through something like that.
Which is, of course, the reason why I woke up in the first place. The need to vomit is strong.
Opening the zippered flap, I pick up my sneakers with one hand and then re-zipper the flap behind me,
When I'm outside, I sit on the dry earth and squish my feet into the shoes – not bothering with untying the laces. I just…need to get it over with now. Before it comes up on its own, and alerts everyone to the fact that I, Daniel Jackson, am so completely fucked that I have been waking up for the last two weeks only to throw up my guts.
That would not go over well. I can just picture it.
They'd want to know why. There would be questions. At first they would think I was ill, gastroenteritis maybe? Food poisoning?
And then, if it happened again…and it will – they'd put two and two together and realize that it's not really physical at all.
Long, lost, pushed aside, repressed emotions – but emotions all the same.
So then, it wouldn't even be a case of seeing Fraiser, getting some sort of treatment. There would be no options – save for a trip to the resident SGC shrink, and that's just not an option.
I don't want to even think about this stuff in sleep. I'm certainly not going to talk about it – willingly – with a complete stranger.
Completer stranger? What does THAT mean?
Or anyone else, of course. No one.
The idea of someone learning about this – of all this – is not a thought I welcome.
I've got to get away…now…
I can feel the cereal that I ate for dinner last night clawing its way up my esophagus.
So I sprint away from the campsite – to the outer edge of our territory, taking in a deep breath of air, before I bend over, clench my stomach, and vomit into the soil.
Tattered bits of semi chewed honey nut cheerios exit my mouth, and I wince – my throat tight, sore, my body shaking with the effort of getting sick, and my heart racing.
I close my eyes then, and try to will the nausea away, but my stomach flops again, and I find myself bending over once more, a fresh stream of sick racing out of my throat.
I cry out then – exhausted, upset, scared of what is happening to me – my reactions, my fear, my anger, my memories, returning.
A hand then, on my shoulder – gentle yet firm, and I freeze, my sob quieted by shock.
I hear her shush me then – she sees me, my pain – and I crumple into the ground, mortified, caught.
"It's okay, Daniel."
I wipe at my eyes with the back of my hand, disgusted with the scene before me, sickened by the stench of throw up, and Sam hunched down, rubbing my back – seeing me. I'm exposed.
"How did you know?" and my voice sounds strange then – hollow.
"I was up the other night to get water, and I thought…I thought I heard something. And then today, you were so…quiet, so removed, and I thought…something was wrong. You've been losing weight, too, and you're gone after meals sometimes…and now…"
I sigh, stressed and unsure of how to proceed.
"I…didn't…didn't mean for this to happen."
And I glance at her then, her face half cloistered in blackness, have exposed by moonlight.
"I just…can't help it anymore. I…it doesn't…it…I can't…"
Panic now…fresh, unbridled.
"You can't tell them! Oh god Sam, they wouldn't understand!"
"I don't understand!"
Oh god, oh god…she's going to tell Jack. And Teal'c.
My hands find their way to the loops on my jeans, and I pull, strangely tense, needing to tear something, needing to release something, nervous, tense.
"Daniel, calm down!"
"They can't know. Promise me!"
She grasps my arms at that, trying to still my attack on my jeans, and forces me to sit down.
Rubbing her thumb over the top of my hand, she says evenly, "I can't promise you that, Daniel. I can only promise to be your friend. I don't want you to hurt yourself any more."
Wha…? What? She doesn't think…? No, no….
"You think I'm doing this deliberately?"
She looks…tentative, and then, "aren't you?"
I can't believe this… I honestly cannot believe this…
"I'm not bulimic, Sam…"
"Okay, you're not. Ok. If that's the case…then why are you acting so secretive? And why are you sick? People don't throw up for no good reason. And this has been going on for a couple weeks now, hasn't it?"
I nod, begrudgingly.
"So? What's going on?"
My heart is still beating so fast.
"Daniel? Come on…talk to me."
I can feel them – the tears.
"I don't want to talk about it."
She starts to stand then, abruptly.
"If you can't talk to me about it, well – you'll need to talk to someone about it. You can't keep doing this. It's…it's dangerous."
"Damnit Sam! I don't have an eating disorder!"
She's quiet, waiting for me to continue.
"I have nightmares. Okay?"
I watch as her face takes on a new expression slowly.
"These nightmares are making you…sick? To this degree?"
I nod dumbly.
"Yeah. They're pretty bad."
Damn it. Don't cry. Please don't cry.
"Sha're?", she supplies.
I shake my head, resolutely.
"No…some stuff…some pretty fucked up stuff happened to me when I was a little kid."
She sits besides me then, waiting patiently for me to go on.
"I…it was when I was…10…10 and 11. I was in foster care. The Merell's…", I spit the name out, and close my eyes.
Despite her stillness, I can feel the imploration… 'go on…'
When I try to speak again, my voice wavers, and I take it a deep breath, urging for control, stability.
"Remember when we were on PX204G7?", I try a different approach. The direct approach being too hard.
Sam nods hesitantly. "How could I forget? You punched our host…and Jack socked you in return, Teal'c held you down – you were…wild. Daniel…you were on leave for two weeks…you risked…"
"The guy was raping his son", I interject, my voice dropping off at the end.
No movement then, no sound. I feel Sam freeze; her hand stops its circular motion on the back of my arm, shocked into stillness.
"Bylin was raping his son."I grind out.
"Daniel, what are you talking about?! What in…?"
"He told me. The kid. Hebertus. Hebertus told me. He confided in me, before…the day before we were to leave."
Sam is rocking slightly on the heels of her feet, a pale, greenish cast set to her skin.
"You let Bylin be shot, didn't you? You didn't even try…you…"
The Gould. Screaming, shouting, implorations… "Wait!" and me, running – not looking back. The blast. Bylin falling, contorted features, pain wracking his body.
"Of course not! He…he may have done some terrible things, but I didn't set out to get him killed. They were shooting at all of us, and had I gone back…"
She analyzes that, analyzes me.
"And you didn't say anything? You didn't TELL US?"
I'm immediately defensive.
"He was dead Sam. It…it wouldn't have made a difference. It wouldn't have…changed the past…what happened to Hebertus. It never makes any difference…it's done, and he…he'll just have to deal with it, move past it, put it behind him, deal with the pain of it. But Bylin is gone…at least he won't hurt that kid again."
She gets up then, features strange, expression foreign, and begins to pace.
"This isn't like you. WHAT were you thinking? That kid should have seen a doctor…he should have…"
Grief, regret – yes, I feel those, but I feel something deeper.
"He didn't want anyone else to know, Sam. He was…13. A man, in his culture. He was…shamed, and he barely told me…could barely tell me."
She's angry now.
"A man? He was a 13 year old kid, who confided in you about sexual abuse…and you let it go?"
I can feel myself growing angry, too.
"He begged me NOT TO SAY anything. I was respecting his wishes. What would you have liked for me to have done? Insist he come back to the SGC, have Fraiser look him over?"
"Yes", her tone is brisk.
"It wouldn't have made any difference! He wasn't physically injured…not badly…it was…deeper than that, different. What could Fraiser do? Nothing, that's what! Absolutely nothing…just draw out the experience for him. Make him relive it. He didn't want that. I didn't want that for him!"
She's looking at me incredulously.
"You don't keep things like that secret, Daniel. When kids are hurt…you…"
I've heard enough.
I know all about kids being hurt, and Sam thinks she has the right to lecture me?
Bylin was gone, and Hebertus just wanted to move on, and who could blame him? There was nothing anyone could do for either situation – not for the dead man, nor the raped child.
I begin to walk away.
"Daniel! We are NOT done discussing this!"
Hot anger lashes my sides, works its way into my throat like the bile of earlier.
"You think I DIDN'T care about him, is that it? That I didn't feel for him? That I didn't want to help him? I did help him, Sam – he confided in me, and that's the most that anyone in that situation can have. Cause he was little and scared and that's how things are! Sometimes kids get hurt like that, and it's horrible and it hurts like hell, but he had someone to talk to – he had that much. He had me – and that's more than some of us had!"
And I've said too much. I can see it – the expression of horror, raw and open and real.
"Oh my God", she's barely speaking, her voice barely above a whisper, "Daniel…"
I need to get away. I need to be alone, and I shake my head to get her to stop…trying…to console me, to stop her ministrations.
"It doesn't matter Sam."
Tears fill her eyes.
"I didn't know. I'm so sorry…"
I hit the dirt with my runners, and a plume of dust fills the air.
"He's going to be okay now, Sam. It'll get better for…for us both. I just…it's…I…I don't like thinking about it. I can't think about it. When I do…I get sick. It…I can't help it."
Her eyes, large and blue and wide are begging for my own to make contact, to look at her, but I can't. I can't look at her – I can only look where she is not, before I turn and walk away, my emotions too strong, too forceful, willing my self to calm down.
I'm so sorry…
Her words thunder in my head, over and over again, like a mantra, and when I finally get far enough away from the tents, from Sam, from everyone and everything, I crouch down, compress in upon myself, and sob.
A/N: Dark, I know. This may be kept as a stand alone, or I might add to it at some later time. R/R please. :) I'd love to hear what you guys think, angst aside!