Disclaimer: Earth 2 and all related elements, characters and indicia are trademarks of Amblin Entertainment/Universal © 1995. All Rights Reserved. All characters and situationssave those created by the authors for use solely on this websiteare copyright Amblin Entertainment/Universal © 1995.
by Tara O'Shea
Julia couldn't sleep. Frankly, no one expected her to. Ever since admitting to Devon that she had let a quite possibly suicidal man alone for hours on end because they'd had an argument, the group had been casting her odd looks, some sympathetic. Others not so sympathetic. Devon had ordered her to try and get some sleep with a motherly smile plastered on her face, and Julia had distractedly agreed, retiring to her tent and laying down on the cot. That had been hours ago, and she still lay awake, staring at the tent above her head, shadows forming patterns before her eyes; Alonzo lying dead someplace, or worse, hurt and needing her... needing a doctor.
It was all her fault.
Okay, part of it was his fault, but she should have known better. After all, he'd been despondent when she'd awakened him that morning. She kept thinking that he would feel better if he just stopped thinking about what he'd lost, and started concentrating on regaining the use of his leg. And like a dutiful doctor worried about her patient, she'd only addressed his physical health, believing that mental health would follow in time.
Some doctor she was. Physical therapy had not gone well, and what had she done? Blown her cool completely and given into her anger. That was most definitely not the course of action a doctor should take in such a situation. She'd never before in her life chewed out a patient, not even to goad them into admitting they needed help, needed to face facts.
She had just gotten angry. Furious, actually. Angrier than she'd ever been before with a patient. And now she might never see her patient again.
I am a fool, she closed her eyes, and clenched her fists.
Dammit, where was the cocky, smiling pilot that had hit on her fairly constantly just weeks ago? He had disappeared as soon as she'd told him his leg would takes months--not weeks--to heal, disappeared with the first Terrian dream.
He had dreamed of her.
Well, of course he had, she'd spent practically all her time with him since the crash. That was to be expected, when you spent as much time together as they had for the past few weeks, even she'd... well, not exactly dreamed of him. Not exactly.
Daydreamed, maybe. Remembered the fleeting sensation of his fingers brushing her cheek to wipe sleep from her eye. Imagined those same fingers caressing her cheek, curling beneath her jaw, thumb tracing the curve of her bottom lip...
Oh yeah, very professional thoughts.
But he had changed so much. The slick, the-universe's-gift- to-women sleepjumper, the act he put on had been stripped away, and she had seen him. Alonzo. Scared, in pain, angry, and alone. And she wanted so much to tell him he wasn't alone. But he twisted her words back in her face, intent on being as miserable as possible, and all the while haunted by the dreams of the beings who swam through the soil beneath their feet like minnows in a stream.
She didn't think they'd taken him. She'd told Magus they hadn't, but she admitted now that was more to convince herself, and hadn't been based on any facts, but her own overwhelming need for him to be okay. Out there somewhere okay, not kidnapped by aliens. Or natives, whatever... She was losing her mind...
They really forgot the bedside manner chromosome when they made you, didn't they. Didn't they...
He'd hurt her. God, he'd hurt her. Didn't he realise she couldn't help being what she was? Just because she was a chromo- tilt didn't mean she had no feelings. And his words have been chosen to wound, his tone had cut straight through her, and she had wanted to strike back.
Good doctors didn't snap at their patients.
Good doctors didn't walk out on their patients.
Good doctors didn't want to strangle their patients.
Good doctors sure as hell didn't imagine what their patients kissed like.
"What the hell has happened to me?" she whispered, eyes open again and focused on the canvas above her head.
She closed her eyes, forcing her breaths come in measured intervals. She had to try and sleep, even if it only meant an hour or two. She wasn't going to be of any use to anyone, especially Alonzo Solace, if she didn't rest a while. Her eyes drifted shut, and she tried counting backwards from a hundred. That always seemed to help when she was back in med school, and too hyped to sleep.
She finally started feeling a little more relaxed around five hundred. Seven hundred, and darkness nipped at the edges of her consciousness.
She saw him in her mind's eye with startling clarity. Her recall was another thing she could thank her parents for. She cursed it now, as she once again saw him bleeding, alone, hurt...
No. That was not helping.
She rolled over on her side, wrapping her arms around the pillow and squeezing it tight, and forced herself to picture him happy, and alive, and safe back with them. Back with her. As crazy as he made her, as frustrating and heart-wrenching as it was to slam up against that wall every day, she wanted him back. Because... just because.
She could think these thoughts alone in the dark. In the bright light of day, no. But now... Now she could just pretend that there wasn't this gulf between them, widened by her genes, his dreams, broken legs and broken promises. For just a second, she could imagine, put aside the doctor for a moment and just feel...
What it would be like to touch his soft dark hair, feel the strands between her fingers. Trace the curve of his cheek with a fingertip...
She squeezed her eyes tightly shut, but the sensations continued. She imagined the lines of his shoulders, what the smooth warm flesh would feel like beneath her hands, what his arms would feel like around her if she pressed a kiss to his collarbone, would his stubble scratch her cheek if she ran her lips along his jaw to kiss his ear...
If anything were to happen to him...
Okay, so it was purely physical. And hopeless, and silly, and impossible...
And that didn't stop the images that raced through her mind, clutched at her chest, raised gooseflesh along her arms.
She tried to let the darkness swallow her, just for a little while.
Julia opened her eyes, expecting to see the grey expanse of tent over her head, and found instead cave walls high as any cathedral. She was lying in a soft white tangle of blankets and pillows, and she stood up, pushing her hair from her face. She could hear her feet scrape the sandy soil, the cool air inside the cave lift her hair.
She saw Alonzo standing with his back to her.
"Alonzo?" she reached out to touch his shoulder, smiling. "How...?"
He turned around, his dark eyes unreadable, and that was when she realised she was dreaming. Having quite possibly the most vivid dream of her life. He caught her wrist, rubbing his thumb against the inside of her palm, and smiled. She felt every inch of her come alive at that small touch, and she licked her lips as he reached out to stroke her cheek with his other hand.
She sighed as he twined his fingers in her hair, and she laid her hand on his chest, feeling the muscles move beneath his shirt, the warmth of his skin beneath her slender fingers as he leaned down and brushed her lips with his.
His arm slipped around her waist, drawing her closer, and she tangled her free hand in his dark hair as his mouth captured hers. His breath was warm on her cheek, and she swore she could feel his heart beating between them. Her own had quickened, beating out the time as he lifted her clean off her feet so her entire length was pressed against him. They tumbled backwards onto the bed in a tangle of limbs, and his hand slipped under her shirt to trace her ribs, leaving a trail of fire behind. She worked open his shirt and kissed his neck, her fingers grazing his shoulder, pushing his shirt aside as he shrugged out of his flight jacket which conveniently disappeared without hitting the floor. She gasped as his thumb teased the underside of one breast and she found his eyes again.
"I'm dreaming..." she murmured and he pushed her hair back from her forehead.
"Oh good..." she murmured before he kissed her again, and it didn't seem to matter anymore, what was real and what was fantasy. This felt real enough for now, and that was all she cared about. She caught his bottom lip between her teeth, and then slipped her arms around his neck, arching against him, their tongues meeting for a dance.
His hand slipped inside the waistband of her pants, tracing the curve of her spine and she moaned softly. So real... it felt so real...
Julia's eyes snapped open as she woke back in her tent. She touched her lips, sure she could still feel the soft pressure of his kiss. She glanced at her wrist. Only ten minutes had passed. Dawn was already lightening the sky outside her tent from impenetrable indigo to a startling rich blue. She ran her fingers through her hair, and tried to still the wild beating of her heart.
"What the hell was that about?" she muttered beneath her breath, and decided she didn't want to know. Definitely too much to think about right now, not while Alonzo was still out there somewhere, missing.
It was just a dream. Nothing more. She didn't have special dreams. Not like he did.
Then why did it feel so real?
Did she really want it to be?
"You're losing it, Julia," she chided herself.
Deciding to give up on sleep, she ducked out of her tent, the warm breeze that promised a hot day licking at her cheek and lifting her hair as she made her way up to a better vantage point.
Feeling lost and tired, Julia searched for some sign of the missing pilot as the sun rose higher and camp stirred.
Her eyes widened as she saw the ATV pulled up behind his tent, and sprinted down from the rise all the way to his tentflap. She ducked inside and then froze at the sight of Alonzo struggling with the crutches, a painful looking gash across his forehead already scabbed over. She schooled her expression, but disbelief and confusion shone in her blue eyes. He grinned.
"You're up early," he carefully set the crutches down and lowered himself to the bed, looking up at her,
"I'm up early?" She wanted to haul off and hit him. "Alonzo, you've had the whole camp in a state." What state he had put her in she didn't even want to attempt to articulate, and so she let herself fall back on their normal mode of discourse. Doctor chastising foolish, irresponsible, not helping one bit patient. "Where have you been? What happened to the ATV? What happened to your forehead?"
"I don't know what happened," he leaned forward and then back, looking up at her with a guilty schoolboy expression. "I went for a ride, I wiped out or something. Julia, um..." He took a deep breath, and licked his lips, concentrating on the ground. "I'm sorry."
She just stared at him, confusion and anger warring with relief. "You're sorry," she repeated, her voice edged, and then forced herself to be a little kinder. After all, he had apparently been through a lot. "What for?"
"I don't know, everything. I had a dream." He finally raised his eyes, and for a second, her heart stopped. Just for a second.
"And were the Terrians in it?" she asked, trying to pretend she didn't know, when she wanted to say and was I in it? but didn't dare. No, that would not have been good. Not at all.
"They were." He grinned again, sheepishly, and held up his hands in defeat. "Look, I don't know. Maybe I'm going crazy or something, but I feel like I'm healed." His smile widened as he finally found the words he'd been looking for all morning. "I'm healed," he repeated, smiling, and she couldn't help sharing it.
"Well, I hate to tell you," she leaned down and carefully moved aside the torn pantleg, revealing stained and bloody bandage, "but ah, your leg looks just as broken as it was yesterday," she observed sagely, but that didn't dampen his enthusiasm.
"I know." he said softly, and she couldn't help but notice his dimples. She just wasn't used to him in good spirits. It was such a change, it set her off balance.
With a start, she realised just how close she was to him, and moved back as if burned. "I'd better put a bandage on that," she gestured to the cut.
"Ok." His smile dimmed. Somehow, he had been expecting more of a reaction.
She got up and started towards the entrance, and then stopped, turning back around, nervously shifting her weight forward and taking a deep breath. At the sound, he looked back up, expectant, and she finally met his eyes.
"I'm sorry too," she admitted, and was rewarded by a look that said rather a lot more than she was really ready for, but that was okay. That was the Alonzo she remembered. That was the Alonzo she was going to enjoy getting to know better. With a self-satisfied little smile, she turned on her heel, and ducked out into the morning sunshine.
"Have you seen Alonzo?" Julia asked Eben, who was helping pack up the medtent, and she shook her head. Cameron looked up from the equipment he and Denner were securing, and jerked his head in the direction of some bushes covered in tiny yellow flowers.
Julia smiled as she saw Alonzo curled up in a ball in the meagre shade of the scrub, head pillowed on his flight jacket and dead to the world asleep, eyes flickering beneath their lids and brows drawing together just a touch in response to whatever dream he was having.
She hoped it was pleasant. She knelt down at his side and laid a soft touch on his shoulder as he slept on unaware. Just a little comforting gesture. For him, or for herself, she wasn't quite sure. Whatever thoughts she might have entertained, they had no place in the waking world. Not yet, in any case.