"No please-don't hurt her damn you! I won't let you!"
Juliet Burke woke with a start as she suddenly found herself under attack, in her own bed-and realized with even greater alarm that it was her lover James who was attacking her. It was he who was shouting; grabbing hold of her neck with a horrifying strength she didn't know he possessed, and squeezing to the point where she feared she might black out.
"James!" she tried to cry out, but she could barely get enough air out to make a sound.
She wasn't sure what terrified her more, the possibility of death by her own soulmate's hands-or the awful look in his eyes, one of pure revenge and hatred.
"Go to hell you bastard," he was saying through clenched teeth, and the death grip grew tighter. She was beginning to feel faint, and knew she had to do something, now, if she was going to survive; everything was happening so fast, yet so slow; she wondered if this wasn't a dream.
She managed to free her hand from where it had gotten trapped in the twisted bed sheets, and before she could think twice, she used all her force and slapped him as hard as she could in the face.
He cried out with pain and much to her relief let go of his death hold, tumbling off of her as she sucked in all the air that she could, returning that life force that she would never once again take for granted.
God, she was terrified, and even more so as she saw him staring up at her in horror, and she could not help but feel suddenly furious as he crumpled into a pathetic whimpering ball on the floor by her feet. "Oh Juliet...oh hell I'm so sorry," he kept saying-staring at her in utter shock and disbelief, and speaking in a voice of regret and shame she did not recognize, and more accurately, did not care for in the least. "I'm so, so sorry..." He was awake now and fully aware of the damage he'd done, but the last thing she was feeling at that moment was forgiving. This had happened before-these midnight attacks-where he'd start assaulting her in his sleep, reliving the trauma from his childhood that she knew about from reading his records. She knew they were nightmares; she knew he wasn't awake when he did these things and she also knew he couldn't help it-but none of that was going to loosen the affect it had on her. This time it had gone too far and she was not going to simply let it slide like all the others. He could have killed her just then-she could barely speak and her throat was on fire.
"Get some help James," was all she could manage to say bitterly in return. She wasn't going to feel sorry for him any more; let him clean up his own mess.
James lay in a heap on the floor in a state of shock. What had he just done? He couldn't understand how this had happened; one moment, he was in his parents' house, reliving the worst moment of his life-the next, he was in his room in the Barracks, practically suffocating the love of his life in a choke-hold.
What the hell is wrong with you dammit? he cursed himself, forcing himself to his feet. His legs felt like rubber; he wanted to scream, to find Anthony Cooper and kill him all over again.
When would it stop? The nightmares, the waking up drenched in sweat-fearing what he would possibly do next to scare her even more, terrified of harming someone he loved? He would never hurt Juliet while awake. He might have been traumatized as a boy, but he was the one who had to deal with it, not her; she did not deserve to relive it with him-and yet that was what was happening, and he could not seem to stop it.
It was the summer of 1976; they were still stuck in the Disco days, living under false pretenses in the Dharma Initiative; caught in a time warp that no one could find a way to break free of. The day was fast approaching where, halfway around the world, in another reality (or was it the same?) Anthony Cooper (known to his mother as his own alias, "Sawyer"), would confiscate all his parents' savings, sending his father into a downward spiral of madness and rage, leading to the point where he'd kill his own wife and himself. He would be the only survivor-having witnessed the killing of his mother and his father's suicide, all at just eight years old.
He thought his nightmares had been buried with Anthony Cooper; apparently, he was wrong-for the closer the date got, the worse the nightmares became. July 8th was now only two days away…he didn't want to think about what would happen when it arrived. He knew it was crazy, but somehow he feared that time might obliterate him; that it was too absurd to have survived the same date twice (after all, when was life ever that forgiving).
James couldn't bring himself to discuss any of this with Juliet. Though they shared most everything with each other, he could simply not bring it up. He knew she was aware of his past from reading his records, so there was no need to inform her of it-which was a welcome relief. He wondered if she was thinking about what this upcoming day meant for him, but he dared not ask for fear of entertaining a discussion he'd rather not involve himself in. He'd rather just read a book and forget that his "other self" ever existed. With Juliet he felt free-up until a time, that was-because the day was coming upon them all too quickly. He was on an amusement park ride that was out of control and there was no telling when or how (or if) he could ever get rescued.
Now he'd gone way too far and scared her to the point where, it seemed, she could not even look at him-let alone accept an apology from him.
He knew she needed space so he did not run after her; it was useless-it would only make things worse. She'd probably go for a walk around the barracks to calm her nerves like she had every other night that something like this had occurred (much too frequently for either one's tastes). In the meantime, he'd make coffee for them both and wait expectantly for her return, because he knew that neither one of them was getting any more sleep tonight.