AN: As usual, I don't own anything that gains a profit from any part of the Stargate Saga...though I can think of a few characters that I would like to have *wink*. I don't have a beta, so any errors are my own (and I hope there are few). Read and leave some crack...er...reviews.
Deciding that maybe a cup of cocoa would help calm her nerves enough for her to fall back to sleep, she changed course and headed to the mess instead.
She got her cup of cocoa and sat at a table that would allow her to look out of the windows to the starry sky beyond, allowing her mind to wonder where it wanted to go.
Her mind drifted almost immediately to the nightmare that she had. She hadn't had one that vivid or nature since she had been in med school. And though she'd had dreams in the past that had included her friends, never had any of them been the antagonist, especially one Lt. Col. John Sheppard. When he entered her dreams, they usually took on a different nature entirely.
Jennifer had been so lost in her thoughts that she did not hear the person that had entered the mess until he had pulled out a chair beside her, causing her to jump slightly, and sat down.
"Sorry, Jen, I didn't mean to startle you," John Sheppard said. "I didn't know you would be up now, I thought you were on days right now."
"I am. I am also on call tonight though, because on of my doctors fell ill with that twenty-four hour flu that is going around. It would seem that Ronan had been doing some late night training, and had a gash on his forehead that had required a couple stitches." She then looked at John, "What has you up this late, John?"
"I just keep going over what happened on the planet. Trying to figure out why I went against not only my training but my instincts as well, and touched that damned crystal. I mean, I know that I remained unharmed, but what if I do something like that again, and I bring back something dangerous, something that could hurt the people of Atlantis? Something that could hurt my friends? Something that could hurt you?"
Jennifer knew that he hadn't been looking for a reply to his question, so instead she tried to brighten his mood, "Like I said earlier, 'No more touching strange things.'"
John smiled, but it did not reach his eyes.
Jennifer yawned and decided to attempt sleep once again. "Sorry, John, but I think I should head off to bed and try to get a bit more sleep. I have a long day scheduled tomorrow," she said as she rose to her feet.
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Rising as well, John leaned in, whispered, "Good night, Jen," just before he placed a kiss on her cheek. Although the touch had been brief, he still felt her stiffen as soon as his lips had touched her cheeks.
He pulled back to question her. But before he could say anything, she had turned and fled the room, only pausing halfway across to turn and bid him a quick goodnight.
Her actions confused John. While they were not openly dating, they had been exploring what they could have together. This had been the first time that she had acted like that, and not returned his kiss. He had never seen her so nervous with him and so anxious to flee the room, from him.
What had he done to cause such a reaction?
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Jennifer saw the hurt and confusion that flashed across John's face when she fled from the Mess, and again when she stopped long enough to say goodnight before she fled the room completely.
Why had she run like that? It is not like he was actually the one who was so enthralled by Teyla's pain and ultimately her death, in Jennifer's nightmare. It had been her subconscious after all. But did that mean it was trying to tell her something about the Lt. Col.?
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Jennifer returned to her quarters and managed to fall asleep. Only to be woken again a few hours later by the same nightmare, but with one difference. The John Sheppard that brought Teyla in was both supportive of Jen and Teyla, and worried about his friend. As John Sheppard truly would be.
What the hell is going on? Why was she having these dreams now? She not even thought of that movie the whole time that she had been on Atlantis. She hadn't had a nightmare from it since that 'prank' that her lab partner had played on her in biology class in med school.
Jen looked at her clock, and saw that she was due to get up and get ready for her shift in about half an hour, so she decided to get up then, and get ready for the day.
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Jennifer had felt sorry for her actions towards John the night of her first nightmare, but had been unable to talk to him privately about it. Then before she knew it, they learned that there had been something in that crystal that Sheppard had touched, and that it was moving from person to person feeding off their fear, and she became really busy, working along side McKay and Zelenka trying to figure out how to stop and contain it.
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When they finally located the entity in McKay and John suggested that he be the one to enter McKay's mind to help him, Jen could see that the Col. Felt it was his duty as the one that touched the crystal, bringing the entity to the city, where it had been hurting the people there, just like he had worried would happen 'next time', and because he was the one hurting the people in their dreams. She knew that he would feel that Dr. Heightmeyer's death was on his hands. Jen could also see that John felt he had to help Rodney, because the men were truly the best of friends.
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When Rodney flat lined, Jen was worried about her friend, but when they realized that the entity had jumped from him to John, she was terrified that she would not be able to help him in time like she had Rodney.
She saw the scared, then the determined looks that crossed Rodney's face as he demanded to be reconnected to John so that he could help the other man. As she reconnected the wires and watched as Zelenka adjusted the controls of the machine that would allow Rodney to enter John's mind as John had just done for him, she said a silent thank you to him, and vowed to herself to find a way to show her gratitude to the man.
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After the crowd left the table, each person heading off to bed to actually try to get some sleep, Jennifer found herself sitting alone with John.
Jen was in no hurry to head to bed. While she knew that the entity from the crystal was back where it belonged, she knew that there were still nightmares waiting for her to fall asleep.
Looking over at John, Jen could tell that he was in no rush to try to fall asleep either. Knowing they needed to talk about the way she acted towards him, the night of her entity nightmare, she asked him if he would like to walk on the north pier with her, as she held her hand out to him.
John looked at her a moment, shocked a bit at her invitation, but when he saw that she was holding her hand out, he smiled slightly, and accepted both her invitation and her hand, lacing his fingers through hers as the left the mess.
They walked in silence until they left the transporter that put them on the northern pier, and approached the edge.
Looking over the water, unable to bring herself to look at the man that stood beside her, their hands still locked together, Jen spoke, "I am sorry, John."
"Sorry? What for?"
"For running away the other night. I saw that it hurt you when I did."
Turning her towards him so that they were facing each other, john tucked his finger under her chin, raising her eyes to his, and said, "Jen, I will not deny that at first, yes it hurt. Then I learned that people were having nightmares starring me as the bad guy. Once I learned that it didn't take me long to realize that you had one of them that night. I don't blame you for your actions Jen, especially after having experienced one of them myself."
"What did you dream?" Jen asked him, it wasn't the first time she wondered it since they realized that it was Sheppard's turn to have a nightmare featuring his doppelganger.
"I'll share mine it you'll share yours," John countered. He had been wondering what her nightmare had been since he realized that she'd had one.
"Alright. You know the movie Alien?" she asked. At his nod, she continued, "Well, you brought Teyla into the infirmary because of stomach pains. I had been called in, and since it was the middle of the night, I had been woken and called in. So I got to the infirmary and begin to examine Telya, and something begins to press outward from her abdomine. My mind stopped. It took Marie's voice asking what we needed to do, to help me snap out of it. Just as I start issuing my orders, the thing in Teyla bursts out, spraying blood everywhere, and killing Teyla. I look at you and see a look of pure enthrallment and you say how cool it is. That's when I woke up to Marie on my radio for real, calling me to the infirmary for Ronan."
"And after that, you go to the mess. Then I enter, and I'm sure you thought you were in another nightmare."
"Only until you spoke. The John Sheppard of my nightmare was cold, distant, almost robotic."
John snorted a laugh. Damned near as hard to fight too, he thought.
"The worst part is that now I keep having similar nightmares. Just usually whoever it is comes in on their own, with stomach pains. More time than not, it has been you, and I had been powerless to save you."
"Aww, Jen," John said as he pulled her into a hug, tucking her head under his chin, and holding her tightly against him. "I am sorry you've had to go through all this."
"It's not your fault, John. Alien gave me the worst nightmares all my life."
"But if I hadn't of touched that damned crystal, you never would have had that first nightmare to trigger the rest."
"Who knows, John. Maries and I had been talking earlier that day about horror films that we had seen when we were younger that we wanted to see again. My thoughts kept drifting to Alien and how I never wanted to see the movie again. Especially after med school."
"What happened in med school?"
"I had told my biology lab partner about how badly the movie had affected me when I saw it. He was nice enough to plant a live snake in the cadaver we were to work on in class. I didn't sleep right for a week!"
John tightened his arms around her again, offering her his comfort.
"John?" he heard her say.
"I showed you mine, now it's your turn to show me yours. What nightmare did the entity give you?"
John sighed. "I had woken up after Rodney's nightmare ended, in what would have been our deaths, and saw you working on Rodney. Zelenka told me that he had gone into cardiac arrest. As much as you tried, you were not able to bring him back."
John paused long enough to swallow. "Outside the isolation room, Ronan, Teyla, Carter, and even you told me that I had failed McKay and that I had not been much of a friend to do so. Then I felt someone watching me from behind, I turned around and saw my double from the crystal. I tackled him and we ended up throwing each other around the gate room."
"My double actually had the upper hand at the point that Rodney appeared. Thanks to his interference I was able to survive long enough for you to weaken my double and throw him out of my head. If Rodney hadn't of come for me, I might have been the one that was trapped in the crystal."
John pulled away when he heard her sniff, and take a deep shuttering breath, to be able to look her in the eyes. Seeing the tears running down both sides of her face, he cupped her cheeks, and wiped the tears away with his thumbs. "Jen, honey? Aww, Jen," he said, as he pulled her against him again. "It's alright, Honey, it worked out, I'm here. Thanks to you and Rodney, I am here and well."
Jen sniffed, "I know, but it was still terrifying! I thought I was really going to lose you to an alien entity inside you. Just a different on what Hollywood had dreamt up. And since that we hadn't had a chance to talk after the night I patched up Ronan, that you would let it win."
"Never Jen. Once I saw that I was in a nightmare myself, I knew that I had to fight to get back to you. The entity had said that I was the only thing that I was afraid of. And once I woke again, I realized that it couldn't truly read us. If it had, it would have known that any harm coming to you because of something I did, is truly what scares me."
John felt Jen's arms tighten around him, offering him comfort.
"I love you, John. I am sorry for acting the way I did. I trust you with my life. I am just guessing that some part of me thought that I was still dreaming, and was waiting for the scary part again."
"I love you, too, Jen. I know that you trust me. I already said that I understood why you reacted the way that you did. I do not hold it against you. I will never hold it against you. If I were to blame it on anyone, I would have to blame myself, for touching that damned crystal."
"John, don't. I know what kind of effect it can have on you. I was drawn in by one myself in the lab. I would have tried to touch through the container they had it in. Somehow I think that if I had been on the planet, I would have been the one who would have touched the damned thing, and brought the entity back."
"Your luck isn't quite that bad," John said, hugging her against him again and kissed the top of her head.
After a few moments of silence, Sheppard snorted a laugh.
"John?" Jennifer questioned.
"I just had a vision of you acting in Ronan's dream as he said I had."
Jennifer shared in his chuckle this time.
John placed a hand on her cheek again, and tipped her head back enough to be able to lean in to kiss her fully and passionately. They only broke the kiss when their lungs cried for air.
John pressed his forehead to Jen's and said, "Come on, let's go get some sleep."
"How do you plan to make sure that the nightmares don't haunt us?"
"We'll just have to make sure that we are completely worn out," John said.
"Oh? How do you plan we do that Col.? Are we going to take a run?" Jen said, sounding innocent.
"Not really what I had in mind, Doc," John said, looking at her, fully seeing how tired she really was. He bent down and pulled her into a fireman's carry.
"I don't want you to wear yourself out before we get into bed, Sweetheart."
Jennifer's laugh was their wake as John walked to his quarters.
Neither of them cared if they were seen by someone in the city. After the nightmares, they knew that they had to claim what happiness they could get, and they knew that their friends would want them grab hold of that happiness.