by cgb

She tells him something has changed between them, something she doesn't understand let alone now how to fix.

He tries to take her hand and she backs away. "I can't do this," she says.

"What are you talking about?"

"We've drifted apart. You spend so much time at the Fire station..."

Everything she says sound nonsensical, like a riddle, a puzzle he is meant to solve. "I don't understandÍ"

She pushes her hair from her face. He thinks she might have been crying. Her eyes look tired and red. "You're obsessed, T. Even when you're here with me, you're still there. You fight fires in your sleep."

"That's ridiculous. I'm here now, aren't I?" He points down for emphasis as if the floor could verify him.

She throws up her hands. "I have to go out. We'll talk later."

"You're going out? I have tonight off."

"I have to..." She makes a vague gesture, indicating an excuse she hasn't thought of. "I'm going to Sam's. I'll be back before dinner - we'll talk then, T, I promise." She slings her handbag over her shoulder and takes the car keys form the coffee table.

The door slams behind her and he wakes up.


"You've never dreamed? Ever?" Doctor MacKenzie looks sceptical.

Teal'c is Doctor MacKenzie's first Jaffa patient. He wonders if he meets the Doctor's expectations or whether the Doctor expected something in keeping with the Jaffa's reputation of aggression. Defiance, perhaps. Resistance, or at least grudging compliance.

He is so far ambivalent in his opinion of Doctor MacKenzie. SG-1 has differing opinions on the benefits of psycho-analysis and he likes to think he's open minded but the truth is the Tau'ri have strategies that are without reference in his world and most of the time he just winds up confused. "I have dreamt on one previous occasion - I believe Doctor Fraiser informed you of it."

"YesÍ" Doctor Mackenzie's eyes fall to the notepaper on the desk in front of him. He adjusts his position and scratches a spot behind his ear. "So you're saying you've had those dreams again?"

"It is not the same dream. In this dream my wifeÍ" He told them about his wife but he kept her real identity to himself. They never asked about her perhaps assuming his wife was Drey'auc. They hadn't asked. There were larger issues at hand. "My wife and I are arguing."

"What about?"

In the dream T doesn't understand. Teal'c doesn't understand either. He's seen couples argue on television - he's seen couples argue on the street of Colorado Springs - and he thinks he might have heard those words before, taken them from another context and planted them in his dreams, like a script. But it's just words. Nothing he makes sense of.

"Colonel O'Neill says dreams are meaningless."

"Sometimes they are. But humansÍahmÍ the dreams of the Tau'ri are not usually so coherent." Doctor MacKenzie over-emphasises the word Tau'ri, obviously unused to referring to himself as alien. "See - ordinarily we'd call what you experienced 'hallucinations' and we'd look for a physiological cause but given your somewhat unique biochemistry and the fact that you've experienced similar 'hallucinations' Doctor Fraiser thought you would benefit from a more therapeutic treatment."

"When I last experienced these dreams I was dying."

"Extreme stress is a common factor in these cases." MacKenzie makes a note on the pages in front of him. "Now - in the dream you are a fireman?"

"That is correct."

MacKenzie makes another note. "Tell me, Teal'c, when have you come into contact with firemen?"

Teal'c contemplates MacKenzie's fish tank - a truly bizarre affectation of the Tau'ri and yet strangely compelling. He wonders if fish know they are on continually display. "Your television is most informative."

"Of course - and what do you think of these firemen you see on television?"

He thinks they would have made good Jaffa: believing their lives were not as worthy as the ones they served. There is nobility in that, however deserving their masters. "They are very brave."

MacKenzie nods. "They put their own lives on the line to save others. They're constantly in danger and yet it wouldn't occur to them to back out. Kind of like SG-1."

That much he knew. "The analogy is not lost on me." The session appears to drag on without end in sight. He looks around the office for a timepiece. How long is he supposed to be here? "Am I free to leave?"

MacKenzie looks dubious but nods. "Doctor Fraiser has made your attendance compulsory - but I think that's enough for today. I'll see you next Thursday."


"Well there was this one time when I stepped through the gate and there was an army of Jaffa just waiting for me." O'Neill manoeuvres through the SGC personnel in the commissary until he's in the line for desert. He carries his tray in front of him using it to gently nudge loitering diners out of his way. Teal'c follows close behind holding his tray in a similar fashion. "So I think, this is it, I'm a goner. And then one of them just starts laughing. Then they're all laughing. That's when I realise I'm not wearing any pants."

The Jaffa don't care about pants. The Jaffa wouldn't care if O'Neill was wearing a long red dress with high-heeled shoes - they'd either shoot him or take him prisoner depending on their directive. There is little room for humour in the service of one's god.

Still, Teal'c understands that dreams do not reflect reality and sometimes events are symbolic, representations of something real. "You fear you will be humiliated in battle."

"Now you sound like MacKenzie." O'Neill contemplates desert, tapping a finger against his tray. He eventually decides on the apple pie, shifting his tray to balance on his palm while he takes the pie with his free hand.

Teal'c does the same. O'Neill's taste in desert is faultless. "Am I correct?"

O'Neill makes a face. "I don't know, Teal'c. Everybody dreams about losing their underwear or giving a speech naked and all that tells me is that they don't like doing important things without their clothes. Is that so difficult to understand?"

Teal'c doesn't answer. He didn't dream about being naked. He dreamt of Bra'tac dying, of Apothis finally defeating him. Then he dreamed he was married and his wife was leaving him. That he should be afraid of Bra'tac dying and of Apothis's final revenge makes sense, but what does it mean that he fears disharmony with a wife he's never had? "Doctor Fraiser insists I meet with Doctor MacKenzie."

"Can't help you there, buddy. The Air Force frowns on sending sick personnel on missions so we're stuck with the Doc's decision on this one."

"I am not sick."

"I know."

"I was momentarily rendered unconscious."

"You fainted."

"I did not faint!" Jaffa children sometimes faint when they receive the symbiont pouch. Grown Jaffa do not faint.

"Okay," O'Neill holds up his hands. "Just humour the doctor while she figures this out." He goes back to his pie, stabbing at it with his spoon. "I'm sure you're right - it's probably nothing."


The first thing he notices is the bags in the hallway. He finds her next, seated on the couch in the living room, hands clasped on her knees. She's been waiting.

She doesn't say anything but he notices her foot shifting position. He wonders what he's done that makes her so nervous.

"Shauna?" He keeps his voice low, partially in apprehension and partially not wanting to aggravate the situation any further.

"I'm sorry, T."

"You're sorry?"

Her eyes drift to the hallway where the bags are out of sight. "I'm leaving."

He knew. He knew when he saw the luggage in the hallway but he needed to hear her say it. He shakes his head. "Shauna..."

"I've made up my mind, T."

"When did you make your mind up? How did you make this decision without me?" His voice sounds urgent, the anger creeping in.

Her eyes go wide. She stands up. "T - if we can't speak rationally about this..." She gets cut off as he grabs her arm. His grip is hard even when he doesn't intend it to be. "You're hurting me!" she screams as she manoeuvres out of his grip.

He tries to placate her, waving his hands in front of him. "I'm sorry, Shauna - I'm sorry, baby, I didn't mean..."

"Just let me go!" She takes her bags from the hallway and heads for the front door. She turns around just before she gets there. "I wanted to tell you in person - I thought we could do this like civilised human beings. Apparently I was wrong."

She leaves. He hears her car start in the garage and he listens for the sound of her motor until it disappears into the noise of the day.


She is attending to him now as she did in the dream. In the dream she checked his vitals as she does now, as she always does when he comes under her inspection. When she's finished she puts her hands in her pockets. "What's the last thing you remember?"

He remembers the stargate: O'Neill saluting from the gate room before stepping through followed by Daniel Jackson and Major Carter. The light of the event horizon appeared to dim slightly before disappearing altogether. There one moment and gone the next. An anti-climax for such a phenomena.

General Hammond gave him a nod and then bent over the Lieutenant monitoring the gate. "What time is sg-11 due back?" he asked. Teal'c didn't wait for the response.

"I was on my way back to my quarters," he tells her.

"Did you notice anything unusual? A noise - or possibly a smell?"

He remembers waking up in the infirmary. The rest is inconsequential. "Nothing."

She regards him for a moment, her thumbs rub against the outside of her pockets. He has noticed that the Tau'ri find it difficult to stay still in tense situations.

"I don't like this, Teal'c," she says. "I'm going to suggest General Hammond contact the Tok'ra."

He knows why she needs the Tok'ra. "You suspect the Tretonin?"

"It's the only 'x' factor in your chemical composition." She picks up his file and glances at it briefly before tucking it under her arm. "I'm afraid I don't understand enough about how it works to speculate on how - or if - it will affect your brain chemistry."

She showed him his file once, explained everything on it from his temperature to his blood pressure. When she realised he didn't understand the concept of graphs she explained it in terms of combat strategy: you are here and your enemy is here and you wish to be sure there is a consistent distance between yourself and your enemy...

He accepts that he will be subject to the curious scrutiny of the Tok'ra once more. "Very well."

She gives him a sympathetic smile. "Teal'c - how are your sessions with Doctor MacKenzie going?"

He frowns. "Frustrating."

"Really? Why is that?"

"He wants me to talk but he does not tell me what he wants me to say." He thinks he understands O'Neill's dislike of MacKenzie.

She looks away and appears to be smiling at the wall. When she looks back at him the smile is gone. "When humans are given freedom to talk about whatever they wish, we find their minds drift to that which concerns them the most. The theory is that even if you talk about the weather your fixation with your problems will be evident."

He considers her explanation. "Doctor MacKenzie would not have found me so revealing. I suspect these sessions are pointless."

"Maybe. But this is the second time you've blacked out, Teal'c, and you're having the same dream - doesn't that tell you something?"

"I am not used to dreams. They tell me nothing."

"Dreams raise ˝ possibilities and in your case I'm particularly inclined to believe the subject matter is significant. The same scenario, the same participants, the same time frame - most people don't dream monotonously."

He understands that Doctor MacKenzie is supposed to have expertise Doctor Fraiser doesn't but Doctor Fraiser has proved herself capable of handling all forms of afflictions and ailments. He fails to see how his illusions are different to the collective hallucination of SG-1 when they invented Lieutenant Tyler. He tells her this.

"Ordinarily I'd agree with you," she says. "But you've just experienced a life changing event. I'm not convinced it hasn't affected you emotionally."

And the truth is he trusts Doctor Fraiser when he doesn't trust anyone else. "His manner is unsettling."

She looks sympathetic, crossing her arms in front of her and leaning her head to one side. "Would you rather talk to me?"

"I want to return to SG-1."

"Me or MacKenzie," she says. She picks up Teal'c's file and writes in it before placing it in the slot at the end of the bed. "And you're staying here for the next couple of days."


The house is empty. The furniture sits in its usual spot, forgotten in the battlefield of human relationships, but the house is devoid of life. Without soul.

He is there, of course, but like the furniture he occupies space rather than lives in it.

He imagines his world as grey and the only sparks of colour are the items she has left behind, standing out like neon against a dark night. He collects them, gathers them to him and piles them in the centre of the floor: her book on gardening, the shoes she wore to Bray's retirement party, the apron he bought her as a joke when they moved in together (he remembers the way she laughed), a stuffed penguin her nieces gave her on her birthday, a pair of jeans she left in the laundry.

He piles it up until her possessions occupy a quarter of the living room floor. He pushes the couch against the wall so these memories of her fill the room. He brings in two cane chairs from the patio where drank Mexican beer with lemon, watching the sunset. He puts them on top of the pile.

He goes into the kitchen, returns with the lighter from the stove and he sets it all on fire.



When he opens his eyes he sees the infirmary in flames. The bed is bathed in firelight while the walls burn to embers in front of him. Doctor Fraiser stands in the centre, her eyes wide and her hands reaching for him.

"Teal'c, wake up!"

The flames disappear and are replaced with the cool dark tones of the infirmary. Doctor Fraiser's hand is on his shoulder.

"Are you with us now?"

The room is empty and quiet, devoid of the usual activity of the SGC infirmary.

"It is night?" he asks.

She nods. "I didn't want to wake you but Jacob has just arrived and he thinks he has a solution to your problem."

"I was dreaming again."

"Really?" Her brow furrows. She pulls a torch from her coat pocket and examines his eyes. "Same dream?" She places a thermometer in his mouth and checks his pulse against her watch.


"Did anything unusual happen before you went to sleep?" He tries to remember falling asleep. For him, sleep requires concentration, a leftover effect of years of kelno'reem. He has noticed the ability of his team-mates to sleep without effort, not noticing their inattention and drowsiness. He has yet to achieve such ease with his new ability.

"I did not fall asleep intentionally," he says.

"Another episode?" She takes the thermometer out of his mouth and gives it a quick glance. "And nothing out of the ordinary preceded it?"

She sounds sceptical and he wonders if he is just mistaking the tone of her voice. He isn't as familiar with Tau'ri nuances as he'd like to be.

"I can think of nothing."

She shrugs. "Perhaps the Tok'ra will have some answers for you."

"Perhaps so."

"I'll tell Jacob he can come in." She turns to leave but turns back almost immediately. She looks hesitant. "Teal'c - it's the same dream? The one where you're a fireman?"


"And the others - Sam, Daniel, Colonel O'Neill - they're all firemen in your dream?"

"SG-1 are my colleagues - including Jonas Quinn. But Daniel Jackson is..." He doesn't know how to explain Daniel. Dream Daniel was not a product of his mind. "He is my counsellor."

She raises her eyebrows. "You see a counsellor in your dreams?"

"In my dream I am a very different person." He thinks about it for a while and then he say, "I am married."

"You told us that."

"I am not married to my wife."

She raises her eyebrows. "Anyone I know?"

He finds it difficult to say. There's something improper about the way he has stolen them - all of them - and used them in his fantasy. And Shau'nac was his greatest impropriety. "It was Shau'nac," he says quietly. "It was not a harmonious marriage. She was - dissatisfied."

"What happened?"

"She left me." He looks at the far wall of the infirmary. There's something very wrong with the way the room passively encompasses him, doesn't realise the threat he is. They shouldn't accept him, they shouldn't be comfortable with him. "I burnt our house down." His voice is low and dark.

If the Doctor notices she doesn't let it show. "I see," she says. She folds her arms. "Teal'c have you ever considered..."

She doesn't get to finish. Major Carter appears in the doorway. "Janet?"

Doctor Fraiser turns at the sound of her voice. "We're on our way, Sam." Major Carter leaves and Doctor Fraiser turns back to Teal'c. "We'll talk later," she says.


He enters the briefing room followed by O'Neill. Doctor Fraiser and General Hammond are waiting and they both smile when they seem him. He's learnt that smiles sometimes convey bad news. It's unsettling.

He seats himself next to O'Neill on the opposite Doctor Fraiser. General Hammond is in his usual position at the head.

"So what's the prognosis?" General Hammond says.

Teal'c notes the way Doctor Fraiser eyes him quickly before responding. She rests one arm on the table, idly turning a pen between her fingers. "Well - the Tok'ra think they have found the solution to our problem. The Tretonin they devised is having trouble distinguishing viruses and foreign bodies from ordinary chemical imbalances that occur normally in humans. They've found that it reacts to hormones, hyperglycaemia and adrenalin - amongst other things."

O'Neill raises his eyebrows. "Teal'c's on a sugar high?"

The Doctor acknowledges O'Neill's comment with a nod. "That's just one of the potential causes and given that Teal'c's first episode occurred on a mission I doubt it's the cause in this case. Put simply, the drug is overcompensating, inducing a narcoleptic response when it finds itself dealing with large quantities of foreign matter. As Jacob said, we're still experimenting."

O'Neill voices the question foremost in Teal'c mind. "So when can he rejoin SG-1?"

"Well - we're trying a new dose and it's working well so far." Doctor Fraiser smiles reassuringly at Teal'c. "Now that we know what we're looking for it should only be a matter of days before we can determine whether it's having a similar effect on you."

"Then there's no need to continue the sessions with Doctor MacKenzie?" General Hammond asks.

They all look at Doctor Fraiser expectantly. She takes a breath before answering. It sounds like a sigh. "I see no need for Teal'c to continue with Doctor MacKenzie."

"Good to hear." General Hammond rises, signalling the meeting is over. "Keep me apprised of the situation, Doctor," he says.

Doctor Fraiser says, "Yes, Sir," and begins gathering her notes.

O'Neill pats him on the back. "Welcome to the land of the sane," he says. "Hey if you're interested Daniel and I are going to watch the game at my house later..."

When it comes to institutionalised sporting events the Tau'ri are without equal. "I will be there, O'Neill."

O'Neill follows General Hammond while Teal'c hangs behind, waiting for Doctor Fraiser. "I sense there is more you wish to say."

She looks up from her notes. "Very intuitive of you." She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear and gets up from her seat, holding her files to her body. "Teal'c - I'm don't pretend to have MacKenzie's expertise, and I'm more inclined to agree with Colonel O'Neill when it comes to interpreting dreams - I mean sometimes a tall building is just a tall building..."

He frowns, not understanding the reference.

"Never mind. Teal'c, I can't dismiss anything with you. You've been conducting an advanced form of meditation for over one hundred years, which I barely understand. Your ability to control your thinking is beyond my comprehension which is why I can't say conclusively that you aren't controlling your dreams in some way."

"I understand. You believe my subconscious is acting out desires that my consciousness is unwilling to acknowledge." She looks surprised. "Daniel Jackson believed I would benefit from instruction in psycho-analytic theory."

She nods. "Well - that's good - but I don't think it's that simple. Teal'c - I think you blacked out from an adrenalin rush. I think something caused you to panic, which caused your adrenalin to surge. And because you are used to being regulated bio-chemically, this only compounded the problem. Now I don't know whether Shau'nac represents SG-1 or your son or Bra'tac, or whether you fear her leaving or you're scared of what you'll do to her if you stay, but I'm guessing that there's a lot more about being one of us that scares you than the idea of your mortality."

He is automatically insulted by her accusation of cowardice, a reaction so ingrained his rational self has difficulty reasoning him against it. But he wills it away, lets it dissipate through his body until it dissolves within him, negating its effect. Doctor Fraiser is not calling him a coward. She sees fear as a necessity, a vital instinct. Without fear he is a monster, a menace to himself and to others.

The woman in the dream scares him and confounds him. Even in the dream he is unable to be the person she wants him to be, the husband, the partner, the lover.

She leaves. She is gone and he destroyed everything in her wake.

"There is much that has changed since I joined SG-1. But this - " He touches his stomach indicating the place where the symbiont used to be. "- changes everything."

She catches his eye and nods slowly. "Yes it does," she says. "And I think we'll start there."


The dream shifts and he is standing on a tall building that becomes a mountain as the scene unfolds before him. He stretches his arms out and peers down into the valley below. He leans slowly forward until he is falling, until he catches the air currents beneath him and sails into the sky. He flies like a bird, like Tau'ri aeroplanes and Goa'uld Deathgliders, taking advantage of aerial lift because he can, because it's what he does. He feels the sun on his arms and the wind against his face.

And then he falls, the ground speeding toward him. He tries to fly, to move his arms but they are suddenly heavy, pulling him to the ground.

In his head he hears O'Neill's voice telling him, you always wake before you hit the ground.


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