campylobacter: battery operated fruitcake (fruitcake)
[personal profile] campylobacter
TITLE: Counting the Steps Back to Safe, Chapter 3 "They Tear You Away"
AUTHOR: [livejournal.com profile] campylobacter
BETA READER: [livejournal.com profile] shakespherical
RATING: PG-13/Teens
WARNING: no pr0nz :(
CATEGORY: angst, UST; missing scene
WORD COUNT: 688
CHARACTERS: Vala Mal Doran, Daniel Jackson, Cameron Mitchell, Samantha Carter, Teal'c
SPOILERS/TIMELINE: Memento Mori missing scene
PROMPTS: for [livejournal.com profile] natalia5345 via the [livejournal.com profile] dv_exchange 2011 Fruitcake Exchange "Perfume & Promises" by Idina Menzel & "I'm pretty open to anything (especially anything angst!)"
SUMMARY/PREMISE: "The growing unfamiliarity of what she'd taken for granted as familiar unsettles her."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story was Gen until my beta-reader smacked it around.


Chapter 3 "They Tear You Away"

"It's not familiar, not at all."

"You have never before seen the entrance tunnel to Cheyenne Mountain in the daylight," Teal'c says.

She reaches for her husband's hand, and wonders why he's so uneasy with physical contact. She knows this man intimately; she can detect the tension he's trying to hide by the set of his mouth, the faint frown lines on his brow, by his tentative hold on her hand.

"Darling, why must you treat me like a glass-blown egg?"

"Wha— what?"

"And where's your wedding band? Married couples wear nuptial bands on this planet."

This planet. The growing unfamiliarity of what she'd taken for granted as familiar unsettles her. She doesn't know this planet as well as some others.

"We don't have wedding rings," he replies cautiously. "Because we have... no need for them."

After multiple security checkpoints and scattered visions flashing through her brain, they finally reach an elevator—

"No, oh no." She can't step in. More images flood her mind, chief among them the experience of being heavily pregnant, then suddenly not-pregnant and in Daniel's body. It makes no sense, none at all. "Where's our baby? How could I forget the baby? They took her, didn't they? They're keeping her from me." She won't get in that elevator, won't let them take her down into the depths of the mountain without her daughter.

She tries to run, but Teal'c catches her. So many faces hover over her: alarmed, upset faces. She knows them, knows they won't hurt her, but she can't trust what she's remembering, and punches Cam in his wounded arm, jabs Sam in the belly, kicks Daniel in the ribs, bruises Teal'c's shins, because—

"I'm not Qetesh! I was only her unwilling host. Let me go—"

But they don't; someone holds her arms to her side in a massive bear hug, and her legs are held tight together with a firm grip; two hands hold her head still, making her look into eyes brimming with tears behind glasses sitting askance.

"Listen Vala, please. You're safe. You're home. We're not gonna let anyone hurt you. Remember."

She's looking into the same eyes, but in a different body. The fire is gone, the fatal heat replaced by soothing warmth, the pain washed away like ash under a drift of snow. She's reborn in another body, yet herself, reassembled by a primal, dangerous power.

"I didn't mean to hurt you, or anyone." She goes limp, relenting to fatigue. "I just want to be myself again."

And then she's suddenly flat on her back, on a rolling bed, watching ceilings layered in pipes go by, fading to soft, soundless gray.

When she wakens, the infirmary's exactly the way she remembers. Carolyn Lam's face is as beautiful and serious as it was when her consciousness had returned from Sallis's body.

"Hi Vala. Glad to see you're awake."

"Hi, Dr. Lam. Miss me?"

Carolyn's answering smile gives her confidence, but before the doctor can reply, Daniel speaks up from the other side of the bed.

"Vala, how do you feel?"

The relief in his eyes is tempered by the way he covers his bottom teeth with his lower lip in a familiar way, indicating doubt. Doubt that she feels well? Or doubt that she's—

"...not your wife." She can't look at him any more, can't look at anything, so she shuts her eyes and lets her eyelids stop the tears. Not his wife, not the mother of his child, not even a mother, really. She's regained clarity by losing what she thought she had.

She feels his hand — warm, large, comforting — cover hers in a firm, steadfast grip, anchoring her to the present, and to her new life.

"But you found your way back. I knew you would." With his other hand, he brushes a stray lock from her forehead. She opens her eyes. "You always survive." He looks so hopeful, so trusting, so grateful.

"So, then" she begins, "are we on for dinner again this Friday?"

His momentary surprise gives way to joy. "Uh, sure," he laughs. "I'll let you pick the restaurant, this time."

[end]



"Perfume & Promises"
by Idina Menzel
A crack in the smile
But she's always in style while she waits
Waving goodbye but she's too tired to cry and she's wasted
A letter he wrote
But it's far too exposed so he throws it away
The sound of regret as it's counting the steps back to safe

I don't want to leave you with perfume and promises
But we'll never know 'till we capture and bottle it
'Cause wouldn't it be such a shame
If all was wasted

Not an inch of the room
That isn't in bloom or in light
So we drink till its dawn
Every drip till it's gone and we're wasted
It's a thing of the truth
But we'll lie and we'll look for the perfect escape
And the moment will go like melted snow in the rain

I don't want to leave you with perfume and promises
But we'll never know 'till we capture and bottle it
Cause wouldn't it be such a shame
If all was wasted

Stay for another morning
Study the curves on my face
Stay even when we're unknowing
Stay till they tear you away

I don't want to leave you with perfume and promises
But we'll never know till we capture and bottle it
Cause wouldn't it be such a shame
If all was wasted



PREVIOUS
Read Chapter 1 "Capture & Bottle It"
Read Chapter 2 "Even When We're Unknowing"

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-22 06:27 pm (UTC)
ext_181287: (Default)
From: [identity profile] dankriss.livejournal.com

Very nice!

Hugs

Kriss :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-22 06:55 pm (UTC)
ext_391411: There is a god sitting here with wet fingers. (fruitcake)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
LOL You read fast! Thanks. :)

I really wanna write a Chapter 4 action/adventure where they encounter Officer Ryan during a shootout. This was a pinch-hit fill, and I was way under the gun for the deadline.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-22 07:03 pm (UTC)
ext_181287: (Default)
From: [identity profile] dankriss.livejournal.com

Yep... that would be interesting...the police officer named after a Borg....LOL

Kriss :)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-22 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lc59.livejournal.com
I'm glad you're were able to create something for Nat with these prompts...I had nothing. I think I've been working with them in an established relationship for so long now that my brain simply doesn't hear inspiration in anything alludes back to UST.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-22 11:07 pm (UTC)
ext_391411: There is a god sitting here with wet fingers. (fruitcake)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
Nat didn't specify established relationship vs. UST for her angst, but it still gave me anguish because I was in the middle of writing you a Changeling AU (570 words so far!) and was in an AU zone when I got Stef's notice.

I ain't even mad tho. Writing all that angst was harrrrrd but I was able to dust off an old plotbunny and kick it off my To Do List. I might even follow up with an action-adventure chapter to shoehorn in some PORN. :D

I'll try to post your gift by the 25th, but it might take me another week.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-23 01:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lc59.livejournal.com
No,she didn't but that was the way the lyrics read to me.

And you were doing my Changeling prompt?...now I'm confused...I was asked for the file of images I had for the 'front cover' for "Best"...was that also you?

Anyway don't feel that you need to finish the Changeling AU...I didn't end up contributing anything here so it's really not fair that I get something for nothing.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-23 03:07 am (UTC)
ext_391411: There is a god sitting here with wet fingers. (fruitcake)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
Yep, & I inveigled an extraordinary graphic artist to help with a graphic for your story. :)

BUT I WANNA FINSH YOUR STORY! If I don't finish it in time, I'll go ahead & publish the banner she made for you ASAP .

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-23 03:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lc59.livejournal.com
I'm flabbergasted and touched that you'd put in that much work, thanks.
Whatever you do will be amazing.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-24 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natalia5345.livejournal.com
ooooh was I being difficult? sorry dudes! :S glad someone was able to come up with something so amazing though! I`ll try and be less crazy next time LC ;)
mwah!

(more commments on story will come later!)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-24 10:00 pm (UTC)
ext_391411: There is a god sitting here with wet fingers. (plotbunny)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
Haaa no worries, Nat.

"Angst" is a difficult prompt for me around a festive time of year, given that I'm more drawn to crack, porn, & action/adventure these days. But even though writing this was painful, I'm glad I did it because it's spawned a plotbunny for an action/adventure sequel I'd like to try.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-23 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evrymeeveryyou.livejournal.com
And you said you were having trouble with this....psssh! *smh*

You did an AMAZING job. Love it! My heart is doing little dances at this one.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-23 06:48 pm (UTC)
ext_391411: There is a god sitting here with wet fingers. (fruitcake)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
Thanks, sweetness! I'm very relieved that you enjoyed it.

It was troublesome because my Muse kept trying to turn it into a cracky Team action-adventure with group sex. The fart joke in Chapter 2? Sorry about that.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-26 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magnavox-23.livejournal.com
Oh love! <3 I am just getting to these now, pesky Giftmas! What a beautiful tag to Memento Mori, it flows effortlessly from the episode into the quagmire of Vala's healing mind and Daniel is there to say ALL THE RIGHT THINGS, and the TEAM LOVE! <3 <3 <3

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-26 07:50 am (UTC)
ext_391411: There is a god sitting here with wet fingers. (fruitcake)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
Thank you so much. :3 It's the gaps between scenes in the episodes that have always inspired most of my plotbunnies. The Team moments were the easiest to write & almost took over the story. I also wanted to see Daniel be really nice to Vala for a change.

I still have dozens of [livejournal.com profile] dv_exchange entries to "open"!

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-02 10:32 am (UTC)
ext_28912: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bkwurm1.livejournal.com
"But you found your way back. I knew you would." With his other hand, he brushes a stray lock from her forehead. She opens her eyes. "You always survive." He looks so hopeful, so trusting, so grateful.

I love this line to pieces because I agree, with your thinking; one of the things that makes Vala so perfect for Daniel is her ability to survive.

Both pieces of the gift were emotional and just lovely.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-02 10:03 pm (UTC)
ext_391411: There is a god sitting here with wet fingers. (fruitcake)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
Thanks! Anyone who cares about Daniel would have to be able to survive the many times he dies or goes missing.

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-07 11:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natalia5345.livejournal.com
"No, oh no." She can't step in. More images flood her mind, chief among them the experience of being heavily pregnant, then suddenly not-pregnant and in Daniel's body. It makes no sense, none at all. "Where's our baby? How could I forget the baby? They took her, didn't they? They're keeping her from me." She won't get in that elevator, won't let them take her down into the depths of the mountain without her daughter.
She tries to run, but Teal'c catches her. So many faces hover over her: alarmed, upset faces. She knows them, knows they won't hurt her, but she can't trust what she's remembering, and punches Cam in his wounded arm, jabs Sam in the belly, kicks Daniel in the ribs, bruises Teal'c's shins, because—
"I'm not Qetesh! I was only her unwilling host. Let me go—"
But they don't; someone holds her arms to her side in a massive bear hug, and her legs are held tight together with a firm grip; two hands hold her head still, making her look into eyes brimming with tears behind glasses sitting askance.
"Listen Vala, please. You're safe. You're home. We're not gonna let anyone hurt you. Remember."
"I didn't mean to hurt you, or anyone." She goes limp, relenting to fatigue. "I just want to be myself again." - omg just....this whole passage, watching it play out in my head, so brutal and angsty! love love love it!

This was so so great darling thank you so so so much xxx

(no subject)

Date: 2012-01-08 12:41 am (UTC)
ext_391411: I'd like that with a side order of Vala. (waitress)
From: [identity profile] campylobacter.livejournal.com
You're welcome! It was a rough journey, but I'm glad I did it, just to satisfy my own curiosity over how Vala's full memory might've returned in a more dramatic way than what was implied on the show. Hope your holiday season was a good one.
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