<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>
A Vacation of Sorts
Once Janet was satisfied that Annika was in perfect health she moved to the general infirmary to help with the other’s examinations. Sam wandered back into the isolation room and the two women sat side by side waiting for their teammates to get the all clear.
"How was Daniel during all this?" Annika asked, her voice low. "He didn’t wig out, did he?"
The major shook her head. "He was amazingly calm, especially after your recon visit."
"Uh huh. Your vision convinced him everything would work out."
Sam didn’t miss her guilty gulp. "Annika?"
"What happened wasn’t quite what I saw," Annika spoke haltingly. "We all beamed down together. There wasn’t a second beam down of Thor’s communication device. There was no shield around me."
"Were they the only differences?"
She sighed. "No."
It became apparent Annika wasn’t going to elaborate so Sam prodded, "Daniel said that you saw a happy ending…" Her voice tapered off when the woman avoided eye contact.
The psychic fiddled with the edge of the blanket. "All I saw was us beaming into the ’gate room, with me hardly breathing. I tried to see what happened next, but couldn’t."
The major drew in a sharp breath. "You mean…"
"I probed my mind in the vision," Annika said shakily. "Sam, I was cactus, not like what actually happened. My brain was barely functioning enough to keep my heart pumping."
There was a horrified gasp and both women looked up to see Daniel, white as a sheet in the doorway. The coffee mugs he was holding slid from suddenly nerveless fingers before he spun on his heel and bolted down the corridor.
"Shit!" Annika sprang off the bed. "I didn’t want him to find out like that."
She caught up with him at the elevator. Saw his trembling hand hit the up button.
"Daniel…" Tentatively she reached out to touch his arm.
He kept his back to her, resolutely watching the indicator light for the location of his mode of escape. "You lied to me."
Annika didn’t need their bond to feel how hurt he was. He thumped the lift button again.
Daniel yanked away from her. "You lied by omission." This time he smashed his fist against the panel. "Damn these things, they always take too long." He stormed passed her to the stairwell without a backwards glance.
Annika flinched when the door slammed shut, momentarily stunned by the surge of raw rage coursing through their bond. The lift pinged its arrival and with a heavy heart she stepped inside. She rode it up, knowing that Daniel would retreat to his office. Her feet felt like lead the closer she got. He has every right to be mad, she thought. She just hadn’t expected him to be this mad.
The jumbled office was empty, but she could hear him in the adjoining bathroom. Her stomach clenched when she realized he was throwing up. She very gently brushed their bond and read beneath the hurt and anger, the shock of how close Annika had been to not ever waking up. He felt her probe and harshly pushed it away, his anger almost a physical blow. Nervously she waited in the threshold to face the music.
When he emerged a few minutes later wiping his mouth, he halted abruptly at the sight of her. "I really don’t want to see you right now." His blue eyes were icy.
"Sorry? Sorry doesn’t cut it, Annika. You lied right to my face. You deluded me into a false sense of security."
The coldness in his voice pierced her heart. "Yes. I did."
"I trusted you! How many other times have you lied about your visions? About other things?"
"None," she desperately assured him. "I swear, this was the first time I felt the need to-"
"How can I believe that?" he interrupted furiously. "When everyone else thought you were brain dead, I foolishly convinced them that everything would be just dandy because YOU SAID IT WOULD!"
"But everything worked out-"
"That is NOT the point and you know it!"
Her heart constricted with every word he spat out. "I’m sorry-"
"I don’t WANT an apology. I WANT an explanation!"
"I haven’t got one. It just popped out." Her voice was small, in direct contrast to the yelling man before her. "I guess it was to protect you."
"I DON’T WANT THAT KIND OF PROTECTION!"
"I don’t know what else to say." Guilt ravaged eyes pleaded with him. She’d screwed up big time and had no real defense.
"Then just leave, Annika."
That quiet flat tone did more damage to her breaking heart than anything he’d yelled at her. She fled, letting the tears fall unheeded down her cheeks. Oh Gods, what had she done? She’d destroyed the best thing that had ever happened to her. How could she bear to go on, connected to Daniel, the only man she could ever love, the man who now clearly couldn’t stand the sight of her?
She made it to the locker room before letting the sobs mingle with her tears. A sharp pain exploded in her knuckles and Annika knew that Daniel had punched something, probably a wall. At the sound of approaching voices she grabbed a towel and ducked into one of the shower stalls. She wanted no witnesses to her grief. Twisting the taps, she hoped the running water would drown out the real reason she’d locked herself in. Stripping off she let the hot spray cascade over her, mixing with her tears.
After everything that had happened, it was only now that she felt fear. Fear that Daniel’s love for her had been wrecked by her own hand. Her chest became unbearably tight and she could hardly breathe, only managing to suck in tiny gasps of air into her lungs. She’d never seen Daniel truly angry before and to have that anger directed at her was more than she could cope with. How could one little slip cause so much damage?
The idle chatter of the unknown women banging around outside had an oddly calming effect on Annika and by the time they left twenty minutes later, it was only water running down the drain. Her pain was slowly being overshadowed by an anger of her own at herself. Daniel had asked a legitimate question, one that she had no answer for. Why? She wracked her brain, and while it was true she had partly done it to shield him, there was more to it, something deeper.
Annika mechanically dried herself and dressed in the spare clothes she kept in her locker, still searching for the elusive answer. Pushing her misery aside she made her way to the mess hall in search of coffee. A caffeine boost always kick started her thought process.
Sam, sitting with Jack, Teal’c and the FBI agents, beckoned her over after she poured herself a cup.
"So I suppose you’re mad at me too?" Annika directed her comment to Jack. "Go on, rip into me. It couldn’t be any worse than Daniel."
He paused before answering, taking in her red eyes and dejected slump to her shoulders. "I admit I’m a bit miffed you left out that particular detail. All I ask is that in the future you tell us everything about what you see, no matter what. We like all the tiny intimate details…" He caught the disbelieving looks from the major and Jaffa. "…Okay, Sam and Teal’c like the details. As long as you tell one of us everything, I’ll be happy."
Annika nodded. "I will." She blinked back a fresh wash of tears. "If there will be a next time. Daniel’s so angry, I don’t know if we can get beyond this."
"He did lay into you pretty hard."
Annika winced. "You heard?"
"Oh, yeah. Danny’s got a pretty good set of lungs on him."
She sighed. "He wants a reason and at the moment I haven’t got one to give him. That’s why I’m here." She gestured to the coffee. "It helps me think."
While the others quietly talked around her, Annika withdrew into herself. She thought back to the moment when she uttered that false reassurance. What had she been thinking? It had popped out of her mouth like an automatic response. Why? What had made her lie to her soul mate?… She absently scrubbed at her eyes. Boy, these lights were harsh, were they always this bright? And so blue? Blue? Looking up she saw the blue-white being was once again hovering by Mulder’s side. She tried to ignore it but it kept distracting her as it bobbed around the FBI agent. Oh, rack off, will you?! Her mind griped in irritation. How am I supposed to concentrate with that bouncing about? The back of her neck prickled and she angrily rubbed the sensation away. For shit’s sake! Why now? Why did the powers that be pick this very moment to be a life turning event? Couldn’t they see that she was busy? Her neck prickled again and the ball of light almost blinded her.
With a growl of frustration she demanded, "Why don’t you talk to him?"
"Huh, talk to who?" Mulder asked perplexed.
"Not you. Her!" Annika pointed to the specter that only she could see. "You’ve been hanging around Mulder for over two decades, aren’t you tired of just watching?"
"Annika, you’re not making any sense." Jack was confused and for once everyone else wore similar expressions.
"Mulder has one of the Ascended hanging about," she explained then huffed in annoyance when the being refused to answer her.
A second blue light appeared and Annika recognized Oma Desala from the sketch she'd drawn so many months ago.
"Sight is for the blind, sound for the deaf."
"Do not start with all that cryptic crap," the psychic warned. "I’m too pissed off at the moment to decipher riddles."
The higher being hesitated, as though she’d forgotten how speak normally. "She cannot make contact with the one she called brother in her former life."
"It is forbidden."
"Daniel bent the rules," Oma explained patiently. "Helping his friends when their minds were in turmoil, unable to tell the difference between reality and delusion. This man," A glowing tendril pointed to the FBI agent. "He is in no need of spiritual assistance."
Mulder watched the one sided conversation with a frown, then whispered to Jack, "Does she do this often?"
Annika’s eyes flashed. "I am not crazy! I may be hanging on by a thread, but I haven’t snapped yet." The tumult of her barely controlled emotions exploded. Her new ‘tattoo’ turned from the soft lilac to deep purple. "You!" She stabbed her hand out above Mulder’s shoulder, making a snatching motion.
The crowded room watched open mouthed as Annika dragged the higher being into their plane of existence, encased in the purple net of her power.
"You talk to your brother. You obviously have something to say. And you…" She snatched her other hand and the being that was Oma flickered into view. "Say hello to everyone, so they know that I’m not loopy. Everyone, meet Oma Desala."
The higher being struggled against the iron clad grip of the psychic’s mind. "This is forbidden…"
"Sweetheart, you can stick the rules where the sun don’t shine. I’ve got things to sort out in my own head and I can’t think with her buzzing about like a mosquito."
Annika hardly heard Jack’s chuckle.
"The others will punish us…"
"Tell them you had no choice, that I forced you…" she shot back, tightening her hold when the being almost slipped away. "Which you don’t and I did."
"They will punish you…"
Annika gave a bitter laugh. "Oooh, I’m sooo scared. What will they do? Swipe my memory? Please, it would be a blessing if I don’t remember the last few hours. At this moment I am scraping the bottom of the barrel. There is nothing they can do to make this day any worse. Now shut up and let the siblings have some closure. They both deserve that."
Oma gave a final futile tug against the purple glow surrounding her then conceded defeat.
She turned her attention to the other being that had remained placidly silent all this time. "Go on." Her tone was a lot gentler than the one she used with Oma. "Here’s your one and only chance to talk to Mulder without retribution."
Hesitantly the light took the shape of a woman with curly chestnut hair and big green eyes. "Fox?"
Mulder’s mouth had gone dry. "Samantha? Is it really you?"
She reached out to gently grip his hand and Annika poked a hole in her net to allow the contact.
"Yes, it’s really me this time. I’m not one of Spender’s clones."
Samantha shook her head. "Not in the sense that you know. I exist in a kind of spiritual form that transcends anything a human mind can grasp." She flicked a wry grin at Annika. "Well, except for her."
"I have so many questions." Mulder struggled with the miracle before him.
"I know, but I have few answers." Her face was anguished. "When Oma helped me to Ascend I was much older than when you last saw me. I don’t remember anything after my abduction from our living room to when I Ascended."
"I’ll find out what happened." Mulder squeezed his sister’s hand tightly.
"I put my trust in you, I always have."
Brother and sister exchanged loving smiles.
"Are you happy, Samantha?"
"Yes. I’ve seen and done things you can only imagine. My only regret is that I’ve been unable to let you know that I’m okay. Now Annika has fixed that." She gave the psychic a grateful look. "Thank you."
Annika nodded, accepting the gesture. "Glad to help." The negative emotions that fuelled this event drained away at the touching reunion.
"And you, Fox, are you happy?"
Mulder shot a sideways glance at Scully. "I am. Especially now."
"You’re good for Fox." Samantha grinned at her brother’s partner. "You keep him grounded with your love. You’ll take care of him, won’t you?"
Scully nodded. "Always."
She turned back to her brother and leaned forward to hug the man who had dedicated his whole life to finding her. "I have to go. The others are coming to investigate. I love you, big brother, now and forever."
Mulder wrapped his arms around her, tears glistening in his eyes. "I love you too, Samantha."
Annika released her hold on the woman and she vanished.
Oma yanked against her prison. "Will you now release me as well?"
She unclenched her fist and the net disappeared. "Sorry, but I couldn’t let you interfere."
The psychic and the higher being stared at each other in a Mexican standoff. Oma was the first to back down.
"I have wished that could happen since Samantha Ascended, however the others would not permit it," the higher being reluctantly admitted. "You have the same blatant disregard for the rules that Daniel did. You are well suited to each other."
Annika’s eyes welled again. "I think so."
"Your ability to pull us into your plane is quite remarkable." A sly sparkle lit up Oma’s features. "Perhaps I shall call on you to ‘force’ me to interfere in certain matters in the future." In the blink of an eye she vanished.
Well, that’s that. Annika thought, taking a sip of her coffee. Now I can focus on more important things. She absently glanced up at her friends to see them staring at her with wide eyes. "What?"
"Just admiring your work." Jack’s eyebrows almost disappeared into his hairline. "It’s not often we see one of the Ascended hogtied."
It took a moment for the ramifications of his words to sink in. Then the blood drained from her face. "Holy shit! I just bullied Oma."
"Hey, I’m…we’re…impressed!" The colonel waved his hand to include everyone in his statement.
"I didn’t mean to…" she stammered realizing that she’d manhandled one of the most powerful beings in existence. "I just couldn’t concentrate with Samantha glowing over Mulder’s shoulder…"
"Annika, it’s okay."
Only then did Annika become aware of how silent the mess was. Every face in the crowded room was focused on her, making her feel like the star attraction in a freak show. The stress of the last few hours hit her like a ton of bricks; the abduction, fighting the ribbon device, having her memories hoovered out and then sucked back in, Daniel’s anger and now this. She broke out in a cold sweat and her body was suddenly shaking so much her teeth chattered.
Looking at the mass of faces she saw a mixture of awe and fear and she cringed. "I can’t handle this right now." With a sob she jumped to her feet. Stop staring! I am not a freak! I need to get out of here, need somewhere to hide… Instinctively her fingers danced the pattern to fold the air around her and by the time she ran out the double-hinged doors her body had shimmered from sight.
<<Previous | Story Intro | Return to Stories | Next >>