To Thine Own Self Be True (The Protesting Lady Remix)

Rating: G

A remix of Minxy's Perchance to Dream.

Daniel learned to kel-no-reem not long after Sha're's death. He brought it up to Sam one afternoon out of the blue: Teal'c's teaching me to kel-no-reem. It's interesting; I wish I knew more about meditative techniques here on Earth, so I could compare them. Did the Goa'uld pick it up from us, or vice versa?

Sam hadn't known quite what to say. She certainly didn't want to say what she thought, which was: You're going to the man who killed your wife to try to find a way to get over him killing your wife? That's insane. After all, that was Daniel for you; a little crazy at the best of times.

She knew how that felt.

Sam had never really been interested in meditation, and the Colonel had survived his one kel-no-reeming experience and never looked back, but Daniel kept it up intermittently for years. More for Teal'c than for himself, she thought, but that was as far as she let her thinking on the topic go; the bond between Teal'c and Daniel was a mystery to her, and like all mysteries that could not be resolved through science, she preferred not to think about it too closely. Then after Daniel left--died--she relied on the existence of that bond, more than she ever would have expected. She had not expected to be able to turn to Teal'c for comfort, but there he was, solid and sympathetic and unafraid of grief. Maybe that was what came from living so long, she thought; things that had once been terrifying lost their power eventually.

So when Teal'c began to dream, Sam was sympathetic to his fears. After all, surely even Teal'c was entitled to find such a huge change after so many years a little disturbing. To be honest, she was a little freaked out, too--she'd learned over the years that Teal'c being anything but calm and confident was something to pay attention to--but that was instinct and she could ignore it. Teal'c had given her what she needed when Daniel died; now he was the one who needed her, and it meant a lot to be able to be the supportive one for once.

Teal'c had consistently refused any sort of medication to help him sleep, and Janet said she was a little wary of potential interactions with the tretonin as it was. So she'd just suggested home remedies and good sleep hygiene—regular bedtime, cut out caffeine, try a glass of warm milk. (Teal'c had smiled to himself before refusing that offer. Sam was a little afraid to ask why.) "Relaxation techniques can also be useful," Janet said. "You already know how to meditate; try that, and see if you find yourself falling asleep without meaning to."

None of that made the dreams go away, though, so Sam found herself sitting in Teal'c's room watching him meditate several nights a week. She didn't work while he was meditating, since that seemed disrespectful somehow, and besides she'd tried once and the sound of typing had disturbed him. She just sat and was with him, quietly, as he tried to calm his body into walking down pathways that it hadn't followed since he was a small child. After the first few times, it seemed natural to ask him about it, what it was like now, whether it felt the same, and then when he offered to teach her she said yes.

It was hard, very hard, to do. Sam was not wired for inner peace, never had been, and when sessions were filled with a constant battle against the desire to make her brain work, dammit! rather than that quiet she was looking for it was tough not to feel like a failure. Teal'c was a good teacher, though; not cloyingly gentle, but confident in her abilities and unruffled by her difficulties. When she left him afterwards, she almost always felt—not calmer, not necessarily, but more clear, and given her life as of late, that was a very great gift.

Sam had told Teal'c that he should feel free to call her at any time, not really expecting that he would. He'd always been very careful of her boundaries—Jaffa stuff, the Colonel had said once, with a shrug—and so the first time her phone rang at night and Teal'c was on the other end, she was surprised to hear from him. Gatelag, he said, obviously a little embarrassed at this new weakness and touchingly certain that she would have wisdom to impart.

She didn't, really, at least not beyond all of the regular advice for the insomniac that Teal'c's human friends had already poured into his brain. But she was awake anyway, and so she figured that she could keep him company, at least.

"I tried watching a movie to help me fall asleep," she said, "but then I liked it too much to turn it off," and that was how she found herself describing the plot of All About Eve to an alien warrior at 11:30 on a Thursday night.

"They did not sufficiently value the wisdom that comes with age," Teal'c declared. "Very little of value is indicated by physical appearance, though certain abilities will often be reflected bodily."

"I had no idea the Jaffa were so blind to physical appearance, Teal'c," Sam teased, figuring that she'd bought him enough makeup over the years to be allowed a friendly dig or two.

"We are not," he said, in that completely unconcerned tone of voice that always made Sam wonder whether he'd gotten the joke or not. "However, I at least do not confuse attractiveness with competence, pleasant as attractiveness may be."

"You're such a flirt," Sam said, without quite meaning to. Oh, God, she thought, I didn't mean that, don't take it that way, I'm only just finally feeling like I really know you...

"I am far too threatened by your intelligence to consider such a thing, Major Carter," he said, voice warmly amused, and she relaxed. Thank God for Teal'c, who knew how to make people feel uncomfortable and used that power wisely, if not always necessarily for good.

It mattered to her, this new intimacy she had with him, and she hated to think about losing it. After five years in each other's pockets, she and Teal'c and Daniel and the Colonel had found their niches, their comfortable interactions, and after a while the thought of trying to break out of those patterns had become enormously frightening. In the end, though, things had changed without her asking them to, and Daniel's death had broken those patterns for her. It wasn't worth it, never that, but if she had wanted to be trite--and who was she if not one to fall back on convention?--she would have called that her silver lining. She had lost Daniel, and the Colonel, too, for a time, but at least she had this new closeness with Teal'c, Daniel's last gift to her.

And then Daniel came back.

It was frightening, at first, a problem that had to be given over to others, because what did Sam know about giving a man back his memory, if it was still there to be recovered at all? And then it was just Daniel, filling up the shell that had called itself Arrom. She was so, so happy to have him back, and wanted so badly for him to be glad that he was back, that she would have given him... well, anything, just about.

He didn't seem to want much of anything from Sam. Not that he was cold, or standoffish; she made a point of spending time with him, and he seemed to welcome that. But from that very first morning he was back, when Teal'c had called her only after sunrise to tell her that Daniel had remembered Sha're, it had been clear that he did need something from Teal'c. And that was all right, of course, even healthy, that he might be troubled and actually do something about it. She was happy for him. She was happy to have her team back, the way it was supposed to be.

So if it was Daniel who meditated with Teal'c these days, that was good, because Daniel needed it. If Teal'c didn't call her so often these days, that was good too, because that meant that Teal'c didn't need her. And if she missed those phone calls sometimes, well, maybe she should start looking to fill that hole with something new. There were a lot of empty spaces in there. She couldn't fit her team into all of them.

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