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Into the Sea of Waking Dreams

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Listen as the wind blows
From across the great divide
Voices trapped in yearning
Memories trapped in time
The night is my companion
And solitude my guide
Would I spend forever here
And not be satisfied

Damned if they know how it happened, but the entire team ended up on the wrong side of a Tear when the thing suddenly expanded, causing the cliff beneath them to shudder violently. Tash and Selkirk’s team had been caught off guard and all but stumbled through, and before they could retreat back to their time, the Tear had snapped shut again.

It closed. The words were on each tongue, but it was near a minute before anyone could dare to speak them aloud. It was Nigels who finally said it, and Tash had a moment of admiration that he managed to do so calmly.

Then she was yelling and so were the lieutenant and Sergeant Meecham, and Jas and Toff and Kipling just stared at each other in shock.

Minutes turned into an hour into four into a full day without the Tear re-opening. There was talk of building a shelter, and Nigels had already volunteered to scout up through the rocky hills nearby.

No one knew when they were. They hadn't had enough information before going through to make an assessment and now everything was buggered all to hell. Tash wasn’t sure it would have done them any good even if they had known which era they were in. They certainly weren’t the dinosaur experts, now were they?

They knew they could breath. Thank all gods, they could breathe. And there was water near by, or so Nigels discovered from the rocky heights. They had food, too, at least a bit in their packs, and Tash was stocked for… well most medical emergencies.

It was better than it could have been. They all knew that.

It just wasn’t enough.

And I would be the one
To hold you down
Kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
And after I'd, wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes dear

It wasn’t until nightfall that Tash could finally breathe again. The team had been too close; their emotions slamming into her with each wave of panic and rage and frustration and fear. As night fell, though, they seemed to calm. There was a plan, of sorts, and the comfort of orders for the others to follow. And if she could keep a bit of distance from their CO, she’d be just fine.

The others maneuvered themselves into guard shifts, and she discovered she’d been delegated into the second of those two. Tash all but collapsed onto her spot of dirt and pillowed her head on her pack, then she was asleep almost instantly.

In her dreams, he was waiting, as if drawn by the strength of her need for his arms and the safety therein. Her dream self lunged and he drew her up in his arms, standing tall and strong as he could no longer manage in the waking world. She kissed him hard, then felt his arms and the dream fall away like water.

Through this world I've stumbled
So many times betrayed,
Trying to find an honest word,
To find the truth enslaved,
Oh you speak to me in riddles and
You speak to me in rhymes
My body aches to breathe your breath,
Your words keep me alive

 

The morning didn’t look any less bleak, though at least the nocturnal whatever the hell they were that Tash had heard through out the night never made an appearance. They confronted the day as best they could, separating into teams to forage for anything resembling food and water from the sluggish stream Nigels had found. Two were always left behind at the camp, waiting for the Ter to open.

It didn’t that day, nor the next, nor the one after that.

The days began to blur into nothing but a series of tasks and survival. The image of a military team slowly eased to family, to the ones trusted to keep each other alive.

It was hard being the only female, harder still being the only one not originally assigned to the team. Hardest of all - being the only empath in a group who might never have believed in such a thing.

It didn’t take them long to begin to believe.

She knew when Toff cut himself on a sharp stock in the stream and was ready with bandages when the trio returned to camp. She took off running for the far side of the cliff, screaming for help to carry Ian who lay crumpled on the ground from a fall. She woke before the nightmares woke Jas. Was ready with a kind word or a trembling hand on a shoulder when Jamil or Harry needed them.

There was a woman’s intuition, and then there was her. She wasn’t terribly surprised that half of them were almost frightened as they realized the truth of what she was. It hurt, but it didn’t surprise her.

And I would be the one
To hold you down
Kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
And after I'd, wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes dear

The night and her dreams were the only thing that kept her gifts from dragging her down into madness. He always came to her, drawing close and drinking her in. The remnants of those dreams were a balm and a promise, guiding through her waking ours.

His scent drifted onto her hair in her mind as she slept, and the memory of the scent of it come morning would remind her to keep breathing.

 

His hands would brand a path across her thighs, and the thought of the sensation of his fingertips when she woke would remind her to keep them strong and moving forward.

His lips would claim her own, and the taste of him lingering on her tongue would remind her to speak up in the day to come.

Into this night I wander,
It's morning that I dread,
Another day of knowing of
The path I fear to tread,
Oh, into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride,
Nothing stands between us here
And I won't be denied

Days turned into weeks, and Tash wondered which she feared more: when the dreams stopped coming as her memory faded, or when they’d overwhelm her waking days entirely.

She’d hear his voice in her head counting out what supplies were left as she changed a bandage. She’d all but feel the faint tremor of a wheel passing over the dirt beside her as she sat to remove a stone from her shoe. The ghost of a cool hand would brush against her forehead when the sun beat down too bright at mid day.

For the firs time since the TEAR and Christian, she began to fear her gift’s search for her missing center, to fear that lack of a connection.

She kept close to the others during the day, trusting their bracing emotions and solid physicality to keep her grounded in the hell of their reality. Though wounded himself, Ian was at her side almost constantly, something about her fragile mental state arousing his protective instincts. That or he was merely returning the favor for her running to his rescue. She didn’t know and didn’t really care.

Somewhere within her, she thought it only fitting that one stray might shield another.

Still, that shield proved insufficient.

And I would be the one
To hold you down
Kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
And after I'd, wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes dear

Lost to herself and the others as the dreams finally took control, at first she didn’t notice when the fantasy of a way home bloomed into reality before her very eyes. The TEar opened and she stared at it in uncomprehending wonder. It was Ian who understood what the bright lights meant, Ian who called out to the others who came running.

The men grabbed their meager possessions and sprinted through the flickering glass, Ian’s hand pulling her along like so much luggage.

Then… Bright gods, then they were home. The light glinting off the windows of a nearby building seemed to pierce her fog, and she found she was crying.

I'll hold you down
Kiss you so hard
I'll take your breath away
And after I'd wipe away the tears
Just close your eyes

Reports were given, but beyond those closed doors, no one spoke of her descent into madness. No one but Tash, and then only to Christian. He listened as she poured it out to him, cradled in the safety of his arms and his lap.

His own dreams went unspoken.