Title: Opportunity Knocks
Date: November 29, 2003
Category: AU missing scene (if such a thing exists); romance; humour; angst
Spoilers: Forever in a Day; Upgrades; Window of Opportunity.
Summary: An AU missing scene from Window of Opportunity - What would Daniel have done if he'd been stuck in the time loop instead of Teal'c, and could do anything he wanted without consequences?
Archive: Gateview; Dan&Jan Archive; Fanfiction.net; anywhere else, please ask permission
Feedback: Yes, please!
Disclaimer: I don't own them.
Author's Notes: This fic is a result of the challenge issued by *ses* on the DanandJan Yahoo list to write a fic showing what Daniel would have done if he'd been stuck in the time loop in Window of Opportunity. And, of course, it was inspired by Michael Shanks' answer to the same question when he was asked it at a convention a while back - "If Dr. Janet was lurking about, you'd have to see!" ;)
*Many thanks to Lady Anne for the wonderful beta job (if anything's wrong with this fic, it's because I didn't listen to her advice - bad me!); to Red for her wonderful advice that cleared my brain when I was stumped; to Karen and all of the "night crew" for their support and encouragement (*hugs* to all of you!); and to everyone at the DanandJan Yahoo group for keeping the Dan/Jan ship alive! Woo hoo! :)
Loop number... what was it now? Daniel wracked his brain trying to remember, but finally had to give up. He had officially lost count.
He leaned back in his chair and sighed, taking off his glasses and rubbing his face. He had spent as many hours out of each loop as he could working on translating the alien text from the time loop device, and while he had made significant progress, there was still a lot left to do.
Jack had initially offered his assistance out of a somewhat misguided idea that he could help, but Daniel now worked alone. Growing increasingly tired of Jack's inability to concentrate and tendency to start juggling wadded up balls of paper every time the archaeologist's back was turned, Daniel had finally brought up the fact that no matter what they did everything would return to the way it was before at the beginning of each new loop. They could essentially do whatever they wanted to do without worrying about consequences.
Once this idea had sunk in, Jack had jumped at the opportunity, and, for a few loops at least, so had Daniel. Neither of them had crossed the line and done anything too over-the-top, though Daniel had felt a momentary rush of guilt after he had disclosed classified information to a civilian without permission. Still, he had enjoyed hearing his old rival Steven Raynor stutter and gasp when Daniel had called him to announce that he had found proof that aliens really did build the pyramids and had gone on to spell it out for him in no uncertain terms. Jack had backed him up on it, and afterwards the two men had burst out laughing and high-fived each other, Jack obviously just as happy as Daniel that his friend had finally had the chance to rub someone's nose in the fact that he had been right all along after the way he had been treated years earlier.
Daniel had also taken the opportunity to indulge himself in an entire baker's dozen of his favourite chocolate-walnut cookies in one sitting, thus getting the satisfaction of pigging out but avoiding the stomachache it would otherwise have caused. He had finally taken Sam up on her long-standing offer of a motorcycle ride through the Rockies, much to Sam's surprise, knowing that even if they rode right off the edge of the mountain, he'd still wake up safe and sound at the beginning of the next loop... at least, if the movie Groundhog Day was anything to go by. He had helped Jack to make prank phone calls to the White House, finding the activity much more entertaining than he thought he would. And, for a few loops in a row, he and Jack had discovered every single way a person can sneak out of the base, each time heading straight for the nearest Baskin-Robbins and finally getting to sample every last one of their 31 flavours.
For a short time, Daniel had felt as free and easy as a rebellious child, something he had never experienced in his entire life. Before long, however, he had grown tired of their antics and returned to work on the translation. He didn't mind that Jack continued to take advantage of each loop - in fact, he welcomed the solitude, as he was better able to concentrate when he worked alone.
Until, that is, a certain something began to happen. In every loop at the exact same time, he'd hear...
Right on time.
"Hey, Janet," Daniel greeted her with a tiny smile.
"Hey. I'm not disturbing you, am I?"
'Much more than you know,' he thought wryly. Aloud he said, "No, not at all. Come in."
Janet stepped hesitantly into the office, looking around at the blackboards filled with half-translated text and the books that littered his desktop. "So..."
"Wait... before you say anything..." Daniel interrupted, "you came to see how I was doing because you're concerned about Jack's reckless behaviour, and you wanted to make sure the two of us weren't just going crazy or something."
Janet looked at him in surprise.
"We've... had this conversation before," Daniel told her sheepishly.
"Right. Of... course we have." Janet tapped her finger absently on the book Daniel had open before him, drawing his attention to the fact that she had come to stand very, very close to him as he spoke.
He cleared his throat to break the sudden silence. "Yeah. So, if you don't mind, I really have a lot of work to do, and I'd like to get back to it," he said as politely as he could.
"Of course." She shot him an odd look, but took a step toward the door. "I'll leave you to it."
Daniel closed his eyes and winced as she began walking away, knowing what was coming.
Suddenly, Janet turned around, took Daniel's chin in her hand, and tilted his face so that he was forced to make eye contact with her.
'I really wish she wouldn't do that,' Daniel thought, his heart racing.
"Do you promise me that nothing else is going on here?" she asked, giving him her famous no-nonsense stare.
"I promise," Daniel said, though his voice came out as little more than a squeak.
"You're not experiencing any symptoms that you're not telling me about?"
'Well, just the one, but that's hardly relevant,' Daniel thought. Aloud he said as innocently as he could, "No, nothing."
"No alien devices affecting your behaviour?"
'Unless you count the time loop machine...' he thought, but he knew from experience that giving that answer would only keep him in this position longer than necessary, and she would end up shrugging it off anyway. "Nope."
"You're stuck in a time loop."
Daniel nodded as best he could while still caught in her firm grip. "Time loop."
There was a slight pause as Janet looked deep into his eyes as if trying to discover for herself whether or not he spoke the truth. At last, she released his chin but still held his gaze, nodding slowly. "Okay. Then I believe you."
Daniel gave her another tiny smile as she began to back away.
"Let me know if you need anything." With one more glance back at him from the doorway, Janet left the room.
As soon as her footsteps could no longer be heard in the hall, Daniel let out a heavy sigh and sagged in his chair. 'Well, that's over with for another loop,' he thought in relief.
It wasn't that he hated the fact that Janet came to see him. Quite the opposite - he liked it when she came to his office. For the past two years she had paid him fairly frequent visits, either to check on him after some injury or traumatic experience, or occasionally just for a friendly chat. Unfortunately, with her time loop visits being repeated over and over in such quick succession, Daniel had begun to find himself enjoying them just a little bit too much.
The first few times she had grabbed his chin and forced him to look her in the eyes, Daniel hadn't thought twice about it and had simply answered her questions then returned to his work. After a while, however, he had found himself gazing just a little too intently into the beautiful brown eyes before him. By about time number 8 or 9, he'd let his mind wander for a moment or two, taking in each curve of her face, the softness of her lightly browned skin that made him want to reach out and touch it, the way her lips moved as she spoke...
Then one fateful loop, Daniel had suddenly had a vision pop into his mind of her next act being to plant a kiss on him that would take his breath away.
It was pretty much downhill after that. Each time she would enter the room, that pesky little thought would enter Daniel's brain, and by the time she would leave, he would be exhausted from the effort it took just to form a few coherent sentences. For a few loops he had tried to avoid the situation by leaving his office just before she was due to arrive, but each time she would search him out, and the same scene would play out no matter where they were. By loop number... whatever it was now, Daniel had finally had to admit it to himself - he had fallen madly in love with Janet Fraiser, and he didn't have a clue what to do about it.
Oh yes, Daniel thought with a plaintive sigh, he'd go so far as to use the word "madly." It had been sneaking up on him slowly for months now, but his recent reckless behaviour seemed to have made him more prone to giving into his baser instincts and less able to successfully stifle unwanted emotions. The result was that he had not only fallen in love with her wholly and completely, but he also had no wish to conceal it.
Unfortunately, as Janet seemed to think of him as no more than a good friend, conceal it he must. He had no wish to risk adding a sense of strain to their friendship by letting her know how he felt and having her shoot him down or begin avoiding him because of it.
Unless, of course, she didn't shoot him down. Perhaps, if there was the tiniest of remote possibilities that she wouldn't... He let his mind wander back through time, trying to remember if she had ever given any indication that she could possibly, somehow, someday be at all interested in taking their relationship to the next level. Every memory he came up with, however, no matter how hard he tried, had to be eventually shrugged off as either having a rational explanation within the bounds of mere friendship or as pure imagination on his part. "This is ridiculous," he muttered. "Next thing you know, I'll have convinced myself that she got so heated with Anise because she somehow sensed that the snake 'likes' me and was jealous." He shuddered at that thought.
Suddenly, the sound of a high-pitched bell ringing out in the hall broke Daniel out of his reverie.
"Make way! Coming through!"
"Jack! What the..." Daniel stuttered as Jack rode into his office on a bicycle, coming to a somewhat ungraceful halt dangerously close to a very valuable artifact that was sitting on the floor by Daniel's desk.
"Hey, Daniel, how's it going?" he asked nonchalantly.
"You didn't seriously just ride that through the halls, did you?" Daniel asked in disbelief.
Jack hesitated a moment before replying. "Not seriously, no," he finally said, seeming pleased with his response.
Daniel was not in the mood to put up with Jack's hijinks at that moment, and the smirk on his face as he tried to scoot his way around Daniel's desk just made the archaeologist's anger rise to the surface. Jack was, to his mind, entirely responsible for Daniel's current predicament, after all. If it weren't for the way he was acting, Janet wouldn't feel the need to make her little house call, and Daniel would be able to do his work in peace. "Jack, do you have to keep doing crazy things that other people can actually see? You're only making things more difficult for me, you know!"
"Well, pardon me for having some fun, Mr. 'We can do anything we want without consequences,'" Jack shot back without missing a beat. "This was your idea in the first place, in case you've forgotten."
Daniel sighed heavily. "Yeah, but could you stop already?"
"Nope." Jack grinned. "I made a checklist."
"A checklist?" Daniel repeated doubtfully. "How?"
Daniel stared at him for a moment; then shook his head and decided not to even go there.
"I'm not gonna stop until I've done every last thing on the list," Jack said, concentrating hard on getting his bike to make a very tight turn around the corner of the desk.
Looking up at Daniel then, Jack obviously saw the dangerous look in the other man's eyes. "Or... until you've finished your translation, making it possible for the loop to finally be broken and life to return to normal," he added with a sheepish smile.
Daniel groaned and buried his face in his hands, leaning his elbows on the desktop. "Unfortunately that may take a lot longer than I initially thought," he mumbled.
His forlorn attitude finally seemed to register with Jack. "Problems?" he asked, an edge of anxiety creeping into his tone.
"Big problems. Not with the translation, though... with my concentration."
Sighing again, Daniel decided to just 'fess up and be done with it. "It's Janet."
"What about her?" Jack pressed after a slight pause.
"Every loop at the same time, she comes in here to check up on me, and it's driving me to distraction."
"Yeah, the doc'll have that effect on ya. For me it's that stupid penlight. I really hate that thing."
Daniel slowly raised his head to look up at him. "Not... that... kind of distraction," he said, his voice heavy.
Jack stared at him for a moment while this comment sank in.
Daniel raised his eyebrows significantly as he met his gaze.
"Yeah." Daniel buried his face in his hands again, feeling wretched and miserable.
"Ole Doc Fraiser, eh?" Jack muttered thoughtfully.
A muffled moan escaped from Daniel's throat as he began to regret having shared this information with Jack. 'Great,' he thought mournfully, 'I'll never live this one down.'
"So kiss her."
Daniel's head shot up in surprise at this statement, shooting Jack his best "Excuse me?!" look. Whatever he'd been expecting him to say, it hadn't been that.
Jack countered with a look of pure innocence. "What?"
"I can't just... kiss her!"
"Why not? You said yourself, no one's going to remember what you do by the time the next loop rolls around, right?"
"That doesn't make any difference..."
"Sure it does. You try it, and if she doesn't get majorly PO'ed about it you know she's interested. If she does get majorly PO'ed... well, then you'll know never to try it again, won't you?" Jack grinned and slapped his friend on the shoulder.
Daniel merely stared at him open-mouthed. "You know, I'm beginning to think you really are insane, Jack."
Jack considered this for a moment. "Why, thank you, Daniel," he said courteously; then he flashed him another grin and rode out of the room.
Daniel sat looking at the empty doorway for quite some time, wondering if his life would ever feel sane again.