Opportunity Knocks
Part 2


'Don't think about it; don't think about it; don't think about it...' Daniel kept repeating the mantra to himself throughout the next loop's infirmary visit. Each loop had one, and each one was agonizing. Fortunately, most of Daniel's tests were administered by one of the nurses, and General Hammond and the rest of SG-1 were in the room the entire time. They asked him question after question about the time loop and what had caused it, and he answered as best he could while constantly keeping a wary eye on Janet's whereabouts. As usual, he escaped from the room as quickly as possible. He was determined to avoid being caught one-on-one with her there at any cost.

Once he was alone in his office he took to pacing, fighting an inner battle with himself over what he should do when Janet paid her little visit. His logical side told him to ignore Jack's crazy advice and get back to work on translating the alien text. His more reckless, rebellious side, however, seemed to think it was the best idea Jack had ever had. He wanted to know if Janet had feelings for him - what better opportunity to find out than a time loop? As Jack had pointed out, if she had no interest in him he could just go on being friends with her as though nothing had happened. If she did... well, he'd just have to cross that bridge if and when he came to it.

Still, something about the idea just didn't sit well with him. He had never been one to "make a move" on a woman unless he was one hundred percent sure that she would be okay with it. The very idea made his skin crawl and his palms sweat. But if she wouldn't remember... it was tempting, very tempting.

He was still pacing and fretting over his decision when he heard the now familiar sound -

Rap-a-tap-tap. "Daniel?"

Daniel spun around to face her. "Janet... hi."

"Hi. I'm not disturbing you, am I?"

"Uh... yes, actually," he stammered, suddenly having flashbacks to his awkward teenage years. "I, uh... I think it would be best if you, uh... came back another time. Tomorrow... maybe."

Janet seemed undaunted and stepped into the room anyway. "Well, I'm not staying long. I just wanted to see how you were doing, what with..."

"I'm fine. Everything's fine. I'm..." He picked up a piece of chalk and turned to the blackboard beside him. "I'm right at a crucial point in this translation, though, so if you don't mind..."

"Right. Of course. I'm sorry to have interrupted. I'll... come back later."

"Good, thank you." Daniel stood with his back facing her, holding his breath and hoping that she would fall for his "I'm busy" act and leave.

Scarcely a second passed, however, before she was standing right behind him. She grabbed his arm, turned him around, and reached up to grab his chin.

Catching her wrist and not stopping to think twice, Daniel leaned down and captured her lips with his own.

SLAP!

Woops.

~*~*~

Daniel tapped his pen on the stack of books before him, darting yet another anxious look at the clock. She was due to arrive in less than five minutes, and he still hadn't figured out what he should do when she did. The slap he had received on the previous loop had brought him back down to Earth with a resounding thud, but he had yet to determine whether it had been worth it or not.

On the one hand, he had gotten his wish - he had kissed Janet Fraiser, and for one brief moment, the world had been a magical place. Never had he imagined that her lips would be so soft, so warm, so sweet, so... so... kissable. Even though she hadn't returned it, she also hadn't resisted. This had left Daniel to drink his fill of the wonderful sensation of his lips pressed against hers, before he had broken the contact and she had given her none-too-gracious response.

On the other hand, he had tried his experiment and had failed. She had slapped him, yelled at him, and marched away in indignation, so that must mean she wasn't interested in him. Right?

Or did it? Some part of him felt he still had a chance. After all, that kiss had come out of nowhere, after he'd been so rude in trying to get her to leave. It was no wonder she'd reacted the way she had. Maybe she would react differently under different circumstances. What was the harm in trying just one more time?

Daniel shook his head in disgust at the way he was thinking. He knew better than to treat a human being as nothing more than a lab rat or some kind of toy that was there solely for his own entertainment. To treat Janet - kind, sensitive, considerate, compassionate, beautiful Janet - in such a manner was... was... it was inexcusable, to say the least. 'I can't believe I'm even considering this! This is wrong, this is so very, very wrong...'

He had tried for the last hour to focus on his translations, but he just couldn't force his mind to concentrate. Every two minutes he'd glance at the clock, dreading the moment when he'd hear...

Rap-a-tap-tap. "Daniel?"

Taking a deep breath and forcing a brave smile, Daniel turned to greet his visitor. "Hey, Janet."

"Hey. I'm not disturbing you, am I?"

"Um... no. Please, come in."

Keeping his voice as steady as possible, Daniel allowed the visit to progress in a somewhat natural manner, hoping against hope that he could just get through it and get back to his work.

By the time she turned to go, he was feeling so calm and in control that he even dared to imagine that he was well on his way to being cured of his new fixation... until she once again took his chin in her soft little hand and turned his face to look directly into her own. Suddenly, Daniel's insides turned to jelly, and his resolve crumbled into a million pieces.

"Do you promise me that nothing else is going on here?"

He gazed with longing into her lovely dark eyes, captivated by the way they seemed to dance and twinkle in the light from his desk lamp, and the way her long, thick eyelashes framed them so perfectly...

"Daniel?" Her voice snapped him out of his daydream, but did nothing to chase away the emotions that surged through his chest.

"I love you."

Stunned silence.

"What... did you just say?"

"I love you, Janet." May as well ride it out and see where it took him.

"You... do?"

"Very much," he said earnestly.

Janet backed away from him, looking confused and flustered. "Daniel... I don't know what's gotten into you and the colonel today, but time loop or no time loop... this is starting to scare me just a little."

"Wait, please don't go," Daniel begged, touching her arm to get her to stop moving.

"Daniel, either you take your hands off me, or I'll call for security," she said, her voice shaking.

There was something in her eyes that wasn't just fear, however, and it made Daniel stare at her in surprise for a moment. Finally dropping his hand to his side, he watched as she walked away, hesitating at the door to glance back at him one last time before she disappeared from view.

Daniel wasn't sure what had just happened, but that glimmer of something he'd seen in her eyes... could it have been wistfulness? Could it be that part of her had been yearning for his words to be true, while the rest of her felt that they were spoken by a man who was merely acting on a whim or an impulse?

He was more determined than ever to find out.

~*~*~

For the next few loops, Daniel tried as many different ways as he could think of to find out whether Janet cared for him or not. Flowers and candy, romantic music, poetry... none of it made much of an impression. To her it was just one moment in one day, not the stepping stone to the next opportunity that it was for Daniel. Confessions of love and stolen kisses more often than not brought him slaps to the face, trips to the infirmary for follow-up tests, or peals of hearty laughter, depending on the circumstances involved. None of this managed to deter him. His conscience niggled away at him more and more with every one of his "experiments", but he pushed those thoughts aside and kept on going. There were, after all, scattered in amongst her less than heartening responses to his advances, more of her glorious, mysterious, indefinable hesitations that left him more desperate than ever to discover their meaning.

Unfortunately, Jack soon reached the end of his checklist, and his impulsive behaviour came to an end. As a result, Janet stopped coming. No longer did Daniel hear the friendly "rap-a-tap-tap" at his door, and while he was tempted to go in search of her, he held himself back from doing so. He tried to be content with his new found hope that one day, when this loop was finally broken, she might come to feel the same for him as he did for her. The seed was there; he was sure of it. It would just take a little time for it to grow.

Applying himself more earnestly than ever to the task of translating the last of the text, within two loops the work was done. He was finally able to figure out how to shut off the device and end the time loop forever... so why did part of him feel as though the most important task had been left unfinished?

~*~*~


On to Part 3


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