Title: Skin of the Teeth
Author: Isabelle Ashe
Categories: Daniel/Janet, action/adventure
Spoilers/Season: The Curse; set season 7 (pre-Chimera, which won't happen in the world of this fic; I think we can safely assume Heroes won't happen, either!)
Archive: Dan and Jan, GateWorld, anyone else who wants it (but please let me know!)
Summary: Janet accompanies SG-1 on a mission, the success of which depends on her ability to heal a young king. In the process, they run into an old enemy.
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Stargate SG-1, and I am not profiting from this story!
Author's Notes: My first attempt at an action/adventure type story; hopefully it comes off okay. This is somewhat different from what I usually write, so I am a little uncomfortable with it. I am also writing in response to Meg's action/adventure fic challenge/contest. Here are the criteria:
1 The prominent ship pairing must be Daniel/Janet. Other ships have their own fics... this is for Dan&Jan. Whether they're just discovering they have feelings for each other throughout the fic or they're already in a relationship is up to you.
2 It must fit into the category of action/adventure, at least to some degree. (There just aren't enough of those for Dan/Jan)
3 At least the majority of the fic must be set off-world. Where and why is up to you.
4 Have at least one previously established enemy from the show in the story somewhere. Which one and what they're doing is up to you.
5 No permanent character death (though if the enemy is destroyed, that's a-ok).
6 No NC-17 content.
"So, Colonel, you're telling me that these people would be willing to make an alliance with us on the condition that Dr. Fraiser heal their king?" General Hammond looked both skeptical and interested as he surveyed his flagship team and chief medical officer seated around the table.
"That's about the size of it, sir," replied O'Neill. He paused and looked pointedly at Carter and Daniel before continuing. "I understand that this stuff they've got is pretty cool, and these two are like kids in a candy shop, and all that, but I do want to note my reservation about the whole situation. I can't explain it, besides the fact that they're kind of sexist, but I don't feel good about these guys." Carter opened her mouth as if to object, but the general answered first.
"Reservation noted, Colonel." He turned to the eager-faced astrophysicist. "What are your thoughts, Major?"
"Sir, I will admit that these people are not perhaps the *most* helpful and agreeable people we've ever run into, but this element in the soil there is absolutely unbelievable. The preliminary tests I've run indicate that it could be just the stabilizing element we've needed for the naquadria. The inhabitants of P3F-289 have no mining operations and seem rather unaware of the potential of their resources. If we could work out an agreement with them, sir, it could give our naquadria technology just the boost we've needed."
"Plus, sir," piped in Daniel, "they've got one of the most extraordinary temples I've come across in a long time."
"To whom is the temple dedicated, Dr. Jackson? Anyone we know?" inquired General Hammond.
"More trouble, sir!"
Daniel glared briefly at Jack. "Uh, to Osiris." Jack raised his hands as if to imply 'see, I told you so.' Daniel continued quickly, "But there's no evidence that she's made any recent visits. She may have forgotten all about 289. And we might be able to learn valuable information to help us take her out of power and possibly even save Sarah Gardner, the host."
"And don't forget my element, sir," reminded Sam.
"It does appear that there would be distinct advantages to such an alliance," conceded the general. "You may take Dr. Fraiser and a medical team back with you and proceed with caution. I do not want to underestimate Colonel O'Neill's reservation, however. No element or temple is worth an alliance with people we cannot truly trust, nor, needless to say, is it worth jeopardizing any of your lives."
Janet had been listening to the conversation and waiting to be asked for her own opinion. When it appeared that the meeting would be adjourned without consulting her, she cleared her throat pointedly. "Excuse me, sir, but may I ask more about this mission, since its success or failure evidently now rests in my hands?" General Hammond, and especially Sam and Daniel, all had the good grace to look slightly chastised.
"Of course, Doctor. Go ahead."
"First of all, what is the condition of this king who is evidently ill? Do we know what's wrong with him?" All the members of SG-1 stared uncomfortably down at their hands. Finally, O'Neill shot an inquiring look at Carter.
"Uh, well," began the major, "we didn't really get a good look at him. He was in bed, conscious, and he might have been running a fever, but it was kind of hard to tell because of the bad lighting. The prime minister was pretty upset that we saw him at all when he found out that we weren't healers."
"Might have been running a fever?" Janet could hardly believe it. "So we really don't know what's wrong with him. Great. What happens if he's ill beyond our ability to heal? What if he has some terminal illness? If he dies, is your deal off?"
"See!" O'Neill was almost jubilant. "I told you this was too fishy. I just don't trust these guys."
"O'Neill, I agree that the prime minister was less than forthcoming; however, there is nothing to prevent us from returning to the planet with DoctorFraiser, is there? If she cannot heal the king, we are in no worse position than we are now. If she can, there may be great advantages." Teal'c had been silent throughout the briefing, but now that he spoke, he seemed, as usual, to be the voice of reason.
"I agree with Teal'c," responded General Hammond. "Colonel and Doctor, I appreciate your concerns, but for the time being, I am ordering you to proceed with caution. Doctor Fraiser, do your best, and we'll see what happens. Be ready to leave in an hour. Dismissed."
The hour of preparation had passed quickly, and Janet was stuffing the last of her supplies into her pack only five minutes before she was scheduled to be back in the gate room. Concentrating on her checklist, she didn't hear the footsteps enter the room. She jumped, startled, as a pair of strong arms wrapped around her waist from behind.
"You got everything you need?" asked Daniel, pulling her to him and leaning over to plant a kiss on the nape of her neck. Janet jumped and blushed. Her relationship with Daniel was so new that she had not yet become used to public displays of affection.
"You startled me. And yes, I think I've got everything. Or at least I hope I do...I don't really know what I need, of course, since you guys didn't manage to see the patient." She didn't hide the touch of resentment in her voice, and Daniel looked accordingly guilty.
"Sorry, Jan. I guess we got a little, uh, preoccupied. Sam's really excited about this element she found, and you've just got to see this temple. I need to cross-reference the characters in the script with some other languages before I can really start translating. But it really has a lot of information about Osiris there. If we could learn more about her goals...what they were, at least, we might be able to find her, and who knows, maybe we could get her alive and save Sarah." Janet turned around to look at him, one eyebrow raised.
"Is that what this is really about, Daniel?" She hoped her voice didn't sound as uncertain as she felt. Even though most of the time she was sure of Daniel's feelings for her, there was always a nagging part that made her wonder if she could really compare to the ex-girlfriend captured by the Goa'uld.
"Well," he hesitated, "I think Sam's element is probably more valuable in the eyes of the Air Force. But one less Goa'uld in the universe is always a good thing, right? And if we could save Sarah. . ." Janet swallowed, forced a half smile, and turned back to her pack.
"I agree that this alliance does seem like a good thing. But it does kind of add to the pressure when I realize how disappointed you'll be if we can't heal this king. I'm not a miracle worker, you know."
"I know that. And I hope we're not pressuring you to try to be one. Of course," he added, his arms coming around her again, "I do happen to think you're pretty amazing." Janet smiled and felt a little foolish for entertaining doubts of Daniel's affection. She turned around again and kissed him softly.
"We should probably get going," she said as they drew apart. Daniel nodded in agreement and helped her close her pack before hoisting his own and following her to the gate room.
"*This* is your healer?" asked the prime minister, his voice dripping with disdain as he sized up Janet. Janet, her medical team, and all of SG-1 drew themselves up in a defensive posture.
"This is Dr. Fraiser," answered O'Neill, his voice measured and challenging. "She is our finest physician." The prime minister snorted as if this assertion was doubtful.
"And who are these people," he asked, waving toward the two sergeants Janet had brought with her. "I only gave permission for you to return with your healer."
"These are my staff, Sergeant Taylor and Sergeant Ruiz," answered Janet, her voice acquiring the dominating tone she had perfected through years of dealing with belligerent patients.
"Send them back," ordered the prime minister. "I only gave permission for the healer."
"I need them to do my job," insisted Janet.
"Well, you must not be much of a healer, then. Fine, you can all go. We don't need you."
"Fine!" answered O'Neill, despite the horrified looks on Daniel and Sam's faces.
"Mr. Prime Minister, sir," pleaded a subservient-looking aide, "we don't know if this healer might be able to heal the king. Would it hurt to at least let her try?" This point did seem to concern the prime minister.
"She stays, but these two must go," he declared after a moment, again waving his hand dismissively at Taylor and Ruiz. "Either she can heal his majesty or she cannot."
"Look," began Jack angrily, but Janet cut him off.
"It's okay, sir. If there's only the one patient, it probably doesn't matter whether I have my nurses or not. I'll see what I can do."
No one looked at all happy about the situation, but O'Neill finally conceded, sending Teal'c back to the Stargate with Taylor and Ruiz.
"You!" commanded the prime minister, pointing at Janet. "Go with Ruman to see his majesty."
Janet took a deep breath and walked after the man who was evidently Ruman. She cast a longing look back at Daniel, Sam, and Jack, all of whom tried to follow.
"You three will not follow!"
"Carter, I told you this was a bad idea," Jack muttered under his breath.
Daniel felt a convulsive panic sweep through him as he watched Janet walk away. He started forward after her again, but Jack checked him with a hand on his arm. Jack looked very angry.
"Mr. Prime Minister," Jack began in a quiet, deceptively calm voice that Daniel knew spelled trouble, "with your permission, my people would like to continue their investigations around the temple. I will follow Dr. Fraiser and wait outside until she has finished examining the king." The prime minister looked as if he wanted to object, but something in Jack's voice and expression checked him. Instead, he nodded derisively and walked away in a huff.
"Well?" asked Jack, turning to Sam and Daniel. "Go play with your rocks and minerals while you've got the chance."
"Janet," began Daniel helplessly.
"...is going to try to save the stupid king so that you can get your hands on this temple. So get to it. I'll tell T to head over your direction when he gets back. Don't get into trouble, and I'll keep an eye on the doc."
Jack stomped off in the direction Ruman had led Janet, and Daniel and Sam looked blankly at one another before heading toward the temple.
"We're walking on thin ice here, Sam," Daniel commented after they got outside of the town.
"I know," she admitted. "But I think we might be able to swing it, depending on what's wrong with the king. I mean, maybe if Janet can just pump him full of antibiotics, then we can get our deal."
"Don't these people bother you, though? I mean, they wouldn't let you sit at the negotiation table, and they certainly don't think much of women as doctors, to judge from their reaction to Janet. Is such a sexist group of people really worth dealing with?"
Sam hesitated before answering. "Of course it bothers me, Daniel. But they're no more sexist than our own culture was fifty years ago. And I *really* want this element. Why the doubt now? You said yourself how important this temple is...that it could possibly help us find Osiris and maybe save Sarah."
"Does it seem kind of, I don't know, weird or something, that I'm kind of using Janet on the chance that I might be able to save Sarah?"
Sam stopped and looked at him with narrowed eyes. "I hadn't thought of it that way," she said cautiously. "How do you feel about that?"
"Confused," he admitted, his face showing it. "My instincts want to grab us all, especially Janet, and high-tail it back to the gate. But if it is just a matter of some antibiotics like you said... But Sam, if something happens to her, I'll never forgive myself."
"Nothing's going to happen to her, Daniel." He looked unconvinced.
"It's just," he faltered, "whenever I let myself care about someone, something always happens."
Sam turned to look at him, sympathy on her face. "Not always, Daniel. Look at all of us...we're still here, right? I mean, it's not quite the same, but you get the point." He nodded faintly. "So you really like Janet, huh?" Daniel blushed.
"Yeah. I really do, Sam."
"And if we were by some chance able to save Sarah?"
"Huh?" Daniel looked confused and slightly shocked. "It would be great if we could save Sarah, but what does that have to do with me liking Janet? I haven't cared for Sarah like that for years."
"Okay, sorry to suggest it. You might want to make sure that Janet knows how you feel, though. She looked a little nervous when you brought up Sarah in the briefing."
Daniel couldn't believe he hadn't noticed. Could Janet possibly doubt his feelings for her? And could she imagine that he cared more for Sarah than for her? He opened his mouth to say something further to Sam, but he realized he wasn't sure what to say. Not for the first time, he felt compelled to rush back to Janet and sweep her back home to safety. He knew, however, that she would never forgive him for playing her knight in shining armor when she was fully capable of looking after herself.
They had arrived at the temple area, and Sam headed over to the area where she had found the strongest mineral deposits. Taking a deep breath and digging out his notebook, Daniel resolved to work on his translation.
On to Part 2