Author: Isabelle Ashe
Category: Daniel/Janet, fluff, holiday, future season
Summary: Janet gets a Thanksgiving surprise, for which she is very grateful.
Archive: wherever, just let me know
Disclaimer: Shockingly enough, this lovely show and these lovely characters do not belong to me, nor am I making any money from them.
Author's Notes: Set in the future because Cassie's away at college, but in my happy universe, "Heroes" never happens.
At least you don't have to cook, Janet reminded herself as she eyed the deli package warily. Between Sam's refusal to cook, Jack's apparent inability to do anything but barbecue, and Daniel and Teal'c's respective clumsiness in a kitchen, Janet had, over the years, always been delegated the task of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. If she were truly honest with herself, she actually enjoyed cooking for her friends, but today she was working hard to convince herself that a lazy Thanksgiving with no big dinner was exactly what she wanted. It wasn't really working.
At least you have turkey, she revised, unwrapping the cold cuts and arranging a stack of them on the bread of her sandwich.
As far as she could remember, this was the first time Janet had spent a major holiday completely alone. Cassie was a freshman at MIT this year, and they had both decided that it was a little far to fly home for Thanksgiving when she would be home three weeks later for Christmas. Cassie's roommate was from Massachusetts, and Erica had invited Cassie to spend the holiday with her family. Jacob Carter had come to Earth, and Sam had gone with him to her brother's house for the holiday. Janet still expected to be cooking for "the boys," but the Colonel decided to go to Chicago for an O'Neill family reunion, and Teal'c decided to take the opportunity to visit his son on Chulak. Thus, for the better part of a day, Janet reveled in the belief that she and Daniel might spend Thanksgiving alone together. The idea made her both excited and nervous: she had long harbored feelings for her best patient, and she had often suspected her feelings might be reciprocated. He had, of late, been stopping by her office just to visit.
In fact, it was on one such visit that her fate of a lonely Thanksgiving had been sealed. She had said, hoping she sounded sufficiently casual, that even though the rest of SG-1 was going away for the holiday, she hoped Daniel would still be able to come over for dinner. To his credit, his face was almost anguished as he broke the news: "I'm sorry, Janet. I guess I forgot to mention to you that I'm going to an archeology conference in England that weekend." "They're having a conference over Thanksgiving?" she had stupidly replied. "Uh, well they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.K., you know." She had wished him a good trip but had not even tried to mask the disappointment in her voice.
She had considered volunteering to work the holiday but decided instead to use it to get some extra rest and take the time for herself that she seldom got. Thus, she had slept in, caught the end of the Macy's parade, read some of a novel she had been wanting to read, and now found herself taking the first bite of a turkey sandwich. Not a bad morning, all told, but it was only 1300 hours, and she was already a little bored and a lot lonely.
Janet was about halfway finished with her sandwich when the telephone rang. With unabashed eagerness, she sprang from the table to answer it.
"Happy Thanksgiving, Mom!" called Cassie's voice on the other end.
"Happy Thanksgiving yourself! How are you, sweetheart?"
"I'm good," answered her daughter. "Erica's family is really great, although I'm having trouble learning the names of all the aunts and uncles and cousins." Cassie truly sounded like she was having a good time, and Janet was pleased, though a niggling of jealousy crept in unbidden. "Anyway," her daughter was saying, "we're not going to be eating here for another hour or so, so I thought I would call to wish you guys all a Happy Thanksgiving." Janet was confused for a moment and then realized she must have forgotten to tell Cassie that SG-1 was elsewhere today.
"Um, well it's just me today, Cass, but I'm so very glad you called."
"Just you? Where is everyone? Did they have to go off-, uh, out of town?" Cassie sounded concerned as she censored her question lest she be overheard by some of Erica's family.
"Actually, they're literally just out of town, well, except for Teal'c, who went to see his son. Sam went to her brother's, Jack went to a family reunion, and Daniel is at an archeology conference in England." Janet hoped Cassie didn't catch the deflated quality in her voice.
"What!" cried her daughter. "I can't believe it! Who does he think he is, leaving you on Thanksgiving to go to a stupid conference?" Janet was surprised that Cassie's first thought was of Daniel and even more surprised to find her daughter verbalizing what she had been forcing herself not to think for the past week.
"Cass, none of them has any obligation to be here. Their obligation has always been more to you than to me, anyway. Since you're not here, why should they feel like they have to come?" Any pretense of light-heartedness was gone from her voice now, and Janet even felt the pricking of self-pitying tears behind her eyes. Gripping the phone tightly, she willed them away.
"Oh, Mom, you know that's not true! Not of any of them, but especially not of Daniel." Why was Cassie so insistent about bringing up Daniel, Janet wondered with mild frustration. "Although if that man doesn't make his move soon, I'm going to give him a good bawling out at Christmas!"
"Cassandra!" Janet exclaimed, not sure what else to say.
"What? You two obviously have something going on there, and it's about time one of you did something about it. I mean, when I was still home this summer, you and Daniel had more sexual tension than Jack and Sam. I figured it was only a matter of weeks, and I pester Sam for info every time I talk to her, but here it is November and you two are spending Thanksgiving alone. What gives?"
"Cassie," Janet began after taking a deep breath. She was trying to put herself into mother mode, but self-pity was winning. "I will not deny that I have strong feelings for Daniel, but it doesn't seem like he feels the same way about me. I invited him over here today, but he turned me down. If he just wants to be friends, I can live with that. Satisfied?"
"No!" replied Cassie without hesitation. "Mom, I know he cares about you. He's probably just a little scared."
"Cassie, honey, I appreciate your concern, really. But I just don't think it will do either one of us any good to have expectations that aren't going to be met." She knew her voice was shaking a little, and she knew there was no way she could hide it from her daughter.
"Oh Mom, I wish I could be home with you! I don't want you to be unhappy."
"I'm not unhappy, sweetheart. Maybe not the absolute happiest today, but in general I'm a very happy person. I want you to stop worrying about me. Go enjoy your Thanksgiving, and as far as I know, we'll have a big Christmas with everyone in just another month."
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"Yes, I'm sure. Really."
"I love you, Mom. Maybe I'll call you again tonight, okay."
"I love you, too, Cassie." Janet hung up the phone, and her self- control dissolved as she broke into tears over her half-eaten turkey sandwich.
Janet had pulled herself together after her pity party and decided that having a "me day" wasn't really working. Instead, she decided to clean, scrubbing, scouring, and polishing every inch of her house. By that evening, though, she was feeling only slightly better about herself as she sat down with a bottle of wine to watch *It's a Wonderful Life* on TV. Christmas is good, she decided. Think about Christmas.
She was pouring her third glass of wine as Jimmy Stewart sat in the snow, ready to jump off the bridge. Suddenly, there was a knock at her door. Janet sat up abruptly, wondering who in the world could be there. If they needed her at the SGC...not that she could do much good in her slightly intoxicated current state...they would have called. The knock came again, and Janet got up to answer the door.
Standing on her porch, looking very handsome and slightly nervous, was Daniel Jackson. Janet's heart stopped completely for a moment and then began to race.
"Daniel?" she managed to stutter.
"Happy Thanksgiving," he said with a grin.
"What are you doing here? I thought you had to go to England." Fortunately, her brain had kicked back in gear, and she motioned for him to come in. He was dressed in a blue sweater and khakis, which made Janet feel rather sloppy in the sweatpants and t-shirt she was wearing. He also carried a travel duffle bag, which he tossed in a corner as he entered the hall.
"I decided not to go," he said. "I got to Kennedy Airport and realized that it was ridiculous to spend Thanksgiving alone going to a conference that I don't really care about. And I kept thinking of you here by yourself, so I cancelled my ticket to London and bought one back home. I took a cab straight here from the airport," he concluded, motioning his hand toward the duffle bag. As he spoke, he took a step closer to her, and Janet felt herself completely mesmerized as he looked intently into her eyes. She recognized nervousness but also boldness in his expression, as well as a flash of something else she didn't quite trust herself to identify.
"You flew to New York and then flew back again?"
"Yeah." He looked a little sheepish. "I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to go in the first place. But I'm glad I came to my senses." Their eyes still locked, Daniel took another step closer and reached for Janet's hand. The crackle of electricity as their fingers met might have been audible. "I didn't want to spend all of Thanksgiving without someone I care about." He squeezed her hand, and she squeezed back, holding on firmly. She tried to think, opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came. With his free hand, he reached up and brushed a strand of hair off of her face.
"I'm glad you're here, Daniel," she finally managed to say, her voice thick with emotions, the chief of which were desire and disbelief.
He was now standing very close, one hand holding hers, the other cupping the back of her neck. Her eyes slid closed as he leaned in, brushing his lips gently against hers. He pulled back a fraction of an inch, as if asking permission to continue, and in response she reached up and pulled his head down. There was no doubt or hesitation in this kiss: tongues battled and tasted, teeth nipped lips playfully, and hands roamed over bodies. At last they came up for air, and Daniel leaned down, resting his forehead on Janet's and gazing into her eyes.
"Oh my god, Daniel," she breathed as she looked back at him. She was overwhelmed by the love shining out of his eyes, an expression of which she had caught glimpses in unguarded moments but was only now seeing fully for the first time. She imagined her expression was fairly similar. "I can't believe we, you . . ." She trailed off, words being wholly insufficient for what she wanted to say. He chuckled lightly.
"I've been a coward, Janet. I'm sorry." She opened her mouth to protest, but he silenced her with a finger across her lips. "I've loved you for ages, but I've been afraid of ruining your life. I've got a lot of baggage, you know."
"I don't care," she responded instantly. "We've all got baggage, and we'll have to work at it, but," she paused, "you love me?" The last part she said questioningly and with wonder, as if it only occurred to her what she had heard, and then she couldn't believe her ears. Daniel grinned at her.
"Yes, I love you."
"I love you, Daniel." He leaned in for another kiss, this one softer and less frantic than the first, a kiss of promise. Just as Janet moved to deepen the kiss, the telephone rang insistently.
"Ignore it," he whispered into her lips. On the third ring, however, Janet decided she should answer, in case it was an emergency.
"Mom? I just wanted to check to see how you were doing. I've been worried about you."
"Oh, Cassie, honey, that's sweet of you. I'm doing much better, actually." She paused and drew in a sharp breath as Daniel, who had come up behind her, began trailing kisses down her neck. "How was the rest of your day?" she asked, hoping she sounded non-chalant.
"It was good. Erica's mom and aunt are amazing cooks, and then we all played football this afternoon." Janet tried to stifle a small moan. "Are you sure you're okay, Mom? You've had a good day?"
"Fine, honey," Janet gasped as Daniel's tongue slid along her collarbone just inside the neck of her t-shirt. "Stop it," she hissed at him, half forgetting that Cassie would hear her, though the fact that Cassie was on the phone was the only reason she wanted him to stop.
"Mom, is somebody there?" Cassie sounded very confused. Janet decided that she didn't want her daughter to worry.
"Um, actually, yes. Uh, Daniel decided not to go to his conference after all." Cassie's excited whoop was so loud that Janet pulled the phone away from her ear, and Daniel, who heard it perfectly, began to laugh.
"Well, then, I guess I'd better let you go, Mom. Wink, wink."
"Good night, Cassandra," answered Janet in a voice that attempted stern but failed miserably.
"Happy Thanksgiving, Cassie," said Daniel, leaning around Janet to speak into the phone's mouthpiece. Cassie just giggled and hung up.
Janet, too, was laughing as Daniel took the receiver out of her hand and hung it up. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her soundly.
"So," he said, his eyes twinkling, "do you have anything to be thankful for this year?"