Title: Bittersweet
Author: MegTDJ
Category: Missing scene; angst
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Daniel/Janet
Spoilers: Anything up to and including season 8ís Lockdown
Summary: Missing scene for Lockdown; Daniel has a painful secret, and thereís only one person who can make things right.
Disclaimer: Theyíre not mine. Drat. If they were, this wouldnít be a fan fiction. It would really have been in the episode.

Authorís notes: This one started out much different than the way it ended up. I think I tied three of my story ideas in together somehow. Very strange. Anyway, the main reason I wrote this was to explain Danielís sudden "twitchiness" in the first few episodes of season 8. Seriously, he was so hyper I could hardly stand to look at him, LOL! I also felt the need, as a Daniel/Janet shipper, to give a reason for his infernal peppiness in season 8. Itís been bothering me that he could be happy after losing Janet, and not so much as mention her name since. This is my way of explaining it all away. I hope it worked out okay. :)

Thanks to Kerri for... well, for actually letting me live after I told you I was writing this instead of working on Mind Fever, heh! Iím getting back to it now, I swear! Also, thanks for steering my thoughts in the right direction when I was floundering. I rather like the result, and I hope you do, too. :)


~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Bittersweet


"Daaaanieeeeel."

The sound of his name being called in a soft, feminine voice was enough to slowly bring Daniel back around to consciousness. "Hmm?"

"You shouldn't fall asleep at your desk like this, Daniel. You'll hurt your neck."

He sighed and cracked his eyes open, blinking heavily in the light that greeted him. He smiled as his vision came into focus and he found himself gazing into a pair of beautiful brown eyes. "Hey."

"Hey," she said. She removed his crooked glasses and brushed her lips against his in a sweet kiss that was much to brief. "Rough few days, huh?"

He raised his head from where it rested on his arm and leaned back in his chair. "Mmm. The worst," he said.

"I'm sorry to hear that," she said, stroking his shoulders sympathetically. "How's your arm?"

He glanced down at his left arm, which was held against his chest by a sling. "It's okay," he said. "Nothing to worry about."

"Do you need anything?"

"Just you." He snaked his good arm around her waist and drew her closer to himself.

She seemed to sense what he wanted, and turned to allow him to pull her onto his lap. She was small enough that she fit there perfectly, which only made Daniel love her all the more. She wrapped her arms around his neck and snuggled up to him comfortably. "That's something I can easily give," she said, caressing the back of his neck with her fingertips and kissing his ear.

Daniel held her as tightly as he could while still being gentle, and buried his face in the crook of her neck to inhale her wonderful scent. "I'm feeling better already," he said, pressing his lips to her collarbone.

"Good."

He could hear the smile in her voice, and it sent a wave of warmth through his entire body. He kissed her neck and thrilled when he heard her sigh.

"Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.

He nuzzled her neck with his nose and placed another tender kiss on her throat. "Nothing much to talk about," he said. "Same old thing, really - another day, another run-in with Anubis."

"Another injury," she finished, an edge of concern in her tone.

"I'm fine," he said with a kiss to her chin. "I'll be good as new before long."

"I know. I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when it happened, though."

"Not your fault," he said, pulling her back a little so he could see her face. "At least you're here now."

She smiled and stroked the side of his face. "You know, I may not be your doctor anymore, Daniel, but I do know exactly how to make you all better," she said, a mischievous glint in her eyes.

Daniel grinned. "Do tell."

She took his face in her hands and captured his mouth in a mind-blowing kiss.

"I love you," she breathed as they finally came up for air.

"I love you, too, Janet." Even though he still hadn't caught his breath, he grasped the front of her lab coat in the hand of his injured arm and pulled, drawing her back down to kiss her passionately.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Daaaanieeeeel."

He moaned when he heard his name being called, slowly waking up from his deep sleep. "Ja..."

"Daniel?" Whoever it was gave his shoulder a gentle shake. "Wake up, Daniel."

He groaned and cracked his eyes open. "What is it?" he said as he stifled a yawn.

"You forgot to come to the infirmary for your medication," she said.

"I don't need it," he said as he sat up and stretched his good arm out in front of him.

"You're not in any pain?" she asked doubtfully.

Daniel huffed a laugh. If only she knew... "It's nothing I can't handle," he said.

She shot him a disapproving look, but didn't argue with him. That was one thing he didn't like about her - she never pushed the issue. If he said he didn't want to take his medicine, she wouldn't make him take it. If he let his balanced diet slide while he was working on some project, she didn't lecture him. She was just... there. "Let me know if you change your mind," she said.

"Okay."

Daniel watched as she left the room without looking back.

As soon as she was gone, the loneliness swept over him like a tidal wave. She was short, dark haired, wore a white lab coat... but she wasn't Janet. He tried to like Dr. Brightman, he really did, but all she did was remind him of the woman he had lost.

He sighed and dug around in his pockets for the packet of pills he had traded in the painkillers for. He couldn't stand taking the ones Brightman had given him. They made him sleepy, and sleep was something he was trying desperately to avoid.

For the last few months, every time he slept Janet would be there. He would see her face, hear her voice, taste her kiss, and sometimes even make love to her if it went that far. As much as he cherished these dreams while he was having them, the pain of waking up without her was killing him slowly but surely.

"God, where are they?" he grumbled as the search of his pockets proved futile. He started to feel nervous as he bent down to open one of his desk drawers. Here they were in a lockdown, and he'd run out? That couldn't be... he must have some left somewhere...

Daniel relaxed as soon as his hand closed around the familiar packet. Thank God, he still had some after all. He pulled it out of his drawer and shook two of them out onto his desk. Then he picked them up, dropped them onto his tongue, and took a swig from the water bottle that was sitting on his desk. He felt a wave of guilt as he felt them go down, knowing that anything he had to be this secretive about was obviously not a good thing for him to do.

He didn't feel he had a choice in the matter, though. Ever since Janet's death he'd been plagued with dreams about her, so much that he'd taken to drinking cup after cup of coffee almost around the clock so he could stay awake. He'd done the same thing after Sha're had been kidnapped years earlier, but back then he hadn't had so many people breathing down his neck about it. As soon as Jack had seen how much coffee he'd been drinking, he'd restricted Daniel's access to it on the base.

So he'd turned to caffeine pills instead.

Unfortunately, caffeine and painkillers didn't mix well, so it was one or the other. He chose the one that made the dreams disappear. Two little pills and he was as wired as he'd be after three or four cups. Sleep wouldn't come to haunt him for days.

"Oh God, what am I doing?" he groaned, leaning his good arm on the desk and covering his eyes with his hand. "I'm nothing but a damn junkie." He knew there was no excuse for his behaviour. Dreams or no dreams, he was setting himself and his team up for disaster if he didn't start getting some sleep and quit chugging back caffeine pills like they were candy.

Suddenly feeling that he couldn't keep still for a moment longer, he stood up and walked out of his office. He didn't think about where he was going until he got there - the place he'd gone on many occasions over the past months when he needed to think or just grieve for the woman he loved. The room he fondly thought of as "their room." He never felt closer to Janet than when he was in the room where she had struggled so hard to save his life.

"You know I died in this room? Ascended..."

He remembered that conversation he'd had with Bregman like it had happened yesterday. As much as he'd hated the man's constant intrusions when all Daniel had wanted was to be left alone with his broken heart, the things the man said had made Daniel feel as though he could carry on after all. That had been the first time he'd come to this room to sort things out in his head, and he could have sworn he'd felt her presence as he'd sat there letting the tears roll down his cheeks. He felt whole there like nowhere else in the galaxy.

He had been quarantined there after he'd been shot, but now the room was dark and empty, just as Daniel liked it. He walked right in and went straight to his usual spot on the far side. He leaned his back against the wall and sank to the floor, propping his knees up and wrapping his good arm around them.

"Janet?" he whispered.

He didn't always speak to her when he visited their room, but this time he wanted so desperately to see her beautiful face and feel her gentle arms around him as he poured out his soul to her. He had done it so many times before over matters big and small, and always she had been able to kiss away the pain. Even though he could no longer see her there, he felt almost sure that she must be able to see and hear him, and that somehow she would tell him what to do.

"Janet, I'm... God, I miss you." His voice seemed to leave him for a moment as this fact settled over him like a thick fog that he just couldn't see past. The caffeine in his system was starting to demand that he start moving again, so he tapped his feet restlessly as he tried to rein in his emotions. After a moment, he cleared his throat and tried again. "This is so hard, Janet," he said, leaning his head back against the wall and talking quietly to the air. "I thought I could do this. I thought I could live without you, but now I'm not so sure."

The room was deathly silent for a long moment before he spoke again. "I don't know what to do - if I keep going like this much longer, I'll just make myself sick, but I don't know what to do to change things. If there was some way I could just get rid of these damn dreams..."

He suddenly realized what he was saying, and his jaw dropped in horror. "Oh God, Janet, I didn't mean that I wanted to get rid of you! I just... I can't handle the pain when I wake up again and you're not there. I love the dreams while they last. Getting to hold you again, see your face and hear your voice... I just wish I could stay there forever."

The caffeine buzz was getting stronger as he sat there, so he jumped to his feet and started pacing.

"I just can't understand why they come every single time I fall asleep," he said in aggravation, waving his uninjured arm about wildly. "I didn't even dream about Sha're this much after I lost her. Why you? Why now? I don't get it, Janet!" He stopped and looked up at the ceiling. "Why are you haunting me?!" he shouted, punching the air with his fist. "Why can't I let you go?!"

The only answer he received was silence.

He sagged against the bed in the middle of the room. "I wish you could talk to me," he said, suddenly feeling deflated. "But you can't, can you?" He laughed bitterly. "This is stupid." He shoved the bed as hard as he could, and walked away as it skidded partway across the room.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Daniel collapsed onto his bed with a sigh of relief. After days of being stuck at the SGC, he was finally at home in his own, comfy bed. He'd never take it for granted again.

He hadn't slept a wink since his short nap at his desk two days earlier, and he was hoping that meant he'd pass out cold and sleep for hours without dreaming a thing. His head felt like it was floating up around the ceiling somewhere, and his body had been running on adrenaline and caffeine alone for hours. He was, quite literally, dead tired.

Just as he felt himself begin to fade into unconsciousness, however, he felt the bed sag as though someone had joined him in it. 'Not again,' he inwardly groaned. He didn't want another Janet dream, he just wanted to sleep.

"Daniel?"

"Please just go away," he moaned, not even bothering to open his eyes.

"I can't do that."

He sighed, turned over onto his stomach, and pulled his pillow over his head in the hopes that if he ignored the dream it would just go away.

Janet had never been one to let him off that easily. He felt her hands on his back, stroking him gently and massaging any knots she came across in the process. He found himself starting to relax and enjoy her touch despite himself.

After a minute of this, he felt her lay down with her arm around his waist and her head on his shoulder.

He finally couldn't stand it any longer. Ignoring her was obviously not working. With a heavy sigh, he brought his head out from under the pillow and slowly turned onto his side.

She lifted her head and allowed him to move until he was facing her, and the two of them just lay there staring at each other for a long moment.

"Okay," Daniel finally broke the silence. "You're here. I get it. You'll always be in my head every time I fall asleep, no matter what I do, no matter what kind of... pills I take. I get the point."

"You make it sound like a bad thing."

He studied her face, unsure of what to say to this. This was the first time he'd known his dream to be a dream while he was actually dreaming it, so this was the first time he'd ever discussed the whole situation with her. He wasn't quite sure what to make of it. He glanced around the room warily as it dawned on him that everything about this particular dream felt... different. "What's going on?"

"You said you wished I could talk to you," she said.

"Yeah," he drawled, studying her closely.

"So now I can."

Daniel stared at her open mouthed for a minute, wanting to believe what his heart was telling him, but knowing it wasn't possible that she was actually there. He rolled onto his back, maintaining eye contact with her and pulling her along with him. She settled herself against his chest and smiled down at him as he reached up to finger her hair. "Are you... is this a dream?" he asked, though he was afraid to hear the answer.

"It's a dream, Daniel," she said, "but I'm really here."

Daniel couldn't speak. He felt like he should doubt what she was saying, but somehow he didn't. It made everything make sense if it was really her and not just a recurring dream, and that was something he hadn't been able to say for months.

"You've been trying to avoid me ever since I started coming to you," she went on. "Why?"

"Because it's too painful," he said, tears filling his eyes. "When I wake up alone, it hurts so much I can hardly breathe."

"But when that happens, you can comfort yourself with knowing you'll see me again the next night," she said, stroking his face. "You don't need to punish yourself like this."

"You'll really be here every night?"

She smiled her most beautiful smile at him. "You were for me."

"I... what?"

"When you ascended, Daniel," she said, dropping a kiss onto his forehead. "You came to me in my dreams. Now I'm doing the same for you."

"But you didn't ascend. How..."

"Don't question it, Daniel," she said, tracing the outline of his lips with her finger. "Just trust me."

Daniel suddenly didn't care anymore whether she was real or just a figment of his subconscious mind. She looked, sounded, felt, smelled, and tasted real, and that was good enough for him. He slipped his hand around the back of her neck and brought her down for a kiss.

When they broke apart again, Janet sighed in contentment and lay her head down on his chest. "This will be the only time you'll know it's a dream and remember that I'm... gone," she said. "I think it's better that way in the long run."

He held her close against him with his good arm and rested his other hand on the arm she'd draped across his stomach. "Then please don't let it end anytime soon," he whispered.

Janet lifted herself up again to look at him. "I'll be here all night, Daniel," she said with a soft smile.

"Good. Let's not waste it," he said.

"What do you want to do?" she asked playfully.

Daniel thought for a moment. "There's so much I miss doing with you, Janet. I want to do it all. There's so much I have to tell you, so many things to show you..."

He was silenced by Janet's fingers pressed against his mouth. "There'll be time for all of that later," she said. "First, let's start with this..."

Daniel sighed as she kissed him, sweetly and tenderly. 'Funny,' he thought as he rolled them both over and leaned down to kiss her again, 'I can't remember now why I wanted these dreams to stop. I hope they never do.'

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next morning, Daniel lay for over an hour looking at the empty place where Janet had been all night. Just a dream... and yet not a dream at all. He could still feel her presence lingering there, but he knew he would only be able to see her when he closed his eyes in sleep.

It was late when he finally dragged himself out of bed. He stood there for a long moment looking at the pants he'd been wearing the day before where they hung on the back of his chair. Coming to a final decision within himself, he picked them up and took something out of one of the pockets. Then he made his way to his bathroom.

With one last look at the packet in his hand, he opened it and shook its contents out into the toilet. The pills swirled away as he flushed and dropped the toilet lid over them in satisfaction. He sat down on the lid then and looked at the empty packet. "Don't worry, Janet," he said, knowing she was standing right there next to him. "No more feeling sorry for myself. I'll be taking care of myself from now on, and... maybe I'll even be able to smile without faking it now that I know you're with me."

He grinned as he felt a soft warmth brush against his cheek for a second. He knew Janet's kiss when he felt it, and also knew what she was telling him.

"I love you, too."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The End


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