Title: Catch Me as I Fall
Spoilers: Entity; An episode addition.
Category: hurt/angst, comfort
Pairings: Janet/Daniel (friendship or relationship), a tiny bit of Sam/Jack
Summary: Episode addition to Entity. Janet has problems justifying her own actions to herself.
Authorís Note: *waves* Hi! Iím new to this SG1 business. Iíve seen four seasons in less than two months. My brain experienced a... well, a sort of Teryl Rothery sensory overload, so I needed an outlet. This is the result. Not my first fan fiction story by all means, but it is my first in this fandom. Hope you like it, though. ;)
Thank you, Arcana, for beta-reading. :)
Oh and the title comes from Evanescenceís "Whisper" as it helped to inspire this little thing. If you havenít heard the song, make sure you do. :)
Catch Me as I Fall
In the infirmary Janet stood beside the bed, checking and re-checking the readings on the monitors while Jack and Tealíc stood on the other side of the bed and Daniel occupied the end of it. After having once again reassured herself that Sam was going to be survive her latest ordeal, Janet remained close to her friend and listened to Jack OíNeillís voice as he kept talking about... well, something. What that something was, Janet wasnít sure, but the good news was that he was doing it. After experiencing complete solitude when trapped in the baseís computers, Sam was, understandably, not thrilled about the idea of being alone. She listened, nearly asleep, as Jack related one story after another, and Tealíc stood nearby, as if guarding his recuperating teammate. Daniel seemed to be just standing silently, observing what was going on around him, but the worry over Samís wellbeing was apparent in his eyes.
Placing the chart to its place, Janet unobtrusively left her friendís side. From the doorway she looked back at the scene and saw Samís eyelids slowly drifting shut. As she walked away she listened to Jack OíNeillís soft voice until it grew too faint to be heard.
Sam was finally asleep. Daniel lifted his eyes from his friend who lay on the bed and saw the Colonel with his head in his hands. Daniel felt sorry for the man. If it was hard for him to watch Sam suffer like this, how much harder was it on OíNeill? Letting his eyes wander around the room, Daniel frowned. Something felt off. Then, seeing the chart near the bed he realized Janet had left. Now when did she do that?
Daniel returned his gaze on Jack who was again talking to Sam, though the Colonelís voice was reduced to an almost whisper now that sheíd fallen asleep. Glancing quickly at Tealíc, Daniel concluded the Jaffa probably hadnít moved a muscle since theyíd arrived some 45 minutes earlier. Feeling restless, Daniel felt something driving him to go after Fraiser. He was about to ask if the either one of his teammates had noticed where Janet had went to, but then changed his mind. Instead, he left the room fairly certain he knew where to find her.
As he approached her office, he saw the door was slightly ajar and a stream of light came from the small crack. Expecting to see the Doctor sitting behind her desk, working on one thing or another, Daniel was surprised when he, pushing the door open with his hand, found the diminutive CMO standing motionless, facing away from the door, her back rigid with tension.
Though he moved quietly, Daniel saw the way the muscles in her back twitched a little, letting him now she was aware of his presence. What surprised him even more, though, was that contradictory to the warm greeting he had grown used to receiving, she wasnít acknowledging him in any other way. It was enough to make him worried.
When she answered her voice sounded strangled, hoarse. "Daniel, itís alright. I just need a moment."
Her words stopped him in his tracks for a moment. Tilting his head to one side, Daniel closed his eyes, gathering his thoughts. Just how had she known the reason he had sought her out?
Shaking his head, he pushed the thought away, instead focusing on what was important at the present moment. He decided to not really pay attention to her words about being "alright" since the evidence before his eyes was telling him she was everything but. Even standing across the room from her he could see how she was shaking, and it wasnít just her hands, either. Janet was shaking from head to toe, like a leaf.
Not even bothering to try to persuade her to admit something was wrong, Daniel merely closed the distance between them in a few steps and touched her shoulder gently with his hand. She flinched at the touch, but didnít back away from his touch.
"Youíre shaking," Daniel told her as he slowly but firmly drew her to him until she was enclosed in his strong embrace. Although she remained rigid and refused to lean on him, she didnít refuse his touch.
Soothing her with whispered words, Daniel let his hands make slow circular motions on her back. As the minutes passed, he felt her slowly she yielding to him, and her hands came around his body as she burrowed her head to his chest.
He continued to hold her as her body was wracked with sobs.
Janet had watched as her best friend lay on the bed; once again back in the land of the living. So close this time. So close.
And this time the end result wouldnít have been the fault of some Goaíuld. It would have been her fault. Hers. Janetís.
Feeling her eyes filling with tears she had left the room, escaping to the privacy of her office. Reaching her office sheíd managed to walk to her desk before freezing there, her body seemingly incapable of even moving to the chair behind the desk.
Emotions were coursing through her, overwhelming her with their strength and disparity; everything from relief to blame, from joy to rage.
She didnít know how long sheíd stood there when she heard the door open. Fairly certain it was one of her nurses she was surprised to hear Danielís voice.
At once she knew the reason he was there.
"Daniel, itís alright. I just need a moment," she heard herself answer him, but she didnít know how she managed to form the thought, let alone the words. When a moment later Janet heard him coming closer, she was almost mad at him. He was completely ignoring how great an effort it had been to her to formulate the words. A distant part of her brain told her that her thinking this way was an obvious signal that not all was okay.
Okay? How do you expect things to be okay after what you almost did?
Janet flinched when she felt his hand touch her shoulder lightly, but she forced herself to stay still and not escape his touch. It would just probably make him more determined to find out what was wrong.
As his words registered, she realized Daniel was right. She was shaking. Not just her hands either, but all over. Clinically she recognized it was most likely due to her emotional state, her rage and fear battling inside her. Strong emotions could cause physical symptoms.
When Janet felt his hands pulling her close to him, she remained stiff, refusing to allow herself to embrace the warmth and reassurance he was so kindly offering.
She didnít deserve to be comforted. Not after what she had almost done. She didnít deserve his kindheartedness. And after Daniel learned what she had nearly went through with, he probably wouldnít offer it anymore, either. That achingly painful thought along with his hands on her back, slowly soothing her as he gently reassured her of how he was there for her, caused her walls to crumble.
Little by little she surrendered to the solace he was offering her. Wrapping her hands around his waist Janet pressed her face against his chest. Unable to keep the pain inside her any longer, she held on to Daniel and let the tears come.
Daniel continued to hold on to Janet as she cried against him. He had no idea how long theyíd stood there, but then again he didnít really care either. As her sobs turned into hiccups she slowly detached herself from him and turning, fumbled for something from her desk drawers. Finally coming up with the tissues sheíd been looking for, Janet blew her nose and dried her tears, all the while unable to look at the man in front of her in the eyes.
"Janet, whatís wrong," Daniel prodded gently.
"If you donít tell me whatís going on I canít help you," he said. "And I want to."
Knowing the truth behind his words, but unable to meet his gaze, she kept her eyes on the wall behind him.
Gently placing a finger under her chin, Daniel encouraged her to look at him. When she did, he smiled at her, though it wasn't the happiest smile that had graced his lips. Satisfied that she at least was not fighting him anymore, Daniel half sat, half leaned against the desk while keeping a hold of Janet's hand, thus making sure she stayed in close proximity.
The silence stretched on as Daniel waited for Janet to begin her explanation. He didnít want to push her anymore than he already had, knowing she didn't find it always easy to open up to people about painful issues.
Some moments later she inhaled deeply and started to tell him, "Did you know that just before you entered the isolation room with Tealíc, I told Jack that Sam had a living will? It says that she doesnít want to be hooked on machines... I... I told the Colonel it was time... time to let her go... When all that time..."
She had to stop for a moment to calm herself and was grateful when Daniel placed a supporting hand on her upper arm, silently telling her it was alright.
"I almost unhooked Sam from the machines, Daniel. I almost killed her," Janet finally cried out.
Cringing at her self-incriminating words, Daniel tried to offer her reassurance, "What matters is that you didnít unhook Sam from the machines. And that Samís gonna be okay."
But even before he finished his sentence Janet shook her head. "I was ready to give up. God! I had given up. If it hadnít been for Jack insisting..." she couldn't bring herself to finish the thought.
Reaching out to her again, Daniel pulled her close to him. She tried to struggle a little at first, but it only caused his grip on her to tighten. "I need you to think of this rationally for a moment." He paused for a second to make sure he had her attention. "There was no way to know. No one thought of the possibility of Samís mind being trapped in the computers."
Letting the words sink in, he pulled away so he could look her in the eye. "Isnít it usually Sam who comes up with the wildest ideas?" When he didn't get an answer from her he repeated, "Look, no one thought of this. Not Jack, not me, not Tealíc..."
Seeing his words were helping, at least some, he continued. "Besides, we know you were thinking of Samís wishes... Jack knows it, I know it. Sam knows it, too, Janet." Pausing again, he brushed away a single tear that was rolling down her cheek. "You were thinking of what Sam wanted, even though it hurt you, of this Iím sure. It wasnít easy for you to say those words to Jack, I know you well enough to know that."
His words took Janet back to the moment in the isolation room. Sheíd stood there, unable to look at Jack, and barely able to see Sam though her gaze was directed on her. Even as she forced the words out of her mouth sheíd kept praying for a miracle that would have caused Sam to open her eyes... and stopped her from saying what she had to.
"Itís not that you were ready to do that, that matters, Janet. Itís that you were ready to do that as a doctor, despite being her closest friend. Thatís what makes you a wonderful doctor. And how youíre feeling now shows what a remarkable friend you are."
Seeing her faint smile, Daniel knew he was finally making progress in getting through to her. He kissed her forehead before adding, "Donít dwell on 'what might have beensí. Samís going to be okay now, you said so yourself."
He searched her eyes for something that would tell him she was accepting his words. But though he found what he was looking for, he still saw the fear reflected in her eyes.
Pressing herself against Daniel again, Janet drew strength from him. With a trembling voice she admitted her true fears, "I thought we lost her Daniel. I thought we really lost her this time."
Knowing no words could make any difference, he just held her tighter, offering whatever comfort he was able to, and found his own peace in her accepting it.
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