Janet was taking a sip of water to down her two aspirin when alarms began to sound around the base. Seconds later, the alarms were followed by a strange metallic clicking throughout the hallway outside the infirmary--a sound she knew only too well.
Dropping the cup, she sprinted to the door, followed closely by several of her nurses. Her heart jumped into her throat as a swarm of Replicators clattered down the hall, looking like an army of oversized Construx toys.
"Damn it, something went wrong." She muttered the words to herself, waiting until the Replicators passed before bolting for the room in which she knew Reece was contained. She clutched her wounded arm to her side as she sprinted, her mind creating terrible scenarios of what could have happened for things to reach such a point. Needless to say, Reece was mad, and chances are, she was taking it out on the person she would have felt most deeply betrayed her--Daniel. Upon reaching the room, she was not surprised to find it empty, several guards down on the floor. Moving quickly to their sides, she made basic assessments, snapping out orders to the nurses that had followed her. Once assured that things were somewhat under control, she headed to the next obvious place to find out what was going on.
She arrived breathless a few seconds later outside the control room, noting Siler, Davis and a tense looking General Hammond were already there ahead of her. The door was closed and she could hear the ominous ‘clicking’ sound through the metal. Ignoring the pain that shot through her arm at her recent motion, she managed to control her breathing enough to speak.
"Replicators have taken over the base--they‘re in the control room now, attempting to activate the Stargate. We assume Reece is attempting to escape with them-"
His words were cut off as Jack, Teal'c and Daniel suddenly appeared around the corner, guns drawn.
"General, Carter and Teal’c are restoring base power from the upper level control room. Daniel wants to try and talk to Reece, see if he can get her to call off her ‘toys.’" The note of unease was audible in Jack’s voice and Janet couldn’t help from jumping in as Daniel reached her side.
"You do know she could kill you--especially since she most likely thinks you betrayed her." She hoped her voice did not sound too emotional, although her emotions were certainly all over the place at the moment.
"Jack will provide back up if things go wrong." The slightly unsteady tone of Daniel’s voice told her clearly that he wasn’t as calm as he looked. But knowing Daniel, knowing how he felt about Reece despite what she was, she knew that nothing would stop him from entering the gate room. It was this part of Daniel’s nature that both awed and frustrated the hell out of her.
"Be careful, Daniel." She felt her heart flutter as he looked at her for a moment, seeing something in his eyes she was almost afraid to acknowledge. She swallowed hard as he nodded, giving her a small, strained smile as he walked down the corridor towards the gate room door, Jack following behind.
"Oh God, he’s going to get himself killed," she muttered under her breath, unable to stop from following, noting General Hammond, Siler and Davis were right behind her. She came to a halt as she saw the door slide partway open, heart in her throat as she watched Daniel stare down at the army of Replicators. His tense back was the last thing she saw before the door slid shut.
Closing her eyes, she offered a quick prayer that he knew what he was doing. Leaning heavily against the wall, she blocked out the aches of her own tired body, concentrating only on what Daniel might be facing at this moment.
She became aware of sudden movement around her, noting Jack was motioning for the troops to move in. Obviously, Daniel was in trouble. Keeping herself calm by sheer strength of will, she caught Jack’s eye. He only nodded sharply at her before motioning to his men.
As the blowtorch slowly began to trace a circle in the heavy metal door, she jumped, hearing the metallic ‘clicking’ above her and ducking as gunfire broke out around her. Replicators were suddenly swarming the area and she frantically looked around for something to defend herself with. Seeing a machine gun lying on the floor where an injured soldier now lay, she raced for it, stopping quickly to make sure the man was breathing, before grasping the gun and beginning to fire on any Replicator that she could spot. It was extremely difficult for her to fight using only one arm, and pain ripped through her body as she struggled to aim and fire, over and over again. However, the knowledge that Daniel could be in worse danger gave her the strength to grit through the pain and fire as if, because it did, her life depended on it.
As she took aim at another ‘bug,’ she stopped short of firing as it collapsed and fell to pieces in front of her. Noting a similar reaction among all the remaining Replicators, she immediately moved towards the gate room, figuring Reece had been immobilized.
When she reached the room, she stopped dead at the sight before her. Reece lay on the ground, Daniel kneeling beside her, Jack standing over them both, the control disc for the android clutched tightly in his hand. The agony on Daniel’s face nearly tore her heart in two.
"Robot has been neutralized." Jack’s voice was calm and collected, and Janet could not help the sigh of relief she felt at the words. The sigh quickly turned to an indrawn breath as she saw Daniel remove his glasses, his face wracked with pain and sorrow.
"You stupid, son of a bitch." The pain in his voice was obvious, and she could tell that Jack was not unaffected by the words, though he tried to keep a neutral face.
"Hey, you’re welcome." The gruff tone to his voice didn’t fool her. He was just as upset as Daniel, although he hid it better.
"You didn’t have to shoot her." The plea was obvious in Daniel’s voice as Janet leaned against the wall, waiting for the scene to play out to its unhappy conclusion. Her heart again was torn as she watched the two men stare each other down.
"Yes, I did."
"She was shutting them down." Again, Daniel was pleading with his friend, desperate to make him see reason. The tear that slipped down his cheek nearly brought one to her own.
"I had no way of knowing that, neither did you."
"They didn’t stop because you shot her, they stopped because she told them too." Janet wasn’t sure she could watch this much longer, it hurt too much to see the obvious pain Daniel was in--not to mention that Jack was hurting as well, although he hid it much better.
"Carter said she was loosing control. Now if just one of those damned things got out of this base and developed its own personality, we would be royally screwed." Jack’s words rang true, and she held her breath, wondering if Daniel would see that.
"You just killed the only chance we ever had of stopping them." The finality in his broken voice was like a sliver of ice down her spine. Despite the fact she knew Jack had done the right thing by eliminating Reece, she also knew that Daniel’s words rang true. They had just lost what could have been the key to stopping one of the deadliest forces in the universe.
"Look, I’m sorry, but this is the way it had to go down. And you know it."
No one moved for a moment, until Jack turned and strode from the room. Janet quietly moved over to Daniel, checking him visually for injuries. Noting he was clutching his wrist, she gently moved to get a better look, observing too that the cut on his head had begun bleeding again. He was swaying on his knees and she instinctively placed her good arm around his shoulders. She ignored the pain that shot through her body as she bumped her arm against him as she helped him to his feet.
"Let’s get you to the infirmary." She kept her tone neutral, gently guiding him from the room. She was thankful several soldiers had pulled a tarp over Reece’s body, although Daniel’s eyes kept being drawn back to it.
They remained silent until they reached the infirmary, and motioning for a nurse, she settled Daniel gently onto his honorary bed, noting his gaze remained blank. He was in a minor state of shock, and she needed to bring him out of it gently. Otherwise, he might do something to harm himself or her, without realizing it.
"Daniel, Daniel I need you to come back to me." She spoke to him softly as a nurse helped her check and bandage his injured arm, the task made more difficult by her limited abilities. Thankfully, nothing was broken, only sprained. Looking into his eyes, she noted Daniel still staring off into the distance, seemingly unaware of the activity around him. Motioning for the departing nurse to pull the privacy curtain around them, she gently reached for his good hand, stroking his tightly clenched fingers in what she hoped was a soothing motion. To her surprise, he turned his palm upwards and intertwined their fingers, gripping her hand like a lifeline.
"She was stopping them. She was going to come with me." The words were intense, his eyes now bored into hers, filled with a mixture of pain and sorrow. Unable to speak for a moment, she squeezed his hand in silent reply. She knew no words were expected, nor needed.
"She had a chance." The tears began to fall as his voice broke and he leaned against her. Uncaring how the move jarred her wounded arm, she pulled her fingers from his and wrapped her good arm tightly around his shoulders, carefully maneuvering his injured arm, holding him against her as best she could while he sobbed. There was nothing she could say that would ease his pain--all she could do was hold him and offer her silent sympathy and support. Glad that she’d pulled the privacy curtain around them, she held him until the sobs stopped and he sank into a stupor against her chest.
The words were whispered against her chest and she looked down to see him looking up at her, an unreadable expression in his eyes. She didn’t get the chance to ask what he was thanking her for because he spoke before she could.
"I just needed someone to understand. You understand. You always understand." The look in his eyes did something to her heart that frightened and delighted her at once. However, now was definitely not the time to consider just what that was--neither of them were in any shape for that.
"Come on, Daniel, let’s get you lying down. You need to rest." Maneuvering his nearly limp body with one arm was a challenge, but after a few minor problems, she got him settled into the bed, the blanket pulled up tightly around him, his eyes already beginning to close. Reaching for the syringe that had been placed on the small table next to her, she gave him the sedative that would allow him, hopefully, a peaceful sleep. As his eyes drifted closed, she couldn’t help but notice how innocent he looked, as if no pain had ever touched him. Unable to resist, she reached out and ran her hand lightly through his hair, heart skipping a beat as he unconsciously leaned into her hand, snuggling his cheek against her arm.
She swallowed the lump in her throat as she heard him whisper her name softly before finally succumbing to sleep. She stood watching him, his cheek against her arm, until the twinge in her own bruised arm reminded her she could do with another pain pill herself.
Leaning down, she gave into her impulse and brushed a light kiss across his warm lips. She sighed as she stepped back, turning and heading for the medicine cabinet, determined to then check on her other patients. She didn’t see the small smile that appeared, and stayed, on Doctor Daniel Jackson’s face as he drifted fully into sleep.
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