Title: Nothing
Author: MegTDJ
Date: August 7, 2004
Category: Angst, missing scene
Rating: PG
Pairing: Daniel/Janet, kinda sorta Daniel/other in a way...
Spoilers: Icon and anything before it
Archive: D/J Archive, D/J Challenge Archive, FF.net, Heliopolis... anywhere else, please ask.
Feedback: Pretty please!
Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm just a fan of the show.

Summary: A missing/tag scene for Icon. Daniel reflects on his feelings for Leda.

Author's Notes: I loved the episode Icon so much that as soon as I saw it I knew I had to write a fic for it. I couldn't help but think about Janet all the way through this episode, and in my little world at least, neither could Daniel. ;)
I can't believe how quickly I wrote this, after not writing a complete fic in months!! I hope you enjoy it, and can believe it as having really happened in the actual episode behind the scenes. I may have taken a few liberties here and there with the way things played out in the episode, but I don't really care. ;)

*Special thanks to Ann and Holly for the beta, and to Suzie for getting me in the mood to write in the first place (yes, it's your own fault that I wrote this instead of working on my other stuff! :P). Thanks also to Michael Shanks for being so darned awesome in this episode that I fell in love with Daniel all over again. :)


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

Nothing


"Daniel, you ready to go home?"

ĎHome,í Daniel thought ironically. ĎWhere is that, exactly?í

He knew what Sam meant - was he ready to return to the SGC? Was he ready to leave these people and this mess behind and go back to the life he had been separated from for the past six weeks? The answer to those questions was a definite yes, but as for home... Daniel just didnít know what that meant anymore.

"Yeah," he finally answered, avoiding making eye contact with either of his friends. After a momentís hesitation, he turned and walked toward the door leading to the Stargate.

Tealíc and Sam fell into step on either side of him, neither of them touching him or making a sound. He could tell that he was giving off a "donít touch me" vibe and knew that it must be hard for them to understand why, as heíd been away from them for so long. He just couldnít bring himself to care. He needed to be alone with his thoughts for a little while.

It wasnít that he hadnít missed them in all the time heíd been stranded on this war-torn planet. Quite the opposite - heíd missed his friends and his life back on Earth so much it hurt sometimes. Itís just that he had missed someone else even more, and although heíd be back on Earth within minutes, he would still be missing her even then.

He remembered waking up after being injured, completely blind due to the bandages wrapped around his head. At first he hadnít remembered where he was or what had happened, and the fact that he couldnít see had sent him into a momentary panic. He could feel the softness of the bed beneath him and the crisp sheet that covered him, and the pain in his arm, chest, and head told him that heíd sustained some kind of injuries somehow. This led him to one logical conclusion - he was in the infirmary.

"Janet!" he had called, his breath coming in short gasps that only made his injuries hurt even more.

He had heard footsteps and a soft rustling sound as someone entered the room. "Itís alright," a gentle, feminine voice had told him. "Youíre safe now. Try not to move too much."

His fear and confusion were only heightened by this strangerís words. Where was he? Who was she? What was going on?

"Who... whoís there?"

He felt the bed move slightly as someone sat down next to him. "My name is Leda." A hand touched his shoulder. "Calm down. Itís alright. You were injured and have been unconscious for days. Iím glad youíre finally awake. Itís a good sign."

"Why canít I see?"

"Your face was injured. I had to wrap bandages over your eyes so that it could heal."

"Iím not blind?"

"I donít believe so, no. Would you like me to remove them?"

Her soft voice and soothing presence had calmed his nerves considerably, and as she slowly removed the bandages from his face, he was taken back to a time when someone elseís hands had done the same. Those had been the hands of the woman he loved; these were the hands of a complete stranger. Yet somehow they had felt so much alike that it had made him feel almost at home...

"Daniel?"

He snapped his head around to look at Sam. She was studying him curiously, and it made him realize that he must have been staring off into space for the past few minutes. He forced a tiny smile for her benefit, to show that he wasnít ungrateful for her presence there. "Yeah, Sam?"

She laid a tentative hand on his arm. "Are you okay?"

Daniel laid his hand over hers and gave it an affectionate squeeze. "Iím fine. I missed you guys." He glanced over at Tealíc to include him in the comment and received a glimmer of a smile and a respectful nod from the Jaffa in return.

"We have missed you as well, Daniel Jackson."

"Yeah, we really have," Sam affirmed, taking his hand and squeezing it back. "General OíNeill has been beside himself worrying about you."

Daniel looked at her in surprise. "He has?"

Sam cocked her head sheepishly. "Well... relatively speaking."

Daniel nodded in understanding. He knew Jack well enough to know what his reaction to Daniel being missing must have been - his emotional shell would have hardened more than ever, his sarcasm would have tripled in intensity, and every now and then he would have had sudden uncontrollable bursts of anger that could make even the most battle-hardened officer quake with fear. He smiled to himself at the thought. "Thatís good to know."

They finally arrived at the Stargate just then, and Tealíc immediately began dialing. Daniel felt his stomach sink into his shoes as each chevron lighted and the gate came to life with a kawoosh.

"You sure youíre okay?" Sam asked, concerned.

Daniel mentally kicked himself for zoning out again. "Yeah, sorry. Letís go home."

He tried to hide his wince as he said it, and from Samís smile and the pat she gave his arm as they walked toward the event horizon, he figured he must have succeeded.

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

Daniel took a mouthful of stew and gave Leda an appreciative nod. She smiled shyly and dipped her head, obviously pleased that the meager meal met with his approval.

"You know all there is to know about me, Daniel, but... I know almost nothing about you," she said, as if desperate to break the silence. "Please, tell me something of your world... of your life."

"I wouldnít know where to begin," Daniel said with a laugh.

Leda smiled. "Iím sorry... why donít you start with just telling me more about you, then? Do you have a family back on Earth who are waiting for you?"

Daniel shook his head. "No, my parents died when I was small. I had no brothers or sisters, and Iíve never had children of my own."

"But you are married...?"

He chewed another mouthful carefully and swallowed before answering. "I was once, but... she died a few years ago."

Leda looked down at her lap, horrified that she had said the wrong thing. "Iím sorry, I..."

"Itís okay," Daniel cut in quickly. "It was long ago. I donít mind talking about it now."

"Youíve... never loved another since?" she asked tentatively.

He hesitated, not sure how to answer. He didnít want to get into talking about her - not now... yet he found himself wanting to confide in this woman about everything. "I did once. I fell in love with the most amazing woman. Sheís gone now, too..."

Daniel awoke to the alarmís toneless buzzing. He cracked his eyes open and glared at it, willing it to shut off on its own without him having to move. Strangely enough, it didnít.

With a grumpy moan, he slapped his hand down on it, hitting the right button on the first try. Moaning again, he turned over until his back was towards it, huddling under the covers and trying to go back to sleep.

It didnít work.

After ten minutes of staring at his blankets, he finally kicked them off and got out of bed. He stomped straight to the bathroom, where he mechanically went through his morning routine of a shower and shave. Once he was finished, he threw on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, and made his way through to the kitchen.

One glance at the empty counter, though, and suddenly the silence of the house was too much for him. Despite the fact that he had just showered, he quickly slipped on his sneakers and headed outside for a jog.

Jogging was never something he had done before Shaíreís death. He had taken it up then because he found it helped to clear his mind of unwanted thoughts and feelings. He had given it up again a year or so later, but when Janet had died he had slipped back into the habit as if by nature. He tried not to think of it as attempting to run away from his problems - it was simply his way of dealing with grief.

He had only gone halfway along his normal route before he had to stop to catch his breath. The weeks of being ill and stuck in that small house with only the occasional walk outside had taken its toll on him. He would have to build up his strength and endurance again if he was going to be fit enough to return to SG-1.

Suddenly, that goal was more important to him than anything else in the galaxy. He had to regain his full strength. He had to be able to rejoin SG-1 for their next mission. He had to be physically able to go back and help those people rebuild their city.

Ignoring the pain in his side, Daniel began to jog again, forcing himself to pick up speed as he went along. He had to regain his strength... he had to rejoin SG-1... he had to go back to Leda...

He cried out with pain and dropped to the ground as a cramp shot through the muscles in his leg. He rolled onto his back and gripped his leg with both hands, rolling from side to side until the pain eased off.

"Damn it!" he shouted angrily, pounding the sidewalk with his fist. He didnít even know why, but all of a sudden he felt so angry he could have pounded a hole in the pavement and not felt a thing.

He scrambled to his knees and shakily got to his feet, ignoring the stares he was getting from passersby. Cursing under his breath all the way, he limped back to his house and slammed the door behind him.

After kicking off his sneakers, he headed straight for the couch and threw himself down onto it with a groan. He draped his arm across his face and gritted his teeth against the pain that was becoming all the more evident to his senses in his leg and in his hand. "How stupid can you get, Jackson?" he muttered, exhaustion taking over from the anger and leaving him feeling depressed and utterly alone.

He lay like that for the next hour, oblivious to the passing of time. His thoughts were filled with images of Leda - gently tending to his wounds, humming softly to herself as she prepared their meals, her dress flapping in the breeze as she hung their clothes on the line... For those few days, he had felt almost as he had those first few weeks on Abydos. He was living in a home, abiding by a schedule that was laid down by the woman of the house, eating home-cooked meals, puttering around the house at an easy-going pace... He had felt calm there, like that was the life he was meant to lead.

But it wasnít.

He had felt drawn to Leda, and he knew she had been attracted to him. Even though he knew she was married and that anything that happened between them would be wrong, he hadnít pushed her away. In fact, at times he had almost wished she would cross the line and make the first move. She had reminded him so much of...

"No!" Daniel cried, flinging his arms out as if to throw that thought as far away from his mind as possible. The movement caused him to tumble from the couch onto the floor, and he crouched there on his hands and knees for a moment, panting for breath.

Had he really been hoping to replace Janet with Leda? The idea was unthinkable... yet it appeared to be the truth.

A sob escaped from his throat, but he choked it back down and dragged himself onto his feet. He limped unsteadily to the bedroom and sank down onto the bed, burying his face in his pillow.

He remembered the look on Ledaís face as she told him to go. She had loved him. She had wanted him to stay. She told him to go because she didnít think he felt the same way about her, and because she knew it would be wrong to betray her husband that way.

Had he felt the same way about her? Had he loved her? Could he really have stayed with her? Could they have had a life together if he had?

Thinking about it was tearing him apart, and he was shaking from the effort it took to keep himself from sobbing, but he had to know. He had to clear his mind of the confusion. He had to understand what was going through his own mind.

He pushed himself up onto one elbow and reached out a hand to open the drawer of his nightstand. The item he wanted was right there on top of everything else... Janetís photograph.

He rolled over onto his back and propped his knees up, resting the picture against his legs and tracing the outline of her beautiful, laughing face with his fingertips. "Janet, I miss you so much," he whispered as a tear trailed down his cheek. "This house is so empty without you."

His finger froze as he spoke the words aloud - the house was empty. Thatís it!

"Thatís why I wanted that life so badly," he mused, still staring absently at the picture in his hands. "Thatís why part of me didnít want to leave. Leda was in love with me, and I was leaving her behind to come back to... nothing."

The sobs finally broke free as his loneliness swept over him like a tidal wave. "Oh god, Janet, Iíve got nothing without you!"

He clutched the photograph to his chest and rolled over onto the other side of the bed, sobbing his heart out into her long-abandoned pillow.

It all made sense to him now. After Janet had died, he had turned to Jack, Sam, and Tealíc for comfort and companionship, but while he had been stranded on that other world, heíd again had a glimpse of a life of domesticity, of living every day with one woman, sharing his hopes and fears with her, listening to her tell of her joys and heartaches, helping her perform all the everyday tasks that were just tedious and boring when done alone. Heíd had a taste of that life with Shaíre and again with Janet. He didnít want to let it go.

After a minute or two had passed, he suddenly realized that he would destroy the photograph if he wasnít careful, so he pulled himself together long enough to lay it reverently beside him on the bed. He sat up and took her pillow in his arms, laying his cheek against the cool fabric and breathing deep to try to catch a hint of what was left of her scent.

Nothing. Her scent was gone.

"Janet, I donít want to lose you," he whispered. "I need you. I thought Iíd gotten past this, but... I need you so much."

No one could ever take her place in his heart and in his life. He knew that now. Leda had just been a band-aid... being with her had covered the wound for a short time, but he could never have loved her. He could never love anyone again. It just didnít happen three times in one lifetime.

One more image of Leda passed before his eyes. That first evening that heíd been strong enough to eat with her in the kitchen, and she had awkwardly tried to start a conversation between them...

"Youíve... never loved another since?"

"I did once. I fell in love with the most amazing woman. Sheís gone now, too... but I think Iíll always love her."

And he would.

THE END

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