Title: Crumble and Fall
Author: mysticalweather
Rating: Nothing bad
Setting: Early season 7, after the events of Orpheus
Disclaimer: Not mine, blah blah...

A/N: This one gave me a ton of problems...so hopefully it's not too terrible. LOL! Feedback is love, and always appreciated.


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Crumble and Fall


A thoughtful look crept across Daniel face as he took in his surroundings. The room he sat in was painted a drab color, it smelled of disinfectant, and the lights above him were giving off an annoying buzz. Yet he felt so at home that it amazed him.

Losing his memory was, Daniel decided, one of the most frightening things he'd ever experienced. But most of his memories were back, and for that he was grateful. Some were bad, some were very bad…but most of them were good.

This place, though, was a kind of conundrum. It was full of bad memories...pain, despair, death. Yet it also held other memories...warmth, hope, love. How often had he laid here broken and near death...while simultaneously being comforted by the thought that people cared about him? No matter what, it seemed, coming here meant that he was safe...that he was home.

"Okay, I think we're done." Janet said, jolting Daniel from his introspective thoughts.

"Thanks," Daniel replied as he watched her make some notations in a medical chart.

"Um, before you go, I was wondering if I could ask you a favor."

"Sure, Janet," Daniel said immediately.

"Well..." she trailed off.

"Yes?" Daniel prompted.

But Janet shook her head. "Never mind, it's nothing."

"Oh, come on," he pleaded. Peering into her eyes, Daniel could see her resolve weaken. "You can't stop now. You know that I'm way to curious for that."

Janet smiled and nodded at the truthfulness of his words. "Well...Teal'c once told me that you taught him how to drive."

Daniel smiled, he remembered that quite clearly. "Yeah, that was several years ago when we went back to 1969. We all took turns driving a van across country, but Teal'c had never driven before, so I helped him out."

"Well, he's flown Gould mother ships, so driving a van probably wasn't too hard for him."

Daniel laughed. "You'd be surprised! There's no such thing as traffic laws in space."

"No, I guess not," Janet said with a smile.

"But I don't understand, I thought you said you needed a favor?"

"Oh, well...Cassie's been wanting to get her driver's license for a while now..."

"And you'd like for me to teach her?" Daniel concluded.

"Only if you want to," Janet said. "I mean, I know you're busy, and I would do it but...you know me...I'm a doctor and I like to be in control of situations and..."

"So you're a backseat driver," Daniel said with a wink.

Janet swatted his arm playfully. "Well, I wouldn't put it in those words exactly."

"I never would have guessed. You seemed fine when I was driving us through Egypt after Osiris...and that ride was slightly...bumpy."

"Slightly?" Janet responded with raised eyebrows.

Daniel shrugged innocently.

"But still, that was somewhat different."

"How?"

"We were in the dessert...what could you have hit?"

"Good point," Daniel said with a laugh. "One question though...isn't Cassie old enough to have her license already?"

Janet sighed. "Yes, she is. But, as you know, she doesn't exactly have a birth certificate...it's taken us this long to cut through all the governmental red tape."

"Poor Cassie," Daniel said, obviously feeling sorry for the girl. "Listen, I've got a post-mission briefing to go to now, but call me later and we can set up a time, okay?"

"Thanks, Daniel. I really appreciate it...and so will Cassie."

"No problem," Daniel said flashing her another smile. "I taught a jaffa how to drive, why not a Hankan?"

****

"Woah! Easy on the brakes, Cass!" Daniel said as the car jerked to a stop.

"Sorry, Daniel!" Cassie said apologetically. "This is harder than it looks."

"It's all right. Give it some time and practice, and it'll come as naturally as breathing."

"If you say so," Cassie muttered.

"Try it again, only this time ease down on the brake."

"Okay," Cassie said as she stepped down on the gas pedal and steered the car around the empty parking lot once again.

She switched her foot from the gas pedal to the brake and began slowing the car.

"Good, Cass..." Daniel encouraged.

But once again the car jolted to a halt.

"Ugh!" Cassie grunted in frustration.

"Hey, it's okay. You're getting better. Maybe you can try letting the car roll to a stop...that might help you gauge how hard you need to hit the brakes."

"Thanks, Daniel."

"No problem, you being able to stop is in my best interest too, you know," he said, giving her a wink.

"No, I mean, for all this...agreeing to teach me and everything."

"Oh, you're welcome," Daniel replied.

"I'm just glad Mom isn't here...she'd probably be freaking out on me..." Cassie trailed off and arched an eyebrow at Daniel. "What's that about?" she asked, somewhat suspiciously.

"What's what about?"

"The big cheesy grin over there."

Daniel's eyebrows sank in confusion. "What do you mean?"

"Yeah, it appeared the second I mentioned my mom."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Daniel insisted, feeling his cheeks start to flare.

"Oh, and now we've moved from grinning to blushing!"

"Is that so? Well, who is this Dominick I keep hearing about? Hmmm?" Daniel relied, turning the tables on her.

That got her; Cassie ducked her head as she felt her own cheeks flare. "All right fine, message received," she grumbled. "But a word of advice...do all of us a favor and ask her out already...trust me, you've got nothing to lose."

"So, how would you like to try parallel parking?" Daniel said, hoping to change the subject.

"You wouldn't..." Cassie said, eyeing Daniel warily.

"Well...I suppose we can save that one for another time." Daniel said with a mischievous smile. "Let's go once more around the lot, and then we'll call it a day."

****

Janet looked up in surprise as she heard her front door burst open.

"Mo-om!" Cassie called.

"In here, honey!" Janet's voice echoed from the kitchen.

Seconds later Cassie came barreling down the hallway with Daniel in tow.

"How was it?" Janet asked.

"It was great!" Cassie said. "Daniel taught me how to stop without making the car jerk and then he let me drive home!"

"He did, did he?" Janet asked with raised eyebrows.

"We used the back streets," Daniel explained. "She did a good job...better than Teal'c's first try."

"Really?" Cassie said with a huge grin.

"Oh, much. It took Teal'c the longest time to understand the 'right-of-way' concept."

"So when's my next lesson?" Cassie asked.

"Hmm...well, SG-1 has a mission tomorrow to PN4-9J7, so...how about Thursday afternoon?"

"Sounds good to me,"

"Dinner's almost ready, Cassie," Janet said as she pulled some dishes from the cupboard. "Why don't you go wash up?"

"Okay." Cassie replied, hurrying out of the room.

"I should go then," Daniel said, backing towards the hallway.

"Oh, don't be silly, Daniel," Janet said. "Join us."

But Daniel shook his head. "No, that's all right, I don't want to impose."

"You're not imposing, I'm inviting you. Please? There's more than enough for three."

"Uh, well..."

"Consider it payment for putting your life at risk to teach my daughter how to drive."

"I heard that!" Cassie yelled from upstairs.

Janet glanced towards the ceiling with a guilty look "Whoops."

Meeting Daniel's eyes, the two couldn't help but burst into laughter.

****

"How did this happen?" Daniel wondered aloud to no one in particular. Cassie's words in the car had hit him hard, and he wasn't even sure why.

And then there was dinner.

He couldn't remember having had a better time. He'd stayed much longer than he'd planned on. In fact, Cassie was already in bed by the time he'd left. Talking with Janet just seemed so natural, so familiar. He knew they had never been involved with each other before his ascension...he didn't think so anyway...

He searched his memory for what seemed like the billionth time since he descended. His first real memories were of his wife. Remembering Sha're's death was hard...but easier than he would've expected. He figured that was because he remembered accepting her death before he remembered exactly what their life together had been.

After that, memories had flooded in...the Stargate, Jack, Ra, Sam, Teal'c, General Hammond, Apophis, SG-1, Janet...his driving need to find his wife...the pain and failure he felt after she died...the walls he'd put up around his heart...walls that had slowly been weakened over time...

'Weakened by feelings for Janet,' he realized.

Daniel shook his head in wonder. He had to admit that Cassie was right. 'Observant little twerp,' he thought with an affectionate smile.

He'd never noticed it before - maybe because losing his memories had reinforced those walls of his - but as more memories came flooding back...he couldn't help but realize how much he enjoyed being around Janet, how deep his feelings for her ran...and just how long he'd felt this way about her.

Janet had broken down his mental walls before...that much he knew. And here she was...doing it again.

****

"Mom really enjoyed dinner last week," Cassie said casually as she wheeled Daniel's car around a bright orange cone.

Daniel groaned inwardly. Somehow he knew this conversation was going to come up again. "That's good," Daniel replied with a non-committal tone.

"You seemed to have fun, too," she observed.

"Yes, I did."

"So what are you waiting for?"

Warning! Warning! "For you to turn left here."

"Oh come off it, Daniel. You're worse than some of the boys I go to school with."

"Thank you, but I've grown out of the 'hitting girls to show I like them' phase."

"So you do like her then," Cassie stated.

Crap.

"Even if I did like her...which I'm not saying that I do..."

"But you're not saying you don't...so that means you do, don't you?"

"Don't try to confuse a linguist, Cass. Even if I did like her and she liked me back, there are a lot of things in both of our lives that would make any kind of relationship very complicated."

"Complicated...but not impossible."

Daniel sighed. He should've known better than to try to argue with a tenacious teenager. "You're worse than Jack."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Cassie asked.

"Oh...nothing," Daniel said vaguely, hoping to distract her long enough to change the topic of conversation. "So are we driving or just sitting here?"

****

Doing nothing solves nothing.

Daniel absently wondered if that was a saying...or perhaps it was something he read in a fortune cookie once. Either way, it was true.

Ignoring the issue certainly wasn't getting him anywhere. In actuality things were getting worse. Every time he looked at Janet a floodgate of memories were opened to him...her warmth, patience, and strength. How many times had she gone days on end without sleep because someone she cared for was sick? Not only Daniel himself, but also Jack, Sam, Teal'c, Cassie...

Another memory cascaded in on him. Cassie had been near death, and Janet was worried sick about her. Daniel shook his head…he remembered it all...reaching out to Janet, wanting desperately to take away her pain.

He loved her even then, he realized, though he stupidly did nothing about it.

"Do all of us a favor and ask her out already...trust me, you've got nothing to lose."

Cassie was right.

Daniel sighed and shook his head...he was actually considering taking advice from a seventeen-year-old.

God help him.

****

"Here let me help you with that," Daniel said, jogging up the driveway towards Janet.

"Thanks!" Janet said with relief as Daniel took a bag of groceries from her arms.

"What did you buy?" Daniel asked, surprised by the weight of the bag. "Or should I say what didn't you buy?" he teased.

Janet smiled as she grabbed the last two bags and closed the trunk of her car. "Are you kidding? This was just a quick trip to the store."

"Wow," Daniel said, shaking his head in disbelief as he followed Janet into the house.

Janet couldn't help but laugh. What else could she expect from a man whose refrigerator housed a lone bottle of mustard?

"What's so funny?" Daniel asked as they made their way into the kitchen.

But Janet shook her head, "Oh it's nothing," she replied. "You can just drop the bag on the counter there. Cassie should be coming home from school any minute now."

Daniel glanced down at his watch and grimaced slightly. "Oh, I guess I am a little early."

"It's no problem," Janet replied as she began unloading items from the grocery sacks. "I enjoy your company."

"Me too." Daniel said, as he began to help put her groceries away. "Uh, that is...I enjoy your company as well."

Janet smiled at the compliment. "Even at times like these, when I'm not sticking you with a needle of some sort?" she teased.

"*Especially* at time like these," he replied emphatically.

"Well, to be honest, the 'tough doctor' demeanor is just my way of trying to keep Colonel O'Neill in line," Janet said with a wink. "Just don't tell him."

Daniel gave her a playful nudge. "Don't worry, I enjoy watching the show."

Internally he cursed himself for his flirtatious behavior. And yet, it was as if he couldn't stop himself. If Cassie ever saw this, he'd never hear the end of it. As it was, he doubted she would be willing to let him avoid the subject for very much longer. That was not a conversation he was looking forward to.

"Is something wrong?" Janet asked, picking up on Daniel's sudden change of mood.

"Oh, it's nothing," he said, smiling for her benefit.

Janet stepped closer to him and raised an eyebrow. "You sure?"

"I was just thinking about Cassie," he explained. "I just...can't believe she's nearly grown already. It seems like it was only yesterday that we found her on Hanka. And now she's this smart, sensible young woman."

Janet nodded in agreement, "I know, imagine how I feel."

"Well one thing is for sure," Daniel said, impulsively grabbing hold of Janet's hand. "She couldn't have asked for a better mother."

"Thank you," Janet replied in barely a whisper as she gave a searching look into Daniel's eyes.

As Daniel peered down into her dark eyes he saw everything that he'd ever loved about her. 'There they go,' Daniel thought as he felt the remains of his inner walls crumble to the ground, never to be formed again. She'd broken them down, and there was only one thing left for him to do.

"I'v been uh...doing a lot of thinking these past couple weeks," Daniel said as he absently massaged Janet's hand with this thumb.

"Oh?" Janet said, trying to pretend that she didn't notice the electricity flowing from her hand.

"I remember a few more things about my life...you know, before..." he licked his lips nervously. "And a few things that I wished I would've done."

"Such as?"

Daniel said a quick prayer to whoever would listen as he slowly closed the distance between them. He paused briefly, then captured her lips with his own. The kiss was soft, sweet...and absolutely mind-blowing. Daniel found himself wrapping his arms around her, pulling her closer, relishing how good it felt to hold her.

Time passed, neither of them knew how long, but eventually the need for oxygen caused them both to pull away with a gasp. Daniel's heart was racing, and he could feel Janet's body tremble slightly in his arms.

Daniel pressed his forehead to hers and smiled. "Did that answer your question?"

Janet nodded silently as she pulled him into another kiss.

****

Cassie smiled broadly and backed away from the kitchen slowly. Looks like her driving lesson would have to wait.

~The End~

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