Pairings: D/J, Daniel/Sha're
Category: Oh god....fluff? Romance? Angst? No clue
Summary: Even people who seem very confident do have insecurities.
Disclaimer: Not mine..not mine..no money...drat.
Author notes: ::sigh:: This is my problem child. For some reason a few months a go I started writing this and then got stuck. So it languished on my hard drive. Then Meg started doing her Daniel/Sha're fic and mentioned it on the list...and as things happen I was cleaning my hard drive and found this fic again. So I've been working on it. So this is Meg's fault but that's a good thing. Anything that results in fic is good. Thank you, Meg. ^_^
Huge thanks go also to Misty who was kind enough to read this and
reassure me that this doesn't suck! She also beta-ed it.
I'm not used to writing Janet like this. So this is a bit weird for me. Hope you guys like it.
There's a picture on the mantel that sometimes captures Janet's attention. It's been reproduced a few times actually. One is here, the other is in Daniel's office in the mountain, and still another was shrunk to wallet size. In it, a young carefree Abydonian woman smiles at the camera as if she doesn't have a care in the world.
Sha're didn't really. At the time, her planet had been freed from slavery and she was married to a husband who loved her. Life was good and Daniel preserved her joy forever in a simple picture. Things were happier for them then, before the Goa'uld came, before the pain, before her death at the hands of a friend with no chance of a resurrection.
Janet's fingers traced Sha're's smile. Daniel had loved her so much. It was easy to see why: Golden skin, dark bouncy hair and, from this picture of her, a smile that would light up the world. Sha're was just that much taller, too. She didn't have to stretch as far to reach Daniel's lips. 'Passionate' would be another word to describe her. Sha're was just as passionate about the things she believed in as Daniel is about his beliefs, and she wasn't shy about letting him or anyone else know it. Loving and feisty, it was so easy to see why Daniel loved her, why Jack and Lou remembered her with such fondness. So easy to see why Daniel would go to any lengths to get her back, pushing himself beyond exhaustion some nights verifying rumors of Amaunet and Apophis.
At one point in time Janet could count on one hand the number of times he'd talked about her. It was as if he was hoarding the memories of the year they'd had together. Almost as if talking about her would cause those memories to fade and disappear. When he did speak of Sha're, it had usually been only to Jack or Lou, the only two left alive who'd known her.
They say time heals all wounds. Perhaps not talking about her had been a way for him to keep the wound fresh, to make sure he didn't waver from the goal of finding her and saving her. If he didn't grieve, then she wasn't really gone. There was still hope of finding a way to remove Amaunet and save Sha're.
It was possible. They'd seen time and again that the host did survive. It had been too late for Apophis' host. The poor man had been held under for so long that death was his only release from the nightmare. However, Sha're hadn't been a host for very long. There could have been a recovery if they could have gotten to her in time and removed the Goa'uld. It was happening for Sarah. There would have been hope for Sha're.
Janet closed her eyes as a tear slipped down her cheek. Hope could be so cruel. To have been that close to the woman you loved...
She used to be jealous of Sha're. To be loved and cherished like that was a dream she'd given up long ago, resigning it to the world of fairytales and happily ever after. Unconditional love was reserved for family and friends. Passionate, till-death-do-us-part love didn't happen for women like her, as her husband had so aptly demonstrated during the three years of their disastrous marriage.
Every time she'd tried to find love, it had ended badly. She'd learned her lessons well and put up walls to defend herself. They were strong, impenetrable walls and she prided herself on keeping them that way.
Then she'd met Daniel, and little by little he'd slipped past the walls and into her heart. Slowly, he'd opened up to her, telling her stories about his childhood and being passed from family to family. No one knew what to do with a child whose IQ was as high as his. His own grandfather hadn't wanted him. Daniel was left to grow up feeling alone and unwanted. Fair-weather friends like Steven and lovers like Sarah further enhanced that feeling. The ridicule of the academic community had only served to show him that he didn't belong.
The mission to Abydos had been a godsend. The people had given Daniel unconditional acceptance and a place where he fit in. For the first time in his life he'd found a home, and he realized he was no longer alone. More importantly, Sha're had given him love. He had a reason to go on. He believed in himself again.
He had found joy.
Falling in love with him was like walking into the sun again after being in the cold. She'd warmed up so gradually she hadn't even realized what had happened until it was too late. He was grieving then, and she was there for him, witnessing Sha're's burial and comforting him afterwards. Late into the nights that followed he spoke softly, haltingly about the woman who'd made him realize he was loved and valued. They were little stories of how Sha're laughed, the things they'd done together, and journeys they'd made in the short year they'd had. That he'd loved his wife beyond all else had never been in doubt by anyone at the SGC and to her dismay, Janet realized that Daniel might never get over her.
How do you compete with something that close to perfection?
Janet judged herself by the example Sha're had set and found herself wanting. Slowly and quietly she pushed her feelings for him away and set about being the best friend that Daniel could have asked for, because surely unrequited love was better than rejection?
Besides, what did she have to offer, as broken as she was?
Inevitably, time marched on. Wounds healed and life moved forward. Eventually, her walls slipped slightly, allowing glimpses of the love she held for Daniel to shine through her fašade as the good friend. Looks and friendly touches lingered, blushes at compliments and smiles came more readily, and that old familiar ache to be with him reared its head. Janet squashed it as ruthlessly as she could, but it hurt more and more each time she did.
Maybe unrequited love wasn't so great after all?
One day she could no longer take it. Deciding that knowing was better than the fantasies she's cultivated; Janet hesitantly offered her battered heart to Daniel.
"Could you ever love another?" She asked softly, looking up at him hopefully as they sat on her back porch one evening.
He flashed her a smile. "I already do."
"Oh," she replied. Mortified, she looked down at her shoes, then soldiered on. "Is she pretty?" Be a friend, she thought to herself. Friends are supportive.
"I see," she said, thinking that her credit card could stand a self- pitying shop fest. "Is she a good person?" She asked, looking up at him.
Daniel scooted closer to her and bumped her shoulder as if her were about to let her in on a secret. "She's compassionate, very loving...great sense of humor," he paused and thought for a second. "She's feisty, got a bit of a temper, but that's because she's passionate about the people she works with and what she does."
The woman sounded perfect and once again, Janet found herself wanting in comparison. "She sounds a lot like Sha're." Slowly, she started packing her heart in gauze cursing herself for a fool.
"A bit," Daniel conceded. "I loved Sha're a great deal. I always will, but she wouldn't have wanted me to be alone for the rest of my life. If you're lucky Love will find you. It comes many different forms, so you have to be smart to recognize it. I got lucky."
She rubbed her hands together. "She sounds perfect." I can wait until he goes home to cry, she thought. I'll be ok if I can just hold out until then.
"Not perfect," he said gently. "No one's perfect, and they shouldn't try to be. She is, however, what I want in a partner, someone I'd want to share my life with."
"So what's her name? Is she someone I know?" Janet looked at him with wide eyes, as a thought occurred to her. "It's not Sam is it?"
Daniel laughed and gently brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. "Oh, Janet, for someone so intelligent and observant I can't understand why you can't see how much I love you...How much I'm *in* love with you."
Janet felt her world tilt and let him pull her into his arms. Her cheeks flushed and she closed her eyes against a wave of dizziness. "Don't let me go," she whispered when she could finally string two words together, grateful that they were sitting because she was certain her legs wouldn't have supported her. Her arms reached around him and she held him tightly.
"I never will," he reassured her softly.
And he never did.
It took awhile, but Daniel eventually got her walls to crumble completely. Her heart, as battered as it was, was treated like gold because sometimes even broken things just needed a little TLC to get them working again. Janet pulled out her dreams from the dusty box in that little used corner of her mind and examined them again. Lifted into the sunlight, they glowed as brightly now as when she was young and in love for the first time.
She dared to believe that she could have happiness and passion, and Daniel never let her down, earning her love for all time. In turn, she did her best to earn his, because his heart had been as damaged as well, and she wanted to show him that it was safe in her keeping.
Laughter outside pulled Janet's attention away from Sha're's face, and she took a few steps forward to look out the window. Her family had given up on raking leaves and simply piled them up in the front yard. Cassie had a hold of baby Nicholas while Maddy launched herself onto Daniel, causing them both to fall back into the pile of leaves. Janet gave into the urge to join them, swiftly pulling on her jacket.
At the door she paused and looked back at the picture of the happy Abydonian in her place of honor on the mantel. A wave of sadness washed over her and, not for the first time, did Janet wish she could have met Sha're and thanked her for the gift she'd given her.
Sha're had taught Daniel how to love and, in turn, he had taught her.
Janet turned and let her family's love and laughter guide her out into the sun.
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