Janet pulled her head out of her hands. "Hmm? Hi, Sam. You okay?"
"I'm fine," the blond said coming in and shutting the door. "I'm wondering about you."
Janet stared at her for a moment in confusion then she understood. "Daniel."
"Yeah, Daniel," Sam said, taking a seat and leaning forward to rest her arms on the desk. "What's going on? He looked like he lost...everything that meant anything to him today."
Janet closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair. "It was stupid of me."
Sam shook her head. "No, it's not stupid not if you feel strongly enough to say something. He really doesn't tell you he loves you?"
"No...he'll tell me once in a great while. He shows me all the time. Little things like making dinner or breakfast, backrubs..." she smiled. "Holding my hand under the briefing table."
"I know he loves me right now but..."
Janet looked at her. "Mark used to do the same thing. When we were dating he told me he loved me all the time. He would show me how much he loved me all the time the first year of our marriage. Then even that tapered off to nothing, and we started living separate lives in the same house," she shrugged. "I decided I wanted to join the military. He didn't want me to. Then he started having affairs, and I said the hell with him and got a divorce."
Sam shook her head. "Janet, you married young. You're light years apart from that girl. You'd never put up with something like that now. You'd open your mouth and say something. You've been with Daniel for two years, and even before that you knew he and Mark were nothing alike." She studied the petite doctor in front of her. "Seriously, what brought this on?"
Janet's eyes fell to her desk and drifted over pictures of Cassie, Daniel, SG-1 and her parents. Finally, she opened a drawer and pulled out an envelope and a picture. Handing them across the desk, Janet then got up and made them both a cup of coffee.
Curious, Sam turned the picture over and felt her eyebrows rise. It was a wedding picture of Mark and Janet. Both were young and happy, smiling at the camera. Then she opened the envelope and looked at Janet in surprise. "Your divorce papers?"
Janet nodded. "Look at the date."
Sam scanned the document. "February four-oh!" Open mouthed she looked at Janet once more and then at the calendar. "The fourteenth. That's tomorrow!"
"Yup. My friends threw me a 'Thank God You Ditched the Jackass' party. My parents breathed a sigh of relief, and I...I got on with my life." She picked at her white coat sleeves. "For the first one or two years I kept those around to remind myself that I was divorced since I couldn't quite believe it. Then I kept them around because I wanted to remind myself of what I wouldn't accept in a relationship. Now I keep them around to remind me that I've gotten what I wanted...what I needed." Janet paused and bit her lip. "I think I got scared for some reason."
"Waiting for the other shoe to drop?" Sam asked gently.
"Yeah, I think so," Janet rubbing the bridge of her nose. "No relationship is without its problems, but Daniel and I work through them. It's been wonderful. I'm happy, Cassie's ecstatic, Daniel's great. Then again, Mark and I were happy and look where it got us."
"Things are different now," Sam gave her back the picture and the papers. "It's okay to believe you'll be happy for the rest of your life. It's not a crime."
"I know." Janet studied the picture. "It was stupid, like I said. Stupid old insecurities raising their heads one last time." Her eyes drifted to the side. "Maybe it's time to let them go once and for all."
Before Sam could say anything else, there was a knock at the door. "Doctor?"
"I think you need to take a look at these tests."
Janet sighed. "If that's what I think that is, I'm going to have a lot of unhappy people on base tonight. I'll see you later, Sam." She paused at Sam's chair and squeezed her shoulder. "Thanks."
"No problem." Sam smiled as Janet left the room. When the door closed behind the doctor Sam picked up the phone. "Daniel? We need to talk."
With a plan in mind and Sam's information, Daniel's first action was track down Siler and put in a request. Sam accompanied Daniel, letting him bounce ideas off of her to fine-tune his plan for tomorrow night.
"You think you can do it?" She asked as they hashed out the final details.
"I hope so. Never done anything like this before," Daniel said. "I'm a little nervous."
"You'll do fine." She reassured him.
"Do you really think she'll have to extend the quarantine? This would be so much easier if I could actually go shopping for what I want."
Sam nodded. "She seemed pretty sure. Besides, you know SG-3, it takes them over a week to be cured of anything."
They managed to find Siler hip deep in gate parts with the rest of the technicians. As Daniel and Sam explained what they needed, the others put down their tools and came over. Siler looked at him myopically and scratched his head. "You want this done by tomorrow night? Oh my." He looked down at the piece of paper in his hand.
Sgt. Wood looked at the paper. "We can do it, Siler. Right guys?" A chorus of yeses followed.
"Anything for love," one of the women said. "Wood and I and a few of the others can take the bigger job. You two," she said, pointing to Siler and Sam, "can have the delicate stuff."
"See?" Sam said encouragingly, looking at Daniel. "Told ya they'd help out. I've got some of the tools you'll need for the delicate work."
Siler looked up from his study of the paper in his hand. The furrows on his brow smoothed out slightly. "Yes, thank you. Do you have anything of hers that I can base a size off of, Daniel?"
"Okay. Have you got it?"
Rei snickered as she watched Major James Coburn make his fifth attempt to use chopsticks. The man could strip a P-90 in no time, yet chopsticks eluded him. Hesitantly, she let go of his hand, and the group gathered at the central table in the archeology section held their breaths as he attempted to pick up an eraser from the plate in front of him.
Startled, James' hand squeezed the chopsticks and the eraser went flying. Laughing, Jack managed to duck, and the eraser flew in an arc over his head and smacked Teal'c in the face. Teal'c blinked and raised an eyebrow as the rest of the room laughed hysterically.
"That's it, James, you'll just have to use a fork when we go out tomorrow," Rei giggled.
"Thanks. I love you too," he retorted chuckling. Gracefully, he accepted the eraser back from Teal'c. "I'm sorry about that."
"No harm has been done, MajorCoburn. Perhaps in the future you will master chopsticks enough so that the food reaches its intended target instead of hitting an innocent passerby." He picked up the chopsticks and deftly picked up a small bean on the plate.
"Wei Lin's best student," Rei laughed. "Learned in less than five minutes when we all went for Chinese that one night." She patted James' shoulders. "I'll let you take over, Teal'c. Maybe you'll have better luck."
"Better luck with what?" Daniel asked as he walked in.
"You don't want to know," James said as Teal'c positioned his hand.
"Carter says you have a plan," Jack said, taking a seat.
"We are here to assist," Teal'c added.
"Plan?" Richie Redstone asked from the back as he dusted off a book. "Are we going to try to take over the world, Boss?"
"Not quite," Daniel said, placing a piece of paper on the table. "But I will need your help." He went on to explain what he wanted to do for Valentine's Day.
"Well, it's a wonderful idea," Rei said slowly, "but why are you doing it on base? Wouldn't it be more romantic to do it in town?"
"Well..." Daniel started and was interrupted when Cat started to snicker.
"The SG-3 Valentine's Curse strikes again, eh?" She hooted.
Rei stamped her foot. "Oh come on!!!! That makes three years in a row we've been stuck under quarantine for Valentine's Day!!"
James tried to calm her down. "Well, no one's announced anything yet."
"Attention all personnel," General Hammond announced over the communication system. "I have some bad news. Unfortunately, quarantine will have to be extended for another two days."
One could almost hear a collective groan rise from all over the base.
"Sorry, spoke too soon," James sighed, leaning back in his chair and juggling the chopsticks.
"I hate SG-3," Rei moaned, banging her head against a wall. "That's it. Next year, James, we're just taking the entire damn month off. That's the only way I'm going to ever get a romantic dinner in a nice restaurant."
"Soo..." Jack drawled looking around. "I take it that means there'll be a party down in the mess hall?"
"Yup," Valentine sighed and leaned on her hand. "Good thing Physics saved those decorations huh?"
"Does that mean you'll lend me a hand?" Daniel asked with a small smile.
Rei shot him a look. "That was a given. Did you really think we wouldn't?"
Daniel beamed at them. "Should we call botany or head down there?"
Cat got up and headed for the phone. "Hang on," she said leaning against the wall and looking at her watch. "Five...four...three...two...one."
On cue the phone rang.
"Anthropology," Cat said pleasantly and held the phone away from her ears.
"THREE DAMN YEARS!!!!!!!"
"Hello, Wei Lin," Cat said, pleasantly putting the phone back to her ear and making sympathetic noises as the head of the Botany department ranted and raved. "Wei Lin? I'm sorry to interrupt, but could I ask you a favor?" Cat asked, winking at Daniel. "Awww, would you do it in the name of friendship?" She got a perplexed look on her face. "How about love?" Then she got annoyed. "Would you do it for, Daniel, ya heartless bitch?" She asked in a cross voice as the rest of the room burst out snickering. "Thought that would get you. Here's what I need."
As Janet worked steadily into the night, Daniel, and anyone with a romantic bone in their body, did as well - getting things ready for the next day. The techs were playing in the botany department. The Botanists were separating flowers for the party and Daniel's project while Daniel, Teal'c, and Jack scavenged for various items around the base.
As word quietly spread from department to department, and team to team, people jumped in to help Daniel out. Even Hammond lent a hand, going down to the mess hall and helping out the staff there, while regaling them with touching stories of his beloved wife.
Siler and Sam were carefully and painstakingly working on their small project when the ringing of the phone startled them. Cursing, Siler checked over their work and breathed a sigh of relief when he realized their work hadn't been damaged. He got up and went to the phone.
"Whoever this is, it had better be life threatening or I'm going to weld you to the iris," he growled into receiver. He blinked and turned to Sam. "It's for you."
Sam gave him a confused look and got up. "Carter."
"We can't find it."
Sam, her mind still on the half finished job lying on the table, had to stop and think for a moment. "You can't find her gold dress? It's gold! You can't miss it!"
"I know! We've looked everywhere! The drawers, the closet, even under the bed! It's not here!" She wailed.
"You are in the right room aren't you?"
"Smart ass." But there was a pause as the women in Janet's quarters hastily conferred with one another.
"Yes, we're in the right room. There's a picture of Cassie and Daniel on the bedside table. It's just not here. Are you sure she brought it on base with her?"
"I swear I saw it," Sam insisted biting her lip. "Did you try his quarters?"
A collective groan rose from receiver.
Over in SG 12's offices, Lt. Col. Jules Russo was carefully writing out the phrases Daniel needed on parchment paper in calligraphy. Buzzing around him were half a dozen members of three different teams waiting to be sent out to put the notes in different places.
"Are you done yet?"
"No," he sat straight to look at his work and then bent down again dipping his pen in an inkwell.
"Are you done yet?"
"Nooo," he gritted his teeth and took a deep breath before starting on a new sheet of paper.
"Are you done yet?"
"Ohmygodyoupeopleneedtogetthehelloutofhere!!!" He howled, throwing inkwells at people until he was left alone. Then he looked down and realized he'd dumped ink all over the work he'd just done. "Aw fuck!"
"Are you sure it's here, Richie?" James asked as he rooted around in another vent.
"Yeah," Richie called out from his side of the room. "Just reach in further."
"Man, unless you're Gumby or one of those Star Trek Changelings, you didn't shove it more than arms length into the vent. And if it's really over here, what are you doing crawling around over there?"
Richie gave the other man his best 'innocent' look. "Weeell..."
"Oh dear God." James rested his head against the edge of the vent and resisted the urge to cry.
"Heh. Um...To tell you the truth, I'm not exactly sure which vent I put the champagne in," he said sheepishly. Then a panicked look came into his eyes. "Oh, I hope we didn't drink it over New Year's."
"I'm going to have to kill you now."
"I understand. Really I do."
"Well, Daniel what do you think?" Wei Lin asked as she gave him a short tour of the spot he needed for tomorrow night. "Obviously, you can still see the metal but hopefully it'll give off the feeling of being outside the mountain under a night sky. We'll do a few more touch ups." She turned and looked at Jack. "Colonel, please don't touch the Vampire Vine."
Jack shot her a look of disbelief. "Vampire Vine?"
"Yes, sir. She's very touchy. It's that time of the month."
"The Vampire Vine has PMS?" He asked in disbelief and leaned in closer.
"As I was saying, Daniel, it'll give off the feeling of not being inside the mountain and look," she said enthusiastically reaching over and flipping a few switches. The main lights shut down allowing dozens of tiny light strewn all over the plants to shine brightly.
"It's lovely, Lin. Thank you for doing this," Daniel hugged her.
"I'm not that much of a heartless bitch," she chuckled patting him on the back.
They both looked over to see Jack holding his nose. "The damn thing bit me!"
"I told you to stop touching her," Wei Lin admonished, heading for the first aid kit. "She's touchy...and poisonous."
"Yes, sir. The poison paralyzes you." She shot him a positively evil look. "Once her prey is lying senseless on the ground she sucks you dry." She walked over to him with the antidote as he fell over frozen. The Vampire Vine extended a flower that opened right over the wound revealing a set of small fangs as if it were smiling gruesomely at him. "How do you think she got the name Vampire Vine?"
"Honestly, look at the lot of you!" Sarah Brightman scolded as she looked in on SG-3 and brought them orange juice. "Wailin' and carrying on like a pack of babies."
"But we hurt," one of the marines moaned piteously as Janet walked across the room. "Besides, you told us to!" He hissed as soon as she was out of sight.
"Shhh!" Sarah reached over and smacked him on the rump. "This is a all your guys' fault anyway! You couldn't have waited until your next mission to get sick?! This is the third year in a row!"
"Yes, Doctor?" Sarah called back sweetly.
"Is everything all right?"
"Yes!" They waited tensely for a moment and when nothing more came from Janet's office, they breathed a sigh of relief.
"Really, we are feeling a bit better," Colonel Warren said softly. "Can we drop the 'baby' act?" He asked as the phone rang.
"Infirmary. Yes...uh-huh. Hmmm. All right." She put down the phone and walked back to the men. "I need to distract her for another half hour, then I can chase her off for the night."
"All right, gents," Warren sighed. "You heard the lady."
Before they could open their mouths to start howling in pain again the Infirmary doors opened to reveal Teal'c carrying an insensate Jack O'Neill. Rushing in behind them was Wei Lin. "The Vamp bit him!" She called out waving a syringe. "I got him the antidote though."
Sarah blinked then looked at the ceiling. "Yeah, that'll work. Thanks. Doc!"
Rei and General Hammond looked over Daniel's shoulder as Sam brought in the final touch to his surprise. "Now, that's beautiful. You two do good work," she said looking up at Siler and Sam.
"Thanks," Sam smiled. "Did we get it right? Some of the symbols were a little difficult to get on such a small surface."
"It's perfect," Daniel whispered.
"That looks like the Ancients writing," Hammond said, narrowing his eyes to study it better.
"It is," he said turning the small object in his fingers. Then he blinked and turned to Hammond. "I was teaching to Janet. I think she's got it down well enough to read it. Thank you for everything by the way. You didn't have to go down to the mess hall."
Hammond waved him off. "I enjoyed it." He put a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Reminded me of when I was courting my wife."
Daniel smiled gently at him. "She must have been a hell of a woman."
"Oh, she was," Hammond's gaze grew distant as he remembered. "My Sophia was one of a kind. She's the type that you meet once in a lifetime if you're lucky."
"I know what you mean," Daniel sighed.
"Daniel," Rei touched his shoulder. "It's after 2 a.m. Go to bed." When he hesitated, she gently tugged him towards the door. "Go to bed," she repeated. "She'll either be there or SG-3 will keep her occupied for another night. In any case, if you don't get some sleep you'll look like absolute crap tomorrow, and that does nothing to further your cause."
"All right, mother hen. I'm going."
At the door she hugged him. "It'll be fine. You'll see."
He started to walk away then paused and turned back. "What ever happened to Jack and Teal'c?"
Rei bit her lip. "Run in with one of Lin's poisonous plants. He's in the Infirmary. He's fine. Don't worry about him. Go to bed!" With another gentle shove, she pushed him down the hall and he finally went. He was slightly nervous about the next day, but he knew he'd done everything he could to show Janet that he loved her. All that was left was to say three little words, and those had to be in her presence.
At his quarters he was met by a gaggle of anthropology women going through the few suits that he kept on base. With wide blue eyes, he stood in the doorway and watched them bicker over which suit went best with the color of his eyes. Just under the pile of blue, gray and black clothing, he caught a shimmer of gold. Then Val caught sight of him. The manic look in her eyes was enough to make him want to run.
"Daniel! Perfect!" She was at the door before he could move. Taking a look around the corridor to make sure there was no one in the vicinity, she grabbed him by the shirt collar and dragged him in. "We just need to see which suit would look best on you."
On to Part 3