Title: Shining Armor
Author: Isabelle Ashe
Category: Daniel/Janet (of course!), hurt/comfort
Season/Spoilers: Season 4, very minor spoilers for "The Curse"
Summary: Daniel must rescue Janet from a blind date-gone-wrong.
Archive: free to a good home; just let me know where it's going, please
Disclaimer: nope, they're not mine
Author's Notes: Many, many, many thanks to the wonderful Michelle for allowing me to adopt this little bunny of hers! My muse has been so dead lately, but this has gotten it all excited again, so yay! It was also a lot of fun to work out a bit of my own version of Janet's back-story. I hope it rings true at least to some extent. Additional thanks go to the Gateview girls for support, encouragement, and ideas. Also, I am offering this little ditty for the January Challenge for the Daniel/Janet Challenge Archive.
The Rescue Challenge rules are as follows:
1. Either Daniel or Janet must be in some kind of life-threatening peril, and the other must be the one to save them. This can be on Earth, off world, wherever you want, but their life must be in danger somehow. The other members of SG-1 can either be in the same peril or be on the rescue team, but when it comes down to it, one half of our favourite pairing must be the one to save the day.
2. Daniel being injured and Janet working as a doctor to save him doesn't count. There must be some form of rescue effort involved.
3. No character death.
4. A Daniel/Janet kiss is a must.
Daniel raised his hand to knock on the office door in front of him, and then dropped it again. Sheepishly, he glanced up and down the hallway to see if anyone had seen him. He realized, of course, that he was being profoundly ridiculous. He couldn't count the number of times that he or Janet had showed up in the other's office to solicit company for a coffee break. There ought not to be anything different about this afternoon. It was, however, the first time Daniel had dropped in to see Janet since they had returned from Egypt a few days previously. More specifically, it was the first time since he had fully acknowledged to himself that he was in definite danger of falling for her. He sighed, raised his hand again, and the door flew open.
"Daniel!" cried Janet as she jumped back in surprise. "I didn't realize you were there!"
"Sorry about that," he replied. "I was just about to…" He trailed off, realizing his fist was still poised in the air. He gestured to it, then stuck it in his pocket with a shrug. *In danger of falling for her* was perhaps not the most accurate term, he realized. He was pretty sure he'd already fallen.
Janet smiled at him. "Well, I was just on my way to find Sam, but it's not urgent. What can I do for you? Come in." She stepped back and gestured for him to enter.
"Oh, I just ran into Sam in the elevator, actually. She was on her way to a briefing for that gate overhaul thing they're doing tonight."
"Oh damn! I forgot about that. So she'll be all caught up here all night." Janet paused and frowned. "I guess I don't need to talk to her after all, then."
"Anything I can help with instead?" Daniel offered.
Janet studied him for a moment, and he could almost see her thinking. "I don't know. I mean, I don't want to bother you, and it's probably rather silly."
"What is it?" He was beginning to be intrigued.
She chewed her lip and glanced at the floor. "Well, I've got this blind date tonight. And Cassie's staying with a friend tonight, so I was going to ask Sam to be my standby date rescuer."
Daniel could have sworn the floor buckled a bit underneath his feet as she referred to her "date," but he tried to look as if this knowledge did not phase him. Suddenly, he realized he was meant to respond, so he clung to her last words. "Standby date rescuer?"
"Yeah, you know, in case the date turns out to be a disaster or something. I excuse myself to go to the ladies' room, call the date rescuer, who agrees to call back in fifteen minutes, after I've had a chance to get back to the table, with some urgent reason that my presence is required, thereby allowing me to get out of the date." Her face flushed with a tinge of embarrassment.
"You do that?"
"All women do that," she replied, matter-of-factly. "Men probably do it, too."
"And Cassie's usually your date rescuer?"
Janet laughed a little, the tone of it indicating that she was slightly uncomfortable with the conversation. "Oh, there is no 'usually.' This is the first blind date I've had in ages. First date of any kind, to be honest. This guy's a new radiologist at the Academy Hospital, friend of a friend and all that. I'm rather apprehensive about the whole thing, but I kind of owe my friend a favor, and since it's not like I'm doing anything else tonight, I figured why not. It might be fun." She shrugged and twisted her ring around on her finger in a way that made Daniel sure she was uncomfortable. He wasn't terribly comfortable either, but he couldn't understand why Janet should be nervous.
"Well," he began before he could stop himself, "if things go south, you're more than welcome to give me a call. I'll just be home tonight."
Janet looked up at him with surprise, meeting his eyes, he realized, for the first time in the conversation. "You'd really be my rescuer if I need it?"
Daniel swallowed. "Of course."
She smiled, and they stood in awkward silence for a moment. "Oh," Janet said suddenly, "you were the one who came to see me, and I didn't even ask why—I'm sorry!"
Daniel forced a smile in return and hoped it looked lighthearted. "I was just taking a bit of a break and thought I would see if you wanted to grab a cup of coffee."
Although the look on her face wasn't what Daniel was hoping to see, he was somewhat glad that she seemed disappointed to turn him down. "I'm sorry, Daniel. Can we do it tomorrow? I was actually on my way home after I talked to Sam." She checked her watch. "I actually have to get going."
"Yeah, no problem," he replied, moving to the door. "And if you need me tonight, I'll be there."
Half an hour into dinner, Janet could tell that David Givens was exactly the sort of man she should never date. He was good-looking, charming, arrogant, and dominating. On one level, she tended to have a weakness for men like that; on another, they disgusted her. Besides, all relationships she had ever had with a man of that temperament had ended very badly, and she had sworn off the tall, dark and handsome type. As David poured his third glass of wine and flashed her a lascivious grin, Janet realized that she was most likely going to have to call Daniel after all.
She sighed inwardly at the thought of Daniel as her "standby date rescuer." She had been so close that afternoon to calling David Givens to cancel her date, just so she could have coffee with Daniel. Yet as he had stood in her office asking adorable questions about the concept of a date rescuer, she had been so uncomfortable that she hadn't been thinking straight. She had tried to make light of her blind date without making it painfully obvious that the man she wanted to be with was the one in front of her. And although she wasn't sure how she had done it, she knew when Daniel left that she had somehow hurt his feelings. She suppressed a regretful sigh and tried to pay attention to what David was saying.
"I mean, she's won like a zillion malpractice suits. My sorry ass didn't stand a chance," announced David, too loudly, apparently drawing near the close of whatever story he had been telling. Janet had tuned most of it out. "So of course I had to sleep with her, or I'd be paying out the nose for the rest of my life. I suppose it was worth it, but ugh, you shoulda seen her. I mean, you'd hope that the plaintiffs in a malpractice case would at least have the decency to hire good-looking lawyers." He chuckled lightly and swallowed a healthy gulp of wine.
Janet wasn't quite sure she knew the appropriate response to such a story, so she attempted to change the subject somewhat. "So how are you enjoying the Academy Hospital?"
David shrugged. "It's okay, I guess. I'm not sure how I feel about being bossed around by all those military types, though. All these orders all the time! I mean, it's a hospital, for Christ's sake, not a boot camp. I mean, no offense and all that." He gestured toward her in a way that was meant to be gracious, and he nearly toppled his wine glass. He responded by seizing it up and draining the contents. Janet somehow managed not to grimace. "By the way, how do you like that whole being in the military thing? I mean, I would imagine a little chick like you would have a hard time with all those military bastards."
Janet arched an eyebrow and pressed her lips together. "Excuse me for a minute, David," she said evenly. "I need to run to the ladies' room."
It was all she could do to keep from running to the washroom. She took two or three calming breaths before pulling out her cell phone and dialing Daniel's number.
"Daniel Jackson," he answered after two rings.
"Hi Daniel, it's me, Janet." She hoped she sounded more under control than she felt.
He chuckled briefly. "Do-do-do!" he said in a pathetic imitation of a trumpet. "Your very own date rescuer at your service! Not going so well, eh? So I have to call you back in fifteen minutes and make up some emergency at work or something?"
"Actually, could you come pick me up?" Despite her best efforts, her voice shook a little, most likely the result of having Daniel on the other end of the phone.
"Are you okay, Janet?" He was immediately serious and alarmed. "Where are you? I'll be right there? Janet, what happened?"
She sighed. "I'm fine, Daniel, really. It's just, um, not going well. And I was foolish and let him drive me to the restaurant after we met at the hospital, so my car's there and he's way too drunk to drive." Across the phone line, she heard keys jingling and a moment later, the sound, she presumed, of Daniel's front door slamming shut. She couldn't help a relieved smile as she imagined Daniel, full of righteous indignation, running to her rescue.
"I'm on my way. Where are you?" he asked again.
Janet gave him the name and address of the restaurant and then hung up. Quickly checking her appearance in the mirror, she steeled herself up to return to the table and tell David that she was leaving.
When she got back, she was surprised to see the table mostly cleared and David signing a credit card slip. "I went ahead and got the bill," he explained, again giving her the grin she didn't trust. "I figured we could get out of here and head somewhere a bit more comfortable. What do you say?"
"You shouldn't have paid for my dinner!" she exclaimed before she could think of anything more coherent. It was true, of course, since she did not want to owe this man anything, but she had hoped for a more firm response.
David laughed. "Oh, that's cute. I bet you have to be all steely and liberated with those Air Force schmucks, don't you? Don't worry about it, baby. Now let's get out of here." He reached for her hand, and Janet snatched it away just in time.
"I don't really think we need to extend this evening any more," she said, trying to keep her voice down to avoid attracting attention. "I've called a friend to come pick me up, and I'm more than happy to call you a cab because after starting with a Maker's on the rocks and then proceeding to drink nearly a whole bottle of wine, I really don't think you need to be driving. And don't you *dare* call me 'baby'!" She knew she was using the tone of voice that could make the bravest soldier in the SGC quiver in fear, but it seemed to have no effect on David.
"You called someone to pick you up? What the hell are you talking about? I have lots more planned!" he declared. He got up from table and grabbed her arm, jerking her out of her seat.
Janet tried to speak, tried to protest, but she couldn't. He pushed her in front of him, one hand gripping her upper arm so tightly that she was certain she would have a bruise and the other firmly planted on her hip to ensure that she couldn't twist out of his grasp. As they left the crowded restaurant and stepped into the warm night air of the parking lot, Janet's brain went into full panic mode. She tried an escape move she had learned in hand-to-hand training, but David had a foot in height and nearly 100 pounds in weight over her, and even in his intoxication, he overpowered her.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" He fumbled for his keys, pushed the button to unlock the door to his SUV, and pushed her toward it.
"Let go of me! I'm not getting in the car with you," she said loudly, glancing around to see if anyone was around to hear her.
Suddenly, Janet saw stars as she was hit, hard, across the face. She struggled against David even as she fought the dizziness. She was vaguely aware of headlights entering the parking lot and tried to look around. David grabbed her chin and slammed her up against his car. "You are going to regret this, bitch," he threatened.
Janet could make out some commotion towards the door of the restaurant as a large party exited. Somewhere behind her, a car door slammed. "Help me, please! Someone help me!" she yelled as loud as she could. David hit her again and opened the door to the car, dragging her toward it.
Janet could hear footsteps approaching from two different directions, and someone from the party by the door cried out to call the police. Hurry! Janet pleaded mentally as her head banged against the doorframe of the vehicle.
"You son of a bitch, let her go!" Janet heard a familiar voice, and suddenly David was pulled away from her. She sat up and saw Daniel holding David against the opposite car and pounding him. A moment later, a couple of the men who had just exited the restaurant arrived and attempted to pull the two of them apart. "No," argued Daniel, struggling. "This bastard was attacking my friend!"
"I know, man, we saw," replied the young man holding Daniel while his friend helped to restrain David. "We've called the cops on him. Cool down." David struggled against his captor and let loose a litany of curses, most of them directed at Janet. Daniel lunged at him again.
"Daniel!" cried Janet from the car, finally finding her voice.
Suddenly, Daniel froze and spun around. The man holding onto him let go to help his friend with David. Daniel was at Janet's side in an instant, helping her out of the car and gently guiding her away from the still-cursing David.
"Janet? Janet, are you okay? Oh my God, are you okay?" His voice was full of panic as he bent slightly to look her in the face.
Janet took a deep, shaky breath and nodded her head. "Yeah. Yeah, I think so." Without thinking about it, she stepped into Daniel's arms, pressed her face against his chest, and tried to calm herself by listening to his heartbeat. Daniel wrapped his arms around her tightly, rocking her ever so slightly until a few minutes later they heard the whining of the approaching police siren.
It took nearly an hour for the police to arrest David for assault and to take everyone's statement. Daniel was fairly certain he was never more than eight inches away from Janet the entire time. Even when she left his embrace, she continued to stand close, occasionally taking his hand as if to reassure herself that he was really there. Daniel didn't complain. From the moment he heard her distressed voice on the phone, he wanted nothing more than to be close to her and to do everything in his power to make sure she was okay.
He wanted her to go to the hospital to be checked for head injuries, but she insisted that she didn't need to. One of the friends of the young men who had helped restrain David was a nurse practitioner; Janet allowed this woman to give her a quick examination, and she concurred with Janet's assessment. Daniel was willing to believe that Janet wasn't seriously physically injured, but he was still very worried about her. She had barely spoken, aside from giving her statement to the police and insisting she didn't need to go to the hospital. According to all his knowledge of Janet, she should be far more emotional—either furiously angry or simply upset. He helped her into the passenger seat of his car after the police had gone and cast anxious glances at her throughout the drive back to her house. She was clearly in some kind of shock, and he resolved that she shouldn't be alone when it wore off.
He pulled into her driveway, put the car in park, and turned it off. He wondered if he could tactfully invite himself in. Suddenly, he felt her hand on his arm.
"Daniel? Would you, um, could you come in for a little while?" Janet asked hesitantly, the first time she had spoken since they left the restaurant.
"Of course," he answered, smiling in what he hoped was a reassuring manner.
She led him into the house, firmly closing and locking the door behind them. Every other time he had been to her house, Janet had been the model of hospitality, but tonight she merely walked to the couch and curled up in a corner of it, without speaking or even turning on any lights. Daniel followed her, switched on the lamp next to the couch and then sat down beside her. He decided to wait for her to speak.
After a few minutes, she turned to look at him. She had a cut on the left-hand corner of her bottom lip, and a bruise was beginning to form on her left cheekbone. "I don't know what happened to me," she whispered. "I'm a trained military officer. I know how to defend myself, and I was powerless against him. My mind just went totally blank. It was as though I lost hold of who I am for a little while."
Daniel reached out to take her hand. "It wasn't your fault, Janet. He's twice your size. Without a weapon of some sort, you could hardly be expected—"
"But I scarcely tried, Daniel," she cut him off. "He just overwhelmed me. Men like that— I just can't—" She stopped and took a deep breath. "He was so much like my ex-husband. That personality: good looks, charm and egotism all wrapped up together. I used to be attracted to that, God knows why. My masochistic side, I suppose."
"Janet," he began, but she shook her head.
"Bill, my ex, could make me feel like a million dollars when he wanted to. But later I realized that even that was all about him—he had somehow screwed me up enough that I thought I wasn't worthy of him, so that I should be grateful that he would stoop to my level. And then he could just as easily turn around and make me feel like garbage. I lost myself for about three years while I was with him. I became this shell of the person I really am. I told myself it wasn't an abusive relationship; I left when he hit me. But later I realized that you don't have to hit someone to abuse them."
She paused, and Daniel could tell she was fighting to keep control. He released her hand and moved his arm up to reach around her shoulders. After a few minutes, she nodded slightly, as if telling herself that it was all right to continue.
"I've come so far since then. Or at least I thought I had. I'm the one in control of my life now; I run one of the most important medical facilities on the planet, for God's sake. But in the matter of a few hours tonight, that man took that all away from me." She brought her hands up to her mouth, and Daniel saw a tear escape down her cheek. "What's wrong with me?"
Daniel had always known he was an empathetic person, but as he watched the woman he had come to love breaking down, he was sure his own heart would break as well. He wrapped both arms around her and pulled her close, and she leaned against him willingly, though she kept her knees drawn up against her body and her hands covering her mouth, as if they could hold back her tears.
"Oh Janet," he murmured into her hair, "there's nothing at all wrong with you. None of this is your fault. And it's all over now. You're safe now."
After some initial attempts to stifle her sobs, Janet succumbed to them, eventually wrapping her arms around Daniel and crying with abandon against his chest. He held her tight as she weathered the storm, continuing to whisper soothing nonsense. Eventually, she cried out her tears but remained relaxed against his body. They sat in silence for a while before Janet spoke again.
"Thank you, Daniel. Thank you for rescuing me, and for staying."
"Always." He paused, the gravity of what had happened that evening making him tremble a little. "God, Janet, when I saw him hurting you, I just went crazy. I can't—I don't ever want to see you hurt. I hope you know that I would do anything for you. I would go to any lengths to make sure you were okay."
Janet pulled back to look at him. A bit of the sparkle he recognized had returned to her eyes. She was still grave, but the corners of her mouth turned in a hint of a smile. "My knight in shining armor, eh?" she asked.
Despite her half-joking question, Daniel was fairly serious in his reply. "When you need me to be. But you're no damsel in distress, Janet. You're one of the strongest people I know."
She chewed her bottom lip. "Sometimes I really don't feel like it," she admitted.
Daniel reached up and brushed aside a piece of her hair and then ran his fingers across her unbruised cheek, still damp with tears. "You don't have to be all the time. When you need to fall apart, I'll be here for you to hang on to. Um, if you want, that is," he finished with some uncertainty.
Janet smiled, and Daniel wondered if he had ever seen anything so lovely. "I do want," she answered simply. "And I'll always be here for you, too, okay?"
"I know. You always are."
Janet snuggled back against him then, and Daniel's arms found their way back around her as if they were made for that particular fit. He held her contentedly, absently running his fingers through her hair while he mustered up his courage.
"This may be kind of bad timing on my part, but, um, since the blind date didn't work out so well, how would you feel about a non-blind date?"
Janet sat up again and looked at him quizzically, as if she were trying to determine what he meant. Daniel felt inexplicably nervous. "I mean," he clarified, "would you, um, want to go out sometime? With me?"
She smiled at him again, and reached up to cup one of his cheeks. Before Daniel was fully aware of what was happening, she leaned in and gently kissed him. "I would love to," she whispered as she pulled away.
Daniel gazed into her eyes, trying to put all the love he felt into his expression. He reached over to kiss her forehead, her eyes, very gently her bruised cheek, and finally her lips. "Promise me one thing, though?" he asked. "If I ever try to make you be someone other than who you are, or if you ever feel like you're losing sight of yourself, you'll let me know."
Janet smiled and reached up to run a hand through his hair. "That's an easy promise to make because I know you never would," she murmured as she moved in to kiss him again.
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