Title: Mind Fever
Category: Angst/drama; hurt/comfort; romance
Pairing: Daniel/Janet, established relationship
Spoilers: Anything up to and including season 7's Heroes.
Summary: When Daniel contracts an alien illness that affects his mind, Janet struggles to get back the man she knew.
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1, its universe and its characters are not mine. The story itself is, however, so please don't archive without my permission.
Warnings: Extreme angst
Author's notes: I'm still not a Daniel-whumper, no matter how much of it there is in this fic. It's all Kerri's fault! She's the one who gave me this plot bunny in the first place! :P
This is the first novel-length fan fiction I've written (the first novel-length anything I've written), so I really hope I pulled it off well enough!
Thanks goes to Kerri for the idea and much moral support; to Tammy for being such a great cheerleader; to Suzie for bearing with me while I babbled on and on and on about this thing day after day after day... and for kicking me in the rump to keep me on the straight and narrow with it on more than one occasion; to SaraC for making the videos that inspired a lot of the best parts of this thing (Broken and Bring Me To Life - go watch them!!!); to Michelle for making a beautiful vid just for me to get me all inspired; and to everyone else who encouraged me to keep on trucking, even though the major Daniel whumping was killing me. ((hugs to all))
Janet's heart came close to breaking at the scene playing out in front of her as she and two of her medics made their way down the path leading away from the Stargate. It was never a pleasant experience when she was called off-world on a medical emergency, but the horror of this situation was almost unbearable. Wailing mothers frantically clutching their children... grown men weeping uncontrollably... twenty pairs of panic-stricken eyes pleading with her to make things right.
She took a deep breath and tried to keep her emotions in check, but suddenly the air inside her hazmat suit seemed ten degrees warmer. She was just starting to feel an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia when a familiar form broke away from the crowd of frightened villagers and made its way towards her. Even though she couldn't see his face through the MOP gear, she knew right away who it was.
"What's the situation, Colonel?"
"It's bad, Doc. Whatever's affecting these people, it's spreading like a plague." He held out his gloved hand and gestured toward a large white building to her right. She and the medics followed as he ambled past the grief-stricken crowd and over to what she guessed to be the village's hospital.
Once inside, Janet glanced around what appeared to be a waiting room. She was relieved to find that the dozen or so people milling about inside were much more calm and in control of themselves than the ones outside. Still, they looked no less frightened and helpless.
Colonel O'Neill led them through the waiting room and into a long room that Janet recognized immediately as the main ward. Several cots were lined up against the walls, most of them occupied by frail old men, all of whom appeared to be fast asleep.
She barely had the chance to get a look at the invalids at all, however, as the colonel led them through to yet another room, closing the door to the ward behind him. No matter - she had known immediately that they were not the patients she had come to see. Just from the little information she had been given already, she knew that the sudden outbreak SG-1 had happened upon on this alien world had a much more horrific effect on its victims.
This fact was soon confirmed as she followed the colonel down the hallway, getting closer to the room that had been set aside for the infected. The screams were muffled, but still managed to send chills down the doctor's spine and make her wish she could wake up from the nightmare she had somehow found herself in.
"In here, Doc."
Janet's nerves were so on edge that Colonel O'Neill's voice, though quiet, was enough to make her jump. She nodded and managed to pull herself together enough to stop her knees from shaking before she entered the room he had indicated.
Four figures awaited them inside, and each one stood up as they came in. Two wore standard MOP gear, while the other two wore what must be this culture's version of medical scrubs, their faces half covered with some form of surgical mask.
"Janet," said a relieved, but terrified, Samantha Carter. "I'm glad you're here."
"I came as soon as I could," Janet said softly.
"Of course." Sam gave her a grateful nod and turned to the two strangers. "Dr. Janet Fraiser, this is Healer Meese and Healer Brom. Meese, Brom - this is our Healer, Dr. Janet Fraiser."
Janet greeted the two alien doctors politely, but the observation window that spanned one wall of the small room soon captured her attention. She could hear frightened cries coming from the room on the other side of the glass. "Is that where you've quarantined the infected?" she asked, gesturing towards it.
Sam glanced at Colonel O'Neill for a second before answering. Something about the fear and hesitation Janet read in her body language made her stomach do a somersault. "No, that's where we've quarantined those who have come in contact with the infected," Sam finally replied.
Janet looked back and forth between Sam and O'Neill in confusion for a moment before it finally hit her. Only two in MOP gear - one was Sam and the other was...
"Are you alright, Doctor Fraiser?" She could barely hear Teal'c's deep voice through the sudden rushing sound in her ears as her heart began to pound twice as hard as it should.
"Where's Daniel?" she managed to choke out of her rapidly constricting throat.
Not bothering to wait for an answer, she darted over to the observation window. She knew deep down what she would find, but it didn't make the sight any easier for her.
There he was, sitting on the floor with his back leaning against the far wall of the room.
His knees were propped up and his arms were wrapped tightly around them, almost as if he was hugging himself to gain some sense of comfort. There were others with him, but he had distanced himself from them as far as the small room would allow. Janet couldn't blame him for that - half of his companions were panicking, trying to claw their way out of the room or pounding on the door and calling for help. The rest had found their own secluded corners as he had, and were either quietly crying to themselves or rocking back and forth in a clear state of shock.
If her heart hadn't quite broken at what she'd seen thus far, it was certainly breaking as she looked at the expression on Daniel's face. He looked alone, helpless, and more frightened than she had ever seen him before.
She couldn't tear her eyes away from him even as she felt someone come to stand beside her. "The first victim was a little girl," O'Neill told her in a soft, comforting tone. "We were talking to some of the villagers when she suddenly started screaming and then collapsed. You know Daniel; he was there in a heartbeat, picked her up, and carried her straight here. Even after he knew... even after we realized it was contagious... her parents were sick, too, so he stayed with her. Held her hand until..."
Janet knew he wasn't going to finish that sentence. He didn't need to. She knew that Daniel would only have left that little girl's side if he could no longer be of any comfort to her.
She felt the colonel move away from her again, and heard the muted voices of SG-1 coming from across the room. She knew she should go and join them, ask questions and listen impartially to the answers, learn as much as she could about this illness and then get to work at finding a cure. She knew she shouldn't be standing there staring at Daniel in stunned silence, yet she couldn't seem to move.
Her mind was racing, flipping through images of this man through the years that she'd known him almost as though it was playing her the movie of her life on fast forward. The time when he had been left behind on Nem's planet, the rest of SG-1 having been implanted with the memory of his death; the time when he had become addicted to the sarcophagus and went through a massive case of withdrawal; the time when he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and admitted to mental health; the time when she had watched him die slowly from radiation poisoning, only to watch him ascend and disappear from her life for more than a year; the time when, just after getting him back from the land of the ascended, he had been taken over by the minds of a dozen or more aliens who were then reluctant to leave him; and finally the time when he had been kidnapped and tortured by Honduran rebels.
All the times she had almost lost him, either to illness or to the enemy, played out before her in her mind's eye. Every time this man had come close to death, she had realized more and more how much he meant to her. For years she had been too afraid to tell him that she had found herself falling in love with him, but after the incident with the alien consciousnesses taking over his mind, she had realized that she would forever regret it if he were to die without knowing how she felt. She had thrown caution to the wind and told him everything, and much to her surprise, he hadn't batted an eye. In fact, he had told her that the feeling was mutual, and that he, too, had been too afraid to let her know how much he loved her in case it had ruined their close friendship.
The months that had followed had been the happiest of Janet's life... until today.
Looking at the man she loved, sitting in a room full of terrified strangers who knew they were soon going to die horrible, painful deaths was too much for Janet to bear. She stifled a sob that threatened to break free despite her most valiant efforts to keep herself under control. Not caring who was watching, she stepped closer to the glass and gently touched it with her gloved fingertips. "Daniel," she whispered.
As if somehow sensing her presence, Daniel slowly raised his head and looked over at the window. Any question in Janet's mind about whether or not it was one-way or two-way glass was put to rest as he made direct eye contact with her. The expression on his face never wavered, however, as he moved his hand in a slight wave of acknowledgment.
A piercing scream from one of his roommates interrupted the moment, and Daniel's arms reflexively tightened around his legs. A look of terror passed over his features momentarily before he took a deep breath and buried his face in his arms.
Janet watched him for a moment longer as she heard someone rush out of the room she was in. Healer Meese entered the quarantined room a moment later, and he and two other men managed to fend off those who were trying to escape in order to get to the woman who had just shrieked and dropped to the ground, unconscious. She watched as the woman was carried away and the door was closed and locked securely behind them.
Finally, Janet turned around to see that Colonel O'Neill, Sam, Teal'c, and Brom's eyes were all trained upon her. Sam, at least, had the decency to look quickly away and pretend that she hadn't been staring at her the whole time.
"What do you need me to do?" Janet asked of Brom.
She was determined that Daniel wouldn't have to go through what that woman was now experiencing. It was time to get down to business.
To be continued...