"Janet?" he asked.
"Things to do," she replied almost curtly.
"I didn't see your car."
"I parked out on the road in front of the next house. I wanted to make sure I wasn't blocked in?"
"Okay," Daniel said, a trifle mystified. "Can I help you?"
"Yes, you really can. I have the sauce started. If you'll stir it every once in awhile, I think it'll be good in about an hour. I already cooked the pasta itself," she indicated the colander. "If you'll just pour boiling water over it and toss the dressing in that container over the salad. It's in the refrigerator." He looked his question at her. "I can't stay Daniel and I won't be able to help for a couple of days."
Daniel's concern was clear in his voice, "Are you all right? I mean is there a problem?"
"I just need a little time to lick my wounds after I tell you what I'm about to tell you," she said, her back to him, standing at the sink.
"Tell me what?" he asked although he was beginning to think he knew.
She turned then and he saw that there were tears shining in her eyes but not falling. She was tough. "I know you love me Daniel. You don't lie and you told me you did. You showed me that you did. I really think on an even playing field I might have won. But you and Sam are having a baby and you love her too. If you did choose me over her, she'd be in our life all the time anyway and you'd be pulled apart. I talked the whole thing over with Sam while you were out. I'm ending it, Danny, right now."
"Oh my God, Janet," Daniel said. "I'm so sorry for hurting you like this. I'm a jerk and I know it." He tried to take her hand but she fended him off.
"Don't indulge yourself in guilt over it Daniel," Janet said wearily. "If I'm going to put myself through this noble renunciation I need to at least think that it made someone else happier."
While he stood and watched, she proceeded to put dishwashing detergent in the dishwasher and start a load, take a dishrag and wipe off the counter, and put a clean dish towel over the top of the cooked pasta. He couldn't think of anything to say but he couldn't take his eyes off her. He realized that in his heart he was saying good bye to a future that would have been a good one and to a woman he adored but could never be really close to again. At last, she dried her hands and picked up her purse. "One good thing," she said with false brightness as she came close to him. "We were smart deciding to defer complete intimacy. It does make this easier. I'll be off. I'll see you in a couple of days."
He caught her hand and pulled her back. "I can't turn off loving you Janet. I always will and if there's ever anything you need, I'll be there. Can you kiss me one last time?" They got married, had kids, watched them go off on their own, and grew old together in that kiss. And then she did leave without another word.
Teal'c followed his nose into the kitchen a short while later and found Daniel stirring the pasta sauce and looking pretty rough. "Is not JanetFraiser cooking the dinner?" he asked, both concerned about the quality of the food, Daniel not being a great cook, and that something might be wrong with Janet.
"She left," Daniel stated without elaboration.
"And what else DanielJackson?" Teal'c followed up. Looking at Daniel made it obvious her departure hadn't been routine.
"She broke off with me," Daniel said, slamming the lid back on the saucepot.
"This will make things easier, will it not?" Teal'c asked, demonstrating that he observed far more than he normally gave evidence of.
"Sure. But I care about her and I hate that I hurt her," Daniel answered.
"DanielJackson, I believe I will go spend the evening with JanetFraiser. I have noticed that female Tauri are like female Jaffa. They do not like to be alone when they are unhappy," Teal'c announced.
Daniel looked at him gratefully. "You're a good man, Teal'c."
"Perhaps," Teal'c said, and left.
Daniel stayed in the kitchen, punishing the dishes, pans, and silverware. He cleared the dishwasher out with a lot of pot clanging and dishes clattering together. The silverware was tossed in the drawer, piece by piece, making clinking sounds like chains. Nothing broke. Finally Daniel looked down at the glass in his hand and knew that he had to break it. Something had to break. He hurled it against the wall 6 feet away and it shattered. A few small pieces flew back in his direction and a tiny cut flecked the back of his hand.
Jack entered the room to find Daniel crouching with a dust pan, picking up pieces of glass. "Sam told me," he said quietly. He walked to Daniel's side, crunching a few small pieces under foot and squatted down. "Danny, quit it." He took the dustpan from him and stood up.
Daniel stood up then. "I have to clean up this mess I made," he said gesturing broadly.
"You always have, Daniel," Jack said, still speaking quietly. Daniel looked at him helplessly. Jack put his arms around him and Daniel leaned into him. "Janet will be okay. You have to think about Sam and the babies now."
A while later they sat in the living room together. "I need to finish the dinner up and serve it," Daniel said but he didn't move.
"Would it be better if Sara took food up to Sam and kept her company this evening instead of all of us?" Jack suggested.
"They settled it between them, you know. I'm not sure I feel like the man here. A while back I had this vision of myself as a sort of male Helen of Troy." He looked up then warningly at Jack who was about to speak, "No more with the teasing about me being some sort of eye candy for the women on the base."
"So that would be a yes?" Jack said and went swiftly upstairs to talk with Sara. When he returned, he said, "You're not really mad at Sam are you?"
"Not mad. No. But this is the beginning of our lives together. I want to think about how this needs to go. I've let her be the leader more often than not because of our respective job skills and positions. But I want a partnership."
"In your marriage," Jack finished.
They always finished each other's sentences correctly and there was no need for Daniel to even affirm Jack's assumption. "You know," Daniel said, "she told me she figured out how she felt about me really by imagining the house we shared together with our children, imagining what the life was like in that house. Maybe we should walk through that house together and figure out what our life would be like."
And so the old Victorian gets some minor redecoration and a garden in the back. Sam and Daniel sit in the screened on porch on the back, watching the sunset together, and preparing for their life together.