Title: Disappearing Act
Author: MegTDJ
Category: Angst/drama; hurt/comfort; romance
Rating: M (Mature)
Pairing: Daniel/Janet established relationship
Spoilers: Set in mid-season 5, but nothing that happens from here on has any base in canon.
Warnings: Violence, mature subject matter
Summary: Daniel seems to disappear into thin air during an off-world mission. When he is finally found weeks later, he seems to be in shock and won't say a word about what happened to him. Then he begins to change...
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.

Author's notes: Many, many thanks to Kerri, Misty, Julie, Isabelle, Chrysa, and all the rest of you Gateview gals. You're the best!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Disappearing Act

Chapter 1

"Good morning, Sunshine."

Daniel groaned and buried his face even deeper into his pillow. "It can't be morning already."

"'Fraid so. Rise and shine."

He tried to ignore her, but he felt a sharp elbow in his back and grunted again.

"Come on, Daniel. You've got a busy day ahead of you."

"I don't want a busy day," Daniel whined, turning over to face her without opening his eyes. He wrapped his arms around her and snuggled his face into her neck. "I want a Janet day."

Janet laughed. "You've had plenty of those lately."

"Just one more?"

"No. Honeymoon's over, time to get back to work."

"Honeymoons should never be over. At least not for a year or two."

Janet laughed again and ran her fingers through his hair. "Be serious, Daniel," she said. "We've had over a week to ourselves. We'd be selfish to want any more."

Daniel sighed. He knew she was right, but he didn't have to admit it. In the ten days since their wedding, he'd felt more at peace than he ever remembered feeling in his life. He didn't want to let go of that just yet. "I wish the world would disappear," he said, lifting his head and opening his eyes just a crack so he could find her lips. Once they'd been located, he kissed her, intending to make it long and deep.

Unfortunately, Janet backed away from him and pressed her fingers to his lips. "Daniel?"

"Yeah?"

"Morning breath, sweetheart."

Daniel moaned and rolled over onto his back. "Figures," he said. "I can't even have one last honeymoon kiss."

"You can have one as soon as you've brushed your teeth," Janet offered.

Daniel sighed. "But once we're out of bed, that's it," he said. "Honeymoon over. Real life begun."

Janet laughed. "You're crazy, Daniel," she said in that affectionate tone that did drive him crazy. She leaned down to nibble lightly on his ear.

"Ohh, that's nice," Daniel said as a slow grin spread across his face.

"Good enough?" she murmured mid-nibble.

"Yeah, I'd say so."

"Good." She patted him on the chest and sat up. "Now you can get up." Before he had a chance to argue, she slipped out of bed and made a beeline for the bathroom.

"Sneaky. Very sneaky," Daniel called after her.

She turned to give him a saucy wave before she disappeared from view.

Daniel smiled and shook his head. Ten days into their marriage, he was already wrapped around her little finger. He wouldn't have it any other way.

With another heavy sigh, he dragged himself out of bed and joined Janet in the bathroom. They hurried through their morning showers - separately, per Janet's order - and other ablutions, and soon Daniel was making his way down the stairs for breakfast.

Cassie was already in the kitchen, pouring herself a bowl of cereal.

"Morning, Cassie," Daniel greeted her.

"Morning. Is Mom up?"

"Yeah, she'll be down in a minute." Daniel watched the girl out of the corner of his eye as he took some bread and put it in the toaster. She'd been staying with Sam since the wedding, and had just returned the night before. Daniel hadn't even seen her after she'd come home, as she'd run straight up to her room and shut herself in for the night. He was starting to worry a little that she wasn't as okay with this marriage as she'd originally claimed to be.

He couldn't really blame her if she did have a problem with it, though. She was, after all, sixteen years old, and had been used to having her mother all to herself ever since Janet had adopted her four years earlier. To suddenly have a man about the house would be quite an adjustment for her.

After a few moments, he turned and leaned back against the counter. "Can we talk for a sec?" he asked.

Cassie's movements froze, but she didn't look over at him. "Sure."

"I just... wanted to ask you... are you okay with this?"

"With what?" she asked, taking her cereal over to the table with an air of nonchalance.

Daniel winced. She wasn't going to make this easy. "With me being here," he said.

Cassie shrugged and sat down. "I'll adjust." She took a mouthful of her breakfast before Daniel could speak again, and opened a magazine.

Daniel took the hint and didn't try to press the issue.

Janet entered the room then anyway, and made her way straight over to Cassie. "Morning, honey," she said as she bent to kiss the top of the girl's head.

"Morning," Cassie said. "Are you giving me a ride to school?"

"Actually, I have to go right now. I was paged while I was upstairs." She turned puppy dog eyes onto Daniel and asked, "Would you be able to take her?"

Daniel's mouth opened in surprise at the sudden request, and before he had a chance to answer, Cassie dropped her spoon and got to her feet.

"That's okay," she said. "I'm ready now."

"I'm sorry, sweetie, I really have to go straight to the base," Janet said. She didn't seem to notice the glare her daughter was sending Daniel's way as she picked up her purse and rooted around for her keys. "You have time to finish your breakfast."

Cassie plopped back down into her chair with an unintelligible mumble.

Janet smiled up at Daniel and took his hand, leading him out of the kitchen and over to the door. "Now for that kiss I promised you," she said quietly.

Cassie's attitude disappeared from his mind as Janet wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a long, sweet kiss. She'd been right - it was much nicer now that they'd brushed their teeth.

It took a few moments after they'd parted for Daniel's mind to return to working order, so Janet was almost out the door before he grabbed her arm. "Wait," he said, lowering his voice to almost a whisper. "I don't think she really wants to go with me."

Janet gave him an odd look. "What makes you say that?"

He shrugged, not knowing how to say it without sounding paranoid. "She just... I think she's having a bigger problem with us than she's been letting on."

Her expression changed to one of sympathy in a heartbeat, and she reached a hand up to touch his cheek. "She'll adjust."

"Yeah, that's what she said." What he didn't add was that he wasn't entirely sure he was ready to deal with the grief she might throw at them in the meantime.

"Then don't worry about it." She got up onto her tiptoes and kissed his face. "See you later, Cassie!" she called.

There was no answer from the kitchen.

Daniel gave Janet a pitiable look, but she just put on her no-nonsense air and opened the door. "Come see me before you go off-world, okay?" she said.

He nodded. "I'll see you soon."

Once Janet was gone, Daniel turned to go back into the kitchen and practically bumped right into Cassie in the doorway.

"Are you ready to go yet?" she asked.

Daniel couldn't believe the hard look she had on her face. "Um... yeah, almost. Just give me a second to grab my stuff."

"Okay. I'll wait in the car."

She took her books from the table in the hall and had disappeared out the door in less than three seconds. That didn't exactly make him feel any better.

Daniel quickly grabbed the toast that had already popped and started wolfing it down as he jogged up the stairs and grabbed his things. He was jogging down again before he remembered that he was still wearing his wedding ring. "Gotta get used to this," he muttered as he jogged back up the stairs and took it off, carefully placing it in Janet's jewellery box. He hurried back down the stairs then, careful to pick up his keys and lock the door before he left the house.

Sure enough, Cassie was waiting for him in the car... in the backseat. He definitely had a bad feeling about this.

Daniel took a deep breath and stuffed the rest of the toast in his mouth before he entered the vehicle. After closing the door and fastening his seatbelt, he sat there looking back at her through the rear view mirror while he finished chewing. "Are you okay?" he finally asked when his mouth was empty.

"I'm fine," she said. "Are we going?"

"Yes, we are... as soon as you tell me what's bugging you."

Cassie sighed and folded her arms across her chest.

Daniel waited for her to speak, but she didn't. "Is it me?" he asked. "Because if it is, I'm willing to answer any questions you have about... whatever it is that's... bothering you."

A look passed over Cassie's face that made it seem as though she'd just tasted something awful. "It's just weird," she said.

"What is?"

"Having you here. And... you and mom... you know... doing it... right in the room next to mine. Do you know how that messes with a kid's head?"

Daniel could feel his face heating up, much to his further embarrassment. 'Oh God, not that,' he thought. He let out a slow breath and rubbed his hands together as he tried to think of what to say. "Oh," was all that came out.

"Can we go now?"

Daniel's mind was racing, trying to think of something meaningful to say that would set her mind at ease, but nothing came to him. "Yeah," he said regretfully, turning the key in the ignition and pulling the car out of the driveway.

Cassie didn't say a word on the drive until they got to the street her school was on. "Stop here," she suddenly commanded.

Daniel did as he was told, but he couldn't help but notice that the school was completely out of sight. "I think I'd feel better if I knew you got inside the building okay," he said as she gathered her things and opened the door.

"Then you can watch me walk. Bye, Daniel."

"Cassie?" Daniel called as she got out of the car.

She poked her head back inside. "What?"

"I... I love your mom very much," Daniel said. There was so much more that he wanted to say, about how he loved her, too, and wanted to become like a father to her. About how he understood her discomfort, and was willing to help her through it if she let him.

He never got the chance.

"Yeah, so I heard last night," she said. Then she slammed the door and took off down the street towards the high school.

Daniel was dumbfounded for a full minute after this revelation. He didn't even have presence of mind to be embarrassed. He was just... stunned. She'd heard them? They'd tried so hard to be quiet, but she'd heard them anyway? What kind of paper-thin walls did that house have?

"Oh God!" he groaned as it finally sank in. He buried his face in his hands and mumbled incoherently for a minute or so before he finally pulled himself together and felt able to drive away.

He definitely had to have a word with Janet about this before he left on his mission. This was something a kid's mother should talk through with her.

To be continued...