Epilogue – 2 days later
She awoke in a fog of painkillers and sleep. Early spring sunshine filtered through the bay window of her bedroom and spread across the quilt. She slowly turned her head to the side, searching for Daniel. He wasn't there. For a split second, she panicked, but then she heard movement inside the bathroom and she reassured herself that everything was fine. She lay there, basking in the warmth of sun and life and thought back to what had happened.
The medical team had arrived and had whisked her away to Hanscom. The rest of the Marines and the SGC members had followed. She'd spent a couple of hours getting patched up and had arrived in a room full of people who were more than a little excited to see her, alive and well. Her father was there, looking years older than he had the last time she'd seen him. He had grabbed her, hugged her, and had refused to let go. Even when the night nurse – a woman of small height but imposing stature – had come in and told them all to go away, Belvedere Harrison had stayed. Eventually, the nurse had given in, had found him an extra blanket and pillow, and had told him he'd better at least sleep or he'd regret his insolence in the morning.
Aeda had decided, in that moment, that this woman was a fantastic person.
In the morning, her mother had arrived with Bear in tow (another concession the nurse had allowed) and a second episode of chaos had ensued. Carolina had demanded details, which Aeda had been unable to provide. After the third explanation of "top secret Air Force maneuvers", Carolina had turned to Belvedere, had thrown up her hands, and had said loudly enough that the entire hospital could hear her, "Goddamn flyboys and their goddamn top secret maneuvers. I should have married a goddamn carpenter!"
Carolina Harrison never swore, hollered at her husband and children when they did. Aeda had reassessed her opinion of her mother to include the fact that she could be one scary person when the need arose.
Her family had eventually left, at which point her other family had arrived with General Landry in tow.
"How's your shoulder?" Cameron had asked.
"It has a hole in it, but other than that." She'd grinned at his chagrined expression.
"I should've seen that coming."
Jack had clapped the younger man on the shoulder. "Eventually you'll learn, Cameron – we're just a bunch of smartasses."
"Speak for yourself, O'Neill," Teal'c had rumbled from a corner of the room and they had all laughed so hard the nurse had been forced to come in and shush them.
By the evening, it had just been her and Daniel and the doctor had discharged her around six. They'd driven back to the city in a comfortable silence, the painkillers making it difficult for Aeda to carry on any sort of coherent conversation. She was sure Daniel was enjoying this silly side of her – she had a vague memory of him laughing at her on their way into her apartment, but it was possible that it was all a dream.
There was a clatter from the kitchen and her fog disappeared. "Daniel?" she called out and was rewarded with a second clatter, this one louder. Curious as to who was invading her kitchen, she slowly crawled out of bed, careful of her arm, and pulled her robe on. She looked down at herself.
"Hm," she said aloud, "I seem to have misplaced my pants." She considered looking for them, changed her mind, and opened the bedroom door. If there were robbers in her kitchen, missing pants were the least of her troubles.
Voices floated down the hallway from the kitchen and she recognized them as belonging to SG-1, sans Daniel. She glanced at the bathroom door – it was still closed – and then moved further down the hallway. The closer she came to the kitchen, the stronger the smell of breakfast became. She smelled bacon cooking and pancakes and coffee and her mouth watered. She couldn't even remember how long it had been since the last time she'd eaten – a day, maybe?
Finally, the hallway ended and she found herself standing in the middle of her kitchen, in her underwear, a t-shirt, and her robe. At first, no one noticed her so she took the time to watch.
Jack was cooking and doing everything he could to keep Sam's hands out of the chaos. Cameron had a cup of coffee and a pancake, rolled up like a Swedish waffle, which he was talking around while eating. Teal'c was devouring a plate of pancakes and bacon at her kitchen table while Bear looked on with great devoted interest.
She smiled at it all.
"Good morning," she said and the activity ceased.
They all smiled at her. "I think you forgot your pants," Jack said and pointed with his spatula for emphasis. Beside him, Cameron's jaw dropped slightly.
She shrugged as best she could. "I've got one good arm. Ever tried to pull pants on with one good arm?"
A chorus of "yes" and "sure" and "indeed" filtered through the kitchen and she stared at them all in amazement. They stared back. Finally, she laughed. "Of course you have. Sam, a little help."
They disappeared back into her bedroom, found her pants, and by the time they returned, Daniel had joined the fray. He smiled at her.
"Good morning, silly," he said and kissed her firmly on the mouth.
"Get a room, you two," Cameron said into his coffee cup and was rewarded with a crack on the back of his head from Jack. "Ow."
"How're you feeling?" Daniel asked.
She took a deep breath, looked around the room, and considered it. The entire time she'd been Ba'al's captive, she'd wanted nothing more than to be here, in this apartment, with her dog and her family. At one point, she had convinced herself that it wouldn't happen. Now, she had it, everything she'd wanted during those seventy-two hours, and she was happy. She was happy, she was comfortable, and she was alive.
She snuggled into Daniel's arms and smiled at the people before her.
"I feel fantastic," she said.
Jack grinned at her. "Good, because I made pancakes and you know that I only allow fantastic people to eat my pancakes."
"Indeed," Teal'c added from his position at the table. "Then why do you allow Colonel Mitchell to eat them?"
The laughter was music to Aeda's ears.
A/N: A big thanks to my readers and reviewers. I'm so glad you guys enjoy my stories and that you keep reading them! I don't think we've seen the last of Aeda, either...