Pairing: Janet/Daniel (vague Sam/Jack) Spoilers: Mildly vague Season Nine, and, of course, all of Season Seven.
Notes: This's for A.j, who's been prodding me for a while. Though I'm not sure this is what you wanted.
Further notes: This is the fic that contains two endings: The road less traveled and etc. Read one or the other, it doesn't matter.
Stolen Horse by ALC Punk!
Really, Janet decided, the day was turning odder by the second. First the journalist had been flirting and trying to pick her up. And now, Daniel was dragging her into a supply closet. Not that she minded the latter, but, still. It was Daniel! He had to be reminded to eat and sleep!
"Daniel, I have to get to the 'gate room." She tried for the correct objection. The one that would appeal to his sense of duty.
"I know." His grip on her arm tightened, then loosened as he closed the door and leaned against it.
"So..." Studying him, she could detect no signs of insanity. Although if he were a goa'uld, or possessed, or drugged--she wouldn't be able to tell. "Daniel."
She pointed, "I need to go."
"No, you need to stay here. Because I've seen the future, Janet, and I'm very sure you need to stay right here." His arms crossed and a very determined look appeared in his eyes. "And I need to kiss you, but that can wait. Or you can kiss me."
"What you're going to get is huge needles and a knee in the stomach, followed by a lot of glaring, Daniel. You're acting like--"
"Not me. Right. I'm not acting like me. Sam told me this might not work," he mused, "She said I should remember... Except that I do remember what I was like, now, and it wouldn't help."
"What?" Okay. Now he'd really lost her. Although the reference to Sam and 'now' were poking bits of her brain. "Sam put you up to this?"
"Not exactly," he hedged.
"Right. Remind me to thank her, later." Janet scowled at him. "Daniel, there's an emergency off-world, we're supposed to be there, helping people!"
Exasperated, she stepped towards him, almost but not quite poking a finger at his chest. "Then let me past."
"No." He reached up and took his glasses off, folding the arms in and setting them on a shelf to the side. "Janet, I'm sorry, I know it's your duty, I know you love the few chances you get to go off-world, but I can't let you. Not this time."
"Why?" Ask a crazy person a crazy question.
"Because we need you."
And get a crazy answer. "Daniel, you have me. I'm right here!"
"Not there, you aren't."
"What?" She was going to regret that.
"I can't explain. If I change too much--Sam said I shouldn't even talk."
Yes. Regret. And anger. "Daniel, let me out of this closet right now, or so help me, I'll--"
He moved fast. She really had to give him that. When he wanted, Dr. Daniel "I'm absorbed in this rock, I'll just be a moment." Jackson could move faster than light. So fast his mouth was on hers for at least two seconds before she registered that he was no longer leaning against the door.
Regrettably, he also stayed focused, and when her knee slammed up, he dodged, caught her hands and pinned them behind her back. "Janet--"
She tried to head-butt him, but if there was one thing about being short that truly isucked/i, it was the part where her head just bumped his shoulder. "Damnit, Daniel--"
"You have to stay here. I'm not--" He broke off and sighed, then abruptly released her and moved back to the door. His shoulders slumped. "I'm sorry, Janet. It's just... You're here, and I'm..."
"What?" Okay. She was saying that a lot. She really had to work on the whole vocabulary thing. Really.
"I'm here." He finished.
Janet felt her confusion out-weigh her anger. "Daniel, what's going on? Just explain it. Tell me you have a good reason for this."
"I do." He ran a hand through his hair.
She noticed the muscles in his arm, then, the fact that he was wearing a blank tank top she'd never seen him in, and the harder edges in his face. "Daniel?" Confusion swirled harder. This was... not her Daniel.
"I can't explain, Janet."
She let out a sigh and moved closer to him. "Fine, Daniel. For now."
The tension left him and he sagged against the door. The hand went back up and rubbed at his eyes. "I never thought it would be this... hard." He mumbled.
"I'm sure you didn't." Close enough, she decided. She could see the pale hairs on his arm, the way the muscles flexed under the skin. Which was nice, really, but not why she was there. Even if she did pause to take a nice, good, look.
Then she punched him in the solar plexus with her doubled fists. Daniel folded, hacking, and gasping and Janet slammed her knee up into his jaw, then shoved him away from the door. Unfortunately, he hooked an arm around her waist, and they went down together, painfully.
She elbowed him, wriggling and trying to break free. Fortunately, for her, he was trying not to hurt her. Unfortunately, for him, she didn't care if she hurt him.
THAT caught her attention, and she froze, giving him enough time to get the upper hand, pinning her to the cold concrete, his body effectively keeping her from getting away. Panting, he glared. "I don't want to hurt you, but the alternative--"
"What did you mean?"
It was his turn to look confused. "What?"
"That you can't let me die again?"
Daniel's face closed down, eyes going distant, then he sighed. "I'm sorry, Janet. But I really can't tell you."
"Fine." She wriggled a little. "The floor's cold. Can I get up?"
"All right." He rolled and moved to sit with his back to the door, looking tired again. "I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to hurt you."
She shrugged, winced, and carefully sat up. Bruised back and left hip, scrape on her hand (from the shelf, probably), and her knuckles were sore. "I didn't give you much choice." Why she was trying to ease his guilt, she had no idea. After all, he'd practically kidnaped her, and was holding her in a fucking storage closet. "How long, Daniel?"
"Just a few more hours." He answered, correctly interpreting her question.
At least their ability to communicate hadn't disappeared. "Great. So," she wriggled around until her back was to the door and nudged his leg. "Now what?"
"We could play 'I Spy'?"
"Uh, no." Last time they'd done that, Cassie had quit in the middle calling them both children. It probably hadn't helped her impression that they'd been slightly drunk on her back porch. "You could... tell me about Sam."
"She's... good." He said, tone careful. "So's Cassie."
"Ah." Poking at the holes in his sentences, she finally said, "I'm dead, huh?"
The man at her side went absolutely still, then tried to laugh. The sound came out scratchy and impossibly painfully. "Where--"
"What happened?" She reached out and caught his hand, feeling the callouses her Daniel didn't have.
"This mission happened, didn't it. And I... I died on it. I just want to know how, Daniel."
"I can't tell you." But he sounded as if he knew how lame the response was.
"So, who dies if it isn't me?"
"It doesn't work that way."
Janet glanced at him, "How do you know?"
"I--" He glared, "Janet, there isn't some quota that has to be filled. Just because one person lives doesn't mean another has to die."
He bumped her with his tank-top-clad shoulder. "I mean it."
"But you don't know."
"No. But I can make a really good guess that's 99.99999 accurate."
"You've been hanging around Sam too long."
He shrugged, playing with her hand between both of his. "Shouldn't be much longer."
They fell silent, then. Janet catalogued her aches and pains and tried to decide how she'd get them out of Daniel's--her Daniel's--hide. It might not have been fair to abuse him for something a doppleganger did, but then, he'd locked her in a storage closet. With some cock and bull story about keeping her safe, but... She was dead.
Not something she could wrap her mind around, so she didn't try.
Daniel suddenly shifted. "Uh. Ow."
"Yeah." he dropped her hand and scrambled to his feet. "I think it's happened, or done, or--" he winced and looked down at Janet. "Sam didn't say it would hurt."
"What did Sam say?" Janet asked as she stood and started to reach for him, professional instincts telling her to take his pulse. His breathing was quickening.
"Sam thought I'd just go back. Like I came here."
"So, you'll disappear."
He winced again. "Yeah. Look, Janet, I don't know if I have more time. But, I just--" He doubled over, whimpering.
"No, it's all right. Just, listen. I love you. I love you, and I'm too fucking stupid to ever say it, Janet. You have to kick my ass, or this is all for nothing." With effort, he straightened and pinned her with his gaze. "Promise me."
"Fine. Daniel, let me--"
Flames flared, then wrapped around him, his strangled cry lost in the sudden nothingness of the storage closet. Janet took one step forward, as if she could touch him, find him. As if he were still there.
Then the klaxons went off, and Sergeant Harriman's voice rang out, notifying the base of an off-world activation. Janet let her hand drop and sighed. Her bruises protested.
The Sergeant's voice rang out again, "Medical team to the gateroom!"
Reacting like the well-trained soldier that she was, Janet headed out into the hall towards the gateroom. She entered to find several teams milling the area, at least one medical team--and then a gurney headed towards her. The medic in charge looked up, "Dr. Fraiser! Thank god--"
The woman reeled off a list of terminology indicating a staff blast to the right side. Janet replied with her own orders, and the gurney disappeared. But not before she caught a glimpse of the greying head of hair. Colonel O'Neill.
She sensed a lull and turned to find Sam standing there. Tears streaked the Major's face, pain filled her gaze. Janet couldn't help the lurch in her heart as she thought of Sam and the Colonel. Moving to reassure her, she placed a hand on the other woman's arm. "Sam, he'll be ok."
"No." Sam's voice cracked. "No, he took--" She broke off and swallowed, "He took a staff blast in the neck. He won't be ok, Janet."
Cold gripped her. Cold, and something far worse. She looked past Sam to the body they were tending, carefully removing weapons and passing them to the SF. Her hand closed on Sam's. "Sam."
"I'm sorry, Janet."
But she'd just seen him. Alive and whole and talking and tackling her, and, and--now he was dead, eyes staring up into nothing, burn covering the lower half of his face and neck. She let out something that might have been a gasp or a cry.
Sam's arm went around her, "Janet, you need to sit--"
"No." She pulled away, straightening, wondering why she felt so much taller than Sam for a moment. "I need to get to the infirmary."
The colonel needed her, the wounded airmen needed her. Daniel Jackson, who never had the courage to admit he loved her, was past needing her.
Even if she needed him.
She sensed a lull and turned to find Sam standing there. The Major was looking worried, her eyes following the disappearing gurney. Janet reached out and patted her arm. "He'll be fine, Sam."
"Damnit, I'm fine!"
"But, Dr. Jackson--"
Janet looked past Sam and found Daniel agitatedly making his way towards them, looking irritated and covered in soot. "Go fire-dancing, Daniel?"
"Oh. Janet, hi." He pushed his glasses up his nose, which only served to put a dot of black on the tip.
It looked cute. Janet snorted. "I need to get to the infirmary, and you look like you need to be there."
"He got hit with a staff blast, but it got absorbed by the new plastics," Sam informed her, then she turned to Daniel, and mocked, "Just can't learn to duck, can you."
"Jack's the one who's on a gurney," the archeologist said smugly.
"Hey. Both of you. Infirmary, now." Janet employed her best "You Will Obey Me" tone of voice. Surprisingly, the two didn't argue, simply fell in step towards the elevator. Moving after them, Janet considered what the other Daniel had said.
"Janet." He looked up from where he was tying his boots, and smiled.
Carefully closing the door to the on-base quarters, Janet leaned against it. "I've been... hearing things, Daniel."
"Things?" The adorableness of his confusion was too cute for words.
Janet was pretty sure she needed to be committed. After all, she'd blown off the explanation for not going on the mission with some research-related excuse, and here she was, about to kick Daniel Jackson in the ass. "Do you love me?"
He blinked, and tried to come up with a reply.
"You don't have to lie, Daniel. If you don't, I can take it, I just--"
"Well, yes, I mean, if you mean, ah--"
He was flailing. Janet decided he was cute when he was flailing, too. Then she decided she needed an insulin shot and a curry. Then she decided to put him out of his misery.
Daniel was a good kisser, once he got over his surprise.