WinterstarDonna: that's one aspect of the story that I want to remain sensitive to…the angst-factor. I want to keep it realistic, not over-the-top dramatic. ;) Hopefully, I will accomplish this – without letting the story get a) maudlin or b) rushed in feel - dismissive. I certainly don't want to downplay the issue. It's a serious topic, but it is also an old wound for Daniel, so I'm going to keep that in mind. He's more or less going to direct the flow of conversation, because Sam isn't an unusually pushy character. And she doesn't want to dredge up bad memories for her friend…she just doesn't want him to ignore a situation that is getting worse, and causing him greater pain.
Starjems88, Eilidh17: thanks you guys :)
TiaRat: as the story progresses, depending on the length (sort of taking it section by section right now), I would like to expose the entire series of events which lead to Hebertus confiding in Daniel, and the problems Daniel starts to face as a result afterwards. Yes, you're right – Daniel has been triggered. More by something he sees, which brings back a rather traumatizing memory. It's not purely an intellectual appreciation for what the kid went through – because he was aware of his own abuse since he was a kid himself, and it wasn't completely something he ever denied. But he actually sees something with strikes a chord with him, and almost 'awakens' him to an old memory he had, in fact, actually been suppressing. And of course, suppression can go on for years, and then memories can come back very forcibly during times of strain –causing all sorts of problems in their wake.
2 Days Later
"You're going to rot your teeth, Danny-boy."
I look up dumbly.
It's too early for this – for Jack's asinine ramblings about how I eat too much sugar and drink too many caffeinated beverages. Especially considering the fact that he has four began waffles stacked up on his plate, oozing with syrup, topped with chocolate chips and whipped cream.
My stomach flops with revulsion as I stare at the mass of cream and white.
"You really shouldn't comment on my meal choices, Jack. It's far too hypocritical of you."
"Yeah? So? What's wrong with me being hypocritical?", he queries with a full mouth, chomping away on vanilla pancake.
"So", I stress, "hypocrisy doesn't really suit you, Mr. "I eat a well balanced diet". How is a diet of Jack Daniels, rum, and waffles healthier than my cereal, coffee and snickers bars, oh all-knowledgeable one?"
Teal'c turns to me, solemnly, before shifting to look back at our CO.
"He has a point, O'Neill."
Sam smirks at this and nibbles on a piece of bacon for a second, before mashing the remainder into her eggs, coating the meat with yolk.
"Oh come ON, Daniel", Jack whines, "I'm having a normal Irish breakfast…you're the one dumping sugar cubes into peaches-and-cream oatmeal. Which, by the way, is more than sweet enough without the added sugar."
Teal'c analyzes my fare at that comment, suddenly curious.
"Are honey nut cheerios no longer appealing, Daniel Jackson? I thought they were, and I quote, "the best food in the world"?"
I notice Sam's eyes fall back to her plate, the smirk on her face now gone.Oh boy, not this again…
I laugh, hesitantly, not sure what to say.
"You can only eat any one food…a certain number of times in a row before it makes you sick, Teal'c. Even Cheerios – as perfect as they are – have a limit."
He seems to digest this information.
"And yet, I am confused Daniel Jackson…for you never seem to have this problem with coffee, which you drink like ra'na'cha – or, water. Life granting liquid."
I roll my eyes. Teal'c drinks more than his fair share of java too, just like Jack eats more than his fair share of sugar.
So why is everyone commenting on my dietary practices lately?
It's becoming tiresome.
"Well, even with a good old fashioned cup of joe…you can make yourself ill. If you drink enough of it, that is. Trust me, I've done so many times in my life", I pause in thought, "especially during grad school. Those years stand out quite prominently."
Sam is now stabbing her hash browns with her fork. Hard. She looks a little off put.
I try to think of something…some topic that we can ease into, because Jack is already giving Sam the oddest look.
"You okay there, Carter?"
I inwardly groan.
She looks up, confused.
"Yeah. I'm fine. Why?"
Jack smiles widely.
"You look like you have a bone to pick with those tatters, is why."
"No…I'm…no…" Sam begins, only to be cut off by the Klaxon sirens starting up again.
"What the hell?" Jack begins, irritation evident in his voice, "that's only the fifth time this week."
Sam pushes her plate away then, and stands up suddenly.
"That reminds me…" and she trails off before hightailing it out of the refectory.
"O…kay…" Jack drawls, clearly nonplussed by Sam's actions.
But suddenly I don't feel very hungry either, and I follow suit – pushing away my oatmeal.
"Oh for Pete's sake! You too? I thought you wanted your over-sucrosed oatmeal confection thingamabob", Jack begins, before turning to Teal'c, annoyed, "and you…" he points at the Jaffa, "you better eat your…" his eyes study our companions breakfast, "… whole wheat toast and fruit salad."
Teal'c nods severely, and I struggle to keep from laughing.
"Enjoy your carbs there, Jack…Teal'c", and I rise to leave, pushing in my chair before I do so.
I need to catch up with Sam.
I find her in Janet's office, rubber tie looped near the crux between her forearm and upper arm.
"Blood test?" and I give a dramatic little shudder to broadcast my sympathies.
Of course, it's no secret that I'm a little queasy about blood tests. I always have been, and despite Janet's insistence that I'd "get used to it" as time went on, I haven't. It still makes me sick to my stomach.
It's the one black part of my job – the medical tests, the poking, the prodding, the inoculations, the time spent getting needles.
I try to quell my squeamish reaction.
Sam looks over at me as I wipe a thin film of sweat away from my brow.
"You're looking a little peeked there, Daniel."
"Uh…" I can't stop staring at the vein protruding out of her skin, and my knees weaken, "let's…let's just cover this up for a second, hmm?" and I roll down Sam's khaki shirt.
"So…you came for the moral support?" Sam asks brightly, chipper. Too chipper.
I scan for Janet, or a nurse – or anyone, really.
"They just left you here? All…set up…and everything? To draw out the torture, or what?"
Sam sighs. "They are out of alcohol swabs. So…Janet just left to get some more from the medical storage room. She'll be right back."Ok. I have a few minutes then…
"Look Sam…I know you're not happy with me right now…"
She shakes her head at that, "No…don't be silly Daniel. I'm not angry with you."
I swallow down a lump, upset with this sense of strain, new and unfamiliar, in our relationship.
"You're avoiding me. You won't look at me; you don't talk to me unless I initiate the conversation. Is it just because I didn't tell you about Hebertus? Because he asked me to not say anything, and…well, you weren't in my position Sam! The kid was already so distrustful, and I had promised him…it wasn't…"
I'm rambling now.
Sam waves her hands slightly to get my attention.
"Don't be silly Daniel", and she sighs deeply at that, "Look – I know you were put in a very difficult…position. You did what you thought was right."
I fill in the unspoken extension.
"But you obviously don't think I did the right thing".
It's hard to keep the hurt out of my voice.
She rubs her eyes at that, looking at once quite tired - terribly drained.
"I've given it some thought…and I don't think that what you did was necessarily wrong, no. It may not have been how I would have liked to see everything turn out…but you're right…I wasn't the one in that position. Hebertus didn't come to me. He went to you. He trusted you. So while it's easy for me to say what I would have done had I been in your place…in all honesty, I'm not sure I would have handled things differently."
That gives me hope.And yet…
I marshal my courage.
"You've still been…avoiding me, Sam. Why?"
She looks uncomfortable then and her eyes flitter down to the metal frame of the bed once more.
"I…I thought that you might just want your space", she supplies.
A thoughtful gesture…if I believed that this was all there was to it. But I can't help but feel that it is an excuse – and merely the first one to come to her mind.
"Are you sure that's it? That you aren't angry with me? Not for Hebertus, really….but…you know…the other stuff?"
Sam opens her mouth to speak, but looks uncertain of what to say or how to say it. I, however, know what I want to express, and do not delay.
"It happened a long time ago Sam, and I sort of worked through it on my own, and it was hard back then. And still is. But it's not something I ever felt the need to discuss. I was able to go on, and put it behind me, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting, doesn't still hurt. It does. I just… don't want you to feel like I was…keeping something from you because you thought that I didn't trust you. I trust you more than anyone."
I stop talking then, as Janet has returned, industrial strength hydrogen peroxide and alcohol swabs in hand.
Sam is staring at me intently, her face looking both soft and saddened, simultaneously.
Janet breaks us from our spell.
"Daniel…well, well…it's nice to see you in here without an escort. Don't tell me you came here voluntarily for your tetanus shot?"
I wince at that.
I had totally forgotten that memo. Was it tetanus shot time again, already?
"Janet – I've just had one…not more than five years ago!", and she rolls her eyes, not wanting to indulge me, as I start to rise, the chemicals, the needles, the frickin' elastic bands and veins and Sam and peroxide…all of it making me unsteady, hypersensitive. Sick.
I begin to shake my head, looking for an out - trying to buy myself time – when Sam grabs my arm.
"Don't be a wuss, Jackson", she laughs. "Putting things off never helped anyone."
I can feel the between-the-lines imploration at that comment, and I will my heart to stop beating so quickly.
Sam isn't forcing me into anything. She's only tried to show support, and express her concerns.
So why is this concern – this basic, friendship oriented, run-of-the-mill concern – making me so self-conscious, so self-aware? So anxious?