What You Will Not Remember by AndromedaMarine
Author's Note: AU ending/continuation of "Heroes." Janet does not die. This is an experimental ship for me; I wouldn't normally write Daniel/Janet, but after beginning watching the series over again from Season One, the ship is sort of digging its claws into my plot bunnies. Think of it as in between Sha're and Vala. I've probably convinced myself that all three ships should have existed in SG-1, even though Sha're and Vala were the only ones of canon. Doesn't Janet deserve a man like Daniel? Okay, I've rambled enough...
She does not regain consciousness when they bring her back. Hammond calls in Doctor Lam to take over Janet's position whilst she recovers, but Lam cannot be sure if the other doctor will wake up, let alone survive. It twists Daniel's heart. He sits silently by her infirmary bed, unwilling to leave unless Sam or Jack offer to keep Janet company, and he sleeps on a spare bed beside her with his hand encasing hers. The contact calms him, yet he cannot fully fall asleep for fear of never waking up, or waking up with no Janet beside him.
As the hours pass him by ever so slowly, he takes to that one-sided conversation he always wished to have with her. The infirmary is not prone to heavy traffic during these few days – Hammond has issued a mandatory week off for all base personnel after the ambush on that planet. Daniel can't even remember the damn designation. It ended with -666, he remembers that much, and a small part of him is amused by the humor of the Fates. The good General was also pleased to no end when he finally got the chance to force that damn reporter off the base, which made Daniel's breathing a little easier. He does not worry about the possibility of being overheard – he does not care anymore, for when (not if) she wakes up he will not waste time in telling her the truth of his feelings.
The staff blast had burned part of her back and side, but that itself was not life threatening; the crack to the skull she'd sustained immediately after was the culprit. Daniel had carried her back through the 'Gate himself, refusing all of Colonel Dixon's orders to give her to either him or the medics.
He has lost too many of those he loves. He cannot lose her as well.
Daniel lets his eyes study the unconscious doctor of medicine for the first time in several years, his heart throbbing painfully when his blue orbs pass over the bandages on her forehead and neck. His thumb rubs lazy circles on the back of her hand, careful to avoid disturbing the IV Dr. Lam has placed there.
"I think it's time," he says absently, eyes unfocused and drifting. "I don't feel that ache that was there before. I used to be so consumed by grief and thirst for revenge to have Sha're back, but now... I can't lose you to the same enemy I lost Sha're, Janet." Daniel pinches the bridge of his nose and squeezes his eyes shut. "Now I understand how Sam feels every time Jack goes down off-world. I understand how much he means to her." He stops for a moment and lets his eyes sweep the dull grey of the infirmary, taking in the small details that somehow over the years he'd managed to miss.
"I haven't even been back for a year, but so much has changed – about Jack, Sam, and especially me. There are some things, Janet, that I can't understand... And I think that after making part of my career out of it, I have to accept that I don't understand the human heart. Knowledge of it, certainly...but true understanding? It would be...impossible, even with the guidance of Oma Desala." Daniel turns his gaze back to the unconscious doctor. "I loved Sha're, I have no doubt about that, and while making my life on Abydos I saw the countless years of the future ahead of us... It took almost seven years to finally accept the immutable truth that I cannot get her back or fully replace her in any way." His admission plants an ill seed of guilt in his already damaged heart. "I have complete faith now that I can find happiness again...with you."
Suddenly the sensation courses through him that he's just made an embarrassment out of himself; that perhaps some outside spectator is psychoanalyzing him and planning on revealing it to the entire base – was Jack serious when he said the walls have ears? The deafening pounding of his heart is the only thing that fills Daniel's ears, and after a moment or two he remembers to breathe evenly – not only for his own health but so he can remain by Janet's side. Silence invades his head again, but after hours of being relatively alone his ears have become sensitized.
"Teal'c." The characteristic silence has given him away. "How long have you been standing there?"
"I have only just arrived, Daniel Jackson. Am I interrupting you?"
Daniel swivels in the chair to observe the Jaffa. "No – well, to be honest, Teal'c, I have no idea."
"Have you recently slept?"
Daniel shakes his head, blinking furiously. "No, I haven't left her side since we brought her back. I've been sleeping in here, but that must've been hours ago. What're you doing here?"
Teal'c unclasps his hands from behind his back and seemingly glides to the other side of Janet's bed. "Is it not true that sufferers of a coma can hear those who speak to them?"
"Sometimes. Janet says – " He falters in his sentence. "Many doctors think that a familiar voice is therapeutic; that it helps the sufferer recover more quickly. In our experience it's worked with me, Jack, and Sam. It's my hope that Janet can hear me too."
"Then I wish to directly express my sincerest gratitude and hope for Doctor Frasier's quick recovery," Teal'c says softly and with a hint of emotion in his voice.
Daniel squeezes Janet's hand momentarily and stands, intending to return to his quarters to let Teal'c visit with the doctor.
"If my hunch, as Colonel O'Neill would say, is correct, then it is of no necessity that you leave her side. If she were Ishta I would not leave until she awoke. Please bear witness."
The archaeologist sits back down, slowly, and retakes the physician's hand. He tries not to look at the Jaffa on purpose.
"Doctor Frasier, I wish to express my sincerest gratitude for everything you have done for me while in your capable hands. You alone have saved my life on too many occasions to number. I have every possible hope for you to return to us in full health, and that if it may be necessary, to save our lives again. Do not give up in this fight, Doctor Frasier. And know this: of all of us, it is my belief that Daniel Jackson needs you the most. Thank you ever so much."
Before Daniel can register what Teal'c has just said, the fourth member of SG-1 is gone again, disappeared back into the bowels of Cheyenne Mountain. Daniel is frozen, unable to get up and run after Teal'c to ask what just happened. As sudden as Teal'c left, Jack stumbles in.
"I thought I would be the only one in here for a long time," Daniel says, trying to keep his voice from betraying him. "Her vitals are being routed to Dr. Lam's computer in the next room." Daniel doesn't meet Jack's pointed stare.
"Daniel," he says quietly, his torso still heavily bandaged from the staff blast he'd taken the previous day.
"She's gonna make it."
Daniel doesn't answer. Part of him wants to believe the seasoned warrior behind him, but another part is so uncertain. Uncertain of everything.
"You heard Carolyn this morning. All it is now is a matter of her waking up. She'll be glad you've stayed with her all this time, Daniel."
The archaeologist had expected the colonel to call him "Danny-Boy" or something just as inappropriate. His heart softened when he realized Jack's mood was far from sarcastic or teasing. "I know."
"Do you? I know you too well, Daniel. You've got enough doubts to drown this whole mountain. She loves you, Daniel. How can you not know that?"
The words are a shock to his system. She loves me? "How do you know that?"
Jack's eyes lose their rigidness. "Because she looks at you the same way I look at Sam. The same way Sam looks at me."
Daniel can feel the tears choking up his throat and stinging the backs of his eyes. "And you've loved Sam as long as you've known her," he whispers hoarsely. Out of the corner of his eye he sees his best friend nod. "I can't lose her too, Jack. I love her too much."
"Then for God's sake tell her."
"What if she can't hear me?" Daniel's fear is real.
Jack rests a comforting hand on Daniel's shoulder. "Did that stop me or Sam?"
Daniel's answer is before him. He vaguely feels the colonel's presence leave the room, and once again he is alone with Janet, alone with himself, alone with the dull grey walls of the SGC infirmary. He clears his throat for his own benefit. He must hear himself speak the words. "This may be what you will not remember," he begins, "and it may be what you will remember. But the difference is so insignificant, Janet. You'll know either way. You have to know.
"Forget what I said before. I don't just think it's time – I know it is. That ache has been gone since a few months after she died, Janet. I can't stand the thought of losing another person I love so much – another person whom I've learned to trust with not just my life, but my soul. People like you are too few and far between, Janet. If I lose you that ache would come back and remain, indefinitely, and make it so impossible to learn to open up again. You were able to pry me out of my little shell." The tears make paths down his cheeks, carving tracts that have been a long time coming.
"And now I don't care if this is what you will not remember, because I'll say it a hundred times, a thousand, just to reassure myself that you know every ounce of what's inside me – inside that heart I can't understand. My life used to be an empty lecture room; a sandy desert in Egypt; a futile rescue mission. As cliché as it sounds, you've become my life. And to lose you would be to lose myself." His glasses are long forgotten on the tray beside her bed, still smudged and dirty from the vile planet. He looks at them, and picks them up, turning them over in his hand. "It would be to lose my glasses." At any other time he would be smiling the smile that SG-1 had learned was meant only for those he cared for deeply. Jack has seen Daniel smile at Janet this way several times before.
"Life is so cruel. The Milky Way is so damn cruel. And somehow I wished that cruelty would never touch those I love, despite the fact that it has, several times over. I simply can't accept that this is how it's meant to be – you in a coma with no solid surety that you will come back to me...no solid surety that you will remember this." Daniel lets his head drop to his chest. "God, Janet... I love you so much."
It has been almost thirty eight hours since he brought her back, barely alive. Daniel gets the feeling that Jack and Teal'c would be the last unexpected visitors for the night, except perhaps Carolyn. Daniel pulls his bed up next to Janet's and lays down on his side, letting his eyes wander over Janet's features. He wants to memorize her in case the worst happens.
He falls asleep with the image of a smiling, laughing Janet in his mind, and with her hand in his, he succumbs to the quiet of slumber, finally obtaining the rest he's needed since they returned. His face is peaceful.
Daniel returns to the conscious world at almost seven in the morning. Blinking the sleep from his eyes he fumbles for his glasses, and the formerly blurred image of Samantha Carter comes into focus. She is sitting on the other side of Janet's bed, a look of uncertainty on her face. "Sam?"
The major lifts her eyes to meet Daniel's. "I've been thinking."
"That's not unusual, Sam."
A smile crosses her lips. "I meant, I've been thinking about Jolinar. We still have the healing device."
Daniel frowns. "Have you mastered it since my Ascension?"
"That's the thing, I'm not sure. Over the past two years I practiced with it, healing small things like cuts and bruises... Janet had me try to heal Siler a couple of times – you know how often Siler gets injured here." Sam bites the corner of her lip like she does when she's really considering something. "I asked Carolyn if I could give it a try, and she deferred me to you."
His mouth drops open. "Lam deferred you to me? Why?"
"She says it's your decision. I'm confident I could at least help her speed up the healing, and maybe she'll wake sooner." Sam digs into one of her pockets and produces the healing device. "Only if you want me to."
Daniel clears his throat. "I have complete faith in you, Sam, you know that. And Janet is your best friend. Do whatever you can to bring her back." He interlaces his fingers with Janet's. "Please," he whispers.
Sam nods. "I'll try her head injury first – Carolyn said that was the worst of the damage."
Daniel tries not to cry in front of his friend. "Do it," he manages to say without breaking down.
Samantha holds the healing device over the bandages on Janet's head, and closes her eyes, concentrating as hard as she can. The device begins to glow, and a soft humming fills the room. Sam remains still over Janet for almost four minutes, and suddenly opens her eyes and pulls the device away from the doctor. She glances up at her distraught friend, and nods once. "Let me get Carolyn before you do anything," Sam requests firmly, patting Janet's shoulder while maintaining eye contact with the archaeologist.
"Okay." He watches Sam leave in a hurried gait, and he is in total silence for barely thirty seconds before the footsteps reach his ears. Carolyn sweeps into the room with Sam a foot behind her. "Did it work?" he immediately asks the acting CMO.
Carolyn peels the bandages from Janet's forehead, breathing out a sigh of extreme relief when the sees the gash has disappeared. She moves aside so Daniel can see it too. "I think it did. Now what I'm worried about is the burns, and when she'll wake up."
Daniel, who has been beside himself with fear that the injuries would not allow Janet to return to him, breathes out a deep sigh of relief, and let the tears silently fall. A smile comes on his lips and he encases Janet's hand in both of his. Sam slips the healing device back onto her hand, and she holds in still over where the staff blast burns are hiding beneath the blankets and gown. The piece of alien technology becomes bright again, and the humming once again fills Daniel's ears. He looks up at his friend and sees her eyes tightly shut, every ounce of concentration pouring into her hands and the healing device.
Carolyn stands behind Daniel with a hand on his shoulder, trying to let him know how much she wants Janet back as well. Sam maintains the healing device for nearly ten minutes this time, the look of concentration deeper than when she had healed the doctor's forehead. Sam breaks the concentration and stumbles away from the bed, breathing heavily.
"I think I did it," she whispers between hard breaths. Carolyn rushes to her side.
"You've overexerted yourself, Major. Go sit down for a few minutes, please." Carolyn pulls the blankets down from Janet's body, and lifts the shirt high enough to expose the bandages.
Daniel tries not to stare at the smooth skin of Janet's stomach, and instead observes as Carolyn removes the wrappings. A faint pinkness is still beneath the gauze, but no trace of burned skin remains. He breathes another deep sigh of relief, lifting his eyes to meet Sam's. "Thank you," he mouths to her, and he smiles as she nods at him.
Carolyn Lam motions to Samantha and pauses by Daniel's side before she leaves. "When she wakes up, Daniel, she may not remember anything since before this happened. Are you ready to tell her everything again?"
"A thousand times, Doctor. A million times. Thank you for bringing her back." Daniel gives Carolyn a half-smile.
Carolyn shrugs. "Don't thank me. Major Carter is the one who pulled it off. Let me know when she wakes up."
Daniel bows his head much like Teal'c does, and turns his attention back to Janet. He watches her slow, even breaths, reaching out with one hand to stroke her hair and cheek, moving his lips in a silent whisper the repeated mantra of I love you, hoping that he does not have to wait much longer for her to regain consciousness. He sits with her for another hour and then he stands, leans over her, brushes some hair from her face, and kisses her forehead. "I love you," he says softly against her skin, kissing her again before pulling back and releasing her hand. He intends to find something to eat very quickly before returning.
The slightest sound keeps him from going to the commissary. Daniel stops in his tracks, paralyzed, then swivels to view Janet Frasier. He watches in disbelief as she blinks her eyes open, and suddenly he is by her side again, smiling and letting the tears fall freely. "Janet," he says in the gentlest voice he has ever used, filled with inexpressible emotion at her awakening. "Janet, can you hear me?"
She coughs, and tries to lift her hand to her mouth. "Daniel?" she manages to say, blinking a few more times before her eyes zero in on the archaeologist beside her. "What happened?"
A hundred times. A thousand times. A million times. It is to reassure himself that she knows exactly what is inside him – inside his heart. The heart that belongs only to her now.
So he tells her again, and when she looks up at him with complete trust in her eyes, he softly presses his lips against hers.
Daniel lingers a second longer, and pulls back to smile at her. "This is what you did not remember. I love you."