Author: Eventhorizon 7

Rating: M (Mature Themes)

Categories: Angst/Romance/Drama

Content Warning: Adult Themes/ Sexual Situations

Spoilers: Seasons 1 to 7 to be on the safe side

Summary: Janet's death has a profound effect upon Sam and Daniel, resulting in a moment of intimacy that changes their lives forever.

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters they belong to Stargate SG-1 and MGM studios etc. I am making no money from them and sadly never will. If I did own them, believe me Sam and Daniel would have had much more fun with each other.

Author's Note:

This is a Sam/Daniel story with strong adult themes and eventual romance. Anyone who does not like this pairing should not read. Please don't flame me as you have been warned in advance of the pairing. Those who do read it please leave a review as I like to know what you think. This is a work in progress and I will try to get subsequent chapters out as soon as real life allows.

Enjoy!

Affirmation of Life:

Chapter 1.

After all these years I thought that I had finally gotten a handle on grief.

It had become so ingrained in my life that I had convinced myself that it no longer had the power to hurt me, that it no longer had the ability to take my heart and shred it into a million painful pieces.

It took less than a second on P3X-666 to change all that. To remind me that no matter how high I build my personal redoubt, how secure I try to make the walls that I create around my wounded heart, there will always be something or more likely someone that will bring them crashing down around me.

The pain of this loss is strong, much stronger than I have felt for some considerable time. I have not felt this kind of agonised grief since I lost Sha're and back then I didn't think that I could ever feel that level of desolation again.

I didn't realise then how wrong I could be.

The voice of the padre cuts through my thoughts, bringing me back to the almost surreal ceremony that is taking place inside the gate room. I'm only half-listening to his words because if I am honest with myself I lost my sense of faith a very long time ago. My acquaintance with the Goa'uld and their usurpation of Earth's religious and mythological heritage has only served to reinforce that mindset.

Across from me, Jack, and Sam stand at an easy attention, their eyes downcast, their features a mask of determined control. Between them, Teal'c is the epitome of stoicism, large and immovable, but I know how much each one of them is hurting inside, because I share that pain, that tortured anguish that only those that have seen combat and survived can feel.

Without my approval, my mind detaches itself from the ceremony and returns to the moment just a few short days ago that has shattered so many lives. To a moment when somebody so undeserving of death was so unfairly and brutally cut down and the recollection leaves me with the all too familiar feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

The padre finishes his sermon and is replaced by an Air Force bugler.

The all too familiar sound of Taps begins to echo around the embarkation room, its haunting melody causing me to swallow the tears that threaten to assail me.

As the last mournful notes fade away, Sam disengages herself from her place within the honour guard and walks up to the podium. She takes a moment to compose herself, dipping her hand into the inside pocket of her dress blues to extract a single sheet of paper.

"Janet Fraiser was an extraordinary person. She was kind and funny and talented. Above all, she was courageous. Try as I might I could not find the words to honour her, to do justice to her life. Thankfully I got some help. While words alone may not be enough, there are some names that might do. We often talk about those that give their lives in the service of their country, and while Janet Fraiser did just that, that's not what her life was about. The following are the names of the men and women who did not die in service, but are in fact alive today because of Janet."

I watch my best friend desperately trying to overcome her overwhelming sorrow as she delivers her eulogy, note the stress lines that tighten around her expressive blue eyes as she fights to hold onto her professional decorum, knowing just how much the effort is costing her.

"Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Daniel Jackson, Colonel Jack O'Neill, Teal'c, Sergeant Connie Smith, Major Ian Hewles, Senior Airman Simon Wells…"

The list continues, but my mind has once again chosen to detach itself and I can hear the sound of Sam's voice becoming muted as an unwanted flashback forces its way into the forefront of my mind.

Through the viewfinder of the camcorder I can see Janet as she reassures Airman Wells that he is not going to die because she hasn't come all the way out there for nothing.

"Now we've stemmed the bleeding. We're going to get you to a stretcher. We're going to get you home to your family in no time ok? Now you hang in there Airman."

"Yes ma'am."

A bright incandescent flash shoots across the screen, hitting Janet squarely in the chest, driving her backward onto the leaf littered ground with a startled cry. The sound of the staff blast so close by startles me, making the camera judder, and it momentarily loses its focus upon the scene taking place in the woods.

"Oh God what happened, is she hit?"

For a moment I am paralysed, unable to move, my mind unwilling to accept what has just played out before me. Precious moments tick by and I am vaguely aware of somebody telling me that they have taken out the Jaffa that had instigated the attack, but my eyes are locked upon Janet's prone form, upon her lifeless brown eyes.

With a shudder, my thoughts once again turn back to the present and the sound of Sam's voice begins to get louder as my consciousness once more registers where I am. She finishes reading the last few names from the long list of those that Janet has saved and walks back to her place in the honour guard. As she passes by me, I can see the single tear that is steadily making its way down her cheek.

I have to look away before I am undone by the sight, before my own emotions over run the shattered defences that are holding them at bay. Instead I turn my attention away from Sam and settle my eyes instead upon the young woman that stands at the base of the ramp.

Cassie stands alone, clutching to her chest the folded stars and stripes that were given to her earlier by a representative of a grateful nation.

The poise and grace that I see upon her youthful face will stay with me forever.

For the second time in her short life she has lost a mother and although I can relate to that in part, I can't begin to try and understand what she must be going through. To all intents and purposes, she is now alone, an orphan on a planet that is in many ways still so alien to her.

Of course that last statement isn't exactly true, for as long as Sam, Jack, Teal'c and myself are around, she will never be truly alone. We are her extended family, the surrogate aunt and uncles that she knows she can rely upon in any given situation.

As the memorial service breaks up, I watch General Hammond move protectively toward her, wrapping her up in a huge bear hug that tells me more about the man than mere words could ever express. They turn and head out of the gate room, flanked by Jack and Teal'c, heading to the General's house for the official wake.

As I stand in the gate room, the crowd around me slowly diminishing, I am assaulted by the 'what ifs' and 'might have beens' that have plagued me since that fateful moment on the planet's surface.

What if I could have done more to protect her?

What if I had done things differently, would she still be alive?

Could I have acted more swiftly when she had first been hit by the staff weapon?

Should I have been watching her back instead of filming Airman Wells' premature dying wish?

"Dr Jackson?"

My thoughts are curtailed by the sound of Sgt. Harriman's distinctive voice and I look up to find him staring at me."I'm sorry sir, but I have orders to start getting the gate room back into operational order." He shifts a little uncomfortably, a look of sincere apology crossing his features."I wish I could give you a little more time, sir, but SG-14 are embarking in an hour."

Harriman's words are proof that life in the SGC will continue to go on even without the participation of its Chief Medical Officer. It's the natural ebb and flow of life on a military base, but even after all these years and the absorption of so many other losses, I still find it a hard concept to accept.

Missions will continue and off world teams will carry on exploring the new planets that we uncover, bringing back with them new and interesting artefacts and technologies. Invariably things will also continue to go wrong, and no doubt we will have to fight battles against new enemies and deadly infections alike.

It will be inevitable that casualties will result and more brave people will die, their passing becoming nothing more than an anonymous footnote typed within the pages of a classified document.

I realise that my thoughts have lead me away from Harriman's request, he is still watching me, his brow quirking in a silent question as it appears above the rim of his glasses.

"Is everything okay, Doctor Jackson?"

"I'm fine, Walter." I dig my hands into the pockets of my suit pants and shuffle past him, the fatigue of the last few emotionally charged days beginning to take its toll upon my now bone weary body. "I'll get out of your way."

"Sir?"

"Yes?"

I watch Harriman's eyes well with unshed tears, watch him swallow convulsively and realise that he is yet another person whose life has been affected by Janet's loss.

"I'm going to miss her, sir."

"So will I, Walter…" I swallow the lump that has now formed in my own throat, fighting back the sting of tears that threatens to follow. "…so will I."

I turn around and head for the doorway, having decided to forgo the wake and just head on home. I still need time to process things and standing around the General's house while everyone drinks themselves into a maudlin stupor isn't going to help me with my own grieving process.

I tug at my tie as I make my way along the cold grey corridors of the complex, pulling it away from my collar and pop open the top button of my shirt. I'm beginning to hate this suit, I have worn it to more memorial services than I care to count and I'm actually contemplating burning the damn thing.

I reach the elevator and stab at the call button, when the elevator car arrives I step inside and press the button that will take me up to the surface level. I'm not even thinking about going back to my lab, of throwing myself into the multitude of projects and assignments that I have waiting for me there.

I know that this time that kind of distraction isn't going to work, because with Janet's death I have finally reached saturation point. I can no longer use work as an excuse to ignore my pain, because this time the base itself has become the one thing that constantly reminds me of her loss.

I need to put some distance between me and the mountain complex.

My decision is made by the time that the elevator car comes to a juddering halt at the surface level. By the time that I have logged out at the security station and walked to my car, my mind is made up.

I've even mentally worded the e-mail that I will send to General Hammond telling him of my intention for a leave of absence.

I start the car and pull out of the parking lot, watching the familiar sight of Cheyenne mountain fade into the distance in my rear view mirror.

I can't help wondering if I am leaving it for the last time.

To be continued...