Right Dress on the Wrong Girl
Timeline: During Ripple Effect
Category: Daniel/AU!Janet *falls over in shock* Um, also has mentions of Janet/Teal’c, because I’m the writer and I CAN. *goes power mad*
Disclaimer: I don’t own it, tragedy though that is.
Author’s Note: thekatebeyond, caroly_214, and raisintorte beta’d (because I am paranoid and require much coddling), so they are wonderful. This was in the Revelations IV ‘zine, which is why it hasn’t been posted until now.
Daniel was kissing her.
That fact kept repeating over and over in Janet’s mind—the rest of her cognitive functions seemed to be in a sudden kiss-induced paralysis.
One moment, she had been stewing by herself in the forgotten room they seemed to have stored her in while the Sam of this universe (assisted by the Sams of several others) tried to figure out what was going on.
The next, the door had opened, Daniel had walked in, and without warning or preamble, kissed her.
Really, it was a nice kiss. Under other circumstances it could have been a great kiss—if she could somehow manage to look past the fact that Daniel seemed to be crying.
Janet couldn’t help but feel about fifteen different emotions at once, all of which were so muddled that they could barely be separated from each other—surprised, flattered, annoyed, shocked, and sad. So very, very sad.
After all, she could be fairly positive that this kiss wasn’t meant for her. It was meant for someone who looked like her and was almost her, but had died when she had somehow managed to live. That still sort of freaked her out (and wouldn’t Cassie laugh if she heard her distinguished doctor of a mother using that phrase?), but then there was nothing about this entire alternate reality experience that was comfortable.
In the end, when Daniel pulled away, empathy took over. Her hands on his face seemed unbearably small, as if the hands that saved lives on a nearly daily basis weren’t anywhere near strong enough for the task of mending this man’s psyche. But still, she held them there, brushing away his tears.
Because there was really nothing else to say, she tried to smile. “Well, hello to you, too, Daniel.”
Looking nearly as disturbed by his behavior as part of her was, Daniel’s stricken eyes seemed locked onto her face. “God, Janet. I’m sorry. That was…horribly unfair of me.”
That much was true, but she couldn’t really seem to muster up any righteous indignation while faced with his obvious distress. Instead, she took a page from General O’Neill’s book and cracked a joke. “Do you see me complaining? It’s not every day a girl gets kissed like that, you know.”
A hint of embarrassment flushed his cheeks and Janet felt a flutter of success—hopefully, this all could be resolved without too much damage being done. “Still. I apologize. I suppose that I never realized how much I had always wanted to do that—at least, not until….”
His voice trailed off, but Janet didn’t need him to finish the sentence. Instead, she ran a hand through his hair, trying to soothe his wayward emotions, studying this man who had lost so much—parents, a wife, and an opportunity for something more. She could hardly fault him for seizing the one thing that was, however momentarily, returned to him.
Drawing him closer and wrapping her arms around his waist, she tried to drain out some of his grief. “At least it’s nice to know that I make an impression,” she couldn’t help but remark. Luckily, he laughed at the comment and squeezed her back just as tightly.
“There was never any doubt of that,” he assured her in typical Daniel fashion. “We’ve missed you here.”
When the hug finally ended, she couldn’t help but fall back on her tried and true habits, patching him up in a way that was part doctor, part mother, and all friend. Gentle hands smoothed down the front of his BDUs, plucked his glasses off of his nose and cleaned them against a clean shirt sleeve, smoothed a thumb down his cheek. All the while, he watched with red-rimmed eyes, as though if he gazed at her hard enough, she’d stop looking and acting like the Janet he had known.
It was the one comfort she couldn’t offer him.
Finally finished fussing over him, she met his gaze once more. “Better?”
“A little,” he admitted, an almost affectionate tone lingering in his voice. “Thank you.”
Because she was uncertain what he was thanking her for (or really, if he was even thanking her at all), Janet just nodded and tried not to think about it too much. She had learned over the years that dwelling on the daily oddities that came with this job only got you a headache.
Still, she had to admit to some morbid curiosity about the whole thing—after all, how often did one actually get to learn the details of their own death? “So, was it bad?” she asked in spite of herself.
“Losing someone here is always bad,” Daniel acknowledged. “Losing you was awful. I had nightmares for weeks, seeing you get hit with that blast over and over. Sam was inconsolable—she held it together for Cassie and Jack held it together for her, but…even Teal’c was a mess.”
Hearing that particular piece of news made her smile, and even though she still felt the power of these people’s loss, hearing about it in detail made her feel…loved. And homesick. “She was lucky to have all of you,” she remarked, feeling her own good fortune more keenly than usual.
“No,” Daniel said, but he didn’t finish the platitude, instead asking the rather uncomfortable question she had been trying to avoid. “I don’t suppose you and my counterpart ever…?”
His eyebrows shot up at that, so comically that Janet couldn’t hide her chuckle. “That unexpected?”
“I…uh…yeah. Didn’t see that coming at all.”
“Most people didn’t,” she assured him. “Even we were surprised at first.”
Daniel smiled and stepped back then, finally seeming back on even ground. “Well, I’d better leave you alone, then. The last thing I need is to incur the wrath of an alternate Teal’c.”
“Teal’c is a pussycat. It’s me you should worry about,” she retorted.
When the door shut, Daniel was still chuckling. Janet, on the other hand, just felt the need for a good, long nap.
As it turned out, dealing with the emotional fallout of your own death could be quite exhausting.