* * * * *
"Oh, Doctor Fraiser?" Janet turned back toward the young airman guarding the last security checkpoint into Cheyenne Mountain, raising her eyebrows expectantly. She wondered what it would be this time. Just the other day, Sergeant Payton had asked her a number of veiled questions about Viagra as she'd been rushing through the checkpoints to get home. Why they couldn't just come out and ask direct questions during their routine physicals was just beyond her. It had to be a guy thing, she decided.
"Major Carter called up here earlier, to see if you'd checked in. She's looking for you."
"Thank you, Airman," she said, with a nod, pleasantly surprised that the he hadn't tried soliciting medical advice. Turning to enter the elevator that would take her down to the main floors of the SGC complex, Janet concentrated on keeping her expression neutral. Once the door closed, however, she couldn't suppress the smile that had been bubbling just beneath the surface for the last several seconds.
She'd never been the type to become giddy over the thought of a lover. But here she was, grinning like a fool at the mere mention of Sam's name and the fact that Sam was looking for her. It didn't matter that Janet had just spent the night with her, had left Sam just a few hours earlier, or that they often saw each other at various times during the day.
None of that mattered because Sam was looking for her. That made her so unreasonably happy that Janet nearly laughed out loud.
Noting that the elevator was fast approaching her floor, Janet carefully schooled her features into a neutral expression with an ease borne of constant practice. She was the unflappable Doctor Fraiser after all; it wouldn't do for people to see her giggling like a lovesick schoolgirl, even if she sometimes felt that way these days.
Sam was probably in her lab, Janet thought, so first she'd sign into the infirmary, make sure things were quiet, then check in on Daniel. Maybe she and Sam could grab a quick lunch together; it wouldn't exactly be a candlelit dinner for two, but she'd gladly split an MRE in a grubby foxhole if it meant she got to spend a little more of her day with Sam.
Despite the perpetual sense of night that working in a base buried deep inside a mountain often fostered, it was still easy to estimate the time of day by the number of people passing through the hallways. It was late morning, and Janet had to weave in and out of pedestrian traffic in the corridor as she made her way slowly toward the medical ward.
"Doctor Fraiser?" Janet was so lost in her own thoughts that she nearly missed the soft voice of Lieutenant Ramirez, a recent transfer to the SGC. She was a tall, slim woman with short-cropped black hair and a demeanor that Janet thought was far too gentle and good-natured for the military. There were times when Ramirez reminded her of Sam, though the two were complete opposites with respect to looks.
"Lieutenant Ramirez." Janet nodded, pausing.
"Ma'am, Major Carter was looking for you earlier."
"Yes, I know," Janet replied, smiling. "Thanks. And don't think I've forgotten about your six-month physical," she added, moving away. "In my office, Fifteen-hundred sharp, Lieutenant."
Ramirez ducked her head, but smiled. "Yes, Ma'am. Fifteen hundred. I'll be there."
Stepping into the infirmary, Janet immediately spotted Louise Kramer, the day nurse, just as she was slipping back into the ward where Daniel was recovering from appendicitis. The Marines all referred to her as Nurse Ratchet and Janet had to admit there was an uncanny physical resemblance, but it ended there. And the doctor was pretty sure the jarheads had a few pet names for her as well, though they never admitted them, no matter what she threatened them with.
"Carter's looking for you," Billings, her second in charge, told her without preamble, thrusting a clipboard into her hands as she passed through the door.
"Good morning to you, too," Janet said, unfazed by his habitual brusqueness.
Billings simply rolled his eyes. "Jackson's resting comfortably, Captain Jensen was treated and released for minor bruises he sustained while working out with Colonel Makepeace. It's been a quiet night and I am out of here." This last was said as Billings shrugged out of his lab coat.
Janet smiled sweetly at him, resisting the urge to tell him not to let the door hit him in the ass on the way out. She was in far too good a mood to bicker with anyone, even Billings. And the truth was, he wasn't a bad doctor, though she'd mentioned more than once that he needed to work on his interpersonal skills. Not that he heeded any of her suggestions. And as long as he wasn't out-and-out insubordinate, and he got the job done, she could let it slide.
Janet was just starting toward her office, clipboard in hand, intent on getting into her lab coat and doing rounds quickly before looking for Sam when Louise poked her head around the corner. The frustration on her face was unmistakable; having treated Daniel for any number of injuries and ailments, Janet was pretty sure that same expression had been on her own face from time to time.
"Doctor Fraiser, would you please have a word with Doctor Jackson? He insists on leaving the infirmary."
"What?" Janet asked incredulously, changing course instantly to follow Louise into the hospital ward. Daniel certainly had pulled some stunts in his time, but he'd only had his appendix removed yesterday, and they�d only just gotten it in time. There was no way in hell she was going to allow him out of that bed, much less out of the infirmary.
"Doctor Jackson, please!" Louise was admonishing Daniel when Janet approached the bed. Daniel was sitting up. Or trying to sit up, she amended as she got a closer look at him. There was no color in his cheeks, and his forehead was covered by a thin sheen of perspiration. He was upright, leaning one elbow heavily against the nightstand.
"I have to go," he said, pushing Louise's arm away roughly. "So either help me with my pants or get out."
From the expression on her face, Janet was pretty sure Louise was seriously considering sitting on Daniel to keep him in that bed. She put a hand lightly on the nurse's arm, then indicated, with a small nod of her head, for her to go back out to the front. Stepping around Louise as she exited, Janet quickly snatched up Daniel's pants and moved several feet away from him. "If you'd like to walk around the SGC in that hospital gown, Doctor Jackson, then be my guest. I'm sure certain parties will enjoy it very much."
He made a feeble grab for his pants, then leaned back, panting.
"You are in no shape to be out of that bed," Janet added.
"Nobody's told you, have they?" he asked quietly, making no move to climb back into bed.
As soon as the words left his lips, Janet felt a cold wave of fear wash over her. Daniel's insistence on leaving, the fact that Sam had been looking for her�
Sam had been looking for her. Rather urgently, she realized, if the number of people who had mentioned it since she'd set foot on the base was any indication.
Her fingers tightened convulsively around the fabric of Daniel's cammies. "Told me what?" she heard herself ask. Her voice sounded distant and foreign.
"It's the Asgard," Daniel said. "I didn't get many of the details from Sam." He paused and blinked at her. "She stopped by, looking for you."
"What details?" Without thinking, she handed the pants to Daniel, who immediately began struggling into them. If he was embarrassed that she was still in the room while he was getting dressed, he gave no indication. He was intent on getting out of there, and she was pretty much past noticing.
"Thor beamed Jack up to his ship. He called back down for some explosives, and Sam and Teal'c beamed up there to help him."
Daniel rose unsteadily to his feet, brushing the flimsy hospital gown off his shoulders and reaching for a nearby t-shirt. "The Asgard are under attack, and Sam said Thor might have brought some of the enemy here to earth. I think they're going to blow Thor's ship to make sure that doesn't happen."
Her heart suddenly began to pound loudly in her chest. "But they can beam back down, right?" she asked, stupidly. She was having trouble processing information all of a sudden. "Right?" she asked again, when he didn�t answer right away. She didn�t even care that there was a note of hysteria in her tone.
"Sam said Jack made it sound like he wasn't coming back," Daniel admitted reluctantly, then hastened to add, "But she thought they might catch a ride on the shuttle." He leaned over gingerly and grabbed his boots with one hand.
It dawned on her then that her patient was up and dressed, and she slipped into doctor-mode almost instantly. It was a defensive reaction, an attempt to keep the awful reality of just why Sam had been looking for her at bay. She moved to stop Daniel, but he put his free hand lightly on her arm. "I <can't> just sit here and do nothing while they're out there."
"Just what do you think you're going to do?" she snapped harshly. It was a question that had often echoed in her own mind whenever Sam went off on a dangerous mission and every instinct within her screamed for her to take action--any action--to ensure Sam's safety. "You can barely stand up," she added softly, lifting a hand to rest it against his chest. She could feel the steady throb of his heart beneath her fingertips. Janet frowned, thinking his heartrate was a little too elevated for her liking.
She looked up into his face, and for a moment they stared at one another. Her own fear and worry was reflected deep in his blue eyes. "I'll be fine," he said after a moment, misreading her expression. "I�m not the one you should be worrying about. I'll find a chair up in the control room and sit in it, I promise. Please."
She looked away, down at the floor for several long beats, then finally nodded. He thought her hesitation, her worry was mostly for him, and him alone. And what else could he possibly think, she asked herself. He was the only one directly under her care, the only one there for her to worry this much about. And he had worries of his own. "For a few hours," she allowed. "But then I want you back here for the night, is that clear?"
He grabbed her hand, giving it a small squeeze. "Thanks!" Then he was gone, leaving her alone in the deserted hospital ward.
She should really go to her office, she thought dimly as she pressed a suddenly unsteady hand to her face. Go to her office, close the door, and quietly fall apart for a few minutes. Instead, she stood next to Daniel's recently vacated bed, eyes screwed tightly shut as she desperately tried to compose herself.
For a moment, just a moment, she both envied and resented Daniel. He was just as frightened and worried as she was, though for different reasons. She resented him because he at least had the luxury of showing it. He could bully and negotiate his way out of a hospital bed for them, haunt the control room for them, fill endless hours of waiting with cups of coffee for them, express his concern and worry openly, all without giving it a second thought. Sam, Jack and Teal'c were his team, his friends, and everyone knew that Daniel loved each of them in his own way. And it had nothing to do with the fact that Daniel wasn't military. Team members were closer than family; they had to be. Everyone would understand.
She couldn't do any of those things, at least none beyond the level of concern one would normally show for a fellow officer. No, she was Major Janet Fraiser, MD, the unflappable CMO. It was her job to be concerned about everyone in her care, but no more and no less for any one particular individual.
Well, the hell with that, she thought angrily. At the moment she was extremely concerned about one particular individual.
Sam thought they might catch a ride on the shuttle. Thought. Janet was surprised that Sam had been even that forthcoming. Usually, she just made it all up as she went along.
In one explosive, frustrated motion, she threw the clipboard hard into the corner, hearing it clatter to the floor. "Dammit, Sam!" she whispered.
After a moment, during which she stood with two fingers pinching the bridge of her nose, she drew a deep breath, then raised her head. Swallowing past the tightness in her throat, she bent over and retrieved the clipboard, pausing only to run a hand through her hair.
She had to get the infirmary, get her staff ready for anything, without any of them knowing that a little bit more of her died inside with each minute that passed with no word. If she was a sane person, she thought bitterly, she'd be questioning whether or not loving Sam was worth all the worry and secrecy. At the same time, she was so certain of the answer that it wasn't even worth asking the question in the first place.
Forcing the tense muscles in her face, neck and shoulders to relax slightly, Janet smoothed out the front of her uniform blouse with one remarkably steady hand. She could do this, she told herself. She'd had a lot of practice.