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The Unusual Usual
~Jojo & Michelle V.~
Friday - 0900
The doors of the elevator opened at exactly 0900, the start of her shift, and Janet was just anal enough to look at her watch and smirk at her military promptness. And she was just cool enough to realize just how anal that was and to check around in case anyone had noticed.
No one had.
Clutching a tall, black coffee in her left hand, savoring the smell wafting from the little hole in the top, she walked along the thankfully quiet corridor towards the infirmary, praying that today was going to be one of those days when she could sit in her office, catch up on the paperwork that was breeding in her in-tray, and not have to deal with anything... unusual.
Janet used the term 'unusual' loosely. Nothing was ever 'usual' around here. And when your alien daughter takes an alien parasite and goes to live off-world, you can pretty much forget about normality.
Just as she turned the corner, the infirmary doors in sight, the klaxons started blaring. She jumped a little - seven years and they still surprised her - and made sure her coffee was secure. She did not want to spill a drop - after this it would be military coffee, unless the archaeology department sent someone out on a coffee run and remembered to include her in their order.
*UNAUTHORISED OFF-WORLD ACTIVATION. SECURITY TO THE GATE ROOM.*
Crap, Janet thought, her eyes widening in preparation for the inevitable. Due to the tendency for things in the infirmary to get violent, a number of security teams were located within easy reach of the infirmary. Which meant a regular stampede by the security teams on her floor every. single. time. there was an unauthorized off-world activation.
"MARINES - MOVE."
She clutched her coffee to her chest, realizing that it was now too late to throw herself against a wall protectively, and closed her eyes tight as twenty men ran straight for her. Not the coffee. Don't hit the coffee. Please.
"Excuse me, ma'am."
"'Cuse me, ma'am."
Well, she thought, as they breezed past her, at least they were polite about nearly killing her on a daily basis.
Janet opened one eye. "Major Forrest," she said, frowning at him. His men were currently heading towards the stairs - why was he still hanging around... uh oh. Oh God. No, please, no...
"I was wondering if you'd given any more thought to what I said yesterday?"
"Er..." Not really, was the truthful answer. The previous evening, she'd come home, switched on the TV and fallen asleep on the couch again, only waking when dawn had broken and she'd groggily moved into her bedroom. There had been very little time to consider Major Forrest's proposition. His... date.
"Major, shouldn't you be...." She gestured behind her at the direction in which his men had stampeded.
"Oh, no." He grinned at her. Well, okay, it wasn't a grin, precisely. It was more of a slight upwards movement of his mouth. Majors in the marine corps didn't grin. "It's a practice."
A practice? Was he joking? They did this four times a day! What possible reason could they have to need to do a practice? "Oh. Right. Well... the truth is... "
Oh, thank God. Whoever that was had excellent timing. Truly excellent. "I'll be right there!" she called brightly. "I'm sorry, Major, but I have to go and deal with this."
"How about discussing it over lunch?"
She was already edging around him. "Sure! Sure. Definitely." She gave him a thumbs up – one of those things Cassie had always cringed over – and hurried into the infirmary, fully intending to embrace whomever it was who had rescued her.
There was a young woman hovering just inside the infirmary, hands clasped tightly in front of her. Pale faced, dark, closely cropped hair, and a nurse's uniform.
Janet didn't recognize her.
"Dr. Fraiser?" she asked.
Janet tilted her head curiously, wondering if she was supposed to know who this woman was. "Yes?"
Expectant blue eyes looked at her. "I'm Lieutenant Vancey?"
Vancey? Who the... "Oh! Oh, of course! Claire Reynolds's replacement." Lieutenant Reynolds had transferred after her marriage. "Excellent." Janet wondered why the Lieutenant was looking so uneasy. "Where's Dr. Warner?"
"He's just gone down to the commissary to fetch himself some more coffee."
"Right." Of course. Janet looked at her own coffee and sighed happily. It would be just the perfect temperature now but she needed to drink it soon before it started to get too cool. "Who do we have in?"
"That's the thing... we just have one patient...."
Janet froze. Oh God, no. "That's not who I think it is, is it?"
She sighed. "Tell me he's not staying here for observation."
A clipboard was passed over. "Dr. Warner said twenty-four hours, at least."
Janet whimpered as she looked down at the pages in front of her, flicking through them quickly. It seemed Colonel O'Neill had met with an accident. A door, to be precise. Mild concussion, headaches, some dizziness... "No. Nonononono."
"Doctor? He really has been quite vocal, particularly since Dr. Warner left," Vancey said in very proper nurse-ly concern. "He is quite anxious to have a second opinion. Your opinion."
Janet had no doubt. He'd obviously sensed Vancey's newness was a weakness to be exploited. Damn him.
"DOC! Is that you?"
This was so unfair. He had only been in last week. And that had only been for six hours, during which time he'd reduced one nurse to tears and nearly caused an accident involving a table of syringes.
There was only one thing to do.
Janet picked up the phone from the wall and dialled.
"Doctor?" Vancey glanced nervously over her shoulder. "With respect, what are you doing?"
"I'm calling Major Carter."
"Um... Dr. Warner has already done that."
She paused and looked at Vancey. Her finger hovered over the dial. "He has?"
Obviously thoroughly confused, the woman nodded. "Yes. She visited earlier this morning but had to leave," she whispered, glancing towards the curtained area at the end of the infirmary.
What had she done to deserve this? All of a sudden, 1700 hours looked very far away. She handed the clipboard back to Vancey.
"Lieutenant, you're about to get a crash course in one Colonel Jack O'Neill."
How to put this to her? After all, even though he was a superior pain in the ass, he was still a superior officer. "His bark is worse than his bite," she quickly offered after hearing him bellow for the umpteenth time, deciding that 'just ignore the jackass' wasn't quite the attitude she should be instilling in the newbie.
Janet turned on her heels and strode with a determined air towards the infirmary, partly to show the Lieutenant just whose infirmary it was and partly to psych herself up into "battle mode". The Goa'uld be damned. The real ongoing war was Jack O'Neill vs. the medical staff.
She took a swig of her coffee and continued her march, mentally condemning all Air Force regulation-length skirts to hell. How was she supposed to stride purposefully when she could barely stretch her legs out? God only knew what it was like for Sam, whose legs came up to her ears.
She quickened her step - the trick was to take smaller steps, but faster.
Never give up! Never surrender. Show him who's...
What a difference a second makes. A second ago she was dry and the only coffee in the immediate area existed in her cup. Good coffee. A second ago, she was in full ass-kicking mode. She was going to take down that Colonel O'Neill no matter how much her best friend liked him. She was going to show him who ruled the infirmary and that if anyone was going to make her nurses cry, it was going to be her. That was a second ago.
This second there was coffee leaking through her pristine blue blouse and into her bra. There were splotches on her navy blue skirt. And a coffee stream was making its way down her leg down to where the lid had landed on her shoe.
This second sucked.
"Oh God! I'm sorry, ma'am!" The young captain sprang back from her, quickly swiping off the annoyingly few drops of coffee that had found their way onto him.
Janet closed her eyes. Why'd it have to be the good coffee? Why? Why? Why? At least it wasn't all gone. It felt like there was still some in there by the weight of the now wet, dripping cup.
Wait a minute...
Janet's eyes flew open at the pressure against her chest. The captain had found a tissue and was pitifully attempting to dry her off. In his what could only be described as a freaked-out state, he was patting most definitely where he should not be patting.
With her free hand, Janet grabbed his wrist. She smiled sharply. "Thank you, Captain."
"But, ma'am, let me help you..."
She glared at him.
"I...I'm sorry, ma'am," he said with a wince.
"It's fine." Like hell. "Call a clean up crew."
"Yes, ma'am!" He saluted - damn him - and hurried off to do her bidding. The captain bolted from the doorway and disappeared down the hall.
Dang. She should have made him get her some more coffee too.
She glared at the voice from the corner of the room.
Carrying the still-dripping cup, she sloped into the infirmary, feeling less than kick-ass, and opened the closet where they kept the lab-coats to look for a change of clothes. Inevitably, it appeared she had a spare of everything but a blouse. Damn. She'd have to go to her office. But first...
Setting her cup down on the desk, being careful not to get it on any paperwork, she marched to the back bed, her shoulders back and head high - trying to get her kick-ass-ed-ness back. She pulled back the curtain with a yank, revealing an annoyed/bored/put-on-this-Earth-to-test-her colonel.
He quickly gave her the once over.
"You know you got something on your shirt?"
Janet swore under her breath as she walked down the hallway. There was actually coffee in her shoe. In her shoe. Just enough coffee to add insult to injury, to make every step a disgusting one.
It had worked its way down so that it was in-between her toes now. Lovely.
One step inside her office and the shoe was off. The door was barely closed behind her when she started shedding her clothes. Noticing, with some dismay, that her clean clothes supply was running low, she realized belatedly that she had no clean blouses here either. Typical.
She kicked off her other shoe, then threw the new clothes over the back of her chair. Damnit. How'd she let her spare clothes supply get so low? And had the concrete floor always been this cold?
She ran some paper towels under the water in the sink and began cleaning away the stickiness, her eyes wandering around the office.
They settled on a framed picture.
It was Friday. Habit was telling her that she should be gearing up for the weekly Cassie run-in. The "I'm eighteen and I can do whatever I want" fight. The sighing. The glaring. The occasional foot stomping. It would of course be followed up by the fun game of texting her every five minutes she was past her curfew.
A half-hour late and she began texting Cassie's friends. Actually, that had only happened once. Cassie had been mortified beyond words that her very un-cool mom had sent a message to her friend Nicole, telling her that it was 'past Cassie's bedtime'. Cassie had given her the silent treatment for days, but amazingly enough, she was never more than ten minutes late for her curfew after that.
Tonight it'd just be her and the empty house. That's all it was every night these days.
Janet finished patting herself dry and grabbed the skirt from off the chair. Most mothers suffered from empty nest syndrome. It was typical. Only most mothers lost their children to college life or independence. She'd lost hers to a Tok'ra.
Sighing, Janet realized she was getting melancholic and she hated that. There had to be something she could do to keep her mind off Cassie. Maybe she really should go out with Major Forrest. God knew she could use a night away from her TV. Only...why was she so hesitant? Sure he was a marine, but then no one was perfect.
Maybe it was something she just didn't want to have to deal with. Processing the good and the bad of a simple date seemed like too much work.
Wonder if Sam's busy tonight?
Janet smirked. Sam's social life was, once again, nearly as non-existent as hers. The only question would be if she was working. Yes, she could really use a night out and Sam was great company – when she was in the right mood.
Janet did the best she could with her coffee-stained blouse and slipped on her other, but less-comfortable, pair of shoes. She made a mental note to track Sam down later in the day. Unlike other people, the later, the better (and the less chance of a crisis occurring between the suggestion and the actual doing of something) was best when it came to making plans with Sam Carter.
Damn. These shoes pinched like hell.
And, hey, what the hell was Major Forrest's first name?
Friday - 1056
She was just going to ignore him. He didn't really need anything anyway. He was just bored.
Bored and working on her last nerve. She was a sport, after all. It was times like this that Colonel O'Neill reminded her way too much of her ex. And that wasn't a good thing.
Son of a bitch!
She slapped down her pen on her report and took a deep, calming breath. She would not get mad, she would not get mad...
Janet practically threw herself out of her chair, taking a couple of folders with her, as a matter of fact, and stalked over to the curtain. She yanked it back. "What?!"
His expression was pure frustration. "Can I get outta here now?"
She crossed her arms over her chest and attempted civility. Stay nice and professional. You're a doctor. He's your patient. You care. "Colonel, we've been through this. I need to keep you here for observation."
"Yeah, but, Doc, I'm fine!"
"Colonel, this isn't open to discussion."
"Sure it is. We're discussing it now. So clearly it must be open for discussion." He gave her one of those smart-ass grins...
That was it. Normally she could handle the Colonel's whining. Sometimes she even found it funny. But not today. She grabbed a needle from off a nearby tray and held it up.
Wide eyes blinked at her. "Whatcha gonna do with that?"
"Colonel, normally I'm not a threatening woman. I like to think of myself as calm and rational. I have survived an ex-husband, a teenage daughter, scores of alien diseases infecting this base, and I'll be damned if what finally gives me the nervous breakdown I so richly deserve is you! Now," she said, fixing her attention on the syringe, "do I need to suddenly discover that you require a complete physical?"
The Colonel snorted and rolled over, pulling the blankets over his head.
"I'll take that as a no then."
She put the syringe back on its tray and pulled the curtain closed. She felt mildly guilty about having to threaten the Colonel, but she figured that guilt would pass quickly enough. She headed back over to the desk and blinked at the puddle of dark brown liquid on her desk.
Apparently, she'd taken more than a couple of folders with her when she'd made her way to the Colonel.
It wasn't a big spill but still... that report would have to be done again.
On the plus side, at least it was quiet now.
She clenched her teeth together.
What she would need to clean up the messes, Janet decided, would definitely not be in the infirmary. No. The stuff she needed would be far, far away, she thought as she nearly sprinted out the door.
"Hey, Doc? Where you goin'?"
Feeling no guilt at all, Janet hurried along the corridor. She decided she'd go see Sam – maybe arrange to have lunch together. Yeah. That was a good idea. Then she could approach the topic of them going out that night. Maybe a movie? God, it had been years since she'd seen a movie.
*UNAUTHORISED GATE ACTIVATION!*
Oh, goddamn, Janet thought, flinging herself against a wall in preparation.
*UNAUTHORISED GATE ACTIVATION!*
Glad that, this time, she wasn't in the way, Janet smiled wanly at the marines running past her at top speed.
Damn, damn. "Major Forrest!" she said, increasing the wattage of her smile and trying to look interested. "Practice again?"
"Not this time." He looked a little sheepish. Well, as sheepish as a marine could look as he was jogging backwards. "About lunch...."
Lunch? Oh, goddamn. "Er... yeah, about lunch..."
"I can't make it. I have an unexpected meeting."
YES! "That's a shame." She injected a real note of disappointment in her voice. She was so impressed with her acting skills. "Um... Monday?" That's right, Janet, just keep putting it off. And off and off...
"Sure." He nodded at her, nearly at the end of the corridor now. "Monday, 1300?"
"Yeah. That would be lovely."
He ran off to catch up with his marines and Janet breathed a sigh of relief.
*DR. FRAISER, REPORT TO THE CONTROL ROOM! DR. FRAISER TO THE CONTROL ROOM.*
Yeah. This day just kept getting better and better.
Friday – 1138
I wonder when I got used to this, Janet thought, as she looked down at Captain Michaels and held two fingers on his slightly elevated wrist pulse. Nearby, Major Cawley sneezed and three nurses in hazmat suits leaped back three feet to avoid the projectile snot.
Just another day in the SGC.
Adjusting the mask over her face, she nodded to the rest of her hazmat suited staff. "Get SG-5 to the isolation ward." She looked up at the control room where General Hammond was standing. "General," she called, "I suggest the SGC be quarantined until I find out how contagious this is."
General Hammond nodded, wincing. "I agree, Doctor."
The four members of SG-5 were quickly wheeled off on protected stretchers, with Janet and several of her nurses following.
In all likelihood, it was a new strain of the cold virus. A disgusting one, sure, but SG-5 had been on PG8 W298 for nearly four weeks, which would suggest that anything they'd contracted wasn't particularly virulent. Thankfully, Major Cawley had had the presence of mind to radio ahead to the SGC to warn them that a potentially contagious new disease was going to be coming through the gate. They'd had plenty of time to set up a decontamination area in the gate room itself, prepare an isolation ward on Level 19, and clear Level 28 of all non-essential personnel.
Having ordered the appropriate tests to be run, Janet endured yet another decontamination process so that she could leave the isolation ward and see to her other patients. Dr. Warner had already gone home at the end of his shift, but since she only had the one patient in the infirmary – as irritating, loud and obnoxious as he was – she felt no need to have one of the doctors from the Academy Hospital come in and help out.
"Hey, Doc? What's going on?"
"Never you mind, Colonel. You're supposed to be resting." She ran an experienced eye over the latest updates on his condition. Vancey had great handwriting, Janet noted happily. If there was one thing she hated, it was nurses with illegible handwriting.
Colonel O'Neill grunted and lay looking up at the ceiling. "There was a mention of slime."
Wow. Word got around fast. "No slime, Colonel."
"Just... " She smiled and decided to give him a break. "Lots and lots of snot."
"SNOT? EW!" The Colonel made a disgusted but childishly delighted face. "All over them?"
If anything, he looked more delighted. "EW!"
She smiled affectionately at him. "The base is quarantined for the time being. So even if I did let you go, you couldn't... go."
"I figured." There was a pause. "Got any cards?"
Friday - 1252
"Is he driving you up the wall?" Sam asked, leaning across the table conspiratorially.
Janet raised her Jell-O spoon to her mouth and eyed Sam caustically. "I don't know who you're talking about."
Sam snorted in amusement and settled back down to her meal. "Do you want me to come see him again after lunch?"
Who was Sam trying to kid here? Janet wondered, eyeing her friend suspiciously. If she could, Janet knew damn well Sam would spend the entire day in the infirmary keeping the Colonel entertained.
"That would be great. I don't suppose you've got any cards?"
"No. But I know where he keeps his." Sam smirked. "Naked blondes on the back and all."
"Yup." Sam licked her spoon and then dropped it into her glass. Janet wondered if she should tell her she had a blue tongue. Nah. "Very well worn they are, too."
"So, how's SG-5?"
Janet grinned and shrugged. "It's viral. Probably a strain of the cold virus that we haven't got on Earth, so we're not getting out of the SGC for the time being. I've suggested Vitamin C boosts to all the base staff so we're setting that up – you'll be summoned to the infirmary at some point this afternoon. Apart from the constant flowing snot..."
"Janet! I'm eating."
"What would you rather I called it? Boogers?"
"Isn't there some kind of a clinical word?"
Sam wrinkled her nose. "No. That's still pretty gross."
"They're all right. Miserable, but all right. I predict complete recovery within a week." She scraped the last remnants of her Jell-O from the bottom of her glass and put it back on her tray. It was nice having a girlie lunch with Sam for a change. "Did I tell you I got asked out by Major Forrest?"
Sam's mouth dropped open. "No way."
"What? It's such a surprise that someone asked me out?"
Sam rolled her eyes. "No. But Major Forrest is, you know..."
She nodded, blue eyes wide. "Yeah! So?"
"Have you said yes?!?"
Janet sighed and tilted her nearly empty coffee mug towards herself. "No."
"Are you gonna?"
"I don't know, Sam..."
"I just don't think... what with Cassie and all the things that have happened to me recently. I don't think now is a good time to start a relationship, particularly with someone on base."
Sam, well used to traumatic events in her own life disturbing any pretence of a social life she might have had, nodded and said no more. There was a moment or two of awkward silence before she cleared her throat. "Do you think we could put a TV in the infirmary?" she asked instead.
"Could we get reception this far underground?"
Sam shrugged casually, as if this was nothing. "I could rig something up."
Of course she could. It was Colonel O'Neill, after all. And Sam had it bad.
"You know you've got something on your shirt, right?"
Friday - 1426
The quiet murmur of the TV was far more peaceful than the constant grating tones of a certain superior officer, Janet decided. SG-5 was improving, the virus was contained and, fingers crossed, the decontamination process had made sure no one else was going to catch it and she could give the General the all-clear.
Slumping into her chair, Janet sighed and eased off her shoes under her desk. Oh, that was good. So good.
She inched her skirt up and lifted one foot up and began to massage the arch of her foot.
Ooooooooh. Ahhhhhh. Oh yeah. That's the spot. She dug her thumb into her sore foot mercilessly. Oooooh.
The one thing her ex-husband had been good at was foot massages and he'd been all too ready to give them whenever she demanded. Possibly because it usually left her pretty agreeable to his every whim afterwards. She couldn't count the number of times she'd said yes to going to see his parents just because he'd found a particularly sore spot on the arch of her foot.
Putting her foot down, she wiggled her toes and stretched. Better, she decided.
She checked the clock and nearly groaned. It wasn't even half past two in the afternoon. This shift had gone on forever as far as she was concerned and the hours that were in front of her loomed large and filled with horrible possibilities.
Maybe she'd be lucky. Maybe the Colonel and ultra-snotty SG-5 would be all she'd have to handle for today. A relatively light day, all in all. No fatalities, which was, frankly, the most she could hope for every day.
The phone rang and she reached over to answer it automatically. "Infirmary."
She smiled. "Daniel."
"Hi – how are you?"
See, this was what was nice about Daniel. He hadn't quite gotten into the habit of jumping brusquely into business conversation. "I'm... a little tired."
"Among other things."
"I'm sorry I haven't been able to drop by – would you believe my paperwork is breeding and is plotting to take over the world?"
She giggled helplessly. Dr. Jackson, linguist, archaeologist and damn cute to boot. Pity about his dress sense, but then no man was perfect. "I can readily believe it, Daniel." She eyed her own in-tray mournfully and wondered what that thick yellow folder was all about.
"I'll try to get up there in an hour or so. Sam tells me Jack's got a TV – don't tell me he's got the sports channel?"
"Um... numerous sports channels, I think."
"It's okay. Sam's given me the remote so I've left it at a certain volume."
"She is wise beyond her years. Listen, Janet, there was something I wanted to ask you. I'm supposed to be joining SG-10 off-world tomorrow – SG-1 isn't scheduled for another mission until late next week and obviously I want to sit in dirt and dig for a while," she grinned in response, "so I was wondering when you're thinking about lifting the quarantine."
Janet made a face and reached for the yellow folder, flicking it open. Good Lord – the quarterly SGC periodical. Who would have thought? "I really can't say, Daniel. I have a meeting with the General at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning – it all depends on if anything develops overnight. I'm feeling pretty positive."
"Okay. Well, that's great. I just hate being stuck here."
"Daniel – you never go home."
"That's a myth!"
"Daniel..." she warned.
"Okay, so I like knowing that I can go home, if I should chose to. Whether or not I do that is another matter," he replied dryly.
She snorted and turned the page of the periodical.
"You do realize that with the base in quarantine you won't be going home tonight."
"I do know that. I'll requisition one of the VIP rooms and sleep with my pager under my pillow."
"Sam tells me Major... um, er, Woods?"
Goddamn Sam and her big mouth. "Forrest."
"That's it. Knew it had something to do with trees. So he asked you out?"
She wondered why Daniel was asking. Seemed a little out of character for him. "He did. I have yet to agree to anything." Wow. That was.... She turned the periodical around and narrowed her eyes. Weird. "Have you read the SGC quarterly?"
"The big yellow thing?"
"Er.... no. I wasn't kidding about the breeding paperwork."
"Find it. Turn to page nineteen."
There was the sound of rustling. Some loud noises which were probably, knowing Daniel, curse words in some obscure and dead language. A thump. "Page nineteen, did you say?"
"Uh-huh." She leaned closer to the page and squinted.
There was a pause. "Holy...."
"Is that his wife?"
"I think it is."
"Janet – she must be three feet taller than him. Not that there's anything wrong was with that but... still... three feet!"
"Ha! There's an even better shot on the next page."
Janet turned the page and her eyebrows rose. "Remind me to never bring a date to one of those events."
Friday - 1603
"How are you feeling?"
Major Cawley smiled weakly. "Permission to speak freely, ma'am?"
"I feel like crap."
Janet smiled and slid his chart back into the holder at the end of his bed. "Well, that's to be expected. Your temperature's still elevated but I'm happy to report that it is lower than it was two hours ago. That's a good sign."
"I can't believe the common cold knocked out my team."
"This is no common cold."
Cawley opened his mouth to say something and then drew in a breath sharply. Knowing what was going to happen next, Janet hurriedly moved out of the way as the major sneezed the mother of all sneezes.
She winced in sympathy and hoped this cold wasn't of the lingering variety. "Kleenex?"
Cawley looked at her with an expression so miserable that a hound dog would have cried. "No super drugs on your tray?"
This was the part of her job that Janet hated. She was damn good at what she did...that and she had lucked-out a few times. But now everyone expected a miracle worker. There'd be nothing she'd love more right now than to whip out some pill that would make everything better.
He sneezed. Loudly.
She winced. "Try and get some rest."
The decontamination process was always fun. Yep. Almost as fun as a swift kick in the butt. Okay, so she was whining a bit. Or a lot. It was so easy to take for granted the stuff they could do nowadays to isolate diseases. Fortunately there had been no reports that the virus had spread.
Janet hiked down the long corridor from the isolation ward back to the infirmary. And back to one crabby colonel. Ugh.
What the heck time was it?
I'll tell you what time it is! Coffee time!
Oh good Lord. She was talking to herself in her mind now. How long had it been since her last vacation? Cassie had gone to Cancun last summer, of course. Without her. Going on holiday with your single mother was seriously uncool, though there had been tears at the airport before she'd left.
She was, thankfully, jolted out of these thoughts when a passing airman sneezed.
Janet stopped and spun around. The airman looked over his shoulder nervously.
"Allergies! I swear!" he called back.
She narrowed her eyes at him.
The airman was rapidly disappearing and for the life of her, Janet couldn't remember if this particular young man really had allergies or not. "Wait!" she called, half-heartedly.
It took her a second to remember that he really did have allergies, but so much for chain of command. The airman, pretending not to hear her, disappeared around the corner. She really should go ream his butt for that...as if she had the energy to go do such a thing.
"Check in with duty nurse by 1800!" Janet yelled down the now-empty hallway, making a mental note to arrange for a round of intrusive tests as punishment.
A head poked out of one of the side doors at her shout. It was one of the many lab technicians on the base - Bartles. Right. That was his name.
"You talking to me?" the Bartles-head asked, eyebrows raised towards his receding hairline.
"No! I was talking to..." Janet gestured down the empty corridor. "Never mind."
The head disappeared and she was left alone, staring at the blinking light on the security camera.
"So glad they tape everything," she mumbled as she turned on her heel and marched back to the infirmary. Well, maybe fortune would finally smile on her and the Colonel would be sleeping.
She entered the infirmary.
Or maybe not. Voices were coming from the back bed. Low voices. She carefully angled herself so she was far enough away but could see partway around the one-side curtain wall. Someone was sitting on a chair next to the bed...
Oh, thank you!
Janet quickly moved back out of sight and parked herself behind the desk, instantly kicking her shoes off. She really could go for another cup of coffee right about now, but that meant getting up. And that would be very, very bad. Getting up was bad.
A loud laugh by the Colonel almost made her jump out of her skin and sent her pen flying across the floor.
Silence. Then low murmuring again.
Janet willed the pen to move on its own. No luck. Damn. And more damn! It was almost 1700. Meds time for one Jack "Pain in the Ass" O'Neill and the nurse was on a break.
Okay, for what his new nickname in her mind lacked in subtlety, it made up for in its being overt.
Yeah, she really needed some coffee, she thought as she rose from her desk and headed towards the meds cabinet. 'Meds' being a somewhat strong term for what she was actually giving Colonel O'Neill. She and the other doctors liked to get as many vitamins and minerals into him as possible while he was under their supervision. She had a very good idea of what the Colonel lived on at home.
Meds in hand, she pulled back the curtain to his bed. "And how are we doing this afternoon?"
"We were doing fine until you showed up." The Colonel smirked.
"I missed you too, sir. I even brought you a present." She presented him with his meds.
"Just what I've always wanted." He grabbed the cup from her hand and popped the pills in his mouth.
"Colonel, I'd like you to rest now."
Sam stood up from her chair. "It's probably just as well. I really should get back to the lab."
The Colonel huffed. Lord help her, he was gearing up for a whine.
"I do not need a nap."
Janet put a hand on her hips. "Ca – " Oh God. She'd nearly called him 'Cassie'. This is what happened when she was caffeine-deprived. She cleared her throat. "Colonel, it really would be better...."
"I am not three."
Janet bit her tongue.
Sam opened her mouth.
"Carter...!" the Colonel warned, waving his hand at her.
"What?" Sam's eyes widened in what Janet knew was Sam's patented 'I'm completely clueless and yet not' look.
"Don't play all innocent with me."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You opened your mouth," he said accusingly.
Sam's mouth opened and closed a couple of times as she sought for an appropriate response. "Sir, I was breathing!"
"You really think I was going to say something?"
"I know you were." He wiggled his fingers at her. "You had this look."
She all but stomped her foot. "Oh, I did not!"
"Please. You probably had some witty remark. About my maturity level."
Sam tilted her head at a superior angle and looked at a point somewhere between his eyes. "There's really nothing to admit, sir."
"So you had this look for nothing?"
"Or maybe it was just gas?"
Janet cleared her throat, wondering how Teal'c and Daniel dealt with this... banter on a daily basis. Come to think of it, the Colonel and Daniel were just about as irritating. Good Lord, how did Teal'c go through each day with those three? It was a wonder she didn't get him in the infirmary complaining of migraines.
"As entertaining as this all is..." Which it wasn't.
This seemed to spur Sam somewhat. "Right! I need to go!" the major exclaimed, a little too loudly.
So why wasn't Sam moving if she just announced she needed to go? The two of them were motionless, staring at her. What? Were they hoping she'd change her mind about the rest? She stared back.
The Colonel scowled. "Doc, only kids need naps!"
Janet sighed and began writing on his chart. He was so single-minded. "Well, my grandpa used to take naps, too," she mumbled.
She stopped writing.
Oh holy hell.
She didn't just say that? Did she? No. She couldn't have.
She looked up from the clipboard very, very slowly. Sam's pursed lips and glazed eyes told her otherwise. She couldn't look at him yet. Damnit, now Sam was actually biting her lip!
*DOCTOR FRAISER TO THE CONTROL ROOM*
Oh, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! She nearly wept with relief.
"And that would be me!" Janet bolted from her spot, never once looking at the Colonel. She practically ran as sounds of Sam's laughter and the Colonel's "Shut up, Carter" followed her out the door.
General Hammond smiled at her when she arrived, and Janet smiled back. Really, really widely. If he was surprised at just how thrilled she was to see him, he didn't comment upon it.
She didn't particularly want to explain how she'd just insulted the second most senior (if most immature) man on base.
"You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Yes, Doctor. I just wanted to know the status of SG-5," he asked genially. It didn't look like the quarantine was taking its toll on him, at all.
"They're going to be fine, General. I've got them under twenty-four hour supervision."
"Any chance of lifting this quarantine early?"
She shook her head. "No, sir. Just in case something develops overnight."
"I see. Well, thank you, Doctor."
"Thank you, sir." She smiled and was about to take her leave when the General cleared his throat pointedly. She tilted her head curiously. "Sir?"
The General's brow furrowed. "Ah, Doctor, did you know... you've got something on your shirt?"
At nineteen-hundred hours, Janet gave in. She'd had a long day and it wasn't going to be over any time soon. Her dreams of taking off at 1700 had been dashed and all she wanted to do was lie down and sleep, but she was the only medical doctor on base and was resigned to the fact that until the quarantine was over, she would be on-call permanently.
And, frankly, she just... didn't want to deal with him any more.
"You can go."
"And then Homer said... what?" The Colonel's monologue of the entire episode of The Simpsons that he'd just seen stopped.
For one blissful moment, Janet had silence. Perfect, crystal clear silence.
"Did you say... I could go?" Colonel O'Neill's eyes widened like a child's on Christmas morning and Janet found herself smiling.
"You can go."
"I can... leave?" He gestured to the door.
"I can leave... the infirmary?"
Janet nearly rolled her eyes but refused to on the basis that, if he caught her, he would probably start arguing. And she wanted him out. Fast. "Yes. You can leave. You can leave the infirmary."
"Woooohoooooo!" he yelled.
Janet closed her eyes and heard the bedclothes being thrown back jubilantly. When she re-opened her eyes, she expected to see him in the usual infirmary gown, only to discover he was wearing the gown over his BDUs. Complete with socks.
She raised her eyebrows. "I see you were prepared."
"I was a Boy Scout!" he announced cheerfully, pulling on his boots.
"You were not," she said scornfully, hands on her hips.
The gown was thrown off where it landed in a pile on the floor. "Okay, I wasn't. But I could have been."
She decided it would be best not to go down that route. "I want you to get some rest."
He nodded. "Yes, Doc."
"I mean it, Colonel. You're not as young as you used to be."
"Thanks, Fraiser," he replied dryly. "You made that abundantly clear earlier."
"If you get any headaches, dizziness, nausea, I want you to come right back here on the double."
"If there's even the slightest hint of you overdoing it, I'm going to drag you into a private medical room and lock you in there," she said with far more force.
Colonel O'Neill cleared his throat and jumped up, adjusted his pants. "Yeah. Gotcha." He winked at her. "I can still go, right?"
She sighed. Deeply. "You can still go."
She didn't think she'd ever seen the Colonel move so fast. At least, not since the last time she'd discharged him from the infirmary. Sighing, she began to strip the bed.
Janet turned around, surprised to see him at the infirmary door. "What? Miss me already?" she teased.
He walked into the infirmary a few steps, his hands deep in his pockets. He looked, she realized, extremely uncomfortable. "I'm... I know I'm a pain in the ass," he said quickly.
Janet was so astonished she laughed. "Colonel?"
"I can't help it. O'Neills are... pains in the ass. It's what we do best. You should have met my dad. Never shut up. The man was..." He trailed off and walked into the infirmary a little more, his expression faintly wistful. She didn't think she'd ever heard him talk about his family before, not to anyone. "He'd have liked you. He liked women who were pains in the ass right back."
Ah. There was the grin.
Janet looked away, trying to hide the smile in her eyes. "Thanks." Janet had some idea what a compliment that was.
"What I'm trying to say in my own..." He gestured, "... inimitable fashion is... thanks. For putting up with me. I know you've been having a rough time of it." His eyes turned serious. "Jake'll look after her, you know that, right?"
Shocked, Janet leaned against the bed. She was suddenly speechless; this was a side of him anyone rarely saw and she was surprised to feel prickling behind her eyes. "I know," she said.
"Good. Well... I'll see you around, Fraiser."
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."
He smiled and walked out of the infirmary, as if he didn't have a care in the world. She even heard him whistling.
Wearily, she dropped down onto the side of his newly vacated bed and looked at her now empty infirmary. The sadness that she had carried since Cassie had left hovered inside her, close to the surface. Her daughter was out there in space somewhere, sacrificing her relative normality for a mother who wasn't biologically her own.
Yeah, suffice to say, Janet was having a rough time of it.
*UNAUTHORISED OFF-WORLD ACTIVATION. SECURITY TO THE GATE ROOM.*
Closing her eyes, Janet waited for the inevitable. Outside, from the hallway, she heard the trample of feet down the corridor, the elevated tones of the marines. And she continued to wait.
*DR. FRAISER, REPORT TO THE CONTROL ROOM! DR. FRAISER TO THE CONTROL ROOM.*
And there it was.
Written by: Jojo & Michelle V.
Betas: Karen & nanda
Producers: LauraJo & Vicki