DISCLAIMER: It's abundantly clear that I don't own a thing. The wonderfully creative folks at Gekko, MGM, SciFi Channel, Double Secret, and others are the ones who own these characters and settings. I just play in their sandbox and wish I had their imagination and talent. I make no money from writing this, nor does anyone offer me bribes. Not even to stop writing <g>.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Where did this one come from? I don't know. I was just trying to figure out a way of playing with my new fascination with the 2nd person POV when this idea occurred to me. It's been a while since I've seen Need, so my apologies if the timeframe of this epilogue seems out of synch with the actual episode. The story is a bit rough around the edges since I'm still learning how to use this POV and write in present tense, but I hope you enjoy.
SPOILERS: Need, obviously … let's say all episodes up to then are fair game.
SEASON: two … epilogue/missing scene for Need.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Different Types of Need
By ocean gazer


You stomp around the room, smoothing bed sheets that are already flat, sliding observation chairs an eighth of an inch so their backs are just that much closer to the wall. You glance over all the medical diagnostic equipment that's squatting silently beside the now-empty bed, making sure the machines are off. As you spot a stray wire end dangling down from its otherwise neat coil, you frown. Bending over, you reach out and refasten the offending piece, grimacing as the motion sends your shoulder screaming. But you complete the task before standing and adjusting your sling, re-immobilizing your arm by strapping it in tightly, which will help your bruised and abused muscles heal.

You scowl at your limited mobility, even as you concede to yourself that you are healing, that you will be back to normal in another couple of weeks. It occurs to you that the old saying about doctors being the worst patients is definitely true in your case. You're not even supposed to be in the infirmary right now – Warner wanted you to wait a good ten days before going back on light duty. But here you are – injury only a week old – killing time by going over, with a fine tooth comb, everything that's already been done by your nurses and the housekeeping staff.

No one's bothered to try and stop you though. Being the CMO does have its privileges. And even Warner's lecture turned half-hearted after you fixed him with the full force of your infamous glare. He sputtered to a halt while you tried hard not to laugh, muttered something about you being a worse patient than O'Neill, Carter, and Jackson combined, and then turned on his heel and stalked away.

The memory of that exchange brings a smile to your face for a moment, but then the mental reminder of Daniel causes your frown to return. You fight the urge to kick something. Instead, you back out of the room and head to your office. Not out of any great desire to stare at the mounds of paperwork on your desk, which is the work you should be doing, but just so you can be alone.

You shut the door firmly behind you and walk over to the desk. You slump into your chair, readjusting the sling so your arm rests comfortably across your stomach. Leaning back, you close your eyes for a moment. It's Daniel's fault that you're in this mess: that you're off-duty, in pain, and bored out of your skull.

Even as you complete that thought, you know it's not fair. The archeologist didn't throw you across the room deliberately or out of malice. Ok, so it was deliberate in that he did it so he could slip out of the room and try to escape. But he wasn't in his right mind. You know that. It was the fault of the damned sarcophagus that messed with his body chemistry, and the withdrawal that messed with his head. He didn't really mean to hurt you specifically; you just happened to be there when he got out of the restraints.

Still, none of that changes the fact that it did happen and that you suffered the consequences. And with everyone on base fussing over "poor, dear Daniel," no one's had much time to pay any attention to you.

You muster up what you imagine is a humorless smile at that thought. It's not so much that you need the attention or want people making a big fuss over you. Yet you got hurt and got sent home, and it hasn't really seemed to matter to anyone that you weren't around, that you weren't on base or in the infirmary.

You can almost understand why no one from SG-1 has called. It was their teammate running berserk, their teammate saying cruel things to them, their teammate needing round-the-clock care until the worst of the withdrawal process was over. They did all check in with you right after the wall-throwing incident – when you were getting checked out and patched up before being sent home. And it's not exactly like Colonel O'Neill and Sam were in such great shape themselves. Come to think of it, neither was Teal'c, despite the protections offered by his symbiote.

When they made it home from that planet, you treated them all for dehydration and malnutrition, cleaned and salved their various cuts, bruises, and strains, and then released them fairly quickly from the infirmary, knowing there wasn't much else you could do for them. But while Teal'c bounced back with his usual speed, it didn't mean the other two had really rested up or healed – physically or emotionally – from their captivity in the mines. Especially since they've all been preoccupied, taking turns sitting by Daniel's bedside day and night. So you can mentally excuse their lack of concern about you.

Be that as it may, they're only three people on a base of hundreds. You have to admit it's a bit disconcerting that no one has thought to call and check to see how you're doing – not Warner, not your nursing staff, not General Hammond. Granted, your role makes it really hard for you to actually make friends with people on base. You're either someone's doctor or someone's boss. You always have to be careful what you say to others so you don't violate confidences or cause discomfort. And you know a lot of people are very careful around you – never quite sure if you're talking to them as a doctor or as a potential friend.

By now, you'd think you'd be used to that dynamic – and generally you are. Or, at least you have been in the past. Long ago, you realized that by going into medicine – particularly military medicine with its frequent reassignments – you weren't going to have a lot of friends on the job. So you made a conscious effort to develop a real life outside of work. Or, at least as much of one as possible, given all the things about your life you have to keep secret. It's just that you uprooted yourself pretty thoroughly with the move to Colorado a year and a half ago. And between long hours of work, adopting an alien child, and just trying to learn the ins and outs of a new place, you haven't really settled into a life of your own yet. Which is one of the reasons why it's hard to feel like your injury was of so little concern while everyone hovered over Daniel.

You don't have that kind of support system here, not yet. It leaves you feeling very alone sometimes.

Opening your eyes, you look down at your desktop, feeling vaguely ashamed of yourself. It really has nothing to do with Daniel or roles or anything else like that. Sure, those are all real factors, but they aren't the biggest reason you're feeling down at the moment. It's the simple fact that you weren't here to take care of things – the sense that you weren't needed in that way. You lift your good arm, run your fingers through your hair, and sigh. You know damn well that if anyone had actually called you to check and see how you were doing with the injury, while a part of you would have been pleased by the concern, your overall reaction would have been to roll your eyes and be sarcastic. After all, your shoulder damage is painful and restricting, but pretty minor, all things considered.

It's just … you're used to being here through all the crises, to finding cures for the most outlandish alien bugs and symptoms imaginable. You're used to being kept up-to-the-minute by your staff, to knowing how every patient is progressing, to knowing which people are healing well and which ones are struggling with complications. You're used to being hands on and able to help and support and suggest. Even on your days off, you usually get a phone call or two and still have a sense of what is actually going on. The past week, not only have you been entirely out of the loop, but no one has called for your input on how best to treat Daniel, or on how to get O'Neill in for his daily knee checkups, or on how to keep Sam from skipping meals and gaining back some of the weight she's lost.

You know the mere thought makes you sound like a control freak. Come to think of it, you are a control freak. It's one of the things that's made you very good at your job and in your role, one of the things that's let you rise to the top of a specialized field at a relatively young age. It's also one of the things that holds you back – not allowing you to enjoy your time off or ever completely relax.

You know your staff is good at what they do. They have to be, since only the best of the best get into such a classified facility. And your insistence on continual training and education keeps them all in top form. You know the infirmary will keep functioning smoothly without your constant presence – even as the Earth keeps spinning on its axis regardless of what happens on its surface.

Still, the thought – the fear, really – of being unneeded grips your heart in an icy glove. You know this is a destructive trait in excess – this need to be needed. Oh, it can be useful as well. After all, it's unlikely that you would have pursued medicine without it as a goad. But you do know it's an issue you need to work on. You and Sam have discussed this more than once. It's a trait you both share – both growing up with distant military fathers, never quite feeling as though you measured up in their eyes, and never quite feeling like you were as good as your brothers. And then, going into the military, you both had to work twice as hard and be twice as good just to break through the prevailing macho mindset.

The need you both have to be in control might have been born out of childhood insecurity, but now it's grown into a mode of survival. There's a fear deep within that anything less than perfection will be seen as a fatal weakness to the less-than-feminist men around you. While there are notable exceptions of your brothers-in-arms who judge people based on their actual abilities – men like Colonel O'Neill and General Hammond, Sergeant Siler and Teal'c – the majority do not. They're more like sharks – always on the lookout for blood and ready to bite when they scent it.

Unfortunately, knowing all this intellectually doesn't stop you from feeling just the slightest bit insecure. After all, since they didn't need you to help with Daniel, who's to say that they really need you at all.

Even as that vaguely apocalyptic thought crosses your mind, you shake your head, annoyed with yourself. Damn it, you know better than that. You drum your fingers against the smooth top of the desk. It's a habit that irritates you immensely, but one that you still indulge in anyhow, just because it sometimes helps you think. Of course, you don't do it when anyone else is around. It just wouldn't do for anyone else to see that the cool, calm, and consummately professional Janet Fraiser has her moments of nervousness, has her very own battles with insecurity.

It's one thing when you're verbalizing these things with someone else – either as a support thing like you've found with Sam or as an "I know what you mean" sympathy thing like you do with patients when you're offering advice and reassurance. Then, you're still in control – of what you say, of what you don't say, of your very mien while you say it.

You love your job and wouldn't trade it for the world, but it takes a toll on you because you always have to be in control. It leaves you trapped behind your role to a large extent, for the simple reason that patients want and expect competence and certainty from their doctors. They want to be reassured that even if you don't know what is happening, you're going to move heaven and earth to find out. And whether they realize it or not, that expectation bleeds over into everything you do, no matter how personal or how removed from work. A rare few understand the distinction. But most don't, and since you want to be respected as a doctor, you keep your demons and issues to yourself and battle them alone.

Something about that thought strikes you as ironic and you manage a dry chuckle. The doctor who is in charge of one of the most classified medical programs in the entire world – the woman to whom people turn as an expert on alien and exotic illnesses – is battling a bout of insecurity about not feeling needed to handle a simple case of drug-like withdrawal. Ok, so it is alien and exotic in that it's withdrawal from the effects of a sarcophagus and no one – not even Teal'c – knows exactly how the addiction works or what the long-term effects of overuse are. But seriously, despite all the unknowns, the treatment is pretty much out of a textbook. Keep the patient away from the source of the addiction and keep him as calm and safe as possible while he – literally and figuratively – sweats it out.

You snort at yourself, your mood beginning to lift now that you're looking at the overall situation logically instead of emotionally. You still would have liked it if someone had called to check in with you. Or, barring that, called to update you on Daniel's progress, brainstorm how to best help Sam regain the weight she's lost, marvel at Teal'c's patience, or bitch about O'Neill's impatience. But all of those things are common, ordinary issues. None of them really require your specific expertise.

And if your nurses or doctors had actually called you every day to ask what to do, you already know that despite your current woe-is-me thoughts, you'd have ripped heads, seriously wondering how the hell anyone on your staff had managed to make it through medical school.

You already know you're just a bit demanding and fastidious as a boss. As a patient, you're even worse. And your staff is way too smart to even think about bothering you under those circumstances.

Pulling your hand away from the desktop, no longer feeling the need to tap your fingers, you let your arm rest on the arm of the chair. Well, now you're in a better mood. Even so, you're still going out of your mind with boredom and you still don't have any interest in tackling the endless piles of paper on your desk. You suppose maybe you should just head back home and try to find something to do there, just so you're out of the way of your busy staff.

The problem is that you've already watched as much television as your brain can handle and finished your backlog of magazines. And you're tired of wrestling with crossword puzzles that you can't ever seem to solve. All the other projects you've been saving for a rainy day (so to speak) require the use of both hands – replanting the flower beds, cleaning out the junk in the garage that was left behind by the previous owners, or painting the guest bedroom something other than the hideous lime-green that currently adorns the walls. Somehow, you've never made time for any of those chores, and you'd be much less frustrated by your enforced downtime if you could actually do something productive with it. But since you can't do much of anything other than sit and stare right at the moment, you should probably go home where at least the furniture is comfortable and you can hang out in old sweatpants.

A noise distracts you from your musings. You're inordinately thankful for being pulled out of your own head, but it takes you a minute to realize that the sound is someone knocking on your office door. It strikes you as odd, since as far as you know, no one either knows where you are or is actually looking for you. For a long, tempting moment, you consider not answering the door. After all, it's probably just Warner coming by to offer yet another lecture on not overdoing things. But you know you're incapable of not responding – the same way you can't just walk by a ringing telephone.

Clearing your throat, you straighten up in your chair as you invite your visitor in. The office is dimly lit at the moment, in contrast to the brightness of the infirmary, so the backlight from the open door blinds you at first. Blinking hard, fully expecting to see the round and bespectacled face of your colleague, it takes you completely by surprise when your eyes adjust enough to see a halo of blonde hair framing a gaunt face.

Conscious of the fact that you probably look like a gaping fool, you gesture to the chair on the other side of the desk. You watch as Sam shuts the door behind her and moves slowly towards the proffered seat. She was hurt in the mine, you know, not so much from outright abuse by the guards but from the constant grind of harsh, physical labor on a body still fighting its way back to full strength and ability after Jolinar. You know her teammates – with the possible exception of Teal'c – aren't entirely aware of just how big a toll that took out of her.

Sam has hidden it very well – working her butt off ever since she was taken as a host to make sure there were no questions or raised eyebrows about her ability to return to the field – physically, anyway. Emotionally was a whole different story. There was no way for her to pretend like nothing had happened. But once she got out of the infirmary, she put on her best polite and pleasant mask and ignored the rude whispers and the stares until the people on base got bored trying to get a reaction from her and found someone more interesting to poke at.

As her doctor and best friend, you know more about her nightmares and her struggles than anyone other than her teammates. You may even know more than they do about the way it all has affected her. It never interfered with her ability to do her job, so you didn't try to hold her back. But you've also watched her like the proverbial hawk, making damn sure to remind her at every opportunity to eat more and sleep more and to contact you any time she notices any unusual physical reaction. You've also kept a cot available in one of the back observation rooms – in case she comes in to get a sedative so she can sleep without nightmares.

You smile mentally at those thoughts, knowing you sound like a mother hen fussing over a chick. Still, Sam hasn't really seemed to mind, oddly enough for someone so fiercely independent. You know no one has really paid that much attention to her well-being since her mom died. You care about her and know she trusts you to be there for her in a way she doesn't trust many people. And vice versa.

Suddenly, you realize you're still staring at her and she's starting to fidget. Rolling your eyes at yourself, you laugh and say, "Sorry. I've had one of those days where my brain is just spinning in circles."

You're relieved when she takes the statement at face value, nodding encouragingly. There's a slightly awkward silence then. She's sitting stiffly, eyes scanning the room like she's searching for something. And you're pleased to see your friend, but you can't help but wonder why she's here. If you were a suspicious person – well, a more suspicious person, anyhow – you'd think she's either up to something or doing recon for someone else (like the colonel) who is up to something. But you're not quite that paranoid when it comes to your friend, particularly since she's not that good an actor. Transparency is more her middle name. Besides, the two of you have spent enough time together for you to read her expressions fairly well.

Finally, when the silence starts to make you uncomfortable, you bite the bullet and ask what brings her by. Hopefully, your tone is as nonchalant and neutral as it sounds in your own ears. As far as you can tell, you managed it quite well, though she's looking at you as though perhaps you've grown another head or two in the last several seconds.

Apparently, you're either starting your "senior moments" early, the painkillers are kicking your ass harder than you'd suspected, or you're being completely dense. Thankfully, your friend is a kind person and offers the reminder in a far gentler tone than you'd have used in her place. Then again, it's already been established that you don't suffer fools gladly.

"We just got back from our return trip to Shyla's planet. I thought I'd let you know it went about as well as could be expected. Shyla seemed to have some clue that what she'd tried to do to keep Daniel there was wrong; Daniel kept his poise even though he's still furious about what was done to him; and the colonel and Teal'c managed not to piss off the wrong people and get thrown in the mines again. It wasn't a pleasant trip, but it was important to Daniel and I do think things on that planet are going to be better in the future."

You almost chuckle at her description. Almost. The entire mess is no laughing matter. Still, you feel relieved that the members of SG-1 survived their return trip to the planet, showed forgiveness of a sort, and are moving forward to put it all behind them. Not without cost, of course, since Daniel still needs to be monitored, O'Neill's bad knee requires regular cortisone shots for the abuse it took, and Sam still isn't up to par. And it's not exactly like you got off scot-free either.

Trying to gather your still-meandering thoughts, you murmur something suitably nonsensical or soothing, something like "good, good" or "how nice" or "hey, that's great".

You know that – whatever it is that you said – you sound patronizing, but there's not much you can do about it now. Anything more serious or suitable than that might lead to a soul-searching or an abstract and philosophical conversation. While those aren't exactly your forte, you've had enough of them with your friend to hold your own and feel comfortable. But you're not even supposed to be in the infirmary to begin with and Sam looks about ready to collapse from fatigue. Starting something that in-depth right now would be a very stupid idea. So instead, you decide to shift gears slightly.

"How'd you know where to find me?"

You're focused on your friend, so you notice the way she squirms slightly, like a child suffering an attack of sudden shyness. You're not quite sure how to decipher it until she opens her mouth.

"Well, I called your house and no one answered. Then I called your cell phone, but it was off. Then I called Cassie's cell and she said that she was spending a long weekend with the general's granddaughters and hadn't seen you, but she thought you might have gone to work. So I poked around the infirmary until Dr. Warner suggested I try your office since, as he put it, 'She's finally stopped bothering everyone, but I haven't seen her leave yet.'"

You choke on the man's description – you hadn't even double-checked test results or barked at anyone for heaven's sake! – even as you find yourself starting to smile. On hearing Sam's words, you can tell her shyness is because she doesn't want to look like some kind of stalker or something, and that she's a little uncertain about how you'll react to the lengths she went through to hunt you down. Given her experiences with her volatile ex-fiancé, you know she's still overly sensitive to how her actions come across to others on a personal level.

After all your earlier musings and insecurities, you're really touched by her efforts and you tell her so. It's completely worth it to see her blush and it occurs to you that you're finding her reaction far more endearing, albeit entertaining, than you probably should. Still – particularly on a day when you've been feeling unnoticed and unneeded and unappreciated – her friendship does mean a lot to you.

You're not sure you've ever really told her that before, not in so many words, and you know she hasn't said anything similar to you. In the shared working environment – the macho backslapping and crude jokes – the touchy-feely stuff of friendship, especially of female friendship, seems out of place.

But maybe you both need it more than you realize. It never hurts to tell people how important they are to you. As a doctor in the Stargate program, you've seen more clearly than anyone that the people around you can't count on a tomorrow.

Once again, you pull yourself out of your own head, both amused and annoyed at the way you keep getting lost in your own wandering thoughts. You think maybe you should say something, especially since Sam's fidgeting again and starting at you intently, and you have absolutely no idea how long you were sitting there staring off into space. Before you can pull any string of coherent syllables together, your friend beats you to the punch.

"I … uh … I'm glad you don't mind me tracking you down. It's … we've all really missed having you here in the infirmary, you know? And I thought you'd want to know what's going on, but I didn't want to be a bother. I mean …"

You stare unblinking as her words sputter and die out. Now you're not quite sure what's going on. You can't remember the last time she seemed this uncertain of her welcome in your office. Usually you only get irritable and snappy when you're in the middle of something urgent or something approaching a crisis and she comes barging in oblivious. This definitely doesn't qualify. There are certainly urgent things going on around the infirmary – but Warner would nail your hide to the wall if you attempted to do anything about them right now.

You lean forward in your chair as best you can with the sling, wanting to somehow close the space between you, to emphasize the personal connection. Before you can ask again if she's ok, Sam's leaning forward too, the words coming out of her in a rush.

"I didn't just come down here for that. It's, well, I'm sorry, Janet."

If she'd suddenly announced her plans to smuggle nuclear weapons to terrorists, you couldn't possibly be more surprised. And you make no bones about hiding it, either.

"You don't have anything to be sorry for. Well, unless you've been snooping around my office without my permission …"

You let your voice trail off when it becomes clear that the attempt at humor has fallen flat. Sam is frowning at you, her hands fluttering in the air like nervous butterflies as she earnestly assures you that she'd never even think of doing that. Which, of course, you already know. You decide the low doses of pain medication must be dulling your senses, because you never have this much trouble reading the woman's moods. The fact that your own early attack of doubt likely isn't helping matters gets shoved conveniently to the back of your mind.

Purposely, you reach across the desktop, laying your hand over one of Sam's, and make your voice as soft as possible. "I know that, Sam. It was supposed to be a joke." You pause briefly, letting that sink in, aware of the tension you can feel in the stiff lines of her fingers. "Seriously though, you don't have anything to be sorry about."

You're not really sure what reaction you expect to that – though relief would likely be on the list. Instead, she's shaking her head, denial on her lips.

"I'm sorry I haven't been checking in to see how you're doing. You're one of my closest friends and I didn't even pick up the phone to see if you were ok, if you needed anything."

For a moment, you just sit there blinking rather owlishly at her. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you think you should be doing a happy dance at the apology, since it's the exact issue you were mentally grousing about earlier. And you have to admit that you do feel some degree of gratification that someone else sees the pattern, some degree of relief that you weren't just mentally jousting at windmills. But you also feel some sense of guilt – for being so sucked in to the "me, me, me" mentality, for not being more concerned yourself about how your friend was doing.

The lack of contact, you see now, was a two-way street. Your friend, her face still limned with worry and fatigue, needed your outreach as much as you needed hers. It seems you both still have a lot to learn about the fine art of friendship, about how both people's needs are important. But the good thing is that you both can see it and you're still friends, so you'll have lots of time to practice.

Deliberately, you keep your tone light, certain that neither of you is quite in the right mental or emotional space for a longer, more in-depth conversation. "Well, I didn't exactly check in with you either, even though I knew you were having a rough time as well. So … I'm sorry too."

Sam starts to shake her head to let you off the hook. Why, you don't know. Well, apart from her thinking that a lack of serious physical injury means she's somehow more able, more responsible … more something. You don't know why it surprises you; you've seen this side of her before; you know how she is. Lifting your good hand from where it's still pressed over hers, you hold it up to forestall her disagreement, shaking your head in your best stern parent mode.

"No arguments. We both were preoccupied, we're both sorry, so let's just accept it and move on."

You catch a faint glimpse of bemusement in her eyes, but she drops her protest and nods her agreement. Score one for the home team. And now that leaves the two of you sitting across from each other, with the conversation having been effectively killed. Or so you start to think, when Sam's face sets in serious lines.

"So … how are you, Janet? How's your shoulder doing?"

It almost seems like a superfluous question, since any fool can see you're up and moving around, even if you're not fully functional yet. But as you search her face, seeing the dark circles under her eyes, the hollows under her cheekbones, the lines of worry in her forehead, you start to suspect she's looking for something deeper. Not exactly sure what she's after, but having a glimmer of suspicion, your answer is the simple truth.

You tell her your shoulder still hurts a lot, but you're weaning yourself off the pain pills, and that everything is healing just the way it should be. A scant second later, barely long enough for a single breath, you add that you'll be back to normal in no time.

When you hear her nearly inaudible sigh and see some of the taut lines ease on her face, you know your guess was right. She's searching for reassurance. She'd never ask for it overtly, any more than you would, since she's aware on some level that around the SGC it's something that best remain hidden. The world in which the two of you live and work tends to scoff at such needs.

It's one thing when a person is critically injured. Then it's fine for teammates to hold vigils and for brothers-in-arms to openly show emotion. It's accepted in those circumstances. It's one thing for a commander to worry about team cohesiveness after a traumatic mission, one thing if a guy slaps his buddy on the back after a crisis is over and suggests going out for a beer.

But the more sensitive aspects of things tend to be given short shrift around the SGC. The people here are soldiers – they tend to be taciturn and stoic and keep their conversations focused on the very concrete. Most of them live hard and play rough, knowing that at any moment, their time could be up. It's one of the reasons the two of you have gravitated to this friendship like moths to a flame – you both speak the same language of emotions – subtle and hidden though it is.

Wanting her to see that you know what she's doing, you reciprocate, asking, "How are you doing? Still dealing with muscle aches and lack of appetite?"

It's nothing you really need to be questioning. Just watching her tells you the answer. Still, you know she's reading what's beneath the surface when her answers mirrors yours from earlier – namely, that she's still struggling, but doing better every day. It's not a simple statement of health for either of you, you know, but a declaration that you're both strong people and will get through this … and that your friendship is still ok. It occurs to you that some people might think you're nuts for reading so much into so little. But they aren't you and they aren't Sam.

You smile at your friend, and she smiles back. It's the first genuine smile you've seen from her in what seems like weeks. Not that you've been smiling so much yourself lately.

Before you realize what you're doing, you blurt out, "I'm really glad you came by. I've been feeling a little down and it's just really nice to know someone cares."

Something softens in blue eyes and there's a split-second expression in them that you can't quite read. Before you have time to puzzle it out, she speaks quietly. "I do care and I just hoped you were ok. It's just … we've been so tied up with Daniel, but now he's over the worst and just wants to be left alone. And … well … I've really missed spending time with you. You know?"

From the slightly startled look on the woman's face at the last two sentences, you guess she too said more than she'd really planned to. Which might not be such a bad thing.

Suddenly, something flips a switch in your head and you remember that you're really not supposed to be here yet. And while SG-1 is officially on light duty – which means Sam could go tinker in her lab if she really wanted to – General Hammond strongly encouraged the team members to actually take some leave time. You lever yourself awkwardly out of your chair, which is really not all that easy under the circumstances. You readjust your sling, and then look over to find Sam watching you, anxiety and confusion on her face.

Waggling your eyebrows at her, you beckon with your hand and say, "Sounds like we could both use some good company and some relaxing downtime."

You don't count the past several days when you've been confined to your house – that time was filled with pain, boredom, frustration, and bickering with Cassandra over how loud her stereo was or how much time she spent talking on the phone. You don't really think extensive time alone with your foster daughter is good for either of you. The bottom line is that the medical leave has been anything but relaxing. You see the anxiety draining from your friend's face to be replaced with something like wistfulness and realize just how much you both need this.

Baiting the hook, you continue in your best persuasive tone. "I wasn't really doing anything around here today … just came in because it was a bit too quiet at home." You mentally translate that to say that you were actually just really lonely at home. "How about we take off and have a girl's weekend at my house? Since it's only Friday afternoon, we'll actually get a bit of a head start on it. We could rent some movies, get some ice cream, order enough Chinese take-out to feed an army – and just have some time to recuperate from everything that's happened lately."

You see the look of longing in Sam's eyes – since she hasn't exactly been having a lot of fun lately herself. The sight makes you smile and then you notice her mimic the expression. Before you can really process the movement, she's out of her chair, pulling you into a quick, one-armed hug, and then walking towards the door.

She stops with her hand on the knob and says quietly, "Sounds like a wonderful plan, Janet. Just let me stop by my office and grab my stuff." There's a brief pause before she tacks on, "You have no idea just how good that sounds."

You smile again and use your hand to shoo her out the door, then trail behind her. Your response to her statement is purely mental, a whisper of thought that says, 'Actually, I do know.'

Not an hour before, you were sitting here feeling semi-obsolete and uncared for. Now, it's as if that black cloud had never been hanging over your head. And it wasn't just her quick, off-handed reminder that people do miss you being in the infirmary. Nor was it the simple fact that someone finally thought to check in with you and see how you are doing. It's that you have a friend to share things with, a friend who does care about you, a friend you can count on. You may have doubted it earlier today – when you let your drug-infused imagination run away with you. But you don't doubt it now.

You've spent a lot of time feeling alone the past couple of years, particularly with moving here to Colorado, with having to start over yet again. It's nice to know you don't have to be lonely any more.

The End

Return to Stargate SG-1 Fiction

Return to Main Page