DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Originally Written for the Femslash Advent Calendar Dead of Winter 2005.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Set season 3/4
In Sickness and...
I panic when she's sick. Janet's supposed to be the strong one, the one who makes everything and everyone better. She looks so small, so helpless, crouched half naked next to the toilet bowl. I had passed her discarded jacket in the hall, her blouse is in a crumpled pile on the floor.
I hesitate at the door, my sleepiness dispelled in a moment by the sight of her. She's sick! Ice water runs through me. I kneel beside her in the narrow room, gently place my hand between the sharp narrow blades of her shoulders. "Janet?"
"Sorry," she gulps. "Didn't mean to wake you."
I was lecturing at the Academy for a couple of weeks which meant that I got to enjoy a bizarrely normal 9 to 5 existence for a change. Janet was doing her normal hours at the Mountain which today had meant being called in at 3 am for an emergency and just getting home a few minutes earlier a mere 22 hours later. The slam of her car door had woken me, then the front door slammed which told me for certain that something was very wrong then I heard the unmistakeable sound of someone retching. She hadn't made it further than the downstairs toilet off the utility room.
Janet hangs her head over the bowl again, breathing deeply. She looks utterly defeated and I know without having to ask that she's had a bad day. I tried to check in with her a couple of times but was never able to speak directly to her. The first two times I'd called, at just after seven and again at eleven o'clock yesterday she'd been in surgery operating on SG12 who'd got caught in an ambush. I knew from Abby, Janet's chief nurse that at least one member of SG12, Lieutenant Timms wasn't going to make it; his injuries were just too severe. At three when I called she was in intensive care and at nine she'd been back in surgery.
She doesn't get like this very often. Janet is a remarkable woman, strong with reserves so deep that to the outsider they might seem endless. But she is still a human being. A wonderful one, but still human. She's worked twenty two hours without respite probably with no food or a snatched ham sandwich which was no doubt past its best before our commissary ever got its hands on it. She's seen people bleed, heard them scream or worse yet experienced the terrible silence when there's nothing more that can be done. She's fought a battle so hard so punishing I can't comprehend how she does it. And tomorrow she will do it again. And the day after that. Because that is who and what she is. A warrior against the ultimate enemy. Death itself.
Today she lost someone. But she will have won the battle for others.
Her bare shoulders shiver. Her jacket is in the hall, discarded in her rush to the toilet, her blouse is on the floor, wet and soiled. I pick it up, place it in the sink. I'll deal with it later. Her eyes are half closed, she still hasn't spoken. I'm concerned she's going to pass out.
"Do you think you can get up?" I ask quietly. "Janet?"
"No no moving. Be be sick again." Her head bows over the bowl again and I hear her retch. I'm not one for sickness normally, can't wait to get away, but this is Janet and if this is the only thing I can do for her then I will do it. I let my hand continue to gentle the stark taut line of her spine.
"I'll be back in a moment," I promise her. I sprint upstairs to our room, take her robe from the back of the door and a clean washcloth from the cupboard and am about to come downstairs again when I hear Cassie's sleepy query.
"What's happening? You woke me up!"
"Your mom's not feeling well," I said. "I think it's something she's eaten. She's going to be okay, just feeling a little sick right now. Go back to bed sweetheart."
"'kay Sam, if you're looking after her." Her eyes are already closing as she shuts her bedroom door again. I heard the muffled "Tell mom I love her, okay."
"Will do, Cass." I took the stairs two at a time to find Janet crouched on her knees and elbows, her forehead resting on the back of her hands. I draped her robe over her and wet the washcloth under the warm water.
"Janet, will you let me help you?"
"M'okay," came the indistinct reply. "Just leave me here."
"Can't do that, Janet, you know that." I was strong, but not quite strong enough to pick Janet up and carry her upstairs to bed as much as I wanted to do that. I wanted to see her safe and warm and well but I was going to need her co-operation. After a little gentle cajoling I managed to get her to lift her head a little so I could gently pass the washcloth over her face, hopefully making her feel a little better. I took the opportunity to start removing the rest of her clothing and get her arms inside the sleeves of her robe so I could at least fasten it around her.
"Let's get you into bed," I said as encouragingly as I could manage. She stared at me as if I was insane. "I'll help you upstairs, don't worry. Hell, I'd carry you if I could."
"I'm not that ill," she objected. Reverse psychology, works every time. I tried to keep my smile compassionate rather than triumphant as she eased herself to her feet, leaning heavily against me as we negotiated the stairs.
I panic when she's sick. But she's taught me well, my love. And the best I can do is follow her example. We may not have exchanged formal vows but in my heart I follow them. In sickness and in health. I try not to think about the next line.
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