Being invisible was not all it was cracked up to be, Daniel mused as he wandered aimlessly through the halls of the SGC. As he swung his arm through the wall on his left, it occurred to him that if his arm could pass through the wall, then his feet should pass through the floor and he should float down to the center of the earth. It might be interesting, he thought, to see the center of the earth. But then, by rights, he should pass straight through the earth, popping out somewhere around China to float off into oblivion.
Instead, here he was walking on the floor, giving himself a headache trying to figure out the physics of his situation. No doubt Sam would be able to explain it to him.
The thought of her brought him up short. He'd followed Teal'c and General Hammond to the infirmary after they'd come back through the Stargate. Janet had reassured everyone that Sam would be fine. But sitting around waiting for them both to regain consciousness has been frustrating.
To distract himself, he'd decided to take advantage of his current state of invisibility to get a view of the SGC that he wouldn't otherwise have. It was too bad Jack was in the infirmary, he decided. If there was anyone at the SGC he wanted to spy on, it was Jack.
Instead, Daniel had spent the last several hours following members of the SGC around, getting incredibly bored. All the gossip in the mess hall was stuff he'd already heard, so it held little interest. He'd even worked up the nerve to check out the women's locker room, only to find it utterly deserted. Sometimes he was certain the universe played little jokes on him simply for its own amusement.
He'd go back to the infirmary, he decided. He could sit with Sam and Jack for a while, until Robert arrived. Then he'd go and invisibly cheer Robert on while he examined the crystal skull Teal'c had brought back.
When Daniel entered the dimly-lit and nearly deserted hospital ward, Jack was tossing restlessly, tangling himself up in the blankets. He walked over and stood next to Jack's bed, noting that Jack was scowling and grumbling inarticulately as he shivered under the covers. "You're even grouchy in your sleep," Daniel observed aloud.
The sound of quiet steps to his right drew his attention away from Jack. Thought it was very late, Daniel wasn't at all surprised to see Janet Fraiser slip into the ward. Sam and Jack were the only two patients, but he knew the doctor well enough to know that she would stay until both recovered to her satisfaction.
It hardly mattered, since the doctor's petite frame could pass easily through him, but he stepped back anyway, giving Janet access to her patient. He watched as she flipped efficiently through Jack's chart, then carefully checked his vitals.
"Don't you have nurses to do this sort of thing?" Daniel asked, amused. Having awoken more times than he cared to count to Janet's firm, but gentle touch on his wrist, he was well aware that she did rounds on all her patients every couple of hours, sometimes long after she was supposed to have left for the day. Daniel knew all too well what a calming and reassuring presence she could be, and was glad that she was here to take care of his friends.
Janet hung Jack's chart back on its hook at the end of his bed, and moved over to Sam. Having nothing better to do, Daniel followed, moving to stand opposite her as she approached Sam's bedside. She paused long enough to extend the privacy curtain between the two beds.
There was something about her demeanor, some subtle shift in her body language that caused concern to flare in his chest. He frowned, gazing down intently at Sam, wondering if Janet had spotted some change in Sam's condition.
But Sam looked the same to him, he thought. She looked unimaginably frail, pale and motionless against the whiteness of the sheets.
Glancing up, he looked to Janet for reassurance. As she had with Jack, Janet meticulously checked Sam's chart. After a moment of careful perusal, she put it aside and slipped her stethoscope from around her shoulders, fitting the instrument into her ears. Daniel held his breath as Janet spent several long moments listening intently, a small frown on her face as she pressed the end of the stethoscope against Sam's upper chest. He'd heard one of the other doctors talking about how the radiation had affected the hypothalamus and he spent several long seconds trying to remember if that structure had anything to do with controlling the heart and lungs.
Whatever she heard, or didn't hear, finally seemed to satisfy Janet, and Daniel breathed a small sigh of relief when she straightened and slipped her stethoscope into her pocket. He watched as Janet took a moment to fuss over her patient, drawing the blanket up and tucking it more firmly around Sam's body.
He expected her to leave then, to return to her office to do…whatever it was she did in there. She probably sat at her desk devising tortuous new medical tests to run during the post-mission physicals, he mused. Instead she paused, looking down intently at Sam's immobile face. He heard her draw a deep breath, letting it out slowly as her hand moved to Sam's cheek, fingers stroking tenderly for a moment before moving to brush the hair away from Sam's forehead. Her other hand, almost of its own accord, moved to wrap lightly around Sam's wrist, fingertips automatically searching for and finding the pulse point. After a moment, twining her fingers with Sam's, Janet lifted Sam's hand and cradled it lightly against her heart, her other hand lifting to cover their joined hands protectively.
It was the expression on her face, when he glanced up, however, that made him blink in real surprise. The doctor had never looked at him like that, he was certain. While it was impossible to miss the lines of worry around Janet's eyes, he saw a tender smile curve Janet's lips, her eyes shining, as if the mere contact of her hand with Sam's filled her with exquisite joy.
Daniel closed his eyes, swallowing hard. Sha're had smiled that same smile at him a lifetime ago. Or so it seemed now. It was an expression that had warmed his soul. It reminded him that he was loved and cherished above all others, that her life would be incomplete without him.
Standing here, witnessing this moment between Janet and Sam, it hurt to think about Sha're, about how she would never again smile at him like that.
Glancing back down at Sam, who had not moved, he felt an overwhelming sense of loss on her behalf. It was so crystal clear to him. When someone looked at you like that, he thought, wanting to grab Sam by the shoulders and shake her into consciousness, you damn well better be awake to appreciate it. Because it didn't happen often enough, he thought. It could happen every single day of a person's life, and it still wouldn't be often enough.
Daniel wondered if Sam knew how Janet felt, had seen that expression on the doctor's face with her own eyes. The thought that the emotions he was witnessing might be utterly one-sided was unbearable.
He opened his mouth to speak, even though he knew Janet couldn't hear him. Daniel wanted to say something, even if it was just to commiserate. But he thought better of it at the last second. This was a private moment, and it didn't matter that no one could see or hear him. He was an intruder.
Slowly, he backed away from the pool of light illuminating the two women, retreating to the deserted hallway. He wished he could lean against the wall and take a moment to compose himself.
Teal'c, he decided, shaking his head. He'd go and see what Teal'c was doing.
Thought he had resolved to leave them alone, Daniel couldn't resist one last look back. Janet hadn't moved. She still stood next to Sam's bedside, holding her hand, that same expression on her face.
Janet would be there, he was certain, when Sam woke up. He hoped Sam woke up soon.