* * * * * *
Janet's hands clutched her head, waiting for the painkillers to kick in.
The hope that had been driving her since finding out Daniel could see Sam had died a sickening death.
She tried to believe
Sam wasn't gone for good, but her heart just wasn't up to the strain hope put on it anymore.
Betrayal and Despair flooded her, removing the outside world.
Bile rose in her throat as the last two days replayed themselves for
her in slow motion.
The migraine the day's events had heralded arrived in full force, laughing in triumph at her attempts to allieve it medicinally.
Her body, tense and cramped from sitting in one position since the Colonel's
departure a couple hours earlier, convulsed with sobs against her will.
Each sound was ripped out of her as she watched Sam leave for the mission only to have the image replaced by the cold, headless corpse she'd personally
Reliving the hope on everyone's faces and then seeing the dejection in Daniel's eyes...the finality hit her over and over.
At first she thought she was imagining it, but as she crashed out of her mind and into
reality, she felt strong hands massaging the back of her neck.
Focusing on the sensations, she was surprised to see her tears dripping from her hands into a small puddle on her desk.
She hadn't realized she'd been crying that long a time.
"Shhh, Doc. It's okay."
The Colonel's quiet, soothing presence flowed through her.
She leaned back against his chest, feeling protected as his hands worked magic to relieve the tension in her neck and shoulders.
She heard the smile in his whisper.
"Not a problem."
Janet fought down a sigh of pain, only half of which was physical, as her migraine made its presence felt.
Her voice cracked on a sob and suddenly she was gathered in a strong, secure embrace.
He held her tight until the racking sobs
slowly quieted to an occasional soft hiccup.
Sniffing, Janet raised her hand to the Colonel's cheek, unsuprised to find it unshaved and wet with his own tears.
Jack carefully set her down in her chair and slid onto the desk in front of her.
Giving her a slightly lop-sided grin, Jack wiped his hand across his cheek, obviously trying to look nonchalant about it.
A rueful smile tugged at Janet's mouth as the Colonel's finger caught a few stray tears before handing her a tissue from
the box beside him.
"Yes...I guess I really needed that. Thank you."
Compassion glowed from Jack's
eyes as he handed her the travel bag so she could put herself together a bit better.
"Ugh. I must look a mess. Thanks."
"Well...you have looked better."
Jack grinned at the mock indignant glare she shot him as she emptied the bag onto her desk beside
He snorted under his breath in amusement as she not-quite gently shoved him over a couple inches to make room for it all.
"You coulda just moved those files."
"You were easier."
Jack gave her his best wounded look and laughed when she bopped him on the shoulder with her brush.
She started to repair her make-up, but Jack caught her hand.
"Just splash some water on your face and brush your hair. You don't need that stuff. You never have."
A slight blush spread across her cheeks at the compliment.
"Thank you, but I don't think a red nose and swollen eyes are the most professional look I can
achieve at this moment."
Jack opened his mouth to make a comment, but closed it again as she turned a slightly embarrassed smile toward him.
Instead, he took in the tight lines around her eyes.
Janet sighed a bit.
"Blinding. Nothing's killing it, either."
Jack tossed most of her stuff into her chair, grinning at her protests, and pulled her onto the desk beside him.
Janet forced her muscles to loosen as Jack's merciful fingers began massaging her temple.
* * * * * *
Sam's hands slid along the wall.
She'd found a spot that gave a bit under her touch, but Jolinar had frowned and said to just mark it and try for a softer spot.
The walls of the shed were incredibly strong.
Nothing like the metal the real shed had been built of.
Jolinar kept making comments, implying Janet was amazingly strong.
In fact, she sounded almost envious.
It was definitely something to keep in mind.
Jolinar searched the other two walls, just as thoroughly, perhaps even more so.
Neither one had spoken a word for quite a while.
Fighting down impatience, Sam continued searching.
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