Title: "A Less Velvet Glove"
Author: Little Red
Spoilers: "Avalon part I." Janet is just off-camera.
Category: Daniel/Janet established relationship, talk of Daniel/Vala. Possibly pants!verse.
Summary: He was definitely sleeping on the couch for the rest of his life.
Author's Note: This falls into the "... why not?" school of fanfic writing. Written right after "Avalon part I," so doesn't take into account anything that happened after that. The Daniel/Janet characterization (and, you know, aliveness) works much better if you read this set in pants!verse. (Actually, considering how wonderfully cranky Daniel was on-screen, the episode works better in pants!verse.) All you need to know about pants!verse for this is that Daniel and Janet are together and cohabitate. And are snarky. Yep, that's all.
Dedication: A.j., who might be alone in appreciating this. And Lyssie, who wanted pants!verse, but meant something else.
Daniel had two thoughts upon waking up in the infirmary: 1) Ow. His head was just this side of nuclear meltdown, and that wasn't nearly as pleasant as it sounded. 2) He was going to kill Vala.
Find her, and kill her. He supposed, upon further evaluation, that that brought his total to three thoughts.
And a fourth, one that didn't occur to him until he heard the telltale click of approaching heels: He wasn't actually going to get to kill Vala. Janet was going to kill him.
Quick, some part of his brain, lower on the evolutionary ladder, advised him. Don't move. Pretend to be asleep.
Higher reasoning kicked in a moment later, informing him that his opossum act wouldn't stand the test of the vitals monitors beeping traitorously next to him. It also informed him, just in time, that muttering curses about modern technology would be even less helpful.
He longed for Jack. Jack was always ten times more trouble than he was in the infirmary, attracting Janet's medical wrath like a lightning rod. It spared him until he'd had the chance to make her dinner (well, order it in) or restock the ice cream freezer or clear his stacks of paper out of the living room as a gesture of repentance after he did something unwise off-world.
Like, say, getting literally, and... er... sexually hijacked by an alien extra from one of Cassie's collection of Goth vampire TV movies. Actually, the hijacked part would have been all right, if he'd managed to tell the story without mentioning the leather catsuit, or the sexual innuendo, or the part where he'd been straddled and nearly had his tongue removed by, well, another tongue.
Cassie found the fact that he'd been beaten up by a girl who (according to Jack) may or may not have called him "hot lips" hilarious, but then, Cassie was evil. That was high on the list of things he should have considered before moving in with Janet in a fit of helpless romance -- Janet came packaged with a teenaged daughter whose upbringing and sense of humor had been largely overseen by one Jack O'Neill.
Cassie would probably find this hysterical, too, if he didn't manage to first kill anyone and everyone who would tell her.
Janet, however, took a little less kindly to other women laying claim to her boyfriend. This would have been fine -- Daniel didn't mind being a one-woman man, especially when it was already all he could do to keep up with that one -- except that, now that they were together, Janet had stopped making menacing gestures toward the Other Women and had started taking it out on him. He blamed it on the women's magazines Cassie left around the house (like flags, he could've sworn, just to make it clear to him that, while he might live here, this was still enemy territory, and he'd only been granted entry on an easily revocable relationship visa).
And well, Sam had gone off on him about how he could hardly plead innocence when he went out of his way to be nice to all those attractive aliens who passed through their Stargate, but he maintained that Sam had overreacted just because he and Jack had been making disparaging comments about women's magazines.
The clicking heels paused at the foot of his bed. And paused. And... paused.
Daniel opened one eye.
That only served to inform him that, yes, it was Janet walking around in Janet's easily recognizable shoes, and that she was indeed standing at the foot of his bed. Without his glasses, he couldn't tell if she was poised to strike or not.
"Good morning." Janet sounded pleasant, which was normal, but didn't move any farther towards visual range, which wasn't. Maybe she hadn't heard? Maybe... she'd been told only that he had been attacked by a highly ornamental Goa'uld slap bracelet in a freak archeological incident?
"Your 'wife' was brought in about an hour ago," Janet continued, practically chirping. "Seems she's suffering the same ill effects of your... union... that you are. Oh, but don't worry. We've stabilized her."
Daniel groaned. "Janet..."
Definitely a low point in his history of eloquence, but then, his brain was trying to escape from the inside. He suspected she was holding out on painkillers deliberately. Not that she would do that, but, well... she might.
Maybe the bracelet would do some real damage to him soon? She never managed to stay angry if he was in actual medical danger.
Of course, she didn't actually sound angry at all. That was never a good sign. "She was talking about you in her sleep, you know," Janet continued. "Called you some very interesting things. It's nice to know you appreciate women with kinky imaginations..."
She stopped. "Yes, Daniel?"
That was it. He was definitely sleeping on the couch for the rest of his life.
"Vala lies about everything. You can't listen to anything she tells you. And this... gah! You know I would never agree to anything like this! Had I known she was going to do this to me, I never would have-"
"Invited her over? Answered her letters? Vouched for her character to General Landry?"
He glared. "I wouldn't have let them open the iris. Can I have my glasses, please?" He was sick of trying to guess by the movements of a blurry, brunette outline how close he was to, well, having his relationship visa revoked by the time he got back from Atlantis.
Janet handed them to him, and he put them on. With his new 20/20 vision, he could see Mitchell hovering in the corner, looking unnecessarily amused.
He did his best to whisper. "Janet... look, can we talk about this later? You know I'd never... well, not on purpose."
"Sure," she said, too brightly. "Not a problem."
Now that he could see again, Daniel was strangely tempted to place a pillow over his head and block out the harshest of the overhead lights. Or hide himself from her field of vision. "I don't see why you get to be mad when I'm the one in the infirmary," he pointed out, a whole lot snappier than he expected.
"Oh, I'm not mad."
"... You're not?"
"Oh, no. I'm finding this hilarious."
Now he definitely wanted to put a pillow over his head. Why couldn't he have listened to Jack? His friend's reaction to his new relationship had been one of combined amusement and warning: "But she's evil!"
Blinded by the fact that she was 1) beautiful, 2) interested, and 3) unbelievably kind and compassionate when something was really wrong, Daniel had foolishly ignored Jack's not-entirely-well-meant advice.
"Well," he snapped in annoyance, "if you're going to gloat about it, can you at least tell me if you've found a way to get this thing off yet?"
Janet sighed. "Not as of yet, no..." And then, the evil smirk, hiding what he suspected was a full-blown grin, "but I'm sure you and Vala will have lots of fun sorting that one out once she wakes up."
Mitchell snickered. Daniel glared.
At least he was going to Atlantis. People were nice there. Life-sucking aliens, apparently, yes, but no sadistic tarts or evil girlfriends in the mix. Hadn't he been very, very sad about the idea of having to sleep without Janet just the night before?
Well, so much the better. She could stew about it this for a month or two and then have gone past forgiveness right into desperately missing him by the time he got back. There was always sex in 'desperately missing' -- and not the bodily terrifying kind of sex Vala was constantly proposing. That was good.
Until he fell asleep again (Janet consented to give him more painkillers, which was nice), and then Teal'c arrived, and then they told him he'd missed his boarding call.
It was Daniel's first time back at the house since the whole Vala/Merlin/Ancients incident had started, and he wasn't really looking forward to it.
Wasn't that he didn't want to be home, exactly, or that he didn't want to see Janet and Cassie... just... Atlantis. Damn.
No one was home when he got there, though both cars were, so they were most likely at the mini-mart down the street. Daniel kicked off his shoes and sat down on the couch with a sigh, eyeing the stack of Cosmopolitan magazines and X-Files seasons that indicated Cassie's claim over the coffee table.
He'd rested up on the base under Doctor Carmichael's watch, so he wasn't tired, and all bruises were good and treated. The mission had been ridiculous, but hadn't ended up a total bust, so he wasn't really upset, either.
Only horribly, horribly depressed.
The front door slammed open, mid-shriek. "-and then he pushed her in the water! With her clothes on!"
"Mmm-hmm," Janet's voice followed Cassie's. "So much for gallantry, I guess?" And then, "Daniel?"
He childishly considered not answering, but that would be, well, childish. "In here."
"The chocolate chunk ice cream is mine," Cassie called by way of greeting en route to the kitchen.
There was a rustling of plastic bags, and then Janet breezed into the living room. "I was hoping you'd be back by tonight," she said. "We rented some movies. The chocolate chunk ice cream is-"
"-Cassie's, yes, I heard."
Janet spoke just a touch slower, the way she always did when she was sussing out someone's emotional state. "Yes. We practically bought out the mini-mart, though, so I'm sure there's something she'll be willing to part with." She walked over to him and moved to lay a hand on his shoulder. He shifted away. "Daniel?"
He sighed. "I don't know if I'm in the mood for a movie," he said, hating that all he could think about was how she'd mocked him, when she didn't seem to be thinking about it at all. Janet was like that -- quick to anger, but quick to let go. If he mocked her for anything, she'd snap back, but would have completely forgotten it by dinnertime.
Cassie was the same way. So was most of Janet's family, the few times he'd met them. She wasn't used to the way he sulked -- her word, not his -- over slights that weren't at all ill-intended.
"Daniel?" she repeated, sympathetic if still confused. "Are you all right?"
"Mom!" Cassie had the bad habit of yelling from anywhere in the house rather than coming to actually see someone. This habit ran unchecked, because Janet didn't actually see it as a bad habit so much as a perfectly reasonable means of communication. "Want me to make sundaes for you and Daniel?"
Janet looked at him for an answer, but he didn't give her one. She raised a disapproving eyebrow, but answered for him anyway, yelling back with a yes.
"Come here and pick flavors!"
"In a minute, Cass," Janet called her off before taking a seat next to him and crossing her arms. "Is this about the mission, or is this personal?"
She was direct, too. This was something he loved about her in general -- he always knew where he stood, and if she said she loved him and wanted to be with him, there was no room for misinterpretation. However, when he was mid-sulk, she sometimes seemed a little too direct. He had a hard time keeping up with that when his natural inclination was not to say anything at all, let alone the complete truth in as few words as possible.
"I'm fine," he answered. "Go help Cassie."
She shifted on the couch like she was considering it, but changed her mind. Instead, she slipped one arm underneath his and cuddled against his shoulder.
"I'm sorry about Atlantis," she murmured.
"Daniel, you don't have to pretend it's fine. It means a lot to you, and you have been waiting for this for a long time. You're allowed to be disappointed that you'll have to wait a few months."
For all his sulking, he hadn't quite considered that this wasn't a one-time-only chance. The Deadalus, barring an unforeseen and disastrous incident, would return after securing Atlantis.
It was also a nice thing for Janet to say. She hadn't been outwardly opposed to his plans for temporary reassignment to another galaxy, but she'd made it clear that she was supporting him to be supportive, not because she wouldn't miss the hell out of him.
"It isn't fair," he muttered. "They should've waited for me. It would only have taken-"
"A week," Janet pointed out, but her sad expression tempered her cold logic. The Deadalus had to leave as quickly as possible if there was to be any hope of reaching Atlantis while... well, while there was still an Atlantis to reach, according to the deathbed communique the Atlantis team had sent back.
He sighed. "I'm just not sure what I'm supposed to do now."
Janet rubbed a hand over his upper back. "I think Colonel Mitchell might have a suggestion or two."
Daniel shot her a suspicious look. "Did he talk to you?"
She winced. "Maybe. A little. Look... you're already here. You might as well help him settle in for a while until your chance at the next big adventure comes around."
Daniel found himself rolling his eyes, unable to keep back a bit of a smile. "You're being too practical. I was looking forward to moping about this for a week or two." Moping was another one of Janet's words that she had to routinely assure him wasn't insulting. To her credit, he was doing a lot less of it these days.
She nuzzled his neck and then kissed him. "I'll see what I can do to make your stay on Earth more bearable," she promised.
He figured he'd get her while she was being generous. "Does that mean I'm forgiven for the whole Vala thing?"
"Oh, no, I'm still going to mock you about that," Janet grinned. "But I promise to wait until you're feeling better."
Daniel kissed her, and once he started, it was more than a little difficult to stop. "You can't tell me you seriously considered her a threat."
"I don't know... some men have a thing for leather..."
"Never," he assured her, although... well, he wasn't about to get into that. He could feel her smirking against his lips, and knew she was on to him.
"Good to know."
Well, as long as he was on Earth, he might as well enjoy himself. And as... exciting a life as Vala might have to offer, he had to admit he was far more comfortable in his house full of semi-evil Fraiser women. "Ice cream?"
Janet waved a hand toward the kitchen. "Lead on, hot lips."
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