“And last, but certainly not least, Dr. Jackson.” Dr. Carolyn Lam dropped her clipboard on the bed where Daniel was sitting, waiting to be examined, causing him to jump slightly and look in her direction. “Am I keeping you up?” she teased. “Just a few quick tests and then you can get some sleep.” She came to stand in front of him, slipping off his glasses and then holding them out for him to take. When he didn’t respond, she folded them up and put them on the bedside table.
Carolyn couldn’t imagine how Daniel could still be conscious, much less sitting up. All of SG1 had been infected with an alien parasite which, if untreated, would cause the victim to fall into a deep and deadly sleep. Luckily, she had been able to come up with a serum, and they were all showing signs of improvement.
The rest of his team members were sleeping soundly, a normal, deep, restful sleep; but for some reason, Daniel was fighting it. He sat there, dressed in infirmary scrubs, apparently lost in his own thoughts.
“How’s Sam?” he asked, as she began to shine a penlight into each of his sleepy and currently bloodshot eyes. The man was obviously exhausted.
“She’s going to be fine. All of you are.” Carolyn put her penlight back in her pocket and reached for her stethoscope, warming its bell in her hands as she continued. “The serum we came up with is working rather dramatically. It began to starve out the parasites almost immediately after it was injected. Shirt, please.”
Operating on autopilot, Daniel lifted his infirmary top enough for the doctor to listen to his heart and lungs, breathing and holding his breath on cue. “Can I see her?” he asked. Carolyn replaced her stethoscope around her neck and began to take his pulse.
“Sure, as soon as you’ve had a few hours of sleep.”
“But I’m not sleepy.” She looked at him skeptically. “No, really. Someone gave me a shot, some sort of stimulant. I couldn’t sleep if I had to.” He realized he wasn’t making a very good argument when he had to inadvertently stifle a yawn.
“Right….Give me five, no, eight hours of uninterrupted sleep and I’ll cut you loose.”
“Fair enough, I guess.” Daniel retrieved his glasses, picked up the robe lying on the foot of his bed, and stood up, intent on leaving. Carolyn stood in front of him, effectively blocking his way. He was starting to wonder if they taught that in med school, because she had one of Janet’s moves down pat.
“Where do you think you’re going?” He made a move to his left, then feinted to his right, hoping to misdirect her, but Carolyn was good. Or maybe he was just too tired. She cut him off once more.
“I’m going to go crash in my office. I’ve got a couch in there and everything.” He smiled at her, going for a dash of Jackson charm, but his heart just wasn’t in it.
“I’m sure it’s a wonderful couch, but you need to stay here where we can monitor you.”
“Fine…” Daniel knew when he was outmatched. He sat back on the bed, grumbling something under his breath before stretching out on top of the covers.
“That’s a start, but when I said ‘monitor’, I meant that literally.” She turned slightly and called over her right shoulder. “Jeanne, we need to get Dr. Jackson hooked up to the monitors. You know the drill.”
She gave him an encouraging smile, which wasn’t returned, picked up her clipboard to make some quick notes, and then pulled the curtain around Daniel’s bed, giving him some privacy.
Ten minutes later she returned to find him under the covers, leads snaking out from the neck of his scrubs. He was looking at her accusingly, but she was ready for him. “Like I said, get some sleep tonight and I’ll release you tomorrow morning.”
“This isn’t necessary,” he mumbled, suddenly too tired to even argue as he fought to keep his eyes focused on her.
“Well, humor me then, Doctor. Your whole team came close to dying today. Everyone else is cooperating.” She used her chin to point at Mitchell, Sam and Teal’c, who were sleeping soundly at the other end of the infirmary. When Daniel didn’t reply, she walked over to sit in the chair next to his bed, pulling it closer so they could talk privately.
“Daniel, the parasites in your blood have been destroyed…they’re not coming back.” He lay there, saying nothing and refusing to look at her. She leaned in even closer. “Daniel…Are you afraid to go to sleep?”
“Am I…what...I...of course not!” He kept his voice low to match hers.
“Because it would be perfectly understandable if you are.” He ignored her, looking at the ceiling instead, so she continued. “If you think you didn’t experience trauma today, you’re wrong, you know. You were on a planet where going to sleep meant you would die. Sam almost did die.” Daniel turned his head slightly to the right so he could see her.
“I couldn’t keep her awake,” he whispered. “I tried, I tried so hard, but she just...”
“Sam’s going to be alright. You’re going to be alright. We’re not going to let you just ‘slip away’ if you let your guard down and go to sleep.”
Daniel shivered involuntarily. She had come amazingly close to naming his unnamed fear. Was he really afraid of dying in his sleep tonight?
“I can give you something to help you relax, but it would really be better if you could just fall asleep on your own. One of us can even sit here with you until you do.”
“That won’t be necessary.” He was really starting to feel embarrassed now, and was pathetically grateful that she had had this conversation with him ‘sotto voce’. It wouldn’t do for the whole base to know that a grown man was afraid to go to sleep.
“Well, if you change your mind, let me know. I’ll be here all night.” She patted his shoulder, and then reached over his head to turn off the light behind his bed. He heard her walk to her office and then shut the door.
He lay there in the semi-darkness, listening to the soft beeping of the monitors attached to his chest. In a strange way, he felt that they were almost grounding him to this life, to this reality. Gradually he started to relax, finally surrendering to his exhaustion. He didn’t remember falling asleep.
Daniel wasn’t sure at first what had awakened him. He looked around, confused. He was in the infirmary, but he didn’t seem to be sick or injured. Then he remembered; the sleeping sickness parasites, or as Mitchell had so colorfully called them as he was being injected with the serum, “bed bugs”.
It was still night time in the infirmary. He could tell, because Carolyn had continued Janet’s policy of turning the lights way down at night, something about circadian rhythms or something like that. He didn’t have any idea how long he had been asleep, but he did know he was awake now, and he smiled in the darkness when he thought about his earlier reluctance to go to sleep.
He shifted slightly and then realized why he was awake; a trip to the john was in his immediate future. It was only when he started to sit up that he realized he was still tethered to something. It wasn’t the monitors; for some reason they seemed to be missing. Evidently someone had removed them while he slept. Now that was creepy.
No, someone was definitely holding his right hand. His eyes were starting to adjust to the low light, but without his glasses he was squinting just the same. “Sam?” No, the hair was too dark, and too long. “Vala?” He shook his hand slightly, causing her to start.
“What?” Vala Mal Doran had been sound asleep, her head resting on the bed next to his hand, which she was holding loosely in her own. She looked up too quickly, hitting her head on the side rail of the bed. “Ow!”
“What are you doing here?” He tried to extract his hand from hers, but she had tightened her hold considerably. Finally he just gave in and let her…oh great, was she stroking his hand?
“I’m here to give you comfort, Daniel. I hear that’s what team mates do for each other when one…” she glanced across the length of the infirmary, “or more of them are hurt.” She managed to look both pious and absurdly pleased with herself at the same time.
“I’m not hurt, Vala. I was asleep…Isn’t there somewhere you need to be?” He tried pulling his hand free again, and this time she let go. He flexed it a few times to loosen it up.
“I know you were asleep, Daniel, but you could’ve died on that planet. They were talking about it in the dining room this evening.”
Daniel knew he was still suffering from sleep deprivation. He certainly wasn’t one hundred percent. But he knew he had missed something. He tried rewinding their conversation.
“It’s ‘commissary’, Vala. Not ‘dining room’.” No, that still wasn’t it. He rewound a little further. Oh…“Team mates?”
“Well, it’s pretty much a done deal, I guess. I’m practically a member of SG1 already!” Even with his glasses off, he could see her smiling in the dark. She had a nice smile. He stretched his newly freed hand behind his neck to slightly prop up his head.
“Oh, I remember now. The psyche evaluation. How did that go?” Daniel used his other hand to stifle a yawn.
“Famously. I had Dr. Hutchison eating out of my hand, I’ll have you know; well, practically, anyway. General Landry will probably be announcing my assignment to SG1 sometime tomorrow, er, today.”
“There’s a charming saying on this planet, Vala: ‘Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.’ What I’m trying to say is ...”
“I know what it means, Daniel, but I still think I’m in.”
In spite of her positive spin on the evaluation, Vala seemed tentative, uncertain. Impulsively, he pulled his hand out from behind his neck and squeezed hers briefly, before letting it go.
“I guess we’ll find out soon enough.” Daniel sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the bed just as Carolyn was making her way to their end of the infirmary. She was using her penlight to guide her feet in the semi-darkness.
“Vala, I told you to leave four hours ago,” she whispered. “Now look what you’ve done. Daniel’s awake again.” She seemed a little pissed off. “It took us forever to get him to go to sleep in the first place!”
Daniel raised his hand in protest. “I’m sitting right here…” They continued as though he wasn’t there.
“I didn’t wake him up, honest. He woke me up, didn’t you, Daniel? Daniel?”
Daniel decided to ignore them both, and made his way to the infirmary’s bathroom, its nightlight merrily beckoning him on.
When he came back, they were still arguing, so he crawled into the bed and rolled over onto his left side, turning his back to Carolyn and Vala.
“I mean it, Vala. Go to your quarters,” said Dr. Lam. “I don’t want to see you back here until tomorrow afternoon.”
“This afternoon,” mumbled Daniel, but no one was listening.
“Alright, I’ll go. Just let me tell him good night,” She glared at Carolyn, who surprisingly, backed down. “In private?”
“Five minutes, and then you’re leaving.”
“Five minutes,” agreed Vala.
Carolyn left them to check on her other patients. Soon they were alone again. Vala made sure no one was looking their way before perching on the edge of his bed and tapping him on the shoulder.
“Daniel, are you still awake?”
“Barely.” His voice was slightly muffled by his pillow.
“I’m glad you’re OK.”
“Thanks. I’m glad you’re OK, too.”
“Oh…the psyche evaluation. Well, we’ll just see, shall we? Mate?”
“Yes, my darling, darling Daniel?”
Daniel closed his eyes and sighed. “First of all, don’t call me ‘darling’. It gives people the wrong idea. Second, don’t hold my hand when I’m asleep or…unconscious or…or unaware… It’s just….creepy.” His words were starting to slur.
“Yes, Dar…Daniel.” Vala walked over to the other side of the bed so she could look him in the eyes. They were closed. “Daniel?” She quietly pulled a chair up next to the bed and sat down. She laid her head next to his hand, which she then held loosely in her own. She smiled as she felt his fingers curl around hers in sleep. Suddenly she was reminded of another Earth saying: “Sleep tight, Daniel,” she whispered, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
|Genres:||Hurt/Comfort, Missing Scene/Episode-Related, Smarm|
|Summary:||Daniel has trouble falling asleep in the infirmary during the events of the tenth season episode, 'Morpheus'.|
Author's Chapter Notes:
I felt like this episode was just screaming for another scene. This is my contribution.