Sara’s eyes slowly opened. She could see that she was in the infirmary. Her whole body hurt, especially her chest, arm and leg. Looking down her body, she could see that her left arm was in a sling and had several IV’s running into her right arm and a large lump that she figured was a cast on her right leg. Next to her, she saw a mop of blond hair resting on her bed and knew it was Daniel. Her heart broke to see him there; there was no good reason why she deserved him in her life. No matter how hard she pushed him away, he was always there when she truly needed him.
Daniel stirred in his sleep and Sara could feel tears welling up inside of her. Pushing him away was the hardest thing she ever had to do but she really did believe it was for his own best interests. He deserved so much better, someone more like his wife, who entered into the relationship with a pure soul.
Doctor Fraiser came around when she realized that Sara was awake and was surprised to see tears running down her patient’s face.
“Captain, what’s wrong?” the doctor asked, truly concerned for her.
Sara tried to wipe the tears away but they just kept coming. “Nothing, ma’am.”
“You need to keep yourself calm. We almost lost you earlier. You need your rest.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Sara replied, not completely sure what had happened to her while she was unconscious. “How long have I been unconscious?”
“Almost a full day. You broke your left leg, dislocated your shoulder and have a concussion. For a while you had an irregular heartbeat and we almost didn’t get you back,” Doctor Fraiser explained.
Daniel started to wake up and Doctor Fraiser took her cue to leave them alone.
“Sara, you’re awake!” he said very relieved to see her back among the conscious.
“Yeah,” she replied, not sure what to say to him.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, trying to hold her good hand.
“I’ve been better. Look, Daniel, I know you’ve probably been here the whole time, but I don’t think you need to hold a bedside vigil for me.”
“I couldn’t leave not knowing how you were. You scared me Sara.”
“As you can see, I’ll live.”
“I’m not leaving Sara,” he said defiantly.
“You’re better off without me.”
“Because of you, Carter and I escaped and you prevented the room from blowing up which would have killed the entire team. I saw you get hit at the gate and for a second I thought you were gone. I’ve already lost one woman I love, I’m not going to let you go Sara, not while I know you still love me.”
“How do you know I still love you?” she said not looking at him, trying to keep a new assault of tears from falling.
“I talked to Jack. He said that you insisted in coming with him on the rescue mission. If it wasn’t because you still love me, then what was it?”
“It’s not that simple Daniel.”
“Why does it have to be complicated?”
“I’ve given you my reasons,” she told him.
“Look Sara, I’m sorry I hurt you by not trusting you. I’ve never met anyone like you before and I am not willing to let you go for such silly reasons when I saw you almost died on me twice in one day.”
“You sound so sure. You have no idea what kind of ghosts that haunt me.”
“Then let me in and we can fight them together.”
“I don’t deserve you, not with my past.”
“How about letting me make that decision. I may only study “rocks” as Jack calls them, but I have seen many horrible things, including having Shar’e try to kill me and watched as she was killed right in front of me by one of my best friends,” he told her as his eyes got glossy from unshed tears.
“Excuse me, Daniel,” Doctor Fraiser interrupted. “I need to run some tests on Captain Riley now. I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” she told him.
Daniel nodded numbly. Before leaving her bedside, he placed a gentle kiss on her cheek and then was gone. Sara was on the verge of more tears as she saw him disappear behind the curtain that surrounded her bed.
“When can I get out of here?” she asked impatiently as the doctor pulled blood from her good arm.
“Not until your concussion is gone and we are sure you are strong enough. A day, maybe two. It will take about six weeks for your leg to heal so I don’t think you’ll be going off world anytime soon.”
“I just want to get back into my lab, ma’am.”
“Not for a week or so. I’m ordering you to take some medical leave.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Sara replied, not excited with the fact she wouldn’t have work to keep her mind busy.
“Daniel hasn’t left your bedside since you were brought in,” she told Sara.
“I kind of guessed that,” Sara said, looking at her hands.
“He really cares for you.”
“I know ma’am.”
“Then why do you keep pushing him away?”
“It’s for his own good. He’s better off without me.”
“What a load of bull.”
“Excuse me?” Sara asked, shocked by the doctor’s frankness.
“You heard me. I’ve seen too many people doing ‘what’s best’ here and I’m sick of it. Unlike some people, the only thing that is holding the two of you apart is you, Captain.”
“It’s what’ is best. I’ll only get him hurt, or worse.”
“He’s hurting now.”
“I know but its better in the long run,” Sara said with her heart breaking, not wanting to have this conversation with the Chief Medical Officer.
Doctor Fraiser shook her head and walked away, looking at the results from Sara’s tests on the clipboard.
Two days later, Sara was released from the infirmary and was told to go home for a week. Before she could leave, there were a few things she had to collect from her lab. It felt good to be in there again, but it felt good to be anywhere and be out of the infirmary.
“Riley, I thought you went home?” Colonel O’Neill asked as he passed her door.
“Just getting my stuff together, sir,” she replied as she tried to straighten up some of her papers but it was hard with her arm in a sling and balance on her good leg.
“Good, you take it easy,” he said, sounding a bit uncomfortable with the conversation.
“Oh, yeah, a week cooped up at home, what fun, sir,” she said sarcastically.
“Know what you mean. I hate it when Doc Fraiser flexes her muscles, too.” He smiled at her. She could tell that he wanted to ask about Daniel but didn’t. “Well, rest up, Riley,” he said and left her alone.
Several minutes passed. She moved around her lab, occasionally bumping something with her sling encased arm. Most of her headache was gone but her arm still hurt and her leg throbbed but there was no way she was going to take something for the pain until she was safe at home.
Daniel stood in the doorway, watching Sara try to organize her office before going home. It was hard to watch her struggling, only able to use half her body when she was so used to her freedom and independence. He knew that she said she did not want to see him, but he had to see her before she disappeared.
He saw that she was getting frustrated with her limited abilities. It was amazing that she hadn’t realized that he was there. Either she was distracted or was ignoring him.
Sara was getting more and more frustrated with the sling on her arm in addition to the cast on her leg that she had to live with for the next six weeks. It was not her first time wearing either, but the first time when she had to navigate her lab. She felt so clumsy, bumping into things that she normally didn’t, sending a jolt of pain up her entire arm or leg depending on what she bumped.
Her patience had given up when her broken leg whacked up against her computer desk. The force of the hit made Sara see stars. She had no energy left to fight herself and silent tears fell from her eyes as she sunk to the floor.
Daniel saw Sara lower herself to the floor after hitting her desk and he could see that it had really hurt. Without another thought, he was at her side, wrapping his strong arms around her carefully. She did not fight him; instead she leaned into him, gaining strength from him.
She had no idea how long she sat on the floor in Daniel’s arms. Her arm wasn’t the only thing that was hurting, on top of the physical pain, all of the pain she had felt since she had broken things off with Daniel and all of her ghosts came back all at once. He did not say anything, just held her and let her cry things out.
When her tears finally began to trickle, Daniel finally said, “Let me take you home.” All she did was nod. With a little help from his strong arms, he helped her to her feet. While she pulled herself together enough to get off the base, Daniel got her briefcase and purse before they left her lab together.
Neither said anything the entire ride to the surface but Daniel’s mind was racing with things he wanted to ask. Without argument, he placed her in his car and drove her home. She did not say anything as he helped her into her house. All of this silence from her began to worry Daniel. Normally she would have said something by now. Sara sat down on the couch, still staring into space. Daniel was really worried now. He had seen her with that look the night he tried to surprise her.
“Do you need to take any medications?” he asked, desperately wanting to help her but didn’t know where to begin.
She nodded her head and Daniel looked in her briefcase for the prescription bottle he had seen her put in there. Looking at the label, he saw that Janet had given her 4mg tablets of Dilaudid, a large dose of a really strong pain medicine. He took the bottle and got her a glass of water before returning to Sara. He took out one pill and handed it and the water to her. Silently, Sara took her medication and placed the glass on the table.
“Do you need anything else?” he asked after a few silent moments.
“Bed, please,” she said quietly.
Glad that she was talking a little bit, Daniel carefully picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. He couldn’t help to think of the first time he had gone down the hallway with Sara in his arms, but this was so different.
Reaching her bed, he carefully placed her on the bed and retrieved a nightshirt from the dresser. Kneeling in front of her, Daniel tenderly removed the sling. He then, just as gently removed her shoes and clothes to help her into her pajamas. When he removed her shirt, he could see the remains of the burn marks from the paddles used to restart her heart left on her creamy skin. With her now in her nightshirt, he helped her under the covers.
“Daniel?” she finally said.
“Yes?” he replied, terrified with what she might say to him.
“I’m just glad that you’re going to be okay.”
“I don’t deserve you,” she said softly, a tear forming in her eye.
“Yes, you do Sara,” Daniel said as he sat on the bed next to her and touched her cheek. “Do you want me to stay?”
She nodded as a tear threatened to fall from her eye.
“It’s okay, Sara. I’m here and you’re home safe. I won’t let anything happen to you,” he said as he brought her into his arms, still careful of her shoulder.
In the safety of his arms, once again did she let the tears fall. She cried for the friends she had lost, all the lives hurt, all the things that she did for her country. All Daniel could do was hold her and whisper words of encouragement into her hair, words like “let it out” and “it’s okay” and “you’re safe now”. After what felt like hours, did her tears finally stop and Sara fell asleep in his arms. He laid her down and curled up next to her, on her good side. For the longest time, all Daniel could do was watch her sleep, like he had done two days prior in the infirmary. But this time, he knew that Sara was going to be okay and with that thought Daniel, the man who loved Sara, fell asleep.
Sara woke with her entire body aching. She was vaguely aware of Daniel’s warm body lying next to her. At first it felt so nice to be so close to him again, but remember why she couldn’t be with her and sadness crept into her heart again. Sara tried to move, but the pain made her grown and kept her from moving far.
“Sara, you’re awake,” Daniel said when he heard her grown.
“Yeah,” she replied, unsure what to say.
“Do you need anything?”
“How about a new arm or leg?” she said sarcastically.
Daniel chuckled and placed a kiss on the top of her head. “How about some coffee?” he said, rising from the bed with ease.
Sara nodded and watched him leave the room. It felt so go to have him there, taking care of her. Maybe she had been wrong all this time.
Daniel returned a few minutes later with a mug of coffee for both of them and her mail. She took a sip of coffee and placed the mug on her side table to look at her mail. Most of them were routine letter, like bills and pay stubs and it was good mindless work for her to do.
After a few minutes she had gone through everything she needed to and tossed most of it away and picked up her coffee again, glad it wasn’t the nasty coffee from the base mess.
“I didn’t thank you last night for bringing me home,” she finally said.
“I’m just glad that you pulled though,” he said.
“Me too,” she said quietly, looking into her mug, hoping for the right words to come out of it.
“Do you need any meds?” he asked, having a feeling she was in a great deal of pain still. All she could do was nod.
After she took the pill and gave him the glass of water back, she had to ask, “Why?”
“Why what?” he asked right back.
“Why are you doing this? Taking care of me.”
“Because I love you, Sara. That simple.”
“Even after the way I kept pushing you away?”
“Yes, despite that.”
“And you’re still here. What if I told you to leave?”
“Right now, you are in no condition to fight me on this,” he told her as he helped her ease back into bed.
Sara let out a big yawn, the meds kicking in faster than she thought.
“Will you still be here when I wake up?” she asked, her eyes half closed already.
“Yes,” he said with a smile. “I’ll be here.” Quickly, Sara drifted off to sleep again. David pulled the covers up and made sure her arm was supported before he kissed her forehead. “I’ll be here, Sara,” he said quietly, his heart filling with hope.