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rocketfic | better than baudelaire

Title: Better Than Baudelaire by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Sam/Janet
Notes: Set in season five.

Even when she walks she seems to dance.
Charles Baudelaire

Her commanding stride down the middle of the infirmary is a waltz.

Three steps between beds. Pick up the chart, look it over with a critical eye, slide it back into place. Give the soldier in question a smile and a reassuring word before brandishing the requisite needle.

The dance never falters. To her the soldiers all have actual faces, actual names. She remembers their kids, she asks about their latest home improvement projects. They are but temporary partners, then she steps on to the next part of the dance. She never loses rhythm, never hesitates even when her feet get stepped on.

Three steps, onto the next.

Three more, and she gets to me.

"Good morning, Sam."

"Morning." I manage a sunny smile despite the throbbing pain of my latest injury, a jagged slice across my left hand.

Janet picks up my chart and pretends to groan under its weight. "You cut your hand on... what, exactly?"

"I was helping Sergeant Siler move a rack in the backup power room. A piece of conduit sheered off and got me."

She peers at me over the pages of the file and quirks her lips in a tiny grin. "That's downright mundane, Major."

I can't help but chuckle. "Sorry. I know you like a challenge."

The chart disappears after she makes a few notes, some gloves materialize out of nowhere, then she's holding out her hand, waiting.

Of all the soldiers in the infirmary at that moment, of all the scraped knees and minor bumps and bruises accumulated in the SGC today, she's picked me to care for personally. I anticipated nothing less, but I can't help but feel just a little bit special as I lift my bandaged hand and rest it in hers. I'm her dance partner of the moment, and I'm not relinquishing my turn anytime soon.

Janet turns my hand over delicately, tugging off the gauze I'd used to staunch the bleeding. She winces a bit as she studies the damage. "Looks mostly superficial. Think you got lucky this time."

That might be, but I'm still grateful for the local anesthetic that dulls the pain arcing across my entire arm.

She's choreographing now, directing tiny stitches across torn skin to assist the natural mending process. Despite the blessed numbing I cannot watch the needle pierce my flesh, so I settle for watching her. Her face is a study of concentration and patience, and I know that at the moment, this minor injury is the most important thing she has to attend to. Her focus is perfect and absolute and wonderfully comforting.

One stitch tugs in an unpleasant way and she knows it almost before I do. "Sorry about that," she says quietly. Her brow furrows as she studies her own handiwork.

So many times she's put me back together. Not just stitches, not just broken bones. The deep, complicated stuff, the broken bits that everyone carries around inside them -- she's found them all in me. Little by little she's helped me arrange them into proper order so that they can start to heal.

Each and every time I am the recipient of her gentle and exacting aid, I can't help but be astonished by her utter capacity to care.

It took me a long time to figure out what it costs her to be that open, to take in that much suffering of others. That's when I discovered my own ability to put her back together too.

Once the stitches are in, she peels off her gloves and runs soothing fingertips across my injured hand. I can't feel the pressure of it, just a ghosting of heat across my skin. It makes me shiver. She smiles at me and for an instant we're not on base, we're not in uniform, and I'm not hurt. She's just Janet, I'm just Sam, and we're just together.

The moment breaks when she looks away to retrieve a bandage, and she wraps my hand with utter gentleness.

"All set," she announces, as she fixes the bandage in place. "I'd like you to come in twice a day to get that bandage changed, and don't get it wet."

My face splits in a wholly reflexive smile. "Thanks. You take good care of me," I murmur.

Janet grins. "Your hands are very important."

To me.

The last phrase goes unspoken, but I hear it anyway, and savor the inflection with the little knowing sparkle in her eyes. She's not usually so brazen, but I can tell she's in a good mood. I think it might even be my doing.

One last smile and our dance is done. Three steps and she's on to the next minor emergency. My time in her care is over again, but I'll be back.

When I am it will be for a dance of our very own, the one of heat, temptation, and desire.

We can be imperfect in each other's arms. We can be angry, clumsy, even hurtful. But so long as we're together the dance is ours, and the music keeps playing.

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