Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
I know for a fact that there are readers out there who are sick to death of 'Entity' episode additions...so I wrote another one! ;) Explains what Janet was doing just before she broke the bad news to Jack.
Every single time that she could recall reporting to the General's office, the door had been open. Janet saw it as representative of the man himself; open to suggestions, easy to talk to, willing to hear opinions. While still abiding by regulations, he wasn't one of those officers who lived and died by them.
She wasn't in the least surprised - after recent events - to discover that his door was firmly shut.
Fighting off exhaustion, she stood up straight, blinked the tears away and nearly crumpled the folder she was holding up to her chest in her left hand. Shaking her head, she knocked on the door.
Even as she knocked she imagined the variety of positions he could be in; hunched over with his head in his hands; leaning an elbow on the desk and running a hand through what was left of his hair; sitting back in his chair, quietly staring at nothing. Withdrawn.
It was a feeling she was familiar with.
Fighting back the burning sensation in her throat, Janet grasped the handle and swung the door open.
As it turned out, it seemed he was in double figures of cups of coffee, and his desk was awash with paper, folders, files...and a half-eaten sandwich.
Trying to drown himself in work. Another feeling she was familiar with.
"Doctor," He greeted.
She *hated* that. Hated with a passion that just for a moment there was hope in his voice, that maybe she'd thought of some solution, something that would bring Sam back.
And then the recognition, realisation, and resignation. Far too many R's.
Stepping into his office until she reached the opposite side of his desk, she held out the file folder her left hand was currently keeping a death grip on. It was as if it didn't want to let go, as if by denying him access to the facts, she could deny the fact that it had happened at all.
Thankfully, she managed to let go as he reached for it.
It didn't seem to matter much anyway, because he barely looked at it. He opened the folder, flicked through a few sheets of paper, then looked up at her. "Summarise for me Doctor?"
This was the moment she dreaded. This was the moment she always dreaded.
There were two things she hated about her job: failing to save a patients life, and this. "The zat gun Colonel O'Neill fired was most effective, sir. It worked perfectly." She could see the struggle on his face. It must have mirrored the struggle on her own. She began to rush through it. "Major Carter is effectively dead; there's no brain activity whatsoever, either from her or the Entity. The only thing keeping her alive at the moment is life support. It is my firm...belief, that she will never recover."
Oh God, this couldn't be happening. It just *couldn't*. Not her. Not Sam. She deserved so much better.
The General lowered his head, his right hand rubbing the side of his face. "What about a healing device or sarcophagus?"
"I considered those options sir, naturally. However, this type of injury is not something that kind of technology can heal. Repairing what the zat gun did to the body as a whole isn't the problem; it's the fact that her mind is *gone*. Fixing the body won't bring her back."
Sighing audibly, in a brief moment of weakness, he began muttering to himself. "I have to contact Jacob..."
She didn't envy him that job. "Yes sir."
Surprised at her response, he looked back at her. "Where are the rest of SG-1?"
"I don't know about Dr Jackson and Teal'c at the moment sir, but I believe Colonel O'Neill is currently with Major Carter's..." Body. Oh God, she almost said body. She wanted to be the dreamer; she wanted to be optimist. Right then, she wanted to be anyone other than the one person with the expert and realistic knowledge.
Hammond nodded, as if to say "Of course."
Janet cleared her throat. "There's something else, sir."
He met her gaze. "The living will."
She wasn't surprised that he knew. He and SG-1 had always been close. Speaking of which... "They haven't been informed yet, sir. I thought it best to report to you first and then..." Go back. Go back to where she knew Colonel O'Neill was sitting, waiting, hoping, praying, pleading...
He stood up suddenly, surprising her. "I'll tell them."
That would certainly ease some of her considerable pain, but things were never quite that simple. "You have a right to General, of course, but..."
"It may be...better for Colonel O'Neill if it came from me, and not - with respect sir - from yourself."
Well, the implication had certainly been laid out with that one.
He couldn't argue with it anymore than she could. In fact, he barely paused.
"Very well. I'll inform Teal'c and Dr Jackson."
"Yes sir." She couldn't even feel happy about it. "Thank you."
The General held her gaze for a full ten seconds, silently expressing what neither of them would voice: they’d lost one of them. After all those years, all those missions, all those near brushes, they’d finally lost one of them in the one place where she should have been safe.
He dismissed her. As she left she saw him reaching for the phone: probably to find out where Daniel and Teal'c were. This wasn't something he'd just blurt over the phone line to them.
With nothing else to clutch onto now that the folder was gone, she wrapped her arms around her chest and grabbed onto her upper arms, trying to erase the permanent chill that had followed her for the last few hours.
Reaching the elevator, she lowered her hands and pulled her pass out of her lab coat. Wiping it through the reader, she stepped in through the opening doors and automatically pressed for floor twenty-one.
She didn't even need to look to know where the button was.
How was she going to tell Cassie? How was she going to face Sam’s father? How was she going to get through the rest of the day without crying her eyes out?
How was she going to tell Colonel O'Neill?
Turning, she moved until her back met the elevator side closest to the controls. Still grasping her pass with knuckles that were turning white, she carefully placed both hands into her lab coat pockets, lowered her head, and closed her eyes.
Waiting, hoping, praying, pleading...
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