Dead, Zero, Lost, One

Author: LauraJo
Email: laura@laurajo.net
Rating: G
Archive: Please ask first.
Summary: "Nobody dies.  I think I lost one patient."
Disclaimer: The characters and settings belong to MGM/Gekko/Double Secret.
Spoilers: Small reference to "The Changeling".
Status: Complete
Author's notes: This was inspired by Teryl's words in the "Allegiance Directors Series" DVD extra, with a little bit of re-interpretation!  After all, if nobody dies... there must be another way to lose a patient.  ;-)  It is however not set around Allegiance, but rather in season seven.  Thanks to Lin for the beta, and Geonn for the title suggestion!  {June 2003}

~~~

Gone.

He was gone.

She'd only stepped into her office for thirty seconds.  Phone calls did, after all, have to be answered, even when for some indeterminable reason she had been left alone looking after her patient.  It wasn't as if his condition was critical.  Still, she had support staff for a reason.

'Had' being the operative word.  When she found out where they'd all gone...

But that issue was now secondary.  To finding out where he had gone.  Critical or not, he wasn't in any state to be wandering around.  She even had orders from General Hammond to keep him under her care, tied to the bed if she had to.

Huh.  Maybe she should have.

Sighing, Janet turned back to her office.  First things first, make sure he couldn't leave the base.  Then she had a colonel to find.

/\/\/\/\/\

"Doctor Fraiser?"

"Lieutenant?  Is there something about what I just said that you don't understand?"

"No ma'am.  If Colonel O'Neill tries to leave I am to detain him and notify you directly, ma'am."

"That's right.  And?"

"No one else is to know of this conversation, ma'am."

"Good.  Thank you, Lieutenant.  Your cooperation is appreciated."

Janet put the phone down feeling fairly satisfied with herself.  There were times it paid to be the one the entire base came to for their physicals.  She'd never quite understood the general fear it instilled in even the most seasoned Air Force officer, but she wasn't above using it to her advantage.

Speaking of which, she picked up the phone again.

"All medical staff please report to the infirmary, repeat, all medical staff are to report to the infirmary."

As soon as the first member of her staff reappeared she had a few places to go, and people to see.

/\/\/\/\/\

The obvious targets were first on the list.  Really, someone who had just snuck out of the infirmary should have more sense than to hide out in the commissary or, God forbid, the gym, but that same fact could make either seem like the perfect place to hide.  She'd known the colonel long enough by now not to rule anything out.

Unsurprisingly though, both places were devoid of missing colonels.  Several marines had, however, been a little surprised to see the doctor walking through the gym doors.  She couldn't help but wince at the near accident with the weights, though wasn't going to ask why they were being used in that particular way.  She'd also seen Major Griff attempting to hide a large slice of chocolate cake as she entered the commissary, despite the warnings she'd given at his last physical.

She'd deal with that later.

Now, she had more important matters to deal with.

She was fairly sure Colonel O'Neill wouldn't have collapsed in base quarters, but checked the area anyway.  She was equally doubtful he was in his own office, but again it didn't hurt to check.  That done, it was time to start with the rest of SG-1.

/\/\/\/\/\

Daniel's lab wasn't somewhere Janet visited often, and for that reason she really had no idea if the general chaos she saw was normal or whether this was just a bad day.  It looked as though Daniel had eaten in his lab, with evidence of forgotten pieces of breakfast and lunch littering his workspace.  She didn't even want to think about the number of empty coffee cups scattered around.  And she thought her office was bad.

"Have you been in here all day?"  The question slipped out before she even realised what she was saying.

"What?  Yes.  I've been meaning to check up on Jack but these texts are really fascinating, I'll just head down there when I'm finished.  The language is Goa'uld, but the dialect leads me to believe that-"

"Daniel?"

"Sorry."

"No problem, normally I'd love to hear it but-"

"You wanted me for something?"

Well yes, she did, but actually her question had already been answered.  Still, with Daniel being Daniel, that wasn't a problem.

"I did, but it can wait, you're obviously busy."

"You sure?"  His nose was already half buried in his book.

"Yes, it really wasn't anything important.  Thanks anyway."

"Sure, anytime..."

You could actually see his attention transfer back to the text in front of him.  It really was quite fascinating.

Shaking herself out of such thoughts and realising this really wasn't the time, Janet moved on to find her next victim.

/\/\/\/\/\

"Sam, have you got a moment?"

"Sure Janet, could you wait a second though?  I just have to..."  Sam trailed off as her attention focused back on her experiment, and Janet couldn't help but draw comparisons between Sam's actions and those of Daniel just before her.

Peas in a pod.

Or geniuses in a... pod.

"There, done."  Sam put down her tools, and looked up.  "What's up?"

"I was just wondering if you'd seen the colonel today."

"Is something wrong?"

"Wrong?  No.  Nothing's wrong."

"You're sure?  You don't normally come asking if I've visited when the colonel's in the infirmary."  Sam's voice changed slightly in tone.  "There's nothing, you know, serious?"

Janet quickly moved closer to Sam, although the workbench still separated them.  "God no!  I didn't mean to imply that!"

"Then..."  Somewhat placated, Sam obviously wanted more of an explanation.

"I just wondered if you'd seen him."  It sounded lame even as she said it.

"You just wondered."

"Yes."

"If I'd seen the colonel."

"Yes."

"Today."

"Yes."

"Have you?"

"Of course!  He's my patient."

"Right.  So the reason for the question is...?"

"I'm beginning to wonder."  Unsurprisingly, Sam still looked suspicious.  "Look, it's not important, really.  I'll just go-"

"Janet, wait right there.  What aren't you telling me?"

Sam's tone of voice failed to stop her friend fleeing her lab.

"I'll catch up with you later!" she called back.

And then she was gone.

/\/\/\/\/\

"Teal'c?"

"Doctor Fraiser."

"Hey, do you actually have an office?"  Teal'c raised an eyebrow, which Janet took as a sign she should elaborate.  "It just occurred to me.  It's been what, over six years now?  And I have no idea where you work when you're on base."

"My quarters are sufficient for my needs."

"Huh.  I can't believe that didn't occur to me before."

"It is of little importance."

"Maybe, but still...."

"Was there something for which you required my assistance?"

"Not your assistance, as such.  More..."  Janet was struck with sudden inspiration.  "I'm worried the colonel might have picked up an infection, so I need to make sure the rest of you are okay - including you now that you don't have your symbiote to protect you."  Damn, why hadn't she thought of this story before she saw Daniel and Sam?  "How much time have you spent with him since SG-1 got back?"

"I spent several minutes with him yesterday evening, but otherwise have left him to rest."

"You haven't seen him today at all?"

"I have not."  Perfect!

"You should be fine then.  Though if you have any symptoms, I want to know about it."

"Of course, I shall inform you if anything becomes apparent."

"Thank you.  I'll leave you alone then."

A little white lie never hurt anyone, and in this case came in very handy - especially as it was unlikely Teal'c would discuss the matter with anyone else, the rest of his team included.  And if he was slightly more observant of his own health for a few hours?  Well, it really wasn't harming him.

Unfortunately, she was still no closer to finding Colonel O'Neill.

/\/\/\/\/\

Janet stopped just short of heading into base surveillance and asking if Colonel O'Neill had shown up on their monitors in the past hour.  Granted, there was a chance those staff wouldn't realise he should be in the infirmary, and might just believe she had been looking for him about a medical matter.

Which, essentially, was true.

However, there was an equal chance they knew exactly where he should be right now, and the base's CMO turning up and asking about the whereabouts of one of her patients just wasn't something she thought she'd ever live down.

Which left her with one more place to try, one more person to visit.

General Hammond.

At least after seeing Teal'c she had her strategy worked out.  A medical matter would once again provide her cover as she went to find out what her commanding officer knew.

/\/\/\/\/\

"Sir, I though you might like an update on Colonel O'Neill's condition."

"Go ahead, Doctor."

"He seems to be doing well, sir, I expect him to be up and about very soon."

"Already?"

"Yes, sir.  Have you had a chance to see him today?"  Oh, so smoothly done.

"No, I'm afraid not."  And there was her information.  "SG-7 have kept me rather busy.  I could come down now if for some reason you feel it's necessary."

"Oh no, I wouldn't say it was necessary at all.  In fact, sir, although he was quite bright earlier he is resting now."

"In that case I shall await your next report."

"Yes, sir.  With your permission I'll head back down now."

"Of course, you're dismissed."

/\/\/\/\/\

Well, that was that.

Daniel knew nothing, Sam knew nothing, Teal'c knew nothing.  Even General Hammond knew nothing.

She had lost a patient, in the non-dead sense of the word.

How embarrassing.

As she swiped her card and waited for the elevator to arrive, she ran through all the options in her head.  She couldn't think of anywhere else to try.  The colonel rarely spent any time with base personnel other than his own team, so it just wasn't worth the effort of looking around any more.

If she was lucky, maybe he'd just find his own way back.

Oh yeah, like that was going to happen.  The colonel appearing in the infirmary of his own free will was about as likely as Sam voluntarily staying away from her lab during downtime.

Sighing to herself, Janet walked through the now open elevator doors and hit the button for level 21.  She had no idea how she was going to explain this to General Hammond, especially now she had seen him since Colonel O'Neill went missing and said nothing.  She'd just been so sure someone would know something.  Well, maybe not sure.  Hopeful.  Yes, hopeful.

Arriving on level 21, she stepped out of the elevator and headed down the corridor, unable to shake the feeling that luck really wasn't on her side.

A feeling that only increased when she realised who was hurrying to catch up with her.

"Hey, Janet!  You heading for the infirmary?"

Oh, she was so going to be found out.  But she slowed down to let Sam catch up with her anyway.

"Yes, I just got back from reporting to General Hammond."

"About the colonel?"

"Yes."

"Good.  I thought I'd drop in and see him.  Since you came by earlier I thought maybe I should make the effort."

Oh great, so this visit was all her fault.  Just wonderful.

"Didn't General Hammond want the results of your experiment by the end of the day?"

"What?  Oh, yes, but this particular stage can be left for about an hour.  I've got someone keeping an eye on it for me, I'll be back well before anything else has to be done."

"Oh."

"Actually I should thank you, I probably wouldn't have thought to come down today if you hadn't mentioned something.  You know how I can get in the lab."  Sam grinned.  "I'd think you'd be grateful, he must be starting to get bored in there by now."

Janet laughed despite herself, before remembering the matter at hand.  "Sam look, really, there's no need.  He was a little bored earlier but the last I saw he seemed to be tiring, and I really think he needs his rest so maybe it would be best if-"

Janet stopped short as she entered the infirmary, just in front of Sam.  There, in front of her, were two nurses tending to a patient.

Colonel O'Neill.

He really did come back on his own.

"Colonel!  Wh-"  Janet just stopped herself from asking where he'd been, her brain connecting in time to let her mouth know that now he was back, it might be possible to spare herself the embarrassment of having people know she'd lost him.  Switching questions seemed a better option.  "How are you feeling?"

"Never better.  Hey, Carter!  Thor sends his best."

Janet blinked.

Thor.

This was Thor's doing.

Well it made sense.  The disappearing, no one knowing where he'd been, reappearing with assumedly no one being any the wiser.  But still.

Thor.

If she ever met him, she'd take great pleasure in sticking a needle in his little grey butt.

THE END

6977

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