Broken Friends

Chapter 16

Daniel rolled into the gym to meet with Lieutenant Johnson for his first session of physical therapy. It was just a few days since he had been released from the infirmary, but he was already anxious to get started on getting himself back to work.

Time to get these legs moving, he pepped himself as he navigated his way between the exercise machines. The room seemed empty, something quite rare on a base with a couple of hundreds air force, marine and army personnel, but Daniel was grateful he wouldn’t have an audience for his session. In the light of the cautions from both his doctor and therapist he wasn’t sure how it would go.

As Daniel settled himself to wait for Lieutenant Johnson he discovered that he wasn’t entirely alone as he had thought. On a mat in a corner of the room sat Teal'c, his legs folded in the position of Kelno’reem. His stillness gave him a faraway air of serenity, but Daniel could tell he wasn’t in deep meditation. Sure enough, the very moment Daniel discovered him Teal'c opened his alien chocolate brown eyes to meet his blue gaze.

“Hi,” Daniel smiled when Teal'c gave him a nod in greeting. “Doing Kelno’reem in the gym nowadays?”

Teal'c gave a small negating shake of his head.

“I was in fact awaiting your arrival, DanielJackson,”

“Me? Why?”

“I wish to offer my assistance in your recovery. I believed your physical therapy session to be a suitable occasion.”

Daniel checked himself as he was tempted to assure Teal'c that he didn’t need any help. I guess I should be grateful.

“Thanks, Teal'c,” he said instead, “that’s really nice of you. Did Janet give you my schedule?”

“She did not.”

Daniel blinked.

“So you’ve just sat here waiting?” he asked surprised.

Teal'c modestly inclined his head, complementing the gesture with what could well have been called his catchphrase – if people had those in real life,

“Indeed.”

A shout interrupted their conversation.

“Dr. Jackson!”

The physical therapist entered with a bounce in her steps, and an almost annoying amount of energy radiating from her entire being. She was an average height woman of slight build, her long brown hair pulled back in a high ponytail that gave her a sporty look. When Daniel had his consultation with her before going home she had worn the green BDUs of the SGC, which had given her the bland interchangeable look of most personnel on the base. Now she was sporting a set of yoga-pants and a bright yellow t-shirt, and seemed a whole lot more comfortable in it. Exchanging a scornful look with Teal'c, Daniel was suddenly very happy to have his friend with him. Even if Teal'c was the one from another planet this woman oddly enough felt far more alien to him. He braced himself and greeted the bubbling apparition of a woman.

“Hello, Sandra.”

She had asked him specifically when they first spoke to not use her rank, referring to the many hours they would be spending together over the coming weeks. Daniel had been glad of her initiative as he was also a person who preferred the familiarity of first names. Funny though how she seems to have trouble calling me by mine.

“Are you ready to get started?” she asked in a cheery voice.

“Yes.” That’s why we’re here, isn’t it.

“Alright. Remember, we’re going to take it slow the first sessions so don’t be disappointed if you don’t see any results at once. Your back is still healing and your movability will increase as the swelling around the spine decreases. Okay? Let’s get started with the first exercise.”

Her bright optimism flowed over Daniel like a wave on a rock, crashing into the nagging fears and doubts in his heart and making both sides stand out in contrast. Determined to not let himself go down the destructive defeatist path Daniel told himself that a positive attitude was a good idea and tried his best to tag along for the ride.

They worked for just over an hour with different exercises that let Daniel bend and test his legs in every thinkable way. He couldn’t do much on his own, a fact that he tried his best not to fix his attention on. It’ll get better, he told himself. After all it’s only the first session. Sandra’s light approach helped a bit, he realized, and Teal'c’s silent support was encouraging as it reminded him of Jack’s repeated assurances that his friends would not abandon him.

When the therapist’s optimistic attitude occasionally grated on his nerves he cast a glance to Teal'c’s unmoving presence on his mat in the corner. The Jaffa had remained in his Kelno’reem position and deceptively appeared to be in deep meditation, but Daniel could tell he was in fact paying close attention to the proceedings in the room. Whenever Daniel directed his gaze to him, he would open his eyes at once to impart a reassuring nod. If it was after a particularly bright expression from Sandra, he also gave the small but telling gesture of a single arched eyebrow, instantly diffusing the building annoyance in Daniel.

“That’s all for today. Well done!” Sandra praised after she helped him into his chair at the end of the last exercise. “You have your work-out schedule at home? And someone to help you?” Daniel nodded twice, and Sandra continued, “Good! Keep to the exercises I’ve shown you and try to do at least a bit every day, and I’ll see you again next week. Same time, same place!”

She swept out the door with a final wave goodbye, and Teal'c immediately dropped his mediation act. Daniel took a moment to catch his breath before he began wheeling his way toward the exit. Seeing his exhausted friend struggle, Teal'c gracefully rose from his lotus-position to interrupt the slow progress.

“Are you in need of assistance?”

Daniel looked up and gave him a bleak wisp of a smile. His nod held both reluctant agreement and gratitude. With a small bow Teal'c gripped the handles and began to guide him toward the changing room.


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