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I Almost Told Her Today

Categories: Angst, Romance, Thoughts
Rating: PG
Content Warning: Mild Profanity
Spoilers: Emancipation, Beneath the Surface, Serpent's Venom, Entity, Desperate Measures, Abyss, Metamorphosis, Fallen, Lifeboat
Author's Notes: When I wrote "I Almost Told Him Today", I wasn't really planning on writing a second fanfic told from Daniel's POV, but I decided that it was only right that we also see what had been going through Daniel's mind. Again, "I Almost Told Him Today" should be read before this one. It works better that way.

I almost told her today.

Sam died yesterday – or at least she did by the definition of some.  An alien entity had taken over her mind and body in a misguided effort to protect its world from what it and its kind saw as a hostile invasion.  It didn't understand that, if we had known that sending our MALP through to its world would cause such suffering and destruction, we'd never have sent it.  I tried to make the alien inside Sam see that by assuring it that we would never dial the gate to its world again, but Jack wasn't willing to take the peaceful, diplomatic route.  He wanted that thing out of Sam and decided that threats were the way to accomplish it.  I was dismayed and appalled, even more so when General Hammond followed Jack's lead and backed him up.  That was one of the few times since joining the program when I was in complete opposition to the general's actions.

And then things got really bad, and Jack had no choice but to zat Sam twice.  We all thought she was dead.  That's when the grief hit me.  I escaped to my quarters, where I sat in the corner and cried, not just for the loss of a friend but also for a woman I had come to care about as more than a friend, a woman with whom I'd fallen completely in love.

Thankfully, it turned out that Sam wasn't dead after all, that the alien entity had uploaded her consciousness into the base's computer system before Jack zatted her body.  She's back with us now, and I cannot express my relief.  When she woke up and started speaking to us, I wanted to run up to her and pull her into my arms.  But that was something I could not do, so I stood back and did nothing, silently rejoicing in the fact that I had not lost Sam after all.

Exhausted by her ordeal, Sam slept for the rest of the day, so I didn't get a chance to talk with her.  It was early this morning, when I went to the infirmary to see how she was doing, that I found her awake and finally got to say hi.  Apparently, someone had told her that I was the one who'd figured out that the words "I am here" repeating over and over again on the computer screen were coming from Sam, not the entity.  She thanked me for saving her life.  I took her hand in mine and told her how glad I was that she was all right.  That's the moment when I almost told her, when the words "I love you" nearly came pouring out of my mouth.

When did I fall in love with Sam?  I know exactly when it was that I started feelings things for her that were more than friendship, and it was a time when I didn't even know my real identity.  I wasn't Doctor Daniel Jackson, holder of three Ph.Ds and a member of Stargate Command's premiere team, SG-1.  I was Carlin, just one of the thousands of people living in a hot, filthy, underground realm, maintaining machinery that we had all been told were vital to keeping our civilization alive and protected from the frozen wasteland of the world above.

The first time I saw Therra, the woman Sam had become, I couldn't help but notice how pretty she was, despite all the grime on her face.  Later on, I also figured out that she was very intelligent.  Something about her intrigued and interested me, though I didn't quite know why.  But I didn't want to be interested in her, so I tried to convince myself that Kegan, a woman who had become a friend of mine, was right about her, that she thought she was better than the rest of us.  Even so, I sometimes thought about getting to know Therra better.  But I never had the opportunity, because it always seemed like Jona was there, the man who was really Jack O'Neill, and he definitely didn't like me very much.  Maybe he sensed that I had an interest in Therra.  It was pretty obvious that he was interested in her.

When I got back the memories of who I really was, with them came all the memories of Sha're and how much I loved her.  I told myself that the things I'd felt about Sam were just subconscious recollections of our close friendship.  The problem was that some of the things I'd felt for her when I was Carlin weren't exactly limited to friendship feelings, and those new feelings were refusing to go away.  Before, I only thought of her as a friend, teammate and fellow scientist, but, since those events on P3R-118, I became much more aware of her as a woman.  Oh, it wasn't the first time I was really aware of her in that way.  No, the first time was when she wore that blue dress on Simarka.  Up until then, I'd only seen her wearing BDUs and, on a couple of occasions, casual clothing.  And then I walked into that tent and saw her dressed that way.  She was absolutely stunning.  I couldn't stop staring, my mouth hanging open like I was an idiot.  I finally shook myself out of it and put it out of my mind.  But I was no longer finding that possible.

As the weeks passed, I found myself thinking about Sam progressively more often, and, much to my dismay, those over the line of friendship feelings kept getting stronger.  Right from the start, I knew this wasn't a good thing, and not just because Sam was my teammate.  I'd become aware a while back that there was something going on between her and Jack.  I knew that they weren't romantically involved since neither one of them would even consider defying regulations like that.  But rules and regulations can't keep you from feeling things for someone, and I was sure that Jack and Sam were feeling things for each other, which meant that I didn't have a prayer with Sam, even if I'd chosen to pursue my own unwanted emotions.

To be honest, I was shocked that I was even feeling that way.  It had only been a year since the death of the woman I had loved with my whole heart.  I didn't think that I should be having any kind of romantic feelings for another woman.  I didn't really count Ke'ra.  I was grieving and vulnerable and mistook what I was feeling for her as something it really wasn't.  As soon as I found out who she really was, all those feelings disappeared, leaving only compassion for the woman she was when she had no memory of the monster inside.

So, when did I wake up to the fact that my feelings for Sam had grown into love?  That came at a very awkward and inopportune time.  We were working together on a space mine that we were hoping to use to sabotage a meeting between Apophis and Heru'ur.  The whole time that we were under that mine, I was painfully aware of Sam lying close to me, but I managed to shove it to the back of my mind and do what needed to be done.  And then, at one point, she looked straight at me.  Our faces weren't more than a few inches apart, close enough that I could feel her breath on my skin, and I was hit with an almost irresistible urge to kiss her.  The power of that feeling really shook me, and I quickly looked away.  Much later, after we'd all safely returned to Earth, I finally came to the inescapable conclusion that I had fallen in love with her.

Since then, I've managed to keep a lid on what I'm feeling, never giving any outward sign.  I can never let myself hope that Sam and I will ever be more than friends.  She loves another man.  And so I'll just have to keep living alone with these feelings as she continues to believe that I see her only as a friend.

I almost told her today.

She had been kidnapped, and, for what felt like forever, we didn't know what had happened to her or where she was.  God, I was scared.  I kept imagining all kinds of awful things.  On the outside, I managed to stay pretty calm, but, on the inside, I was just about driving myself nuts.  I don't like to think about the fact that, if we had found her just a few minutes later, she'd have been dead, the victim of a man who wanted to save himself from a fatal disease and was foolish enough to believe that being implanted with a Goa'uld was the way to go about it.

After we were back at the SGC, and Janet had checked Sam over to make sure she was all right, I just had to talk to her and express how glad I was that she was okay.  I know that I shouldn't have done it, but I suddenly found myself hugging her.  Having her there, safe in my arms, was almost too much for me, and I came a hair's breadth away from telling her how I felt.  But I held the words in and separated from her as quickly as I could without it seeming too abrupt.

During all these months, I really have tried to conquer these feelings for Sam, to drive them out of my heart, but I've had no luck at all.  Instead, they just keep right on growing, getting more powerful every day.  It hurts a lot to know that they will always be unrequited, that Sam's heart still belongs to another man.

The funny thing is that I still love Sha're, too, the memory of her and the wonderful year we had together.  I still grieve for her every day.

I'd never have thought it was possible to love two women at the same time, one who is alive and another who is dead, yet that's how I feel.  If I could go back in time and change things so that Sha're didn't die, I'd do so in an instant.  Then I would quit the program and return to Abydos with her for the remainder of my life, never looking back.  Yet, at the same time, if I ever got even the slightest hint that Sam felt the same way for me as I do for her, I'd grab onto it like a drowning man grasping a life preserver, say to hell with all the problems of being in a relationship with a woman who is my teammate, and confess everything to her.  Neither of those things is ever going to come true, so I am doomed to live alone.

To be honest, I've been wondering more and more often what the point of everything is, why I stay with the program, why I keep going through the gate.  Sha're is gone, her son is safe with Oma Desala, and I'm beginning to question what my purpose on SG-1 really is.  I used to feel confident in who I was, but, now, it feels like I'm losing myself.  I've become more of a soldier and less the man I used to be.  I never wanted to be a soldier, or a warrior, or whatever you want to call it.  I never wanted to kill and destroy.

Along with those things are my growing feelings of guilt and uselessness.  I have always felt guilty over my part in the circumstances that led up to Sha're's death, but, lately, that guilt has grown so heavy.  I think about my failure to save her.  I think about all my other failures.  It feels like my life has been a string of one failure after another, with very few successes in between.  Maybe it's just as well that Sam doesn't love me.  She deserves someone better.

I almost told her today.  And, now, I know that I never will.

When I pulled out the core of that Naquadria bomb, I knew what the result would be.  I may not have known everything about the symptoms of radiation sick, but I knew enough to realize how unpleasant my death was going to be.  No, I take that back.  I didn't know, not really.  I could not have imagined such horrible, unending agony.  I don't know how much painkiller Janet was pumping into me, but it wasn't enough.  I'd probably have been screaming my throat raw if there were no painkillers at all.  As it was, I was fighting to keep silent, not to let anyone see how much I was hurting.

My pain is gone now, and I am dead.  Well, not really, only kind of.  I have to say that I could not have seen this coming, that Oma Desala would come to me and offer to help me ascend.  I was certainly eager in the beginning to take her up on her offer.  Release my burdens?  Yeah, sure, you betcha'.  Consider them released and get me the hell out of here.  I was more than ready to leave my human existence behind.  But Oma informed me that it wasn't that easy.  Of course it wasn't.  Nothing ever is.

It was then that all the guilt, pain and feelings of failure and worthlessness at last came to a head.  How could I think that I deserved the honor of ascension when my whole life was a failure, when nothing I'd ever done really mattered?

As my mortal body lay senseless in the physical world, my spirit, or consciousness, or however you want to look at it, continued chatting with Oma.  I told her that I wasn't entirely sure what the point of my journey up until then had been.  It certainly hadn't made a difference that really counted for something.

It was around that time that Sam came to me.  I know that she must have been sitting at my bedside, but I wasn't aware of her physical presence.  I did, however, see and hear her in another way, as a part of the dreamlike world I was in.  She told me that Jonas Quinn had seen the light and brought us some Naquadria despite the personal risk to himself.  I was glad to hear it.  Maybe my death would actually accomplish something good.  And then Sam said something else.

"You have an effect on people, Daniel, the way you look at things.  It changed me, too.  I see what really matters.  I don't know why we wait to tell people how we really feel.  I guess I hoped that you always knew."

How we really feel?  What was she saying?  That couldn't mean what it sounded like, that she felt things for me that she'd never revealed.  Now, wouldn't that take the cake, to find out as I lay dying that the woman I loved actually loved me, too.  That would be just par for the course in my messed up life.  No, she couldn't have been saying that.  She was only talking about friendship, the fact that we'd never really expressed in words how important our friendship was to us.

Teal'c was the next one to come calling.  He told me that, if I died, the fight against the Goa'uld would lose one of its greatest warriors, and he'd lose one of his greatest friends.  I appreciated what he was saying, and I was touched that he thought of me as one of his greatest friends, but it didn't change the fact that nothing I'd ever done seemed to have changed anything, that I really didn't think I deserved ascension.

At that moment, I was ready to give up, just die and let it all end.  I wanted it to be over.  But Oma wasn't ready to give up on me.  She tried to make me see that my successes and failures did not add up to the sum of my life, that what was important was the intention of my actions and the strength I showed in facing the challenges that came along.  But I couldn't judge myself by that measuring stick.  For most of my life, I had wanted to make a difference, a difference that really helped people, and I'd failed.  Most of all, I'd failed Sha're and Sarah.

If Oma had said nothing more, I know that I'd have given up the fight and died right then and there.  But she did say something more, words that finally cut through my feelings of worthlessness.

"The universe is vast and we are so small.  There is only one thing we can ever truly control . . . whether we are good or evil."

I realized that she was right.  We might have the illusion that we are in control of our lives, but we really aren't.  In an instant, everything can change, our lives thrown into chaos.  It had happened to me more than once.  Yet through all the heartaches, trials and tribulations, I always strived to be a good person, to do what was morally right.  That was the one thing I could control and the one way I had not failed.  If I died, it would be with the knowledge that I never sacrificed my principles.  And that did count for something.

That's the moment when I realized that maybe I hadn't been such a complete failure after all.  That's also when I realized that I still had a chance to make the difference I'd always strived to achieve.  As one of the ascended, I could do so much more than I ever could as a mortal human.

Of course, that was about the time when things changed yet again.  Oma started to leave, telling me that the rest was up to me.  I guess she was finished guiding me, and I needed to take it from there.

And then I could suddenly feel that someone was trying to heal my body.  But I didn't want to be healed and keep plodding along as a human being.  I wanted to move on, to take the next step, to walk what Oma called the Great Path.  But, in order to do that, I had to stop what was being done.

As I looked at the people gathered around my bed, all the worried faces filled with hope, I felt bad that I was going to disappoint them all.  I also knew I was going to miss them.  For a brief moment, I looked at Sam.  I could see the desperate hope in her eyes, a silent plea that her father would save me.  I wanted to take that one last chance to tell her how I felt about her.  I almost did.  I almost stepped up to her and whispered in her ear those three words I'd never uttered aloud.  I know that she would have heard me.  Instead, I went to Jack and brought him into the dream world with me.

Saying goodbye to him hurt more than I thought it would, especially considering how much my relationship with Jack had gone downhill over the past couple of years.  I know that he didn't understand why I was choosing ascension over sticking around as a human being.  But he respected my decision and stopped Jacob from continuing to heal me.

Now, I am one of the Ascended.  I don't know what my future will hold, but I hope that, whatever it is, I'll be able to do more than I did as a human.  I'm glad now that I didn't tell Sam how I felt.  It wouldn't have helped her to know.

I know that I will always love her and will always wish that I could have had the life with her that I wasn't able to have with Sha're.  But it's pointless to think about that now.  It's time for me to stop dwelling on the past and look to the future.

I almost told her today.

During these months that I've been ascended, Oma has told me more than once that I need to cut the ties with my former life, but I find that I can't.  I can't stop visiting my former team, checking up on them to see how they are doing.  It was really hard at first, to watch them and not let them know that I was there.  I admit that I couldn't resist throwing out a little hint that time when Jack, Sam and Teal'c were all going off to dinner.  The breeze that I made swirl through the corridor wasn't enough to clue Sam and Teal'c into the fact that I was there, but Jack got it.  I caught that little smile on his face.

Since then, I've visited the members of my team several times.  I guess it's good that I was doing that since Jack would probably never have gotten out of the predicament he was in if I hadn't stepped in and bent the rules of the Ascended by giving Teal'c the idea to contact Lord Yu.  I felt a bit of satisfaction in that.

But today, there was no satisfaction; there was only grief, anger and fear.  Sam was dying, a victim of Nirrti's cruel experiments.  I wanted to help her, but Oma wouldn't let me do anything.  God, I was so angry.  For a while now, I'd been getting progressively more discontent with the rules of the Ascended, their chains feeling heavier and more confining with each passing day.  I didn't understand how helping just a few individuals here and there could be so forbidden.  And, now, the woman I loved was dying, and I wasn't allowed to save her.

As she lay there in that cell in so much pain, I knelt beside her, wanting to gather her into my arms and tell her that I wouldn't let her die, that, if there was no other way for her to be saved, I'd ascend her.  I knew I could do it without first taking her through the process of 'enlightenment'.  Of course, Oma wouldn't be happy about it, but to hell with Oma.  I was not going to let Sam die.

It was then that I almost told her.  Just one whisper in her mind, and she'd finally know what I'd never had the courage to tell her in my mortal life.  But, like so many times in the past, I held back, the words left unspoken.

As it turned out, my team didn't need me to save them.  They managed to save themselves with help from Woden and Eggar.  But it was only in the nick of time for Sam.

I stayed with them until they left the planet, relieved that everything had turned out okay, but more dissatisfied than ever about what I wasn't being allowed to do.  I don't know how much longer I can live like this.  Sooner or later, something is going to happen that will make me cross the line in a much bigger way.

I almost told her today.

I am human once again with no memory of my life as one of the Ascended.  I don't have many memories from before my ascension either, but I am getting them back.  I feel confident that, eventually, I'll retrieve them all.

There is one thing that I already remember with crystal clarity.  It came to me as I ate dinner with the three people who had once my teammates and were going to be yet again.  I looked over at Sam, who was laughing about something.  She looked happy and relaxed, her beautiful blue eyes bright and shining, and it hit me like a sledgehammer.  I was in love with her.  What a shock that was.  I'd regained scattered memories of my wife and knew that I had loved her deeply, so when did I fall in love with Sam?

Okay, so maybe it wasn't quite such a shock, not given what I was feeling when Sam came into my tent to try and convince me to come back with them to Earth.  I was feeling something for her even then, which was why I asked her if there had ever been anything between us.  I didn't doubt the truth of her answer that we were just friends, at least not then.  I don't know what to think now.  Had she lied?  Were we secret lovers, and she hadn't wanted to tell me in that tent for fear that others would find out?  Or had these feelings for her never been reciprocated?  I remember bits and pieces of us as friends, so maybe that's really all we shared.  But there was no denying what I was feeling now.  What would happen if I told her?

I finally got a moment alone with her on Jack's front porch.  I was staring up at the night sky and she came out.  She just stood looking at me for a long moment, and then, suddenly, her arms were wrapped around me, and I felt tears wetting my collar.  She told me in a shaking voice that she had missed me terribly.  I just held her close, feeling my love for her well up inside me.  I came oh so close to kissing her, on so close to telling her that I loved her.  But then, Jack came out on the porch, and Sam broke away, self-consciously wiping the tears from her face.  She excused herself and went inside.

I'm now lying on the bed in Jack's guest room, and I don't know what to do.  Should I tell her or keep it to myself?  I'm operating at a big disadvantage, the gaping holes in my memory making it impossible to make an informed decision.

I think that I need to wait, to let more of my memories return.  Only then will I know if telling Sam would be the right thing to do.

I told her today.

I have had a lot of scary experiences in my life, but having my mind flooded with the thoughts and emotions of twelve other people was one of the most terrifying.  I felt like I'd been turned into a host by a dozen Goa'uld, each of them vying for control of my body.  One of them, a guy named Martice, really was like a Goa'uld, just as arrogant as any of them.  I thought I was going to go insane.  Out of desperation, I finally retreated, blocking myself off from the chaotic jumble of the thoughts and feelings.  Only for one brief moment did I surface and manage to break free.  I had only seconds to talk to Janet before I was dragged under again.

And then they were gone, and my mind was my own again.  But, man, did my head hurt.  Jack asked if it felt like I had a nail in my head.  Actually, it felt more like a railroad spike, but I didn't say that.  Janet would probably have stuck me in an MRI or something.  She probably will eventually anyway.  Maybe I'll sleep through it.

I only recall bits and pieces of the trip back to the gate and to the infirmary.  Janet told me that I needed rest, and that was fine with me, although I'm dying with curiosity about what the hell happened, how all those people got into my head.

Quite often when I woke up, one or more of my teammates were there with me.  The one who was there almost all the time was Sam.  The look in her eyes told me how worried she had been about me.

In the months that have passed since I descended, I have recovered most if not all of the memories of my life before my ascension.  I know now that Sam had been telling the truth when she said there hadn't been anything between us except friendship.  I never told her how I felt.  I also remembered why.

I'd been watching Sam and Jack closely during this time, trying to detect what I had before, but I never saw anything, no hints that they still felt the same way about each other.  For the first time, I began to let myself really hope that I could someday have a relationship with Sam.  But I was afraid to tell her about my feelings.  Once I did, there would be no going back.  If she felt nothing like that at all for me, I knew that it could cause a strain in our friendship, and I didn't want that.  But I wanted to tell her so badly.  There were times when holding onto the secret was almost too much to take.

I woke up again just a moment ago.  Groggy, my head still hurting a bit, I looked up to see Sam gazing down at me so intently.  She smiled at me and said hi, then she told me that she had been really worried about me and that I was going to be okay.

And that's when I saw it, a look in her eyes that I recognized as love, not the love of a friend but of something more.  It's all the encouragement I needed to finally say those three words that had almost come out so many times in the past.  The look on Sam's face told me how shocked she was at the confession.

I'm fighting to stay awake, to remain conscious so that I can hear her say the words back to me, but I'm losing the battle.  That's okay, though.  I finally told her, and I know in my heart that the emotion they attested to is no longer unrequited.  Sam loves me, too, and I'm going to have many more chances in the future to tell her how I feel.  My years of longing are at an end, and a fantastic new life with Sam is about to begin.


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