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The next five days passed with glacial slowness for Sam.  She was in the infirmary first thing Wednesday morning, going straight there from the locker room.

Janet studied the x-rays she'd just taken of Sam's arm with a critical eye.  "Hmm.  I just don't know," she said.

"Oh, pleeeease, Janet," Sam begged.  "Don't torture me any longer."

The doctor looked at her.  Sam saw the light in Janet's eyes and realized that the woman was teasing her.

"That was not funny!" she scolded.

"I thought it was."

"You are so cruel.  I'm reporting you to the AMA."

Janet smiled.  "Your arm looks good, Sam.  I think we can take that ball and chain off now."

"Oh, thank God."

A short while later, the cast was history, and Sam was free at last.  Compared to her other forearm, the left one looked thin and fragile, and the major knew that she was going to have to do some serious workouts in the gym to get it back in shape.  She'd also have to do some special exercises to regain the mobility in her wrist joint, which felt stiff and weak.

"Now, don't go overboard with the exercising, Sam," Janet cautioned.  "Start slowly and work your way up.  If you go slow and easy, you'll soon have that arm back to normal without suffering any discomfort."

Sam jumped off the bed.  "Got it.  I'll take it easy."  She began edging toward the door.

"In a hurry to be somewhere, Sam?" Janet asked innocently, though she knew very well what was going on.

"Nope, not at all," Sam replied, equally as innocently.  A moment later, she was out the door.

"Watch out, Daniel.  She's coming your way," Janet murmured under her breath, laughing silently.

Sam strode quickly down the corridors of the SGC, heading straight toward Daniel's office.  The elevator ride had seemed to take a whole lot longer than it usually did, and Sam had almost wished she'd taken the stairs instead.

When she got to the office, she saw that Daniel was not alone.  Several of his staff members were there.

"Hey, Sam," Daniel said, seeing her.  "I'll be with you in a few minutes.  We're sort of having a staff meeting here."

"Staff meeting?" Sam repeated, surprised.  She'd never pictured Daniel having staff meetings with his people before.

"Yes, I do have them on occasion," the archeologist explained.

Sam hung around just inside the doorway and watched as Daniel discussed projects with his staff.  She realized that this was the first time she'd actually seen him acting in his capacity as head of the Archeology and Linguistic Departments.  It was easy to forget that he had that authority, that he had what most people would say was a pretty big job all by itself, not even counting being a member of SG-1.  How did he ever manage to do it all?  Watching the staff meeting, Sam got an idea on the answer.  With the exception of those who were hired while Daniel was ascended, all of his staff members were hand-picked by him and were clearly very good at their job.  It was obvious that they also had great respect for Daniel.  Sam suspected that everyone on Daniel's staff did their best to see that he wasn't overwhelmed with too much work, taking as much of the load as they could off his shoulders.  The fact that they must do that without Daniel asking them showed their regard and liking for him.

The staff meeting broke up after a few minutes, and everyone else left.

"Hey, your cast is off!" Daniel said, smiling.

"Yeah, Janet just removed it."

"Well, that's great, just in time for the New Year's Eve party."

Sam frowned.  "Huh?"

Daniel looked at her oddly.  "New Year's Eve, Sam.  Remember?  It's the thirty-first."

Sam blinked in surprise.  "Gosh, I completely forgot.  I've been so wrapped up in things that I didn't even think about it."

"Boy, you must have really been spacing off.  Jack's been talking about the big bash he's going to throw for days now."

"He has?"


"Where was I when he was talking about this?"

"Well, I thought you were right there in the same room, but I guess it was only your body that was present," Daniel replied teasingly.

Sam felt terribly embarrassed.  Now that she thought about it, she did recall Jack saying something about a party, but it just didn't click that it would be tonight, that this was New Year's Eve.  She'd been too busy thinking about the date she was going to ask Daniel on the moment her cast was off.

Oh, crap.  That party meant that there would be no date tonight.  Grrrr!  Talk about lousy timing!

"So, was there something you wanted, Sam?" Daniel asked, unaware of her ire.

"Ummm . . . no, I just, uh, wanted to show you that my cast was off."

"Oh.  Well, I'm glad it is.  I can imagine how frustrating it was having to wear that thing."

"You have no idea," Sam muttered.  She backed up a step.  "Well, I'll let you get back to work."

"Okay.  We will see you tonight, right?  Jack's house?  Nine o'clock?  Lots of beer, champagne and irritating noise-makers?"

"Yes, of course I'll be there.  I'll see you then."

Sam exited and made her way back to the infirmary at a much more sedate pace than she'd taken the trip from there.  As it so happened, Janet was in her office when Sam arrived.  She flopped into one of the chairs in front of the desk.

"Why do I get the feeling that things didn't work out as planned?" the doctor asked.

"It's New Year's Eve!"

"Yes, I know that."

"Well, I didn't!"

"You didn't?"

"The date didn't even enter my mind."

"Okay, so what's the problem?"

"There's a New Year's Eve party at the colonel's house tonight, which means that I couldn't ask Daniel out."

Janet gave Sam a perplexed look.  "What does the party have to do with you asking him out?"

"Well, we certainty couldn't go on a date tonight.  A New Year's Eve party with dozens of people from the SGC is not my idea of a nice first date."

"You could have scheduled the date for another day, you know."

Sam shook her head.  "No, it has to be on the same day I ask him."


"Because I'm going to be a basket case of nerves from the moment I ask him until we go on the date.  I won't be able to work like that."

Janet smiled slightly.  "Ah, I see.  Oh, well.  You'll just have to ask him tomorrow."

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"Because I'll be working late on the updates to the gate diagnostics system tomorrow.  I doubt that I'll get out of here before 2200."

"Shouldn't you be off tomorrow?"

"Normally, yes, but it's going to be the best day to do the diagnostics because there are no teams going out and won't be any off-world.  Some of the updates will temporarily take the gate off-line.  Everything's already been scheduled."

"Oh.  Well, there's always the next day, I guess," Janet said, trying to be sympathetic.

"Yeah, the next day," Sam mumbled.  "Two more days to wait."

Sam arrived at Colonel O'Neill's house just a couple of minutes after nine.  There were already several people there, who had apparently dug right into the beverages and finger foods laid out on the table.

"Hello, Carter.  Glad you could make it," Jack greeted.

"Thanks, sir."  Sam looked around.  "Daniel and Teal'c aren't here yet?  I thought I saw Daniel's car outside."

"Yes, he's here.  He helped me set up this shindig.  He said it was the least he could do to repay me for making his house bright enough to act as a night landing pad for alien spaceships."  Jack's expression turned slightly thoughtful.  "You know, he didn't used to be that sarcastic.  I think I taught him some bad habits."

Sam fought back a smile.  At that moment, she saw the topic of their conversation come out of the kitchen.

"Hi, Sam," he greeted with a smile.

"Hi.  So, I hear that you helped with all this."

"Yep.  I made sure Jack got things for people to snack on besides potato chips and avocado dip."

"I was going to have other things," Jack insisted.

"Then why is that all that was in your house?"

"I just hadn't gone shopping yet."

Any further conversation on the subject was halted by the arrival of more people.  Among them was Teal'c.

"T!  Welcome, big guy," Jack greeted.

"Good evening, O'Neill, Daniel Jackson, Major Carter."

"Hi, Teal'c," Daniel said to the Jaffa.  "So, you ready for the new year?"

"Is there a reason why I should not be?"

"Well, I can think of one," Jack said, his good mood vanishing.  "That slimy bastard will be taking office in twenty days."  He looked at Daniel almost hopefully.  "You know, there's still time for me to fix things so that he doesn't get a chance to be vice president."  Daniel just looked at him sternly, causing the colonel to sigh.  "You know, Daniel, there was a time when I'd have ignored you and done what I wanted to anyway."  A little snort of laughter from Sam made Jack turn to her.  "What's so funny?"

"Oh, I was just thinking that you could say the same thing about Daniel, sir."

"Yeah, but, now, when he wants to do things his way, I haven't a chance in hell of stopping him.  Not that I had much of a chance before when he really had his mind set on something, but how do you stop someone from doing something when they can just psychically pick you up and move you out of their way?  I can't even intimidate him with my tough colonel act anymore."

"When were you ever able to intimidate me with your tough colonel act?" Daniel asked, his expression providing the answer.

"Daniel Jackson is correct," Teal'c stated.  "He did appear to be immune to any attempts at intimidation from you, even before he gained his paranormal abilities."

"Well, thank you so much for confirming that to all of us, Teal'c," Jack said sarcastically.

"You are welcome, O'Neill."

The colonel looked at the two youngest members of his team, pointing at them.  "And don't either of you say another word," he growled.

"Wouldn't dream of it, sir," Sam responded, trying to keep her face straight.

The party turned out to be a rousing success.  Everyone chatted and had a good time as they waited for midnight to strike.  Daniel, who usually limited his alcohol consumption to one or two beers and a single glass of champagne, ended up drinking way more champagne than that due to the fact that everyone at the party seemed to be insistent on sharing a drink with him.  Therefore, by the time 11:45 arrived, he was feeling quite good, so good, in fact, that a plan had formed in his mind.  A more sober Daniel would never have even considered such a plan, but the archeologist's courage had risen in direct proportion to the amount of alcohol he consumed, and he had become determined to take advantage of the decades old tradition of the New Year's Eve kiss.  Yep, Doctor Daniel Jackson had plans to lay one on a certain major that she would never forget.  But for his plan to work, he had to make sure they were alone since such a kiss would not be for public viewing.  But how to get Sam alone at a party full of friends and people from the SGC?  Daniel turned his impressive, if alcohol-soaked, intellect on the problem, finally coming up with what he thought was the perfect solution.

There were only a few minutes left until midnight when Daniel stepped outside, making sure that Sam saw him do so.  He had been sure to hold his stomach in such a way that she would think he was sick.  Sure enough, a moment later, she followed him out.

"Daniel, are you all right?" she asked in concern.

"Just feeling a bit queasy, Sam," he explained, which wasn't really a lie.  His stomach was a little upset.  "I guess I've had too much to drink."

"Yes, you did seem to be downing quite a bit of champagne.  It kind of surprised me.  You usually take it easy with the alcohol."

"Yeah, I know.  People kept shoving drinks into my hand and wanting me to toast this or that.  I've been to pretty much every New Year's Eve party anyone at the SGC has thrown and you guys have attended, but I can't remember people acting like this before."

"There is one that you didn't attend, Daniel," Sam told him quietly.  "The one that was given last year.  Siler hosted that one, and General Hammond insisted that we come, though, after how the Christmas party made us all feel, none of us wanted to.  A whole lot of people talked about you at the party, and, well, it wasn't quite as festive as this one is.  That's probably why everybody has been all over you.  They're just glad that you're here."

"Oh.  I didn't think about that."

Sam looked at her watch.  "We should go back inside.  They'll be starting the countdown soon."

"You go on, Sam," Daniel said, mentally crossing his fingers in the hope that she wouldn't.  "I think I'll stay out here in the fresh air.  It was really getting stuffy in there."

Sam shook her head.  "No way are you ringing in the new year alone, Daniel."

"Then . . . maybe you could stay with me?" he asked hopefully.  "I don't think my head would take the sound of all those noise-makers being blown."

"Actually, you have a point there.  It is always a little too loud at these parties when midnight strikes."

Daniel's confidence that his plan was going to work was climbing, that is until a certain very unwelcome colonel came out onto the porch.

"Hey, what are you two doing out here?" Jack asked.  "It's almost midnight."

"Daniel wasn't feeling well, sir," Sam explained.

Jack looked at the archeologist.  "What's up, Daniel?"

"Nothing, Jack.  I just had a bit too much to drink and needed some air.  Sam offered to keep me company.  We're fine."

As he spoke, Daniel was staring intently into Jack's eyes and mentally broadcasting the words, "Go away!" as loudly as he could.  He knew the moment that the man received the message.  A startled look very briefly flitted over Jack's features, followed a moment later by realization.

"Ah, well . . . okay, then.  I guess we can survive the countdown without you," he said, his face utterly straight.  "Feel better, Daniel."

"Thanks, Jack."

The colonel hurried back inside.

"That was odd," Sam said.  "I didn't think he'd cave in that quickly."

At that moment, the countdown began, clearly audible to the two of them.  Sam followed along with the count in a low voice.

"Five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . Hap—  Eep!"

Sam's exclamation of surprise was caused by Daniel grabbing hold of her, pulling her hard against him, and swooping down upon her mouth.  Any thoughts of protest went right out of her head as she instantly found herself immersed in a kiss that would have burnt Chicago to the ground more thoroughly than that lantern Mrs. O'Leary's cow knocked over back in 1871.

Crushing her against him, Daniel drove his tongue past Sam's lips and into her mouth.  The kiss was hungry, possessive, and had Sam totally aroused in three seconds flat.  But before she had a chance to really respond, the kiss was over, Daniel having pulled away.  The sudden rush of adrenaline had succeeded in clearing his head a little, enough that he had truly realized what he was doing.

"Sam, I-I'm sorry," he apologized quickly, feeling shocked and ashamed.  "That was. . . .  I shouldn't have done that."

"No, it's okay.  I-it's New Year's Eve, and. . . ."

"And I've had way too much to drink," Daniel finished.  "That's no excuse.  It was totally wrong of me to lure you out here."

Sam's eyes widened a little.  "Lure me out here?"

Daniel covered his face with his hands.  "Oh, God.  I didn't mean for you to know that."

Sam almost smiled.  "Daniel, did you plan all of this to get me alone so that you could kiss me?"

The archeologist's answer was a miserable nod of his head.

A little giggle escaped Sam's throat.  He looked so much like a puppy that was expecting a whipping that she couldn't help it.  The whole thing had been a ruse to get her all alone so that he could lay one hell of a kiss on her.  And, boy, what a kiss it had been.  Damn.  With that kind of kissing skill in his possession, Sam had to wonder what other skills he might have.  That thought made her temperature shoot up several degrees.

"Can you ever forgive me?" Daniel asked, still looking miserable.

"Yes, I forgive you, Daniel," Sam replied gently.

The archeologist relaxed slightly, though there was now an odd look on his face.  "That's good.  Now, if you will excuse me, I'm going to go."

"Go?  Go where?"

"To the nearest bathroom.  You see, I'm reasonably certain that I am going to be sick very soon, and I'd rather do it in private."

Sam noticed just then that he was looking a bit green.  "Oh.  Um . . . okay."

Daniel headed for the door, stopping just before he opened it.  He looked back at her, eyes meeting hers.

"It felt really, really good, Sam," he said, then stepped inside, shutting the door behind him.

"Yes.  Yes, it did," Sam murmured with a secret smile to the empty space Daniel had occupied.

As with many New Year's Eve celebrations, the party began to break up shortly after the arrival of midnight.  By one a.m., everyone was gone except for Janet, General Hammond and SG-1.

The general looked over at the recliner with a fond smile on his face.  The reason for the smile was the sight of a sleeping Daniel Jackson sprawled on it, his mouth hanging open slightly, the faintest of snores issuing forth.  The archeologist had plopped down in the chair about twenty minutes ago and promptly fallen asleep.  All those who stayed behind to help Jack clean up had done so quietly, careful not to disturb the sleeping man.

"Thanks for your help, General," Jack said, coming back from the kitchen with a dish towel over his shoulder.

"It was my pleasure,."  Hammond returned his gaze to Daniel.  "You'll see that our boy gets home safe and sound?"

"Don't you worry, sir.  Daniel isn't going anywhere tonight, except maybe to my guest room, that is if I can get him that far."

The general gave a chuckle.  Then his expression sobered.  "We had a great deal more to celebrate this holiday season than we did during the last one."

"Yes, we did, sir," Jack agreed, his voice telling Hammond that he was remembering the sadness of this time last year.

Hammond's expression became thoughtful as his eyes remained on Daniel.  "With all the things that have been going on lately, it's sometimes hard to remember that he really is just a human being like the rest of us."

"Not so much like the rest of us, sir, but I understand what you mean.  What's good is that Daniel remembers that.  I often find myself thinking of that kind of power in the hands of someone without his morality, and, quite frankly, sir, it scares the crap out of me."

"Me too, Jack.  I pray to God that is something we never have to deal with."

A few minutes later, the general left, as did Janet.  Before leaving, the doctor pressed some pills into Jack's hand.

"For the headache he'll most likely have in the morning," she explained with a smile.

"Thanks, Janet."

Surprised at the colonel's use of her given name, Janet only nodded, then headed out the door.  The remaining three conscious people in the house stared at Daniel's dead-to-the-world form.

"I really don't think I want to be him when he wakes up in the morning," Sam said, already feeling sorry for her friend.

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed.  "Daniel Jackson will not be feeling well after consuming so many alcoholic beverages."

"It wasn't really his fault, though, not entirely.  I think that just about everyone at the party had a hand in it.  Daniel said they kept making him share toasts with them."

"They were all just glad that he was here to celebrate with us," Jack said.  "If we'd been serving alcohol at the Christmas party, Daniel probably would have gotten smashed then, too.  I guess we're just lucky that he didn't get so drunk that he started doing parlor tricks with his abilities.  A drunk pyrokinetic archeologist is not something I want to think about.  I might not have had a house left standing."  Jack turned to Sam.  "And on the subject of what drunk archeologist's do. . . ."

Jack's expression told Sam that he was aware that something happened between her and Daniel, but she wasn't about to tell him.  "That is between me and Daniel, sir," she stated firmly.

Jack stared at her closely for a moment longer, then nodded.  "All right, Carter."  He looked at his watch.  "You two had better get going.  It's nearly 0130."

"Do you need help getting him into bed, sir?"

"I think I can manage, and, if I can't, I'll just leave him in the chair.  It reclines."

"Would Daniel Jackson not receive a more restful night's sleep in a bed?" Teal'c asked.

"Yes, he would," Sam replied, not letting Jack answer, which would probably have been a wisecrack about Daniel being too drunk to know the difference.  "Which is why I think we should help get him into bed."

"Fine.  Suit yourself," was Jack's response.

With all three of them helping, they managed to get Daniel out of the chair and on the bed without jarring him too much, though he did stir a couple of times, muttering a few words in a language they weren't sure was English.  It was Sam who took off Daniel's shoes and tucked him in.  She brushed her fingers through his hair, smoothing the disheveled brown locks.

"'Night, Daniel.  Sleep well," she murmured.

Before Sam could step away, Daniel's hand snaked out from beneath the covers and grabbed hold of one of hers.  Startled, she looked at his face, but his eyes were closed, and he appeared to still be more or less asleep.

Taking her hand, he rubbed his cheek against it, then wrapped both of his hands around it.

"Love you, Sam," he mumbled, "more than anything."

Sam felt sudden tears sting her eyes, a tight lump forming in her throat.  Glad that the colonel and Teal'c were not there to witness this, she leaned over and caressed his forehead.

"I love you, too, Daniel," she whispered.  "I always will."

An angelic smile graced his face.  "Marry me?"

Sam gasped sharply, stiffening.  Oh boy.  She had definitely not expected this!  What was she going to say now?

"Go back to sleep, Daniel.  You need rest.  We'll talk about this tomorrow."




Daniel gave a deep, contented sigh and snuggled down under the covers.  The slowing and deepening of his respiration told Sam that he was well and truly asleep now.  She really hoped that, when next he awoke, he didn't remember what he had just said.  He'd be appalled at the thought of having proposed to her in a drunken stupor.

On the drive home a short while later, Sam couldn't help but wonder if a fully sober Daniel would ever ask that same question – and what she would say if he did.

Next Chapter

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