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"If I had known that I was going to be in such need of acting skills, I'd have taken Theater in college," Daniel murmured.

"Yeah, me too," muttered Sam.

Their lament over not having any formal training in acting was a result of the situation they were in.  From the moment that Jack and Teal'c picked them up this morning, the two lovers had been trying to pretend that they were still nothing more than friends . . . and it wasn't easy.  That morning, they'd both agreed that the best thing to do would be to completely avoid touching each other.  However, even that was proving to be a challenge.

Presently, Daniel and Sam were alone, Jack and Teal'c having gone to the men's room.  They were sitting on opposite sides of a table in one of the Denver Art Museum's eating places.  Jack had left the choice of where they'd go on their outing up to Daniel, and it was no surprise to anyone that he picked the museum.

"You know, this really shouldn't be so hard," Daniel said.  "After all, we were just friends for over two years."

"I know.  And what's even more pathetic is that, throughout all that time, I was able to successfully pretend that I didn't have any feelings except friendship for you.  I'm not saying that it was always easy, but it wasn't as hard as it's been today."

"I guess that's because you now know what it's like to be more than friends with me."


Daniel toyed with the stirring stick in his cup of coffee.  "Well, at least Jack's behaving himself and not pestering me about the move."

Sam smiled.  "Yes, I've been quite impressed about that.  There were a couple of times when I was sure he was going to say something."

"Yes, me too."  Daniel grew a smile of his own.  "I think he bit his tongue to stop himself."

Sam laughed.  "It's a really good thing you decided not to draw this out for the full two weeks.  I doubt that he could have held his tongue that long . . . even if he did keep biting it."

That made Daniel laugh.  It was at that moment that Jack and Teal'c returned.

"Now that's a pleasant sound to the ears," the colonel said, having heard the laugh.  "Having fun, Daniel?"

"Yes, it has been a very nice day so far."

"Good.  I'm glad.  We really do need to do stuff like this together more often."

Daniel shared an amused look with Sam.  Though the comment hadn't been an outright request for the archeologist to remain in Colorado, in order for them to go on more outings like this, it would obviously be necessary for him to stay.

"So, shall we continue?" Jack asked.

Daniel nodded.  He took the last couple of swallows of coffee and threw the cup away, then they resumed their tour of the museum.  It was definitely not the place that Jack would have chosen for their day together, and, at times, he was downright bored, but since the whole purpose of this day was to help persuade Daniel not to leave Colorado, it made sense to do things that he'd enjoy.  So if that meant that Jack had to be bored for a while, so be it.

Jack had to admit that he was happy with what he'd seen so far in his best friend's attitude.  Daniel was in good spirits.  Even better, he was quite talkative.  Now, normally, Jack wouldn't be glad about that.  He got his fill of Daniel's loquaciousness during briefings and missions, but a talkative Daniel was a Daniel who wasn't stuck in his own deep, dark thoughts, and that was a good thing.

Most of Daniel's talking had been about the museum exhibits, imparting tidbits of knowledge and, sometimes, a lot more than just tidbits.  Several times, Jack had noticed other people listening in while the archeologist explained this or that about something.

Jack had been exercising all his will power to abide by Daniel's command not to attempt to change his mind about moving away.  Teal'c knew about the agreement, having been told about it by Jack.  The Jaffa said that he understood Daniel's desire and would abide by the archeologist's wishes.  Jack had to wonder if Daniel had told Sam about it.  She hadn't made even one remark about the move.

Actually, thinking about it, Sam had been acting awfully chipper today.  He'd seen her smiling several times.  The way she was acting, you'd never guess that one of her best friends might soon be going away.  Perhaps she was just trying her best to enjoy this day as much as possible just in case it was the last time they'd get to do anything like this with Daniel.

Once Daniel was satisfied that they'd seen absolutely everything there was to see, he and the three members of SG-1 left the museum.

"So what's next?" Jack asked as they got into his jeep.

Daniel looked at him.  "Next?  Don't forget that it'll take a while to get home, Jack.  Or is your plan for us to be getting home at midnight?"

"Well, no, I wasn't thinking quite that late, but none of us have to get up early, so there's nothing preventing us from making a full day of it."

"I guess you do have a point."  Daniel glanced at his watch.  "All the other museums would be closed now, so I don't have any suggestions."

Jack smiled.  "Well, in that case, I do."  He started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.  He took them to a bar and restaurant that reminded Daniel of O'Malley's in Colorado Springs.

After enjoying a tasty dinner, the four friends moved into the bar.  Since Teal'c never drank alcohol anyway, he was automatically made the designated driver, which left the others free to imbibe their beverages of choice.

As he sipped on his drink, Daniel had the pleasure of watching Sam beat the pants off every man who played against her at pool.  Jack, who was smart enough not to challenge her, was playing at another table, trying to teach Teal'c how to play, which was a lot more amusing than Daniel would have thought it would be.

"You're not playing?"

Daniel turned to see that a pretty, dark-haired woman had come up to him.

"No.  I don't know how, and I'm sure that I'd be terrible at it."

The woman nodded.  "I tried it once, but I gave up after I kept sinking the eight ball."  She held her hand out to him.  "I'm Lila."

Daniel shook her hand.  "Daniel."

"Nice to meet you, Daniel.  I'm here with a couple of my friends.  Would you like to join us?"

Daniel looked over at the table she'd pointed to and saw two other woman.  They smiled at him invitingly.

"Um . . . thank you very much for the invitation, Lila, but I'm here with friends, too."

Now it was Lila who was smiling invitingly.  "I'm sure they won't mind."

Unbeknownst to Daniel, Sam, who had just finished trouncing her latest opponent, was watching.  Even though she couldn't hear the conversation, the body language of the woman who was talking to Daniel made it quite clear what she wanted.

Sam felt jealousy rear up inside her.  The woman's coloring was very much like Sha're's, and, also like Sha're, she was very well endowed.  Did Daniel find her beautiful?

Sam tried not to be jealous, but she couldn't help it.  She and Daniel might be in a relationship, but it was not based upon love, not on his part.  Some woman could come walking into his life whom he'd fall head over heels for.  It could be that woman right there.

That thought made Sam's mood plummet.  She was about to turn away when Daniel's head turned to her, and there was no mistaking the look on his face.  Her ex-teammate was in need of rescuing.

Sam walked up to Daniel and wrapped her arm around his, her eyes fastening upon the woman hitting on him.

"Hello," she said sweetly.

With a feeling of relief, Daniel said, "Lila, this is Sam, my . . . girlfriend."

Lila's smile had disappeared.  "Oh.  Um . . . hi."

Daniel returned his gaze to Sam.  In his eyes the astrophysicist could see a look of gratitude.  "Are you ready for another drink, honey?"

"Yes, I was just thinking about that."

Daniel turned back to Lila.  "Thank you for the invitation, Lila, but I think I'll stick with Sam and my friends."

"Uh, yes, of course."  Lila turned around and went back to her friends.

"Thank you," Daniel murmured to Sam.  "I never quite know what to say when something like that happens."

"Most single guys would have taken her up on the invitation."

Daniel detected a very slight edge to Sam's voice.  "Sam, were you jealous?"

"No, of course not," the major instantly replied.

The archeologist kept staring at her.  He glanced toward Jack to see that the man was totally engrossed in watching Teal'c attempt to sink his first ball.  Taking Sam's hand, Daniel led her toward the restrooms.  There was a wall separating the area from the rest of the bar, affording a little corner of privacy.  The moment they were behind the wall, Daniel took Sam's face in his hands and proceeded to kiss her breathless.  Sam moaned and held on for dear life.

"You have no reason to be jealous, Sam," he told her when their lips separated.  "Yes, she was pretty, but I wasn't the least bit interested in her.  I am in a relationship with you, Sam.  It might be a rather unorthodox relationship, but I am committed to it."  He gazed into her eyes intently.  "Do you believe me?"

Sam answered by pulling Daniel's mouth back down to hers in a deep kiss.

"You don't know how much I wish we could leave right now," Daniel whispered against her lips.

"Oh, yes, I do."

Daniel grinned.  "I could pretend to get an upset stomach."

Sam also grinned.  "Yes, you could do that."

"But then Jack would buy me a club soda, and I hate club soda.  What time is it anyway?"  He looked at his watch and saw that it was after nine.  "How about if we stick it out for another half-hour?"

"I can survive that, although the drive home will be hell."

As Sam went off to the ladies room, Daniel did likewise to the men's room, where he relieved himself, then wiped off the traces of Sam's lipstick.  He then joined Jack and Teal'c, seeing that the Jaffa had succeeded in sinking three balls so far.

"Hey, where'd you go off to?" Jack asked.  "Where's Carter?"

"In the ladies room.  I was in the men's room."

Jack grinned.  "Escaping the looker who was hitting on you?"

Startled, Daniel stared at him.  "You saw that?"  He was worried about what else the colonel might have seen.

"Yep.  She and her two girlfriends had been eyeing you for the past hour.  I figured that one of them would approach you sooner or later."

"Oh.  I didn't notice."

"No surprise there."

Daniel paused before saying, "No, I did not run off to the bathroom to escape her.  I didn't have to.  Sam rescued me."

"Did she?  Well, good.  Even ex-teammates need to come to the aid of each other on occasion."

Daniel nodded, feeling relieved.  Apparently, Jack had not seen Sam rescue him from Lila.

"Are we going to leave soon?" he asked.  "I would still like to get home before midnight."

"Sure.  We can go as soon as I finish Teal'c's lesson."

The "lesson" lasted another thirty-five minutes.  On the way home, the four friends chatted quietly, though Daniel did more listening than talking.  Though, yesterday, he had been wishing that he could spend the day alone with Sam, he was now happy that they'd done this.  He really did have a good time.  It had been good to connect with his former teammates like this.

Sam was dropped off at her place first, then Teal'c drove to Daniel's.  The archeologist got out of the car and looked in through the open window at Jack, who was in the front passenger seat.

"Thanks for the day out," Daniel said.  "It was fun."

"Well, I'm glad that you had a good time, Daniel," Jack responded.  "Maybe, next time, we can go to the Air and Space Museum.  Now that's my kind of museum."

Daniel hid his smile at the man's suggestion.

"We'll see," he said.

Figuring that he'd better go before Jack totally blew his agreement not to talk about the move, Daniel wished the two men good night, then went up to his apartment.  He immediately got on the phone.

"They're gone," he told Sam.

"I'll be right over."

Click here to go to version with milder sexual content

Three minutes after Sam came in the door, the two of them were naked and on the bed, passion and need making their movements almost frantic.  Sam rolled on top of Daniel, her hands and lips everywhere.

"God, Sam," Daniel groaned, his body already aching to be inside her.

Wanting the same thing just as much, Sam sat up.  She wrapped her hand around his length, positioned herself, and sank down onto him, taking his hardness into her body.  With another groan, he bucked up into her, driving himself in deeper.  Sam began to move with him, their pace very quickly speeding up.

In fascination, Daniel watched Sam rise and fall above him.  She looked so beautiful, her face lifted toward the ceiling, her body flushed with passion.  This was not Sam the scientist or Sam the Air Force major.  It was Sam the woman, a woman who made him feel so alive every time he made love to her.

Sitting up, Daniel grabbed Sam's head and took her mouth in a hard kiss.  Keeping their bodies joined, he folded his lower legs underneath him.  He lifted Sam's hips upward slightly, then, with a quick movement, thrust back up into her.  She moaned and quickly joined him in the hard, fast rhythm.  They rapidly climbed the peak together.

Feeling himself ready to fall over the edge and sensing that Sam was as well, Daniel took hold of her head again and met her eyes.  With their gazes locked together, they came simultaneously in a wildly intense climax.

They held each other as they came down from the high.  Once their breathing had slowed, they claimed each other's mouths possessively.

"You are amazing," Daniel murmured.

"So are you.  You make me feel so incredible, Daniel."

The archeologist stared into her eyes.  "I don't ever want you to think that you have a reason to be jealous, Sam.  I meant what I said before.  I am committed to this relationship."

"I know you meant it, Daniel."  Sam's eyes dropped from his.

"But?  I can tell that something is on your mind."

Sam gathered her courage and spoke her thoughts.  "You loved Sha're so much, and I know that being with her made you happy."  She met his eyes.  "That's the way I feel about you, and nothing would make me happier than to be like this with you for the rest of my life.  But if . . . but if you ever met someone you thought you could feel that way about, I wouldn't expect you to stay with—"

Sam's voice was halted by Daniel's fingers on her lips.

"Sam, I can't say what the future is going to bring," he said, "but I don't want you to look at every woman I meet and wonder if she's going to steal me away from you.  I cannot imagine myself with any woman alive except you, and I don't think that's going to be changing any time soon.  What we have, it may not make me happy in exactly the same way as being with Sha're did, but it does make me happy.  I love this."  He brushed his hand down her arm.  "I love being with you.  I love making love to you.  I love waking up with you beside me.  So no more worrying about other women, okay?"

Sam smiled, a hint of tears in her eyes.  "Okay."

After using the bathroom, they crawled into bed.  Daniel spooned behind Sam, curving his body tight against hers.  One of his hands gently cupped her breast, a gesture of possession.  Sam smiled softly, very much wanting to be possessed by him.  The independent woman in her railed at the thought, but the woman in love didn't care.

Sam's hand came to rest over the one he had on her breast.  She then closed her eyes and, with a feeling of contentment, drifted away into sleep.

Sam looked up from her bowl of cereal to study the man sitting across from her.

"When are you going to invite Teal'c and the colonel over so that you can give them the news that you're not moving?" she asked.

"I was thinking of calling them around four o'clock.  I plan on fixing spaghetti for dinner."

"Sounds good.  I guess I'll be making use of my acting skills again when I pretend to be surprised about your decision to remain in Colorado Springs."

"That should be a piece of cake compared to yesterday."

This being her last day of leave, Sam wanted to spend as much of it as possible with Daniel, so she was still there when he made the call to her C.O. at four p.m.

"Hey, Jack.  I was wondering if you guys might like to come over to my place for dinner tonight, sort of a thank-you for yesterday."

"Sure.  What time?"


"Sounds good to me.  Would you like me to let Teal'c know?"

"Yeah, thanks.  I'll call Sam."

"Okay.  See you at seven, then."

Daniel hung up and turned to Sam.  "All set.  I do need to go grocery shopping, though."

"I'll go on home, then.  I really need to get some housework done anyway."

"Okay."  Daniel gave her a kiss.  "See you tonight."

It was no surprise that Sam was the first one to arrive at Daniel's that evening.  In fact, she was a full twenty minutes early.  She helped him with the last minute stuff in the kitchen and was busy setting the table when Jack and Teal'c arrived five minutes early.

Everyone enjoyed the meal, the conversation remaining light.  They were in the living room, eating slices of the Dutch apple pie Daniel purchased, when the archeologist set down his plate and looked at his ex-teammates, a serious expression on his face.

"I've made a decision," he announced.  "Jack, I know you wanted me to think about it for two weeks, but I already know what I want to do."

Jack's expression showed how unhappy he was.  "Daniel, come on.  We agreed on two weeks.  Can't you just put a little more thought into it?"

Daniel stared at him.  "So, you want me to wait another eight days before telling you that I've decided to stay?"

Jack blinked.  "You . . . what?"

"I've decided to stay."

"Daniel, that's wonderful!" Sam exclaimed, doing a good job of playing the delightfully surprised friend.

"Indeed," Teal'c said, looking pleased.

"Why you little jerk," Jack said.  "You deliberately worded it so that I'd think you went ahead and decided to leave."

Daniel kept his face completely straight.  "Did I?"

"I should punch you for that.  Instead, I'll just echo Carter and Teal'c's sentiments.  I am delighted that you changed your mind.  I'd say that it calls for a celebration, but since we're already eating pie, I'll just get back to doing that."

Jack did that very thing, a smile on his lips.  The others did so as well.

"Now that you have chosen to remain in Colorado Springs, what are your plans for obtaining employment, Daniel Jackson?" Teal'c asked after a moment.

"That's a good question.  There aren't all that many job opportunities around here for someone with my qualifications.  There would be more in Denver, but I'd hate the long commute."

"Well, I know of one job that would fit your qualifications perfectly," Jack told him.  "Your old one back at the SGC."

Daniel stared down at the floor.  "I still don't feel like I could continue traveling through the gate on missions, Jack."

"But you wouldn't have to, Daniel," Sam said.  "We would all love for you to come back to SG-1, but just you coming back to the SGC would be great."  She looked at Jack.  "Isn't that right, sir?"

He nodded.  "I'd definitely prefer you back on the team, but having you there just as a consultant would be a hell of a lot better than not having you in the program at all."

"We have missed your presence there," Teal'c stated.

Daniel lifted his head.  "I'll think about it."

"Good," Jack said.  "You do that."

Jack and Teal'c left a while later, Sam saying that she was going to stay and help wash the dishes.  She and Daniel hadn't been at the dish-washing for very long when the major let out a laugh.

"That was just plain cruel, what you did to the colonel."

A tiny smile curved Daniel's lips.  "I suppose it was, but I couldn't help myself."

"I was fighting to keep a straight face when you said that."  Sam looked down at the soapy water.  "You know, what we said about you rejoining the program is true.  You could come back just as a consultant."

"I know, Sam.  I will think about it.  I promise."

Though Sam would have loved to spend another night with Daniel, she figured that it would be best if she went home since she'd be getting up early.

"I am going to miss being with you every day," she said from within the circle of Daniel's arms.  They were standing at the door after having shared a very long kiss.

"Likewise.  I'd say that you could come over in the evenings, but the problem is that I never know when Jack's going to drop by unexpectedly."

"You could come over to my place."

"I could, but then I'd want to spend the night, and you need to get up early on work days."

"That's okay.  We can make it work.  There wouldn't be anything preventing you from letting yourself out after I've gone to work.  You should still have a key.  You made a copy so that you could feed Schrodinger while I was recuperating from that unplanned trip to Antarctica."

Daniel thought about it.  "Okay, how about if I come over every other evening, starting Wednesday?"

"That'll work.  What about the weekend?"

Daniel smiled.  "Well, since I'll be waking up there Saturday morning, I suppose I could hang around for the rest of the day."

Sam tightened her arms around him.  "Mmm.  Just what I was thinking."

They shared another long kiss, then Sam reluctantly headed for home.

Neither of them had spoken again about telling Jack and Teal'c about their relationship.  Sam knew that it was something they'd have to do eventually, but she really wasn't looking forward to it.  On the other hand, it would mean that they'd no longer have to sneak around behind everyone's back.  They could freely spend as much time together as they wanted.

On Wednesday, she and Daniel would have to talk about this and decide what to do.

Sam laid her head on Daniel's shoulder, her eyes on the TV screen.  They were cuddled up on the couch together, watching a movie.

It had been nine days since Daniel let Jack and Teal'c know that he'd decided to remain in Colorado Springs, twelve days since he told Sam that he wanted to be in a relationship with her.  They had been twelve of the happiest days of Sam's life.  They'd continued their schedule of getting together every other evening and spending one weekend day together.  The one problem was that, on the work day mornings that Daniel was sharing her bed, she really didn't want to leave.  There was a time when Sam loved going off to work and couldn't think of anything she'd rather do, but that was most definitely in the past.

Sam had feared that Daniel would grow tired of spending so much time with her, but he seemed to enjoy every minute they were together.  As for Sam, she eagerly looked forward to their times together.  Regardless of whether they made love or simply slept together, each night with him was wonderful.

Daniel had turned out to be the perfect boyfriend, romantic and attentive.  One evening, he surprised her with a dozen roses.  On another, he presented her with a little box that contained a lovely charm bracelet, each of the charms being a cat posed in a different position.  They'd gone on two more dates.  For a man who wasn't even in love with her, he was more loving and giving of himself than any other boyfriend Sam had ever had.  Sometimes, she felt like pinching herself to make sure it was all real.

The couple had yet to tell Jack and Teal'c about their relationship.  The truth was that they were putting it off.  They were dreading the reaction, especially from Jack.  They knew that they couldn't put it off forever.  As it was, there had been a couple of close calls.  Sam and Daniel were together one Saturday at his place when Jack showed up out of the blue.  Thankfully, they were both fully clothed and came up with the explanation that the two of them were planning on going to see a movie together.  Jack invited himself along, which was a problem because there weren't actually any movies playing that the couple wanted to see.  They settled on an action flick.  The other close call was far worse.  That time, the lovers were most definitely not fully clothed.  In fact, they'd just finished having sex against Daniel's bedroom wall when Jack's knock on the front door startled them.  Daniel had to quickly throw on some clothes, and Sam had to hide in the bedroom while the archeologist got himself out of spending the evening with Jack at O'Malley's.  After that incident, the couple decided that it was far too risky to spend any time together at Daniel's place.

The movie ended, and Sam went to use the bathroom.  When she came back out, Daniel was looking through her CD collection.  She just stood there and watched him for a moment, a little smile on her lips.  She then walked up to him and gave him a kiss.

"Forget the music," she said.  "Let's go into my bedroom and make our own music."

A grin slowly spread across Daniel's face.  "Make our own music?"

Sam made a face.  "Okay, that sounded really corny.  Blame it on the movie we just watched."  It had been a rather sappy romance.

Daniel stepped forward and pulled her into his arms.  "So, what kind of music will we be making tonight?  Will it be a slow song or something . . . up-tempo?"  Daniel's voice dropped half an octave on the last two words, his hand sliding down Sam's body.  Her breath caught in her throat.

"Up-tempo, most definitely," she murmured huskily before taking Daniel's mouth in a scorching kiss.

The "music" that night was definitely up-tempo.  Afterwards, they lay flat on their backs as their thundering hearts gradually slowed.

"If we were at my place, and Jack knocked on the door right now, I don't think I'd have the strength to get up to answer it," Daniel declared.

"Thank God that's not a possibility here."  Sam rolled onto her side and looked at her lover's profile.  "How much longer do you think we can keep this a secret from him?"

Daniel sighed.  "I don't know.  We've been lucky so far.  If I was still in the program, I doubt that we could have kept it hidden for this long."

Sam fell silent.  "Have you put more thought into that?" she finally asked.  "Rejoining the program, I mean."

"Yes, I have, and it occurred to me that there would be one big disadvantage to doing so."

"What's that?"

Daniel looked at her.  "As it stands now, the only people we're going to have to tell about our relationship are Jack and Teal'c, and I suppose Janet, too.  But if I come back to the SGC, we'd have to tell General Hammond.  The entire base would probably find out, and you can bet that people will talk.  Now, normally, I'm not the kind of person who really cares about stuff like that.  After all, when I posited my theories about the pyramids, I knew that every tongue in the archeological community would be wagging.  What people on base would say about me isn't what's bothering me."

Sam looked at him.  "You're thinking about what they'd say about me."


"Daniel, though I do admit that I don't like the idea of people there gossiping about us, if I have to choose between that and not having you back there, I'll take the gossip.  If that's the price of having you back with the program, it's more than worth it.  So please don't make the decision not to return because you want to protect me from what people might say or think about our relationship."

Daniel didn't say anything for a moment.  "If I did decide to come back, would there be a problem with work?"

"If you're wondering about regulations, then, no, there would be nothing against it.  You're a civilian.  Technically, even if you rejoined SG-1, it wouldn't be against the regs, although, if you did that, the people in charge could object and refuse to allow it.  But if all you did was rejoin the program, there's nothing they can say about it."  Sam gazed at him intently.  "I want you back there, Daniel.  I miss having you there.  We all do.  It would be so wonderful having you back."

Daniel fell silent again.  He left the Stargate Program because his guilt and grief over Sha're's death had destroyed his desire to remain there.  So what about now?  Sha're was still dead, and he still grieved for her, but his new relationship with Sam had reignited the spark that had died within him.  Could he return to the SGC, to the place where he'd held so much hope that he would someday free his wife?  That shadow would still be there, but Sam would also be there and the hope that she had brought back to him.  He liked the idea of working closely with her again, joining her on projects.  Their new relationship would make it even better.  Of course, there was also the practical consideration, that it would resolve the dilemma of what he was going to do for employment.  He'd done a bit of job searching but hadn't had any luck so far.

Daniel rolled onto his side and met Sam's eyes.  He saw there the hope that he would say yes.  If he said no, that hope would be replaced by disappointment.

Several more seconds passed, then Daniel caressed Sam's cheek, smiled, and nodded.  A bright smile lit her face.

"You'll come back?"

"Yes, I'll come back."

Sam engulfed Daniel in a tight hug.  Just the joy on her face when she pulled back was enough to make Daniel happy with his decision.

"The colonel and Teal'c are going to be so delighted," she said.  "When are you going to tell them?"

Daniel thought about that, and the smile on his face grew.  "Actually, I have an idea about that."

Jack frowned down at the paperwork before him.  When he came into work this morning, he'd been called into Hammond's office, where the general spoke again about finding Daniel's replacement.  He'd managed to stall yet again, but that wasn't going to work for much longer.  If only Daniel would at least agree to return to the SGC, it might be enough to convince Hammond that, given more time, the archeologist might decide to rejoin SG-1.

Jack couldn't count the number of times that he'd been tempted to talk to Daniel about coming back to the program, but he didn't want to get too pushy.  He had come to recognize that his friend needed to make that decision for himself.

Letting out a sigh, Jack finished going over the paperwork, then signed it.  He put it in the outbox, then got up to pour himself a cup of coffee.  He was reaching for the pot when a voice startled him.

"Hey, Jack."

Surprise was the emotion Jack was feeling as he turned around.  That surprise grew into shock as his eyes fell upon Daniel.  The archeologist was standing in the open doorway, leaning casually against the doorjamb . . . and he was wearing BDUs.

"Daniel?  You're wearing. . . ."

"Yes, I am."

Jack stared at him.  "Does that mean. . . ."

"Yes, it does."

An ear-to-ear grin split Jack's face.  "Yes!"  He came forward and gave his best friend a hug.  He then drew back and grasped Daniel's shoulders.  He could not help but note that the SG-1 patch was not on one of those shoulders, but just the fact that the Stargate Program patch was there was enough for now.

"I can't believe you did this behind my back," Jack said, shaking his head.  "When did you rejoin?"

"Just now, actually.  I just left Hammond's office a little while ago.  He said that it'll be a few hours before it's official, but he saw no reason for me to wait to settle back in."

"Sweet."  Jack patted his shoulders.  "Come on, then.  Let's go give the good news to Carter and Teal'c."

"Sam already knows.  She was with me when I made the decision yesterday."

"And was she in on this plan to surprise me?"

"In a way.  I came here with her so that the guards at the gate wouldn't have to get the general's permission for me to come on base.  But Teal'c doesn't know, so we can go tell him."

Daniel called Sam's lab, and she joined the two men as they went to Teal'c's quarters.  The Jaffa was delighted that Daniel had chosen to rejoin the program, and all four of them went to the commissary for some celebratory dessert, where several people welcomed the archeologist back.  Afterwards, Jack, Sam and Teal'c all followed Daniel to his old office.

"You need to get busy filling it back up with your stuff," the colonel remarked, looking about at the barren shelves and desk.

"I've got some of it in Sam's trunk, mostly my books."

"Well, then let's go get it."

The four friends fetched the boxes, then Sam, Jack and Teal'c watched in pleasure as Daniel began filling the shelves with his possessions.

"This is great," Jack murmured.

"Yes, it is," Sam agreed.

Jack looked at her.  "Daniel said that you were with him when he made the decision to come back."

Sam hesitated ever so slightly before saying, "Yes, sir."

"So what finally made him decide to do it?"

Sam's hesitation was longer this time.  "Well, I told him how much we wanted him back, but I think a big factor is that his grief over Sha're isn't as strong as it was when he quit."

Jack nodded, returning his attention to Daniel.  He best friend was at last back where he belonged.  Well, not quite.  Jack was now confident, though, that, given some more time, Daniel would return to the team as well.  He – and General Hammond – just had to be a little more patient.

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