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Daniel stood in the control room, watching as his former teammates prepared to go through the gate on their first mission since he left the team.  Going with them was Robert Rothman.  Robert, who was Daniel's research assistant when he was working on his third doctoral dissertation, had been added to the Archeology Department staff just two weeks before Daniel resigned.  He was a talented archeologist and anthropologist.  He was also fluent in eight spoken languages and conversant in an additional five dead languages.

SG-1's mission was to a planet with ruins that appeared to be pre-Colombian, possibly Olmec.  Since Robert's specialty was the cultures of Mesoamerica, Daniel had suggested that his ex-teammates take him along.  Jack had agreed, though he'd made it clear that it was only for this mission.

Just then, General Hammond came up to Daniel.

"Good morning, Doctor Jackson."

"Morning, sir."  Daniel turned back to the gate room.  The general followed his gaze.

"It feels odd, doesn't it," he said.

Daniel looked at him.  "Odd?"

"Seeing them go off on a mission without you."

"Oh.  Um, yes, I guess it does."

Hammond nodded.  "Before I was promoted to general, I was the leader of a military unit.  The first time I saw my former team go off on a mission without me, I had the urge to give back my stars and join them.  I was naturally worried about them, concerned that they'd run into trouble, and I wouldn't be there to help."

Daniel frowned slightly.  "SG-1 should be okay.  I-I mean, there was no sign of anyone living in the area, right?"

"Yes, I'm sure they'll be fine."  The general gave him an understanding smile.  "But that isn't going to stop you from worrying about them."

The archeologist sighed.  "No."

Hammond patted his shoulder.  "Why don't you go on down there and see them off.  I'm sure they'd like that."

Daniel hesitated for a moment, then headed down to the gate room.

"Daniel," Jack said as the archeologist came up to him.  "Sure you won't change your mind and come with us?"  His voice gained a note of pleading.  "Please?"

"Sorry, Jack.  I'm sure Robert will do fine.  He's an expert in the pre-Colombian civilizations."

Jack glanced sourly at the dark-haired, bespectacled man, who was, at that moment, blowing his nose.  "I don't care that he's an expert.  What matters is that he's not you."

Daniel ducked his head.  He had to admit that it felt good to hear Jack say that.

Sam came up to them with a smile.  "Here to see us off?" she asked Daniel.


"I wish you were coming with us."

"The same sentiment I just expressed," Jack told her.

The Stargate began dialing, and everyone's eyes went to it, remaining there until the wormhole had connected.  After being wished good luck by Hammond, Daniel's former teammates all turned to him, and he could see their reluctance to go without him.

"Be careful, guys," he said, his eyes catching Sam's for a moment.

"We will," she responded.

Jack and Teal'c went through the gate first, followed by Sam.  As Robert passed by Daniel, the ex-member of SG-1 said, "Don't let Jack intimidate you."

"He already tried.  I'm just glad this is temporary.  I pity the person who takes your place on the team permanently."

Robert turned away and headed up the ramp, so he didn't see the look that flashed across Daniel's face.

Daniel remained in the gate room until the gate shut down, then went to his office.  He sat at his desk and thought about what Robert said.  All this time, he'd known that someone would eventually be permanently assigned to SG-1 to fill his place on the team.  He hadn't had a problem with that before, but now he had to admit that it was bothering him a little.  Why?

Daniel really thought about it and realized that it was because of the change in his relationship with Sam.  On many of their missions, especially the ones where they stayed overnight, he and Sam would get into long conversations, Jack sometimes joining in.  He'd always enjoyed those conversations, and he was shocked to realize that thinking of someone else being in those conversations with her instead of him was making him jealous.  How stupid was that?  He and Sam shared plenty of conversations, about topics that were a lot more personal and intimate than anything the two of them ever discussed on a mission.  Was he so petty that he couldn't stand the thought of her enjoying a pleasant conversation with someone else?

Even as he asked himself that question, he knew the answer.  The problem wasn't really with her chatting with someone else; it was that he'd lost that connection with her, the comradery that those conversations on missions made him feel.  He'd never realized till now that talking with her like that, sharing his thoughts with her about the mission or something else to do with work, had been one of his favorite things about going on a mission.

But just because he was no longer a member of SG-1 didn't mean that they couldn't still have those conversations.  They'd be getting together on projects from time to time, and there was nothing preventing him from talking with her about SG-1's missions.  In fact, after they got back today, he could invite her to join him in the commissary and ask her how things went.

Daniel shook his head.  This was ridiculous.  He was just going through a natural adjustment period.  In time, he'd be completely accustomed to Sam, Jack and Teal'c going off on missions with a new team member.  He'd settle into his new role as just a consultant and be fine with it.  And it's not like he wouldn't have plenty of work to keep him busy.  It had always been a struggle to do all the archeological and translation work that was continually piling up on his desk while also going on missions.  Maybe, now, he'd finally be able to keep up with all the work.

Pushing aside all other thoughts, Daniel got back to work on the translation he'd started earlier this morning.  He managed to make some headway on it, although he'd have made even more if he hadn't kept glancing at the clock every ten minutes to see what time it was.  SG-1 was due back at three p.m., and the hours seemed to be crawling by.

When three o'clock finally did arrive, Daniel couldn't stop himself from going to the control room.  As the minutes ticked by, he began to fidget, looking at his watch every thirty seconds.  At 3:10 he was starting to get a little concerned.  At 3:15 he was tempted to ask General Hammond to dial the gate and find out why SG-1 was late.  At 3:16, the Stargate activated, indicating that someone was dialing in.

General Hammond entered the control room, smiling in amusement upon seeing Daniel there.  He didn't say anything as he stepped up beside the archeologist.

"They're a bit late," Daniel remarked.

"Yes, that happens from time to time.  I don't start getting concerned until a team is half an hour behind schedule."

As Robert and the three members of SG-1 came through the Stargate, Daniel's eyes scanned them, looking for any sign that they'd run into trouble.  They all appeared to be fine, no injuries, no mussed clothing.

Not wanting his friends to know that he'd been waiting for them in the control room like an anxious mother waiting for her children to get off the bus after their first day at school, Daniel quickly returned to his office.  He stayed put there, counting off the minutes that he figured it would take for the post-mission physical and debriefing.

About ten minutes after the time that Daniel figured the debriefing would be over, Sam came walking in.

"Hey," he greeted with a smile.  "How did it go?"

"Oh, pretty good, though Rothman and the colonel butted heads.  Rothman wasn't happy with the way we were rushing through the ruins."

Daniel smiled.  "Ah, yes.  I recall how much I used to complain about that."

Sam stared at him.  "Used to?"

"Okay, so I was still doing that occasionally up to the time I left the program, but, toward the end, I'd sort of resigned myself to the fact that I'd never get to spend as much time studying ruins as I'd like to.  Speaking of the ruins, was I right about them being Olmec?"

Sam nodded.  "That's what Rothman thinks."

"This is the first time we've encountered traces of that civilization on another planet, though it's certainly not a surprise."

A little smile formed on Sam's lips.  "You're wishing that you could have seen them for yourself."

"Maybe a little."  Daniel paused.  "Okay, so maybe more than a little.  It's always exciting when we discover signs of yet another Earth culture out there.  Every time we do, it makes me wonder how many more are out in the galaxy somewhere."

"I know what you mean."

Daniel smiled again.  "Would you like to get a cup of coffee and tell me all about the mission?"

"I wish I could, but, on my way here, Siler told me that something came up on the computer diagnostics that I need to look into.  It's nothing serious, but I don't want to put it off."

"Oh.  Okay.  Maybe later, then."

"I'm sure that Rothman would be happy to fill you in."

"Yes, I'm sure he would."

Sam said goodbye and left the office.  A little disappointed that he wouldn't be able to chat with her about the mission, Daniel got back to work.  He hadn't been at it for long when Jack came in.

"That man is ten times worse than you ever were," the colonel declared grouchily.

"In what way?"

"In every way.  I thought that you were bad about copping an attitude, but he's got you beat by a mile.  And the guy's a klutz."

"I find that hard to believe since he was a two-time decathlon champ in college."

"You've got to be joking."

"Nope.  That was before he got asthma, though."

"Well, I'm just glad that I won't ever have to put up with him on a mission again."

Daniel stared at him.  "You know, Jack, sooner or later, you're going to have to pick my permanent replacement.  If it's not going to be a civilian scientist like Robert, then it'll have to be an airman or marine."

Jack frowned severely.  "I don't want to talk about it."  He took a seat.  "So what have you been doing all day?"

"Translations.  My inbox is stuffed full of them.  I guess there were a lot that didn't get done while I was gone because nobody could do them."

"Which proves how much you're needed around here."

"Well, I'm sure that General Hammond would have hired some people if I hadn't come back."

Jack sat on the edge of the desk.  "What are your plans for the weekend?"

"Working.  I only just came back yesterday, Jack.  I think that taking the weekend off after only two days of work would be a little silly."

"I suppose so.  Just don't work all night."

"I have no intention of doing so."  Daniel's plan was to get together with Sam Saturday night.

That thought made the archeologist think about the fact that, now that he was back in the program, he and Sam weren't going to be able to put off revealing their relationship for much longer.  The danger of it being discovered was much higher now, and it would be way worse if Jack found out on his own.  They just needed to gather their courage and get it over and done with.

Daniel stayed late that evening, having nothing better to do.  It was going on nine p.m. when Sam popped her head in.

"Ah, still working, I see," she said with a smile.

"Yeah.  You should have seen the pile of work that was brought in here not ten minutes after I walked in the door this morning.  I'm betting that they wanted to give it to me yesterday but were afraid I'd quit again if they did."

Sam's smile widened.  "Poor Daniel.  Already overworked again."  She came into the office.  In a lower voice, she asked, "Are we still on for tomorrow night?"

"You bet, although I'll hate to disturb you when I leave for work in the morning."

"Well, it's not like I haven't done that to you plenty of times since my leave ended.  I think I'll survive."  She gave him another smile.  "Well, I'm heading on home.  Don't stay too late."

"I won't.  Sweet dreams, Sam."

"Thanks, but any dreams I have won't be as sweet as they would be if you were there with me."

Daniel watched Sam leave, then returned to work, looking forward to tomorrow night.

Daniel arrived at Sam's place at seven p.m. Saturday evening.  After enjoying a quiet meal together, they decided to play a game of scrabble.  It was no surprise that the linguist won.

Seeing Daniel yawn, Sam looked at him narrowly.  "How late were you up last night?"

"Uhhh . . . pretty late.  I had every intention of quitting at ten, but then I realized that the thing I was translating had some important information.  It was going on three by the time I called it a night.  I just stayed on base since I saw no sense in driving all the way home."

Sam shook her head.  "You're not going to start doing that again, are you?  Sometimes, I wondered why you even had an apartment since you rarely seemed to be there."

"No, I assure you that I am not going to get back into the habit of working till the wee small hours.  Back then, I didn't have much of anything else in my life."  He caressed her cheek.  "Now, I most definitely do."

Sam smiled and kissed him.  She then stood up and took his hand.

"Come on.  Let's go on to bed so that you can get a good night's sleep."

"But it's only 9:30."

"That's okay.  If I can't get to sleep, I'll just read."

Another yawn snuck up on Daniel, and he smothered it.  "I'm sorry, Sam.  This isn't exactly how I planned for this evening to go."

Sam gave him another smile.  "Don't apologize, Daniel.  I really don't mind."

After getting ready for bed, the couple crawled under the covers.  Daniel immediately gathered Sam into his arms.  He laid his head down on her chest and let out a contented little sigh as he closed his eyes.  It didn't take long for him to fall asleep.

Sam gazed down at the man in her arms, her hand running through his hair soothingly.  She loved moments like this, when she could watch Daniel sleep.  He always looked so peaceful, years younger than his chronological age.  It was even better when he cuddled with her in his sleep, like he was now.  Yes, Doctor Daniel Jackson was a cuddler, something she'd never have guessed before they became lovers since, in all the time she'd known him, he had not been a very tactile person.  But, apparently, the way Daniel was with friends was not the same way he was toward a woman with whom he was in a relationship, for, ever since they became lovers, he had been very tactile indeed.  And she loved it.

Deciding that she didn't want to chance disturbing Daniel, Sam chose not to read.  Instead, she just laid there, listening to Daniel breathe and thinking about the past two weeks.  Yesterday had been the two-week anniversary of the day they became a real couple.  She suspected that there were some people who would have believed that their relationship wouldn't even last that long, that, by now, Daniel would have "come to his senses" and realized that all his new feelings for Sam were just a byproduct of his grief over Sha're.  And yet, instead of that happening, it seemed as if Daniel's desire to be with her was stronger than ever.  His words to her last Sunday were still lodged deep in her heart, making her feel very secure in their relationship.  She was sure that, the next time some woman came on to him, she wouldn't be worried or jealous.

Sam was abruptly awakened from sleep by the sound of a whimper.  Her eyes immediately went to Daniel.  He was laying beside her on his back, and it was obvious that he was having a nightmare.  The expression on his face was one of anguish, the sounds he was making those of a man in terrible emotional pain.

Sam's heart sank.  This was the first time that she knew of Daniel having a nightmare about Sha're since they became lovers.  She had hoped that he'd never have another one.

Sam was reaching out to awaken him when he abruptly spoke.

"Noooo.  God, no," he moaned.  "Sam!"

The astrophysicist gasped sharply, realizing that Daniel's nightmare was about her, not Sha're.  She took hold of his shoulders and gently shook him.

"Daniel?  Daniel, wake up.  You're dreaming."

Daniel's eyes flew open with a start.  His eyes latched onto hers.  Realizing that what he'd experienced had only been a dream, he shuddered and covered his face with his hands.

"God," he whispered.

"Shh.  It's all right," Sam murmured soothingly, caressing his hair.

Daniel abruptly got up and went into the bathroom, where he splashed cold water on his face.  He stood bowed over the sink for several long seconds until Sam came in to check on him.

"Are you all right?" she asked.


"Do you want to talk about it?"

Daniel hesitated for a long moment before nodding.

They returned to the bed, sitting up against the headboard.

"You guys had gone on a mission," Daniel began, "and you were late coming back.  I was in the control room, waiting for you.  I kept waiting, and waiting, but you didn't come back.  Then, finally, the gate activated, and SG-1's IDC came through.  But then—"  Daniel's voice halted abruptly, and it took him several second before he could continue.  "Jack came through first, and he was covered in blood.  And then Teal'c came through, and you were lying in his arms.  You were . . . you were dead."  His voice shook on the last two words.

"Oh, Daniel."  Sam gathered him into her arms and held him tight.  She pressed her lips to the crown of his head.

It was a while before Daniel drew back.  He cupped her face in his hands and laid his lips upon hers, a touch of desperation in the kiss.

"It was just a dream, Daniel," she told him.  "That's all.  That isn't really going to happen."

Daniel laid back down, pulling Sam down with him.

"I have a confession to make," he said.  "I was waiting for you guys in the control room when you were due back from your mission.  You were late getting back, and I was . . . worried.  It was just fifteen minutes, and I know I shouldn't have been concerned, but I couldn't help it."

"I'm sorry, Daniel.  We were late because Rothman was reluctant to leave the ruins.  The colonel had to threaten to leave him there alone."

"Don't apologize, Sam.  I'm sure that there were dozens of times when we were several minutes late getting back while I was on the team."

"Yes, but you were right there with us, so you didn't have reason for concern."

"Even so, I don't expect you to rush back to the gate to make sure you return exactly on time.  I'm just adjusting to the fact that I'm staying behind as you guys go off without me.  I'll get used to it."

Sam had to stop herself from saying that he wouldn't have to get used to it if he rejoined SG-1.  She could not push him about that.  If the time came when Daniel felt that he could resume going through the Stargate, then he would be welcomed back on the team, if Hammond would allow it.  Until then, this was the way it had to be.

Daniel gathered Sam close.  He began to kiss her, placing kisses all over her face.  His hands started to caress her, slowly bringing her to arousal.  He removed her clothing one piece at a time, stripping her naked before taking off his own clothes.  He slipped his legs between her thighs, spreading them apart.  With his hands cupping the soft, smooth globes of her bottom, he gently slid inside her.

Their lovemaking was slow and nearly silent, Daniel's eyes never leaving hers.  When Sam came, he held off his own climax so that he could watch her.  It wasn't until she'd come down from the heights that he let himself find release.  Afterwards, they did not speak, no words needed.  Sam knew that Daniel had needed this to banish the painful images of the dream, to replace the memory of her dream death with the reality of the life within her.

This time, it was Sam who fell asleep first.  For a long while, Daniel just held her, thinking about the nightmare.  He knew that SG-1 being fifteen minutes late was the catalyst for it, that and his earlier concerns when they were preparing to leave on the mission.

His thoughts turned to the anguish he felt in the dream upon seeing Sam's lifeless body in Teal'c's arms.  The pain had been almost as bad as when Sha're died.  Though he was not in love with Sam, in these weeks that they'd been together, she had become very precious to him, the most important person in his life.  The thought of losing her as he lost Sha're hurt terribly.  He didn't know what he'd do if that ever happened.

Not wanting to think about that, Daniel shoved it out of his mind and closed his eyes.  It was quite a while before sleep returned to him.

When Daniel awoke and looked at the clock, he was shocked to see that it was almost eight.  He realized that he'd forgotten to set the alarm last night.  He was already late for work.

The archeologist looked down at the woman sleeping beside him.  Sam's head was tucked into his shoulder, one arm curled close to her body, the other flung over his waist.  Their legs were tangled together.  Daniel smiled at the sight and decided that the SGC – and the Linguistics Department – would survive just fine if he put off the remaining translations until tomorrow.

That decision made, he laid his head back down and closed his eyes.

The next time Daniel awoke it was because someone was shaking his shoulder.

"Daniel, wake up.  It's after nine," Sam's voice informed him.

"Mmm.  Yeah, I decided to play hooky," he mumbled.

"You did?"

"Uh huh."  He pulled her close and snuggled against her, eyes yet again closed.  "Let's stay here all day."

"In bed?"

"Sure, why not?"

Sam grinned.  "Sleeping or making love?  If it's the second thing, I'm game."

Daniel's eyes cracked open, and he looked at her.  "I'm thirty-four years old, Sam.  Making love continuously all day long is no longer an option, no matter how much the spirit may be willing."

Sam snorted, choking back a laugh.  "I'm so disappointed."

Sam's laughter turned into a squeal as Daniel suddenly started tickling her.  She twisted, trying to get away from him, but he was relentless, keeping up the tickling until she was breathless and begging him to stop.  His laughing eyes gazed down at her.  He brushed a hand through her hair.

"I never thought that I could be this happy again," he said.

The confession sobered Sam.  "I'm glad that I make you happy, Daniel.  I love seeing you smile and hearing you laugh.  It makes me feel wonderful to know that it's because of me."

The lovers shared a long, tender kiss.  Daniel got up to use the bathroom and decided that he might as well stay up, especially since his stomach was ready to be fed.

Over breakfast, they discussed what they were going to do since, apparently, Daniel's plan of staying in bed all day had been changed.  In the end, they decided to go catch a matinee, then pig out at an ice cream parlor that was a favorite of theirs.

The movie and pigging out happened as planned, though the couple did suffer a very tense moment when they looked out the window of the ice cream parlor and spotted someone from the SGC walking on the sidewalk across the street.  They remained tense until the person had disappeared from view.  It wasn't until they got back to Sam's place that they talked about what happened.

"We're not going to be able to do this for much longer," Sam said.

"I know.  Sooner or later, someone is going to see us together.  If we're just having lunch or something like that, it won't be a problem, but we've also been going to the park and doing other things in public that only a couple would do."

"So . . . when do you want to tell the colonel and Teal'c?"

Daniel thought about it.  "I'm thinking that it would be best to tell Jack when he will have a day or two to recover from the shock before seeing us at work."

"So, Friday evening after work?"

Daniel nodded.  He saw the expression in Sam's eyes.  "It'll be all right, Sam."


When Daniel and Sam went to work Monday morning, they were both a little tense, their minds on what the end of the week would bring.  Jack had learned that Daniel didn't go to work on Sunday after all and was curious about why.  The archeologist told him the truth, that he'd been really tired and overslept so late that he decided not to bother going in.

That day and the following three passed by far too quickly for the nervous couple.  Though they hadn't planned on getting together Thursday night, Sam made a last minute decision to go over to Daniel's, knowing that, if she stayed at home, she'd be a basket case by morning.

Daniel was in the midst of fixing dinner when she arrived.  As he finished preparing the meal, she went to the open window and looked out.  She was still there when he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her.  She turned around in his arms.

"I'm trying not to be so nervous about this," she said.  "We've always known that we'd have to tell Colonel O'Neill eventually."

"I'm nervous, too, Sam, but regardless of how he reacts, we'll deal with it.  It'll be okay."

Jack pulled into the parking space and grabbed the pizza off the seat beside him.  As he got out of the car, he wondered if he should have called Daniel first before taking the liberty of coming over.  The archeologist might have already eaten.  Or he might not even be home.  Several times over the past few weeks, Jack had called Daniel's place only to receive no answer.  Where his friend was on those occasions is something the colonel didn't know since Daniel never volunteered the information when he called back.

As he headed for the entrance to the apartment building, Jack glanced up at the window to Daniel's apartment.  He stopped dead in his tracks upon seeing Daniel with his arms around a woman.  And then Jack realized who that woman was.  His surprise turned to utter shock as Daniel and Jack's second-in-command came together in a very intimate kiss, Daniel's hand coming to rest low on Sam's hip.

"What the hell?" Jack nearly exclaimed, unable to believe his eyes.

The two people drew apart, smiled at each other, then disappeared from view.  Jack just kept standing there, pizza forgotten in his hands.  He could not possibly have seen what he just saw.  Did he catch some kind of alien virus that causes hallucinations?  Maybe he should head straight to the SGC infirmary and have Fraiser start running tests.

As Jack returned to his car and left the parking lot, he accepted that he really had seen that, as unbelievable as it might have been.  So what the hell was going on?  How long had it been going on?

By the time Jack reached his house, he was determined that, tomorrow, he was damn well going to find out the answers to his questions.

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