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Sam's eyes searched the face of the woman.  She looked to be several years older than Sam.  There was a scar on the left side of her face, and there was a look in her eyes that spoke of someone who had suffered through years of grief and hardship.

"You're from the future," Sam determined.

The other Samantha nodded.  "Around five Earth years from now."

"Why are you here?  Why have you come back in time?"

"To save humanity."

"What are you talking about?"

"In the time that I come from, all human life on Earth has been destroyed by Anubis."

Sam gasped.  "Oh my God.  What happened?"

"Anubis gained access to the knowledge inside one of the Ancient repositories.  He used it to utterly wipe out the other System Lords.  After gaining complete control of the galaxy, he turned his attention to Earth.  We didn't stand a chance.  We received a warning early enough that we were able to evacuate a few thousand people to the Alpha Site.  I was ordered to join them even though I wanted to stay behind and fight."  Samantha paused for several seconds.  "Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c stayed.  They're both dead.  So is General Hammond."

Sam's horror sharpened upon hearing the devastating news.

Samantha continued.  "In the years since then, those of us who survived have continued fighting Anubis, but we all know that it's futile.  Even with the help of the rebel Jaffa and Tok'ra who are still alive, there simply aren't enough of us to make much of a difference.  And we have so few resources at our disposal."

She took a seat at the dining table.  "A few months ago, we found an alien lab on a planet we were scouting.  Among the devices was one that we were surprised to learn had the ability to show events that took place in the past.  It was incredible.  All you had to do was mentally concentrate on a particular event in history, and, with just a little effort, you could actually see it via a holographic viewscreen.  Or you could follow the history of a particular individual backwards through the course of their lifetime.  It was a pretty exciting discovery.  But then, we discovered that there was a whole lot more to the device than that.  Not only could it show you events from the past, it also had the ability to transport a single person through time, into the past.  We all realized what this meant.  If we could find the place that Anubis found the repository, we could go back to a date before he got it and either take it or destroy it.  We could change the events that led to the destruction of Earth.  Some of the scientists thought it was too risky, that making that enormous a change in the timeline could result in a catastrophe.  They were outvoted."

"How did you vote?" Sam asked, very curious about the answer.

"Though, like all the scientists, I had concerns, I voted to go back."  Samantha studied her face.  "Does that surprise you?"

Sam thought about it a while before shaking her head.  "You're talking about the fate of Earth and billions of lives.  If it was my choice, I'd have to take the chance."

The older woman nodded.  "Once the decision was made, the first step was to use the device to see where Anubis got hold of the repository.  From the intel we'd received, we knew that he found the repository at the end of January of this year—"

Sam interrupted her.  "January?  But it's February!  That means he already has it!"

Samantha nodded.  "Yes, unless our intel was wrong."

"But I don't understand.  If your plan is to keep Anubis from getting the repository, why did you come back to a date that's after he got it?"

"Because I can't go back any further.  We didn't find out until it was too late that the device has a very set limit to how far an individual can travel back.  It doesn't matter if the person takes one big jump or a dozen little ones.  It is impossible for any individual to travel more than five point zero eight Earth years into their past.  I'm at that limit now.  If we'd found out just a few days sooner, I could have made it."

"There's no way around the limit?"

Samantha shook her head.  "We figured it was some kind of safety feature programmed into the device by its makers.  They probably didn't want people traveling back dozens or even hundreds of years and messing up history.  I guess they decided that a hop back in time of just a few years probably wouldn't result in much damage to the timeline.  Personally, I think they were idiots if that's what they believed.  Even jumping back in time one day could result in major changes to the future."

That was when Sam realized why her older self had come here.  "You want me to do it.  You want me to go back."


"Why me?  Why not Colonel O'Neill or someone else?"

Samantha's gaze met Sam's, an old, deep pain in her eyes.  "Because I don't want you to go back a few days and destroy the repository; Sam.  I want you to go back and save Daniel."

Sam's breath drew inward sharply.

The woman kept speaking.  "I want you to undo the most horrible mistake I ever made in my life and save the man that I still love."

Hearing the woman say those words aloud made Sam's chest tightened.

"I never fully recovered from his death, Sam.  Even now, after all the horrible things that have happened since then, I still miss him every day, and I still feel the guilt.  If I hadn't been so stupid and blind about how I felt for him, if I hadn't rejected him like I did and then let him go off alone on that planet, he might still be alive."

Sam closed her eyes tightly, hearing the echo of the thoughts that had been haunting her day and night.

"Finding out what my actions also resulted in made it even worse."

Sam opened her eyes and looked at her.  "What do you mean?"

"As I said, we used the device to spy on Anubis' past and find out where he got hold of the repository.  When we found the place, one of the people viewing the hologram recognized it.  He was a member of SG-2 and had gone there on a mission.  There was a structure on the planet with Ancient writing on it, but no one at the SGC was able to translate the dialect."  Samantha paused.  "Everyone knew at the time that, if Daniel had still been alive, it was almost certain that he could have translated it."  Samantha's gaze intensified.  "It's very likely that the text would have told us that there was a repository there."

Horrified, Sam realized what the older version of herself was saying.  "You're saying that, if Daniel hadn't died, we'd probably have found that repository before Anubis did.  We'd have it in our hands right now."

Samantha nodded.  "Anubis would not have gotten its knowledge, and Earth would not have been destroyed."

Sam slowly sat down, the weight of this new knowledge pressing upon on her.  Her own actions had ultimately resulted in Anubis' conquest of the galaxy and the destruction of Earth.

Samantha leaned forward.  "In saving Daniel, you'll save Earth and the rest of the galaxy as well, Sam.  You can do both.  You have to go back to before that night he came to your house.  You have to undo those words you said to him and give him what you now know you want as much as he did.  Then, when the mission comes, he won't go off by himself to be away from you, and he won't die."

Sam's gaze drifted away.  She could save Daniel.  She could undo her mistake and erase the pain and guilt that had filled her life for all these long weeks.

The voice of the scientist in Sam chose that moment to be heard.  By saving Daniel instead of just taking care of the repository, she would be deliberately changing the history of the past ten weeks.  It was impossible to guess how such a change would alter history in other ways besides preventing Anubis from getting the repository.

"I know what you're thinking, Sam," Samantha said.  "I thought about it, too.  I'm too much of a scientist not to.  But I had to choose between being a scientist and being a woman in love, and you have to make that choice, too."

Sam thought about it.  No matter which option she chose, she would be changing the future.  There was no question of going back.  All her training might be telling her that preserving the timeline was important, but the fate of Earth was more important.

Could she give up this chance to save Daniel?  Could she turn her back on rewinding these weeks of grief and guilt?  Sam didn't have to think about it.  She knew the answer.

The astrophysicist turned back to the woman across from her.  "What do I need to do?"

Samantha looked into her eyes and knew what she had decided.  A grateful smile touched her lips.  She reached into the bag she carried and pulled out an odd-looking device that was roughly the size of a soccer ball.  She set it on the table.

"It has two settings for time travel," she explained.  "I used the first setting.  With the other one, a person doesn't go back in time the same way I did.  Instead, they . . . leap into the body of their former self."

Sam's eyebrows rose, thinking of the old TV series Quantum Leap, in which the consciousness of the time traveling hero, Sam Beckett, leapt into the bodies of people in the past.

Samantha smiled slightly.  "Yes, I thought of Quantum Leap, too."

Sam gave a little laugh.  "I remember watching that show and thinking about how ridiculous the whole concept was, that it wouldn't be possible."

"Yes, but that was before we started traveling through the Stargate and discovered that there really isn't much that actually is impossible."  Samantha's smile disappeared.  "When you merge with yourself in that time, you'll retain all your present memories.  You'll know what you have to do."

"Do I have to physically be in the correct location?"

Samantha shook her head.  "As long as you're within forty miles of your destination, you're fine.  The device has a limited ability to move through space as well as time."  She paused.  "I wasn't so lucky.  I had to take a Tel'tak to Earth and find the area where Colorado Springs used to be.  It was . . . really hard seeing the destruction.  Anubis left no place untouched.  He destroyed every city, every town, then, from what we heard, sent legions of Kull Warriors to hunt down and kill the survivors."

Sam felt sick.  She prayed that she'd be successful in changing history and preventing that horrible catastrophe.

She studied the woman before her.  "What's going to happen to you if I succeed?"

"I'd guess that I'll cease to exist.  I'll be replaced by another version of Samantha Carter, one who, hopefully, won't have suffered through the loss of everyone and everything she loved and won't bear the burden of guilt that haunts me every day of my life."  Her eyes met Sam's.  "If you do things right, that replacement Sam will be one who has a happy life with the man she loves."

Sam's gaze dropped to her lap.  She didn't want to let herself hope for that.  She was afraid to hope.

Pushing that thought aside, Sam switched back to scientist mode.

"This is going to cause a paradox.  If I succeed, it will rewrite history in such a way that you will never have come back in time.  But if you never come back in time—"

Samantha waved her hand impatiently.  "Yes, yes, I know.  We thought about all the ramifications and speculated about what might happen, including the possibility that a new, alternate universe would be split off from the original.  The truth is that we don't really know how it will all work, although we do know that it is possible to change history.  Remember P4C-970?"

It took Sam a moment to recognize the planetary designation.  "The Aschen homeworld."

"Yes.  We know that a future Jack O'Neill sent that note back in time.  That was confirmed by the blood found on it.  Because of the note, we did not go on the mission to that planet."

Sam gave a nod.  "After we discovered the truth about the Aschen the following year, we suspected that, in the original version of history, Earth suffered the same fate as the Volians, that the Aschen deliberately sterilized the majority of Earth's population so that it could turn the planet into one big farm for their use."

"Yes.  We've already changed Earth's future once.  Now, we're going to do it again."

Sam stared at the device, really thinking about what she was about to do.  It wasn't the first time she'd traveled back in time, but it would be the first time she'd done so on purpose.  And, this time, the fate of billions would be riding on the outcome, including the man she was in love with.

"After you've saved Daniel, you need to make sure that he translates the writing from the structure on that planet when the time comes," Samantha told her.  "If, for some reason, he can't, then you'll have to take other steps to make sure the repository is found."  Samantha gave Sam a piece of paper.  "That's the gate address of the planet and the date that Lieutenant Wade said his team went there.  We got lucky with that, too.  The only reason why he remembered the date was that the mission took place on his wife's birthday.  I can't be sure that saving Daniel won't alter the timeline in such a way that SG-2 won't go to the planet at the same time.  If it looks like the mission might not take place like it did originally, you'll need that information."

"And the other date?"

"That's when our sources say that Anubis got the repository.  We couldn't confirm it with the device since it uses a dating system that we couldn't figure out.  As you can see, you're not going to have a lot of time between the date SG-2 went to the planet and Anubis did."

"I suppose it wouldn't be a good idea just to go ahead and tell everyone about this when I arrive."

Samantha looked at her closely.  "What do you think?"

"If I told them, they'd go get the repository right away, and we couldn't be certain how that would affect future events.  I'd also have to surrender the device.  We know that the rogue NID is apparently still active and still have their own plans regarding the Goa'uld.  That was made pretty obvious by what we found in L.A.  This device would be a gold mine to them.  If they got hold of it, they could do all kinds of damage.  Going back five years into the past, they could radically alter history."

Samantha nodded.  "And considering their success in stealing other alien technology, the odds are pretty high that they could manage to get their hands on it.  But there's something else you need to know.  The device slowly loses power even when it's not in use.  When we removed it from the lab, we didn't realize that it was being continually recharged by a huge generator underneath the lab.  I couldn't come up with another way of recharging it, though I suppose it's possible that you could since you have greater access to technology."

"How long will the power hold out?"

"Before coming here, I took it back to the alien lab and recharged it, so it had a full charge when I started out.  With one more use, I calculated that the power should last for another three and a half to four months, which will be plenty enough to get you past the crisis point.  If you have to use it a second time, that number will be greatly shortened, and I can't guarantee that you'd have enough power left to make a return trip.  So don't use it again unless you have no choice."  She showed Sam where the power meter was.  "For all we know, this might have been another safety feature of the designers."

Sam agreed that it might have been.  If you knew that the device was only good for one round trip on a single charge and could only be recharged in one place, it would sort of put a damper on thoughts of stealing it or using it illegally.

The two Sams looked into each other's eyes, two versions of the same woman, both suffering the pain of loss and both determined to do all they could to undo that loss.

The elder woman got to her feet.  "Are you ready to go?"

Sam nodded.

"You can't take anything with you, so memorize those dates and that gate address."

The astrophysicist did so, then laid the note on the table.

Samantha took the device into the living room and set it on the floor.  She pressed a few buttons, and the device began to hum, several lights winking on.  She told Sam to stand in front of the device and visualize herself and what she was doing at the moment in time to which she wanted to return.  Sam did so and was amazed to see a hologram form before her.  After a moment of distortion, it showed an image of herself seated at her worktable in her lab at the SGC.  Sam knew that she'd gotten the date right because of the project that her former self was working on.  It had been completed that day.

Sam's attention on the hologram was drawn away by the voice of Samantha.

"Good luck, Sam," the woman said.  "I wish that I could be the one to go if for no other reason than to see him again.  But maybe it's better that you are the one going.  These years have changed me a lot, and, even if I succeeded and rewrote history, I don't think I could ever again be quite the person I was before Daniel died and we lost Earth.  I've seen and gone through too much."  She took a step back.  "When you're ready, step inside the time field."

Sam noticed that there was a small circular area around the device that appeared slightly hazy and distorted.  It was just big enough to contain one person.

Meeting the eyes of her older self one last time, Sam stepped into the circle.  For a brief moment in time, she experienced an odd feeling of dislocation.  Her mind rebelled at the sensation of being neither here nor there, and, for the smallest instant, she was assailed with panic.  And then the feeling was gone, and Sam found herself seated at the worktable in her lab.  Blinking, she looked about.  Her eyes went to the small calendar by the computer.  It read November 20.  She'd done it!

Sam looked down and saw the device on the floor underneath her chair.  She picked it up and locked it inside one of the cabinets.

"Hey, Sam," said a voice behind her.

Gasping, Sam spun around to see Daniel in the doorway of her lab.  Seeing him standing there, so very much alive, made her emotions overflow, and, to her horror, she was suddenly crying.

Concerned and perplexed, Daniel stepped forward.  "Sam, what's wrong?"

She shook her head, dashing away the tears.  "Nothing.  It's nothing.  I'm just being stupid."

Daniel frowned.  "You suddenly burst into tears, and you say it's nothing?"

Sam frantically tried to think up a reason for the tears.  "I-I just, um . . . I had a really bad dream last night."

"It must have been quite a doozy."

The astrophysicist looked into his eyes.  "You died."

Daniel paused.  "Oh."

"The dream really shook me.  I haven't been able to get it out of my head.  Seeing you standing there, alive and well, it just. . . ."  Sam shook her head.  "Like I said.  It was stupid."

Daniel gazed at her tenderly.  "It doesn't sound all that stupid to me, Sam."

The quietly spoken words and the warm, gentle look in his beautiful eyes almost made Sam start to cry again.  She wanted to put her arms around him, to feel his lungs expanding with air, to hear the beating of his living heart.  She wanted to erase from her mind the sight of his chest stilling, never to rise again, as the life in his eyes flickered out forever.

Pushing away the horrible memory, Sam cleared her throat.  "So, what brings you here?"  She already knew the answer, of course.

"Lunch.  Jack is still crowing about his team winning last night's hockey game, and I don't think I can bear listening to another play-by-play of the whole thing.  If you're there, you can scare him away with technobabble, and he'll go off and bother someone else."

Sam laughed, recalling that's exactly what she did the first time around.

Lunch was rather strange for the astrophysicist, the feeling of deja vu so strong that it was unnerving.  She had to be careful about what she did and said so as not to reveal the fact that she knew about things that were going to happen, like Lieutenant Fuller accidentally bumping the arm of Captain Dobbs and causing the man to drop his tray or SG-13's archeologist, Cameron Balinsky, complaining that all the chocolate pudding was gone.

But then, none of those things mattered one bit to Sam.  She was too wrapped up in just watching Daniel, listening to his voice, soaking in the presence of him.  She hadn't realized how much this would affect her, seeing him alive again.  It was taking all her will power not to touch him.  Truth be told, she wanted to do a whole lot more than just touch him.  She wanted to pull his lips to hers and kiss him breathless.  Of course, if she did that, it was likely that Captain Dobbs' tray wouldn't be the only one ending up on the floor.

Daniel was fully aware of the way Sam was looking at him.  He was really wondering what the heck was going on.  What kind of nightmare would make Sam act like she could barely take her eyes off him?

The archeologist stared down at his plate, picking at the food a bit before scooping up another bite.  Tomorrow would be the day.  He'd been gathering his courage for days, trying to decide what would be the best way to ask Sam out on a date.  He was going to ask her to go out to lunch first, just two friends having a nice meal together.  During the meal, however, he planned on asking her some questions that he'd never have considered asking before he came to the realization that he had more than friendship feelings for her.  How she answered would determine if he followed through on his plan to ask her on a date.

Once he was back in his office, Daniel tried to resume work, but he was too distracted with thoughts of what tomorrow might bring.  It still amazed him that he could have these feelings for Sam.  When did his feelings for her start to change?  He honestly didn't know.  He'd been totally unaware of it until that day on Vis Uban when he first laid eyes on her with no memory of his previous life.

Daniel didn't know how deep these feelings would grow.  He didn't know if he and Sam could have a good life together.  He only knew that he didn't want to be just her friend any longer.

Daniel looked at Sam across the table.  He'd managed to get her to go with him to lunch, and they were now at their favorite café, waiting for their orders to come.

"This is nice," Sam said, smiling.

"Yeah, it is.  How long has it been since we did something like this?"

A flicker of something that looked like pain passed through Sam's eyes so quickly that Daniel wondered if he'd imagined it.

"Too long," she replied.

The archeologist studied her.  "Sam, are you sure you're okay?  I get the feeling that something's wrong."

The major put on a smile.  "I'm fine, Daniel.  I am a little tired.  As you said, we've been working long hours."

Daniel decided not to push her.  "Sometimes, it seems like work is all I do," he said instead.

"I know what you mean.  I have no personal life to speak of anymore."

Daniel looked at her closely.  "Do you want a personal life?  Uh . . . wait.  I didn't mean it like that.  Of course you want a personal life.  I mean do you want a . . . a social life, like unmarried people our age usually have?"

This time, knowing that the question was coming, Sam wasn't surprised by it.  She replied without hesitation.

"If you're asking if I want to date, then, sure, if the right kind of guy asked me out, I certainly wouldn't say no."

"And what, in the opinion of Major Samantha Carter, is the right kind of guy?"

Sam was so tempted to say, "You," but stuck to the same answer she gave Daniel the first time around.

"I want a lot of the same things many women want, I suppose.  A man who is a good person, who isn't stuck-up and really cares about people.  Someone who's passionate about the things he loves and the things he believes in.  It would be nice if he had at least one romantic bone in his body.  I'm not the kind of girl who needs to be showered with flowers and love songs, but things like that are nice at least once in a while."

Daniel smiled.  "I get the feeling that you've dated guys who weren't exactly the flowers and love songs type."

"Oh, we don't want to go into that, Daniel.  Trust me."

The archeologist's smile broadened.  "Okay, so a nice guy who's compassionate, isn't conceited, is passionate about his interests, and has a big enough germ of romance in his body – and enough brains in his head – to present you with the occasional bouquet of flowers and perform other romantic acts of love and affection.  What else?"

Sam smiled at the last part of his summary.  It was a bit different from last time.  She continued with her list of boyfriend requirements.

"Well, for it to work out long-term, we'd have to be compatible.  I've dated too many guys that I discovered I had absolutely nothing in common with.  He'd have to be someone I can really talk to."  She smiled again.  "Someone who won't go cross-eyed or space out when I start talking science.  He doesn't have to be a scientist like me, but it would be nice if I could hold an intelligent conversation with him."

Daniel nodded.  "Conversation is good.  A lot of guys aren't into the whole communication thing, but I know it's important in a relationship."

Sam gazed at him.  "Sha're was one lucky lady."

Daniel blushed slightly.  "Well, I don't know about that."

"I do," Sam said intently.

Surprised, Daniel stared at her.  "Um . . . thanks."

Sam nodded and took a sip of her soda.  That had been a big departure from the 'script'.  In the original version of this lunch, she'd made a teasing comment about him being exactly the kind of guy that women on the lookout for a husband would pounce on.

Sam's comment made Daniel feel a bit bolder.  "I've been thinking about getting back into dating."

"You have?" Sam asked, her surprise genuine, though not for the reason Daniel likely thought.  He didn't say that the first time.

"Yeah.  It's been four years since Sha're died.  I don't want to live alone for the rest of my life, and I finally feel like I'm ready to have a life with someone else.  But I'm pretty nervous.  What if I ask someone out, and she turns me down?"

Sam mentally threw out the script.  They were completely off the page now.  It was all ad-libbing from here on.

"Daniel, any woman who turned you down would be an utter idiot," she said with emotion.

Daniel blinked, surprised by her answer.  His hope that she'd say yes to the date scaled new heights.

"Thank you, Sam.  That's . . . that's a really nice thing to say."

"It's the truth, Daniel."

Watching as the archeologist stared into the contents of his coffee cup, Sam thought about one of the greatest regrets she had after he died, a regret that, like his death, she now had the power to fix.

"Daniel, I've . . . I don't think I ever told you how much your friendship means to me," she said softly.

His gaze lifted to her.

"You are one of the best friends I've ever had," Sam continued, fighting to keep the tears at bay.  "So few people have ever really understood me like you do.  You . . . you changed me, with the things you say, the things you do, just by being who you are.  You touch people, Daniel.  You get into their hearts.  You make people better than they were before they met you."  Sam swallowed the big lump that had formed in her throat.  "You are so important to me, Daniel, and I am so sorry that I never told you."

Daniel sat in stunned silence.  What could he say to something like that?  Thank you?

"I don't . . . really know what to say," he finally confessed.  "Thank you seems pretty inadequate."  He met her eyes.  "You did tell me, Sam.  At the time, I was too lost in despair and a self-defeating attitude for it to have an impact, but I did hear, and, later, it came to mean a lot to me."

Sam was confused for a moment, then the meaning of what he was saying suddenly dawned on her.  She drew in a sharp breath.

"You heard me?  That . . . that day in the infirmary, when you were. . . ."

Daniel nodded.  "I heard Teal'c, too."

"But I thought you were in a coma!  Well, maybe not exactly a coma, but definitely unconscious."

"I was, but. . . .  It's hard to explain and not really something I can talk about here."  He glanced about at the other patrons.  The booth next to theirs was empty, but it still wasn't safe to talk about things like ascension and other planes of existence.

Daniel met her eyes again.  "You mean a lot to me, too, Sam.  You always have.  Though there have been some times when we didn't agree about something, you have always been my . . . my staunchest ally.  You believe in me and have faith in me, even when I spout off some theory or hypothesis that seems to be right out of the blue.  You've been there for me, and I want to thank you for that."

Daniel's last sentence ripped right through Sam's heart, and she almost lost it.  Staring fiercely down at her soda, she fought to regain control of her emotions.

"Sam, are you all right?" Daniel asked in a concerned voice.

Sam cleared her throat.  "Yeah . . . yeah, I'm okay.  I just. . . ."  She took a deep breath.  "I need to go use the restroom.  I'll be right back."

Leaving a puzzled Daniel at the table, Sam escaped to the ladies room, where it took every ounce of will power she had not to start crying.  She stood leaning against the wall, taking deep, calming breaths until she felt in control enough to go back out.

When Sam returned to the booth, she was subjected to an intense stare from the man across the table.

"Sam?" he inquired, the tone in his voice telling her that she wasn't going to get away with pretending like nothing happened.

"I'm sorry," she said.  "I was just being silly again.  It's . . . it's that dream I had."

"The one in which I died?"

"Yeah.  In the dream, I . . . hurt you, and I wasn't there when you really needed me, and that's why you died."

"It was just a dream, Sam," Daniel said gently.

'God, no, Daniel.  It wasn't,' Sam's mind replied.  Aloud, she murmured, "Yeah, just a dream."

Sam was very grateful that the waitress showed up with their food at that moment.  She and Daniel ate in silence for a couple of minutes.  When the conversation resumed, restarted by Sam, it was far more casual . . . and safer.

The rest of the meal passed with mostly small talk.  They returned to the SGC, saying goodbye when the elevator stopped on Daniel's floor.

As he went back to work, the archeologist thought about the things Sam said during the meal.  Her glowing words of praise and her declaration of how important he was to her could be looked upon as just the words of a close friend.  They didn't mean that she had any feelings beyond that.  Daniel really didn't think that Sam felt anything beyond friendship for him.  But could that change?  He examined her answers to his question about what kind of guy she'd date.  Could he be those things for her?  Could he give her the kind of relationship she wanted?  With some of the things, he already did.  They'd shared many long conversations, and there was only one time he could ever recall spacing off on her, and that was because his mind was on the culture and archeological features of the planet they were going on a mission to . . . the mission that got sidetracked by their little trip back in time to 1969.

Whether or not he could be everything to Sam that she wanted in a man was something Daniel didn't know.  What he did know was that, tonight, he was going to find out if she would be willing to see if he could be.

For the rest of the workday, Daniel barely got a thing done.  He went home earlier than usual, then spent most of the early evening moving around his place restlessly.

It was going on nine when he got in the car and headed over to Sam's, figuring that she would surely be home by now.  He sat in his car a full two minutes outside her house before he finally gathered the nerve to get out and go up to the door.  His heart was beating like crazy as he knocked on the door.  His knock was answered a few seconds later.

"Hi," he said, trying to keep his voice steady.

"Hey.  What are you doing here?"

"Um . . . I was wondering if we could talk about something."

"Sure.  Come on in."

Realizing that he was fidgeting, Daniel willed himself to stop.  But he couldn't control the restlessness in his body or banish the big knot of nerves in his stomach.  He began wandering about Sam's living room, staring at things he'd already seen many times in the past.

"Daniel, what's wrong?" he heard Sam ask.  He stopped his wandering and faced her.  He brushed a hand through his hair, hoping that it wasn't trembling.

"I, um . . . don't quite know how to say this," he said, "which is pretty pathetic, really.  But I guess it's understandable considering the situation."

"What is it that you want to say?"

Daniel drew in a deep breath to steady himself.  "I wanted to ask if you would . . . go out to dinner with me on Sunday."

Sam paused.  "Daniel, are you asking me out on a date?"

He nodded.  "Yeah, Sam, I am.  Like I told you at lunch, I finally realized that I had to let go of Sha're and move on with my life."  His eyes caught hers.  "When I first saw you on Vis Uban, I felt something.  Afterwards, once I started regaining my memories, it really confused me.  I didn't understand how I could have those kinds of feelings.  I've thought about it a lot during these months, and I finally came to the conclusion that, somewhere along the way, you came to be something more to me than just a friend and teammate.  I just never realized it until now."

Sam swallowed.  She was breathing a little erratically.  "What . . . what more do you feel?"

"I . . . feel like I want a relationship with you.  I've looked up the regulations, Sam, and I know it's not against the rules.  I don't know if you can feel like that toward me.  Maybe you'll think it's a bad idea.  I just . . . had to tell you."

Tears began sparkling in Sam's eyes.  "I do feel like that, Daniel."

The archeologist's breath caught sharply.  Had he just heard her right?  "Y-you do?"

Sam nodded.  "Yes," she replied in barely more than a whisper.

"Oh, God."

Daniel didn't know what to do now.  He had never dreamed that Sam would tell him that she felt the same things he did.  The most he'd hoped for was that she'd say she was willing to go on the date and see how things went.

Sam slowly walked up to him.  "I don't know how this happened either, Daniel.  I don't even have any idea when it began.  All I know is that you mean so much more to me than just a friend and teammate."  She stopped a mere three feet away.  Then she smiled and said the words that she had ached to say for so long, the words that might ultimately change the fate of the entire galaxy.  "Yes, I'll go on a date with you.  There isn't anything I want more."

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