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"Knock knock."

Daniel heard the sound of Mick's voice and told him to come in.  The Irishman pulled back the flap and entered the tent.  He watched Daniel for a moment.

"Packing already?" he said.

"Yeah.  I don't want to leave it all for the morning.  We'll be leaving at ten, right?"

Mick nodded.  "I figured that since we have to take you to Luxor, we might as well take the opportunity to do some other stuff there as well.  You know, I'm still disappointed that you refused to spend that weekend there with us.  Now, it's too late to get you plastered."

"So sorry I disappointed you, Mick.  I'm afraid I wouldn't have been much fun anyway.  I'm not a heavy drinker, so it doesn't take a lot to get me drunk.  I suspect that the amount you'd have poured into me would have rendered me unconscious."

Mick smiled.  "Well, that might have been fun, too."  He lost the smile.  "Daniel, are you sure that you're okay with us leaving you on your own in the city for all those hours?  Your flight doesn't leave until nearly one a.m.  What are you going to do to occupy yourself?"

"I'm sure I'll be able to entertain myself, Mick.  It's not like I don't know my way around the city.  I've got a couple of old friends that I might drop in to see."

The New Yorker nodded.  He paused before speaking again.  "I suppose you couldn't extend your vacation and stay longer.  We'd love to have you stay another week or so.  We'll be losing several people who are going home for the holidays, so you'd be an even bigger help.  For that matter, we'd love to have you stay for the rest of the season."

Daniel sighed softly.  A huge part of him wished that he could stay longer.  But, if he did, he suspected that he'd never go back.  The lure of permanently returning to his old life would be too strong.

"We've all been talking," Mick said, "Kitty, Adam and the rest of us.  We'd all be willing to put in a good word for you, try to change the minds of others in the archeological community about you.  It might not be easy, but I think that we could get you accepted back into the fold.  There will always be jerks who won't ever change their minds, but you'd also have friends."

Daniel was so touched by what Mick was saying that he felt tears come to his eyes.  Blinking them away, he turned to the man.

"Thank you, Mick.  You have no idea how much that means to me.  But I . . . I have to go back."

"Why?  Are you under contract or something?"

"No, I could resign at any time."

"Then do it.  Daniel, you can't tell me that you're eager to go back, because I know that would be a lie.  The closer you've gotten to the end of your time here, the sadder you've looked.  You don't want to leave.  Admit it."

Daniel stared at the floor of his tent.  "No, I don't want to leave."

"Then stay.  Call them up and tell them you're not coming back.  If you have to give them a two-week notice, then do it and come back in two weeks.  We'll even all chip in to buy another plane ticket for you."

Daniel turned back to his suitcase.  He thought about staying, really thought about it, returning permanently to the life he gave up over six years ago.  There would be a lot of pros: no longer risking life and limb on missions, no longer having to deal with the mentality of the U.S. government . . . never again having to pick up a gun and take the life of another living being.  He could truly be an archeologist again, in every way.  But there would be cons, too, like not having a steady paycheck.  There was no guarantee that he could find a job.  He'd miss not going through the Stargate, the exploration, although, lately, there had been a whole lot less exploration and a lot more fighting.  And he'd miss his friends, Jack, Teal'c . . . Sam.

Sam was both a con and a pro.  On the con side, he missed her and knew that, if he left the program, he'd rarely get to see her.  But then there was the pro side, which would actually be one of the biggest reasons for taking Mick up on his offer.  After a month away from her, his feelings hadn't changed, not one iota.

Daniel could no longer deny that these emotions were more than just the lingering feelings of a dead Tok'ra.  He was in love with Sam.  Lantash's feelings may have been the foundation, the thing that started it, but it had grown into a love that was his own.

Thoughts of Sha're had come to Daniel's mind often this past week or so.  After she died, he had believed that he could never come to love like that again, at least not for a very, very long time.  Yet here he was, totally in love with Sam.  But, unlike what he shared with his wife, this was a love that he knew would never be returned.

Could he go back to the SGC and work every day with Sam, ignoring how he felt about her?  He couldn't do it before, so why should it be easier now that he recognized the truth about his feelings?

But, no matter what, Daniel knew that he couldn't just walk away from the program without talking to everyone first.  This wasn't a decision to be made hastily.  He was talking about the rest of his life.  Besides, he'd made a promise to two people that he'd come home.

"I can't make this decision now, Mick.   What I do, it's not something that I can easily walk away from.  Even if that wasn't the case, I made a promise to some people that I'd come back.  I have friends, close friends that I can't just say goodbye to without seeing them and talking to them."

"Is she one of those friends?"

Daniel paused before replying.  "Yes."

Mick nodded.  "All right, Daniel.  You go home and think about it.  If you decide to come back, you know how to contact us."

Daniel met the man's eyes.  "Thanks, Mick."

As the man left, Daniel turned back to his suitcase and resumed packing.

Daniel wearily walked through the airport.  It was afternoon here in Colorado, but his internal clock was telling him that it was evening.  What with turbulence, layovers and the time changes, he'd gotten very little sleep on the trip.  He was really glad that he'd have the rest of the afternoon and tonight to recover before going back to work.  He was, of course, no stranger to jet lag . . . or gate lag.  Traveling all over the galaxy, you had to be able to adjust to the differences in time of day from one planet to the next.  But traveling through the gate took only seconds and had no layovers.

Daniel passed the security area and began looking around for Jack.  He spotted the man coming toward him.

"Hey," he greeted.

"How was the flight?  You look beat."

"Yeah.  The trip back was rougher than the one going over, so I haven't gotten much sleep."

"Well, you can take a nap on the drive home.  I won't be insulted."

"Thanks.  I might do that."

Daniel conked off not long after they got out of Denver.  Jack looked over at the archeologist and smiled slightly.  His head was leaning sideways against the window, his mouth slightly open.

Considering how tired Daniel was, Jack knew that he really shouldn't bother the man with the probing questions he intended to ask.  He should just take Daniel home and let him go to bed.  But could he wait to find out if his best friend was considering leaving the program?

Daniel slept the whole way back.  In fact, it was necessary for Jack to give him a little shake to wake him up once they'd reached his apartment.  He blinked several times and rubbing his eyes, yawning hugely.

"Feel better?" Jack asked.

"A bit.  Actually, I really need to stay awake until it's time to go to bed.  If I go to bed now, it'll make it harder to adjust to the time difference since I'll probably wake up at around one or two in the morning."

"Well, in that case, how about if we get some take-out or delivery?  I missed lunch, and it must be past dinnertime for you."

"Okay.  Take-out would be faster."

They went to the nearest fast food restaurant and got something to go.

"You'd normally have this weekend off, wouldn't you?" Jack asked as he brought his beef burrito to his mouth.

"Yeah, but I was planning on working."

"Why not just stay home and recuperate instead?  Tomorrow's Friday.  Just take the rest of the week off.  Then you'll be all rested up and refreshed for Monday."

Daniel thought about it for a moment.  "I'll consider it."

"I'll go ahead and tell you, then, that we learned some big news."


"Yeah.  The Tok'ra found out that a certain Goa'uld isn't quite as dead as they and all the other Goa'uld thought he was."



Daniel frowned.  "Egyptian god of the dead before Osiris took over that dubious honor."

"Well, that's fitting, considering what the Tok'ra told us.  They say he's a really nasty piece of work.  His crimes were so bad that the other System Lords banished him.  Yu tried to kill him, and everyone thought that he'd succeeded, but, apparently, Anubis survived.  Where he's been all this time is a big question."  Jack paused for a moment.  "Osiris is serving him.  She went to the summit to ask that the System Lords accept him back into their ranks, and they all agreed except for Yu."

That shook Daniel.  If he'd gone on his mission, he'd have been faced with the decision to kill Sarah along with all the other hosts.

"We also have intel that it was Zipacna who attacked Revanna and that he's also in league with Anubis," Jack told him.

Daniel suddenly realized something.  "Jack, if I'd completed my mission and killed the System Lords, that would have left the way clear for Anubis to step right in and take over everything."

The colonel nodded.  "Yeah, the Tok'ra thought of that, too.  So, it turns out that it was a good thing you didn't go after all."

"So, what are the Tok'ra planning to do?"

"Nothing for the present time.  They're going to keep their ears to the ground for any other info on Anubis and what his plans might be."

They fell silent and ate the rest of their dinner.

"So, judging by the letters you sent Carter, I'm guessing that you had fun," Jack finally said.  "Oh, nice tan, by the way."

"Thanks.  Yeah, it was great, relaxing.  I know what you're thinking, Jack, that spending morning till evening digging for artifacts wouldn't be relaxing, but it is for me.  But it's exciting, too, when we find something.  It's been so long since I got to do this, if you don't count excavating the fossilized remains of Goa'uld ancestors."

Jack stared at the man across the table, watching as Daniel fingered the wrapper that had held his quesadilla.  Jack was reluctant to ask the question that was just about burning a hole in his brain, but it was something he had to know.

"You're not considering leaving the program, are you?" he finally asked.  The fact that Daniel didn't answer right away worried him.

Not looking at Jack, Daniel replied, "The people who are in charge of the dig want to put in a good word for me, get the archeological community to accept me back.  I, um, have to admit that it's really tempting."

"So, what?  You'd just go off back to Egypt and dig in the sand for the rest of your life?"

Daniel finally looked at him.  "It's more than that, Jack.  If the archeological community actually accepted me back, I could get a job at one of the universities, maybe even teach.  I couldn't go back to Chicago since the issue of Sarah might come up, but I have a friend at UCLA who might be able to get me a job there."

"Excuse me for saying this, Daniel, but I don't see how a job at a university and digging around in the dirt here on Earth can compare to going through the gate.  I thought you liked going to other planets."

Daniel got up and went to the living room.  "I used to.  In some ways, I still do."  He sat on the couch.  "But it's just not the same anymore."

Jack joined him in the living room and settled in a chair.  "Why?  What's changed?"  He had a thought.  "Is it because of Sha're?"

Daniel sighed tiredly.  "Sha're's death is a part of it, but it's a lot more than just that.  Most of the time, I'm more a soldier than an archeologist.  You know how many times I've used my archeological and linguistic skills on missions this year, Jack?  Three times, four, if you count the half-hour I managed to get in those ruins on P7S-441 before we got caught in the middle of that stuff with the Jaffa and that alien who made us believe he was our teammate.  The year before, it was five times, if you count digging up ancient Goa'uld remains, and most of those times were with other teams."

Jack frowned, not liking what he was hearing.  "You've been counting?"

"Yes, Jack, I've been counting, and, to be honest, I'm beginning to wonder what my purpose on SG-1 really is."

Jack was surprised and dismayed by Daniel's confession.  He'd had no idea that the archeologist felt this way.

The colonel leaned forward in his chair, eyes focused on the younger man.  "Okay, so you're right that you haven't been getting a lot of chances to be an archeologist or linguist on missions lately because of the way things have been heating up out there, but I shouldn't have to tell you that you're important to the team for more than just that.  There's nobody who can make nice with the natives as well as you can, which has come in handy more than once."  Jack studied the archeologist's face.  "But there's more to this than just that, isn't there."

Daniel stared at his hands.  A part of him wanted to confess his feelings for Sam, but the other part figured it would be a really bad idea.

When Daniel didn't reply, Jack decided to push a bit harder.  "Something's been up with you ever since Revanna.  Is that whole thing with getting Lantash's memories still bothering you?"

Daniel got up and went to the fireplace.  He leaned back against it, arms crossed, gaze affixed to the floor.

"How much do you know about the . . . issues Sam had after the thing with Jolinar?"

"I know that Netu stuff was really hard on her, remembering the things Jolinar went through there."

Daniel looked at him.  "Did you know that Jolinar and her host were Lantash and Martouf's mate?"

Jack shifted a bit uncomfortably.  "I did hear something about that.  I choose not to think about Tok'ra and Goa'uld having sex.  It grosses me out."

Daniel paused before saying the next words, hoping that Sam didn't get too mad at him for spilling the beans.  "Then you probably don't know that Sam inherited the emotions Jolinar had for them."

Jack was quiet for a long moment.  This was something he'd really rather not talk about.

Daniel's stared at him more closely.  "Or maybe you did know."

"I . . . picked up on a few things," the colonel finally admitted.

"I see.  Did you also pick up on the fact that Lantash and Martouf fell in love with Sam?"  The look in the colonel's eyes told Daniel that was news to him.

"No, I missed that," Jack replied.

Daniel nodded.  "Sam inherited Jolinar's feelings for Lantash and Martouf because Tok'ra hosts and symbiotes share feelings.  They each feel what the other does.  When Jolinar died, those emotions stayed inside Sam."  He paused for several seconds.  "I was Lantash's host for several hours, and he died inside me.  I think you're smart enough to put the pieces together, Jack."

It took a moment, but what Daniel was saying finally registered on the older man, and, when it did, it hit hard.

"Crap," he cursed.

"That about covers it," Daniel responded sarcastically.

"So you . . . inherited all of Lantash's feelings for. . . ."


Jack scrubbed his face with his hands.  Damn.  What a mess.  He got to his feet and walked away a few paces.  What the hell could he say now?

"This is the main reason why I went to Egypt, Jack," Daniel told him.  "I needed to get away and try to deal with the things I was feeling."

"And did it help?"

"No.  I wish it had."

Jack turned to face him.  "But it'll go away eventually, right?  I mean, Carter doesn't still feel that way about Martouf, does she?"

"I don't know how much Sam still feels for Martouf, but, judging by what she's said, I think that the feelings aren't like they used to be."

"Well then, there you go.  It might be awkward for a while, but it'll get better in time."

Daniel shook his head.  "It's not going to get better in time.  My month away made that crystal clear.  I'm in love with Sam, Jack.  It's more than just Lantash's emotions now."

Jack turned away again so that Daniel wouldn't see his expression and deduce how much that declaration was affecting him.

For a long time now, Jack had been trying to ignore the way he felt about Sam.  Sometimes, it was easy, other times, it was damn near impossible, although, as time had passed, he'd found it a lot easier to live with the fact that he and Sam couldn't be together unless one of them resigned or transferred out of the program.  Could his feelings for her be fading?

Now, however, Jack had learned that his best friend was in love with Sam as well, someone to whom the regulations regarding relationships did not apply.  Was he jealous?  Yes.  He couldn't help it.  He was only human, after all.  Daniel could have something he couldn't.

"Does Carter know this?" he asked.

"She knows that the feelings Lantash had for her were left inside me.  She doesn't know that. . . ."

"You love her."


"Are you going to tell her?"

"I haven't decided yet."  There was a pause.  "It's not like anything will ever come of it."

Jack heard the pain in the man's voice.  He turned around to look at Daniel.  The archeologist was doing his trademark self-hug, gaze back on the floor.

"Why do you say that?" the colonel asked.

Daniel met his eyes.  "Jack, I inherited feelings for Sam.  She didn't do the same for me.  She feels nothing for me except friendship."

That statement should have made Jack happy, yet, strangely, it didn't.  Instead, it made him feel sorry for Daniel.

Two guys in love with the same woman, neither of whom could have her, one because of regulations, the other because the woman didn't love him back.  Wasn't life grand?

"I'm sorry, Daniel."

The younger man nodded infinitesimally.  He pushed away from the fireplace and walked to the dining table, where he began to pick up the trash.

"I'm, uh, really tired, Jack.  I think that I will take your suggestion and just stay home tomorrow.  You'll tell General Hammond?"

Jack heard the strain in Daniel's voice and knew that his friend was controlling his emotions with an effort.

"Yeah, I'll tell him.  Get some rest, Daniel.  Would you like to come over for some beer and pizza sometime this weekend?"

Daniel didn't turn around.  "I don't know.  I'll think about it."

"Okay.  If not, I'll see you on Monday."

The archeologist nodded.  "Good night."

With one last look at his friend, Jack headed out the door, thinking that life really did suck sometimes.

When Sam found out the next day that Daniel wasn't coming to work, she was terribly disappointed.  She called him and welcomed him home, telling him that she'd missed him.  His voice was very soft when he said that he'd missed her, too.  She wanted to say more.  She wanted to ask the questions that had kept her up for hours last night, but that needed to be done in person.

"I'd love to see you tonight," she said.

There was a brief pause before Daniel replied.  "Okay.  Do you want to come over here?"

"Yeah.  I'll stop by after work.  I can pick up some food on the way, if you'd like."

"All right.  Not Mexican, though.  Jack and I had that last night."


"Sure, that's fine.  You know the things I like."

Yes, she did know.  There were so many ways that she knew Daniel so well, yet other ways that she felt like she didn't know nearly enough.

"Okay.  I'll see you tonight, then, probably around seven."

When the doorbell rang that evening, Daniel tensed.  He'd been simultaneously looking forward to and dreading this moment all day.  He still hadn't decided if he was going to confess to Sam the whole truth about his feelings.  It would probably be better if she didn't know, but he had doubts about his ability to hide it from her.

Daniel put a smile on his face and opened the door.

"Hi," Sam greeted with a smile.  She held up the bags she was carrying.  "I come bearing pasta and breadsticks."

Daniel stepped aside for her.  Once the food had been deposited on the table, they shared a hug, then spent the next few minutes dishing out the meal.

"I see you picked up a tan," Sam remarked as they began to eat.  "And you let your hair grow out."

"Yeah.  Getting haircuts on a dig out in the middle of the Egyptian desert is a bit challenging unless you want to trust your hair to one of the others on the dig."

Sam smiled.  "Didn't want to chance it, huh?"

"No, not really."

"I like it.  It looks good.  It was getting so short before."  Sam took another bite.  "So, tell me more about your vacation."

Daniel talked about the dig and some of the things they found.  He also talked more about the people he'd worked with.

"Mick sounds like a real character," Sam remarked.

"Oh, he is that.  If they could get over their lack of anything in common, he and Jack would probably get along famously.  Like Jack, Mick isn't afraid to say exactly what he thinks."

"Are he and Kitty in a relationship?  You said they've known each other for a long time."

"No, there's twelve years between them.  Not that such a thing would prevent them from having a relationship, but they're more like brother and sister.  They've known each other since Kitty was going for her doctorate."  Daniel smiled.  "They do have quite the relationship, though."  His smile broadened a bit.  "If they came to work here, the Archeology Department would never be the same again."

They ate for a while in silence as Sam got up the courage to ask Daniel what she needed to know.  It turned out that she didn't have to ask.

"Um . . . before I left, Mick told me that he and the others were going to try to get me back in the good graces of the archeological community so that I could come back," Daniel said.  "They want me to return to the dig."

Sam's heart rate increased, her stomach clenching.  'No, Daniel.  Please don't say it.  Please.'

"I'm . . . considering it."

The tightness in Sam's gut spread to her chest.  "You can't leave the program, Daniel.  What would we do without you?"

His eyes lifted to hers.  "The program would go on without me, Sam.  I'm certainly not indispensable."

"You are to us.  You are to . . . to me."

Daniel wished that Sam's words meant that she loved him as he loved her, but he knew they didn't.

In that moment, Daniel decided that he needed to tell her the truth about how he felt.  Not feeling hungry anymore, he got up and went into the living room.  Sam followed him after a few seconds.

"Sam, you know that the main reasons I went on this dig was that I hoped the time away would help me deal with these feelings I inherited from Lantash," he said.  He turned to her.  "It didn't work."

Sam's heart rate sped up even more.

Daniel's eyes looked into hers.  "It turns out that what Martouf said was right.  The host and the symbiote do love as one, even when the symbiote is no longer in the host."

"Oh, God," Sam gasped.

"Do you understand what I'm saying, Sam?  I'm in love with you.  Me.  It's no longer just Lantash's feelings."

Sam's respiration had doubled, her heart racing in her chest.  She didn't know what to say or do.  She didn't know what to think.  On one hand, this was so not a good thing.  Daniel being in love with her made everything so complicated.  But, on the other hand . . . on the other hand, Daniel was the most wonderful man she'd ever met.  What woman wouldn't be incredibly lucky to have someone like him in love with her?  What woman wouldn't want to love him back?  A relationship between them could be fantastic.

But what about Jack?  Lately, Sam had begun to have serious questions about her feelings for her C.O.  If she truly was in love with Jack, how could she have had those feelings for both Martouf and Narim?  How could she have found herself attracted to Orlin and then Joe Faxon?  If she really loved Jack, wouldn't that love have drowned out feelings for all other men?

It would be no surprise that she would develop a "crush" for the colonel.  He was a good-looking man with a lot of qualities that she admired.  Yet, at the same time, there were a lot of other facets to his personality that irritated the hell out of her.  Even if the regs weren't standing in the way, would it really be a good idea for them to attempt a relationship?  Probably not.

But it was different with Daniel.  He and Sam complemented each other, alike in many ways, but different enough that a relationship between them wouldn't become dull.  They could be good together.

As the silence dragged on, Daniel turned away from Sam and went to the darkened window to stare at his own reflection.

"I'm sorry, Sam.  I know this isn't a good thing, that it's not something you want.  It's one of the reasons why I'm seriously considering taking Mick and the others up on their offer.  It would be so much easier for both of us."

Sam hated the idea of him leaving the program because of his feelings for her.  In fact, it tore her apart.  She thought about how much she missed him during this month.  Then she thought about the utter anguish she'd felt when she believed he was dead.  He was so important to her.  He felt like an integral part of her existence.  Without him, her life would be so much sadder and lonelier.  But could she love him as a woman loves a man?  There really was only one way to find out.

Sam came up to him.  "Daniel, I'd be lying if I said that this doesn't scare me, but . . . but I'd also be lying if I told you that I have no . . . interest in having that kind of relationship with you."

Stunned by her words, Daniel stared at her.

"You are a great guy, Daniel.  I couldn't get any luckier than to have someone like you for a boyfriend.  We're such good friends, and we get along so well that I know we'd probably have a great relationship as . . . as a couple."

Daniel swallowed to wet his dry throat.  "Sam, what are you saying?"

"I'm saying that I don't want you to go away.  I'm saying that I want you to stay and give me a chance to see if there can be something between us."

Daniel drew in a slow, deep breath, unable to believe he was hearing her right.  Was she actually saying that she was willing to date him?

"Do you really mean that, Sam?  Please don't say it if the only reason you want to try this is to keep me from leaving the program."

"It's not, Daniel.  I swear."

Daniel stared into her eyes, seeing the truth of her words there.

That's when the brightest, most beautiful smile Sam had ever seen lit Daniel's face, making her heart flip-flop in her chest.

"I want to go out with you," he said.

She smiled slightly.  "A date?"

"Yeah, a date, romantic restaurant and all."

Sam's smile widened.  "I would love to go on a date with you, Daniel."

She hadn't thought that smile of his could get any brighter, but it did.

"When?" he asked.


"Okay.  I'll see what reservations I can get."

Sam nodded.  She looked at her watch.  "I should go."

He went with her to the door.

"I'll call you once I get reservations," he said.  "Um . . . any preferences?"

"Not really, though, since we had Italian tonight, it should probably be something else tomorrow."  Sam thought of something.  "Oh!  We didn't even finish our dinner."

Daniel realized that his appetite had returned.  "I suppose I could warm it up in the microwave."

Sam studied his face.  "Is that okay?  I mean, are you getting sleepy?  I know how tough jet lag can be to shake."

"No, I'm fine."

Sam smiled.  "Okay, then."

They warmed their dinner back up and sat at the table.

As they ate, Sam found her gaze going frequently to Daniel.  Tomorrow, they would be going on an actual date.  Wow.  Her and Daniel dating.  That sure wasn't something she'd have pictured them doing a month ago.  On one hand, it seemed strange to think of the two of them becoming romantic, yet, on the other, it felt. . . .  How did it feel?  Sam searched for a word and found one.  It felt right, like a natural progression of their friendship.

Daniel's head was so full of thoughts that it felt like it was going to explode.  He was going on a date with Sam tomorrow.  The thing he'd been certain he would never have might actually be within his reach.  Of course, he didn't expect her feelings for him to change right away, but he had real hope now that she might one day come to love him as he loved her.

He was so afraid, though, that he'd do something to mess it up.  He would have to tread carefully, take things very slowly.

After the last bite was gone, Sam helped Daniel take the dishes into the kitchen.

"Well, this time, I really should get going," she said.

Again, Daniel went with her to the door.

"Good night, Sam," he said.  "I'll call you."


He watched her as she walked away down the hall.  She gave him a wave at the elevator.  He waved back and closed the door.  With a happy smile on his face, Daniel headed for the bedroom, thinking that any dreams he might have of Sam tonight would definitely not make him sad when he awoke.

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