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AUTHOR'S NOTE to Anyone Who Read Chapter 1 Before 12/26: I made a mistake in the previous chapter. For some reason, I mixed up the episode "2010" with "2001". This story begins between the episodes "2010" and "Absolute Power", meaning that the negotiations with the Aschen that took place in "2001" have not happened yet. I have removed reference to them in Chapter 1. I apologize for any confusion.


By the time Saturday arrived, both Daniel and Sam were feeling jittery with nerves.  They hadn't talked since the evening of their practice kissing.  In fact, Daniel had made a point of avoiding Sam as much as possible.  He hadn't been able to get their kisses out of his head, and he was really annoyed that he couldn't.  He was tempted to tell Sam that maybe this whole thing was a mistake, but he'd promised her that he'd do this, and he didn't want to go back on his word.  Hopefully, Jack would get really jealous very quickly, and they could put an end to the charade within just a few days.

Daniel and Sam arrived at Jack's place in separate cars, figuring that it would be for the best.  The major got there first.

"Sam, you look like you're going to jump right out of your skin," Janet remarked in amusement a few minutes later.

The astrophysicist forcibly relaxed her posture.  "Sorry.  I guess I'm just really nervous about this."

Janet's gaze had gone to someone behind Sam.  "Well, by the looks of it, Daniel is, too."

Sam turned and saw that Daniel had arrived and that he looked like he'd rather be fighting an army of Jaffa than be there.

Janet smiled.  "I think you'd better go over there and talk to him before he decides to run away and hide.  If he makes it through the Stargate, you'll never find him."

Nodding, Sam approached her friend.  He was now in a conversation with one of his staff in the archeology department and didn't see her coming.  She waited until the conversation was over and the other man had walked away before coming up to him.

"Hey, Daniel."

He started violently and jerked around to look at her.

"Um . . . hi, Sam."

Sam searched his face, seeing the tension there.  "Daniel, if you don't want to do this, I understand," she said in a low voice.

"No.  No, I'm okay.  I'm just a little nervous."

Sam smiled slightly.  "A little?"

That got a faint smile out of him.  "Okay, a lot nervous."

"Me too."

"When, uh, are we going to make the announcement?"

"We should wait until after most of the people are gone.  Janet will be sure to hang around so that she can be here for it."

Daniel nodded.  "Until then, do we just . . . act normally?"

"That would probably be best."

Throughout the party, Daniel and Sam did their best to act like nothing out of the ordinary was going on, but they couldn't stop glancing at each other, and the knots in their stomachs wouldn't quite go away.  Neither of them ate much.

Daniel was in a lawn chair, toying with a piece of watermelon, when Jack came up.

"Are you sick or something?" the colonel asked.

"No.  Why?"

"Well, you haven't been talking very much, and you hardly ate a thing."

"Oh."  Daniel set the paper plate aside.  "I guess I've just had my mind on other things."

"The same other things as Sam?"

Startled, Daniel shot him a look.  "What do you mean?"

"Oh, just that she's also been uncharacteristically quiet this afternoon and seems to be off her feed as well.  Any idea why?"

"Um, no."  Daniel cursed silently at the way his voice had gone up an octave on the second word.

Jack stared at him narrowly.  He was about to ask what was going on when Daniel was rescued by Cassie, who came up to him.

"Daniel, mom wants to talk to you."

The archeologist popped up out of the chair.  "Thanks, Cass."  He strode quickly over to the doctor, who was smiling slightly, standing apart from the crowd.

"You looked like you needed rescuing," she said.

"Thanks.  I guess I'm not doing a very good job of acting like nothing's going on."

Janet searched his face closely.  "Daniel, may I ask you something?"


"Why did you volunteer to do this?"

"To help Sam," Daniel instantly replied.  "She's my friend."

"Yes, but this is sort of above and beyond the normal duties of friendship, Daniel."

"Janet, I'd give my life for Sam.  So, how could this be so far above and beyond what a friend would do for another?"

The doctor nodded.  "You're right, of course.  Still, I should imagine that this isn't going to be easy on you.  After it's all over and done with, you're going to have to play the part of the ex-boyfriend from then on.  A lot of people will talk."

Daniel almost laughed.  "You're talking to the guy who made himself look like a nutcase to the entire archeological community.  Believe me when I say that I'm used to people talking about me.  This will be nothing compared to that."

"No, I should imagine that it wouldn't be."  Janet smiled.  "But I still think it's sweet that you're doing it."

The party finally wound down, the guests gradually leaving until only SG-1, Sam, Janet and Cassie remained.  They finished cleaning things up, then all settled in the living room.

Knowing that the time was drawing near, Daniel and Sam deliberately sat together on the couch.  The butterflies in their stomachs had procreated, and the caterpillars were presently squirming around frantically.

At last, they shared a look, silently agreeing that the time had come.

"Um . . . guys?" Daniel called to everyone.  "Sam and I, uh, have something to tell you."  All eyes turned to him.  "You see, we're, uh . . ." he cleared his throat, "dating."

Utter silence was the initial reaction.  It shouldn't have been any great surprise that it was the fifteen-year-old Cassie who broke it.

"Whoa.  You mean that you guys are dating each other?"

Daniel and Sam replied together.  "Yes."

Cassie let out a squeal and flung herself at them, hugging them both.

"That is just so totally cool!  I knew you guys were more than just friends.  Mom said you weren't, but I just knew it."

Daniel and Sam both looked at Jack.  His mouth was hanging open, shock written all over his face.  Then, all at once, his expression changed, hardening.

"How long has this been going on?" he asked in a tone of voice that was anything but pleased.

"Two weeks," Sam replied, her stomach tightening.  Jack's anger didn't necessarily mean that he was jealous.

"And we're just hearing about it now?"

"We weren't ready to tell anyone," Daniel said, frowning.  He wasn't happy with Jack's reaction.  He didn't know what kind of reaction he'd been expecting, but the hostility was causing his own anger to rise.

Feeling the tension in the air, Janet decided to step in.  "Well, I have to say that I'm pretty surprised.  You two did a good job of hiding it."  She smiled.  "But I think it's wonderful.  You make a good couple."

"Thanks, Janet," Sam said.

"I am pleased that you have taken this step," Teal'c stated.  "You are well suited to each other."

"Thanks, Teal'c," said Daniel.  He gathered the courage to take Sam's hand.  She squeezed it rather tightly.  Glancing at Jack, the archeologist saw that he was staring at their linked hands.

"Well, what an . . . interesting surprise to end the day," Jack remarked with biting sarcasm.  He got to his feet.  "I feel like another beer.  Anyone want one?"  Not waiting for a reply, he went into the kitchen.

Seeing the distress on Sam's face, Daniel decided that he needed to have a talk with Jack.  It was one thing for the man to be jealous, which was what this whole thing was supposed to accomplish, but it was another thing entirely for him to act like a complete jackass.

Daniel met Sam's eyes.  "I'll be right back," he murmured, giving her an encouraging smile.

Jack was rather viciously removing the cap from a beer bottle when Daniel entered the kitchen.

"Let's step outside, Jack," he said in a voice cold enough to drop the temperature in the room a good two degrees.

The colonel glared at him hotly.  "Or what, Daniel?"

"Or you can be an ass right here in the kitchen for everyone to hear."

Jack slammed the beer down on the counter, spilling some of its contents.  "Fine."  He strode out the back door, followed by Daniel.

"You know, you could at least pretend to be happy for us," Daniel said, his arms crossed.

Jack rounded on him.  "And why should I do that?  You've done some pretty stupid things in your life, Daniel, but this is one of the stupidest.  What possessed you to start dating a woman who used to be your teammate?"

"Used to be, Jack.  Sam and I are both civilians now and no longer on the same team.  There is not a single rule or regulation against us dating."

"That doesn't make it right."

Daniel felt anger kindle deep inside.  Yes, his relationship with Sam might not be real, and, yes, it might have all been conceived to make the man standing before him jealous, but what right did Jack have to say that a relationship between Daniel and Sam would be so wrong?

The words that came out of Daniel's mouth next were born of his anger and most definitely not thought out.  "Look, Jack.  I don't know what your problem is, but you need to understand one thing.  Sam and I are a couple now, regardless of what you think about that, so you had better get used to it.  Because if you can't, you'll be filling yet another space on your team."

With those words, Daniel spun on his heels and went back into the house.  When he got to the living room, he saw that Janet and Cassie were gone.  The doctor had probably decided that it would be best for her to get the teenager out of there.

"I'm going, Sam," Daniel said in a clipped tone.  "You can stay, if you want, but I wouldn't recommend it."

"What did he say, Daniel?" she asked worriedly as she got to her feet.

"I'll tell you later."  Daniel turned to the other person in the room.  "Teal'c, do you need a ride back to base?"

"I will receive transportation from O'Neill, Daniel Jackson."

Nodding, Daniel helped Sam on with her sweater, then walked with her out to her car.

"Daniel, tell me what happened," she demanded.

"Jack was acting like an ass, and I got mad."

"Oh no.  What did you say?"

The impact of his hastily spoken declaration to Jack – not to mention its foolishness – was really becoming clear to Daniel now.  "I told him that he'd better get used to us being a couple or. . . ."

"Or what?"

"Or I'd, uh . . . quit the team."

Sam gasped.  "Daniel, what possessed you to say that?!"

Daniel thrust his hands into his pockets, staring at the ground.  "Like I said, I got mad at something Jack said."

"Daniel, if Jack is really mad enough, he might take you up on your threat.  I can't let you lose your position on SG-1 because of this.  We need to go back in there and tell him the truth."

"No, Sam.  We did this for a reason, and I'm not willing to give up yet.  Let's just wait and see what happens."

Sam hesitated.  This was not how she'd imagined tonight going.  Yes, she'd hoped for a negative reaction from Jack, but not this negative.  And, now, Daniel's place on SG-1 was in danger.  She should have known this was a bad idea.  Trying to make someone jealous could lead to all kinds of dreadful things.

Daniel touched her arm.  "It'll be all right, Sam.  Jack's just pissed.  He'll cool down."

"I hope you're right."

He gave her arm a gentle rub. "Go home and get some sleep.  Would you like to do something together tomorrow?  We could go catch a matinee or something, get our minds off this."

Sam gave him a weak smile.  "That would be nice.  We could go to lunch first."

"Okay.  I'll see you tomorrow, then."

On impulse, Sam pulled Daniel into a hug.  He returned it, his hand stroking her hair.  The desire to kiss her flitted through his mind, but he quickly exorcized it.  There was no audience right now, no one that they had to pretend for.

After escorting Sam the final few feet to her car and waiting for her to drive away, Daniel went to his own car and left, unaware that he'd been wrong about the lack of an audience.

Jack remained at the window until Daniel's car disappeared from view, trying to curb his anger at seeing the couple embrace so tenderly.  Turning around, he came face to face with Teal'c, who was frowning at him quite severely.

"You are not pleased by the news that Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter are now lovers," the Jaffa observed.

The word 'lovers' made the beer in Jack's stomach sour.  He went into the kitchen to straighten up, Teal'c accompanying him.

"I think they're making a big mistake," he said as he dumped out the beer he no longer had a stomach for.

"Why do you believe that a sexual relationship between them is a mistake?"

"Will you stop saying that?!" Jack yelled.  "They've been dating for two weeks.  We don't know if they've . . . they've done it yet."

"If by 'it' you mean had intercourse, then you are correct, but is it not common for members of your society who are dating to be sexually active with one another?"

"Jeez, Teal'c.  Do you have to be so uninhibited with your comments?"

"It is not the custom of the Jaffa to be less than frank about sex, O'Neill.  I have on more than one occasion heard you speaking about the act.  Why is it different now?"

"Because it's Sam and Daniel we're talking about!  I don't want to talk about them having sex.  I don't want to think about them having sex."

"Very well.  You have not answered my question about why you believe a relationship between them is a mistake."

"I just do, okay?  They're practically brother and sister, for cryin' out loud!"

"I have not observed Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter acting like siblings, O'Neill, nor are they related by blood.  They share a deep bond.  Long have I believe that, if they were to go beyond friendship, they would have a relationship that would be strong and enduring."

Shocked, Jack stared at the Jaffa.  "You've been rooting for them to get together?"

"I have not, O'Neill.  I merely believed that, if such an event took place, it would bring joy to both of them."

Still stunned, Jack leaned back against the counter, eyes on the floor.  Teal'c studied him.

"I believe that the heart of your hostility is your own feelings for Samantha Carter," he said.

Jack shook his head emphatically.  "No, you're wrong.  That isn't it at all."

"Are you certain, O'Neill?  Though the word 'love' was not spoken by you during the Zartarc test, there is no doubt that is the emotion you were speaking about.  It is also the emotion Samantha Carter was referring to with her words.  Perhaps it is that you feel betrayed by her because it would appear that she no longer shares your feelings, and you are angered at Daniel Jackson because he now has her love."

Jack angrily pushed away from the counter.  "Since when did you become a shrink?  Stop trying to psychoanalyze me."

"Then you must psychoanalyze yourself, O'Neill.  Your actions and words tonight were disrespectful of Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter and were not the actions of a friend.  An honorable man would accept what has transpired between them, despite his own desires."

Feeling like he'd just been scolded like a petulant child, Jack strode out into the living room and snatched his keys off the table beside the front door.

"I'll take you back to base," he said shortly.

A while later, on the return trip from the base, Jack had finally cooled down enough to think about Teal'c's words.  Though he hated like hell to admit it, the man was at least partly right.  It hadn't even been six months ago that Sam was just about declaring her love for him, and, now, she was dating Daniel.  Sure, regulations had forbidden them at that time to do anything about their feelings, but she sure did get over them quickly.  They must not have been very deep to begin with.  And the real rub was that, now, it wouldn't be against regulations for him and Sam to be together, yet she'd picked Daniel instead of him.

'Well, Jack.  You could have said something to her at any time during this month, but you didn't, did you,' a little voice inside his head said.  Jack told it to shut up, but it kept nagging at him.  Jack could have said something.  He could have gone to Sam and openly asked her out on a date, but, instead, he remained silent, acting like nothing had changed with their situation.  Why?  Jack knew the answer, but, right now, he was feeling too betrayed to let that knowledge cool his anger.

But, regardless of how he felt, the fact remained that Daniel and Sam were a couple now, and if he wasn't willing to accept that, he'd lose Daniel from the team and very likely lose the friendship of both of them.  Were his hurt feelings worth that?

Daniel arrived at Sam's just before noon the next day.  They had a nice lunch at a café, neither one of them saying anything about what had happened at Jack's.  Afterwards, they went to the movies, choosing a film that they knew they'd both enjoy.

It was not quite a third of the way through the movie when Daniel tentatively took Sam's hand in his.  Surprised at first, she smiled at him, letting him know with that smile that she had no objections to the contact.  Their hands remained joined throughout the rest of the movie, an experience that both of them quite enjoyed.

As they walked to their car, Sam slipped her hand back into Daniel.  She leaned toward him a bit.

"I figured that we should keep up with the act even when Jack's not with us," she said.  "You never know when someone else from the base might be around."

Daniel smiled.  "You're absolutely right."  He promptly put his arm around Sam's waist.

As they reached the car, Daniel turned Sam around and pulled her gently into his arms.  Surprised by the boldness of his move, Sam, nevertheless, went into the embrace quite willingly.

"So, what shall we do next?" Daniel asked.

Sam looked at him questioningly.  "Next?"

"Uh huh.  It's only three, and it's a nice day.  We could go to the park or maybe just for a walk."

Sam smiled.  "Daniel, you don't have to keep me occupied all day today.  I'm fine."

"I'm just thinking that, if we really were a couple, we'd probably spend the whole day together.  If, by chance, Jack goes to see one of us at home, it'll make him more jealous if he finds that we're both gone.  He'll naturally assume that we're together."

"Hmm.  You do have a good point."

"I have them on occasion."

"But don't you have things to get done today?"

"Nothing that can't wait.  Besides, it's been a long time since you and I did something together outside of work."

Sam nodded.  "You're right.  It has."  She smiled again.  "Okay.  Let's go to the park.  I haven't been there in ages."

"The park it is."

For the rest of the afternoon, Daniel and Sam did a very good job of pretending to be a couple.  When they weren't holding hands, they had an arm around each other.  Anyone watching them would be convinced that they were romantically involved.

Daniel was enjoying the day with Sam very much, far more than he should.  Touching her, having her so close to him felt good.  It felt . . . right, which was more than a little surprising.  Shouldn't it feel at least a little awkward?  Up until now, they hadn't been the kind of friends that touched a lot.  They hadn't been physically demonstrative.  The sudden increase in physical contact should take a bit of getting used to, yet it wasn't, just the opposite, in fact.  Daniel chose not to analyze why it would feel that way.

They'd just reached the car when Daniel spied a familiar face.  He pulled Sam close.

"Sam, don't look, but Sergeant Harriman is here," he said in a low voice.

"He is?"

"Yeah, a few yards away.  He's looking right at us."

Sam blushed slightly.  "So, what do we do?"

"Well, that all depends on what you want the base to know.  On one hand, if the entire base is talking about us, it will make Jack even more jealous.  On the other hand, it'll mean that we're going to start getting peppered with questions right away."

Sam weighed the two things in her mind.  "Well, since we're doing this to make Jack jealous, I say we really give him something to be jealous about."

A slightly mischievous smile curved Daniel's lips.  "Okay."

In the next second, Daniel was kissing her.  The kiss was long, slow and gentle.  Though not passionate, it had Sam's temperature climbing and her arms winding themselves around his neck to bring him closer.

Daniel was fighting to maintain control, fighting not to press her up against the car and take full possession of her mouth.  When he felt her lips part slightly beneath his, he had no choice but to either end the kiss or take it a hell of a lot farther.  He reluctantly chose the former.

Daniel's breathing was a bit erratic as he pulled back.  Sam's eyes blinked open, and she stared at him, her pupils slightly dilated.

"That, uhhhh . . . that will definitely have tongues wagging on base," Sam said, feeling a little breathless.  Okay, Daniel could definitely kiss.

Daniel glanced at Harriman out of the corner of his eye.  "Yeah, the sergeant looks a little like he just got hit by a shock grenade."

Sam giggled.  "He'll be telling everyone.  You'd never guess it, but Sergeant Harriman is one of the biggest gossips there."

Daniel smiled.  "No.  Really?"

"Oh, yes."

"Then I guess we're lucky he's the one we got to put on our show for."

Sam cleared her throat.  "Very lucky."  She wasn't the least bit unhappy about their choice to put on that performance.  Damn.  This wasn't supposed to feel so good.  Things like this were just supposed to be a necessary part of the act.  So, why did she not want to leave the circle of Daniel's arms?  Why did she want to really give Walter Harriman something to talk about – like seeing her and Daniel French kissing up a storm in a public parking lot?

Daniel's voice interrupted her thoughts.

"He's getting in his car now."


They released each other and put a few inches between them.

"I, um, should take care of a few errands," Sam said, feeling the need to be away from Daniel.


Daniel drove Sam home.  He pulled up out front, not turning off the engine.

"Are you working tomorrow?" he asked.

"Yes, though, technically, I could take the day off.  Are you?"

Daniel nodded.  "I'll see you there, then."

"All right.  Thank you for the lovely day, Daniel.  I really enjoyed it."

"Me too."  He looked at her closely.  "Sam, if I ever . . . went over the line, did something that was too much, you'd tell me, wouldn't you?"

Sam smiled in assurance.  "Yes, I'd tell you.  Don't worry, Daniel.  I won't deck you if you get a bit too touchy-feely."

Daniel smiled as well.  "That's good.  It would sort of ruin the whole plan if I came into work one day with a black eye and you nursing a sore hand."

Sam's smile broadened.  "Well, we could just say that we both like it rough."

Daniel's eyes grew enormous, a flush spreading across his face.

Sam was instantly mortified.  "I . . ." she laughed nervously, "I can't believe I just said that.  I'm . . . going to go now."  She opened the door and quickly got out.  "See you tomorrow."

Daniel pulled away from the curb, trying very hard not to pay attention to the erotic images that had flashed through his mind after Sam's words – images that would never become reality.

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