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The Reality of Dreams


Categories: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Rating: R / PG-13
Content Warning: Adult Themes, Mild Profanity, Strong Sexual Content (choice of scenes with milder sexual content available, follow appropriate links in fanfic)
Spoilers: Fallen, Grace, Chimera, Lockdown, Endgame
Author's Notes:
This story takes place after Endgame and can be considered an AU. In it, General Hammond was not removed from command of the SGC, and Sam broke up with Pete after just a couple of months.

There used to be two versions of this story, an R-rated one and a PG-13 rated one. I have combined them and provided a link in the appropriate place to a PG-13 version of the love scene.

Samantha Carter awoke to the feeling of a male arm draped over her waist.  She gave a little sigh and looked over her shoulder at the man sharing the bed with her.  Jack was still sound asleep, looking years younger than he did when awake.  It wasn't all that long ago that the sight of him lying there naked beside her would have sent a thrill of pleasure through Sam.  She rarely felt that thrill now.

Carefully moving Jack's arm, Sam slipped out of bed.  She got her robe and headed into the bathroom.  After taking a long shower, she stood looking at herself in the mirror.  Where was the joy that was in her eyes only a few months ago when she and Jack first got together?  Where was the flush of pleasure that she used to wake up with after a night of lovemaking with him?  Now, all she felt was the physical satisfaction from the lovemaking.  The emotional satisfaction was gone.

When Sam first became romantically involved with Jack almost five months ago, she had known that it would take time for the emotional barriers between them to come down, particularly on Jack's side.  After all, he was not a man who openly shared his feelings.  But, after all these months, nothing had changed in that regard.  No ground had been gained at all, no matter how hard she tried.

Feeling very sad all of a sudden, Sam got dressed and went to the kitchen to make some coffee.  While it was brewing, she heard the shower turn back on.  Jack was awake.  A part of her had been hoping that he'd keep right on sleeping so that she could get out of the house without talking to him this morning, although she knew that, if she'd done that, he'd have called her right away to find out why she left.

Sam was pouring a cup for herself and Jack when he came into the kitchen.  He wrapped his arms around her from behind and kissed her neck.

"Good morning, lover," he murmured.  He was always in a great mood the mornings after they'd made love.  It used to amuse and please her, but not anymore.

"Good morning," she said.  She handed him his coffee and took hers to the table.

"So, you're on leave for a whole week, right?" Jack asked.

"Yes.  General Hammond thought that we all deserved a break."

"Well, after that whole fiasco with the Stargate being stolen, I can definitely agree with that."

Sam nodded in agreement.  Both she and Daniel could easily have died.  Only Teal'c's timely arrival had saved them from being killed by The Trust.  "Besides," she added, "before anyone is allowed through the gate, they're going to be running a whole series of diagnostics to make sure everything's working okay and is hooked back up properly."

Jack stared at her.  "And you didn't insist on being part of that?"

"They can handle it without me."  The truth was that Sam had been hoping that this time off would give her the opportunity to talk to Jack about things, but after what happened yesterday, she wasn't feeling up to dealing with it.  Maybe she'd feel better tomorrow.

Sam finished her coffee and got up to rinse the cup out.

"So, I was thinking that you could spend the rest of your leave here," Jack said.  He smiled suggestively.  "I guarantee we'll have lots of fun."

Sam sighed again, though silently this time.  She felt like screaming at Jack that there should be more to their relationship than sex and fun.  Instead, she said, "I can't.  There are a millions things that I need to get done this week, stuff that I haven't had time for because of work.  For one thing, you should see the pile of dirty laundry.  If I don't wash soon, it's liable to fall over on top of me and smother me."

"You're choosing dirty laundry over me?" Jack asked, both amused by the comment and unhappy that she wouldn't be staying.

"Sorry, but a girl's gotta have her priorities," Sam responded.  Not so long ago, she'd have said it in jest.  Now, she was thinking that she really would rather do laundry than stay with Jack for the rest of her leave.

"Well, okay, but I expect to get at least some of your free time while you're on leave," Jack said in a mock stern tone.  "How about if I call you tonight?"


Sam looked around for her shoes, but only found one of them.  "Where's my other shoe?" she asked.

"Ah, let me see.  If I recall, you lost the one shoe while we were making out on the couch last night."  Jack walked over to the sofa and got down on his knees, looking around.  "Ah hah!  There is it."  He reached under the end table, hissing at the sudden pain that flared from his left shoulder all the way down his arm.

"You okay?" Sam asked in concern, taking the shoe from his hand.

Jack massaged his shoulder as he stood up.  "Yeah.  I just forget to be careful sometimes."

Sam gave his shoulder a gentle rub.  It was over five months ago that Jack received the injury that made it necessary for him to leave SG-1.  It had happened while Daniel was still recovering from the bullet wound Jack was forced to give him when he was possessed by Anubis.  The three other members of SG-1 and another SG team had gone on an important mission, and Jack was seriously wounded in the shoulder.  At the time, he'd laughed about fate getting even with him for having shot his best friend in the same spot, but that was before the whole ugly truth had been revealed.  Jack had suffered extensive nerve damage, and the doctors told him that, even with months of intensive physical therapy, he'd never have full mobility in that arm again.  Jack had been forced to choose between a desk job or retirement.  He chose the latter.  He was still undergoing physical therapy.

It was just two weeks after his retirement that he and Sam started dating.  They'd been dating for only a week when they ended up in bed together.  Now, all these months later, Jack was still happy with their relationship, but Sam was not.

Giving her former C.O. a kiss goodbye, Sam left the house.  She went home and, just as she had said she would, got busy on the laundry.  She was putting the third load in the dryer when she suddenly started to cry.  Angrily wiping the tears away, she finished loading the dryer and turned it on.  Then she went out into the living room and curled up in a chair, still crying.

For so many years, she had dreamed of being with Jack, of spending her life with him, having a family.  But reality was proving to fall far short of the dream.  Sam felt empty, discontent.  Though the sexual needs of her body were being satisfied by her love affair with Jack, the needs of her heart were not.

Feeling lonely and in need of someone to talk to, Sam dried her face, fixed her makeup, and headed over to Daniel's house.  When he answered the door, she realized that he must have just gotten out of the shower.  He didn't have his glasses on, his hair was wet, and the athletic T-shirt he wore was clinging to his damp skin, accentuating his muscular chest and showing off his broad, strong shoulders.  Sam couldn't help but admire his physique, feeling a little womanly thrill pass through her.  It wasn't the first time she'd felt this when looking at Daniel.  After all, she was an adult, heterosexual female, and he was an extremely good-looking guy with a fantastic body.  However, like all the other times she'd felt it, Sam chose to ignore it and put it out of her mind, although, for some reason, it was proving to be more difficult this time.

"Hey, Sam," Daniel greeted with a smile.  "I wasn't expecting you.  I just got out of the shower."

Sam smiled.  "Yes, I can see that."

The archeologist stepped back to allow the recently promoted lieutenant colonel to enter.  That's when she noticed that his feet were bare.  The thought of him puttering around his house barefoot made her smile.

"Can I get you something?" he asked, moving into the living room.

"No, I'm fine."

Daniel looked at her a little more closely.  "Sam, is something wrong?"

"Um . . . sort of.  Can we . . . talk?"

"Of course we can.  You shouldn't even have to ask.  Come on.  Let's sit down."  Daniel led her to the sofa.  "Okay, so what's 'sort of' wrong?" he asked after they'd both taken a seat.

Sam sighed.  "It's Jack."

"Jack?  What's wrong with Jack?"

"Nothing.  He's fine.  It's just that. . . ."

Seeing that something was really bothering her, Daniel touched her arm.  "Tell me, Sam," he requested gently.

Sam looked into Daniel's beautiful, caring eyes.  "I'm just so frustrated!" she blurted out.

"Frustrated?  About what?"

"Me and Jack, our relationship.  In the beginning, it was fantastic.  We had lots of fun, had some great times together."


"But 'fun' is all Jack seems to want to have."

"I'm not following you."

"I spent all day yesterday with him.  I was hoping that we could talk about things, but all he wanted to do was fool around.  I finally gave up and did what he wanted."  Sam sighed deeply.  "I think I've made a terrible mistake.  Jack and I should never have gotten together."

Sadly, Daniel was not surprised by what Sam was telling him.  He would never admit it aloud, but he'd always had doubts about whether or not his two friends could have a successful relationship.  Though he loved them both and wanted them to be happy, he knew down deep inside that they were not really compatible.

A small secret part of Daniel, a tiny voice that he always tried not to listen to, was presently cheering over the fact that things weren't going well for Jack and Sam since that meant that he might have a chance with her.  That inner voice made Daniel feel selfish.  He shouldn't have those kinds of thoughts.  He should be sad that the relationship between two of his best friends wasn't going well.

"I'm sorry, Sam," Daniel said, and he was sorry, sorry that Sam was unhappy.  He wanted her to have joy in her life.  "Have you talked to Jack about this at all?"

"We don't talk, Daniel, not really.  That's the whole problem.  He talks about movies, sports, the news, stuff like that.  We discuss things that happened on missions or at the SGC.  But whenever I try to talk about something that doesn't interest him, he usually changes the subject or listens with only half his attention.  We don't share our hopes and dreams with each other.  We don't talk about the things that couples are supposed to.  There have been times when I was upset about something that happened at work, and he listened as I talked about it, but not once in all this time have I been able to get him to talk to me about things that are worrying or upsetting him.  I haven't even been able to get him to tell me how he feels about having to retire, even though I know that it really hurt him.  I'm not stupid.  I knew that it would take a while for Jack to open up to me.  I mean, you know how he always was, rarely talking about feelings and stuff like that.  But we've been together for nearly five months, and not a damn thing has changed!  When am I going to start feeling like I'm being given more of him than just his body?  Pretty much the only time that things are really good between us is when we're having sex."

Embarrassed by her admission, Daniel dropped his gaze.

Realizing what she'd just blurted out, Sam blushed.  "I'm sorry.  That was . . . that was way too personal," she muttered.

"No.  No, it's okay," Daniel assured her, returning his gaze to her.  "I mean, it's not like I'm a prude.  I have had sex, even if it has been a, uh, really long time.  Besides, after all these years, we're good enough friends that it's okay to share a few, um, private things."  He searched her eyes.  "What is it that you really want from Jack, Sam?"

"I want to be able to really talk to him, like you and I are talking now.  I want to share the things in my heart with him and have him do the same with me.  I want him to share more than just a physical connection with me."  Sam got up and took a step away, her arms wrapping around her waist.  "I've always known that Jack and I don't have a lot in common, but I had hoped that, once we were a couple, he'd make more of an effort to show at least some interest in the things that interest me, just like I'm trying really hard to develop an interest in what he likes to do.  I just . . ."  Sam sighed.  "Sometimes, I almost feel like our relationship is one-sided, that all Jack really wants from me is the sex and someone to hang around with."

Daniel thought about her words, wishing that he could help somehow.  He got to his feet and stood in front of her, trying to meet her eyes, which were cast downward.  "I wish I knew how to help, Sam, but I don't know what I could do.  I'd talk to Jack about it, but I doubt he'd be very receptive to me lecturing him about his relationship with you."

Sam shook her head.  "I wouldn't expect you to do that.  It's not your responsibility to fix things between me and Jack."  She looked at him and took his hand.  "I'm just glad that I have you to talk to, Daniel.  You and I have always been able to talk about things, even stuff that hurts."  She gazed deeply into his eyes.  "You're my best friend."

A little surprised at her declaration since she had never said that aloud before, Daniel smiled.  "You're my best friend, too, Sam . . . well, one of them.  You, Jack and Teal'c all mean a lot to me."  He tightened his grip on her hand.  "I know that I'm not Jack, but if you ever want to talk to me about those kinds of things, your hopes and dreams, I would be very happy to listen."  The corners of his lips turned upwards.  "And you might just get me to share some of mine with you, too."

Daniel's words and the tender, loving look on his face sent a wave of love washing through Sam for this man who was such a dear friend.

Tears prickling at the back of her eyes, Sam wrapped her arms around Daniel, and he did likewise, the two friends sharing a tight embrace.

"Thank you.  I'm so glad to have you as a friend," Sam whispered emotionally.

"I'll always be your friend, Sam.  Always."

Sam gave Daniel a final squeeze, then they drew apart.  On impulse, she placed a soft, almost sisterly kiss on his mouth.  The feeling that she experienced as their lips met, however, was anything but sisterly, shocking the hell out of her.  It was like a sizzling current of energy had zipped through her whole body, leaving her with a delicious tingling sensation.

Daniel gasped sharply, staring wide-eyed at Sam.  What he had just experienced when Sam kissed him was something he definitely should not have felt.  It had been a lot like what he felt the first time he kissed Sha're.  He wanted them to kiss again.  He wanted to do a whole lot more than just kiss her.

'I shouldn't be feeling this,' he told himself.  His heart chose to completely ignore him.

"Sam, I, um. . . ."  Daniel's voice trailed off helplessly, his eyes unable to leave Sam's.  By the look on her face, he could tell that she'd felt the same thing he did.

"Daniel, did you. . . ." she began to ask a little breathlessly

"Yes," he answered, knowing that Sam was asking if he'd felt what she did.

"T-that shouldn't have happened," Sam whispered shakily.  'My God, what's happening here?  I just kissed Daniel, and I really, really want to kiss him again.  This is insane!'

"I know," Daniel murmured, "but I want. . . ."

"It to happen again," Sam finished.

Simultaneously, their eyes moved down to each other's mouths.  Slowly, they both leaned toward each other.  Again, their lips met briefly, sending another thrill through their bodies.  Pulling back only a few inches, they stared into each other's eyes, searching deeply.  Each of them seeing a matching desire in the other, they closed the distance between them.

The kiss was slow, tentative, a soft exploration.  Within seconds, the space between their bodies disappeared, arms tightening their hold.  Daniel's hand came up to the back of Sam's head as the pressure of his lips gradually increased, his hesitation fading.

Sam knew that this shouldn't be happening, that she should stop it, but the will to do so was escaping her.  And then Daniel's tongue touched her lips, and any thought of stopping went right out of her head.

Click here to go to the PG-13 rated version of the love scene. The R-rated version is below.

With a gasping moan, Sam let Daniel in.  Groaning, Daniel dove into the heated cavern of Sam's mouth.  Consumed with hunger, he and Sam searched each other's mouths deeply, their self-control vanishing in the conflagration that was raging inside them.  Hands began caressing, seeking, clothing suddenly proving to be a barrier than neither of them wanted.  Daniel's top was the first article of clothing to hit the floor, soon followed by Sam's.

A moan was torn from Sam's throat as Daniel's hand covered her breast, his mouth descending to her neck.  He lay her down on the couch, his body coming to rest on top of her.  He found the front catch of her bra and opened it, pushing the material aside.  His fingers went to the nipple of her right breast and teased it into hardness.  Moments later, his mouth descended upon it, suckling deeply.

"Oh, God, Daniel," Sam gasped, arching upward.  She could feel his arousal, and it was driving her crazy.  She opened her legs wider, letting him settle fully upon her.  With another low groan, Daniel jerked his hips against her, the friction of their bodies sending him into a frenzy of desire.

With fumbling hands, Daniel pulled Sam's shoes off, then reached for the closure of her pants as his mouth traveled further down her body.  Sam's respiration and heart rate increased even more as he undid the button and pulled down the zipper while his lips and tongue did all kinds of wonderful things to the soft expanse of her stomach.  He tugged at the waistband of her pants.  Sam lifted her hips so that he could get them off.

In a flurry of movement, the jeans joined their tops on the floor.  Daniel pulled off Sam's bra, his mouth returning to her breasts at the same time as one of his hands slid beneath her panties, finding the tingling, aching place at the juncture of her thighs.  Sam cried aloud, bucking up against him.  Her hands flew to his pants, unfastening them with frantic haste.  She pushed them and his boxers down as far as she could.  Daniel quickly got them off the rest of the way.  He reached for her underpants, and, soon, they, too, were gone.

Daniel and Sam both moaned as he laid back down upon her, their naked skin flushed with heat.  Sam wrapped her legs about him, pushing her hips upward in an appeal that could not be mistaken or denied.

Unable to wait a second longer, Daniel plunged into her.  Twin cries echoed through the room.  Gasping at the overwhelming feeling of being joined, they stared at each other intently for a brief instant.  Then Daniel began to move, and Sam's eyes slid shut at the sweet rapture of feeling him moving inside her.  Soon, she was rocking with him.

The experience of making love with Sam quickly overpowered Daniel.  He could never remember being so lost in this feeling before, the sensations so strong that it drove him to lose all semblance of control.  Tightening his grip on Sam, he moved faster, more powerfully, wanting to pierce straight into her soul.

Sam threw her head back with another cry as Daniel's movements grew harder and faster.  She could feel her ecstasy rising, climbing rapidly toward its peak like a rocket blazing a fiery trail heavenward.

At that moment, Daniel's mouth descended upon her breast, his teeth finding her nipple and biting down upon it gently.  With a muted scream, Sam came, her body bucking and shaking against Daniel.  The sensation drove him over the edge, and, with a shout, he climaxed so hard that it almost hurt.

For a small slice of eternity, Daniel and Sam were immersed in the wild, consuming fire of the ultimate ecstasy.  It seemed to last forever, yet not nearly long enough.  At last, the fire dimmed, leaving behind a wondrous, glowing feeling of joy and contentment.

Drawing in deep gasps of air, Daniel and Sam lay still, unable to move.  It was a full minute before the archeologist lifted his head and met Sam's eyes.  He was afraid that he would see regret there.  Instead, he saw an expression of wonder and what he wanted to believe was happiness.

Daniel cupped her cheek.  "God, Sam.  That was. . . ."

"Yeah, I know," Sam said huskily.

"I can't believe this happened."

"Me neither.  I know it shouldn't have, but. . . ."

"It felt so good," Daniel finished.

"Fantastic," Sam agreed.  She couldn't believe how incredible their lovemaking had been.  It had never felt that good before, not ever, not even with Jack.

That thought made Sam stiffen.  She was supposed to be committed to Jack, and yet she had just experienced the most incredible sex of her life with Daniel.  She should be torn apart with guilt, and yet she wasn't.  Yes, there was guilt, but it was buried beneath the exquisite pleasure and contentment of what she had just shared with Daniel.  Even so, this was something they needed to talk about.

Sam looked up into Daniel's eyes and saw that he was staring at her, an expression on his face that almost looked like fear.

"Sam?" he questioned hesitantly.

The astrophysicist realized that he must have guessed where her thoughts had gone.  She made a move to sit up, and he rose off of her, breaking the connection of their bodies.  He sat back on his heels, eyes not leaving Sam as he prayed that she wasn't going to tell him this had all been a mistake.  He knew that he should be feeling terribly guilty about having had sex with the woman who was the girlfriend of one of his best friends, but it had been so amazing, so wonderful that any feelings of guilt were being overwhelmed.  He wanted this so badly, more than he'd wanted anything for a long, long time.  Seeing her beautiful body lying naked before him was playing havoc with his self-control.  He wanted to make love to her over and over again.

Sitting upright, Sam got her first good look at the body of the man with whom she had just made love.  He was beautiful.  The sight of him sitting there, naked and glistening with sweat from their lovemaking, made her want him again.  But they really did need to talk.

Even more certain that Sam was now regretting what they'd done, Daniel said, "Sam, I'm so sorry.  I shouldn't have—"  Sam's fingers on his lips halted his apology.

"Don't apologize, Daniel.  I was an equal participant in what just happened, and, though I should be feeling really, really guilty about it, I just keep thinking about how wonderful it made me feel, how . . . complete."

"I feel the same way, Sam," Daniel told her in a very quiet voice.  He wanted to kiss her, but he knew that, if he did, it would be hard to keep it at just kissing, especially in their present state of undress.

"I think that we'd better get dressed, because seeing you like this is hell on my self-control," he said.

Sam gave him a smile.  "Yes, that would probably be a good idea."

They got dressed, trying not to look at each other as they did since it might tempt them to forget about talking and go back to doing what they really wanted to do.

At last, they were settled back on the couch, both of them fully dressed except for the shoes Sam had chosen not to put back on.  She looked down at Daniel's equally bare feet and pictured the two of them playing footsie underneath the briefing room table.  Damn.  That was a very dangerous thought and one that led to others about their status as teammates.  She was now glad that she hadn't been made the leader of SG-1 after Jack's injury and retirement, that a new colonel was brought in to replace him instead.  If she was Daniel's commanding officer, what they just did would have gotten them into big trouble, even though he was a civilian.  There would be all kinds of questions about her ability to be objective in giving him orders.  Just being teammates was going to make things tricky enough as it was.

With a start, Sam realized that she'd been thinking about this like it was a relationship they intended to continue.  Is that what she wanted?  'Yes,' her heart told her.

"Sam, I . . . I don't know what to say," Daniel began, staring at his folded hands.  "I know that this shouldn't have happened.  You're with Jack, and he's one of my best friends.  I should be feeling like a real jerk right now, but . . ." he lifted his head and looked into her eyes, "but I want this so much, Sam.  I've wanted it for a long time."

Stunned by his last sentence, Sam stared at him.  "What?"

"Didn't you ever wonder why it is that, when you guys found me on Vis Uban, I asked you if there had ever been anything between us?"

"Yes, I did, but I just figured that you were confused.  I mean, let's face it.  I'd just painted a really glowing picture of you.  It wouldn't be surprising for you to get the mistaken idea that I had those kinds of feelings for you."

Daniel shook his head.  "That wasn't the reason, Sam.  I asked that question because I felt something the moment I first laid eyes on you and you tried to touch me.  It scared me, which is part of the reason why I was so stand-offish.  After I started getting my memories back and remembered Sha're, I was so confused.  I still loved my wife, but I also had these . . . feelings for you.  I finally realized that those feelings had been there for a long time, but I couldn't see it because of my grief over Sha're.  I've been trying to ignore them ever since then."

"Oh, Daniel.  I had no idea.  Why didn't you ever say anything?"

"Because I knew that you didn't feel the same.  I've known for years that you had a thing for Jack.  I couldn't compete with that.  I couldn't compete with him."

Sam took his hand.  "I wish you'd told me.  Maybe if I'd known. . . ."

"What?" Daniel inquired, encouraging her to continue.

Sam gave a sigh.  "If I'd known you felt like that, maybe I'd have tried to make a go of it with you, seen if a relationship between us could work out."

Daniel frowned.  "But what about Jack?"

"I had pretty much given up on a relationship with him.  I was certain that it was never going to happen.  If it wasn't for that injury that forced him to retire, he and I would still be dancing around our feelings.  Though I had briefly considered leaving the service to be with him, I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't even find the courage to ask Jack if he still felt like that about me.  How pathetic is that?  I never told you guys all the details about what happened on the Prometheus.  While I was alone, wandering around with that concussion, having wacky hallucinations the whole time, I made some big decisions.  I decided that it was time to put away my feelings for Jack and get on with my life."

"Is that why you started dating Pete Shanahan?"

Sam nodded, thinking about the man she had dated for two months.  "But it didn't take me long to realize that it wasn't going to work out between us.  I liked him, but I knew that the real reason I got involved with him was because I was lonely and wanted someone in my life."  Sam looked straight at Daniel.  "But, if I had known that you felt that way about me, I think that I'd have tried to see if you could be that someone, and . . . and now I know that you can be."

Daniel gathered her into his arms and took her lips in a slow, gentle kiss.  After it ended, Sam laid her head on his chest.

"This is such a mess, Daniel.  I don't know what we're going to do."

"I don't know either.  All I do know is that I don't want to lose you.  I want us to be together, Sam.  I want to be the one you talk to about those things that are in your heart.  I want to be the one you imagine a future with.  I want—" Daniel's voice broke off abruptly.

Sam lifted her head and looked at him.  "You want what, Daniel?"

For a long time, he didn't answer, then his eyes pierced into hers.  "I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  I love you, Sam.  I could never let myself accept that until now."

Sam felt something burst inside her, something that made her feel warm and deliriously happy.  She took hold of Daniel's head and pulled his lips to hers.  They shared a long, deep kiss that made them both want more.  It took a monumental act of will to separate.

Sam curled her legs up onto the couch and snuggled against Daniel, who held her tightly, his right hand sliding up and down her arm as the left one clasped the hand she had resting over his heart.

"I don't want this to end," he murmured.

"Neither do I.  I wish I could stay."

"Why can't you?"

"Because Jack is going to call me at home tonight, and, if I'm not there, he'll wonder where I am.  He'll try me on my cell phone.  I don't want to talk to him and lie about where I am."

Daniel closed his eyes for a moment.  "Sam, what are we going to do?  I don't want to hurt Jack, but I want you to be with me.  I want you to . . . to be mine and only mine."  He made a sound that was halfway between a chuckle and a snort.  "Listen to me.  I sound like some kind of possessive jerk."

"No, you don't."  Sam smiled.  "I like that you don't want to share me with another man.  I think I'd be rather insulted if you were willing to share me with Jack, even if he is one of your best friends.  Besides, I want you to be mine and only mine, too."

"Well, that's not going to be a problem.  It's not like I have any prospects for another girlfriend, even if I wanted one."

"Hah!  Obviously, you've never noticed the way that some of the other women on base look at you," Sam said, smiling.  "One word from you, and they'd be all over you."

"Even if that were true, I'm not interested in any of them.  You're the only one I want."  Daniel became serious. "Sam, do you love Jack?"

She took a long time to answer.  "I thought I did.  Maybe there was a time when I did, but I think that, for a long time now, I've been holding onto a fantasy, onto something that I only thought I wanted.  Since Jack and I finally became a couple, I've come to realize that the dream I had of us being together was just that, a dream.  It could never be real, not the way I pictured it.  I should have known, Daniel.  I should have been smart enough to know that he and I could never make it.  I wish we'd never gotten together.  I don't know how I'm going to break it off without hurting him."

"That isn't what's going to hurt him the most, Sam.  It's going to be finding out about us.  He's going to kill me.  I just know it."

"Then we won't tell him.  I'll break it off with him, then, in a few weeks, you and I can start dating publically.  Nobody will ever have to know that we got together before the break-up."

"And, in the meantime, we keep our relationship a secret?  Hide it from everyone like you're a married woman having an affair?"

"I don't like it either, Daniel, but I think it's the best way."

"Sam, what about the military?  If we keep this a secret and they find out, it could get you in a lot of trouble."

Sam fell silent, knowing that Daniel was right.  Duty demanded that she come forward about her relationship with him so that her superiors could decide whether or not to allow them to remain on the same team.

"I'd rather take my chances with Jack than risk your career being ruined," Daniel said.  His lips quirked upward.  "Besides, every time I've died in the past, I've managed to come back to life.  If Jack kills me, the odds are good that I won't stay dead forever."

Sam almost laughed at the remark, even though the subject of Daniel dying was not a funny one.  "Jack won't kill you, Daniel."

"Okay, so he'll just put me in the hospital.  I've had broken bones before.  I can take it."

"I don't want him to hurt you at all.  I think it would be best if I told him alone."

"I can't hide from him forever, Sam."

"I know."

For the next hour, Daniel and Sam sat together, doing nothing more than enjoying the feeling of being with each other.  At last, it was time for Sam to leave.

Daniel followed her to the door.  "When are you going to tell him?" he asked.

"Tomorrow.  The sooner I do it the better since it wouldn't be long before Jack would want to, um . . . you know."

Daniel felt a violent stab of jealousy.  He knew that Sam and Jack had been lovers all these months, but, now that he and Sam were involved with each other, he couldn't stand the thought of Jack touching her.

Sam almost smiled upon seeing the flash of jealously on Daniel's face.  It was pretty clear what he thought about her and Jack making love.  It was then that Sam realized that she had absolutely no desire to ever have sex with Jack again.  Yes, it had been very good between them, but, now that she'd been with Daniel and knew that she wanted a relationship with him, her desire for Jack was completely gone.

Sam leaned forward and whispered in Daniel's ear, "Don't worry.  You're the only man I'm going to be making love with from now on."

Daniel gazed down at her, then pulled her into a deep kiss.

"I need to go," Sam said regretfully after they parted.  She wanted so much to stay, to spend the night in Daniel's arms.  But there would be other nights for that.

Daniel stood on the porch and watched Sam leave, then went back into the house that suddenly seemed empty without her.

Feeling more nervous than she ever had in her life, Sam headed up the walkway to Jack's house.  When he called last night, he had wanted her to come over for what he called "recreational activities," but she said no, stating that she wasn't up to it.  He'd asked if something was wrong, and Sam told him they'd talk about it tomorrow.  Well, it was tomorrow now, and Sam was so nervous that she was actually feeling queasy.  She had decided not to tell Jack about Daniel today, figuring it would be better to wait until after the break-up was complete.  It would make things easier for all three of them.

As soon as Jack opened the door, he gave her a kiss, which she returned only half-heartedly.  Not surprisingly, Jack noticed the lack of enthusiasm.

"So, what's up?  You sick or something?" he asked as they walked into the living room.  "I guess I should have asked that before I kissed you."

"No, I'm not sick, Jack."  Sam turned to him.  "We need to talk."

Jack frowned.  "About what?"

"About us."

"Sam, if this is about day before yesterday, I'm sorry.  I know that you wanted to talk.  I just wasn't in the mood."  He gave her a sexy smile and stepped up to her, taking her into his arms.  "I was too hot for your body."

Sam pulled away from him.  "Stop it, Jack.  Not everything can be fixed with sex."

Jack realized that this was really serious.  "I know that, Sam.  Okay, let's talk.  Come on.  Let's sit down."

They went to the couch and took a seat.  Jack did not fail to notice that Sam sat a good two feet away from him.  He was starting to get a really bad feeling in his gut.

"Jack, I. . . .  God, this is hard.  I don't know how to say this."

"Straightforward is usually the best method."

"All right."  Sam took a deep breath and looked him in the eyes.  "It isn't going to work out, Jack, this thing you and I have."

Jack's anger sparked.  "This thing?  Funny, I thought we had a relationship going on."

"Do we?  Yes, we're lovers.  Yes, we have some fun together, but where's the rest of it?  Where's the hours of just sitting together and talking with each other about personal things?  Where is the give and take, where you listen to what I want to talk about, and I do the same for you?  Where's the mental and emotional sharing that supposed to be going on between us?"

"Is that all a relationship is to you, a bunch of talking?"

"No, of course not, but that's supposed to be part of it.  I'm supposed to feel like there's more to what we have than just sex and some good times."

"I didn't realize that I was such a disappointment to you," Jack said with sarcastic bitterness.

"Dammit, Jack.  Don't you understand?  I wanted more from you than just your body!  I wanted your heart and your mind, too.  I wanted to feel like I was a part of you and you were a part of me."

"You are a part of me, Sam," Jack insisted.

"No.  No, I'm not, Jack, not really.  If I was, you would let me in all the way.  The way things are now, I've only got my foot in the door."

Jack shot off the couch and walked a few feet away.  "I'm not that kind of person, Sam," he said.  "You should know that.  I was your C.O. for years."

"But you're not my C.O. anymore, Jack.  When we started this relationship, I thought that things would change between us, that you would open up to me.  But that hasn't changed at all.  We're no closer in that way than we were when we were just teammates.  What about Sara?  Is this the way it was when you and she were married?"

"Don't bring Sara into this," Jack snapped.

"Why not?"

"Because the way things were between me and her has no bearing on our relationship."

"I think I have the right to know if this problem is just one you have with me."

Jack fell silent.

"So, is it, Jack?" Sam asked.  "Is it that you just can't have an emotionally sharing relationship with me because I was once under your command?  Do you feel like you have to stay the colonel?"

Jack still didn't say anything.  He knew that she was right.  He'd kept a big part of himself separate from her, not sharing all of his heart.  Was it because she had once been under his command, and he was so used to that element of privacy that he couldn't let go of it?  Yes, that was one reason, but it was also because he'd lost the only two people he'd really given all of himself to, his wife and his son, and, since then, he'd learned to hold back a big part of himself.

Jack sighed and turned around to face Sam.  "You're right.  I didn't let you in, and I'm sorry for that."

"I'm sorry, too," Sam said softly.  "It isn't going to work out with us, Jack.  I should have known that all along."

"I can do better, Sam."

"I know, but that isn't going to fix the whole problem.  We're too different.  There are too many ways that we're not alike and too few ways that we are, and that's never going to change.  I finally admitted that to myself yesterday.  Daniel—" Sam quickly broke off, cursing her slip of the tongue.

Jack frowned.  "Daniel?  What does he have to do with this?"

"I, um . . . talked to him yesterday about us."

Jack's frown deepened.  "You talked to Daniel about our relationship?"

"I was upset, and I needed someone to talk to.  Daniel's my best friend, and I knew that I could go to him about this and he'd really listen."

"Unlike me, who always has trouble with that, right?"

Jack was getting angry again, something Sam really didn't want.  She decided that maybe it would be best to leave.

"So, how much of the intimate details of our relationship did you share with him?" Jack asked in a pissed off tone.  "I guess this shouldn't surprise me.  You and Daniel have always been chatty with each other.  Sometimes, you're like a couple of girlfriends."

Jack's words angered Sam.  "Yes, Jack.  Daniel and I talk about things.  We share things with each other.  We're close friends who love each other."

Jack's eyes narrowed.  "Exactly how close?" he asked suspiciously.

Knowing that she needed to get out of there now before she was forced to tell Jack the truth, Sam got up off the couch and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?" Jack asked.

"I think it would be best if I leave."

Jack followed her to the door.  "You didn't answer my question.  How close?"

Sam stopped in front of the door.  She closed her eyes, sighing silently.  She was either going to have to tell him or lie to him, and lying would only make things worse later on.

Slowly, Sam turned back to Jack.  "Very close, Jack, closer than I've been to almost anyone in my life."

Jack's face hardened.  "You slept with him, didn't you."

Sam looked into Jack's eyes.  "Yes."

"When?  How long has this been going on?"

"Yesterday.  It wasn't something we planned, Jack.  It just happened."

"Why that back-stabbing little rat," Jack growled.  "I turn my back on him, and he bangs my girlfriend."

"Stop it, Jack.  Just stop it.  It wasn't like that.  Daniel and I didn't intend for this to happen.  And it was as much me as it was him.  In fact, I'm the one who started it."

"But he didn't make any effort to stop it, did he."

Sam sighed aloud.  "I'm sorry, Jack.  We didn't intend to hurt you.  I didn't intend to hurt you.  I care about you."

Jack gave an ugly-sounding snort.  "Care about me.  Obviously not as much as I thought you did.  I thought you loved me.  My mistake."

Tears came to Sam's eyes, guilt and pain tearing at her heart.  "I'm sorry," she whispered, then she turned, opened the door, and fled outside.  The sound of the door slamming behind her made her heart crack open even wider.

Tears pouring down her face, Sam drove to Daniel's, desperately needing his love and friendship.  The instant he saw her crying on his doorstep, he pulled her into a tight embrace.  After a moment, he led her into the house and to the couch.

"Oh, Daniel, it was awful," Sam sobbed.  "I don't think it would have been so bad if I hadn't had to tell him about us.  I had decided not to tell him right away.  I was going to wait a few days before breaking it to him.  I'd even come up with a story to tell him.  I was going to say that, after he and I broke up, I came over here to talk with you, one thing led to another, and. . . .  The only thing about it that would have been a lie was when it happened."

"But I'm guessing something went wrong."

"Yeah.  I screwed up.  Your name slipped out, and I was forced to admit that I talked with you about my relationship with him.  He got suspicious, and, in the end, I had no choice but to tell him about us.  Oh, Daniel.  I didn't want to hurt him like that.  And, now, I've lost a friend."

Daniel closed his eyes and held onto Sam as she cried, knowing that he had probably lost a friend, too.  He didn't see how Jack could ever forgive him for this.  If he was in Jack's place, he wasn't sure if he could.

Sam spent the rest of the day with Daniel, talking, crying, and just being together.  He tried his best to make her feel better, but Sam knew that he was hurting, too.  She knew that he loved Jack like a brother and must be thinking about the fact that their friendship was probably over.  He talked about going to see Jack, but Sam told him it would be a bad idea, at least for now.  Jack needed time to cool off.

Sam was grateful that they were going to be on leave for several more days.  She didn't think that she'd be emotionally able to work right now.  It also meant that she and Daniel had a few more days before they'd have to tell General Hammond about their relationship.  It wasn't General Hammond's reaction that she was worried about, though.  She suspected that he'd take it quite well.  Sam was glad that he was still the commander of the SGC.  Not long after President Hayes assumed office, they found out that he had briefly considered replacing Hammond but had decided not to rock the boat.  Sam didn't know what might have happened if someone else was now in command of the SGC.

She also wasn't really worried about Colonel Grayson, the new leader of SG-1.  He was a nice guy with a warm, easygoing personality who had figured out pretty quickly that there was a special bond between her and Daniel.  It might not even surprise him that they'd gotten together.  Most importantly, he wasn't a friend of Jack's.  The two of them had met only briefly when Jack "interviewed" him to make sure that he was good enough to take command of SG-1 and watch over Jack's former teammates and friends.

What worried Sam is what everyone else at the SGC would think.  They all knew that she and Jack were together.  What would they say when they found out that Sam had broken up with Jack and was now with Daniel?  Many would look at her and Daniel like they had betrayed Jack.  Though Sam hated the idea of people thinking that way about her, it bothered her even more that they would think about Daniel like that.  He was such a good, caring, decent guy that the thought of people saying hurtful things about him really bothered her.

Sam didn't know it, but Daniel was thinking about the same thing, only in reverse.  He already knew what it was like to have people think bad things about him.  After that disastrous lecture in Los Angeles, when everyone walked out of the room in disgust, he knew that most of his peers looked upon him as a nutcase.  Yes, it had bothered him, but he had accepted it and moved on.  It would bother him a whole lot more that some of the personnel at the SGC would think badly of him, but he could live with it.  It was Sam that he worried about.  Her reputation would be ruined.  She would lose the respect of the other military personnel, which could cause a great deal of problems for her.

Daniel had not thought about any of these things yesterday, when the joy of the love he'd found with Sam overshadowed almost everything else.  Now that he was thinking about it, he couldn't help but feel that he and Sam had made a big mistake.  But then he looked at her face and felt his love for her overwhelm him, and he knew that what he now had with her was meant to be.  Yes, it would have been better if it had happened after she and Jack broke up, but it didn't, so they would just have accept whatever the fallout would be.

The lovemaking Daniel and Sam shared that night was so loving, so gentle that it made Sam cry.  He gave everything to her, not holding back anything.  Out of all the other men Sam had been with in the past, none of them had made her feel so loved, so cherished.

Afterwards, as they lay tangled in each other's arms, Sam gazed into Daniel's eyes, which were completely unshuttered, his love for her clear to see.

"I love you," she whispered, knowing that she'd feel that way for the rest of her life.

A brilliant smile lit Daniel's entire face.  A joyful laugh escaped him, and he kissed her.  "I love you, Sam."

Smiles on their faces, Daniel and Sam closed their eyes and drifted away into sleep.

Again, Samantha Carter awoke to the feeling of a male arm draped over her waist.  For a brief instant, her mind told her it was Jack, but then she remembered.  A happy smile curved her lips, and she carefully turned around.  Daniel was still asleep, his face peaceful.  Sam noted that, just like Jack, he looked years younger in sleep.

Sam's gaze traveled down her lover's body.  The sheet and blanket had slipped downward while they slept and were now bunched around Daniel's hips, only just barely covering him.  The sight made her quiver with desire, bringing all kinds of naughty images into her mind about what she'd like to do with him.  She wondered how adventurous Daniel was in bed.  Jack had been willing to try just about anything at least once.

Sam's gaze returned to Daniel's face and saw his eyes flutter open.  He gave her a sleepy smile.

"Good morning," he said in a low voice.

Sam gave him an answering smile.  "Good morning."

Daniel's eyes slid down to her exposed breasts.  He had the urge to touch them.  "I think I'd actually forgotten what it feels like to wake up with a woman in my bed.  Pretty sad, huh."

"Well, judging by the last two days, you certainly haven't forgotten how to make love."

Daniel's smile turned sultry.  His hand came out and started fondling her breasts.  "You refreshed my memory," he told her huskily.

Sam dove for Daniel's mouth.  He eagerly returned the kiss.

That morning, Sam discovered that Daniel could be very adventurous indeed.  In fact, he even taught her a few things, stuff he claimed that he'd learned during his anthropological studies.  The bedroom was filled with the sounds of not only moans and cries of passion but also laughter.

After it was all over, the lovers lay flat on their backs, utterly spent.

"Whew!" Daniel gasped.  "At this rate, I'm going to make up for all those years of celibacy in no time."

Sam giggled, nearly bursting with happiness and complete satisfaction.  It made her wish that she'd become lovers with Daniel years ago.  She rolled onto her side and propped her head up.  She trailed a finger across his abdomen, which caused the muscles to quiver and Daniel's breath to hiss inward.

The archeologist groaned.  "You're going to kill me.  You do know that, don't you?"

Sam grinned.  "Ah, but what a way to go."

Daniel grabbed her and yanked her down to his mouth in a burning kiss.

"I am in need of a shower," his said as they parted.

"Mmm.  Is that an invitation?"

Daniel grinned.  "You bet."

Not surprisingly, not a whole lot of washing took place in the shower.  The water was starting to get cold by the time they emerged.

Famished, they fixed a big breakfast and wolfed it down.  Daniel was finishing his fourth piece of toast when he glanced up and saw Sam staring at him.

"What?" he asked after swallowing the mouthful.

"I just realized something.  I have never been this happy before, not in my whole life."

Daniel reached over the table and clasped her hand.  "I'm glad that I'm making you happy, Sam.  I can't begin to tell you how happy you're making me."

They finished their breakfast and decided to go out.  They spent a good part of the afternoon at the mall.  This was something Sam had never been able to get Jack to do with her.  In fact, he'd made a comment that he'd rather go to the dentist than to the mall.  He hadn't really been serious, but it had disappointed her all the same.

Ignoring his objections, Sam succeeded in dragging Daniel into a lingerie shop that catered to both women and men and let him pick out some sexy lingerie for her.  He absolutely refused, however, to let her buy the skimpy blue Speedo that she insisted he'd look great in.  But he did let her get the blue silk boxers.  She was looking forward to seeing them on him, even though she knew that they probably wouldn't stay on for long.

After they got back to Daniel's house, Sam dumped the bag of lingerie out onto the couch.  She held up a sheer black babydoll that was slit almost all the way up the sides.

"Soooo, what shall I wear tonight, hmm?" she purred, which succeeded in an immediate arousal in Daniel.  He strode up to her, took the clothing out of her hand and tossed it back on the couch.  He took hold of her hips and pulled her hard against him.

"Actually, I like what you wore last night," he said.

Sam smiled.  "Ah, you prefer the au naturel look, huh?"

"It has its advantages."  He leaned forward, bringing his lips to her ear.  "Easier access," he whispered.

A flood of heat washed through Sam.  She grabbed hold of Daniel's head and jerked his mouth down to hers.  She was in the process of pulling him toward the bedroom when there was a knock on the door.  They both groaned in frustration.

"That had better not be a salesman," Daniel said.  He went to the door and opened it, freezing in shock upon seeing who was on the other side.

"Hello, Daniel," Jack drawled in an unpleasant tone.  "Busy?  I saw Carter's car out front, so maybe you are."

"Jack, if you're here to cause trouble, I think it would be best if you leave."

"Trouble?  No, Daniel.  I'm just here to visit my best buddy and his new girlfriend."

Daniel sighed.  His instincts were warning him to tell Jack to leave, but his heart was saying that they needed to talk if there was ever going to be any chance of salvaging their friendship.  Deciding to listen to his heart, Daniel stepped aside and let Jack in.

The older man's gaze went to Sam.  She stood stiffly as his eyes raked over her.

"Still fully clothed, I see," he said.  "So glad I didn't interrupt anything."  He spotted the lingerie on the couch, and his face darkened with anger.  "Or did I?"

"Jack—" Sam began.

"I may no longer be in the military, but I'd prefer it if you went back to calling me 'Colonel'," he interrupted coldly.

Sam closed her eyes and turned her face away so that he wouldn't see the tears in her eyes.

"Sam, maybe you should go," Daniel told her softly.  "Jack and I . . . need to talk."

Sam stared at him, uncertainty on her face.  He knew that she was afraid Jack would lose control and seriously hurt him.  Daniel had to admit that he was afraid of that, too.  But this was a conversation that he and Jack needed to have in private.

Knowing that nothing she said would change Daniel's mind, she picked up her purse and headed for the door.  As she passed Jack, she gave him a look that told him very clearly that, if he hurt Daniel, he might not live to enjoy the rest of his retirement.  That show of fire and spirit made him ache for her at the same time as it angered him, the expression telling him that her heart was no longer his, that it completely belonged to Daniel now.

Sam gave Daniel's hand a squeeze, her eyes gazing into his for a long moment before she slipped out the door.

Taking a deep breath, Daniel turned back to Jack.  The ex-colonel had walked over to the couch.  One of the pieces of lingerie was dangling from his fingers.

"So, Danny Boy, you enjoying the sex?" Jack sneered.  "Of course you are.  It's been, what, six, seven years since ya got any, right?  I bet you were real eager to get into a woman's pants, and Carter was just the woman to let you do it.  She's a real hot tamale, isn't she."

"Jack, stop it," Daniel snapped angrily.  "You know it wasn't like that."

Jack threw down the chemise and spun around, hands clenching into fists.  "What I know, Daniel, is that you went behind my back and had sex with my girlfriend."  He took a long stride toward the archeologist.  "What I know is that you took her away from me."  He advanced another two strides, bringing him to within arm's length of Daniel.  "What I know is that you betrayed my trust and our friendship!"

Jack's fist flashed out and struck Daniel's jaw.  The younger man went down.  Holding his jaw, he looked up at the ex-colonel, who was glaring down at him murderously.  For a moment, Daniel thought that Jack really was going to kill him.  But then, Jack took a step back and strode away a few paces.

Daniel got to his feet.  Ignoring the pain in his jaw, he took a tentative step toward the man who had been his friend.  Jack's back was to him, ramrod straight.

"Jack, I know you're angry.  If I were you, I'd be angry, too.  You have every right to feel that way.  What Sam and I did was wrong.  I know that.  It-it just happened, Jack.  It wasn't planned or thought out ahead of time.  I didn't lure her here or seduce her.  We kissed, and-and-and we just couldn't stop.  I told myself we should stop, but . . ." Daniel dragged in a deep, ragged breath, "but I couldn't," he whispered.  "I'm sorry."

"I loved her, Daniel," Jack said, his voice both angry and sad.  "I loved her and you took her away from me."

"No, Jack, I didn't.  You were already losing her.  Even if this hadn't happened, you'd have lost her.  If things had been good between you, Sam would never have come to see me, and she would still be with you."

Jack turned around.  "Oh, so it's my fault, then."

Though he knew that it might earn him another punch in the face, Daniel straightened his posture and replied, "Yes, it is."

Jack strode toward him, fists rising.  "Why you little—"

"Jack, listen to me!" Daniel yelled, standing his ground.

Jack glared at him for a long moment, then backed off a little.

"What happened between me and Sam wasn't your fault," Daniel told him, "but the reason why she came to me, why she was so desperately unhappy, is.  It wasn't me who drove her away from you, Jack, it was you!  All she wanted was for you to knock down that damn wall you've built around your heart and let her in.  She wanted to feel like you were interesting in her mind and her heart, not just her body, and that you were giving more to her than just your body.  She wanted a companion, and a confidant, and a friend, not just a lover."

"And, of course, you can give her all those things," Jack snarled.

"Yes, I can, Jack, because I love her, because she means more to me than anyone ever—"  Daniel's voice choked off as tears flooded his eyes.  He took a few heaving breaths.  "I have wanted to be with her since I returned from ascension, but I never said anything, because I knew that you loved her and that she loved you, and the last thing I would ever want to do is hurt either of you.  God, Jack, I am so sorry.  I'm so sorry that I hurt you, that I've destroyed our friendship.  I wish I could go back and change what happened, but I can't."

Jack stared at Daniel, seeing the tears of anguish in his eyes.  Suddenly needing to be away from there, the ex-colonel strode by the archeologist and stormed outside.  He didn't stop until he'd reached his car.  He got in and squealed away from the curb.  Out of town he drove, heading for a rarely traveled road that headed up into the mountains.  He drove all the way to the end of it and parked the car, then he continued on foot to a place were he could look out over the city and the surrounding area.

Sitting on the ground, Jack wrapped his arms around his knees and stared blindly at the beautiful vista as he delved into his own heart and mind and all the things they held.

Sam was terrified of what she'd find when she returned to Daniel's house after being away for an hour.  She didn't really think that Jack would kill Daniel, but she was afraid that he might have hurt the younger man badly enough to put him in the hospital.  Although the archeologist had learned a lot about hand-to-hand combat in his years with SG-1, he could not match Jack in a fight, and Sam had a feeling that he probably wouldn't throw a single punch at Jack anyway, not even to save himself from injury.

Sam entered the house, her eyes casting about.  She spotted Daniel hunched over on the sofa, his head in his hands.  She didn't see any blood, but that didn't mean he wasn't hurt.  She took a couple of steps toward him.


The archeologist lifted his head.  There was a red spot on his jaw that would likely turn into a bruise, but, other than that, he appeared unharmed.  What tore at Sam was the sight of tears on his face.  She rushed forward and took him into her arms.  He buried his face into the crook of her neck and held on tightly.

It was a long time before Daniel lifted his head.  Sam gently wiped the wetness from his cheeks.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Physically.  He only threw one punch.  I'm pretty sure my jaw's not broken."

Sam gingerly touched the sore spot.  "I'll get some ice."  She went to the freezer and made an ice pack for him.  He thanked her as she handed it to him, wincing as he placed it against his jaw.

"How bad was it?" Sam asked.

Daniel sighed.  "Well, it wasn't pleasant, but at least he didn't kill me or even put me in the hospital.  I guess I can thank our past friendship for that.  If I'd been some stranger who slept with you, Jack would probably be sitting in a jail cell right now after having beaten me to a pulp."  Daniel met her eyes.  "I tried to make him understand, Sam, make him see that neither one of us had wanted to hurt him, that we were sorry.  I told him how and why it happened."

Sam took his free hand.  "I should have been here to help explain."

Daniel shook his head.  "If you'd been here, Jack would have put a rein on his reactions.  He and I needed to have this out, Sam.  It's over and done with now."

"What do you think he'll do now?"

"I don't know.  I wish . . ." Daniel sighed, "I wish there was a way to make him forgive us, but I really don't know if that will ever happen.  Jack's not someone who forgives easily."

"I know."

That night, Daniel and Sam just held onto each other, trying to give and receive comfort the best that they could.

The next morning, Sam suddenly remembered about the clothes she had left in the dryer, surprised that she hadn't thought about them when she went back home on Monday.  She and Daniel went to her house, and, while Sam ironed the stuff that had become hopelessly wrinkled, they talked.  Even though she had a ton of household choirs to do, Sam didn't want to be alone and agreed to stay with Daniel during the rest of their leave.  However, when he found out about all the stuff that needed doing around her house, he made a different suggestion.

And that's how it was that Sam gained a helper in her chores.  Daniel cheerfully helped her mop the kitchen floor, vacuum the carpets, dust the furniture, wash more clothes, and clean out the fridge of all the food that had spoiled.  After it was all done, they collapsed on her dining room chairs, a bit tired but pleased at all they had accomplished.

After a few minutes of just sitting there, a wicked thought entered Sam's mind.  She slipped off her shoes and started sliding her foot up and down Daniel's leg.  The archeologist turned to her, desire sparking to life in his eyes.  The spark turned into a flame as Sam's foot went all the way up his thigh.  He quickly got to his feet and lifted Sam out of her chair.  Three seconds later, she was lying across the table, Daniel's body draped over hers as he kissed the breath out of her.  It wasn't long before they were both naked and their bodies united in wild lovemaking.  They climbed the heights swiftly, unable to go slowly this time.

Crying out simultaneously as their climaxes exploded through them, Daniel and Sam clung to each other, not letting go even after they'd descended from their peaks.

At last, Daniel stood upright, pulling Sam up with him.  He embraced her tightly.  "God, I love you," he said roughly.

"I love you, too," she told him.

"We're going to get through this."

"I know, Daniel, no matter what happens."

All too soon, the day came for Daniel and Sam to go back to work.  They had agreed that it would be best if they talked to General Hammond first thing in the morning, deciding that they would tell him the news before breaking it to Colonel Grayson.

It's hard to say who was more shocked, Daniel or Sam, when they came to Hammond's office and saw that Jack was there.  The former colonel looked both of them in the eye, his expression unreadable.  He then got to his feet.

"Daniel, Sam.  We've both been expecting you," he said in an even tone.  He then turned to the general.  "I'll be excusing myself now, sir.  I'm sure that you three have a lot to talk about."

"Yes, we do," Hammond confirmed.  "Please don't be such a stranger in the future, Jack.  We'd all love to see you visit every now and then.  The door is always open for you."

"Thank you, sir."

Not saying anything more to the two scientists, Jack left the office, quietly shutting the door behind him.

"Please sit down," General Hammond instructed.  He looked at Daniel as the archeologist took a seat.  "That's quite a bruise you've got there, Doctor Jackson.  Did you have an accident?"

Daniel touched his jaw.  "Um . . . yes, sir."

The general studied him closely.  "As it so happens, Colonel O'Neill appears to have suffered a bit of an accident as well, to his hand."

Daniel's and Sam's eyes immediately dropped to the desktop.

"Sir. . . ." the astrophysicist began.  Before she could say anything more, the general spoke again.

"Colonel O'Neill has told me that there's been a change in the relationship you two share," he said.  The statement caused the couple to look up at him.

"What exactly did he say, General?" Daniel asked.

"That you have started dating, and you're in love with each other.  Is that true?"

Rendered momentarily speechless, Daniel and Sam just gaped at him for several seconds before Sam replied.

"Yes, sir, it is," she said.  Okay, so it wasn't exactly true since she and Daniel had completely skipped the dating part of their relationship, but there was no way that she was going admit that to the general.

"I see.  You do understand that this causes some concerns, what with you being on the same team."

"Yes, we know," Daniel responded, "but we'd both really like to stay on SG-1, if at all possible."

Hammond didn't say anything for a while, his gaze studying them.  Finally, he spoke up.  "Normally, I'd recommend that one of you transfer to another team, but your individual knowledge and skills are very important to SG-1.  Colonel O'Neill just reminded me of that fact.  He said that he believed you two could continue to act in a professional manner on missions and not let your relationship get in the way."

Daniel's eyebrows shot upward in shock.  "He . . . he did?"

"Yes, he did.  So, if Colonel Grayson has no objections, I will allow both of you to stay on SG-1 for a probationary period.  If all goes well, we'll leave things as they are.  If, however, the colonel determines that it's not going to work out having you both on the team, one of you will be transferred.  I am counting on both of you to tell me if there are any issues you're having trouble working out that could affect your performance on missions."

"Um . . . y-yes, sir, of course," Sam stammered, her thoughts in chaos.

"Very well.  I will leave it up to you to give Colonel Grayson the news.  You are dismissed."

Feeling a bit numb, Daniel and Sam got up.  As they headed to the door, the lieutenant colonel paused and turned around.

"Sir?  What did Jack tell you about my relationship with him?" she asked.

"He said that things didn't work out between you, that you weren't compatible enough, and he couldn't give you what you needed to be happy."  Hammond's eyes turned to Daniel.  "He said that Doctor Jackson could."  He returned his gaze to Sam.  "Colonel O'Neill is a good man, Sam, and I'm sure he tried his best.  He's also a good friend . . . to both of you."

"Yes, sir, he is," Daniel agreed softly.

As they had hoped, Colonel Grayson had no trouble with the idea of Daniel and Sam being a couple.  In fact, when they told him, he got a big grin on his face and thanked them for winning him a huge chunk of money.  It turned out that there was a pool on whether or not Sam's relationship with Jack would survive, how long it would survive, and, if it ended, who she'd get together with next.  Grayson had bet a hundred dollars that the relationship would last less than six months and that Sam would get together with Daniel after it ended.  Needless to say, Sam was appalled that such a pool existed.  Also needless to say, the couple didn't tell him that, technically, he didn't win the bet since the two scientists got together before the relationship with Jack ended.  They had to wonder, though, if the man suspected as much, judging by the way he looked at the bruise on Daniel's jaw.

Teal'c was the next person Daniel and Sam told about their relationship.  The Jaffa was not all that surprised, confessing to them that he had already guessed that Sam's relationship with Jack was not going to survive.  He also told them that he had faith that Daniel and Sam's love would endure, and they would find great joy in each other.

By the end of the day, quite a few people at the SGC knew about Sam and Daniel's new relationship, mostly because Colonel Grayson had cashed in on his bet.  Some people wondered about the bruise on Daniel's jaw, guessing that Jack had put it there, but when they found out that the former colonel had recommended to General Hammond that the two scientists both be allowed to stay on SG-1, any talk of a fight between Daniel and Jack over Sam pretty much died.  A small handful of people dared to ask Sam about Jack, and she told them that things just didn't work out between them.

After leaving the base that evening, the couple went over to Jack's.  He wasn't the least bit surprised to see them.

"Why, Jack?" Daniel asked just a few seconds after walking in the door.

"Because I got to thinking about everything, and I realized that you were right.  This was my fault."  Jack looked at Sam.  "I didn't give you what you wanted, what you needed.  I knew that you weren't completely happy, but I didn't want to change.  I was being selfish, expecting you to settle for less than you deserved.  It's no wonder that you went to Daniel for comfort and . . . and for what I wasn't able to give you.  The really sad thing is that I should have known better.  I lost Sara because I shut myself off from her and wouldn't talk about Charlie, wouldn't let her in."  He paused.  "I'm sorry, Sam.  I hope that you can forgive me for being such an ass."

Tears filled Sam's eyes.  She came forward and put her arms around Jack.  He accepted the hug even though it hurt that she would never again embrace him with passion.

Sam pulled away and stepped back to Daniel's side.

"As for my talk with Hammond," Jack added, "I knew that he might decide to take one of you off the team once he found out about your relationship, and I didn't want to see that happen.  If it wasn't for you two, SG-1 wouldn't be the great team that it is.  And . . . I also knew that neither of you would be happy about having to leave.  It's bad enough that I couldn't be on SG-1 any longer.  I didn't want to see it lose one of you, too."  He gave them a tiny smile.  "Besides, I need you both on the team so that Teal'c can keep you out of trouble."

Daniel met Jack's gaze.  "Jack, I. . . . ."

"Don't say it, Daniel.  No more apologies.  I admit that I'm still angry that you slept with Sam before she became my ex-girlfriend, but I can understand how things like that can get out of control.  Lord knows that Sam could drive any man to lose control.  I experienced that firsthand."

Both Daniel and Sam dropped their gaze to the floor.

"It's gonna take me some time to come to terms with you two being together," Jack continued.  "It would probably be best if we didn't have any get-togethers for a while.  But I will get there."  He gave them a smile that was just the tiniest bit sad.  "I expect you to give me an invitation to the wedding."

Surprised, the couple looked at him, then at each other.

"I doubt it will be all that long before that happens," Jack concluded.  He looked at the clock.  "Now, if you will excuse me, there's a game coming on that I want to see."

Daniel and Sam left with light hearts, grateful that their friendship with Jack had been salvaged.

That night, as they lay in Sam's bed after having made slow, sweet love, Sam realized something.

"I said before that I wished I'd never gotten together with Jack, but I don't wish that now.  If he and I had never taken that step, I'd probably still be wanting him, dreaming of us being together.  It took us actually getting together for me to see that it wasn't meant to be and get over my feelings for him."  She looked into Daniel's eyes.  "And, if Jack and I hadn't gotten together, there's a chance that you and I wouldn't have either, which makes it all worthwhile for me."

Daniel smiled softly and kissed her.  When he pulled back, there was a question in his eyes.

"I've been thinking about that last thing Jack said to us," he told her.  "Have you ever considered that, Sam?"

"Considered what?"


Sam thought about it.  "I guess a big part of me does want that, the husband, the white picket fence, and the two point five kids.  I want to be a mother, to have a family of my own.  But I'm at the age now that, if I'm going to have children, I can't wait for much longer before getting started on them."  She looked at Daniel.  "What about you?"

"Sha're and I tried to have a baby, but she lost the pregnancy.  We never got another chance.  I've thought about being a father.  I'm not sure how good at it I'd be, but I'd like to try."  He gazed into Sam's eyes.  "And I can't think of a woman other than you that I'd want to be their mother."

Sam smiled.  "Is that a proposal, Doctor Jackson?"

"Do you want it to be, Colonel-Doctor Carter?  We are moving kind of fast, although not nearly as fast as my last marriage."

"Yes, you're right, it is fast.  I'll tell you what.  You bring this subject up again in, oh, say, three or four months, and we'll see what my answer is then."

Daniel grinned brightly.  "It's a deal."

With a sigh of contentment, Daniel and Sam snuggled together.  Soon, they were asleep, their dreams no sweeter than the reality they now had together.


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