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Categories: Angst, Drama, Romance
Rating: R / PG-13
Content Warning: Mild Profanity, Adult Themes, Strong Sexual Content (choice of scenes with milder sexual content available, follow appropriate link in fanfic)
Spoilers: None
Author's Notes: This is a sequel to the fanfic "Unrequited". If you haven't already read it, you should go do that before reading this one. Though not absolutely necessary, you'll have a better understanding of what's going on in this story if you do.

For about the dozenth time, Daniel glanced at the woman beside him in the car.  He almost couldn't believe she was there, Sam, the woman he had secretly been in love with for years.  They were on their first date, and he was nervous.  Actually, he was just shy of petrified.  What if, after this first date, Sam decided that she wanted them to remain just friends?  Yes, they'd already shared two amazing kisses, but that might not mean anything.  Sam had just been told by Jack that there could never be anything between them.  She was hurting when Daniel found her in her lab and, in the conversation that followed, finally confessed his unrequited love for her.  And then came the kisses and the reservations for dinner.  It had all happened so fast.  Was he fooling himself into believing that he had a prayer of seeing his love returned?

Vying for time in Daniel's thought was the other event of this day.  He'd finally had to tell Vala that he didn't love her and that they could never be together.  It hadn't been easy seeing how it hurt her, though she tried hard to hide it.  But what a shock he'd received a while later when he learned that Vala was going on a date with Jack.  Jack!  What a concept.

The couple arrived at the restaurant and were taken to their table.  After they'd ordered some wine, Sam looked around at the place.

"This is nice."

Daniel nodded in agreement.  "Yes, I heard that it was a nice restaurant.  It's only been a couple years since it came in, I think."

Their wine arrived.  The waiter poured it, then left, telling them that he'd return in a few minutes to take their order.

"Daniel?  Samantha?!" said a stunned but very familiar voice.

The couple turned to see Vala standing at a nearby table.  Beside her was Jack.

Sam's eyes widened.  "Vala?  General?"

'Oh, this is a disaster,' thought Daniel.  He forced a smile to his face.  "Jack."

An equally fake smile was on the older man's lips.  "Daniel."

Daniel gave a little wave.  "Hey, Vala."

The two women looked back and forth between the men.  "You knew?" they asked in unison.

"Well, this is . . . awkward," Jack muttered.

The poor man who'd just brought Jack and Vala to their table was looking at all of them, eyes slightly widened, probably wondering if there was going to be a scene.  Jack decided that now would be a good time to sit down before there was a scene.  He pulled out a chair for Vala and laid a hand on her shoulder to encourage her to sit.  Still staring at Daniel and Sam, she did so.  He then took his seat.  With a relieved sigh, the waiter handed them their menus and asked if they wanted anything to drink.  Jack ordered a bottle of wine, and the waiter hurried off.

Daniel had his gaze focused on the table, afraid to look at Sam.  The date had barely begun, and it was already a catastrophe.  Why, why, why did Jack have to pick this restaurant to take Vala?

"Daniel, did you know about this?" Sam asked.

Daniel drew in a deep breath and let it out.  He found the courage to meet Sam's eyes.  "I knew that Jack was taking Vala out, but not that, out of all the restaurants in the city, he'd bring her here."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Sam, he'd just told you that you two could never be together.  I couldn't tell you that he was going on a date with another woman."

Something flickered across Sam's face.  "So it is a date."

Crap.  He shouldn't have said that.  His gaze dropped back to the tabletop.  "I'm sorry."

Over at the other table, a similar discussion had begun.

"So, I'm guessing by your reaction that you knew about Daniel and Samantha's date," Vala said.

"Yep," Jack admitted.

"And you didn't tell me."

Jack frowned.  "Why should I tell you?"

"Well, they are my teammates, and—"  Vala's voice broke off.

Jack stared at her.  "And?"

The woman began fidgeting.  "Oh, just that I'd have liked to know."

The fact that she wasn't looking at him was a clear indication that she was hiding something.  And then a thought occurred to him.

"Wait a minute. You and Daniel?  Is there something going on with you two?"

"No," Vala quickly replied.  "I mean, not really.  Perhaps I might have . . . entertained thoughts along those lines . . . from time to time."

The wine arrived at that moment.  As soon as her glass was poured and the waiter was gone, Vala took a big drink.  In all her adventures throughout the galaxy, this was probably the most disconcerting.

Jack's gaze had narrowed.  "But nothing ever happened?"

"No.  Well, I did attempt to seduce him once or twice . . . maybe three times.  But I swear he never took me up on the offer.  Of course, there was that kiss on the Prometheus, but that probably doesn't count since he was tied up at the time and called me a fruitcake afterwards.  I didn't know what that meant then, but it didn't sound especially complimentary, so I hit him."

Jack was just staring at her now, dumbfounded.  Oh, he was definitely going to be having a talk with Daniel.  "Well . . . I have to give you points for being candid."

Vala smiled.  "Thank you.  You know, not everyone appreciates my candidness."

"I wonder why," Jack muttered under his breath.  He glanced over at the table of his former teammates.  Daniel and Sam both appeared to studying their menus with almost religious fervor.

Despite appearances, Daniel's mind was not on the selection of food.  'I've got to do something about this,' he told himself.  He glanced up at Sam, who was frowning at her menu.  He reached over and touched her arm.

"Sam, I'm sorry.  I just didn't want you to be hurt.  And if you're thinking it was because of our date, you're wrong.  That had no bearing on it.  I just knew that you were still hurting over Jack and. . . ."  He shrugged.

Sam looked at him, seeing the genuine apology in his eyes.  She took his hand.

"I know.  I understand, Daniel, although I have to admit that I'd rather have had you tell me than find out this way."

Daniel grimaced.  "Yeah.  I'm sorry about that."

Sam shook her head.  "It wasn't your fault, just a case of bad luck."

Daniel searched her eyes.  "You're not mad at me, then?"

Sam gave him a smile.  "No, I'm not mad."

Daniel smiled in relief.  He gave Sam's hand a squeeze and released it, turning his eyes back to his menu.  "See something you like?"

"Ummm."  Sam looked at her menu a bit more.  "I was thinking of either the snow crab or the lobster.  I'm in a seafood mood tonight."

Any other man might have teasingly suggested the oysters, but Daniel didn't . . . even though he thought about it.  "Lobster sounds good.  Actually, so does the crab."

"How about if one of us gets the crab and the other the lobster?  Then we can share."

"Sure, that works."

Now that their meal decisions were made, Sam couldn't help but glance over at Jack and Vala, hiding the look behind her wine glass as she took a sip.  They appeared to be talking rather animatedly.  Sam had to admit that it bothered her.  She'd had feelings for Jack for a very long time and only just today had her dreams of a future with him dashed to the ground.  Even though she had come to realize that her dreams had been totally unrealistic, it still bothered her to see him there with Vala.  She wasn't seething with jealousy, but she wasn't happy about it either.

Once they'd decided what to eat, Jack and Vala got into a conversation that developed into Vala chatting away about the interesting things she'd discovered about American culture.  Jack watched her, amused by her lively discourse, which was broken only for a moment by the waiter coming to take their order.  As Jack had already discovered, she could be alarmingly candid and seemed totally unacquainted with the concept of tact.  But then, tact wasn't one of his strong suits either.

"And then there's this music you call rap," Vala was saying.  "I find it rather odd that a culture would celebrate criminal acts in their music."

"Yeah, well, calling it music is kind of a stretch," Jack responded.  "I always thought you were supposed to sing to music, not talk along with it while making popping and grunting sounds."

"True, although on Tari Equa—"

"Ah!"  Jack warned sharply.  "Ixnay on the lienay tuffsay."

Vala gazed at him with interest.  "What language is that?"

"Pig Latin."

"Pig Latin?  Your pigs have their own language?"

"What?  Uh, no.  Pigs don't talk here either, unless they're named Babe.  To be honest, I have no idea why it's called Pig Latin."

"I'm sure Daniel would know.  He's probably fluent in the language."

Jack managed to hide most of his smile.  "Oh, no doubt.  I'm sure it's one of the thirty or forty he knows.  You'll have to ask him to teach it to you.  Very important language to know in this country."

Vala smiled again.  "Perhaps you could teach me."

"Oh, I'd love to, but you should really have an expert doing that."  Jack wished he could be around to see Daniel's expression when Vala asked him to teach her Pig Latin.

At that moment, the farthest thing from Daniel's mind was Pig Latin.  He and Sam's orders had been taken, and he was now trying to think of something to say.  He hadn't failed to notice Sam glancing over at Jack and Vala more than once, and, yes, he was jealous.  He was also pretty unhappy about the whole thing.  Here he was, having his first date with the woman he was head over heels in love with, and the guy she'd had a thing for during the last nine or ten years was sitting just a few yards away, and she couldn't stop looking at him.  But then, was it really reasonable for him to expect her to suddenly get over those feelings?

That's when Daniel had a terrible thought.  Maybe she'd gone on this date only because she couldn't have Jack.  Was this just a rebound thing?

Suddenly, Daniel was feeling a whole lot more than a little down.  Perhaps he shouldn't have gotten his hopes up.  Maybe it really was too much to hope that Sam could ever feel even half of what he felt for her.

After yet another surreptitious glance at Jack and Vala, Sam looked at Daniel.  He was staring at the table with a sad expression on his face.  What was wrong?

'You idiot.  Maybe it's because he's seen that you keep looking over at Jack and Vala.'  Here she was on a date with a man who had confessed his love for her, and she was paying more attention to another man.

Feeling absolutely horrible, Sam reached over the table and laid her hand on Daniel's.  "Hey," she said, smiling.

He gave her a fleeting smile that didn't reach his eyes.  "Hey."

"I was thinking that we could go for a walk after dinner.  It's a really pretty night."

Daniel nodded, forcing the smile to get a little bigger.  "That would be nice."

Sneaking another glance at the other couple, Vala saw the astrophysicist holding Daniel's hand, the two of them smiling at each other.  She felt a brief twinge of jealousy, but tried to ignore it.  Okay, so there seemed to be something between Daniel and Samantha, but she shouldn't let it bother her.  After all, it's not like Daniel was the only attractive, interesting man on the planet.  She was sitting across from one right now.  In fact, it was high time that she devoted her full attention to that man.

Jack had seen the latest glance and followed it to the subject.  At least it looked like Daniel and Sam were having a nice time.  That was good.  He'd been afraid that Sam had only agreed to go on a date with the archeologist because of what Jack told her.  He didn't want to see Daniel get hurt, and Sam dating him only because she couldn't have another man would really hurt him.  Jack knew that his best friend had been in love with Sam for quite a while now.  Oh, the younger man had tried to hide it, but Jack had seen the signs anyway.

And then there was Vala.  Jack was beginning to wonder about her, too.  Maybe he was the one on a date with a woman on the rebound.  Well, not exact rebound since, according to her, there had never been any kind of relationship between her and Daniel, but, judging by the way she kept looking over at the other couple, Jack suspected that Vala's feelings for the archeologist might be deeper than just sexual attraction.  If that was the case, he should just thank her for a nice evening at the end of this date and walk away.  Though he had no expectations of anything serious developing, Vala was the kind of woman that he wouldn't mind getting to know.  He knew that she drove Daniel totally up the wall, and any woman who could do that was someone he'd like to know better.

As their dinner arrived and they began to eat, Sam made an extra effort to devote all her attention to Daniel and the food.  She pretended that Jack and Vala weren't even in the restaurant, keeping herself from glancing at them even once.

Daniel was glad that Sam was no longer looking at the other two, but he was still feeling low.  He was really beginning to think that he'd just been fooling himself into believing that he could have a chance with Sam.  She still loved Jack.  She would always love him.

Keeping his sadness hidden, Daniel talked with Sam about all different things, the conversation wandering from subject to subject.  He couldn't help but watch her admiringly, her face, her hair, the dress she wore.  She was so beautiful.  But then, she was always beautiful in his eyes.  His heart ached for her.  He wanted to take her into his arms and kiss her again.  He wanted way more than that.  Years of dreaming what it would be like to be with her had left him with such a longing that there had been times when he was certain he couldn't keep it to himself any longer.  Then he'd think about how devastating it would be to have her tell him they could only be friends, and he kept silent.

Like Sam, Vala was now devoting all her attention to her date.  She'd managed to coax him into talking a bit about himself, his childhood in Minnesota, his early years in the military, Special Forces, and his love for hockey, which sounded like a very interesting and stimulating game.

"I would love to go to a game sometime," she said and truly meant it.  She was a bit of a sports fan herself and had watched more than one of this planet's sports on TV.  She especially liked football, although that had more to do with the tight pants displaying the fine derrieres of the players than it did the game itself.

Jack studied her face, seeing the keen interest in her eyes.  "Well, as it so happens, there is a game in Denver tomorrow, and a buddy of mine has extra tickets for it.  But I was planning on leaving in the morning."

"Couldn't you delay your trip back?  I truly do love all manner of sports.  I've played what you call basketball with Daniel, Cameron and Teal'c, and it was very enjoyable.  I've tried to get Daniel to take me to some sort of game, but he doesn't appear to be interested."

"Daniel's not much into sports."  Jack paused.  "Wait a minute.  Daniel plays basketball?"  He paused again.  "Teal'c plays basketball?"

Vala grinned.  "Yes.  Teal'c and I soundly trounced Daniel and Cameron in our last game together."

Jack was amazed.  "Well.  Things really have changed.  And here I've been missing all the fun.  Not that my knees could take basketball anyway."

Vala gave the soon-to-be-ex-general a smile with all the charm she could pack into it.  "So, take me to a hockey game?"

Jack thought about it.  Oh, what the hell.  It's not like he had to leave in the morning.  "Sure, why not?"

Vala rewarded him with a megawatt smile.  "Thank you."  She clapped.  "Oh, this is going to be so fun."

Jack smiled at her enthusiasm.  It would be nice going to a game with someone who showed some passion.

Speaking of passion, at that moment, Daniel and Sam were in the midst of a passionate discussion about the history and philosophy of astronomy and the things early astronomers got right and wrong.  Sam was thoroughly enjoying herself.  How long had it been since she and Daniel did something like this?  Way too long.

Daniel was having fun, too, enjoying the melding of minds that he and Sam used to do so often.  The nagging feeling that this date was Sam's way of trying to get over Jack gradually faded to the back of his mind.

Daniel and Sam were still chatting away after the food was gone and the waiter came with the check, asking if they wanted dessert.  They both declined, and Daniel paid for the meal.

As they stood to leave, the archeologist noticed that Jack and Vala were also preparing to leave.  Though he really didn't want to, he figured that it would be impolite not to go over there and say something.

"Daniel, Carter," Jack greeted as the couple came up to him and Vala.  "Enjoy your meal?  I noticed that you seemed to be sharing a lot of your food with each other."

"Oh.  Um, yes, sir," Sam said, feeling a little uncomfortable.  "Daniel and I couldn't make up our minds on whether to get the crab or the lobster, so we got one of each and split our meals."

Vala turned to the General.  "Oh, we should have done that, Jack.  Your steak looked delicious."

Daniel spotted the frown that marred Sam's face for a moment, which succeeded in dimming the mood that had brightened as they talked.

The four of them went outside together.

"Um, have a good flight home in the morning, sir," Sam said.

"Actually, my plans have changed," Jack told her.  "I'm taking Vala to a hockey game tomorrow.  She's quite a sports fan and has never seen one."

"Yes, I want to have popcorn, and hotdogs, and all that terribly fattening foods that people consume in massive quantities at such sporting events," the dark-haired woman said with a smile.

"Oh," Sam responded, feeling even more uncomfortable.  This was just too weird, thinking of Jack and Vala doing things like that together.  She was also worried that the alien woman was just playing Jack to get into his pants.  After all, she'd tried repeatedly to get Daniel into bed.  The general could certainly take care of himself, but Sam would hate to see him being used like that.

Daniel's heart sank as he watched the expression on Sam's face, which made it clear to him that she was not happy about Jack and Vala's plans.  This really was just one big folly, wasn't it.  He should have known all along.

"Well, good night," he said to Jack and Vala, keeping all emotion out of his voice.

"Good night, you two," Jack said back.  "And don't do anything I wouldn't."

That made Sam blush.  She and Daniel went to his car.  She noticed that he was very quiet.

As they pulled out of the parking lot, she asked.  "So, where are we going for our walk?"

Daniel swallowed to relieve the tightness in his throat.  "Oh.  Uh . . . actually, Sam, I think I'm going to have to take a rain check.  I'm not feeling up to it right now."

Sam stared at him, hearing something off in his voice.  "Are you feeling sick?"

"Um . . . yeah, a little.  Maybe something didn't agree with me.  I'm sorry."

"No, that's okay.  I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

Daniel nodded.  They drove the rest of the way in silence.  Daniel parked his car outside Sam's house and accompanied her to the door.

"I had a good time, Daniel," Sam said, "even if it was pretty weird having Vala and the General on a date only a few yards away."

"I enjoyed it, too, Sam," Daniel said quietly, knowing that it would be the one and only date he ever had with her.

"On our next date, we'll have to—"

"Please don't, Sam," Daniel said, his voice cracking.  "I loved being with you tonight, but it can't happen again."

Sam stared at him, shocked by his words and the expression of sorrow in his eyes.  "I-I don't understand."

"I know that it's Jack you really wanted to be with tonight.  I can't be a substitute for him, Sam.  I love you too much.  So, I think it's better if we just go back to being friends."

Stunned, Sam didn't know what to say.

Daniel gave her a sad smile.  "Thank you for tonight.  I'll never forget it."  Then, before Sam could say anything, he turned and strode away down the walkway.

Finally, Sam found her voice.  "Daniel!"  She began hurrying after him.  "Daniel, please.  It's not like that."

Just then, Sam's stiletto heel got caught in a crack in the cement, almost causing her to fall.  She looked up to see Daniel opening his car door.

"Daniel, please.  We need to talk about this."

Daniel heard her plea, but he couldn't obey.  He was holding onto his control by the skin of his teeth, and, if he didn't leave now, he'd embarrass himself by losing it right in front of Sam.

Sam had just gotten her foot out of the stuck shoe when Daniel drove away.  She stood there, watching his car disappear into the night, her heart tearing open.  This was all her fault.  She should have ignored Jack and Vala right from the start.  She was supposed to be paying attention to Daniel tonight.  Now, he thought that she'd only gone on the date because of what happened with Jack.

Furious with herself, Sam bent down and ripped the shoe out of the crack, not caring that the heel broke.  She took off the other shoe and went into the house, hurling the footwear across the room.  She flopped down on the couch.

Was he right?  Had she gone out with Daniel only because she now knew that she could never have Jack?  Was he a substitute?  Yes, some of those feelings for Jack were still there.  She'd clung to them for so long that letting go was hard.  It was going to take time to completely put them to rest.

But then there were those feelings she experienced while kissing Daniel.  That had been real and shockingly intense, not to mention a huge surprise.  She'd never expected to feel like that toward him.  Even so, she very much wanted to feel it again.

Sam didn't know what to think.  Could you have feelings for two men at the same time?  The point was that the thing with Jack was over, dead, and there was a wonderful man out there who loved her and wanted to be with her.

She really needed to talk with Daniel, but not tonight.  It was late, and he was too upset.  Tomorrow, he'd be calmer, perhaps more willing to listen to her.

Jack glanced at Vala at they rode down the base elevator.  It had been odd picking up a date here at the SGC, and it felt equally odd dropping one off here.  Not that you could actually call it dropping off.  He was staying just down the hall in a VIP room.

The elevator stopped, and the two of them got off.  They came to Vala's quarters first.  She opened the door with her keycard.

"I had a lovely time tonight, Jack," she said.

"Yeah, me too.  It was fun."

"Would . . . you like to come in?"

"Uh . . . no.  Thank you for the offer, but I don't think that would be a good idea."

Vala smiled.  "All right.  I'm looking forward to our day tomorrow."  She paused a moment, then, on impulse, kissed Jack's cheek.  She then slipped inside her room and shut the door.

Jack stood, unmoving, for a few moments.  Then, with a little smile on his face, headed for his own quarters.

Sam hung up the phone.  It was her third attempt to reach Daniel this morning and the third time that there was no answer, both at his house and on his cell.  She'd already left one message, and she was starting to get worried.  Was Daniel seeing her name on Caller ID and simply choosing not to answer?  That didn't seem like something he'd do.  He was too much of a gentleman to ignore her calls.

Deciding to go over to his house, Sam grabbed her purse and headed out the door.  She was getting in her car when her cell phone rang.  Her hopes soared that it was Daniel, but then she saw the caller's number.  Disappointed, she answered.

"Hi, Cam."

"Sam.  Hey, do you know what's up with Jackson?"

Sam's heart rate increased.  "What do you mean?"

"Well, I just found out from Landry that he requested tomorrow off."

"What?" Sam gasped.  Oh no.

"I'm guessing by the tone of your voice that you didn't know.  He said that a personal issue had come up."

Sam could feel something like a fist squeezing her heart.  Tears filled her eyes.

"Sam?  You still there?"

"Y-yeah."  Sam cleared her throat.  "Did . . . did he say he was going somewhere?"

"No, but that doesn't mean he didn't go someplace.  Sam, is something wrong?"

"I can't talk about it.  I'm sorry."

"Okay.  Whatever it is, I hope it can be fixed."

"So do I.  Cam, I've got to go."

"All right.  Talk to you later."

Sam disconnected the call.  Daniel was gone, run off somewhere.  God, how much pain must he have been in to do that?  Sam knew in her heart that it was because he'd felt that he couldn't be around her, that he had to be away from her for a while.

Sam didn't know what to do.  Should she try to find out where he was or wait until day after tomorrow to speak with him?  She hated the idea of him spending today and tomorrow hurting.  She didn't want him going through that.  But she had no idea where he could have gone.

That's when a thought occurred to her.  She started the car and drove to the SGC.  Once there, she went to the control room.  There were actually two ways that she could track Daniel's location.  The first was through the GPS chip in his phone.  But, considering that he wasn't answering it, she guessed that either it was off or he didn't have it with him.  That left the other way.

"Good morning, Colonel Carter," a technician greeted.

"Good morning.  Um, I need to check something.  I'll just be a minute."

"Of course, Colonel."

Sam sat at a console and brought up a screen.  She typed in a few commands, and the data she was seeking came up.  It was telling her where Daniel was via his subcutaneous locator chip.  She recognized from the latitude and longitude that he was still in the Colorado Springs area.  She jotted down the info, then closed the program.

In her lab a few minutes later, Sam pinpointed Daniel's exact location on a map.  Her resolve firming, she got a piece of equipment that she figured she might need, then left the base, determined to have a talk with her best friend.

Jack looked over at Vala in amusement.  She was yelling at the top of her lungs about the player for their team who had just gotten put in the penalty box.  A big tub of popcorn was between her legs, and she was wearing a jersey for the team Jack had told her they were rooting for.  On the way to Denver, Jack had given her a primer for the sport of ice hockey.  She had soaked it up like a sponge, asking tons of questions.  Once they got to the game, she had thrown herself wholly into it, cheering like a maniac when their team scored and booing when the other team did.  Jack found that her energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and he was right there cheering and booing along with her.  He couldn't recall the last time he had this much fun at a game.  No, actually, he could.  It was the last one he'd gone to with Sara and Charlie.

That made him think about his wife.  Sara had adored hockey, too, it being one of the passions they shared.  In fact, it had been at a game that he met her.  They were seated next to each other and got into a conversation.  By the time the game ended, they'd made plans for a date.

Jack glanced at Vala again.  In some ways, she was a little like Sara, in others, she was very different.  One way they were alike was their zest for life.  Sara had lost some of that zest after Charlie's death, but he always remembered the vivacious woman he married.

Jack had no illusions that Vala could ever mean as much to him as Sara did, but, right now, he was having fun, and that was enough.

Daniel stood gazing at the red rock formations.  It had been years since he'd gone to the Garden of the Gods.  Unfortunately, he wasn't in the mood to fully appreciate the natural beauty surrounding him.  Perhaps he shouldn't have come.  He'd just felt the need to go somewhere, to get out of his empty apartment.

After a virtually sleepless night, Daniel had decided this morning that he just couldn't face going to work tomorrow and seeing Sam.  He needed more than a single day to get past the pain inside and move on.  When he saw Sam, he needed to be able to look her in the eyes and tell her that it was okay, that he understood and was all right with being just her friend.  That was something he simply could not do right now.

But would he ever really be all right with just being her friend?  He'd lived that way for all these years since realizing that he loved her.  But that was before he knew what it felt like to hold her in his arms and kiss her, before he'd allowed himself to hope that she could be his.  It was going to be so much harder this time getting back to the "just friends" place.  But he'd do it.  He had to.

Ever since the Ori and their followers were dealt with, Daniel had been thinking about requesting a transfer to Atlantis . . . again.  He was no longer needed here.  Of course, Mitchell would not be happy, but he'd get over it.  With the Ori and the Goa'uld gone, SG-1 would do just fine without Daniel.  Now, with this latest situation with Sam, the idea of going to Atlantis was even more attractive.  In Atlantis, he could lose himself in the work, and not seeing Sam every day would make things so much easier.  It would probably also make things easier on Sam.  It was going to be very awkward for her to be working with a man she knew loved her and she didn't love in return.  All in all, it would be the best decision for both of them.

Daniel continued down the path.  All around him were tourists, taking pictures of the scenery and their families.  Their laughter and voices added to the sound of the wind blowing through the formations of rock.

And then came a sound that he was definitely not expecting.


The archeologist spun around so fast that he almost lost his balance.  "Sam?  W-what are you doing here?  How did you find me?"

The astrophysicist walked toward him.  "I tracked you using your locator chip."

"But . . . but I don't understand."

Sam came to a stop a couple of feet away.  "You wouldn't let me talk to you, Daniel.  You wouldn't let me explain."

Daniel's gaze dropped to the ground.  "You don't owe me any explanations, Sam.  I understand.  You still love Jack.  I was just. . . ."

"A substitute?  That's what you said last night.  Well, you're wrong, Daniel.  You are so wrong."  Sam glanced about.  "Come on.  We need to talk, and this isn't the place to do it."

They made their way to Daniel's car and got inside.

"Okay, now I'm going to explain about last night," Sam said.  "But, first, I'm going to apologize.  I acted terribly.  I was with you, on a date with you, yet I kept looking at the General and Vala."

"It's okay."

"No, it's not.  If I was on a date with a guy and he kept looking over at another couple, I'd think it was rather rude, and if the woman was an old girlfriend, I'd probably say goodbye and never see him again.  If that kind of thing wouldn't be acceptable to me, it shouldn't be acceptable to you."

Daniel didn't say anything, keeping his gaze on the steering wheel.

"All right, now for the explanation.  Yes, it bothered me to see General O'Neill there on a date with Vala.  Though I am putting my feelings for him in the past, I still do feel something.  I've had those feelings for a long time, and it's going to take more than a few hours to get over them."

"Sam, I never expected—"

"Shush," Sam commanded.  Daniel shushed.  "As I was about to say, there was more to it than that.  I like Vala, I really do, but I'd have to be utterly blind not to see that she really likes men and isn't above having a one-night-stand with a guy she's attracted to.  Perhaps not when she was married, but there's nothing preventing her from doing it now.  I just didn't want to see her hitting on the general if all she was interested in was a good time and some sex.  He deserves better than that."

Sam laid her hand over Daniel's.  "Daniel, I thought about all of this on the way here, and I got a lot of things straight in my head.  I want to date you, and not because I'm looking for someone to take Jack's place.  Your place in my heart has always been yours alone, and that won't ever change, no matter how our relationship develops."

At last, Daniel looked at her.  He searched her eyes, seeking the truth behind her words.  "I just can't date you and get my hopes up if I don't really have a chance with you."

Sam answered in the one way she knew was better than words.  She leaned over, cupped Daniel's face in her hands, and kissed him.  He did not respond at first, then his arms went around her and drew her as close as the seats would allow.  Though the kiss was slow and gentle, they both felt the fire kindling inside.

As they drew apart, Sam smiled at Daniel.  "So, any more questions?"

Daniel's lips turned up at the corners.  "None that I can think of at the moment."

"Good."  Sam looked out the windscreen.  "You know, it's been years since I've been here.  How about if we go sightseeing together?"

Daniel gave her a full smile this time.  "I'd like that."

The couple enjoyed their time together at the Garden of the Gods.  As they walked to the parking lot, Daniel cleared his throat.  "Um, I should probably tell you that I requested tomorrow off.  I feel silly about it now, but, this morning, I just felt like I needed some time."

"Away from me?"

Daniel sighed.  "Not so much time away from you, just time to . . . to come to grips with everything."

"I already knew about the leave.  Cam called and told me about it.  He wanted to know what was going on."

"Oh.  You didn't tell him, did you?"

"No, of course not."  They stopped at Sam's car.  "Daniel, I am so, so sorry I hurt you last night.  I want to make it up to you."

"That's not necessary, Sam."

"Yes, it is, at least to me.  I'm going to request tomorrow off, and we can go have fun somewhere.  And, no, I'm not doing it just to make up for last night.  I want to spend the day with you.  It has been so long since we spent some real time together outside of work, and I miss it."

Daniel gazed at her.  "I miss it, too."

Sam gave him a smile.  "Then it's settled.  I should call Landry now to make sure I can get the day off."

Sam did so.  The general was clearly very curious about why both she and Daniel had requested the day off, but didn't come right out and ask.  He granted her permission and told her that he expected her and Daniel to be back at work first thing Tuesday morning.

"All set," Sam said as she disconnected the call.  "So, where would you like to go now?"

Daniel's eyebrows lifted.  "Now?  Don't you have things to get done?"

"Just a little shopping, but that won't take me long.  Or do you have something you need to do?"

"No, I did my house cleaning last night when I couldn't sl—" Daniel's voice cut off abruptly.

It was not hard to figure out what Daniel had stopped himself from saying, and it made Sam feel even worse than she did before.  She didn't say anything about it, though.  Instead, she asked, "Would you like to go to a movie?"


"How about a snack first, though.  I didn't have any lunch."

"Me neither.  Do you want to get some?"

"No, just a snack will be fine."

They stopped at a burger place and got a large order of fries and milk shakes, which they consumed on the way to the theater.

They chose a sappy romantic comedy, and Sam couldn't help but think that it was the kind of movie Jack would never be willing to go see.  But Daniel seemed to be enjoying it.

About a third of the way through the movie, Daniel's hand tentatively laid over Sam's.  She turned to him and saw him looking at her questioningly, clearly asking permission for the touch.  She smiled and curled her hand around his.  She was rewarded with an answering smile from him.

Turning back to the screen, Sam decided that she very much liked where she was right now.

The team Jack and Vala had been rooting for ended up losing the game that day, but they left the rink still happy.  As they walked to their car, Vala was going on about the game, pointing out the different mistakes that the teams and individual players made.

"So, where to now?" she asked as they arrived at the car.

Jack looked at his watch.  "Oh, I don't know.  We don't want to get back on the road too late.  I've got an early flight out of Peterson in the morning."

"Oh, we've still got plenty of time," Vala insisted.   "Oh!  I know!  Let's go to an arcade."

"An arcade?"

Vala nodded.  "Cameron took me to one, and it was great.  I beat the highest score on two games."

"I haven't been to an arcade in years."

Vala wrapped her arm around his.  "Come on.  It'll be fun."

Jack shook his head, almost laughing.  "All right.  You talked me into it."

Vala gave a little bounce, grinning.  "Great!"

They got in the car, Jack thinking that this really was going to be quite a day.

Daniel and Sam had ended up holding hands throughout the rest of the movie.  As they left the theater, Sam found herself taking his hand again.  It felt right for it to be there.

"Do you want to get some dinner?" Daniel asked tentatively.  This day he'd spent with Sam had been fantastic, but he was still afraid of pushing it too far, asking for too much of her time.  If it was up to him, he'd spend every day of the rest of his life with her, but Sam's feelings were not the same as his.  He needed to go slowly.

Sam grinned.  "Sure.  That would be great."  She was having a terrific time with Daniel today, and she didn't want it to end.  She'd always enjoyed spending time with him, but it was even truer today.  She felt warm and content, happy.  Every time Daniel had looked at her today, she'd seen the love in his eyes.  He hadn't hidden it from her.  It was a look she'd never really seen in Jack's eyes, and it made her feel special.  Daniel truly loved her.  Such a wonderful man, and it was she whom he loved, she whom he'd put in that place in his heart that had been taken by his beloved wife for so long.

Sam knew that she should feel nervous about that.  Sexual attraction was one thing.  That was physical.  When she and Daniel kissed in her lab, Sam's body had been flooded with shockingly powerful sensations.  She'd wanted to keep right on kissing him.  If she was honest with herself, she'd admit that she had wanted more than just a kiss.  But that was a physiological reaction of her body.  Love was so much more than that.  Daniel loved her, and, though she should feel nervous, perhaps even a little scared to know that her best friend was in love with her, she didn't feel like that at all, just the opposite in fact.  It had shocked her at first, but, now that she'd accepted it, it felt . . . good.  Sam didn't know why, but it did.

They reached Daniel's car, and he opened the passenger-side door for her.  They'd dropped Sam's car off at her house before going to the movie, deciding that there was no sense in wasting gas continuing to drive two cars.

"Where would you like to go?" Daniel asked.

"Um, I don't care.  Not fast food."

They decided on a restaurant, and Daniel drove them there.  Once their orders had been placed, they both grew quiet.  Daniel was thinking about this day with Sam, how great it had been.  He was thinking about tomorrow, too, wondering what they'd do, where they'd go.  He wanted to take Sam on another date, go dancing, take that night stroll with her that they didn't do last night.  Then he wanted to take her home and. . . .  No, don't go there.  That would most definitely not be happening.  He couldn't deny that it was what both his body and his heart wanted, but it was way too soon.  Perhaps, someday, it wouldn't be.  He could only hope that Sam would come to want that with him, would come to feel for him what he did for her.

Daniel looked at Sam and saw a slightly puzzled frown on her face.  He couldn't help but wonder what she was thinking about.  Was she wondering about Jack, thinking about the day he was having with Vala?  Daniel knew he shouldn't let that possibility bother him, but it did.  For all these years, he'd accepted that Sam loved Jack.  He'd never been jealous of those feelings before.  But, now, he was.  He wanted her to feel that way about him, not Jack, and that made him ashamed.  He shouldn't be jealous.  He should be content that Sam was willing to see if a relationship with him could work out.  It was far more than he'd ever dared hope for.  And what if it didn't work?  What if Sam decided that she could never care about him like that?  It would rip his heart open, but at least then he'd know once and for all that his dream would never come true.  He could put that dream away for good and get on with his life.

"Penny for your thoughts," he said, though he wasn't really sure he wanted them.

Sam blinked, her attention going to him.  "What?"

"You looked like you were pretty deep in thought."

"Oh.  Um, yeah, I was."  Sam took a sip of her water.

Daniel began playing with his napkin.  "It's, um . . . it's okay if you're thinking about Jack.  I'd understand.  Actually, I'm kind of curious about how he enjoyed the game with Vala.  She can be—"

Daniel was interrupted by Sam's hand being laid upon his.  He looked up into her eyes.

"I wasn't thinking about Jack, Daniel.  Well, actually, I was, but not the way you think.  It had just dawned on me that, ever since we began our day together, I haven't thought about him even once."

That surprised Daniel.  "You haven't?"

"No, and it surprised me to realize that."

Daniel spun the straw around in his iced tea, watching the liquid swirl in the glass.  "I have to admit that it surprises me, too."

"Yeah.  It did bother me last night, but, today, I've been having such a great time with you that it just never entered my mind."

Daniel searched her eyes, feeling his heart soar.  "It's been great for me, too, Sam.  It's felt . . . really good."

The arrival of their food put a halt to anything else they might have said.  They ate in silence for a while.  When they did begin to talk again, it was mostly small talk, nothing personal.

This time, they both opted to get dessert, though, in truth, they were pretty full already.  Though they hadn't come right out and said so, neither one of them wanted the day to end.

As they walked toward the car, Sam snuck her hand into Daniel's again.  He held onto it tightly, the simple contact making him happy.

"Thank you for today, Sam," he said.  "I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed it."

"You're welcome.  And thank you, too.  It's been a long time since I did anything like this."

"So, what were you thinking we'd do tomorrow?" Daniel asked.  Then he hastily added, "That is if you still want to do something.  I'd understand if you'd rather not."

"Daniel," Sam said.  She looked into his eyes, seeing doubt and, surprisingly, a measure of insecurity there.  She realized that a big part of him still believed that she was going to change her mind about seeing if they could have a relationship.

She took hold of his other hand, now holding both of them.  "Yes, I still want to spend the day with you tomorrow.  I'm really looking forward to it."

Daniel visibly relaxed, giving her a little smile.  "Good.  That's . . . that's good."  The smile faded.  "Well, I guess I should get you home."

"Actually, you still owe me a walk, Mister."

The smile was back, twice as bright.  "A walk?"

"Uh huh."

"Um, okay.  Where do you want to walk?"

"Down the street a ways?"


Leaving the car where it was, Daniel and Sam headed out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk, their hands still joined.

The arcade had been quite an experience.  Vala wanted to play virtually every game in the place.  What's more, she managed to convince Jack to play a lot of them, too.  The general had known that, to those around him, he looked like a fifty-something guy desperately trying to recapture his youth, but, strangely, he really hadn't cared all that much.  He also laid out a small fortune for tokens, but it was worth it.

They were now eating ice cream after just having had a dinner of burgers and fries – Vala's idea, not Jack's.

"So, have you ever been married?" Vala asked in between mouthfuls of her hot fudge sundae.

"Yes, a long time ago.  We're divorced."

"Ah.  Any children?"  The almost undetectable flicker of emotion on Jack's face told her that she'd just stepped into a minefield.

"We had a son," he answered softly.

Vala did not miss the use of the past tense.  "I'm sorry.  I shouldn't have asked."

"No, you didn't know.  It happened a long time ago, before the first mission through you know what."

"Forgive me for asking, but is that why. . . ."

"My wife and I divorced?" Jack finished.  "Yes.  When I came back from the mission, she was gone.  I don't blame her for leaving.  My head was not in a good place after Charlie died, and I wasn't there to give her what she needed from me."  He shrugged.  "Like I said, it was a long time ago."

Vala smiled.  "I'd probably be married and have a big brood of children, if it hadn't been for Qetesh."

"Tst!" Jack hissed at the mention of the Goa'uld's name.

"Oh, don't worry," Vala said.  She leaned closer to him and lowered her voice.  "How many people here do you think even knows who or what Qetesh is?"

"Okay, you do have a point there, but, even so, you need to be careful about what you say in public."

"Oh, I've gotten lectured on that many times by both Daniel and Cameron.  I'm just not used to the secrecy.  All the other places I've gone in my many, many travels know all about—"

Jack's fingers shot up in warning.

"Such things," the woman finished.

They finished eating their ice cream.

Jack looked at his watch.  "Well, as much as I hate to end the day, we need to get back."

Vala swirled around the remnants of chocolate sauce in her bowl.  She didn't want the day to end.  This was the most fun she'd had on Earth since it became her home.  Though the members of her team had, at different times, taken her into town, they'd never spent an entire day with her, just cutting loose and having a good time.  Today had made her feel like she was really a part of this culture, that it really was her home.

As they got on the road that would take them back to Colorado Springs, Vala looked over at the man who'd devoted his entire day to her, never once showing signs that he'd rather be doing something else.

"Thank you for today," Vala said.  "It's the most fun I've had since coming to Earth.  I appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedule for me."

"Hey, I'll take any excuse I can get not to be sitting at my desk."  Jack glanced at her.  "And you're welcome.  It was a pleasure."

"So, when does your retirement take effect?"

"Friday.  Still got a lot to do before then."

Vala looked out the window.  "And afterwards?"  She kept the question casual.

"I haven't decided yet.  I might move back to Minnesota," he glanced at Vala again, "or Colorado."

Vala's expression brightened.  "Really?  I'd like that very much."

Jack smiled, his male pride getting a boost at the comment.  He had to admit that he wouldn't mind being able to spend more time with Vala.  She'd brought out things in him that he'd believed long gone.  Yes, maybe she was a bit young for him, both physically and . . . energetically, but it's not like he hadn't dated younger women before.  Kerry had been quite a few years his junior.  Of course, Kerry was nothing like Vala.

"Well, if I do decide to move back here, you'll be one of the first I'll tell."

Daniel and Sam walked slowly down the sidewalk.  A short while ago, Sam had slipped her arm around Daniel's waist.  It felt really good there.

"Sam, I want to apologize for last night," he said.  "I shouldn't have left like I did.  It's just that. . . ."

Sam looked at him.  "What?"

He sighed.  "For all these years, I was certain that there could never be anything between us.  I never let myself hope for even a moment.  I knew that you cared about Jack and that I was only a friend to you.  Then, yesterday, I finally let myself hope.  When I saw you looking at Jack and Vala, the expression on your face, especially when you learned that they were going to a hockey game together, I was certain that I'd been stupid to let myself have that hope.  I shouldn't have given up so easily."

Sam tightened her arm around him.  "No, you shouldn't have.  But I do understand, Daniel, and I'm still really sorry I did that to you."  She smiled up at him.  "On our next date, I promise that my attention will be on you and you alone."

There was a husky quality to Sam's voice that lit the flame of desire within Daniel.  Though a little voice in his head was telling him that he shouldn't do it, he stopped, pulled Sam into his arms and lowered his lips to hers.  Her reaction was not what he'd have expected.  Almost immediately, she opened her mouth, grabbed hold of his head, and began kissing the life out of him.  With a groan, Daniel pulled her tight against him, his tongue plunging deep into her mouth to mate with hers.  They kissed with insatiable hunger, not caring if every driver who passed by watched them.  At some point, Sam felt something hard against her back, but spared no thought to it.  All she cared about was Daniel's mouth on hers, his hands on her body.  They were gliding across her, every place they touched alighting her with incredible pleasure.  She wanted them to touch her everywhere.

When their lips finally separated, they were both gasping for air.  Daniel realized that he'd backed Sam up against the wall of a building.  He'd feel bad about that if it wasn't for the fact that she seemed to be having no problem with where she was.  One if her legs was between his, her hand on his butt.  One of his hands was in a matching position on her body.

A shudder past through Daniel, along with an erotic image of him making love to her right there against that wall.  He had to get control of himself.  The problem was that, at that moment, he really didn't want to.

Sam drew in deep breaths, shocked by the almost overpowering desire that was coursing through her.  God, she wanted him.  She wanted him right here and now.  This was crazy.  Just yesterday, she was mourning the loss of her dream to be with Jack, and, now, she was here in Daniel's arms, wanting to pull him down to the ground and have wild sex with him.  An image flashed through her mind of Daniel ripping her pants off and taking her right there against the wall.  She let out a moan and unconsciously rubbed against him.  He gasped and pressed her harder against the building.  She looked up into his eyes.  They were burning into her with such an intense fire that she felt for sure they'd consume her.  It frightened her to realize that she wanted to be consumed.

"Sam," Daniel whispered roughly.  He didn't want to move, but things were getting way out of hand.  This wasn't supposed to be happening.  Though he was ready for it, Sam wasn't, although you'd never guess it by the way she was responding to him.  But he had to keep in mind that she was still recovering from being let down by Jack.

Slowly, Daniel separated himself from Sam, knowing that the longer he was like that with her, the harder it would be to let her go.

"I-I-I'm sorry about that," he stammered.  "I kind of lost—"

"Daniel, why are you apologizing?  In case you didn't notice, I wasn't complaining."

That caused a laugh to escape him, one that was a bit on the nervous side.  Sam laughed, too.  She stepped away from the wall, smoothing down her hair and clothes.

Daniel drew in a deep breath.  "I think we should probably head back."

"Yes, we probably should," Sam agreed, silently adding, 'before I get it into my head to take you to that motel across the street and do things with you that will have the people in the rooms next door yelling for us to be quiet.'

That thought caused a blush to suffuse Sam's cheeks.  Fortunately, Daniel wasn't looking at her.  Instead, he was staring down at the ground, his hands in his pockets.

Sam began walking back toward the restaurant, Daniel falling in step beside her.  They said nothing the whole way back.

The silence remained as they drove to Sam's house.  Pulling up in front of her place, Daniel kept the engine running.  Sam glanced at him.  He hadn't looked at her at all, and she was worried that he was beating himself up over what happened.  They really should talk about this, clear the air.

Sam made a sudden decision.  "Daniel, come inside."

The archeologist's head whipped about, and he stared at her.  "W-what?"

"I want you to come in.  I think we need to talk."

Once again, Jack and Vala were in the elevator riding down to Level 25.  The general figured that, by now, it was all over the base that something was going on between him and the alien woman.  Oh, well.  In a few more days, he'd be retired, then it wouldn't matter one iota what they thought.

Just like the previous night, as they stood at Vala's door, she asked if Jack would like to come in.  He was about to refuse again when she said, "Come on.  I don't bite.  We can even leave the door open.  It's not like I'm asking for a night of wild sex.  I just thought we could talk for a few more minutes.  You'll be leaving tomorrow, then who knows how long it will be before we see each other again."

Jack hesitated, then nodded.  Just a few more minutes wouldn't hurt.

They went into Vala's room.  As she'd said, she left the door open.  But what she hadn't said was that, as soon as they were in the room, she'd be kissing him.  Needless to say, Jack was shocked and, for a few seconds, just stood there.  Then, as most men who had a very attractive woman kissing them would do, he began kissing her back, and he was more than a little stunned by how good it felt.  Vala Mal Doran definitely knew how to kiss.

"You failed to mention that part," Jack remarked as they separated.

"Did I?  Sorry."  Vala's smile was one part coy, the other part sultry, an interesting combination.  She ran a finger across his lips.  "I just couldn't help myself.  I wanted something to remember you by until I see you again."

"Well, I'm all for memory aids," Jack replied.

"So . . . are you sure you wouldn't like to change your mind about the wild sex?"

"As appealing as the thought is, I'm afraid I'll still have to refuse."

Vala sighed.  "Too bad."

Jack headed for the door.  He turned around before stepping through.  "Thank you, Miss Mal Doran, for a very nice day."

"You're welcome, General O'Neill.  And thank you."

With a smile and a nod, Jack left the room.

Taken completely by surprise by Sam's request, Daniel swallowed to wet his suddenly dry throat.  "S-Sam, I really don't think that would be a good idea."

Sam met his eyes, seeing that his nervousness had escalated dramatically.  "I trust you, Daniel."

"That maybe so, but I don't trust me.  Sam, you have no idea how much I want to . . . to do things with you that have nothing to do with talking.  I've wanted that for a very long time, and, now that I've kissed you and . . . and. . . ."  He stopped and took a deep breath.  "I know that you can't possibly be ready to take that step with me.  So me going inside would be a really bad idea."

Sam knew that he was right, that taking him into her house would be a bad idea, if she was not ready to jump into this relationship with both feet.  And she really shouldn't be ready for that.

Sam gave him a gentle smile, then nodded, letting her more rational self take over.  "Okay.  Just walk with me to the door, all right?"

Daniel smiled back.  "All right."  He shut off the engine and removed the keys from the ignition.  They got out of the car and went slowly up the walkway.

"You have nothing to feel guilty about, you know," Sam said.

Daniel shrugged, not replying.

Sam looked at him.  "Daniel, what happened, it was consensual on my part, too, just as much as it was for you."

Daniel sighed.  "I know.  I just didn't intend for it to happen."

"I know, but it was as much my doing as it was yours.  So, no guilt, okay?"

Daniel gazed at her.  "Okay."

They reached the porch, and Sam unlocked and opened the door.

"Any idea yet on what we're going to do tomorrow?"  Daniel asked.

"No.  I'll put some thought into it before bed.  I'll call you in the morning."

"All right."  Daniel gazed deeply into her eyes as he caressed her cheek.  "Thank you for today, Sam.  It meant more to me that you could know."

The look in Daniel's eyes made Sam feel warm inside, not the warmth of desire, but a warmth that she realized was happiness and something much deeper, something she couldn't name.

"I'll see you tomorrow," he said, then turned away.

In that moment, Sam knew that she didn't want him to go.  She wanted more than anything in the world for him to stay.

She caught his hand, stopping him.  He turned and looked at her.

"Stay," she whispered.

Daniel's eyes widened.  Had he just heard her right?

"Stay," she said again, more loudly.  "I want you to stay."

Daniel stepped up to her, heart racing.  He stared intently into her eyes.  "Sam?"

She laid a hand on his chest, making him tremble.

"I want you to make love to me," Sam murmured before pulling Daniel's lips down to hers.

Any doubts Daniel had fled as he pulled Sam into his arms, taking her mouth in a deep, possessive kiss.

Go to version with milder sexual content

Neither one of them recalled entering the house or the trip to the bedroom.  They never let go of each other, mouths and hands searching almost frantically.  They were on the bed now, Daniel's glasses having fallen by the wayside somewhere along the way.  He began pushing Sam's top up.  She helped him get it off her, then pulled his shirt off.

The touch of bare skin made them both moan.  Daniel's hands touched her breasts, stroking the peaks through the material of her bra.  Sam gasped at the touch, wanting more.  She reached behind her back and undid the catch.  The bra slipped down.  And then it was off, and it was Daniel's mouth and hands covering her.  The wet slide of his tough over her nipples made her cry out, a shudder passing through her whole body.  It felt so good, he felt so good.

Daniel was completely lost in the lovemaking, the smell of her, the taste of her.  He pulled one of her nipples deep into his mouth, wanting to touch and taste all of her, every inch.  Sam writhed beneath him, arching her body up against his.  Reaching down, he yanked her sneakers off, taking the socks with them.  His fingers sought the button and zipper of her jeans.  She helped him remove the clothing, pulling not just the jeans down but also the panties underneath.

The second the clothing was off, Daniel's mouth descended to her stomach, bathing the incredibly soft skin with his tongue.  And then he went lower.

Sam cried out, bucking upward.  She was on fire, her body set alight by Daniel's mouth and hands, the things he was doing to her.  She began to tremble, and she knew that she was going to come.  Never before had it happened so quickly.

Suddenly, Sam knew that she didn't want it to happen this way, not the first time with him.  She wanted them to come together, with his body inside hers.

Sam pulled him upward, claiming his mouth with hers.  She rolled them over and got to work divesting Daniel of his remaining clothing.  Soon, he was lying naked before her.  The sight made her desire for him race through her body like a flash flood.

It was Daniel's turned to cry out when Sam's mouth and hands fell upon his body, touching him, tasting him.  It was too much, the sensations too powerful.  He was in serious danger of losing control.  And then she touched him in that most intimate of places, and he almost did lose control.

With a groan, Daniel sat up, pulling Sam up into his arms, his mouth crashing down upon hers.  He turned them around, settling on his haunches and putting Sam on his lap.  Her head fell back as he lowered his mouth back down to her breasts, her back arched, hands clutching his arms.

After long seconds of feast upon her breasts, Daniel lifted his head.  Sam's eyes met his, and there was no need for words.  Daniel kissed her, long and deep.  As their lips parted, they positioned themselves.  And then Daniel was inside her.  They gasped at the feeling of the union, just holding onto each other for several seconds.  But they could not remain still for long.  Soon, they were rocking together, fully immersed in the sensation of their first time together.

It was no surprise to either of them that, very soon, their control was racing away from them, the ecstasy of their lovemaking too powerful for them to have a prayer of making this first time last for long.

Feeling himself very swiftly approaching release, Daniel held Sam to him and rose up on his knees, pressing her against the wall above the headboard.  With a deep moan, she wrapped her legs tightly around his waist.  Their movements grew more intense, sweat-soaked bodies sliding urgently against each other.

"God, Sam," Daniel gasped.  "I-I can't. . . ."  He groaned, feeling himself sliding over the edge.  He slipped a hand between them, wanting to take her on the plunge with him.

At the first touch of his fingers, Sam stiffened.  And then she screamed, her whole body exploding with the most intense climax she'd ever felt.

Feeling Sam come, Daniel let himself go, crying out as he released into her body with almost paralyzing intensity.

By the time their climax ended, they were both feeling dizzy and ridiculously weak.  Keeping their bodies connected, Daniel lay down on the bed with Sam, holding her close.  The silence stretched on as they slowly recovered.

Once the pounding in his head had eased and his breathing had slowed, Daniel began placing soft kisses on Sam's face and neck.  The salty taste of her sweat made his tongue come out to lap at the pulse point in her throat.  Sam breath caught, and she clutched at him.  She wanted him again.  She'd just climaxed so hard that she almost blacked out, yet she already wanted him again.  Their bodies were still joined, and she loved the feeling of that connection.  She tightened the grip of her thighs and rubbed against him.

Daniel let out a low groan.  Though he knew there was no way it would be happening this soon, he wanted her again.  He lifted his eyes to hers, surprised to see the same desire there.  He laid claim to her mouth as he gently rocked against her a single time, receiving a moan from Sam.

Though neither one of them wanted to be separated, Daniel at last pulled away from Sam, but only for as long as it took them to get under the covers.  Then they were back in each other's arms.  Soon, sleepiness overtook both of them.

The last thought that went through Daniel's mind before Morpheus claimed him was the hope that, when he awoke, Sam would still be there in his arms.

Jack took another bite of the early breakfast.  He was scheduled to be on a flight home in an hour, and he was feeling very reluctant to leave.  He'd caught himself glancing about a couple of times, searching for the long dark hair of a certain woman, a woman whom he'd been thinking about a lot since awakening.

Jack shook his head and forked in another mouthful.  Here he was, a man in his mid-fifties, and he was acting like a guy thirty years younger.  Yes, so the day he spent with Vala was enjoyable, making him feel younger and more carefree than he had in a very long time, but he was a mature adult, not some lovesick teenager who couldn't get the pretty cheerleader out of his head.  He hadn't felt like this with Kerry.  Hell, he hadn't felt like this since. . . .  Oh, shit.  Not since Sara.

'No way.  No frickin' way.  O'Neill, you are losing it.  You've got to be going through some damn mid-life crisis or something.  That has to be the explanation.'

Jack's explanation went right out of his head when a familiar alto voice said, "Good morning."  He looked up to see Vala smiling down at him, a tray in her hands.

"Hey," Jack greeted, forcing back the smile that had come unbidden to his lips.

"May I join you?"


Instead of sitting across from him, Vala took a seat right next to him.  Her thigh brushed up against his, almost making him jump.  He slid over a few inches, putting a bit more space between them.

The woman took a bite of her breakfast.  "So, what time does your flight leave?"

"Not quite an hour."

"Oh."  There was a strong note of disappointment in Vala's voice.

Jack looked at her.  "What's wrong?"

"Oh, I was just hoping that we could go for a little walk, perhaps outside."

"Kind of chilly out there, I should imagine."

"I wouldn't mind."

Jack looked at her, then down at her tray.  He noticed that she was eating one of the breakfast burritos . . . which could be taken to go.


Startled, Vala looked at him.  "Okay?"

Jack tapped the stars on his uniform.  "You see these?"


"Well, they mean that I can make people wait as long as I want.  Well, most people, that is.  It doesn't work with the president."

A big smile brightened Vala's face.  "Well, those are very handy things to have, then."

"Yep, they sure are.  And, since I'm not gonna have them for much longer, I say that I might as well use them to their full advantage while I can."

"That sounds perfectly reasonable to me."

"Come on.  Take your burrito with you."

"What about your breakfast?"

"I was almost done anyway."

As Vala grabbed her burrito, Jack disposed of the remainder of his meal.  Then the two of them left the commissary and took the elevator up.  A while later, they were on the mountaintop.  The chill of the morning air wasn't as bad as Jack had thought it would be.  It was going to be a warm day today.

Vala munched on her burrito as they walked.  "You know, I haven't been up here very often.  In fact, I didn't even know about that way up here until a few months ago.  I followed Daniel up, though he didn't know it.  He was upset about something, and I was worried.  At the time, I didn't know what was bothering him, but, now, I do."

"What's that?"

"I'd heard that Samantha was asked out on a date, and she was thinking of accepting."


Vala studied his profile.  "He's in love with her, isn't he."

Jack looked at her, pausing before answering.  "Yes, he is."

"For how long?"

"I don't know for sure.  Quite a while."

"I wish I'd known.  I wouldn't have gone after him."

Jack studied her.  "Wouldn't you?"

"No.  I admit that I'm far from being inhibited in that regard, but I respect when a man feels that way for another woman.  Obviously, this explains why Daniel rebuffed all my advances.  And I was beginning to think that I was losing my touch."

Jack hid a smile.  His gaze went to Vala again.  "So, what about you?"


"Yes, you."

Vala's gaze turned from him to the path before them.  "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, I think you do."

Vala began toying with the napkin wrapped around her burrito.  "I do admit that I've had certain . . . feelings for Daniel.  He believed in me when he had no logical reason to do so.  He offered me his trust and his friendship.  That was something I never had, not since I was taken as a host.  It meant a lot to me.  In the beginning, I just wanted him, but, later, I felt more."

"How much more?"

"Oh, I'm not in love with him," Vala hastily stated.  "Well, okay, maybe a tiny bit."  She put her forefinger and thumb about half an inch apart.

"You sure about that?"

The women fidgeted.  "Well, maybe a bit more than that.  But it's not like my heart is shattered into tiny little pieces knowing that he loves another woman, and I can never have him.  I'm fine."

Jack didn't respond.  He wasn't sure what to say.  He was starting to feel things for this woman, but there was no way he was going to pursue anything with her if she was in love with Daniel.

Vala finished her burrito and stuffed the napkin in her pocket.  She looked at the man walking beside her.  There was a slight frown on his face, and she wondered what he was thinking.

She had enjoyed her day with him yesterday, very much in fact.  She had enjoyed that kiss even more.  She wanted another.  She wanted more than that.  But he was leaving in just a little while, and she didn't know how long it would be before he came back.  She didn't know what role he could have in her life.

Vala realized that she really didn't want Jack to leave.  As much as she cared about Daniel, he had never given her what Jack did yesterday.  She very much wanted more days like that.

Vala looked at Jack again.  "I hope that you decide to move back here."

Jack met her eyes.  "Do you?"

"Yes, very much," Vala paused, deciding to take a chance, "just like I would very much like for us to kiss again."

They came to an abrupt halt.  Jack stared at her intently.

"I'm not interested in being someone you go after on the rebound," he stated firmly.

Vala recognized the term, having heard it on television.  "You're not."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Yes.  This has nothing at all to do with Daniel."

"Well, in that case. . . ."  Jack stepped forward, pulled Vala against him, and lowered his mouth onto hers.  Vala wasted no time in letting him in.

The kiss was not like the one they'd shared last night, which, though passionate, had been somewhat restrained.  This kiss was anything but restrained.

When it finally ended, they were both a little breathless.

"Oh, my," Vala breathed, feeling slightly shaky.  "You certainly do know how to kiss, General."

Jack gave her a smile that was just the tiniest bit cocky.  "Likewise."

Vala brought her mouth close, brushing her lips over his.  The tip of her tongue came out to tease him.  Jack's arms tightened around her convulsively.  God, she was driving him crazy.  To stop the teasing, he kissed her again.  He felt her hand skim down his body to land on his ass, where she gave him a little squeeze.  Oookay.  That was enough of that.  Any more of this, and he'd be in no fit state for public viewing.

Jack pulled away, stepping back half a pace.  She was smiling at him, a sexy, come hither smile that was playing havoc with the general's self-control.  Was this how she acted with Daniel when she went after him?  If so, the fact that he actually resisted made Jack's respect for the man go up several notches.

"So, how long can you make that plane wait for you?" Vala asked, smiling meaningfully.

Jack cleared his throat.  "Not that long."

The disappointment on Vala's face looked genuine.  "Oh.  That's too bad."

"Yeah."  Damn.  He had to get out of here before he did something really stupid, like telling the pilot he was staying another day, taking Vala to some hotel somewhere, and. . . .  Crap.  Just thinking about that was threatening to destroy his already tattered will power.  And Vala wasn't helping either.  She was making no effort to hide her desire for him.

"We need to get back," he said.

Vala nodded, her gaze dropping to the ground.  She could tell that Jack wanted her.  It was in his eyes and the tension of his body.  But that was just lust.  The kisses they'd just shared had made Vala feel something more than simple lust.  He was leaving, and she didn't want him to go.  She wanted him to stay.

"You couldn't perhaps stay another day?" she asked hopefully, trying to keep the plea out of her voice.  Nevertheless, Jack heard it and looked at her closely.

"No.  I'm sorry.  I have to get back."

Vala sighed silently and nodded again.  She turned, and the two of them headed back toward the base entrance.  They were almost there when Jack spoke.

"Like I said before, my retirement takes effect on Friday.  After that, I'm a free agent.  I can do what I please, go where I please."

Vala didn't look at him.  "And would it please you to come back here?"

"Yes, it would."

Vala's head rose, and she looked at Jack, searching his eyes.  What she saw there made an enormous grin light up her whole face.

"Then I will very much be looking forward to that," she said.

Jack smiled.  "Me too."

They went back inside and down to Jack's quarters, where he got his duffle bag, which was already packed.

"It would be best if we said goodbye now," he said.

"Can I have a goodbye kiss?"

Jack glanced at the open door.  "I don't think that would be a good idea."

Vala also looked at the door.  "Yes.  You're right.  It wouldn't be good to embarrass you in front of your subordinates."  She smiled.  "I will just have to wait a while for another one of your killer kisses."

Jack couldn't stop himself from laughing.  God, when was the last time he actually laughed?  This woman made him feel genuinely happy for the first time in years.

"You are quite a woman, Vala Mal Doran," he said, meaning it.

"Thank you.  And you are quite a man, General Jack O'Neill."  Vala walked up to him, heightening the sway of her hips.  She ran a finger over his lips.  "Now, don't keep me waiting for long, darling.  I have things planned for you when you come back."

With a final sultry smile, Vala left the room.

Jack released the breath he'd been holding.  "Damn.  I'll be lucky if she doesn't kill me our first time," he muttered.

With a little chuckle and a smile, Jack headed for the elevator and his ride home, feeling like all was right with the world.

Bright sunlight streaming into the room awoke Sam.  As the cobwebs of sleep were brushed away, the events of last night filled her mind, as did the awareness of a naked male body pressed close to her.  Satisfaction and contentment washed over her, bringing a smile to her face.

Sam turned her head to look at the man sharing her bed.  Daniel was behind her, his body spooned with hers, one arm snug around her waist, the other beneath her head.  The feeling of his nakedness against hers was awakening Sam's arousal.  More than that, it felt really good to be here, to awaken within Daniel's arms.

Sam's mind went back to all the things that happened last night.  Their lovemaking had been nothing short of phenomenal.  Sam knew that it probably shouldn't have happened, that they'd moved forward in their relationship way too fast, but she couldn't find it in her heart to regret it.  It had been too fantastic.  This moment right here and now felt too wonderful for any regrets.

Being careful not to awaken Daniel, Sam turned around so that she could look at him.  He looked so peaceful in sleep, all his worries and cares smoothed away.  He was handsome enough to take her breath away, but she knew that he was even more beautiful on the inside.

Gazing at him as the minutes ticked by, Sam felt something blossoming within her heart, the same feelings she'd experienced last night on her porch when Daniel looked at her with his love for her so bright in his eyes.  But, this time, it was far stronger, so powerful that it left her feeling shaken.  How could she be feeling this?  It was impossible.  Yet she couldn't deny what her heart was telling her.

Just then, Daniel's eyes fluttered open.  Seeing her face so close to his, he smiled.  But then he saw the look in her eyes, an expression of stunned disbelief.  Oh, God.  She was regretting what they did.  She didn't want this.

Feeling his heart shatter, Daniel began drawing away, but he wasn't given the chance.  Sam quickly grabbed hold of him, pulled him into her arms, and kissed him.  Shocked and confused, Daniel didn't respond.  She drew back and smiled at him.

"Sam?  The way you were looking at me, I-I thought. . . ."

"That I regretted what happened?"


"I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to scare you."  Sam cupped his cheek.  "I don't regret it, Daniel.  I don't regret it at all.  Just the opposite.  Last night was wonderful.  And waking up with you this morning, it felt so good, so . . . very right.  Being here with you feels perfect."

With a happy sigh, Daniel gathered her close, burying his face in her hair.  "It feels the same way to me, Sam."

Sam pulled his head up so that she could meet his eyes.  "Daniel, the reason why I was looking at you that way was that I'd just realized something, something that really shocked me.  It still amazes me."

Daniel searched her eyes curiously.  "What's that?"

"All this time, I thought that I was so in love with Jack.  When he told me that he didn't feel the same, it hurt a lot, but it didn't take long for the pain to ease.  When I saw him with Vala, I wasn't nearly as jealous as I should have been.  And then yesterday, I spent all that time with you and didn't think about Jack even once."

"Sam, what are you saying?"

"I think that, somewhere along the line, what I felt for Jack started to fade, but I couldn't see it.  I'd cared about him like that for so long that I was certain I'd love him for the rest of my life.  I held onto those feelings, the fantasy about being with him.  But, this morning, waking up in your arms, seeing you lying there and remembering what we shared last night, I realized that Jack isn't the one I want to spend my life with."  Sam stared intently into the eyes of the man in her arms.  "I'm falling in love with you, Daniel.  I think I'm already more than halfway there."

Daniel froze in shock.  His heart was hammering hard and fast in his chest.  He was afraid to believe, afraid that he'd heard wrong.

"Sam, are you sure?" he asked in a whisper.

Sam did not answer with words.  Instead, she brought her lips to his and kissed him with all the emotion she felt for him.  Daniel pulled her into a tight embrace, kissing her with every ounce of love inside him.

Rolling her beneath him, Daniel began caressing her everywhere, his gentle touches making Sam feel like she was floating, like no one could love her as deeply as he did.

This time, as Daniel's mouth traveled down her body, there was no thought of stopping him.  With gasps and soft cries, she let him carry her up into the stratosphere.  She cried his name as she came.

Sam was still recovering when Daniel lay down upon her.  He looked into her eyes.  What he saw there answered his question.  With a deep sigh, he slid into her, closing his eyes at the sensation of being within the heat of her body again.

"I love you," he murmured as he began to move, slowly and gently, feeling her inside him as much as he was inside her.  Sam held onto him tightly, murmuring words too low for him to understand.  He opened his eyes and looked at her face, seeing rapture there.

At last, his pace began to quicken, his movements growing stronger.  Sam's head was now thrown back, quiet cries escaping her lips.  His climax fast approaching, Daniel shifted their position in such a way that had the volume of Sam's cries escalate.  She came seconds later.  Daniel followed her over the edge with her name on his lips.

It took a while for them both to recover enough to even think about moving.  Daniel finally rolled off Sam and onto his side, pulling her close.

"God, Daniel," Sam gasped.  "Where did you learn to do that?"

He smiled.  "I am an anthropologist, you know.  You'd be surprised by what we learn when studying all those ancient cultures."

Sam saw the twinkle in his eyes and knew that he wasn't being serious.  She did wonder where he'd learned that technique, but finding that out could wait for another time.  Right now, she was just feeling incredibly lucky to be Doctor Daniel Jackson's lover.

Sam snuggled up against him, resting her head on his chest.



"I know what I'd like to do today."

Sam lifted her head and looked at him.  "What's that?"

"This.  I want to spend the whole day with you like this."

Sam gave him a bright smile.  "I can't think of a better way to spend the day."

With a big, happy grin, Daniel kissed her.  As their lips separated, Sam whispered his name.

"Hmm?" he said.

"You know those unrequited feelings you had for me?"

"Uh huh."

"They aren't unrequited anymore."  Sam caressed his cheek.  "They are very much requited."

With a laugh, Daniel pulled her to him, and, for the rest of that day, they showed each other the joys of love requited.


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