miralyn: hand on the dial home device (Default)
[personal profile] miralyn
Sam/Daniel, 1,980 words, spoilers through S7. PG.

Summary: "It began, predictably, as an argument, an academic nothing of a spat over who got to play with the Ancient artifact first."





It began, predictably, as an argument, an academic nothing of a spat over who got to play with the Ancient artifact first. Sam had opened her mouth to reiterate why analysis of the writing was irrelevant at this point, since she already had a very clear idea of what it did, when suddenly his fingers were in her hair and his lips were moving against hers.

After a moment, he pulled away, blinking slowly in the way that meant, "Hi, I'm Daniel Jackson, peaceful explorer, and I'm stalling for time." Then his eyes became wide and startled as he said, "You kissed me." His voice was completely neutral, and Sam would have resented being spoken to as if she were an Unas, but she had more immediate concerns than Daniel's tone.

"You kissed me!" she exclaimed, not quite offended but not entirely at ease either. The question of who started it seemed important, somehow. He looked at her, searching, head cocked to one side, then suddenly dropped his gaze.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled as he turned to leave her lab, and she surprised herself by grabbing his wrist.

"I'm not," she said, quietly, and it always amused her later that as much as they both talked, they had somehow managed to start an affair in only ten words.

~

After that first kiss, she had drawn the line at anything happening on base. There were only so many times she could erase security footage before Walter would have to stop pretending not to notice. But of course Daniel never played by the rules, and so his sock-clad foot was sliding up the leg of her BDU pants as General Hammond asked her for a threat assessment of P3X-576. It should have disturbed her that his toes curling around her calf were enough for her to entertain the thought – however briefly – of flipping him onto the briefing room table, Hammond and P3X-576 be damned. It should have disturbed her, but then, she was tired of playing by the rules, too.

~

They were mostly discreet, until they realized no one was watching.

They had a freedom Sam was familiar with from high school. They were the good kids, the honor students of the SGC, and so because they were smart and argued with big words and bigger ideas, no one batted an eye when they showed up late to work, their faces flushed and their hair askew. It was cold out, and windy, and some of the roads still hadn't been plowed. Hammond suggested, in his kind way, that they invest in snow tires and scarves. Later that night, laughing about it in bed, Sam realized it had been years since the thrill of getting away with something hadn't been tinged with grief and with loss, with the guilt of being the one who got out alive. It was the first time she thought that this thing of theirs might actually be healthy for her.

~

It was, predictably, Jack who finally noticed. He and Daniel were in the locker room, ready to hit the showers, when Jack said, "You know you're damned lucky, right?"

"Jack?"

"Daniel. This is the hurt-her-and-I-hurt-you speech. Keep up with me here. And, you know, congratulations." With a tight smile, he clapped Daniel on the shoulder and snapped the shower curtain shut, and that was the only time he ever mentioned it.

They were a little more careful after that.

~

What threw her the most was that nothing really changed. They argued at briefings, and stole bites of pie from each other in the commissary. He stopped by her lab with a cup of coffee in the mornings, and she dragged him out of his office for a run in the afternoons. They exchanged furtive smiles when Teal'c and Jack were being Teal'c and Jack, and Sam had never thought that being in love could be this normal. She wondered if it was because they were colleagues, or because he understood how she thought, or because, aside from the addition of sex, there was simply no way they could get more involved in each other's lives. She understood, finally, what could possibly possess someone to think a relationship might last for forty years, and she immediately wished that she hadn't. In the field, a perspective like that was a liability.

~

They took a vacation. They drove to Montana in the middle of the night, paid for a room in a bed and breakfast with cash and different last names, and spent a week cross-country skiing in a forest where no one was trying to kill them. After sleeping off-world for a month on an interminable mission, they rediscovered hot water and clean sheets and how to act around each other when no one else was there. At night, wrapped in a blanket on the porch, Sam pointed out stars from constellations that were once again recognizable, and Daniel told her the stories of their namesakes. They came back to Colorado refreshed, and even General Hammond noticed, saying that he'd want to meet with the whole of SG-1 after their mission to Kelowna, to discuss ways for them to take their perpetually overdue leave more regularly.

~

As they left the isolation room, stunned and exhausted and asking each other what had just happened, Sam was silent. She didn't say a word for the next twelve hours, and then she screamed herself nearly hoarse in her father's quarters, demanding to know why the hell he had listened to Jack. When the colonel opened the door, a wide-eyed airman behind him in the corridor, she started in on him, demanding to know why the hell he had listened to Daniel. It wasn't until she threw a punch to his face that Jack called for Janet. It was three days in the infirmary before they let her go home.

~

She thought, afterwards, that the way she fell apart would have advertised it. But anyone who might have cared was wrapped in their own grief, less explosive than hers but no less intense. Sam supposed, in the end, that it didn't matter who knew, and maybe this was part of the way you didn't speak ill of the dead. You remembered their good qualities, and you didn't ask about their secrets, and you let whoever was left tell whatever stories they wished. She wouldn't let them pack up Daniel's office, and she couldn't walk past Isolation Room 3 for weeks, but she counted every day that didn't end in angry tears on her bathroom floor as a victory.

Then, hiking around an abandoned planet, she laughed unexpectedly at one of Teal'c's ridiculous jokes. His pleased smile lit up his face and the colonel's shoulders relaxed as they hadn't in weeks, and she finally remembered that there actually was an inverse relationship between the magnitude of grief and its duration.

~

She had been prepared for Abydos. Daniel was the reason for that mission, and so when he showed up, impatient and incorporeal, she hadn't been terribly surprised. But no one had heard from him since. Sam knew this because Teal'c and the colonel told her so every few days, in a deliberately casual way that made her regret her surprised and, yes, jealous, outburst in the briefing room. She was hurt he had never come to her, but it was worse to have their pity.

So when she saw him walking among the ruins with SG-5, looking mildly irritated and so inexpressibly Daniel, she felt her breath catch and her heart pound with the shock of it. It wasn't a consolation that Teal'c and the colonel looked as staggered as she felt, and when Daniel didn't recognize any of them, it was that burst of adrenaline she blamed for the sudden shakiness in her limbs.

~

She lied to Daniel because the colonel told her to. He sent her into the tent with a hand on her shoulder and the injunction to, "Ease him into stuff, Carter." Meeting his gaze, she knew exactly what he meant, and when she told Daniel they had just been good friends, she thought that maybe it was even true. Because maybe she had gotten too involved, maybe she had read him wrong. She could understand leaving a friend behind to chase after salvation, and that hurt less than admitting that Daniel had started wars to return to Sha're, but he hadn't fought to live for her. It felt like a betrayal of Daniel to even contemplate the comparison, but then, his ascension had felt like a betrayal, too.

So they had just been good friends. It was easier that way.

~

She had walked into the tent, her hands curved around her P-90 in a way he remembered, and that was when Arrom knew for sure that these people were telling the truth. Something about the way she held her head made him feel like he belonged.

But he argued, because it felt familiar to question and because he wanted to know himself through this woman's eyes. When she turned to leave, he had a sudden flash of memory: her naked back in a sunlit room, her hair damp from a shower. A bead of water slipping down the indention of her spine, his tongue licking it away.

When she stammered out a denial and fled, he thought at first he had been wrong. But this was the first memory from his life before that he could grasp, and as he held on, exploring, others came back. Watching her across a polished table, hiking beside her in a desert, tangling his fingers in her hair.

He told them he was going home, and even though they all kept asking, he never told them what changed his mind.

~

He looked at her, sometimes, like she was a new language, a fragment of pottery covered in symbols he couldn't translate. She tried not to notice. She ignored it the way she ignored the mediation with Teal'c, the hockey games with the colonel, the awful jealousy she felt when she realized he was deliberately rebuilding his ties to them. Daniel never knocked on her door.

But he touched her, sometimes, as if he remembered: fingertips grazing her forearm to get her attention, a hand at the small of her back as she walked through a doorway. She couldn't read him like she used to, and so it was a surprise when, one afternoon, he looked up from the tablet she had asked him to translate and said, "You kissed me."

She had been reading the report of the latest gate diagnostic, and had in fact forgotten he was there in her lab. "Excuse me?" she asked, stalling for time, wishing there were something she could be doing with her hands.

"Here in this room, you kissed me once and since I've come back, you haven't said a word about it." His gaze was steady and mildly accusatory, and she hadn't thought that maybe this was hurting him, too.

"Well, I thought, you didn't seem to, I didn't know-" Sam had always been ineloquent when startled, and the scrape of his chair along the floor was enough to silence her as he stood.

"I've missed you," Daniel said, softly. He took the few steps to her chair, and she stood, reflexively. She could hear her own pulse, suddenly loud in her head.

"I've missed you, too." She wanted to say something about how angry she had been, how hurt and lost she had felt, how the helplessness had made it even worse. But her mouth was dry and her nose was filled with Daniel's scent, and she somehow couldn't summon the energy for anger. So she cupped his cheek in her palm instead, and watched him close his eyes and breathe in deep.



--------------


"God, give us love in the time that we have." - Iron and Wine, "On Your Wings"
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miralyn: hand on the dial home device (Default)
miralyn

November 2011

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