Daniel and Sam walked hand-in-hand down the deserted stretch of beach. Not another living creature was in sight, not even seabirds. Everything was quiet, even the waves of the ocean sounding muted.
Daniel looked down at Sam, and she gave him a smile, the bright smile of someone totally in love and totally happy. He felt that happiness fill his heart.
Suddenly, the ocean vanished, and the beach expanded, spreading out for as far as the eye could see. It grew dunes, the sand darkening to the rich gold of the desert.
Daniel turned to see Sha're standing before him, wearing the robes of her people. He felt the warmth of Sam's hand disappear from his, and he turned to see that she was gone. Sudden anxiety filled him, and he frantically looked around for her.
"Sam!" he called.
"Do not fear, my Dan'yel. She is still there."
Daniel turned back to his wife.
"She loves you very much," she said with a gentle smile. "And you have feelings for her."
Daniel shook his head. "It's you I love, Sha're. I will always love you."
Sha're brushed her fingertips down his cheek. "I know, my husband, but what you feel for her is strong as well." She rested a hand on his breastbone. "I can see it in your heart. But you think that you need to deny what your heart wants because of me." Her eyes gazed into his. "I do not want you to sacrifice your happiness for me, Dan'yel. I am gone, but she is here. She can give you what I cannot." Sha're pointed at something over Daniel's shoulder. "Go be with her, my love. She is your future." She touched his cheek again. "I am your past."
Daniel looked over his shoulder and saw a golden-haired figure in the distance. Recognizing it as Sam, Daniel turned fully toward her and took a step forward. . . .
With a little gasp, Daniel awoke. His eyes blinked open to the sight of a mass of blonde hair so close that wisps of it were brushing against his face. He lifted his head and discovered that he was spooned with Sam, their bodies touching from head to toe. The pitch of her breathing told him that she was still asleep. The hint of sunlight creeping in through the curtains told him that it was early morning.
Daniel rested his head back on the pillow and thought about the dream. It had felt so real, as if Sha're had really been there. He went back over her words in his mind. He knew that, if the dream had been real, they were words that she really would have said to him.
Daniel lifted his head again and looked down at Sam. She looked so peaceful and happy, a little smile turning up the corner of her lips. The sight made a smile curve his own lips. He placed a soft kiss on her shoulder. She stirred slightly, a little sigh of contentment rising out of her. He wondered if she was dreaming about him. It felt so good to have her there in his arms, her body fitted against his like a matching puzzle piece. If he chose to, he could have this all the time.
Very slowly so as not to awaken Sam, Daniel got out of the bed and slipped on his boxers. After relieving himself, he went into the living room. He lifted the curtain to look out the window as his thoughts went back to the subject of him and Sam. It was quite a while before he let the curtain fall back to cover the window. He returned to the bedroom and stared at Sam's sleeping form for a very long time. He then quietly got dressed and left the room.
Sam awoke from sleep with a little start. For a moment, confusion filled her mind, then all the memories of last night returned. She rolled onto her back to find the other side of the bed empty. The lack of Daniel's presence filled her with dread. Did he regret what happened? Was that why he left the bed?
The more Sam thought about it, the more positive she became that Daniel had decided that it was a mistake, and they had to put a stop to it. She could accept that. She could! She had known what she was getting into, including the possibility that their second time would be the last time. And what they'd already shared was far more than she'd ever have allowed herself to hope for before yesterday. She would treasure the memories for the rest of her life.
All of Sam's words to herself did no good. It still hurt, and there was no use in denying that. She got out of bed and put on her clothes. She then just stood before the closed door, summing up the courage to go out and face him.
After taking a deep, steadying breath, Sam opened the door and stepped out of the bedroom. Her eyes fell upon Daniel, who was at the dining table, staring quite intently into a cup of coffee.
"Um . . . hi."
Looking a little startled, Daniel lifted his head and stared at her.
"Hi. I didn't hear you get up."
Sam approached him, her trepidation building. "How long have you been up?"
"Around an hour or so. I've . . . been doing a lot of thinking."
Sam's gaze fell to the floor. Here they came, the words she didn't want to hear.
"You don't have to say it, Daniel," she suddenly blurted out. "I know that you're not going to want this to continue. I understand. Really I do. It's o—"
"Sam, stop," Daniel interrupted, getting to his feet. He walked up to her and took hold of her shoulders. "Is that what you think I was going to tell you?"
Sam was staring at his chest. "Yes."
Daniel gently took hold of her chin and lifted her head up so that he could meet her eyes. "Well, it's not."
Sam blinked in surprise. "It's not?"
"No. I don't want to end it, Sam."
"I was thinking about it. I laid awake for hours thinking about what I believed I should do and what I really wanted to do. I don't know what time it was when I finally got to sleep. And then I had a dream. You were in it, and so was Sha're. She told me what my heart has been saying for a while now. I just didn't want to listen to it. I finally decided to do so." Daniel looked into Sam's eyes intently. "I want to be with you, Sam, and I don't just mean sex."
Sam's heart rate quickened. "Daniel, what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that I want us to have a relationship, a real relationship."
Sam was so shocked that she just stood there, gaping at him.
"I know what you're thinking. This surprises me as much as it does you. After all the thought I put into it, I still don't understand it. Yet I can't deny that it's what I really want." He brushed his thumb across her lips. "Sam, I love you, not the same way that you love me, but I love you very much, and I want us to be a couple. I think we could make it work." He searched her eyes again. "But this has to be your choice, Sam. Is what I can give you enough for you?"
Sam really thought about it. Could she accept what Daniel was willing to give her and need nothing more? She would always want more. She wanted him to love her like she loved him. But wanting and needing were not the same thing, and the need to have what he was offering her was growing stronger by the moment. All she had to do for it to be hers was say one word.
Sam took a deep breath and spoke the word. "Yes."
Daniel lowered his mouth to Sam's in a kiss. It soon grew deep and possessive, the kiss of lovers claiming each other. It went on for quite some time.
As they separated, Sam met Daniel's eyes. "I love you."
"I love you, too," he responded, and though she knew that he was not talking about the same kind of love, it still made her feel good. What made her feel even better, though, was the smile he gave her. It was a happy smile, one that lit up his eyes. She hadn't seen him smile like that in a very long time.
Sam glided a fingertip over his lips. "I like seeing that."
"You smiling, really smiling. It's been too long since I saw it last."
"I guess I haven't had a lot of reasons to smile until now."
"Well, I intend to change that."
He gave her another smile, then pressed a second kiss to her lips.
"I am assuming that you're not going to work today," he said.
"Are you kidding? I'd have to have a hole in my head to even think about going to work. The three of us took a week's leave, and I intend to spend every day of the rest of mine with you."
Daniel grinned. "I was thinking the same thing."
"Mmm. Well, you know what they say."
"Great minds think alike," the two of them said at the same time. They then laughed.
After taking care of business in the bathroom, Sam joined Daniel in the kitchen, where they fixed breakfast. Just the simple act of fixing the morning meal with him made Sam feel happy.
They had just finished eating when Daniel's phone rang. Caller ID told him that it was Jack.
"Good morning, Jack."
"Hello. And how are you this fine morning?"
Daniel shot a look at Sam. "Um, all right," he said as he was thinking something else entirely. "So what's up?"
"Oh, nothing. I just thought we could get together for breakfast."
"Oh. I've already eaten. Sorry."
"Ah. How about lunch, then?" Jack asked.
Daniel looked at Sam. So much for spending the whole day with her.
"Um, I suppose we could do that. Is there some particular reason why you want to get together today?"
"Nope, just thought it would be nice. If you go off and leave us for new pastures, we're not gonna get to see you very often, you know."
The picture was now becoming clear to Daniel.
"I see," he said. "How about if we meet at Manny's Diner at one?"
"Sounds good. See you then."
Daniel disconnected the call and looked at Sam. "I am meeting Jack for lunch so that he can try to make me change my mind about leaving."
Sam blinked and stared at him. "He actually said that?"
"No, but what he did say led me to believe that. So let me guess. The plan was to spend the next two weeks doing everything in your power to get me to stay."
"Well, I wouldn't say that it was an actual plan. We didn't sit around the table and come up with a strategy." Sam searched Daniel's eyes. "Speaking of the move, I'm assuming that it's been cancelled."
"You assume correctly. I wasn't planning on this being a long distance relationship."
Sam smiled brightly. "That's great. I am so relieved. The colonel and Teal'c will be, too."
"Yes, but I don't plan on telling them right away. Jack would want to know why I so suddenly and quickly changed my mind."
"Yes, you're right about that. How long will you wait?"
"I'm thinking the full two weeks."
"Really? That's a long time to pretend that you're still considering moving."
Daniel thought about it. "True. And I'd have to put up with Jack thinking up all kinds of reasons why I should stay. You'll be going back to work on Tuesday, right?"
"Yes, but I don't know if the colonel will take all his leave time, too."
"Quite frankly, I'm hoping he doesn't. If he's at home with nothing to do, he's going to be calling me repeatedly and showing up here out of the blue, and that's going to mess up our plans of spending the rest of your leave time together."
"Well, you could always tell him to leave you alone."
"Yes, I could do that. I may have to. Anyway, what I was going to say is that I could invite all of you guys over on Monday night to give you the big announcement that I've decided to stay."
Sam nodded. "Sounds like a plan to me."
"I also think that it might be wise to spend the rest of the days at your place just in case Jack gets the idea to show up here unannounced."
"Good idea," Sam said, very much liking the thought of getting Daniel into her bed, something she'd been dreaming about for a long time.
The new lovers spent the rest of the morning on the couch in quiet conversation. Sam loved every minute of it. One thing was for sure. Communication would not be an issue in this relationship, unlike some others she'd been in. Now that they were a couple, Daniel was opening up like he never had before.
The one thing they did not talk about was Sha're. Daniel did not volunteer anything, and Sam was not about to ask.
Sam left at noon, telling Daniel that she'd see him at her place. Jack was already at the diner when the archeologist got there at one. They spent the first several minutes looking through the menu and placing their orders. The waitress had been gone for perhaps thirty seconds when Jack began to speak.
"You know, I've been doing a lot of thinking about this whole thing, and I think there's something you should consid—"
"Stop right there, Jack," Daniel interrupted. "I know what you're going to say."
Irritated, Jack glared at him. "How could you possibly know what I was going to say? Did you pick up mind-reading skills somewhere?"
"Okay, so I don't know exactly what you were going to say, but I know what the subject was. It was going to be some argument on why I shouldn't leave."
Jack paused. "Okay, so you got me there."
"Jack, you asked me to put another two weeks of thought into my decision, and I said that I would, but you have to let me come to that decision alone, no pestering, no thoughts for me to consider, no trying to make me change my mind."
"I just believe that you're not thinking everything through, Daniel."
"You may be right, but it's still my decision to make. So, right here, right now, you are going to agree not to talk about it with me anymore."
It took a long time for Jack to finally agree, and it was obvious that he was not happy about it.
"So is that the only reason why you wanted to meet with me?" Daniel asked.
"Well, kind of." Jack then added, "Not that I don't enjoy your dazzling company."
The two men spent the rest of their time together talking about this and that. Using the 'code speak' that they had developed for times when they were out in public, Jack told Daniel about a few things that were going on at the SGC and on some of the off-world missions.
"So, any plans for tonight?" Jack asked as they walked out of the diner.
"Um, yes, actually."
"Oh? Anything I might find interesting?"
'Oh, Jack. If you only knew,' Daniel silently replied. Aloud, he said, "I doubt it."
Jack waited for the archeologist to elaborate, but Daniel said nothing more. Wondering why the man was being so secretive, Jack said, "Well, maybe we can get together again sometime on Sunday."
"Sure. Perhaps we can all do something together."
"Yeah, that would be good. I'll call you tomorrow evening, and we can make plans."
"Okay. Talk to you later."
After packing a bag, Daniel headed over to Sam's house.
"So, were you right about the colonel's reason for meeting with you?" the astrophysicist asked.
"Yep. I shut him down right away and extracted a promise that he'd leave me be. Oh, we are all going to get together sometime on Sunday."
"Yes. It was either that or just me and Jack again. He'll be giving me a call Saturday evening to discuss it, so I'll need to be home to receive the call."
"Does this mean that you don't have to worry about him making any unplanned visits or calls?"
"Yes, I believe so, although, with Jack, you never know, which is why it would be best to stay here."
Sam grinned. "I agree. Hopefully, though, he'll leave you alone." She wrapped her arms around Daniel's neck. "I have plans for you."
Daniel put his arms around her waist. "You do, huh."
"Most definitely," she confirmed before taking Daniel's mouth with hers.
The "plans" included quite a bit of time spent in bed. That evening, they went out to dinner, and there was no denying that it was a date. Sam looked stunning, something that Daniel told her several times. He had always recognized that she was a very attractive woman, but she seemed so much more so to him now.
After dinner, they went for a long walk in a deserted park. They'd been walking for several minutes when Daniel said, "Sooner or later, we're going to have to tell Jack and Teal'c about us."
"Yes, I know."
Daniel paused for a long moment before speaking the next words. "They're going to think we're making a mistake."
Sam sighed. "You're probably right." The truth was that she was dreading the moment they'd have to tell Jack. She could just imagine the things he'd think and say. At that moment, she was actually glad that Daniel was no longer on SG-1. It would make the whole situation ten times worse if he was.
Having felt Sam tense up, Daniel stopped and turned to face her. "Sam, nothing that Jack nor anyone else thinks or says is going to change my mind about this. I want this, and I know that you do, too. That's all that matters to me."
Sam felt her dread ease. She pulled him into a tight hug. They then resumed walking.
"I think we should wait for a while before telling them," Daniel said.
A few more quiet minutes passed. It was again Daniel who broke the silence.
"The day before you guys arrived at the cabin, I went for a hike. The trail I chose turned out to be much steeper than I had anticipated. When it turned into an actual climb, I decided to turn around and go back. My foot slipped, and I fell. I managed to stop my fall by grabbing onto a bush, but in those scary seconds when I was falling, the thought of dying flashed through my head. It made me see that, even with everything that had happened, my will to live was still as strong as ever. That's when I knew I was going to be all right."
Sam studied his profile. "How are you doing, Daniel? I want an honest answer."
Daniel thought about it before replying. "I've reached the stage now where I try not to think about it. I fill my mind with other things. I know a lot of psychologists would say that's the wrong thing to do, that you need to confront and work through a problem in order to resolve it."
"But it hurts too much to do that," Sam finished.
Sam nodded. "After my mother died, I tried really hard not to think about it because, every time I did, I felt so horribly sad and lonely. Mom was my confidant, and, without her, I felt like I had no one to talk to. And what made it so much worse was that I blamed Dad for her death. It was more than a year before I stopped the avoidance, although, even after that, it really hurt to think about Mom being dead." She looked up at the archeologist. "So I do understand, Daniel."
Daniel stopped again and gathered Sam back in his arms. He rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes, as did Sam. They just stood there silently for a long moment. Sam was the first to open her eyes. When she did, she saw a lone tear slide down Daniel's cheek.
"Oh, Daniel," she murmured. She drew him closer, guiding his head down onto her shoulder. She ran her fingers through his hair soothingly. It was not long before he lifted his head and wiped away the few tears that had fallen.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"Daniel, you have nothing to apologize for. Do you think that, just because we're in a relationship now, I expect you to hide your grief over Sha're? If so, then you can get that right out of your head. I know you're still hurting, Daniel, and I don't want you to hide that from me."
Daniel gazed into her eyes. Then he cupped her face in his hands and softly kissed her. The smile he gave her expressed his gratitude.
"You make it better," he told her. "Sometimes, it still hurts so much, but then I think about you, about what we share now, and the pain fades. You make me feel like . . . like there are things to really look forward to, like I can be happy again." He looked at her intently. "I don't feel alone anymore."
Overjoyed by his words, Sam pressed her lips against his, then smiled into his eyes.
"You have no idea how wonderful that makes me feel," she said.
"Come on," Daniel said. "Let's go home."
Liking the fact that he'd referred to her place as home, Sam walked with him back to his car.
That night, they made love very slowly, learning how to bring each other the most pleasure. They fell asleep wrapped in each other's arms and woke up the next morning the same way.
Sam was busy blow-drying her hair after her shower when Daniel came into the bedroom. When she saw him, she turned the blow dryer off and set it down. He walked up to where she stood before the full length mirror and put his arms around her from behind. Their eyes met in the mirror. His hand came up and caressed her cheek. Her eyes closed with pleasure at the touch. She felt him place a kiss on the other cheek. Then he nuzzled her neck, placing a kiss there as well. It felt so good, so perfect.
"I wish it could be just the two of us for the whole weekend," he murmured.
Daniel released the top button of Sam's blouse and pushed it and bra strap off her right shoulder. He then began pressing kisses all the way from her neck to the tip of her shoulder. He wanted to strip off her clothes and kiss her everywhere. The only other woman he'd ever felt this powerful an attraction to was Sha're. Again, he wondered how these feelings could have grown so quickly, but, this time, he chose not to think about it. Instead, he turned Sam around and pulled her into a deep kiss. Their hands began gliding over each other's bodies, not enough to elicit arousal but enough to make them both feel the potential.
"This feels good," Daniel murmured.
"Mmm. Very good." Sam took Daniel's mouth again, finding that she was already addicted to it. She could kiss him forever.
Their tongues played, teasing and exploring with the curiosity of new lovers. At one point, they just stood there, open mouths hovering mere millimeters apart.
"I have to say that you are one hell of a kisser, Doctor Jackson," Sam said.
"Likewise, Major Carter."
Daniel gave her a final kiss, then left the bedroom. Sam turned back to the mirror and studied her reflection, seeing the heightened color of her cheeks and the bright sparkle in her eyes. She felt so alive. Was this how Daniel had been with Sha're? Had he made her feel this way?
That thought led to others, ones that dimmed her positive feelings. What if Daniel's desire to be with her was nothing more than a reaction to his grief over the loss of Sha're? When the grief faded, would that desire also fade? Was this some kind of rebound thing?
Not wanting to think about that, Sam resumed drying her hair.
Over breakfast, the couple talked about how they should spend the day. In the end, they decided to take a trip to the Garden of the Gods, a place neither of them had been to in quite a while.
They spent hours wandering down the paths winding through the natural beauty of the place. When their arms weren't about each other, they were holding hands. Anyone watching them would be positive that they were madly in love.
After leaving the park, they went to a matinee. Daniel left the choice of movies up to Sam, and she picked a romantic comedy. Afterwards, they returned to Sam's place.
"Well, I guess I'd better get home," Daniel said. "I'm not sure what time Jack's going to call."
Sam nodded. She pulled Daniel into an embrace and kissed him. "I'm going to miss having you in my bed tonight."
"I'm going to miss being there."
They kissed again, then Daniel gathered up his things.
As the archeologist stepped into his apartment a while later, he was struck by the feeling of emptiness again. Before, it had been because of Sha're's death and his subsequent loneliness. This time it was because, after spending virtually every hour of the day and night in Sam's company, he'd gotten used to being with her. He'd really enjoyed that time with her, and he was looking forward to more of the same.
For the first time in quite a while, Daniel's more logical self spoke up and wondered if this could really keep going. He could not deny the things that Sam made him feel, but would those feelings last? He didn't want to think about the possibility that these new emotions would someday fade, leaving him only with the grief and guilt, the feelings that were still there every time he thought about Sha're and the fact that he'd never see her again.
The call from Jack came shortly after dinner. The two men discussed things for a while and decided that a trip to Denver sounded good.
"Of course, Carter may already have plans for the day," Jack said.
"No, she doesn't. I already talked to her."
"Good. Obviously, Teal'c has no plans. How that man keeps from being bored is something I'll never know. I'll give him a jingle and let him know about our plans. You'll call Carter?"
After hanging up with Jack, Daniel placed the call to Sam and told her what had been decided.
"Sounds like fun," she said. She then smiled. "So, do you think the colonel will manage to make it through the whole day without breaking his agreement not to pester you about the move?"
"That I don't know. It'll be interesting to see."
Sam paused. "I've been thinking."
"There really is no reason why we have to spend tonight alone. I could come over to your place."
"The problem is that Jack's going to be picking both of us up so that we can all go in one car."
"Then I'll just have to leave early."
Daniel didn't have to think about it for long. "Okay."
"Great! I'll throw some things in a bag and be right over."
She arrived half an hour later. They spent what was left of the evening watching TV.
That night, Daniel and Sam were content just to be in each other's arms. Daniel was the first one to fall asleep, and Sam spent a long time just watching him, marveling over how her life had changed. She wanted to soak all this happiness up into her soul and never let it go. Deep down inside, she knew that this thing with Daniel might not last forever, but she was going to cling to it for as long as she could.
With her thoughts on what the days ahead with Daniel would bring, Sam drifted off to sleep.
I should imagine that some of you believe what Daniel and Sam are doing is somewhat out of character. I am, however, basing their decisions on things that actually happened in the series. In Past and Present, Daniel became extremely attracted to Ke'ra even though not much time had passed since Sha're's death. If it had not turned out that she was actually Linea, I suspect that he would have gotten into a relationship with her. Though I have doubts that the relationship would have lasted long, this episode showed that it was not against his nature to do something like that. As for Sam, the whole thing with Pete shows that she will leap into a relationship with someone even though wisdom might recommend otherwise. Sam really hadn't resolved the issue with Jack and apparently still felt things for him all the time that she was dating then engaged to Pete, yet she kept right on going forward with the relationship, determined that she was going to make it work no matter what. The above examples make me believe that what is now happening in this story is not really all that far-fetched.