It still was amazing to see how fast she worked. Well not her, as in her body, but her as in her mind, Jack conceded. He felt himself go dizzy again as she once more started talking. He nodded and turned, walking back to his seat, letting Daniel entertain her. He could keep up, which, Jack silently mused, was the reason he always wondered why they hadn’t done anything. Of course he himself hadn’t helped matters in flirting with Sam through the years, teasing around some fantasy – his mainly – which had died a while back, and they hadn’t quite made it formal that it was dead, long dead.
But they had done some talking, just Sam and he, and now, he felt, there was the wonderful freeness in the opportunities that not holding on to a dead dream presented. And as Sam and Daniel began their ‘pointing and nodding enthusiastically’ part of their discussion, Jack hoped Sam would go after what was right infront of her all along.
Was there anything between us?
If Sam said that line never came to her mind almost hauntingly, she would be lying. Worse than lying: she would be denying some piece of her soul. It was so long in the past, so many years of holding on to the question, she sometimes wondered if it would have been wrong to not have hesitated, looked him in the eyes and tell him…
Why do we wait so long to tell those around us how we feel?
Sam snapped her eyes open and stared at the gray ceiling. It was so faraway. Why did she feel she needed to say something? They had become different people from the wide-eyed kids – and after ten years it seemed as if they had had been kids back then – that oogled at each other because they finally had met an equal who wasn’t afraid to follow every twist and turn that logic and the argument could think up. They were different from the two friends who would spend every moment of every hour basking in the glow of interesting and stimulating discourse.
Sometimes best of friends make the best of lovers, Jack had said when they had finally talked about the other frightening thing in her life: them. But Jack had cracked a joke about being her father in some respects, and had laughed about where in ten years they would be.
“One foot in the grave is where I would be, Carter.”
She had smiled and cut quickly to point out the fact that he may already have a foot in the grave. He had looked at her and slapped her on the back, as if she was his buddy, not a potential woman to drag to his bed.
So it had ended, just as it should have, and they moved on, yet the parting line still haunted her and fit into the matrix of her aching wonder of whether it was true and if she should say anything. Say what? That maybe, perhaps, a most definite yes… to what?
“For being so smart, you sure are stupid,” she whispered into the darkness. No more sleep would come to her overworked mind, and she decided to get an early start with her work. Distractions had always worked before.
Daniel flipped through the books on this shelf, looking for a particular one, which for the life of him – or a few at his rate – he couldn’t remember the name of. He moved to the next shelf and pulled out a dark tan colored book, and frowned. Perhaps he didn’t correctly remember what the book looked like. He took the book to the small seat he had beside a reading lamp and flipped it open.
“Oh my,” he breathed as he took in the contents. It was the photo album the team had made documenting SG-1’s years of adventures and the one-year he was ascended. The smiling faces, the team nights, and the late night coffee runs – he flipped and couldn’t help but feel the loss of it somehow.
Putting the book back on the shelf, Daniel ran his fingers through his hair, standing in the middle of his office trying to get the thoughts and feelings back into the disciplined order he had worked to keep them in. But the stray thought of how amazing it was to talk to Sam like in the old days crept in, and he began to smile.
He had always had a special place for Sam in his heart, and it had grown dangerously to more than just friendship, even when he was still desperately searching for his wife. Who could resist the wonderful mind of Samantha Carter, he had wondered. Who wouldn’t want her by his side?
Jack seemed to get to her first. But after Sha’re, Daniel wasn’t ready to move on, and it seemed as if the opportunity to have his best friend be by his side, to have anyone really, had slipped from his hands.
Daniel shook his head sharply; this was not the time, nor the place to be thinking, even in the confines of his own mind, about his friend and teammate. He got up and clicked off the light, moving down the hall, putting distance between his emotions and the photos. Of course it always was temporary; they were on the same team, after all.
The klaxons sounded and Daniel sighed, replacing the cup he was ready to fill with coffee. Another day at the office, another day to put his feelings on the shelf.
Sam sat on the other side of the table from Daniel and tried to study her pancakes with great care; how she longed to have Janet still alive and have someone to confide in.
“Are you sure there is nothing wrong?” Daniel asked, worry, almost desperation,in his voice.
“Yeah, just preoccupied.” Sam paused in her mutilation of her pancake. “I mean, we just erased 50 years, 50 years that were…” Sam shook her head. “No, I’m okay.”
“You are a bad liar, Sam. Poker you are good at, lying you are not. Never understood that,” Daniel said. Sighing he let his hand hover over hers that was clutching the coffee mug. Letting the hand fall, he squeezed. “That was those 50 years, Sam. Perhaps they were really bad 50 years.” He paused again, and added softly, “If you need me, you know where I will be.”
Daniel left, and the spot where his hand rested on hers was burning hot, much like the tears that were slowly running down her cheek. Oh how she wished she could just tell someone. Have someone know she was in love with her best friend, no matter how distant.
Sam caught a glimpse of his smile as she turned to wipe her tears. It was a sad, deeply emotional smile, which hovered over his lips as he turned to watch her before disappearing through the doorway.
Jack paused in the doorway to the storage room turned Asgard knowledge holding area. Daniel was pinching the bridge of his nose and turning to a notebook as Jack took two strides into the room.
“So you think Carter could have replicated a lake for me to fish in for 50 years if I would have come with?” Jack paused and looked down. “Wow that sounded Star Trek-ish. Perhaps I should pop in some more Simpson’s to temper that.”
“I’m sure you would have found a good distraction, Jack,” Daniel said at last.
“Ya, but would I have been able to get you, Teal’c, Hank, Mitchell, Vala, and Carter to join me?” Jack asked, raising his pointer finger. Daniel turned back to his books, and Jack lowered his hand. “Either way it would have been a bummer to have you and Carter avoiding each other.”
“I doubt we avoided each other.”
“Then why did it take 50 years for Carter, who we both know is smarter than most of the… well she is damn smart, to come up with the solution?”
“I don’t know, Jack, perhaps we just got distracted. Perhaps we were working on different solutions. I don’t know why,” Daniel said, turning the Asgard crystals once more. “We will never know why it took so long.”
“Maybe you finally told her how you felt and discovered she felt the same,” Jack supplied. “You were distracted in another way.”
Daniel turned around slowly and faced Jack. He lifted sad eyes to Jack and shook his head. “We will never know.”
“… But I know if I can just move on, really move on, I will be okay.” Sam paused and shook her head slightly. “You know?”
Sam looked down at the little dog in her lap and patted its head. “I know. You are not one to care about such silly things. You don’t know how it feels to find love and lose it. All you know is that I am now the one who feeds and walks you.” She smoothed the fur on the dog and smiled again. “To be ignorant of such feelings.”
A knock on the door gave Sam a startle, and the dog, which was Cassie’s and named Doc, started yapping and heading to the door. Sam managed to catch the small creature and hold him under her arm as she opened the door.
“Daniel?” Daniel stood on her porch, hands stuffed into his sweater, toeing at her welcome mat. “Come in.”
“I didn’t want to disturb you. I know you are taking care of Cassie’s dog while she is on vacation. And it’s not like we get to relax often anyway…” he paused, and then apologized. “I’m rambling.”
“It’s okay. I made some coffee, and there is some cheesecake in the fridge if you want some.”
Daniel stood for a moment not looking at her, and then slowly, as if afraid to look her in the eyes, allowed his clear blue eyes to meet hers. “Yeah, I think that sounds great.” He stroked the dog still in her arms and then followed Sam into the kitchen.
Together they sat in silence, studying each other while glancing away. A few times they caught each other’s eyes, almost surprised about being caught looking, almost saying the very things the glances portrayed.
There was something on the surface; years of friendship had made them almost as one. But it was beyond the surface and the emotions that it stirred, which was what confused them. The word was deeper than admiration, deeper then respect, deeper then soul mates. It was called love, yet even the two most brilliant minds couldn’t utter the words to each other, not even after years of holding it in their hearts.
“I respect her.” Pause. “A lot.”
“What you mean is that you care for her more than you should.” A long sigh and then a pause. “Right?”
“I respect her, Jack.”
“You love her, Daniel. Just finally admit it out loud to yourself. You know it in your heart, but you are too thick headed to ever vocalize it.” He shook his head. “You brilliant types just baffle me.”
Jack left the room, leaving Daniel to peer at himself in the mirror, wondering if it was true. Was he too thick headed to admit that he … loved his best friend? No, he finally realized. He was too thick headed to admit it to her.
Splashing water on his face, he turned off the water and joined the rest of the team at their table in the restaurant, trying to stay calm as he slid beside Sam. Cam finished a joke and the rest of the team laughed. Daniel couldn’t help but notice how Sam’s eyes sparkled a bit more as she laughed.
Daniel looked at Jack and smiled.
It still amazed him how slow the two of them could be. Both their minds and bodies, Jack added. He had set up a few dinners for the two scientists, yet it was if they had to be handed a decipher code to go with it all. Not even the special walnut cookies clued them in. Jack gave up. Sam was free to express her feelings toward Daniel, and visa versa, and it seemed as if maybe, slowly, things were coming together. But the nice smiles and the glances were still held in place. The years of them being secretly in love, having perfected the boxing away of their hearts, seemed to take a bit longer tofall away.
But, as Jack pulled away from Sam’s house after another wild night of drinking with his old teammates, he was sure that Daniel would finally make a move. They were both bad liars, and it was now time for them to come clean.