The Prize


 

The race was long, and his legs were screaming for relief; but pushing on was the only option – losing to SG-5 was not.

Most called the five-mile race dumb and childish; in fact it was if you looked on from the outside. But to those eight teams who participated, it was another badge to gloat about. Okay, for another thing for Jack O’Neill to gloat about.

Daniel saw the next line just around the corner. Teal’c, Jack and Sam were all waiting for him to tag Teal’c who was going to complete the final leg in the journey. Along the side was the ever-moving crowd of on lookers – all SGC personnel since they raced on the Alpha Site, a stipulation Jack had made. Something about cleaner air, Daniel remembered.

Pressing on, Daniel sprinted the last few feet, his eyes on Teal’c’s outstretched hand, and Sam encouraging nods, begging his legs to continue and not make him stumble.

“Common!” Jack yelled, waving his arms about incase Daniel could not see him. Geez, Daniel was almost there.

“Go!” Daniel said breathlessly handing the baton over to Teal’c who began his leg of the race. Doubled over, pleading with his lungs to let in oxygen, he barely noticed Jack talking to Sam.

When he did finally stand up straight, he found he was looking into Sam’s deep blue eyes, and he thought there was a slight twinkle in them. “Jack?”

“Gone to the finish line. He said we could join him there, as if we would miss beating SG-5 for the second time in a row! You good?”

“Ya. Walk or transport?”

“Preference?”

“Walk. Fresh air, maybe some water. Beautiful day.”

Nodding, Sam started walking toward the path that the other onlookers had traveled 15 minutes earlier, when the last spectator greeted the runners at the four-mile mark. Slowly trailing behind, Daniel took the opportunity to enjoy Sam’s presence, something he did fully when there was no serious threat. And were else would be “threat free” then the Alpha site? Made sense to Daniel – damn what Jack says about being on guard.

“That was a good time for you, Daniel, “ Sam said.

“Good time for me? What do you mean?” he asked playfully.

Sam turned and shook her head, smiling. “It was better then what Jack had said you would be coming in on.” She laughed and squeezed his arm, eyes widening a bit. “Wow, you have built up.”

“How do you think I had such good time?” Daniel asked, laughing. He smiled again and looked her over, “I’ve noticed you have been in the gym more too.”

“Well, have to make sure I can keep up with you guys,” she said.

“Whatever, I’m sure you can still beat us up. Look at how well you had Major Jones in the dust.”

“Cross country has always come easy. I mainly am concerned with…” she paused. She looked at Daniel who was still looking at her expectantly. “Other things.”

“Ah,” Daniel nodded. Smiling awkwardly, he softly said, “I don’t think you have to worry about that.”

“Oh, I may look fine now, but I see those a few years older, and it makes me hit the weights even harder.”

“I would not worry about that, Sam. You will look just as beautiful then,” Daniel said quietly.

Sam cocked her head and looked at him. Hands stuffed in the BDU pants, black short sleeves showing his muscular arms that she tried to avoid looking at every time he wore short sleeves; his head was low concentrating on the path ahead. A blush had started to appear, and was slowly creeping down his neck. “I think that’s the best thing anyone has said to me in … years.”

Daniel looked at her for a moment. “Well I’m sorry that it took so long for you to hear it again.”

“It’s hard being ‘the girl’. I forget that I can be just ‘me’ with you guys. I particularly can relax especially with you, Daniel. Thanks,” Sam said, giving him a side hug. His right arm came around her and squeezed back. They walked on with their arms around each other, feeling relaxed. “You think I am beautiful?” she asked very quietly.

Meeting her eyes, he nodded slowly and thoughtfully. “Yes. You have always been very beautiful to me.”

Sam melted into his side. “Why do you have to be so romantic and my best friend?”

“Would you want me to choose?”

“No, then I would not have the full Daniel Jackson experience. So I would get a romantic man, but would loose my best friend, and the other way I would loose the romantic gestures that a man who is my best friend would do. I could not live with out either,” Sam said looking up to him.

“You think that is the ‘full Daniel Jackson experience?’” his eyes twinkled as he said that. Looking around he stopped her. “What if I said that there was an element that was missing from the experience?”

“You’re toying with me,” Sam said crossing her arms, biting back the smile on her lips.

“No, not toying with you. This last element combines the best friend aspect and romantic. You want to know what it is?” he raised his eyebrow, challenging her.

Sam looked at him, catching the fire in his eyes. She could not let him go unchallenged; he had piqued her curiosity once more. “Fine. What is it?” Letting the smile dance across her lips, she waited.

He closed the gap and looked at her then tentatively placed a hand on her cheek, letting his thumb trail over her chin a bit. Daniel mirrored the smile on his own lips and brought them to her forehead. Hearing her begin to protest he brought his other hand up and cupped her face, placing a finger over her lips. “You have to be quiet, Sam,” he said quietly. He kissed her forehead once more and then the tip of her nose. A giggle escaped and he leaned back to see her eyes closed. Once more searching her face, he took his fingers off her lips and captured them with his own.

It was exactly how he had imagined – no, better then he imagined. She tasted of coffee, chocolate – two things he knew he could not live without either – but most of all it tasted like Samantha, the beautiful woman who wore the military garb as her life, but was still the woman he knew was in every career military female. She responded by slipping her arms around his neck, pulling against him, deepening the kiss further. He left a hand in her hair and let the other trail along her back, resting gently on the hollow of her back.

He intended it to be a simple kiss, one that would make her realize he was not blind to her, but she kissed him as if she had been waiting for this moment too. It quickly awakened a new hunger in him as he pushed her closer, feeling her long fingers caress the back of his neck. It suddenly mattered very much that Sam knew how he had longed for her, ached for her, cried for her.

“Sam,” he moaned as their lips parted for a moment.

“You have to be quiet, Daniel,” Sam murmured back. She opened her eyes and he once more went swimming in the blue orbs. “No talking. Just this.”

She held him close, not daring to move her hands much; afraid one move may cause clothing to suddenly come off. He did the same as their lips, tongues and love joined once more. It was a sudden passion on both their parts and nothing in Heaven or on the Alpha site – or even Earth – could sing a song as wonderful as theirs as they stood in the forest, very much more then best friends. They were kissing like lovers, like two humans who had the deepest love for each other, like their lives depended on the kiss.

Five months later they kissed again, having beat SG-5 and having to explain to both Jack and General Hammond why they missed the end of the race. Daniel pulled back and opened his eyes slowly, savoring every moment. He cupped the face of the woman who had realized he was more then just a romantic best friend; he was now a romantic husband. Sam too opened her eyes, looking at the man she would gladly commit to hundred of lifetimes over.

“Excellent timing, Daniel,” Sam whispered as they walked down the aisle, past the smiling faces of friends, co-workers and family.

“I have always keep my eyes on the prize I want. And you are worth much more then some darn trophy,” Daniel said, kissing her once more.