I woke up to a beeping sound. Blinking, I saw I had fallen asleep at my desk, my hand on the keyboard. The computer was protesting to this invasion. I was protesting to the invasion it had made into my sleep.

I grabbed my small toiletry bag I kept in my office and walked down to the bathroom, feeling the intense need to scrub my face. Looking myself over in the mirror I took off any make-up that had clung on from the previous day and reapplied it. I don't know why I bother; most days I am in my lab, see the boys, and am tinkering with machines... not impressing the male population of Earth. Or the galaxy.

"Good morning, Colonel," Lt. Stacey Mick said as she also began to apply her make-up.

"Good morning, Lieutenant."

"Ready for the dance tonight, ma'am?" she asked, putting on half the blush that was enough to supply a third world - no matter what world - country.

"Oh that's tonight; slipped my mind." I looked at myself in the mirror. It was tonight, the 14th. "I need to go home and pick up my dress," I said more to myself.

"It should be fun; I can't wait! Who do you think is your admirer?" she asked.

"Oh... I don't know. I like surprises though. See you tonight," I said, packing my bag up.

She returned my small wave and started to apply eye shadow. I can see why Daniel is not fond of mauve.

* * *

The day passed quickly. A few meetings, a few more folders to sign, Landry telling us that we would be going off on another 'quick' mission in two days and me packing. I packed a day in advance if I could for missions. You never know when something gets pushed up the docket and you had to be on the other side of the gate yesterday.  I looked down at my list of things to do and ticked off the second to last thing. I had managed to sneak two presents over to Daniel - one in his office, the other in the team mailroom. I still had nothing. The last thing was to go home and get my dress; really I can't believe I forgot that yesterday morning.

The drive was relaxing and I knew what I wanted to wear so that helped. Within the hour I was back on base, changing. I slipped on my red open toe shoes and stood back, smoothing my pink dress down. Cassie had bought it for Christmas and had sent it to my house, saying it would be perfect for true love. Well what's better then Valentine's Day? I tied the small red ribbon that was attached at the waist and smiled. I thought it looked very... festive. Or very lovely, since it is Valentine's. I put the two more clips in my hair and felt ready go to the party. I had my dancing shoes on, love was in the air, and I had my last present firmly in my grasp.

Now it was just to find out who was my secret admirer.

* * *

It would not be a lie when I said that everyone was here. Landry was in a suit, boomer jacket slung over a chair nearby; Dr. Lam was sitting with two SG-7 men. Dr Lee was standing alone, but looked like he was talking to himself; Dr. Felgner was talking to Chloe his assistant. Daniel was sitting next to one of his assistance - Dr. Liz MacDuff - and another from his department, Lina, was talking to some of the other historians. I spotted Fiona talking animatedly with Dr. DeBarr and several other infirmary personnel. Cam was watching the food and would talk to the caterer, Antoinette, every time she came by his side. Teal'c was looking around happily in his Chulak robes. I turned and surveyed the room once more, spotting the tables and the arrangements.

I started in the direction of the first table, wondering how they placed everyone. I rounded my third table, now hunting with Dr. MacDuff for our seats.

"Why do they insist on such a formal setting?" she asked as she shook her head once more. Her eyes flitted over the white clothed tables. "Really, wouldn't it be better to have them all ... I don't know... thrown together?"

"I don't know, it looks pretty thrown together; they have Teal'c sitting with the scientists. I saw Cam's name over near the front by Landry and Carolyn. Now if we can find ourselves," I said, shifting the bag from one hand to anther.

"May I be of service?" Daniel asked, placing his hand gently on my back.

"Do you know where we are sitting?" Liz asked, now looking at her empty wine glass.

"With me of course," Daniel said beaming. "Come on, let's sit down."

Liz followed us and then set her purse on her chair and joined Cam to fill her glass. I smiled as Daniel held out my chair and sat beside me. He looked great in a dark gray suit and a blue shirt and a darker blue tie.

"You look nice."

"Thanks, but next to you I look shabby," Daniel whispered back. I blushed and looked at the centerpiece. The red roses and baby's breath seemed to sparkle next to the small white candles, making the silver confetti hearts sparkle too.

Soon we all settled around the table and soon were being served a very nice dinner. Felgner and Chloe, Liz and one of the guards Airman McKintly, joined Daniel and I. Landry had made a small speech, and soon there was a low rumble of voices as al the tables talked amongst themselves. Liz was laughing at something Chloe had told her and was soon leaning over to another table to pick up some more jokes from Cam. Soon our whole table was erupting in laughter and the tables to our left were looking at us as if they wished to know our secrets.

"Attention, attention!" a scruffy looking Captain said, was clinking his knife against his glass.

"I can see that thing cracking the glass," Daniel muttered, and once more we were laughing.

"On behalf of the Historical Preservation and Collections Department, I want to welcome you to the Fifth Annual Paint the Halls Red Exchange. For the past week you have been sending and receiving some amazing gifts, and some not so amazing..."

"I love my whoopee cushion!" someone shouted. A ripple of laughter followed.

"And some that were not suppose to be amazing, but seemed to be perfect anyway. Tonight is the night you get to have your last gift given and received! After, you are free to move the party next door to the dance floor!" Clapping now went across the room. Everyone got up at once. I was lucky enough to be sitting next to the one I had admired.

"Looks like a zoo," Daniel commented as he looked around.

"It always is with these things. Luckily I don't have to go so far," I said, also looking around.

He caught my eye as I turned to him. "You need me to look for the lucky guy?"

I shrugged. "If you want. He's about ... oh 6feet, brown hair, and blue eyes. He sometimes wears his glasses, but tonight he's not, so it might be harder to locate him."

"Did you see what he is wearing," Daniel asked as he craned his neck to look around. He was so cute being clueless.

"I saw he's wearing a nice dark gray suit, a blue shirt," I paused as he lowered his eyes and an eyebrow inched upward. "A very nice dark blue tie."

"Me?" he asked softly, pointing to himself.

"He goes by the name of Daniel, and your Daniel, so ... ya." I smiled as he laughed.

"You had me as your exchange partner?" I nodded and he laughed again. "Really I think these things are rigged."

It was my turn to ponder what he meant.

"I'm looking for a beautiful lady with short, slightly ruffled blonde hair, bright blue eyes. Tonight she is looking radiant in a light pink dress with a lovely red bow," he smiled as I felt my jaw slacken. "Perhaps you know her?" he asked, leaning to whisper in my ear.

"Oh this is so rigged," I said, laughing.

"Hey sorry to break up the party, but Fiona said she never sent me a poster, she was actually kind of mad when I told her about the bear. Know anything about the poster?" Cam asked, butting between us.

I held up a hand slightly. "I did that. All me," I said grinning.

"Oh that was mature Carter, really mature," Cam said rolling his eyes.

"And ripping a bear up was?" a voice asked from behind Cam. Cam turned and I saw Fiona dabbing at her eyes.

"I did not rip it..." Cam started.

"You are so cruel!"

"Hey it made Teal'c laugh."

Her eyes rounded and she looked quickly around to locate the offender. "Oh Mitchell really. Give Teal'c a warning first," Daniel said. "She maybe petite, but she looks really ready to take on all the Marines, and win."

Cam shrugged. "It's true. I'll see if I can get to him before she does. Either one of you seen Lina? I have her last gift." He lifted a small wrapped box and did not wait for us to answer before wadding over to Teal'c.

"Where were we?" Daniel asked.

"We were going to exchange our last gifts," I said, lifting my bag up.

"Mauve. Nice. I should have known," Daniel chuckled. He sat down as he took out the blue tissue paper. "Oh wow, thanks, Sam." He flipped the small leather tool holder open and laid it on the table. "I needed a new one, the other one I keep loosing tools because it has holes in it."

"I figured you are an archeologist and sometimes you bring your tools, might as well have a nice looking case." I smiled as he hugged me and said 'thank you' again.

"Well this," he pulled out a long box and held it, "goes perfect with what you are wearing." He opened the box and I gave a small gasp. A beautiful silver heart was interlaced with red heart and a blue sapphire was the flower pedal on the flower that interlaced the hearts. Daniel lifted it from the box and walked around me and placed it on my neck. "I saw this and thought it was perfect. The heart is for the love and dedication you put into your work, relationships and anything else you do. The blue flower is because, even so you are a soldier, you are still soft and feminine; blue because of your blue eyes."

"And the other heart?" I asked fingering the necklace.

A blush crept into his cheeks as he slowly met my eyes. "More than the endless cups of coffee, the endless cookie runs and late night talks. More than way you make me see things differently, more then the way you can make me laugh so easily. More then even our friendship; you have my heart. We have a connection - we are intertwined - we have the same passion - the red heart - and we share the same need of calm in our life - the blue."

"I like the second explanation better," I managed to choke out. Tears had welled up and were slowly falling down my cheeks.

Daniel wiped them away and gave a small smile. "Me too, Sam. Me too."

* * *

"...Calvin is saying that the flowers are not from him... but I know that they are. Girls know that sort of thing," Cassie said. "Shauna got a big teddy bear from her boyfriend, and David broke up with his girlfriend, only to ask him to marry him. They are engaged now. Umm.... Oh, Steve took his sister out and they saw her looser boyfriend being kicked out of a club." Cassie giggled. "Ok, enough about me... how did it go?"

"I'm glad I accepted your dare. I really special each time I went to my mailbox and found something in there. And the flowers and candy wee really nice," I said, tucking the blanket around me.

"So are you have a new boy for the year?" Cassie asked, practically jumping even through the phone.

I rolled my eyes. My fingers went to my neck where the necklace lay. "I don't know. I do know I have a not so secret admirer now."

"Who? Who?" Cassie squealed.

"That is a secret."

"Sam!" Cassie begged.

"Maybe you'll get a hint."

"When? Oh man, Sam, you are killing me here!"

"He's the kinda guy who believes sending roses and candy should not be confined to one day," I said, smiling at my new bouquet beside my fresh coffee.

"Oh I am calling Daniel now - he will tell me," Cassie said with glee in her voice.

"You can try, but I don't think he is one to kiss and tell. I have to go, Cassie, thanks for the great Valentine's present." I hung up and looked at the man sitting next to me. "You don't kiss and tell do you?"

"Shall we find out?" Daniel asked, grinning. I'm sure Cassie would be in heaven to know who was my present.

I know I was. It seems like you have to get pricked by some thorns before you got to the rose. For all I care, Valentine's can come tomorrow, and the next day, and the next�



* * *
Back to Stories

Like it? No? Tell me!  Please?