|She Is Not Her
The Illustrated Drabble
|"To have a connection like that... it must have been intense."
"It was... interesting. I could feel her around me - in me - but she would not let me return the favor."
His eyebrows shot up. "You wanted to 'return the favor'?"
His cheeks turned bright red and he looked away. "I had to find a way to stop her."
"I'm sure that was really what you had in mind," he said, sipping at his beer.
"She's my best friend Jack."
"Don't let that stop you."
"She was not her."
"But she had her memories."
"And her feelings," he said softly.
|"I'm glad you are ok," Jack said after a beat. "She never let us wander down the path that you would not come back."
He hesitated. "Damn it, Daniel. You were on an enemy ship. I was in charge of this place. As much as I worried, I could not let it rule me."
"You're a good commander because of that," Daniel said, sitting on the couch. "When she was gone... I may have been calm on the outside, but I was screaming in pain on the inside."
He looked up sharply. "You know? You knew?"
|"I was frozen, not dead," Jack said plainly. "Besides, there's been a connection. Always."
"I felt like she was there, Jack. But I was only looking at an enemy that had her face, her memories."
"You're right, she was not like her. Ours has no need to dominate the world."
"But why has she been acting strangely lately?"
"The short sleeves, the way she looks around at the guys. Did you see the leather she has been wearing?"
"Can't say I have. Of course I don't - can't - see her like that."
"Maybe it's what I went through. I notice."
|"She's been through a lot, even before this."
"She has Pete."
"I hear she has been clinging like a scared girl."
Daniel looked up sharply. "She is strong."
"She is not superwoman. She is human, ya know."
"She had not come by to ask any questions."
"She's scared, Daniel. Does not want to know what happened; what you know."
"And you know this..."
"Because I ordered her to tell me," Jack said smiling. "Well maybe not a full order..."
"I'm a bear. But she does not need me."
"I don't know how she feels."
"You said you felt her."
|Daniel looked at the bottle still in his hands. "I may have felt her, but I was not totally sure it was not her trying to use me."
"It will eat you alive if you don't find out."
"I can't find out. Like I said she has Pete, I am second fiddle. I'm not sure I am even invited to the band practices anymore."
Jack gave his friend a pitied look. "Carter isn't going to be able to keep it all together. I think Pete is a distraction. The change in her is a reaction to the stress."
|"She is under stress, but there is no need to not see her."
"I can't look in her eyes, Jack. I see something... different."
"Talk to her. I'm sure she can help you get past it."
"Why? Why should I talk to a woman who - on some level - wants to manipulate me?"
Jack almost shouted, but he placed his bottle down with a clink to emphasis his words. "You said she was not her."
Daniel closed his eyes and nodded. "Why did she have to give me a glimpse of something I can't have? It was more than a tease."
|Jack eyed Daniel. There was more to the story, the way he sat defeated. Jack needed to point out the connection - deeper and more real than what the replicator had shown Daniel, whatever she had shown him. Carter and Daniel always just had... a connection. There was no way else to say it.
He watched Daniel's blue eyes roam the room, landing on a picture of the team at the last birthday party. She was next to Daniel, arm around him and giving him a look, and a private smile. There was more to Carter and Daniel than others saw.
|"What was it?"
Daniel shook his head. Jack asked again.
"A nice home in town. Land. Lots of books and beautiful furniture; and a haunting laughter of a child. Our child, Jack. That is not the Sam I know. She would not want me like that."
Jack leaned forward. Earnestly he said, "What makes you think so?"
"She looks at him that way."
"Pete is a substitute. Your connection is stronger than some replicator messing with you. I for one can see the dream come true."
"Jack. How can I know?" Daniel whispered.
"Just ask," Jack said, squeezing his shoulder.
|The next day, after a briefing, Daniel fell in step with Sam. He had watched her as she talked about the effects of the destroyed ships. Jack watched Daniel as Sam spoke, missing most of what she said. Teal'c smiled at what he observed.
"Sam, I have a question," he said at last.
"I have been meaning to talk to you too," Sam said, keeping an eye on the halls before them.
"I need to know if there is something... between us."
"Of course," she slowly, not looking at him. "We are best friends."
"But are we more?" Daniel whispered.
|Sam paused and pierced his blue eyes. Emotions long hidden raced in them. "I don't know."
"I need to know, Sam. I... saw things. Felt things. When she invaded my mind searching. She saw something about me also. It was then she showed me a side of you I don't know."
"Which is," she asked, frightened.
"Your love for me. More then a friend; stronger than Pete even," Daniel said.
"She was not me."
Disappointment filled Daniel. "No, no I guess not."
"She could never have shown how deep my love is for you," Sam said, lifting Daniel's head.
|Blue collided with blue as the powerful meaning set in. "You mean what she showed me was true?"
Sam nodded. "General O'Neill asked me when you were gone, and I could not lie anymore. Pete is still trying to understand and may take a while to recover." She placed a hand over his heart. "This is all I have ever wanted. We make a good team, Jackson, and I wonder if we would not make a better team when you realize I am not her."
They kissed. Passion, relief, worry and fear melted in the kiss.
"You are not her."
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