DAMAGE CONTROL PART TWO
ALL I EVER
WANTED BY PHOENIX E
Daniel involved in a loving and committed relationship, which usually involves
||Daniel deals with the aftermath
of the offworld incident and contemplates his future.
Originally completed and posted to the net 08 Sep
fired at Earth through the wormhole didn't help things
much. I feel disoriented and woozy as I emerge from the
event horizon. Even though I try not to, I stumble as soon
as my feet hit the ramp. Immediately I feel large, supporting
hands on my arms. Strong hands, accompanied by the equally
strong and bolstering presence of their owner. It's nothing
serious, just a momentary lapse, a fleeting faltering overcome
and quickly mastered with a little help from a friend.
someone right there to catch me should make me feel better.
But it doesn't. Not that I don't appreciate the support
being offered. I do. It's just - they're the wrong
not his hands.
got time for this right now. The general is right there,
at the bottom of the ramp, looking up at us, his face creased
with the lightly anxious expression he's been wearing
increasingly of late as he's watched the slow and relentless
disintegration of what was once his 'flagship' team.
always there now, waiting for us when we come home. Waiting
for us wearing that same tense and apprehensive face. I
can almost hear the worry whirling around in his head as
his eyes scan us, looking for the telltale signs of the
had to look too far this time. I'm right in the forefront
with Teal'c holding me up, and I must be looking pretty
messed up. I'd better stop the world from pirouetting and
do some quick talking if I'm going to spin this sorry mess
the way I want it to go.
has enough to deal with without being sent up the river
for something I drove him to.
has taken in the state of my face and consequently taken
several quick steps toward me as Teal'c helps me walk down
the ramp toward him. Behind us, I can hear the gate shut
down and the sound of two pairs of booted feet clumping
on the cold steel.
here, we're back. All accounted for and just about as screwed
up as we all could be.
to have to do something about that as well, but first things
Jackson!" the general says as he reaches my side.
"Are you all right? What happened?"
to meet him with a cheerful front and instead wince with
the pain generated by my extremely inadvisable attempt
to use my abused facial muscles to force a smile.
error, to be sure, but only a minor one. I decide to try
and make it work for me anyway.
I smile at him once more, which causes me to grimace again
because it still hurts when I do that. Only I make it bigger
this time. "That wasn't very smart." I shrug,
lightly touch my bruised cheek. "The Vomar packs a
hell of a punch."
unexpected statement stops everyone in their tracks. I can
feel Jack behind me, hear him clear his throat, getting
ready to speak.
are you saying - the Vomar hit you?" Bless you George,
you're a quick study. Took up your cue like a trouper.
me out flat on my back," I return proudly, with just the
slightest edge of warning to my listening team-mates.
up and let me do the talking. This is what I want.
brief misunderstanding during the negotiation process,
Sir," I continue to the accompaniment of the compliance
of silence I have requested. "But nothing to worry about.
Things were a little tense for a bit, but we got it all
sorted out in the end. No harm done, General."
much at least, is the truth. Well, sort of. The Vomar didn't
hit me, but he sure came close to hitting someone. He and
Jack got off on the wrong foot right at the very beginning
and I had to get between them more than once. I kept trying
to explain to Jack he had to be patient. The vReel weren't
jerking us around. They just like to do things their way.
Which takes a lot of time. We'd get the treaty signed,
but not until we went through all the necessary ritualistic
observances. Respected their culture and customs. Gave
them what they wanted in order to get what we wanted.
the end of it trying to reason with Jack was like trying
to communicate with a stump. He wasn't having any part
of 'when in Rome.' Wouldn't see any point to doing anything
but getting to the bottom line as quickly as possible and
getting out. Jack just wanted to cut to the chase, and
'cut the crap' or start shooting.
came to that at the banquet celebrating the successful
conclusion of the negotiations. Given how close we've not
been lately I'm not sure why Jack suddenly decided my business
was his again and why exactly he seemed to take such violent
umbrage to the fact I'd been spending a lot of time with
the Vomar. Which I guess I had, but what of it? I rather
enjoyed our discussions. He is a kind and intelligent man.
Although admittedly a rather emotionally mercurial one
as well. Not unlike someone else I know. Why shouldn't
I have spoken to him a lot? At least, he was willing to
listen. Besides, I didn't exactly see Jack seeming to be
particularly ready to forsake Sam's company for mine.
what happened next, well I'd rather not think about it.
It's hard enough to deal with the fact I'm lying to the
general to protect the man who really hit me without going
into a post mortem of why he did it.
as, to be honest, I know the whole thing was my own damned
fault. What did I say to him again? Maybe he needed to
take a few more courses in basic diplomacy before our next
mission? Oh yeah, and let's not forget the 'why don't you
stop trying to impress everyone by waving your big gun
around and try thinking first for a change' crack.
Daniel. Really classy.
seems to have accepted my explanation for the condition
of my face and hearing we'd successfully acquired the mining
rights to all that trinium has made him a happy and relieved
man. Well, why not? We haven't had a mission go down so
smoothly in a long time. SG-1 made it home, everyone accounted
for, ambulatory and not too badly bent or bruised, and
we managed to accomplish what we were sent out to do without
shooting or blowing anyone up.
completely disrupting their way of life.
our less than stellar performance out in the field over
the course of the last few months this has to be one red-letter
day for George indeed. He's probably optimistically and
entirely erroneously thinking we've worked through our
'slump' and he's getting his team back again.
he doesn't think too unkindly of me when I have to disappoint
sent us off to the infirmary and set the debrief for two
hours from now. Which suits me just fine. I want to get
it over with. I need to do some thinking. I knew things
were getting bad between all of us, but I never dreamed
it would come to this. I…I can't have this. I can't be
the cause of this. I can't ruin Jack's career or come between
him and Teal'c. Or Sam. I was able to talk us all out of
some serious trouble this time, but I might not be so lucky
can't be a next time. There just can't.
ever wanted was to be close to him. That's all. I never
meant for any of this to happen.
fusses and tells me I'm going to have a hell of a bruise
and a lovely headache to go with it, but nothing's broken
and nothing vital has been too badly rattled. Daniel Jackson's
legendary thick skull to the rescue again. Lucky me.
worry about it, Janet, and keep your pills. I won't need
them. I'm starting to feel so numb inside I soon won't
be feeling much of anything at all.
miss much; I'll give her that. She's brimming with unspoken
questions as each of us submits to the usual post-mission
medical folderol. Nothing we haven't all been through hundreds
of times before, and yet this time, everything is strained
and surreal, as if we're in a room full of strangers.
barely allows himself to be taken far from my side. He
sticks to me like glue, keeping a reproachful watch on
Jack at the same time. Who's putting up with the procedure
with uncharacteristic docility and silence. As set apart
from half of SG-1 as Sam, who is also very quiet, solitary
and unwilling to make eye contact with anyone.
don't need a Ph.D. in Psychology to figure out things aren't
exactly rosy in SG-1 land. You don't even have to know
how to spell it.
George's euphoria at the successful conclusion of our mission
is going to be a little bit blunted by our doctor's report.
- hold onto it for a little while, Janet. You won't need
it. I'll be solving the problem for you very soon.
hasn't said a word or looked at me once since we got back.
I don't know whether to be sad or relieved. I'm sorry,
Jack. All I ever wanted was to be near you. I didn't mean
to become such a problem or annoyance. I certainly didn't
mean to make you hate me.
would have known. I never would have made you feel
uncomfortable or threatened. Being close to you was enough.
Would have been enough. I'd have made it enough.
would have known I love you.
a big, black, numb hole inside of me getting bigger and
blacker with every breath I take. I know this, oh God,
I know this. This is what it felt like when I lost Sha'uri.
The yawning pit of loneliness and pain I fell into when
she was taken from me. When my world was taken from me.
I fell hard and would still be falling if Jack hadn't reached
in and pulled me out.
me so much to fill the void inside me. Jack's friendship
warmed the cold places inside Sha'uri's loss left me with.
It started out as friendship. But somewhere along the way,
it changed. At least for me. I don't know where and I don't
know when, but it changed.
realize how until I saw that once again, someone I loved
was going away. I didn't realize I loved Jack until he
turned his back on me and turned to Sam.
lost you, Jack, and it feels just like it did when I lost
her. No, that's not true. It feels worse. Much worse. I
was never alone with that loss. Never had to find my way
back by myself. You were there, when she was taken from
me, and when she died. You held on, you were there. I had
something to come back to.
you now more than ever to help me get through losing you.
Isn't that the funniest thing you've ever heard? See how
much I'm laughing?
why not? It always comes down to the same thing. The joke's
has to be the biggest joke of all.
leave the infirmary together. Well, sort of together. Jack
and Sam are a little behind us. We haven't travelled far
down the corridor before it happens. Jack finally speaks.
on them, cutting off the rest of whatever it was he was
going to say.
to the story," I begin in a firm voice that won't brook
any more arguments than I will at the moment as I look
at each one of my team-mates to underscore my determination.
"What I told the general is what happened and what's
going to go on the record. No arguing, just - do it. As for
what really happened, it doesn't matter. Just go with the
program and don't worry about it."
says a word. I can feel Sam and Teal'c's eyes on me, the
mixture of the dismay and apprehension in their expressions
swirling about me as Jack tries not to look at me and fails.
I can't read him. I see plenty on his face, but I don't
know what I'm seeing.
I'm so weary I can hardly stand. I know I can't bear to
look at him. It hurts too much to look at him and realize
how much of a fool I am. Because I can't help hoping I'll
see something in his eyes I know I never will.
'something' that's there now when he looks at Sam. Just
once, I want him to look at me like that. God, I'm an even
bigger fool than I thought I was.
been lying to myself. Being close to him wasn't all I wanted
at all. I want more. So much more. Oh… God. Oh, Jack…
in my mind now. I have to go. After admitting this to myself,
there's no way I can possibly stay.
mumbling something about seeing them at the debriefing
I turn - and run. Intending to run all the way to my office
in order to hide there while I wait to complete my last
official obligation as a member of SG-1. Typing up my resignation
should use up some of the time.
I should have realized this day had to come. Since my 'quests'
have been concluded and all my reasons for needing to be
on the team in the first place have been resolved, I haven't
really had a 'purpose' for being here. Or a legitimate
excuse for staying.
than Jack. He was the only reason I needed to stay. The
only reason I wanted to stay. But now that justification
has been taken away from me as well, and my selfish refusal
to see this has only caused strife and dissension in the
the Fates have been telling me it's time to move on and
I haven't wanted to see it. But I can't ignore the signs
any longer. I'm doing more harm here than good. Wearing
out my welcome here is only causing pain to the people
I care about. I didn't mean to mess it all up by trying
to hold onto something long past the point when I should
have let go. All I ever wanted was to be a part of something,
to have some sort of place I could call home. For a little
not so bad, is it?
it is. 'Cause all I'm doing by hanging on is destroying
the very thing that means everything to me.
it's time to try and find something else to be a part of.
Maybe it will work out next time.
a whole, vast universe out there. People to help, good
to be done, other ways to work in the SGC that don't involve
staying on Earth or being a part of SG-1. I'll speak to
the general about joining one of the aid teams working
off world. Or maybe, take the Vomar up on his offer. He
was quite persuasive in trying to get me to volunteer to
be the resident diplomatic liaison between Earth and dUrmir.
I'll be able to come up with something else to do.
by a knock on the door. I don't want to see or talk to
anyone, but have said, 'Come in,' before I have a chance
to call the words back. Part of me foolishly hopes it's
Jack, and I chide myself at the small, expectant thrill
of hope racing involuntarily through me at the mere thought
of the unlikely prospect.
has the grace to pretend he doesn't see the disappointment
I know is written all over my face.
Teal'c." My lame greeting sounds thin and unconvincing.
It's the best I can do.
to speak with you, DanielJackson," he announces as he
closes the door and strides to the desk.
I'm a veritable fount of verbal brilliance today. Positively
not approve of your decision to exempt Colonel O'Neill
from the consequences of his actions." Teal'c sternly informs
me as he looms over me, bathing me in his disapproving
shadow. "His conduct was dishonourable. I do not condone
his behaviour. I am not pleased at being made to appear
as if I support what he has done by being compelled to
abet the deception."
I so do not want to get into this with you right now. But
I don't have any choice. The rigidity of your worldview
is an impenetrable wall of thorns hemming me in on all
sides. I can only escape it by trying to get through to
won't be the cause of Jack's undoing," I start to say as
I get up and walk around the desk to stand in front of him.
I need him to understand how important this is to me and
to support me. There won't be any point in leaving if Jack
gets into trouble over this anyway.
Teal'c," I say with all the earnestness I can muster as
I look up at him. "I can't allow something which was mostly
my fault to hurt him. I'm prepared to do anything to stop
this from happening. It's what my honour demands.
I know it's terribly unfair of me to ask you to compromise
your principles to help me, but I'm asking you anyway.
Please, I'm begging you, back me up in this. I'll never
ask anything of you again."
at me hard as he weighs his decision.
comply," he finally replies in a deep, bass rumble.
"For your sake, not for his."
all I want," I mumble, trying to conceal how violently
grateful to him I feel. He's still looking at me, and he's
starting to see too much. I lower my head and start to
back away, but he suddenly, unexpectedly grabs me by the
I look back up at him. His dark eyes are blazing with alarming
intensity. Quite alarming, actually....
do not do this. Do not leave SG-1."
barely recovered from the shock of hearing him call me
'Daniel' when the rest of what he is saying hits me right
between the eyes. Damn him and his insight, how has he
figured it out?
to, Teal'c. It's the only way to save the team. All I'm
doing here is pulling all of us apart. And there are other
reasons why… why I can't stay any more."
are wrong," he retorts stubbornly. "No good will
come of this. For any of us."
sorry, but I really believe it's for the best."
I really do. I'd give anything to be wrong, but I'm not.
cannot dissuade you from this unfortunate decision?" he
queries softly. He looks utterly devastated. Someone who
doesn't know him would look at him and see only a seemingly
impassive visage, but I've studied him long enough to be
able to read the subtle nuances of expression very much
there for those who care to take the time to notice them.
I've hurt him and I want to scream.
sadly at me as he cups my cheek almost tenderly in his
huge hand. Then without warning he sweeps me into a bone-crushing
hug. The feel of his powerful arms around me drives the
sorrow of his words straight into my heart.
miss you, Daniel."
miss you too.
to hold me and I want him to let go because I can't deal
with the vehemence of his concern and his overpowering
desire to comfort. It's crushing me. I can't breathe. If
he doesn't let go of me I won't be able to survive the
sudden burden of his friendship.
he knows this and releases me just in time. I can feel
something terrible welling up inside me as he pulls back
from me. I don't want to see it, don't want to let it go.
I haven't got time to fall to pieces. I still have a few
more loose ends to tie up.
bit of deep breathing restores my control. Teal'c continues
to study me with his patented Jaffa omniscience and I'm
apprehensive he's not quite done with me yet.
Called that one right, all right.
does not deserve the esteem with which you hold him." he
intones severely, his voice harsh with disapproval His
stony, stern utterance not a question, but a blunt statement
I might be leaving, but I can't leave it like this. I
have to try - for Jack's sake.
Jack another chance, Teal'c." I don't know quite where
the words are coming from, but they're calm and they feel
right, so I just let them happen. "He's still the Jack
we know and love, he's just a little lost. You'll see,
once I'm gone, he'll get back on track again. I'm really
hoping you'll help him. He needs you. He needs your friendship.
Give him a chance, you'll see."
what about you?" Teal'c asks gently.
I hate it when he does this. Think. Think fast, say something.
We're almost through this. Convince Teal'c you don't need
anything or anybody and you're out of the woods.
know me." I hope the smile on my face is convincing.
"I'll be fine. I always manage to be somehow in the end,
it, he's not buying it shit damn hell…
are the bravest man I have ever known, DanielJackson. This
will not be forgotten."
really sure what that means, but it looks as if I've been
saved by the bell. Sam picks that moment and bless her
big time for it, to poke her head in to tell us it's time
to get to the briefing.
made it this far. I only have to hold it together a little
while longer and then I'm home free.
friendless, just me and the big wide, lonely universe again.
bastard with a jackhammer is standing behind my eyes trying
to bore a hole right into the middle of my brain. Add that
to the fact I'm sitting here numbed out and stupid from
lack of sleep and what you basically get is Daniel Jackson
doing his best imitation of an inanimate object.
I can stay awake long enough to get through the rest of
this briefing but the jerk with the jackhammer has definitely
got to go.
Jack to thank for the slightly narcoleptic state I find
myself in at the moment. The scene he caused in the Vomar's
sitting room last night was really something. I'd actually
been almost on the point of calling it a night and was
taking my leave of the Vomar when Jack came storming in
equal parts of pissed and incoherent. Pissed as in both
drunk and angry, and incoherent because he was yelling
at the top of his lungs.
pretty embarrassing. He was almost too drunk to stand,
but that didn't stop him from grabbing me by the scruff
of the neck as if he meant to haul me bodily from the room.
I thought the Vomar was going to kill him. The condition
Jack was in, he could have done it.
about ten minutes of profuse apologies I decided it was
best to take Jack to his room. Thanking SG-1's guardian
angel all the while the Vomar was persuaded to accept my
abject grovelling on Jack's behalf and he didn't rip up
the treaty right there and then and toss us all back into
the wormhole after telling us to never darken their gate
Jack back to his room and getting away from him afterward
were two different things. We fought for most of what remained
of the night. I'm still not exactly sure about what, or
why. All I do know for sure is neither one of us got much
sleep. Or any.
I am sure was a major contributing factor to the fun which
followed on the way home.
Tough room. I've attended happier funerals. Which were
way more fun. We're quite the glum bunch all around. George
is looking decidedly less happy than he was before as he
surveys the circle of long faces ringing around the conference
table. The bare bones, 'nothing but the straight facts'
accounting we are giving of ourselves doesn't provide any
sort of explanation for what you'd have to be blind not
to be able to see.
wrong with SG-1. The air in the room reeks with it.
There it is. George is giving Jack the 'we need to talk'
look. I know what Jack is going to be doing after class.
Having a little chat with the principal.
that means I'm going to be carrying my own books home from
school again. So, what else is new?
Daniel, you need to get some sleep. I'm just this side
of starting to giggle I'm so buzzed. As soon as we get
out of here I'm going to my room and crashing. Trying to
drive home is quite out of the question. I wouldn't make
it a mile down the highway before I plowed into something.
Oh look, Ma, didn't that fireball used to be an archaeologist?
Might be one way to get Jack to notice me, though.
As satisfyingly melodramatic as it sounds, it's not my
almost done and everyone has stayed away from the subject
of how I got my shiner. Which is really all I care about.
I've gabbled my two cents worth, Jack and Sam have basically
come out with a whole bunch of 'what he saids' as their
sparkling contribution to the effort and Teal'c has just
been sitting there glaring at me. When he hasn't been staring
daggers at Jack and Sam.
please, please let me out of here now.
sure how I found my room, never mind the energy to get
here. I'm also not entirely convinced I didn't make the
last few feet of the journey on my hands and knees. It
takes me about thirty seconds to kick off my boots, shuck
my shirt and drop my drawers. Then it's just me and my
BVDs as I hit the sheets with every intention of becoming
I've forgotten to turn out the light. Oh well, I'm going
to have to live with it. The switch is much too far away.
I close my eyes and try to think of nothing. I know about
ten more seconds of peace before I hear the knock on the
instantly alert, sitting up like a shot in response to the
sound. Tired? Who's tired? There's someone at my door.
Someone on the other side, looking for me.
Sam's voice. Sam. Not Jack.
can I come in? I need to talk to you."
upset. Really upset. Aw, Sam, what's happened? What's wrong?
Only one way to find out. I quickly get up and rush to
barrelling in, taking me by surprise with the forcefulness
of her entrance, and doesn't stop until she's banged into
my chest and thrown her arms around me. I barely manage
to get the door closed behind her before she's putting
a squeeze on my ribcage which would give Teal'c a run for
his money. As if this kind of greeting wasn't out of character
enough, I'm getting more than a little bit concerned as
I realize she's shaking and close to tears. Then what she
says kicks me instantly from concerned into worried.
Daniel," she quavers. "I'm so sorry. I've ruined
everything. I've done something awful. Made such a terrible
no idea what the problem is and am also confused by her
evident distress. Sam isn't one to do the hysterical female.
Ever. She seems to have this strange idea showing any sort
of emotion is a Bad Thing. It has to have something to
do with the whole military thing, growing up with it and
then choosing it as a career. She beats herself up if she
gets misty-eyed at the movies. I've tried working on with
her all the time we've known each other, but old habits
certainly doesn't seem to be holding anything back now,
though. Which has to mean whatever it is that's got her
so upset, it's major.
her back and am in the middle of trying to ask her what's
wrong when she lets go.
please don't leave," she sobs.
that's it. Next time I see him I am going to kill a certain
Jaffa. Whatever happened to 'my lips are sealed?' I will
die before I breathe a word of this to anyone? You secret's
safe with me?
a damned fine time to decide to become a gossip, Teal'c.
Honestly, you can't trust anyone these days!
be angry at Teal'c," she sniffles. "When I looked in
on you in your office earlier I knew I had interrupted
something. I could see how upset you both were, and had a
feeling it wasn't just because of - well, you know. I had
to know, Daniel. I made him tell me."
maybe I won't kill him. Just won't speak to him for the
rest of my life.
still standing here clinched, she's still crying and my
chest is getting pretty wet. Something occurs to us about
the same time.
crying and looks up at me, a slightly puzzled expression
on her tear stained face.
did you know you're standing here in your underwear?"
noticed," I grin at her. "I'm thinking right about
now both of us should be grateful I don't sleep in the
starts to crumble again. "You were trying to get some
sleep? And I just barged in on you. I'm sorry for disturbing
you, I'll leave you alone - "
her closer, trying to reassure her. "It's all right, Sam,
you can barge in any time you want. Door's always open
for a friend. Thought you knew that."
unhappily, but doesn't pull away. "I did once. But I've
let too many things get in the way. And I sure haven't
been any sort of friend to you lately. Certainly not the
kind of friend you deserve." She sighs again, a much happier
sound as she snuggles her head into the hollow of my neck.
"I can't even remember the last time we did this. We used
to hug a lot. I'd almost forgotten how good it feels. How
appreciated YOU make me feel, Daniel. I can't believe how
much of a fool I've been. Why did I let all that garbage
come between us?"
hold her and say nothing. She's starting to talk, so I
shut up and let her. I know how difficult this is for her.
She's no more comfortable talking about her feelings than
she is expressing them. Or experiencing them.
relate to some of that myself.
know what's really funny?" she chuckles into my neck.
"Us. Here like this. Do you have any idea how many women
would kill to be in my shoes right now? Yet it's nothing
like the way it looks."
got a point. Nothing like the way it looks. Nor has it
ever had been. But we'd both be hard put to get anyone
walking in and seeing us like this to believe us.
think of one man who probably wouldn't be at all pleased
by the way it looks."
know what made me say that. I could kick myself, that was
so stupid and insensitive.
okay. She's laughing. She's… laughing?
her head up to look at me, and she's got a big grin on
her face. Huge. I'm starting to get confused again.
quite right about that. That 'one man' wouldn't be too
happy to see us like this at all."
giggling and I want in on the joke.
of giggling is bringing on more tears. I lead her over
to the bed and set her down on it. After locating my robe
I shrug it on and sit down on the bed beside her.
modest, just chilly.
me a little nod of thanks as she accepts the Kleenex I
hand her and then leans back against the wall studying
me while she daubs her eyes and wipes her face.
hold back, plenty more where that came from," I tease her
as she finally, shyly, blows her nose.
leave, Daniel," she says in a small, plaintive voice.
"I know the way I've been treating you lately I wouldn't
blame you if you told me to get out right now, but I want
to try and explain."
nothing to explain," I reply, looking down at my hands.
'Besides, my decision has nothing to do with you. It's
time for me to go. Believe me, it'll be better all around
if I do."
not true," she snaps, her response laced with more than
a hint of self-loathing. "If anyone goes, it should be
Sam! Why would you say that?" I wasn't expecting that!
However, her alarmingly out of left field comment doesn't
rattle me half as much as what she follows it up with.
everything the colonel said to me on 705 after he...hit
you... was the truth!" she snaps, giving her head an impatient
More than a hint of self-loathing now. As well as a whole
lot of anger. Oh dear, there's more....
know if I can - she needs me to listen to her and I want
to, I want to help and understand what's troubling her
but...tired. I'm just so tired....
haven't been acting like an effective member of the team
lately," Sam continues, a small, deeply unhappy frown
marring her features. " And I sure haven't been
honest with myself or anyone else. I've been making a fool of
myself trying to be what I thought he wanted me to be just
to get him to notice me. That's bad enough, but it's not
half as bad as what I've been doing to you."
- doing to me? You haven't been doing anything to me,
genuinely confused. I have no idea what she's talking
about and whatever it is, I wish she wouldn't. Now now.
This isn't a good time for me. I try to focus on what
she's saying but her words are like buzz saws slicing through
no?" She gives an ugly little laugh that makes my skin
crawl. "How's trying to come between you and your best
friend for starters? Criticizing everything you say,
challenging every recommendation you make, even when I've
known you were making sense? Sniping at you, turning on
you, trying to make you doubt your own convictions, siding
with the colonel whenever the two of you had a disagreement
even when it was clear he was in the wrong and you were
right? Backing up every course of action he decided to
follow without question no matter how ill-advised it was?
Even though I knew I should say something, and didn't?
Any of this starting to sound familiar yet, Daniel? Still
feel like being my friend? I won't blame you if you say
no after I tell you what I did to you last night."
- last night?" I'm staring at her, floundering for the
words. I feel like I'm drowning. She looks like she wants
Daniel, I'm so sorry," she looks away from me and bites
her lip as the tears start spilling down her cheeks again.
"What makes this so awful is as soon as I'd done it I
realised what a terrible mistake all of this has been. I
was so wrapped up in wanting him to pay attention to me
I never stopped to consider what I was doing to you. I
wasn't thinking about you at all. I really didn't mean
to hurt you. I just wanted him to notice me once in a while."
making no effort now to stem the sorrow streaming down
her anguished face. I can't think of a thing to say, can
only stare dumbly at her as her bitter self recriminations
shatter through my skull.
haven't been thinking straight for a long time," she
tearfully continues. "I've been so damned jealous
of you because it's just all so easy for you. You're so
amazing. You really are, you know. You don't back down, don't
back away, you're you and you don't let anyone take that
away from you. You don't care what people think about you.
I'm nothing like you and I so want to be."
don't Sam. You really - you don't.
I've done all my life is worry about what other people think
about me. And I've spent most of my life trying so hard
to be the best so people will like me and need me. So I
wouldn't disappoint them. I've done it even if trying to
please means I have to close my eyes to things I know I
shouldn't. Especially lately."
- I don't want to hear this. I can't help you. Can't
even help myself. That's why I have to go...
don't do that. You don't compromise. People love you. They
look to you. He looks to you. I wanted him to look to me,
too. But not the way, not the way you think, Daniel."
is splitting and the blood is pounding through my skull
so loudly I can barely hear what she is saying over the
she's not done yet.
always loved Mark best," she sighs sadly. "That
sounds stupid, I know, but I've been caught in this 'no matter
how good I am it's never good enough' thing since I was
a kid and started believing it wouldn't matter if I was
the first woman on the moon, Mark would still matter more
to Dad simply because he was a boy. Maybe it was true and
maybe it wasn't, but it felt like it was, for most of my
childhood. I grew up, I went into the military, still trying
hard to impress, still trying to be the best. It was working.
I was okay. I thought I'd kicked it, and then the Stargate
you came along."
Wait a minute, Sam - what are you saying?
a part of the Stargate program and then SG-1 was so important
to me. Impressing the colonel was important to me. I wanted
to be the best. I tried so hard. But - there you were.
This totally amazing person who had come out of nowhere.
You weren't even in the military, didn't even belong here.
And yet - you did something I couldn't do after all that
time of trying to be the best.
made the damned gate work. Twice. You were better."
that goddamned Gate! Is that what this is all about?
Sam, has this been bothering you this much, this long?
I had no idea. Really, I didn't know. I'm so
sorry.... I didn't mean to make you feel this way about
you were, Daniel. Being better, no matter how hard I tried.
Being better without even trying. There wasn't a damned
thing I could do about it. Funny as it might sound, it
made it even worse I liked you so much. You were a better
person than I was in that way, too."
not better. Not better at all. Trust me on this.
were the one he liked the best. The one he turned to, listened
to, trusted. You were his friend, not me. I wanted it to
talking, waiting for me to look at her. I don't know if
I can. I don't want her to see how terrible I feel to find
out she's been feeling this way and I never realized it.
Oh Sam, I know how much it can hurt to want someone to
notice you. To want it so much you can't think about anything
else. I wish I'd known. Maybe we could have helped each
other. Before it all came to where it has come.
feel her tensing up beside me. Oh no, she's got more.
But she won't go on until I look at her. So I do. Oh Sam,
this is going to be pretty bad, isn't it?
to me, Daniel, this is important," she tells me earnestly
as she captures my glance and refuses to release it as
the next terrible admission come tumbling out of her.
"You have to understand this. I've messed everything up
and I never meant for it to happen. I didn't understand
the way it was between you and the colonel, and how much
harm I was doing to both of you trying to get between you
the way I have been. Now you're leaving because of what
I've done and I don't want that to happen. Things aren't
the way you think they are. They aren't, Daniel, not for
me and I'm pretty sure not for him, either. I don't love
him. I want his approval, yes. I want to be his friend.
I want him to like me. But I don't love him. Not in the
'be my one and only and I'll forsake all and everyone for
you' kind of way. I'm not ready to be that way with anyone
yet. But I wanted him to love me. Just so he'd like me
better than you. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
lowers her eyes, looking down at her hands fumbling in
her lap, her cheeks aflame. Well, okay, we both want Jack
to notice us, not quite for the same reasons, that's true,
but okay, this isn't so bad, not the end of the world,
I'm not quite sure why she thinks I'd think she's - we
can talk about this, deal with this - what?
night I wanted to find out how he really felt. That's why
I told him you were with the Vomar. After I explained to
him what it meant when he gave the chadas to you."
that explains a lot! Good grief. I don't know whether to
be flattered or insulted by Jack's actions now. Surely
he didn't think I was that naïve or clued out I wasn't
aware of the Vomar's interest. Or after having spent the
amount of time I had immersing myself in vReel culture
and customs I wouldn't know what the giving of the chadas
meant. Requiring the intrepid team leader to come rushing
in to save the unsuspecting innocent from being ravaged
by the Vomar.
When is he ever going to let me grow up?
Jack," I make myself laugh. "Defending my honour!
How refreshingly medieval of him. I guess you forgot to tell
him I didn't accept the chadas. Well, maybe some day he'll
give me a little credit for being able to take care of
myself. I didn't need him to barge in and 'rescue' me.
The Vomar was disappointed I didn't want to sleep with
him, but he respected my decision, and he respected me.
Which is more than I can say for Jack."
staring at me, a really funny look on her face. "You
don't get it, do you, Daniel? You really don't know."
don't know much of anything right now, Sam," I smile
ruefully at her as I press a hand to my aching forehead. I'm
not going to last much longer. I'm so tired I'm starting
to see double.
you forgive me?" she asks in a small, tentative voice as
she darts a glance at me and then looks away again.
you forgive me?" I answer her as I touch her lightly on
what?" She puts her hand on mine, but still won't look at
not asking you what was wrong when you started drifting
away. For not making you feel you could come and talk to
me about it. For not noticing you needed a friend."
trying to make this sound like it's all your fault," she
scolds me as she squeezes my hand.
let's not start splitting hairs. Why don't we forgive each
other, call it a day and start over."
she looks at me. Her smile is so brilliant it's blinding.
I want that so much! I want to be friends again. I want
to start over. Please say you'll stay."
I don't know, Sam," I start to stammer. "I'm just so
tired right now, I can't - I can't...
think, can't talk.
out a kind hand and feathers her fingers lightly through
my hair. "Sleep on it, okay?" she gently entreats.
"Don't do anything or say anything to anyone about
leaving until you're feeling a little better and we can talk
about it again. I haven't told you everything yet. Promise
me? Promise me, Daniel?"
I promise," I mumble.
at me again and then darts quickly forward to place a light,
sweet kiss on my lips. "Good. I've been a pretty shitty
friend lately, but believe me, that's going to change.
Besides, you'll have to stick around just so you can see
the look on the colonel's face when I start standing up
to him. And if ever I slip back into Major 'Whatever You
Say, Sir' I'd appreciate if a friend would let me know
about it. Okay?"
Sam is really hard to say no to when she looks at you like
see I'm pretty much done in. She frowns at me and gets
up, shaking her head. "Enough of this, you look like hell.
Let's get you to bed."
the bruise developing?" I murmur as I let her pull me to
my feet, help me off with the robe and plant me back under
the covers again.
impressive," she laughs as she sits back down beside me
and starts gently stroking my head. "This has to be the
best one yet. You've almost got the entire spectrum of
colours happening here. Some really interesting shades
nice. I've always wanted to have a Technicolor face.
is soothing, as is the sound of her voice. I close my eyes
and drift away.
such a wonderful dream. Someone dear to me is close. So
close. I've been feeling so alone, so lost lately. But
that's all over. My dear one is here, now.
feel a wave of love wash over me as a hand softly, gently
touches me. Brushes through my hair, across my face, gliding
down the skin of my neck in the most intimate and loving
of caresses. It's not a soft hand, nor a small one, but
I know it and have needed to feel it tenderly touching
me for such a long time. I try to move up into it, closer
to its reality, try to shake off the tendrils of sleep,
but the Sandman is quite covetous of this particular prisoner.
He's not letting me go. He pulls me back down into the
deeply dreamless depths of profound slumber, but not before
I hear the faint, receding sounds of the voice of the one
it's only a dream, but his voice sounds so real. As he
says the words he would only say in a dream.
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