SG-1 was on a routine recon mission. They were about three miles away from the gate, advancing in a line across, about fifty yards apart, each using a naquada detector, when the attack occurred. Jack O’Neill was on a small ridge at the right end of the line and dropped into good cover. Teal’c was next in line. He had just moved into a slight depression and immediately hit the ground. Daniel was searching on Teal’c’s left flank, behind a large boulder, and was missed entirely by the advancing force. Sam was completely in the open on Daniel’s left and dropped to the ground to commence firing as soon as the attack started.
“Carter, report,” Jack ordered over the radio.
“She’s too busy shooting, Jack,” Daniel answered. “There appear to be about a dozen creatures out there. They’re not human, but they’re bipedal and they’re using some kind of guns. I can see a flash and hear a report when they fire. Sam is almost surrounded and they’re moving toward her. I think its a military unit of some kind. I’m going to give her covering fire.”
Jack heard Daniel’s P-90 on auto join Carter’s. “Teal’c, circle north and see if you can get behind them. I’ll go south.”
As Jack and Teal’c began to move, Sam started to inch her way across the open ground toward Daniel’s position, while he continued to fire over her head. As he ducked down to reload, Sam jumped up and sprayed her P-90 to keep the attackers away. When Daniel came up over the rock again he gasped as he saw Sam take a hit and fall back to the ground.
“Jack, Sam’s down! Sam’s down! She’s not moving. They’re surrounding her. I can’t stop them. I’m going to surrender and see if they will let me help her. Get back to the gate for help.”
Daniel stood, hands high in the air, and walked out from behind his boulder, slowly moving toward Sam’s location.
“Daniel, stop!” O’Neill let go of his radio. “Oh, crap!” He watched the natives surround Daniel. “Teal‘c, you’re closest to the gate. Go for help. I’ll stay here and keep an eye on them.”
“Understood. Be advised there is another large body of warriors approaching. I would estimate about thirty.”
As O’Neill watched, Daniel dropped beside Sam. A few seconds later his radio came on and Daniel said quietly, “Jack, they’re letting me check Sam out. She’s badly hurt. Whatever projectile they use, its torn a big hole through both her legs and ripped a femoral artery apart. I need your help or she’ll be dead in a few minutes. Surrender, Jack.”
“Roger that. I’m coming in. Did you copy Teal’c? Keep making for the gate.”
Jack stood and put his hands high in the air as Daniel had done. He started walking toward Sam, moving as rapidly as he could without alarming the creatures. When he reached them, he squatted beside Daniel, who had a blood covered hand inside Sam’s leg.
“What can I do?” Jack asked. He glanced down. “Daniel, she’s stopped breathing!”
“You’ll have to start CPR Jack.”
“Crap!” Jack ripped Sam’s vest and shirt open, exposing her chest and the obvious fact that she was female, and began CPR.
When the natives saw Sam’s chest, they began to whisper and gesture. One of them issued what was obviously an order and a runner broke away from the group and took off at high speed.
After about three minutes, Jack reported, “she’s breathing again. What else can I do?”
“Reach in my pack and get out the med kit. There’s a needle and surgical thread in there somewhere. There’s a tube like a turkey baster in there, too. Also a clamp. I need you to suck enough blood out of the wound so you can see where my fingers are. Then you need to put the clamp carefully an inch or two above my fingers. That should keep the artery closed long enough for me to sew it together, I hope. While I‘m doing that, you‘ll need to keep sucking out any more blood that gets in my way.”
“You’re going to sew her up right here? Is that going to work?”
“Probably not. She doesn’t have much of a chance, but she’s got no chance if I don’t try. I‘ve watched Janet do this a few times in the field. I sure can‘t make it any worse.”
Jack and Daniel went to work.
Another native, this one female, joined the group and watched silently, not disturbing the captives.
“Almost there,” Daniel reported. “Give me some suction again. I want to make sure I didn’t leave a hole.”
A few minutes later he completed the artery repair and doused everything with antiseptic, backed out of the wound and stitched it closed, covering it with a tight bandage. He moved to her other leg, bandaged the second wound, and checked for broken bones. Finally, he sat back and wiped a blood stained arm across his forehead, leaving a crimson streak in his hair.
“I don’t believe it, but she appears to have no broken bones. If we get rescued in the next few hours and we don’t have to move her in the meantime she just might make it. I‘m afraid if we try to move her at all my makeshift repair will come apart and she will bleed to death.”
“What are her chances?” Jack asked, as he removed his jacket and tucked it around Sam.
“If we had a Tokra with a healing device, I’d say she’d be fine, but as it is, I don’t know, maybe ten percent.” His head went down and tears began sliding through the bloodstains on his face.
“Daniel, you did your best. You did way more than I could have. Wait a second! Isn’t our favorite Tokra, Anise, supposed to pay us a visit this afternoon?” He grabbed his radio. “Teal’c, come in buddy.”
“Did you make it to the gate yet?”
“I am dialing now, O’Neill.”
“We need you to bring Anise and the Goa’uld healing device back with you. Carter’s in big trouble. And bring whole blood. Tell Janet she has a severed artery in her leg and she‘s stopped breathing once already.”
The female alien began jabbering and a minute later two more aliens moved in with a device which was obviously meant to be used as a stretcher and placed it on the ground beside Sam.
Daniel threw himself across Sam’s body. “No, you can’t move her,” he objected. “It will kill her.”
A native knelt down beside him and gestured to the stretcher.
Daniel shook his head in what he hoped was a universal ‘no’ motion as he looked up at the native he now realized was female. She continued to motion toward the stretcher.
“Jack, get the handkerchief out of my pack.” Daniel gently took Sam’s hand and kissed it and then clasped it in his own. “Wrap it around our joined hands and knot it. Then step back.”
“What’s this about?” Jack asked, as he finished tying the knot.
“I’m trying to convey to them that it is my right to make them leave Sam where she is. In some cultures the tying of hands together symbolizes marriage. If they buy it, I‘m hoping they will accede to my request and leave her here.”
The female alien wiped her hand through the tears and bloodstains on Daniel’s face and then laid her hand atop their joined ones. She smiled and patted Daniel on the shoulder and stood, pointing at Jack.
Daniel kissed Sam’s hand again, untied the handkerchief, brought it to his lips, folded it carefully and placed it in the pocket over his heart, emphasizing each gesture as dramatically as he could. Then he stood and placed Jack’s arm on his shoulder. He bent and pointed to himself, rising slowly and continuing to emphasize that Jack was his protector. “I’m trying to tell them that you’re my father or at least the father figure for my tribe. You could smile and ruffle my hair or something.”
“Really? You won’t deck me for that?”
“As if I could! Just do it Jack, and then we can both kneel down beside Sam again.”
Jack did as instructed and then lowered himself to the ground as Daniel moved to sit behind Sam and gently stroked her hair and adjusted the jacket to cover her more fully. “Are there blankets in the packs?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’ll get them.” Jack rummaged through the packs and then stretched a blanket over Sam.
“Fold the other one a few times and put it under her feet to elevate her legs and keep what blood she has left in her torso and head.” Daniel continued to stroke Sam’s hair, occasionally touching her wrist to check her pulse. The blood on his hands had long since dried and began to flake off, mingling with the blood which had soaked the ground surrounding Sam’s body.
Jack gulped and cleared his throat. “She seems to be struggling to breathe now,” he said.
“I know. I don’t think she has much longer. She’s deep in shock and she’s lost too much blood. If we had an IV we could give her blood or plasma or fluids. If she were awake we could force fluids into her, but . . .” He trailed off.
“You know I’ve seen movies where they did direct transfusions,” Jack suggested quietly.
“Don’t you think I thought of that!” Daniel was crying openly now. “I know our blood types and none of them are compatible. Sam‘s the universal donor. Isn‘t that ironic?”
“Daniel?” Sam whispered, as her eyes fluttered open. “What happened? Why is it so cold?”
Daniel quickly wiped his arm across his face and then moved so Sam could see him. “Hi, Sam. How are you doing?” He squeezed her hand.
Jack took her other hand and patted it gently. “You took a hit, Carter, but Doctor Kildare here has you all stitched up.”
“Who?” Sam asked weakly.
“Uh, Doctor McCoy?” He motioned in Daniel’s direction with his head.
“Oh, okay, thanks Daniel,” Sam said, the ghost of a smile flitting momentarily across her face.
Daniel pulled the canteen from its pouch on his belt. “Can you drink some water if I sit you up a little?” He moved behind her and sat down so that she was half sitting with her head resting against his chest, then held the canteen as she took a few swallows. When she was finished, he unwrapped a red and white candy mint, showed it to her, and popped it into her mouth. “That should keep your mouth from feeling so dry and put a little sugar in your system. I’ll give you some more water when that dissolves.” He watched her carefully to make sure she wouldn’t choke on the mint.
“Teal’c went for help,” Jack said, as Sam glanced toward him. “He should be back soon. Just hang in there.”
As the SG-1 teammates sat on the ground, the crowd of aliens dispersed quietly under the direction of their leader, until only he and the female remained. They sat a few feet away from SG-1, conversing softly. Jack glanced over at them once or twice and decided they were posing no threat at the present time. He returned his gaze to Sam, who now had her eyes closed.
“Will that help?” He asked Daniel.
Daniel shook his head. “I got her to drink a little more water. I don’t know. Maybe. Where’s Teal’c? What’s taking him so long? What time is it? Shouldn’t he be back by now?”
“Its too soon. Teal’c might be able to run all out from the gate, but whoever is with him will be humping medical supplies. Even Janet can’t run that fast and she’s in the best shape of any of our doctors.”
“I’m going to tell her you said that,” Sam whispered.
“Hey, you’re awake.” Daniel smiled down at Sam.
“Yeah, but I don’t really think I’ll be talking to Janet any time soon.” She paused and continued weakly, “tell dad and Mark I love them. Jack?”
“I’m here, Sam.”
(“Oh my God, she called me Jack!” he thought, his heart leaping into his throat.)
“You have to do my a big favor.”
“Play chess on Saturday’s with Cassie and listen to her talk about school and boys and be supportive.”
“How about if I alternate Saturdays with you for a while until I get the hang of it?”
“Sure, no problem.”
His arms tightened around her. “I’ve got you Sam. I’m not letting you go.”
“You need to help with Cassie, too. Take her shopping or out to lunch. There’s stuff she won’t talk to anybody about but you and me, because we lost parents when we were young, too.”
“One more thing. You both have to watch out for Teal’c for me.”
“Teal’c?” Jack and Daniel said together.
“He’s a lot more vulnerable than he lets on. People say cruel things about him sometimes and he has very good ears. Please take care of him.”
“We’ll do that,” Jack promised.
“Oh, and Janet. You could each take her out once in a while.”
“Sam, please save your strength.” Daniel reached for his canteen again. “We promise we’ll all help each other and take care of each other until you’re ready to take over the job again.”
Jack echoed his statement.
Sam’s eyes closed. “I love you guys,” she whispered. Her head rolled to the side and she sank bonelessly against Daniel. He laid her tenderly back on the ground and made sure she was warmly wrapped in the blanket. He desperately wanted to continue holding her but knew her head should be kept low.
“Is she . . . ?” Jack asked.
“No, but I don’t think it will be long now. She knew. I’ve ‘died’ enough times myself to understand where she is at this point.” He moved so that he could sit beside Sam and watch her face as he held one of her hands between his. Jack took up the same position on her other side.
Jack began to frown as an unusual noise intruded on his thoughts of Sam. When it had annoyed him enough, he looked around and saw a dust trail approaching from the direction of the stargate. “Looks like they managed transport.”
Daniel turned to stare in the direction Jack was looking and then leaned over Sam. “Hang on, Sam,” he whispered next to her ear. “Don’t give up now. Janet’s coming and you know how pissed she‘ll be if you‘re not here to meet her.”
Sam gave a shudder and her respirations stopped.
“No! I won’t let you die!” Daniel ripped the blanket and jacket away and began CPR again. A minute or so later three Hummers pulled up beside the group. Janet, Teal’c, Anise, and two of Janet’s nurses piled out of the first one. SG-3 and SG-5 jumped from the others and took up defensive positions around the group. One of the nurses took over CPR, shouldering Daniel aside, as the other slipped a breathing mask over Sam’s face. Anise took up a position by Sam’s legs, affixing the Goa’uld healing device to her hand. Janet grabbed an IV from the medical pack and hung a bag of whole blood quickly.
When she was finished checking vitals she pulled Daniel away from Sam and shook him. “I need to know exactly what’s happened and what you’ve done.” Daniel stared glassy eyed at her for a minute and then shook his head and made a concise report. When he was finished he stepped back as the medical personnel continued to work. He stumbled over to where the aliens were watching and sat down beside them. Jack and Teal’c joined them after explaining the tactical situation to the leaders of the other teams and helping unload the medical equipment from the Hummer.
The alien woman took Daniel’s hand and turned his blood and tear streaked face to her. She reached across him and indicated to Jack that she wanted his canteen. He handed it over and she took a scarf from around her neck and poured water on it. Then she grasped Daniel’s chin in her hand and started to wipe his face clean. When she was done, she poured more water over his hands and wrists and removed the blood there as well. When she was finished with that she began speaking and gesturing to him.
Daniel continued to watch the medics work on Sam, paying little attention to what the woman was doing and saying. When he heard Janet say Sam was breathing on her own again he began to relax a little and started to focus on the woman, who was now holding his hands. The alien was not human, but was possibly a distant cousin, maybe a descendant of one of the simian ancestors of humanity, he thought. After a few minutes he began to answer her tentatively. Finally he stopped her and turned to Jack.
“Their language is derived from a Goa’uld-Egyptian hybrid, as are many of the languages we’ve come across, but its got elements of something else, maybe the original language of the tribe. They attacked us because they were tired of the Goa’uld raiding their colony and stealing their female children as slaves. Apparently this race can’t be used as hosts and the men are no use to them as slaves for some reason. Because they only take females there are very few in the tribe, and they are treated with great care and respect. The women are now hidden far from the gate, except for a few of the elders. When they discovered they had shot a woman they sent for Pana here. She is a tribal elder and their doctor.”
“Medicine woman?” Jack speculated.
“No, she’s a doctor. She knew exactly what I was doing. Once I got the language, she began asking about the IV and the oxygen. They would be happy to trade naquada for medical training and equipment for their people and a way to protect themselves from the Goa’uld coming through the stargate.”
“What did you tell her about Teal’c?”
“Mostly the truth. I added that you and he were ’blood brothers’ and that he was therefore also a father figure for Sam and me.” Daniel’s voice broke as he added, “she offered a grave in their sacred burial ground for Sam if she doesn’t make it.” He gulped.
“Excuse me.” He patted Pana’s hand and moved back beside Sam as the nurses and Anise moved away. He sat on the ground next to Janet, raised his knees and took Sam’s hand again.
Janet looked at him sharply. “Are you injured? There’s blood all over your uniform and in your hair.”
“Its Sam’s. How is she?”
“I don’t want to move her for a few hours, but I believe she’s going to be just fine. Anise regenerated the artery and removed any possibility of infection. Now we just have to get more blood and fluids in her. That protein marker from Jolinar slowed the blood flow enough for you to reach her and close off the artery before she bled out. She won’t even have a scar.”
Daniel’s head went down on his knees and he started to sob quietly. Janet’s arms encircled him and she patted his back. “Its okay, you did all the right things. Sam owes her life to you.”
“I don’t want her to owe me her life, I just want her to never be in danger. I almost lost her again.”
“Daniel!” Sam’s hand tightened in his.
He raised his head to see Sam’s eyes smiling at him.
“Hey!” He ran his thumb across the back of her hand and smiled back. He cleared his throat and deepened his voice to disguise his distress. “How are you feeling?”
“Not bad, actually. A little tired. The pain’s gone.”
“Anise healed you. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you any pain medication earlier. I didn’t want to slow your metabolism.”
“That’s okay, I knew why you didn’t. Anyway, I was pretty much beyond pain most of the time. Can I sit up?”
Janet nodded her head and Daniel moved behind Sam so she could sit leaning against him. “Are you thirsty?” she asked.
“Yeah, a diet coke would be nice.”
“Nope, you need sugar.” Janet reached in a cooler and twisted the cap off a juice bottle and popped a straw into it. “Just sip.” She handed the bottle to Daniel who held it where Sam could get at it as she needed it.
Jack had been explaining to Teal’c what had happened after he left and Sam caught some of it as she rested against Daniel’s shoulder, dozing intermittently. “Daniel,” she said softly after taking another gulp of juice.
“I’m right here, holding you.”
“So where do you want to spend the honeymoon?”
“Huh? Janet, I think she’s delirious.”
“No I’m not. The Colonel told Teal’c we just got married. Where are you taking me for the honeymoon?”
Janet laughed. “I think she’s got you Daniel. You know part of the Goa’uld-Asgard treaty states that marriages performed on any planet are binding on all.”
“We didn’t exactly get married. I just told Pana that to make sure Sam was not moved.”
“That is not accurate,” Teal’c said, as he squatted down beside them. “How are you feeling, Major Carter?”
“I’m fine, Teal’c.” She took his hand and squeezed it. “Thank you for bringing the medical staff to me.”
Teal’c bowed his head briefly.
“What did you mean about not accurate?”
Teal’c looked toward Pana. “I have been talking to the tribal elder and she said Colonel O’Neill performed the tribe’s marriage ritual when he bound Daniel Jackson’s hand to yours. Since he is the tribal elder for out team, it appears this is a binding marriage.”
“Yes, but Sam wasn’t awake and didn’t consent,” Daniel objected.
“That is true,” Teal’c agreed.
“I don’t mind if you don’t,” Sam said, with a twinkle in her eye.
“That’s enough,” Janet interrupted. “I want you both away from here. Sam needs to sleep for a few hours before we move her. Go! Mingle with the aliens.”
Daniel laid Sam gently back on the ground and moved to where Jack was leaning against a Hummer and grinning from ear to ear. “What are you going to do now, Danny?” he asked.
“Jack, let’s take a walk.” Daniel started across the meadow, away from the group. He stopped and hopped up on a boulder where he could still see Sam, but couldn’t be heard.
“Please drop the ‘Sam and Daniel just got married’ story right now and get Teal’c to drop it too. Its not funny.”
“Why, Daniel, I didn’t know you cared about Sam that way!” Jack looked sharply at Daniel when he heard his sigh and then dropped his teasing tone as he said, “you really do care, don’t you?”
Daniel’s eyes and what he had seen earlier gave him his answer.
“When did this start?”
“Don’t worry, Jack, you have priority,” Daniel replied bitterly. “You fell in love with her before I did. You had several hours with her before I met her. I didn’t fall in love with her until we began to talk in the map room on Abydos.”
Jack stared and blinked. “What about Sha’re?” he asked.
“Oh, I was still in love with Sha’re. In fact I didn’t know I was in love with Sam until after Sha’re died and I’d had that strange little interlude with Ke’ra.”
“Okay, so what are you going to do about it?”
“Nothing. Like I said, I know you saw her first and its obvious she cares about you.”
“Oh, come on Jack! When you were stranded on Edora she worked night and day to get you back. And you should have seen her face when you were saying goodbye to Lara. You know that she overheard you when you said you didn’t really want to be rescued?”
“Danny, I saw, and we had a long talk about it later. Sam is not in love with me. She was upset because she thought she had ruined my life by rescuing me.”
“Yeah, right! Maybe that’s what she told you, but I’ve seen her watching you. She loves you.”
“Okay, have it your own way, Doctor Jackson. Tell you what, I’ll honor your request and will say nothing more about the ’marriage.’ Let’s go talk treaty with the natives.”
They moved back to talk to Pana, who was still watching intently as the medical team moved around Sam. Daniel began explaining about the differences between the Goa’uld and the Tokra and motioned Anise over to join the group. A few minutes later he took her aside. “I want to thank you for saving Sam,” he said. He began to tear up again and his voice began to shake. “I owe you everything.”
Freya took control and enfolded him in her arms. “You are most welcome Daniel. I see now why you could never join the Tokra. You could not bear to leave her behind.”
Anise took over again and released him. “Remember this the next time Colonel O’Neill decides he does not trust me,” she added. “I will count on your support.” She stared at him gravely.
“I will remember,” Daniel answered.
“Good!” Freya’s voice answered. She winked as she turned back to speak to Pana.
A few hours later, Sam was moved into a Hummer and taken back through the stargate to the SGC. Janet refused to let Jack or Daniel into the infirmary and stationed Teal’c to guard the door when they hung around outside. When she finally stepped out, they both looked up expectantly. “I told you she would be fine. She just needs more fluids and rest. Colonel O’Neill, General Hammond just called. He wants you in the briefing room to discuss Anise’s business.”
“I guess we owe her that,” he said, as he started toward the elevator.
“Daniel!” Janet touched his arm. “Go take a shower and get cleaned up.”
“Because I need you to do me a favor and pick Cassie up at school and stay with her until I get home. Sam says you can tell her what happened and assure her she will be okay. She said you’d understand why I am sending you.”
“Uh, okay, but why do I have to take a shower first?” He glanced at his watch. “I’ll be late picking her up as it is.”
“Because if she sees all that blood you’ll scare her to death.”
“Oh, right! I’m on my way.” He took a couple of steps and then turned back. “I’d appreciate it if you and your nurses don’t spread that marriage story around. I already talked to Jack and he promised not to. I don’t want to embarrass Sam.”
“Okay, now move. I’ll call the school and tell them you’re coming. They’re used to calls like that from me and so is Cassie.”
Daniel made good time and was only a few minutes late picking up Cassie.
“So what’s the emergency?” Cassie asked, as soon as she climbed in the car. “Its usually you. I guess somebody else fell over the cliff this time, huh?”
“Thanks for the compliment Cass. Would you like to go out to dinner?”
“Cool beans! Yeah, there’s a great new restaurant I’ve been just itching to try, Alfredo’s. Can we go there?”
“Sure, just give me directions. Its a little early for dinner though. Do you want to go to a movie first?”
“Uncle Daniel, you are the best. I’m sorry I made that nasty remark. Can we go to that new Fernando Xavier movie?”
“Isn’t that R rated?”
“Well, yeah, but you’re an adult so I can get in with you.”
“Cassie, do you know how many doctorates I have?”
“Uh, three or four, why?”
“Do you really think I am stupid enough to let you talk me into letting you go to an R rated movie? Your mother would have me permanently strapped to a bed in the infirmary and she would personally poke me with needles filled with nothing but water every hour.”
Cassandra giggled. “Well, in that case, I’d kind of like to see the new Disney movie. I don’t dare go with mom or Aunt Sam or my friends would call me a baby.”
“What if they see you there with me?”
“If that happens I won’t need to worry. Half my friends are in love with you anyway.”
“The other half are boys and they can’t figure out why all the girls who’ve met you swoon over you.”
Some hours later Daniel and Cassandra arrived at Alfredo’s, still giggling about the movie. Daniel’s cell phone rang just as they were being seated. “Doctor Jackson,” he answered.
“Daniel, its Janet. Where are you? I called the house and there was no answer.”
Daniel put his hand over the phone. “Its your mom. Uh, hi Janet. In all the excitement I forgot to let you know. Cass and I went to a movie and now we’re having dinner. We’re at Alfredo’s. Would you like us to bring home a takeout order for you?”
“That would be great. Cass knows what I like.”
“Okay, we’re just sitting down now, so we’ll be a while.”
“That’s okay, I’m not sure I’ll be home at all tonight. Can you stay?”
Daniel’s hand tightened on the phone and his voice choked up. “What happened? Is she worse?”
“She’s fine. In fact I’m standing right next to her bed. Would you like to talk to her for just a minute?”
“You know I would.” Daniel pulled his glasses off and closed his eyes for a second as the phone was passed to Sam.
“Hi, Daniel. Did you get the tickets?”
“For the honeymoon flight.”
“Sam, please, would you forget that. I’ve threatened Jack with grievous bodily harm if he ever mentions it again and Janet has promised she and her nurses won’t either.”
“In that case I’ll give the phone back to Janet.”
“Sam? Hello? Hello!”
“Daniel!” Janet was back on the line. “What was that all about?“
“I’m not sure. I guess maybe she’s just too tired to talk to me right now. I’ll be glad to stay with Cassie tonight. Don’t work too hard. Bye, Janet.” He closed his phone and pocketed it.
“So, Cass, what looks good?”
“Uncle Daniel, why did your voice get all funny when mom first called? Is who worse?”
“Your Aunt Sam got shot today, but I just talked to her and she’s fine. In fact she is the one who suggested I come out and play with you this afternoon. I guess she thought I was getting too worried about her.”
Just then the waiter came to take their orders. Cassandra waited until he left the table to ask, “Uncle Daniel, are you in love with Aunt Sam?”
“What would make you ask a question like that Cass?”
“A lot of things. Way back when I first came here, from Toronto,” she grinned, “I could see there was something special between you and its still there. You don’t kiss or cuddle like in the movies, but I see the way you look at her when you think she’s not watching. And your voice gets all funny sometimes when you talk about her.”
“Cassie, you are a very perceptive young lady. I will tell you my secret if you promise to never tell anybody else.”
“Not even mom?”
“Especially not your mom. I would never hear the end of it.”
“Okay, I promise.”
“Then the answer is, yes, I am in love with your Aunt Sam, but she’s not in love with me. She’s in love with your Uncle Jack.”
“No she’s not.”
“Yes, she is.”
“No, she’s not.”
“Yes, she is!”
“NO, she’s not!”
“And you know this because?”
“She looks at you that same way, sometimes. She’s in love with you, too.”
“Cass, we’re best friends. I know she cares about me but she’s not in love with me.”
“All right smarty! You remember when Nurse Douglas brought her new baby to the picnic and Uncle Jack was holding it?”
“Aunt Sam was laughing with mom about the silly faces he made at the baby.”
“I repeat, so?”
“Then he handed it to you and Aunt Sam stopped laughing.”
“Well, I wasn’t making faces.”
“No you weren’t. Aunt Sam sort of gasped and mom looked at her and Aunt Sam said something about how beautiful you and the baby looked together. I think she was crying.”
“Your Aunt Sam is a very compassionate lady. That’s part of why I love her. That happened shortly after we found Sha’re’s baby and I had to give him up. She was just empathizing with me.”
The waiter arrived with their orders and they were both quiet for a few minutes as they started to eat.
Cassie put down her fork to butter a roll. “This is really good. How’s yours?”
“Great, I’ll have to bring the team here sometime. Teal’c would love this stuff.”
“Why don’t you just bring Aunt Sam?”
“Are you starting again? I told you Sam’s in love with Jack, not to mention the fact that Jack’s in love with her.”
“No, he’s not.”
“Cass, where do you come up with this stuff?”
“I was right about you, wasn’t I?”
“Well, yeah, but, okay, why do you think Jack’s not in love with Sam?”
“He’s in love with that lady from Edora, Lara.”
“What? How could you possibly know that?”
“Well, you know how when you’re in love you have to tell somebody?”
“You told me.”
“Okay, I concede the point. Go on.”
“He was talking to mom the day he came over to our house to help her repaint my bedroom and put my new bed together. She said she was worried about him because he seemed to be a lot quieter than usual and he told her. He said he could never leave the SGC to be with her and she wouldn’t leave her people to be with him. He said he had promised to visit her, but he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to leave again if he did. It was really sad.”
“Oh, my God! What did your mom say?”
“She said, ‘visit.’ But I don’t know if he ever did.”
“Cassie, much as I hate to say this, you would be a good candidate for the NID when you grow up, although maybe you should join the FBI instead. You seem to pick up all kinds of information. Does your Aunt Sam know this?”
“I’m pretty sure not. He swore mom to secrecy, said it was doctor-patient confidentiality.”
Cassie attacked her dessert while Daniel gave the to go order. When the waiter disappeared, she looked across at Daniel and snapped her fingers. “Another thing, when your appendix burst and you almost died I was visiting mom, and Aunt Sam was with you every minute mom would let her in the room. When she wasn’t with you I was holding her hand while she cried. She was scared to death.”
“That was a long time ago.”
“Yes, but she’s always like that when you’re hurt or you go missing.”
“Cass, you’re not in the SGC when that stuff happens.”
“Sometimes I am. Mostly you don’t see me because I stay in mom’s office doing homework. I overhear a lot. You really don’t believe me, do you?”
“I believe you are telling the truth as you see it Cass. I know you would never lie to me. I just don’t think you’ve got the whole picture.”
Cassandra sighed and began playing with the remnants of her dessert.
Daniel eyed her speculatively for a minute and then said, “tell you what, I’ll have a talk with Jack. If I can get him to admit he still has feelings for Lara, I’ll ask Sam out to dinner.”
“Cool beans! And I promise I won’t say a word to mom about anything except the movie and how great this restaurant is.”
“Deal! Let‘s go home.”
Some hours later Daniel awoke on Janet’s couch when he heard the front door open. “Janet? How is she?” he asked, as he sat up and snapped on a light.
Janet dropped beside him on the couch and kicked off her shoes. “She’s fine, although she seems to be a little pissed at you at the moment.” She laid her head back on the couch and closed her eyes.
“You’ve had a rough day, too,” Daniel said quietly.
“Um. If I could just get my neck to stop aching. I swear Teal’c all but broke it with his driving this afternoon.”
“Turn so I can work on it for you.” Daniel began to knead Janet’s neck and shoulders.
“Oh, that feels good. Can I keep you?”
He chuckled. “A lot of people at the SGC think you already are.”
“A lot of people are jealous of you in so many ways, Daniel. There is not a woman on the base who doesn’t have fantasies about you, except your doctor of course. That would be unethical.”
“What about the woman on SG-5 who has a girlfriend working in the mess hall?”
“I think they would like to talk you into a threesome.”
Daniel blushed. “Uh, not to change the subject, but why is Sam pissed at me? I did what she told me to do.”
Janet turned around and looked at Daniel. “I think the whole marriage thing set her off. She really is upset about it.”
“I only did it to save her life.”
“That’s why she’s upset.”
Daniel stood and began to pace. “I don’t understand. Why would she be upset when it helped save her life?”
“I think she wanted there to be another reason.”
“What? I still don’t understand.”
“I think she wanted you to tell her you had the tickets. I think she wanted you to actually buy the tickets.”
He whirled around and stared at Janet. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”
“Can I go see her now?”
“No! You may not go near her before noon tomorrow. Doctor’s orders.”
“In that case I have to go see Jack.” Daniel returned to the couch, leaned down and kissed Janet. “Dinner’s in the fridge, and, by the way, your daughter’s a genius.” He grabbed his keys and was out the front door before Janet could say another word.
Jack was just filling his coffee maker for the morning when someone began ringing the bell and pounding on his front door. “The hell?” he mumbled as he moved into the hall and flung open the door.
“Oh, good, you’re still up,” Daniel said, as he stepped inside.
“Well, I would be now anyway, with that racket, wouldn‘t I! What’s up? Is Sam okay?”
“She’s fine.” Daniel wandered into the kitchen and picked up the coffee pot,
glanced at it and put it back. He opened the coffee maker and saw there was already water and coffee inside so he flipped the machine on and leaned back against the counter.
“Please, make yourself at home,” Jack said sarcastically. “What the hell do you want at this time of night, Daniel?”
Daniel ran a hand through his hair, a habit he had not dropped, even with his military style haircut. “Jack, are you still in love with Lara?”
“My, we are being really subtle tonight, aren’t we? What happened to the consummate diplomat, Doctor Jackson? And why do you think that is any of your business?”
“Jack, the way you are reacting leads me to believe that the answer to my question is yes.”
“I was trying to tell you that this afternoon, Daniel,” Jack said quietly.
“So you’re not in love with Sam?”
“What about Anise and the machine and . . .?”
“I knew I should have told you about that myself. What I said was that I cared about her way more than I was supposed to. I think of Sam as a sister, or maybe even as a daughter. She’s way too smart for me.”
“Thanks Jack,” Daniel said, as he started for the door. “Sorry I bothered you. Good night.” The door slammed.
“Daniel. What about the coffee?” Jack whined. “Oh, what the hell, I’ll just reheat it in the microwave in the morning.” He flipped off the switch, turned out the lights and headed toward his bedroom whistling.
The next day Daniel appeared at Sam’s bedside promptly at noon. “Hi,” he said shyly when she looked up from her laptop. “Janet said I had to wait until now to visit you. How are you feeling?”
“Pretty good, actually. Janet let me take a shower this morning and she says I can go home tomorrow, as long as I don’t do anything strenuous and keep drinking lots of juice. I want to thank you. Janet says if you hadn’t made a battlefield repair I would have been dead before she got there.”
“Jack helped too. He had to do CPR.”
“We’ll, I’ll have to be especially nice to him the next time he growls at me.”
“I don’t know, that might frighten him to death. Listen, Janet said you were upset with me because I didn’t get the tickets.”
“Oh, that was supposed to be a joke.”
“Was it?” He lifted the computer from her lap and placed it on the table, sat on the bed and took Sam’s right hand in his left. “I still didn’t get tickets but I wanted you to know that General Hammond says we can use an F-15 to go to Australia next month to study the similarities between the Aborigines culture and the natives on P9863. I know you’ve always wanted to visit Australia. In the meantime there’s a great new restaurant Cassie found where I want to take you to ask you a very important question.” He ran his fingers up and down Sam’s cheek and around her lips and then bent over to give her a soft kiss. “Cassie also says its about time I told you I love you.” He looked into her eyes. “She says you love me, too. Is she right?” he whispered.
“Yes, Daniel.” Sam’s arms went around his neck and she pulled him closer. This kiss lasted a little longer. Daniel had no plans to let Sam go until he heard a throat being cleared behind him. He lifted his head and turned to see Jack standing at the foot of the bed grinning from ear to ear.
“Well, you two finally got that settled, I see. Before you get too deep into the honeymoon plans, remember we have to make another trip to Pana’s planet to finalize the treaty arrangements. I believe she’s expecting to come back here for a tour of the infirmary this afternoon, so you won’t be gone too long, Daniel. Sam will still be here when you get back.”
“Okay, Jack.” Daniel leaned in for another quick kiss and then returned Sam’s laptop to her. “Remember where we were. I’ll be back soon. Oh, and I think Cassie should be a bridesmaid when we have the formal wedding. She deserves it.”
“I think that’s a great idea, but I want you to tell me why you think so when you get back.” She looked up at Jack as she squeezed Daniel’s hand. “Sir, do you remember what you promised me when you thought I was going to die?”
“Play chess with Cassie? Looks like you will be around to do that.”
“Okay, watch out for Teal’c. I always watch out for Teal’c.”
“Not that either.”
“You said you’d take Janet out once in a while.”
“Yes, you did, but I’ll give you a choice. You can take Janet out or you can go visit Lara.”
“I’ll think about it. Come on Daniel, let’s get out of here before she makes me take Anise out!”