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How We Really Feel

Author: Jess

Rating: PG

Pairing: S/D

Subjects: S/D relationship, smarm, hurt/comfort

Summary: Around Valentine's Day, Sam thinks of those she cared for and lost, and she and Daniel admit their true feelings for one another.

Spoilers/Season: Singularity, Enigma, The Tok’ra, Serpent's Song, Forever in a Day, Jolinar's Memories/The Devil You Know, Pretense, Divide and Conquer, Between Two Fires, Meridian, Fallen, Fragile Balance. Takes place in season 7, directly after the events of Fragile Balance

Warning: Character death

Archive: Anywhere, just let me know where it's going and keep my name on it.

Disclaimer: I am making no money off of this. The characters do not belong to me, they belong to MGM/Showtime, Double Secret Productions and Gekko Film Corporation. This story is copyrighted February 2004 and may not be used or altered without the express permission of the author.

A/N: The piece of spam email Sam receives is based on an actual spam email I received several days before Valentine's Day. And yes, it was a refreshing change of pace from the usual ilk I receive . Thanks to BethV (BethTauri-Chick) for the Beta!

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Sam sighed as she sat herself down in front of her computer monitor. It had been a long week. First, a teenage boy who claimed to be Colonel O'Neill showed up, seemingly trying to impress everyone with his dead-on impersonation of the Colonel. Then they realized that he was the Colonel, having been regressed in age by the Asgard for some unknown purpose. Then they realized that he was about to die, as Doctor Fraiser's tests revealed that his body was deteriorating at the cellular level. No one was sure how long he had to live, but the verdict was clear: he was going to die.

For a while, Sam felt utterly helpless. She cared for Jack as a junior officer would care about their CO, with much respect. However, these past 6 years he had become a friend to her, as did most of the people she associated with at the SGC on a regular basis. The revelation that the boy was just a clone of Jack, and that Jack was not dead but snoozing away in his bed at home, brought an immense sigh of relief. Everything turned out well in the end, with Thor being able to repair "Duplicate O'Neill"'s DNA, and Jack becoming like a surrogate father to...er...himself for the time being. A faint smile appeared on Sam's lips.

She logged in to her web-based email and scanned through the contents of her inbox. She rolled her eyes at the voluminous amount of spam emails she had received...Order Prescription Medications Online, Get Rid of Debt, Generic Viagra, everything under the sun had cluttered up her inbox. One piece of spam stuck out like a sore thumb, though. The sender was "Valentine's Day Roses", and the subject read, "Order Twelve Long-stemmed Roses by Valentine's Day." Sam shrugged and clicked the subject to open the email.

A graphic with a pink background and two pictures of long-stemmed roses appeared in the email. It read, "A Dozen Valentine's Day Roses for only $49.95. Send your special someone 12 long-stemmed red roses this Valentine's Day!" The email boasted the contents of the package...naturally 12 long-stemmed roses, Baby's Breath, a personalized card, on-time delivery, and so forth. Sam chuckled lightly. Although it was a piece of spam email, it was a refreshing change from all the garbage she usually received.

Somehow a tear managed to work its way down her cheek. At that moment she began to think about the men she'd had feelings for over the past 6 years. It was one thing she nearly despised about Valentine's Day; it had the habit of doing this to her. She thought about Narim, the Tollan she had met when SG1 went on an unintentional rescue mission. Unlike his superior, he was a very curious sort and showed an almost amusing awe for the planet he suddenly found himself on. Sam had been quite flattered by the way he treated her, and did feel a bit sad when he was leaving. She was reunited with him several years later, when the team had to travel to Tollana to take part in a Triad to free Skaara. Again, they parted and again they were reunited several years later, under not-so-pleasant circumstances. Sam shuddered as she recalled the very last time she'd heard from him. He had sent a message via a long-range communications satellite that their stargate had been destroyed and their ships were being shot down by the goa'uld Tanith and his forces. He had been cut off in mid-sentence. Sam never really found out what exactly had happened to him, but it was more than likely he had been killed.

She thought about Martouf, the Tok'ra she had come to know via her memories of Jolinar, the Tok'ra symbiote that had briefly resided within her. Although she hadn't had a relationship with him herself, Jolinar's memories supplied her with enough information that made her feel as if she'd known him for years. He was very sweet and kind, and she was grateful to him for watching over her father when he'd been blended with Selmac in order to save his life. She had met with him on several occasions, namely during Apophis' death and the imminent threat of Sokar, when her father had been imprisoned by Sokar, and during the unfortunate circumstances when a member of their own tried to kill one of the Tok'ra. The painful memories suddenly came back to her. Martouf had managed to be taken over by goa'uld mind-control and became a za'tarc, and Sam was forced to shoot and kill him. She shut her eyes and a few tears escaped as the image of her kneeling on the floor, cradling Martouf's head in her lap, haunted her.

Finally, she thought about Daniel. Admittedly, he had become more of a friend to her over the years. He had certainly shared her excitement of discovering something new, albeit in a different way. She was more interested in the astrophysical and technological aspect, he in the historical and cultural aspect. Nevertheless, they were both alike in the respect that they seemed to get a charge out of learning something new. Sam had always been impressed in Daniel's passion for trying to learn about new cultures and making new discoveries. He was like a kid in a candy store at times, and his excitement never failed to make her giggle. They were always there to comfort each other, Sam for Daniel after Sha're's death, Daniel for Sam during the predicament with Cassandra. To Sam, they had become more than good friends. They shared a deep bond.

She thought about the events surrounding his death: his insistence on trying to deter nuclear war on Kelowna, and his subsequent radiation poisoning. Sam's face reddened and a lump formed in her throat as she remembered him lying on the bed, bandaged up. She couldn't believe she had waited so long to tell him how she had felt. Damn it, Sam, you had more than 4 years to tell him. Why did you wait so long? she had berated herself. She hoped he had heard her tearful confession.

She remembered how hard it was, how long it had taken for her to cope with it. She began to sob, as it felt like she was experiencing it all over again. Then she remembered that Daniel had descended. They had found him wandering around on an alien world, and although his memory appeared to have been wiped clean, somehow bits and pieces of it had begun to return. She remembered how happy she felt, that he had come back and she wouldn't have to spend any more nights grieving and replaying the events in her mind, hoping that a different outcome would have emerged.

A few more tears escaped, only this time they were tears of joy, of relief. She sobbed openly, not caring for a moment that her office door was open and that anyone passing by could have heard her. Who would be around this early anyway? Teal'c was probably engaging in Kel-No-Reem, even though he no longer needed it since he was without a symbiote; Jack had not arrived yet, and was probably driving his young clone to school; Janet was busy in the infirmary as usual...

*********************************************************************************************************


Daniel was on his way down to the commissary when he suddenly heard someone crying. He jerked his head around and realized it was coming from Sam's office. His forehead creased in confusion. What was bothering Sam? Even though he hadn't regained his memory one-hundred-percent, he knew enough that he cared very much for her. He was determined to find out.

Sam heard loud footsteps clanking on the floor just outside her office and turned bright red. She ceased crying, cleared her throat, and quickly wiped the corners of her eyes with a tissue and stuffed it in her pocket.

"Sam?" Daniel asked tentatively.

She turned to face him and saw that his eyes were full of concern.

"Are you all right?"

Sam lowered her eyes. "I'm fine," she answered. Her voice was uncharacteristically thick, a telltale sign she had been crying.

Daniel looked at her with uncertainty etched across his face. He stepped into the room and made his way up to her, arms folded.

"Whatcha doing?" he asked nonchalantly, looking up at the computer screen.

She turned quickly to him and then back to the screen.

"Oh...just checking email. I have to clean out my inbox. Some of this spam is so ridiculous," she shook her head.

She clicked on one of the subject headings to show him. By accident (or at least it seemed), she clicked on the "Valentine's Day Roses" spam email, which opened up immediately on the screen.

Daniel raised his eyebrows. "Well...that's different," he remarked. "Must be a welcome change after all those ones you get about enlarging your-"

For once, Sam started giggling and swatted Daniel across his folded arms. "Oh, stop it! I don't even have one of...those!"

A wide grin spread across Daniel's face and he laughed alongside Sam.

After a few seconds, they both managed to calm down and Daniel shot another concerned look at Sam.

"Are you sure something isn't wrong?" he asked.

Sam's grin faded and she nearly became stone-faced. "Yes," she answered.

Daniel squinted.

"Are you sure? I thought I heard you crying."

Sam shook her head.

"No, I was..."

She quickly fabricated a story to cover up her emotional outburst.

"...I was just laughing at this ridiculous forwarded email I got..."

She avoided looking him in the eye and pointed to an email one of her friends had sent her. Her eyes, which were still red and bloodshot, and her tear-stained face totally betrayed her words.

Daniel's brow creased and he looked at her carefully.

"You were laughing yourself to tears?" he finally asked, raising an eyebrow.

Sam finally felt frustrated.

"Oh, what does it matter whether I was laughing or crying? Honestly!!" she finally spat out.

Daniel looked at her, pity showing on his face as she pushed her chair away from him. She leaned forward with her arms folded on top of the table, her chin resting on top of them, and stared vacantly ahead.

Daniel moved in closer toward her and touched her shoulder lightly.

"Please, Sam, tell me what's wrong," he pleaded softly.

Sam let out a little sigh, as if his touch had released some of her pent-up tension. She finally turned her glance up toward him.

"I don't know if you'd understand, Daniel," she replied somberly.

Daniel searched her face for a moment.

"...I can try," he finally said.

She looked at him.

".I will try," he amended his statement.

Sam finally sat up straight with her back against the chair. She felt Daniel's body very close against hers and it felt quite comforting. She sighed heavily.

"Well, it's just that..." she started. She hesitated to continue.

Daniel raised his eyebrows as a signal for her to go on.

"...it's that time of year again," she finally finished. She felt her face grow hot with embarrassment.

Daniel looked at her questioningly.

Sam grinned slightly and picked up her desk calendar, which showed the date as being February 13th.

Daniel's brow knitted in confusion.

Sam flipped the page over to reveal tomorrow's date, February 14th, with the words "Valentine's Day" underneath.

Daniel's eyes widened slightly upon realization and he nodded slowly in understanding.

"...And?" he asked, his brow knitting in confusion once again.

Sam dropped her arm back down and replaced the calendar in the corner of her desk. She sighed again and shook her head slightly.

"I don't think you'll understand," she repeated quietly.

Daniel looked her in the eyes for a moment before responding.

"Try me," he said softly.

"Okay, here goes..." she muttered. "After what just happened to the Colonel yesterday, before we realized he had been cloned, I was so worried that he was actually going to die. I mean..."

She stopped long enough to see Daniel nodding thoughtfully. He looked back at her and furrowed his brow.

"It's not like I have deep feelings for him or anything," she blurted out, blushing hotly.

Daniel shook his head. "Oh, no," he said, as if in agreement. He looked back down at her.

"It's just that when you work with someone for so long, you develop quite a strong friendship with them," she continued.

Daniel searched her face again.

"I know," he replied, giving her a little smile.

The smile was comforting to Sam, and she stared at him for a moment. She shrugged herself out of it...

"Likewise, when you spend time with people from other planets and get to know them well, you develop strong bonds with them as well, maybe even feelings-"

"What are you talking about?" he interrupted, although he knew full well what she was saying. His memory of losing Sha're had recently come back to him.

Sam shook her head, almost frustratedly.

"I don't know. I..." Her face grew hot once again before she elaborated.

"I...Narim, he seemed so interested in me when we first rescued the Tollans. He was genuinely sweet, and then seeing him again when we took part in the Triad..."

Daniel nodded thoughtfully as Sam recounted past experiences.

"... I mean, I don't think I could have had a relationship with him as such, but..."

Sam felt awkward talking to Daniel about this. She almost couldn't believe she what she was telling him. Still, it felt comforting to talk to someone about it.

"...he was a lovely man," she continued. "And when he was killed, it..."

Sam's emotions prevented her from finishing, and she shook her head.

Daniel placed his hand on her shoulder once again.

"Are you okay?"

Sam sniffled and nodded. She squared her shoulders, took a deep breath and continued.

"And then Martouf...I had a unique relationship with him because of Jolinar. I mean, it wasn't me myself having the relationship, but it was if a part of me had known him for years. It made us seem so close. When we found out that he was the za'tarc, I was devastated because a part of me knew he wasn't going to survive this, symbiote or no symbiote. And when he threatened to kill the President, we had no choice but to shoot him. He called out my name...'Samantha'...before I shot him with the zat gun. I'll never forget how it made me feel. To sit there in the gateroom, cradling his head in my lap, and..."

Sam stopped herself as she felt the tears would return and she didn't to be reduced to any more of a blubbering fool than she already was. She lifted her head, took a deep breath, and arose from the chair. She was going to drop the bombshell.

"Daniel, I have to tell you this..." she began shyly.

"What?"

She turned around to face him.

"Over the past 6 years that I've known you, I really..."

She stopped herself, then continued hesitantly, her voice shaking a bit.

"When you died, it really tore me apart. I knew that, just like all the other wonderful men I've had to say goodbye to, it was happening again, and I didn't want it to happen...not to someone so special." She felt her face grow hot.

Daniel's eyes widened in surprise and he took a moment to digest what she had said.

"Sam," he finally answered, softly. "I'm only starting to get my memory back now. I don't quite remember all I went through when Sha're died. All I remember is that I loved her very much. And that she died. I can only imagine that I must have gone through the same thing that you went through when I..."

He hesitated.

"...died," he finally finished, the idea still sounding odd to him.

Sam sniffled and nodded at him.

He looked at her thoughtfully and then turned his glance upward. It seemed that more of his memories were returning just then, and something dawned on him.

"Um...Sam," he started.

She looked at him questioningly.

"What was it that you told me while I was lying there...in the infirmary?"

Sam looked at him, a slight look of surprise. She bit her lip.

"'I don't know why we wait to tell people how we really feel...'" she finally answered, her voice trembling.

Daniel looked at her thoughtfully again, and a faint smile formed on his lips.

"You really said that?"

Sam wiped her nose with the back of her hand and nodded, before continuing the statement she had uttered to him back then..

"'I guess I hoped that you always knew.'"

Daniel put his hands up on Sam's shoulders and looked her in the eyes.

"Well...I think, deep down, I always knew, even when I was still preoccupied with searching for Sha're. I just...didn't know how to express it, I guess. You've been more than a friend to me." He emphasized "more."

She leaned forward and hugged him.

"I know," she sputtered, her voice muffled as she talked into his shoulder. She stayed in his embrace for a few minutes, feeling more comforted than she had in ages. She ran her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck, which had gotten a bit longer since she'd last seen him in ascended form. He patted her lightly on the back.

They both stepped back as she heard Daniel's stomach growl. A blush diffused across his face.

"Um...I was actually on my way to the commissary when I made this detour," he grinned slightly.

Sam laughed.

"I'll join you," she replied. "I've been here since early this morning and haven't had breakfast yet."

"Ditto," he agreed.

They exited her office and she locked the door behind her.

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Sam was on her way back from the commissary when she realized she'd left her office door unlocked.

"Damn," she cursed softly under her breath, wondering why she had been so stupid. Of course, it was Valentine's Day and her mind had been elsewhere the whole morning. Although talking with Daniel yesterday had made her feel a lot better, she was still brooding over the men she'd unwittingly had to say goodbye to, and the ones she'd almost lost.

She turned the knob and sighed, hoping to engross herself in some project she'd been meaning to complete for some time and take her mind off of it.

She entered the room and began to make her way over to her desk when she stopped dead in her tracks. Her eyes widened upon discovering a narrow vase standing on top of her desk, with a dozen red roses surrounded by some Baby's Breath inside. Propped up against the vase was a small card with a picture of Cupid on the front.

Sam slowly made her way up to the desk and took hold of the card. She opened it up, hoping to find out whom they were from. Her face registered disappointment when she read the message inside. "Happy Valentine's Day, Major Samantha Carter" was written nicely in dark red, calligraphic letters. Damn, no handwriting she could trace to narrow down her speculation.

She wondered if they could have been from Jack. But that wouldn't make sense. He was only her CO, and such a relationship wasn't permitted. These flowers revealed much more than a caring friendship. The most she'd expect from Jack was some sort of humorous card, especially one that tried to hard and failed at being funny. She then wondered if it could have been from Teal'c, but even after all his years on Earth, was he that familiar with the Valentine's Day tradition of sending flowers to the one you love? Who else could it have been? Sam smiled as she remembered the crush that Lt. Graham Simmons had on her, but it had soon dispelled when he'd met the new, pretty young Sergeant Smith.

I'm never going to figure this out, she thought frustratedly. I'll question them all later on and they'll play innocent. She rolled her eyes.

Suddenly she heard the shuffle of feet behind her. She turned and found Daniel standing in the doorway. He was blushing just slightly and was looking into her eyes.

"I don't know why we wait to tell people how we really feel," he said, with the faintest of smiles upon his face.

Sam's mouth dropped open as Daniel entered the room, and she felt a few tears trying to escape out of the corner of her eyes. He made his way up to her and grinned upon seeing her mouth open.

"So, I take it you like them, then?" he asked hopefully.

Sam giggled through her tears before wrapping her arms around him tightly.

"Are you serious, Daniel? I love them!!" she answered, still in his embrace.

She was openly crying now. Daniel stepped out of their embrace a bit and kissed away her tears. For a moment they both looked into each other's eyes before kissing passionately.

They both stepped back for a moment and Sam sniffled.

"I'm so glad you're back, Daniel," she smiled.

He smiled back.

"I'm so glad you still need me, Sam."

She sniffled once more and wiped away a tear before they embraced again.

~@ THE END @~