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Chapter 4

 

Daniel turned to Sam and grinned.

 

“Well … off we go,” he said.

 

Sam smiled faintly and nodded. She still couldn’t keep her eyes off of Daniel, pleasantly surprised at how good he looked. She looked at him expectantly as he attempted to turn the ignition on, and … nothing happened.

 

Daniel’s brow knitted in confusion as he removed his key, reinserted it, and tried again. The engine seemed to burst to life for a few seconds before it died down and the battery symbol on the console lit up.

 

“Okay, now what the hell is going on here?” Daniel said as his face started to flush.

 

Sam grinned slightly as she saw the faint blush in Daniel’s cheeks. Her grin faded and was replaced with a look of bewilderment.

 

“Daniel?” she asked as he attempted to start the truck for a third time.

 

He turned the ignition, watched in futility as the engine once again came to life for a short time, and the battery symbol lit up again. He shut his eyes and sighed, folded his arms on top of the steering wheel, and laid his head down on top of them.

 

“Oh, God, I don’t believe this is happening,” he groaned softly, his voice muffled by the sleeves of his blazer.

 

A worried frown appeared on Sam’s face.

 

“Daniel …” she said tentatively as she touched his elbow.

 

Daniel finally raised his head up off the steering wheel and straightened up. He was blushing furiously, and couldn’t have appeared more embarrassed.

 

“I don’t understand this,” he exclaimed, gesturing to the lit up battery symbol. “It was fine on the drive over here.”

 

“It was?”

 

Daniel nodded.

 

“Well, I guess that’s not entirely true,” he replied, blushing even more. “It hesitated – nearly stalled – a few times when I was stopped at traffic lights. But I didn’t think it was this big of a deal …” he trailed off.

 

Sam looked at him pitifully as he nervously ran his hand through the hair at the nape of his neck and sighed.

 

“Okay, what are we going to do?” he asked, turning toward Sam with a look of misery.

 

“Do you have jumper cables?” Sam asked.

 

Daniel rolled his eyes in disgust for overlooking something so obvious.

 

“Jumper cables … I can’t believe how stupid I am.”

 

Sam shot him a sympathetic look.

 

“It’s okay, Daniel. You’re nervous …”

 

Daniel looked at her.

 

“…I’m nervous. We tend to forget even the simplest things when we’re nervous. I should have thought of it right away, but it just came to me now …”

 

Now it was Sam’s turn to blush.

 

Daniel stared at her, and then nodded with a faint smile on his lips.

 

“Well, I’m glad your brain was working even a little bit to make up for mine not working at all,” he said sardonically.

 

Sam smiled and patted him on the shoulder.

 

They exited Daniel’s truck, and he opened up the back. He sighed upon noticing some cables lying on the floor.

 

“Jumper cables,” he said as he pointed them out to Sam.

 

Sam looked down at her watch.

 

“It’s good to know you have them, but I don’t think we’ll have time to get it working again, Daniel. Maybe we should take my car.”

 

She gestured toward the white Ford Taurus sitting in her driveway.

 

Daniel looked briefly at the car before nodding wearily.

 

“Yeah, I guess we have no other choice,” he sighed.

 

He locked his truck back up again and made his way toward Sam’s car. She noticed that the corners of his mouth were drawn up tensely.

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

“Oh … nothing. It’s just that I figured I’d be driving you,” he answered with a mock look of disappointment.

 

Sam grinned and handed her car keys to him. With that, he unlocked the passenger’s side and opened the door for her.

 

“You are such a gentleman, Doctor Jackson,” she said as she sat down.

 

“I please to aim …” he blurted out.

 

Sam raised her eyebrows.

 

“ … Ah, I-I mean I aim to please,” he corrected himself as the bright color came back into his cheeks.

 

Sam giggled affectionately as he smiled shyly at her before he shut the door and made his way around to the driver’s side.

 

Yes, this is definitely going to be a night to remember, she thought to herself as Daniel seated himself behind the wheel.

 

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

 

O’Malley’s lively atmosphere greeted Sam and Daniel as they made their way inside. The restaurant wasn’t overly crowded, and Steve Miller’s “Rock’n Me” could be heard over the speakers. The music wasn’t so loud as to drown out conversation, but it wasn’t so quiet as to make the place seem dead. Sam grinned as she noticed Daniel looking at the paraphernalia hanging on the walls. It consisted mostly of old movie posters, street signs and license plates.

 

A few seconds later, he rejoined Sam in front of the “Please Wait to be Seated” sign.

 

“Nope, still no overly exciting artifacts,” he remarked, giving her a quick smile.

 

Sam shook her head and grinned. She remembered the first time they’d been to O’Malley’s. They had been a team for only a few weeks. Being the generous guy that he was, and being that he was getting sick of the commissary food, Jack decided to take them all out to dinner one night. O’Malley’s was a fairly well-known restaurant in Colorado Springs, and one of Jack’s personal favorites. Teal’c wasn’t allowed off base unless he was dressed properly, so Jack had loaned him a t-shirt, jogging pants and a baseball cap. Sam remembered fondly how Daniel stared in awe at all the paraphernalia on the walls, and was still staring at it by the time they were seated. After a while he made his way toward their table, blushing quite a bit and looking forlorn that he didn’t see anything interesting hanging up there. Jack had a good laugh as he informed him that they only had Americana and pop culture “junk” hanging up, no actual “rocks.” Daniel glared at Jack and mumbled something under his breath. Sam giggled, but had felt a bit bad as she realized that Daniel had probably never been to a place like this.

 

She sighed as she noticed a girl approaching them.

 

“Hi, two for dinner?” she asked brightly.

 

“Um … yes,” Daniel nodded.

 

The girl smiled and picked up two menus.

 

“Okay, right this way.”

 

Sam and Daniel nodded as they followed the girl toward a booth on the other side of the bar, near the back of the restaurant. Once they sat down, she placed the menus in front of them, and told them that someone would take their order shortly.

 

“Thank you,” Daniel said as the girl walked away.

 

Sam opened up her menu and began to scan the contents.

 

“So,” Daniel started as he did the same. “What do you think we should order?”

 

Sam shrugged.

 

“I don’t know. I’m not really very hungry, you?”

 

Daniel shook his head.

 

“Maybe we should just get appetizers, then. Do they have some sort of sampler?” his brow furrowed in confusion as he scanned the menu.

 

“Right here,” Sam replied, pointing to an item on the menu. “The ‘O’Malley’s Sampler’ … mozzarella sticks, loaded potato skins, chicken fingers and broccoli poppers. Sounds good, what do you think?” She looked back up at Daniel.

 

Daniel raised his eyebrows and shrugged.

 

“Sounds fine.”

 

A few minutes later, a waitress arrived at their table. They ordered the appetizers and two iced teas. With that, they thanked the waitress and she headed back toward the kitchen.

 

Sam turned back to Daniel.

 

“So … um, I’ve been thinking of what we should say,” she said awkwardly, clearing her throat.

 

Daniel furrowed his brow in confusion.

 

“What we should say …?”

 

Sam blushed faintly and nodded.

 

“To Meri. About how we met,” Sam finished.

 

Daniel nodded back as the waitress returned with their drinks.

 

Once she was gone, he turned back to Sam.

 

“Well, from her email she seems to think that you’re working for the Pentagon.”

 

Sam nodded.

 

“We had our fifteenth high school reunion about two months before I joined SG-1. At the time, I was planning on relocating to Colorado Springs, since there was talk of me being transferred from the Pentagon and taking up residence at the NORAD facility at Cheyenne Mountain, and …”

 

“I see where you’re going with this,” Daniel nodded.

 

Sam nodded back.

 

“So, she thinks you have something to do with NORAD,” he continued carefully.

 

“Yep. She prodded me for more information, of course, but I just told her that I was putting my astrophysics know-how to good use. I said that I was dealing mostly with studies of interplanetary shift, stellar drift. I think a lot of my techno babble went over her head, because she didn’t ask further questions,” she smirked.

 

“Don’t you just hate it when that happens?” Daniel winked.

 

Sam giggled.

 

“It’s great to be a geek.”

 

“Sure is,” Daniel added as they slapped each other five.

 

Sam stopped laughing and sighed as she relaxed a bit. At that moment, the waitress set their food down in front of them. Sam and Daniel both blushed, as it was quite possible that the waitress might have witnessed their “it’s-great-to-be-a-geek” scene.

 

“So,” she finally said, picking up a mozzarella stick and biting into it. “What about you?”

 

Daniel frowned and his brow creased in thought.

 

“Well, I suppose I could say that I’m an archaeologist who also worked for the Pentagon, and got transferred to NORAD.”

 

Sam thought for a moment.

 

“I don’t know, Daniel. That doesn’t sound too believable.”

 

Daniel sighed and nodded in agreement. He picked up a potato skin and dunked it in the little cup of sour cream. Suddenly, a look of realization came over his face.

 

“Hey, I know. I’m an archaeologist who worked for the Pentagon, and we knew each other very well. You got transferred to NORAD, and about a month later I accepted a teaching position at Colorado State U, so I moved here, we looked each other up, and …”

 

He waved his hands around.

 

“…there,” he finished awkwardly. He began to sip his iced tea and looked at her with his eyebrows raised.

 

Sam looked at him thoughtfully as she dipped another cheese stick into a cup of marinara sauce.

 

“You know, that could work,” she said.

 

Daniel set his ice tea down and picked up a piece of chicken, pulling it apart and dipping it in honey mustard sauce.

 

“You think so?” he asked her in between bites of chicken.

 

Sam shrugged.

 

“Yeah, why not? She’s bound to ask about the ‘Doctor’ part, and you did teach a course at UCLA before you came here, didn’t you?”

 

“Actually, it was a seminar that I gave,” Daniel recounted almost dreadfully.

 

Sam blinked.

 

“Oh. Well, you’re qualified to teach a course with two PhD’s,” she said awkwardly before sipping on her iced tea.

 

“True,” Daniel nodded, sounding a bit glum.

 

Sam looked at him thoughtfully and furrowed her brow.

 

“I thought you had taught a course, Daniel.”

 

Daniel’s expression darkened somewhat.

 

“No. I almost did, but one of the faculty members sort of lobbied against it,” he said quietly.

 

“What? Why?” she asked incredulously.

 

“I don’t know,” Daniel sighed. “He was aware of my theories, the pyramids being millennia older than they were thought to be, the cross pollination of ancient cultures, and so forth. He obviously thought they were preposterous, and that it wouldn’t be a good idea for me to get up in front of a group of impressionable kids, even for an Intro to Archaeology course.”

 

Sam looked at him sadly.

 

“Daniel, I’m sorry. I had no idea …”

 

“It’s not really important. Not anymore, anyway,” he said dismissively as he looked into her eyes.

 

“Well, I think you’re brilliant,” Sam said as she smiled at him and patted him on the arm.

 

Daniel felt his cheeks grow hot, and he averted his eyes and smiled shyly.

 

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

 

It was just after seven thirty when Daniel and Sam were ready to leave. She had eaten most of the cheese sticks and shared one with him, he’d eaten most of the chicken fingers, and between the two of them they finished off the potato skins and broccoli poppers. After refusing dessert, they asked for the check. Sam was quite surprised when Daniel picked up the tab.

 

“Daniel, you don’t have to do that.”

 

“Come on, Sam, it’s no big deal. It didn’t cost that much,” he insisted as he removed some cash from his billfold and proceeded to count it.

 

“What’s twenty percent of $11.50?” he suddenly asked her, his brow knitted in confusion.

 

Sam giggled and shook her head.

 

“$2.30.”

 

Daniel nodded as he silently counted out fourteen dollars.

 

“At least let me pay for the tip. I mean, I feel bad having to drag you along and then have you pay for everything,” she added.

 

Daniel’s blue eyes pierced Sam’s as he leaned forward and held her hands in his.

 

“Sam, I don’t know where you’re getting this from … you’re not dragging me along,” he said softly. “I couldn’t think of a better way to spend this evening … or a better person to spend it with.”

 

His face reddened at his choice of words, and for a brief moment an image of Sha’re entered his mind. No, I can’t spend it with her because she was taken by that damn goa’uld …she’s no longer herself, he berated himself. You’re here with Sam. She’s here and she cares a great deal for you. And you love her…

 

Daniel’s eyes widened. Love? Did I just think that? He noticed Sam looking at him with a concerned look on his face, and he shrugged himself out of it.

 

“Sorry,” he said, clearing his throat. “I guess I seemed out of it for a minute there.”

 

At that moment, the waitress came and collected the money. Daniel told her to keep the change, and she smiled and thanked them.

 

He and Sam made their way toward the front of the restaurant, where the girl who had seated them was standing.

 

“Thank you, have a good night,” she chirped.

 

“Thanks,” Sam smiled.

 

They exited the restaurant and made their way to Sam’s car. Sam was about to open the passenger’s side door when Daniel nudged her.

 

“Here you go,” he smiled as he handed her a wrapped peppermint candy he’d taken from the bowl just before they exited.

 

“Daniel,” Sam smiled widely as she took the mint from him. “How sweet of you. Thanks.”

 

Daniel nodded before getting into the car. Once he and Sam had their seatbelts buckled, she turned back to him.

 

“So, this place is located on North 21st Street. Do you think you know how to get there?” she asked.

 

Daniel didn’t say a word, but pulled a folded piece of paper out of the pocket of his blazer and handed it to her. Sam grinned when she unfolded it and realized it was a printout of a map from the MapQuest website.

 

“You’re remarkably well prepared, Daniel,” she giggled.

 

He turned toward her and shrugged, giving her a little smile. He loved it when Sam giggled.

 

“Well, shall we?” he asked once she had calmed down.

 

Sam nodded, and with that he started up the car and they headed off.

 

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

 

Club Rio was surprisingly easy to get to. It took them only about ten minutes to get there. Daniel and Sam had a quick look at the club before Daniel turned the corner to look for a parking space in the lot behind the building. It looked a bit small on the outside, and nothing too fancy, although not seedy-looking at all either.

 

Daniel easily found a space and parked the car.

 

“Well,” he sighed as he shut off the ignition. “That was easy.”

 

Sam nodded absent-mindedly as she stared out the window. Dusk was approaching, and from their vantage one of the peaks of the Colorado Rockies could be seen off in the distance. The setting sun bathed the mountain in a warm, golden glow, which made it seem almost supernatural. It was a gorgeous evening, and a slight feeling of impending dread was starting to creep its way into Sam’s mind.

 

“Sam?”

 

She heard Daniel’s voice calling her, but it seemed quite distant as she continued to stare out the window. Suddenly, a tap on her shoulder brought her back to Earth.

 

“Sam?” Daniel’s voice persisted, sounding a bit louder and closer than it had before.

 

She finally turned her head and saw Daniel staring at her, concern reflected in his expression.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“Uh … yeah,” she nodded as she shrugged herself out of it. “I was just thinking of something.”

 

Daniel looked at her expectantly.

 

“A penny for your thoughts,” he finally said.

 

“Oh, I was just gazing at the mountain,” she said, a dream-like quality to her voice. “It’s so beautiful, the way it’s bathed in the sunlight. It makes it seem supernatural, almost like … Mount Olympus, or something.”

 

Daniel nodded in understanding as he looked past her and out the window.

 

“It does look beautiful, doesn’t it? I don’t think it could be Mount Olympus, though. For one thing, Mount Olympus is usually depicted with a wider …” He trailed off as he saw Sam staring at him with a raised eyebrow, and he realized he was launching into lecture mode again.

 

“… And I’m ruining this, aren’t I?” he grinned. “I’ll shut up now.”

 

Sam giggled briefly, then averted her eyes and took a deep breath.

 

“That’s not all, is it,” he continued.

 

Sam shook her head.

 

“I was thinking of something else, and I hope this won’t make you mad, Daniel,” she blurted out.

 

She finally looked up at him and saw confusion in his face.

 

“What won’t make me mad?” he asked quietly.

 

“When I spoke to Meredith, she seemed really excited that I was apparently going with a date. She even asked me what his name was,” Sam began.

 

“And what did you say?” Daniel interrupted.

 

“I avoided the question. I made up an excuse to get off the phone, that I had a … a meeting, or something. Bottom line, Daniel, I think she’s expecting us to be in a serious relationship,” she said uneasily.

 

Daniel blinked, looking momentarily surprised.

 

“What makes you think that?” he finally asked.

 

Sam shook her head in frustration.

 

“I don’t know. She just seemed really excited. I don’t think us being just good friends is enough for her. As soon as she meets us, she’ll probably assume that we’re … serious, engaged, I don’t know.”

 

Daniel furrowed his brow in confusion.

 

“So, what should we do?” he asked slowly.

 

Sam took a deep breath.

 

“I hope you won’t be mad if I ask you to play along. I know you’re still married to Sha’re, and it would probably feel as if you were cheating on her, but I don’t know what else to do, and you can tell I’m rambling, can’t you? I –“

 

“Sam,” Daniel interrupted as he held his index finger to her lips. “Honestly, I don’t mind. I’ve had to deal with people like that before, so it’s not a problem.”

 

Sam looked at him curiously as he removed his finger from her lips.

 

“It isn’t?” she asked quietly.

 

Daniel shook his head.

 

“No. I have to admit, I asked myself over and over if this would be like cheating on Sha’re. When I talked to Jack before I left the SGC, he said the same thing. I thought about it and I really don’t think that’s what this is.”

 

Sam looked at him intently as he breathed in slowly.

 

“In a way, I think Sha’re would want me to do this.”

 

Sam furrowed her brow in confusion.

 

“What?”

 

“I guess it doesn’t make much sense, but I know what type of person Sha’re is … ah, was,” he blushed deeply as he corrected himself. “She wouldn’t want me to be lonely, to be pining away for her every free minute of the day. She would want me to go on with my life, make the most of it, and spend time with friends. I knew it the moment you guys came to Abydos and I left her to show you the cartouche. If she was any other woman, she probably would have refused to let me go, especially since you were with us.”

 

Sam looked at Daniel thoughtfully as he continued.

 

“But the fact that she was willing to let me leave her side to show you guys the cartouche –“

 

“I don’t know, Daniel,” Sam suddenly broke in. “I interpreted that kiss she planted on you before we left as ‘hands off, he’s mine.’”

 

Daniel blushed furiously and a faraway look appeared in his eyes.

 

“I … I’m sorry,” Sam said, shaking her head.

 

Daniel’s lips twitched into a little smile.

 

“No, you’re right. I interpreted it as that, too.”

 

Sam grinned slightly and averted her eyes.

 

“You weren’t jealous, were you?” he asked, his eyes twinkling.

 

At that moment, Sam’s head shot up and her cheeks grew hot.

 

“Uh … j-jealous? Me?” she stammered.

 

Daniel grinned and nodded.

 

“Uh, no. What makes you say that?”

 

Daniel chuckled before planting a quick kiss on her cheek.

 

“Believe me; if you were in my shoes and had an alien boyfriend or groom, I’d be pretty jealous.”

 

Sam looked at him thoughtfully.

 

“Really?”

 

Daniel nodded.

 

“Huh. Well, in that case, maybe I’ll dial up old P4X-972 and pay a little visit. There were some pretty cute guys over there,” she said playfully.

 

“I’m sorry I said anything,” Daniel said dryly as he shook his head.

 

Sam giggled and gave him a kiss back, and grinned as she noticed him beaming.

 

“Oh, hey, it’s about ten minutes to eight,” she suddenly said as she looked down at her watch.


”Oh, you’re right,” Daniel said, a bit flustered, as he looked down at his watch.

 

“Okay, pop quiz: What do we do, and how did we meet?”

 

“Ah … you worked for the Pentagon, and now you’re working in the NORAD facility,” Daniel began.

 

Sam nodded.

 

“I knew you when I worked for the Pentagon as a scientist, then I accepted a teaching post at Colorado State, so our paths crossed again,” he finished.

 

“Perfect,” Sam smiled. “Ready?”

 

“Ready as we’ll ever be,” Daniel smiled back as he exited the car.

 

He hurried around the other side and opened the door for Sam. Beaming, she took his arm and they headed around the corner toward the club.

Chapter 5 =>