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Chapter 8


Sam looked around the room and felt as if time had stopped. Everyone was staring at her, almost as if she was to blame for Daniel’s odd outburst and resultant fleeing from the club. She turned to her left and saw Meri and Jon staring at her, wide-eyed but not moving a muscle.


She quickly began to review what had happened only minutes ago. She and Daniel were dancing intimately to a romantic song. Daniel had enveloped her in one of the most wonderful kisses she’d ever experienced, when suddenly he withdrew his lips from her and looked at her strangely, as if something was bothering him. He began uttering phrases that instantly brought back memories of the ordeal they’d experienced when Hathor made her untimely visit to the SGC a few short weeks ago. Sam hoped she would be able to keep him calm, but he became louder and more agitated.


No! I won’t help you make more goa’ulds! Oh, boy. How was she going to explain that one? There was no doubt everyone in the club had heard it. She hoped that everyone would think Daniel was having some mental problems at best, and that he had not set the two of them up to be compromised.


Finally she decided that the best thing she could do is not say anything, and just leave. So what if Meri and Jon had a thousand questions for her, or if they were concerned? Yeah, right, Sam laughed inwardly. She’d known Meri for many years and she didn’t think she had it in her to be concerned about Sam. If she did, it would be awfully hard to tell since it was rare that she was ever sincere.


Sam grabbed her purse, flung it over her shoulder and was about to make her way out of the club when she heard someone clear his throat. She turned around and saw a large, muscular man wearing a gray tank top and a pair of shorts.


“Hey, Missy, he’s your guy, ain’t he?” he exclaimed derisively.


Sam rolled her eyes and sighed. This night just keeps getting better and better.


She ignored the guy and turned back around, ready to walk out of the club.


“Hey!” he yelled as he advanced toward her. “You answer me when I talk to you!” He pointed an accusing finger in Sam’s face.


“I don’t have to answer anyone,” she spat at him, narrowing her eyes. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find my friend.”


The crass man’s eyes narrowed as he stuck his face into hers. Sam could smell alcohol on his breath and realized he was more than a little intoxicated.


“Your friend, huh?” he asked, lips curling up into a sneer. “What are you doing with a geek like that? He’s not good enough for you, baby. You’d do much better with a guy like me.” He reached out and began caressing her bare shoulder.


“Oh, please,” Sam scoffed. She flinched and pulled her shoulder back.


“I mean it, honey. Look at you, all spunky and gorgeous and … curvy,” he drawled as his eyes surveyed every inch of her body. “Why are you hangin’ out with a pencil-neck geek like that? Why don’t you join me back at my place and we’ll –“


“Look,” Sam hissed, narrowing her eyes further. “I’m a Captain in the United States Air Force. I’ve had hand-to-hand training. If you ever try to touch me again, or even so much as proposition me, I will make you wish that you hadn’t.”


A sober look passed over the man’s face and he looked at her coldly.


“Why, you little bitch, are you threatening me??” he growled.


“Gee, nothing gets past you, does it?” she said dryly as she tried to walk past him.


He moved quickly and blocked her path.


“You got that right, little lady,” he replied, giving her a deadly look.


What happened next was almost like a blur in Sam’s mind. He had raised his fist to strike her, when she grabbed his arm with her left hand, and punched him in the face with her right. He staggered back a few steps, only stopping to wipe his nose. He then lunged for her, stopped again as she grabbed his right arm and managed to kick him square in the groin. He doubled over in pain as she’d gotten him with the narrow, nearly spiked heel of her shoe. As he raised his head, Sam used the opportunity to punch him in the face again, getting his nose bloodied. The man fell back on the floor, too incapacitated and too stunned to get up.


Sam took a deep breath and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.


“Never underestimate someone who’s had level three advanced hand-to-hand combat,” she smirked. With that, she brushed her hair away from her neck, fixed the strap of her purse upon her shoulder, and headed toward the door.


Meri stared at Sam’s retreating form with wide eyes and her mouth gaping open. She turned her glance to the man on the floor, who was still writhing in pain.


“Wow, didn’t think she had it in her,” she grinned.


“What happened here?” the manager of the club asked as he made his way through the crowd.


“This guy got on my friend’s case,” Meri explained, still dumbfounded.


The manager raised his eyebrows, signaling her to elaborate.


“Uh … he was making snide remarks about her date and then he started harassing her. He tried to start a fight, looked like he was going to hit her.”


The manager looked incredulously at Sam’s bully.

“That’s not true!” the man protested, still tending to his bloody nose. “She started the whole thing! I was only trying to help her.”


Meri looked at him incredulously, and the manager looked at both of them, trying to decide whom to believe.


“So, what are you going to do, pal?” he snidely asked the manager. “It’s only my word against hers.”


“And mine,” Jon broke in. “He was harassing my fiancé’s friend. I saw it happen.”


“So did I,” piped up a girl in her early twenties.


“Me, too,” her date agreed.


As more and more people came forward and admitted they’d seen it happen, the man became frustrated.


“Okay, okay!” he shouted. “So, I did harass her. But, can you blame me? You all saw that fruitcake she was with, didn’t you?”


“That is no excuse for harassing a woman,” the girl in her early twenties said angrily with narrowed eyes.


“And her date was not a fruitcake,” Meri joined in. “He was a sweet guy, and my friend is lucky to have someone like him. I can’t imagine who would want to be stuck with you,” she sneered.


“All right, everyone break it up,” the manager jumped in. “Pal, get off my floor, get out of my club and hit the road,” he said to the man. “Or better yet, find someone to take you home. You sound too drunk to be able to make it there yourself.”


“He’s with me.”


Another man, dressed much like Sam’s offender, stepped away from the bar and made his way up to his friend. He didn’t seem drunk at all and he looked at the manager apologetically.


“He’s my brother,” he continued. “I’m sorry for all the trouble he’s caused, I really am.”


The manager looked him over and nodded. “Okay, just get him out of here,” he said quietly.


The man nodded and bent down to attend to his brother before taking him out of the club.


“Come on, hon,” Meri said to Jon as she touched his arm.


They made their way out of the club and stumbled upon Sam, leaning back against the building next door and crying softly. Meri felt pangs of sadness as they hurried over to Sam.


“Sam? Oh my God, are you okay, hon?”


Sam lifted her head and looked at Meri with tear-filled, bloodshot eyes.


“Okay? Am I okay? Do I look okay?” she sobbed.


Meri leaned over and began rubbing her back in soft, circular motions.


“I know I haven’t been acting like such a good friend and all, and I’m really sorry. You’ve really been through a lot tonight, hon,” she said softly as she pulled Sam into a hug.


“That crazy guy … I couldn’t believe what he was doing. He had no right to harass you like that, and that was terrible what he said about … um…”


“Daniel,” Sam said, her voice wavering.


“Daniel. I was really worried when it looked like he was going to hit you,” Meredith continued, her voice thick with regret.


“You were?” Sam suddenly asked, looking up at Meri and sniffling.


“Is that a silly question or what?” Meri returned. “Of course I was. But, you surprised me again. You really showed him,” she smiled faintly.


“It was nothing,” Sam shrugged.


Meri giggled softly. “Good old Sammie,” she smiled affectionately.


For once, Sam managed to crack a smile, although it seemed as if it was forced.


“I know you’re really upset, now, Sam, and I don’t mean to pry, but …what happened with Daniel back there?” Meri asked, concerned.


Oh, boy, Sam thought. She felt a slight blush creep across her cheeks as she quickly fabricated a cover story.


“Uh … well, this is kind of difficult to talk about, but …” she trailed off.


Meri’s eyes begged her to continue.


“Lately Daniel has been suffering from post-traumatic stress. Uh, about two months ago, he was working on an archaeological dig with some graduate students in South America. He was kidnapped and held hostage by guerilla forces for a week. Luckily we had some operatives down there who were able to find him and neutralize the guerillas so they could rescue him. Anyway, I don’t know what they did to him while he was held hostage. Daniel really wouldn’t speak of it when he got back, and he still won’t. But, I had a pretty good idea of what they must have done,” she sighed heavily.


“Oh, hon, I had no idea,” Meri said sadly.


Sam looked up at her and nodded. “He’s seeing a therapist for it, and I’ve been offering him as much comfort as possible. There have been times when he’d cry in my arms, and I would just sit with him and make him feel better.”


Meri smiled sadly. “He’s really lucky to have someone like you.”


“Thanks, Meri,” Sam smiled back.


“Uh, I hate to end this real pretty conversation – no offense – but we really gotta get going,” Jon broke in, gesturing to his watch.


Sam looked from him to Meri and nodded.


“Do you need anything, Sammie?” Meri asked, still concerned.


“No, I’m okay,” Sam replied, shaking her head. “I have to see if I can find Daniel.”


Meri looked her over and nodded. “Okay. Listen, if you ever feel like talking, just call or email me anytime.”


“Thanks, Meri. I’ll do that,” Sam nodded.


Meredith smiled and gave her a small hug. Jon reached forward and shook Sam’s hand.


“It was nice meeting you,” he smiled awkwardly. “I’m sorry about what happened before.”


Sam smiled and waved goodbye as they made their way around the corner to the parking lot.




Once they were gone from sight, Sam’s mind began to reel with worry over Daniel. Where had he gone, and where should she start looking? Downtown Colorado Springs wasn’t exactly a tiny hamlet. She might as well be looking for a needle in a haystack.


She sighed deeply and decided to head for the parking lot, thinking that Daniel might be in the car. After all, she had given him her keys. She hurriedly made her way to the parking lot, only to see Jon and Meri driving away in Jon’s Lexus. As they passed Sam, Meri rolled down her window and gave her a small wave.


Sam forced a smile and waved back. She made her way over to her car and a sick feeling welled up inside her when she noticed that the car was empty. She hadn’t found Daniel, and he had her keys. She decided she would start walking for a few blocks to look for him, but in the end, how was she going to get home?


She breathed a quick sigh of relief when she remembered she had a spare set of keys in her purse. She kept that thought in the back of her mind as she began walking away from the car and around the block again.




Sam collapsed into a small, plastic chair just outside of what appeared to be a restaurant. She had been scouring the streets for close to an hour and it was nearly midnight. As she searched for Daniel, she didn’t neglect any store that was still open, any restaurant, no matter what food they served, or nook and cranny, whether they were parking lots or small alleys. Sam felt squeamish about surveying the latter, but Daniel was not exactly in his right mind and there was no telling where he would go. Sam put her fear aside and decided the most important thing to her was finding her dear friend, the one she loved with all her heart.


Her search had proved fruitless thus far, and Sam was beginning to feel sick. Where on Earth had he gone? He couldn’t have gotten too far, could he? She thought she had exhausted all her possibilities and was about to head back to her car when she turned around and took notice of the sign on the building in back of her.


Sid’s Coffee House.


At that moment, a little bit of hope took over the incredible feeling of worry that had threatened to eat away at her insides. Why hadn’t she seen this place before? She picked herself up off the chair and hurriedly made her way inside.


As she entered the coffee shop, her eyes furiously scanned the room and the feeling of impending dread returned. Save for a middle-aged man hunched over a table reading a magazine and a lone employee at the counter, the place was virtually empty.


Sam felt that her heart was now guiding her as she hurriedly walked up to the counter, where a tall young man with short, black hair, a goatee and an earring was standing. He appeared to be in his late teens.


“Excuse me,” she began. “I’m looking for someone. Have you seen a man about six feet tall, wearing a light gray blazer, dark gray shirt and black pants? He has brown eyeglasses with wire frames, and long brown hair down to …” she trailed off as she gestured with her hands the approximate length of Daniel’s hair.


“… And he has kind of long bangs that come down to … here, on both sides of his face … kind of like this.”


The young man took in her description and smirked.


“Sounds like a real geek,” he chuckled.


Sam bristled. “I don’t give a shit what you think he sounds like. I don’t need commentary. What I want to know is if you’ve seen him.”


He looked at her and raised his eyebrows in surprise.


“Whoa, take it easy, ma’am,” he said as he held up his hands. “I’m sorry. Uh … no, I haven’t seen anyone like that.”


Sam tried to bite back the worry that threatened to surface. “That’s all I wanted to know. Thanks,” she nodded. She spun around on her heel and dejectedly made her way out the door.


She decided she would head back to her car before it got any later. As she walked down the street, her eyes filled with tears and she reached into her purse for a tissue. She dabbed at her eyes, but the tears were falling fast and furious.


“Hey, are you okay?”


She stopped and straightened as she heard the soft, male voice. Could it be…?


She turned and saw a man just a few inches taller than her, wearing what looked like a jacket, dress shirt and dress pants. He wore glasses and had long hair that almost covered his eyes. To Sam, that description was enough. An overwhelming sense of relief filled her heart.


“Daniel,” she nearly gasped. “Oh my God … where the hell did you go?! I’ve been looking all over for you!”


“What?” he asked, clearly confused. She then noticed that his voice sounded a bit different. Her vision had been clouded a bit by her tears, and she wiped them away with the tissue.


She looked back at him and a startled frown appeared on her face. The man had been wearing a tweed blazer, along with a plaid shirt and khaki pants. Moreover, he was wearing gold-framed glasses and had long, dark blonde hair worn in a style almost like Daniel’s.


“I’m sorry, ma’am, did you say ‘Daniel’?” he asked, looking at her curiously.


Sam felt her cheeks grow hot and she couldn’t answer him. She nodded slightly.


“I’m not Daniel, I’m James,” he smiled.


“Oh, I … I’m sorry,” she shook her head as she was finally able to find her words. “My friend’s name is Daniel, and I’ve been looking all over for him,” she continued. “At first glance you looked just like him.”


James shrugged. “Oh. Well, I’m sorry,” he said sheepishly.


“Thanks,” Sam nodded. “And I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions like that.”


“No need,” he insisted. “I didn’t mean to startle you, or anything. I was just heading back home on my way from the Starbucks down there, and I was concerned when I saw you crying.”


Sam smiled faintly as she heard this newfound acquaintance tell her that he was concerned about her. Suddenly her eyes widened in realization.


“Did you say ‘Starbucks’?” she asked.


“Yeah, just two blocks up this way,” he nodded, pointing west.


Sam allowed a small ray of hope inside as she realized she hadn’t been down that way and managed to overlook one of Daniel’s favorite hangouts.


“Oh, I think I know where to look next,” she blurted out. “Thank you so much.”


“Uh, I really didn’t do anything,” he chuckled sheepishly.


“Oh, yes you did … and I’m grateful for it,” she replied as she suddenly grabbed him and gave him a kiss on the cheek.


With that, she hurriedly made her way in the direction of the Starbucks, only glancing back at him once and waving. Still stunned, he waved back, and then blushed deeply as he continued back to his car.




Sam sighed deeply as she exited the Starbucks on West Boulevard. Once again, her search had proved fruitless, as Daniel was nowhere to be seen. She walked six blocks back to the Club Rio parking lot, dug her spare keys out of her car, and unlocked the door.


She began to think again about where Daniel might have gone. Wherever he had gone, he had either taken a cab or walked. Perhaps he had taken a cab back to his apartment? Sam began to feel pangs of hurt, as that would have sounded like he stood her up. No, what are you thinking? He didn’t stand you up, he wasn’t acting in his right mind, Sam, she berated herself. Nevertheless, she thought it would be a good idea to drive by his apartment and see if he had somehow made it back there.


As she reached his apartment complex, she saw a taxicab sitting at the curb. She sighed as she witnessed a young twenty-something girl exit the cab and make her way inside the building. Maybe he walked home, she then thought. She realized how absurd that sounded, but with the state Daniel was in when he left, anything could be possible.


She entered the building and made her way up to the fourth floor. Once she reached Daniel’s apartment, she timidly walked up to the door and knocked. Every moment that she waited seemed like an eternity. After five minutes, she knocked again. She wondered if maybe he was taking a shower, or maybe he was asleep. She dug a key out of her purse and inserted it into the lock. Daniel had given her and Jack a spare key to his apartment shortly after the incident on Oannes took place.


She entered Daniel’s apartment and the eerie quiet made her nervous. She flipped on the light switch and looked around. Everything was spotless, and there was no sign of Daniel anywhere. She headed toward the bathroom and was almost overwhelmed by a fairly strong smell of Old Spice. She looked down and found a small bottle of the offending fragrance, with the cap off the top. She furrowed her brow in confusion, wondering what Daniel would be doing with stuff like this. She then noticed a small hairbrush and a thin, threaded, red elastic band sitting on the sink.


“What the …?” she muttered out loud. She instantly began to wonder if Daniel had a girl over and she felt a tinge of jealousy.


No, what am I doing? I should concentrate on finding Daniel, not wondering if he’s seeing a girl or anything! Who cares about that? All I want to know right now is that he’s safe, she thought to herself. Before her tears could resurface, she switched the light off, exited the bathroom and made her way to his bedroom.

After a complete search of the bedroom, Sam realized that Daniel was definitely not home. She decided she would finally head back to her house and see what she could do from there. She sighed deeply as she turned out the lights, shut the door behind her and locked it.



Sam shuddered slightly as a cool breeze swept across her face and tickled her bare shoulders. She was surprised that the weather had begun to change so much. Just minutes earlier it was quite warm and a bit humid. She groaned as she made her way up her front walk. She had been walking for quite a while in high heels, and she felt like she was getting calluses on the soles of her feet. For a moment, worried thoughts of Daniel subsided and she wanted nothing more but to crawl into her bath and soak her sore feet.


She entered the house and made a beeline for her bedroom where she kicked off her shoes. She had begun to feel chilly, so she changed out of her dress and into a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. She made her way back to the living room and sat near the phone, at odds over what she should do next. She had combed almost the entire area of downtown Colorado Springs and Daniel was nowhere to be seen. She checked his apartment and he wasn’t there either. She began to feel helpless and almost wished they hadn’t been given down time. Then they would be back at the SGC and she wouldn’t have to worry about finding Daniel.


The SGC. Should she call someone at the SGC? Sam didn’t ponder the question for a moment as she frantically dialed the phone.


“This is Captain Samantha Carter. Can I please have the infirmary?” she pleaded.


“Of course, Captain.”


“Infirmary, Fraiser speaking.”


Sam breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing a familiar voice.


“Janet, it’s Sam,” she began.


“Hey, Sam, what’s going on? Why are you calling so late?” Janet asked, concerned.


“I … um …” Sam hesitated. She wasn’t sure what she should tell Janet. The doctor had been quite concerned about what had happened to Daniel during Hathor’s brief reign of terror on base. She had said that if his bad dreams continued, she would make Daniel consult Doctor McKenzie. Daniel had never been too pleased with McKenzie, and Sam didn’t want him to be subjected to whatever the doctor had planned for him. However, Sam cared deeply for Daniel and was concerned about his well-being.


“Daniel hasn’t reported to the infirmary nor anywhere else on base, has he?” Sam finally asked.


“Uh … no, not to my knowledge,” Janet said curiously. “Why?”


Sam took a deep breath as she was dreading that question.


“He went with me to meet an old friend tonight. We went to a club … danced, did karaoke, all that crazy stuff.”


“Doctor Jackson doing karaoke? That’s something I can’t picture,” Janet giggled softly.


“No, just me,” Sam replied. “But as we were dancing, Daniel started acting strangely. I think he was having hallucinations and thought that I was Hathor.”


“What?” Janet said seriously. “Are you sure, Sam?”


“Yeah,” Sam replied, her voice starting to waver. “He mentioned something about the ‘code of life’ and not helping me make more goa’ulds.”


“Oh, boy,” Janet sighed. “Did anyone at the club hear it?”


“Oh yeah,” Sam replied. “He made a little scene, actually, and then he bolted from the club. I spent over an hour combing the streets looking for him. I checked everywhere and I even stopped at his apartment, but he was nowhere to be found. I was just hoping that if anything had happened to him, he would have made it back here.”


“Well, he’s not here in the infirmary, and I’m pretty sure he’s not anywhere else on base. Sam, if Doctor Jackson is still traumatized by what Hathor did to him, I’m going to have to get Doctor McKenzie in on this,” Janet said, knowing what the reply would be.


“Janet, please. Don’t tell anyone about this,” Sam pleaded.


“Sam, you know I have to,” Janet insisted. “I’m as concerned about Doctor Jackson’s well-being as you are. If Doctor McKenzie has a procedure that will help him, I think it’s worth a try.”


“Oh, sure, what is he going to do, saw off the top of Daniel’s skull and remove the part of his brain where the Hathor memories are stored? Or maybe give him some intense electroshock therapy that will make him forget about not only Hathor, but everyone else as well?” Sam fumed.


“Sam!! Please, get a hold of yourself!” Janet exclaimed.


Sam broke down into tears, almost embarrassed by her angry tirade. “I’m sorry I said that. It’s just that … I’m so worried about Daniel. I feel like this is all my fault. If I hadn’t practically begged him to go with me tonight, none of this would have happened.”


Janet’s stern tone softened. “It’s okay, Sam. Don’t blame yourself. Doctor Jackson told me that he was no longer having nightmares, and he seemed fine. I cleared him for active duty myself. You couldn’t have known that this would happen.”


“I guess you’re right,” Sam sniffled. “But I still feel responsible for what happened. This has just turned into an awful night, Janet. I don’t know what else to do.”


“Have you called the police?” Janet asked.


“Oh my God, I am so stupid,” Sam said quietly. She suddenly jumped a bit as she heard a loud clap of thunder nearby.


“That’s okay. Why don’t you call them, Sam,” Janet said soothingly.


“I will. Before I go, though, would you please promise me you won’t tell anyone about this? If I do find Daniel, I want to try to help him myself,” Sam said solemnly.


“Are you sure about this?” Janet asked after a beat.


“Yeah. Not only am I worried what Doctor McKenzie would do, but I’ll bet Daniel wouldn’t be happy if Colonel O’Neill found out and teased him endlessly,” she said, a slight smirk dancing upon her face.


“I don’t think he’d be that mean,” Janet giggled slightly. “But just to be safe, I won’t say a word. Unless your methods don’t work and Daniel’s condition worsens, my lips are sealed,” Janet said resignedly.


“Great. Thanks so much, Janet. You have no idea how much this means to me,” Sam said gratefully.


“Okay,” Janet replied. “I’ll give you a call if he happens to show up. In the meantime, try not to worry yourself into an ulcer and make sure you get some sleep.”


“Okay, thanks. ‘Night, Janet.”


“Goodnight, Sam.”


Sam hung up the phone and winced as she heard what sounded like rain pelting the sides of her house. She began to worry even more about the whereabouts of Daniel. She checked her watched and realized it was after 1 a.m. She suddenly began to feel really tired. She might very well have fallen asleep right there on the couch, but her overwhelming worry was keeping her awake. She knew she wasn’t going to get any sleep until she knew that Daniel was safe and sound.


She was about to pick up the phone and call the police when she heard what sounded like faint knocking on her door. Her brow knitted in confusion and she first thought it was a tree branch hitting up against the side of the house, but she decided to investigate anyway.


She picked herself up off the couch, crossed the living room and made her way to the front door and unlocked it. She opened the door and the sight that greeted her made her heart leap up into her throat . . .


. . . A drenched Daniel, hair soaking wet and stuck to his face, glasses spotty with raindrops, and clothes soaked through, looking at her with big, blue puppy dog eyes.


“Sam?” he said meekly.


Chapter 9 =>