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Chapter 9

 

Sam felt a big lump form in her throat as she took in Daniel’s pathetic appearance. At once she began to experience a range of conflicting emotions: anger at the way he acted in almost compromising them back at the club and then taking off, leaving her worried sick about him as she combed the streets; pity as she knew that none of it was his fault, that it had been the result of flashbacks of a more than traumatizing experience; and finally overwhelming relief seeing him standing in front of her, knowing that he was all right – physically, anyway.

 

She had so much to say to him, she wasn’t sure where to start. She blurted out the first words that came to her …

 

“How long have you been out in the rain?”

 

Daniel averted his eyes for a moment and noticed that he was soaked to the bone. He sheepishly ran a hand through his hair.

 

“Oh, I, ah … I was about four blocks from your house when it started raining. I guess it would have been smart to carry an umbrella … not that I knew it was going to rain,” he chuckled sheepishly, his face turning bright crimson.

 

He looked back up at Sam for her reaction, and when he saw the overwhelming look of pity in her eyes, he felt like kicking himself. Was that the best he could say to her, after she must have been worried sick over him? He was extremely embarrassed, but he knew she deserved a good explanation for what he had done.

 

Before he could say anything else, a loud crack of thunder sounded. It made him jump slightly, earning a sad smile from Sam.

 

“Come in before you get even more drenched,” she said, motioning for him to enter.

 

Daniel nodded slightly.

 

“Thanks,” he said, almost inaudibly.

 

Sam closed the door behind him, locked it and made her way up to Daniel, who was standing in the middle of her living room. He had taken to removing his shoes and peeling his wet socks off. He was about to wring one of his socks out when he turned and saw her looking at him, a thousand questions written all over her face. Her eyes were red and a bit swollen, a telltale sign that she had been crying.

 

It was then that he realized just how upset she had been over what happened. He had to talk to her about it, but he wasn’t quite sure what to say. Would she understand? After all, he was certain that he had ruined the night for her. That friend of hers was getting to her, and he made it worse by making a fool out of both of them and taking off, leaving her to offer some sort of explanation to the bewildered crowd.

 

He had compromised them. Oh, God, this was worse than he thought. He didn’t remember everything he had said, but given that his hallucinations of Hathor were so vivid, he must have uttered something that would have compromised them both. Oh, God, what had he done? He really owed Sam more than an explanation, as well as an apology.

 

He opened his mouth as if he were about to speak, only to be interrupted by Sam.

 

“God, look at you, Daniel,” she said sadly. “Why don’t you go help yourself to a warm shower, and get into some dry clothes?”

 

Daniel looked at her bewilderingly for a moment before a limp, stray lock of hair drooped into his eye, reminding him that he was soaking wet. He looked down at the wet clothes that hugged his body.

 

“Ah, I don’t have any clean clothes,” he said dumbly.

 

Sam looked at him for a moment before her eyes widened in realization. She headed toward the couch and retrieved a large, black t-shirt. It was the shirt she had been awarded for her little karaoke stint at the club.

 

“Well, it just so happens that this shirt is a little too big for me,” she began as she headed back over to him. She threw it to him and he caught it, looking down at it curiously.

 

“And black isn’t really my color,” she added, a slight teasing smile on her lips.

 

Daniel’s pensive expression melted and he grew a little smile of his own.

 

“We wear black all the time as SG-1. Our t-shirts are black,” he supplied, his smile growing.

 

“Eh, off-duty I like to be different,” she shrugged, showing off her yellow sweatshirt and blue jeans.

 

Daniel chuckled softly, and then cut himself off as a thought came to him.

 

“Oh, ah … I just remembered I have a change of clothes in a bag in the trunk of my Explorer.”

 

“You do,” Sam said curiously.

 

“Yeah,” he nodded, a bit of blush creeping into his cheeks.

 

Sam’s brow wrinkled in confusion, almost begging him to elaborate.

 

“I … ah ... well, you know … better safe than sorry,” he said awkwardly, his blush deepening.

 

Sam shrugged before holding her hand out, gesturing for his keys. Daniel dug the keys to his Explorer out and placed them in her hand.

 

“Thanks,” she said tersely as she made her way over to the umbrella stand and grabbed a small, turquoise umbrella.

 

“Oh, wait a minute,” he called to her before she was about to head out the door.

 

Sam turned back to him curiously, noticing that he was still rooting through his pocket.

 

“Here you go,” he said as he fished her car keys out of his pocket and threw them to her. “Sorry about that.”

 

Sam caught the keys and looked back up at him with a slight smile. She threw them into her purse before finally making her way outside.

 

Daniel headed for the bathroom and stripped down to his boxers while he waited for Sam to come back. Within minutes she was down the hall and at the bathroom door with a small, tan-colored knapsack bearing the embroidered initials “D.J.” Although her curiosity had almost gotten the better of her, she didn’t dare look inside.

 

He smiled as he took the bag from her.

 

“Thanks, Sam,” he nodded.

 

“Anytime,” she smiled back.

 

She headed back down the hall and into the living room, catching sight of the black “Club Rio” t-shirt slung over one of the arms of the couch. She grinned as she picked it up and made her way back to the bathroom.

 

“Don’t forget your shirt,” she said to the slightly ajar door in front of her.

 

She grinned as she saw a pair of no-longer-bespectacled eyes suddenly looking at her from between the crack of the doorway. The door swung open a bit more, revealing a bare-chested Daniel, nearly nude except for his boxers.

 

Sam couldn’t help staring at him as she took in his features: the beautifully sculpted bare chest, the lovely biceps, and the way his damp hair fell about his nicely shaped neck. She was a bit surprised at how well built Daniel was. He seemed to be lost inside the baggy clothes he wore at the SGC, and even his civvies usually left much to the imagination. She had caught a glimpse of his build when they had rescued him from Oannes just over a month ago. She hadn’t quite seen him bare-chested, but his t-shirt had been soaking wet and was clinging to his skin.

 

She suddenly screwed her eyes shut. What was she thinking? Daniel was still a married man, and she had no right to be fawning over him like that. She was aware that a bit of drool had managed to leak out of the side of her mouth, and it made her turn crimson.

 

“Sam?”

 

She looked up at Daniel and noticed that he was staring at her, his brow wrinkled in confusion. Without his glasses, the wrinkles seemed more pronounced.

 

“Oh … uh …sorry,” she said.

 

Daniel shrugged and took the t-shirt from her.

 

“Thanks. For some reason I forgot to pack a shirt in there,” he said grimly, gesturing to his knapsack. As he hung the shirt up on the towel rack, she caught a glimpse of his bare back.

 

“That’s okay,” she croaked, her voice sounding a bit child-like. She blushed madly and cleared her throat.

 

She suddenly directed her eyes to the towel rack, where he had hung his wet pants, blazer and dress shirt.

 

“Let me get those for you,” she said quietly as she moved past him, careful not to stare at him again, and grabbed them off the rack. “I’ll hang them up.”

 

Daniel’s eyes met hers as she turned around.

 

“Thanks,” he nodded.

 

Sam grew a little smile and nodded back. For a moment, two pairs of blue eyes pierced each other.

 

“Sam, there’s so many things I have to say to you,” Daniel suddenly said, his voice thick with sadness and regret.

 

Sam exhaled quietly and looked at him solemnly.

 

“It’s okay. Take your shower and get into some dry clothes, and then we’ll talk,” she said softly.

 

A slight smile appeared on Daniel’s lips.

 

“Okay,” he nodded.

 

Sam gave him a tiny peck on the cheek, which made his face light up. She smiled at him and left the room, closing the door behind her.

 

She headed back down the hall and had a seat on the couch. A couple of minutes later she heard the shower turn on. She decided to make herself comfortable, not knowing how long Daniel would take. She reached for a magazine and stretched out on the couch.

 

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

 

Sam absent-mindedly looked at her watch. It was after 1:30 a.m. She had been up since 6:30 that morning and it was beginning to catch up on her. There were times when she felt like she was going to fall asleep at any moment, but the fact that she was still worried about Daniel, and what had happened to him, was keeping her awake.

 

She found herself unable to concentrate on the magazine, as Daniel’s words pervaded her mind. Sam, there’s so many things I have to say to you. She knew he was talking about what had happened that evening, and she was trying to prepare herself for what he would say. She knew she had to be understanding, to sympathize with him over what he went through. She didn’t have any trouble with that; being his best friend, it came naturally to her.

 

Her eyes widened slightly as another realization came to her. Should she tell him about her conversation with Janet? If she mentioned Doctor McKenzie to Daniel, she was sure it would make him feel even worse. She wanted him to know that she would try to help him all by herself, that she didn’t want Janet or McKenzie to be a part of it. But, what if Daniel wasn’t any better, after all of her efforts? What if discussing what had happened to him would make it even worse? She’d have to tell Janet, and she didn’t want to make a promise she wouldn’t be able to keep.

 

She decided then and there that it was a promise she would keep. No matter what, she wasn’t saying anything to Doctor Fraiser. She felt a bit guilty, as Janet was her good friend and she didn’t like keeping anything from her. But, right now she couldn’t think of anyone she cared for more than Daniel. She was going to do all she could to keep anything from happening to him. If she had to keep this a secret from everybody, then so be it.

 

Her thoughts were interrupted as she heard the hairdryer turn off abruptly and heard the bathroom door open. She set the magazine back down on the coffee table and straightened up as she heard Daniel padding down the hallway.

 

As he got closer, she took in his appearance. He was wearing Sam’s black t-shirt over a pair of blue and white striped pajama bottoms, and wore a pair of beige slip-on sneakers. He had shaved, and his hair was dry and groomed like usual. The pair of glasses perched on the bridge of his nose told her that it was good old Daniel. He looked like he was still a bit embarrassed, from the rosy tinge to his cheeks. He smiled at her shyly.

 

“Ah… sorry I took so long in there,” he said sheepishly.

 

Sam looked up at him and shrugged. “Oh, no, you didn’t,” she said dismissively as she shook her head. “I really didn’t even notice.”

 

Daniel’s smile widened as he sat down next to her on the couch. He looked into her eyes and his smile faded. He swallowed hard as he tried to think of what he would say to her.

 

“Uh, Sam, I …” he began as he averted his eyes. He suddenly became very interested in the logo on the t-shirt and began tracing over it with his finger.

 

Sam noticed that he was uncomfortable, and she reached over and touched his arm. She didn’t expect him to flinch.

 

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she said apologetically.

 

Daniel looked at her sorrowfully and shook his head.

 

“No, it’s…it’s all right. I just …” he trailed off.

 

Sam looked at him expectantly.

 

“This just isn’t very easy for me to do,” he continued. “I have so much to say to you, and I’m not sure where to start.”

 

He looked back up at her, his cerulean eyes clouded over a bit.

 

“Start at the beginning,” she said softly.

 

“Okay, here goes,” he sighed deeply. “Remember when we were sitting at the table after your friend went up to dance with her fiancé?”

 

“Uh … yeah,” Sam replied as she tried to recount the events of earlier that evening.

 

“When we were about to kiss, and I pulled away from you, it wasn’t anything personal,” he stated, averting his eyes.

 

“Daniel, I know that,” Sam replied after a beat.

 

“It was … she ...” Daniel stopped, seemingly unable to make himself continue.

 

Sam looked at him sadly. She knew who the “she” was, and she realized that it was too hard for him to talk about.

 

“Daniel, are you sure you’re okay with this?” she asked gently.

 

Daniel looked up at her again, and saw the pain in her eyes as he struggled to talk about that which plagued him earlier. He looked her straight in the eyes and nodded slowly.

 

“Are you sure? If it’s too hard for you to talk about, I don’t want to make it worse for you. We can talk about it tomorrow … or even in a few days from now, since we’re on stand down,” she persisted.

 

“No, it’s okay. I have to talk about it now,” he insisted forcefully.

 

Sam looked at him curiously, appearing almost taken aback as she furrowed her brow.

 

“Okay, I’m sorry,” she said, her tone revealing that she was a bit insulted.

 

Daniel looked at her and sighed deeply.

 

“No, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to say it that way,” he said, his voice quiet and tinged with regret as he touched Sam’s arm.

 

“I just … think it would be better if I got it all off my chest now,” he continued.

 

Sam studied his face closely and then nodded.

 

“Okay,” she said quietly.

 

Daniel’s lips edged upward into the faintest of smiles before he began again.

 

“Just remember, though, if it gets too painful for you to talk about, you don’t have to continue,” she insisted.

 

Daniel looked up at her and nodded.

 

“Okay. Well, anyway … when I was about to kiss you, I closed my eyes and there she was, beckoning to me,” he spat out at top speed.

 

Sam’s brow wrinkled in confusion. “’She’ being …”

 

“Hathor,” Daniel finished, swallowing hard.

 

Sam edged closer to him and began rubbing his back.

 

“Are you okay?” she asked as she noticed the expression of distress on his face.

 

Daniel squeezed his eyes shut and nodded.

 

“Yeah,” he said after a beat as he opened his eyes. “I’m okay now. Anyway, what I’ve been trying to say is that it wasn’t anything personal. I really did want to kiss you, but …” He shook his head, unable to continue.

 

“You don’t have to say anything else,” she said, her voice thick with sorrow. “I knew something was bothering you at the time, and I didn’t take it personally, Daniel.”

 

He looked at her again and smiled slightly.

 

“Ah … then there was our little act during the slow dance,” he said, his voice becoming a bit agitated.

 

Sam pulled him toward her and hugged him. She heard him sigh deeply and it broke her heart for her to see him in such distress.

 

“Are you sure you want to talk about this?” she asked.

 

Daniel raised his head and nodded.

 

“I have to,” he said quietly.

 

Sam nodded in understanding.

 

“First, let me say that I really, really enjoyed that dance. Everything was just … great,” he blurted out, failing to find the right words.

 

Sam giggled softly as she noticed his cheeks becoming rosy again.

 

“I mean, the music, the moment, being in your arms … I hadn’t felt that great in a long time, Sam. It was just … everything was perfect and, I …” he became choked off as his eyes began to fill with tears.

 

Sam looked at him, a bit fearfully, not sure where this was going to go.

 

“What?” she nearly whispered.

 

“I … I don’t know what happened. One minute it was you, and the next it was Hathor,” he blurted out, screwing his eyes shut.

 

“I … I don’t understand,” she said.

 

“One minute I was kissing you, and the next minute it was her,” he continued, still with his eyes shut, the pain in his voice unmistakable. “When I opened my eyes, all I could see was that red-headed witch.”

 

Sam stared at him and raised an eyebrow.

 

“She started taunting me, with those same words that she used before she …”

 

Daniel shook his head and uttered a small sob, unable to continue.

 

Sam pulled him closer to her and held him in her arms, rocking him gently back and forth.

 

“I am so, so sorry, Daniel,” she said, her own voice wavering. “I had no idea it was that bad.”

 

Daniel rested his head against her shoulder and sniffled to drive the tears back. Sam began stroking his hair in a comforting gesture.

 

“You still want to talk about it?” she asked gently.

 

Daniel finally sat up straight and fell out of her embrace. He reached for a tissue, blew his nose, and nodded.

 

“I have to,” he said, his voice dull. “I have to get this all off my chest, Sam. If I don’t, it will haunt me and I’ll never be able to get over it. And I do owe you an explanation.”

 

Sam looked at him sadly and nodded.

 

“Okay, when you’re ready,” she sighed resignedly.

 

Daniel took a few moments to regain his composure before continuing.

 

“I really don’t remember much after I left the club,” he confessed. “I just remember running, and then ending up here.”

 

Sam’s eyes widened. The way he talked about not remembering anything made her think that he somehow lost consciousness, like he got tangled up with some thug on the street who beat him senseless. That sounded preposterous, though. Daniel didn’t have any telltale bruises, no cuts, and no bloody nose.

 

“Daniel, you didn’t pass out or anything, did you?” she asked worriedly.

 

Daniel looked at her for a moment before replying.

 

“No, no, I was conscious the whole time. All I remember doing was running, then losing my breath and walking, stopping to rest a bit and then running again. All I could think of was getting away from Hathor. For a while I had no idea where I was going. Then, suddenly I got about four or five blocks from your house, and I realized where I was. This may sound silly, but, I’d like to think that my heart was guiding me,” he finished as his lips curled up into the faintest of smiles.

 

Sam stared at him for a moment, nearly stunned by what he had just said. Daniel’s heart was guiding him to her house? What was he trying to say? She thought she had an idea, but in the end she merely smiled back at him.

 

“Daniel,” she finally said, her voice wavering a bit as she blinked to drive away her tears. “You have no idea how worried I was about you. I spent the better part of an hour combing the streets of downtown Colorado Springs looking for you. I looked nearly everywhere … the restaurants, the coffee shops, especially Starbucks …”

 

Daniel’s eyes became intensely apologetic and he reached for her hands, holding them in his own.

 

“I even drove by your apartment to see if you somehow made it back there. I had no idea what you would do in the state of mind you were in. You have no idea how frightened I was when I didn’t find you in there.”

 

Daniel averted his eyes and nodded.

 

“I’m sorry I made you do that,” he said softly. “Making you climb through my messy apartment, looking for me.”

 

Sam stopped sniffling and looked up at him.

 

“You use Old Spice, Daniel?” she suddenly asked, a slight smirk on her face.

 

“Oh, boy,” Daniel exhaled, turning a bright shade of crimson.

 

Sam looked at him expectantly, threatening to break into giggles.

 

“No, that’s from my neighbor down the hall, Marlene,” he said, rolling his eyes.

 

Sam raised an eyebrow.

 

“Oh, so that’s who the elastic band was from.”

 

“It was her husband’s,” Daniel elaborated.

 

Sam gave him an odd look.

 

“The Old Spice, not the elastic band,” he said quickly. “She barged in just before I was about to leave to meet you. She’s been getting my mail an awful lot lately and dropped off some magazines. She practically re-dressed me before I left, and thought she could be my fashion consultant,” he said dryly.

 

Sam’s eyebrow edged higher, and she seemed to be doing a damn good impersonation of Teal’c.

 

“Yeah, I know, it’s ridiculous,” he continued, his blush deepening. “She began splashing that smelly stuff all over me. If you thought my allergies were bad, you should have seen me then.”

 

Sam giggled sympathetically.

 

“As for the elastic band, she thought she would play hairdresser and started messing with my hair. She actually tied it back in a ponytail,” he finished, spitting out the last word with a huge emphasis.

 

Sam raised her eyebrows and broke out into giggles.

 

“Oh, my God! That’s what she was doing??” she exclaimed.

 

Daniel rolled his eyes and nodded grimly.

 

Sam grinned as she moved closer to him. She reached out in an attempt to grab Daniel’s hair. She ended up grabbing a bit at the nape of his neck, and felt its relatively soft texture before releasing it.

 

“Oh, no, not you too!” he whined as he edged away from her.

 

Sam grinned mischievously at him before giggling sympathetically.

 

“Sorry, Daniel. I don’t know how I can blame her, though. You do have very nice hair,” she admitted.

 

Daniel’s brow creased in confusion as he looked at her curiously.

 

“You think so? I thought you were more into guys with military haircuts, like Jack,” he said in spite of himself.

 

Sam shrugged.

 

“I really have no preference. You’d think that I’d be into the military style, since being in the military myself I’ve been around it so much and I’m used to it. But, to tell you the truth, I really like your hair, Daniel. It really suits you well. It’s a part of you, a part of you that I’d really miss if you were to get rid of it,” she winked.

 

A smile spread across Daniel’s face and he nodded.

 

Sam giggled affectionately and gave him a little hug. She smiled upon noticing that he was beaming.

 

“I’m really sorry for ruining the evening, Sam,” he said as his smile faded.

 

“Daniel, please, you didn’t ruin the evening,” she said sincerely.

 

“Yeah, I did,” he insisted sadly. “I can only imagine how you must have felt after I darted out of the club like that.”

 

Sam took a deep breath and slowly exhaled.

 

“It wasn’t your fault, Daniel,” she said simply.

 

“Actually, it was,” he replied.

 

Sam looked at him curiously.

 

“I told Doctor Fraiser that I was okay, that the nightmares were gone. She cleared me for active duty.”

 

“Were they gone?” she asked, looking into his eyes.

 

Daniel’s eyes met hers and he stared at her for a moment before answering.

 

“Yes, they were,” he said tersely. He lowered his head and began fidgeting with his hands.

 

Sam lowered her head until it was level with Daniel’s.

 

“Daniel?” she asked softly.

 

He sighed and lifted his head again.

 

“They were gone, Sam. It’s the undeniable truth,” he said.

 

Sam looked at him intently before sighing resignedly.

 

“I don’t know what brought this on, why I started having flashbacks. It’s been two weeks,” he said, frustrated.

 

“It’s all my fault,” she said somberly, averting her eyes.

 

“What?” he asked incredulously.

 

“I should have known,” she said, shaking her head.

 

“Sam, please,” Daniel scoffed. “You’re not responsible. The whole thing was my fault, honestly. And I’m sorry I left you so worried,” he finished gently.

 

Sam looked up at him sadly before she spoke.

 

“You know, I was so worried about you, I even called the SGC after I got back here,” she confessed.

 

Daniel looked at her curiously. He didn’t say it, but his eyes seemed to be asking “why?”

 

“I was at a loss for ideas, and I thought that if something had happened to you, someone might have found you and brought you back there. I put a call into the infirmary.”

 

Daniel seemed to tense a bit upon hearing this.

 

“I had to tell Doctor Fraiser, Daniel,” she said slowly, knowing that Daniel wasn’t going to like it.

 

He averted his eyes and sighed deeply.

 

“Why?” he said simply.

 

Sam looked at him and felt her heart sink. Great, he’s mad at me.

 

“Because I was worried about you,” she elaborated. “Daniel, I thought that if they’d brought you back there, the infirmary would be the most likely place, especially if you were in such a distraught state…”

 

Sam trailed off and covered her mouth, as she realized she had said too much. Oh, shit…

 

Daniel’s head flew up and anger seemed to gleam in his eyes.

 

“She’s going to tell McKenzie, now, isn’t she?” he said forcefully.

 

Sam shut her eyes and put her hand to her forehead.

 

“Sam, you didn’t tell her, did you?”

 

Sam didn’t react.

 

“Did you??” Daniel persisted.

 

“Daniel, please,” she said desperately, removing her hand from her head. “You didn’t let me finish!”

 

“I don’t have to,” he snapped. “I know what’s going on, Sam. Fraiser’s going to tell McKenzie, and as soon as we return to active duty he’s going to do all sorts of tests, diagnose me as a head case and have me committed to Mental Health. I can’t believe you did this, Sam. I just can’t believe it.”

 

“Daniel!” she shouted. His eyes pierced hers and she could see the anger reflected in them. She grabbed him tightly by the arms, preventing him from getting away.

 

“Will you listen to me??” she said desperately, tears beginning to stream down her cheeks. “I told Janet that I’d rather take care of you myself than have you submit to anything McKenzie is eager to dish out. I made her promise me not to tell him about this. I made her promise me not to tell anyone about this. Daniel, I care about you way too much to let anything like that happen to you! God, why can’t you see that??”

 

Sam broke down in tears, leaning forward with her head in her hands, her sobs muffled. She knew she had stuck her foot in her mouth, and shouldn’t have mentioned to him about her discussion with Janet. At first she wanted him to know why she was going to all the trouble of comforting him. She thought that if he knew she was protecting him from characters like McKenzie, and that she cared so much for him, he’d be grateful. But, no, she had stuck her foot in her mouth and had just made everything worse. Now he just mistrusted her, and perhaps hated her.

 

She felt the cushion she was sitting on go down further under someone else’s weight, and she felt someone take hold of her and pull her close to him.

 

She lifted her head and noticed the intense apology etched onto Daniel’s face as he held her close and began to rub her back.

 

“You told her that?” he said quietly.

 

Sam sniffled and nodded.

 

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Sam,” he said regrettably. “I really jumped to conclusions there. I appreciate all you’re doing for me, and I’m sorry you had to be saddled with all of this.”

 

Sam shook her head and sniffled once more, falling out of his embrace to blow her nose with a tissue.

 

“I mean it, Daniel. I really care about you … and I’ll make sure that no one finds out about this. If anything else happens, I want to try to help you myself. I’ll be there for you, I’ll comfort you, and I’ll hold you until the pain goes away. It’s the least I can do,” she said as she dabbed at her eyes.

 

Daniel looked at her thoughtfully for a moment before a sweet smile spread across his face. He hugged her tightly and began stroking her hair.

 

“You have no idea how much I appreciate this, Sam,” he said, sniffling a bit as his own tears threatened to surface. “You’re a wonderful, caring person, and I love you.”

 

He heard her sniffle and his face reddened somewhat. Deep down there was a voice nagging him, telling him that Sha’re was still out there, and she would be free of the goa’uld someday. But, he knew she would want him to be happy, and being with Sam – especially being loved by her – made him happy.

 

He stepped back and allowed her to regain her composure. She stared at him for a few moments and a faint smile spread across her face.

 

“I love you, too,” she said, blowing her nose once again.

 

“As a friend,” she quickly amended her statement, feeling her cheeks grow hot.

 

Daniel gave her a quick little smile, and then leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek. There was a bit of an awkward silence, pierced only by the sound of rain pelting against the house and the occasional rumble of thunder.

 

“Uh … I think you should stay here for the night,” Sam said nervously.

 

Daniel looked at her and raised his eyebrows.

 

“It’s pouring rain out there, and I don’t think you should be alone tonight, after what you’ve gone through,” she elaborated, averting her eyes and clearing her throat as she finished.

 

Daniel nodded his head thoughtfully and remembered that he had no transportation home anyway.

 

“Don’t worry, my battery is still dead, so I won’t be going anywhere,” he said grimly.

 

Sam looked at him curiously.

 

“Not that I would be going anywhere if it wasn’t,” he added quickly. “I don’t think I want to go out there and get wet again, let alone be spotted driving around like this,” he chuckled sheepishly, pointing out his bedroom attire.

 

Sam giggled softly.

 

“The guestroom is right down there, on the left,” she said, pointing down the hall.

 

Daniel nodded and eased up off the couch. He looked once more down at his watch.

 

“Whoa … 2:30 a.m. Who would have thought it was that late?”

 

Sam nodded and suddenly began to feel very exhausted. She picked herself up off the couch and made her way down towards her bedroom.

 

She opened the door and was about to change into her pajamas when she caught sight of Daniel, leaning up against the doorframe. He was silhouetted in the doorway, and she turned on her desk lamp in order to see him better.

 

“Good night, Sam,” he said softly.

 

Sam smiled. “Good night, Daniel. If you ever need anything, just call me.”

 

“I will,” he smiled. He leaned over, kissed her on the cheek and gave her a small hug. Sam beamed as she watched him head back down the hall to the guest room.

 

She sighed deeply, shut the door and began changing into her pajamas. It was a bit chilly in the house tonight, so she snuggled underneath her blankets and tried to get comfortable. The worried thoughts she had of Daniel began to finally ebb away as she drifted off to sleep.

Chapter 10 =>