Set in Heroes Part 2, right before Sam goes in to see Jack and they have their little touchy-feely hug session.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





Daniel rapped lightly on Sam's open door, peering into the dark lab. The only sign that Sam was there was the single lit lightbulb overhead.

"Over here," she called. Daniel's head swivelled- she was sitting on a stool in a far corner, elbows on a lab table, head in hands.

"You all right?" he asked softly, stepping in and shutting the door.

She didn't meet his eyes. "No."

Daniel moved to sit across from her, perching on a rather rickety stool. "Our tax dollars at work," he murmured to himself as the stool wobbled beneath him.

He waited for Sam to comment, but she remained silent, her eyes on the table.

"I heard General Hammond asked you to speak at the memorial," he said quietly, his irritation fading to concern.

"Yeah." Her voice was thick and slow.

"Is there anything- I know you were close...." He bumbled, trying to find the words to comfort her. Of SG-1, Sam had been the closest to Janet. They'd been best friends ever since Sam found Cassie.

"I...I'll be fine," she replied, finally meeting his gaze. Daniel barely managed to stop from wincing- her eyes were red-rimmed and bloodshot, her irises a pale watery blue.

"Maybe you should take a few days off," Daniel suggested, frowning. "See-" What was his name? Oh, right- "Pete."

She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head.

"Are you two having problems?" Daniel asked, startled. As if Sam didn't already have enough on her plate....

"No," she said with a strangled bark of laughter. "No, *we* aren't having problems. I am."

"Okaaaaay," Daniel replied slowly, confused.

"I think I could love him, Daniel," she said softly, eyes opening. "I really think I could."

"I'm sensing a 'but' here," Daniel said, eyebrows raised.

She tried and failed to smile. "Yeah, there's a 'but'."

Daniel waited. When nothing was forthcoming, he prompted, "And?"

She merely shot him a pointed look.

His eyes widened. Oh.

Oh....

"Ah. I see," Daniel sighed and grimaced, taking off his glasses and massaging the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.

"Yeah," she agreed bitterly.

"Will these be a, a problem?" he asked, sliding his glasses back on.

"I've survived so far," she said dryly.

They sat in silence for a long while, merely coexisting. Then-

"Dammit, Daniel," she burst out, startling him. "I can't just...I can't just wait around my entire life for something I can't have! It's not fair, not to me or to...him. I deserve more than an impossible dream."

"Yes, you do," he agreed. Frowning in thought, he leaned forward slightly. "But...do you *want* more?"

"What are you saying?" she demanded impatiently, running a hand through her hair.

"You love him," Daniel replied quietly. "Would you rather be with someone you don't love, or be near someone who you love and who loves you? Even if you can't be *with* him...."

"I just don't know." She sounded tired, so tired. "I thought I did...I thought I knew what I was doing with Pete. But I just don't know." She paused, eyes shimmering with tears. "I don't want to lose anyone else, Daniel," she said. "When I saw him lying there...I thought he was dead, and all I could think...."

"I know," Daniel agreed softly. He knew exactly how she'd felt. When Sha're had been taken from him, and then Sarah....

"And then I heard about Janet." Her face crumpled, but she managed to keep from crying. "It was too much, Daniel. When we lost you...I was so close, so close to cracking. Then you came back, and I thought it was over, all the fear and pain.... But now Janet...."

He reached across and took her hands in his, head tilted slightly as he studied her.

"I can't lose anyone else. Not you or Teal'c or...the Colonel."

Especially not the Colonel, were the words left unspoken.

"Sam," Daniel said quietly, intently, "You won't. No matter what, we will always be here for you. *Always*. Even if...even if you can't see us or hear or feel us, we will always be with you."

She bit her lip and stared up and the ceiling, tears running down her face. His grip on her hands tightened slightly, watching her with worry and affection.

"I'm just so afraid," she whispered finally, still staring upwards. "That one of us will die...and I'll have never said...."

"You don't need to tell him," Daniel cut in gently. "He already knows."

A moment passed before she lowered her gaze, nodding very slightly. "I'm gonna go check on him," she said slowly, raggedly. Daniel released her hands, smiling slightly.

"Pizza at my apartment at eight," he reminded her before she left. "Teal'c's bringing Galaxy Quest."

She laughed then, quietly but genuinely. And then, slowly- "I'll tell the Colonel."

And then she was gone, leaving Daniel to wonder exactly *what* she was going to tell Jack. Somehow he didn't think they'd be talking about Galaxy Quest.

He slid off the cheap metal stool, his smile growing very slightly. They'd be all right. They always were.