Katie moaned softly as her neck alerted her to the fact that she had spent far too long sat infront of the computer. She squinted her eyes in an attempt to find the solution that had been alluding her for the past two weeks and gave a frustrated snort when none came. She shook her head gently and rubbed her forehead. She didn't look up when someone entered the lab.

"If you're looking for Dr Jackson, you just missed him." She checked her watch. "He went in search of coffee about ten minutes ago."

"How do you do that?" Major Davis frowned at the woman sat at Daniel's desk.

"I'm sorry...do what?" Katie looked up at the man stood in the doorway. She gazed at him questionably as he studied her.

"How did you know I wasn't Daniel?"

She smiled and directed her attention back to the monitor infront of her. "When you spend three years working with someone, in a tiny little office such as this, and their main tendency is to pace the office mumbling in Egyptian...you tend to recognize their footsteps."

Paul noted the amusement in her voice and smiled. "I suppose you would. You say he went looking for coffee?"

"Hmmm..." Distractedly, Katie picked up her own mug and frowned when she found it empty. "Speaking of which..." She got up and rubbed her neck.

"Mind if I walk with you? I really hate wandering the halls at this time of night."

"Sure." She logged the computer into secure mode and looked at him. "What exactly are you doing here at this time of night anyway?"

Paul shrugged. "I'm here for a few days...and this time of night is always the best time to catch up with Daniel."

"What? When he's so high on caffeine he's liable to agree to anything?!" She giggled and glanced sideways at him as they walked down the hall. "What exactly are you after to resort to such tactics?"

They walked into the commissary together and immediately spied Daniel at one of the tables, a steaming cup of coffee infront of him and an empty mug at the side of it. Paul leaned over to Katie and whispered. "Now that would be telling."

"You know...talk like that will just add fire to rumors." She smiled at his grin. "See you later Paul."

"Bye Katie."

Katie grabbed a coffee and sat down at a table near the door. She sighed when she saw some of her co-workers approach her table.

"God you're so lucky. Getting to work with Dr Jackson."

"He's so cute. Is he seeing anyone?"

Katie could feel her impending headache getting closer and leant her head on her hands, trying to tune out their ramblings. Ok - so Daniel was cute. You'd have to be blind not to notice that. But Rachel and Katharine just went on and on, all day, non-stop. It was frustrating and annoying. They always complained when she got called upon to help him out and always gave her jealous looks when they spotted her in here with him, sharing a coffee. But then as soon as she was finished for the day, they'd jump on her, demanding to know every single detail. She was snapped from her thoughts by Rachel shaking her gently.

"Katie? I said who's that sat with him?"

Katie rolled her eyes. "That's Major Paul Davis. He's the SGC's liaison at the Pentagon. He's a good friend of Daniel's."

"Really?! He's pretty cute too."

"Excuse me...." Katie got up and walked over to Daniel's table. She grinned at him as she sat down. "Your fan club sends their love."

"Thanks." Daniel rolled his eyes at Paul who immediately began to laugh.

"I'd save the laughter if I were you...you're their next target."

"What?"

This time it was Daniel's turn to snort with laughter. Katie grinned as she looked at Paul. "Apparently you're cute, unattached and....available."

"...and thankfully only here for three days." Paul muttered under his breath.

"I'll go and tell them to make their move now then shall I?" Katie made to get up as Paul grabbed her hand and pulled her back down again.

"Don't you dare!"

"They obviously haven't heard the rumors then...shall I enlighten them..."

"Katie!" Daniel growled a good natured warning and she smirked at him. "Have you managed to get any further?"

She wrinkled her nose and looked at him. "No. I get the feeling I've been working on it for too long - you know? I feel as if it's staring me in the face...I just can't see it."

"Take a break Katie...you've been at it for three weeks now." Daniel looked at her worriedly. He had a feeling she wasn't getting enough sleep. He noticed the way she sometimes stared at the monitor without seeing it. The way she'd space out when he was telling her something and then blink suddenly, before muttering an apology. "I mean it."

"I know. And I will. I just need to finish this. I mean...you can't do anything with it until I decode it right?"

"Take a break!" Daniel was a bit more insistent this time.

"And do what Daniel? Go home and sit infront of the TV for a few hours?" Katie sighed softly. "Not a very constructive way to use my time is it?"

"Then go out. Go and have a drink in a bar or something."

Katie rolled her eyes at him. "Oh yeah...very relaxing....sitting in some bar on my own drinking whiskey. Thanks...but no thanks." She finished her coffee and got up. "I'll see you later."

Paul watched her leave the commissary and then turned to Daniel. "I think you hit a nerve."

Daniel smiled. "I know...it was purposely done believe me. So...what brings you to the SGC?"

"I've been offered a transfer. I thought I'd come and weigh up the pro's and con's."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. Apparently the Pentagon would like someone stationed here permanently. I'm considering my options at the moment." Paul took a long sip of his coffee.

"You always told me you'd move in an instant if they offered you a position here."

"Yeah I know but...things have got a bit...complicated." Paul looked at Daniel's raised eyebrows and sighed. "I may have feelings for someone and I'm not completely sure how to go about telling them."

Daniel stared at him for a moment and then smiled. "She doesn't bite...why not just tell her or ask her out to dinner or something."

"Who?" Paul said cautiously.

"Katie." Daniel downed the rest of his coffee and grinned. "I'm not blind Paul. I've seen the way you look at her when you think no one is looking. How about I sound things out for you?"

Paul rolled his eyes. "Thanks but no thanks. You're not very subtle Daniel."

"I can do subtle." Daniel muttered under his breath.

-

"...I'm just saying that you need to take a break."

"Daniel will you just give it up already!" Katie slammed a book down onto his desk and looked at him. "Why are you pushing this?"

Daniel took his glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose gently. "Because Paul really likes you Katie. He just hasn't got the nerve to ask you so I thought I'd..."

"...push a bit?" Katie regarded her friend cautiously and then sighed softly. "Very subtle Daniel."

Daniel groaned. "I know. Look...he's a nice guy and he's considering a permanent transfer here, but he's unsure of whether to take it or not."

"Unsure? He always said he'd jump at the chance to be stationed here."

"I know. But he's confused at the moment." Daniel replaced his glasses and looked at her. "His emotions are getting in the way."

"Daniel...."

"He's ready to move on Katie. He's been ready for a while now, he just...he didn't want to make the same mistake twice. He wanted to find someone who understood his job, understood that he had to travel and spend time away. After his wife walked out on him..."

"...I know." Katie gathered up her things and walked towards the door. "I'll see you tomorrow Daniel."

"Night Katie. He's in the VIP suite."

"I figured as much." Katie walked from the office to the elevator, a million thoughts running through her head. She smiled as the elevator doors opened and saw Paul leaning against the back wall, his head back, staring at the ceiling. "The great Escape?"

Startled, Paul's head snapped back down and then he grinned. "Yeah...I really can't face that stuff that the commissary tries to pass off as food."

Katie chuckled softly as the doors closed and they made their ascent. "I know what you mean. Sometimes it's ok and other times....I wouldn't even feed it to my dog."

"You have a dog?" Katie nodded. "I never knew that."

"There's a lot of things you don't know about me Paul."

"Apparently so...I had you pinned as a cat person."

"No...so...where are you going to eat?"

"I have no idea. I thought I'd just drive around for a bit and if I saw somewhere I Iiked...."

"...You'd head on in." Paul nodded as Katie checked her watch. "I think you'll find that most of the cafes in the Springs will be closed. It's gone midnight."

Paul's eyes widened. "No way. Damn. I'm so hungry."

They got out of the elevator in the parking garage. "Do you like Mexican?"

"Um...sure. Why?" Paul looked at Katie as she smiled softly.

"I know somewhere that will still be open."

-

Paul sat in Katie's kitchen, sipping the glass of wine she'd just given him. He looked over at the couch where Katie's dog Whistler had made himself comfortable. "I can't believe you're cooking at this time in the morning."

Katie raised an eyebrow. "You want something to eat or not because I could just...." She held the pan over the bin, grinning at him.

"...no no no...I was just...." He laughed softly. "Carry on."

"So...Daniel says you're considering a permanent transfer."

"Oh..." He took a long sip of his wine. "...and what else does Daniel say?"

Katie put their food on a low heat and took her glass of wine over to the table and sat opposite him. "Oh, you know Daniel. Needless to say...he's not very subtle."

"Ah." Paul studied her carefully trying to work out exactly how much Daniel had told her whilst making a mental note to kill him.

"What I don't understand is why you haven't accepted this transfer already. You always said you'd give anything to be stationed at the SGC. What's holding you back?"

"There's a few things holding me back. It's a big move for me you know...away from the Pentagon...away from everything I know. I guess...after so long, it's hard for me to actually break the ties. I thought it would be easy but..." He paused as he watched her get up and begin to put the food out on plates. "...if I do this I want to do it for the right reasons. I don't want to wake up a few years down the line and regret it."

"There's really only one good reason to do this Paul....you do this because it's what you want." She put his food down infront of him and retook her own seat. "If you do it for any other reason, you will regret it. There's only person you can guarantee will be there for you always...and that's yourself. So really there's only one person you need to please."

Paul sighed. "You're right of course. But I don't want to be alone anymore. I've buried myself so far into my work I'm not even sure if I'm capable of letting go and having a relationship."

Katie watched him as he started to eat his food. "Of course you are...you're here having dinner with me aren't you?" Katie watched the expressions cross his face.

"This...." He mumbled whilst pointing his fork at his plate. "This...is unbelievably good."

Katie chuckled and began to eat her meal. They ate in companionable silence. Paul poured them both some more wine as Katie began to clear the plates away. She smacked his hand playfully as he picked up a tea towel. "You're a guest...you don't need to help out Paul."

"I want to."

"Ok. I know better than to argue with you." Katie began washing the plates and utensils up, as Paul leant against the counter, waiting for the first dishes to dry.

"So...would you call this our first date?" Paul decided to test the water and see what kind of response he got. "I mean...you cooked me dinner, I think I'd class that as a date."

Katie placed the plates in the water and turned, leaning on the counter so that she was facing him. "I don't know...do you want it to be classed as a date? Or should we just call it 'two friends having dinner'?"

Paul moaned inwardly as she put the ball firmly back into his court. "How about 'two friends exploring the possibility of expanding their relationship.'?"

Katie rolled her eyes and went back to washing the dishes. "That's way too complicated for this time of morning."

Paul dried the dishes in silence, realizing that he'd probably just missed a big opportunity. He should have just kissed her and let her know exactly 'how' he wanted to expand their relationship. He shook his head slightly. He could be an idiot sometimes. He finished off and hung the towel back on the rail. "Well....I should get a cab back to the base. Thank you for a wonderful meal Katie."

"You're welcome Paul." She glanced up at the clock. "Look...it's nearly two. Why don't you stay here tonight. I'm not going in tomorrow, but I could give you a lift back in the morning." She walked out of the kitchen. "You can sleep in the spare room. I know how much you hate the VIP suites on base."

"Thanks. I really appreciate this."

"No problem." Katie showed him where the bathroom was and the spare room. She gave him some fresh towels and then said goodnight.

Paul sat down on the bed in his room and looked around. He hated the VIP suites on base. They always seemed so big and empty. He could hear Katie moving around outside and the soft sounds of her dog following her into the lounge. He smiled softly knowing he could get used to this very easily.

-

"Oh for..." Katie reached out still half asleep and picked up her phone. She yawned loudly. "...ello?"

"Katie...it's Daniel."

Katie yawned again. "Oh hey Daniel....what's up?"

"Do you know where Paul is? I can't find him anywhere on base."

Katie got out of bed and walked slowly over to the door to her room. "No...you won't. He's here. Hang on..." She walked out of her room and knocked on the spare room door. "Paul?"

"He stayed at yours?"

"Don't start!"

"Wow..."

"I think he's still asleep..."

"You made him sleep in the spare room?!"

"Daniel!"

"Sorry...look, wake him up and get him to give me a call. I need to speak to him urgently."

"K." Katie hung up and knocked a bit louder. With no answer she decided to go in and wake him up. She opened the door and quietly crept into the room. She smiled as she saw him, curled on his side hugging a pillow. She walked over to the bed and gazed at him softly. He looked so peaceful, so comfortable. She didn't really want to wake him, but she knew that Daniel would kill her if she didn't. She carefully sat down on the bed and shook him gently.

"Paul?" She kept her voice quiet so as not to startle him. "Paul?"

Paul mumbled quietly in his sleep, a small frown crossing his face as he tried to place the voice. He lazily opened one eye and waited for it to focus.

"Hey." Her voice was soft and welcoming. "Daniel needs to speak to you urgently." She handed him the phone. "I'll go put some coffee on."

"Thanks." He yawned and opened the other eye, focusing on the numbers on the keypad, he dialed Daniel's number. "This had better be good." He moaned into the phone.

"So? Are you two an item or what?"

Paul glanced at the bedside clock. "Daniel. It's 9am. I didn't go to bed until gone 3am. Could this not have waited?"

"No! I want details."

"There are no details Daniel."

"Paul...you stayed at her house!"

"And nothing happened..."

"...nothing?"

"Nothing! She made me some dinner and then we went to bed....in separate rooms."

"You didn't tell her did you?"

"No. Now I'm taking the day off and I don't want to hear from you again unless it's really important."

"Important as in I need to know..."

"....as in there's a Goa'uld mother ship in orbit." Paul looked up and smiled as Katie came in carrying two cups of coffee. "Now is there anything else you'd like to know before I hang up?"

Katie frowned as she put the coffee on the table. "Tell me he didn't wake us up for gossip?" Paul nodded as Katie grabbed the phone off him. "Dr Daniel Jackson. I swear. The next time you have to work late in your office...I am going to cut you off from your caffeine."

"Katie that's not funny." Daniel's voice held a worried tinge to it.

"I'm not joking! Now get off the phone before I come over there and replace all your coffee with de-caf!" She smiled as the line went dead and rolled her eyes at Paul. "I'm sorry. He said it was urgent. I thought it was work related."

"S'ok. Would you really carry out your threat?"

Katie chuckled. "Hell yes! The man is insufferable." She sat down next to him on the bed and giggled softly.

"So you're not part of the Dr Jackson Fanclub then?" Paul sipped his coffee and turned so he could watch her.

She screwed up her nose and shook her head. "Nah...I know him too well. He's a good friend, although he can be a bit pushy." She took a long sip from her own coffee mug. "So...what are your plans for today then? You want a lift back to Cheyenne?"

"Actually no. I thought I'd take the day off and spend it with you." He saw her questioning glance. "I'd like to get to know you better - outside of work."

Katie bit her bottom lip slightly. "You know...Daniel told me how you feel...."

Paul groaned. "I thought he might have." He sighed. "And?"

"And I'm not sure it's such a good idea."

Paul considered her answer whilst watching her closely. "That isn't a no."

"It isn't a yes either."

Paul nodded softly. "What will happen, will happen. Will you spend the day with me?"

Katie smiled. "I'd like that."

-

Daniel looked up startled as Katie walked into his office and sat down at the desk. She looked...disappointed. She pulled out some files and lay them down before meeting his gaze.

"He got called back to Washington."

Daniel set down the document he was working on. "Oh. Any idea when he's next in town?"

"No." Katie sighed.

His attention was diverted to his own PC as a new e-mail came in. Smiling softly as he noticed the sender he opened it.

Daniel,

Would you believe it?! Just as I thought I was making some progress, I get called back to DC! I know you told her how I feel. She told me. She also told me she's not so sure it's a good idea - whatever that means. But she'd also agreed to spend the day with me when I got recalled. Typical.

I thought I knew where I stood....but now I'm not so sure. It's been a long time since I've felt this strongly about someone Daniel. I'm not sure if I'm willing to put myself on the line.

Paul

'Oh boy' Daniel shook his head. The pair of them were not making it easy. Daniel looked over at Katie as her laptop informed her she had mail.

Daniel returned his attention to the document he was working on, watching her out of the corner of his eye. She dutifully pulled out some papers, opened a new document and started to type.

"You're not sure are you?"

Katie shook her head. "No. He's a wonderful man and he's been through a lot. He's a good friend and I really don't want to lose that."

Daniel considered the situation. "The question is...have you past the point of no return yet? I mean...you know how he feels. Does he know?"

"Not really. I basically told him we'd see what happened and I'd rather not go into it any further until I'm 100% sure about how I really feel Daniel. I...." She sighed and logged onto her e-mail account. "I don't want to jump into something I'm not sure about....especially with him."

Daniel knew what she was saying. It had taken Paul a long time to reach a place where he was comfortable with the idea of seeing someone again. Katie knew this and she was reluctant to start something that she may not want to see through. She wanted to be sure of her own feelings before pursuing it.

"I'm very confused at the moment Daniel. When I'm around him...I feel safe." She frowned. "But when he's not here, it all gets a little...out of focus." Her gaze settled on her monitor as she began to read Paul's e-mail.

Katie drew in a sharp breath. "Well it looks like I don't need to worry about it." She caught Daniel's questioning gaze. "And I quote.....Katie, I am sorry for having to quit and run this morning. I was looking forward to spending time with you and unfortunately work got in the way, as it frequently does. I've been thinking about our situation and I think it's best to wait and see how it pans out. I'm not sure when I'll next be in Colorado. Take care. Paul...I think that covers it all don't you?"

Daniel sighed heavily as she turned off her laptop, gathered up her papers and left the office. He hit the reply button on Paul's e-mail and wrote seven words in big, bold type: PAUL, YOU FUCKED UP - BIG TIME! DANIEL

-

Several Weeks Later

Daniel grimaced as the elevator doors opened and turned to Katie. "I'll catch up with you. I forgot some files." And hot footed it down the hall.

Katie stepped into the elevator. "Level 28 please Major." She watched Paul push the relevant button and then studied him as he let his head fall back against the wall.

"I'm sorry." He sighed and caught her eyes with his. "It's been so long....I panicked."

"It's ok Paul." Katie's voice was soft. "It was probably for the best. Let's just.....leave it where it is."

"Where it is?"

Katie looked away from him. "Let's leave it as friends."

"But that's not what I want..."

"...but it's what you are comfortable with."

Paul knew that although her tone was soft, her eyes were challenging him. "I just don't know how to move on from here Katie."

The doors to the elevator opened and Katie exited the car. She stopped and turned. "Then maybe the best course of action is to remain where you are."

Paul watched her walk down the hall to the control room and inwardly kicked himself. Swiftly following her he stopped short when she sat down next to Simmons and began to run some tests on the main frame. He quickly turned and made his way up the metal stairs to the debriefing.

Several hours later he returned down the stairs, to find her chatting quietly to Siler as she continued to run tests. Siler looked up and saw him.

"I'm just going for coffee. Katie?"

"Hmmm..." She looked at him briefly before returning her gaze to the screen. "Sure...coffee sounds good."

Paul nodded silently to Siler as he sat down next to Katie. "You know they say drinking coffee in the evening, prevents you from sleeping."

"Is that a fact?" Katie's voice was remarkably dry and sarcastic.

Paul winced. "Katie I've already said I'm sorry. I don't know what else to say..."

Katie sighed heavily and turned so that she was facing him. "I thought we might have had a chance. You were a good friend and I liked you a lot. But you know what....friends usually end e-mails with 'speak to you soon' or 'I'll call you'. That e-mail you sent me was very cold Paul. And it was very final. It's not the type of thing you send unless you mean it."

Paul frowned as Katie stood up. "So that's it. You're not even going to give me another chance.?"

"Friends - Paul. That's all I can offer you right now."

-

Daniel placed a beer down infront of Paul and took his seat across the table.

"So how long you here for?" He sipped his beer slowly whilst studying his friend across the table.

Paul sighed and leant his head back against the wall. "Permanently." He leant forward, drinking a large amount of the cool liquid in his glass. "I took the transfer."

"Really?!" Daniel placed his glass back on the table. "That explains a few things."

"Oh?"

"Yeah. Jack was mumbling something about having to clear out one of the spare offices and order some furniture earlier today." He waved his hand. "I didn't pay a lot of attention at the time as I was knee deep in paperwork." He frowned and checked his watch. "Speaking of which..." He pulled out his cell phone and dialed the mountain. "Katie Sanchez please."

Paul raised an eyebrow and went back to drinking his beer.

"Oh hey Katie. How's it going?"

Paul watched as Daniel listened intently to Katie on the other end of the phone. The frown on his face gradually got deeper until he rubbed his forehead with his fingers.

"God I'm so sorry for dumping this on you. I didn't realize it was going to be this much work." Daniel looked up at Paul. "I'll come back and give you a hand.....no Katie it's fine really....Katie...." Daniel let out a huge sigh. "You know that's not true! You're the only one stopping yourself from......" Another big sigh. "Ok. But this isn't over." Daniel closed his cell and shook his head softly.

"Problems?"

"Yeah. Katie said she'd finish up so I could come have a drink with you. Apparently Hammond has since been down to my office and dumped a load more files on her. It's turned into quite a job."

"You want to go back and help her?"

"I offered.....but, and I quote. "Don't be silly. Enjoy your night out...it's not like I've got anywhere else to be or anyone to go out with." To which I retaliated...and it kind of went downhill from there."

"Which is my fault." Paul watched Daniel start to deny it. "Well it is - isn't it! I totally screwed it up Daniel. I got back to DC and I panicked. Not only did I panic, but I then sent her an email in a tone I usually reserve for the bureaucrats in the White House."

"You know Katie said the same thing to me." Daniel leant forward slightly. "She likes you Paul. When she's with you, she feels comfortable and she feels safe. But when you're not there, the doubt starts to creep in. In her words, not mine 'Things get a little out of focus'. She also said that she doesn't want to start something she's not 100% sure about....because she doesn't want to hurt you. She knows it's taken you a long time to even consider dating again."

"She said that?"

"Yes...she did." Daniel looked at his friend, and the soft smile now adorning his face. "Paul...you both need to take a chance with this. I know how much you like this woman. Surely...it's worth taking a risk?"

Paul sat back and drank the last of his beer. "You could be right."

-

Katie looked up as Daniel and Paul walked into the office and opened her mouth to speak, but was immediately cut off by Daniel.

"We're here to help and I'm not taking no for an answer."

Katie closed her mouth and watched as Paul placed various boxes of take out on the table, followed by some bottles of beer. Her mouth curved into a small smile. "Thanks guys. I was getting a little hungry."

Daniel chuckled. "It was Paul's idea. I'll be back in a minute. I need coffee."

Katie watched him leave the office before turning to Paul. "Thank you."

Paul shrugged slightly and smiled. "That's what friends are for - right?"

Katie stiffened slightly as she began to look at the various take out boxes. "Sure."

"Katie...."

"Ooooo.....Chicken and Cashew nuts." Katie grabbed the box and some chopsticks and began to eat, sitting back down at her desk and looking at the mass of files on it.

Paul shook his head slightly and settled in for the long haul. Daniel returned with the coffee and they all got to work.

Three hours later Katie looked around the office. Daniel had fallen asleep on the couch and Paul was gently snoring, his head on the table on top of the file he'd been working on. She studied him for a while, pushing aside the fact that things were not looking good and concentrated on why she liked him so much. Despite his inability to sort his own emotions out, which she really couldn't comment on because she was just as bad, he was possibly everything she looked for in a man.

He was kind, gentle, considerate. When he trusted you he opened up to you and was completely honest. He didn't hide behind his commission and put on a brave face. Although to most of the people on the base, he was the perfect example of an Air Force Major...to the few who knew him better, he openly spoke about his feelings and his experiences. Although they'd had ups and downs, he was a good friend. And Katie was attracted to him. When he smiled, his green eyes sparkled and it always made her smile too. With a soft sigh she looked back down at the file infront of her and rolled her neck as she felt the tension start to build.

"Would you like a neck rub?"

Startled she looked back across at Paul. "You're awake."

"Yeah....just." He stretched and walked around the desk to stand behind her. Placing his hands on her shoulders, he began to work her muscles, gently moving in circular motions to ease the tension. "Didn't take long for Daniel to pass out?" He noted quietly.

"Gate lag. He hasn't been to sleep yet since he got back from P9H 536 earlier this morning."

"Ah." Paul closed his eyes and concentrated on relaxing her. He couldn't deny that the feel of her skin beneath his fingers was doing absolutely nothing to relax him. It was infact alerting various parts of his body to the fact that he wanted so much more from this woman. Pushing those thoughts to the back of his mind he continued to massage her gently. He was doing well until she allowed her head to fall back slightly with a soft moan. His hands stilled and he cleared his throat gently. "Um...I'm pretty tired."

Katie watched him leave the office quickly, a small frown on her face.

"Go after him Katie." Daniel's voice sounded from the couch.

"Oh shush you."

It took a split second for Daniel to change tactics. "You know you want him."

"Subtle!" Katie got up and made her way over to the door.

"As always." Daniel muttered before turning over and closing his eyes.

-

Paul opened the door to his quarters and gasped slightly. This he hadn't expected. He watched as Katie took in his appearance. He was barefoot and wearing a pair of faded jeans. "What are you doing here?" He mentally kicked himself as his voice came out deep and husky.

Katie looked over his bare chest. Took in his faded jeans and his bare feet and silently resigned herself to the fact the Daniel was right. "I've come to return the favour." Before Paul could answer she laid a hand on his bare chest and pushed him back into the room, closing and locking the door behind her. "Lay down on the bed."

Paul drew in a sharp intake a breath at the softness in her voice but did as she asked. He rolled over onto his front and closed his eyes, attempting to gain some control as he felt her straddle his waist.

Katie ran her hands up his back and started with his shoulders. She concentrated on working his muscles and smiled at the feel of his skin under her hands. She felt him relax as she continued to massage him, working her way down his back to the base of his spine. When she got there she leant down and placed a gentle kiss on his back, just above the waistband of his jeans. As he moaned softly, she carried on placing gentle kisses all up his spine until she reached his neck. Leaning close to his ear she whispered. "No more games."

Paul tried to slow his breathing down as he tried to turn. Katie shifted to allow him to roll onto his back, but remained straddled over him. She looked down at him, her own breathing erratic now.

Paul looked up at her, remembering the amount of times he'd dreamt of seeing her like this. Her breathing filled with passion, her face slightly flushed. But in her eyes, was something much deeper. Something he knew was echoed in his own. He'd fallen for her. He'd tried making every excuse not to get involved and she was calling him on it. "Oh god..." He reached up and pulled her into a gentle kiss, moaning softly as he tasted her for the first time.

Katie smiled and licked his lips with her tongue, seeking entrance, which he willingly gave. She deepened the kiss, noting the passionate response and when Paul pulled away, she saw it in his eyes and he hesitated.

"Katie no...not like this." His voice was bearly a whisper but she heard it. She narrowed her eyes slightly and moved away from him, sitting back between his legs as he moved to sit as well.

"Not like this?" Katie raised her eyebrow as she looked at him. "You are kidding me aren't you?"

"No...I'm not."

Katie let out a long breath. "I come to you and basically hand you my emotions on a plate...so there can be no confusion....and you say 'no'?"

Paul bit his bottom lip as he looked into her eyes and saw the anger and the hurt slowly building there. "It's not what you think Katie. It's just..." He sighed. "Back in Daniel's office...I almost lost control. That's why I left and now...I feel that same loss of control. I want to be in control of my emotions Katie...I don't want to let them rule me."

Katie laughed softly and got up off the bed. "You want me to map every maneuver out for you Paul - is that it? It doesn't work like that! This isn't some Air Force training or a well planned mission....this is..." She paused and looked at him closely. "...this is nothing - isn't it?" She cleared her throat and went over to the door, unlocking it. "I'm sorry to have bothered you 'Major'. I won't make the same mistake again."

Paul felt the pang of guilt in his heart as the door closed firmly behind her. He growled and flung himself back down on the bed. "Congratulations Major...you just graduated from 'idiot' to 'beyond help'!"

-

Two months later

"I feel ridiculous."

"But you look amazing." Daniel smiled at her.

Katie sighed and looked at her reflection in the car window. "This dress is..."

"You look stunning Katie. Just enjoy the night." Jack winked over Katie's head at Daniel and then gently took Sam's arm leading her inside.

Daniel held his arm out to Katie. "Madame?"

She rolled her eyes and laughed at him gently. "It's not like there's anyone here I want to impress. I don't understand why Sam insisted on all..." She waved her hands up and down herself. "..this. It's so not me!"

Daniel shook his head slightly and opened the door for her. "Because it's not often we get a chance to dress up and enjoy a well deserved night off. Besides it's not like...." Daniel trailed off as Katie stiffened beside him. His gaze followed hers to a table just to their right and he barely managed to catch her arm as she tried to exit. "...excuse me."

Katie sighed and looked away, following Sam and Jack to another table and sitting down. She already felt uncomfortable and now she felt out of place. She'd agreed to come tonight as a favour to Daniel. Now she wished she'd stayed at home. Her gaze returned to the table Daniel was approaching.

Daniel took in the way Rachel was sitting as close to Paul as she could get. He caught the subtle movement of her hand towards Paul's thigh. "Major Davis."

Paul stood up quickly. "Daniel....it's great to see you." Paul shook his hand warmly before adding in a much lower voice. "Get me the hell out of here."

"It's good to see you too Paul." Despite the fact the Daniel was angry with Paul over the way he'd treated Katie, he couldn't leave his friend alone with Rachel and Katherine. The two women were vultures. "Mind if I join you?"

"Not at all." Paul breathed a small sigh of relief and sat down at the table, positioning himself as far away from Rachel as possible.

"Would you care to dance Paul?" Rachel voice was breathy and even from where Daniel was sitting her intentions were clear enough.

"I don't dance."

"Yes you do...I've seen you." Daniel smirked as Paul shot him a filthy look. Daniel may have had good intentions but he wasn't going to let Paul off that easily. "In fact...if I remember correctly, you do a mean tango."

Paul chose to say nothing, already aware of why Daniel was taking this attitude. He'd sat down to save Paul from having to deal with Rachel and Katherine on his own, but he was going to make him squirm in the process.

Rachel nudged Katherine. "Look. There's Captain Connor from SG3. He's single you know."

Paul rolled his eyes and gave Daniel what he hoped equated to a desperate look. Daniel just grinned back at him, enjoying the play that was unfolding.

Katherine followed Captain Connor's progress across the room and sighed. "What is it with that woman? She attracts all the right men but she just can't seem to hang onto them."

Daniel followed their gaze and saw Captain Connor stop at Katie's table and speak with her. "Who Katie? Maybe there's only one man she wants." His gaze fell on Paul. "And maybe he's too stupid to do anything about it."

Paul looked at Daniel. "Maybe...or maybe he doesn't want to do anything about it."

"Then he's a fool." Daniel's voice was calm. He knew the struggle Paul was having over this and although he sympathized he did not agree with the way he was handling it. Katie's laughter drew both men's attention to her table.

"You know Justin. Katie cooks mean Mexican." Sam smiled and winked at her across the table.

"You only think it's good because you've never tasted the real thing." Katie counter argued.

"I'm sure it's delightful." Justin smiled down at Katie. "Do you dance?"

Katie laughed softly. "Well...I attempt to."

Justin held out his hand. "Then can we attempt it together?"

Katie accepted his hand as he helped her up. "Sure...although there is a distinct possibility of you breaking something."

Justin laughed as he led her through the tables towards the dance floor. Once there he gathered her into his arms and smiled when she rested her head on his shoulder. "You know...us marines have an undeserved reputation."

Katie sniggered softly. "Oh?"

"Yeah. We're portrayed as unfeeling thugs who like to shoot everything that moves."

"Sounds accurate to me."

Justin punched her playfully on the arm. "It's not true you know. We have feelings. And we definitely don't want to shoot everything that moves."

"Uh huh. Just anything that looks threatening."

Justin moved his hand to the small of her back, enjoying the feeling of her arm round his own back. "Well no. I mean...you're threatening."

Katie laughed and pulled back to look at him. "You're joking right?"

"No." Justin stroked her cheek softly. "I could lose my heart to you."

Katie blushed slightly. "That is so corny."

"I know." He shrugged. "But it works."

Katie laughed. "If you say so."

"I say so." Justin took his finger and tilted her chin up, softly capturing her mouth with his. Katie pulled back stunned. "I'm sorry...I.."

Katie gazed at him softly. "No...don't apologize." She reached up and threaded her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck, bringing his head down and capturing his lips once more.

"Oh my..." Rachel stared at the events. "I don't believe it!"

"Neither do I." Daniel frowned as he watched Justin kiss Katie's forehead softly and draw her closer into his arms as they danced. He shot a sideways look at Paul who was looking a bit miffed. Daniel turned his full attention to his friend and raised an eyebrow when he caught his eye. Paul shrugged and left the table.

-

Paul was waiting for Katie in the office the next day. "Morning."

"Morning Paul." Her voice was cheerful and it made Paul wince.

He indicated to the red rose on her desk and the small envelope beside it. "I believe that is for you."

"Oh?" Katie picked the rose up and then opened the envelope. She smiled as she read it: 'I stand corrected. I've already lost my heart to you. Justin.'

Paul felt his heart ache as he saw the smile light up her face. He'd wanted to be the one that made her smile like that. He'd wanted to be the one to send her flowers and hold her close at night. But he'd let his own insecurities get in the way, and now it looked like he was paying the price. He watched as she placed the envelope in her bag and walked out of the office. When she was gone, he gently picked up the rose and sighed.

"Strange how sometimes we only want something when we can't have it." Daniel was leaning against the doorframe watching Paul. He slowly moved forward into the office. "I don't get it. I know you like her. Damn it Paul, you've liked her for nearly two years now. She went to you and showed you exactly how she felt and you turned her away. There's no use moaning about it now. You had your chance."

"I am such an idiot." He sighed. "I liked her from the moment we met. She became a good friend and she's the first woman I've wanted to date since....you know." He shrugged. "I always thought it would take someone special to make me want to try another relationship. And she is Daniel. She's very special and she deserves love. I just....I can't seem to get it right."

"Paul...you're running away from what you want, because you're scared it's going to end up the same way as your marriage. But this is different. She knows you. She knows what you do. She understands. But you can't expect her to wait around forever until you decide to make your move. If you want it...you are going to have to risk it."

"It's a bit late for that don't you think." Indicating the rose in his hand. "I can handle irate Senators, the Commissions Board, stubborn lawyers and rich bureaucrats...but I can't tell the woman I love how I feel. Ridiculous isn't it?"

"You said it...not me." Daniel sat down in the chair. "Tell her Paul. Even if nothing comes of it. Tell her. You'll only regret it if you don't."

-

Katie looked at Justin across the table. "That obvious eh?"

He smiled softly as he nodded. "I care about you Katie. You've been a good friend to me over the past year. But your heart is elsewhere. And though I'm quite happy to continue this, you shouldn't have to settle."

"Settle? I can't even get him to tell me how he feels!" Katie shrugged softly. "But I know you're right. Even if it means directly asking him...I need to know."

Justin drained the last of his coffee. "Ask him. If he says there's no chance, we'll give this another go. But I have a feeling if you lay it on the line...he'll respond."

"Sure. Maybe I should write a report on it. He might respond to that."

"Hang in there." Justin got up and kissed her cheek softly. "I'll see you when I get back tomorrow."

"Ok. Be careful."

"Always."

Katie finished her own drink and walked down the hall to the elevator. She walked into the car and pressed the button for level 28. The car stopped at the next level and Paul got in. They traveled a few levels in silence until Paul hit the alarm and stopped the car.

"What are you doing?"

"We need to talk."

"Taking it a bit far aren't you?"

"No." He sighed heavily and looked at her. "I've been a complete idiot. I've been so busy worrying about entering another relationship and having it blow up in my face. I didn't stop to consider the differences. I didn't stop to consider how I was making you feel and I didn't stop to consider how much I was hurting you and I am sorry." He shifted so he was leaning against the wall opposite her. "I've fallen for you in a big way and it scares me. I can't imagine coming to the mountain and not seeing you here. I can't imagine walking into Daniel's office and not seeing you there. I can't imagine my life without you in it anymore and I know that if I carry on treating you the way I am, I'll lose you as a friend as well..."

"Paul.."

",,,Katie. I know I don't deserve it. And I know my timing is lousy what with you and Justin getting together but....would you give me a chance? Please?"

Katie hit the alarm button again, deactivating it and allow them to continue on their journey. "Actually your timing is impeccable."

Paul frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Justin decided that it wouldn't be good for us to be together."

"Oh?" Paul looked at her as the doors opened.

"Yeah...apparently my heart lies elsewhere." Katie walked briskly out of the elevator and down the hall.

Paul followed her and stopped her. "So what does that mean?"

"It means...my heart wants to give you that chance, but...I'm tired of you pushing me away. I'm tired of not knowing where I stand." She gently removed his hand from her arm and carried on walking.

-

One month later

Katie sneezed softly and then groaned. She was going to kill Daniel - very slowly and very painfully. They'd had a big fight earlier on in the day about Paul and she'd lost her temper, breaking his favourite coffee mug in the process. Her punishment was a few hours in the archives, searching for some research material Daniel wanted.

She sneezed again as the dust rose from the file she'd just pulled from the shelf. Frustrated she threw it on the floor and took a moment to stem her rising temper. She rubbed her forehead gently and moaned as she heard approaching footsteps. Unable to recognize them in the echoing chamber that claimed to be an archive she assumed the worst and decided it probably Daniel, out to start another round.

"Daniel I really can't take anymore. I don't want to hear it."

The footsteps stopped not far from her position. She shook her head gently and reached up to the top shelf to retrieve another file. But another hand rose above her's, easily reaching the folder and lowering it to just infront of her. Katie looked at the hand holding the folder and realized at once that it wasn't Daniel.

"He giving you a hard time?"

"Like you wouldn't believe." Paul studied her from behind. Her voice was soft and very resigned. Her shoulders slumped visibly and she looked more than a little annoyed. "I know he means well but....I really can't take much more. The office is really small and what with the constant bickering..."

"I'm sorry. I seem to be doing nothing but causing more trouble for you lately....that and constantly apologizing."

Katie smiled softly. "It's not your fault Paul. You know what Daniel can be like when he gets it into his head that he's right. Nothing you say makes a difference."

Paul stepped back slightly as she turned round. She leant back against the shelving unit and wry smile on her face. "What?"

"I love Daniel to bits but sometimes...."

"...you could just kill him?"

She chuckled softly. "Something like that." She shook her head. "We had a big fight earlier on and I said some things I really should not have said."

"That doesn't sound good."

"No it's not."

"I'm sure he won't hold it against you. We often say things in anger that we don't mean."

"That's not entirely true. Just because it's said in anger doesn't mean it's not meant. I mean...the thought is in there isn't it? I meant every word of it....I just normally would have more sense than to bring it up."

"I see." Paul leant back against the shelves opposite and looked at her closely. "Well whilst you're in honest mode...is there anything you want to say to me that you wouldn't normally say?"

"What do you mean?"

"It been a month Katie since I told you how I feel and you haven't broached the subject once." Paul watched as Katie dropped her gaze to the floor. "I would have thought that if you felt you couldn't give me that chance you'd a least have the decency to tell me."

He saw the anger in her eyes as she looked up. "Excuse me? The decency to tell you? Are you kidding? After everything you've put me through, suddenly I'm the one that's in the wrong here?"

"I'm just saying that it's not really fair of you to keep me hanging on like this."

"Keep you....." Katie moved away from the shelving and approached him. "Ok. You want me to lay it on the line. I will. I fell for you. I tried just being friends and it didn't work. I came to you and told you how I felt and you slapped me down. Then, when I thought I'd got my head around it and decided it was never going to happen, I moved on. The minute I got together with Justin, you decide to tell me that you want us to give it a try. Since we had that conversation, I would like to point out that you've been avoiding me at all costs but you have however been talking to Daniel as evident from this mornings little tirade. Would you just bloody well make up your mind and decide what you want Paul! One minute you push me away and the next minute you're asking me to give us a try. And in between that I don't see you!"

"But I..."

"But you what?!?!" Katie placed a finger on his mouth. "Your problem is you don't know what the hell you want!"

Daniel winced as he walked into the archives and heard Katie's raised voice. Looking down the far end he could see Paul backed up against the shelving.

"I can't help you with that Paul...that has to come from you. But I am not going to sit around waiting for you to make your god damn mind up. And don't look at me like that. You asked me to lay it on the line and I have. What the hell do you want?"

Paul fell silent. He'd never seen her this angry before and it unnerved him. The power this woman had over him was unbelievable and he knew it was going to be his undoing. He also knew that he had to sort this out. He knew he wanted her and he knew it was him that had pushed her this far. In all the two years he'd known her, he'd never heard her raise her voice once. Never seen this amount of anger and hurt in her eyes. He knew he'd put it there and he knew he had the power to take it away.

Katie took a deep breath and removed her finger. "Tell me what you want." Her voice was much softer and calmer this time. She backed away from him, searching his eyes as she waited for an answer. None came. Biting her bottom lip she picked up the files she'd retrieved. "This is your last chance Paul. If you don't tell me now. I will walk out that door and you won't ever have the chance again. I can't..."

She was cut off as Paul knocked the files out of her hand, backed her up against the shelves and kissed her, gently holding her arms against the shelving and leaning into her. She moaned softly as he broke the kiss and looked at him. "I love you. That much I know. I have a lot to make up for and a lot to explain. But I promise you. I will never put you through this again. I will never hurt you and I will always be completely honest with you from now on."

Silence descended around them for a few minutes as Katie studied his face carefully. "Ok."

"Ok?"

"Ok."

Paul smiled as he released her arms and they immediately wrapped around him, pulling him closer. He gasped as one hand gently moved under his shirt, tracing patterns on his back as she softly pulled him into another kiss.

Daniel turned and left the archives softly muttering. "About damn time."