Title: Inescapable

Disclaimer: Yeah, like Pete would still be alive if I owned it! It all belongs to Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions.

Pairing: S/J

Rating: PG13

Season: Eight

Summary: Carter tells Daniel she's engaged and Jack's been lending his ear…

AN: Thanks to those who reviewed my last (and first) SG1 fic, you gave me a little encouragement to dabble a little more.

"You okay?"

Daniel's eyes lifted distractedly from his computer screen to see Sam standing just inside his doorway. He tapped at a key on his keyboard and cleared his throat.

"Fine." She eyed him suspiciously as she stepped on inside. Sam knew something about the events of the last few days was bothering him. She knew what Daniel encountered with 'The Trust' was something that didn't pass fleeting through anyone's mind, but for someone at the SGC, it was basically another day in the life. And yet, she had caught that look in Daniel's eyes too much over the last few days, something else was eating at him.

"Teal'c's all settled back in," she offered, hoping it was a safe way of entering into the avenue of conversation she wanted to travel.

"Yeah," he breathed, leaning back in his chair. "Pity, his place was nice. He has a real flare for decorating."

Sam smiled as she leaned against his desk.

"Have you talked to him?" Daniel asked. She nodded and fiddled with some artefact lying atop a few notebooks.

"He said something about the world not being ready for him," she grinned. Daniel smirked at the Jaffa's humour.

"Spending too much time with Jack," he mused, smiling softly and shaking his head.

"He's not the only one."

Daniel's thoughtful eyes phased back into the room at her sudden remark, finding her staring pointedly at him. He raised his eyebrows at her and pushed his glasses up his nose.

"You know you can talk to me, Daniel," Sam almost whispered, now avoiding his eyes.

"I know, Sam," he replied firmly but quietly. Her eyes drifted back to him as she felt him sigh. "I'm okay, Sam," he assured her with steady eyes. "Really," he added when she kept looking for something beyond what he was saying. He frowned. "I've even talked about it…" It was almost an afterthought and something about the way he said it intrigued her. It also made her wonder when he had stopped talking to her about things like this, and for that matter, who he had talked to.

Daniel saw the question in her expression. He licked his lips. If he didn't answer, she would only ask.


"General O'Neill?"

She was surprised, but he had expected that. He nearly held back the half smile that wormed its way out at the sudden change in their friend's title. She never felt comfortable calling him Jack. It said a hell of a lot about more than just her military status.


"Oh." Now he could tell she was kind of disappointed that he had confided in Jack over her, an example of the exact kind of person who avoided, at all costs, the prospect of talking about your feelings. Absently, he decided she was half right. Jack didn't mind, when it called for it, talking about other people's feelings, only his own.

"Thought he might have said something to you," Daniel probed. He didn't think anything of the sort in actual fact. Jack had come to see him almost as soon as he got back and he had seemed a little too concerned for Daniel … a little too interested in everything he could possibly think of. It's not that Daniel thought that it was unusual for Jack to be concerned about him but it was a little unusual for Jack to actually step so readily into showing it, he had always left that sort of stuff to Sam.

Sam was shaking her head with haste.

"I'm just glad you're ok, Daniel." She was moving to leave and Daniel remembered something Jack had said during their talk. He'd told Jack that he wished that just for once, something good could happen around here. What had he said?

Tell that to Carter.

That's what he said just before he left, leaving Daniel wondering what really went on in the mind of Jack O'Neill.

"Sam!" She turned. "Is there something you wanted to tell me?"

Sam frowned at him, she had forgotten. It was among the reasons she had come to visit Daniel in the first place, but how did he know that?

"Ah, yeah, I … ah …" She started walking towards his desk again and then thrust her hand into Daniel's view. His eyes grew like saucers and suddenly a few things fell into place for him. "Pete and I are engaged."

"Oh…" He jumped forward in his seat, collecting himself. "I mean… congratulations, Sam," he added belatedly thinking he should hug her but for some reason, not wanting to. Instead he smiled and she dropped her hand to her side.

"Thanks." He knew she hadn't missed his awkward reaction.

"You told Jack." It wasn't a question. Well, she knew what he was thinking; he might as well say it. She dropped her eyes to the floor. "What did he say?"

"He doesn't know I've accepted." She coughed slightly and stared interestedly at the ground. Wheels turned in Daniel's head as he watched her.

"You discussed it with him?" The rising pitch to Daniel's voice left no room to debate that he couldn't believe she had. "Was he…" Daniel found he didn't want to say 'pissed', but found there wasn't much else to substitute it with. He opted for another route. "…ok with it?"

"Why wouldn't he be?" She bit, her head snapping up to him. Daniel recoiled slightly and noticing this, Sam quickly realised she had already forfeited any further argument in that particular area.

"Why would you discuss it with him?" Daniel countered, not letting her off so lightly.

"I just needed someone to talk it over with," she replied more than a little embarrassed now. Daniel scratched his nose and winced.

"Jack's been talking a lot about other people's problems recently," he said with one eyebrow raised. "Funny that." She wasn't going to bite, he knew. "Did he help you decide?"

Her eyelashes flitted furiously and her eyes shifted uneasily. "It helped me … sort out a few things." Daniel shot her an 'I see' look.

"Why'd you say yes, Sam?" He asked with resigned tone as he tapped his fingers on his desk, squinting his eyes at her. Her face turned angry, but he'd expected that, was prepared for it.

"Because I love him!" She snapped, her body pushing from his desk as if it was protesting at him in its own little way. Love who, Daniel wondered.

Daniel threw his eyebrows up in a quick shrug and licked his lips, his eyes appearing from underneath slightly lowered lids.

"I don't have to justify this to you Daniel…" Her voice was lowered but she was still angry, and leaving.

Daniel took a breath and spoke, "No…" he began, stretching the word out in a tone that often warned someone he was about to impart some knowledge on them. "Not to me."

Sam looked at him a moment, her eyes slowly dropping. As she left, she closed her eyes briefly, knowing Daniel's words were going to be ringing in her ears for a long time.

"What!" Jack screamed as someone knocked on his door, thumping his fist down onto the billionth report he looked at that day. He swore he'd already seen this one.

"Busy, Jack?" Daniel poked his head through a crack in the door, smirking.

"No, Daniel, I'm just catching up on some light reading," he retorted acerbically as his resident smart-ass archaeologist stepped inside, closing the door behind him. Daniel threw himself into the seat in front of Jacks desk, eyeing the mountain of paperwork haphazardly strewn before Jack. He wondered what kind of filing system Jack had… if he had one at all. Jack cleared his throat. "Something I can help you with?" Jack had pulled a face that was barely containing his irritation.

"Just came by for a chat," Daniel said casually, glancing around and slouching in his seat.

"Not really in a chatty mood, Daniel," Jack said, and Daniel wondered if Jack ever spoke without his trusty friend, sarcasm.

"So," Daniel ignored him. "How've you been?"

"Daniel…" Daniel almost smiled; he heard that particular tone so many times.

"Been a big week for all of us, Teal'c moving back in, me…"

"Daniel!" A shout this time.

"-getting kidnapped, Sam getting engaged." Daniel stopped as Jack's mouth opened and remained that way. He watched as Jack processed his little tid-bit, closed his mouth, sighed and pretended to be engrossed in the report that, for all he knew, was probably upside-down.

"You about finished, Daniel?" Jack asked, not lifting his eyes from the random patterns he was scrawling with his pen, clearly livid.

"I just thought you'd like to know."

"I'm touched by your concern for keeping me updated on the gossip."

"Jack," Daniel implored his friend to look at him.

"Don't you have some rocks to be dusting?" Jack wondered as he shot his head up briefly.

"Don't you have an engagement to be breaking up?"

"What?" Jack threw his pen down with such force it bounced off the desk and fell onto the floor, rolling unnoticed into the corner.

"Don't pretend this isn't pissing you off, Jack," Daniel demanded with a touch of anger.

"The only thing pissing me off right now is you Daniel!" Jack shouted, incensed.

"I won't sit back and watch you do this," Daniel told him, gripping the arms of the seat and wondering if the heat in Jack's eyes would erupt in violence sooner than he anticipated. "Or her." Best to distribute some of the blame. "You love her, Jack." Jack's eyes flashed suddenly and then dropped to the desk, awkwardly.

"What would you have me do, Daniel?" Jack's voice came as a surprise, sad and retiring. Daniel blinked; he hadn't been expecting him to disarm so quickly.

"Tell her."

"She already knows."

"She loves you too, Jack," Daniel assured him tentatively hoping that although Jack knew this also, that saying it was an entirely different matter. Jack's eyes looked to him, slowly.

"She needs to be happy, Daniel." Jack told him with a devotion underneath his words that made Daniel take a sharp breath.

"This isn't that… not him, Jack"

Jack nestled back into his seat, relaxing somewhat and rubbing at the little stubble that had formed on his chin, thinking.

"Then who, Daniel? Me?" Jack eyed him seriously. "A grumpy, old fart that can barely keep up with her half the time and who's not permitted never mind willing to tell her how he feels?"


"No, Daniel, Carter deserves more. I've had my life… wasted it and I'm not about to waste hers too." Jack stared hard at his desk, his jaw set and a pained look gripping the semblance of a blank face.

"She's more alive when she's around you than any other time." Jack snorted but didn't look up. "She's all but waiting for you to talk her out of this, Jack, and here I find you actually talked her into it."

"You're nuts, Daniel."

"What did you say to her, Jack?" He avoided his eyes. "What did she ask you?"

Jack replayed the conversation in his head easily, had burned it into his memory.

What about you? If things had been different…



"It's a moot point, Daniel. It's inescapable," Jack said, rooting for another pen and rustling some papers in front of him. "Now if you don't mind, I have a lot of work to do." Jack glared at him with steel eyes, willing him to leave. Daniel got up and walked to the door.

Pausing in the doorway he turned, "Things could be different, Jack. You just have to get off your sorry ass and do something about it."

Jack exhaled at length, staring at the door and cursing the meddling gene that permeated Daniel Jackson's every living cell.

AN: More will follow, as soon as my muse can handle!