The third day, she discovered that she had made absolutely the wrong choice in beach fiction. The heroine had circumstances way too similar to her own and life hadn't worked out well for her. A policewoman improbably named Pansy, she had broken it off with the really nice guy she was engaged to because she couldn't get past her unrequited love for another cop in her precinct. The guy she loved then got killed in a failed drug bust. By the end of the book, Pansy had made lieutenant by breaking up the drug ring but was alone and reduced to satisfying her maternal instincts by doting on her nieces and nephews. Looking at her own, newly ringless finger, Sam was very much afraid she would end up like Pansy. Of course there were differences. She had ended her engagement because of complex feelings about three men other than her fiancé, instead of just one like Pansy, but who was counting.
That night, she decided her angst entitled her to a lobster dinner ending with crème Brule and capped off by more margaritas. Unfortunately, the hotel's seafood buyer had acquired the lobster from his cousin's son more on the strength of family relations than quality. Sam was miserable with a mild case of food poisoning all night long.
The fourth day, feeling very tired and a little weak, she decided to opt for a sightseeing bus tour offered by the hotel. All she had to do was look out the window and watch the Mexican countryside go by. There were stops but she stayed on the bus for most of them, unable to summon up the energy to move.
By the fifth day, she was really regretting discouraging all of her friends from accompanying her. Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c had all been so solicitous after her break up with Pete that they were driving her crazy. She had decided on the trip to Cancun, in part because it looked like the only way to keep from being bulldozed into a fishing trip with the whole gang. Maybe she should have let one of them come. Surely she could have managed one would be Dr. Ruth by herself.
When you start counting down the days to the end of your vacation and think, "Damn, surely there aren't that many left," that's when you know you threw a lot of vacation bucks down a rat hole. Sam was not, however, a quitter. She bought another novel, this one a high testosterone Delta Force epic that she doubted had women in any role she would be able to identify with, slathered herself with SPF 40 sunscreen, threw a bright pink shirt over her swim suit, and headed for the beach, determined to enjoy herself if it killed her.
Crossing the lobby, she noticed a man in a baseball cap, walking away from her talking on his cell phone. He sure looks familiar, she thought. The man turned slightly and she caught his profile. I can't believe it. What is he doing here? And then she thought, Who cares. She ran across the lobby and threw her arms around him, mashing her beach bag between them and sending his cell phone flying.
"I am so glad to see you!" she burbled enthusiastically and kissed him on the check. She noticed the cell phone then lying a few feet away, definitely looking the worse for wear.
"Geez. I'm so sorry. You can take mine. It's probably got most of the same numbers programmed into the speed dial anyway."
She looked up at him then and noticed that he was smiling. He hadn't said anything yet but as she looked warmly into his blue, blue eyes, his smile got a lot broader. He had clearly decided to enjoy the situation. Okay so he's not mad about the cell phone but he's going to tease me about it unmercifully.
She shifted her beach bag to her left arm and linked her right with his as he was stuffing the remains of his cell phone in his pocket. "You don't look serious so I guess nothing's wrong back at Cheyenne Mountain, is it? So you're not here on business." He gave her a 'What do you think' sort of look.
"Why didn't you call and tell me you were coming? You don't know how much I was needing company right now."
She gave him another hug to emphasize the point. This time, he slid his free hand into her hair and pulled her to him for a very thorough kiss. She was so stunned that she didn't resist and he deepened the kiss. One part of her mind was thinking, This is Daniel who's got his tongue down my throat. Good grief. Down at the brain stem level, it was impossible to ignore just how well he kissed. It was embarrassing that he was the one that broke the kiss and not her.
"Daniel, what was that all about?" He just grinned at her and shrugged. "I cannot believe you did that. Do you guys have some sort of bet on or something?" She was so happy not to be here alone with her thoughts any more that she decided to let it go for now and just punched him hard in the arm.
Time to change the subject. She lowered her voice to barely above a whisper and said, "I'm been trying not to think about work and I know it's breaking vacation rules to talk shop, but you've got to tell me if you've had any luck yet with those tablets the Tok'ra found in the derelict Goa'uld mother ship in orbit around P4H20F9."
Daniel wasn't grinning any more. He gently but firmly removed her hand from his arm and stepped away slightly. "Senorita, you have me confused with someone else."
"What!" She tried to organize her thoughts and zeroed in on one salient detail. "You … just … kissed … me."
He looked embarrassed then and grimaced, "I owe you an apology for that. It's not every day that a beautiful woman throws herself in my arms. I'm afraid I took advantage."
She had to stop and admire how perfectly he had the slight Mexican accent down. Granted he was a linguist but it was still impressive. No enough of course to make up for the way he was acting. "Daniel Jackson, this has stopped being funny. You're starting to worry me."
"Senorita, I am not your Daniel Jackson and, to be frank, you seem a little, well, loca. Mother ships?"
Thoughts were racing through her head at breakneck speed. There was the android theory. Daniel did have an android double out there. Had it found a way here to earth? She'd have to see if he could bleed if nothing else panned out. That was utterly crazy though. This had to be Daniel but someone had messed with his head.
"You will have to excuse me."
She grabbed Daniel's arm as he started to turn away. "You can't leave. We have got to figure this out." She could tell this was about to escalate into a major scene. She said desperately, "Daniel, I've proof. Please just sit down with me and let's try to figure this out."
I am not going anywhere with you." Suddenly his voice was menacing and his eyes were very, very cold. Very unDaniel like. Just for a moment she lost her confidence that this really was Daniel. But just for a moment. He was the same in every detail except his hair lay flat instead being slightly spiked up and, admittedly, now that she looked at him more carefully, Daniel in a open throated black silk shirt, wearing a Rolex and a gold crucifix was unexpected to say the least.
"Look, we can sit over there by that fountain. It's smack dab in the middle of the lobby." She decided to take a different tack. "Surely you weren't doing anything THIS interesting. Think of the bizarre story it'll make."
There was evidently enough of Daniel's real personality left in there that this pitch to his curiosity was the perfect tact to take.
"A delante," he said and swept his hand out for her to go first.
As soon as she was seated, Sam dug around in her beach bag to find her digital camera. There were pictures still on the card from before the trip and she scrolled back. "See," she said, handing him the camera.
"It is little hard to tell anything from this small display but it seems you have done something very clever with the images. It looks like me but in a place I have never been." He bowed to her mockingly. "What I do not understand is why."
"Yeah, why," she agreed. "Why would someone do this to you?" She considered him thoughtfully. Suddenly she felt like a fool. "Okay, you just proved I am incredibly gullible. I can't believe I fell for this." He was still looking at her with the same cynical expression waiting for her to entertain him further.
"You're still claiming you don't know me?" He nodded. "Then I need to tell Jack about this."
"Do we? Whoever Jack is, I guess we'll have to use YOUR cell phone for that, won't we?"
She ignored his dig, pulled out her phone, and punched in Jack's code. He didn't answer and she left a message for him to call her immediately. Then she decided to call Daniel's office number and let him listen to his own voice in the voice mail. She explained what she was going to do and punched in his office speed dial code. When she heard it pick up, she handed the phone to Daniel. He listened and got a very odd expression on his face.
"All right. I admit that you now have me very intrigued, Senorita….?"
"Oh, you want my name. Daniel it's me, Sam."
"Your name is Sam?" He looked dubious.
"Samantha Carter. Dr. Samantha Carter." Something stopped her from adding the Colonel. A question occurred to her. "Just who do you think you are? I mean what you do THINK your name is?"
"I do not just think, I know. I am Jorge Antonio Morales de la Fuente." With a flourish he pulled out a wallet, extracted his driver's license, and handed her it to her. He followed that up with a business card. She thought she saw about 4 condoms stuffed down in the wallet. That led her mind down some interesting paths. She had never entertained "Daniel" and "condom" in the same thought before.
"Someone has gone to an incredible amount of effort to set this up," she observed.
Daniel laughed humorlessly. "So we agree on something."
They sat in silence for awhile and then Daniel said, "Please help me with one thing. What are you talking about with the mother ships? Surely you can see that it makes you less creditable?"
Sam found herself in a quandary. She felt like she needed to help Daniel find himself again and the truth seemed to be what was needed. But on the other hand, just suppose for one mad moment that he wasn't Daniel. She would have divulged classified information to someone who wasn't even an American citizen. She sighed and fell back on an ever popular SG-1 cover story. "I'm the astrophysics technical adviser for a sci fi series being developed for cable. You advise them on archeology. The show involves ancient Egyptians and space travel." Responding to the intensely skeptical expression on his face, she added, "I know but it works, really." She continued, "They kind of wrote themselves into a hole with these tablets and we were having a hard time coming up with something that made sense to get out of it."
He laughed, this time genuinely. "You have got to know just how weird that sounded."
A moment later, he suddenly smacked his forehead. "You say I am a Daniel Jackson and an archeologist?"
"Right," she affirmed, wondering where this was going.
"The Daniel Jackson who wrote some articles about, I do not know, 8 or 9 years ago claiming that there were connections between widely dispersed ancient cultures and hinting at possible ET explanations?"
"That's it! Thank God, you are starting to remember," she said excitedly.
He held up his hand to forestall her. "I am a lawyer specializing in issues involving antiquities and the import and export of archeological artifacts. Archeology is both a hobby of mine and a professional interest. I read his articles; that is all. But there has been nothing published in recent years, has there?" She nodded, deflated.
"Look, I think we should get on the Internet. My law firm has a Web site. Maybe you can show me some stuff on your Daniel Jackson. If we can get past the basic facts around identity, maybe we can make some headway as to what is going on. Would you feel safe coming up to my room? I have my laptop."
He was looking at her in a definitely flirtatious way. If he was considering working this into a way to get something going between them, his bedroom was not a good idea. "Tell you what, there are wireless connections available in the coffee shop. Let me go up and change and I'll meet you and your laptop down here in 30 minutes."
Sam took a quick shower to de-sunscreen herself and changed. She pulled her cell out and saw that she'd had messages from Daniel's office phone. That was strange. She called back with absolutely no idea of who would answer. She was stunned when Daniel picked up.
"Sam, what's going on? Did you just call me a few minutes ago, say nothing, and then hang up?" He was apparently in a meeting. She could hear Jack's and then Teal'c's voice in the background.
"Daniel is that you?" she asked in a whisper.
"Uh yeah. Sam, seriously, are you all right?"
"I'm just fine, Daniel. I just wasn't expecting you to be there. " Suddenly she didn't want to say any more until she had more information. It was just all too crazy. "Look, everything really is fine. I was just calling to …. to make sure that you remembered to water my plants."
"Sure you are."
"Really. Look, I have to run. I signed up for a rumba lesson." She quickly punched disconnect and turned the phone off. Suddenly the slight softening in Jorge/Daniel's reaction to her right after she called Daniel's office phone made sense. He hadn't been listening to an answering machine message. He had been listening to himself, with an American accent, talking to Sam.
She grabbed her own laptop and rode the elevator down, feeling increasingly bewildered. Jorge was right there in the coffee shop. Sam had started to think he might turn out to be a hallucination.
"I just talked with Daniel at his office," she greeted Jorge. He nodded. A waitress appeared and Jorge gave her a dazzling smile. He seemed to have a rule to leave no woman uncharmed. Sam ordered some sort of fancy coffee frappe drink and he ordered a cup of black coffee. Neither felt like food. They busied themselves getting online.
They spent the next hour surfing the Web. They went to the Web site for his law firm. He was pictured there in a very expensive GQ worthy suit and tie. They also went to his law school's Web site where there was a picture of him giving out some sort of an award to a member of last year's graduating class. They looked through some of the digital photos he had on his hard drive. He had a grim-faced, elderly father who looked like a robber baron and nothing like Jorge. There were no pictures of his mother who had died several years before. He had adorable little cousins on whom he obviously doted. There were several pictures of a beautiful wedding, his cousin Mirabel's he said. His home was a gorgeous old hacienda like something out of a movie. Jorge was obviously not a poor man.
Sam took him to a Web site that was into the idea of ET's intervening in history. They had discovered Daniel's work a few years before and had made him a minor hero, complete with a photo, on their site. The picture drove Daniel crazy. He couldn't figure out where they had gotten it but it definitely made him look like King Dork. She reassured Jorge that Daniel didn't really look like that. Of course, the implication you got from Web site's postings was that Daniel had been disappeared by some sort of shadowy government agenda and prevented from sharing the truth after his initial publications. She also had plenty of digital photos on her hard drive of Daniel, Jack, and Teal'c. Teal'c's tattoo drew a comment. She explained it as an African tribal thing.
At the end of the hour, she agreed that there was not a shadow of doubt in her mind that he wasn't Daniel. He agreed, with some reservations, that she did know Daniel Jackson and Daniel Jackson really did look exactly like Jorge. They then each made a list of all the hypotheses, from roughly the most likely to the least likely, they could come up with to explain such a stunning resemblance.
Sam's list said:
1. Travel from an alternate reality 2. Elaborate plot by a foreign intelligence agency or terrorists 3. Android duplicate 4. Cloning 5. Twins separated at birth 6. It just happened and there is no connection at all
Jorge's list said:
1. Scam to get money out of me.
They exchanged lists and then looked at each other in amazement. Sam immediately segued to anger in reaction to his list while Jorge started laughing at hers. "So I look like some sort of con woman to you?" she demanded hotly,
"No, not at all, although that would be the point, would it not?" He made a conciliatory gesture. "I do not believe it really but it's absolutely the only thing I can come up with."
Sam was still simmering but that didn't stop him. "What about your list? This reads like some crazy thing from the sci fi show you consult for. That is except for the one about twins. That is more like a novela." She looked confused and he added, "A soap opera. Identical twins turn up all the time. Not to mention the fact that someone is constantly falling in love with someone who turns out to be their previously unknown brother or sister. "
She couldn't help but smile, "And you would know that how?"
He looked sheepish. "I was recuperating from an accident and spent a lot of time in bed."
"Yeah, I bet. But is the resemblance to a soap opera a good enough reason to throw out the twins thing?"
He looked at her narrowly for a moment and then said with some real emotion barely held in check under the surface. "If I have a twin, I cannot think of a single scenario to account for us being separated that would not make my mother a liar .. or worse. I adored her and it was the hardest thing that ever happened to me when she died while I was in my teens." He added vehemently, " Samantha, I simply refuse to follow that path."
They sat in awkward science for a moment and finally Jorge said, "Look, nothing on your list makes sense to me and you clearly do not care for mine. How about we just decide to not think about it for awhile and spend some time together? Maybe we will have an inspiration."
Sam looked at him consideringly. Frankly he looked delicious. She had always thought Daniel was good looking but in a theoretical sort of way. Daniel was her best friend. One of the reasons she had ended the engagement was that she couldn't imagine Pete replacing Daniel in that role. She firmly believed that your husband should also be your best friend and she could readily imagine Pete tiring of her turning to Daniel first in so many situations. Suddenly she was being presented with a sort of free pass to experiment with something like a Daniel/Sam romantic pairing without risking that friendship. It felt thrillingly illicit and vaguely deviate. "Sure. Why not."
Jorge had a dinner engagement with his cousin, Mirabel, and her husband. The newlyweds had a vacation home nearby. He invited Sam to join them. They agreed to keep the whole Daniel/Jorge conundrum just between the two of them. Jorge's cousin Mirabel was married to Alejandro Cadenas, an orthopedic surgeon. Sam easily confirmed Alejandro's identity on the internet once she was back in her room. He was possibly the leading orthopedic surgeon in the entire country. She warmed to Mirabel immediately, finding the lovely woman who did charity fund raising sweet and genuine. They were a handsome couple who were obviously fond of Jorge and appeared vastly entertained by him showing up with a blonde American.
Other than the fact that they were not alone, the evening was a page out of a romance novel. They had a fabulous meal in a little restaurant Jorge knew. The owner greeted them himself and gave them a perfectly situated table out on a terrace overlooking the sea. Jorge's relatives were delightful and Jorge was a witty and charming dinner companion. He complimented her shamelessly and extravagantly but with a smile in his eyes that let her know that he knew that she knew it was all a game. Despite the fact that Mirabel wore a brace on one leg, she suggested that they go somewhere to dance. When Mirabel was happy to sit with Alejandro and watch, Sam decided she was definitely playing matchmaker. Dancing certainly showed Jorge off to advantage. He was extremely good. He did refuse to give her a rumba lesson.
"Our generation does not really go in for that."
"How about the Macarena."
He chuckled, "You do have an endearing, what do you say, dorky streak."
Mirabel perhaps also realized that dancing gave Jorge a chance to get close to her physically. When he danced her into the shadows and kissed her, it was perhaps the most exciting kiss of her life.
Well after midnight, they returned to the hotel. Sam unlocked her door, but only opened it a crack. She turned back to Jorge. "Everything was wonderful. I had such a fantastic time."
"Are you saying good night to me, Samantha?" He sounded a little surprised. He slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her to him.
Gently brushing her cheek with the back of his hand, he added, "This is too wonderful to end now." He kissed her and started walking her back through the door.
She pushed him away gently. "I'm really tired and I need to sort out how I'm feeling. This has to be good night."
He smiled then and took her hand. "Promise me you will meet me tomorrow morning for brunch."
"All right. I'll meet you in the dining room at 10:00. Is that okay?"
He nodded, dipped his head to kiss her again, but backed off laughing when she shook her finger in his face. He walked away, turning once to blow her a kiss.
Sam closed the door behind her and leaned against it, considering. All but the last two choices on her list of explanations for the Jorge/Daniel puzzle required her to report what was going on to Jack. She shouldn't be operating on her own. Still it felt wrong to spend a romantic evening with a guy and then with the taste of his kiss in her mouth, set the dogs on him. She wasn't really ready for this experiment to end either. And finally, at this point, after meeting Mirabel and Alejandro and spending time with Jorge, the twin theory was the only one that seemed to be at all plausible other than the idea that if something had a huge statistical improbability of not happening that didn't eliminate the fact that it still could. Random chance just might have produced two men who looked like identical twins without any biological connection. Yeah right.
There were some things short of a full report she could do. She had Jorge's DNA from the kiss, like in that Ethan Hawke movie, "Gattica." She could at least send that off for a DNA test and eliminate or confirm the twin hypothesis as well as cloning and the androids. Surely androids had chemical saliva devoid of DNA? She was sure SG-1 had Daniel's DNA on file to compare with her sample. She improvised capturing the saliva using the plastic bag for dry cleaning provided by the hotel. She went down to the front desk and arranged for her little packet to be Fed-Exed to Teal'c, asking him to quietly arrange the DNA test, no questions asked.
There was a return message from Jack on her cell but she responded with an e-mail instead. He knew her too well to risk talking to him. She gave him Jorge's name, his law school and firm. She simply asked for all the information his resources could find on Jorge and his family. She made it sound as if she was in the throes of a resort romance and wanted to be sure she wasn't making a hideous mistake. Maybe that wasn't really a lie.
At 9:30 the next morning she was up and showered and in the process of putting on makeup when there was a knock on the door. She threw on the thick terrycloth robe the hotel provided and opened the door to find a bellhop behind an enormous floral arrangement, a mixture of bright tropical blossoms. The card simply said "Jorge." Five minutes later there was another knock and a second floral arrangement, a couple of dozen red roses. Again the card said "Jorge."
When there was a knock at 9:45, she thought This is really fun but if he doesn't stop I am going to run out of places to put them. Speaking to the huge spray of orchids and greens that hid the bellhop's face, she requested, "Put it on the desk by the window, please, uh por favor" and pointed to the table in front of the heavy drapes, still drawn against the morning sun. Sam believed in waking up gradually if you could manage it and hadn't even turned the lights on in the bedroom.
She went back into the bathroom for a minute to get a tip out of her purse and when she came back, there was Jorge standing in the middle of the room with a big grin on his face. He saluted her touching the brim of the straw hat he was wearing.
He must have taken the flowers from the bellhop and offered to deliver them. "Entry under false premises huh," she admonished him playfully and then put her arms around his neck and kissed him very thoroughly. At first he seemed surprised but then his arms went around her and he was kissing her back. It was a wonderful kiss. When at last it ended, he looked down at her with shining eyes and awe on his face. Then he kissed her again. It was much less practiced than the day before, rawer and more caring somehow.
They stood there kissing for what seemed like forever but yet just a second. When it ended, she nestled against his chest and he whispered into her hair, "Sam I've wanted this for so long. I love you so."
She froze. There wasn't a trace of a Mexican accent in that declaration. He was calling her Sam, not Samantha. She hadn't kissed Jorge at all. Could anyone possibly be this stupid? The dim room was little excuse for this sort of mistake. She had kissed Daniel and tricked him into a declaration he would never have made under other circumstances. What was she going to do? When he realized what had actually happened, things were going to be impossible. She had to give him an out, a way for them to act like this never happened.
One crazy idea occurred to her and she went with it. There was no time to come up with anything better. "I'd think that was sweet Jorge but it's a rather hard to believe. It's a little soon for that isn't it? You just met me yesterday."
She walked away from him, lifted a panel of the drapes, and stood looking out the window but not seeing any of the beautiful landscaping outside. "I'm not really used to guys who operate as smoothly as you do around women. And on top of that, your dead on resemblance to my friend Daniel is confusing my emotions. The flowers are wonderful and I really appreciate them but I think it would be a good idea if you went on downstairs and let me meet you for bunch at 10 like we planned last night."
Daniel made sort of a strangled noise but he didn't move. She mustered all her courage, dropped the drape, and turned around to face him although she couldn't bring herself to make eye contact. "Please just go, okay?"
He shook his head, seemed to be considering saying something, but in the end, turned and went out the door, slamming it behind him. The loud noise affected her like a shot. She doubled over and slumped to the floor. What was she going to do? None of this fit the neat scenario that she thought described her world. Daniel was supposed to be her best friend, Teal'c her strong older brother, and Jack her conveniently unattainable fantasy lover. It had more or less worked for years, allowing her to keep all three of them in her life without having to choose one and maybe lose the others, without having to put her heart out there again like she had the first time she got engaged. But then Pete had come along to make herself question whether this was what she wanted. To make her think perhaps she could have a normal romantic relationship with a happy ever after ending. But now Daniel wanted Jack's job. And it looked like he wouldn't be safely out of reach either.
Sam had faced some really scary military threats in her day but going downstairs to brunch was worse than facing a ship full of replicators. She considered staying in her room but suspected that they would both come looking for her. Instead of the flirtatious little sundress she had planned on wearing, she put on jeans and a baggy t-shirt and left off all make up except a little lip gloss. She sallied forth hoping she didn't look much like anyone's idea of a hot babe.
The elevator perversely took a really long time to arrive. She pushed the button repeatedly, knowing full well that wouldn't help. Now that she had decided to do it, she wanted to get it over with. When it arrived, there were three preteen girls, giggling and huddled around the control console. They appeared to have punched every single floor in and were enjoying themselves hugely. She occupied her time imaging them subjected to repeated blasts from a zat. Finally, this ship of fools arrived at the lobby. She squared her shoulders and went toward the dining room, flip flopping as to whether she thought she would encounter Jorge or Jorge and Daniel.
Sam saw one of them, probably Jorge given what he was wearing, going in the dining room just as she exited the elevator. She walked in to find the two of them, barely a foot apart and staring at each other immediately inside the doorway. A lot of other people were staring at them too. It was like a Doublemint commercial except that the Doublemint twins went for completely different body language. Neither one of them stopped staring at the other to look at her even though they clearly knew she was there. She slipped in between them, grabbed arms and pulled them out into the lobby. "How about if we go for a walk on the beach?"
They ignored her suggestion. Great, so now they were going to have a scene in the middle of the lobby instead of the middle of the dining room.
Daniel looked furious and upset. Jorge looked mostly confused by Daniel's reaction. "Dr. Jackson," he began, "even though Samantha showed me your picture, this is very hard to take in."
Daniel said in a tight, unfriendly voice, "What sort of game are you running on Sam?"
Daniel was looking at Sam now. "What's going on here with this guy, Sam?"
Jorge looked on bemused and then suddenly his face cleared in an expression of dawning comprehension. He looked at Sam with a rueful smile.
"How about you answer some questions first, Daniel? What are YOU doing here?"
"The phone conversation was so weird. I didn't like you coming down here alone after the break up with Pete in the first place. So I got Jack to get me a plane and here I am."
Sam said, "You used a US government plane, taxpayer dollars, to fly down here and check up on me?" She knew she sounded impossibly prim but it was easier to be mad then face her part in all of this.
Jorge broke in at this point. "Samantha, who is this Jack guy? And who is Pete? And what does the military have to do with this? I thought you both consulted for a television show."
They both turned and looked at him dismayed. "Yes, well, um. Jack um."
Daniel finished her thought, "Jack is the military advisor for the show. The US Air Force has learned that if they help Hollywood out they get movies with a promilitary message. Jack is a retired general and he's got a lot of clout. He's very fond of Sam. He's kind of a maverick and willing to break the rules when it makes sense to him." At this point he wound down and Sam thought, When you lie Daniel, don't over do it. But she had to admit that his inability to lie very well was one of the things she really loved about him.
Jorge was looking improbably amused. He said directly to Daniel, "Samantha is a beautiful woman and I love beautiful women. Thanks to her fondness for you, she's been predisposed to trust me and I've taken advantage for a very enjoyable flirtation. But," he put a hand to check Daniel's involuntary step in his direction. "There has been nothing between us that a caring friend as you obviously are would be concerned about." He laughed at some private joke. "Now that you are here, there for certain is not going to be."
Samantha said irritably, "Hey, I'm standing right here. Daniel is my friend, not my chaperone."
Jorge just smiled. "Why don't we all go into the dining room and have something to eat. My curiosity is overwhelming me and I would really like a chance to talk with you, Dr. Jackson. May I call you Daniel?" He had swung into the smooth, polished style Sam had observed in their time together the previous evening.
He turned to return to the dining room. Sam grabbed Daniel's arm to hold him back a moment. "I'm sorry I was so pissy a moment ago. "
Daniel was looking at her stony-faced. Sam looked after Jorge, "He's very charming and a lot of fun, but he isn't you. When I ran into him yesterday I had just been thinking that I wished you had come with me. I really am very, very glad to see you."
Daniel still wasn't giving anything back. "Please, don't I get a hug?"
He muttered something to himself she couldn't quite catch and then hugged her stiffly before walking after Jorge.
The meal was really bizarre. Jorge kept a smooth flow of chatter up, almost without any help from his two companions. He laughingly related the various theories he and Sam had discussed the day before to account for their resemblance, making them all sound extremely unlikely with one exception. He made a case for the one in a million billion chance of two people randomly looking the same. Sam thought, I bet this is what he's like in a courtroom, making a summation for the jury, if they do that in Mexico. Sam kept watching Daniel. She remembered his delight in his android double years before, such a contrast to his reaction today. I guess the android wasn't making moves on me.
In addition to the strong emotions both were dealing with, Daniel and Sam were handicapped by the need to leave the Stargate out of the conversation. Since it had consumed the last 8 years, this was difficult to do. Eventually Daniel relaxed enough to respond to Jorge's questions about his family. At least this was unclassified ground. He talked about their passion for archeology, a passion he had inherited from them. He talked about his childhood being home schooled as he accompanied them on their digs. The accident that had killed them was harder to talk about and Daniel was short on details. He pulled out a picture of them from his billfold, folded over and worn with time. Sam had seen it before and was struck as she had been the first time by the way they communicated their love for each other in the way they stood and the looks on their faces.
Then it was Jorge's turn. Some of it Sam had heard yesterday, especially the sad story of his mother's early death. When she thought he had finished, he hesitated, bit his lip, and then said, "There is one more thing. I did not tell you this yesterday, Samantha, because it's a, what do you call it, a red herring. One more improbable coincidence that I am afraid will be taken as evidence for something that just cannot be true." Daniel and Sam looked at him expectantly. "But you will find it out anyway." He looked at Daniel, "I see that we share an insatiable curiosity about the mysteries we encounter. Anyway, my mother's name, as unbelievable as this is, my mother's name was Daniela."
Daniel said, barely speaking above a whisper. "Do you have a picture of her?"
Jorge hesitated, then nodded, and pulled out his wallet. He handed a color photo to Daniel who put it on the table between himself and Sam. The woman in the photo was probably more aptly described as striking than pretty, her jaw on the strong side for beauty. Except for her dark brown eyes, she looked as much like Daniel and Jorge as a woman could look and still look feminine.
Daniel handed the photo back. They all sat quietly. Sam's brain was whirling and she suspected the same was true of the others. To her, it seemed more and more likely that they were brothers yet this was an option neither one of them wanted to consider because they were holding on so fiercely to the memory of the parents they had lost.
She took one of each of their hands in her own. "This isn't about me. It's about the two of you. I'm going to go upstairs and call Jack. I think the two of you should go for a walk on the beach."
They said her name, their own versions of it, simultaneously. She shook her head. "Really. Let's meet for lunch say at 1:30. I don't want to see either of you before then." She almost ran out of the restaurant.
At 1:30, she was sitting in the dining room, impatiently waiting for them. They entered together but then Jorge, or so she assumed based on his clothes, came toward her and Daniel got the hostess to lead him to a table on the other side of the room.
"What's going on?" she demanded, uncertain how to interpret this turn of events.
Jorge sat down first before answering. "I asked Daniel to give me a chance to talk to you alone." He smiled at the waitress in a way that confirmed Sam's belief that he reflexively set out to charm every woman he encountered. He asked Sam what she was having and then asked the waitress to get him the same thing.
"Three things I want to tell you. First of all, Daniel and I decided that we did not need to know any more than we do right now about the fact that we look alike. He adored his parents and really doesn't want to consider what it might mean if we really were twins any more than I do. We both already have all the family we need. He feels he has a family in you, Jack, and Teal'c. My father and I have our issues but I have relatives all over Mexico that mean a great deal to me. Mirabel is typical of the kind of people most of them are. We agreed that if we keep digging, we might not like what we find."
Sam looked at him uncertainly, "Are you sure?"
"You can ask him but I know I am. Second," he continued, "I know that you and Daniel are not advising any television production company. You work with General Jack O'Neill in some top secret project in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex."
"Daniel would never," she slowed down, "Daniel would never tell you a nutty story like that."
"Daniel did not tell me." He picked up his napkin and arranged it carefully on his lap and repositioned his water glass. He was making her crazy. "Sam, a lot of the people I represent are innocent, some of them are very guilty, and then there are the ones who are not guilty of what they were charged with but have committed far worse crimes for which the policia can find no evidence." He shook his head. "A degree of moral ambiguity I can not imagine Daniel being comfortable with. Anyway, I have a lot of contacts, people who owe me, and some of them are pretty amazing."
The waitress came back, much faster than Sam was used to getting served, and brought them their drinks. She batted her eyelashes at Jorge and left a little reluctantly. "I called in every marker I had yesterday before we went to dinner. One of the men I contacted only dabbles in antiquities. His real focus is arms dealing and intelligence peddling. When he got back to me this morning he was clearly very intrigued that I was asking about you. That is where I learned about Cheyenne Mountain."
He broke eye contact with her. "I am afraid I have put you in danger. It will not be that hard for him to figure out where I am. He may decide that you would be easy to kidnap here in a foreign country where you do not speak the language. Once he had his hands on you, he would find a way to get marketable information out of you before he kills you."
"Do you really think that.."
"Oh yes. I've told Daniel and he is getting you both out of here this afternoon. The plane is already on the way. " She sputtered and he added, "Do not get upset with us for making this decision for you. He loves you too much to take any chances and I feel responsible for the situation."
He took in her stunned expression. "That is the third thing and the reason I wanted to talk to you alone. He didn't completely open up about his feelings for you but I am a trial lawyer. I am very good at reading between the lines. He loves you with everything he has and I suspect he has for a long time."
He leaned closer. "Samantha, I think you are not honest with yourself about your feelings for him. Did you know that when we were kissing in the car last night before we came in, you called me Daniel?"
He touched the cross at his neck. "We do not understand why God makes miracles but we should appreciate them when He does. This looks like a little miracle to me. There has to be a reason for everything that has happened. Think about it."
Jorge stood up and looked at Daniel. He gestured toward Sam with his head and then turned back to her. "I am going to leave. Maybe I can lay a false trail that will temporarily confound the bad guys." He took her hand and kissed it and without another word, he left.
Daniel came toward her then and sat in the chair Jorge had vacated. He looked at her briefly and then ducked his head and asked, "Is it hard to see him leave?"
"Daniel, he looks like you but he isn't you. There was never a contest." She considered a moment. The timing wasn't good but if she waited all the walls would come back up and she'd never do it. "We both know that I figured out who you were this morning when you told me you loved me. I was scared to death. I didn't trust myself to do the right thing with that love and I was afraid I'd lose you."
Daniel continued to stare at the plate in front of him. She took his hand and ducked her own head down so she was looking into his face. "I can't tell you that I love you like you love me, not yet. But I can't ignore the fact any more that I feel something more than friendship. If you can be patient with things being a little one-sided for awhile, take the chance on how this will turn out…" she trailed off as he brought his other hand up and shifted hers between both of his.
"We'd be breaking regulations. I looked it up when you took over command of SG-1." He laughed a little at himself. "I keep hoping something would happen. Anyway, the rules say you can't be involved with someone you supervise."
"I know. We'd have to be really careful. But we're together all the time anyway. If we can avoid PDA's, we'll be all right. Oh, Jack and Teal'c will figure it out but I don't think either one of them would do anything. They'll pretend they don't notice so they don't have to act on the knowledge. And," she hesitated. "And if it gets really serious, then you join a different team or I do. What do you say?"
"What do you think?" He stood up, pulled out her chair, threw some money on the table, and ushered her out of the dining room. He led her into the elevator and when the doors closed, he kissed her.
"I say yes."
Over the years, Sam kept a plain envelope at the back of the bottom drawer of her bedroom bureau. It wouldn't have been that hard to find if you just moved aside her lingerie but she wasn't worried about the relative simplicity of the hiding place. Who would ever go looking for it? Teal'c was the only one who even knew she had it. He had handed it to her shortly after she returned from Cancun, asking, "Are you going to tell me why you wanted me to make this test with DanielJackson's DNA?
"I can't tell you Teal'c but it's nothing to worry about." Maybe that was even true. She hadn't opened the envelope and she never would.