Please Don't Go

Post-Meridian. Daniel and Samantha have tentatively embarked on a relationship, but now he's dying. And of course I don't own anything – if I did I'd be writing scripts, not fanfiction.

First of three stories. Will be followed by With You in Your Dreams.

Major Samantha Carter and Doctor Daniel Jackson spent the evening in each other's company off-base (Samantha insisted on her house – she had witnessed Daniel's definition of 'personal cleanliness') following their latest hairy-raising rescue mission from a few days before. Well, it hadn't been a rescue mission, per se, more like a fix-up-what-we-fucked-up-last-time around mission. And to be fair, it hadn't even be their fuck up – that particular honour had fallen to some rogue NID members who believed it was their duty to go pillaging technology by any means necessary, but unfortunately, the governments of other worlds rarely saw the distinction.

As far as Samantha, Daniel and the rest of the legitimate Stargate Command were concerned, it was that kind of lack of distinction that had seen more technologically advanced raced like the Nox and Tollan so reluctant to share their technology. Colonel Grieves and Lieutenant Kershaw kept crappy on about how they needed to secure technology to defend themselves against the Goa'uld… and whatever other threats the United States faced, but the reality was, if they had been a little less narrow-minded perhaps the more advanced raced might have been convinced of their trustworthiness. Daniel in particular was still pissed off at the way Maybourne had reacted to the Tollan's attempts to get home – as if you could hold a race like them behind bars! Trying to had only revealed how conflict-obsessed some people were. The memory grated on Daniel's nerves whenever he thought about it, so he tried not to think about it too much.

Instead, he focused on the attractive young woman in front of him right now. He and Samantha had been friends for years, ever since she had come through the Stargate to Abydos, which had then been his home, but lately things had gotten very intimate between them. Nothing incriminating, nothing more then her fingers laced through his for a moment longer then necessary when he held out his hand to steady her, or a gaze held too long when their eyes meant in comprehension of something only they had – nothing General Hammond, or Colonel O'Neill for that matter could complain about. But they had become intimate nonetheless.

Daniel wasn't sure when his feelings for Samantha began. She had always been there, always been an attractive woman who he loved and who challenged him without making him feel inferior. At first, it had been difficult to see in his mad pursuit of his Goa'uld-controlled wife Sha're, but since she had died, Daniel had become more and more aware of his feelings for Samantha. And unless the last five years in the mostly male environment of the Stargate Command had completely dulled his understanding of women, he was pretty sure she returned his feelings.

The question that remained now, what to do about them?

At least he wasn't military – that was a small consolation. Actually, that was a pretty big consolation. The military was pretty strict on inter-military fraternisation, and for good reason. While Daniel, for all intents and purposes, still counted as military, technically he didn't, and that would make the world of difference should he and Samantha end up in a romantic relationship. The worst they could do was separate them. Actually, the worst they could do was terminate Daniel's employment with the airforce (it was easier to get rid of civilians then Majors) but he was confident his linguistic skills made him too valuable for that. No, the worst they could do, and the most probably thing they would do was separate them, which Daniel could understand. He didn't think he'd want to be in the same team as Samantha, constantly looking out for dangers to both himself as well as her.

" What are you thinking about? " Samantha asked, noticing the deep thoughtful look in his eyes. He seemed to have that look a lot these days when she was around him. She wondered if she had anything to do with it. She was very aware of the growing attraction between her and Daniel – as aware as she was of the consequences should they get together. Well, at least they would be better then the consequences should she have gotten together with someone like, say, Jack O'Niell. Something like that would have had her dishonourably discharged, at best. The worst the could do with her and Daniel was separate them, which wouldn't be a bad idea. Samantha didn't know that she could think objectively if she had Daniel to worry about as well as herself.

Oh, to hell with that. She already worried about Daniel as well as herself. She knew it was unprofessional, she knew she should have requested a transfer years ago, but she couldn't bring herself to it. How exactly did you tell your superior officer you had feelings for a team member? You hadn't done anything, per se, but you had these feelings. Really, a high-ranking member of the airforce should be more disciplined then that. So she had ignored her feelings as best as she could and let things continue as they were.

Things had been building up the last two and a half years, since Sha're's death. That had definitely been a turning point between them. It was hard to have feelings for a man who was so obviously hung up on his wife. But after a year or so he had started to get realistic about his odds of having Sha're returned to him as Sha're – Amonet would fight to the death for her host's body, after all, it wasn't like she had a likely chance of survival without it – so by the time she died, he grieved, but much of his mourning had already happened. He moved on quickly, although he never really got over her loss – he always held himself responsible for it.

But that didn't mean he wasn't able to notice Samantha as a woman. She was very attractive, and more then that, she challenged him, and encouraged him to open up to her. More then once he'd allowed his thoughts to wander into forbidden territory – that of Samantha as his girlfriend, his lover… his wife.

Her question startled him. It was as if she was reading his thoughts. " I, uh… " he stammered. " I was thinking about… " he trailled off, embarrassed.

" You were thinking about…? " Samantha prompted. When Daniel lowered his head so he was staring at an imaginary grease spot on the couch (she was far too tidy for anything like that) Samantha placed her fingers under his chin and gentled pride his head up. His cheeks were on fire. " Danny? " she asked. " What were you thinking about? "

She was so beautiful, especially the way her blue eyes seemed to penetrate his soul. Impulsively he leaned over and kissed her. He tried to keep his kiss gentle, almost brotherly, so maybe he could pretend like he was just being friendly, but his emotions took on a life of his own. He pressed his mouth hard against hers, gently but persistently prying open her mouth with his tongue. She shivered involuntarily at the passion of his kiss.

Immediately Daniel pulled away, shame washing through his body. " I'm so sorry, Sam, " he said contrite. " I don't know what came over me. I should go. " He stood up to leave.

Samantha tugged on the sleeve of Daniel's shirt. " Please don't go, " she said, the tone of her voice making it clear she wasn't mad at Daniel – far from it. " I – I wanted you to, " she admitted. Damnit, why was it so hard to admit that she had wanted Daniel to kiss her, she who regularly defended the world from the Goa'uld? " Sit down, " she directed him.

Daniel sat. " You know, this is going to cause huge problems, " he stated the obvious.

" I know. "

" I shouldn't have done anything. I should have just left things as they were. "

" So what? We could keep dancing around the issue? I have feelings for you, Daniel, strong feelings, " Samantha admitted. " I – I've been having trouble focusing sometimes when you're around. I've been meaning to ask for a transfer for a while. "

Daniel sighed with relief. Though managing a relationship in their working conditions was going to be difficult, he had to admit he was relieved to have his feelings – their feelings – out in the open. It wasn't like, after five years, they were going to go away anytime soon. " Then why didn't you? " he asked amiably, more out of curiosity then reproach. " I would have kissed you ages ago if you had. "

Samantha glared at Daniel, then decided to go easy on him because there were just some things about the military he would never comprehend. " And told Hammond what? I had feelings for you? That I hadn't done anything so tangible as slept with you, but I had feelings for you? It would have taken all of two minutes for it to get all over the base what a silly woman with the girlish feelings Samantha Carter is. "

Daniel couldn't help but smirk at Samantha's description of herself. While it was a very true assessment of the hypothetical situation, she was the least girlish woman he knew (in the nicest possible way, of course) and he told her so. " I'm sure you would have kicked anyone's ass who said that, " he pointed out. He could think of much better things to be doing then discussing hypothetical situations. He pulled Samantha into his arms for another kiss.

They spent a few minutes kissing, both of them knowing it wouldn't be a good idea to take things too far tonight. They had some leeway in that Daniel wasn't military but it would still look better to Hammond if they could honestly admit they hadn't done anything more then kiss while they were still both in SG-1.

" We need to do something about this, " Daniel said between kisses.

" I know. I was planning to ask for a transfer. I'll talk to Hammond… after the mission tomorrow. "

Ah, that mission – a fairly routine one, to a planet called Langara, to negotiate a treaty with a population that appeared to be about fifty years behind earth, technologically. While it wasn't exactly the same as having a trade agreement with the now-destroyed Tollans, it was a good start. Jacob had told them often enough that it was a bad idea for such an 'undeveloped' race as they were to start messing with the technology of races with hundreds of years on them – maybe it was a good idea for them to be thinking on a smaller scale. At any rate, it shouldn't take long, only a day or two, and then… Daniel smiled at the thought. And then he and Samantha could start thinking about their future together.

Our future together. Daniel couldn't believe he'd thought of it like that. Of course, he wasn't jumping the gun just yet, his head wasn't filled with plans for a wedding and children or anything like that, but he could very easily see him and Samantha in a long and committed relationship together. He couldn't wait to get back and get started on it.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It didn't quite work out like that. Daniel was exposed to a lethal dose of radiation when an experiment with Naquadria went horribly wrong. Colonel Jack O'Niell, among others, took a certain spiteful consolation in the fact that the Langarians had lost four of their scientists and the Stargate Command had lost only one. Like that was any kind of consolation.

It had taken every fibre of Samantha's being not to go straight to Daniel, take him in her arms, comfort him, to hell with the consequences. Actually, she probably would have, had Daniel himself not pushed her away. He was worried he could be radioactive. Like the fact he had ultimately sacrificed his life to save the Langarians from their foolhardy plan to build a naquadria bomb, he was always thinking of other people.

Samantha loved him for it, but hated him for taking one risk too many. He should have let the planet blow up, would have served them right for not listening to their warnings. Hadn't Daniel himself told them it was a bad idea? Better that the whole of Langara be destroyed then that she lose him…

She was losing him. Her brain fought against that realisation. It was hardly the first time one of them, or the whole team had died and come back to earth – the Nox, anyone? Damn, where was a sarcophagus when you needed it? Right now Samantha particularly hated Hathor for destroying the one they'd had (even though, technically, it was hers to begin with) and hoped the would-be goddess had suffered a long and painful death for it.

Stop it, Carter, she ordered herself, trying to switch into stoic military mode. Daniel only had hours to live, she wouldn't waste his dying moments by being a hysterical woman.

… But she couldn't be stoic, not this time. Daniel was dying, just when they had admitted their feelings for each other, and she didn't know how to deal with it. He had always been there, her Daniel, no matter what they might go through, in the end he was always there.

And soon he wouldn't be there. He would never be there again. The idea made her start crying again.

There was a tentative knock on the door. It was Jack. He looked like he'd been crying. Stoic, fearless Jack who often went out of his way to needle Daniel was crying over the man's imminent demise. It only made Samantha more aware of the situation. If Jack was upset, it had to be real. " How you holdin' up? " he asked her.

Samantha gave a small, sad smile. " Not good, " she admitted, her voice breaking with emotion. " I just can't believe – "

Jack embraced her in an awkward hug. He just wasn't a hugging man. " I know, " he agreed. No more words needed to be said. They were a team – or at least would be for another few hours – they knew each other inside out.

Finally Jack said, " I think he'd like to see you. Why don't you try and be brave – as brave as you can be? "

Samantha nodded, and dried her tears. She went to the infirmary, and it was only through sheer force of will that she managed to not start crying again when she saw the man that a few days ago she'd been planning on having a relationship with. Well, she wouldn't need to resign now.

He was all bandaged up, but to her he looked as beautiful as he always did. " Hey, " she said softly, taking his bandaged hand in hers.

He was happy to see her, and apprehensive at the same time. He knew he was dying, and this was hardly the circumstances he wanted his last moments with Samantha to be. It had only been a few days ago that they had been planning what to do after they could see each other freely. Only a few days! After five years of dancing around the issue. Life could be so cruel.

" I'm sorry, " he said.

" For what? You saved those people, " Samantha said, determined not to reproach him for his selflessness. It wasn't like it could achieve anything but waste precious moments, although if she could exchange the entire Langarian population for Daniel, she would.

" All those… things we talked about… " he said slowly, painfully. " I can't… go through with them. Want to… can't… "

Samantha held Daniel's hand tighter, although she doubted he could even feel her touch. He must be in agony. Tears pricked her eyes. " It doesn't matter, " she said hoarsely.

" If it doesn't matter, then why are you crying? " he asked.

" I'm crying because I love you and I never told you, " she admitted.

" Did you think I didn't know? " he asked, and the tears began to fall from her eyes freely.

" Oh, Daniel, " she cried, forgetting her promise to herself that she wasn't going to spent their last moments together crying over what could have been. " Why do we always wait until its too late to tell people how we feel about them? "

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Daniel was aware of his conversation with Samantha, but also that his mind was pulling him in another direction… to a place where he wasn't in so much pain.

Oma Desala was there. Somehow that didn't surprise him. He'd always thought he'd run into her again.

She talked her usual riddles about the path being long and the strong of heart finding their way – stuff he had never understood. She seemed to think he was of the strong of heart, but he had never seen it. All he saw was his inability to save the ones he loved – Sha're, Sarah, even his parents, all those years ago. He heard his friends tell him how much he meant to him, how much they admired him, but it meant nothing to him. Had he convinced the Langarian people to stop building their bomb? He had failed once again.

Oma explained that the success of a person was immaterial compared to the person's intentions. Time and time again he had come up against seemingly insurmountable challenged, and time and time again he had taken up the challenge, determined to bring a little good to the world, eliminate a little evil – or die trying.

Slowly Daniel grew to understand that the only thing that mattered was the intention of a person's heart, weather they were good or evil was the only thing they had control over, and that he was worthy of ascension. From his current plane of existence, he saw Samantha's silent plea for his survival, and he loved her, and he was sorry he was putting her through this, but he knew ascension was the best thing for him.

He saw that Jacob was attempting to revive him with the Goa'uld healing device, and reached out to Jack, asking him to make the Tok'ra leader stop. Jack was reluctant to let him go, it went against him as a military leader to leave anyone behind, but he understood in some small way that this was what Daniel wanted. Reluctantly, he gave the order for Jacob to stop his attempts to save Daniel's life.

Samantha looked at him with poison and betrayal in her eyes. " Please, " she begged, wanting to do anything to save Daniel's life. The more time passed, the more apparent it became that Daniel was dying and there would be no last-minute intervention by someone – anyone. And the more apparent that became, the more desperate she became to find that intervention. Daniel couldn't die. Not now, not like this, not when she needed him so much, no now that they'd finally found each other. Unable to remain stoic any longer, tears began falling from her eyes again.

Not caring that she had an audience of her father, General Hammond, Jack, Janet and Teal'c, Samantha leaned into Daniel, holding his hand tightly, although she doubted he could feel her touch. " Please don't go, " she begged. Dully she recalled she had said those same words to him a few days ago, with a much different meaning – or was it more the same the she realised? Once more, Daniel was leaving, and she didn't want him to. " Please don't go. "

But he was leaving. If he wasn't dying exactly, then he was leaving – leaving them, leaving her. She tried not to take it personally, but damnit, if he loved her half as much as she loved him, couldn't he try harder? Wasn't love meant to conquer all?

Apparently not, as his body failed him and a white glowing light emerged from his body. Samantha let out a final strangled sob when she realised that Daniel was gone for good. Sensing that she and Daniel had had a stronger connection then they'd realised, the others left her alone with Daniel's mangled body.

All night she kept a silent vigil over him, trying to comprehend that he was actually gone. They had lost team members before, for sure, but somehow this was more personal. The members of SG-1 were never gone for long – something or someone always came along at the last minute to save them. Samantha could testify to that personally. Only this time, the last minute had come and gone, taking Daniel with it.

She didn't know how to go on without him, but she knew somehow she had to. Daniel would expect nothing less of her.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From the infirmary, Daniel watched Samantha grieve for him, trying to comprehend the magnitude of her loss. He truly hadn't realised how much he meant to her, and he was touched by it. He wished there had been another way.

He couldn't interfere with her life, he knew, that was against the laws of the Ascended. But he could watch over her, he could love her from afar.

Gently he touched Samantha, knowing it wouldn't feel like anything more then a slight breeze to her. " I love you, " he whispered reassuringly, even though he knew she couldn't hear him. " I'll be with you in your dreams. "