Part two of three, following Please Don't Go. Followed by Back for Good. Sam and Daniel while he's ascended. General spoilers for Revelations and Season Six. Obviously I don't own anything, else I'd be writing scripts, not fanfiction.
It was hard, so hard to continue on without Daniel. And Jack and Teal'c seemed determined to keep up a good face – Teal'c said something about grieving when the time was right. When the time was right? Like Daniel's death – or whatever it was – was some kind of inconvenience put aside until it could be dealt with? For Samantha, the pain of his loss was far too raw, too immediate for such a convenience.
She didn't know if it was a good or a bad thing that they didn't know if Daniel was actually dead. In Samantha's experience, when people died they didn't have great balls of light emerge from their bodies and float through the Stargate. Samantha suspected he'd ascended, although she didn't know if that was better or worse. It was better, because he wasn't exactly dead, and she knew from experience that the ascended could descend, like Orlin. But would he? That was what made it worse. That Daniel might be out there somewhere, but she couldn't have him. He didn't even exist on the same plane as her.
For three months her heart broke at any memory of him – and there were so many memories of him! His books, the musty smell of his quarters that came as a result of all the artefacts he kept in there, the off-the-cuff remarks people made about Daniel, Jonas's presence in SG-1. She liked Jonas, but he wasn't Daniel, and part of her would always resent him for it. Jonas seemed to sense this, so he didn't make much of an effort to make friends with Samantha.
Oh, Daniel, she thought tearfully one day when McKay made one of his typical blundering references to Daniel. I'll never get used to you being gone.
But she did get used to it, after many months. Not before Jack, oblivious as he was to such matters, got wind of the fact there had been more between Major Carter and Doctor Jackson then they'd been letting on. He questioned it about her one day. " What was with you and Daniel? " he asked her.
Samantha had looked at him tearfully and Jack had almost wished he hadn't said anything. " Nothing that Hammond would have had to worry about, " she said vaguely.
Jack knew her well enough to know that wasn't the full story. " But not for want of hoping? " he prompted.
" No, " Samantha admitted. Now that Daniel was gone, there wasn't much point in lying about their relationship. " Not for want of hoping. "
It didn't seem fair that they should know each other for five years, dance around the issue of their connection, their attraction to each other for all that time, through Sha're, Martouf, Narim and Sarah, and have him stolen from her just when they had gotten together. She frequently raged at the world, and the Langarians, who didn't want anything to do with them these days. That suited Samantha just fine. She hoped their precious naquadria experiments ended up blowing their damn planet up. With uncharacteristic vengefulness, she hoped every last one of them died as payment for Daniel's life, who was worth more then all of them combined, in Samantha's opinion.
But the days went by, and then the months, and after a while, Samantha's grief began to recede. She never really got over Daniel, but life became a little easier for her to get through. She even accepted, after a fashion, Jonas as a member of SG-1, although she never accepted him as Daniel's replacement. No-one could replace Daniel. Ever.
Once word got out (and in a place like the Stargate Command, where its classified nature meant everyone was so insular) that Samantha and Daniel had had a 'thing' (no-one knew exactly what that meant, but everyone took it to mean something inappropriate), Major Carter was considered an easy target for the men on the project who weren't immune to a pretty female face. If she wasn't above starting a relationship with a member of her own team, albeit a civilian one, she shouldn't be adverse to their approaches, either.
For six months, General Hammond was furious for what Samantha had started. But Samantha treated each and every man who approached her with cool indifference until some of them had serious doubts about the rumours. Or maybe it was true what the most romantic of nurses said, that she had loved him so much she wasn't interested in being with anyone else. At any rate, the interest petered off after a few months and everything went more or less back to normal.
A small consolation – if it could be considered a consolation – was that the threat of Anubis, by far the most powerful and dangerous Goul'd, kept Samantha plenty busy. He was determined to destroy earth – the planet was a thorn in his side, it just wouldn't lay down and die thanks to the efforts of the Stargate Command, particularly SG-1. And Samantha was equally determined to destroy him. After all, they'd already killed a dozen of the false gods – this was just one more, albeit a more challenging one.
And when they didn't have their hands full with Anubis, there was the Asgaurd and the Replicator threat to worry about. More then once Jack had complained long and hard about their so-called 'superior race' needed their help but not giving anything in return. But Samantha didn't mind. It kept her occupied.
But there was only so long she could keep herself occupied with various threats to Earth. Whenever her mind was free, particularly at night when he drifted off to sleep – and even in her dreams – thoughts of Daniel came to her. The truth was, he was the love of her life – he had been since she'd first met him on Abydos. That thought always made Samantha smile in spite of herself. Of course neither women had known it at the time, but Samantha could just imagine how Sha're would have felt to know her husband would become the love of Samantha's life.
Or maybe she did, Samantha thought wryly, remembering the way Sha're had kissed Daniel goodbye – their last kiss. It was definitely a 'hands off, he's mine' kind of kiss. Although somehow Samantha thought Sha're wouldn't have minded her and Daniel getting together. She would have wanted Daniel to be happy without her.
Kind of like Daniel would have wanted Samantha to be happy without him. But like Daniel had wrestled with his conscience day in, day out over his inability to save Sha're, Samantha was unable to forget about Daniel. He was always in her thoughts, especially in her dreams.
Being ascended was certainly an interesting experience, Daniel had thought more then once. It was calmer, enlightening.
At times it was mind-numbingly boring.
Oma had once told him that the Ancients were not allowed to help a person ascend – the idea was, if they couldn't do it on their own, they weren't enlightened enough. Though he was always honoured that Oma had chosen to help him ascend, and he knew these days he was a lot calmer and more enlightened, there were often times that her personally understood why that was. He often found the calmness of ascension boring in the same way yoga had bored the crap out of him. And he found himself constantly agitated by his inability to do anything to help the people he cared about.
He knew she was struggling to cope with his death. Well, it wasn't exactly death, and he knew that in some ways that was harder for her – to have him around, but not there per se. He remembered that having Sha're around and alive somewhere but unable to reach her had in some ways been harder to deal with then her death. At least in death she was gone, never coming back, and he could deal with it. Although admittedly, he hadn't dealt with it very well, so who was he to judge Samantha's way of dealing with grief?
That didn't make it any easier to watch her though. And it was particularly maddening watching all those other men hit on her, like just because she'd bent the rules a little with him meant she was going to accommodate the entire Stargate Command? He had taken a definitely unenlightened glee out of watching her rebuff man after man until they came to the conclusion that she was hopelessly in love with Daniel and always would be. " Can't compete with a ghost, " had been a common sentiment. He'd been a but smug about that, which he had a feeling was also very unenlightened.
Mostly Daniel whiled away his days watching over Samantha, something that concerned Oma. " You know the rules, " she said. " No interfering. "
" I'm not interfering, I'm just watching, " had been Daniel's response. Oma always left it at that, although he knew she was concerned one day he would do more then just watch. He couldn't help it, he was too human. More then once the irony had struck him that the Ancients considered themselves enlightened beings, yet they insisted on leaving the rest of the galaxies to their own devices – and the mercies of races like the Goul'd and the Replicators. Survival of the fittest? Sounded very archaic to Daniel.
While he was flattered that Samantha was so hung up on him (made him feel better about all the girls who wouldn't date him in high school because he was too nerdy, something else unenlightened) it pained him to watch her struggle through life. He spent a lot of time with her, although of course she didn't know he was there. Quite by accident (alright, he was trying to make a connection, but he told Oma it was an accident) he discovered that he could connect with her through her subconscious mind – like when she was dreaming.
Samantha hadn't been surprised to find Daniel in her dreams. Not just memories or fantasies, but real Daniel – or as real as you could get for a dream. She had always felt he was around somewhere, kind of like the time he was out of phase but she could almost sense him, just an instinctive feeling that he was there. It was the main reasons (apart from the glowing light) that made it hard for her to believe he was gone.
" Hi, " she said to him, not knowing what else to say. What did you say to the Love of Your Life That Never Was who had died/ascended and was now in your dreams? " You're looking… calm. "
" Enlightenment will do that do you, " he commented wryly, and Samantha got the feeling enlightenment wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Personally, Samantha had found calmness to be overrated. She had tried yoga once, and found the silence to be unnerving. Like Daniel, she worked best in chaos.
" You're not doing so well, " Daniel noted after a silence. Samantha looked away, afraid the colour in her cheeks would give her away.
She should have known better then to try and pull one over Daniel. It was what she had loved about him, he was so sensitive and astute – not at all military. He had always known what she was thinking, what she was feeling, and never held it against her because she was acting like a 'silly woman' as Jack would have said. And that was before he'd ascended, too. Samantha was sure he had even more powers of insight now.
Quickly Daniel closed the gap between them. He cupped his hand under Samantha's chin and gently brought her head up so she was facing him. To hell with it, it wasn't like she could hide her feelings from him. Her eyes welled with tears. " I miss you so much, " she cried.
Daniel took her in his arms and let her cry. It was so easy, so right to be in Daniel's arms Samantha had trouble believing it wasn't real. " It is real, of sorts, " Daniel said reassuringly, sensing her thoughts. " I'm really here, you're not making this up. I kept watching you, kept wanting to touch you, and I worked out I could do it this way. "
So she could have him, but only in her dreams? That wasn't much better then just imagining him to be at her side. " I want you with me always, " she sobbed, not resembling much of an air force Major at that point. " It's so hard, Daniel, it wasn't fair… for us to get together and then have you taken away… it wasn't fair. "
He kissed her head firmly and held her tighter against him. " I know, sweetheart, " he agreed. " I thought I could do more this way, but… " he trailed off helplessly. He hadn't realised how hard it would be to watch upon his friends – friends he considered family – and not be able to do anything about it, either their personal problems or their greater problems with the Goul'd and Replicator threats. Had he made the right choice? He'd thought he had, at the time, but now he wasn't so sure.
Gradually Samantha quietened in his arms. God, it felt so good to hold her again. She felt and smelled the same as she always did. He rubbed his cheek against her hair, loving the sensation. He was pretty sure human desire was definitely unenlightened, but he didn't care. All that mattered right now was that Samantha Carter was in his arms and it felt so incredibly right.
Not knowing if it would just make her sense of loss worse – and incur Oma's wrath – and not caring, Daniel tipped Samantha's head so she was looking up at him. He searched her eyes for some kind of permission, and found it easier in the way she looked at him, the way she parted her lips in anticipation…
She shuddered with ecstasy as their lips met, and he felt close to that reaction himself. If he'd thought their first kiss had been special, this was – out of this world. The irony of his choice of words wasn't lost of Daniel.
Despite his feeble attempts to keep things restrained, their kisses soon became passionate, with a fire and sense of urgency that Daniel knew for certain was unenlightened. He felt his groin tightened, and knew Samantha felt it when her hands reached for the top button of his pants. OK, this was definitely forbidden territory.
Reluctantly he pushed her away. " We can't do this, " he said hoarsely, the look in his eyes making it quite clear that he wanted to very much.
" You can't make love to the woman you love? " Samantha demanded tearfully. " What kind of stupid rules do they have? Fucking Ancients. "
Daniel cringed. He was sure Oma would have gotten that, and she wouldn't be impressed. " I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come, " he said, ashamed of himself for only making things harder for everyone.
Samantha hated Daniel being away from her, she wanted him in her life all the time, but she wasn't prepared to relinquish the few moments she could have with him – even if they were when she was unconscious. " I wanted you to come, " she admitted, unashamed. " And I want you to come back. I'll behave, I promise. " She would sit with him and hold his hand all night if that was all she was allowed, just to have him in her life a little.
Daniel pulled Samantha in his arms again, savouring the feel of her. " I'll be back, " he promised. " When I can. " And before Samantha realised what was happening, he had transformed into a ball of light and disappeared…
She woke up, knowing she hadn't just imagined it all – it had been too vivid, too real. She smiled to herself, the feel of Daniel's hands and mouth on her still lingering. She had been with him, she knew, kissed him, been held by him – felt how much he stilled desired her – and she would be with him again.
Then she remembered his last words. " I'll be back when I can. " She remembered he wasn't in her life anymore, well hardly at all, he was on a completely different plane of existence. She loved him so much her heart ached at the thought of him, and all she could have was snatches of him in her dreams.
I'll be back when I can. " Oh Daniel, " Samantha cried, knowing he could hear her. " Don't you understand? I want you back for good. "
Needless to say, Oma wasn't particularly impressed by Daniel's stunt, although her words were 'no interference' and he didn't see how he'd interfered. Besides, he was an Ancient-in-Exile, so she must have done some pretty impressive interfering, who was she to talk?
The truth was, Daniel was becoming increasingly restless with Ascended life. He'd thought he was ready but he wasn't. He was still very much human, with all a human's flaws, however the Ancient might look down on those flaws. " You act like its such a terrible way of life, " he'd told Oma snarkily. OK, that tone was definitely unenlightened.
These days he was caring less and less.
He saw Samantha as often as he could, usually once a week, and every time he told himself he should let her go for her own good. And every time he mentioned that she insisted she wanted whatever of him she could have. So he continued seeing her, knowing he couldn't give her up anymore then she could give him up. He was becoming increasingly frustrated at ascension and increasingly wished there was some way he could take it back.
The opportunity came when Anubis threatened Abydos, the world Sha're had come from where Daniel had lived for several years as her husband. If he had been flirting with the line between 'watching over' and 'interfering' with Samantha, now he shamelessly crossed it, to hell with the consequences. The planet ended up being destroyed anyway, but not before Oma helped the entire population to ascend. Hopefully she'd have better luck with them then she did with Daniel.
For someone who claimed to be enlightened, she was furious with Daniel. The dreams thing he had with Samantha was one thing, an indiscretion they had been prepared to tolerate. But shamelessly using his powers to defend a planet – that was well and truly against the rules of the ascended. He would have to be severely punished for that.
For weeks after Abydos had been destroyed, Samantha waited for Daniel to come to her in her dreams. And waited. And waited. While there had been times when he had laid low after a particularly nasty sparring match with Oma, he had never waited this long between visits. And the essence she was convinced she felt when she was awake was no longer there. Daniel was gone.
She was beginning to think he was dead.
She had thought that such an idea would bring her peace – at least then she would know that he was dead, there was no getting him back. But instead she found she was mourning him all over again.
Jack tried to understand, he really did. But he had never really comprehended the whole dream thing, although Teal'c assured him it was possible. (How did a Jaffa know these things, anyway? Teal'c was always surprising him.) If they hadn't already made that mistake with Daniel over Marchello's blue wormy things, Jack would have thought seriously about having Samantha committed. As it was, he encouraged her to see the base physiatrist.
" Why? " Samantha asked pointedly. " So I can have two men instead of one telling me I was just imagining things? It was real, Jack, I know it was. "
" How? " Jack challenged.
" I've never had dreams that… vivid, " was all she would say. She took a little smugness from his embarrassed look.
Jack shrugged, trying not to imagine Daniel and Samantha together in the way she was implying. After five years, the two of them had become like his children… which to his mind, kind of made them brother and sister. " At any rate, you say they've stopped now? So what does that mean? "
Samantha shrugged dispiritedly. " I don't know, " she said in a tone that suggested she did know, or at least had a good idea. " Daniel said the Ancients don't take well to ascended beings interfering with mortal stuff. And what he did at Abydos – "
" Definite interference, " Jack finished. Samantha nodded sadly. Trust Daniel, he could never stop interfering. " So does this mean…? "
Samantha shrugged. " I don't know, it's possible, " she admitted. Neither of them wanted to voice the possibility that Daniel was dead. Jack too had been holding out on the hope that he might still be alive, on some plane or another.
" I guess… we just wait and see, " Jack said helplessly. He had never before come across a situation where he, Samantha or Daniel hadn't thought of a solution. Maybe that was the problem. There was no Daniel anymore.
" I guess so, " Samantha agreed. She allowed Jack to lead her back to her quarters, her thoughts lost in Daniel, her desperate hopes that somehow, somewhere he might be alive. Oh, God, let him be alive, Samantha pleaded to some higher being (not the ones who Daniel had pissed off by breaking their stupid rules). She had never been the religious type, but now she was prepared to believe in anything, if it meant getting Daniel back for good.