Chapter Seven

Samantha had always thrown herself into Daniel's arms when she saw he was alive and well – and in Jack's office. Well, it beat some obscure planet last time. And he had his memory back, too.

Although Samantha could have worked with Daniel forgetting a few things – namely, the whole sorry Sarah affair.

You get what you're given, she said, too happy that Daniel was back to care that he still remembered everything she'd done to him in the past eighteen months. Restraining herself, she smiled, giggled a little even when she saw how embarrassed Daniel was to be caught naked once more.

That physique… it had been over a year since she and Daniel had been naked together, and maybe it was just her imagination, but she could swear he looked better then ever. Especially with nothing to hide his modesty but a remarkably small towel – funny how it had seemed bigger in Jack's office. Unconsciously she licked her lips.

" It's, uh, a long story, " Daniel said sheepishly. Samantha could have sworn he made eye contact with her, just for a moment. Then he scurried off to his quarters to have a long hot shower and get changed into some real clothes.

It was strange, seeing Samantha again, especially after all the thinking he'd done. Some instinct told him she'd been worried about him ; the thought touched him. Although Samantha needn't have been so concerned about him. He always came back. It wasn't even the first time he'd been ascended and then been chucked out. That made him grin wryly to himself. That was one for the books – if they ever let him publish his memoirs, which wasn't very likely.

Samantha found him later, sitting on his bed in fresh BDUs, his head in his hands. She knocked on the door gently, and he looked up. " Hey, " she said softly, not sure of the reception she'd get from him and prepared to flee if he was cool towards her.

He smiled absently. " Hey, " he said. " What's up? "

Samantha shrugged, her heart in her throat. " Not much, " she said, omitting the death of her father. " Just wanted to see how you're doing. "

It was the most civil they'd been in a year, and it was strange. " I'm doing OK, all things considered, " he said wryly. " It's not like there's a handbook out there – How To Cope With Being Chucked Out of Heaven. "

Samantha smirked at Daniel's typically self-depreciating sense of humour. " What did you do this time? "

" Provoked Oma into a fight with Anubis, " Daniel replied, his blue eyes trying to project innocence he didn't feel. " I think they'll both be preoccupied for a while. " As two ascended being who couldn't be killed, Oma and Anubis could theoretically be engaged in combat for eternity – if not eternity, then even if Anubis did some day, thousands of years from now get the better of Oma, he would return to find his forced scattered and the Goa'uld all but annihilated.

" So that was you – we wondered who did that, " Samantha said with a knowing smile. Somehow, Daniel was always behind things that the rest of the couldn't fathom.

Daniel shrugged. " It was nothing. It was mostly her doing, anyway. " Now that he was no longer chafing under Oma's rules, he was able to appreciate the sacrificed she had made for the rest of the universe.

" You always say that Daniel. When are you going to realise that it was too something. And while I'm on the subject, were you responsible for the Replicators just stopping the way they did for a few minutes? We thought something – or someone – was messing with RepliCarter. "

" Call it a battle of wills – I think I won. " They may have both ended up dead – well, Daniel was dead and RepliCarter was destroyed – but Daniel was flesh and blood and as such could be, and had been revived. And she had considered him weak, just another machine.

He was human, and for all that meant he was flawed, it gave him advantages that the Replicators and the Ancients didn't have. It gave him emotions, it have him a heart.

" What are you smiling at? " Samantha asked, eager to share in Daniel's good mood.

He shook his head, a smile still on his face. " Just something RepliCarter said about humans being weak… but she's gone and I'm here. "

" Yes, " Samantha said wistfully, her thoughts drifting to her father, who was no longer here. " Yes, you are. "

Knowing her as he did – or at least as he once had – Daniel immediately knew what Samantha was thinking about. " I heard about your dad, " he said. " I'm sorry. "

Samantha tried brightly, trying to push the pain away. " It's OK, he had six years more then he was meant to. We got a lot out of those six years. "

Daniel patted the bed next to him and Samantha gratefully sat down next to him. " That can't make it any easier, " he said. " I imagine it must make it harder, given how close you and Jacob became. "

Samantha's eyes started to fill with tears. " It's hard, " she admitted. " I thought, with him being a Tok'ra and all, he'd outlive me. "

" He would have hated that, " Daniel pointed out.

Samantha shrugged. " Yeah, but it would have been easier on me. " She smiled sheepishly. " That's selfish. "

" We all have some selfishness in us. I guess that's part of what makes us human. " Daniel spoke those words with no accusation in his voice.

" I think I have more then the average person, " Samantha said sadly.

Daniel looked at her incredulously. " I'm sorry, did you just say you're more selfish then most people? Samantha Carter, who's saved the universe's ass on more times then I can count, more selfish then most people? I don't think so. "

Samantha sniffled. " I was selfish… about Sarah, " she whispered.

Her name was like whiplash to Daniel. He had known they would have to talk about it, had wanted to talk about it, but now that the moment was here, he realised what a daunting task it would be. " I wasn't exactly on my best behaviour there, either, " he admitted.

Samantha took a deep breath. It was now or never – if she waited any longer, she thought she might lose her nerve. " Daniel, I was wrong – on some many levels. I was wrong to keep you dangling for so many years, I was wrong to accuse you of rape, I was wrong push you away when I found out about Sarah's pregnancy, I was wrong not to overlook an indiscretion. And I was wrong not to accept that you'd moved on. I loved you, and if I'd been a little less selfish in my love I would have let you go. But I couldn't stand the fact you'd moved on, I was determined to get you back, whatever the cost. I swear I never meant for Sarah to die. "

" I know, " Daniel said. " I always knew that, even when I hated you. " Needless to say, he was surprised by Samantha's string of apologies. She'd obviously been thinking long and hard about this.

" I thought I wasn't going to see you again, " Samantha admitted, sensing Daniel's surprise. " I had a lot of time to think. "

" I had a lot of time to think, too, " Daniel said. " And I realised I blamed you for a lot of stuff that was my fault. I loved Sarah, and I'm sure I would have been happy with her – but there would always have been part of me that wondered what it would have been like to be with you. Because it was always you I wanted to be with the most, Sam, no matter what else was happening in my life. That's why I let you pursue me, why I let you seduce me. I could have held out if I wanted to. I did with Sha're. And I think Sarah knew she was always going to be second best, that's why she came to see me that day… " he broke up, feeling the tears form in his throat. He would never stop loving Sarah, and never stop feeling remorse for the shabby way he'd treated her. She had deserved better, and she'd gotten a man who would always be preoccupied with another woman.

Daniel took a deep breath, fighting back the tears. He had to get this out, or he never would. " Part of me will always love Sarah, and that part of me will never forget her. But I was never in love with Sarah… the way I was in love with you. The way I am in love with you. "

He made eye contact with Samantha, wanting to see her reaction to his words. Her eyes filled with tears. He was still in love with her! " Sam? " Daniel asked Samantha apprehensively, terrified of being rejected. " What's the matter? "

With a strangled sob, Samantha threw herself into Daniel's arms, wrapping her arms around his neck tightly, as if she were drowning and he were a life preserver. " Please, " she sobbed, her face buried in Daniel's chest, nearly hysterical. " Just hold me. "

Tentatively, still afraid of being rejected, Daniel wrapped his arms around Samantha's back. Her tears were starting to soak through his shirt, but he didn't mind. " Sam? " he asked hoarsely. " You're starting to scare me. Please say something. "

Samantha's heard the fear in Daniel's voice, and she could scarcely believe he was scared of rejection – even if she hadn't said anything either way. She raised her head. Her blue eyes were glistening with tears. " You don't know how long I've wanted to hear you say that, " she whispered. " When things were really bad between us, I used to lie awake, wishing I could take everything back, thinking about what I'd do if I got another chance. I love you, Daniel. I was a fool to let you go so easier. I – "

Her words were silenced by a kiss at Daniel lowered his mouth to hers. In the past, their kisses had been passionate, violent, borne of the violent passion they felt for each other – violent passion that had led to so many tears. This kiss was sweet, gentle, borne of many days and nights of mental anguish, reflection – and peace.

After a few minutes of kissing, Daniel broke away. " I love you, Sam, " he said honestly. He had never meant anything more in his life.

" I love you too, Daniel, " Samantha said tearfully. They kissed again.

" Marry me, Sam, " Daniel blurted out suddenly.

Samantha drew back, the sudden nature of his words surprising her. " What? " she asked, although she'd heard him perfectly.

Daniel looked sheepish. " I don't know where that came from, " he admitted.

Samantha tried not to look disappointed. " So you didn't mean it, " she said, trying to sound like she didn't care.

Daniel smiled lovingly. " Of course I meant it, " he said. " I just… didn't realise I meant it until I said it. " Now he was blushing, and he hoped Samantha knew what he meant.

She did. She jumped into his arms. " Of course I'll marry you, Daniel, " she cried, and they kissed. When they broke apart, she gave a squeal of unadulterated happiness that sent the guards running, concerned there'd been another scuffled between the two of them.

" Nothing's wrong, " Daniel said, a satisfied smile on her face. " We're just getting married, that's all. "

The guard looked at them, trying to comprehend the situation. The last time Doctor Jackson had been on earth, they'd been barely civil to each other – and now they were getting married? One thing could be said for Doctors Jackson and Carter, they didn't do things by halved.

They were married at the base in a small, private and very intergalactic ceremony that included the Tok'ra, the Asgaurd, the Nox, the Jaffa and of course the Tauri among dozens of intergalactic representatives. Samantha was only sorry her father couldn't be there, but she had a feeling he was watching her, somewhere.

Afterwards, in the privacy of their new quarters, Daniel and Samantha got ready for the first night together as husband and wife. " It's been a long time getting here, hasn't it? " he asked.

" Yes it has, " Samantha agreed. " Too long. But we're here now. "

" Yes, we are, " Daniel agreed happily. " I love you, Doctor Jackson, " he said, trying out his new wife's new name.

Samantha squirmed happily at the sound of hew new name. All thoughts of being an independent woman and keeping her own name had flown out the window. " I love you too, Doctor Jackson, " she said, and they kissed.