A New Perspective
Spoilers: Everything up to and including Season 7. Specifically detailed spoilers for: Children of the Gods, Fire and Water, In the Line of Duty, The Tok'ra, Jolinar's Memories, Divide and Conquer, Meridian, Fallen.
Summary: A memory is lost. Will things be the same if and when it returns?
Season: Season 7, before "Heroes"
Author's notes: This is my first attempt at a first-person point of view. Italicized text indicates memories/flashbacks, bold text indicates emphasis.
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate or anything related to it.
I was awake, but opening my eyes seemed like too much effort at the moment. I ached everywhere, and my head was throbbing. Noises. It was the noises that had awoken me. There was a lot of beeping, some shuffling sounds and I heard someone nearby clear their throat quietly.
I pried my eyes open with a soft moan. Squinting, I looked around. The beeping seemed to be coming from medical machinery surrounding the bed I was lying on. Was this a hospital? I tried to sit up to get a better look around, but my muscles screamed. I fell back on the bed, groaning.
A moment later, a woman appeared next to my bed. "You're awake! Good. How are you feeling?" asked the petite brunette in a white jacket. She must be my doctor.
I winced. "Everything hurts. My head feels like it's about to explode." I looked at the doctor. "What happened?"
"Apparently you were caught up in a hand device. Daniel managed to pull you out of it. He saved your life."
"The blast from the device knocked you both unconscious. He should be waking up any time now. Your injuries were worse than his," the woman looked at me a moment before continuing, "He'll be fine. Don't worry."
She seemed to be expecting me to say something. I looked around, taking in my concrete surroundings. "Um, Doctor...where am I?"
"You're in the infirmary." She blinked strangely at me.
I frowned and looked around again. What kind of infirmary has no windows? "What infirmary?"
It was the doctor's turn to frown. "The only one on the base." She was giving me a funny look, and I was starting to feel really uncomfortable.
"The only one on the base..." I repeated slowly. Why was she being so vague?
Instead of replying, she studied me carefully, a fearful look in her eye. "Do you know who I am?"
Before I could answer, two men arrived. One of them had brown hair and kind eyes. He stepped up next to my bed, on the other side of the doctor. A large, dark man with no hair at all followed him and stood, or rather loomed, behind the first man.
The first man spoke up. "How ya feeling? That was one hell of a mission, eh? I guess all's well that ends well, though, right? That's what I always say. You gonna be ready for a debriefing in two hours? Hammond wanted me to ask ya."
I blinked at him, trying to follow his rapid succession of questions. "Uh..." was all I could get out. My eyes turned to the second man. He had a strange gold mark on his forehead. The mark looked like it was raised. My hand rose to touch my own forehead. Finding no tactile evidence of a similar mark, I lowered my hand and studied my visitors. They seemed to be acting as if they knew me, and I decided to voice my confusion. "Do I know you?"
The first man's eyes widened, and he looked at my doctor then back at me. "What?!"
The second man raised an eyebrow but said nothing.
The doctor looked at the brown-haired man, "That's what I was afraid of." She turned back to me and continued, "Do you know your name?"
Well now, that question was just silly. I opened my mouth to tell her but quickly realised I didn't have the answer. Gaping at her, fear filled me. "Oh God," I whispered.
"It's okay," she said quickly. She put her hand on my arm and squeezed gently. "I'm Janet Fraiser; your name is Samantha Carter, and you're safe. You're among friends, and we'll help you through this."
"Samantha Carter," I murmured to myself, feeling dazed. I looked up at my doctor. "Janet Fraiser," I said, committing her name to memory.
She smiled kindly at me. "That's right. And these are Colonel Jack O'Neill and Teal'c." She pointed at my guests in the same order they had arrived. "We are all your friends."
"Do you have no memory of us, Major Carter?" asked the one Janet had called Teal'c.
I shook my head, studying at him. What kind of name was Teal'c?
"I'm going to run some tests to see if I can discover the cause of her amnesia," Janet said to Jack O'Neill.
"How about Daniel?"
"He's still unconscious, but I expect him to wake up soon."
"Good. Well, keep me updated, Doc. I better go report the situation to Hammond." He turned to me. "We'll be back to see ya later, Carter."
"Um, thanks, Jack," I replied as he and Teal'c started to walk away. He paused at the end of my bed and gave me a funny look before leaving the infirmary.
"I'd like to run those tests now, if you're up to it?" said Janet.
She helped me out of my bed and over the next twenty minutes I was poked, prodded and scanned in more ways than I could count. Returning to my infirmary bed, I noticed a man lying on the bed next to mine. He had brown hair and a chiselled jaw. He was sleeping. I stood next to his bed and gazed at him, searching my memory. There was something familiar about him...
"That's Daniel Jackson," Janet said softly as she came up behind me. "He's another good friend of yours."
Daniel. One of the first things Janet had told me was that a man called Daniel had saved my life. "Is he okay?" I whispered, my eyes not leaving the sleeping man's face.
"Yes. Although we won't know until he wakes up if he has also lost his memory. I'm going to go over the results of your tests. Hopefully, your amnesia will be something that can be reversed either medically or by the simple passage of time." She looked at me carefully. "I don't want you leaving the infirmary, okay?"
I glanced at her before turning back to the man in the bed in front of me. "Okay, Janet."
As she went into her office, I took Daniel Jackson's hand in mine, weaving our fingers together. At my touch, he stirred. I gasped as his eyes opened and met mine; they were the most remarkable shade of blue. "Sam." He smiled, and I felt my heart leap into my throat.
Sam. Samantha. Oh, that's me. "Hi," I said quietly.
"You're okay." He sounded very relieved as he sat up in the bed and stretched his free hand to the table next to his bed. Grabbing a pair of glasses, he put them on.
"Uh, yeah, I guess." I smiled nervously. "Sort of, anyway."
He frowned at that. "What do you mean, 'sort of'?"
"Um..." I looked down at his hand in mine and gave a short laugh. "Daniel, right?" I asked, looking at him again.
He laughed but then seemed to realise that I wasn't joking. His eyes grew alarmed, and he tightened his fingers around my hand. "Sam?"
"It seems that I've lost my memory. The doctor," I gestured in the direction of her office, "Uh, Janet, she's running some tests to find out why." All things considered, I thought I was handling this whole situation rather well.
"You don't remember anything?"
I didn't know how to answer that. Until I had seen him, the answer would have been 'no'. Now, though, I wasn't sure. I still couldn't remember anything specific, but I felt this strange sense of familiarity for him that I couldn't explain. So, instead of answering, I just shrugged.
He dropped his head and sighed heavily. He brought his free hand up to his face and pushed up his glasses, pinching the bridge of his nose. I watched his behaviour with interest, cocking my head to one side. I felt more certain than ever that I knew him, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't remember.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled. I frowned at him.
He raised his head and looked me straight in the eyes. "I wasn't fast enough. I'm sorry, Sam."
I was really confused. "What do you mean?"
"Nephthys was using her modified hand device on you. I didn't get across the room fast enough. I should have been able to prevent this." He looked like he was in physical pain.
"Janet said you saved my life. And she's hopeful that my memory loss will only be temporary." I studied his face. "This isn't your fault." I couldn't understand why he felt so guilty about the situation.
He just looked at me and sighed.
"I feel fine," I said. Reconsidering, I revised that statement. "Okay, I'm a little sore and I have a massive headache, but otherwise I feel fine." I smiled at him reassuringly. "Thank you for saving me."
Although it seemed reluctant, he did smile back. My stomach did a little flip. That was weird.
"Oh! You're awake, too!" Janet stepped quickly to Daniel's bedside and looked at him pointedly. "Do you know who I am?"
"Yes, Janet. I'm more worried about Sam."
Janet looked at me, then back at Daniel. "Physically, she's fine. None of the tests I have back so far have given me any medical reason for her memory loss." She continued quickly, probably in reaction to the look of alarm on Daniel's face. "That doesn't mean that her memory won't return, though." The doctor looked down at our hands, our fingers still entwined. "Maybe you could help her."
Daniel's eyes lit up. "How?"
"You know as well as I do that in many cases of amnesia, the patient can regain lost memories after being exposed to familiar surroundings and people. You could show her around, answer questions, that sort of thing."
I looked back and forth between Daniel and Janet. "I thought you said I wasn't allowed to leave the infirmary."
Janet smiled at me. "As long as you stay with Daniel and he promises that he'll bring you back here if you experience any problems whatsoever, I'll allow it."
Daniel nodded and squeezed my hand. "I promise."
"Okay." She turned back to me. "Don't force your memory; it won't help. Just take it easy, reacquaint yourself, do familiar things. It'll come. Be patient."
With the doctor's advice, Daniel and I left the infirmary.
Out in the hallway, I looked around. Was this entire building made of concrete? Pipes ran along the walls and ceiling, and there were coloured lines painted on the floor. "What kind of hospital is this? Why are there no windows?"
Daniel looked at me. "Oh, we're not in a hospital. We're in an underground base. Actually, we're under a mountain."
My eyes widened. "What kind of base?"
"An Air Force base in the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. The area where we work is called Stargate Command."
"Stargate Command," I repeated absently, still looking all around as we moved down the hallway. "What do we do here?"
He laughed. "That's a long story."
"Oh. I don't know if I'm ready for any long stories just yet." This was all a little overwhelming. "Can we start small?"
"Why don't we start with a tour of the base?"
About an hour later, the tour brought us to what looked like a cafeteria, and we both got some coffee. At least twenty people had approached me with strange questions that I couldn't answer. Daniel introduced them to me and quietly explained the situation, suggesting they talk to someone called Doctor Lee until I was feeling better. I sighed. I was never going to remember all of these names.
Our coffee in hand, Daniel led me down a maze of hallways and elevators to an office. The nameplate on the door displayed my name. I entered and looked around.
"Is anything familiar?"
My eyes moved over the items in the room, and I shook my head. "So far, the only thing that's remotely familiar is—" I broke off and looked at him.
"Is what?" He stepped toward me. "Do you remember something?"
I gave him a sheepish grin. "The only thing that's even a little bit familiar is you." I could feel the heat of a blush rising in my cheeks.
"You remember me?"
Shaking my head again, I pursed my lips. "Nothing specific," I said. "It's hard to explain, I just...you're familiar. That's all."
He seemed disappointed but nodded. "Well, at least that's something. Maybe the rest won't be far behind."
"This whole situation is...it's pretty scary. But with you, I feel very safe. I feel like I'm...I don't know. Where I'm supposed to be." I looked at him helplessly, and sighed. "Sorry, I don't know if that makes any sense at all. Not knowing who I am is very disorienting."
Daniel grinned over his coffee mug. "Yeah, I know."
That was a funny thing to say. I cocked my head at him, and he rolled his eyes, still smiling. "That's another long story."
I sighed. There seemed to be a lot of those. I took another sip of my coffee, studying him. "How long have we known each other?"
He lifted his eyes to the ceiling. "Oh, about...seven years. Give or take."
"That's a long time. We must be close."
He nodded and looked at me seriously. "You're my best friend, Sam. You're always there when I need you." His face lit up in a brilliant smile, and I felt my stomach flip again. I was sure that there was more to it than he was saying.
Daniel nodded again, his deep blue eyes twinkling with his smile.
His smile slowly faded, and he stared at me for a really long time. I was starting to feel uncomfortable when he took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "Yeah. We're just really, really good friends," he finally said very softly.
I studied his face. I was so sure. However, without any memories to back up my gut feeling, I decided to let it go. "Okay." I nodded and looked around the office again before turning back to Daniel. "Well," I said with a sigh. "I obviously can't do any work right now. Is there more to this place?"
We were walking down another hallway identical to all the rest, and I was wondering how he didn't get lost when we ran into— What was his name? Right. Jack.
"Doc Fraiser told me you two were up and about. That's great. How's the memory, Carter?"
"Uh, still gone, Jack."
He gave me that same funny look he had given me in the infirmary. Why did he keep doing that? Jack turned to Daniel. "It's time for our debriefing, Hammond's waiting."
"Oh. Um..." Daniel looked at me. "Want to meet someone else?"
I let out a little laugh. "Sure, why not. As long as there isn't a test later, I'll be okay."
He grinned and we followed Jack down an elevator, through more hallways and into another room.
I stepped inside and saw one face I had seen before, Teal'c, and another bald man. The latter strode quickly towards me and asked how I was feeling.
"I'm fine, considering. Thanks, um...?" I looked at Daniel, feeling lost.
"Sam, this is General Hammond, he runs this base."
"General Hammond," I repeated. Unlike most of the others that Daniel had introduced me to earlier today, I figured the person who ran the base was someone whose name I should make it a point to remember.
"Please, have a seat. Doctor Fraiser has told me that she released you into Doctor Jackson's care, so you're more than welcome to sit in on this briefing. It might help you remember something, too."
I stepped inside and surveyed the room. It was spacious with a large wooden table surrounded by comfortable looking leather chairs. A spiral staircase descended in one corner, and nearby, I saw a large window. It was the first window I had seen in the entire base, and I curiously stepped toward it to look out.
My breath caught in my throat and my eyes widened as I took in the sight below me. A huge metallic ring dominated the large room that the window looked down on. There was a metal ramp leading up to the ring and several people milling around the strange structure. I felt Daniel step up to stand next to me. "What is that?" I asked with my voice full of awe.
"That is the stargate. It's why we're here."
"Stargate Command," I murmured, remembering where Daniel had said we were.
He looked like he was about to explain further when General Hammond requested that we sit down so we could start the debriefing.
As I listened to what was being said in the meeting, I started to suspect that they were playing a mean trick on me. However, when the craziness continued too long for it to be a joke, I began listening more carefully. They were talking about a mission to another planet and an attack by alien forces.
"Nephthys was an Egyptian goddess of the dead. She was the sister of Isis, Osiris and Seth, as well as the mother of Anubis by Osiris," Daniel was saying.
Jack mumbled something about how screwed up the Goa'uld family trees were.
I tried to absorb all of this information as Daniel continued.
"She claimed that she had modified her hand device so that instead of just acting as a weapon and torture device, she could pull specific memories from her victim's mind."
"She had Carter in its grip for almost a whole minute before Daniel pulled her out of it," said Jack. "Then good ole Nephew-girl let them both have it with the weapon function of the damned thing."
"Do we know if any information about Earth's defences was extracted from Major Carter?" General Hammond looked at me with what appeared to be deep concern.
"It doesn't much matter, sir," replied Jack. "Teal'c knocked her down with a staff blast, and then I zatted her three times, so we won't ever have to worry about her again."
Daniel's jaw muscles flexed. "And because the modified hand device was disintegrated along with Nephthys, we won't be able to study it to find out if what happened to Sam can be reversed." He gave me a very concerned look.
"I spoke with Doctor Fraiser and she believes that Major Carter's memories may return on their own," said the General.
"Of course they will, General!" said Jack boisterously. "Carter'll be fine." He looked across the table at me, waving a hand in my direction. "She's been in worse situations than this one."
I had? Well, I guess that was reassuring. Sort of.
"Indeed. Major Carter has proven herself to be most resilient. I am confident that her memories will return." Teal'c bowed his head slightly in my direction.
I smiled at him, grateful at the confidence that these people were showing in me. I hoped I wouldn't let them down.
"Well, I'm postponing SG-1's next mission for one week. That means you are all on down-time. I want to ensure that Major Carter has time to recuperate." General Hammond looked at me seriously. "If, after one week, your memories have not yet returned, we'll decide what to do then." My muscles tightened as I wondered what that comment meant, but then I relaxed when he smiled warmly at me.
"SG-1, you're dismissed," said the General.
Everyone stood up, so I followed suit. General Hammond left the room. I took another glance out the window overlooking the stargate, shaking my head.
A hand fell heavily on my shoulder and I turned around to find Jack, Teal'c and Daniel standing behind me. Jack's hand squeezed my shoulder then dropped back to his side. "Hell of a thing, huh?"
Turning back to the stargate, I nodded.
"Did anything in that briefing bring back any memories for you?"
I looked back at Daniel again. "No, it just raised a whole bunch of questions."
"For example...?" asked Jack.
I looked at the men standing around me. I guess it was time to get into some serious stuff. "Okay. So," I started. "Aliens exist." I frowned; that wasn't technically a question.
Teal'c gave me what I decided was his trademark eyebrow raise. "Indeed."
Jack clapped Teal'c on the shoulder and looked at me. "You betcha. Actually, Teal'c here is an alien. A Jaffa, to be specific. We picked him up on Chulak." He paused before explaining further. "Which is another planet that we've been to."
"Oh." I studied Teal'c. "I guess that explains the uh..." My fingers absently touched my forehead. "...name." I said, quickly dropping my hand as I again eyed his gold emblem.
Teal'c raised his eyebrow again, obviously not buying it, but he didn't elaborate on his weird tattoo.
"And the Goa'uld are aliens?" My mouth wrapped awkwardly around the strange word.
Daniel nodded. "The Goa'uld are a race of parasitic creatures. They take human hosts, represent themselves as gods and rule over their people through fear."
"The Goa'uld are false gods," said Teal'c. "They enslave the Jaffa and hunt down those who stand against them."
I asked about the 'hand device' that they had mentioned in the briefing.
Jack explained that the hand devices typically were used as torture devices or as weapons, but that this particular Goa'uld had modified hers to allow her to probe the memories and thoughts of her victims. Daniel continued that it was probably similar to the memory recall devices they had seen before, but that the hand device allowed the Goa'uld to precisely control what memories were accessed.
"It's kinda like a one-way Vulcan mind meld," said Jack.
I looked at him uncomprehendingly.
Teal'c raised his eyebrow again and turned to Jack. "I fail to see what ruptures in the ground that discharge molten rock have to do the Goa'uld memory probe."
Jack launched into an explanation that I really couldn't follow. I turned back to Daniel. He just grinned at me, shrugging in a gesture of helplessness.
Back to the business at hand, I decided. "You said this Nephthys was disintegrated? How did that happen?"
Daniel nodded and explained the zat'ni'katel, or 'zat' for short, was an energy weapon that stunned a person with a single shot, often, though not always, rendering him or her unconscious. A second shot from a zat killed the victim, and a third shot resulted in the disintegration of the target.
I rubbed my temples. This was a lot of information to take in all at once.
Jack seemed to have given up getting Teal'c to understand his weird comment from earlier. "Well, we have a week. Why don't we head up to my cabin for a few days for some fishing fun?"
I turned to see Daniel giving Jack a withering look.
"Would it not be wise to use this time to help Major Carter remember, O'Neill?" asked Teal'c.
"And what better place to do that than by my beautiful and relaxing pond?"
Daniel rolled his eyes. "Janet said we should introduce her to familiar things and places, Jack. Fishing at your cabin is not familiar."
I looked back and forth between Daniel and Teal'c. It seemed Teal'c could express any of a thousand emotions with a single eyebrow raise.
Jack raised his hands in a gesture of self-defence. "Okay, okay. How about movie night at my place, then?" He looked at me expectantly. I didn't know what to say.
Thankfully, Daniel responded on my behalf. "Now that is something we've done before." He turned to me. "Feel up to leaving the base?"
I nodded, eager to learn more about myself. After checking in at the infirmary, the four of us left the base together. Teal'c rode with Jack in his truck, and I got into Daniel's car. We arrived at Jack's house and piled inside. "Why don't you two go get some beer while I order in?"
Jack dialled the phone as he perused his movie collection. "What should we watch tonight?" he mumbled. "Ooh!" He pulled a DVD off the shelf and tossed it to Teal'c before turning back to the movie choices.
I followed Daniel into the kitchen, and we distributed the beers we had found. Jack pulled another DVD off the shelf and handed it to Teal'c. "Perhaps we should begin with this one, O'Neill."
What was that about? I exchanged a look with Daniel but he just shrugged and sat down on the sofa. I sat next to him. Teal'c placed the disc into the player and settled on the other side of me. Jack plopped down in a cushy chair.
The movie was called 'Alien'. It was...interesting. It had barely started when the doorbell rang. We paused the movie to accept the pizza delivery and get settled again. Pizza in hand, we resumed watching.
When that thing burst out of Kane's chest, I yelped and turned my face into Daniel's shoulder. He laughed and put a comforting arm around me. I looked up at him. "That was...ugh. Those aren't the kind of aliens that we deal with, right?"
He smiled kindly at me. "Not exactly."
"Oh, good." I turned back to the movie, but didn't pull away from Daniel's embrace. When he didn't remove his arm, I snuggled a little closer. His nearness caused my heart to pound so hard that I could practically imagine it leaping out of my chest like the alien in the movie. Nestled in Daniel's arms, the rest of the movie was a blissful blur.
When Alien ended, Jack got up and clapped his hands, obviously excited about something. He put another DVD into the machine and turned to look at me. Jack's eyes glinted mischievously as he sat down again.
"Are you certain you wish us to watch this film, O'Neill?" asked Teal'c.
"What is it?" Daniel was looking at Jack with suspicion.
Jack waggled his eyebrows. "'The Core'."
My head bobbed back and forth between the men, and I saw Daniel roll his eyes. "Jack," he moaned.
"Oh, come on! It'll be fun!"
The movie was starting and both Daniel and Teal'c seemed to reluctantly settle in for the film. I didn't know what the problem was and had no idea what this movie was about, so I just watched silently.
Oh. My. God. This movie was completely pissing me off. It didn't take long for me to pull myself out of Daniel's comforting embrace. I found myself sitting stiffly on the sofa, becoming increasingly agitated.
When the movie reached the point where the 'heroes' had planned to 'restart the rotation of the Earth's core' using five 200-megaton bombs, I couldn't hold my tongue any longer.
"Oh please!" I exploded. "This is completely ridiculous! Even assuming that it was possible to stop the rotation of the Earth's core, their proposed solution wouldn't even come close to solving the problem! Explosions don't produce any torque unless their energy is controlled and directed. And even if it was controlled and directed, the energy that would be produced by five 200-megaton bombs is barely a fraction of the energy that would be required to bring the Earth's iron core to the appropriate speed!" My hands were flailing about, attempting to aid in my explanation of how impossibly ludicrous this movie was.
"And don't even get me started on the fact that these bombs they're so fond of would weigh upwards of 50 metric tonnes! Each! Exactly how do they expect to transport them to the centre of the Earth?!"
Daniel caught one of my flying hands and I looked at him. He had a huge grin on his face. I heard a soft thud nearby and looked around. Teal'c definitely appeared amused, and Jack had fallen off his chair. He was practically rolling on the floor in laughter. Something was definitely amiss here. I looked back at Daniel. "Do I even like this movie?"
He licked his lips and it seemed as if he was trying to hide his grin. "Ah...no."
"Well, at least now we know that your memories are there. Now all we gotta do is get them to come out!" Jack was still laughing uproariously. I was moderately annoyed, but as I thought about his words, I began to feel hopeful. Maybe I would regain my memories.
I took a cleansing breath before grabbing the remote on the coffee table. I hit the 'stop' button and the offensive movie disappeared. Suddenly, I felt really tired, and I yawned.
Daniel rose from the couch. "It's getting late, I think I'll take Sam home, show her around her house."
Jack finally seemed to have his laughter under control. He nodded. "Maybe we can all get together again tomorrow."
We said our goodbyes, and Daniel and I got back into his car. We rode in silence for a few moments before he glanced at me. He was still grinning widely.
His smile was infectious, and I could feel an identical one grow on my lips. "What?" I asked.
"Jack's right, you know," he said, turning his eyes back to the road. "Your argument against that terrible movie this evening was almost exactly what you said the first time we watched it."
"Yup," he grinned at me again. "It might take some time, but I'm sure you'll get your memory back."
"I hope so."
"You will, Sam. You helped me through a similar situation, and I'm more than happy to return the favour."
"A similar situation?"
"That's one of those long stories I mentioned earlier today."
I thought back to his strange comment about knowing how disorienting it was to not know who you were. This had been a very long day, and I decided that one more long story wouldn't hurt. "Tell me about it?"
He stole another glance at me and seemed to think a few moments before starting. "You, Jack and Teal'c found me on a planet called Vis Uban. I had no memory of who I was or who any of you were, but you convinced me to come back to Earth with you." He sighed before continuing, "It took a while, but with your help, it all came back. I now remember everything I knew before I lost my memory."
I couldn't help but laugh. "That wasn't a very long story!"
He laughed too. "Yeah, well, sorry." He stopped laughing abruptly and I saw the muscles in his jaw flex. I narrowed my eyes and studied him. He seemed very tense. What wasn't he telling me about this story? Whatever it was, he obviously didn't want to talk about it right now.
"Here we are," he announced as he pulled the car into a driveway. I looked out the window at the house before me. My heart sank. I had no memory of this house.
"This is my house?"
"Yep. Come on inside."
Daniel showed me around, and I tried desperately to recall anything about my life here. I sighed in frustration.
"I just...I don't know. Nothing seems to be jogging my memory."
"Don't force it, Sam. It will come. You just have to be patient with yourself."
I looked around the room and sighed again. My eyes settled on a clock, and I noticed that it was very late. Suddenly, I found myself nervous about being alone in this strange house, still not even sure who I was. I looked at Daniel and swallowed the lump in my throat. "Um, I don't suppose you'd be willing to stay here tonight?"
He smiled at me reassuringly. "Sure, Sam. I promised Janet that I'd look after you, remember?"
I breathed another sigh, this one of relief. "Thanks."
Daniel showed me the guest room where he'd be sleeping and then showed me my own bedroom. It was just as unfamiliar as the rest of the house. We said our goodnights, and I set to the task of finding pyjamas and getting ready for bed. I found sleepwear in the fourth drawer that I opened. I changed my clothes and headed for the bathroom. A little more searching and I found a toothbrush and toothpaste, then I brushed my teeth and washed my face.
I studied my face in the mirror. It was like looking at a stranger. I closed my eyes to stop the burning of unshed tears and quickly got into bed. The day's activities had taken their toll on me, and I quickly found myself drifting off into a restless sleep.
There was water nearby. The ground had several holes with gasses and flames rising from them. Oh God! Daniel. He was burning! I screamed.
My eyes flew open and were assaulted by blackness. I tried to get up but something restrained me. Panic rose in my throat and came out as a strangled scream.
Suddenly, a door burst open, and light poured into the room. Daniel was at my side in a moment.
Daniel? How could that be? I struggled to get up again. "Help!"
He put a calming hand on my arm and made shushing sounds. "It's okay, Sam. You're just tangled in your sheets. You must have had a nightmare." He helped me get free, and I threw my arms around him as soon as I was able.
"Oh God," I mumbled into his neck. "It was so real." I pulled back to look at him then hugged him even tighter. "I thought you were dead." Tears were freely falling from my eyes.
I felt his chest rise and fall against mine in a sigh. "It's okay, Sam. I'm here." One of his hands cradled the back of my head, and the other rubbed slow circles on my back.
Once I had calmed my breathing, I sniffed and pulled away from him, embarrassed over my reaction to a simple nightmare. It had been so real; I could practically smell the burnt flesh. I shuddered at the memory.
"Do you want to tell me about it?" Gently, he wiped the tears from my cheeks.
"You were—" my voice broke. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to control emotions. "There was fire." I choked out, clutching my stomach as nausea reared its ugly head. I looked up at him and was confused when I saw a little smile playing on his lips. That was inappropriate. "Why are you smiling?"
"I'm sorry, Sam. I know it must have been a terrible dream, but I think it's more proof that your memory is coming back."
I frowned, processing his statement. What was he talking about? "What? No. You died, Daniel."
"Yeah, I know." He gave me a sad smile.
I studied him and realised that he was serious. "Ugh," I moaned. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"It's okay, Sam. It was just an implanted memory. An alien had kidnapped me and wanted to make sure that you guys didn't come back to find me. So he gave you a memory of my death."
"That's a horrible thing to do!"
He nodded. "Yeah, I know. But it's okay. I think it's a good thing. First your reaction to 'The Core' and now this. You're going to be alright."
He held me for a few moments and then pulled away. "You think you can get back to sleep?"
I looked at his face; he appeared very tired. I nodded.
"Okay," he said. "I'll just be down the hall."
With one last smile at me, he left. I tried to sort out my thoughts. Settling back into bed, I decided that if my dream really was one of my memories, I wasn't all that certain I wanted to have them back. I fought to stay awake, but sleep won the battle and I drifted off again.
A stunning sunset. Two moons overhead. Someone was with me. I walked up to him confidently and we gazed intensely at each other. I ran my hands over his chest. Then, I kissed him.
Gasping, I opened my eyes and blinked at the sun shining through the curtained window. Whoa. That was an intense dream. Wait. Was it a dream or was it another memory returning? Who was that guy? I closed my eyes and tried to recapture his face in my mind.
I opened my eyes again when the sound of someone moving around downstairs caught my attention. Maybe Daniel would know the name of the man in my dreams. I climbed out of bed and went downstairs. He was making breakfast, and there was a pot of coffee ready.
"Good morning," I said as I entered the kitchen. My kitchen.
Daniel turned and smiled at me. "Morning. No more nightmares, I hope?"
I sat down and accepted the steaming mug he offered to me. "Thanks. No nightmares. Did have another dream though."
"Yeah, I don't know if it's another memory or not though. I know I met a lot of people yesterday, but I didn't recognise this guy." I frowned, wondering if it was just a dream after all. Suddenly, I wasn't sure I should tell Daniel about it. It had been rather...passionate.
I studied his face. Was that a twinge of jealousy in his voice? His eyes were slightly shrouded and I couldn't identify the expression on his face. "Um, I don't know. He had short blond curls and grey eyes." My mind wandered back to my dream. "And a brilliant smile. It felt like I knew him. We were...it must have been another planet, there were two moons in the sky."
I cleared my throat and shifted uncomfortably in my chair. "It felt like I knew him," I repeated, glancing at Daniel nervously. "Really well."
Daniel's face was unreadable. He stared at me for a moment before taking a long swig of his coffee. "Well," he began. "That sounds like Martouf."
Martouf? The name didn't sound familiar. I decided to consider my dream clinically. I compared it to the first dream, or rather nightmare, from last night. The first one had seemed so real. When I awoke I had been truly afraid that Daniel was dead. After the second one, my first thought had been that it was an intense dream. It still had this strange ethereal feeling to it, as if it wasn't really a memory.
"Are you sure it was a memory? It feels different from the first one. Less...real, somehow."
Daniel nodded gravely and sat down next to me. "That makes sense, actually. It was probably a memory from Jolinar."
I frowned into my coffee mug. "What?"
He took a deep breath, and I could tell there was another long story on the way. He told me about the Tok'ra, a race of aliens similar to the Goa'uld, but without the bloodlust or desire for galactic domination. In fact, the Tok'ra were involved in the same battle against the Goa'uld that we were.
Daniel went on to explain that one of the Tok'ra, Jolinar of Malkshur, had taken over my body for a short time. I didn't know what to think as he related how Jolinar had died to save my life, and that I still had her memories of events and feelings. He told me that Martouf and Jolinar had been mates for more than a hundred years, and because of that connection, I had always been confused about my feelings for Martouf. I had never been sure if what I felt for him were my own feelings or those of Jolinar, so I had never allowed myself to get romantically involved with him.
I listened to the story in dazed silence. Not only did I have my own memories to regain, but I also had those of an alien that had once inhabited my body? For what must have been the millionth time in the last 24 hours, I wondered if my life could possibly be any weirder.
Trying to shake off the feeling, I asked Daniel if we could go back to the base today. According to him, I spent most of my time there, so I figured I should try to remember more. I also told him that I wanted to get a closer look at the stargate. He just smiled, and after breakfast, we headed back to the mountain.
It was huge. I stood in the middle of the gate room for a moment, in absolute awe, and then slowly walked up the ramp toward the stargate. My hand reached out and touched cool metal. I ran my fingers over some symbols in the middle section of the ring. It was fascinating; I studied it carefully.
"So, this device is a superconducting ring that can create a stable wormhole between itself and another similar device on another planet?"
"Yup." Daniel nodded.
"And it allows for practically instantaneous travel across astronomical distances?"
He nodded again, smiling.
He laughed. "Well, I'm not the best person to answer that."
"Oh." I wanted to learn more. Tearing my eyes away from the stargate, I looked at him. "Who is?"
"Actually, you are. You know more about how this thing works than anyone else on the planet."
"Oh," I said again. I turned back to the metal ring next to me and touched it again, sighing. "You mean I knew more than anyone else."
He placed a hand on my shoulder. "You'll remember, Sam," he said softly.
My eyes met his, and once again I felt a physical reaction to his gaze. My heart pounded in my chest. Struggling to control these confusing emotions, I just nodded.
"Hey kids! Now, how in the world did I know you two would be here?" Jack and Teal'c walked up the ramp towards us. "We're on stand down, people. That means we get time away from this place."
"Sam wanted to see the stargate, and I hoped it would trigger some more memories."
"More memories? What have you remembered, Carter?" Jack's gaze settled on me.
"I had some nightmares last night that Daniel says were memories. One of him dying and one of um, Jolinar, was it?" I looked at Daniel for confirmation and he nodded.
"Well, those are certainly cheery memories." Jack shook his head then looked at Daniel. "Which time was it?"
Daniel gave Jack a confused look.
"Which death?" Jack seemed to think that would clarify his previous question. I frowned at him, very confused.
Daniel shrugged and said simply, "Nem."
Jack shuddered. "Ugh."
I had had enough. "Okay, I'm getting used to being confused most of the time, but this is ridiculous. What do you mean 'which death'?"
Daniel dropped his head to stare at the ramp, and Jack raised his hands in apparent frustration before walking away. It was Teal'c who answered my question.
"Daniel Jackson has died on several occasions, but he has never failed to return to us."
I looked at Teal'c, horror-struck and moved my gaze to Daniel who was still staring at his feet. As insane as it was, I knew Teal'c was telling the truth. Feeling dazed, I walked down the ramp and looked around again.
Zat in hand, I arrived at the gate room in time to see Teal'c zat Martouf. Martouf fell to his knees. No, he can't be. A war began in my mind. Taking in the scene before me, I knew that he had to be the zatarc. He was the only one on the base it could possibly be. Freya hadn't been sure; he had never been tested, but given the current situation, there was no doubt in my mind. The Goa'uld had turned dear, sweet, gentle Martouf into a killer – a zatarc. The whole situation was like some bad government conspiracy movie plot, complete with brainwashed assassins.
His eyes locked on mine, I could see him fighting to control himself.
Martouf looked at me, his eyes begging me to help him. "Samantha..." he said, his voice pleading. His hand rose to his head, and I could see the weapon in his palm. I knew he wanted me to kill him before he destroyed himself. He wanted his death to mean something, and if he was destroyed, the Tok'ra wouldn't learn anything about the technology that had turned him into a zatarc.
I fired my zat, knowing full well that it was his second time being shot with the weapon. He crumpled to the floor, and I ran to his side. I pulled the weapon device off his hand and threw it across the room. Cradling his head in my lap, I ran my fingers through his blond curls as silent sobs wracked my body. My tears fell for both myself and for Jolinar as I cried for my lost friend, and her lost lover.
The memory struck me with physical force. I felt my knees give out and I found myself on my hands and knees on the floor.
The three men were at my side in a moment. "Oh God, I killed him. He's dead, I killed him," I said, my voice barely a whisper.
"Medical team to the gate room," boomed a voice from overhead.
Daniel's hand was rubbing my back. "It's okay, Sam. What did you remember?"
I struggled for a name. "Martouf," I choked out. Lifting my head, I saw Daniel looking at me with such compassion. I threw myself into his arms, and he hugged me tightly.
"Oh, for crying out loud," I heard Jack mutter. "We gotta get her to remember something pleasant, or she won't want to remember anything." I lifted my head from Daniel's shoulder to see Jack pacing the floor next to me.
Janet Fraiser and three other people rushed into the room. "What happened?" The petite doctor was all business, kneeling next to me.
"I–I'm okay," I stammered. "I just...I just remembered something."
Janet's face softened but she still frowned at me. "Why are you on the floor?"
I couldn't answer. I just shook my head and buried my head in Daniel's shoulder again, trying to hide my tears.
"I think she just remembered the zatarc incident with Martouf."
"Oh." Janet sighed. I felt her squeeze my arm and I lifted my head again to look at her. "Aside from...that memory, are you feeling all right?"
I nodded, and she gave me a soft smile. "I want you to come by the infirmary as soon as you're able, okay?"
All I could do was nod again. With a final reassuring squeeze, she stood up and nodded for the rest of the people who had arrived with her to follow her. Sniffing, I pulled away from Daniel and looked at him. "Sorry," I mumbled, swiping at my tears.
He smiled at me, and I felt my insides melt again. This was so confusing. "It's okay. Are you all right?" he asked.
Nodding again, I looked around. Jack was standing at a distance. He appeared to be studying a random section of the wall. Teal'c stood stoically next to where Daniel and I were kneeling on the floor. Several concerned faces were looking down on us from the window above.
I ran a hand through my hair and stood up. Daniel also got to his feet.
"I think the memories are becoming clearer and more detailed as time goes on," I said slowly. Jack seemed relieved that my emotional outburst had passed, and he came closer to hear what I had to say. "I can clearly remember that entire...incident." I shuddered involuntarily. Daniel reached out and took my hand, giving it a comforting squeeze.
"We had better get you to the infirmary before Janet decides to send a search party for you."
Wordlessly, I let him lead me out of the gate room. Jack and Teal'c trailed behind us in silence. Janet ran some more tests and quizzed me on my memories. When she was finished, she said I could go again. On the way out of the infirmary, a room caught my eye. I wandered closer and stepped inside. It was some type of operating theatre. A hospital bed sat in the middle of the large room and there were windows halfway up the wall, allowing me to see an area that was obviously meant for people to observe the goings on in this room. Stepping closer to the bed, my breath caught in my throat.
I couldn't even see his face. The bandages covered nearly every inch of his body. A wave of nausea struck me as my imagination conjured images of how he looked under those bandages. I knew what that level of radiation poisoning could do to a person.
His internal organs were essentially liquefying; he was going to die.
I swallowed hard, trying to keep myself from being sick again. I didn't want him to see me like that. I didn't want his last memory to be me vomiting over him.
He had to know the difference he had made in our lives. His selfless act had saved an entire planet, saved the people of Kelowna from their arrogance and stupidity, and subsequently doomed himself to a slow and painful death. Those idiots. What were they doing messing with things they didn't understand? What right did they have to— I took a deep breath. Anger wasn't going to help him. He wouldn't want me to be angry.
He was the best one of all of us. The best person I knew. And he was dying.
Blinking back my tears, I spoke to him. I had no idea if he could hear me, but I needed to tell him.
"You have an effect on people, Daniel. The way you look at things...it changed me too. I see what really matters." For the millionth time since I met him, I wished I had Daniel's gift for words. The linguist always seemed to know exactly what to say and how to say it.
"I don't know why we wait to tell people what we really feel. I guess I hoped you always knew." I couldn't hold back the tears any more, so I just let them flow. I cried my heart out for the man that I loved.
Janet came in then to change Daniel's bandages. I couldn't bear to see his bloodied flesh. I ran blindly out of the room.
I felt a tear roll down my cheek, and I reached out to touch the bed.
"Carter, you okay?"
I turned to see Jack, Daniel and Teal'c standing in the doorway to the operating theatre. Ignoring Jack's question, I turned to Daniel accusingly. "You died in here."
The memory was real, I knew it. And it was mine, not Jolinar's. I was still reeling from the deep feelings of love and loss that this new memory had evoked in me.
Now, I was angry. He had told me that we were only friends. He had lied to me. I had trusted him, and he had lied to me.
Daniel's eyes widened at the coldness of my voice. He seemed at a loss for words.
Jack took the lead. "Yeah, he did. A couple times, actually. But he's okay now. Right, Danny-boy?" Jack affectionately tousled Daniel's hair. Daniel didn't even seem to notice. He just stood there gaping at me.
"As I told you earlier, Major Carter, Daniel Jackson has never failed to return to us after his apparent deaths."
I turned to Teal'c and made a decision. Striding forward, I took Teal'c's arm. "All these corridors look the same, and I'd like some coffee. Can you take me to the commissary?"
I assumed his eyebrow raise in this instance was an expression of surprise, but he bowed his head and we breezed out of the room, leaving Jack and Daniel behind. We had almost stepped out of earshot when I heard Jack give a low whistle. "If she's angry with you because you died, she'd better get used to it."
Clenching my jaw, I concentrated on following my new guide. Teal'c gave me a sideways glance when we stepped into the elevator, but he said nothing.
We arrived at the commissary, and I got myself some coffee. Teal'c and I sat in silence for a few moments before I realised that I really didn't want to be around anyone right now.
"Teal'c, if it's alright with you, I think I'm going to go to my office. I'm pretty sure I can find my way from here. I really need to think about things."
He nodded gravely. "I imagine that this must be a very confusing time for you, Major Carter. However, I urge you not to be angry with Daniel Jackson. We all care a great deal about your welfare, but none more than he. He is the truest friend anyone could have." Teal'c paused, studying me. "I do not understand the reason for your anger, but I hope that you will be able to discuss it with Daniel Jackson so that it can be overcome."
I sighed and stared into my coffee mug. "I'll think about it, Teal'c." I stood up. "Thanks."
Teal'c simply bowed his head to me again. I filled my cup again before heading for the door. Hesitating only a moment, I turned in the direction I thought my office was in and walked silently down the hall. I got lost once but found my office after only five minutes of searching. I stepped inside quickly and sank into the chair behind my desk.
Why had Daniel lied to me? I had asked him point blank if there was something more than friendship between us, and he had said no. I should have trusted my instincts all along. My thoughts went back to my feelings when he looked at me, heart pounding, stomach flipping... I couldn't remember anything specific about our relationship, but I couldn't ignore what I was feeling. And then there was that memory from the infirmary.
I thought back to what I had heard myself say in that memory, and I gasped. I had never told him my feelings for him. He hadn't lied to me. He just didn't know. My anger evaporated, and I felt deep regret about treating him so coldly earlier.
Lowering my head onto my desk, I tried to figure out what to do next.
"Are you okay?"
I looked up sharply at the voice and saw Daniel standing at the threshold of my door. He looked concerned, but I had the distinct impression that he was afraid I was going to throw something at him.
Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath. When I opened my eyes again, Daniel was still standing warily in the doorway. "Close the door," I said quietly.
He jumped as if I had slapped him; confusion and pain creased his face. "Sorry," he mumbled, reaching to pull the door closed as he stepped into the hallway.
Damn it, that wasn't what I meant. "Wait." I sighed, frustrated at myself. "I mean come in and then close the door."
Relief flashed in his eyes, and he quickly did as I asked.
I didn't know how to start. There was so much to say. Standing, I quickly crossed my office and pulled him into a hug. He responded by wrapping his arms around me, and I felt him rest his cheek on the top of my head.
"I'm sorry," I mumbled into his shoulder, "I shouldn't have been so nasty to you back there. I was confused." It was a weak excuse, I knew. I pulled back to look at him and gazed into his beautiful eyes.
What happened next was entirely my fault. I admit that I wasn't thinking. It seemed so natural to do it, almost instinctive, and I was certain that it would trigger another memory. Not that that was the only reason I did it. Ultimately though, the truth was that it didn't seem familiar. It did, however, feel very, very right, and very, very good.
I kissed him.
It only took a second for his lips to respond. The kiss was tender and passionate. Then, abruptly, he pulled away and strode to the other end of the room, staring at the wall with his arms wrapped protectively around his body.
I bit my lip and watched him. He didn't move.
"I'm sorry, I..." I didn't know how to explain myself, my anger had faded, and now I was just confused.
"No, Sam. I'm the one who should be sorry." His voice was quiet but rough with emotion.
I sighed. This guy had a serious guilt complex. "Daniel, I'm the one who kissed you, you have nothing to be sorry for." I didn't like talking to his back. "Please look at me?"
I saw his head drop, and a moment later, he slowly turned to face me. His eyes shone with unshed tears, I stood and stepped closer to him, my heart aching.
"I'm sorry, Daniel, I didn't mean to upset you. Please..." I reached out to him but he raised his arm and blocked my touch. Slowly, he redirected my hand down and away from him.
"Daniel? It's okay. It's me. Sa—" I reached out to touch him. I needed to know that he was real. He interrupted both my touch and my voice, raising his arm to block my hand. He gently pushed my hand away from him. I stared at him, confused and hurt.
"Do you not recognise us, Daniel Jackson?"
Daniel looked at Teal'c before sliding his gaze over the rest of us. "I'm sorry," was all he said before walking away.
"Not even me?" shouted Colonel O'Neill after his retreating back.
It was him. It had to be. Oh God, it hurt so much to have lost him. Now that I'd found him, he didn't know me. He died a year ago. Well, maybe not really died, but he wasn't around anymore and as far as I was concerned, that was the same thing. I didn't care if he had ascended to a higher plane of existence. All I wanted the entire time he was gone was for him to be back in my life.
And now, here he was. Only he didn't know us. Colonel O'Neill followed Daniel into a tent. Maybe he could convince him to come back with us. Maybe he could make Daniel remember who he was.
I tried to keep myself busy talking to the natives and trying to find any signs of weapons or the power source we were looking for, but I had a lot of trouble concentrating.
The Colonel returned from talking to Daniel. He was obviously frustrated and suggested that I try to get through to him. I didn't know what to say to him, but I walked to his tent anyway. I must have stood outside it for five full minutes before I finally had the nerve to look inside.
"Can I come in?"
I sat down and had no idea where to start. "So..."
"What did you say your name was again?"
"Samantha Carter. You used to call me Sam."
"Yeah, well, like I already told Jim..."
"Jack? Yeah, I told him."
I had to at least try to convince him to come home. "I guess what I don't understand is why you aren't dying to know all about who you are."
"I am," he said. "And I'm not."
That didn't make any sense. "See, it's the not part—"
He interrupted me. "What if I don't like who I was? What if I don't want to be that person? What if I don't have it in me to make up for something I've done wrong?"
I stared at him. His comments effectively erased any doubt from my mind. He was definitely Daniel. "I have to admit, that never occurred to me." I gazed at him a moment before continuing. "Look, we all thought we'd lost you at one point. It was one of the hardest things I've ever been through." I paused, struggling to control my emotions. "You were...you are...brilliant. One of the most caring, passionate—" I cut myself off. That train of thought was just going to get me to say something that I might regret later. "You're the type of person who would give his own life for someone he doesn't even know."
He studied me as if trying to decide if I was telling the truth or not. "Well, that doesn't sound so bad."
Feeling encouraged, I continued. "If you had one fault, it was that you wanted to save people so badly, you wanted to help people so much, that it tore you apart when you couldn't make a difference."
He frowned. "That actually sounds kind of hard to live up to..."
I took a deep breath, but I couldn't stop the words from tumbling out of my mouth, "All I know is that if I were you, I would definitely want to get to know me." Damn. "You," I corrected quickly, hoping he hadn't noticed my slip-up.
"I get it," he said slowly.
I bit my lip before continuing. "Come back with us. Let us show you who you are instead of just telling you." I waited anxiously for him to respond.
"I'll think about it."
I concentrated on keeping my face neutral. "Okay." I had to get out of there before I threw my arms around him. I stood up and moved to the entrance of the tent. His voice stopped me from leaving.
My heart thrilled at the fact that he had remembered my name. I turned to face him. "Yeah?"
"Was there ever anything...between us?"
Oh, how I wanted to say yes. But it wouldn't be true. "Us? Uh, no," I heard myself say. "No, not in that way. We—" My heart was screaming at my brain to stop, but I couldn't. "We were really, really good friends."
He shook his head in what I dared to hope was sadness. "Okay."
Holy Hannah, I had to leave now. After I left the tent, I was vaguely aware of the Colonel, Teal'c and Jonas speaking to me, but I had to admit I didn't hear a word they said until I heard Teal'c mention Daniel's name.
"What of Daniel Jackson?" he asked.
I thought I was going to pass out as I heard Daniel say behind me, "He's going home."
I gaped at him. My knees buckled again as memory flooded my mind. Daniel reached out and caught me before I fell to the floor.
"Sam? Are you okay?"
He helped me to the couch in my office, and we sat down. Daniel was staring at me, clearly very worried.
"I'm okay." I smiled weakly at him, processing all of the memories that had just returned to me. I really was okay.
Daniel frowned, obviously not believing me. "Did you remember something else?"
"Yeah..." I studied his face and thought of a question I had asked him yesterday. In the light of what I now knew, I had a feeling there was more to his answer than he had let on.
"What was it?"
"You—we were in a tent." He nodded, encouraging me to continue. "The planet was Vis Uban. You asked me a question."
Understanding and something I thought might be fear dawned in his eyes. "Sam..."
"Why did you ask me that question?"
He shook his head and stared at his feet.
"Daniel, I need to know. Where did that question come from? Did you remember something when you saw me?"
"Sam, please," Daniel choked.
I decided to go for broke. "Was it the same reason I asked you a similar question yesterday? Was there ever anything between us? Were we more than 'just friends'?"
He raised his head and looked at me. I dragged my teeth across my bottom lip as my eyes searched his.
"I know," I said. "I know that you told me the truth, just as I did in that tent." Everything was so clear now. "I never understood why you had asked me that question, but I think I finally do now."
Daniel frowned at me but said nothing, so I continued. "When you have no memories to tell you what your life was like, you have nothing to rely on except your feelings. And, of course, what the people who know you remember. But other people can only tell you what they actually know."
I swallowed hard and took a deep breath. "I know we answered each other's questions truthfully, but I think what neither of us said is that we hoped there was more."
Daniel stared at me. His mouth opened as if he was about to say something, but then closed again.
"Is that why you asked that question in the tent? Did you remember feelings when you saw me?" I had gone too far to turn back now.
He squeezed his eyes shut, when he finally spoke, I could barely hear him. "Yes."
His eyes were still closed and he was clenching his jaw. Raising my hand, I tenderly caressed his face. As I touched him, his eyes opened and I smiled at him. I ran my fingers lightly over his jaw. His breathing became ragged as his lips formed my name, although no sound came out.
"Me too," I whispered. "I remember everything now, Daniel. And I remember that my biggest regret was never telling you how I felt." I gave him a lopsided grin. "I guess I hoped that you always knew."
"You have all of your memories back?" He sounded dazed.
I nodded, my eyes not leaving his. Leaning forward, I lightly brushed my lips against his. He pulled back and gazed at me. A slow smile spread across his face. Daniel raised his hand and brushed the back of his fingers against my cheek. My eyes fluttered closed and I turned my face into his touch, kissing his hand.
Opening my eyes again, I returned his smile. His hand moved to the nape of my neck and he gently pulled me closer. As our lips met again, I felt my body tingle with pleasure. He moaned quietly as we separated. I knew we both understood that this was neither the time nor the place.
"Are you sure you have your memories back?"
I laughed softly. Daniel, ever the gentleman. "Yes, Daniel. I remember everything. You're not taking advantage of me in a disoriented state."
He chuckled at that but looked at me seriously. "You're sure?"
I gave him a Teal'c-esque eyebrow raise. "Test me."
Sitting back on the sofa, he questioned me on various topics for a few minutes. When he finished, I crossed my arms and looked at him, amused. "Satisfied?"
I grinned happily at him. "Coffee?"
He laughed. "You read my mind."
We left my office and headed for the commissary. On the way, we ran into Colonel O'Neill.
"Oh, good. I'm glad you two made up."
"Yeah, I've had a few more memories come back that reminded me what a good friend Daniel has been all these years." I turned and winked at Daniel, making sure that Colonel O'Neill couldn't see. Daniel looked a little confused, but he kept quiet.
"Well, that's good then. How's that memory thing going anyway?" His hand made small circular movements at his temple.
I fought the urge to scowl at his gesture and smiled instead. "It's going well. I think I'm making pretty good progress."
"Well that's good, then. Keep it up."
"I will." I bit back a wide grin. "Thanks, Jack."
Colonel O'Neill gave me that same funny look he had been giving me for the last two days every time I called him by his first name. With a resigned sigh, he turned on his heel and continued down the hallway. He raised his hand and waggled his fingers over his shoulder at us.
I could barely keep control. Clutching my stomach, I doubled over in silent laughter. Daniel became alarmed and crouched next to me. Quickly waving him away, I scrambled down the hallway and around a corner so that no one else could see or hear me. Once we were safe, I all but exploded in laughter.
Daniel still seemed worried. "Sam, are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I gasped.
"Why didn't you tell Jack that your memory had returned?"
"Do you see the look on his face every time I call him 'Jack'?" I struggled to regain my composure. "It didn't make sense to me before but now..." Laughter bubbled up again. "Now it's just hysterical."
Now that I had my memory back, I knew that I never called Colonel O'Neill by his first name, even off duty. He was always 'Colonel' or 'sir', but never 'Jack'.
Finally understanding, Daniel joined in my amusement. "How long are you going to keep it up?"
"Oh, at least for the rest of the day. I don't know if it would be ethical to keep weirding him out any longer than that. At least not intentionally."
We laughed together the rest of the way to the commissary. As we drank our coffee, I looked around my now familiar surroundings. Things were back to normal. They were good. Then, looking across the table at Daniel, I changed my mind.
Things weren't normal. They were different. We had crossed the line from being best friends to being so much more. Ordinarily, this change would scare me. But with Daniel, I knew that everything was going to be alright. Things were better than normal. They were fantastic.
It had been a blessing to lose my memory, and of course a second blessing to regain it. The experience had given me a new perspective on my life and my relationships – one relationship in particular.
I grinned happily at Daniel over my coffee mug. His bright blue eyes sparkled as he reached across the table to squeeze my hand in his. "I love you, Sam," he said soft enough that only I could hear.
I bit my lip, barely suppressing a giggle. I never giggled. Feeling immense joy, I thought that maybe that was something else that would change. Change wasn't all that bad after all.
"I love you, Daniel," I returned just as softly.
"You know, we're still officially on stand down." He looked at me suggestively. "Any ideas about what we could do for the next five days?"
"Oh, I'm sure we could come up with something..."
Please read and review!