A Life Unlived

Genre: Sam/Daniel romance/drama
Spoilers: Children of the Gods, Secrets, The Tok'ra, Forever in a Day, The Light (bonus points for anyone who catches that one)
Summary: Sam touches something off-world that changes her life forever.
Season: Near the beginning of Season 5
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate or anything related to it.
Author's notes: Italics indicates thoughts, bold indicates emphasis.

Note: Special thanks to my shiny new beta, Thraesja! She's brilliant!

-- Chapter 1 --

"Alright campers, let's get this show on the road!" Colonel Jack O'Neill announced as he walked up the ramp towards the active Stargate.

The other three members of SG-1, Teal'c, Major Samantha Carter, and Dr. Daniel Jackson followed their team leader through the wormhole. Three point four seconds later, they stepped onto another planet.

They were inside a building, in a room that appeared to be a lab. It was mostly dark, with black stone walls, and spotlights shining down on tables scattered around the room. Several as yet unidentified objects were set on each table. Directly to the right of the Stargate, a section of the wall had a large alcove built into it.

SG-1 walked down the few steps leading away from the Stargate as the wormhole deactivated behind them. It didn't look like anyone had been here for a very long time.

"So let's see if there's anything here that's worth the trip." Colonel O'Neill started strolling around the room, looking at the dust-covered items on a table across the room.

Sam wandered over to the alcove in the wall. Within the recess, a book was propped up next to a moderately hefty artefact with a large clear stone set in its centre.

"Daniel," Sam called to her archaeologist friend as she picked up the book. "You're going to want to see this."

"What is it?" Daniel appeared at her side. "Ooh!" he exclaimed as he noticed what she was looking at. She handed him the book and shone her flashlight on the artefact to get a better look at it.

Daniel opened the book and began reading. "It's in Ancient," he told her excitedly. "This looks like a record of the design and use of this—whatever this is." Daniel showed her a large drawing in the book that depicted the artefact she was examining.

Sam looked over his shoulder and studied the diagram. "Does it say what it's supposed to do?"

He ran his fingers over the text on the pages as he translated. As he began his explanation, the Colonel and Teal'c continued examining the other items in the room.

"Well now, this is all pretty boring. Table after table filled with rocks," grumbled the Colonel.

Daniel turned his attention away from the book as he glanced at his grouchy friend. He leaned his head closer to Sam. "Is this boring?"

Sam shook her head and lowered her voice to a whisper. "Don't listen to him."

He gave her a disarming grin. "Never do."

She chuckled. Then, being genuinely interested, she asked "What else does it say?"

Daniel smiled at her gratefully, then flipped to the next page in the book and continued reading. "This is weird. This section almost reads like poetry. 'Leaving the life we've come to know'," he translated.

"You're joking. It doesn't say that!" Punching him lightly on the arm, she leaned closer as he pointed to the line of text he had just read. "That's—" She laughed. "That's Gladys Knight and the Pips."

"What?" Daniel appeared perplexed by her comment.

"It's a song lyric from 'Midnight Train to Georgia'," she explained. "Almost word for word."

"It is?"

Sam nodded.

Daniel shrugged. "Well, that's what it says. I don't know what it means, though." He flipped a few more pages, trying to find further explanation.

Shaking her head, Sam turned back to the artefact. As she examined it for markings or buttons, she found her eyes drawn to the clear stone in its centre. She gazed into the stone, momentarily mesmerized.

"Sam? Sam! Are you okay?" Daniel's voice sounded like it was coming from very far away.

She turned to her friend, "I'm fine, why?"

"Hmm?" Daniel looked up at her from his book, clearly confused.

"Did you just say something?"

"Uh...no. I—I don't think so. You okay?" Concern creased his forehead.

"Yeah, as I said, I'm fine." She shook her head and laughed.

Daniel studied her for another moment before apparently deciding she was alright. Giving her another grin, he focused his attention back on the book in his hands.

Sam turned back to continue her examination of the artefact and the stone embedded in it. A beam of light, almost like a rainbow, flashed briefly at her from the centre of the stone. Captivated by the beauty of it, Sam reached her hand out towards the stone and touched it.

The world began to swirl around her and she felt dizzy.

"Sam? Sam! Are you okay?" She heard Daniel's voice echo in her head as the blackness overwhelmed her.

To be continued...
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