Author's notes: This story wouldn't be what it is without Thraesja, my shiny new beta. If you liked it, send her virtual cookies. And flowers. And something nice for her muse, as well. No jello though. Ooh, and sing Thrae a nice song, too. Especially the ones that get stuck in your head for days. She loves those. Oh, and she just posted her own Sam/Daniel story. It's great! Go read it. :)

-- Chapter 10 --

Half an hour later, they were at Sam's house. She put on a pot of coffee and once they each had a mug of the hot liquid, they moved into her living room. Daniel sat down in a comfortable chair and Sam sat on the edge of her sofa facing him. With a deep breath, Sam started to tell Daniel about her experience after touching the artefact. She had only given Teal'c a brief summary; Daniel deserved every detail.

Sam started with the differences between this reality and that one. She explained how she had woken up in a hospital with him and discovered she was pregnant with his child. She told him about their life together and their wonderful son. Every detail of the five years was related. Daniel paid close attention, asking questions now and then, but mostly just listening.

"We were so happy, Daniel." She swallowed the tears that threatened again. "Jonathan—he was such a treasure. We loved him. We loved each other." Sam dropped her eyes to her lap. "I don't know if it was real or a dream, but it felt real," she finished quietly. The pain of losing her son was almost more than she could bear; she prayed that she wouldn't lose her best friend as well.

Sam stared through her tears at her hands in her lap. She had been speaking practically non-stop for hours; she felt like she had run out of words. She waited for Daniel to say something. Anything.

Daniel looked at Sam for a long time before getting up and sitting next to her on the sofa. Sam looked at him as he put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her against his body.

Sam forced herself not to relax into his embrace as she so desperately wanted to. "Daniel?"

"Shh, Sam. It's okay," he whispered.

Relenting, she melted into his comfortable arms and hugged him tightly. "Thank you for sending Teal'c to talk to me. That was very sweet."

"I was worried about you."

"I wasn't sure I should tell you any of this..." Sam's voice trailed off uncertainly.

"No, I'm glad you did." Daniel held her in silence for a while before continuing. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't have similar dreams about you."

She pulled away and looked at him; her startled blue eyes searched his.

He grinned sheepishly. "Of course, mine weren't quite as detailed as yours."

"What—you have?"

"Yeah," he whispered. "Though I never dreamed that you might actually feel the same way about me." Daniel moved his head closer to hers.

"I—I don't understand." She licked her lips nervously.

"Sam..." His hand brushed against the side of her face.

Her eyes closed at his all too familiar touch. "Daniel," she breathed.

His lips met hers in a soft, loving kiss. Sam pulled away, afraid this was all another dream.

She studied his expression. He smiled at her softly; the love in his eyes was plain. Sam thought of her newfound ability to draw and frowned.

"What?" asked Daniel fearfully.

"I have to know something," Sam murmured, her hand tentatively reaching out to touch a particular spot on his chest. "Right here," she said slowly, "Is there—do you have—" Sam swallowed the lump in her throat, nervous. Her eyes fluttered up to his, questioning.

"Freckles," she finally got out. "Three of them. They look like Orion's belt."

Sam looked back down at his chest. She gently tugged at his shirt, pulling it up. Daniel was confused but he didn't object. Sam lifted his shirt, exposing the spot on his chest that she was looking for. She gasped, her eyes welling with tears. Her fingers touched his bare skin, caressing her favourite freckles. Daniel looked down to see what had captured her attention.

She looked up at him, bewildered. "How did I know these were there?"

"I don't know, Sam." Daniel took her hand in his.

"Was it real?" Sam was trembling again.

"I don't know, Sam," he repeated. Daniel lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it gently.

"Could it be real?" she asked, her voice barely more than a whisper.

"Well." Daniel smiled, his eyes gently suggestive. "I'd say that's up to you."

Sam blinked back more tears and tenderly touched his face.

And she smiled.

THE END
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