Author's note: Thanks once more to Thraesja, my fabulous beta! And thanks to everyone who has reviewed! It's amazing that so many people have so many nice things to say about this story! I'm completely blown away. Thank you all so much! Your feedback means more to me than you know. :)
-- Chapter 8 --
Sam's head jerked up and she saw Daniel standing at the entrance to her office. "Daniel! What are you—"
"Janet released me a while ago. She uh—she said you wanted to umm..." Daniel sighed. "She said you wanted to talk to me? I came by earlier but you weren't here."
Damn it, Janet. I'll buy that outfit for you, why are you torturing me? Sam silently cursed her meddling friend. "Did she?" She gave him her best innocent expression.
Daniel sighed and dropped his chin to his chest. Sam took the opportunity to look busy, picking up a folder from a pile on her desk. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Daniel step inside her office and close the door quietly behind him. He sat heavily in the chair in front of her desk. Sam closed her eyes and took a deep breath before finally looking at him.
"How are you feeling?"
"Normal." He laughed weakly and waved a hand in the air. "Whatever that means."
"Good," Sam said seriously. "I was worried about you two."
"Sam, I'm so sorry for my behaviour, I—it was inexcusable."
She stared at him a moment then forced a laugh. She swivelled her chair so her back was to him and pretended to search through her bookshelf. "Don't worry about it, Daniel." Sam squeezed her eyes closed.
"What did you want to talk to me about?"
Composing herself, Sam turned back to face her dear friend. "Nothing. Janet was mistaken."
"Oh. Okay." Daniel's jaw muscles flexed. "Sam, about what I said and did while—" He sighed again. "I never wanted to make you uncomfortable."
"I know. It's okay." Sam's determination to ignore the day's events wavered. "I mean the chemical was making you feel things that weren't real, right?" She locked her eyes on Daniel's.
He dropped his gaze and stared at the floor. "Um...I guess so."
Hope welled in her heart at his vague response. "Daniel?"
Suddenly he was on his feet and heading for her door. "I'm sorry, Sam," he mumbled.
Sam caught his arm as he reached for the doorknob. "Wait," she said quietly. She turned him around so they were facing each other. Sam knew she should stop but she realised that she really needed to know the truth. To hell with her plan. She would deal with the consequences later.
"Did that chemical create feelings in you?"
Daniel closed his eyes and whispered, "Sam..."
Sam dragged her teeth across her bottom lip before continuing. "I never answered your question."
He lifted his eyes to look at her. "What question?"
"The question you kept asking me while you were in the isolation room."
His brow furrowed thoughtfully, then his eyes widened. "No," he said slowly. "You didn't."
"I didn't answer because I didn't know if it was you or some alien chemical that was asking." Sam watched as he processed her statement.
"I see," he began, nervously wetting his lips. "So, um...if it was the chemical?"
Her hand dropped away from his arm. "Then there's nothing more to say and everything stays the same as it was before."
Daniel took a small step closer to her. "And if it was me?"
"Then—" Sam swallowed anxiously. "Then I don't know what will happen next."
They gazed at each other for several silent moments. "Was it you?" she finally asked.
Daniel's blue eyes searched hers. At last, he nodded.
Tears of relief stung Sam's eyes. She touched his cheek and kissed him tenderly, then stepped away to gauge his reaction.
He looked at her with amazement. "You mean..."
"I do love you, Daniel," she whispered.
"Oh God, Sam." A short, happy laugh escaped his lips. He stepped quickly forward and swept her up into a huge hug. Daniel spun the laughing Sam around in a full circle before setting her back on her feet. "I never dreamed—I never thought that—"
Sam placed her fingers over his lips, silencing the once-eloquent linguist. "Just kiss me," she said with a sly grin.
Daniel smiled at her. "Yes ma'am."
And he obliged.
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