Rising from Grace

Genre: Romance/Fluff
Pairing: Sam/Daniel
Spoilers: Meridian, Fallen, Grace
Summary: After Grace, Sam has figured out a few things about her life and where she wants it to go. And now, she's ready to do something about it.
Season: Seven, tag to Grace
Rating: K+
Disclaimer: The only thing I own that's related to Stargate is my DVD collection. I'm not making any money off of Stargate. In fact, the reverse is true.

Notes: Serious fluff. Hmm. Is that an oxymoron? Anyway, I really needed a light-hearted break from the ridiculously long story I've been working on before my muse left me for good. Reviews might get her back on track... Ahem. How's that for subtle?

As always, a big thank you to my brilliant beta, Thraesja. Words cannot express my gratitude for her fabulous help.

--

"Alright, Sam. You're cleared to go."

Sam smiled with relief and hopped off the infirmary bed. "Thanks, Janet." She was looking forward to getting away from the base. Or, more specifically, away from the infirmary.

Janet pulled the privacy curtain around her bed. "Make sure you get lots of rest," she said through the curtain as Sam changed out of her scrubs. "That means no more welcome home parties. As nice as it was for your teammates to plan that for you, Colonel O'Neill's limbo contest cost you an extra day in my infirmary. I warned you that you might have some residual balance issues so soon after your concussion."

Sam rolled her eyes at the curtain. "I know you did."

"And you're on light duty for the rest of the week."

Dressed much more comfortably in her uniform, Sam pulled back the curtain and smiled at her friend. "Yes, Doctor Fraiser," she said with a casual salute.

Janet didn't seem to share Sam's amusement. "I mean it. If I hear that you've managed to get yourself injured or blow up something in your lab, I'll come after you with my biggest needles. And you'll be confined to an isolation room for a month."

Sam smiled, but knew that her friend was only mostly joking. "Actually, I was thinking I'd go home."

Janet's eyes widened alarmingly. "Really?"

"Yup."

"Maybe I should check your head again."

Sam laughed. "I'm fine, Janet. Better than I've been in a long time, actually."

"Oh? Why's that?"

"I learned a few things while I was stranded on the Prometheus. And I think I'm finally ready to take control of where my life is going."

Janet frowned, cocking her head at an angle. "Care to elaborate?"

"Not just yet." Sam took a deep breath and smiled at her friend. "I have to see how things turn out. But I'll let you know."

"Okay," Janet said slowly.

With another smile, Sam headed for the door. "Wish me luck!"

As she walked down the corridor, she heard Janet call after her. "Good luck! I guess."

--

Sam poked her head through Daniel's office door. He was leaning over his desk, tapping the eraser end of a pencil on a tablet, a deep frown creasing his forehead.

"You busy?"

He looked up and smiled. "Sam! How are you feeling?"

"Much better. Thanks.

"Good. I'm sorry about the limbo thing."

"Don't worry about it, it was my fault."

"Actually, I'd say it was really Jack's fault. It was his idea."

Sam laughed. "Good point. You get to tell him, though."

"I can do that. What are you doing here, anyway? Shouldn't you be resting?"

"Yeah, Janet just released me on the condition that I take it easy. I thought I'd go home."

"That's probably a good idea."

Sam moved into his office and looked down at the tablet on his desk. "What's this?"

He uttered a sound of absolute disgust and scrubbed his cheek with the heel of his hand. "SG-18 claims to have brought it back from M65-453. They've asked me to translate it."

She frowned. "What do you mean they 'claim to'?"

"The longer I work on it, the more I think I'm the victim of a prank." He looked at her over the rims of his glasses. "From what I can tell, the tablet is filled with bad jokes about a man who spends every waking moment trying to figure out ancient puzzles."

Sam clamped a hand over her mouth but failed to suppress her laughter.

"Yes, yes, it's very funny," Daniel said, rolling his eyes. "I think Jack put them up to it. He's been on my case to get a life again. I tried reminding him that I have more of a life now than I did all of last year, but he wouldn't hear it."

"Well, he has a point," Sam said, still laughing. "You've got to get off the base." She linked her arm with his. "In fact, you're coming with me."

"I am?"

"Yes, you are." She grinned at him and was pleased to see him return the sentiment.

A few minutes later, they stepped outside, greeted by the crisp December air. A dusting of snow covered the ground, and Sam tilted her face up to the sky. The large flakes danced down toward her, appearing grey against the bright white sky. She closed her eyes, enjoying the cool prickle as the flakes melted with the warmth of her skin.

Reaching her car, Sam pulled out a snow brush and began to sweep the car clean. The snow was light and fluffy, and the flakes glinted joyfully at her. She paused to admire their beauty.

"You okay?" Daniel asked from the other side of her car. He had been cleaning the snow off his side of the vehicle with his sleeve, but was now watching her, a concerned expression on his face.

She smiled and beckoned to him. "Look at this."

Daniel walked around until he was beside her and looked down at the car. "The snow?"

"Look at the flakes. See them sparkle? It's beautiful."

He smiled. "Yeah, it is, isn't it?"

"You know, when I first stepped through the Stargate, I remember..." She laughed softly and leaned back against her car. "I never felt such awe. Everything was incredible. The fluctuations in the event horizon, setting foot on another planet..." Sam sighed, shaking her head. "Somewhere along the way, I lost that sense of wonder. What's really sad is that it took a serious bump to my head to even notice that it was gone."

Daniel looked at her steadily. "More happened out there than you said in your report, didn't it?"

She glanced back at the entrance to the mountain complex before pushing herself off her car. "Let's get out of here."

--

Sam handed Daniel a bag of chocolate walnut cookies and picked up the two mugs of fresh coffee from the counter. They left her kitchen, entering her living room and settled comfortably next to each other on her sofa.

"So," Daniel said after taking a sip of his coffee. "You were having hallucinations of all of us?"

She nodded and grabbed a cookie.

"That must have been...weird."

"Yeah. I didn't think it was relevant to put that level of detail in my report. Most of the hallucinations had nothing to do with the mission anyway. It was all personal stuff." She grinned at him over her mug. "And the last thing I wanted was to be sent to be psychoanalyzed by MacKenzie."

"Can't think why. Oh, wait, yes I can." He took another sip of coffee. "And what did your hallucinations have to say to you?"

"Well, Teal'c kept telling me I was going to die and warned me that if I tried to repair the ship I might give up information that could be used to attack Earth."

"Helpful."

Sam rolled her eyes. "Indeed. Colonel O'Neill wouldn't let me give up. I was so tired. He told me I had to 'go save my ass'."

Daniel chuckled. "That sounds like Jack."

Sam took a sip of her coffee as she remembered the experience. "There was a little girl. She said her name was Grace." She chewed thoughtfully on a bite of cookie. "Between you and her, I realised how cold and analytical I've become."

"What? Sam, no." Daniel turned on the sofa so he was facing her. "You are one of the most passionate people I know."

"I used to be amazed by the things we found and the people we met on other planets." She shook her head, studying her coffee. "Over the years, I've changed." Sam looked up at Daniel and continued quickly. "And you can't say I haven't. You know it's true."

He shrugged. "We've all changed. We can't do the things we do everyday, see the things we've seen without being affected by it."

"Yeah, but not all the changes in me have been for the better."

Daniel looked like he was about to argue with her, but Sam didn't give him the chance.

"You and Grace forced me to look at things from a different angle. She kept trying to get me to play games with her. She sang children's songs and blew bubbles." Sam sighed and took another sip of coffee. "She reminded me what it was like to feel wonder. To be amazed by the little everyday things that I've been taking for granted. And you," she looked at her friend, laughing softly. "You kept trying to tell me that the nebula was alive. That I should study it and talk to it. Forcing me to think outside the box."

He raised his eyebrows but said nothing.

Sam studied him for a long moment before putting down her mug. "My dad was there too. He told me that I needed to let go of the things that prevented me from finding happiness. He said I deserved to love someone and to be loved in return."

Daniel gave her a fleeting smile that didn't reach his eyes. "You do, Sam."

She fixed her eyes on his. "Yeah, and I think that now I finally know what I've wanted all along."

He nodded and dropped his gaze to his mug. "Good," he said.

"I also realised that there's been something I've been holding on to that's been making me unhappy." He looked up at that, and Sam gave him a lopsided grin. "You know, it's possible that concussion was the best thing that could have happened to me."

Daniel briefly smiled again before turning his attention back to his mug. "I didn't know you were unhappy, Sam."

She laughed. "Neither did I...until my dad told me, anyway. But I've had a lot of time to think about it since then, and I've figured it all out. These last years, practically since I joined the project," Sam paused, watching Daniel raise his coffee to his lips. "I've flirted on and off with Colonel O'Neill."

He sighed into his mug as he took another sip.

"You noticed then," she said softly.

His laugh was harsh. "Sam, I think the entire base has noticed the sparks that fly between you two."

"But that's just it," she said, shaking her head. "There are no sparks. At least not on my end. Not really, anyway."

Daniel looked up at her, frowning.

"Dad helped me realise that I was only flirting with the Colonel – my commanding officer, the unattainable man, someone I could never be with – to distract myself from someone who could really make me happy." She shrugged. "I've been making myself miserable thinking of all of the 'if onlys' when all along I'm not even interested in him that way."

He stared at her for a long moment, his expression one of surprise and confusion. "You're not?"

Sam shook her head. "No. I'm not. When you get right down to it, we're too different. We'd never be able to sustain a relationship beyond the physical level. And if I'm being completely honest, I have to admit that he's nowhere near the type of person who could really make me happy."

She watched as Daniel's eyes moved back to his mug, his fingers tracing the line of its rim.

"What type of person would that be?" he asked quietly.

With a deep breath, Sam ran a hand through her hair, collecting her thoughts. "I guess I want someone who's strong," Daniel's head dropped lower to his chest, and Sam continued quickly, "and brave enough to do the hard, right thing rather than the easy, wrong thing. Someone who's there for me when I need him. I want someone who's passionate and caring, someone I can talk to about anything and isn't afraid to express himself and stand up for what he believes in."

She laughed nervously and dropped her gaze to her lap. "Someone who could tell me he loves me in a couple dozen languages," she whispered.

A long and dreadfully quiet moment passed. Sam swallowed the lump in her throat and looked up at Daniel tentatively. He was staring at her.

"That is, you know..." She cleared her throat nervously. "Assuming that he does."

Sam searched his face for some sign as to what he was thinking. The silence was killing her. "Daniel," she said, her voice a quiet plea. "Please say something."

"Te amo," he whispered. "Ik houd van je. Wo ai ni. Je t'aime. Ich liebe dich."

Tears of joy and relief filled her eyes. She cupped his face in her hands and pressed her lips against his. Sam leaned into him, pushing him back to lie on the sofa. He continued mumbling into the kiss, and she pulled away, laughing. She beamed down at him and placed her finger to his lips, temporarily halting the stream of foreign languages flowing from them.

"I love you, Daniel Jackson. I think I have for a very long time. Can you forgive me for not realising it sooner?"

He gazed up at her and wrapped his arms around her body. "If you can forgive me for not telling you how I felt sooner. I love you so much, Sam. S'agapo. Mai tumase pyar karata hun."

Sam sighed happily and snuggled into his arms, her body draped over his. She rested her head on his shoulder, listening to Daniel's voice professing his love for her.

"Ngo oi nei. Ya tebya lyublyu. Miluji te."

This is what happiness was, Sam realized. For the first time in her adult life, she felt completely relaxed. She knew this was what the hallucination of her father had meant.

"Ana behibek. Aishiteiru. Eu te amo."

This was what her dad wanted for her. This was what she really wanted for herself.

"Anee ohev otakh. Aami tomaake bhaalo baashi."

Sam knew that she and Daniel would make each other happy for the rest of their lives.

"I love you."

THE END
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Author's note: "I love yous" are transliterated. In order, they are: Latin, Dutch, Mandarin, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Cantonese, Russian, Czech, Arabic, Japanese, Portuguese, Hebrew, Bengali, and English. If you spot any errors, please let me know :)

Special thanks to Daryst for the fix of my Dutch "I love you".