Title: The Waiting Game
Summary: An alternate take on the episode Tangent. Major Paul Davis is left behind at the SGC while Sam and Daniel go after a way to rescue Teal'c and O'Neill.
Disclaimer: Characters are property of MGM et al. No profit or financial gain is achieved from this venture, and no disrespect is intended.

The box in his pocket weighed as heavy as his heart. What should have been a momentous occasion had soured dramatically in the space of a few hours. Stuck here in the Control Room, Major Paul Davis had never felt so helpless.

He'd flown into Colorado Springs the night before, hoping to take Samantha out for a romantic dinner. That small box would have played an important part of the evening, and his heart had been beating with nervousness. All his grand plans disappeared, however, when they both found themselves in a last-minute briefing that continued long into the night. Finally, Paul had enough time to catch a few hours of sleep in guest quarters before heading to Peterson Air Base to meet with Lieutenant General Vidrine.

Paul had barely enough time to tell his girlfriend that he hoped they could spend some time together before he returned to Washington.

As he traveled to the airstrip, Paul had revised his plans slightly. He, along with SG-1, would meet with the General. There they would show off the X-301 Interceptor to the senior officer, in the hope that he would give his approval to the production of several of the craft. Afterwards, he would take Samantha out for dinner.

At least, that had been the idea.

Instead, the demonstration had gone terribly wrong. The Interceptor was a hybrid based upon death gliders formerly owned by Apophis. Unknown to anyone, least of all Teal'c, the gliders' former owner had installed a sort of autopilot in them. The vessel, with both Teal'c and Colonel O'Neill on board, was headed to the Goa'uld's home world. There was no way of disabling the autopilot.

For a while, Paul and Samantha had worked together in an attempt to beat the system. They decided the best way to get the Colonel and Teal'c closer to home would be to slingshot around Jupiter. The Colonel had added his input by suggesting the use of the ship's rockets to give the necessary power needed to alter course. Samantha had worked on hypothetical models and, over the radio, Paul had fed O'Neill the instructions to program the rockets accordingly.

Even in the bleakness of the night, Paul allowed a small smile to cross his face. He and Samantha did work well together and had done so since they'd first met several years ago. It was the working relationship that had initially fed the friendship between the two, which had eventually become something much more personal.

Just over a year ago, he'd been in Colorado Springs for a presentation. He and Samantha had worked late in an attempt to make some last minute corrections to a incorrect calculation made by another SGC scientist. Samantha had been near breaking point when Paul had suggested taking a break and heading to a restaurant located close to the base. The food had been good, and the conversation had been excellent. Refreshed from their dinner, they finally returned to the lab and finished the correction in less than an hour. The presentation going well the following day had unofficially been cause for celebration. Unofficially, it was an opportunity for Paul to spend more time with a good friend.

That was the night Paul discovered just how good Samantha was on a dance floor. He'd noticed more than one envious glance shot in his direction. He'd always liked Samantha, but even he was taken aback by the feelings that came to the surface that night. She was sheer beauty, shining brightly inside and out. At the end of the evening, drunk a little on the atmosphere and the comfort level between them, he'd taken a huge chance and leaned in close to her. The kiss she returned was definitely one moment that would stick in his head for all time.

From there, the relationship had only flourished. The majority of it was spent apart, based as they were in different parts of the country. Phonecalls and e-mails were important facets of their life as a couple. But whenever she was in Washington or he was in Colorado Springs they made time to see each other after the business part of their visit was concluded. Sometimes, Paul had difficulty persuading Samantha to take a break from her work. However, the end result was always worth the challenge.

A beep from the computer forced Paul to look at the screen. He didn't like what he saw. According to the data, the Colonel and Teal'c didn't have much time left. Oxygen was short and rescue was still a way off. There was nothing either he or General Hammond could do, except wait.

Everything lay in Samantha's hands, and Paul felt totally inept. He was used to working with Samantha whenever he was at the SGC. Even though she went off-world with SG-1 on a regular basis, he couldn't help thinking how weird it felt to be on the base while she was off on a rescue mission with Doctor Jackson.

There were days he felt insanely jealous. He longed to go off world. He wanted the opportunity to see firsthand what she saw. Instead, he was condemned to acting as a go-between Stargate Command and Washington bureaucrats, and reading the reports of the SG teams that did travel to other planets. Plus, there were times such as now when he knew Samantha was headed into danger. He almost envied the civilians who were completely unaware of where their loved ones were or what they were doing.

But he knew exactly where Samantha was, and what she was doing. She and Jackson were sneaking onto a Goa'uld-inhabited stronghold in an attempt to contact a member of the Tok'ra. Jackson had contacted the covert group to see if they had a ship available to go after the X301. They hadn't, but they'd cryptically explained that there was an operative undercover in a nearby location. Naturally, Samantha had deduced the operative's location.

Paul had a feeling that the operative was her father. In her conversation with Jackson, Anise the Tok'ra had hinted as much as she could without directly revealing the identity of the operative or their location. But who else meant as much to the Tau'ri as they did to the Tok'ra? Though he'd not told Samantha of his suspicions, Paul was certain Anise meant Jacob Carter.

Paul had met the man a couple of times, mostly in Washington before General Carter's cancer had developed. The older man had been demanding, insisting on nothing but the best an airman could give. Samantha had said she was no exception. Her father had wanted nothing but the best for his daughter, and that included a coveted spot at NASA. Once he'd been blended with Selmak, and understood the nature of her work at the SGC, Jacob Carter had changed his tune.

It was weird to think he wanted the blended alien as a father-in-law. But if he wanted to propose marriage to Samantha, Paul had to accept General Carter as part of the package. He was off-world with the Tok'ra most of the time, but he did like to stay with his daughter when he was on Earth. Paul didn't mind that; he found the General post-cancer to be an engaging and approachable man. Selmak probably had a hand in it but the end result was what counted.

Paul wasn't a strong believer in organized religion, but as he sat there in the darkened control room, he prayed for Samantha's safe return. Now, more than ever, he hated the thought of her being out there and him not knowing what was going on. Had she and Jackson made contact yet with the un-named Tok'ra? Were they en-route to O'Neill and Teal'c's location? Or had something bad happened? At this moment in time, was Samantha being tortured by the Goa'uld or, worse still, was she dead?

This is what she does, he told himself firmly. She'd gone into danger on a regular basis before she'd met him, and he couldn't expect her to stop going off-world simply because he didn't want her to go. Besides, there were times when her expertise off-world had saved Earth's butt. What if he demanded she not go on a mission, and it turned out her presence on that mission was the one thing that could have saved the planet from complete annihilation?

No, as much as he hated times such as this, Paul Davis could never ask that of her. Although other planets had not been part of the package, both of them had joined the Air Force knowing their lives could often be in danger. Did it irk him that his danger consisted of having to be diplomatic to old farts who wanted their own way, while hers consisted of Goa'uld and other creatures?

He'd be lying if he said no. But neither of them exactly had a choice in their assignments. The military chose for you. All he could do was support Samantha and be there for her when she needed him.

And right now, she needed him. Even if it was just to stay in the control room and wait for her call.

Paul needed her in his life as well. Her photograph on his desk was often the brightest spot in an otherwise tedious day. The smile on her face in the picture exuded life, but disguised just how much she meant to him. He loved to receive her emails and phone calls. Just the sound of her voice could take him far away from the paperwork he shuffled on a daily basis. She was a tropical island in a sea of tediousness. The short times they were able to spend time together fueled his dreams, both at night and during the day. When the world got too much for him, he could close his eyes and be right back there with her.

He didn't want to think how the night might end. SG-1 had beaten the odds so often. This couldn't be the one time they failed. There was no way that could happen. He didn't want to think about never seeing Samantha again, never seeing that beautiful smile again, or feeling her body up against his.

He had to see her again. There was no other option. And when he did see her again, he was damn well going to pull that box out of his pocket and present it to her.

Even if it was in the middle of the Gate room, in front of her CO.

Until then, Paul simply had to keep hoping.