Genre: Drama, Romance
Pairings: Sam/Daniel romance, Sam/Teal'c friendship
Spoilers: Everything from up to and including the series finale, because I'm that lazy.
Season: Ten, shortly after Unending
Rating: T, because I'm that chicken.
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.
Summary: Teal'c learned a lot during his time on the Odyssey. He shared a few lessons with the team, but there's one more he needs to teach Sam.
Notes: I was toying with the idea of writing a "fix-it" tag to the series finale, when I discovered that 'amaranthine' was a synonym for 'unending'. At that point, I decided it was a sign that I did, in fact, need to write something. So here it is. Monster thank-yous to my ever-fabulous beta, Thraesja, for her ever-brilliant insight and ever-sarcastic advice. :)
Sam stared silently across the commissary table at Teal'c. After a moment, she returned her gaze to her plate and poked at her mashed potatoes with her fork.
She looked up, her eyes wide in defence. "I didn't ask anything!"
"And for that I am grateful. Vala Mal Doran has been most persistent in her questions about the events during my fifty years on the Odyssey."
Sam smiled sympathetically. "I can imagine." She gave her potatoes another poke. "To say I'm curious would be quite an understatement. But you're right. We shouldn't know."
"There is, however, one further lesson I learned that I would like to share with you."
"One becomes old when one's regrets outnumber one's dreams."
Sam frowned at her friend. "What do you mean?"
Her question was met only by silence, and she studied him for a long moment, realisation dawning. "Oh God," she said softly. "You know, don't you?"
Teal'c raised his eyebrow in a wordless gesture that never failed to speak volumes.
Sam closed her eyes and sighed, placing a hand on her forehead. It had taken a long time for her to become familiar enough with the nuances of Teal'c's character to really begin to understand him. During those years on the Odyssey that had now never happened, she must have confided her deepest regret to him.
Now, Teal'c knew the secrets Sam kept deep in her heart. Secrets that, in this timeline, she hadn't even told him. Told anyone.
"You know this is a little creepy right?" She looked across the table at him again. "Fifty years... I told you everything?" Her feelings for Daniel were something that she had kept hidden from everyone since that first day on Abydos.
He nodded solemnly at her. "I believe so."
She carefully placed her fork on the table. "And in all that time, I never—" Sam broke off abruptly. Behind Teal'c, Vala had just entered the commissary, and she was headed their way.
The woman bounced up to the table. "Alright, Muscles! I figured it out. I was with you, wasn't I?" She sat down next to Teal'c, placing her hand on his shoulder. "And you hated it so much, you don't want to repeat it. Am I right?" With a melodramatic sigh, she rested her chin on the back of her hand and batted her eyelashes at the Jaffa. "It wouldn't have to be the same this time around, you know."
"Vala Mal Doran," said Teal'c. "I request that you cease your constant inquiries regarding whom you were involved with during a timeline that has ceased to exist. Circumstances are already considerably different. We have escaped the Ori and dealt a crippling blow to their forces in this galaxy."
"But that's exactly my point!" Vala narrowed her eyes at him. "Unless I really was with Mitchell, and for some reason, you don't want me to know."
This time, it was Vala who was met with silence from the stoic Jaffa. She sighed. "You're really not going to tell me?"
"I am not."
With an indignant huff, Vala stood up. "Fine. I'll go find Cameron then. If I spent fifty years with him, I'm sure the old spark will still be there." She hesitated, pursing her lips at Teal'c. "Is that jealousy? Years of fondness begging you to take me back?"
Teal'c didn't respond. Instead, he took a bite of his meatloaf.
Vala rolled her eyes and flounced her way out of the room.
Sam watched, smiling, as the alien left the commissary. "Don't worry, Teal'c," she said, turning back to her friend. "I'm sure she'll give up sooner or later." The intensity of his gaze caused her smile to slowly disappear. "What?"
In response, Teal'c simply glanced at the door before looking at her with that expressive eyebrow of his again high on his forehead.
Finally, it clicked. "She was with Daniel?" Her heart aching, Sam chewed on her bottom lip as Teal'c's continued silence answered her question. "Was he happy?" she whispered.
The Jaffa picked up his bottle of water and took a deliberate sip.
"As I told Vala Mal Doran, the events from a timeline that no longer exists are irrelevant."
"I need to know."
Teal'c seemed to consider her request. Finally, he put his water bottle down. "It might be said that contentment is not the same as happiness."
Sam studied him for a long time, trying to decide what to do. Then, she sighed and, picking up her plate, stood up. "I gotta go, Teal'c. I'll talk to you later."
She stopped, only a few steps away from the table, and turned to look back at her friend questioningly.
"Fortune favours the brave," he said.
After a brief hesitation, Sam nodded. She set her plate on the collection rack and headed out of the commissary.
Sam's purposeful stride slowed as she neared Daniel's office. There were voices inside. She stopped in the open doorway.
"Come on, Daniel!" Vala said, throwing her hands in the air. "I mean really! How long has it been? What's a little fun between friends?" She leaned into him, trailing her fingers over his chest. "And if it becomes more..." Vala smiled seductively at him.
Daniel wrapped his hand around her wrist, easing her away from him. "Vala," he said levelly.
Her cheeks puffed out with an exasperated breath, and her bangs danced on her forehead. "Fine. I'm going to try to find Mitchell again. If he's not too busy hiding from me, maybe he'll be up for some basketball. Do call me when you change your mind." Vala turned to the door. "Oh. Hello, Samantha," she said as she breezed by.
Sam waved at her retreating back before stepping into Daniel's office and closing the door.
"Thanks. But I don't think that'll keep her out." Daniel chuckled but then shook his head. "You know, sometimes she almost seems sincere. Others..."
"You don't think she loves you?
He just gave her an incredulous look.
"I think she might," Sam said, moving further into the room. "I think the rest of her behaviour is a defence mechanism. She's just like everyone else. Doesn't want to be hurt."
Daniel sat down in a chair. "I don't know. Maybe you're right."
"Do you love her?" she asked softly.
He looked up and seemed to study her carefully. "You really think she has serious feelings for me?"
Sam gave him a little smile. "Well, why wouldn't she?"
Daniel just sighed, lowering his head, so Sam sat in a chair opposite him.
"Do you love her?" she asked again.
"I don't know." He shrugged. "I mean, no, not like that. But time can change things."
Sam frowned, wondering what that meant. "Daniel?"
"I do care about her. I didn't know Sha're when we were married. I didn't even know we had been married right away. But I learned to love her." He looked up at her with an intense gaze. "And I really did love her."
Sam nodded, reaching out to squeeze his hand. "I know you did, Daniel."
"If I thought for a moment that Vala might be sincere...I might try. I think I could learn to love her, if I tried."
She looked at him sadly. "I'm sure you could. The question is, do you want to?"
He shook his head and whispered, "I'm just so tired of being alone."
Sam felt a flash of hope at his words. Daniel would rather learn to love someone than be alone any longer. As hard as she tried, she couldn't squash the thought that maybe that person could be her.
She looked away, ashamed with herself. What kind of friend was she to find hope in his loneliness?
"I'm only human, Sam."
"I know that." She turned back to him and studied his expression. "I just...you never struck me as the type to settle. Are you telling me I've been wrong about you all these years?"
He dropped his head with another sigh. Taking off his glasses, he pinched the bridge of his nose and stared at his feet.
Sam got up from her chair and crouched to the floor in front of him so she could look him in the face. "Daniel, Vala's not all bad, and I think she does love you...in her own unique way. But..." Her voice trailed off, and she squeezed his hand again in an effort to get him to meet her gaze.
Finally, he looked at her, and she continued. "You deserve someone who can make you smile. It's a beautiful sight, and it feels like it's been years since I've really seen it. You deserve to be happy, Daniel." Her eyes searched his, desperate for the answer to her next question. "Does Vala make you happy?"
Daniel closed his eyes and turned away from her. Sam cupped his chin and brought his face back to hers. She refused to let him off the hook that easily. "What is it that you really want?" she asked.
He pinched his eyes tighter. "It doesn't matter," he said in a voice so low Sam could barely hear him.
"Yes, Daniel. It does." When he still didn't look at her, she released a frustrated breath. "Hey," Sam said softly, giving his knee a gentle squeeze.
He opened his eyes. They were filled with an anguish that nearly broke her heart. Sam could feel the threat of tears building within her, but she forced herself to smile at him.
"Of all the people on the planet – of all the people in the galaxy. You. Deserve. Happiness." She stared intensely into his eyes. "If Vala can give you that, fine, but..." A tear drew a hot line down her cheek. "Don't settle."
He brushed her tear away with his thumb, his fingers trailing over her cheek. She pressed her hand over his, holding it against her face.
Sam smiled at him again, savouring his touch. "I wish I could make you happy," she said softly.
Slowly, Daniel pulled his hand away, his eyes narrowing slightly. "What do you mean?"
She laughed nervously and shook her head. "Nothing."
Fortune favours the brave, indeed.
Sam stood up and stepped back from him. With a deep breath to regain her composure, she ran a hand through her hair. When she looked back at Daniel, he was staring at her with an expression that sent a tantalizing tingle down her spine.
"Do you really want to know what I want, Sam?"
She nodded as he stood and stepped closer to her. Her breath caught in her throat at the look in his eyes.
"What I've wanted for years now?"
He was standing just inches away from her.
"Yes," she whispered.
His hand cupped her cheek as Daniel lowered his lips to hers and kissed her, a long, sweet, blissful kiss that was everything she had ever imagined. He pulled away, his eyes locked on hers. "You, Sam," he said quietly.
Sam's senses were singing from the feel of his lips on hers. "You want me?" she asked, dazed.
He gave her the faintest of smiles. "I love you."
Her mouth opened to speak, but her voice refused to come out. Her eyes filled with tears. Words failing her, Sam ran her hand up his chest, over his shoulder and to his neck. She looked up at him at him a moment longer before pulling him into another kiss.
Sam's hands ran through his hair, and his arms wrapped around her. She opened her mouth, and their tongues met in an ecstatic dance. Twin moans filled the room as they deepened the kiss, their hands exploring each other's bodies. Finally, they pulled apart, gasping.
"Sam..." Daniel's voice was ragged.
She looked up at him, taking his face in both hands and smiled. "Daniel, I fell in love with you the first day I met you."
He looked at her, his stunning blue eyes searching hers. Suddenly, his face broke into the most spectacular smile. And he laughed.
Sam laughed too, her fingers tracing his smiling lips. "Now where did that come from?" she asked, full of awe.
He caressed her face. "I think you might have had something to do with it."
She kissed him again. Then, pulling away only slightly, she whispered against his lips, "I love you, Daniel Jackson."
His answering smile made her feel warm inside. "I love you, Sam Carter."
As their lips met once more, Sam realised that Teal'c was right. Whatever happened during those fifty years on the Odyssey didn't matter now. The future would be whatever they made it.
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