Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate SG1 or any of it's characters, I post this strictly for entertainment purposes.
Mitchell held a cup of coffee under his friend's nose as he stared into space. It did little to stir him and that had him worried. He was quiet and the man was never quiet, talking is what he did best. The pain of Vala's death and now the uncertainty as the hours ticked by with Sam in surgery were taking a heavy toll on Daniel and Cam wanted to help, but wasn't sure how. He took the seat next to him and put the coffee into the archaeologist's hands. He snapped out of his reverie and took the coffee, nodding his thanks to Cam.
"Been any word yet?" He asked Teal'c who sat on the other side of Daniel, who was now staring blindly into his coffee.
"There has not." The Jaffa answered.
"She's going to be fine.." Mitchell tried to console him.
"And what if she isn't. I can't ...." Cam grabbed his shoulder. Daniel continued softly, staring out again. "There'll be nothing left...."
"Hey, don't talk like that. I've never seen you give up...ever. And I know Sam's picked up some of that orneriness from you over the years, so she won't give up so easily either." Daniel turned pained and tired eyes to him. He could almost feel the exhaustion pouring out of his friend.
"SamanthaCarter is indeed a fighter, DanielJackson, I have every confidence that she will recover." Teal'c added.
It was then that he caught sight of Carolyn coming towards them. She too looked spent and worn out from the marathon surgery. Daniel, Teal'c and Cam were immediately on their feet as she neared. She gave them all a weak smile.
"Well..." She started. "She's going to make it." Daniel slumped in relief and Cam let out the breath he had been holding. Teal'c also allowed a smile to reach his face. "However, she does have some permanent damage in her shoulder muscles. I'm afraid she won't be going on any more missions, but she should recover enough range of motion to be able to use it within a few months." Daniel swooped in to give the doctor a hug.
"Thank-you. Can I see her?"
"Sure, she's in the recovery room, but I'm not expecting her to wake up anytime soon..." Cam watched as Daniel took off before she could finish talking. He smiled at Carolyn and put his arm around his wife. Her hair was a mess and she had bags under her eyes, but he had never seen her so lovely. Seeing Daniel's heartbreak had only driven home how much he never wanted to take his wife for granted. He kissed the top of her head, resting his head on top of hers.
"Have I told you how much I love you?" He asked.
"Oh, once or twice." she smiled,
"Well, I do... even when you try to make me eat broccoli." She elbowed him good-naturedly and he kissed her. "You need sleep, my dear."
"I've got patients, Cam."
"And you're not doing them any favors treating them while your dead of your feet."
"C'mon, do I have to order you?" She put her hands on her hips, narrowing her eyes at him.
"I could assist you in carrying DoctorMitchell to her bed if you so desire, GeneralMitchell." Teal'c offered with a grin.
"Not if you want to keep those gigantic arms of yours." She quipped to the big guy, but gave in with a toss of her hands. "Fine, but only if you get some sleep too." she pointed to her husband.
"Deal." Arm in arm Mitchell led his wife out of the infirmary, leaving a pleased Teal'c behind.
Sam shifted uncomfortably, the seatbelt dug into her shoulder at a painful angle and it was difficult to drive with just one hand, but she was determined to find Daniel. He had been by her side non-stop since she woke up in the infirmary three weeks ago, but when she woke up to find him missing, it dawned on her why he might not be there. She wasn't upset at him, she understood his need to be alone for a while, but she couldn't help but seek him out. He had been there for her, now it was her turn to help him.
Today was the one-month anniversary of the day they defeated the Sorlish and the day Vala died. She pulled onto the side of the road where she found his car parked and got out. It was a warm spring day, and life was beginning to return to the mountain and to the rest of the world as well. The destruction that the aliens had unleashed onto the planet was unmeasurable, millions had died and millions more were still missing. Even her own brother, Mark, was amongst the many unaccounted for. She mourned for him, for the planet and for the masses of people that had lost their homes and families.
She recalled the first time she had ventured out of the mountain, the blackened and burned forests and barrenness that had been left behind took her breath away, but already as she walked along, she could make out little shoots of grass poking out through the black ground and it gave her hope that the Earth would come back from this.
The past month had been heartbreaking to say the very least, but it had also seen the human species rise up from the ashes and pull together in ways they never could have before. Race meant little now, religion mattered not. They were all citizens of a united Earth, determined to rebuild and start anew. They were still a long way from recovery, but it was a beginning.
Sam had been very busy the past month as well. Despite needing to recover from her injury, she had worked steadily from her bed, learning more about the alien ships that had been left behind from her laptop. Currently, with the help of the Jaffa, all of the spacecrafts they had recovered were being studied and dismantled in the hopes of exploiting their technology and getting a better understanding of their motives for attacking Earth. They had learned that the Sorlish lived entirely in space, they had no homeworld and relied on the resources of the planets they encountered in order to survive, whether those planets were inhabited or not mattered little to them, their own survival paramount. She wished she could do more and she wanted to get a look at the ships for herself, but with her shoulder still in a sling and healing slowly, she had to make do with doing what she could from the mountain.
Daniel too was pushing himself to the limits. When he wasn't with Sam, he was playing diplomat with the world leaders that were using the SGC as a new sort of United Nations. It was encouraging to see once sworn enemies come together in order to begin forming a new world government, but it was taxing on him and she had to practically beg him to come to bed at night. She worried that he would burn out soon, but she knew he was using the work as a distraction, using it as a blinder to the pain. She too had to admit, that she was guilty of the same. As long as there was work to do, they didn't have to focus on the past month, on the wedding that never happened and for the loved ones they had lost.
Sam looked around, her eyes scanning the area. She hadn't been here before, having been laid up in the infirmary for Vala's funeral and confined to base for her convalescence until just recently, but she knew this is where he would most likely be found today. Thanks to Cam's directions, she had found the place easily and ahead in the distance, she made him out.
A gentle breeze blew in and whipped her hair around as she approached. He was sitting on the ground before the simple grave he had dug himself with the help of Teal'c and Mitchell. It was a beautiful site, one of the few places places near the mountain that had been left untouched by the Sorlish. The grass was green here, peppered with wildflowers and the trees had been left unmarred, allowed to bud and leaf out. Under a large Aspen, it leaves quivering and quaking in the breeze, he spoke to the grave, not hearing Sam approach behind him.
"I'm sorry I don't have a headstone for you yet Vala, but you will one day. And people will come from far and wide to visit you. You're our planet's greatest hero, you know." He chuckled a little. "I think you would be pleased to know that your legend is spreading." He sighed. "I miss you. But, I'm glad you're free now and I'm sure you're keeping them entertained up there. I just want you to know that I'm doing okay, I really am." He was quiet for a moment "I've been doing a lot of thinking today and you were right about Sam and me, she makes me happy and I want to thank-you for letting me know it was okay for me to love her like I loved you.... " He stopped and turned around suddenly, surprised to see Sam coming near.
"I'm sorry, Daniel. I didn't mean to intrude."
"No, please. Come sit." She settled down next to him under the dancing shade of the tree and he put his arm around her, careful of her shoulder. She rested her head on his shoulder and they were silent for many minutes, the only noise the rattling of the leaves in the wind until Daniel stood and gathered the hand-picked wildflowers he had turned into a bouquet and placed them on the boulder that served as a make-shift grave marker for the former thief and con-artist turned heroine to the people of Earth.
"Bye, Vala." He said softly before turning back to Sam. He helped her up and she too stepped forward and said a quiet goodbye to her friend. Walking away, he wrapped his arm around her waist, walking beside her hip to hip.
"You going to be alright?" She asked. He smiled down on her.
"Yeah, I am." As they walked across the flowery meadow between the cars and the tree, she couldn't help but think that they were leaving the past behind, facing the future together. Daniel stopped and turned to Sam, looking deep into her eyes before kissing her passionately. Maybe he was feeling the same.
"Marry me, Sam." he said seriously after they pulled apart. "Tonight."
"Tonight?" She asked, surprised.
He took her by the hands, fixing her with an intense gaze. "I don't want to waste another moment." he began. "If anything over the last month, I've learned that our time is short and precious and we have to grab on to what we're given and make the most of every moment and I don't want another day to pass without you with me as my wife." Seeing the tears spill from his eyes, she burst into sobs and one-handedly encompassed him into a fierce embrace, feeling his warm arms wrap around her and his heartbeat pounding through his shirt.
Here was the moment she would recall for the rest of her life as a benchmark against which all of the best moments to come would be measured and she would find that none of them came close to being as full of love and power as this time and place. She looked up into his clear, blue eyes, smiling brightly through the tears.
"Of Course, I will. I'm yours forever."
Thanks for hanging in there and reading this story. It's been an emotional ride for me, but I'm so happy to have finished it the way I had hoped. Many, many thanks to everyone who reviewed, your words have been so encouraging and I appreciate everyone of you. :)