Title: Dislocate

Author: petite_stars

Rating: T

Category: Team friendship, Sam and Daniel friendship, Sam Angst

Season/Spoilers: Start of season 7, about a month after Daniel rejoins the team.

Summary: After Daniel descends and rejoins the team, Sam has a hard time settling back into the groove.

Disclaimer: I don't own SG1 and did not profit from this story… etc.

Author's notes: I was disgruntled at the lack of greeting between Sam and Daniel upon on Daniel's return. Surely there must have been some tension on the team, it couldn't have been a smooth transition back…

***

Sam stepped onto the gate ramp, hearing the familiar clang as the rest of her team came through the wormhole behind her. She handed over her weapons just as General Hammond entered the gate room.

"Welcome back, SG1," he greeted them, "How was your mission?"

"Boring," Jack answered for everyone, "No rocks for Daniel, no technology for Carter, no bad guys for T to shoot and not even a tree for me to complain about sir."

Hammond raised his eyebrows at Jack's assessment of the planet. Sam had to agree, the mission was boring and uneventful, especially compared to SG1's usual mission standards, not that the change of pace wasn't nice of course.

"Very well, shower and report to the infirmary. We'll debrief in one hour." Hammond left them to it.

As Sam stepped off the ramp and headed towards the elevator, she could see the rest of her team beginning to follow. Jack and Daniel bickered quietly over something that Sam couldn't even be bothered to listen to and Teal'c was silent but Sam could sense his annoyance at their constant chatter.

"Infirmary first," Jack stretched as they waited for the elevator, "SG3 would have returned before us and will be clogging up the showers."

Daniel and Teal'c both nodded in agreement, but all Sam could think about was taking a nice hot shower and getting out of her sandy clothes. She didn't have to share the female locker room with SG3, she could shower in relative peace. The elevators arrived and Sam pressed the locker room level when they all stepped in.

"You guys go ahead. The women's locker room will be empty, I want a shower." Sam told them.

"Suit yourself, Carter," the colonel didn't seem phased, "See you at the briefing."

They stepped out as the elevator doors opened and left for the infirmary, leaving Sam behind. The doors closed and Sam was left in silence, thinking about her shower.

***

The debriefing for PJ2 487 was quick. Sam didn't have much to say so she just listened to Daniel as he explained his theory on the lack of inhabitation and possible existence of nomads; or rather listened to his voice, not his words.

Usually, she was attentive, but today she was tired and feeling slightly out of place. She couldn't quite put her finger on the reason why, perhaps it was because she was the last one to the briefing. The three men had been in deep discussion when she'd entered and barely looked up when she took her usual seat. From what she could tell, they were talking about a sports game; Sam hadn't understood why Daniel seemed so interested, he hated watching sport.

"Okay, write up your reports; your next mission is on Monday, 1400 hours. You're all on downtime till then." General Hammond got up and Sam and Jack rose in respect, "Enjoy your time off."

The general left and Sam could see the eager look on Jack's face as he punched the air, "Yes, two days off."

"After we have written the reports," Teal'c pointed out.

"That report will take me ten seconds to write," Jack waved it off, "Went to planet. Nothing to see. Came home."

Daniel rolled his eyes, "You still have your report from P76 X43 to write up."

"Where?" Jack was confused. He had so many backlogged reports to write that Sam doubted he'd even finish today's, despite his insistence of its ease.

"The planet with the large cats," Teal'c added helpfully.

"Ah yes, Catopia." Jack had named the planet within seconds of seeing the giant felines, "I'll get to it eventually. Remember game's on tonight, be there by 6."

Sam has no idea what game he was talking about and assumed it was the one they were discussing earlier as Daniel and Teal'c nod.

"Carter, you coming?"

"Uh, no sir." Sam declined; she didn't want to spend her Friday night watching sports and drinking beer while the guys shouted at the television. She'd rather spend the night at home, alone.

"C'mon Sam," Daniel tried to convince her, "We won't watch it all night."

"You don't even like watching sport." Sam gives him a curious look.

"Since I er, came back," Descended rather, but no one liked to say it aloud, not even Daniel, "I don't mind watching it so much, it's kind of fun."

Sam frowned, that didn't sound like Daniel. Fun to him was doing a full day's research into an obscure alien culture; not watching high energy sports, "Whatever you say, Daniel."

"So you'll come?" he turned eager eyes on her, but Sam wasn't tempted.

Sam shook her head, lying, "I have plans." It wasn't a lie really, she did have plans, plans to buy her favourite Italian take-out, then pull out her laptop and start work on her backlogged experiment notes.

"Guys night it is then," Jack shrugged, and the three men left the briefing room. Sam stayed behind, turning to look down into the gate room, wondering why she felt like she was missing something.

***

The lasagne was delicious and she burned her tongue on the first mouthful; she opened a nice bottle of red wine and poured herself a glass. Sam ate at her kitchen counter, perched on a stool; it was not uncomfortable, it was convenient, there was less mess and it was quick for her to clean up since she was eating out of the takeout box.

She wondered briefly what the guys were doing; the house seems almost too quiet, her earlier desire for solace seemed to be fading. She browsed channels on her television when she finished her dinner but couldn't find anything good to watch. She settled on watching a hockey game, but she set the volume to low, letting it be mostly background noise as she cleaned up after her meal. It didn't take long before she was seated back in front of the television, watching the game, alone. She wondered again what the guys were doing and whether this was the game they had been looking forward to.

She picked up her phone and before she could convince herself not to, she hit speed-dial three and called Daniel. He'd been gone for a year and she still hadn't deleted his number from her speed-dial; when he'd returned, she'd updated with his new cell number, but she had never taken his name off, she just couldn't bring herself to erase him completely from her life. Daniel didn't answer his phone; she got his voicemail instead and left a brief message.

"Just me, was just calling to see what you guys were doing, nothing important, give me a call when you're free."

She stared at the phone for awhile after she hung up, wondering whether Daniel had left his phone at home, simply didn't hear it ring over the noise of the game or was screening his calls. She assumed it was the second option. Hoped at least that it was one of the first two options, she didn't want to think that Daniel was avoiding her calls.

Deciding to follow through with her plans to work, Sam turned off the television and went into her study, settling comfortably into her office chair. She pulled her laptop out, opened up her notes, found her place and began to work. For a long time the only noise in the room was the gentle tapping of the keys and the quiet hum of her computer. It was past one a.m. when Sam took a break, powering down her laptop and going into the kitchen to find something sweet to eat.

The packet of chocolate cookies, hidden in her cupboard, were still within the use-by date, and she opened them up. She bit into one; they were Daniel's favourite flavour, chocolate walnut. Or they used to be his favourite flavour, she wondered bitterly if that'd changed too since he'd descended.

Sam put the cookies away and decided to go to bed. She brushed her teeth first, washing away the sweet taste of the cookies before changing into her pyjamas. Shutting off the light, Sam tried not to think about the fact that Daniel hadn't called her back.

***

Sam was on base by 0600. She'd woken early and despite going to bed late, couldn't get back to sleep. She decided that rather than waste her time at home, she'd head into the SGC and get started on the piece of technology SG5 brought back from their last mission. It was from a planet whose civilisation had died out; all that was left behind were crumbling ruins and a few metallic panels that lit up when you slid your fingers into the grooves at the base. Sam hadn't figured out what they did yet, but she was looking forward to the challenge. It would keep her mind busy and block the more depressing thoughts that had been haunting her in quiet moments.

She'd been on base seven hours when Colonel O'Neill appeared in her doorway, "Carter, we're on downtime, why are you here?"

Sam almost didn't bother to reply; the colonel knew her habits perfectly well. Years ago he'd tried to get her to leave the base, but since the last time he'd ordered her to get a life had resulted in her getting an alien houseguest, he pretty much stopped forcing the issue. Or so she'd thought.

"Just working on the panels SG5 brought back," Sam held one of them up, "What are you doing on base?"

"Oh, General Hammond called and mentioned my paperwork backlog…" he frowned, "I think he may have heard me yesterday when I said that report was going to take me ten seconds."

"Did you finish that report, sir?" Sam tried to be enthused, but all she really wanted was for him to go away so she could figure out a way to connect the panels to her computer.

"Nah," Jack said, "I figured I'd do it Monday when my mind wasn't too tired from the mission."

"The boring mission where we did nothing and came back four hours early?" Sam couldn't help herself and the Colonel gave her a 'look' that she interpreted as 'watch it'.

"Anyway, I dropped in to get a start on that paperwork, the Monday plan doesn't fit Hammond's schedule apparently, and I saw your name on the sign in sheet. You got in at 0600 today."

"Yes sir." Sam's voice was hesitant, she got the feeling she was about to get a lecture on leaving the base. Again. She thought they were past this years ago.

"I thought you had plans last night?" Jack said, "You should have come over."

"I did have plans," Sam said, "They just didn't keep me up late."

"Well then, you should have joined us."

Sam thought back to the phone call she'd made to Daniel, "I did call Daniel, sir, but he didn't answer." Or return her message.

"Oh, he didn't mention anything, maybe he forgot his phone," the colonel frowned.

"Maybe next time I'll come," Sam said, hoping he'd drop the topic so she could get back to work.

The colonel sensed the reluctance in her voice, "Definitely next time," he paused for awhile, as his gaze turned serious, "Carter, is everything okay?"

The colonel rarely asked her those type of questions. Usually if he suspected she had a problem he'd get Daniel to talk to her. Not that Daniel and her talked much these days. She couldn't remember the last time they had talked about anything in depth that wasn't SGC related. Even before he ascended, they had begun to grow distant and Sam couldn't even remember why.

"I'm fine," Sam denied any problem.

"It's just," Jack picked up a pair of pliers on her desk and started fiddling, "You've been avoiding us."

Sam shook her head, "No I haven't, I see you guys at work every day."

"Yeah, at work. You never come out anymore. Not since… Daniel came back." Jack went still as he made the final comment.

Sam felt a cold, unpleasant feeling settle in her stomach. There was no problem. The colonel had it wrong, she'd just been busy with work, plus how much time did she have to spend with the guys? Wasn't sixteen hour work days and overnight missions enough, couldn't she get some quiet time, away from the testosterone, when she wanted it?

She wasn't aware she'd spoken those words aloud until she looked up and saw thecolonel'sface. His mouth was open in shock and the pliers hung limply from his fingers.

"Uh, never knew you felt that way, Carter," Jack dropped the pliers back down to her desk, "I'll leave you be then."

She suddenly felt bad, it wasn't the colonel's fault, not really. He didn't deserve that little outburst. She knew he wouldn't hold it against her, most likely would just put it down to PMS, tell the guys, and they'd slip chocolate into her locker like they used to. Used to; they didn't do it anymore, not since Daniel had left them. She was pretty sure Daniel had been behind the tradition, and she doubted either of the guys had wanted to explain it to Jonas. Since Daniel had returned there had been no secret chocolate hidden in her locker, perhaps it was one of the memories he had yet to recall.

"Sir, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to yell." Sam said, tiredly, she meant her apology but still the effort behind her voice was missing.

Jack just waved her down, looking uncomfortable, "No big deal Carter, we all need a bit of space," he looked at the clock, "But go home before 1500 today, okay?"

Sam nodded; she could agree to that, maybe she should go home, call Janet and have a girls night. Maybe it was just PMS; nothing wine, junk food and gossiping with Janet couldn't fix. She'd be back to normal on Monday, "Yes sir."

***

Before leaving the base, Sam decided to grab some food in the commissary; she'd had coffee for breakfast and had skipped lunch, so by the time she'd shut off her experiments, ready to go home, she was starving. She grabbed a chicken sandwich; there was no blue jello so she picked up a piece of apple pie instead. Another cup of coffee and a glass of juice and her tray was complete.

The mess was basically empty so Sam sat in the corner and bit into her sandwich. It tasted good, although that could have been because she was so hungry rather than the food's actual quality. Then Teal'c appeared at her table, carrying his own tray laden with food.

"May I join you Major Carter?"

"Of course," Sam waved him into the seat in front of her, "Late lunch?"

"Afternoon snack."

Sam thought the big bowl of fruit, plate of pasta and large serving of pecan pie was a bit much for a snack but she declined to comment. They ate in silence for a while until Teal'c's deep voice broke the quiet.

"May I ask you a question Major Carter?"

Sam stopped eating and looked at Teal'c; he didn't usually ask her permission to talk, "Sure Teal'c."

"I have noticed you have been spending an increased amount of time on base," he paused, "Moreso than usual."

Sam dropped her half-eaten sandwich on her plate, "I've been busy."

"You no longer participate in team nights Major Carter," Teal'c said, "Recently you have appeared uncomfortable in our company."

Sam didn't want to talk about this; first the colonel, now Teal'c? Neither one of them was the 'talk about your feelings' type. Now both of them in one day wanted to discuss her 'problems'. Not going to happen. Sam was a private person, even among her best friends, she didn't want to start discussing her own insecurities and sudden unexplained feelings of being left out. She had a horrible feeling they just didn't understand, or worse, would confirm her 'ousting' from the group.

Sam stood up, leaving her half-eaten meal, "I forgot I left an experiment running in my lab. I have to go."

Not giving him a chance to reply, Sam left and returned to her lab, no longer wanting to go home but wanting to restart her research into those strange panels. She'd get a scraping of their surface and analyse what it was made of; that would take hours. Sam had just pulled out her hard materials sample kit when a knock on her door distracted her. She stopped cold and that uncomfortable feeling was back in her stomach when she noticed Daniel standing hesitantly in the doorway.

"Hi Sam,"hisvoice was quiet, "Thought I might find you on base."

Sam put the sample kit down and, desperate to avoid what was sure to be another awkward conversation, grabbed her bag from the floor behind her desk, "Sorry Daniel, I'm on my way out."

"Oh," Daniel said, "I was hoping to talk to you."

She began shutting her equipment down as she waltzed around the room, her bag in tow, trying to keep busy and not look at his face. She suddenly felt angry; she'd wanted to talk to him last night and he hadn't bothered to answer his phone, he'd ignored her first so he could damn well get a taste of his own medicine, "Sorry Daniel, I really have to go."

Sam ran out of equipment to turn off so she headed for the doorway, which Daniel was currently blocking.

"Sam-"

"See you later Daniel," she cut him off. She'd just about managed to slip past him when he grabbed her arm lightly; flinching, she snapped at him, "What?"

He let go as if he'd been burned and gave her a wounded look. That look used to be able to get her to do anything for him; not anymore.

"It's nothing important." He stepped back and Sam darted out of the room.

She made it to her car before she gave into her anger and kicked one of her tires, feeling immediately foolish as the hard surface didn't give. She threw her bag into the car and started it up, wishing she'd brought her bike so she could tear down the highway and feel the wind whip past her face. She settled for pressing her foot down on the gas and winding the windows down so the cool breeze filled her car and cooled her heated skin as she sped along.

The irrational anger had disappeared by the time she got home. She heard Daniel's words echo in her mind, nothing important. Hadn't that been what she'd said last night on his voicemail? She wondered if he had gotten the message and wanted to fix whatever had seemed to be broken between them.

She wasn't sure what was wrong; they used to be such good friends, such close friends; she'd told Daniel everything and she'd thought he did the same. Then he'd ascended, leaving her alone for an entire year while he explored the galaxy in another form. He had descended again, but she still felt alone; didn't feel like she had gotten her friend back, well, not gotten the same friend back. That's what she was missing, why she felt so on the outs, the guys had taken Daniel back with a slap on the back and a smile. She wasn't finding it quite so easy.

It was different for the guys though. Both Jack and Teal'c had seen Daniel when he had been ascended, been able to talk to him and just be near him, even if they couldn't touch him. She'd been left in the dark; they hadn't even told her that they had seen him, just left her to mourn their friend by herself. She realized that she was angry at them too, they could have at least have let her in the know, into their little club. Their boys club, so it would seem.

That's what it all boiled down to, Sam thought, a boys club. She was the odd one out, she just hadn't realized the truth of what she was doing; pulling away before they abandoned her, leaving, so that when they did the same, it wouldn't hurt so much.

***

Sam tried not to think too much about her recent realizations. She quickly made the decision to just leave things be; she had Janet and Cassie, she had her work. So what if the guys went back to being just her work colleagues, as they'd been all those years ago when they'd just formed as a team. Although even back then the guys had been more than just colleagues, Daniel and Jack had already been friends, and Teal'c had formed an instant bond with the colonel. It was her again, who had been the odd one out, not the previously retired bitter colonel, or the civilian anthropologist, or even the alien, it had been her.

It was still her.

"Enough," Sam admonished herself out loud and picked up the phone. No more wallowing; she was calling Janet and they were going to spend tonight catching up and eating enough chocolate to make themselves sick.

"Hello," it was Cassie who answered the Frasier phone.

"Cass, hi," Sam felt some of the tension ease at the sound of the teenager'svoice.

"Sam!" Cassie sounded distracted but happy to hear from her, "Chess is next week isn't it?"

"Yeah, I was actually hoping to talk to your mom, see if she wanted to do something tonight."

"She's at the SGC, double shift, won't be back till midnight," Cassie said.

"Oh," Sam really didn't want to stay at home where the silence forced her to think, "What about you, do you want to go see a movie or something?"

"Sorry Sam, got plans with friends," Cassie said, "I was just about to leave actually."

"Well don't let me keep you, bye." Sam hung up the phone and sat dejectedly on the couch.

Seemed no one wanted her.

Getting up, she grabbed her laptop bag and headed into the study. She'd do some work; that would keep her busy, and her mind quiet.

***

A week passed and Sam found herself once again coming back through the Stargate following another rather boring mission with SG1. As she took a step down the ramp, she slid on something wet and came crashing down with a metallic thud. Teal'c, who was next to step out of the gate, didn't see her and he thudded down onto her, landing on her left shoulder. Sam yelled in pain as Teal'c got up off her, apologising and moving her out of the way before Daniel and Jack stepped through. They noticed her crumpled on the floor as a medic rushed towards her.

"What happened?" Jack stood over her as she laid on the cold concrete floor, a worried expression creasing his face.

Sam couldn't answer him, the medic was pushing on a sore point and she clenched her mouth shut against the pain.

"SG3 trailed some sort of oil serum on the ramp from their last mission, sir," Siler, standing next to the ramp with a hose in his hand, answered O'Neill, "They came through just before you did and we weren't able to clear the ramp in time. Major Carter slipped and Teal'c fell on her when they came through the gate."

Sam saw both Jack and Daniel wince at the thought of Teal'c landing on her.

"Ouch," Daniel muttered.

"You okay Carter?"

"Yes sir," she was finally able to talk as the medic stopped pressing on her shoulder and called for a gurney, "No, it's fine, I can walk."

"Straight to the infirmary Carter, we'll shower and meet you there." O'Neill ordered and the men of SG1 left the room. Sam was left with the medic still trying to push her onto the gurney.

***

Sam didn't end up seeing the guys in the infirmary. She ended up waiting an hour to have an x-ray taken, only for Janet to tell her that her shoulder was just badly bruised. She'd had problems with her left shoulder ever since she tumbled out of the gate returning from the Aschen planet; she'd dislocated it that time and it had been tender and prone to injury ever since. Sam tried not to think about it much, leaving Joe Faxon behind still grated at her nerves, as did the memory of her team, standing above her lying in pain on the ramp but not actually bending down and touching her, comforting her. Kind of like today. By the time she got back to the infirmary from x-ray, the nurse told her the rest of SG1 had been through their post mission physicals and left; and that the mission debriefing had been postponed until tomorrow. Then she left, leaving her alone with Janet.

Her shoulder was swollen and purple and Janet eased her arm into a sling and slipped a small envelope of pills into her pocket.

"Anti-inflammatory and pain meds. Light duty for a week then back to me for a review. No driving home today."

Sam was familiar with the drill, "Okay."

"Get Daniel or the colonel to drive you home. Maybe pick up something to eat too, you probably won't be up to cooking tonight."

Sam nodded but didn't intend to ask the colonel or Daniel to take her home; they'd probably already left the base. She'd just ask an Airman to take her.

***

Sam got home an hour later, Airman Carlise offers to help her inside, but she declined and told him she could manage. She was just about to put her keys in the doorknob when her door opened to reveal Teal'c. He took her bag from her good arm and ushered her inside without a word.

"What?" Sam was confused, entering the kitchen to see both Jack and Daniel standing dishing out food from cartons on the bench. She recognized the smell of her favourite Thai restaurant.

"Carter!" Jack gave her a big smile, "Was about to go back into the SGC to get you but when I called the infirmary you'd already left."

Sam stared around at the guys, their faces eager, but all Sam felt was tired and sore. She didn't want them to pretend, even if it was nice to have someone to come home to. Anger pulsed through her veins and she couldn't help it as she snapped, "So you guys just let yourselves into my house?"

Daniel tried to placate her, "We just wanted to make things easy for you."

Sam shook her head, "Then go home."

She turned and left the three startled men in the kitchen, not caring if she sounded bitchy, and slammed the door to her bedroom. She sat on her bed for a long moment, breathing deeply, before deciding she wanted to get out of her uniform and into the shower. She struggled to get her arm out of the sling but managed when she did it slowly; she might have to cut off her shirt, but it was just her BDU black shirt so that was not too much of a worry. She started with her shoes before tackling her shirt, removing her boots one-handed proved extremely difficult. The knots were tight and she couldn't even loosen them to slip her feet out. She felt tears of frustration well in her eyes and she took another calming breath.

Her anger was waning now; she just wanted to go back to the way it was before. Before Daniel ascended and left them behind, before he changed and no longer seemed to have any sort of connection with her. Before Teal'c and the colonel shared something with Daniel that she couldn't be a part of. She was sick of being lonely, being on the outside, she wanted her friends back; they weren't leaving her like she had thought, but it was her that was pushing them away unnecessarily. They were including her, and she was stepping back, all because of petty jealously and hurt feelings.

Somebody knocked quietly on the door and it opened with a crack when she didn't answer and Daniel popped his head through the gap. He gave her a tentative smile when he saw her sitting on the bed, not doing anything, "Can I come in?"

Sam gave up and nodded, not wanting to fight anymore. Daniel sat next to her on the bed, leaving a space between them.

"I'm sorry we let ourselves into your house without asking," Daniel's voice was genuinely apologetic, "I know how much your privacy means to you and it was a stupid thing to do."

"Sorry for snapping at you." She meant the apology too, "You were just trying to be nice."

"Yeah. We can go if you want," Daniel said, "We'll leave some food and leave you alone."

Sam shook her head, "You can stay."

Daniel touched her good arm hesitantly, "Can you at least tell me what I did wrong?"

"What?" Sam asked, even though she knew what he meant.

"Why are you avoiding us? Avoiding me?" His voice was hurt and Sam couldn't look You're the one who doesn't want to join in on team nights." Daniel didn't get it.

"Not being left out of team nights, Daniel." She was hoping he would understand so she wouldn't have to spell it out for him.

"Then what?"

It seemed as though she was going to have to spell it out, "When you were ascended. You visited the colonel into his face.

She whispered her answer, embarrassed, it sounded even more petty and childish out loud, "I feel left out."

"and you visited Teal'c. But you never came and saw me."

Daniel's voice was quiet, "You know I don't remember much about when I was ascended."

"I know that," Sam said, "Doesn't mean because you don't remember that I stop feeling angry at what you did."

"Or what I didn't do," Daniel said dryly.

"Yeah." Sam looked over at him while they sat in silence and thought. Daniel was frowning, a little wrinkle between his eyebrows and resting his chin in his hand. The image was so familiar, she had missed just looking at him so much that seeing him now actually hurt when she felt so distanced from her friend.

"I'm sorry I didn't come see you," Daniel said finally, "I don't know why I didn't but I must have had a good reason."

Sam shrugged, "Guess so, you broke the rules for the colonel and Teal'c to see them, I guess maybe I just…" wasn't important enough.

Her unspoken words floated between them and Sam knew Daniel heard what she didn't say.

"I really screwed up, didn't I?" he said.

"No," Sam shook her head, "Maybe I'm just being stupid."

"You are many things Sam and stupid is not one of them." Daniel took her hand in his, "What can I do to make this right?"

"I don't think you can do anything," Sam said and as she did, she realized that its true, "I think it's me that has to do something."

"What?"

"Let it go." Sam said. Yes, Daniel didn't come to see her when he was ascended, but he couldn't give her a reason and it probably wouldn't help that much anyway; she doubted she would like any reason he could give. She had to let it go, had to stop isolating herself. It wasn't the guys that were pushing her out, it was herself who was pushing them away. However, unlike she had thought earlier, the men of SG1 had no intention of leaving her.

"Does that mean you'll come to team night again?" Daniel asked.

"Yeah," Sam smiled, everything wasn't okay, but she would stop wallowing alone, "But I'm still not watching sports."

Daniel laughed, "I'm with you on that one. Jack made us watch this hockey game the other night. It wasn't fun; it was boring. I fell asleep, that's why I missed your call." He added the last bit quietly, as if he knew that she had been hurt when he didn't return her call.

He sounded like her old friend again, "Daniel what's your favourite cookie flavour?"

"Chocolate walnut, why, do you have any here?" Daniel's face lit up.

Sam smiled, "Sure do."

***

Sam kicked Daniel out of her room after he helped her take off her boots; he offered to stay to help more, raising his eyebrows and leering at her jokingly but Sam pushed him out. She showered quickly and dressed in her soft comfortable sweats, putting her sling back on and going back to the kitchen.

Teal'c waited for her there, a plate of food and a glass of water in his hands; he pointed her into the living room where Jack and Daniel were sprawled on the armchairs. Sam rested on the couch and Teal'c placed her plate on her lap and the water on the coffee table, then sat cross-legged at her feet. Sam didn't have to ask why, she knew Teal'c felt guilty about injuring her shoulder, despite it just being and accident; his way of apologising would be to assist her while she was injured, a practical apology rather than a spoken one - much more Teal'c's style. A hockey game was on the television, but the second she sat down, Daniel changed it to the movie channel.

She smiled and ate her food. When she finished, Teal'c took her plate away and she relaxed into the cushions. Deciding she probably owed the well-meaning men an apology, she swallowed roughly, "Sorry I've been such a pain lately."

"That's okay Carter," Jack shruged, "Daniel explained some of it."

It was Teal'c who threw her off balance as he returned with fresh water for her, "Are you certain the problem does not lie with us, Major Carter?"

"What?" Sam was confused.

"You have been uncomfortable with myself and O'Neill as well, not only Daniel Jackson."

Sam decided to just get it all out into the open, "I was a bit mad because you guys saw Daniel when he was ascended and didn't bother to tell me."

Teal'c nodded, as though he'd expected her explanation, "I did not mean you any harm Major Carter. I thought it was a dream when I saw Daniel Jackson. Even when I suspected it was not, I did not want to upset you. You had just moved on from his passing."

Sam accepted this with a nod. Jack sighed heavily and looked at Daniel and Teal'c, a serious expression on his face, "Can you guys give us a minute?"

They cleared the room and Jack turned to her as soon as they were alone, "I should have forced the issue sooner, I knew you weren't happy but, I don't know, I just thought it would work itself out. Your bad moods don't usually last this long," as he said the last part, O'Neill winced and looked at her like she might hit him

She didn't, but stored the comment away in her memory to use against him later, "It's okay sir, you did try to help."

"Yeah."

Jack played with the label on his beer bottle, picking at the edges. "I didn't tell you about Daniel, not because I didn't think he was real," Jack said quietly.

Sam was confused, "Then why didn't you say something?"

"Ba'al… the whole thing was a nightmare."

Sam flinched at his comment; she was one who had forced him to take the symbiote, who hijacked his body and left him in Ba'al's clutches, "Sorry sir."

Jack shook his head, "Don't start with the guilt trip again, Carter," he swallowed, "What I'm trying to say is that the reason I didn't tell you is because I didn't want to mix you up in that nightmare."

Sam watched as Jack continued looking at the beer bottle, "I'm no stranger to torture sir."

She wasn't. Over the years they've landed themselves in enough prisons, and combined with Jolinar's memories, Sam knew the point a human being could be stretched to before they broke.

"I know. I wasn't trying to protect you," Jack shrugged, "Immediately after, everything was so messed up. Every time I saw something of Daniel, his photo, his glasses, his office, his damn fish that I adopted; I was reminded of Ba'al. I didn't want to look at you and remember it too. I wanted to keep you and Teal'c separate, so that when I saw you guys, I could see something else, something better."

Sam could understand that. He hadn't said much at all to them about the whole Ba'al experience, least of all admitting that Daniel was present. He had avoided them all for weeks, barely answering their calls. What little she had found out, she'd gotten from the official reports. Jack had debriefed privately in General Hammond's office and Sam had never felt it appropriate to ask. She felt the last of her anger and hurt begin to fade away, and a slight tinge of shame at how wrong she had been on her judgement on the three most important men in her life.

She touched him lightly on the arm, "I understand sir."

"I should have told you later on though," Jack said, "When everything had died down. But I guess I thought the same as Teal'c. You were finally smiling again, I didn't want to take that away."

Sam nodded, her chest feeling tight. How could she ever have thought that these men hadn't cared about her. Had wanted to abandon her? She berated herself for doing this to them all.

"Don't feel guilty Carter," Jack seemed to hear her thoughts, "We are all allowed one freak-out a year."

"Only one?" Daniel entered the room again, Teal'c on his heels carrying a large chocolate cake.

"Maybe two. Is that cake?" Jack's eyes lit up.

"Chocolate devils food cake, Sam's favourite," Daniel said.

Sam gazed at the heavenly chocolate cake and felt herself relax into her friends company. She felt like she was part of it again, encased in the warmth and comfort of her team, of her friends. She sat back and bit into her slice of cake, letting the sweetness fill her mouth, everything felt right again.

***

Two weeks later, Sam was standing in the briefing room as their latest debriefing ended. Jack clapped his hands together as soon as Hammond left.

"Everyone up for a BBQ at my place tonight?"

"Of course," Teal'c said.

"Sure am," Daniel smiled and turned to look at Sam.

Sam stared back at the three men waiting patiently for her answer. The past couple of weeks had been great; not perfect, but it felt like they'd almost settled back into their old rhythm again, well, almost…

"I'm in too."

***

The End