Title: Five people Sam wishes she could have fallen in love with

Rating: G

Spoilers: Ripple Effect, minor for s8/9

Summary: written for lj: sg1_five_things

Author's Note: sg1_five_things

Date: 20/07/09

Disclaimer: Stargate doesn't belong to me, someone outbid me on ebay.

---

1.

Sam looked up from her locker at the sound of muffled giggles. A few lockers away a group of girls from her class watched Thom Fredricks walk down the corridor before pulling back into their tight huddle. Snatches of their conversation floated back to where Sam stood, but she needn't listen in to know what they were talking about.

Thom was the best looking boy in school, at least according to these girls. Sam agreed that he was fair looking, and a decent enough boy; they had been lab partners in chem. last year, and he hadn't made Sam do all the work – something that raised him far above most of the boys in Sam's books. But still, friendly or not, she didn't see what the rest of the girls saw. It seemed she never really did.

She often wondered if there were something wrong with her eyes, that maybe she needed a pair of glasses that, once worn, would allow her to see the world the way other girls did. Maybe then she would understand the importance of conversations carried out behind whispered hands; notes passed between desks that always seemed to miss her; the mesmerising beauty of a young boy with too-long hair flopping in his eyes. Maybe if she could learn to love Thom too, she would finally understand everything else.

She piled the rest of her books into her bag and walked the corridor Thom had passed down minutes before, leaving her peers behind her.

2.

Sam sat back and stretched her frame out to its entire tall length, feeling the muscles in her back shift and settle once again into a more natural position after hours of being hunched over her work. She looked down at the table in front of her, where the laptop she had been tapping away at sat in the midst of many well-thumbed reports and lab results.

Crossing the plateau of her workspace involved weaving between several tottering piles of paper, mugs of coffee in varying degrees of drinkability, half a sandwich rescued from the commissary and a generous number of mechanical pieces that, given the late hour, she could barely recall their origins. Halfway through this organised chaos, however, one entered Daniel-territory. Lab results flowed into site rubbings, reports into upturned tomes, falling apart at the spines, and technological artefacts were exchanged for historical ones. It wasn't uncommon for SGC staff to cross one or the other's lab late at night to see them both hard at work; information, writing utensils and fresh coffee passing wordlessly between hands.

Sam paused in her stretching to observe Daniel in his scribblings, glasses glinting in the light as his fingers flipped through pages searching for the correct translation. He was her best friend, and had been almost to the day she met him. Never before in her life had she had someone that she worked with, moved with, breathed with so effortlessly. Feeling her gaze on him, he looked up at her and smiled, causing her heart to pull inside her at the expression of pure loyalty in his eyes.

She wished, not for the first time, that she could find it in her to love him more than she already did.

3.

He looked up at her with curious eyes that didn't quite hide a grin as she ushered him to a table in the corner of the commissary. Sitting down she handed him his plate and took the opportunity to study him just as intently. He didn't look all that different from the man she knew – but yet there was a light, a freedom, coming from eyes that didn't quite match the face she had long since memorised.

He grinned under her scrutiny, "So how do I measure up?"

She jerked out of her musings, surprised at the easy smile he deployed at a moment's notice. "What do you mean?"

"Well," he said, jerking his head at the multiple Major Carter's sitting at tables around the room. "Seems to be a lot of yous around today – not a bad situation, if you ask me - just wondering how I compare to the Jack you know."

What to tell him? Should she tell him that he was just as handsome as the man she knew? That the man flying in to see her this weekend would find the prospect of many Carters just as enticing as he seemed to? That the man sitting across from her now, steadfastly trying to play footsie with her under the table, seemed infinitely more at ease than her own Jack?

She knew why, of course, Daniel had interviewed this Jack earlier – one of the very small number to come through the gate in this debacle – and had seen fit to give her a rundown before she met with him. This Jack had never lost his son; Charlie was a happy, healthy eighteen years old and about to enter the Academy himself. Though this Jack had also divorced his Sarah, it was an amicable divorce, as friendly as these things go. And this Jack was happy in a marriage to his own Carter, a relationship that wasn't followed by whispers of impropriety, despite the restraint and professionalism that this universe's pair had employed.

She simply smiled and pulled her foot away from his, "You're both as incorrigible as each other."

There was no way she could tell him the truth – she wouldn't do that to him. She wouldn't trade her Jack in for anything, but the man winking at her was the Jack she wished he could be again. The Jack she wished he could find within himself.

4.

Sam couldn't remember who the lady on the TV was, couldn't even really remember what the movie was about at all; but that didn't matter. She and Pete were curled up on her lounge, covered in a heavy blanket, her sock covered feet resting in his lap. He stared at the TV while he traced absent circles on her ankle; Sam stared at him.

She watched the way the overhead light caught on the hair falling over the tip of his ears. She watched the slow way his finger moved around and around over the striped wool covering her foot. She watched the way his eyes narrowed and widened as the characters in the movie she had long since abandoned moved and talked and lived in a way she hadn't for a very long time.

This, the way they sat, they way they were together, this was normal. Pete was normal. Practically living under a mountain was not normal. Intentionally disintegrating her body within an alien device on a daily basis was not normal. Choosing to drink coffee black despite hating the taste because it was a waste of money keeping milk in the house was not normal. Pete was the lifeline she had been thrown and she was going to hold on. She lifted her feet and crawled under the blanket to sit in his lap, arms stretching out to circle his neck.

She just wished she loved him.

5.

The bed dipped with added weight and Sam opened her eyes to see Cam sitting by her side. The brown bag nestled in the crook of his arm was a familiar sight and she fought the urge to cringe as he gave her a huge smile and thrust the bag out at her.

"They're not Grandma's macaroons, promise," he drawled cheerfully, bouncing a little with an excitement that caused the stitches on her thigh to pull a little. Sam took the bag but didn't open it. "What, don't you trust me?"

She did trust him, but she also trusted him to mess with her. She and Cameron Mitchell shared a relationship unlike the ones she had with the others on her team. It lacked the tension of her and Jack, the devotion of Teal'c and the understanding of Daniel; but what it did have was a degree of equality, of partnership, that the others lacked. Neither outranked the other and as such, the line between their professional and personal dealings had been blurred from the start. Working with Cameron was definitely far more relaxing than serving with Jack had ever been.

Cam pushed the bag a little closer to her, smiled, and left her to recover in peace. Crossing her fingers for chocolate chips instead of macaroons, she uncurled the top and peered inside. Resting inside the bag (one that had been okayed by the doctor with little more than a smile on the part of Cam) was her palm pilot, notes for several reports she had yet to finish and the solved Rubik's cube she had challenged Cam to finish the week before.

She closed the bag again and shook her head with a smile. Cam was a good friend, one whom often understood her thinking in ways no one else did in this newly formed ragtag SG-1. She knew he hoped for there to be more than their current friendship between them, but also knew, just as he did, that it was not about to happen. She was finally happy her life, and happy with the relationship they shared, but she sometimes wished it was otherwise. He deserved more.