Title: Dynamics

Author: Cookie Monster

Rating: Um, let's say a R for language.

Summary: Three years after the events in 'Meridian,' Daniel returns

to confront Sam. Angst ensues!

Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate. Because if I did, Jonas would be

the name of Daniel's pet rock. Ahem, artefact.

************

He's traversed the universe with no directions, so there's a certain irony in the fact that he knows exactly where he is, yet for the first time in his life he feels completely lost. He stands outside her office door, a cup of rapidly cooling coffee clenched in his hand, and he realises he has absolutely no idea of what to say to her. No idea of what she's thinking. No idea of what she's going through. No idea of what she feels. She was his best friend, his Major-Doctor, and she may as well be a stranger.

It hurts.

He pushes the feeling aside as he pushes the door open. She doesn't look up, fingers clacking incessantly at the keyboard, eyes focused straight ahead. He takes the moment to study her. Physically at least, little has changed. Same piercing blue eyes, same short blonde hair that at the moment is in disarray, having had impatient fingers raked through it once too often. His fingers itch to sooth it down for her, his hand curling into a fist to stop himself from crossing the room and touching her. She's lost weight. He can tell in the way her cheekbones are more prominent under her skin, the way her uniform bags around her waist. She looks tired. She looks…great. He may have been addicted to the sarcophagus, but he's never known true need until now.

A scrape of chair in the corner, and for the first time he realises she's not alone. His eyes shift sideways and he feels his stomach clench as the man steps out of the shadows that have gathered at the side of the room. Jonas. The man who has just risen from the chair is Jonas. He remembers the brief introduction in the Gateroom, jumbled up as it is with hugs and handshakes and blue eyes practically pinning him to the wall with their glare. He hadn't seen him at first, hadn't been looking. Then maybe she'd stepped back, maybe he'd stepped forward, maybe it was a bit of both, but then he'd seen him. Even without his glasses, he'd seen him clearer than maybe anything he'd seen before.

He'd seen his hand on her shoulder, resting like it belonged there.

They eye each other for a moment, each weighing, measuring, and it's Jonas who finally breaks the silence. "Sam." His voice is low, intimate. Daniel resists the urge to tell him to call her Major. She looks up, back at him, and for a moment a smile plays on her lips, lights her eyes, lifts the tiredness away. Then her eyes shift forwards and the smile dies, wiped out like it never existed in the first place. He feels its loss like a Zat blast to the chest.

He watches, his eyes on hers, as Jonas crosses the room, places his hand on her shoulder, leans his head down to her level. "Do you want me to stay?" He wants to break the hand off at the wrist and force-feed it to him. He wants to yell at him to get out. But he lost the right to do either a long time ago. "No. I'll be okay." Her voice is quiet, her hand steady as it reaches up to cover his. The intimacy makes him feel like he's intruding. Now he understands what Jack must have felt all those years ago.

Lost in the moment he doesn't notice as Jonas walks towards him. But he'd have to be dead not to notice the warning in his eyes. He could tell him not to worry…that he'd never hurt Sam. But they both know he'd be lying. The evidence is staring them right in the face with accusing blue eyes.

He leaves; closing the door quietly behind him, although Daniel's sure he can hear him mentally slam it. The silence is loaded. Screw a knife; you could cut this tension with a dessert spoon. She's avoiding his gaze, staring at a point just over his shoulder as he tries to get his vocal chords to function, reminding himself that he's a skilled linguist; English shouldn't be a problem. Sam is, was, his team-mate, his friend. Talking to her should be easy. Right?

Wrong.

Sam…

Sam, I missed you.

Sam, I thought about you everyday.

Sam, I love you.

I'm sorry.

"So. You and Jonas…." He could kick himself as soon as the words leave his mouth, knowing that of all the things he could have picked, all the things he could have said, that had to be the most stupid.

"It's nothing to do with you." Cold voice, frosty eyes. He wants to tell her that she's wrong. And if that doesn't work he wants to beg.

"No. I'm sorry." A shrug. He used to admire her strength. Now, he hates it. "I've been back three days and I haven't seen much of you…"

"I've been busy."

"I know. I was hoping we could talk."

"Funny. I thought that's what we were doing."

"Sam…"

"What do you want from me Daniel?" Now she does look at him. The anger he could take. The hate he could take. But the pain….

"I don't want anything." I want you. "I thought we were friends." Mistake. Anger flashing in her eyes, voice rising.

"You've been gone for three years. What do you expect?"

"Jack…"

"I'm not Jack. He can just pick up where you left off. Fuck that. Fuck you."

"Sam…"

"No, Daniel. You wanted to talk, I'm talking. If it's not what you want to hear then that's your problem." Her fingers starting to move on the keyboard again, her movements jerky, hitting the keys hard.

"I'm sorry." That stops them. But only for a moment.

"Sorry isn't good enough. Not this time."

"I thought you understood…"

"What I understood was that you left. You left without a word. That's not what friends do."

"I needed to go."

"And I needed you to stay. But you never even gave me a chance to tell you."

"It wasn't like that."

"Alright then, tell me. Tell me you were forced to go. Tell me you didn't have a choice."

"I can't."

"And I can't sit here and pretend to forgive you."

Silence except the chatter of the keyboard. He wants to go over there and grab it. He wants to grab her. He wants, has, to make her understand. "If you'd just listen…"

"To what? Excuses? Explanations? You're going to tell me that you had good reasons? Save them for someone who cares. I don't want them, Daniel. I don't want you."

"You don't mean that." Desperation in his voice.

""Yes, I do."

"Sam…" A plea.

"Go away, Daniel." She leans her head back, closes her eyes. He sees the weariness wash over her in a wave. "Go away, and this time, don't bother coming back." Her voice quiet, her tone without bitterness, but backed by steel. More effective than any amount of screaming, swearing. More cutting than any knife. Defeat. He can taste it in his mouth, can feel it in his throat. He's too late. He's lost her. And if he's lost her, he's lost…everything.

"Fine." His voice is choked. He's surprised that he can speak. "I know you hate me, Sam. I may even deserve it. But I'm not going without telling you what I came here to say."

"I don't want to hear it."

"Tough shit." A deep breath, releases it on the count of five. "I love you."

He opens the door and walks away.