Fic: The Waterfall's Magic
Takes place in Season 10 (Spoilers for In the Company of Thieves and a few others)
Title: The Waterfall's Magic
Category: Friendship, Pre-romance (?), Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Episode Tag
Spoilers: Singularity, In the Line of Duty, Secrets, The Tok’ra, Heroes, Threads, Avalon, Morpheus, Memento Mori, and In the Company of Thieves.
Summary: After a mission, Sam does some thinking in a favorite place all her own; one that serves as an important connection. Post-ep fic for In the Company of Thieves
Warnings: character death
Sam heaved a sigh as she sat at her desk, trying to write her report for this latest mission. It was a tough one to write. Not only had SG-1 dealt with the Lucian Alliance once again, resulting in Teal’c being captured and Mitchell going under cover to rescue him, but she’d had a very trying time herself. First, the Odyssey had be captured by a despicable man named Avateo, who not only forced her to fix the ship, which had been damaged in the earlier strikes, but he spent most of the time hitting on her.
Perhaps the worst of all was that he had shot and killed Colonel Emerson in his bid to make her follow his instructions. She’d been right there when he was killed. She’d seen him die.
Sam stopped in mid-type as she felt her emotions attempt to overwhelm her. Her eyes filled with tears and she bit her lip to keep from crying. Yes, she’d seen people get killed in front of her many times before and she hadn’t known the Odyssey’s Commander very long, but he did not deserve to be brutally killed by a madman who wanted her to help him control the vessel.
She was forced by Avateo to fix the ship at gunpoint. He had not hesitated to kill Emerson and Sam hardly thought that he would hesitate to kill her either; at least once she had everything under control. She didn’t doubt that her friends knew what had happened and they would come attempt to take back the ship and help her. Whether or not they would be too late was something that she didn’t know, and not a thought she wanted to entertain.
She remembered the immense relief she felt when she found Daniel and Vala on board. What she didn’t expect was the rather flippant air the two projected as they made their way up to her. Sure, Vala had asked her how she was holding up, and Sam appreciated the fact that the alien woman seemed concerned about her. Daniel however remained silent and didn’t seem to project anything for her whatsoever. Sam would have been surprised and would have questioned him, but it wasn’t the time or place to do such a thing.
Actually, she was surprised that none of her team members seemed concerned for her welfare. They certainly didn’t seem all that relieved that she was okay after they returned to Earth. It began to make her question her worth to the team. After the debriefing, General Landry had told her that he was sorry for the loss of Colonel Emerson. He’d also made a comment that struck a nerve with Sam and nearly resulted in making her emotions spill forth.
“I’m glad that they were able to get you back. Your contribution to the team is far too great for us to risk losing you, Colonel Carter.”
Sam’s eyes widened and she felt a lump form in her throat. “I … Sir,” she stammered, caught off guard by his words. “Thank you, Sir. No one else on the team has said anything, so I assumed that …”
The General smiled faintly. “Even if they don’t say anything, I’m sure they all feel the same way. Heck, you’ve been with Teal’c and Dr. Jackson for, what is it, more than nine years now? Colonel Mitchell never seems to have doubted your worth, and Vala has learned quite a bit from you the past few months.”
Sam inwardly rolled her eyes and snorted, doubting that last notion very much. Realizing it would do no good to dispute anything with Landry, She gave him an awkward smile. “I suppose you’re right, Sir. I better get started on my report.”
“All right. Take it easy,” he told her before she made her way out of his office.
I’m sure they all feel the same way. Landry would say that, wouldn’t he? He was being diplomatic. Yes, he would assume that her teammates felt the same way about her contribution as he did. Perhaps it was due to the few times he’d witnessed them fraternizing over the past year, but that had certainly diminished of late.
Back at her desk a day later, Sam groaned inwardly as the realization that she was now feeling sorry for herself struck her head-on. She was attempting to write a mission report, having difficulty because a crewmember had been brutally killed in front of her, and now her grief over his loss had turned into self pity. What kind of person was she?
She then realized that it was due to the doubts of her worth to the team that had begun a few months ago. Those doubts had only mounted, and, when no one appeared concerned about her during this mission, they came to a head. She’d suspected from time to time that no one found her contribution all that valuable, but she couldn’t be certain so she didn’t let it bother her. Now, she had tangible proof, and it hurt.
She also realized that she was most bothered by Daniel’s behavior on board the ship. She expected him to at least ask if she was okay when they found her. Even though Vala had asked her as much, she didn’t think Daniel would hold back. Daniel was always the compassionate, considerate one on SG-1 – the most considerate one, anyway. Not only had Daniel not shown any concern for Sam on the ship, but he hadn’t said anything to her back at the SGC either, especially in the form of relief that she was okay. Sam wanted to say something to him, but he had made a steady beeline for the commissary with Vala. As juvenile as it might have seemed, it made Sam think that he thought more highly of Vala than he did of her, not just as a teammate but as a friend as well.
That hurt the most.
As tears began to cloud her vision once again, Sam knew she was not in the right frame of mind to finish her report. Luckily it wasn’t due until the end of the week, and she could try to work on it some more later in the day. They were on stand down for the moment and it was only 1600 hours.
She saved her work, shut down her computer, and made her way out of her office and down the hall.
The late afternoon sun shone through a break in the trees, causing the water pooling beneath the small waterfall to sparkle. Sam sat on a boulder by the water’s edge, taking in her surroundings with an air of serenity. It was almost a half a mile hike from Cheyenne Mountain, but the scenery was worth it. Ever since she had first joined SG-1, this little spot became her favorite whenever she wanted to be alone to collect her thoughts, especially during times of distress. The gentle sound of water spilling over the falls, as well as the sweet songs of the various birds that called this wooded area home, were enough to melt her cares away. Whenever she visited this area, she always left feeling rejuvenated, her heart less heavy than it was when she first arrived.
As she studied the scenery around her, she began to think philosophically about her predicament. What if, unbeknownst to General Landry, her teammates hadn’t viewed her as a valuable contribution to SG-1? Would they feel better if she had transferred to another team or just quit working for the SGC? Would it be the best thing for everyone if she agreed to this?
Then there was the problem with Daniel. With Teal’c, the two of them were, for lack of a better expression, the anchors of SG-1, the rocks. They had been the only remnants of the original team that were left after Jack was promoted to Homeworld Security, after Mitchell, and, later, Vala had joined them. They had been good, close friends for more than nine years now. Daniel’s history with Vala, especially while Sam was at Area 51, certainly helped along his budding friendship with her. Sam did not expect that friendship to cause her and Daniel to drift apart, but it certainly seemed to be the case.
She began to wonder if Daniel would have acted differently on board the Odyssey if Vala was not with him. At one time she’d amusedly entertained the notion that Vala was becoming a bad influence to Daniel, especially since he’d grown a lot more acerbic in recent days. He almost seemed to become an entirely different person. Sam missed the caring, considerate man she’d met all those years ago. She then surmised that this man was now dead, and she should try to move on and forget about it.
But it was not easy to forget about someone who meant so much to her. Being reassigned to another team or even to another facility was looking like a more viable idea. Her gaze dropped to the pool of water below and she sighed heavily.
She didn’t know how long she had been sitting out there when she heard what sounded like a twig snap. Sam put her heavy feelings aside for the moment and instinctively reached for her sidearm.
She risked a glance in the direction of the sound and found something rather unexpected: Daniel Jackson, standing still and watching her. Only now he had his hands out in front of him in surrender.
Sam drew a breath of relief as she put her gun away and sat back down on the boulder. Her gaze returned to the waterfall and she thought that her initial reaction to Daniel’s presence, coupled with her ignoring him now, would make him think that she didn’t want to talk to him, even though deep down she had plenty to say.
Daniel’s voice was closer. It was so close it made her shiver. She turned and found him standing alongside her makeshift bench. His face seemed etched with concern, but Sam bitterly reminded herself that he didn’t seem concerned about her at all on their last mission. Why should he be concerned now?
“How long have you been there?” she asked, sounding exhausted.
“A while,” he answered simply. “
Sam nodded. “How did you know I was here?”
“Because I know that this is one of your favorite spots,” Daniel replied, taking a seat next to her. Sam almost shuddered at the sudden closeness. It was something she had not experienced for a long time, a fact that added to her disappointment.
“I know you come here whenever you want to be alone and think. You came here when you were worried about Cassie, before General Hammond made the decision to bring her back through the Stargate. You came here when you started to recover from the physical and emotional effects of having been blended with Jolinar. You came here not long after you found out your father had cancer before he became host to Selmak, and you came here after he died. You also came here after Janet’s death. And I know, because each time I found you here, and I stayed with you.”
Sam turned and met Daniel’s gaze for the first time that she found him out here. What he told her was the absolute truth. On each of these occasions, Sam had come here, and on each Daniel had happened upon her accidentally on purpose. He’d demonstrated what a good friend he was to her each time, a friend who was willing to listen and offer a shoulder to cry on if she needed it.
Sam nodded again and sniffled, driving away the tears that started to form again in her eyes. “You know me so well, don’t you?”
Daniel looked into her eyes and nodded. “As well as I could know anyone.”
Sam attempted to smile for the first time in ages, but something nagging at her caused her to frown instead. “If you know me so well, then you had to know what I was going through when the Odyssey was captured. And, yet, you didn’t seem to care.”
Daniel looked at her curiously. “What?”
Sam’s emotions were bubbling over as she turned to him, her eyes glowing angrily. “Damn it, Daniel, I watched a good man die!” she suddenly shouted. “I was being forced to fix the ship at gunpoint, by a madman who kept hitting on me! He could have killed me at any time. He brutally murdered Colonel Emerson right in front of me. That was bad enough, but the fact that I would be next and there was no one there to help wasn’t so great either. Then I was so relieved when I saw you and Vala. And what do I get in return? ‘Hi, Sam!’” She mockingly imitated Daniel’s flippant tone at the time.
Daniel briefly shut his eyes and sighed miserably, almost as if in acknowledgment that he acted like a jerk, part of a comedic duo of sorts with Vala.
“I didn’t even get an ‘are you okay, Sam’ – it was ‘Hi, Sam! Do you have a plan? We don’t!’” she continued mockingly. “Vala was the one who asked me how I was holding up. You just looked on as some pathetic mute.”
Daniel covered his face with his hands, appearing defeated. “I know,” he said, his voice muffled by his hands. He raised his head slightly and looked at Sam. She instantly felt a twinge of guilt as her words seemed to have stung him a bit.
“I could understand if it just wasn’t the time and place for you to offer any type of comfort, although you could have said something. It was the fact that you didn’t say a word to me after we got back, no concern for what happened to me, no relief that I was okay. You just went frolicking off with Vala to the commissary,” Sam continued bitterly.
“In all fairness, she dragged me there,” Daniel offered in self defense.
Frustrated, Sam sighed and shook her head. “You weren’t the only one. Neither Teal’c nor Cameron said anything either. General Landry actually told me after the debriefing that it was good to have me back and that he thought my contributions to the team were too valuable to lose me.”
“You know he’s right,” Daniel said quietly.
Sam uttered a short, bitter laugh. “He said he was sure you all felt the same way.” Her grin faded and she looked at him seriously. “Daniel, this might sound too much like self pity, but this has all made me question if I belong on SG-1.”
Daniel’s brow furrowed. “If you belong on SG-1?” he repeated almost incredulously. “What makes you think that you don’t, Sam?”
Sam gave him an “are-you-stupid” look, as she thought he’d heard what she had been saying the whole time. “Well, the fact that no one seemed to give a damn about my welfare on this mission had me a little suspicious,” she replied, a bit of a sarcastic edge to her voice. “Cameron and Teal’c I could maybe understand, since they also went through a lot on this mission and were dealing with it afterwards. But you …” Her voice broke and she trailed off.
Daniel scrubbed a hand through his hair and looked at her ashamedly. “I’m sorry,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper.
She shook her head. “Daniel, for as long as I’ve known you, you were such a kind, considerate, compassionate person. You were always there to offer comfort and reassurance any time something went wrong for any of us. The fact that you didn’t seem to notice or care what I went through, it made me wonder if anyone would care if I was no longer on the team. Most of all, it made me wonder what you thought of me, if you still valued me as a friend.”
Daniel moved closer to her and put a hand on her shoulder, to which she flinched slightly. “Sam, please, I do value you as a friend. I value you more than I ever have. I know it didn’t seem that way at the time, and for that I’m truly sorry.”
Sam sniffled but did not respond as he rubbed her back in slow, circular motions. “I know I acted like a jerk when Vala and I found you. Do you want to know why?”
Sam nodded. “That would be nice.”
“The truth is, I was really annoyed with her at the time. Even though Colonel Mitchell wanted to go with her to the shipyard to talk to Solek, she insisted that I should come because I’m more ‘non-threatening.’” Daniel rolled his eyes. “I knew we would be walking into a trap and Vala hammed it up as usual as she was talking to him. It didn’t get us anywhere, and then we heard your, Avateo, and Colonel Emerson’s voices on the transponder, along with the gunshot.”
Sam watched Daniel as he scrubbed his face with his hands and sighed. He was clearly distressed.
“I was just aggravated and I really wanted to get up onto the ship to help you out. Solek zatted us, so that made me feel even more aggravated. You should have heard what Vala said when we first came to and realized we were on the ship. She said, ‘looks like I got us a free ticket. Not bad, eh?’”
Sam grinned and shook her head. “Ugh,” she said. “I can imagine. I don’t blame you for being aggravated, Daniel, and I can’t imagine you were feeling any better after he got you with the zat. But, still, your behavior made me think that you didn’t care about what had happened to me. I never wanted to believe that you didn’t care. It would have been too hard a thing for me to accept.”
“I know, and I’m really sorry, Sam. I was very concerned about you, and I was relieved beyond words that you were okay. I should have said something, but I was just so aggravated that we’d walked into another trap that I didn’t show how I felt for you. And, you’re right; I should have approached you and said something after we got back. Vala has made it a point to monopolize every moment of my time, I haven’t even gotten a chance to start on my mission report,” Daniel said ruefully.
Sam met his gaze once again. “You have to say ‘no’, Daniel. If she’s occupying every moment of your free time, and you’re not getting anything done, you have to draw the line. Tell her you’re busy and that you don’t want to be disturbed.”
Daniel nodded. “You’re right, Sam, but I just don’t know if I can do it. I mean, let’s face it; she’s on the team because of me. I went to bat for her in a big way. The General told me basically to keep her out of trouble, so I feel responsible for her, even more so after the Trust kidnapped her. I just … I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Daniel, you have to learn to say ‘no,’” Sam insisted gently. “Just because you feel responsible for her doesn’t mean that you can let her manipulate you. I mean, look at the way you act when she’s bugging you. You’re so irritated. You need some time to yourself, some time with other people. You can tell her that without being mean to her. If she can’t take it then she needs to learn to stop using you as her crutch.”
Daniel appeared surprised by that.
“You know it’s true,” Sam continued. “It seems that she can’t do anything without being attached to you. She needs to grow in her surroundings and her interactions with other people on the team and on base. She can’t do that if she doesn’t leave you alone from time to time.”
Daniel conceded that she was right. “I guess it also makes it look like I’ve been avoiding you too, Sam,” he told her.
Sam’s gaze dropped to her hands and she nodded. It prompted Daniel to pull her closer to him and slip his arm around her shoulder. “I’m sorry. I’ve spent so much time getting Vala acclimated to life here that I’ve almost forgotten about my good friends – especially my best friend.” He gave her a fond smile and stroked her hair as he spoke these words.
She returned the smile and felt Daniel pull her even closer. She uttered a small note of surprise when Daniel kissed her gently on the cheek. He then pulled back and smiled tenderly at her, rubbing her shoulder.
“Now do you believe me when I say that I value you as a friend … actually, on a deeper level than that?”
Although there was still some leftover surprise from Daniel’s gesture, Sam widened her smile. “Yeah,” she confirmed. Deep down a part of her was crying tears of joy, that she was wrong that he didn’t value her as a friend. There was also some wonderment there. He valued her on a deeper level than friendship? Could he possibly mean “as soul mates?”
“And do you believe me when I say that I value your contribution to SG-1?” Daniel continued.
His loving smile prompted her to answer again in the affirmative. Her own smile dimmed slightly after a moment. “I do, but I wish that the others would have told me so.”
Daniel conceded with a nod. “I don’t know why they haven’t. But, what General Landry says is true. You are an integral part of SG-1, and you always will be. Never, ever doubt that.”
Sam smiled and nearly surprised Daniel when she leaned over and kissed him back. His expression made her chuckle, especially when he started to blush and then grinned ruefully at her. “You’re a good kisser,” he teased fondly.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” she grinned back.
Daniel ducked his head for a moment. His expression sobered when he caught a glimpse of his watch. “Oh, gee, it’s almost five-thirty,” he said.
Sam’s eyes widened slightly, not realizing how late it had grown. She barely noticed the subsequent twinkle in Daniel’s eyes as they both stood up and he placed his arm around her waist.
“I’m starting to get a little hungry,” he told her. “Would you like to join me for dinner?”
Sam wasn’t expecting his proposition, and it stirred up a bit of excitement inside her. “I’d love to, but can we go off base somewhere? It’s Meatloaf Night,” she said, wrinkling her nose a bit.
Daniel chuckled softly. “No, I wanted to take you some place a lot more special than the dingy old commissary. I know a quaint, little Italian restaurant in town with the perfect atmosphere.”
“Sounds great, Daniel,” Sam smiled. “I just have to change.”
Daniel smiled back. “Same here. I’ll meet you topside in a half hour, is that enough time?”
Sam nodded. Was it enough time? Heck, Daniel Jackson, the man who was, now without doubt, more than her best friend, was taking her out to dinner. She could be ready in ten minutes if he wanted.
The walk back to the mountain and the ride in the elevator was mired in silence, but they still managed to communicate feelings of admiration, love, and even overwhelming relief – Sam that Daniel still cared about her and valued her contribution to the team, Daniel that Sam was indeed okay after their latest mission – to each other.
Just before they were about to part ways, Daniel looked at her intently and spoke once again. “Remember, you are important to SG-1 and you are important to me,” he said solemnly.
Sam smiled. “I will. And remember, you need to start putting your foot down more with Vala once in a while.”
Daniel smiled and nodded. “I will. See you in a half hour, Sam.” He gave her another quick kiss on the cheek that instilled her with a warm, comfy feeling she took with her down to her office and all the way back up to the surface where she waited for him.
Daniel showed up a few minutes later, looking quite dashing in a navy blue jacket, light blue dress shirt, and a matching navy blue tie. Sam looked down at herself and blushed at the outfit that suddenly seemed a bit too revealing. She didn’t need to worry, though. From the look on his face, Daniel seemed to like it just fine. He surprised her yet again by taking her hand and kissing it before opening the passenger side door of his car for her.
That evening, the two talked and laughed over a sumptuous dinner. Sam had regretted that she and Daniel didn’t get to spend much quality time together, even just as friends, but this had more than made up for it. She enjoyed it a little too much and ended up having a little too much to drink. She felt too woozy to make the drive back to her own house, so, instead of driving back to the mountain, Daniel took Sam back to his house. As she slept that night in Daniel’s guest room, she wondered if it had all been a dream.
The fact that she had too much to drink was certainly not a dream, as evidenced by the pounding headache she received when she woke up the next morning. She also realized she was not in her own bed, but somewhere else. Daniel suddenly showed up with a bottle of aspirin and a tall glass of water. He applied a cool, wet facecloth to Sam’s forehead, stroking her hair back from her face. These simple acts demonstrated that the notion that he cared a great deal for her was not a myth.
After she was feeling better, he made something for her to eat and joined her at the table with a cup of coffee. Again, he showed how he cared for her, how he treasured her as a friend … more than as a friend. If she could not see his love and compassion now, she had to have been struck blind.
Daniel and Sam managed to grow closer again, even closer than they had been after the “original” SG-1 split up, and after Mitchell and Vala joined the team. They had definitely progressed to a level beyond friendship. Although many had suspected that their understanding of each other went deeper, as if they were kindred souls, it now appeared at the forefront. Sam no longer doubted her worth on SG-1, and Daniel learned to put his foot down regarding Vala being in his wake at all times. She learned to interact more with her other teammates and her friendships with them became stronger. She learned to accept Daniel’s relationship with Sam, and was quite content to remain friends with the archaeologist. It almost seemed too good to be true for Sam.
That late afternoon at her favorite spot with the waterfall had done some good, as it had time and time again. It served as a place for Sam to collect her thoughts, to silently vent her frustrations, and to work out problems that went far beyond that which her logical, scientific mind could handle. The fact that Daniel showed up each and every time also spoke volumes. She even began to wonder if it served, on some level, to bring them both together.
It was a notion that her logical mind could not quite accept, so she tried to write it off. She never succeeded, though, and something kept drawing her, as well as Daniel, to that same spot countless times after that. Perhaps they would never find out why. Perhaps they would do best not to question why and just enjoy the time they spent together in the quiet, sun-dappled serenity.