In retrospect, she really should have seen it coming. It wasn’t like there hadn’t been signs pointing her to the logical conclusion. Oh sure, she had her reasons for ignoring the things she heard and saw. That first clue might have been a joke. Even with all room for plausible deniability revoked, that first time still might have been a joke.
1. “It was strange though,” Daniel was saying as Sam approached the briefing room, “to see myself from outside of myself. Like an out-of-body experience. I was kind of distracted by the whole dying…thing with Ma’chello; it was more pronounced those few minutes in your body.”
Sam walked through the door, smiling at Daniel’s blasé attitude toward being trapped in two bodies not his own and caught the Colonel staring dreamily into space. Waving a hand in front of Jack’s face, Daniel teased, “Stargate Command to Jack.” When the colonel’s attention was back on him he asked, “What was it like for you?”
“Well it certainly wasn’t the way I envisioned getting into your pants,” Jack responded. He said it so matter-of-factly that it took awhile for the words to catch up to Sam’s, and apparently Daniel’s, already preoccupied mind.
“Wait, what?” the archaeologist asked, forehead furrowed in confusion. But Teal’c and Hammond had arrived, and Jack’s attention was on the General.
Daniel stared at Jack while Sam stared at them both. She had just about convinced herself that she was imagining things when Jack caught Daniel staring and winked. Maybe not just her imagination then. But it was too unbelievable to be true; and the Colonel wouldn’t say anything like that to a man, a married man at that, not seriously. So she chalked it up to the Colonel’s unique sense of humor and took her place at the table.
And she might have never thought of that moment again if not for that incident in the elevator.
2. Sam watched the Colonel and Daniel banter with familiar warmth filling her chest. Trust her team to squabble over books and laptops when they were on their way to start a war. There were so many times when she could have lost one or both of them, way too many to dwell on. It was nice - comforting - to have her Dad along, but it was the back-and-forth of her friends that was her real security blanket. Even in Teal’c’s absence, even with a dangerous mission looming over them, her team remained her touchstone. Only her many years of military training kept her from laughing out loud when the Colonel pushed Daniel’s glasses up his face with two fingers.
She caught her father’s eye and wanted to shrug, to smile and cock her eyebrow in the way Teal’c sometimes did to indicate ‘What are you gonna do?’ But the expression on her father’s face, that look that was an eyeroll without the actual eyeroll, was painfully easy to place. She’d seen it employed many times in her youth, usually in regards to Mark’s attitude toward his latest crush. It meant ‘get a room’ and ‘could he be more obvious?’ More importantly, what it meant right now was that Jacob thought Jack was flirting with Daniel. And he didn’t disapprove. Something in Samantha Carter’s world shifted imperceptibly as she filed away this new bit of information.
She thought about that look a lot over the next couple of months, replaying the whole scene from Jack’s carrying-the-books routine to the strangely intimate act of adjusting Daniel’s glasses. But in the next few months things seemed tenser between her teammates than they ever had before. And then the whole thing became irrelevant when they lost Daniel.
A full year after the last time she’d thought about The Elevator Incident, she was back on Abydos and her best friend was there too, in all his beautiful, terrible glory, and Skaara asked the Colonel an innocent question.
3. Sam watched the expressions chasing themselves across the Colonel’s face, too amused to be offended, as he tried to figure out what Skaara may or may not be implying about them attending the wedding together. What did he mean, as what? God save her from emotionally stunted men.
“Friends going to a wedding,” she filled in helpfully.
“Ah, yes! Sure,” the Colonel agreed, relief apparent in his tone. He quickly looked for a reason to exit the conversation and found it in their newest team member. “Jonas,” Jack called as he walked away.
Sam just barely suppressed a laugh and exchanged a fond look with the Abydonian. She rolled her eyes in the interplanetary sign for ‘Man, he’s an idiot.’
Skaara grinned and responded out loud, “I know. When I asked him to stand beside me I think he half-thought I was asking him to marry me. Or help with the wedding night.”
Sam laughed again, and Skaara echoed the sentiment. “Like I would ever do such a thing to Danyul,” he added incredulously and walked off.
Sam stared after him for a moment. Wha? Did he mean what it sounded like he meant? Because it’d been years since she’d suspected, or at least since her father suspected, but that had all been on the Colonel’s end. Daniel couldn’t possibly…he had left them and there hadn’t been any other indication. Unless there was something she just didn’t want to see, but surely… Sam shook her head. Nah, Skaara’s the one jumping to conclusions she decided and moved to Jonas’s side at the wall.
But Sam’s ability to delude herself was shattered a few months after Daniel’s return to the realm of the mortal.
4. It would be difficult to label it as the worse mission ever. After all, nobody was shooting at them or threatening to take over the human race. There was ‘only’ a flash flood to deal with, a flash flood that had swept away over half of their supplies and nearly taken the Colonel with it. But they were barely half a day’s walk from the stargate and in no real danger. On the other hand, sharing a tent with her three male teammates ranked very high on Sam’s list of Things Never to Repeat.
The first time they had lost a tent (and only in the SGC could this be a semi-common occurrence) the idiots had tried to be chivalrous and give it to her. Sam had quickly and violently put an end to that. If she let them treat her like a girl in this one thing they might start treating her like a girl in other ways, and that could be fatal in the field. Since the boys had learned their lesson the hard way that first time, they had developed a much fairer system - they all stayed outside and left the tent packed up.
However the rain that had caused the flash flood hadn’t let up, so they were all crammed in tonight. The boys tried to give her some semblance of privacy by putting their packs between her & Teal’c, but really? These weren’t four people tents.
Teal’c was asleep, or at least doing a reasonable job of faking it, but Sam was having no such luck. She was just about to sit up to see if Daniel and the Colonel were still awake when Jack began whispering. He really shouldn’t have bothered. Even with the constant rain she could hear everything.
“Daniel, not here,” he was saying.
“Jack, please.” Daniel was pleading, slightly out of breath. Sam heard a wet smacking sound and Jack moaned quietly. Sam slipped a hand over her mouth to prevent her exclamation of surprise. If she didn’t know any better…
“Daniel, no. When we get home when can have all the life-affirming sex you want, but now is not the time or place.” Okay, apparently she didn’t know any better.
Daniel sighed in frustration, and she could hear him shifting around. “If you’re not gonna let me take the edge off now then you should be prepared to not sit right for a week once we get home. Fair warning.”
Jack chuckled. Sam could feel the sound taking up residence low in her stomach. “Promises, promises,” the Colonel muttered huskily. Then there were the more normal sounds of the men settling down for the night, and soon their breathing evened out into a sleepy rhythm.
Now there was no denying that something was going on between two of the most important men in her life. The only thing Sam could cling to as she kept vigil with the drenched night was that maybe it was only physical, maybe the Colonel’s heart wasn’t already taken.
This was a difficult enough illuision to maintain under the best of circumstances. But the Colonel’s discovery of Daniel’s tiny injury finally shattered her pipe dream.
5. Daniel fussed and whined about the stupidity of stopping, claiming that he’d had worse cuts shaving, but reluctantly obeyed Jack’s firm order to ‘sit down and let me look at the damn thing.’
Sam turned to take a look. She wanted to examine the scratch for herself, to judge if this was a case of the Colonel overreacting or of Daniel under reacting. It was an automatic reaction, checking on the well being of her teammate. It wasn’t supposed to reveal anything new or special. Unfortunately, life didn’t schedule its universe-shattering revelations for anyone’s convenience, and Sam’s eyes never made it to the shallow cut on Daniel’s arm, trapped instead by the warm glow of her CO’s eyes. It occurred to her that she’d been watching their courtship for too many years to be surprised, but somehow the way the Colonel was looking at Daniel did surprise her. There it was, impossible to deny any longer, Jack O’Neill was in love.