Sam sighed and slammed her hands on the edge of the desk in frustration as Thor’s voice-rapidly growing irritating-chimed out.
“That function is not possible.”
“It’s useless,” she groaned. “I’m never getting us home.” As she dropped her face onto her hands, rubbing at her eyes in defeat, she felt a gentle hand squeeze her shoulder lightly.
“Sam,” the voice was familiar, comforting. She turned the chair and allowed him to draw her up into a hug. Her forehead took rest on his shoulder as he pulled her tightly to his chest.
“It’s useless,” she mumbled into his shirt.
“Sam, when’s the last time you ate?” Cam asked gently.
“I dunno, breakfast, I guess?” she replied. “I’ve been a little busy getting…absolutely nothing accomplished, as usual” she said, irritably.
“Sam, it’s eight PM,” Cam said, his voice holding a worried note. “And Teal’c said he saw you still working at three AM.”
“Traitor. He promised not to tell,” she mumbled. Holding her shoulders, Cam took a step backwards and moved one hand to her chin, tilting her face up to meet her bright blue eyes with his own.
“Turn the computer off, Sam.” His voice was firm. “We’re getting you something to eat and then you’re going to bed if I have to put you there myself.”
“I can’t, Cam. I said three months. It’s been six. I have to-“
“Please don’t make me turn this into an order, Sam. You’ll be no good to anybody if you get sick because you’re not eating or sleeping.” Cam said, cutting her off mid-argument. She opened her mouth to protest but closed it again, knowing he was right. Cam pulled her close again, his fingers splaying out across her back.
“I know you’re freaked,” he said, “but you’ll figure it out. You always do.” They stood for a minute, Cam’s hands tracing soothing patterns along her spine until she relaxed slightly under his touch.
“Okay. I give.” She pulled back from him slowly. “Let me shut this program down for now.” She indicated the holographic Asgard still standing to the side. She sat down and quickly tapped a few keys, causing the grey alien to fade out of view. Standing again, she followed Cam out of the lab.
She started out of sleep, sitting bolt upright with her breath coming in quick gasps. Bleary-eyed and blinking, she cast her gaze around, searching for the illuminated clock. Four AM. She fell back onto her pillow and sighed, trying to calm her breathing. She achieved only slight success and rubbed tiredly at her eyes before sighing again, resignedly this time, then sitting up and sliding off the bed. They’d been trapped in the time dilation field for a year now, and the nightmares had started around the seven month mark. After about a month, she'd told the others that they'd gone away, not wanting to worry them. The nightmares were never exactly the same, but the general theme was identical: she failed to solve the problem of the time dilation field and her friends all died horrible deaths. Sometimes they were quick and painless-those were the kindest of the bunch-sometimes they starved to death or developed horrible illnesses. The result was always the same. She was always the last one to die after watching her dearest friends suffer, and she woke up in a panic that refused to subside until she walked the ship and ensured there had been no such calamity in the time she’d been asleep. She knew it was irrational, but in her sleep-deprived state, she couldn't help herself. Pulling on a pair of black pants and a light blue long sleeved shirt-all of them except Cam had abandoned their uniforms around the ten month mark when it started becoming clear that they’d be spending a much longer than expected time on the ship-and, after slipping on a pair of shoes, left her quarters to start her usual walk. She’d only made it five metres out her door when, her tired gaze fixed firmly on the floor, she ran headlong into Cam, who was jogging slowly through the corridor.
"Sam!" he exclaimed, reaching out quickly to grab her arm and steady her.
"Oh, Cam. I'm sorry. I wasn't watching."
"No, it's okay. Are you alright?" his voice was filled with concern.
"Yeah," Sam said. "What're you doing up so early?"
"Honestly?" Cam asked.
"Waiting for you. I know you're usually up early, and you can't fool me Sam. I know you're still having nightmares." He reached out to touch her arm as she dropped her head again. "I didn't tell anyone. I promise. They all think you're just working too hard." Sam sighed.
"I can't stop them, Cam. I've tried everything, but no matter what, every night it's the same. You're all…and there's nothing I can…" her voice choked as her eyes filled with tears. Cam opened his arms towards her and she stepped into them gratefully, accepting his embrace.
"You're working too much, Sam. You're not alone in this," he murmured against her hair as he held her. He rubbed her back gently while she worked to compose herself. When she pulled back slightly, rubbing at her eyes with her sleeve, he brushed her hair back from her face carefully. It was getting longer. She'd have to cut it soon.
"C'mon. I want you to try and get some more sleep. Everyone is fine, Sam. I promise you." He turned her body with both hands and leaving one resting on her back guided her back to her quarters, Sam shaking her head the entirety of the short walk.
"I can't sleep anymore, Cam. I can't." She cursed herself silently when she heard the tremble in her voice. She knew she was acting like a child, but she couldn't seem to stop herself. The door to her quarters slid open and she and Cam stepped through.
"Sam, remember senior year at the academy? When you were having all those anxiety problems about your astrophysics exams?" Cam asked her as the door whizzed quietly shut behind them. Sam nodded. "I know things are a little different now…a lot different now…but I can help you again, if you'll let me. You slept better." Sam let her eyes drift shut slightly as she sat on the edge of her bed and kicked her shoes off.
"It's already getting to be morning, Cam, I should just get to work…a little coffee, I'll be okay." Cam was shaking his head before she finished her sentence.
"You're not working today, Sam. Jackson's doing plenty too, and he can combine your research findings so far today. I want you to rest. Whether or not I help you is entirely your call. But you're not working today." Sam looked up at her long-time best friend, eyes shining slightly with tears that were once again threatening to spill over.
"Please, Cam," she whispered. Cam kicked off his shoes and walked over to sit on the edge of the bed with her. Guiding her carefully down onto her side, he lay down beside her and wrapped his arms tightly around her after tugging the blanket carefully up around them. Pushing his weight up for a moment, he kissed her cheek lightly before laying back down.
"Night, Sam." he said softly. Her already-even breathing was all the response he needed. He rest his forehead against her shoulder, breathing in the scent of her - soap and something fruity and something that he'd never been able to name but was just Sam - and closed his eyes, quickly drifting off himself.
It was their third Christmas on the Odyssey, but it was the first year that they'd all finally come to terms with their situation enough to really celebrate. It had been Cam's idea, but the others had readily agreed. Sam peered into the little mirror in her room, inspecting her appearance carefully.
"I don't know if the barrette is really necessary, Vala," she said reluctantly.
"Samantha, it's beautiful. And it's sort of blue, so it's really lovely with your shirt." Sam glanced down and smoothed out her shirt, suddenly feeling oddly self-conscious. Vala crossed the room and smoothed out a small section of Sam's hair carefully.
"There, perfect. Ready to go? He's going to love it, by the way." Vala said, smirking as she left Sam's room. Sam stared after her friend, frozen to the spot for a moment as she felt her heart skip at her words.
Have I been that obvious? Sam wondered to herself as she attempted to gather her composure and followed Vala out of the room.
She caught up to Vala quickly and began making small talk. They entered the dining room together, laughing.
"Oooh, look who decided to join us! You girls are looking…fantastic." Cam's voice was teasing, but his face was only half amused as he took in Sam's appearance. Sam made a face at him, then giggled when she realised he was wearing a Santa hat.
"Nice hat," she smirked.
"Somebody had to." He grinned widely and Sam shook her head before moving to sit down. Despite there being an open chair beside him, Vala dropped herself squarely on Daniel's lap, smiling as Daniel put his arms around her waist. Just as Sam moved to pour herself some wine, Cam leaned over the table, a small green sprig in his hand above her head. Sam grinned and stood up slightly, leaning forward to kiss him. The kiss was short and casual, but as she reached again for her wine glass she noticed her hand shaking just slightly as warmth spread throughout her body from the spot his lips had touched hers.
Sam sighed as she leaned her head on Cam's shoulder as they sat next to each other against the wall in his quarters.
Cam nodded. "You okay?"
"Mostly. I've come to terms with it. I'm no closer to figuring it out, but I've come to terms with it. And hey, we've made life on the ship work for five years, what's a few more, right?"
Cam wrapped his arm around her shoulder, tucking her in close to his side.
"You betcha." he said, his fingers trailing a path along her upper arm. Sam smiled. It was hard to believe sometimes that the Odyssey had been trapped in the dilation field for five years already, and she was grateful for the presence of her teammates. Cam especially. She loved Teal'c, Daniel, Vala, and General Landry (she still couldn't bring herself to call him anything else), but aside from the feelings for him she'd long accepted and chosen to set aside, Sam found it comforting to have her oldest friend with her. They sat in silence for a moment before Sam felt Cam shift slightly beside her and his voice shook her out of her reverie.
She turned towards his voice and found him looking intently at her.
"What's up?" she asked. No sooner had the words left her mouth before his lips collided with hers. The kiss was gentle, sweet, and in no way the platonic kiss under the mistletoe during Christmases past. Cam's hand moved up to cup her cheek and Sam reveled in the sensation for a moment before pulling back.
"Cam, what's going on?" she asked.
"You mean you…" he stopped when he realised the look of complete confusion on her face. "You really don't know, do you. And maybe….oh, Vala was messing with me, wasn't she?" he said, irritation filling his voice.
"Cam. Stop. Fill me in?" Sam's voice wavered slightly.
"Well, Vala might've implied to me earlier that…." Cam trailed off. "That if I maybe…acted on my feelings that you might not be totally opposed to the idea. Clearly she was messing with me. I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable, ah, I'm just gonna-" He was cut off by Sam placing a finger over his lips.
"Shut up, Cam." Her voice wavered slightly as her heart sped up and she leaned forward to kiss him again, moving her hand from his lips to rake across his still-regulation hair as his arm looped around her waist.