Mutual Respect

Author: Jess


Rating: PG


Subjects: S/D friendship, missing scene


Summary: In an alternate timeline, Daniel is not happy with the way Sam is being treated.


Spoilers: Moebius, Part I


Disclaimers: I am not making any money off of this.  None of the characters belong to me; they belong to MGM/Showtime, Double Secret Productions and Gekko Film Corporation.  This story is copyrighted March, 2005, and may not be used or altered without the express permission of the author.  As always, big thanks to Beth for the beta!




Chapter 1


Sam sat alone at a table in the SGC commissary, head in her hands, staring down at her sandwich.  It had been a very interesting few days.  A couple of guys from the military had pulled her away from her job – proofreading other people’s work – for a matter of national security.  The commander of the facility, General George Hammond, had requested to meet with her and a Doctor Daniel Jackson on classified matters.  It turned out that a video camera had been found, on a dig in Giza, sealed in something called a Canopic jar.  The fact that the artifacts had been found to be five thousand years old was a bit peculiar, but the most unbelievable piece of information was yet to come.  There, on the tape, was she and Daniel – or at least different versions of them from an alternate timeline. 


On the tape, the other Sam, Daniel and a third member – General Jack O’Neill – spoke about how they were part of a team called SG-1, how they traveled through the Stargate to distant worlds, and even thwarted alien attacks on Earth.  Apparently, this team had gone back in time five thousand years and were now trapped in the past.  As Sam watched the tape, it became clear that the team had done something to alter the course of the future.  Now, someone was going to have to go back in time to make things right once again, so that the “original timeline” could be restored.


For a while, Sam was in total disbelief.  Could such a thing really have happened?  Was time travel really possible?  Not just theoretically – but really possible?  The fact that the camera was found among ancient artifacts, and the images before her eyes, seemed to make it so.  It was all very overwhelming. 


Then there was Daniel, the man she’d just met – an ESL teacher with a PhD in Egyptology.  They were thrown together as a result of the fact that they both appeared on the video camera.  They were alternate reality versions of themselves, but it was close enough.  Daniel was a bit of a geek, but she had no reason to complain, as she was something of a geek herself.  He seemed to be a really nice guy, friendly and passionate about what he did (the Egyptology, not the teaching).  He didn’t seem to be happy with his current job situation, and wanted to do something more exciting.  Sam wasn’t exactly thrilled about her own job.  Granted, she had a PhD in astrophysics, and she worked in the Department of Aerospace, but being a proofreader wasn’t quite what she had in mind.  Nevertheless, she was a bit resigned about it, as one of her philosophies had always been “life is what you make of it.” 


She had to admit that she envied Daniel’s determination in wanting to be involved in this project, to go back in time and try to set things right.  Actually, she found his attitude refreshing, but she knew that the SGC wouldn’t keep the two of them around.  This was a military operation, and they were nothing but civilian scientists.  She felt that he was more valuable to them than she was, since he was in the process of translating the tablet that was found among the artifacts. 


Daniel then said something that really touched her.  He insisted that he wasn’t going to let them shut her out of the project.  They were a team, and as such they had to stick together.  He seemed to really care about her, and was completely forthright about it.  Sam hadn’t known too many people like that in her lifetime, especially where her job was concerned.  Here she was, a stranger, an awkward scientist inside this huge military complex, and she had someone who she could count on – a real, genuine friend.  Here was this man whom she’d known for only a few days, and he cared enough about her that he wouldn’t let them shut her out.  They were a team.  Never before had she worked with a person with whom she considered to be a real team.  When she was alone, Sam would have thoughts of Daniel that left a warm smile on her face.


Then there was McKay – Doctor Rodney McKay, the lead scientist working on the project.  Whenever Sam thought of him, she felt a strong taste of bile welling up in her throat.  He was sarcastic, smug, cruel, and apparently a bit of a womanizer, all rolled into one.  Sam wasn’t exactly certain about that last attribute, but she didn’t entirely doubt it.  He certainly seemed to be attracted to her, apparent from the various words he said to her (“sexy librarian” comes to mind), the leering, and the inappropriate touching.  She had spent the better part of her time there trying to escape from him.  Sam was hardly a militant feminist, but the way he was treating her was making her sick.  She hadn’t been too fond of the way he treated Daniel either, mostly in the form of insults and put-downs.


Now, she sat in the commissary, hardly touching her sandwich and agonizing over whether she should just leave.  If it meant that she’d be free of McKay, it seemed like a viable option.  She didn’t think she was very valuable to the project anyway.  But, thoughts of Daniel from the back of her mind began to nudge her.  She couldn’t forget his words – that the two of them were a team.  She was really beginning to like him, and she didn’t want to just leave when the two of them may have the chance to do something as fantastic as going back in time, especially as they were both involved in some form.  She valued his friendship as much as, if not more than, any other she’d ever experienced.  She couldn’t do that to him and leave him hanging.  Still, she wondered if her self-respect was more valuable than his friendship.


She flinched slightly as she felt a tray being set down across from her.  She slowly lifted her gaze and noticed Daniel standing in front of her, giving her a slight smile.


“Hey,” he said genially as he sat down across from her.


Her eyes darted back down to her sandwich for a moment, and she looked at it awkwardly before slowly returning her gaze to him. 


“Hey,” she returned glumly as her lips edged up into a faint smile.


Daniel’s smile faded and he furrowed his brow in confusion.


“Not hungry?” he asked.


Sam looked at him and shrugged.  She looked back down at her sandwich again and shook her head.


“No,” she finally answered.


Daniel stuffed the end of a paper napkin up under his shirt collar and was about to tuck into his soup when he heard Sam sigh heavily.


“Something wrong?” he asked, giving her a curious look.


She studied his face before answering.


“Why? What makes you think something’s wrong?” she muttered as she directed her eyes back down at the table.


Daniel raised his eyebrows and shrugged.


“Oh  ... well, for one thing, you haven’t touched your sandwich.  I mean, I know it’s tuna, but it can’t possibly be that bad,” he said, his eyes sparkling behind the thick, black rectangular frames.


Sam smirked slightly.  “Like I said, I’m not hungry,” she said quietly.


Daniel’s brow furrowed in confusion.  “Well, you have to eat something.  Want some soup?” he asked, pointing to his soup.


She turned her gaze back up to him.


It’s chicken barley,” he continued as he pushed it over to her.


A faint smile danced on her lips, and she was a bit amused by his behavior at first.  When she thought about it, it made her feel warm inside, to think that he was showing such concern about her.


“No, honestly, I’m really not hungry, Daniel,” she smiled as she pushed the bowl back to him.


Daniel shrugged resignedly before spooning some of the soup into his mouth.  Sam watched him eat, and a lump began to form in her throat.  She swallowed hard and then exhaled quickly.


Daniel looked up from his soup and into her eyes.


“What’s bothering you?” he said quietly.


Her eyes met his, between two pairs of thick, black frames, and for a moment she couldn’t speak.


“Nothing,” she sighed.


Daniel leaned forward and looked at her intently.


“Come on, Sam, I know something’s bothering you,” he insisted.


She looked at him curiously.


“You’re not your usual, perky self,” he elaborated.


Sam’s eyes hardened, and for a moment she seemed to take offense.


“You think I’m ‘perky’?” she asked, taken aback.


“I ... no,” Daniel blurted out uneasily as he turned crimson.  “You know what I mean … “


Sam’s hardened countenance remained.


“I … I’m sorry,” he said regrettably, bowing his head.  “God … open mouth, insert foot,” he said miserably, his voice muffled as he lowered his head down on top of his folded arms.


Sam’s stern face softened as she looked Daniel over.  She reached across the table and touched his arm. 


Daniel’s head shot up, and Sam smirked faintly as she noticed he was still blushing madly.  His long, stringy hair flopped over his glasses, and he pushed it back with his hands.


“It’s okay,” she nearly whispered.  “I guess I do have a reputation for being … ‘perky’,” she smiled slightly as she made quotation-mark gestures on the last word.


A smile grew on Daniel’s face.  “Nothing wrong with being perky,” he said, still blushing a bit.  “I guess I’m sort of perky myself.”


Sam looked at him curiously.


“Ah … in a male sort of way,” he said quickly as the blush intensified.


Sam laughed gently.  Her smile gradually faded and she sighed heavily.


“So, getting back to my original question,” Daniel continued.  “What’s bothering you?”


Sam sighed again, not sure how she should start.  Would Daniel, as another man, understand her discomfort over the way McKay had been treating her? Just two days before, she’d run into him down one of the corridors as she was trying to escape from McKay.  She’d asked Daniel if he was still behind her, and told him that the doctor was driving her nuts.  He did seem a bit concerned, but it was possible that he just thought of McKay as a jerk who couldn’t possibly mean that much harm. 


She silently berated herself for asking such a question.  She’d known Daniel for quite a short period of time, but she was well aware of the type of person he was: caring, sensitive and considerate.  He’d demonstrated these qualities to her when he insisted that he wasn’t going to let her get shut out of the project.  He seemed to care about her that much, so why wouldn’t he understand her disgust over McKay?  She decided she’d take a chance.


“Well … okay, I guess you probably won’t find this a very big deal …” she trailed off.


Daniel’s brow creased as he looked at her intently.


“… It’s McKay,” she finished, sighing deeply.


Realization shone in Daniel’s eyes, and he looked at Sam seriously.  He was aware that Doctor McKay wasn’t exactly a personable guy, and that he was starting to make Sam crazy, but from the way she was talking, this seemed serious.  His eyes begged her to go on.


“He’s … getting to me,” she continued, blushing somewhat.


Daniel raised his eyebrows.


“I mean, he’s really getting to me,” she elaborated, her voice agitated.  “The things he says, the way he acts … it’s just sickening.  Remember when he dragged me to lunch the other day?”


Daniel nodded.


“He kept obsessing over the lemon chicken and how wonderful it was to share it with such good company –“


Daniel cut her off as he suddenly snorted and tried desperately not to chuckle.  Sam looked at him, almost incredulously.


“Sorry,” he said quickly, fixing her with apologetic eyes. 


“He said it was ‘food of the gods’ – and he was sharing it with a goddess,” she continued, her cheeks growing hot.


Daniel gave her an odd look.  “That’s what he said?”


Sam nodded grimly.  “It gets better.  He was actually playing footsie with me under the table,” she added, finishing with a slight gagging gesture.


“Oh, geez,” Daniel said, shaking his head.  “He really is starting to sound pathetic.”


Sam focused her gaze on the table and sighed.  She looked back up at Daniel, whose look of disgust had been replaced by one of concern.


“And, that’s not all.  He’s called me into the lab, making different excuses, like, ‘I need to borrow some of that astrophysics expertise of yours’, or, ‘Samantha, honey, could you give me a hand with this?’”


Daniel’s brow creased as he listened and looked at her intently.


“It was never about astrophysics,” she said, her voice threatening to break.  “He tried to make it look like it was, but he never needed my help with anything.  He … he would touch me; try to touch me.  I …”


Pity was reflected in Daniel’s eyes as he watched Sam struggle to keep her emotions in check as she spoke.  The pity began to turn into anger, as he was not happy at all with the way Sam was apparently being treated.  She hadn’t noticed the indignant, incredulous look plastered on his face a few days ago, when McKay had put his hand on her backside.  Daniel knew something was up when he witnessed that, but at the time he just thought McKay was being a jerk and showing off.  Now, listening to Sam, he realized that McKay was a full-fledged creep, who shouldn’t be getting away with such harassment.


“Oh, God, I can’t believe I’m telling you this,” Sam suddenly choked out, her face a bright shade of crimson.


“Look, it’s okay,” he assured her gently as he leaned in toward her and took hold of her trembling hands.  “You can tell me anything.  I’m here to listen, as a friend.”


Sam blinked a few tears and gave him a watery smile.  “I have to admit, this is why I like you so much, Daniel.  This is why I knew I’d like you when we first met.  You’ve treated me like your intellectual equal, like a friend, and most importantly, like a human being.”


Daniel took in her words, and a warm smile graced his lips.


“You’ve touched me,” she continued.


Daniel raised his eyebrows, appearing to have misunderstood her comment.


“You know what I mean,” she smiled, a hint of amusement in her voice.


Daniel seemed to relax visibly, and he nodded, returning her smile and blushing slightly.


Sam’s smile faded and she sighed heavily.  “I don’t really know what to do about this,” she continued, her voice tensing up again.  “I’ve never really been treated like this before.  I don’t quite know how to handle it.”


Daniel looked thoughtfully down at her fidgeting hands.


“Can’t you talk to him about it, let him know that you don’t appreciate the way he’s treating you, and threaten to tell the General about it?” he offered, returning his gaze to her.


Sam uttered a short, bitter laugh.  “Yeah, like that’s going to do anything?  You know how he is.  Either he won’t listen to me and will keep tormenting me, or he’ll go to the General and make something up about me – something so awful that I’d get … reprimanded, or arrested, or whatever they do to civilians in the military,” she said awkwardly.


Daniel gave a little shrug.


“Actually, I probably should do that.  What happens won’t matter when I’m gone,” she said cryptically.


“When you’re gone?” Daniel asked, raising a curious eyebrow.


Sam nodded.  “If I don’t decide to leave, I’ll probably get booted off the project anyway.”


Daniel’s brow furrowed in confusion and his mouth dropped open.  “Decide to leave?? You’re leaving??” he asked her incredulously.


“Hey, if it means getting away from him …” she trailed off, shrugging.  Suddenly, she felt nauseous.  Had she just told him she would leave, after all she’d thought about him?


“You can’t leave!” Daniel said emphatically.  “We’re a team, Sam! We’re working on this project together … we’re both involved.  You saw the tape.”


“I … I know,” she said miserably, her head in her hands.  “I really don’t want to leave, but, what’s the point if I’m going to get booted out anyway?”


Daniel fixed his eyes on her.  “I told you I wouldn’t let that happen,” he said slowly. 


“But, I’m not as important to them as you are,” she nearly whined, then winced slightly as she realized what she sounded like.


“That’s not true,” Daniel stated.  “You’re proficient in astrophysics.  That has to mean something to them.  You-you’re helping them figure out why the dialing attempts failed, and where the second Gate might be located.  You’re a big part of this Sam, as big a part as I am,” he assured her.


“Not very many people think so,” she said dismissively.


“Well, I do,” he replied, looking into her eyes.  “We’re a team, Sam, and I’m not going to let anyone separate us.”


Sam studied his face for a few moments, and a smile slowly spread across her face.


“That’s really nice of you to say,” she said forthrightly.


“I mean it,” he returned softly as he touched her arm.


She looked into his eyes and smiled before easing up out of her chair, coming around to his side and giving him a hug.


“Thank you,” she choked out, sniffling to drive away tears that threatened to surface.


Daniel patted her on the back and let her go. 


“I just want McKay to respect me,” she said.  “I have my doubts that he’s capable of it, though.”


“I’ll talk to him,” Daniel nodded. 


Sam fixed him with a surprised look.  “You will?”


Daniel nodded again. 


“You think he’ll listen to you?”


“If he doesn’t, I’ll go straight to General Hammond,” Daniel replied.  “He’s the base commander.  I doubt he’ll take something like this very lightly.”


Sam stared at him for a moment and then nodded. 


“Well, I’ll see you later,” he smiled as he pushed his chair in and turned to make his way out of the commissary.


“Daniel,” Sam called after him.


Daniel turned and looked at her curiously.


“Thanks,” she said, touching his arm and giving him a faint smile.


Daniel returned her smile and nodded, before they each turned and went their separate ways.