Sam sat herself down in front of the computer and cursed under her breath. The machine was still being defragmented. Damn. At the rate this is going, I’ll never be able to finish that computer model, she thought. She sighed heavily, folded her arms on top of the table and put her head down in defeat.
The door to her lab creaked almost inaudibly, and the very faint sound of footsteps was heard.
“C-Captain Doctor?” uttered a timid voice sounding much like Daniel’s. Sam did not react.
The archaeologist slowly made his way across the dimly lit laboratory. His brow creased slightly when he saw the Captain sitting at the table with her head down. He shyly reached forward.
“Uh … Captain Doctor?” he tried again, putting his hand on her shoulder.
Sam jerked her head up, not expecting the touch. She turned her head to the left and sighed upon seeing Daniel there.
“Sorry, Daniel, I just wasn’t expecting …”
“Oh, no, I’m sorry I snuck up on you like that,” he interrupted apologetically.
Sam grinned. Even though Daniel was in his early thirties, he was still much like a little boy at times. He stood and looked at her tentatively, as if he had wanted to say something.
“So, what’s up?” Sam asked nonchalantly.
Daniel folded his hands and bowed his head slightly.
“Um … I apologize, this isn’t very easy for me to say …” he began.
Sam raised her eyebrows as a signal for him to go on.
“I know it’s been a few days since we left Simarka …” he continued, not able to look Sam in the eyes. “I never really apologized for what happened.”
Sam looked at him intently.
“What happened to you … it was all my fault. Right away I insisted that we stay and study their culture. When they wanted to make you wear that … um … dress …”
Daniel blushed furiously, but continued.
“… I said you should do what they want because anthropologists do it all the time. I had no idea that it would lead to Abu trading you to another tribe. When we couldn’t find you the next morning, Jack was understandably pissed off. I thought it was all a cultural misunderstanding, so I offered to talk to Moughal. Jack was adamant about it, and I questioned his insistence of a worse case scenario. I didn’t understand that that was what we were dealing with …”
He briefly looked up at Sam before continuing, and then averted his eyes once more.
“When we went to look for you, Moughal told us about Turghan, about how he is feared because he is a powerful warlord, and how he likes to partake of his latest purch – “
Sam flashed an indignant look. Daniel blushed deeply and his eyes became intensely apologetic.
“I – I’m sorry,” he said quickly. “I should know better than to bring that up.”
Sam looked away from him.
“Anyway, when I heard all that I really became worried about you. I really tried hard to negotiate to get you back with us. Not that it did any good, I mean Jack found something to trade, but it was such a relief to get you back …” Daniel trailed off.
Sam did not react.
“What I’m trying to say is … it was all my fault, everything that happened to you. I put my interest in learning about a new culture over your welfare. Of all the stupid, selfish things I’ve done so far, this tops them all. I’m really, really sorry, Captain Doctor, and I hope you can forgive me.”
Sam looked back at Daniel and her stern countenance softened. She had been quite angry with Daniel and Jack for what they had gotten her into on Simarka. She pretty much ignored them both throughout the following day, not even acknowledging their presence when they all ate in the commissary. She then decided it was silly and to, in the least, be civil toward them. Perhaps she should have been angrier with Jack. Even though Daniel suggested that she should go along with their customs, Jack could have said that the idea was a silly one, and try to make the Shavadai understand what was acceptable in the Earth peoples’ customs. Instead, Jack amusedly went along with it.
Nevertheless, she had still been angry at Daniel for even suggesting the idea. She admired him for his insatiable desire to learn new things – other cultures, languages, and so on – and now that desire had resulted in her terrible predicament. Still, she recognized honest sincerity in his apology and she appreciated it.
Daniel lifted his head slightly and looked timidly back up at Sam, deep blue eyes pensive beneath his long bangs.
“Daniel …” she began softly, rising from her chair.
“First of all, I was pretty upset and angry by what happened. I almost couldn’t believe what you were suggesting. I mean, I know how you strive to study different cultures, but that you would even consider doing such a thing over my welfare, it just …” Sam trailed off and shook her head.
Daniel’s cheeks grew hot and his eyes became intensely apologetic once again.
“I was stunned. I thought we were all a team, that we were all looking out for each other,” she continued, a slight vehemence rising in her voice.
Daniel looked as if he wanted to slink away and crawl into a hole. He wrapped his arms around himself protectively.
“But I forgive you,” Sam continued, mellowing a bit. “I really appreciate your sincerity. The fact that you’re willing to admit your mistakes makes you a big man.”
Daniel’s eyes widened a bit, not expecting what she had just said. The corners of his mouth lifted up into a faint smile.
“Thank you,” he said quietly, a look of pure gratefulness on his face.
Sam gave him a little smile back.
“And second of all, please call me ‘Sam.’ All my friends call me that,” she added, her smile widening.
Daniel grew a smile of his own, and nodded.
“Sorry about that, Sam,” he said sheepishly, testing out his new nickname for her.
Sam giggled and patted him on the shoulder.
He grinned, then turned to look at her computer.
“Ah … so, what are you up to?”
“Oh …” Sam began disgustedly. “It’s still defragmenting.” She turned and scowled at the desktop, where a box noted that the computer was only 60% defragmented.
“Really? How long has that been going on?”
“Since about 0630 hours.”
Daniel’s eyebrows shot up.
“Oh, so you weren’t kidding when you said …”
Sam shook her head grimly.
“I need to speak to someone about getting a machine with more processing speed,” she rolled her eyes. “I mean, 100 MHz front-side bus? That’s basically nothing!”
“I wish I knew as much about computers as you do,” Daniel admitted, grinning. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Sam laughed. After the intense emotions she had experienced, it was good to laugh.
A playful knock on the door made Sam and Daniel jump.
The door opened slightly and Jack stuck his head in.
“Ready to go, kids?” he grinned.
“H-huh? Go where?” Daniel stammered.
Jack raised his eyebrows, looking almost as if he were insulted.
“Why, back to my cozy cottage where we’ll all be safe from that big, honkin’ blizzard,” he said cheekily.
Daniel and Sam blinked, not reacting.
“Of course, there will be the unavoidable snowball fight,” he grinned widely.
Sam rolled her eyes. A look of impending dread formed on Daniel’s face.
Jack glared at them. “Oh, you party poopers,” he muttered.
“Yup, that’s us, I guess,” Daniel said in a resigned tone as he turned to Sam. They shared a little grin.
Jack shook his head.
“Well, we’ll think of something to do. Come on, you two. My Wrangler awaits and those snowflakes have started falling.”
Sam furrowed her brow in confusion.
“Already? What time is it?”
“Ooh, it’s about … 1100 hours,” Jack answered, peering down at his watch.
Daniel uttered a small gasp.
“Yep,” Jack replied.
“I thought it wasn’t supposed to start snowing until later this afternoon!” Sam said incredulously.
“Have you watched the Weather Channel lately, Carter?” Jack asked in a mock accusing tone.
Sam shook her head, dumbfounded. “Uh … no … I was busy –“
“Time flies when you’re having fun, even when it’s your definition of fun, which, by the way, is no fun,” Jack said facetiously. Daniel rolled his eyes.
Sam was beginning to lose her patience. Jack had never apologized for making her go along with the Shavadai’s customs, and now he was chiding her.
“Sir, just go away,” she suddenly spat out.
Jack raised his eyebrows.
“Beg your pardon?”
“I don’t need this,” she said angrily.
“What? I’m just teasing, Captain. Geez, you haven’t been on an even keel since we got back from Simarka …”
Sam fixed him with a deadly glare.
“And that’s just it! “ she shouted. “In case you didn’t know, I was pretty upset over what happened there. I didn’t like the way they were going to treat me. Daniel insisted that I go along with it, and you just agreed! As my CO and the leader of this team, I thought you were supposed to be looking out for us!”
Jack looked at her, dumbfounded, for a while.
“Hey, I got you out, Captain. Be grateful,” he said quietly.
“Grateful?? For what??” she returned. “For all those stupid comments you made while I was wearing that horrible tent? For letting them treat me like a second-class citizen? For having fun at that party while I was being kidnapped?”
“Hey, Daniel originally suggested that you go along with it. Why aren’t you angry at him?” Jack finally said, defensively.
“I was,” Sam said, calming down a bit. “But Daniel apologized, Sir. I have yet to hear anything of the sort from you.” She folded her arms across her chest, defiantly.
“Hey, I was going to apologize –“
“But you didn’t,” she interrupted coldly.
Daniel silently took in the argument, his eyes going back and forth from Sam to Jack. He took a couple of steps back, not willing to get in the middle of this.
“I was going to apologize once we got back to my place,” Jack insisted. “So let’s go …”
“No,” Sam said forcefully.
“But Carter, the … um … snow?” Jack returned sarcastically.
“I have a lot of work to do. The computer is still defragmenting and I need to finish this model,” she said briskly.
Jack looked at her incredulously, then focused his eyes on Daniel.
“What about you?”
“I’m staying,” Daniel said quietly, and protectively wrapped his arms around himself once more.
Jack raised his eyebrows.
“What? What do you have to do that’s so important?”
“Uh … w-well, I have to finish translating that artifact that SG-2 brought back last night,” Daniel stammered.
Jack shut his eyes and sighed.
“Oh for cryin’ out loud. Another stupid rock?”
“Artifact, Jack,” Daniel corrected, glaring at him.
“Oh, excuse me,” Jack said sarcastically.
Daniel and Sam stood adamantly in the room, both glaring at Jack.
“You two and your toys. If it was Armageddon, you’d both be stuck here with your doohickeys while the rest of us sane people ran for cover.”
“Sir, with all due respect, get out,” Sam said sharply.
“Okay, fine, I’m leaving,” he said resignedly. “If you want to stay here, that’s your call. Just don’t come crying to me when you start getting cabin fever.”
Jack started to walk away as Sam and Daniel exchanged wearied looks.
Jack turned back and stuck his head in the door once again.
“Last chance,” he said hopefully.
“No,” Sam and Daniel replied in unison.
Jack held his hands up in defeat and walked away.
Sam shook her head.
“Think I’ll get an apology from him?” she asked Daniel.
“I don’t know. If he were smart, he would apologize,” Daniel returned.
Sam looked at him.
“You were right. It was wrong of him to egg you on after I insisted on going along with their customs, and the way he poked fun at you just now was uncalled for. I’ve known Jack for almost two years now, and I’d have thought he was a better man than that. I’m sure he’ll apologize, Captain Doc –“
“Uh … Sam,” he corrected himself sheepishly, causing Sam to grin.
“I’m still not going back with him,” she insisted, her grin fading.
“I don’t blame you,” Daniel agreed. “After what he said, I don’t want to go back with him either.”
“It’s not just that. I really want to finish that model,” Sam clarified. She glanced quickly at the computer monitor, and sighed when she saw that the computer was 71% defragmented.
Sam looked back at him, and a question suddenly entered in her mind.
“Did you mean what you said … that you have to translate that artifact?” she asked him.
Daniel took his gaze off of the computer monitor and raised his eyebrows.
“Uh … yeah. I mean … yes, I did. I deduced that it’s Sumerian, but I haven’t gotten that far in the actual translating …” he trailed off, blushing.
Sam grinned and nodded.
“Well,” she sighed. “Since this thing is still going,” she gestured at the computer, “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to see what’s happening.”
She made her way over to the small television set, which sat in the corner of the lab. She switched it on, and quite fortuitously the local news was on.
“There is a blizzard warning in effect for
Sam and Daniel stared intently at the television, taking in the report, but not the least bit worried that they wouldn’t be able to leave the mountain in time …