Sam and Daniel stared at the wall of snow appearing before them. For a while, neither of them said anything.
“Well, this is not good,” Daniel muttered quietly.
Sam shut her eyes for a moment and sighed, feeling utterly defeated.
“I’m going to see if I can find it,” Daniel suddenly broke in.
Sam’s eyes fluttered open.
“My truck. If I can find it, we should be okay. I’ve still got snow chains, and it has all-wheel drive, so – “
“Daniel, we’re not going to be able to get out of here,” Sam said sharply. “Now, let’s go back inside the mountain where we’ll be warm.”
Daniel held up his hand.
“No, no, it’s not nearly as bad as it looks,” he insisted. “I’ll be right back.”
Sam made a sound of utter disbelief as Daniel headed out into the driving blizzard. He was completely undeterred, despite the fact that he was wearing nothing but his green BDU’s and the black, military-issue turtleneck shirt.
“Daniel, come back!! You don’t have a coat, you’ll freeze to death!” Sam yelled in futility to Daniel’s retreating form, already made blurry by the rapidly falling snowflakes.
Sam’s brow knitted in worry and she bit her lip. Daniel had made a few stupid decisions, but at the moment this one topped them all. What on Earth would make him think that he could find his truck in weather like this? Sam wondered if Daniel had lost his mind. She pulled her coat tightly around her and folded her arms as a strong, cold breeze stung her face.
She was about to go looking for Daniel when she eyed him staggering back toward the shelter of the entrance to the base. As Daniel made his way up to her, she could see that he was slightly hunched over, his arms wrapped protectively around himself. His hair and his glasses were both sprinkled with snowflakes, and he was shivering.
Sam gave him an “I-told-you-so” look, which melted into one of pity when she saw how pathetic he looked.
“N-no,” he shook his head. “Don’t think I’ll be able to f-find it,” he stammered.
Sam wrapped her coat around his shoulders, took hold of him and led him inside, back toward the elevator.
Once they were inside her lab, Sam led Daniel, still with her coat around his shoulders, over to the small armchair in the corner.
Sam’s brow knitted with worry as his cheeks still had a tinge of blue in them.
“Th-thanks, S-S-S-Sam,” Daniel said softly, still shivering a bit.
Sam nodded. She stopped herself, shut her eyes and shook her head.
“Daniel, what were you thinking?”
“Wanted to leave,” he gasped out. “The base.”
“Why?” she asked incredulously.
“Ah … can I answer that after a warm shower?” Daniel pleaded.
Sam giggled softly.
“Yeah, okay. I’ll put some tea on and I’ll have it ready when you’re done,” she answered, gesturing toward the hotplate and teakettle on top of one of the tables.
Daniel looked at her with big puppy-dog eyes.
“Ah … coffee instead, please?” he asked hopefully, gesturing toward Sam’s coffeemaker.
Sam rolled her eyes and sighed.
“Okay, coffee,” she relented.
Daniel rose from the couch and made his way out of the lab.
“I’m not letting you get off easy, though,” Sam called after him in a mocking tone, grinning.
Daniel nodded, failing to look back at her as he exited her lab and made a beeline in the direction of the locker room.
Sam shook her head and giggled.
Daniel sighed as powerful streams of warm water began
massaging his body. For several minutes,
he just stood still and let the water envelope him in a comforting warmth until
it drove the chills from his body. He
felt his eyes droop shut as he imagined himself back in the relatively warm
His lips edged upward into a slight smile as a familiar face floated into view. It was a round, tanned face framed by long, curly black hair. Her smile gave her away.
“My Dan-iel, it is good to see you,” she said softly.
“Sha’re…” Daniel uttered softly, his eyes still shut and his smile still present.
The smiling face of his recently abducted wife made the warmth even stronger.
“My husband,” she said adoringly.
Suddenly, her smile turned into a startled frown, her brown eyes wide.
“Dan-iel? What is wrong?” she asked, her voice full of concern.
“Hmm? What? Nothing’s wrong…” Daniel muttered. “What makes you think something’s wrong?”
Sha’re kept looking at him with a concerned frown on her face. Without warning, her features began to change. Her tanned skin turned very fair. Her round face became a bit more angular. Her dark eyes became a clear sapphire blue. Her hair was suddenly much shorter, lighter, and straighter. Her brow knitted in confusion.
“Daniel?” Sam asked softly, worry evident in her voice. “Are you okay?”
“Sam!!” Daniel shouted. His eyes flew open, and he realized he was still standing in the shower, warm water still beating down on him.
“What the hell…?” he panted as he looked around.
He looked down at his fingers, which now resembled pink prunes, testament to how long he’d been in there.
“I better hurry up or Sam will think I drowned,” he muttered in spite of himself.
He poured a glob of shampoo into his palm and began massaging it into his scalp, its clean, crisp fragrance invigorating him. He rinsed off and drained the water before groping for the clean towel he’d set out for himself on the bench just outside the stall.
Daniel dried himself off and wrapped the towel around his waist. He headed over to the mirror and squinted at his reflection, then snorted as he realized he might do better with his glasses on.
He fished for his glasses and set them upon his face. He nearly winced when he saw his reflection
in the mirror. His limp, wet hair hung
over his face. Was it already time for a
haircut? No, he’d just gotten one after
he returned from
Daniel rubbed his head with a towel before he started to get dressed, pulling on a clean turtleneck shirt and pair of BDU’s. He rooted through his locker until he found his small hairdryer, which he plugged in and then proceeded to blow his hair dry. A quick run through with a comb and his grooming ritual was complete.
He looked around the room and frowned, as it seemed to have gotten a bit chillier since he had started his shower. He merely shrugged and headed down the corridor, Sam’s lab being his ultimate destination.
Sam stared at her computer screen, double-checking the model she had spent so much time on. After she was convinced that it was nearly perfect, she shut the computer down and picked up one of her journals.
She absent-mindedly looked down at her watch. It was nearly a half hour since Daniel had left to take his shower. Sam’s brow furrowed in confusion. What was taking him so long?
Before she was able to worry that he had drowned, her lab door softly creaked open. Standing in the doorway was a somewhat apologetic-looking Daniel.
Sam smiled and gestured for him to enter the room.
Daniel made his way inside and walked right up to her. Sam smiled. He was well groomed, and the color had come back into his face. In fact, he was even blushing.
“Ah … sorry I spent so long in there,” he said, averting his eyes.
“Don’t apologize,” Sam smiled. “I’m just glad you’re looking better.”
Daniel nodded, still averting his eyes.
“Are you feeling better?”
He looked back up at her.
“Oh, yeah. A warm shower was all I needed. I didn’t mean to spend so much time in there,” he said quickly. “I just got … sidetracked.”
Sam’s brow knitted in confusion.
“What?” she asked, not understanding him.
Daniel’s cheeks grew hot.
“Nothing. It’s nothing. I’m fine.”
He looked back up at her and gave her a quick, little smile.
“Ooo-kay,” she sighed.
Daniel’s eyes darted over to Sam’s blank computer monitor.
“So, how did that go?” he asked, sounding genuinely interested.
“All finished,” Sam smiled triumphantly.
Daniel raised his eyebrows.
“Yep. I just looked it over again, and everything checks out,” she replied, sounding like an excited schoolgirl.
“That’s great. Good work, Sam.”
Sam nodded, a blush rising in her cheeks.
For a moment, two sets of blue eyes pierced each other.
“How about you?” Sam finally asked. “How is your translation coming?”
Daniel’s face fell.
“I still have a little work to do on it. I thought I was finished, but I got the forms mixed up, so I might have to start over,” he answered, his voice a bit melancholy.
Sam looked at him sadly for a moment. She reached over and patted him on the shoulder.
“Hey, don’t worry. You’ll figure it out. You’re a really smart guy, Daniel,” she said softly.
Daniel looked up at her and smiled gratefully.
“Thanks, Sam. I really appreciate the support you’ve given me,” he replied, blushing.
Sam smiled at him and nodded.
The percolating of the coffeemaker broke the silence.
“Oh, speaking of support,” she began as she headed over to the other side of the room.
She returned with a hot, steaming mug of coffee and offered it to Daniel.
“Thanks,” he nodded before taking a sip.
“Mmm,” he said.
“Black, just as you like it,” Sam winked.
Daniel grinned and lifted his mug, as if he were about to propose a toast, before taking another sip.
“Well, I guess I better get cracking on that translation,” Daniel sighed once he had finished his coffee. He rose from the chair and was about to head out of the room.
“Daniel …” Sam began sternly.
Daniel turned around and looked at Sam, curiously raising his eyebrows.
“You’re taking a break, and that’s it.”
“Sam, I already had one. That shower was more than enough,” he protested.
“Come on, Daniel. We’re on stand down, we’re stuck here at the base, why don’t we have a little leisure time? Will the world end if you don’t pick up that artifact again until tomorrow?”
Daniel glared at Sam. Realizing that he wouldn’t get anywhere, and that she was probably right, he shut his eyes and sighed.
“No, I guess not.”
Sam’s expression brightened.
“Come on, I’ve got a TV in my office,” she offered.
“Don’t you have one in here?” Daniel asked, furrowing his brow in confusion.
“Yeah, but that’s a dinky little set with barely any reception,” she said playfully. “I’ve got a nice 18-inch TV in my office, plus a nice, comfy couch.”
“You’ve sold me,” Daniel smiled.
They made their way out of Sam’s lab, and headed down to her office.
“What’s on now?” Daniel asked curiously, once they reached Sam’s door.
Sam looked down at her watch, which read 1900 hours.
“’The Simpsons,’” she grinned.
“Ah. One of my favorite shows,” Daniel crooned.
Sam giggled as she unlocked the door.
“Great, you put the TV on and I’ll make the popcorn,” she winked, heading over to the small microwave oven.
Chapter 5 coming soon.