Story Notes: The Whole Affair 11: Dedication: For Heather, who gets Showtime... even if she doesn't like 'Into The Fire'


"Why can't they understand the way we feel,
they just don't trust what they can't explain,
I know we're different but deep inside we're
not that different at all."
~ Phil Collins, "You'll Be In My Heart"


Daniel finds me the next day, doing paperwork in my office. He closes the door.

"Hey," I greet, absorbed in the damn report.

'In my professional opinion the mission was a waste of time. In fact, the whole...'

"I know, Jack."

The pen hits the paper to write the 'a' of 'affair'. And it stays there.

He's silent. I'm silent.

Someone say something...

Daniel clears his throat. "I got home last night and there was a message from Rick on my machine. He was asking if I knew where Sam was. I called back to tell him, but he said he'd already talked to you and that she went over to your house for some lab figures. And that you'd be coming here."

I set the pen down, carefully.

"You never came here last night," says Daniel. His voice is chilling. "Sam didn't come over for lab figures."

"No," I admit. "She didn't."

He moves closer. He walks slowly, talks slowly, but there's this FURY trapped inside him that I can sense, and it's truly frightening. "Her car was still in your driveway this morning."

So he's been WATCHING us? I stand. "Didn't you have a meeting or something this morning?" I spit.

He looks disappointed. "That was just a story I used to leave, Jack. I had... I had this sneaking suspicion, for months now, and I kept trying to tell myself 'Sam wouldn't do that to Rick', 'Jack wouldn't do that to Sam', but I was suspicious, and it was... it was a TEST. She spent the night at your house, Jack; you're sleeping with her!"

"Hey!" I hiss. "Could you say that any louder?"

Danny ignores me. The fury is starting to leak through. "How long, Jack? Did you wait till she was married or has this been going on for longer? I-"


He narrows his eyes. "Hammond's suspected for a long time."

"Hammond?" I'm just sputtering now. "WHAT? How long?"

"Since before the whole Carter-Kawalsky alternate reality thing."

"What? No!"

I have to remember, though... they all saw me kiss the other Sam goodbye. Hammond, Danny... Sam. I try to calm myself. "A month. Almost a month," I answer.

Daniel turns his back on me, and then whirls around another 180. "I thought you had higher standards than this. She's MARRIED, Jack."

"God, Daniel, I know that. Believe me, I KNOW."

"I can't believe I never said anything before this... I should have. You could get in SO much trouble, do you know that? And... and that isn't even the POINT! I'm sorry, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm... I'm disgusted. You're sleeping with a MARRIED woman UNDER your command. Now, refresh my memory, but isn't a BAD thing?"

"Daniel, I LOVE her."

"And to top it... huh?"

That stops him dead in his tracks. "I love her, Daniel," I snap. "She loves me. What did you think this was about, just sex?"

He looks stunned. "Well, yeah..."

"It isn't."

His anger's fizzled out. "Jack, it's still adultery."

I scoff. "Not according to some men."

He appears annoyed.

"Hey, you voted for him," I point out.

Daniel makes an exasperated sound. "Listen, I can't keep this secret for you."

"Who are you going to tell? Hammond already thinks we're together. Jacob..." I groan. Jacob Carter is a man I never wanted to disappoint, and now... "Hell, go ahead and tell Rick. He can put me out of my misery... save everyone else the trouble."

Daniel doesn't answer, but he looks at me, closely. I feel like I'm one of his ancient artifacts. He's going to study me, and then place me up on his shelf with a little ID card so everyone can see me and mock me and hate me. Then he turns, tossing an unreadable look over his shoulder, and leaves.

I sit back down in my chair, and pick up my pen.

'In my professional opinion the mission was a waste of time. In fact, the whole...'

I write. '...affair wasn't worth the trouble.'

I stare down at the paper, think, and then add an addendum.

'Yes it was'.


Thank God the lab is empty. Except for Sam.

"Daniel knows," she says, subdued.


"I didn't confirm anything."

"It's okay. I did."

She turns to me, frowning. "Why?"

"There wasn't any point in lying to him."

Her annoyance holds out for a few more seconds, and then she sags, leaning against the counter. "It's just getting so complicated."

I sit beside her. "It had to, Sam. We've been having an affair, for Christsakes."

She shudders, ever so slightly. "I guess... I just never let myself think of it that way."

I know what she means; oh, don't I ever. We've spent all this time and energy trying to make ourselves believe that we were doing the right thing because we were in love: that we wouldn't hurt people, that no one would find out. You always try and do that, you try and keep things uncomplicated, but when you're dealing with people, it's impossible. People, by nature, are complicated... it's the hard and awful truth.

And it's not the only awful thing.

"You were right last night, Sam."

She glances at me, warily, out of the corner of her eye. "About what?"

"About not being able to keep doing this."

She doesn't say anything in response, doesn't even move, but I can sense her impending panic like a storm on the horizon.

"You have to choose."

"I can't."

"You have to."

"I CAN'T."

I try to keep myself calm, but it isn't easy, not with her voice breaking like this. I'm convinced I'm going to make her cry, and that's something else I never wanted to do.

"You can't have it both ways," I tell her flatly. "And I can't have you if you still want to have him."

She's silent, stunned, staring straight ahead. Next thing I know she'll put putting her hands over her ears.

"You have to choose," I tell her again, and I stand, and look at her. For once, she meets my eyes, holds my gaze steadily. Not all that sure that I'M not going to burst into tears, I kiss her, once, briefly, softly, on the lips.

I have no pride left.

"Please," I beg. "Choose me."


The End.

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