Story Notes: Author; Michelle Birkby

Series; three

Spoilers; Crystal Skull

Disclaimer; the usual

What was that? I heard a thump, then Teal'c saying something about Janet. Maybe I should....ow. That hurt. Okay, I'll just lay here a while. I'm sure if it was really important someone would tell me. I'll just lay here.

It's funny, I though someone was sitting on the end of my bed. I could feel someone looking at me, with concern, and affectation, but now I open my eyes, there's no one there. I wonder where Daniel is? I can hear Teal'c, talking to Janet, so I know he's okay. It's funny, I'm so used to waking up in the infirmary surrounded by anxious faces that it's quite unsettling to wake up alone. What happened? Last thing I remember, I was telling the Colonel that the radiation readings were getting higher, and then, everything went black. How did I get out of there? Did the Colonel get out of there?

Damn, I didn't mean to do that. Think of the Colonel. For the past few months, ever since he came back, I've been filling every extra minute with work, trying to avoid thinking about him. I make sure we're never alone, that Daniel always there, but Daniel's no-where to be seen right now. And no matter how hard I worked to block any thoughts of him, come the nightime, I had to sleep.

And dream.

I can't really remember the dreams. I know that several times I've woken up, remembering the feel of the Colonel's lips on mine, and then reality's crashed in again.

Didn't I just say I was going to stop thinking of him? I never used to have this problem. Well, maybe I did, but I didn't know it. I'd never thought I'd be one of those people who didn't know what I'd got until I lost it. Then I lost him, and suddenly it hit me, hard. I was in love. Head over heels in love.

And then comes the double whammy. While I'm slogging my guts out to bring him back, and ... well, probably not tell him, but do something to let him know, he's been doing a Kynthia again!

Well, that's probably not fair, she's a nice person, and Jack was sure he wasn't coming back, but damn it, I was in no state to be rational. I'd just discovered the one great irrationality of my life, for crying out loud!

See what happens? I try not to think about him, and I end up angry and tense again. I've been so depressed lately. I didn't even think I could depressed. I didn't even realise it until Janet told me I was wandering around looking like a lost little girl on the verge of tears. The Colonel never even noticed. I tried to get over it. I've been trying to behave calmly these past few months. Although calmly at first meant hiding behind Daniel at every opportunity. Now, I've got the courage to see quietly next to him at a briefing, as if we were just normal colleagues. Then he comes in, and shifts his chair, so he's practically on top of me, and my hand can't help but touch his knee, and he even remembers the science I taught him, even if he does get a little confused, but that was so sweet, and I...

Stop it! You're a grown woman, a scientist and an officer for crying out loud! You're not supposed to behave like this! Just keep telling yourself he doesn't love you. You know he doesn't. Just think of Laira and Kynthia and the shodows under your eyes he never saw.

"Major Carter?"

"Teal'c?" He moves round the corner, quietly for such a big man.

"I am glad to see you have recovered." he says.

"What happened? Where's Daniel and the Colonel?"

"Daniel Jackson has disappeared. Do not attempt to get out of bed yet, Major. Dr. Frasier says you are not ready."

Well, I was going to try, but Teal'c's developed this habit of wandering around the infirmary making sure everyone sticks to Janet's orders, and I don't want to cross him.

"The Colonel will be most pleased to find you awake. He was worried."

What? Well that doesn't necessarily mean anything. He worries about all of us.

"In fact, " Teal'c continues, "You were the first person he asked for when he awoke."

A muffled cry comes from the next bed, but I ignore it.

"What happened?" I ask Teal'c.

"Daniel Jackson disappeared. You were overcome by radiation poisoning. The Colonel caught you, and carried you out of there."

"He did?"

"He did indeed. In fact, I have never seen the Colonel run so fast. He was obviously very concerned for your welfare."

"For crying out loud, Teal'c!" someone shouts from the next bed, and I realise I've been lying practically next to him all his time. He yanks the curtain across, and smiles at me.

"You're okay?" he asks. I nod.

"You carried me out?" I ask. He shrugs, a touch embarrassed, which sends a spasm of pain across his face.

"I will fetch Dr. Frasier." Teal'c announces.

"Thank you."

"You'd have done the same. Well, probably not JUST you, as you're only little, well, not that little, not that you're..."

"I get the picture, Sir!" I say, giggling again. Damn the man, it would be so much easier to ignore him if he didn't make laugh like a schoolgirl all the time.

He sits up, facing me.

"You're really okay?" he asks again, seriously. I nod. "I don't just mean today." he continues. "We've not had a chance to talk, just you and me, for ages. Daniel always seems to be around."

"Really Sir? I hadn't noticed." I say innocently, but the look in my eyes tells me he doesn't believe my innocent act.

"Sam, I know, well, I've been told, that I behaved, well, not unlike a jerk when I came back. And I know you've been a bit upset, and I know it's something to do with me, although I'm not quite sure what. And I've noticed you've been avoiding me lately. You don't normally do that when I've been an idiot, so I guess I behaved really badly."

"Sir, I..."

"No, let me finish, or I'll never get this out. I've been trying to say this since i got back." He looks down for a second, as if trying to gather strength. "It's 'fess up time, Sam. I missed you, while I was away. I made this memory of you, perfect memory, like you in every way, except one. This ... fantasy kept me going. I'd live through the day, then I'd lie back in bed and imagine you, your day, what you'd done, imagine you were right there, talking to me. Then, as time went on, and the real you faded, I began to imagine you'd tell me things you'd never really tell me. I began, this is really stupid, but I began to imagine you loved me."

He's looking away right now, or he'd see the sudden flush over my face.

"Sir, I..."

"Sam, please. I'm almost finished. You see, that's what got me through. That's what kept me alive, imagining you, telling me you loved me. Then you turned up, real and alive, and I was suddenly jerked away from my fantasy of you. I'd grown so used to the imaginary you, I had no idea of the real you."

"We both changed, Sir."

"I was afraid to talk to you, in case I told you something I'd only have told the fantasy you. But now, I realise I hurt you. You've looked so down, so depressed lately, like you almost believe life's not worth living. You look so different from the old you, it's heartbreaking, so I decided to tell you why I behaved so differently."

"Sir, I..."

"I know, it was stupid to believe you loved me. Just as long as you know that I do care for you, the real you, I mean.. That fantasy, was just fantasy."

"It wasn't stupid." I was about to say more, but then Janet appeared, and began to check me over. As she closed the curtain, I heard the Colonel shout, "Sam, how do you feel about fishing?"

"Feeling better?" Janet asked me.

"Lots, thank you." I smiled. Janet knows I mean more than physically. Damn, but life is good.

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