Ever And AfterSequel:
Secrets and Lies. Author:
Willow/Samantha Carter *SLASH*Rating:
I own nothing. Buffy and Angel people belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy. I’m just playing. Don’t sue. The Stargate people belong to Gekko Productions, Double Secret Productions, MGM/UA, Showtime/Viacom! Warnings/Authors Note:
Set four years after Secrets and Lies. Daniel’s POV. It's slash, obviouslyDistribution:
The usual places. Ask if you want it. Feedback:
Always welcome – unless they’re flames then I laugh madly at them. Summary:
Is there such a thing as happily ever after? – Daniel’s POV.
~ Daniel ~
Not a good sign. That means whatever Sam wants to tell us is something we won’t like. It’s us. I knew it! It’s not a midlife crisis, nothing to do with Ferretti’s death or with the General leaving, it’s to do with us. Why else would she resign from the Air Force without discussing it with us first?
We did something to Sam that made her feel like she didn’t belong anymore.
I just don’t know what we did. Since Sam announced she was leaving the Air Force we’ve been wracking out brains trying to figure out where we went wrong.
God! I didn’t even know she was unhappy.
Yesterday Sam gave in her wings and left the Air Force. On Monday she starts at the SGC as a civilian consultant.
No longer Major Samantha Carter but Dr Samantha Carter.
It’s better than nothing, I guess. Though, it took the combined efforts of Jack, Jacob, Janet, Teal’c, myself, George, AND the Joint Chiefs to convince Sam to take the position. She wanted to leave us forever but she caved when we pointed out how much Earth needs her. It’s something…except Sam won’t be going off world. She won’t be a part of SG-1 and that’s hurting all three of us, especially since Sam wouldn’t tell us why she left. Just that it has nothing to do with us and it’s personal.
I don’t believe that.
We’re a team. We’ve fought, died, and saved each other for the last thirteen years.
There is no personal.
We’re family… and I don’t understand what’s going on!
Her career is at its prime. Jack said she would have made Colonel in the next few months, now that Jack is taking over the SGC. She would have gotten SG-1, the exact thing she was working for. Sam wanted this! For as long as I’ve known her, this was her dream!
Why is she giving it up?
And why the hell didn’t we notice? Great. I’m starting to sound like Jack. Jack… who is taking this harder than anyone. Sam was his 2IC, his one time forbidden love. Her giving up the Air Force, to Jack, is his fault.
We’re all blaming ourselves – even Teal’c.
How could we not see this coming? Were we so caught up in our lives that we didn’t see Sam’s distress? God, Sam must hate us. How long was she waiting for us to hear her? To notice her?
“So, Carter…” Jack begins, trying to sound casual.
God, this is so hard. I hate it. We’re all hurting and we’re too afraid to say anything to Sam, in case she shuts us out of her life forever. I begged Jack on the way over not to lose his temper. He’s still hurting, and when Jack’s hurting he forgets himself.
I don’t want him to lash out at Sam, isolate her.
I clear my throat. “I brought some cheesecake for desert.”
Ok, not the smoothest thing I’ve ever said but I don’t know what else to do! I’m scared. Really scared. Sam’s nervous, Jack’s hurt, and Teal’c is…um, Teal’c. The potential for something going wrong tonight is too high. We’re too emotional.
I’m too emotional.
I want to know why she left us. That’s what it comes down to. Sam left us with no good reason, not the Air Force, but us. Ok, ok, I’m a broken record, but Jack and I have become especially close since Sam put in her resignation and he’s rubbing off on me a little.
“Thanks Daniel,” Sam replies nervously. “Did you guys want something to eat or drink? Dinner will be another hour.”
An hour? Thank god! That means we don’t have to wait until we’ve eaten for our answers. “No, I’m fine thanks,” I decline, as do Jack and Teal’c.
“So Carter, you said you said you wanted to tell us something,” Jack prompts.
I’ve worked with Sam for almost thirteen years. I know her better than anyone. She’s like a sister to me. I know her expressions and it worries me that it goes from nervousness to outright fear.
“Yes Sir,” Sam smiles at her slip. “Yes, Jack. I wanted to talk to you about why I left the military.”
Finally! “We’re listening Sam,” I reach over and grasp her hand, squeezing it lightly. I hope that, with this one gesture, she realizes that I’m here for her. That I love her and I’ll never let her down. Just don’t shut us out, Sam. I couldn’t stand it. I’ve lost too many people already. My parents, Sha’re, Ferretti… I don’t want to lose her too.
“I…” Sam falters. “God, I don’t know how to say this.”
“Just say it, Sam,” the tone Jack uses pierces me right through my heart. It wasn’t his usual harsh tone, but a gentle one that Jack rarely uses.
“You know I love you guys, right?” she tells us after a long minute. “I wasn’t lying when I said leaving the military had nothing to do with you. I was happy with SG-1. I know I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did if I didn’t have you guys on my six.”
Oh god. “Sam, what’s wrong?” Was something wrong? Was she sick? No one says something like that unless something bad was going on. Shit. Tell us Sam!
“Nothing’s wrong, Daniel,” she promises me. “It’s just… I realised that it wasn’t enough for me. Not anymore. After Ferretti died, I realised what was important, what I am, was, missing.”
“What were you missing, Sam?”
“A life,” she admits. “Ferretti will never see his wife again, never see his kids grow up. I’m forty four years old, I’m not married, I don’t have any kids… and I realize that I do want that life. I want a family, I don’t want to pretend anymore. I want happily ever after.”
I… I don’t know what to say.
“Sam, you can have that,” Jack tells her. “I know it’s rough for the spouses of SGC personnel but it is possible to have both. I’m not exactly the prime example but I think that if Charlie never died… maybe Sara and I would have made it.”
Sam shakes her head. “It’s not possible to have both, Jack. Not for me. If it was possible, I would have stayed with the military.”
“All right, maybe it would be different if you were to have kids, but the principal is still the same. What happened to Ferretti sucked. It hit everyone hard, but leaving the SGC isn’t the answer,” Jack hesitates and my heart stops. Jack’s going to say something I won’t like, I know it. “Carter, I really mean no disrespect when I say this but… wouldn’t it be better leaving the SGC when you at least had a boyfriend? Leaving like this, well, don’t you think it’s a little hasty? There is no guarantee that you will find anyone or that when you do, it’ll be enough. Why don’t you take a few months off? Think about it, decide, then come back.”
“I don’t need a few months off, Jack,” Sam replies. “And… what I’m doing isn’t what you would call hasty. The exact opposite actually.”
Ok, now I’m confused.
“I have someone, Jack.”
What? Sam has a boyfriend? That’s, um, great… but a little concerning as well. Is her boyfriend the reason she’s leaving? IS she pregnant? More importantly, how come we didn’t know about him? I can see Jack and Teal’c are thinking the same thing. “You’re involved with someone? Sam, why didn’t you tell us?”
Couldn’t? “Why not?” I’m caught between concerned and hurt. Why did Sam feel we wouldn’t approve of her new boyfriend? That’s really not like Sam, unless she was afraid we would scare him off and… well, Jack and Teal’c can be pretty scary.
I can too, but that’s normally first thing in the morning before my coffee.
“Did you think we would not approve, Samantha Carter?” Teal’c asks in a gentle voice.
“No, well, yes. I… I don’t know. I’d like to think you would approve, I think you will but at the time I couldn’t tell you because it was against regulations.”
All eyes go to Jack.
“Someone in the command, Carter?” Jack’s voice is a little colder now.
This is going to get ugly.
Sam sighs. “This isn’t going like I planned. When I rehearsed this last night it was much easier. It’s not anyone in the command. It’s not anyone you know,” she takes a deep breath. “It’s a woman,” she won’t look any of us in the eye. “I’m in love with a woman, that’s why I left.”
A… a woman? Did Sam just say she was in love with a woman? What? When? How long? How did we miss something like this? I didn’t even know Sam was gay.
No one says anything, I don’t think any of us know quite what to say. Sam… ok, that explains why she left, and why she didn’t tell us… No, it doesn’t explain anything. Sam isn’t gay, is she? She was in love with Jack once. What about Martouf? Narim? Jonas? She never once mentioned to any of us that she was gay.
“I know this is a surprise,” Sam goes on when none of us speak. “I wanted to tell you guys about it but I couldn’t. The regulations are clear, I know you guys would have backed me up but I didn’t want to risk putting any of you in danger if it got out.”
Jack is the first to recover. “You’re, um, seeing someone?”
Oh no. Jack doesn’t believe her. I can hear it in his voice. Please, Jack, don’t say anything to upset her. Yes, it is a little hard to accept but I don’t think she would come out to us if she wasn’t serious. I… I just hope she’s not making a mistake. I’m guessing this is a relatively new thing, no way could Sam hide something like this for an extended period of time. The pressure alone would be crippling. She and her lover would have to keep their relationship a secret… not to mention the secrets and lies Sam has to maintain because of her job.
“Yes,” Sam notices Jack’s disbelief as well, but doesn’t comment on it. “Her name is Willow Rosenberg. She’s from Sunnydale, California.”
Willow? Pretty name. Which is an absurd thought especially since I’m freaking out here. It’s not that I have anything against homosexual relationships. I don’t. I have friends who are gay…it’s just a little bit of a shock when your military friend comes out after being straight all of her life. Is Sam making a mistake?
Has she given up her career because she fears being alone?
No, that’s not fair. Sorry, Sam. I didn’t mean that. It’s just… what she said before, about wanting happily ever after. Maybe Sam is grasping the first thing she finds.
“How long have you been together?” I ask, unable to help myself.
“Is it serious?” Jack wants to know.
Sam looks away from us again. “Yes, it’s serious. Officially we’ve been friends for a while but we didn’t pursue a relationship until I left the Air Force.”
Officially? Which begs the question –
“How long have you been together,” Jack asks, his eyes narrow. “Unofficially.”
I don’t want to know.
Sam has this look on her face and I don’t want to know. I don’t know why. It’s silly. Maybe I’m just freaking out but I have this feeling that I’m not going to like the answer.
“Unofficially, three years.”
W…what? Three? THREE YEARS? NO! No. I don’t believe that. Sam has been in a serious relationship for three years? Shit. And I thought thinking us neglecting Sam hurt. It didn’t hurt like this. God, why didn’t she tell me? I’m not military. How could Sam keep something like this from me for so long?
Jack and Teal’c are blown away.
“I’m not rushing into this, Jack. We meet four years ago but only started seeing each other three years ago. It took me a year to find the courage to actually decide to date her. I never would have jeopardize my career if I wasn’t sure.”
Four years? Oh god.
This… this changes everything. Not that Sam’s gay. No, for me that doesn’t mean anything. What changes everything is that she didn’t trust us, me. Why? I wouldn’t have betrayed her. I would have helped her, given her advice when I could.
I could have covered for her.
“Why didn’t you – ” I can’t even finish the question.
Why didn’t she trust me? Or us? God, four years she has been going through… oh god. Four years? How could she not tell us? It didn’t make sense, none of it did. I get the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ but I’m surprised that Sam has kept a secret like this for so long.
All the holidays, birthdays, Christmases… I never saw anything. Even now, looking around Sam’s house I can’t see anything here that would even hint she is seeing someone, or that she even has a new friend. The house looks like it always does. There are no new photo’s, nothing that hasn’t always been here.
The house hasn’t changed in years.
Sam looks at me, the pain in her eyes unmistakable. I know once this has sunk in, I’ll be all right, we’ll be all right, but right now I’m hurting and confused. God, I can only imagine how Jack is handling this. The look on his face is… there aren’t words to describe it. He loved Sam at one time and the only reason he never pursued her was because of her career.
Now it’s too late for him.
“Why didn’t I tell you?” Sam’s voice cracks as she finishes my unasked question. “You’re Jack’s best friend and I knew when I finally did come clean and you knew but the Colonel didn’t… your friendship with him would be damaged by it. I didn’t think it was fair to set the team against one another. It was either tell all of you or none of you. I love you all equally, it wasn’t an easy decision to make but I feel it was the right one.”
“But I’m your friend too, Sam. I could have helped at the beginning, when you were trying to decide about, um, Willow,” I’m struggling to find words. “I don’t know what I could have done, but I could have helped.”
“And if you helped me lie for almost three years it wouldn’t have bothered you?” she counters. “Daniel, I wanted to tell you, so many times I wanted to tell you… all of you, but I couldn’t. Lying to the military is one thing but asking you to lie to your best friend? I was risking so much with Willow, I didn’t want to risk your friendships with each other as well.”
I… I guess I can understand that. My friendship with Jack is the most important relationship in my life. We’ve been through a few rough patches but he is the one person in my life I can rely on, I wouldn’t have liked lying to him on a regular basis.
And Jack would have been hurt if I knew and he didn’t. I would have been hurt if I were in his position… I am hurt. We all are.
I still don’t get how we could miss this. How did they date, wasn’t Willow from California? How did they meet… how blind are we?
Sam has been involved in a serious relationship for three years… so serious that she is giving up her career so they could be together without having to hide and we didn’t see a thing.
I can’t help but feel a little ashamed.
Sam would have been so confused at the beginning… why didn’t I pick it up? She met Willow four years ago… I should have noticed.
“Are you sure this is what you want, Carter?” Jack asks. “It’s not too late to change your mind. We can cover for you… if you want to keep seeing your, um, girlfriend. You can have both, we’ll do what we can to make sure no one finds out.”
I can’t look at him right now, his expression is too painful. This is hurting him more than anyone. I wonder if he thought maybe he and Sam had a chance now that she is a civilian? Was Jack planning to ask Sam out?
Oh god, poor Jack!
“It’s what I want,” Sam declares with absolute certainty. “My decision to leave the Air Force was mine alone. Willow didn’t ask me to leave… I wanted to leave. I’m tired of hiding how I feel for her, you don’t know how exhausting it is. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me and none of my friends know about her… Dad didn’t even know about her until last night. I hate the thought of something happening to me and no one telling Willow because no one knows she exists. I don’t want my work to be the only thing in my life… I want something more. I want a life.”
None of us say a word.
“Willow has been waiting for me for the entire three years we’ve been together. She always gives everything she has to our relationship, and never complained when I didn’t. She loves me so much that she’s willing to take whatever crumbs I give her. I talk about you three constantly but I never took the risk and introduced you. She gets this look in her eyes… like she’s secretly scared I’m not really committed to her and in truth I haven’t been. I put the Air Force, the SGC, you guys before her and she never once complained. I know every one of her friends, we even went to England last year to meet her mentor. I know every part of her life, she trusts me with her soul and I can’t even introduce her to my friends. How is that fair? I love her as much as she loves me yet I can’t give her everything.”
Sam takes a deep breath.
“What’s worse, if I had died instead of Ferretti, Willow would be still sitting at home waiting for me to get back from the mission. She wouldn’t get a flag like Ferretti’s wife, she wouldn’t even be recognised as the person I love. You guys couldn’t offer her comfort, there would be no support from the SGC. Willow would get nothing for loving me and it’s not good enough… for either one of us.”
Sam looks at us desperately, silently begging us to understand.
And hearing that, I do understand.
Sam wants to live her life the way it should be done.
I had a normal life once and it was taken from me. I had everything I ever wanted and it slipped away so quickly, I took it all for granted. To this day, I still wish I never unburied the Stargate. If Sha’re had lived, I definitely wouldn’t be doing this. I would be living happily ever and after with the love of my life.
No matter how much this is a shock and how much it hurts, Sam needs us. None of us are totally ok with this, but then I don’t think Sam expects us to be. It’s a shock, we’re hurt, confused… it’s going to take a little getting used to but we’re a team.
We back each other up, no matter what.
We’re not going to turn our back on Sam now.
Jack clears his throat. “I’m happy for you, Carter.”
Never in my life have I been more proud of Jack. He can be an ass at times but when it comes to his friends, his team, he does what is right, regardless of what it means for him.
“I too am happy for you, Samantha Carter,” Teal’c bowed his head slightly.
“Me too, Sam,” I add softly.
Sam looks at me and I give her a smile which says exactly what I’m feeling. I’m happy for her and a little jealous even.
She is getting what we all want more than anything.
A chance at happily ever after.
Click below for the sequel to Ever And After and the last in the series:Family And Friends