Sam scrubbed her hands over her face and then raked her fingers through her hair before locking her fingers together at the back of her neck and resting her forehead on the table in front of her.
She felt tears of frustration and anger pricking at the corners of her eyes and forced them back. She was a major in the United States Air Force, damn it, USAF officers didn't cry because they'd pressed the wrong key when typing a report.
Sam gasped and jerked upright at the sound of her name. She looked over at the doorway and calmed a bit when she saw Daniel standing there, looking concerned.
He'd been looking at her like that a lot, ever since her hallucination-filled ordeal on the Prometheus.
"Are you alright?" Daniel asked softly as he walked into her office.
"Sure. I'm fine, just a little tired." Sam made an attempt at a reassuring smile but it must have failed because Daniel looked more worried than before.
He ran his tongue over his lower lip, a habit he had when lost in thought, and her eyes followed the movement. She felt a strange pang in the pit of her stomach and unconsciously rubbed her hand over her abdomen to ease away the ache. As soon as she realized what she was doing she stopped, afraid that Daniel would think that she was sick. Luckily, Daniel was looking around the room or he probably would have dragged her off to the infirmary.
She probably should have been annoyed at the thought of Daniel coddling her like that, and likely would have if it was anyone else, but coming from Daniel it was...sweet.
Daniel pulled an empty chair out from where it was hidden in a dark corner of the room and dragged it over beside her. He sat down, focused his beautiful blue eyes on her, and said, "I'm worried about you."
Sam was momentarily distracted by the unexpected notion that Daniel's eyes were beautiful. Not that they weren't beautiful or that she hadn't noticed before - you'd have to be dead not to notice - but she couldn't believe she was thinking like that now, after everything that had happened to her. She was becoming a basketcase, she just knew it.
"What?" Startled, Sam realized that she'd spaced out thinking about Daniel's eyes and blushed, embarrassed.
Trying to hide her foolishness from Daniel, she stood up and walked to the other side of the room.
"I appreciate your concern but I'm fine."
"Isn't that my line?" Daniel said as he stood and walked over to her side. "And I bet that it's just as true for you, right now, as it usually is when I say it."
"I don't want to talk about it."
She could hear the frustration and concern in Daniel's voice when he said, "Sam."
"Just drop it, Daniel."
Daniel sighed. "I don't mean to intrude..."
"But you're going to," she snapped.
"Whatever's going on, it's tearing you apart. You need to talk about it with someone." Daniel paused, looking uncertain, and then continued speaking. "I'd like to be that someone. You can trust me, Sam."
Sam leaned back against the wall and wrapped her arms around her waist. Could she tell him? She did trust him. He'd always been there for her, right from the beginning, and he would never hold anything that she said against her but...
But she was afraid that he would be disappointed if he knew. She'd done something terrible and reckless. She'd put people that she cared about at risk because of her weakness. How could Daniel, the strongest person she knew, ever respect her again once he found out her shameful secret?
She looked up when Daniel said, "Let me help," and lost herself in his eyes. They were so full of compassion and love.
Well, she wouldn't be in the Air Force if she was a coward, right? And, truthfully, she did want to talk to Daniel about her experiences. Maybe he could help her make sense of everything that happened out there. She took a deep breath and began to speak, finally telling someone everything about her ordeal - including her conversations with the imaginary versions of Jack and her Dad.
Daniel listened without interjecting, letting her set the pace and direction.
She opened up to him about the events on the Prometheus and even told him about how she was feeling, during and after.
"I'm so sorry, Daniel..."
Daniel wrapped his arm around her, interrupting her apology, and pulled her against his chest.
She returned the hug, grateful for the support. "God, Daniel, I made a horrible mistake."
"You don't need to apologize for your feelings, Sam."
Sam pulled back just far enough to look at Daniel, reluctant to lose the comfort of his arms. "Yes, I do, Daniel, there are regulations against relationships between officers for a reason."
Daniel sighed. "I know about the regulations. You can't help the way that you feel."
"But I could have done something about it - I should have done something about it - and I didn't. I ignored it and pretended that there was nothing wrong."
"We all make mistakes, Sam." He smiled gently. "Even you. Don't be so hard on yourself."
Reluctantly, Sam pulled away from Daniel. "Easier said than done." This wasn't a small mistake. It was a big, dangerous mistake and it would be a long time before she forgave herself. But knowing that Daniel still cared for and trusted her did help.
"It's going to be alright."
Sam smiled. "Yeah, I think it will."
Daniel smiled back and Sam felt that strange flutter in her stomach again. Flustered, she returned to her desk and shuffled a few loose papers on its surface.
"Um, well, I guess I'll...Do you want to go get something to eat?"
"On base?" Sam asked thinking unhappily about the bland cafeteria food in the commissary.
"Actually, I was thinking, maybe...O'Malley's?"
Daniel was adorable when he was all shy and flustered.
"Sure. I'd like that. I haven't been outside these walls in..." She looked around searching for a calendar because she had no idea what day it was.
"God, what day is it?"
Daniel chuckled. "Definitely been working too hard."
Sam whacked him on the shoulder with a folder. "As if you've never lost track of days."
Daniel spun on his heels and indicated the door with a twitch of his head. Sam nodded back and they headed for the elevators, and the exit.
"It's, uh, Saturday," Daniel said, with a quick sideways glance, "February, 14th."
"Saturday? No wonder it's so quiet around her." It was Valentine's Day? Already? A thought struck. "Why are you here?"
"Um..." Daniel shrugged. "I need a life, too?"
She looked over at Daniel and noticed that he looked slightly flushed.
He'd come back to look for her; she just knew it. She leaned over and gave Daniel a quick kiss on the cheek. "Thanks," she said and watched as he turned even redder than before.
She tucked her arm through his and contemplated the possibility of this being a date. It was Valentine's Day, after all.
She smiled at her friend, and Valentine, and he smiled back.
He had a wonderful smile.