Title: Ripples Across the Heart
Author's Notes: I have always hated what the writers did to the character of Martouf, and when I saw the season nine episode Ripple Effect I had such high hopes, but, alas, the show failed to redeem itself. So, this is my version of how that episode should have, and could have, ended. In case anyone gets confused, this story begins in AU Martouf's reality and ends in the reality of the show.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and places are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corp and Double Secret Productions. This form of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognized characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
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He was standing in the doorway, a slight frown upon his face. When he looked up and caught her gaze, the frown melted away into a look of surprise. There was a sizable cardboard box situated on the ground by his feet and Sam had a feeling that she knew what is inside it.
"Samantha," he said slowly, almost as if he was savoring the taste of her name on his tongue one last time, "I didn't see you there."
"Well, you wouldn't have with your head down," she chided him gently, not really aiming to cause pain but trying to keep the tense mood between them as light as possible under the circumstance.
The ghost of a smile flickered across his face but it was gone in the blink of an eye. "I could say that I won't miss this, our playful banter, but that wouldn't be the truth."
Sam tried not to sigh. They had been through this a hundred times, no, two hundred times, and it all came back round to the same thing. "I'm sorry, Martouf," she said, meaning it with her whole heart, "I really wish it could have worked out, I wish things could have ended differently between us."
Martouf nodded. He was no fool. He knew exactly why it didn't work out and exactly who was to blame, but ever the gentleman, he refused to point fingers in accusation, choosing instead the path of least resistance because he knew that it was over and there was no use beating a dead horse.
"I've brought the last of your things from my apartment," he said, almost slipping up and saying 'our apartment' but it hadn't been theirs in a very, very long time.
It was Sam's turn to nod. "I was going to drop by later today, but thank you for bringing them over anyway. I really appreciate it."
They stared at one another, at a loss for words, and then Martouf smiled a perfunctory smile. "I guess I'll be going then. Goodbye, Sam."
He turned to leave and she reached out impulsively, her hand grabbing his arm just above his elbow. He stopped.
"Martouf," she said uncertainly, her voice wavering as she struggled with some deep and snarled emotional turmoil.
He did not look back at her because he knew he would never have the strength to leave if he did, and he knew that ship had already sailed. All he needed to do was look at her belly if he needed a reminder of what was and what would never be.
Instead, he shook his head sadly and said quietly, "No, Sam."
Then he was gone. His feet carried him down the hallway, down the stairs, and out the door into the blinding afternoon sunlight.
It was over.
They were over.
It was all so surreal. The room was filled with Samanthas, each one unique and different and a force unto herself, but only one of them stood out to him. The one who belonged in this reality, the one who had ended his life in this reality because he had asked her to rather than blow himself up, the one with the brightest smile and most beautiful blue eyes - she was the one he was drawn to like a moth to a flame. He knew he should have avoided letting her inside his heart because he was only setting himself up for another heartbreak, but it was too hard to be in the same room with her and not feel like he belonged there at her side.
She watched his every step and he could see the sadness and longing in her eyes for the one that she had lost, and he had to remind himself that it was more than one heart that was silently breaking in the stillness of the lab. He was not her Martouf and she was not his Samantha, but it didn't really matter. For a one glorious moment he allowed himself to believe that she was his and that he could stay here with her forever in this reality. He knew deep down in his heart that they could be truly happy in this reality if only…
No. He could not stay and he did not know if this Samantha would even want him to. He wanted to ask her but his wounded soul held him back and he waited too late.
The swirling vortex of the stable wormhole beckoned him home and it was with a heavy heart that he said his goodbyes to Samantha for the second time in as many days. He leaned in close to murmur in her ear, "It was so good to see you again, Sam, we've missed you on our team. I've missed you."
Samantha beamed at him, but there was desperation written in her eyes at the thought of his departure. She had already lost him once; a painful enough experience all on its own, but to have him walk back into her life and right back out again in such a short span of time was almost too devastating for words. It was unfair and he knew it hurt her in ways she would never show.
She reached out impulsively and grabbed his hand to prolong their goodbye.
"Sam?" He questioned softly.
She shook her head to stop the tears from falling, "Don't go." She whispered, "Don't leave me again."
He shot her a perfunctory smile, a defense mechanism and nothing more, "do you want me to stay, Sam? Say you want me to stay and I will stay."
A single teardrop rolled down her cheek. "Please stay, Martouf. I want you to stay."
"Then I will stay," he said, releasing the breath he had been unaware he was holding. A real smile tugged the corners of his lips upward and for the first time in a long time he felt like he could see the future spreading out in front of him, bright and alluring and full of endless possibilities.
"For now?" Sam asked, seemingly unsure.
Martouf knew that once he made his decision there would be no going back. He would be stuck here, but here didn't seem like a very bad place to be stuck.
His hand closed around hers, firm and warm and possessive, and he lifted his free hand to gently brush away the teardrop from her cheek. "No, Samantha, for always."
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