Excerpt from an email from Colonel Samantha Carter to General Jack O'Neill

...you know, it really wasn't something I'd planned. To be honest, the thought had never crossed my mind before, well, not seriously. I mean, I could appreciate that she looks good in a set of BDU's, but she's my friend. And besides, that's never been my thing. It's not something I thought I wanted.

It's just, well, she was so terribly upset, and so worried about him. And no matter how often the rest of us told her that we'd find him, and that he always turns up, always comes back, she didn't seem able to believe it. I went in to her quarters after working ridiculously late on something, and she was just sitting there, cross legged on the chair, staring at a magazine she obviously wasn't reading. Her face, Jack, it was so desperately alone, and suddenly I felt what it must be like to be Vala, to be miles away from your old life (even if that was a lonely life too) and surrounded by people who all know each other, and who share this long history. And, of course, to be in love with a man who barely notices you're alive unless it's to huff at you and sigh... Yes, yes, I know you'll be shaking your head and scoffing at the "in love" part, but, Jack, I really think she does love him. You weren't there - you didn't see her face.

Anyway, this is the part I'm not sure I should be writing to you about. You see, I just acted without thinking. I put my arms around her and told her we'd get Daniel back; that we always get Daniel back. That she must not give up hope. That he was a fighter, and wouldn't let Adria beat him.

It was about then that she started to cry: great big tears rolling down her cheeks, her shoulders shaking, but she didn't make a sound. I'm guessing being able to cry in total silence has been a useful skill for Vala sometimes in the past... And somehow, round about then too, I found myself kissing her, undoing her ponytail and running my hands through her hair, oh god, that gorgeous long dark hair...

I think I kind of expected her to push me off, or to hit me, or something similar. I had no idea what had come over me, so I can only imagine that she must have thought I'd gone insane. She didn't though; after a little gasp of breath, instead she kissed me back. Just tiny, featherlight kisses, almost not there at all, and we did this for a long time, or maybe no time at all, I'm not sure... Her skin tasted salty, from all the tears, and I know that by the time we moved from the chair to the bed the saltiness was gone and it was her mouth I was tasting...

I'd never made love to another woman before, you know. Had a few offers, in college and at the Academy, but I'd never taken them up. I've thought about it a few times, heck yes, who hasn't? I just never imagined actually doing it, in real life I mean, not in a fantasy. And I didn't believe it could feel quite so natural, and so good, as it did. There was no uneasiness, no fumbling, no muffled ouches or bumping of heads or any of those other cliches films use to indicate first-time sex. We just made love as gently and as carefully and as lovingly as if we'd been doing it forever. My fingers and her fingers, her mouth and my mouth - I couldn't have told you where one finished and the other began. Her scent, her taste, it was all so familiar to me, Jack, as familiar as my own body, and I knew how to make her breathe faster and harder, how to make her squirm under me, while she reached over and did the same to me, knew how to hold her and touch her just right so that she came in my arms shaking and stammering my name... as I did hers, a minute or so later...

It felt so normal, and so right. And curling up afterwards, we laughed about something, can't remember what now, and held hands, and fell asleep. And when I woke up in the morning, I didn't feel worried about what had happened, or guilty or alarmed. I lay there for a long time watching Vala sleeping, then snuck back to my own room to get ready for the day's mission.

Of course, that was the day we found Daniel. And in all the excitement of beaming him aboard, and getting him secured, and calling you and so on and so forth, Vala and I didn't get a moment to have two words together. I could see how her face shone though when she saw him, Prior or not. You know, I really think there is love there, Jack...

And since then, well, since then things have gone back to the way they were. Daniel is his usual acerbic, huffy self, and he still gives the second-best hugs in the world. Teal'c is still here and there and everywhere with the Council. Mitchell is Mitchell, and you are still far, far away in DC (and still the giver of the best hugs in the world, by the way). I am me, and Vala is Vala, and apart from the occasional little smile, nothing seems to have changed. Sometimes I catch myself looking at her a little longer than I should, sometimes I notice her watching me from under her lashes, but I think, for now, it's going to stay just a memory, a happy one.

And now I'm going to file this email away in my Fishing folder, and not send it at all. But Jack - even though you're not going to be reading it, thanks for listening. I needed to get it all out.

I love you.

Sam