Three-Body Problem

Rating: PG-13

Written for the SG-1 Five Things prompt "Five things Sam regrets about getting involved in a threesome with Jack and Daniel."

The Baby

Sam loves the baby, loves her wholly and fiercely in a way that she finds a little frightening. It reminds her of Jonas, the way she was never able to stop loving him, even on that last day with the killer sun beating down on them both. She stopped liking him long before she gave the ring back, but even at the end, the love--

She hopes that she'll come to like the baby eventually. Until then, the hormonal response will have to do.

Daniel likes the baby, she thinks, in a distracted sort of way, though he'll surely be happier once she's old enough to discuss Ancient Sumeria. He takes his responsibilities seriously, at least; does his half of the housework, feeds her and changes her and walks around and around and around the house at night when she's sleepless again, singing to her as quietly as he can. So yes, she thinks Daniel likes the baby, though it isn't exactly the sort of thing one can ask for clarification on.


Nearly five years she and Daniel spent at Area 51, clinging to the remnants of the program, smiling and nodding when they were told that yet another new project or unknown text came out of the backlog of the SGC. Where the Stargate was they didn't know, though they were sure it wasn't as buried as it was supposed to be. They never tried to find out. Curiosity could have cost them Area 51, and once they lost that, they lost Jack to the ice.

Sam wonders, sometimes, whether it would have been better to leave with Teal'c, work the problem from out there. They could have gotten back somehow, she thinks, and they did consider it, but in the end it felt like the wrong choice. So she and Daniel moved to Nevada, worked for an administration they despised during the day and for Jack at night and went out drinking once in a while to toast the hope of a decent return on the investment of two souls.

They lived together from the start, to make the work easier, and when the sex started it seemed perfectly natural. It was perfectly natural, a good way to blow off steam now that the boundaries they'd respected as teammates were gone, and they did care about each other, after all. It hurt when Daniel told her about him and Jack--how could it not sting a little, that Jack had chosen Daniel, and not her?--but Jack had been under the ice for going on two years by then, and it was a wistful little hurt more than anything. Their efforts hadn't slowed, but Sam had begun to think of Jack as a was rather than an is, and being jealous of a was... well, it was foolish, and she hated to be foolish.

Four years to the day after she lost the Stargate, Sam told Daniel she was stopping birth control, and he could do what he wanted to about that. It seemed like the thing to do; her last chance, a future for one of the eggs she'd carried with her since before she was born, a will be brought into a life overfilled with was.

Three months later, she was pregnant, and Daniel was talking his way onto yet another project having to do with the Ancients.

Before she'd reached her second trimester, they had their answer.

It went that quickly, once they had the right information. "There's an instruction manual out there somewhere," Daniel had said, back in the very beginning, and while it hadn't been quite as simple as they'd hoped--there was more than a magical defrost button involved--it had been an easy enough process to figure out. Actually getting access to Jack was the tough part. It took every friend he'd ever had, a few of his enemies, two threatened resignations, and some extremely well-spun descriptions of potential uses for the technology in question, but they managed it in the end. Daniel was in Antarctica when Sam gave birth. When he came home, he brought Jack with him.

"Ta nome?" Jack had said, sitting next to her on the couch. And Daniel had told her, of course, but she still froze, heart sinking into her stomach, as Daniel touched him on the knee and said clearly, "English, Jack."

"Yeah. Sorry," Jack said, and he sounded so tired, so worn, that she wished she had enough strength in her to really care. "What's, ah..." He frowned. "Her name. What's her name."

Daniel had told him that already, Sam knew. They'd agreed on the name months ago. But she found a smile for Jack somewhere, and told him, "Claire. Claire Nancy, for our mothers," not flinching a bit as she sat there with the shell of a man she loved beside her and two dead women in her arms.

There are bad days, when English is difficult for Jack and his mind seems more full of holes than anything else, but there are good days too. On those days he's wholly himself, the only person in her life who can always put a real smile on her face, and she does not mind that she shares him with Daniel. She's mostly too tired for sex anyway, and the one time they were all together, Daniel had lain beside her in the bed, murmuring Ancient meant for Jack into her ear as Jack fucked her, until Jack came gasping a language she didn't want to understand into the side of her neck. She and Daniel fought about that later, quietly, so as not to wake Jack. It doesn't matter to Daniel which language Jack speaks, of course, but she hates it when Daniel encourages him to use anything but English.

Jack speaks Ancient to the baby, sometimes. Mostly he avoids her, which is a neat trick given the size of the house, but he pulls it off. He liked children once, Sam's sure she remembers that, but maybe having one living in the same house is just a little bit too close to the bone. She hasn't asked, and Jack hasn't volunteered.

It could have been the three of them, Sam thinks--either three, any three, pivoting on a was or on a will be. It's four that doesn't quite seem to work, and she loves them, she does, down deep in her gut with all of the other parts of herself that she doesn't understand, but sometimes she wishes--she wishes--it changes from day to day, the wishes she makes, and none of them are things she can say out loud. So she waits. Someday, she thinks, things might change, and she wants to be ready.


The Team Dynamic

"O'Neill and Daniel Jackson seem… upset," Teal'c said.

Sam grimaced. They'd been sniping at each other all day, and it was getting on her nerves. She wasn't sure whether to be grateful that the area near the Stargate seemed to be uninhabited so far, or to wish that there had been people around, so that her beloved partners would have felt obligated to act like adults. "I know," she said, barely managing to stop herself from apologizing. After all, she wasn't the one with the problem.

Teal'c cast a look down the hill to where Daniel was gesticulating wildly about… something. "It is unpleasant," he said, with some emphasis.

"I know," Sam repeated. They could invade an alien spaceship without a qualm, but put the two of them in a cramped garage in need of cleaning out and they suddenly couldn't stand each other. This wasn't the first time a squabble had bled over into one of their quieter missions, either. She kept thinking that Jack, at least, would put a stop to it, but no such luck.

"You should calm them," Teal'c said, which was crazy, because which of them were Jack and Daniel likely to listen to more? Teal'c, that was who. But he held up a hand to forestall her protest, and said again, "You should calm them. Is that not your obligation?"

"My ob—no. Absolutely not, Teal'c. Just because I'm—" She stuttered to a halt.

Teal'c met her gaze levelly, until she glanced away. "Yes. Because you are."

Sam took a deep breath, then shook her head sharply. "No. I didn't sign on for that."

"I believe that you are incorrect, Major Carter," Teal'c replied, but he turned away then and didn't push the matter any farther. Standing beside him on the hill, Sam hunched her shoulders against the wind and clenched her teeth, forcing down a surge of resentment. Later, she thought. I'll talk to them later. Once we're home.


The Goa'uld

Mulac consoled herself with the thought that she was, at the very least, still beautiful.

It was cold comfort. Cauac was dead; all those years, eternities on a human scale, and suddenly he was gone. They were three now, she and Kan and Ix. It was infuriating to have been weakened in such a way, and not even by a true rival. Cauac had not only not fallen at a god's hand, he had not even been killed at one's behest; just the whim of a rogue Jaffa, and three staff weapon blasts in the back.

They had killed the Jaffa, of course. Or rather, she had. Ix, slowest to act and least likely to drive their foursome forward, always gave her a wide berth when she was angry, and when Kan had challenged her right to the kill she had faced him down successfully, as she always did. Cauac had been the one who could truly challenge her dominance, but now Cauac was dead. That was another bright spot, she supposed. They would be weaker now that they were fewer, but Mulac herself would be surer of power over her brothers.

That was why she had chosen the female, to show Kan that it was her power, not the host's, that mattered. They could have waited, even without access to a sarcophagus, but their previous hosts' time had been almost done and Kan, always seeking novelty, had suggested they make the change. Three of them, now, and three humans, different from their usual fare; why not?

Mulac had acquiesced, but only if she were allowed to choose first.

The newness of it all was exciting. They had been hundreds of years in their last hosts, and had grown perhaps over-familiar with their quirks and little pleasures. It had been enormously rewarding to learn their new bodies; Mulac was ever-careful not to yield control, but Kan was easier to manage during sex than at any other time, and even wary Ix had an inventive side to him. Besides, Mulac rather liked their new bodies. Ix was all wide shoulders and smooth chest, nearly as pale as Mulac herself, and Kan—troublesome Kan—well, sometimes when she looked at him she could see the host behind his dark eyes, and the more trouble that caused her brother, the better.


The Sex

Sam liked sex. She liked it a lot. Plus, she was good at it; she's a geek, but she'd never been clumsy or out of touch with her body, not that she could remember. Dating, relationships, intimacy, love, those things were hard, but sex? Sex was easy.

Or it was, until she started to have it with two other people instead of just one.

One-on-one was great. Two-on-one, also great. One-on-one with added voyeurism, actually a lot hotter than Sam would have anticipated. Everyone feeling like they were having sex with everyone else at the same time, in an active, participatory way? Not so much.

"Participatory" was Daniel's word. Upon hearing it, Jack threw a sock at him.

"Maybe it just isn't a realistic goal," Daniel continued, as if he hadn't just had to pull a sock out of his mouth. "I mean, we aren't obligated to have any particular sort of sex life if it's not working for us, right?"

Sam could feel herself bristling, like she always did when it was suggested that she wasn't up to a challenge. Before she could say anything, though, Jack said, "Like I've been telling you, porn is the answer. I thought you people liked research."

"Just because something looks erotic on-screen doesn't mean it would actually be fun, Jack," Daniel replied. The full-on lecture tone was somewhat undercut by his extreme nakedness, not to mention the way he was lying crosswise on the bed with his feet hanging over the edge. He'd managed to stay on when Jack and Sam had both gone over the side, damn him, and while Sam liked to think of herself as the kind of person who recovered from setbacks quickly, it turned out falling out of bed with a six-foot-tall man on top of you broke the mood a little bit. Daniel had actually had the temerity to point out afterwards that he still had an erection, which Sam had told him was his problem, thanks.

"We'll make it work," Sam said, through gritted teeth.

"Even if it kills us, huh?" Jack said, rolling over to kiss her shoulder.

"It won't," Sam said, frustrated. "I can do this."

They never were able to talk her into giving up.


The End

That first time, they'd walked away from the center of Atlantis to Sam's other, more secluded quarters. A lot of the expedition members had them; they provided only an illusion of privacy, given the city's sensors, but sometimes that was enough. And after all, there was plenty of extra living space available, a whole city full of it.

Sam's retreat was on the edge of the city, set low enough down that waves had broken over the balcony a few times during the autumn storms. Two whole walls were made of windows, facing east toward the sunrise and north toward the finely drawn pinnacle that was officially known as Tower 72. Daniel, wanting more poetry in his life, had found the Ancient name eventually; it had been called Prefecis, once. "Housing for high-ranking military," he said, and when Sam replied that it seemed awfully delicate to be a warrior's home, he'd just glanced around at her own quarters and then stared at her, eyebrows up, until she laughed.

After the first time the three of them were together—slow and careful and polite, as much as sex could ever be polite, but good all the same—Sam had gone to the windows, looked out over the sea. It was a brisk day, sunny but with enough wind to send spume up into the air off of the whitecaps, and there floating on the ocean Sam felt more grounded than ever before in her life.

"You okay?" Jack had said, and for a moment, Sam had actually been surprised that he didn't know, that he couldn't read her mind, that all he'd seen was her walking away from their bed. She turned just long enough to show the two men--hers, she thought fiercely, though nothing like that had been said—her smile.

"Come outside," she said, and opened the door to the balcony without waiting for a reply. The wind snatched at her hair and stole all the heat she'd soaked up in bed, and she turned again, grinning more wildly now. "Come on!"

"You're nuts," Jack said, with some admiration.

"I know."

Daniel raised one hand from where he was curled against Jack's back, keeping the rest of his body tucked beneath the blanket. "Ah, you're naked."

"I know!" she said, as she stepped out onto the balcony to let the world welcome her in.

After a few moments they brought the blanket to her; after a minute or two more, the cold in her toes finally overcame her exhilaration, and she went back to bed, flushed and shivering and feeling thoroughly alive.

Years later, after Daniel died, after the funeral was over and the guests had mostly gone, Sam went back out onto that same balcony. It was warmer this time, but still breezy, and her blood had gotten thinner as she'd aged, making a jacket necessary. Inside, Jack was starting to pick up, and she should go in and help, but she just—couldn't breathe. She needed a moment. Just a moment, to catch her breath.

Sam turned to snap at Jack when the door opened behind her, but it wasn't him at all; it was Teal'c, gray-haired and serious in a dark suit. "Hey," she said, wiping at her eyes. "Sorry. I needed some air, you know?"

"I will leave you alone if you prefer," he said.

"No," she said, "I don't—" The tears welled up again, and she turned back to the sea, waving a hand apologetically in Teal'c's direction.

He came and leaned down next to her on the railing, a more casual pose than she would have believed him physically capable of during those first few years. Funny, how hard it was to shake those memories, even now. One of his hands wrapped around hers, squeezing gently. "It was a good death for a warrior."

"He was too young," Sam replied, a little angrily.

"Yes," Teal'c said. "But he died peacefully, in a place and with people whom he loved. It is a good way for death to come, if it must come at all."

Daniel had just… not woken up, one clear morning. It was ridiculous, after all they'd been through. She kept expecting it to turn out to be some sort of a joke. "Jack would say that was crap," she told him, "and I think so too."

"As always," he said, "I would choose to have Daniel Jackson here if I could."

Sam tightened her hand on his. "I know." Below them, waves splashed against the windowless walls of the city's base. The sun had gone behind the central towers, and shadow stretched out eastward across the sea, sending the balcony into an early twilight. She'd thought about having Daniel cremated, giving his remains to the ocean, but Jack had insisted on the Stargate and so he was gone into the space between worlds instead. It wasn't that she didn't see the sense in that—Jack had convinced her in the end—but still, it hurt to have him just… gone like that. She would have liked to have been able to look at the water and feel like he was there, though of course that made no more sense than it did to see him in an event horizon.

"Okay," Sam said, bringing both hands up to scrub at her eyes. "Okay. I'm… going to go help Jack, and then… I don't know what I'll do then." She pushed herself up off of the railing and looked over at Teal'c. "Do you have to leave right away?"

"I do not," he replied. "I can remain. For a little while."

And then there will be two, Sam thought, and felt lonely for the first time in years.

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