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by Ryuu

During and Post-Shades of Gray

Sometimes, Sam wished that soap and water could wash away unwelcome thoughts as easily as they removed external grime. She shut off the water and stepped from the shower, briskly toweling off and determinedly thinking cheerful, banal thoughts.

She certainly wasn’t going to think of what the Colonel had said to her or Daniel, or how she’d been completely wrong about him. Or how he’d completely refused to even look at them as he left to see a woman he’d only known for the three months when she’d nearly killed herself trying to get him back. And didn’t he know how much that had hurt her when he’d-

Sam let out a deep breath and ruthlessly cut down that line of thought, trying to distract herself by dividing pi by sequential prime numbers. She tossed the towel in the direction of the hamper and wandered towards her dresser, pulling out clean clothing and dropping it on the bed.

How could she have been so wrong about him? He had a…history. She knew that. She’d thumbed through his file before she’d even come to the SGC. She’d cleverly interrogated Daniel, for god’s sake!

Okay, so clever interrogation of Daniel involved an embarrassingly small amount of tequila, but still.

He’d changed after the first Abydos mission. Everyone who’d known him then and everyone who’d encountered him since said that he wasn’t the same person. He cared about his duty. He cared about the SGC.

Hell, she thought he’d cared about his team! She thought he’d cared about her!

Sam yanked open her underwear drawer and stopped short at the sight of a small, cheerily-colored collection of socks sitting happily on top of her underwear. Damn him and his socks. His socks that she loved. His socks that she thought meant something. She stared at them for a moment before grabbing the socks out of the drawer and throwing them on the bed in one angry motion.

She picked up the wastepaper basket, prepared to slam the socks into it and stopped, staring at a familiar blue sock dangling from one of her fingers. Even after they’d become entirely too holey to wear, she couldn’t bear to throw these socks away. Each one was a memory, a time that she’d done the impossible to save him. No, she corrected herself, to save her team - to save the world.

But it was lies. All of it. She’d practically killed herself for him and he bought her off with socks. And he didn’t even care. He couldn’t even bother himself to turn and look at them before he left!

Sam froze, socks still in hand, her own thoughts striking her like a slap. What was she doing? The socks were damn comfortable. And warm. And she was thinking like a jealous girlfriend. Which she was not. At all.

Slowly, she lifted the socks. She’d never really noticed how intricate the individual stitches were or appreciated how these socks were, essentially just very long pieces of endlessly-looped string, cleverly looped together to form something that kept her feet warm even on the coldest planets.

How long did it take to knit something like this? She wondered how long it took to even learn how, or if anyone who was just pretending to be on her side would even bother going to the time and trouble of hand-knitting socks for her.

She stared at the socks for a moment longer before putting down the wastepaper basket and walking out of the room. A few minutes later she came back with an empty shoebox and stuffed the socks into it, dropping the cover on it and slipping it under the bed.

The socks could stay, at least for a little while. At least until she figured out if he was lying to her or not.



Sam closed her eyes and let out a silent curse before turning to face her determinedly-grinning CO. She’d been so, so close to making a clean getaway. “Sir?”

“So, Daniel and Teal’c are having a craving for steak and since the Earth’s avoided getting blown up this week, we decided to celebrate by going out to get some.”

“Sounds nice, sir. Have a good time. Uh, if you’ll excuse me…”

“Well, I…” he cleared his throat, “we were hoping you might tag along.”

“Sir…” she began.

“I mean, given the world still being intact and all…” He trailed off, looking at her hopefully.

“Sir, I… have things I need to do tonight,” Sam stated, her jaw clenching despite herself.

“Carter, we-“ he paused, then patted the side of her arm. “All right. I’ll catch you next time. Don’t work too late.” He squeezed her arm gently. “That’s an order, Major.”

“Yes, sir,” she murmured, sparing him a quick glance before stepping into the locker room. She leaned against the door, trying to fend off the heavy feeling that had settled in her chest before shaking her head and walking to her locker.

The lock stuck as Sam tried to pull it open and she grimaced, realizing that once again, she’d forgotten to fix it.

After some shaking, tugging and slight swearing, the door swung open and Sam, intent on pulling out her civilian clothing, stopped and stared.

Sitting on top of her neatly-folded jeans was a hat and a pair of socks made of a delicate, heathery-grey yarn. Without thinking, she reached out and touched them, making a soft sound of appreciation as her fingertips encountered the warm, soft smoothness that bespoke very high-quality and costly wool.

She lifted the items out, studying the thousands of tiny, intricate stitches and biting her lip as she felt that heavy feeling in her chest come back. Her suddenly-cold fingers tightened on the brim of her new hat, letting the yarn warm them.

His bag had been searched before he left for Edora and he’d been back on Earth for less than a week. The only time he could have knitted this was during that whole horrible “early retirement” where none of them were talking.

She stroked the cuff of one of the socks. He’d been thinking of her after all, an exultant voice deep in the back of her mind whispered. No one knitted expensive, time-consuming gifts for someone they didn’t care about.

Quickly coming to a decision, Sam spun around and headed out of the locker room, part of her not really surprised to find him leaning against the wall a few feet away.


His eyes flickered to the knitting in her hands and then back to her face, a slight smile lighting his features. “Carter?”

“Those things I needed to take care of?” He nodded, the slight smile quirking upwards, “Rescheduled.”

His eyebrows rose, “Really?”

“Really.” She assured, meeting his gaze evenly.

He reached out and patted the side of her arm again, his eyes warm. “I’ll meet you up top, Carter.”

“Yes, sir.” She smiled shyly at him, tightly clutching her new socks as she ducked back into the locker room to change.

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