Disclaimers and other info in part 1.
Sam was quiet. In fact, Mac was carrying most of the conversation. Her voice trailed off as she realized that Sam wasn't paying attention.
"Hey." She laid a hand on the other woman's arm. "You okay?"
Sam sighed and put her fork down. She stared at her ring for a moment, then took a deep breath. "When your fiancé broke off your engagement... did you regret it?"
Mac stared at her new friend, brow creased. Sam flushed in embarrassment. "Never... never mind. I had no right to ask--"
"Let's go back to your office," Mac interrupted quietly.
They returned their trays and made their way back to Sam's lab. Sam sat at her desk, and Mac perched on a stool. They sat in silence for a few minutes.
"I loved Mic. I really did," Mac began quietly. "He was kind, and sweet, and loving. He was willing to sacrifice everything for me--and he did. His home, his career..." She paused, collecting her thoughts.
"Mic was part of an exchange program with the Australian Royal Navy. I didn't like him at first. Of course, I didn't like Harm at first, either," Mac recalled with a smile. "Mic... tried too hard. He wanted to be liked too badly. But he was a good lawyer, and he did his job well. And he was damned persistent in his pursuit of me." She laughed. "He chased me for a year. Finally, on a case in Sydney, he proposed."
"He proposed? Just like that? Had you even been dating?" Sam asked in disbelief.
"Not... really. Not for long. Anyway, I told him that I couldn't say yes--not at that point. What he didn't know was that I had just made an overture to Harm, who had turned me down flat."
"Yeah. Yikes. Mic convinced me to wear the ring on my right hand--as a friendship ring. We dated for ten months. Mic was patient--ridiculously so. Finally, I accepted his proposal, and we set a date.
"I told you that he left me. The night before the wedding, Harm was flying his quals," Mac said, knowing that the Air Force officer would understand what she meant. "He got permission to come home that night--but he flew right into the middle of a storm. The plane crashed. We got the call right in the middle of the rehearsal dinner."
Mac could feel the tears welling up. She took a deep breath. "I couldn't get married then, Sam. I couldn't do that while my best friend was out there, possibly dead. Mic understood--at least, he said he did. That was the one time that I consciously used my... ESP. I gave the search-and-rescue team the coordinates of the plane. They saved both Harm and his RIO."
Mac wrapped her arms around herself as she remembered that stormy May night. "I needed my best friend with me. I needed him to be there, to share in my happiness. That's what I kept telling myself, up until the moment Mic decided that he couldn't wait anymore. He left me. He broke off the engagement, and went back to Australia. And I ran. I couldn't face my friends, the friends that had been so happy for me. I took a TAD assignment in the Indian Ocean."
She could feel the tears begin to flow, but she made no move to wipe them away. "I realized, while I was half a world away from everything I knew, that while I loved Mic, and could have been content with a life with him, I wasn't in love with him. It wasn't a passionate love, a... an intuitive love. I loved my lover as a friend... and my friend as a lover. God, I was such an idiot!" Mac exclaimed. She bit her lip and composed herself.
"But to answer your original question... no. I may have regretted it then, but I don't now. No matter what's happened, I know that it's better this way. I'll always love Mic. He treated me like a princess. But I couldn't spend the rest of my life with a man, knowing that he wasn't my first choice."
Mac finished, tears streaming silently down her face. She rested her head on the cool surface of the table. Sam quietly handed her a box of tissues, and she accepted them with a quiet, "Thank you."
"No, Mac," Sam replied. "Thank you for sharing that with me."
Mac gave Sam a tearful smile. "You know what's really weird about this? It's like I was talking to myself."
Sam grinned. "Do that often?" she quipped. The two women laughed, breaking the somber atmosphere.
Mac awoke, gasping for breath, heart racing. She could feel the blood rush to her face as she thought about her latest dream.
Technically, it wasn't her dream. It was Sam's. It seemed that she could share Sam's dreams as well as her reality.
Dear God, it had been vivid. Not vivid in the peculiar brightness of her dream-visions, but vivid as in she felt everything Sam was feeling.
She blushed again. Who knew that she could bend like that?
She frowned in the darkness. There was more than one problem with this. The invasion of Sam's privacy bothered her more than a little, but there was something else.
The other man was distinctly not Sam's fiancé. He was Daniel Jackson.
And though Mac had suspected there was something between the two scientists, she hadn't thought...
God. Sam was more like her than Mac had known.