Disclaimer: Wish I owned them. Wish I had made money off this fic. If wishes were horses...

Trilogy: Part One: I Knew

by Linda Bindner

A/N: Missing scene tag to season eight's episode 'Threads.'


I knew from the beginning, Pete told her in a regretful but honest voice. Guess I just thought when you said yes that... His voice trailed off into nothing.

Sam sat on the bench in front of the house that Pete had bought 'for her,' and stared at Pete in surprise as he sat next to her while she was in the middle of trying to gently put an end to their relationship. But with that attempted ending came confusion as well at what Pete had just said... confusion laced with her surprise, a surprise that was quickly giving way to anger. Wait, she said, putting a halt to their current conversation and starting a new one, some force behind her word. You knew? About us? she clarified.

From the beginning, Pete admitted with a sad sigh. Like I said, I just...

He knew? Sam thought, still stuck on that one idea as Pete continued to ramble his explanation to her. Sam ignored his spoken words to go on with her thoughts, He went ahead with this... relationship... between him and me... asked me to marry him, for crying out loud... even though he knew that it would never work in the end?! Sam cut him off to ask in a voice of tight, incredulous anger, Then why..? She cleared her throat and tried to ask the same question without the anger lacing her tone. Why did you ask me to marry you if you knew..? And what did you know? She wanted to be certain that she and he were definitely referring to the same thing in this new conversation. Look before you leap, Sam was able to remind herself, recalling the need for logic even in her growing sense of emotional upheaval.

Pete regarded her in miserable silence. Finally, he took a deep breath and said, I knew that this day would eventually happen, that...

That what would happen? she required him to clarify.

This day, Pete said again, as if repeating what he had already stated would make her understand without him having to vocalise anything more. But when she just continued to stare at him with an uncomprehending expression on her face, he tried to be more specific. That we would be here, you saying what you're saying, me just taking it...

Again Sam broke in on his comment. What do you mean? she asked, getting slightly exasperated now. Do you mean that you knew that I would eventually want to... She hesitated. To... to break up with you? She stared at him when he didn't immediately answer. So she specified, That I would eventually want to put an end to our relationship, whatever state that relationship was in?

Pete closed his eyes in regret, then kept them closed as he nodded his affirmation.

Sam's lips thinned down to a tiny thread of a line, and she looked away from him, trying hard not to let her anger with him for what he was confessing grow to huge proportions, but she found it fairly difficult. You knew that I would eventually end things, she repeated in a dumbfounded voice.

Yeah, Pete said in confirmation. I just hoped that...

Yet you proposed marriage anyway, Sam firmly stated.

Pete sat beside her in silence, looking guilty now. Yeah, he eventually whispered his agreement with her assessment of the situation.

Sam sat beside him, trying again not to let her anger at him take control of her, but having less and less success with repressing her emotions all the time. She rubbed her sweating hands on her jeans, then balled her fingers into her palms in a tight attempt to stay in control. So, she carefully began, If you knew that the end of our relationship would happen eventually, that 'this day would come,' she quietly said, repeating his earlier words, Then everything... our entire relationship... the engagement... all of it... was something that you didn't expect to last?

Pete remained quiet for a moment, then responded, Yeah, that about says what I've been thinking all along.

Sam sharply turned her head to gaze at him in an unnerving stare that pierced through him in an instant. Yet you asked me to marry you anyway? she inquired a second time. Even knowing that we would one day find ourselves here, at the end?

Yyyeeaaah, Pete slowly admitted after a silent moment.

Sam hissed a breath out between teeth that were tightly clenched together. At last, she said, Then I have some questions about that.

Pete winced, but didn't stop her asking.

First, Sam said, How did you 'know,' and..? Here she cut herself off to gaze at him again with her large eyes that could be so clouded with passion one moment, and chips of icy blue the next. He was being treated to the ice chips at the moment. Her eyes positively glittered. Do you have any idea what I've been going through these last few months? she asked, almost as if she didn't expect him to answer. Do you know what that proposal of yours caused me to think, to do?

Pete didn't answer her second question, but focused on her first. How could I possibly know what you've been going through? he repeated. Though... He looked a bit shamefaced.

What? Sam asked.

So Pete continued. I suspected.

You suspected? Sam ascertained in a slow repetition of his confession. Pete nodded again. How? Sam at last asked in a soft, angry voice that compelled him to answer.

Pete looked almost eager to tell her what he had to tell her. Eager, as well as very reluctant at the same time. It was an odd combination that showed in his expression. I... um... I... followed... you... around for a few days way back at the beginning. Then I saw you with him...

Confused again, she asked, Him? Pete nodded. Sam went on to inquire, Who is 'him?'

Pete gave an exasperated sigh then. Come on, Sam, him, the General, only he was a Colonel then I think.

Sam tried not to appear too horrified that Pete had actually referred to General O'Neill by title... rank... even if he hadn't spoken a specific name to accompany that title. The title was damning enough.

But Pete seemed unaware of her horror. He went on, shaking his head. The whole rank thing is still a bit confusing to me. Ranks in the police force are a bit different... He lamely trailed off, as if he knew that his explanation was a bit on the bad side. But gamely he went on, Anyway, the minute I saw you with him... And the two of you weren't even doing anything at the time... But it was there.

What was? Sam calmly asked, trying to move beyond her horror to continue their discussion. The fact that she thought she already knew what he was going to say to her helped.

Pete sighed, then put words to his thoughts. Him... You... You both lighted up like... He stopped, struggling to voice his ideas. It was subtle, he finally said. If you weren't looking at both of you just right, or... Again he paused. At last he turned to stare at her. It was like something electric, he said, then added, Between you two.

Sam instantly stated, But we never...

I know that, Pete quickly said. Anybody who knew you at all would know that. I mean, Mark had told me about those Air Force rules keeping you and him from ever doing anything ages ago. He shrugged. So... I thought I had a shot.

Sam ascertained, But you soon knew..?

Yeah, Pete said again, and sighed. I knew. He linked his fingers together, as if he had to have something to hold on to.

Again Sam looked away from him and furiously worked her mouth back and forth. Finally, when she felt that she had enough control of her emotions to say something, she reluctantly stated, Pete, what I'm about to tell you is partly of my own doing, not all yours, and I want to make sure you know that before I get going and forget to mention it. She rubbed her hands on her jeans one more time. Then she pierced him with her ice chips again. You knew that our relationship wouldn't work out, she recapped. But you proposed anyway.

Pete miserably stated, I figured that I didn't have anything to lose.

Sam could no longer hold back her snort. Maybe you didn't, she said. But somebody sure did.

Now Pete was confused, and he looked it. Say again? he requested. Are you talking about you? You losing? he clarified.

Sam sent him a withering stare, then visibly tried to hold back the contempt she was feeling. No, she said with a voice that was only half strangled venom. Not me.

Pete shrugged. Then... who?

Sam hissed another breath out through her teeth. She didn't answer his question, but instead went on with her own explanation. You asked me to marry you, she plainly announced. I did a lot of soul searching before I answered. She grimaced, as if in pain. I'm still soul searching, she admitted next. But when you asked, I wanted to be fair to you, she explained, and turned to regard him. That's why I did all that soul searching. And I wanted a normal life, and that you were offering it to me, and that all I would have to do is accept you along with it, and that I needed to forget... Her voice faded, but it was clear that she felt agitated now.

But you didn't forget, did you? Pete softly inquired, as if she had ended her question/comment, leaving him to respond to what was only her implication of somebody, that she had instead actually named exactly whom she thought she needed to forget... even if she hadn't done any such thing. It didn't matter... they both knew who she was referring to.

Sam again angrily worked her mouth back and forth, her tight control being asserted again. Finally she was able to vocalize, The point is not about me. Her eyebrows rose. It isn't even really about you.

Pete's confusion intensified. Then who is it about?

Sam hissed, the air around them burbled, and tires squealed in the distance, but both ignored the sound so she could say, It's about him.

But Pete was already shaking his head. No Sam, you've got that wrong, he firmly said. The fact that you said that you would marry me has nothing to do with General O'Neill.

Sam looked at him, askance He had dared to actually say the General's name! More importantly, Pete had said that name in conjunction with her! The nerve! But now that it had been said, Sam didn't see the point of pretending that she and Pete weren't talking about General O'Neill. Not have anything..! It has everything to do with him! she answered.

Pete appeared confused again. I don't quite follow...

Sam gasped her breath this time. I said 'yes' to you because he didn't stop me! she blurted. Though I know you probably don't want to hear about all that. She gave a semi-regretful pause before going on, But you asked me even when you knew it wouldn't work out between us, so, excuse me for stating this, but... You kind of asked for it.

I asked because I asked? Pete... asked.

Sam looked aghast now. You know, she said, and looked Pete's way again. I think I would have been perfectly content to wait around on him forever if you hadn't asked that stupid question.

Pete was angry now. Hey! he objected. It wasn't stupid!

But Sam went on, You hurt him... We hurt him, she added. We put him through agony... And for what? she rhetorically queried. Because you knew that someday, eventually...

That's not exactly fair! Pete exclaimed then. This isn't my fault! No one made you say 'yes!'

True, Sam conceded, then added, But if you knew, and asked anyway... No one made you ask in the first place, she pointed out. And by asking, you hurt... You and me... It was Sam who shook her head this time. It's not your fault that I'm a stupid genius who can blow up suns...

Blow up suns? Pete repeated, then peered at her. I haven't heard about any...

The point! Sam emphasized. The point is... We did a total number on him. I didn't know that it was all for nothing... and have spent the last weeks feeling so guilty!

Guilty? Pete asked. Why would you feel..?

But Sam cut him off this time. Because I knew that I couldn't marry you, didn't want to, even if nothing happened between me and... anybody else... And I didn't know how to tell you...

You're telling me now, Pete said.

Sam gave a ghost of a smile. Yes, I guess I am.

Pete was silent.

Sam was silent.

Finally Pete held the engagement ring out in front of both of them. It sparkled in the dying sunlight. Guess I should see if the jeweler guy will take this back, huh?

Sam quickly added, It should have been taken back a long time ago. But like I said, that wasn't all you're doing. I'm as angry with myself as I am with you.

Angry with yourself, Pete said again. Why?

Sam's sigh split the air. Because he told me to get a life outside the mountain, to be happy, and I did, with you, and I thought I was fine, but I wasn't, and discovered that I wasn't, and in the mean time the thing you and I had together was nice enough, but wasn't real, and it all hurt him so much...

You can't be responsible for...

Sam's hand shot out to stop him. You didn't see him, Pete. These last weeks, she added to specify. I could see what I was doing... And I thought that he wanted it this way... She looked at Pete again. But if you knew that it would never work out between us... and you never said so... She didn't finish her thought. That's something that you're going to have to live with, that we're going to have to live with... She stood up then, springing to her feet so fast it was as if her pants were on fire. She began striding off towards her car without looking back at Pete.

Pete called after her, Where are you going?

Sam still didn't look back at him, but answered, To ask if he can ever forgive me. If he can... and that's a big 'if' right now... then I'll think about forgiving you for asking me to marry you when you knew it was a doomed relationship right from the start.

Pete began to get incensed at what she was saying, but stopped himself long enough to think about things from her perspective. Yeah, okay, I deserve that, he thoughtfully said.

But Sam didn't hear him as she slammed shut her car door, started the engine, then sped off into Colorado Springs.

Pete sat alone on the bench in front of the house he was going to have to sell back to the Realtor. He sighed. Then he mumbled, It was all too good to be true, Shanahan. He stood up, but went on, And you knew it. He looked to where Sam's car had disappeared into the distance. I only hope that you can find in in your heart to forgive me, Sam. he mumbled to himself. I knew things would someday go wrong... He had pushed her into doing something that she really didn't want to do, he admitted to himself at last.

It had been wrong.

And he knew it

Damn.

Sequel: Trilogy; Part Two: Still a Chance?


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