|Overcome by Events
Author: Rysler PM
SamJanet. Janet asks Sam to attend a play, and their friendship becomes something more.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - S. Carter & J. Fraiser - Words: 12,331 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 07-01-04 - id: 1940711
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Pairings: Sam/Janet, first time
Disclaimer: MGM owns them. I just have the calendar.
Summary: Janet and Sam grow closer through three dates.
Spoilers: "Small Victories"
Notes: A response to Rocketchick's Challenge "The Emergency Stand-by Date."
Inspired by "A Train, A Frog, and Aliens (All Meet At the Power Vortices of Sedona, Arizona)," by Randy Wayne White.
For Katie and Dave.
I don't remember the first moment I realized I was in love with Doctor Janet Fraiser. Perhaps it was the first time I saw her, gracefully taking command of the medical facilities at Stargate Command, giving low-toned orders, yet sparing a smile for me, one of the few other women on the base. Or perhaps it was the first time she saved my life, or comforted me through an illness, or a loss. Perhaps the moment came as late as Cassandra did into my life, turning us from base buddies into civilian friends sharing PTA meetings and ice cream dates and a mutant strain of the chicken pox.
I know that for a time my crush was all-consuming, but as one of the first women in a forward combat position ("exploration" classification or not), and as I was involved with Stargate, what teenage emotions I had were squelched by the dedication I had to the most important scientific discovery of the last millennia.
So I decided my feelings for the soft-hearted, small CMO were spun of loneliness and a desire for female companionship, maybe even the biological responses of turning 30. Eventually, I convinced myself that being Janet Fraiser's best friend was enough. My father has always said I'm delusional about love.
I can, however, pinpoint the moment that I rose to the top of Janet's "Date in a Pinch" card, and where I got an inkling she might be interested in me. In the beginning, I seemed to be just a last resort...
I was doing math when Janet found me in my lab. Such is the state of my existence.
"Hey, Sam," she said, startling me out of my equation. I lost the variable. I nearly lost my bladder.
"Janet," I breathed, and glanced up at her.
She didn't seem the least bit apologetic. "The Women's Studies Department at the University is putting on 'The Vagina Monologues.'" She paused, looking at me for comprehension. I had none to offer her. She went on. "...And I thought you'd like to come with me..."
"...and see it."
Oh. I suddenly remembered my variable, and longed to follow it back into the equation, because there was too much information to process in the outside world. But Janet stood there, looking at me expectantly.
My mouth felt dry, and I stuttered, trying to grasp at reality. "Why is the University putting it on?" As if pointing out that this was strange would make the fabric of spacetime right itself by making a play about vaginas that my demure co-worker wanted to see with me wink out of existence. Not a great mentality for a first contact explorer, but there it was.
Janet was ready with a simple answer that defied my belief in a logical universe. "Because it's Valentine's Day." she said. She looked incredulously at me, as if I should have known that already.
Ridiculous. And unquestionable. She's the one that should go off world. She'd do well with incomprehensible local customs. Eat it. Sleep with my son. You can't have your left pinkie uncovered! Just because.
I must have looked dismayed, because her face fell, and she backed away toward the door. "It's okay," she said. "I'll just ask Lieutenant Moreno."
Angel Moreno? Apparently this wasn't the type of play one invited a guy to see. That made me even less inclined to go.
But Moreno! Geez.
"No, no, I'll go," I said quickly.
Janet arched a brow at me.
"I'd love to." I forced a smile, accepting Janet Fraiser and her incomprehensible cultural proclivities into my world. What were friends for?
The drive through Colorado Springs had been uneventful. Finding the theater and then our seats had been a nostalgic experience, and Janet and I had teased each other about bygone college days that I'd spent holed up a lab and she, well, hadn't. Regardless, Looking at the demographic make-up of the audience had been a little depressing.
Now I was sitting in the dark, watching perky, impossibly-young-for-what-was-coming-out-of-their-mouths University of Colorado kiddos not much older than Cassie talking shamelessly about their private parts. Not to mention things I'd seen every day on other planets, but had managed to overlook on my own. Prostitution, rape, mutilation. Fear. Missed chances. Love.
"Sam, are you crying?" Janet's surprised voice came at me through the darkness.
I shook my head and sniffled loudly, in denial. I was very convincing. No, Doctor Fraiser, I'm not crying. I just have a very sudden cold. My snuffle earned a kick from the seat behind me. I pouted and sunk down into the chair.
Doctor Fraiser reached over and took my hand.
I looked over at her, startled, and could make out in the dark that she was smiling gently at me. I smiled back, and returned the comforting squeeze of her fingers. I turned again to the play. Our hands remained intertwined.
Later, at one particular point, during a story about Afghanistan, Janet's grip on me tightened painfully. She moved closer. I responded, settling my head against hers as she found her way to my shoulder.
I wanted to say something. Hey, it'll be okay. You're safe. Those people suck. I couldn't find the courage. Instead, I pressed my cheek to her dark hair and ran my thumb over her knuckles. The tender touches seemed to work, as I felt the tension leave her body.
I couldn't concentrate on the monologues with her body so close to mine, with her scent tickling my nose, so I focused on making her comfortable. I wondered if she was feeling the same thing, when I caught her staring down at our entwined fingers, instead of at the stage, precisely as a performer described the female form in vivid detail.
Maybe she was embarrassed.
Right. She'd seen me naked more times than I could count. I flushed.
Great. Now I was embarrassed.
House lights coming on revealed us apart, looking for our respective purses. I was relatively sure my face wasn't splotchy anymore, from the, er, cold, and her expression was cool and reserved. We were back to being us.
The moment was gone, though my skin still tingled, and I ached with the loss of her closeness. Unfair.
"Life isn't fair," Janet had said once, early on when we were still learning the rules of the Stargate, as she plucked porcupine quills out of my butt after an off-world mission. Despite 30 years of cautionary tales in cartoon and film, I still hadn't learned much.Now, I was looking at her impassive face, wondering how to make her laugh again. I was even willing to injury myself. Perhaps I could find a banana peel--
"But it was so cute," I had been saying, to prompt her rebuke. I had tried to pet it. Then I had tried to run--
"That's how they suck you in, those alien porcupines. After they've quilled you, they can begin their carnivorous feasts."
I looked over my shoulder at Janet, my eyes wide. She wore the silliest expression I had ever seen. My shocked look only egged her on. "They suck your marrow from your bones," she moaned dramatically, before she doubled over with laughter.
Sure, I was humiliated, but my ass didn't hurt anymore...
"There's a reception," she suggested.
I smiled. "Okay."
She smiled back. We agreed. We would push our evening together out a little longer.
We found cookies and fruit punch in the lobby, and stood around the table awkwardly consuming them. "Good play," I said noncommittally, my eyes roving everywhere.
"Yeah," she murmured.
Maybe this had been a bad idea.
"Doctor Fraiser! Major Carter!" An excited female voice broke through the crowd.
Janet and I simultaneously looked up toward the voice, stunned, like deer caught where they weren't supposed to be. A dark head bobbed toward us.
"Lieutenant Moreno," I greeted the newcomer, who was hauling a pretty blonde student behind her.
Janet nudged me. I reviewed the situation. Two women, feminist play, college campus, holding hands. Oh... "Lieutenant Moreno," I stammered, in a more enlightened tone.
She smiled up at me, exuberant, breathless. "I didn't know you two were going to be here."
"Ditto," I said.
"For you guys," I explained, and gestured for emphasis.
"Oh." She glanced at herself and her companion. "Right."
Janet was watching this exchange with amused interest.
"Major, Doctor, this is my friend Meg." Meg was pushed forward. She smiled shyly. We all shook hands. "Meg, these are my, er, commanding officers."
Janet and I smiled paternally.
"How'd you like the play?" Janet asked them.
"It was awesome! Really funny," Moreno said.
"Heart-wrenching," Meg supplied quietly.
Janet looked at her with compassion.
A brief moment of awkward standing. I reached for another cookie.
"Hey, we were about to hit the bars," Moreno reported. "You guys want to come with?"
I could see Janet making a You ended your sentence with a preposition, you bastard face, and quickly jumped in. "I think we're going to head back. Early morning."
Moreno looked us over and nodded understandingly, and suddenly I felt very old. I attempted to reassure myself that I pulled all-nighters weekly at the base, but then I just felt old and nerdy. Moreno and Meg turned to go. Their cruelly tight buns receded in the distance. "So cool!" The Lieutenant was saying to her friend.
Realization dawned. "We're not--"
Janet's hand on my back stopped me. I looked down at her. "What if word gets out?" I asked.
"It'll only spread within that group. Who knows? Maybe it'll be good to know who's out there."
My breath caught in my throat--not exactly at the way she said it, but at the earnestness in her eyes as she turned back to me. That expression made me want to ask her who was out there. Would you turn me in, Janet? If you knew the truth? I've told myself that being celibate for five years gave me a free pass in the Air Force, but deep in my heart, I'm still gay. Seeing the play brought well-suppressed feelings close to the surface. I stared at Janet, wondering if she saw right through me. "Why?" Was all I managed to say.
"So we can look out for them." She looked curiously at me, and I saw her expression waver. Had she given the right answer?
She had. I grinned with relief. "Cute," I said.
But Moreno... Geez.
Only after Janet had dropped me off at my house at one in the morning and we'd shaken hands, giggling and punch-drunk from fatigue, that I began to consider the implications of Moreno being Janet's second choice for a date. On Valentine's Day. A clue hit me like a ton of bricks dropped from the speeding train of life, or something like it. Maybe this was as good as it gets. I saw myself tasting the inklings of a predictablely-plotted Harlequin paperback folding its pages around me, and I wondered what in the hell I should do next...
I didn't do anything in regards to my feelings for Janet Fraiser for weeks, and when a formal, certified letter arrived, I found myself scrambling for an escort to the ball. I cornered Colonel Jack O'Neill.
"You've won a medal and you want me to come with you as your date? C'mon, Carter, show some class."
"No way. The on-base ceremony is enough. Medals mean leave. Leave means fishing. Not stuffy black tie balls with stuffy Washington officials who make me regret I ever joined up." Jack paused thoughtfully. "You could always skip the award and come fishing with me." He brightened hopefully.
He shrugged. "Hey, why not take Fraiser? She'll get a kick out of it. Probably. It's a girl thing. Right?"
I found Janet in her office. Hi Janet. Hi Sam. All of that. And then she was looking expectantly at me. My mouth felt dry. "I, um, got the Bronze Star." I said haltingly, licking my lips. "For that Asgard thing."
"I know," she smiled warmly at me. "I gave a statement a couple months ago for the review. Congratulations."
She had? "Uh, thanks," I stammered. "It's in Washington, DC, and--"
"It's too bad Thor won't be there," Janet said. She sounded sympathetic.
"Yeah..." Stop talking, Janet! I'm trying to ask you something! "My dad might come, though. We've sent him a missive. Selmak mentioned she thought it might be culturally enlightening to see how the Tauri treated their heroes. Since most of the Tok'ra end up dead."
"That'll be great." She beamed at me.
I stood for a moment noticing her perfect white teeth and the fluorescent lights shimmering in her dark eyes. Damn you, Colonel. You made it sound so easy, so casual. Why wasn't it easy? It's not like I had to impress her or anything...it was Janet. My best friend. Well, my only friend. I had those dreams about her because I was lonely, and latching on inappropriately to the first person who dangled me a line, and blowing casual dates all out of proportion. Right? It certainly wasn't because she smelled good. "Yeah, uh," I started again.
She was looking at me like a hawk would look at prey. If I kept stuttering, she was going to come after me with her penlight. God, now I had dirty thoughts of playing doctor. Stop, stop. I tried to get a grip and spit the words out. "Would you like to come with me? To Washington?" To see me get a medal? Hello, self-absorption, meet ego. I scrambled for something a little less nitwitted to say, to tempt her. Compared to her small, neat form sitting at the desk, I felt large and clumsy and feeble.
"Sure," she answered, interrupting my thoughts.
I blinked. Sure?
She smiled up at me from her desk.
"Fabulous!" I bounded out of the room. By the time I reached the doorway, I realized I was being impolite, and turned to say goodbye to her. She was already bent over her paperwork, tuning the world out.
Thursday afternoon found me sitting across from my daughter at an outside table at Wendy's. It was only March, but it was hot. Today. Tomorrow, when my flight left for the east, we'd probably get sacked with three feet of snow.
I was aiding and abetting Cassandra Fraiser's truancy. I'd had to take her to the dentist while Janet supervised a surgery on-base, and then Cassie and I had blown off the rest of the day. I reached over and snatched another one of her French fries, and carefully dipped it into my frosty.
Cassandra glared at me and gestured meaningfully to my untouched burger. She'd already said "Gross" about four hundred times, so she switched complaints. "Why didn't you just ask them for two orders of biggie fries?"
"I didn't want them to think I was weird."
She rolled her eyes.
I ate my chocolaty French fry, and sighed with pleasure. "So, Cassie, how's school?" I said in the best maternal, sing-song voice I could muster.
I was so glad we were bonding. I took another fry. I was running out of frosty, and I had to angle the cup precisely to reach the malt liquid with the potato. I did the math in my head. I leaned back in my chair. "What's having Janet as a mom like?" I asked casually.
"Instead of you?" Cassandra looked at me suspiciously, trying to gauge my jealousy, or perhaps my loyalty to her. I blinked. A comparison to my fry-eating self was the last thing on my mind. I was fishing for information on Janet, trying to figure out what she was really like. What did she care about? Why did she care about us? Did she fantasize about me like I was starting to about her? Or did she just keep me around because I was competent at my job?
The teenage brat across the table from me was mollified by my shocked expression. "Oh, you mean, compared to my real mother."
Okay. I looked at her French fries, but felt too guilty to take another one.
"Janet's like, all intense about parenting." Cassie struggled for words, squinting in an effort to concentrate. "I mean, my own mom paid less attention. She gave me cookies, sent me outside to play, yelled at me about school... She didn't tell me directly she cared as much as Janet does.... She didn't have to. I don't think she expected me to die. " Cassie corrected herself, realizing, perhaps, that she was still alive. "I mean, for everybody to die. For the whole planet to be wiped out. But Janet, man," she said. "It's like she thinks she only gets one chance at this, and she's got to do it right."
I was surprised. "So is she controlling?"
"No." Cassandra nibbled a fry. "That's part of it. All the parenting books say not to be controlling, so she isn't. She's just very...focused. Very into the tough love thing."
"She's like that at work, too," I confided.
"Yeah, I know." Cassandra forcefully exhaled, a mannerism she shared with Janet. "It's like, the more she loves you, the harder she works to--," Cassandra lifted her hands and made quote-mark gestures. "'do right by you.' When you're injured, she's an absolute wreck."
Me? I thought. Or the universal "you"?
"I think that's why she joined the military." Cassandra went on. "She has this warrior mentality, like Jack."
"Maybe she's overcompensating for her height," I quipped.
Cassandra grinned. "She'd kill you if she heard that."
I nodded solemnly.
Cassandra's expression turned sober. "I think that's why I don't want to join the Air Force when I grow up. I don't think I'm strong enough to be like mom. All her attention is focused on giving me this normal life, and I'm not normal, and she says it's okay not to be normal and that makes me feel guilty, you know? Like, she's so proud of me that I want to earn it, but I don't know how to, other than to be like her. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all."
"You could be like me," I pointed out.
"Oh good," Cassandra replied sardonically, "Then I could do my doctoral thesis on how the Goa'uld cross-pollinated solar eclipse mythology by redundant naquada sourcing."
So she'd obviously thought a lot about it. Or Daniel had been terrorizing her about archeology again. "You could do anything." I said seriously. "You're a brave girl."
Cassandra held my gaze for a moment, then burst out laughing. She grabbed a French fry and threw it at me. "God, you're cheesy."
Did I mention how thrilled I am that we're bonding?
During the four hour plane trip in the belly of a military transport, Dad taught the group a variation on pick-up sticks he had learned from the Tok'ra. The game was utterly humorless, of course, which seemed hysterical to us. Rarely had I gotten a chance to be with General Hammond on a social level, except for funerals, and with Janet and Dad there as well, I was enjoying myself immensely.
Selmak's increasingly dry quips as she and Dad lost game after game made for a short and entertaining flight. Part of it for me was the joy of being in the air again. Despite being a decorated Air Force pilot involved in a transportation project, I rarely flew anywhere. If the president had been less busy, I wouldn't have had even this chance. Medals were usually given out on base, but it was budget season, and the president wanted to make as bold and open a statement as possible about his ultra-top secret pet project. Not too bold, though, not Jack-bold or Teal'c-the-alien-bold or even overly-chatty civilian Egyptologist-bold.
So here I was, a shining scapegoat of deep space radar telemetry. Not a position I relished, but hey, a Bronze Star had nice, shiny points to shove up Maybourne's ass if I saw him in DC.
When the plane landed at the air base near Dulles, Dad sprang a surprise on the entourage. He'd rented a limo that was waiting for us, and a house with a view of Mount Vernon for the weekend. He told me, with no small amount of satisfaction, that the government paid him to be a representative to the Tok'ra, and since he slept on a hard rock bench underground most of the time, the money had been piling up. George would be staying with friends in the capitol, so there were the three of us, Dad and I, and my erstwhile companion, Janet, with the place to ourselves. Maybe Dad was trying to make up for his mistakes during my childhood, or maybe he was just proud of me. Whatever emotion had brought this windfall, I said thank you a thousand times.
At the reception after the ceremony, Jacob wandered over to where I was guarding the cookies. My eyes were on Janet, and though I felt his warm, Goa'uldy presence approach, I didn't feel the need to tear my eyes away from the diminutive woman in blue talking animatedly to a goggle-eyed lieutenant.
"I can't believe how many of these old bastards are still alive," Dad grumbled cheerfully in my direction.
"Yeah," I replied quietly. "I remember some of those Generals playing horse with me when I was little."
"Ouch," Jacob clutched his heart and grinned. His eyes followed my gaze. "She really knows how to work a crowd."
"She's a people person," I responded, with a faint smile.
Dad glanced at me. "And you're not?"
"Well," I speculated, "I like what people are made out of."
"Gross," Jacob winced.
"Says the man with a slug in his gut."
My father bowed his head, and Selmak's vibrating voice spoke. "I heard that."
We were quiet for a moment, sipping champagne. I continued to watch Janet. I told myself it was because she was the only person I knew at the party, other than my dad, who was right beside me. And because every so often Janet would look over her shoulder and wink at me, as if to say Look how easily these boys eat out of my hand. They are beneath us. Or so I chose to believe.
"Sam," my dad said, in his serious-talk tone, "I know you like gallivanting around the galaxy, but have you ever thought about settling down?"
I laughed. "Dad, I have wrinkles, a Volvo, and a teenage daughter."
Jacob looked startled, but recovered. "What about love?"
I avoided the question, and avoided, for the moment, looking in Janet's direction. "Maybe when I'm done saving the universe."
I had intended to sound flippant, but Jacob was quiet, and put his hand on my shoulder.
I exhaled heavily.
He moved around in front of me, and smiled warmly, his eyes crinkling. "May I have this dance, Major Carter?"
No! Christ, in front of all these people? What was he thinking?
I took his hand. No one else was dancing, but I was the guest of honor, and General Jacob Carter's little girl, so I supposed I could do anything I wanted. Well, except refuse. Dad led me to the center of the room, and took me in his arms.
"So, where's Jack?" He asked.
Aha! So this is why he had trapped me. "Fishing," I replied noncommittally.
"P3X-114." I looked around. Other people were starting to dance. Janet had her arms around a General I didn't recognize. I frowned faintly.
Was he smirking at my annoyance? He so rarely go to play father and badger me about my life. He must be relishing it. I grunted. "Not invited. So I brought a friend."
Jacob grinned widely, glancing over my shoulder, presumably at Janet. "A good friend to have. I've been on the other end of her scalpel, she's a formidable woman."
I chuckled. "She's not like that all the time. She just takes her job seriously."
Jacob arched a brow at me. "So what's she really like?"
"Warm, funny..." Flirtatious... "Outgoing." I answered. "Incredibly smart. We work well together."
"I've seen that," Jacob murmured." And she's a good soldier. I've seen the commendations in her file."
I almost snickered, remembering how some of those were earned. Even my Bronze Star had been quite the wild ride. I was glad Thor wasn't here. I could hear his voice in my head:
Your people are going to give you a high honor? But...but you blew up O'Neill...Jacob refused to follow me on my tangent. "What do you like about her, Sam?"
"She's the only person who tells me it's not a bad thing to be a woman."
He winced, but continued down his train of thought. "She's no pilot. Why the Air Force?"
"Same reason." I grinned. "The best opportunities for women. Janet didn't want to fight her way through the service. She wanted to get things done. She's too proactive to deal with old-fashioned politics for long."
Jacob mused. "So she's Chief Medical Officer for the most advanced military project in the country, teaches at the Academy, has offices at the VA, raises the kid, and watches your back. A full plate."
"Supermom," I agreed.
"She sounds quite accomplished. And what have you done, Sam? Blown up things?" He stepped away from me and grinned dangerously. "I'm dancing with the wrong person." He walked off toward Janet.
"Dad!" I stammered angrily after him. "They were big things!"
We sat outside in the deck at the house in Alexandria with no lights on, two outlines in the dimness. The house was built into a hill, and below was common land that stretched downward into a dark grove of trees and subdivisions. Further in the distance, near the horizon, we could see office buildings. Beyond that was Reagan National, indicated only by the planes dipping from the night as they prepared to land.
The sky was black and thick and starless like a blanket tossed over this part of the world, comforting even in it's expansiveness. We were exchanging upbringings. We were drinking beer.
"I hate to travel," I said, and smirked at Janet's shocked expression.
"Sam, you're an explorer."
"I'm an astrophysicist," I corrected her.
She still looked suspicious.
I continued. "My dad, he's been everywhere. Vietnam, the Gulf, Germany." I tried to think of more. "Japan, Brazil. He loves to travel." I laughed, rather bitterly, as I ticked the names off on my fingers. "The Tok'ra are perfect for him. But for me, it always meant that he was away."
Janet murmured sympathetically, and stretched to cover my hand with hers. This had become a familiar gesture with us, and I twisted my hand in hers to return her grasp.
"He wasn't too fond of space, either. A waste of money, he felt, with all the trouble in the world. Which he told me about in detail." I shook my head. "Space was for idealistic, elitist sissies who couldn't face real problems."
Janet studied our hands. Her expression was thoughtful. "But he tried to get you into NASA, didn't he?"
I grinned again. "He was still a good dad. And after I joined the Air Force, his attitude changed a lot. He was proud of me." I looked down. "But, it's like he didn't really know me. Or Mark."
Janet nodded. We enjoyed the view. I took a sip of beer. We were still holding hands.
"Tell me about Kuwait," I said suddenly.
"Huh?" She sat up, letting go of my hand.
"That was ten years ago, Sam," she muttered, gazing downwind, watching another plane take off.
"Sorry," I said. "It was just a thought. You were there and I was stuck in a lab somewhere in Nebraska." I snorted. "Though I at least got to see the Gulf later, to enforce the no-fly zones."
"You mean you were out of diapers back then?" She turned back to me, flashing a radiant smile.
I exhaled. "Barely," I bantered.
"First year of residency," she began. "I started out in Riyadh, doing some assisting, but a couple of surgeons got shot and I was moved to a forward position near Kuwait City. That's where I met General Hammond."
She sighed listlessly, and settled her hand back on the table. I looked at it.
"Our side didn't have many casualties," she reported matter-of-factly, "In fact I spent most of my time birthin' babies. But the Iraqis--have you ever seen what a tank shell blast does to a human body?"
"If there'd been endless carnage, maybe I'd..." she gestured. "We went days without any action. Lull ourselves into a sense of hope and then--the horror." Janet's voice cracked. I leaned toward her.
"There were so many I couldn't save." She sounded lost.
I seized her hand.
"Anyway, " she managed after a moment, straightening and brushing away a few stay tears with her free hand. "That's when I switched to infectious diseases. Something without a face."
"I'm sorry I asked," I said apologetically.
"No, don't be sorry, Sam." she said. "I'm happy to share anything with you. You know that."
We finished our beers, and watched the evening settle in Washington and didn't speak again. When the dampness and chill began to reach me, I realized Janet, a lightweight, was probably even colder. I reluctantly untangled my fingers and stood, then offered my hand again in invitation. Janet blinked at me, and stood. "I'm cold," she said, with surprise, her large eyes widening.
We walked inside and locked up, then I escorted her to her room on the first floor.
She turned in the doorway and smiled. "Thanks for bringing me along, Sam," she said, and hugged me.
I hugged her back, briefly and tightly, then left my hands on her shoulders as I leaned back to look at her. "You're fantastic company. Thanks for coming." I meant it. She was my best friend. She was the person I needed at my side.
Janet tilted her head, coquettishly offering her cheek to me. I leaned down and kissed her face, closing my eyes. I moved to brush her other cheek, and then kissed her forehead. She made ne effort to stop me. Her hands were gently holding my waist.
I lifted my head and gazed at her, finding her eyes black and lucid and serene. I kissed her, tentatively, brushing my lips across hers.
She smiled faintly against my lips, her eyes closed. Her hands slid to my back and she pulled me closer.
We kissed again, our mouths opening to each other, our tongues exploring. I reached up to cup her neck.
When we finally parted, I struggled for something to say. Every time I opened my mouth I knew I was going to ruin the moment. So I just grinned.
She was smiling at me too, and she bit her lower lip knowingly, and winked, as she stepped back and closed the door.
Through the wooden door, I thought I heard her say "Flyboy."
I danced all the way upstairs.
Soft orange light glowed from under Jacob's door. I knocked.
"Come in," I heard faintly through the wood.
I opened the door and slipped in. Jacob was sitting Indian-style on the floor, surrounded by burning candles.
"What are you doing, dad?" I asked, wide-eyed.
"Kelnoreem, Sam," he replied, looking over he shoulder at me as if I were an idiot for having to ask.
"So you do that now, huh," I said speculatively, finding a spot on the floor in front of him to sit.
It's soothing? I bit my tongue.
"Did you have a good night, Sam?" He asked, in a fatherly sort of tone.
"I got a Bronze Star," I said cheekily, sounding like a four-year-old.
"I'm not surprised," he smiled. That was Jacob.
"Dad," I began, and faltered. It had taken over thirty years to finally befriend this man that I loved. Would I throw it all away with one word? I couldn't. I hadn't acted on feelings like this in so long, and now Janet was giving me an opportunity, I think, but I wanted to flee, to find some place and throw up, for thinking the unthinkable.
He was going to be in town this one night. I could hold my tongue and it would all pass. Was I doing this because I loved Janet? One half-chance that probably didn't mean anything?
Friends kiss all the time. We were drunk. And lonely. And--You're still gay, Sam. I was using all the arguments I had resisted downstairs, because I wanted the moment to mean something. I knew I could destroy it with a thought, for the sake of my father.
Destruction was so easy--the secret of my Bronze Star--that primitive desire for self-preservation that the Asgard had counted on in my child-like race, the way Colonel Graff had banked on Ender's willingness to destroy in order to win.
To win my father's love.
Instead of Janet's. She would forgive me more easily.
Because it was nothing?
You're still gay, Sam.
I had to tell him.
Would it be so bad? He was Tok'ra, and surely they--my thoughts went to Jolinar, the ghost-muse inside me who offered assurances that Selmak would never jeopardize interstellar relations over a personal matter.
I knew dimly that I was an adult, a Major in the US Air Force where I had just earned a Bronze Star for bravery beyond the call of duty, and that I had a wall of degrees validating my existence, which I had earned without Jacob Carter's help. I knew he hadn't been the best father, and I didn't owe him. I knew that if this went south, he'd go back to his planet and I'd never have to see him again.
I still couldn't find the words.
"Sam," he began, and faltered. I almost smiled, but moving a single muscle in my face would have released a torrent of tears.
"Sam," he began again. "All that matters in my life is seeing you happy. I don't care if it's not what I expected, or alternative, or involves an Andorian tree slug. I only care about the result. Look at you. You're happy, Sam."
And then I began to cry in front of my dad.
"She's a nice girl," he was saying. "Well, okay, she's a scary woman. But she's saved my life a half-dozen times, and yours, and she looks at you the same way your mom looked at me."
He reached out, and I scrambled into his arms, sobbing like a two-year-old.
"She loves you, Sam," he said, patting me awkwardly. "It's okay to love her back."
We hadn't talked at all about what went on in Washington in the two months we'd been back. We'd settled into our routines, which meant I constantly put myself in peril and Janet constantly got me out of it, mixed in with occasional family dinners and one very awkward trip to the movies. We'd attended two military functions separately, me with Jack, her with Teal'c once, Daniel once. So I was very surprised when Janet found me in the locker room and made her move.
"I'm going out to Sedona, Arizona, for a couple of days." Janet told me.
She seemed surprised by my inquiry, as if she'd forgotten she had a daughter. "No. She has a rafting trip."
"Oh." I rifled my papers.
Janet cleared her throat.
I looked over at her.
"Would you like to come, Sam?"
"Arizona." She confirmed.
"There is no Arizona," I quipped. To point out that I'd kissed her and she'd never so much as winked at me in two months. I missed her desperately, and now she wanted to drag me off to a New Age tourist trap in the middle of nowhere? Why the hell was she asking me?
"No painted desert, no Sedona," she responded in a lyrical, apologetic tone. Acknowledging her part in how I felt. Maybe. Then that expectant look again. I wasn't sure I could resist that look. Hell, even Jack O'Neill couldn't resist that look even when it was accompanied by the words, "rectal exam." For crying out loud.
"And you want me to go with you." What was the reason? The excuse? Where was the theater? Where was the Bronze Star? Where was Cassandra?
"Yes," she answered impatiently. As if she were speaking to a small child. Or a big, dumb, blond soldier, which I happened to be. I blushed faintly at her tone. Now she wouldn't even want to go with me. I could picture her turning to me on the flight. Rule number one, Major Carter. Stop repeating everything I say.
"I'd love to go, if I'm not scheduled for a mission."
"You're not, I checked."
She checked? "Okay. I'll go." Not like I had a choice. I didn't really want to face her if I rejected her. She checked?
"Great. I'll buy you a ticket," she said, and strode out purposefully.
Huh. Surely this couldn't mean what it seemed like it meant. We hadn't talked, or anything. I looked after her, mouthing the words that were dancing through my head. They don't exist, those dreams he sold her...
We'd boarded a civilian jet in Denver. We could have pulled rank for a free trip on a military transport, but Janet professed that vacations started with peanuts and half a can of soda. Whatever. The flight was only an hour.
The seat was uncomfortably small, and I squirmed around until I found a position that minimized the pain in my lower spine and right knee. Maybe I could whine my way into a massage later.
Janet's arm was pressed against mine. That, I wasn't complaining about. Her warm skin titillated my nerve endings, until endorphins danced in my brain and I didn't remember that I was twisted like a pretzel into a civilian aircraft seat. My entire existence focused on the point where Janet and I touched.
She, of course, fit perfectly into her seat. Which brought up the question--why was she leaning against my arm? My stimulated brain was about to take that wild speculation and run when a rumbling shudder went through the plane, followed by a chorus of moans from the passengers.
Great, turbulence. I lifted a window-shade and peered into the morning. We were surrounded by dark clouds. A moment later, I heard the rumble of thunder all around us. A storm.
The plane shuddered again. Someone let out a faint cry. The fasten-seatbelt sign came on. No one boarded a plane these days without half-expecting it to crash. I had been comforted by knowing my gun was in a lockbox under the seat in front of me. Bring it on. But my gun wouldn't very well help me in a storm. What if the pilots weren't any good? Why couldn't we have taken a real plane? Civilians. Well, odds were the guys in the cockpit were ex-Air Force, though they could have gotten soft.
The plane hit another patch of turbulence, and the craft jolted, harder than before. We lurched in free-fall just long enough to twist my stomach and make me grab the armrests. I turned to Janet to voice my multiple complaints about soft-bellied society, but stopped short, my mouth open, when I saw her face was white.
"Janet?" I breathed. She was staring forward, probably steeling herself. She didn't respond. I covered her hand with mine, and found it ice cold. "Janet?" I tried again.
She looked over at me, fear in her eyes. "I'm sorry, Sam." She forced an apologetic smile.
"Don't be sorry. This sucks." I gave her finger a squeeze.
"Mm," she responded, but the strain in her expression remained.
I turned more fully toward her, ignoring the protests of my trapped limbs. The plane lurched again, and knocked my hip free from the seat. With my right hand, I cupped Janet's cheek, and pressed my forehead against hers, looking into her dark eyes. Her skin was clammy. She smiled at me again, faintly, trying to be brave. Just like her daughter.
"Look," I said. "We go through the--" I lowered my voice. "Stargate every day. This is not how it's going to end for us."
Janet almost chuckled. I could see the corners of her lips twitch. "So, you'll be tortured to death by some Goa'uld when your luck runs out?"
"Absolutely." I stroked her chin with my thumb.
This conversation was pretty morbid, I thought, but it seemed to be comforting Janet. Or maybe it was staring into my blue eyes that helped her. One could hope. My mind brought up the memory of Cassandra in old age, beaming at me in a dark gateroom. "You," I concluded from that, "Will die an old lady in your sleep."
She laughed. "Okay," she decided. Our gaze held a moment longer, then she reached up to her cheek, covering my hand with hers, and turned her head to kiss my palm. I closed my eyes.
"Thank you," she said.
She leaned back in her seat. The aircraft shuddered again. Her face retained it's color this time, and her hand was warm in mine as her fingers moved restlessly, roving over my skin.
"Turbulence not your thing?"
Janet looked over at me. "I don't mind turbulence," she said softly. "I'm just afraid of thunderstorms."
By the time we landed and got her truck, the storm had blown past, and the sunlight had returned to reveal the springtime desert. Flowers were everywhere, fed earlier by rivers formed from melting mountain snow. Vibrant colors--the red rock and pink flowers of the ground and the turquoise blue and prismatic crystals of the souvenir shops that were endless.
We decided to spend today in town, shopping and hitting the museums, and tomorrow out on the land. I was stretched out in the roomy cab of the truck, sprawled deliciously with the window open and the radio blasting contemporary rock. When I got tired of gorgeous, but repetitive, highway scenery, I lolled my head over to watch Janet drive.
I caught my breath.
Her hair, uncharacteristically loose, was tousled from the wind and cascaded to just above her shoulders. The color was indeterminate, but it reminded me of sunlight striking red rock. She was wearing a white tee shirt that read "I Found Alien Love at Area 51" and tailored blue jeans, and she looked completely in her element. I gaped.
I must have made some sort of sound, because she looked over at me, and caught my expression. "What?" She asked quizzically, her voice full of throaty curiosity.
"Uniforms are lost on you," I managed to breathe.
She glanced down at herself, then at the road, then again back at me, wrinkling her brow.
"Now I know why you look better in fatigues," I tried to explain further, then kicked myself.
Janet looked delighted as her attention turned back to the road. "I didn't think you paid attention to what I looked like."
I only squirmed.
We shopped all day, and it seemed like physical exertion far beyond the normal rigors I had to endure on other planets. By the time we had dinner at the hotel and settled into our room at an adult 1000 hours, I was ready for some shut-eye. We'd spent the day buying nick-knacks, mostly for Cassie. We teased each other about who got to give her what, and about the fact that neither of us had anyone else special in our lives. Only the person that we shared. Were we hinting? Were we flirting?
My feet hurt too much to concentrate, but I realized enough to see dad had been right--I was happiest around Janet. I was happiest, really, when she and I were working through a challenging problem, our minds and talents and different backgrounds fusing into confident world-saving, but shopping was okay, too.
Being away from the base freed us to be ourselves. I don't think it was fear of judgment, per se, back at the base, just a fear of inappropriateness--so often, moments of levity were interrupted by emergencies of universal scale. Here, though, there were only smiling tourists and natives, urging us on toward happiness.
The next morning found us in a canyon, having driven to a national park and hiked to a ridge with a breathtaking view of dawn. "It's beautiful," Janet murmured.
"Yeah," I echoed. "Thank you for bringing me here." I wondered if that was too intimate a thing to say, and tacked on, "I needed a vacation." I looked down at Janet. Her skin was gold against the morning sun. She looked back at me so intently I shivered under her gaze.
"Sam," she began. "Nothing I'm about to say will leave this canyon." She paused and bit her lip wryly, looking back at the sunrise, squaring her shoulders.
I could have seized this moment. I could have taken her in my arms and reassured her there was no need for words, that I was hers. One storybook kiss to save Janet from struggling with herself, but I stood paralyzed, watching the wind whisper against her hair.
"Sam," she said, still looking at the horizon. "These past few months have been fun, and I'd... I'd like more. But I cherish our friendship and I respect that if you don't want--"
My stepping forward, into her space, interrupted her. "Janet," I whispered. "I want more, too."
She turned to me with an expression of relief and desire, and I took her in my arms. We kissed, softly, then pulled away, both of us making sure this was really happening.
Then I dipped my head to kiss her again. The touch of her lips against mine awakened my body, and I pulled her more tightly against me. Sensations I hadn't felt in years were quickly conquering my self-control, as Janet's tongue slipped into my mouth.
I pulled away from her mouth and looked around furtively. The painted desert lay around us, striking and red and beautiful and utterly empty and open. I could see for miles, and imagined people for miles around could see us, too. Not that there were people out there, but a helicopter could come at any minute.
Janet read my thoughts. "Truck?" She murmured into my shoulder, as her hand stroked my back. "It's got a back seat."
"You want to make out in the back of a pick-up truck?" I looked down at her skeptically.
She pushed her thigh against my front for encouragement. "You're surprised?" Her innocent black eyes roved over me.
"I thought you were more..." Prudish probably wouldn't be the right thing to say at this moment. I scrambled for synonyms. "Conventional," I said, proud of myself.
Her hands had stopped moving over my body. "Where do conventional people have sex?"
I had no idea. Have sex?
"Where do flyboys have sex?" She tried another tack. "In the cockpit of an F-16?"
She was using her best, "Whatever you want, airman" voice, and my mouth watered.
She laughed at me. I bent down to kiss her, tasting the saltiness of her lips. She returned my kiss briefly but drew back again, still waiting for an answer.
"I want to take you to dinner and buy you a steak, and dance with you, and fall asleep with you while listening to the air conditioning." I took a deep breath. "But I want our first time to be at home." So you can't ignore me there.
"Okay," she said, and drew me down for another kiss.
We navigated our way to a roadhouse outside of Sedona that, according to my AAA Guidebook, had the best steaks in town, despite a slightly disreputable bordertown ambiance. I think Janet would have preferred a place with cloth napkins, but she'd left the decision to me.
We put our orders in and lounged at the bar while the chef did his magic in the back. Janet muttered something about cockroaches. We were the only female customers, though there was a gal behind the bar, and she'd told me there were a couple in the back doing dishes. The barflies looked longingly at Janet. I looked longingly at the pool table.
"No." Janet said firmly.
"Why not?" I asked, hurt.
"Because you'll bruise some guy's ego, and then there'll be trouble, and I don't want to spend the night in jail."
I hunkered down in my barstool. "I'd win."
She patted my thigh. "Of course you would."
One of the fellows at the bar slid closer to Janet. "New in town?" He asked her. He looked younger than us, unshaven and sturdy, in a flannel shirt and black jeans. I bristled.
"Tourists." She flashed him her thousand-watt smile.
He nodded. "We get a lot of 'em through these parts." He pondered. "Though not usually here. Where're my manners?" He wiped his hand on his jeans and stuck it out. "I'm Shawn."
"Janet." She took his hand and shook it firmly. He liked that. I didn't.
"Oh, and this is my friend Sam." Janet turned around, and angelic expression on her face.
I plastered on a smile. "Nice to meet you."
Shawn tilted his head toward me politely, but kept his eyes on the small, beautiful woman currently leaning against my thigh. "Would you like to dance?" He asked her.
"She--" I started.
"I'd love to." Janet took his hand, and turned around to wink at me conspiratorially. Did she have a plan? How could she have a plan? How could she kiss me in the desert and then go dance with that big hairy man? Was I being punished for something? I reviewed recent behavior. Her taste was still in my mouth from when we'd kissed in the parking lot.
Janet and Shawn boogied awkwardly to a fast tune among the tables. I could hear their conversation. I certainly couldn't tear my eyes off of them. I nursed my beer.
"So, what do you do, Janet?"
"I'm a doctor." She flashed her white teeth again.
"Oh really?" He looked impressed.
"Mm hm. You?"
"I do the books for a few of the shops on the strip," he said. He took her hand and twirled her around. She laughed and circled him.
The barfly on my left slid over. "She's a fine-looking lass, there."
"And you're the strong, tall, silent one, eh?" He continued.
Was I? I exhaled, releasing some tension now that my existence had been acknowledged.
"I get that." He patted me on the back. I nearly spilled my beer. "I'm the same way." He went on thoughtfully. "A filly like that can make you crazy."
Filly? I looked at Janet. The song had ended, and she lifted herself onto her toes to speak in a low tone to her dance partner. "Hey, Shawn, do you mind if I have a dance with my friend here?" She gestured in my direction.
He looked at her as if she were crazy. "Do I mind?" He cracked a wide grin. "Go right ahead."
"Thanks, Shawn," she purred, squeezing his arm, before sauntering back to me and offering a hand.
I gawked at her, but didn't put up any resistance as she hauled me to the middle of the tavern. Hey, if she wanted to take the risk, I knew I could take any guy in here. Level 3 Advanced and all that.
Shawn had wandered over to the jukebox and picked a song for us. Melodic tones came into the room. He'd picked a slow song. Pervert.
Janet wrapped her arms around my waist, and drew me close.
"Who's singing?" I asked, sliding my hands down her back. There was so much I didn't know about the world. But Janet knew.
"Faith Hill," Janet replied throatily. "I've wanted to dance with you since that night in Washington," she whispered.
"I know." I rested my cheek against her hair. We swayed together. If every eye on the room was on us, I didn't notice. I'd never fantasized about being with Janet in quite this way, but the moment was perfect. Her scent filled my nostrils, her hands moving against my back sent shivers of pleasure through me.
When the song ended, we tuned outward again and noticed a line of men looking hopefully at Janet. Luckily, she spied the lady barkeep balancing a tray of beef and walking our way. "Sorry, boys," My partner said, lifting her hand. "I hear the best steaks in Arizona are here, and I don't want mine to get cold."
They glumly conceded the point. I settled down across from Janet at a wooden table. She winked at me again, before taking a huge bite of her salad. "Well orchestrated," I said.
She grinned at me around a mouthful of lettuce, looking like a small, feral rabbit. I threw back my head and laughed. Janet was wild and wonderful, and all mine.
I showered and dressed in an olive green tee shirt that read Air Force and nondescript cotton blend boxers. I ambled back into the hotel room, self-consciously scrubbing at my damp hair. I glanced at the bed where I had slept the night before, and then at Janet. She put down her book, and took off her glasses. She smiled, her expression unmistakable. She'd left room for me.
I quivered, and walked toward her, pausing to put my watch, dog tags, and cell phone on the bedside table. She pulled back the covers. I swallowed, and slid into bed. "Janet," I breathed.
"Sam," she murmured, and took me in her arms. We were face to face. My heart pounded in my chest. I could barely breathe. Illogical as it would seem in hindsight, I was more terrified that she would reject me now, in bed, than before our first kiss. There had been excuses then, but there were no excuses here. Every act would be deliberate.
I knew kissing was okay. I kissed her. We kissed for a long time, our mouths slow and sloppy and wet. Our tongues caressed, fought, caressed again. Our hands roved over each other, clumsily, neutrally. We stroked back, neck, thighs. I began to squirm against her, restless, wanting more.
I was afraid. I ran my hand up and down Janet's arm. Close to my goal. Her hand rested on my waist. She stopped kissing me and looked at me in the semi-darkness. My body, demanding more, trembling and pounding, let me know my options were death, or touching her.
I let out an incoherent groan of frustration. She studied my face. She glanced at my arm, limp and heavy against her. I leaned forward and kissed her forehead, a suggestion that maybe we should call it a night, before we did something irrevocable.
She took my wrist and drew it downward, guiding it to her breast.
I moaned. I gave in and squeezed her breast, as gently as possible, delighting in her sighs of pleasure. I dared to feel her nipple hardening against my palm, and I knew I was lost to her. We continued to kiss and touch, not going any further. When our hands and lips slackened into tender, sleepy caresses, I wrapped myself around her, spooning her, perfectly happy.
The cell phone rang shrilly, jarring me out of a heavy sleep. The first thing I became aware of was the sensation of heat. Janet's body was a furnace, and she was wrapped around me. I was surprised that such a small form was capable of such a large exothermic process. I reached over her shoulder and grabbed the phone, flipping it open. The digital readout read 0417.
"Carter," I grunted into the receiver.
"Major, we need you back at the base ASAP." General Hammond's gruff voice barked. "There's a military transport waiting to fly you here. An airman will take care of things there."
"Yes, sir," I gasped. "What's going on?"
"I can't tell you over the phone, Major, but there will be a report waiting on the plane." He paused for breath. "Is Doctor Fraiser there?"
A hand covered mine on the phone, and Janet gently tugged it away from me. "Fraiser here, sir." She rolled off me.
I sat up and stretched, listening to Janet's soft, affirmative tone behind me. Then I stood and stumbled to my suitcase, slipping into traveling clothes. I heard the phone click shut. Then Janet found me in the dark. She urged me back into a sitting position on the bed. Then I felt her mouth, wet and soft, against mine. I ached to tell her how much I loved her, and tugged her into a tight hug. They weren't ordering us back for a surprise party. We were almost certainly heading for death.
When I released her and she flipped on the lamp, we were all business.
"Did you have fun in Arizona?" Jack asked, ambling beside me down the corridor.
"Yes," I said.
"Did you go fishing?" He looked at me suspiciously.
"There are no fish in the desert, Colonel."
He thought about that for a moment. "Good." He moved on to his next favorite thing. "Did you see a lot of stars?"
I sighed, and began reciting the names of constellations.
Life is what happens when you're making other plans. That's what we told ourselves for comfort when things didn't go our way. After getting back from Arizona, we'd run face-first into a mission. I'd been off-world for three days straight, and had come back with a nearly mortally-injured Daniel in tow. Janet and Warner, had, after ten hours of surgery, gotten the alien sucker thing dislodged from his aorta, where it had been drinking his blood. Teal'c, Jack, and I had stayed in the observation room the entire time, until we knew our companion was going to be okay.
He was going to be okay. Fraiser was doing mop-up in the infirmary. I'd crawled to my quarters for a nap before anything else dramatic happened. Now I was lying flat on my back on top of my bed, looking at the ceiling. I spent so much time in this spartan room on the base that I had decorated. I was lying on a comforter with a Native American print. I had framed pictures of my family on the bedside. I kept fake plants on the dresser. I was pathetic.
I wallowed enjoyably in self-pity until the door opened, and Janet slid in. She was no longer covered in Daniel's guts, and she took off her lab coat and hung it up carefully on the hook on my door before walking over to me.
I looked up at her. "Hey, Janet? Daniel okay?"
She nodded. "He'll be fine." She knelt on the bed, and crawled to my side, before collapsing in a heap. She often did this, as she didn't have quarters on-base, but I wasn't usually around. And things had changed.
"Janet?" I looked worriedly at her, then at the door. What if someone came in? What if someone caught us?
"It was touch and go for hours..." She murmured, curled up into a fetal ball against me. "I was so afraid that this would be the time that I would lose him."
I rolled over to face her, putting a hand on her hip. "It's okay," I whispered. I realized she was crying. Here was a side of Janet she didn't share with the world--the fear of loss, maybe fear of failure. I had never believed that Janet feared anything. I scooted closer, and wrapped myself around her as best I could, vowing to protect her secret.
She pressed her face into my shoulder, and relaxed. I settled in, and we fell asleep together, letting the strain of the mission seep away from us.
An indeterminate time later, I woke up, and rolled over onto my back. Janet snoozed beside me, until my restless disturbed her.
"Sam, are you humming?" She mumbled sleepily.
"Of course not." I clamped my mouth shut. She poked me in the ribs. I rolled back onto my side, and propped myself onto an elbow to look down at her soft, expressive face. "How are you feeling?"
"Much better." She stretched and wriggled. I heard bones crack. She rolled her head toward me again. She pursed her lips, comically.
I bent down to kiss her. Our touch lingered. I slid my hand down her side, to her hips, and found her yielding. I rolled over on top of her, which put me in a much better position to kiss her, and let me wallow in the sensation of her body pressing against mine in so many perfect places... I slid my lips to her jaw, then to her ear...
"Janet," I breathed, before taking her earlobe between my teeth.
"Mm?" She arched erotically against me, her crafty hands finding my rear.
"You stink. What is that? Formaldehyde?"
"Antiseptic." She grunted. "And it's not like you smell any better. How many days were you in a swamp?"
"Three," I confessed.
"Jesus, Sam, and you haven't even taken your boots off." She chastised me.
"They're hard to put back on," I pouted, and tried to kiss her again.
She ducked my head and shoved me off of her, the wrong way. I rolled, flailed, fell off the bed, and landed with a thud on my back on the floor. Once I could breathe again, I cracked up. My lover had actually thrown me out of bed. Figures.
Her head poked over the edge of the bed. "Are you okay, Sam?"
I laughed harder.
"You're such a romantic," she grunted, disappearing from view.
"Hey, I'm romantic," I whined. I began to sing, or more correctly, bellow, the words to the song we'd heard at the bar our last night in Arizona.
"Stop," Janet moaned. I could picture her lying on my bed, smothering herself with my pillow. I began giggling.
Jack burst through the door. "Daniel's awake," he announced. He took in the scene, gazing worriedly at me down on the floor. "Carter?"
Janet tried to save me from myself. "He's awake? That's good." She sat up.
The Colonel was too distracted to provide further information. "Carter, were you...singing?"
Why, yes. I could only answer him through the first verse that came to my mind. "Star Trekking, across the universe..." I howled.
Janet was grabbing her lab coat from the door. Jack helped me up. He looked at me askance again, but I wouldn't stop grinning, so he joined me. "On the Starship Enterprise, under Captain Kirk..." He started out faintly, self-depreciatingly, but his volume grew as he remembered the words.
Janet rolled her eyes at both of us and headed out. We followed her down the corridor toward the infirmary, singing in harmony, "Boldly going forward, 'cause we can't find reverse..."
Daniel Jackson was indeed awake, and Teal'c was at attention, guarding him. They looked a bit horrified to see us. I can't imagine why. We serenaded the archeologist happily, and punched him in the arm as hard as we could, to show him how glad we were that he was alive. Finally, he succumbed. "There's Klingons on the starboard bow, starboard bow, starboard bow," he mumbled tiredly.
"Janet, this is my house," I reported with surprise as the car parked at the curb.
She glanced at over at me as she got out. "You did specify home, not Janet's house, or Cassie's room..." She winked.
Had I? I clambered out of the car. My house wasn't really a home. My house was where alien stalkers visited and where my bikes were stored, but there was no warmth here, no family. Okay, so maybe it was my home, then. I frowned faintly as I walked up to the porch.
Until I remembered the conversation she was referencing. The one where I'd told her where I wanted to make love with her for the first time. We were going to have sex? In my house? Tonight? I froze in the middle of the walkway as my loins ignited. My mouth watered. I watched Janet walk ahead of me, small and curvy and swaying. She looked over her shoulder, interpreted my expression, and winked at me. Oh god.
Performance anxiety overwhelmed me, and I continued standing there like an idiot until Janet's soft voice reached me. "Sam," she murmured from the dark eves of my porch. "Come open the door."
I dutifully walked toward her, digging out my keys. My hand trembled, but I got the door open and invited her in. I shut the door behind her. "Something to drink?" I stammered.
"No, thank you."
I offered her my hand. She took it. We managed to get halfway up the stairs before I turned and kissed her, pinning her back against the wall. Thanks to the stairway our heights matched, and with my upper body angled better than usual, I was able to use my balance to better advantage, and put power into my kiss. She moaned and opened to my mouth. She wrapped both hands around my neck, pulling at my hair, trusting me not to let her tumble down the stairs. Suddenly I didn't feel too tall anymore, and I cherished the infusion of self-confidence by tempting Janet's tongue into my mouth, and sucking it against mine.
One of her hands fell from my hair and slid down my chest, squeezing my left breast. The unexpected touch and the arousal that surged through me made me wrench my mouth away from hers, gasping for air.
"Upstairs," she exhaled the moment her mouth was freed. I obliged, and we scrambled up the stairs, our arms still around each other, stroking and touching whatever they could reach. I led her to my bedroom, and leaned down to kiss her. She stopped me, placing a finger on my lips.
Shower? Oh. Swamps. I jerked my head to indicate the door on the side wall. She walked purposely through it.
I sagged against the wall, panting. Was this really going to happen? Should I do something? Light candles? Strip naked and throw myself on the bed? What do normal people do in this situation? I heard the water being turned on in the shower. I continued just letting the wall hold me up.
Janet returned, trim and smart and utterly beautiful in uniform. I squinted at her in the dusky light. She grinned rakishly at me. Whatever we were about to do, I probably didn't deserve, but I was going to let it happen anyway, so that when she came to her senses, at least I would have the memory.
She reached for the top button of my jacket, at the throat. I smiled glassily at her.
"Sam?" She questioned, opening the first button, then the second. The warmth of her hands radiated outward from where they touched me to my breasts. My nipples hardened. I wondered if she noticed.
"Sam?" Janet whispered again, abandoning her task and sliding her hands up to cup my neck, probing gently.
"I'm fine," I managed. For now. Her caresses were going to make me faint.
She suddenly let go of me and I swayed. I thrust my hands against the wall behind me and reoriented my balance, then gave her a sheepish look.
"Well enough," I said. "Can't you leave the doctor at work?" I pouted. I did not want to be deemed too unhealthy for sex. I wanted to make that decision on my own.
"No," she said firmly, and cupped my face again, drawing my gaze down so that she could look me in the eyes. I wallowed in those deep black pools. "No," she repeated. "I will never stop caring about you."
With her words, I gave up my sense of entitlement and fell forward against her hands. My eyes drifted closed, and I enjoyed the sensation of her practiced fingers stroking my cheek. She stepped closer to me.
"Don't worry," she whispered against my ear. "We're home and I'm not a tease tonight."
I kept my eyes closed as her hands slid from my face and down my chest, brushing my breasts before she returned to unbuttoning my jacket. She pushed it off my shoulders, her fingers following the fabric down my arms to my hands, which she briefly squeezed while canvas pooled at my feet. Then she placed both hands on my stomach, stroking me gently through my black undershirt.
"Sam," she murmured.
"Mm?" Was all I could manage through a heady trance of arousal.