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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Absent Hearts
By Geonn


After twenty minutes, she kicked off the blankets and gave in; sleep wasn't in the cards tonight. She sat up and ran a hand through her hair, trying to decide what to do. The window cast strange silhouettes of light and shadow across her bare feet, crossing her pajama bottoms like the bars of a cell.

Finally, she threw her legs over the side of her bed and stood up. Outside, she could see the outskirts of Atlantis stretching out all around. It still frightened her a bit to think how much of it was still unexplored. They'd found another her in one of the 'suburbs.' Who knew what else was lying in wait for them?

She put on a robe, running a comb through her hair before stepping out of her quarters. The halls were quiet, but there was still the buzz of life all around. Atlantis, like most military bases or scientific labs, never really slept. It just went into states of quiet inactivity.

For once, she was glad there were so many people wandering the halls with her. It made Atlantis seem a little less frightening, knowing how many other people were awake with her. She had forgotten her slippers, but that was all right; she liked the way the floors felt against the soles of her feet. There were times in her office, when things were quiet, when she would pull her boots off and curl her toes in the carpet.

She considered heading for the mess, grabbing some coffee or a cruller, maybe seeing if anyone else was awake and wanted to chat. She remembered other late nights and remembered McKay usually staked out there from midnight to three when he couldn't sleep. So... her office, then.

After twenty minutes, she kicked off the blankets and gave in; sleep wasn't in the cards tonight. She sat up and ran a hand through her hair, trying to decide what to do. The bedside lamp cast a harsh and unforgiving yellow aura onto her thighs, bare beneath the cuffs of her boxer shorts.

Finally, she threw her legs over the side of her bed and stood up. On the table across the room, she could see the blueprints she'd been looking over and shuddered at the thought of diving into them. She may not be ready to sleep at the moment, but if she started working on them the night would be lost. And she had a mission in the morning. Colonel Samantha Carter needed her rest. It still sounded weird. Wonderful, but weird.

She put on a robe, running a comb through her hair before stepping out of her quarters. The halls of the SGC were quiet, as they had been at every military base she'd ever been stationed. She wasn't wearing her slippers, but the cold concrete beneath her feet reminded her that she was there; she was alive and she was surviving.

Unlike some people.

She stopped, putting a hand against the wall and closing her eyes. "Stop it," she whispered. She took a trembling breath and continued walking towards her lab.

Elizabeth sat behind her desk, leaning back and staring at a spot on the ceiling. She curled her toes in the carpet and closed her eyes, gently rocking her chair side-to-side. She pulled her feet up, hugging her knees to her chest and wishing she had someone to talk to. Girl talk. The kind of talk she couldn't get from Teyla. She was warming to the Athosian, she really was... but some things were just outside of her understanding.

"Like a really good cup of coffee," she sighed. The last good cup of coffee she'd tasted had been on Earth, at the SGC. The men and women in Atlantis meant well, but when the Wraith were breathing down their necks, a gourmet cup of coffee became the least of anybody's concern.

Except when it was two in the morning and she needed a serious caffeine fix.

She sighed and remembered that last cup of coffee.

"I understand your predicament," Samantha Carter said, handing over the steaming mug. "The military just doesn't understand the strategic importance of a decent cup of java. Let me know how that hits you."

Elizabeth took a hesitant sniff, then carefully sipped the coffee. She licked her lips, nodded her head once and said, "That is not bad. Your recipe?"

"No, I... got it from a friend of mine."

"Is she on the base? I'd love to, you know... bow down and worship at her feet."

Sam smiled sadly. "No. She's not on the base."

Sam sat behind the work table in her lab, staring at the blank space in front of her. She had tucked the edges of her robe between her legs, hoping to cover her bare legs from the cold of the empty room.

She brushed a knuckle under her eye, not surprised to find it dry. She hadn't cried for Janet in almost a year. She'd used up all those tears. In fact, she'd used them up that night telling Elizabeth Weir about her relationship with the doctor...

Sam was sitting on the floor, Elizabeth on the edge of the bed. Sam had been talking for almost three hours about Janet; meeting her, falling in love with her, their relationship highs and lows... she talked about Cassandra, she talked about almost breaking up over some silly slight...

When Elizabeth decided to call it a night and headed for the door, Sam stood and escorted her the entire way... three or four steps total. Elizabeth smiled and said, "Thank you for sharing that with me. I know you could get in trouble for... well..."

"Trouble?" As Sam said it, she realized she had been talking about her relationship with another woman. "Oh, my God."

"It's okay," Elizabeth said, putting a hand on Sam's shoulder. "Your secret is safe with me."

Sam turned her head and Elizabeth's hand moved slightly. She cupped Sam's cheek, her fingers resting just in front of her ear. Elizabeth stepped forward and watched Sam's face carefully - oh, so carefully - for signs that she should stop. Her lips found the corner of the other woman's mouth and she heard the sharp intake of breath through Sam's nostrils.

Sam put one hand on Elizabeth's stomach, fingers slightly curled, easing towards her hip. When Elizabeth turned her head to fully taste Sam's mouth, Sam's hand snaked easily around and her palm flattened against the flat of the other woman's back. They held the position for a long second, Elizabeth's eyes wide open, before Sam stepped back.

Her lips came apart with a quiet gasp and she blinked her eyes into focus. Elizabeth brushed a hair out of Sam's face. "Good night, Elizabeth," Sam said.

"Good night, Sam." She swept the pad of her thumb across Sam's bottom lip.

"Good night... Elizabeth."

"Do you want me to go?"

"No. But... you need to."

Elizabeth pressed her lips together and looked down at her hand, nodding sadly. "I do. I should."

"I... am still in love with Janet. If she hadn't been... if she wasn't..."

"I know, I understand."

Sam stepped back and opened the door, stepping back. Elizabeth stepped out into the hallway, turning and looking into the room at Sam. "Good night, Sam."

"Good night, Elizabeth."

Sam closed her eyes. Would it have been so bad? Would it have been the worst thing in the world to have given in to that urge, that desire to share something... primal and physical with someone? She leaned forward and pressed her face into her hands. It was times like this - times of despair and regret and self-doubt - that Janet had always swung by the lab with a cup of coffee or a shoulder massage. God, Janet gave the best shoulder massages...

In fact, Sam could almost feel Janet's fingers on her back now... sliding up from her belt, her index and middle finger parted to straddle Sam's spine. The hand branched out once it reached her shoulders and strong, confident fingers closed around her shoulder. Another hand touched her opposite shoulder and they squeezed in unison.

Sam sighed, "That feels good."

Elizabeth opened her eyes and scanned the office without moving her head. "Hello?" she whispered. "Who just said that?"

Sam didn't lift her head. "Elizabeth?"

"Shh," the voice behind her said.

Elizabeth closed her eyes as the disembodied voice shushed her. She felt a reassuring pressure on her forehead, a tender touch and a familiar perfume filling her senses. She sighed and said, "Colonel Carter?"

"I can hear you," Sam murmured, pressing her face into the crook of her arm.

Janet Fraiser held herself there, amazed at the simplicity of it. Sam would have had a field day with the physics of what was happening. The afterlife, life itself, everything beyond. She remembered the day she died, she had said the SGC was on the verge of discovering so much more. If only she knew how prophetic those words would turn out to be.

She understood it all. Everything. It was nothing she could communicate, but it made her feel at peace, totally content. She wished she could tell Sam, could tell everybody. But that was impossible. All she could do was this; make sure that Sam didn't close herself off forever.

She had seen Sam in the future. Where she was headed. Alone, miserable, unwilling to open her heart again. "I love you, Sam," she said softly. "You've mourned me. There comes a time when you must move on."

Tears pooled in Sam's eyes and Janet turned to Elizabeth Weir, so far and yet an arm's-length away. She drew Elizabeth forward, using her fingertips to guide the other woman. With her other hand, she turned Sam on her stool so that she was leaning against the edge of the table.

Janet licked her lips, furrowed her brow... and brought her palms together.

Sam opened her eyes and nearly stumbled. Strong arms caught her and she found herself staring into the wide, unbelieving eyes of Elizabeth Weir. "What... is this?" the doctor asked, wrinkling her brow in disbelief. "How did you get here?"

Confused, Sam looked around her office. "How did you get... where...?"

Objects blurred. Crisp lines were no longer in evidence. A soft, gentle hand caressed Sam's cheek and pulled her head forward. Sam looked down; both of Elizabeth's hands were on her hips. So who was...? "Janet?" Sam breathed.

A kiss on the back of her neck; Janet's favorite spot. Sam closed her eyes.

"Sam, I'm... I feel a hand on the back of my head. I can't... I'm sorry."

And they were kissing. As simple as that, as incredible as that, Elizabeth's tongue was inside Sam's mouth. Sam fell forward and Elizabeth caught her. She felt weight at her back, familiar weight, the press of familiar breasts and a sense of who was really there. Her eyes opened and she watched Elizabeth, millimeters from her face. Close enough to see the beautiful imperfections...

Ghostly fingers feathered in her hair. More tangible hands undid the belt of her robe and pushed the edges aside. Elizabeth put her fingerprints on Sam's belly, tracing the lines her muscles made under her skin. Sam's tank top rose higher with each newly-discovered scar, her breathing growing shallower as Elizabeth explored. Sam breathed, "Is this real?"

A ghost pulled Sam's robe off and Elizabeth dropped her head to kiss the curve of Sam's breast. She gasped and looked up at the ceiling. Atlantis. SGC. Atlantis. SGC... God, where were they? Were they at either place or someplace entirely different? Elizabeth straightened and touched Sam's face. "Lay down," she whispered.

They were on the ground... when had that happened? Sam stretched her arms out to either side, looking over the top of her head and expecting to see the lab door. Wide open. Siler and Walter and everyone standing there watching with jaws dropped. Instead, she saw the bottom edge of the lab table. She closed her eyes. No time to worry about it.

Elizabeth kissed her way down Sam's body. Her breasts were examined through the thin, gray material of her tank top. Fingers - ghostly? Real? It was impossible to tell - pulled her boxers down and revealed her sex to the other woman. Elizabeth straightened, looking down at the wetness exposed between Sam's spread thighs.

"Please," Sam whispered. One word that meant 'stop wasting time and get on with what I wish I had let you do before you left for Atlantis, please...' Fortunately, Elizabeth picked up on the message and lowered her head.

Sam kept her eyes open, knowing what she would see eventually. Wait for - oh, God, right there... - it, wait for it... there! The hazy wall began to grow opaque. It blended, formed into a face. Eyes, a smiling pair of lips... "Janet," Sam whispered.

"Say her name," Janet said, stroking Sam's cheek with a ghostly hand.

"E-Elizabeth... Liz, please... yes, Liz..."

Janet kissed Sam hard on the lips, her fingers tightening in Sam's hair as Elizabeth licked her to climax. Sam tightened her thighs around Elizabeth's head, holding her close, moaning into Janet's mouth as she came.

Elizabeth kissed the same trail up Sam's body, pausing when she reached her face. Janet broke the kiss and turned, smiling at Elizabeth. "Janet," the newcomer said.

"Yes," Janet said. She leaned in and kissed Elizabeth gently.

Sam sighed and leaned up, nuzzling Elizabeth's neck with her lips and tongue. Sam and Janet moved with practiced synchronicity, their lips and tongues and hands moving in perfect tandem. As Janet closed her lips around one of Elizabeth's nipples, Sam nibbled on Elizabeth's earlobe.

Janet extended her tongue, curling it before pressing against Elizabeth's entrance. Elizabeth gasped, tightening her fingers into talons around Sam's shoulder as she was penetrated. "Oh, God," she gasped, closing her eyes. Sam kissed Elizabeth gently, lovingly, holding her tight. "I'm going to come already, Sam," Elizabeth said against Sam's mouth, her hips bucking. Sam broke the kiss and moved down Elizabeth's fully-clothed body, kissing curves through her pajamas. She and Janet met lips, turning their heads slightly to cover Elizabeth's pussy. Elizabeth cried out at the touch and howled when both of their tongues entered her.

When Elizabeth came, Sam found herself crouched alone between the lovely lady's thighs. She lifted her head, lips wet, turning to look for Janet. The doctor was nowhere to be seen. She looked back at Elizabeth and exhaled, reaching out and pulling Elizabeth's head forward. They kissed and Sam fell on top of Elizabeth.

"Don't let go," Sam whispered.

"It's okay," Elizabeth replied, stroking Sam's hair lovingly. "It's okay."

"What's okay?"

Elizabeth sat up with a start, nearly knocking over her coffee. Major John Sheppard took a step back to avoid the potential waterfall of scalding hot java. "Whoa!" he said, holding his hands up in surrender. "And here I thought the new dress code was a result of less stress."

"New dress..." She looked down at herself, revealing that she was still barefoot, in her pajamas. She gasped, "Oh, God," moving quickly to cover herself with the robe. She straightened in her chair, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and turning to look at her desk top. Clearing her throat, she said, "W-will that be all, Major?"

He arched an eyebrow. "Yeah. For now."

Sam leaned against the wall of the shower stall, hands covering her face. What a dream. So vivid, so realistic so... raw. She rolled her head to the side, scanning the shower room. Alone. She reached into her mesh bag of toiletries, removing the wide-handled brush and turning it slowly in her hands. Now... the dream had started with a back rub...

The End

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