DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILER: Set Season 2

A Thousand Dreams of Cats
By Celievamp

They had gated to PX4403 to find it bathed in early evening sunshine. It was verdant – Daniel even went as far as to describe it as lush before he started sneezing - a heat haze rising from the sandstone blocks that were all that remained of the temple structure that had once enclosed the gate. As they walked down the slight incline from the Stargate platform the sound of birdsong and insects humming started up again.

"Ok kids, I reckon we have about four hours before sunset. Teal'c and Carter – you check the perimeter, Danny, take your allergy tablets then help me set up camp before you start picking up rocks."

Sam spotted the first cat about five minutes later. A handsome animal with glossy black fur apart from one white paw, it was lying on the broken base of a pillar, sunning itself. It watched her through slitted leaf green eyes as she stood still, trying to judge whether it was a threat or not. The cat after a long moment of deliberation decided that its own threat assessment of her didn't warrant moving from its comfortable perch and its eyes closed again.

Just because it could have been the twin of Mister Sox, her neighbour's cat back in Colorado didn't mean that it wasn't a) feral b) poisonous or c) dangerous in some other unspecified way. Even though she would have liked nothing more than to make its acquaintance Sam decided to give it a wide berth.

Sam had always considered herself a cat person. They had moved around too often for her to have one of her own when she was a kid but she had usually adopted one locally wherever they had stayed. Once she had got what she considered to be a longterm posting to Cheyenne Mountain on the project of her dreams she had got Schroedinger from the local pet rescue centre. The ginger tom had been her affectionate companion for six months before she had given him to Narim to take with him to the new Tollan homeworld. Since then she had not been home for long enough to consider getting a replacement pet. And she had had other things on her mind.

Leaving the cat to its basking, Sam turned to find another cat watching her from a few feet away. She stood still as it came up to her, stretching its neck to sniff at her boots before staring up at her with lambent golden eyes. This animal was tawny marmalade, a little darker than Schroedinger had been. It brushed up against her, rubbing its cheek along her leg then scampered off again into the undergrowth.

By the time she had finished her perimeter patrol and met up with Teal'c again she had seen at least sixteen cats but no sign of humans or any recent human civilization at all.

She decided to circle a little further out and stepped off the paving stones into the grass. Some of it was waist height, and as she disturbed it she saw fluffy seed heads separate and drift into the air. For a moment it was like she was walking through her own private snowstorm. Good job I don't have allergies, she thought. Janet would be prostrate by now. Janet…

Sam shook her head to rid herself of the thought. She couldn't be thinking about Janet now. About how good she had looked when Sam had gone to see her to get her gate clearance reinstated. About the warmth of her hand where it had rested briefly on Sam's thigh. About the sound of her voice, soft low and sweetly accented. About the smell of her shampoo. About the line of her neck and how much Sam wanted to kiss it. Woah! Don't go there… Where… where the hell was she? There was no sign of the ruins. She couldn't have walked that far, could she? The surrounding vegetation had changed – less grass and more flowers. They looked like poppies only they were sky blue.

Her radio fuzzed. "Carter, you copy?"


"Where in hell are you, Captain? I don't remember giving you permission to wander off."

"Sorry, sir. Got a bit distracted. I…"

"Get back here, Captain. You can collect all the plant samples you want in the morning. You have the last watch, by the way. And the MRE's are nearly ready. Teal'c took off the labels first so it's a surprise."

"Yessir." Whatever I get will still taste like chicken, Sam thought.

She hadn't realised that she had walked over the crest of a hill. As soon as she reached the top again she could see the Stargate and the ruins. And the group of cats seemingly awaiting her return. As well as a certain Colonel.

"So, Carter. Any thoughts on setting up a cat sanctuary?" O'Neill asked, gesturing towards their new neighbours.

"They seem to be doing just fine for themselves, sir," Sam said. "There's no sign that anyone looks after them, no sign that anyone has been here for a long time."

"Cats were sacred in Ancient Egypt. The Goddess Bast was represented by a cat. Perhaps her followers settled here. I'll know more when I examine…" Whatever Daniel was going to say next was lost in an immense sneeze.

"Let me guess. You're allergic to cats as well as pollen," O'Neill shook his head. "Come on, space monkey. Let's get you dosed up or none of us are going to get any sleep tonight."

Sam opened her eyes to the sound of purring. Something warm and soft was curled against the small of her back. Teal'c was on watch and Sam did not think that Jaffa could purr.

Sam managed to extricate herself from her sleeping bag without disturbing the animal. She realised that it was Mr Sox. "Hey, puss cat," she whispered. "You can't sleep here." Carefully picking up the recumbent cat – and realizing that Mr Sox was in fact a Miss – she ducked out of the tent. "Let's get you back to your friends, shall we?"

Cradling the cat in her arms she walked towards the ruins. There were two moons visible in the sky, one near full the second smaller moon just past the quarter. A skein of stars seemed to run between them. It was still warm and the air was heavy with the scent of flowers. It was so beautiful here, so peaceful…

Blinking, Sam realised that she was back in the field of flowers. Miss Sox had vanished. But a few feet away from her a young woman was crouched making what looked like garlands with the blue poppies. She rose smoothly to her feet and bowed to Sam. "You are most welcome here, Samantha Carter." She lifted the garland to place it over Sam's head, the scent of the flowers almost intoxicating. Sam stared at her. She was an inch or two shorter than Sam with dusky skin and long black hair. Her large eyes were leaf green. She was one of the most exquisite creatures Sam had ever seen.

"How… how do you know my name?" Sam's voice sounded strange even to her own ears.

"We have watched you since you came through the Ring. And earlier I was able to taste your thoughts and dreams as you slept. No… do not be afraid. We mean you no harm, we only sought a better understanding. My true name is Sabelle though I believe you christened me Miss Sox."

"What are you?" Sam marveled. "You can read minds and you can transform yourselves. We've not come across a race that could do that."

"We are shapeshifters, werefolk. We are known as the Furling. I know you have wanted to meet us for some time. You and the rest of SG1 have become something of a legend amongst the Elder Races as ambassadors of the humans. I believe you prefer that term to Tauri?"

Sam nodded, more than a little overcome. "We've met the Nox and the Asgard. And the Tollan and the Ritu – though that didn't go so well – and the Goa'uld of course." Belatedly she realised that she was babbling.

Sabelle smiled and took her hand. "Come, sit with me, Samantha."

Sam found herself sitting down beside Sabelle. "I should get back to the others. I'm…"

"Do not worry, Samantha. No harm will come to them. My brethren are watching over them." She reached out to cup Sam's cheek, her thumb stroking the soft fair skin. Sam shivered, suddenly electrified. She had never felt so alive and yet so distanced from herself. The scent of the flowers seemed to be growing more intense by the second. Sabelle's hand was on her shoulder now, the backs of her fingers running across Sam's collarbones.

"What are you doing?" Sam asked, wondering why she was not pulling away. "What do you want with me?"

Cool lips touched hers for a moment. "I want to get to know you, Samantha, to let you get to know me. Perhaps even let you know a little more about yourself. Do not be afraid, Samantha. Relax, enjoy, open your mind to me. Nothing will happen that you do not want to happen, believe me."

Sam realised that she was lying on her back, Sabelle crouched above her. She could see the pollen heavy flowers and the stars. Somehow her clothes were gone and her pale skin was dusted with the faintly luminous pollen. Sabelle's hands stroked her body, Sam's back arching as more sensitive areas were explored.

"Open your mind to me, Samantha. Let down all your barriers." Sam did not know whether Sabelle had spoken aloud or the voice was in her head. She stared into the beautiful green eyes and did as she was told.

Samantha. Samantha. Sam realised that she did not often feel like a Samantha. Samantha's were sexy, urbane, coolly confident. They knew where to be seen, where to eat, what to wear and who to be seen with. They did not care for convention, for regulations. They did not hide themselves away rather than allow themselves to feel their deepest truest emotions.

Sabelle had told her all the secrets of the Furling, all the secrets of the universe for all Sam knew. Sabelle had made her feel like a Samantha. Her touch had been electric, awakening feelings and sensations that Sam had repressed for so long. Sabelle was human and not human. Her skin was velvet, soft, so dark against Sam's paleness. As they curled around each other Sam thought that they must look like a living Yin Yang. Sam's fingers, lips and tongue were busy on Sabelle's body, touching, tasting, stroking. Sabelle was equally busy exploring Samantha's body. They reached orgasm almost simultaneously and clung to each other breathing hard.

"Samantha, why do you hide from yourself?" Sabelle stroked the thick blonde hair back from the lovely flushed face.

"I – I don't. I don't know what you mean," Sam murmured, knowing that she was lying to herself and to Sabelle who could read her mind anyway so it was a totally wasted exercise.

"There is a woman in your thoughts, a friend who you want to be more than a friend. When we made love you wished that I was her," Sabelle said calmly.

"I… oh god, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings or anything, Sabelle. I mean, you're beautiful and it was incredible, but…"

"She feels the same way about you, Samantha. She would not reject you. I saw her through your eyes. You call us shapeshifters, but you hide your true nature even from yourself."

"What you saw, it's not real, it can't be. I know what I'm like, I'm afraid that I see only what I want to see."

"You see truly, Samantha Carter. This woman you love feels the same for you." Sabelle kissed her again.

Sam's head swam dizzily. This isn't me, she thought. I don't do this, I don't…

"It is all right," Sabelle soothed. "It will be all right, Samantha. No harm will come to you, not here, not from me nor from my people. You are an honoured guest, an ambassador for your race."

"Well this is one way of defining first contact," Sam giggled. "So, your people, the Furling. Which is it – are all Furling cats or are all cats Furling?"

"All Furling are cats but not all cats are Furling," Sabelle explained, reaching out to stroke Sam's face again. "We were right about you, Samantha. There is much in store for you, such a wonderful journey. When the time comes, you will know what to do. Never doubt yourself, Samantha." She reached in and kissed Sam softly on the lips. "It is unlikely that we will meet again, but I will never forget you. And I want you to remember what we talked about, about being true to who you really are, what you really believe. No more shapeshifting in here," she tapped Sam's forehead as the young woman smiled sleepily, succumbing to the narcotic properties of the plants that surrounded them. "No more hiding."

When in doubt, freak him out.

O'Neill had overheard Carter say that to Siler when the Sergeant had asked her how on earth she coped with O'Neill as her CO. Well, she was certainly doing that now.

It was just after first light. They had been searching for her for nearly two hours, circling out from the ruins. Teal'c had noted her absence when he finished his stint on watch.

O'Neill almost fell over her body. He steadied himself and found himself staring at acres of pale skin. She was lying on her back one arm across her toned abdomen, her splayed fingers almost touching her left breast, the other arm curved up near her face. There was a garland of flowers in her hair, the remains of another garland around her neck. She was smiling. She was naked. Omigod she was naked. And beautiful. And had he mentioned naked? There was no sign of her uniform. He could see that she was breathing and there wasn't a mark on her. O'Neill forced himself to stop watching Carter breathing. Gingerly (and keeping his eyes firmly on her face), he felt at her throat for a pulse. Slow and steady. There was something powdery on her skin. He realised it must be pollen from the crushed flowers. He tapped her cheek. "Carter? Come on, Captain, wake up. Carter?" She did not stir.

Standing, knees popping ominously he deliberately faced away from his Captain. No need to give the little Colonel any more wild ideas he thought grimly. He radio'd Daniel and Teal'c. "I've found her. She's unconscious but I can't see any injury. Could one of you bring a blanket or something? She seems to have mislaid her clothes."

Teal'c carried Carter back towards the Gate. Daniel had already retreated, sneezing violently. His interest in the ruins was waning by the moment and he had already nicknamed the place "Allergy Hell".

It was O'Neill who noticed it first. "Hey, Teal'c – where did all the cats go?"

Janet Fraiser and a medical team were waiting at the foot of the ramp as SG1 came back through the Gate. "What happened?" she asked as Teal'c laid his unconscious team mate gently on the waiting gurney.

"Carter went walkabout sometime during the night," O'Neill said. "I found her unconscious in the middle of a load of flowers." He winced as Daniel let out another thunderously wet sneeze. "She's non responsive but there's no obvious sign of injury. No sign of her clothes, either."

Fraiser raised an elegant eyebrow. "I see. She's covered in pollen. It could be narcotic. It's certainly…" she paused, sneezed. "Potent. Okay, let's get her to the Infirmary."

"Doctor, how is she?" Hammond asked as Fraiser supervised Sam's transfer into one of the beds in a side room.

"Captain Carter is still unconscious. Her vital signs are normal but she definitely has an hallucogenic substance in her system. To put it plainly, Sir, our Captain is as high as a kite. We're analyzing the pollen to find out why she was so susceptible to its effects but I expect her to make a full recovery as soon as she's processed it out of her system."

"Keep me informed."

"She's coming round."

Sam opened her eyes and gazed woozily up at Janet, a huge grin spreading slowly across her face. "Hello, beautiful."

Janet took note of the young woman's dilated pupils and realised that although thankfully conscious at last the Captain was still well and truly under the influence of the narcotic. At least she was a happy drunk.

"Captain Carter, how are you feeling?"

"Call me Sam, all my friends call me Sam. I feel good, great in fact." Sam struggled to sit up only to be pushed firmly down again by Janet.

"Just stay put, Captain. I've got a lot more tests to run on you."

"Promises, promises," Sam leered.

"Sam!" Janet tried to keep a straight face but she had never seen her friend so… loose before. "Can you remember what happened to you?"

"I was talking to a cat – Miss Sox. Only she wasn't a cat. And she wasn't Miss Sox. She was a Furling, Janet, a goddam Furling." Sam giggled, hugging herself in her excitement. "And she was beautiful. So beautiful. But not as beautiful as you." Without warning Sam reached up and touched Janet's cheek, running her fingers across Janet's skin and then cupping it in her palm. Janet felt herself lean into it for a moment, the touch triggering something inside her, a kind of electricity that shot straight to her centre.

She backed off. "Okay, Sam, you've come into contact with a hallucinogenic substance, probably the pollen from the flowers you were surrounded by when Colonel O'Neill found you. You're kind of high at the moment and your judgment is definitely impaired. I need you to stay here and keep quiet and sleep it off, do you understand?"

Sam nodded. "I understand. Don't be mad at me, Janet, please. It's not the pollen. I've always thought you were beautiful," she said softly. "Don't you know how much I care about you? I lo-"

Before the young woman could get the fateful words out and compromise herself out of a career, Janet laid a gentle finger on Sam's lips. "I said quiet now, remember." Despite her best intentions Janet was touched. "Thank you, Sam, for the compliment. It's very sweet of you to say so. Now, I need you to go to sleep now, you hear me?"

"Go to sleep," Sam repeated obediently. Janet watched as the crystal blue eyes drifted closed and then opened again. "Will you be here when I wake up?"

"Of course," Janet smiled, brushing her fingers through Sam's fringe. Her skin was cool, there was no sign of fever, just the drug still coursing through her system. "Now sleep, Captain. That's an order."

Sam was back to normal when she woke, apart from a slight headache. She was cleared to leave the Infirmary and Janet noted somewhat sadly that they were back to the one word answers and avoidance of eye contact that had characterized their relationship recently.

At least now she knew the reason why. Captain Samantha Carter was in love with her. Now all Janet had to do was decide how she felt about that.

"So, Carter, you really were away with the fairies."

"Furlings, sir, not fairies," Sam said. She assumed parade stance. "I would like to apologise, sir, for any embarrassment I may have caused you or the rest of the team."

"Don't worry about it, Carter." O'Neill watched his II1C duck past him, heading for her quarters. And he thought he had a problem getting ideas of her in the hot little tank top out of his system. All he could see now was his captain clad in nothing but flowers and a smile.

Sam left her house to go to Janet's. The phone call inviting her over for a girl's night in took her by surprise but she remembered what Sabelle had said about hiding herself and accepted the invite. Tucking the bottle of wine under the seat she was about to start the car when she saw Mr Sox watching her from the top of the fence post. She could have sworn that the cat winked at her.

Cassie had finally gone to bed, after extricating a promise from her favourite honorary mother that they would go do something new at the weekend. Sam agreed, finding it almost impossible as usual to refuse the young girl anything. She caught a glimpse of Janet's smile of approval as she scooted the young girl off to bed, very glad that she hadn't ruined everything with her drunken declaration.

Janet was waiting for her on the couch when she came back downstairs and pulled her down beside her. "I'm really glad you could come over tonight, Sam," Janet asked. "It's been quite a while since we had a girl's night in together. In fact it's been a while since I've seen you outside work at all. Sam, please tell me, what changed between us? Did I do or say anything to hurt or offend you?"

Sam had been afraid that the conversation would turn out something like this. But she had made a promise to Sabelle.

"No, Janet. You didn't do anything. You've been the same good friend to me as always. I just realised a few things, that's all. About myself. A few home truths. I had to work things out, decide what to do."

"You sound so serious tonight – not that you're usually anywhere in the airhead stakes. Sam, you're not thinking about leaving the SGC are you?"

"No! Whatever gave you that idea?" Sam thought about the things she had said since she arrived. "Oh, I suppose I did. Damn, I wish I could do this."

"Take your time Sam, especially now I know you're not going anywhere," Janet smiled. She would have found it hard to explain the curious relief she felt at the news that her friend was not bailing out on her. "Actually, I think it might help both of us if I said something first – if you don't mind."

"Of course not, go right ahead," Sam said, glad that her voice seemed relatively steady even if her hands were shaking.

"When you were in the infirmary – whilst you were still high on the pollen – you said some things to me. You said that I was beautiful and you said that you cared for me a great deal. You were going to say, I think, that you loved me, but I stopped you before you could go that far." She kept up eye contact with Sam and noted that the young woman was blushing a deeper and deeper red with every word she uttered. "I know that you remember what happened and you're pretty embarrassed about it. But there's no need to be, believe me." Janet laid a gentle hand on Sam's cheek feeling the warmth of it. Sam shut her eyes for a moment, then opened them and Janet's heart lurched as she saw the depth of emotion in those incredible beautiful eyes.

This was it. There would be no turning back from this and once she uttered the next four words nothing would ever be the same for them again for either of them.

"I love you, Sam."

Sam drew back, her eyes wide with shock. "You love me?" she whispered. Janet shivered at the naked need in that voice. The need for her. She moved closer again to Sam staring into her beautiful blue eyes, so expressive as ever of the emotions going through that keen mind.

"I love you." She reached in to kiss her, almost chastely at first and then with more passion as Sam's lips parted and she moaned deep in her throat. Sam laid back against the sofa cushions and Janet moved until she was just about straddling Sam's thighs. "I love you, Sam Carter," she whispered again. One of Sam's hands was resting against the back of her neck, her long fingers entwined in her dark hair, the other hand was supporting her lower back. Janet knew in that moment that she was in the safest place in the Universe, that Sam would never let her fall. Janet's hands were moving against Sam's skin, one hand under her shirt, scribing against the soft skin and hard muscle of Sam's toned abdomen, the other softly stroking the nape of Sam's neck feeling Sam's pulse jump at her touch.

Sam broke the kiss when oxygen was starting to become an issue for both of them. "Am I dreaming?" she whispered, resting her forehead against Janet's. "Please let this not be a dream. If it is then I never want to wake up."

"No dream," Janet reassured her, letting her fingers thread through the thick golden hair that she had wanted to touch like this for so long. "We're both going into this wide awake."

Sam smiled. "Yes, we are, aren't we. I love you so much, Janet. I never feel so… complete as when I'm with you. Every time I see something new and wonderful when I'm gating, the first thing that comes to mind is "I must tell Janet about that. I love you and I trust you and I am so glad that this has finally happened."

"So am I," Janet said. Regretfully she extricated herself from Sam's grasp. "But I think we've gone far enough for a first date, don't you – not that I want you to stop kissing me, but I want to take things slowly, okay."

"Okay," Sam said, almost shyly. "But I still haven't told you what I came here to say."

"Ohmigod, Sam, I'm so sorry," Janet's hand flew to her mouth as she realised how she had taken control of the situation. O'Neill was right when he said she was Little Miss Control Freak.

"It doesn't matter, really. You've made it so much easier for me to do this and I can never thank you enough for that. This isn't science so I can't string the words together. I've hidden the truth from myself for so long and I was starting to lose myself, I think. Burying part of me away under the masks of the brilliant scientist and the good soldier." Dimly she realised that she was crying. "I love you so much that it hurts, Janet. I have for the longest time. I'm such a mess, Janet. Are you sure you want to risk me?"

"Oh, Samantha!" Janet breathed. Sam stared at her, realizing that Janet said her full name in exactly the same way Sabelle had said it. "Of course you're worth any risk. As long as you're part of my life, part of Cassie's life as well. She wants this almost as much as I do."

Sam managed a smile, burying her head in Janet's shoulder. "I always knew she was too perceptive for her own good."

The clock chimed in the hall. "I should go," Sam said regretfully. "It's late. I'll need to call a cab though. No way I can drive after all that wine."

"Stay." Janet said. "I want you close now I've found you. Just to wake up in your arms would be wonderful."

"Okay. But I thought we were taking this slow?" Sam said. Janet just smiled and drew Sam to her feet.

"Make love to me," she whispered.

In the darkness of the bedroom two figures spooned together. The window was open to let in the summer air and as Janet stroked the length of the arm that lay across her abdomen she noticed a streak of light across the sky.

"Look! A shooting star!" Janet smiled. "Make a wish!"

"No need," Sam whispered, bending so that she could kiss Janet's neck and then as Janet leant back, her lips, tracing them with the tip of her tongue. "I have everything I could ever need right here."

The End

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