DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to MGM and use of them here is not intended to infringe, nor to make any profit. This story depicts a loving relationship between women. If you have objections, don't read it. You have been duly warned.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Atlantis' episode title "Rising" put me in mind of the title of the Flannery O'Connor story, "Everything that Rises Must Converge." This story has nothing in common with that one in terms of subject matter, but I find O'Connor's title so evocative.
FANDOM/PAIRING: SG-1/Atlantis crossover, Carter/Weir.
ARCHIVE: Only with the permission of the author.

By Weejee

Elizabeth Weir exhaled to release some of the nervous energy coursing through her as she stood on the front steps of Colonel Samantha Carter's home. She had been back from the Antarctica outpost for just over two weeks in order to prepare her expedition team for its mission to the Ancients' lost city in the Pegasus galaxy. She had seen the recently-promoted Colonel only briefly on a few occasions while at Cheyenne mountain because Carter had been away leading an off-world mission for most of those two weeks. Although Colonel Carter had consulted with Dr. McKay on the use of the Zero Point Module for the Atlantis expedition after her return from off world, she and Elizabeth had hardly spoken. Elizabeth would be leaving in a few days on an expedition from which she was unlikely to return and seeing Samantha Carter was high on her list of things to do before that time came. Marshaling the courage to knock, Elizabeth gasped as the front door opened just as she raised her hand.

"Dr. Weir," a startled Samantha Carter exclaimed. "I'm sorry. I didn't know you were there."

Elizabeth chuckled. "I was just about to knock. You scared the daylights out of me. Not a good sign, given what I'm about to face."

Sam smiled. "I'm sure you'll do just fine."

"I'm sorry that I didn't call before I came and you're obviously on your way out, so we'll talk another time," Elizabeth said apologetically, her courage fading quickly. The fact that time was one thing of which Dr. Weir had little remained unspoken.

Sam opened the door wider and stepped back into the entryway. "I was just going to take a ride on my bike, but that can certainly wait. Please come in."

"Really, I didn't mean to disturb you," Elizabeth said, backing away slightly before Sam took hold of her arm.

"You're not disturbing me. Come in," Sam insisted, giving Elizabeth's arm a little tug.

Once inside, Sam ushered Elizabeth to the living room. "Would you like a beer?" Elizabeth nodded. "Okay. Have a seat and I'll be right back."

Elizabeth sat on the couch, watched as Sam made her way to the kitchen, and thought how strange it was to be in the Colonel's home. In the months since she had taken charge of the Antarctica outpost, Elizabeth and Sam had spoken regularly over the videolink about a variety of issues related to the project and, over time, these conversations had become more frequent and more and more about things other than the mission. In a strange way, she considered Sam a friend, even though they had spent no time together outside of work and had hardly seen one another in person in the time they had known each other.

"Here you go," Sam said, handing Elizabeth a beer and joining her on the couch. "To new frontiers," Sam toasted, clinking the neck of her beer on Elizabeth's bottle.

"To new frontiers."

"So, how are the preparations going?" Sam asked.

Elizabeth took a sip of beer. "We're in good shape. The team is assembled and we're almost done provisioning the expedition. McKay is working on making sure that the ZPM can power the gate to get us to Pegasus, but you already know that." She felt the nervous energy rising again and began picking at the label on her beer bottle.

"Yep," Sam responded. "We won't know for sure until we dial, but I'd say it looks like a good bet."

Elizabeth took another sip of beer and looked up to meet Sam's eye. "It would seem so. I just wanted to . . . we haven't had any time to talk since I've been back and I wasn't sure I would have an opportunity on the base, so I just wanted to say goodbye."

Sam picked at the label on her own beer bottle and was quiet for a moment. "Are you sure you want to do this, Elizabeth?"

"It's a great opportunity. You, more than anyone, should know that. I couldn't possibly pass up the chance to go through the gate."

"But you may never see Earth again. There are other ways for you to be a part of the Stargate program and travel through the gate without going on a one-way expedition," Sam importuned. "I could talk to General O'Neill . . . ."

Elizabeth shook her head. "This is my assignment and I'm going to see it through."

"But you're leaving everything behind," Sam said.

"Not really," Elizabeth sighed. "For so long, my career was everything to me. I pursued it without rest and achieved everything I had ever dreamed of. A few years ago, someone made me realize how much of the rest of life I had been missing."

Sam's eyes widened. "And you're giving that up?"

"It was taken from me," Elizabeth said softly. "My partner died of breast cancer last year."

"I'm so sorry."

"So, I'm not really leaving anything behind," Elizabeth said, depositing her now empty beer bottle on the coffee table. She looked into Sam's eyes and saw tears forming.

"I'm sorry," Elizabeth said and placed her hand on Sam's forearm. "I didn't mean to upset you."

"It's okay. I recently lost someone too – someone who made me understand that there was more to life than work," she replied, the tears now falling.

"I'm sorry," Elizabeth repeated. "I didn't know." She took Sam's beer and placed it on the table before pulling her into an embrace.

"The worst part about it," Sam mumbled through her tears and into Elizabeth's shoulder, "is that it was my career – the Stargate – that took her from me."

Realization dawned on Elizabeth. "Dr. Frasier?" She felt Sam nod. "I'm . . . ."

Sam pulled out of the embrace. "Please don't apologize again. I know you know what I'm going through," she said.

Elizabeth nodded and reached up to wipe the tears from Sam's cheek.

"Have you given up?" Sam asked quietly. "I mean, does your eagerness to go on this expedition mean that you've given up on ever loving anyone again?"

Elizabeth chuckled. "Erin would be too angry with me if I did that. I also think she'd be proud of me for taking this on. I feel as if there's never been anything more important in my career than this expedition and I'm alone now, so the person costs don't seem that great. "

Sam regarded her for a moment and then took her hand. "I'm going to miss you, Elizabeth."

"And I you. I knew I would – that's why I came here today – but now I have a real sense of how much."

Sam released Elizabeth's hand and placed it lightly on her cheek. "I know what you mean. I'm sorry to lose this new friendship." She leaned in and touched her lips to Elizabeth's gently.

"I don't think . . . ," Elizabeth began, pulling back from the kiss. "I'm sure it's too soon for you."

"I don't know if I'll ever get over losing Janet or ever feel as if even looking at someone else wouldn't be cheating, but I just want to share this with you before you go," Sam replied.

Elizabeth was lost in Sam's eyes and felt the power of the heartfelt plea for contact wash over her. Reason told her that this might not be the right thing to do, but she knew she couldn't pass up the opportunity to feel again and to connect with her friend, with this incredible woman, before embarking on momentous and frightening journey. She brushed a lock of hair from Sam's eyes and leaned in and kissed her.

The Atlantis expedition team was assembled in front of the Stargate. Their mission would begin in a few minutes and the tension in the air was almost palpable. They were just waiting for McKay to confirm that the ZPM would be able to power the gate and Elizabeth was pacing in the empty briefing room off the Control Room. She would have to make a speech to the expedition team and was running through what she wanted to convey in her mind when Colonel Carter entered the room.

"I'm sorry to interrupt," Sam said, "but I wanted to have a minute alone with you before . . . . I wanted to thank you, for everything."

Elizabeth smiled and stepped closer to Sam. She was sorry that they could be seen through the window of the briefing room, because she would have liked to touch Sam one last time. "Well, I should be thanking you – for everything, but especially for making me realize how dangerous it would be to this mission and to my team if I left feeling that there was nothing to come back for, nothing to hope for in a life on Earth. I wish every good thing for you, Sam, and I hope that, in time, you'll feel open to making someone else as happy as I'm sure you made Janet."

Apparently casting aside any concern for observing eyes, Sam pulled Elizabeth into an embrace. "Good luck and Godspeed, Elizabeth," she whispered.

Not long after, Elizabeth walked up the ramp toward the Stargate about to lead her team to the lost city of Atlantis. She paused for a moment and looked back into the control room, meeting Samantha Carter's eye for a moment. "To new frontiers," she thought and stepped through.

The End

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