DISCLAIMER: This story depicts a loving relationship between two women, if that bothers anyone, just step away from the computer, nice and slow like. For everyone else, welcome :-) Feedback is completely appreciated, but as always please try to be nice, I am only human after all :-) Oh and while this particular story came from my own little imagination, the characters and scenery sadly did not, I'm just borrowing them for the moment, I do however promise to give them back though :-)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author
By Jennifer Mahony
~Late Thursday Evening~
Wind swept rain passed through the air, briefly illuminated by the soft glow of the street lamp overhead. Water pounding on rooftops, running off to join the puddles already formed on the ground. Rainy nights always seemed the most peaceful for some reason. But also sometimes seemed the most lonely as well.
A lone car traveled the wet road ahead, it's glaring headlights leading the way. And sounds of it's tires treading through thick water echoed across the street to where Major Samantha Carter sat alone in her parked car. Staring out the window, listening to the rain hit all around her, she wondered if she knew what she was doing. Why she was there. Maybe it was a bad idea? But it was all she could think about after everything she's been through. She had to know it was all worth something in the end.
A bright flash of lightning in the distance caught her attention and she listened for the sounds of thunder. Checking off the seconds in her mind until she heard the loud crackling. It was a game she played to guess how far away the lightning had struck. But the game was quickly forgotten as her mind wandered back to the reason she was here.
Sam took a deep breath, trying to work up her courage. Looping her fingers through the door lever, she pulled the release and pushed her car door open. The night air was chilled and with the rain steadily pouring down on top of her, she quickly shut the door and ran up the walk until she was standing on the front porch to Dr. Janet Fraiser's house.
Out of the rain for the most part, she took a moment to think about what she was going to say, then knocked on the door, half hoping that Janet was already asleep. What was she really going to say when Janet opened the door? She was scared, but ultimately she was determined.
The neighborhood was quiet. The trees lining the street blew about in the wet wind as Sam looked out over the porch railing and wondered how things could have gone so wrong so fast. The sound of the door opening pulled her back to the present. Back to face Janet. Back to the sadness, but also back to the hope that she could change everything right here and right now.
"Sam?" Janet questioned as she looked her over, then moved to peer behind her, confirming that she was alone. "I-It's late, is everything okay?" Janet pulled her robe tighter as the cold rainy air swept in. Her heart sank when she saw the pain reflected in Sam's usually vibrant eyes. She was soaking wet and painfully cold.
"Janet... I... I just," Sam stammered and paused. Staring at Janet, she couldn't believe how different she seemed now. "I needed to see you." She wasn't sure this was such a good idea anymore. She wasn't expecting it to be easy. But hadn't been fully prepared for the depth of emotion she felt at seeing her again.
"Oh sweetie." Janet reached out to take hold of Sam's arm. "Come inside. You're going to freeze to death out here." Her concern grew as she guided Sam inside. "What's the matter?"
Sam stepped inside automatically taking off her coat and shoes, not wanting to bring the rain in with her. She looked into the living room and briefly closed her eyes feeling the warmth of the fireplace as it replayed memories in her mind. She noticed the book turned upside down on the coffee table and realized that Janet had probably been peacefully reading by the fire when she knocked. "I'm... I don't know where to start. I was... that is... something's happened." She turned to look into Janet's eyes. "I just needed to see you."
"Sam, whatever it is, you know you can tell me anything." Janet reached out to take hold of Samantha's hand and lead her into the living room. She motioned for her to sit down on the sofa beside the fire. She was hoping to warm her enough to stop the shivering. Janet picked up the throw blanket she had been using and wrapped it protectively around Sam.
Allowing the comforting gesture, Sam's attention seemed caught by the flames dancing around the wood logs as she stared into it's depths. "I just got back from a jump. We were supposed to go to P3X-489." The flames served to focus her recollection.
Concern had filled Janet's heart at the sight of her normally confident friend looking so out of sorts and lost in her memories. She took Sam's hand into her own, lightly caressing the back of her palm with her thumb. Reaching up, she gently touched the side of Sam's face, turning her attention back to her. "Sam?... Sam, tell me what happened when you got there."
She closed her eyes and leaned her face into Janet's warm caress. It made it more real each time Janet had touched her. She knew this was her chance to tell her everything. Opening her eyes again, she looked down to the hand that held hers. "We never made it off world, Janet." Sam took a deep breath and looked back inside the fire, "At least not technically."
~Early Thursday Morning~
"Cassie, honey, come on or you'll be late for school," Janet called out from the kitchen. She was quickly cleaning the counters after she had rinsed their breakfast dishes for the dishwasher. She looked at her watch again as she finished up and made her way to the front door. "Cassie?" Janet called out again in time to see her adopted daughter come running down the hall. She smiled at her excitement. The only teenager who actually enjoyed going to school. Of course, her being an alien would probably explain a lot.
"Sorry... I couldn't find my shoes. How do I look?" Cassie asked, smiling brightly as she quickly spun around for Janet.
Yep, what was it that mom always used to say to us? She'd watch us trying different things on and laugh saying something like 'we're not going to a fashion show here'. Janet chuckled at the thought. If only you could see me now, mom. "You look beautiful, honey, just like you did in the other outfit." Janet smiled as she kissed her cheek.
Cassie giggled, giving Janet a quick hug, then grabbed her backpack. Hey it was important for a kid on Earth to dress the right way. You have to keep up with the latest trends or they vote you out of the club and then how would she get the cutest guy in school to notice her? No way was that going to happen to her. Nope. Cassie had only been on Earth a relatively short time, but she knew the score.
Janet picked up her briefcase and followed Cassandra out the door. Not a cloud in sight. I wonder if the weatherman ever really knows what he's talking about. She pressed the remote button on her key chain to unlock her car doors and watched as Cassie jumped into the passenger seat. Janet put her briefcase in the back and settled herself behind the wheel.
"I thought it was supposed to rain today," Cassie said as she looked out over the sky.
"That's what they say. Maybe it's one of those fast moving storms that just suddenly creeps up on you!" She laughed at the wide eyed look in Cassie's eyes. "I'm only teasing you, sweetie." Janet started the car and backed out of the driveway on her way to drop off Cassandra first before heading to work. Hah. 'Work' That sounds a little too mundane to describe what we all do at the SGC. Of course there were definitely times when Janet wished it could be just that, mundane.
"Is Sam still coming over tonight?" Cassie interrupted her thoughts.
Janet glanced over to see Cassie looking expectantly at her. "Yeah, as far as I know. I'll double check with her when I see her though."
"Yes! I can't wait to show her my new computer game!" Cassie's enthusiasm never wavered when it came to spending time with Sam. Sam had rescued her from the devastation of her home world. And after being brought to Earth was the first person she had bonded with. She loved her with all her heart and it showed. She was just so sure that Sam would like the game she picked out. It was designed to teach kids about Biology, Technology and Physics. Of course all this was cleverly hidden in the pretense of a war simulator, but we pick our battles.
"I'm sure she'll love it, sweetie." Poor Sam, maybe I should warn her? Janet smiled and chuckled to herself. Nah, she probably will love it. The crash of thunder rolling through the air pulled her out of her musings and they glanced at each other with the surprise.
They came to a stop at the school's drop off area and Cassie unbuckled her seat belt, then leaned over to kiss Janet goodbye for the day. "See you after school. And tell Sam I'll see her tonight!"
"I will, honey... have a good day," Janet said and watched as Cassie got out of the car and was immediately greeted by two of her friends. She smiled as she continued her morning trek to work, glad that Cassie seemed to be making friends easily enough.
On her way to the base, Janet found her mind filled with thoughts of Samantha. Their friendship had become close lately. And with Cassie they had more excuses to see each other off duty. Not that they needed excuses, but Janet knew that Sam would probably rather be spending all her free time in the science lab. Sam's excitement for her projects was fascinating to listen to and Janet absolutely loved listening to Sam talk about her work or for that matter, about anything. In fact, the more she thought about it the more she realized she was one love sick puppy. I feel like a school girl with an impossible crush! And just to prove the point she giggled to herself thinking how giddy she was sometimes. But when she thought about it more seriously, she knew that her love was deep. And the longing she felt for her friend was powerful indeed. But she just knew that Sam would freak if she ever found out and she couldn't risk the friendship that had come to mean more to her than anything. Of course that didn't stop her from having a healthy fantasy life, now did it??
Sam walked into the conference room just as General George Hammond took his seat at the head of the table. Teal'c and Colonel Jack O'Neill had arrived together just moments before and were both sitting to the General's left. Teal'c turned to face Sam and acknowledged her arrival with a bow of his head. She smiled in return as she made her way to the video console and pushed a video tape inside.
"Hey, everybody. Sorry I'm late," Dr. Daniel Jackson said as he rushed in to take a seat across from Teal'c.
Sam took the video remote and made her way around the table to sit down next to Daniel. She offered him a warm smile as she made herself comfortable.
"Well, what do you have for us today, Major?" The General asked as he looked toward Sam and started the meeting.
"Sir, last night we opened up the gate to P3X-489. A seemingly uninhabited planet about thirty three light years away. I've been going over the data returned from the MALP and... it's actually very exciting." Sam couldn't contain her eagerness for this one.
"Oh boy... here we go with another science one, kids," Jack mumbled under his breath. He knew if Sam was excited, it had to be something scientific and Colonel O'Neill was never one for science duty. If it were up to him, it would be all about military operations and finding ways to kick some Goa'uld butt.
Sam's attention was drawn to the Colonel, but he wasn't about to derail her excitement. She picked up the remote, then looked back to the General. "Sir, the preliminary reports indicate high levels of Naquada in the soil. And not only that," she paused as she glanced back to gauge the Colonel's reactions. "But there are indications of Gold and Silver." She gave him a pointed look.
"How much are we talking about, Major?" General Hammond asked.
"A lot, Sir." She paused. "Possibly even enough to power this facility and fund it as well." Looking around the room, it would have been comical to an outsider to see everyone's eyebrows raise simultaneously. And okay, Sam couldn't contain the satisfying smirk at having caught the Colonel's attention. She looked down at her remote and pressed the play button. "There also appears to be the remnants of an advanced civilization," she stated but couldn't be sure that anyone actually heard her, since they all still seemed in shock.
"How much Gold are we talking about again?" The Colonel asked as though he were trying to calculate in his mind all the things he could buy with it.
Sam focused her attention on the Colonel again. She took a deep breath, "A Lot."
Colonel O'Neill turned back to face the monitor as he repeated Sam's words to himself. But he stopped as he noticed 'the catch' on the video. He was getting that sinking feeling again. "Is that... what I think it is, Major?" He turned to focus again on Sam.
Sam looked up at the monitor. "Uhhh... yes, Sir." She took in the sight of human skeletal remains near one of the buildings. From the looks of things, it would seem as though the remains were out of place with the ruins left behind, since the ruins appeared thousands of years old.
Jack cleared his throat. "Do we know what happened?" He asked cautiously.
"No, Sir. It's possible that they were struck by a plague or some kind of ecological disaster. The MALP's readings are showing a standard atmosphere and there are no outward signs of biohazard." She paused looking back to the General. "Sir, at the very least, I don't think we can afford to ignore this much Naquada and the risk should be minimal."
"And there's no telling what we might learn from the city ruins," Dr. Jackson added.
"And... don't forget the Gold," Jack reminded himself.
The General took a moment to think it over. Not that he really needed the time. Gaining resources like that were part of his program mandate. "Colonel, I want SG-1 to take a look around, see if you can find out what happened to these people. Major Carter, consult with Doctor Fraiser... I don't want any unnecessary risk."
"Yes, Sir," Samantha responded.
Janet had hidden herself in her office trying to get rid of the stack of paper work she had found patiently waiting on her desk for her that morning. Recent off world activities of the SG teams had kept her from her more mundane duties, until now. Be careful what you wish for. She chuckled to herself, then sighed and got back to work.
She was inputting medical data into her computer when a soft knock sounded at her door. "Come in," she called out and smiled when she looked up to see Sam peeking around the partially opened door.
"You got a minute?"
"Sure, Sam, come in." Actually she was thankful for the interruption, especially coming from her most favorite and beautiful Astrophysicist, her smile brightening at the thought. She watched as Sam took a seat across from her. She looks a bit nervous for some reason. Oh no, I've seen that look before.
"SG-1's been assigned to a new mission and..." She paused, looking down at her nervous hands. "We leave in a couple hours." Sam braced herself knowing that wouldn't go over well, but still managed to cringe at the look of disappointment on Janet's face.
"Oh... I guess I'll let Cassie know that you can't make it tonight then." Cassie had been so excited this morning and she knew how disappointed she'd be now. And if she was completely honest with herself, she had been looking forward to spending the evening with Sam all day as well.
"I'm sorry, Janet... I wish things were easier with my schedule. I know Cassie will be disappointed, but she'll understand, right? And maybe I can come by tomorrow night?" Samantha asked, trying to make up for having to cancel their plans again.
"You know you can come by anytime you want... and yes, Cassie will understand, Sam... she always does."
'Always' Is it really that bad? They have to know how much I love spending time with them, how much I look forward to it. She looked down at her folded hands. "I hate that I'm always disappointing you guys."
"Sam... you're not always disappointing us. And you know that we understand how important your work is... we just... miss you sometimes." I miss you. God, maybe one of these days I'll have the courage to tell you just how much.
"So? Tomorrow night then?" she asked hopefully.
"Yes, absolutely... tomorrow night." Janet was rewarded with one of Sam's brilliant smiles and her heart fluttered with the sight. One of these days, Sam, that smile of yours is going to get me into trouble! Janet thought to herself that maybe one of these days she would work up the courage to tell her that as well. She chuckled lightly at her silliness, "So tell me all about the fabulous new world you're going to discover today."
Sam laughed. "Actually, that brings me to the other reason I'm here."
Janet and her team finished the last of their preparations for SG-1's latest mission. It sounded like an important mission, but they were possibly heading straight into a contaminated world. Which everyone was finding very unsettling and Janet's own fears were mounting as she walked the corridor to Sam's lab.
Janet's arrival had gone unnoticed as she watched Samantha lost in her work. She appeared to be testing her portable equipment and Janet watched in fascination. Sam was impossibly innocent looking when she worked. She always seemed so unguarded lost in her experiments. You are so adorable. What would I ever do without you in my life, Sam? Okay, where did that thought come from? She cleared her throat. "Hey."
Sam looked up to see Janet standing in the doorway. "Hi, Janet." She smiled at her friend.
"We're ready for you whenever you are," she informed her.
"Thanks, Janet. I'm just about finished here too."
She stayed and continued to watch Sam neatly gathering all her equipment together, when Janet's breath caught. And she found herself suddenly overtaken by the overwhelming insecurity of thinking that she was watching Sam for the last time. "Sam?" Janet said a little uncertainly.
"Be careful, okay?" She took a deep breath. "I... I don't know why, but I suddenly have a bad feeling about all this." She couldn't shake the feeling that she wanted to somehow stop Sam from going on the mission.
Sam looked up to see fear in Janet's eyes. "Hey... " She moved closer and reached out, placing her hand on Janet's shoulder. "Don't worry. I'll be careful. I promise."
Janet stood her ground, but the uneasy feeling was only getting stronger. "Sam, I... I don't know what I would do if anything ever happened to you." The words came out before she could stop them.
Sam felt her heart sink at the pain in Janet's voice. She never could stand to see her friend in pain, especially thinking that she could be the cause, she couldn't bare the thought. "C'mere." She pulled Janet into her arms. "Nothing's going to happen to me. I'm always going to be here for you... and Cassie, okay?" She felt Janet tighten her hold and she couldn't help but strengthen hers as well. Without thinking, Sam kissed the top of Janet's head.
She didn't want to let go, but she knew she had to and reluctantly she pulled out of Sam's arms, immediately missing her warmth as she tried to compose herself. "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me." She looked up directly into Sam's eyes. "Just... be careful, Sam."
"I promise I'll be careful." It's not like I'll be in any more danger than I'm normally in. Although we don't need to bring that up right now. But as the Colonel put it, it's just another science one. No big deal, right? Why do you seem so frightened over this one?
"I'll see you tomorrow night at the house then?" Still lost in thought, Sam nodded her answer. "We'll have dinner." Janet was hoping to lighten the mood, "I've got a new recipe and I could use the guinea pigs."
Sam laughed out loud, "Oh boy! I can't wait!" She chuckled. "Is it too late to back out?" she kidded. Janet was always trying out some new recipe. Most of the time it worked out great, but there were times that Sam's taste buds would rather forget about, thank you very much.
"Yes! Tomorrow night... don't forget!" Janet said as she began walking back to her office. Saying a silent prayer for God to watch over Sam while she was gone.
Sam finished gathering her equipment, still smiling, thinking of Janet. They had such an easy friendship that seemed to be growing closer by the day. Janet and Cassie were like a family to her, but still, she wondered if her and Janet could ever be as close as she dreamed. She wished that they could spend more time together, but her schedule didn't always cater to her wishes.
It just feels so right being with her, I wish I could bring myself to see if she wanted more. Hah, sure, she'd probably freak if she knew I felt this way. But can I help it that she's so damn cute?? And the way she looks at me sometimes, I could just eat her up with a spoon! Sam looked around the room. I hope I didn't actually say that out loud. She giggled to herself.
Shaking herself out of her deliciously sinful thoughts, Sam got back to getting ready for her mission.
The dialing sequence began as SG-1 gathered in the gate room. They wore environmental suits as a precaution until they could find out more about what happened on the planet.
As the last Chevron locked, the wormhole engaged creating a bright glimmering light fluctuating within the gate's event horizon.
Colonel O'Neill stepped through first, followed closely by Teal'c, Daniel and Sam. The trip didn't take more than a couple seconds, although it seemed more bumpy than usual.
Sam stumbled across the gate's threshold, running into Daniel on the other side, "Whoa... man, did anyone else feel that?" Sam steadied herself and finally looked up to see the guns pointed directly at them. She cautiously stepped beside Daniel as the gate closed and she stood in confusion at the sight before her. It was the SGC.
General Hammond stepped into the gate room looking just as shocked as the members of SG-1. "Jack? Where did... How..." He blinked his eyes hard. "I don't understand. Major Carter?"
"Sir?" Sam paused to remove the hood on her suit. "We were on our way to P3X-489." She looked around the gate room. "At least I thought we were," she managed a little less confidently.
"P3X-489??" Hammond questioned in utter disbelief. "Major, you went... but you never came back." He continued to look them all over incredulously.
"Sir?" Sam looked at the General, her confusion growing.
Daniel glanced wearily over to Jack. "Uhhh, General? How long have we been gone?" he asked patiently, almost not wanting to know the answer.
"Oh here we go again. Why do I think I'm not going to like the answer to that?" Jack glared at Daniel, remembering two prior missions to a world that erased their short term memory before returning them back home, causing them to think they had just walked through the gate, when in reality almost a full day had gone by.
The General glanced over each of them and settled back on Daniel, "Son, it's been seven years since your mission to P3X-489."
"Wait a minute... " Jack forced through. "No, that can't be right. General, we just stepped foot through that gate not two minutes ago. How the hell did we end up back here? And why didn't we end up squashed like bugs on the other side of the Iris??" Jack was about to lose it now. "Seven years, sir??" Missing a day was one thing, but seven years?
"It's true General Hammond, not but a few moments ago, we stepped through the stargate on our way to P3X-489." Teal'c's raised eyebrows dared anyone to disagree. And as intimidatingly huge as Teal'c was, a raised eyebrow was all it took.
Sam was still trying to understand what may have happened. "General, how did we end up here? I mean, why wasn't the Iris closed? We didn't send our code through."
"We received SG-5's code just before you stepped through, Major."
Still not knowing what to make of the situation, the General continued, "Our outpost on P3X-489 seems to be under attack. SG-5 was forced to retreat through the stargate under enemy fire. They were about to come back through when the gate... flickered and you four appeared."
Sam looked back to the Gate, then turned around to see the expectant look on Jack's face. She was still a little stunned. She didn't know exactly what to say and just shrugged her shoulders.
General Hammond motioned for a couple of soldiers to follow them as he moved the discussion into the briefing room. Lord willing, they'd find some answers. As everyone took their seats, he ordered the command center to re-open the wormhole to check the situation on P3X-489, but although nothing seemed to be wrong, the gate wouldn't establish a lock. "Keep trying and see if you can get word to our other off world teams to lend aid."
Janet sat in her lab anxiously working on some promising research. Thanks to the efforts of SG-7, she was now about to complete her project involving what might likely be a medical breakthrough. Something the whole world eagerly awaited.
The Stargate program had unwittingly unleashed a horrible plague among the Earth's population. No one, as yet, had been able to come up with more than a simple treatment for what had become known worldwide as the Nano Virus.
Janet's team was about to complete several weeks worth of development and laboratory testing of their new vaccine and they were hoping to begin patient testing by the next day, after which they would know immediately if they had succeeded.
Tiny micro-organisms floated around on a slide as Janet watched from the view of her microscope. She was lost in her work and paid little attention to the Captain that had just walked in. Captain Wilke cleared her throat. "Doctor, you've been requested to the briefing room ASAP."
Still not looking up from her scope, she responded, "I'll be there in a few minutes, just let me finish up this one thing."
"Ma'am, I think you're gonna to want to see this." The Captain reassured her.
Well, that sounded awfully cryptic, she thought to herself. Hooked by curiosity, she looked up to see the Captain fidgeting. No one liked being anywhere near the infirmary these days, especially knowing the Nano Virus was always present. "What is it, Captain?" she asked.
"I really think you need to see for yourself, Ma'am."
"No, Sir. That can't be the case. Our path didn't take us anywhere near the sun this time." Jack had looked accusingly toward Sam, reminding her of the time when a Solar Flare intersected their wormhole and sent them back in time to 1969. "Something else is going on here." I just wish I knew what exactly.
General Hammond sat back watching the interaction before him. He still couldn't believe his eyes. It had been years of thinking the worst. He was forced to declare them all missing in action when there seemed to be no clues as to what may have happened to them. He knew that for there to be no word, they must have all been killed. And yet here they all sat, safe and sound, just the way he remembered them.
Sam and Jack were talking back and forth. Jack being his usual sarcastic self. Teal'c watched with a smirk on his face. While Daniel was looking around the room seeing if anything had been different. Concerned that maybe they had slipped into an alternate reality, having been all too familiar with the scenario and not wanting to go through it again. His meanderings came to a halt though when he stopped to notice the flash of emotions running across the General's face. He seemed confused and pained, then suddenly very happy. Daniel watched the General's smile grow wider until he broke out into laughter, which seemed to get everyone's full attention.
Jack and Sam stopped talking and everyone looked to the General where he sat actually laughing at them.
Jack got that stoned surfer look about him again as he looked around the room. "What?" He asked as if he might have had something on his face making the General laugh at him.
"Jack?! Don't you get it?? You're all alive!" The General was so happy he was beside himself. "You're alive and Teal'c and Daniel... and Sam?... oh Sam, your Father... he's been... different since you've been gone. We all have. In fact lots of things have changed." The General sobered up.
"Changed how?" Daniel asked, not liking the sound of that.
Dr. Fraiser walked the corridors on auto pilot with her notebook in hand. Half seeing where she was going and half looking over her research notes. The General would probably want an update while she was there.
She was still looking over her notes as she walked into the briefing room. Voices in the room registered to her senses causing her to look up just as the General turned to face her. That's when she noticed Samantha Carter sitting in a chair not five feet from her and Janet's world came to a crashing halt. She quickly glanced around to see the rest of SG-1, then focused back on Samantha. Her very being was in shock and she barely found her voice as she unsteadily whispered, "Sam?"
"Doc, you okay?" Jack was on the other side of the table and started to stand, hoping to catch Janet before she fell over backward. She had visibly paled at the sight before her and her legs were quickly becoming unstable.
Sam looked around to Janet just as she seemed ready to pass out. She jumped up from her seat and reached for her. "Hey... I got ya." She eased Janet into a chair and knelt in front of her, holding her hands, trying to soothe her friend knowing how much of a shock it must be to see her after all this time. "Janet, just try to breathe for me, okay?" she gently pleaded.
Janet nodded her understanding, taking deep breaths. Still not sure if she should believe what she was seeing. This, this is real, I'm not dreaming. But how is this possible? Some sort of illusion. No! This is real! Sam was alive! Not only that but she was actually there, kneeling right in front of her. But how? "Sam??" Oh God, is it really you?
"It's me... I'm here." Sam reached up to touch her cheek and smooth away the tears she saw forming in Janet's eyes. She looked back up to the General and the guys. "Can we have a few minutes alone?" she asked.
The General began to stand, "I think we could all use a break." With that, everyone filed out of the room, leaving Sam to care for Janet.
Janet reached out a shaky hand to tentatively touch Sam's face. "You're really alive?" She watched intently as Sam nodded yes. Her vision then covered the length of Sam's body and her hand dropped to retake hers. "And you're really here?" Again Sam nodded yes. Janet took a deep breath before completely breaking down. Now that she truly accepted that Sam was there, she couldn't hold in her emotions any longer and her tears fell uncontrollably.
"Oh Janet..." Sam immediately pulled her into her arms and enveloped her in a soothing embrace. She couldn't bare to see Janet cry. And her heart literally ached for the pain that she was in, what she must have gone through not knowing what had happened to them all for so long. "Shhh, everything's alright now, we're all here and we're all safe."
Janet sobbed into Sam's shoulder. Everything that she had tried to suppress all these years was finally coming out. And she held onto Sam for dear life. Almost afraid to let her go. Janet had held out hope just like everyone else that they would find SG-1 alive and well, but as the days turned into months and the months into years, she had to find a way to deal with the fact that she'd never see Sam again. And now here she was.
Sam held Janet close, gently swaying them. She was still trying to come to terms with the idea that they had all been missing for years to all their friends and family. They must have thought that they'd all been killed and would never see them again. She realized that in the few moments it took her to step through the stargate, her entire world had changed. Janet lived a life thinking she was dead. And Cassie? How had Cassie coped with her loss?
Janet was calming down, drawing strength from the embrace. There definitely was no doubt left in her mind that this was her Samantha. And if she ever thought that she had outgrown the pain of losing her, she knew now at this moment that she never really had. How could she? Sam was the best friend she ever had. She was part of her family. She loved her wholeheartedly and nothing was ever the same without her. She gently loosened her hold and felt Sam do the same.
"Are you going to be okay?" Sam still held firmly to Janet's hands.
Janet briefly closed her eyes then looked up. Her voice barely a whisper, "I am now." She watched as Sam's face lit up with one of her long lost smiles and she reached up to touch the edge of her smile. God, I've missed that. Your whole face just lights up and do you even know how adorable you are with those dimples? Janet was lost in her thoughts until Sam's hand took hold of hers. "Sam, what happened? Where have you been all this time? Where did you go?" The questions came out in a rush.
Sitting down next to Janet, Sam took a deep breath before beginning. "I don't know what happened, Janet." Sam looked exasperated. "I saw you not one hour ago, you told me to be careful. You reminded me that you and Cassie expected me back for dinner at your house tomorrow night. And I got ready for our mission to P3X-489." Sam looked up to see Janet looking lost in her own memories of a day, that for her, had happened seven years ago. "We stepped through the gate and ended up here."
"I remember that day, Sam." Tears started to fall from Janet's eyes again and she sniffled. "I remember that I couldn't shake the horrible feeling I had about your jump."
"Oh sweetie." Sam reached up to wipe away her tears. "I can't even begin to know how hard this must have been for you and for Cassie. But we're going to fix this, I promise." Sam was determined.
Janet caught Sam's hand and held it to her cheek. "Sam?" she whispered and pulled her hand to her lips, kissing the inside of her palm. "You never came back."
Closing her eyes to the sensation of Janet's kiss, Sam whispered, "I'm here now Janet." The tears that had formed in her eyes were now streaming down her face. I promised that I would always be there for them and I wasn't. God, why?
"Sam, I... I need to tell you something." Janet needed to let Sam know what she was thinking. What she was feeling. She had promised herself all those years ago, that if she ever saw Sam again, she wouldn't let another opportunity pass her by to tell her how she felt. No more waiting for tomorrow, when tomorrow may never come.
Sam couldn't help but feel the emotion running through Janet. Oh God, what have I put you through? She sniffled and wiped her own tears. "Janet, tell me... whatever it is, we'll get through it." Sam braced herself for the worst thinking that something had happened to Cassie. She had to be strong now for Janet.
"Sam, I... I just wanted..." God, where do I start? Janet paused trying to focus her thoughts. After all this time, she knew she wanted to say something, but now she didn't know exactly what or how. She looked at Sam realizing she was waiting for her to continue. These past seven years really haven't happened to you, have they? "I don't know where to start, it wasn't supposed to be like this," she finally answered the look in Sam's eyes.
Sam started to say something, but stopped when she heard the voices coming around the corner. She gave Janet's hand a gentle reassuring squeeze along with a pained smile. She wanted to talk more and find out what had happened during her absence, but she knew they'd have the opportunity later.
Jack, Teal'c and Daniel came in and took their seats once again around the conference table. Sam and Janet composed themselves as best they could under the circumstances and watched as the General took his place at the head of the table.
"I just got off the phone with the President. He's understandably shocked about the turn of events here today." General Hammond looked serious.
"So who is President these days, General?" Jack interrupted.
"Colonel. Many things have changed since you've been gone. The President's term was lengthened indefinitely. He never left office under the current state of affairs."
There went Jack's spidey sense again. He glanced around at the looks on his team's faces. "And what... are... the current state of affairs, General?"
The General cleared his throat trying to think of the best way to tell them that their world had gone to hell since they've been gone. "Colonel..." He took a deep breath. "Jack." He took a moment to look around the table. "About eight months after you disappeared through the gate, one of our off world mining operations came under attack... specifically P3X-489."
"The world we were headed to," Daniel pointed out.
"The planet was rated high in Naquada, Gold and Silver deposits," Sam responded.
"That's right, Major. It didn't take us long to set up mining operations. It's been our greatest source of Naquada and has contributed greatly to sustaining this program."
Daniel watched the interaction between Sam and Janet. He knew they were close and his heart went out to Janet for what she must being going through right now. "Uhhh, General?" His attention was drawn back into the conversation. "The planet was also presumed to be the home of an advanced civilization that had died out. What did you learn about them?" Daniel asked.
General Hammond glanced over to Janet and motioned for her to answer. "We found evidence that the people of that world had been afflicted with a rapidly spreading and very fatal virus. It spread before they realized what was happening." Janet took in the look of surprise on Daniel's face.
"We should also mention the fact that the virus coincided with the arrival of four strangers claiming to be from a planet called Earth," the General said.
"Oh my God... SG-5." Sam looked at the General. "Sir, you said that the gate flickered just before we stepped through, right?" She watched as he nodded yes. "I don't know how or why exactly, but somehow our wormhole must have taken the place of SG-5's and we traveled into the future. There's no reason not to suspect that they took our place in the past."
"But, Sam... " Janet looked between Sam and the General, "These people died well over fifty years ago. Wouldn't SG-5 have gone back to the point in time that you came from?"
"Not necessarily, Janet." Sam didn't quite know the answer herself, but she knew the gate system had it's quirks. "Given what we know of the gate system or for that matter what we don't know of the gate system, it's not out of the realm of possibility." Looking at the General, Sam continued, "If you remember, General, the gate on P3X-489 had been on the late night redial rotation, because it's gate wasn't initially available."
"Yes, Major, I remember, but what does that have to do with this?"
"Well, Sir, I'm willing to bet that the gate stopped working as soon as SG-5 walked through. Assuming it was SG-5." Sam paused. "It's possible that their wormhole carried residual energy from weapons fire that sent them even further back in time and which may have also overloaded the gate."
That surprisingly made sense enough, Daniel thought to himself. "Uhhh, so someone obviously was still left around to eventually fix the gate just before we discovered that it was working again."
Sam nodded in agreement. "It may be the same people, who coming back eight months later, discovered our crews and attacked."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa... back up there Carter. Are you trying to say that SG-5..." Jack rolled his eyes, "the SG-5 of this time... went back in time and killed off the city's inhabitants with some sort of virus. And then fifty years later fixed the gate only to come back and attack their own people?" Jack was more than frustrated.
"It's not likely that it was SG-5 who attacked, since they'd all be at least eighty years old by then, Sir." Sam glanced at Janet and smirked. The Colonel was a little dense sometimes. "Sir, it's all just speculation right now. But what if one of the Jaffa made it through with SG-5? In time the Goa'uld he carried would take a host. More than likely the Goa'uld found a way to fix the gate and returned after he had a chance to gather a force."
"Sam..." Janet looked to the General to get his okay before proceeding. She was acknowledged with a nod. "Earth has been contaminated with the same virus that killed these inhabitants." Her heart sank with the look of pain in Sam's eyes, but she had a right to know, they all did. "When our teams were attacked, special forces moved in and got everything back under control. Not too long after that our personnel began falling ill, some of them dying." Janet cleared her throat. "Before we understood what it was, it was too late. It had already spread to the outside." She looked to the General who encouraged her to continue. "We think the attacking Goa'uld and Jaffa were carriers of the virus."
Sam barely registered the General's voice as he finished the story, "Once the Nano Virus broke into our neighboring countries, it was only a matter of time before America was blamed for the devastation it unleashed. Countries have been decimated and governments have fallen. The surviving armies of third world countries have sworn revenge against America. Terrorist attacks are commonplace and the only thing keeping the US stable is this Stargate program. We've been desperately trying to find a vaccine and at the same time fend off the vultures."
Sam was in shock. It was her idea to go there. How could she think the risk was worth all this? "This is all my fault," she painfully admitted.
"No, Major... I'm the one who authorized the mission in the first place, if anyone's to blame it's me." General Hammond knew that Sam would take this to heart and blame herself. "There's no way we could have known about all this and we couldn't resist the lure the planet offered."
Sam looked directly at the General. "Sir, if we can somehow find a way to get back, we can stop this all from happening in the first place." Despite the General's words, she couldn't shake the feeling that it was her fault and she decided that no matter what she had to find a way. Even though the odds were painfully against them.
Daniel glanced around the room. "Ummm... I'm not an expert, but doesn't the fact that we're here and our future selves aren't mean that we never make it back to our own time?"
"Hey stop being so pessimistic." Colonel O'Neill scowled at Daniel. "Carter will get us out of this." He turned to face Sam. "You will... get us outta this one, right, Carter?"
Sam tried to appear confident. "Yes, Sir... I hope so." It was all up to her and she knew it. I can do this. I got us into this and now I have to get us out.
General Hammond cleared his throat. "Doctor Fraiser, I want you to give SG-1 a full medical check up." He watched for her acknowledgment. Then focused on Sam. "Major, after you've been cleared, you will have full use of the facility. Please, everyone make yourselves at home... I'll have quarters setup for you all here on base." The General stood and asked for the Colonel to see him in his office after his check up.
Janet looked over the last of SG-1's medical exams. And as expected everyone had checked out. Their exams matched perfectly with the pre mission checks on file and she cleared them all.
Daniel caught everyone's attention as he stood up from the bio-bed and stretched out his back. "I'm gonna go look for the research on P3X-489. Maybe their gate had something to do with this and I'll find something there that could help shed some light."
Sam nodded her agreement and Teal'c offered to help Daniel with his research.
"Well, Doc, it's been fun as usual, but I gotta run along and meet with the General." He grinned at Sam and Janet. "You kids have fun," Jack said as he followed Daniel and Teal'c out the door.
Janet watched the Colonel as he made his exit. Yep. Jack O'Neill just as I remember him. She laughed to herself and looked back over to Sam where she sat on the bio-bed, still pre-occupied with how it worked. Janet had explained that they were a gift from the Tollen and that she didn't know how they worked, only that they did. And then there's you, Samantha Carter. You're just as I remember too. She smiled as she watched her friend trying to figure out the new technology.
"It must be generating some sort of EM field and interpreting the fluctuations bounced back through my body," Sam said as she faced Janet with a huge fascination. This place is amazing. "I can't believe the Tollen finally decided to share their technology with us."
Janet just smiled in return. I've really missed you Sam. She took a deep breath. "You know, I need to get back to my lab," Janet announced as she pointed behind herself toward the exit. "Would you like to go with me?" she asked hopefully. "I really think you'd find my research on the Nano Virus interesting." She really did think she'd be interested, but she also had to admit to herself that she wasn't ready to let Sam out of her sight just yet.
"I'd love to see your research," Sam stated as she moved off the bio-bed and toward Janet. "Lead the way," she motioned with her hand.
Janet's lab was just down the hall, but she traveled the distance carefully watching Sam as she appeared lost in her thoughts. Not surprising considering everything that's just happened. Just please don't let this be a dream. I don't think I could handle that.
As they turned the corner to stop at the doorway to Janet's lab, Sam came out of her musings as she realized Janet had said something, but she missed it. "I'm sorry, I guess I was in my own little world."
Janet's amusement was obvious. "I see that," she said with a smirk on her face. She glanced inside her lab toward the microscope as if to confirm that it was still there, then walked in beside it and took a seat on the stool.
Sam followed her inside, looking around and settling herself on a stool next to Janet. Her mind was just on overload since her arrival. Traveling forward in time was certainly a lot different than traveling backward in time. That she could handle. This? She wasn't so sure. "Janet?"
She wanted to know about Cassie, but was afraid that she might not like the answer. "H-How is Cassie doing?" Sam finally asked.
Janet absolutely glowed to Sam's utter relief. "Actually, Sam, I think you'd be really proud of her. She's off world right now but scheduled to be back day after tomorrow." Janet thought about how 'well' she had reacted to Sam's return and chuckled softly. "If you think I took seeing you for the first time in seven years badly, Cassie's probably going to scream she'll be so excited." Janet paused and gave Sam a serious look. "You know, she's never given up hope that she would find you someday."
"She's been looking for me all this time?" Sam whispered.
"Yes. When you disappeared... I'd never seen her so determined. She's a scientist now... like you, Sam. She always wanted to be so much like you. You don't know how happy she's going to be."
"Janet... I..." Sam found it difficult to breath. "I'm so sorry, I never meant to abandon you and Cassie. You have to believe that. I have to find a way to get back and set everything right again." Tears welled up in Sam's eyes. This is all my fault, how do I even begin to make up for this?
Janet reached out to her. "Honey, don't cry, you're here now. All that truly matters is that you're here now." She tried her best to be soothing for her friend. She's barely had time to deal with any of this and she blames herself to boot. How can I make you see that none of this was your fault?
Janet had moved closer and enveloped Sam in a strong embrace. She accepted the comfort Janet offered and sank completely into her warmth and caring. I have to get us back somehow, make everything right again. She held tighter as she felt Janet kiss the side of her face.
General Hammond sat at his desk and as much as he tried, found that he just wasn't getting much work done after everything that had happened. He looked up to see Colonel O'Neill standing at his doorway. "Come in, Colonel... have a seat." He motioned to the chair on the other side of his desk and cut straight to business. "I'm sure I don't have to tell you what this is about. But with the current situation we could really use a team like SG-1 right now. We depend heavily on the resources gained through our mining operations. And we can't afford to lose that planet."
Jack sat back in his chair, still trying to understand. "What exactly is going on out there, General?"
"Jack... if not for those resources, we would have been forced to abandon the Stargate program long ago. I'm not going to sugar coat things here Colonel... half the population of Earth has been lost to this plague. Doctor Fraiser and her team think they've made progress toward a vaccination. Which is great news. But the wars being fought all over the world are taking their toll. Technologies gained through the Stargate are our biggest hope now."
Jack took a moment to take it all in. Everything he knew was gone, wiped out in the time it took for him to walk through the stargate. "General... anything you need... SG-1 will be there."
"Thank you Colonel... why don't you take some time to get settled around the base again and we'll meet in the morning."
"Yes, Sir... that sounds like a good idea." Jack left the room feeling a huge weight on his shoulders. Carter, do what you do best, because I sure as hell don't want to end up stuck here.
Sam took a deep cleansing breath to compose herself. She had to stop blaming herself if she was ever going to find a way to fix everything. Of course, she had no way of knowing that in Janet's mind everything was already fixed just for the sole reason that she was back.
"So, tell me about this research you were anxious to show me," Sam asked as she sat back and looked around the lab.
"Right." Janet took a long look at Sam just to make sure she was okay first. She moved to look through her microscope then replaced the slide with a fresh one. She motioned for Sam to take a look. And as Sam was peering through the lens, Janet explained that she was looking at a sample of the Nano Virus. She introduced a solution to the slide and watched Sam's reaction.
"Janet, this is amazing." Sam stepped back from the microscope. "How did you come up with this?" Sam shined with pride for Janet.
"Actually Sam... you did." Janet's smile grew wide.
"Me? Well, I always knew I was good, but wow!" Sam chuckled as Janet playfully slapped her arm. "What??" She laughed.
"Something that you said to me once. You were in one of your nanotechnology is all the rage moods and you were going on and on... and on and on..." Janet giggled now as this time Sam was the one to playfully slap her arm. And she became thoughtful as her laughter faded. She hadn't realized how much she missed the way they had sometimes played.
Sam noticed the look cross over Janet's features as she seemed lost in thought. "You okay, Janet?"
"Who me?" Janet smiled. "Never better." The look on Sam's face told her that she wasn't buying it. You always see right through me, don't you? Janet took a deep breath. "I was just thinking how much I've missed you. And have I said lately how good it is to see you again?"
Sam gave her a sympathetic look, "I know, Janet." She smiled. "At least there's no regrets in that I always knew how much you care for me." I just wish you knew how much I care for you.
Janet's smile faded and her eyes widened as she stared off into space. It's now or never Janet, just say it. She nervously looked down at her own hands. "Actually, Sam..." Janet spoke softly and slowly, "I don't think you did... uhhh... do."
Sam's heart almost stopped beating as she closed her eyes for a long moment. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but she had to know. "What do you mean?" Sam whispered.
Janet couldn't believe she was actually doing this. She was actually about to tell Sam that she more than cared for her, that she had been in love with her, that she still was after all this time. She let out her breath, "You know after everything that I've been through... after everything that I've lost..." Janet looked up. "It still scares me half to death to think about telling you how I feel about you." Janet's heart raced.
Sam closed her eyes as her breath caught. "Janet..." She reached out to caress the side of her face. "Tell me," she gently whispered.
Spellbound by the emotion she felt through Sam's touch, she leaned into her caress. There was so much love conveyed in the small gesture and she knew this was right, but her heart continued to race nonetheless as she finally spoke, "I love you. I never had the courage to tell you. And then you were gone... and it was too late." She felt all her walls crumbling down. "Oh Sam... I'm in love with you."
Feeling Janet's words with all her heart, Sam closed her eyes and let her emotions wash over her with the realization of a dream come true. She's in love with me. She opened her eyes to see the tears fall from Janet's face and gently wiping them away, she pulled her into a hug, holding her so close. "I love you too, Janet."
Janet couldn't take it anymore and her tears fell more strongly than ever. "Why do we wait to tell the people we love how much we care for them??" she asked through her tears. "I thought I had lost you forever."
"Oh honey, I'm here now. That's all that truly matters, remember? Shhh... everything's going to be alright, I promise." She's so right, why do we always think we have all the time in the world?
They continued to hold each other for some time drawing as much warmth and comfort as they could.
Sam kissed Janet's forehead and gently pulled back from their embrace. Running her hand along the side of Janet's face she smiled at the love she saw in her eyes. Janet caught Sam's hand and brought it to her lips for a kiss. "I uh..." Janet sighed as she held Sam's hand to her cheek, "I guess we should get back to work?"
"I guess," Sam breathed. She pulled their hands to her own lips and kissed Janet's hand. Sam could feel her heart beating faster as she took in the look of longing on Janet's face. Sam's gaze was inevitably drawn to Janet's moistened lips. "Janet?" she whispered.
"Yes?" Janet's own voice barely a whisper in return.
Sam moistened her lips and took a deep calming breath trying to steady her nerves. She leaned in closer and asked, "Can I kiss you?" Sam's heart raced faster than ever.
Janet's breath caught as her feelings completely overwhelmed her senses. She reached her hand up to caress the side of Sam's neck, her thumb running the length of Sam's jaw line. "Please," she pleaded as she leaned in to meet her love's first kiss.
A kiss so soft and gentle. Sam pulled back and Janet's thumb trailed her lower lip as she was willingly drawn into another gentle kiss.
Janet kissed Sam's lips again and then the side of her mouth. Moving along her jaw line, she kissed the side of her face. Placing another kiss near her ear, Janet whispered, "Please tell me this isn't just another dream."
Sam was caught by Janet's warm breath in her ear. "I wish I knew," she admitted as she held Janet as close as she could.
Daniel and Teal'c were given access to the research they were looking for and came across some startling facts. They discovered that P3X-489 had been home to a civilization who called themselves the Amenti. A race of humanoids that escaped the destruction of their home planet by fleeing to this one.
Daniel glanced up to Teal'c, "It says here... that their original home world, Merrikh, had suffered during a catastrophic solar system wide event."
The text went on to explain that there were two inhabited planets in their home solar system. One called, Ard, where they believed life began and the other, Merrikh, where the Amenti had migrated.
The Amenti, having established a new home upon Merrikh, had went on to explore their neighboring planet, Sanjih. Sanjih was abundant with precious metals and minerals. And the Amenti set up a mining colony on the desolate planet after they discovered that the mineral could be used as an almost limitless power source. The materials derived from this planet fueled their exploration of space by providing for the construction materials as well as the power needed for interstellar travel.
"They must be talking about Naquada," Daniel said. "Their lifestyle thrived for hundreds of years this way, until a sudden and horrific series of explosions rang out in the night sky. The people looked up to see Sanjih breaking up and crumbling." Daniel paused, looking toward Teal'c, trying to imagine the chaos something like that would bring.
The digital ringing sound of the phone nearby reverberated throughout the room until Janet reluctantly pulled herself away from Sam to answer it. "Yes, Sir." Janet held the phone out toward Sam. "It's General Hammond."
Sam listened as the General asked if she knew of any reason why the gate wouldn't be able to lock back onto P3X-489 when it was able to lock onto other gates. "No, Sir, unless something's happened to their gate. Try accessing it from a different gate." General Hammond explained that they had already done just that. They had restationed personnel from other worlds to help fight off the attack there and they got through without any troubles. "Sir? See if they can dial us," she said and the call ended with the General saying that he would have them try that and get back to her.
Janet watched as Sam hung the phone back on it's wall cradle. "Problems with the gate?" she asked, having heard only half the conversation.
"Yeah, it must have something to do with our... circumstances." Sam thought aloud. "The General's going to get back to me." She walked over to where Janet was now sitting in front of her computer screen and looked over her shoulder to see what she was working on. "In the meantime, I want to hear more about your research."
"Okay... well, according to the medical journals that we've been able to translate, originally the virus resulted from exposure to the four strangers. But not in the sense that you would think. Take a look at these," she said as she pulled out her notebook and handed Sam a few photos. "The society was highly advanced and actively using nanotechnology. Of concern here was their medical application."
As Sam looked over the various photos, Janet went on to explain that the inhabitants used these nanobots to enhance their natural immune systems. "Apparently when the strangers... uhhh... SG-5 showed up, everyone was naturally curious to learn more about each other and they interacted." Janet paused and took a deep breath before she continued.
She relayed the story that about a month after the strangers arrived, they began to fall ill and eventually three of them died. They were isolated until the fourth member fully recovered and that's when the Amenti began falling ill. It was highly contagious and before they had a chance to stop it, it was too late.
"The nanobots had migrated into SG-5. The first of the team members to fall ill was the one that survived. The nanobots had reacted harshly to something in his system and out of fear, they isolated all four of them. But as the first began to recover, his teammates started suffering the same symptoms."
Janet further explained that the nanobots had overloaded their immune systems and basically shorted them out. The Amenti began falling ill and discovered that the nanobots had been altered by the first man. A feature of the nanobots was to communicate instructions with each other when one has learned of a new threat. This enabled all the nanobots of the small population to mutate rapidly and by the time they discovered it, the damage had been done and they didn't survive long enough to find a reversal.
"And the rest is history... or... whatever," Sam added with a pained smile.
"Yes." Janet sighed. "Now, a few weeks ago SG-7 came back from a mission with stories of a world that had conquered an epidemic consisting of the same symptoms. We were able to obtain blood samples and guess what we found?"
"Yes, but they were non-functioning nanobots."
Sam looked expectantly toward Janet waiting for the punch line.
"Take a look at this," Janet said as she handed her one of the reports from her file.
Sam looked it over, recognizing the document. "Janet? This is mine. I was working on this a few weeks ago, but I haven't had a chance to finish it." She scanned through her research paper on the nanobots they obtained from the android that had created the replicators.
"Actually... Cassie and I finished it for you." Janet laughed out loud at the look on Sam's face. Look at that, you didn't know we had it in us, did you?
"You and Cassie?" Sam couldn't have been more proud. She continued to scan the document, "Janet, this is great work."
"Well we had a great teacher, at least you know we actually listened to you now." Janet laughed.
"You know..." Sam paused. "I'm realizing now more and more how much I took you for granted. I wish things had been different," Sam said seriously.
"Me too. But everything's going to be different now. Better." Janet reached for Sam's hand and squeezed gently. In fact, things are more than better, they're amazingly wonderful! This pretty much is the best day of my life, Samantha Carter.
Not considering the fact that he might be interrupting anything, General Hammond walked purposefully into the Lab and caught sight of Sam and Janet holding hands. Not that it bothered him. He knew how much they cared for each other and it wouldn't seem unusual for them to be bonding again.
Upon seeing the General, Sam nervously pulled her hand away. Feeling the loss, Janet frowned, but tried to be understanding. She must be scared still. She hasn't had the past seven years that I have to come to terms with her feelings.
General Hammond cleared his throat. "Doctor, I wanted to check on the vaccine status." He knew he was interrupting something. But he chose to ignore the awkwardness.
"Oh... yes... actually General, I was just showing Sam how it works." Sam looked up at the mention of her name. "Another day of testing and it'll be ready for actual use." Janet looked hopeful.
"That's great news, Doctor. Let's hope this one works out. Let me know when it's ready." He paused and looked toward Sam. "Major, we're not having any success establishing a connection directly between Earth and P3X-489. Do you have any ideas?"
"Actually, I think it's possible it has something to do with our recent uhhh... time travel Sir." Sam cleared her throat, it all still seemed so unnerving for her. "I recommend that you keep trying to connect, but don't send anyone through unless you can confirm that there's no time differential."
"I'll inform the night watch to do that, Major. In the meantime Doctor, why don't you show Sam to her quarters, it's been a long day and I know you both could use the rest."
"Sir..." Janet was about to protest. The vaccine was so close to being ready now and she hated to leave, but looking toward Sam, there was nothing more she wanted to do than spend more time with her. "Of course, Sir... my team can handle things while I'm gone. And I am very tired now that you mention it," Janet conceded.
"Goodnight, Doctor... Major." General Hammond offered them both smiles and nods as he left the lab. Things were finally looking a lot brighter around the SGC.
"Well, I guess I'll show you to your quarters." She paused in thought. "Now if I only knew where they were!" She laughed and wished she had thought of that before the General left.
"Do you have quarters on base, Janet?" Sam broke into her thoughts.
"Yes, actually." Janet looked up, wondering if Sam was really about to suggest what she was hoping she would suggest.
"Can we just go there? I'm not really feeling like being alone right now anyway. I mean, you know... not that I'm trying to imply anything... or... you know... anything," Sam managed, feeling a little flustered.
"Sam... relax." Janet laughed a little, but was serious when she let Sam know that she didn't want to be alone either. But that she wasn't ready for anything more than sleep right now. The last thing she wanted to do was scare Sam away now that she had finally gotten her back.
Janet went on to suggest that they grab a bite to eat before they headed back for the night. With all the excitement they had neglected any kind of nutrition and her stomach was now loudly protesting.
Sam and Janet settled into easy conversation once they sat down to eat a light dinner. For Sam it was like getting to know Janet all over again. So much had happened. When she thought about it, she felt as though life had just passed her by. Everyone had been through so much. It was like going to sleep and waking up seven years later, to a completely different world.
Janet tried her best to fill Sam in on her and Cassie's life since she left. She knew that Sam would feel like she missed out and she wanted to make sure she touched on all the important parts trying to include Sam back into their lives. Maybe none of it was important if Sam could find a way back to her own time. But what if that never happens? They had to move on from here.
"Are you telling me that Cassie actually went out with this guy again after that??" Sam couldn't help but laugh at the stories Janet was telling her about their grown up daughter. It wasn't like they were actually funny stories, but it was helping to lighten her heart and make her feel more included.
"Yes! Can you believe it? He totally embarrassed her in front of all her friends with that silly song he made up. But she knew it came from the heart and who can argue with the heart?" Janet sighed, smiling across the table. I know I'm not going to argue with my heart any longer Samantha Carter. She reached out to take Sam's hand in her own.
They were lost in each other's eyes, until an airman walked by and Sam was pulled out of her thoughts with the motion, realizing that they weren't alone. She pulled her hand back, looking around the room, hoping she wasn't getting them in trouble.
"Janet, people can see us, I don't want to get you in trouble."
Janet laughed, "Oh Sam, you really are my hero." She continued to chuckle lightly. Her smile lighting up her face.
"Ummm... Janet... are you okay?" She couldn't help but laugh herself now.
"I'm more than okay." Janet smiled. "Remember that pesky 'don't ask, don't tell' thing?" Sam nodded. "Well no one cares about that anymore." She leaned in closer. "You think these guys can be petty enough to still adhere to that when every soldier counts and we don't have enough as it is?"
Sam thought about it. "I guess you have a point. Although I think that's going to take some getting used to."
Janet's exhaustion started getting the better of her as she yawned for the third time in as many minutes.
Sam reached across the table and laid her hand on Janet's. "Why don't we head back and get some sleep. I have a feeling tomorrow's going to be a long day."
Janet yawned again. "I think that's a great idea. I'm exhausted."
They walked back to Janet's quarters. Sam suddenly feeling nervous. While Janet was too tired and too happy to be nervous.
"This is me," Janet said as she stopped at her door. She entered her access code and let Sam walk in before her.
Sam quickly glanced around the room as she stepped out of the way to let Janet come inside. The room was small but comfortable feeling.
Janet went to her dresser and pulled out a pair of shorts and an oversized t-shirt. She looked back toward Sam who seemed to be rather nervous suddenly. "You can wear these to sleep in." She handed her clothes to Sam and showed her the door to the bathroom.
"Oh... Thanks, Janet." She allowed Janet to pile the clothing in her hands. She was feeling nervous thinking about the sleeping arrangements. The bed looked awfully small. She had always looked for excuses to be closer to Janet in the past, but it had always been safe because they were just friends. But now, after the kiss they shared, after finding out that Janet wanted her too, she was scared.
Sam had changed and quickly finished up in the bathroom, allowing Janet to have her turn. And she took the opportunity to look around, noticing all the personal photos around the room. She came across a large photo board on the wall next to one of the bookcases and she moved closer, seeing several pictures of her, Janet and Cassie. Jack, Teal'c and Daniel were scattered around as well. With a couple photos of her and Janet posing together for the camera.
Her breath caught when she came across a series of pictures of Janet and a young woman. She looked so different, yet she was unmistakable. She was staring at photos of Janet and Cassie, only a grown up version of Cassie. Her gaze then fell upon one small photo in the bookcase, Cassie's birthday. "'Happy Birthday, twenty one years old?'" Sam picked up the picture. "You were fourteen only a few months ago," she said aloud to herself.
Janet, walked back into the room, now dressed in shorts and a tank top. She found Sam sitting on the bed with one of her framed photos in hand. She seemed lost in the picture. Janet put her folded clothes away and sat down beside Sam, looking down at the picture she held. She recognized it from Cassie's birthday party. It was a photo of Janet and Cassie posing in front of her birthday cake. "That was taken a few months ago."
Sam shook herself back to the present, or future for that matter. "She's so grown up now."
"Yes, she is." Janet reached for the photo. "She'll be back soon and you can see for yourself what a handful she's become!" Janet laughed hoping to lighten the mood. She placed the picture beside the bed. "Until then, let's get some sleep." Janet barely said through a yawn which in turn made Sam yawn.
"You're right, I'm definitely ready for some sleep." Sam got up and looked around the room. She moved in the direction of the small sofa in the corner.
Janet smiled to herself watching how nervous Sam was behaving. She walked over and took hold of her hand leading her right back to the bed. "You really think I'm going to let you sleep on that thing when you could be cuddling with me in my perfectly small bed?" Janet chuckled as she pulled the sheets back for Sam and watched her slide under the covers.
"Who can argue with that?" Sam laid on her back looking up at Janet.
Janet just smiled as she turned off the light and slipped under the covers beside her. She settled in next to Sam on her side with her head snuggled into Sam's shoulder. She ran her hand across Sam's stomach, cuddling up as close as she could. Janet was so happy to have Sam back that she felt like she was in heaven. She turned her head and kissed Sam's shoulder mumbling, "G'night Sam." Her exhaustion finally catching up with her as she quickly fell asleep. The whole day feeling like a dream come true.
Sam held onto the hand that rested on her stomach. She brought her other hand up to play with Janet's hair. She knew she was already asleep. It's been an emotionally exhausting day, she thought to herself as she kissed Janet's forehead, then found herself falling fast asleep. A part of her hoped she would wake up to find that she had just been dreaming, but the other part of her couldn't be more happy to finally be able to hold Janet this way.
The next morning, Jack, Daniel and Teal'c all met up in the mess hall for breakfast. Daniel was anxious to share what he had learned about the Amentean civilization. But Jack told him to save it until they found out where Carter had gone off to. She wasn't in her assigned quarters and no one had seen her in the lab.
Jack sat his coffee mug down and looked around the tables in the room. "Has anyone else noticed anything a bit... interesting about the personnel around here?" he asked, nodding in the direction of two women holding hands at the far right table.
Daniel and Teal'c both looked in the direction Jack was indicating. "You have a problem with two women holding hands, Jack?" Daniel asked.
"Who me? Nope, no problem at all Danny boy. You just don't see that much back home," Jack answered.
Teal'c simply raised his eyebrows as he watched the smirk on O'Neill's face and the determined look on Daniel's.
"In case you haven't noticed, Jack... there are lots of things here that you just don't see much of back home." Daniel continued, "Have you taken a look at the news lately?"
Jack sighed, "I know, Danny. The world is in bad shape. But if we can find a way back home, then none of this has to happen." He pushed his chair back and stood. "Speaking of... I'm going to go look for Carter, we'll meet you two back in your library as soon I find her."
Sam slowly blinked her eyes open, the remnants of her dream quietly fading into the back of her mind. Suddenly realizing that she was waking up not to a dream, but reality, when she found herself snuggled closely to Janet's back, her arm draped around her side, she was holding onto Janet's hand. Letting go, she reached up and brushed Janet's hair back to kiss the side of her face. She stirred, but didn't wake up. She looks so comfortable and peaceful, Sam thought, and warm and inviting and yummy, and okay, I need to start this day already. She leaned over and kissed Janet again before slipping out of bed and finding her way into the shower.
Meanwhile, Janet was dreaming of her usual, Samantha Carter. They were walking hand in hand along the lake shore, just as happy as could be. Running and playing in the water's edge. They stopped to watch the sunset. It was their own little paradise. Sam held her from behind and Janet soaked up the warmth, content to stay there forever if she could. Sam kissed the side of her face, then again.
She struggled to hold on to the dream, feeling ultimate sorrow as she awoke, realizing she had only been dreaming, her heart breaking for another morning. But as sleep faded away, reality dawned on her as she heard the shower running and knew that Sam was still there and she realized what a dream life really was and that dreams do come true.
Janet lay in bed still feeling the warmth of Sam's arms around her all night. This is definitely heaven, I should have made a move all those years ago! She started giggling at the thought.
"For crying out loud, Carter... where the hell are you?" Jack was stalking the corridors in search of Sam. He had checked her new quarters, her old quarters, the lab, the infirmary, the gate room, all over everywhere and nothing! He was just about to give up when he decided to give the Doc's quarters a try.
As Jack stood in front of Janet's door about to knock, he couldn't help but overhear the sounds of giggling. Which immediately intrigued him. He didn't want to look like he was trying to listen in, but he wondered if the Doc, after all this time, had finally found a man.
He was debating with himself over whether or not he wanted to interrupt when he thought he heard Carter's voice.
"What's so funny?" Sam came out of the bathroom after having showered and dressed.
Janet turned to look up at Sam. "You," she said with a smirk.
"Me?" Sam pointed to herself and smiled.
"You're the one laying in bed laughing out loud for no reason."
"Oh, there's a reason." Janet raised her eyebrows and leered at Sam.
Caught in Janet's gaze, Sam slowly approached the bed. "Oh really?" She said with her own daring leer as she moved onto the bed, straddling her.
Janet felt her heart race as Sam moved on top of her. She swallowed hard, as she reached her hands up to rest on Sam's thighs. But Sam grabbed them and leaned over Janet to pin them to the bed above her head. She held them with one hand as she moved the other hand slowly down the length of Janet's arm.
Sam could feel Janet's breath quicken. Her soft touch gently traveled the surface of her bare skin. Janet closed her eyes as Sam barely touched the outer curve of her breast. "Sam...," she whispered.
"Yes?" Sam whispered back as she continued her exploration. Her own heart now racing. Janet's hard breathing was driving her for more as she let go of her hands and trailed her gentle caresses down her other arm.
Janet felt too weak to move her arms now that they were free. She hadn't been expecting anything like this, so soon especially, but now that it was happening, she wasn't of the mind to stop it.
Sam had only meant to tease Janet, but now she couldn't think beyond the sensations running through her body. The feeling of Janet beneath her was something she could only imagine until now and her hands became more brave as they moved under Janet's tank top, quickly finding the swell of her breasts and caressing them gently, moving her palms over her hardened nipples.
"Oh god, Sam," Janet breathed. She moved her hands down to capture the back of Sam's head as she felt her lean in for a kiss. She moaned into the kiss as it deepened, until Sam pulled back and began a maddening assault on her tender neck.
Sam couldn't stop herself from running her tongue along the side of Janet's neck and tasting her skin. They were both lost in their own lustful haze, mindful only of their need to touch and taste.
Completely lost in sensation, until the loud knock at the door immediately brought their actions to a crashing halt! They were suddenly brought back to reality as they heard the knock again.
"Come on Carter. I know you're in there," Jack called out impatiently. "Open up!" Jack wasn't sure he wanted to interrupt after what he had overheard. He had even started to walk away, but turned around when he thought of how much time he had wasted looking for Carter and now that he'd found her, he wasn't just going to walk away!
"Oh my god, it's the Colonel." Sam was breathless. She moved her hands out from underneath Janet's shirt as she attempted to get her breathing under control. "I... I'd better go," she said as she moved off the bed.
"Sam wait," Janet pleaded as she caught Sam's hand. She got out of bed and gave her a long hug, then pulled back and caught Sam's face with both hands and kissed her gently on the lips. "I'll see you later?" She asked hopefully.
"Absolutely." Sam smiled and kissed Janet one last time before she went to the door. She took a deep breath and looked back toward Janet, but she had already slipped into the bathroom. Sam sighed thinking she didn't want to leave, but she knew the Colonel wasn't a patient man and she opened the door to find him leaning against the door frame.
"'Bout time, Carter." He glanced into the room to find it empty, but with sounds coming from the shower room. "I've been looking everywhere for you. Come on." He started to walk down the hall. "Danny's found out some things he's dying to share."
Daniel explained the history he had uncovered about the inhabitants of P3X-489. "Now as you can imagine, the catastrophe resulting from the destruction of Sanjih forced the Amenti to abandon their home world in search of a new one. They used the gate on their world to relocate to a planet outside their solar system... P3X-489."
Jack spoke up. "This is all fine and dandy, Daniel. But what does it have to do with how we got here?"
"Just... " Daniel took a deep breath. Jack loved to push Daniel's buttons. "Give me a minute, and I'll get to that part."
Daniel further explained that the Amenti, having had only a few hours warning, began their evacuations in haste. Some tried to escape by ship, but the explosions had created some sort of gravimetric distortion and they were unable to fly. Severe seismic eruptions and the resultant meteor shower pulverized the surface of Merrikh. The only escape for the Amenti was the stargate.
"Now you can ask what this all has to do with how we got here, Jack." Daniel smiled and looked toward Sam.
"Of course," Sam said as the idea struck her. "The gravimetric distortion."
"Anyone wanna clue me in?" The Colonel said looking around the table.
Sam focused her attention on Jack. "Sir. The last time we traveled through time was because our wormhole trajectory took us straight through the path of a gravimetric distortion... the solar flare, Sir."
"But Major Carter, you told us yourself that our path did not take us anywhere near the Sun." Teal'c said as he raised his brow.
"That's right, Teal'c. But this has nothing to do with the Sun this time," Sam said. "No matter where they went, the Amenti would have been traveling directly through a very large gravimetric distortion. Now depending on the spin of the distortion, they would have either traveled forward or backward in time."
"Yes!" Daniel smiled. He knew Sam would get it. "According to my translations, the Amenti that made it through the gate found themselves forward in time."
"How far in time did they travel?" Jack finally asked.
"They didn't know exactly, but apparently when they stumbled through the gate they were confused to find the long abandoned remnants of an advanced civilization." Daniel paused looking around to his teammates. "They were able to determine that the civilization was the legacy of the first wave of people who had escaped their home world's destruction. But ultimately they had been wiped out by a plague."
Jack threw his pen down. "Boy, that world just keeps looking better and better. Tell me again why we wanted to go there??" Jack questioned as Sam felt the guilt well up inside her again.
"Actually, Jack. I think it may have been a city leftover from the Ancients." Daniel looked directly at the Colonel, daring him to say something sarcastic about that.
Jack looked taken aback. "Oh... well... Maybe things are starting to look up again." Jack replied somberly.
SG-1 joined General Hammond in the debriefing room early that same morning. Teal'c and Sam looking like the only ones who actually got any sleep the night before. Emotions were still running high after yesterday's events.
Having started the meeting, Daniel brought the General up to speed with what he had translated thus far, allowing for the fact that he still had more work to do. He felt that the answer was there. He just needed more time. The story the texts were painting was mind boggling, but there was something else, like he was missing something obvious.
Sam agreed that Daniel's continued research could yield the answer they were looking for. It had already shed light on the existence of a distortion in the space somewhere along their path. But so far that's all they had. And more facts were needed in order to formulate a plan on getting back home.
Sam looked back down to the report concerning the troubles between the gate on Earth and the gate on P3X-489. They seemed to be unable to establish a connection between the two gates since SG-1's arrival. She had been pondering the reason, when the General asked her to comment about it. "Sir, I'm still only guessing at this point. But the distortion must still be covering the path between us."
"Wouldn't the gate still be able to open?" General Hammond asked.
"Yes, unless the wormhole is traveling to a point in time when the gate's are unreachable."
"I see, Major," the General acknowledged. "Is there anyway to tell where exactly this distortion is located?"
"I would need more information, Sir," Sam responded. Okay, so it's not what anyone really wanted to hear, she could tell. But things were what they were. Maybe Daniel's research would reveal the information she needed. If she could map out the distortion and correlate it with their respective time displacements, she might be able to find a way back home. Of course there would always be risk involved, but why mention that now.
General Hammond continued the debriefing with a report on the ongoing attacks on P3X-489. He stated again how important the planet's resources had become to Earth. And that the Goa'uld attacks had become more persistent. The attacks had only come from the gate and therefore were minimal, but their contacts in the Tok'ra informed them that an attack ship may finally be nearing the planet. In that event, they probably wouldn't be able to hold them off. "Since the Tok'ra also benefit from the planet's resources, they've agreed to help us," the General said.
"Sir, what would you like us to do? Anything, just ask." O'Neill quickly interjected. He was anxious to do something besides sitting around the base thinking how much he wanted to get back home.
"Thank you, Colonel, I appreciate that. The Tok'ra are working on a plan and I'll let you know when I know." Hammond looked around the table. "Doctor Jackson... Major Carter... I know you're both anxious to continue your research. Let me know if you come up with anything else."
As everyone was dismissed from the meeting, Jack lingered behind. "Seriously, General... anything we can do, just ask," Jack practically pleaded.
"Jack, I'll let you know when I know," General Hammond responded as patiently as he could.
"Right, Sir." Jack watched as the General walked into his office and closed the door. Right, now what? He looked around the empty room, then for lack of having a plan, just started walking in the direction of his quarters.
The Doctor and her team of medical scientists were finally ready for actual human trials of their vaccine. Everything was looking extremely optimistic and there was no cause to expect anything other than a complete success.
The vaccine they were about to deliver was chemically driven to deactivate the nanobots responsible for overloading the immune system. They had previously sought to deactivate the nanobots through exposing them to a disruptive energy pulse, since they were electrically powered. Unfortunately, as it turns out, this remedy was only temporary and became only a treatment, when they discovered the nanobots had a self repairing mechanism that after time reawakened them to once again ravage the immune system.
While this new approach sought the same action, it's delivery differed in the fact that it was biological and by all the test results, seemingly permanent.
It was hoped that once the population was vaccinated with this otherwise harmless substance they could begin to get back to life a little more normal.
Janet had called the General to inform him that they were about to test the vaccine on the first patient and as expected he came quickly to view the results in person.
"Doctor?" General Hammond entered the infirmary. He found Janet at her patient's bedside, making preparations to monitor the results of the test.
"General. We're ready to administer the vaccine," Janet said as she picked up the syringe and looked at the General, awaiting his acknowledgement.
"By all means, please proceed Doctor," the General responded. He was anticipating the successful outcome of this test, for everything was about to change if it worked.
Janet injected her patient and stood back to watch the results on the bio-bed monitors. She also noted her patient's physical appearance, on edge to see any signs of improvement.
The room was quiet as the patient showed no signs at all that anything was happening. But that was a good thing, at least they knew the substance wasn't harmful.
Then at last, she heard it. A tone sounded on the machine. And Janet released the breath she was holding as she watched the readouts. The patient's temperature which had been on par with fever highs was dropping. In fact all of the vital signs were steadily returning to normal.
Before she dared to hope, Janet moved in to take a blood sample and quickly placed it under the microscope. The slide revealed as expected that the nanobots had slightly mutated before shutting down. She let out the breath she had been holding. "It worked! They're inactive!" She laughed out loud with excitement. "It worked!"
The whole room erupted with excited cheers and laughter.
"Congratulations, Doctor! Everyone, great work!" The General looked around the room, watching the scientists hugging each other with utter glee. By God, we actually did it. This thing is finally about to be over, isn't it?
Janet gave the surprised General a hug. "Yes! Thank you, Sir!" Janet was excited seeing her patient recovering so quickly from something that had previously been expected to eventually kill him.
"I'll uhhh... inform the President, in the meantime, please begin distribution procedures immediately." The General made his exit feeling a huge sense of relief.
Jack had been trying to enjoy a meal in the mess hall, when the announcement came over the PA system. Finally some good news. At least if we have to stay here, we won't have to worry about that damn virus. Suddenly losing his appetite, Jack pushed his chair back and stood, intent on finding Sam for an update on her progress.
After walking the corridors, Jack found Sam in her lab working calculations on the white board. The way she always likes to do, he thought. "Looks like your Doc there is a genuine hero, Carter."
"Sir?" Sam said as she turned and looked back at him blankly.
"The vaccine?" Jack questioned.
"What about it, Sir?"
Oh for crying out loud. "Carter... if you don't take some time to come up for air every once and again, life's just going to pass you by."
"Uhhh, yeah," Sam said with disbelief. The Colonel could really stick his foot in it sometimes.
"Okay, wrong thing to say under the circumstances... but you have to admit that you get a little caught up in that stuff sometimes." Jack indicated the equations that Sam had written all over the board.
She knew the Colonel didn't understand her or her work, but she enjoyed it, so she tried to ignore him. "What about the vaccine, Sir?"
"Oh, right. Well the Doc's new vaccine is going to cure the world. They just announced it over the PA system."
"That's great, Sir!" She smiled, thinking more about Janet's accomplishment than the fact that the world just gained a new lease on life. "I uh... I think I'll take a break and see if I can find her." Sam walked out the door leaving the Colonel to himself.
"You do that, Major," Jack said to the now empty room, thinking it might be best not to let her know he knew about her and Janet, at least not yet. He wondered how long they had been seeing each other. But it made sense that it had started before the jump. That's why they spent so much time together and why neither of them seemed to be seeing anyone, they were seeing each other!
He looked at the white board and shivered seeing all the nasty equations. Then suddenly noticing that everywhere he looked nasty lab equipment was staring him back in the face! "I gotta get outta here." Jack said aloud as he quickly left the lab and all it's geekiness behind him.
Sam found Janet in her office staring intently at her computer screen, seemingly oblivious to anything else. She knocked on the door to get her attention.
Looking up from her computer screen, Janet found Sam standing partially behind her door. "Hey Sam!" She smiled. "Come in!"
Sam stepped inside, shutting the door behind her. "So I hear that congratulations are in order??"
Janet sighed, "Thank you! It's been a long road and if not for SG-7 and your research, I think it would have been longer," Janet admitted.
"Still, great work Janet, I'm so proud of you," Sam said seriously. She caught the shy smile from Janet and responded with her own. "Uhhh... on my way here, I heard some of the officers talking about a party being planned for tonight with you as the guest of honor."
"Oh no... you know I hate to be the center of attention with things like that," Janet winced.
"Well, it's not like you save the world every day, Janet. Besides I have a feeling that you could use the break."
"I don't know Sam." Janet was hesitant. Besides her idea of a break was relaxing at home with absolutely nothing to do but lose herself in an epic romance novel. Not that she'd ever admit that to anyone.
"What, you want me to go alone?" Sam did her best to look pouty.
Janet laughed. "Okay, okay, but I'm only going so that you won't be alone." And because you just look so damn cute when you do that!
"Fair enough." Sam smirked. "I uh... Colonel O'Neill pointed out that I've been in my own little world all day. He thinks it's because I focus too much on my work."
"Sam you've always lost yourself in your work."
"Well..." Sam started.
"And that's one of the things I love about you." Janet finished seriously.
Sam was taken aback, realizing just now that Janet was the only one who ever really understood that part of her. "I... thanks, Janet. But I..." She rubbed the back of her neck. "I was in my own world all day, but it wasn't all about work." Sam looked back at the door making sure it was securely closed and no one was within earshot.
"I don't understand."
"I was thinking about what happened this morning," Sam slowly got the words out.
Oh God, she regrets it. "Sam? I don't have any regrets," Janet said with as much conviction as she could.
"Oh! No, that's not... I don't regret what happened this morning, Janet. In fact I didn't want to stop," Sam admitted as she remembered how they were so rudely interrupted. "That's what I've been thinking about all day." When she closed her eyes, she could still feel Janet beneath her.
Janet sighed. "Me too. I've been walking around with a smile all day. Everyone just thinks I'm happy about the vaccine, which of course I am," she laughed, "But you know, I'm just feeling like everything is finally going right with the world."
But for Sam, everything wasn't right with the world. She still needed to get back to her own time. But now she was feeling torn. Going back to her own time meant leaving Janet, but at the same time it meant returning to Janet, if that made any sense. She knew what she was feeling, but she was confused nonetheless.
Janet realized too late that her comment wasn't being fair to Sam. She knew she was still working on trying to get her and the rest of SG-1 back to their own time. But that meant leaving her and she didn't want to think about that right now. "So?? Someone mentioned something about a party?" Janet said, trying to bring Sam out of her thoughts.
Sam looked up. "Yes, the party. I think I heard 1900 hours at the General's house."
"Why don't we meet back here and I'll take you," Janet said.
"Right... what ever happened to my bike anyway? And all my stuff for that matter??" Sam finally realized all her things were probably long gone.
"Actually, Sam. I think you'll be quite happy to know that your motorcycle found it's way into my garage and it's been safe and sound waiting for you," Janet laughed at the look of relief on Sam's face. "Which by the look on your face, is probably all you really cared about." She continued to laugh as Sam shrugged her shoulders and smiled. Janet sobered up when she let Sam know that she had gone through her house and saved all her personal belongings. "I hope you don't mind, but I figured you'd want them back someday," she said hopefully.
"Of course I don't mind! Janet, thank you. That means so much to me that you cared enough to do that." Sam knew how hard that must have been for her. At least she knew how hard it would be for herself if the situations were reversed. I don't know what I would do if I ever lost you like that. Pain and guilt threatening to overtake her again.
Recognizing the sorrowful look crossing over Sam's face, Janet moved around her desk to sit beside her as she took hold of her hands. "You know I would do anything for you. It was hard of course, but it was also something that I needed to do. Not just for you, but for me as well." She paused to kiss Sam's hand. "I love you, Samantha Carter. I always have and I always will." God, it feels so good to finally be able to say that to you.
Sam couldn't stop the quiet tears that ran down her face. "I love you too, Janet. I love you so much. I just wish things had been different. It shouldn't have been like this," Sam managed through her tears as she sniffled. She hadn't meant to break down like this, but then who really ever does? It was just tearing her up inside to think of Janet in pain over her for all those years and to think of everything that she missed out on, the way things could have been for them so long ago.
Sam felt herself being pulled into Janet's embrace and she willingly followed her lead, wrapping her arms tightly around her. "Everything's going to be okay, Sam."
Back in Daniel's office, he had discovered that the Amenti leadership had sought to rule over the gate system. And that they had become powerful as they held control over the greatest source of Naquada in the known universe. Their people had always been peaceful and interested in universal prosperity, but the leaders among them became hungry for more.
The destruction of Sanjih was a direct result of this greed. Production had been doubled against the advisement of the mining engineers. And while doubts abated, production continued and underneath the surface, danger awaited the perfect time to strike.
Word spread quickly throughout the quadrant of conspiracy. The Amenti people unwittingly allowed their government to bring them closer to ultimate destruction. It was all just a matter of time.
And then it finally happened, they had gone too far and now they were left trying to flee their home world in search of a new one. No one knew exactly what happened to their leadership, but then, no one really cared after the consequences they were forced to live with.
Many of the people escaped in time to avoid the space-time distortion. Other's not so fortunate ended up on the same world, but thousands of years into the future. For a reason they could only conclude was the time differential, the gate remained active and would not shut down for years to come. Effectively isolating them from the rest of the gate system. However, when SG-5 arrived, it immediately powered down. They tried to dial out, but the gate remained unresponsive. And not too long after SG-5's arrival, the small population had become extinct.
A thought finally occurred to Daniel as he desperately tried to focus in on why this story sounded so familiar to him. He called up an internet web browser and quickly found what he was looking for. And he sat in amazement, staring at the computer screen. It all made sense now.
Hearing Sam's name paged over the PA system, Janet looked up and took a deep breath. "I guess you need to get going," Janet said, but made no attempt to loosen her hold on Sam.
She gave Janet a slight squeeze and swayed her gently in her arms. "I'll be back for my ride."
Janet chuckled and pulled back from their embrace. "I'll be here."
"I know," Sam said, then leaned in for a quick kiss before leaving.
Janet sighed as she watched the love of her life walk out the door. Oh, I'm so going to get you alone tonight, Samantha Carter! She turned back to face her desk and the stack of paperwork awaiting her. Saving the world sure did have it's drawbacks. Chuckling at the thought, she was eternally grateful for the break. Things couldn't be better as far as she was concerned.
Sam walked the hallways on autopilot. She couldn't stop thinking about Janet and the whole situation. She knew everyone wanted to get back to their own time, and she did too, didn't she? Well, she wasn't so sure anymore. Am I going to be able to leave Janet? Maybe I need to try to distance myself? Her logical mind was trying to take over. I don't know, Sam thought to herself as she walked into Daniel's office.
"Hey Daniel... so what's up?"
"Sam... good, you're here." Daniel gathered his notes from the chair beside him. "Please, have a seat."
Sam sat down, looking up toward Daniel, waiting to hear why she was summoned to his office.
"I uh... I wanted to ask your opinion on something," Daniel said as he looked for a place to put all his papers, finally deciding to stand as he put them on the chair that he had just vacated.
"Sure, Daniel... what do you need?" She found Daniel's enthusiasm amusing.
"Well... let's just say, given what we now know of the catastrophe in the Amenti's home solar system... what would you expect the end result to be?" Daniel questioned Sam, hoping she'd know where he was going.
"Uhhh... major chaos basically." Daniel urged Sam to expand. "And... well, we already know that the Amenti home world was hit by debris from Sanjih, which means they were relatively close to each other. And their neighboring planet was shielded from the debris by their planet."
"Well... from the history that you translated, I think it's a safe guess to say that the three planets were neighbors to each other with the Amenti in the middle. And with the destruction of Sanjih, the dynamics of the solar system would have changed drastically. Possibly including axel shifts or dramatic changes in climates. And being more directly influenced, the Amenti home world probably would have become a desolate wasteland with any discernable civilization being destroyed or buried."
"And... what would happen to the remains of Sanjih?"
"Well, depending on how big it was and it's natural orbit... and given enough time... it's possible that it would have formed an asteroid belt," Sam said as though she were thinking out loud.
"Right, that's what I thought." Daniel handed Sam a print out. "What do you make of that?"
She shrugged her shoulders and responded, "A diagram of our Solar System."
"Yes, but doesn't it look eerily like what you just described?" Daniel leaned in closer and pointed at the orbiting planets. "Earth... Ard. Mars... Merrikh. And oh look, an asteroid belt right where Sanjih was?"
Sam looked up in shock. "I uhhh... I don't know, Daniel." Sam took another look at the print out. "If you're right about this. Do you realize what this means?"
"Actually, I think it means a lot of things," Daniel said practically.
"Well, what it means for us is that I think I might have an idea of how to get us back to our own time. It's going to take some uhhh... time though."
"Sam, that's great news." Daniel was excited about the prospect of going home. But he wasn't sensing the same from Sam. "What? You don't seem excited."
"No, I am, of course I am, Daniel. It's an amazing discovery. But it's going to take some time, if my theory is even close, that is."
"How much time?" Daniel didn't know if he really wanted to know the answer.
"I'm not sure, Daniel... it's not going to be easy... and I still need time to work it all out." Sam stood lost in thought trying to absorb the new information. She walked toward the door and turned back just before she disappeared. "You going to the General's house tonight?"
"I was thinking about staying here and translating more of the historical records."
"Uh... Daniel, when I say it's going to take time. I mean, it's going to take... time. You might want to try settling in for a little bit. Get reacquainted with everyone." Having said that, Sam absently continued her trek back to her lab.
Daniel stared back at his now empty doorway, wondering what exactly Sam was trying to tell him. How much time exactly?
Sam finally made it back to her lab only to find her mind on overload as she stared blankly at her latest theory on the white board. Daniel's discovery however would now lead her in a completely new direction. If he was right, then she had a pretty good idea of where the distortion field lay. It was far fetched to think that she'd be able to map it out well enough to get them back home in the same vicinity of when they left. And if they didn't get back in time to stop the spread of the Nano Virus, then what did it really matter if they went back or not?
And did she really want to risk trying to go back in time when it might mean messing things up even more? Did they really have a right to mess around with the timeline like that?
Sam sat idle as she tried to think about what she was going to do. And before she knew it her watch alarm went off, alerting her that it was time for the party. Her thoughts were heavy as she made her way back to meet up with Janet.
Janet was in the process of cleaning up her desk and packing her briefcase, when she noticed Sam walk in. "Hey Sam... I'll be ready in just a minute."
"Hi... no rush." Sam looked around and grabbed a seat.
Janet partially closed the door to her office as she began changing into her street clothes. "It looks like life's about to change around here. The CDC says that their initial testing of our vaccine is promising and they expect to be able to begin distribution in the next couple days."
"That's great news."
"Yeah," Janet replied as she finished changing. She turned off the light in her office and walked out the door. "Ready to party?"
Sam didn't move as she stared at Janet. She had let her hair down and was dressed casually in jeans. She always seemed so different out of her lab coat. But she was beautiful any way you looked at her. "Uhhh... what? I mean, yeah... let's go." She stood and waited for Janet to lead the way.
They walked mostly in silence to the surface. This would be the first time Sam's been outside the mountain in seven years, relatively speaking anyway. She wasn't sure what to expect after everything she's been told. She thought she would notice a difference, but when they arrived at the surface, it looked just like she remembered. Still lost in her thoughts, Sam looked over the sky and the terrain, until they arrived at Janet's car and it was unlike anything she had ever seen. "Wow, Janet... this is your car?"
"You like it?" Janet smiled. She had forgotten the subtle changes seven years could make.
"Yeah, it's looks so futuristic," Sam said before she realized how silly that sounded.
"Right, I guess it would, huh?" Janet laughed.
"Uhhh, yeah. Well? Show me the inside!" Sam was of course always excited by new technological advances and she wanted to know everything about it. And it didn't hurt to have something to take her mind off things.
The short trip to the General's house was spent with Sam in awe over Janet's new car. It was completely electric. And outfitted with kinetic energy collectors that automatically recharged it's fuel cells. Sam was fascinated. Sure she'd seen far more interesting technology in her travels across the Universe, but this was down home Earth tech and she loved it. It was relatively new breakthrough technology. Very expensive, but obviously well worth it.
General Hammond's house was packed with Air Force and Marines alike, there to celebrate the end to the Nano Virus and to also welcome back the members of SG-1.
Of course, Sam had hoped to spend more time alone with Janet, but soon realized that it would be harder than she thought. Everyone seemed anxious to talk with the Doctor, as if to confirm that the plague was finally really meeting it's end. Sam didn't even know half of the personnel anymore, which it made it all the worse for her to keep up. She couldn't help but feel at least a little out of place. And try as she might, she couldn't help but feel completely behind the times with these people.
Janet had sensed the unease in Sam and made sure to introduce her to the people she didn't know, hoping to make her feel a little more included. Although she wished that they could just forget the party and spend more time getting reacquainted, alone.
Sam found herself stuck talking to a young Captain, out of the way, when she saw a tall, muscular soldier saunter up to Janet. Of course, she didn't at all appreciate the way he was leering at her.
"Captain, who's that with Janet?"
"Oh him? That's Chris... uhhh, Major Simmons." The Captain looked a little uneasy. "He's the team leader of SG-6."
Sam was trying to overhear what they were saying. It looked like the Major was flirting with her and she didn't like that one bit. "I'm sorry, what was that?" Sam asked the Captain.
"I was just asking if you wanted something to drink, ma'am."
"Oh... uhhh... no, but thank you. Actually... I think I need to talk to Janet for a little bit."
"Yeah... better hurry before Simmons works his charm," she mumbled resentfully.
Right, she doesn't even look remotely interested in anything he's saying. In fact it looks like she's a little uncomfortable. Sam purposefully walked up directly between the two. "Janet? Can I speak to you for a moment?"
"Sam... uhhh, yes, of course."
Sam turned to look Simmons in the eyes. "Excuse us."
"Sure... see you around Doc." Simmons waggled his eyebrows.
Sam took Janet's hand and lead her to the General's library for some privacy. "Sorry, but you looked like you could use some rescuing."
"Only to me. Besides, I don't know about you, but the only person I want to see for the rest of the evening, is you."
"Sam, that is so sweet." Janet felt herself blushing. "I've been going crazy not being able to talk to you. I feel like it's been a conspiracy all night to keep us apart."
Sam laughed. "You know how those military types are."
"Yeah, I do." She sighed. "Sam?"
"I think I'm ready to go home, how about you?" She said as she moved to snuggle softly inside Sam's arms.
"More than ready." She pulled her close and kissed the top of her head. "Let's slip out the back, or it'll take us another hour to get to the front door."
"Sounds like a plan."
"Come on," Sam said as she pulled back and took hold of Janet's hand. With Janet safely in tow, she cut a path through the crowd on their way out the back door. They'd have to sneak around to the side of the house, but at least they'd have the cover of night.
"Major?" A familiar voice rang out.
Sam stopped abruptly in her tracks at the sound of the Colonel's voice off to her side. A blink of an eye later and Janet was stumbling into her, trying to regain her balance at the suddenly unexpected stop. Instinctively she reached back to help steady her. "Uhhh... hi, Colonel," Sam said unnervingly.
"Leaving so soon?" The Colonel asked, finding Sam's nervousness amusing.
"Uh, yeah, Janet's really tired and she's my ride, so..." She winced as Janet slapped her back.
Janet stepped beside Sam. "Actually, Colonel, it has been a long day and I for one am exhausted." Janet yawned for effect.
Jack looked suspiciously between the two. Of course he knew that something was going on. But it doesn't hurt to make 'em squirm a little, now does it? He couldn't help the grin that was forming. "Well, Major... You heard the Doc, she's exhausted." He started to walk away, toward Daniel. "Make sure you tuck her in all nice and warm."
Sam, who had already started walking again, until she heard that last comment thrown their way, suddenly stopped and turned around just in time to catch Janet running into her again. She watched the Colonel walking away and could swear she heard him snickering. "Did he just say what I think he said?"
"I thought it was sweet myself." Janet looked up innocently.
Forgetting about the Colonel as she took in the look crossing over Janet's features, she couldn't help but laugh. "Right then. I guess I'll just have to do my best." Re-taking Janet's hand, she turned and started walking again, determined to actually make it to the car this time.
Janet's smile was giddy as she simply followed Samantha's lead. Thankfully, they were able to make it to the car without anyone else stopping them. Janet found her keys and held them out in invitation for Sam. "Would you like to drive?"
Sam's eyes grew wide, as she raised her eyebrows. "Are you kidding?" she asked rhetorically as she gazed at the keys dangling in front of her.
"Oh honey, you're drooling." Janet laughed as she pulled the keys back. "Maybe I'd better drive after all."
"No!... I mean... please? I would love to drive." Sam pleaded sweetly.
"Are you sure?" She glanced back to her car. "After all, you know what they say... 'Once you go electric, you can never go back.'"
"Janet?" Sam questioned with a sensual leer. "Do you know what I want most... right... this very... moment?" She stepped closer with each word until she was only centimeters away.
Janet swallowed hard with anticipation as she felt Sam's lips impossibly close to her own. "Tell me," she breathed.
Bringing her hands up to cup the side of Janet's face, she moved the short distance to taste her lips. "I want..." She kissed her again. "to..." Another kiss.
Janet leaned back against her car door as she felt Sam press her body fully against hers. They shared a deep and passionate kiss and Janet couldn't help the moan that escaped her throat, driving the kiss deeper before Sam pulled back slightly. "Anything... tell me," Janet breathlessly pleaded.
"Anything?" Sam asked mischievously.
Janet groaned, "You want to drive, don't you?"
Sam pulled back with a devilish grin on her face. "I thought you'd never ask," she said as she took the keys from Janet's hand.
"Oh!" Janet growled in frustration. "You know what they say about pay backs, Samantha," Janet warned as she moved to the other side of the car.
"I'm counting on it," she mumbled to herself, then moved into the driver's seat.
"What was that, sweetie?" Janet pulled the seat belt over her shoulder and lap, buckling herself in.
"Nothin honey." She smiled sweetly as she started the car's systems.
"What's the deal with those two anyway?" Daniel asked.
"Oh you know how girls are." Jack looked back in the direction he last saw Janet and Sam.
"Right," Daniel said dismissively as he focused his attention back up to the night sky. "Have you noticed anything different about the sky?"
Jack looked up to where Daniel seemed to be staring. "It's black?"
"Here." Daniel stood side by side with Jack. "Look at those stars..." Daniel extended his arm to point Jack's sight to the group of stars he had been observing. "Right there, do you see it?"
General Hammond, noticing Daniel's curiosity, looked up to the sky where he seemed to be pointing. "I see you've noticed our latest addition to the skies," he said as he joined them.
"Latest addition?" Daniel questioned.
"A gift from the Tollen," General Hammond responded.
"The Tollen, Sir?" Jack questioned. "So they finally decided to have a little faith in us, did they?" Jack's sarcasm shining through as always.
Daniel glanced at Jack, acknowledging his comment with a smirk. Well, you know, he did have a point. The Tollen always were so high and mighty when it came to denying their requests to share technology.
"Yes, Colonel, under the circumstances, they decided to have a little faith in us," Hammond placated him. "They're still very selective in what they share, but if you take a look around, who could blame them?"
"Right. So what is it that we're seeing in the sky?" Daniel asked.
"It's a semi cloaked space station in geosynchronus orbit above the SGC. It's accessible by a ring platform."
"How come Daniel can see it, if it's cloaked?"
"Actually, Jack, I'm technically only seeing the distortion in front of the stars."
"Exactly, Doctor Jackson."
"What is it for?" Daniel asked.
"We have several of them around the globe that are used for research as well as long range scanning and threat assessment."
"Expecting the Goa'uld?" Jack asked.
"There's more to fear these days than just the Goa'uld, Colonel."
Sam pulled the car into Janet's driveway, and placing the gear into park, she turned off the power systems. They each unbuckled their safety belts and opened their doors. Sam stood by the driver's door, waiting for Janet to join her on her side of the car, then handed over the keys.
They walked hand in hand up the front porch. Janet paused as she let go of Sam's hand to unlock the door then pushed it open. Walking inside she laid the keys on the small table near the door and glanced at the mail that had collected into a not so neat little pile. With all my bills being online, you'd think they would stop the paper madness already. She stepped aside to let Sam walk by, then shut and locked the door behind them. "I'll just be a minute, make yourself at home," Janet said as she disappeared into her bedroom.
Sam walked into the living room, quickly glancing around, noticing only subtle changes from the last time she was there. She found herself focusing in on the photos around the room, just as she did back at the base in Janet's personal quarters. And again she found herself to be among many of them. She had just sat down on the sofa and taken her shoes off when Janet came back into the room.
Janet found Sam sitting on the sofa facing the fireplace, when the idea came to her for a little over due snuggling by the fire. She walked over to the fireplace and quickly got the fire going, then sat down on the sofa next to Sam. Stretching out her legs, she kicked off her shoes. "Oh, it's good to be home," she sighed.
"How long have you been away?"
"It feels like weeks, but it's only been about five days." She snuggled up to Sam's side and rested her head on her shoulder.
Moving her arm around Janet to pull her in closer, she turned her head, kissing Janet's forehead. They both sat in comfortable silence watching the fire. This is nice. Just like I always imagined, only better. Sam turned to kiss Janet again. As she did, Janet snuggled in closer and closed her eyes. Yeah, way better. She sighed.
"Do you know how many times you and I sat in this living room late at night talking, and all I could really think about was holding you like this?" Janet finally admitted.
"Probably the same amount of times that I wished I could be brave enough to put my arms around you?" Sam responded. She moved her hand up to play with Janet's hair just as she had imagined doing all those times.
"God, Sam, tell me how foolish we were. We wasted so much time being afraid." She closed her eyes feeling Sam's fingers running through her hair. I love this. Thank you God, for bringing her back to me.
"Yeah, we did," Sam admitted. All it would have taken was for one of us to say something and take a chance. I know I came close a couple times, but I had always chickened out. If I had a chance to do things differently I would.
Janet yawned against Sam's shoulders. The recent days had left her with quite an accumulated lack of sleep and she couldn't hide her exhaustion. "Here, lay down," Sam said as she put her legs up on the foot rest. She grabbed one of the small throw pillows and laid it in her lap. Sam heard no arguments from Janet as she stretched out on the sofa and laid her head on the pillow, while she rested her right hand on her leg.
"You haven't been getting much sleep lately, have you?" Sam asked as she smoothed out Janet's hair and continued to run her fingers through it's length, loving the feel.
"Not really," she quietly responded. Although I don't think I'll be having any more troubles sleeping now that you're here. Your touch is so soothing. "This feels nice," she said as she watched her own hand lazily making little circles on Sam's leg.
Sam looked down, catching the look of bliss on Janet's face, her heart warming at the sight. How is it possible that someone could be this adorable? She continued lightly caressing her hair. She could tell that Janet was falling asleep and she was about to suggest that they move into the bedroom, but stopped herself thinking how comfortable Janet looked right where she lay.
The crackling of the fire logs drew Sam's attention as she gazed into their dancing flames. Feeling it's warmth, she recalled the times that Janet had mentioned. All those times that they had stayed up after Cassie went to bed. They sat right here talking and laughing, with genuine conversation. She simply loved the time they shared together, just the two of them talking late at night in front of the fire.
Feeling Janet shift a little in her lap, she noticed that she had fallen asleep, just as predicted, she smiled to herself. It has been a long couple of days, hasn't it? Sam leaned her head back and softly rested her hand on the side of Janet's face.
Her thoughts drifted back to earlier in the day and the meeting she had with Daniel. If he was right, and she knew he usually was, then they'd all be going home soon, back to their own time. They had to do it for Earth, she knew this. But could she really bring herself to leave Janet, especially now? She stared back into the fire trying to clear her thoughts. She was stalling, she didn't want to think beyond the here and now at the moment. She dropped her head down to tenderly look upon Janet once again before finally drifting asleep herself.
The Sun had just barely begun it's journey through the sky, when a hand firmly gripped the outside door knob, slowly twisting around until the door loosened it's hold on the frame and it gently creaked open. Soft foot falls entered the quiet home in the early morning and the door then latched firmly to the frame once again.
Two sleeping figures lay entwined upon the sofa visible from the front hallway. It was a scene so heart warming, a lone tear fell free from the visitor's face as she looked upon the scene with utter tenderness. "Just the way I remember you," she whispered.
Cassie had come through the stargate a couple hours before and found Jack waiting for her in the embarkation room. Of course she was in total shock and wasn't sure if she could believe what she was seeing. But what else could it be? She calmly walked up to him, said his name, screamed, then threw her arms around him. It was the happy reunion she always dreamed of. They found Daniel and Teal'c and after all the laughter and tears of joy, she hugged them all one last time before heading home in search of Sam and her mom.
And home is where she found them both, snuggled up to each other by the now barely smoldering fireplace. They looked so sweet together. She knew her mom must be in heaven. Janet never really said anything, but the way she talked about Sam, Cassie knew that she was in love with her. And from what she remembered, she knew Sam felt the same way.
The loss had been difficult for Janet and Cassie both. But for Cassie it was a driving force in her career with the SGC. She was determined to find out what happened to them. And she was always looking for clues. She learned everything she could about the Stargate as she poured over her studies. She really had a knack for the sciences. And she wanted to make Sam proud of her. She was just so sure that they'd find them all someday.
Cassie had sat down on the coffee table in front of them and had been quietly watching them sleep when Janet stirred and opened her eyes. "Mom?" she whispered and looked toward Sam with a hopefulness in her eyes.
"Oh Cassie," Janet said as she saw the tears begin to form. She sat up and reached out to touch Cassie's knee then smiled looking back at Sam. She was still asleep, bless her heart. Janet reached back to wake her. "Sam?" She gently shook her. "Sam, there's someone here to see you."
Slowly opening her eyes, Sam focused on Janet's voice calling out to her through her fading dreams. Yawning, she stretched her aching body, realizing that they had both fallen asleep on the sofa. "Hey, sweetie," she spoke softly.
Janet smiled sweetly. "Good morning." You're so cute waking up. Who am I kidding? You're so cute what ever you're doing. She giggled at the thought. "There's someone here to see you," she said and motioned toward Cassie.
Cassie observed the sweet and loving interaction between Sam and her mom, and she could barely contain her emotions when Sam had finally looked over to her. She watched as recognition finally dawned on her.
"Cassie??" Sam hadn't recognized her at first. She seemed so different from the pictures she had seen of her. And it probably didn't help that she was holding her hands to her mouth, practically covering half her face.
"It's me," Cassie said then glanced back to her mom. She reached out to touch her making sure she really was real.
"Oh my God," Sam giggled joyfully as she moved to stand up, watching Cassie do the same. "Look at you." She held her hands out and took hold of Cassie's. "You're as tall as me now... and you're all grown up." Sam smiled though she had tears forming in her eyes.
Cassie tried to smile, but couldn't stop the tears now streaming down her face, as she let go of Sam's hands and stepped forward, throwing her arms strongly around Sam's shoulders.
Sam held her daughter, determined to let her cry on her shoulder as long as she needed to. She was also still trying to absorb the fact that she wasn't a little girl anymore. If this all wasn't real before, seeing the age difference on Cassie really brought it home. Feeling Cassie's death grip on her loosening a little, she glanced over to Janet. "I thought you said there would be screaming?" She laughed as Cassie pulled back. Sam sniffled and tried to wipe the tears from her face. "I think I've had enough crying for a lifetime here." She laughed trying to lighten things up.
"I know what you mean," Janet said as she wiped her own tears and sniffled.
"Oh, I can scream too, if you really want," Cassie said with a snicker. She looked Sam over, making sure that she was really there and all in one piece. "I knew I'd see you again." She smiled. "I just knew it."
"I take it you ran into the guys on base?" She watched as Cassie nodded affirmative. "So you know what happened?"
"Time travel. That was one of my theories, but I had no way of proving it conclusively." Until now of course.
"Until now," Sam concluded with a smirk.
"Right, I was just thinking that. So how are you going to get back?"
Sam glanced toward Janet in hesitation. "I, uhhh... I'm not sure yet."
"I can help, you know. Daniel says that you have a theory?"
Janet looked down, suddenly losing her smile. Here's a subject she wasn't completely prepared for right at this moment. She just didn't want to think about Sam leaving again.
"I'm... yeah, it's still just a theory, I need to work it out in my head first." She glanced toward Janet, then off to the side not making any eye contact with Cassie.
Sensing something amiss here. Cassie looked between Sam and Janet, noticing how uncomfortable they both were seeming with the subject. "Right... well... let me know." She watched as Sam looked back to her. "It's just so good to see you, you know?"
"I second that," Janet agreed. "Why don't you two sit down and catch up while I take a much needed bath," she laughed. Janet reached out and briefly held Sam's hand, then moved to Cassie and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Welcome back home, sweetie."
Of course what young adult doesn't get embarrassed by their mom kissing them like babies in front of other people? "Thanks, mom." Cassie secretly liked the display of affection though. But she still tended to blush at the attention. She watched as Sam's smile grew wider and wider. She better not be laughing at me. She squinted, but smiled at the thought.
"Well, sit down and tell me what you've been up to around here."
"So much has happened, I'm not sure you'll believe half of it, Sam."
Sam shared a look with Janet as she watched her make her way around the sofas and down the hall. "Try me."
Colonel O'Neill once again found himself in General Hammond's office after having been called in for a private meeting. He patiently twiddled his thumbs as he waited for the General to finish his phone call and tried to at least appear as though he wasn't listening in on the conversation. But how could he help it? He should have had me wait outside if it was private.
General Hammond finally said his goodbyes and laid the receiver back upon it's cradle. "Sorry about that Colonel. The Pentagon needed an update."
"No worries, General." Jack nodded.
"Well, Colonel, as I'm sure you overheard we have a mission for you and the rest of SG-1. You're still our most experienced team and we could really use your help right now."
"Thank you, Sir. As I said before, anything we can do to help... it's what we do." Nope, that didn't sound to desperate for something to do. Jack cringed.
"The Tok'ra have a plan for P3X-489. They've managed to find out who's responsible for the constant attacks, a Goa'uld named Tothrak. He's the one that repaired the stargate and left to gather a force. He's obsessed with that planet's resources and the Tok'ra believe he'll stop at nothing to gain control. He's been slowly and quietly building an army for just that purpose." He took a deep breath before continuing. "Tothrak recently took control of a mother ship which had a Tok'ra operative aboard. Tothrak managed to sway most of it's crew to his side and he's about two days now from reaching the planet."
"Ah... well mystery solved then."
"Colonel?" Hammond questioned his meaning.
"Just that, you know... Carter was right about the Jaffa's symbiote." He shook his head. No surprise there, she's always right.
"Yes, Colonel, she was."
"So what is it that the Tok'ra need us to do, Sir?"
"Simply put, Colonel... destroy that ship with Tothrak aboard."
"Oh, is that all, Sir? No problem. When do we leave?"
"Maybe I exaggerated when I said 'simply'."
"Why did I know that?"
"Jack if Sam really is right, then we just may have a Goa'uld out there with knowledge of the SGC from it's host."
"Ah... right." That doesn't sound too good.
"He's had a seven year advantage on all of us, knowing everything his host knew." The General shook his head. "Now we know why we've seemed especially vulnerable."
"Well, we're all caught up now... and it's time to put an end to that."
"I agree, Colonel."
Sam and Janet sat side by side on the sofa, the photo album they had been sifting through momentarily forgotten as Janet finished telling her the background story to the latest series of photos. Sam absently played with Janet's hands, being pleasantly distracting to Janet's story telling, but she wasn't complaining.
As Janet's story progressed, Sam's touch became more and more distracting, causing her to forget what she was saying a couple times, until she finally gave up and leaned into Sam to kiss her soundly on the lips. Her fingers passing through Sam's golden strands and caressing her scalp. She gently sucked on her lower lip before licking her top lip, attempting to deepen the kiss. Sam moaned into her mouth as their tongues met.
Gently pushing Janet back into the cushions, Sam began her own exploration of Janet's neck. Apparently one of Janet's weak spots as it turns out. She licked and sucked at her pulse point.
"Oh God..." Janet wrapped her arms tighter around Sam, their bodies gently moving against each other. Sam moved her attention to the other side of her neck, her tongue running the length until she brought their lips together for another passionate kiss. Janet tried to come to her senses, knowing that Cassie would be back out soon. "Sam..." She tried to break the kiss.
"Yeah?" Sam pulled back only long enough to mumble the word. She started running her hand along her torso, kissing her neck again.
"Oh God..." Janet's breath caught as she struggled to form the next words. "We... we have to stop." She moaned as Sam nibbled on her earlobe. "Sam... Cassie... she'll be out soon." Her mind saying no, but her body shouting yes!
Sam barely registered the words until she heard Cassie's name and quickly sat up. "Cassie! Oh God, right... I uh... I'm sorry." Sam tried to apologize.
Both of them struggling to get their breathing under control. "I need a cold shower." They both announced at the same time as they moved to opposite ends of the sofa, then laughed out loud.
"C'mere." Sam motioned for Janet to slide closer and she wrapped her arms around her. "I love you," she whispered in her ear, then kissed it.
Janet tightened her hold. "I love you too," she sighed.
By the time Cassie walked back into the living room, she had found Sam and her Mom sitting beside each other with the old photo albums still out on the coffee table. The electronic album was now between them showcasing the newest photographs of their life without Sam. Determined to start making new memories with new photographs to go with them, Cassie quietly walked back out of the living room in search of her camera.
After sneaking a photo, Cassie announced her presence. "I just got off the phone with the guys... they're coming over in a couple hours for a barbeque." Cassie waited for their response hoping that it was okay. They're so adorable together, I wonder if they know that?
"That sounds like a great idea, sweetie." Janet squeezed Sam's hand.
"Yeah, I can't wait to see everyone together again." Cassie responded fondly.
Several hours later and everyone was saying their goodbyes by the front door. Janet had offered for the guys to stay the night, but before Daniel could accept, Jack was nudging him along and declining for all of them.
Of course, Sam and Janet weren't entirely clueless, they could tell he knew something he wasn't sharing. They just couldn't be a hundred percent sure that he knew about them being involved. If he knew, he seemed to be okay with it, so that was all the really mattered.
Cassie gave each of them a hug and a kiss before they all piled back into their borrowed car and headed back to the mountain complex.
Cassie waved goodbye as they drove off then turned around and leaned against the now closed door and sighed. "I don't remember Daniel being that cute and interesting."
"Ot oh." Sam and Janet looked at each other.
"What?" Cassie questioned as she pushed herself off the door and began walking toward the kitchen a little too dreamily.
She began stuffing the leftovers in air locked containers when Sam and Janet rejoined her. Still sporting a huge grin on her face.
"Daniel thinks I've grown into a beautiful young woman." She paused in thought. "Actually, he says that I'm a brilliant beautiful young woman."
"He's right about that." Janet smiled sweetly. Oh boy. What am I going to do with you? Daniel's a sweetheart, but he can be a little clueless sometimes.
"Look at that blush, would you?" Sam teased and all eyes were on Cassie's face, which just got redder and redder.
"Okay, okay," Cassie relented. "If you want to talk about who's blushing around here..." She raised her eyebrows and pointed her finger between the two of them, indicating that she knew something was going on. "That's fine by me." She stated with a challenging grin and laughed as she saw the wide eyed looks on their faces. "That's what I thought." She turned around to place the food into the fridge for safe keeping.
"Cassie... we... I uh... "
With Janet seemingly unable to form a complete sentence, Sam decided to cut in. "Cassie?" She cleared her throat. "You know... something?"
She turned back around, seeing a little bit of panic on both their faces. "Oh God, it's okay... I thought you knew that I knew." She reached out to her Mom, then Sam. "I knew even as a little girl, that's why Mom had such a hard time when you disappeared."
"Oh." Janet still looking anywhere but at her daughter.
"But Cass... your Mom and I weren't... uh... we haven't... I mean, this is a new development." Sam finally concluded while pointing between Janet and herself.
"Sam, it's okay... really."
"For real," Sam tried to sound convincing.
"It all makes sense now. You thought I had lost my lover, not just my friend?" Janet asked.
"You must have sensed our feelings," Janet said toward Cassie, while reaching out to take hold of Sam's hand. "The feelings that the two of us were too blind to see in each other at the time."
"I guess if we had seen what you saw, things would have been completely different." Sam regretted that it took all this happening for them to finally see how much they cared for each other. It shouldn't have had to happen like this. But it did, deal with it. Right, deal with it. I'm dealing with it. By stalling for time, coming up with excuses of why you can't go back yet and maybe why you never can? But how can I leave her when we just found each other?
"I'm sorry, what?" Sam was pulled out of her thoughts by both Cassie and Janet. Seeing the look on their faces, she smiled impishly. "Sorry, I was sorta lost in my thoughts."
"Well, I think it's well passed my bedtime, so I'm outta here." Cassie announced, sensing that they needed some time alone. "Night, Mom," Cassie said as she gave her mom a hug and kiss. Then she turned to Sam with the same gesture allowing the hug to last a little longer. "Night, Sam." She started walking toward her bedroom. "You two behave yourselves," she said as she smiled and glanced over her shoulders.
They heard Cassie giggling on her way out of the kitchen. "Alrighty then." Sam moved into the living room as Janet followed right behind her.
"Sam, is there something on your mind?" Janet asked with concern as she took a seat next to her on the sofa.
"Nah, just thinking about... stuff."
"What kind of stuff?"
"Just you know... everything?" She looked a little uncertain.
"Maybe it would help if you talked to me about it?"
"I don't know Janet."
"Sam, if you can't talk to me, then who can you talk to?"
Sam sighed heavily as she leaned back into the soft cushions of the sofa. "I just..." she paused in thought, taking a deep breath. "You know the guys are expecting me to find us a way back home, right?" She watched as Janet nodded her head. "Well, I'm just not entirely thinking that I want to go back really." She turned toward Janet and took her hand. "I mean, every day that I'm here, the more time I spend with you... Janet, this is feeling more like my home now. And I'm not sure that I want to leave it, and you."
"I have to admit that I've been having a hard time with that thought too."
"But if I go back then none of the past seven years would have had to happen to you." Sam took a deep breath before continuing. "I hate that you've been hurting all this time."
"Oh honey, who's to say what should have happened and would have happened? All we know is what's happening now. And I don't want you to leave either. I know it's selfish, but I'm happier now than I've ever been in my whole life."
Cassie quietly closed the door to her bedroom and sat down on her bed. She's not going back to her own time. She wanted to be happy with that realization and, of course, she wanted her to stay, they were all going to rebuild their lives together. A huge part of her was happy about that, but the other part of her, that couldn't ignore the bigger picture, wasn't so sure it was the right thing.
Having not been able to sleep much the night before, Cassie slipped out of her bed early, quickly getting herself ready to go into the SGC. She remembered what Daniel had told her last night about a gravimetric distortion field possibly located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and she wanted to check it out.
Three hours later and Cassie was walking into the transport room on her way back to the SGC from the observation space station where she had not only confirmed the existence of the distortion field right where Daniel had predicted it would be, but was now also armed with the knowledge of how to send SG-1 back in time to the exact day that they had disappeared. She had made the difficult decision that Sam couldn't. It was, she figured, a little easier for her though, knowing everything that was at stake. Having lived through the last seven years, a life she never truly felt she belonged to. This was the only way to set things right again, she convinced herself, then activated the ring platform, returning to the base.
"Cassie?" Janet called out.
"Oh... hey Mom." Cassie had been on her way to her office, intent on getting some work done, but also distracted, thinking and wondering if anything mattered from this point forward or not, since as soon as she sent SG-1 back to their own time her's would cease to exist.
"Hey sweetie... we missed you back at the house." She caught up to her daughter, while they continued to walk down the corridor. "Sam made breakfast and everything."
"And you're still alive?" Cassie raised her eyebrows in question and they both laughed out loud.
"It wasn't that bad... Miss 'Hey, I'm an Alien, I'm not supposed to know how to make toast.'"
Cassie groaned and threw up her hands, mumbling, "Are you ever going to let me forget that?"
"Nah, it's too precious to let you forget." Janet giggled. "So what were you doing at the orbital station?"
"Uhhh... who said anything about the orbital station?" Cassie asked cautiously as she slowed her walk.
"Me, just now." She looked her over, noting her nervous reaction. I wonder what's going on. "I saw you walking out of the transport room is all... just wondering."
"Oh, right. Uhhh, nothing, just checking on some things." She suddenly turned and touched Janet's arm lightly, stopping them both in the hallway. "Mom? You and Sam... you're really happy right now, aren't you?" Seeing the smile on her Mom's face answered the question for her. "Right, of course you are."
"Yeah, it's amazing."
"So you don't think SG-1 should go back then?"
"I uh... I don't think I can answer that... not really. I... I just don't think I could stand to lose her again, you know?"
"But you wouldn't have to, she'd go back in time and none of this would have even occurred. It would be like she never left us."
"Oh sweetie, I know and that's a wonderful thought, it really is, but I just don't know the answers... I just know how I feel... right now... and I'm happy."
"SG-1 is going on a dangerous mission tomorrow, did you know that? What if Sam doesn't come back?"
"Cassie, don't... don't do this."
"Mom, I just don't want to see you and me hurting again. I want her to go back in time and none of this horrible fighting over P3X-489 has to take place. The Nano Virus never has to happen and I don't have to live my life the past seven years without her and neither do you!" Cassie broke down in tears as she realized just how much Sam's disappearance had affected her life all these years, even though she had tried not to show it.
"Oh honey... you were always so brave." Janet held her daughter tight, comforting her as best she could, while letting her cry inside her arms.
SG-1 had spent the day on base going over their mission plan for the next day. They were scheduled to gate out to P3X-489 in the morning to begin setting up for the attack that they knew would be coming later in the day.
At the request of General Hammond, they were run through training exercises and spent much of their time with a weapons specialist getting them up to speed with the latest armaments they would be using on their mission.
After the long day of training, Sam was happy to be soaking in the locker room Jacuzzi, relaxing her aching muscles finally. She thought back to earlier in the day when she had to field questions from Daniel and the Colonel about her progress on coming up with a way for sending them back home. After confusing them a little with an utterly sci-fi answer about why it would take more time, she further distracted them by teasing Daniel about Cassie's crush on him. And it was well worth it seeing the clueless look on his face, then the Colonel's hazing of him over it. It was all in good fun, she thought as she giggled over the images in her mind.
Okay, time to get outta here before I prune! Now that'd be attractive, not. Sam reluctantly stood up, grabbing her towel in the process and began drying off while heading for her locker. She quickly finished getting dressed and ready for her dinner date with Janet, hoping she wasn't too late.
"So, you know... I didn't know. You know I'd never... you know. I mean, she's like my niece. And I had no intention..."
"Daniel... whoa... it's okay, don't worry about it."
"But Sam said... and Jack gave me such a hard time. I just thought that you... you know... might be upset. And I guess you're not... so ummm... I... I'm just gonna go now." Daniel pointed behind him toward the partially closed door.
Janet just smiled and watched as he backed himself into a giggling Sam, which seemed to embarrass him even more.
Finally seeing the humor in their eyes, he knew they were only playing with him. "Right... very funny you two," Daniel said as he stood listening to the both of them cracking up over the whole thing. "Right, just keep laughing... ha ha."
Being the first to recover from her fit of laughter, Sam took a deep breath and cleared her throat. "Hey, we're just having fun with ya... but Cassie's dreamy eyed look over you was too sweet not to share." Sam patted him on the shoulder. "We didn't mean anything by it... you forgive us?"
Daniel looked at them both suspiciously as they gave him their best impressions of sweet and innocent. "Yeah, alright, but you owe me one," he said as he walked out the door, passing a still slightly giddy Sam.
"He's such a sweetheart," Janet said with her fingers against her lips. Her face still flush from laughter.
"Yeah, he is, isn't he?" Sam smiled. "Are you ready for dinner?"
"Yes, I'm starved." Janet stood from her chair and grabbed for her jacket. "Let's get outta here."
The Sun had already set well before they began their trip back home after dinner. The conversation along the way was light, as both Sam and Janet had other things on their mind. Janet played with Sam's hand and fingers. Sam, with her other hand firmly gripped on the steering wheel, trying not to be too distracted. She found Janet's touch soothing, but she couldn't wait until they were home again and didn't have to concentrate so much on driving.
Sam finally pulled the car into the driveway. She kissed Janet hand, then let go in order to place the gear in park and remove the key to the power systems. Janet waited until Sam started to open her door to do the same and they exited the car at the same time.
"Wow." Sam stood near her door waiting for Janet to come around, and couldn't help but notice the sky and all it's millions of stars. "The stars are beautiful tonight." Gazing up at the full moon, she felt Janet tuck herself inside her arms and she gently pulled her in closer. "Look at that moon."
Janet looked up to see the moon looking awesome and bright close to the horizon. "It's beautiful." She smiled as an idea formed in her head. "I still have your telescope here, why don't you set it up in the backyard, there's something I bet you'd love to see."
Sam raised her eyebrows. "I can tell you a few things that I'd love to see right now," she said suggestively.
"Samantha Carter." Janet gasped and slapped her arm playfully.
"What?" She giggled as she followed Janet to the front door.
Closing the door behind them, Janet retrieved the telescope kit and presented it to Sam.
Sam smiled and took the kit, moving to the backyard to set the telescope up on the deck. As she finished adjusting the length of the stand, she heard the sliding glass door open and close. Janet moved toward her with a thick, soft blanket in hand which she laid onto the swing bench. "All set?"
"Yeah, I was just about to check out the Moon."
"Oh... you're gonna love what you see there."
"Really?" She bent down to look through the lens as she pointed the view toward the Moon. "It looks like the same old Moon to me... beautiful though, of course."
"Here let me see," Janet requested as she moved in to take control. Looking through the eye piece she guided its view to one particular spot on the lower left and focused in. "There... take a look now." Janet smiled and moved aside for Sam.
She didn't have to wonder for long about what Janet seemed so enthused about as she immediately took in the sight of a massive structure on the Moon's surface. She almost didn't believe her eyes, but this was a definite man made structure. She looked at Janet, then back into the lens. "Janet? Holly Hanna, is that a moon base I'm seeing??"
She laughed. "Yes, it is." I knew you'd love it. "It's actually still under construction as an international endeavor."
"This is amazing." She let out her breath. "Wow."
Janet picked up the blanket and sat down on the bench, then covered herself to fend off the cold night air. "You know if you think about it, everything just seems to bring us all back to P3X-489. It's the only reason we have the resources for a base on the Moon. Everything... the good and the bad... leads us right back to that planet."
"It sure does seem that way." Sam walked over to stand beside Janet and paused as she lifted the blanket making room for her under it's warmth. "It's brought us together here and now."
"Do you believe in destiny, Sam?"
Sam paused in thought. "I don't know. I think that there are choices and consequences. If you think about it that way... there's an infinite number of destiny's."
"So in your opinion, it simply comes down to the choices that you make?"
"Basically, yes." She continued to stare out over the night sky. "You have the power to change your destiny based on the choices that you make, the only thing to realize is that you change everyone's destiny, not just your own... sometimes it's subtle, but sometimes it's profound."
"You've had a profound effect on me, Sam," Janet said as she snuggled closer and tucked her head into Sam's neck.
"I can say the very same thing about you." Sam kissed the top of her head.
Janet looked up and caught the side of Sam's face. "I love you," she whispered, then kissed her lips.
Pulling back slightly, Sam whispered, "I love you too." Then leaned in for another kiss.
Beginning as a gentle exploration of lips, then tongues, the kiss quickly grew passionate and their internal fire grew hotter as hands joined in with caresses. Janet moaned as Sam's hand had wandered under the front of her shirt and she sat back, taking hold of that hand as she stood. "Come on... I'm taking you to bed early so you won't fall asleep on me again," she said breathlessly.
Sam stood up, following her lead. "Me? You're the one who keeps falling asleep on me!" She watched as Janet shrugged her shoulders with a smile and continued to pull her inside and into their bedroom, shutting the door, leaving the outside world behind them.
The morning light gently shined through the window, casting shadows in the bedroom as Sam silently looked upon the woman laying beside her. She gently touched her face with reverence. Thoughts of the night before still filled her mind and her heart. Last night was the most perfect night of my life. I so don't want to leave this, she thought to herself.
"Morning," Janet said as she slowly opened her eyes and stretched her arms.
"Morning, sweetheart." Sam leaned over and kissed the side her face, causing a bright smile to form upon Janet's features.
Noticing that Sam was already dressed, Janet looked over to the clock on the bedside table and realized that she only had another few moments with her before she had to leave for the base. She didn't want to think about the fact that she was then headed on a dangerous mission. This is what she does, she'll be okay. She tried to convince herself that Sam wasn't going to disappear again. "Why does it have to be morning already?"
"Because the Sun is shining through the curtains."
"Oh, is that why?"
"Yep," Sam answered then shared a silly laugh with Janet. She reached out, gently brushing a stray strand of hair behind Janet's ear. She took a deep breath. "I should get going, but I don't want to leave," Sam quietly admitted.
"Yeah, I can just hear the Colonel on that one, 'Tell me again why you're late, Carter.'"
"Well we can't have that, can we?" Sam joked as she started to get out of bed, but was stopped by the arms that had snaked around her waist.
"Don't go," Janet said as she held Sam from behind. "I mean... a few more minutes?" She kissed the back of her neck. "Please," she softly pleaded.
Oh, God, for the way she says that word. "Okay, but you're explaining it to the Colonel."
"Gladly." Janet squeezed her tighter and kissed her ear, before whispering, "I love you, Samantha. I couldn't be more happy than I am right now."
"What about last night?" Sam smiled.
"Oh last night was perfect," she purred into Sam's ear and she could feel her gasp as her hands moved a little higher.
"That's uhhh..." she cleared her throat. "That's just what I was thinking when I woke up." She turned her face toward Janet about to protest that she was already late, when she was suddenly caught in a passionate kiss, unable to deny it.
The kiss lasted a few moments before Janet pulled back, breathing heavily. "Oh God, you'd better go now, before I can't stop."
Sam was about to dive back in for more of those sweet kisses, when her practical side took over as she heard the hourly chime of her watch and groaned with agony. She started to get up, while leaning in to kiss Janet a couple more times before deepening it, only to pull back again. "I miss you already," she complained, caressing the side of her face.
"Just come back to me. I'll always be here, waiting for you." They kissed once more before Sam reluctantly pulled away.
"I'll always come back to you. I love you, Janet." She reached out to caress the side of her face, then leaned in to kiss her one last time, before she turned toward the door, willing herself not to turn back, knowing if she did she'd never get to the base that morning.
Janet laid back down on the bed as she heard the front door open and close. Knowing that Sam was on her way to the base, she sighed holding her hand over her heart as she sent a silent prayer for God to watch over her.
It was time for SG-1 to gate out. Time for them to go home, Cassie thought as she stood outside the briefing room waiting to say goodbye to Sam.
"Heya, Cassie," Jack acknowledged her presence as he headed the team on their way to the embarkation room below. "We'll see ya soon, kiddo."
"Goodbye, Jack. Good luck." She watched as they each followed in turn behind him, she acknowledged Daniel with a cute smile to her lips. Take care of yourself Daniel, I'll catch up with you in another lifetime. "Goodbye Teal'c." She watched him bow his head in acknowledgement, and then there was Sam. "Sam?" Cassie impulsively grabbed her hand and lead her out of the way.
"Hey Cassie." Sam allowed herself to be pulled off to the side. Concern filled her heart as she caught sight of the deep sorrow upon Cassie's features. "Hey, are you alright?" she asked, but before she received her answer, she was enveloped within the strong arms of her daughter.
Cassie knew that she was doing the right thing. She only hoped that Sam could forgive her someday. "I love you."
"I love you too, sweetie. We'll be back before you know it." Sam kissed the side of her face, then started to pull back, but Cassie wasn't letting go. She could sense the unease in her daughter, realization finally sinking in that the last time they jumped, they went missing for seven years. She leaned back into the hug and waited for Cassie to let go. "Everything will be okay," she whispered.
Yes, it will. It has to be. Cassie finally let go as Sam kissed the side of her face again, for the last time. "I've missed you so much these last seven years, Sam... you have no idea." She glanced at the gate below and found the rest of SG-1 looking up toward them. "You have a safe journey and I'll see you again."
"You will, Cassie... we'll be back, don't worry." Sam gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze then touched the side of her face before making her way down to the gate room.
Cassie watched from her console as Samantha joined her team next to the gate. She glanced at the clock that told her it was time and she began the dialing sequence.
The team rechecked their gear quickly as they waited for the gate to open. They expected to be greeted by friendly's on the other side, but they prepared for the worse case in any event.
"Chevron seven, locked." Cassie's voice rang out over the speakers just before the gate opened. And Sam looked back up to the control room to find Cassie, wanting to give her a reassuring smile before she left.
Cassie watched Sam turn around to face her and smile, but she just couldn't smile back. "Please, forgive me," she whispered toward her and laid her hand on the glass window between them.
Sam put her hand up in a similar gesture and whispered, "I love you." Then turned around to begin her walk up the ramp directly behind the other members of her team.
On the other side, Sam came stumbling through, running into Daniel again. Geez what is it lately with this gate, it's never this bumpy. Daniel helped her regain her footing, then pointed for her to look up. And all the color drained from her face in an instant. "No..." No. God, no. She looked back to the gate as if compelled to run back through it. And just as it shut down, she fell to her knees. She knew exactly what had happened even though the rest of her teammates seemed clueless.
Daniel kneeled beside Sam, offering his support, while still looking ahead.
"Colonel, what's the situation?" General Hammond said as he walked into the gate room. "Was there a problem?"
"Uh, yeah... ya think?" Jack mumbled to himself as he looked around.
"General Hammond, we were on our way to P3X-489 to aid in battle... yet we ended up back at the SGC." Teal'c looked around the room. "Again."
"Battle? Again? Teal'c, what are you talking about?" General Hammond questioned.
Daniel started to clue in. "Oh General?" Daniel waited for his attention. "What uh..." He cleared his throat. "What year is it?" He questioned a little hesitantly.
"What do you mean, what year is it? What exactly happened to you all on that planet?"
"General," Daniel spoke firmly out of impatience. "The date? Please... we really need to know."
General Hammond looked back up to the control room as Lieutenant Simmons shrugged his shoulders. "Two thousand two," he stated.
"Yes! Thank God!" Jack surprised the General by hugging him soundly before hollering another cheer, eternally grateful for being back home.
"What on Earth is going on?" Hammond questioned at everyone's strange behavior.
"General, we... oh boy..." Daniel took a deep breath. He was just as excited to be back home. "Have we got a story to tell you."
"There's no time like the present." Hammond responded.
"You got that right!" Jack almost shouted.
"Right," Hammond responded hesitantly, eyeing Jack as though he were just a wee bit short of a full deck. He'd had enough of all this fooling around and it was time for some straight answers. "Debriefing room, people." He motioned for them to start heading toward the stairs. "Let's go."
Daniel glanced down toward Sam. Still holding onto her, he pulled her up. "Come on..." He kept a hold of her all the way to the debriefing room, making sure she'd be okay.
Janet slowly closed the door to Cassie's room after checking in on her and wishing her sweet dreams for the night. Leaning against the door frame she thought back to earlier in the day. She kept seeing the look on Cassie's face when she told her that Sam wasn't going to make it after all. She tried to hide her disappointment, not wanting to appear hurt. But she's just a kid and a mother knows.
I should have a talk with Sam. We need to figure something out here. Janet had tried to cheer her daughter up by breaking out her video tape collection and announcing a "Xena: Warrior Princess" marathon. Cassie was always happy watching the duo fight for the greater good. The heroics of the show reminded her of the way Sam and SG-1 fought to help people during their travels through the Universe.
Janet made movie popcorn, they changed into their PJ's and the marathon began. But after only one episode, Cassie declared that she was tired and just wanted to go to bed early. Janet reluctantly let her go. Disappointed that she couldn't cheer her up, but understanding.
Looking toward her room, Janet moved to retrieve her latest novel from the nightstand. She'd decided to relax for the rest of the evening reading in the living room by a warm cozy fire. That was the best way to spend rainy nights. Well, it would have been better to spend it cuddling with Sam by the fire. She giggled. Actually, cuddling and kissing with Sam by the fire would be the best way to spend the evening. Okay, cuddling, kissing and, don't even go there, Janet.
She sighed as she finished getting the fire going, then sat back on the sofa with her throw blanket and romance novel. Picking right back up where she had left off the night before, she re-entered the fanciful world of two women brought together by local legend and personal discovery.
The debriefing had lasted longer than it needed to in Sam's opinion. They went forward in time, the world sucked, but Janet was there and she was in love and happy despite it all. And now her Janet didn't even exist anymore, like it all never happened, end of story.
Daniel tried to tell her that her Janet did still exist, here and now. And that this Janet never had to live through seven years of not knowing what had happened to her. 'That's gotta count for something... if you truly love her, then this should be a happy day for you, Sam.' She remembered Daniel's words as she sat alone in the locker room. 'Yeah, happy day,' she thought sarcastically.
Sam stowed her gear and finished changing into her street clothes, deciding to go home. General Hammond had given them all the next few days off considering what they've been through.
She found her bike right where she had left it almost a week ago, relatively speaking that is. Everything just seemed so different, even though it was simply all the same.
It was raining lightly though, she had forgotten about the weather forecast for that night. She remembered not thinking that she would be on base this late at night to have to be worrying about riding in the rain. If Janet knew, she'd kill me. The thought interrupted her memories. Trying to shake off the pain that accompanied, she started the bike's engine and was on her way home.
She watched as her garage door opened allowing her freedom from the rain at last. Luckily it hadn't rained very hard during her trip, but she was glad to be out of it as she now walked into her bedroom, striping off her wet clothes in the process.
Her thoughts continued to center around Janet. What she had gained in the future, what Janet had suffered through, what she was now suffering through.
She had changed into an old pair of Air Force sweats and sat down next to her living room window, watching the rain fall outside, remembering the last images of Janet and Cassie. Cassie. What was that she whispered to me before she placed her hand on the window? I guess I'll never know.
'Have a safe journey and I'll see you again.' In seven years, but you'll be different, won't you, Cassie. Everything will be different. Everything. 'If you truly love her, then this should be a happy day for you.' 'If I had a chance to do things differently I would.' The voices were floating through her mind.
"If I had a chance to do things differently... I would," Samantha said aloud to the world. "I can change everything," she said to herself. I know things now that I didn't know before and now I can change everything. Sam sat up with the realization that this was her chance to make everything right. Everything she had been through and everything her future Janet had been through, she couldn't just forget that. It had to mean something.
Determined now more than ever to make it worth something in the here and now, Sam quickly found her coat and shoes and grabbed for the car keys on her way to the garage. Before she could talk herself out of it, she found herself backing out of the driveway and on her way to Janet's house.
Although it seemed like a lifetime, it wasn't long before she found herself in front of Janet's home, then on the front porch, then to the sofa where she now sat staring into the fireplace.
"Sam?" Janet kneeled in front of her, holding her hands. "What do you mean you never made it off world?"
Pulled out of her memories, Sam looked up, noting the concern on Janet's face. She ran her hand along Janet's forehead and tucked her hair behind her ear. Seeing the flash of emotion cross her features, Sam continued her story. For the moment, leaving out the parts about the two of them being involved, not quite sure why.
Janet sat back on the sofa next to Sam as she tried to comprehend everything Sam had just told her about her mission through time. It was a lot for her to take in. She couldn't imagine her life without Sam in it, yet in this horrible version of the future, Sam had for all intents and purposes, been dead for seven years. "Sam, I... this is too incredible for me. I just can't imagine me and Cassie's life without you in it. And to think that I was this close from living that life..." She winced as images and feelings of such a thing ran through her soul. "I don't want to even think about it," she said at last.
"I know. Maybe I shouldn't have told you... I probably shouldn't have even come here..." She turned toward Janet. "But I couldn't help it. I just needed to see you and know that you're alright."
Without saying a word, Janet moved closer and laid her head on Sam's shoulder as she wrapped her arms tightly around her.
Sam closed her eyes, welcoming her embrace. She held onto her tighter as she heard Janet's quiet sniffles.
"I almost lost you and didn't even know it," Janet whispered into Sam's neck.
"Oh sweetie, I'm here now. And it's supposed to be a happy day, Daniel tells me... so no crying, okay?"
Janet sniffled and wiped her tears. "A happy day, huh?"
"That's what I'm told." Sam tried to be strong.
They continued to hold each other. Both lost in their own thoughts. Both struggling with their own feelings and neither letting go.
Sometime during the night, Cassie had walked by the living room in search of something to drink from the kitchen when she saw Sam and her mom asleep in each other's arms on the sofa. She held her hand to her heart and smiled thinking how adorable they were together. I hope I find a love like that someday, she thought to herself.
Feeling a little mischievous, she quickly retrieved her new digital camera and snapped a tender photo of her moms. Then picking up the throw blanket, she laid it to cover them both, trying to be quiet and gentle for not wanting to wake them.
She turned the living room light off, then continued her trek to the kitchen for a glass of water, smiling to herself. Yeah, life was good. She had been through some pretty awful things in her lifetime, but right here and right now, things couldn't be better. She sighed, then walked back to her bedroom.
Janet snuggled closer in Sam's arms as she pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulder. And for the moment, everything seemed right in the world.
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