Exiles Gate
By Elizabeth Carter

Chapter 6

Endless Nights

"Mommy where are you going?" Rebecca asked, her unique eyes, watching her mother as she packed the child's small suitcase.

Janet tried to force a reassuring smile, but found it more difficult than she thought to appear to her child as unworried and encouraging. "Mommy has to go to work for a little while sweety. See Mama got…lost…on her trip…and I have to go and help her…to bring her back home where she is safe."

"If she's lost, how can you find her?"

"Well that is the thing baby, I must go and talk to some…friends who can help me find her. And she might…be a little hurt, so I have to go and make her better."

"And Cassie is she lost too?"

"She's with Mama, honey…but don't worry okay, I'll find them and bring them home. But hey you get to stay with Nana and Grandpa for a little while; you are going to have so much fun. I'm almost jealous."

This gained a great white smile from the child. Her expression so reminded Janet of Sam that it nearly broke her heart. There was a shiver in her spirit that she would never again see that smile of her beloved. Blinking back her tears, the small brunette kissed the tiny girl's forehead, gathering her into her arms; she gave her a tight embrace.

"Do you know how much I love you?"

"To all the stars and back." The child smiled. "Just like you love Mama."

"You're right, I do. And your Mama loves you just as much."

"Mommy, will you do me a favor?"

"Sure, little one what?"

Rebecca hopped off her bed darted out of her bedroom and into Janet and Sam's. She came back a moment latter carrying a very worn purple stuffed rabbit. "Give Mama, Jessie okay? That way she won't…get scarred or too lonesome okay? Jessie is pretty good at making bad dreams go away." Her large doe-shaped cerulean-chocolate eyes pleaded. Janet swallowed hard and took her daughter's favored plush toy, her delicate fingers stroking the fluffy purple fur. "Are you sure…sweety?"

"Well Mama can only borrow it, but she can give it back when she gets back home. You have to tell her that." Such an earnest expression held in such a little face, it warmed the worried spirit of the woman sitting next to her.

Janet smiled tenderly for the first time, "I'll make sure Mama understands that Jessie is only a loner. And when we get back home, Mama will give her back to you personally."

The child smiled, and in her youth whether unquestioning because of her age, or the simple unwavering trust there was no doubt in the tiny life that her mommy would recover her lost mama and sister.

"Mommy, don't forget to tell Mama she promised when she got back from her trip we play pilot…she promised."

"I'll tell her." Janet winced inwardly thinking how much she truly hated that game. It made her nervous every time they played it. Rebecca would stand upon the slide in the back yard and jump off; Sam would catch her and swing her around by her waist so the girl could pretend she was an airplane, with her arms outstretched. Sam even made the rumpling noise to go with the 'airplane'. The rule was however; the child could only play it with her mama and no one else ever and that was Mommy's rule no one dare brake.

"Becky, there is another promise I want you to remember." Janet said taking her child on to her lap. "This one is more important then playing pilot. It is very, very important that you remember this." A delicate hand traced the thatch of unruly strawberry blonde waves. "Mama said she'd always come home from her away-missions."

"Yes I know." The child said in a very adult tone. "She gave me her old dog tags from…Basic…so I remember her promise. But I have to give them back when she is home."

"Yeah, Baby I know." Janet smiled, knowing that Rebecca refused to take the dog tags off when Sam was away. After all there were promises a five-year-old made and took very serious, like keeping certain things safe and not losing them.

"I want you to remember that promise baby…and That I'll bring her back, no matter what okay? But she might be…hurt…"

"You said that already, mommy. But you're a doctor you can make things better. Mama knows that too."

Janet swallowed hard, trying not to imagine…the dark possibilities that Sam wasn't going to be aright, that she may never be found…that she had lost her…no! Not only no, but hell no. She wasn't going to go there. Sam was alive, and she would be found.

"Becky, it may take sometime finding your Mama and your big sister."

The child shrugged with the indifference of not understanding the impossible. Simply put the child's Sam in her mothers was completely unshakable. Mama said she'd come back home, she got lost, so Mommy said she was going to find her. This was gospel to the child of five years.

There were times in her life, when Janet had seriously considered the sanity in her relationship with Sam. Her heart had been lost to her on that very first night. Her spirit had been consumed and ascended because of her very presence. Then where times like this when Janet knew fear.

The dread bore deep into her soul, treating to devour her whole. Sam had so close to being lost and destroyed on so many levels that for a lover to see that happen took more power of the soul, to witness it all.

Sam was her most beloved. Loving Sam…making love to her was not just an act. It was an emotion. Making love encompassed everything she did with Sam. Walking in the park, eating meals together, working together. Never had Janet felt this way with another. It was Sam, that bought this to her. Sam who gave her the feeling that Heaven truly existed.

Had Janet known the heartache that went with loving Samantha Carter prior to the commitment of her heart, had she known well in advance of what was to come that first night they found one another, she would gladly pay that tax.

Sam was everything. Without her there was nothing. Janet had told this to Jack O'Neill. And she had meant it. Janet would always be there for her beloved, would always care for her. She would forever love her.

When daylight struck her room. Sam felt as if her head was going to explode. Her whole body was numb and filled with pain, trying to remember what happened last night was almost impossible. She remembered the rain, the ice, and fear and in the very back of her memory Sam recalled the helplessness she had felt when she could not make the Gate work.

But she had remembered those last moments: The frozen winds of the night picked up biting deep into her flesh. There was not a part of her body that was dry, not a part of her warm; the frozen water was beginning to burn. The snow came harder and faster. Rising up out of the water, Sam shivered and sprinted for the cavern to protect herself from the cold. She kneeled down in the thick snow that had drifted along the side of the cavern, searching, but she would find nothing, her back was pressed against the ice wall enough to shelter her from the freezing snow but not the angry wind, not the cold that so aggressively took her. Hypothermia and dehydration were going to take her prisoner. The storm was worsening, so sever now she could not make out the opening of the cave twenty feet away from her. She brought her hands to her mouth trying to gain warmth, but her body was so volatility trembling she could scarily think. The cold that took hold of her body that froze her wet clothing to her skin, that caused her to shiver, her teeth to chatter, that ugly biting cold... faded in a hearts moment. Her heartbeat slow and erratic seized in a moment of sear pain. Then it was gone. She curled into a fetal position her body aching. She was cold so cold; she never thought to be warm again.

She slept.

The morning would come on its own.

Sam tossed in a torment of fever. She was so hot . . . so achy . . . so thirsty. Her skin was flushed and tender, especially where her nightshirt clung to her in sweaty patches. She had been drifting in and out of a restless sleep for hours. She tried to think, but focusing was hard. She'd felt tired and out of sorts for a couple of days. She remembered waking up shaking with the chills. She licked her dry lips with her parched tongue, finding no moisture to relieve her. The bedclothes lay in a clammy, disheveled heap around her waist and legs, evidence of her uneasy rest, but she was too exhausted to pull them back into order. Her eyes were scratchy behind throbbing lids. Slowly she drifted back into a fitful doze.

As the doctor cradled her sleeping form against her, Janet realized that Sam's black shirt and sweats were even damper than the blanket had been. She would have to place her beneath clean, cool sheets in a bedraggled, clammy night cloths. But she knew that, at this moment, Sam was not capable of undressing and redressing herself. Also, her hair was plastered to her head from her night sweats. It should be dried before she was put back to bed.

Sam turned her head in the direction of her voice, and croaked out, "Janet? Thirsty. Water, please?" She opened her eyes a crack, but could barely make out the outline of her figure, a darker black against the dawn's shadows.

Janet brushed Sam's damp hair from her face. "I'll get you some water. You rest now." She made her way to the kitchen filled a tall glass with water, then entered the bedroom and dampened a face cloth before returning to her bedside. "Sam," the sound of her name made her responsive. "I have your water. Let me to help you sit up and drink."

She shook her head and attempted to raise herself on her elbows, but slipped down immediately, the effort too much for her head swooned, maybe in a little while. Too tired to do anything her eyes closed once more. Concerned, Janet placed an arm under her shoulders and cradled her gently against herself as she raised the glass to her lips, letting her take small sips until she pushed the glass away. Janet's mind was racing…Fear rose within her heart. There was no time to get Sam to the hospital and being in Sam's house Janet didn't have the supplies she had stored at her own house. Still Janet could do much for her beloved. Fist things first. She had to get the temperature down.

Janet began to bathe her face with the damp cloth. The coolness felt wonderful against her brow, and Sam smiled a small smile as she murmured, "thanks . . . 'm okay . . . really."

The older woman shook his head worriedly. "If there's one thing you are not, it's 'okay.' You have a high fever." While her temperature registered, she returned to pressing the damp cloth against Sam's face and the back of her neck. When she took the thermometer from her mouth and read the results, he wasn't surprised to find that she had a raging 103-degree temperature.

"Sam, I need to get your temp down. I am going to try an alcohol rub first."

She only nodded. Janet leaned over to her feeling her brow with her cheek; she was so hot as she brushed her lips across the smooth brow, tenderly giving Sam her care. She was so hot… burning…her brow sweaty, her breathing so stained. Though Janet would try the rub down first she would fill the tub with lukewarm water just in case.

From underneath the sink she took out a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a new soft natural sponge still in its plastic wrapping; and a second bottle of alcohol from behind the medicine cabinet's mirror. Taking all three in hand she sprinted through the bedroom past the living room and into the kitchen to retrieve the melon-shaped bowl, then back into the bedroom. Using the end table, she set the bowl down, opened both bottles of alcohol and emptied them. She would unwrap the sponge leave it into the bowl as she returned her attention back to Sam.

She cast the blanket aside, "Come on lover, I need to get your cloths off. You'll have to work with me."

Groaning inwardly, Janet roused Sam as she laid her back on the bed, She smiled sleepily and patted Janet's cheek affectionately, nodding as she said, "fine by me, babe." Then her eyes closed, a small gasp escaped her pale blue lips.

'If I'd wanted to invent a more perfect torture for myself, I could not have done it. Still, it's for Sam, so it must be...endured. Get hold of yourself Janet, she scolded. God knows, you're not here to enjoy yourself.' Still, it was hard to deny that this, at least, was more enjoyment than torture. She would gingerly remove Sam's shirt that was soaked with her sweat. The same was true for the pants; she continued to strip her lover her mind locked into doctor mode.

Gently she began to wipe the tall blonde's body down with the sponge she would squeeze just enough so that it wouldn't drip as she moved it to her. Janet continued to coat Sam's body until the alcohol had either evaporated or was gone from the melon shape bowl. By the time she had finished almost thirty minutes had passed. Sam was shivering and still very warm to the touch, however she was not burning up again as she was. The bath water was still waiting. Not second-guessing herself, Janet made a decision better to be overly cautious then not.

"Sam, your temp isn't going down fast enough. It's been twenty minutes and your still high. We need it to brake babe, come on." She put her lover's arm around her neck and hoisted her up off the bed. With a grunt hacking out of Sam's lungs she would move her into the bathroom, leaning most of Sam's weight on her, she stepped into the tub immediately he began to shiver.

"Cold." she whimpered.

"I know, but you have to get in."

Sam nodded meekly as she was lowered in to submerge her whole body, her teeth chattering.

"That's a good girl." Janet cooed.

The water would displace covering her silky legs up to her waist. Janet made Sam slide her body beneath the water, as she took the sponge and began to wash her body with the ruminates of the alcohol. The small brunette stroked Sam's long back and chest. Her hands, her touch so ginger as she attended to her beloved, Sam allowed her mind to float up and away from her body, into the touch into Janet.

"I am here for you baby."

"The cold hurts…"

"I know love, but I have to get your temp down…you don't have anything here…I'm taking you to the hospital…"

"Don't wanna go anywhere, just here…your arms…" Sam closed her eyes, imagining that her mind was floating as surly as her body was. She felt Janet then, cuddling her, cradling her, no not her, but his spirit. Her very soul embraced in her phantasmal arms. She felt the ebbing heartbeat of pain beginning to leave, begin to lift and dissipate. The blonde allowed the feeling to continue, giving into it, releasing all if her energy, yielding her will to the power, allowing it to dominate her, cover her as a warm favored blanket. Sam only knew she was growing weary, that sleep was strict in its arrest and would take her. With no will to fight its power Sam succumbed to the dominance of slumber.

Janet going against her better judgment had not taken her beloved to the Academy Hospital, but had managed to get the blonde to comply with going back to Janet's house where at least she had everything she needed. There she could monitor her lover, and give her meds she needed. The one thing that made Janet agree not to take Sam in was the fact the blonde didn't have pneumonia, only a bad case of the flu. Pumping her with antibiotics and managing to get her temp down, had satisfied the doctor. However if her temperature went back up, there would be no ifs ands or buts about it, Sam would be taken into the infirmary.

At the very least Sam had relented in allowing Janet to talk her into going back to her house. The statuesque blonde also relented to an exam by her beloved; until Janet was satisfied that Sam wasn't suffering from pneumonia. The small doctor had listened to her breathing, her heart, and taken a blood sample just to make certain of her findings, that Sam was only suffering from the flu. Of course only was a relative term. The tall blonde was cohered with threats of going to the Academy Hospital if she didn't take liquids.

Sam slept hard, waking only with Janet's prompting to take food or her meds, then falling back to sleep, her body inert snuggled close to the woman she loved. Three days and two endless nights had passed like this where she simply allowed herself to enjoy that bright place in Janet's presence, feeling the love radiating from the smaller woman. Though on the fourth day, the tall blonde had recovered enough to satisfy the doctor's concerns.

That had been the first of many times, the first of many endless nights Janet knew the fear and pain of the possibility that she might have lost her beloved. Janet has accepted the risks that came with being apart of a Stargate team that went to different planets. It was extremely dangerous occupation, but one she and Sam had both accepted. More times than the doctor liked to have counted, her beloved had been faced with life and death situations, not to mention the life altering ones. Sam's body having been taken hostage for alien inhabitation not once but twice, and her spirit crushed more then a few times, the confusion she had suffered thanks to Jolinar, the loss of friends and then their sudden return, the threat of losing her father, then his recovery thanks to Selmec, all of it overwhelming. Sam had been tortured by Goa'uld, threatened by governmental officials…not to mention being kidnapped by thugs of a very rich doctor so she could be dissected for the secretes of her molecular constitution.

Janet closed her dark eyes, as she remembered that day. No it was four days filled with uncertain terror. When Sam was off world there were expectations of danger, but on the home front…it was completely different. Then to know that factions of their own government knew about it…that Colonel Mayborn had been involved was a betrayal.

Janet remembered that panic vividly. History is irredeemable. It is immutable, and it can be relived, in the paradox that is memory.

"Hey, Mom I'm going now." Cassandra called from the foyer, her attention drawn to the stairs, "Karin and I are going out and meeting the guys. Then she and I crashing at Dawn's, to studying for the SAT on Wednesday."

Janet peeked around the corner; putting an earring in her left lobe, "Have fun, kiddo." She smiled.

"You too, mom." The young woman grinned as she watched her mother place the small diamond studs that Sam had given her on their fourth anniversary. Sam and Janet had planned the whole day to spend together. Sam had spent the morning at the gym working out that was close to her house, before the two of them would head out for their date.

It had been a while since the two of them had a day off together and they had planned to take full advantage of the time, actually they had the entire weekend to indulge themselves. Cassie thought it was romantic that Janet was taking Sam away to a special retreat just out the Springs. It was about time that her adopted parents could enjoy themselves, without worrying about being seen by bigoted people. At the retreat, they could fully express their love, relax and regroup. They had been planning the trip for three weeks.

"You and Sam taking off soon?"

"Yeah, she should be here any moment, she called from the fitness center. I've got the car packed and everything." Janet winked "I even packed a little something special I picked up at Victoria Secrets."

"I can's see Sam wearing…"

"It isn't for her to wear, Cass." Janet smirked, "She just gets to take it off."

"Anyone tell you, you got it bad, Mom?"

Janet flashed a smile then responded, "What can I say? She has that affect on me."

Cassie shook her head, "Well you and Mama have a great time, maybe after you get back some of the tension will have been leached out. I need this brake as mush as you two do. Anyway I have to go or well be late meeting the guys."

Janet nodded and watched as her daughter sprinted out the door. "Tell Sam I said goodbye and have fun." She called out over her shoulder and was gone.

Janet had gone back into her bedroom, looking over the suitcases, predictably Sam had her's packed and ready to go early this morning before she headed out for the fitness center. Janet had waited until her beloved left to do her own packing. She didn't want Sam to see what she had purchased at Victoria Secrete. With a sly smile, she tucked the box into her suitcase without bothering to open it up. But she knew Sam would love to see Janet warring it, and more so she would love to be the one to remove the garment. Of course if Janet had her way, the first two days they were at the resort, they wouldn't get out of bed. The doctor had idea on how to entire her beloved, to remain 'bedridden'.

The petite doctor had managed to pack almost everything into once case, Sam of course had her duffle bag nearly brimming with clothing but it was amazing all that the blonde could manage to get into a single canvas bag.

When she had been packing, Janet hadn't noticed a small white envelope neatly tucked under her pillow, with but a corner of it sticking out. Pulling it out she recognized the delicate script of her love's hand. Sam had a remarkable romantic streak that no one would have guessed at. Janet smiled to herself, knowing truly she was the first that Sam had allowed herself to be so completely unguarded of her heart.

Stacey, Sam's ex had attested to that one evening at Graystokes, she had no idea how much of a romantic Sam was, for she was not as unguarded as she was with Janet as she had been with her. A part of Stacey had been a little jealous because of it, thinking it could have been her Sam adored had she not cut the blonde out of her life as she had. This she had admitted to Janet one night, she also admitted she loved to see her ex so happy and so in love.

Sam was always leaving bits of notes for Janet to discover. When on the base there were little yellow-posted notes, with the eternity symbol drawn upon it and in each circle was a carefully hidden S and J. If any one else saw it, they think it only a scribble.

At home, Sam left fine linen paper letters and pomes. Janet had never thought it to look at her, but Samantha Carter was a talented poet. Janet felt a large smile pulling back the corners of her mouth as she gingerly slipped the hidden epistle from it secrete location.

With just as much care, she slit open the envelope. Taking out the card, bits of rose petals fluttered out onto the thick plush carpet of the bedroom. Raising the letter to her nose, she inhaled the invigorating scent of Xerious cologne, the scent that intoxicated Janet igniting a heady flare of desire.

From our first meeting

The sparks between us caught flight

Lighting rooms into a blaze

Drawn towards one another

The undeniable intense attraction

Beyond mere physical charm and elegance

Something within the depths of the heart

As yet remaining nameless

Seen in the voice of your eyes

Sensed in the gentleness of your touch

To the words passing over your lips

Brushing my soul as I am in your presence

Anger and rage swiftly withdrawn from me

Everything that composes you

Pulls me towards you

As a moth it to the flame of a lantern

Your Always

Your Sam

Janet sat down upon the bed, feeling as if her very heart had burst with an overload of delight and pleasure.

"God how I love that woman." Janet closed her eyes, inhaling the fragrance she so adored. Of course she enjoyed it more when she inhaled it from her lover's neck. She didn't know how many times she had read the poem, she new only that each line had imprinted itself upon her heart until she could recite it with ease. "I love you too Sam." She whispered to the forever-phantom presence in her soul that belonged to her beloved.

"And tonight I intend to show you just how much I love you." She added with an almost girlish giggle.

Janet carried first her bag down the stairs and then Sam's so they were both by the door, ready to go. She went back up the stairs and with a great smile thinking of Sam's reaction to all she had planned. Not only had she purchased the special garment for their vacation, but also a few bottles of massage oils, some which warmed after a few seconds of contact upon the skin. To run her hands over the sculpted body of her lover would be pure bliss. To have those hands that so meticulously crafted electronic components, touching her with that same meticulous care, cause a rush of heated desire to well in her groin. Janet considered wailing their trip for a few hours, impatient to have Sam to herself. But to wait…to have her in a sculpted woman's retreat…was well worth the wait.

And she waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Sam was over three hours late.

Perhaps the blonde had stopped by to pick a few things of her own for the weekend.

Two more hours of waiting.

Perhaps Sam had gotten into a car accident.

Janet called the hospitals.


She made a call to SGC.


And she waited.

The small brunette passed the house, looking at all the little hints that Sam lived a half-life in her home. Books on Quantum Physics, shirt here or a note scribble there, a favored leather jacket, a bike helmet. Little sings of Sam was everywhere. And while still maintaining residence in her own house for appearances, Sam lived for the most part with Janet. They had made a home together.

Right now they were not together. They were supposed to be. They were supposed to be driving into the Ladies Retreat right now. Right now, Janet felt her world beginning to fall.

She had called the police, reporting her missing.

"You must understand we can't do anything for twenty-four hours." The voice on the other end of the line was deadpan serious, though a failing attempt of compassion.

"God-dammit, she's gone. This isn't like her."

"Miss, I know you have concern…but it is regulations…"

"To hell with you're regulations!" Janet snarled. "God, its no wonder so many people are gone missing, if you refuse to look when they first disappear. I'm telling you Samantha Carter is missing, she is a USAF officer, and she doesn't take off without notification. And no she isn't AWAL she's missing! She isn't diploid she's missing, god damn it."

"We are willing to look for her as soon as our regulations allow us, any information you can give us now will help speed up the process. But if you have military access there is something the Air Force might be able to do now…"

Janet furious of the seeming callousness of the officer on the phone didn't want to listen to reason, nor did she hear the gentleness in his voice. Only the absence of her beloved could be felt. She slammed the receiver down upon the cradle, without listing to another word the officer was saying, shuddering at the thoughts running in her mind.

Sam could be lying bloody and helpless in some ditch…a victim of a car accident. She could have been abducted by the white-slave mafia…She could have played a hero and stopped a burglary in a wine-store and been shot…

There was nothing on the cell-phone. Indeed it was dead or so the monotone recoding implied, for the party could not be reached. As well there was nothing on her pager. She was just gone.

Swallowing her fear, Janet had driven to Sam's house. The small house was dark and derelict. No one had been there in a couple of days. Janet had returned to an equally dark house.

Yes when Sam was off world, Janet felt apart of her life was missing, but even then Janet had a since where Sam was. There was a ritual. If she could, Sam would point out a distant point of light, and smile that warm heart-stopping smile and tell Janet that was where she would be. Then looking at that far off place, Sam would take Janet into her arms, and kiss her. And as always tell Janet " I shall be looking at Earth's light even as you look there and we can see each other."

And when they could not see the dot of light that Sam would be on, they had chosen Gemini to look to, renaming it the Lovers. For Sam and Janet both, it was not a constellation of two male twins, but of two women in love, eternally embraced in the act of lovemaking. It had been Sam's idea, to rename Gemini, to Jan'an'I, as it was her idea to claim the stars as their own.

For hours, Janet stared at Jan'an'I, occasionally whipping her eyes, for the dread tears welling, blinding her vision. And for the first time in a long time, Janet prayed. She prayed her beloved be safe, that she would find her way back. She prayed that Sam would be found alive. That Sam would be restored to her.

She didn't know when she had fallen asleep. She knew only she was cold and alone, so desperately alone. There was no body to snuggle up to. No strong arms holding her as she rested her head upon the tall lithe body. No heartbeat to lull her into a since all was well with the world. No soft breathe against the back of her neck. Nothing.

When morning came, Janet wasted little time to call O'Neill. If the police refused to do anything right away, the petite doctor believed she could rely on the Colonel of SG1 to act.

She called him, as soon as she woke, just five minutes after six in the morning.

"This better be an emergency," growled a sleepy voice on the other end of the phone.

"Colonel O'Neill?" Janet found her voice shaking.

"Doc Fraiser?" The growl turned to surprise. "What's up, I thought you and Carter were going to some spa…"

"Jack…" Janet said lowering her voice. O'Neill didn't know of the relationship, his 2IC shared with the doctor. The trip to the spa was something girlie to do and boring at that. The tone in the CMO gained the full attention of the Colonel, not to mention Fraiser had called him by his first name.

"Janet what's up? Something wrong?" The first thought was car trouble, but hell Sam could fix nearly anything, so that couldn't be it. Then Cassie popped into his conciseness as the girl's surrogate uncle he had grown to care for the squirt even if she wasn't so little anymore.

"Sam…is missing."

"Janet, are you sure that Carter isn't in her lab and lost track…"

"Jack, please…she's gone." It was all she could do not to brake down in front of him. "She was supposed to be here, yesterday afternoon. The cops…won't look… Jack…something happened to her."

The first thing Jack had to do was to calm the woman down. "Janet, I'll see what I can do. Okay try to relax, we'll find her. Where was she last?"

"A fitness center a few blocks from her house. She isn't there either I already looked. Jack, she's in trouble, I know it. Don't ask me how I know I just do. We have to find her."

"Janet, I'll go to General Hammond. I promise we'll find something out."

"I'll meet you at the base." Janet commented not being swayed to wait at her home.

A half an hour latter, Janet found out what Colonel O'Neill had established from the facts. Pretty much nothing, that Janet hadn't already known. Sam last known whereabouts was the fitness center twelve blocks from her house.

"The old bum said she put up quite a fight." Jack repeated the story to Janet what he had told Hammond. "Said she was feisty." He smiled thinking that was Carter for you; she'd put the hurt on you if she had too. "Took three guys to subdue her." He said trying to boost Janet's worry but in fact had only heightened her dread.

"I'm going to Washington." Jack said, "But I going to find out a few things from Mayborn."

Janet's wide dark eyes widened even further. "How? He's a traitor."

"He'll see me." Jack added with a note of confidence. "Danny and I are going to surf the net. See what we can't dig up. Doc, this stinks of Internal Government. I hate to say it but Sam…she's unique…Mayborn wanted his hands on her before."

"The Pentagon? Kinsey? Colonel Simmons? Vidrien? Who…?"

"I intend to find out." Jack said. "Look someone went to a lot of trouble to take her, they are not just going to kill her." What he didn't say was yet.

Janet swallowed hard, trying to gain a since of professionalism. She couldn't allow for a superior officer to see her break down, especially this particular superior officer. She tried to listen to Jack's words pragmatically, not personally. She was failing miserably.

Surprisingly, O'Neill approached her, bending down for the Janet's ears whispering. "Janet I'll bring your Sam back to you. I promise."

Janet reeled, ready to deny any thing that could be construed as a romantic relationship with SG1's 2IC. She retreated backwards, her breath unsteady. "I…am her friend…"

"Janet…it isn't obvious, you two are very careful, don't worry. But … there is sometimes a smile on Sam's face when she comes back from downtime, when she is force to take it. And she's been uptight ever since day one, but with you, she relaxes" Jack stumbled for a tactful way to place his next words. "Officially I'm not asking and you're not telling." He stepped closer to Janet. "Personally… You go girl. Sam needs someone like you in her life. You're a lucky woman. I can't say I haven't had my…well…hell…I'm glad she isn't with Danny…those two can get tight being egg-heads and all, but…" He shrugged. "We all care a lot for her, some more then they should… but I'm glad that she had someone pretty special in her life."

There was still fear in Janet's eyes, that because Jack O'Neill was in love with Sam, out of jealousy he might do something. But she had not confirmed his remarks; in fact she had remained absolutely silent.

"Janet, I'll bring her back to you. I can't lose my best officer…hell SGC would never be the same without her." He laid to rest the doubts running around in the doctor's mind. "I can't ever let that happen, if I can do something about it." With an affection he never had shown before, the older man squeezed the shoulder of the doctor, then with a soft smile he left her office, so that he might fulfill the promise had had made.

"Colonel," Janet's voice peeped out. "Where ever she is…I'm going with you…for the extraction."

"Yeah I kinda figured you'd say that. When I find out where she is, I'll let you know and make sure Hammond lets you on the team."

After Jack had left her office, Janet tried to lock herself in paperwork to get a head start on the up coming yearly physicals, but she found her concentration lacking. There was nothing to go home to, so returning wasn't an option. Besides the house as it was now was more reminiscing of a tomb then a home.

The worst thing in the world to feel was the complete and utter helplessness you feel when you lost the only person that matters the most to you. The next horrid thing is the not knowing if the love of your life is alive or dead. It was becoming an unendurable weight.

'I can't lose her. Not now…oh God I can't lose her. She's everything to me. Never to see those blue eyes looking at me…no…I wont allow it. She is not going to be lost to me…not now not ever.' She would not allow her fear, her grief to dominate her. Galvanized by her admission Janet moved from the chair of her office. She would demand to know every moment, every scrap of information that the remaining members of SG1 held.

Janet strode out of her office, headed for the quickest route to Daniel's office. Jack would be there; they had more then a few hours to come up with answers. Hunting. Intent. Going to SG1. The lights of the archeologist's office were dark. It didn't occur to her that they might not be there. They had to be, because she had to speak to them. Her need required them. Therefore Jack and Daniel were, for some reason refusing to come, to answer her urgency.

Furious and frustrated she stormed the office, her arm brushing against a lamp, knocking it over. It shattered, starling her, she wheeled, taking the noise as attack. But the lamp lay broken, dark: no threat. She forgot it.

By not being where they were supposed to be, Janet felt rage building deeply within her. They were supposed to be where she could find them. They had to know where her Sam was. Storming from the office she all but bolted from the office, going to locate General Hammond. He would be where he was supposed to be. She would demand answers.

Her intent so focused the Lilliputian doctor had not realized she collided with the wall of a Jaffa warrior until she found herself upon her backside.

"Doctor Fraiser." Teal'c commented offered his large beefy hand to hoist the small woman to her feet. "I did not mean to harm you."

"Teal'c." Janet stammered gaining her breath. She gave a quick self-conscious look around her to see if any had seen her spill to the concrete floor of the complex. None had for only Teal'c and herself had been in the hall at the moment.

"Have you seen Colonel O'Neill?"

"He had departed the Complex to meet with…an informant, who more then likely knows the whereabouts of Major Carter."

Balanced between anxiety and exaltation, her heart soared. It was the best news she had heard all day. It would be a long endless night but Janet refused to go home, until Jack O'Neill returned.

As soon as he did he left again, this time for Washington. Janet was left waiting. She still refused to go home. She made excuses to stay on base. On the pretense of the upcoming yearly physicals, she remained a hermit in her office. It was forty-eight hours. And then another twelve since Sam was taken form her, every hour bitter and torturous. When she did sleep, she did so in Sam's quarters, as if to surround herself in the essence of her lover. She took one of Sam's black tee shirts, slightly dirty, but it had Sam's scent on it. Bringing it to her nose, Janet inhaled the aroma of her lover, and as a child, she slept with it as a child a security blanket.

For a few hours, Janet was almost able to forget the dread of Sam's disappearance, for she was surrounded by the scent of her lover. It was on the pillows, the blankets, and the shirt. And in that small moment, the young doctor was able to gain some sleep. But then she woke she remembered. Sam wasn't with her. It was only the memory of her left behind on material. Rising, from Sam's bed, Janet raked a hand over her tangled auburn hair. She knew that Sam kept a personal kit in her room and decided to borrow it, knowing with full confidence her love wouldn't mind.

An hour later, freshly showered, her hair combed properly, teeth brushed. Janet at least resembled a human being, though she didn't' feel like do anything more then surrounding herself in the blanket of Sam's bed, praying the mantra this was all a dream, it wasn't real.

It was then she heard her name being called over the loudspeaker and orders to report to General Hammond's office.

In a half a heartbeat the CMO of Stargate Command was standing in front of General Hammond.

"Doctor Fraiser, Colonel O'Neill tells me that you're presence maybe needed in Major Carters extraction."

It took every effort not to whoop for joy, in the knowledge that her beloved was found. But she could not hide the smile. "Major Carter had been found?"

"We have a very possible area, the local authorities have been contacted, and SG1 are readying themselves for deployment. But the colonel requested you presence, I can send anther…"

"No sir, I am ready to go now." Janet cut off her CO. She swallowed hard. "I am fully capable of handling myself in a military countermeasures if the need to neutralize the enemy is required."

"I know that Doctor, you're performance during Hathor' occupation more then proved that, but you are the CMO and should something happen to you during this action, it is a risk I am not fully content with making."

"With all due respect sir, I have been off-world during medical emergencies and with Sam's unique physiology, I don't trust another with her medical needs if it came to that."

"That is why I am authorizing you're presence on this team. And no offence doctor but I pray you're services will not be needed."

"As do I sir." Janet nodded.

She walked out of the office with a renewed since of hope, her Sam had been found. In a matter of hours she would be restored to her, where she belonged, in Janet's arms.

"Carter, I'm going to have a guard posted out front." Jack said looking at his teammate, thinking how close it came to lose her.

"No." Sam shook her head

"Yes." O'Neill overrode her flatly.

"No sir, I don't need a guard."

"Then we shall stay." Teal'c offered with Daniel nodding vigorously.

"Look I appreciate it guys, but I really don't need a picket line out front of my house."

"Then stay with Doc Fraiser." Jack accusingly remarked, "You scared me, Carter." As though that settled the mater.

Sam looked to her lover, then to the Colonel, with this she couldn't argue, nor did she want to. In fact she had plans to stay with her beloved.

"What of Major Carter's door?" Teal'c gestured with his chin.

Sam turned around and looked for the first time to her front door.

"I got someone to fix it tomorrow." Daniel said always considerate, always worried for his dear friend. She was the closest thing he had to a sister and he loved her as such.

"What happened to my door?" Carter frowned

Jack glanced at her as he started down the steps of the porch. "We kicked it in when we couldn't find you."

"O'Neill felt you maybe in some danger within." Teal'c explained. "Perhaps it is best that for the evening you spend it with Doctor Fraiser."

"Or stay here with a 'picket line'" Jack made a sweeping movement including the front lawn.

Golden eyebrows shot up into thatch of blonde hair. "You mind a house guest?" Sam said to her beloved.

"Of course not." Janet squeezed the taller woman's arm, she noted that she would have to inform her lover that Jack knew of their relationship and he would do nothing to prohibit it.

Janet was hovering anxiously when Sam came out of the shower, trying not to look as if she was hovering. It was hard to keep the irritation out of her face, out of her voice.

"Don't you ever do that again!" Janet said to Sam once they were alone and safe.

Sam wasn't surprised at the auburn's reaction. It must have been terrible for her to have to wait and not know. She smiled and put all the warmth she had into her words. "I…Janet…I …"

"God, Sam…when you were gone…do you have any idea what its like to see you in pain or hurt, or dead? You terrify me."

"Janet…" A dread fear that she had lost her lover, rippled thru her. She knew she put her love through a lot she couldn't blame her if Janet wanted to break things off; after all there was only so much a person can suffer in the name of love. But she couldn't give up without a fight. If she were going to lose Janet, she would not allow it to happen without Janet knowing how much she loved her. Her felt her heart hammering behind her chest threatening to burst out.

Sam must have moved; she couldn't remember anything but seeing Janet and then her arms, clinging to her as desperately as she clung to her. The silkiness of her hair rubbed against her cheek, Janet's face was against her chest. "I can't lose you." She whispered, and her voice shook. "I can't lose you…"

Sam had to try twice before she would speak, the last moments chained up upon that bed, they were going to kill her, deceit her…there would be no coming back from that no matter how hard Janet would have tried. You can't live without a heart. "Hold me tighter," Sam said desperately, and felt Janet's hands against her back, the tender strength of her arms, the slow strong beat of her heart presses against her own. Her hands caught hold of each other around her back, pulling Janet even closer.

Janet half buried her face in the soft strands of blonde hair, inhaling the lavender scent of shampoo left in the thicket of golden locks. Instantly Sam reached out and stroked her cheek, leaving a trail of fire on her skin. Janet caught her breath and stifled a gasp. Sam drew her hand under her chin, lifting it up and the smaller woman's lips parted on their own accord. She captured Sam's mouth in a carnal kiss, their tongues dueling for dominance that both knew neither could win. They sought to devour each other in that kiss as they tumbled over each other. Even without opening her dark drown eyes; Janet could see every detail of her face. Waiting for Sam to pursue the warmth further, to let the narrow line of pleasurable heat cover every inch of her flesh. She opened her dark eyes wide and gazed deep into blue orbs, knowing full well the desire burning deep within the blonde.

Janet reached out, arching her arms around her, pulling Sam into herself. Sam jerked her head up, and Janet shuddered at the loss of contact, but the blonde's arms returned her embrace and they pulled toward each other. Janet could feel the solid connection as each part sought its own: breasts touching breasts, lips touching lips, thighs pressed against each other.

"Oh god Janet I love you. In that place, they wanted to cut me open, take me apart . . .I cried within so hard. I couldn't let then see my weakness, but I knew I was going to die, but my fear…was I lost you. I was going to die and all I could think about was never being with you again."

"No Sammy." Janet pulled her lovers face closer to her own. "I am right here." To emphasize her point Janet took her wife mouth with a searing demanding kiss, quickly becoming the dominant. She nuzzled into Samantha's' hair as she ran her tongue along the sharp collarbone, and her senses were enveloped by the brilliant golden tresses as she relaxed against her lover.

A thin hand slipped between her legs as Sam received her weight, and only as her thought were touched did Janet become aware she was wet. Two lean fingers slid into her warm bay as the heel of her hand pushed up against Sam's mound, and started a rhythmic pumping that brought excitement rushing past the steely-self control of the blonde woman.

Janet thrilled to herself was the canal of her lover was damp and hot and Sam moaned as Janet stroked her labia with nimble surgeon's fingers. As Sam's hoarse cries deepened, her own fingers worked with double vigor, thrusting farther into Janet and building arousal thought the compact body of the doctor, until her muscles felt warm and lose after a physical work out in the gym. She felt her body pushing into Sam's manipulations to increase the force rocking her hips. Sam pushed even harder against Janet's mound sliding a third finger in, adopting a grinding rather then a thrusting motion. Janet's back arched, and she began to moan as well, her vision dimming as her consciousness drew away from the outer world and centered itself on the heat of her body. She cried out, "More Sammy More!"

She left herself relax farther and farther into Sam's hold, and as her hips loosened, thrust by thrust, Sam raked her thumb across her clit increasing pressure as she went. Janet felt a sharp stab of pleasure shoot from her touch all the way up to the back of her skull. It was so delicious.

Janet's mirrored the sensations as she continued to rub and squeeze and stroke Sam's own throbbing center of pleasure with one and she squeezed her lover's nipple of her breast wilt the other. Suddenly Sam moved both her hand and Janet away, the doctor let out a grumbled protest but stifled it as she felt the blonde dart quickly taking his in both hands. Sam posited herself on the bed as she placed both Janet's legs wide to accommodate her.

Very softly she began to lick Janet's engorged little center of pleasure. All the doctors' muscles relaxed with the acceptance of pleasure. Sam suckled gently and sent shivers of electricity racing across Janet's belly and buttocks. The redhead felt the tightness spreading from the point of pleasure caressed by Sam's tongue and up her spine, which singled the rush of sensations about to burs free. Sam growled as she bit gently Janet's clit rolling the little nub in her mouth before she moved supping upon the juices in an upward stroke which ended right on the center of all sensations Sam brought her lover over the edge with a send soft bite and a very gentle suck. Janet's entire being felt blissfully happy.

Sam had moved yet again whispering in a smoky whisper. "This night is about you Bay-girl. I need to feel you, love you. Let me do this."

"Sammy, I want to love you. . ."

"You are. But I want to be greedy tonight. I want to worship and adore your body. I want to spend an endless night making love to you."

Janet paused the confines of her office, occasionally raking a nervous hand through her dark reddish hair. Pacing before her time slow kept into another endless night. Fear of not knowing, dread of what the imagination gave birth to run amok within her consciences.

All of this time, she waited, waited for word from the CO of Stargate Command. Waited for the conformation that they were to go thru the Stargate. God she hated waiting.

'Sam…oh god Sammy please…be alive…don't you dare die on me. Your compassion, for me what you have done, is immeasurable. Love and compassion are things that cannot be forgotten, they have lives of their own. Once you have them, they live with in you. To live by them, requires all your strength. And she has the strength. But, how can I, knowing what lays ahead of you everything you step through that Gate, do nothing? How can you expect that I will not? Sam…my love… When you first came into my life, I felt I had been born into a new world, a world I had only...read about in books, one that only lived in my imagination. For a moment I believed in that world, in all its possibilities. A door had opened where none existed. All of this came through you. So many new feelings that were once only words no rushed through me. I...cannot yet describe them. All at once they startle me, sometimes...frighten me...but always fill me with wonder and gratitude.

I saw my life without you, Sam and it was a loss I could not survive. I have known hopelessness, even worse, but what struck me to the core was this: Until that moment I had never truly known faith.

Yes, faith. Darkness enveloped me, and yet I felt an inexplicable hope, a belief beyond knowledge that you would live. I know now that hope, that faith, came to me through love.

I know of the daily risks you face I want to tell you to go no further. That warning came from care, but...it was also filled with fear. I was afraid of losing you. I want to protect you - we need to protect the ones we love. I was angry when you blocked our connection and I realized the truth that you were protecting me. And now, I understand we also need to trust. To allow the ones we love to face their risks, and find their courage, alone.

How hard it is to let you go. How frightening it is to...trust that fate will be kind. Isn't it strange that those we hold closest to our hearts are the ones we must also set free? Love is not a refuge - I...think...it is a journey, and not a safe one. It is filled with terror, and wonder. And we must go forward in courage, and in truth. I'm with you on that journey, Sam, wherever it leads. And on that journey we are all as children, finding our strength, facing our fears, holding each other by the hand. I never forgot such a thing, as evil exists. You live that danger everyday, you hunt it down and try so hard to put an end to it, and endless flood that will not stop. . I will never understand how people can gain sustenance through cruelty. I struggle, but it is something I cannot grasp - and yet, I saw it - in the eyes of the Goa'uld. I felt it, in the eyes of those creatures. And that is what haunts me. In every fiber of my being I refuse to believe that darkness can envelop the light, or that evil can mock what is good. Perhaps I...cannot allow myself to believe it. Perhaps, what haunts me is not what I saw in the eyes of the others, but in their eyes, I saw myself. Have I been too quick to judge? I know there is goodness in this universe. You are in it.

Our...bond has given me a freedom I've never known before. Through you, I have...seen a world I had only dreamed of. And when that world of possibilities seemed to end, I could not think, I could not breathe. I lost myself, and in that moment of vulnerability. You closed yourself off from me to protect me, but never had such an action born of love been so painful. I realized we must set each other free, my love.

Freedom, for me, has always been circumscribed by...who I am, by what I am. I have never accepted those limits. From the time I was...very young I promised myself never to become a prisoner of my fate.

My love as I walked the park today I felt you, I felt as if you walked with me, beside me. I felt your sweet touch reach for me; I felt in you something I dared hoped that it was not a dream. You're compassion for me, has given me a world, forgive me for not understanding you're heart, my love. You have the courage to protect me from the dark of the worlds beyond the Gate, and I shunned you for something I would do for you. What you did, you did for love. I see that now. Forgive my foolishness . . .Sam please. You are my heart . . .Come back to me my sweetheart. My always, my forever, my Sam. Please…feel my love for you. Whatever suffrage you must pass, please, dear God please know I love you. I want you here with me…safe…there is no life without you.

"You're going to ware a hole in the cement floor." Jack O'Neill commented as he stepped thru the threshold of Janet's office. His sudden presence startled her to where she caught her breath.


"Sorry didn't mean to startle you, but I thought I'd tell you that SG9 is ready to deploy to Hy-Brasil I figured you would want to be notified as soon as possible."

Janet felt her heart racing. "Novalis agreed to an audience?"

"Sorta." Jack rubbed the back of his neck. "She'll only speak with you. SG9 is going because of diplomatic reasons. Novalis said she would only speak with the life-mate of 'Liege-commander' Sam Carter and no one else. She is pretty insistent. SG9 isn't even allowed to set foot in the citadel." Jack half grinned. "Looks like you're the celebrity of the day, Doc."

"I can be ready in five minutes sir, I just need to change…and gather med-supplies."

"Understood. Besides we can't go without you."

Janet for the first time felt a wave of hope touch her heart.

Part 7

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