DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of MGM, Showtime, Gekko etc. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Set during and immediately after "Need": Season 2 Stargate SG1.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Fairy at the Bottom of the Garden
Dr Janet Fraiser stared somewhat muzzily into the depths of her coffee cup. She didn't know how long she had been asleep but it hadn't been long enough. This week had been hell already and it was only Tuesday no, wait Wednesday. Cassie's chatter washed over her " this weekend? Mom?"
Aware that she had been asked a question but having no idea what it had actually been Janet made the effort to wake up a little more. "I'm sorry, sweety what did you say?"
"I asked if you were still going to help me with my costume this weekend? For the play? Our first night is a week on Friday. You did get in contact with Mr Fitzgerald for the tickets `cos they're almost sold out. All three nights..."
Janet closed her eyes and tried to keep the absolute panic she was feeling off her face. She had forgotten about the costume. And the tickets. And the play. Her schedule the last few weeks had been an absolute nightmare what with the almost dissolution of the SGC and then dealing with the abrupt decision to expand and remodel the Infirmary when the programme was re-established and refinanced after Apophis's attack was repelled. Then Samantha Carter had been attacked and taken over by a Goa'uld called Jolinar on a planet called Nyasa. The Goa'uld had been detected and Sam put in the brig but not before the Goa'uld within her had threatened and badly frightened Cassie. Another Goa'uld had come hunting for Jolinar who was apparently part of a previously unknown resistance movement to the System Lords called the Tok'ra and, as Colonel O'Neill had put it, `wanted in Goa'uld town' and Sam had almost died. The Goa'uld had died. It had taken Sam several weeks to recover from the trauma and Janet had spent that time commuting between her bedside and Cassie's, worried about the effect that recent events would have on the little girl who had already been through too much trauma and loss in her young life. Sam had made a full physical recovery and Cassie seemed to have accepted that her friend and hero was back to her old self. Sam had been on several missions since returning to duty, the last one of which had ended up with Sam, Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c trapped and enslaved in a naquada mine and Daniel Jackson addicted to the effects of the Goa'uld sarcophagus. He still wasn't out of the woods on that one. Yet she still should have made time to make arrangements about the play. It was important to Cassie and if she was going to be any kind of mother to this girl it should have been important to her as well.
Cassie's school was performing "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as part of a local youth drama festival. Cassie was one of the fairy folk either Peaseblossom or Mustard Seed, for the life of her Janet could not remember which one. She had a few lines which she had rehearsed assiduously until she was word perfect. In fact she seemed to know all the lines of all the other actor's in the scenes she was in as well.
"What do you need for your costume?" Janet asked. Hopefully it wouldn't mean a special trip over to Denver or anything like that. She might manage to get to the local malls in Colorado Springs at some point in the week but no way would she be able to find the time to get out as far as Denver.
"Well it has to be white or pale yellow Miss Fletcher says and be all floaty like the Rackham picture. And I have to have gold lacy wings and sandals."
So, not something she could probably just pick up from a costume or toy shop then. "Okay, we'll see what we can do on Saturday."
The day slowly improved. Considering it was a Wednesday. She managed to work just the one shift and was home in time to eat dinner with Cassie. She had also managed to make a few phone calls during the day and lay hands on a pair of tickets for the final night of the play and also found the time to extract a promise from Samantha Carter that she would definitely be on this side of the wormhole and free to attend. The thought of that warmed her heart as much as anything. The two women had grown closer since Cassandra had come into their lives and Janet counted Sam as one of her best friends. Cassandra idolized the young woman, as she rightly should given that Sam had been willing to die for her. It had taken time and some adjustment to sort out their roles relative to the young girl with Sam finding it hard at first to `pitch' her involvement in Cassie's life given that Janet had adopted her. But it had all been worth it in the long run and they were better friends because of it.
When Sam had almost died after the ashrak attacked her, Janet had realized just how complex her feelings were for the other woman. Given their professional standing and the official hard-line policy on same-sex relationships it was nothing that Janet wanted to pursue right now even if she imagined that her feelings were reciprocated. And Sam just didn't seem that type of girl. If anything she seemed indelibly wedded to her career and to that circular hunk of alien metal. Sam certainly gave no sign that she was aware of Janet's more than friendly interest in her or that she reciprocated it in any way at all. It was very frustrating and Janet honestly did not know what to do for the best. Their mutual interest in Cassie made things easier and more difficult at the same time. Janet had no desire to use the young girl as a `facilitator' for her relationship with Sam.
Her duty as a military officer was clear enough: she should distance herself from Sam immediately, resume a merely professional relationship with the woman. But that wasn't fair to Sam who hadn't done anything wrong. And Cassie adored the young woman. There was no way she could deprive her foster daughter of such a strong and positive influence in her life. Janet would just have to keep things under control.
How difficult could it be?
It was official: this was the worst week of Janet's life. Daniel's condition did not improve and they had to confine him to the isolation room in restraints. Somehow he had managed to free himself from his restraints and had attacked her and an orderly. The orderly had concussion, a broken jaw and several broken ribs. Janet had a mild concussion, strained neck and shoulder muscles and a wrenched wrist. It could have been a lot worse. A night in the Infirmary followed and her staff got the chance to find out just how bad a patient their CMO could be. Sam came in to check her to see that she was okay before she went off duty.
"You said I needed to take a couple of days to recoup and and well, this is a good opportunity to spend some time with Cassie. You don't mind me staying at your house do you? I thought it would be less disruption for Cassie and my place "
"It's fine, Sam. Thank you so much for doing this," Janet smiled.
"I promise not to try to cook anything," Sam said, which made them both smile. "So you have nothing to worry about, see. Cassie and I will be fine."
It was only then that Janet remembered her promise to Cassie regarding the costume. "Oh my god, I can't believe I forgot about it it's so important to her "
"You're not to worry about it," Sam said. "Cassie of all people will understand. It's not as if you planned for this to happen. I'm sure Cassie and I will come up with something." She seemed about to say something else, but then changed her mind. Janet was intrigued to see her friend's cheeks pink a little as if she were embarrassed.
"What were you going to say?" she asked gently, careful not to spook the other woman. She knew from previous experience that Sam did not do personal confidences well.
"It's nothing stupid really it's just it's strange having to take care of you for a change it feels weird, but in a nice way," Sam ducked her head and contrived to make it look like she was checking the time rather than admit to being embarrassed by the turn of the conversation. "I'd better get on if I'm going grab some stuff from my place and meet Cassie from school."
"'Kay," Janet said, easing herself back against her pillows again. "Thank you for doing this for me, Sam. I owe " A long tapered finger was laid against her lips, the spontaneous gesture surprising both women.
"No no you don't," Sam smiled. "You don't owe me anything. I owe you I owe you everything, Janet, more than I can ever hope to repay. I " Again, Janet had the sense of a whole conversation unsaid, but one that she somehow heard and understood every word. "I'd better go."
In the end it wasn't her own injuries but Daniel Jackson's condition that held her in the Mountain until late Saturday afternoon. Even though he was technically Dr Warner's patient now, Janet did not want to leave until she was certain Daniel was over the worst of his withdrawal symptoms. Hippocratic Oath or not if she ever had the misfortune to meet this Shyla woman who had deliberately got Daniel addicted to the Sarcophagus then she really really wouldn't be responsible for the consequences.
General Hammond had been almost too eager to assign her a driver to get her home. The house seemed quiet, there was no sign of Cassie or Sam though the lukewarm take-out debris in the kitchen made her think they had been home fairly recently.
And they had left the back door unlatched. The neighbourhood was pretty safe but Janet had lived in too many inner city neighbourhoods whilst she was training to take her security for granted. Sighing, Janet stepped out onto the deck to check that all was well at the back of the house.
Janet stared, puzzled, what appeared to be patches of frozen sunlight on the path below the decking. It took her befuddled mind several moments to work out what it must be gold spray paint. What had they been up to?
She heard giggling and walked around the side of the house to investigate, stopping in amazement. She smiled in delight. There were fairies at the bottom of her garden.
Peaseblossom darted in between the trees and shrubs, a garland of flowers in her long light brown hair, golden filigree wings on her back, the sculpted edges fluttering in the breeze. And on the swing, smiling at the young girl's obvious pleasure was Queen Titania herself, a second garland of flowers in her short blonde hair, her long legs and elegant feet bare in her denim shorts, the sleeveless soft pink t-shirt she wore showing off the clean lines of her arms and the strength of her shoulders from which a second pair of filigree wings fluttered. Janet was entranced.
Peaseblossom twirled again, staggering dizzily to a halt as she saw her mother approach. "Mom look at what Sam made for me. Aren't they just the business?"
"They are indeed," Janet smiled, examining her friend's handiwork. "They look just like the ones in the storybook."
"I have a book of Tales from Shakespeare with illustrations from Arthur Rackham that my grandmother gave me when I was young," Sam explained. "When Cassie was telling me about the picture I knew exactly the one she meant. I hope you don't mind that I "
"No, of course not. You did a fantastic job, Sam. Much better than anything I could ever have come up with," Janet said sincerely. "I didn't know you were so talented."
"I'm good at making things out of other things, that's all," Sam began self-deprecatingly. "I "
"You should have seen how Sam did it, Mom, she's so clever," Cassie gushed, pulling her mother towards the woman on the swing before she remembered the injured shoulder and wrist. "Oh "
"It's okay, sweetheart, you didn't hurt me, it's much better today," Janet lied, trying not to show how much her abused muscles and tendons were jangling. "So, we can add yet more to the list of your skills, eh Sam wormhole physics, lock picking, motorbike riding, faery queen " Janet said warmly, enjoying making her friend blush. She loved to see Sam Carter smile, whether it was that rare full smile that made the day brighter or this shy half-smile, eyes lowered. How someone as bright and beautiful as this woman had come to have such low self-esteem well, Janet despaired of the world sometimes that they were people so cruel in it. She reached out to touch Sam's cheek but catching sight of Cassie's bright eyed gaze on both of them, remembered that she was supposed to be playing it cool "I'll just go get changed." She backed away, turned and almost ran, only quickening her pace when she heard Sam's call.
Eyes burning with tears of self-induced humiliation, Janet sat on her bed and tried to get herself out of her uniform shirt without jarring her shoulder and neck any more than was absolutely necessary. Unfortunately she wasn't doing very well at it. She froze as there was a soft knock on the door, and Sam's head appeared around the edge of the door. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"Yes, just a little weary," Janet said. "And "
"Here, let me help you with that," Sam said softly. She sat beside and slightly behind Janet on the bed and helped ease her stiff shoulder and arm out of the sleeve of her dress blouse. Janet tried not to start as warm, gentle fingertips brushed against her skin. "You've still got quite a bit of bruising to come out by the look of it."
"I was lucky," Janet said. "He took most of it out on Airman Cetrine. He just I wasn't expecting it, you know. It was Daniel "
"He scared me when we were in my lab, before he collapsed the first time. I could almost have believed that a Goa'uld had got him, you know. He was so cruel."
Janet knew that he hadn't touched Sam. Given her hand to hand training she would probably have been able to put him down long before he did her any damage anyway. But he had hurt her in other ways. "What happened between the two of you?"
"He he said some things to me ," Sam said softly. "It's stupid, really, I shouldn't have let it get to me like it did. It was obvious that Daniel was ill by then he " The pause grew longer. Janet turned as best her aching unresponsive joints could manage to look at her friend. Sam met her gaze, a resigned expression stealing over her features as she realized Janet was not going to let this alone.
"Daniel He said I had never really known what love was."
"Well anyone who'd watched you with Cassie for more than a couple of minutes would know that was a load of crap," Janet said. "You're right. Daniel could not have been himself when he said it and you're not to dwell on it any more. You are capable of so much, Samantha Carter, so many wonderful things." She reached up with her good hand to feather back the blonde hair still garlanded with flowers from her garden. She realized for the first time that Sam was still wearing the fairy wings. She paused, almost paralysed by the look of need and devotion in crystal blue eyes. Half fairy, half angel all woman.
Decision made, she leaned forward, her hand cupping Sam's cheek now as their lips touched in the softest of kisses. Janet drew back, studying the effect on the other woman.
Sam's hand rose unsteadily to her lips, touching them lightly as if recalling the sensation. "What " she said shakily.
"That was love, Sam. It's here for you if you want it." Sensing that Sam needed a moment to recoup, Janet got up and walked over to her wardrobe to find something that would be easy to wear over her injuries.
The soft flannel overshirt was at least a size too big for her and was the least romantic or flattering garment she owned but the comfort factor was the important thing right now. She slipped into it and started fastening it but her wrist was clumsy with the buttons. Frustration was just starting to get the upper hand when deft fingers helped her and she glanced up into smiling blue eyes.
"You do realize that you look "
"No comment about little girls playing dress up, please," Janet groaned. "And if you call me cute, I will have to hurt you, Hippocratic oath or not."
"I was about to say adorable," Sam said. She helped adjust the sling so that Janet's arm and shoulder were comfortable. Her long fingers pushed a lock of auburn hair off Janet's cheek, lingering there for a moment. "I'm I'm not saying no, okay. Give me a little time, Janet, please. It's a little " she drew in a shaky breath.
"Overwhelming yeah, I get that." Janet smiled up at the taller woman. "Take all the time you need. And whatever you decide, you have a place here, understand. You're part of Cassie's family."
"Talking of whom I'd better go rescue those fairy wings or they won't survive until the play," Sam said. "And then I'll dial us some dinner. Chinese good for you?"
"Great," Janet said. "Cassie knows my usual order "
"Szechuan beef with plain rice, side order of chow mein, and an eggroll," Sam said promptly. "I know. I keep track of important things like that."
Important things the glow inside was pleasantly unexpected and had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with belonging. Smiling, Janet made a minute adjustment to the sling, then checked her hair and make up. No raccoon eyes thank goodness. She could hear Cassie's excited chatter from the kitchen, Sam's answering laughter. It sounded like a proper family. Janet's smile grew wider.
How could she possibly have thought that this was a bad week? It was the best week of her life.
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