DISCLAIMER: Stargate and characters are the property of MGM, Gekko, etc. No infringement of copyright intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: No matter how it seems this does not involve a character death in any way shape or form… I promise you :). 2: It therefore follows canon but doesn't... you will see what I mean. 3: At least I have my Sam/Janet voice back <g>
DEDICATED: To my beloved beta crew and friends... Geonn, Retzcat and Granger... without you I could never... well you know the drift <g>
SPOILERS: Heroes Part 1, Heroes Part 2, Lost City Part 1
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Funny How Things Never Really Change
By Debbie

'It's funny how things never really change,' thought Major Samantha Carter. It was briefing time at SGC and the usual suspects were sitting in quiet contemplation, awaiting their commander-in-chief. They had been summoned to this briefing an hour ago. It was now 9.55am and they had been asked to be here by 10am. The expectation in the room was palpable.

The major winced as she glanced around the table at her friends. To her left was Daniel Jackson, civilian expert in things too numerous to mention, and now in all things Goa'uld. Across from her was Teal'c, the stoic Jaffa who had come to mean more to her than she sometimes admitted, whilst to his right was his mentor, Master Bra'tac. The team knew he was here to warn the powers that be that Anubis was amassing his full force against earth. To her right and at the head of the briefing table was Colonel Jack O'Neill, her friend and CO. Yesterday, he had taken on the knowledge of "The Ancients" in the hope that SG1 could find The Lost City. Past experience led them to believe he would gradually absorb the Ancient's thoughts into his brain. The last time this had happened Dr. Janet Fraiser had been around to monitor his vital signs; assuring he maintained a medically, stable condition, but this time the team knew they were on their own. Sam's heart skipped a beat as that thought flitted through her brain but the sound of the door opening stopped her mind wandering into unwelcome territory.

It registered in Sam's mind that the time was precisely 10am, just like General Hammond's time keeping. As Sam looked up a tall, dour, broad-shouldered man walked in, accompanied by a small, beautiful, female woman. There was an audible gasp from the seated group and they immediately shared a worried look. It really was funny how things never changed thought Sam once more.

As always they stared at their commander-in-chief and a doctor. But now the commander-in-chief and the doctor were one and the same person. No longer did General George Hammond and Doctor Janet Fraiser join them, walking into the room with a serious expression was Dr. Elizabeth Weir. She was in the unexpected company of Vice President, Robert Kinsey. Dr. Elizabeth Weir was expected; George Hammond had informed SG1 personally that the civilian Dr. Weir was replacing him as of today. The new President of America had decided that diplomatic leadership was called for as he believed the Stargate was about to become public knowledge, and had asked George to join him in the White House while appointing Dr Weir in his place. It wasn't therefore her presence that worried the team; it was more the unwelcome presence of the Vice President. Robert Kinsey was a known enemy of SGC and especially SG1.

The snide comment he made as he sat to the side of Bra'tac did little to ease the tension that had immediately become apparent in the room. All eyes migrated to the unknown presence in the room, Dr. Elizabeth Weir.

Eyeing each member astutely, the blonde woman addressed the team, "Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter, Teal'c. I know these are strange circumstances to be meeting for the first time..." Her keen eyes noticed that her only acknowledgement came from the stoic alien, Teal'c. That was until she heard Colonel O'Neill demand to know who she herself was.

Looking into his face and the sarcastic raised eyebrows, she had to smile. The reports of the Colonel's antagonism towards anybody new and superior were obviously true. Elizabeth, however, did not feel superior to this man who, if the reports she had read were true, now held the weight of the world upon his shoulders. She just wanted to understand. And so, she tried to answer his question, "I am ... Dr Elizabeth Weir, Colonel."

Before she could go any further the insufferable Senator Kinsey intervened, "You can just call her your one hope of ever stepping through the Stargate again."

Dr. Weir inwardly groaned at the immediate ire shown in the Colonel's expressive brown eyes, matched unsurprisingly by the look in Samantha Carter's eyes, and the raised eyebrows from both Teal'c and Daniel Jackson. As Jack's sarcastic response to Kinsey echoed around the room, Dr Weir took a moments glance towards the face of the man she knew to be Bra'tac. His expression was one of thoughtful amusement at the machinations being displayed in the room.

She tried again, "I know I'm playing catch-up, but I understand that time is short."

Jack O'Neill once again replied with open sarcasm. "Actually it's all relative ma'am. Carter could explain it better if we had more time."

Elizabeth knew she would have a hard time convincing this man she was here to listen but she had to try.

Refusing to bite, Dr Weir opted to get down to business. " Shall we have a seat then?" As she sat at the head of the table she noticed the wry smirk that Major Carter sported at the Colonel's time comment. It seemed she had a measure of the Colonel's sarcasm. Dr Weir made a note in her already saturated brain to have a private meeting with the only woman on this premier team.

Immediately, Vice President Kinsey took charge of proceedings, which annoyed the new commander-in-chief immensely. It did however allow her to get a better feeling of the personnel surrounding her. At the same time she noted that the members of SG1 were carefully looking her up and down. That was all the members, other than Jack, were scrutinizing her. He seemed to be having a personal battle with the Vice President.

Dr Weir listened to the words carefully with her practiced ear for diplomacy. She gathered that Master Bra'tac had arrived with news of a massive invasion of earth by their mortal enemy, Anubis. Senator Kinsey displayed open hostility towards this view, claiming it was some elaborate plot to stay the imminent closure of Stargate Command.

Elizabeth Weir saw in the troubled expressions of the military minds around her that they thought the threat was more than genuine. This thought centered her mind and as she heard Jack's words of malice, "Yes, well, that's exactly what we do. We sit around on our fat asses and create scenarios that put the planet at risk. That's exactly what we do."

Then, when Kinsey replied heatedly, "Oh, I think you'd do just about anything..." she decided that now was the time to take her presidentially ordained control of the situation.

She interrupted curtly, "Gentlemen. For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume that Master Bra'tac is in earnest and that the threat is real."

Immediately Daniel Jackson threw in with something much more concrete than angry words, "Do you even know what the threat is? Anubis is a half Goa'uld, half ascended Ancient, with the knowledge and technology at his disposal to wipe us all from the face of the Earth."

Grimacing as she thought, 'How the hell am I supposed to know if you don't tell me,' she considered a second, then asked, "What about negotiating?"

All eyes turned to Jack as he exploded, "Oh, for cryin' out loud, that's derantis."

The blonde woman immediately recognized the word Jack had spoken unknowingly and she saw that Daniel knew the word too. She allowed him to inform Jack what he had just said. "You just said 'derantis'."

When Kinsey asked if the word was Latin, Weir was quick to answer before Daniel had a chance, "No, it's not."

Gratified by the acknowledgement she saw in the team's eyes, the new CO realized that was her first step towards grudging acceptance by some of the team, if not Colonel O'Neill as yet.

Daniel took up her explanation with more details, "I think what Colonel O'Neill is trying to say is that trying to negotiate based on our past experiences would be insane... crazy."

And again she saw the respect of Daniel and Sam move up a notch as she indicated that she had known that fact.

At this point Major Carter uttered her first words. As always, she was trying to get the discussion back on track, back towards the matter of most importance, back to Anubis and his threat to Earth, "However we believe that there may be alien technology within our reach that could defeat Anubis."

Elizabeth Weir was grateful for the return of the discussion back to business but as always, Senator Kinsey tried to turn things back towards his own personal battle of hatred for SG1. "So now you're pulling a ray gun out of your hat," he accused.

Teal'c's serious but defining words, "Weapons capable of defending this planet," pleased her in their simple entreaty. He believed the knowledge Jack O'Neill now possessed would help save *her* world. That was a good enough reason for Elizabeth to listen if she got half a chance.

Hearing Kinsey mumble, "I can't believe we're sitting here listening to this," she couldn't believe he did not know of Jack's last mission and countered with, "Mr Vice President, on his last mission..."

"Oh! I am aware of the events that once again compromised Colonel O'Neill's invaluable judgement, and the fact that on his last official mission, he has incurred the wrath of humanity's worst enemy on behalf of us all." Kinsey's body language clearly showed the contempt he felt for O'Neill.

Dr Weir was watching Jack O'Neill's face during this diatribe from VP Kinsey and thought she saw a moment of realization in his eyes. At that point he had jotted something down on the pad in front of him. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed that Sam and Daniel had seen the action too. Before Kinsey and Jack could confront each other further she interrupted, "The fact is, until we know the location of the Lost City..." and got the answer she had been hoping for.

"I know where it is."

Once again all eyes spun to Colonel O'Neill.

Elizabeth enquired, "You know where it is *now*?"

Jack's answer to that question was *not* the hoped for answer however. "I will, it's in there somewhere." Then he surprised the blonde woman greatly by immediately cutting to the chase, "Look, let me make this simple. If I come up with the Lost City, we go find it, yes or no?"

He had obviously realized that no matter what he or is team thought, it was she who had the power to say whether any sort of mission could be raised. Before she had a chance to acknowledge his question, never mind answer it, Kinsey vehemently answered for her, "No!"

Without taking her eyes off Jack's face, she listened to his even more astute comment in reply to Kinsey's interference, "Who are you, really? And why are you here?"

He knew, as well as she did, that the President had given her this position for a reason, and part of that reason was that she could and would stand up to the insufferable Vice President Kinsey. She saw in his eyes that he also knew that she needed more information before making that decision. She answered as sincerely as she could mange and still with no deviation of her eyes from Jack's, "I will consider it."

As Jack answered in his most sincere sentence of the meeting, "Thank you," she thought she saw the glimmer of a smile and a hint of some degree of acceptance. She smiled slightly and nodded her acceptance of his thanks; "You're welcome."

Feeling the mood in the room change immediately at the degree of understanding between the two leaders, one the leader of a military team and one the leader of a military establishment, Bra'tac stood. Bowing towards Elizabeth Weir he spoke earnestly, "I must return to Chulak."

There was a gasp in the room as Teal'c added quietly, "I too will go, in the hope of procuring ships and warriors in order to defend this world."

Accepting that this great man was willing to support her command in the ways he knew best, and knowing that this meeting had to come to an end for advancement to be made, she knowingly accepted this decision without comment. Offering her wishes of good luck, she accepted his bow of acknowledgement with one of her own. Glancing around the now standing group of people she used her body language to indicate closure of the meeting. Turning on her heel, she left the room for her office.

Elizabeth Weir was sitting in her office. Exhausted from the events of the last two days she was slumped over a mountainous pile of folders. Each folder held personal and military information about her new dependants. The blonde woman, although being used to negotiating very important deals in the name of people unknown to her, wasn't quite as adept at having the lives of military personnel directly under her control. She wasn't quite sure she had the knowledge necessary to make correct command decisions that could cost the lives of those under her command. What was it Colonel O'Neill had said to her earlier, "Who are you, really? And why are you here?"

As yet, she didn't know the answers herself. She knew that she was first and foremost a diplomat, trained in the art of negotiation. As Daniel Jackson had so rightly pointed out, she had started her career as a political activist, lobbying against the government spending on the military. But long ago she had come to realize that the best way to stop the proliferation of weapons was to try and end the need for them. And now, here she was, in charge of probably the most important military base in the world, if not the universe, as she now knew it to truly be. In charge of making decisions that might cost that universe dearly.

What she did know was that she had been given the job and so she was going to do that job to the best of her abilities as long as she was there. To do that she had to know the program and its people well, and to gain that knowledge, she had to devour the information in front of her as much and as fast as humanly possible.

Sam paused as she reached the door of Dr. Elizabeth Weir's office. She hesitated as she raised her hand to knock on the closed door. 'Funny,' she thought, 'General Hammond seldom had his door closed.' As her fist was about to make contact with the door, Sam wondered just how much this woman knew and how open she would be to the dilemma Sam now found herself in. The tall blonde realized there was only one way to find out and knocked on the door. Hearing the word 'welcome' faintly, she entered.

Elizabeth Weir was sitting behind General Hammond's large desk, obviously deep in thought. The pile of papers in front of the blonde woman impressed Sam; she had obviously been busy. The doctor looked up and smiled saying, "Ah, Major Carter, please have a seat."

Sam sat down, fidgeting as she waited for the new chief to put the papers she was looking at away. Looking closely at the new commander-in-chief for the first time, Sam was hit by a truly sacrilegious thought: 'Janet would have been enraptured by this glorious woman'. Sam knew that Janet had a thing for blue-eyed blondes, and being oblivious to her own beauty and desirability in those stakes, the astrophysicist believed that this lady would have quickly caught Janet's eyes. At the CO's nod she asked her question, "Ma'am, could I be excused from duty this afternoon? My daughter has an important meeting at her school..." The major looked down at the carpet, not sure of herself. After all, this was Janet's domain, being the mother, now it fell to Sam. "... We need to discuss her future education needs."

Doctor Weir's immediate response was, "Ah, now that would be Cassandra Fraiser. She must be very nearly 18 years of age, yes?"

Amazed that the woman needed no recourse to her files, Sam smiled warmly, hoping she wasn't reflecting the surprise she felt. It appeared that Doctor Elizabeth Weir had taken some time to learn about her staff. Once again, Sam thought that Janet would have been impressed by that little personal fact. "Yes, ma'am. She'll be going to college this summer and wants to be a doctor like her mother so we need to know if she can attain the grades that a premed program and medical schools require." Sam had no doubts that her alien daughter could attain the necessary grades, but protocol allowed for this meeting. Without realizing it, the scientist sat a little taller as pride for her daughter filled her heart.

Again, no prompts were given as Elizabeth countered with her observation, "I believe Doctor Fraiser is sorely missed by this command, Major."

The lump in Sam's throat caused by that astute observation meant there was no response from the tall soldier.

Seeing Sam's discomfort, Elizabeth Weir carried on talking, allowing Sam to regain her composure, "And please, Major Carter, I hold no military position here. It would please me if you refrained from addressing me as 'ma'am'. To tell the truth I have an inbred dislike of that form of address. My name, Elizabeth, would be more than welcome, but if you can't manage that, a simple Doctor Weir would suffice."

The friendliness of this response shocked Sam to the core. She was even more convinced, if the former CMO had still been a part of the Stargate set-up that Janet would have fallen hook, line and sinker for this woman. With that thought fresh in her head, Sam was surprised to hear herself chuckle. Looking up into warm, welcoming eyes she was even more surprised to hear herself say, "Well, thank you very much, Elizabeth. I don't suppose you've had much chance to meet many people here in the Springs, or found anywhere to live, have you? Maybe you'd like to join us for an evening meal? Anything's better than commissary food, surely?"

Elizabeth Weir laughed out loud and flopped back in mock relief. "Oh, major, that has to be the best offer I've had in days." It was clear from her smile that she was being sincere. "Another night eating with that buffoon of a man, Kinsey, and I might just have gone a little manic." Sam had caught a fleeting look of disdain cross the new CO's face, and was pleased to know that their new commander was not on friendly terms with their nemesis. The major refocused her attention when she heard the shorter blonde say; "I'd love to join you for an evening. Tonight ok?"

Joining in with the laughter, Sam grabbed a notepad and jotted down her address. Adding a few quick directions, she smiled warmly and settled the arrangements, "Seven pm tonight, ok? And, please, it's Sam."

"Yes, seven is fine, and thank *you* Sam. Now, please, go and be with your daughter. I'll see you later."

Later that night, driving to the address she had been given by Sam, Elizabeth Weir continued her self-debate about where her feelings regarding the SGC continuing to operate lay. She understood more and more the complexity of the decision to be made but still hadn't grasped the enormity of this time and place in the whole scheme of things.

Thinking back on the topic of schemes she pondered the undeniable 'hidden agenda' problems. But who's 'hidden agenda'? She was haunted by the conversation she had had with Vice President Kinsey immediately after her first team briefing with SG1.

Sighing as she walked into her office after leaving her new crew behind, she had been surprised to find Kinsey hard on her heels. Exasperated, she turned as he called out in an angry tone, "What the hell was that?"

Trying to be polite she had replied, "I'm sorry?" Basically Kinsey was convinced he knew SG1 better than herself. Which, she agreed, he probably did at that moment in time, but President Hayes had asked her to take charge and she was going to make her own decisions. It was obvious to this woman, trained to see and hear everything that went on around her that Kinsey wanted SG1 gone, especially Colonel O'Neill. The diplomat had picked up on that personal relationship immediately and was not going to allow it to color her judgement. Her anger at the way Kinsey was intruding on her given role made her challenge the Vice President, "This is *my* office. This is *my* chair. Until someone tells me otherwise, I'm going to make decisions as *I* see fit. Not as they fit into your agenda."

Irate Kinsey had insisted she knew nothing and if she thought she did she was less smart than he thought. Truth be told she didn't care what Senator Kinsey thought but she did care what she thought of herself, and right at this moment she wasn't sure. She had read ream upon ream of paper, spoken to numerous personnel, seen the passion of SG1 and the quiet resilience of two of Earth's keenest allies, Teal'c and Bra'tac but she was still unsure of her final decision as to whether SG1 could embark on this seemingly impossible mission.

She needed, she thought, a night of relaxation to help clear her mind for the decision that needed to be made. Major Samantha Carter had given her this blessed opportunity, and as she pulled up outside the address she had been given, she determined she was going to sit back and enjoy herself.

Pulling up outside the Fraiser residence, she saw a warm, homey building with lights ablaze and a warmth that exuded, surprisingly, from what after all was just a building. She smiled at the normality of the house after all that she had learned the past few days. Alien invaders, an American colonel with ancient thought processes embedded in his brain, Vice presidents with "criminal" agendas, Presidents with high hopes, and a new job that had the potential to be one big headache, all took second place to Colorado Springs suburbia.

Suppressing a full out laugh at the thoughts racing through her head, she wandered up the steps leading to a large wooden door and knocked firmly. She was surprised when the door was flung open almost immediately. In front of her stood a pretty young woman sporting a friendly open smile. This, she assumed, was Cassandra Fraiser. "Dr Weir, I presume? I'm Cassie Fraiser. Pleased to meet you. You sure look different to Granpa George."

Elizabeth hadn't met General George Hammond, but she got the impression that he was a much loved and respected leader, and in this young woman's eyes at least, he was obviously something much more. She really did laugh out loud now. Shaking the girl's hand she muttered, "Prettier, I hope?"

Smiling, Cassie answered, "Oh yes, but do you snuggle as well, that is the question?" Passing Dr Weir in the process, she paused at the exit, "Sam's in the kitchen, please just go through," then she shouted back into the house, "Sam! Dr Weir's here. I'm off now. See you around eleven o'clock."

With that she was away down the steps. Suddenly, as if remembering her manners, she looked back at Elizabeth Weir, "I hope to meet you again, Doctor. Bye for now."

The blonde woman waved and closed the door behind the departing young woman. Looking around the entrance hall she spotted a coat rack and hung her jacket on an empty peg. Further down the hallway she saw a light glowing and heard the sounds of food preparation. Deciding that was the kitchen, she made her way to the open door calling out, "Hello!" as she went.

Sure enough, Samantha Carter was busy at the stove stirring a dish that smelled heavenly. The taller blonde woman glanced back over her shoulder, "Elizabeth, I see you've met the whirlwind also known as my daughter, Cassandra Fraiser. Please, have a seat. Can I get you a glass of wine or something?"

Grateful for the friendly greeting, and glad to be back in a homey situation, the new commander-in-chief of SGC replied, "Sam, you continue with that, and I'll just get myself a soda if that's ok? I'm driving, you know."

Sam indicated the fridge with a nod of her head and turned back to her cooking pot, "Help yourself."

The conversation meandered pleasantly along while Sam skillfully layered the Vegetable Lasagna Verdi as Janet had taught her all those years ago. Elizabeth enthused over the apparent normality of Sam's life compared to the unreal feeling at SGC. Sam, for her part, reiterated the fact that life at SGC was anything but unreal, but agreed it was indeed surreal. Basically it was just something you got used to after time.

After a half-hour of chatting they both heard the front door open and slam closed, followed by somebody throwing their things on the hall floor. Elizabeth looked towards Sam in surprise and saw a glorious smile grace her normally serious features, the largest she had seen from the major since their meeting.

A gentle female voice rang out, "Sam? Cassie? I'm home. Whose car is on the driveway?"

Elizabeth Weir watched the unfolding scene with a degree of interest. Sam's voice took on another degree of depth as she called back, "In the kitchen, Jan. We've a guest."

There was an unusual scraping noise as the woman slowly made her way to join the two women eagerly awaiting her entrance. Sam for obvious reasons and Elizabeth because she was intrigued to see how the real Janet Fraiser matched the persona of Doctor Fraiser that seemed to haunt Stargate Command. Doctor Weir heard a sweet gentle voice over the scraping noise, "A visitor? Who?"

The short blonde gave an audible gasp as Janet entered the kitchen with a teasing quip for Sam, "A guest, Sam? Is that why you're cooking?" Glancing towards the visitor, she winked conspiratorially as she continued over towards Sam. With a chuckle she took a taste of the saucepot and licked her lips, "Tastes wonderful, Hon!"

The new leader of Stargate Command had known that Doctor Janet Fraiser had been medically retired from the USAF. She had been shot during an off-world shooting incident while rescuing a severely injured soldier. Even with that knowledge, she wasn't prepared for the sight of Janet Fraiser that now beheld her. The small woman was walking slowly and laboriously with two elbow crutches. Elizabeth Weir's minimal medical knowledge, derived from her relationship with an ex-Army medic and now women's health specialist, realized that Janet was suffering from a partial paraplegia. It was obviously going to be a long hard uphill struggle for the doctor and her family before a full recovery was made. The sight brought home devastatingly the risks these two women before her had been taking for years in the name of the people of America.

The watching leader had also known of the presence Janet had left behind at SGC. Here in front of her was the reason why. She really hadn't prepared herself for the beauty of this woman. Janet Fraiser was a gorgeous petite brunette with deep ebony to-die-for-eyes. Eyes that showed warmth, love, and comfort in equal measures. It was pertinently obvious why she was a good doctor of medicine. The woman in question turned a polite smile towards her guest before bestowing a breathtaking smile towards Samantha Carter.

Knowing the constraints of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy eminent in the USAF at present, she was also not prepared for the passionate welcome kiss that Janet bestowed on the taller woman. Janet Fraiser obviously didn't realize that the visitor in her kitchen was Sam's new superior at SGC: if she had known, Elizabeth was sure she would have been a little more cautious with her greeting to Sam. It was a kiss that so obviously expressed the deep love they shared; a kiss that said 'I can't believe we are still here together and I don't ever want to go away from you ever.'

Watching as Janet reached up and caressed Sam's cheek gently, Elizabeth almost didn't hear the quiet words, "Hey! I'm here." It was a sweet admission that the brunette knew the taller blonde was afraid that, every time they were separated, this time it would be for the last time. A near death experience does that to a couple.

She also heard Sam mumble, "I know, Hon, I know," before looking up with an embarrassed blush as she acknowledged the presence of her superior. Sam hadn't warned Janet that Dr. Weir was coming over and had forgotten how demonstrative Janet had become since they had nearly lost each other. She only hoped Elizabeth was as accepting of their relationship as General Hammond and SG1 had proved to be.

Smiling sheepishly, Sam proceeded to introduce the two women, using their full professional titles. As she introduced Elizabeth to Janet she added the proviso of why she was here at the house, "... Elizabeth needed some respite from my friend and yours, the wonderful Vice President Kinsey."

Laughing out loud Janet grinned at the visitor, "In that case, Elizabeth, you are more than welcome. Come and join me in the living room. I really need to take the weight off these things." She grimaced down towards her legs before turning to Sam, "If that's ok with you, Hon?"

"Of course, Jan. You two go catch up. I've got things covered in here. I'll join you soon."

Following Janet into a comfortable living room, Elizabeth was immediately struck by the multitude of photographs littered around the room. Spying quite a few of her new charges, she asked if Janet minded if she take a look.

There were numerous photos of a laughing and carefree, Sam, Janet and Cassie. In a few, Janet could be seen running away from one of her girls. Looking over towards Janet struggling to lower herself onto a couch, the blonde woman couldn't help but compare Janet's life then and now. She made a mental note to ask Janet later how she felt *now* about the job she had had to leave.

As if she knew what Elizabeth was thinking, Janet groaned aloud. Turning to face the medical doctor, Elizabeth enquired if things were ok.

"Not really, I hate being like this, but hey, it's my life and things are good in every other way, so..." Janet let the sentence fade out. "Do you mind if I take these things off? They're so damn heavy, but at least I can walk..."

For the first time Elizabeth noticed that Janet was wearing leg calipers under her slacks. She turned back to the photos to give Janet a little privacy. She fingered a few of Janet and Sam with the guys of SG1. There were photos of Sam and Jack, Daniel and Janet, Teal'c and Cassie, Teal'c and Janet, in fact numerous combinations of the obviously close-knit team. She saw a small section that was clearly General Hammond's gallery, for in each photo he was hugging one or all of the women of this household. There were also photos of other members of SGC, Siler and Sam with a large motorcycle, Sergeant Davies with Janet, Doctor Warner with his nurses, and Cassie, Lieutenant Wells, Janet and a baby. Suddenly it hit her; this was Sam and Janet's family.

Glancing over her shoulder at the now resting Janet she said, "You really are a family, aren't you?"

With no hesitation Janet answered, "Oh yes. The best sort. Since this happened..." she indicated her legs, "... the guys have been like rocks. It's damn hard work being like this, you know. I have two sessions of physical therapy every day and it's boring. Whenever they're not offworld, the guys and Samantha take it in turns to be with me for one session a day at least. I've even learned to meditate with Teal'c since my injury. Got the time now, you see." Shrugging her shoulders, she smiled over at the taller woman contemplating her photographs. "Penny for 'em."

Smiling back at Janet, Elizabeth murmured, "I'm surprising myself how many of these people I already know. Oh, not intimately like you, but I have a pretty good reading of some of the personalities here."

"Knowing their names is easy, knowing *them* takes a little longer. Until I got together with Sam I always felt a little on the outside, but circumstances and trials brought us closer together, and then Sam and Cassie clinched it for me. I hope you find some sort of solution to gain their trust quickly Doctor Weir, because I can tell you, they will need your support, and soon."

"Well, I'll tell you one thing, Janet. I won't be finding myself a Major Carter to gain their trust, I'm already spoken for..." Elizabeth's words were truncated by the voice of said Major Carter calling that dinner would be served in a few if the ladies would kindly get the table ready.

Elizabeth requested permission to do the honors and a weary Janet was in no place to disagree with her guest. So, as Sam came through from the kitchen to see an exhausted Janet smiling happily towards her, the Major's superior was busy preparing a table for three.

Sam approached Janet with a question in her eyes. Bending forward, she whispered something indistinct into Janet's ear.

Elizabeth heard Janet groan and saw her weary grimace. Janet's words were harsher and caught by the astute diplomat, "I know, Hon, but I hate this."

She also heard Sam's exasperated whisper back, "Please, let me help?"

Realizing it was her presence that was causing some consternation on Janet's part, she quickly excused herself to bring the wine through. As she left the living room, she watched from the corner of her eye as Samantha Carter stooped down to envelop the smaller woman in her arms, easily lifting her up to carry her to the table. After a respectful few minutes, allowing Janet the time needed to be seated, she returned from the kitchen carrying three wineglasses and the bottle.

Putting them on the table she accepted Sam's offer of the seat to Janet's left and allowed the taller blonde to push her chair under the table. Elizabeth was surprised to feel a soft and gentle caress of her hand. Startled, she found Janet holding her hand until blue eyes met brown, and then she heard the merest of "thank-yous." Looking into the deep ebony eyes of the woman sitting at the head of the table, she was surprised to see nothing but radiant happiness shining back at her.

Watching the silent communication between the two, Samantha thought back to earlier in the day, and her idea that Janet would be enraptured by Elizabeth Weir. For one moment she felt a jealous spasm, then she saw Janet's eyes return to her own face and the depth the major saw in them was ten-fold that which Elizabeth had seen. Sam saw only love and adoration directed her way. And, for the first time in a while, Sam also thought she caught a hint of desire gleaming back at her. Feeling a blush rise up her neck, she stammered out, "I'll serve, shall I?"

While serving the food, Sam could feel Janet's eyes watch her every move. She felt a delicious tingle that she hadn't felt since Janet's accident. Risking a glance towards Janet she was positive that that was desire shining in the gorgeous ebony eyes. Yes, maybe tonight they would finally share more than a snuggle. Since that fateful day Samantha had been too afraid to hurt Janet, and Janet had been too exhausted to convince Sam she wouldn't break into little pieces.

For her part, Janet, too, was surprised to feel a burning desire for Sam. It wasn't that she had ever stopped desiring Sam, it was more that both ladies had just been too preoccupied with more pressing matters since her return home from the hospital. They had shared many a loving and erotic kiss but for some reason had never progressed to the complete joining of their hearts in the way they had prior to Janet's very near miss. But tonight . . . . Well, Janet thought it was because for some reason, on first setting eyes on Elizabeth Weir, she had felt an uncontrollable degree of jealousy that Samantha had invited a gorgeous woman into their house. Deep down, she knew Sam would have no interest in the blonde beauty, but still her passion had been riled. Janet smiled inwardly as she realized just how much she and her lover had to thank this new woman for.

Elizabeth watched the two ladies with more than a passing interest. She had been on the phone to her lover, miles away in Philadelphia, when the call had come through from President Hayes himself to attend a briefing on something very important for her career. After her meeting with the President and his refusal to take no for an answer on this new assignment she had managed only one more phone-call to Andy, explaining she would be out of touch for a few days. Seeing the heat flowing between these two ladies, she hoped beyond hope that she could manage another phone-call before retiring to bed later in the evening. With that thought in mind she dared to watch the other two women closely. The two ladies, one tall, blonde, and apparently quite an introvert, the other, small, auburn and apparently quite out-going, couldn't have been more different. Seeing them together it was obvious their differences meant nothing, these two ladies were together in all senses of the word. The major and the doctor were one.

Dinner served, all three diners came out of their reveries and began to enjoy each other's company greatly. Sam and Janet regaled Elizabeth with tales from SGC's eight-year history, while in turn Elizabeth amused Sam and Janet with her re-telling of her presidential summit and the antics of Vice President Kinsey.

Sam and Janet were pleased to hear Elizabeth's obvious dislike of the odious man, and were even more pleased to hear that she was apparently strong enough to stand up to him. They both knew if SGC was going to continue its important work, Dr Elizabeth Weir would need to be able to work against Vice President Kinsey's wishes. So far, they were impressed with her abilities.

Sam alone was more hopeful that the next few days would bring an important mission to the fore. She was ever more confident that Elizabeth was going to give the go ahead for SG-1's mission to find Atlantis: The Lost City. What she wasn't confident about was telling Janet that she was off on yet another do or die mission that involved probable warfare against Earth's greatest opponent of the moment, Anubis.

Before she could bring up the topic of this possible mission, Elizabeth blind-sided Samantha with the asking of a seemingly innocuous but very loaded question. Staring into both ladies' eyes with intense scrutiny, the diplomat asked, "Tell me ladies, bearing in mind the obvious trauma your family has just been through, and, if you don't mind me saying, has still to go through. Is the work that SGC does of necessary importance? Are the casualties sustained an acceptable price to pay?"

Janet looked to Samantha, knowing that Sam was the expert on all things Stargate related. She was willing to sit back and let her lover answer these questions with her usual aplomb. But Sam was silent. Janet could see in the major's eyes that for once she was unsure about her words.

Sam knew what she should be saying, but the mention of her family's trauma had thrown her. Since nearly losing Janet, Sam had asked herself the same question frequently. If Janet had been killed, could she honestly say that it was all worthwhile? Would saving the known universe and more, be worth losing the love of her life? She couldn't answer the question because thankfully the need hadn't arisen; Janet was still here and still loving Sam.

Janet saw the turmoil in Sam's heart and decided that her more phlegmatic words might be more suitable for this question. She pondered quickly how to answer, and remembered the day of her injury vividly. Suddenly it came to her. She quietly but confidently spoke up.

"You probably know, a few months ago we had the unusual privilege of having a film-crew make a documentary on our work."

Janet was not surprised to hear her own use of the words "we" and "our", she might not serve SGC anymore but it was still her family, still her major concern.

"I was asked if there was an up-side to all the trials and tribulations my team underwent. Within a few hours of that question I was like this," she indicated her legs and the calipers lying to one side. "My answer that day remains the same. The reason we all manage to persevere through death and injury is because we feel that we're on the brink of understanding so much more. I don't just mean about my specialty, medicine, but about who we are. About where we came from, what the future has in store and how we fit into the grand scheme of things. And now, I truly believe that Colonel O'Neill has the beginnings of finding the answer to all of these questions and more. He and Sam's team have the ability to answer these mysteries, while ridding us all of one of the greatest threats to humanity. And within that word I include all living things that are and will be our allies into the future."

There was a silence as Janet finished talking. She looked to Sam and saw tears in her eyes. They shared a look of love and wonderment. Sam knew that Janet cared about the SGC but, deep down, she had never realized just how much Janet supported the missions she had to do.

Turning back to Elizabeth, the medic smiled at the diplomat. She saw a growing understanding in the blue/green eyes of the importance of the next few days, not only to earth but also to many, many more worlds. She also watched the realization that SGC held the future in its hands. And more than that, she spotted the moment that Dr Elizabeth Weir realized that it was she that held the future in her hands. All she needed to do was say 'yes'.

Janet turned back to Sam and saw that she too had seen the acceptance in Elizabeth's eyes. Janet reached across and took Sam's hands in her own. Smiling gently, she pulled Sam's lips to her own for a deep but gentle kiss.

For some reason it suddenly hit Janet that Sam and her had been more open to a stranger than they normally were. Since the accident they had become a little less secretive of their love for one another. After the accident Sam had felt it necessary to bare her soul to General Hammond and especially SG1. Over the time of Janet's stay in the infirmary, at first in a deep coma and then during her initial recovery, most of SGC had come to realize that the two majors were more than just good friends. It was of great relief to both Sam and Janet that their love for one another was now secretly overt, but contained within the close community of SGC. They didn't, however, know to what extent Dr Elizabeth Weir felt bound by Air Force regulations.

Clasping Sam's hand tightly, Janet dared to broach the topic, "Elizabeth, I have been more than honest with you in my answers tonight. Sam and I have also been more than honest about our relationship, perhaps with a little more candor than we should have been...." As she said those words she felt Sam jerk into an upright position as she realized what Janet was getting at. Sam looked towards Elizabeth's face as Janet continued, "... but maybe you understand the reason for this. Can we ask that you accept our situation and maybe keep our lifestyle to yourself? Don't Ask, Don't Tell is still in place as regards Sam's career, you see."

Before Elizabeth had a chance to respond, the telephone rang, and two pagers went off simultaneously. Sam ran to the phone, as Elizabeth read her message. Jack O'Neill had come up with some more than important information. It looked as if tonight was the start of the end.

All hell broke loose in the Fraiser household at that point in time. Janet had to just watch as the two blonde women prepared to make their way back to base immediately. Elizabeth excused herself at one point to make a quick phone call to Philadelphia. Her phone call of love was put on hold just as Janet and Sam's night of possible desire was put on hold.

Sam and Janet spent the few minutes of Elizabeth's phone call saying their own special good-byes. This was always the hardest time, especially now. But, as Janet had so eloquently said, they both knew it was a necessary evil. Their kiss was deep and meaningful and, as Elizabeth returned, their hug never-ending. Smiling ruefully at each other they finally let go.

At that moment Elizabeth spoke, "In answer to your question, Janet. Your secret is safe with me. The love of my life would have my ass if I did anything to jeopardize your careers, never mind your obvious love for one another. *She* is home in Philadelphia right now, hence that quick phone call. One day I hope that I can introduce you to my partner, Dr. Andy Campbell. To put it mildly, she is a straight-to-the-point former Army colonel, now turned civilian to become co-head of a Women's Health Center back home. Maybe you have heard of her Janet, she is an eminent general surgeon."

Grinning, Janet pulled Elizabeth to her for a gentle hug. "Thank you so much for that, Elizabeth. I have heard of her and we would love to meet her, huh, Sam?"

Seeing Sam's nod and worried expression, Janet indicated that she should go get the car fired up. Sam reached for Janet's hand and held it tight for a moment, then left the house moving backwards and never taking her eyes from Janet's till their fingertips gradually lost contact.

Janet squeezed Elizabeth one last time and whispered, "All I ask of you, all I will ever ask of you is that you bring my woman home to me. I love her." With those quiet words she shooed the new commander-in-chief out of her home and towards all of their destinies.

Dr Elizabeth Weir took one last look back at the diminutive but very, very strong Doctor Janet Fraiser and knew that she now had the answer to her questions of earlier that night.

'Who was she really?' She was the woman that held the safety of SGC in her hands and she was now willing to take that responsibility on.

'And why was she here?' She was here to bring Samantha Carter safely back to the enigmatic Janet Fraiser in any way she could.

From the front seat of her car Sam had watched the exchange between Janet and Elizabeth. Smiling to herself she was pleased that SGC's former CMO and its new commander had hit it off so well, at least now she could go on this mission safe in the knowledge that her superior knew about Janet and would keep her lover informed.

SG1 was off to save the world and Janet Fraiser would wait anxiously at home for their safe return. 'It's funny how things never really change,' thought Sam.

The End

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