DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILERS: AU Meridian AU Abyss.
SONG: "Goreki" by Lamb
The one I've waited for
++Thoughts and Fears++
I'm beginning to show already. I don't understand how, unless things are progressing an awful lot faster than normal. Of course, nothing is normal about this pregnancy. If what Sam says is true then conception happened only ten days ago. Yet I look as if I'm towards the end of the first trimester. When I look at my reflection side on there's a definite bulge though I don't know whether anyone other than Sam or myself would notice it yet - and my breasts are sore and a size or so larger. Jackets are definitely going to be worn loose this month. Either that or I move into scrubs for the duration. There is going to be so much gossip when this gets out. Who is going to believe our story? Of course, as it's been a good five years since I even dated never mind slept with anyone of the male persuasion, the truth is that there is no other explanation. But how do I make anyone else understand that? And do I want the truth to be known. What would it mean for Sam and my child, my daughter (given the genetics involved, it can only be a girl, can't it?)? Would it be safer to lie? Or to run now and never come back.
We haven't told anyone else yet, not even Cassie. What can we say? But we will have to do whatever we decide to do very soon by the way things are progressing. I can feel her presence inside me, that birdlike fluttering whenever Sam is near and we are touching each other. I sense that she likes that. I know I do. At this rate I'll be giving birth to her within the month. I can't help but wonder what kind of strain this accelerated development is going to put onto me. The good news is that if I'm right about being at the end of the first trimester then the most dangerous time for my baby is over. All she has to do now is grow. And I haven't noticed any ill effects hell, I haven't even had any morning sickness. And I don't seem to be eating any more than any other expectant mother. I'm a little tired but that could still be the residual effects of the beating I took from Solon.
I'm going into the SGC today for the first time since I was released from the infirmary. Sam is coming with me. She has a consult on some problems they've been having with the gate generators whilst she was away. That is the least alarming terminology. Things that happened whilst she was dead I still feel cold shivers at the thought of that. Part of me still can't believe that she's alive and well and mine again.
I want to do an ultrasound and some blood tests, to find out as much about my baby as I can. Sam and I have already kicked around a variety of scenarios. There's no question of me not going through with this birth. Sam sort of raised it and I shot her down before she'd even finished the sentence. Only if it proves hazardous to me to a life threatening degree would I consider a termination. And then it would only be a consideration. This was meant to be. She was meant to be. And I know that she will be extraordinary. Whilst I'm sure that as friends, General Hammond and the SGC will back us to the hilt, there is the military mind to consider. Not to mention NID. They will not harm Sam or our baby. We will go offworld if they try, take our chances with Jacob and the Tokra or one of our other allies, perhaps the Nox. They like Sam. But I would like to give birth here, if I can. Preferably at home, with my family and friends around me.
If we can convince everyone that it is a normal pregnancy, that whilst Sam was missing I strayed. Who do I choose to be the surrogate father? Daniel would be an obvious choice. His colouring is close enough to Sam's that any traits in our child could be explained. He would do it for us without a second thought, I know he would. He is a true and loving friend. And he isn't military. The scuttlebutt around the base would have no problem believing that we were, however briefly, a couple. Jack or Paul would 'stand by me' as well, I am sure, but they are both serving officers so any kind of admission could have consequences for their careers. Even Teal'c. Though that could be a bit more difficult to explain after the baby is born. I am pretty certain that she will look nothing like Teal'c, not unless the genetics of this child are even freakier than I already think they are. We have to talk to Daniel soon.
Yet I hope we don't have to do that. Even though I know it's a cover story, I still feel guilty, almost ashamed that people will think I cheated on Sam. And yet no one officially knows that Sam and I have been together for the last four years. They can't know. It would mean the end of everything.
I feel so mixed up. My emotions are in such a mess. Sam isn't much better. She's so worried about me. We haven't argued or anything like that. We are still as close as we've been since she returned. If anything we grow closer with each passing day. Which is a good thing as we can barely stand to be out of each other's sight. I love her so much that I can't contemplate a life without her now. If something happens to her, if she has to go away again, I will die. Pure and simple. I will die.
++Back to the Mountain++
All Sam's paperwork, ID, security clearances and licenses came through yesterday, so she drives us to the Base. She's officially alive again. It takes us quite a time to get to the Gateroom. Everyone seems to want to speak to Sam to say how happy they are that she is back. Sam smiles and manages to say a few words to everyone in return, even though she's not yet back at work, not officially anyway. The usual voices from outside the SGC were raised when the MIA tag was removed and her record reactivated. Senator Kinsey wants an investigation into why the mission wasn't given official approval before one of their officers went AWOL for a year. He's giving us all the usual grief which concerning we collectively saved his ass a couple of months ago is a bit rich. Still, once an SOB always an SOB.
Sam's still on stand-down at the moment, officially recovering from her extended undercover mission, the official cover story for her disappearance. She wants to come back, I think. I want her to come back. This is the work she was born to do after all. I know General Hammond hasn't decided yet whether she will go back onto SG1 or to one of the other teams. She's done enough in her career here to warrant commanding her own SG team by now, or she could go over to the science division and do pure research, which I know she'd love. Hell, she can do whatever she wants to do. And Davis has fitted in well with the rest of SG1. It would be a pity to disturb them again.
At last we get to the Gateroom. Not a moment too soon as far as Sam's concerned she's got that deer in headlights look again. I don't know why she has such a hard time believing that people genuinely like her. Sam just stares at the Gate and I can see her visibly calm herself. I can tell even through all the wonders she has seen over the last year, she really missed this slightly scruffy, dingy grey room. This is her baby after all as much as the miracle she has given me.
She has a quick word with Siler about the gate problems and sends him to follow up some leads. Then she's at her old workstation again, going through the logs to see if she can spot anything. I watch her for a few minutes amazed at how quickly she picks it all up, as if the last eight months never happened. With a quick touch of her hand I let her know that I'm going down to the infirmary. She glances up at me and her smile dazzles me, warming me to my toes.
After checking in with everyone and going through the board with the head nurse to catch up on our patient load which is thankfully light I head for the sanctuary of my office, collecting the portable sonogram from the storeroom on the way. I have it wired up and ready to go within a couple of minutes. Sam has helped me use it before a few years ago when we were both desperately worried about another little girl.
I am lost in memories about Cassie and how ill she was when she first came into our lives when Sam comes into my office. She locks the door behind her. She can see that I'm upset and just sits and holds me close until I get my emotions in check again.
"What's wrong, love?" she whispers. "Tell me. You know I can't stand to see you cry. I knew something had happened and came straight down to see you. Siler probably thinks I've completely lost it."
"I was just thinking about Cassie and how ill she was when she first came to us," I sniffled. Damn Nirrti. Sam's fingers run through my hair. My mouth is pressed to the pulse of her throat. She is alive. It's been nearly two weeks and I still can't get over it. Regretfully I part from her. "We'd better get this over and done with before someone comes looking for one or both of us."
"Yeah, I did leave in kind of a hurry," Sam reminded me. "I can't believe how short a time it took to for me to get back into the swing of things. In some ways it felt like I never left."
++The First Picture++
I lie down on the couch. Sam helps me to loosen my skirt and shirt and reveal my abdomen. She studies it for a moment, smiles and then bends and plants a kiss somewhere just below my navel. "You're definitely starting to show," she said. I let my fingers riffle through her soft hair for a moment.
"Will you still love me when I'm barrel shaped?" I ask, only half joking. I figure that given my height and build I could well end up that way before this is done.
"I'll always love you, you goof," Sam replies. "I'm with you through thick and thin, remember?" She activates the screen and hands me the laptop to hold and then picks up the tube of gel. "Are you ready?"
I nod and try not to tense up. Instead of putting the gel directly onto my skin she rubs it across her hands first, warming it. I smile, appreciating the consideration. Once all of my abdomen was glistening, she picks up the sensor and activates it. "Are you ready?" I nod. "Here goes," she whispers, giving me an encouraging smile.
The image is unclear at first as she tracks the sensor slowly across my stomach. Then we hear the shushing sound of a heartbeat and then suddenly there she is! "I see her head, her hands," I whisper. "All her fingers." I tilt the screen so that Sam can see it too. I gasp as our baby turns and I can see her face, her eyes in their sockets, a small snub nose, a cherubic mouth, a determined chin. Okay so far she has my nose and Sam's mouth and chin, I think, dazedly. She is so precious, so beautiful. As we watch, one of her hands goes to her mouth and she sucks her fingers. "Another one with an oral fixation", Sam whispers her smile broadening. I bat her arm.
"I don't hear you complaining, missy," I glance at the screen again, at the curve of my baby's cheek, the line of her neck. "Isn't she beautiful?" I marvel softly.
Sam nods as slow tears begin trickling down her cheeks. "She's your child, Janet. How could she fail to be beautiful?" She continues to slowly move the sensor. I put my hand on hers for a moment.
"Our child," I remind her. "And if she has my looks, I hope she has your brains and your smile." Sam reaches over and kisses me softly on the lips, resting her forehead against mine for a second. On the screen our daughter turns as if to look at us. Our other daughter would be telling us to get a room by this point. At last, Sam pulls away from me, smiling almost shyly. I reach up and wipe the tears from her cheeks with my thumb. Then I go back into doctor mode rather than prospective mom mode and examine the spine, the heart and as much of the internal organs as we can make out on the sonogram. She looks perfect. Ten little fingers, ten little toes. And definitely a she.
"She's so perfect," Sam whispers. "How far along are you, relatively speaking?"
"I'd say about fifteen, sixteen weeks," I said, looking at the measurement scale at the side of the screen. "She's in the zone for that, size wise. If she continues to develop as fast as it is, I should give birth in about a fortnight." And wasn't that a scary thought!
"We need to do some shopping," Sam said determinedly. "Lots of baby stuff and clothes for you as well. Not that you're very large yet," she hastens to add as I fix her with a glare. I print out some images of our little girl and then Sam helps me wipe the residue of the gel from my tummy and makes me decent again. She picks up one of the pictures and stares at it intently. "Our daughter!" she whispers. I realise that there may be something in her life to compete with the Stargate in her affections after all other than me and Cassie of course. She took out her wallet and slipped the picture into it, alongside the picture of me and Cassie that she always carries.
"I still think the welcome back party is a good idea," I said. "Just for the guys and General Hammond. "We can tell them then. Explain everything."
Sam went scarlet just thinking about that one. "I'll ask the General. Could you ask the guys? I don't know, but I'd just feel weird asking them to something like this."
"Why, what's so weird about a "coming back from the dead and by the way I got my lover pregnant" party?" I teased gently. She could not meet my eyes. "Okay, okay I'll do it," I mock-grumbled and was rewarded with one of her most brilliant smiles.
We decided on holding a celebratory dinner party on Saturday and invited SG1 and the General along with Cassie. It was made clear in the invite that I was doing all the cooking. Sam's skills had not improved in that area despite careful coaching from myself and Cassie.
++Telling the General++
The day before the party I was working in the Infirmary. I had not seen Sam for over twenty four hours. She had stayed on base over night to finish up some tests and brief General Hammond early in the morning. We had talked on the phone a couple of times and had an agreement to meet for lunch.
I could not believe how much I had expanded in just four days. I had caught Cassie giving me a hard look earlier in the day when she caught sight of my profile, but she didn't say anything. It wasn't the first speculative look I had had either. My nurses definitely suspected something but so far no one had been brave enough to come forward and ask me to my face. "Dr Fraiser, are you pregnant?" Or even worse. "Congratulations, Dr Fraiser who's the father?"
I still hadn't quite formulated what I would say in reply if anyone ever did. Anyway, my thoughts were interrupted by an overwhelming wave of tiredness and nausea. I held tightly on to the edge of the bed for support. Sergeant Cameron whose recovery from injuries sustained in the fight against Solon I had been assessing reached out to hold me up. "Doc, you okay you don't look so good."
"Dizzy," I whispered, keeping my eyes tightly shut. "Very, very dizzy." Everything was suddenly very warm and dark and I could feel my knees begin to buckle and I started to fall.
"Hey, I need some help here!" Cameron shouted.
I was lying on the couch in my office. I had snatched enough naps on it in the past to recognise its particular discomforts immediately. I had no idea how long I had been unconscious. My head was still spinning but the nausea didn't seem to be too bad. I felt limp with exhaustion. Something was very wrong with me. Please let it not be the baby, please
I risked opening my eyes. It was Sam. She looked flushed, as if she'd been running. "I got here as quickly as I could," she explained. "I just had this terrible feeling. I just left the briefing and ran."
"The briefing with General Hammond?" My voice sounded funny and my headache was steadily getting worse. The fluttering sensation inside was more painful, almost panicky. "Sam I think something's wrong. I think "
The light in my office was dim: Sam hadn't bothered with the overheads in her rush to get me somewhere safe. Yet I could see Sam clearly, kneeling beside the couch and I realised that the faintly luminous aura was visible around her again. She was moving her hands slowly across my body. Her eyes were open, but she looked as if she was dreaming. "Shhh. Just relax, Janet," she whispered. "You need to relax don't fight me don't "
She rested one hand on the bulge of my abdomen and the other over my heart. She shut her eyes again and her expression was one of intense concentration. I felt warmth and energy flow through me again. The headache vanished, I felt the fluttering inside settle again, resume its normal rhythm.
"Major Carter! What is the meaning of " General Hammond marched into my office and paused. He could see the aura around Sam's body, where her hands were on my body. We were so busted. We would have to tell him the truth before the party. There was no other way out of this.
"General, please, sit down," I said. My voice still sounded a little weak, but better than it had been. "I'll try to explain, as soon as I've checked on Sam." Sam's head was bent, her breathing ragged. What ever she was doing was now beginning to hurt her. I reached up, touched her cheek to try and bring her out of the trance. "Sam. Sam, please. I'm okay. I'm okay."
"Dr Fraiser, what is going on here?" General Hammond asked, sitting down in my chair. I swung my legs off the couch and sat up, pulling Sam up onto the couch beside me. Sam swayed and would have fallen if I hadn't held her. I broke the link between us, laid her head back against the couch, my hand resting on the pulse in her throat. It was steady and strong. She was going to be all right. I felt wonderful.
"Sir, we were going to tell you at dinner, tomorrow, but I suppose it's as well we let you know now," I said, sitting up straight and smoothing down my uniform. "When Sam rescued me from Solon I was dying. To preserve my life she merged with me. I don't know how else to describe it. It saved my life, but there were consequences. One was that Sam became corporeal again, the other was that whilst she was in my body her life energy fused with mine. I happened to be ovulating at the time and well I'm pregnant with Sam's child. For some reason it's all happening very quickly. I expect to give birth at the end of next week. The child will be female and is healthy, as am I. Until a few minutes ago, anyway. We were apart from each other for too long. Sam and I already know that we are linked because of the child. Whether that link will persist after she is born, we don't know. To be honest, there are a lot of things we don't know."
"You're pregnant and Major Carter is the father?" Hammond shook his head. "I think I've heard everything now. Okay, putting that aside for the moment, when Major Carter was touching you, she was glowing," Hammond said. "I could see it quite clearly. Is that something else left over from when she was ascended?"
"We think so. She seems to be able to transfer energy into me. This is the second time she's done it. It's how she kept me alive when she found me and she did it again a few days ago. This is only a theory but we haven't been physically close to each other for at least the last twenty four hours. Sam's been on base and I was at home until a couple of hours ago. Perhaps the reason I haven't had any ill effects from the accelerated pregnancy is that wittingly or unwittingly, Sam's nearness to me has been protecting me." He seemed to be taking it all very well, I thought. Carefully getting to my feet I crossed to my desk and took the sonogram image from my top drawer. "This was taken three days ago. She was approximately sixteen weeks in development then. Now it is closer to twenty weeks."
"And you will have this child in the next week," Hammond said. He handed back the photograph. "Incredible. Who else knows about this?"
"Just yourself, sir. We've told no one else. To be honest, we had no idea what to say." I turned to Sam who was stirring restlessly. "Sam, are you okay?"
"Sir?" Sam opened her eyes and tried to stand up. She swayed alarmingly and this time it was Hammond who took hold of her and set her down again.
"Take it easy, Major," he advised. "Dr Fraiser has explained the situation to me. Whilst I have no doubt at all that this falls completely outside military regulations, I still think that both of you should have come to me when you first suspected what was happening. I am disappointed that you did not. However, given past events, particularly concerning yourself and NID, Major Carter, I can understand why you decided to keep it to yourselves. I think that you both need more downtime to come to terms with what happened when you rescued Dr Fraiser and the consequences," he smiled at me. "I expect a report from you by the end of the day, Doctor, to that effect. But I will be recommending a leave of absence for both of you of at least six weeks. Doctor if there is anything you need, just let me know. We will try to deal with this within the SGC as much as we can. I don't need to remind you how interested certain other parties would be in all of this. But we look after our own, never forget that. Major , Doctor go home, relax and I will see you both tomorrow evening. And congratulations."
"Thank you, sir," we chorused.
We spent the afternoon relaxing, sleeping, making love. I wrote my report for Hammond and emailed it to him directly. If Cassie was surprised to see us home early, she did not show it. One thing we had decided during that long lazy afternoon was that we couldn't keep Cassie in the dark any longer. It wasn't fair to our daughter. I told Sam about the speculative look she had given me at breakfast.
I left it up to Sam to do the explaining. I just sat with my arm around Cassie's shoulders. She was a little confused but excited, worried for me. High school sex ed didn't cover this type of thing.
"I'm going to have a little sister," she exclaimed softly, then hugged me tightly before jumping away again, looking at the bump in mortification. "I didn't hurt you did I?"
"No sweetie, you didn't hurt me or the baby." I took her hand and laid it on my abdomen. I felt the strange fluttering sensation again and glanced at Sam. She could sense it as well, her grin widening as she watched the pair or should I say the three of us. "She knows you would never hurt her, Cassie."
"Oh this is so cool! Have you thought of a name for her yet?"
Sam and I gazed at one another. She shrugged and then grinned. We hadn't given naming our daughter any thought at all so far, though given the timescale it was high time we started.
That discussion took up the rest of the evening. But by the time we shooed Cassie off to bed we had some possibilities sorted out and by breakfast the next morning a clear favourite: Sophia Catherine Carter Fraiser.
++Testing the Link++
I sent Cassie out with Sam to do some last minute shopping for the party. They had not had much chance to spend quality time together since Sam's return and I wanted to remedy that as soon as I could. Cassie might well be nearly nineteen but her devotion and love for Sam was a major part of her life. Somewhere inside her there was still the scared twelve year old girl who had watched her whole world die. And Sam Carter would always be her hero.
I busied myself preparing food, enjoying the act of creation, careful to pace myself so that I wouldn't be too tired by the evening. Then I felt her kick for the first time. I stopped in wonderment, my hands flattened over my swelling abdomen, willing it to happen again. It did. Then my cellphone rang. It was Sam. "Are you alright, Jan? I just got the strangest feeling "
"Sophia kicked me," I said. "I felt our daughter kick me, Sam. I think she's going to be another soccer player like Cassie."
Sam laughed. "Oh god, Janet, that's wonderful. You take it easy, you hear. Cass and I will be back in about an hour. I promised her coffee and muffins at Starbucks."
"You two have fun. I love you."
"And I love you both of you," she replied. Smiling, I put the phone down and wondered for Sam's sake just how much of this pregnancy she was going to share and how long the link between us would last afterwards. It seemed to be more on her side than mine. I could swear that she could read my thoughts sometimes. I had about half an hour before I needed to check on dinner again. With what I am sure must have been an evil grin on my face I decided to put my theory to the test.
I settled myself down on the couch, propping up my aching feet, and proceeded to think about Sam. About how we had made love a thousand times, a thousand different ways. How her skin felt under my fingertips, soft and smooth, warm as my hands glided over the strong muscles and bones beneath the layer of skin. How I felt when her scent filled my nostrils sandalwood, strawberries and musk. The sound of her voice when she murmured my name, or screamed it in the height of passion. The knowledge that I was the cause of this that I could profoundly affect this wonderful, beautiful, intelligent woman with just a word or a touch burned within me. I remembered how good simply hearing her laugh made me feel and the love and honour that I felt the first time she let down her guard enough to cry in front of me.
In my mind I went through exactly how Samantha Carter liked to be made love to, from the places she liked to be touched, the things she liked me to say. I remembered a particular time, early in our relationship. She had been tired after a long mission and we had both gone straight to bed when we got home from the Mountain. I had woken early, dawn sunshine just filtering through the curtains. I had watched the bar of hazy sunlight play across her skin. I remembered how I had kissed her down the length of her spine, pausing at the dimple at the base of her spine my hands caressing her beautiful bottom. Her hands were caught under her, clasped between her breasts almost in an attitude of prayer and her face was buried in her pillow. Her legs were parted slightly as I slid my fingers between them feeling her satin smooth skin. She moaned into the pillow as I slid my hand further in, my fingers seeking her warmth, her labia pressing against my palm. I rubbed gently, finding her slit and sliding one finger inside her. My other hand rested on her hip. I kept gently working her not sure whether she was still asleep or I had woken her up yet. A second finger joined the first and I angled my hand a little, my thumb brushing against her clit. She gasped and I definitely heard my name this time, a note of interest in her voice. I smiled and bent over her, whispering in her ear exactly what I had planned for her.
I was almost lost in the memory when the phone rang again. I opened my eyes and smiled. I felt wonderful. But how was Sam feeling?
There was no small talk. "Exactly what are you doing?" she whispered indignantly. I had a hard time hearing her over what sounded like a toilet flushing and several excited teenagers talking at maximum volume.
"Where are you?"
"In the ladies restroom in Starbucks. I had to abandon Cassie and make a run for it. I think they would have called Security on me otherwise. I don't think they go much for public orgasms here. Particularly not solo efforts. What on earth were you doing?" I concentrated again on the last mental image, the sound of her voice when she was in the moment. I almost giggled out loud when I heard a pained gasp and a very squeaky "Janet!"
"Just testing out a theory," I smiled broadly. "Come home soon, okay, hun? I'll explain then. At length. I miss you. We both miss you."
"Minx!" I relaxed a little as I heard her giggle. "I'd better get back to our daughter before she thinks I've gone completely loopy. And you, madam, keep your libido under control. At least until we're in the same room as each other."
I smiled. "Then hurry! I love you."
"Back at ya!" my beloved said in her best O'Neill voice. "See you soon."
Daniel, Paul and Jack were due to arrive at a little after eight. Teal'c was riding in with General Hammond who had already phoned to say he was running a little late but would be here before nine. It was now half past seven.
I took ages to decide what to wear. Something over half my wardrobe was no longer accessible to me due to my expanding waistline and what was accessible tended to be more the lounging around the house clothes than dressing up clothes. Sam was in tailored dark blue trousers and a silver top, effortlessly gorgeous as ever. She was already dressed whilst I was standing wrapped in a towel pensively going along the rail for the third time. She sat on the bed watching me. "While we were out " she paused.
I turned, holding up a dress shirt that might still fit if I left the bottom buttons undone. "Mmm?"
"I bought you something. While we were out. A dress. For you to wear tonight. If you like it." Stumbling over her words a little she got up and went to her closet, bringing out a dress bag. She unzipped it and brought out a dark red silk dress. It was simply beautiful. I reached out to touch the soft fabric, longed to feel it against my skin.
"It must have cost you a fortune," I whispered.
"Hey, I've eight months back pay coming to me not to mention hazard bonuses," Sam said. "And pleasing you is beyond any price."
I blinked away tears at that. She helped me into the dress, kissing her way up my back as she zipped me up. It left my shoulders bare and my cleavage Well, it would give O'Neill something to stare at if conversation palled. No one seeing me in it would ever mistake me as anything other than pregnant, but it was in a triumphant way rather than being hidden under baggy shirts and elasticated waists. The colour complimented my creamy skin and dark hair and eyes perfectly. And the length was a flattering mid calf. Sam stood behind me as I looked at myself in the mirror, her hands resting on the bulge of our daughter. "You look amazing," she whispered. "I knew you would. Have I told you today how much I love you?"
"Once or twice, but I can always stand to hear it again," I raised my head to nuzzle at her neck, her head turned towards me, our lips meeting and we kissed long and hard. "Thank you, it's beautiful."
"You make it beautiful." I turned and buried my face in her neck, the tears coming too easily. Had it only been a little over two weeks since I got her back in my life, since this miracle had occurred? As if in reply to my thoughts, our daughter kicked again. Sam gasped, her hands on my abdomen as she felt the movement directly and through our link.
"Does it hurt?" she asked softly. "I always imagined it would hurt."
"No, it doesn't hurt," I told her. "It's more of a surprise, than anything. But ask me again in a few more days when she's doing handstands on my bladder or getting lodged under my ribs." I glanced at my watch. "They're going to be here soon."
"Wait. I bought accessories as well," Sam said, delving back into her closet. She brought out a shoe box and another bag. The shoe box revealed low heeled slippers in the same red silk and the bag a damask throw to go around my shoulders. I had to admit that I looked a million dollars and felt incredibly special. "And this."
From her pocket she drew out a slim jewellery case, dark leather, expensive looking even without seeing the contents. "Close your eyes," she said.
I was obedient. I felt her lift my hair away from my neck, something cool touch my skin. Her lips soft against my neck for a moment. "You can look now."
I opened my eyes and looked at my reflection. Around my throat was a gold necklet with a ruby drop in the centre, matching the dress and the throw. Sam stood behind me, her hands resting lightly on my shoulders. "Sam, it's the most beautiful thing " I turned, held her close for a long moment.
The doorbell rang. We heard Cassie take the stairs in about three leaps by the sound of it and her squeal of delight at seeing her three favourite uncles. "I'd better get down there," Sam said reluctantly. "Cassie and I will sort the food. You take as long as you need, okay."
"Okay." I said softly, reluctantly letting go of her hand. She was almost out of the door when I spoke again. "Sam?"
"If I haven't said so before. Thank you. Thank you for my life, for coming back to me, for this child, for everything. I love you."
Her smile seared me to my soul, the love that radiated from her warmed me to my toes. "I know," she smiled.
++Telling the Guys++
I heard Jack ask how I was and where I was hiding out as I came down the stairs. Hammond and Teal'c had arrived a few minutes earlier. Word had obviously got out about my collapse in the infirmary the previous day. I paused at the doorway, gathered my courage and went in.
"My god, Janet you look a million dollars."
"Dr Fraiser, you look stunning."
"Good to see you, Doc."
"I'm glad to see you looking so blooming, Dr Fraiser."
No one said anything about the bulge but no one took their eyes from it. Sam's cheeks were the same colour as my dress and Cassie looked like she was about to burst. I sat down, accepted the glass of apple juice that Sam handed to me. Eat first and then tell them, or tell them now and then eat. Sophia kicked me into touch.
"Well, apart from welcoming Sam back safe and well, I asked you here tonight to tell you some news." Sam sat on the arm of my chair, her arm resting on the back, almost around my shoulders. Cassie sat at my feet, her head resting against my knee. Solidarity. I had my family around me. Nothing could touch us.
I paused, deciding that the best way, the easiest way, was to tell them the truth from the beginning. "When Sam found me, Solon had just about killed me. I was not going to survive. Either Solon was just going to leave my body where he found it or he was going to cart me back to his ship, heal me in a Sarcophagus and then make me a host. According to what Sam could sense that would have been a very bad thing, not just for me, but for everything."
"Janet would have made a very powerful and dangerous Goa'uld, not just because of her knowledge of the SGC but also her knowledge of human physiology and virology. She would have made Nirrti look like a kid with a chemistry set," Sam said softly. I felt Cassie shudder at the mention of Nirrti's name and let my hand gentle through her hair for a moment until I felt her relax again.
"So that is why you decided to directly intervene," O'Neill said. "Why you " He couldn't finish the sentence, but I could see the tension around his eyes.
"For all the agony Ba'al put you through, Sir, you still had a good chance of escape. I knew that the rest of SG1 and the SGC were doing everything in their power to locate you and pull you out of there," Sam said. "I did what I could."
"It's okay, Carter. For the record you made the right call on both counts," O'Neill said. His posture eased a little. I noticed Daniel's hand rested O'Neill's shoulder and Teal'c's almond eyes on him appraisingly. He wasn't alone in this either. "So, Solon had plans for the Doc "
"I had to get her out of there, keep her alive until you came through the Stargate. I sent Solon and his Jaffa away and then I merged with Janet, giving her my energy."
"So why didn't you give Doc the opportunity to ascend? You did with me and from the sound of it I was a lot better off than she was."
"It's difficult to explain. The Ascended can access a kind of nexus of possibilities. From where they are they can see a lot of futures. It's not quite the same as the Quantum Mirror," Sam added hastily, seeing Daniel, who had the most experience of Alternate Universes was about to ask the question. "These are Might Be's, I suppose you could say. When you were Ba'als prisoner, there was a strong possibility that SG1 would cook up something to get you released, especially with a nudge in the right direction many of the possibilities pointed to that conclusion. There was also a strong possibility that Ba'al would continue the cycle of torture and resurrection until you were destroyed physically and mentally. I was allowed to give you the opportunity to Ascend much as Oma Desala did with me when I was dying of naquadria poisoning. But the choice was yours. If you chose not to Ascend then there was nothing more I could do. Shifu let you glimpse some of it when he showed you what would happen if he gave you all the knowledge of the Goa'uld, Daniel."
Daniel nodded. "I think I understand. So the Nexus for Janet showed what her death or her becoming a host. There were no other possibilities."
"Until I made one," Sam said. "I kept her alive until she was safe. And for that I was banished." She looked at the floor. "They weren't angry with me not really. Kind of disappointed, I guess. As everyone out there keeps telling us we're very young. But at least they let me come back here. That was one of the consequences of what I did by intervening."
"And I'm guessing that the... bump, is one of the other consequences. Sorry to be personal, Doc, but from what I can remember of how Sara looked when she was pregnant with Charlie you look about six months gone."
"That would be about right, but this happened just over two weeks ago. When Sam merged with me, I was at the fertile point in my cycle. The energies involved were sufficient to start the process. All the tests I have managed to do so far show that the foetus is healthy and normal except that it's all happening at a very accelerated rate."
"How about you?" Paul asked. "How are you coping with this, Janet? Is this why you collapsed yesterday?"
"It seems that as long as Sam stays in close proximity to Janet, then Janet is able to cope with the demands on her body," Hammond said. "What I witnessed yesterday proved that to me beyond any doubt."
"So you're going to give birth in what, a week?" O'Neill said.
"Six to eight days depending on whether development continues at the current rate," I said. "As you can all understand, we want to keep this as quiet as possible. You are the only people who know about this and I would like to keep it that way."
"Yeah, the boys at NID would have a field day with this one," O'Neill looked grim. "Okay. So, this baby let me get this straight. Carter's the father?"
"In a manner of speaking, yes," Sam said. "She is my daughter and Janet's."
"Then she will be an exceptional child," Teal'c said. I smiled at him and he bowed his head in acknowledgement. "No one shall harm her. I will see to that."
"Not a bad idea, T," O'Neill nodded. "If you ladies don't mind. I think a little extra security round here wouldn't come amiss. Just in case. Carter I'm guessing you can't pull the same trick you pulled on Solon now."
"I don't think so," Sam said. "I think whatever abilities I retain will go once Sophia is born."
"You already picked a name," Paul smiled. "Sophia, that's nice."
"She will be Sophia Catherine Carter Fraiser," Cassandra said proudly. "My little sister."
"Well," Daniel raised his glass. "Here's to Sophia Catherine Carter Fraiser. The newest member of the SGC."
++The Longest Day++
I laid on the bed, propped up with cushions concentrating on the sensations running through my body. By my reckoning I would give birth to Sophia some time in the next forty eight hours. Part of me couldn't wait. My prediction of ending up barrel shaped proved correct. I hadn't seen my feet for two days. But I would miss this connection with my daughter. And then there was the connection with Sam.
She was downstairs making breakfast. Eggs was one thing Sam was good at. As long as you wanted them scrambled. And toast. Thanks to Danny she also made damned fine coffee. I smiled, thinking of her other skills again.
"Janet! Stop it!" Her voice floated up the stairs.
"Can I help it if my hormones are out of control!" I shouted back.
A few minutes later there was a knock at the door and Teal'c came in carrying a tray. "Major Carter is cleaning the floor," he explained. "She was distracted and dropped the container of orange juice."
"I'm sorry Teal'c. You must think all of this is very strange," I said contritely.
He set the bed on the tray beside me. "Since I joined the SGC I have seen many strange things," he said. "The relationship between yourself and Major Carter is not one of them. You are good for each other. The fact that fate has enabled you to show that love in such a fashion is a great gift."
I flattened my hand across my abdomen. Sophia kicked at it. "Yes it is," I smiled.
He looked at me curiously. "When my wife was pregnant I was away on a mission for Apophis. I did not return until Rya'c was almost two months old. I never got the chance to experience what it was like to feel my child inside his mother. May I?"
"Of course." I took hold of his hand and laid it across my abdomen. "She should kick again in a second or two." Right on schedule my darling kicked and a huge smile spread across Teal'c's face.
"She has a strong spirit," he said.
"She's Sam's daughter how else could she be?" I laughed, then winced as the muscles in my back hitched slightly. We heard footsteps coming up the stairs and after bowing to me again and giving my abdomen one last caress, Teal'c stepped away from the bed.
Sam rushed in. "Are you okay?"
"A touch of back ache, nothing else," I reassured her. "Kitchen all cleaned up?"
She stuck her tongue out at me. "If it wasn't for the fact that you can't actually bend over any more I'd have made you do it." I ignored the implied threat and picked up the plate of eggs and a fork. I was suddenly ravenous.
"I will be downstairs if you need anything," Teal'c said.
Sam sat on the bed beside me and helped herself to a slice of toast. "So, how are you doing?" she asked.
"I don't know how women last nine months," I grumbled. "Four weeks of this has been quite long enough, thank you. I just hope that everything goes back in the right place."
"It should do. We worked out that you'd only put on about six pounds over and above the baby," Sam said. "A week or so and no one will know you were ever pregnant. Apart from the photo's of course."
Ah yes, the photo's. Yesterday, Sam had caught me unawares pottering around the garden, talking to my roses and the bump in equal proportions the day before. She had her digital camera with her and had taken several photographs before I noticed. So I am immortalized forever in low slung baggy shorts and a faded tee shirt with the pale globe of my tummy clearly visible in the middle. Sam said I looked radiant. I can't quite see it myself.
I am glad she took them. Really. This is an experience I do want to remember. "C'mere," I said, putting down the plate.
She leant over me and I kissed her, my tongue snaking out along her lips tasting butter and the slightly burnt taste of toast before I got the unique taste that was my lover. Her hand was on my neck, her fingers caught in my hair as she deepened the kiss before we both reacted sharply as the muscles in my lower back twanged again. I broke away, breathing deeply.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Sam asked.
"It's just my body adjusting to what's going to happen in the next few days," I assured her. "But it does look like I'm not going to be alone in this."
"Oh, great," Sam leant her forehead against mine. "I don't suppose I can't just drink myself into oblivion for the next forty eight hours?"
"What happened to my brave little soldier?" I smiled, rubbing my nose along the length of her cheek. "We'll get through this, don't worry, flygirl. It'll be worth it. She'll be worth it."
"I know." Sam bent over and kissed the bump. "Morning Sophia. Don't give your mother too much hassle today, okay?" She bent her head as if listening and gave me one of her million megawatt smiles. "She says she can't promise anything, but she'll do her best."
We finished breakfast and then Sam took the tray away, hauled me to my feet and propelled me towards the bathroom for a shower.
I stood under the stream of hot water, letting it run down my back hoping it would ease the tensions in my muscles. The back ache was getting steadily worse. And then it happened.
My waters broke.
We screamed each other's names out simultaneously. I braced myself against the wall of the shower staring at the blood and fluids as they washed down the drain. Some doctor I was, I told myself. I must have been in labour for a couple of hours at least.
Sam was at my side, wrapping me in a towel and my robe. I clung to her as she half carried me back to the bed. "Teal'c's phoning Alice," she said. "She'll be here soon."
"Alice or Sophia," I joked weakly. Dammit, it hurt. Maybe that meant it would be quick. I risked looking at Sam. I don't think I'd ever seen her so pale. Thankfully she pulled herself together a lot quicker than I did and finished drying me off and got me into a clean nightshirt. Now my errant brain was actually recognizing them as contractions and not back ache, I realised that my contractions were about five minutes apart.
There was a discreet knock at the door. "Alice is on her way," Teal'c announced. "Is there anything you require?"
"We're okay for now, Teal'c," Sam said. I was too busy getting through the next contraction. Funny how now I knew what they were they had suddenly got ten times worse. Alice was one of my nurses, someone who I had worked with for years and trusted implicitly. She knew about my relationship with Sam and she had midwifery experience. Along with Sam, she was going to deliver my child.
The contraction passed. Sam helped me to my feet and I walked around the room for a bit, trying to relax. Two contractions later and Alice arrived. Sam held my hand whilst Alice laid out her gear and gave me a quick exam, reassuring me that Sophia was exactly where she needed to be and she didn't expect any complications.
Considering I had got the whole conception to birth process over with nine times quicker than normal I expected the actual delivery to be over a lot quicker than it was. One hour became two, then three. Sam was suffering along with me. She wiped my face and neck with a cloth and smiled wearily at me. "I'll never complain about cramps again," she whispered. "You're doing great."
"Another two or three contractions and we're in business," Alice said. "You're fully dilated, Janet."
I tried very hard not to crush Sam's hand as the contractions seemed to be coming continuously now. Alice called encouragement to me to keep pushing and keep breathing.
Keep pushing. Keep breathing.
I have no idea how long I just existed with those two commandments going through my mind. And then it was as if everything stopped. For a moment it seemed that I was back in the white place where I had found myself after Solon attacked me and I thought that the whole thing Sam's return, my pregnancy, Sophia had all been an illusion, a scenario played out in my head for that goa'uld bastard's amusement.
And then I heard my baby cry.
I opened my eyes. Alice was cleaning me up. Sam had one hand on the pulse at my throat, the other resting lightly on a towel laid over my belly. Under the towel something warm and wet gave a snuffling cry.
"Hey," I croaked. "What happened?"
"You passed out. You're going to be okay. And there's someone here who'd really like to meet you." She lifted our daughter off my belly and laid her in my arms. "Janet, I'd like you to meet Sophia Catherine."
Ten little fingers. Ten little toes. A face that was still puffy and slightly squashed looking and a pair of cornflower blue eyes that were regarding me with entirely too much world-weariness for someone less than ten minutes old. And curls of fine dark blond hair over her skull. "Hello, my baby girl," I whispered, gently kissing her brow. "Oh, Sam, look at her!"
"I always said she would be beautiful, just like her mother," Sam smiled, tears trickling down her cheeks.
Out of whiteness into light. The touch of human hands. Voices, words beyond my comprehension but emotions I understand. Love. Unconditional love. I am loved. Wanted. The wait has been worthwhile.
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