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: Set late season 2. Brief mention of "A matter of time."
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author
Gravitygirl & Analog
Sam went online as soon as she got home as had become her habit the last couple of weeks. Analog was already online. Sam was about to initiate a conversation with her new friend but Analog beat her to it.
Analog: Hi Gravitygirl how was the trip?
Gravitygirl: U know how work trips are. No fun. V glad 2 B home. U done anything interesting?
Sam had gathered that Analog was in the medical profession from clues she had let slip in her conversation. She was also based in the Colorado Springs area. And she was a single mom to a teenage daughter. They had both been chary about revealing much personal information about themselves considering how they had got in contact in the first place. Gay chat rooms weren't exactly covered by air force regulations which was why Sam didn't give out much about herself other than that she was a scientist and she worked away a lot. She could only guess that the other woman's motivations were that she was not `out' much either for some reason.
Analog: the usual cuts & bruises & strained muscles. A few allergies to sort out. There's this one guy I swear he's allergic to everything inc one of his allergy meds!
Gravitygirl: sounds like a friend of mine. He's bad at the moment. Pollen issues.
Sam called herself Gravitygirl partly because she thought it sounded good and partly because of the new mantra she had given herself since the incident with SG10 and the black hole. People first, science second. It did not stop her icon being a particularly cool shot from Hubble of a star nursery, streamers of plasma bubbling across space. She had no idea how Analog had come by her icon. She hadn't recognized it at first, it was some kind of cartoon character but then she had spotted it when she was over at Janet's. It was from Dragonball Z, which turned out to be one of Cassie's favourite cartoons and incidentally something that Janet enjoyed watching as well. Very shortly afterwards, Sam knew more about the cartoon than she ever really wanted to. But then anything that gave her an extra insight into her friend had to be a bonus. Right? Right.
Her friend. How long was she going to continue to lie to herself? What she felt for Janet went far beyond friendship. And it had for some time. But Janet could never know. And now there was Analog to consider. The little she knew of the woman she liked. Their conversations were easy, teasing, things she could never, would never say out loud, face to face she seemed to be able to express in this medium.
Analog seemed to read her thoughts: So have you told her yet.
No. Sam typed. The time wasn't right.
Analog: You've been in love with this woman how long?
Gravitygirl: 2 years give or take.
Analog: Wimp! Tell her. What's the worst that can happen?
Sam grinned, but it did not reach her eyes. Dishonourable discharge. Losing everything that meant anything to her. Never seeing Janet or Cassie again.
Gravitygirl: It could get pretty bad. I could lose my job. Never get to see her again. I couldn't stand that.
Analog: So it's better to say nothing.
Gravitygirl: I guess.
Analog: <VBG> So I'm in with a chance then.
Sam stared at the screen. Was she serious? More importantly, did Sam want it to be serious? Perhaps she needed to do this to move on from her infatuation with the unattainable. She took a deep breath.
Gravitygirl: Yeah. You're in with a chance. Want to make this real-world?
Across town, Janet Fraiser stared at the computer screen. This changed everything. Gravitygirl wasn't the only one who needed to move on from a hopeless infatuation.
Gravitygirl: Yeah. You're in with a chance. Want to make this real-world?
What the hell should she answer? She badly wanted to talk to her best friend about this, get her always useful advice but this was one thing she could never talk to her sweet but irredeemably straight friend about. Sam was career military. She might understand Janet's orientation on a personal level but professionally it would put her in a very difficult position. Don't ask don't tell. If it ever came out that Janet was gay and Sam had known about it it could hurt Sam's career as well. They could take Cassie away from her.
Gravitygirl: You still there? I haven't scared you off have I?
Janet began to type.
Analog: No you haven't scared me off. I deal with bigger n badder than you on a daily basis.
Gravitygirl: Okay Okay! So when and where?
Janet closed her eyes. She was scheduled on late shift at the mountain tomorrow night and the night after she should really spend some quality time with Cassie. That took her to Friday.
Analog: Friday. Do you know a restaurant called Krimo's. Down on the Riverside.
Gravitygirl: Yeah I know Krimo's. Good choice. Not sure about Friday though. I kind of have a thing, but I'm sure I can get out of it. She's always telling me I need to acquire a social life.
Crap! What was she thinking? Friday Sam came round on Fridays if she was off duty (and on the same planet) their regular wine pizza bitching and chickflick session. But Sam would understand. Gravitygirl's friend wasn't the only one who gave advice on the importance of having a life outside of work.
Analog: Email me if it's going to be a problem and we'll rearrange. Otherwise I'll meet you outside Krimo's at eight. Okay.
Gravitygirl: Okay. Better n'okay. I'll see you then, I promise. Look, hate to hit on you and run but if I don't eat something soon I'm going to keel over. Looking forward to Friday. It'll be good to meet you in the real world.
Sam sat back. Shit. She'd done it now. Irritation at her unthinking forwardness soon passed and almost to her surprise she found that she was happy. Her gut feeling was that this was the right thing to do. She had enjoyed her online conversations with Analog had already told her things about herself that she had not told anyone, not even Janet supposedly her best friend.
Sam had always had a tendency to compartmentalize her life. No one knew everything about her. Janet probably knew her better than anyone except perhaps Cassie. But there were some things she could not talk about with a fourteen year old girl, no matter how wise beyond her years that precious girl happened to be. Not that Cassie was blind to the level of feeling that existed between her adopted mothers. She seemed okay with it and had even dropped some veiled hints to Sam that she should take things further with Janet.
Since she had been the one to suggest it, Janet rang up to book a table at Krimo's. As she hung up, she had a horrible thought. She had no idea what Gravitygirl looked like. She racked her brain for clues, anything that might have come up in the online conversations they had over the last month. She had the impression of tall and blond but she might be just projecting there. All her mind's eye would show her was Sam and she couldn't possibly be that lucky.
Her phone rang. She checked the caller ID. The Mountain. So much for her quiet night in.
Sam took the dish of chicken risotto out of the microwave and put it on a tray. She couldn't even be bothered to serve it onto a plate. It would save washing up, she reasoned. She snagged a bottle of beer out of the fridge and knocked off the cap.
Her phone rang. She picked up. "Hi. Sam Carter speaking."
"Sam, it's Janet. I've been called in SG14 have come down with a fever three hours after gating through. Could I drop off Cassie to stay for the night?"
"No problem. Has she eaten I was just making supper?"
"Yeah, she's eaten but you know growing teenage girls," Sam could hear the worry behind the lightness of her friend's voice.
"I'll be prepared. See you soon, okay?"
"Okay, Sam. And thanks."
"Any time for my favourite girls. You know that."
Janet smiled as she put down the phone. Her favourite girl. If only Sam meant it the way she meant it. But having Sam in her life as a platonic friend was way better than most of the probable alternatives so she would take what she got.
"Cassie!" she called up the stairs.
"Ready, mom," her daughter careered down the stairs, jumping the last three, duffel bag for overnight and school bag for tomorrow in her hand.
"I'm really sorry about this, Cass."
"Hey, it means I get to spend time with Sam," Cassie grinned. "It's okay, mom. Go do your doctor thing."
Sam dropped off Cassie at school before driving in to work. It had been fun having a sleepover but she forgot how much energy the teenager had and how much curiousity.
"You and mom still on for Friday night?" Cassie asked. "Assuming you're both here."
"Probably not," Sam confessed, to her exasperation feeling her fair skin begin to heat just at the thought of it. "I may have a thing."
"A thing a date!" Cassie put two and two together damn quickly sometimes. "Oooh! Come on, spill. I want to know everything."
"I'm meeting someone for a meal. It's not a date as such," Sam said defensively. Of course it was a date, a first date at that. Who was she trying to kid.
Not Cassie, that was clear. "Who with? Someone from work?"
"No, no one from work."
"What's her name?"
Her name. No fooling this girl. Her name. Oh great. So much for don't ask don't tell. And talking of don't ask. How the hell did she explain that she hadn't got round to asking that one yet? "Well, we met online. We've been sending messages to each other for a couple of weeks now. I don't actually know her real name yet and I don't think she knows mine."
Cassie digested this one for a moment. "So what do you know about her?"
"Well, she's smart, funny I think she works in medicine, she's from Colorado and she had a teenage daughter."
"Not much to go on. Sam, don't get mad at me but do you know what you're doing? We had a talk at school about how bad people go into chatrooms sometimes and make up stories to get people to trust them. And then when they do meet well, they're some kind of scuzz who likes to hurt little kids or an ax murderer or something."
"I'm pretty sure that Analog is on the level," Sam said. "And we're meeting in a public place " she paused as Cassie had what appeared to be a choking fit, soda spilling everywhere. "Cassie, you okay?"
Cassie nodded, wheezed. "Went down wrong way." By the time Sam had fetched a cloth from the kitchen and with Cassie's help wiped up the mess, the girl had got herself back under control again.
"I'm being careful, Cassie, don't worry." Sam said. "Anyway, enough about me. What's with you?"
The rest of the evening had passed quickly. Sam noted that her reassurances that she would be safe seemed to have calmed her young friend's fears. She seemed in very good spirits when she went to bed.
"Say hi to mom for me," she said as she exited the car the next morning. "And don't do anything I wouldn't do with Analog. What's your handle anyway?"
"Gravitygirl," Sam grinned. "Stupid but it fits."
"Gravitygirl and Analog. Sounds like a pair of superhero's to me," Cassie grinned. She leaned in through the open car door and gave a surprised Sam a kiss on the cheek. "You're the best, Sam. You really are."
There was a message for her at the Security checkpoint: she had to report to the Infirmary. Wondering if the situation with SG14 had escalated, Sam signed in and headed for the lifts.
General Hammond had obviously been alerted to her arrival. He met her at the Infirmary doors. "Sir!"
"At ease, Captain." He looked ill at ease. Something was wrong.
"Has something happened, sir?" Sam asked.
"There was an incident early this morning. SG14 were brought through in quarantine conditions. They've definitely contracted something but don't appear to be in any danger and Dr Fraiser expects them to make a full recovery in a couple of days. Dr Jackson and Dr Fraiser were consulting with the authorities on P4X2229 when Dr Fraiser also became ill. Her symptoms escalated very quickly."
Something inside Sam froze, stopped. "Is Janet okay?" She didn't recognize the sound of her own voice.
"She appears to be running a high fever. She's in isolation for the moment. She's been asking for you. She " he paused, alarmed at the young woman's pallor. "Captain?"
With a visible effort Sam pulled herself together. "I'm fine sir, a little shocked. What level quarantine is she held in?"
"Level 3. You can go in to see her as long as you are gloved and gowned. The nurses are trying to keep her calm but she seems to be experiencing some delirium and disorientation. As I said she's asked for you several times and for Cassie and keeps talking about gravity for some reason. Dr Jackson seemed to think that your presence would help to calm her."
Now he really was worried about how pale she was. If he didn't know better he would think she had come down with the disease herself.
"How much danger is she in, sir?"
"Dr Jackson can tell you more he's been translating with the Benari healers. If they can keep her clear of any secondary infections she should be fine in a couple of weeks."
Secondary infections. So the quarantine was as much for Janet's benefit as for theirs. "I'd like to go check on her straight away, if that's okay sir. Maybe after she's seen me and I've reassured her that Cassie is fine, she'll settle a bit."
"You're to take all the quarantine precautions that the medical staff insist on, Captain. I don't want anyone else coming down with this."
Dressed in a white oversuit, her hands gloved and a mask hanging at her throat for the moment, Sam waited outside Janet's room whilst the medical staff did another round of tests. She could hear her friend's voice asking what was going on, that she couldn't stay here, she had things to do. Janet certainly sounded out of it, Sam thought. She had talked to Daniel who had talked to the Benari and they had assured her that the delirium would pass and Janet would be herself in a few days.
Sam knew that she was either here or with Cassie for the duration. No way could she go on a date if Janet was ill. Her thoughts were interrupted as Tina, Janet's head nurse came out. "Thank goodness you're here Captain Carter. Perhaps you can get her to lie down and rest. She's extremely hyper at the moment, despite the sedative we've given her. If you could get her to take some liquids as well."
"I'll try," Sam said, pulling up the mask over her lower face and going into the isolation unit. Janet was dressed in infirmary pyjamas that swamped her tiny frame, her dark hair loose and rumpled, her cheeks flushed. She was pacing up and down, talking to herself but turned and just about flung herself in Sam's arms as soon as she entered the room.
"You came! You came!" she cried, hugging the taller woman.
"Of course I came," Sam said, disentangling herself from Janet's embrace and leading her across to the bed. She sat down and indicated that Janet should sit down beside her. After a moment's hesitation Janet did so but almost immediately jumped up and started pacing again.
"I don't know what they're making all the fuss about, Sam. There's nothing wrong with me. I can't stay cooped up in here forever. I've got things to do." She stopped pacing and turned to face Sam. "I'm so glad you're here, Sam."
Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes bright. Even though Sam knew that her friend was sick she also thought that she had never looked more beautiful.
"I'm glad I'm here as well," she said.
"Oh take that silly mask off. If I have got what the others had it's not airborne, it's passed on by skin contact. So as long as I don't touch you or " she giggled "kiss you or anything, you won't get it. Not that I've got it either. I missed taking my antihistamines is all."
Sam lowered the mask. "Better?" she asked. Kiss me. Any fever would be worth it.
"Better," Janet smiled. She moved closer. "Can't you spring me out of here, Sam please!"
"No can do, Janet," Sam said. "Much as I'd like to. It's your own rules, remember." She reached out to touch Janet's cheek, feeling the fever burn even through the latex gloves that covered her skin. "And whatever you say, you're definitely not yourself right now."
Dark eyes gazed up at her, utterly trusting, utterly Suddenly drymouthed, Sam let her hand drop back to her side. She had to be coming down with this thing as well, there was no way she had seen what she had thought she had seen in Janet's gaze.
"I have to go," she said quickly. "I'll come back later, check on you again. You should try to sleep for a bit, Janet. You'll feel better for it, I promise."
"Don't go, Sam. Please," Janet begged. Her hand closed around Sam's clinging tightly.
"I should contact Cassie, tell her what's happened, make arrangements " Sam said. "Let her know that you're okay and you'll be home soon."
"Have to be home, got plans," Janet said. She gazed up at Sam again. "I just wish it was you."
Sam frowned, not understanding the statement. "I'll come back later, Janet. I promise. But if you lie down, I'll stay until you fall asleep. Then I've got to go."
She disengaged Janet's fingers from her hand, encouraged the smaller woman to sit down and then lie down. "You just rest, okay."
The medication was finally kicking in. Huge dark eyes watched her in silence, blinking slowly. At last they closed and stayed closed. She was asleep. Sam waited a moment or two longer, listening to the deep even breathing, her gloved fingers brushing across the flushed cheek again. "Sweet dreams."
She changed back into BDUs, made Tina promise to call her if there was any change in Janet's condition and then went to her lab. She intercepted Colonel O'Neill on the way and begged a favour from him. As soon as she told him what it was he held up his hands.
"My pleasure, Carter. Haven't spent some quality time with Cass for too long. How's the Doc doing?"
"She's got a high fever but it looks like she'll be fine in a day or so."
"Good to know. Tell Cassie I'll pick her up about seven."
"Yes sir. Thank you, sir."
Cassie should be home from school by now. Sam rang Janet's house and after a few seconds the teen picked up the phone.
"Cassie, it's Sam. Erm, look your mam's been taken ill a bug she's picked up, but it's not too serious, don't worry, she'll be fine in a day or two. She's a bit needy at the moment so I'm staying close. Colonel O'Neill is coming to pick you up at seven to stay over at his place until Janet's better."
"How bad is she, Sam?" Cassie asked.
"She's got a fever and she's a bit disorientated. I finally got her to go to sleep a little while ago and the infirmary's promised to contact me when she wakes again. I promise you, Cassie, a day or two's rest and she'll be just fine."
"She'll miss it then."
"Miss what?" Sam asked. Janet had hinted at this as well.
"I hope mom doesn't get mad at me for telling you this, but there's something you need to know. She's Analog. The one you've made a date with on Friday night."
Ohmigod. Ohmigod. Now she was certain she'd caught the damn virus or whatever it was if the wave of heat then cold that passed over her had anything to do with it.
"Sam, say something please. Look, I've known for a long time that you've got a thing for mom and I know that she feels the same for you. I'm also 100% sure that she hasn't made the connection that you're Gravitygirl. Take this chance, please. Don't let it slip away. I think my superheroes deserve a little happiness together."
"I can't promise anything, Cassie," Sam whispered. "It's complicated, you know that."
"I'd do anything to be able to tell my mother one more time that I loved her. I didn't get a chance before she died," Cass said. "I know from what you said that mom isn't in any real danger this time. But what if she was. What if she left us and you never said anything."
"No pressure or anything, Cass," Sam joked weakly. "I can't promise anything, but I will think about it. I do want it to happen, you know that but "
"It's complicated. I know," Cassie sighed. "Give my love to mom and tell her to get better soon. I'd better get ready for Uncle Jack."
"I love you Cass, see you soon."
"Take care of mom for me."
Sam put the phone down and stared into space for a long moment. Various things fell into place. Cass's reaction when she had mentioned Analog's name. The General saying that Janet had been worried about Gravity. Janet having plans for Friday.
"I just wish it was you."
Sam scrambled to her feet and bolted.
Friday. Eight pm. Janet Fraiser gazed up at the infirmary ceiling and tried not to feel guilty. She hadn't been able to get a message to Gravitygirl that she wasn't going to make their date. It wasn't the sort of thing she could ask anyone else to do on her behalf. She just hoped that when she did manage to get back in contact with the other woman, she would be forgiven. She was going to be stuck in the infirmary for the next twenty four hours at least. At least her temperature had gone down, she had stopped throwing up and she was more or less this side of reality.
She remembered Sam had been with her every time she woke up. Holding her when she was sick, tucking another blanket around her when she had had the shivers, listening to her spout off on every subject under the sun. But Sam herself had been quiet, supportive, but quiet.
Had she said something when she was out of it?
Daniel appeared at the entry to her cubicle. "Hey Janet. I've got something for you. It was delivered a little while ago. Someone must think you deserve a treat. I didn't think Krimo's delivered."
Krimo's. She had never got round to canceling the table. But how why ?
He was carrying a covered tray. "Come on. Sit yourself up. It smells great. After three days of infirmary food you must be starving."
"It does smell good," Janet said, sitting up. Daniel laid the tray on the table and pulled it to the side of the bed. "I'll leave you to it. Sam said she'd stop by later. She's got something to finish up first."
Janet uncovered the tray. A fresh salad with feta cheese and olives, a covered dish that contained spiced lamb and couscous with almonds and apricots, and a meringue confection. With a lot of chocolate sauce. Someone knew her tastes very well. And a single red rose and a small envelope.
Her hands were trembling as she opened the envelope and drew out the card.
"I'm sorry you couldn't make our date tonight, Analog, sorrier still that it took us all this time and this strange route to find out that what we felt for each other was mutual. Our little bird helped me put the pieces together but I think we were both starting to see the truth.
You couldn't come to the date so I brought the date to you. Enjoy. I will see you very soon."
It was unsigned apart from two G's, intertwined with one another.
Janet stared at the card and found herself smiling. She recognized the writing immediately, Sam Carter's almost calligraphic style, the neat rounded letters were unmistakable. "Gravitygirl," she whispered. "Sam. Of course."
Nothing had ever felt so right. She had never felt so hungry. Still smiling, she picked up her fork and began to eat.
She was just starting on the delicately spiced lamb when she felt she was being watched. She looked up to see Sam and the look in those blue eyes told her everything she needed to know. This was mutual. This was real. This was going to happen.
"Cassie says that Analog and GravityGirl sound like a couple of superheroes," Sam said. "They certainly sound good together."
"I think they could be very good together," Janet said. "Thank you. For this. For being here for me."
Sam sat on the bed, her hand resting gently on Janet's thigh. "And where else would I ever want to be?"
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