DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of MGM, Showtime, Gekko etc. No infringement intended.
NOTE: Originally written in response to a rocket chick challenge some time ago and as such has been posted to Yahoo Groups under a different title. Regrettably, I can no longer remember what her challenge actually was or the original fic title, but I nevertheless thank her for it, and hope she still enjoys my response.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Lean on us, all of us…
By ncruuk


Given the potential for disaster, this evening's turned out reasonably alright, pondered Sam as Jonas expertly turned her around the dance floor: she in her flowing blue gown and he in his white tie and tails. Together, they looked like the perfect all-American couple, what with his chiselled good looks and her elegant beauty. Smiling wryly, Sam couldn't help the small chuckle that escaped her lips as Jonas once again turned her with an effortless grace, prompting him to ask for an explanation.

"I'm sorry Jonas, I was just considering the irony of this dance."

"The irony of the dance? What exactly do you mean?"

"Hmm, well I was just imagining what everyone else would be thinking about us right now. We must look like the typical all-American couple. Ironic, isn't it?"

"I understand the irony of the assumption with regard to myself, but what of you? You are very beautiful, elegant and all-American. Where is the irony there?"

"If that were true…." began Sam wistfully, as Jonas dutifully redirected them around a rather exuberant and almost violent couple "….I would be dancing with Janet and not needing you as my emergency date for this dance."

"Ah, of course," was all Jonas said as, the song over, he politely extended his arm to Sam as they left the dance floor. As they sat down at their table and settled back to watch the dancing, Sam couldn't help but retreat into the memories of the preceding weeks…..

"Excuse me Sir?" Jack's timely interjection expressed the sentiments of many of those currently seated around the briefing room table.

"There is a ball being thrown in our honour. The seven of us would appear to be the 'guests of honour' within the larger group of SGC personnel invited."

"Ok, so this is a dress uniform play nice with the politicians shin dig then?" countered Jack not letting the matter drop easily.

"Not exactly. This is a ball being thrown by the President of the United States in our honour. The invites include partners."

"Partners? Are you sure that that was the President meant?" asked Sam cautiously, throwing a wary glance at Janet across the table. The look did not go unnoticed by anyone present.

"Um, the invites extend to significant others that are not married……" began George carefully, conscious of where the conversation was leading.

"But given the current political climate, there is absolutely no way that Sam and I can go together. The fact that all fraternisation rules are being overlooked for the SGC does not extend to the fact that the President's views are somewhat rigid, right General?"

"That would be a fairly concise assessment Doctor, yes."

"No need to look so guilty General, it's not your fault. One day someone better placed than Janet or I will ask him why he thinks what he thinks, but until then, we play nice. So, we go to this ball in dress uniforms and put in an appearance. It could be worse I guess," finished Sam wearily.

"Could it?" queried the ever curious Jonas.

"Oh yes Jonas Quinn, significantly worse…" began Teal'c, "…The function could take place on a different planet with unknown customs and the risk of death if we cause innocent offence. If those were the circumstances, then it would indeed be worse." At first, everyone was caught slightly off guard by Teal'c's uncharacteristic comment, before Daniel began to grin. Soon, his mirth was infectious and the mood had been lifted considerably by Teal'c's droll comment. As order began to return to the meeting, General Hammond was the first to speak,

"I'm afraid you're only partially correct Teal'c. Only Jack and I will be in Dress Uniform. Ladies, I'm sorry to say but you need to go shopping."

The reactions of Sam and Janet were very expressive and left no doubts in the minds of the guys as to what their true feelings were. The sarcasm communicated by Janet's "Brilliant" was of an intensity Jack only managed to attain in the most desperate of situations, and he usually needed to be eyeballing a System Lord as well. As for Sam, she stood up so abruptly that her chair would have tumbled had Jack not caught it. As she stared out of the window at the gate, she ran her hands through her short blonde hair, subconsciously grateful that she was currently sporting the 'permanently ruffled' look before finally saying in an emotionless voice,

"Which of you civilian gentlemen would like to escort my girlfriend and me to the ball? We seem to need some emergency dates."

And so it was, Sam reflected, that she was now sitting here in a dress that she would have loved wearing had it not be for the resentment she felt for the occasion as a whole. Instead of feeling Janet's warm hand on her exposed back and her warm breathe tease the hint of cleavage the dress allowed to be seen, she was spending the evening dancing with an alien whilst watching her partner in every sense of the word, dance with another alien. Teal'c and Jonas had instantly volunteered to be the emergency dates, with Teal'c commenting that it would be an honour for them to escort the ladies for the evening. Jonas had been almost bouncing off the walls with excitement, so nothing new there thought Sam wryly. What had intrigued both ladies was the seriousness with which Teal'c regarded the task. Everyone had been amazed to discover that he had arranged for both him and Jonas to have intensive dance lessons from two of the base nurses who had been State Champions in ballroom competitions, in order that they would not disappoint their 'dates'.

"You are a beautiful dancer Jonas, both you and Teal'c have a natural talent," commented Sam idly as she focused on her 'date' who had returned with some champagne.

"Thank you Samantha. Both you and Janet have immense grace on the dance floor. It is Teal'c's and my great pleasure to accompany you dancing. I only wish it were under different circumstances."

"As do I, Jonas, as do I," countered Sam who, as she raised her glass in silent tribute to Jonas' unspoken acknowledgement of the agony of the night, turned her attention back to the dance floor. There, Janet and Teal'c were dancing to that classic standard "Let's Face the Music and Dance". As Teal'c carefully manoeuvred Janet along the edge of the dance floor, the lovers' eyes locked and, despite carefully schooled features, neither woman was left in any doubt about the depth of feeling that each felt for the other. All too quickly though, the contact was lost, and Sam lost sight of the bronze silk dress that the petite brunette who carried the rest of her soul was wearing. Draining her glass, Sam almost missed Jack's quiet comment from behind her.

"She really is quite beautiful tonight. That dress is……" Jack's comment disappeared into the air as he failed to find the word that suited the occasion.

"….Exquisite…" Not surprisingly, Daniel was the one to supply Jack's missing word as the remaining members of SG1 gathered around the seated Sam and Jonas, forming a protective shield for their 'blonde bombshell' as they had done so often before and would continue to do so for many years to come. It was never demanded and never expected, but always freely given, be it physical, as in the form of dance partners for celebratory balls or emotional, as on so many missions when Sam had to battle with un-emancipated cultures.

"Alchemy..." was Sam's quiet response, as she was once again transfixed by the small, radiant figure seemingly covered in liquid metal, being gently guided protectively around the dance floor by the big Jaffa resplendent in full evening dress.

"The art of turning base metals into gold; a magical transformation," elaborated Daniel, pre-empting the inevitable question from Jonas, who smiled and nodded in acknowledgement of Daniel's assistance.

"Tonight should be all about golden moments. I'm sorry you can't have them all Sam," murmured George as he joined the tail end of the conversation, placing a supportive hand on his goddaughter's shoulder.

"Thank you Uncle George, but you don't need to apologise. Janet and I have made our bed, and we know when we can and cannot lie in it."

"At least you won't crease your dresses then!" was Jack's smart remark that not only broke the reflective mood but also earned him a playful cuff round the ear from his General.

"I will have you know, that's my god-daughter and her better half you're besmirching there with your idle fantasies!" teased George, partly cross at his 2IC's dirty mindedness but also greatly relieved to see the beginnings of a smile ghost across Sam's face.

"You don't need to remind me. Special Ops training only covers what to do if the enemy is gorgeous. There is no handbook for what to do in the event of you having gorgeous CMOs and 2ICs."

"Gorgeous 2ICs Sir?"

"You betcha Carter, and don't let anyone tell you different. I can safely say that all the guys in the room are very relieved when you and the Doc sit together, saves them having to choose who to stare at!" Whether it was the champagne loosening his tongue or the example that his CO had set wasn't clear, but either way, Jack was being far more voluble on the subject of his female fellow officers than he usually was, something that Daniel and George chose to deliberately ignore, being glad that Sam hadn't noticed other than to accept the compliment and smile slightly bashfully.

"Thank you Sirs. You look quite dazzling in your uniforms," replied Sam automatically, her eyes still focused on Teal'c, waiting for a chance to see Janet again.

As the group lapsed into comfortable silence, the song drew to a close and soon, Janet and Teal'c were returning to the table. As Jonas, ever the gentlemen, stood to greet Janet, the seat nearest Sam became vacant, allowing Janet the perfect opportunity to slip into it.

"How are you doing?" she murmured quietly.

"Loving and hating every minute. I love that dress, you look wonderful."

"Thank you. You obviously haven't looked in a mirror lately. Your eyes are now the same colour as your dress." Janet's warm, flirtatious comment triggered Sam's blushing reflex, with the cut of her dress allowing her colleagues to discover just how extensive her blushing was. Nonchalantly, filled with a confidence that she could only feel in public when surrounded by their friends, Janet tortured her love even more, leaning back and making to fan herself with her hand, coquettishly commenting,

"Is it me or is it getting hot in here? Sam, your dress is tormenting me, reminding me of a cooling waterfall on a hot summer's day."

As everyone tried to keep their composure at Janet's remark, the silence was filled with the band beginning the next song "I got you under my skin".

'How apt,' thought Janet, 'I wonder, is the band leader telepathic, or is he just as enchanted with Sam as I am? This evening is definitely torture. Teal'c was right, the only thing that could make tonight worse would be the fear of inadvertent cultural faux pas. As it is, we're merely risking career suicide. How I would love to go out onto that dance floor with Sam holding me, with her wearing that dress.'

Janet glanced at Sam only to be caught in an emotional gaze that felt like it could last an eternity. For one emotionally charged moment, nothing else existed; no one else mattered. As suddenly as it faded though, the reality of their situation reasserted itself; Janet raised her glass in tribute towards the general direction of the President's table, a gesture mirrored by Sam. The respectful gesture of a silent toast masked the contempt and sadness they felt about the double standard in their lives.

As the song faded and the band began to prepare for the next song, the distinctive sound of spoon chiming against wineglass turned everyone's attention away from the champagne and conversation and instead brought it to the nervous figure who was standing next to the microphone on the band platform.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, if I could have your attention for a moment please? Thank you." At this point, Daniel's nervousness showed as he readjusted his glasses on his face before continuing, looking everywhere except at the table containing the surprised members of SG1.

"Um, as you know, this evening was organized by the President and Joint Chiefs to acknowledge the work the SGC has done. I would like to take this opportunity to make a special vote of thanks to some very vital members of the SGC, without whom, I can safely say, no one who has ever been posted to the SGC would be here today. These two people are relied upon by everyone and everything constantly. I would like to thoroughly embarrass two of my dearest friends on behalf of everyone else here." At this point, everyone who hadn't already worked out what was happening already, suddenly understood what Daniel's impromptu speech was all about and a spontaneous round of applause broke out around the whole room. As it subsided, Daniel continued,

"….We all get to go off to explore new and 'exciting' planets, often with no more information than what the land immediately next to the gate looks like, which isn't always much of a guarantee, as SG1 can attest to! But we also go through in the knowledge that whatever happens, if we want to come home quickly, there is a wormhole with our name on it. And, having gone to places we would have never found if it weren't for a certain Astrophysicist…" Daniel gestured to his audience to let him finish without interruption "…when we come home, we do so safe in the knowledge that a certain Doctor makes it her business to ensure we stand to jump another day, no matter what injury or infection we collected. Ladies and Gentlemen, I ask you to charge your glasses for one more toast this evening. I give you, the undisputed 'special ladies' of the SGC - Major Doctor Samantha Carter and Major Doctor Janet Fraiser….."

As Daniel proposed the toast, everyone raised their glass and "The special ladies of the SGC" echoed around the room. During the ensuing round of applause, Sam and Janet were both consumed in big hugs from Jack and Teal'c whilst George and Jonas looked on smiling. As Daniel once again called for order, no one could decide who looked redder from blushing, Sam or Janet. Inwardly apologizing for the fact that he was the cause of their embarrassment, Daniel resolved to continue with his public demonstration of how highly the two ladies were regarded and appreciated and so, with great pride he concluded

"And now, in a small act of acknowledgement of your support and friendship not only to myself and SG1, but to all of us involved in the SGC, this next song is dedicated to you, with the reminder that, should you ever need it, we'd all like you to regard us as friends who are here for you, just as you both have been there for us all the time." And, as Daniel returned the microphone to the singer and vacated the platform, the beginnings of that classic Bill Withers song filled the room. By the time the intro was complete, the dance floor was empty, save for Teal'c and Jonas standing patiently, waiting for their dance partners to join them. Reluctantly, Sam and Janet rose from their seats and sheepishly crossed the room to join the aliens in the dance that defines friendship……

"Sometimes in our lives we all have pain
We all have sorrow
But if we are wise
We know that there's always tomorrow

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on"

As the chorus came to a close, Sam felt Jonas loosen his grip from her, only to have him replaced by General Hammond. Looking across at Janet, she noticed that Teal'c had given way to Daniel. Smiling at her team mates' gesture, she relaxed into her godfather's arms and let herself drift across the dance floor, listening to the words of the song,

"Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you don't let show

Lean on me, when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
'Til I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on"

'Daniel really is an excellent dancer, I wonder who taught him?" wondered Janet idly as she was guided across an empty dance floor.

'Hey, where is everyone? Why is no one dancing other than Sam and I?' Becoming curious as to what was happening, Janet paid more attention to her surroundings, and was shocked to discover that she was indeed correct, Sam and she were the only two dancing. The large dance floor was surrounded by their colleagues and friends who were watching and applauding them. Just as Janet was about to ask Daniel what was going on, he eased his hold on her as, out of seemingly nowhere, Makepeace cut in.

"Don't worry Doc, we Jarheads do know how to dance!"

"I never doubted that for a second Colonel. Tell me, why is no one else dancing with us?"

"Because then we couldn't dance with you two," was the Marine's gruff reply as he carefully manouvered Janet over towards the other couple, which was now Sam and Major Griff

"If there is a load you have to bear
That you can't carry
I'm right up the road
I'll share your load
If you just call me

So just call on me brother, when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'd understand
We all need somebody to lean on

Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on"

'Why are they doing this for us?' wondered Sam as she unknowingly echoed the thoughts Janet had been having moments earlier as she danced with her ever changing partners. As Major Griff expertly spun her around, she was passed onto Jack who surprised her by answering her inner question.

"It was Daniel's idea, but we all plotted it. You and Janet have done so much for us all that we felt it was only fair that we show you how much you both mean to us."

"The whole base was in on it?"

"Sort of. They were all in on the dance lessons. You didn't think we'd let the Marines dance with you without training them first did you?" teased Jack gently. At Sam's shocked look, he continued in a more serious vein,

"Sam, seriously, yes, everyone was in on it. We wanted to do something to show you that, irrespective of what anyone else thinks or tries to tell us we should think, the SGC is a bit like a family, and that, as a family, we protect and look after what we value and hold dear. We all hold you and Janet very dear and, each and every one of your dance partners tonight would gladly do anything for either of you. That was what this song was about, making sure that you knew that we cared, for both of you just as much as you care for all of us."

Sam struggled to contain her emotion at the softly spoken heartfelt words that came not from her oftentimes gruff CO, but from the man that had become a very dear friend to her over the years, and who was now fulfilling that role for her lover too. Smiling, Sam took a quick glance around the room at all the people she regarded not only as fellow officers, teammates or colleagues but also as friends, before turning her clear, sparkling blue eyes on Jack and quipping,

"I guess Janet and I know where to head if we ever need emergency stand-by dates again!"

"Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need
Somebody to lean on

Lean On Me."

The End

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