DISCLAIMER: The mighty Beeb owns Dr Who in all its incarnations. MGM and whoever can have Stargate back whenever they want. I only borrowed them for a while, showed them a good time.
SPOILERS: Dr Who – up to Season Two "School Reunion". Stargate SG1 – up to Season 9: "The Scourge".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Long Way Round
By Celievamp


The first time she saw him she was about to set off a brace of claymores to undermine a path that wound its way along the ridge of a steep incline. It was the best point to set up an ambush between an encampment of Jaffa still loyal to the hopefully deceased Apophis and the Stargate. With them out of the way they could bring in reinforcements and take the facility the Jaffa were guarding so assiduously. The Colonel should be somewhere near the Stargate by now, ready to dial up. Teal'c and Daniel were further along the ridge waiting to mop up any Jaffa that her explosion didn't take out.

There was an unearthly wheezing wailing sound that seemed to have no source on the still air. Then to her astonishment a blue box appeared in the middle of the pathway directly above her position. Sam could clearly see and read the legend on the box: she didn't need Daniel to translate that for her: POLICE BOX. Somehow a prop from a 1940s Ealing comedy that she used to watch with her mom had made it all the way to P3R-812.

The door opened. Unfortunately it was on the side that led directly off the cliff. Whoever stepped out… well, that first step would be a doozie.

If any Jaffa had come on ahead of the main force to identify the strange noise it would seriously compromise her position but she couldn't in all conscience let someone just fall off a cliff. Another concern was that the weight of the box or whatever it was would bring down the fragile path without the need for her claymores.

"Look out!" she shouted. "Don't move!" There was a momentary silence and then a hand appeared, waving a brown felt fedora hat. When that went unscathed after a couple of seconds the hat withdrew and a head appeared. He looked over the edge directly at her and grinned.

"Hello down there," he said. "Thanks for the warning. Very… timely." He sounded English, and was very tall with a strong, expressive face, piercing blue eyes and a mop of curly brown hair.

"If you can, I'd er… take off again," Sam said. "This isn't the safest area at the moment. There's a troop of Jaffa Warriors heading this way and they're kinda shoot first and ask questions later guys. Oh, and the path is mined. It's going to blow in about…" she squinted at the timer she had just hidden in the undergrowth. "Four minutes." She'd better get a move on herself if she didn't want to be caught in the inevitable landslide.

"Do you need a hand?" he asked. "I'm the Doctor, by the way."

"Major Samantha Carter. And once I get out of the path of the explosion I'll be fine." Three minutes and 20 seconds. She started to inch her way back along the tiny ledge towards the exposed rockface some thirty feet away. There was a niche in the rock that should be enough to protect her from the landslide. And it wasn't her imagination that the clank of Jaffa armour was getting closer. "You should get clear… now!"

Without warning, her foothold crumbled away. She reached desperately for a tussock of the thick fibrous roots that wound its way through the soil. She heard what sounded like a wooden door slam above her and the weird groaning noise again. She was sliding down and to the left, her trajectory taking her back into the probable path of the landslide.

Crap! Then suddenly her feet connected with something that didn't give. It was the police box again. She braced herself against it and after a moment's hesitation, knocked on the pane of glass in the door. One minute before the hillside blew.

The door opened. "Come in, Major Carter," the Doctor said. "Can I give you a lift anywhere?"

"Anywhere but here," she said. "The whole cliffside is about to disintegrate." She followed him inside. She had reasoned that it had to be bigger on the inside than the outside suggested but the sheer scale of the control room she walked into rendered her momentarily speechless though her mind was formulating questions by the dozen. The room itself was fairly empty apart from an ornate coatstand in one corner and a central console at which a dark haired young woman was standing.

"Welcome to the TARDIS, Major," he said. "May I introduce Sarah Jane Smith, also of Earth, though from a decade or two before your time. Sarah, this is Major Sam Carter."

"Army?" the pretty dark haired woman asked.

"United States Air Force, ma'am," Sam said. "Erm… how…?" It was strange, she trusted them both implicitly.

"This is the TARDIS… it stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space," Sarah smiled.

"The inside is in a different dimension relative to the external space. That's how… it all fits!" Sam smiled. "It's amazing. I've never…"

The Doctor was at the console, reading something on a screen. He glanced up at Sam. "Impressive, Major Carter. Most humans of your time period would be complaining that their head hurt about now, but then you've a bit more experience of dealing with alien technology than most of your species in this timezone considering your role in the Stargate programme."

"That's classified…" Sam said sharply before realizing that to this guy it was probably ancient history.

"Stargate?" Sarah asked.

"An artificial wormhole connecting two points in space for almost instantaneous travel. Major Carter here and her colleagues use it to travel to other planets." The Doctor said. "Ra, Hathor, Heru'er, Apophis… twice, Cronos, Sokar… you have been busy."

"They're killing the gods of the ancient world?" Sarah frowned. "Why?" Then she recalled their encounter with the being who had called himself Sutekh and shivered, remembering the implacable evil that had emanated from the entity.

"They're not really gods, they're parasitical aliens masquerading as gods," Sam explained.

The Doctor nodded. "A particularly nasty arrogant bunch," he confirmed cheerily. "I just try to steer clear of them. Major Carter here takes a more direct approach."

"They haven't given us much choice," Sam replied. "We can't just sit back and watch. They've already tried to destroy Earth once."

"I know. Like many conflicts involving the human race, it is seemingly inevitable. Well, Major. You'll be wanting to rejoin the rest of SG1. Is there anywhere in particular I can drop you off?"

"About four kilometers further along the ridge towards the Stargate, if you don't mind," Sam said. She felt the need to apologise. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have bitten your head off like that. But this war… it's become my life. There's more than just Earth at stake. There are billions of humans uprooted from Earth in the past who are living lives of abject slavery out there. We can't just let it continue."

"You have to do what you think is right," the Doctor agreed softly. "As do I. All right, Major Carter. The TARDIS can be a bit cranky with these short hops sometimes but I'll see what the old girl can do." He made a minute adjustment to the control panel. "Here we go…"

Sam heard the whirring wailing noise start up again and realized it was the sound of the TARDIS in flight. Moments later the craft was wracked with a bone-jarring shudder and the noise stopped on an ear piercing whining note. There was a popping noise from the console and a tiny puff of smoke drifted into the air above the console.

"Ah," the Doctor said unhelpfully. "Slight hitch." He lowered himself to the floor and scooted under the console. "Won't take a moment…"

Sam glanced at Sarah who looked amused. "I take it this happens a lot," she whispered.

Sarah nodded. "A lot more than the Doctor would like. The TARDIS might well be incredibly advanced, but it's also very old. And I don't think it's been properly maintained for a long time." She lowered her voice even further. "I get the feeling sometimes that the Doctor doesn't know as much about how it all works as he likes to think he does…"

"So I should probably just have got out and walked…" Sam mused.

"But just think of what you might miss. The TARDIS can take us any where, any time. I've seen places and things you can't…" Sarah enthused, making an all encompassing gesture. "I can't imagine doing anything else now."

"You've been together for a long time," Sam observed. She instinctively liked the pretty Englishwoman finding in her similarities of character and mannerism to another slender brunette of her acquaintance.

"A couple of years," Sarah said. "Most of the time it's just been me and the Doctor. A British naval officer called Harry Sullivan traveled with us for a while but after we tackled the Loch Ness Monster he decided to get out and walk, well, take the train…" Sarah's voice trailed away at the look of frank disbelief on Sam's face.

"The Loch Ness Monster?"

"It's true. Of course as it turned out it was a creature called the Skarasen which the Zygon's, who had a base under the Loch ready for their take over of Earth used as a kind of guard dog cum dairy cow. All this happened just a few months ago…" She paused, a strange expression on her face. "What year is it… was it, when we picked you up?"

"2002. August 15th to be exact," Sam said. She studied the other woman closely for a moment. "Are you okay?"

"It just struck me… I could be out there, on Earth somewhere, right now. Only I'll be old… older at any rate. In my fifties. We just left 1975, you see." She let out a shaky breath. "Oh that's weird, I mean I've traveled hundreds, thousands of years into the past and thousands of years into the future. I've seen the human race abandon Earth and head out to the stars but meeting someone from thirty years in the future…"

"I was eleven in 1975," Sam observed quietly. My mom was still alive… she cast the Dr's prone form a speculative glance. Perhaps… "I think I know what you mean. Under very particular circumstances you can make the Stargate wormhole double back on itself and travel either into the past or the future. We did it accidentally and ended up in 1969. When we were trying to get back to our own time we overshot and ended up about sixty years into the future. We met someone – the daughter of a friend of mine – but she was an old lady. She's nearly sixteen now. She recognized us. She'd been waiting, apparently…"

"That should do it!" the Doctor emerged from under the console. He reached up and pressed another sequence of buttons. The weird wailing sounded again and the whole craft shuddered.

"I know, I know old girl. Just do your best, okay," the Doctor said soothingly, patting the side of the console as if it were a pet.

"It's alive, somehow," Sarah whispered. "I've never really understood how. But the Doctor is linked to it telepathically."

"That should do it!" the Doctor said. The TARDIS stilled again. He pressed another button and a viewscreen opened up. "Oh."

The TARDIS appeared to be on a gantry overlooking a large open arena. Tiers of seats rose up into the sky, thousands of people, predominantly humanoid though there were some that looked distinctly lizard-like and one or two who appeared to be descended from cats if such a thing were possible crammed onto the benches. On the green-blue pitch far below some kind of game appeared to be underway. The audience could follow the progress on a series of holographic projections in the empty air above them.

"Oh Doctor!" Sarah said reproachfully.

"I promise I'll get you back home, Major Carter. Five minutes after you left. But we might be taking the long way round," the Doctor said somewhat apologetically. "Just think of it as a… sabbatical."

Sarah laid a consoling hand on her arm. "He will get you home," she said. "Well, either to the planet where we found you or back to Earth. You can contact your people from there, can't you? I mean, they're okay with… aliens, after all."

"Five minutes after I left…" Sam glared at him. "I'm holding you to that, you know." The big man had the grace to look slightly chastened. She could feel her resolve slipping in the face of her overwhelming scientific curiosity. How did all this work? She had to know. "Well, I'm here anyway, so I might as well…"

The Doctor grinned. "That's the spirit!" He peered at the screen. "Now if I'm not mistaken this is the 4077 Vosqueet World Cup, trassic rules of course. Which means we're on Galena Minor. By the scoreboard, they're in the third quadrille. If I remember my Vosqueet there was quite a thrilling finish in 4077. Settled by a penalty shoot out. Shall we go and find some seats?"

Weeks turned into months. The Doctor steadfastly promised to get Sam home again five minutes after he had picked her up but every time there was just something else that he wanted to show her first. Another piece of the TARDIS or some other scientific curiosity of the distant future or distant past. And Sam found it very easy to be persuaded of his plans. It wasn't as if she was AWOL. Not really. The Doctor had promised after all. And so the three of them traversed the galaxy from beginning to end.

In many ways Sam Carter was having the time of her life. Free of responsibility for the first time, no one to please but herself. And Sarah Jane Smith. She found herself growing closer to the journalist. Sarah also appeared to be enjoying her company. Sam had hopes that their relationship would flourish. The young woman had an openness, a sense of fun and a lively intelligence that all called out to the more reserved Sam Carter.

They were walking together along a beach on Fargosa somewhere out beyond the Magellenic Cloud, watching the second moon rise sending waves of green and gold phosphorescence across the water when Sam tried to kiss her. Sarah allowed her touch for a moment before pulling away.

"No, Sam… I'm sorry, but I don't, I can't feel that way about you. I'd love to have you as a friend but there can't be more than that. I'm not…"

"It's okay… I understand," Sam said, trying not to show how much the woman's rejection hurt.

"And I get the feeling…"


"From the way you talk about her sometimes… Janet Fraiser. You like her… what's the phrase you used 'a lot more than you should'. I'm not the one you want, Sam. I'm just the one who's here."

There was no answer that Sam could give to that for her own peace of mind. But in the days afterwards Sam's thoughts turned to home more and more frequently. Even though she had set up a lab of her own in the TARDIS and was always working on projects she missed her life at the SGC. She missed her team mates, her colleagues, her friends. She missed Janet, missed what might be with the young woman. Though she didn't mean to, she avoided being alone with Sarah if she could at all help it, not wanting to cause the woman any more discomfort than she already had. Though she got on fine with the Doctor, she didn't have the kind of easy relationship with him that Sarah obviously did and there were times when she felt distinctly like a third wheel. Though she had not said anything it was obvious that Sarah cared for the man a great deal.

Sam was in her lab writing up notes in her journal from her latest set of experiments when the Doctor called her to come to the Control Room. When she got there, Sarah was already standing beside the Doctor, looking at the viewscreen. She looked upset about something.

"What's wrong?" Sam asked. What she could see on the viewscreen was a landscape obscured with a fine rain of dust. The amount of loose soil and rocks littered about spoke of a recent explosion of some kind. "Where are we?"

"The planet you called P3R-812, five minutes after I picked you up," the Doctor said. "As you can see, your claymores worked a treat." He panned the view so that she could see up to where the ridge top path had been. A huge area of rock and soil had been excavated. Anyone on the path at that moment would not have survived the combination of explosion and landslide. A staff weapon was half buried in the scree, testament to the downfall of at least one of the pursuing Jaffa. "This is it, if you want. Go and get your things."

Sarah started towards her. "Sam…"

"I have to go home," Sam said. "These last few months, traveling with you and the Doctor, it's been… incredible, really, but… I have a job to do." And a conversation I need to have.

"You have to go save the world, I know," Sarah said. "I'll miss you, Sam… so much." They hugged, Sam holding on to Sarah for a moment as if the other woman was a lifeline, storing up the memory so that she would never forget.

Quickly she changed back into her old uniform which had been hanging in the closet and packed her gear, including her journals and a few other keepsakes she had picked up along the way. She picked up her P90 and slung it from the webbing of her ALICE vest. For a moment she paused, staring at her reflection in the mirror. She almost didn't recognize herself.

Time fell away from her as if it had all been a dream. A minute later and she was closing the TARDIS door behind her. Only the Doctor had been in the Control Room. They had embraced momentarily.

"I've had a quick scan around, no one in the immediate vicinity though there is some radio chatter. I think your people are getting worried about you," the Doctor said.

Sam clicked on her radio. "Carter… report. Carter!" It was Colonel O'Neill and he was definitely worried.

"Colonel, this is Major Carter. I'm fine… I was… I'll be at the rendezvous in five minutes."

"Copy that Major."

Sam looked at the Doctor. "I have to go now. Tell Sarah…"

"I will. Good luck, Major Samantha Carter," he smiled. Sam turned and began to walk down the slope back to her normal life. Well, what passed for normal when you were a member of SG1.

Five years later…

The scientific adviser from UNIT was a late addition to Mr Wolsey's Oversight Committee field trip. The man was several decades younger than Wolsey had expected given the length of his tenure within UNIT but his credentials were impeccable. And he certainly knew his science apparently effortlessly keeping up with Colonel Carter's most esoteric scientific explanations. And given that the Colonel was in something of a snit about having to babysit a bunch of bureaucrats she was in full flow. The Doctor (whose exact name slipped Wolsey's mind but it might have been Smith) just stood there, nodding every now again, a smile on his face which every now and then broke out into a fully fledged grin as SG1's finest rattled off another equation.

Everyone else was looking slightly glazed, including Colonel Carter's own team mates but the man nudged Wolsey and whispered. "She's quite something isn't she… you should really cherish her, Mr Wolsey. She's got one of the finest minds you'll ever have the privilege of working with."

The Colonel could not have failed to notice her avid listener. After she had completed her presentation and the delegation had adjourned to the Commissary for lunch, she took Wolsey aside. "Who's the guy in the brown suit?" she asked.

"Erm… scientific advisor to something called UNIT. Officially, it's attached to the United Nations but appears to be mainly a British concern these days. Was in the doldrums for quite a while but seems to be a pet project of their new Prime Minister, Harriet Jones. His name's Smith…"

Smith… Sam had never forgotten her brief time in the TARDIS. Sarah Jane Smith had told her how she and the Doctor had first met at a scientific conference, how he sometimes went by the alias John Smith.

"Smith… Dr John Smith?" she asked.

"Yes, that's the name. Strange how I seem to keep forgetting it. John Smith, of course. You've heard of him?"

"Yes, I came across his work… whilst I was working at the Pentagon. He's an expert in time travel, dimensional relativity… fascinating theories…" Sam tried hard to keep a straight face at the look of blank terror in Wolsey's eyes. He obviously thought she was going to launch into another theoretical exposition. "I must catch up with him."

"He's er… in the Commissary, I believe, talking to the other delegates. Seems a good man to have on your side, Colonel. He's certainly very keen on the Stargate Programme," Wolsey said. And he's very interested in you as well, he thought.

Sam stood in the doorway. He didn't look the same man at all, but Sarah had told her a little about that as well. When Sarah had first met the Doctor he had been tall, thin with white hair. Then he had died of radiation poisoning (a cold shiver went through her at that, remembering Daniel in his agony) and had somehow regenerated looking totally different, the Doctor that Sam had first met.

And now here he was again, looking totally different. Younger for starters. He looked up, aware of her gaze, studied her for a second and then his face broke into that huge, easy smile. Maybe not that different. He made his apologies to the two delegates he had been talking to and joined her.

"Well, Major Sam… though it's Colonel, now I see. Congratulations."

"Thank you. It's great to see you again, Doctor… Sarah told me about how your race could regenerate."

"Yeah, a lot of water – and quite a few bodies – under the bridge since we last met," the Doctor said. "So, you've sorted out the Goa'uld and are looking of starting on the Ori next."

"They infiltrated our Stargate network some time ago, filling the vacuum left by the Goa'uld. They're directly threatening Earth now, they've already released a pathogen – but we managed to synthesise a cure." With a lot of help from another old friend, she thought sadly. The last time she had been to visit Orlin he hadn't remembered who she was. She did not know whether she could bring herself to visit him again. It had shocked her just how painful she had found it. "Now some of the worlds are having problem with plagues of bugs eating their crops. They're facing starvation."

"You'll figure it out, I'm sure," the Doctor smiled.

"I'm not." It shocked her to the core that she'd said it out loud. "Doctor – we need your help on this. Please, tell me. How do we stop the Ori?"

"I wish I could help you but I can't. And anyway, you don't need it. You can figure it out for yourself, Sam."

She could not hide her disappointment. "I wish I could be so sure of that… Doctor – you've seen the future… my future…" her voice trailed to silence as he took her hand.

"You more than most know that the future is not written in stone. The human race prevails. More than that I can't say. Remember, when you went back to 1969, how careful you were not to disrupt the timeline… you can't expect me to take any less care…" She nodded, accepting the wisdom of his words.

"So, tell me, Doctor. What have you been up to the last couple of years… though how many years has it been for you?"

He thought back to the few months that Sam had traveled with him and Sarah Jane before resuming her career with the SGC. "Over thirty years."

"Thirty years…" Thirty years for him, less than five years for her. And what of Sarah? He seemed to read her thoughts.

"I actually met up with Sarah Jane again a few months ago – in both our times. She's fine, still working as a journalist, still investigating things. She reminded me…" he paused. "People travel with me for a time and then I move on. Generally I don't look back. I don't mean any slight by it, it's just the way I am, the way I have to be. And they move on as well, as you have… but, sometimes. She told me… she made me see… Sarah told me that for the longest time she'd waited for me to come back for her. That in some ways she'd put her whole life on hold because… because of me."

"You do have an effect on people," Sam said. "An unforgettable one. You change lives, Doctor, you make possibilities."

"Do me a favour, Sam. When you get home, if you can, go visit Sarah. Talk to her. She missed you so much… we both did. I'm not the only one who has an effect on people." He grinned as she blushed. It had always been ridiculously easy to make Sam Carter blush.

"So you're traveling alone now? That's not like you," Sam said, changing the subject.

"A girl called Rose… Rose Tyler's been traveling with me the last year or so. You'd like her, I think. She's… well, she's got a unique perspective on the universe. She's visiting with her mum for a day or two at the moment. So I'm playing hooky. Talking of which…" he took out a pocket watch and glanced at it. "I'd better be heading back. She'll be looking for me. Jackie – that's Rose's mum – she's a really great person but a little goes a long way if you know what I mean."

"The TARDIS is here?"

"You have a lot of storage space," he grinned. "I managed to add myself to Mr Woolsey's tour a few minutes after I got here. A group had just come through the Stargate and everyone just assumed…"

Sam had experienced the Doctor's ability to integrate himself into any society before. "It was great to see you again. And I can't get over how… young you look."

"Yeah, it's taken some getting used to…" he gave that wide, wild grin again. "Seriously, Sam, it's been so so good to catch up with you again."

"And you, Doctor." Daring, she leant in and kissed him on the cheek, then grinned wickedly as he almost blushed.

She walked him to the storage room. "Want to have a look inside?" he asked. "I've remodeled the TARDIS since you saw it last. Very cool."

"Uh, no," she stepped back. "I don't want to take the risk that it'll be six months 'til I get back here again."

He laughed. "Okay, but you don't know what you're missing…"

Oh, but I do, she thought, waving goodbye as the TARDIS door closed. And that's the problem. Seconds later she shivered as the whining wailing sound that signified the TARDIS moving itself through space and time to who knows where filled the room. She was locking the storage room door again when two SFs and a Lieutenant came skidding round the corner. They slid to an abrupt halt. "Colonel Carter, ma'am," the Lieutenant gasped out.

"Is there a problem, Lieutenant?" Sam asked.

"No, ma'am. We, er…. We heard a strange noise, ma'am."

"Yes… is there a problem with the air conditioning?" Sam looked up at the ducts as the last echoes of the TARDIS's departure faded away.

Sam thought about that moment as she flicked the latch on the garden gate and walked up the narrow path to the front door of the suburban house. Half an hour after she had kissed the Doctor goodbye, all hell had broken loose, the Scourge was unleashed and SG1 and Woolsey's delegation had been lucky to escape with their lives.

But at the moment she'd rather face the Scourge all over again than knock on that door. However, it had to be done. Taking a deep breath she knocked on the door.

"Just a minute!" she heard a familiar voice call from deeper in the house.

Sam took another set of deep breaths then realized she was hyperventilating. Calm down, she told herself severely. It's only Sarah, it's only…. The door opened.


The dark haired woman stared at her for a moment. "Oh my god – Sam…. Sam Carter, is it really you?" Sam nodded, smiled as Sarah wrapped her arms around her and gave her a breath-stealing hug. "It's so good to see you." Sam found herself led by the hand into the house.

To Sam's surprise they were met by what appeared to be a metal dog with the designation 'K-9' stenciled onto the side. "Mistress?"

"This is a friend, K-9. Samantha Carter. She traveled with the Doctor for a time as well."

"Recognised. Voice print acquired for comparison." The metal dog almost wagged its tail in anticipation. Sam looked at Sarah uncertainly.

'Go on, say something,' Sarah mouthed urgently.

"Ummm…. Good doggie," Sam's voice wavered.

"Voice print match positive. Samantha Carter recognized as friend." The metal dog reversed back into a corner of the room.

"Another refugee from the TARDIS," Sarah explained. "He's actually Mark-3 though he doesn't like to talk about it. The Doctor acquired the original from a scientist on his travels. I don't know what happened to the two previous versions…"

"Mark One stayed with Mistress Leela on Gallifrey, Mark Two accompanied Mistress Romana into E Space. I was able to update my records on my predecessors when I interfaced with the TARDIS systems during the Doctor's recent visit," K-9 piped up. The electronic voice sounded almost smug.

Sam and Sarah tried to hold back their giggles and failed. "Come on," Sarah said. "I'll make you a cup of tea and you can tell me… oh, everything… wait, how long has it been from your perspective?"

"Just over five years," Sam said.

"That explains why you don't look much older than I remember," Sarah said. "You've hardly changed at all. Wish I could say the same."

"You look wonderful," Sam told her. "Really." It was true. Sarah was undoubtedly older but still just as beautiful as Sam remembered. The older woman blushed and motioned Sam to sit down at the table in the kitchen.

The kitchen table seemed to double as an office, with piles of paper stacked at one end and a laptop and box of neatly scribed index cards. Between cupboards on one wall was a corkboard covered in newspaper clippings. Sam could see that the most recent related to a gas explosion at a local high school and below that another explosion that had mysteriously destroyed an entire office building in Seattle. Below the corkboard was a book case crammed with books and journals. Sam smiled when she saw a copy of her own hefty tome on wormhole physics resting on the bottom shelf alongside a couple of books by Stephen Hawking.

"You're still involved in that project of yours, aren't you? That's why I can never find much about you," Sarah said placing a steaming mug of tea in front of Sam and sitting down opposite her. "You're top level classified. Every time I try to dig a little deeper I expect a visit from the men in black. K-9 has managed to piece some of it together. Though there was a really cheesy sci-fi series I caught on cable a few years ago that looked awfully familiar…"

"Wormhole X-treme – you got that over here as well?" Sarah nodded. "Yeah… we had a sort-of involvement in that. Long story. Gives us plausible deniability though. I…" she paused as Sarah placed a file in front of her. Opening it she saw sections with her name on it, Daniel Jackson, General Hammond, Jack O'Neill and Janet Fraiser.

"I remembered the names of some of the people you talked about. If I couldn't track you I wondered if I could track them. I… I found out about Dr Fraiser's death. Sam, I'm so sorry."

Sam stared down at the rather grainy photograph of Janet Fraiser. "We had nearly four years together… she was…. It was just about the best thing in my life. For a time, after she died I thought I'd never…. But life goes on, you know." She was crying. She couldn't help it. It had been over two years and still….

"I know," Sarah placed a comforting hand over Sam's and squeezed gently. "And I'm glad you finally told her how you felt about her. You've done so much with your life, Sam. I…" she sighed. "Sometimes I feel like I put my life on hold, you know. That I've been waiting for the Doctor to come back and sweep me off my feet again. Why did you come and find me Sam – was it the Doctor – have you seen him again?"

Sam nodded, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand before Sarah silently handed her a kleenex. "About a month ago. He actually turned up where I work – in his guise as UNIT Advisor. Got the ten cent tour and everything. He looked totally different – but I just knew…"

Sarah smiled. "I know what you mean – he was so young! It made me feel… well…," She made a slightly helpless gesture. "So, did you meet Rose?"

"No… he told me about her though. She sounds… fun."

"She is. She's very protective of the Doctor. And she's… good for him, I think."

They spent the rest of the afternoon reminiscing. As the evening drew in, Sam had to return to her hotel to get ready for a reception. She was in England to assist with orientation for the two British SG teams who would be coming to Colorado in the fall to join the Programme. The British Royal Air Force were also finalizing plans for their own X-303 to be called the 'Victory'. And tomorrow she had a meeting with the 'boffins' at some kind of government sponsored thinktank called "Torchwood". Not that she could tell Sarah any of that.

As she made her farewells, Sarah said softly. "I thought about what you said to me, when you kissed me. Sometimes…"

"Bad timing," Sam smiled, reaching out to touch the feathersoft dark hair. "Just bad timing." She leant in slowly, studying the expression in Sarah's wide dark eyes. Sarah did not pull away. Their lips touched, Sarah's eyes closed, but not before Sam saw the tears shimmering in their depths.

Sam kept it gentle, relatively chaste, not wanting to spook the older woman any more than she already had. The age difference truly did not matter to her but she sensed that it did to Sarah. If only…

Sarah echoed her thoughts. "If only I hadn't had to take the long way round," she whispered. "I should have left when you did. I've spent more than half my life waiting for you or the Doctor to find me again and now…"

"It's not too late, Sarah, really," Sam assured her. "Look, I really have to go. I'm tied up with work tomorrow but I don't have to fly back to the States until Monday. We could have the whole weekend if…" her self-confidence suddenly abandoned her. What was she thinking? "if you want…" she finished lamely.

Maybe it wasn't too late. She was a living breathing human being in all her glory after all who had done things and seen things and been places that few other people could ever imagine. And the beautiful blonde standing in front of her was one of those people. What was she thinking? "Sam, I'd love to spend the weekend with you. You could come here, or…" The smile that wreathed Sam's face answered all her questions soothed all her anxieties.

"I'd like that very much. Until Saturday then." Impulsively she leant in and kissed Sarah again. Not so chastely this time.

"Until Saturday." Sarah watched Sam get into her hire car and with a backward wave of her hand drive off down the street. Until Saturday. She closed the door and smiled down at K-9. "You know, K-9. I think things are about to get a lot more interesting around here."

The End

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