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: Feels like it's season 3ish.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

A Love That's Not So Painful
By Celievamp

"I want a friend that I can care for
And I want to find a love that's not so painful

But I can't have everything I want
'Cause I can't have you
And I can't have anything I want
'Cause I only want you"

The - as far as Janet Fraiser's current thought processes went - frighteningly appropriate song came to an end just as Janet drew up outside Sam Carter's house and bipped the car horn twice.

She had to stop doing this, get it under control now and once and for all. She had to stop obsessing about her friend, her colleague and lets face it, her patient. This would be the acid test, twenty four hours in her friend's company, under the watchful eye of their fellow offices, with good food and lots of alcohol. And then they were sharing the Colonel's spare room. She could do this. She was an emotionally mature adult woman after all. And Sam was… Sam was… oh God, she was so busted.

The sound of a door slamming interrupted her thought processes and then her long legged friend appeared, walking towards her down the sloping drive, a duffel bag slung over one shoulder, a large cardboard box containing plastic bags of salad stuff and two covered dishes balanced precariously in her arms, especially considering one of those arms was still in a brace from elbow to wrist. Despite her best intentions, Janet took a moment to admire the sleek figure clad in denim and a bright red scooped neck t-shirt that fit her like a second skin and then recollecting herself made sure that the boot of her car was unlocked. "Want any help?" she asked.

"S'okay, I got it," the blonde replied absently, stowing the supplies in the boot of the car. The next thing Janet knew she had opened the passenger door, slid the bag off her shoulder and swung herself into the car seat, the duffel bag stowed on the floor between her legs.

"Thanks, Janet. I owe you for this."

"Not a problem," Janet smiled. "We're going to the same party after all." And how could she pass up the opportunity to spend a little quality alone time with Sam outside of work? Not bloody likely. "Any problem with the salads? I meant to ring you last night and see if you needed… any help." She had nearly said 'a hand', which given her friend's injury, would not have been the most diplomatic thing to say. Another couple of millimetres deeper and the injury would have been bad enough to end Sam's military career there and then. As it was she still faced months of therapy. The wrist bones had been badly damaged and Janet and the on-call orthopaedic specialist for the SGC Dr Kelly Reisner were still unsure about the extent of any long-term tendon and nerve damage. Thank goodness it had not been her dominant hand. Sam would still have a career at the end of this. Whether it would be in the military was still a matter of debate. Her father's visit a fortnight ago and his use of the Tokra healing device on his daughter's injuries had speeded her recovery immeasurably. But she still did not have full mobility in the hand even with the extensive physiotherapy she was putting herself through to try to recover from the injury.

"Nah. I did okay on my own – mostly. I mean, most of the stuff is shop-bought. Daniel chauffeured me around yesterday afternoon. I did make the three bean salad that Teal'c liked so much and the sweet pepper salsa that was my mom's recipe," Sam said. "That went down well last time. I - forgot - to buy any dressing though so I hope the Colonel has some in or at least the makings or the green salad's going to be a little boring."

"I'm sure he will have. He's quite the cook himself on the sly." She caught Sam's askance look and could not suppress a blush. "I have it on good authority from Cassie, not from personal experience. Anyway, I'm glad you made the salsa again, it was delicious last time when I tried it," Janet smiled. "Your protestations about how bad a cook you are is beginning to look a little suspect, you do know that, Sam?"

Sam just smiled lazily. "It's a salad. You can't burn a salad. Generally." She leaned her good arm on the edge of the car window. "So, where's Squirt? I thought she was invited to this shindig as well? Cassie get a better offer?"

"She's already there. You know she would never miss one of the Colonel's barbecues. Or the chance to hang with the guys. She loves them almost as much as she loves you, Sam. I dropped her off with the desserts before I came to pick you up. And before you ask, yes there's chocolate fudge cake."

"Yum!" There was a pause as Sam did the math. "Janet, that means you've virtually crossed town twice this morning! Now I do feel guilty..."

"Hey, I couldn't leave you stranded now could I?" Janet risked a quick smile across at her friend as she ably negotiated her car through the midmorning weekend traffic. "And I did order you not to try to drive for another week at least, remember?"

"Yes, Dr Fraiser," Sam's expression was one of perfect military composure, and then the dimples appeared and she glanced across at her friend, her blue eyes sparkling. "Thanks. I mean it. For everything." Most other doctors would not have moved heaven earth and several other planets to save her arm, the mess it was in. Most doctors would have… she banked down that thought with a shudder, flexing and relaxing her fingers in what was fast becoming an automatic gesture with her. It hurt like hell but at least she could do it.

"My pleasure, Sam," Janet smiled. If only she knew...

A moment's inattention, that was all it had taken. SG1 had gated to a planet whose Stargate was housed in a large room. The air was breathable but stale: no one had been here for a long time. Teal'c located doors at the far end of the room but whatever had powered the mechanism had long since run down. After checking that the DHD was still powered and in working order, Sam went over to help with the door.

O'Neill and Teal'c had more or less levered it open. As the slimmest by far, Sam was preparing to slip through the gap when the mechanism suddenly sprang to life again and the door began to shut of its own accord, trapping Sam's arm.

It only took a minute for the guys to lever the door open again but to Sam it felt like hours. The pain in her crushed arm was indescribable. She did not dare look at it. She had no sense of a hand, of fingers. There was blood everywhere. Teal'c dialed home, telling them to have a medical team ready as Daniel fastened a tourniquet around her upper arm to try and bring the bleeding under control. O'Neill wrapped her arm and hand in the field dressings from her pack, adding more from his pack and making a makeshift sling from his shirt. The dressings were already turning scarlet.

She managed to get back on her feet under her own steam but somewhere in the fifty feet from the door to the Gate she had lost consciousness. She woke up eighteen hours later in the SGC Infirmary with Janet and O'Neill beside her bed, her arm and hand elevated in a sling, immobilized. She could not see her fingers. It was another day before she had dared to ask Janet if she still had any.

Janet's initial surgery had restored enough circulation to her hand to keep it alive until Dr Reisner could get there and repair the rest of the damage. If her father had got there sooner the healing device would have been a lot more effective. As it was it had been over a month before he had received the Tokra's message and been able to extricate himself from the mission and get back to the SGC.

She had been lucky. Again. Janet's quiet support had been immeasurably important to her recovery. She had put up with Sam's temper, bitchiness, depression, the crying jags because of lack of sleep because of the pain that the tablets did not seem to touch. Once Sam had been released from the infirmary she had come around every day to see how she was doing, help with her physiotherapy and generally be a sounding board for her ever changing emotional state. Once things got back to normal, Sam knew she would miss the contact, the closeness that had developed between them.

She remembered earlier that day when she had been packing up the salads, listening to a song on one of the Lilith Fair compilation CDs. Something in the lyrics had struck home:

"I want a friend that I can care for
And I want to find a love that's not so painful

But I can't have everything I want
'Cause I can't have you
And I can't have anything I want

'Cause I only want you"

It was true. It was absolutely incontrovertibly true. Sam Carter was in love.

The bottle of salad dressing slipped from her hands and hit the hardwood floor at just the right angle to shatter, spraying dressing and shards of glass in every direction. Sam bit back tears of frustration at the mess on the floor. Janet would be here any minute. She couldn't lose it now. It was an accident. She had dropped things before. It was just… now it wasn't simple klutziness, now it was a mark of weakness. She held the roll of paper towels under her bad arm and tore off handfuls with her good hand, dropping them on the floor hoping they would soak up the oily mess. She hated being such a klutz, so weak and helpless. The fragments of glass she pushed into a pile with her foot. They would have to wait until she got back. She did not have the time or energy to clean them up now.

"For god sake, pull yourself together," she told herself fiercely. Carter's don't cry, remember. Certainly not over spilt salad dressing.

Gingerly she touched the thick rope of scar tissue that almost completely banded her wrist. Some places on the still livid scar tingled under her fingertips, others remained curiously dead as if the flesh didn't quite belong to her. But it did belong to her, thanks to Janet, Dr Reisner and her dad. And she was getting more use out of it every day. Time and patience, she told herself. Time and patience. She quickly ran through one of the exercises the physiotherapist had given her, touching her fingertips to her thumb in sequence from her index finger to her little finger and back again.

Maybe no one would notice the lack of dressing on the green salad she told herself. Hell, she could have gone the easy route and completely shop-bought for the barbecue but she had been determined to make some stuff herself as well. If she was honest with herself none of the guys would have thought any less of her if she had. She was the one driving herself here. Always the over-achiever, she snorted, shaking her head. At least the three bean salad and the salsa were done and safely packaged up.

Unless she managed to drop the box half way up the drive of course.

Sighing, she reached for the heavy brace that she still had to wear most of the time to support her still-healing bones and tendons, wrapping it around her arm. She pulled on the Velcro straps until it was snug around her thumb, wrist and arm, grimacing at the almost electric twinge that jangled up her arm. She was so hoping that soon she would be able to junk it for good. There was going to be a small but satisfying bonfire on that day.

Sam felt her heart give an unsteady thump as she heard the car horn bip outside. Her revelation of a few minutes ago came back to her. She was here. Oh god she was here. "Easy, girl," she told herself. "It's just Janet. You can do this."

The trouble was that there was no such thing as 'Just Janet'. There hadn't been for quite a while. Sam had known for a long time that she had a 'thing' for the diminutive doctor but lately it had definitely been getting out of han… out of control. She really should take some time out and give herself a good talking to. Except that she didn't really want to do that. What she really wanted to do was reach for that dark hair and run her fingers through it, lock gazes with those chocolate brown eyes and lose herself in them, kiss those sweet lips until they were both senseless.

And then there was the small but pertinent fact that she had no idea how Janet felt about having a relationship with another woman in general and with her Sam Carter in particular. Sam knew that she was hopeless at reading people. She hadn't an empathic bone in her body. Emotionally most people were pretty much opaque to her which was how she had ended up with a creep like Jonas. Oh thank God the days of her lunatic fringe phase were long behind her. River in Egypt and all that stuff. She shivered. Not a time she enjoyed looking back on.

But Janet. Janet would be good for her, she knew it. Hell, they would be good for each other. Janet wasn't seeing anyone else, hadn't seen anyone romantically speaking for years as far as Sam knew. And Janet told her most things in her life. Though having a demanding job and being single mother to a teenage daughter would do that to a person regardless of attachment issues. For all of that she had never once mentioned being interested in other women. But then neither had Sam.

Sam knew she was reading far far too much into this. Unfortunately.

Sighing, Sam loaded up her box and picked up her housekeys. She could do this. She had faced up to alien warlords and snakes with delusions of godhood. She could handle a barbecue and sleep over with her best friends and team mates, couldn't she? Couldn't she?

As she got out of the car outside O'Neill's house, Sam saw clearly for the first time the T shirt her friend was wearing. It was bright pink, which was an unusual colour for Janet to wear. Not only that but across the chest in a slightly less eyewatering pink was the legend 'Cute but Psycho'. Sam grinned. "I love the shirt."

Janet rolled her eyes. "It's Cassie's. You know how I feel about pink. Especially Barbie pink. Cass thought that the Colonel would appreciate the logo. She heard him call me the Napoleonic Powermonger the other day and I had to explain it to her."

"I think the pinkness is part of the whole ethos, you know," Sam said. "You know, pink is cute but you have to be psycho to wear something this pink."


"Yes, Janet?"

"Shut up."

"Yes, Janet."

Cassie was bunking down in the Colonel's spare room and hopefully asleep. The Colonel was probably out on his deck starwatching, accompanied by Teal'c who would no doubt be meditating. Daniel was definitely out for the count on the couch having passed out somewhere in the middle of his third beer, keeping up his reputation as a notoriously cheap date. Sam and Janet were sprawled on an air mattress in the den. Janet knew she was in the mellow stage of drunkenness and open to discussing meaning of life stuff as you tend to do in that state. As long as it was not the meaning of her love life.

Sam who was still taking pain meds – and under the watchful eyes of her doctor - had stuck to juice or soda all night. She was relieved in a way. Too much alcohol made her loquacious and puppy-friendly. She had the unenviable knack of declaring undying love to people somewhere between the sixth and seventh glass. Even without benefit of alcohol she was feeling way too relaxed.

"So what is your happiest memory?" she asked going back to a conversation they had started earlier in the afternoon whilst they were outside with the rest of SG1, enjoying the barbeque.

"I don't know," Janet said truthfully. "I'd like to think I haven't had it yet. Something to look forward to, you know?" She rolled over onto her front and looked down on her friend who was sprawled on her back, her knees bent, the sight of her long tanned bare legs sending so many dangerously intriguing signals into Janet's slightly befuddled mind. Never mix drinks and blond majors she told herself solemnly. Not good. Oh so not good. She closed her eyes, trying to bring her suddenly skittish libido back under control.

"That's a pretty good philosophy," Sam agreed. She laced her fingers over her abdomen to keep them under control. They itched to touch the soft skin of Janet's cheek, to card through the dark silky hair. "It's like you know when people say that their childhood was the happiest time of their lives. I don't get that. What the hell does that say about how they're living now?"

"I know what you mean," Janet agreed softly. She opened her eyes again. The hem on the strap of Sam's tank top had frayed slightly, a stray piece of cotton resting on the soft pale skin that covered the inviting ridge and dip of her collarbone. What would it be like to kiss along that length of bone to the softness of her throat. Janet could see the blood pulse beneath the fair skin. Suddenly dry mouthed and greatly daring Janet reached out to pull at the thread. Sam turned her head to see what she was doing and their eyes met, their mouths only inches apart.

Please let it not be wishful thinking Janet thought to herself, seeing the need she felt for Sam reflected in Sam's eyes. Let this not be the biggest mistake of my life. Their heads moved even closer together and Janet closed the last inch or so to softly touch her lips to Sam's.

The first kiss was tentative, lasted mere seconds and was extraordinarily chaste considering the wealth of emotions both women were experiencing. Sam brought her injured arm up, her fingers caressing Janet's hair as they just stared at each other each waiting for the other to say that this was a mistake that it must never happen again.

It didn't happen. Their lips met again, mouths opening against each other, tongues touching, tasting each other, examining the different textures hard soft rough smooth. And that was just the mouth. Janet found herself half-straddling Sam's slender body, Sam's tank top pushed up to expose her breasts, Janet's hand cupping one, her thumb rubbing gently across the taut nipple. She could feel the tall woman's heart thudding in her chest and knew that her own was pounding out a similar rhythm.

Sam's good hand was buried in Janet's hair, carding softly through it. Her eyes were darkened with need, a smile quirking her lips. "You have no idea," she whispered. "No idea my sweet Janet how long I've wanted to do that. I hoped you would be okay with it. I hardly dared hope you might feel the same way."

"Are we doing this?" Janet whispered. "Because I think I've loved you since the first day I saw you." She laid her head in the crook of Sam's neck, running her fingers along the ridge of collarbone, flicking out her tongue to lick at the sheen of sweat on the soft skin of her throat, smiling as she heard and felt Sam giggle.

"Tickles," Sam explained.

So my big bad major is ticklish, Janet smiled. How many other secrets can I get out of her tonight?

Tonight and many other nights.

"I do want this," Sam said softly. She grinned down at Janet. "Don't look so afraid. I do love you you know. I don't want this to be a one time thing."

So this is just the beginning. Janet ran her fingers over the softness of the skin beneath her, feeling the toned and taut muscles twitch, the steel beneath the velvet. "Neither do I," Janet replied. She brought her hand up to touch Sam's face, feeling the strength of bone under the soft skin of her cheek and jaw. "Neither do I. I love you."

"And I love you," Sam whispered. "So much…"

They kissed again, Sam nipping playfully at Janet's deliciously full lower lip. Janet bent her head to lave Sam's breasts with kisses only for Sam to stop her.

"Not here, Janet. It wouldn't be right. Not now, but soon. You understand?"

"You're right," Janet said, pulling back from Sam's body only for Sam to hold on to her.

"Stay, please. I like having you near," Sam whispered. She pulled her top down and turned on her side, beckoning Janet to spoon into her body, Sam's injured arm resting on Janet's abdomen. "Stay."

"Forever," Janet whispered, her eyes already closing in sleep. "Forever." The words of the song ran through her mind again. Everything was going to be all right. She had what she wanted.

The End

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