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Precious and Few Are the Moments We Two Can Share
By Little Mac


P3X-492 was unremarkable in every way, from the flora and fauna to the ancient ruins abandoned millennia ago. Two weeks spent on the surface of a planet long dead; weeks spent missing the other half of my soul. The trip back through the gate was equally unremarkable; my post mission exam, however; was anything but.

Long fingers spent a few moments longer than necessary stroking the back of my neck, usual procedure to check for Gou'ald entry scars. I've been examined by Warner and a quick swipe of the fingers along my vertebra is all it takes. This exam takes much, much longer as Janet strokes my tired muscles, tickles the hairs at the base of my neck and grazes my skin with her short fingernails. She knows what this does to me, and I indulge her because these moments are the only ones we can share on the base. They are precious to the both of us for entirely different reasons. For her it is an affirmation that I've come home to her safe and sound and none the worse for wear. For me it's when I really feel I've come home; walking through the gate doesn't give me that feeling anymore, only her touch can truly make me believe.

The curtain is closed and I can hop up on the exam table now that her initial probe is complete. I spread my knees and she walks into the space I've created for her and wraps her arms around my waist as I pull her close and nuzzle her hair with my nose. Inhaling the fresh and familiar scent of her shampoo deep into my lungs, I tighten my arms around her and whisper in her ear.

"I've missed you so much I just want to stay like this forever."

"As much as I'd love that I'm sure that sooner or later someone would find us and our careers would be over."

"Would that be such a bad thing?" I ask offhandedly. It isn't like we haven't talked about this before, but it's been awhile and the thought of retiring has been on my mind more often in the last year.

Janet's gaze is equal parts amazement and concern with just a hint of mirth hiding in the background.

"Are you seriously asking me that, or are you lost in wishful thinking?" She knows what this program means to me and how seriously I take my position on SG-1. What she doesn't know is how hard it's become for me to walk through that gate not knowing if I'll return, or worse yet watching her walk through without me and worrying if she'll be protected when it's not my eyes on her six.

"I've been thinking about it, a lot it seems."

She steps out from within the circle of my arms and leans against the small supply cabinet next to the gurney. Elbow resting on the top, one ankle crossed over the other and her other hand on her hip, it's both endearing and authoritative and sexy as hell. She's in "mother mode" now and my blood work and exam are forgotten.

"What brought this on, Samantha?" Full use of my name generally indicates someone is pissed or I'm in trouble, but from Janet it means she's more concerned than usual.

I hung my head, unable to look at her, focusing instead on her ankles, swollen already from a day standing on her feet in heels she hated and all I could think about was how much I wished I could pull her legs into my lap and massage her feet. Yet another precious moment we two shared at the end of our day. As precious as those moments were to me it was no longer enough. "I'm tired. I'm tired of only being able to snag moments of your time during the day. I'm tired of being away from you for days or weeks on end. I'm especially tired of hiding how I feel about you from the people who matter the most in our lives. I feel like half my life is spent lying to the ones we care about." I feel the tears fall from my eyes and I hadn't even realized they were there.

Her hand under my chin lifted my head until her eyes met mine. "Sam, honey, I love you and I'll back you one hundred percent in whatever decision you make. Before you ask, there's not a "but" on that statement. I know you'll weigh all the pros and cons and you'll make the decision you feel is right for you."

Looking in her eyes, I know she speaks the truth, she does support me completely and totally and I love her all the more for her unwavering trust in me. "What about you? Do you want to stay here?"

Her smile is tender and I know she's struggling with her own wants and needs. This post is the culmination of her life's work the same as it is for me and what I'm asking is for her to give up her dream for me. She takes my hands in hers and holds my eyes captive with her own as she pours out her soul to me.

"I do, but I also have other wants and needs that make staying here impossible. I want to have children with you Sam; I want to marry you with our friends and family standing beside us. I want to take the mountains of research I've accumulated and turn it into drugs and treatments to help those outside this complex and the military. More than anything I want to know that you're safe and sound and within cell phone range every minute of every day. I know that's selfish to say that I support you giving up your dream but wanting to hold onto mine; I also know that our dreams revolve around each other and the life we want to lead together and I think if we put our heads together we can come up with a way for both of us to have our dreams and each other too."

I know my eyes are wide and I know I need to blink but my brain has short-circuited and all I can focus on are her words. "Did you just propose to me?" I splutter in what has to be the most comically unattractive manner possible.

"Out of everything I just said, that was all you heard?" She asks, a half smile, half smirk on her face.

"Yes, you goofball, I guess I did. I do love you Samantha Carter and I would be honored if you'd be my wife."

She folds herself into my arms once again and I know that no matter what I decide she is where I need to be. "Of course I'll marry you. Do you think anyone will figure out that you're the butch in this relationship?"

The voice from the other side of the curtain scares us apart and I know the mortified look on Janet's face is mirrored on my own. "Hell yes Carter, we've known that all along." Janet opens the curtain between the two beds and the rest of my team come into view, all three of them sitting side by side on the gurney, smug looks plastered on two of their faces and Teal'c's face as usual is placid and shows no emotion. His eyes are twinkling though, and I know that he's happy for us.

"I'm sorry sir, what did you say?"

"I said yes, we all know old Doc Frasier wears the pants in your family and congrats on the engagement."

I can't form a coherent thought beyond oh shit my career is over for sure now, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. What comes out if my mouth, however; is, "Uh buh huh... wha um."

"What I think Sam is trying to say is thank you sir."

Janet on the other hand, is grace under pressure personified. Maybe it comes with the job, maybe it's part of her personality; whatever it is I'm grateful to have her do all the talking for us.

"Perhaps we should take this discussion somewhere more private Colonel, would you gentlemen meet us in my office?"

"Sure thing Doc, but you may want to check Carter's blood pressure first; she looks like she's going to pass out."

He smirks and chuckles, quite proud of himself I can tell and shoos Daniel and Teal'c out of the infirmary and toward Janet's office.

I'm in full blown panic mode now and pacing the small curtained area in tight circles, stopping only when Janet pulls me into a hug and forces me to sit.

"Sam, it's okay. If he was going to turn us in he wouldn't have kept sitting there, he would have high-tailed it to General Hammond's office and we'd be waiting for the court martial papers to be filed. Calm down sweetie and let's go talk to him. There's no sense in getting worked up without knowing what he's thinking."

She's right, I know she is and just hearing the rational words calm me. Running my fingers through my hair I steel myself for the unknown and follow her lead as she strides confidently to her office. An hour later my fears are proven unfounded by the turn of events. Janet has Daniel as a best man and I have Jack as my matron of honor, Teal'c wants to be the ring bearer and General Hammond has agreed to walk me down the aisle if my father can't make it to the ceremony. For all the worrying we had done over the last five years we needn't have worried at all, seems Jack and Daniel knew all along, almost from the first date, and they were happy for us. Jack's attention toward me was his way of keeping anyone else from finding out about us. General Hammond said he suspected for a long time but knew for sure when Jacob made him promise not to discharge either of us if anyone found out about our relationship. He always wanted me to find a love like he shared with mama and he made sure that when I did it was protected from harm as much as possible.

We've been married for a year tomorrow and no one asks and we don't tell but everyone on the base knows and so does President Hayes. It was a condition of our staying with the Stargate program. Neither of us goes off world anymore, Janet is still the CMO and I still have my research. It's enough for both of us; we still have our dreams and we have each other and now we find a little more time in the day for those precious few moments we can squeeze in between medical emergencies and unauthorized gate activations. We're both expecting and the Carter-Fraiser household is gearing up for the births, a son for me and a daughter for Janet. The donors are close personal friends and eagerly await the arrivals as much as we do. We didn't plan to have the children together; we thought the in vitro fertilization would fail the first time around so we doubled our chances with both of us getting implanted at the same time. I have Janet's fertilized egg and she has mine, our way of making our family truly our own.

I miss going through the gate more than I thought I would, but I wouldn't trade these moments for anything in this world or the thousands still left to explore.

The End

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