DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. MGM and whoever can
have them back whenever they want.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to the hyperphysics website for the quarks. And Hawkwind for the section title. (Quark strangeness and charm)
SPOILERS: set between Season 1: There but for the grace of God to Season 2: The Serpent's Lair.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author
"Missed me." Janet stared at the debris of the now terminally broken phone which had impacted the wall about a foot from her head.
In more ways than you could possibly imagine. "Oh god, Janet, I'm so sorry. I didn't think. I just got a little "
Again, in more ways than you could possibly imagine. Or maybe not. Why are you looking at me like that? Am I imagining this?
"Who were you trying to get hold of?"
"Well, you actually."
Why? I needed to talk to you, to hear the sound of your voice to make sure that I wasn't the only person in the world. "Oh, er, just to check if it was still okay to come over tomorrow."
"It's Saturday. Of course it's okay, Sam. And you're more than welcome any time, you know that. Not just on Saturdays."
I can't help but smile at that, it's so good to hear, even if she's only being polite. "I know. It's just I don't want to presume or impose "
"Sam, Cassie thinks of you as an important part of her family. Actually she'd like to see you more often and so would I."
Now that one I didn't imagine. I was never very good at subtext and one of the few ex's in my life swore that my gaydar was set for a different planet. I had hoped, I had wished but I had never expected.
"Janet, I "
"I'm on early shift today so I finish about two. Why don't you come and have a sleep over when you finish. I'll cook a proper meal for us all tonight and you can spend the entire day with Cassie tomorrow."
"That would be really nice." How needy did I sound just then. But then when was the last time I had any kind of `family' life?
"We'll talk, later," she smiled. "Not here. And not on that." She gestured to the jumbled remains of my cell.
"Okay. Yes. Good." Oh, I was handling this so well. Technobabble I can handle, a simple conversation with this woman leaves me floundering.
"And perhaps we can find something else for you to work out your frustrations on."
Thud. It hits me. Revelation, epiphany, whatever you want to call it. I was not imagining it. Janet Fraiser liked me. A lot.
It's Sam's birthday soon. I wonder if I should buy her a new phone or whether she'll be able to fix her old one. It did look pretty much totaled though. But then she is a genius with that sort of thing. She'll probably improve it and sell the design back to the company for a gazillion dollars. Or not.
And I have discovered something.
I like to tease Sam Carter. I like to make the usually imperturbable Captain blush. I like to watch her train of thought derail. I like to make her remember that she is a highly attractive very desirable human being. Just sometimes infuriatingly dense when it comes to non-verbal communication.
And how I desire her.
I mean, even Daniel noticed that I like Sam. Sam totally oblivious. Until today. I don't know whether I caught her at a particularly needy moment but I think she finally got the message. I like her. A lot.
And she's coming over this evening.
So I have a meal to plan and cook and a house to tidy up and a bedroom to set up. The spare room, of course. I don't want to rush into things. Though I'll give my room the once over as well. And change the sheets. And lay out some candles. And maybe a bottle of wine.
Easy. Easy. Do not get your expectations up, Janet Fraiser. This is Sam Carter we are talking about. Flygirl, superscientist and perennial wallflower. By choice.
But I didn't imagine what I saw earlier.
She likes me too.
A. I want Janet Fraiser
It took me twice as long as usual to get ready for tonight. I couldn't decide how to pitch it sexy/dressy as in for a first date, smart/casual as in for a girls night in, or sultry for a lover. Finally I decided to combine all three.
I smoothed my hands over the soft peach silk of the undergarments I had bought myself a few months previously in a fit of what, sexual tension, desperation to remember that I was a woman, hope? Who knows I'm not usually one for impulse purchases. But on this occasion I was glad I had. The colour went well with my lightly tanned skin, enhancing my curves, deepening my cleavage to a respectable extent. The rough skin of my fingers snagged in the soft material and I reminded myself to moisturize them more often. The thought of how much I wanted Janet to see me in these of how much I wanted her to be the one to take them off me tonight made me squirm.
A dress shirt, white linen, the small white buttons slightly finicky. I had to abandon my fantasy for the moment to concentrate on doing them up. As I finished, leaving the top three buttons undone I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror again as I raised my head. I shivered. If Janet caught that expression she would have no doubt at all the depth of my feelings. I was in so much trouble here. Were my eyes really that bright? My reflection bit her bottom lip and then grinned.
Bring it on.
Black leather trousers. Comfortable. Familiar. And they made me feel good. And I knew from something that Cassie let slip once that Janet thought I looked good in leather. And my old leather jacket over the top.
I still felt like myself. This was good. Hopefully it would help steady my nerves later. I nodded sharply to my reflection as we made a quiet pact. Tonight I would tell her how I felt.
B. I want Sam Carter.
Cassie was banished upstairs to tidy her room after she had set the table. She had finished all her homework except her math. She wanted Sam to explain something to her. She came downstairs as I finished up in the kitchen, everything timed to come together about twenty minutes after Sam got here. I knew I could rely on Sam to be here on the dot of seven thirty as we had arranged. Sam was always punctual.
"Is there something special about tonight?"
"Sam's coming over, that's all. And she's staying over and spending the whole day with us tomorrow."
"There's nothing else, no other reason?"
I shook my head, hating to lie to my daughter but hyperaware of why it was necessary. Cassie already had too many secrets in her young life. "No, no other reason. Why?"
"You're going to a lot of trouble just for Sam." She paused, looked suddenly serious. "You really like her, don't you."
"Of course I like her, Cassie. She's a good friend and we work together all the time."
"I know, but you really like her, like love her, don't you?"
Was there extra pleading behind that question? I held out my arms and she came to me for a hug.
"I like Sam a lot, yes. She's come to mean a lot to me, to both of us. Love her Cassie, I don't know. There are so many difficulties even thinking about that kind of relationship what with our jobs and everything. And I don't know how Sam feels about me."
"Oh, she loves you," Cassie said matter-of-factly. "She has for ages."
"She told you this?"
Cassie laughed. "No! But you just have to watch how she is when you're around each other. She gets this look, especially when she knows you can't see her. And mom, I have to tell you you get the same look."
"And if something did happen between us it wouldn't make you feel awkward?"
"Well I don't want a ringside view or anything but it would be great. My two favourite people together." She hugged me tighter and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "I'll keep an eye on the stove. You go and make yourself beautiful."
C. She wants me. I want her.
It was seven o'clock. I rang the doorbell and a few seconds later Janet opened the door. And my self confidence deserted me. She looked amazing. Edible. Fuckable.
Those dark eyes were fixed on mine and I swear she could see my soul. She smiled, reached out to take my hand and draw me into the house. She was wearing a dark red velvet top that skimmed the top of her breasts and left a lot of her shoulders bare. Her hair was loosely clipped back off her face letting tendrils curl around her cheeks. Her black trousers showed off her curves, her heels brought her height an inch or too closer to mine. I was glad I had worn flats.
I handed her the bottle of wine and the small posy of flowers I had picked up on my way here. Nothing too showy. The tea roses were just coming out of bud, cinnamon, honey and palest pink. No great declaration of anything intended, just a gesture to let her know I was thinking about her.
Then Cassie pounced on me and before I had chance to say anything further to Janet I was pulled into the den for an impromptu lecture on the point of learning anything about fractions.
A few minutes later a hand rested on my shoulder and a glass of wine appeared at my side. "Dinner will be ready in about five minutes," she said.
I was suddenly paralysed. I could feel her body resting against my back, the weight of her breasts, the scent of her shampoo. Her breath wafted my hair and I thought I was going to faint for a moment. "Thanks," I whispered. Trying to stop my hand shaking I reached out and took a sip of wine to steady my nerves. Her hand patted me and then the weight of her was gone.
Cassie was looking particularly inscrutable. "You're blushing," she said.
"The wine always goes straight to my cheeks," I lied.
"It's going to be okay, Sam," she said gravely. I stared at her, wanting desperately to know what she meant by that. Did she know could she know what I felt for Janet? She'd been on earth for less than a year. She grinned at me and then turned the page in her text book. "What does this mean?" she asked. "Why do I need to learn this stuff? I'm never gonna use it."
"Because it's the basis for a lot of other things," I said, finding my equilibrium again. "They lead on from this. And if you don't get this bit right then nothing else will make sense." I paused. Shit. Two epiphanies in one day.
A. This is the best of all possible worlds
I hope my daughter is not teasing Sam too much. Sam is so good with her, she has endless patience and boundless enthusiasm. If she ever decided on a change of career she'd make a damn good teacher.
When I touched her shoulder, I felt her shiver. I could see how my breath stirred the short hairs at the back of her neck. I could see her fair skin begin to colour and knew that she would be blushing. I didn't mean to make her feel uncomfortable. I know she doesn't think of herself as a people-person and if she gets too self-conscious, well, let's just say that it's going to be a quiet evening.
Dinner went well, long periods of single minded eating from my daughter and my best friend interspersed with jokes and anecdotes as they came up for air once in a while. They both had the same attitude to food. If it was put in front of them they ate it, if it was not there they didn't go looking. I had already taken it upon myself as an extra duty to make sure that Sam came up for air, food and something other than coffee at least once a day when she was in her lab. I gazed at her fondly and realised that she was returning the look. We both blushed and looked down at our plates.
As it was already arranged that she was staying the night Sam had a second glass of wine. Cassie volunteered to do the dishes and we were left alone.
"Thanks for that," she said at last. "It was lovely. I can't remember the last time I had a home-cooked meal before I started coming here. Neither dad or my brother were much for cooking and before she died my mom had only really got round to teaching me to make cookies, fun stuff you know " she took a hefty gulp from her glass. "You would have liked her, I think. And she would have loved you. And spoilt Cassie rotten."
"She must have been a very special person," I said quietly, not wanting to break the mood. Sam rarely talked about herself like this. "She certainly raised an amazing daughter."
I made her blush again. "I'm " I knew she was going to downplay what I had said. Before she had chance to say anything I stood up and crossed to her side of the table. I held out my hand. "Come on, let's go and make ourselves comfortable in the lounge."
She took my hand, her long fingers cool, lightly caressing my palm for a moment. I shivered, our gazes locked and it was as if some connection had been made between us. We had a whole world-changing conversation and neither of us said a word. Then she stood and still clasping my hand we walked through into the lounge.
Sam sat on the couch and pulled me down beside her. She gazed at me, her expression serious, searching for something, her eyes dark with intent. I tried to relax to project reassurance that whatever she wanted I was more than happy with. She drew closer to me and I tilted my head as our lips closed together and we kissed.
She had the softest lips. I raised my hand to cup her cheek, letting it slide down to her slender neck, my fingers playing with her hair. Her kisses were light, almost playful but definitely promising more.
We drew back, not wanting to go any further with Cassie still in the house. She rested her forehead against mine for a moment.
"I keep thinking about that world that Daniel went to the alternate universe," she said softly. "I was engaged to Colonel O'Neill and I was a civilian scientist working with Catherine. How the hell could I be engaged to the Colonel?"
"There is a certain spark between the two of you," I said. "There's quite a betting pool on the two of you getting together."
She snorted. "Don't waste your money. I've been down that road before and I'm not anxious to repeat the experience."
"Why did you get engaged to Jonas Hansen?"
She drew back. "Why did you get married?" Her tone was sharp.
I did not take the bait. "Fulfilling other people's expectations, I think. Probably the same for you." She nodded slowly. I reached out to caress her cheek. "So how many alternates are out there at this moment having this conversation?"
She shrugged, gave a half smile. "No way of telling. So many possible outcomes from even the smallest decision. There are realities where I was never born, where my mom didn't die that day, where she did and I flunked out of school just to spite dad, where I never joined the air force, where I got into the NASA programme rather than accepting General Hammond's offer to come here. There are worlds where I married Jonas, where I married Jack O'Neill. There could even be worlds where I married you. Think of that."
"I am," I smiled. "Want to know something?"
"Always," she grinned. "You know me. The information junkie."
"Right at this moment this seems to me to be the best of all possible worlds."
Her grin softened into the tenderest of smiles. I knew in my heart that she had never smiled at anyone like that before that that look was mine and mine alone, unique in all the worlds. And I treasured it.
I heard the phone ring in the kitchen and Cassie picked it up. There was a few moments murmured conversation and then a light tap on the door. "It's okay to come in, Cassie," I smiled. Sam giggled, putting the back of her hand over her mouth to hide it from Cassie.
"Umm, that was Mandy. She rang to ask me about the maths problems that Sam told me how to fix. She's really stuck. Her mom says I can sleep over if that's okay with you and she'll come pick me up and bring me back in the morning. Mandy's really obsessing."
Sheila Abrams was on the civilian staff at the SGC and lived a few streets over. "It's fine by me, sweetie. Remember that Sam's here tomorrow as well. Is there anything you particularly want to do?"
"We could go rollerblading?" Cassie asked hopefully.
I looked across at Sam who shrugged. "At least we'll have a doctor on hand for when I brain myself."
"Okay. Go and get your things. I'll phone Mrs Abrams and tell her that it's okay." I squeezed Sam's hand and got up to go to the phone. I did not miss the blinding grin and the thumbs up that Cassie gave Sam when she thought my back was turned and realised that although Mandy's call might have been coincidence my daughter was definitely matchmaking.
I turned back to say something to Sam and my words died in my throat. She was staring at me with such an intense look on her face. I felt like one of her `doohickeys'. To have those infamous powers of intellect and concentration lavished on me. It was quite a heady thought.
My daughter bounced back down the stairs with her maths books and duffle bag and hugged me until I thought my ribs were going to break. Then she flung herself on Sam.
"Hey, you're only going overnight," Sam said. "I'll see you in the morning."
"I know. I know. But this is " she glanced at me and then back to Sam. "I'm so happy for both of you, really I am." A car horn beeped twice from the road and she was gone.
"Wow," Sam said softly. "She really wants this to happen between us."
"Of course she does. We're her family," I said, bringing over the bottle of wine and topping up Sam's glass and then mine. "Bless her. She's going to be impossible, you do realise this."
"Good," Sam's smile was full of real affection. "I think we can indulge her in being impossible for a while, don't you?"
I leant over gave her another kiss. "Yeah. And it does mean that we have the house to ourselves all night." I backed off a little. "Nothing has to happen, you do know that. I'm not rushing you or pushing you into anything you're not comfortable with. The bed in the spare room is made up or " Lips were pressed against mine kissing me quite urgently. My eyes had fluttered closed. As the sweet pressure left my lips I opened my eyes again to find crystal blue eyes only inches from my own studying me intently.
"Do you know how beautiful you are?" she whispered, her hand tracing the curve of my jaw. "How many times I have fantasized about kissing you, about holding you, making love to you. I don't want to waste another moment."
B. Déjà vu or Jamais vu
My mind is stuck on two tracks. One of them is cataloguing every inch of this beautiful amazing woman who lies beneath me muttering soft encouragement as I explore her body with my tongue and my fingers, committing every sensation to memory. The other is wondering what all my alternate selves are doing at this moment. Is that what deja-vu is? The memory of one or more alternate selves doing what you are doing echoing across the dimensions? It is an intriguing thought. I'm not getting any déjà vu so maybe I'm the trailblazer here. Jamais vu something we have never done before. She sighs, smiling as I kiss my way down from her throat to between her breasts. Janet is naked. I wanted to see her nude for a change. She's seen me in the buff often enough when she's examining me. She made me sit on the edge of the bed and undressed for me. She is a tease, I have discovered. And more beautiful than I could have imagined. I am sans trousers and boots but still wearing the shirt. And the silk and lace. She hasn't discovered that yet. We haven't got round to unwrapping me. I've kept her busy.
It's not that I'm shy about my body. It's not perfect. There are the scars for starters. But Janet knows all about them. She's seen them, touched them, hell, she even created a few of them when she sewed me up. But seeing them as a doctor and seeing them as a lover are two different things. I don't want to disappoint her.
Janet's skin is like satin. She smells of honey and jasmine. Her breasts are full, the nipples dark against her pale skin. I run the flat of my tongue over her left nipple and she holds my head against her, her fingers twined in my hair as I take more of her breast into my mouth. One hand runs up and down her rib cage the other rests on her inner thigh, scribing circles on her cool flesh that take me closer and closer to her centre. She murmurs my name over and over again, telling me where and how to touch her, her little sighs of appreciation making me smile. My fingers graze her clit, part her folds. She is already wet for me, her body preparing itself for what is to come. Come. I grin as I part her legs further opening her to me.
"You are perfect, Janet. So beautiful," I whisper as two of my fingers slide inside her and I blow gently across her clit. She gasps, her hands clutching at the bedsheet beneath her. "So very beautiful." No more time for words as I bend my head to taste her, taking her swollen clit gently into my mouth and rolling my tongue over it. Her moans increase in volume and I hear some interesting language mixed in with my name. It seems I'm doing something right. And then she explodes under me, her back arching, bodywarm liquid spilling over my fingers. I lap at it, my free hand resting on her hip holding her in place as my fingers gently pump in and out bringing her slowly down. Her hand touches my hair tugging gently until I bring my face up level with hers. She kisses me, cleaning her juices from my lips and cheeks.
C. Quark Strangeness and Charm
I kissed her tasting myself on her lips, her skin. She reared above me, her hands planted on either side of her head. Somehow she was still wearing that pristine linen shirt. And more than anything else I wanted to see what lay underneath.
I know what Sam looks like naked. But this was not a medical exam. There were no gloves no protocols between us. I began to undo the buttons on her shirt one by one working my way down. The material gaped open revealing her beautiful pale skin, the heaviness of her breasts encased in peach coloured silk and lace, her nipples straining against the material. I undid the last of her buttons and she knelt upright, shrugging the material from her shoulders, letting it slide down her arms. The panties she wore matched the bra. I let my fingers slide underneath the material to stroke the soft hairs. I watched her gulp, her breath hitching. She tossed the shirt aside and then reached behind her to unhitch her bra. I sat up a little, kissed my way up from her stomach towards her newly freed breasts. She held her bra in her hands, looped it round the back of my neck pulling me towards her as I pulled her towards me. We fell back against the pillows as she rubbed her long body against mine, her breath furnace hot against my throat. Her milky skin was almost luminous in the dim light. I got my fingers under the edge of her panties again and began to inch them down over her slim hips. She arched up over me again, her short hair haloing around her head and I scooted down to pull her panties down her thighs. Somehow she kicked them off and then I pulled her up so her centre was over my face. She hesitated.
"It's okay, Sam. You won't hurt me. Just lower yourself until you feel me touch you." She looked down at me and nodded.
"Sorry, I've never done it this way "
"Lots of different ways Sam, lots of different things to try. We have all the time in the world, `member?"
"The scientific method," she smiled then breathed in deeply as my tongue touched her clit, pulling the little nub into my mouth. "Repeat the experiment multiple times with slightly different variables."
Multiple times, huh. I let my teeth graze the edge of her labia, thoroughly washing the damp folds with my tongue. I could hear her voice somewhere above me, the tone almost dreamy as she took me through the basics of the scientific method.
"What you do is that you pick something to observe like like cosmic ray interaction. Then you come up with a hypo hypothesis that oh god, do that again! That... is consistent with what you have observed uhhh! Oh, God! Then you make predictions from your hypothesis and test the predictions with exper-ha!-periments or further observations and modify your oh! Ooh! Hypothesis accordingly until there are no discrepancies. Janet!"
From my position I watched her head drop back, her chest heaving, sweat running down her pale skin. My mouth was filled with her juices. I could feel her thigh muscles quaking and eased myself out from under her, replacing my tongue with two fingers as I knelt behind her now, kissing my way down the clean line of her spine. She rocked then fell back against me, breathing heavily.
"When consistency is obtained god that was good the hypothesis becomes a theory and provides a coherent set of propositions which explain a class of phenomena. I think I'm in love with you, Janet. A theory is then a framework within which observations are explained and predictions are made."
I hadn't missed what she said. "Well, based on what I've observed these last few hours and the activities we've indulged in my theory is that what we're feeling is pretty mutual. My predictions are that this won't be the last night we spend together and that things are only going to get better between us." Suddenly I realised how still she was and began to fear I had taken it too damn fast. "Sam?"
"Quarks," she said softly.
"Quarks. Is that an acronym for something?" She twisted round in my arms until we were facing each other, her legs spread so that I was kneeling between them. Her hands rested on my arms which rested on her thighs.
"Quarks are subatomic particles. There are six types, up down top bottom charm and strange."
"'Charm and strange?' You're making this up, aren't you?"
She grinned at me and continued her impromptu lecture. "They're the new kids on the block as far as quantum physics is concerned and we're still working out how they react and what they do. But they pair up. And depending on their colour and flavour they produce different interactions. They change the universe."
"Well you're definitely strange," I said. "So that must make me charm."
"My charm," she whispered, suddenly serious again. Her hands came up to cup my face. "My lucky charm. Something to come home to."
The phone rang. I craned over to look at the caller ID. It was the Mountain.
It has been ten days since we made love for the first (and so far, only) time, four days since we have been alone, together with more than a fifty-fifty chance of not being interrupted within the next five minutes. All the political shit that came down on us with Kinsey's threat to shut down the whole programme and then that damn stupid suicide mission she went on and the days since stuck on the base whilst the new bigger SGC takes shape around us have left my girl with a lot of time on her hands to think.
And then they were out again on another mission. A milk run this time, no worlds to save.
All through her post-mission medical Sam had stared at me, mostly in silence except when she had to answer my questions about the couple of minor scrapes and bruises she had picked up on her travels a slightly faster than anticipated trip down a scree. Her stare began to make me feel uncomfortably warm and by the faint smirk on her face whenever she thought I wasn't looking, she knew all too well what she was doing. Minx!
We snatched lunch together in the commissary a few hours later. After disinterring and identifying the day's mystery meat from the almost dayglo sauce that coated it, we chatted about the mission. "Daniel thinks that whoever lived there was Indo-European, was relocated from Earth fairly early on. But certainly in the area we were surveying no one had been there for centuries. There were signs in the surrounding landscape that there had been fairly severe tectonic activity eroded lava flows. The main flow must have missed the Gate by less than half a mile. Unfortunately it also means that any naquada on the planet is under a layer of basalt a couple of hundred metres thick. As valuable as naquada is to us any mining operation just wouldn't be cost effective."
"How long did it take you to work that out?"
"About an hour and a half on day one," Sam shrugged. "We took it in turns working on our tan, walking the perimeter and playing at being Daniel's assistant after that." She sighed, mushed up her vegetables a bit more.
"So what were you thinking about all that time?" I asked.
"You know, the usual how to improve dial-out times, whether it would be worth building a DHD of our own. You. How much naquadah it would take to make the SGC self sufficient in power and shut Kinsey and his beancounters up for good. Sex. Alternate Universes. Sex. The decay rate of neutrinos. You. Quarks. Sex. Times, Places," Sam moved a careful inch or two closer, her voice reduced to a breathy, very sensual whisper across the table. "Positions."
I choked on a piece of potato.
"The whole 'repeat experiments multiple times while slightly altering the variables' thing has a certain intrigue," I said, gasping as teeth scraped along sensitive skin.
"Don't distract me," a voice mumbled. I shuddered. The vibrations against my skin did wonderful things to my senses. "Or I might have to start all over again."
Now that had possibilities. I wound my fingers in Sam's hair. "Sa-am?"
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