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By Little Mac
I've never had close women friends. I've had friends, I've had acquaintances and I've had lovers but I've never had that close friendship with a woman that would be natural to me had I not lost my mother so young. My role models were men, my father, my Uncle George who was now my CO, and my brother Mark. I learned how to have friendships from them. Affection shown in a slap on the back or a double gripped handshake; perhaps a friendly punch to the shoulder and yet for all that I learned about friendship from them I also learned not to be guarded in my affections towards others.
Janet entered my life during the Broca mission, a new CMO to replace the one killed in the line of duty. We clicked instantly and I like to think it was more than just having another female around of the same rank. We fell into an easy familiarity with each other immediately. We spent the weekends in each other's company without looking into the reasons why we'd rather meet at one or the others house and curl up in front of the TV with a movie than go out on a date with a man.
Our familiarity with each other was comfortable and unforced, we hugged when we felt like it, and I often found myself standing behind her with my arms wrapped around her waist and my nose pressed into her hair as she washed dishes or cleaned vegetables in the sink. Neither of us thought much about it, or at least I didn't. She was a hugger just like me. I shared hugs with everyone I felt close to, from Daniel to Teal'c and even Jack. Janet and I hugged a lot and I gave it no more than a passing thought that her hugs made me feel warm and safe and cared about and I hoped she felt the same from mine.
We found ourselves sharing evenings after Hathor invaded the base, we'd bonded over bad relationship stories in the cell we shared and laughed about the absurdity of it all. After Cassandra came into our lives we became a family without giving it any thought. Saturdays were spent puttering around Janet's house, working in the flower beds or fixing the roof, mundane things every family does. Saturday night was spent playing chess with Cass while Janet folded laundry or ironed and when the chores were done we watched movies or played games as a family. Occasionally I spent the night and Sunday morning would find Janet and I making breakfast when Cass wandered sleepily into the kitchen and wrapped herself around my waist, that half awake half asleep little girl was my favorite. Even into her teens when she was almost as tall as me I loved that feeling of her laying her head on my shoulder and allowing me to hug her close.
Those stolen moments of normal family life, moments neither of us dissected or discussed, we just let them evolve naturally. Men came and went from our lives, Pete from mine and Daniel from Janet's. We talked about marriage, about love and about how neither of us found what we were looking for in the men we'd dated. Pete was too easy for me, he didn't challenge me enough and I couldn't keep up the pretense any longer. Daniel could never move on from Shar'e and Janet didn't want to compete with a memory. So we let them go and shared the weekends as we'd always done.
Yesterday we'd planted tulips and crocus bulbs and I trimmed the shrubs and trees in anticipation of winter fast approaching, we'd picnicked in the back yard, grilling burgers and hot dogs and playing Frisbee with Cass and the dog. Sunday I put the storm windows on and tightened the screens, winterizing the house as we did every year.
Sunday night was different, Cassandra had a date with Dominic and for the first time in a long while Janet and I were alone in a silent house and I experienced a moment of discomfort.
We stood at the sink, doing the dishes, thinking our own thoughts and just enjoying the ease of being with someone and knowing you didn't need to fill the silence with useless conversation.
"Well, this is different." Janet broke the silence first.
"How long has it been since we were alone without her somewhere in the house?"
"I'm not sure; feels a little strange doesn't it?"
"A little but it's nice too. How are you doing with the whole dating thing?"
"Dominic seems like a nice boy and I know I have to let her grow up but it still feels like I'm losing my little girl."
Setting the dish towel on the counter, I moved behind Janet and wrapped my arms around her waist, pulling her close and hugging her to me.
We'd done this many times and it never felt weird or uncomfortable being in each other's arms, giving hugs when wanted or needed. And when Janet spun around and laid her head on my chest it wasn't new or different, it was what it was. A need for comfort, to be close to someone who knew what you were feeling, and when her silent tears soaked through my shirt I tightened my arms and stroked her back, letting her know I was there and I knew what she was feeling and I understood.
We ended the night as we always did, by the front door wrapped around each other in a hug, the affection coming easily to both of us and never questioned or examined. It never needed to be until tonight, when her lips met mine for a moment longer than they had before. The goodnight kiss was as usual as the goodnight hug, they came together one after the other as right as rain, as natural as breathing. But tonight the lips lingered a moment too long, the arms tightened a little more than necessary for a simple goodnight hug and there we had it. As with all things between the two of us we moved our relationship forward another step without having to discuss or dissect, we simply pulled each other closer and deepened the kiss. Our tongues didn't duel, neither of us tried to dominate the other; we simply shared a tender kiss that spoke of the love we had for one another.
The kiss ended as did the hug, as natural as if it had never happened and Janet opened the door for me and I walked out into the night, putting on my helmet as I climbed onto the Indian and thumbed the starter. I knew she would stand in the door, waiting for me to drive away and I turned to her as I always did, a wave given and returned and I disengaged the kickstand, put the bike in gear and drove away.
I've never consciously thought about my sexuality, never felt the need to put myself into a mold, define how I felt for either sex. I dated men without thinking of myself as straight. I had attractions for women without thinking of myself as lesbian. Bisexuality didn't enter my mind, I just thought the thoughts but I didn't act on them, not for fear of what that meant but more that I didn't feel the connection I needed to have to share my body with anyone.
Martouf, Narim, Pete, Jack, Orlin, even Rodney McKay, all men that had entered and left my life and all men who knew me believed I'd shared my body with most, even if none of them were true. Pete was the only one of the bunch that I loved. Jack was an attraction and we had discussed our feelings in the only way we could as superior and subordinate, in that stilted way that spoke volumes without ever saying the actual words. We loved each other, deeply and madly and platonically as odd as that sounds to say. What we felt for each other wasn't sexual, it was love in a familial way, not exactly brother and sister, nor father and daughter, but a mixture of both and more.
Monday morning at the base was a typical day under the mountain and I prepared to jump to planet PX-whatever. The MALP was outfitted, my gear was packed away and all I had left to do was lace my boots and stop by the infirmary.
It had become a habit and I knew not when it started, this trip I made to see Janet before every jump. She was in her office as expected. I'd rarely ever made a jump when she was out in the infirmary or with a patient. She was always in her office and today was the first time I took that knowledge out and examined it. Wondered if it was just so we had those few stolen moments alone before I jumped. That one last hug we shared, one last goodbye said in seclusion for only the two of us to hear.
Today the goodbye was followed by a kiss, sweet and tender. It lingered for several moments and spoke of love and perhaps a touch of longing, wistfulness for something more. I gazed into her eyes and saw the desire there, unhidden, staring back at me and I knew my own eyes mirrored the same. We had reached a point where the stolen moments wouldn't be enough for us. We had recognized what our hearts knew and the time had come for us to be truthful with each other.
"I love you Janet, I always have." She loved me too and she said so. Plans were made for my return, dinner and perhaps dancing followed by an evening of sharing ourselves, mind and body.
The trip was uneventful and my mind strayed from the mission on more than one occasion and often enough for Jack to tell me to either get with the program or go home. We returned to the base and I had my night with Janet and many more to follow. Years passed in the blink of an eye and we learned to love each other for all that we were individually and together.
We shared our stolen moments of hugs and kisses in her office and various empty rooms around the base until the day we retired and no longer had to steal those moments away from prying eyes. Today I can look at her openly, my love, my life, my wife, my Janet, the woman who taught me with a kiss to see the love being offered and to embrace it.
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