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. Lyrics are from "Wise Up" by Aimee Mann from the soundtrack album to Magnolia.
WARNING: This contains SPOILERS for the Season 7 Episode Grace. Read no further if you'd rather not be spoiled.
EXTRA WARNING: this is set in an imperfect universe where sh*t happens even to the best of people. Angst and more angst, I'm afraid.
SERIES: This is the second story in the Grace series following Grace.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

Wise Up
By Celievamp

I brought the note with me. Getting a note from her wasn't unusual, Sam liked to write letters, notes, poems. I had a whole collection of them. But this one was different. It wasn't so much what it said as what it didn't say. The small parking area was empty when I got there. But then I was half an hour early. There was no sign of her. I left the CD player on and got out of the car to walk to the edge of the bluff, looking out across the valley trying to centre myself for what was to come. I was so afraid.

"It's not
What you thought
When you first began it
You got
What you want
Now you can hardly stand it though
By now you know
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'til you wise up"

I shivered. Not the most prescient of songs to choose for the situation. This had been coming on for weeks, since the Prometheus incident. I still did not know the full story of what Sam had gone through in those four days when she had been marooned alone and I doubted very much whether I ever would. Sam kept most things close to her heart. I was infinitely more privileged than most, but still…

Then I heard the noise of a bike coming up the slope. I turned to watch as the custom built Indian drew to a halt a little way from my car. I admired the long lean lines of its rider, the burgundy leathers a second skin. I knew how soft they were, how sensual they felt against my skin, the smell of leather and engine oil and Sam Carter. The smell of life to me. And I was terribly afraid that this would be the last time I would get to experience it.

I turned to watch but did not go towards her as she got off the bike and took off her helmet, shaking out that wonderful dandelion head of hair. She saw me, smiled and then hesitated as if she couldn't quite decide what to do next. There it was again, the uncertainty. Something had been going on with her since the Prometheus incident. She had held herself apart, not just from me but from the guys as well. Both Teal'c and Daniel had asked me about it: asked if it was a side-effect of the head injury she had suffered. All I could tell them was the truth: she had a severe concussion but no residual damage. I had the feeling this had more to do with the hallucinations she had told us about, that we had joked about. Jack O'Neill did not speak to me about Sam, but he watched her. He was worried as well.

Sam started to walk towards me. This was it then. There could be no going back from here. This was going to be one of those pivotal moments in my life, I just knew it.

"You came," she said.

"Did you doubt me?" I smiled. She didn't reply to that which scared me. I wanted very much for her to take me in her strong arms and kiss me senseless but I got the feeling that wasn't how this was supposed to go down. Not in the scenario playing out in Sam's head. She was a military strategist after all, I knew she would have planned this out to the nth degree. Sam could be spontaneous when it suited her but she felt safer on planned and mapped territory, especially when her emotions were called into question.

"Look, Sam, you're starting to scare me here. I hope to hell that I'm just projecting my own insecurities but things have been a bit… strange between us lately. Since you were injured on the Prometheus."

"I didn't mean to shut you out," Sam said. And at last she reached out to touch me even if I could tell by her expression that she was acting outside her planned scenario by doing so. I closed my eyes, feeling the gentle strength of her fingers threading through my hair, almost but not quite touching my skin. I shivered. Again, the feeling that this was the last time I would ever do this with her ached through me. What was the opposite of deja-vu, the feeling that you had done something before? Jamais-vu – the knowledge that you would never do it again?

"Really, Janet, I didn't. You know how bad I am at this kind of thing. I had some thinking to do is all."

"Now I'm really nervous," I said, trying to keep a joking tone in my voice at odds with my body language, hugging myself for comfort as I was.

"I'm sorry," she said, moving back a step. The loss of contact made me want to cry.

"Are you breaking up with me?" Was that really my voice that said that? So desolate, so needy. No one at the SGC would have recognized it. I barely recognized it myself.

Sam could not look at me. "Why does this have to be so difficult?" she whispered. "We both make life and death decisions on a daily basis. Why…" She did look at me then and something in my expression must have scared her. "Oh God, Janet, I didn't mean to upset you. I didn't want to hurt you, I'd rather…" she glanced across at the edge of the bluff.

"Tell me, please," I begged. "For God sakes, Sam just come out and say it."

"I thought you were the most important thing in my life, you, my career, protecting this world," she said. "On the Prometheus, when I was injured, I had four days of my own company, a lot of time to do some thinking and I realised that I'm too scared of being hurt to really love you Janet, to love you like you deserve to be loved."

"So all this time you've been what, play-acting?" I asked. "If so, I got to admit, Sam, you're damn good. You sure had me fooled."

"No… no, what I felt, what I still feel for you is very real. It's just… I don't know whether it's enough for you… for me. The way YOU make me feel, Janet. That's the problem. I don't know what I feel. I don't know what I'm capable of feeling."

"You are leaving me," I said. I was still standing, I didn't know how. Pride, I guess. I could not let her know especially in this brittle state just how much I relied on her. I had come to my own realization in the minutes since I got out of the car. Sam Carter meant more to me than was probably entirely safe and sane. She meant more to me than my own life. Without her…

But why bring us here to this place where we had both declared our feelings openly for each other five years ago? How could she be so cruel? She had even used the same argument for why we should move our relationship forward.

***** flashback ******

"We both make life or death decisions on a regular basis," Sam said. "We have both dedicated our lives in service to a higher ideal, agreed to abide by regulations. I have done this for most of my adult life. But I have to agree. This is the most difficult thing I've ever done. But we can't put it off. We both have to agree to this." She reached out to me, her fingers touching my chin, turning my face towards her. "And it's not just us, our careers, it's Cassie. We have to do what is best for her."

"And there we really have a problem," I laid my fingers over Sam's. "Cassie wants more than anything for us to be a family. I'm her Mom, but you… you are her Mother. You are the one who saved her, not once but twice. You put your own life on the line to stay with her. She adores you, Sam. If you went away, it would destroy her."

"So, no pressure, huh, doc," Sam laughed weakly. She wanted to pull her hand away from my face but I held on to her, rubbing my cheek against her fingers."

"Sam, what do you want to happen? Best case scenario," I asked.

Sam looked at me in silence for a long moment, judging how serious I was about my question. Something in my expression must have reassured her. "Okay, best case scenario. You and I have a serious long-term relationship, as near to a marriage as this country's half-assed laws will allow. We work within the regs as best we can. We… what?"

"You're proposing to me?"

She frowned as if thinking about what she had said and then one of her smiles broke out and I felt the impact of it down to my bones. "Yes, I think I am. Look, I know you were married before and it didn't work out but I really think that things between us could be different – could be really good. I think that if we get everything else sorted out that we could make this work. I love you so much, Janet."

"And I love you too, Sam." I remember I began to cry and Sam hugged me tightly to her. She held me close, her face buried in my hair and just murmured soft nonsense to me until I pulled myself together again.

"I didn't plan this you know," she said. "I had no idea what I was going to say until I saw you again. And you did whatever it is you do to me every time I see you."

Her skin was cool against mine. "Hey, don't blame me for this. You do know it's mutual, right?" I sighed. "I want you so badly right now."

"We could take my bike, go further up country," Sam suggested. "Find some place where we won't be disturbed."

"On that?" I looked dubiously at the powerful motorbike. I had led a sheltered adolescence. The nearest I had come to riding a bike was patching up downed riders when I did my E.R internship.

"Uh huh," Sam grinned wickedly. "Come on, doc, live a little. I dare ya!"

I stared coolly at her, refusing to be intimidated and at the same time wondering wildly if she could hear how hard my heart was beating.

"Double dareya." I glared at her.

"You are going to be so bad for me, I can tell."

"Is that a yes?" She grinned as I nodded then held out her hand and led me towards her bike. She took her helmet and placed it over my head. I tried not to show how claustrophobic I suddenly felt as she tightened the chin straps.

"What are you going to wear?" I asked.

"I'm not going to take us more than about twenty miles per hour. I've not spilled yet and I'm not about to when I'm carrying something as precious as you, love," Sam said warmly. "I'll be okay without a helmet, I promise."

"Sa-am," I began.

"Relax, Jan. Trust me. Nothing bad is going to happen, I promise." Sam straddled her bike and invited me to get on behind her. After a moment's hesitation I hopped on, holding on tightly as she revved up the powerful bike. The sensation was indescribable. I felt rather than heard Sam giggle as my grip reflexively tightened as we started to move.

Sam was true to her word and took it slowly across the scrubland and up the twisting path to the plateau above the parking area. This area was inaccessible by car and difficult enough to get to on foot to dissuade most hikers so they had the area – and the impressive view it commanded – to themselves.

Sam drew the bike to a stop and I got off, instantly missing the feel of Sam so close to me, the power of the bike beneath me which had excited me more than I would ever like to admit. Hands still noticeably shaking, I took off the borrowed helmet and shook out my flattened hair.

"See, safe and sound," Sam grinned. "One day I'll take you out on it on the open road and show you just what it can do."

"Maybe," I allowed. "Just remember that I'm not an adrenaline junkie like some people."

"I just don't know why I've got that reputation," Sam said with an impish grin. If I hadn't been in love with her before I was at that moment.

"Hmmm. So the rumour about you and Siler taking on all comers drag racing is…"

Sam ducked her head. "I'm here and I'm in one piece, Janet. Stop worrying about me, please."

"I love you, you idiot. Worrying about you comes as part of the package."

"Janet Fraiser loves me," Sam grinned. "I like the sound of that." She turned and walked to the edge of the plateau, facing out towards the valley and breathed deeply before shouting "Janet Fraiser loves me!" and finishing off with a passable rebel yell. The sound echoed around the surrounding mountains.

"Sam!" I could only watch as my friend, lover and now significant other collapsed in a fit of giggles at my feet.

"I bet they heard that back at the SGC," Sam wheezed. "Hell, I hope they heard it on Abydos."

"Hmmm. You are such a goof sometimes you know, Sam Carter," I said, sitting on the grass beside her.

"Hell yeah. It's one of the reasons you love me, admit it."

"I admit nothing. I've already said my piece."

I watched as Sam's smile faded. "Then I guess it's my turn," she said quietly. She got to her knees and took one of my hands in hers, her long slender fingers gently exploring over its surface as if it was the most precious object to her. "Janet Elyssa Fraiser, you mean more to me than I can possibly give voice to. Every day that I spend in your company I count as a blessing. My career means a lot to me, I admit. But you, you mean everything to me. I love you."

I reached out to touch her, running the back of my fingers along her cheekbone, smiling as she closed her eyes and turned into my touch. We had been lovers for four months, deliberately not making a big thing about it. It was casual. There were feelings, definitely feelings, but this was the first time we had really opened our hearts to one another. We hadn't questioned the mutuality before. But now there were no doubts. We were in this for the long haul and what we felt for each other was most definitely mutual. Sam's eyes were still closed as I leant forward and kissed her. When I broke away, breathing deeply, they were open. She smiled, and then moved towards me, her hands on my shoulders pushing me back into the grass. Thank god I had taken a healthy dose of antihistamines before coming out here otherwise I would have been in real trouble. She straddled me, her long slender leatherclad body pressed against mine. Just the foreknowledge of what was about to happen was enough to arouse me. Her fingers were busy unbuttoning my shirt, her head dipping so that she could kiss my bare skin as it was revealed. My hands fumbled with the button and fly on my jeans, raising my hips so that I could begin the process of kicking them off. Sam's ministrations had reached my abdomen, her fingers tracing patterns over my skin, her tongue swabbing out my navel before kissing and gently biting at my skin. I writhed underneath her the sensations traveling through my body and straight to the most primal areas of my brain. I brought my hands up to deal with my lover's clothing. As sexy as the leather was I wanted what lay underneath.

Sam shuffled backwards out of my reach, intent on her own agenda. Momentary regret was blown out of consideration as her thumbs hooked into the sides of my pants dragging them down my thighs and past my knees. She pressed my knees outwards and I opened to her.

"So beautiful," she whispered, staring at me. "Janet, you are so beautiful."

"All for you, lover," I whispered. She glanced up at me and I saw how much her eyes had darkened. Then her head lowered, and I reached out to stroke my fingers through her blonde locks as her lips and tongue and fingers began to work their magic on me. It was over far too quickly and seemed to last forever and though I didn't quite pass out it came as quite a surprise to find myself snuggled in a leather jacket, Sam's arms around me.

"I didn't want you to catch cold," she explained. "And you were out of it for a little bit there. I thought I'd broke you, doc."

"No, I think you fixed me, for life," I smiled. "Trouble is, I think I may need frequent maintenance checks."

"We could work something out, I'm sure," Sam said. "I…" She fell quiet for a second as I finally got my fingers inside her pants, stroking through the fine hairs that masked her centre. She was already wet. I kissed her at the same moment I thrust a finger into her, almost getting my tongue bitten. She giggled and then her breath hitched as I managed to add a second finger. I got my rhythm going as I kissed my way down her throat to the sweet spot where her neck melded into her shoulder that I had found the first time we made love when I discovered that touching her there almost made her come on the spot. The smell of her arousal was like nothing I had ever smelt before since, like most things about Samantha Carter, uniquely hers. She curled into me, folding up her long legs, trapping my fingers inside her, her breath hot against my cheek. She was whispering something under her breath. "Never let me go, Janet, please, please, never let me go."

***** end flashback ******

"No." I said, turning to face her.

"What do you mean, no?" Sam asked, a bewildered expression on her face.

"No. I will not let you go, I will not let you break up with me, Sam Carter. I will not let you run away from this, from me. You have feelings for me, feelings that have taken us through five years of a relationship that is the best fucking thing ever to happen to me and the same is true for you. I know it and I know that you know it as well. I don't fully understand why you're having such a problem with this now, why you suddenly think that everything you felt for me was somehow inadequate or just plain wrong but let me tell you from where I'm standing that the past five years have been bloody wonderful."

I was now inches away from her, my hands tightly gripping the leather of her jacket. "This is how it is, Sam. Running away is unacceptable. It isn't going to solve anything. Neither is giving up because you think that it's not good enough. It is. I am. We are. And if it isn't perfect, maybe it's not supposed to be, maybe nothing ever is. I can settle for less than perfection, why can't you?" I pressed my lips against hers feeling her resistance but I was the stronger, the more persistent and at last they parted, her tongue snaking out to run along my lips and her arms were around me, my hands trapped between us now.

Then she broke away from me so suddenly that I almost lost my footing and fell flat on my face. "It's too late, Janet, it's already done. You'll find out about it tomorrow when the General makes the announcement. I wanted you to hear it first from me."

"What are you talking about, Sam? What the hell have you done?"

"I'm transferring to the Alpha site for three months acting as II1C to General Claiborne to oversee the weapons tests. It's for the best, Janet. It gives us both time to think. I need to do something new, something more. Do you realise that this is the longest I've ever stayed in one place? I need this, Janet. I'm sorry, I know I sound like a selfish brat but if I don't do this then…"

I stepped away. "Okay. I get it." I would not break down and cry in front of her. I would not. "Stay in touch, okay."

"Of course," she said. "I'll be back all the time for meetings and things. Who knows, you might get to see more of me than you do now."

That was true. The last few months she had spent only a handful of days at home, usually after I had ordered her to take a day before she collapsed from exhaustion.

"Janet. The last thing I wanted to do was hurt you." She had that pleading look on her face that usually made me forgive her everything and anything.

"Good luck with the posting, Sam." I turned away, willed myself to start walking. To keep walking. Away.

WISE UP – Lyrics by Aimee Mann

It's not
What you thought
When you first began it
You got
What you want
Now you can hardly stand it though
By now you know
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'til you wise up

you're sure
There's a cure
And you have finally found it
You think
One drink
Will shrink you 'til you're underground
And living down
But it's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'til you wise up

prepare a list of what you need
before you sign away the deed
'cause it's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'til you wise up
no, it's not going to stop
'til you wise up
no, it's not going to stop
so just… give up

The End

Sequel The Man in My Dreams

Return to Stargate Fiction

Return to Main Page