Summary: Preparing for the move to Atlantis.
Info: SO sorry for the delay, it's been just too busy here!
"Six weeks?" Janet asked.
Sam nodded. "Yep," she said. "It's okay, hon," she said gently. "We'll be ready."
"How can you say that?" Janet was uncharacteristically pissy. "Just how in the hell am I supposed to pack up our whole lives in six weeks?"
"You're not," Sam replied mildly. "Remember," she touched Janet's shoulder. "We don't have to take everything with us. We just have to take enough for three weeks. We've got the appointment with the clinic in November, remember? And we're not gonna rent the house out. So just think of it as an extended trip. And we're doing this together, Jan. Even the packing," she gave a small smile. They both knew that Janet never allowed Sam to pack when they went on vacation. Sam was perfectly capable of organizing her own suitcases, but Janet enjoyed taking charge of all things domestic. "I want to make this as easy as I can for you."
Janet looked up at Sam, suddenly terrified of the huge step they were taking. "I'm scared," she admitted after a long silence.
"Oh Jan," Sam's heart melted for her lover. She pulled her into a tight embrace. "There's nothing to be scared of, baby. Truly there isn't. We're just gonna be at a different base for a while. But," she pulled back and looked deep into Janet's eyes. "If you don't wanna go, sweetie, we won't go. I know you don't like traveling through the Stargate. If it frightens you, we'll just stay right here. We'll make a different plan."
Janet shook her head miserably. "No," her voice was small. "I'm not frightened. I don't like 'gate travel, admittedly, but that's only because it makes me queasy. It doesn't scare me. But a year... that's big, huh?"
Sam nodded. "Yeah," she said. "It is. But we'll be back every month or so. We don't have to go, Jan. Truly. I can call this thing off, right now. Would you rather we stayed here?"
Janet shook her head again. "No," she said. "I wanna go. But if it doesn't work out...."
"Then we come back," Sam said firmly. "I'm not staying anywhere where you're unhappy. We'll talk about it every week, huh? Make sure you're happy?"
"Make sure we both are," Janet said firmly.
"Yeah," Sam smiled happily.
"God I love you," Janet said suddenly. "More than air."
"Right back at you," Sam replied softly. Very tenderly, she took Janet's face in both her hands, and kissed her softly.
= = =
"Are you sure this is okay?" Cassie gestured to her clothing as she stepped through the door at Christa's apartment. "You did say it was casual, right?"
"You look perfect," Christa smiled approvingly as she took in the sight of Cassie in her jeans and a crisp, white shirt. "It's not a fancy restaurant. But I've gotten to know the guy that runs it, and it's real good food. I thought we'd be more relaxed than going to somewhere fancy, is that okay?" she looked nervous.
Cassie smiled. "It's perfect," she said. "I can't think of anything better."
Christa nodded. "You want a drink?" she asked. "Before we go? Or we can go straight there. I know it's quite early. Maybe you wanna go for a walk first?" she sounded flustered.
"Hey," Cassie put a comforting hand on Christa's arm. "Relax. It's all okay. You don't have to worry about a thing. It's just us, Chris. I know this is kinda like a first date. But we know each other so well already, don't we?"
Christa nodded. "I just don't want anything to go wrong," her voice was small.
Cassie took both of her hands in her own. "It won't," she said firmly. She leant in and kissed her softly. "Everything's great. Nothing's going to go wrong. We're going to have a great evening. I meant it, Chris. I love you."
"I've only slept with two women," Christa blurted out, as if she were making some great admission. "I know that's kinda odd, especially at the age of 26. I don't want to let you down."
"Well I'm 21, and I've only slept with one," Cassie tried to keep the smile off her face. "Though I'm hoping that that'll change real soon," she grinned. "Chris, listen. I love you. You're perfect. And," her mouth went dry, "hot. You're so hot."
"I'm not beautiful like you," Christa.
Cassie shook her head. "You just have no idea how beautiful you are," she told her. "You're stunning. I can't believe you don't know that. Anyways," she tried to lighten the atmosphere. "I'm hungry. Let's go eat. We can talk all we want when we get to the restaurant."
Christa looked even more tense. "I still have to tell you all about my mom," she said. "So's you know what you are getting in to. I don't want us to have any secrets."
"Neither do I, Chris," Cassie said gently. She cupped her soft cheek with one hand. "I love you Chris," she said again. "Do you love me?"
"Oh God yes," Christa said. "More than I knew was possible."
"Then it's all going to be okay," Cassie's voice was tender and loving. "I have to tell you about my parents too. My birth parents, that is. And," she smiled, "I can guarantee that my story will blow yours out of the water. But I love you, and I know you'll understand."
Christa nodded earnestly. "I will, I swear," she said.
Cassie kissed her. "Let's go then," she smiled, taking Christa's hand as they left the apartment. "And I warn you, I'm gonna have the biggest pizza on the menu!"
= = =
"Bill?" Janet entered Sam's lab, but saw only Dr Lee sitting in the corner of the room. "She not here?" she asked.
"Colonel Carter? No," he replied. "She said she had to go into the town. Told me she'd be back before lunch," he looked at his watch. "I'm expecting her back within the hour. Can I take a message?"
"No, that's okay," Janet said. "I'll catch up with her later."
= = =
"So?" Janet demanded, when Sam appeared at the door of her office a couple of hours later. "What were you doing this morning?"
Sam grinned, and tapped the side of her nose smugly. "Classified, Dr Fraiser. And you do not have clearance!" her smile widened. She saw the look of disappointment on Janet's face. "Oh honey, I'm only kidding," she said. "Actually," she smiled shyly. "It's a surprise. I'll tell you in a few days. Is that okay?"
Janet smiled back. "You just make sure it's worth waiting for," she instructed her lover. "And I'll wait as long as you need me to."
Sam looked mildly anxious. "I hope it is," she said. "I think you'll like it."
Janet got up from her chair and pulled Sam into a warm embrace. "I know I will," she said firmly. "Whatever it is."
= = =
"Oh my God," Cassie was angry. "She threw you out of the house? For being gay?"
Christa nodded miserably. "Yeah," she said. "It was the year after Dad died. He knew. I know he did. I never told him outright. But he loved me," she said fiercely. "He didn't care. He just wanted me to be happy. But Mom.... Mom hated it. To start with, I think she hated me. She pretended it was fine when I told her. But then I got a girlfriend a couple of months later, and she couldn't handle that. We had a huge fight. She called me a deviant," tears formed in her eyes.
"Where did you go?" Cassie asked.
"I went to my Grandpa's," Christa said. "He was wonderful. Gave me confidence. Told me I was great as I am."
Cassie leaned over the table and took her hand. "You are," she said with feeling.
Christa gave a small, sad smile. "He told her she was a bigot," she smiled at the memory of the frail old man upbraiding his own daughter. "And that I would always have a home with him. And I did. I was 17, and I stayed with him until I went to college when I was 19. By then I had broken up with Harriet. And I knew that Mom wanted me to be an accountant. And I was desperate for her approval. Yes," she shook her head despairingly. "I know, it was dumb."
"It wasn't dumb," Cassie said softly. "She's your Mom. You wanted to make everything right."
Christa looked into Cassie's warm, brown eyes, seeing love and understanding in them. "And it was for a while," she said. "I still went back to Grandpa's when I was on vacation. But Mom started visiting. I think she found it easier because I wasn't seeing anyone then. And I passed all my exams, and then got a job in the city. Just what she had planned for me. I hated accountancy," she admitted. "But I was happy that Mom wanted me in her life again. But then," she swallowed. "I met Melissa. Mom couldn't handle it. But I loved Melissa so much. I just couldn't leave her, just to make my mother happy."
"What happened with Melissa?" Cassie asked gently.
Christa looked anguished. "We were together four years," she said. "But then she cheated on me. Twice," her voice broke. "I forgave her the first time."
"Oh Christa," Cassie was distraught to see the hurt flashing in Christa's eyes. "When did that happen?"
"A year ago," Christa said. "There hasn't been anyone since. I've been asked out a couple of times. But I've never wanted to go. Not," she smiled bravely, as she squeezed Cassie's fingers. "Not until now."
"It must be hard for you to trust, huh?" Cassie was understanding.
Christa looked at her straight in the eye. "I thought it would be," she admitted. "But it isn't. I trust you Cassie. More than I've ever trusted anyone. I'm a mess," she said. "I know that. But somehow I know that I won't be a mess with you. Being with you, I feel like... like I've come home. Does that make sense?"
Cassie leaned across the table, and kissed her tenderly. "Totally," she said. "I feel the same way. I want you to be my girlfriend," she said. "My lover. Will you do that?"
Christa nodded. "With all my heart," she said.
= = =
"I want us to go to the lake on the weekend," Sam said to Janet that evening as they were preparing dinner. Janet had entrusted the chopping of the carrots to her, something that had made Sam smile. Usually Janet didn't let her do anything at all, but it was clear that she wanted some company in the kitchen that evening. "What do you think, honey?"
Janet smiled wistfully. "I think that's a great idea. Just the two of us."
"Three of us," Sam said with a twinkle.
"Three?" Janet asked. "Cassie's not coming back for the weekend, is she?"
Sam shook her head, trying not to laugh. "I meant Dougie, Jan," she smiled. "You know how he loves the lake."
Janet laughed out loud. "Oh yes, of course," she said. "We wouldn't think of going anywhere without you, Dougie," she leant down to pet their dog.
"Except to the Pegasus galaxy," Sam suddenly looked sad.
"It's only for a year," Janet pulled her into a hug. "And he'll have a great time with Jack and Sarah. And we'll see him all the time when we come back."
"Yeah," Sam smiled, taking Janet in her arms and kissing her tenderly. "It's a shame it's turned cold," she said as a thought crossed her mind. "I was kinda looking forward to skinny-dipping with you at the lake."
"I expect we'll find an excuse to be naked at some point," Janet laughed, reaching up for another kiss.
"I'm sure we will," Sam grinned.
= = =
"That was great," Cassie said, as they left the restaurant. "The food's amazing." She slipped her hand into Christa's as they set off for the five-minute walk back to Christa's apartment. "Though you should have let me pay half."
"No way," Christa smiled. "I asked you out to dinner."
Cassie was pleased to note that Christa had regained her usual spark; she was clearly relieved to have explained her history. "I just want to look forward now," Christa had said to Cassie as they finished their meal. "And I have so much to look forward to."
As they approached the apartment, Christa's fingers tightened on Cassie's. "You want to come in?" her voice was tentative.
"More than anything," Cassie said, her voice unexpectedly husky.
"We don't have to do this," Christa said, as they stepped through the door.
"Yes, we do," Cassie closed the door behind her. "I don't think I can wait any longer." She pulled Christa into her arms, and kissed her deeply.
The taller woman whimpered with desire. "Bed?" her voice cracked.
Cassie nodded, and allowed herself to be led to Christa's large bedroom.
= = =
Four hours later, Cassie turned in Christa's arms and looked directly into her beautiful blue eyes. She grinned. "Well," she said, "they say the best things in life are worth waiting for!" She reached up and caressed her soft cheek. "You are simply exquisite," she breathed. "I thank God for the day you came into my life."
Christa smiled back lovingly. "I don't know why I was nervous," she said softly. "Nothing has ever felt more... right. I never knew it was possible. To love someone as much as I love you. In every way." She pulled Cassie to her and kissed her passionately. "Thank you," she whispered.
"For what?" Cassie asked drowsily.
"For you," Christa answered tenderly. "For you."
The young women slept for a few hours, then woke and made love again. As she rolled onto her back in Christa's embrace, Cassie looked upwards.
"You have a skylight!" she exclaimed.
"Yeah," Christa smiled, tightening her grip on her lover. "Isn't it great? I love to lie here and look at the stars. It's a real clear night tonight. We should do what we said, learn more about astronomy."
Cassie turned to her and kissed her. "Yeah, we should," she agreed. "Chris?" her voice was a little tentative.
"Yes sweetheart?" Christa replied.
Cassie swallowed. "You remember I said I was going to tell you about my birth parents?"
"Well," Cassie continued. "You're gonna find this hard to believe. But it's true, I swear."
Christa turned on her side to face Cassie. "Are you okay?" she asked tenderly.
Cassie nodded. "Yeah," she said. "Lie back again Chris," she said, and she snuggled into her side, both of them looking upward. "See that constellation there?" she asked.
"Ursa Minor?" Christa followed Cassie's finger.
"Yeah," Cassie said. "There's a tiny planet. Just to the right of there. It's 400 light years from the rightmost star in the constellation."
"I don't see it," Christa said.
"I know you don't," Cassie said. "But I wanted you to know where it is. It's not mapped on any of the solar charts that we know of. But it's my home planet. It's called Hanka. It's where I come from."
= = =
"Just throw the bags in anywhere," Sam said, looking up from the fireplace where she was lighting the log fire. "I want to take a walk with you."
"Right now?" Janet laughed.
"Oh yes," Sam smiled. "The light is starting to fade. C'mere," she threw the matches to one side as she saw the flames licking satisfyingly around the fire she had expertly built. She kissed Janet thoroughly. "Here's your jacket," she passed over the thick jacket she pulled from the pile Janet had just dumped on the couch in the cabin. She grabbed her own soft, brown leather flying jacket. "You ready?" her eyes twinkled. "We'll just go out for a half hour. It'll be all warm here by the time we get back. C'mon Dougie," she called to the dog.
Sam took Janet's hand, interlaced her fingers with her own, and pulled it into her pocket. "I love it here," she said softly.
"Me too, Sam," Janet agreed. "We should come here on our vacations from Atlantis."
"Yeah," Sam smiled. "That'd be good. Look," she pointed upward. "The moon's just coming out. It's early tonight. Look, baby, it's a full moon. Just for us."
"It's beautiful," Janet breathed. "So clear."
Sam led her onto the landing, which had a small row-boat tied to the end of it. "This place is so special to me," she said quietly. She stopped and took Janet's face softly in both her hands. "You know why, huh?"
Janet suddenly found that she couldn't speak. She nodded, overwhelmed with unexpected emotion.
"It's where we first kissed," Sam continued. "That night, I realized that I had never really known happiness. I had thought I was happy before. Being with you," she leant down and brushed her lips very lightly over Janet's, "has meant more to me over the last 10 years than I ever imagined was possible. You," tears sprang to her eyes, "are exquisite. In every possible way. And, like a fine wine, you just get better every day. I love you, honey. With all my heart. And soul."
Janet realized to her surprise that she was crying too. "I love you too, Sam," she said simply. She looked on in surprise as Sam pulled back slightly, and bent down on one knee.
"Janet?" Sam asked, taking Janet's left hand. "I can't imagine a life without you. I don't want to live in any world without you. Would you do me the very great honor of becoming my wife?"
"We can't," Janet started to weep harder. "We'd lose our jobs. We'll be kicked out of the military. They might take Cassie away from us."
Sam smiled. "It's okay, honey," she explained. "I've talked to Jack. He's talked to General Hammond. They even put in a call to the president. I told them I wanted to take you to Canada, where we can get married. I explained that I didn't want to go to Atlantis with you as my girlfriend. I wanted to take you as my fiancee. And, after we can get everything organized, we'll come back and make a trip to Canada. And then we can return to Atlantis. You'll be my wife," Sam's emotions threatened to overwhelm her. "Please say you'll marry me?"
"Oh God yes," Janet let the tears pour unchecked down her face. She pulled Sam to her feet. "With all my heart," she kissed her, gently at first, becoming more passionate as she felt Sam respond eagerly. She felt Sam's hands start to roam up her torso, and moaned with ecstasy as Sam unbuttoned her shirt and slid one hand inside. The chill evening air combined with her arousal, and her nipple puckered instantly at Sam's touch. "God, Sam," her voice broke. "Inside," her conversation became monosyllabic as desire overwhelmed her. "Bed."
Wordlessly, Sam led her smaller lover back to the cabin. "Bed or hearth?" Sam gestured to the sheepskin rug by the fireplace.
"Hearth," Janet replied, her hands already fumbling with Sam's jacket, dragging it from her shoulders and then making short work of her shirt. "You are so beautiful in the firelight," she whispered, reaching up for another kiss.
"One moment," Sam smiled, as she leant down and took the leash off Dougie. "You can sleep on our bed for a while, Doog," she said as she led him into their bedroom, closing the door. "We don't need any interruptions here," she turned back to Janet. "Apart from this one thing," she smiled. "I meant to give this to you outside, but we got... distracted." She picked her jacket up from the floor and took a small box out of the pocket. She opened the box and held it out to Janet. Inside the box sat a beautiful ring; a small cluster of diamonds with an emerald in the middle. "An engagement ring," she explained unnecessarily.
"Oh Sam," Janet said, "it's gorgeous. I've never seen anything so lovely. So this is your surprise, huh?" she smiled.
"It was my mother's," Sam told her. "And it was her grandmother's before her. I went out to get it cleaned and resized. Please tell me you'll wear it Jan?"
"I'll never take it off," Janet said. "Thank you baby. You've made me so happy." She kissed Sam again, running her hands over her smooth, flat stomach. She reached up behind Sam to unclasp her bra. "Is this okay?" she asked.
"Oh God yes," Sam's breathing had already started to quicken, and she was already pulling Janet's shirt out of her jeans.
= = =
As they lay in the glow of the fire many hours later, Sam kissed Janet softly. "I've never been so happy," she whispered. "Never leave me," she said.
"I swear," Janet said. "I love you."