Summary: Janet doesn't know what to do for the best.
"So?" Sam demanded when O'Neill finally arrived at her lab. She and Janet were waiting impatiently to learn the outcome of his negotiations.
"Hello to you, too, Carter," O'Neill had a wide grin on his face.
"Sorry," Sam smiled, shamefacedly. "I was rude."
"We're just worried," Janet interjected, worriedly.
"Well you don't have to worry any more, doc," O'Neill said, his voice full of understanding. "We did it. Well, there are conditions. There are always conditions," he pulled a face. "We get it, next Thursday, for seven hours."
"Only seven hours?" Janet looked disappointed.
"That's great, Sir," Sam said, at the same time. "Seven hours is more than enough, huh, Jan?"
Janet smiled. "Yeah," she said. "I'd have liked it for longer. That way, if you need to go in it more than once, which we think is likely, you'd have more time to recover in-between."
"But it's still okay?" Sam asked, more sharply than she intended.
"Yes, Sam," Janet smiled. "It'll still be okay, I'm sure. You might just get more 'stoned' than I would like. "But we can handle that, can't we?"
Sam smiled brightly. "Of course," she said. "Whatever it takes. Oh my God," realization dawned. "It's really happening then. In, what, six days, I could be fixed. I could get my career back."
"You never lost your career, Carter," O'Neill said in a gentle voice. "And you never would have."
"I know that, Sir. And I appreciate it. Truly I do. But now I can rejoin SG-1. I can go on missions. I can be a full member of the team again."
"You never left SG-1," O'Neill's tone was firm. He smiled affectionately. "And now you never will," he couldn't remember when he had had such good news. He looked at his watch. "Go home, Carter," he said. "Go celebrate with your family. You too, doc. Give my love to Cassie."
"Cassie!" Sam realized. "I gotta call her. I promised I would, as soon as we knew." She picked up the phone.
= = =
Janet pulled up in the driveway of their house, and saw Cassie and Ella on the doorstep, Angus standing protectively between them. Cassie ran to the car, and wrenched the door open, flinging herself at Sam. "Is it true?" she demanded, as she hugged her tightly. "Are you really gonna be okay?"
Sam hugged her back, rocking her from side to side. "It's true, Cass," she said, again and again. "It's all gonna be okay. They're gonna fix me."
Eventually Cassie released her hold on Sam, and allowed her to get out of the car. Ella was holding a wriggling Angus in her arms. "Somebody else wants you to know how pleased he is," she smiled, leaning over and kissing Sam on the cheek. "I'm so pleased, Samantha," she said in a serious voice. "You and Janet have had a terrible time recently. It's so wonderful to hear good news."
Sam smiled. "Thanks, Ella," she said, putting a hand on the old lady's arm. "And hello to you too," she grinned at Angus. "Okay, boy, c'm'ere," she took him in one arm, and allowed him to slobber enthusiastically all over her. "I was gonna take a shower anyway," she grimaced. She kissed him on the top of his head and lowered him to the ground. "Well," she said, "I think we should all get changed. I'm gonna take us all out to celebrate. You too, Ella," she could see her elderly friend about to demur. "We need the whole family there. No arguments. You can choose the restaurant, Cass," she grinned at Janet looked at her aghast. "No pizza, though," she amended, and winked at her lover.
"O'Malley's!" Cassie shouted. "We can have steak!"
"Great idea, Cassie," Janet spoke at last. She pulled her daughter into a warm hug. "We'll leave in 30 minutes."
Cassie looked up at her, and saw her eyes glittering. "Are you okay, Mom?" she asked, sounding worried.
"I'm great, Cass," Janet replied, with feeling. "I don't think I've ever felt better."
"It's good news, isn't it Mom?" Cassie said.
"The best," Janet replied. She reached over and took Sam's hand, and they walked slowly into the house together.
"You won't have to hold my hand any more, or use your cane. Not after next week," Janet smiled up at Sam.
Sam mock-pouted. "I'll still want to hold your hand," she said softly.
Janet smiled again.
"Jan?" Sam asked.
"Yes, honey?" Janet replied.
"Will you wear that red shirt?" Sam asked. "To the restaurant, I mean."
Janet grinned. She knew that Sam loved her in the shirt that was ever-so-slightly too small for her. "On one condition," she replied.
"Anything," Sam said.
"You wear your leather jacket. You look so hot in that, baby," she whispered in her ear.
Sam smiled widely. "Just so long as you leave your two top buttons undone," she bargained. "Hey," she remembered. "It's Saturday tomorrow. We can sleep late." Ever since Ella had become part of their family, she had insisted on cooking Cassie breakfast on Saturday, and then going for a walk with her and Angus, so that Sam and Janet could have a lie-in.
Janet smiled. "I wasn't planning on getting much sleep tonight," her tone was sultry.
Sam's mouth went dry. She kissed Janet tenderly. "Tonight," she whispered, just as Cassie came banging into the house, followed by Angus.
"I can't wait," Janet said.
= = =
Janet traced her hand down the side of Sam's face. "You are so precious," she whispered.
"Right back at ya, Jan," Sam smiled. "Wanna go again?"
"Again?" Janet asked. "Sam, it's nearly 3am," she peered myopically at the clock on the nightstand.
"So?" Sam grinned. "Cassie'll be at Ella's until at least 11am. We've got all the time in the world, baby."
Janet smiled back. "So we have," she mused. "Well," she pulled the sheet to one side, exposing Sam's torso completely. "In that case..." she kissed her lover langorously.
It was just after 5am that Sam and Janet finally fell to sleep, in a tangle of sweaty limbs.
= = =
At 8.30am, Sam sat up blearily when she heard a knock on the door, and Cassie's customary holler, "I'm goin' to Grandma's. See you later. Love you."
"Love you too," Sam called back, feeling immediately guilty as she felt Janet stir in her arms. "Shh," she whispered. "Go back to sleep, baby," she kissed her softly.
Janet sat up slowly. "I've just remembered," she said ruefully. "I told Cass I'd bake her some cookies to take to school on Monday. It's Lauren's birthday," she reminded Sam, referring to one of Cassie's best friends.
"Make 'em later," Sam said.
"Can't," Janet said. "I've got to go to the market. And do the laundry. And we're out all day tomorrow, remember honey?"
Sam grinned. "Oh yeah," she said. "Daniel's barbecue. I hope he doesn't let the colonel cook," she thought back to the beer-marinaded steak she had had to abandon the last time O'Neill had been let loose in the kitchen.
"So I should start them soon," Janet blinked. "I'll get us some coffee first, that'll help to wake us up."
"I'm sorry," Sam said. "I didn't realize. I would never have kept you up so long."
Janet grinned wickedly. She took Sam's face in both hands. "It was worth it, my darling," she said, her voice softening. "Every second. Last night was amazing," she turned away so that Sam didn't see her blush.
Sam smiled widely. "It was good, huh?" she agreed. "I can't wait until I'm all fixed. Then," she tried to contain her glee, "you won't know what's hit you!"
"I can't wait," Janet's voice was sultry. She kissed Sam again, finally drawing away with a giggle. "Coffee!" she declared. "Wait there," she hopped out of the bed and headed for the door.
"Jan?" Sam tried not to smirk.
"Yeah?" Janet turned as she reached the door.
"Robe," Sam suggested. "Don't misunderstand me, baby. You've never looked better. But I'm not sure I want to be sharing you with the mailman and anybody else who looks in the window."
Janet grinned, grabbing her robe from the back of the door, and donning it insouciantly as she sashayed through the door.
= = =
Twenty minutes later, Sam started to wonder whether Janet was coming back. She could smell the coffee as the aroma drifted up the stairs, but there was no sign of her lover. She climbed off the bed, trying not to wince as her bad leg hit the floor, and wandered over to the bedroom window. She looked out, and was concerned to see Janet sitting on the second step between the deck and the grass, her head in her hands. Sam peered more closely and saw that there was some sort of letter in her hand. She must have had some bad news in the mail, Sam concluded.
Reaching out for her hated cane, and grabbing her own robe, Sam set off to check on Janet. "Jan?" she called gently as she stepped into the yard. Janet did not reply, so Sam approached her quietly. Without speaking, Sam lowered herself onto the deck behind Janet, putting one leg either side of her lover who was on the step below. Tenderly, from behind, she put her arms round her small form. She could feel Janet's tense body relax marginally at the touch, so she pulled her gently to her, so that Janet was effectively nestled in her lap. "Is this okay?" Sam asked in a soft voice.
Janet nodded. "Yeah," she gulped after a few moments, her hand still clutching the letter.
Sam kissed her on the top of her head. She rocked her lovingly.
"I'm sorry," Janet whispered after a few minutes.
"Don't be sorry," Sam told her. "It's okay. Can I just hold you for a while?"
Janet nodded again. "Please," she said, whimpering slightly as Sam tightened her hold on her. The tears that she had been trying to hold back started to fall. "Oh God, Sam," she said in a tiny voice. "Never let me go."
"I never will," Sam promised. "Even when I'm not with you, I'll always be with you. I swear."
"I know that," Janet said hoarsely. "Thank God for you."
Sam just held Janet tight as she wept. She didn't know what had happened to make her so miserable. She just knew that she would do anything she could to make it better. She whispered gently to her, rubbing her back, dropping kisses on her head and neck. After an interminable fifteen minutes, Janet's weeping eventually stopped.
Janet turned slightly in Sam's embrace, so that she was sideways to her lover. She draped her arms over Sam's left leg, and lay her head on her arms. She looked up at Sam's face, and was almost moved to tears once more at the look of love and concern in her face.
"Wanna talk about it?" Sam finally asked.
"It's this," Janet passed her the crumpled piece of paper that she still clutched in her hand. "I don't want it Sam. None of it. I don't want him..." she started to weep again.
Sam took the paper carefully from Janet, and read it swiftly. "My God," she said.
"Yeah," Janet replied. "He's left me everything. And it's a lot. With the house, and his insurance, I stand to get nearly $1.2 million. I don't want it," she reiterated. "I don't want that bastard to have anything to do with us. I don't want his money. Any of it," her voice cracked again. "He's still trying to control me. Even from the grave."
"Oh honey," Sam reached down and wiped the tears from her face, and then kissed her tenderly on the mouth. "You don't have to take it. We don't need his money."
Janet looked up at her, fear in her eyes. "No?" she asked. "What about Cassie?"
"What about her, baby?" Sam asked gently. "What does she have to do with this?"
"She'd be secure for life," Janet said. "If I take his money. We could buy her an apartment. Pay for her college. Let her travel the world."
"She's twelve," Sam said, trying to lessen the tension with humor. "She doesn't need an apartment."
Janet looked up at Sam, wondering if she'd gone mad. She saw the expression on Sam's face, and realized it was a joke. She let out a bark of laughter. "I'm sorry," she gave a small smile. "I guess I'm being dumb."
Sam kissed her again. "No," she said quietly. "You're not being dumb. I understand how you feel. You're conflicted. If you take this, Cassie need never worry about money. She'll always be safe."
"But she'll be safe anyway," Sam's voice was gentle and loving. "We'll take care of her. We're both earning. We can pay for her college. She'll always be okay. Because we'll make sure of it. And if we have any more children, they'll be okay too. And there's much more to life than money. There's love, Jan. You have shown me more love than I knew was possible. And Cass."
"If we take this money, we'll be rich," Janet sniffed.
"We are rich, baby," Sam said. "In every way that counts. Truly, Jan, my life couldn't be better. And Cassie's a different girl from when we brought her back. That's due to you, sweetie."
"And you," Janet said quietly.
"I have an idea," Sam said. "Cassie's real mature, wouldn't you say?"
"Let's ask her what she wants. If she wants to take the money, then we'll put it into a trust for her. Then we never have to worry that we've made the wrong decision for her."
"You think?" Janet asked. "You don't think that's putting too much on her?"
"She can handle it," Sam said confidently. "I know it."
"I love you," Janet said.
"Okay, then," Sam grinned. "We've got us some cookies to bake."
"We?" Janet looked astounded. "Come on Sam, when was the last time you were in a kitchen? For anything more than a soda or a coffee?"
Sam grinned, and got carefully to her feet, leaning heavily on her cane. She put out one hand and helped Janet to stand. "You're in charge," she said. "But I'm gonna be your assistant. You have to tell me what to do."
"I know what you can do," Janet smiled back at her. You can make fresh coffee. That pot'll be stewed to hell by now."
Sam grinned. "I can do coffee," she said confidently.
= = =
"So you understand what we're saying?" Sam's voice was gentle. Cassie sat on the couch between her and Janet.
"Yeah, I think so. He was your husband, wasn't he Mom?" she asked her mother directly, for the first time.
"He was, Cass," Janet said. "Before I met Sam."
"And he was mean to you, wasn't he?" Cassie persisted.
Janet nodded. "Yeah, he was."
"And then he tried to kill Sam. Even though Sam was nothing to do with you leaving him?" Cassie wanted clarification on every point.
Janet nodded, not speaking this time.
"And it's his fault that Sam is still sick?" Cassie asked.
"I'm not sick any more," Sam said quietly.
"Yes you are," Cassie stated firmly. "You still have trouble breathing. I hear you sometimes Sam. It hurts real bad sometimes. And your leg does too."
"I'll be fixed next week," Sam reminded her.
"Well I don't want his money. None of it," Cassie said. "I don't want anything to do with him. He was a terrible man. I know we should be sorry when people die. But I'm not sorry. I hate him. I hate him for what he's done to Sam. And for being mean to you Mom."
"But if we take his money, you can buy an apartment when you're older. Travel the world. Do anything you want to," Janet wanted Cassie to be sure what she was turning down.
"I can do that anyway," Cassie retorted. "I'm gonna get me a good job. I can earn my own money. My teachers say I'm smart."
"Oh we know you're smart, sweetie," Sam squeezed her shoulders. "Real smart. When you're older, you can do anything you want."
"Well I want to earn my own money," Cassie was decided. "And I don't want any of his."
= = =
"You sure you want to do this?" Sam asked Janet, as they got out of the car.
Janet nodded resolutely. She looked up above her head, and read the sign. "Women's Refuge," it said.
"Okay then," Sam took her hand, and they went into the office together.
The girl behind the desk looked up and smiled. "Can I help you?" she asked brightly.
"I used to be in an abusive relationship," Janet said. "It's over now. Now I'm in a better relationship than I ever imagined was possible. But I want to help others. We want to help others. We have a donation we'd like to make," she reached into her purse and pulled out a check, which she passed over to the girl. She could feel Sam's hand in her own. She looked up at her and smiled.