Summary: Sam prepares to leave for Atlantis with help from Janet
"I found it!" Janet's tone was triumphant. She had been rifling in her office for the last ten minutes, and Sam had started to wonder what she was up to. They had only just got home from the SGC, and she was still trying to absorb the enormity of what she had told General Landry that morning. She really was leaving, to run Atlantis. Without Janet by her side.
She still wasn't convinced that she was up to the job, or up to living alone again. She had lived on her own for too long before Janet had come into her life and brought light and life into it like never before. She had never realized until she met Janet how lonely and unfulfilled she was; she had assumed that she was happy with her lot, but after getting together with the sexy medic, she realized she had been, at best, content. Yes, she loved her job, and she was passionate about science, and of course the wonders of the Stargate had opened up many new and exciting opportunities. But nothing compared to the excitement of being with Janet -- or of being loved by Janet, which was surely the most exquisite feeling in the world. All the worlds.
And now Janet was advancing toward her, an evil grin on her face, with one hand behind her back. "I was wondering where I'd put this," she said, laughter in her voice. "And just in case that Keller gets the wrong idea, or you can't shake the habit of dropping in to the infirmary to make out with the medic in charge, I think I should use this. It's always best to state your intentions right from the beginning, don't you think?"
"Janet Fraiser!" Sam was trying not to laugh; she had no idea what Janet meant. "Just what are you up to?"
"Just wait," and Janet took her free hand and unbuttoned Sam's jeans, dragging the thick material down. "On your face on the bed," she ordered, a distinct smirk on her face.
Sam couldn't imagine what Janet was about to do but, she reasoned, she had never once regretted getting on the bed at Janet's behest. So she did as she was instructed, and lay face down on the bed, her jeans pulled down almost to her knees. Janet approached the bed, and gently pulled her panties to one side, exposing one buttock. Sam was startled when she felt the press of rubber against her backside. "What in the hell was that?" she demanded.
Janet was doubled up with laughter. "Mirror," she managed to say at last. "Look in the mirror."
So, very inelegantly, Sam slid off the bed, and backed up to the full-length mirror. There was writing on her backside that she couldn't quite decipher. Janet handed her the small hand mirror, and she angled it so that she could see, in reflection, what it said. In red, in small capitals, was the phrase:
"PROPERTY OF FRAISER, J. MD"
Sam recognized the writing from where she had seen it stamped in some of Janet's books. She remembered that Janet had told her she had had to get the stamp made up in her previous post at the Air Force hospital, as too many of her books were 'borrowed' from her office and were never returned. Sam barked with laughter. "You know, Jan, I think I may just get that tattooed on my butt!"
= = =
The next week went far too fast for Sam and Janet, and before they knew it, it was Saturday, with Sam due to leave for Atlantis on the following Monday.
The week had been frenetic; it seemed that the preparation for Sam's new posting was endless. She also had to hand over a lot of her technical work to Dr Lee and his team, so that involved seemingly interminable explanations and the setting out of manuals and instructions, as well as hands-on training.
Sam was glad, in a way, to be so busy. Much as she would have liked to just spend the week with Janet, she knew it wasn't possible. So keeping herself occupied was the best thing. What she hated, though, was that almost every night she was kept late at the SGC, which she greatly resented. She only had a few evenings left with Janet, and she wanted to make the most of them.
Janet was understanding, as usual; she could see that Sam was itching to get away in the evenings, to come back to her. After the Monday evening, when a -- frankly pissy -- Sam didn't get back until 2100hrs, she decided to try and make it easier for her. So when she finished work officially at 1730hrs, she didn't leave the mountain but instead made her way to Sam's lab. She didn't want to distract her lover, but she wanted to be with her. So she settled herself in a chair in the lab, sometimes getting up to give Sam a back rub, while Sam worked.
"I could get used to this," Sam said to her sadly on the Friday, as she finally finished her last report. "Writing reports is so much easier knowing you're here. I don't know if I can do it, Jan, I don't know if I can be away from you for all that time. I even miss you when you're here with me, and I have to focus on my work instead of on you. I'm a mess, Jan."
"Shh," Janet reassured her, coming up behind her and embracing her tightly. "You'll be okay, Sam, I know it. You're the bravest and strongest person I know, you can do it baby. And I'll see you all the time, don't forget that. We'll be okay."
"Will we?" Sam's voice shook. "D'you really believe that Janet?"
"Of all the things I know, honey, that's the one I'm clearest on. We can survive anything. And we'll come out even stronger. Are you all done, baby? I want to take you home, I want to enjoy our last weekend together for a while. We've got the guys coming over for lunch on Sunday, so I want to make the most of the time we have alone."
Sam sniffed, and looked up at her lover. "I'm done, honey. And I'm sorry, I know this is probably harder on you than it is on me. It'll all be fine, I know it. And you'll be coming out in three weeks, won't you?"
Sam and Janet had agreed that they should leave a three-week gap to start with, so that they could both adjust and so that Sam, in particular, could get used to her new role without distractions.
"You try and stop me, sweetie," Janet said, with a grin. "Undomesticated equines, as Teal'c would say, wouldn't keep me away."
"That's okay, then," Sam whispered. "Let's go, shall we?"
Janet took her hand and led her out of her lab. "I'll drive, shall I?" she saw the lines of fatigue in Sam's face.
"D'you mind baby?" Sam asked.
"Of course I don't mind. And I think we should pick up some take-out on the way back, and then we'll get an early night," Janet suggested.
Sam nodded her acquiescence. "I love you Jan," she said.
= = =
That Friday night was magical. Once they had left the SGC, Sam made a concerted effort to forget all about work and to focus just on Janet; that was the least that she deserved. And Sam also wanted to take some special memories with her, to keep her going for those first few weeks when she knew she would miss Janet more than ever.
So they picked up take-out and sat with a bottle of wine in the kitchen. Janet became particularly playful, and kept sneaking food from Sam's plate and just generally acting dumb. When Janet got up to get a second bottle of wine, she stopped behind Sam and she stole a particularly juicy morsel of chicken from her. "Hey!" Sam objected, laughing.
"Surely you wouldn't refuse me a small mouthful of food, would you Colonel?" Janet batted her eyelashes, and reached down to give Sam a mind-blowingly passionate kiss.
"Unnhh," Sam replied, seeming to lose the power of speech. "Guess not," she grabbed Janet round the waist, and pulled her onto her lap. She grinned. "Got'cha," she said.
"So you have, Sam," Janet's tone was flirty and playful. "What'cha gonna do about it?"
"This," Sam told her, and kissed her thoroughly. She reached up and clasped Janet's right breast hard in her strong hand, gratified to find the nipple hard at her touch. "Any objections?"
"Oh no," Janet's voice was ragged. "None at all, Colonel. None at all."
The rest of the meal was abandoned as the two women staggered upstairs, hands and tongues all over each other; they felt like horny teenagers discovering each other for the first time. They had barely been in bed for five minutes when Janet climaxed for the first time, followed seconds later by Sam. They both collapsed with laughter. "Sorry, baby," Janet grinned, "just couldn't wait I guess."
Sam grinned back at her. "Nothin' to be sorry for sweetie. Want to go again?"
Janet nodded, enthusiastically. This time their lovemaking was more leisurely, though it was no less passionate. Sam marveled at the feelings that Janet elicited in her; even after all this time together, being with Janet was still surprising, and beautiful. She didn't think she had ever seen a woman who was more beautiful, or sexy, than her lover. "Thank God for you baby," she whispered to her lover as they lay in a post-coital heap three hours later. "I think I could do just about anything as long as I can come back to you afterward."
"I'll always be waiting, Sam," Janet told her sincerely. "I think I'd wait for you for ever; and longer."
"We'll be okay for three weeks, won't we hon?" Sam asked her.
"Oh yeah," Janet agreed. "And we'll have all this to look forward to. Imagine how great we'll be together after three dry weeks. It'll be worth waiting for Sam, I'm sure of that."
Sam smiled, and pulled Janet to her. She kissed her softly. "It will, baby," she whispered, "it really will."
= = =
The next day, Saturday, Janet took charge of Sam's clothes packing. The blonde scientist was unusually indecisive about what she should take with her; Janet could tell that this was because her mind was in a turmoil. So she asked Sam gently if she wanted her to take over, and Sam gratefully accepted. She had a lot of other preparation to do, in terms of setting up her laptop and fine-tuning her hand-held computer and endless other tasks. She also wanted to set up an encrypted email system, so that she and Janet could email each other in complete privacy when she was in the Pegasus galaxy. So she was happy that Janet had volunteered. It saved time, too, and meant that they would have more time together. Anything that gave them even one extra uninterrupted hour together was worth it.
One of the hardest things that Sam had had to do in the last week was to phone Cassandra and tell her of her decision. Cassie was, as she had expected, entirely supportive of her but, also to be expected, she was worried about Janet. "I can come back, Sam," she offered immediately. "I don't have to do this now. I don't want Mom to be on her own, I know how badly she misses you, even on short missions. I'll catch the next 'plane back."
"No, Cass," Sam had insisted gently. "It was your Mom's decision; I wasn't going to go, and she persuaded me. She says they need me more there. And if you came back, she'd be really pissed. She knows -- we both know -- that this trip is the best thing for you right now. So you mustn't interrupt it. We'll be fine, anyway, we've already got plans to get together every few weeks. And we both still plan to meet you half way through your trip, I'll get vacation."
So Cassie had been persuaded, reluctantly, to continue on her trip. "I'll call Mom all the time, Sam," she promised, and Sam knew that this was a promise she would keep.
= = =
"Well you're all packed, sweetie," Janet came up behind Sam in the study, and wrapped her arms round her from behind.
Sam was working on Janet's computer. "Thanks honey," she said, "that's great, I hate packing. I'm setting up a secure email, Jan," she explained. "Whenever the 'gate opens from the Midway Station, any emails from me will be forwarded, and vice-versa. I've set up a buffer system at Midway to store all electronic communications to and from Earth and Atlantis. The system's completely encrypted, so we don't have to worry about anybody else reading the messages. So you can write what you want, baby," Sam smiled at her lover. "It'll be for my eyes only."
Janet grinned back. "That's good, Sam. I expect I may want to use the email to get rid of my... frustrations..."
"I was hoping you would," Sam said, "I'll be feeling the same way, I'm sure."
"Three weeks is all," Janet reminded her. "One step at a time, remember. Don't think of it as being apart for 18 months, only for a few weeks at a time. And we'll make up for lost time when we're together."
"We will, hon, we will," Sam agreed. "And we'll take those two weeks in November when we meet up with Cass, I can't wait for that."
Janet smiled. "Hold that thought, Sam, hold that thought."
Sam finished fixing all the computers by mid-afternoon, so she and Janet decided to take Toby for a long walk. The dog had been very patient in the last week. He was spoiled during the day by their neighbors Tom and Susan, who 'babysat' him during the working day, but he had not had much attention in the evenings, as Sam had been working late each night, with Janet keeping her company. So they set off for the park, which Toby just loved. He particularly liked it when they let him off the leash, so he could throw himself into the pond there; this didn't happen often, as he always emerged covered in mud.
Today, once they reached the park, Janet leant down and undid Toby's leash. "You know what that means, don't you hon?" Sam asked her with a smile. "He's gonna get filthy."
"That's okay, Sam," Janet said. "We all have to let go sometimes, don't we?"
They spent about two hours walking round and round the huge park, hand in hand, before they summoned a filthy, exhausted but happy Toby, and clipped the leash back on his collar before they set off home.
Once they got back, Sam took the muddy dog into the garden where she gave him a thorough clean with the hosepipe, while Janet set to making the dinner.
After dinner, they sat together on the couch, just holding each other and saying very little. After a couple of hours, without needing to say anything, they alighted from the couch and went upstairs. There, they took a long shower together, and then made their way to the bedroom. As always, their lovemaking was passionate and tender, but Janet felt that this time she could detect a quiet desperation in Sam. She wasn't surprised, therefore, when Sam started to weep softly in her arms afterwards. She didn't know what to do to ease her lover's misery, so she just held her and rocked her gently in her arms, whispering soothing words to her. In truth, she felt just as miserable herself, but she wanted to remain strong for Sam. She knew that the decision had been a real wrench for her, and it was only her strong sense of duty that had tipped the balance toward taking the job.
= = =
Janet had noticed a shift change in Sam over the past few years. Before, Sam had been a keen 'career-girl', and nothing would sway her from her determination to climb as far as she could get in the Air Force. After a few years with Janet, though, it was as if Sam had decided that that didn't matter so much any more. She was still totally committed to her job, and continued to prove herself, time and time again, in the field. She still put her own safety last in her determination to get her team home safely, and her bravery and compassion had gotten her into trouble more times than Janet could count. Janet loved to see her as much as she could, but she wished that her visits to the infirmary were social rather than her being there so often as a patient.
Janet felt now that Sam was content and relaxed about her position at the SGC. She was the unacknowledged second in command of the base, she was the one everybody turned to in times of need, and she always had an answer. But Janet believed that she no longer craved high office, and that if she stayed a colonel for the rest of her career, she really didn't think it would worry her. She loved her work, but she loved her family more.
= = =
Eventually, Sam fell off to sleep, wrapped tightly in Janet's loving arms. Janet looked down at her pale, drawn face and realized that this latest career change really had put the pressure on her. Janet felt a pang of guilt for pushing her lover into making the decision. But she knew that if Sam didn't take the job, and there were serious casualties as a result of that decision, Sam wouldn't be able to live with herself. Atlantis was in crisis, and needed an intelligent, compassionate, military leader who could steer them in the right direction. Nobody was better suited to that task than Colonel Samantha Carter. And it was not for ever, Janet reminded herself, stifling a sob.
= = =
The next day flew by. The 'guys' came over for lunch, and they all made a big fuss of Sam. "You're gonna be 'The Man', Carter, you realize that?" O'Neill had teased her.
"I've learned from the best, Sir," Sam grinned, "I think I'll be able to handle that."
"I don't doubt it for a moment," O'Neill replied, serious for once. "You'll be an excellent leader. And Carter," he winked, "they wear a lot of leather there, you know."
"That's why I persuaded her to take the job," Janet interjected, with a broad wink. "And that's one of the reasons I plan to head out there regularly!"
Sam blushed at Janet's insinuations, and pretended she hadn't heard.
All too soon, O'Neill, Daniel and Teal'c were leaving. "It's only 1430hrs," Sam protested. "You don't have to go."
Daniel enveloped her in a tight hug. "You need this time with Janet," he whispered in her ear. "Be kind to yourself, Sam, you swear?"
Sam's eyes filled with tears as she returned his hug, and embraced both Teal'c and O'Neill. "See you soon, guys," her voice was small and emotional.
= = =
Later than day, Sam 'phoned Cassie for the last time before she left; Janet left her to do this in privacy, and pretended not to notice her red-rimmed eyes afterward.
All too soon, it was time to go to bed. Sam had checked, and re-checked that she had everything for the morning. Her dress blues were pressed and crisp, and everything was boxed up and ready in the living room.
Janet slid into the bed next to Sam, and wrapped her arms round her. Sam turned and snuggled into her chest. "Don't want to make love tonight," Sam said in a half-whisper. "Just want to hold you. Is that okay baby?"
"That's okay by me, sweetie," Janet understood how she felt, as it mirrored her own feelings on the subject. "We'll just be together."
= = =
After several hours, though, it was clear to Janet that Sam was still awake. She sat up slightly, still holding Sam tight. "You're not gonna sleep tonight, are you Sam?" she asked her in a quiet voice.
Sam's eyes opened. "I don't think so Jan," she said. "I'm sorry. I've tried, I really have."
"Shh," Janet ran her hand through Sam's long, thick hair. "I know you have baby, I know you have. What'cha want to do? Shall we just talk?"
"Is that okay?" Sam was hesitant.
"It is Sam. Just promise me one thing," Janet peered into her lover's face.
"Anything, Jan," Sam said.
"Catch up on your sleep at Midway. If I give you something, will you swear to me that you'll take it when you get there? You need to be at full strength when you take over at Atlantis, honey."
"Okay," Sam agreed.
"What shall we talk about?" Janet asked.
"I dunno," Sam replied. "How about you tell me something I don't know about you, and I'll tell you something you don't know about me?"
"You know everything about me, Sam. I can't think of anything you don't know," Janet was stumped.
"What about your first memory?" Sam suggested. "Something you remember from your childhood, that you've never told anybody."
Janet pondered, and slowly a grin crept across her face. "Orange!" she said, triumphantly. "I remember being in my stroller, with an orange blanket. I loved that blanket, I slept with it for years. But yes, I think that's my first memory, chewing the corner of that orange blanket as my Mom pushed me in the stroller. I suppose that's why orange is my favorite color to this day. I wonder what happened to that blanket? I must ask Mom if she's still got it somewhere."
Sam smiled. "I like that, I like the idea of you at that age. You know, I don't think I've ever seen a photo of you that young, I think in the earliest photograph I've seen, you're about six."
"Mom and Dad lost several albums in a house fire," Janet remembered, "so there aren't many of me at that age. But there are some, I'm sure. I'll see if Mom can find anything, and if she does, I'll bring a photograph with me to Atlantis, I promise."
"I'd like that," Sam said. "I want to know everything about you."
"What about you, Sam?" Janet asked. "Tell me your first memory."
Sam's face clouded over slightly before she pulled herself together and schooled the expression on her face. Janet wasn't fooled though. "What is it, baby?"
Sam laughed, feeling a little foolish. "It's dumb," she said, laughing at herself.
"I don't care, I wanna know," Janet said. "We should know everything about each other, remember?"
"Okay, Jan," Sam said, "but you'll probably laugh. My first memory is of bubbles."
Janet grinned. "Bubbles?"
"Yeah," Sam smiled. "You know, those little pots of bubbles, with the stick with a hoop, you blow bubbles out of it. I remember Mark blowing those at me when I was just a young kid. I remember wondering even then how bubbles could exist. I mean, it's not like I knew anything about surface tension then, they just seemed like magic to me."
"That's beautiful Sam," Janet said in a soft voice. "But how come it makes you sad?"
"It's really dumb," Sam tried to smile. "But I remember reaching out, and the bubble burst in my hand. I thought I'd broken the magic, that I'd done something terrible. I remember I cried for hours. Only Mom understood why I was so upset. But I remember that feeling so clearly; something had gone wrong, and would be forever missing. I mean," she laughed at herself, "I got over it! But when Mom died, it was as though I was having the same feelings, and I recognized it. Something was wrong, and would never be right again," tears had gathered in her eyes. "And that feeling never really went away. Not until I met you," she looked up at Janet. "I've never felt that way since. You complete me Janet."
Janet's heart just melted. "Are you feeling that way again now, baby?" she asked gently.
"I thought I was, a bit," Sam admitted, "but I'm not now. I know you'll always be there, and we'll talk every day. So the feeling's not the same this time. We'll never really be apart, even if we are in different galaxies for a while."
"Never," Janet affirmed. "We'll always be together. It's meant to be."
= = =
As Sam stepped through the wormhole to Atlantis, she felt Janet with her every step of the way. She turned to the team, "I want you all to know how honored I am to accept this appointment," she said. "I've come here fully committed to this expedition, to Atlantis, and most importantly, to each and every one of you. I look forward to working with all of you. Thank you."
She looked away briefly, and in her mind's eye, she could see her lover, and knew that she approved. "It's going to be okay, Janet," she whispered to herself, unheard by others. "We're gonna be fine." And she squared her shoulders and set off toward her new job, her new life.