Summary: It's not always easy to make a long-distance relationship work, but Sam and Janet, and Cassie and Anna, are determined that they can succeed
When Cassie awoke the next morning, it took her a few moments to realize where she was. With a broad grin, she remembered that she wasn't in Portsmouth waiting for the ferry, she was back in the Covent Garden apartment -- with Anna. When she reached out in the bed, though, Anna wasn't beside her any more. Then she heard reassuring clattering noises from the kitchen, and realized that she must be in there.
Getting up, she shrugged on the shirt Anna had been wearing the day before. Her clothes were still wet from the rain the night before, and she didn't really feel comfortable wandering around the apartment naked. And Anna was a good four inches taller than she was, so her shirt covered Cassie's modesty.
Cassie stood by the door in the kitchen, just looking at Anna -- at her lover -- who was sitting, in her robe, staring dreamily into space, her hands wrapped round a steaming mug of coffee.
"Hey," Cassie called gently, suddenly shy; they had met for breakfast at the kitchen table every day for the last six weeks, but this was different, it was a whole new step in their relationship.
Anna looked up. "Hey, beautiful," she replied, her face wreathed in smiles. "Sleep well?"
Cassie laughed. "No," she replied, "you know damned well I didn't, and neither did you!" She approached Anna, and enveloped her in a hug from behind. "I had the best night of my life, though," she said softly. "How are you this morning?"
Anna put one hand over Cassie's. "I've never been happier," she said with feeling. "Thanks to you. Thank you, Cass, for coming back to me. I was a coward before, I should have told you how I felt. I was so angry with myself after you left," she shifted sideways in her seat so that she could look Cassie in the eye, "and here you are. And, if I may say, you look pretty damned hot in that shirt!" She pulled Cassie on to her lap and kissed her -- softly at first, but as Cassie started to respond, she deepened the kiss and reached up to cup a soft breast through the thick cotton of her shirt. Their tongues intermingled, and unwittingly Cassie found herself whimpering at Anna's touch.
"Will you promise always to greet me like that in the morning?" Cassie asked, slightly breathless.
Anna nodded, and leaned in for another kiss. "You make me so hot," she whispered to Cassie. "I love you Cass."
This was the first time that either of them had mentioned the word love, but it seemed so natural; it wasn't some big declaration, just Anna stating the obvious. "I love you too, Annie," Cassie told her. "Every inch of you." And she slid her hand inside Anna's robe, delighting to realize that she was naked underneath. She felt her nipple pucker at her touch; she reached out and gently pulled Anna's robe down her left shoulder, exposing her plump breast with its large, dark nipple standing out against her light coffee-colored skin. Cassie gasped with pleasure and desire. "I'm not sure I'll ever get used to how beautiful you are," her voice shook.
Anna laughed. "Ditto, Cass," she said. "Kiss me there?" she asked, and cupping the back of Cassie's head, she pulled her to her breast. Cassie took the hardened nub in her mouth, tonguing it gently to start with, and then closing her mouth over it, sucking more of it inside. She pushed a hand under Anna's robe, and grasped the other breast. By now, Anna was moaning loudly.
"Cass," Anna was almost incoherent, "oh God. Don't stop. Harder. More."
Cassie's breathing quickened, matching that of her lover. When she felt Anna start to rock beneath her, she knew it was time to move. "Bed," she panted, "now. Please baby, now."
Anna pushed Cassie gently to her feet, and shakily stood up, keeping a grip on Cassie. They stumbled toward the bed in the living room. Anna pulled desperately at the shirt Cassie was wearing. "Careful," Cassie panted, "you'll rip it."
"My shirt," Anna was breathing hard, "don't care," and Cassie could feel buttons tearing off as Anna unwrapped her.
= = =
Three hours later, Anna turned to Cassie in the bed, her arm protectively curled round Cassie's toned stomach. "You really should try and get some sleep now," she said, with a smile in her voice. "you're exhausted Cass, you haven't slept properly for over 30 hours."
"Nor you," Cassie reminded her, as she laced her fingers through Anna's hand. "I will if you will, deal?"
"Deal!" Anna laughed, and wrapped her longer limbs round her lover. Within minutes, both were fast asleep.
= = =
Four hours later, Cassie was roused from her slumbers by the trilling of her cellphone. She reached over to get the phone, hoping that it wouldn't wake Anna. As she moved, however, Anna stirred, looked up and smiled at Cassie.
Cassie grabbed the phone, "yeah," she said sleepily, not even bothering to look at the screen to see who was calling.
"Cass!" Janet's voice was clear and bright. "Are you okay honey?" She was concerned by Cassie's sleepy response; she looked at her watch, it was only mid-afternoon in Europe.
"Hey Mom!" Cassie sat up, feeling real pleasure at the sound of Janet's voice. "I'm fine, really. Better than ever, in fact," she smiled at Anna, who was sitting up slowly, her hair adorably tousled, a sleepy grin on her face.
"I was just wondering how you're enjoying France," Janet said. "Are you enjoying the views in Paris?"
Cassie grinned. "Well, Mom," she said, with a slightly sheepish tone, "the view right now is rather... well... British."
Janet was nonplussed. "Elucidate," she instructed her daughter sharply.
Cassie put her hand over the cellphone so Janet couldn't hear as she turned to Anna. "It's Mom. Can I tell her?"
Anna smiled. "Is she going to be one of those dragon mothers-in-law?" she asked cheekily.
"Oh yeah," Cassie grinned back, "no doubt about that."
"In that case, you'd better tell her," Anna said, "we don't want her breathing fire down that phone!"
"Mom?" Cassie said, tentatively.
"Who was that you were talking to?" Janet asked.
"That's Anna," Cassie told her, "from the bookshop. I didn't go to Paris, Mom. I nearly did, but then I came back. We're in love, Mom. We're together."
"Wow!" Janet was speechless. "That's great, Cass," she said, once she had regained the power of speech. "Really, I'm thrilled. She sounds wonderful."
"She really is Mom. I've never met anybody like her, she makes me so happy. And we've only been 'together' for," she looked at her watch, "thirteen hours and 28 minutes!"
Janet laughed. "So what about your plans? And Anna's? Isn't she going to Japan?"
Cassie's face clouded. "We need to talk about that. We both know there are things we need to do, but the important thing is that we'll be together all the time soon enough. A bit like you and Sam, in a way. She's worth waiting for, Mom, whatever we decide. That much I'm sure of."
"Well I'm confident you'll both make the right decisions about the future," Janet said, with real warmth in her voice. "Put her on the phone, I want to talk to her!"
Cassie passed the cellphone to Anna. "She wants to speak to you," she told Anna, with a grin.
"Hi!" Anna said, tentatively. She'd spoken to Janet twice before, but that was when she and Cassie had just been roommates, this was a whole different ball game.
"Dragon, huh?" Janet was laughing. "If you think I'm bad, you just wait until you meet Sam!"
Anna howled with laughter. "Shit!" she said, "I thought you couldn't hear me!"
"That much was clear," Janet replied drily. "I just wanted to say, 'welcome to the family'! Cass sounds so happy, and I gather that's down to you. I know you still have to work out all the logistics, but it'll all be okay. You and Cassandra have a beautiful future together."
Anna was moved beyond measure by the kind words. "Thanks," she whispered, tears gathering in her eyes. Cassie reached over and took her hand. "I'll be good to her, I promise," she said, "she means the world to me."
"I know that," Janet said softly, "and that's why I know you two will last. Once you work out your plans, I want to meet you, and Sam will too when I tell her. Be happy, Anna. Put Cass back on, will you?"
Wordlessly, Anna passed Cassie the phone.
"You've got a good one there," Janet was surprised to find her voice cracking with emotion. "You hang on to her, okay?"
"I will, Mom," Cassie said. "I swear."
= = =
Sam and Janet continued to see each other as often as possible; sometimes as often as every two weeks, though sometimes the gap was longer. The worst they had to endure was a five-week hiatus, and when Sam stepped through the wormhole after being apart for so long, Janet flung herself into her arms, sobbing with relief. Sam didn't pull back; most everybody at the SGC knew about their relationship, so there was no need for secrecy there. And in truth Sam was close to tears herself. "Sorry, baby," she whispered into Janet's hair, "it was too long, I know. Never again, I promise."
After that time, Sam made absolutely sure that she and Janet were never apart for longer than three weeks at a stretch. The months slowly passed, and Janet could see each time she saw Sam that she was coping well with her command, and that it had given her renewed confidence in her abilities. She was handling the myriad challenges that leading an outpost like Atlantis inevitably threw up, and was continuing to impress her colleagues as well as 'the higher-ups' as Sam liked to call them.
Sam's weekly phone call was also a real boon to them both. Talking to each other via the SGC's communications was better than nothing, but they could neither of them relax, knowing that Janet was in the control room surrounded by other personnel, much as Sam was in Atlantis's control room with her team about her. So the secure phone line that Sam had engineered was wonderful. They could only talk for about 20 minutes usually -- certainly never more than 38 minutes -- but it was such a release to be able to say what they wanted.
It was during one of these phone calls that Janet told Sam about Cassie and Anna, and Sam was thrilled by the news. "We've got to meet her now!" she declared to Janet.
"We will, sweetie," Janet told her, "once we find out what their plans are. Anna's due to spend four months in Japan, and they're still working out whether Cassie'll join her for all of that time, or whether she'll continue on her trip first. Once they decide, they'll let us know, and we can make plans too."
"Okay," Sam agreed happily. "Just so long as Cassie's happy."
"She's happy, alright," Janet said, "I've never heard her sounding so upbeat. And I've spoken to Anna a few times, she sounds perfect for our little girl."
"She's all grown-up now, isn't she?" Sam said, slightly sadly. "D'you think she and Anna will settle in England?"
"I don't know, baby," Janet said softly, "but if she does we'll visit. Often. You can be just as close even with distance, we know that, don't we hon?"
Sam nodded, forgetting that Janet couldn't see her gestures over the phone. "S'just I'll miss her. I do already," she said. "But I know, we can't hold her back. If Anna makes her happy, that's what matters. But if she does anything at all to hurt her, she'll have me to answer to."
"And me, Sam, and me," Janet said. "She won't though, she's real sweet. Cassie says we'll love her."
"Well in that case, I'm sure we will," Sam made a concerted effort to sound more cheerful.
= = =
"The way I see it," Anna started, "is like this."
Cassie groaned. "Not 'the conversation' again," she pleaded.
"We've got to decide, Cass," Anna pointed out, "I'm leaving in 11 days, remember?"
"I know," Cassie's face darkened. "I wish we could stay like this forever," and she reached out in the bed and pulled Anna to her.
Anna laughed. "Much as I would like, correction, LOVE, to spend the rest of my life in this bed with you, you know as well as I do that it's just not practical."
Cassie nodded, glumly. "Go on, then," she said reluctantly. "Tell me. Just how do you see it?"
"I've signed a contract," Anna said. "But more importantly to me, I've given my word. So I have to go. Anyway," she continued, "Tokyo's supposed to be an amazing city. I'd probably kick myself 20 years from now if I don't do this. So I really should go."
"Okay," Cassie's voice was small and sad.
"And you, Miss Fraisier," Anna pushed Cassie's bangs out of her eyes, "are supposed to be on a world trip. So far you've made it to London, and now you've shacked up with some over-sexed bookshop assistant who won't let you out of bed. Is that a fair assessment of the situation?"
Cassie grinned, despite her misgivings about what Anna was going to say. "I'd say that's fair," she agreed, "it's been a very trying time," she tried, and failed, to hide the smirk on her face.
"Oh yeah," Anna agreed. "I can tell your patience has been tested."
"To the limit!" Cassie was laughing openly now.
"Seriously, though," Anna forced the conversation back on track, "I think you should still do some of your trip, even if you don't do everything you planned," she could see Cassie was about to protest. "I mean it," she pressed, "you'd be bored rigid if you stayed all four months with me, I'll be out working all day, I'll be marking books at night, I wouldn't have much spare time."
"I could always just stay in bed, and be your sex toy?" Cassie said suggestively, "and you could use me whenever you felt the need!"
"If you did that," Anna's voice was suddenly husky, "then I'd never get any work done at all. No, what I suggest is this. You do Europe, and India, as planned. Take two months, see the sights, experience the cultures. And then," she took Cassie's hand in hers, "then you come to me for the last two months. We spend a month together, by then I should know enough about the city to be able to show you around. And then, if your Mom and Sam want to come visit for two weeks, they can. You'll be able to show them around while I'm working. And the last two weeks," Anna knew she was talking too fast, but she wanted to finish the speech she had prepared, "we spend together, planning the rest of 'our' world tour."
Cassie looked up at Anna, hope in her eyes. "You want to come too?"
"Wherever you are, that's where I want to be," Anna told her. "And I can't think of anything more fun than seeing the world with my lover. I want to see Colorado Springs too," she said, becoming a little bashful. "After all," Cassie's heart skipped a beat as Anna looked deep into her eyes, "if I'm going to live there, I should at least check it out."
"Really?" Cassie breathed, unable to believe what she had just heard. "You'd do that? For me? What about your family, your mom and dad, Izzie?"
"They like to travel," Anna told her, "at least once a year, they go on a big trip. Last year, they did Australia and New Zealand. Maybe next year they'll do Colorado?" she grinned. "Anyway, we'll visit them. A lot. They'll be very happy for me, Cass, I know they will. They'll love you. Oh my God," she suddenly remembered, "I'd completely forgotten. They're coming up to visit the day after tomorrow, all three of them. So you'll meet them then." She grinned, triumphantly.
Cassie paled. "So soon?" she asked, "what happens if they don't like me?"
"Cassandra Fraiser, you do talk shit sometimes," Anna's words were brusque. "Of course they'll like you. They'll love you. What's not to like? Apart from your cooking, that is."
Cassandra laughed. "Yeah, I'll bet they never knew that there really is someone who cooks even worse than you. I blame Sam," she said, "whenever Mom tried to teach me to cook, she always suggested something much more fun to do. I can change the brakes on a motorcyle though, thanks to Sam, that's got to be good for something?"
= = =
"So," Janet reached for Sam's hand as they drove home for a much-anticipated four days together. "Looks like we're going to Tokyo."
"Yeah," Sam smiled. "I've booked the airline tickets, I just need to get a hotel organized. I'll find something online. I know the girls have said we can stay with them, and maybe we will for a couple of nights, but I think it'll be better all round if they have their space."
"And we get some space too, sweetie," Janet squeezed her fingers. "Anyway, Anna's not even left yet, we don't know what size apartment she'll have or anything. And we don't want to disturb anyone at night, do we baby?" she winked saucily at Sam.
Sam gripped the steering wheel tight with her other hand as she absorbed Janet's meaning. "I suppose your snoring could be a bit disruptive," she laughed, earning herself a light slap on the thigh. "I mean, I'm used to it by now, but we don't want your nocturnal habits out in the open, do we?"
Janet grinned lasciviously. "We certainly don't, baby, we certainly don't!"
Next: Meeting The Family