Summary: Cassie and Anna realize what they mean to each other, while Sam and Janet explore Washington.
Cassie reluctantly disentangled herself from Anna, and took her hand. "I'm not alone here," she smiled, "there are some others who are keen to see you!"
"Sam and Janet?" Anna asked, excitedly. "Where are they?" she looked behind Cassie, and saw the two women waving, big grins on both their faces. Cassie took charge of her baggage trolley as she ran over to Sam and Janet, and flung herself at them.
"Hey there, kiddo!" Sam laughed at Anna's enthusiasm. She looked closely at the girl's pale face. "Rough flight?"
Anna laughed, ruefully. "I don't think I'll ever get used to flying," she replied. "Though it was worth it to see you all! You didn't have to come to the airport too," she protested, feeling guilty that they had come all that way.
"Actually, we did," Janet piped up. "We're getting a flight out very soon. We just wanted to say 'hi' before we left."
"You're leaving?" Anna's face fell.
"Not for long," Janet smiled. "We'll be back tomorrow. Sam and I are going to clear out her old apartment in Washington. We're flying back in at 7pm tomorrow, and we're hoping maybe one of you will come get us when we land?"
"We'll both be there!" Anna declared. She then looked over at Cassie. "Won't we?" she asked, laughing, realizing that she had taken Cassie's agreement for granted.
"Of course we will!" Cassie said. "I'm far too scared of Janet to risk saying no!" and she winked cheekily at Sam.
"Yeah, right," Sam replied with a grin. "Like anyone is scared of Janet!"
"Hey," Janet protested. "Some of my patients are very scared of me. Well, of my needles at least!"
Sam laughed, and put her arm round Janet's shoulders. "We should really go, hon," she said, reluctantly. "We don't want to miss that flight."
The four women hugged, and promised to see each other the next day.
= = =
As they reached the car, Cassie took Anna's hand. She turned and looked at her straight in the eyes. "I know you hate flying. I just want you to know how happy I am that you're here. It's kinda weird," she gave a half-laugh. "I've only known you for such a short time. But I've really missed you since you went back home. I was so excited when you called to say you were coming."
Anna smiled. "I couldn't stop myself," her voice was quiet, but firm. "I tried to pretend to myself that I wasn't falling for you. It's very soon after Tina, I know," she looked away when she mentioned her former lover. "But I had to admit it to myself. I'm in love with you, Cassandra. I realized there's no point waiting for some arbitrary period to expire before doing anything about it. I don't care about Tina any more, not in the slightest. If anything, I pity her. She'll never be happy. I don't ever want to see her again. But I do want to see you. All the time. I want," and she blushed slightly, "I want to hold you, I want to spend all my time with you. I want to wake up with you in the mornings."
Cassie swallowed nervously. "I've fallen for you too, Annie," she said, her voice shaking. "I think I did as soon as I saw you. I know we've got to get to know each other. We haven't even kissed," her voice was almost inaudible.
"That's something we can put right, right now," Anna's voice was gentle. "May I?"
Cassie nodded, not trusting herself to speak. Still holding Cassie's hand, Anna closed the slight gap between them, and brushed her lips softly against Cassie's. "Is that okay?" Anna asked, solicitously.
Cassie nodded. "Lost the power of speech, huh?" Anna tried to make a joke, to lessen the tension that was palpable between them.
Cassie nodded again, a wry grin on her face. Anna leant forward again, and this time her kiss was firmer, though still soft and gentle. Cassie started to respond to the kiss, and opened her mouth slightly to allow entrance to Anna's darting tongue.
Minutes later, the two women broke apart. "Well, that's one milestone taken care of," Cassie was slightly breathless, but the humor was clear in her voice.
"Yeah," Anna smiled. "I can die happy now!"
"Oh no," Cassie replied with a grin, "There will be no dying. I have plans for you."
Anna suddenly realized something. "Hey," she said, with a mischievous smile, "I've just realized. We've got the house to ourselves until tomorrow, haven't we?"
Cassie smiled again. "Oh yeah," she agreed. "I thought Sam and Janet were being unnecessarily tactful. I'm not so sure now," she said.
Anna pulled Cassie to her once again, and kissed her with undisguised passion, allowing her hands to start to roam. Eventually, Cassie pulled away. "Cameras!" Cassie said, laughing, pointing at the CCTV camera less than 20 feet away.
Anna pulled a face of mock-disgust. "Rain-check?" she suggested. "Just until we get back to the house?"
As they pulled away from the parking lot, Anna reached over, and put one hand over the one Cassie had rested on the gear shift. Cassie lifted her hand slightly, allowing Anna to interlace her fingers between her own. They remained touching throughout the rest of the drive. Cassie's heart was filled with joy. Her existence had sometimes seemed lonely and empty before she had met up with Sam, Janet and Anna. Now the future seemed filled with excitement, full of promise and hope.
= = =
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Anna was sitting on Cassie's bed, somehow still holding her hand. "We don't have to do this yet, there's no hurry."
"I know," Cassie's voice was tight, "but I want to. More than I've ever wanted to. You're so beautiful, Annie," she tried to stop her voice shaking. "I just can't believe how lucky I am."
"I'm the lucky one," Anna said, and reached over and carefully unbuttoned Cassie's shirt. "You're exquisite. Are you nervous?"
Cassie shook her head. "No," she sounded surprised. "I thought I would be. I really did. But everything just seems so... right."
"That's because it is Cass," Anna's voice was tender. "It's never been more right." And she pushed Cassie gently back onto the bed and kissed her. "I love you, Cassandra Langford."
"I love you Anna Ross," Cassie gasped.
= = =
"They have got a grocery store in Washington airport, haven't they?" Janet asked Sam, about ten minutes into the flight.
"We won't need groceries," Sam replied smugly. "I've booked us a table at a great restaurant tonight. This weekend is going to be all about us, about relaxing, having fun. No work. No cooking. Just you and me." She smiled, in anticipation of the romantic time she had planned.
"That sounds great, baby," Janet smiled back. "We'll still need to pick up some basics though, Sam, milk, bread, eggs, coffee, that sort of thing. After all, if I'm going to be relaxed, I don't relish the prospect of waking up next to a Sam Carter who is not just about to have her morning cup of coffee. I don't think I could deal with you in a caffeine-free environment!"
"Janet Fraiser!" Sam retorted hotly, "are you suggesting that I'm cranky without coffee?"
"Not cranky, exactly," Janet pretended to be looking for a tactful way to express herself, "let's just say you can get a little... tense." She grinned widely.
Sam laughed. "Well I won't get tense this weekend, that's one thing I'm sure of. But," she laughed, "just in case, maybe we'll get those few groceries before we hire a car. It couldn't hurt, could it?" she was smiling broadly now.
"It sure couldn't baby," Janet smiled her agreement. "So," she said excitedly, "where are you taking me for dinner?"
"Somewhere romantic," Sam said. "It's not in the centre of the city. In fact, I didn't realize it was still there until I checked the 'net yesterday." She lowered her voice, "In my old timeline, it had a great reputation for being the place to go to with a 'special someone'. I've walked past it many times, when I used to work at the Pentagon. But I didn't have anyone to take there then. And you and I never made it to Washington together," she looked thoughtful. "But we're going now," she brightened at the realization. "And they've promised us a corner booth."
Janet was touched at the amount of thought that Sam had been able to put into their trip, especially as it was less than 24 hours since they decided to go. "I can't wait," she said, seriously, and picked up Sam's left hand, enclosing it in both of hers.
"The girls'll be home by now," Sam mused. "It was a good idea of yours, Jan, give them a bit of space."
"Everybody needs some privacy sometimes," Janet said, thoughtfully. "And at the beginning of the relationship, the last thing you need is a houseful of other people."
"They're going to be real good together, aren't they?" Sam looked into Janet's eyes, and Janet was sure she saw her eyes glistening with emotion.
"Oh yeah," she squeezed Sam's hand reassuringly. "They definitely are. Did you see the way Cassie was looking at Anna? They've really fallen for each other."
"I hope this means Cassie's going to be happy at last," Sam's voice shook slightly. "That poor kid, she's had a hell of a life."
"My guess is she's happy already," Janet replied. "She's found you. Or you found her."
"We all found each other, Jan," Sam said, "and thank God for that."
= = =
Cassie woke up, and briefly wondered where she was, and why she had fallen to sleep in the early evening. Then she realized that she and Anna were intertwined, and remembered with a sharp stab of joy what had happened. She and Anna were now together, in every sense of the word. She shifted slightly, and as she moved, she heard a distinct rumble coming from Anna's stomach. She grinned, and realized that her lover had not had anything to eat all day. She was hungry too. So she slid out from underneath Anna, and grabbed a pair of sweatpants and a loose sweater, donning them quickly. Anna stirred, and looked up at Cassie with a lazy smile. "Hey beautiful," she said softly.
"Hey to you too," Cassie replied. "Are you okay?"
"Never been better," Anna said, with feeling, then stifled a yawn. "Tired though," she grinned, "and hungry."
"You're still on British time," Cassie reminded her. "Sleep a while longer. I'll get some take-out. Pizza? Chinese?"
"Chinese!" Anna said. "Get lots."
Cassie went downstairs, and found a drawer full of take-out menus, and smiled; Sam had been a bad influence on Janet, she decided. She called the local Chinese restaurant and put in a large order. While she waited for the delivery, she picked up her cellphone and dialled Sam's number.
= = =
Sam had insisted that she and Janet should hire a car for their short time in Washington. For some reason, which she couldn't really explain to herself, she wanted to show Janet round all the places she had lived, worked and played during her time in Washington in her old timeline. So they spent that afternoon driving around. They couldn't get too close to the Pentagon, but at least Sam was able to point out which side of the building she had worked in. Sam also tried to find the apartment she had lived in in the old timeline, but changes in the way things were meant that the building didn't exist, and was instead a gas station. When they enquired, they found that there had been a gas station on that site for over 20 years, and before that it had been a storage facility. "Funny the things that are different," Sam said, and Janet was sure she could detect a melancholy tone to her voice.
"The important things aren't different, baby," she told her lover reassuringly.
Sam brightened at this statement. "True," she smiled, and kissed Janet gently. "I do miss some things about my old life. I miss the guys most of all," she admitted, "but I have you, you're all I really need. Cassie too. Life's pretty good, isn't it? I just hope it lasts."
Janet looked at her. "What do you mean, Sam?"
"Nothin' really," Sam said. "Just... if Ba'al attacks. Everything'll change, in a heartbeat."
Janet took her hand. "We've talked about this baby. And you said that the most likely scenario is that he has been defeated by the other System Lords, or at least he's not as powerful as he had hoped."
Sam shook herself. "You're right, Jan. You're always right. I love you."
"Well you've shown me all the sights, Sam, how about we go to the apartment now?" Janet had a feeling Sam was avoiding going to the apartment she had been assigned in this timeline.
"Okay," Sam said, trying to hide the reluctance in her voice. "Let's go."
= = =
Sam looked tense as she opened the door to the apartment. Janet looked round, and was saddened to see that the apartment, while pristine, seemed somewhat soulless. Sam had made no real effort to make it into a 'home', there was very little personalization that had taken place. She met Sam's gaze. "Coffee!" she said briskly, and pushed Sam gently toward the couch. "I'll make it. You sit."
When Janet came through to the living room less than 10 minutes later, she saw that Sam was staring, unseeing, out of the window. "Hey," she said, gently. "What is it, baby? What's upset you?"
Sam looked at her, and Janet was saddened to see tears in her eyes. "It's this place," she said. "I'd forgotten how unhappy I was here. I hated it. I hated being apart from the guys. I missed everything about my old life. Most of all, I missed you. I didn't know if I would ever see you again. I didn't know if I'd ever find you."
"You found me," Janet's voice was tender. "I'm here. And I'm not going anywhere."
"I know," Sam's voice was thick. "I'm being dumb. I've just got such bad memories of this place."
"Well," Janet took her hand, and kissed it. "How about we make some good memories of our own? Banish the blues." And she pulled Sam's hand toward her breast, and held it tightly to her. "What do you say?"
Sam tightened her grip. "I say yes," she said, softly. "I think that's the best idea you've had all day." And she stood up and pulled Janet to her feet. "I don't think I've shown you the bedroom yet, have I?"
Janet was relieved to see that Sam had regained some of her spark. "No," she said in a sultry voice. "I think it's about time you gave me a full tour."
= = =
It was early evening when Sam turned in her large bed in her Washington apartment, and looked directly at Janet. She grinned. "Well, sweetie," she said, "I'd say that, as a cure for the blues, that's got to be about as effective as it comes."
Janet smiled widely. "Doctor's orders," she said smugly, "we always know the best cures!"
"You sure do, Jan," Sam leaned over and kissed her. At that moment, her cellphone trilled. She picked it up from the nightstand. "It's Cassie," she told Janet. "Cass!" she barked into the 'phone. "What's wrong? Are you okay? Is Annie okay?"
Cassie laughed. "Of course I'm okay. We're both okay, Sam. More than okay. I just wanted to 'phone to tell you you were right."
"Right about what?" Sam asked.
"Happiness," Cassie said. "You told me that when I found the right person, I'd find true happiness. I don't think I've ever been so happy. I love her Sam," she said, shyly. "And she loves me. I'm the luckiest girl in the world."
"Oh Cassie," Sam was moved almost beyond words. "You don't know how happy that makes me. You deserve someone to love, who loves you back."
"Thank you Sam," Cassie said. "And thank Janet for me too, would you? Tell her I love her. I love you both. You've changed my life."
"What is it, baby?" Janet asked after Sam had hung up the 'phone. "Are they okay?"
Sam smiled. "They're great. Both of them. Cassie just wanted us to know how happy she is."
"Life's good, Sam, isn't it?" Janet asked.
"Life's great, Jan," Sam agreed. "Everything's great."
Next: Festive Season