Summary: Sam is relieved when Janet returns from the alternate SGC with the cure to the Ori plague.
Janet and Daniel were more than nine hours overdue, and there had not even been a message.
Sam had not wanted them to accompany SG-6 to PLX-921, but she knew that this was perhaps the best chance of finding a cure to the Ori plague that was sweeping the US. If they could not stop it, it would soon spread worldwide and the entire human race would be wiped out. At least on Earth. And other planets would follow.
Janet had steadfastly refused to give Sam medical clearance to go with them. She was in the thirteenth week of her pregnancy, and had only just stopped suffering from horrific morning sickness. Or 'relentless morning, noon and night sickness' as Sam had dubbed it. Sam had to admit that Janet's decision was probably a wise one, but she hated seeing her lover step through the wormhole without her. She had got a taste of what life was like for Janet every time she went offworld, and she didn't like it.
"Anyway," Janet had argued, "we need you here, working on a cure, if Daniel and I aren't successful, you may be the planet's only chance."
General O'Neill had agreed, he needed 'Carter's' brilliant mind on Earth. There were ever more worrying reports about the spread of the plague, with several hundred dead already. O'Neill knew that this number could turn to millions within days. "Wouldn't have let you go anyway, Carter," he said, "even without the pregnancy 'thing'" (as he insisted on calling it, "I need you in the labs with the other eggheads." His jovial demeanour masked a desperate concern. He knew time was running out.
Janet had said a heartfelt goodbye to Sam and to three-year-old Beatrice, who somehow seemed to understand that her mom was doing something of vital importance, so she let her go off without a fuss. Sam held her daughter tightly to her, and prayed that Beatrice's other two parents would return safely. She watched as Janet and Daniel had dressed in full hazmat gear and headed out with SG-6 to the planet where the plague had first been found. They were hoping to find some living organism that had survived the apocalypse, and to extrapolate a cure. They knew their chances were extremely slim at best, but they also knew they had to try.
"Unscheduled offworld activation," screamed the tannoy. Sam downed tools in her lab, and sprinted to the 'Gate room, where she saw SG-6 stumble through, and enter the decontamination area. Without Janet and Daniel. The frustration she felt as she had to wait nearly half an hour before she could question them was almost unbearable. Finally, they were cleared.
Sam was at least partly relieved to hear what they had to say. She learned that Janet and Daniel had tried to return to the SGC with some samples, but had somehow been transported to a different reality. It was only when SG-6 themselves had tried to return home that they had been refused entry by the alternate SGC. The Colonel Carter from that reality had explained to them over a radio link that due to a rupture, Janet and Daniel had 'gated to the wrong reality. They were working on a way to get them back, and the other Sam had been able to reassure SG-6 that at least Janet and Daniel were in good health.
The really good news was that the alternate SGC had found a cure to the Ori plague and was going to send it back with Janet and Daniel when they found a way to return them. And in the interim 'Alternate Sam' had given full instructions to SG-6 as to what her counterpart could do to organize Earth's infrastructure, so that when the cure arrived, they would be all set to manufacture it in massive quantities, and enable global distribution.
Sam worked flat out for the next nine days and, with the full backing of the administration of her country and of the United Nations, made sure that the huge industrial chemical companies were all ready to start manufacturing the vaccine.
O'Neill was so concerned that she was working herself into the ground that he ordered a full medical with Warner, something that Sam did not appreciate. It was no secret that Sam had not taken to Warner, and she didn't want to take time out of something so important. But she passed the medical, though Warner did demand that she take 12 hours downtime.
Sam was furious, but at least she was able to spend a few hours with her daughter. Beatrice had been cared for tenderly by Teal'c, a great favorite with the toddler, and had understood when Sam had explained to her that she wouldn't be around much for a while. So while Sam had made a point of seeing her every day, even if only for a few minutes, she hadn't been able to spend the time she wanted with her.
That day, when Teal'c had returned to Sam's quarters after four hours on the instruction of O'Neill, to relieve her of Beatrice and allow her to sleep, he was touched to see the mother and daughter curled up in bed together, fast asleep, with Leo snuggled at the foot of the bed. Leo had not left Sam's side since Janet's departure, and was a quiet source of comfort for the scientist. Teal'c shut the door again quietly, confident that his charge was not keeping 'Colonel Carter' awake.
The wormhole flared, followed very shortly by Daniel and Janet. Sam's heart leapt to see them both in good health.
The next ten days passed in a blur. After an initial, hurried, reunion, Sam and Janet worked flat out together, mostly alternating shifts so one of them could be on duty while the other relaxed and spent time with Beatrice.
Once the crisis was over, with the loss of just over 3,000 lives worldwide, the small family wearily made its way home. When Sam and Janet fell into bed that night, the sense of relief that they shared was palpable. Janet was delighted to find that Sam's pregnancy was finally beginning to show. Her usual washboard stomach had started to soften, and her always-full breasts had grown noticeably. They made love, with real tenderness, reveling in the bounty of each other's bodies.
When Janet woke the next morning, she was aware of being watched. Sam was leaning up on one elbow, just staring at her. "God I missed you, hon," said Sam, huskily, "I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost you."
Janet then began, haltingly, to tell her of all the different 'Sams' that she had come across. And she explained, gently, that just over half of the Sams had told her that in their worlds she, Janet, had died two years ago while ministering to a wounded airman offworld. Janet told her how that had freaked her out. She remembered tending to Airman Wells, and remembered getting back safely. She also remembered admiring Sam's military capabilities during that mission, when she had taken out over a dozen Jaffa. She remembered, too, having to comfort Sam when they had got home. Sam was a formidable warrior, but hated taking lives; she had been haunted for some months after that mission.
Sam's blood ran cold, and tears formed in her eyes when she tried to imagine what life was like for all those other 'Sams' who had lost their Janet. Even those that had not had Janet as a lover -- Janet told her that only 13 out of the 18 she had encountered had had a relationship with their Janet -- would still have lost the best friend they could ever have.
The next day, the two women, Beatrice and of course Leo met up with Daniel for a picnic at the lake. Because Leo's horns were smaller than his father's and were mostly hidden by his fur, Janet and Sam were able to risk taking him out in public. They decided that if anybody asked, they could explain away the anomaly by saying the 'dog' had a bone deformity. In truth, they hated leaving him behind on their family days. Leo had been an integral part of their family since he had come to them at eight weeks old. He was still a very young pup when he arrived, but had instantly made himself at home, just like his late father had before him, and brought them all a great deal of joy.
O'Neill had given a home to Leo's sister, and the two dogs regularly played together. This led to some interesting situations when he called his dog. In the interests of naming all the puppies after geniuses (Leonardo being Leo's full name), he had impishly chosen the name 'Carter' for his puppy. After Sam had, for the third time, answered when O'Neill called his dog, he finally agreed to call the human 'Carter' Sam when she was off duty, and that cleared up most of the confusion.
The family had a great day at the lake. Daniel had been thrilled to spend so much time with his daughter. He had also really missed Beatrice when he was away, and the young girl was delighted to have him back. Daniel played hide-and-seek with her and Leo in the woods, while Sam and Janet sat quietly on the bench together, holding hands, just enjoying being together.
Later they all strolled to a nearby cafe for coffee -- decaf only for Sam, which Daniel found highly amusing. "Laugh all you want, space monkey," growled Sam, "you're paying. And I want a muffin with mine. I'm eating for two now, remember?"
Daniel laughed as he made his way up to the counter. He pondered this new 'family' that had sprung up. Yes, it was unconventional (in more ways than one, considering Thor's intervention in both pregnancies, enabling the DNA of all three parents to be combined), but it worked. For three years, the three of them had joyfully shared the parenting of Beatrice. The two women had, at the outset, insisted that Daniel keep at room at their house and he had a key, so he could come and go as he pleased. To start with it was a little awkward, Daniel still insisting on phoning every time he wanted to drop in, but eventually he relaxed and became a fully fledged member of their family. And from time to time he would take Beatrice off for a few days, giving him good one-to-one time with his daughter, and also giving Sam and Janet time to themselves. All in all, an ideal scenario.
"They want WHAT?", Sam was white with fury. "There's no way in hell they're getting their hands on our little girl. No way, no how. Who the hell do they think they are?"
"Calm down, Carter," said O'Neill, mildly. "They're not getting anywhere near her, I just wanted to keep you in the loop. You know what rat bastards the NID can be."
"But I don't understand," protested Sam. "How did they find out about Thor's 'help' anyway? Who the hell told them?"
"Seems one of them hacked into the computer system," explained O'Neill. He told Sam that once the NID discovered the Thor had helped combined Janet's and Sam's ova, their interest in Beatrice, the result of the process, had been piqued. "Stupid fools think she's got some alien in her, want to run some tests to find out exactly what's different about her."
"There's NOTHING different about her," exploded Sam. "She's got less alien in her than you or me. Yes, she's got a very small amount of naquadah in her blood, which is inevitable, nowhere near as much as I have. If they want to run tests, let them run them on me."
"It's okay, Carter," he soothed. "They're not running tests on anybody, least of all you or Beatrice. I've told them in no uncertain terms they're not laying a hand on any of you -- and not on Number Two there either," he smiled, pointing to Sam's belly.
"Oh God," gasped Sam, her hand unwittingly going to her stomach. "They want to turn us all into labrats."
"Carter!" he barked. "Calm down, and listen to me. I've spoken to the head honcho at the NID. There's nothing official going on at all. This must just have been a rogue element, doing their own 'research'. He's promised to look into it, and to put a stop to it immediately. The best thing you can do now is go home to the doc, play with your daughter, and relax. It's all been handled. Jeez, wish I hadn't told you about it."
After a trip to the hardware store, Sam went home, for once following her superior officer's instruction to "take it easy". Janet came to the door with a sleepy Beatrice at her side as she heard the car pull up (Sam had reluctantly agreed to stay off her beloved bikes 'in her condition').
"Hey, hon, what's up? Are you sick?" Janet took in Sam's pale features and drawn expression.
"Nothing like that, Jan, I promise," said Sam. "The General told me to take a couple hours off, so who am I to argue?" She attempted a smile, but Janet saw right through it. She went off to put Beatrice to bed, then returned, a familiar stubborn expression on her face.
"Okay Sam, out with it," she demanded. "I wanna hear everything."
So Sam took a snuffling Leo on to her lap, and told Janet about her conversation with O'Neill. She hated worrying Janet, but despite the reassurances from the General, she was still concerned, and she knew it was best if Janet were kept in the loop.
Sam went to the car to take out her purchases from the hardware store, and spent over six hours adding alarm systems and every lock known to man to their small home. She resented feeling that it was necessary, but knew she'd never forgive herself if something were to happen. Janet and Sam stayed up late into the night, talking about added security measures and sensible precautions.
The next day, a Saturday, they called Daniel over and filled him in on what O'Neill had said. Fortunately, the archaeologist already knew the basics, and he tried to reassure them all that Jack was doing all in his power to keep them safe. He also insisted that he would stay with them at the house until they could be sure the risk was over.
For a full week, everything was fine. Sam started to feel a bit foolish. She knew that O'Neill's instructions to the NID carried real weight, and began to worry that she had overreacted. Beatrice was coming with them to the mountain every day, and there wasn't a minute of any day when she wasn't either with one of her parents or her "Uncle Teal'c", and Sam and Janet knew that Teal'c would rather die than allow a hair on her head to be harmed. Slowly, they all began to relax.
So when, one Thursday morning, Sam heard a familiar creak on the landing (she really would get round to fixing the floorboard one day), she assumed it was just Daniel looking in on his daughter. She was just turning over again in bed, when her spine turned to ice. Tonight was the first night that Daniel had been unable to stay with them; he had a conference to attend in Washington that Friday, and had flown there a day early to give him time to prepare.
She quietly woke Janet, signaling her to remain quiet, and took her handgun from the drawer in the side table. Janet hated her keeping the gun there -- hell, she was none too keen either -- but both had agreed recently that it should be there during the night, as long as Bea had no chance to get at it.
Silently, Sam opened the door, and saw a masked man about to open the door to Beatrice's room. "Hold it right there," she shouted, ice in her voice. "Take one more step and I'll blow your head right off."
The intruder turned, and lunged toward her, a knife in his hand. Without a moment's hesitation, she put a bullet right between his eyes. When Janet came out of their room, she saw the body of the intruder, and saw her lover, her gun trained on the body, a look of cold fury on her face. She had never seen Sam like that. "Go into Bea's room, lock the door, and call Jack," Sam instructed quietly. "I'm gonna check the rest of the house. Don't let anybody in, not even me, until Jack arrives." All the color had drained from her face, but she was in full military mode, and Janet knew it was best to follow orders. Sam knew what she was doing.
After what seemed like an age, but was probably only about half an hour, O'Neill's truck drew up outside the house, with Jack in the driving seat and Teal'c sitting stoically in the passenger seat. Using the key they had long ago given him, he let them both into the house. "Check around Teal'c" he told the big alien. Taking the stairs two at a time, he was shocked to find the dead intruder on the landing, and Sam standing stiffly outside Beatrice's door, her cocked gun in her hand.
"Carter," he called quietly.
"They've gone," said Sam, almost in a whisper. "Drove off as soon as they heard the shot. House is safe. Everybody's okay."
"Janet and Bea?"
Sam nodded to the door. "In there," her voice was almost inaudible. "Janet's gonna think I'm a monster. But I had to do it..." she gulped. "He was gonna..."
"Shh, Carter," he said, taking her in his arms. "You did what you had to do. No more, no less." He went to the cupboard, took out a large sheet, and covered the body with it. That was something Beatrice didn't need to see.
Hey doc," he called out, as he gently took the gun from his 2IC's hand. "You coming out?"
A shaken Janet emerged from the room, Beatrice wrapped in her arms. "Mama," cried Beatrice, holding her arms out for Sam. Sam kissed her on the top of her head, and gathered her lover and her daughter into a fierce hug. The small family slowly made their way downstairs.
"Teal'c," said Jack. "Take 'em to the mountain. I'm gonna wait here for the clean-up team." Seeing that Sam had started to shake in earnest, Janet snagged the comforter from the couch before allowing Teal'c to lead them all outside. In the back seat of the truck, she held her trembling lover and sleepy daughter as Teal'c drove them to safety.
Seeing the haunted look in Sam's eyes, Janet knew it was going to be a long night. She laced her fingers through Sam's. "We're safe now, hon," she whispered, "thanks to you, we're safe."
Next: Learning To Live With It