Summary: Picking up peices
Two years and nine months before the end of the world, Sam regained consciousness slowly and unpleasantly. She groaned. It seemed appropriate given the state she was in and the fuzzy recollection of alcohol consumption the night before. Her physical sensations matched every hangover cliché and all she needed was a traffic cone or some highly inappropriate acquaintance in bed with her to complete the image.
Her phone was ringing.
She didn't know where her phone was. She forced her head up from the pillow and fumbled around in her immediate vicinity with her right hand until it found her phone. She didn't even look at the screen and hung up. She dropped the phone onto the mattress next to her and groaned again, pressing the heel of her hand against her forehead this time because somehow that helped.
Her phone started ringing again. She glared at it and picked it up again to peer at the screen. Janet. She answered it and managed to croak out, 'Hello?' on the second attempt.
"Sam? God are you alright? You weren't answering your phone."
"'m fine," muttered Sam.
"You don't sound fine. You left me a voice mail message at three o'clock this morning, but my phone was downstairs. I'm on my way over now."
"God no, don't. I'm fine Janet, you don't need to come over," the lingering inebriation disappeared. Sam really didn't want Janet to see her like this. She'd been making three am phone calls? She really had drunk too much as if the pounding in her head wasn't enough confirmation.
"I'm already in the car and you're almost on my way to work"
"Almost? I'm in Hampton. I'm in entirely the opposite direction to work."
"I can be late."
Janet hung up. Sam glared at the phone and then dropped it onto the mattress once again. She probably had an hour at the most to make herself as human as possible so that she didn't have to confess to Janet the amount she'd drunk the night before. She'd have to think of an excuse for the three am phone call too. Right, priorities; up, shower, dress in clean clothes, coffee, throw away the empty bottles and pick some of the things up off the floor. She moved her hands to her waist level to push herself up and felt a damp patch, a big one. Her bladder had given up during the night. Priority shift; get rid of the pee soaked bedding and clothing and then all the rest.
At least she was the only one in her bed, although 'in' was probably an exaggeration. Only someone with limited sensation below their navel would have been able to sleep in the position she was in. She untangled her limbs and got to work.
By the time Janet arrived she was still panicking. She'd stripped the bed and herself, showered and was half dressed when the doorbell rang, but at least the most important things were done. She called out that she was coming and hurriedly pulled a t shirt over her head. She shook her damp hair out and let it flop against her back. It would soak the back of her shirt, but she didn't have time to dry it.
She looked around. The house was still a state. Janet leant on the doorbell again.
"Shit," Sam said quietly to herself. She shut the bedroom door carefully behind her so that Janet couldn't see the state of that room. Unfortunately she couldn't do anything about the rest of the house. She muttered swear words under her breath as she took note of the empty bottles still on the coffee table, the pile of magazines she'd been too lazy to pick up, the bag of rubbish still sitting inside the kitchen door and waiting to be taken out, the unopened post, the unwashed dishes and the piles of both dirty and clean laundry. She shook her head and opened the door.
"God, Sam are you okay? What happened?" Janet tumbled in through the door in a whirlwind of concern.
"Nothing, I'm fine," Sam reassured her, staying in the doorway and hoping that she could keep Janet's attention on her and not on the mess that was her house. It didn't work. Janet looked around over Sam's head and took in the scene with obvious concern.
"Did you have a fall or something?" Janet asked, calmer now that she could see that Sam was okay, for a limited value of okay.
"No, I'm fine. I'm sorry for disturbing you Janet. I shouldn't have called you at three am, but I am okay."
"I said you could ring me any time and I meant it. Are you sure you don't need anything? I can't imagine you make many phone calls at three am, even fewer without an obvious reason."
"You didn't sound fine."
"I was drunk, okay." Sam shot the words out in a machine gunned confession. "I had a lot of whisky, enough to think that calling you at three am was a good idea, enough that I didn't remember I'd done it, enough that I slept through the first few phone calls you made and enough that I felt like shit this morning." She paused. "Still feel like shit in fact."
Janet didn't reply. She remained silent for long enough for Sam to look up at her.
"Uh sorry, I'm waiting to work out whether I'm relieved or angry. Both I think. I'm glad you're okay."
"I'm sorry you were worried. I am fairly confident that wasn't my intention when I made the original call."
"I'm not sure you were capable of that level of planning at that stage."
Sam cringed, "What did I say?"
"A lot of mumbling, you said sorry a few times, but didn't say what for."
"Oh, everything. Catholicism."
Janet raised an eyebrow and stood up with a quick glance at her watch, "I should probably go to work and let them know that my emergency isn't."
"You don't need me."
"I mean, you're not angry."
"I am angry. I'm not expressing it."
"Ah, thank you."
"I'm relieved too and not just that you're okay. I missed you."
"I missed you too. I mean, it's still creepy that you're a 'fan', but I missed you."
Janet sat back down on the back of the couch and wrapped her arms around herself. Not folding them, because that was a confrontational gesture, but protecting herself nonetheless.
"I was a fan, but not a creepy one. It's not like I looked for naked pictures of you on the internet."
Sam blinked, "There are pictures of me naked on the internet? I didn't think there were pictures of me naked period."
Janet shrugged, "I don't know for sure, but there are naked pictures of every other celebrity. Why not you?"
"Now I remember why I like theoretical physics. It makes so much more sense than the real world."
Janet smiled and shifted her arms, "I still am a fan. Fan isn't the right word, but before I met you I thought you were this distantly impressive woman with an inspiring career who also happened to be nice and genuine in public. Then I met you and you turned out to be even more impressive, even more genuine and even fun to hang out with. Yes I suggested lunch that first day because I recognised you from your many public appearances, but I came back the following week because I enjoyed myself. Nothing more, nothing less."
"I know. You're not creepy," Sam said slowly and sighed. "The idea of there being pictures of me naked on the internet is, thanks for that thought by the way, but you're not creepy. The celebrity status doesn't sit well with me, but it had remained distant. A reporter called me that day, he got my number from somewhere and then I saw those pictures. I got 'freaked'. I overreacted."
"Maybe not, but thank you."
"Thank Mr Daniels," Sam declared with a nod towards the kitchen.
"I really should go to work," she glanced at her watch again.
"Would you like to do something tonight? I owe you an apology and thanks. You rushed to my aid. It was very noble."
Janet gave her a mockingly stern look and then smiled, "That sounds great. Make reservations for dinner and pick me up at seven. Be warned, I have expensive taste and you have some grovelling to do."
Sam showed Janet out and then gave an extended sigh of relief. She wasn't sure how she'd managed to wriggle off that hook, but she was too relieved to think it over too much. She made herself coffee and then got on with cleaning up and tipping the last of the whisky down the drain. She found what looked like a suitable restaurant online and called them to make reservations, after she'd grilled them about how accessible the restaurant was. Then she went back to bed and caught up on some sleep.
"Janet?" Sam called somewhat plaintively from the living room. She'd picked Janet up as agreed, taken her out to an expensive restaurant and now they were back at Sam's for coffee. Janet was in the bathroom and ever so slightly merry on a little red wine. Sam had stayed stone cold sober as promised.
"Yes?" Janet called from the other room.
"I just Googled 'Samantha Carter naked'"
There was silence and then Sam heard Janet walked into the room behind her, "Isn't there a story about a cat and curiosity?"
"I couldn't help it! I'm naturally curious"
"You know I'm going to have to look now."
"You put the idea in my head in the first place."
"It was hypothetical!" She approached her and bent forward to rest her chin on Sam's shoulder and drape her arms around her upper torso. Sam brought her hand up from the mouse and let it rest on Janet's forearm while Janet considered the images on the screen.
"Those women don't even look anything like you," Janet concluded.
"I'm quite impressed with how well that one's been Photoshopped, though that one just looks bizarre."
"Incredibly," Sam closed the browser window and let her head rest gently against Janet's.
"Curiosity satisfied?" Janet asked.
"One hundred percent," Sam turned and gave Janet an awkwardly angled kiss on the corner of her mouth. Janet turned to look at her. Her face was fuzzy with the close proximity and when Sam tried to focus on her eyes she could see three.
"You're kissing me after looking up largely badly made images of your head stuck onto random naked bodies?"
"I'm kissing you because you're here and you're not weird. Well, not scary weird."
"You flatter me," Janet teased and shifted to kiss Sam back. The angle of their necks was awkward, but the kiss was too good to break. Sam's brought the hand up from Janet's forearm and stroked Janet's cheek with the back of her hand. She parted her lips and pressed her tongue forward and ghosted it across Janet's lips briefly.
"Stay the night," she whispered, clinging tightly to Janet's arms as if she could hold her here in this moment.
"Okay," Janet whispered back.
Sam stirred before Janet in the morning. Despite Janet's early start for work, Sam's bladder required an even earlier start from her. The alarm woke her up, but she also recognised the weird 'something isn't quite right' sensation in her lower back now that she'd learn to associate with a full bladder, bowel, something digging into one of her legs or simply time to move. She didn't want to go anywhere yet though. Janet was lying in a half foetal position with her head tucked between the two pillows and against Sam's shoulders. One of her arms was wrapped around Sam's and even though she should have been able to slide her arm out from Janet's easily she didn't want to. She obeyed every cliché and watched her sleep.
Last night had been different. She'd expected it to be weird. She'd never had sex with a woman before. It had been awkward. Janet had slept with women before, (including that senior officer apparently) but she was wary of Sam's body, of hurting her somehow and not knowing how to touch her when she couldn't feel. It had been cautious and awkward, but also intimate and sweet. There had been a lot of cuddling and kissing. They could work up to the wild passion after Janet had got used to the idea that Sam didn't break. Still, Sam felt like she'd got something she needed last night, but she couldn't quite put it into words or even coherent thoughts.
She had to move, despite her comfortable position. Janet frowned and stirred in her sleep, but didn't wake up properly. When Sam moved, Janet tucked her arms back into her chest and moved her head on the pillow, but made no other movement. Sam left her to it.
The alarm for Janet went off while Sam was in the bathroom. She paused and listened to Janet stir sleepily and smiled.
There was a pause and then she heard a hesitant, "Sam?"
"I'm in here"
Janet made a complaining groan and Sam heard her throw herself back down onto the bed. She smiled again.
She washed up and returned to the bedroom. Janet was a lump beneath the comforter. Sam pulled herself back onto the bed and tugged the comforter back.
"Morning," Sam said.
Janet smiled and frowned at the same time. She opened one eye and looked at Sam.
"I'm not a morning person," She commented to Sam.
"No kidding," Sam said brightly and gave her a quick kiss. She retreated awkwardly from the bed and reached for her chair. "I'll put some coffee on," she promised. She paused mid-reach when Janet's hand closed on her wrist. She looked up at her, with both eyes this time and smiled.
"Just checking that you're real," Janet whispered.
Next: Nine Months