The Company We Keep by Blaze

Author: Blaze
Title: The Company We Keep
Email: Yes, please. Feedback always appreciated at blazing@SoftHome.net
Disclaimer: This isn't intended to infringe on the copyrights held by MGM, Showtime, Gekko, or Double Secret. It is a purely for fun, fan effort.
Summary: A flat tire and a bad day lead to a change in Sam and Janet's relationship.

The Company We Keep
by Blaze

Janet Fraiser lay back on Sam Carter's bed with an exhausted sigh, her body aching in places that hadn't ached in quite some time. She'd gone  several months now without getting thrown around by any Goa'uld, so any old bruises had healed.

Just in time to get some new ones. She exhaled another heavy, annoyed sigh

"You okay?" a worried voice asked, bringing her head up.

"Had better days," the doctor admitted disgustedly. Her efforts to change a flat tire had resulted in what could only be politely described as total disaster when the jack had been less than cooperative with the effort, and crystallized metal cracked and gave. The car had dropped, and she'd gone flying, tumbling into a less than sanitary, thoroughly muddy ditch. Her body was bruised, her makeup smeared past recognition, and her jeans were torn beyond all hope of repair--in fact beyond any hope of decency. Luckily it had happened close to Sam's place, so she hadn't had to sneak home the additional half mile with her ass hanging out for the afternoon traffic to get their cheap jollies. Yep, she'd definitely had better days. Not a lot of them considering her job, but a few. At least no aliens had been involved for once, and she'd had a chance to clean up a bit. Sam, meanwhile, stepped over to the closet and began digging through the contents, plucking out various options and discarding them equally quickly with muttered remarks, more than happy to donate something to the cause of preventing her friend's preference for avoiding public nudity, but apparently less than successful in the effort.

Finally, Janet raised a hand as she spoke up. "Really, Sam, anything that isn't likely to get me arrested for indecent exposure is fine." She looked down at the tattered remains of her jeans. "Not to mention a major improvement."

The blonde poked her head out of the closet, expression uncertain. "Slight size difference," she said by way of answer, then eyed the garment in her hands. "And we definitely wear different colors."

Under different circumstances, Janet would have agreed that the pink skirt wasn't her style at all, but just watching Sam burrow through her closet was tiring her out, and she doubted there was much of anything in the other woman's closet that wasn't going to both clash with her coloring, and make her feel Lilliputian once she put it on. Slight size difference indeed. More like eight to ten inches, most of it in the legs. "It's fine," she disagreed and let her eyes slide closed, folding her hands together on her stomach as she sighed heavily. "Anything's fine," she added a beat later. A long moment of silence followed and then she felt the bed depress as Sam sat down next to her hip. Her friend's hand landed lightly on her stomach, stroking soothingly.

"Bad day?" Sam questioned at last.

Janet nodded and folded an arm over her face. No need to go into the fight with Cass that had left both of them grateful the girl was already scheduled for an overnight school field trip. She loved her adopted daughter, but there were days she seriously doubted the wisdom of leaping straight into parenthood with a teenager. And that had just been the start of the fun. "Let's just say that getting tossed on my ass while changing a flat tire was the high point."

Sam's hand stilled on her stomach and Janet found herself missing the light caress. "Cass?" she asked a little hesitantly, picking up on the familiar note of tension in the other woman's voice.

"Mmhm," Janet muttered by way of confirmation. She waved a hand loosely in a general gesture. "The usual," she added, knowing Sam would understand. Cass was a teenager; her job was to angle for more freedom at every turn. Janet was a parent; her job was to try and limit that. Both were headstrong and strong willed; conflict was inevitable.

"Ah," Sam exhaled understandingly, and Janet was rather relieved when the gentle stroking began again, the light caress amazingly soothing. But then Sam usually managed to ease her worries. She was quite amazing at it. "I get the feeling that wasn't all," the blonde murmured, her tone inviting Janet to dump her problems.

The doctor grumbled a soft curse, while Sam simply offered a listening ear. "It was nothing really...just burned breakfast...the fight with Cass...then made the mistake of calling tech support to try and get a new computer keyboard." The "O" key on hers had died a sudden and ignominious death, making any sort of typing a real challenge, "O" being a relatively popular vowel and all that. "The tech wanted me to reformat and reload the hard drive," she explained, still dazed by the conversation that had involved robotic responses to her every attempt to explain that it was still under warranty and she just wanted a new keyboard, and that, no, a virus wasn't responsible for her dead "O" key.

Sam winced in sympathy.

"And my dentist cancelled on me, but only after I'd sat cooling my heels for an hour in his waiting room."

Another sympathetic wince. "Sorry."

Janet sighed heavily. "And then the jack broke and I found myself on my backside." All in all, not a good day, and she strongly suspected she'd been reduced to whining. She appreciated the fact that Sam, politely, didn't point that out, and simply kept up the light stroking.

"Um, about that," the astrophysicist began after a beat. "How is it, your...um...backside, I mean?"

Janet reached a hand back, sliding it under her body to check her sore buttocks where they were peeking out through her jeans. She winced, then lifted her hand, noting that a few flakes of dried blood clung to her fingers. "Not at its best," she sighed disgustedly. Really, that was just the perfect capper to the perfect day.

Sam paused again, blushing brightly, heart pounding in her chest as she tried to calmly ask, "Don't you think you should do something about that?"

"I'll take care of it when I get home," the doctor muttered, a dark flush heating her cheeks as it occurred to her just how much flesh was made visible by her shredded jeans. At least she'd been close to Sam's place and not, say, Colonel O'Neill's, which could have introduced all new levels of humiliation into her life since, God knew, this was the sort of thing he'd take great joy in never letting her forget. No, it was much better that it be Sam's place. Sam probably hadn't even noticed the bare expanse of flesh, she assured herself. Which was just fine by her. Really, the last thing she needed was to start wondering what her colleague might think of her body.

"Er..." Sam exhaled doubtfully, her gaze dropping touch on what she could see of the injured portion of the other woman's anatomy. "Are you sure you can really reach? Shouldn't you have someone else look at it?" she asked after a beat,

Janet lifted her arm and opened one eye to peer at her friend. "Such as?" she enquired too politely. "I mean, shall I go to the base hospital...maybe the SGC infirmary...god knows, can't have enough people I know taking a look at my bare ass." She shook her head. "Maybe drop my pants in front of Warner and ask him to make it better." She made a hoarse gacking sound as she flopped her arm back down. "Sorry, no, not the sort of conversation I care to have."

"Um...well...I could do it," Sam offered a little hesitantly, trying not to think about the way her pulse accelerated at the notion of having the doctor lying half naked on her bed. That fell under the heading of things she didn't really want to think about, though her brain frequently refused to observe the designation. Consequently, she thought about Janet entirely more than she intended. And in far more intimate ways than she would have preferred. Actually, naked on her bed was a favorite replay of her recalcitrant imagination, and the memory made her shiver with awareness. She tried to tamp down the feelings once again, though it didn't help that her eyes fell on a copy of Metropolitan, the sort of women's magazine she almost never read--the kind of thing with sexy vamps on the front cover next to article titles like, "How to Blow Your Man's Mind: Among Other Things," and "Make Sex in the Workplace Work For You"--that sat on the bedside table. She'd bought it in an airport while flying out to see her brother and barely read most of the articles--if they could be called that. Except there was one--a flush heated her cheeks just thinking about it. "Sex and Friendship: Sometimes the Best Vacation Spot is Where the Boys Aren't." It had been all for the idea and included a checklist for friends who ought to sleep together. It hadn't been a comfort for Sam to realize that her penchant for scoring 100% on tests hadn't slipped in the least, nor was she entirely proud of the fact that she'd dog-eared that page and gone back to it far more times than was even remotely seemly. She'd even half-heartedly tried some of the approach lines they'd suggested a couple of times, though she'd chickened out before it could possibly go anywhere. She had a sudden mental image of what could have happened if Janet had responded. And nearly self-combusted.

Janet, however, was apparently oblivious to the vibe because she just shook her head. "Sweet of you, Sam, but I think that would be asking you to go above and beyond the call of duty."

The blonde had to tamp down a groan of frustration, the temptation to touch soft flesh almost overwhelming. "Really, Janet, it's not a problem," she insisted, amazed as her mouth ran on irregardless of her common sense trying to make it stop. "And besides, you can't risk an infection. That would be bad...a doctor with an infected...well...backside...I mean, how professional is that? If your patients found out, they might be worried about your competence."

Janet had lifted her arm and was again staring at Sam with a funny expression. "I don't think it's that big a deal," she said, only briefly interrupting the insistent tirade.

"I disagree. It could be bad for the SGC...bad for morale and confidence. It's important that the teams going through the gate have absolute confidence that you're there, waiting for them when they get back...that you'll look after them if there are any problems. If they don't have that, they might just decide to stay home. Which I think you'll agree we can't have." Sam straightened her shoulders to give Janet an imperious look. Even she was starting to buy her rant. "So ...roll over while and get out of those jeans while I get the first aid kit."

Janet's brows rose while she stared at her friend as though she'd grown an all new head. Sam was rarely quite so forceful. "Um...okay," she exhaled at last as she watched the blonde exit into the hallway.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Sam rifled through the bathroom cupboard, grabbing what she needed with quick hands. Good Lord, what was she thinking? She leaned her forehead against the cool counter, hoping it would drain away some of the heat suddenly building in her body. What was she thinking? What was she doing? What was she thinking of doing? It was all the fault of that damn article with its talk of feminine power and sensuality. Not to mention the detailed "how to" illustrations that went with it. And why in the hell did one of the models in the drawings have to look so much like her best friend.

Her body shivered in response to the memory, sensations coalescing in several notable spots, making her painfully aware that no one else had ever caused this intensity of response; not her ex-fianc�, Jonas, not Narim, the Tollan with whom she'd briefly flirted, certainly not Jack O'Neill, who never let being her superior officer stop him from panting after her like a dog after a particularly juicy bone. No, none of them had spurred anything like this hot, uncontrollable wanting that she'd been feeling for her best friend for months.

"Stop that," she growled at last, determined not to embarrass Janet by allowing her to see what was going on. Time to put any fantasies back in the very tight lockbox where they belonged. She straightened slowly, grabbing for what she needed. Trembling hands made the effort less than successful and she muttered a curse as she accidentally dropped the peroxide and the plastic bottle split with a noisy thud.

"Sam?" came the muffled call from the bedroom.

Carter glared at the mess. "Just dropped something," she called back. "I'll be a minute or two."

There was a moment's silence, and then Janet called back, "Don't hurry on my account."

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Janet looked up several minutes as her friend reentered her bedroom, quickly tossing aside the magazine she�d passed the extra time by reading. She was lying on her stomach, her destroyed jeans tossed over a chair, a blanket over her hips supplying some small measure of modesty. A very, very small measure of modesty, Sam noted with a combination of glee and discomfort. "Get what you need?" the doctor questioned hoarsely. She didn't roll over.

Sam nodded and started unloading her supplies onto the nightstand. "Mmm, most of it. I kind of spilled the peroxide, so I'm afraid you're stuck with Bactine."

Janet looked over her shoulder, raising a brow as she watched Sam unload an armful of supplies. "Umm, Sam," Janet said at last, "we�re not talking major surgery." She twisted to glance over her shoulder at the injured area hidden by the blanket. "I got a few scratches...not exactly a medical disaster."

"Can�t be too careful with such an important part of your anatomy," the officer, astrophysicist, and sometimes world-saving heroine insisted without thinking, then realized what she�d said and blushed. "I�that is�I mean--" She tried to distract herself from her painfully acute case of hoof in mouth by tugging the blanket aside in order to get to work, but as it turned out, that only made it that much harder to concentrate on anything other that soft curves and pale flesh. Saving the world she could do, chatting companionably while staring at her best friend's naked backside was apparently outside of her limits.

"I understand, Sam," Janet said to put her out of her misery and folded her arms under her chin. "I was just teasing you." She twisted to glance back over her shoulder, eyes frankly assessing as she studied her friend. "You�re jumpier than a cat today. Anything up?"

Sam paled a notch. Nothing much except her blood pressure, hormones, and general horniness. Other than that, everything was absolutely normal. Not that she could give that answer to the doctor. "Up � no� nothing up here � all�s perfectly normal�100 percent normal�why, nothing could possibly be up with me�" she babbled incoherently. "I�m just not the something�s up type � so � why do you ask?" Possibly because you�re acting like a blithering idiot, the semi-rational side of her mind answered before Janet could respond.

The doctor�s brows arched high on her forehead, then she rested her chin on her folded arms once again. "You just seem a little uptight," she said at last. "And since I�m the one lying here bare-assed, it just seems like I ought to be the tense one."

"Sorry," Sam apologized as she tried to find an explanation for her obvious blithering status. "You know me�get a little too much caffeine and I get antsy," she lied at last, well aware that it was a lame excuse at best, but the sight of Janet�s naked backside spread tantalizingly on her bed was doing funny things to both her pulse and cognitive faculties.

That one wasn�t going to fly with Janet. "Um, Sam," she murmured hesitantly. "I'm the one who bounces off the walls when caffeine is present. You're the queen of mellow."

Sam responded by squirting a healthy stream of Bactine on Janet�s scratched buttocks and was saved from the need to comment by the doctor�s wince of pain and soft curses.

"Ow, that stings," Janet growled when she ran out of muttered obscenities.

Sam used a cotton pad to soak up the mix of blood and Bactine that washed over her friend�s skin, incredibly aware of just how close she was to touching soft, pale flesh. Mentally chiding herself to concentrate on what she was doing, she squirted a fresh layer of the antiseptic, trying not to notice the way well-toned muscles tensed and flexed as the doctor grunted with pain. Sam swallowed hard, trying not to think about what her friend might say if she knew about the thoughts that popped into her mind. Janet would probably be up and right out of the house--clothes or no clothes--if she had any idea that Sam was suddenly wondering what it would be like to lean over and press her lips to the nasty scrapes. Kiss and make it better, and all that. The blonde shook herself sharply. Thoughts like that would not do. It was all the fault of that stupid article--she told herself firmly--the article and its damned checklist with questions that any two people who'd just bumped into each other at the mall could probably score 70% on. It was just those outside influences setting off all of these thoughts in her brain. She didn�t realize she�d slipped off into her own little world until Janet�s voice suddenly broke into her musings.

"Sam, you almost done back there?"

"Sorry," Sam said as she snapped straight. "Just giving the disinfectant a moment to dry."

"Uh huh," the doctor exhaled, though she didn't sound entirely convinced. "I think you just like having me like this," she grumbled.

Sam gulped, wondering if Janet had taken up mind reading. "I...um...that is..." she blathered, panic rendering her completely incoherent.

"This is just payback for all the times I've had you on the examining table."

With her penchant for getting hurt, Sam had spent a lot of time in the infirmary, often half naked--sometimes completely naked--and usually being looked after by the woman lying half naked on her bed...which suddenly left her to wonder if maybe there was some subconscious influence getting her hurt so the doctor would have to look after her. Boy, wouldn't that be a kicker. If somebody who didn't carbonate her hormones became CMO, would she suddenly spend a lot less time getting hurt? And considering the rest of the team's penchant for becoming afflicted with unique and bizarre medical conditions, did that mean that a gang bang with the doctor as the centerpiece was the only way to satisfy everyone's cravings? Sam shuddered with horror at the notion. No, that wouldn't do at all. Nope, nu-uh.

"Uh...Sam?" Janet interrupted her friend's silent musings.

"Um...right...payback," Sam exhaled, relieved to realize that Janet hadn't been mind-reading. Relieved, and maybe just a little disappointed. After all, if Janet read her mind and was interested, then she could make the first move. Sam wasn't a big first move type, and, if there was going to be a first move, it would be way easier if Janet would do the honors. If she was stuck with the job, it wasn't like to get done. First moving was just not her thing, nope, not at all. "Just getting you back for all those times you had me naked on an examining table," she began before she could call the words back only to realize exactly how what she'd said could misinterpreted when Janet looked over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow. Thought suddenly became a near impossibility for Sam, leaving her stammering and struggling to come up with a coherent comment. "I...uh...er...that is...I'm just sorry you were hurt," she finally managed to blurt out.

"And on that note," Janet began and started to push up on her hands. "Since I'm guessing the Bactine is all dry now, I should be--"

"No!" Sam snapped and Janet froze, peering quizzically over her shoulder at her friend. "I mean, that is...the antibiotic cream," she said suddenly and held up a tube of Neosporin. "I haven't put on any antibiotic cream."

Janet blinked. "Sam, it's just a few scratches."

"It's still important to make sure there's no infection," Sam insisted, pressing her hand flat in the middle of Janet's lower back. "Now, lie back down," she ordered as she straightened her shoulders and summoned her best command voice.

Letting out a soft, resigned sigh, Janet lay back down. "Sheez, what are you doing, practicing to take over command when General Hammond retires?" she muttered, but closed her eyes, relaxing as she waited.

Sam swallowed hard as she eyed the doctor's perfect backside. Good Lord, what had she just gotten herself into? There was no way she was going to be able to remain calm, distant, and steady handed while touching one of the more personal zones on her friend's body. A distressingly rounded and perfect, personal zone, she thought, momentarily captivated by the sight. She turned her gaze to the Neosporin as though it was somehow at fault.

"Well," Janet broke into her silent musings, "if you're going to put that stuff on, just go ahead and do it."

"Right," Sam exhaled. "Just do it." She squirted a healthy dollop of the thick oily unguent onto her fingers, then--ower lip caught between her teeth--she began carefully smoothing it onto soft skin in slow, circular strokes, muscles clenched to keep her hand from trembling. She felt the slight quiver of taut muscles under her hand and looked up, noting that Janet appeared to be completely relaxed. She added more of the thick antibiotic, massaging that in as well, then moved on to another set of injuries, taking her time as she worked, enjoying the feel of touching bare skin more than she could have thought possible.

"That's the kind with pain killer, isn't it?" Janet mused out loud, continuing before Sam could answer. "The scratches stung more than I realized...feels good," she sighed sleepily so Sam just kept working the cream into her friend's skin.

Long minutes passed while Sam smoothed and massaged. Finally, she slid her fingers lower on the doctor's upper thighs, stroking the cream into the faint reddish bruises that marred her skin, fingers sliding toward her inner thighs.

Janet tensed ever so slightly. "Uh...Sam..." she croaked. "I don't think that's what got hurt."

Sam, who was busy enjoying the sights and feels of soft flesh, turned bright pink, but insisted, "There are bruises."

Muscles rippled across Janet's back as she pushed up on her hands. "I should be going now," she groaned.

"But, Janet�" Sam began only to be cut off.

"Really, Sam," Janet insisted without looking back at her. "I should be going." She hit her feet by the side of the bed, her back still to Sam, and started toward the door.

"Janet!" Sam gasped.

The doctor spun back, demanding shakily. "What? I told you, I need to be going."

Sam's brows rose high on her forehead as she resolutely tried to keep from looking at what she desperately wanted to be looking at. "You're...uh...you're half naked." Really, there wasn't any gentler way of putting it.

Janet looked down as she realized she was naked from the waist down. Rattled, she was definitely rattled. "Oh...yeah..." she exhaled as though struck. She'd somehow completely forgotten her complete and total utter lack of pants. Oh, so very, incredibly rattled. Rattled beyond belief. She grabbed for the discarded pink skirt, no longer caring how it clashed with her complexion, only to freeze mid-movement as she became aware of the eyes watching her closely. A beat passed, then her chin rose, and she met Sam's eyes with a faintly dazed expression. "Maybe the accident shook me a little more than I thought," she admitted a little dazedly.

Sam was still sitting on the edge of the bed and, as she stared at her friend, something struck her. She wasn't the only one who was flushed and sweating. She glanced over, suddenly noting the magazine that Janet had set aside when she returned from the bathroom. It was the infamous issue of Metropolitan. She glanced back just in time to note that Janet's gaze had followed her own and the doctor was now blushing furiously. "Janet?" Sam heard her own voice croak uncertainly, "wh-what were you reading?"

"It doesn't matter, Sam." Enjoying a tiny bit of harmless flirtation and the equivalent of a massage was one thing, but this was rapidly threatening to become quite another. The bolt of pure pleasure that radiated outward from Sam's fingers when they'd threatened to draw too close to too many erogenous zones proved that much. This was getting dangerous--very, very dangerous--and that blasted article she'd run across wasn't helping any. Sheez, why couldn't it have fallen open to some other page?

Sam blinked, eyes drawn to the soft hair at the junction of Janet's thighs. Was she imaging things, or was there a hint of glossiness there, a touch of moisture gleaming? Janet suddenly realized where Sam was looking and clutched the skirt in front of herself. Denied that image, Sam's gaze slid sideways, taking in the rounded sweep of slim hips. She tensed as she noted another scratch. It was tiny, but there was a thin crust of dried blood. She moistened her suddenly dry lips. "Th-that should be treated," she exhaled through a sudden tightness in her throat as she gestured toward the tiny injury.

The doctor swallowed hard. "It'll be fine," she groaned. She should not, not, not be thinking the things she was thinking. Not even a little bit.

"Janet," Sam croaked as sharply as she could. "It really should be treated."

The doctor's eyes were wide and she could barely breathe. Despite her intentions to pull on the skirt and run, she took the two steps to stand near where her friend sat on the edge of the bed, muscles clenching as she watched Sam's hand rise, then felt the first sharp sting of the antiseptic spray where it touched her skin. She inhaled sharply, eyes snapping shut as she a bolt of pure heat slide through her veins. How was it possible that something that hurt could feel so damn good? She had to bite back on a low moan.

"Can't have an infection setting in," Sam continued, her voice tight with the effort required to speak. She daubed more of the antibiotic cream onto her fingers, then reached up, slowly brushing it over the tiny wound, rubbing it into silky flesh while Janet stood on shaky feet, her breathing coming in ragged gasps.

"Sam," she groaned at last, "what are you...I mean...what's going...that is...what's happening here?" Sam had nothing on Janet when it came to babble mode.

Her fingers still moving in slow, circular strokes, Sam looked up, grey-blue eyes luminous. "What were you reading when I came in?" she whispered, surprised to feel an odd sort of calm descend on her that was oddly reminiscent of several instances she'd had where she just knew she was going to die. Except this somehow felt more important.

It was definitely Janet's turn to feel like a blithering idiot as she stared at her friend uncertainly. "I...uh...nothing really...just some article in that...uh...magazine." She gestured loosely toward the discarded, dogeared copy of Metropolitan. "It was...it was just...um...some silly thing. Can't hardly even remember what it might have been now."

Sam blinked, thinking that Janet babbling was possibly the cutest, most appealing thing she'd ever seen in her life. "Did it have illustrations?" she whispered, fingers still moving in that easy, hypnotic rhythm.

Janet gasped softly, mouth working momentarily. Her brain wasn't firing on all thrusters or she'd have tried to deny the obvious. That idea didn't occur to her until several beats after the words left her mouth. "If you're doing this because of that...that article...." She dragged air into her lungs, wavering ever so slightly on her feet, her words coming in broken syllables. "I...I mean it was interesting...and we score pretty high on that test of theirs, but--"

"I'm not," Sam whispered as she pushed to her feet, her hand still at Janet's hip, gently rubbing the cream into her skin. "It's because..." she began smoothly, then faltered, uncertain what to say. The article had included all sorts of helpful advice that was supposedly applicable to the situation, but those things were always more or less useless when it came to real life...and it wasn't like she'd ever done anything like that before. Okay, so she'd fantasized about it--a lot--but it had always gone so much more smoothly in her imaginings. Reality was...well...all too real. "Because..." she tried again, and failed again.

Janet rested her hands on Sam's chest, the move intended to press her back, though it only served to accelerate her pulse and make them both aware of how easy it would be to start touching and not stop. It suddenly occurred to Sam that maybe the temptation she'd been feeling for quite some time wasn't nearly as one-sided as she'd thought.

"I really should go," the doctor whispered softly, fighting the temptation that came with the sudden bolt of awareness arcing between them. She started to pull away only to come up short as Sam's free hand landed on one of hers, those long, slender fingers curving around her palm and keeping her hand right where it was. Janet swallowed hard, heat sliding over her skin, radiating outward from that innocent point of contact.

"Don't," Sam said very softly, the words more plea than command.

"Why not?" Janet whispered, the instinct to leap on Sam and the instinct to flee canceling each other out, and leaving her standing there, absolutely paralyzed.

Sam froze like a deer in the headlights. Now there was the sixty-five-thousand dollar question. She swallowed hard, trying to remember some of the suggestions the magazine article had made about oh-so-smooth lines a woman could use to ease things along and seduce her best friend. Unfortunately, her brain had apparently decided to check out and vacation in Cancun for the weekend because it was blank. Her brilliant, straight-A+-grade-earning, PhD'd, alien-science-comprehending mind was utterly and completely blank. God, wouldn't Colonel O'Neill get a kick out of that? On second thought, considering the way he mooned after her, maybe not.

"Sam?" the gentle prompt was like an electric shock from the defibrillator paddles, jumpstarting Sam's brain instead of her heart.

Swallowing hard, she screwed up her courage and decided to ditch the smooth move lines and go with an honest course. If nothing else, it didn't take too much rehearsal. And besides, it was pretty much all she had at that point. "It's not about the article," she began again, concentrating on Janet's eyes as she tried to find the words. "It's because of you...because I...I've been thinking about you...about being with you...." She trailed off, the blood rushing away from her brain at such a rate that it was hard to think. She continued stroking the softness of Janet's hip, the awareness of velvety flesh under her fingertips sending sharp pulses of electricity through her nerve endings. She tried again to finish her sentence. "...about being with you...intimately," she admitted on a nervous, stammering gasp and saw Janet's pupils expand, turning her eyes from brown to black as her breath caught. And then, suddenly, the import of what she'd just said sank in, and she spun away, completely panicked and on the verge of bolting. Oh god, oh god, oh god! Had she just said what she thought she'd said? She checked her short term memory, found she had, and seriously considered finding a convenient hole and diving in. Barring that possibility, maybe there was an alien world she could gate to and maybe stay there until hell froze over so she didn't have to face her friend after she'd behaved like such a complete and utter boob. She would have fled, but a strong hand caught her shoulder, pulling her back around.

"Sam?" Janet said very softly, searching Sam's face with dark eyes that seemed to see through to her soul. The hand on Sam's should was trembling, the blond abruptly realized, trembling and clinging, pulling her closer one moment, then pushing her back the next, but never letting go. "Tell me," Janet whispered, her voice dropping low, reverberating like a throaty purr--soft, but commanding.

Completely hypnotized, Sam found herself admitting something she wouldn't have thought possible. "I looked at that article again and again...thinking about you every time...." One hand dropped back down the curve of Janet's hip where her thigh fit into her pelvis, her thumb brushing the tiny wound, finding Janet's flesh still faintly cool; an aftereffect of evaporating alcohol. "...about making love to you... touching you like the women in those drawings."

Dark eyes slid closed, and when they opened again, they were heavy lidded and only half open. Bedroom eyes. "Is that what you really want?" Janet groaned low in her throat. The knowledge that her friend desired her had an aphrodisiac effect that made the claims made by tackily named products advertised in the back of low-rent men's magazines seem paltry by comparison. She'd fantasized about it, even toyed with taking it a step farther while flirting with Sam, but never allowed herself to seriously contemplate the possibility.

Janet's gaze grabbed, captured, commanded, not allowing Sam to lie, no matter how much she should have. "More than I would have thought possible." There was a soft rustle of fabric falling to the floor as Janet released her tight hold on the atrocious pink skirt she'd been clinging to like a shield. The blonde trembled like a wild animal caught in a trap when a hand covered her own, silently answering the unasked question by guiding it to one side until soft curls brushed her fingertips. A tiny whimper escaped Sam's lips, her skin suddenly glossy with perspiration. Moist heat burned her fingers, searing her flesh and her mind at the same time. "Janet?" she gasped, finding it hard to breathe, the single word a plea for permission.

Janet froze for just a moment, suddenly aware of the crossroads in front of her. They could still back away. It would be hard--and doubtless more than a little uncomfortable the next day--but it was doable. She searched Sam's face, seeing the lust, the friendship, adoration, hunger. And more than that. Love. They'd been through so much...shared so much...creating a relationship that existed at so many levels. Suddenly, she saw this as just one more layer, not even the deepest or most serious, but a part of it all. "Yes," she whispered very softly, the fingers resting on Sam's pressing lightly, guiding her to deepen the caress.

The sensation so intense, it was like touching her own flesh, Sam followed the gentle urging, taking courage from her friend's throaty groan of pleasure as she explored this new, alien landscape.

Janet couldn't think straight, couldn't see straight, and couldn't even begin to summon the words to tell Sam what she was feeling. It had been too long since anyone had touched her and she was already aroused from the combinations of the massage and her own fanciful imagination, spurred on by the magazine article and that damn checklist. Long slender fingers stroked the length of soft folds, then came back, finding the swollen, throbbing center of her pleasure. Sam wanted it. She wanted it. If there were reasons for backing off, she couldn't remember what they might be. She slid her other hand up Sam's chest, stroking lightly before curving her fingers to the back of her neck and tugging her head down. Their lips met, the kiss warm and slow, lips moving together and stroking even as fingers continued their careful exploration.

When the heady kiss finally broke, they were both breathing hard and flushed. "Whatever you do," Janet groaned and tipped her head forward, leaning against the support of Sam's shoulder, "don't stop."

"I couldn't if I wanted to," Sam admitted as it occurred to her that a photographic memory can be a handy thing indeed, especially when it's used to memorize all of the pertinent details of the female anatomy and how to pleasure it. The images still firmly in her mind, Sam rubbed her fingers round and round the taut bundle of nerves she found swollen and throbbing within soft folds of flesh, memorizing how each stroke made her friend quiver and tremble.

A moment passed, then Janet looked up, her eyes glazed, cheeks flushed. "As good as this feels," she panted, "it's nowhere near enough."

Sam nodded jerkily, reaching for her friend's shirt at the same time that Janet did. Between them, they peeled, then Sam tossed it aside, not caring where it fell, her attention completely focused on newly revealed flesh. Reaching out, she stroked the pale velvet just above the edge of Janet's bra, then let her fingers come to a rest over her left side, silently absorbing the unsteady thud of her best friend's heart. She kissed Janet again, offering herself, and accepting the counter-offer. Her mouth still absorbed in the silky, oral caresses, she trailed her hand down into the valley between firm breasts, stroking lightly, then easing a finger under the simple front clasp. It popped open easily, then the blonde brushed the silky fabric aside to touch velvety flesh. She tasted a low grown as her thumb and forefinger found a swollen nipple, rolling it very lightly. "Feel good?" she groaned through the kiss, needing to be certain she was doing it right.

"Mmm, incredibly good," the doctor confirmed. She shrugged out of her bra and flung it aside, then slid her hands back up and around Sam's neck. "But we need to do something about...how...overdressed...you...are...."

Sam nodded unsteadily, amazed to find herself eager to be utterly and completely naked with someone else--possibly for the first time in her life. Normally, being out of her clothes for much of any reason, including showering, was not really her thing...and positively uncomfortable when it came to the whole concept of nudity and others. Not that she hadn't managed it before. After all, she was no virgin and such things generally require a certain level of unclothed participation, but it had always been an uncomfortable, hope-this-makes-you-happy sort of thing, not something she eagerly sought out. Maybe it was the fact that Janet had already seen everything there was to see--and then some--or maybe it was just the fact that it was Janet, but suddenly she was definitely seeking...and more than eagerly. When Janet's hands found the front of her blouse, she was there to help, not caring when buttons popped and flew. Hell, she could build a nuclear reactor with her eyes closed, sewing on a couple of new buttons was no big deal. The new zipper placket on her jeans was going to be little trickier, but she could learn. And besides, she had other jeans.

As trembling hands fought with buttons and zippers that suddenly decided to pick today of all days to get stubborn, Janet slid a hand up and around the back of Sam's neck, tugging her head down, then lips were meeting, kissing, breathing growing heavy as their lips moved together, parting for tongues to brush and tangle. Like high school kids in the back of a '67 Chevy, there was nothing particularly graceful about it--that could come later when hormones were calmer and brains working more effectively--and when they finally hit the bed again, they truly hit it, unbalancing each other in their haste to be rid of the offending clothes. Landing in an ungainly sprawl of tangled limbs, Sam whoofed noisily as Janet's elbow collided with her midsection, then rolled with the momentum, not caring about lost breath or sore solar plexuses as she regained the press of soft lips and ground into the body suddenly lying beneath her own. It was a less than pleasant shock, as a result, to suddenly find herself shoved back as the doctor's yelp rang in her ears.

"Wha'?" the blonde groaned dazedly as Janet rolled onto her knees at her side.

The smaller woman flinched, then gestured somewhat embarrassedly to her bare, and somewhat worse for the wear, backside. "Bad time for friction on certain parts of the anatomy," she gasped and reached back, rubbing lightly. "That really stings. I...uh...think I'm gonna have to be on top for this little escapade."

A lazy grin curved Sam's mouth as she contemplated that idea. She looked up at her friend, noting the faint flush that pinked her skin. "I can live with that," she admitted, then glanced down, suddenly wondering what Janet saw in her. She saw a body, long, fairly slender, good muscle tone, but not as tan as she would have liked--the unfortunate side effect of spending large amounts of her time underground or in a uniform that left only her hands and face--at most--bare. Her jeans, she noted in an oddly objective aside were completely missing, though her underwear were still more or less in the proper place, while her blouse dangled from one wrist by a neatly buttoned cuff. Her bra, while technically still on, was unlikely to be supporting much of anything in that position, and made it hard to tell much about her chest. She felt a sudden resurgence of the old uncertainty about the whole nudity and others concept as it occurred to her that she wasn't looking at anything she considered all that impressive, and she really wished she knew what the hell Janet would consider impressive, because maybe then she could invent some damn machine that would make her look like that. She wasn't prepared for the gentle finger that tucked under her chin to draw her head up.

"You're beautiful," Janet said softly as if she'd read Sam's mind. Then reading Sam's mind became an practical impossibility because thought also became an practical impossibility as Janet's fingers trailed down her throat from her chin, just barely dusting over her upper chest. Janet easily popped the front catch on her disarrayed bra before brushing it aside and spiraling a finger around her left breast, each circle taking her closer to the swollen, coral tip.

A sharp groan escaped the blonde's lips and a hard shudder rattled her lean frame as it occurred to her to wonder if it was possible to have an orgasm without even having one or two very key body parts making strategic contact. She very nearly got an answer to the unasked question when Janet's fingertip ended the swirling journey with a final flourish, her fingernail scraping across puckered flesh and sending hard jolts of electricity through the woman lying sprawled on the bed. Very nearly, but not quite, so close in fact that she could barely think straight, but still a tiny tick short of the trick. Sam shook her head slowly, amazed by her body's sudden bout of total thermonuclear responsiveness. Good lord, had that capacity been there all along, and if so, why in the hell hadn't she discovered it before?

As if in answer to the question, the hand that had been stroking her breast dropped lower, exploring a wandering path that followed the line of her ribs, then outlined the faint indication of taut stomach muscles. Blue eyes locked with brown as the truth became obvious. She hadn't discovered it because it hadn't been this woman touching her. Really, it was pretty simple if you just looked at it the right way. The right way being lost in dark brown eyes, and well aware of perfectly proportioned, lightly tanned curves. Oh yeah, that was definitely the right way for such things. Without planning to, Sam reached out, her hand turning palm inward as she brushed her knuckles against the butter soft skin between full breasts, then rolling palm outward as her fingers found the outer curve and her thumb toyed with a swollen nipple. She knew she was doing it right by the way the hand on her belly trembled, and Janet's eyes slid closed as her head fell forward.

"Oh, Sam." Janet's voice shook with emotion and her hand spread, resting lightly on Sam's stomach. Suddenly, they both became perfectly still, the softly uttered words somehow paralyzing them with the importance of what was happening...not the melding of flesh and body fluids on the brink of happening, but the reality that they'd managed to overlook, avoid, and generally blinder themselves to for so long. This wasn't new, it wasn't about a magazine article, and it wasn't just about sex. The strange thing was that even though the discovery should have been a passion killer--after all, the Air Force wasn't likely to appreciate any reasons for the kind of fraternizing they were contemplating--all it did was make two hearts pound that much harder.

When she could move again, Sam dropped her hand to Janet's hip, stroking lightly and tugging her closer, then sliding up her side, and curving around to rest on her lower back, within reach, but well above any bruising. The tug that followed was light, just enough to urge the kneeling woman down. "You said something about needing to be on top," Sam teased as Janet settled in above her. Full lips tipped up in the most amazing grin Sam had ever seen in her life; sweet, sexy, sensual, seductive...and where had this sudden passion for alliteration come from, she wondered.

Janet leaned down, the grin falling away in favor of a slow-motion, waterfall of a kiss that started with delicate brushes outlining Sam's mouth and ended with their lips all but superglued together, tongues stroking and fondling, mouths moving in hungry syncopation.

Oh yeah, that was it. The woman stretched out above her was definitely inspiring some seriously intensely, emotional--even poetic--types of things. Sam slid a hand up, fingers working into thick auburn hair as she cupped the back of Janet's head.

The kisses went on for long minutes along, creating a gentle, slow motion wave action as they moved together, bodies rising and falling together in small, instinctive thrusts. The gentle movements drove them both impossibly close to orgasm, but neither player was eager to have things end so quickly, and they instinctively slowed things when it got too intense. Finally, Janet pushed up on her hands, grinning down at Sam, her eyes glittering as though lit from behind. A tiny pelvic thrust brought a sharp gasp from the taller woman, while the doctor's dark gaze slid over her body like a palpable caress, pausing for an extra moment when it landed on her left hand. Sam's wrist was still caught in the cuff of her blouse, though she'd managed to work her fingers out through the split below the cuff. "That's unique," Janet drawled, one eyebrow tilting upward in a knowing expression.

Sam looked down, an embarrassed flush sliding over her skin. "I...uh...it got stuck," she said by way of explanation. "Didn't seem important at the time," she added a little pathetically.

"Mmm, I see that." A soft laugh bubbling up from her lips, Janet leaned down, kissing soft lips while agile fingers made short work of the stubborn button, quickly freeing Sam's trapped hand. "See...you're not the only one who can rescue the damsel in distress," she murmured when their lips parted. She pushed back up on her hands, teasing smile on her lips as she settled her hips more firmly against Sam's in a slow, grinding thrust. "But there's still that overdressed thing going on," she noted, the blonde's underwear still a final barrier between intimate flesh. She plucked the shoulderstrap on the bra hanging loose from slender shoulders.. "And there are one or two cleanup matters left," she added through a grin.

Sam could only nod breathlessly, moving along with the gentle hands that tugged at the unlatched bra to pull it free, then slid down the smooth plane of her belly, stroking lightly.

"You have the softest skin," Janet mused out loud, the sensory reality of velvety flesh like fire under her fingertips. She nibbled her way along the curve of Sam's jaw, nipping and tasting, the delicate vibration of Sam's answering purr only encouraging her to more intense caresses.

"Oh God," Sam whimpered, knees turning to jelly as Janet eased graceful fingers inside her underwear, stroking lightly, almost but not quite touching where Sam wanted them most. "You...uh...you know what you're doing?" she gasped, the words half a statement, half a question.

A dark russet brows rose in thoughtful consideration, elfin features momentarily looking less confident. "Ahm...just guessing mostly," Janet admitted breathlessly. "You?"

Sam shook her head. "Not even a little." A worried frown creased her forehead. "Actually, I've been celibate so long, I'm not sure I'd even know what to do with a man.... and I have some experience there." She was suddenly painfully aware of the pressures that went with the sort of intimacy they were contemplating, not the least of them the pressure to make sure her partner had the most incredible, fantastic, body-warping, toe-curling, mind-blowing sexual experience of her life. Nothing in that to make a body crawl into a corner and start sucking her thumb. Sam whimpered softly...but not the good way this time. "I...uh...I have no idea what I'm doing," she admitted in a burst of honesty that she would just as soon have avoided. Cheekbones flushed with embarrassment, she barely resisted the urge to hide her face in her hands. "I don't...I mean I've never...." She shook her head pathetically, waiting for Janet to have a good laugh at her expense. "I'm not sure how good at this I was even...before...with--"

"Sam," Janet interrupted, her tone tender and not the least bit inclined toward humor, "I'm not likely to complain because you don't have a long list of lovers...and you certainly needn't feel you have to regale me with your romantic accounts." She leaned down again, her mouth moving against Sam's stroking softly, drawing her into the kiss until she could barely think...straight or otherwise. "I like your innocence," she breathed when their lips parted, searching Sam's face as though she could read her mind. "I always have." Another soft kiss lasted only a moment. "And I don't mean sexual innocence." Another soft, sweet kiss. "I mean everything." Sam moaned into the meeting of their lips this time, her body surging to meet Janet's fingers as they just barely began moving again, running lightly along the edge of silky curls. "We'll be okay," she breathed when the kiss broke, "figure things out together." Then Janet pressed her fingers deeper, fondling silky flesh, sliding her fingers everywhere and coating them in slick moisture, drinking in Sam's answering gasp for the confirmation it was.

Slim hips rose to meet the uncertain caresses, Sam's whole body shuddering with arousal more intense than she'd even known was possible. She'd had entire nights of supposed passion that weren't even half as good as those first moments of slightly fumbling contact. She tightened her grip on dark hair, hips rising and falling, their rhythm controlled by lightly applied, stroking pressure.

"Besides," the doctor continued, her voice growing steadily more breathless, the sensory overload of seeing, feeling, and hearing Sam's pleasure close to short circuiting her brain, "we've got all those lovely drawings to use as for ideas." A puckish grin twisted upswept lips as she leaned down, her breath teasing Sam's ear as her voice dropped to a whisper. "I rather liked the look of 2-B." She nipped a soft earlobe just hard enough to get her attention. "All sweet and sexy...lotsa...contact...." She found a sensitive cord in Sam's throat, layering it in soft, sucking kisses, her warm breath playing over damp skin, cooling and heating at the same time. "...some serious action between a few very key body parts...." Her fingers slipped in their slick confines, drawing a sharp, mindless whimper. "...and I think we can work up a bit of friction...."

"Oh yeah," Sam groaned, arching into Janet's body while her newly blouse-free hand spread against her back. "But...um...." She turned bright pink with embarrassment. She tugged Janet's head down to whisper in her ear as though they might be overheard. "I kind of preferred 6-E."

Russet brows rose in silent question as Janet absorbed that particular confession. Fighting the urge to hide her face, feeling as though she might just spontaneously combust, Sam nodded. The doctor paused, her expression momentarily thoughtful, then offered a wry look. "I would have guessed you were more vanilla than that," she admitted, surprised to find herself more than a little breathless at the idea. Another moment of silence followed, then she leaned down nipping Sam's ear again--the tiny bite sending a hard shudder through the woman beneath her--before sliding along the curve of her jaw and up her chin until she reached welcoming lips. A long, slow kiss followed, the timing of it matched to the gentle exploration of Janet's fingers. When their lips finally parted, the doctor pulled back ever so slightly, staring down into sapphire eyes. "So, what exactly were you thinking vis a vis 6-E?" she whispered, the look in her eyes doing evil things to Sam's blood pressure.

Sam's hand spread wider against Janet's back, fingers pressing into firm muscle. Completely captivated by the other woman's expression, she couldn't think to speak for a long moment. Finally, she swallowed hard, finding her voice to answer, "Well, since you're already stuck being on top for the moment...."

Janet grinned, leaning down, her teeth just barely brushing the point of Sam's chin before she whispered, "Y'know, I was kind of hoping you'd say that." The soft ripping sound Sam's underwear made as it tore sent a hard shudder through the blonde, and she gasped softly a moment later when Janet pitched the silky fabric aside with a careless gesture. "Because damned if I don't like the idea of ravishing the hell out of you." And then that hand was on Sam's chest, stroking softly, damp fingers gliding easily as they painted ever changing, erotic patterns while making their way higher. "Hands over your head," Janet said very softly, her voice throbbing with a note of command that nearly sparked an orgasm in Sam right then and there, "because, for once, I get to be the badass around here."

A tiny, nervous giggle escaped Sam's lips as she quickly complied, though she couldn't contain a teasing retort. "You're badass in the infirmary all the time." She curled her fingers into the sheets, clinging tightly when Janet's expression turned curious, her eyes heavy lidded with sensuality as she considered that statement.

"Sooo," the doctor drawled at last. She trailed her fingers very lightly down one of Sam's outstretched arms, following the line of bone and sinew, outlining the muscles that ran from wrist to elbow, then the graceful arch of knotted biceps and triceps, and finally winding up the journey by tickling under her arm where arm, shoulder, and chest muscles all converged. Her eyes gleamed wickedly. "Do you like my badass presence in the infirmary?"

Swallowing hard, Sam nodded, her eyes huge, Wedgewood blue saucers.

Janet liked that look almost as much as she liked the other woman's confession. Leaning down, she kissed her, the meeting of their lips a long, slow caress that left them both breathless with lust. "How much?" she whispered near Sam's ear, then nipped the curve of her jaw just hard enough to draw a soft groan. She rested a hand lightly on Sam's stomach, her fingers still cool from evaporating moisture--the knowledge that that moisture had come from her own body enough to make Sam whimper as muscles she'd nearly forgotten she had clamped down with unbelievable force.

"A lot," she gasped, back to blushing as she remembered the countless times she'd found herself fantasizing about the other woman at the worst times.

Like when she found herself leaking large amounts of blood, fading fast due to bizarre alien devices, or just feeling slightly faint because she really wasn't all that crazy about needles. And then she'd found herself staring into velvet brown eyes, incredibly aware of gentle hands and a soothing voice, and....

Well, at least it helped pass the time while waiting to find out if she was going to live or die.

One russet brow arched neatly in a wry expression. "Not a very specific answer from someone with your list of scientific credentials," the doctor observed, absorbing the tremors that made their way through Sam as she let her hand wander downward from the taller woman's stomach.

"Scientific?" Sam croaked, her voice trailing off into a plaintive moan as those talented fingers slowly combed through damp curls. "I...uh...um...." Normally scientific was her default mode, allowing her to study, quantify, and qualify things those most people would have found unimaginable. Right at that moment, if asked what the word cubed meant, she might just have responded that it had something to do with preparing a cheese tray for a big party, or possibly something to do with cheap, build-it-yourself bookshelves. Really, she wasn't all that sure, and suddenly it hardly seemed important in the greater scheme of things.

"How much?" Janet asked again, her fingers still wandering amiably, every touch setting off flashfires of need that effectively short-circuited Samantha Carter's oh-so-brilliant and coherent thought processes.

Genius was over-rated anyhow.

A single finger teased its way to the tiny bundle of nerves just begging for attention, and Sam reacted as though she'd been hit with a joy buzzer to...well...a very sensitive spot, thrusting slim hips in search of more contact only to have it denied at the last possible moment.

"How much?" Janet demanded again, her voice rough and wanton this time.

"A whole...whole...lot..." Sam croaked, hoping that would satisfy the other woman's craving for an answer because she had a few cravings of her own she wanted satisfied. No, scratch that. Not wanted--needed. "Squared, cubed, googled...something like that...I dunno." Her eyes rolled back in her head, and then she uttered words she would have sworn would never leave her mouth. "Don't really seem to have the...the numbers to...to express it...a' th' m'ment."

Apparently, that was good enough because Janet laughed very softly, the husky sound sending tiny shivers up and down Sam's spine. "Sam Carter at a loss for a mathematical formula," she breathed, then began layering fluttery kisses along the line of her lover's collarbone. "Will wonders never cease?"

Sam lost herself in the sweet sensations for a long moment, totally surrendering to the experience. Finally, Janet pushed up on one hand, peering down at flushed features, an adoring smile curving her lips, dark eyes reflecting Sam's image back to her. "You're so beautiful," the doctor whispered after a beat, and for the first time in her life, Sam truly felt that way when looking into a lover's eyes.

Another beat passed, the enormity of it all washing over both of them. "So, are we really doing this?" Sam whispered at last.

Janet's smile went from sweet to wickedly suggestive in a blink. "6-E?" she teased. "Oh yeah."

"No, I mean," Sam found Janet's hand, twining their fingers together, "this...us...everything?"

And then the doctor's smile magically went back to sweet. She kissed Sam very softly, then pushed up once again. "Yeah...we are...." She took the time to search blue eyes for a long moment. The kiss that followed was a silent oath, a promise of the most serious and heartfelt kind. And when they parted, their eyes held, only deepening the unspoken vow that lay between them. "This...us...everything," Janet confirmed at last. A beat passed and then that magic transformation of her smile happened again, taking it from poignantly loving to sexy and inviting. "Starting with 6-E." More transformation turned sexy and inviting into wickedly sensual. "And, with luck...never finishing."

Sam nodded unsteadily, then found herself too awash in sensual pleasure to do much of anything but beg and cling.

By the time 2-B rolled around, a measure of satisfaction had jumpstarted enough of her mental faculties to make some measure of planning and thought possible. Or maybe it was beginner's luck. Either way she took a certain egotistical pleasure in the way Janet's toes curled as soft, begging entreaties fell from her lips.

After that, they took a breather. As well as a shower. Where they discovered that 3-A thru 3-C were ideally suited for those environs.

Other numbers and letters followed, leaving them both washed out and sweaty. Which required another shower--as well as a test drive of 8-D.

So many numbers and letters, so little time.

Hours later, Sam lay sprawled on her back in bed, her breathing still ragged, hair and skin faintly damp with sweat, Janet ensconced comfortably in her arms, lying on her back with her head pillowed on Sam's chest. "Oh...my...god," the blonde groaned in a tone of disbelief.

Janet's only response was a soft snicker. She didn't have the energy for more than that.

Sam combed her fingers through auburn silk, thinking they probably needed another shower, but nowhere near capable of suggesting it, since it would have involved movement. And she wasn't sure she could have moved if her life depended on it. Actually, she wasn't sure she was ever going to be moving again. "When you mentioned never finishing," she exhaled heavily, "I didn't think you meant it literally."

The snicker turned to a chuckle and Janet reached down, scraping her fingernails lightly over the top of Sam's thigh. "Puh-lease," she teased, "we haven't even gotten to 12-A yet."

A soft groan escaped Sam's lips, while an erotic shiver still managed to work its way down her spine. She'd just had more sex in a relatively few hours than she'd had in the last several years--and by far better sex than all of her adult experiences added together--and she was still capable of becoming aroused. For the first time in her entire life she actually felt like she got it; why people were willing to lie, cheat, beg, borrow, steal, and even kill for sex. She'd never before understood why anyone would be so desperate for the clumsy, uncomfortable groping that had made up her previous sexual exploits. She'd always found far more pleasure in the elegance of math and science, and far more appeal in the mind expanding theories she found in astrophysics. Not this time. For the first time in her life, she felt completely comfortable in her own skin while lying naked with a lover, and totally at ease with the pleasure they'd found in each other's arms. She pressed a soft kiss to the side of Janet's head. "You're trying to kill me, aren't you?" she sighed at last.

Janet snickered again. "Mmhmmm, well, at least you'll go with a smile."

Sam grinned, ruffling the hair under her hand in an affectionate gesture. "Plastered on," she confirmed, then laughed softly. "God, why didn't somebody tell me sex could be this much fun?"

Janet rolled onto her stomach, legs kicking idly in the air as she draped herself across Sam's midsection. She folded her arms together to make a platform for her chin. "That's what you get for not reading your memos more reliably," she joked.

A faint smile touched Sam's mouth as she reached down to ruffle her lover's hair. "Seriously," she said very softly, her eyes a wellspring to her soul, "it was never like this before...and I don't just mean physically." She rubbed the pad of her thumb along the arch of Janet's cheekbone. "I never felt comfortable before." Janet turned her head, pressing soft kisses onto exploring fingertips, then catching a single digit between her teeth in a tiny nip. A tiny shudder making her voice unsteady, Sam continued, "never felt like I knew what I was doing...or that I really wanted to be there." She sighed softly, wondering just how pathetic she sounded with that particular confession.

Janet sighed softly, brown eyes sweeping up to lock with blue. "It's all about the company, Sam," she said idly. She shifted one hand ever so slightly, stretching her hand enough to trail a finger along a pale scar that marred her lover's upper chest, a poignant look on her face. She remembered when Sam had gotten that wound all too well; remembered that it had nearly killed the other woman, and she'd thought she might just die with her from sheer terror. "The company makes all the difference in the world," she murmured, then looked up again. "All the difference...."

Sam didn't say anything--couldn't say anything--for a long moment, the sudden tightness in her throat making speech all but impossible. Her gaze distant, she tenderly sifted her fingers through silky hair, noting the hints of red and copper stirred into the brown. "This has been coming for a while, hasn't it?" she whispered, thinking of all the time they'd spent together, the shared fascination with all things scientific, the gentle flirting that was almost second nature, the mutual love for Cassie that was often tempered by the frustrations of raising a teenager, caring and support in abundance. All of it leading them right where they were.

"Yeah," Janet exhaled. She leaned forward, pressing the softest of kisses to the tiny scar she'd outlined with her fingertip, then looked up again. "You know I love you, right?"

Sam swallowed hard and nodded, startled by how clear and obvious the truth suddenly was. "I know." A moment's silence followed, then she whispered, "You know it's mutual, right?"

A twinkling smile lighting her face, Janet nodded. "I know."

Sam found herself unable to contain an idiot's grin as it all sank it. Hands light on Janet's shoulders, she urged her lover back up the length of her body to share a slow kiss. "Y'know, we could both use a shower...and we still haven't tried 11-B."

It was Janet's turn to groan in exhaustion. "Speaking of trying to kill someone..." she moaned, tempted in spite of muscles that reacted with all the strength of overcooked spaghetti.

Sam grinned. "I think you mentioned something about at least going happy," she teased.

"Mmmm, very, very happy," she admitted, then allowed herself to sink back into the silky promise of their lovemaking, bound heart, body, and soul to the woman holding her so tenderly.

Definitely all in the company....

END

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