Staring Into the Abyss Parts 1-7

Pairings: Sam/Janet
Category: Independent/Action
Rating: R (For Violence)
Title: Staring Into the Abyss
Date: 3-01-99
Disclaimers: They don't belong to me and I do this just for the fun of it. I thank ShowTime, the writers, and actors for creating the characters for me to play with. I know a small disclaimer but they are all product of showtime and gecko.
Time Sequence: second season after Jacob has joined the Tok'rah

| Ch. 1-7 | Ch.  8-14 | Ch. 15-21 | Ch. 22-28 |

Staring Into the Abyss

Chapter 15

Janet was awakened by a noise. She opened he eyes trying to focus in the dark. It took her a few minutes to remember that she was in Sam's quarters and the familiar warmth of Sam's body was gone. The sound drew her attention again and she realized it was a whimper that came from directly behind her. She turned in the bed reaching out to find Sam huddled in a ball making small sounds like an animal caught in a trap.

Janet turned back to snap on the light near the bed before turning to Sam again. She had wound herself into a tight ball, her shirt soaked as she wrestled with her dream. Janet reached out to grasp her shoulder gently as she called her name.

"Sam," she whispered softly, trying to bring her out of her dream as gently as possible. After a few moments of persistent attempts Janet was able to bring Sam out of her nightmare.

Sam gasped, drawing in a deep breath as she came awake. It took her a moment to orient herself to her surroundings and to realize the hand grasping her shoulder was Janet's. Sam closed her eyes, trying to hold the memories at bay as she regained control. After a few minutes she opened her eyes to meet Janet's concerned gaze.

"I am sorry if I woke you," Sam said guiltily. "I guess I will be seeing Apophis in my dreams for some time after this last mission," Sam said, explaining her distress as Janet nodded her agreement.

Sam felt Janet's hand move up from her shoulder to tangle itself in her hair. "Would you like to talk about it?" Janet asked gently.

Sam shook her head, "No, not right now," Sam answered, enjoying Janet's gentle touch. She reached a hand up to capture Janet's hand. "I do need to get up though." Sam said, watching Janet.

Janet nodded, shifting so that Sam was free of her touch. Sam attempted to rise dropping back to the bed with a small wince. "Maybe I should amend that to I need you to help me get up," Sam managed through clenched teeth.

Janet sat, moving over to slide her arm beneath Sam, bringing her hand to rest behind Sam's neck to aide her in sitting.

"Thanks," Sam said as she managed to stand, her face betraying her embarrassment at her weakness. She moved over to her dresser picking out a new shirt to replace the one clinging to her. Janet rose to assist her, but Sam stopped her with a raised hand.

"I can do this," she said simply as Janet nodded taking her seat once again. Sam struggled but was able to change her shirt. She felt a wave of relief at not having had to ask Janet for assistance after having ordered her not to help. She tossed the shirt off to the side, too tired to escort it to the laundry hamper. Sam felt the fatigue her body was experiencing crashing down on her as she looked over to Janet.

"How long have I been asleep?" she asked.

Janet checked the clock. "About two hours," she replied, still watching Sam closely.

Sam nodded as she once again took a seat on the bed. "I am so tired I feel like I haven't slept in weeks," Sam confessed, her eyes growing heavy as she tried to speak to Janet.

Janet nodded and helped Sam to adjust to a comfortable position on the bed.

"Sam, the injuries are going to drain you while you are healing. If your body demands sleep, then that is what you need to give it. It will be the best thing for you," Janet said as she watched her lay there fighting sleep.

Janet had settled Sam on her back, knowing it would be the most comfortable position for her. Janet rested on her side watching Sam. Sam's slow and easy breathing tipped Janet to her surrender to the fatigue. Janet quietly turned off the light and returned to face Sam, allowing her hand to rest on Sam's forearm. She wanted to maintain some type of contact but she did not want to chance touching a sensitive part of Sam's body. All of her surface bruises where still extremely tender and the only safe spot Janet could think of was her arm. Janet lay there listening to the gentle rhythm of Sam's breathing as she once again slipped back into a dream world.

Chapter 16

Sam awakened realizing she was alone in her bed. She looked around for Janet and noticed a light from the slightly opened door to her bathroom. She heard the sounds of running water and realized that Janet must be in the shower. She glanced at her watch the illuminated dials faintly giving her the time. She had been asleep for almost 6 hours. Not a long time and she still felt a weariness hanging over her. Her attention was drawn to the bathroom door as sounds of the water ceased.

Sam was surprised to catch a glimpse of Janet as she moved into the opening of the door. She lay there transfixed as Janet finished toweling off before donning her clothes. Sam quickly shut her eyes as Janet turned toward the room, softly shutting off the light. Sam could feel her heart pounding as Janet moved closer to the bed.

"Sam?" Janet's voice called out as Sam opened one eye to peak at the woman she had accidentally spied on. Sam swallowed before replying.

"Hi, I just woke up" she said, trying not to stammer out her response. "I uh would you like to grab some thing to eat?" Sam asked grateful that the light was still off. A short lived thanks, however, as Janet switched on the light to take in Sam's appearance.

Janet knelt on the bed taking Sam's wrist as she used her other one to touch Sam's forehead. "Are you ok? You're a little flushed and your heart is racing," Janet asked, concerned.

"I'm fine," Sam lied, trying to remove herself from Janet's hands as quickly as possible.

Janet moved back, not a hundred percent confident that Sam was telling her the truth but felt that she shouldn't push her.

Janet grabbed her lab coat, throwing it over her arm as she addressed Sam. "I would like to eat with you Sam, but I need to get back to my house." She noted the slight shadow that crossed Sam's face as she took in her words.

"Sam, I have put you on medical leave for the next 2 weeks. The General knows not to expect to see you for at least that long. You are welcome to stay with me if you would like," Janet offered, hoping Sam would say yes.

Sam felt relief at Janet's words. She had not wanted Janet to leave and had been unsure of inviting herself back to Janet's house. "That would be great, Janet," Sam said, rising slowly from the bed to move around the room o collect a few items into a bag for a stay at Janet's.

"When is Cassie due to come back from visiting your parents?" Sam asked as she finished putting the last few things into her bag.

"She will be back next Monday," Janet said as she seated Sam helping her to lace up the shoes she had been struggling with. Sam started to laugh lightly as she observed Janet lacing her shoes.

"And what is so funny, Captain Carter?" Janet asked as she stood looking down at Sam.

"I was just trying to remember the last time someone had to tie my shoe laces," Sam replied.

Janet smiled, reaching out one hand to help Sam up as the other picked up her bag. "Well, I won't tell if you don't," Janet teased as they exited Sam's room.

They managed to make it back to Janet's house in good time due to the early time and lack of traffic. Once they were inside and Janet had settled Sam's things they both wandered into the kitchen where Janet began throwing together a light meal. Janet worked busily at the counter making a salad while Sam took a seat across from her and watched. "Thanks for letting me stay for a while," Sam said, breaking the silence.

Janet paused to look up at Sam. "You know you are welcome to stay here anytime you would like, Sam. You are here enough to see Cassie, I would have thought you would know that. I have never understood why you would return to the base so many nights after having spent the day with us," Janet responded.

Sam shrugged her shoulders, refusing to meet Janet's look. "I guess I just thought it would be best if I didn't get to comfortable with being here," Sam finally confessed.

"You know she missed you the weeks before you went on that last mission. She didn't say anything, but I could tell. We both missed you when you decided to cut everyone off, Sam" Janet said as she continued to cut the vegetables.

Sam listened to Janet's words, feeling more miserable by the minute. "I am sorry, Janet, I didn't mean to hurt either of you. I am just used to dealing with things by myself," Sam admitted.

"I know, Sam, and I understand and I think Cassie does as well. I just want you to know you have friends that care about you and that are there for you when you need them," Janet told her.

Sam acknowledged Janet's comments but changed the subject. "Do you think that by the time Cassie gets home I will be moving better. I mean, you don't think you will still have to tie my shoe laces at that point do you?" Sam answered seriously.

Janet eyed Sam for a moment before replying. "Are you worried about her seeing you injured?" Janet asked as she saw Sam nod she continued. "Sam she knows what you do every time you leave. If you try to hide things from her you know she will see right through you," Janet prodded.

Sam nodded "I know, Janet, but it has been one thing after another on every mission. I remember worrying over my father and I do not want to put Cassie through that," Sam said angrily.

"There is nothing you can do to stop her from worrying, Sam. She cares about you and it is the price that someone who loves you has to pay," Janet said.

" I could leave SG-1 and take an administrative position in the command. I have the experience and the credentials," Sam said.

Janet froze at Sam's words," I never thought I would hear you actually admit to leaving SG-1 voluntarily. Is it your desire to shield Cassie from fear or is it your own fear driving you to never take another jump," Janet asked, knowing she was pushing Sam hard.

Sam stood. "That's not fair Janet." She stalked out of the kitchen followed closely by Janet.

"Not fair to who, Sam, the team, Cassie, or you?" Janet continued to push.

"It was just a thought, Janet. It was just a thought," she repeated softly.

"I think it was more than that Sam and I think you are going to have to talk to someone about what happened on Apophis's ship if it is driving you to quit. If your fear is so great you can't make a jump, then you need help, Sam," Janet said.

Sam refused to speak and the silence dragged on until Janet decided to return to the kitchen. She finished preparing a small stew and placed the food on the table. Sam returned to the table to eat, managing only a few bites before claiming to be full. Janet tried to coax a little more into her but finally gave up. Janet found her heart growing heavy as the silence drug on and Sam finally decided to retire for the night.

Janet was left alone downstairs as Sam made her way to her room. Janet finished cleaning up and took a seat in the living room to flip aimlessly through the channels before deciding to retire to her own bed. She stopped at Sam's closed door debating on whether or not to check in on her. Janet turned and entered her room without having opened the door. This was something Sam was going to have to work out on her own terms.

Chapter 17

Sam had lain awake for the better part of the night. She had heard Janet come up the stairs and pause before entering her room. Sam had hoped Janet would come in and see her. That somehow she would know how sorry Sam was for the silence and the wall that she had put between them. Sam couldn't find the courage to get up and see Janet before she went to bed. So now she lay there agonizing over their words earlier.

When Janet had mentioned the various times Sam would return to the base after a full day with them she had heard the underlying note of hurt. Sam had always made herself go back because the days spent here together with both Janet and Cassie always left her feeling so complete. She had wanted to stay many nights, but as difficult as it was for her to leave at night, she knew it would be even harder after starting her day with both of them.

Going back to the compound had always offered her a bit of refuge from her feelings. She was able to distance herself from Janet and the cascade of emotions that seemed to grow every time she was with her. She would watch her with Cassie and a flood of emotions would wash over her too many to see any one clearly. She had felt herself growing closer and closer to Janet and had come to rely emotionally on both her and Cassie more than she had ever relied on anyone besides her father.

With Cassie it was easy to show her feelings and affections, but with Janet she was always struggling to hold back what she feared was so plainly visible in her heart. Sam stared into the darkness as she thought about Janet.

**************************

Janet lay in her bed trying to lull herself to sleep. She was finding the task impossible. She was fighting the draw of the woman in the room across the hall. She knew that Sam would have to come to terms with what had happened on the last jump and Janet had hoped she would be able to help, but right now she doubted herself.

She had felt Sam opening up to her she thought or had it just been her imagination. No, Sam had definitely been lowering her walls. Janet thought back over the past few months and the time they had all spent together. There had been times as she looked back, that for the briefest moment, Sam would hold her look for just a second longer than necessary. Times when she would catch Sam watching her at an unguarded moment with just a flicker of emotion passing over her face when she realized Janet had noticed.

Janet stopped breathing for a moment, not daring to believe she had possibly missed Sam's interest. Sam was so good at hiding her emotions and Janet had never really thought to look deeper than the surface recently. She wondered if it was possible that Sam returned some of the same feelings that Janet had. She lay there thinking of the woman across the hall.

*******************************

Sam had finally drifted off to sleep and for once managed to finish the night without an interruption. She opened her eyes and stretched lazily as the sun poured in through the curtains. She sat up gingerly still sore but the pain was not nearly as bad as it had been. She gathered up a change of clothes briefly stepping into the shower before dressing to head down stairs.

The house was extremely quiet and Sam checked her watch as she entered the kitchen. It was 8:30 am she was sure Janet would be up by now. She had smelled fresh coffee and assumed that Janet would be in here. She noted the coffeepot on the counter with an empty mug set in front of it. As she picked up the mug she found a note underneath it in Janet's neat script.

Sam read the brief note that Janet had left letting her know she had decided to make an early trip to the store and would be back in a few hours. She would call before she headed home to find out if Sam needed anything. Sam felt a brief warmth at the word home in the note. She folded the note sticking it in her pocket as she poured herself a cup of coffee. Sam wandered about the house, looking at it through new eyes as she felt the freedom to learn about it's occupant without being under her watchful gaze.

Sam had wandered much of the house, familiar with most of it from previous visits. She returned to the second floor headed to her room when she realized Janet's door to her bedroom was open. She looked at it for a moment feeling like a burglar sneaking about. She fought a small private battle within herself before deciding to enter the room she had rarely found herself in before.

She noticed Janet's bed was still unmade from the previous night her covers thrown back carelessly. She looked around the room taking in the light colors that made up the drapes and carpet. Two small lightly stained nightstands flanked the bed. There was a small make-up table with a stool located off to one wall and a dark cherry dresser stationed near the window.

To her left a closet door stood slightly ajar and another door that Sam assumed led to the bathroom. Sam moved closer to the bed zeroing in on Janet's nightstand and the picture frame that sat there. Sam picked it up the three smiling faces staring back at her reminding her of the outing almost 6 months ago.

They had gone skiing in the nearby mountains having spent a weekend teaching Cassie how to navigate the slopes. 'Who was she kidding?' Sam thought smiling to herself. They had been left in Cassie's dust after the first few hours. The girl had taken to it naturally and had left Janet and Sam to straggle along trying to keep up. It had been an incredibly relaxing trip and Sam had enjoyed every moment of it. The picture had been taken on the last day. They had managed to find another skier who snapped the photo of Sam and Janet with Cassie neatly tucked between the two of them. Sam reached out her free hand to allow her fingers to trace the faces in the photo deep in thought.

************************

Janet had entered the house quietly on the off chance that Sam was still asleep. She had managed to get the groceries into the house in two trips and was in the process of unpacking when she realized that the cup and note were gone off the counter.

She stopped emptying the bags, wondering where Sam was hoping she was still not avoiding her after last night. Janet moved up the stairs headed for Sam room when figure caught the corner of her eye. She looked through her doorway, finding Sam standing at her bedside holding the picture she always kept there of the three of them. She watched as Sam caressed the picture a variety of emotions crossing her face.

Janet hesitated for a moment, wanting to stand there forever and watch Sam as her walls were down, her vulnerability so plain on her face. But Janet forced herself to slip away unnoticed sure that Sam would not want to be caught off guard. That had been a disaster last night. Janet chose instead to wait until Sam chose to talk to her giving her the time to come to terms with her own emotions. The look on Sam's face as she had stood in Janet's room had give Janet a brief hope that possibly Sam felt as much for her as she did for Sam.

Chapter 18

Sam heard noises downstairs and with a start she realized Janet was home. She quickly placed the picture back down on the nightstand, her face flaming in embarrassment of invading her personal space. She quietly crept to the doorway, straining to pinpoint Janet's location. She felt a wave of relief when she realized Janet was in the kitchen. Sam fought off the guilt as she slipped into the hall trying to slow the pounding of her heart.

Sam moved down the stairs slowly trying to remove the guilty look from her face. She knew she was going to give herself away. Even as a child she had never been able to get away with anything her guilt always plainly written on her face. She took one last deep breath before entering the kitchen.

Janet had quietly retreated back down stairs to finish unpacking the groceries. She had been sure to make more noise than usual hoping Sam would be clued in to her presence and able to make a graceful exit from her room. Even as Janet thought of the sight of Sam standing in her room holding that picture her breath caught. She paused momentarily in thought as Sam strolled into the kitchen nonchalantly.

Janet looked over to Sam noticing the slight blush still hovering over her cheeks. Janet squashed the chuckle she felt rising up in her chest at Sam's obvious embarrassment of almost having been caught in her room. Janet didn't mind Sam being in there at all. She knew that Sam had probably been drawn out of curiosity to her things much as Janet had taken the time to look around at Sam's room the night she had spent there. It had not escaped her notice that Sam also kept a picture of Janet and Cassie on her nightstand next to one of Sam and her father. But Janet had forced herself to consider that the picture was chosen because there were few that did not include either Sam or Janet with Cassie. Janet broke from her thoughts as Sam finished pouring a fresh cup of coffee and prepared to take another sip.

"So what have you been up to this morning, Sam" Janet asked innocently, unprepared for Sam's reaction.

Sam tried to give the appearance of being at ease as she made herself another cup of coffee. She was in the process of taking a sip when Janet's question hit. Sam sucked in the coffee her lungs quickly trying to expelled the liquid. Within seconds the counter was covered as Sam dropped her cup trying to stop her convulsive coughing as Janet

reached out to pat her back with a concerned look.

"Sam, are you ok," Janet asked berating herself for asking a question that hit on Sam's nerves. She rubbed her back softly nothing else she could really do while Sam nodded wiping her eyes as the coughing subsided.

"Iiit weent down the wrong way" Sam managed in a whisper.

"So I see " Janet replied in some amusement as Sam straightened. Janet grabbed a hand towel out of a drawer and proceeded to tidy up the small disaster area. She waved back an apologetic Sam as she attempted to help.

"Don't worry about it, Sam. No big deal." Janet said the chuckle she had been fighting since Sam entered the kitchen finally breaking free. She was joined in a few minutes by a sheepish looking Sam.

They finished putting away the last of the groceries and straightening the kitchen. As Sam placed the last of the items in the cupboard she turned and leaned back against the counter to look at Janet.

Janet bustled around the kitchen for a few more minutes before she realized Sam was staring at her. She stopped giving Sam her full attention. They continued to stand there for a few moments before Sam spoke.

"I'm sorry about last night, Janet. You were right. I am scared," Sam said simply.

Janet stood still surprised at the admission. She nodded in acknowledgement. "I am sorry for pushing you. I should of known that you would talk when you were ready," she said as she watched Sam nod. Sam pushed herself off the counter walking over to Janet.

"So what have you got planned now that you have stocked up for the next 3 months," she asked playfully.

Janet watched as Sam moved toward her switching gears from serious to playful in seconds. Obviously, today would not be the day Sam would confide in her Janet thought sadly.

Janet smiled "Well, now that you ask I do have a few movies I have been dying to watch, and then I thought I might catch up on some reading. But first how about a little breakfast?" Janet asked, falling in with Sam.

Sam nodded happy with the suggestions. Actually happy to do anything that involved Janet she thought to herself. The following days passed quickly both of them falling into an easy routine.

Janet prodded Sam no further and Sam volunteered no more, the occasional long silence the only thing to mar otherwise wonderful days.

The week had passed quickly and in two days Cassie would be home. Janet had spent the afternoon getting her room ready for her. Sam had wandered in and out, assessing whenever Janet had called for her. Janet had tried not to watch Sam as she moved about the house but knew she was quickly losing the battle to hide her feelings. It would only be a matter of time before Sam caught her gaze lingering a little too long too many times.

The closeness that Sam had allowed to grow between the two of then was only serving to further deepen Janet's longings. But even though Sam seemed to be growing closer, she gave no indication it was more than friendship. Janet pushed her frustration down as she headed for the kitchen.

Janet found Sam busily working around the kitchen when she entered. Something delicious smelling simmered up from a pan on the stove as Sam raised the lid to stir its contents. She looked up to Janet as she entered the kitchen.

"And what may I ask are you up to, Captain Carter. I was under the impression you couldn't cook," Janet said half seriously, never having seen Sam attempt more than the microwavable meal.

Sam looked up grinning "Well, Dr. Fraiser, there are many things you have yet to discover about me," she said playfully. "I thought since you have been so kind to take care of me all week the least I could do is cook you dinner."

Janet opened the lid on the pot eyeing the bubbling sauce filled with a variety of chunky vegetables. "Hmmm, well, it smells good," she remarked.

Sam smiled. "Well it's as good as it smells, trust me," Sam said as she took a spoon to dip out a small amount. She blew on it carefully before turning to Janet to offer it to her. Janet was slightly surprised but opened her lips as Sam guided the spoon through.

Janet raised her eyebrows as she registered the taste. It really was good and she smiled across at Sam as she finished swallowing the sauce. Janet was about to speak when Sam reached out using her thumb to wipe a bit of the sauce from the corner of her lower lip. The touch although innocent carried an air of intimacy that left Janet rooted, sharing the same look of shocked awareness with Sam. Janet quickly stepped back, breaking eye contact with Sam.

"Well I must say that is definitely some sauce," Janet managed trying to put some distance between her reactions and the woman who was causing them.

"Well it is a family recipe. I am glad you like it, dinner will be ready in about 15 minutes if you would like to go wash up," Sam offered, giving Janet a chance to make a hasty retreat and regroup in privacy.

Sam watched as Janet left, feeling a deep breath escape as she rounded the doorway. What had possessed her to wipe away that sauce. It had felt so right but Janet's reaction was unreadable and Sam wondered if she had stepped over the line, finally unmasking her feelings long enough for them to be seen by Janet. Sam groaned inwardly, hoping she had not done anything to damage their friendship.

Both Sam and Janet ate in a relatively easy silence. Neither wanted to broach any topic of conversation, preferring the comfortable air of intimacy. They cleaned up after their meal together the quiet almost reaching the point where it was becoming intrusive. Janet finally broke the silence.

"Are you going to stay up for a while? I picked up that movie you were talking about last night when I was out this morning," Janet said.

" The one with Will Smith?" Sam asked a grin crossing her features.

"That's the one," Janet said with a smile to match Sam's.

"Well what are you waiting for? I'll race you to the couch" Sam replied as she quickly headed for the door. Janet followed glad she had picked up the movie to fill the night.

She had hoped Sam would not retire early. She knew their time together alone was coming to a close sooner than she wished even though she was looking forword to Cassie's return.

Janet popped the tape into the VCR taking a seat on the opposite end of the couch from Sam as the credits began to roll. Janet glanced over at Sam shortly into the movie and noticed she was having difficulty keeping awake. Janet smiled as she called over to her.

"You want to save this for tomorrow?" she asked.

"No," Sam said, shaking her head. "I really want to see this movie."

Janet hit the pause button standing. "Well, why don't you lay down on the couch and I'll take the chair," Janet offered pulling a folded blanket from the back of the chair near the TV. She turned as Sam stretched out along the couch and tossed it over her.

"Janet, why don't you stay on the couch too. I've tried your chairs and no offense but they are not the most comfortable things you own," Sam joked.

Janet laughed, agreeing silently that some perverse God had assisted her in choosing those particular chairs. She sat back down on the couch, Sam's head resting near her thigh. "Are you comfortable?" Janet asked

"Well, now that you ask I could use a pillow," Sam responded.

Janet laughed standing back up to return a few minutes later with 2 pillows and an extra blanket. She placed one of the pillows on the end of the couch and wrapped herself in the blanket before sitting with the pillow resting in her lap. She was looking for the remote control when she felt a weight settle down on her legs. She grasped the remote as she looked down startled to see Sam had planted her head firmly on the pillow seated on her lap.

"Ok, so are you comfortable now?" Janet asked, unable to keep the amusement from her voice.

"Very" she heard the muffled reply. "Hurry up and turn the movie back on," Sam prodded.

Janet smiled, hitting the play button as she rested her legs on the recliner rest from the sofa. For the first time she appreciated that particular feature in her couch as she sank back in comfort.

As the movie ended Janet realized she had her hand resting in Sam's hair. She watched detached as her finger continued to make lazy circles through the silken strands. She paused for a moment realizing Sam must have fallen asleep shortly after restarting the movie. She hadn't made a sound in the last hour. Janet removed her hand regretfully, sitting for a moment preparing to wake Sam.

Janet was surprised when she felt a hand grasp the one that had recently vacated Sam's hair. She felt herself guided back as she heard Sam speak.

"Don't stop, Janet, unless you want too," Sam said quietly.

Janet could almost feel Sam holding her breath as she waited for Janet's next action. She could feel the stiffness flow out of Sam's body as she continued the gentle caress through Sam's hair.

Chapter 19

Sam drifted up from her light sleep still feeling the gentle weight of Janet's fingers resting in her hair. Sam rested motionless enjoying the moment of complete peace that seemed to surround her. She waited a few more minutes before turning regretfully so that she was looking up at Janet. She didn't want to get up, but she knew if she left Janet asleep like this for the rest of the night she would be stiff in the morning.

Sam took Janet's hand moving it gently to the side as she rose quietly. She watched Janet's face as she continued to doze, uninterrupted by Sam's movements. Sam moved her hand up to Janet's cheek gently caressing it as she traced a slow pattern along her jaw. She marveled at the softness of her skin under her fingertips, the gentle breaths that tickled along her hand as Janet slept on, oblivious to Sam's scrutiny. For a moment Sam hesitated, not wanting the night to end, wanting to keep this private moment with Janet to herself for as long as possible. But her conscience won out and she lowered her hand to gently grip Janet's shoulder, giving it a small shake.

Janet came awake almost instantly her liquid brown eyes locking onto Sam's within a moment. Sam watched as the sleep cleared and Janet took in her surroundings. For a moment Sam was lost in the warmth that radiated from her gaze.

Janet had awakened suddenly, Sam's face almost immediately coming into focus. Janet was vaguely aware of Sam's hand on her shoulder as she realized for the first time how blue Sam's eyes were. In all the times she had looked at them before she could not recall even during exams, having been struck by the depth of blue she was staring into now. It reminded her of a trip she had taken to the islands where they had gone diving. The water had been a deep blue, shimmering on the surface but once you were below it became clear as crystal. For a moment Janet felt the same pull she had felt as she had slipped beneath the surface that first time into unknown territory. Janet took a deep breath reflexively at the memory, breaking the eye contact that had riveted them both for immeasurable seconds.

"Hey," Sam said, "I think I missed the end of the movie."

Janet smiled, "Try beginning and middle also. That's the last time you get to pick the movie," she jested.

"Hey," Sam shot back, "I will have you know that I have it on good authority that it is really a good movie."

"Oh really, and whose authority would that be, Teal' C?" Janet retorted trying to think up the most improbable person she could only to find Sam silenced.

"You're kidding, you actually took advice on movies from a man who doesn't even understand the concept of television," Janet laughed.

"Well, Daniel, rented it and they both liked it." Sam said defensively.

Janet held her hands up in surrender. "Well, maybe we can give it another shot tomorrow provided we can both stay awake," Janet offered.

Sam laughed nodding. "Maybe, I thought I should wake you I figured you would be pretty stiff in the morning if I let you sleep here all night." 'Although I would've been comfortable,' a small voice in Sam's head chimed in, distracting her.

Janet agreed with Sam's comment, nodding her head. Her last thought before falling asleep had been the total bliss that had fallen over her as she had rested with Sam in her lap, her fingers tangled in her hair. Janet felt a slight tug of regret at not having stayed awake to enjoy the rare moment. She felt Sam move off the couch, offering a hand to her as she stood.

Sam reached down to help Janet off the couch, enjoying every small touch she could garner now that the night was drawing to a close. Janet motioned for Sam to leave the pillows and blankets as she headed toward the stairs. Sam followed her up to their rooms, pausing as Janet stopped outside her doorway. She stood, looking to Sam hesitating, not wanting to end the night. She watched as Sam's pose mirrored her own and as the tension grew, Janet decided to finally take a chance.

She stepped closer to Sam, watching as she made no move to back away. She lifted her hand to gently touch her cheek. As her hand rested against her she could feel the rapid beat of Sam's heart as it pulsed beneath her fingertips. Its rhythm almost matched her own as she felt the pounding in her chest. Janet felt no resistance as she guided Sam's lips down to meet her own.

Sam had been surprised when Janet had reached out to her. She had stood rooted anticipation mingled with a slight touch of fear. Within seconds everything between them was about to change. She offered no resistance as she felt the slight pull from Janet, slowly meeting her halfway. Their kiss was tentative and unsure, both trying to cope with the overwhelming overflow of emotions. Sam felt the slight parting of Janet's lips as the kiss became a little more inquisitive. The intensity of the kiss despite Janet's undemanding pace shook Sam. She broke off the kiss stepping away trying to regroup her thoughts.

"Sam?" Janet started to speak, then stopped. "I'm sorry, was that a mistake?" she asked quietly.

Sam shook her head. "No," she said firmly. "I am just not sure of....." she left the sentence hanging unable to finish it with the chaos of emotions raging through her at the moment.

Janet nodded still not moving as she observed Sam.

Sam stood as the silence became deafening. She looked up to see Janet's concern. Sam could find no words to explain her thoughts. "It is late. I think I had better turn in," she said finally, seeing a brief flash of disappointment at her words. She felt a stab of guilt knowing Janet had expected more than that. Sam knew she should of been brave enough to say more, but she wasn't and now she was going to run and hide under the covers like a frightened child. As Sam turned to enter her room she heard Janet call to her.

"Hold on a minute Sam," she said, disappearing into her room briefly before reemerging with something in her hand.

Janet held out the photo to Sam seeing the surprised recognition as she realized what it was. "It was in your camie blouse when we unclothed you for treatment. I went through your uniform to be sure there wasn't anything you might have in there before I sent it to be disposed of," Janet explained. "I cleaned it off and put it out of sight until I could return it to you," Janet finished.

"Thank you, Janet" Sam finally managed glad that the lights were off so that Janet could not see the tears stinging her eyes. She saw Janet nod before slipping into her doorway and out of Sam's sight.

Sam entered her room, sitting on the bed for a moment before turning on the small light located on the nightstand. She stared down into the picture that Janet had returned to her. The teams were not allowed to carry any type of identification on missions and even a photo such as this was frowned upon by the command. But Sam had chosen to laminate the photo and carry it in her breast pocket regardless. She placed the photo on the nightstand resting it against the base of the lamp. The image of three smiling figures surrounded by a snowy background was swallowed up by the darkness as Sam snapped off the light.

Chapter 20

Janet had finally given in and retired to her quarters. Giving Sam the photo that she had salvaged from the previous mission had been unplanned and had thrown her.

Janet laid down in her bed her mind still spinning from the last few moments. As she lay in bed, she contemplated Sam's actions. For so long, Janet had fought back the emotions that had assailed her every time she had come into contact with Samantha Carter. She had continually pushed back any thought of pursuing the connection she felt with the woman who was across the hall from her at the moment. Janet turned on her side, curling up as her mind continued to replay the events of the past few weeks.

The connection with Sam had seemed to be growing stronger and for the first time, Janet had allowed herself the hope that the feelings she had for Sam were mutual. She could have sworn that at various times she could almost see the reflection of feelings in Sam's eyes. But tonight, when it had seemed so right things seemed to have gone so wrong. Janet berated herself for giving into the moment and possibly stepping over the line with Sam. �If only she had decided to move a little bit slower,� she thought.

Sam was still fragile from her away mission and she had not really recovered from her capture by Apophis, despite the healing of her physical injuries. Janet knew that Sam was still coming to terms mentally with whatever had occurred at the Goa'uld's hands. Janet's actions tonight would only add to the mental turmoil that Sam had been experiencing. Despite her moving away though for a brief moment, Janet had felt Sam's response to her kiss. Or had her desire for Sam to return her feelings caused her to imagine it. �No, she had definitely not imagined it.� Janet held onto that thought as she tried to quiet her thoughts so that she could finally sleep.

*******************************

Sam awoke the next morning feeling much better after an uninterrupted night's sleep. She had managed to forgo any nightmares again and she was grateful for the respite after the past few weeks. She stretched before rising to take a shower. As she pulled herself out from under the covers, the picture she had placed on the night stand came into focus. She picked it up, once again feeling a combination of frustration and elation when she remembered the kiss from last night.

She had been surprised when Janet had moved in to kiss her. Although Sam had felt a growing pull toward Janet, she had tried to hold back her feelings, unsure of where they would lead her. Janet's touch had elicited such an intense response from her that it had shaken her to the core. She had never felt so caught up just by the touch of another. Even now remembering the kiss made her lips burn and her heart flutter. She shook her head amazed at her reaction to the memory. She finally stood making her way to the shower knowing she needed to face Janet soon. She was sure her reaction last night would have left her with concerns over Sam, and she didn't want to worry her unnecessarily.

****************************

Janet had risen early finding herself unable to stay in bed any longer after a relatively restless night. She had taken an early morning jog, hoping to calm her jangled nerves. The run had gone smoothly, the peace of the morning calming to Janet. She had returned to the house showering before settling down in her study to go over a journal article she had been working on the past month. All of the recent events had caused her to neglect her less urgent affairs.

Janet settled into her chair at her desk and within moments she was completely lost in the work. Time passed quickly and Janet immersed herself in putting the finishing touches on the paper. She was brought out of her deep concentration as she felt a hand upon her shoulder. She looked up and back to find Sam standing there with a cup in her hand.

"I looked in a little while ago and saw you were busy. I didn't want to disturb you but I thought you might like a cup of coffee," Sam said as she handed the cup to Janet. "What are you working on?" she asked, leaning over to glance at the computer screen.

Janet took a sip of the coffee pleased that Sam had managed to make it just right. She noticed that Sam had not removed her hand and felt the warmth from her fingers seep through her shirt. As Sam leaned over to read her screen, Janet caught the faint scent of her perfume. She was so close she could see the gentle jump of her pulse along her neck. Janet managed a small swallow before answering Sam. "Remember that virus that SG-3 brought back from PAZ-3065 a couple of months ago?" she continued as she saw Sam's nod. "Well, after we managed to contain it and create an antidote we started mapping the virus. We found it resembled the influenza strain closely and as we studied it more closely we found it was almost identical to the new mutation that had been discovered in Venezuela recently.

"The new strain was resistant to every form of treatment that the CDC had thrown at it so we took a chance and used the same protocols that we had with the SG-3 virus. Long story short, we managed to stop it dead in its tracks. I have the responsibility for writing a cover article on our methods of study without letting the scientific community know we were working with off world information. It is hard to explain some of the things we come up with without explaining how we actually managed it," Janet said with a small sigh. Sometimes working in a secret environment had its drawbacks when you wanted to explain your research.

Sam scanned the information on the screen as Janet spoke. She could sympathize with her dilemma in writing about a breakthrough in her field without revealing the nature of her work with the SGC. Sam had the advantage of a large support basin of scientists in her field to share her discoveries with, while Janet was often forced to shroud much of her discoveries from the medical community due to the possible exposure of the SGC project. It was a difficult line to walk especially when the overall well-being of the population forced the release of materials such as the article Janet was currently working on. Sam gave her shoulder a brief squeeze as she looked down at her.

"Well, are you close to being done? It is almost lunchtime and I thought maybe we could go out for a bite," Sam asked.

Janet nodded at Sam's question, still all too aware of the hand still resting lightly on her shoulder. "I have a little editing to do, but it is basically finished. I can complete the editing later," she said as she saved the file and shut down the computer.

Janet pushed away from her desk and stood. Sam had either not anticipated her quick moves or was distracted. Janet found herself in fairly close quarters as she attempted to side step Sam. For a moment, neither of them moved, not even a breathe breaking the silence. Janet could feel a slight tremor run through Sam's fingers which still rested on her shoulder. Janet didn't dare look up afraid she would be unable to refrain from the same actions as last night. She was determined to give Sam time she needed and to see where it would lead. The next move would have to be made by Sam.

Sam had been distracted when Janet suddenly stood. For a moment, her nearness paralyzed Sam's thoughts and she froze. Within seconds, she had regained her balance and moved aside so Janet could get by. Neither of them acknowledged the moment as Sam voted on their choice of restaurants.

"I think I would like to go to that little diner we found out on highway 5. You remember when we went to the lake," Sam said as she followed Janet down the hall.

Janet nodded "That would be great and I need to stop at the store anyway. We are having company for dinner."

"Company? Who?" Sam asked.

"Daniel has been asking to come by since we left the base. I managed to hold him off but when he called this morning, I got the feeling that if I didn't agree to let the team come by, they were going to stage a rescue mission to spring you from the house," Janet joked.

Sam could hear the smile in Janet's voice and knew she was grinning even though she couldn't see her face. "So Daniel, Teal� C, and Colonel O'Neill are coming for dinner?"

"I told them I would throw some steaks on the grill and they were allowed to stay until ten, no exceptions. I know they want to see you but I do not want then wearing you out in one night. You have been recovering very well but it has still only been a week. If they want you back on full duty next Monday, they are going to have to follow my orders," Janet said firmly.

"Yes, Doctor," Sam said with mock seriousness as they both slipped into light jackets.

The drive to the diner was pleasant and Sam enjoyed the comfortable silence that rested between them on the drive. She watched the passing scenery content to let her mind wander.

Their lunch was excellent and they both polished off their meals at the same time. Sam realized, as the check came that she had no money on her and had even forgotten to grab her ID and wallet on the way out the door. She apologized to Janet, who just grinned as she paid the tab.

"Sam, don't worry about it," she chided gently. "It's no big deal. I know where you work," she teased gently, as Sam finally gave in to her ribbing.

They made a short stop by the store before heading back to the house. Once they had unpacked their supplies, Sam made a time check. "What time did you tell them to be here?" she asked Janet.

"I said six would be good," Janet replied as she slid the beer into the bottom of the fridge. She glanced at the clock, realizing she had just under two hours before company would arrive.

"What time is Cassie coming in tomorrow?" Sam asked, her voice muffled as she rooted around in a cabinet before happily pulling out a large bowl.

"She should be in at 11:50. I thought I would be at the airport by 11:30, just in case her flight was early, " Janet replied.

"Do you mind if I come along?" Sam asked.

Janet paused, "Sam, it never occurred to me that you wouldn't," she responded.

Sam nodded. "Well, let's make sure everyone is out of here on time, I want to be up early to get ready," Sam said, the undercurrent of excitement evident in her voice.

Janet smiled as she nodded. She didn't know which of them would be more excited tomorrow, Cassie or Sam. Sam's schedule was always subject to change and Cassie was always thrilled to see her.

The two women completed the preparations for dinner. They moved around the kitchen with an easy familiarity. Before long, they both looked up to find it was almost time for their guests to arrive.

"I'll be right back, I am going to light the grill so that we can throw these steaks on when they get here," Janet informed Sam as she stepped thought the glass doors onto the deck behind her house. Sam watched as she disappeared from sight thinking about tomorrow.

A loud crash from the back deck drew Sam's attention and she rushed out the door to investigate. She found Janet sitting on the deck next to a large over turned flowerpot clutching her hand. Sam knelt beside her trying to discover what had happened.

Janet looked up as Sam knelt down beside her. "I seem to be having a little coordination problem," Janet joked weakly as Sam looked at her with concern. "I was having a little problem getting the grill lit and I guess I let the gas build up too much. When it finally lit, it was a bit much. It startled me and I jumped back and landed almost on this," she said indicating the overturned flowerpot. "Anyway, when I came down, I landed on my wrist," she continued cradling her injured arm.

"Let me see," Sam requested gently, as she attempted to remove the hand cradling the injured wrist. Even in the poor light Sam could see the area beginning to swell. She helped Janet up and back into the kitchen. The appearance of the injury did not improve with more light. Sam made an icepack and returned to Janet with a towel. She placed the towel over the injury then the icepack. She could see the slight wince of pain on Janet's face as the weight of the pack made contact. "Do you want me to take you to get this checked out?" Sam asked.

Janet shook her head. "I think it is just a sprain, I am sure it's not broken. I will wait until tomorrow and if it gets worse I will go into the base and have it x-rayed otherwise, I think I will just treat it myself," Janet explained.

Sam gave her a concerned look and was about to protest when she heard the front doorbell. She gently grasped Janet's good hand. "Are you sure?" At Janet's nod, Sam relented. "Do you want me to tell everyone dinner is canceled we'll do it another night?"

Again, Janet shook her head. "No, it's only a couple of hours and really it's already starting to hurt less," Janet lied, knowing Sam would not want to continue with their dinner plans if she thought Janet was in distress. The doorbell rang again and Sam reluctantly let go of Janet's hand to go and greet her teammates.

Sam left Janet in the kitchen as she went to answer to door. She opened it and found three familiar faces staring back her. "Come on in," she said stepping back so her teammates could enter.

They filed in seeming rather out of place for a moment. Finally Daniel spoke, breaking the brief silence.

"Janet said not to bother bringing anything so we thought we would just bring these," he finished as he pulled out a small flower arrangement. She caught the Colonel rolling his eyes at Daniel's gesture. Sam stifled a laugh knowing that Daniel had been the only one in the group that had thought flowers were necessary. Teal' C looked on as Sam took the flowers watching O'Neill�s reaction with interest as Daniel gave him an annoyed look.

"Thanks, Daniel, I�ll put them in a vase. Would anyone like a beer?" she asked as she turned to head back to the kitchen. She stifled another smile as she heard the Colonel's voice chime in quickly requesting a drink. She entered the kitchen, laying the flowers on the counter as she opened the fridge to pull out a round of beers. She handed them out as Daniel headed for Janet, noticing her apparent injury. Teal�C and O'Neill followed close behind. Sam stood back watching as Janet recounted the mishap, blushing at her earlier clumsiness. Janet assured the trio that she was fine and that there was no need to put off dinner. Sam pulled out the steaks that had been marinating and handed the platter to O'Neill.

"Sir, since our chef is temporarily out of order, I thought you might do the honors," Sam requested, knowing that O'Neill would be grateful to get out of the house and do something. She also knew Teal�C was likely to follow him which would only leave her Daniel to entertain. She was amused to find she had been right when Teal�C followed O'Neill out the door like an obedient puppy. For a moment, she wondered what would become of the Jaffa if anything ever happened to the Colonel. She pushed back the thought, knowing it would be a devastating blow to Teal�C to lose O'Neill. She turned catching Janet's gaze on her as Daniel examined her wrist. Janet looked away as Daniel distracted her with a comment. Sam moved across the kitchen to stand beside Daniel as he talked to Janet.

"Well, it looks like you bruised it pretty badly, but I would agree with you and say it is not broken," he said, glancing at Sam as she came to rest beside him. "How are you doing Sam? Janet says that most of your injuries are healing well and that you will be back next Monday," Daniel finished.

Sam nodded, "I am feeling pretty well. I am looking forward to the next week though. Especially since Cassie will be home tomorrow," Sam said, almost bouncing as she spoke.

Daniel nodded, noting the excitement that crossed over her face at the mention of Cassie. Sam had bonded almost from the start with the young girl and the feeling had been mutual from what Daniel could see. He was glad that Sam seemed so much more herself. She was more relaxed than he could remember seeing her in some time. Whatever had to been bothering her before their last mission seemed to have faded and Daniel was catching glimpses of the enthusiastic woman who he had first met come to know.

They were distracted from their conversation by O'Neill and Teal�C as they entered from the porch carrying a steaming platter of grilled steaks. O'Neill sat the platter on the counter with a flourish. "Well, now that the main course is complete, how long until dinner?" he asked as he tossed his empty bottle into the recycle bin an snatched another from the fridge. He seemed a little more relaxed than when he had first entered the house and a smile crinkled his features.

Sam reached out a hand to stop Janet as she attempted to rise of her chair to help with dinner. "Oh no, you don't, Doctor. It's time you took some of your own advice and sit right there. We are more than capable for fending for ourselves," Sam joked as she began setting out their supplies from the store. She sat out the plates and set up an assembly line pointing her teammates to the table on the back porch as they filled their plates.

Within moments, only Sam and Janet were left in the kitchen and Sam finished making up both of their plates. Janet had risen as the last of the team had left the kitchen going to stand next to Sam. Once both the plates were finished Sam started to pick up both and head out the door.

"Uhh, Sam," Janet said stopping Sam before she had taken a step. Sam looked back to Janet. "This is kind of embarrassing, but I have a little logistics problem that I would like to solve before we sit down in front of the guys," Janet managed.

"What?" Sam asked.

"I can't cut up my steak, would you mind? I really don't want to feel like a 5 year old in front of the others," Janet said, a slight blush creeping up her cheeks.

Sam smiled at Janet's confession, putting the plates down long enough to efficiently cut up Janet's steak into manageable pieces "I promise not to tell a soul," Sam said as she finished and once again lifted both plates to head to the table.

Janet followed close behind, still a little embarrassed. She sat down next to Sam at the table, enjoying the light banter that flowed between the team as they grew more comfortable. O'Neill loosened up as he began recounting some of the minor escapades he and Daniel had been involved in before Janet had joined the SGC. Before long, Daniel and O'Neill had the table laughing at their opposite accounts of the same mission both determined that they were right.

The night moved swiftly and before Sam had realized it the time was ten o'clock. Daniel it seemed, however, had kept a close eye on the clock as he stood announcing it was time for them to head back to the base. Sam did not realize it had been a sharp jab from Janet's knee that had reminded Daniel to check the time.

Sam walked the team to the door bidding them a good night. O'Neill headed out with a wave while Teal�C paused for a few moments to talk to Sam.

"I am glad to see you have recovered from your injuries so well, Captain Carter," he said simply, with a slight nod before joining O'Neill outside.

"Same goes for me, Sam," Daniel said as he framed the doorway taking a second to reach out a squeeze Sam's shoulder. "You look really good, Sam. It's a hell of a way to get some time off though," he joked darkly. "I'll see you next week."

Sam stood for a few moments watching them pull out before she closed the door locking it securely. She slowly wandered back to the kitchen looking for Janet. It was empty and Sam glanced around locking the doors before heading up stairs.

Sam looked into Janet's room from the doorway wondering where she had disappeared too. Sounds from the adjoining bathroom caught her attention and she realized that Janet had gotten in the shower. Janet had asked her to give her a hand before she headed to bed and Sam wondered if she still needed her help. She decided to change for bed and wait for Janet before she retired.

Sam arrived back in Janet's room just as she was exiting her bathroom. Janet looked up as Sam entered the room an exasperated expression on her face.

"Can you give me a hand with these?" she requested as she tugged at her shirt. Sam walked over as Janet continued to attempt to finish buttoning her shirt.

Janet removed her hands as Sam completed her buttons for her. She had known she should just get T-shirt but either way the logistics of dressing with one hand were difficult. She gave a nod of thanks to Sam as she stood there grinning at Janet's annoyance.

"Was that what you needed help with before bed?" Sam asked in a teasing tone.

Janet shook her head as she replied. "Actually, I wanted you to wrap this before I go to bed. I should have splinted it earlier but I wanted to wait and see how bad the swelling would get," Janet explained as she moved over to sit on her bed. "The splint and wrap are on my dresser," she continued pointing behind Sam with her good hand. "Did the guys get off all right?" she finished as Sam came over taking a seat beside her.

"Yes, actually I was almost sorry to see them leave. It was nice having them over for dinner. I enjoyed it, thanks for making it happen." Sam eyed the splint and bandage then Janet's injured wrist. The swelling along with the bruising made it painful to look at.

Janet took a look at Sam's face noting her apprehension as she eyed Janet's wrist. "Don't worry Sam, it doesn't hurt nearly as much as it did earlier. I took something to ease the pain and bring down the swelling. Actually, I am getting pretty drowsy so you might want to get that thing on before I fall asleep on you," Janet joked.

Sam managed to get the splint on under the direction of Janet. She finished putting the last tab in place as she caught Janet yawning. "I see whatever you took is starting to kick in," she commented as Janet nodded. "You know you are awfully well prepared for emergencies," Sam continued waving at the splint as she stood. "I know who to call for minor emergencies," Sam said gaining a chuckle from Janet.

"Well, what can I say. I have found having Cassie around has gotten me used to stocking up for all sorts of injuries. I tell you Sam it is amazing children ever make it out of childhood. Oh, and of course there are always the wayward houseguests that seem to have the same problem of getting into all sorts of unexpected scrapes," she said, smiling as she yawned again, feeling a drowsiness fall over her.

Sam watched as Janet yawned again struggling to keep her eyes open. Janet leaned back in her bed resting against the pillows. Sam pulled back the covers, guiding Janet's legs beneath them as she settled back against her pillows. Sam pulled the covers up, pausing to lift Janet's injured limb as she slid the covers the rest of the way up. Janet did not even move as Sam finished tucking her in, and Sam realized that she had fallen asleep.

Sam stood for a few moments, looking down on her friend as she dozed. She reached out to lightly trace her eyebrows before allowing her fingers to drift down to her cheek. She leaned over placing a light kiss on Janet's forehead, a wave of protectiveness followed by a deep feeling of tenderness washing over her. She swallowed hard as she continued to watch Janet unnoticed, free to acknowledge the feelings that rose up every time she looked into her face.

Sam finally forced herself to step away. She left the room quietly snapping off the light as she entered the hall. She left both of their doors open as she entered her room just in case she was needed later. She slipped under the covers thinking about the woman next door. The feelings that she had been sure would fade seemed to grow stronger every day. She was reaching a point where she would have to deal with them and Janet. She knew after last night at least some of her feelings were mutual on Janet's part but the question was how mutual.

Sam was at the point that she was almost past caring. Every minute she spent with Janet she wanted more and at this point she was almost ready to accept anything Janet wanted to offer. Last night she had allowed fear to pull her back but she was determined to not let that happen again.

Chapter 21

Janet awoke to the morning sun filtering through her curtains. With a start she realized she had fallen asleep while Sam had been talking. She realized she was comfortably snuggled under the covers and vaguely recalled Sam pulling the sheets up to rest upon her shoulders. Her injured limb rested atop the blankets rising and falling gently with each breath.

She glanced over to her clock, noting that the time was still early. She allowed herself to rest a few more minutes as she attempted to recall the closing moments of the previous night. She was unable to grasp any clear memory but was left with a warm feeling of contentment.

Janet finally rose, the severe ache in her arm reminding her that she needed to make a stop by the medicine cabinet. She made a quick stop, taking a small pain reliever before brushing her teeth. Having her right hand in a splint was proving to make things difficult, as she attempted to brush left handed. A few minutes of this had her washing toothpaste off of most of the sink. She laughed at herself as she finished with the brush, replacing it in its holder.

Moving out to the bedroom, Janet chose an outfit that would be easy to dress herself. She managed to get dressed with less frustration than the previous night and was almost at the point that she felt optimistic about the rest of the day. She exited her room heading for the kitchen. She glanced in Sam's open doorway as she walked by stopping to back up.

Janet looked in at the figure wrapped up in the tousled sheets. A blonde head barely peaked from beneath the covers and Janet quietly moved into the room to check in on her. Right check in on her,� she thought with a snort. Sam was a grown woman she didn't need to be checked up on in her sleep. The truth was that in this state Janet could observe her unnoticed to her heart's content.

Janet beat down the momentary pangs of guilt at invading Sam's privacy as she approached the bed. Sam's head was barely poking out from beneath the blankets. Janet took in the peaceful expression resting upon Sam's face, all of the strain from the past weeks drained away in her sleep. Janet felt her heart give a little skip as Sam turn in her sleep without waking. Janet watched as a multitude of expressions crossed Sam's face with a slight murmur from her lips before she was quiet again.

Janet fought the urge to reach out and touch Sam afraid she might completely bring her out of her sleep. She enjoyed her rare freedom of seeing Sam unguarded for a few more minutes before heading to start a pot of coffee. As she walked down the hall and down the stairs, she tried to deal with the cascade of emotions that Sam's very presence seemed to shower upon her.

Janet stood as the coffee dripped into the pot letting her mind wander. She had realized some months ago that she was very much attracted to Sam but had thought any hope of pursuing her was useless. She had kept an eye out, examining the various relationships that Sam maintained with those around her. She had noticed that regardless of who you were, that she seemed to keep you at an arm's length.

She had noticed the first crack in the cool demeanor when Cassie had arrived on the base. The lengths Sam had gone through for the girl had altered Janet's opinion completely. For the first time, she had a glimpse of the passion that could be stirred up beneath the professional exterior. Of course, Cassie had a way of inspiring a great deal of devotion in a short time Janet thought.

She had fallen under the young girl�s spell almost as quickly as Sam. She smiled as she thought about her homecoming today. She always missed her while she was away but this time Sam had been here to take her mind off Cassie's absence.

Janet continued to file through her memories as she poured a cup of coffee and took a seat near the window. Try as she might she could not put a finger on just when her feelings for Sam had moved from interest and friendship to the deep tenderness that took her breath away every time Sam was near. She sat lost in thought as her coffee cooled on the table untouched.

************************************************

Sam entered the kitchen, unaware for a moment of Janet's presence. She had woken from her sleep feeling completely refreshed and eager for the morning to pass so that they could pick up Cassie. She had glanced at Janet's closed door when she had exited her room and had assumed that she was in the shower. She had headed downstairs toward the enticing aroma of coffee. She entered the kitchen headed for the coffeepot barely registering the still form seated by the window. She stopped looking more closely and realized that Janet was oblivious to her entrance. She studied the woman across from her, who appeared to be lost in thought as she stared out the window. Sam turned back to the coffeepot making a little more noise than necessary as she poured a cup of coffee.

Janet was roused out of her daydreams by the noise in the kitchen. With a start she realized Sam had entered unnoticed. She felt a smile rising to her lips as Sam turned around leaning back against the counter the coffee cup resting casually in her hands.

Sam looked over to Janet as she leaned back against the counter. "You know it has been a long time since I put someone to sleep talking," she jested. "How is your wrist doing?" she asked in a more serious tone as her eyes dropped down to Janet's arm.

Janet blushed slightly in embarrassment at having fallen asleep on Sam. "Actually, it is feeling much better than last night," Janet answered. "Thanks for putting me to bed last night," she continued.

"Anytime," Sam answered without thinking. A deep blush crawling up her neck, as she registered her tone as well as the double meaning behind the reply. She watched Janet's pale blush grow deeper as she also took in the comment, her eyes dropping to the table, unable to meet Sam's for the moment.

"I'm sorry, that just slipped out," Sam said in a rush as Janet looked back up to her.

"Don't be sorry unless you didn't mean it, Sam," Janet said, giving her a probing look.

Sam stood there silent as they continued to watch each other. She felt a moment of panic at her next move unsure if she could follow through with the promise she had made herself last night. "I meant it, Janet," she finally admitted, feeling the tension scream through her as she awaited Janet's reaction.

Janet felt her heart give a little surge as Sam finally spoke. Despite her plan to allow Sam the next move she found she was unable to take the distance any longer. She stood, moving slowly over to Sam. She came to a stop inches from Sam, she could have sworn she could feel the tension rolling off of her like the hum of a high voltage wire. She stood for a few moments waiting for Sam's reaction to her nearness. Again, she found she was unable to continue to wait for Sam's cue.

Janet raised her hand slowly, allowing it to come to rest on Sam's cheek. Sam's eyes closed as she leaned in slightly to the touch, one hand coming up to rest on Janet's waist. They stood there silent as each dealt with the feelings a single touch sent through them.

Sam had stood silently, forcing herself to meet Janet's approach. She almost stopped breathing as Janet stood before her, unmoving and in silence. She could almost feel the presence of the woman standing so near her. When Janet reached up to lay a hand upon her cheek, Sam felt her heart flutter in response and involuntarily her hand came to rest on Janet's waist send a whole new stream of awareness through her. She stood for what seemed an eternity her eyes closed, enjoying the silent assault upon her senses.

Janet finally drew Sam down to her slowly, wanting to complete this moment. Hoping for a better ending than the night before. Their lips touched, but unlike their previous kiss, Janet felt Sam's response almost immediately. The kiss quickly deepened and Janet found her hand sliding up to slip into Sam's hair as she pulled her closer. She felt Sam's response as her other hand came around to pull Janet closer molding their bodies against one another.

Sam felt her heart pounding as her hands registered the soft outline of Janet's body beneath them. She could feel the insistent tug of Janet's fingers as she pulled Sam closer. Sam struggled to breathe as the emotions crashed own on her. She finally drew her lips away to bury her head in the crook go Janet's neck. She breathed in the fresh smell of her perfume as she felt the wild beat of Janet�s heart against her eyelids. She continued to hold her snuggly against her body.

Janet felt Sam pull away and bury her head in her neck. She could feel Sam's rapid breaths whispering through the V of her shirt sending shivers through out her body. Sam rested against her and Janet shifted so that her fingers were gently stroking Sam's cheek. She stood firmly within Sam's grasp as the moments ticked off.

Janet finally spoke, feeling Sam's body stiffen as she cleared her throat. She could feel the return of the tension through every surface pressed against her. "Sam," she started gently. "What are you so afraid of?" she asked, not quiet believing she had voiced her thoughts out loud. For a moment, she was afraid she would not get an answer.

Sam finally moved, raising her head slightly so that her cheek rested against Janet's, her lips near Janet's ear. She spoke barely above an answer. "I am afraid this isn't real, that it won't last. You have come to mean so much to me the past few months, Janet. So much more than I ever thought possible," she said, stopping and giving the warm body beneath her hands a gentle squeeze.

Janet found tears sting her eyes at Sam's admission. She returned Sam's gentle squeeze, as she struggled for the words that would reassure her. "Sam, I don't have the words to express how much I care for you. I don't know what to say to convince you to take a chance. All I can say is that if you are feeling half of what I am how can you not," Janet stated, simply hoping her honesty would aide in relaxing Sam. She awaited Sam's answer, content to maintain her place within her arms until she spoke.

Continue to Parts 22-28

Return to Summary Page


You Are On
The Pink Rabbit Consortium
(click the above link to break out of frames)
Send Comments or Questions to Pink Rabbit Productions
pinkrabbit@altfic.com

| Home | Subtext Zone Art Gallery | Subtext LinksWhat's New | HTDTZ? |
 | Xena Fanfic Archive | Buffy Fanfic Archive | In Process |