Author: ocean gazer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pairing: Sam and Janet, established relationship
Archive: probably�just ask first <g>
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters; that honour
belongs to MGM, Showtime, Gekko, etc. I am merely borrowing them
to entertain myself and I promise to play nicely with them. I do
this for love, not money, so the aforementioned owners should
feel free to steal rather than sue.
Spoilers: minor spoilers for "Secrets"�this
is set right after "Secrets" (season two)
Notes: as always, feedback is more than welcome�and
constructive criticism would help.
I have to thank rutherford for her "Side Effects"
story�not only is it a great story, but I borrowed a couple of
ideas from it.
Summary: Fraiser helps Carter deal with some difficult
Janet Fraiser sent a concerned glance down to the woman
nestled in her arms. Samantha Carter was, in essence, curled into a
tight ball�well, as much of one as she could be in lying on the couch
with Janet�s legs outlining her form. The blonde head was pillowed on
Janet�s chest and Sam had one hand clenched tightly to the fabric of
Janet�s sweatshirt. Sam was holding on for dear life; Janet could see
the white lines of her knuckles.
Janet kept an arm wrapped snugly around Sam�s body,
but brought one hand up to stroke a path through the woman�s silken
hair. Sam sighed, without seeming to realize it, and pressed her body
closer into Janet�s embrace.
Janet let her eyes drift to the fireplace, where flames
crackled merrily. She kept her hand tangled loosely in Sam�s hair,
wishing she didn�t feel quite so helpless. She felt about the same way
she had in the aftermath of Jolinar�s death�watching Sam suffer and
unable to do a damn thing about it. As with that situation, Janet knew
the basics of what was happening in her lover�s life, but the thoughts
and emotions locked in Sam�s head were beyond Janet�s reach.
Janet watched as one of the logs crumbled into coals,
watched as the pile of wood shifted, letting her thoughts dance along
with the flames.
Sam had come home from the ceremony in DC in an
unusually quiet mood. After an evening of Janet�s prompting, Sam had
finally confided that her father had been diagnosed with cancer. She had
hinted at an argument, had hinted that her father was keeping her at
arms length. And Janet could easily read the hurt in Sam�s eyes every
time she called her dad, only to have him keep the conversation
business-like and curt.
Janet wrenched her gaze back to Sam and a sudden pang of
hurt flared inside her. She felt like Sam was halfway across the galaxy,
instead of nestled close to her.
Janet sighed deeply, trying to blow the unwanted emotion
out through her mouth. Their relationship was so new�they�d been
friends for a couple of years, but lovers for barely a month�and Janet
realized with a sudden sinking in her stomach that she was terrified Sam
was drifting away from her.
They didn�t have a solid anchor to begin with: there
was the strain of a relationship that had to be kept completely hidden,
and the added complication of Janet being Sam�s doctor.
And Janet was scared. She had fallen so completely for
Sam, jumped in feet first where she would usually have inched along. The
first time they kissed�both slightly drunk after a mission gone
horribly wrong�Janet felt Sam pull back and had surprised herself by
pursuing the contact.
Janet had wanted Sam for months, had wanted her more
than she�d wanted anything in a long time, and she had gotten her. And
now�well, Sam might be there with Janet, but the wall of silence made
the presence nearly equal absence.
Janet offered another profound sigh, feeling the weight
of depression settle firmly on her shoulders. She knew Sam was hurting
and she wanted to help. But for all she could tell, Sam didn�t want to
confide in even her.
Janet shook her head, blinking back sudden tears,
telling herself to stop acting like a selfish child. It didn�t work.
She tried reminding herself that Sam was an intensely private person
even when things were going well. That didn�t seem to lift her spirits
Janet felt Sam�s body shaking and she brought herself
out of her own thoughts enough to realize Sam was crying. The sobs
sounded soft and muffled, as if the woman was trying hard not to be
"Oh, Hon," Janet breathed, moving her hand
from Sam�s hair to rub gently at her back, "just let yourself
cry. You don�t have to be strong all the time."
The words seemed to open the proverbial floodgates. Sam
shifted in Janet�s arms, sliding up so that her head was buried in
Janet�s shoulder, and her arms wrapped around Janet�s waist so
tightly that the doctor momentarily wondered if she�d wind up with
bruises there. Sam�s whole body shook with harsh sobs, painful to
Janet held Sam close, stroking her back and her hair,
whispering soft sounds of comfort. Janet felt a perversely odd sense of
relief: not that she wanted Sam to be wracked with sorrow, but she felt
relieved that Sam seemed to be opening up and letting her in, albeit
She had known Sam a long time, and could barely remember
seeing the woman cry. Even in her profound depression after Jolinar�s
death, Sam had not broken down like this.
After what seemed like days, Sam�s sobs tapered down.
Janet was only vaguely aware that her shoulder was damp with the blonde�s
tears. She leaned forward and pressed soft kisses against Sam�s hair,
then shifted herself into more of a sitting position, pulling Sam with
Janet felt a sense of surprise at how pliant Sam was,
not resisting Janet�s resettling. Sam still had a vise grip around
Janet�s waist, and staccato hiccups interrupted her breathing. Janet
patted her back, hoping to ease the small spasms.
"I�m sorry," came a tiny, hoarse whisper
Janet leaned forward again and kissed the top of Sam�s
head, suddenly at a loss for words as conflicting emotions surged
through her. There was still the fear of losing Sam, the relief that Sam
had let down her guard, the anxiety about the depth of Sam�s despair,
and the somewhat out-of-place attraction to the vulnerable side of the
normally stoic woman.
Janet spoke carefully over the top of the blonde head.
"You don�t need to be sorry. I�m glad you�re letting down
your guard with me�your silence can be a little scary. I know it�s
been tough dealing with the news of your dad�s illness; I just wish I
could help somehow."
She could actually feel Sam�s body stiffen as she
spoke, and Sam�s low voice echoed a surprising note of anger.
"Tough�that�s a bit of an understatement."
Janet pulled away from Sam, leaning back, and she pried
Sam�s arms free from her waist. Janet�s fear won over her other
emotions and turned into a surge of anger at Sam�s apparent anger.
Sam sat up, shock-still as if she�d been slapped, and
the look of confusion crossing her tear stained face stood out clearly
for Janet to read. Sam�s question was a simple one. "What?"
Janet�s words sounded short and crisp. "I don�t
think it�s fair of you to be mad at me. I�ve been trying to help,
but you aren�t making it easy for me to do anything."
She watched Sam carefully, gauging the reaction,
noticing that her words served only to deepen Sam�s confusion. And
then the woman�s face crinkled into comprehension. "Oh God,
Janet, I�m not mad at you. God no! I�m so sorry�I didn�t mean�"
Sam broke off and her tears welled up again. Janet
exhaled quickly, suddenly feeling like she�d been kicked in the ribs.
Sam slid across to the other end of the couch and buried her head
against the couch arm.
"You should just get out of this relationship now�get
away from me," Sam sobbed hysterically. "I�m messing
everything up, I�m hurting everyone around me�and you are the last
person in the world I want to hurt, Janet."
Janet sat perfectly still, in shock at the outburst,
afraid that any move would be the wrong one. Her anger had dissolved,
her fear had fled, and now her concern for Sam became paramount.
Janet scooted over to sit pressed against Sam. Her voice
soft and soothing, Janet said, "I won�t pretend this has been
easy. It�s hard for me to feel shut out. But I understand that you�d
be angry about your father�s illness."
A sharp laugh, completely devoid of humor, greeted her
words. Sam sat up straight and faced Janet. "That�s just
it," she said bitterly. "I should be angry at the illness. But
I�m not. I�m angry at my dad."
Sam broke the glance and stared down at her lap,
knotting her fingers together tightly. "That sounds so horrible�I
mean, he�s dying and I�m mad at him. Maybe I really am a
cold-hearted bitch like some people say."
Janet felt her heart breaking at those last few words.
She knew better than anyone that Sam was anything but cold-hearted.
Janet reached out to cup Sam�s cheek, to turn the
woman to face her. Sam resisted looking at her, but Janet was
persistent. Sam�s red-rimmed blue eyes were unmasked and Janet could
read the mix of hope, anger, and sorrow reflected in them.
Janet felt tears welling up in her own eyes as she said,
"Hon, being angry at your dad does not make you a bad person."
Another sob escaped Sam�s throat and her words came
rushed, as if she could no longer hold her feelings in after Janet�s
simple reassurance. "I feel like he�s running off again. My whole
life he�s been gone when I needed him. I ended up feeling like a
parent to him�telling him over and over �yes, it�s ok�, �yes,
I understand�, �yes, I know your job is all important�. And now I
need a parent, someone to tell me it will be ok, and I don�t have
She buried her head against Janet�s shoulder.
"And I know it�s selfish of me. That�s what makes it
Janet�s tears flowed freely down her face, hearing the
anguish in her lover�s voice. "Oh Sam," she whispered,
rubbing the other woman�s back again.
Sam clutched tight to Janet. "I forgave him for all
the broken promises and I moved on. I went on to follow my own path. And
I thought I was over all that old pain. But when he showed up for the
medals ceremony, before he even told me he was sick, he was so insistent
that I follow his leading, that I pursue his dream for me.
"He was so oblivious to what I wanted and wasn�t
listening to what I said, that I ended up back in that same old place,
with all that hurt and resentment washing over me."
Janet could feel Sam tense in her arms as the blonde
continued in a bare whisper. "I didn�t want to tell you because I
The realizations clicked together in Janet�s mind and
with a sense of relief so sharp it made her gasp, Janet knew that Sam
had been distant not because she didn�t want to share with Janet, but
because she was scared of the potential response to her sharing.
Janet braced her hands on Sam�s shoulders and pushed
the woman gently back until she could stare into the blue eyes.
"The way your father has been acting, you have every right to be
angry with him."
Sam�s expression turned sheepish and she glanced down
apologetically. Janet read the unspoken thought, knowing Sam�s ability
to be unusually tolerant of the bad behavior of senior officers.
"I�m serious, Sam. Your childhood demons aside,
there�s the way he told about his illness, the way he�s using your
guilt to push you to follow his dreams, the way he�ll barely talk to
you. Hell, I�m angry and I haven�t even talked to the man!"
Sam still wouldn�t meet Janet�s eyes, but she
chuckled quietly. "You sound like a grizzly bear protecting her
Janet smiled at that, feeling glad for the small respite
from intense emotion. She leaned over to press a light kiss against Sam�s
temple. "Well, someone�s got to do it."
Sam raised her head and Janet saw the ghost of a smile
flit across the tear marked face. The next words flew out of Janet�s
mouth faster than thought�before she had time to consider the wisdom
of them. "Did you really think I wouldn�t understand? Is that why
you wouldn�t talk to me?"
Janet cursed herself quietly as a haunted look stole
over Sam�s face. The blonde spoke reluctantly. "It was partly
that--I didn�t know whether you would think I was horrible for being
angry. But it was mostly that I�m scared of losing you. You�re the
best thing to happen to me in a long time, and I�m scared of screwing
it all up�"
Janet felt her own surprise at the unintended confession
radiating outward, almost tangible. Apparently Sam felt the emotion; she
wrapped her arms around Janet and rested her head on Janet�s shoulder.
"God, Janet, I feel like an idiot. I should know by
now that I can trust in you."
Janet rested her head against Sam�s and confessed
quietly, "Well, I was scared of losing you, so I feel a little
stupid myself." She managed a terse chuckle. "I think we need
to work a little harder on communication."
She could feel Sam nodding her head in response. Janet
snuggled closer against her lover.
Sam�s voice grew pensive. "I am trying not to be
angry at my father. I really do want to be there for him�not that he
seems to want that."
Janet heard the threat of renewed tears in her voice,
and reached up to gently caress Sam�s cheek. "You�re doing the
best you can to be there for him, Sam. He has to meet you part way. I
know you don�t want to be angry, but you certainly have the right to
Janet paused, wanting desperately to reassure her lover.
"The fact that you are trying to be there for him, despite your own
feelings, shows a lot more maturity and compassion than you know."
She felt the tension drain out of Sam at the words and
she felt a rush of gratitude that she�d managed to say the right
Sam pressed a light kiss to the underside of Janet�s
jaw. "Thanks, Janet," she offered softly. "I really do
love you and I�m sorry that I�ve hurt you."
Janet placed a gentle kiss on Sam�s lips. "I love
Silence washed over them, punctuated only by the
crackling of the wood and the hiss of the flames. Janet realized that
just knowing Sam was as scared as she was made her feel a lot more
After a long while, Janet kissed Sam again and spoke
quietly. "You know, Sam, even if your father doesn�t seem proud
of the strong, caring, intelligent woman you are, I want you to know
that I am proud of you�and I�m glad to be a part of your life."
Another bout of tears greeted her sentence, but the look
on Sam�s face was anything but sad. And Janet smiled to herself,
knowing that these tears were ones she could fix.
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