Back From The Abyss by romansilence
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Category: Sam/Janet
Genres: Angst, Romance
Rated: Teen
Warnings: None
Series: None
Summary: Set in Season 8 - Sam has a hard time to deal with Janet's death. She drinks and neglects her work - until help comes from an unexpected source.

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Area 52: Back From The Abyss Back From The Abyss by romansilence 

Back From The Abyss

by

romansilence
(romansilence@yahoo.de)

Copyright: The characters of the shows "Stargate SG-1" don't belong to me but the lucky guys at Showtime Productions, Gekko et al. I just take them out to play. No copyright infringement is intended. No profit will be made. The story however is mine, archiving only with my permission.
Warning: This story depicts a loving relationship between two consenting adult women, there might even be a bit of a graphic description. So, if you're not old enough, please put this story on the backburner and come back later. I'd hate to repeat myself, but if two women loving each other is illegal where you live, you should seriously think of moving.
Pairing: Sam/Janet (established relationship)
Timeline: the first half of season eight, Heroes fix-it.
Thanks go as usual to my beta readers who did their magic to make this story sound good. Thanks, Pam, Mary, and Danielle (thanks for joining the team)!

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Summary: Samantha has a hard time dealing with Janet's death. She drinks and neglects her work until someone comes to help her.

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Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter stumbled through her living room, oblivious to the heaps of dirty clothing, empty beer cans and bottles littering her floor. She reached her bedroom and fell face first on the rumpled blanket without even bothering to remove her heavy biker boots. As soon as her head hit the mattress she began to snore loudly.

Her beloved hog sat hazardously in her driveway. It was dirt-encrusted and far from the pristine shine she usually kept up. It didn't even bother her that its sound was slightly off. It was one of the things she had let slide lately.

Mrs. Winters, the older woman living across the street, sadly shook her head at the sight. It was such a shame for the blonde woman. She was well-liked in the community, despite her strange work hours and her even stranger male friends. They even had forgiven the upheaval with the fire department and the people in the environmental suits a couple of years ago. She was friendly and open, always there when one needed help; at least she had been.

During the last few months, however, she had changed. She tried not to let it show, especially when the young dark-haired woman came to visit from college, the daughter of the female friend that had supposedly moved away to another state. The silent observer, however, recognised the deep pain in her eyes; she recognised the look of someone who had lost the better part of her soul. And she knew that no amount of compassion would help her. The strength to go on would have to come from inside of her.

~*~

The sun was already up when the blonde woke from her alcohol induced slumber; trying to get up she fell over her own feet and got herself a shiner when hitting the edge of her nightstand. She finally disentangled her long limbs from the confinement of her clothing and almost gagged at the smell of cold smoke and alcohol permeating the air.

Samantha somehow made it to the bathroom and climbed into the shower. The temperature was still on cold from her last binge; she turned the water on and after a few minutes began to feel slightly better. The percussion set in her head had gone from a loud cacophonous banging to a dull rasping. She dried herself; combed her short hair with her fingers, and felt ready for the day.

The blonde might have changed her mind had she taken the time to really look into the mirror. Her eyes were sunken in with dark shadows all around like a really poor make-up job. Her once vibrant blue eyes were shot through with red streaks; her skin was as pale as a white sheet.

She pulled on her last pair of almost clean BDU trousers and regulation T-shirt but didn't bother with socks for her combat boots. Five minutes later she was out of the door and on her way to the mountain.

As soon as her ID registered at the entrance, two SFs were at her side and escorted her firmly to General O'Neill's office where Daniel and Teal'c were already waiting. She didn't look any of them in the eye; they had often enough offered their help or a shoulder to cry on but their words sounded shallow and didn't reach the hollowness in her soul. Nothing ever would.

Samantha snapped to attention in front of O'Neill's desk but also avoided eye contact and looked past his shoulder. "You wanted to see me, Sir? Is there a new mission for us?"

"Carter, you look like death warmed over."

"Is this all you wanted to say, Sir? Good, then I'll go to my lab. I have work to do, Sir."

"No, you do not, Lieutenant Colonel. You're over two hours late. The report you gave me yesterday leaves a lot to be desired. You make stupid mistakes even a first year cadet would know to avoid. Until now I have been very lenient with you but enough is enough. You'll report to sick-bay immediately for a complete physical, the physical you dodged for the last three months, and then you'll go home and get your act together. I don't want to see you on the base until you snap out of it or get yourself some help, professional help. Do I make myself clear, Colonel Carter?"

A tiny part of her brain knew that her commanding officer was only worried about her; after all he still was a friend – but of all her friends his presence was hardest to take, and she really didn't want to allow herself to think about the reason why. He was alive and she was dead.

A fact that had not kept her from pestering Dr. Weir, the interim commander of the SGC, long enough to finally authorise the use of the Al'kesh O'Neill had modified while under the influence of the Ancients' device to bring him back.

Not only did the Asgard bring him back, they also managed to stop the Replicators for the time being – at the price of Samantha being tortured by Fifth. He had tortured her with images of Janet still being alive, of leading a happy, Stargate-free life somewhere in the country.

From the first moment, the false Janet's words had not sounded right. And finally she was able to break his hold on her. O'Neill was back but Janet was dead. She was dead and he was alive.

~*~

Jack had already tried almost all the weapons in his arsenal, the friend-routine, the big brother, the father but the stubborn blonde refused to open up to him or anyone else. This was his last weapon: address the soldier, not the woman.

He instinctively knew that it was military discipline that kept her together, however shaken; and he counted on her sense of duty to get the old Samantha Carter back.

His own experiences should have told him better.

Samantha knew exactly what the General was trying to do but she was determined not to play his game. She simply no longer cared for rank and regulations.

So, her answer was scathing and way out of line, "Fine, I'll go home, General, but concerning the infirmary, Sir, with all due respect, you can kiss my ass."

The blonde officer turned around and stormed off before any of the men had a chance to react at her unexpected words. O'Neill was dumbstruck; in all the years they had worked together she never had insulted a superior officer, not even in the direst of situations.

"Jack, I'm sure she..."

"Can it, Danny. What went on in this room, stays in this room. If anyone asks, tell them Colonel Carter was granted some leave. Tell them she's visiting the Dalai Lama in Timbuktu, or whatever."

"The Dalai Lama is in Paris at the moment, Jack, but I see your point. Do you think she will be okay?" The handsome archaeologist asked.

"Colonel Carter is a strong warrior. She will win this battle," said Teal'c.

"We can only hope, and if I would believe in a higher power I'd pray that it may help her through. She's at a dangerous point now," the grey haired General answered, leaving unsaid that he had been in her shoes once, and that his solution to the problem had been to try to nuke the entire population of a planet as well as himself. If not for Daniel and Skaara...

"I only wish she would have told me about their relationship; we could have handled the whole thing differently from the beginning."

"She didn't want to hurt you, Jack, and the military as a rule isn't exactly accepting of this kind of relationship."

~*~

Meanwhile the blond Lieutenant Colonel had reached the surface and climbed into her car. She drove directly to the next bar, and though until then she had been careful to avoid places frequented by SGC personnel, today she simply didn't care. So, she ended up in Murphy's Bar & Grill, and ordered a beer and a bottle of Tequila.

Samantha chose a booth at the back of the bar and put her wrist watch flat on the table. She gulped down Tequila shots in ten minutes intervals, not nine, not eleven, exactly ten minutes. A barely heard voice told her to go easy on the stuff or something like that. A plate with French fries and a burger was put in front of her but she ignored it as she ignored the beer.

The voice telling her to stop drinking was getting more insistent. A big hand tried to take the bottle away from her and she reacted on instinct. Her fingers closed to a fist and she hit the bulky owner of the bar with a hard, precise upper-cut. Mike stumbled back and landed hard on the floor. With the Tequila in her other hand, she left the bar on unsteady legs. When the bouncer tried to stop her, Mike told him to let her go but to make sure that she didn't try to drive. Then he called the base.

Samantha squinted her eyes at the offending sunlight. She staggered on aimlessly and finally came to a park where they often had taken Cassandra to play. She took a seat on the only empty swing and drank directly from the bottle.

She remembered the first time she had ended up here, the night after Cassandra had returned to college. Samantha was glad that the girl was strong enough to go on with her life, but it was so hard not to show her the pain that was eating her up inside. Then it had been a bottle of vodka, and she had thrown up after a few swallows. She had come a long way, some part of her thought sarcastically.

The blond woman continued to drink and ignored the reproachful glances and angry words of mothers afraid for their impressionable off-spring. Suddenly there was a hand on her arm and she looked up in the vaguely familiar face of a uniformed police man. They had met at one or the other of O'Neill's barbeques; he was one of his friends and neighbours. She searched her mind for a name but came up empty.

He gently made her stand up and guided her to his cruiser. Her bottle was almost empty; she was beyond caring, but was still surprised when they drove past the police station and he parked in her driveway.

"Go to bed, Colonel Carter. If I ever have to pick you up like this again, I'll have to report it to your commanding officer. Get some sleep!"

To her own surprise the door opened at the first try. She left the key in the lock, staggered inside, and collapsed on the couch.

~*~

"Oh, Sammy, what are you doing to yourself? My poor baby. You're hurting so much..."

It was a dream, nothing more. In the beginning she had dreamed that her lover would come back to her, that she would come home from saving the world and Janet would be there to take her in her arms. Later, she only saw the burned, lifeless body not even a Tok'ra healing device had been able to bring back to life.

But this seemed real. She heard Janet's soft voice; she felt her hand on her cheek. She felt at peace, for the first time in months, and she didn't want it to end. She even could smell her, the distinct scent of Chanel No. 19 and just Janet.

She didn't want to wake up to the reality of her loneliness. She wanted to stay in this dream world with the illusion of Janet's presence covering her with love and care. But something was pulling her out of it, slowly but irresistibly.

"Wake up, baby, we have to talk. I can't let you go on like this. Cassandra needs you; Daniel and Teal'c need you; O'Neill needs you; the world needs you."

"I need you more, Janet," the answer was clearly articulated but the blonde was still asleep. "Need you so much, but I got you killed. I should have been with you not with him. He should be dead not you."

"Samantha Elizabeth Carter, wake up this instant and open your eyes."

As always the voice of an angry mother worked like a charm on her lover; bloodshot blue eyes snapped open and immediately closed again at the sight of a wall of wavering white light.

"Look at me, Sammy. Open your eyes for me."

The blonde obeyed.

The white light was gone but Janet was sitting on the couch table, clad in her favourite denims and a simple light brown sweater that complemented the colour of her eyes.

Samantha's eyes widened and she instinctively moved to touch her lover but then her hand stopped in mid-movement, afraid the apparition would disappear.

Janet stretched out her own hand and put it on the blonde's cheek. The tip of her fingers touched the brightly coloured shiner and it slowly disappeared.

Samantha rolled from the couch and fell to her knees and started to cry, for the first time since P3X-666.

The small doctor took her in her arms and felt the depths of her lover's desperation; she felt Samantha's pain, the emptiness her death had left behind. She should have known better than to believe that the tall officer would be alright.

She should have looked behind the tough soldier act as she had done from the beginning, since the day a then Captain Samantha Carter had stood on her doorstep, fidgeting with the zipper of her leather jacket and trying to apologise for her behaviour during the Broca Divide.

She should have known that her soldier persona would carry her only so far before everything would crumble around her. She should have known that saving the world, and then saving O'Neill only would keep her going for a certain time. She couldn't let this go on any longer.

When the blonde finally was cried out, she asked, "I'm not dreaming?"

"No, my love, you're not dreaming."

"But you're dead."

"Not really, I ascended, and because I somehow did it without any help from Oma or anyone else; that's why it seemed as if my body still was there."

"I need a drink."

"No, Samantha, you don't. I won't let you destroy yourself. Initially I came here to say good-bye. The others think that I need to cut all my ties to my former life, but I will not leave you until you are alright."

"I'll never be alright without you, Janet."

New tears spilled from her eyes and once again the brunette held her tight – and deep inside she knew that her lover's words were true because all the knowledge and the wisdom of the Ancients the other Ascended offered had not been able to fill the empty spot in her heart or to make her forget about her loved one for even a moment.

~*~

Hours later the blonde woke in her bed, convinced that her tears and her conversation with her dead lover had been nothing but a dream. There was a cold, moist cloth on her forehead. She opened her eyes and blinked at the bright white light beside her that slowly transformed into the distinct form of her lover.

"It wasn't a dream?" she asked incredulously.

"No, my love, it wasn't a dream, but your house is a nightmare. We have lots of work to do."

"Work?"

"Yes, baby, but we'll take one step at a time. First you'll take a nice, hot shower, then we get you something to eat, and then you'll call O'Neill and apologise for whatever you said to him. He sounded really worried on the answering machine."

The blonde Colonel looked at her lover slack-jawed. "But how, how can you be here? Daniel said that the Ascended are not allowed to interfere with mortals."

"Let's just say that I took a leave of absence from being ascended for a while. Sooner or later I will have to go back but for now I'm here for you. The only restriction is that you are the only one that can see, hear, and touch me. No one else is to know, not even Daniel or Cassy."

"You're real? You're really here, for me?"

"Yes, my love, I'm as real as I'll ever get. And now get up. We'll take a shower; so I can see with my own eyes how much damage you already did to your body."

Samantha's answering smile was so full of pain that the small brunette couldn't help but take her in her arms and hold her tight. She rose and pulled the taller woman with her to the bathroom.

Under the shower she needed all her professionalism not to gasp at the gaunt form of her lover's body. Samantha was nothing more than skin and bone, as if she had not eaten right for weeks. It took them almost an hour to wash and find something clean to wear for the blonde.

Food was the next item on her mental list but there wasn't any; so she made Samantha call the nearest grocery store and order a couple of things. The blonde did as she had been told but never let the other woman out of her sight and constantly touched her.

She then hesitantly told about her summons to O'Neill's office and Janet convinced her to apologise. Snuggled in Janet's arms she called the base. Fortunately, Jack didn't make it too hard for her and told her to take all the time she needed to get back in working form. He also told her that he had taken care of Mike and that there wouldn't be any problems – provided she didn't let it happen ever again.

Under Janet's supervision she made a salad and a big, fluffy omelette and ate it. She even volunteered to throw out her stash of liquor bottles, and they spent the evening with something as mundane as doing laundry.

~*~

Samantha once again fell asleep on the couch and woke in her own bed in the early hours of the morning. She made it to the bathroom just in time to throw up what was left of her earlier meal. Her hands trembled when she tried to wipe her mouth, and Janet was there with a washcloth.

The brunette helped her back to bed and climbed in next to her but Samantha couldn't sleep. All she wanted was something to drink, one little drink – and she detested herself for her weakness. Half an hour later, the sun was about to rise, Janet told her to dress and go for a run. She told her that she had to get the alcohol completely out of her system before she could start to heal.

"Don't forget, when we're out there, you're the only one who can see me or hear me. To the others it will look as if you were talking to yourself; so be careful."

Samantha started on what once was her usual morning run but after a few hundred meters only she was completely winded.

"It's alright, baby. That was to be expected. You lost a lot of weight over the last few months. Your body took from your muscles what it couldn't get from you. It will take time before you're in top form. Stop running and just walk until your breathing returns to normal. We'll get through this."

"I can't believe that I let things slide like this. Until yesterday, I didn't even realise that I was living in a pigsty," the blonde answered disgustedly.

"You were hurting, my love; you still are. You didn't allow yourself to mourn. Don't be too hard on yourself. Now, try again and start slower."

It took them almost two hours to do the five miles circuit she usually ran in twenty to twenty-five minutes. She was angry with herself, but whenever she turned her head she found the gentle eyes of her beloved and they gave her strength to go on.

When she stepped out of the shower Samantha took a critical look at herself and for the first time in weeks she was sober enough to really see what was there.

She didn't like what she saw, not a bit. So, she also didn't offer any protest when Janet insisted on making her eat some gruel though she really detested the stuff. She also didn't protest when Janet made her take a nap and urged her to go for another round on her morning circuit in the afternoon.

~*~

The next few days followed roughly the same pattern. Samantha slept, ate, tried to improve her stamina, slept, cleaned up the house, the garage, and her bike, slept, ate, and tried to improve her stamina....

The blonde was sure that she never had worked this hard her entire life, not even during basic training or one of Teal'c's Jaffa self-defence training courses but Janet's steady presence made it bearable. A couple of times she even talked with Daniel on the phone to assure him that she soon would be alright, well at least better.

Two weeks passed and she slowly regained most of her strength. She even had bought a bottle of scotch, had poured herself a small glass, and had not felt even the slightest wish to drink it. But she also knew that this had next to nothing to do with the mysterious strength she might have gained. It only had to do with Janet, with her soft voice, her encouraging brown eyes, her strong arms.

Two things incessantly popped up in her mind. Janet soon would have to leave her, and then she would be alone again. She didn't want to be alone again. Janet was her strength – and Janet was her life. She didn't want to lose her. She was not strong enough.

They spent every night cuddled closely together. The small doctor held her in her arms; she chased away her nightmares; she made her feel whole again.

Samantha wanted to be strong for her beloved, but she knew she was not. She dreaded the moment Janet would have to return to the other Ascended. She dreaded the moment she would once again be all alone; and she didn't want her beloved to know about her fears.

~*~

Janet knew. She felt her lover's fears and pain like her own; and the doctor knew what her heart told her to do. She also knew that the others never would let her stay.

They had been very clear about it, after they had calmed down about the fact that she didn't immediately return to them after making what they called 'her last good-bye' to her lover. For people seeking enlightenment, the tiny part of her voice influenced by the former Colonel O'Neill piped up, they were awfully worried about the reaction of the mortals.

She didn't want her beloved to be alone. She didn't want Samantha to suffer.

~*~

"Sammy, I want you to promise that you will not try to drown your pain in alcohol. I don't want you to drink at all."

"I don't want you to go, Janet."

"And I don't want to go, my love, but I don't have a choice."

Samantha felt the desperation in her lover's voice. She closed her arms around the firm body and held her tight, desperately trying to hold her own anxiety at bay.

"I want your promise, Samantha."

"I promise, but I still don't want to lose you, my love."

The blonde held her partner and she longed to make love to her but unfortunately this was the second condition on which the other Ascended had insisted. They seemed to be afraid that the bond between the mortal and the newly Ascended would be further strengthened by it. She would honour her lover's wish to respect their wishes – but it was so hard.

Every night Samantha tried to stay awake as long as she could. She didn't want to miss one second with her beloved.

It was so hard, but she would take what she could get. She didn't want to think about the future.

~*~

Janet, on the other hand, couldn't help but think about the future of her partner. She knew Samantha would do her best to keep her promise but she also knew that it would take more than that for her to not only survive but to lead a happy and productive life.

The astrophysicist needed her, on more than one level, just as much as she needed the blonde.

So, the day Samantha managed to run the five miles' circuit in twenty-six minutes, she saw joy and desperation warring against each other in the blonde's face.

Physically her lover was ready to go off world again – and that was what the other Ascended had wanted in the first place, that was why they had turned a blind eye on her blatant disobedience. They wanted her out there, on the front lines.

~*~

Samantha stretched out on the bed and Janet started to massage her back, just as they had done every day since her unofficial return. They both knew that this would be their last night together.

The blonde felt her lover's hands on her back and revelled in the touch. She wanted to commit every little detail to memory. She felt complete and she never wanted to forget this feeling.

"Turn around and open your eyes for me. Let me see these baby blues."

Samantha didn't need a second invitation. Her eyes drank in the sight of her lover and her heart skipped a beat. The brown sweater and the jeans were gone. Janet was naked for the first time since her re-appearance. She just had to touch the slightly tanned flesh.

Janet kissed her, and it was not the chaste goodnight kiss they usually shared; it was full of passion and need – and she responded in kind. They lost themselves in the other lips, and when Janet's fingers intertwined with her own it was as if they never had been apart.

The blonde pulled the shorter woman on top of her, skin touching skin. Janet's right leg was between her thighs and pressed against her centre. The need to just abandon herself to the sensation was overwhelming. The small doctor broke their heated kiss just long enough to whisper, "Come for me, my love."

Blue eyes widened but before she obeyed, she entered Janet's sex with two fingers of her right hand and brought them both over the edge by stroking the brunette's engorged clit.

She rolled them over, braced herself on one arm and started to suckle a hard nipple while her fingers were still embedded in her lover's core. It was a far cry from the unhurried and gentle love-making they had shared before Janet's death but with its primal strength it seemed to address a need in both of them.

The newly Ascended arched her hips against Samantha's hand but she wanted more, she wanted to taste the blonde, and with some manoeuvring and a lot of experience she soon had turned around. She pressed the knees to the right and left of her ears further apart and put a pillow under her head. She playfully blew on her lover's nether lips and was rewarded with a harsh intake of breath and the mirroring of her actions.

She smelled and saw Samantha's arousal and dived in to lap it all up. She didn't want to lose one cherished drop. It was intoxicating and she wanted to extend the experience as long as possible; so, she carefully avoided the clit and didn't penetrate further than the inner labia. She was rewarded with more juices.

Janet almost levitated when she felt teeth gently grazing her own clit; a tongue circled the sensitive bud. She was ready to explode and in reaction turned her attention to the blonde's pulsing bundle of nerves. Her whole body began to tingle and she felt the same tension in Samantha's longer frame.

They came together.

~*~

Samantha half expected to be alone when she woke up to the first rays of sun falling on her face but there was no mistaking the comfortable weight of her lover's body half draped against her with her head resting on her shoulder. She couldn't believe her luck and didn't dare to move for fear of ending this dream come reality too soon.

A few minutes later Janet also woke and kissed the side of her breast. The others were calling her but she was reluctant to go. She didn't want to go.

"Will you be alright, Sammy?"

"Yes, I think so. I will miss you. When I thought that you were dead I felt only emptiness where my love for you once had been but now this love is back, and nothing will ever chase it away again. I know you always will be there for me. You always will be in my heart. I love you, my Jan."

"I love you too, and I promise that one day we will be together again."

Janet's body changed back to its energy form and she disappeared.

Samantha pressed a pillow against her face and inhaled deeply. She looked at the crumpled bed and realised that she would have to change the sheets if she didn't want the room to smell like a brothel. Resigning herself to the inevitable she got up. It was easier than she had feared.

The blonde went for her run; she went for a second slower round because she dreaded the empty house. She opened the door to the kitchen, switched the coffee-maker on, and waited for the walls to close in on her but nothing happened.

She took a shower and expected to miss Janet's loving touch, but all she felt was love. She analysed the feeling from all angles and suddenly knew that she had not lied to her beloved earlier. The knowledge of their love would get her through everything.

~*~

After breakfast she called the base and made an appointment with General O'Neill. She was ready to go back to work and to face her friends, her family.

At 10h30 sharp she knocked on his door and ten minutes later SG-1 was back in business and scheduled for a jump the next day.

Teal'c welcomed her back in his usual stoic manner and told her that she looked well rested. Daniel on the other hand had a lot of questions she couldn't answer but in the end her heartfelt, strong embrace and clear eyes were all the answers he needed.

The old Samantha Carter was back; the only thing that had not changed was her relationship with the new CMO (or lack thereof). Though she now dutifully let herself be checked out, she somehow always managed to get one of the other doctors to do it. The voice of reason told her that she was not fair to the woman; she was a good doctor but her heart insisted. She was not Janet. A week after her return she even apologised for her behaviour and got a tiny smile out of her.

~*~

It was late at night when Samantha opened the front door of her house. She was bone tired and mentally exhausted after the mess with Alec Colson and settling him in a new life at the Alpha Site he did not really want but had accepted as his only choice. The blonde was looking forward to a day off she intended to spend with her laptop in the backyard.

The lights in the living room were on and soft music was playing. She didn't sense any danger but instantly was completely alert and drew her weapon. Someone was lying on the couch, covered with a blanket and sleeping. The body was too small to be Cassandra and the young woman would not be back from College for the next three weeks.

Her heart was beating at a staccato rhythm. No, it couldn't be. Janet was gone; she was with the Ascended. She gently tucked the blanket back and froze in mid-movement.

Dozens of questions were running through her overactive mind but for the moment she would not question her luck. She just knelt on the floor and looked at her lover's face. She gently put a strand of hair out of the brunette's eyes and revelled in the feeling of the warm, vibrant skin.

Janet stirred under her soft touch; she turned her head and kissed the palm of her hand. Brown eyes opened and drank in the loving expression on the blonde's face.

"Welcome back home, Sammy!"

Samantha was frozen on the spot and her voice barely above a whisper. "How long can you stay?"

"As long as you want me to, Sam. They sent me back for good; I'm human again, mostly."

The second part of the statement was completely lost on Samantha. She pulled the smaller woman in her arms, held her tight, and whispered over and over again, "You came back to me. You came back to stay!?"

"Sam, Sammy, let me down. There's more you'll have to know."

"I know all I need to know, Jan. You came back to me. I want to hold you and never let go. I missed you so much, my love."

"I missed you too, baby."

They both had tears glistening in their eyes. Simply looking at their beloved was overwhelming; holding the other woman in their arms made their heart about to burst for joy. Their feelings were so raw – it hurt.

Samantha's stomach chose this moment to complain its emptiness and Janet's quickly joined in. That sobered them up and they both burst out laughing and took their reunion to the kitchen where Janet found enough supplies to prepare a simple meal.

The blonde sat at the table and followed Janet's every move with her eyes. Every now and again she stood up, circled the smaller woman's waist and stole a kiss.

The brunette recognised her partner's need to make sure that she was real and that this was not a dream, so, she decided to postpone their talk to the next day, there were more important things to do, in the bedroom.

~*~

Samantha woke with a head snuggled against her shoulder, her legs pinned down by another leg, and a hand resting protectively on her stomach. They had made love 'til the early hours of the morning and the blonde was slightly surprised that the digital clock on the nightstand only indicated 10h15.

She sighed contentedly; Janet was back. She could feel that her lover was awake and that she was nervous. A dreadful suspicion took hold of her and she fearfully asked, "Please tell me that you are really back to stay. You won't leave me?"

"No, my love, I will not leave you, never again. We have many happy years ahead of us."

"Then why are you so tense? What is wrong?"

Janet sat up and took her lover's right hand between her own. "There's no easy way to tell you." She took a deep breath. "I remember everything I learned about the Ascended, all the knowledge I gained is still there, and I still have some limited healing powers. To be frank, I feel rather uneasy about this."

The soldier and the scientist reeled at the possibilities but the woman knew that her lover now needed reassurance more than anything. "Then it might be better if we kept it between us, at least for the moment. General O'Neill will have to know sooner or later but we don't know whom else we can trust. I'll be there for you, should this knowledge start to trouble you."

Janet kissed the blonde. "You always know what to say to still my fears, my love. But there's more and I really don't know how you'll take it."

"Janet, I love you. Nothing you say will ever change this." Samantha pulled the smaller woman in her arms. "Just tell me, baby, and everything will be alright."

"Here goes nothing: When I was here the last time, the others told me that we should not make love because it would be too hard for us when I had to go. It turned out that it was not the whole truth. It had a side effect, so to speak."

Janet took a deep breath, closed her eyes and rushed out the words, "When we made love I got you pregnant."

Samantha put her free hand on her flat tummy and looked down on it with disbelieving eyes. "Pregnant?"

"They said it can happen when the essence of an Ascended comes in contact with the essence of a mortal, theoretically. To their knowledge there never was such a union."

"They sent you back to help me raise the child of our union. I have to thank them," Samantha answered dreamily, turning her attention from her stomach to her lover.

"That's all you have to say?" Janet asked incredulously.

"No, my love. We'll have to redecorate the second bedroom. We'll need a nursery."

"You are not angry with me? They said that you would be angry."

"I love you, Janet. Do you have any idea what a great gift this is? You gave me the one thing I thought I could never have, a child with your eyes and your beautiful smile and your big heart. You couldn't have given me a greater gift, my love."

"Oh, Sammy, I love you so much."

~*~

Samantha had been given the day off and called in to take a few more days of leave. O'Neill was worried at her request, he seemed afraid that she would fall back in her earlier depression but she convinced him that she was alright and wanted to use the additional days to visit with Cassandra. And that was really what they did. The young woman should be the first to hear their good news, though it still was far from official.

Cassandra nearly burst Samantha's eardrum with her shriek of surprise, first when she saw her mother and then when she heard the news about her baby sister growing inside of her blonde hero. She also had news for them. She told them that she would transfer to Colorado Springs at the end of the semester to finish her studies, and that she wanted to join the Air Force Academy after finishing her master's degree in physics.

After some convincing from Janet, Samantha used her considerable reputation to get Cassandra's professors to let her send in the last of her papers from Colorado Springs and smooth her transition to the local university by phoning their colleagues.

Only then the young woman admitted that she had fled to Denver in an effort to cope with her mother's death but despite the new experiences and all the new friends she had made, the only place she felt at home were the laboratories. And the only things to which she really had been looking forward to had been the visits with Samantha.

When asked why she never had told the blonde she simply smiled. "I knew you were hurting, Sam. I heard you crying yourself to sleep; I heard your nightmares. You were trying so hard not to let me see it but I was a reminder of everything you lost. I didn't want to make it harder for you."

Janet hugged both of her girls and told them that they were big dumb geniuses and that she had her work cut out with caring for them, especially with a third one on the way.

~*~

So, the tall brunette packed up her things, said good-bye to her friends; and three days later they were back home. They invited Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c to an early dinner the next day, officially to celebrate Cassandra's return to Colorado Springs.

The blonde came right to the point as soon as the men had taken their seats. "Let's get the official part over with. Sir, Jack, I have to resign from my position with SG-1."

"What?! For crying out loud, Carter, I thought you got your act together..."

"Please, Uncle Jack, let Sam finish what she has to say." Cassandra interrupted with a wide grin.

"Sir, I only intend to resign from active field duty but if you let me I'll still be at the base and work from there. I just won't go through the Stargate anymore, at least not for a while. I'm pregnant, and we don't want to risk the baby."

Her declaration was met with complete silence. Even Teal'c was speechless but he was the first to regain his composure,

"Congratulations, Colonel Carter. I'm happy for you, Samantha."

"Thanks, Teal'c."

"Holy shit, Carter, who's the lucky guy? I thought you and the..."

"The father?" Samantha's smile rivalled a Cheshire cat's. "Would you please come out, baby? They want to meet you."

Janet stepped out of the kitchen and Jack crashed with a loud thumb on top of the couch table. Teal'c was instantly on his felt and engulfed the small doctor in a bear hug. He had a single tear glistening in his right eye; Daniel was dumbstruck and then snapped into full-fledged babbling mode.

Cassandra helped Jack up; he also hugged Janet and burst out with a lot of questions.

"Please have a seat, Sir, we'll tell you all we know."

That, however, was not exactly true. They had decided to tell the men that Janet occasionally had flashbacks to her time with the Ascended, just like Samantha had with Jolinar. The fact that she could access most her memories at will would stay their secret for the time being. Should the wrong people hear about that she would become the prime target for the Trust or any other rogue organisation. Even if she told them everything she knew it would not be enough.

The small brunette had learned a lot while ascended but, as she had explained to her lover, her emotional ties to the world of the mortals, her love for Cassandra and Samantha, even her concern for her former charges at the SGC had kept her from sharing all of their knowledge. One had to be completely detached to do this and though to their surprise she had ascended on her own she was anything but detached.

Jack listened carefully to their story, leaving the clarifying questions to Daniel. He studied the women's body language, especially Samantha's. Suddenly he was struck by the revelation that only now, for the first time since this fateful day on P3X-666, his former second-in-command was back to her old self and truly happy – and he wanted her to stay that way.

So, the next day, he got to work and had Janet reinstated as the old and new Chief Medical Officer; her successor conveniently had just quit because she couldn't stand the stress and the danger. Samantha was named official head of the science teams on base. A job that would give her the administrative experience she would need to first become his official XO at the base and then his successor.

Dealing with the Pentagon had been relatively easy. His video conference with the oval office, however, though considerably shorter, took much more effort on his part. Diplomacy was still not his forte but in the end he convinced President Hayes to issue a special dispensation allowing the two seasoned officers to get married.

~*~

Seven months later, Rebecca Marie Carter-Fraiser was born; and when old Mrs. Winters now looked at her blonde neighbour's house there was a smile on her face.

THE END

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