-- Three --
A few minutes later, she was standing in front of Colonel Butler's door knocking softly. It was opened shortly, Butler's face peaking out from beneath a towel she was using to dry her hair.
"Major, come in," Kathryn said as she made room for Sam to enter.
Sam took in Butler's robe, which seemed to barely conceal the body beneath. She tried to look away discretely as the Colonel continued to dry her hair.
"What can I do for you, Major?" Kathryn asked as she pulled the towel away to find Carter looking discretely away.
"I know you have to go on a jump in the morning, Ma'am, but I thought I would stop in and see if you would like to go get something to eat. It would give you a chance to get off the base for a little bit," Sam responded.
"Actually, I think that is an outstanding idea, Major. Just give me a few minutes to get dressed and we can head out," Kathryn said, smiling. Kathryn pulled some clothes out of a bag sitting on the floor and disappeared into the bathroom.
Sam let out a small breath as Butler exited the room. She was surprised at the amount of nervousness Butler's presence caused in her.
Kathryn returned to the room wearing an outfit that almost mirrored Sam's. She could feel her gaze on her as she moved around the room putting away a few items before pronouncing herself ready.
"Alright then, How do you feel about pizza?" Sam asked as they made their way to the elevator.
"It's one of my favorite food groups," Kathryn admitted with a grin.
"Great I know this place in town that has the best pizza in the state. I take Cassie there all the time," Sam said not mentioning that Janet was a regular on those trips.
They made the short journey into town in good time. Their conversation centered on general topics. Sam explained much of the community as they started passing through the town. She pointed out the local theater along with the large mall that had just been recently built. A few minutes later they were pulling into a crowded parking lot lit by a large neon pizza sign.
Kathryn looked up at the sign grinning as she exited. "I guess this is the place,"
Sam followed her gaze and laughed. "I guess its kind of obvious isn't it,"
They entered the crowded pizza parlor looking for an empty table. A waitress emerged from the crowd to guide them to an empty booth in the back.
Kathryn took in the mass of customers. They had to have good pizza to pull in this kind of crowd on a weeknight. She slid into the booth across from Sam as she picked up the menu.
She was amazed at the variety of toppings offered on the menu. She looked up to Carter raising her eyebrows. "I see I don't have to worry about not being able to get what I want," she commented dryly.
Carter met her comment with a grin. She looked back down at the menu trying to make a decision on what to recommend.
"What do you normally get?" Kathryn asked.
"Well, normally we get a Vegetarian Supreme with extra cheese. But I can eat almost anything.
"What looks good to you?" Sam replied.
Kathryn looked over the list of items on the Vegetarian before answering. "That looks good to me,"
"Ok then, one veggie supreme."
Their waitress reappeared just as they had decided.
"We'll have a large veggie supreme and I'll have a draft, and you Colonel?" Carter asked.
"I'll have a draft also," Kathryn spoke up as she handed her menu over to the waitress.
Their drinks appeared within a few minutes. As Kathryn took a sip of her beer she surveyed the crowd around them. It seemed to be a mix of teens and local townspeople combined with personnel from the base. She was interrupted by a question from Carter.
"So, how are you enjoying your new assignment so far, Colonel?"
"Major, I think you can call me Kate, while we are away from the base," she offered with a smile.
"All right, Kate, call me Sam," She replied.
"Well, aside from the unexpected pace I am enjoying things rather well. I had hoped to get moved into the house that I had rented before I was to occupied with work. That seems to be out of the question now. Which reminds me I was supposed to be there tomorrow so the movers could deliver my things. I guess I'll have to reschedule," she said regretfully.
"I have tomorrow off Col -- Kate. If you wouldn't mind I could meet the movers for you," Sam offered.
"That would be great. It is really a pain getting them pinned down to a time to start with. I really didn't want to go through setting up another appointment. I tell you what, dinner is on me," Kate said.
She held up her hand as Sam protested. "I don't want to hear it, Major, you will be saving me from a huge headache. It's the least I can do."
Sam nodded her head, knowing that arguing would be fruitless. "Where is the house you rented?"
"Actually, it's not to far from here. I can show you where it is on the way back to the base," Kate said as she took another sip of her beer.
"That'll work for me. What time is the appointment tomorrow?" she asked.
"They promised sometime between 10 and 1800. Which of course probably means they will show up around 1759." Kate joked.
Sam laughed at the look that accompanied Kate's comment. She found herself fully relaxing for the first time since returning to duty.
"You should do that more often, Sam," Kate said softly.
"Laugh, you have a beautiful smile," Kate complimented her.
Sam felt herself blushing at the comment. "Thank you," she responded shyly.
Kate was amused to find that she had embarrassed the major with her compliment. The delightful shade of pink spreading over her features was very attractive. "So how have you enjoyed your time here?" Kate asked, moving to a neutral topic.
"It's been more than I could have ever imagined. From my teammates to my assignments. I can't think of anywhere else I would rather be....." Sam trailed off as her attention focused on a point over Kate's shoulder.
"Sam," Kate turned to see what had caught her attention. Across the room Janet Fraiser and a young girl were following a waitress to an empty booth. Just as they were about to sit, Fraiser's eyes drifted their way. She stopped as she spied Sam and then visibly stiffened as she took in Kathryn's presence.
OH Boy, Kathryn thought. That reaction had told her all she needed to know as far as how the Doctor would view her interest in Carter.
The young girl turned her head to see what had captured Fraiser's attention. She was out of her seat in a second when she spotted Sam.
"Sam, what are you doing here?" Cassie asked as she gave her an enthusiastfic/stargate/michelle/nolootic hug.
"This is Colonel Butler, Cassie. She is new to the base so I thought I would show her the best place to get a pizza," Sam said as Cassie sat down next to her.
She looked up as Janet approached the table. Her expression was neutral and Sam was unsure of what to make of her reaction.
"Hey Janet, we just ordered a little while ago. Would you and Cassie like to join us?" Sam knew her question was moot because Janet would never be able to explain to Cassie her refusal.
"Sure, as long as Cassie has no objection," Janet said playfully.
Cassie merely rolled her eyes, not willing to dignify the jest with a comment.
Sam smiled as she gave Cassie a quick hug, moving further into the booth so that she could take a seat comfortably. She watched as Kate moved so that Janet could take the seat next to her.
"So, what are you two doing out on a school night?" Sam inquired.
"Well, Cassie why don't you tell Sam," Janet said, looking over at her adopted daughter.
"Guess what, Sam?" Casie said as she shifted in her seat excitedly.
"What?" Sam asked, a grin rising at Cassie's excitement.
"I got all A's for the semester, even in math," she all but shouted.
"That's great," Sam said, sharing another hug her as Cassie bounced excitedly next to her.
"That is a reason to celebrate on a school night," Sam said, sharing a smile with Janet over Cassie's accomplishment.
Kathryn watched the comfortable exchange between the three and felt like an outsider. The hint of a bond she thought she had seen between Carter and Fraiser was magnified in the presence of their young charge. She didn't miss the warmth in the shared look between the two women either.
"So, Colonel, how are you enjoying the base so far?" Janet asked, trying to make some sort of conversation while Sam and Cassie traded stories of their week.
"Call me Kate, Dr. Fraiser. I mean, you have seen me naked after all," Kate said with a laugh before continuing. "Actually Sam just asked me that same question. I was telling her that it has been a little more fast paced than I expected, but I was enjoying my new assignment," she finished.
Janet did not miss the fact that Butler seemed to have moved on to a first name basis with Sam. She felt her temper rising while she fought to keep it in check. "That's good, Colonel, I am sure you'll be glad to cutback to single duties once Colonel O'Neill returns," Janet continued trying to prolong the conversation until Cassie and Sam decided to rejoin them.
Kathryn was aware of Fasier's slight as she continued to address her formally. If she didn't know better she would think that these two were together. But instinct told her no and usually she went with a gut feeling.
"No, actually I am enjoying command of SG-1. As a matter of fact it comes with some outstanding fringe benefits," she said as she directed a pointed look to Sam.
She watched as her comment scored a direct hit. A wave of red crept up Fraiser's neck although she was sure it was due to anger and not embarrassment.
Janet was furious at the comment Butler had directed at Sam. She fought down the overriding desire to throttle the woman next to her as she looked over at Sam. She was oblivious to the tension rising across the table. Cassie had managed to draw her into an animated recitation of one of her least favorite teachers, which had Sam's struggling not to laugh.
Kate was watching as Fraiser struggled to keep her anger in check. Kate thought she would have gotten up and left if it wasn't for her young charge across the table.
She felt a slight pang of remorse for her actions. She had intentionally yanked Fraiser's chain. Whatever was going on between Carter and the doctor was beginning to wear on her nerves. Of course, she had never been patient when it came to getting things she wanted. She wanted Sam Carter, but first she needed to know if she was available.
Janet found herself unable to deal with the woman next to her. If she could manage it she would just collect Cassie and leave. Instead she took a deep breath and counted to ten before breaking into their conversation. "So, how was you first day back Sam?" she asked.
Sam looked up from Cassie surprised that Janet had interrupted her. One look at Janet's face told her she had missed something. It wasn't very often you were privileged enough to see Janet angry. She looked over to Kate and found only a slight smile tugging at the corner of her lips. She redirected her attention to Janet's question. "Actually, pretty boring, nothing much happened," Sam answered.
The rest of the meal continued with Cassie probing Kate for more information than Janet cared to know about the colonel. She managed to make it through a slice of pizza and her tea despite the protests of her stomach. She caught Sam giving her questioning looks every so often.
Sam watched Janet as Cassie occupied Kate. Something had happened between the two of them and it was bothering Janet a great deal. Normally, she ate the most out of the three of them when they came here. Tonight, however, she was barely touching her food. Sam decided to call it a night so that Janet could get out of here.
The foursome walked out to the parking lot together. Sam handed her keys to Kate and walked Cassie and Janet to their car. She gave Cassie a quick hug before placing her in the car and turning to Janet.
"What's wrong? What happened back there that I missed?" Sam asked.
"I don't care for Colonel Butler. That's all. I don't like.." Janet paused.
"Don't like what?" Sam prodded.
"I don't think she is a good person to spend time with, Sam. Just keep an eye out," Janet requested.
"An eye out for what?" Sam responded, slightly confused by the turn in the conversation.
"I'm tired, Sam. I am going to go. I'll see you tomorrow maybe lunch?" Janet asked as she gave Sam a brief hug.
"Sure, wait no... I told Kate that I would meet her movers tomorrow since the General saddled her with SG-3," Sam explained.
Janet felt herself stiffen at the mention of Sam's plans. "Fine, maybe sometime later in the week," Janet continued as she pulled away and stepped into the car.
Sam continued to stand there more confused than ever. Janet clearly did not like her plans for tomorrow. Sam watched in frustration as Janet pulled out of the restaurant's parking lot. This was making no sense to her. Janet was acting more like a jealous girlfriend than anything else.
But if she had any feelings for me she would have told me when I bared my soul, Sam reasoned.
Sam gave up on trying to figure out what was going on and returned to her vehicle. She would talk to Janet when she got a chance until then there was no point in worrying.
Kate watched from across the parking lot as Sam bid goodnight to Fraiser and Cassie. The set of Sam's shoulders seemed to slump a little as their car pulled away. She maintained her stance for a few minutes until the car was out of sight.
Kathryn thought over their night as Sam moved back across the parking lot. That Fraiser really didn't like her after tonight was a foregone conclusion. She had regretted infuriating Fraiser after she remembered she was the CMO. Not a bright move by anyone's standard's and she new better.
She looked on as Sam slid into the seat taking the offered keys. "What did you say to her?" Sam demanded quietly as she started the car.
* * * * * * * *
Kathryn finished going over the last of the mission objectives with SG-3 as they waited for the control room to start the dial up. She pulled her watch from her pocket and strapped it on her wrist.
She had been running late this morning and had thrown a few things into her pockets as she hurried out of her room. Oversleeping was not usual for her but her night had been restless.
When they had left the restaurant last night Sam had probed her for the cause of Janet's irritation. Kathryn had managed to side step most of the questions trying to convince Sam she was clueless to the reason behind her dislike.
Of course, Kathryn was all too aware she had stepped over the line with the doctor. She knew she had been wrong pushing the woman's buttons regardless of that little voice that kept trying to justify her actions. She was going to have to figure out a way to mend fences with Fraiser.
Right this minute her only concern was getting through this mission. Sam was at her house waiting for the movers and if she was lucky they would get back from the mission and finish the briefing in time for her to meet her out there. She pulled herself out of that thought as the last chevron locked into place and the gate activated. She flinched slightly, still unused to the effect. She led her team up the ramp to their next mission.
* * * * * * * * *
Sam sat at Butler's house waiting for the movers to finally arrive. She had wandered around early on as she waited and found herself thinking about dinner last night. She had not understood Janet's reaction to Kathryn, but had tried to understand as she had listened to Kathryn's explanations.
The house was empty awaiting the arrival of its occupant's belongings. She looked out the patio doors taking in the large patio along with the pool. This was an extremely large house combined with the many extras. The advantage of being stationed in an area so small was that you could get an extremely nice home for an affordable price.
The house echoed as she walked through it and she wondered when the movers would manage to get here. She paused again as she thought of Butler. She held a commanding presence almost without effort. When Sam thought about it Daniel hadn't even mentioned having her take command of SG-1. He had to be impressed to have decided to follow without comment. Teal'C also had not exhibited his usual lack of disregard for temporary command officers. If Teal'C had decided that Butler was an acceptable officer that spoke volumes of the woman.
Sam took a seat on the porch thinking about the woman who had just recently entered her life. For some reason Janet had formed a low opinion of the Colonel. Sam tried to pinpoint the exact reason but finally gave up unable to understand. She heard a rumble moving down the road as she checked her watch. She looked up surprised to find the movers actually on time.
* * * * * * * * * *
SG-3 stepped back through the gate a little more ragged then when they had left. They stumbled down the ramp and into the care of the medical teams. Kathryn did her best to get down the ramp while favoring her ankle.
Janet watched as SG-3 entered the gate room. She had received a call to report to the gate room for injuries to personnel. Her staff was already removing the rest of the team while Colonel Butler made an attempt to get to the end of the ramp. Janet met her halfway up assisting her the rest of the way down.
"I thought you were going to stay out of my infirmary, Colonel," Janet said as she tried to take some of the weight off the injury.
"Well, Doc, your winning personality has got me coming back for more," Kathryn winced as she relinquished her gear to one of the support personnel before leaving the gate room.
Janet didn't know if Butler had been joking or it was another personal jab she had just thrown. She gave her the benefit of the doubt as she watched a grimace cross her face. Janet motioned to one of the personnel across the room and a wheelchair appeared within seconds. Janet helped Butler into it before continuing their journey to the infirmary. "So, Colonel, what happened to your leg?" Janet questioned.
"Apparently, the natives didn't care for my diplomatic style. Of course they never bothered to take the time to listen in the first place. One of them got me in the leg with a damn spear or whatever the hell it was." Kathryn answered as she looked down fingering the long gash in her pants. She gripped the arm of the chair as she felt a waive of dizziness wash over her.
Janet missed none of Butler's reactions and frowned. "Colonel, aside from the leg wound, how are you feeling?" she probed.
"Like I'm going to lose my breakfast," Kathryn answered weakly.
They had arrived at the infirmary and Janet assisted Kathryn out of the chair and onto a table. She had broken out in a sweat although she was freezing. When the chills hit her she knew something was wrong.
"Johnson, I want a rush on the colonel's blood tests from the lab. I also want the entire team checked out thoroughly for any sign of exposure to anything. Until they are cleared this infirmary is off limits to all personnel, including the general," Janet ordered as she turned back to Butler to get the sample to send to the lab.
"Well, Colonel, I'm afraid the natives might have used something on their weapons. Probably some form of plant indigenous to the area than would help take down their prey. I wish I had the weapon so I could test it for the contaminant," Janet said.
"Well, you're in luck Dr. Fraiser. It wasn't built to well and the head ended up stuck. I didn't want to pull it out in case it was lodged in a sensitive position," Kathryn explained.
Janet grabbed a pair of scissors and sliced open the uniform pants. The head of the weapon stuck out barely a quarter of an inch. She was unable to judge the depth of the intrusion by visual inspection. She motioned one of her staff over as she moved back to the head of the bed.
"Colonel, I really wish you would have mentioned it was still in your leg earlier. I am going to have to X-Ray it and see how deep it is before I attempt its removal. I'm sorry I can't give you anything for the pain until I find out what is in your system," Janet explained.
Kathryn nodded her head as she felt a new wave of chills run through her. She closed her eyes trying to imagine somewhere warm.
"Colonel, Colonel," Janet said as she shook Kathryn until she opened her eyes. "You can't go to sleep. I want you to concentrate on staying awake."
Kathryn struggled to obey Janet's orders as she felt herself moved. The world around her was becoming a blur as the need for sleep tried to over take her.
Janet rushed the X-Rays wanting to remove the foreign object as soon as possible. She hadn't wanted to leave Butler alone at this point because it was taking constant prodding to keep the Colonel conscious.
She checked over the film relieved that it appeared there would be no trouble removing the object. It appeared to have slipped neatly between the two muscles. It should slip out smoothly with little damage.
Janet had a tech working on keeping Butler occupied while she numbed the area and removed the object. She gave a once over before dropping it in a pan to be sent to the lab. She flushed out the wound advising the Colonel of her actions as she went.
She was in the process of stitching up the wound when the lab work came back on the Colonel. She looked it over relieved that the results had picked up a known chemical in her body. She gave a series of orders to the tech as she explained them to Butler.
Janet finished the last stitch and rinsed the area. She applied a light bandage before pulling off her gloves. She filled out the chart as she looked around the infirmary. The place had managed to empty out while she was working on Butler. Once the chemical had been identified it had just been a matter of treating the members exposed. Luckily it had been known and non-life threatening. Apparently the Colonel's extreme reaction had been caused by the long exposure due to the imbedded object.
She clipped the chart to the end of the bed as she placed her pen back in her pocket. She moved up checking on the Colonel finding her resting easy. She pulled the sheet up to cover her wondering how long she would be out.
Janet was headed back to her office when she in into the general.
"Well, Doctor, what's the word on the colonel?" Hammond asked.
"She'll be fine, General. The weapon caught her just right so there were no serious injuries. I put in fifteen stitches, but the biggest problem I think she'll have will be managing not to pull them out because of their location," Janet answered.
"How long before she will be able to return to full active status?" Hammond questioned.
"I don't think she needs to be on any jumps for at least the next week. Ideally I would like to wait until the stitches are out which would be ten to twelve days," Janet said.
"Well, that's just great Doctor, now I have two teams without CO's" Hammond barked back..
"What is Colonel O'Neill's status?" Hammond asked in frustration.
"You can have him back in seven days Colonel. That's the best I can do for you," Janet answered with a regretful shrug.
"Fine, Doctor, just keep me informed of any changes," Hammond replied as he stalked out of the infirmary.
Janet let out a sigh as she refrained from rolling her eyes at the general's back. He had a habit of getting short with her when he lost team members due to medical hold.
She entered her office to take care of a few things before leaving. She was already running late and checked her watch again as she sat down. It wouldn't take long to put the paperwork in order. A short time later Janet finished signing off on the last of the reports on SG-3. She stood pulling of her lab coat hanging it on a hook on the wall. She grabbed the pile of paperwork as she headed out the door. She was placing the reports in the file box when Sam entered the infirmary.
"Hey Janet, I hear SG-3 had a little problem with the natives on the last planet," Sam said as she approached.
Janet nodded, "Luckily nothing too serious. I was able to release everyone but the Colonel," Janet informed her.
Sam looked at her watch as she spoke, "You're running a little late today, aren't you,"
"Stitching up the colonel's leg took a while and I had to finish these reports before I left. The general is already irritated over losing the colonel for at least a week," Janet told her.
"I see. Well, I won't hold you up too long. I was just stopping by to see how the colonel was doing," Sam explained.
"She's over in bed four. You can visit if you want, but she was out of it the last time I checked on her," Janet said.
"Ok, I think I'll just look in anyway," Sam said as she headed in the colonel's direction.
Janet fought down the tinge of jealousy she felt as she watched Sam head in Butler's direction. She placed the last of the reports in the box getting ready to leave. She hesitated thinking about her conversation with Sam just a few days ago.
The situation with Butler was forcing her into an uncomfortable position. She really needed to talk to Sam before Butler managed to get to much influence over her. She was about to go search Sam out and ask her over for dinner tonight but stopped herself. The situation with Butler was exactly why Janet had stayed neutral in her reaction to Sam's revelations of her feelings. She was going to have to remain an observer. If Sam decided to return Butler's attentions Janet would have to deal with it.
* * * * * * * * *
Sam looked in on Butler to find her out cold. She moved closer to look down on Kathryn's face. Sleep had softened her features, making her look even younger. Sam observed her freely for a few minutes before leaving.
The following week passed quickly for Sam and the rest of SG-1. The team along with SG-3 was pulled from jump status until either O'Neill or Butler could return to take command.
Sam alternated her time between catching up on projects that had piled up during her leave and visiting with Kathryn. Janet had placed the Colonel on Medical leave once she had been released from the infirmary. Kathryn had used the time to settle in at her house and get unpacked.
Sam had spent most of her free time helping the Colonel. She found herself enjoying the woman's company more and more as the time passed. It seemed that as her friendship with Kathryn grew, her relationship with Janet became more strained.
Janet had approached her a couple of times this week for dinner. Sam had been forced to decline due to commitments with Kathryn. Her refusals had inspired an almost frosty response from Janet. Sam was unsure of what to make of her reaction. Apparently her opinion of Kathryn had not changed since that dinner a week ago.
Sam would stop and visit Cassie when she was out in town. Usually Janet would make herself scarce while Sam was over. Sam tried to approach Janet about her actions but found herself gently rebuffed each time.
Janet's actions puzzled her. On one hand whenever Kathryn's name was mentioned Janet would maintain a frosty silence. But she always seemed to try and put Sam at ease despite her own discomfort.
Sam tried to put the thoughts away as she left the base. She was going to have dinner at Kathryn's tonight. She arrived at the house a short time later. Kathryn met her at the door with a smile.
"You're a little earlier than I expected," she said.
"Daniel and I finished with the project we were on a little earlier than we expected, so I was able to leave sooner than I had planned," Sam explained.
Kathryn nodded as she stepped back into the house to give Sam room to enter.
"So, are you ready to get back to work yet?" Sam asked as she closed the door behind her.
"God yes. I don't have anything left to unpack and the boredom is beginning to get to me," Kathryn answered as she limped into the kitchen.
Sam laughed as she followed Kathryn through the house. "Well, as it works out you and Colonel O'Neill will be returning to duty at the same time. Actually, he is having a cookout at his house to celebrate his release from the infirmary. Daniel told me to pass an invitation along to you. Colonel O'Neill wants to meet you," Sam informed her as she leaned over the counter watching her cook.
"Sounds good to me. I am always up for free food," Kathryn responded.
They passed the evening talking about their careers and what had brought them to the mountain. Sam helped clean up the dishes from dinner while Kathryn opened another bottle of wine.
"You know we have met before?" Kathryn said as she filled Sam's empty glass.
Sam gave her a puzzled look, trying to recall having met her before.
"Well, maybe met isn't exactly accurate. You were in Washington last year receiving a medal. I was there in the crowd. I had read a lot of the reports dealing with the mountain and your name had cropped up in many of them. I was curious and wanted to see the woman behind the file," Kathryn confessed.
Sam felt a slight blush cross her cheeks at Kathryn's words. She looked up to find Kathryn watching her trying to gauge her reaction.
"And what do you think now that you met me?" Sam prodded.
"I am even more impressed than I was when I only knew you through the files. I'm glad I've had the opportunity to get to know you." Kathryn moved closer handing Sam her glass.
Sam took the offered glass taking a slow drink to buy a little more time before answering. Sam found the time did little to aid her in finding something intelligent to say.
Kathryn tried to judge Sam's silence as she watched her. She was sure she hadn't judged her incorrectly. The only question in her mind at this point was whether or not Sam returned her interest. "Sam, I really enjoy your company and would like the chance to get to know you better." Kathryn reached out and took Sam's glass from her hand and sat it on the counter with hers. She waited for Sam to make any move showing Kathryn what to do. "Sam, are you going to say anything?" Kathryn asked gently.
Sam stood uncertainly trying to work through the thoughts running through her head. She hadn't expected Kathryn to begin pursuing a romantic interest in her. She found that she wasn't really surprised by her comments though. She felt a nervous anticipation as Kathryn took her glass from her hand."I don't know what to say," Sam finally managed as she looked at Kathryn.
Kathryn raised her hand trailing her fingers along Sam's cheek. She felt a shiver run through her as she took in the silky smoothness. "I've wanted to do this for a long time," Kathryn confessed as she watched Sam.
Sam felt her breath catch at Kathryn's touch. A shiver ran up her spine at her confession. She felt her hand pause before she slowly pulled her closer. The kiss was gentle and undemanding. Sam responded slowly losing herself in the moment.
Kathryn felt a thrill run through her as she felt Sam respond. She held back not wanting to push to fast. She was content to let Sam set the pace for whatever she wanted.
Sam pulled away from Kathryn her emotions in turmoil. She stepped back breaking contact as Kathryn gave her a questioning look. "I'm sorry, I think I should be getting back to the base," Sam said in a rush.
"Sam, are you ok?" Kathryn asked.
"I'm fine, I just think I should go," Sam answered.
Kathryn wasn't sure of what to make of Sam's decision to leave. She struggled to remain calm afraid that if Sam left now she might not return. She thought about Fraiser and once again wondered if there had been something between the two women.
"Sam, for just a second there I felt you respond. Is there someone else or have I scared you?" Kathryn probed.
Sam tried to find the words to explain her confusion. She looked at Kathryn who was waiting patiently for her to reply.
"Kathryn, there are some things going on in my personal life right now that I need to resolve. Until I come to terms with.... I am dealing with a lot emotionally right now and I don't want to start something for all the wrong reasons. It wouldn't be fair to you." Sam struggled to explain.
"It's Fraiser, isn't it?" Kathryn answered regretfully.
"Janet and I are just friends, nothing more," Sam answered back.
"But that's not your choice is it, Sam?" Kathryn asked as the some of the encounters she had observed between the two women started to make sense.
Sam wasn't able to hold Kathryn's look as she posed her question. Her silence answered the question for Kathryn however.
"Sam, I'm not going anywhere while you work this out. I really have grown very fond of you in the short time I've had. I would like to still be able to pursue a friendship. I don't want to put any pressure on you," Kathryn tried to put her at ease.
"I definitely didn't want to throw you into a turmoil. That was never my intent," Kathryn finished.
"I know, Kathryn. I would like the chance to continue building this friendship as well. But I really need to think and I would like to head back to the base," Sam informed her.
Kathryn nodded as she moved so that Sam could get by. She walked her to the door giving her a brief hug before opening the door.
"You still up for that party at Colonel O'Neill's house tomorrow?" Sam asked.
"Absolutely?" Kathryn replied with a smile.
"All right, I'll stop by around six and you can ride over with me," Sam offered.
"Sounds great to me," Kathryn replied.
Sam smiled as she turned and headed down the steps.
Kathryn watched the major as she walked to her car. She had a sinking sensation that she was going to get in over her head with her.
* * * * * * * * *
Sam spent the night tossing and turning, trying to work out her feelings. She was in love with Janet, but there was no possibility of them coming together. She considered her feelings regarding Kathryn. She was definitely attracted to her, but then you would have to be dead or blind not to respond to her. But the fact was that her heart was still firmly centered on Janet. Kathryn would just be a distraction from her misery and that wasn't fair to either of them.
Sam finally fell into a troubled sleep in the early morning. She awoke a few hours later her mind still working busily on the previous night. She groaned as she rolled out of the bed and into the shower.
She dressed and headed to the lab. She would be spending most of the day working with Janet today on a piece of biotechnology that had come through the gate a few days earlier. She entered the lab a few minutes later relieved that Janet wasn't there to witness her tardy arrival.
"Hey there, running a little late this morning?" Sam turned to find Janet entering the door she had just closed.
"Yeah, I had a little trouble getting to sleep last night," Sam confessed.
"Are you feeling alright?" Janet asked with some concern.
"I'm fine, just have a lot of things on my mind right now. Did you release Colonel O'Neill yet?" Sam asked changing the subject.
"Yes, first thing this morning. He all but ran out of the infirmary when I discharged him. Are you going to his house tonight?" Janet asked.
"Yes, you?" Sam responded.
"Yes, Cassie is going to spend the night out. Want to ride with me? You can stay at the house if you want," Janet offered.
"I wish I could. I offered to give Colonel Butler a ride over to Colonel O'Neill's house," Sam said regretfully.
"Oh," It was only a single word, but the look on Janet's face combined with her tone spoke volumes.
They spent the day working in silence for the most part. Sam felt an ache settle over her as Janet maintained her distance. This was becoming more and more difficult for her to endure. She felt her anger begin to rise as she reflected on Janet's attitude. It wasn't fair for Janet to get angry over any personal relationships Sam chose to have.
Sam was lost in thought considering again the events of last night. A part of her just wanted to step out of the misery and lose herself in what Kathryn was offering.
"Yes, Kathryn." Sam heard the words spoken out loud and registered the hurt on Janet's face as she came out of her thoughts. "Janet, I'm sorry I was thinking about something," Sam stammered as she tried to explain.
"Don't you mean someone," Janet responded coldly.
"Janet--" Sam was cut off in mid sentence.
"Sam, I think we have done enough for one day." Janet looked at her watch before continuing, "I am going to head home. I will see you later tonight,"
"Janet, wait..." Sam tried to stop her before she left but was unsuccessful.
Sam managed to get through the last couple of hours before heading to Kathryn's house. She was utterly miserable as she felt the friendship she shared with Janet slipping away.
She pulled up to Kathryn's trying to bury her depression before greeting the Colonel.
Kathryn met Sam on the steps as she checked her watch. They were running a little late but she was sure it wouldn't be a problem.
"Hey, Sam, have a good day?" Kathryn asked as she headed for the car.
Kathryn sensed Sam's mood from her response. Sam spoke very little on the way over to O'Neill's house. Kathryn decided not to pry and give Sam a chance to confide in her on her own.
Sam sat for a moment after she shut off the car, "Kathryn, would you mind driving back to your house. I think I am going to drink a little tonight and probably should stay over, if you don't mind," Sam requested.
"Sure, Sam, that won't be a problem," Kathryn answered.
They entered O'Neill's house to find an enthusiastic colonel talking to Daniel and Teal' C. "Carter, glad you could make it and this must be Colonel Butler," O'Neill said as he offered her his hand.
"Colonel, call me Kathryn," she said with a smile.
"Kathryn it is then. I think you know everyone else here and Doctor Fraiser in the kitchen. Would you like a beer?" Jack asked.
"Actually, if you have a soda that would be great," Kathryn answered as Sam answered an affirmative.
Jack reappeared within seconds with their drinks. Janet followed him out of the kitchen taking a seat on the couch after acknowledging Kathryn and Sam's presence.
Kathryn could swear that she could feel frost forming on her clothes from the look Fraiser gave her. She had an idea of what had put Sam into the mood she was in.
Kathryn watched Sam and Fraiser work at ignoring each other as the night wore on. She was concerned as she watched Sam finish another beer. She hadn't struck Kathryn as much of a drinker and the rapid pace was worrying her. They had finished dinner and cleaned up. Before taking seats in the living room. Kathryn enjoyed the close camaraderie between the members of SG-1 and leaned back enjoying the conversation.
Sam rose from the couch and made her way into the kitchen. Kathryn got up and followed her still concerned. Sam was rooting through the fridge and had just pulled out a beer when she turned and found Kathryn.
"Don't you think maybe you've had enough, Sam?" Kathryn asked gently.
Sam couldn't find the energy to get angry at Kathryn's question. She fought down the tears that threatened to fall as the misery of her day overwhelmed her.
"Sam, what is wrong?" Kathryn asked as she stepped closer to lay a hand on her arm.
Sam just shook her head unable to speak.
"Do you want to leave now?" Kathryn asked as she raised Sam's chin to look at her.
Sam nodded and Kathryn let her go. "Ok I'll take care of telling everyone good bye for you. You want to go out to the car?" Kathryn asked.
Sam nodded again as she handed the beer to Kathryn. Kathryn watched as she managed the door. Kathryn placed the beer back in the fridge before turning to find Fraiser glaring at her.
"Doctor," Kathryn said as the smaller woman stalked over to her.
"I've got to give you a hand Colonel, you work fast," Janet said as she looked at the door Sam had just exited through.
"Your out of line Doctor," Kathryn responded quietly.
"No, Colonel, you are the one who is out of line. You are taking advantage of a woman who is in a vulnerable state emotionally right now. She doesn't need to be another notch on your belt," Janet said bitingly.
Kathryn felt her temper flare at Fraiser's accusations.
"Maybe if you had invited her into your bed when you had the opportunity she wouldn't be getting in mine now," Kathryn shot back.
The crack reverberated throughout the kitchen. Kathryn felt the sting run through her cheek not sure who was more shocked. From the look on Fraiser's face it was a draw. Kathryn was almost impressed despite herself she hadn't thought Fraiser had it in her.
Janet refused to say another word. Instead she fixed Kathryn with a glare. She wanted to throttle this woman and knew she was on the edge of totally losing control. She opted to leave before the altercation became noticeable to the men in the other room.
Kathryn watched as Fraiser moved to the living room. She heard her bid Jack good night and chose to leave through the front door. Kathryn followed making her exit as quickly as possible. Jack seemed to accept her explanation that Sam wasn't feeling all that well. If he noticed the mark on her cheek he didn't mention it. She let out a deep breath as she stepped out the front door feeling some of the tension leave her body.
* * * * * * * * *
Jack closed the door as Kathryn exited. He turned to survey what was left of his team in the living room.
"Ok, is it me or do you feel like something is going on that we are completely missing?" he asked as he took a seat.
"I'm not sure what you are referring to, Jack," Daniel replied as he gave O'Neill his patented clueless look.
Jack snorted as he looked over to Teal' C. He knew he could count on him to answer honestly without worrying over tact.
"Indeed, it would appear there is some tension between Major Carter and Doctor Fraiser. Also it would appear that Doctor Fraiser bears a great deal of animosity for Colonel Butler," Teal' C acknowledged.
"Exactly, that is exactly what I am talking about," O'Neill exclaimed as he gave Daniel a satisfied look.
"And I could swear it looked like the doc slapped Butler when they were in the kitchen. What do you think that was about," he asked.
"I do not know, O'Neill," Teal' C answered as Jack looked to him.
"Don't look at me you're the one with all the ideas," Daniel said irritably as Jack looked in his direction.
"I don't know but there is definitely something up if the doc actually belted Butler. I wonder what she could of said to piss her off that much," O'Neill mused as he took another sip of his beer.
* * * * * * * * *
Sam sat in the car staring desolately out into the night. She heard a door close and looked up to find Janet leaving O'Neill's house. She watched as the doctor took short angry strides to her car.
As Janet was pulling away from the house, Kathryn stepped out the door still talking to an unseen figure inside. She turned and quickly made her way down to the car. Sam looked over to her as she slipped into the driver seat.
"Janet, didn't look very happy when she left," Sam stated.
"She didn't look very happy the last time I saw her inside either," Kathryn replied as she started the vehicle. Sam sat in silence for a few moments as Kathryn pulled away and headed for her house.
"It seems that I am always missing something whenever I leave you two alone," Sam said.
"She doesn't like me near you very much. She has made that clear to me on numerous occasions," Kathryn replied.
Sam felt her temper rise at Kathryn's comment. Janet had no right to lay judgment on anyone Sam chose to spend her time with.
"Of course her attitude pushes all the wrong buttons for me," Kathryn admitted with a sigh. "I believe I seriously stepped over the line with her tonight. I made a comment that wasn't entirely true just to piss her off. And it worked," Kathryn said as she rubbed her cheek thoughtfully.
Sam listened as Kathryn attempted to explain Janet's anger. She leaned back in the seat exhausted from the turmoil that seemed to churn in her constantly. She didn't think she could take much more of this tension between her and Janet. Maybe it was time for her to just walk away from an impossible situation.
Kathryn concentrated on driving as Sam lapsed into silence. She tried not to think about Fraiser knowing she was going to have to confront the doctor sooner or later and admit she had been out of line with her comments. A frustrated sigh escaped her and she could feel Sam turn a searching look in her direction.
They pulled into her driveway a few minutes later. Kathryn placed a hand under Sam's elbow as she stumbled a little going up the steps. It took her an extra few minutes to maneuver her keys out of her pocket and into the door.
She had just finished locking the door behind them when she felt Sam's hands move around to her waist. She turned to find Sam giving her an intent look. She was even more surprised as the hands moved deliberately up her body until they rested around her neck.
She didn't resist as Sam pulled her down, her lips parting involuntarily in anticipation. There was nothing gentle in Sam's kiss. It was all need and urgency. Kathryn tried to meet her halfway, but found herself quickly overwhelmed. Sam pushed her back against the door continuing, the touch of her lips almost bruising in her intensity.
Kathryn felt control of the situation rapidly disintegrating. She tried to catch her breath, still reeling in surprise from Sam's actions. She could feel Sam's fingers fumbling with the buttons of her shirt as she continued to pin her against the door. She fought between her body's rising desire and her mind's rational thought. She finally managed to pull her lips away from Sam as she caught her breath. She closed her eyes as she felt Sam's lips move to explore the small hollow of her neck.
"Sam?" Kathryn stopped as she heard her voice came out in a strangled whisper. "Sam, what are you doing?" she managed.
"If you don't know, Colonel, I must not be doing it right," Sam murmured as she continued her assault.
Kathryn smiled in spite of herself as she brought her hands up to cover Sam's. "I think you know what I mean," Kathryn answered seriously.
Sam paused as she noted the tone and the fact that her hands had been effectively halted. "Did I misunderstand you, Kathryn. I thought you were interested in getting to know me better," Sam answered huskily.
Kathryn managed to hold back a groan as Sam's voice sent shivers through her. She concentrated on holding onto her self-control. "You know what I mean Sam. This isn't about me. This is about Janet Fraiser and both you and I know that." Kathryn paused before continuing, "I would really like a chance to pursue a relationship with you, Sam. But not like this. You're running from whatever you feel for Fraiser and will regret anything that happens between us. I don't want to wake up tomorrow to find you gone," Kathryn continued gently. She could feel a slow shaking grip Sam. She held her as she tried to pull away.
Sam gave up the struggle to pull away from Kathryn as she acknowledged the truth behind her words. She rested against her as the tears that had been threatening the entire day fell freely. "I'm sorry," Sam managed.
"There's nothing to be sorry about, Sam," Kathryn responded.
Kathryn continued to hold her. She was content to hold this position until Sam regained her composure. Her hands moved up to gently stoke her hair as she dipped her head. Her cheek resting against Sam's hair.
Sam let all the grief and frustration that had been building in the past few weeks drain out of her as she took solace from Kathryn's embrace. Time seemed to stop as the tears finally came to a halt. She took a deep breath feeling a relief. For the first time in weeks she felt as if a heavy burden had been lifted. Sam stepped out of Kathryn's arms wiping her face. She looked up to find Kathryn's concerned gaze focused on her.
"Thank you," Sam said simply.
Kathryn nodded not making any moves.
"You're right about everything. I need to handle this... I need to talk to Janet I can't go on like this," Sam admitted.
Kathryn once again nodded. Sam seemed much calmer her resolve evident in her tone. Kathryn realized she needed to talk to Fraiser and straighten out their conversation earlier tonight. It wouldn't be fair for Sam to face the repercussions of Fraiser believing she was sleeping with her. "I think that is a good idea, Sam. You look tired are you ready to hit the rack?" Kathryn reached out involuntarily to wipe away a remaining tear from Sam's cheek.
Sam nodded touched at the kindness in Kathryn's voice. "I think I'll take a shower and then go to sleep," Sam answered.
Kathryn withdrew her hand and moved past Sam to show her the room she would be staying in and the bathroom.
Once Sam was in the shower Kathryn picked up the phone and called back to the base.
"This is Colonel Butler SG-3. I want to speak to Lieutenant Bricker." Kathryn waited while the lieutenant was paged to the phone.
"Lieutenant Bricker," his voice cracked over the phone.
"Good evening, Lieutenant, I hope I am not disturbing you. I want Dr Fraiser's number and address," Kathryn ordered.
"Ma'am, personal information can't be given out except in case of emergency and then the command makes the call," Bricker tried to explain unsuccessfully.
"I want the number and address and I want it in the next ten minutes. Do I make myself clear?" Kathryn barked.
"Yes, Ma'am," Bricker answered.
"Carry on, Lieutenant," Kathryn said before dropping the phone back in its cradle.
She went out to the car and retrieved Sam's bag while she was waiting for Bricker to call back. She smiled as she thought of Sam's reaction when she realized she had stepped into the shower without taking a change of clothes in. There was a robe hanging on the back of the door she could use to get to her room.
She had just sat the case down when the phone rang. She picked it up in the kitchen jotting down the information on a pad before hanging up. She tore the paper off the pad and slipped it into her back pocket when she heard Sam exiting the bathroom. Sam came walking down the hall giving her a sheepish look.
"I forgot my bag in the car," she confessed.
"I know, I already put it in your room. Are you feeling better?" Kathryn asked.
Sam nodded, "I think I am going to turn in for the night. I'll see you in the morning," Sam said.
"I'm right behind you. The day has worn me out," Kathryn admitted.
They both retired to their respective rooms. Kathryn poked her head out to be sure Sam's door was shut before she closed hers. She took a seat on the bed checking her watch as she picked up the phone. Despite the hour, she was certain Fraiser had not gone to bed yet. Here suspicion was confirmed when the phone was picked up on the first ring.
"Doctor Fraiser, this is Colonel Butler, I need to talk to you." Her statement was met with a round of silence. For a minute, she was sure Janet had hung up.
"What do you want, Colonel?" Janet's tone barely concealed her anger.
"Doctor, I know it is late, but I think we need to talk. I would like to come by your house and discuss some things," Kathryn proposed.
"Colonel, what makes you think I have any desire to have you within a hundred yards of my home," Janet shot back.
"I think we both have a concerned interest in the same person, Doctor. I also think I was out of line earlier tonight and I would like to apologize in person," Kathryn continued.
Janet held the stinging comment clamoring to be released as she turned over the colonel's comments.
"All right, Colonel, but if at anytime I want you out, you leave. Is that clear?" Janet said.
"I understand, Doctor," Kathryn conceded.
Janet gave Butler directions to her house. Butler assured her it was less than 20 minutes from her own and that she was on her way.
Kathryn eyed the address Bricker had given her noting that is was outdated. She dropped the phone on the hook and grabbed a jacket before quietly slipping out of the house.