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rocketfic | into the forest

Title: Into the Forest by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Sam/Janet
Notes: Missing scene from "Rite of Passage"

Jack O'Neill needn't have bothered coming back to the infirmary to tell her that Nirrti was gone. She could tell; her guts had finally stopped itching.

Cassie let herself relax with a sigh. Now that the danger was past, it was time to regroup and assert some control over her situation. "Mom?"

Janet sat at her side, stroking her arm in a mindlessly repetitive way. She didn't hear her adopted daughter speak at first.

"Mom?" the teen repeated.

The doctor jerked back to reality. Sort of. "Yes, sweetheart?"

"Do you have any chap stick?" Big brown eyes blinked back at her with next to zero comprehension. Cassie lifted a hand to point to her face. The IV stuck in her arm tugged back. "My lips are really dry."

Janet's mouth dropped open, but she was spared the indignity of a completely incoherent response when Sam stepped in. "I'll find some for you, kiddo." The blonde pressed a hand to Janet's shoulder, gave the teen a smile, and hurried out of the room.

Cassie sat back to wait, and idly chewed on her lower lip to pass the time. She snuck the occasional worried glance at her mother and shifted a bit in the hospital bed. Once she looked up into the glass framing the obervation bay above her, but she quickly looked away when she saw how strung out and grungy her reflection appeared. What a completely sucky way to celebrate a birthday.

Not that it was actually her birthday. Hanka's calendar system hadn't been the same as Earth's, of course, so they just sort of arbitrarily celebrated the anniversary of her arrival on this particular planet. She supposed in technical terms it could be considered a form of birth, but the tradition annoyed her at times.

Like when she realized half her friends at school already had their driver's permit, and Janet wouldn't even let her take the test.

Sam returned triumphant with lip balm, and sat at the foot of the bed while Cassie smeared the stuff liberally on her face. The blonde looked between mother and daughter with an almost dumbly relieved smile. Cassie watched Sam watch her mother and covertly rolled her eyes. The cuteness factor had been bad enough when her 'parents' were wearing matching outfits on discount from Soccer Moms R' Us, but she wished they'd stop making googly eyes at each other when they thought no one else was looking.

"I'm kinda tired," Cassie announced. It wasn't strictly true, but she couldn't take the mute shock radiating from her adopted mother any longer.

"Do you want me to stay?" Janet asked immediately. The very idea of leaving appeared to alarm her.

"Nah. I'm fine."

"I'll sit with you," the doctor declared.


"I'll just stay right over in the corner, you won't even know I'm here."

Cassie shot Sam a pleading look, and the blonde picked up the cue flawlessly. "Janet, you need some rest too," Sam pointed out.

"I'm fine," the doctor protested. Her eyes and voice brimmed with unshed tears.

"You're not." Sam stood and put her hands on her friend's shoulders. "I don't think you've slept for the past three days. C'mon."

Janet was about to crumple under fifteen kinds of stress, but she still resisted Sam's touch.

"Mom, I'm okay," the teenager insisted.

"You're not," Janet shot back, stealing Sam's line.

"I will be," Cassie said firmly. "Really."

Will be.

The innocent future tense nearly broke Janet's composure. Just how close had her daughter come to not having a future to look forward to at all? Janet looked down abruptly, trying not to lose it in front of her kid.

Sam wrapped an arm around the smaller woman's shoulders and smiled at Cassie. "Yeah, you will be. When you get home you and I have an appointment to talk about driving stick, okay?"

"More than okay," Cassie agreed with a grin. Sam was so cool.

Janet looked up then and wiped at her eyes. "I thought we agreed we'd start her on an automatic," she said with a small sniffle.

Sam stared at her friend in horror. "You're kidding, right?"

"Driving stick is too hard in the mountains," the doctor argued.

"Is not!" Sam retorted.

"Hello? Tired here," Cassie said in exasperation.

Janet smiled through the relief of her tears, and leaned forward to embrace her daughter tightly. "You hit your call button if you need anything."

Unaccountably, Cassie choked up just a little. "I will."

"Okay." Janet sighed and ruffled her daughter's bangs. "Love you."

"Love you too."

Sam planted a kiss on Cassie's forehead and escorted Janet from the observation bay, past the piles of equipment that had kept their daughter alive for the past few days. A nurse skittered in quietly behind them to attend to Cassie for the evening.

When they stepped into Janet's base quarters, Sam realized she'd never actually been inside before. The room was a pretty standard gray-walled affair, but the doctor had a few framed pictures on her desk of Cass, of Sam, even one of Jack O'Neill and that moronic hound he'd bought for the newly-orphaned girl.

Janet disappeared briefly into her bathroom to change into some loose sweats. "You know, most moms get to practice handling crises with broken bones or skinned knees," she called back to the main room wanly. "They get a little bit more time to work up to dealing with transformative retroviruses that give their children telekenetic abilities and might ultimately predict the next phase in human evolution."

Sam stopped looking at the pictures and grinned in outright relief. If Janet was cracking jokes, everything really was going to be all right. "Well, clearly you're an overachiever."

Janet emerged from the bathroom and leaned against the doorway. She chuckled a bit, chuckled more when Sam joined her, then together they spent the next few minutes giggling on the edge of total hysteria. It was either that or bawl their eyes out. Sam decided that part would probably come later.

Eventually their laughter subsided. Janet moved closer to Sam and pitched her head forward to rest against her friend's chest, blowing out a heavy sigh. Sam rubbed the smaller woman's back in friendly circles.

When Janet tilted her head up to look at her, Sam ducked her head and brushed her lips against the doctor's, and lingered there for a few pleasant seconds. It seemed like such a logical thing to do, such a natural expression of the bubbling affection she had for this part of her family, such a normal way of sharing a bit of comfort with the mother of her child... Oops. Waitaminute. They parted with a wet smack. "Um. Sorry. I..."

Janet's hand curled around the blonde's neck and pulled her back in for another kiss. Sam inhaled sharply, then let the surprise of the moment give way to soft warmth. There was a certain luxury in being too tired to think clearly; their typical intellectual inhibition would never have normally permitted them to seek such comfort in each other.

And God, was it comfortable.

They parted again with a shared sigh. Janet found one of Sam's hands and tangled their fingers together. "Thank you for being here," the brunette said huskily.

"Anytime," Sam promised with a grin. "You did some amazing stuff today, Doctor Fraiser."

Janet blushed a bit, but didn't deny it. Instead she gave her bed a look of profound yearning.

Sam lifted their joined hands to press a quick kiss to Janet's knuckles, then stepped away. "I'll check on Cass before I leave. See you tomorrow?"

"Okay." Janet smiled unconsciously, holding her friend's gaze until Sam stumbled backwards out of the room.

Sam closed the door behind her, then spun on her heel to head back to the infirmary.

She tucked her hands in her pockets with a contemplative grin. There sure was a lot of unexpected evolution happening lately.

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