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rocketfic | in pursuit of the moment, i

Title: In Pursuit of the Moment, I by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Sam/Janet
Notes: Immediately post-"In the Line of Duty."

One of the best parts about being CMO was the ability to kick everybody out of her infirmary.

Janet shepherded Sam's colleagues firmly out of the private recovery room, and kissed Cassandra on the top of her head before handing the girl over to her Uncle Jack's care. The doctor wasn't sure what to make of her adopted daughter's apparent reluctance to confide in her regarding Sam's condition, but that particular issue could wait.

She shut the door quietly behind the team, then turned back to look at her patient. Sam had gone quite fetal, clenched into the tiniest possible space she could occupy on the infirmary bed.

Janet was the first to admit that in this particular situation she was entirely out of her depth. No one in previous recorded human history had had a Goa'uld symbiote die in his or her brain. From a medical standpoint she was truly flying blind; she did not know the long-term physical ramifications, nor did she really even have a handle on the actual physiology of symbiosis.

She did, however, know Sam.

"Hey," she said softly as she approached the woman huddled on the bed. She moved slowly, careful to keep her steps audible and even. Sam was surely feeling violated, and the last thing the doctor wanted to do was sneak up on her and drive her further into withdrawal.

"Think you might be up to eating something?" she asked, maintaining the quiet, soothing tone. "You're cleared to have anything you want, so you just name it."

As expected, Sam didn't answer, but her shoulders did hitch with a sigh. That small indication of mental presence reassured Janet in a profound way.

From the start of her tenure at the SGC Janet had vowed to maintain some distance from the SG team members. She'd seen her colleagues' evident anguish upon reminders of Major Kawalski's demise; she'd seen the impotent rage in Daniel Jackson's eyes when he was reminded that his wife was alive but lost to the evil of the Goa'uld. This was a high-risk assignment, and it was likely there'd be quite a bit of team turnover as they encountered each new threat the galaxy had to throw at them.

Janet had decided that it would be most prudent, then, for the CMO to stay at arm's length. Be friendly, but not overly so -- don't let the soldiers get too close because God only knew if she'd see them again once they started skipping through wormholes.

It was a sound theory of personnel management, one that General Hammond himself had applauded. But in practice it still broke her heart to watch these brave soldiers get hurt and die.

It was absolute torture when the soldier in question was one Samantha Carter.

The doctor stood at the side of the bed, watching Sam, waiting for some cue. After a long moment bloodshot blue eyes blinked open and stared up at her.

She may as well have been screaming; Janet felt the pain radiating up from those eyes. She turned and perched on the side of the bed much as Cassie had, close to Sam but not quite touching her.

Janet cast about in her head for something to say, knowing that the right words could comfort Sam and might even draw her back out into the land of the living. She mentally reviewed her obvious options.

"I'm sorry those bastards hurt you."

"You're going to be okay."

"I was so scared for you."

"You won, and I'm so proud of you."

"We love you, come back to us."

"I love you. Come back to me."

She took a deep breath. "I'm here, Sam."

It wasn't exactly what she'd wanted to say, but it seemed to be the right approach. Sam immediately unballed herself and shifted so that her head was resting in Janet's lap.

The doctor froze.

When asked how she'd known Sam had been infested by a Goa'uld, Cassie had described a rushing, tingly sensation that had made her very blood itch. Sitting there with her friend's head propped on her thigh and her breath leaching through her skirt, Janet realized she knew that exact feeling.

Her insides jittered even as her fingers walked in aimless patterns through Sam's hair; out of nowhere she suddenly found herself wanting to blurt out some declaration of her undying devotion. In truth she'd wanted to say as much to Sam for months now. It was just too hard to orchestrate the right moment.

She could feel the shuddering sigh against her, and continued stroking Sam's hair in a lulling rhythm.

"I'm here," she said again.

Now wasn't the time, Janet decided. But maybe soon. She smiled wistfully down at the deceptively fragile-looking soldier huddled in her lap.

Maybe soon.

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