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rocketfic | in pursuit of the moment, ii: not me, not you

Title: In Pursuit of the Moment, II: Not Me, Not You by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Sam/Janet
Notes: Somewhere in the fifth season.

It was weird seeing Colonel Makepeace wandering the base again. Weirder still was his 2IC, yet another iteration of Samantha Carter.

In theory, encounters with alternate quantum universes were fascinating. Especially this particular one, a sort of chain-letter information gathering mission in which visitors from one quantum universe shared pertinent tactical information with another universe, then asked that the other universe to add to it and pass it along.

It was hoped that by their eventual combined efforts, every quantum variation could be free of Goa'uld tyranny.

In theory, then, their job was to simply share some intel and not get too caught up in the myriad what-ifs of quantum travel.

In practice, if the alternate Carter didn't stop staring at Janet with that... hunger... she was going to get herself punched.

Sam shifted in her seat and tried to stop glaring at her double across the table. Makepeace was rambling on about naquada production in systems they were already familiar with in their native reality, so she'd tuned him out.

After a couple minutes of her fidgeting Daniel leaned over and whispered in her ear. "Are you okay?"

"Fine," she whispered back. She realized she was being remarkably unprofessional, and that only compounded her agitation. Something about seeing herself sitting across the table making such overtly flirtatious gestures to her friend and coworker was making her blood boil.

It didn't help that Janet appeared to encourage it. The doctor was acting downright coy, with those sultry looks from under her lashes, or that little half smile that shone in tenderness whenever the other Carter spoke.

It was like watching herself perform some elaborate mating ritual, and for various unnamed reasons it made her damned uncomfortable.

Suddenly Sam realized that everyone at the table including her alternate was staring at her. She looked over to Daniel for rescue.

"Would you want to study the information they've gathered about the Furlings?" he murmured.

"Oh," she sputtered. "Of course, thank you."

Colonel Makepeace nodded. "Major Carter, go ahead and retrieve the information for... Major Carter," he said with a sheepish smile. "Don't forget you leave for your meeting with Chancellor Narim on Tollana in one hour."

"Yes sir," the major said crisply. They all stood, and the alternate Carter gestured for her double to follow to her lab.

"Have to give you the hard copy," Carter said by way of explanation. "Hope you understand that we'd prefer you not have access to our computer systems."

"That's fine," Sam answered. The precaution made perfect sense. She waited while her alternate dug through a file cabinet, then spotted the ring on her double's left hand. "You're married?!" she blurted in surprise. She was married, in the military, and she got away with looking at another woman like that?!

"Five years," the other Carter confirmed with a smile.

"Jack O'Neill?"

"What?" Her alternate frowned absently as she searched for the pertinent file.

"Are you married to Jack O'Neill?"

"Never heard of him," Carter murmured. She pulled out a file and flipped it open. "Yup, this is the one. Want to read it over?"

Sam stared at her companion, and ignored the proffered file completely. "Who are you married to?"

"Janet Fraiser. Why the hell is that so important?"

Some of her teammates had complained about disorientation upon encountering different quantum realities; it was as if the subatomic resonance shift threw them just a little out of kilter with their surroundings. Sam had not personally experienced the phenomenon until right that second.

Her knees threatened to buckle, and all she could manage was a rather dumbfounded stare.

"You don't have Janet there?" her alternate asked, a little sadly.

"No, I do. I mean, she's there," Sam stammered. "She's just not... We're not..." She waved her hand about in a vague motion, not even able to address the vagaries of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," much less the fact that she'd never admit to thinking about her friend in any sexual context.

"Really?" The other Carter got a far-off look on her face, considering that. "Huh. You know, I just can't imagine life without her."

"Neither can I," Sam admitted softly, though she was fairly certain she didn't mean the sentiment in quite the same fashion.

Mostly certain. Pretty much.


The other Carter was watching her with a look that saw more than Sam would ever care to reveal. "Well, I'd offer to let you take this file with you..." the other Carter trailed off with a shrug.

"But it won't last too long with entropic cascade. I'll just read it now, thanks." She plucked the file from the other woman's hand and began to thumb through it, happy for the distraction. The other Sam left her lab and nodded to the airmen stationed at the door to watch over the visitor.

After a moment she sat, then took a look around her companion's lab. The SFs weren't likely to let her get up and start poking around, so she settled for studying what was readily visible. This Sam appeared to be just as prone as she was to clutter, she noted with a touch of satisfaction. Her eyes roamed the lab's counters until coming to a halt on a picture that sat on the far corner of a desk.

It was her own face, and her best friend's, but they'd certainly never taken a picture like that in her own reality. The two women snuggled together in the frame were fiercely in love, happy in a way Sam herself had never been. It made her mind positively reel.

"Ma'am?" an SF said warily as he peered at her from the doorway.

She snapped out of her reverie, unable to tell how long she'd been sitting there thinking. "Sorry," she muttered, then returned her attention to the file on her lap.

Several minutes later Sam met Daniel in the control room and waited to be escorted back to this reality's quantum mirror. They wouldn't know whether the information they'd gained here would be useful in their own fight against Goa'uld domination until they returned to their own reality, but they could certainly use every tactical edge available.

Below them the dialed wormhole whooshed open just as the Sam native to that particular universe stepped purposefully into the Gateroom, clad in dress blues for her diplomatic mission. Her stride broke momentarily as she saw Doctor Fraiser standing off to the side, with her hands tucked into the pockets of her ubiquitous labcoat.

Whole paragraphs of unspoken communication passed between the two women as they stepped closer together. Finally Carter reached out with one hand to cradle her mate's face. The other hand got tangled in Janet's, and for a long moment they simply looked into each other. Then the major dipped her head to claim a quick kiss, and pulled away.

The other Carter looked up to the control room then, straight at the quantum reflection of herself. She smirked - just a little - as if in challenge. Then she turned, strode up the ramp and into the gate.

Beside Sam in the control room, Daniel's eyebrows had shot up into his hairline. "Well. That was new," he murmured.

The lieutenant monitoring the gate's status snorted softly. "Hardly. They do it every time."

Sam nearly bit through her lip. Right then she didn't know exactly what to feel, but she couldn't help but think she'd been granted a private preview into what Could Be.

And somehow, even the actual fact of walking around in an alternate universe paled next to the sheer tumbling possibility of she'd just seen.

Hours later Sam pulled her car into the Fraiser household driveway and hopped out. She could already smell the grill cooking away in the backyard, and the promise of steak made her mouth water. She climbed the steps to the backyard gate and pulled it open.

"Hey guys!"

"Sam!" Cassie launched herself off the picnic table bench and lunged at the blonde woman, laughing when she was tilted easily up into the air for a twirl.

"Hi Sam," Janet said with a grin. She had her hair tied back in a ponytail and was lifting the last cooked meat off the grill. "You're just in time."

Sam set the girl down back at the table and ruffled her hair. "Great. Have a seat and I'll bring that stuff over."

A few moments later they were all seated at the table for their habitual family dinner. They all had their prescribed roles for this particular event; Sam doled out steak and burgers, Cassie snuck some to her dog under the table, and Janet generally scowled at their collective antics and nagged them both into eating more vegetables.

The doctor appeared to be in a better mood than usual, as she cracked open a beer and smiled lazily at Sam. "So, how was your day?"

Great. Stopped by an alternate universe where you and I were married. Hey - out of curiosity, have you ever done it with a chick? And could you pass the salt?

"Oh, you know. Same old, same old," Sam answered with a grin.

Janet chuckled and lifted the salad bowl across the table. The blonde reached out to take it and felt their fingers slide together briefly in the moisture condensed on the outside of the container. The slickness and the gentle heat of Janet's hand made Sam shiver. She thought - just maybe - that she saw Janet shudder a bit too.

The glimpse she'd gotten that day of what Could Be was going to stay with her for a long, long time. And maybe someday, what could be, would.

She dug into her dinner with a contemplative look at her friend and daughter.

Maybe someday.

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