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rocketfic | in pursuit of the moment, iv: the emergency stand-by date

Title: In Pursuit of the Moment, IV: The Emergency Stand-By Date by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Sam/Janet
Notes: Set late in season six.


"Hey, Janet? I need some advice."

"Never do a Google search for 'facials,'" the doctor mumbled. She didn't bother looking up from her requisition form.

Sam frowned and stepped fully into her friend's office. "What, like, skin cream and stuff?"

"That's not what the internet thinks it means."

The blonde cocked her head, considering that. "I don't want to know, do I?"

Janet finally looked up and gave her a wicked grin. "Nope. Was that the advice you needed?"

"Er, no." Sam pointed to the chair in front of the doctor's desk. "Mind if I sit?"

"Of course not," the doctor answered. She tucked away her pen and folded her hands across the requisition file, giving Sam her full attention. "What's up?"

Carter took her time settling into the chair. "I... need your input."

"Uh huh," Janet drawled. "That much I've figured out already."

Sam exhaled loudly and stared at the nameplate on Janet's desk, trying not to fidget. "I have this social thing. An event."

The doctor waited.

"A date," Sam admitted finally.

"Ah."

"It's a special occasion. I'd like to look nice."

Janet tried to ignore the sudden lance of jealousy that burned in her gut.

"And... hair is not my strong point."

To that much Janet could agree, inappropriate jealousy issues aside.

"But you're always doing different things with yours, so I thought maybe you could give me a few pointers," Sam concluded. "Or something."

Russet eyebrows shot upward. "You want me to do your hair?"

Sam winced. "You make it sound so girly."

"Should I wear footie PJs and bring the new issue of Cosmo?" the doctor teased mercilessly.

The blonde sank lower in her chair, knowing that if she wanted the help she'd have to ride out the tide of mocking.

"Oh - I know! I'll bring over Cassie's copy of 'Clueless' and some nail polish. We'll have a pedicure party!" She sat back and cackled in delight.

"Are you done now?"

Janet chuckled a bit more. "Until I think of other 'girly' jokes to make, yes."

"So will you help me?" Sam asked. She injected the smallest bit of pleading into her voice.

The doctor scowled, evidently trying to think of an excuse not to. "Yes, I'll help you," she said finally, in an annoyed sing-song.

"Great! Friday night, my place, six o'clock. And if you have footie PJs, I'd kill to see them." Sam waggled her eyebrows suggestively as she sauntered back out of the CMO's office.


Janet showed up late, mostly because she'd sat in her car parked in her own driveway for a good fifteen minutes, trying to talk herself out of going at all. When Sam greeted her at the front door, probably the only thing that kept Janet from growling aloud was the fact that the blonde was waiting for her with her usual easy smile and a glass of wine. Sam was fresh from the shower, and had put on her dress for the evening and slung a towel over her shoulders to protect it from her damp hair.

"Right. Let's do this," Janet said briskly, as she pushed past Sam into the house.

If Sam was in any way put off by her friend's grumpy demeanor, the sly smile on her face hid it. She sauntered after Janet as the doctor stomped toward the master bathroom. "Would you like something to drink?" she asked, taking a sip from her own glass.

"No," Janet nearly barked in reply, then caught herself. She gave Sam a mildly apologetic look as the blonde leaned lightly against the door to the bathroom, watching her in bemusement. "No, thank you," she amended, with a forced smile. "Can we just get started?

"Okay," Sam said genially, as she sat at the chair in front of her vanity. She watched Janet as the brunette paced in half-circles behind her, planning her styling strategy.

"This is semi-formal, then?" Janet murmured.

"Hm?"

"Your date." The brunette nearly choked on the word. "This is a semi-formal kind of event?"

Sam's eyebrows shot up. "I guess so, sure."

"You guess so?" She stared at Sam's reflection, thoroughly annoyed by the innocent blue eyes that blinked back at her. "Okay," Janet exhaled. "How about we pull all this back and up, in sort of a bun?"

"Sounds great," Sam answered. She took another sip of wine.

Janet then practically attacked her friend's hair, taking out all her latent frustration on the damp strands. While furiously teasing out a bit of extra body with a brush, she hesitated when she happened to notice the line of her friend's neck as it tilted gracefully toward her. She deliberately gentled her touch when the scent of Sam's perfume wafted up to tease her nose. With a sigh she got back to work.

Thankfully, Sam didn't seem interested in the typical meaningless hairstyling chatter. She merely sat there, tilting her head amiably at her friend's direction, smiling a bit when their eyes met in the mirror's reflection.

The doctor felt her frustration drain into a rueful sadness as she worked. It wasn't like she really had a valid reason to be jealous anyway. She and Sam had been circling each other so cautiously for so long, she'd merely gotten used to the idea of Sam always being there. It wasn't like they'd made each other any promises, or - hell - even gone so far as to actually kiss each other.

And now, Sam was moving on, breaking orbit from Janet's life and finding someone new.

She swallowed as she tucked the last lock of hair into the blonde upward sweep she'd sculpted, then shielded Sam's eyes with one hand as she applied one last vaporous cloud of hairspray.

"All done," Janet announced, her voice low and just a bit unsteady. She'd been avoiding Sam's gaze in the mirror, and therefore didn't see the flash of sympathetic regret cross her friend's face.

"It looks great," Sam said quietly. "Thank you."

Janet surveyed her work with a critical eye, and decided she'd done a decent job. Dammit. "Yeah. So I'll just head out, then. Knock 'em dead tonight."

"Wait," Sam said, half-turning on her chair. "Can you stick around for a few more minutes? I need your review on the total package."

The brunette started to stammer a refusal, but eventually only sighed. "Fine. I'll wait out there." She pointed toward the bedroom, then wandered out and closed the bathroom door behind her. Janet plopped down on the foot of her friend's bed and tried not to be mad at herself for being heartbroken over the end of something that technically had never happened at all.

A few minutes later Sam emerged, this time with a touch of makeup and strappy black heels that showed off the muscles in her calves. Janet let her eyes travel from the floor upward, sweeping up the clingy black dress her friend wore, taking in the subtle shade of her lipstick, and admiring the results of her own handiwork on top of Sam's head.

The overall effect was, in a word, stunning.

"So how do I look?" The blonde said shyly.

Janet could hardly speak. "I... You..." She cleared her throat. "You look amazing."

"Really?" Emboldened by the other woman's response, Sam strode closer. "Well, you do good work."

Right then Janet caught another teasing whiff of the blonde's subtle perfume, and her mouth went positively Saharan. "Amazing." She coughed feebly and bounced upright off her friend's bed. "You should probably go."

"Go?"

"To your date."

Sam smiled a slow, sexy grin, enjoying Janet's apparent discomfiture. "Right, the date. Wanna know what the date is?"

"It's none of my business," the brunette said definitively. She certainly didn't want to hear about whatever plans Sam had that demanded she look so... edible.

"It's today's date. Today. An anniversary."

"Anniversary of what?"

"Six years, five months, and twenty three days." She took another step closer, unable to contain a smile as Janet took a stuttering step away from her.

"That's an odd increment of time to celebrate," the doctor muttered. The faintest sheen of sweat had broken out on her forehead. "Is that when you met Colonel O'Neill?"

"No," Sam said simply. She drew to a halt just as Janet backed into a wall. "It's also four years, two months, and three days."

Janet just stared at her with wide, unfocused eyes.

"And one month."

"What..." the doctor breathed, uncomprehending.

"The first was the day we met. The second, the day I went boating on the lake with you and Cassie."

"And... one month ago?"

Sam dipped her head. "The day I realized I really wanted to do this." She reached with one hand to trail her fingertips up the fabric of Janet's sleeve, then swept her fingers around the doctor's neck and tangled them in her hair. She tilted Janet's head upward just slightly, then bent to claim a gentle kiss. One, then two swipes of their lips together, then Sam retreated just a bit to gauge her friend's reaction.

Janet's eyes were closed, and her mouth hung open slightly. "You..." she cleared her throat. "You waited a month to do that?"

Sam sagged a bit in relief that she hadn't utterly misread her friend's signals. "Six years," she corrected. "Five months..."

"... and twenty three days," the doctor finished with a little laugh. "The day we met?"

"The day we met," Sam confirmed, smiling.

"We were in Oregon a month ago," Janet said, as her brain kicked back into gear. She inhaled sharply, looking up into Sam's bright eyes. "God, Sam. You could have just asked me to dinner or something."

"I'm getting to that, actually. Dinner and dancing. You and me." Sam grinned, and reached up to tuck a lock of Janet's hair behind her ear. "Unless you already have plans for this evening."

"The pint of Haagen-Dazs in my freezer will be crushed," the brunette retorted. By now her initial surprise had rolled into definite annoyance. "But you should have just asked me. Why the little charade?"

The taller woman winced. "I was trying to convince myself I wasn't imagining things..."

The doctor shook her head, unable to restrain a sigh. "Of all the convoluted..." She stopped muttering and pinned a stern look on the other woman. "Leave it to an astrophysicist to so radically overthink something this simple."

Sam chuckled and latched onto one of Janet's hands, raising it to press a gentle kiss on her knuckles. "I didn't see my doctor figuring it out any sooner."

"Don't you blame me for this," Janet protested. Even her patented raised eyebrow glare only drew another soft laugh from Sam, and it was getting harder to stay annoyed by the second... She took a deep breath. "So. Dinner," Janet said firmly. She lifted one hand to skate across the fabric at Sam's hip, enjoying the tiny shudder it caused. "But we've done entirely too much dancing around each other lately."

"Fair enough," Sam agreed, looking profoundly relieved. She wasn't usually very cognizant of the risks she took, but the new bright, hopeful smile on Janet's face reminded her suddenly of all she'd stood to lose if this latest gamble hadn't paid off.

The look on her face must have matched the sudden ache in her gut, because Janet immediately reacted, raising a hand to Sam's face in concern. "Hey. What's wrong?"

The blonde shook her head. "What if I'd... I mean... God, Janet. If you'd come over tonight and not shown the slightest bit of interest, then I'd be the one with an ice cream date right now."

"All dressed up with nowhere to go," Janet added wistfully. "After six years, five months..."

"... and twenty three days."

They shared a smile.

It was lucky that Sam somehow made being a complete knucklehead so charming, Janet decided. It saved her the energy of strangling her friend, and then having to repair the damage later. "Maybe we should go dancing after all," she said, thinking aloud.

"Yeah?" Sam replied. She bent to press their foreheads together.

"Yeah. It is a special occasion," Janet said. She wrapped her arms around the taller woman's neck, pulling her even closer. "Happy anniversary, Sam," Janet whispered against Sam's lips, just before claiming them in another kiss.

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