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The Prophecy

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Chapter 1

 

Pain. God-awful, indescribable pain.

 

The staff weapon blasts to her side and chest hurt more than her mind could comprehend. She’d never question a patient about their level of pain from a staff blast again.

 

Death.

 

Nothingness. Blessed, peaceful nothingness.

 

~~~

 

The pain was bearable... barely. It hurt to breathe. She wanted to retreat back into the nothingness. She kept her respiration shallow in an effort to minimize the waves of pain that accompanied every breath. After a few minutes she tried to open her eyes. She sensed more than saw a shadow pass over her and then felt something pressed to the side of her neck. She no sooner registered the pain receding before she felt her mind and body succumb to sedation.

 

~~~

 

The pain wasn’t so bad the next time she woke. Still, she took several slow breaths while she tried to find her mental balance. She slowly took stock. Her chest and side hurt, but the pain was no longer debilitating. She felt the soft resistance of the bed beneath her body and the light caress of the slick sheet covering her. Definitely not Air Force issue. She opened her eyes a crack, the light preventing her from opening them any wider.

 

A warm hand touched the bare skin of her shoulder.

 

“Easy does it. Don’t try to move yet. Your injuries were severe and you still need to rest.”

 

She closed her eyes and tried to swallow. “Thirsty,” she managed to croak.

 

“I understand. I’ll get you something to drink.” The hand on her shoulder disappeared. The women quickly returned with a glass of water. She supported Janet’s head as she held the glass to her lips. “Just a few sips.”

 

The water seemed to absorb directly into the dryness of her mouth before she could actually swallow it. After a couple of sips she laid her head back. “Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome. Now get some more sleep.”

 

Janet couldn’t fight her body to stay awake; she was soon asleep again.

 

The woman looked at the dog tags in her hand.

 

FRAISER, JANET E.

008-00-0703     AF

AB  POS

PROSTESTANT

 

She’d only seen such identification tags in a museum or in a computer file. It had been a very long time since they’d been used. She turned away from the bed and walked away. She placed the tags on a sensor and ran a scan. The quantum signature verified the injured woman was not from an alternate universe. So the question was: Had she been thrown back in time, or was this Janet Fraiser thrown forward in time? Or were they in some totally different time altogether?

 

~~~

 

Kris sensed her wife coming to and rushed to her side. She gently took her hand in her own and gazed into her deep blue eyes as they opened. She couldn’t stop her tears from escaping no matter how hard she tried.

 

“What happened?”

 

“We crashed.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I don’t know. We were flying along and all of a sudden a planet appeared out of nowhere, and we were already in its atmosphere. If not for your skill, we would have crashed at full impulse speed.”

 

Her wife took a slow breath. “I can’t feel my legs.”

 

She let out deep breath. “That’s... probably for the best.”

 

Her wife looked her in the eyes and nodded in understanding. “I love you,” she whispered quietly, even as she reached out to her with her mind.

 

When Kris felt her wife’s mind touch hers, she was flooded with the purity of emotion behind those three small words. “And I love you,” she replied verbally as well as in her mind.

 

They both knew her wife was dying and that they were probably sharing the mind-touch for the last time. The dying woman slipped into unconsciousness. Kris simply sat next to her with silent tears running down her face, holding her hand.

 

~~~

 

The next time Janet woke up she felt significantly better, though far from pain free. However, she was finally strong enough to attempt to move. Very carefully, with her arm held tight across her chest, she managed to sit up. The movement stole her breath and it took a few moments for her get her bearings. One step at a time she methodically evaluated herself and her surroundings.

 

She was naked with nothing but the satin sheet that she held to her chest. She looked around her unfamiliar surroundings. It appeared she was on some kind of ship – a space ship – but not of any design she recognized. On a nearby counter she spied some clothes neatly folded. Janet carefully eased off of the bed and onto her feet. She picked up the garments – a t-shirt that was a little large for her and cotton, drawstring pants – and put them on. The movement pulled at her sore chest. It took a few minutes to catch her breath.

 

Once Janet marshaled her reserves and her resolve she began to look around, trying to discover some hint about where she was and whose ship she was on.

 

“How are you feeling?”

 

Janet jumped at the unexpected voice. She hadn’t heard anyone approaching.

 

Kris took in the injured woman’s scared but defiant expression. It was obvious she was afraid of her so she backed away a little. She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “It’s alright. I’m not your enemy, and as far as my ship’s sensors can tell, whoever did attack you is nowhere around here.” The petite brunette seemed to let go of a little of her apprehension, so she tried again.

 

“How are you feeling?”

 

“Better.” Janet paused. “I didn’t mean to be so nosy.”

 

She smiled. “It’s alright. I’d be curious, too, if I were you.”

 

Janet winced a little as she sat down.

 

“Sore?”

 

She nodded.

 

“I’m not surprised. You had some very bad plasma burns. It’ll take a few more days for your body to fully recuperate. In fact, now that you’re up, your new skin could benefit from another treatment with the dermal stimulator. I’m sure you’re still more than a little tender.” The clenched jaw and deep breath that Janet let out as she closed her eyes and nodded confirmed her observation. “Come on.”

 

Janet was led back to the bed where she was told to lie down. Doing as she was told, Janet pulled the t-shirt up to expose the wound on her side. The woman ran some device over it. Janet took the opportunity to take in her mysterious benefactor.

 

The woman was obviously humanoid. She was about four inches taller than herself, had short, dark hair and the darkest eyes Janet had ever seen. She couldn’t even distinguish the pupils from the surrounding irises. They were completely black, and she found them rather mesmerizing. She had no idea who this woman was, but there was something about her... Janet found herself calming and somehow sensing she had nothing to fear from this woman. She was pulled out of her musings when the woman spoke.

 

“How does that feel?”

 

Janet suddenly realized her side felt better. “Better.”

 

“Good. Now I need to do the same to your chest wound.”

 

Janet nodded in understanding and raised the t-shirt up to expose her chest. When the woman was done she put the dermal stimulator back in the medkit. Janet lowered her shirt. “That feels much better. Thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome. From the looks of it, you should only require one or two more treatments with the stimulator.” She pointed to an open door that appeared to lead to a bathroom. “What’s left of your uniform is in there. I didn’t find any other belongings except these,” Kris said as she handed her the dog tags. “Make yourself at home. I have to get back to Lena. She was injured too severely to be moved.” She turned to go.

 

“Wait, maybe I can help. I’m a doctor.” Janet didn’t get a response, but she grabbed the medkit and followed the other woman.

 

Stepping outside, it was obvious the ship they’d been in had crash-landed. There was considerable damage to the exterior of the ship. The planet looked much like others she’d been on – it had a lot of trees.

 

Kris sat down next to her wife, taking her hand in her own. Janet moved to the other side of the obviously injured woman and began to examine her to assess the damage.

 

“There’s no need, Doctor. There’s nothing you can do,” she said quietly.

 

Janet looked beseechingly at the woman that had helped her. “You healed me and I was hit by a staff weapon. There has to be something in this medkit that can help her.”

 

Kris sadly shook her head. She pulled out the medical scanner from the medkit and scanned Lena before handing it to the doctor. “See for yourself.”

 

It didn’t take long for Janet to understand the readings... and the futility of any treatment. She spoke in a whisper, “I’m sorry.”

 

She caressed Lena’s face. After several moments she let out a deep breath and looked at the doctor. “Are you hungry?”

 

Janet nodded.

 

“I’ll get us something to eat. I’ll be right back.”

 

She went back inside the ship and came back out with a light meal for both of them, which they ate in silence. When they were done eating Kris took their plates back in and disposed of them. When she came back out the doctor was checking Lena’s pulse.

 

She sat and took Lena’s hand in hers, then looked up at the doctor. “So, according to your dog tags, you’re in the Air Force, Dr. Fraiser.”

 

Janet nodded. “You have me at a disadvantage. You know my name, but...”

 

“I’m Admiral Kris Kay.” She looked down at Lena. “And this is Admiral Lena Sheldon.” She paused as she caressed her cheek. “My wife,” she was barely able to add in a choked whisper. A lone tear trailed down her face. She closed her eyes and took a slow, deep breath in an attempt to gather herself.

 

Janet laid her hand gently on her arm in sympathy. “I’m so sorry,” she said quietly. Once she could tell the other woman had gotten herself together she spoke again. “And where are you from?” she asked.

 

“Actually, our home is in Montana where Lena grew up.”

 

“So you are from Earth.”

 

Kris nodded. “Yes. I don’t think the question we’re facing is so much where we’re from, as when. Particularly since our quantum signatures verify we are from the same universe and we’re not dealing with some alternate universe situation. What’s the last thing you remember?”

 

Janet let out a deep breath and nodded in understanding. “I was in the field tending to a wounded soldier on P3X-666.”

 

“That’s one of the old binary designations, and if I’m not mistaken, not anywhere near where Lena and I were before we crashed. Let’s take a look.” She got up and entered the ship; Janet followed. Kris pulled up the info on the computer. “Our last known position was in the Capson Sector and P3X-666 was in the Elon Sector,” Kris said, pointing to the different points on the display.

 

“So how the hell did I end up here? Wherever here is,” Janet asked.

 

“I don’t know. I found you a few meters from the ship, brought you inside and treated your wounds.”

 

The two women then compared dates – 2004 vs. 2498. There was nearly 500 years between their places in time.

 

“So now we have to deal with a possible time paradox,” Janet said with a sigh.

 

“Yeah. I’ll have to watch what and how much I say.”

 

Janet groaned. “This is giving me a headache.”

 

“I know what you mean. Temporal mechanics is always worth a migraine or two.”

 

“Sam would be better at this.”

 

“Sam?”

 

“Major Samantha Carter. She’s the expert on this kind of stuff. She has a PhD in Theoretical Astrophysics, and knows more about the Stargate Program, alternate realities and grandfather paradoxes than anyone.”

 

Kris detected a note of sadness in her expression and tone of voice. She gave her a small smile. “Dr. Samantha Carter – her work was required reading at the academy.”

 

Janet smiled.

 


 

Chapter 2

 

Based on what the woman from the past had already told her, Kris quickly downloaded some information from the computer into a DAT so that she could review it.

 

“Well, this ship isn’t going anywhere, and according to the computer we’re not anywhere near our last coordinates or P3X-666, so I’m not sure how long we’re going to be here. Let me show you around.”

 

Kris gave Janet a quick tour. She showed her how to use the waterless ‘shower’ and gave her some additional clothes she could change into. She then left her alone.

 

While Kris sat with her wife she reviewed the information she had downloaded from the computer. The information verified that Lt. Colonel Janet Fraiser was declared killed in action on the date the doctor said she’d been shot. It also indicated that she was indeed the Chief Medical Officer of the Stargate Program, and that she’d been survived by an 18-year-old daughter, Cassandra Fraiser.

 

She was surprised that much of the information downloaded was still highly classified and required such a high clearance to access. There was also a large encrypted file named Phoenix that her security clearance wasn’t sufficient to allow her access... which made absolutely no sense.

 

Finally she set the DAT down and took Lena’s hand in her own and tenderly caressed her cheek with her other hand. She bent down and placed a kiss on her forehead. “As much as you hate temporal mechanics, I could sure use your guidance right about now.” Her tears began falling again.

 

Janet started to exit the small ship, but when she heard Kris speaking, she stayed discreetly in the doorway.

 

“I’m so lost, Lena. The last time I was lost you rescued me... you rescued me by stealing my heart and showing me what love is.” Her tears turned to quiet sobs, which then turned to uncontrolled coughs. She started coughing up blood.

 

That got Janet moving. She was at the woman’s side quickly. “Okay, Admiral, time to take care of you.”

 

Kris finally stopped coughing. She shook her head. “I’m alright.”

 

“Since I’m the doctor let me be the judge of that.”

 

She shook her head again. “I’m not leaving her,” she declared as she tightened her grip on her wife’s hand.

 

Filled with compassion Janet gave her a small nod. “I’ll be right back.” She went into the ship, retrieved the medkit, and returned. She quickly took out the medical scanner and scanned her. Janet looked at her in surprise. “Either I’m not reading this correctly or...”

 

“I’m not Human. Well, I’m part Human.”

 

“Okay then. You have four broken ribs and some internal bleeding.” She gestured to the open medkit. “Is there anything like the dermal stimulator in here that can help with your injuries?”

 

She pointed to one item and then a second. “This is the osteo stimulator, and that one will repair soft tissue and vascular damage.”

 

Once Janet was shown how to use the items, she quickly caught on. Afterwards she did another scan of the admiral with the medical scanner. She seemed satisfied with the readings. “You really should consider getting some rest, Admiral.”

 

“I can go without sleep longer than a Human.”

 

“And is that stamina affected by physical trauma?”

 

Kris scowled at the doctor. Even without knowing her, she could see the skepticism in the set of the doctor’s jaw. She definitely had that ‘doctor’ glare. She almost smiled when she realized it was the same as Lena’s ‘command’ glare. All of sudden the doctor’s face transformed from a fierce doctor’s glare to a very kind look of compassion.

 

Janet reached out and put her hand on hers. “Get some rest. I’ll stay right here with her. If there’s any change, no matter how minor, I’ll get you – I promise.”

 

Kris closed her eyes and let out a slow breath. She had to swallow past the lump in her throat. “Alright,” she finally replied in a whisper. She got up and went into the ship to lie down for a little while.

 

~~~

 

After about an hour in a healing meditation Kris came back outside. True to her word, the doctor was still at Lena’s side. As she approached, Janet moved so that Kris could reclaim her spot next to her wife.

 

Janet scanned her again with the medical scanner. “Since your color is better, Admiral, I’m going to assume these readings are actually closer to normal for you.”

 

Kris couldn’t keep from giving her a small smile as she looked at the scanner results and nodded. “Yes, they are.”

 

“Good.”

 

“And please, call me Kris.”

 

Janet blushed slightly as she nodded. “Okay... but I might slip and still call you Admiral – after so many years in the military it’s kind of hard to ignore the proper etiquette when addressing a senior officer.”

 

Kris did give her a smile at that. “Well, considering we’re basically shipwrecked here, and we don’t know where here is, and we don’t even know when we are, I think some informality would be more appropriate than inappropriate to our situation.”

 

There was a long silence as the reality of Kris’s statement and their situation suddenly sunk in. Up until then Janet had been running in automatic ‘doctor mode.’ She stopped to really think about the situation and it hit her like a ton of bricks, even though they had briefly touched on it earlier in the day. She turned a little pale. Even though Janet was kneeling in front of her, Kris grabbed her shoulders to steady her as she wavered.

 

“Easy does it, Doctor. I think you’d better sit down.”

 

She sat down. “I’m sorry. I guess everything just finally hit me.”

 

Kris gave her hand a squeeze. “It’s okay, Doctor.”

 

She looked up and held the admiral’s impossibly dark eyes a few moments. “My name’s Janet; call me Janet.”

 

Kris gave her hand another squeeze which Janet returned. “Okay, Janet.” She let go of her hand.

 

Janet took a deep breath and winced a little. She closed her eyes a few moments to fight back the pain.

 

Kris knew the look – it had been on her own face plenty of times. “Easy. Take small, easy breaths.” She slipped her over-shirt off and spread it out behind the doctor. “Here, lie back and relax.” She took her hand as Janet opened her eyes and helped her lie back.

 

“Sorry.”

 

“What in the world for? Your wounds were very severe, and even though I treated them I’m not a doctor. I did the best I could. A doctor probably could have completely healed them, but as it is, you’re going to need some time for your body to completely recuperate. You still need a lot of rest.”

 

“Believe me, I’m not complaining. I know I wouldn’t have survived without your help.” Janet closed her eyes again.

 

Kris opened up the medkit, took out the med-dispenser and pressed it to her neck. Janet’s eyes flew open and looked up at her.

 

“That should help ease the pain.”

 

“What was that?”

 

She showed Janet the vial she’d used. “I couldn’t risk using it before, not until you’d been conscious a while and had something to eat.”

 

Janet nodded in understanding.

 

Kris picked up the dermal stimulator. “It’s time to treat your new skin again as well.”

 

The doctor hiked her t-shirt up to expose her side and the admiral ran the dermal stimulator over it. She did it for longer than the previous time. “How does it feel?”

 

“It’s tingling.”

 

Kris nodded. “It looks good. You shouldn’t need any more treatments with the dermal stimulator.” She finished with her side. “Okay, now your chest wound.”

 

Even as she started to raise her t-shirt, Janet couldn’t stop herself from stealing a quick glance around. She received a reassuring smile.

 

“There’s no one around for miles. Trust me.”

 

“I know,” she replied with a self-depreciating smile as the stimulator was run over her chest wound. “It’s just that it’s usually me who’s asking someone to expose a part of their body,” she said with humor in her voice.

 

“If it’ll make you feel better I’ll take off my shirt.”

 

Janet chuckled. “No, it’s alright.” She closed her eyes and let out a deep breath as she lowered her shirt. “I’m tired,” she said as the admiral put the dermal stimulator away.

 

“Why don’t you go in the ship and lie down?”

 

“I don’t think I can move.”

 

“Then just relax right where you are. I’m not going anywhere. You’re safe.”

 

Janet couldn’t explain it, but she did feel safe with Kris watching over her. She closed her eyes and was asleep in only a moment.

 

Kris sat there, watching over both women – her dying wife, Lena, and a woman from the past.

 

~~~

 

After a while Janet woke up with a start and panicked. Her hands were clutched to her chest.

 

“Easy. You’re okay, Janet.”

 

Her eyes finally focused on the admiral and she got her breathing under control. She let her hands drop from her chest and Kris let go of her shoulders.

 

“Are you alright?”

 

She closed her eyes and swallowed, but nodded.

 

“Do you want to talk about it?”

 

Janet opened her eyes, and let out a deep breath. “It... it was just...” her voice trailed off and she hung her head as she closed her eyes again. After a moment she took another deep breath, lifted her head up and opened her eyes. “I’ll be alright.” She got up and went into the ship.

 

~~~

 

A few hours later Lena woke up. All three women knew she was in her final moments. Wanting to give the couple some semblance of privacy, Janet withdrew a few feet.

 

“Kris...” It came out a whisper.

 

Holding Lena’s hand to her heart, Kris leaned down and gazed into her eyes. They were glazed but soon focused on hers. “I’m right here, Lena.”

 

“To touch...”

 

“Body and mind. To know...”

 

“Heart and soul.”

 

Kris was so choked up she could barely speak, but she continued in a tight whisper. “Now... and forever more.”

 

Lena gave her a weak but loving smile, “Darling, no.”

 

With that Kris felt her wife sever their bond. It was like a physical blow and seared her mind. It literally took several seconds for her to be able to draw a breath. When she did, it was a gasp so clearly filled with pain it shocked Janet.

 

Janet was at her side trying to steady Kris as she struggled to breathe. She caught the expression on Lena’s face as she spoke her last words to her wife.

 

“Live.” Even though it was said in less than a whisper, it was clearly a demand.

 

And then Lena was gone.

 


 

Chapter 3

 

Kris let out a strangled yell. “No!” The emotional pain was unbelievable, but the psychic loss was even more profound. It was physically painful. She stood up, pulling away from Janet, pulled some kind of weapon, and thumbing it to the highest setting, used it to disintegrate her wife’s body.

 

Not knowing what to expect, and out of concern for Kris, Janet quickly moved and took the weapon from her hand where it hung limply at her side. She led the admiral back toward the ship. A couple of steps shy of the entryway the pain in her mind became overwhelming and Kris dropped to her knees. It felt like someone had shoved a white-hot, metal rod through her mind. Janet helped her into the ship and onto the bed.

 

Not realizing what Kris was really dealing with, she assumed her behavior was simply due to grief... at least until the woman went into a seizure. Taken by surprise, and not being familiar with her alien physiology, all Janet could do was ensure Kris didn’t injure herself until the seizure passed. Kris was unconscious once the seizure ended.

 

Janet scanned her with the medical scanner. She didn’t like the readings, though she didn’t have much of a baseline to go by. She took stock of the medkit and didn’t recognize most of the medications in the kit. She felt out of her depth, but she was a doctor with a patient, so she was going to do her best.

 

Janet had seen the admiral access the computer earlier when she pulled up the display to show the location of P3X-666, so she knew it was voice activated. “Computer, do you have Admiral Kay’s medical file?”

 

“Affirmative.”

 

“Display it, please.” She started looking at a very abbreviated file. “Computer, this can’t be the entire file. Please display the complete file.”

 

“Unable to comply.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Admiral Kay’s medical file is classified.”

 

“Damn it. Talk about no information – this doesn’t even list her age,” she muttered.

 

“Please repeat request.”

 

She still wasn’t going to give up. “Computer, list medications found in onboard medkit, their normal usages and dosages and possible side effects. Also notate any that would be inappropriate for use for Admiral Kay due to her physiology and medical history.”

 

She then asked if the information could be downloaded into something portable. The computer told her about a DAT – a Data Access Tablet. She had the information downloaded, including visual images of each medication to properly identify them without error. The next time Kris had a seizure she was ready with a med-dispenser. She administered the medication, hoping she was not doing the wrong thing. The medication slowed and then stopped the seizure. She let out the breath she’d been holding.

 

A while later Kris didn’t exactly come to, but she was no longer unconscious. She rolled onto her side into a fetal position. She was trembling and had her fists balled up and held at her temples. Her face twisted in agony. Janet scanned her again. She saw hyperactivity in the pain receptors in her brain. She selected a pain medication and administered it, but it had no effect. She was afraid to give Kris another dose.

 

“Damn it! I’m working blind here. I don’t know what’s causing this and I have no medical history.”

 

She looked back down at the medkit. She knew pain was pain and if the pain medication wasn’t doing the trick she’d do what she would for any other patient. She selected a sedative. Once the sedative took effect she scanned Kris again. Not knowing her physiology she couldn’t be sure, but she saw nothing that seemed to account for her symptoms.

 

Janet suddenly felt very tired. She didn’t want to leave Kris alone, so she made sure the medkit was within immediate reach and lay down on the bed next to her. She planned on closing her eyes for just a few minutes.

 

~~~

 

Janet was woken up about four hours later by the thrashing of Kris’s body in the midst of another seizure.

 

“Damn it!” She quickly gave her a shot. Afterwards Kris was semi-conscious.

 

“Kris? Can you hear me?”

 

She started to curl up into a fetal ball again.

 

Janet was getting frustrated. “Kris?” The admiral’s balled fists went to her temples again; Janet grabbed her chin and physically lifted her face. “Kris,” she tried again. “Admiral!” she finally barked.

 

Her eyes didn’t really focus but they were at least directed at Janet.

 

“Can you tell me what’s going on? What can I do to help you?”

 

Kris closed her eyes and tears squeezed out of the corners. “Hurts.”

 

“I know. But what’s causing it?” She tried to tuck her chin and curl up tighter, but Janet wouldn’t let her.

 

“Admiral! Talk to me!”

 

“Don’t understand... should’ve died... with her...” Her tears started flowing.

 

Janet misunderstood her meaning. She wiped away some of her tears, and her tone of voice changed a little as she continued. “I know you’re grieving, but I need to know what’s causing your seizures.”

 

Kris started slipping back into unconsciousness.

 

“Admiral!”

 

She opened her eyes partway. “Areth... death... mate...” she managed before passing out.

 

Janet went back to the computer. “Computer, what is Areth?”

 

“Areth is a planet. Areth also refers to the people from that planet and the language spoken there.”

 

“What are the customs of the Areth concerning death?” When the computer started she decided to be more specific. “Stop. Computer, is there anything in Areth customs concerning death that have to do with suicide?”

 

“No.”

 

“Computer, cross reference Areth, death, and mate.”

 

“Done.”

 

“What are the results?” The computer told her and she finally had her answer. “Oh, God,” she breathed quietly. She knew she could only do so much to provide medical support for the symptoms. There was no real treatment for her to give.

 

~~~

 

After consulting the onboard computer, Janet managed to get a meal from something called a matter converter. She shook her head. “I’m in some damn Star Trek episode,” she muttered as she watched her used plate and utensils disappear from where she’d placed them back into the converter’s receptacle.

 

When Janet returned to check on Kris she found her beginning to tremble again. She quickly scanned her, took note of the activity in the pain receptors, and again sedated her. From what she’d gathered from her research, keeping Kris heavily sedated was the best thing she could do for her. With her patient sedated and being in need of more sleep herself, Janet again laid down after making sure everything she needed was within easy reach.

 

Just a couple of short hours later Janet woke up with a gasp from another bad dream. She felt like she couldn’t breathe. She was lying on her right side and practically jumped out of the bed when she realized Kris was lying against her back... not quite spooning her. Once she took several deep breaths to calm down from the nightmare, she gathered herself enough to take a closer look at the woman to see that she was still heavily sedated. She also noticed that Kris was as distressed as she had been when she first woke up. Janet didn’t need the medical scanner to see her breathing and pulse were both elevated. She sat back down on the bed and put her hand on the woman’s shoulder.

 

“Shhh... it’s alright... everything’s alright...” She was only a little surprised to see the admiral settle down.

 

Janet went to the bathroom then got a pitcher of water from the matter converter. She sat on the side of the bed and filled a glass. After slaking her thirst she finally laid back down, making sure to leave plenty of room between her and the unwell woman. Just as Kris had told her, though Janet’s wounds had been healed, her body was still in much need of sleep.

 

~~~

 

The next time Janet woke up, she did so slowly. She took a slow, deep breath as she enjoyed the feel of the head on her chest and the warmth of the body that still slept snugged up against her. She didn’t open her eyes as she tightened her left arm around the shoulders it rested on. Her right hand rested on the arm that was across her waist. She drew in one more deep breath.

 

“Hey, Sammie, wake up,” she murmured.

 

Instead of a grunt of reproach she felt the body next to her start to seize. Memory suddenly flooded her mind and her eyes flew open as she quickly grabbed the med-dispenser and administered the anti-seizure medication. She hastily got out of the bed.

 

She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. “What the hell are you doing?” she asked herself. She took a waterless shower and put on some fresh clothes.

 

She sat vigil with the admiral that day but kept herself busy by reading information she kept downloading onto DATs. She was determined not to sleep in the bed that night, so she settled down on the floor. However, she was awakened by Kris having seizures several times early on – she was having a bad night.

 

Janet found that the woman’s breathing and pulse seemed to slow and recover faster when she was in close physical proximity. She didn’t understand it, but finally gave in to the inevitable. She lay down to sleep in the bed about halfway through the night. She made it through the rest of the night without being woken up.

 

~~~

 

When Janet woke up in the morning, she found Kris’s head on her chest again. Instead of waking her, she just reached over and grabbed the medical scanner. She awkwardly did the best she could to scan her but ended up with a double scan – one that showed their hearts beating in time with each other. Janet frowned thinking she’d did something wrong. She put the scanner down and carefully slipped out of bed trying not to disturb Kris. She then did another scan. It confirmed she was still unconscious and that the pain receptors in her brain were still hyperactive. Janet noted her heart rate. She then scanned herself. Her own heart rate was slightly different. She shook her head.

 

“It must’ve been a bad scan,” she mumbled, and went into the bathroom.

 

Due to the restless first half of the night and because she was still recovering from her own injuries, Janet was tired if not sleepy, and didn’t have much energy. It had been almost 36 hours since Kris’s first seizure, and from what she’d read, it could still be a while before the symptoms abated. Even as that thought went through her mind she saw the admiral’s body start to curl in on itself again as the pain made its way to a certain level of consciousness in her my mind. It was time for more sedative.

 

Janet lay back down. She was on her side facing Kris and spoke to her gently in an attempt to calm her. “Shhh... relax, it’s okay... settle down now... get some rest... you’re going be okay...” she said softly. She watched as the sedative took effect and her body relaxed.

 

She rolled over and grabbed the scanner again, but when she rolled back again the admiral was closer than she expected – a lot closer. Janet ran another scan, then gently nudged the woman over onto her back with a small smile. “You are a bed hog, Admiral,” she said as she put the scanner back on the nightstand and settled onto her back as well.

 

Kris’s breathing and heart rate increased almost immediately, signs that the pain had also increased even though she was sedated.

 

Janet grabbed the scanner again, not understanding what was going on. She was surprised the admiral’s vitals had changed so quickly. She reached out and put a hand Kris’s shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. “I’m sorry, Admiral, I just can’t give you any more sedative.”

 

She was surprised to notice her breathing was slowing a little bit. The admiral rolled onto her side, ducking her head towards Janet. She had to sit up and remove her hand from Kris’s shoulder to run another scan. As she did so she noted Kris’s breathing was increasing again. Janet watched the readings as they indicated the woman’s level of pain were increasing. She reached out and laid her hand on her shoulder again. “Relax,” she soothed.

 

A glance at the scanner showed her Kris’s vitals were settling down. It surprised her.

 

Suddenly the doctor had an epiphany. She closed her eyes and shook her head at herself for not making the connection before. She opened her eyes and looked at the woman again. “You’re not a bed hog; you’re simply seeking a connection.”

 

Janet lay back down, slipping her arm under her neck and pulled her close. Even unconscious Kris instinctively sought out the sound of her heartbeat. This time when she did the scan, Janet smiled when the reading showed their hearts beating in time. “Whoever thought I’d one day be treating a patient by getting into bed with her and holding her?” she said quietly. She gently held the woman’s head to her chest and fell back asleep.

 

At some point during the night Kris had actually slipped into regular sleep. No longer feeling the instinctive need for contact with Janet or to hear her heartbeat, she shifted and rolled away from the doctor.

 


 

Chapter 4

 

Kris woke up very early in the morning. It took a few minutes to remember everything that had happened and to get her bearings. She looked over and saw Janet sleeping. She didn’t want to wake her, so she very carefully got out of bed. A quick check of the computer let her know how much time had passed. It also told her what files the doctor had accessed in an effort to treat her. Kris looked at the DATs and the quantity of drugs that had been used out of the medkit. It was immediately obvious that she owed her life to the doctor – this doctor from the past. She was impressed.

 

For Janet to know nothing of her alien physiology or the medical equipment she had available to her, and yet be able to piece together the right actions to take and the right medications to use was quite amazing. The doctor was obviously quite brilliant and gifted. There were some doctors with 500 years more advanced training who Kris doubted as capable as Janet under perfect conditions, much less under such conditions as the ones which she’d performed.

 

After a quick shower and a change of clothes Kris quietly stepped outside. She just sat on a log. Silent tears trailed down her face. Her heart was breaking. It had been almost three days, but she hadn’t had the chance to do her crying since she’d been unconscious. The Areth had a meditation for such loss, but she was not Areth by birth. What she really needed was to grieve... if only she could allow herself to.

 

Janet exited the ship. She spotted Kris and quietly approached with scanner in hand. She sat down on the log next Kris and began to scan her.

 

Without looking, Kris reached over and stopped her by gently placing her hand over the scanner. “I’m fine... physically,” she said quietly.

 

Janet turned off the scanner.

 

“I’m quite aware that I owe you my life. Thank you.” She swallowed as more tears rolled down her face.

 

“Do you want to be alone?” Janet asked gently.

 

Kris inhaled and clenched her jaw as she tried to find her voice and looked at the doctor. “I never really knew what alone was until now,” she said as she broke down sobbing.

 

Janet didn’t hesitate to wrap her arms around the woman and gently rock her.

 

~~~

 

The next three or four days passed with little conversation. Janet, still recovering, spent much of the time sleeping. And Kris, not feeling particularly talkative, was withdrawn as she kept busy by salvaging and repairing whatever equipment she could.

 

Kris sat down heavily in one of the two seats in the cockpit with a sigh. After about three seconds she flung a broken piece of circuit board with an yell, “Dammit!”

 

“Kris?”

 

She whipped her head around and spotted the petite doctor in the doorway. She took a deep breath and let it out. “It doesn’t matter how many repairs I do – this ship is never going to fly again!”

 

Janet noticed blood dripping from the upset woman’s hand. “Hey, you’re bleeding.” She moved into the cockpit and took hold of Kris’s injured hand, starting to examine it.

 

“It’s nothing.”

 

“It’s not nothing, Kris. This needs to be taken care of now.”

 

Even though they’d only known each other a week, she already knew there was no arguing with the doctor when she took that particular tone. Kris simply sighed as the smaller woman led her by her injured hand back the main area of the ship.

 

Janet opened the medkit and began treating the gash on the palm of Kris’s hand. Within a couple of minutes the wound was closed and healed. She still couldn’t get over how advanced the futuristic medical tools were. She sure could have used a medkit like that at the SGC. She put the device back into the kit and then gave the woman a hard look. “When was the last time you ate something?”

 

“I’m not hungry.”

 

“And I’ll bet you didn’t get any sleep again last night either,” Janet said with a tinge of irritation in her voice.

 

“I told you, I can go without sleep longer than a Human can.”

 

“But you–” Suddenly an alarm sounded. “What is that?” Janet asked.

 

Kris stood and headed to the exit, with weapon in hand. “Someone’s approaching.”

 

Janet followed her outside where a man in loose robes approached.

 

“Greetings. Welcome to Jidiri, Admiral Kris Kay, Dr. Janet Fraiser. I am Cayden.”

 

“How do you know our names?”

 

“I was informed of your impending arrival. I apologize for the delay in coming to greet you, but this is not where you were expected.”

 

Grief, frustration, and a lack of sleep combined to make Kris very irritable and short-tempered. She advanced on the man menacingly. “What the hell do you mean you were informed of our impending arrival? You mean someone arranged for Lena and I to crash?! That they deliberately killed my wife?!”

 

“No,” he replied calmly. “I am very sorry for your loss, Admiral. No one foresaw or wanted your arrival here to occur in such a manner.” He spoke with seemingly genuine sympathy. “We consider all life precious.”

 

“How did we end up here?” Janet jumped in.

 

Cayden looked at her. “I don’t know. I only know that you were expected; however, as I said, not in this place or manner.”

 

“Just in what place and manner were we expected?” demanded Kris.

 

“Actually you were expected yesterday, just outside the village. I made an inquiry when you did not show up. That’s when I was informed of your location. Apparently something occurred that necessitated a change in the time of your arrival.” He paused and looked at Janet. “That event was your death, Dr. Fraiser.”

 

“I don’t understand,” Janet replied.

 

“Neither do I,” added Kris.

 

“Quite simply, you died before you were supposed to, Dr. Fraiser.”

 

“So I was dead...”

 

Kris didn’t miss the waver in Janet’s whisper. She turned in time to steady the suddenly ashen doctor. “Hey, you’re okay, Janet.”

 

“Indeed. Now, if you’re ready, a place has been prepared for you.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“As new arrivals of Jidiri we have prepared a dwelling in the village for your use. There’s no need for the two of you to remain here, isolated from everyone else.”

 

“I still have repairs to make to my ship,” Kris replied.

 

“I understand your desire; however, your ship will not fly again.”

 

It rankled the admiral that Cayden knew the true state of her ship. She exchanged a quick look with Janet before addressing the robed man. “We need a few minutes to discuss this.”

 

“By all means, take all the time you need.”

 

Kris turned on her heel and headed back into the ship. Janet was right behind her. Once inside Kris dropped down into a seat heavily. She rubbed her temples as if she had a headache.

 

“So what do you think we should do, Admiral?”

 

She looked up at the doctor and quirked an eyebrow. “I thought we agreed to drop the titles.”

 

“Sorry, but right now you’re the ranking officer here.”

 

“And you didn’t get to be a lieutenant colonel without some experience at making decisions. So, what do you think we should do?”

 

Janet closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I’m completely out of my element here, Kris. I know nothing about this planet or its people. And all the evidence that’s available to me indicates I’m nowhere near my own century in time. I don’t think I could feel more lost.”

 

Kris nodded in understanding. “Well, I don’t know anything about this world either. I’ve never heard of Jidiri, but Cayden is right – this ship is never going to fly again no matter how many repairs I try to make. Not even a fully qualified engineer, which I’m not, could get it to fly again. As long as we have power for the matter converter we have all we need for food, water and anything else. However, once we lose power, which we eventually will, we’ll be on our own. Perhaps going to the village is a good idea, if only to check it out.” She turned and retrieved a couple of weapons, handing one to Janet. “But we don’t go unarmed.”

 

~~~

 

The women had gathered together a few items before following Cayden through the woods and down the hills into the valley and then into the village. It took about four hours to reach the village. Both of them were surprised to see people of over two dozen humanoid alien races as they walked through the streets.

 

Cayden showed them to a small house, explaining they could share it; or, if they preferred, a second home, a block away, was available if they each wanted a place to themselves. He went on to explain that anything they could want or need was theirs for the asking from any of the vendors since there was no monetary system on Jidiri. People simply contributed whatever they could to the community, be it goods or services.

 

After some private discussion, Kris and Janet decided to stay in the village. They also decided to share the same house so that they at least had the comfort of someone somewhat familiar around.

 

~~~

 

Over the next few days Kris made trips back to the ship to retrieve useful items. On her final trek, she set charges in the small ship to destroy whatever she hadn’t taken from it. It may not have been an Alliance Fleet ship, but she didn’t want to risk any of the advanced technology falling into the wrong hands – there were numerous races present on Jidiri that she’d never seen or heard of. As evidenced by Dr. Fraiser’s presence, there was also the issue of a possible contamination of the timeline.

 

While Kris was gone making trips back and forth to the ship, Janet began to explore the village. She found shops that supplied anything they could possibly need or want. Restaurants and cafés with delicious food were plentiful, some specializing in specific alien cuisines and others serving just about any and everything. Clothes were not considered a fashion statement on Jidiri. Clothes were chosen simply for functionality or comfort. The most common clothes worn were comfortable loose fitting pants and pullover shirts, though there was a variety that necessity provided.

 

It was during her explorations she also realized that the level of technology on Jidiri seemed to be a mix of current (to her), old, and futuristic. One of the areas that seemed to be more advanced than her level of experience was the medical technology. At the clinic, she was given a tour by a Dr. Lettie Boson, who reassured Janet that her knowledge and skill would be a welcome addition to the clinic. And based on Janet’s questions, Dr. Boson also assured her she’d be able to ‘catch up’ to the level of medicine on Jidiri.

 

Being a doctor was such a part of who Janet was that she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So she reached the decision to take on the challenge and get up to speed with medicine on Jidiri. Dr. Boson sent Janet home with study materials.

 

Each day, after both women returned to the house, they would discuss their day. So, through Janet, Kris learned about the village as well. Each day, Kris would show Janet what she’d salvaged from the ship, separating out items that seemed to exceed the local level of technology to be kept just between them.

 


 

Chapter 5

 

The day after her final trip to the ship, Kris went for a walk through the village while Janet stayed at the house and studied. Despite everything Janet had told her about the village she was surprised by a number of things, not the least of which was a total lack of law enforcement. During her walk, she saw Cayden and stopped him.

 

“Cayden?”

 

The man turned and smiled. “Ah, Admiral Kay. How are you?”

 

“Fine, and you can call me Kris.”

 

“Thank you. Are you finding everything you need, Kris?”

 

“Yes. I do have some questions though.”

 

Cayden gestured to a nearby bench. “What can I answer for you?” he asked as they sat down.

 

“How do you keep order on Jidiri with no law enforcement agency or personnel?”

 

He shrugged. “We have no need for law enforcement.”

 

“But what if someone steals from another person?”

 

“Why would anyone steal? Anything they could want or need is freely available.”

 

“But it appears that everyone comes from a different level of technology.”

 

“This is true. But here on Jidiri everything is available to whomever wants it, no matter how advanced the technology.”

 

“Okay, but what about other crime? What if someone were to get into a disagreement that escalated to a physical altercation? Or, heaven forbid, someone is murdered?”

 

He smiled gently. “I understand why you ask these questions, but no such crime has ever occurred on Jidiri.”

 

“But–”

 

“Kris, would you ever steal, or attack or murder someone?”

 

“No, of course not.”

 

“And that is why we have no need for law enforcement. Everyone who comes here is of strong moral character, such as yourself. And those who have lived here all their lives have never been exposed to these things and would never consider committing such an act.”

 

“What about planetary defense?”

 

“We have no need. Jidiri is perfectly safe.”

 

Kris looked around, taking in their surroundings and the many different races and cultures represented by the people just within the immediate area. “Utopia,” she breathed quietly.

 

“What?”

 

She turned back to Cayden. “It sounds like Utopia... I’m just afraid it’s too good to be true.”

 

Cayden again smiled. “You will come to believe it, Kris.”

 

“I have not seen or heard anything about space travel here. Does anyone ever leave Jidiri?”

 

“Yes, but only those who are called to serve.”

 

“Called to serve? As in the military?”

 

“Oh, no. We have no military. A small number of our citizens are called to serve elsewhere in varying capacities.”

 

She tried to press him for answers on how people left the planet without space travel, but that was the one thing he was not able, or not willing, to answer. She wasn’t sure which it was.

 

~~~

 

Janet looked up from her spot on the couch when Kris came in several hours after she’d left on her walk. She smiled. “So what did you think of the village?”

 

“It’s certainly different from any place I’ve seen before.” She sat down in a chair facing the couch. “If it lives up to everything Cayden says it is it may very well turn out to be a utopia.”

 

Janet cocked her head in thought, measuring the woman’s words, tone of voice, and expression. “So what’s wrong?”

 

Kris took a breath and slowly let it out. “It’s been my experience that anything that seems too good to be true usually is.”

 

The doctor nodded. “Yeah. Have you seen or heard anything that would indicate if it is?”

 

“According to Cayden they have absolutely no planetary defenses or military. Even if the citizens are non-violent and of high moral character, we both know that’s not the case with other worlds. And even though they have no space travel at all, he did admit that a small number of people do leave Jidiri.”

 

“How?” Janet asked, unable to contain her excitement.

 

“He couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say. All he said was that a small number of people are ‘called to serve elsewhere in varying capacities.’ I couldn’t get any more information beyond that.” Kris quietly sighed and then changed the subject. “So, how was your day?”

 

“I feel a little like I’m back in medical school studying for finals. Their medical facilities are more advanced than what I’m used to. And of course I’m trying to learn how to treat a number of alien races.”

 

Kris gave her a small smile. “Well, considering how well you did treating me, I’m sure you’ll do just fine.”

 

Janet let out a rueful huff. “At least I’ll have access to medical records.”

 

“Yeah... about that.” Kris got up and retrieved a DAT from her bedroom. She handed it to Janet before sitting back in the chair. “If you’re willing, I’d prefer to have you as my doctor rather than someone else. You’ve already proven yourself to me,” she finished with a smile.

 

“Sure, okay.” She turned on the DAT and skimmed the medical file contain in it. After a couple of minutes she looked up. “There’s still seems to be some missing sections.”

 

Kris nodded. “You have everything that’s available.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“If you have any questions just let me know.”

 

Janet nodded. “I will.”

 

~~~

 

Janet immersed herself in her studies from morning to night. So much so that the days ran together and she didn’t know it was night time until Kris came home.

 

One evening, after quitting her studies early, it dawned on Janet that she had no idea where Kris went all day. She would leave in the mornings and not come home until late in the evening or even bedtime. As a consequence Janet hadn’t really even seen her housemate in days, much less talk to her.

 

Tired and frustrated, Kris entered the house. She got something from the refrigerator to drink and dropped into a living room chair heavily.

 

“You look tired,” Janet observed.

 

“I am. In more ways than one.”

 

It was her tone of voice more than her words that captured Janet’s attention. “What’s wrong, Kris?”

 

She let out a sigh. “I just... I guess I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.” She took a deep breath and sipped from her drink. “I’ve been checking out the area surrounding the village, scouting out in a different direction every day.”

 

“And?”

 

“And... nothing. There’s nothing to indicate there’s anything here other than this village.” She paused for a couple of beats. “Also, the remnants of my ship are gone.”

 

“What?!”

 

“It’s completely gone. There’s not a scrap of metal anywhere in the area. I set the charges and pretty much destroyed it, but there was still the bulk of the hull and debris.” She shook her head. “Now there’s no evidence it was ever there – I went over the area with a fine tooth comb.”

 

“Maybe Cayden can explain what happened.”

 

“I’m sure he can... if he’s willing to.”

 

Janet studied her housemate. “That’s not all that’s bothering you.”

 

Kris looked up at the doctor, holding her gaze for a couple of seconds. “For one, I was hoping to find a way off of Jidiri, but I haven’t seen anything to contradict what Cayden said about a lack of space travel, and no one I’ve talked to has clue about how someone could leave.”

 

Janet frowned when Kris abruptly stood and went into her bedroom. Something else was definitely bothering the woman.

 

~~~

 

Kris stripped and put on her robe. She then went into the bathroom and took a shower. After her shower she returned to her bedroom and put on her pajama pants and a tank top. She looked up when Janet knocked on the half-closed door.

 

“Can we talk?” Janet asked, standing in the doorway.

 

“Sure. I’ll be right out.”

 

When Kris came out of her bedroom, she found the living room empty. But Janet entered from the kitchen with a couple of mugs of hot chocolate.

 

The doctor smiled. “I made some hot chocolate, so I poured you a mug.”

 

“Thank you,” Kris replied as she took the mug and they both sat on the couch.

 

They sipped the hot chocolate for a couple of minutes in silence. Kris finally spoke.

 

“So what did you want to talk about?”

 

Now that she had Kris in front of her, Janet wasn’t sure where to begin. “I guess I’m wondering what you’ve been up to during the day.” She paused for a beat. “And I was wondering how you’re doing?”

 

It was all Kris could do to not hurl the mug of hot chocolate at the wall across the room. She clenched her jaw so hard Janet was afraid she was going to break a tooth. Kris set the mug down before she lost all control, stood, and moved to a window. She looked out but didn’t see anything. After what felt like a small eternity, she finally spoke.

 

“How the hell do you think I’m doing?” she snapped with venom. “My wife was killed 23 days ago!” She dropped her head and covered her eyes with a trembling hand.

 

Janet had dealt with more mourning family members than she cared to remember, and her instinct was to go to the woman and comfort her, but something told her to hold back. Her heart ached at the depth of the grief she heard in Kris’s voice. She waited patiently.

 

Finally, the rigidity in her body eased and Kris literally sagged. She turned. “I’m sorry... I don’t mean to take it out on you.”

 

“What you’re feeling is perfectly normal, Kris. I’d be more worried if your emotions didn’t get the better of you sometimes.”

 

She listlessly walked over and took her seat on the couch again. She sighed. “It might be easier if I didn’t feel so damn useless.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I’m stuck on a planet I’ve never heard of with no means of leaving. And there’s nothing here for me to do. Jidiri has no need for someone like me. I’ve spent most of my life in the fleet and most of that time in covert intelligence.” She looked Janet in the eyes. “Jidiri doesn’t even have law enforcement, much less a military. There’s nothing to do here for a person like me.”

 

“I’m sure there’s something you can do, Kris. Why don’t you speak with Cayden? He did say to let him know if there was anything we needed.”

 

“I don’t know how much I trust him... or anyone else here for that matter.”

 

~~~

 

Time passed. Kris, after talking with Cayden, opened up a martial arts school. The goal of her school was not to teach how to fight, but to teach the discipline required, and realize the benefits of becoming proficient at Vor’kesh, the martial art of the Areth.

 

Once Kris opened her school, she was approached by a man named Chuzu who wanted to learn her style of martial art and to help her teach. Chuzu looked Human, though his blue hair and vertical slit pupils belied that classification. He identified himself as Luccan – another planet/race Kris had never seen or heard of. Chuzu proved to be a very quick study and was soon quite proficient at Vor’kesh, becoming Kris’s assistant teacher. He was also the first real friend she’d made on Jidiri, besides Janet.

 

Meanwhile, Janet started working at the clinic. Initially she worked under the supervision of Dr. Lettie Boson, like a resident. But Janet had an innate talent for medicine and soon was working on her own. Most of the residents of Jidiri tended to see a doctor of their own race, but Janet did have some patients who were non-Human.

 

As both women settled into their new roles on Jidiri, they each found a small measure of peace despite their personal losses, and comfort in their strengthening friendship.

 


 

Chapter 6

 

A few months had passed since Dr. Janet Fraiser was killed on P3X-666. Though her loss was felt throughout the SGC, none missed her more than her daughter, Cassandra. It just wasn’t fair. She had lost her family, lost everyone she had ever known, when the Goa’uld Nirrti wiped out everyone on her home world of Hanka. She’d been the only survivor and SG-1 had brought her back to Earth with them.

 

Even though Cassie had bonded with Captain Samantha Carter first, it was Dr. Janet Fraiser that had given her a place to live, a home... a new family. Of all the people at the SGC, it seemed that her mother should have been the last one to be killed off-world. She was a doctor – the Chief Medical Officer – and shouldn’t have been anywhere near an ongoing firefight.

 

Her mother’s death hit Cassie hard, but her teachers were understanding and supportive, giving her a little leeway when her schoolwork slipped. She still managed to graduate with good grades and was accepted into the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. But even so, it was apparent that she wasn’t herself.

 

Sam, in an effort to be supportive of Cassie, approached General Hammond about not going on quite so many off-world missions, especially scheduled extended missions. Colonel O’Neill wasn’t the happiest about her reduced responsibilities on SG-1, but was glad that she was still on the team. Besides, it was only until the girl went away to school.

 

Not wanting to uproot Cassie, Sam had moved into Janet’s house with her. It was only temporary, only until Cassie went away to college.

 

~~~

 

The klaxons sounded as the gate began to spin.

 

“Unauthorized off-world activation. Unauthorized off-world activation.”

 

General Hammond and Colonel O’Neill came out of the general’s office and entered the control room.

 

“What’s–”

 

Before the general could form his question, many of the lights in the base suddenly cut off. “Close the iris!”

 

“I can’t,” Sam replied as she tried to get the computer to respond.

 

All the armed guards in the gate room tensed as a figure emerged from the event horizon of the gate.

 

“It’s Thor!” Sam exclaimed.

 

“Security team, stand down,” Hammond ordered over the PA.

 

The gate disengaged and the lights came back on. Jack and the general headed down to the gate room.

 

“Thor! Buddy! What’s shaking?” the colonel quipped.

 

“Welcome, Thor. It’s always good to see you,” said the general. “To what do we owe this honor?”

 

“I must speak to SG-1 about an important matter.”

 

~~~

 

Teal’c and Daniel Jackson joined Jack, Sam and Hammond in the briefing room.

 

“Alright, Thor, you have our attention.”

 

“SG-1 must take a trip through the stargate.”

 

“Where to?” asked Hammond.

 

“I do not know.”

 

“Excuse me? How are we supposed to get to wherever it is we’re supposed to go, if you don’t even know where it is we’re supposed to go... to?” asked Jack.

 

“I do not know the stargate address. You do, O’Neill.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“The stargate address was downloaded into your brain by the Ancients’ repository of knowledge.”

 

“But the Asgard removed all that information from the colonel’s mind,” Sam pointed out.

 

“The stargate address to which I am referring was not removed.”

 

“I think I’d know if I had any strange gate addresses floating around in my head – I don’t.”

 

“The information is there. It will come to you when it is time.”

 

“Time for what?” Daniel asked.

 

“Time for you to go.”

 

They all exchanged looks that indicated they didn’t feel like they were getting very far.

 

“Okay, so we’re not sure where we are going yet. Can you at least tell us why we’re going?” Daniel pressed.

 

“To retrieve something that you’ve lost, and something that you seek.”

 

“Could you be a little more specific?”

 

“No.”

 

Confused looks were again exchanged around the table.

 

Jack leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. “Look, Thor, you’re not giving us a lot to go on here. You want us to take a trip through the stargate to someplace, you don’t know where, to retrieve something we lost and something we seek, but you can’t tell us what. Come on, buddy, why would we do this with so little information?”

 

“Because of the prophecy.”

 

“What prophecy?”

 

“There is an age old legend that tells of a world where a certain special people are taken to either live in peace or be prepared for their roles as Guardians.”

 

“Guardians?” Sam asked.

 

“Yes – children of the four races. The prophecy states that Earth’s Guardian and mate will be born again, of the heart and in life. They are a phoenix. They become as one.” He paused for a moment. “The time of Earth’s Guardian has come.”

 

“So... this Guardian is some super-Human, indestructible, Goa’uld butt-kicking, soldier?”

 

“I would not say that, O’Neill. Guardians are not indestructible. And, there are other things out there besides the Goa’uld – worse things.”

 

“Yeah, so I’ve heard.”

 

“Only you, O’Neill, have the information necessary to find Earth’s Guardian.”

 

Once again looks were exchanged around the table. Finally Jack turned to Hammond.

 

“Well, General?”

 

Hammond sat in silence for several moments. Finally he let out a heavy sigh. “Well, if you can come up with the address, Colonel, then I guess we can take a look and see what’s on the other side.”

 

Jack looked at Thor. “When do we go?”

 

“When you say so.”

 

“Great.”

 

~~~

 

SG-1 remained on standby until whenever the colonel could remember the gate address that the Ancient repository placed in his mind. According to Thor, Jack would not only remember the address, he would also know when it was exactly the right time to go.

 

A few days after Thor’s visit, SG-1 was together in the mess eating lunch. Jack’s face suddenly went blank and he mutely stared off into the distance.

 

“Jack? Are you alright?” Daniel asked.

 

He didn’t respond.

 

“O’Neill.” Teal’c clamped a large hand on Jack’s shoulder. “O’Neill.”

 

“Ist este vicisti.”

 

“What did he say?” Sam asked.

 

“It’s Ancient. He said, ‘It is time,’” Daniel translated.

 

The colonel abruptly stood up and the other followed him to the control room. He sat at the computer terminal and input a gate address.

 

The general rushed in when the klaxons went off. “What’s going on?” he demanded.

 

“The colonel just said ‘it was time’ in Ancient and then came in here and entered a new stargate address – with nine symbols,” Sam explained.

 

“Nine? Even the address of the Asgard homeworld only had eight. Why nine?”

 

“I don’t know, sir. I surmised the eighth symbol was an additional distance calculation, but I have no idea what the ninth symbol is for.”

 

“Well, send a MALP through and see what you get back on telemetry.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

A MALP was sent through the open wormhole.

 

“Unable to track the MALP, sir. However I am getting sensors and audio/video feedback. Sensors indicate an Earth-like atmosphere.”

 

“Any sign of life?”

 

“Not in the immediate vicinity. No DHD evident either. It’s just an empty white room.”

 

“Then you better take one of your naquadah reactors with you so you can dial out manually.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

The colonel spoke up again in the language of the Ancients, “Uto iste esta viciti uto revertum portacus mos addonom nos tergume hictum.”

 

Daniel again translated. “‘When it is time to return the gate will bring us back.’ So you’re saying we don’t need to take a reactor with us?” he asked.

 

The colonel silently nodded.

 

“I don’t care. Take it anyway,” General Hammond ordered.

 

“Vicisti praecessitum.”

 

“‘Time to go,’” Daniel again translated.

 

Within a few minutes SG-1 was on the ramp and ready to go. As soon as they stepped through, their weapons and the reactor had completely disappeared. The wormhole closed behind them.

 

“Hey! Where the hell did my P90 go?” exclaimed Jack.

 

Surprised, it took them a few moments to verify that every single weapon, including their knives, were missing. And without the generator, they couldn’t power up the gate to dial back home. None of them were very happy.

 

“You did say that when it was time the gate would bring us back home, O’Neill,” Teal’c said.

 

“I did?”

 

“Yes, you did.”

 

“Well, I hope I was right.” Jack sighed. “Alright, spread out. Look for a way out of here.”

 

The room they were in was a completely nondescript white room with no windows or discernable doors. Suddenly a section of the wall slid aside revealing a doorway. A man stepped into the room.

 

“Hello. My name is Cayden. I am here to welcome you to Jidiri.”

 

“Hello, I’m Daniel Jackson. This is Colonel O’Neill, Major Carter, and Teal’c. Were you expecting us?”

 

“Not you specifically, but I knew that we would be receiving some guests when the stargate appeared. I wanted to make sure you were made welcome and as comfortable as possible. If you’ll come with me, we have a guest house prepared for you. You’ll find food and changes of clothing.” He smiled at them. “And this evening there’s a concert in the park.”

 

“Do you know why we’re here?” asked Jack.

 

“Visitors always come when it’s time for one or two of our residents to leave,” Cayden replied, sounding a little sad.

 

“Do you know who we’re here to find?”

 

“No. Visitors know who they’re looking for when they find them. Sometimes it takes only a few hours, sometimes it takes a few weeks. But rest assured, you will find who you are looking for.” Cayden said little else, despite constant questioning by Daniel, as he led them to a house. He explained it was theirs for however long they were on Jidiri. Then he left them to their own devices.

 

Each member of the team found ‘native’ clothing for them in one of the four bedrooms. Daniel and Sam decided to change into the clothing, while Jack and Teal’c remained dressed as they were.

 

Jack was impatiently pacing in the living room when Sam and Daniel returned from their respective bedrooms. “What the hell are we doing here?!”

 

“Well, it was your–”

 

“I know that, Daniel! But what the hell are we supposed to do now that we’re here? That Colin guy–”

 

“Cayden,” Daniel automatically corrected.

 

“Colin was no help. How are we supposed to find this damn Guardian if we don’t know who he is or what he looks like? And how the hell are we supposed to find something ‘we lost’ when we don’t even know what it is? And how did these people remove all of our weapons?”

 

“Well, Cayden did say there was a concert in the park tonight. Perhaps that’s where we should begin,” Sam offered.

 

“Why are you so blasé about all this, Carter? These people took away our weapons and we have no way to dial the gate to get back home!”

 

The blonde shrugged. “I don’t know, sir. But I just have a feeling about this place. I don’t think there’s anything to fear here, I believe we’re perfectly safe.”

 

“Yeah! I feel it, too,” Daniel predictably agreed.

 

Jack looked at Teal’c. “And you?”

 

“I do find myself surprisingly unconcerned about being unarmed.”

 

Jack was not a happy camper. “We split up, but no one goes anywhere alone. Carter, Teal’c, see what you can find out – especially about how the hell we can get home. Daniel, you’re with me. The sooner we find whoever we’re supposed to the sooner we can leave this... place.”

 

None of the four members of SG-1 found anything or spoke to anyone who could be of assistance to them. They did, however, find that every single person they encountered was welcoming and nice to them. They were also surprised to discover that there was no monetary system and that anything they saw in the shops was theirs simply for the asking. It was late in the day when they all returned to the house.

 


 

Chapter 7

 

Kris got up before the sun and silently left the house without disturbing her housemate. She began her four hour trek.

 

When Janet awoke she didn’t want to get up or go to work. But then realized going to work was better than just sitting about the house and brooding. She didn’t want to think about what the day represented. She dressed and knocked quietly on her housemate’s bedroom door. When there was no answer she opened it and was surprised to see that Kris was apparently already up and had left for the day.

 

~~~

 

By lunchtime Janet was convinced she was having one of the worst days of her life. She already had to deliver some bad news to a patient and had to rush another patient into surgery. Of course, it didn’t help that she was in a foul mood to begin with. She pinched the bridge of her nose and considered calling it a day. She looked at the pile of folders on her desk and gave up the notion of leaving for the day; however, needing to get out for a while, she did decide to go for a walk during her lunch break.

 

Janet walked through the village and absentmindedly acknowledged the people who waved at or greeted her. She actually let out a breath of relief when she reached Kris’s school. Even though both she and Kris had made other friends on Jidiri, there were things they only discussed with each other. She knew some time talking with Kris would help her feel better.

 

She opened the door and entered the school. There wasn’t a class in session, but there were a few students in the main room practicing on the mats. Janet walked on back to the office since she didn’t see Kris anywhere. She jumped as the office door opened just as she about to reach for the knob.

 

“Dr. Fraiser, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”

 

“It’s alright, Chuzu. And I told you to call me Janet.”

 

“But you are my doctor; it would be impolite to address you so informally.”

 

Janet smiled. She’d tried for some time to get Chuzu to address her by her name, particularly since she almost always saw him in a social setting, either as a guest of Kris in their home, or when she came to the school to see Kris. But Chuzu’s race placed a very high value on showing proper respect. Despite the closeness with which he worked with Kris, and their personal friendship, he refused to call her anything but Uzhinn – the Areth equivalent of Sensei, Sifu, or Teacher.

 

“Is there something I can do for you?” Chuzu asked.

 

“I’m just here to see Kris.”

 

“Uzhinn is not here. She canceled all her classes for today. I haven’t seen her since yesterday.”

 

“Oh. I see.” Janet was completely taken by surprise. Not only did Kris not say anything to her, but canceling all of her classes was completely out of character for the woman. Kris was nothing if not dependable. Even when she was not feeling her best Kris never missed a class.

 

“Is there a message... in case she comes in later?”

 

“No, no. Thank you, Chuzu.” Janet turned and exited the school. Even though she had been looking forward to talking things through with Kris, she was surprised at just how disappointed she was. In fact, as she walked back to the clinic, she actually found herself getting a bit angry.

 

Back at the clinic, Janet’s day got worse.

 

~~~

 

It was after dark when Kris returned home. She felt completely wiped out. With a heavy sigh she opened the front door and entered the house. As soon as she walked in the door she could tell something was wrong. Janet was in the kitchen washing up her dinner dishes. Her movements were stiff and even without seeing her face Kris could sense she’d been crying. She moved to stand behind Janet and gently laid her hand on her shoulder.

 

“Janet, what’s wrong?” she asked quietly.

 

Janet jerked away from her touch. “Like you give a damn!” She turned and stiffly marched into the living room.

 

The venom in Janet’s voice was like a slap across the face and it stung enough to bring tears to Kris’s eyes. The day had made her own emotions raw. She entered the living room feeling like a whipped puppy. She desperately wanted to make things right, though she had no idea what she had done to upset Janet. The doctor was staring out the window. Somehow Kris knew she wouldn’t turn around and look her.

 

“Janet?”

 

Her whole body stiffened. “The K’wen baby died today,” she said in a shaky whisper. It was always hard when she lost a patient, but losing a baby was the worst. However, that was not all that was bothering her. After a long pause she continued. “And it was a year ago today that...” She started crying.

 

Kris took a couple of steps toward her but stopped when Janet turned around. There was still a look of accusation in her brown eyes as tears trailed down her face.

 

“And where the hell were you? It was like you disappeared. You were gone when I got up; Chuzu said you canceled all your classes today; you weren’t here when I came home.” The accusatory look in her eyes changed to one of pain and need. “I didn’t know where you were... and I needed...”

 

Kris walked up to her and wrapped her arms around her friend and roommate, tears also trailing down her own cheeks. “I’m so sorry. I never... I didn’t mean to abandon you.” They clung to each other tighter. “I don’t know what I was thinking. Please forgive me. I didn’t think... I was so selfish... I wouldn’t have made it through this last year without you, Janet. I should have been here for you today. I’m sorry.”

 

She felt Janet’s knees start to go, so she slipped her left arm under her legs, picked her up, and carried her to the couch. Kris sat down and cradled Janet as she gave full vent to her anger, pain, and grief.

 

Janet tucked her face into the crook of Kris’s neck and curled into her. She cried like she hadn’t really allowed herself to cry in all the time she’d been on Jidiri. After several minutes she calmed a bit, but tears still rolled down her cheeks. “Where did you go?”

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Kris whispered. “I should’ve been here with you. I’m so sorry I wasn’t here. But I’m here now; you’re not alone.”

 

The two friends talk and cried together for quite a while. Eventually, Janet drifted to sleep. Kris picked her up and carried her into her bedroom. She gently laid her down on her bed and turned to go, but Janet caught her hand.

 

“Please... I don’t want to be alone.”

 

Kris sat on the side of the bed. “Alright. Just let me go to the bathroom and get ready for bed, okay?”

 

“Thank you.”

 

She gave Janet’s hand a squeeze and then left to prepare for bed. When she returned to her bedroom Janet was in the bathroom. She slipped under the sheet and waited for her friend to return. When Janet returned she was in her pajamas as well. She lay down facing Kris.

 

“Where did you go today?”

 

She turned onto her side facing Janet. “It doesn’t matter.”

 

Janet let out a deep breath before she continued. “You went back there today, didn’t you?” she asked softly.

 

Kris took a slow, deep breath as a couple of tears squeezed past her closed eyelids. “I sat... and cried... and talked to Lena...” She fought to keep back the flood of tears she knew was coming – it was a battle she didn’t think she’d win. “I made her a promise... and then I told her goodbye.”

 

“You made a promise to her?”

 

She nodded. “To fulfill her final request of me...” She opened her eyes and looked at Janet. “I’m sorry I didn’t consider how you would be feeling today. Please forgive me.”

 

Janet reached out and wiped away some of her tears. “Oh, Kris, there’s nothing to forgive.” She shifted and took Kris into her arms and holding her as she cried. “You did exactly what you needed to today, exactly what you should have done.”

 

“But I wasn’t here for you.”

 

“You’ve been here for me every day this past year, including this evening. I was the one being selfish; I didn’t even think about what you must be feeling today. I miss my daughter, but you lost your wife.”

 

“It hurts...”

 

“I know.”

 

Both women soon fell asleep.

 

~~~

 

Over the next few months Janet and Kris continued to lean on each other and support each other. As they both continued to heal they started attracting the attention of some of the other residents of Jidiri. Both women were approached and asked out on dates.

 

Kris was asked out by the mother of one of her students, but declined because she simply wasn’t interested. Janet, on the hand, accepted a date with the woman who ran one of the cafés she’d go to lunch at on her work days, Darcy Brogan.

 

Kris smiled when Janet came out of her bedroom. “You know, clothing isn’t a fashion statement here on Jidiri.”

 

“I know.”

 

“Yet that’s the third time you’ve changed clothes this evening.”

 

“Shut up.” There was no sting in her words or tone.

 

Kris chuckled. “Janet, you look fine. And you looked fine before you changed clothes. Relax, have a good time at the concert.”

 

Janet looked at her roommate, “Thank you.” She paused and cocked her head a little. “I know Jenna asked you to the concert, why didn’t you accept?”

 

“Jenna’s nice, but I’m not interested in her that way.” Kris sighed. “I’m not interested in anyone right now,” she said softly.

 

“Why don’t you come with us, Kris?”

 

“Oh, no. Three’s a crowd. Go; have a good time.”

 

~~~

 

About a month later, Kris finally accepted a date with someone. She wasn’t particularly interested in a romantic entanglement, but she accepted the notion that it would do her good to get out and socialize.

 

One night, Kris was sitting on the couch reading when she heard Janet and her date outside the front of the house. She couldn’t hear what was being said, but she could sense a growing discomfort in Janet which soon turned to desperation. Kris stood and went to the window to look out. Janet was dealing with a date that was way too handsy and wasn’t picking up on the signals Janet was giving to back off.

 


 

Chapter 8

 

Kris decided to help Janet out. She tapped the DAT she was using and looked something up before she opened the front door startling both women. Janet’s date gave her a not-so-welcome look, while Janet gave her one of relief.

 

“I’m sorry to interrupt, Janet, but I’ve been waiting for you to get home. A patient is here to see you.”

 

Janet tensed and immediately slipped into ‘doctor mode.’ “What’s wrong?”

 

“It seems to be a severe case of acute dysphoria of the splenius capitis.”

 

Janet’s eyes lit up when she realized exactly what Kris was saying. She turned to her date, “I’m sorry, I have to go. This is serious.”

 

“Will it take long? I could wait.”

 

“No, you should go. A case like this will take many, many hours. If it becomes critical, it could even require surgery.” She looked at Kris. “Now, let’s see to my patient,” she said as she marched into the house ahead of her roommate.

 

Kris closed the door behind herself and then peeked out the window to make sure Janet’s date had indeed left. Once the coast was clear she turned around.

 

“The splenius capitis, huh?” Janet said with an amused smirk.

 

“Okay, I admit it – I had to look it up. But it worked, didn’t it?”

 

Janet smiled, plopped down on the couch, and kicked off her shoes. “Yeah, it did. It took me a second though, I had to stop and remember my basic anatomy.”

 

Kris got them both a cold drink and joined Janet on the couch. “Well, you’re the one who thought she was a pain in the neck.”

 

“Actually, I thought she was a pain in a different part of the anatomy,” the doctor said with a chuckle. Janet stopped and looked at her roommate. “How did you know?”

 

Kris took a deep breath and let it out. “Remember, I can be empathic with people I’m close to. I could sense your... shall we say, desperation. I knew you were not eager for the date to continue, so I thought I’d help you out with an easy exit.”

 

“Thanks for your help,” Janet said with a smile. She paused in thought before continuing. “So, can you always tell what I’m feeling?”

 

Kris looked her in the eyes. “No. I probably could tell more often if I were to consciously put effort into it, but I don’t. When I do sense something, it’s usually when your emotions are particularly strong... like tonight. Your ‘discomfort’ with your date was just radiating off of you in waves.”

 

Janet took a few moments to absorb what her roommate said. “So why don’t you put effort into it?”

 

The admiral took a slow breath before answering. “It would be considered impolite, an invasion of privacy. The first and foremost principles the Areth hold dear are the privacy of the individual and the sanctity of certain bonds. It’s why we don’t initiate a mind-touch without permission.”

 

“And it’s through the mind-touch that you’re able to communicate telepathically?”

 

Kris nodded. “There are different levels of the mind-touch. Some only brush against another’s thoughts, while others are very intimate. The most intimate mind-touch though is the one shared between those that are bonded as mates.”

 

“Like you and Lena,” Janet said softly.

 

She again nodded. “But even a mind-touch not as intimate as the one shared between mates can be a pleasant experience and good way to exchange a lot of information.”

 

They sat in silence for several moments as Janet sipped her drink. It was clear she was thinking. Finally she set her drink down on the coffee table and turned to Kris. “Will you mind-touch with me?”

 

Kris was completely surprised by her request and didn’t know what to say. When she didn’t say anything, the doctor spoke again.

 

“You don’t have to, of course. I understand if you don’t want to...”

 

The admiral finally found her voice. “No, no. It’s not that. It’s just that most people – most Humans – are so apprehensive about the mind-touch, about telepathy in general. It’s not a request that’s made very frequently. You just took me by surprise.”

 

Janet smiled. “Well, I’m not most people. I worked as the Chief Medical Officer of the SGC and now as a doctor here on Jidiri. I’ve seen enough to know there’s so much we Humans don’t know.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “And we’re friends; I trust you, Kris.”

 

Kris nodded. “Okay.” She moved closer to her on the couch. “Try to relax and don’t fight it. This will not be an intrusive mind-touch; anything you want to keep private will remain so and you’ll be able to end it if you choose to.” She held out her hand and Janet trustingly placed her hand in Kris’s. “Look into my eyes... and relax,” she said with a smile and gave Janet’s hand a gentle squeeze.

 

She found Janet’s mind to very open and receptive to hers. Janet shared many thoughts and memories... of Cassandra, Sam, her parents and brothers, and her career. In turn, Kris shared her thoughts and memories of her adoptive mother, her childhood, and Lena. Several minutes passed in what felt like only a few moments. Kris gently backed away from the touch.

 

Janet opened her eyes, not knowing when she’d closed them, feeling a bit awestruck. “Wow,” she softly breathed.

 

Kris smiled. “That’s as good a description as I’ve ever heard.”

 

Janet took a few slow breaths, trying to fully grasp what she’d just experienced. “And you said that was not a deep mind-touch?”

 

She nodded. “There are deeper, more intimate, touches. During this one only the thoughts and memories that you consciously chose to bring forward and share were accessible to me. During deeper ones thoughts from the subconscious and even emotions can be shared. It can be very intimate and pleasurable for both parties.” She paused for a beat. “There’s also a mind-touch that is for interrogation purposes where information is forcibly taken. It’s... not a pleasant experience for either party.” She was barely able to suppress a shudder.

 

Janet didn’t miss it though. “I take it you’ve been a party to that kind of mind-touch.”

 

Kris took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Unfortunately... from both sides. It’s extremely unpleasant.”

 

The doctor reached out and took Kris’s hand in her own, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Want to talk about it?”

 

Kris closed her eyes and shook her head. “Maybe some other time.” She opened her eyes and looked into the Janet’s. “Tonight’s been too special to ruin with talk of unpleasant things.”

 

Janet smiled brightly. “It has been a special night – at least the part I’ve spent with you.” She received an answering smile.

 

Suddenly, both women felt quite tired and decided to call it a night. After Janet was changed into her pajamas she knocked on Kris’s bedroom door.

 

“Come in.”

 

Kris was sitting on her bed, leaning against the headboard. Janet walked over and sat on the side of the bad, facing her. “About tonight... I want to thank you.”

 

“You’re welcome. Like you said, we’re friends.”

 

“Yes... but I know it was the first time you touched someone’s mind since... Lena died.”

 

“How...” She swallowed painfully around the lump that suddenly appeared in her throat.

 

“You shared your thoughts with me, too... remember?”

 

She nodded.

 

“So I know how big of a step it was for you.” She placed her hand over Kris’s and gave it a squeeze. “Thank you, for trusting me.” Janet stood and placed a kiss on her friend’s temple before turning to go.

 

“Janet?”

 

The doctor turned back. She didn’t need to ask what was on her friend’s mind; she could see it in her eyes. She simply nodded and slipped into the bed as Kris scooted over to make room.

 

~~~

 

When Kris woke up before dawn, she found herself snuggled up against Janet’s back with her arm around her. Her hand was clutched in the doctor’s and tucked up against the center of Janet’s chest, their fingers interlaced. It was an intimate embrace and felt good, but it was completely platonic. She didn’t want to disturb Janet so she simply closed her eyes and started to drift back to sleep. Just before Kris dozed off she felt her hand squeezed by Janet as she snuggled back against her. She squeezed Janet’s hand back and drifted back to sleep.

 

When she woke up later in the morning they were in the same position. She could tell Janet was still sleeping, so Kris carefully eased her hand from the doctor’s and her arm from around her. She then silently slipped out of bed. She went into the kitchen and began to fix breakfast.

 

When Janet woke up she immediately missed the warmth and comfort of being held. She knew her housemate had been feeling particularly vulnerable the night before. When they had shared the mind-touch Janet suspected that Kris had shared more of herself than she realized; however, even without the mind-touch Janet would have known what the woman was feeling – it was evident in her impossibly dark eyes.

 

Janet had noticed over the past year or so, that Kris’s eyes had become more and more expressive, more and more revealing. Her demeanor became less guarded and more open as she acclimated to their new home. Despite the fact that they dropped their ranks from the beginning, she could see a clear a difference between the woman who first arrived on Jidiri – Admiral Kay – and the woman she now shared a house with – Kris. They had been on Jidiri for about a year and half, and they had yet to find anything to indicate it wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be... a utopia.

 

Of course Janet missed her daughter, her family, and her friends on Earth... but life on Jidiri was good. There was no violence, no crime of any kind; no prejudice; no poverty; no discord. If she wanted or needed anything it was available at no cost. There was no ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ to contend with since there was no materialism or avarice. People, be they Human or alien, would do anything to help another out without a second thought.

 

There was a peacefulness that had settled in Janet’s heart and mind, and evidenced by the almost constant and easy smile she now wore.

 

Janet drew in a deep breath and her mouth watered at the wonderful aroma wafting through the house. She got up, went to the bathroom, and headed to the kitchen. She found Kris in process of setting breakfast on the table.

 

“You’ve got great timing. I was just going to wake you.”

 

“Smells wonderful.”

 

They both sat and started eating.

 

After breakfast they dressed and parted for the day, going to their respective jobs.

 

There was an outdoor concert in the park that evening. Janet and Kris both had declined more than one invitation from potential suitors because they had decided that they wanted to just enjoy the evening together as friends.

 

~~~

 

During her last class of the day, an advanced class, Kris wrenched her back and tore a couple of muscles. So once she dismissed her class she stretched out on one of the mats and entered into a healing meditation.

 

Janet got off work earlier than she expected and decided to go by Kris’s school instead of going straight home. She entered and saw her roommate lying flat on her back on a mat. She became concerned though when Kris didn’t respond when she called her name. Janet rushed to her side, slipping into full ‘doctor mode,’ and checked her breathing and for a pulse. When she didn’t detect either she raised her fist to bring it down on her chest.

 


 

Chapter 9

 

Kris caught Janet’s fist a couple of inches from her chest. She drew in a deep breath. “That won’t be necessary,” she said as she opened her eyes and looked up at her.

 

The doctor jerked back, startled, and turning pale. “You weren’t breathing... and you didn’t have a pulse.”

 

Kris sensed her shock... and her fear. She sat up and quickly wrapped her arms around her, feeling her tremble slightly. “Hey, it’s okay, Janet. I’m fine.”

 

She took a few moments to gather herself. She took a deep breath and pulled back. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. “What just happened? I thought...”

 

“I was in deep meditation.”

 

“I’ve seen you meditate before; your heart’s never stopped before when you’ve done that.”

 

“My heart wasn’t stopped; it was just beating very, very slowly. I was in a much deeper meditation than you’ve observed before – a healing meditation.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I wrenched my back today and tore a couple of muscles, so I had to heal them. A healing meditation allows me to heal at an accelerated rate.” She reached out and gave Janet’s hand a squeeze. “After all, I didn’t want to miss out on going to the concert this evening.” She reached up and gently cupped Janet’s cheek for a moment. “I never meant to scare you. It just took me few moments to come out of it and respond to you.”

 

Having gotten her equilibrium back, Janet let out a deep breath and nodded. After a moment of silence she spoke, “You said you tore a couple of muscles in your back?”

 

“Yes, but the tears are healed now.” Kris stood and then pulled Janet to her feet. “Come on, let’s go home and get ready for the concert.”

 

They walked home arm in arm.

 

~~~

 

Once they arrived home, Janet and Kris began preparations for the evening. They packed a picnic basket with a tasty meal and then changed clothes. Even though it was still rather early, they headed over to the park hoping to get their pick of choice spots.

 

They spread their blanket out under a large tree. Other people started arriving as they were enjoying their picnic. They were done eating by the time the concert started. Kris winced as she leaned over to put some stuff back into the picnic basket, and, of course, Janet noticed.

 

“Are you alright?”

 

“My back aches.”

 

“I thought you said you’d healed your torn muscles.”

 

“I did, but I came out of the meditation early. The tears are healed, but the muscles are still strained.”

 

“We should go home then, so you can get some rest.” Janet started to get up.

 

Kris grabbed her arm to stop her. “Janet, no. I’ve been looking forward to this evening all week, and you have been too. We’re here, so let’s just relax and enjoy the concert.

 

Janet looked at her in thought for a few moments. “Okay... but only if you agree to lie down.”

 

“Yes, Doctor,” she replied with an amused smirk.

 

And you let me examine you afterwards.”

 

Kris was going to object, but she could see that ‘doctor’ glare in her eyes and knew it was a moot argument, so she simply nodded.

 

Janet put the rest of the picnic things away in the basket and then sat back against the tree. Kris lay down on the blanket next to her, but was finding it difficult to get very comfortable.

 

“What’s the matter?”

 

“I would have brought a pillow if I’d known I was going to be flat on my back during the concert.”

 

Janet smirked at Kris’s grumbling. “Alright,” she chuckled, “just slide around this way and put your head here,” she said indicating her lap. Kris got situated and found it more comfortable with her head pillowed in her lap. “Now relax and enjoy the music.”

 

Kris closed her eyes and smiled. She felt a hand brush some hair away from her forehead and then fingers absentmindedly card through her hair over and over.

 

~~~

 

After the concert it was time to gather their things and head for home. Kris let out a wince as she struggled up off the ground. Janet wouldn’t let her carry anything as they left the park. On the way home she tugged on her friend’s arm when they came to the turn for the clinic.

 

When Kris looked at her she arched an eyebrow. “You agreed to let me examine you after the concert.” The tone of her voice made it clear she that was going to hold Kris to their agreement.

 

At the clinic Janet did a quick physical and asked which muscles Kris had torn. She then ran a scan to make sure the tears were indeed mended. With the scan results verifying the absence of any damage they headed home.

 

Because Kris had already healed the injury, as verified by the scan, she was merely dealing with residual stiffness, so Janet gave her a suggestion when they arrived home. “You should take a long, hot bath; it should help with the soreness and stiffness you feel.”

 

“I do believe that is a good idea.”

 

“Come see me when you’re done.”

 

“Okay.”

 

After her bath, Kris put on her pajamas and then knocked on the door to Janet’s bedroom.

 

“Come in.” Janet looked up and smiled when her roommate entered. “You feel any better?”

 

“Yeah, some.”

 

“Good. Come over here; I have something that should help.”

 

“What?” she asked as she approached.

 

“Lie down – on your stomach.” When Kris did as she was told Janet straddled her hips and began massaging her back, starting with her shoulders.

 

“Ah!”

 

“Your muscles are in knots.”

 

“You’re not kidding,” she groaned.

 

Janet stopped. “Did I hurt you?”

 

“It’s a good hurt.”

 

She leaned over, pulled open the drawer in her nightstand, got something out, and sat back up. “This is an oil that feels warm to the touch and should help your muscles relax. Take your shirt off.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Kris slipped her t-shirt off as Janet poured some of the oil in her hands. The doctor began massaging her shoulders again and worked her way down her entire back, digging in with her fingers and loosening up clusters of knots. Once the knots were gone Janet eased up and her massage become more of a gentle, soothing backrub as she worked her way back up to her shoulders and neck. By the time she was done Kris was asleep.

 

Janet got up and went into the bathroom to wash her hands. When she returned to her bedroom she simply slipped into bed and turned off the light.

 

“Mmmm... thanks,” Kris murmured.

 

“How do you feel now?”

 

“Wonderful... You have amazing hands... definitely the hands of a healer.”

 

“The advantage of being a doctor – knowing where the muscles are and how they connect,” she replied with a small smile.

 

“I don’t think I can move.”

 

“Don’t. Just close your eyes and go back to sleep.”

 

Kris drifted off to sleep again before Janet reached over and pulled the covers over her.

 

~~~

 

As Janet slowly woke in the morning, she found her head was resting on Kris’s left shoulder and the other woman’s arm around her shoulders. Her left hand was on Kris’s right breast, her fingers lightly fondling the nipple. Kris, though still asleep, reacted by nuzzling the top of her head. A quiet moan escaped her throat.

 

Kris’s low moan was enough to suddenly make Janet wide awake. She froze, even holding her breath. Once she determined that Kris was still asleep, Janet very carefully removed her hand from Kris’s breast. She quietly slipped out of bed and went into the bathroom... where she took a cold shower.

 

Kris woke up while Janet was still in the shower. She sat up and retrieved the t-shirt she’d removed the night before. As she was slipping it back on Janet re-entered the bedroom wrapped in a towel.

 

“Good morning.”

 

“Morning. How did you sleep?” Janet asked.

 

“Great! How about you?”

 

“I slept well, too.”

 

“Good.”

 

“How does your back feel?”

 

Kris moved carefully, tentatively testing the muscles in her back. “Much better – thanks to those wonderful hands of yours.”

 

Janet felt herself blush and turned toward her dresser, opening the top drawer. “You’re more than welcome. I’ll go ahead and fix something for lunch; it seems we slept in late.”

 

“Okay. I’ll be out after a quick shower. I won’t be long.” Kris left the room.

 

~~~

 

When Kris entered the kitchen Janet was already setting out a light meal for them. They sat down and started eating.

 

“So, what was that oil you used on my back last night?”

 

Janet smiled. “I don’t know exactly. It was given to me by one of the other doctors when I complained about my legs aching after pulling a double shift. He said it’s made from some of the plants found up in the mountain ridge. His mother-in-law makes it, but won’t tell him what all the ingredients are.”

 

“Well, whatever is in it, it seems to help soothe sore muscles.”

 

“I know. I use it on my calf muscles after extra long days.”

 

“Thanks again for the massage, Janet.”

 

“I’m glad I could help.”

 

“I owe you. The next time your legs hurt after a long day I’ll be glad to massage them for you with the oil.”

 

Janet grinned. “You got yourself a deal.”

 

~~~

 

It was only a week later when Janet came home after a very long and trying day at work. Kris could tell that her roommate was tired and sore, both physically and emotionally.

 

“Hey,” she said as she came through the door.

 

“Hey. You look beat.”

 

Janet simply nodded.

 

“Why don’t you go take a hot shower and I’ll fix you something to eat?”

 

Again, she just nodded as she headed to her bedroom.

 

After a bit, Janet came back out, wearing her robe. There was a little more color in her face.

 

“How do you feel?”

 

“A little more human.”

 

“Here, you’ll feel better if you eat something.” Kris set a bowl of hot soup in front of her. She finished making a sandwich and set that on the table for Janet as well.

 

“Mm, this is good. I didn’t realize how hungry I was.”

 

“When was the last time you ate?”

 

She stopped to think. “Before I went in to work last night.”

 

“Janet, you’re a doctor – you of all people should know better.”
She sighed. “I know. But things were nonstop from the time I got to the clinic until I left to come home. I didn’t even get a chance to sit down, much less take time to eat.”

 

“Why were you at the clinic for so long?”

 

“Bergan’s son and Garant’s daughter had their wedding today. So I volunteered to cover at the clinic.”

 

Kris smiled. “Well, at least it was for a good cause.” She took a sip of her water. “Well, I guess I get to repay you for that great massage you gave me last week.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Your legs must be sore.”

 

A look of comprehension, and then anticipation, crossed Janet’s features.

 

“Finish eating. I’ll go get the oil.”

 

“It’s in my nightstand.”

 

“Okay.”

 

When Kris returned from the bedroom she found Janet washing her dishes. “Hey, I’ll take care of that, Janet. You go get comfortable on the couch.”

 

“I’m not an invalid, you know.”

 

“Yeah, I know. You’re a stubborn, independent, I-can-take-care-of-myself-and-don’t-need-anyone-to-do-anything-for-me-even-if-it-kills-me kind of woman.”

 

The doctor stopped and looked at Kris for a moment. “Sounds a little bit like someone else I know,” she said with a smirk and an arched eyebrow.

 

“I won’t tell anyone if you don’t,” she countered.

 

A smile lit up Janet’s face. “Deal.”

 

“Good. Now go sit down. Get comfortable.”

 

“Yes, Admiral,” she quipped and tossed off a mocking salute before turning to leave. She let out a yelp when Kris snapped her with the dishtowel.

 


 

Chapter 10

 

When Kris finished in the kitchen she joined Janet on the couch in the living room. She sat sideways, facing Janet, with her right leg tucked up under her left leg and her left foot on the floor. She had the doctor turn so that she was semi-reclined against the arm of the couch and her ankles rested across her left thigh.

 

“Comfortable?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Good.” Kris poured some oil into her hand and started on Janet’s right calf. She didn’t miss the wince the doctor let out.

 

“You would think I’d be used to it after all these years.”

 

“I’d hate to think about how many miles you actually put on them during a double shift.”

 

Janet let out a groan. “I don’t want to know.”

 

Kris continued to massage her calves for several minutes. “Feels like the knots are finally loosening up.”

 

She answered without opening her eyes, “Mm hmm. You’re pretty good with your hands, too.”

 

“Glad to be of service,” she replied with a smile. When she finished with Janet’s calves she adjusted so her feet were in her lap.

 

Janet started to move to get up. “That was great, Kris. Thank you so much.”

 

Kris stopped her by holding onto her feet. “I’m not done. Just lie back and relax.” She poured some more oil into her hands. She took a foot into her hands and started massaging it.

 

“Ohhh... that feels so good.”

 

“I figured if your legs were that tense then your feet must be achy as well.”

 

“At least they’re not as bad as when I got stuck wearing my Air Force dress shoes. Those heels really got to me at times.” She paused. “Of course, they did add a few inches to my height,” she said with a smirk.

 

“There’s nothing wrong with your height, Janet.”

 

“Being female and in a position of authority over some very macho soldiers was enough of an obstacle to overcome at the best of times in my century. Being short on top of that just made it harder.”

 

“You obviously handled it well since you were the Chief Medical Officer at the SGC.”

 

Janet opened her eyes as she smiled. “It helps to have very large needles on hand with which to threaten them. And you have to be able to stare down even the most battle hardened soldier and not flinch.”

 

Kris laughed. “I know. I’ve seen that ‘doctor’ glare you have. You used it on me the day we met, when I told you I didn’t need to sleep.”

 

“It worked, didn’t it?”

 

She nodded. “I almost smiled though, because I realized your ‘doctor’ glare was the same as Lena’s ‘command’ glare.”

 

“Fortunately, I don’t have to use that tactic much here.”

 

“Well, you’re off for the next few days. And don’t forget, we’re getting together with Taran and Delsie tomorrow evening.”

 

“I remember. Taran had an appointment this morning.”

 

“How is she doing?”

 

“She’s fine; her morning sickness has finally stopped.”

 

“That’s good. Oh, I almost forgot.”

 

“What?”

 

Kris nodded at the flowers on the fireplace mantle. “Those flowers were given to me to give to you by one of my students.”

 

“Oh? Who?”

 

“Do you remember Vesh?”

 

“I think so. Isn’t he the Suenis on the archeology team with Taran?”

 

She nodded. “Yes, that’s him. Anyway, he wanted me to give the flowers to you, and find out if you would go to dinner with him. He’s quite taken with you.”

 

Janet closed her eyes and let out a sigh. “Please tell him thanks for the flowers, but that I’m sorry, I can’t go to dinner with him. That... that I’m... things are...” She sighed. “I don’t know...”

 

“Hey.” Kris waited until Janet opened her eyes and looked at her. She gave her a reassuring look, “It’s okay, Janet, I’ll take care of it.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

“No problem. Now forget about everything and just relax.”

 

By the time she finished the foot rub Janet had fallen asleep. After washing her hands she carefully slipped her arms under her and picked her up. Janet roused only enough to tuck her face into Kris’s neck. Kris carried her into her bedroom and set her down on the bed.

 

“Don’t go,” Janet murmured softly.

 

“Okay.” Kris slipped into bed next to her and Janet nestled up against her, laying her head on her shoulder. Kris reached over and turned off the light on the nightstand.

 

~~~

 

Whenever either Janet or Kris went out on a date, one would wait up until the other got home. They would then stay up long into the night, talking, and inevitably falling asleep in the same bed. And they always seemed to wake up the next day holding each other. Neither of them ever commented about it, but neither did they do anything to prevent it. They both started going out on fewer and fewer dates until they eventually stopped dating altogether.

 

Kris finally recognized her feelings for Janet for what they were, that they had developed into something more than close friendship. After losing Lena she thought she would never be able to feel that way again... However, she had other things to deal with.

 

Even though Janet had treated and kept Kris alive after Lena died, it didn’t mean there weren’t consequences. When an Areth bonded with a mate it was for life. Normally, when a mate died, there was a healer, or a family member, present to support and help the surviving mate through the psychic trauma caused by the loss of that bond. It was a ritualized process. The guided meditations and healing mind-touches helped to ensure the survivor not only lived, but did so without psychic damage. This was accomplished by making sure the bond was completely severed and that no remnants of it remained.

 

Kris didn’t have the benefit of that process. Stranded on Jidiri, there had been no healer or family member to take her through the requisite ritual. And just over two years after Lena’s death, it was finally catching up with her.

 

She started feeling quite out of sorts and was finding it harder and harder to concentrate. Her daily meditations were not helping much. She tried working out more at the school to burn off as much energy as possible so that sleep, becoming more and more elusive, would hopefully claim her for a few hours at night. She started staying late at the school, only going home in time to shower and go to bed. She would then rise before the sun and leave, going for a long run before her classes at the school.

 

It certainly didn’t take long for Janet to notice the change in her roommate’s routine. After a few days she decided to check up on Kris. Since she had been putting in some extra time at the clinic she was due for some time off. On her first day off she decided to do some basic snooping. She got up early and went to the school.

 

Janet watched as Kris arrived flushed and sweaty from her run. She waited a couple of minutes outside before she went into the school. She expected to find Kris in the shower, so she was surprised to find the woman working out, hitting and kicking the bags in a seemingly agitated manner. She surreptitiously watched until the students for the first class started arriving. She decided she would come back at lunchtime, take Kris out to lunch, and get her to talk about whatever was causing her to become so driven and reclusive.

 

~~~

 

When Janet returned to the school at lunchtime she found Kris sitting alone... meditating. Rather than disturb her she chose to silently observe her. Janet had seen her meditate before, but she could tell something was different, or wrong. She studied her face and posture. Kris’s expression was not relaxed and her body was obviously stiff. There was sweat on her forehead and her jaw was clenched.

 

When Kris finished her meditation she opened her eyes. She held her hands out and looked down at them... they still shook, but not as badly. She quickly balled them into fists, got up, and headed over to the punching bags. She started working out until the next class arrived. She never noticed Janet as she slipped back outside.

 

Janet went back home, retrieved some of the DATs they’d brought with them from the ship, and began her research. After a few hours she put down the DAT she’d been using after she found what she’d been looking for, closed her eyes, and let out a heavy sigh. Oh, Kris, why didn’t you say anything? Knowing it would be late before Kris got home, she decided to take a nap.

 

~~~

 

Kris was surprised to find Janet up and waiting for her when she got home.

 

“Hey, stranger,” Janet said pleasantly.

 

“Hey.” She headed back to her bedroom without stopping to talk.

 

After a few moments Janet got up and followed. She didn’t let the closed bedroom door stop her either. She entered without knocking and found Kris sitting on the side of her bed with her head down and her eyes closed. Her hands were in her lap and Janet could see them trembling. She approached and crouched in front of her, placing a hand on her knee.

 

“Kris, tell me what’s going on. What’s wrong?” she said, concern clearly evident in her voice.

 

She took a slow, deep breath and let it out, but didn’t say anything.

 

“Please, talk to me.” When Janet put her hand over the shaking ones in her lap Kris couldn’t keep from wincing and jerked her right hand away. Janet recognized pain when she saw it and immediately went into ‘doctor mode.’ “You’re hurt. Let me see your hand.”

 

She brought her hand back so the doctor could see it. Janet very gently cupped it in one hand and carefully examined it with the other.

 

“I broke it,” Kris said softly.

 

“In more than one place. I’ll be right back.” She left the bedroom to retrieve the medkit and then returned. She scanned it with the medical scanner and to get an accurate picture of which bones were broken. She started using the osteo stimulator to heal the breaks. “How did you break it?”

 

Kris shrugged. “During my workout.”

 

A dark brow arched. “Hit something a little harder than the bags?”

 

Her blush gave her away. “Yeah.”

 

Janet finished with the osteo stimulator and put it back in the medkit. She then used the stimulator that healed soft tissue and vascular damage. Finished with treating her hand, she picked up the medical scanner again and ran a complete scan before closing up the medkit and setting it on the night stand. She took hold of Kris’s hands, taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out before speaking.

 

“Kris, I know there’s something going on with you, more than a broken hand. I really don’t need the medical scanner to tell me that. I can see it in your trembling hands, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, and I can feel it in the fever you’re running.”

 

Kris finally opened her eyes and looked down into Janet’s.

 

“Please, Kris, tell me. I’m your doctor, but even more importantly, I’m your friend and I’m here for you – no matter what.” She reached up and gently cupped her cheek.

 

She took a deep breath and swallowed. Janet’s touch was actually making things worse instead of better. But then there was no getting better without addressing the root of the problem. Her voice was shaky when she finally spoke. “Visvium...” she said quietly and closed her eyes again.

 

“I thought that might be it,” Janet said just as quietly. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

 

“It’s not something... discussed... with outsiders.”

 

Janet lowered her hand from her cheek. “Is that what I am to you? An outsider?”

 

Kris’s eyes flew open, tears filling them as she sought out Janet’s. “No.” Her trembling was getting worse.

 

“Then let me help you through this.”

 

She was having trouble concentrating. Coherent thought was becoming more and more difficult. She could no longer hold back the visvium. “You don’t understand.”

 


 

Chapter 11

 

Janet stood and took Kris’s face into her hands raising it so she could look into those impossibly dark eyes. “I understand that when Lena died your bond was severed... at a cost. I understand the damage has brought on the visvium which is affecting your higher brain functions and you’ll die if nothing is done.” Using her thumbs she tenderly wiped away a few tears that trailed down Kris’s cheeks. “Let me help you... because I love you.” She lowered her head and gently brushed her lips against Kris’s.

 

Kris was at the point of no return. She could not hold off the effects of the visvium any longer. In truth, this moment had been inescapable; it had only been a matter of time. She’d been surprised it had taken over two years. She had a choice to make... succumb to the visvium... or inflict herself on Janet. And the longer she took to decide, the less control she had over her mind... or body. She looked up at Janet, begging her to understand. “Too far along... no control... I could hurt... you...” Tears streamed down her face and her whole body began to shake.

 

Janet, standing between her knees, pulled Kris to her, cradling her head against her chest. She kissed the top of her head. “Shhh... don’t fight it anymore. Just let it happen.”

 

~~~

 

It was a long time later when Kris came to her senses. She found herself cradled in Janet’s arms, the beat of her friend’s heart beneath her ear... resonating through her body and mind. As Janet slept soundly, Kris took a couple of slow, deep breaths and tried to clear her mind. She knew she had made it through the worst of the effects of visvium, but the way her mind still burned from the scent of the other woman it was clear that she was not entirely over it. She opened her eyes... and her heart froze.

 

She recoiled when she saw Janet’s arm draped across her own; Kris felt like she’d been dumped into a tub of ice. She carefully slipped out of Janet’s embrace and sat up. Tears welled in her eyes as she saw bruises littering other places on Janet besides her arm. She retrieved the stimulator from the medkit on the nightstand and began running it over the bruises. Kris moved the covers to heal the bruises on the lower half of Janet’s body causing her to wake up.

 

Janet opened her eyes and smiled. “Hey. You’re awake,” she said sweetly.

 

She simply nodded and continued to work on the bruises. Unable to look Janet in the eyes, Kris concentrated on the task at hand. Finally she asked Janet to turn over onto her stomach so she could get at the rest of the bruises. When she placed the stimulator on the nightstand Janet turned back over again and looked at Kris as she ran the medical scanner over her for a final check.

 

“All done?”

 

She nodded and returned the scanner and the stimulator to the medkit. “Feel better?”

 

Janet sat up. “Yes.” She paused as she reached out to put her hand on Kris’s arm to stop her as she started to get out of bed. “And how are you? Is the visvium over?”

 

She didn’t look at her, but simply shook her head. “Not completely... but the worst has passed... I... I’m in control of myself now...” She took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m going to take a shower.” She abruptly rose from the bed and went into the bathroom.

 

Once under the cascading water of the shower she let her tears finally fall. She was so upset about the bruises she’d found on Janet’s body – knowing she’d been the cause of them. After several minutes she got out of the shower, slipped on her robe, and walked back into her bedroom. She still couldn’t look Janet in the eye.

 

“Hungry?”

 

“Yeah, I am.”

 

“I’ll fix something to eat while you take your shower.”

 

“Actually, I think I’ll take a bath,” Janet replied.

 

“Probably a good idea. It’ll help ease your sore muscles. Take your time.” Kris quickly left the bedroom.

 

Janet was a confused by Kris’s behavior, her distance. She frowned as she got out of bed and went into the bathroom. She drew a bath and eased herself down into the hot water, letting the heat leach the soreness from her body. She laid her head back and placed a folded washcloth over her eyes.

 

As she soaked she thought about the last two years and everything that had happened. She’d been killed while tending a wounded soldier in the field; woken up in a crashed spaceship on an unknown planet, her fatal wounds healed; sat by helplessly as the woman who’d saved her life watched as her own wife died; been integrated into a community made up of several alien races; and... fell in love with her roommate.

 

She let out a sigh. She didn’t know if Kris felt the same way, but she knew that she couldn’t sit back and do nothing. Not when she realized what was going on with Kris... regardless of what it might mean for their friendship. She’d rather lose their friendship than allow Kris to die.

 

At first, she’d been a little shocked when she’d read the DAT entry on visvium: its cause, its ‘treatment,’ and the outcome – if it were to be left untreated. Visvium was caused when the bond between mates was severed, but a remnant remained behind. Inevitably it led to the survivor’s death, after a decline of his/her mental faculties, if an Areth mind-healer was not able to treat the survivor. The only other thing that could save the survivor was to establish a new bond... with a mate.

 

The fact that Kris’s condition had improved indicated that their ‘coupling’ had been successful, but Janet didn’t feel any... she didn’t feel anything that indicated a bond had formed between them. And that brought her back to Kris’s behavior, and the distinct distance she seemed to be putting between them. Maybe she resents that it was me. Maybe I shouldn’t have pushed her. She felt the backs of her eyes sting.

 

~~~

 

When Janet entered the living room she found Kris sitting on the floor in front of the couch, staring into the fire she’d lit in the fireplace. Janet didn’t know what to say to the woman. After a couple of moments she went into the kitchen and found some cut up fruit and a sandwich sitting on the table waiting for her. She sat down and started eating.

 

“Mm, this is good. Have you eaten?”

 

“Yes,” Kris fibbed – she didn’t have an appetite.

 

When Janet was done eating she cleaned up and put everything away. She was still confused by Kris’s aloofness. Not knowing what else to do she decided to take the bull by the horns. She walked over and sat on the couch next to Kris’s shoulder. She took a deep breath and let it out. “Kris, did I do something wrong?”

 

“Oh, God. No!” Tears ran down her face as she looked up at Janet. “I did.” She broke down sobbing.

 

Janet immediately slid off the couch and enveloped Kris in her arms, holding her tight as she cried. “Oh, honey, what’s wrong?” She rocked her and kissed her temple, trying to comfort her.

 

“I never wanted to hurt you.”

 

“Shhh... you didn’t hurt me.”

 

Kris pulled back and looked at Janet in disbelief. She then turned back to stare into the fire. “I think those bruises proved otherwise.”

 

Janet sensed she really needed to convince Kris that everything was alright, to get her past this stumbling block. She moved to straddle Kris’s lap and lifted her chin so she could make eye contact.

 

“Listen to me, and don’t say anything until I’m done. You did not hurt me. So I got a few bruises; I’ve experienced much worse at the hands of others. I made a choice, a choice I would happily make again. Losing you was not, and is not, an option. I love you. Neither of us were born yesterday or were virgins. I endured much rougher sex with my ex-husband. I chose to be with you out of love. So quite frankly, even though you were not yourself and it was all about biology, I didn’t notice any of the bruising at the time.” She cupped Kris’s face in both her hands, gazing intently into her impossibly dark eyes. “I have no regrets.” She paused for a couple of beats. “Do you?”

 

Kris was stunned. Even while in the grip of the visvium she had not actively sought contact with Janet’s mind. She didn’t feel she had that right since Janet had acted out of friendship... or so she had believed. So to hear that Janet loved her and to see the sincerity in her eyes left her feeling bewildered. How could she be so incredibly fortunate for a second time in her life?

 

“No,” she whispered. “I love you,” she added.

 

Janet lowered her head and tenderly kissed Kris. Kris wrapped her arms around the doctor and held her close. After a couple of minutes they parted due to a lack of oxygen. They rested their foreheads together as they both tried to catch their breath.

 

“Not exactly how I imagined our first time together.”

 

After a moment Janet pulled back and looked down into Kris’s eyes. “You imagined us together?” she asked with a pleased, and teasing, smile.

 

Kris blushed. “When I realized I’d fallen in love with you... well, of course I did...” she couldn’t keep from smiling, “... frequently.”

 

The doctor’s smile widened. “And just when were you going to make your feelings known to me?”

 

“In time. Actually, I had planned on courting you.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “But then this all started and... well...” She hung her head.

 

Janet kissed Kris’s forehead and ran fingers through silky hair, then wrapped her arms around Kris’s head and shoulders, pulling her close. Kris closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath as she tucked her face into the crook of the doctor’s neck. After her bath Janet must have reapplied her perfume – it’s scent tickled Kris’s senses as she inhaled slowly and smiled with pleasure. When she exhaled it was almost a sigh.

 

“What is that perfume you’re wearing?”

 

“It’s the vanilla scented one.”

 

Kris smiled. “I love the way it smells on you. It’s my favorite.”

 

“I know. That’s why it’s the only one I wear anymore.”

 

Kris started nuzzling her throat. Janet’s breathing changed when Kris’s lips found a particularly sensitive spot at the base of her throat. Janet pulled back and claimed those lips in a hungry kiss. When they parted Kris gazed up into soft, brown eyes. She reached up and caressed Janet’s cheek.

 

“I want to share something with you.”

 

“What?”

 

“I want you to know exactly how I feel about you.” Through the bond that had been established during their coupling, Kris touched Janet’s mind and shared her feelings directly with her newfound lover.

 

Janet’s eyes widened and she let out a quiet gasp as her mind was filled with the love Kris felt for her. Her heart skipped a beat as she actually felt Kris’s feelings. It was unbelievably exhilarating.

 

[Never doubt my love for you, my beloved.]

 

Her eyes closed and she basked in the absolute truth and purity of being utterly loved. Then it dawned on her that she had heard Kris’s words in her mind, but it was different from the mind-touch they’d shared before. She took a breath, opened her eyes, and looked at her.

 

[This isn’t is a mind-touch, is it?]

 

[No.]

 

[Then...]

 

Kris nodded. [Yes, we are bonded.]

 

[Then you can feel my love for you as well.]

 

She smiled. [Yes, I can. With time and practice you’ll learn to control the level of connection we share through our bond. Your private thoughts will remain private unless you wish it otherwise. But there will always be an awareness of each other.]

 

[So I am your...]

 

[My beloved... my Janet... my mate.] Tears of joy filled her eyes and she let all the love and joy she felt flow through their bond... and felt it returned in full. [And by the traditions and laws of my homeworld – my wife.]

 

They both smiled and shed a few joyful tears as they started kissing. Kris untied Janet’s robe, slid her hands inside, resting them on Janet’s hips, and pulled her closer. She ran her hands up Janet’s sides as she rained her neck and throat with kisses, focusing on the sensitive pulse point she’d found earlier. Kris’s hands cupped her breasts, thumbs lightly teasing her erect nipples.

 

“Mmmm... I still need you.”

 

“I’m right here, my love.”

 


 

Chapter 12

 

Kris kissed her way down to Janet’s breasts and took a nipple in the moist heat of her mouth. Janet let out a pleasurable moan as she suckled. After a couple of minutes they kissed again, deeply. When they had to part due to a lack of oxygen Kris laid her head back on the couch for a few moments as she panted.

 

“Let’s get a little more comfortable.”

 

In a matter of seconds they had all the couch cushions and pillows on the floor in front of the fireplace. Added to that was the fleece blanket always kept on the couch and they were quite comfortably stretched out. Janet was on her back and Kris was lying on top of her. They had already shed their robes. Kris kissed, licked, and nipped her way down to her breasts and latched onto one of her nipples again. Janet moaned and her hips began to rock of their own volition. After a couple of minutes Kris kissed her way back up as her hand trailed down and along a shapely thigh.

 

She lifted her head and gazed down into Janet’s eyes. “I won’t lose control this time... I’m beyond that point now.”

 

“It’s alright if–” Janet’s voice hitched as questing fingers discovered how wet she was, “you do.” Her eyes closed in pleasure as fingertips lightly ran up and down wet folds a few times then circled her clit. Her eyes opened when Kris withdrew her hand. “Please... don’t stop...”

 

“Shhh... don’t worry. We’re just starting, my love.” She kissed Janet tenderly. “There’s more to the visvium than...” Her eyes closed as her voice trailed off, shame at her earlier behavior filling her.

 

Janet reached up and took Kris’s face in both her hands. “Shhh... it’s okay.” She pulled Kris down into a kiss.

 

“There are benefits to the bonding.” [A true blending: physically, emotionally, psychically. To be as one...]

 

The connection they shared was once again expanded as they began to slowly explore each other’s bodies and discover what made them moan and whimper with want and need. The pleasure experienced was intensified by the fact that these sensations now were shared through their bond... touching and being touched, kissing and being kissed, licking and being licked, penetrating and being penetrated... physically and mentally all melded into an exquisitely mind-blowing experience.

 

Eventually, they drifted to sleep in an exhausted and sweaty tangle of limbs.

 

~~~

 

It was morning when they woke. After some languid lovemaking and a joint shower – which turned into some more lovemaking – they finally got dressed. Kris contacted Chuzu at the school and arranged for him to take over all her classes for a few days. Janet, of course, was already scheduled off for a few days. Since it was a beautiful day out, a day that matched the way they felt on the inside, they decided to go out for lunch.

 

After lunch they went to the central building to the registrar’s office. They filled out the paperwork and then got into line. Fortunately the line wasn’t very long and it was soon their turn. They handed over their paperwork.

 

“What name do wish to have on the marriage certificate?”

 

“Janet Fraiser.”

 

The man nodded and entered the information. He then looked at Kris. “And what name do you want on the certificate?”

 

“Kris Fraiser.”

 

Janet’s head snapped around in shock. “Kris, are you sure?”

 

Kris smiled at her. “Yes.” She reached up and tenderly caressed Janet’s cheek. “I’m very sure.”

 

The clerk finished. “Sign here,” he instructed.

 

They signed their names and were sent on their way with their certified copy of their marriage certificate.

 

~~~

 

They walked through the park, hand in hand and with wide smiles, stopping frequently to kiss.

 

Janet chuckled after they came up for air. “I feel as giddy as a teenager.”

 

“So do I, and it’s been a lot longer for me since I was a teenager than it’s been for you.”

 

As she carded her fingers through short, dark hair Janet gazed into Kris’s eyes, smiled and then pulled her in for another kiss. “Mmmm... Kris?” she murmured around their kiss.

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Take me home... and make love to me.”

 

“Mmmm... okay.”

 

~~~

 

Sometime the next morning they were cuddling on the couch, naked with just the fleece blanket tossed over them. Kris was leaning back into the corner of the couch with Janet’s body curled into hers. She kissed the top of the head that was tucked under her chin and continued to run her fingers through the soft, brown hair.

 

“I know everything has happened so quickly–”

 

“Not so quickly.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“I’ve been in love with you for a while.”

 

“And just when were you going to make your feelings known to me?” Kris asked.

 

Janet chuckled at having her own question turned back on herself. “It just took me a while to get up the courage to say anything.”

 

Kris gave her a squeeze.

 

“I was afraid you didn’t feel the same way, and I was afraid of hurting our friendship.”

 

“I know exactly what you mean. I’m glad you were braver than I was.”

 

Janet tilted her head back so she could look up into Kris’s eyes, she brought her hand up to caress her wife’s cheek before their lips met in a kiss. She readjusted back into place after the kiss.

 

“Anyway... what I was going to say was, with everything happening the way it did, because of the visvium, we kind of skipped the whole dating and courtship and wedding bit. We basically went from ‘I love you’ to married all in one fell swoop.” Kris could feel Janet’s concern growing as she talked. She shifted a little so she could look down into her soft, brown eyes. “And no, I have no doubts or regrets. I love you, Janet, and I want to spend the rest of my life showing you how much.” [Don’t ever forget this,] she added through their bond with all the emotional force behind it.

 

Janet nodded.

 

“I just don’t want you to ever feel like you’ve missed out on anything.”

 

“Like what?” she asked, confused.

 

Kris smiled. “Like a wedding.”

 

Janet still looked a little confused.

 

“You know, an event you plan, invite friends to, have a reception afterwards, and celebrate.”

 

She swatted Kris’s arm. “I know what a wedding is, smart ass.” She paused. “Honey, I don’t require some ceremony to make me feel any more married to you than I already do. I had all that when I married my ex-husband. But I realize we come from different worlds. I want to give you whatever your customs or heritage would call for.”

 

Kris let out a soft chuff of amusement. “I have such a mixed heritage,” she said with a smile. “But we’ve already bonded, and as is the custom on my homeworld, such things are always done in private. However, there is one tradition from our common heritage that I wouldn’t mind though.”

 

“What?”

 

“Rings.”

 

Janet smiled widely and nodded. “I’d like that, too.”

 

“We can go looking after lunch at the café.”

 

“But that means getting up and getting dressed,” Janet said as she snuggled up tighter against Kris.

 

Kris chuckled and kissed Janet’s forehead. “True, but then I’ll get to undress you all over again.”

 

Janet didn’t move... or rather she didn’t move to get up. She cupped Kris’s breast, lightly teasing the nipple. “I like having you already undressed,” she said with mischievousness in her tone of voice.

 

“Don’t you need some fresh air and something to eat?”

 

She looked up into ebony eyes. “I have everything I need right here,” she said softly, before their lips met in another deep kiss.

 

They finally got up from the couch. Once they were dressed they headed out to the nearby café and enjoyed a nice lunch. They then went shopping for their wedding rings. Since there were so many different cultures and races represented on Jidiri, there was a wide selection of types and styles of wedding rings, and their equivalents, available in the local jewelry shops. Janet and Kris had looked in two of the three closest shops and were both feeling a bit overwhelmed by some of the garishness of some of the selections.

 

They were both relieved to find the third shop catered to the less flamboyant population of the planet. The gentleman who waited on them, Teshen, was very nice and patient as they took their time. A lot of the rings contained gem stones set in different metals. While they were all quite beautiful, none of them seemed to be quite right. Teshen sensed they could use a few moments alone and stepped away.

 

“What do you think, Janet?”

 

“They’re all quite beautiful.”

 

“Is there one that you particularly like?”

 

Janet hesitated. “What about you? Which one do you like?”

 

“I agree, they are all quite beautiful.”

 

“But?”

 

“But, I don’t think our rings are among them.”

 

Janet gave her a smile. “I don’t think so either.”

 

“I was thinking perhaps something more–”

 

“Simple?”

 

Kris smiled and nodded.

 

“Just a simple band; something that I wouldn’t have to remove for any reason, even at work,” Janet said.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Teshen, seeing both women nod, assumed they’d come to a decision and again approached. “So, have you two decided on which rings you would like?”

 

“Actually, these are all beautiful, but what we’re looking for isn’t here,” Kris said. “But we’re hoping you can still help us.”

 

“Go on.”

 

“What we want is something very basic, with no stones or fancy carvings. You see, Janet is a doctor and she needs something that won’t catch on anything or scratch anyone, so she won’t have to remove it while at work. And I teach over at the martial arts school.”

 

Teshen smiled. “I understand. Do you have a preference in the metal they’re made out of?”

 

“Something strong, to represent our bond,” Janet answered.

 

Kris and Teshen both smiled at her answer.

 

“We can make the bands out of any metal, but the strongest metal available would ventinium. It is available in both a silver and a gold tone.”

 

“How about both?” Kris asked.

 

“That would be perfect!” Janet agreed.

 

“Alright. All we need to do is get your sizes, and have you pick out the width and style of band you want. It’s early and we don’t have any other special orders, so we should have them done for you tomorrow,” Teshen informed them with a smile.

 

~~~

 

The next day Janet and Kris excitedly made their way to the jewelry story to pick up their rings. Teshen smiled as they entered the store.

 

“Good afternoon, ladies.” He reached under the counter and pulled out a small velvet box. “I have your rings right here.” He opened the box and showed them the two rings sitting side by side within. They were perfect.

 

Teshen took them out of the velvet box and gently laid one in each of their palms. He had knowingly placed Janet’s ring in Kris’s palm and Kris’s ring in Janet’s palm. They smiled as they slipped the rings on each other’s finger. They gazed into each other’s eyes and then kissed.

 

They couldn’t stop smiling all the way home. When they got back to the house, Kris stopped Janet from going inside.

 

“What?” Janet asked.

 

“I should have done this before.”

 

“What?”

 

Kris scooped her up in her arms and carried her inside. “Carried you over the threshold,” she said with a grin.”

 

They both chuckled as Kris sat down on the couch with Janet still in her arms.

 

Janet held up her left hand and admired her new wedding ring.

 

“So you like it?” Kris asked.

 

“I love it; it’s perfect.” She cupped Kris’s cheek. “I’ve never been happier,” she said before kissing her.

 


 

Chapter 13

 

After they picked up their rings Janet and Kris decided to invite their closest friends, Taran and Delsie, over for dinner. They were looking forward to telling their friends about the change in their relationship.

 

When Taran and Delsie came over they brought their daughter Layla, who was only a few months old. While Janet was in the kitchen checking on dinner Layla let it be known that she wanted her dinner immediately. Kris was holding the baby when she threw her fit.

 

“Sorry, Kris, don’t take it personally,” Taran said.

 

Kris smiled. “I don’t.” She smiled down at the crying baby in her arms. “I understand, Layla. When you’re hungry, you’re hungry.”

 

Taran took Layla from Kris and began to breast feed.

 

Janet came back from the kitchen. “Well our dinner will be ready probably about the time Layla is done with hers,” she said with a smile. “So, have you two been getting any more sleep lately?” she asked.

 

Taran and Delsie both smiled and nodded. “Yes, thank goodness. She’s starting to sleep more than two hours at a time,” Taran replied.

 

“Yeah. I thought Taran was going to break something walking into walls all the time,” commented Delsie.

 

“Ha, ha. Very funny. Just remember, you’re having the next one.”

 

Kris chuckled and received a playfully cross look from Taran. Kris held her hands up in surrender. “Hey, don’t look at me, Taran; I didn’t get you pregnant.”

 

That made Janet laugh – which earned her a dirty look of her own. She, too, held her hands up in surrender. “Hey, I don’t make babies, I only deliver them. My own was 12 when I adopted her. I didn’t get you pregnant either.” She paused when Taran gave her a dumbfounded look. She dropped her hands and her expression changed as she reconsidered her statement. “Well, I guess I did get you pregnant... but you asked me to.”

 

Delsie grinned. “She’s got you there, Taran.”

 

Taran smiled as she looked down at Layla suckling. She looked back up at Janet. “Thank you, Janet.”

 

“You’re most welcome.”

 

~~~

 

As soon as Layla was done with her dinner she was put down for a nap. The four women then enjoyed their own dinner. Afterwards the table was quickly cleared and some music was put on while they relaxed in the living room. Taran and Delsie sat on the couch while Janet sat in the overstuffed chair.

 

“Kris, I noticed you weren’t at the school the last few days,” said Taran. “And Chuzu said he thought you weren’t feeling the best before you arranged to take some time off. You okay?” she asked.

 

Kris smiled as she sat down on the floor in front of Janet. “I was feeling a little under the weather, but I’m fine now. The advantage of living with a doctor – or at least this particular doctor,” she said with a chuckle.

 

Delsie gave both Kris and Janet a hard look. She noticed how Kris was leaning against Janet’s leg and the way they were both smiling. “Alright, what’s going on?” she asked.

 

Just then Layla woke up. She also let it be known it was time to change her diapers. Taran grabbed the diaper bag and handed it to Delsie. “Your turn.”

 

Delsie spread out a blanket on the floor and put Layla down on it. After changing her Delsie sat back up on the couch still holding the baby. She gave Janet and Kris another look. “I’m still waiting for an answer, you two.”

 

“An answer about what?” asked Taran.

 

“Just look at them. They’re up to something, Taran.”

 

Taran looked at the pair. “Hell, they’ve been living together over two years. Maybe they finally figured out what we’ve known all along – that they should be dating each other instead of other people,” she said flippantly as she took the baby from Delsie.

 

Both Janet and Kris blushed at Taran’s friendly nagging. Both Taran and Delsie had been anything but subtle in expressing their opinions of Kris and Janet’s choices of dates in the past. Delsie saw their blushes.

 

“Oh, my god! That’s it, isn’t it? You’re finally dating each other.”

 

Taran’s head snapped up to see both Janet and Kris smiling. Her jaw dropped. “Damn, and I was only joking.”

 

Kris chuckled. “Well, you’re half right, anyway,” she said with a smile.

 

“What do you mean half right?” Delsie asked.

 

“Well, we figured out we love each other and belong together, but we’re not dating.”

 

Delsie and Taran looked confused.”

 

“We’re married,” Janet explained.

 

“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Taran.

 

They both held up their left hand and waggled their fingers to show off their wedding bands.

 

“No joke,” Kris said. “You’re looking at a bona fide married couple.”

 

“Since when?!”

 

“Just the other day,” answered Janet.

 

“And we didn’t even get invited,” grumbled Delsie.

 

“No one did, Delsie. It wasn’t planned. It just... sort of happened. You two are the first ones we’ve told. It’s the whole reason we invited you over tonight.”

 

“Damn. There goes our reliable babysitters,” Delsie said with a smirk.

 

“What do you mean?” asked Taran.

 

“Think about it. They’re newlyweds; they’d rather have an evening alone together than with a baby to care for,” she said with humor in her voice.

 

“I guess you have a point.”

 

[Hmm, she does have a point.]

 

A wave of desire tickled Kris’s senses. [Hold that thought until after they leave.]

 

“Don’t worry, we’ll still be glad to watch Layla occasionally. Can’t have you falling to pieces at work, Delsie. The clinic needs you in top shape,” Janet said. “What would we do without you in admin to make sure everything runs smoothly?”

 

“Wait one minute!” Taran said suddenly. The other three women looked at her and she pinned Janet with a look. “Look, I love you both, and I know we’ve given you a hard time about some of the choices you’ve made when it comes to some of the dates you’ve gone out with.” She paused. “I also haven’t forgotten how wicked your sense of humor can be, Janet. I remember how you kept a perfectly straight face when you told me I was pregnant with twins!” She moved her gaze to Kris. “And I wouldn’t put it past you, Kris, to try to pull one over on us either. So, until I see some proof, and I don’t mean just a couple of rings, I’m not falling for it. I want to see a marriage certificate with names of Janet Fraiser and Kris Kay on it before I’m convinced this isn’t a joke.”

 

Kris chuckled as she got up off of the floor. “Janet, I warned you that your sense of humor was going to get the best of you one these days.”

 

“I guess you were right.”

 

Kris left the room, retrieved their marriage certificate from the other room, and returned. “Taran, considering everything, I understand why you’re skeptical. And you’re right – I can’t provide you with a marriage certificate with the names Kris Kay and Janet Fraiser on it.”

 

“Damn, you guys really had me going!” said Delsie.

 

“I’m going to get you for this – especially you, Janet!” warned Taran.

 

“Before you do, check this out,” Kris said and handed the certificate to Delsie since Taran was holding Layla. She then sat on the arm of the chair Janet was sitting in and put her arm around her shoulders.

 

The couple immediately recognized the certificate for what it was. They quickly looked at the names on the form which Delsie read out loud. “Janet Fraiser and Kris Frasier?” They both looked up at the newlywed couple and smiled.

 

“So it is for real!” exclaimed Taran.

 

“You better believe it,” Janet said with a grin.

 

~~~

 

Janet rushed home from work. She wanted to surprise her wife with all of her favorite things for dinner. She had hoped to get off early, but an injured patient had prevented her escape. She stopped by the café on the way home and picked up dinner for two. If she hurried she should have time for a shower before Kris got home.

 

Janet came to an immediate stop when she entered the house through the front door. The interior was lit entirely with candles. Standing in the middle of the living room, wearing nothing but a silk robe, was her wife.

 

Kris smiled. “Happy anniversary, love.”

 

Janet returned her smile. “Happy anniversary.” On her way across the room she set her package down on the coffee table. She then wrapped her arms around her wife and they kissed, deeply. They parted only when oxygen became an issue. “Mmmm... I didn’t think you’d be home this early.”

 

“I took half a day off; I wanted to surprise you. I picked up your favorite dinner from the café and I’ve already drawn a hot bath for you.”

 

Janet let out a chuckle. “Great minds think alike – I picked up dinner on the way home, too.”

 

“Then we certainly won’t go hungry. Go on and take your bath; I’ll take care of the food.”

 

“But I’d be much happier if you joined me in the bath.”

 

“You would, huh?”

 

“Yes, I would.”

 

“Alright. I’ll join you as soon as I take care of the food.”

 

“Don’t take too long.”

 

“I won’t.”

 

With a kiss Janet headed into their bedroom. Kris put the food up, retrieved a bottle of wine and a couple of wineglasses, and then joined Janet in the bathroom.

 

“Hey, you got room in there for me?”

 

Janet looked up and smiled at her wife. “I sure do.” Janet scooted forward so Kris could slip in behind her. She leaned back into her wife’s embrace. “Mmmm, this is nice.”

 

“Yes, it is.” Kris began to nuzzle the side of Janet’s neck.

 

The doctor tilted her head to give Kris better access and let out a soft moan when a knowing hand captured her breast and teased her hardening nipple. [You know I love you, right?]

 

[Mm hmm. I feel it... but I’d know it even if we weren’t bonded, because you show me every day. You’re my beloved and I love you with all my heart.]

 

Janet gasped as deft fingers slid down through her curls and caressed her slick folds. It didn’t take long before Kris’s touch brought her to an orgasm. She slumped in her wife’s arms afterwards.

 

“You ready to get out?”

 

“I don’t think I can move.”

 

“I guess it’s a good thing I brought the wine then,” Kris said with a chuckle. She reached for the wine and poured them each a glass.

 

~~~

 

That night after making love, Kris lay with her head on Janet’s chest, listening to her heart as it slowly returned to its normal pace. Janet slowly carded her fingers through her wife’s hair.

 

“I love you so much.”

 

“I love you too, Janet.”

 

The doctor took a deep breath and slowly let it out.

 

“What?”

 

“I didn’t say anything.”

 

“No, but you have something on your mind.”

 

Janet remained silent.

 

Kris lifted up her head and looked at her wife. She shifted to lie on her side next to Janet, reaching out and caressing her cheek. “What is it, love?”

 

“I’ve been thinking about something lately.” She paused for a long moment. “Have you ever thought about having children?”

 


 

Chapter 14

 

Kris took a moment to gather her thoughts. “While I’ve never felt a strong urge to have a child, it was something Lena and I discussed on more than one occasion. With my career it was never a viable option for me – you don’t exactly go undercover in special ops pregnant. And, neither of us were comfortable with the idea as long we were in deep space. When Lena accepted promotion to admiral we decided that it would be best to wait until we got settled before attempting to raise a family. I think we both knew subconsciously that it was a mistake for her to accept promotion to admiral and that’s why we put off having a baby. In fact, if we hadn’t crashed, Lena was going to notify Allied Fleet when we returned from our vacation that she wanted to step down and command a ship again. We were going to go back into deep space. So, the decision for us was not to have children.” She paused and gazed into Janet’s eyes. “So this is what’s been on your mind lately?”

 

Janet nodded. “It may be because of the number of patients I’ve assisted lately, but yes, I’ve been thinking about it. I adopted Cassandra when she was 12. Sam was a help, but she was not around a lot of the time because of her duties with SG-1. She was my best friend but not my spouse. We weren’t even lovers until just a couple of months before I ended up here on Jidiri.” She paused. “I’m not saying I need for us to have a baby to make me feel complete or anything. And if you’re not comfortable with the idea it’s okay. Believe me; I’ve never been happier than I am with you.” She leaned in and gently kissed Kris. “There’s a part of me that would certainly like to have your child. You’re the only person I’ve ever felt that way about,” she said softly.

 

Kris wrapped her arms around Janet and held her close. [My beloved.] She kissed her long and tenderly. Afterwards she gazed into Janet’s soft brown eyes again. “I’m not sure how good of a parent I’ll be, but if they can make our DNA compatible and having a baby is something you want, then I’ll take mommy lessons from you,” she said with a smile. Her mind was flooded with Janet’s joy.

 

~~~

 

Janet and Kris ended up going to see Dr. Lettie Boson, who specialized in difficult reproductive cases. There had been some difficulty making their DNA compatible due to the fact Kris was only part Human. Eventually they were finally able to fertilize a number of Janet’s ova – they used Janet’s ova since Kris didn’t have any – with their combined DNA. Then it came time implant an embryo.

 

Unfortunately Janet miscarried after only a month. The same thing happened with the second and third attempts as well. The fourth time she made it to nine weeks. Her body apparently kept rejecting the fetus because of the alien DNA from Kris. So, it was decided that Kris would try to carry the baby. However, that was not without its challenges either.

 

Since Kris didn’t have any functioning ovaries and no period, her body was not prepared for pregnancy. It had to be tricked into thinking it was fertile and the lining of her uterus had to be stimulated. She underwent daily injections until her body was ready for the embryo.

 

She miscarried at 11 weeks.

 

When the final fertilized egg was implanted the doctor gave them a one in ten chance of the pregnancy going to term.

 

~~~

 

To celebrate their three-year wedding anniversary Janet and Kris joined Taran and Delsie and went to one of the concerts in the park. Delsie, who was almost nine months pregnant, was enjoying having her achy lower back rubbed by her wife Taran. Janet was leaning against a tree and Kris was sitting between Janet’s legs, leaning back against her. The doctor’s left arm rested lightly around her wife while her right hand was discretely slipped underneath Kris’s shirt and rested on her belly.

 

Delsie looked over at them and smiled. “So tell us, Janet, when are you and Kris going to have a go at raising one of your own?”

 

Janet gave her wife a gentle squeeze. “I already have a grown daughter, Cassie, on my homeworld.”

 

“And?” prompted Taran.

 

“Well, we’ve discussed the possibility, but we’ll see. There’s been some difficulty making our DNA compatible. We’ve decided that if it’s meant to work out it will, if not, it won’t. Either way, I’m sure those twins of yours will give us all plenty enough to do,” Janet said with a smile.

 

“Yeah, like Layla doesn’t already have us in a tizzy,” Taran replied.

 

“Well, it’s called the terrible twos for a reason. But don’t worry, she’s three now. At least we can send Layla and the twins back to their mommies when we’re ready for some alone time,” Kris said with a laugh. She turned her head to look up at her wife. Through their bond they both felt their love shared and magnified in return.

 

Janet lowered her head and gently captured her wife’s lips with own.

 

Delsie spoke quietly. “I’ve never seen two people more in love than you two.”

 

Janet and Kris blushed as they came back to the moment and looked at Taran and Delsie. “Sorry,” they said in unison.

 

“No, no, don’t apologize,” Taran said. “You’re an inspiration to be around – the way you two love each other.”

 

Delsie chuckled. “Yep. And I don’t think we’re going to be able to rely on them too often as babysitters.”

 

All four women laughed.

 

The music started and Kris felt Janet’s hand gently caress her belly. She was over four months pregnant but the loose clothing she wore concealed her growing baby bump.

 

“I love you,” Janet whispered in Kris’s ear.

 

“I love you, too.”

 

~~~

 

About halfway through the concert Delsie let out a yelp.

 

“What’s wrong?” asked Taran.

 

“I don’t know. I felt something,” she said with an alarmed look on her face.

 

Janet immediately went into ‘doctor mode’ and took charge. She took hold of Delsie’s wrist and checked her pulse. “Was it a contraction, Delsie?”

 

“I’m not sure.”

 

“That’s okay. I want you to keep breathing slowly for me.” Janet felt around Delsie’s distended abdomen.

 

Delsie winced again.

 

“Janet?” Taran asked.

 

“I can’t really tell anything here. Let’s get Delsie to the clinic where I can do a proper examination.”

 

Taran started gathering everything up.

 

Kris turned to Janet. “Why don’t you go on ahead and get everything ready at the clinic. I’ll bring Delsie.”

 

Janet nodded in agreement and left immediately. Once Taran had everything together Kris picked Delsie up in her arms and carried her.

 

~~~

 

In another part of the park Cayden was sitting with the four members of SG-1. He noticed Kris carrying Delsie out of the park. “Oh! It appears we may have yet another arrival this evening.”

 

“What do you mean?” Major Carter asked.

 

He pointed to the three women leaving the park. It was obvious even from a distance that the one being carried was very pregnant.

 

“Oh. Do you think they need any assistance?” Sam asked.

 

“No, no. Their friend obviously has things well in hand. She’s undoubtedly taking them to see her wife – one of our best doctors.”

 

Her wife?” asked Colonel O’Neill.

 

“Yes.”

 

Sam smiled to herself as did Daniel Jackson, but it was Teal’c who spoke. “Have you not noticed, O’Neill? There are many couples here both of the same gender as well as the opposite gender.”

 

Jack took a look around and saw male/female couples, male/male couples, and female/female couples. “No, I guess I hadn’t noticed.” He fixed Teal’c and Daniel with a look. “Just don’t get any ideas – I’m not interested.” He paused. “Well, I might be interested in watching some of the female couples,” he added with a leer.

 

“I have never understood why so many of the Tau’ri have trouble accepting same gender couples,” observed Teal’c.

 

“Neither have I, Teal’c,” agreed Daniel.

 

“I don’t see the problem either,” added Sam.

 

Jack looked at his team. “Well, I don’t have anything personally against anyone who’s gay. It’s just doesn’t seem... natural.”

 

“To you,” pointed out Sam.

 

“Well, we were made different for a reason, weren’t we? Take babies for instance. Those two women still had to have the assistance of a man to have that baby, didn’t they?”

 

Cayden was the one answer his question. “Actually, no. Taran and Delsie are the sole genetic parents of their children.”

 

“What?”

 

“How?” Sam asked.

 

“DNA is taken from both women, combined and then used to fertilize an egg, which is then implanted in the woman who will carry it to term.”

 

“You’re talking about parthenogenesis.”

 

“Carter?”

 

“Sir, it’s just like he described. By splicing together the DNA of the two women they don’t need a man to have a baby.”

 

The same can be done for male couples. However, a surrogate mother would be needed to carry the fetus to term,” Cayden explained.

 

~~~

 

Janet was ready when Kris and Taran arrived at the clinic with Delsie. Kris gently set Delsie down on the exam table before leaving the room. Janet examined the woman and determined that she had simply experienced some false labor. However, Janet did think it was best to play it safe and admit Delsie anyway. Taran stayed with Delsie for a while before going to pick up Layla from the babysitter and going home. Janet and Kris went home, but Janet left instructions for her to be contacted if Delsie went into labor or if anything else came up. It was a short walk to their home.

 

That night, after making love, Kris watched Janet sleep for awhile. Then she slipped out of bed and stood at the window looking out. After awhile she felt Janet slip her arms around her from behind.

 

Janet rested her chin on Kris’s shoulder. “Something interesting out there?”

 

“Don’t see anything.”

 

“But?”

 

Kris took a deep breath and let it out. “I don’t know. I just have this feeling... I can’t put my finger on it.”

 

“Could it be you’re worried about Delsie and the twins?”

 

Kris took another deep breath. “I suppose it could be that.”

 

Janet kissed her wife’s shoulder. “But it’s not, is it?”

 

“No.”

 

The doctor placed her hand over Kris’s growing belly. “Are you worried about our baby?”

 

Kris placed her hand over her wife’s. “Always,” she confessed. Suddenly she let out a small gasp.

 

“What is it?”

 

“She’s moving!” Kris quickly turned in her wife’s arms and mind-touched with her. Through the deep mind-touch Janet was able to actually experience the sensation first hand. Once the baby settled down Kris ended the mind-touch.

 

Janet stared into her wife’s eyes. “That was incredible! It was like I felt it in my own body. Thank you.” There were tears in her eyes. “Will you share other moments with me?”

 

Kris smiled. “Of course. Just remember you asked for it when I’m in labor.”

 

The doctor chuckled. “Okay. Come on, let’s go back to bed.” She led Kris back to bed and held her close. “You’re still unsettled, aren’t you?”

 

Kris took a deep breath and slowly let it out before answering. “I just have this feeling that’s hard to describe. Despite the ups and downs we’ve experienced trying to have a child, everything here has been, and is, so peaceful and tranquil. In fact, I can’t think of a better place to raise a child.”

 

“So what’s bothering you?”

 

“The only way I can describe it is to compare it to the flat surface of a lake. It feels like someone has tossed some stones into it... made some ripples. I just sense... something... a disturbance.”

 

Janet didn’t dismiss her wife’s feeling or belittle it. “Well, if there is something amiss, you’ll be better able to deal with it after you’ve had a good night’s sleep.”

 

“You’re right.”

 

~~~

 

The next day Kris had an appointment with Dr. Boson. Janet, of course, went with her. The doctor was pleased that the pregnancy had progressed to the four and half months and was becoming cautiously optimistic.

 

“Have you had anymore contractions, pain, fever or dizziness?”

 

“Not since the last incident I told you about.”

 

“That’s good. Your blood tests still show an elevated white blood cell count, as well as an elevated antibody level that’s continuing to increase.”

 

Kris looked Janet worriedly.

 

“Your body is still not fully accepting the fact that you’re pregnant, and it’s fighting against the pregnancy like it’s an infection,” Janet explained.

 

Dr. Boson nodded in agreement. “The fact that you seem to have some control over your body is the only reason you’ve progressed this far with the pregnancy. From now on I want to keep a much closer watch on your blood work. I want to see you twice a week and I want you to get as much rest as possible. I’m not putting you on bed rest, but I want you to cut any strenuous physical activities. If you have any contractions, pain, fever, or dizziness I want you to come to the clinic and have me contacted immediately.”