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Fanfiction: What A Girl Wants

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Series: Aftershocks
TAG to Episode: S7 Space Race
Rating: PG-13
Author's Note: Sam/Team friendship. Sam & Janet friendship.  Sam/Jack UST. 
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.


What A Girl Wants

Teal'c watched with amusement as Samantha Carter joined him at their usual table in the mess for their morning snack. She was trying to juggle a massive instruction book along with a glass of blue jello. The book was set down first, and it landed with a thump befitting its size. Her glass of blue jello followed and she retrieved a spoon from her pocket of her BDU pants before she sat down with relief.

Teal'c raised an eyebrow at the book. The alien Warrick had given his team-mate the book prior to them taking part in a space race sponsored by Warrick's home planet but it had been left behind on their return. For his team-mate to have it again meant one thing; 'You have made contact with Warrick?'

'Indeed,' said Sam, cheerfully. She spooned up a hunk of jello and held up a hand in a silent request for Teal'c to wait a moment while she swallowed her food. She slipped a hand into the front cover and pulled out a letter. She slid it across the table. It was addressed to Teal'c.

'It's from Emon." Sam explained.

Teal'c turned over the slim white paper holder that was the Hebridan equivalent of an envelope in his hands. Emon was Warrick's brother; he was much more snappish than Warrick, protective of his brother and dedicated to ensuring his brother's success. Teal'c admired him greatly.

'I think you've got a pen-pal.' Sam teased.

Teal'c's dark eyes lifted to meet hers. 'What is a pen-pal?'

Sam looked back at him nonplussed but she took his comment at face-value and answered the question. 'A pen-pal is a friend who lives somewhere else but keeps in contact with you.' She explained, motioning with her spoon. 'It's fairly typical in schools for some kind of pen-pal programme with a foreign school to encourage children to learn more about other cultures than their own.' She scooped up more jello. 'I had a pen-pal in France.'

'I see.' Teal'c turned over the envelope and set it aside. He returned his attention to the large sandwich in front of him. 'Then is Jonas Quinn not already my pen-pal?'

Sam laughed and Teal'c's eyes were twinkling at her in shared mirth. 'I guess he is.' She licked her spoon and scrapped the last of the jello from the sides of the glass. 'Have you heard from him recently?'

'Not since his last visit to discuss the proposed alliance.' Teal'c murmured. Jonas had turned up with an injury. He frowned heavily; his lips turning downward. 'He informed me that someone had attempted to shoot him.' He knew many of the Kelownans blamed Jonas for the Goa'uld finding Kelowna; he was a target on his home planet. He wished that SG1 could somehow protect him; wished even more that Jonas had been allowed to stay with them but he could not fault Jonas's determination to helping his people rebuild in the wake of Anubis's attack.

'He has good protection.'

'I agree.' He had made it a point to check with Jonas's bodyguard on the measures that were being taken to protect their former team-mate.

Sam nodded. 'I miss him.' She said wistfully, putting her spoon down.

'As do I.' Teal'c agreed softly.

Sam looked around and a small line appeared between her eyebrows. 'Where're Daniel and the Colonel?'

'Daniel Jackson is in a meeting with SG8 regarding the relocation of the inhabitants of P3L997.' Teal'c informed her. The local language was a difficult one and SG8 had requested Daniel Jackson's help.

'Right.' Sam nodded.

'And Colonel O'Neill has a meeting with General Hammond regarding the 302 programme.' Teal'c concluded.

She tried to hide her response but Teal'c had known her for a long time and he could tell that she was disappointed not to have been included. She had designed the F302 glider and was a most proficient pilot.

Teal'c searched for a topic to distract her and his eyes landed on the massive book taking up most of the end of the table. 'I did not realise that the Hebridans would be so quick to provide us with access to their technology.'

Sam smiled. 'Daniel joked that the Colonel was much more diplomatic than usual because he was worried about my taking part in the race.'

'It was a risky venture.' Teal'c noted mildly. They all knew she loved speed, but he had been surprised at how eagerly his team-mate had agreed to take part and he was not alone; neither Daniel Jackson nor O'Neill had truly understood her desire to risk her life with so little gain...

'It's Carter.' O'Neill said, the upper half of his body sprawled over the central bench of Daniel Jackson's office. 'It's speed, new shiny technology and flying. What's to understand?'

Teal'c heard the hesitancy in his voice.

'I don't know, Jack.' Daniel replied, shoving his glasses up his nose as he sat back down on a stool and sipped his mug. 'You didn't see her this morning. She was...gung-ho.'

'Gung-ho?' Jack's eyebrows rose.

'She agreed before she asked General Hammond.' Daniel stressed.

'OK, so that's not like Carter.' Jack admitted, straightening.

Teal'c concurred; Major Carter was much more formal about military protocol than the SG1 team leader.

'Has she seemed...' Daniel frowned into his mug, 'I don't know, off to you?'

Jack looked discomfited. 'What do you mean off?'

'Out of sorts. Unhappy.' Daniel expanded.

'You really think so?' Jack asked without his usual sarcasm.

Teal'c raised an eyebrow but did not reply. He reviewed his most recent interactions with Major Carter. She had remained very efficient and focused but perhaps she had been...restless. He frowned contemplatively.

'We should talk to her.' Daniel declared.

Jack reached over and clasped his shoulder. 'Well volunteered.'

Before Daniel could protest, their team leader had disappeared.

Teal'c let the memory drift away as he rubbed his fingers on the paper napkin, and removed the small spill of mayonnaise. Daniel Jackson had indeed talked to Major Carter. He had informed O'Neill and himself of the results as they walked to the gate room to leave. Major Carter had gone on ahead of them to check over her equipment.

'She says we take risks every day and,' Daniel frowned, 'she might have said that it was fun.'

'Ah.' Jack looked happier.

Daniel glared at him.

'Well, it is. You know. Fun.' Jack said defensively. 'And you have to admit, Daniel, she has missed out on stuff with the whole science project thing.' He motioned with his cap at the archaeologist.

'Didn't you and Hammond assign her to the science project thing?' Daniel retorted. He winced suddenly. 'I can't believe you've got me calling it a science project! It was an important overhaul of the entire Stargate diagnostic system.'

'Exactly.' Jack shot back. 'She needs more leadership stuff like this for her promotion case.'

'Oh,' Daniel's blue eyes widen behind his glasses, 'so that's why you agreed to it.'

'Why'd you think I agreed?' Jack asked irritably.

'Because Hammond ordered it.' Daniel immediately returned.

Jack tried to glare at him but conceded the point. 'Yeah, well. That too.'

The snap of the book slamming shut brought Teal'c out of the past and he looked over to find his team-mate sighing heavily, her eyes affixed to the clock.

'I should go. I need to get this copied before I speak with Jennifer.' Sam remarked, stretching. Her long-sleeved t-shirt pulled taut for a moment and she was unaware that an Airman at a nearby table stared at her torso.

Teal'c warned him away with a look. He turned back to his team-mate. 'Lieutenant Hailey will be assisting you on your research of the ion drive?'

'Yeah, I just cleared it with her CO.' Sam said happily, getting to her feet. 'You OK?' She waved across the table at his unfinished snack.

She must feel guilty about leaving him alone, Teal'c mused with fondness. 'I am fine, Major Carter.'

'I'll see you later.' Sam waved at him, picked up her book and hurried out of the mess.

Teal'c reached for his second sandwich and let his mind slip back to the mission again. Although he'd had Daniel Jackson's reassurance that Major Carter had wanted to take part in the race because it was fun and O'Neill's comments that it was only natural given her recent project, Teal'c had been concerned. He had determined that, despite the fact that he was supposed to go with O'Neill and Daniel Jackson to meet with the planet's representatives and negotiate for their technology, he would endeavour to remain with Major Carter and ensure her safety as best he could.

However, he knew if he was to be successful, he could not permit any of his concern for her to show. Major Carter was a fiercely independent warrior and she would not appreciate what she would undoubtedly perceive as an attempt to take care of her. His plan had formed quickly once they had arrived at their destination and Warrick had provided Major Carter with the manual. His lips curved a little remembering the startled looks on his team-mates' faces to his declaration Major Carter had requested him to remain with her. It had worked. She believed it was a ploy by him to get out of the diplomatic meetings and had played along as he had known she would if she believed it was for his benefit.

A tray clattered across the table and Teal'c looked up to see O'Neill and Daniel Jackson dropping into the seats opposite.

'...and I'm telling you, Daniel, that I don't really care if they speak a variant of German or Italian.' O'Neill nodded an acknowledgement at Teal'c.

'It's neither,' Daniel replied exasperatedly, 'and haven't you been listening to anything I've said?'

Jack turned to him. 'This is news to you?'

Daniel heaved a long-suffering sigh and dug into his pie. He focused on Teal'c. 'What's in the envelope?'

'It is a communication from Emon.' Teal'c said.

'You know you do have a habit of picking up alien friends who get you captured by the bad guys.' Jack waved a fork at him and his red jello wobbled dangerously.

Teal'c raised an eyebrow. 'You are correct,' he acknowledged smoothly, 'after all, you were the first alien friend who I, as you phrased it, picked up and you have contributed to my being captured by our enemies on many occasions.'

Daniel laughed as Jack spluttered in indignation.

'Funny.' Jack sniped but his brown eyes were shining with amusement. He nudged the empty blue jello glass Major Carter had left behind. 'Carter been and gone?'

'Indeed.' Teal'c confirmed. He pushed his second empty plate aside and reached for the large slice of apple pie he had selected.

'Oh, before I forget,' Daniel said, 'Walter told me to tell you that there's a message from Bra'tac for you.'

Teal'c inclined his head briefly in gratitude.

'How are things going?' Daniel asked, his face suffused with genuine interest.

'Badly.' Teal'c replied honestly. 'Many of the old faction rivalries are beginning to emerge within the ranks of the Free Jaffa.'

'That's not good.' Jack said seriously. 'You and Bra'tac have a plan?'

Teal'c found himself hesitating to share it. He knew neither man would think it was a good idea.

'Teal'c?' Jack prompted.

'Master Bra'tac believes we should have a meeting of all Jaffa to address the matter.' Teal'c said.

Jack snorted.

Daniel blinked at him. 'That's really the plan?'

'Bra'tac thinks this is a good idea after what happened the last time?' Jack asked caustically.

'Do you think it's a good idea after what happened last time, Teal'c?' Daniel asked, seriously.

Teal'c was not surprised to see the look of surprise that O'Neill aimed at the other man; he was not expecting the archaeologist to support him. However, Teal'c was not surprised. Whether Daniel Jackson could remember it or not, he had lived through the events of Kresh'tar, where many of the rebel Jaffa had been slaughtered, just as much as Teal'c and Bra'tac.

'I have concerns.' Teal'c admitted.

Jack shot Daniel a look. It was his classic 'this one's yours' signal when they were on missions.

'So, maybe you wouldn't mind us, I don't know coming along?' Daniel asked hopefully.

'We could provide some neutral protection for everyone on a neutral world we could select.' Jack added.

'I am uncertain the other Jaffa would agree to such an arrangement.' Teal'c believed Bra'tac could get them to agree though and while a part of him protested at the idea, he was grateful at the idea of having the Tau'ri provide them with back-up. He would not have survived Kresh'tar without Daniel Jackson.

'Well, if you don't agree to it and we don't come with you on this jaunt, Carter's going to worry.' Jack pointed out, evidently aiming for what he believed to be Teal'c's weak spot to get him to agree. Jack's brown eyes glinted with amusement. 'I'm sure you wouldn't want to disappoint her.'

Teal'c admired O'Neill's strategy for a moment. He held back his smile as he prepared his counter-move. 'You are correct; I do not wish to disappoint Major Carter. I will talk to Master Bra'tac.'

O'Neill fumbled the last blob of jello and it landed on his t-shirt. Daniel choked on his coffee for a long moment before he waved away a non-existent offer to pat his back.

Teal'c sat back with well-earned smug satisfaction. He had long ago determined that space races were not the only way to have fun. Victory was indeed his.


Sam struggled to heft the packed binders that contained the copy of the Hebridan instruction manual that Warrick had arranged for her. She was just thankful she kept up with her weight training because the binders weighed a tonne. She peeked through the open door of Jennifer Hailey's lab and found her sat at her computer seemingly staring sightlessly at the screensaver. The young Lieutenant hadn't changed much in appearance since their first meeting at the Academy a couple of years before when Jennifer had been a precocious cadet but she had developed a maturity befitting a SGC veteran even if she still looked like a child playing dress-up in the SGC BDUs.

Sam adjusted her hold and rapped sharply on the door.

Jennifer turned around swiftly and slipped off the stool, rising in the presence of a senior officer. 'Ma'am.'

'As you were, Jennifer.' Sam said breathlessly. She dumped the binders on the table and thanked God silently as her biceps screamed with relief. 'OK, so you know we've agreed with an exchange of technology with the Hebridan's?'

'Yes, ma'am.' Jennifer replied, confused.

'Well, they're sending the ion drive next week. We'll have five days to work on it before it has to be sent to Area 51.' Sam continued happily, tapping the binders. 'Your work on the ion propulsion system on P9Y520 makes you perfect to work on this. I need you to get up to speed so I've copied the instruction book that Warrick gave to me. You'll need to familiarise yourself with all of this material and...'

'Ma'am?' Jennifer broke in sharply.

Sam stopped surprised. Jennifer usually didn't interrupt unless they were in the middle of actually debating technology or theory when too caught up in her arguments, she forgot to be the model officer. For all of her youth, Jennifer was brilliant and Sam enjoyed being challenged by her normally.

'Don't worry,' Sam assured her, seeing a hint of panic chasing across Jennifer's face, 'I've already cleared your working on this with Major Tennyson.'

'No, ma'am, that's not it. I...' Jennifer babbled out.

Sam froze. Jennifer never babbled. 'Jennifer?'

'I'm pregnant!' Jennifer blurted out. Her hand flew to her mouth as though to catch the words back. There was a moment's pause before she burst into tears.

Sam snapped her mouth shut and whirled around to close the door. Jennifer was a lot like Sam and she knew that there was no way the young woman would want her tears or situation to become the gossip of the SGC. She locked the door for good measure. When she turned back, Jennifer was still crying. Sam walked back over quickly and put an arm around Jennifer's quaking shoulders. She patted her back awkwardly. Her mind was a whirlwind of questions which she knew she had no right to ask, starting with who was the father.

'I'm sorry.' Jennifer mumbles. 'I'm not...' she weakly lifts a hand to gesture absently, 'usually but...Doctor Fraiser said it was hormones.'

Sam let out a small breath of relief that Janet knew - and of course Janet would know; she had probably been the one to diagnose Jennifer's condition. Her brow furrowed. Did a doctor diagnose pregnancy exactly or confirm it? It wasn't an illness after all. She shook herself and gave Jennifer's shoulders a final squeeze as the younger woman started to draw back.

'It's OK.' Sam assured her, possibly a little too brightly. She searched her pockets and came up blank on a tissue. Teal'c was usually waving a handkerchief at her by now whenever she blubbed on his shoulders.

Jennifer motioned at her desk drawer and Sam searched it quickly. She handed over the small pack of travel tissues.

'Are you OK?' Sam asked tentatively, lurking beside Jennifer.

Jennifer blew her nose noisily. She nodded quickly but a fresh batch of tears were beginning to glimmer in her eyes. 'It's just...I only found out about an hour ago and I...' she took a trembling breath and finally met Sam's eyes. 'It wasn't part of the plan, you know, Major.'

Sam gave a sympathetic smile. 'I think you can drop the ranks, Jennifer.'

'I just...before you came in I was thinking that maybe I wasn't going to have...the baby. I mean, there's my career.' Jennifer confided guiltily, her hands flailing, one fisted around the balled up tissue. 'The contraceptive is supposed to work, right? And it's not like Matt and I have been together long or talked about anything serious...'

'Matt?' Sam asked without thinking. There were a couple of Matts on staff at the SGC.

'Matt Grogan.' Jennifer confirmed absently.

Sam tried hard not to look shocked. She hadn't known the two of them were seeing each other romantically. But she was relieved; Grogan and Hailey were the same rank and served in separate SG teams. Their romance wasn't complicated by fraternisation regulations and Jennifer wasn't going to be facing a scandal on top of her pregnancy.

'But then, you started talking and all I could think was what if the ion drive is harmful to the baby? And that would be bad. So...'

Sam followed her thought pattern through to the logical conclusion. 'So, you're having the baby.'

Jennifer nodded. Shock shot across her face and she paled. 'I think I need to sit down.'

'Right.' Sam looked around wildly and found the stool Jennifer had vacated. She ushered her onto it and hovered. 'Should I get Doctor Fraiser?'

'No, I think I'm OK.' Jennifer placed a hand protectively over her flat belly. She smiled brightly suddenly. 'Wow. I'm having a baby.'

Sam felt an enormous rush of envy and barely kept the smile on her face. 'Congratulations.'

'Thank you, ma'am.' Jennifer replied. 'And, uh, sorry; for crying all over you.'

Sam shrugged. 'I think you have a good excuse.'

Jennifer's nose wrinkled in dismay. 'My career's shot, isn't it?'

Sam shook her blonde head decisively. 'Not necessarily.' But she couldn't deny that it was going to be more difficult for Jennifer. The SGC treated its female staff, both officers and enlisted, a lot better than most other commands but a pregnancy would still delay promotions and restrict duty. And outside of the SGC...Sam's lips twisted. Male personnel still got the breaks over female despite the official policies on equality and diversity. Her mind flitted back to an email she had received a couple of days before and she ruthlessly ignored it, focusing on Jennifer again.

'I just don't know what I'm going to do.' Jennifer murmured. 'I always figured, SG5 and then, one day...' Jennifer blushed.

'SG1?' Sam guessed, smiling. She wasn't unaware of Jennifer's ambition. She rested her hip against the desk and leaned, letting it take some of her weight. 'I wouldn't rule it out completely, Jennifer.'

Jennifer sighed and blew her nose again. 'I'll be grounded though while I'm pregnant.'

'Yes.' Sam couldn't see the General, or Janet, or Tennyson for that matter, allowing Jennifer to serve on a SG team; it was too dangerous off-world even on relatively safe missions. 'But there's plenty of work here on base or at Area 51.'

'With McKay?' Jennifer's voice rose. She looked at Sam alarmed. 'I'm not sure I'd be able to last a day without killing him.' She went red as she realised what she'd said. 'Uh, ma'am.'

Sam laughed. 'McKay does have that effect on people.' She sobered and shifted position, straightening. 'Look, Jennifer, whatever you decide, you know you can always talk to me and I'll support you as best I can.'

Jennifer's pale face brightened. 'Thank you, ma'am.' She heaved a sigh and rubbed her hands over her face. 'Matt is going to freak.'

'Grogan's one of the good guys.' Sam gave into her curiosity. 'I didn't realise you two were an item.'

'We stayed friends.' Jennifer said defensively. 'When he got assigned to Colonel Young's team, we went out to celebrate. He was so thrilled to be back on a SG team and...' she blushed before her smile faded. 'He's really going to freak.'

Sam smiled because from the quiet look of pleasure that had suffused Jennifer's face when she talked about Matt; they were good together. 'He may surprise you.'

Jennifer nodded slowly. 'Ma'am, unless you need me, I think I'm going to take Doctor Fraiser's suggestion and sign off for a couple of days medical leave to think about things.'

'I think that's a good idea.' Sam confirmed. 'The ion drive will still be here when you get back.' She raised a hand. 'Doctor Fraiser and I will ensure it's safe for you to work on.'

Jennifer smiled. 'Thank you, ma'am.'

Sam walked her out to the elevator before making her way to her own lab. She sat down in front of her own computer and stared sightlessly at it for a long moment.

She was jealous, Sam realised with a start. Jealous because Hailey's sweet romance with Grogan was so uncomplicated in a way that Sam wished things could be with Jack. She sighed; being hopelessly in love with her CO was all kinds of complicated.

She was jealous too of Jennifer's unexpected and completely unplanned for pregnancy. Not that Sam wanted to be pregnant - or did she? Maybe she was just broody. She was some years older than Hailey; her biological clock was ticking.

Sam rubbed her nose.

It wasn't just Jennifer that stirred her jealousy. Sam reached for the mouse and brought up her email. She reread the cheery note from Cameron Mitchell. The news was good; her old Academy buddy had been informed he was getting a below zone promotion to Lieutenant Colonel as part of his appointment as leader to the new F302 squadron. She was pleased for Cam, she was, and after everything he had been through in Iraq she was sure he deserved it. It was just...

Nothing, Sam told herself furiously. She was not upset about Cam's promotion. She bit her lip. Although maybe getting the email the day before Warrick had made his proposal had prompted her into agreeing to the space race a bit more enthusiastically than she would have done normally.

The race had been fun. Lots of fun. Even rescuing Jalarth who had the body odour of a rotting fish and the manners of one to match. The only downside was that they'd lost. Next year they'd win it, Sam thought positively. She clicked out of her email, turned back to the massive instruction book and flicked it open. She needed to get more familiar with the dangers of the ion drive in case Jennifer was going to work on it.


Janet entered Sam's lab without knocking and hid her smile as the other woman didn't bother to look up at her entry. She cleared her throat audibly.

Sam's head shot up and her glazed expression landed on Janet's face. Chagrined realisation that Sam had been due to meet Janet for lunch in her office twenty minutes ago chased across Sam's delicate features.

'I'm so sorry.' Sam said, hurrying over to help Janet with the tray laden with food.

'That's OK.' Janet said mildly. 'As your friend I'm just going to add this to the account of all the things you owe me for.'

Sam rolled her eyes and placed the tray on the central bench. She went back and closed the door.

Janet found a stool. She sat down and reached for the plastic cutlery, pulling it free from its paper-napkin wrapper. Her brown eyes tracked Sam as she stowed the book that she had been studying and joined Janet at the other end of the table. Janet passed her a chicken salad, taking the seafood special noodle salad for herself.

Sam shook her juice box and speared it with the pointy straw. She took a long drink.

Janet poured on the small sachet of soy sauce. 'So, Lieutenant Hailey mentioned she'd informed you of her situation?'

'Yeah,' Sam poked at a cherry tomato before picking it up with her fingers and popping it in her mouth. She chewed and swallowed. 'I'm going to need your help to determine whether the ion drive is safe for her to work on.'

Janet's eyebrows rose a little. 'Aren't you pre-empting her decisions?' There was a good chance Jennifer would decide to leave.

Sam glanced up at her and grimaced. 'Probably. It's just...' she pointed her fork at Janet, 'I can't see her leaving the SGC.' She bit her lip. 'Or maybe I just don't see me leaving the SGC so...'

'You and she are alike in many ways.' Janet agreed neutrally. But Sam had never been pregnant and having a child changed a person's outlook. She knew her own priorities had changed when she had adopted Cassie. 'She's going to need your support either way.'

Sam nodded. 'Whatever she wants to do, she'll have my support. I told her that.'

'I know,' Janet commented dryly, 'she told me.'

Sam looked across at her, surprise written across her face. 'Really?'

'You're her mentor, Sam.' Janet said with some exasperation. 'She looks up to you. No doubt some of her worry when I told her the news is because she isn't sure how the important people around her are going to react; you're one of those. So, for you to offer her unequivocal support...that was a good thing to do.'

'So don't screw it up.' Sam finished with a half-smile.

'I didn't say that.'

Sam pointed her fork at her. 'You were thinking it.' She waggled her eyebrows at Janet.

Janet conceded. 'OK, so I was thinking it but it is important.'

'I know.' Sam said firmly. She sighed and toyed with a piece of chicken, pushing it one way then another before spearing it. 'I had a pregnancy scare when I was a Lieutenant.'

'You did?' Janet frowned. She couldn't remember anything of record in Sam's medical file.

'I was at the Pentagon, engaged to Jonas.' Sam recalled, her eyes drifting to look into the distance. 'He'd just deployed. I missed a period and bought a test over the counter.'

That explained the lack of medical record, Janet mused, listening.

'It was positive.' Sam tried to smile but couldn't keep it up. 'I panicked for about two days. I was gearing up to go to a doctor when...' she shrugged in lieu of explicitly stating what had happened. 'I was so relieved that I wasn't going to have a baby with Jonas that it made me question a lot of things about our relationship.'

'Babies or the lack thereof will do that to a relationship.' Janet said. She caught the flicker of curiosity on Sam's face but knew she wouldn't ask and Janet almost didn't share. She sat up straighter and twirled her fork in her noodles. 'My ex wanted a whole brood.' So did she. 'When it didn't happen, we went for tests. I have a condition that would make it difficult to conceive.' She stuffed the noodles in her mouth and refused to look at Sam; she didn't want to see a hint of the compassion she knew she would see if she looked.

'Your ex was a sexist tool.' Sam commented quietly.

'There is that.' Janet agreed. 'And if he wasn't, I'd probably have stayed with him and missed out on all this.' She flung a hand out to encompass the base. 'And I have Cassie now.' She pressed her lips together. 'Or at least until she goes to college.'

She shook off the thought of how lonely she was going to be when Cassie finally flew the nest. She glanced across at Sam who looked just as happy about Cassie's imminent flight into adulthood as Janet felt. Janet's lips twitched and focused back on the topic.

'Are you going to be around for the next couple of weeks?' Janet asked.

'We've nothing scheduled for off-world.' Sam confirmed. 'Although I think the Colonel's likely to want us to head to 997 with Daniel.'

'It would be good if you are around.' Janet chased her remaining noodles around the plastic bowl. 'I think it would help Hailey have someone to talk through her career options with.'

Sam shifted and Janet knew she was asking a lot. As much as Sam liked lab time, she loved being off-world. But Sam nodded and sighed. 'I can do that.'

'How much of a hit will she take?' Janet asked softly. 'Professionally?'

Sam dropped her gaze. 'She wants SG1.' She pushed the remainder of her salad away and reached for the desserts that Janet had brought. Sam picked up the cake leaving the apple pie she knew Janet favoured for her. 'I won't say it's going to be impossible.'

Janet winced. 'But difficult?'

'If she stays at the SGC,' Sam mused, 'and goes back to a SG team after the maternity leave.' She frowned as though struck by a thought but she shook herself. 'She's brilliant and has a good off-world record so she'd be a candidate if there was a place on SG1.'

'So, of course, they'll give it to some man just because he has a penis.' Janet commented dryly.

Sam snorted. 'I think if it's the Colonel making the decision...'

'She'll be OK.' Janet set her empty bowl on the tray and picked up the apple pie. She looked speculatively at Sam. 'Or maybe if it's you making the decision sometime in the future?'

Sam sighed and poked at her cake. 'I'm not sure that will ever happen.'

Janet licked a blob of stewed apple from her fork and looked at Sam quizzically. 'Please. You're a shoo-in for the position of leader once the Colonel decides he's had enough of field work.'

'Firstly,' Sam pointed with her spoon, 'there's no sign of the Colonel deciding that any time soon. And secondly, the General's made it pretty clear that he'd want SG1 going to someone with a higher rank than Major.'

'So?' Janet replied, confused. 'You have to be line for a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.' Whereas there was no doubt in Janet's mind that her own chance had been scuppered the moment she had held a gun on Nirrti and earned herself a letter of reprimand. She didn't care. It had been worth it to save her daughter's life. Sam looked so uncertain that it occurred to Janet that her friend really didn't believe that she would be promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. 'Sam...'

'I may not have enough leadership experience yet.' Sam stated. She crossed her arms. 'If I'd been leading my own team, it probably wouldn't have been a problem but I'm not so...'

'Seriously?' Janet asked before she sighed because, of course, outside of the bubble of the programme, the Air Force would want Sam to have leadership experience. Lieutenant Colonels were expected to be leading others not simply part of a team even if that team was the premier team of the SGC and vital to Earth's safety. 'That sucks.'

'You want to know what sucks even more?' Sam said dryly. 'They're going to promote Cameron Mitchell, the new F302 squadron leader, to Lieutenant Colonel below zone. It'll go into effect as soon as the Prometheus gets back and the squad goes into active operation.' She shook her head in disbelief. 'He was a year behind me at the Academy.'

'Ouch.' Janet said in sympathy.

'And he emails me to tell me because we're friends and I hate that I can't be pleased about it for him because all I can think is; when's the last time he saved the planet or blew up a sun?' Sam continued, waving her spoon in the air. 'Not to mention that I designed the F302 and damn well helped train him to pilot the thing!' She glared at her cake which she stabbed a little bit too ferociously. 'And you know what the worst thing is?'

'I wouldn't like to say.' Janet murmured.

'That I sound so competitive and...jealous!' Sam said furiously. She looked over at Janet in horror suddenly. 'Oh my God! I'm turning into McKay!'

Janet burst out laughing. 'You should see your face.'

Sam's lips twitched into a reluctant smile. She pushed her cake around the plate slowly. 'It's not funny.'

Janet gave her a pointed look.

'OK,' Sam allowed with a small smile, 'it's a little funny.'

'It's a little funny.' Janet agreed, swallowing a bite of her pie. 'But it also sucks.'

'Thank you.' Sam sighed.

Janet eyed her speculatively. 'So, is this what's been bothering you lately?'

Sam frowned. 'What?'

'Sam,' Janet said, patiently, 'you've been riding your motorcycle more and we all know how much you love to speed on that thing...'

'My car's been playing up.'

Janet ignored the interruption. 'You took the Colonel home the other week although you knew it would start up the gossip again which you hate...'

'He was injured.' Sam protested loudly. 'And nothing happened!'

Janet figured that was another problem entirely and one she wasn't touching. 'You just took part in a space race and almost died.'

'It was fun!' Sam retorted as she shoved her plate back onto the tray and got to her feet, agitated.

'You're taking more risks than you normally do.' Janet said calmly. 'Another doctor might say it's an early sign of depression.'

Sam immediately stiffened and glared at her. She crossed her arms over her torso. 'I'm not depressed.'

'That's why I said another doctor.' Janet pointed out with amusement but her eyes were sharp on Sam's tense shoulders. 'So are you going to tell me what's going on with you?'

Sam stared at her and Janet held her friend's furious gaze.

Abruptly, the anger faded out of Sam's eyes and she sank back onto the stool like a deflated balloon. She pushed her hands through hair, sending the blonde strands into disarray. 'Do you ever, I don't know, feel...stuck?'


'It's just...' Sam spread her hands out in front of her. 'Daniel came back but it's like he's found his purpose, you know? And Teal'c's got the whole tretonin thing going on and learning to live without his symbiote. Cam's got the squadron and his promotion. Cassie's going to college. You're dating...'

'And you're stuck.' Janet finished.

'Don't get me wrong. I have great friends. My relationship with my Dad and my brother is the best it's ever been. And it's not that I don't love my job because I do. I love being on SG1. I love going through the Stargate. And I'm OK doing non-exciting projects that get me leadership experience because I know after the whole Orlin thing, it's a miracle that I'm even still being considered for promotion,' Sam continued in a rush, 'so I'm not saying I want things to change but...'

'But you want things to change.' Janet completed.

'I don't know what I want.' Sam replied with a short laugh.

Janet felt a twinge of sympathy for her friend. Sam sounded completely bewildered. 'Maybe that's where you should start; figuring out what you want.'

'You're probably right.' Sam admitted.

'I know I'm right.' Janet pushed her empty dessert plate back on the tray and took a long drink from the water bottle she had brought for herself. 'You know,' she began casually, 'there's a good civilian psychologist on staff now - Kate Heightmeyer. I think I've mentioned her to you before. If you want to talk to someone off-record...'

Sam shot her a look. 'I thought you agreed I wasn't depressed and besides,' she pointed at Janet with her juice box, 'I am talking to someone.'

'I suppose you are,' agreed Janet wryly.

There was a moment of shared camaraderie.

'Anyway,' Sam said dismissively, 'enough about me. We were talking about Jennifer.'

'So we were.' Janet gathered the remnants of the lunch onto the tray. 'So you'll be around to support her for the next couple of weeks?'

Sam nodded again. 'Unless some emergency comes up, I'm sure it won't be a problem.'

'Great.' Janet declared decisively. 'Give me a call when you need me to test the safety of the ion drive.' She picked up the tray and Sam moved to get the door.

Sam reached out and placed a hand on Janet's arm as she got to the doorway. 'Janet,' she struggled to say whatever it was that she wanted and gave a huff of impatience along with a quick smile. 'Thanks.'

Janet smiled back. 'No problems. I'm just going to add it to the list of...'

'The things I owe you for.' Sam completed with far too much amusement.

Janet just smiled more broadly and carried on. It didn't take any time at all for her to stop by the mess and drop off the tray. She carried onto the infirmary, mentally making a list of all the things that she needed to get done that afternoon. Her thoughts briefly skipped over Hailey. She and Sam had too much experience of the Air Force not to know the reality was that the young Lieutenant's unexpected pregnancy would impact her career opportunities. Janet was pleased that Sam had agreed to stick around and provide moral support over the next couple of weeks. Hailey was going to need it.


Janet frowned. She hoped her chat with Sam had helped her. Sam had sounded so lost there for a second. Janet rounded the corridor to her office. Maybe they should do a day out to a spa, she mused. Cassie would love it, Sam would enjoy spending time with her and it was a good plan to get Sam to do something fun that didn't involve risking her life...


Major Tennyson stood in her office doorway. Hailey had said she was going to inform her CO before she left on her leave. He looked overly grim and frighteningly like a father who had just learned that his daughter was knocked up. Janet spared a thought that it was a good thing Grogan was off-world and stuffed her hands in her pockets as she walked up to meet him.

'Major Tennyson.'

'Doc.' Tennyson fidgeted nervously.

Janet gave him a reassuring smile and gestured at her office, already mentally reviewing what she could and couldn't tell him. 'Why don't you come in?'

His face flushed with relief and he hurried in ahead of her.

Janet sighed. Yep if her ex hadn't been a sexist pig she would have missed out on this: reassuring an overprotective CO about his team-mate's unexpected pregnancy.

She smiled.

She really did have the best job ever.





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