Warnings: This is rather dark since it explores domestic violence, rape, and the effects on the victim, both physically and emotionally.
Spoilers/Timeline: Takes place during the summer between seasons 4 and 5.
A/N1: Prompt provided by londynon who requested some Janet angst/whump that had nothing to do with Rite of Passage, Heroes, or Sam being hurt or captured.
A/N2: Special thanks to oxfordshoes2 for the beta! Written for the Spring 2010 Sam and Janet Ficathon.
Her worst nightmare had come true; her ex-husband was standing on the porch of her home looking as menacing as he ever had. All the terror she lived with for almost two years came flooding back, paralyzing her in place.
“Long time no see, honeybuns,” he smiled a bright, charming smile.
“W-What are you d-doing here?” Janet stammered.
He dropped his eyes and took a slow breath. “I didn’t think you’d take my phone call and I really need to talk to you.”
“It’s about Mom, Jan.”
Her thoughts immediately turned to her former mother-in-law. She had always loved Clara Porter. It had broken Janet’s heart to lose contact with her mother-in-law after she and Nelson had divorced. Clara had never known about the bad things that happened between Janet and Nelson during their marriage. She’d made it clear that she didn’t believe Janet’s allegations during the divorce, which, from her perspective, had come out of nowhere. Even so, Janet still loved Clara.
“What’s wrong with her?” she asked with genuine concern.
“She’s dying, Jan… and she’s asked to see you.”
He nodded. “I think she wants to apologize to you.”
“For not believing you.” He took a deep breath. “I’ve told her the truth, Jan. I told her what I did to you,” he said softly. “I’m not the same person I was – I’ve changed. That’s why I owned up to what I did.” He paused. “May I come in so we can talk, please?”
She was surprised by Nelson’s admission of guilt. The fact that he told his mother the truth spoke of real change in him. After several moments Janet nodded and stepped back to allow him entrance.
In the living room Nelson sat on the couch as Janet sat in a chair. He declined the offer of something to drink.
“Look, you had, and still have, every right to hate me. What I did, the way I treated you, was so wrong. I don’t expect you to forgive me, and I’m not asking you to. While I was in prison I went through a program. It made me take a hard look at myself… and I didn’t like what I saw, so I’ve been working hard at changing. I even got out early for good behavior.” He paused and looked her directly in the eyes. “I’m sorry, Jan, for everything.”
Janet had never expected an apology from Nelson. Neither did she expect to feel something inside her let go when he did apologize. It felt like the last bit of an infection being lanced and drained away. Nelson’s apology meant he knew what he did was wrong, and that it really hadn’t been her fault. Her heart and soul suddenly felt lighter.
She acknowledged the apology with a nod. “So what exactly is wrong with Clara?”
“Ovarian cancer. She’s really not good, Jan. I don’t think she’s going to make it to the weekend. Can you come see her? Please?”
She knew there was no way she could say no. She wouldn’t be able to forgive herself if she did. She had to at least try. “Let me call my CO and see if I can take some leave.” Fortunately, Cassie had just recently left to spend the summer with her grandparents, so Janet didn’t have to worry about arranging for someone to watch her.
Their plane touched down at the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport at 6:00 that evening. Nelson drove them straight to the hospital. Clara Porter was in the ICU.
“Excuse me, we’re here to see my mother,” Nelson said to the nurse at the desk.
“Hi, Mr. Porter. I’m sure she’ll be glad to see that you’re back.” She then looked at Janet. “I’m sorry, but only family members are allowed.”
“She is family,” Nelson quickly replied, “She’s my wife.”
The nurse nodded.
Janet was struck with how pallid and frail Clara Porter was – so different from the active, vibrant woman she’d known. Cancer was never an easy death, taking such a heavy toll on the patient… and their loved ones. She sat in the chair next to the bed and took her mother-in-law’s hand in her own.
“I’m here, Clara.”
Because Mrs. Porter was so close to death, there were no restrictions on her visiting hours. Janet and Nelson sat with his mother through the night. She woke up early in the morning and was coherent enough to have a heart to heart with Janet.
Nelson had left to give them some privacy. When Janet emerged from the room he was waiting for her with a cup of Starbucks coffee. She gratefully accepted it with a teary smile.
“Are you okay?” he asked softly.
She shook her head as the tears began to fall. He gently took her in his arms and held her. Old wounds healed began to ache with the absence of pain. If only she’d been able to mend the fences between them before now.
As if he could read her thoughts, Nelson spoke softly into her hair. “At least you’ve had the chance to reconcile and to say goodbye.”
Janet’s cell phone woke her up. It took her a moment to realize she was on a couch in the ICU waiting room with her head on Nelson’s lap. She sat up, feeling groggy as she fumbled for her phone.
“Janet, it’s me.”
“The general said you had to go out of town suddenly. Is everything alright? Is Cassie okay?”
“A problem with your parents, or one of your brothers then?”
“No; they’re all fine.”
“I don’t really feel like talking about it right now,” she said, cutting Sam off. Her emotions were just a bit too raw to talk about everything.
“Okay.” Sam paused. “Are we still on for this weekend?”
Janet and Sam had been friends for four years, and lovers for two months. The coming weekend was supposed to be a romantic getaway.
“I’m afraid not. I don’t know when I’ll be back. Even if I am back in time, I won’t be up to it.”
“That’s okay. I understand.” Sam almost managed to hide her disappointment. “Well, I hope whatever is going on works out. If there’s anything I can do let me know.”
“Thanks. I’ll see you when I get back.” Janet hung up.
Janet almost startled at Nelson’s voice. “Samantha – a friend from work,” she explained.
“Ah.” He stood and stretched his back. “Listen, we’ve been here over 18 hours. Why don’t you go and get a shower, a decent meal, and some rest. You can use my room at the hotel – it’s only three blocks from here. I’ll stay with Mom.” He held out a room key to her.
“Yeah. I’ve been living out of suitcase for a while now, spending my time traveling on business and coming here to visit with Mom.”
Tired, hungry, and sore, she took the key. “Why isn’t your brother Cliff here?”
Nelson sighed. “He and Mom had a falling out after Dad died. I don’t know the specifics because it happened while I was in prison and neither one of them will tell me about it.” He swallowed. “I just wish he’d let go of his anger and see her before it’s too late.”
Janet stood. She reached up and cupped his cheek. “Thank you.”
“For coming to get me… for giving me a chance to say goodbye.”
He reached up and took her hand in his, giving it a squeeze, and simply nodded.
After a hot bath, a sandwich ordered from room service, and a restful nap, Janet felt much better. She walked back to the hospital.
“Welcome back, Mrs. Porter.”
Janet almost froze at the nurse’s words. She hadn’t been called Mrs. Porter in a long time – in another lifetime. She shook off the ghosts of the past and continued to Clara’s room. She stopped in the doorway and watched as her ex-husband lovingly brushed his dying mother’s hair, talking to her softly.
As bad as the last half of their marriage had been, Nelson hadn’t always been violent. He did have some good qualities – or else she never would have married him to begin with. He was probably the best looking man she’d ever known; hair almost black, eyes bright blue, and an athlete’s well maintained body. Nelson had always been a hard worker. Even though his family had money, he worked as hard as anyone in his family’s construction business – starting out as a gopher, learning carpentry as an apprentice, and working his way up to foreman and then into management.
Standing there, watching Nelson with his mother, reminded Janet of the reasons she’d fallen in love with him. He looked up and met her eyes, giving her a sad smile. Her heart hurt for him. Clara opened her eyes and weakly reached out a hand towards Janet. She walked to the bed and took the dying woman’s hand in her own.
Clara Porter died in the middle of the night, with her son holding one hand and Janet holding the other. Janet took her distraught ex-husband back to the hotel where he finally succumbed to exhaustion and grief as he cried himself to sleep in her arms.
The next few of days passed in an emotional haze of funeral arrangements, condolences, and legal issues.
During her last day in Dallas, Nelson had surprised Janet when he told her that he was back with the family construction business and that Porter Construction had successfully bid on a construction job in Colorado Springs. Porter Construction was opening an office there. Before he accepted the position of running the Colorado Springs office, he wanted to know if Janet would be okay with him being in the same city. He basically asked her permission to take the job.
She took her time answering, because she wanted to honestly weigh her feelings about it. Nelson had hurt her in the past – physically as well as emotionally. He’d turned from the good and loving man she’d married into an angry and violent bully. On the other hand, she had just spent the last few days with the man she’d originally fallen in love with. He was all the things that made him the good man he had been in the beginning. And she hadn’t seen a single sign or indication of the brutal tyrant she’d divorced. Finally, she reached a decision… she said yes.
Janet looked up at the knock on her open office door, and felt a knot of dread settle heavily in her stomach.
“Do you have a minute?” Sam asked from where she leaned against the doorframe.
She leaned back in her chair with a silent sigh, and nodded. “Close the door.”
Sam closed the door and sat down in the chair in front of Janet’s desk. “Is everything okay?”
She wasn’t sure where to begin, but knew they had to talk. She owed Sam that much. “What do you mean?” she asked, stalling to find the words she needed.
“You took leave for a family problem.”
Janet nodded. “Yeah, I’m okay.”
“What happened, Janet?”
“Someone I cared for a great deal… died.”
“Oh, Janet, I’m so sorry. Who was it?”
“I don’t really feel like talking about it right now, Sam.”
“Okay. I understand. Why don’t I pick up dinner from Mario’s and bring it over tonight? We can watch a movie and just relax.”
“Actually, I’d rather be alone tonight.”
Sam was clearly surprised. “Oh.”
Janet closed her eyes and felt her stomach roll. She took a slow breath and then opened her eyes, looking into bright blue eyes that reminded her of someone else. “The truth is, Sam… I need to take a step back… from us,” she finished softly.
Sam heard the words but they didn’t compute. It had taken her so long to work up the courage to tell Janet how she felt about her. She’d been happier than she thought possible when Janet was also interested in her. What could be better than having a lover who was also your best friend?
“I need to be just ‘me’ instead of part of an ‘us’ right now.”
“You’re breaking up with me?” she asked in disbelief.
Janet lowered her eyes. “I guess I am.”
Several seconds of uncomfortable silence passed before the stunned blonde got up and left the room.
Nelson arrived in Colorado Springs only three days after Janet had broken up with Sam. He called ahead of time and she picked him up at the airport. Her offer to cook him dinner took them both by surprise, but he accepted.
He sat at the kitchen table watching his ex-wife as she moved around the kitchen preparing dinner. He’d spent the last few years in prison because of her… and he was going to make her pay. But first, he was going to have some fun.
Janet served a meal of breaded and baked chicken breasts, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, and tossed salad.
“I haven’t had a home cooked meal in ages. Dinner was really good, Jan, you haven’t lost your touch,” he said with a warm smile.
She was surprised by how much the compliment pleased her. She gave him an apologetic look when she set a bowl of chocolate ice cream in front of him for dessert. “I’m sorry, but ice cream is all I have for dessert.”
“This is just fine.”
After dinner Nelson helped Janet wash the dishes before they settled on the couch sipping some wine. At the end of the evening, when his taxi arrived, she walked him to the front door and he kissed her chastely on the cheek.
Every day for a week and half Janet and Nelson either had dinner together, or spent time on the phone talking in the evening. According to Nelson, things were going very well for him at work. In fact, Porter Construction had been awarded a second contract.
To celebrate, Nelson asked Janet out to dinner. He told her to get dolled up in her finest and then took her out for a night on the town. He wore a tailored suit and even presented her with flowers when she came downstairs. He took her to one of the finest restaurants in town – ensuring their lack of reservation wasn’t an issue with a hefty tip to the maître d’.
Dinner was served by candlelight, accompanied by her favorite wine, and followed by some dancing. Nelson was a smooth dancer and Janet truly loved a good waltz or foxtrot. All evening he’d been attentive, complimentary, and charming. It was just like it had been when they were dating or first married. The evening reminded her of all the wonderful reasons she’d fallen in love with him. When things had been good between them they had been really good.
As they danced he kissed her and whispered an apology. He expressed his regrets about how he’d handled things in the past, but said that he’d changed. He’d gotten the help he needed while in prison – counseling with a professional and peer group work. He didn’t expect her forgiveness… but he did want to try again, to start over with a clean slate.
She didn’t know what to say. In a way they already had started over. But how far did she want to take things?
“You know, it wasn’t all bad between us, Jan,” he said gently as he kissed her temple.
“No, it wasn’t,” she admitted, remembering the good times with a genuine smile.
“In fact, it was pretty damn good for a while.”
She had been enjoying getting to know Nelson again as a friend. And yet, it felt so good dancing in the arms of the man she’d exchanged marriage vows with, the man she’d fallen in love with… the man she was falling for all over again.
“We can be that good again.” He pulled back enough to look down into her dark eyes. “All we need is a chance, Jan.”
She gazed into his bright blue eyes and felt… a little hope. They kissed tenderly.
That night was the first time Nelson spent the night at Janet’s.
The first few days after Janet broke up with her Sam kept busy with work, putting in extra time in her lab. Then she and her team went off-world for a week. During that time she did a lot of thinking. She’d been hurt when Janet broke off their romantic relationship; however, she realized that she did not want anything to come between them as friends. She missed the comfortable companionship that had been the hallmark of their friendship.
It was kind of late when they returned from off-world, so the general agreed to hold their debriefing the next morning. Having not spoken to Janet in almost two weeks, Sam decided it was past time to talk with her best friend. So Sam drove to Janet’s house. She parked her bike at the curb; however, before she could even take her helmet off, an unfamiliar car pulled into the driveway. She saw Janet get out of the passenger side of the car and wait for the driver to get out and come around to her side. There was just enough light from the moon for Sam to be able to tell the man was very handsome. He stepped up to Janet, wrapped his arms around her, and kissed her.
Sam closed her eyes as her stomach clenched. It couldn’t be true. Janet said she needed time alone, not that she wanted to be with someone else. When she opened her eyes she felt truly sick. Janet was sitting on the hood of the car… there was no mistaking what was going on. His hand was up her skirt between her legs, and Sam saw Janet’s hand disappear into his pants through his fly. They were all but screwing right there in the driveway!
With tears in her eyes, Sam silently pushed her bike down the block, unnoticed by the couple. She didn’t start it up until she was several houses away.
Nelson picked Janet up, carried her to the front door as they continued to kiss, unlocked the door, and carried her in and up to the bedroom.
Janet smiled when she woke up in the morning. The night had been wonderful. She felt lips against her the back of her neck.
“Morning, beautiful.” His arms tightened around her.
“Morning.” She took two deep breaths and looked at the clock. “I have to get up.”
“Can’t you stay home today?”
“No. I can’t take any more time off so soon after taking leave to go to Dallas with you. Besides, you said you’re going to be busy today.”
He let out an exaggerated sigh. “Yeah, I will be busy.” He kissed her shoulder. “What time will you get off today?”
“It really depends on what happens.”
“Give me a call when you get ready to leave and I’ll pick us up some dinner,” he offered.
After SG1’s debriefing Sam headed up to the infirmary. She found Janet busy with a patient, but the doctor indicated with a tilt of her head for the blonde to wait in her office. Sam was pacing when Janet entered.
“Why don’t you have a seat?” Janet said as she sat down at her desk.
“I went by your house,” Sam said when she finally stopped pacing and sat down in the chair facing the doctor’s desk.
“Last night.” She saw Janet flinch and look away guiltily. “I figured it had been a couple of weeks since… well, since we talked. And I wanted to spend some time with my best friend.” She took a slow breath. “I saw you come home from your… date. Who is he?”
“Nelson… my ex-husband.”
“His company just opened a new office here in Colorado Springs. He lives here now.”
“So he looks you up and you decide to have a roll in the hay for old times’ sake?” she bit out angrily.
“It’s not that simple, Sam. It’s complicated.”
“No, it’s not. You fucking lied to me! You told me you needed to take a step back, that you needed some time alone to figure out some stuff. Apparently, that wasn’t true. You didn’t want to be alone; you just didn’t want to be with me.”
Janet pinched the bridge of her nose as she took a slow, deep breath. “I’m sorry,” she said softly before looking up again. “I was going to tell you about him, but… We’re going to give things another try.”
Hurt and angry, Sam stood up so quickly she knocked over her chair. She spun on her heel and left, slamming the door behind her.
No one on the base could miss the tension that was between Major Carter and Dr. Fraiser. They were both well known and liked, and it was no secret that they were close friends. So when the air took on a real chill whenever the two women were in the same room, people noticed. Even Colonel Jack O’Neill.
The colonel didn’t pretend to be as smart as Carter or Doc, but he wasn’t a fool, and he knew his team. He knew the blonde major wouldn’t say anything until someone dragged it out of her. Daniel had already tried to talk to Sam a few times about what was going on, but she told him to mind his own business and clammed up. Teal’c, while quite aware of the tension between the two women, felt that unless his opinion was asked for it was none of his business.
So, Jack waited to talk to his 2IC until he knew she couldn’t walk away – he waited until they were off-world.
SG-1 was on P7R-575 for a routine recon. After they’d set camp, eaten dinner, and were ready to settle in for the night, O’Neill assigned their watch schedule.
“Carter, you take first watch. I’ll take second. Teal’c, take third, and, Daniel, you take have morning watch.”
With a nod, they all acknowledged his orders. Jack eyed Sam as she moved away from the fire to restore her night vision and to take up watch. He waited until the other two were bedded down before taking the bull by the horns.
Sam whipped around, weapon at the ready when she heard a pebble clatter as it was dislodged. She lowered her weapon and relaxed when she saw O’Neill casually leaning against a tree.
“You’re slipping, Carter. I could have taken you out several times over.”
She didn’t say anything to dispute him – she knew she wasn’t at the top of her game. “Do you need something, sir?”
“I need my second in command back.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Carter… Sam, you haven’t been yourself since whatever happened between you and the doc happened a few weeks ago.” He waited several seconds, giving her the chance to say something. He continued when she didn’t. “What happened?” he asked gently.
“It’s nothing, sir.”
“Well, we all know that’s not true.” He sat down on a nearby log. “I figure you finally told her how you feel about her.”
“Come on, Carter, it’s no secret that over three fourths of the people at the SGC are in love with the doc… but for damn near every one of them she’s way out of their league.” He paused for a beat. “You aren’t.”
Sam didn’t know what to say.
“What happened? She not react well when you told her?” He looked at her with an expression that clearly indicated there was nothing she could say or do that would convince him she didn’t know exactly what he was talking about. After several seconds she deflated with a heavy sigh. Jack waited patiently for her to finally speak.
“Actually, she did take it well. We were together for two months.”
Jack was surprised. While he knew Sam was in love with the doc, he’d had no idea they had actually gotten together. “So… did you two have had a spat?”
“Not exactly.” She sighed. “Her ex-husband has moved to Colorado Springs… They’ve decided to give things another try.”
“Oh. I see. I had no idea.” He paused. “Is she happy?”
“Is Doc happy?”
Sam shrugged. “We haven’t exactly been on speaking terms.” She closed her eyes and sighed. “I… She seems to be,” she finally admitted as she sat on the log next to him.
“I’m no expert on relationships, but if you love someone…”
“Then their happiness should be what matters,” she finished quietly.
“Something like that.” He patted Sam’s back. “Think maybe it’s time to bury the hatchet with Doc?”
She sighed again. “I suppose.”
“Good. Because I already invited her to my BBQ this weekend,” he said as stood and walked away.
She whipped her head around. “You what?!” She watched his retreating back, knowing he was smirking all the way back to his tent.
Jack opened the door when the bell sounded. “Doc! Come on in,” he said with a bright smile.
“Colonel, this is Nelson Porter. Nelson this is Colonel O’Neill.”
Jack stuck his hand out. “Call me Jack. Drinks are in the kitchen and everyone’s in the backyard.”
Nelson shook his hand. “Thanks for inviting me.”
“Any friend of Doc’s is okay in my book.” He ushered his guests out to the deck and backyard.
Sam watched Janet with her ex-husband as they moved among the guests. They appeared to be inseparable – they were either holding hands, or Nelson had his arm around Janet constantly. The only time they weren’t glued at the hip was when Janet went to the bathroom. That’s when Sam made her move. She waited outside the bathroom for Janet to come out.
The doctor pulled up short when she opened the bathroom door since she wasn’t expecting to find Sam standing there.
“Can we talk?” the blonde asked.
“Is there any point?” Janet was a little fed up with weeks of Sam’s disdainful looks, snide mutterings, and cold shoulder.
Sam sighed. “I know I’ve been… bitchy. I’m sorry.”
Janet took a slow breath. “I never meant to hurt you; I hope you know that, Sam.” She sighed. “Things between me and Nelson have always been… complicated.”
Sam just nodded.
“Jan?” Nelson’s voice called from the living room.
Sam frowned. “I thought you hated being called Jan.”
Janet did hate it… but it was better than ‘honeybuns.’ She didn’t say anything though; she simply walked down the hallway to the living room.
Sam hesitated before following. When she arrived in the living room, she observed Janet and Nelson in a whispered, but obviously heated, discussion. She saw something pass behind the man’s eyes… something vaguely familiar. Before she could figure out what it was, Janet and Nelson left the party. She watched through the window as they got in their car and drove away.
What had started out to be a really nice evening didn’t end very well. The turning point was when Nelson had gotten upset. He was angered by Daniel Jackson’s flirting with Janet. In truth, the archeologist had said a few things that made her uncomfortable, but Janet knew how to handle Daniel, how to put him off without putting him down.
Accusing her of leading Daniel on and not satisfied with her handling of the situation, Nelson had demanded they leave the party early. He’d been silent the entire drive back to the house. Once inside, he turned around and just looked at her… for several seconds. It was time to begin to make the bitch for what she’d done. Suddenly he grabbed her and kissed her, forcing his tongue down her throat and roughly pawing at her breasts.
Janet tried to tell him that she didn’t want to have sex, but he didn’t listen. Janet closed her eyes and simply endured the assault. However, she couldn’t keep from jerking away when Nelson roughly grabbed between her legs.
“Don’t!” he growled in warning.
“Please, Nelson… don’t do this… please…” she pleaded. She immediately regretted saying anything when she saw the burning look in his eyes.
He grabbed her arm, hard enough to bruise, and dragged her up the stairs where he kicked open the door to the master bedroom.
“Get in there,” he ordered as he tossed her through the doorway.
Janet caught the edge of her nightstand with her leg with so much force it nearly knocked her legs out from under her. She’d have a really nasty bruise from that. Before she managed to fully right herself, Nelson was on her. He backhanded her, splitting her lip, and sent her flying onto the bed. As he literally ripped the clothes from her body, Janet closed her eyes and willed her mind to turn off and her body to go numb. It was the only way she could endure what was happening. She didn’t fight back, knowing from experience that it would only make things worse.
He held her down and ignored her weak protests. He also made sure she climaxed before he finished with her. Of course, he always made sure she had an orgasm, no matter how brutal he was. It was his way of proving to himself, and her, it wasn’t rape – after all, how could it be rape if she enjoyed it?
Janet rolled over onto her side and curled up, silent tears slowly dampening her pillow. Nelson also rolled over, spooning her, keeping her in place even as he slept. If she tried to leave the bed, he’d wake up.
When Janet woke up in the morning she needed to go to the bathroom. She slowly uncurled and straightened her limbs, biting her lip to keep silent at the aches and pains movement caused. She didn’t want to disturb Nelson – he’d waken soon enough on his own.
In the bathroom she peed and washed up. Nelson was well-versed in how to keep most of the evidence of his violence limited to where her clothes would conceal it. Of course, she was also quite adept at concealing what wasn’t hidden by her clothes. As long as he didn’t damage her face, Janet could – and did for almost two years – conceal the marks of his brutality. Fortunately, he’d only slapped her the one time, so other than a slightly puffy lip with a minor split, her face was fine.
The same couldn’t be said for the rest of her body.
She took in the bruises on her arms, torso, and legs. They were already turning a vivid dark purple. It would take quite some time for them heal and fade.
She jumped at the sound of his voice.
She stepped back into the bedroom. Nelson was reclined on the bed, head and shoulders propped up by the pillows. His eyes raked up and down her naked body – the gleam in his eyes making her shiver.
“I could use your help with something,” he said with a cocky smirk as he casually fondled his erection.
Janet glanced at the clock radio on the nightstand. “I have to get dressed, Nelson – I only have a few minutes to get ready and leave to be able to report on time.”
“Call in – take a sick day.”
When Janet didn’t react he got out of bed, walked over to her, grabbed her by the back of the neck, and forced her to sit on the bed. He then handed her the phone.
“Call – now.”
When Janet didn’t show up for work for two days, Sam decided to drive by the doctor’s house after her shift ended. She was surprised when it was Nelson who answered the door.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I live here.”
Sam wasn’t sure how to react. “Is Janet here?”
“Please, I just need to talk to her for only a minute.”
He seemed to consider her request for a few moments before finally responding. “Wait here.” He closed the door, went to the kitchen, and dragged Janet to the front door. His hand was painfully clamped around the back of her neck. “Get rid of her,” he snarled. “Don’t even think about saying anything, or else I’ll kill her – and make you watch.” He showed her the knife in his other hand.
Janet opened the door, but only just enough to look out as she blocked the door from opening any further.
“Hey, Janet.” Sam moved forward in expectation of being granted entrance. She stopped short and frowned when Janet didn’t move or open the door. “Are you going to let me in?”
“Why not?” the blonde asked, clearly confused.
“Because I don’t want you here. Please, just leave us alone,” she said and promptly closed – and relocked – the door.
Sam couldn’t believe it. She thought she and Janet had buried the hatchet at O’Neill’s party. Granted, she had called Janet a liar and acted childishly and really bitchy towards Janet, but she had apologized. Getting angry at Janet’s behavior, Sam shook her head and marched down the porch steps. She got on her bike, gunned the throttle, and peeled out.
“Very good. You keep doing what you’re told and we won’t have any problems. Now go and finish making me dinner.”
Once dinner was ready, she set it on the table and retreated to the kitchen sink, awaiting his next demand. She wasn’t allowed to eat with him. If she wanted dinner, she had to eat after he settled in front of the TV with his beer, or after he’d gone to bed to sleep. Tonight, she knew he wouldn’t do either – she wasn’t that lucky.
She wasn’t hungry anyway.
When he was done eating she took the dishes to the sink and started to wash them. She jumped when she suddenly felt him press his body against her back, his hands snaking around her waist. He dipped his head and nuzzled the side of her neck as he ran his hands up her front and grabbed her breasts, roughly kneading them.
“I thought about you every day while I was in prison. All I wanted was to get out and find you.” His hands went to the waist of her jeans, unbuttoning and unzipping them. “We never should have been apart, Jan.” He yanked her jeans and panties down to her knees, and then opened his own fly. “You belong to me; you always have and you always will.” He positioned himself. “Your mine!” he growled as he forcefully took her.
Janet cried out, which only seemed to enflame him further. Wrapping his arm around her waist, he moved her from the sink and none too gently bent her over the kitchen table. He took his time in finishing and slapped her ass when he withdrew.
“Get yourself upstairs, naked, and in bed. I’ll be there in a minute.”
She straightened up, pulled her jeans up, and went upstairs. As bad as what just happened was, she knew it would much worse if she didn’t do as she was told. He made it perfectly clear that others would be hurt, or even killed, if she said anything or gave any hint of what went on between them. He’d already been explicit in describing what he’d do to Cassie if Janet wasn’t the dutiful and obedient wife she was supposed to be.
Nelson poured himself a glass of juice and headed up to the bedroom. He was pleased to see that she had obeyed him. He gave her a feral smile as he set his glass down and reached into his pants pocket. He made a big production of opening a bottle, taking out a little blue pill, and then washing it down with the juice. “It’s going to be a long night, honeybuns.”
Sam watched Janet.
She watched as the doctor treated minor injuries her team had received off-world. She watched as Janet rushed to leave each day at the end of her shift. She watched as the woman who always had a smile and kind word for everyone who crossed her path become withdrawn and quiet. She watched as a woman who looked fantastic without makeup took to wearing makeup in heavy layers.
She watched Janet change… and it worried her. Especially since she’d finally figured out what it was she’d seen in Nelson’s eyes that evening at O’Neill’s BBQ. It was the same look Jonas used to get before his temper exploded and he lashed out violently – with her as his target. It was the reason she’d broken things off with him.
Janet was gathering some files and packing them in her briefcase when Sam walked into her office.
“Can I talk to you?” Sam asked.
“Talk fast – you’ve got less than a minute. I’m just getting ready to go home. I’m already late.”
“Janet… why are you with him?”
“Why are you with Nelson?”
She frowned as she looked at the blonde. “He’s my husband.”
“Look, I know I hurt you, Sam. I’m sorry about that.”
“This isn’t about me. It’s about you. And it’s about him.”
“Sam, we’ve been friends for four years, but I’m telling you to stay out of it. You know, there were good reasons I married him.”
“And good reasons you divorced him,” Sam countered even though she didn’t know the details. Janet had always deflected any questions about her marriage.
Janet closed her briefcase, tossed her uniform jacket over her arm, and turned. “I’m not discussing my relationship with you. Just drop it, Sam.” She started walking out.
But Sam wasn’t so easily dissuaded, not when she recognized all the signs. Her hand shot out and grabbed Janet’s forearm, just below her elbow. “Wait!”
“Ah!” Janet cried out in pain as she suddenly paled and sweat broke out on her brow.
Sam immediately let go of Janet’s arm, but she took her by the shoulders and set her down on the couch. Kneeling in front of her, the blonde unbuttoned and gently rolled up Janet’s sleeve. She gasped when she saw the ugly, dark bruising. “What the hell happened?” she demanded.
Biting her lip in effort to keep from crying, Janet replied, “I… fell. In the bathtub this morning. It’s nothing.”
“This is not nothing.” Sam stood and walked to the office door. “I need a doctor in here!”
Janet stood as she started to roll down her sleeve. “I don’t need a doctor – I am one. Now, I’m going home.”
“No, you’re not.”
“What’s the problem?” Dr. David Warner asked as he entered.
“Nothing,” Janet snapped with a glare at the blonde.
“She’s hurt her arm. It’s deeply bruised and extremely tender to the touch.”
He looked at his CO with concern. “Let me see,” he said as he moved to her.
With an exasperated sigh Janet let him gently take her arm and push the sleeve back. “It’s nothing, really. I just slipped in the bathtub this morning and whacked it on the side. It’ll be fine.”
“Well, you’re not going anywhere until we get this x-rayed.”
“That’s not necessary.”
David Warner may not have had the best bedside manner in the infirmary, but he was a good doctor and cared about his patients. He wasn’t about to let anyone – not even his boss – go without making sure she was alright. “Janet, you know exactly what you would do if our positions were reversed. You can’t talk or bully your way out of this with me anymore than Colonel O’Neill could with you.”
Janet sighed; she knew she couldn’t win.
After Janet’s arm was x-rayed and placed in a cast, she was given a prescription for pain medication and finally allowed to go home.
General Hammond looked up from the purchase order he was signing at the knock on his door. “Enter.” He immediately noticed the somber look on the Dr. Warner’s face. “What’s wrong, Doctor?”
“As a doctor, I’m bound by doctor/patient confidentiality. However, as a military doctor I’m required to break that confidentiality under certain circumstances.”
The general put his pen down and gave the doctor his full attention. “Close the door and have a seat.”
Warner closed the door and sat down in the chair facing the general’s desk. “Dr. Fraiser’s arm was broken today.”
“What? How? I didn’t hear about any accidents on the base today.”
“She said it happened when she fell in the bathtub at home this morning.”
“And you don’t believe her?”
The doctor took a slow breath. “Her story doesn’t fit.”
“Because it’s a spiral fracture – the kind you get when the arm is twisted. That, with some recent changes that I’ve noticed in Dr. Fraiser’s demeanor, leads me to believe that she’s in an abusive domestic situation. Regulations require that I report this to you, sir.”
Hammond gave a curt nod. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Doctor. Dismissed.”
“Yes, sir.” Warner left the general’s office.
After the doctor left, General Hammond called his XO, Colonel O’Neill, into his office.
“Do you know if Dr. Fraiser is seeing anyone?”
O’Neill smirked. “Thinking of asking the doc out, sir?”
Hammond didn’t smile. “I’m serious, Colonel.”
Jack’s demeanor changed when he realized Hammond wasn’t amused. “Yes, she is. His name is Nelson Porter. I believe he’s actually her ex-husband.”
“I need you to run a discreet background check on him.”
“Is there a problem?”
“Just check him out and report back to me in an hour.”
Sam was surprised to find the colonel in his almost never used office. But that was where she was told to report.
“You wanted to see me, sir?”
“Yeah. I need your help with something.”
“Of course, sir. What is it?”
“I’m running a background check on someone, but I’m having trouble accessing some of the information I need. I thought maybe you could do some of that tinkering stuff that you do on the computer. I also need you to keep it confidential.”
“I understand. What do you need?”
He gave a disgruntled wave at the computer on his desk. “I can’t get into these damn files.”
“Let me have a look, sir.”
Jack stood and let the major sit in his chair.
She frowned when she saw what the colonel was trying to access – the court records of Janet’s divorce and of a felony conviction Nelson had. “Sir, these records have been sealed by the court. Are you sure–”
“Can you get into them or not?” he asked, out of patience.
“Oh, my god…” Sam breathed as she accessed the files in question. The two cases – the divorce and the assault – were clearly connected. There were pictures of Nelson’s victim – Janet. Sam felt sick to her stomach.
“I’m going to kill that son of bitch,” Jack growled.
“These records were sealed at the request of Nelson’s lawyer. There’s an injunction against Janet, preventing her from discussing the case.” Sam paused as she quickly scanned through several pages of the divorce decree. “Janet got royally screwed in the divorce, too. He got the house, the cars… everything. She got absolutely nothing.”
“How the hell does that happen?”
Sam pulled up some more information. “Nelson’s family is rich, and from the looks of it has close ties to the lawyers and judges in both cases. According to this, Nelson can sue her if she ever tells anyone about what happened.”
Jack was ready to hit something – or rather someone. “I want every detail. Get me everything you can dig up on the assault case, their divorce, and anything else you can find on this guy.”
Sam’s fingers flew over the computer keys.
The back of his hand sharply connected with the side of her face, knocking her off her feet. The plate of food she’d been holding went flying and shattered, leaving a mess on a cabinet door and dripping down onto the floor. She cried out as she landed on her broken arm.
“Don’t just sit there on the floor – clean up the mess you made! And fix me some decent food.”
The doorbell sounded, followed by knocking on the front door.
Nelson got up from the table, grabbed Janet by her uninjured arm, and hauled her to her feet. “I said clean up the mess you made. And be quick about it. You still need to fix me something edible.” He let go of her and went to answer the door.
“Yes?” he asked the blonde at the door.
“Hi. Can I come in? I just stopped by to see how Janet doing since she hurt her arm today.”
“No. She’s not available right now.”
“I just want to make sure she’s alright.”
“She’s just fine. She’s resting.”
“Wait!” Sam exclaimed as he started to close the door.
“Look, you’ve already been told – you’re not welcome here. I live here now. This is our home and if Jan and I want company we’ll invite people over. Otherwise we just want to be left alone. Now leave, before I call the police and have you arrested for trespassing.” He firmly shut and locked the door.
Sam took out her phone and dialed Janet’s cell, but it went directly to voicemail. She wasn’t deterred though. Sam got into her car which was parked at the curb… and waited. She’d wait as long as necessary.
A sharp tap on her window startled Sam awake. She whipped her head around to see Colonel O’Neill looking in her window. She rolled down her window. “Sir?”
“What are you doing, Carter?”
“I fell asleep.”
“I see that. What are you doing here?”
She sighed. “I wanted to check on Janet, but Nelson wouldn’t let me in the house. I decided to wait.”
“How long have you been here?”
She looked at her watch – almost 3:00 in the afternoon. “Since 7:00 last night.”
“Maybe we can help.” Jack moved aside a bit, revealing Teal’c standing behind him. “We decided to invite Nelson to the Rockies game this afternoon – for a little ‘male bonding’ time.”
She wasn’t sure exactly what the colonel had in mind, but she could imagine a little intimidation was involved. “I don’t know if he’d be interested, but if you can get him out of the house I’ll at least be able to check on Janet.”
With a nod, Jack and Teal’c walked to the front door.
Surprisingly, Nelson agreed to go with the men.
Sam waited until the men were down the street and turned out of sight before she unlocked her car door to get out. However, she stopped when she saw Janet come out of the front door and get into her car. The blonde decided to surreptitiously follow her friend.
Janet’s broken arm was killing her. She carefully cradled it against her chest as she drove. Nelson had succeeded in cracking the cast. She knew it had to be x-rayed, set, and re-casted if it was going to heal correctly. She couldn’t have another injury show up in her military file, so she drove to a civilian hospital on the other side of town.
At Memorial Hospital she was surprised to see the ER wasn’t very busy. She was seen almost at once. Of course, it helped that the charge nurse recognized her from when her official duties had taken her there in the past.
The doctor came in and held an x-ray up to the light. “You are a lucky lady. The bones are still in place.” He lowered the x-ray and looked at Janet. “You want to tell me how you managed to break your cast?”
“I see.” His tone made it clear he didn’t believe her.
When Janet walked out to the parking lot she found Sam sitting on the hood of her. “What are you doing here?”
“I was about to ask you the same thing.” She looked pointedly at the new cast on Janet’s arm. “What’s the matter? Didn’t Dr. Warner put the cast on correctly?”
Janet frowned and sighed. “Do you mind moving so I can go home?” she asked as she unlocked the car door.
“I know why you divorced him.”
Janet froze. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, I know he beat you into a bloody pulp and damn near killed you. What I don’t know is why you’re with him again after what he did to you.”
“Nelson has some very good qualities. We’re… working things out.”
“Meaning he hits you and you keep going back for more. You deserve better than that, Janet.”
“I’m going home.” Janet got in her car and started it up.
Only then did Sam get off of the hood. She waited exactly five minutes before getting into her own car and driving to Janet’s house. It was Saturday evening and she didn’t have to be back at the SGC until Monday afternoon. In the meantime, she’d plant herself outside Janet’s house in case something happened.
It was a warm August night, so Sam had her car windows rolled down. She sipped from a water bottle that she’d bought at the gas station where she’d stopped to go to the bathroom. She’d had her radio on, but turned it off when she saw Nelson arrive home.
She didn’t like the way he’d slammed the front door shut, so she got out of the car and approached the house.
Janet was dozing on the couch when Nelson got home from the game. He was in a foul mood because he didn’t like being threatened by Colonel O’Neill and his friend. They didn’t scare him – he’d stared down men bigger and tougher than a couple of Air Force twits when he was in prison.
The slamming of the front door is what woke the doctor up. “Nelson?”
He came into the living room. “You might want to tell your ‘friends’ to back the fuck off.”
“What do you mean?” she asked as she sat up.
“Jack and Murray. Inviting me to the game was just an excuse to get me out of the house and to threaten me.” He glared at her. “What did you tell them?”
“Nothing! I haven’t told anyone anything. I swear!”
“What goes on between us stays between us.”
“I know. I swear I haven’t said anything.”
He seemed to calm down, but then he noticed her new cast. “What the hell is this?!”
Sam couldn’t hear what they were saying, but she did hear their raised voices. She knew she would be crossing a line that couldn’t be uncrossed, but she took out her key to Janet’s house and slipped it into the lock. She carefully turned the key, unlocking the door, and then slowly turned the knob. As she inched the front door open she could hear Nelson yelling at Janet in the living room. Then she heard the unmistakable sound of a fist hitting flesh, followed by a cry of pain. By the time Sam got to the living room Janet was crumpled on the floor, unconscious and bleeding.
“Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” she growled.
Nelson turned. “How the fuck did you get in here?”
“I used my key.”
“I already told you that you aren’t welcome here. You’re trespassing.”
“I’ll be happy to wait for the police.” Just as she’d hoped, Nelson saw red and took a swing at her.
Sam had advanced hand-to-hand combat training, but Nelson was big, strong, and a good fighter. He took advantage of his size and strength when she tripped on the ottoman. It felt like her eye exploded when he nailed her; he followed that blow up with another to her nose, knocking her to the floor. Blood ran from her broken nose and from the cut above her eye. Blood mixed with tears to blur her vision. As Nelson grabbed the fire poker and moved in to press the attack, Sam pulled her service weapon from the small of her back.
With the poker raised to strike, Nelson stopped as he looked down the barrel of the pistol. Then he noticed her hand was trembling. He smiled arrogantly. “You don’t have the balls to pull the trigger.” He swung the poker down towards her.
Sam’s training became instinct. Nelson was taken down by a double tap to the chest.
Pain filled her body as she approached consciousness. Even without opening her eyes she recognized her surroundings by the sounds of the monitors and the smell of the antiseptic – she was in the hospital. Knowing the fluorescent lighting would make her head hurt even more, she didn’t want to open her eyes, but then she felt someone take her wrist and check her pulse.
“Well it’s about time you rejoined us,” the nurse said when she saw her patient had opened her eyes. “Your friend will be relieved,” she said with smile.
When the nurse left Janet turned her head and saw Sam asleep in a chair. She had a bandage across her nose, stitches above her left eyebrow, and two racoonish black eyes. Even as Janet catalogued the blonde’s injuries she saw two blue eyes open.
“Janet!” Sam got up and went to the side of the bed. She gently took Janet’s hand in her own, giving it a squeeze. “It’s so good to see you. We’ve all been worried about you – only the general’s orders have kept the guys from camping out on your hospital room floor.” She paused. “Are you okay, Janet?”
She felt tears burning the back of her eyes. “Nel… Nelson?”
Sam closed her eyes and took a slow breath. “He didn’t make it.” At Janet’s soft sob she opened her eyes. “I’m so sorry, Janet.” Her own tears started rolling down her cheeks. “I didn’t… I didn’t plan to kill him. I only wanted to keep you from getting hurt.” Overcome with guilt, she started to pull away, but Janet refused to let go of her hand.
The blonde bent down, carefully took Janet in her arms, and held her. Sam softly murmured apologies.
Finally, Janet let go and they parted. She looked up at the blonde through tear-filled eyes. “I’m sorry, Sam… for everything… I never should have…”
“It’s okay, Janet. I understand.”
She tenderly caressed Janet’s cheek. “I’ve been there, Janet.” She took a deep breath. “Jonas had a violent temper,” Sam explained. “I know how easy it is to slip into familiar behaviors. Despite everything, I understand that you did love him at one time.”
Janet didn’t know what to say. She didn’t really understand her own actions, why she allowed herself to fall back into a destructive relationship with her ex-husband. She’d hurt Sam. She didn’t deserve forgiveness.
“I’m right here, Janet, and I’m not going anywhere. We’ll get through this together, I promise.”
Sam’s words broke the damn and Janet began crying. Sam sat on the side of the bed and took Janet in her arms.
“Shhh, it’s okay. I’m right here. I love you, Janet.”
“I love you, too,” she barely managed through her sobs.
“Everything’s going to be okay. It’ll take time, but you’re going to be just fine, I promise.”
A few statistics from the National Domestic Violence Hotline website:
- On the average, more than 3 women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day.
- 1 out of 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime.
- 1 in 5 female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. Abused girls are significantly more likely to get involved in other risky behaviors. They are 4 to 6 times more likely to get pregnant and 8 to 9 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide.
- 1 in 3 teens report knowing a friend or peer who has been hit, punched, slapped, choked or physically hurt by his/her partner.
- As many as 324,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy.
- 94% of the offenders in murder-suicides were male.
- 74% of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96% were females killed by their intimate partners.
- 75% of murder-suicides occurred in the home.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse there is help – it’s anonymous, confidential, and available 24/7. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (2733) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. Or visit their website at www.ndvh.org. Don’t wait until it’s too late.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline receives more than 21,000 calls per month from victims, survivors, friends and family members, law enforcement personnel, domestic violence advocates and the general public. Hotline advocates provide support and assistance to anyone involved in a domestic violence situation, including those in same-sex relationships, male survivors, those with disabilities and immigrant victims of domestic violence. All calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline are anonymous and confidential.