Jack was climbing the walls. He’d lost any and all patience with the situation. They’d been on Jidiri for weeks. Although, according to Carter, it could actually be a shorter amount of time – time being relative and all that. Either way it felt like forever since they’d arrived on Jidiri. Also according to Sam, Dr. Fraiser and her wife – he still hadn’t gotten used to that concept – were not giving any indication of being willing to return to Earth; just the opposite in fact. And on top of all that the stargate was no longer in the white room they’d arrived in. ‘Colin’ assured him it would ‘reappear when it was time.’
Jack needed to get away from everyone and all their… niceness or else he couldn’t be held responsible for his actions. So, he went for a walk, one that specifically took him out of the village and away from any people. Of course, that meant he ended up going in the direction that took him to the only active archeological dig on Jidiri. It was actually a system of underground caverns they were exploring.
Since he wasn’t in the mood to be around people he simply waved and was about to continue on his way when there was a loud commotion by the dig. A big billow of smoke and dust and an acrid stench came up out of the caverns. He ran over to see what the problem was. There was a lot of yelling and disorganization. There had been a cave-in and some people were unaccounted for.
The only way down into the cavern was by rope and they needed more, especially if they needed to haul any injured people out. Jack radioed back to his team to bring some more rope. Daniel and Teal’c both radioed back that they would bring more rope. Since Sam was at the school Kris heard the radio call.
“Come on, I know exactly where they are.” [Janet! There’s been a cave-in at Taran’s dig site. You better get a team out there now.]
[I’ll take care of it, honey.]
[See you there.]
[Be careful, Kris.]
Since the site was on the opposite side of the village as the school, Teal’c and Daniel arrived before Sam and Kris. Daniel joined Jack down in the cavern and helped him get everyone out that they could. When Sam and Kris arrived the guys were just being hauled up out the cavern. A headcount revealed there was still one person unaccounted for – Taran.
“I didn’t see anyone else down there,” Jack said.
“Taran was in the second cavern,” said Vesh.
“The entrance to the next cavern was caved-in.”
Kris turned to Teal’c. “Lower me down.” There was no way that Kris could stand by without attempting to rescue her friend. She was quickly joined by Sam, Daniel, and Jack. They moved rocks one at a time. While they worked Janet and some other medical personnel arrived and started helping the injured.
As soon as there was an opening in the rubble Kris called out to her friend. “Taran, can you hear me?”
“Kris, is that you?”
“Yes. We’re coming to get you. Are you alright?”
“I think my leg’s broken.”
“Okay. Sit tight.”
Once the hole was big enough Kris crawled through to the other side.
“Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes.”
Kris smiled. “Well, we have to get you out of here before dinnertime; otherwise your wife will have my hide.”
“Delsie’s going to kill me.”
“Probably, but let’s worry about that later. Now let me take a look at your leg.”
Taran let out a yelp.
“Yep, it’s definitely broken. Let’s get this splinted and then get you out of here.” [Janet? Can you have a splint sent down so I can get Taran out of here?]
[You got it, love.]
A splint was sent down. Once Kris had it in place she helped Taran up and over to the opening. There was only room for one person to get through the opening at a time so she helped Taran into the opening first. Jack and Sam got hold of Taran and pulled her the rest of the way through barely in time to avoid a second cave-in. Jack and Sam saw the tons of rock fall before their eyes. Jack caught a last glimpse of Kris as she threw her arms over head and tried ducking for protection. Shocked, the colonel did not see any possible way that Kris could have survived that cave-in.
Daniel, Sam, and Jack scrambled to get Taran up to the surface with Teal’c’s help. Once they were hauled up to the surface Jack looked over at where Janet was working on a patient.
“How the hell am I supposed to tell Doc?” Jack hung his head and rubbed the back of his neck.
Before Jack could figure out what he was going to say Janet turned and rushed over to the edge of the cavern. It was apparent from the look on her face that she sensed something had happened.
“Doc, I need to talk to you a minute.”
“Tell me what happened, Jack.”
“I don’t know any way to tell you this other than to just say it. So… Kris was helping with the rescue, but she was caught in the last cave-in. I’m afraid there’s no way she could have survived it.”
Janet took a deep breath and let it out. “She may be hurt, but she’s not dead.”
“Doc, I saw the cave-in happen, no one could’ve survived it.”
“You’re wrong, Jack. She’s not dead. If she was I would know it.”
Jack was at a loss of how to handle Janet – thinking she was being irrational. Sam came over when she realized something was going on.
Janet looked at Sam, “She’s not dead, Sam. I’d know it if she were.” She tapped her temple. “I can still feel her here. If she were dead our bond would be broken, and it’s not.”
Sam nodded. “Colonel, if Janet says Kris is alive then she is. We have to try to dig her out.”
Jack looked at Sam incredulously. “Carter, you saw that cave-in.”
“I know, but I also know that we have to try.” She turned around and walked back over to the cavern. Teal’c lowered her down and she started to work.
Daniel and Teal’c quickly joined Sam… as did a number of the locals. Jack finally joined them even though he didn’t believe Kris could be alive. It was several hours before they finally found her. She was in a very deep healing meditation so Jack was convinced Kris was dead. They brought her up and laid her on a work table.
“I am afraid we were too late, Dr. Fraiser.”
Janet moved to her wife’s side and took her hand in her own. “No, it’s alright. She’s not dead.”
“But she is not breathing and has no pulse.”
“She’s in a deep healing meditation similar to your kelnorim, Teal’c.” Janet tenderly caressed Kris’s cheek.
Suddenly Kris drew in a deep breath and opened her eyes, looking up at Janet. “Beloved.” She returned her wife’s smile. “You’re not going to believe this.”
A small, bright light emerged from her body and hovered between Kris and Janet. Then several large, bright lights appeared and surrounded the two of them.
“Whatever you do, do not interfere,” Daniel cut Jack off.
The large light-beings that surrounded Janet and Kris picked them up and carried them away.
Jack, Teal’c, and Sam all turned to Daniel. “Daniel, what the hell just happened?”
“I don’t know, Jack.”
“Why not? You used to be one of those glowy things! Are they going to bring Doc and her wife back?”
“On why they took them. Oma Desala took Shifu to keep him safe. According to Sam, Orlin said they wiped out all the people on P4X-636 because they misused the knowledge he gave them.”
“Dr. Fraiser and Kris Fraiser both appeared to be very joyful as they were taken. I do not believe they are in any danger,” observed Teal’c.
“So what do we do now?” asked Jack.
“We wait,” answered Teal’c.
“Why don’t we wait at their house? I’m sure they’ll go home whenever they get back from… wherever,” suggested Sam.
They all agreed.
SG-1 was already fatigued from the rescue effort and since it was the middle of the night, they decided to get some sleep. They took turns so that someone would be up when the women returned home.
Jack was on watch but Sam couldn’t sleep, so they were both sitting at the table. Daniel was asleep on the couch and Teal’c was sitting in the corner deep in kelnorim.
“What’s on your mind, Carter?”
“Janet. What’s going to happen to her if she does return with us?”
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Is she going to return to face a court martial?
He took a breath a let it out. “Hammond would never do that to her.”
“What if it’s not up to him? You know how the NID and Kinsey are always poking into everything. And don’t forget who’s in the White House right now.”
“I know, but I seem to recall that the President signed a treaty recognizing off-world marriages.”
“But that treaty is with our allies.”
Jack nodded. “We’ll figure something out.”
Suddenly a very bright light flared in the living room, bright enough to wake Daniel and rouse Teal’c from his kelnorim. After the light died down to a bearable level they saw Janet and Kris standing the center of the room facing each other, holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes as if nothing else in the world existed. There was a softly glowing aura that surrounded them that eventually faded.
After several moments of silence Jack spoke. “Welcome back, ladies.”
“Are you alright?” Sam asked.
“We’re just fine,” Janet replied.
“I am pleased that you have returned safely,” said Teal’c.
“We were never in any danger,” Kris said.
“We’re going to get some sleep since we’ll be returning to Earth with you tomorrow,” said Janet.
With that they walked arm in arm into their bedroom and closed the door. The others looked at each other in shock.
Finally Jack broke the silence. “Well, I guess we’ll head back to the house and get some shut eye ourselves. Looks like we finally get to go home. The general is probably wondering what’s happened to us. Carter, stay here and bring Doc and Kris to the house tomorrow. Let’s give them a chance to get a decent night’s sleep. Let’s say we meet up at 1100 hours.”
Janet and Kris couldn’t take their eyes off of each as they undressed and slipped into bed. They came together and wrapped their arms around each other. They both felt a little awestruck by what they’d experienced while with the ascended Ancients.
[The time has come for you to leave this place. Your destiny awaits. Earth needs her Guardian.]
[So the prophecy is true,] thought Janet.
The Ancients cut off Kris’s next thought before she could even form it. [And no, no one’s future is written in stone. Your preparation has not been complete, for it was not foreseen that through your love you would bring Elyssa into being.]
Both women felt sorrow at the mention of their lost daughter.
[When your body could no longer sustain her we welcomed her into our midst, for one conceived of such love and selflessness is a gift to all those she will one day encounter. Your Elyssa lives on among us.]
Tears of joy rolled down the cheeks of both women.
[Accept these gifts from us: health, long life, wisdom, love that never fades, courage, and compassion. Our gifts to you, and help that will be sent to you, will help prepare you for your roles. Remember, it is from each other you draw your greatest strength.]
When Janet and Kris made love that night their bond seemed to connect them on a much deeper level than they’d ever experienced before.
The next morning Janet and Kris donned the traditional traveling robes of Jidiri. Before leaving the house they destroyed all of the DATs and other equipment from Kris’s time. They did not want to risk contaminating the timeline with advanced technology. They took only a few mementos of their time together on Jidiri – nothing that would seem out of place in Janet’s time.
The three women then met up with the men at the house SG-1 had been using. The colonel looked at the small satchel Kris was carrying.
“Is that all you’re bringing?”
She simply nodded.
They all went to the building that contained the stargate. Cayden was waiting for them at the door to the white room. He addressed Janet and Kris.
“I am sorry to see you go. You both will be missed here on Jidiri.”
Janet gave him a hug. “Thank you, Cayden, for all of your support and helping us get settled here.”
It was then Kris’s turn to give him a hug. “I have not had a chance to make any arrangements for the school.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it.”
“And will you give this to Taran and Delsie? We haven’t had the chance to say goodbye.” Kris handed him a letter she and Janet had written.
“Of course. Rest assured they will understand.”
Cayden then opened the door so that the group could enter the room and closed it behind them.
There was no gate.
All the members of SG-1 turned and looked at the colonel.
“You are the one who said the stargate would take us back home when it was time, O’Neill,” said Teal’c.
“Well as far as I’m concerned it is time!”
All of sudden the gate appeared out of thin air and activated. Sam and Daniel exchanged looks but Sam punched in the IDC on her GDO.
The klaxons sounded in the SGC when the gate activated. General Hammond left his office and entered the control room.
“Who is it, Walter?”
“IDC coming in now, sir… it’s SG-1.”
“Open the iris.”
The general went down to the gate room and was waiting at the base of the ramp when SG-1 and two other people wearing robes with hoods hiding their faces came through the gate. The members of SG-1 were all surprised to have their weapons and other equipment back in their hands; their surprise was easy for the general to see.
“Colonel, is there a problem? You’ve only been gone about 90 minutes.”
Jack managed to keep from looking even more surprised. “No, sir, but I think it’s best we speak with you in private,” he said indicating the two people in robes.
“Alright.” The general led the way up to his office.
Kris felt… off.
[What’s wrong?] Janet asked.
[I don’t know. I feel a little funny.]
[Do you feel sick?]
[No. I just feel a little off since we came through the stargate.]
[That’s not unusual the first time or two. You get used to it.]
[That’s probably all it is.]
[I’ll check you out later just to make sure.]
They arrived at the general’s office and colonel closed the door behind them. They all had decided ahead of time to let Jack handle the first part of the meeting.
“Okay, Colonel, you suggested we talk in private. Do I get the pleasure of being introduced to our guests?” General Hammond asked.
“As you know, General, Thor said we were to go through the stargate to ‘retrieve something that we lost and something that we sought.'”
“Meaning Earth’s Guardian.”
“Right. ‘Earth’s Guardian and mate will be born again, of the heart and in life. They are a phoenix. They become as one.'”
The general nodded. “I remember.”
“Well, we found what we lost.” Jack gestured towards Janet who reached up and lowered her hood. She gave Hammond a smile.
“Hello, General Hammond.”
The general was absolutely stunned. He stood and came out from behind his desk. He shocked Janet by wrapping her in a bear hug. “How?” It was a single word, but he was asking more than one question.
“I don’t know how I ended up on Jidiri.”
“That’s the name of the planet we went to, sir,” Jack interjected.
“As for how I was brought back to life… apparently it was a matter of being found by someone with more advanced medical technology than ours. I was revived and my wounds were healed.”
“So, General, according to the prophecy, Doc here is the one who was born again in life. So let me introduce you to Earth’s Guardian, Kris Fraiser.”
Kris reached up and lowered her hood. “Formerly Admiral Kay of the Allied Fleet,” she said as she shook hands with Hammond.
“My wife,” Janet added proudly… and with a touch of defiance.
Her statement set Hammond back on his heels. “I see,” he said quietly.
“The prophecy clearly stated that Earth’s Guardian and mate would be born again,” Jack pointed out.
Hammond indicated for everyone to take a seat. Janet and Kris sat in the two chairs while Jack sat on a credenza off to the side.
The general took a deep breath and let it out. “Dr. Fraiser, you know I have the utmost respect for you, but I’m not the one who dictates the current policies of our military. You know the possible consequences to your career if the wrong people find out about this.”
“With all due respect, sir, it really doesn’t matter to me what the military has to say about our marriage. If the Air Force and the SGC want me back, it’ll have to be with understanding and acceptance that Kris and I are married and have been for over three years.”
“Three years? It’s only been seven months since you were killed in action on P3X-666.”
“That may be, but I’ve been living on Jidiri for over five years.”
“Trust me, sir, somehow time is different there. Carter can probably explain it,” Jack interjected.
The general took a moment to absorb that tidbit. “I’ll take your word for it.” He looked at the women. “I understand your feelings, Doctor, but you know the military, and given the current administration, the likelihood of any governmental body recognizing your marriage is about zero and none.”
“General Hammond, I assure you, by the laws of my homeworld and of Jidiri we are legally married,” Kris finally said.
“General, as I said, I don’t give a rat’s ass what the military thinks. I can just as easily go into private practice,” Janet said with determination.
He sighed and just looked at her. There was no doubt that she was dead serious. He also knew he wanted her back in his command and the military would be making a huge mistake to lose her services. One only had to look at her service record to see how big of a mistake that would be. Even seven months after her death he had yet to permanently fill her position at the SGC. He wanted her back.
“Sir? Didn’t the President sign a treaty recognizing off-world marriages?” Jack asked.
“Yes, but it’s only valid with our allies. And there was nothing in it about same gender marriages.”
“Was there anything in it preventing same gender marriages?
“No,” Hammond said with a small smile. “But until Jidiri or your homeworld becomes one of our formal allies…”
Kris shook her head. “Not yet.”
“Oh, that’s another thing,” Janet said.
“What?” The general suspected he wasn’t going like the like the answer.
Kris took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m not from this time.”
“What?!” Jack exclaimed.
“Kris is from the future.”
“You really are trying to make my life difficult, aren’t you?” Hammond quipped rhetorically.
“So who wins the Super Bowl this year?”
“Doctor, Admiral, please allow me some time to think about how best to handle this situation.”
“Please, call me Kris, General. I consider myself retired from the Allied Fleet.”
“Very well. Colonel, will you accompany them to the infirmary so that they can be cleared medically?”
When Kris stood up she became very dizzy. She had to grab the edge of Hammond’s desk to keep from toppling over.
Janet grabbed hold of her wife. “What is it, Kris?”
“I don’t think this is from going through the stargate.”
“It could be from the temporal displacement. My body may just need to adjust. I feel better now,” she said as she straightened up.
“Have Dr. Warner check her out,” Hammond said with concern.
“Sir, I’d rather examine her myself. I’ve been her physician for over five years and Dr. Warner is not familiar with her unique physiology.”
He nodded. “Very well. I’m sure you still know where everything is. As a matter of fact, until I decide what to do about all this, I think it best we keep Dr. Fraiser’s presence here under wraps. I want SG-1 to clear out the infirmary until she’s done examining Kris Fraiser. Then escort them to the VIP quarters.”
“Yes, sir,” responded Jack.
Janet and Kris pulled their hoods back up to hide their faces.
Once in their quarters Kris sat on the side of the bed. Janet stood between Kris’s knees and held her head close, running fingers through silky hair.
“I don’t know why, but yes.”
“I couldn’t find anything wrong with you, so maybe it’s like you said – your body is having to adjust to the temporal displacement. Why don’t you lie down and rest?”
“Will you lie down with me?”
Janet smiled and kissed the top of her wife’s head. “Of course, love.”
They stretched out on the bed and Kris laid her head over Janet’s heart. Kris was quickly lulled to sleep by the rhythm of her wife’s heartbeat.
Janet carefully slipped out of Kris’s embrace and out of bed when there was a knock on the door. It was Sam.
“I’m not interrupting anything am I?”
“No, no. Come on in.”
Sam entered and brought a bundle of clothing as well. “I realize you didn’t really bring anything from Jidiri. I mentioned it to the general and well… here are some fatigues, t-shirts, and stuff for both you and Kris.”
Janet gave her a smile. “Thank you.” She set the bundle down on the dresser.
Sam glanced over at the bed. “How is she? I heard she got dizzy or something.”
“She’s sleeping. I couldn’t find anything wrong with her. She said it could be her body having to adjust to the temporal displacement.”
“None of us had to deal with that when we traveled back to 1969. But then again, we didn’t go back five centuries… and her alien physiology may be more affected by the displacement.”
“Yeah. And it’s not like she hadn’t been through enough lately – even if the Ancients did restore her health to what it was before the pregnancy.”
Sam nodded. “You know tomorrow is Saturday, and well… Cassie’s coming home this weekend. Have you thought about what you’re going to tell her? I mean, she’ll obviously be glad to see you, but it’s going be quite a shock.”
“The truth? I can’t wait to see her. I’ve really missed her.”
“She’s really missed you, too. I’m supposed to meet her for lunch. I’ll pick up her and bring her back here.”
“I appreciate it, Sam.”
Janet paced. She was as nervous as she had ever been.
“Shouldn’t I be the nervous the one, Janet? You’re her mother and she already loves you.”
Janet gave her wife an appreciative smile and sat down. “I just… She’s been through so much. She lost her parents and everyone she ever knew when Nirrti wiped out the population of Hanka except for her. Not once, but twice, she almost died because of Nirrti. And then I go and get killed off-world. It’s going to be a shock to not only find out I’m alive, but that I’m married to someone she’s never even met.”
Janet stood up and started pacing again. “From her perspective Sam and I were dating only a few months ago. She has always idolized Sam.” Janet sighed. “She may be angry with me.”
Kris stood and stopped Janet’s pacing by embracing her. [Just remember, no matter what we’ll get through it together, beloved.]
[I know, my love.]
In the meantime Sam met with Cassie.
“So where are we going for lunch, Sam?”
“Actually I’m taking you back to the base.”
Cassie gave her a confused look. “Why?”
“There’s someone I want you to meet.”
“It’s a surprise.
At the base Sam led Cassie down to the VIP quarters. Before Sam knocked on the door she turned to Cassie. “Are you ready?”
“Sam, what is this all about? You’re making me nervous.”
The blonde smiled. “Trust me, Cassie. I know this is going to be a shock, but it’s a good thing. And remember, you’re very brave.” She knocked on the door and opened it.
Janet was standing in the middle of the room. Cassie was shocked to see her mother alive and well.
The young woman flew into her mother’s arms. “I thought you were dead!” she sobbed.
“I know, sweetie, but I’m here now,” Janet said through her own tears while trying to console her daughter.
From where Kris was sitting she glanced over at Sam and noted the tears in her eyes as Janet guided Cassie to the couch and they sat down. Sam took the other chair.
When Cassie settled down she pulled back and looked at Janet. “I don’t understand, Mom. What’s going on? What happened? Everyone said you were killed. They even had it on tape! Daniel said he saw it happen.”
Janet wiped away a few of her daughter’s tears. “I know, sweetie. That is what happened.”
“Then what’s going on?”
Janet took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “I can’t tell you how or why or who, but apparently I was taken from P3X-666 to a planet called Jidiri. Someone there found my body, revived me, and healed my wounds.”
“Was it the Goa’uld? Did they use a sarcophagus?”
“No. It was just someone with more advanced medical technology.”
“So is that where you’ve been for the past seven months?”
“What do you mean ‘sort of’?”
Janet let out a sigh. “I’ve been living on Jidiri, but it’s been longer than seven months.”
“I don’t understand.”
Sam decided to explain. “You see, Cassie, Jidiri isn’t normally present on our plane of existence. Time doesn’t move at the same rate on Jidiri as it does for us. What was seven months for us was over five years for your mother.”
Janet nodded. “That’s right.”
“So how did you get back?”
Janet nodded at Sam.
“Thor asked SG-1 to go and retrieve something according to an Ancient prophecy. It turned out that the planet we went to was Jidiri. You can imagine I was pretty shocked when I ran into your mother.”
“If they had a stargate, why didn’t you come home sooner, Mom?”
“Remember when Sam said Jidiri isn’t always on this plane of existence?”
“Apparently they only have a stargate when the planet is in this plane of existence. When it’s not, there is no stargate.”
“Oh. Sounds like a strange place.”
“Actually it’s a wonderful place – a utopia,” said Janet.
“The whole time we were there I never met a single person that wasn’t nice or helpful. And there were people not only from different planets and races, but from different time periods as well,” said Sam. “But the time difference thing does take a little getting used. We were there for several weeks, yet when we got back, the general said we’d only been gone about 90 minutes.”
There was a knock on the door. Sam got up and answered it. It was an airman with lunch. Sam wheeled the cart in. “Well, your lunch is here. I’ll catch up with you later, Cassie, to give you a ride back.”
“Aren’t you eating with us?” Cassie asked.
Sam exchanged a look with Janet. “No. You and your mom have some catching up to do. Just call me when you’re ready to go.” She left.
Lunch was pizza since it was one of Cassie’s favorites. Cassie grabbed a couple of slices and put them on her plate. Janet did the same and then looked at her wife.
“Only one, please.”
It was the first time Kris had spoken, so until then Cassie had not taken notice of Kris. Cassie shot her mother a look of surprise. Janet handed Kris her plate and then sat back down on the couch with Cassie.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Cassie. I should introduce you. Cassie, this is Kris. Kris, this is my daughter, Cassandra.”
Kris gave the young woman a smile. “It’s nice to finally meet you. Your mother has told me so much about you.”
It was clear Cassie didn’t really know what to say.
“Kris is the one who found me on Jidiri and revived me.”
Cassie smiled. “Then I want to thank you for saving my mom’s life.”
“Believe me, it was my pleasure.”
“So are you from Jidiri?”
“No. I arrived about the same time she did.”
Cassie turned to her mother. “So what did you do on Jidiri for all that time? You did say it was over five years, right?”
“Right. I worked at the clinic in the village we lived in.”
“And you liked it there?”
“Yes, I did. There wasn’t any crime or prejudice, and anything you could possibly want or need was free for the asking.”
“Wow. Sounds like a nice place to live.”
“It was.” Janet reached out and grabbed Cassie’s hand. “But it didn’t have you, sweetie. I missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too, Mom.”
After the women finished eating the cart was put in the hallway outside Janet and Kris’s quarters.
Cassie pinned her mother with a look. “Mom, there’s something you’re not telling me, isn’t there?”
[I don’t know how to do this, Kris.]
[Just tell her the truth. And remember I’m right here, beloved.]
Janet took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m not hiding anything, Cassie. I just haven’t figured out quite how to tell you.”
“What is it, Mom?”
“As you already know, what’s been only a few months for you has been over five years for me.”
“I had no way of getting home, so I had to make a life for myself. Eventually, I started to care for someone – someone who became very special to me.”
“Was it serious?”
“Yes, it was… and is.”
Cassie glanced at Kris. “I guess that explains why she came back with you. How serious?”
“Well, according to Jidiri law, and Kris’s homeworld, we’re married.”
“Married?” Cassie was definitely surprised.
Kris didn’t need their bond to know that Janet was nervous as hell as she waited for Cassie to say something else.
Finally the young woman broke the heavy silence. “Are you happy?” she asked her mother.
Janet smiled. “Yes, very much so, Cassie. More than I ever thought possible.”
Cassie gave her mother a smile. “It’s kind of hard to argue with that.” They hugged.
“I love you, Cassie.”
“I love you, too, Mom, and you deserve to be happy.” They let go of each other and Cassie looked over at Kris. “I don’t know you very well, but you saved my mother’s life and you make her happy – that makes you okay in my book.”
“Hopefully we’ll get a chance to get to know each other much better. And, I promise you that there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for your mother.”
Cassie gave Kris a smile because she sensed the sincerity behind the words. “Welcome to the family, Kris…”
Kris couldn’t keep from smiling as she answered the implied question. “Fraiser.”
Cassie looked at her mother who was also smiling. “Really?”
“Really,” Janet confirmed.
“That’s so cool.”
The Fraiser women talked for hours. In fact, they were still talking at dinnertime so they had dinner sent from the mess. Finally, it was time for Cassie to go. Sam picked up Cassie when she called.
It was quiet in the car but Cassie eventually broke the silence. “What do you think of her?”
Sam had wondered what she would say if Cassie asked her that question. In the end, her friendship with Janet dictated her response – she told the truth. “I think she’s a very caring person, honest, selfless, and giving.”
“And you know about her and Mom being married, right?”
“What do you think about that? I know you care about Mom.”
“You’re right; I do care about your mother. We’ve been best friends for a long time. And before she was killed…”
“You were dating.”
“Yeah, we were dating. But I have to tell you, Cassie, I’ve seen Janet and Kris together and it’s obvious that they truly love each other. I’ve never seen your mother happier.” Sam took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Does a part of me wish it was me that made Janet that happy? Yes. But I’m still her best friend, and as her best friend I can’t help but be happy for her. There’s something very special between them that just doesn’t come along every day.” The blonde glanced over at the young woman. “So, I’ve answered your questions. Tell me, what do you think about the situation?”
“A part of me is afraid I’m dreaming and I’m going wake up and find out that Mom is still dead.”
Sam reached over and took hold of the young woman’s hand, giving it a squeeze. “It’s not a dream, Cassie. She’s really alive.”
“When Mom first told me about her and Kris… I thought I’d hate her being involved with anyone besides you, but then I stopped to really think about it. I mean she was on a strange planet with no way to get home; it had been years for her, not just the few months it had been for us. She had to start her life all over with no family or friends… it must have been so lonely for her.” She paused. “But eventually she found someone she cared about and who also cared about her. Mom fell in love and found someone who makes her happy. In the end, that’s what mattered to me – that she’s happy.”
Sam smiled at the young woman and nodded in agreement. “Yeah.”
The first thing the next morning the phone in Kris and Janet’s room rang. Kris answered it since she was the closest.
“Hello?… Sure.” She handed to the phone to her wife.
“Hello?… Hey, sweetie… Yes, I’m still here… No, I don’t mind you calling, Cassie,” she replied with a smile.
After spending a couple of hours on the phone with her daughter, Janet snuggled up next to her still sleeping wife. She laid her head on Kris’s shoulder and slipped her arm across her wife’s waist. She felt lips press a kiss to her forehead. “Mmmm, I thought you were asleep.”
“I am,” Kris softly chuckled. Her chuckle changed to a hiss when Janet suddenly started sucking on Kris’s nipple. “That’s so not fair…”
Janet moved to straddle Kris’s hips and gazed down into her eyes. “Have I told you how much I love you lately?”
“Not since yesterday.”
“Then I’ve been remiss in my wifely duties. Let me make it up to you.”
“Well… if you think you c–”
Janet cut Kris off by claiming her lips in a passionate kiss.
That afternoon there was a knock on Kris and Janet’s door and General Hammond announced himself. Janet opened the door and let him in.
“I hope I’m not disturbing you ladies.”
“Not at all, sir. Have a seat.”
“Actually, I’m here to see if you’re ready for a quick trip.”
“A quick trip? To where?” Kris asked.
“To–” his answer was interrupted as they were transported up to an Asgard ship, “Thor’s ship.”
“Thor, it’s good to see you again. You know Dr. Fraiser. Let me introduce Kris Fraiser.”
“It is an honor to meet you, Guardian.”
Kris wasn’t sure quite sure what think about everything. Despite their encounter with Ancients she hadn’t actually been told just what being ‘Earth’s Guardian’ entailed and she was having doubts about it. So, she said the only thing she could think of, “Thank you.”
Thor turned to Janet. “I cannot tell you how much it pleases me to see you are well, Dr. Fraiser.”
“Thank you, Thor. It’s good to see you again.”
“It also pleases us that you are the one chosen as the Guardian’s mate. It is obvious that yours is a perfect match.”
Neither of the women could keep from smiling. “Thank you,” replied Janet.
“When you said it please us, who did you mean?” asked the general.
“Certainly not anyone in the government,” Kris murmured bitterly. Coming from a more enlightened time, the draconian and bigoted intolerance of the 21st century didn’t sit well with the woman from the future.
Thor looked at Kris and blinked. Then he answered Hammond’s question, “The four races: the Asgard, the Furling, the Nox, and the Ancients.” He paused. “Why is there a problem with your government concerning the Guardian and her mate?”
The general was stuck having to explain the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and the federal government’s prohibition of same sex marriage.
“That is unacceptable. The treaty, which your president signed, clearly states that your government will recognize and give all rights to off-world marriages.”
“That’s true, Thor, but Kris’s homeworld is not one of our allies.”
“But the Asgard are. The Guardian has Asgard DNA. She–”
“–is a child of the Asgard. She is Asgard, and is entitled to all the rights of citizenship of the Asgard.”
“I don’t believe the President will see it that way, Thor.”
“Then I will make it clear what will happen if he chooses to not abide by the conditions of the treaty.”
A moment later the President of the United States was beamed aboard the ship. He was clearly surprised, but recognized General Hammond who quickly introduced him to Thor. Although this was their first meeting, the President understood the both the position and power held by the diminutive alien standing in front of him. Janet and Kris were then introduced to the President.
Thor explained precisely what the consequences would be of not fully recognizing Kris and Janet’s marriage – it would mean the nullification of the Protected Planets Treaty. Earth would be completely vulnerable to Goa’uld attack with no help from any of her current allies, including the Asgard. All technology given to them by the Asgard, the Tok’ra, the Tollan – by all their allies – would be taken back. Despite how intolerant and bigoted the man was personally he realized he couldn’t put the entire planet in peril because of his own prejudices. So, by executive order – witnessed by General Hammond – Janet and Kris’s marriage was fully and legally recognized with all rights, responsibilities, and benefits.
Hammond also had the President sign another document – one specifically giving Janet permanent dispensation from the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and recourse should anyone in the future try to hold her back in her career because of her marriage to Kris. The President no sooner finished signing his name and Thor beamed him off the ship.
Kris couldn’t hold her tongue any longer. “Now, what’s this about me having Asgard DNA?”
“All will be explained,” Thor replied. And then he beamed Kris, Janet and Hammond back to the SGC.
Kris turned to her wife. “Is he always like that?”
“Thor? Well, he can be a little… abrupt sometimes.”
“But he’s definitely one of the good guys,” Hammond added. He held up the two pieces paper in his hand. “I’ll make copies of these for you and then lock the originals in my safe. Enjoy the rest of the day, ladies.”
Before General Hammond could even sit down behind his desk in his office the klaxons sounded. He went to the control room.
“Unauthorized off-world activation. Unauthorized off-world activation.”
“Do we have an ID yet?”
“Why isn’t the iris closed?”
“I can’t close it, sir. The computer is accepting the command, but nothing is happening.”
Hammond grabbed the PA mike. “Security team to gate room!”
Even as the additional troops poured into the gate room a person stepped through the event horizon of the gate. The general smiled and countermanded his previous order.
“Security team, stand down.” Hammond went down to the gate room. “You are always welcome here, Lya.”
“Thank you, General Hammond.”
“What can we do for you today?”
“I am here to see the Guardian.”
Hammond nodded, not at all surprised. “I’ll take you to her.”
Once again the general knocked and announced himself at the couple’s door.
Janet opened the door and admitted the general and Lya. Hammond did the introductions. Then Lya made an announcement.
“Your preparation was incomplete. There are things yet for you to learn and understand.” She turned to head to the door. “Come with me.”
“Wait a minute. Just where are you taking them?” General Hammond asked.
“The Guardian must be brought to the Nox to continue her preparation.” Lya didn’t miss the look Kris and Janet exchanged. “And there are things we must teach Dr. Fraiser as the Guardian’s mate. They both must come.”
Hammond wasn’t too sure how he felt about the situation. He’d just gotten Janet back and things had been rather out his control the past couple of days. First Dr. Fraiser returned from the dead with a wife… from the future! Then Thor showed up unannounced and blackmailed the President. And now Lya was insisting both women go off with her to the Nox homeworld. It had been a hell of weekend. Retirement was looking more and more appealing.
“Alright,” the general said with a sigh.
Kris wavered a little bit when she stood. Janet immediately slipped and arm around her waist to steady her.
[I’m okay. Just a little lightheaded.]
Lya didn’t miss Kris’s misstep when she stood up. “You’ve been feeling the effects of temporal displacement.”
Kris nodded. “I believe so, yes.”
“Can you help her?” Janet asked.
“Yes, we can.”
“How?” Kris asked.
“Our ways,” Lya replied and walked out of the couple’s quarters.
Janet grabbed their traveling robes which they quickly slipped on before heading to the gate room.
[Why did you smile when Lya said, ‘our ways’? I mean, what kind of answer is that?]
[That is a very typical Nox answer.] Janet chuckled when her wife mentally rolled her eyes. [Well, they consider us – Humans – ‘young.’ Which is more polite than what the Tollans called us when we met – they called us primitive.]
Kris actually broke out in a full belly laugh and had to reach inside the hood of her travel robe to wipe the tears from her eyes.
[I didn’t think it was that funny,] Janet deadpanned.
[I’m sorry, love.]
[No you’re not.]
When they arrived in the gate room Janet suddenly realized something very important. Janet approached Lya before just before she could activate the gate and spoke to her quietly. Lya nodded in understanding. Janet then pulled the general aside and told him what she needed. He went to the phone mounted on the wall and arranged the call. Once it went through he handed the phone to Janet. She had to leave a voice mail, but that was alright. Janet wasn’t about go off-world without letting Cassie know about it, at least not so soon after getting back. With a nod she let Lya know she was ready.
Lya waved her arm, activating the gate. She led Janet and Kris up the ramp.
When Kris stepped through the gate to the Nox homeworld she felt… something… undefined yet palpable. It actually brought her to her knees as she drew in uneven, deep breaths.
“Kris!” Janet was immediately at her side.
But Kris was unable to speak, or even to form a coherent thought, to answer any of her wife’s questions.
And then Lya was before her, gently smiling as she took Kris’s face in her both of her hands. After a couple of seconds the world seemed to right itself and Kris could think clearly again.
“Welcome home, child,” Lya said affectionately.
“I-I don’t understand.”
“I don’t either. What the hell just happened to Kris?” Janet demanded to know.
“All will be explained. You need food and rest. Come.” Lya turned and started walking away.
Janet was not happy. “We’re not going anywhere until we get some answers.”
“She’s right. If I don’t get something to eat… and some rest… I’m going to drop.”
Janet still wasn’t happy, but she slipped her arm around her wife’s waist to steady her and followed the Nox woman to the nearby clearing with some huts.
Kris and Janet were told to sit. Fresh fruit was laid out before them.
After a light meal, they were shown to a hut that had been prepared for their use. Kris barely made it to the bed before succumbing to the inevitable. She was out like a light. Janet was so worried about her that she began to examine her. Lya entered the hut.
“Do not worry. The Guardian is fine.”
“Then please tell me what is going on, because this is not normal,” Janet insisted.
“You are a healer, yes?”
“It is very fortunate that the Guardian has a healer as a mate.”
“The Guardian’s role is to defend and protect Earth. It is not an easy path for one to follow. There will be times of great mental and physical stress. It is your role to see her through those times of stress or injury.”
“But Kris can heal herself.”
“Can she? Always?”
That brought Janet up short. Kris had to be conscious to enter into a meditation, and even then there had been times she’d asked for Janet’s guidance to help her.
“It is from each other you draw your greatest strength,” Lya said.
Janet blinked. The Ancients had said the exact same thing.
“Rest. When you wake, all will be explained and we will begin.”
“Teaching you… both of you. Now rest.”
When Janet and Kris woke up they changed into the Nox clothing that had been set out for them. Outside Lya smiled at them and indicated that they should take a seat around the small campfire that had been started. Lya introduced them to Anteaus, Ohper, and Nefreyu.
Kris was more than ready for some answers, as was Janet.
“You said everything would be explained. So… please explain,” Kris said.
It was Anteaus who spoke. “A very, very long time ago, before the Ancients seeded Human life on Earth, the alliance of the four races – the Ancients, the Nox, the Asgard, and the Furlings – created the Guardians to help us watch over the worlds under our protection.”
“Created? How?” Janet asked.
“In a lab.”
“You’re talking about genetic engineering!”
“Yes. Guardians were created and then trained in a place called the Crèche until it was time for their assignment.”
“But what does that have to do with me? I was raised on Areth and I’m from the future,” Kris said.
“Yes… and no.”
“What does that mean?”
“Something terrible happened. The location of the Crèche was compromised and nearly everyone was killed. The survivors were relocated.”
“What – exactly – are you saying?” Kris asked.
“You were created in a lab tens of thousands of years ago, survived the attack on the Crèche, and were relocated to Areth… in the future.”
Kris was bit overwhelmed.
Janet reached over and took her wife’s hand in her own. “Then what does Jidiri have to do with all of this?”
“Removing Jidiri from this plane of existence came later. It took time to accomplish that. The majority of the residents of Jidiri are descendents of families that agreed to foster Guardians – just like the woman who raised you as her own,” Anteaus said, looking directly at Kris.
“That doesn’t explain us being sent to Jidiri,” growled Kris.
“We’ve found that sending a Guardian to Jidiri for awhile, instead of directly to where he or she is needed, makes the transition much easier.”
“She was never supposed to be on P3X-666.” Anteaus looked Janet in the eyes. “You died before you were supposed to.”
“And what of my wife Lena?” Kris asked in a whisper. “Where does she fit into your grand plan?”
“That was not foreseen,” Anteaus said with genuine regret.
After a moment of silence Janet asked a question. “Will you explain what happened to Kris when we arrived here? And why you told her ‘welcome home’?”
“Please! Stop calling me ‘the Guardian,'” Kris snapped. “I have a name – it’s Kris. Call me Kris.”
“Kris,” Lya said with a benevolent smile, “no disrespect is intended. In fact, it is a great honor for us to have you here and to assist you.” She looked at Janet. “Now, to answer your questions.” She glanced again at Kris. “I said ‘welcome home’ because Kris is a child of the Nox.”
“Wait a minute. Thor said I was a child of the Asgard.”
“You are. You are also a child of Nox… and of the Ancients, and of the Furlings. All the Guardians were.”
“Oh, my god,” Janet murmured.
“How?” Kris asked, a little shell-shocked.
“As Janet said: genetic engineering. You were designed with specific traits from each race of the alliance. We Nox get life from the forest – the trees, the moss, the earth, everything. So, too, do you. What did you feel when stepped onto this world?” Lya asked.
Kris took a moment to gather her thoughts. “I don’t know how to describe it, but it wasn’t unpleasant, just… overwhelming.”
“As a Nox you will always feel a connection to this world, and to any natural environment.”
[Your favorite place on Jidiri always was the park, love,] Janet pointed out.
“You said you could help Kris with the effects of temporal displacement.”
“Yes. It will be our honor to do so.” Lya stood and moved directly in front of Kris; she held her hands out for Kris to take them. “Come with me.”
Lya led Kris to a moss covered stone table and had her lie down on it. Anteaus, Ohper, and Nefreyu joined Lya and formed a circle around Kris. Janet watched anxiously from a few feet away as the Nox completed a ritual of some sort. It only lasted a few minutes.
Afterwards Kris sat up and swung her legs over the side. The smile she gave her wife told Janet as much about the way Kris felt as their bond did. Kris stood and stepped into Janet’s embrace.
[I’m so glad you feel better.]
[I feel great. Now you can stop worrying about me.]
[I’m your wife, it’s my job to worry about you. You’re also the source of my great joy and happiness. Don’t ever forget that, my love.]
The couple parted and turned to face the Nox.
“Now we can begin,” Ohper pronounced. “Please, come with me, Kris. Janet, you will go with Lya.”
Kris and Janet both nodded and went their separate ways for the day.
Ohper and Kris simply walked through the forest in silence for quite some time. Out of respect for her benefactors, Kris held her tongue. Finally Ohper broke the silence.
“You have questions.”
“Learning begins with questions.” He gestured for her to ask her questions, although Kris sensed he somehow already knew what her questions were.
“I’m not sure I’m the right person to be Earth’s Guardian.”
Kris took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “I’ve seen and battled against many evil things. I no longer wish to fight and shed another’s blood.” She paused. “I find the path the Nox have chosen – pacifism – to be more to my liking now.”
Ohper nodded. “You are a child of the Nox, but your path must be your own.”
“I have heard that said before,” she said, thinking about her decision to join the Allied Fleet, and then her decision to go into Intelligence/Special Ops.
“Yet you still struggle with it.”
“Not so much still, as again. It seems I’m destined to face such difficult choices many times,” she said with a sigh.
“How have your choices turned out so far?”
Kris took a deep breath and let it out. “So far I don’t regret the choices I’ve made.”
Ohper simply nodded. “You have chosen not to further your skills, yet you chose to teach others as you were taught.”
She was surprised he knew about her school on Jidiri, but only nodded.
“Is that not a contradiction?”
She didn’t say anything.
“You honor what you have been taught, and yet are hesitant to put to use that which you honor.”
“How can I use such skills and not spill the blood of another?”
“If your mate’s life was in danger and the only way to save her required the taking of her captor’s life, could you, under those circumstances, use your skills and kill to save her life?”
Kris’s jaw tightened as she drew in a slow breath. “Yes,” she said quietly, “without hesitation. I could never allow any harm to come to her if it were within my power to prevent it.”
Ohper nodded. “And if you were with a group of your friends and they came under attack, would you use your skills to help defend and protect them.”
“Yes, I would.”
“And would you use your skills to defend and protect the world on which you made your home if it was attacked.”
“Then how can you say you are the wrong person to be Earth’s Guardian? You are already willing to defend and protect it.”
She simply looked at him and digested what he said.
“To better fulfill your role, it is now time to further hone your skills and to expand your abilities. You are a child of the Nox; you have within you some of our abilities. So you will learn some of our ways. Let us begin.”
At the end of the day Ohper and Kris returned to the huts in the clearing. Kris was told that Janet was already waiting in their hut. Kris’s heart actually skipped a beat at the bright smile her wife gave her when she entered their hut.
“What is it, honey?” Janet asked when she took in her wife’s expression.
“You take my breath away.”
Janet’s smile brightened even more. She walked over to Kris and they embraced. After a few moments they parted. “Come on, I’ve got a light dinner of fresh fruit for us.”
“That sounds great.”
Janet didn’t miss how stiff Kris seemed to be as she moved. They sat down and began to eat.
“So, what were you doing in the forest today?” Janet asked.
“Choosing a path,” Kris said in a thoughtful tone.
Janet gave her wife an amused smirk. “Now you’re starting to sound like a Nox.”
Kris smiled. “What did you do with Lya today?”
“We talked a lot… and she taught me some things that I need to know as your mate.”
Kris gazed into her wife’s eyes. “As far as I’m concerned, you already know everything you need to – you know how to love me and make me happy.”
Janet reached up and tenderly caressed Kris’s cheek. “Loving you is the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”
Kris covered the hand on her cheek with her own. “How did I ever get so lucky to have you in my life?”
“You stole my heart.” Janet got up from her chair and then sat on her wife’s lap. “And for the record, I’m the lucky one,” she said before kissing Kris, long and thoroughly.
“To hell with dinner,” Kris murmured as they broke the kiss for some air. She slipped her arms under Janet and started to stand but winced as her strained muscles protested.
Janet immediately hopped off Kris’s lap. “You’re hurt!”
“Just some strained muscles.”
The doctor grabbed her wife’s hand and pulled her up from the chair and over to the bed. “Take your clothes off and lie down.”
Kris smiled. “Now you’re talking.” A dark brow arched as Kris received a ‘doctor’ glare. She sighed as she did what she was told.
Janet gave her wife a massage, working the soreness and stiffness out of her muscles. Afterwards they made love and drifted to sleep in each other’s arms.
Each day Kris would go off into the forest with Ohper. He helped her to expand and refine her skills, both mentally and physically.
Janet spent each day with Lya, who was teaching the doctor things she never dreamed of learning. Such as how to access what the Chinese would call her qi, combine it with wife’s qi, and use it to heal Kris when she was unable to heal herself. Their bond was what made it possible. It wasn’t something she would be able to do for anyone else.
Each night Janet and Kris would make love before falling asleep in each other’s arms.
After a week it was time for Janet and Kris to return to Earth. They put on their Jidiri robes and walked to the stargate with Lya and Ohper. Ohper addressed both women.
“You will both always be welcome here. If you should ever need our help, we will do what we can within our ways.”
They both nodded.
“Lya, will you please escort Janet back to Earth? There is one final thing I wish to share with Kris. She will be with you shortly.”
Lya activated the gate and took Janet through.
At the SGC Janet and Lya were met by several armed airmen. General Hammond came down to the gate room after he ordered the room cleared.
“It’s good to see you.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Where is Kris?”
“She’ll be along in a just a few minutes. Ohper had one last thing he wanted to share with her.”
“What have you been doing all this time?”
Lya has been teaching me some helpful things when it comes to treating Kris if she were to be injured… since she’s part Nox,” Janet replied.
The general’s head snapped around to look at her in surprise. “And what has Kris been doing?”
“Ohper has been helping her to prepare for the path she has chosen,” answered Lya.
“What does that mean?”
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, the Guardian’s preparation was incomplete. It is a great honor for her preparation to be continued with the Nox. Her path is a most difficult one. No Nox could take on such a burden as she now chooses to. We are humbled by the Guardian, and the one from whom she draws her greatest strength,” Lya said with a nod to Janet.
Meanwhile, still on the Nox world, Kris looked at Ohper. “What did you want to share with me, Ohper?”
“Can you feel your mate, even now, when separated by so much distance?”
She smiled. “Yes.”
“Then go to her.”
“What do you mean?”
“Step through the gate and go to her.”
“But the gate is not active. I have to dial Earth on the DHD.”
Ohper shook his head. “The connection you have to your mate will always guide you to her, no matter where she is. Believe it, and it will be so. You have Nox DNA, you are a child of the Nox, you are Nox. It is the Nox way.”
Kris closed her eyes a moment and reached out to Janet. [Beloved.]
[Beloved,] Janet answered.
[I’m coming to you now.] Kris walked up to the gate and it activated as she stepped through. On the other side the klaxons went off letting them know an incoming wormhole was forming.
“There’s no need for security, sir, it’s Kris,” said Janet.
“How do you know?”
“She just told me.”
“We uh… we have a connection. A kind of psychic link,” she said with a shrug.
Kris stepped through gate and Hammond ordered the room cleared again. “Welcome back, Kris.”
“Thank you, General.”
“It has been an honor, Kris. Do not forget that you and Janet will always be welcomed by the Nox.”
“Thank you for everything you have done and for all of your hospitality, Lya,” Kris replied.
Lya kissed both women on the cheek before walking up the ramp, activating the gate, and disappearing into the event horizon.
“Well, ladies, I believe we have a few things to discuss. Let’s go to my office.”
The two women sat in the chairs facing the general’s desk as he closed the door to his office. He then took his seat behind his desk.
“So, either of you care to tell me just what’s been going on for the past week?”
“Sir, as you know, Kris was experiencing some physical difficulty adjusting to the temporal displacement since coming here from Jidiri. The Nox were able to treat her for that. The rest of the time we were there, as I said earlier, Lya was teaching me some things that will be helpful medically should Kris be injured since she’s part Nox,” replied Janet.
“And what about you, Kris?”
“I wasn’t fully prepared like I was supposed to be on Jidiri before coming here. Ohper spent time with me helping me prepare and train.”
Hammond frowned. “Why didn’t you receive the preparation you were supposed on Jidiri before coming to Earth?”
Janet and Kris shared a look. “It was something unforeseen by the Ancients and… personal. It’s a moot point now anyway.” Kris suddenly stood and paced in what little room was available. She stopped and leaned against the credenza that O’Neill had sat on the day they’d arrived. “General, part of what I had to do while on the Nox world was to decide if I was willing to take on this role that everyone seems so eager for me to play – this role of Earth’s Guardian. Truth be told, I have already spent a lifetime fighting things much more vile and evil than you can possibly imagine. I’ve spilled the blood of more beings than I care to count.” Kris took a deep breath and swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat.
Janet got up from her chair and stood next to her wife. She took Kris’s hand in her own. Janet knew how Kris struggled with her past from time to time – just like any soldier who had seen action. [I’m right here, love.] Still holding Kris’s hand, Janet led her wife back to the chairs.
With Janet’s support Kris was able to continue. “I wore my uniform for more years than any Human on this base has been alive. I find the pacifism of the Nox much more to my liking at this point in my life.” She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “So how can a pacifist fill the role of Earth’s Guardian? That’s what I asked Ohper. A true pacifist can’t. I had to come to accept the fact that I am not a true pacifist, because there are a few things that I am still willing to kill for.” She couldn’t prevent a quick glance at Janet.
General Hammond saw the glance and knew exactly what it meant.
“However, having said that, I am not willing to take a life unnecessarily, even an enemy’s. What I have been doing is working to hone my skills and abilities so that it will be easier to not kill if possible. I intend to use my skills and abilities defensively or for protection, rather than offensively or to attack. I will always choose the path that leads to the least amount of bloodshed – even for the enemy. That is the choice I’ve made – as Earth’s Guardian.”
Hammond held her eyes as he took her measure. Finally he nodded. “Very well.” He paused for a moment. “Is there anything else you require?”
The general sat back. He’d already spoken with the White House about integrating Kris into the SGC and had been granted quite a bit of leeway – especially considering how important she seemed to be to… important allies. He could give her just about anything she might want. “Go ahead, Kris.”
“As you know, I’m from the future. However, I’m not ignorant of the past, nor of the dangers of interfering with it.”
“I’ve had a little experience with that myself,” Hammond replied. “SG-1 was accidentally sent back in time to 1969 – where I met them when I just a lieutenant.”
“I know; I’ve read the files.”
The general’s eyebrows climbed up his forehead. “How?”
“Remember, General, from my perspective, this is all 500 years in my past. The point is, there are going to be times when I may know something that I cannot share with you. What I need from you is the understanding that there will be times when I need to do something that makes no sense to you and that I won’t be able to explain, and other times I can’t do anything for the same reason. My actions are not always going to makes sense or seem reasonable.”
“So you want the latitude to either do, or not do, as you see fit in a given situation, and trust that you have a good reason for it,” Hammond summed up.
The general took a deep breath and slowly let it out. It was a lot to ask – blind faith in an individual he really didn’t know much about despite the company she kept and endorsements she’d received.
During the past week Hammond had contacted some of Earth’s allies. The Tollan were impressed to learn Earth was getting a Guardian – they believed the last Guardian had been killed almost a 1000 years ago. The Tok’ra were less enthused. There was no love lost between the Guardians and the Goa’uld. The Goa’uld steered cleared of worlds that had Guardians. And there was a grudging… tolerance of Guardians by the Tok’ra. It wasn’t something they talked about.
So the general then contacted Thor and asked a few questions: Why now? If a Guardian kept the Goa’uld away why not before now? Thor had said that a Guardian was the Alliance personified. And Kris was assigned not to deal with the Goa’uld, but to help Earth fight a greater foe that was out there. He also told Hammond that she was the last her kind – the last Guardian.
“Alright, Kris. I’ll do my best to accommodate you.”
“Thank you, General. I know it’s not easy.”
“My medical and personnel files. Access to them should be limited to as few people as possible.”
“I agree wholeheartedly. Kris carries the DNA of all four races of the alliance. Her physiology is unique. There are too many of the wrong kind of people who would be interested in her if they found out. Her medical file should be kept off of the computer system and locked in the CMO’s safe, and her personnel file in yours.”
Hammond nodded. “Speaking of which, your reinstatement has been cleared, Doctor. I still haven’t been able to permanently fill the CMO billet. It’s yours… if you want it.”
Janet exchanged a quick look with Kris. “I’ll take it, General.”
“Then Janet is to be my doctor – my only doctor.” As the general drew in a breath to object, Kris cut him off. “Janet is the only one familiar with my unique physiology and has the specific training to treat me. She can, of course, have others assist her, but that is up to her.”
Hammond looked at Janet and before he could even open his mouth she spoke.
“She’s right, sir. If Kris is conscious she can enter into a healing meditation similar to Teal’c’s kelnorim and self-heal. If she’s unconscious I’m the only one familiar with her unique physiology. I’ve been her doctor for over five years now.”
“You’re also her wife.”
“I know. We have a bond and it’s exactly why the Nox taught me to use it to treat her.”
Hammond sighed knowing he was beat. “Very well. You do realize that means any time Kris is off-world you will be required to stay here on the base, regardless of how long the mission.”
“That’s fine, sir. Cassie’s in college now. I would just be going home to an empty house. I’d just as soon be here to welcome her home,” she said with a smile.
“Alright. I’ll make sure that you are assigned permanent quarters here on the base.”
A few other things were worked out before the women left, such a settlement package for Kris which included enough to purchase transportation and clothes, ID, driver’s license, social security card, etc. – everything needed to be a ‘person’ on Earth and a citizen of America.
Kris also told Hammond that anything having to do with herself or Janet should be classified and put into a secured file – the Phoenix file.
Finally, Janet and Kris were able to leave the base. The general told them to take whatever time they needed to get acclimated and settled in. He had an airman drive them to Janet’s house.
The house, of course, had been left to Cassie, and the mortgage insurance paid it off. Janet wasn’t sure what was going to happen with the insurance company, but Hammond said the Air Force would square things one way or the other, so she didn’t need to worry about it.
Janet inserted the key Hammond had given her in the front door. She hesitated.
“What’s wrong?” Kris asked.
“It’s been a while since… I’ve been here.”
Kris put her hands on her wife’s shoulders and turned Janet around to look into her eyes. “It’s okay, love. I’m right here with you.”
Janet closed her eyes as she took solace in Kris’s warm embrace. “It’s probably stuffy inside and a mess.”
“I don’t care. It’s your home.”
Janet pulled back and looked into impossibly dark eyes. “It’s our home. But it doesn’t have to be. We can sell it and buy a new place.”
“And why would we want to do that?” Kris asked with a smile. “This is where you raised your daughter. You have a lot of memories here, Janet.”
“God, I love you.” Janet kissed Kris before turning back around and opening the front door.
When the couple entered the house, it was immediately apparent that someone had very recently cleaned the place. There was a pleasant, light citrus scent in the air.
“Janet.” Kris pointed out a note on the table in the foyer.
The doctor picked up the note and opened it.
Kris slipped her arms around Janet’s waist from behind and kissed the side of her neck. “She’s a good friend,” she said softly.
“Yes, she is. Sam’s been my best friend for a long time.”
“And she was your lover.”
“For a little while.”
“This can’t be easy for her.”
“Sam’s always been a person of honor and integrity.” Janet turned in her wife’s arms and slipped her own arms around Kris’s neck. “You’re a lot alike, you know.”
“Hmm, does that mean I have competition?” Kris asked playfully.
“No one could ever compete with you, my love. You are my heart and soul,” Janet replied seriously. They kissed. “Come on, let me show you around.”
Janet was sitting in the corner of the couch with her feet up on the coffee table. Kris was stretched out on the couch, leaning against her wife with her head pillowed against Janet’s chest. Janet’s fingers slowly carded through Kris’s silky hair as they watched some TV.
“I love this.”
“What? The TV show?” Janet asked.
Kris let out a bark of laughter. “No, silly. I love time spent like this with you.”
Janet kissed the top of Kris’s head. “I do, too.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m afraid we won’t have nearly as much time like this once we start at the SGC.”
The doorbell rang.
Janet dropped another kiss on the top of her wife’s head. “I’ll get that.” She slipped out from under Kris and went to the front door. She smiled when she opened it.
“Hey, Doc! We bring steaks and beer.”
“I guess you better come on in then, Colonel.”
Daniel, Teal’c, and Sam followed him in, each carrying a grocery bag full of food.
Sam paused next to Janet. “I warned you he’d do this.”
Janet smirked. “I’m surprised he managed to wait until we’d been home three days.”
“Me, too,” the blonde said with a chuckle. She started to head to the kitchen but Janet stopped her with and on her arm.
“For everything. You’ve been so helpful and supportive through everything recently. Thank you.”
“I told you: I’ll always be your friend.”
“I know. I just want you to know I appreciate everything you’ve done.”
“You’re welcome,” she said with a small smile.
Jack took command of the party, directing everything and refusing to let Janet do anything. He and the rest of the team had brought more than just steaks and beer. They’d also brought potato salad, coleslaw, rolls, baked beans, soda, and booze… and cake.
After the steaks were cooked and everyone was seated at the dining room table Jack stood up. Everyone looked at him expectantly.
“You all know I’m not one for fancy speeches, but there are a couple of things I’d like to say. First off, Doc… it just hasn’t been the same around here without you. We’ve all missed you, I’ve missed you. We’re glad you’re back.”
“Thank you, Colonel,” Janet said with a smile. “But you do know that won’t get you out of your annual physical, which by my calculation is due very soon.”
Jack grinned. “As long as it’s you doing it, I won’t even try to hide this time. So go ahead and schedule it. I’ll be on time.”
“Pfft. I’ll believe that when I see it,” Janet quipped.
“Jack, sit down and let’s eat. The steaks are getting cold,” Daniel pointed out.
“I just have one other thing to say.” He turned and looked at Sam. “Carter.”
“Catch.” He tossed a small box to her and then sat down.
Fortunately Sam had good reflexes and caught the box. “What’s this?”
“Open it up and find out.”
Sam opened the small box to reveal silver oak leaves.
“Congratulations, Lt. Colonel,” Jack with a grin. “Now we can eat.”
“Sam! That’s great!” exclaimed Daniel.
“A well deserved promotion, Colonel Carter.”
“Congratulations, Sam,” Janet said as she leaned over and gave her a quick hug.
Kris mostly sat back and observed that evening. She asked a few questions that prompted the others to cheerfully tell stories about Janet from their perspective. Even though Daniel was a natural storyteller, Jack was the one who regaled them with one outrageous tale after another that evening. And it was obvious that Jack took great pride in trying to get under Janet’s skin and embarrassing her. But Janet wasn’t rising to the bait. She was laughing just as hard as everyone else and even told a few stories at her own expense.
Teal’c was the designated driver and ended up driving a drunk colonel and archeologist home. After the men left, Janet and Sam relaxed in the living room. Kris had insisted on cleaning up in the kitchen by herself. It was mostly just a matter of rinsing the dishes and putting them in them in the dishwasher.
It had been a chilly fall night, so a fire had been started in the fireplace. Sam and Janet were sitting on the floor leaning against the couch, sipping some wine that Janet had opened after the men had left. Janet got up to put another log on the fire.
“Is that a new picture on the mantle?” Sam asked.
“Yeah.” Janet handed it to Sam before placing the new log on the dying fire.
“Who is it?”
“That’s Lena, Kris’s first wife.”
“Oh.” Sam paused. “She was pretty.”
Janet nodded in agreement. “She was a remarkable woman. I wish I’d gotten the chance to know her.” She took the picture and placed it back on the mantle, gazing at it.
“It doesn’t bother you to have her picture here? Especially on the mantle with all the other ‘special’ pictures.”
“Not at all. I’m the one that placed it there.” She turned and looked at Sam. “I would never ask Kris to forget about her. She loved Lena very much. I also know how much she loves me.”
“That telepathic link, huh?”
Janet smiled. “Something like that. But I’d know even without the bond we have. She shows me in so many ways, and I feel it… in my soul.”
“Anyone need a refill?” Kris called from the kitchen as she finished up.
“Nope. We’re good, honey.”
Kris joined the other two with her own glass of wine and they relaxed in front of the fire and talked. A few questions by Sam got both Janet and Kris to open up and talk about their life on Jidiri.
It hadn’t escaped Sam’s notice that Janet and Kris, while not being ‘in everyone’s face’ about their relationship, were a very tactile couple. They were almost always in some form of physical contact, whether they were holding hands, or one had her arm around the other, or they were simply touching. But now that the men were gone, the two were even more affectionate with each other. Kris was sitting, as Sam was, on the floor leaning against the couch. Janet was sitting between her wife’s legs leaning back against Kris who had her arm around Janet’s waist.
Kris set her wineglass on the end table, pushing a framed picture aside to make room.
“Is that a new picture of you, Janet?” Sam asked. “I don’t remember that one.”
Kris picked up the picture and handed it to Sam.
“Well, it’s sort of new. It was taken at the park on Jidiri over three years ago,” Janet said with a smile.
“You look really happy.”
“It was taken just a few days after we were married.” Kris couldn’t keep from smiling as she gave Janet a squeeze. “It’s my favorite picture of her,” she said. “Of course, she looked a little different just a few minutes after that picture was taken,” she added with a grin.
“What do you mean?”
“She means she dumped me in the pond right after that,” Janet said with a chuckle.
Sam looked at them surprised.
“Well, I had to cool your jets somehow before you got us arrested for public indecency.”
Janet elbowed her wife’s ribs playfully. “Right. Like you weren’t a willing participant. Besides, you should have known it wouldn’t work,” she said with a smirk. “Anyway, there’s no law enforcement on Jidiri.”
Kris actually blushed. “Yeah, well… I think we scared the fish.”
Janet sat up, twisted, and gave her wife a kiss. “But we had fun.”
Sam chuckled, but was having more than a little trouble picturing Janet as a publicly demonstrative person. As two Air Force officers they could never have risked such behavior when they dated. And even though she’d been affectionate with Kris when the guys were around, once they left Janet had let her guard down completely. Sam realized the trust Janet was demonstrating in their friendship… and it felt good. It was also obvious that Janet was really happy.
“I know you two were friends for quite a while before you got involved, but who approached whom about becoming more than friends?” Sam asked.
“Janet did – but only because she beat me to it.”
“Yeah. And how long would I have had to wait if I’d left it up to you?” teased Janet.
Kris grabbed Janet’s waist and started to tickle her. Janet quickly set her wineglass on the table as she laughed and tried to still her wife’s hands.
“Are you saying I wouldn’t be worth the wait?” Kris asked.
Amid her laughter Janet managed to squirm out of Kris’s grasp, turned, kneeled in front of her attacker, took Kris’s face in both of her hands and really laid one on her. “Of course you’d be worth the wait. I waited my whole life for you. I was born to love you.”
Kris knew she was grinning like a fool as she murmured, “Sweet talker.”
Janet stood, picked up her empty wineglass and took a couple of steps towards the kitchen. She looked back over her shoulder with a smirk. “I need some way to keep from being tickled to death.” She continued on her way. “Do you want some more wine?”
“No thank you. I’ve had plenty.”
“How about you, Sam?”
Kris got up to go to the bathroom so Sam joined Janet in the kitchen.
“You need help with anything?” Sam asked.
“No. I’m just putting the cake away. Kris took care of everything else.” She put the leftover cake in the refrigerator.
“You’ve changed, Janet.”
Janet looked at the blonde in surprise. “I have?”
“Yes, you have. You smile and laugh a lot more than you used to. You’re… freer, more relaxed… happier. I know Kris has a lot to do with it. I think… It’s obvious you two were meant to be together.” They hugged. “I’m so happy for you, Janet.”
Janet knew what Sam words meant – she had finally come to a resolution about her feelings for Janet and Janet’s marriage to Kris. “I’m glad to hear to you say that. Your friendship means so much to me, Sam, and I didn’t want anything to come between us. Thank you so much.”
“Yes, thank you, Sam, for everything.”
The two friends parted and looked at Kris where she stood in the doorway. She walked over and slipped her arm around her wife’s shoulders as Janet’s arm snaked around Kris’s waist. Kris held her hand out and Sam took it. They shook hands as they exchanged warm smiles.