Kris decided to help Janet out. She tapped the DAT she was using and looked something up before she opened the front door startling both women. Janet’s date gave her a not-so-welcome look, while Janet gave her one of relief.
“I’m sorry to interrupt, Janet, but I’ve been waiting for you to get home. A patient is here to see you.”
Janet tensed and immediately slipped into ‘doctor mode.’ “What’s wrong?”
“It seems to be a severe case of acute dysphoria of the splenius capitis.”
Janet’s eyes lit up when she realized exactly what Kris was saying. She turned to her date, “I’m sorry, I have to go. This is serious.”
“Will it take long? I could wait.”
“No, you should go. A case like this will take many, many hours. If it becomes critical, it could even require surgery.” She looked at Kris. “Now, let’s see to my patient,” she said as she marched into the house ahead of her roommate.
Kris closed the door behind herself and then peeked out the window to make sure Janet’s date had indeed left. Once the coast was clear she turned around.
“The splenius capitis, huh?” Janet said with an amused smirk.
“Okay, I admit it – I had to look it up. But it worked, didn’t it?”
Janet smiled, plopped down on the couch, and kicked off her shoes. “Yeah, it did. It took me a second though, I had to stop and remember my basic anatomy.”
Kris got them both a cold drink and joined Janet on the couch. “Well, you’re the one who thought she was a pain in the neck.”
“Actually, I thought she was a pain in a different part of the anatomy,” the doctor said with a chuckle. Janet stopped and looked at her roommate. “How did you know?”
Kris took a deep breath and let it out. “Remember, I can be empathic with people I’m close to. I could sense your… shall we say, desperation. I knew you were not eager for the date to continue, so I thought I’d help you out with an easy exit.”
“Thanks for your help,” Janet said with a smile. She paused in thought before continuing. “So, can you always tell what I’m feeling?”
Kris looked her in the eyes. “No. I probably could tell more often if I were to consciously put effort into it, but I don’t. When I do sense something, it’s usually when your emotions are particularly strong… like tonight. Your ‘discomfort’ with your date was just radiating off of you in waves.”
Janet took a few moments to absorb what her roommate said. “So why don’t you put effort into it?”
The admiral took a slow breath before answering. “It would be considered impolite, an invasion of privacy. The first and foremost principles the Areth hold dear are the privacy of the individual and the sanctity of certain bonds. It’s why we don’t initiate a mind-touch without permission.”
“And it’s through the mind-touch that you’re able to communicate telepathically?”
Kris nodded. “There are different levels of the mind-touch. Some only brush against another’s thoughts, while others are very intimate. The most intimate mind-touch though is the one shared between those that are bonded as mates.”
“Like you and Lena,” Janet said softly.
She again nodded. “But even a mind-touch not as intimate as the one shared between mates can be a pleasant experience and good way to exchange a lot of information.”
They sat in silence for several moments as Janet sipped her drink. It was clear she was thinking. Finally she set her drink down on the coffee table and turned to Kris. “Will you mind-touch with me?”
Kris was completely surprised by her request and didn’t know what to say. When she didn’t say anything, the doctor spoke again.
“You don’t have to, of course. I understand if you don’t want to…”
The admiral finally found her voice. “No, no. It’s not that. It’s just that most people – most Humans – are so apprehensive about the mind-touch, about telepathy in general. It’s not a request that’s made very frequently. You just took me by surprise.”
Janet smiled. “Well, I’m not most people. I worked as the Chief Medical Officer of the SGC and now as a doctor here on Jidiri. I’ve seen enough to know there’s so much we Humans don’t know.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “And we’re friends; I trust you, Kris.”
Kris nodded. “Okay.” She moved closer to her on the couch. “Try to relax and don’t fight it. This will not be an intrusive mind-touch; anything you want to keep private will remain so and you’ll be able to end it if you choose to.” She held out her hand and Janet trustingly placed her hand in Kris’s. “Look into my eyes… and relax,” she said with a smile and gave Janet’s hand a gentle squeeze.
She found Janet’s mind to very open and receptive to hers. Janet shared many thoughts and memories… of Cassandra, Sam, her parents and brothers, and her career. In turn, Kris shared her thoughts and memories of her adoptive mother, her childhood, and Lena. Several minutes passed in what felt like only a few moments. Kris gently backed away from the touch.
Janet opened her eyes, not knowing when she’d closed them, feeling a bit awestruck. “Wow,” she softly breathed.
Kris smiled. “That’s as good a description as I’ve ever heard.”
Janet took a few slow breaths, trying to fully grasp what she’d just experienced. “And you said that was not a deep mind-touch?”
She nodded. “There are deeper, more intimate, touches. During this one only the thoughts and memories that you consciously chose to bring forward and share were accessible to me. During deeper ones thoughts from the subconscious and even emotions can be shared. It can be very intimate and pleasurable for both parties.” She paused for a beat. “There’s also a mind-touch that is for interrogation purposes where information is forcibly taken. It’s… not a pleasant experience for either party.” She was barely able to suppress a shudder.
Janet didn’t miss it though. “I take it you’ve been a party to that kind of mind-touch.”
Kris took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Unfortunately… from both sides. It’s extremely unpleasant.”
The doctor reached out and took Kris’s hand in her own, giving it a gentle squeeze. “Want to talk about it?”
Kris closed her eyes and shook her head. “Maybe some other time.” She opened her eyes and looked into the Janet’s. “Tonight’s been too special to ruin with talk of unpleasant things.”
Janet smiled brightly. “It has been a special night – at least the part I’ve spent with you.” She received an answering smile.
Suddenly, both women felt quite tired and decided to call it a night. After Janet was changed into her pajamas she knocked on Kris’s bedroom door.
Kris was sitting on her bed, leaning against the headboard. Janet walked over and sat on the side of the bad, facing her. “About tonight… I want to thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Like you said, we’re friends.”
“Yes… but I know it was the first time you touched someone’s mind since… Lena died.”
“How…” She swallowed painfully around the lump that suddenly appeared in her throat.
“You shared your thoughts with me, too… remember?”
“So I know how big of a step it was for you.” She placed her hand over Kris’s and gave it a squeeze. “Thank you, for trusting me.” Janet stood and placed a kiss on her friend’s temple before turning to go.
The doctor turned back. She didn’t need to ask what was on her friend’s mind; she could see it in her eyes. She simply nodded and slipped into the bed as Kris scooted over to make room.
When Kris woke up before dawn, she found herself snuggled up against Janet’s back with her arm around her. Her hand was clutched in the doctor’s and tucked up against the center of Janet’s chest, their fingers interlaced. It was an intimate embrace and felt good, but it was completely platonic. She didn’t want to disturb Janet so she simply closed her eyes and started to drift back to sleep. Just before Kris dozed off she felt her hand squeezed by Janet as she snuggled back against her. She squeezed Janet’s hand back and drifted back to sleep.
When she woke up later in the morning they were in the same position. She could tell Janet was still sleeping, so Kris carefully eased her hand from the doctor’s and her arm from around her. She then silently slipped out of bed. She went into the kitchen and began to fix breakfast.
When Janet woke up she immediately missed the warmth and comfort of being held. She knew her housemate had been feeling particularly vulnerable the night before. When they had shared the mind-touch Janet suspected that Kris had shared more of herself than she realized; however, even without the mind-touch Janet would have known what the woman was feeling – it was evident in her impossibly dark eyes.
Janet had noticed over the past year or so, that Kris’s eyes had become more and more expressive, more and more revealing. Her demeanor became less guarded and more open as she acclimated to their new home. Despite the fact that they dropped their ranks from the beginning, she could see a clear a difference between the woman who first arrived on Jidiri – Admiral Kay – and the woman she now shared a house with – Kris. They had been on Jidiri for about a year and half, and they had yet to find anything to indicate it wasn’t exactly what it appeared to be… a utopia.
Of course Janet missed her daughter, her family, and her friends on Earth… but life on Jidiri was good. There was no violence, no crime of any kind; no prejudice; no poverty; no discord. If she wanted or needed anything it was available at no cost. There was no ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ to contend with since there was no materialism or avarice. People, be they Human or alien, would do anything to help another out without a second thought.
There was a peacefulness that had settled in Janet’s heart and mind, and evidenced by the almost constant and easy smile she now wore.
Janet drew in a deep breath and her mouth watered at the wonderful aroma wafting through the house. She got up, went to the bathroom, and headed to the kitchen. She found Kris in process of setting breakfast on the table.
“You’ve got great timing. I was just going to wake you.”
They both sat and started eating.
After breakfast they dressed and parted for the day, going to their respective jobs.
There was an outdoor concert in the park that evening. Janet and Kris both had declined more than one invitation from potential suitors because they had decided that they wanted to just enjoy the evening together as friends.
During her last class of the day, an advanced class, Kris wrenched her back and tore a couple of muscles. So once she dismissed her class she stretched out on one of the mats and entered into a healing meditation.
Janet got off work earlier than she expected and decided to go by Kris’s school instead of going straight home. She entered and saw her roommate lying flat on her back on a mat. She became concerned though when Kris didn’t respond when she called her name. Janet rushed to her side, slipping into full ‘doctor mode,’ and checked her breathing and for a pulse. When she didn’t detect either she raised her fist to bring it down on her chest.
Kris caught Janet’s fist a couple of inches from her chest. She drew in a deep breath. “That won’t be necessary,” she said as she opened her eyes and looked up at her.
The doctor jerked back, startled, and turning pale. “You weren’t breathing… and you didn’t have a pulse.”
Kris sensed her shock… and her fear. She sat up and quickly wrapped her arms around her, feeling her tremble slightly. “Hey, it’s okay, Janet. I’m fine.”
She took a few moments to gather herself. She took a deep breath and pulled back. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. “What just happened? I thought…”
“I was in deep meditation.”
“I’ve seen you meditate before; your heart’s never stopped before when you’ve done that.”
“My heart wasn’t stopped; it was just beating very, very slowly. I was in a much deeper meditation than you’ve observed before – a healing meditation.”
“I wrenched my back today and tore a couple of muscles, so I had to heal them. A healing meditation allows me to heal at an accelerated rate.” She reached out and gave Janet’s hand a squeeze. “After all, I didn’t want to miss out on going to the concert this evening.” She reached up and gently cupped Janet’s cheek for a moment. “I never meant to scare you. It just took me few moments to come out of it and respond to you.”
Having gotten her equilibrium back, Janet let out a deep breath and nodded. After a moment of silence she spoke, “You said you tore a couple of muscles in your back?”
“Yes, but the tears are healed now.” Kris stood and then pulled Janet to her feet. “Come on, let’s go home and get ready for the concert.”
They walked home arm in arm.
Once they arrived home, Janet and Kris began preparations for the evening. They packed a picnic basket with a tasty meal and then changed clothes. Even though it was still rather early, they headed over to the park hoping to get their pick of choice spots.
They spread their blanket out under a large tree. Other people started arriving as they were enjoying their picnic. They were done eating by the time the concert started. Kris winced as she leaned over to put some stuff back into the picnic basket, and, of course, Janet noticed.
“Are you alright?”
“My back aches.”
“I thought you said you’d healed your torn muscles.”
“I did, but I came out of the meditation early. The tears are healed, but the muscles are still strained.”
“We should go home then, so you can get some rest.” Janet started to get up.
Kris grabbed her arm to stop her. “Janet, no. I’ve been looking forward to this evening all week, and you have been too. We’re here, so let’s just relax and enjoy the concert.
Janet looked at her in thought for a few moments. “Okay… but only if you agree to lie down.”
“Yes, Doctor,” she replied with an amused smirk.
“And you let me examine you afterwards.”
Kris was going to object, but she could see that ‘doctor’ glare in her eyes and knew it was a moot argument, so she simply nodded.
Janet put the rest of the picnic things away in the basket and then sat back against the tree. Kris lay down on the blanket next to her, but was finding it difficult to get very comfortable.
“What’s the matter?”
“I would have brought a pillow if I’d known I was going to be flat on my back during the concert.”
Janet smirked at Kris’s grumbling. “Alright,” she chuckled, “just slide around this way and put your head here,” she said indicating her lap. Kris got situated and found it more comfortable with her head pillowed in her lap. “Now relax and enjoy the music.”
Kris closed her eyes and smiled. She felt a hand brush some hair away from her forehead and then fingers absentmindedly card through her hair over and over.
After the concert it was time to gather their things and head for home. Kris let out a wince as she struggled up off the ground. Janet wouldn’t let her carry anything as they left the park. On the way home she tugged on her friend’s arm when they came to the turn for the clinic.
When Kris looked at her she arched an eyebrow. “You agreed to let me examine you after the concert.” The tone of her voice made it clear she that was going to hold Kris to their agreement.
At the clinic Janet did a quick physical and asked which muscles Kris had torn. She then ran a scan to make sure the tears were indeed mended. With the scan results verifying the absence of any damage they headed home.
Because Kris had already healed the injury, as verified by the scan, she was merely dealing with residual stiffness, so Janet gave her a suggestion when they arrived home. “You should take a long, hot bath; it should help with the soreness and stiffness you feel.”
“I do believe that is a good idea.”
“Come see me when you’re done.”
After her bath, Kris put on her pajamas and then knocked on the door to Janet’s bedroom.
“Come in.” Janet looked up and smiled when her roommate entered. “You feel any better?”
“Good. Come over here; I have something that should help.”
“What?” she asked as she approached.
“Lie down – on your stomach.” When Kris did as she was told Janet straddled her hips and began massaging her back, starting with her shoulders.
“Your muscles are in knots.”
“You’re not kidding,” she groaned.
Janet stopped. “Did I hurt you?”
“It’s a good hurt.”
She leaned over, pulled open the drawer in her nightstand, got something out, and sat back up. “This is an oil that feels warm to the touch and should help your muscles relax. Take your shirt off.”
Kris slipped her t-shirt off as Janet poured some of the oil in her hands. The doctor began massaging her shoulders again and worked her way down her entire back, digging in with her fingers and loosening up clusters of knots. Once the knots were gone Janet eased up and her massage become more of a gentle, soothing backrub as she worked her way back up to her shoulders and neck. By the time she was done Kris was asleep.
Janet got up and went into the bathroom to wash her hands. When she returned to her bedroom she simply slipped into bed and turned off the light.
“Mmmm… thanks,” Kris murmured.
“How do you feel now?”
“Wonderful… You have amazing hands… definitely the hands of a healer.”
“The advantage of being a doctor – knowing where the muscles are and how they connect,” she replied with a small smile.
“I don’t think I can move.”
“Don’t. Just close your eyes and go back to sleep.”
Kris drifted off to sleep again before Janet reached over and pulled the covers over her.
As Janet slowly woke in the morning, she found her head was resting on Kris’s left shoulder and the other woman’s arm around her shoulders. Her left hand was on Kris’s right breast, her fingers lightly fondling the nipple. Kris, though still asleep, reacted by nuzzling the top of her head. A quiet moan escaped her throat.
Kris’s low moan was enough to suddenly make Janet wide awake. She froze, even holding her breath. Once she determined that Kris was still asleep, Janet very carefully removed her hand from Kris’s breast. She quietly slipped out of bed and went into the bathroom… where she took a cold shower.
Kris woke up while Janet was still in the shower. She sat up and retrieved the t-shirt she’d removed the night before. As she was slipping it back on Janet re-entered the bedroom wrapped in a towel.
“Morning. How did you sleep?” Janet asked.
“Great! How about you?”
“I slept well, too.”
“How does your back feel?”
Kris moved carefully, tentatively testing the muscles in her back. “Much better – thanks to those wonderful hands of yours.”
Janet felt herself blush and turned toward her dresser, opening the top drawer. “You’re more than welcome. I’ll go ahead and fix something for lunch; it seems we slept in late.”
“Okay. I’ll be out after a quick shower. I won’t be long.” Kris left the room.
When Kris entered the kitchen Janet was already setting out a light meal for them. They sat down and started eating.
“So, what was that oil you used on my back last night?”
Janet smiled. “I don’t know exactly. It was given to me by one of the other doctors when I complained about my legs aching after pulling a double shift. He said it’s made from some of the plants found up in the mountain ridge. His mother-in-law makes it, but won’t tell him what all the ingredients are.”
“Well, whatever is in it, it seems to help soothe sore muscles.”
“I know. I use it on my calf muscles after extra long days.”
“Thanks again for the massage, Janet.”
“I’m glad I could help.”
“I owe you. The next time your legs hurt after a long day I’ll be glad to massage them for you with the oil.”
Janet grinned. “You got yourself a deal.”
It was only a week later when Janet came home after a very long and trying day at work. Kris could tell that her roommate was tired and sore, both physically and emotionally.
“Hey,” she said as she came through the door.
“Hey. You look beat.”
Janet simply nodded.
“Why don’t you go take a hot shower and I’ll fix you something to eat?”
Again, she just nodded as she headed to her bedroom.
After a bit, Janet came back out, wearing her robe. There was a little more color in her face.
“How do you feel?”
“A little more human.”
“Here, you’ll feel better if you eat something.” Kris set a bowl of hot soup in front of her. She finished making a sandwich and set that on the table for Janet as well.
“Mm, this is good. I didn’t realize how hungry I was.”
“When was the last time you ate?”
She stopped to think. “Before I went in to work last night.”
“Janet, you’re a doctor – you of all people should know better.”
She sighed. “I know. But things were nonstop from the time I got to the clinic until I left to come home. I didn’t even get a chance to sit down, much less take time to eat.”
“Why were you at the clinic for so long?”
“Bergan’s son and Garant’s daughter had their wedding today. So I volunteered to cover at the clinic.”
Kris smiled. “Well, at least it was for a good cause.” She took a sip of her water. “Well, I guess I get to repay you for that great massage you gave me last week.”
“What do you mean?”
“Your legs must be sore.”
A look of comprehension, and then anticipation, crossed Janet’s features.
“Finish eating. I’ll go get the oil.”
“It’s in my nightstand.”
When Kris returned from the bedroom she found Janet washing her dishes. “Hey, I’ll take care of that, Janet. You go get comfortable on the couch.”
“I’m not an invalid, you know.”
“Yeah, I know. You’re a stubborn, independent, I-can-take-care-of-myself-and-don’t-need-anyone-to-do-anything-for-me-even-if-it-kills-me kind of woman.”
The doctor stopped and looked at Kris for a moment. “Sounds a little bit like someone else I know,” she said with a smirk and an arched eyebrow.
“I won’t tell anyone if you don’t,” she countered.
A smile lit up Janet’s face. “Deal.”
“Good. Now go sit down. Get comfortable.”
“Yes, Admiral,” she quipped and tossed off a mocking salute before turning to leave. She let out a yelp when Kris snapped her with the dishtowel.
When Kris finished in the kitchen she joined Janet on the couch in the living room. She sat sideways, facing Janet, with her right leg tucked up under her left leg and her left foot on the floor. She had the doctor turn so that she was semi-reclined against the arm of the couch and her ankles rested across her left thigh.
“Good.” Kris poured some oil into her hand and started on Janet’s right calf. She didn’t miss the wince the doctor let out.
“You would think I’d be used to it after all these years.”
“I’d hate to think about how many miles you actually put on them during a double shift.”
Janet let out a groan. “I don’t want to know.”
Kris continued to massage her calves for several minutes. “Feels like the knots are finally loosening up.”
She answered without opening her eyes, “Mm hmm. You’re pretty good with your hands, too.”
“Glad to be of service,” she replied with a smile. When she finished with Janet’s calves she adjusted so her feet were in her lap.
Janet started to move to get up. “That was great, Kris. Thank you so much.”
Kris stopped her by holding onto her feet. “I’m not done. Just lie back and relax.” She poured some more oil into her hands. She took a foot into her hands and started massaging it.
“Ohhh… that feels so good.”
“I figured if your legs were that tense then your feet must be achy as well.”
“At least they’re not as bad as when I got stuck wearing my Air Force dress shoes. Those heels really got to me at times.” She paused. “Of course, they did add a few inches to my height,” she said with a smirk.
“There’s nothing wrong with your height, Janet.”
“Being female and in a position of authority over some very macho soldiers was enough of an obstacle to overcome at the best of times in my century. Being short on top of that just made it harder.”
“You obviously handled it well since you were the Chief Medical Officer at the SGC.”
Janet opened her eyes as she smiled. “It helps to have very large needles on hand with which to threaten them. And you have to be able to stare down even the most battle hardened soldier and not flinch.”
Kris laughed. “I know. I’ve seen that ‘doctor’ glare you have. You used it on me the day we met, when I told you I didn’t need to sleep.”
“It worked, didn’t it?”
She nodded. “I almost smiled though, because I realized your ‘doctor’ glare was the same as Lena’s ‘command’ glare.”
“Fortunately, I don’t have to use that tactic much here.”
“Well, you’re off for the next few days. And don’t forget, we’re getting together with Taran and Delsie tomorrow evening.”
“I remember. Taran had an appointment this morning.”
“How is she doing?”
“She’s fine; her morning sickness has finally stopped.”
“That’s good. Oh, I almost forgot.”
Kris nodded at the flowers on the fireplace mantle. “Those flowers were given to me to give to you by one of my students.”
“Do you remember Vesh?”
“I think so. Isn’t he the Suenis on the archeology team with Taran?”
She nodded. “Yes, that’s him. Anyway, he wanted me to give the flowers to you, and find out if you would go to dinner with him. He’s quite taken with you.”
Janet closed her eyes and let out a sigh. “Please tell him thanks for the flowers, but that I’m sorry, I can’t go to dinner with him. That… that I’m… things are…” She sighed. “I don’t know…”
“Hey.” Kris waited until Janet opened her eyes and looked at her. She gave her a reassuring look, “It’s okay, Janet, I’ll take care of it.”
“No problem. Now forget about everything and just relax.”
By the time she finished the foot rub Janet had fallen asleep. After washing her hands she carefully slipped her arms under her and picked her up. Janet roused only enough to tuck her face into Kris’s neck. Kris carried her into her bedroom and set her down on the bed.
“Don’t go,” Janet murmured softly.
“Okay.” Kris slipped into bed next to her and Janet nestled up against her, laying her head on her shoulder. Kris reached over and turned off the light on the nightstand.
Whenever either Janet or Kris went out on a date, one would wait up until the other got home. They would then stay up long into the night, talking, and inevitably falling asleep in the same bed. And they always seemed to wake up the next day holding each other. Neither of them ever commented about it, but neither did they do anything to prevent it. They both started going out on fewer and fewer dates until they eventually stopped dating altogether.
Kris finally recognized her feelings for Janet for what they were, that they had developed into something more than close friendship. After losing Lena she thought she would never be able to feel that way again… However, she had other things to deal with.
Even though Janet had treated and kept Kris alive after Lena died, it didn’t mean there weren’t consequences. When an Areth bonded with a mate it was for life. Normally, when a mate died, there was a healer, or a family member, present to support and help the surviving mate through the psychic trauma caused by the loss of that bond. It was a ritualized process. The guided meditations and healing mind-touches helped to ensure the survivor not only lived, but did so without psychic damage. This was accomplished by making sure the bond was completely severed and that no remnants of it remained.
Kris didn’t have the benefit of that process. Stranded on Jidiri, there had been no healer or family member to take her through the requisite ritual. And just over two years after Lena’s death, it was finally catching up with her.
She started feeling quite out of sorts and was finding it harder and harder to concentrate. Her daily meditations were not helping much. She tried working out more at the school to burn off as much energy as possible so that sleep, becoming more and more elusive, would hopefully claim her for a few hours at night. She started staying late at the school, only going home in time to shower and go to bed. She would then rise before the sun and leave, going for a long run before her classes at the school.
It certainly didn’t take long for Janet to notice the change in her roommate’s routine. After a few days she decided to check up on Kris. Since she had been putting in some extra time at the clinic she was due for some time off. On her first day off she decided to do some basic snooping. She got up early and went to the school.
Janet watched as Kris arrived flushed and sweaty from her run. She waited a couple of minutes outside before she went into the school. She expected to find Kris in the shower, so she was surprised to find the woman working out, hitting and kicking the bags in a seemingly agitated manner. She surreptitiously watched until the students for the first class started arriving. She decided she would come back at lunchtime, take Kris out to lunch, and get her to talk about whatever was causing her to become so driven and reclusive.
When Janet returned to the school at lunchtime she found Kris sitting alone… meditating. Rather than disturb her she chose to silently observe her. Janet had seen her meditate before, but she could tell something was different, or wrong. She studied her face and posture. Kris’s expression was not relaxed and her body was obviously stiff. There was sweat on her forehead and her jaw was clenched.
When Kris finished her meditation she opened her eyes. She held her hands out and looked down at them… they still shook, but not as badly. She quickly balled them into fists, got up, and headed over to the punching bags. She started working out until the next class arrived. She never noticed Janet as she slipped back outside.
Janet went back home, retrieved some of the DATs they’d brought with them from the ship, and began her research. After a few hours she put down the DAT she’d been using after she found what she’d been looking for, closed her eyes, and let out a heavy sigh. Oh, Kris, why didn’t you say anything? Knowing it would be late before Kris got home, she decided to take a nap.
Kris was surprised to find Janet up and waiting for her when she got home.
“Hey, stranger,” Janet said pleasantly.
“Hey.” She headed back to her bedroom without stopping to talk.
After a few moments Janet got up and followed. She didn’t let the closed bedroom door stop her either. She entered without knocking and found Kris sitting on the side of her bed with her head down and her eyes closed. Her hands were in her lap and Janet could see them trembling. She approached and crouched in front of her, placing a hand on her knee.
“Kris, tell me what’s going on. What’s wrong?” she said, concern clearly evident in her voice.
She took a slow, deep breath and let it out, but didn’t say anything.
“Please, talk to me.” When Janet put her hand over the shaking ones in her lap Kris couldn’t keep from wincing and jerked her right hand away. Janet recognized pain when she saw it and immediately went into ‘doctor mode.’ “You’re hurt. Let me see your hand.”
She brought her hand back so the doctor could see it. Janet very gently cupped it in one hand and carefully examined it with the other.
“I broke it,” Kris said softly.
“In more than one place. I’ll be right back.” She left the bedroom to retrieve the medkit and then returned. She scanned it with the medical scanner and to get an accurate picture of which bones were broken. She started using the osteo stimulator to heal the breaks. “How did you break it?”
Kris shrugged. “During my workout.”
A dark brow arched. “Hit something a little harder than the bags?”
Her blush gave her away. “Yeah.”
Janet finished with the osteo stimulator and put it back in the medkit. She then used the stimulator that healed soft tissue and vascular damage. Finished with treating her hand, she picked up the medical scanner again and ran a complete scan before closing up the medkit and setting it on the night stand. She took hold of Kris’s hands, taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out before speaking.
“Kris, I know there’s something going on with you, more than a broken hand. I really don’t need the medical scanner to tell me that. I can see it in your trembling hands, rapid pulse, shallow breathing, and I can feel it in the fever you’re running.”
Kris finally opened her eyes and looked down into Janet’s.
“Please, Kris, tell me. I’m your doctor, but even more importantly, I’m your friend and I’m here for you – no matter what.” She reached up and gently cupped her cheek.
She took a deep breath and swallowed. Janet’s touch was actually making things worse instead of better. But then there was no getting better without addressing the root of the problem. Her voice was shaky when she finally spoke. “Visvium…” she said quietly and closed her eyes again.
“I thought that might be it,” Janet said just as quietly. “Why didn’t you say anything?”
“It’s not something… discussed… with outsiders.”
Janet lowered her hand from her cheek. “Is that what I am to you? An outsider?”
Kris’s eyes flew open, tears filling them as she sought out Janet’s. “No.” Her trembling was getting worse.
“Then let me help you through this.”
She was having trouble concentrating. Coherent thought was becoming more and more difficult. She could no longer hold back the visvium. “You don’t understand.”
Janet stood and took Kris’s face into her hands raising it so she could look into those impossibly dark eyes. “I understand that when Lena died your bond was severed… at a cost. I understand the damage has brought on the visvium which is affecting your higher brain functions and you’ll die if nothing is done.” Using her thumbs she tenderly wiped away a few tears that trailed down Kris’s cheeks. “Let me help you… because I love you.” She lowered her head and gently brushed her lips against Kris’s.
Kris was at the point of no return. She could not hold off the effects of the visvium any longer. In truth, this moment had been inescapable; it had only been a matter of time. She’d been surprised it had taken over two years. She had a choice to make… succumb to the visvium… or inflict herself on Janet. And the longer she took to decide, the less control she had over her mind… or body. She looked up at Janet, begging her to understand. “Too far along… no control… I could hurt… you…” Tears streamed down her face and her whole body began to shake.
Janet, standing between her knees, pulled Kris to her, cradling her head against her chest. She kissed the top of her head. “Shhh… don’t fight it anymore. Just let it happen.”
It was a long time later when Kris came to her senses. She found herself cradled in Janet’s arms, the beat of her friend’s heart beneath her ear… resonating through her body and mind. As Janet slept soundly, Kris took a couple of slow, deep breaths and tried to clear her mind. She knew she had made it through the worst of the effects of visvium, but the way her mind still burned from the scent of the other woman it was clear that she was not entirely over it. She opened her eyes… and her heart froze.
She recoiled when she saw Janet’s arm draped across her own; Kris felt like she’d been dumped into a tub of ice. She carefully slipped out of Janet’s embrace and sat up. Tears welled in her eyes as she saw bruises littering other places on Janet besides her arm. She retrieved the stimulator from the medkit on the nightstand and began running it over the bruises. Kris moved the covers to heal the bruises on the lower half of Janet’s body causing her to wake up.
Janet opened her eyes and smiled. “Hey. You’re awake,” she said sweetly.
She simply nodded and continued to work on the bruises. Unable to look Janet in the eyes, Kris concentrated on the task at hand. Finally she asked Janet to turn over onto her stomach so she could get at the rest of the bruises. When she placed the stimulator on the nightstand Janet turned back over again and looked at Kris as she ran the medical scanner over her for a final check.
She nodded and returned the scanner and the stimulator to the medkit. “Feel better?”
Janet sat up. “Yes.” She paused as she reached out to put her hand on Kris’s arm to stop her as she started to get out of bed. “And how are you? Is the visvium over?”
She didn’t look at her, but simply shook her head. “Not completely… but the worst has passed… I… I’m in control of myself now…” She took a deep breath and let it out. “I’m going to take a shower.” She abruptly rose from the bed and went into the bathroom.
Once under the cascading water of the shower she let her tears finally fall. She was so upset about the bruises she’d found on Janet’s body – knowing she’d been the cause of them. After several minutes she got out of the shower, slipped on her robe, and walked back into her bedroom. She still couldn’t look Janet in the eye.
“Yeah, I am.”
“I’ll fix something to eat while you take your shower.”
“Actually, I think I’ll take a bath,” Janet replied.
“Probably a good idea. It’ll help ease your sore muscles. Take your time.” Kris quickly left the bedroom.
Janet was a confused by Kris’s behavior, her distance. She frowned as she got out of bed and went into the bathroom. She drew a bath and eased herself down into the hot water, letting the heat leach the soreness from her body. She laid her head back and placed a folded washcloth over her eyes.
As she soaked she thought about the last two years and everything that had happened. She’d been killed while tending a wounded soldier in the field; woken up in a crashed spaceship on an unknown planet, her fatal wounds healed; sat by helplessly as the woman who’d saved her life watched as her own wife died; been integrated into a community made up of several alien races; and… fell in love with her roommate.
She let out a sigh. She didn’t know if Kris felt the same way, but she knew that she couldn’t sit back and do nothing. Not when she realized what was going on with Kris… regardless of what it might mean for their friendship. She’d rather lose their friendship than allow Kris to die.
At first, she’d been a little shocked when she’d read the DAT entry on visvium: its cause, its ‘treatment,’ and the outcome – if it were to be left untreated. Visvium was caused when the bond between mates was severed, but a remnant remained behind. Inevitably it led to the survivor’s death, after a decline of his/her mental faculties, if an Areth mind-healer was not able to treat the survivor. The only other thing that could save the survivor was to establish a new bond… with a mate.
The fact that Kris’s condition had improved indicated that their ‘coupling’ had been successful, but Janet didn’t feel any… she didn’t feel anything that indicated a bond had formed between them. And that brought her back to Kris’s behavior, and the distinct distance she seemed to be putting between them. Maybe she resents that it was me. Maybe I shouldn’t have pushed her. She felt the backs of her eyes sting.
When Janet entered the living room she found Kris sitting on the floor in front of the couch, staring into the fire she’d lit in the fireplace. Janet didn’t know what to say to the woman. After a couple of moments she went into the kitchen and found some cut up fruit and a sandwich sitting on the table waiting for her. She sat down and started eating.
“Mm, this is good. Have you eaten?”
“Yes,” Kris fibbed – she didn’t have an appetite.
When Janet was done eating she cleaned up and put everything away. She was still confused by Kris’s aloofness. Not knowing what else to do she decided to take the bull by the horns. She walked over and sat on the couch next to Kris’s shoulder. She took a deep breath and let it out. “Kris, did I do something wrong?”
“Oh, God. No!” Tears ran down her face as she looked up at Janet. “I did.” She broke down sobbing.
Janet immediately slid off the couch and enveloped Kris in her arms, holding her tight as she cried. “Oh, honey, what’s wrong?” She rocked her and kissed her temple, trying to comfort her.
“I never wanted to hurt you.”
“Shhh… you didn’t hurt me.”
Kris pulled back and looked at Janet in disbelief. She then turned back to stare into the fire. “I think those bruises proved otherwise.”
Janet sensed she really needed to convince Kris that everything was alright, to get her past this stumbling block. She moved to straddle Kris’s lap and lifted her chin so she could make eye contact.
“Listen to me, and don’t say anything until I’m done. You did not hurt me. So I got a few bruises; I’ve experienced much worse at the hands of others. I made a choice, a choice I would happily make again. Losing you was not, and is not, an option. I love you. Neither of us were born yesterday or were virgins. I endured much rougher sex with my ex-husband. I chose to be with you out of love. So quite frankly, even though you were not yourself and it was all about biology, I didn’t notice any of the bruising at the time.” She cupped Kris’s face in both her hands, gazing intently into her impossibly dark eyes. “I have no regrets.” She paused for a couple of beats. “Do you?”
Kris was stunned. Even while in the grip of the visvium she had not actively sought contact with Janet’s mind. She didn’t feel she had that right since Janet had acted out of friendship… or so she had believed. So to hear that Janet loved her and to see the sincerity in her eyes left her feeling bewildered. How could she be so incredibly fortunate for a second time in her life?
“No,” she whispered. “I love you,” she added.
Janet lowered her head and tenderly kissed Kris. Kris wrapped her arms around the doctor and held her close. After a couple of minutes they parted due to a lack of oxygen. They rested their foreheads together as they both tried to catch their breath.
“Not exactly how I imagined our first time together.”
After a moment Janet pulled back and looked down into Kris’s eyes. “You imagined us together?” she asked with a pleased, and teasing, smile.
Kris blushed. “When I realized I’d fallen in love with you… well, of course I did…” she couldn’t keep from smiling, “… frequently.”
The doctor’s smile widened. “And just when were you going to make your feelings known to me?”
“In time. Actually, I had planned on courting you.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “But then this all started and… well…” She hung her head.
Janet kissed Kris’s forehead and ran fingers through silky hair, then wrapped her arms around Kris’s head and shoulders, pulling her close. Kris closed her eyes and drew in a deep breath as she tucked her face into the crook of the doctor’s neck. After her bath Janet must have reapplied her perfume – it’s scent tickled Kris’s senses as she inhaled slowly and smiled with pleasure. When she exhaled it was almost a sigh.
“What is that perfume you’re wearing?”
“It’s the vanilla scented one.”
Kris smiled. “I love the way it smells on you. It’s my favorite.”
“I know. That’s why it’s the only one I wear anymore.”
Kris started nuzzling her throat. Janet’s breathing changed when Kris’s lips found a particularly sensitive spot at the base of her throat. Janet pulled back and claimed those lips in a hungry kiss. When they parted Kris gazed up into soft, brown eyes. She reached up and caressed Janet’s cheek.
“I want to share something with you.”
“I want you to know exactly how I feel about you.” Through the bond that had been established during their coupling, Kris touched Janet’s mind and shared her feelings directly with her newfound lover.
Janet’s eyes widened and she let out a quiet gasp as her mind was filled with the love Kris felt for her. Her heart skipped a beat as she actually felt Kris’s feelings. It was unbelievably exhilarating.
[Never doubt my love for you, my beloved.]
Her eyes closed and she basked in the absolute truth and purity of being utterly loved. Then it dawned on her that she had heard Kris’s words in her mind, but it was different from the mind-touch they’d shared before. She took a breath, opened her eyes, and looked at her.
[This isn’t is a mind-touch, is it?]
Kris nodded. [Yes, we are bonded.]
[Then you can feel my love for you as well.]
She smiled. [Yes, I can. With time and practice you’ll learn to control the level of connection we share through our bond. Your private thoughts will remain private unless you wish it otherwise. But there will always be an awareness of each other.]
[So I am your…]
[My beloved… my Janet… my mate.] Tears of joy filled her eyes and she let all the love and joy she felt flow through their bond… and felt it returned in full. [And by the traditions and laws of my homeworld – my wife.]
They both smiled and shed a few joyful tears as they started kissing. Kris untied Janet’s robe, slid her hands inside, resting them on Janet’s hips, and pulled her closer. She ran her hands up Janet’s sides as she rained her neck and throat with kisses, focusing on the sensitive pulse point she’d found earlier. Kris’s hands cupped her breasts, thumbs lightly teasing her erect nipples.
“Mmmm… I still need you.”
“I’m right here, my love.”
Kris kissed her way down to Janet’s breasts and took a nipple in the moist heat of her mouth. Janet let out a pleasurable moan as she suckled. After a couple of minutes they kissed again, deeply. When they had to part due to a lack of oxygen Kris laid her head back on the couch for a few moments as she panted.
“Let’s get a little more comfortable.”
In a matter of seconds they had all the couch cushions and pillows on the floor in front of the fireplace. Added to that was the fleece blanket always kept on the couch and they were quite comfortably stretched out. Janet was on her back and Kris was lying on top of her. They had already shed their robes. Kris kissed, licked, and nipped her way down to her breasts and latched onto one of her nipples again. Janet moaned and her hips began to rock of their own volition. After a couple of minutes Kris kissed her way back up as her hand trailed down and along a shapely thigh.
She lifted her head and gazed down into Janet’s eyes. “I won’t lose control this time… I’m beyond that point now.”
“It’s alright if–” Janet’s voice hitched as questing fingers discovered how wet she was, “you do.” Her eyes closed in pleasure as fingertips lightly ran up and down wet folds a few times then circled her clit. Her eyes opened when Kris withdrew her hand. “Please… don’t stop…”
“Shhh… don’t worry. We’re just starting, my love.” She kissed Janet tenderly. “There’s more to the visvium than…” Her eyes closed as her voice trailed off, shame at her earlier behavior filling her.
Janet reached up and took Kris’s face in both her hands. “Shhh… it’s okay.” She pulled Kris down into a kiss.
“There are benefits to the bonding.” [A true blending: physically, emotionally, psychically. To be as one…]
The connection they shared was once again expanded as they began to slowly explore each other’s bodies and discover what made them moan and whimper with want and need. The pleasure experienced was intensified by the fact that these sensations now were shared through their bond… touching and being touched, kissing and being kissed, licking and being licked, penetrating and being penetrated… physically and mentally all melded into an exquisitely mind-blowing experience.
Eventually, they drifted to sleep in an exhausted and sweaty tangle of limbs.
It was morning when they woke. After some languid lovemaking and a joint shower – which turned into some more lovemaking – they finally got dressed. Kris contacted Chuzu at the school and arranged for him to take over all her classes for a few days. Janet, of course, was already scheduled off for a few days. Since it was a beautiful day out, a day that matched the way they felt on the inside, they decided to go out for lunch.
After lunch they went to the central building to the registrar’s office. They filled out the paperwork and then got into line. Fortunately the line wasn’t very long and it was soon their turn. They handed over their paperwork.
“What name do wish to have on the marriage certificate?”
The man nodded and entered the information. He then looked at Kris. “And what name do you want on the certificate?”
Janet’s head snapped around in shock. “Kris, are you sure?”
Kris smiled at her. “Yes.” She reached up and tenderly caressed Janet’s cheek. “I’m very sure.”
The clerk finished. “Sign here,” he instructed.
They signed their names and were sent on their way with their certified copy of their marriage certificate.
They walked through the park, hand in hand and with wide smiles, stopping frequently to kiss.
Janet chuckled after they came up for air. “I feel as giddy as a teenager.”
“So do I, and it’s been a lot longer for me since I was a teenager than it’s been for you.”
As she carded her fingers through short, dark hair Janet gazed into Kris’s eyes, smiled and then pulled her in for another kiss. “Mmmm… Kris?” she murmured around their kiss.
“Take me home… and make love to me.”
Sometime the next morning they were cuddling on the couch, naked with just the fleece blanket tossed over them. Kris was leaning back into the corner of the couch with Janet’s body curled into hers. She kissed the top of the head that was tucked under her chin and continued to run her fingers through the soft, brown hair.
“I know everything has happened so quickly–”
“Not so quickly.”
“I’ve been in love with you for a while.”
“And just when were you going to make your feelings known to me?” Kris asked.
Janet chuckled at having her own question turned back on herself. “It just took me a while to get up the courage to say anything.”
Kris gave her a squeeze.
“I was afraid you didn’t feel the same way, and I was afraid of hurting our friendship.”
“I know exactly what you mean. I’m glad you were braver than I was.”
Janet tilted her head back so she could look up into Kris’s eyes, she brought her hand up to caress her wife’s cheek before their lips met in a kiss. She readjusted back into place after the kiss.
“Anyway… what I was going to say was, with everything happening the way it did, because of the visvium, we kind of skipped the whole dating and courtship and wedding bit. We basically went from ‘I love you’ to married all in one fell swoop.” Kris could feel Janet’s concern growing as she talked. She shifted a little so she could look down into her soft, brown eyes. “And no, I have no doubts or regrets. I love you, Janet, and I want to spend the rest of my life showing you how much.” [Don’t ever forget this,] she added through their bond with all the emotional force behind it.
“I just don’t want you to ever feel like you’ve missed out on anything.”
“Like what?” she asked, confused.
Kris smiled. “Like a wedding.”
Janet still looked a little confused.
“You know, an event you plan, invite friends to, have a reception afterwards, and celebrate.”
She swatted Kris’s arm. “I know what a wedding is, smart ass.” She paused. “Honey, I don’t require some ceremony to make me feel any more married to you than I already do. I had all that when I married my ex-husband. But I realize we come from different worlds. I want to give you whatever your customs or heritage would call for.”
Kris let out a soft chuff of amusement. “I have such a mixed heritage,” she said with a smile. “But we’ve already bonded, and as is the custom on my homeworld, such things are always done in private. However, there is one tradition from our common heritage that I wouldn’t mind though.”
Janet smiled widely and nodded. “I’d like that, too.”
“We can go looking after lunch at the café.”
“But that means getting up and getting dressed,” Janet said as she snuggled up tighter against Kris.
Kris chuckled and kissed Janet’s forehead. “True, but then I’ll get to undress you all over again.”
Janet didn’t move… or rather she didn’t move to get up. She cupped Kris’s breast, lightly teasing the nipple. “I like having you already undressed,” she said with mischievousness in her tone of voice.
“Don’t you need some fresh air and something to eat?”
She looked up into ebony eyes. “I have everything I need right here,” she said softly, before their lips met in another deep kiss.
They finally got up from the couch. Once they were dressed they headed out to the nearby café and enjoyed a nice lunch. They then went shopping for their wedding rings. Since there were so many different cultures and races represented on Jidiri, there was a wide selection of types and styles of wedding rings, and their equivalents, available in the local jewelry shops. Janet and Kris had looked in two of the three closest shops and were both feeling a bit overwhelmed by some of the garishness of some of the selections.
They were both relieved to find the third shop catered to the less flamboyant population of the planet. The gentleman who waited on them, Teshen, was very nice and patient as they took their time. A lot of the rings contained gem stones set in different metals. While they were all quite beautiful, none of them seemed to be quite right. Teshen sensed they could use a few moments alone and stepped away.
“What do you think, Janet?”
“They’re all quite beautiful.”
“Is there one that you particularly like?”
Janet hesitated. “What about you? Which one do you like?”
“I agree, they are all quite beautiful.”
“But, I don’t think our rings are among them.”
Janet gave her a smile. “I don’t think so either.”
“I was thinking perhaps something more–”
Kris smiled and nodded.
“Just a simple band; something that I wouldn’t have to remove for any reason, even at work,” Janet said.
Teshen, seeing both women nod, assumed they’d come to a decision and again approached. “So, have you two decided on which rings you would like?”
“Actually, these are all beautiful, but what we’re looking for isn’t here,” Kris said. “But we’re hoping you can still help us.”
“What we want is something very basic, with no stones or fancy carvings. You see, Janet is a doctor and she needs something that won’t catch on anything or scratch anyone, so she won’t have to remove it while at work. And I teach over at the martial arts school.”
Teshen smiled. “I understand. Do you have a preference in the metal they’re made out of?”
“Something strong, to represent our bond,” Janet answered.
Kris and Teshen both smiled at her answer.
“We can make the bands out of any metal, but the strongest metal available would ventinium. It is available in both a silver and a gold tone.”
“How about both?” Kris asked.
“That would be perfect!” Janet agreed.
“Alright. All we need to do is get your sizes, and have you pick out the width and style of band you want. It’s early and we don’t have any other special orders, so we should have them done for you tomorrow,” Teshen informed them with a smile.
The next day Janet and Kris excitedly made their way to the jewelry story to pick up their rings. Teshen smiled as they entered the store.
“Good afternoon, ladies.” He reached under the counter and pulled out a small velvet box. “I have your rings right here.” He opened the box and showed them the two rings sitting side by side within. They were perfect.
Teshen took them out of the velvet box and gently laid one in each of their palms. He had knowingly placed Janet’s ring in Kris’s palm and Kris’s ring in Janet’s palm. They smiled as they slipped the rings on each other’s finger. They gazed into each other’s eyes and then kissed.
They couldn’t stop smiling all the way home. When they got back to the house, Kris stopped Janet from going inside.
“What?” Janet asked.
“I should have done this before.”
Kris scooped her up in her arms and carried her inside. “Carried you over the threshold,” she said with a grin.”
They both chuckled as Kris sat down on the couch with Janet still in her arms.
Janet held up her left hand and admired her new wedding ring.
“So you like it?” Kris asked.
“I love it; it’s perfect.” She cupped Kris’s cheek. “I’ve never been happier,” she said before kissing her.
After they picked up their rings Janet and Kris decided to invite their closest friends, Taran and Delsie, over for dinner. They were looking forward to telling their friends about the change in their relationship.
When Taran and Delsie came over they brought their daughter Layla, who was only a few months old. While Janet was in the kitchen checking on dinner Layla let it be known that she wanted her dinner immediately. Kris was holding the baby when she threw her fit.
“Sorry, Kris, don’t take it personally,” Taran said.
Kris smiled. “I don’t.” She smiled down at the crying baby in her arms. “I understand, Layla. When you’re hungry, you’re hungry.”
Taran took Layla from Kris and began to breast feed.
Janet came back from the kitchen. “Well our dinner will be ready probably about the time Layla is done with hers,” she said with a smile. “So, have you two been getting any more sleep lately?” she asked.
Taran and Delsie both smiled and nodded. “Yes, thank goodness. She’s starting to sleep more than two hours at a time,” Taran replied.
“Yeah. I thought Taran was going to break something walking into walls all the time,” commented Delsie.
“Ha, ha. Very funny. Just remember, you’re having the next one.”
Kris chuckled and received a playfully cross look from Taran. Kris held her hands up in surrender. “Hey, don’t look at me, Taran; I didn’t get you pregnant.”
That made Janet laugh – which earned her a dirty look of her own. She, too, held her hands up in surrender. “Hey, I don’t make babies, I only deliver them. My own was 12 when I adopted her. I didn’t get you pregnant either.” She paused when Taran gave her a dumbfounded look. She dropped her hands and her expression changed as she reconsidered her statement. “Well, I guess I did get you pregnant… but you asked me to.”
Delsie grinned. “She’s got you there, Taran.”
Taran smiled as she looked down at Layla suckling. She looked back up at Janet. “Thank you, Janet.”
“You’re most welcome.”
As soon as Layla was done with her dinner she was put down for a nap. The four women then enjoyed their own dinner. Afterwards the table was quickly cleared and some music was put on while they relaxed in the living room. Taran and Delsie sat on the couch while Janet sat in the overstuffed chair.
“Kris, I noticed you weren’t at the school the last few days,” said Taran. “And Chuzu said he thought you weren’t feeling the best before you arranged to take some time off. You okay?” she asked.
Kris smiled as she sat down on the floor in front of Janet. “I was feeling a little under the weather, but I’m fine now. The advantage of living with a doctor – or at least this particular doctor,” she said with a chuckle.
Delsie gave both Kris and Janet a hard look. She noticed how Kris was leaning against Janet’s leg and the way they were both smiling. “Alright, what’s going on?” she asked.
Just then Layla woke up. She also let it be known it was time to change her diapers. Taran grabbed the diaper bag and handed it to Delsie. “Your turn.”
Delsie spread out a blanket on the floor and put Layla down on it. After changing her Delsie sat back up on the couch still holding the baby. She gave Janet and Kris another look. “I’m still waiting for an answer, you two.”
“An answer about what?” asked Taran.
“Just look at them. They’re up to something, Taran.”
Taran looked at the pair. “Hell, they’ve been living together over two years. Maybe they finally figured out what we’ve known all along – that they should be dating each other instead of other people,” she said flippantly as she took the baby from Delsie.
Both Janet and Kris blushed at Taran’s friendly nagging. Both Taran and Delsie had been anything but subtle in expressing their opinions of Kris and Janet’s choices of dates in the past. Delsie saw their blushes.
“Oh, my god! That’s it, isn’t it? You’re finally dating each other.”
Taran’s head snapped up to see both Janet and Kris smiling. Her jaw dropped. “Damn, and I was only joking.”
Kris chuckled. “Well, you’re half right, anyway,” she said with a smile.
“What do you mean half right?” Delsie asked.
“Well, we figured out we love each other and belong together, but we’re not dating.”
Delsie and Taran looked confused.”
“We’re married,” Janet explained.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Taran.
They both held up their left hand and waggled their fingers to show off their wedding bands.
“No joke,” Kris said. “You’re looking at a bona fide married couple.”
“Just the other day,” answered Janet.
“And we didn’t even get invited,” grumbled Delsie.
“No one did, Delsie. It wasn’t planned. It just… sort of happened. You two are the first ones we’ve told. It’s the whole reason we invited you over tonight.”
“Damn. There goes our reliable babysitters,” Delsie said with a smirk.
“What do you mean?” asked Taran.
“Think about it. They’re newlyweds; they’d rather have an evening alone together than with a baby to care for,” she said with humor in her voice.
“I guess you have a point.”
[Hmm, she does have a point.]
A wave of desire tickled Kris’s senses. [Hold that thought until after they leave.]
“Don’t worry, we’ll still be glad to watch Layla occasionally. Can’t have you falling to pieces at work, Delsie. The clinic needs you in top shape,” Janet said. “What would we do without you in admin to make sure everything runs smoothly?”
“Wait one minute!” Taran said suddenly. The other three women looked at her and she pinned Janet with a look. “Look, I love you both, and I know we’ve given you a hard time about some of the choices you’ve made when it comes to some of the dates you’ve gone out with.” She paused. “I also haven’t forgotten how wicked your sense of humor can be, Janet. I remember how you kept a perfectly straight face when you told me I was pregnant with twins!” She moved her gaze to Kris. “And I wouldn’t put it past you, Kris, to try to pull one over on us either. So, until I see some proof, and I don’t mean just a couple of rings, I’m not falling for it. I want to see a marriage certificate with names of Janet Fraiser and Kris Kay on it before I’m convinced this isn’t a joke.”
Kris chuckled as she got up off of the floor. “Janet, I warned you that your sense of humor was going to get the best of you one these days.”
“I guess you were right.”
Kris left the room, retrieved their marriage certificate from the other room, and returned. “Taran, considering everything, I understand why you’re skeptical. And you’re right – I can’t provide you with a marriage certificate with the names Kris Kay and Janet Fraiser on it.”
“Damn, you guys really had me going!” said Delsie.
“I’m going to get you for this – especially you, Janet!” warned Taran.
“Before you do, check this out,” Kris said and handed the certificate to Delsie since Taran was holding Layla. She then sat on the arm of the chair Janet was sitting in and put her arm around her shoulders.
The couple immediately recognized the certificate for what it was. They quickly looked at the names on the form which Delsie read out loud. “Janet Fraiser and Kris Frasier?” They both looked up at the newlywed couple and smiled.
“So it is for real!” exclaimed Taran.
“You better believe it,” Janet said with a grin.
Janet rushed home from work. She wanted to surprise her wife with all of her favorite things for dinner. She had hoped to get off early, but an injured patient had prevented her escape. She stopped by the café on the way home and picked up dinner for two. If she hurried she should have time for a shower before Kris got home.
Janet came to an immediate stop when she entered the house through the front door. The interior was lit entirely with candles. Standing in the middle of the living room, wearing nothing but a silk robe, was her wife.
Kris smiled. “Happy anniversary, love.”
Janet returned her smile. “Happy anniversary.” On her way across the room she set her package down on the coffee table. She then wrapped her arms around her wife and they kissed, deeply. They parted only when oxygen became an issue. “Mmmm… I didn’t think you’d be home this early.”
“I took half a day off; I wanted to surprise you. I picked up your favorite dinner from the café and I’ve already drawn a hot bath for you.”
Janet let out a chuckle. “Great minds think alike – I picked up dinner on the way home, too.”
“Then we certainly won’t go hungry. Go on and take your bath; I’ll take care of the food.”
“But I’d be much happier if you joined me in the bath.”
“You would, huh?”
“Yes, I would.”
“Alright. I’ll join you as soon as I take care of the food.”
“Don’t take too long.”
With a kiss Janet headed into their bedroom. Kris put the food up, retrieved a bottle of wine and a couple of wineglasses, and then joined Janet in the bathroom.
“Hey, you got room in there for me?”
Janet looked up and smiled at her wife. “I sure do.” Janet scooted forward so Kris could slip in behind her. She leaned back into her wife’s embrace. “Mmmm, this is nice.”
“Yes, it is.” Kris began to nuzzle the side of Janet’s neck.
The doctor tilted her head to give Kris better access and let out a soft moan when a knowing hand captured her breast and teased her hardening nipple. [You know I love you, right?]
[Mm hmm. I feel it… but I’d know it even if we weren’t bonded, because you show me every day. You’re my beloved and I love you with all my heart.]
Janet gasped as deft fingers slid down through her curls and caressed her slick folds. It didn’t take long before Kris’s touch brought her to an orgasm. She slumped in her wife’s arms afterwards.
“You ready to get out?”
“I don’t think I can move.”
“I guess it’s a good thing I brought the wine then,” Kris said with a chuckle. She reached for the wine and poured them each a glass.
That night after making love, Kris lay with her head on Janet’s chest, listening to her heart as it slowly returned to its normal pace. Janet slowly carded her fingers through her wife’s hair.
“I love you so much.”
“I love you too, Janet.”
The doctor took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
“I didn’t say anything.”
“No, but you have something on your mind.”
Janet remained silent.
Kris lifted up her head and looked at her wife. She shifted to lie on her side next to Janet, reaching out and caressing her cheek. “What is it, love?”
“I’ve been thinking about something lately.” She paused for a long moment. “Have you ever thought about having children?”
Kris took a moment to gather her thoughts. “While I’ve never felt a strong urge to have a child, it was something Lena and I discussed on more than one occasion. With my career it was never a viable option for me – you don’t exactly go undercover in special ops pregnant. And, neither of us were comfortable with the idea as long we were in deep space. When Lena accepted promotion to admiral we decided that it would be best to wait until we got settled before attempting to raise a family. I think we both knew subconsciously that it was a mistake for her to accept promotion to admiral and that’s why we put off having a baby. In fact, if we hadn’t crashed, Lena was going to notify Allied Fleet when we returned from our vacation that she wanted to step down and command a ship again. We were going to go back into deep space. So, the decision for us was not to have children.” She paused and gazed into Janet’s eyes. “So this is what’s been on your mind lately?”
Janet nodded. “It may be because of the number of patients I’ve assisted lately, but yes, I’ve been thinking about it. I adopted Cassandra when she was 12. Sam was a help, but she was not around a lot of the time because of her duties with SG-1. She was my best friend but not my spouse. We weren’t even lovers until just a couple of months before I ended up here on Jidiri.” She paused. “I’m not saying I need for us to have a baby to make me feel complete or anything. And if you’re not comfortable with the idea it’s okay. Believe me; I’ve never been happier than I am with you.” She leaned in and gently kissed Kris. “There’s a part of me that would certainly like to have your child. You’re the only person I’ve ever felt that way about,” she said softly.
Kris wrapped her arms around Janet and held her close. [My beloved.] She kissed her long and tenderly. Afterwards she gazed into Janet’s soft brown eyes again. “I’m not sure how good of a parent I’ll be, but if they can make our DNA compatible and having a baby is something you want, then I’ll take mommy lessons from you,” she said with a smile. Her mind was flooded with Janet’s joy.
Janet and Kris ended up going to see Dr. Lettie Boson, who specialized in difficult reproductive cases. There had been some difficulty making their DNA compatible due to the fact Kris was only part Human. Eventually they were finally able to fertilize a number of Janet’s ova – they used Janet’s ova since Kris didn’t have any – with their combined DNA. Then it came time implant an embryo.
Unfortunately Janet miscarried after only a month. The same thing happened with the second and third attempts as well. The fourth time she made it to nine weeks. Her body apparently kept rejecting the fetus because of the alien DNA from Kris. So, it was decided that Kris would try to carry the baby. However, that was not without its challenges either.
Since Kris didn’t have any functioning ovaries and no period, her body was not prepared for pregnancy. It had to be tricked into thinking it was fertile and the lining of her uterus had to be stimulated. She underwent daily injections until her body was ready for the embryo.
She miscarried at 11 weeks.
When the final fertilized egg was implanted the doctor gave them a one in ten chance of the pregnancy going to term.
To celebrate their three-year wedding anniversary Janet and Kris joined Taran and Delsie and went to one of the concerts in the park. Delsie, who was almost nine months pregnant, was enjoying having her achy lower back rubbed by her wife Taran. Janet was leaning against a tree and Kris was sitting between Janet’s legs, leaning back against her. The doctor’s left arm rested lightly around her wife while her right hand was discretely slipped underneath Kris’s shirt and rested on her belly.
Delsie looked over at them and smiled. “So tell us, Janet, when are you and Kris going to have a go at raising one of your own?”
Janet gave her wife a gentle squeeze. “I already have a grown daughter, Cassie, on my homeworld.”
“And?” prompted Taran.
“Well, we’ve discussed the possibility, but we’ll see. There’s been some difficulty making our DNA compatible. We’ve decided that if it’s meant to work out it will, if not, it won’t. Either way, I’m sure those twins of yours will give us all plenty enough to do,” Janet said with a smile.
“Yeah, like Layla doesn’t already have us in a tizzy,” Taran replied.
“Well, it’s called the terrible twos for a reason. But don’t worry, she’s three now. At least we can send Layla and the twins back to their mommies when we’re ready for some alone time,” Kris said with a laugh. She turned her head to look up at her wife. Through their bond they both felt their love shared and magnified in return.
Janet lowered her head and gently captured her wife’s lips with own.
Delsie spoke quietly. “I’ve never seen two people more in love than you two.”
Janet and Kris blushed as they came back to the moment and looked at Taran and Delsie. “Sorry,” they said in unison.
“No, no, don’t apologize,” Taran said. “You’re an inspiration to be around – the way you two love each other.”
Delsie chuckled. “Yep. And I don’t think we’re going to be able to rely on them too often as babysitters.”
All four women laughed.
The music started and Kris felt Janet’s hand gently caress her belly. She was over four months pregnant but the loose clothing she wore concealed her growing baby bump.
“I love you,” Janet whispered in Kris’s ear.
“I love you, too.”
About halfway through the concert Delsie let out a yelp.
“What’s wrong?” asked Taran.
“I don’t know. I felt something,” she said with an alarmed look on her face.
Janet immediately went into ‘doctor mode’ and took charge. She took hold of Delsie’s wrist and checked her pulse. “Was it a contraction, Delsie?”
“I’m not sure.”
“That’s okay. I want you to keep breathing slowly for me.” Janet felt around Delsie’s distended abdomen.
Delsie winced again.
“Janet?” Taran asked.
“I can’t really tell anything here. Let’s get Delsie to the clinic where I can do a proper examination.”
Taran started gathering everything up.
Kris turned to Janet. “Why don’t you go on ahead and get everything ready at the clinic. I’ll bring Delsie.”
Janet nodded in agreement and left immediately. Once Taran had everything together Kris picked Delsie up in her arms and carried her.
In another part of the park Cayden was sitting with the four members of SG-1. He noticed Kris carrying Delsie out of the park. “Oh! It appears we may have yet another arrival this evening.”
“What do you mean?” Major Carter asked.
He pointed to the three women leaving the park. It was obvious even from a distance that the one being carried was very pregnant.
“Oh. Do you think they need any assistance?” Sam asked.
“No, no. Their friend obviously has things well in hand. She’s undoubtedly taking them to see her wife – one of our best doctors.”
“Her wife?” asked Colonel O’Neill.
Sam smiled to herself as did Daniel Jackson, but it was Teal’c who spoke. “Have you not noticed, O’Neill? There are many couples here both of the same gender as well as the opposite gender.”
Jack took a look around and saw male/female couples, male/male couples, and female/female couples. “No, I guess I hadn’t noticed.” He fixed Teal’c and Daniel with a look. “Just don’t get any ideas – I’m not interested.” He paused. “Well, I might be interested in watching some of the female couples,” he added with a leer.
“I have never understood why so many of the Tau’ri have trouble accepting same gender couples,” observed Teal’c.
“Neither have I, Teal’c,” agreed Daniel.
“I don’t see the problem either,” added Sam.
Jack looked at his team. “Well, I don’t have anything personally against anyone who’s gay. It’s just doesn’t seem… natural.”
“To you,” pointed out Sam.
“Well, we were made different for a reason, weren’t we? Take babies for instance. Those two women still had to have the assistance of a man to have that baby, didn’t they?”
Cayden was the one answer his question. “Actually, no. Taran and Delsie are the sole genetic parents of their children.”
“How?” Sam asked.
“DNA is taken from both women, combined and then used to fertilize an egg, which is then implanted in the woman who will carry it to term.”
“You’re talking about parthenogenesis.”
“Sir, it’s just like he described. By splicing together the DNA of the two women they don’t need a man to have a baby.”
The same can be done for male couples. However, a surrogate mother would be needed to carry the fetus to term,” Cayden explained.
Janet was ready when Kris and Taran arrived at the clinic with Delsie. Kris gently set Delsie down on the exam table before leaving the room. Janet examined the woman and determined that she had simply experienced some false labor. However, Janet did think it was best to play it safe and admit Delsie anyway. Taran stayed with Delsie for a while before going to pick up Layla from the babysitter and going home. Janet and Kris went home, but Janet left instructions for her to be contacted if Delsie went into labor or if anything else came up. It was a short walk to their home.
That night, after making love, Kris watched Janet sleep for awhile. Then she slipped out of bed and stood at the window looking out. After awhile she felt Janet slip her arms around her from behind.
Janet rested her chin on Kris’s shoulder. “Something interesting out there?”
“Don’t see anything.”
Kris took a deep breath and let it out. “I don’t know. I just have this feeling… I can’t put my finger on it.”
“Could it be you’re worried about Delsie and the twins?”
Kris took another deep breath. “I suppose it could be that.”
Janet kissed her wife’s shoulder. “But it’s not, is it?”
The doctor placed her hand over Kris’s growing belly. “Are you worried about our baby?”
Kris placed her hand over her wife’s. “Always,” she confessed. Suddenly she let out a small gasp.
“What is it?”
“She’s moving!” Kris quickly turned in her wife’s arms and mind-touched with her. Through the deep mind-touch Janet was able to actually experience the sensation first hand. Once the baby settled down Kris ended the mind-touch.
Janet stared into her wife’s eyes. “That was incredible! It was like I felt it in my own body. Thank you.” There were tears in her eyes. “Will you share other moments with me?”
Kris smiled. “Of course. Just remember you asked for it when I’m in labor.”
The doctor chuckled. “Okay. Come on, let’s go back to bed.” She led Kris back to bed and held her close. “You’re still unsettled, aren’t you?”
Kris took a deep breath and slowly let it out before answering. “I just have this feeling that’s hard to describe. Despite the ups and downs we’ve experienced trying to have a child, everything here has been, and is, so peaceful and tranquil. In fact, I can’t think of a better place to raise a child.”
“So what’s bothering you?”
“The only way I can describe it is to compare it to the flat surface of a lake. It feels like someone has tossed some stones into it… made some ripples. I just sense… something… a disturbance.”
Janet didn’t dismiss her wife’s feeling or belittle it. “Well, if there is something amiss, you’ll be better able to deal with it after you’ve had a good night’s sleep.”
The next day Kris had an appointment with Dr. Boson. Janet, of course, went with her. The doctor was pleased that the pregnancy had progressed to the four and half months and was becoming cautiously optimistic.
“Have you had anymore contractions, pain, fever or dizziness?”
“Not since the last incident I told you about.”
“That’s good. Your blood tests still show an elevated white blood cell count, as well as an elevated antibody level that’s continuing to increase.”
Kris looked Janet worriedly.
“Your body is still not fully accepting the fact that you’re pregnant, and it’s fighting against the pregnancy like it’s an infection,” Janet explained.
Dr. Boson nodded in agreement. “The fact that you seem to have some control over your body is the only reason you’ve progressed this far with the pregnancy. From now on I want to keep a much closer watch on your blood work. I want to see you twice a week and I want you to get as much rest as possible. I’m not putting you on bed rest, but I want you to cut any strenuous physical activities. If you have any contractions, pain, fever, or dizziness I want you to come to the clinic and have me contacted immediately.”