Sometime later rescue teams converged over the position. They broke through the snow and some of them were lowered down into the cavern. They immediately saw the poncho. When they pulled it back they found the two women, unconscious in the sleeping bag.
“McMurdo, this is rescue team Charlie. We found them! Over.”
They got Sam and Janet out of the cubbyhole. Dr. Warner gave them a quick check, then they were loaded into stokes baskets.
“Dr. Fraiser. Dr. Fraiser, we are here.”
Janet slowly opened her eyes to see Teal’c.
“It is going to be alright. You are going to be okay, Dr Fraiser,” he reassured her. “As is Captain Carter,” he added.
“Let’s get them in the chopper,” ordered Hammond.
“Sam... she’s bleeding... internally...”
“We know, Doctor. Don’t worry, she’s going to be alright,” the general assured her gently.
“General, you came through the gate for us...”
He smiled down at her. “Not exactly, Doctor.” He addressed the rescue team. “A team from the SGC will be coming within the hour to secure this area. In the meantime, let’s get these people home.”
Sam and Janet were hoisted up into a chopper and flown to McMurdo. Hammond took a last look at the icy stargate before he left the cavern.
Once they were at McMurdo Dr. Warner x-rayed Janet’s ankle. It wasn’t broken, but it was severely sprained; it would take several weeks to heal. She was going to be on crutches for quite a while. An ultrasound showed that the internal bleeding due to Sam’s broken ribs had stopped, so he just concentrated on treating the hypothermia they were both suffering from. Once they were stabilized, per the general’s request, they were on their way back to the SGC.
Janet wasn’t too pleased to be a patient in her own infirmary. Andrea, her head nurse, put another blanket over her.
“What are Sam’s latest vitals?” Janet asked her.
Andrea raised an eyebrow at her. “You’re not on duty. In case you haven’t noticed, you’re a patient.”
“I’m still the Chief Medical Officer of this facility, and Captain Carter’s physician.”
“Which is why I have her chart for you,” said Dr Warner as he entered her curtained area. “But only if you behave yourself.”
She quickly snatched the chart from his hand and started going through it. “Her temperature is still lower than I’d like at this point.”
“I agree. We have her on standard warm IV 50% dextrose at 20ml, and moist air. I also have her in a Hiebler jacket to help raise her core temperature.”
“It says here she hasn’t regained consciousness yet.”
He let out a deep breath. “No, she hasn’t.”
“You did an MRI?”
Warner handed her another folder. Janet pulled out the scan and held it up to the light.
“I don’t see anything.”
“I didn’t find anything either.”
“I need to see her.” She started to throw her covers aside.
“Wait just a minute. I let you see her chart on the condition that you behave.”
“I still need to see her,” she insisted. “So unless you plan on placing me in restraints, I suggest you tell me where she is, now.”
“You know that can be arranged, Doctor,” warned Andrea.
Warner shook his head. He knew just how stubborn his boss could be. “So help me, if you overdo it and don’t get your ankle back into an elevated position in less than five minutes, I’ll take that splint off and replace it with a full cast,” he warned her. He pulled back the curtain separating their beds. He handed Janet his stethoscope and indicated for Andrea to follow him out.
Janet used her crutches to approach the side of Sam’s bed. Despite the monitors she took her pulse and listened to her heart and lungs. Janet then leaned down and whispered in her ear. “Sam, we made it. We’re back at the SGC. But I need you to fight. I need to you to come back to me now.” She paused as she ran her fingers through her golden hair a couple times. “I love you.” She tenderly kissed Sam’s forehead before heading back to her own bed.
Janet was in the process of getting herself situated when Andrea and Dr Warner came back to make sure she was living up to her end of the agreement. She then got them to move Sam’s monitors so that she could keep an eye on them. This also meant moving Sam’s bed closer to hers. By the time they got all that done to her satisfaction it was clear that SG-1 could no longer be held off from visiting, to satisfy their own desire to see the women with their own eyes and make sure they were alright.
Daniel was on crutches and Jack was confined to a wheelchair for his brief release from his own bed. His back wasn’t broken, but it had been badly bruised. As soon as they made sure Janet was going to be okay, and Sam was being well looked after, they were finally shooed away.
Sam finally woke up – from a nightmare. “Janet!” she called out hoarsely.
Janet didn’t hesitate to get up from her bed and go over to the blonde’s. “I’m right here.” She took Sam’s hand in one of hers and ran her fingers through her hair with the other one. It took Sam a moment to focus on her. Janet smiled at her when she did. “Hey. Welcome back.”
The doctor squeezed her hand and nodded. “Yes. I’m fine. Been worried about you though. You’ve been unconscious for a long time.”
“Sorry,” she said quietly.
“It’s okay. How do you feel?”
The captain took a moment to take inventory. “Ribs seem better. Shoulder aches. Headache, and I’m cold.”
Janet nodded. “We’re still trying to get your core body temperature back to normal.”
“I’m glad you’re okay.”
“I’m a lot better now that I know you’re going to be alright.”
“I probably shouldn’t be, but I’m tired.”
“It’s okay, get some sleep. I’ll be right here if you need me.” Janet kissed her forehead and Sam closed her eyes.
Sam slept fitfully and kept waking up – each time calling out for Janet. Each time she would be there to assure Sam she was safe and sound.
Dr. Warner came to check on them while Janet happened to be up and next to Sam’s bed as she started to toss and turn in her sleep.
“Doctor, you really should have your ankle up and elevated. If I can’t get you to stay put, I’ll strap you down to that bed of yours.”
“Fine,” she snapped. “I’ll keep it elevated.” She sat on the side of Sam’s bed and then swung her legs up. She settled herself sitting up next to the blonde. “But you’re not keeping me from my patient.”
He just shook his head in the face of her stubbornness and walked away.
When Sam woke up the next time, she was surprised to find that her head was in the doctor’s lap and Janet was running the fingers of one hand through her hair while gently rubbing her back with the other. She was softly repeating quiet reassurances.
“I’m right here, Sam.”
She took a slow deep breath. The head of her bed was elevated and Janet was leaning against it. “I’m sorry, I keep waking you.”
“It’s alright. It’s not unusual to have nightmares after a trauma.” Janet paused. “Will you tell me about them?” she asked quietly.
Sam hesitated. “As my doctor?”
The doctor’s hands paused momentarily in their comforting movements. “No. I ask as your friend.”
Sam sensed her disappointment that she felt the need to ask. She took another deep breath.
“You don’t have to tell me, Sam.”
“It’s always the same. Because I failed... you didn’t make it...” She closed her blue eyes in an effort to hold back the tears that threatened to spill.
“Come here,” Janet said softly, urging the blonde sit up next to her.
Sam sat up next to her but stared at her lap.
“Hey, look at me.” Janet took the blonde’s face in her hands and gently turned it to face her. “You did not fail. If not for you, and your actions, they would never have found us.”
“I never got it to work.”
“No one could have.” She could tell from Sam’s expression that she didn’t understand. She gave her a gentle smile. “You figured out the seventh symbol. You kept trying as long as you were physically able. That made it possible for them to track our location. The gate we came out of was here on Earth – in the Antarctic. So no matter how many times you dialed home, it would have never worked. But because you didn’t give up, they were able to track down our location through the seismic signature of the gate.” Janet paused to let what she said sink in. She let go of Sam’s face and embraced her. The blonde returned the embrace. “You see? You didn’t fail. You saved my life.” Janet kissed her cheek as she pulled back.
Sam’s emotions were in chaos. She felt very off kilter.
The doctor reached over to the table and picked up her penlight. “Now, as long as you’re awake...”
The blonde rolled her eyes and gave her a small smirk.
Janet got to use her penlight, stethoscope and thermometer, even though the captain was still hooked up to the monitors.
“Do you usually examine a patient while sharing their bed?” Sam asked with humorous smirk.
“I normally don’t share a bed with anyone, much less a patient. But–”
“But it was either plant her little butt on your bed and elevate her ankle, or get strapped down to her own bed to keep her from getting up all the time to check on you,” said Andrea as she came in with some medication for Janet.
Janet swallowed her medication and gave Andrea a dirty look. “That’s enough from the peanut gallery. Just remember I’m still your boss. You could end up working graveyards for a month, Andy.”
“Yeah, yeah. Down here underground, what difference would that make?” Andrea quipped with a good-natured grin – knowing Janet would never carry out her threat.
After Andrea left Sam looked at Janet. “How soon can I get out of here?”
“Well, technically, Dr. Warner is the one who will have to release you since I’m actually a patient.”
Andrea came back. “Let’s get you situated back in your own bed, Doctor.”
Janet just kind of looked at Andrea as she very gently removed the pillows from under her ankle. When Andrea slipped her arm around Janet’s waist to help her out of Sam’s bed and put Janet’s arm over her shoulders, she quietly explained, “The general’s on his way down with Cassandra to see you. Not to mention the fact that Dr. Warner is having trouble keeping SG-1 from storming their way in here.”
“I see. Thank you, Andy.”
Once Janet was settled, Andrea pulled back their curtains to allow visitors. First to arrive were Cassie and the general. Cassie hugged Janet and then surprised Sam with a big hug.
“I’m so glad to see you’re going to be okay, Sam!”
“Thank you, Cassie.”
“As am I,” said General Hammond. “It’s good to see you up and doing much better.”
“Thank you, sir.”
He looked at Janet. “And I understand you’ve been giving your staff a hard time, Doctor,” he said with amusement in his voice.
“They always say doctors make the worst patients. But I think Colonel O’Neill still has me beat, sir.”
“By the way, General, I really can’t thank you enough for taking care of Cassie during all of this.”
His smile turned to a grin. “She’s been an absolute joy to have around. She and my granddaughters, Kayla and Tessa, have had a lot of fun playing together. They’ve become fast friends.”
“Oh, Mom, Grandpa George says I can go with them to the lake if it’s alright with you. Can I go?”
Janet just kind of stared at Cassie for a moment. Sam could sense her overwhelming amazement and joy. She couldn’t keep from smiling at Janet.
Not getting an answer from Janet, Cassie tried again. “Can I go, Mom?”
Janet smiled. “We’ll talk about it, sweetie. Why don’t you go visit with Colonel O’Neill for a little while?”
“Okay!” She quickly went off to go see Jack.
Sam smiled at her. “Well, that was a first.”
Janet had tears in her eyes. “Yeah,” she said with an emotion-thick voice.
The general looked at both of them. “Did I miss something?”
“Cassie – that was the first time she called Janet ‘Mom.’”
He sat on the edge of Janet’s bed and put his hand on her shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze. “I didn’t realize.”
A happy tear escaped from one of her eyes.
“When I had to tell Cassie that you were missing, she told me that she wasn’t worried. I asked her why not. She said, ‘Because SG-1 will find them, and because Mom and Sam will take care of each other until then.’” He paused. “I’m glad she was right.”
Both women nodded in agreement.
“Anyway, about this trip to the lake...”
“Yes. I’m taking my daughter and the girls to the lake and staying in a cabin there for several days. I had no idea how long the two of you were going to be here in the infirmary, or even when you got out if you’d want some time to recover before having to take care of her. So I told Cassie that if it was alright with you, she could come along.”
Janet smiled. “I’m sure she’d have a great time. When is the trip?”
“I was actually going to take the girls this afternoon.” He paused. “Do you know when you’re going to be able to go home?”
“I should be going home today.”
He looked at Sam. “And what about you, Captain?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’m inclined to let her go home today if Dr. Fraiser agrees, and they both promise to take it easy for the next two weeks,” said Dr. Warner as he quietly approached.
“There’s no reason not to release Sam today. But I think the two weeks is a little excessive, David,” said Janet.
General Hammond smiled and almost chuckled. He looked at Dr. Warner. “I think I can guarantee at least two weeks medical leave for these two.”
Dr. Warner grinned. “Then it’s settled.” He walked away knowing Janet couldn’t fight the general like she could him.
The general stood up. “In fact, I have an idea. You’re welcome to tell me if you don’t think it’s a good one. Why don’t both of you come to the lake as well. It’s absolutely beautiful there.”
Janet looked at Sam and smiled. “Actually, sir, I think that would be a good idea. But I wouldn’t want to be an imposition.”
He smiled. “I’ll call and reserve another cabin for you.”
“Thank you.” She looked over at Sam and could see the fatigue in her blue eyes that others couldn’t. “But I think it would be best if you made our reservation for tomorrow.”
Right about then a Cassie-whirlwind came flying back into the area and settled next to Janet on her bed. “So do I get to go to the lake with Grandpa George, Mom?”
Janet put her arm around Cassie’s shoulders. “I’m afraid not, honey.” Cassie was clearly disappointed. “But you and Sam and I can go to the lake tomorrow.”
Cassie’s face lit up as she smiled. “Are you serious?”
“I sure am.”
“That would be great!” They hugged.
“On that note, I’ll get back to work,” said the general. “I’ll see you all at the lake tomorrow.”
A few minutes after Hammond left, all of SG-1 showed up. Jack was definitely feeling better and it showed as he kept complaining about his treatment at the hands of the other doctors and of course the physical therapists. Janet gave him his required lecture to let him know he was going to be okay. Since Jack was going to be out of commission for several weeks, and Daniel was still on crutches, SG-1 was out of the mission rotation for the foreseeable future. Though Teal’c would be joining other teams as needed.
Daniel happily agreed to take Cassandra by the general’s to get her stuff and then meet the women at Janet’s house.
Cassie was in bed, after having been tucked in by both her mom and her hero.
Sam and Janet sat on the couch sipping hot chocolate.
Sam was nervous. But felt she needed to clarify things before she went on a vacation with Janet and Cassie. “You know...” she started hesitantly. “I misspoke when I said I wouldn’t have any regrets if we died.”
“What do you mean, Sam?”
The blonde couldn’t look at the doctor, so she stared into her mug of cocoa. “I would have regretted not telling you how I feel.”
“But you did tell me.”
Sam sighed. “Not really. I told you that I love you... I didn’t tell you... that I’ve fallen in love with you,” she all but whispered.
Janet set her mug down on the coffee table and scooted over next Sam. “Sam.” She waited until the blonde nervously looked at her. “I’m in love with you, too.” The doctor brought her hand up and tenderly cupped Sam’s cheek before slowly leaning in and pressing her lips to Sam’s.
A soft sigh escaped the captain as she responded to Janet’s soft kiss. She moved to bring her arms up and around Janet, but winced, pulling out of the kiss, when her ribs protested the movement.
Janet smiled gently. “Let’s get you to bed where you can lie down and stretch out.”
“But I want to hold you.”
“I’m not going anywhere, Sam.”