NIGHTWALKERS

by Celievamp


Title: NIGHTWALKERS

Author: Jo Raine (jo.raine@ntlworld.com)

Disclaimer: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended. X Files belongs to Chris Carter and a whole bunch of other people and again, I make nothing, intend nothing. Hell, I just showed them a good time.

Fandom: Stargate SG1, X Files

Pairing: Sam/Janet Dana Scully / Monica Reyes

Rating: R

Summary: The events of "Nightwalkers" as if it really was an X file. Sequel to "Roadrunners"

Spoilers: Nightwalkers. Anything up to that episode.

NIGHTWALKERS

Sam leant back against the car and shoved her hands in the pockets of her big coat to keep her warm. Steveston, Oregon was cold this time of year. There was nothing she could sense for definite but something was definitely wrong with this town. Jonas was right. Everyone seemed half asleep.

She straightened up as she spotted two women coming out of the Sheriff Knox's office. The tall brunette she did not recognise but the small redhead looked awfully familiar. It couldn't be her - could it? She went back in her mind to the events about eighteen months earlier when she had gone with Dr Janet Fraiser to interview an FBI agent about a possible Goa'uld incursion in Utah. Special Agent Dana Scully had made quite an impression on her. And now here she was again, in Steveston, Oregon. Sam was more certain than ever that something was going on.

"Major Carter..." It was Teal'c, Jonas in tow. "You wanted to visit the house of Dr Richard Fleming this morning."

"Yes... can you and Jonas wait for me a moment? I've just spotted someone I need to speak to."

Without waiting for his response she crossed the street and walked towards the two women. The dark haired one noticed her approach and pointed her out to Dana. Dana turned, regarded her curiously for a moment and then smiled. "Major Carter, why do I get the feeling that it's not a good thing that you're here as well?"

"I could say the same for you, Special Agent Scully. It's a small world," Sam smiled back, feeling the same frisson of pleasure that she had the first time they met. Dana looked well, no sign of any ill effects from the trauma of the previous year. Her face and figure were a little more rounded - she had put on a little weight which as far as Sam could appreciate was a good thing. The dark haired woman stepped closer, almost protective of the smaller woman then seemed to catch herself and backed off a little. Her dark eyes never left Sam's though. Sam recognised the stance and tried not to smile. She realised that she had been staring at Dana a little too long. It was exactly how she had acted around Janet the first couple of months of their relationship.

"Major Carter, can I introduce Special Agent Monica Reyes, my partner in this investigation. Monica, this is Major Samantha Carter of the United States Air Force."

The dark woman smiled, her rather sullen face lighting up. "Major Carter, a pleasure. Agent Scully has told me about you. So, what's your interest in Steveston, Oregon?"

"The same as yours, I suspect. A missing scientist?"

"Ah. The mysterious fire at Immunitec Research and the elusive Dr Richard Fleming. The sheriff mentioned that someone from the military had also been asking questions. We were just about to check out the remains of his lab."

Sam nodded. "My associates and I are just about to go to Fleming's house."

"Associates? Is Janet here with you?" Dana asked eagerly, and then blushed, realising that she might have sounded a little too interested in the answer to that question.

"Not this time," Sam let the redhead down gently. "She's back at base. The two guy's failing to look inconspicuous across the road are my associates this time. The big guy is Teal'c, the other one is Jonas Quinn. They're not exactly used to working in the field which is why they stick out like a couple of sore thumbs."

Looking over the tall blonde woman, Reyes thought that she wasn't exactly inconspicuous herself. With those huge crystal blue eyes and the fairness of her skin and hair she bet the young Major got a lot of second looks. And gotta love a girl in uniform. Reyes would not have minded a peek under the long dark coat Sam was wearing.

"I'll be in contact with Janet later today about our findings," Sam continued, not entirely unaware of Reyes checking her out. "I'll let her know you were asking after her. Talking of findings - could we meet up later ourselves, pool information?"

Dana looked at her partner who shrugged then nodded. "We could do that," Reyes smiled. "This is supposed to be an age of inter-agency co-operation. I'd be really interested to hear how the Air Force fits into this. And Dana trusts you ..."

"What about you?" Sam asked before she could stop herself.

The tall woman looked her up and down appraisingly for a moment, her smile broadening. "I must admit, I do get a good vibe about you, Major Carter. Yeah, I trust you. We're at the motel just on the edge of town..."

"Me too," Sam said. "Room 277. I'll see you both later, then."

"We're in Room 268. Your boys are getting a little edgy," Reyes observed.

Sam glanced back across the road. Teal'c looked faintly bored, Jonas grinned at her. No change there, then. "Yeah. Better get them back on the leash, I suppose. See you both later."

"Later," Dana smiled. Reyes nodded. Sam could feel the eyes of both women on her as she walked back across the street to where Teal'c and Jonas were waiting.

"You were flirting with her," Dana teased her tall companion.

"Was not," Monica said automatically, then flushed. "Okay, maybe a little. But you weren't kidding when you said she was something else. I got such a vibe off her, nothing I've ever felt before." Except perhaps from you, she added silently. She looked up, met storm blue eyes intent on her. Both women were aware that they held eye contact for just a little too long before breaking away.

"We'd better get to the lab before the local PD trample any evidence," Dana said. She tossed Monica the car keys. "You can drive this time. I need to make a couple of calls."

"You going to tell Skinner about your Air Force major?" Reyes asked.

"Not at this time," Dana grinned. "Maybe when we get some more information."

Sam rejoined Jonas and Teal'c at the car. "Your contact was a fruitful one." Teal'c said. "You look very pleased, Major Carter."

"They're FBI agents, also working on Dr Fleming's disappearance. Agent Scully - the small redhead - is an old friend of Dr Fraiser. I met her last year when we were investigating a possible Goa'uld infiltration in Utah. The taller woman is Agent Reyes, her partner. I've not met her before but she seems okay. They are going to check out the remains of the lab. I told them we were heading out to the house. We've agreed to meet up later to compare notes."

"Wow, you work fast. Sounds a good plan," Jonas grinned. He felt in his pocket for a chocolate bar and began to munch on it as he climbed into the back of the car. Sam was driving with Teal'c as shotgun. He had pushed the seat back as far as he could to allow for his long legs which left Jonas compressed somewhat behind Sam's seat.

"Sometimes good individual contacts can sidestep reams of red tape," Sam said. "Especially if they are willing to entertain extreme possibilities."

"Agent Scully is such a person?" Teal'c asked.

"I think they both are," Sam smiled, remembering how Reyes had reacted to her, the chemistry she had detected. She couldn't wait for Janet to meet her to see what she thought of the other woman in Agent Scully's life. Sam had come to realise that Janet was an excellent judge of character and that her first impressions of people were rarely proven wrong.

"Then they will be of great use to us in this endeavour," Teal'c said with an air of quiet satisfaction. He had come to trust Major Carter's instincts implicitly over the years they had worked together.

"Yes, I think they will."

Sam now knew that of all the things that had happened to her in her life, apart from her mother's death her relationship with Janet Fraiser had been the most formative. Not even her forced blending with Jolinar had been so life-changing.

With Janet had come confidence in who she was, her entitlements as a person to feel and express emotions, to recognize them in others. Sam recognised all too clearly what she had seen between Scully and Reyes, knew that they knew it about themselves but as yet had not acted on it. They were in that same limbo that she and Janet had been in five years earlier, acknowledging the mutuality of their feelings but lacking the confidence to act on them, settling for the deep friendship that they had rather than the love that might be. Part of her wished that she could bring them together the more sensible part of her knew that the two women had to work it out for themselves and take that final step together when they felt the time was right.

Fleming's house looked empty, and clean. Too clean. An expert squad, probably NID maybe CIA depending on what the scientist had been involved in, had already been through with a fine toothcomb. There was not a single bill, receipt or personal document in the desk and the hard drive on the computer had been expertly wiped clean. There were no disks, backups or any other documentation in the filing cabinet beside the desk. All the other hiding places for things that she herself had utilised in the past such as the underside of drawers and behind the books in the bookshelves also came up empty. Sam reflected that it was a pity they couldn't put in an official complaint as technically they were also conducting an illegal search and entry.

It was as they were preparing to leave that the delivery van drew up. Thinking that at last they may have got a break, Sam opened the door to the delivery man as if she had every right to be in the house and signed for the bulky yet surprisingly light package. As she saw that both the `from' and `to' addresses on the parcel were the same, Sam realised what Richard Fleming had done.

"Why would one send a parcel to oneself?"

"It's a good way of hiding things for a couple of days." She took out her pocket knife and sliced open the top of the box. Hidden amongst the polysterene chips was an aluminium tube. And inside the tube was a large syringe filled with a clear golden liquid.

"What is that?" Jonas asked.

"I have absolutely no idea," Sam replied, holding it up to the light. "But whatever it is I get the feeling it's the reason Dr Fleming was killed."

There was nothing else in the house so they left, locking up behind them and headed back to the motel.

"I was thinking we could go back to the diner for something to eat and then maybe to the bar across the street," Jonas said. "You know, meet the locals on their own ground, see if we can't get some information from them when they're more relaxed."

"Major Carter has an appointment with the FBI agents," Teal'c said. "But I will accompany you, Jonas Quinn."

So not a good idea, Sam thought, her eyes widening in panic. Teal'c she was pretty sure she could trust not to do anything too weird - and anyway, the size he was who in their right minds would want to challenge him - but Jonas was still something of an unknown quantity. He was also far too damn enthusiastic. About everything. Still, it might be useful to get the local view. And the men in the bar were more likely to open up to Jonas and Teal'c than to her. And she did have an appointment with agents Scully and Reyes.

"Okay, but just a couple of drinks, see how things go. If the locals get..." she searched for the right word "belligerent or get hinky about answering your questions then just back off and come back to the motel. I'll see you both for breakfast, okay?"

"Okay Sam," Jonas grinned happily.

"Indeed, Major Carter," Teal'c inclined his head.

Sam arranged for a sample of the fluid to be couriered to Janet for further analysis. She rang the doctor to explain the package that would land on her desk in a few hours.

"So how is your first terrestrial mission in command going?" Janet asked.

"Better than the last. I haven't been shot yet," Sam smiled, remembering her last command of SG1 when she was negotiating trinium mining rights with a group descended from North American Indians.

"And the boys are behaving themselves?"

"Oh yes. Jonas is being a typical tourist and Teal'c is..."

"Teal'c," Janet laughed. "As ever."

"Oh, and I met an old friend of yours. Dana Scully? The FBI has assigned her and her partner Monica Reyes to investigate Dr Fleming's disappearance and the fire at the labs."

"Dana? How did she look?"

"Fine. Happy even. Mind you, I think her new partner might have something to do that. Kinda reminds me of the two of us when we first got together, you know."

"I want details..."

"I haven't got any, not yet at any rate. I'm meeting them in a couple of hours to go over the case. Get a little of their perspective on it, you know."

There was a long pause. "I miss you," both women started to say at the same time. Sam smiled at the sound of Janet's laughter.

"Pathetic, aren't we," she said softly. "But I do miss you. This feels different. When I am on a mission I can't usually just pick up the phone to hear your voice. This feels like you should be here with me."

"What do you do when you're on other missions and you miss me?" Janet asked. She knew about Sam's fantasies. "Tell me, Sam. Tell me what you want to do to me."

Phone sex. She was about to have phone sex. Sam could feel the blush colouring her cheeks and was suddenly lost for words. They had never done it before. Usually because when they were apart from one another for any length of time communication was a little more complicated than the average long distance phone call.

"You're blushing aren't you," Janet said softly. "I've embarrassed you. If I was there with you I would be kissing you now to make you forget how self conscious you're feeling. You are sitting on a chair and kneel in front of you. I'm unbuttoning your shirt, kissing my way down your skin. You're so soft, so smooth. I reach your navel. I kiss you there, lick at you and take your piercing into my mouth for a moment. I can feel you giggle. You're so ticklish there I don't know how you sat still long enough to get pierced. I do it again just to hear your giggle. I love that sound. And now I sit astride you. Our breasts are pushing together. Your nipples are so hard. I kiss your mouth, and you open to me and it's wet and hot and you taste so good, but I want more than that. I kiss my way down to your breasts again. I take one into my mouth and lick around your nipple... "

"Stop it!" Sam moaned. "The guys will be back any minute, Janet."

"Are you sure you want me to stop? You sound rather hot and bothered at the moment. And you did say you missed me," Janet's voice had never sounded so sultry. It was like being doused with hormones. Sam felt her temperature hike up a couple of degrees and knew she was wearing way too many clothes. "Do you want me to stop, Sam?"

"Where are you?" she asked, her voice cracking, her mouth suddenly dry.

"In my office. The door is locked, don't worry. Now, where were we... I run my tongue around your nipple, flicking it gently with the tip, and my hands go down to your trousers. I undo the zip very very slowly. You raise up your hips so I can slip them off. You smell wonderful, so needy, so ready for me..."

Sam could only manage a strangled gasp as she quickly undid the top of her trousers and slipped her free hand inside, feeling the soft hairs that masked her centre were already damp with her need.

"Are you ready for me, Sam?"

She was about to explode. "Yes," she gasped.

"Can you feel me touch you, can you see my smile when I feel how wet you are, how ready you are for me?" Sam's eyes were shut, her senses concentrated on the words coming from the phone, the sensation of her fingers stroking herself to completion.

"Tell me what you want, Sam?"

"Make me cum, Janet, please. I want to, so badly. Please."

"Okay my love, we're nearly there. You're so slick and hot around my fingers and I reach up and bring your face to mine and kiss you until we have to come up for air. I want you to open your eyes, Sam."

With incredible effort, Sam's eyes fluttered open again. One hand had a death grip around the phone, the other was moving faster, deeper, her fingers plunging in and out of her centre.

"I love to watch your expression when I make you cum. You are so wanton, so beautiful. I know it's an expression no one else will see but me. It's all mine. You are mine, aren't you, Sam?"

"Yours, f'rever yours. Only yours, Jan," Sam whispered hoarsely.

"Every time I see you like this it makes me want you so badly that it hurts, Sam. You're nearly ready aren't you, my love. Just a few more strokes. I slip off your knees now and I'm kneeling on the floor between your parted thighs. I kiss you starting from just behind your knee, your skin is so soft. I give you a hickey just at the top of your thigh where no one but me will ever see it except me. I can see how ready you are, rose red and petal soft and that smell, so uniquely you, my beautiful Sam and now I reach in and run my tongue over your clit. You like that don't you."

Sam's thumb pressed down on the slick bundle of nerves and she felt the white heat sizzle through her. One more... one more... "Janet!"

Somehow she still had a hold of the phone. "That's it, sweetheart, let it out, let it go," Janet's disembodied voice soothed from a million miles away. "You taste so good, salt and sweet, like the ocean. I want to bathe in you, Sammie, bathe in you for ever."

After what seemed an eternity Sam got her breathing back under control and her higher brain functions came back on line. "My god, Janet, that was..."

"Something I expect payback on, blondie. Don't forget that," Janet chuckled.

Sam smiled. "Payback? Just you wait `til I get home."

"Counting the hours, darlin'," Janet husked. There was a moment's mutual silence. Then Dr Fraiser was back.

"I'll let you know as soon as I have some answers on your mysterious sample."

"I appreciate that," Sam said, sitting up straighter. "I'd better go. I have a report to finish up. I want to send an update to the General tonight if I can. Janet, any word on the Colonel?'

"'Fraid not," Janet said. "The Tokra have been quiet since you left - no word at all. The General is getting quite... tetchy."

"I bet," Sam's heart lurched. She hoped it was nothing, that the Tokra, increasingly paranoid as they were about their security, were just in transit again. But if anything happened to Jack O'Neill, it would be her fault. She was the one who had persuaded him to accept a symbiote.

And if she hadn't he would already be dead. At least now he had a chance. That's all Jack O'Neill ever needed, a fighting chance. His natural abilities and honest to god good luck brought him the rest of the way home.

As ever, Janet uncannily picked up on her train of thought. "Sam, he's still alive because of you. He has a mission to finish the same as you do. Don't blame yourself... if you hadn't got him to do it..."

"I know, I know," Sam said. "Look, I'd better go."

"You said that already," Janet teased.

"I know."

"You said that as well."

"Janet!"

"That's my name, don't wear it out."

"Brat!"

"Blonde!"

"I love you, you idiot."

"I love you too, sweetie," Janet said softly. "Call me later, okay?"

"Count on it." Sam did not want to end the call but she had to. She was homesick. And wherever Janet was, it was home. And the sooner she got finished up here, the sooner she would be there.

Sam wrote up her report for the day on her lap top and then freshened up and changed before going to the window and glancing across towards Room 268. There was a light on. Someone was home.

"Hey," Dana smiled as she opened the door. "Good to see you again, Major Carter."

"It's Sam, please," Sam smiled, stepping inside a replica of her own room. Though that did not have a leggy brunette lounging on one of the beds. Agent Reyes was lying on her stomach, her bare legs crossed at the ankle, feet waving in the air in time to music only she could hear as she read through a bulky report.

"Then it's Dana and Monica," she said. "Hey Sam."

"Monica," Sam smiled at the brunette.

"So, where does this place read on your weirdness meter?"

Sam laughed. "Fairly high. Jonas, my colleague, made a comment about it earlier and I think he was right. Everyone in this town is half asleep."

"Well, someone was awake enough to set that lab alight," Dana said. "It was no accident. We found traces of an accelerant and the fire was set in two different places designed to cause maximum destruction."

"You won't get any help from the former employees," Sam told them. "No one from Immunitec will talk." She took off her jacket and sat down in the only chair, accepting a can of soda from Dana who sat down on the other bed. "They all have fairly hefty confidentiality clauses in their contract, apparently. I couldn't get anywhere with them, not even after I invoked national security."

"So what did you find at Fleming's house?" Monica asked.

"Not a lot. It was clean and I mean professionally clean. The computer hard drive was wiped. No discs, no back ups. Not a single bill, piece of paper. But we did have a stroke of luck. Whist we were there a courier came by with a parcel. I signed for it. Fleming had sent it to himself."

"He wanted to keep something out of circulation for a couple of days," Monica guessed.

Sam nodded. "Exactly. Anyway when I opened it up I found a canister holding a large syringe containing a golden fluid, nothing else. I've sent a sample to Dr Fraiser... Janet for analysis. She should have some results for me later tomorrow."

"Janet used to be one of the CDC's top people," Dana told Monica, "before the Air Force claimed her back to... what is it you do again, Sam?"

"Deep Space Radar Telemetry," Sam said, as straight faced as she could manage. "Or as my boss would say if he were here..." She remembered suddenly where Jack O'Neill was and couldn't finish the sentence, her mind ranging helplessly for some way to change the subject.

"Well I recognize a National Security subterfuge when I hear one," Monica said. "Dana's told me a little of what happened to her in Utah last year. That thing they put inside her... you intimated that you had seen one before, that you had personal knowledge."

The conversation had gone from bad to worse. "I can't talk about that, I'm sorry," she said.

"Monica..." Dana said warningly, equally unhappy with the turn of conversation.

"What? We never got an adequate explanation of what that thing was, whether there were any long term effects of having it inside you even for a few hours. If she knows..."

"You haven't had any problems, since... have you?" Sam asked anxiously, staring at the small redhead. Dana Scully would have made a formidable host, but the Goa'uld was weak and old and had not had time to fully bond with her. Dana had fought it all the way. And then her partner at the time, John Doggett had cut it out of her with a penknife, pulled the obscenity out of her and had emptied a clip into it. Somehow Dana had survived without major injury or damage to her nervous system or spine. "No flashbacks, nightmares..." Memories that are not your own of people and places you have never seen, things you never did, atrocities you did not commit.

Dana's hand had snuck to her neck, touching the three inch long scar that was a legacy of that day, a haunted expression on her face. She realised what she was doing and snatched her hand away as if it burnt. "No, I've been fine, really."

Monica made a disparaging noise and Dana glared at her, a world of hurt in her eyes. Monica met her gaze for a moment then looked shamefaced. "Sorry," she whispered.

"It's okay, Monica. I know you meant well. And yes I do dream about it now and again, but no more often than I have nightmares about all the other things that have happened to me since I was assigned to the X Files." Dana shivered, wrapped her arms around herself for a moment. "Look, I'm hungry and I need some air. There's a pizza place we passed earlier. Why don't I go get us all something to eat?"

The other two women readily agreed to this and gave her their food orders, recognizing that Dana needed a minute or two to herself to regroup and that they had pushed her too hard.

When she was gone Monica glanced across at Sam. "Sorry I didn't mean to lay into you like that. It's just..."

"You care about her. I get that, believe me," Sam said.

"She's had a bad couple of months. Her old partner, Mulder..." she looked at Sam to check if they were still on the same page.

"Heard about him, never met him," Sam said.

"Well he really messed with her head, you know. After she had the baby, he stayed around for a couple of days and then he upped and left her again. Said he had to go to protect her and William... her baby. If you ask me he just had real commitment issues. I mean how anyone could do that to someone as..." Obviously realizing that she was wearing her heart on her sleeve just a little too much, Monica stumbled into silence.

"She doesn't deserve it, I agree," Sam said carefully. "But I sense that she's got you to look out for her now. You're strong for her and she needs that and knows that. I can see how close the two of you are."

"We haven't... we're not..." Monica closed her eyes.

"But you want to be. And so does she. Give her time. I've been there. I know," Sam said, saying as much as she could without saying anything at all.

They spent the rest of the time until Dana came back with their pizza order swapping stories about places they had been, scrapes they had gotten into. Monica was regaling Sam with stories about her high school years in New Orleans when Dana came back.

"This town really shuts down at night. Apart from the pizza place and the bar I don't think there's anywhere else open," Dana said. "And I only passed two other cars all the time I was out."

"Maybe they just don't like strangers poking around in their business," Monica shrugged. "Hey, I've lived in enough small towns during my life to understand the mentality. The town has gone through some bad times recently what with the shipyard closing and what's happened with Immunitec."

By mutual consent they changed the subject to other topics whilst they ate their pizza which was surprisingly good. Dana told Sam about William and how well he was doing, touched on the fact that Mulder was no longer in her life and told her about John Doggett, her new boss.

"He's a good man. Monica's known him for years," Dana said.

"Yeah. Considering we didn't meet under the best of circumstances." Monica explained briefly about the abduction and murder of Doggett's son which she had investigated. "His marriage went under because of what happened though lately they've been trying to get back together again."

"I know how that works - my Commanding Officer, Colonel O'Neill lost his son about eight years ago," Sam explained. "It took him years to move beyond it and there are still days..."

"I don't think losing a child is ever anything you completely get over," Dana said tightly. Both women looked over at her, Sam in bewilderment, Monica in dawning embarrassment.

"Oh God, Dana, I didn't think. I'm sorry..."

"My daughter, Emily. She died a couple of years ago," Dana said. "She was just three years old."

"I'm so sorry," Sam said quietly. "I have an adopted daughter, Cassie. We nearly lost her last year when... she was very ill for a time, but she pulled through. I can't imagine what it would have been like to lose her. Janet and I - we're bringing her up together."

"I suppose you could say the same for Monica and I with William," Dana said softly. Monica stared at her, her cheeks flushing. "I don't know what I'd do without her." She stared across at her partner. "I don't tell you often enough how much you've come to mean to me."

For the moment Sam realised that her presence had been forgotten. Dana's hand was curled in Monica's larger palm, the two women's heads very close together. Sam got the distinct feeling that she might just be surplus to requirements for the rest of the evening.

"I should go," Sam said, reaching for her jacket. "It's getting late and we've all got early starts." She stifled a yawn and glanced at her watch. "How long are the two of you staying around?"

"A couple more days at least to finish up the reports on the arson at the lab. And see if Dr Fleming's body turns up. The state troopers are searching out from where his car was found. The injuries he probably had he won't have got far under his own steam."

"That's if he wasn't helped out of the car," Monica said.

"I don't know, I get rid of one conspiracy theorist as a partner just to land with another one," Dana mock-groused. "We'll try and catch up with you again before we ship out, okay? What are you going to be doing?"

"Well, I've got a few more appointments with some more of the ex-employees," Sam said. "Not that I'm expecting anyone to open up to me. And I need to wait on the lab results for that chemical we found. Where that will lead us... I've no idea. Anyway, I'd better go, leave you two... ?" She grinned as Dana blushed. "Hey, it doesn't often happen. Make the most of it when it does. The two of you deserve this, I know." She smiled, winked and let herself out.

"So what did you talk about whilst I was out?" Dana asked, as she watched the blond airforce officer enter the door of her motel room and turned back to smile fondly down at the brunette lying on her bed.

"A bit about the case. We got to know about each other a little more, found some common ground."

There was a moment's silence. "Did you talk about me?"

Monica smiled, held out her hand. After a long hesitation Dana reached out and took it, allowed the taller woman to pull her down onto the bed beside her. "Were your ears burning, sweetheart? You were the common ground. Our mutual concern for you." Hardly daring, she reached up and brushed a lock of the vibrant red hair back behind the delicately shaped ear.

Dana turned towards her and Monica held her breath at the need in those storm blue eyes. "Monica, I..."

"Shh, you don't have to say anything. I know."

"No, you don't. These last few months... I don't know what I would have done without you. You saved my life, my sanity. You made me see..."

"See what, Dana?" she prompted gently.

"That what I felt for Mulder... what I still feel for Mulder... I love him, Monica. And I love William. But, everytime I see you, Monica. Everytime I touch you... I know..."

"I love you, Dana," Monica said quietly. "Enough to take it as far as you want to take it. If you want us to be work colleagues, to be friends then I will be more than happy with that. If you want to take it further, deeper. If you want us to be partners in the truest sense of the world then..." Her strength of resolve failed her. "Oh, god, Dana. I would be so happy if I thought you could love me the way I love you."

"You love me?" Tears were shining in Dana's eyes making them seem bluer than ever.

"Yes." Monica's tone was steadfast. She got the feeling that it had been quite a while since anyone had said that to Dana. Even Mulder. She drove down her irritation at the man. How could he have been such a fool to let something as precious as Dana Scully fall from his fingers? And yet if he hadn't...

"I love you, Dana Scully."

"I... I think I could grow to love you, Monica. I do think a lot of you, I mean it. I ... What I said earlier... You've been here for me these last months, what you did to protect me when William was born and since... the crap I've put you through since Mulder..." The tears were falling now and Monica knew that this had been coming for a long time. At least her friend was getting some kind of release tonight.

She drew the smaller woman close, let Dana's head rest on her shoulder, her fingers running softly through the fiery silk of her hair, murmured soft voiced nonsense as Dana cried herself out. Twenty minutes, half an hour passed and she realised that her friend had cried herself to sleep. Carefully she laid her on the bed and took off her shoes, making her more comfortable and then after a moment's thought, she lay down beside her, spooning herself into the smaller woman's back, one arm draped across her abdomen.

The remaining interviews went exactly as Sam had predicted. Somewhat dispirited, Sam called in the sheriff's office on the way and picked up some documents requisitioned from Immunitec as part of an earlier investigation. They had been heavily censored but there were sufficient clues remaining to indicate that the scientists had been interested in stem cell research and cloning technology.

They spent the rest of the afternoon going through the documentation and getting precisely nowhere. Sam stood up, running her fingers through her hair and stretched, easing the kinks out of her back.

"Sam?"

Jonas had gone foraging in the small kitchen area and made himself some toast. Teal'c looked up as well from the heavily censored document he was trying to decipher.

"Teal'c and I thought we'd try the bar again." The two men had ended up drinking alone the previous night, the bar had been otherwise empty, the bartender morose and silent. Jonas had sampled the local draught beer, Teal'c had stuck to his customary ginger ale. Every time one of them had tried to engage the bartender in conversation he had disappeared out the back. At one point Sheriff Knox had come in, stared at the two of them in silence for a moment and then stepped out again.

The atmosphere had got to the two men as well. They drank their second drinks in almost total silence and then walked back along the empty street towards the motel.

"Okay. I want to see if there's any more I can glean from these files and Janet promised to phone me with the test results on that stuff we found in Fleming's parcel," Sam said. "Be careful guys, okay. We know there's something weird going on here."

She had been on her own for about ten minutes and had just finished checking her messages when her cell rang.

"Hey."

"Hey," Sam smiled. "So what have you got for me tonight, doc?" Just hearing Janet's voice warmed her.

"Well, that stuff you sent me turned out to be fascinating. It's a sulfa based antibiotic. Very new. We're still doing tests to find out exactly what its properties are but it does the business against MRSA and a couple of other antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria."

There was nothing in Fleming's research notes about antibiotic research. "Weird. From the bits and pieces we've got from Fleming's files that's completely outside their area of research. He was very interested in stem cell research."

"Stem cells... maybe they were experimenting with anti-rejection drugs for clone organs. The antibiotic would fit into that. That's huge... and very grey ethically speaking."

"We're no closer to finding out what really happened here. And this place is... well, strange. I'm missing something. Why of all the people he could have contacted when he was terrified for his life did Richard Fleming contact me? That's the key."

"Then it must have something to do with Adrian Conrad and why you were abducted."

"Fleming said that the experiment wasn't over... Janet - what if Conrad had more than one symbiote?"

"Have you detected anything?"

"No, my spidey sense hasn't pinged once since we came here," Sam said. "Fleming expected me to understand, to figure out what is going on here. Actually, if anyone is likely to figure this out, it's Jonas."

"He's quick isn't he," Janet agreed. "Intuitive."

"Yeah, he's becoming a real asset to the team. But..."

"He'll never replace Daniel. I know. He knows. He doesn't want to, Sam. He just wants his own abilities to be given a chance."

Sam shivered. "I miss him, Janet."

"I know, love. We all do. And with Jack gone as well... and before you ask, no there's still no news."

"I miss you," Sam said softly. "I worked it out yesterday. I'm homesick for you. You are my home, Janet, where my heart is at ease."

"You say the sweetest things," Janet said and Sam could hear the tears in her voice. "I love you."

"And I love you." Sam smiled, getting embarrassed even though there was no one else to see or hear this private moment. "This is getting very sappy, you know."

"And big bad Majors don't do sappy, I know." Sam closed her eyes, imagining Janet's face, her laughing eyes, wide and dark, the sweet open smile that lit up her face. There was a lump in her throat.

"Another couple of days and you'll be home again," Janet said softly. "And we can curl up together and forget about everything for a while."

"Just being with you, holding you..." Sam's voice broke and she fell silent.

"Did you meet with Dana and her partner>" Janet asked, sensing Sam's need to back off from the emotionally charged moment.

"Yeah. We shared a pizza, swapped case notes, had a couple of intense conversations. Dana left a message with my answering service earlier. I haven't had a chance to return it yet. I wish that I could tell them what's really going on. "

"You can't, Sam. Not yet, maybe not ever." Janet warned her.

"I like her... Monica. She's very feisty. She certainly looks out for Dana."

"Good. Not that Dana's in any way helpless," Janet laughed. "But it's good that she has someone to take care of her. It is possible to be too strong and independent sometimes."

"Are we still talking about Dana?" Sam asked impishly.

Janet giggled. "Busted."

There was another comfortable silence, then Janet sighed. "I have to go. A team is due back in a couple of minutes."

SG6 from P4X911. A five day reconnaissance and mineral survey. Sam honestly could not have explained why she felt the need to memorise the offworld schedule of all the teams. She just did. Janet had often joked that the only real competitor for her affections was a circular chunk of extraterrestrial metal. Some days, Sam ruefully thought that her lover was right. She didn't think that it made her a better person.

"Okay, I'll finish off my report, work on some ideas. I'm meeting the guys for breakfast. They're attempting to get to know the locals again."

"Give them a hug from me," Janet said. Sam could dimly hear the klaxon warning of an off-world activation in the background. "That's it. Gotta go, love."

"Speak to you soon."

"Count on it."

Monica Reyes opened her eyes to the unusual but by no means unwelcome sensation of a warm body lying half on top of her. The two of them had moved around during the night and were now facing each other, Dana's head pillowed on Monica's breast one arm flung possessively across her abdomen, their legs intertwined under the covers. One of Monica's arms was around Dana's shoulders, the tips of her fingers just touching one of her full breasts, the other rested on her hip.

She could get used to this, she realised with a rueful smile.

The two of them had finally acknowledged their feelings for each other the previous evening, and had fallen asleep more or less in each other's arms. Nothing had happened. They had just slept in each other's arms.

She realised that Dana's breathing had changed, that she was now also awake. Interestingly she showed no inclination to pull away. In fact, the fingers of the hand that was resting on her abdomen were softly drawing spiral patterns on her skin. Taking advantage of the fact that Dana's hair was just a few inches away from her, Monica raised her head and softly kissed the crown of red hair. "Did you sleep okay?" she asked softly.

"Better than I have for a long time," Dana said, shifting position so that she could look down on Monica. "Thank you." She lowered her head and paused, just millimeters away from Monica's face, her eyes searching Monica's for reassurance that what they were about to do was okay that this was a mutual decision to cross the line together. Monica tried to put every ounce of her empathy to work silently sending Dana the message that whatever happened was fine with her but could she really get on and kiss her. The older woman smiled and bridged the gap between them, their lips touching softly almost chastely and then with more fervour.

Dana was almost completely on top of her now, her slight weight not a problem to the taller woman. She reached up, ran her fingers across the satin softness of Dana's cheek, down the length of her throat to the join between her neck and shoulder. She paused there then ran her index finger down the smaller woman's sternum until she reached the top button of the blouse. "Take it off, Dana," she whispered. "I want to see you."

Dana knelt, straddling Monica's body and unbuttoned her shirt, a broad smile on her face as she saw the interest in the brunette's eyes. Monica was entranced by the smile, she had never seen it before and it completely transformed the normally severe young woman. Oh yes, she had it bad. Monica knew she would do anything to be gifted with that smile again.

Dana seemed almost shy once her body was revealed. Not that she had any need to be. She was as beautiful as Monica had imagined. Monica realised that it had been some time since Dana had been with anyone, probably not since the night that William was conceived. Thoughts of that brought her anger with Mulder to the fore again.

"Don't, Monica," Dana said softly, her hands brushing through Monica's hair. She had guessed the direction of her soon to be lover's thoughts. "He has no place here. He's William's father, that's all. This is between you and me." Her hands were at either side of Monica's head now, her body poised over Monica's, the tips of her hair brushing Monica's skin. Monica reached up to cup the full breasts, hearing the young woman gasp. She knew that Dana was no longer nursing, but that her breasts and her nipples would probably be still quite sensitive. She raised her head, took one of the rose coloured peaks in her mouth and rolled her tongue across it. Dana cried out sharply, lowering her head, biting her full lower lip. Monica paused, checking that Dana was okay.

"That was... incredible," Dana whispered. "Do it again, Monica, please, please." Her eyes slid shut as Monica took the peak into her mouth again, her hand cupping the other breast, her thumb running over the nipple her short nail just grazing the edge. She could feel the trembling running through Dana's body. Her free hand undid the waistband of Dana's trousers, slid inside her underwear to touch the soft hairs she found there.

Dana's eyes were open again, wide but unseeing as Monica's long fingers played with her. Seeing that she was starting to have difficulty supporting herself, Monica carefully rolled her until Dana was lying on her back. She encouraged the young woman to raise her hips so that she could pull down her trousers and underwear. Dana had another brief attack of shyness again and Monica realised that she was embarrassed about the few stretch marks that her pregnancy had left her with. Monica pulled her hands away and kissed along the marks and then the dimpled scar that was the legacy of a gunshot wound a few years earlier. She had read the file, the photographer who had claimed to be able to see death, the injury inflicted by an over zealous fellow agent, how close Dana had been to dying before making a rapid recovery. "They're part of you," she explained. "Part of the reason I fell in love with you. I remember the night William was born, how beautiful you were, how strong you were. I was so honoured that you let me share that with you."

"If you hadn't have been there with me, I don't know what I would have done," Dana said. "You were so calm, you protected me, protected William. And ever since... You know that William adores you, don't you?"

"He's a very sweet little boy," Monica smiled. "I saw his first breath, I heard his first cry. How could I not love him, Dana? I would do anything for him... and for his mother." She lowered her head to capture those soft lips in a kiss again, thrilling as Dana opened to her, their tongues dueling until Dana drew back, gasping for breath. Monica's fingers trailed down the soft skin again and she felt Dana's legs part, inviting her touch. She did not know whether Dana had ever slept with a woman before. "Tell me what you want me to do, Dana?"

"Make me feel again, please," Dana asked softly. "It's been so long." She laid her smaller hand over Monica's encouraging her long fingers to press more firmly into her flesh, feeling for herself just how wet she was becoming. Monica eased one finger inside her, feeling the muscles in Dana's legs tense as she did so. Her thumb caressed the soft folds of flesh, seeking out the sensitive bundle of nerves that would indeed make Dana feel.

She watched Dana's expression carefully for any sign that she was taking this too fast for her friend's peace of mind. She inserted a second finger, pumping slightly faster now, bending down to blow gently over the fevered flesh. Dana's eyes were shut, her expression one of intense concentration, her mouth slightly open, her breath quickening as Monica brought her closer and closer to the edge. Then it opened wide in a soundless scream as her back arched, her fists clenching and unclenching, her body visibly trembling now. Monica took her into her arms again, stroking her skin and murmuring soft nonsense as Dana came back down again. They kissed again and then were just content to hold each other. After about half an hour, Monica realised that Dana had fallen asleep again. She kissed her on the brow and closed her own eyes.

By the pattern of sunlight on the floor it was late - well after nine - when the sound of her cell phone woke her. Dana woke as well, and without opening her eyes rolled away a little so that Monica could reach over her and snag her phone from the bedside table. It warmed Monica to know that already they were that comfortable with each other's physical presence.

"Agent Reyes," she said.

"Agent Reyes. Deputy Director Kersh here. How is the case progressing?"

"Slowly, sir. We've established that the fire at the Immunitec Labs was definitely arson. Dr Fielding's body still has not been recovered."

"I see. Well, I'm pulling you off the investigation. The whole matter has been handed over to NID who have their own investigators in the field and have a prior claim to investigating Immunitec. I'm giving you a day to wrap up your report and I expect you back in Washington by tomorrow night."

"NID? With respect sir, I don't understand. What's their involvement?"

"A matter of national security. I have been assured that I don't need to know any further and I am passing on the same assurance to yourself and Agent Scully." Monica glanced across at Dana and saw that she was now wide awake, following what she could hear of the conversation with interest.

"I understand, sir. We'll make our travel arrangements as soon as we can."

"Make sure that you do, Agent."

Monica smiled a tight little smile. Kersh always got under her skin. Her sixth sense for people made her able to read him all too clearly, unfortunately.

"Kersh yanking our chain again?" Dana asked bitterly.

"A little inter-agency turf war. Apparently this investigation has been handed over to NID. He wants us back in Washington by tomorrow."

"Sam didn't mention anything about an NID investigation?" Dana's brow was furrowed in thought.

"I doubt if she knows," Monica said. She shivered suddenly, an intense feeling of danger lasting just a second. "Perhaps we should warn her. From what Kersh said NID have had their eyes on this place for some time. God knows what we've got mixed up in."

The women had exchanged cell numbers the previous night. Dana reached for her phone and dialed Sam's number. She frowned. "Answering service," she explained. "Hi Sam, Dana here. Could you give either myself or Monica a call when you've got time. It's..." she squinted at the clock, then her eyes widened in disbelief, "Nine thirty five now. Look forward to hearing from you. Bye."

"Nine thirty five. I can't believe I slept that long!" she dropped her phone back on the table and slumped back on the pillows. "You are going to be very bad for me, I can tell, Monica Reyes."

"Or very good for you," Monica smiled, moving to straddle the smaller woman again. "It's a matter of perspective."

Dana let her fingers travel across her partner's small but full breasts. "It certainly is," she whispered. "It certainly is."

They made love again, moving in time honoured rhythm against each other, seeking and giving absolution for all the time they had wasted. Silent promises were made: they were in this for the long haul.

Sam did not sleep well that night. Her dreams were disturbed. Adrian Conrad stood over her, the symbiote curled around his forearm like a hand device. She was handcuffed to a gurney, unable to escape as... She gasped, strangling the scream that rose in her chest, not quite waking yet as she turned, buried her face in the too soft pillow. The dream changed... she recognized this one as she had mysteriously experienced it on three consecutive nights some six months earlier. She had no more understanding of its portent now as she had then.

Water was streaming down the window pane. She was looking out onto the rain-soaked garden, hugging herself as if she was cold. I stepped behind her, held her close, my lips grazing the nape of her neck. "I'm sorry," I whispered. "I'm so sorry."

She turned, her hands blindly seeking my face. She stroked my cheeks, her fingers tracing the line of my lips up along my jaw, threading through my hair, her deep blue eyes blinded with tears. "Promise you'll never leave me, Sam, promise. I couldn't stand to lose you as well..."

"I promise, Dana. I promise." I bent my head to kiss her, her salt tears stinging my lips...

It had scared the hell out of her at the time. Janet had made her talk to her about it...

"Bad dream, just a bad dream. It's still early, go back to sleep baby," Sam bent, kissed her lover's dark hair, lost herself for a long moment in Janet's dark eyes, still clouded with sleep, until they drifted closed again and she heard Janet's breathing deepen and even out. She would sleep a few hours longer, Sam hoped. She was deeply worried about her partner. Janet had just about worked herself into the ground the last week or so. The loss of Daniel Jackson had hit her hard. It had hit all of them hard.

And Sam wanted some time to think.

Dana Scully. Someone Sam had met only once seven months before and then only for a few hours in less than perfect circumstances. Someone who, had things been different, might have met a lot to the woman sleeping beside her and was still considered to be a good friend.

It was the third night in a row that she had dreamt of Dana. It wasn't until the second dream that she had even remembered who the woman was.

Her reaction to the dream, to the woman, was intense, frighteningly so. What did it mean? What the hell did it mean?

"Promise me you'll never leave me, Sam. Promise."

Sam shivered, stared at the sleeping woman beside her, half convinced that Janet had spoken out aloud the words from her dream. The recall was so vivid, the blast of emotion, of desperate sadness.

Janet had figured it out. "I didn't tell you at the time because... medical confidentiality, you know how it is," Janet said. "When we saw her at the hospital in Utah, Dana was pregnant. Her due date is any time now."

"I didn't realise," Sam sat down, stared at Janet. "You don't think it has something to do with why I'm dreaming about her so vividly do you?"

"I don't see how," Janet frowned. "I mean, you only met her the once for a couple of hours and they weren't in the best circumstances."

"I know!" Sam buried her head in her hands. "I know. I mean I've had the dream for the last three nights and I only realised who I was dreaming about yesterday morning. What is going on with me?"

Janet dropped to her knees beside her lover and held her close. "The two of you made a connection, you had experiences in common. I told you how alike the two of you were. I have her number in Washington. I can ring her, check that everything is okay and put your mind at rest. It's not a problem, Sam."

Sam's smile was dazzling. "Would you? I mean it is probably nothing, but..."

"It's been a while since we were in touch. It'll be good to catch up."

As it was Janet had not been able to get in touch with Scully. It was not until several weeks later that she finally heard that the FBI agent was alive and well and had given birth to a boy.

Giving up on getting any further sleep that night, Sam wondered if this was something she should talk to Dana about, to see if the connection went both ways. Now that would be a conversation. "Hi Dana, I know we've only met a couple of times but I've been having these really weird dreams about you and I feel that we're connected somehow..." Yeah right.

She realised that she had never got round to returning the agent's call. It was far too early to do it now. Pulling out Fleming's files, she started to go over them again to see if there was anything she had missed.

Sam had managed to amaze Jonas Quinn yet again with the breadth of her skills. But then he had been pretty amazing as well. Teal'c as ever took it all in his stride.

"Wormhole theory, motorcycle riding and lock picking," she grinned.

"Not necessarily in that order," Jonas quipped back. This trip had been good for him, she realised, his confidence growing by the day, his seemingly natural ability to deal with humanity in its raw state. She knew herself to be quick with almost total recall but no way was she as intuitive as Jonas seemed to be. She would not have put together the disparate clues so quickly and realised that the shipyard was back in use - at least during the hours of darkness.

And then there was Tobin. Sam hated to use Teal'c as if he was hired muscle, it tapped into so many unsavoury stereotypes but it had certainly been effective on Gerard Tobin, former security guard at Immunitec. He had confirmed that their suspicions about the townsfolk were founded. That and the strange occurrence at breakfast where the man in the diner did not seem to remember standing toe to toe with Teal'c the night before in the bar. Teal'c and Jonas were positive that it was the same man. She had no reason to disbelieve them. Which led to several conclusions: cloning, mass amnesia or...

The shipyard had been a revelation. In one of the sheds there was a spacecraft, half completed. The computer system held gigabytes of encrypted data, more on the CDs in the back up box. Whoever it was had been thorough. The data was encrypted, but Sam was fairly certain she could decode it.

Scully finished typing up her report on the findings (or lack of them) from the arson investigation. Monica had gone to the Sheriff's office to check on a few details. Their flight back to Washington was booked for about three hours time. They would have to leave for the airport shortly.

The local law enforcement had not exactly hampered their investigation but they had not helped it either. They had been sloppy - Dana had received the distinct impression that they really could not bring themselves to care.

Major Carter had not returned her call. She had spotted her car driving out towards the old shipyard earlier that day, the unmistakable bulk of her colleague Teal'c beside her, the smaller frame of Jonas Quinn squashed into the back. The thought occurred to her that perhaps she already knew about the NID involvement - the department was rumoured to work closely with certain elements of the Air Force, a connection her former partner had been quite keen on exploring at one time. Something about an alien artifact at Area 51 that had been found buried in the Antarctic. Nothing had come of it as happened with depressing regularity with Mulder's theories.

She heard a key in the door, Monica fumbling slightly and went to give her a hand. Monica looked... off. There was something wrong. She caught a whiff of something, her keen sense of smell identifying it as chloroform. Monica's hand was still raised to put the key in the lock and she saw a thin bruise marking her wrist as if she had been handcuffed. And there was a spot of blood marking her collar.

"Monica, are you okay? What happened?"

"I was at the sheriff's office. There was another man there, broad shouldered, dark beard. I think he's the local doctor. They were asking me about the investigation, about our findings." She rubbed her forehead. "Strange. I feel a bit woozy." Her eyes closed and Dana moved forward to support her and help her into the room.

"You're hurt!" Dana said, helping her sit on the edge of the bed. "Did you fall and hit your head at all?" She fingered the almost dried blood on Monica's collar, carefully probing her skull with gentle fingers. "Does your head or neck hurt anywhere, Monica? Stay with me here!"

The smell of chloroform struck her again. Had someone jumped Monica and knocked her out? But why? Her fingers touched an area at the back of Monica's skull and it was as if something moved beneath the skin. Hot bile rose in her throat and the scar at the back of her neck ached for a moment as she remembered. Sam had indicated that what had happened to her had happened to others in the past. To herself. Was that why she was here? Was this what they were up against?

Gently she pushed Monica's head forwards, parting her hair long dark hair so that she could examine the back of her neck. There was a long thin scar, reddened but healing fast. Too fast. It had not been there earlier that morning, Dana could swear to it. Monica had worn her hair up when they had showered. Dana had washed her back, kissed her way along the flat plane of the shoulderblade. She would have seen the scar, she knew she would have.

Monica's head jerked upright and for a moment Dana saw her eyes glow. The voice that issued from her mouth was and was not Monica's. "You ask too many questions, Tauri. You must be dealt with."

Dana's reaction was instant. Her gun was in her hand within the second and she brought the butt end sharply across Monica's temple. Monica slumped, falling from the bed to the floor. Quickly, Dana went for her case, finding her handcuffs and one of the silk scarf's Monica liked to wear. She cuffed Monica's wrists around the leg of the bed and tied her ankles together with the scarf. Then she checked the injury she had just inflicted on her lover. She had not broken the skin but there was quite a bruise forming. Monica's breathing was regular. As she touched the pulse in her throat, Monica's eyes jerked open again, with the same golden flare of light. "You cannot keep me prisoner forever. You are alone, here, Agent Scully. We know your plans, the plans of your Air Force and NID. They will not prevail."

Dana knew that she could not take the risk that the other's had been compromised as well. She was on her own.

As night fell Jonas and Teal'c went to keep an eye on the shipyard. Sam waited for her software to do the trick. The screen cleared, reformed and she realised what she was looking at.

It was a Goa'uld dialect. In a flash all the pieces fell into place. Their theories had all been partially right. Immunitec were involved in cloning but not humans or human organs. They had cloned the symbiote Adrian Conrad had bought from the Russians. Somehow the cloned symbiotes had found hosts but either because they were immature or due to some defect of the cloning process they were unable to assume full control of the host bodies. Not until the hosts were asleep. Tobin's words echoed in her mind. "They only come out at night." The host retained no memory of its time under symbiote control.

Crisply she informed Teal'c and Jonas of her discovery. People were starting to arrive at the shipyard. Then she heard the sound of cars approaching outside. Several cars. Jonas and Teal'c were no longer answering the radio. She lifted the corner of the curtain and glanced out of the window. Three cars were drawn up outside. Glancing along the line she saw that no 268 was in darkness. The two FBI agents were either asleep or out. They could have even left town by now. Perhaps that what was the message had been about. She did not want to think that they had been compromised.

Quickly she got up and went over to her case where it lay open on the bed, retrieving her gun, checking that it was loaded and ready to fire. She did not want to kill any of these people. They were innocent. However, the Goa'uld that were directing them would have no such compunction. If she was not killed she would be captured and implanted. They would not miss a chance to infiltrate the SGC and perhaps regain control of the Stargate. The likelihood of what was about to happen to her chilled her but it also gave her an idea.

She had hidden the vial of antibiotic deeper in her case. Now she retrieved it and stared at it, willing herself to do it. She reasoned that the reason Dr Fisher had produced the antibiotic and took such lengths to hide it was that it was dangerous to the Goa'uld in some way. Perhaps it killed them. She could not take the chance that they would implant her. She knew too much that would be far too useful to them. But what the hell was the proper dosage? And what would the side effects be? She already had naquada and a Goa'uld protein marker in her blood. This could be as lethal to her as a Goa'uld.

They were at the door. Skin rashes and vomiting she could deal with. Being implanted again was not an option. Quickly, she took the syringe and jabbed it into her leg through her clothes, injecting herself with the rest of the drug and then she dropped the empty syringe onto the floor and kicked it under the bed. The door flew open and she levelled her gun at the sheriff and two men she recognised from the coffee shop earlier that day.

There were too many of them and she knew that even if she shot as many as she could there would still be more. And the hosts were innocent. She could not in all conscience harm them. She made her decision and dropped the gun onto the bed, holding up her hands in surrender.

The sheriff handcuffed her and he and two others manhandled her into a car. They drove a short distance into town and then she was pulled out of the car and into what looked like a school hall. There were a lot of people here already, eerily silent, watching, waiting.

Sam was forced to sit down in a chair facing the crowd, her wrists handcuffed to the frame. The sheriff and a woman were standing behind her. She smelt the chloroform moments before the impregnated cloth was held firmly over her mouth and nose. Already sick to her stomach from the drug she had injected herself with, she tried to struggle but it was no good. She slid into the darkness.

Dana had made her way to the sheriff's office. He was there with the man that Monica had described and a man she recognized as the bartender. Other people were gathering in the shadows. Dana realised that she had never seen so many people out at one time, particularly not at night. A lot of them seemed to be heading to the edge of town towards the shipyard. The three men finished their hasty conference and went off in different directions. A few minutes later the bartender came back dressed in a dark jacket and cap. He looked and moved very differently to his normal rather surly slouch. The sheriff's deputy met him dressed in very similar clothing and they got into a car and headed off towards the shipyard. A few minutes later, the sheriff and the dark bearded man set off with a group of people in three cars and following them, Dana realised that they were heading back towards the motel.

She got there in time to see a rather disheveled Sam Carter being hustled out of her motel room into one of the cars. They headed towards the school hall. Lights were blazing. Obviously they were expected. Dana saw a side door leading to a small kitchen area. She broke a pane of glass in the door with the butt end of her flashlight, hoping that the raised voices from the hall would mask the sound of breaking glass. She crept inside in time to see Sam forced to sit in a chair her hands handcuffed. The sheriff, the bearded man and a woman in some sort of uniform stood behind her. On a nearby table were two boxes marked "Donor Organ Transfer."

The sheriff poured something onto a cloth and held it over Sam's mouth and nose. She struggled helplessly for a moment before succumbing to the drug. Dana wondered if this is what had happened to Monica. Then as Sam slumped in the chair the woman opened one of the boxes and lifted out something from Dana's nightmares. The room went quiet. The noise of the creature forcing its way into Sam's body was very loud. Sam jerked, her whole body tensing. She opened her eyes and with a sinking heart, Dana saw them glow.

"Tauri bitch!" a voice spoke clearly in her mind. Sam jerked awake, her arms straining against the handcuffs that held her to the chair. For a moment she felt the melding take, the symbiote trying to control her and then she felt its pain as the drug began to do its work. "Tauri bitch what have you done!"

It took all of Sam's self control not to let her elation show on her face. She was in a room full of very hostile Goa'uld. She had to keep up the pretence that she was one of them even as the curses of the poisoned and dying Goa'uld echoed around her head. With greater ease than she believed possible she shut the noise off. She tried not to think that she had a second lump of dying alien tissue attached to her brain stem.

She managed to answer Knox's questions to his satisfaction, telling them that Major Carter had managed to decode the disks but had not had time to inform any one else of her discoveries. She was released from the cuffs and allowed to mix with her `fellow' Goa'uld. She reckoned that most of the adult population of the town must be affected by this. As she scanned the room she glimpsed a face she knew before she ducked out of sight again. Dana Scully. Then the door opened and Jonas's unconscious body was dragged in by the bartender, followed by two men with Teal'c draped between them and then Knox's deputies Cross draped over the shoulders of one of his fellow officers.

They were manhandled into chairs and handcuffed much as she had been. Teal'c was already starting to come round. Knox came towards her.

"What can you tell us about these people?"

Jonas was also beginning to wake as she stood, absently massaging her wrists. Teal'c was already alert but kept his silence, unsure for the moment what her part in this was. Jonas wasn't quite as quick on the uptake.

"Hey Sam, what's going on?"

She slapped him fairly hard across the face, reminding herself to apologise to him later, but she had to make it look good.

"You should only speak when spoken to."

The deputy was implanted, the sound of the symbiote breaking through the skin making Sam's uneasy stomach roil. Sam wanted to stop it from happening but figured that with the antibiotic they had a way to safely remove it now. Choose your battles, Major, she reminded herself. Choose your battles. Then she found out for the first time that Cross and Singer were actually NID and everything got a whole lot more complicated.

Jonas opened his mouth to make another smartass comment and Sam went to slap him again. He subsided.

The two NID men were going to rendezvous with the containment team. They were taking a batch of cloned symbiotes with them. NID would be up to their elbows in Goa'ulds by breakfast if she did not stop this.

"Wait. Major Carter was writing a report on her computer. It would be better if the containment team did not find it."

Knox ordered the NID agents to retrieve the computer first. That bought her some time. Knox turned his attention back to the other captives. "Should we use these two as hosts?" "No. This one is Jaffa." She pulled off Teal'c's cap to reveal Apophis's brand on his forehead.

"Sho'vah. You should be serving your God!" Knox spat.

"Apophis the false God is dead," Teal'c said, and Sam could swear he was smiling. On the inside, anyway.

"Really," Knox was intrigued by the news. How long had Conrad's symbiote been out of the loop? "What about this one?"

"He's an alien. The human's don't really trust him," Sam picked up the zat, ignoring the hurt expression on Jonas's face. "We have to kill them."

Before anyone could react she activated the zat, taking out Knox and the bearded man and then the rest of the shell-shocked Goa'uld.

"Dana, you can come out now," she called. Scully appeared in the doorway. "Why... how? I saw you... your eyes."

"I'm immune. I can't explain now. Where's Monica?"

"At the motel. Tied up. She's like them," Dana said sadly.

"Well I hope we can do something about that. Listen, the containment team will be here any second. Explain to them what is going on. I have to get after those NID agents."

Sam liberated one of the Sheriff's vehicles and followed the NID out to the rendezvous. Aware of the laser sights targeting her throat and chest she requested to see Cross and Singer, following them around to the back of the van. They still had the box of larval Goa'uld.

"You were supposed to be picked up by the containment team with the rest!"

A grouchy Goa'uld. "Major Carter's far more valuable to you if she hasn't been exposed," she said.

"That wasn't part of the plan..."

"No, she's right. While we're taking over the NID she can infiltrate Stargate Command.

"It's too risky."

"You worry too much. The humans have no idea what's going on here."

Her cue if there ever was one. "Oh, I wouldn't exactly say that," she smiled broadly. The two Goa'uld gave her identically startled looks as she zatted them. "You guys aren't nearly as smart as you think you are."

Two days later. The good if confused folk of Steveston had all been inoculated with the anti Goa'uld vaccine as had Cross and Singer and Monica Reyes. CAT scans on the latter three had confirmed that the symbiote was dead and being reabsorbed into the body. Monica was being released from the Academy Hospital that day. Her Goa'uld had done some serious damage to her wrists in trying to escape and Dana's blow had also given her quite a nice concussion. Dana had been staying with Sam and Janet whilst her partner recovered. Sam had apologized to Jonas for slapping him and keeping him and Teal'c in the dark about what was going on. The alien ship had been taken to Area 51 for further study and NID were being very quiet about their part in the whole debacle.

And Sam had got permission to bring two more people into the fold.

"... and this is the Stargate," she said, as they walked through the blast doors into the embarkation room.

"So you're saying that for the last six years you have been traveling to other planets through this thing?" Dana Scully gazed up at the huge ring.

Monica walked up the ramp, ran her fingers over the carved surface. "It is beautiful, so old, powerful..." she shut her eyes then snatched her fingers away as if they had been burnt. "Oh my God!"

"It's like all tools," Sam said, realizing that she had sensed something. "It depends on how they're used. For millennia it was used by the Goa'uld to subjugate people, send them to slavery. Now, well, let's just say we're trying to redress the balance." She drew herself to attention as General Hammond came in, followed by Major Davis and Janet.

"So these are Agents Scully and Reyes. Ladies, I would just like to extend my thanks again for your assistance these last few days."

Scully smiled at the Air Force General. "It was an honour, sir. And this... this is just beyond everything."

"Well if you get tired of being how did you put it, Doctor Fraiser... the FBI's most unwanted, come and see me. The SGC is always looking for high quality civilian consultants and the two of you have already been given glowing endorsements from Dr Fraiser and Major Carter."

The four women exchanged grins. "Believe me, sir, we'll give it serious consideration," Dana said.

"Now, Major Davis here needs to take you through a security briefing to go through what you can and cannot put in your official report on the Steveston situation, so if you would follow him. And thank you again."

"Thank you, General," Reyes said. "For this. For the unsung work that you have done."

He nodded and smiled. "A pleasure, ladies."

Sam smothered a grin. The General was just a southern gentleman at heart. Anyone who had his grand daughters above the President and Joint Chiefs on his speed dialer had his heart in the right place. She felt Janet's fingers touch hers, entwining for a moment. They had had precious little time to themselves these last few days what with de-goa'ulding the population of Steveston and getting over what turned out to be an unpleasantly visceral reaction to the overdose of antibiotic she had given herself. As Janet had told her somewhat tartly about a tenth of what she had injected into herself would have done the job quite nicely. But they were solid, once Janet had got over the flood of delayed panic over the danger she had put herself into, again.

And they had Scully and Reyes on their side now as well. Young love was sweet and touching to watch. Five years down the line they hoped that they would never lose it.

She followed Janet down towards her office. It was a quiet day, no teams due back and they should not be disturbed for quite some time. Sam had some loving to catch up on. And there was also the little matter of payback.

END
 

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