AN: Weird, no idea what the heck it is, where it came from or what it actually means sci-fi story. Somehow I ended up using Janet and Sam as the main characters but really it could be just about anybody.
SUMMARY: Femslash, off-cannon, stand alone fiction. Maybe these guys are the Furlings, maybe they are not. I don't know. AU Heroes-fixit. Sam/Janet romance Janet-centric weirdo-fic. Janet fights to return to her earthly form. K rated little ball of confusion.
RETURN FROM THE PLAINS
"The mortal angel remembers most the sorrow when once again reunited with the Higher Plain."
That was what the human translation said and now that Janet hung once again above her own existence she could feel it still. The lingering, maligning pain of sorrow. Of departure. Of death.
She knew it from her own Earthbound time and she knew it from her friend's, her family's...her soon to be heart-sore lover's. "Sam." she whispered, even as the woman with blonde hair tore across the battle field screaming in denial . "No!" Janet called in echoed emotion as she watched, drifting further away from her own lifeless body. Away from her own disembodied soul. "Please, not yet! It's too soon. I don't want to go back yet. They still need me!"
She remembered it all now. The first time. The second time. The third...all of them. She was a Conduit. She had been chosen by the Highers to guide and direct the worthy back onto their path or on to the next place. The doctor's guise, the healer, the alchemist...the nomadic wind that whispers wisdom and terror alike. Even, just the once, a bush of burning flame etching warnings into stone.
"You must not build this device. To go back is to destroy the forward way."
She remembered that one. She remembered how her words, still burning molten in the stone, had not been heeded and how the pain of sorrow had washed over her as those, so young and now so ancient as to be called by that very name, would not...could not heed her warning and so they were lost at the very gateway of their own fate.
And she, not Janet, not before, not after, just a Conduit was returned to the Plain to await the next evolution.
Returning from this rush of time-filled awareness she who had so recently been Janet Fraiser looked down one last time...but they were already gone. She could not longer see them but she knew her mortal friends were there, below her, screaming, shouting, fighting and living out their short and painful lives and she was lost to them. "Sam." she said once more, the last vestiges of her own mortal being slipping down her face in the very human form of tears.
"Weep not now, child." the voice said and Janet turned, her non-existent body remembering human function and she felt the sensation of falling to her knees even though there was no ground and she had no knees. She recognised the voice.
"Please Nusku, don't extinguish this flame just yet. Let me stay a little longer. There are more who need me there. Please. I beg you."
A feeling flickered through her, burning stronger for a moment and she heard the sound of her lover's keening as it happened far below.
"Jaaannnneeetttt nnnoooo! Don't leave me!"
The feeling burned brighter, right across her heart, her chest. It was contact. Contact by another with her fading mortal form on the Earth below. Contact from Sam...her beloved, heartbroken Sam. Janet sobbed. "Please. They need me. She needs me." she confessed, knowing it was a dangerous thing to do.
In her mind Nusku shook his head. "It is all but done, Enki demands your cleansing. You have become too attached. Even now you cling to your name and your form when it is that you know you have none."
Janet...she was Janet. She would hold onto this identity for as long as she could. She opened her mouth to speak but was held silent by the greater force.
She struggled. She would find a way to hold back the cleansing flood. She never had before but this time she would. She would not let go. The flood could not go on forever. The longer she held out the greater the hope. Time was infinite between here and there. Eternity could pass her consciousness by and yet not but a single moment would pass by on the Plain below. She still had time. Her body could yet, to the eyes of the mortals, be revived. A miracle of luck, or science, or Tok'ra... or love. It did not matter how, though Janet knew her return was held by only one hand, what did matter was that it was still possible.
"Let go child."
This time it was Enki. The one who rarely ever spoke.
"No!" Janet demanded. "I want to go back. You have to let me go back!"
"This is not your purpose!" The Cleanser was angry. "Your purpose has been fulfilled for this time."
"Please!" Janet begged, struggling to hold on, the images of her time in manifestation already shifting and fading like grains of sand holding out against a windstorm. "Sam!" It was like a holy incantation. "Sam." The image of the blonde stuck fast and Janet reached out towards it with everything she had. "SAM!"
Time passed and suddenly there was a screech and maelstrom ceased abruptly, Enki was gone, leaving nothing but a ringing, disoriented feeling behind. Janet knew the respite would not last all that long.
Nusku made his presence felt. "Many you have guided in this passing. Why would you seek more? Never have you resisted like this before. Can you not see? How many below have you, as your doctor-self, saved from the brink of death to walk, once again re-directed into their true pathways? How many have you guided home, to ascension, to re-birth or into the waiting void beyond even us? Your achievements have been many in this time and by far there is one that outshines them all. You, although unaware of it, have brought our Holy Mother home to us."
"Whhaatt?" Janet stammered, startled beyond belief. The Lost One? She had found the Lost One?
"It is true. Kishar. She is returned to us. Freed from her entrapment. Kishar, whom your mortal soul will remember as the one called Ageria. She wishes to give thanks to you and grant you the Final Grace. You may join us child. Your place amongst the Highers awaits you."
"But that's not possible. I am but a lowly Conduit." Besides, Janet thought, it was not me who found Ageria. It was Sam and the others.
"Ah, but your healing of their wounds and careful direction was what brought them to the right place." It seemed Nusku could hear her thoughts. "Only those purely guided by unconscious human desire for good could find her. Especially surprising given that she was not cast into human form as we once believed. We had thought that it was impossible for a Conduit to achieve such a thing due to the tainting they must accept in human form. The so-called 'human condition' left over by the young ones and their mistake so many eons ago."
Janet remembered the feeling of the scarring on her human soul. The irredeemable damage that the Ancient evolution had caused. Not as deep as their own scarring ended up being but enough to leave greed, malice and self-gratification ever bubbling and rising to the surface. She was now fully aware of her own battle against these things in her quest to do right. To keep to her oath...to unwittingly stay on her own path. Many times it seemed she had failed to keep to the truth.
"Wait, before you judge yourself child." Nusku continued. "It seems we were mistaken. Your choosing of the manifestation of Janet Fraiser was indeed the greatest of all your incarnations. You have reached your full potential. Completed your purpose as a Conduit. The next Plain awaits you."
"What if I don't want that?" Janet challenged, her voice ringing loudly in the nothingness. Bold. Defiant. Sounding very much like that of the namesake they had given her. Child. She stood against their will like a child railing against an adult's will.
Suddenly Janet remembered her beautiful daughter and she showed the child in her mind. She showed the Highers images and scenes from her life. She showed them Sam and let them feel how much love there was between them. How their souls were linked and how she was more than certain that her breaking that link would knock Sam off her true path. How it would crush her. How it would deny Sam, the one who had truly found the Holy Mother, everything that she truly deserved.
Suddenly she was on the lookout point in the Canadian Rockies. Looking down on Williston Lake to be exact. In the Hart Ranges. The place where Sam had taken her, using the name 'Hart' to help her find an easier way to open up her own. It was here that Samantha Carter had fell to her knees, haltingly at first and then hurriedly confessed her love. It was here that she begged Janet not to reject her, genuine terror in her eyes, pain and fear in her soul. It was here that Janet had dropped down in front of her and enveloped the other woman in her arms, kissed her and agreed to love and adore Samantha Carter, unequivocally, for the rest of her existence.
It was here that Janet Fraiser, flesh and blood, as she saw herself, gave herself over to another mortal soul.
But that was not what happened.
This was the place...she now recognised...where she had broken through the binding of the Conduit existence and made her first, last and only connection with another's essence. The two had forged a permanent link. Stronger than the molten etchings on the stone. Stronger than the echoes of that truth still seen in the lores and religions of this now modern world. The burning bush, the flood, the deities.
"She entrapped you here."
Startled by the realness of the honeydew voice behind her Janet spun, hands clutching at her chest. A few feet from her stood a woman, long dark hair flowing. Resplendent in her own being. Janet titled her head slightly to see this vision better but it was the wave of peace that gave her the answer. "Kishar!" she whispered and dropped onto her knees before the greatest of them all.
Kishar smiled and drifted closer. "Rise my child. Wise you are to recognise me."
Janet glanced up and hesitantly took the proffered hand that helped her from her knees. "Mother." she greeted, awe still clear in her voice. "Forgive me, I should not look upon you."
"Look child. I am not of vanity."
Janet slowly raised her eyes to see a gentle soul...a kindred mind. Briefly she was reminded of Sam, they shared the same blue eyes.
"True. My form is tailored some. It is not the most...uncomfortable of shapes." Her face cast up and towards the sunlight. "It is quite pleasant here."
"Kishar, Holy Mother. I am reticent to ask but...why are we here?"
Kishar smiled. "We are here by your strength alone. In your mind I could feel it. Your experience of this place...and so it was that I wished to see it for myself."
"See it? You mean you didn't know?" Janet asked, her heart, once again feeling real and beating loudly in her chest.
"No, my child. Like yourself, I am not all knowing and I have been lost for many, many generations. I do not know this world. In truth, I do not know this entire evolution. Though it is not known, I sacrificed myself to the expanse between the Plains in order to create a new genesis. I did all I could to heal your kind but before the task was fulfilled I was called to another race. One in greater need. My arrival there was much too late I now believe."
"Not so." Janet interjected quickly. "The Tok'ra, the children of your lost form, Ageria, they work hard to change the ways of their race. As...as do the humans."
Long, slender fingers touched Janet's cheek, ducked under her chin, raising her bowed head to have the small one meet her grateful gaze. "You are pure and you are good. You see the best in things where others cannot even look." She seemed to contemplate for a moment. "Though it is clear you do not see the pain of your own choices. It is a shame what must become of you."
An image of Sam passed fleetingly through Janet's mind, making her gasp involuntarily at the beauty of her smile, her eyes, fold further into the memory of her touch.
"For this one you have broken through the holdings?" Kishar queried. "For this one you would bind yourself here? For this one you would sacrifice the Higher Calling?"
"Yes." Janet answered simply, closing her eyes and once again letting Kishar feel the purity of Sam Carter's soul, the only one that she believed could ever match and hold her own.
Kishar closed her eyes and nodded in satisfaction. "Very well. I will grant you your request. You may return."
Janet whimpered slightly, her eyes peeling open. "Really?" For a moment it all seemed like some kind of cruel dream.
"There will be conditions, numbering two. One, you must never betray her, no matter what incarnation you find yourselves conjoined in. And two...the Lost Ones of the next evolution will number two. You are condemning her soul to be bound to you in the long darkness of oblivion. She will no longer have a path."
Janet gasped. Oblivion? No path of her own? Bound. A smile crept onto Janet's face, two lost souls...the Two Lost Souls of the next evolution.
"This is not something to take lightly." Kishar admonished. "You are choosing to steal the fate of another for yourself. To trap her to your will. You must be certain that this is something that she would choose to do for herself if she were here now. Do you believe that this Samantha Carter is willing to follow you into this new fate? For if she is not, be warned. If she is not willing your souls will wrestle and eventually tear apart. When that happens you will be condemned to watching while she walks the Suffer's Path for all eternity. So I ask you one more time. Is this the fate you choose?"
Janet did not hesitate. "I choose it. And she would choose it. I know she would. It's simple really, if I do not go back she will walk the Suffer's Path now and what then? Where does she go if she cannot complete her Earthly journey in this lifetime?"
"Her fate will fail."
Janet nodded in understanding, relaxing completely. "And that is exactly what will happen if our souls are separated. You know that. I can see that you do. We would not be here, on this lookout if you did not recognise the binding nature of what we have...what we are."
Kishar laughed this time. "Again you surprise me. Again you see much more than I credit you of being able to. A Conduit you may have been in the past, but not any longer. I wonder what it is that has caused this?"
Janet frowned in concentration, the amusement of Kishar's last sentence seemed more of a directional aid rather than a contemplation. Her brows rose in sudden realisation. "Sam!" she uttered. "It was Sam. Who is she? What is she?"
She turned away and smiled, looking down and out over the lake. "She is, all that you see, all that you breathe, all that you are. She is the lost part of you that you have been searching for. Never did you know it, for you were never allowed to attain that knowledge, but she is you and you are her. A Conduit and a Traveller, neither able to reach their destination until they meet."
"I don't understand."
"No, you wouldn't. At the time of the last evolution's ending I was not the only one to sacrifice. You...and what became She, were once as one. There were to be three, but Abzu fell into...conflict, and so you decided to split your soul. Half of you became mortally Earthbound and the other half became what you are now...what you were." She touched Janet's cheek. "I breached the gap."
Janet stood, stunned by the revelation and then there it was. She could see it all, the veil was lifted. "I...we...oh."
"Now. Kind One. It is time. Go. Join with your other soul-half. Enjoy your matings and your Earthly pleasures. For your time together though to you it will seem long, it will in fact be but a fraction of the rest of your existence."
Janet, eager and accepting turned and looked down over the edge. "What do I do?"
"Jump child. You merely need to step off the edge."
Janet paled slightly. "Jump?"
A cackle met her abject fear. "You did not think it would be easy?"
"No...of course not. I hate heights...but, you already knew that." She stepped closer to the drop at the edge of the lookout. There she made herself ready. More ready than anything else she had ever been. Once prepared she hesitated and turned around to face the immortal before her. "One more thing. I'm not going to remember any of this am I?"
Kishar laughed lightly. "No child. But believe me that is no bad thing. In fact, innocence of your fate is to be my final gift to you, now go."
Janet nodded her thanks and closed her eyes. Straightening her spine, palms upraised, she stretched her arms out level with the line of her shoulders, drew a deep breath and stepped backwards off the edge of her current existence and waited to rejoin her mortal life.
Kishar smiled. "One more thing I gift you Janet Fraiser. Before the next evolution, in your next incarnation, Samantha Carter, as she is, and Jolinar of Malksur, as you, shall be as one. It is as close to reuniting your souls as I can provide. Enjoy your many lives my child, for the suffering of the void awaits you." If she were human a tear would have escaped her, but she was not and so she simply turned away.
The stargate opened and the medics rushed back through. Sam crashed through after them tears streaming down her face. "The healing device!" she yelled. "Get me the healing device!"
"Major what is your situation?" Hammond ordered even as he noticed more medics and another gurney appearing through the shimmering circle.
"It's Janet Sir, she hit. It doesn't look good. I have to try!" Sam pleaded, her eyes brimming to the point that she could no longer see. "Please General!"
Hammond did not have to look deep to see the true source of the other woman's pain. It simply confirmed what he knew all along. "Go Major, permission granted."
"Thank you Sir." Sam headed abruptly for the gateroom door.
"If anyone can do this, you can."
Sam smiled slightly, before wordlessly nodding. "Take her straight to the medical isolation near my lab."
"The room where Doctor Jackson died Ma'am?" the young medical aide squawked.
"Pippa!" barked Warner as he stopped in the process of bagging his colleague.
Sam stumbled and came to a complete halt staring at the aide. A hand on her shoulder made her jump. "I didn't die there Pippa, I ascended and now as you can see I am back so yes, that's the prefect place. Right Sam?"
Carter shook herself and nodded assertively. "Your damn right it is, now GO!" she barked. "I want this done NOW!"
An airman was already hovering nervously at the door as they arrived just around the corner where Sam barged passed that annoying camera man. Sam thanked the airman and immediately slid it onto her fingers and settled in against her palm. It was amazing how natural the device felt this time round. "Get back!" she ordered as she stepped close to the gurney with the pale, almost grey looking pallor of her friend, her lover, her other half.
"But?" protested Warner, he wanted to hook Janet up to the machines.
"Back, I said. There's no time for that. If this doesn't work it will be too late anyway." Sam wiped the snot and blood on the back of her good hand on the knee of her fatigues.
"It will work." Daniel intoned. "If you can heal Cronus."
"Right." agreed Sam. She closed her eyes and held the device out over the wound. Soon a bright light was glowing and her hands travelled the length of Janet's body. Briefly she stopped. "I won't be able to do it all. She's going to need more blood. And ready the crash cart."
Pippa the aide looked truly bewildered, her eyes swinging backwards and forwards around the room.
"Go." Warner softly instructed and she left to get the blood whilst he himself readied the cart. "Paddles charged." he offered up softly.
Sam by this stage had already set back to work.
"Sam!" Daniel warned, stepping close as she wavered, exerting herself to the point of collapse.
"Almost." she forced out. "Agh! Now. Shock her now!" she called sagging back against Daniel.
"Clear!" Warner called and the paddles connected and raised the small woman off the bed.
As she landed back down on the sheets her eyes sprang open and she hauled in a rattling gasp of air. It was at the same time the most hideous and glorious sound that any of them had ever heard.
"Janet? Oh thank god!" Sam declared, springing forward to place a hand on her lover's face.
"I feel like I fell off a cliff." Janet mumbled before the pain had time to kick in.
Sam laughed and cried at the same time, dropping her head down until their foreheads met. "I love you Janet Fraiser and after that I don't care who knows it. That is as close as I ever want to come to ever losing you again, do you understand me? Don't ever drift so far away from me as that again, okay?"
Janet smiled as best she could and forced her eyes open for a moment. "Forever." she muttered. "We will be together forever. You are me Sam."
Sam kissed Janet's smeared and dirty cheek. "And you are me Jan."
"Same, we are the same."
"Alright now. Rest Janet. You're back at the SGC. Everything will be just fine."
Above the facility Kishar, Nuska and Enki look on. "You know." Nuska said. "For those two I think it might just have been worth breaking the rules."
Kishar shrugged. "I hope so. When's the hearing?"
Enki said nothing, he merely pointed at the waiting guards.
"Now I guess." Nuska mumbled.
"Oh it will be fine. You'll see." Kishar intoned. "I am the Lost One after all."
"Not anymore." Enki finally spoke. "Not anymore."
AN: If anyone has any thoughts other than confusion I would appreciate them. Much more a concept piece than even a first draft but I need to get it up and out to figure out what it means...