Janet stared at the lab results, reading them carefully, the numbers offering an easy way out of things, confirming Daniel's suspicions if not his hypothesis. She didn't know why exactly -- though the archaeologist's explanation made as much sense as anything she could come up with -- but Sam had definitely been hit with something that had triggered her hormones ... probably to record heights considering where they still were. She and Scully had also been affected, though not as severely, judging by the straightforward numbers. Still, the tests meant it would be so simple to just blame it all on factors out of their control. Except.... Except....
She shook her head, not knowing what to say or do, her emotions so twined and confused she didn't know what to think or feel.
"Well?" Sam asked as she stepped into the lab.
Janet turned to meet her lover's frightened gaze. She swallowed hard, relying on a well-trained sense of medical objectivity to get her through the hardest discussion of her life. "We definitely got hit by quite a hormone storm ... though things are normalizing. Your levels are the highest, but we were all affected. Thankfully, don't think it's anything dangerous." She saw Sam's shoulders heave as she exhaled a heavy sigh of relief. "I've isolated several elements I think were responsible. Definitely sex linked, and you acted like a carrier." She swallowed hard, fighting the discomfort that only made this that much harder. "Judging by everything, it apparently acted much more quickly in ... Dana ... and I..." she paused momentarily, needing a moment to quell her nervousness. Struggling to find that objective tone once again, she tried to pretend it wasn't herself and two women she cared for so much -- who'd shared so much -- that she was talking about it. Just pretend it's someone else, and something less incendiary, she told herself over and over as she continued, "arousal must accelerates the process." That was the most logical explanation considering the timing of things. She fell silent again, her gaze dropping away from her lover.
Her manner hesitant, Sam stepped forward until they were nearly toe to toe, peering down at Janet, half afraid of the reception she would receive. "Have I lost you?" she whispered, her voice rough with fear.
Janet looked up, shaking her head. "No." She slid easily into the arms that reached for her, burying her face in Sam's shoulder and holding on desperately. "You couldn't."
Sam petted her lover's hair tenderly as she held her close. "Are you sure because--"
"No," Janet repeated more firmly, pushing back to stare up at Sam. "I love you, Sam. Nothing has changed that." She curled a hand into the front of Sam's jacket, clinging tightly. "I don't think anything could change that."
Her touch incredibly gentle, Sam reached out to stroke the soft curve of Janet's cheek. "But something has changed," she whispered, startled by the emotions in her lover's gaze. "You care for her."
Dark eyes slid away as if to hide from Sam's piercing gaze. "It's not simple," Janet admitted, wishing it were. It had been a little complicated before, but not dangerously so. There'd been the potential for something deeper than simple attraction, but it had been held in check and would have quickly dissipated once temptation was removed. Like it or not, the introduction of sex into the complex tangle of relationships changed that. None of them were people who walked away from that sort of connection lightly.
Sam swallowed hard, feeling as though she'd gone ten rounds with Tyson. "Are you in love with her?" The question had to be asked. Dana Scully was a beautiful, intelligent woman who had a great deal in common with her lover. She couldn't even blame Janet if her feelings had gone that direction. God knew, her own were confused at best.
Sam was startled when Janet's response was a wide-eyed look and the quiet question, "Are you?"
The blond rocked on her heels, not knowing what to say. She started to issue a quick denial, but the words didn't come that easily. She'd never been one to confuse sex and love, but she also knew that for her the two elements were strongly tied together. She'd had feelings for Janet long before they'd ever touched each other, but making love had deepened their bond and cemented her emotions.
"Precisely," Janet exhaled when Sam still hadn't responded. "Not simple," she breathed, her voice thick with indecipherable emotions.
Hearing that echo of her own fear and confusion in her lover's voice, Sam tugged her a little closer. "I love you," she swore intently, clinging to the one thing she was absolutely certain of.
Janet settled one hand on Sam's chest, feeling the familiar beat of her heart. "I know." She leaned into the hand that slid tenderly through her hair. "I love you too. Don't ever question that...."
"But..." Sam sighed when her lover trailed off.
Janet shrugged. "I don't know." She heaved a sigh and leaned her forehead against the taller woman's chin, achingly aware of the press of soft lips. "The easiest thing would be to chalk it up to overexcited hormones ... alien substances ... the power of suggestion ... almost anything but the harsh reality that last night happened in part because we were both fantasizing about it."
Sam drew breath to deny the charge, but the words wouldn't come, chased away by the challenging look in her lover's eyes. "Fantasies are one thing," she said at last, "reality quite another."
"Normally ... and if they had remained nothing but fantasies, it wouldn't be a problem." Scully would have gone home and the lust would have faded over time. "But it did happen ... and you can't unring the bell."
Sam tightened her hold on the slender figure in her arms as if she could banish the entire situation simply by holding her lover close enough. But....
But the harsh reality was that emotions were involved; and not just fear and confusion either. She remembered the spark and trade of ideas that had happened over the last week along with the feel and taste of fine flesh. The night's passion had only cemented an attraction that already existed. Burning with the memory of two pairs of lips brushing against her skin, the sounds, scents, and textures of having a third body in bed with them, she couldn't contain the flare of heat that slid over her skin. She tried to hide it, but knew Janet had seen by the look in her eyes.
"You don't know what you want either," Janet said after a long beat, understanding a rich undercurrent to her tone.
"I want you," Sam disagreed, stroking her lover's hair back from her brow with gentle fingers. "And I don't want to risk what we have ... not for anything." Ducking her head, she claimed Janet's mouth with her own, tasting and teasing, the familiar feel and taste a welcome comfort. "I can't lose you," she breathed when the kiss broke, "especially not because of something neither of us meant to happen."
"You haven't lost me, Sam." Janet slid the hand on her lover's chest up and around the back of her neck to toy with the silky hair that spilled over her collar. "You never will." They kissed again, losing themselves in each other and the thick pleasure such intimate contact had always brought. It was a much needed reassurance that at least one thing hadn't changed.
Dana Scully barely felt the pain of her nails digging into her palms as she leaned against the wall just outside the lab door, their avowals of love playing over and over in her brain. She still had a few doubts, but she'd seen enough in the hours since waking wrapped gentle arms to be fairly certain it wasn't a sick game they were playing. Perversely enough, that only made the sense of being shut out even worse because it made the desire to be let in so much stronger. If they were playing her, she could have used her anger to get her through the sense of rejection. Without that, she had no tools to distance herself.
Now she didn't know what to think or do ... whether to stay where she was, enter and pretend she hadn't heard a word in hopes of learning what had happened to her, or enter and demand some kind of recognition. Dammit, they weren't the only ones affected by all of this. She was a part of it too. Only she wasn't really. Sam Carter and Janet Fraiser made a complete circle, and while she'd been temporarily allowed in, she wasn't really a part of it. She had to accept that and get over it. She was still struggling to get her emotions under control when she abruptly realized she was no longer alone. Janet was peering around the doorway, a worried frown darkening her expression.
"How much did you hear?" the doctor asked Scully.
"How much you love each other," Dana said, her bitterness coming through despite her best efforts.
"Anything else?" Janet asked, uncertain what answer she wanted to hear.
"I'd think that was quite enough," the F.B.I. agent snapped, her tone frosty. She had to get out of there before she did something really stupid ... like begging the other two women to let her stay. Blinking rapidly in an effort to banish the humiliating threat of tears, she threw an angry look at the Air Force doctor. "You can fax me whatever I'm allowed to know from the test results," she snapped, well aware there was entirely too much she wasn't being told about the situation, and resenting the lack of trust, especially where it regarded her own body. Unfortunately, there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it ... or anything else. The tears suddenly becoming impossible to fight, Dana spun away, going with that whole get-the-hell-out-of-there plan with a vengeance. Hell, she'd just drive straight to the airport. There had to be a plane headed someplace that connected to D.C. at some point, right? She was forced pull up short as someone caught hold of her arm. Teeth gritted, tears already spilling from tightly closed eyelids, she yanked hard on her arm in a desperate bid for freedom, but whoever was holding her wouldn't let go. She spun back, shoving blindly even as the tears refused to halt just because she wanted them to. Still fighting to escape, she suddenly found herself tugged into enveloping arms, a soft, hushing sound playing near her ear. Scully tried to push back, but the arms holding her were surprisingly strong as she was pulled against a frame considerably taller than her own. A gentle hand rose to cup the back of her head, petting feathery hair lightly.
"Shhh, it's okay," Sam Carter soothed, her voice soft as though she was speaking to a small and frightened child.
Unable to escape, Dana nosed into the taller woman's shoulder, hiding her face as ragged sobs shook her entire frame. How the hell could it hurt so much when she'd only known these two women such a short time, and things had only gone the way they'd gone the night before? It wasn't like she'd invested years of her life in this, and yet it felt like her whole soul was tied up in something she had no control over. She wrapped her arms around the slender figure holding her close, clinging tightly to escape the need to raise her head and have the other two women see just how thoroughly she'd fallen apart. This just wasn't her. She was strong, silent, stoic, Dana Scully ... who got attacked by vampires more often than she got a date, and wasn't the least bit bothered by it, thank you very much.
"Just take it easy," a gentle voice whispered near Dana's ear as she felt Janet lean against her back and rest her forehead against the back of her head, one hand massaging Scully's shoulder soothingly. "You aren't alone."
Scully couldn't contain a bitter laugh. "Yes, I am," she choked against the warmth of Sam's shoulder.
Janet curved a hand to the back of Scully's head, slender fingers slipping through crimson silk as she tenderly guided the F.B.I. agent's head around until their eyes met. "No ... you're not," she said very softly. She stroked Dana's cheek with her other hand. "Whatever happens ... you're not alone." Her head canted to one side as she found herself lost in intense blue eyes. God, Scully was so beautiful it took her breath away. Sensing her lover's close perusal, she looked up, half afraid Sam had read that thought as it went through her mind.
Carter's expression was unreadable, though her voice was remarkably gentle as she said, "We need to talk ... all of us...."
"Sam?" Janet exhaled uncertainly, the stress in her voice unmistakable.
Leaning away from the woman holding her ever so slightly, Scully glanced back and forth between the two women she'd slept with the night before, hunting their expressions for some clue as what they were thinking. She was oddly relieved to see so much fear and uncertainty. If they were just using her, they wouldn't be so confused about things, would they? Their eyes wouldn't glint with such a strange combination of fear and longing, and they wouldn't so quickly offer succor.
"This isn't the place," Sam said firmly, the hands wrapped around Scully still massaging lightly, working away some of the awful tension that rippled through her. She took a deep breath, glancing back toward the lab, thankfully utterly quiet since it was Sunday morning. She looked back at her lover, her eyes shadowed. "Grab whatever printouts you need ... and let's get the hell out of here."
"Sam?" Janet whispered again, her voice husky with stress, but soft and pleading for something. Her tone melted the taller woman's frozen expression.
"It's okay," Sam assured her as she continued to hold Dana supportively. "But we can't do this here." She nodded to indicate the lab. "Now, go on."
Scully pulled away just enough to see the doctor step back into the lab, then leaned against Sam once again as the hand at the back of her head tugged her closer. "Why?" she whispered very softly against the warmth of the taller woman's shoulder. She wasn't entirely certain what the question was, but somehow it seemed inordinately important that she get an answer.
Carter's fingers slipped rhythmically through bright red hair, taking pleasure from the silky texture, more soothed by holding the other woman than she had any right to be. "I don't know," she admitted on a sigh. She rested her cheek lightly against the side of Scully's head, soft breath ruffling babyfine hair. "Some things just are."
They were still standing like that when Janet returned, briefcase in hand. Her gaze met her lover's over the top of Scully's head. Suddenly, it was Janet's turn to look worried and a little scared.
Carter understood the complex boil of emotions in her lover's eyes all too well. "It's okay," she said very softly, reaching out to Janet with one hand. Their fingers met, instinctively twining together, and she tugged the smaller woman to her side. "We'll work it out somehow." Ducking her head, she pressed a soft kiss to Janet's forehead, then straightened, staring down into dark brown eyes that held her no less than they ever had. "We'll be okay," she exhaled, barely making a sound.
Reassured, Janet nodded, squeezing Sam's hand tightly before letting go to dig for her car keys. "Let's get the hell out of here," she said quickly, suddenly wanting to be anywhere but the cold, confining halls of an Air Force medical lab, where the closeness none of them were up to controlling was so dangerous, and where the inability to speak openly threatened to cause so many misunderstandings.
The drive back to Fraiser's house took place in utter silence, all three occupants of the doctor's car lost in their own thoughts. With Dana in the backseat, and Sam in the front passenger seat, Janet reached out at a stoplight, instinctively finding her lover's hand for a brief caress before she had to concentrate on driving again. Other than that, the three of them barely acknowledged each other. Their arrival at her home proved no more chatty, and the three woman soon found themselves spaced around the doctor's livingroom; a study in uncertainty and confusion.
So much for any number of X-rated fantasies, Janet thought as she considered the woman she'd come to think of as her lover, and the one who, without planning or intention, had also slipped into that role. "Well," she sighed at last, directing a concerned look toward Sam, "what now?" She wondered if she really wanted to know.
The blonde was leaning against the wall near the chair where Janet sat, and she pushed away, moving to kneel in front of her lover, one hand resting lightly on her knee, their gazes locked. "I love you," she whispered with heartfelt intensity, well aware of the bolt of pain that crossed Dana Scully's face even though she was looking the other direction. She reached up, brushing Janet's bangs back from her forehead. "Nothing has -- or could -- change that."
Janet nodded, reaching out to slip gentle fingers through Sam's hair, toying with the spun gold threads. "I know," she breathed, sinking into blue eyes for a long moment, silently communicating in a way that was theirs and theirs alone. After a long moment, she leaned forward, lips just barely brushing Sam's in a way that was somehow more passionate than the most open-mouthed and intimate of kisses. As it broke, she brushed her thumb along her lover's lower lip, moving with Sam's mouth as she spoke nearly inaudibly.
"But so many other things have changed." She leaned her head forward, resting her cheek against Janet's thigh, taking comfort from the hand that tenderly stroked her hair.
"I know," Janet said again, though this time the words had an entirely different meaning and cadence. "Do you trust me?" she breathed, gently drawing Sam's head up until their eyes met.
"Always," Sam admitted, releasing her fears as she stared into her lover's eyes, the unmistakable well of emotion reassuring her that nothing between them had changed no matter what else had.
"Then it'll be okay."
Sam nodded, reaching up to brush a few stray strands of hair away from Janet's cheek as she twined her other hand with her lover's, stroking the rise of her knuckles lightly with her thumb.
Momentarily forgotten where she sat pressed into one corner of the couch, Scully sank deeper into the cushions, staring down at her tightly clenched hands, achingly aware of the emotion flowing so easily between the other two women. Despite everything that had happened -- or perhaps because of it -- there was a beauty to their devotion that couldn't be avoided. She experienced a dark burn of guilt that she might have threatened that in some way, no matter how unintentionally. "I ... I'm sorry," she apologized without planning, interrupting them. She shook her head back and forth as she tried to banish the sense of culpability for any problems between two people she cared for so much. "I-I never meant to cause a problem...." She fell silent, a heavy sigh escaping her lips as she just kept shaking her head. "Hurting either of you is the last thing I'd ever want." It as incredibly important to her that they understand that. She thought of the way they'd treated her from the first moment ... as a friend ... and realized that no matter what she wanted, it wasn't worth it if it meant hurting either of them.
Carter turned and rose to her feet in one move, the maneuver effortlessly graceful, her hand still bound to Janet's. "You haven't hurt anyone," she denied, squeezing back when her lover's fingers tightened on her palm. "Things just got ... complicated...."
"Complicated," Dana repeated, the word somehow hurting more than outright rejection might have. It absolved her of guilt, but also held up the might-have-beens that made her want to scream and pound her fists into a wall because they could not be. Their anger might have freed her of the possibilities and allowed her to let go. Unfortunately, forgiveness only made the wanting that much worse. She pushed to her feet, movements abrupt but no longer panicked. She swallowed hard, wetting her throat before she continued. "I never meant to make things harder for you ... and I won't make trouble. I just ... I want you to know ... that I care...." She trailed to a halt, her voice choking off with emotion, "...that it wasn't just sex ... and that ... like I said, I care.... If you ever need anything ... anything ... you only have to ask." She straightened her shoulders, regaining control with an iron hand. Her emotions had been all over the map since waking that morning, but she'd come to realize they were no more manipulating the situation than she was. They were all just caught in a situation none of them had control over. "But I realize that ... that...." She couldn't finish and forced the turmoil of emotions down once again. "I'll go," she managed at last, grateful that she'd driven her rental car to the doctor's house the day before. Calling a cab would have made a graceful exit utterly impossible.
"Wait." Sam Carter's voice was just sharp enough to bring Scully up short. Her body language deceptively relaxed as she faced the F.B.I. agent, though her eyes blazed. She looked at Janet, then back at Scully.
The F.B.I. agent stood perfectly still, her heart hammering in her chest, feeling like she'd been drug behind a car for a few miles. Was Carter going to tear into her for even daring to dream for a moment? She couldn't even blame the woman if the answer was yes. If she had what Samantha Carter did, she'd hold on with both hands and never let go. She suddenly deeply regretted any desire to see their anger, terribly afraid she was about to get her wish.
"Is that what you really want?" Sam asked quietly, her voice just loud enough to carry.
Dana swallowed hard, forcing down any resentment at being on the outside one more time, wondering if the other woman was trying to twist the knife. "What do you think?" she rasped, the memory of soft flesh, whimpering pleas, the taste and smell of their lovemaking filling all her senses and reminding her of the shooting star she'd briefly touched, and would now be denied. And the worst part was that it wasn't just the sex, it was everything else too; the tenderness, the closeness, the laughter, and trade of ideas ... everything that was a part of both women.
It was Janet who responded, her voice backed by the soft sound of shifting fabric as she stood. "I think you want to stay," the Air Force doctor said gently.
Blue eyes slid closed as Dana fought the urge to scream. Of course she wanted to stay. For a little while, she'd actually felt a part of something ... like she had a place in the world. Who could possibly want to give that up? Except in getting that overnight pass into heaven, she'd become aware of what hell it would become if she did something to destroy it. "I want..." she began, only to stop and change her mind. "Actually, that should be, 'I don't want,' as in, I don't want anyone to get hurt." She carefully didn't turn back, afraid that she couldn't continue with what she had to do if she was faced with the twin temptations behind her. "What you have is too special to let anyone damage it."
"But what about you?" Sam asked, the worry threading through her soft voice warming a part of Dana Scully she'd nearly forgotten existed. "If you don't want anyone hurt, what about you?"
"I'll be fine," Scully rasped, her voice rougher than she wanted, but there was nothing she could do about it. She was used to being alone, used to pain. She could get used to this too.
"You don't sound fine," Janet sighed. She looked at Sam, hunting her lover's eyes for confirmation of what she'd heard in her voice.
Sam rested her hand along the side of Janet's face, stroking her cheek tenderly, and nodded. "I love you," she mouthed, not really meaning to speak silently, but out of breath to make a sound, "but she's a part of things now."
A moment later, Scully jumped as she realized both women had drawn close enough to settle their hands lightly on her shoulders, the warm weight doing more to hold her in place than chains would have.
"No," Sam agreed with her lover, her breath ruffling Dana's hair, "you don't."
A single finger tucked itself under Scully's chin, drawing her head around until blue eyes met brown.
"Tell me," Janet whispered, the words somehow coming out as a command despite their gentleness, "do you really want to leave?"
Scully swallowed hard, lost in the other woman's gaze. A moment passed and then she shook her head slowly, the words clogging her throat and making it impossible to speak.
Janet looked past Scully, meeting Sam's gaze, her look questioning, giving her lover one more chance to back out of the silent agreement they'd made.
In answer, Carter slid the hand on Dana's shoulder up to massage the back of her neck, leaning close, her voice soft and coaxing. "Then don't," she said simply.
Scully frowned, her brain refusing to process what she was hearing. She did a slow pivot, staring back and forth between the two women, afraid to allow herself to hope. Janet's hands slid up the plain of her chest and around the back of her neck, the slow caress sensual without being overtly sexual, leaving trails of fire on Dana's skin even through the barrier of her clothes. In moments, her body was so aroused, coherent thought -- already a considerable challenge -- became nearly impossible. "Wh-what are you saying?" A hand slid up into her hair; Sam Carter's this time, drawing her attention to the other woman where she stood to the side and ever so slightly behind Janet.
"Do you want to go ... or do you want to stay?" The lanky blonde's question was deceptively simple for something with such complex underlying issues.
Still, there was only one answer Dana could honestly give. "Stay...."
* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ *
3 Months Later
"C'mon, Scully, I could really use a hand with this. If we don't catch these creatures on tape tonight, Frohike says it may be another ten years before they reappear."
Scully uttered a low groan into the phone. "Mulder, I told you," she muttered, then coughed to punctuate her annoyed tone, "I have a cold, or flu, or something, and I really don't think spending the night in the dusty, dank, leaky old barn is really the thing for it." She coughed again, then sniffled just for good measure.
Mulder actually paused in his whining, and she could just envision his expression as he hunted for the right way to talk her into doing what he wanted. "But, Scully--"
She didn't give him a chance. "No." Dana sniffled again, then went into a coughing fit that even Mulder couldn't ignore, though he valiantly tried.
"Most of the roof doesn't leak," her partner began while she was still making ever decreasing gagging sound, "just one corner and--"
"Mulder, I am not spending the night in a leaky barn looking for some weird, cow-excrement eating life-form that doesn't exist." Another sniffle that turned into an impressive sneeze punctuated her refusal to be drawn into his latest hunt for the weird and impossible.
He sighed, depression threading through his voice. Such things were always a lot more fun with Scully in town. Not that the Lone Gunmen didn't have their charms, but they didn't look nearly as good when their clothes got wet, and none of them could run in three inch heels like his partner. "Are you sure?" he whined, hoping to guilt her into coming. No such luck.
"Absolutely," she assured him. "In fact, I'm probably going to take the next couple of days off, and get completely over whatever bug I picked up."
"Oh," he sounded heartbroken. "Seems like you've been sick a lot lately..." he mused out loud as it suddenly struck him that this wasn't the first time she'd had some malady that interfered with his schedule in recent weeks.
"Probably because I never get a chance to get all the way over anything before you're dragging me back into some dank, dark, disgusting place," she snapped, throwing it back on his shoulders.
"Oh," he exhaled in his very best woebegone voice, the one that usually drew her into his latest expedition.
For once Dana didn't cave. "So, you just go and have a good time," she said, sounding remarkably good for someone supposedly at death's door. "I'm just going to curl up with a book for awhile, then crash ... see if I can get over this." She sneezed, coughed, and wheezed all at once in a freeform show of illness.
"All right," Mulder murmured at last, "If you're sure..." he tried one more time, but she wasn't biting.
"Really, Mulder, I'm sure." Dana sniffled again. "You just go on, and I'll see you on Monday." She coughed again. "Or maybe Tuesday ... could even be Wednesday." A brief pause. "I'll call you and let you know."
"Oh," Mulder said again, sounding even more woebegone.
"Talk to you soon, Mulder, bye," Dana said quickly and hung up before he could get another word in. Grinning, she tossed the cordless phone back onto her nightstand. "I actually managed to get rid of him," she murmured, sounding rather self-impressed and not in the least bit unhealthy now that she'd hung up.
"Are you sure you weren't an actor in another life?" Sam Carter asked with a raised brow. The coughing, sneezing, stuffy-nosed performance had been impressive considering the fact that Scully was healthy as a horse. Possibly getting a little on the tired side, but if she'd been sick, she probably wouldn't have survived the previous twelve hours.
Scully shook her head and waved a hand to dismiss that subject. "Don't even get me started on the whole previous life thing." She shuddered. "You do not want to know."
Which drew a grin from Carter where she lay sprawled in bed, a sheet splayed haphazardly over her torso, hiding a few key parts, but leaving a fair expanse of flesh utterly, and temptingly, bare. "That sounds like a Mulder story," she drawled knowingly, drawing a snicker from the woman who lay sprawled face down between them.
Dana rolled her eyes. "How'd you guess?" she deadpanned. Mulder stories had become a popular form of entertainment during her "sick days." They were always guaranteed to draw looks of disbelief, denials that any such thing was possible, and usually a giggle or two. If nothing else, her partner had made up for her humiliation some months before in sheer entertainment value.
Janet snickered again without moving, while Sam's grin broadened a notch. One of these days, she was gonna have to find a way to meet Fox Mulder if only to see if he was really that nuts. Still grinning, she reached down, fingers running idly over Janet's upper back as she focused on Dana. "So, where were we?" She settled back into the mattress, lying on her side, head pillowed on one hand.
There was a groan from the woman lying between them as Scully murmured, "Fermions, I think."
Sam nodded eagerly, still amazed to realize the F.B.I. agent was versed in quantum physics to the degree that she'd written several papers on Einstein's work while still in college.
Janet moaned, pulling a pillow up over her head as she growled, "Oh God, I can't believe I'm getting quantum physics in stereo now."
A dark blonde eyebrow quirked upward. "Better than excited discussions of forensics," Sam pointed out cheerfully, her fingertips still playing randomly over her lover's upper back. She shared a grin with Dana. The gentle push-me-pull-you of their different interests had become something of a point of humor, since between the three of them there were precious few subjects that they couldn't argue knowledgably.
Janet tugged the pillow back, revealing thoroughly disheveled hair as she glared at Sam. "We don't do that," she denied, which only broadened Sam's smile, which in turn drove the doctor to add, "Sometimes we discuss certain medical techniques, but it's not like we sit around discussing dead bodies." The blonde's soft chuckle drew a harrumph of annoyance, then the brunette dragged the pillow back over her head.
Dana and Sam shared a conspiratorial laugh over Janet's head.
"I heard that," the doctor muttered, her voice muffled by the pillow.
Dana leaned down, reaching out to trail a single finger down the track of Janet's spine. "You don't wanna talk about fermions, I gather?" she whispered, her breath playing over silky skin before she pressed the softest of kisses over the other woman's shoulder blade.
A delicate shudder slid through Janet. "No," she muttered, still sounding annoyed.
Dana pressed another kiss along the line of Janet's shoulder as she caressed her lower back. She trailed her fingers under the covers, tracing the shape of hip and thigh in gentle strokes, amazed once again to realize where she was; who she was with. She looked up, meeting Sam Carter's gaze and seeing a reassuring look there. Sometimes she was afraid of making a mistake and losing it all, but so far, jealousy had been remarkably absent from the social experiment that had become her private life.
Samantha Carter and Janet Fraiser were still very much a couple and very much in love, but Dana was also a part of their lives, and there was love there too. More time together would have been nice, but they weren't as limited as Dana had feared. Work drew one or both to D.C. for meetings at the Pentagon on a fairly regular basis, so she'd managed to spend time with them both together and separately. She'd even managed to arrange three follow up visits to Colorado in connection with tying up her case. It wasn't ideal, but was something they all needed.
Dana brailed the landscape of Janet's upper spine with her tongue, tasting the faint salt of drying sweat, and the tiny vibrations of tiny, content purrs. She shaped her fingers to the curve of the doctor's hip, thumb playing over the line of muscle that joined thigh to flank. "Mmm, maybe we can make up for being so rude as to discuss something you find so uninteresting," she whispered.
"Gonna take some serious work," the doctor muttered, milking it for all it was worth.
Taking the hint, Sam edged closer and pressed a tiny kiss to the point of Janet's shoulder. "I don't think anyone has ever complained about the work ethic of anyone in this room," she drawled through a soft chuckle. She looked up, grinning at Scully, who couldn't hold back an answering smile as she felt the tamped down embers of arousal flare back to life.
It didn't take much, sometimes just a look or a word to trigger any of them. More than once, they'd had to hurry back to Dana's apartment because a stray comment or a particularly intense look had ignited something the players weren't prepared to wait to satisfy. Still more than a little sex mad, they were all still in the stage where they were being careful with each other, the strangeness of the situation only making that caution more acute. Still, they were learning and finding ways to make it work. There were rules of course. Three people with so many secrets had no choice but to have them. Dana couldn't tell anyone, Mulder included, any discussion of Cassie's background was completely off limits, and they couldn't ask about her cases, particularly any that involved military or governmental issues. It occasionally made for moments of discomfort, but they were fast learning to avoid those. Past those issues and a few others, nothing was off the table, and they spent the hours not making love arguing anything and everything. And when that didn't work, sometimes they did both at once.
Trailing kisses down the line of Janet's spine, Dana slowly massaged the curve of her hip and thigh while Sam tugged the pillow free of the doctor's grasp and tossed it aside. The blonde leaned down to flutter kisses down the back of Janet's neck, fingers spreading against the curve of her ribcage near where Dana was tasting velvety flesh.
A soft moan escaped Janet's lips as Dana stroked her inner thigh, drawing so close, but no closer, teasing Janet the way she'd learned would make it most intense for her. She was a long way from knowing everything, but she'd made a study of her new lovers; finding the things that made them both shudder, the places on both women's bodies guaranteed to draw tiny cries and begging whimpers, the ways to touch, the timing, everything physical and so much more.
Intensely grateful that they'd managed to spend time together in different combinations, she was constantly amazed by the complexity of both women. When they were together, they were a unit in her mind even though she was a part of things too, but separately, they were incredibly individual. Sam was occasionally given to bouts of depression that she worked through by concentrating on far flung bits of science that most people would have regarded as utterly impossible. Janet, on the other hand, could be borderline manic at times, and her sense of humor became utterly lethal when she was depressed or upset. Both of them tended to spend off days in D.C. haunting the various sections of the Smithsonian with an endless sort of curiosity which usually led to a trade of ideas that sometimes went off on tangents even Mulder would have found slightly ludicrous.
Whatever they did, and Dana was smart enough to realize it had nothing to do with NORAD no matter where they worked, it was dangerous. She'd had her suspicions, but then two weeks before Janet had called her late at night, her voice showing the stress, too quick to insist nothing was wrong when Dana asked. Despite the denials, Scully had heard the need and terror in the other woman's voice, and stayed on the line for hours, talking about anything but what was really going on. She'd stayed with her, offering the only comfort she could until a call came in on the doctor's other line. She'd been gone for several minutes while Scully gnawed on her nails, terrified of what she might learn. Then Janet had returned, and she'd known everything was okay just by the timbre of the other woman's voice.
"Dana?" Sam's soft voice suddenly interrupted her silent musings and Scully realized she'd sunk into herself for a moment.
She looked up, a genuine smile lighting her expression. "I was just thinking," she admitted.
Sensing Dana's shift in mood, Janet rolled over, pillowing her head on Sam's thigh as she peered up at the women who'd been drawn into their lives. "You want to talk about it?" she asked, her passion redirected rather than forgotten.
Sitting back on her heels, Scully trailed her fingertips along Janet's thigh, carefully watching the leap of desire in dark eyes. She looked at Sam, seeing the heat and and caring there as well. "I'm just really grateful," she said at last, "to both of you ... for letting me in."
Janet was silent for a long moment, then she smiled, looking up at Sam. Sometimes she worried about the choice they'd made, afraid they'd stumble into one of the possible pitfalls and lose everything, but at the same time, she couldn't regret what they'd found. Dana Scully was an amazing woman, and having her as a part of their lives had brought so much pleasure and support. There were definitely risks, but also incredible rewards. She felt her pulse pick up as Sam returned her smile and reached down, tenderly brushing the bangs back from her forehead.
"We're glad to have you," the blonde whispered when she looked up, none of the jealousy Dana had feared visible in her eyes. She continued petting auburn hair with a gentle hand. "You're a part of us both now." It even surprised her how thoroughly she meant it.
On impulse, Janet reached out, smiling as Scully and Sam's hands both met hers in the middle. "The three musketeers," she said through a laugh, then tugged sharply, purposely tumbling them both down to her.
Catching herself on her free hand, Dana found herself sprawled on top of Janet, their legs scissored together amid the blankets, the three-way handholding still in effect. Carter lay slightly to the side, braced on her elbow, her free arm flung across Scully's back. For a moment, they all just lay there, grinning at each other, any fears forgotten in the wake of the closeness that was wholly unique. A soft laugh bubbled up from all three at the same time, the shared moment feeding on itself, a sound of pure joy and pleasure. Lost in each other, they traded three way kisses and caresses, the sounds and smells of passion rising with their kindled arousal.
The trade of kisses broke at last and Dana pushed up on her elbow while Janet tugged their bound hands to her lips, pressing soft kisses to Sam and Dana's knuckles. "Three very sexy musketeers," she added through a knowing smile.
Sam nodded, pressing a soft kiss to Janet's temple. "All for one," she whispered and Dana finished for her, "and one for all...."