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by Christi and Ryuu

Post-Point of View

Eyeing Sam’s over-sized Air Force sweatshirt and paint stained jeans, Janet wrinkled her nose. “Did you forget?”

Sam made a face, letting her in the door. “No. I was just sort of hoping to change your mind.”

“Fat chance,” Janet retorted flatly. “You are coming out with me tonight. Period.”

“But, I just…I don’t know. I suppose I’m not really feeling very festive,” Sam protested as Janet took her hand and dragged her down the hall to her bedroom, throwing open the doors of her friend’s closet and examining the contents critically.

“Sam, I love my daughter more than the use of my right arm. But this is the first time in three months that she’s not with either you or me all night. We are going out. We are drinking. We are going to have a good time if it kills both of us.”

The expression brought a touch of humor to Sam’s eyes. “How very unprofessional of you, Doctor.”

"Oh, I think I can rightfully argue that it will serve medicinal purposes," Janet replied, grinning and tossing Sam a shirt. "Try that on."

Grumbling, but seeming a bit more acquiescent, Sam did as she was told and soon enough was properly dressed. "I don't remember the last time I wore these jeans," she muttered. "I've always thought they were a bit...tight."

Janet raised an eyebrow. "You'll be beating men off with a stick."

"Just what I need," Sam retorted, a wry smile stretching across her face, but not reaching her eyes. "Let's just go before I change my mind."

"Makeup!" Janet said brightly.

"I'll do it in the car," Sam promised, humoring her.

"You'll barely put any on, you mean."

"I...oh, fine. But you're buying me at least two rounds when we get there."

Janet grinned again. "Didn't think I'd get off that lightly."

It was clear from Sam's suppressed smile that she was starting to look forward to the evening, which was good because Janet had a feeling that they both could use a night out. Before she knew it, Sam was properly coiffed and wearing a pair of red high heels that probably should have been declared illegal. Twirling a little, Sam presented herself for inspection. "So, will I do?"

Janet nodded. "Got a big stick?"

"No, but I've got stilettos and excellent aim."

"Well, I think we're set, then."

They ended up at a bar only about ten minutes away – close enough to be convenient and far enough away that it stood at least a chance of not being overrun by base employees. As they easily claimed stools at the bar, Janet spared no time in ordering two shots of tequila.

"Well, there's mine. What are you having, Janet?" Sam asked.

Glad to see that Sam had gotten into the spirit of things, Janet grinned and ordered two more. "Feel like making a toast?" she offered.

"To what?"

Janet shrugged. "Whatever. To string theory. To hair cuts. To whatever bee is obviously stuck in your bonnet."

Sam grimaced and knocked back one of the shots.

Feeling rather clever, Janet took one herself, grinning. "God, I really am good," she proclaimed with a laugh. "I knew the twin thing had to be bothering you."

"Is not," Sam muttered, knocking back the other shot.

"What are you, six?" Janet retorted, downing her second as well. "It's hardly anything to be ashamed of. I think something like that would bother anyone."

"I don't want to talk about it."

Quickly moving past amused tolerance and into annoyance, Janet just shook off her friend's mood and spun around on her stool, gazing out at the room. "All right," she said agreeably. "In that case, I'm going to occupy myself by picking some random man to flirt with shamelessly and then leave hanging."

Sam made a face and signaled the bartender over. "I'd like another one of these, please."

Though surprised by Sam’s apparent determination to get trashed, Janet tried valiantly to hide it. "Careful, it's on your tab now," she teased.

Sam shrugged and took the shot the bartender handed her. "What else am I going to do with the hazard pay I'm racking up?"

"Well, you could start by sharing the wealth and buying me one," Janet retorted. "Hey, what about that one over by the pool table? He sort of looks like that guy...Kawalsky?"

"Kawalsky's dead," Sam replied, her expression oddly blank.

"No, I mean the other one," Janet clarified.

"Only one of them matters here."

She shot Sam a look. "Who, exactly, are you trying to convince?"

"This isn't about-" Sam's voice trailed off. "'s not about her."

Undeniably relieved that Sam finally seemed a little more willing to discuss this, Janet turned toward her once again. "What is it about, then?"

"Why did he have to kiss her?"

Now that was an interesting piece of information. "Who, Colonel O'Neill? Really?"

"Yes." Sam stared morosely at her drink.

"Huh. And while you were watching? That's...bizarre," Janet noted, suddenly feeling a little more sympathetic to her friend's black mood.

"There was no need to kiss her."

Thinking about the other Sam, who had been raw and grieving, Janet wasn't so sure. But really, there was a more important issue that needed attention presently. "What does it matter?"

"She was me," Sam replied, as though that should have been obvious.

"But you just said that she wasn't," Janet pointed out. "You can't have it both ways."

Sam sighed. "She might as well have been me."

"Except for the part where she had bad hair, a dead husband, and the misfortune of living through the end of the world," Janet argued. "Maybe it wasn't about you. Maybe he was just being nice to her. It sort of seemed that she could use a little nice."

"That kiss was more than nice."

A little bit of worry began to color Janet's thinking, and she studied Sam carefully. "Sam, you know that you can't...."

"Dammit, yes, I know that."

Relief swept through Janet. "Okay, so then I guess I still don't see the problem. I mean, it's a little weird...but hey, you once tried to mate with the man. A little goodbye kiss with your double is hardly comparable."

"Me channeling a chimpanzee is not the same as him knowingly kissing....kissing me!" Sam snapped.

"Sam," Janet warned. "He didn't."

"It felt like he did," Sam muttered. "Only...not."

Janet considered this, the worry she felt for Sam already back and increasing with every minute this conversation went on. "Just...try and think of it like Teal'c does. It didn't even happen in this universe, so really, it didn't happen at all."

"I'm not Teal'c."

"You need to be," Janet insisted before she took a moment to think about how that had sounded. "Well, you know what I mean. This can't be a problem. It just...can't."

"It's not a problem." Sam laughed mirthlessly. "Nothing to worry about."

"Sam...." Janet reached out and took Sam's hand. "You know I'm here for you. I just...worry."

"I'm fine." She shut her eyes. "There's no problem."

Janet snorted in disbelief. “I’m calling bullshit.”

Next to her, Sam blew out a long, steady stream of air, seeming to gather herself. “No, it’s really not. It was just so strange, you know? I guess a girl can’t help but wonder.”

Janet waggled her eyebrows, trying to lighten the mood. “Well, look at the man. We all wonder. You’re just lucky enough to have ample fodder for the imagination.”

That actually made Sam laugh. “That’s certainly one way to look at it.”

“What can I say? Sometimes, I have a one track mind,” Janet admitted with an irrepressible grin.

“Well, we’d better turn it toward more useful topics, then,” Sam pointed out, spinning around on her stool to face the room. “Now, where’s this Kawalsky look-alike?”

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