Series: Light, Water and Muses. An alternate universe for a variety of television series. See disclaimers below.
Category: Yet another mirror universe for the SGC. Sorta…
Disclaimer: Stargate SG1 and all their characters belong to MGM, Showtime and Gekko Productions.
Disclaimer: “ER”, the characters and situations depicted are the property of Warner Bros. Television, Amblin Entertainment, Constant C Productions, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This site is in no way affiliated with “ER”, NBC, or any representatives of any cast members. This site contains relationship stories between mature, consenting adult females.
Notes: All words in italics are phonetic foreign words, mostly Greek.
Summary: More family and friends, and we learn more about Karen and Darya both.
++ Anastasia Rogers, the Lady Heartsblood ++
I had been to innumerable locations around the globe, but this tiny little airport was not one of them. This had always been the Tiger's home, and being here felt like an invasion of privacy. Circumstances had changed though, with the advent of this deep love for a woman I would meet very soon.
If the Tiger would ever show up.
I rarely dealt with being part of the herd on airlines. Frankly, they annoyed me and I was accustomed to being the top of the food chain. Unfortunately, my sweet little jet was in the shop and there was no conceivable way I would miss Karen's wedding.
“Madam,” Tessa hazarded timidly. “Shall I reconnoiter for Bane Shidhe?”
Her willingness took some of the sting out of my morning. All of this dreadful sunlight was indeed making me cranky. I had been a night owl the bulk of my adult life. Patting Tessa's cheek, I smiled wearily. “We'll go together, dear.”
Fortunately, it didn't take very long before Tessa made a startled and amused sound. Wordlessly, she led me to where my far shorter stature had missed the spectacle. Karen was sprawled back in an uncomfortable seat in a corner, deeply asleep. Even loose and undignified like this, she was a silent warning to not be messed with. So I wisely prodded only the toe of her boot and remained well out of immediate striking range.
“Have I taught you nothing of manners?” I chided as Karen woke with an abrupt jerk and stared stupidly at us.
“Lady,” she spluttered and nearly sprained something in a rushed attempt to scramble to her feet.
To save us both dignity and potential harm, I waved her down. “Bane, relax. I can only imagine that you've been under tremendous stress. Now, give an old woman a hug.”
With a grateful kitten sound, I was swept into a great, suffocating hug. For all of my Tiger's self-containment, she held nothing back in a delightful embrace such as this. “I'm so glad you're here,” she murmured softly and I stroked her sorrel curls.
“Child, I would be nowhere else for you. I can hardly wait to put your woman through her paces.” A strangled sound that was half laugh and half sob made me squeeze her tighter. “I'm certain that Darya is wonderful. Now, let's gather our luggage and get moving, shall we?”
++ Darya ++
Having been up far too late catching up with the others, I was feeling frazzled this morning. Even with Karen only gone for a few hours, I was missing her fiercely. Jolynne was chattering cheerfully at me where she was seated at the kitchen table, chopping and peeling. Then Davie's voice rang out from the living room and I knew a very important moment was upon me. “Hiya tall, red and sexy. How was traffic?”
I peered around the doorway and heard Karen sigh dramatically. A small read-headed woman whose personality filled the room like a silent shout stepped into the room, followed by my lover. The power of the strange woman was disconcerting and garnered instant respect. It was like a strong taste on the wind, mysterious and inviting. Her gaze swept around the room as I crept in to stand by Davie. For a long moment she studied the two of us before glancing up to give the oddly silent Karen a long look. “So,” she drawled in a strong alto voice. “Which one is yours?”
Startled and delighted laughter burst from both of us, while Karen couldn't have looked more surprised if someone had thrown a porcupine at her. Playing along with the smirk on the older woman's face, Davie gave me an 'I-told-you-so' look. “Toldya I should have married her too.”
I snerked helplessly and tried to regain my dignity. Before I could really recover, Davie grabbed my arm and half-dragged me over to the others while Karen shook off her paralysis. “My Lady,” she said formally and gestured at the two of us. “The comedian is Davinia Farazell. Davie, the Lady Anastasia Rogers.”
Responding to the strange formality, Davie quit goofing off and solemnly took the woman's hand. “The spirit of perversity recognizes its own,” Anastasia teased dryly and we sisters chuckled. “Pleased to meet you, Davie, was it?”
“Yes ma'am. Welcome to Colorado Springs. It's a pleasure to meet you.”
Then those alert, dark hazel eyes landed on me. Goddess, it was obvious where Karen had learned that look from. The piercing gaze was a mix of cold calculation and sincere warmth. Powerful enough to command a room with presence alone, somehow the Lady fell a hair short of being outright overbearing. It was fascinating and long seconds ticked by while we studied each other.
Then I realized what the Lady was waiting for and abruptly dropped my eyes, before accepting her outstretched hand. “This is a pleasure, my Lady,” I murmured softly and could feel the warmth of her regard, even as I marveled at the coiled strength in her hand. A curled finger under my chin brought my gaze back to hers and I grinned faintly at her benevolent smile.
“The pleasure is mutual, Darya. You may call me Anastasia.”
“Thank you, Anastasia.”
Karen seemed taken aback by my handling of her mentor. It wasn't as if I hadn't been listening to the tales of how to act for over a year! Anastasia's smile deepened as I smirked at Karen, she may have even chuckled. The dark promise to explore my formal submissiveness burned hot in Karen's gaze and I knew that I was in for the best kind of trouble.
Karen shook her head slightly, and glanced over to smile broadly at the gorgeous brunette trailing Anastasia. Neither Karen nor I missed the odd stiffness to her posture and Karen quirked a curious brow at her.
“And this is my assistant, Tessa Samuels.” Anastasia explained crisply, tugging me to stand beside her. “Tessa, this is Darya, our Tiger's beloved.”
The words shot through her like a lightning strike and I winced at the jolt of emotion, but she put on a brave face and extended her hand. “It's a pleasure to meet the woman that's finally stolen the Tiger's wandering heart for good.”
By the look on the Lady's face, I could tell she'd heard the iciness in Tessa's polite words. She flashed Tessa a very cool, flat look that made the willowy brunette visibly flinch and shrink back a step.
This particular little drama wasn't over yet.
++ Janet ++
The entire household, which had grown quite large by this time, was drawn by the spectacle. The jealousy pouring off the tall brunette was palatable and I had to wonder what was going on. Not that Lady Rogers hadn't handled it… and not that I had any clue what power she held over Tessa. God, my head was starting to hurt.
Then Art shouted in irritation and puppies poured into the room in a chaotic wave. Irony of ironies, it broke up the cloying atmosphere as the Lady looked absolutely startled to be suddenly jumped all over. Karen didn't know to laugh or be horrified at the indignity of it all. Darya covered her amusement with a cough and shooed the little monsters off. A very snowy Art burst in with X, Sam and Cass hot on her heels. “Gahmatoh! I'm sorry! We were horsing around in the back yard and the door got left open.” Grumbling at the scattered pups, Art flounced over to Lady Rogers and pulled off her scarf to try to mop up the muddy pawprints. “Just got this place cleaned up too.”
Karen couldn't take it anymore and burst out laughing. Not just laughing, but doubled over, howling with merriment. It was completely out of character and we all watched her in bemusement. “Jeez… jeezus, Goldston,” she finally wheezed. “That was classic.”
Grinning weakly from where she was helping wrangle the herd, Art sassed, “Yeah, me and the four-footed comedy troop here. Theh-mou! But I can't wait to get these beasts trained!”
I sidled over to help and distinctly heard Karen murmur something about women on their knees to the Lady, who chuckled throatily. Dare had told me a bit about Karen's wilder side, not that it shocked me, and I could clearly see that this older woman was the same. Having Art on her knees was a thrill, I'm sure. Poor Sam was going to be like a bitch in heat with these two around!
Karen noticed my hovering and promptly introduced me. I deliberately met and held the Lady's gaze, until she accepted my status in this household. Here, I was the queen bitch and keeper of my women. They could be admired, same as the kids, but they were mine. All that was said in my flat stare and the Lady Rogers conceded with a discreet nod. Then I smiled winningly and bowed my head for a moment before gesturing at the stairs. “My apologies for the puppies, they're spastic with all of these new people around. Allow me to show you where you can freshen up.”
“That would be lovely,” the Lady beamed and gestured for Karen and Tessa to follow us with luggage. I set her up comfortably in the master bathroom, which had been pretty much stripped of anything personal. Not to mention spit-shined and dolled up like a hotel suite.
“Since you'll be here for a few days, Art and I decided that we would give you this room and bathroom. It's large and relatively private.”
“I couldn't possibly,” the Lady protested and I waved her off.
“We insist. The RV in the driveway will be fine for us. Cassie has agreed to keep Emily in her room if need be and the twins will be outside with me.”
“Well, then thank you, Janet, this is a lovely gesture.”
By the looks on all three faces, I had won serious points for my household. As I stepped out, Karen followed me and grabbed me up in a big hug. “Thanks Doc.”
“You're quite welcome. You've got enough at your place with Davie and probably the other Dinky's now too. The master suite seems more your Lady's style.”
She plopped me back on my feet and grinned wildly. Her behavior recently had been a startling contrast from the norm and I could see that she was deeply happy that Anastasia was here. “I owe you.” “Fair enough, I'll remember you said that,” I grinned and went to leave, but paused at the stairs. “Oh, and if Tessa's still being naughty, tell the Lady that she can always make her sleep with the pups at the end of the hall.”
Karen's laughter followed me down the stairs.
++ Karen ++
Goddess, but that woman was a riot! Wiping at my eyes, I let out the last few chuckles and rejoined the pack downstairs. They were still essentially doing the same thing, conversation high among the group. Halfway over to the couch to rejoin Dare, my pocket vibrated. Nice timing. I could almost hear my buddy, Dace, bitching about cell phones. The end of civilization indeed. I was missing her so bad it hurt. “Hello?”
“Hey daddy, how's it hangin'?”
“Are you psychic? I was just thinking about you.”
Dace's delighted laughter carried clearly over the tiny speaker at my ear, and I could picture her rakish grin. “What can I say? I had a feeling that we needed to talk. You holdin' up okay?”
“Scared shitless is more like it.”
“That a good sign, as long as you aren't having second thoughts.”
“No damn way.”
“That's the spirit! I had buckets of second thoughts at mine and I should have listened then!” Chuckling self-depreciatingly, Dace sighed and I winced in sympathy.
“Sounds like you and Paul have come to an impasse.”
“Yeah. I knew a long time ago that he was a filthy loser, but… Awww, forget it, this is a happy occasion. Don't let my idiot husband ruin it.”
“All right, but I'm here for you if you need it.”
“I know, Bane.” There was a pause and when Dace did speak, her voice was uncharacteristically vulnerable. “I'd give a kidney to be there, you know that, right? But this idiot military brat pencil pusher has me trapped here. If I leave her alone she'd probably shoot my captain or something equally heinous.”
I laughed at her singular humor, immeasurably glad to have her voice in my ear.
++ Anastasia ++
Unable to help myself, thanks to the stresses of our trip from Las Vegas, I retired for a shower and a short catch-up nap not long after arriving. Karen swore that it was all right, and I took advantage of the spacious, comfortable bed in the master bedroom. Upon waking up, I was introduced to the rest of Karen and Darya's friends and family. It was certainly interesting to meet these people that had become such an integral part of Karen's life. The Goldston twins were a delight; I could see their mother and 'father' in them so blatantly. Young Fawn was certain to grow into a strong, proud young woman just like her mother.
But the one person I was most interested in meeting was being painfully shy and I could see Karen's embarrassment and exasperation at that fact. The energy of the weekend's events had already started taking their toll on the little girl and she was down for a longer-than-usual nap.
“Kryn? Mommy?” At last the soft voice carried from the top of the stairs. Both of us glanced up at the sound and turned toward the stairway.
“Hey, Monkey,” Karen replied, heading partway up the steps to scoop the girl into her arms. “Did you have a good nap?”
There was a soft mumble of response and I couldn't help the smile that crossed my face. Karen brought the girl into the room and sat next to me on the couch. It allowed me the opportunity to actually study this child that had completely wiggled her way into my Tiger's heart. Her little cheeks were flushed with sleep and she yawned loudly, nuzzling into Karen's shoulder.
“She's a beautiful girl, Karen,” I murmured, reaching out to stroke the strawberry curls that reminded me of Karen when I first met her so many years ago.
“Kryn?” Came the soft voice again as the bluest eyes I'd ever seen, outside of my Tessa's, flickered open to look at me.
“It's okay, Monkey,” Karen reassured her. “She safe.” At her words, the girl relaxed visibly, and I understood the bond between them instantly.
“Monkey? Why does Karen call you a monkey?” I asked, lightly tickling her bare feet. “You don't have monkey toes.” Then I lightly tweaked her nose. “And you don't have a monkey nose.” I gave her a mockingly grave look. “Do you have a monkey tail?”
She giggled happily and clapped her hands before gripping my tickling fingers. “Not a mo'key! Am big girl! Right, Kryn?” At Karen's amused nod, the little girl's eyes returned to my face. “Silly lady! Name!” Then she glanced at Karen almost guiltily and added, “sorry, Kryn.” She stuck her hand out toward me politely. “My name Em'ly. What your name?”
Ah! What a delightful child! I could see some of what Karen adored about her, and I took her hand just as politely. “It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Emily. I've been very anxious for this meeting.”
“You have?” I heard the delighted wonder in her voice as she shook my hand smartly.
“Oh yes indeed. Karen here has told me all about you, and I just couldn't wait to meet you myself.”
“Are you Kryn's mommy?” She asked, a wisely shrewd look in her wide eyes.
That made me laugh, delighted and charmed by her candor. “No, not quite, but I have looked out for Karen for many years now. My name is Anastasia. Can you say that?”
Emily considered that for a long moment, then tried her best. “An'stashuh?”
“That's very good, Emily. You're very smart for your age.”
“Mommy says that,” she mumbled around a yawn.
I shared a knowing smile with Karen, tracing Emily's cheek with a finger. “You know, Emily, I'm afraid I don't know many people here besides Karen, and there are so many names to remember. Would you mind terribly if you sat here in my lap and help me remember who everyone is? It might help me get over being so alone.”
Emily held me in her gaze for a few minutes, occasionally glancing at Karen for reassurance. Finally, she leaned up to place a sloppy kiss on Karen's cheek before ambling over to settle herself in my lap. “Kryn, you help Mommy an' the ants, 'kay? I keep Gramma 'Stasia comp'ny now.”
While startled by her sudden acceptance of me, I certainly wasn't about to refute it. Nor was I intending to make this little girl change her mind. I did manage to swallow a chuckle as I watched Karen's eyebrows disappear into her hairline. “Go on, Karen dear,” I replied, shooing her away with a hand. “My granddaughter and I need to get to know one another a little better. If we need you or Darya at all, I'll send Tessa for you.”
Karen knew I was summarily dismissing her to spend time with my new granddaughter. “Yes, my Lady,” she replied from rote, not even realizing what she was saying in front of the child. “You be a good girl, Em'ly mine. I'm counting on you to be on your best behavior.”
“I will, Kryn.”
As Karen wandered away, I found myself caught up in this little girl's life history and all the people she considered family and friends. She asked me about Karen and I answered as honestly as she'd understand, which turned out to be quite a lot. And when Tessa brought me my afternoon tea, Emily requested apple juice. Tessa had warmed it slightly and served it to Emily as “apple tea.” I smiled warmly at my love before Janet called for her assistance again.
“Gramma Stasia?” Emily's voice broke into my thoughts. “Did you marry Tessa like Kryn marries Mommy?”
I blinked at her mutely, momentarily at a loss for words. It was more than obvious this child didn't miss much. “Well, yes, Emily, actually I did. Tessa is very special to me, just like Karen and your mother are very special to each other.”
She nodded gravely and watched me again. “Gramma Stasia? Are you Kryn's real mommy? Or like Kryn's my other mommy?”
How to answer her? And then I realized I could only answer her truthfully. “When Karen was a little girl, her mommy and daddy weren't very nice to her and she ran away from home. That's when I found her and made her my daughter.”
“Ahh. You help Kryn and make her feel happy and safe?” When I nodded, she smiled and wrapped her arms around my neck to press a kiss to my cheek. “Fank you, Gramma Stasia, for helping Kryn. Kryn make Mommy happy. An' I like Kryn happy. I glad you my gramma.”
I wasn't expecting that response and kept the little girl in my embrace, blinking back sudden tears. Oh I understood exactly why Karen had fallen under this child's spell.
++ Darya ++ While I didn't mind putting up my sister, I could only thank the Goddess that Janet and Art had offered to take Emily in for the night, though there had been a point where I thought my little girl would be with Legs and Kerry in their hotel room. But more than that, I was grateful to be in my own home, our home, at last. Not only was it the night before my second wedding, something I'd never thought I'd ever experience, but the strong emotions emanating off of Karen's friend Tessa had me nearly crawling out of my skin. Something had happened between them that I wasn't privy to, something important and primal.
Though it didn't take someone with my sensitivities to make some fairly accurate guesses, I'd bet.
I looked up as Karen stepped out of the bathroom, leaning in the doorway to towel-dry her hair. I cast an appreciative glance over her, grinning despite myself at the outfit she'd chosen to wear to bed. The Lion King boxers had been difficult to find, but Emily had been adamant to give them to her Kryn more than anything else that first Christmas we'd shared. I knew that it meant no sex for the evening. Karen couldn't bring herself to doing anything kinky in those boxers, cherishing the importance of the gift from my daughter. Finishing, she tossed the towel into the laundry bin and made her way to the bed.
“Hmm?” she asked, distracted. But I understood her distraction.
“You do know she loves you, right?”
I saw her stiffen at my words, realized that she did indeed know, and watched her turn as if in slow motion to flash me that look. The one that warned me not to fuck with her. “Not tonight, Darya,” she said slowly, then turned onto her side and pulled up the covers. I could feel the tornado of emotions rolling off of her, and I didn't know whether to cry or not. Obviously not everyone's ghosts were dead and buried.
I lay there for a moment in silence before I stood up. “I'm gonna go check on Davie,” I whispered quickly, hoping my voice didn't shake too much, and headed out of the room before Karen could respond.
++ Davie ++
I knew she was coming before I could actually hear her. Dare and I had always been close, even with me gallivanting around the globe with my esoteric and theological studies. And of course that empathic sensitivity we'd inherited from Yaya Adelphi helped, too. I'd been just finishing up my evening ablutions when I heard her door closing. Slipping into my robe, I met Dare out in the hallway. The pain and fear were plain in her eyes, and I could only do what was needed. A quick apology heavenward for my blatant lie was in order before I spoke.
“Hey, Dare, I can't sleep. Do you happen to have any cocoa?”
The relief of something to occupy her mind brought a tentative smile to her face. “Will Yaya's cocoa do? I can make you some.”
My reassuring smile was rewarded with a brighter echo from Dare. I followed her into the kitchen, content to let her domesticity take precedence for a few moments while she made the coca from Yaya's recipe. Only after she'd poured the cocoa and brought the mugs to the table did I consider speaking. But first a sip of the cocoa. If this conversation was going to go where I thought it would, I needed the fortification of my favorite form of chocolate.
“Tell me, mia adelphi (little sister), what can be so important to drive you from bed and lover the night before your wedding?”
Not meeting my gaze, Darya drank her cocoa in silence for a moment. It was easy to see the play of emotions across her face. “I'm afraid,” she finally whispered, voice thick with unshed tears.
“Of what? Darya, you are so blessed right now. Do you realize that?” I continued on, not allowing her the chance to reply. “All of your dearest friends have gathered to celebrate your union with a woman you adore. And it's more than obvious that adoration is mutual. Your daughter is happier than the last time I saw her; she's well-adjusted and clearly idolizes Karen utterly. You've found love again when so many of us feared you'd never emerge from the fortress you'd built around your heart. What I wouldn't give to be in your place, Dare.”
She stared at me, clearly surprised by my words. “How can you say that?” she asked raggedly. “My parents aren't here. Emily will never know Emma. Tessa hates me for taking Karen from her. And one of my dearest friends has been having a silent standoff with my fiancée…“
“Kim is a self-important, domineering bitch,” I cut in. “Don't get me wrong, I adore her. But it appears you've moved on from Emma's death more than she has.” I squeezed her hand and smiled impishly. “Besides, she's so damned jealous that you've found teelios peestees (perfect trust) twice in your lifetime and she never has.”
Dare shook her head slowly. “I don't know that I have moved on, Davie.” Another sip of cocoa seemed to fortify her to speak, and yet she remained silent. “I can't do this,” she finally blurted out. “I don't think I can go through with the wedding.”
I blinked in surprise, despite having suspected something like this. “Of course, you can! You've been working toward this for a year and a half now, right? You told me that you felt something the minute you first laid eyes on Karen, something you hadn't felt since you first saw Emma, and that even that was different from this. You've already told me she's got a place in your soul, right? And it's so damned obvious that she loves you and Emily more than anything else in the world. And you feel the same way about her, don't you?” She nodded, barely moving her head. “Dare, what's really bothering you? C'mon, sis, this is me. You know you can tell me anything.” I purposely kept my tone light and soothing, and moved to pull her into my embrace.
“What if I lose Karen, Davie?” she finally whispered. “I need her in my life. Emily needs her. I don't think I can survive the loss if she dies like Emma did.”
I gripped her chin, forced her to meet my gaze. “Darya Morgan Farazell, you stop that this instant!” I snapped, softening my tone again when she flinched. “What was it that Yaya taught us all those years ago at her knee? Do you remember?”
“We all have a purpose in life, a lesson to learn, and when we're done with that, God takes us back to heaven,” she murmured. “Or we go on to our next life in our 'other' beliefs.”
I nodded, smiling encouragingly. “That's right. And what would Yaya say about Emma?”
Darya was silent for a long moment. I could see she was lost in thoughts of her former partner. It allowed me time to remember the willowy blonde with the wicked sense of humor. She'd been the first person to catch Dare's eye after the breakup with Janet. And she was definitely the first person to steal her heart utterly and completely.
“Emma accomplished what she needed to, learned what she needed to.”
“That's right.” I rewarded her with another warm smile and a gentle kiss to her forehead. “Dare, Emma did what she was supposed to do and went on. And I know she'd want you to do the same. Loving Karen doesn't replace or diminish the love you have for Emma, and you know it. Didn't you tell me over a year ago that Karen had made her peace with Emma's memory?” At her nod, I suddenly felt Karen's turmoil nearing us in the kitchen, and suppressed a sigh. “Then why are you being so melodramatic and rehashing this again tonight? Darya, Karen adores you completely. It's so blatantly obvious, a blind man could see it. She's not purposely going to leave you or Emily. And you can't expect her to put her own life on hold for you.”
“I'm not,” she whispered. “But I'm worried that she'll regret marrying me.”
++ Karen ++
It was like a punch to the gut to hear Dare's admission. It was a stunning blow to hear what she'd said. I loved that woman more than anyone else I had ever known! I would never consider leaving her or Emily. I'd sooner die than leave them. That's when it suddenly clicked into place: Dare's earlier comment and Tessa's behavior all day long. Biting back a growl of anger toward Tessa, I silently vowed punishment for the Lady's pet, and shored up my courage to walk into the room. I acknowledged Davie with the barest of nods, my entire focus on my fiancée.
Dropping instantly to my knees, I wrapped myself around Darya and held on for dear life. Her own grip was crushingly tight. “I'm sorry, Dare,” I murmured into her hair. “I can't conceive the idea of living without you and Emily. If I ever gave you the impression that I might leave, I'm appalled at the misunderstanding. Please forgive me.”
“Don't let go,” she whimpered, clinging more forcefully to me. I merely tightened my grip and held her close.
I heard Davie get up and put their cups in the sink. On her way back, she lightly brushed her hand across the crowns of our heads. I met her eyes and mouthed a grateful 'thank you,' which was greeted by a gentle smile before she walked out of the room.
“I'm right here, love,” I murmured, stroking Dare's back. “I'll always be here, I promise.” Her tears soaked into my wifebeater as I held her there, rocking slightly. After a long moment, I shifted up to my feet, an awkward maneuver with my fiancée clinging to me. Finally on my feet, I scooped up her legs and carried her back to the bedroom. Once in bed, I let Darya mold herself to my body, never once letting go of her, not even after she'd fallen into a deep and dreamless sleep.