Chapter Two Summary: Martouf’s feeling that the temple and world are familiar proves to be true. As the Native population approaches, he recognizes the leader and greets them as friends. After an invitation to visit their village and take lodging with them is accepted, Lantash instructs Lantash to “claim” Samantha unless he wants her to be inundated by possible suitors. The women move in on the unclaimed males and Daniel’s experiences are not quite as mild as Jack and Teal'c's are.
“Italics” – Symbiote-Host communications
Martouf followed Daniel out the door of the building and stepped up between Colonel O’ Neill and Major Carter, watching as the villagers approached the group. Once again, something about this place, this world, seemed familiar. Besides that, something about the villagers also seemed familiar to Martouf, but the memory teased the edge of his consciousness, and Lantash was once again asleep. It was a more true sleep this time, though, much to Martouf’s relief. The worst was over, he was sure of it.
He glimpsed a face in the group of people that he recognized, and then he swung his gaze to the man who was obviously the leader. It all immediately clicked into place. He smiled at the man, as he stepped forward, greeting him by name, in their native language, and explaining who they were, and why they were there. The man smiled and chattered in return, at some length.
Finally, Martouf turned to O’Neill, saying, “These are a people that we, that is, the Tok’Ra, are well known to, Colonel. One of their people joined the Tok’Ra. I remember now why this world is familiar to me. I have only been here one time many years ago, though. It is called Quilleron, but these people are the Berinnese, named from their previous world.”
“There are many towns on this world, Jore’s is simply the closest to the Chaappa’ai, and therefore, it is his responsibility to investigate any and all gate activity. In fact, his soldiers are surrounding us as we speak. As long as our interest appeared to be in the Temple, and you, Teal’c, and Major Carter appeared only to be guarding us, they did not disturb us and left us alone to see what we would do. Once the soldiers decided that we were probably not a threat, they sent word to Jore that he would probably be safe to come greet us. Furthermore, young Toastek thought that he recognized me, thus encouraging their belief in our peaceful intent.”
“We relocated them here, after their own world was almost completely destroyed by the Goa’uld. I do not know if you have met Catira, but she is from here. Her cousin, Toastek is waiting for us to call him as a host, and when he saw me, he hoped I had come for him. If I remember correctly, I believe that his time for orientation is not far in the future. He will be glad to hear it, for he has wanted to come to us to fight for a long time.”
“I have explained who we are, why we are here, and that we would only be here for approximately three more days. I also explained why I am not with the Tok’Ra, at the moment, so they know that we are solid allies. They have invited us to share a meal with them, but I told them that as the leader of our group, you would have to decide that.”
“Their village is not to far from here, and they will eat shortly before sunset, but the day is long here, and that is a very long time from now. Their noon meal will not be a gathering, but the evening one will, if they have guests. They wish to offer all of us lodging, if you wish to accept it. They are a friendly people, Colonel. We did spend several nights on their previous world in their lodgings. We suffered in no way, and of course, as we relocated them some spent a few nights here as well, although I was not one of them.”
“Anyone have any comments? Reasons to, or not to?”
“I have no problem with it, Jack. I’d kind of like to talk to them and explore their culture a little. I think their language is a combination of…”
“Carter, you have any problems with it?”
“Fine with me, sir.”
“Teal’c how about you? Feel any tingly things telling you to run away?”
“I, too, do not mind staying with these people. I do not have any uneasy feelings whatsoever.”
“Then I will tell them that we welcome their generous offer of meals and lodging and that we are honored to be requested to stay with them. I will also explain about Teal’c because they are curious as to why we have a Jaffa that is dressed as we are. They will accept him, that will not be a problem, but it is a courtesy to supply an answer to their obvious curiosity.”
“Indeed, Martouf. We often must explain my presence.”
“You will also claim Samantha, Martouf, unless you want every stray male from twelve to ninety hanging around her and doing everything but stripping naked in front of her for the next three days,” Lantash, rebuked him mildly, for not thinking of this before now.
“I had forgotten. It is too late to warn the others in time for one of them to do it quickly enough,” Martouf, replied quickly.
“Which is exactly why I pointed the need to do so out to you as soon as I awoke and realized what you had just accomplished,” Lantash, told him calmly.
Following Lantash’s instructions, as soon as Martouf told them that they would stay, he put his arm around Major Carter’s shoulders and squeezed slightly. She stood beside him and watched in curiosity as women in the group sorted out who would escort which of the men.
No one approached Martouf. And, the men looked at her, and the arm around her and bowed to them. The leader looked at them and said something to Martouf, which he answered solemnly. The leader looked at her and smiled. She smiled back not knowing what else to do. She was more surprised, when he pulled a beautiful gold, and what looked like blue topaz, choker from his neck and attached it to hers. Martouf released her and smiled slightly.
He, Sam thought, had some explaining to do, but for now she needed to know what to do with this heavy and, on Earth anyway, expensive choker. “What do I do and say, Martouf?” She asked, as she continued to smile at the leader.
“Tell him, Merlok ashic ter’ici.
“Merlok ashic ter’ici.”
“And add, mi elk shi ash’tec rae’vik, Martouf, ler Lantash.”
“I am claimed and will join with Martouf and Lantash? Martouf what are you thinking?” Lantash, asked him in amazement.
“You said to claim her,” Martouf, responded a little defensively.
“As our betrothed? Our soon-mate?” Lantash was rather amazed that Martouf would do that, not that he minded, though, because he did not.
“I didn’t know what else to call her,” Martouf, groused at him.
“Promised woman, might have been sufficient. I do not recall their mating rituals exactly. You are probably correct to err on the side of too much, rather than too little, and it is too late to change it now. At least this way, there will be no mistake that she is claimed,” Lantash, assured him that it was all right the way he did it, since he could tell that Martouf was feeling as if he was criticizing him. He gave him a swift hug and burst of love.
Sam looked at him suspiciously, but did as he told her, “mi elk shi ash’tec rae’vik, Martouf, ler Lantash.” And then, she smiled at him, yet again.
The leader leaned over, kissed her on both cheeks, and clapped his hands. He was happy about whatever she had said, anyway. Well, she guessed that made one of them.
Martouf looked a lot like a very satisfied cat. Sam frowned. She was really rather suspicious of that look and smile.
“His name is Jore. His mate is Marta. He is a good man, and he has now protected you from the single males in his town. Women are highly esteemed in their society and they hold places of honor and power in many ways. Their mates consider keeping them happy of paramount importance; in fact, it is the first importance in their lives and their first law. In their society, a woman of your age that is not wearing a collar of joining, or intent, is considered, how would you say it? Not “open for business” that does not sound correct.”
Martouf was frowning as he looked for the right idiom and taking pity on him, she suggested, “I think the words you are searching for are “fair game”.”
He looked relieved that he finally had the correct wording to explain what he wished to convey. He agreed with her, saying, “That could be them. The English language has many different meanings for the same word. It is difficult to know when the use is slang and when it is its original purpose.”
“Yes, sometimes we don’t understand it ourselves, and it’s our language.”
“The men would not harm you in any way, Samantha, but neither would they leave you alone. In addition, each one that was interested in you would insist that you see all of his accomplishments. Since you are not of his people, it would be a matter of him going through all of his abilities from wrestling, to dancing, to something as simple as sweeping a floor. The women here do not have to endure these things because they see them, as they grow up together. If you think you would enjoy it, I will tell Jore that we have decided we will not suit, and that you wish to give the collar back,” he teased her lightly, as he sent her a slight smile.
“That’s okay. I think I’ll just keep it until we leave, if you don’t mind. While I’d love a guy trained to sweep the floor, I really don’t need a demonstration of it. Verbal announcement of the accomplishment would be sufficient.” Her head snapped back up, from where she had been watching the ground, and came back around. “Wait a minute; you said that we will not suit. What is that all about?”
“I will answer the first part of your statement first. I know how to sweep a floor quite well,” he stated solemnly, and then grinned as he watched the pink rise in her cheeks, before he ended their gaze.
He then continued, stating, “About the suiting remark that, as you guessed, is my fault. Lantash reminded me, or I would not have remembered it at all. By the time he woke up, and realized who we were talking to and what I had just agreed to do, he only had time to instruct me to claim you. As soon as he said it, I remembered the customs we were dealing with, but it was too late to alert any of the others to claim you as theirs. So, I stepped back and did so. Of course, it also saved me from the parade of young women wanting to impress me. However, my main thought, at the time, was to keep you from an inundation of young men and boys. The other benefit did not occur to me until later.”
Changing the subject, he said, “We are almost in the town, Samantha, look.”
Sam looked up and gasped. The entire town was built into the tress, so as to blend into them. If you did not know it was there, you wouldn’t see it. Everything was off the ground. But then, the trees were gigantic. They were much larger than the sequoia on Earth. It was a lovely enchanting place.
Jore came back, and placed a matching collar around Martouf’s neck, jabbing him in the ribs and chuckling. Martouf turned a lovely shade of pink, though he tried valiantly to control his response to the suggestive comments that Jore made to him. Lantash did nothing to control it, feeling it was Martouf’s own fault.
Jore laughed at him and waved them forward. A woman came out of a large home in one of the trees and ran down to greet them. She chattered on, even though there were no answers forth coming. She didn’t seem to expect any, and Sam saw the amusement in Martouf’s eyes. Soon, she was hustling them up the steps of the tree and into a small cottage like building, as she continued chattering. Several women and men followed her into the room and then took over and measured, pinned, snipped, and left. Then she bowed, smiled, waved, and shut the door quite firmly. Sam blinked.
Turning to Martouf, she asked, “What just happened to us? Who was she? Who were those people? Where are we? Why are we in here together? Although, I think I can answer that one myself.”
Martouf collapsed on a low divan and waved her over as he continued to laugh. “That was Jore’s mate, Marta. She is a veritable bundle of energy. We have been brought up on all the gossip, been told all about everyone’s business, you have been looked over and approved for Lantash and I, and, in fact, you are so well received that she is having joining robes made for us to wear, while we are here.”
“Joining robes? Martouf, I don’t know about this; we’re only friends, you know.”
“How long has Samantha believed we only wished to be friends, Martouf?” Lantash, demanded an immediate answer.
Martouf sighed, softly, before telling him calmly, “She believes that it may be all we want to be. We are just beginning to explore other possibilities.”
Lantash snorted derisively, “The kiss we shared with her was not a possibility. It was a definite yes, and had you not continued to scream in my head, we would have brought her to climax to prove it.”
Martouf, was completely speechless for a moment, before recollecting himself, and demanding, “You can remember kissing Samantha, when you can’t remember anything else past the briefing?”
Lantash’s, response was definitely smug, “Do you really believe that anything would make me forget kissing Samantha?”
Martouf shook his head at him, before he reluctantly conceded the point, “Put like that? No. Now I must calm Samantha, do be quiet for a little while.”
Lantash frowned slightly at him before observing, “Humph. You have become too independent in my absence, Martouf.”
After a moment of indecision, Martouf told him, “Stop complaining, Lantash, you are just feeling cranky, as you do whenever anything upsets your system. There may be only a very few things that do so, but when they affect you, the effects are always the same. Your recovery is always full of periods of crankiness, jocularity, and lethargy. Now, go take another nap, and you will feel better when you awaken again. I promise you.”
Lantash chose to play the hurt mate role; therefore, he made his threats rather haughtily, “Perhaps I will simply never reawaken, and then you will no longer have your annoying, troublesome, complaining, worthless, symbiote to deal with. Goodbye.”
“Lantash, Lantash! Hardheaded, childish, of all the ridiculous…Fine, go pout. I will manage without you,” Martouf retorted, before turning back to Samantha.
“Samantha, do not become disturbed. They are simply matching garments that mark us out as two that are together, and therefore unavailable, much as the collars do, that is all. It is not part of a ceremony, or anything like that. Please, do not get upset. If you do not wish to wear them, we do not have to. They may have noticed that we were all dressed alike and give all of us robes for that matter. It would not surprise me, since we are all dressed the same. The Tok’Ra all dressed the same as well, and they understood that we were all one family. They may very well assume that as we are all dressed alike that we are also all one family.”
Sam breathed easier. Her pulse had sped up at the thought of being paired intimately with Martouf and Lantash, and that wasn’t supposed to happen. Well, it wasn’t supposed to happen quite yet, anyway. Although, she was pretty sure it was going to happen sooner or later. It was just fear that they would be put in an uncomfortable situation, that’s all. She smiled at him, “No, that’s okay. She was pretty funny, wasn’t she? She reminded me of a little brown sparrow. It’s a little bird we have on earth. I’ll show you one sometime.”
A sudden knocking on the door and a loud whisper caught their attention. “Sam? Sam, are you in there? If you are, you better let me in, and you better hurry. Saaam!” Only Daniel could scream in a whisper.
Sam sprang at the door and jerked it open, only to have Daniel fall in the door, whirl, slam it shut, and grab the first thing he could find, which was Sam, and shove her against it. He kept her pinned there with his own body, while his gaze looked frantically around the room for something of more substance to push against her. Spotting what looked like a chair, he grabbed it, and shoved it against her, in place of his body.
Panting, he stood with his hands on the chair arms looking into her eyes, and warning her almost ferociously, “Do not, under any circumstance, open that door to a woman of any age, or size. I don’t care if she’s ninety or five. Just keep them away from me.” Daniel straightened and backed up toward the far wall. Then spying Martouf, he lunged at him. “You—you did this. You—you will fix it. I don’t care how, but you will get them away from me.” Sam pushed the chair aside and slowly slid down the wall, as her giggles overcame her.
Daniel was wild-eyed and unkempt. His occasional somewhat untidy appearance was gone. Replacing it was a shirt that was half out and hair that was thoroughly mussed and ruffled. Half of his shirt buttons were undone and his eyes were wide. His grip on Martouf was white-knuckled and brought Sam to the realization that he was serious.
Sobering instantly, she asked him, “Daniel, what happened to you?”
“Yes, Daniel, what did happen? I have never known these people to be anything but courteous. Even if they are courting, they are always somewhat formal about it. What has occurred?”
“I don’t know what happened. The women that took me to my room were very nice. We tried to talk a little, and I’m getting some of the language down, but not enough quite yet.” He shook his head, before adding, “Anyway, they aren’t important because they were polite and left after a few minutes. Then the door opened and these younger girls came in. They didn’t knock, or anything, they just walked in.”
“There were five of them. They appeared to be very young, much too young to be chasing after men my age. I couldn’t quite tell their ages, not for sure, at any rate, but Sam they had to be very young teen-aged girls. As I said, I only have a basic grasp of the language. They started talking to me, and I tried to talk back to them, but they talked pretty fast, and I think that some of their questions were about things that girls their age shouldn’t ask anyway. I was trying to kind of walk them toward the door, and somehow, they started fighting among themselves.” Daniel paused to take a deep breath and abstractedly run his fingers through his hair.
“The next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a tug-of-war, and evidently, I was the rope. One would pull one way and another would pull another way. I couldn’t just, you know, hit them or anything, so I tried to talk to them. Well, I touched one of them, and evidently, that was the wrong thing to do, because she took that as an invitation for more intimate things.”
“Then the next thing I knew, the other three got into it, and it became a free-for-all. When they all started with each other and were, preoccupied, I snuck out the back door. I saw you come in here earlier, so I headed over this way, hoping you were still here. I wasn’t sure what to do, Sam. Even if I was looking for a date or some female companionship, I wouldn’t look there; these girls were way too young. It was bad enough when the older ones were there earlier. They were at least polite, and they didn’t grab any body parts or— or squeeze me.”
“Are you saying that they—they sq-squeezed you, Daniel? Sam tried valiantly not to laugh. She bit her lip so hard it was almost bleeding. Then it broke through, and she fell over on the floor laughing. Both men looked at her in surprise, not comprehending how squeezing Daniel’s “body parts” could possibly be funny.
Daniel looked like an affronted little boy, when he said, quietly, “Sam, I don’t see how you can think this is funny. There isn’t anything funny at all about having someone squeeze your butt.”
Sam had managed to get herself under control, until he said this so solemnly. She fell over again overcome with laughter. Forcing herself to stop again, she dried her eyes and looked at the two men who were looking at her with such shocked, uncomprehending, eyes. She shook her head. “I guess you can’t see the humor in it, unless you’ve worn the shoes and been down that road numerous times before yourself.”
Daniel’s eyes widened. The flush that rose in his face spoke to the truth; at least once in his life, he’d been guilty of “grabbing a handful.” Martouf still looked confused, but he understood that Daniel had been put firmly in his place and was feeling ashamed of something.
“I guess it’s a case of what goes around comes around, Sam. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to avoid having it happen again. It doesn’t mean that the next time I see a jerk squeeze a woman’s butt that I have to stand there and let it happen either. Not ever again, I promise. Okay?"
Sam smiled at him, no longer laughing. “No, Daniel, it doesn’t mean that at all. Yes, on the promise, and I’ll even help you lay the guy out. For now, though, Martouf and I will protect you.”
Daniel grinned at her, as he started to tuck his shirt in, finally calm enough to see the amusing side of the event and allow Sam to move away from the door, realizing that no one was chasing him. Sam stood up and pushed the chair back where it belonged. As Daniel was standing quietly, trying to tame his hair, she walked nonchalantly over to him, and said, “I have to admit though; I can see why they’d want to grab a handful. It is a nice set of buns, Daniel,” right before she reached down and grabbed his butt cheek and gave it a nice firm squeeze.
Then she ran behind Martouf, laughing, as Daniel yelled, “Sa-am!” Then, he was chasing her around Martouf and over furniture and back around Martouf, before tackling her, taking her to the floor where they wrestled like a couple of puppies. Martouf watched them wide-eyed. What were they doing?
“Lantash, should I be going to Samantha’s rescue? Lantash?” Searching carefully he realized that Lantash had put himself into a rather deep healing sleep. Martouf could awaken him in an emergency, but it would not be easy. He shrugged his shoulders. Samantha seemed to be in no danger and was still laughing, as was Daniel. He would simply watch for now.
He could hear Samantha shrieking and laughing, and then Daniel’s deeper tones would echo through the room. After an especially loud series of giggles from them, they broke apart and both of them lie gasping for breath. Sam looked up into the questioning eyes of Martouf. She looked at Daniel and unobtrusively signaled toward Martouf. He nodded and got to his feet. Sam remained lying on the floor, as if too tired to move, her breath coming in gasps.
Daniel stood for a moment, bent over, hands on his knees, gasping for breath before straightening and walking toward the low divan, as if he was going to sit, but instead he caught Martouf off guard and took him down. Sam was on him in a heartbeat, and he was fighting both of them, throwing first one, and then the other, off him, at first wondering why they had attacked him, and then realizing that they were allowing him to throw them off him. This was some sort of Tau’ri ritual. It had to be.
Well, he had come to learn about the Tau’ri, as well as to help them, so he would take part. Suddenly, he felt Samantha’s hands under his shirt, on his ribs, and she was touching him in an unusual manner. He found it very odd, and he tried to move away from the sensation it caused, but her other hand came to his other side and began the same odd movements. Suddenly, he was under them both, their hands appeared to be everywhere, they had him down, and he found himself laughing. The next thing he knew, they had his shirt off.
He learned fast, very fast. Soon he worked on Daniel’s shirt and after figuring out the exact moves, he began to return the odd finger movements to both Daniel and Samantha. Then, he realized that they were working together against him. This would take some maneuvering, some baiting, some work, and timing, and he was almost laughing to hard to think. Not quite though. He just wanted them to believe that to be true. He worked until he appeared to be almost ready to surrender, but when he finally had them where he wanted them, with Daniel on the bottom, he trapped Samantha between them on her back, and he lay on the top, pinning them to the floor. He looked down into Daniel’s face and grinned at him. They were all gasping for breath. Sam was managing to complain that they were squashing her between them and something about belt buckles, between breaths.
“What is this—Tau'ri ritual—called?” He finally found the breath to ask. “Did I pass— whatever test I—was supposed to pass?”
Sam looked into his eyes and realized that he really did not know what they had been doing. Finally able to slow her breathing slightly, as she began to get her breath back, she asked quietly, “Did you enjoy it, Martouf?”
His breathing calmed as well, he looked back at her for a moment, thinking about what had just taken place, “Yes, I believe I did. It was an enjoyable exercise.”
She nodded, before telling him, quietly, “That’s all it was. We were playing. We were just having some fun because we wanted to have fun. The Tau’ri consider play an important part of their lives. So, if you enjoyed it, then you passed the ritual.” Then she leaned up and her lips clung to his, as Daniel’s arms came around her in a hug, supporting her answer, understanding what she was trying to tell Martouf. The door opened and Jore, Colonel O’Neill, and Teal’c walked in.
Sam looked up at them, then at the bare-chested Martouf on top of her, while she felt the bare-chested Daniel under her, and she closed her eyes. How did she get in these messes?
“Ah, Carter, do you think you can explain this?”
“I do not think she needs to explain this to you, Colonel, since she is my mate,” Martouf said, putting emphasis on the word mate and touching the collar around his neck and looking at the one on Sam.
He saw Teal’c’s immediate understanding as he answered swiftly, before O’Neill could, “No, of course, that is not what he was asking. He wanted to know what happened earlier to Daniel Jackson? It seems his room has been, ah, ransacked.” Jore might not understand the words that they spoke, but he would understand the tone of voice that they were using. O’Neill would have to be careful, if they were to protect Major Carter from unwanted advances. Teal’c would explain it to him later. Having seen these types of things before, this verified what he only suspected when they were at the Temple.
Martouf got to his feet, helped both Sam and Daniel to theirs, and casually picked up his shirt and gave Daniel’s his. Jore left swiftly and returned, giving Martouf a look of admonishment, before clasping the matching collar onto Daniel, and allowing the dressers in to measure, pin, snip, and leave, as Daniel stood quietly allowing them access to whatever they needed.
Lantash had awakened during the wrestling on the floor, at first alarmed, and then calmed, when he heard Martouf laughing. Watching, listening, and feeling, he had considered unobtrusively increasing Martouf’s sensitivity to the touches he was receiving, but he soon realized that he needed no increase. He was almost laughing too hard to respond, as it was. Still, Lantash did not go to his aid. He was not sure what this was about, but his Martouf had not laughed like this for so many years now, that he could not recall when the last time had been. A very, very long time ago, it would seem.
As the ritual, as Martouf appeared to be calling it to himself, came to an end with Martouf pinning the two tired and gasping Tau’ri to the floor, more or less, he listened as Martouf asked about it. He had watched the odd surprised, and then compassionate, look come into Samantha’s eyes, and he was as surprised as his host was to hear what Daniel and Samantha were doing. They were playing; they were having fun and enjoying themselves. That was all, nothing more and nothing less. Then she had kissed them sweetly.
Lantash smiled. Yes, indeed, perhaps the Tau’ri were going to teach the Tok’Ra a good many things that they had either forgotten over the last two thousand years, or had never known at all. Hearing Martouf laugh like that was certainly worth a great deal of aggravation. He supposed that he could even manage to ignore O’Neill, to hear laughter like that from his soul’s mate.
Martouf was doing quite well without him, it seemed. How odd that after a hundred years or so, one forgot that the human one was blended with was a capable person before you blended with them and would no doubt be so again, if you were gone. In one way, it was a good feeling, to know that Martouf would survive quite well without him. In another, just the thought of him being alone and without him was a deep and burning ache. However, right now, he needed to see how he handled this rather touchy situation, and be ready to step in, if he did need him to. Not, he was ready now to admit, that he believed he would.
After Martouf slipped his arms in his shirt, he turned and nodded to the man standing next to him, “Daniel, you need to tell the Colonel what happened, and I will translate for Jore. Please tell it from the time we left the gate. I will take the blame for not thinking to make it clear that we are all one family. Even though Samantha is my mate, she is also friends to all, and we all protect her. She belongs to all of us in that way. Are the women bothering you Colonel or you Teal’c?”
“I can tell them that you have wives at home, and it will stop at once. I did not think to do that. I should have asked you, but at the time, I was thinking that Samantha was the one that would have the most trouble, if one of us did not claim her. The truth is that Lantash awoke just in time to realize what we were doing and to instruct me to claim her at once before any problem could arise. I did not consider that any of the remainder of us would have a problem. I apologize for not realizing that you would have the same problem, except that it would come from the women. Therefore, if they are disturbing you, I will do what I can to mitigate it.”
“The women I’ve had around me were very polite. I’ve had no problem.”
“Indeed,” Teal'c concurred, “mine were quite courteous, as well. I have experienced nothing unpleasant at their hands.”
“So, it is only Daniel that is having the problem. Samantha and I will claim him as part of our household. That will solve the problem, but he still needs to tell Jore about the girls, for they will not allow that type of behavior to continue. The women are highly esteemed in this culture, and they expect them to behave in a proper manner. This behavior will be unacceptable to the other women. For one thing, Daniel is a guest, and to upset a guest is a grave insult, to upset him to the point that he believed he must flee his room is very, well, it just is not done, and the family will consider it a dishonor upon them. I am unsure of the outcome. However, do not be surprised to receive some gifts, Daniel. If you do not wish this to happen, you will need to attempt to stop it now, if we even can.”
Daniel nodded, “I’ve been in similar cultures, and you are right. All we can do is try to stop it now, before they actually offer them.”
“Go ahead, Daniel.” So, Daniel told Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c a short version about the girls, then he told them about coming in here, and how Sam had made fun of him, for being upset over having his butt squeezed. Then, he told them that Sam’s teasing helped to release the tension of the incident for him, because it led into a wrestling-tickling match. When they stopped, they realized that Martouf had no idea what they were doing, so they ganged up on him. Only he got the best of them, and that was the point at which they walked in. He and Sam were giving in. That was all.” Needless to say, Martouf did not translate that quite like that. By the time he was finished, Jore was convinced that the three of them were very happy together. It had been obvious when they had walked in, of course, but it was still nice to hear it from Martouf.
Daniel nodded to Martouf, and they began the long story about the girls. Daniel assured Jore that he was not upset, or angry. He realized they were very young. Too young, he said, to know what they had been inviting. He wanted nothing from the parents; there was no need because there had been no harm done. He was hale, hearty, and whole. He was more concerned about the girls. They could be in a very great deal of danger, if they tried it with a man that would take advantage of their age and curiosity. It might be better to answer their curiosity than to allow them to make a mistake again.
Jore loved Daniel by the time they were finished. He wished Daniel had taken a liking to one of their women. He had not, and he was already a soon-mate to Samantha and Martouf. So be it, but it was such a waste, such a waste.
The conversation passed into the more commonplace and Daniel continued to pick more of it up as they went along. He was not fluent yet, but neither was he now completely in the dark.
Their robes would be ready soon. The morning baths were ready. Their bathing escorts would come for them shortly. Smiling widely, he left to take care of the young girls, who should not even have been out of the learning areas, let alone in a stranger’s rooms. There would be harsh words in some homes this night, regardless how kindly Daniel had spoken of them. They were lucky the young man was soon-mate to the pretty Samantha, as well as being a soon-mate of Martouf of the Tok’Ra, and that he was also a man of honor. It was still very much too bad that he had not found one of the older women to his liking.
Martouf, Daniel, and Sam looked at each other after Jore left, and they could not contain their smiles. He had looked so censurably at Martouf, as he brought the collar for Daniel, proclaiming him mated to Samantha and Martouf. The three fell onto the divan, and Daniel rested his forehead in his palms.
“Martouf, what exactly does this, this “collar”, mean? I assume it means that I am somehow affiliated with you and Sam? What, I’m your brother, or something, now?” Daniel lifted his head and looked at him.
Martouf blushed and cleared his throat, “Not exactly, Daniel. It, ah, simply means that you are part of our family unit.”
“Shut up, Lantash, when you laugh that hard you give me a headache,” Martouf almost snapped at Lantash in his embarrassment. “You have a very warped sense of humor, you know. It is no wonder you and Malek get along so well. His is the same.”
Lantash still chuckled. “I must admit that you are correct. Malek and I do share a sense of the ridiculous. That aside, however, I want to see you get out of this one, Martouf. Daniel is extremely bright. It will take him no more than a millisecond to understand what you have proclaimed him to be.”
Martouf sighed. Lantash was having another mood swing, as he always did when he was recovering from some indisposition. He had moved on to jocularity, at the moment, and he wondered how long it would be before he went back to cranky. Leaving that thread of thought, he asked him, “What was I supposed to do? It was imperative that I take action immediately. What if one of those girls made up some story to blame Daniel for their own lapse, what then?”
Lantash, sobered at once. “You have a valid point. You could not allow that to happen. They would not have hurt him, but we would have had to leave immediately, and our honor as well as that of the Tau’ri would very possibly have been irretrievably tarnished.”
Martouf, readily agreed, “Yes, and I did not want to take a chance on that happening. If they did do something like that, it would be their word against Daniel’s, since he was the only one there, and he admitted to touching one of them with his hand.”
Lantash gave him his support. “All right, let us see how this goes then.”
“Thank you, Lantash, I will.”
Something about the tone of Martouf’s voice must have alerted Daniel, though not the others, because only he jerked his head up to look at him with narrowed eyes. “And just “how” am I a part of your “family unit”, Martouf?” When there was no immediate answer, he closed his eyes, and muttered softly, “Oh, I am so-oh, not going to like this am I, Martouf? Please, tell me you didn’t tell him that. Please.”
“Well, I did not tell him that in so many words, Daniel, no. I, er, allowed him to draw his own conclusions, and did not disabuse him of any erroneous assumptions.” Martouf said, almost hopefully. “Sometimes, it is better to say less, and allow the other person to draw conclusions, which you neither confirm nor deny, than it is to make a firm statement. So far, the only thing I have claimed with any firmness is that Samantha is taken. That was a must, unless we wanted every young man over twelve showing her every asset he had.”
Daniel groaned. Jack stared, and Teal’c’s lips twitched, but he firmly suppressed them. Sam looked confused, but suspicious. As if afraid to, she asked anyway, “I think you are going to have to clarify, Martouf.”
“That’s not necessary, Sam. I know exactly what my position in our “household” is.”
“Good for you, Daniel, because I don’t. I don’t even know what my position is.” Sam snapped back.
Daniel frowned. “You’re the Lady of the Manor, he’s the Lord and I’m your Lover…and his!” Daniel hissed, before flopping backwards onto the divan, closing his eyes, and rubbing the bridge of his nose. “I’d rather have my butt squeezed,” he muttered just loud enough that they could all hear him.
Sam blinked at him and then turned to Martouf who shrugged and looked remarkably innocent. Then she looked at Jack and Teal’c who both seemed to find spots on the wall to be of extreme interest. “Then who are they,” she asked pointing to Teal’c and Jack, “the Court Jesters? Come on, Daniel, you’re acting as if it’s the end of the world.”
Daniel lowered his hand and stared at her. His mouth dropped open. “Sam, didn’t you hear me? They think he’s my lover!”
“So? They think Martouf’s your lover too, and you don’t see him having a better fit of hysterics than a Victorian heroine, do you? Get a grip, Daniel. It’s not like you have to sleep with him. I might, though. If I’m not throwing a fit, what do you have to throw a tantrum about? You’re always the one saying, “we have to do as the natives do, Sam. Wear the weird blue outfit, get kidnapped, sold into slavery, and fight a warlord, Sam, for the sake of fitting in with the natives. So, they think you and Martouf are Bi? What’s the big deal? It’s just “fitting in with the natives,” Daniel.” Sam smirked, as she said the last.
Daniel looked at Sam for a very long time, sighed deeply, and said in a stony, cold voice, “I hate you when you spout my own words at me and are right. I will possibly forgive you for being right tomorrow. I will never forgive him for pretending that I am his lover. Or that he is mine.”
“Well, he also pretended that I am your lover, too. At least I think he did.” Sam smiled.
Daniel paused for a minute. “There is that. Maybe I’ll forgive him in the very distant future. Do I get to sleep with you, too?” That, he thought, would make up for every evil everyone has done to me in my entire life. Well, she likes my ass, that’s good to know. And I know what Martouf and I just saw in her eyes a little bit ago, and it was a hell of a long way from friendship. What she was feeling, for the two of us, could have started a fire using wet logs, no kindling. Damn, just the thought of the three of us in that bed, naked, together, is enough to ensure that I don’t stand up in the foreseeable future. I wonder if Martouf is having the same problem? Yup, sure looks like it from this angle. That means he saw that look, too. Lantash must have gone back to sleep. At least I’m not in purgatory alone.
“Sure. Or better yet, since you and Martouf are lovers, you can sleep together, and I’ll take the couch. However, since that is a very long way off on this planet, I see no need to worry about it now.” As they gaped at her, unable to retaliate, Sam stood and waved the dressers, with their joining robes in hand, into the room. The bath attendants with their bathing robes were close behind. So, it was onward to the next entertainment. She sent them a gotcha smile.
It could only get better from here, Daniel thought bitterly. He almost moaned aloud knowing that he now had to try to take a bath with a flagpole in his shorts. He snorted to himself. From the look on Martouf’s face, they were thinking the exact same thing, about the exact same problem. Maybe they had more in common than they knew.