Chapter Six Summary: Without realizing it, Sam, Martouf/Lantash, and Daniel have offended the customs of their hosts. Being alone with Sam while she was nude was strictly forbidden. Marta is very upset and disciplines both Martouf and Daniel, which in turn upsets Sam extremely. Confusion and misunderstandings ensue. Wanting to ensure that there is a scientific treaty signed now that they realize how important the plant they used on Jack is, Lantash comes forward to discuss the problem with Jore and an understanding and compromise is reached. As Sam says, "We just have to remember that there's this plant."
"Italics" - Symbiote-Host Communications
Suddenly, Marta stood up straight and demanded something of Jore. He looked from Martouf and Daniel to Samantha. His little Marta, who was a force to be reckoned with at all times, planted herself next to Samantha and glared at her mate. Jore shrugged his shoulders in a helpless fashion. Now, what was he to do? This was not going to go well. He could tell. And then, they would offend the Tok’Ra. He hoped Lantash did not have to come forward for some reason. They had great respect and, in fact, awe, for a being of such age and wisdom. Because of their great age, they did not wish to disturb them, and, if he must stir himself to come forward, it would perhaps, cause him to think less of them as a people. He looked again at Marta. Sighing he stood his ground.
Sam was wondering why Martouf was saying nothing. Had Daniel’s code been correct? Crap. Finally having enough, and Martouf being within reach, she grabbed her material from his hand, and awkwardly wrapping herself in it, she stood up. She put her fingers to her lips and let out a piercing whistle that stopped the murmurs, whispers, and conversations from the various people who had wandered in.
Now that she had their attention, she glared at them, and then turned to Daniel and Martouf, “Daniel, since people are still arriving, I’m going to assume that the door is still open, so before the entire town comes in here, go and close it. Martouf, what is going on?” When he didn’t answer her, she looked at him with raised eyebrows, and then asked again with a raised voice. “I asked what is going on, I want an answer, and I want it now.” She watched as he glanced at Jore, and she realized that the leader, or his wife, had forbidden Martouf, and probably Daniel as well, to say anything. So Daniel’s hand signals had meant that. She thought she’d misunderstood. Evidently not. Well, that was the wrong thing for them to have done. Her anger was growing instead of lessening. Her lips thinned and her eyes narrowed.
Martouf held his breath seeing the anger grow in her eyes and stance. “Lantash, what do we do? If I break this silence, we will have insulted them to the point that not only the Tau’ ri, but the Tok’Ra, will have offended them grievously, as well.”
“I suggest you allow Samantha to handle this. Her anger will erupt soon now. She is quite capable of challenging Jore for us, and our rights, as her mates. If she does, they will respect her, as well as like her, and the Tau’ri will gain stature in their eyes.”
“You really believe that we should allow her to challenge Jore? What if he is angry instead of impressed?”
“He will not be. Trust me in this, Martouf, please.”
“All right. I always have before. I have no reason to stop doing so now.”
Sam studied the people in the room for a moment before bringing her eyes back to Jore. Okay, they wanted to play hardball, she could play hardball. Tying the material of the robe more tightly around herself, she walked over to Jore and stood toe to toe with him. “I've had it. These men are my family, and if I want to speak to them, I will. You have no right to tell them what to do, or to say. You will not interfere, or coerce my family in this way, or attempt to keep them from speaking to me.” She had been smacking her palm with her other hand as she spoke, but she now changed tactics.
She pointed at Martouf, and then she stuck her finger in Jore’s face before telling him, “You are an idiot. Here I am talking to you, and you have absolutely no idea what I’m saying because you’ve told the interpreter to shut the hell up. I could be telling you that I’ m going to kill everyone in your entire town, or castrate all of your male children, if you don’t allow my mates to talk to me. You have no way of knowing that I’m telling you that I’ m going to shave your head and,” she held her hand as if she was going to strike him and made her voice even more menacing, “then I’m going to paint your toenails bright red.”
You could see that Jore understood the tone of voice and gesture if not the words. “Furthermore, if you don’t immediately release my family I’m going to saw down all of your trees and use weed killer on your grass. How’d you like that tough guy? Your homes will be kindling and your grass is as good as dead. Me and roundup to the rescue.” Everyone held their breath.
The nice little blonde had suddenly become a raging virago. She was not happy, and it was not her soon-mates she was unhappy with that much was obvious. Although they could not understand what she was saying, it appeared she was extremely upset over something. And she was obviously threatening something dire from the wide-eyed, startled looks on her soon-mates faces. Perhaps their customs were different? Had she not been disturbed by their presence in her room?
Jore looked at Martouf and said something, which Martouf replied to with a very short answer. Sam stood glaring at the man hand still raised. He said something else, and Martouf began to speak rapidly in their language. Sam never moved, nor did she take her eyes from his. Until Martouf spoke in English, to her, she wasn’t backing down.
“Sam he wants to know why you are still threatening him, if all you wanted was for me to be able to talk.”
“Can you now talk all you want?” She remained where she was, not moving, hand still at the ready, eyes boring holes into Jore’s.
“Yes. However, there are a few, ah, cultural problems that must be worked out.
“It’s hard to work out a problem, if the translator is forbidden to speak,” she pointed out, sarcasm dripping off her tongue thick enough to eat a hole through Jore, if he’d only understood her.
“Yes, I pointed out to him that without me, neither of you knew what the other was saying or wanted. I am now free to speak, and he assures me that I will not be forbidden to speak again.”
“And Daniel? What about Daniel?” I won’t have either of my mates treated like this. Martouf, you tell him that I am very displeased. You tell him that I will not allow either of you to be treated so disrespectfully. How dare they insult you in this way? They’ve known you and Lantash from before, when the Tok’Ra helped them. How—how dare they treat you this way?” Sam was so angry by now that her voice shook, and she could feel the moisture gathering. She was becoming furious with herself, too. Damn it! She stamped her foot, trying to distract herself and keep her emotions under control. Her attempt at keeping some perspective, by being ridiculous with her threats, was itself threatening to dissolve.
Jore’s eyes widened, as he saw her anger increasing instead of decreasing. She added sharply, “You tell him, and don’t you dare pretty it up, and Daniel will tell on you, if you do, so you better not. You tell him exactly what I said to tell him,” she almost hissed. The day and the beating her emotions had already given her were almost more than she could stand.
It was too much, way too much, all at once. She’d just found out that she loved her very best friend, as well as a man she’d been denying she loved for a very long while, insisting it was someone else’s emotions. Well, she came face to face with them today as well as those she felt for Daniel, and now, to top it off, here she was, in the middle of one of the most humiliating situations she’d ever been in, making the most ridiculous threats. Not even realizing she was saying it, she murmured aloud, “I’ve never been so humiliated in my entire life.”
Jore turned toward Martouf and held out his hand beseechingly. He did not want the soon-mate of his friends to cry over this, nor did he intend to anger her. They were trying to save her honor. Why was she angrier? They had done something against the customs of her people, had they not? This was the true problem, yes?
Daniel finally couldn’t keep quiet any longer, and broke into speech, permission or not, saying to Martouf in Jore’s language, so he could hear it, too, “Martouf, part of the problem is all of these strangers in here, while she’s undressed. In our society, she would be called some very harsh names, if anyone found out. She is humiliated in front of us, that strangers have seen her, and yet we can do nothing to stop it. She is angry because she is so hurt that we cannot, or have not, protected her honor, and she does not understand why, except that Jore has stopped us. We understand what has happened. She does not understand, and she is very upset. We need to resolve this, for her sake. Why else would she be fighting tears?”
Lantash came forward. “I am aware, Daniel. I am also aware of what she would be called,” he added, going along with Daniel’s attempt to cover up Samantha’s true reason for being upset, as well as, playing into the reason Jore himself had given them, as Daniel had. “However, we must relay her message to Jore and finish this, so that we can end this for her in the quickest way possible.”
Turning to Jore, Lantash said calmly, “As you heard Daniel explain to me, Samantha is upset, for more than one reason. She is still threatening you because she wants no restriction on any of us. She feels you have over stepped your bounds in forbidding us the right to speak to her. She is our soon-mate, and in her mind, you had no right to tell us what to do in regard to her. I must say, Jore, that I agree with her and had she not stepped in, I would have. Our friendship is long and well-formed. If you have no more faith in me than this, perhaps, I should rethink our relationship.”
Seeing Jore’s eyes slide to Marta’s, Lantash smiled grimly, “Just so. Perhaps more than one of us was hasty. I must talk to Samantha, for a moment. Excuse me.”
He turned his eyes to Samantha and held out his hand to her. “Come, Samantha. Daniel is free to speak as well. I believe the entire situation spiraled out of control.”
Sam slowly lowered her hand from its threatening position and turned sad blue eyes to Lantash. She was afraid to take the hand he held out to her for fear she would lose control of her emotions. However, she couldn’t ignore it either, so squaring her shoulders she took a deep breath and looked up and into Lantash’s eyes. A small smile curved her lips. She shook her head. How could two beings in the same body look so different when they each used it? It was a mystery to her, but she’d look forward to finding out.
She put her hand in his and allowed him to pull her close and tuck her under his arm, placing a light kiss on her temple and murmuring to her. She buried her face in his shoulder, murmuring, “God, Lantash, I am so embarrassed, where did all these people come from? And why won’t they just go away? Are we really all that interesting?”
Lantash frowned and his lips straightened into a straight line as he looked at Jore and Marta. “Jore, these people are embarrassing my soon-mate. She is being shamed by this. Is this how you treat my family? Why should she do as you wish to be sure no dishonor comes to your house, when you shame her?”
Jore understood at last and spoke rapidly to those behind him explaining that in Samantha’s home, people other than family were not allowed in her rooms, so they would please leave. There was a rapid exchange that ended with the people smiling and bowing to her, so she assumed that they had decided the show was over for the day, and they might as well go watch someone else, in their bedroom. As the last one was bowed out of the room, and it became only Daniel, Lantash, Marta, and Jore left in the cottage, you could see the lessening of tension in her body. Daniel was glad to see it, until he realized that she wasn’t turning around from the door.
“Sam? Are you all right?”
She nodded her head, and then looked into his eyes. “Daniel, I almost lost it in there. I don’t understand it. I was so angry and upset. And over what? It was just a misunderstanding.” Then she saw in her mind’s eyes Marta slapping Martouf and jerking on Daniel. “No, it wasn’t nothing. She assaulted you and Martouf.” She looked at him her eyes wide and her look straight and clear. “She had no right. She had no right to do that to my family, to my, to the men I love,” she whispered. Turning she walked back into the other room.
Daniel stood rooted to the floor. Stunned. Sam had just told him she loved him. Very clearly and plainly with no hesitation. Daniel felt like he’d just gone over the first hill on a roller coaster and left his stomach and mind somewhere behind him.
The others had been standing near the door and as Samantha moved into the other room, Martouf came forward. “Daniel, we should be with Samantha. We must explain to her, what has occurred, and how we can fix it.”
Daniel looked over from where he was staring at the wall. “Yes, of course, Martouf. Is Lantash all right? He seemed to come to the forefront rather quickly and to retire just as quickly.”
“He is fine. With some peoples, the symbiote receives a great deal of respect. The Berinnese is one of them. The symbiote rarely comes forward, however. The fact that Lantash was upset enough about how his soon-mate was being treated to come forward himself, put weight behind his words.”
“Furthermore, it did not go unnoticed, Daniel, that it was to Lantash that Samantha turned for comfort, or that it was him, who was able to call her and to calm her. Believe me; he knew exactly what he was doing by coming forward exactly when he did. In addition, by leaving now, he is emphasizing that her comfort is his major concern. He will not come back unless there is another threat. Much as they respect the Tok’Ra, they have no desire for them to come forward for any reason other than simple communication, because they wish to greet someone.” Martouf began to turn toward the room where everyone else now was, and so, he did not see the puzzlement on Daniel’s face.
Therefore, Daniel’s question surprised him, “If they dislike, or um, I guess, fear them, that much, why do they seem so, ah, happy and welcoming to them?” There was no doubt that Daniel was thoroughly confused.
Martouf smiled at him, even as he shook his head no, and explained, “They have a great deal of respect for them, and they consider it a failure on their part, if the symbiote must make the effort to come forward instead of speaking to them through us. Do not misunderstand and believe that they are afraid of them, for they are not. The Tok’Ra saved their entire people not once, but twice, over the centuries. Because of that and their great age, their wisdom, their knowledge of other worlds, and their strength, at times, their regard and esteem for them borders on awe. To disturb one enough that they come forward for something other greetings or, perhaps, some small amount of conversation is considered an offense, I assure you. Now, we must join them.”
“Yes, of course, Martouf, lead the way,” Daniel responded, obviously considering Martouf’s words. It gave him a different perspective on the Tok’Ra, and the way the different peoples in the Universe regarded them.
Five minutes later, Martouf turned to Samantha and told her what he had told Jore and his mate. “I have explained that in your culture, it is not forbidden to have your soon- mates attend you, if you cannot manage the gown or robe alone, and that we did not know that they did not have the same custom. I also told him that you do not consider yourself, or us, dishonored, and you have no intention of repudiating us. He knows that you are displeased, and I also told him that I must explain to you what has occurred, so that you can understand the, the affront to their customs, and how we can repair it. I hope that is agreeable to you.”
Sam nodded, “Yes, that’s fine. So, you are going to tell me what just happened here? Why in the world would I be dishonored over you helping me figure out how to wrap this thing?”
“Yes, well, do you remember that I told Jore that we were going to mate, not that we were mated? And Daniel as well, when we added him to our household. That you were going to join with us? He took that to mean that, while we were going to become mates, we were not completely intimate, which means that neither Daniel, nor I, are permitted in a room with you, while you are unclothed. I am afraid this obscure bit of information has never turned up, while the Tok’Ra stayed with them. This, it seems, is your room, which I pointed out, no one told us, and the other one is Daniel’s and mine. I do apologize. Even the Tok’Ra do not know everything, about every culture. I am sure O’Neill will be relieved to hear it,” he finished wryly.
He then continued, “Your defense of Daniel and me, in standing ready to challenge the leader of their people for us, says a great deal to them about your feelings for us. At any rate, they now believe that you do not consider yourself dishonored by us. And, after I was finally allowed to explain the circumstances surrounding why we were here, and what we were doing, they more or less agreed that perhaps we had not ravished you. Of course, the fact that I was also able to point out, that you were sitting quietly, covered up with pillows, obviously comfortable and unmolested, also helped.”
“However, Jore and Marta ask that we join. The three of us, that is, not only to save your honor, but so that no dishonor falls on their house if the story gets twisted, and the truth is not what is told. Will you agree to that? If we do not, Samantha, I cannot say there will be no scientific treaty, but neither can I assure that there will be. The chances would certainly be much, much lower. If we do, I can assure you that there will be, for then, both you and O’Neill, both sexes of the Tau’ri, will be seen as honorable, strong, and fierce in their defense of their beliefs, but more importantly, protective of others, their friends and families.”
Sam looked from him to Daniel. This wasn’t just her here. “Daniel? What do you think? I mean, you were the ones that she attacked. Now they want a favor from you. How do you feel about it? If we don’t do it, we still might get the treaty. It’s a chance we can take. We do not have to do this. It’s really up to you, Martouf and Lantash.”
“Sam, what do you mean, it’s up to Martouf, Lantash, and me? What about you? Don’t you have an opinion? How do you feel about it? I mean, surely we need to know that. If you aren’t willing, then there is no point in us even considering it.”
Sam blinked at him for a minute, before saying calmly, “Oh, I thought you understood. Sure, I’ll do it. It’s just a ceremony to make them feel like they haven’t been dishonored, and I have no desire to cause them embarrassment. So yeah, I’m willing to go through with it.”
Daniel swallowed and tried to sound casual, as he said, “Well, you know, I’ve always wanted to be married to a blond. And I can’t think of any blond I’d rather be married to than you, Sam, so sure, why not?”
Sam turned to Martouf and her eyes asked the question. He smiled, the little half smile that she loved so much, “Do you even need to ask, Samantha? I believe you know the answer within your heart, but so that there may be no doubt by you that we were unwilling to participate in this joining ceremony. Yes, my heart will gladly join with yours.”
Taking a deep breath, Sam nodded. “All right then. Let’s do it.”
Daniel laughed softly at her side and swooping in, kissed her lightly, “We aren’t going into battle, Sam, don’t sound so grim. We may never have another chance like this. We should enjoy it, not take it on like it’s a death sentence.”
“I’m sorry, Daniel,” Sam smiled at him, “I didn’t mean to. I guess I’m just nervous and want to get on with it. I guess if the two of you take it in stride and decide to enjoy it, so can I. From this point on, we’ll try to enjoy the rest of our wedding day.” She turned to Martouf. “That’s what it would be on Earth, our wedding day. A very special day. So, it will be special for us as well.”
Martouf smiled at her, “Yes, it will, Samantha, but then you are special. Tell me, does the female in your ceremony have a particular designation?”
“Yes. She’s the bride. The male is the groom. Or in this case, grooms.” She smiled at him, and added, “You should probably finish talking to them. They seem to need more information.”
“Yes, they do, and I will tell them and also find out if there is anything we should know from them.”
“All right, Martouf.” As he turned toward Jore and Marta and started to speak to them, she startled them all by reaching out and grasping him and asking him to wait. He looked at her in surprise, waiting for her comment or question.
“Listen, I said I’ll go through with this, and I will. I’ll even enjoy it. If we’re playing out a fantasy and acting as if it’s real, I can do that. It’s probably the safest way, so we don’t screw it up, but there is one condition. I’ll do it as long as we don’t have to have sex in front of anyone. When we get back to our room, and it’s just us, fine, but if there is public sex, I am so out of here. I’ll steal a leaf and take it back, but I will Not have sex with you in public. I’ve done as much in front of the townspeople as I’m willing to do. When we’re all alone together, or not at all. That’s it, take it, or leave it.”
Martouf’s tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. He nodded, all he was capable of at the moment, and looked at Daniel. Sam was looking at him, too. “Understand Daniel? I mean it, I’ll do my best to have a good time, play it for all its worth, make it as real as possible, enjoy myself and the entire event, the ceremony, the dressing in the local dress, the whole bit, but I will not have sex with you in front of the town. Later is fine, when we’ re in the room.” She swung back to Martouf, who was still looking at her like a deer caught in the headlights, “And no—no watchers, or visitors, or any other quaint little customs they might have. It is the three, er, four of us alone in our own bed with no outside interference, cheering section, or whatever else they might want to do. Understood?”
At Martouf’s nod of acceptance, she turned back to Daniel.
Daniel nodded, and managed to get his voice to reply, “Su-sure Sam, what—whatever you say.”
“Fine, as long as we all agree to those terms, then I guess that’s settled, and in that case, I’ m willing to do it. You make sure they understand that condition, Martouf. I don’t want any surprises at the altar, or wherever it’s done.” She frowned for a moment, as she looked at Martouf, then she asked, “Martouf, I’d like to talk to Lantash, please.”
Lantash’s deeper tones came through, as he asked quietly, “Yes, my Samantha? What do you wish to ask of me?”
“I want to know if what is going on here could be resolved in any other way. I also want to know if you are agreeable to this plan? You are one of us, too. You should be asked if you agree to go along with it.”
Lantash chose to answer her inquiries in order, “While there might be other solutions to this situation, Samantha, if you are asking me my opinion, then I believe that this is the best one. The others would not tie the treaty up so neatly, or show the Tau’ri in so favorable a light.”
He took her hands in his, held them gently, and watched as his thumbs caressed the backs of them. Then looking up and into her eyes, as a slight smile curved his lips, he said softly, “As for the joining, if it were only true, it would make me completely happy. No, my Samantha. I do not mind going through this joining ceremony with you. I look forward to it.” He lifted both her hands then, and lovingly kissed each of her palms, before his eyes gleamed, and Martouf returned.
She stared at him for a moment, her breath suspended. Why did Lantash always have that effect on her? He was just so—so—Lantash. Only he could take this type of situation and turn it into a scene for seduction. She shivered, finally drew a breath, and murmured, “All right, so we do this, and we get the treaty. All we have to remember is that there is this plant. Then, we do it.”
She turned to walk back to the couch-like piece of furniture, but turned back to Martouf, one more time. “And would you please tell Marta, that someone has to help me get this thing on, or I’ll insist that you and Daniel are in here with me, while I dress for the ceremony, because I can’t figure it out. If she didn’t want something like that happening, then she shouldn’t have left it without instructions in the first place.”
Yes, of course, Samantha. I will see to it that someone will help you.” Martouf turned back to Jore, and began once again to explain, ask, answer, and request, everything they needed, or needed to know. At least, he hoped he did, but after Samantha’s last several remarks, he wasn’t sure he was even making sense. Jore was not looking at him oddly, so he must be. Lantash was smugly triumphant in the back of his mind going over the recent statements that Samantha had made, but even then, the symbiote was his usual efficient self.
“You have forgotten to ask Jore if there is any public sex involved, Martouf. If you cannot bring yourself to do so, I will do it for you.”
“I will do it.” Martouf sighed and turned back to Jore. He had truly hoped his symbiote was too busy replaying recent scenes and statements to notice that he had failed to ask that question. He had also been hoping that Daniel would do it, since his grasp of the language was coming along so well. Neither hope had been realized. He opened his mouth and began once again to talk to Jore about the ceremony.
Twenty minutes and some embarrassment later, after finally having to admit that Samantha had insisted that, if there was public mating involved, she was refusing to take part, they had finished their conversation. He smiled as he remembered Jore and Marta’s faces, as he finally managed to ask his question. They had almost been insulted by his question, asking how she could have thought such a thing, until it was pointed out that to her, having strange people in her room, while she was unclothed, was on a par with that. Therefore, if they allowed that, then in her mind, it stood to reason, they might have other strange customs as well. Strange to her, he had amended, but not too quickly.
Marta had still looked alarmed, and he had covered her hand calming her, telling her that Samantha did not believe there were those things; she had only said that “if there were”. She assumed that there was not, but felt it best to check…just in case. Marta smiled at him and patted his cheek, telling him he had always been a good boy. He had sighed, and followed Lantash’s advice. He would gain nothing in pointing out that he was probably close to twice her age. She would not understand, no matter how often one explained the situation to her.
He was also well satisfied when Marta found the time later to come and tell both he and Daniel that she was sorry she had assaulted them. Both had given her their very best, hurt little boy, lost puppy dog looks, which had garnered each of them a kiss on the cheek, a pat on the head, and a smack on the ass, for trying to pull that on her. Then she left, laughing at them, but leaving them knowing that she had their forgiveness.
A short time later Martouf and Daniel found themselves on their way to see Jack and Teal’ c. It also found Daniel pointing out to Martouf in a very serious tone of voice and with a serious demeanor, one that was every bit as serious as it appeared to be that, “I should probably do most of the talking, Martouf. Jack isn’t always, um, rational if he gets some screwy idea fixed in his head, before you can get the real one in there. And once in a while, it takes a while to get the real reason in and the stupid reason out. Well, actually, more than just once in a while, more like some of the, well, no, that isn’t quite right either, it’s really more often than not that it happens. He has a bad habit of only hearing part of what you say and nine times out of ten it isn’t enough to explain the entire situation, so he gets some really dumb, erroneous idea stuck in his head until you can pry it out.”
“I understand, Daniel. You wish Lantash and I to stand behind you and, if Colonel O’Neill becomes violent, you wish Lantash to restrain him, until you can force him to see reason. That seems a prudent request to both of us and we will be quite happy to do so,” Martouf interjected smoothly.
“Well, actually, that wasn’t what I had in mind, but that might not be a bad idea, as well,” Daniel said dryly, as they walked toward the cottage where Jack and Teal’c were housed.
“We will be happy to do so, but if that was not the reason, then what was your point in warning us of the Colonel’s somewhat volatile temper? Something which, I might add, we are both well aware.”
Daniel gave an abrupt snort of laughter, at the understatement, before sobering to say, “Well, first, please don’t take offense to what I’m about to say.”
Martouf’s lips lifted in a small half-smile as, he answered, “If you are going to tell us that Colonel O’Neill is not exactly fond of Lantash and I, it is completely unnecessary, Daniel. We have been aware of his dislike and jealousy, from the first moment we approached Samantha. We cannot do anything to change it, and we will not give up Samantha, so we are at an impasse. While we would be willing to compromise in many ways, I am sorry, but I am afraid that this in not one of them.”
“Yes, I know, but, that wasn’t what I was going to tell you, either. I think we are all pretty much aware of Jack’s prejudices and feelings. What I was going to say is that you should be prepared to duck, because regardless who tells him about it, or what we say, all Jack is going to hear is Sam, Naked, and Martouf. He will not hear the words robe, Daniel, Sam, alone together, or Martouf and Daniel together with Sam, or any other combination thereof. He will hear only those three words.”
“So I suggest you stay as far behind me as possible. He would never consider that I would take advantage of Sam, but he would assume you would ravish her, when in fact the exact opposite is true.” Daniel sighed to himself.
“Daniel, kissing Samantha is hardly ravishing her, and I would imagine she wanted you to, or you would not have. Stop beating yourself up about it.” Seeing Daniel stiffen beside him, he continued, “Did you think I would not realize? You forget that I love her, too. In fact, Daniel, I believe that perhaps you and I should find a quiet place to talk for a short time, before we speak to Colonel O’Neill.”
He waited patiently for Daniel to mull his suggestion over, as they walked on past the turn that would have taken them to the cottage where O’Neill and Teal’c were staying. At his nod of assent, Martouf turned left at the next crossway and led the way upward toward a secluded area that appeared to be deserted. There were several pathways and they continued to walk on for some distance, until Martouf was sure that they had the treetop garden to themselves and, therefore, would not be disturbed, at which point he led the way to an arbor of vines and flowers next to a small spring.
Daniel realized that they were near the top of a very tall tree that was near a mountainside, and the garden area had been carved out of the side and part of a plateau on it, as the tree grew into it. It had taken a great deal of work and building to accomplish and keep the tree and the mountain’s integrity, but they had managed it. You could hardly tell where the tree ended and the mountain began, nor where you crossed back and forth from one to the other, as you wandered the paths. It was ingenious and beautiful. It was the perfect place for the two men to come to a decision that could affect the rest of their lives. And Sam’s.