This is sort of a precursor to "Shades of Gray", a fic I plan on writing in the near future. It takes place in an AU where Apophis did not become a warden on Nute, where he did not take up the alias Naonak, and where Shar're/Amaunet never died.

Disclaimer: Me no own.
Somewhere in the back of his mind he could hear his host screaming. The pain ripped through him as well, but he held his cries. There was little use letting Sokar know how he had broken him, it would only worsen the torture. He twisted sharply as the pain tore through his host's spine. It was coming in waves now, each jolt jarring his connection to his host. He gave in, emitting a scream of agony and then felt himself slip away into nothingness.


... better than you...demon...

It was sometime later that he awoke to find himself already sitting. He mentally sighed and let his host remain in control. It was almost a strategy they had developed; taking turns sharing the pain. It kept at least one mind clear at all times and, even though it went against every thing he'd ever been taught, he found it agreeable. In that dark fiery place, it was good to have something to hold onto, even if it was stolen life, an ever-present voice in the back of his mind.
"They really are no better than you, demon." His host whispered softly. Apophis mentally stiffened.
"The tau'ri. My own kind. They promised hat the nightmare was over, that I would sail to the west and rejoin my family..." he paused, coughing. "They lied. They sent us here. Now the nightmare is even worse than before!" He broke into a coughing fit, his fists clenched tightly.
"Osiris isn't all that nice anyway," Apophis offered, fighting back the waves of pain that now passed through both their bodies.
His host simply scoffed.
"It's my fault. They sent us back because of me. They want to see me suffer. Maybe they didn't even know that Sokar would do this. Maybe they just sent us back to end the attack. Either way...if it weren't for me...."
Apophis sighed inwardly. A part of him wished that the Tau'ri had kept their promise to his host. Another part of him wished he had helped them defend themselves against Sokar. Perhaps then, whether he had died or not, they would not be where they were now. After all, even death was better than an eternity of torture.
'And he said he knew where Shifu was...what if he wasn't bluffing? What if he brings the child here and...' He dismissed the thought. It was a bluff. It had to be. The only ones who knew where the child was were the Tau'ri and Amaunet.
Amaunet...if Sokar had her...
It didn't really matter anymore did it? After all, she was the one who had sold him out, wasn't she? She had grown sick of his failures, of his defeats at the hands of the Tau'ri. But was that really his fault? Now that he thought about it, the more his host words seemed to ring true. All those times he had insisted that justice would come, all the times he had said that the time of the G''auld would come to an end...he ha dbeen right. It was only natural that someday, someone would become strong enough to defeat them. It had happened before, in minor instances, after all. And the ancients had come close, so had the Furlings...if Anubis hadn't wiped them out....
The Asgard had had their own problems, but the Tau'ri...they were a curious race. All factions of them seemed to share that trait. And the had made friends with some of the most powerful races in the galaxy...their exploits had made them well know, and their destruction of Ra, well that had just gone to show how far they had come without help. Now that they had access to more advanced technology....
His host picked up his thoughts and smiled. Apophis smiled as well.
So he had been disgraced. It didn't really matter anymore. The age of the Goa'uld, the time of the System was coming to a close. The Tau'ri had seen what lay beyond the Chappa'ai, and their humanitarian nature had kicked in. They would fight an endless battle, killing one Goa'uld off, only to find them replaced by yet another. At the same time, the Tau'ri were gaining supporters. Even if they were stopped...they had set an example. There would be no alliance. The only solution would be the complete annihilation of one of the races. Except that the Goa'uld could not survive without hosts, and there were few other compatible races. So there was no conceivable victory for the Goa'uld. The Tau'ri, or at least on of their allies, would win eventually, hands down.
So in the end...the only sure thing was that somehow, the system lords would fall.
But where did that leave him? He was no longer a system lord that much was certain. He wasn't sure he could regain status as a Goa'uld. He wasn't even sure he wanted that anymore. All his life, he had been told that power and conquest was all there was. But what had all that ever brought him? A queen that wasn't satisfied, a son he would likely never see, pain and didn't really seem worth it anymore. All it was was an endless struggle for power that wasn't really there. What was the point in continuing?
He pondered this.
'Why keep fighting? You already proved that you are different than the Goa'uld. You felt true love. Granted she betrayed you, but it hurt didn't it? At least for a while. You long for your son. And, even know, you listen to the thoughts of your host, who is supposed to be no more than a vessel...what sort of Goa'uld listens to his host, let alone considers what he has to say?'
Apophis paused in his thoughts. Not as cruel as most Goa'uld...not quite as soft as the Tok'ra, but he certainly wasn't the heartless monster he had thought himself to be.

The time of the Goa'uld is over...where does that leave

"What is your name, Tau'ri?"
"Well, I can't simply call you 'host' or Tau'ri for the rest of this fiasco. What is your name?"

Where does it leave us but somewhere in between?

And as the metallic footsteps of the guards drew closer, no doubt to take them off to another lovely round of torture, they laughed.