Rating: T for future chapters

Spoilers: Takes place immediately before Season 8 Icon. Anything before that is fair game.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note:

For those of you that read Falling Past Friendship: Twelve Days at Christmas this story takes place roughly four months after the Christmas they spend in San Diego, but roughly eight months before the Epilogue. For those of you that haven't read Falling Past Friendship, this can stand alone. Just know that Daniel and Sam have started exploring a relationship, which should become readily obvious in the first chapter, anyway. Of course I recommend you read it if you haven't.

This takes place Season 8, immediately before Icon.

P.S. I had a really hard time coming up with a title for this, so if anyone has a suggestion, don't be shy about suggesting.

"Go ahead and laugh, sir," the newly promoted Colonel Carter said with a long suffering sigh.

"I know how much you like going native, Carter," Jack observed. He strolled into her office and settled himself at her desk, propping his feet up on the surface. Gently he placed a small lacquered coffer on the edge of

"Yes, well. Somehow I always end up wearing something that weighs at least twenty pounds." Sam was standing in the center of her office, arms straight out and parallel to the ground. Dr. Michiko Sato from the Anthropology Department was busy tying and tucking a pale green kimono onto the blonde officer.

"It's not as heavy as full combat gear, Colonel."

"Well, no. But I don't think that basic training was designed to give us tolerance to wear certain fashions."

"Each kimono is a work of art in and of itself, Colonel," Dr. Sato said as picked up the heavily embroidered obi off of the work table. "And while it may restrict your stride, it is far less cumbersome than wearing an Elizabethan or Georgian gown. Those dresses weighed upwards of fifty to sixty pounds." She tapped the colonel's arms gently, "You can put them down now."

"I know," Sam stared down at the intricately embroidered hem of the kimono which was covered in plum and cherry blossoms. Surreptitiously she fingered the fine silk of one sleeve, enjoying the soft feel against her skin. "They are beautiful. I'm just afraid I'm going to ruin it, most likely by tripping over my sleeves. Why are they so long anyway?" She held one arm out to show the gently rounded sleeves that did indeed drop well past her knees.

"The length is a reflection of the formality of the occasion as well as the marital status of the wearer. As an unmarried ambassador bringing a treaty they are appropriate." Dr. Sato explained without breaking the rhythm of tying the six foot long obi

"And here I thought it was just to make it as difficult as possible to move."

"That is part of it. Court dress was designed to make assassination attempts extremely difficult because it was too difficult to move with any stealth or speed."

"This isn't the first time you've done this. We've been doing this for the last six years."

"For the last five we've only been their guests. This year due to our new president we have to go through the treaty ceremony again and the accompanying ceremonies."

"You'll be fine. Just remember to keep all your comments as simple and vague as possible and let Daniel do the talking. You can't do any worse than I did." Sam fought to repress a smile and failed as she remembered their first treaty mission to Roukugan. Early MALP studies had indicated a pre-industrial civilization that seemed to have roots in the Japanese traditions. Their initial meeting had determined that this planet had been under the rule of Amaterasu, but she had not come through her 'mirror' that year. There had been a naquadah mine nearby which had run dry. Amaterasu had not been back since their last offering had been inadequate. The sun had not smiled upon them since then, and their crops were beginning to fail and a famine was at hand. Snow had fallen in their summer months and frost had killed all of their crops. Sam had determined that this was due to a volcanic explosion throwing debris into the atmosphere and thus causing an unnatural winter. The SGC was able to offer them humanitarian aid in order to help survive. The following year they had invited SG-1 to return in order to celebrate their equivalent of the Cherry Blossom festival. The volcanic ash had fallen out of the atmosphere and allowed a normal sequence of seasons to return. It was on this return trip that they discovered that the Roukugan people had a strong herbalist tradition that was highly effective. Many of their remedies seemed to have the potential to fight incurable diseases back on Earth, cancer and Alzheimer's being two of them. They had established a permanent trade agreement in a three day highly ritualized ceremony. Over the course of events Jack had managed to commit several faux pas, that had Daniel near to tearing his hair out as he tried to apologize for his superior's social gaffes. Sam's particular favorite had been after the tea ceremony, where as the guest of honor he was handed the implements to examine, as was tradition. His profound comments of, "It's a spoon, it's a bowl, etc" were not well received. Daniel managed to appease them after much bowing, literally, and explanation. Of course both parties were extremely interested in such a mutually beneficial trade agreement, so some indecorous remarks or actions could be over looked.

Despite the tensions of ensuring they did not offend anyone in this highly formalized society, the mission was an overall relaxing one, as the Roukugan were big on introspection and contemplation. If the rules of their society stated they had to dress the part, then so be it. The General pointed out it would be a good mission for SG-1 after the excitement of the last few months between finding the Lost City and helping to prepare the Atlantis expedition, putting the base under lockdown, and then the Presidential visit. Dr. Sato finished the last of the intricate maneuvers required to tie the obi of Sam's kimono, then tucked in the contrasting peach colored obi-age. Giving the ensemble a final adjustment, she stepped back to admire her work.

"I think you'll pass, Colonel Carter," she observed as she walked around her slowly. Carefully she tucked a fan into her obi. "Finishing touch." Sam bowed in thanks, a smile spreading across her face as she glanced in the mirror. Dr. Sato solemnly returned the bow before gathering up her things.

"Wow," Daniel said as he stopped dead in his tracks after entering the room. Teal'c and Ferretti who were trailing behind him had to stop short to keep from colliding into the stunned Archaeologist. "Sam. . ." he gestured expressively with his hands but words seemed to escape him. A pervasive pink flush spread across her features as the intensity of Daniel's stare grew.

"You've rendered a linguist speechless," Jack said swinging his feet off the desk and standing up. "What I think he's trying to say is you look good, Carter."

"Indeed you are most pleasing to the eye," Teal'c observed.

"Thanks," Sam said reddening further.

Daniel strode across the room, once he remembered how his feet worked, "Thirty some odd languages at my disposal, Sam, and they're not doing me any good." He reached out to stroke the side of her cheek.

"Words can be highly overrated at times, Dr. Jackson," Sam countered, tilting her chin up the slightest bit. Daniel took the invitation for what it was and bent over to kiss her gently.

"They always like this?" Ferretti asked Teal'c. The Jaffa just smiled silently. Since returning from the holidays the two had entered into a 'relationship' for lack of a better term. Although it was public knowledge, it still caught people off guard at times. Teal'c was more than pleased that his two friends had found happiness with each other and was used to their displays of affection. There was a line that the two did not cross on base or on assignment, and Teal'c knew he could witness far more intimate behaviors on broadcast TV than the relatively tame displays they partook of. Sam and Daniel spoke in hushed tones for a few moments before turning back to the rest of the room.

"Thanks again, Michiko," Daniel said as he turned around to face the rest of the occupants in the room.

"My pleasure, Daniel," She ran appraising eye over Teal'c, Ferretti, and Daniel, who were also going native for the occasion as the Roukugan required it. "It seems like you managed pretty well on your own." Stepping up to the three men she made a few minor adjustments here and there.

"These are far less complex to put on." Michiko nodded her head in agreement. Sam slipped into her sandals joined the rest of the team by the door.

"Got room in there for your gun?" Ferretti asked Sam, handing over her sidearm. "I took the liberty of picking it up for you." She smiled her thanks and checked it before tucking it in the back of her kimono, much like you would in the back of your pants.

"I see you brought your swords," she grinned. The three men were lacking their usual P-90's as Sam was, and were wearing swords instead. Sam could tell they all had tucked handguns or Zat's into the obi of their ensembles much like she had.

"So who gets the box?" Jack asked brandishing the small lacquered coffer. He popped open the top to show the trade agreements written out both in English and Kanji.

"That would be me," Ferretti said stepping forward. "I'm the underling in this scenario, aren't I?" Ferretti took the proffered box in two hands and bowed deeply while still holding the box outstretched.

"I see we've been practicing," Jack observed as he inclined his head in Ferretti's direction and gave him a dismissive wave.

"That's the whole point of me tagging along, isn't it. In case SG-1 isn't available in the future for this assignment." Ferretti tucked the coffer under one of his arms.

"Yeah, that's the general idea." Jack clapped his hands together and strode towards the door, "I thought it might be a good idea to have someone else familiar with this ritual, just in case." Just a week earlier he had believed his team to be held prisoner by Baal. As it turned out they simply had been trapped in an underground laboratory. However, it had caused him to add Ferretti onto the diplomatic mission to Roukugan. His service record indicated he had been stationed for several years at Kaneda Air force Base in Okinawa and was at least comfortable with the Japanese language. To Jack, he had seemed a logical choice. Behind Jack, SG-1 plus one trailed after him, slowing their steps to match Sam's more restricted strides. They were reviewing the pertinent parts of the mission, including the initial greeting ceremony. Jack missed going off world, however he didn't miss missions like these. Soon enough they were at the gateroom, where their arrival was marked by quite a few stares. They said their farewells to the General and the gate was dialed up. The team looked at each other for a moment and then headed up the ramp.

The team stepped out of the gate into a beautiful garden. It was designed in such a fashion that it appeared entirely natural, evoking a sense of tranquility and peace to those who visited it. A gentle breeze was blowing, bringing with it a hint of warmth and the promise of spring. The pale pink blossoms of the cherry trees lining the main path of the garden fluttered delicately in the wind. Forming the perfect backdrop behind the trees was the outlines of the Imperial Palace. A receiving party was there to greet them and a protracted exchange of formal greetings and well wishes were exchanged along with small tokens of appreciation and deep bows. Looking over the delegation, Sam recognized a friend from previous trips, Princess Kaida. She was an extremely intelligent and outspoken woman as well as headstrong and indulged greatly by her father, the Emperor Ryu. Sam and the princess had hit it off immediately, with her little Japanese and Kaida's rudimentary understanding of English forming the foundation of an unusual friendship. It was through this friendship that SG-1 had discovered the medicinal treasures of this planet. Sam shared a small smile with her friend as Daniel and his Imperial counterpart shared all the pleasantries required on such an august occasion. It was considered deeply inappropriate for the principals, in this case Sam and the Emperor to speak directly to one another, but instead they must speak through an intermediary. On their end, as Daniel had the best command of the language, this was for the best. Sam just had to smile and look regal, and nod at the appropriate junctures. Once the formalities had been recognized the traditional invitation was offered that they must stay as the guests of the Emperor. It was duly accepted and all parties visibly relaxed. The Emperor returned to the palace with his vizier in order to prepare for the evenings festivities. Several other members stayed behind to chat with the off-worlders. A walk about the gardens was proposed and soon the Roukugan and Taur'i had split off into pairs.

The youngest prince, who was much impressed by Teal'c's size eagerly fell into step with him, asking for tales of battle. The young man was much enamored with the idea of bringing honor to his family through a glorious battle, and constantly asked for words of wisdom or stories from the Jaffa. Amaterasu had not yet returned to the planet, however with her rising power after the defeat of Anubis, it was a possibility. The prince was determined to be ready when that day came. Teal'c took the young prince's questions with his typical stoicism, sharing those tidbits he thought would be useful if the day of battle did come. Ferretti trailed after the two, half listening, half observing the sights around him. Behind them, strolling arm in arm together were Sam and the Princess. The two were lost in some deep discussion, barely aware of their surroundings. Bringing up the rear was Daniel, who shortened his steps out of respect for the elderly scholar who accompanied him. The man, Hideaki, had tutored the Emperor as a child, and was now one of his chief advisers. He was fascinated by the stories of the off worlders, and the fact that Daniel could read their most ancient writings, which were in a variant of Gould. On past visits Daniel had helped him translate various works and given him reference materials to assist them in his own studies.

"The Emperor is greatly pleased that you have returned to renew the treaty."

"As are my people. With our change in leadership I understand it is important that we come personally to reaffirm the goodwill between our people." Daniel watched the pair of women before him, the kimono of the two blending together in shimmering shades of green, like waves on the ocean. If his smile turned the slightest bit goofy as he admired the way the sunlight turned the blonde colonel's hair to pure gold, it was completely understandable.

The observant old scholar followed Daniel's gaze and he too studied the forms before him. "The new planting techniques you have instructed us in have already brought greater prosperity to the land and our people."

"It is our wish that we should prosper together. The remedies you have provided us with have allowed our people to lead longer lives." The two ladies turned down a separate path from the one Teal'c and Ferretti had taken. Daniel turned his steps to follow after Sam instead of Teal'c.

"It is customary amongst our people," the adviser said slowly changing his direction to match Daniel's, "to seal treaties with a marriage so that our interests as well as our families may be joined."

Daniel sighed, "Hideaki-san, while I am conscious of the great honor you do us in this proposed marriage, as I have been the past five times you have suggested such an alliance, please understand that our government structure differs greatly from yours."

"The Princess Kaida is as yet unwed, impossible as that may seem." He inclined his head slightly in the direction of the princess. The pair was stopped under a weeping cherry staring up into its branches. Kaida was deep in explanation of something although the words were too faint to make out.

"It is impossible to find someone worthy of her," Daniel said diplomatically. The fact that Princess Kaida's intelligence and embrasure of the ideas of the offwolders scared off most of the eligible men had made her father

"You say that every year, Daniel-san. Only a man with a rare understanding could fully appreciate her. I noticed your eyes stray in her direction. Surely you must be passed any mourning for you wife."

"I've found happiness in my life," he said with utmost sincerity.

"Yet here you are still without sons to carry on the family name, without daughters to care for you."Hideaki sounded dubious that happiness was possible without such things.

"Things work a little differently where I come from." Daniel said uncomfortably. "So tell me more about this tablet you discovered with the ancient texts."