Apophis is old.

Not as old as Ra had been; but then, Ra is dead. Not as old as Lord Yu, but Lord Yu is a doddering old fool or so Apophis raves. Amonet is an infant by comparison; she has barely come of age. Barely left the Jaffa priest who bore her.

The memories of scores of Goa'uld scrabble within her, tearing their way to her consciousness and out of it. Images, mainly, and emotions; anger, primal and raw, huger and anger and fear. When the host rebells she feels it like a shallow echo, as if the knot within her own mind had throbbed for a moment and is still.

Here on Abydos the thrum of Jaffa boots made it hard to think about anything. They were there when she woke--when she saw Apophis's child handed to the Horus guard, when he gloated in the name of Heru-ur and shot her. When she woke again they were gone, and now only the sound of the wind makes it to her ears.

In a drab human tent she attires herself. With infinite care she fastens every string of jewelry, smoothes every fold in her dress, positions the serpent crown upon her head. And she sifts through the memories of her host--long months in the desert heat, Kasuf presiding over the tent like a lord among slaves. Then Kasuf came home with a human and a Jaffa--the shol'va, the old First Prime, Teal'c. Confusion then, and pain.

No Goa'uld is a stranger to pain.

She sees through her host's eyes the hate this human has for her, passes over her moment of wakeness like a crystal shard jammed into clay. So much of what comes after is clouded and confused--the stumbling flight to the old catacombs, the strains of human childbirth. But through it all the human is there, holding her and speaking words in her defense, and in the spot her host holds for him there is quiet and there is peace.

Amonet turns the moments over and over, studying them. There is something there she fears--something stronger than the human hate which pales in comparison to Goa'uld ire, something stronger than the scrap of will her host holds onto which keeps her from being swept away. And as much as Amonet fears it, something else stirs inside her--a hunger for this which she cannot name, has never felt before and fears she might never again.

In the pyramid the Chappa'ai activates, letting through Apophis and seven Jaffa. She calls to him from the hallway, feeling the stone floor rough beneath her feet. She tells him of the theft of their child.

Apophis touches her face. There is forgiveness there, and mercy, but that unnamable thing is gone.

Behind the dried clutch of plants she can see two pair eyes watching her--the host's mate and the shol'va. She should tell Apophis this, so he will reward her--so her shame will be sooner forgotten, so her lord will be in good spirits once again. But so silently as to be an illusion the host's emotions beat within her, and for a second the wash of fear has a trace of hope--and Amonet turns away.

Later, when she is resting, repairing the body to its perfect shape, her host addresses her. Thank you, she says, for sparing the life of my Dan'el.

Amonet listens in silence, and answers How dare you speak to your God.