By Torquelith and Mara-DragonMaster
Colonel Jack O'Neil stepped out of the Stargate ahead of his team and looked around at a large stone courtyard. Crumbling buildings, some almost four stories high, surrounded him. Behind he heard the steps of his team members as they joined him, and then the sudden high humming and then ensuing silence as the Stargate powered down.
"This looks fun," he commented wryly, looking around at the empty ruins. "Shall we ask the locals if they have any advanced technology for us?"
Ignoring his comment as usual, Sam swung her pack from her shoulder. "I'll start running some tests and take some soil samples, Sir."
Daniel, already wandering around some of the towering pillars in the courtyard, pushed his hat back and pulled out a notebook. Muttering something to himself about ancient writings and pictograms, he started scribbling on the paper. Teal'c spoke behind Jack.
"O'Neil, we should check the perimeter."
Jack nodded. "Right. Let's go."
Daniel moved from the pillars into one of the largest buildings.
Several minutes later, as Sam opened a small container and scooped some soil into it she heard him shout: "Sam! Come and take a look at this!"
Jogging to where he was waving from a doorway she followed him inside. "What is it?"
"The power's still on!" he said, showing her a small control panel. With a flourish he pushed one of the buttons and lights came on overhead. Sam stared in wonder.
"That's amazing!" she said, studying the panel. "What power source outlasts a building?"
With a grin Daniel reached through an opened side panel– his screwdriver lying nearby– and pulled something out. "How about a crystal?"
Sam's eyes lit up. "If they used crystals as their main power source, there must be a supply nearby– perhaps a mine of some sort."
He nodded. "Exactly."
"This could be the very thing to present to the Senate," she said, taking the rough yellow crystal. "Maybe then they'd get off General Hammond's back." she looked up, a smile on her face. "We've got to tell the Colonel."
As they made their way outside, Daniel started pointing out some of the pictographs he recognized on the pillars, and the similarities in the building structures to the Anasazi cliff dwellings. Sam listened as he talked, pulling out her radio. When he paused to take a breath she held the radio to her mouth. "Colonel?"
"Sir, we've found something important. These buildings are all powered by crystals. I believe there may be a significant source nearby."
"Good going, Carter. Teal'c and I will keep our eyes open on the way back. O'Neil out."
Later that morning Jack and Teal'c returned, a bag hanging from the Jaffa's shoulder. "You were right, Carter." Jack said. "There's a mine not too far north of here. There's only small crystals left on the surface, but there might be another pocket nearby."
"There also appears to have been an earthquake." Teal'c said. "On the eastern edge of the city there are great cracks in the earth, and the road ends abruptly at the edge of a cliff."
"Yeah," Jack agreed. "One of the mine shafts was collapsed, so we'll need to get a drill. It looks like we're alone here."
Opening their bags the team ate a quick lunch and then set up a base camp in one of the buildings. Once everything was up and running Jack stood up. "Teal'c and I will go back to Stargate Command, update the General, and get a mining team together. We should be back within twenty-fours hours. You guys okay until then?"
Daniel looked up quickly, pushing his glasses back onto his nose. "You mean– we get to stay here? I– get to explore?"
Jack smiled. "Yes, Daniel. You can wander and scribble in your journal to your hearts content." He looked up at the pretty blond. "Carter, you hold base camp until we return."
"Come on, Teal'c. Let's go show the General our shiny rocks."
Teal'c raised one eyebrow, and then stood and picked up the bag, following the Colonel. Grabbing his hat and pushing it onto his head, Daniel picked up his notebook and all but ran from the building. Sam looked after him, amused, then glanced around. Heaving a sigh she started picking up the remnants of lunch.
Sam adjusted her shoulder, trying to ease the ache that had started from her position under the control panel. "Come on," she muttered. "How do you work?" The many crystals glowed at her, hooked up to five clear tubes. Figuring out what the tubes were and what they were made of would have to be her first step. Crawling out from underneath, Sam wiped her face with the back of her hand and grabbed her water bottle. As she took a heavy drink from it a low rumble reached her ears, first very quiet then growing in intensity. Sam looked up as some of her instruments began to shake.
"Daniel?" Sam yelled, heading for the door. "Daniel!"
Outside she glanced around; there was no sign of the archaeologist. "Daniel!"
He appeared in a doorway. "What?" Then he froze, and glanced around. "What's going on?"
"I think it's another earthquake!" Sam yelled. "We need to get out of here!"
Running back inside Sam grabbed her bag with the different samples she'd taken and her gun and then joined Daniel outside. Together they raced for the Stargate as the rumbling grew louder. As they gained the courtyard something in the sky appeared over the tops of the buildings.
"Oh no." Daniel moaned. "Goa'uld."
"Run!" Sam shouted.
Death Gliders suddenly roared over them, littering the ground with fire. Reaching the dial home device Daniel began dialing Earth's coordinates. Holding her gun to her shoulder Sam crouched beside him.
The Stargate began to come to life. Suddenly the Death Gliders turned and strifed them, forcing them to dive behind a fallen pillar. Risking a glance over the stone Sam turned back to Daniel. "Why isn't the Stargate on?" she yelled over the noise.
"I didn't have time to finish entering the coordinates!" he yelled back, ducking as bits of rock flew through the air. Glancing above them, Daniel jumped to his feet and made a run for the dial home device. As the Death Gliders circled back he hit the last coordinate and the center glowing panel. The Stargate began to spin. Suddenly there was a barrage of fire, and then an explosion of sparks. Jaffa soldiers appeared on the ground, staff weapons raised.
Sam peeked over the edge of the pillar, and saw Daniel standing beside the dial home device, hands at his side, staring at the top of the Stargate. Smoke rose into the sky. Then she saw the Jaffa.
"Daniel! Get down!" she yelled, swinging her gun to her shoulder. The soldiers ducked behind other pillars at the sudden barrage of bullets.
Daniel landed beside her, just missing a staff blast. "Well, we're not getting out that way."
"What now?" Sam asked, reloading with a new clip.
"The Anasazi were rumored to have secret tunnels and escape passages under their buildings," Daniel said.
"You think it's the same here?"
He nodded, pulling his hat further down as shards of rock showered them. "I think I found the entrance to one earlier today."
"Right." she held the gun up. "Let's go."
Following his lead Sam covered their retreat, bringing down several Jaffa soldiers. Finally making it safely inside one of the buildings Daniel motioned her towards a back room. "This way." he whispered.
Suddenly something flew from around a corner and hit Sam, knocking her to the floor. Blood began to trickle down her forehead.
"Sam!" Daniel turned to face their attacker just as something grabbed his throat and lifted him off the ground, pushing him against the wall. Gasping he pulled at the large dark arm.
Glancing at the still form on the ground the First Prime sneered. "The Tauri woman who attacked our queen; Hathor will be pleased when I present her with your head." Then he looked up at Daniel, and pulled out a small palm-sized tablet. A hologram flickered– a hologram of Daniel. "And The Beloved– Hathor has desired your return greatly. I will be richly rewarded when you are returned to her."
Daniel's eyes widened.
"No!" Regaining her senses Sam pulled out her sidearm. Before the First Prime could react she pulled the trigger. The First Prime stumbled back, losing his grip on Daniel. Falling to the ground Daniel gasped for breath, then kicked, knocking the Jaffa off his feet. Before the Jaffa could get up again Daniel grabbed a rock and hit him over the head, breathing hard.
Stepping over the First Prime Daniel took his staff weapon, then helped Sam to her feet. "Come on, I doubt he came in here alone." He led her into the back room, then hurried to a carved pillar near the wall. His fingers ran over the stone for a moment, then found something and began pulling. Slowly the pillar opened on one side. It was hollow, steps leading down into pitch black. As fast as possible they climbed down.
Sam reached the bottom, then heard Daniel grunting above her. A moment later he descended the steps. "It's jammed, I can't get it to close. We better run."
Sam pulled her flashlight from her pack and gestured Daniel on ahead. He hurried past, leading her deeper underground, and studying the carvings at each passage division to decide which tunnel to take. They hurried on hearing the shouting of Jaffa behind them.
Suddenly they hit a dead end.
"What now?" Sam breathed hard.
"It must open." Daniel said quietly running his fingers over the carvings.
The sound of Jaffa pursuit became louder, then a staff blast hit near Sam, showering her with bits of rock. She whipped her gun up and began to shoot.
"Any time now would be great."
"I've got it!" The secret doorway creaked slowly open. A staff blast shattered the stone near Daniel's face as he pulled it open faster. "Come on!"
They backed into the passageway and Sam kept up her firing as the door slowly shut. Then a blast hit the doorframe and rock began to fall.
"Ah!" Sam's gun clattered on the floor as she fell, clutching her arm. "Daniel!"
Daniel grabbed her, looked at the almost closed door and the crumbling ceiling and aimed his staff weapon. The ceiling erupted in a flare, then the rock began to fall faster and faster. Daniel helped Sam down the tunnel away from the falling rock. When it stopped, the tunnel was gone.
"Where's your gun?" he whispered.
Sam grimaced and cradled her broken arm. "I dropped it back there, but I still have the flashlight. What now?"
"We find another exit."
They froze as they heard Jaffa on the other side of the cave-in.
"Clear this rubble. Our goddess' beloved shall not escape so easily."
The sounds of digging were clear. Suddenly all sounds ceased.
"We are not pleased, Cair'n. How can two humans elude you so easily?"
"They knew of tunnels, my queen. But we shall retrieve them, they can not escape."
Hathor studied the tunnel and rubble. She examined the staff blast marks across the tunnel roof and the gun lying, half buried. "They shall not escape you fool, they are dead. I mind not for that traitorous Tauri woman, but I wished for my beloved unharmed!" She raised her hand, the jewel glowing. "First you damage the Stargate, which I wished to put on my ship, and then you kill my beloved!" The blast knocked the First Prime, Cair'n, into the wall.
Cair'n raised his head. "Can we not retrieve him and heal him in a sarcophagus for you, my queen?"
"I think not. He shall pay for choosing a Tauri woman over a goddess. Let him lie in the grave he has chosen." Hathor spun about and stalked away down the tunnel.
Daniel and Sam barely breathed until all sounds faded. Then Daniel quietly pulled his bandana off, eased Sam to a sitting position, and wrapped her arm.
"It doesn't seem to be out of line," he said softly, "So I won't have to set it."
"Well that's a relief." Sam replied, gritting her teeth. "I hope that's not the only thing we've got going for us."
Daniel put his arm around her and slowly helped her to her feet, steadying her. They made their way down the passages. "Don't worry, escape tunnels always have multiple exits."
Hours later Sam sat huddled against the tunnel wall, watching as Daniel studied the inscriptions in the stone, muttering to himself. Suddenly he gave a quiet sound of triumph and pushed in several square panels. A rasping sound filled the air, and part of the stone wall opened. Beyond there was a ladder, and faint light filtered down.
"Stay here," he whispered, picking up the staff weapon.
"Daniel," she hissed. "What if Hathor is still here?"
He glanced back as he stepped through the door. "I know. I'll be careful." Then the stone door clicked shut, locking behind him.
Sam swallowed back the protest that had risen inside of her, staring at the locked door in dismay. If anything happened to him– if Hathor was still around– how would she get out to him? Gritting her teeth Sam set her good arm against the wall and pushed herself up. Going over to the door she studied the panels, wishing she'd paid more attention to the combination Daniel had entered, and then she began to push in panels.
"He entered in four," she muttered to herself. "One on the top, two in the middle, and one on the bottom– but which ones? And in what order?"
Pushing through the brush and weeds that had grown over the tunnel mouth Daniel cautiously looked around. There was silence, except for the occasional call of a strange bird and the faint rustling of leaves in the breeze. Pulling his compass from the pack on his shoulders he began making his way back to the city ruins and the Stargate. Hours later, crawling on his belly, he looked over the edge of a ridge down upon the city. The Goa'uld mothership and the Death Gliders were gone, but that did not mean there weren't still enemy soldiers down there. Frowning he lifted his small binoculars to his eyes and scanned the area. Nothing moved, and there were no sign of any Jaffa.
Creeping quietly downhill through the underbrush he reached the edge of the ruins and moved from building to building. Finaly, satisfied that the enemy had left, he turned to return to Sam. Suddenly he realized that if anything had happened to him she would have been trapped in the tunnel with no way out.
"I should have shown her the combination," he chastised himself as he hurried through the underbrush. Finding the tunnel mouth he dropped in and climbed down the ladder. Reaching out his hand to push in the panel combination the door suddenly swung open, narrowly missing his face. A triumphant "Finaly!" reached his ears, and then there was a startled shout as Sam nearly ran into him.
"Sam! I'm so sorry– I should have shown you the code–"
"Is it safe? Are you okay?"
"Yeah, Hathor's gone. It's safe."
"Oh good!" Sam released a heavy breath of relief. "How long have I been down here?"
"Um–" he glanced behind him and up at the sky.
"Five hours!" she looked up from her watch. "What have you been doing?!"
"It's a big area to search," he gently took her shoulder. "Come on. I'll help you up the ladder."
Back at their base camp Daniel carefully splinted her arm and gave her a painkiller. He noticed the lines around her eyes and knew she had been in more pain than she had let on. Eating a quick supper they fell into their cots and fell asleep, each with the thought that Jack and Teal'c would be back the next day.
Sunlight played across Sam's face, slowly waking her up. She squinted in the light and turned her head, then slowly blinked. Daniel's cot was empty, the blankets in a tangle. Carefully pushing herself up on her left arm, Sam looked around. He wasn't anywhere to be seen, but his fisherman's hat and his field notebook were gone. Swinging her legs out of bed she stood up and made her way outside. She found him in the courtyard, staring up at the Stargate with a frustrated yet resigned look on his face, his hands in fists on his hips.
Turning as she approached he pointed up. "One of the crystals is damaged." he said. "Nobody's going to be dialing out or in for a while, at least until we get it fixed."
Sam rubbed her forehead, pushing her bangs out of her eyes. "Great." she said. "Those crystals are huge. Where are we going to find a replacement?"
Daniel pursed his lips, his eyes widening slightly. "Well, they use crystals for all their power," he suggested, pushing his glasses up. "So…"
"So we search their power stations and find a large crystal." Sam finished, nodding. "Let's go."
For the next several weeks they searched the buildings and examined every power source. None of the crystals were the size they needed, and some were so small that several were used instead of one. As the days dragged on a single thought began to grow in their minds: they might not be able to fix the Stargate.
One night, as they sat in their camp eating, Daniel lowered his cup and looked up. "Sam, we need to talk."
Her eyebrows went up. "Okay."
He pulled off his glasses and set them down beside him, then picked up his notebook. "Obviously we're going to be here a long time, much longer than we thought. Now, I'm not giving up on the Stargate– but we do need to think about long-term shelter and food."
Sam nodded. "We are running low on rations. And some fresh food would be a nice change." she looked at the remaining pre-packaged food.
"Right. So, I was thinking–" he put his glasses back on and opened his notebook. "I should probably start fishing, and there are some fruits and plants around here that we can eat. We should start gathering what we can, because I don't know what the seasons are like here– there might be a rainy season, or it might go cold, like a winter of sorts. Although most of the plants here are semi-tropical, so it probably wouldn't get too cold– You could start collecting fruit and other edible plants, and I would have to figure out a way to catch fish, and then we'd have to dry everything, except the fish– that we'd have to smoke–"
"Alright! Daniel," Sam raised her hand. "You're right. I've also seen some small deer-like animals in the woods around here, so we could smoke that too and make some jerky."
Daniel nodded, and leaned back against the wall, drawing his knees up and setting his notebook against them. "We'll also have to think about our living quarters," he took off his glasses and tapped them thoughtfully. "There's two places that seem like they'd be the most secure and easily repairable– but I don't know which one you'd like more."
Sam blinked at his last comment, then she nodded. "Alright," she said, standing up. "Why don't you show me right now, and we'll decide together."
As they went outside Daniel led with the flashlight. Sam found herself watching him walk, and smiled. He showed her both buildings, each with intact roofs and unbroken windows and incredibly thick stone walls. They seemed equal in most respects, but one had a small, overgrown courtyard with high walls enclosing it, which Sam admired, so it was decided that they would move their possessions to that building. The next day Sam and Daniel got up early and cleaned out several rooms on the first floor, and then they transported everything from their camp into their new residence. That evening, after supper, Daniel walked past Sam's room and caught a glimpse of her happily setting out some of her things and arranging them. He smiled as he continued on his way.
While Sam continued arranging things in her room she suddenly heard Daniel's voice.
"Yes! Working plumbing!"
Sam chuckled to herself. 'He didn't think I chose this place just for the courtyard, did he?' she thought.
The next day Sam tied a bandana around her head and slung a couple empty bags over her shoulder. Daniel came out of his room, running a hand through his hair.
"Hey, Sam." he said, slipping his glasses on. He put his hands in his pockets. "How's your arm doing after yesterday?"
Sam flexed it. "Actually, it's not too bad. It's a little stiff, so I'll have to be careful for a couple days, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be."
He nodded, yawning, and ran his hand through his hair again, rumpling it even further. "Oh, man, I could use some coffee." he said through his yawn. "Even that instant stuff we had in our rations sounds good."
Sam chuckled. "Sorry, you drank the last cup a week ago, remember?"
"I know, I know." Daniel stretched his neck back and forth, rubbing it. "Still sounds good."
All morning Sam examined the plants and fruits in the woods, gathering what she was sure was edible and taking samples of everything else. Meanwhile, back at their home, Daniel went through their supplies, trying to figure out what he could use to fish. As he came across their zat guns an idea popped into his head. He grabbed one and put several bags over his shoulder. Then he headed for the lagoon they'd found. Once there he set the bags down on the ground and took aim at the water's surface, then pulled the trigger. A moment later, in the ten foot radius of the electrical charge, the bodies of multiple fish floated to the surface. Fisting his hand he pumped his arm, a grin spreading across his face. Then he took off his boots and socks and rolled his pants up to his knees. Pointless in waist deep water, but then the material wouldn't be so constricting around his ankles. Wading in with one bag at a time he gathered all the fish, then he slung the heavy bags over his shoulders and headed back. On the edge of the city he set the bags down and pulled out his knife. Taking off his jacket and hanging it on a branch he then proceeded to gut and scale the fish and string them on a long piece of vine. Carrying this back to the courtyard behind their building he built a large, smoky fire and hung the fish above it. When Sam returned he helped her prepare and spread the fruits and vegetables she'd found out in the sun where they would dry. Finally, tired and hungry, they washed up and then had fresh fish, fruit, and vegetables for supper.
The next morning after a quick breakfast Sam announced she was going hunting. Daniel clambered to his feet and grabbed his hat. "I'll go with you." he said.
Sam looked at him from the corner of her eye. "But– you hate hunting."
Daniel grinned, slipping on his glasses. "I know. You can hunt, I'll carry."
A smile flashed across Sam's face. "Let's go."
They spent the rest of the day hunting. Daniel would sit on a log with his notebook for hours at a time while Sam hunted with a Zat gun.
At the end of the day, as the sun drifted down in orange and yellow ribbons of light across the sky, they walked home with three small antelope-like creatures across Daniel's shoulders.Together, they gutted and hung them up to take care of the next day, taking two steaks to the courtyard behind their building to grill over the fire. Sam closed her eyes with the first bite, chewing slowly.
"Oh… my… gosh." she moaned. "This is so good."
Her only answer was a sound of matching delight, and she cracked one eye open. Daniel was leaning back, eyes closed, glasses resting ontop of his head. When he finally swallowed he sighed happily.
For the next few weeks they continued to build up supplies, smoking fish and meat and gathering in all sorts of fruits and vegetables. One morning Sam woke up to the sound of birds, and she stretched. Making her way to her window she saw Daniel crouched outside in the enclosed courtyard, a shovel beside him, a newly dug patch of dirt in front of him. He was shirtless, and had a bandana tied around his head like a pirate. In his hand he held a cup, steam rising from the top. Frowning Sam opened the window and leaned out on the rock sill.
"What are you drinking?" she asked.
Daniel turned, and raised his cup ecstatically. "Tea! I've been drying leaves for two weeks!"
Sam laughed, shaking her head. Then she caught a whiff of it, and her eyes lit up. "You got any more?"
Daniel nodded, rising to his feet. He stretched his back, and Sam found herself staring. Quickly she closed the window and got dressed. When she made her way out to their kitchen Daniel was holding a second cup in his other hand. "Here you go." he said.
"Thank you." Sam took it in both hands and sipped it. She looked up. "Hey, this is pretty good."
"Thanks." Daniel leaned against the wall, drinking from his own cup.
Sam joined him, then pointed out at the courtyard walls and the thick covering of vines that had grown there. "You know, once I have some time I would really like to clean those out and replace them with some berry and flower vines."
Daniel looked out at where she was pointing, and nodded. "That would be nice."
"Yeah." Sam took another drink of her tea. "By the way, what are you doing out there?"
"What?" Daniel looked at where she was pointing. "Oh, I thought it would be a good idea if we planted some of the vegetables here so we wouldn't always have to go into the woods to get them."
Sam nodded in appreciation. "That's a good idea." she said.
The next two weeks were spent on the courtyard and garden. Each evening, over tea, they would talk about the Stargate and finding a replacement crystal. Since none had been found in the city that would work, they came to the conclusion that they would have to go to the mine Jack and Teal'c had found and start digging.
One day, while Sam was gardening, Daniel suddenly came running up, barefoot and wet. "Sam!" he said. "Look what I found in the lagoon!" He held out his hands, showing her several large shellfish. "They were among some rocks."
"This is great!" Sam said, taking one of them and examining it. "I hope they taste as good as clams. You know, like that root you found that tastes kind of like a potato. We could make a chowder."
Daniel nodded, and grabbed a small bag. "I'm going to go back and get some more." he said, dashing out the door.
Sam put the shellfish in a small pile in their kitchen, then filled a bucket with water and put them in the bucket. That would keep them fresh until supper.
As she finished weeding the garden a horrible scream suddenly broke the silence. Sam's head whipped up, her eyes growing wide. Daniel. Her military training taking over, she grabbed one of the Zat guns and ran for the beach. As she neared the start of the sand she suddenly saw Daniel surface, thrashing and screaming for help. As he submerged again a large grey, scaled body rolled over him. Raising the Zat Sam shot at the spot where they had gone down. A moment later a large scaled fish, resembling a shark, floated to the surface. Daniel did not reappear. Calling out his name Sam ran into the water, searching frantically. As she neared the large fish she shot it a second time at close range. Then she threw the Zat up onto the sand and went under the water, still searching for Daniel. When she surfaced for breath she saw him, floating face down.
Swimming as fast as possible Sam finally reached him and turned him over. One arm hooked around his chest she kicked hard, heading back to shore. Finally reaching shallow water Sam pulled him with both arms, until she reached dry land. Dropping to the sand she pushed his wet hair out of his face. He wasn't breathing.
"Oh, no." she grabbed his face. "Daniel! Come on; breathe!"
Tipping his head back she blew into his mouth, then pumped his chest. Blow three times, pump five. Over and over she repeated the steps, her heart tightening with each passing minute.
"Come on!" she yelled. "Breathe, Daniel! Breathe!" She blew again. The second time his body hitched, and then he sputtered, water pouring from his mouth. Sam held his face, tears running unnoticed down her cheeks. "That's it." she encouraged as he coughed. "Okay; alright." She ran her eyes down his body, searching for injuries. She stopped when she reached his right leg. The lower half was torn and bleeding, deep teeth marks in his flesh. Bile rose in her throat. "Oh my g…"
A terrible moan reached her ears, and she felt Daniel curl in on himself. She turned back to him. "Daniel?"
He shook his head, eyes tightly closed and teeth bared animal-like. One hand reached out and grabbed her arm in an iron grip. Putting a hand to his shoulder she squeezed it.
When his breathing had evened slightly she touched his hair. "Daniel, I have to get you to the house– I've got to take care of your leg."
"How bad is it?" he hissed.
Her mouth became thin. "I can't tell– we need to get to the house."
Shoulders rising and falling with heavy breaths he nodded. "Okay." His voice was tight and low. It did not sound like Daniel.
Forcing himself to let her go Daniel set his arms against the sand and pushed up. His face tightened, teeth bared. Sam hooked her arms under his, helping him up. When he finally gained his feet he swayed, Sam holding up much of his weight. Sweat beaded on his face.
"Okay," she said, his arm over her shoulders as she supported him. "Think you can make it?"
He didn't answer right away, hissing. Then he nodded, his face set with determination. Slowly he tried to take a step, but his right leg couldn't take the weight. A groan escaped him, and Sam waited until he nodded again. This time he hopped, holding the injured leg up. In this manner they made their way back home, where he colapsed on his cot. Sam ran to the kitchen, grabbing the medical bag from one of the shelves over her camp stove. Setting it on their small fold-up table she opened it, looking through the contents. Her lips pressed together in a thin line; why didn't they think to bring more surgical items and more painkillers?
"Because we didn't think we'd end up stranded, that's why." she muttered. Throwing everything back into the bag she picked it up and ran back to Daniel's room. His eyes were closed, sweat trickling down his skin.
He looked up at her.
"I'm going to dose you up big time with painkillers, okay?" she said, pulling out a small glass vial and a syringe. "I need to clean your leg and it's going to hurt a lot."
He nodded, swallowing. "Okay."
Rubbing the skin on his arm with disinfectent she gave him the shot. Then she turned back to the bag and pulled out another syringe of penicillin and gave that to him. Daniel had closed his eyes again, and as she pulled things out of the bag and lined them up the strain in his face began to ease.
Sam laid a hand on his forehead, gently brushing his hair back. "Don't worry, Daniel. Go ahead and sleep; I'll take care of you."
He gave a faint nod, then his breathing slowed and his body relaxed. Setting her mind to clinical mode Sam cleaned, treated, and carefully stitched his wounds closed. She wrapped it all in a clean bandage. Sitting back Sam removed her gloves, their snapping sound loud in the silence, and she stretched her back and neck. Daniel stirred, the rhythm of his breathing changing slightly. Two blue eyes opened, still blurry with drugged sleep, and they found her face.
"Sam," he licked his lips and blinked. "Will I live?"
She smiled gently at him. "Yeah, you'll live."
"Oh good." he closed his eyes again with a sigh, promptly falling asleep again.
After tucking a light blanket around him, Sam glanced out the window. The light had turned a deep gold; the sun was setting. The gravity of the situation suddenly struck her as she sat there in the silence. She had almost lost him today; twice. If she had not gotten there in time– and then again if she had not been able to get him breathing– To lose your only companion and to be stranded alone would be bad enough. For that companion to be Daniel– her throat clenched and her eyes suddenly felt heavy and hot. Going to the kitchen and grabbing a few choice instruments, a bag, and some rope, Sam headed down to the beach, her mouth set in a grim line.
The next day, after having their hot tea and breakfast, Sam stood. "I need to check the smudge fire in the back of the courtyard. I'm drying some fish."she grinned at Daniel.
"A really big, gray one, I hope." he replied.
"Absolutely. They're hard to catch unless you use the right bait, you know." she dashed out the door as Daniel pulled a face.
Later that day Sam carefully turned two large alien fish steaks on their home-made grill. Daniel had slept most of the day, and the rest of the fish was drying, and she was trying to decide how to occupy herself until Daniel was well enough to go with her to the mine. Since she still had not studied all the different power systems and control panels– beyond what size crystals they used– she decided that would be plenty for her to do. Grabbing a plate she pulled the fish steaks off the grill and headed inside. Carefully rousing Daniel, he woke long enough to appreciate that he was eating the fish instead of the other way around, and then he went back to sleep.
During the course of the next several days this became their routine, Daniel alternately reading and sleeping. Sam worked on the control panels and continued to study the clear tubes that connected to crystals, able to determine what they were not but not what they were. When her frustration would threaten to boil over she would retreat to the courtyard and work in the garden. The fourth day, after weeding for a while, she stood and stretched, her eyes settling on the back wall. Deciding now was as good a time to start as any she pulled on some gloves and started to pull and cut down the vines. Pulling away one particularly thick clump Sam discovered a beautiful stone fountain set into the wall. A small trickle of water seeped out, pooling in the leaves at the bottom of the basin.
Excited Sam went into the kitchen and grabbed her tools. Hurrying back outside she crouched down to peer up into the spout. The rest of the afternoon was happily spent cleaning out the plumbing and resealing cracks and leaks. Sam was so involved that she didn't notice the fading daylight until she heard a voice behind her.
"So, when's supper?"
Spinning around she saw Daniel leaning against the doorway. "Hey, you're up! I'm sorry, I was–" she glanced back at the cleaned and running fountain. "Busy."
"It looks good." Daniel said appreciatively. He started to step out.
"Oh no you don't!" Sam rushed over, reaching out to steady him. "You shouldn't push yourself too far. This is the first time you've been up. Why don't you go back and lay down and I'll make some supper."
"Sam, I've been laying down for four days. I am not laying down again." Daniel said, but grudgingly allowed her to lead him back inside. "If I don't start moving around my muscles will stiffen up and then we'll have even more trouble–"
"You're right," she pulled out a camp stool for him. "Here. You can help with supper."
Sam handed him a knife and two roots. While he cut them up she pulled out some fish and sliced it, dropping the pieces in a pot of water. Daniel handed her the cubed roots, and then watched her in fascination as she added different herbs and vegetables she'd gathered from their small garden that day. Every once in a while she stirred the steaming contents of the pot and leaned close to smell it. Suddenly she became aware of his gaze, and a feeling of self consciousness washed over her. Turning she looked directly into his face .
"You know, the evenings are going to be pretty quiet until your leg heals," she said. "Why don't you think of something we could do to pass the time?"
His mouth curved slightly in a quick smile, and he thought for a moment. "Do you like to read?"
"Usually; but it depends on the book."
Standing up carefully Daniel hobbled from the room. Sam heard the sound of a zipper, and then the unmistakeable sound of him rummaging through his pack. When he returned he was holding a rather thick book with a worn cover. Its title read "Ancient Texts and Their Translations."
Sam wrinkled her nose.
"Hey, it's not as boring as you think," Daniel protested. Then he thought a moment. "Well, some of them are. But we won't read those. The rest are really interesting; you know, histories and stories that were important enough to carve on a wall or write on parchment. There's even two love letters between the king of one land and the queen of another."
She looked up from the soup. "Okay; we'll try it."
Looking pleased Daniel set the book on the table and pulled two bowls off the shelf.
Later that evening they both reclined on Daniel's bed with cups of tea. Daniel opened the book to the index page. "So, what should we start with? Ancient Egyptian texts? Mesopatamian?"
Sam glanced at the page, her eyes running down the list. "Why don't you just start at the beginning?"
They read for several hours. Sam found herself intrigued, not only by the histories and stories, but by Daniel's obvious love for them and the many extra details he knew and would add. He knew the places mentioned and who everyone was and could connect different texts together with his knowledge of history. It brought the stories to life. That night, for the first time, she fell asleep to dreams that did not include fixing the Stargate.
The next morning when Sam woke up it was to the smell of fresh tea. Cracking open one eye she sniffed. Slowly rolling out of bed she rubbed her face and hair, making it stick out even more in blond points, and padded barefoot to the kitchen. Daniel sat at the table, coffee-turned-tea pot in front of him, holding a cup and eating a piece of fruit. He looked up when she stepped in and poured her a cup of steaming tea. "Good morning, Sam."
"Good morning," she yawned, rumpling her hair even more. She took the cup he offered her and sipped appreciatively. "Thank you."
He smiled. "I was thinking, since I am going to be limited in my activities for a while here, I thought I would work in the courtyard today. You know, on the back wall. Once I clear away the vines I could start planting some of those berry vines you wanted."
"That would be great." Sam said, sitting down.
"Just one thing," he said. "I'll need you to get me the plants and some wood for a cane."
By midday Sam returned to the courtyard with some berry and fruit vines, a small fruit sapling, wood for a cane, and a lush green vine with small white flowers. "I thought this would look nice next to the fountain." she said, holding out the flowering vine.
Leaving Daniel to his work she went inside to the kitchen to get together some lunch. While she got out the food she glanced out the kitchen door and paused. Daniel was in shorts, and in the heat of the sun had removed his shirt. For the first time she noticed the deep tan of his skin and the sweat glistening on his well-defined muscles. While she watched he flipped his hair back– it had grown long again– and pulled his bandana out of his pocket, tying it around his head. A small smile touched her mouth, and she felt a strange thrill run through her. Quickly she looked away, blinking, and shook her head. With fresh determination she returned to lunch, slapping some jerky on the plate, followed by dried fruit and a couple pieces of fresh vegetables. Taking this and a canteen of cold water out to the courtyard she slammed the tray down next to him and stalked away.
Daniel's eyes squinted in confusion. "Everything okay?" he called after her, pushing his glasses up.
"I'm going hunting!" she shouted back.
"Okay," he said as she disappeared through the door.
By the time Sam got back it was late in the afternoon. Heading for the courtyard she found the rest of the wall cleared and the vines and tree carefully planted and watered. Daniel was no where in sight. Taking the bird she had shot and setting it over a fire to roast she headed inside. He was not in the kitchen so she checked his room. He was sprawled, fast asleep, on his cot, one arm above his head, his glasses on a small table. Sam took one step closer, arms crossed and held close, cocking her head to one side. It was funny, she thought. She hadn't noticed how long his eyelashes were before; his glasses always covered them up. They were also bleaching out, as were his eyebrows, to a pale yellow. Standing there, gazing at his features and strong jaw, she thought that there was no one she would rather be stranded with than Daniel. Because not only did they get along better than anyone else, but he was incredibly good to look at.
That last thought jarred her from her reverie and brought a burning sensation to her cheeks. Turning quickly she rushed from the room, suddenly not wanting to be there in case he woke up. Heading to the courtyard she checked the bird and turned it. She took a ruby red fruit and cut it half, then squeezed the thick syrupy juice over the meat.
What was with these thoughts about Daniel? They had been friends forever, and not once had she thought of him this way. Right? She could not possibly be liking him like– like– that, not Daniel. He was the one she worked on theories with, the one she bounced ideas off of, the one she went to when she needed to talk, the one she spent all her time with– Sam paused. Was it possible?
"Of course not!" she muttered, turning the bird again. "We're just– best friends. Best friends are supposed to do all that. It's totally normal."
Just then, Daniel stepped out the door. He was walking with a cane. "Smells great! Any way I can help?"
Sam had been crouching next to the fire and she spun around, startled. Losing her balance, she toppled clumsily over, landing on her tailbone, squashing the other half of the ruby red fruit on her pants. Her face flamed.
Daniel stepped closer and leaned over and held out his hand. He grinned at her. "As I was saying, need help?"
She took his hand and he pulled her to her feet. She suddenly realized how close she was to him and just how tall he actually was. Stepping carefully around him, she went in.
"I've got to change, I'll be right back."
Daniel watched her walk into the house and sighed.
Later they ate the roasted bird with the fruit glaze and roasted roots in companiable silence, each lost in thought. A large crack of thunder startled them, and they quickly closed the windows and door as heavy rains fell in sheets.
Drinking tea, they sat together on Daniel's cot as he read from his book of translations. Sam found herself struggling to pay attention to the story as she watched him read. She was suddenly fascinated with the way his mouth moved and she wondered what it might be like to kiss him. Sam shook her head and jumped, almost falling off the end of the cot.
Daniel stopped and looked at her. "Is anything wrong?"
"No, no, just felt like a bug bit me."
Daniel continued reading until Sam grew sleepy and leaned her head against his shoulder. "Should I stop?"
Sam looked up at him and noticed that his eyes were the same blue as the lagoon. "No, don't stop yet."
Daniel smiled at her and read until her eyes shut and her breathing became even. Moving slowly, he lowered her down onto his pillow and pulled the blanket over her. Then he left the room and went to sleep on her cot.
When Sam awoke the next morning, she immediately closed her eyes and rolled facedown in the pillow. "I can't believe I fell asleep in his bed." Then she noticed that the pillow smelled like Daniel.
She sat bolt upright. 'Since when do I know what he smells like?' she thought to her self.
Dishes were clanking around in the kitchen. A wonderful smell hit her as she opened the door. Daniel smiled a slow warm smile at her as she rumpled her hair with her hand.
"Good morning. Some tea?"
"Yes, thanks." Sam sat down at the table and listened to the rain fall, sheeting and rumbling down the building. She found herself thankful for the sturdy roof of the building they'd chosen.
Daniel slid a full plate of food in front of her. Lightly baked white fish with herbs, baked fruit and golden fried potato root slices steamed in front of her.
"Wow! What's the occasion?" she asked.
"Our first official work day called on account of rain." Daniel smiled, sitting down with his own plate of food. "I woke up early and needed something to do."
"You are hardly a morning person, and neither am I. Why would you get up early? Especially on a day off.."
"The thunder woke me, and then– I just couldn't get back to sleep." Daniel dropped his eyes and looked uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry I fell asleep in your bed." Sam said.
"It's okay. I slept in your room, but don't worry, I didn't mess anything up."
Sam poked her fish and took a bite. "It's okay. This is really great."
"Thanks." Daniel studied his food and ate without looking up.
After breakfast, they cleaned up the kitchen, tidied their bedrooms, and did all they could think of inside the house. "Well," said Daniel, "that's that. We're out of work. Now what?"
"Well, I want to work on the control panels some more. I still haven't figured out these clear tubes."
"Let's go." said Daniel, opening the access panel in the kitchen wall.
The remainder of the day, they tested circuits and tried buttons and watched the tubes as they turned things on and off, hoping for a clue to the tubes' purpose. The tubes randomly glowed with no discernible pattern.
"I think the tubes are syphoning the power off the crystals and changing it before it is transmitted into the power grid of the house." Sam said thoughtfully, chewing her lip.
"You mean, like a conductor?"
"Yes, but how?"
"Got me." Daniel shrugged and pushed another button. Music suddenly filled the room. The instruments seemed unfamiliar, yet the music reminded them of American Indian and Aboriginal music from Earth.
"This is beautiful." said Sam.
"Yeah, it makes a nice change from rain drumming on the roof or insects buzzing." said Daniel. He checked his watch. "Well, it's late. Shall we eat?"
They ate their supper with drums and flute music floating through the air. Glancing up from his shellfish Daniel swallowed and squinted. "You know, I wonder if there is any information on this music in their writings. It would be interesting to know its history."
Sam nodded, and reaching out with one finger, she pushed his glasses up. "Yeah; I've been wondering about the people who used to live here. You know, an entire culture that created all these beautiful homes, power systems that are still running, gorgeous music– what happened to them? Disease? Goa'uld? The earthquake? But then this town is not destroyed, so the earthquake couldn't explain where these people went." she ate a piece of fruit. "You think about this stuff all the time, don't you?" She looked up, and realized Daniel had sat back in his chair, and was watching her intently, his blue eyes soft. It was not his normal look when he listened. It was much more intimate, the way her father used to look at her mother when they thought no one was watching. She dropped her eyes, suddenly aware of the fact that Daniel was admiring her. Fumbling slightly she stood up and gathered together their dishes. Daniel stood up and went to the sink, turning on the water to start washing. Sam carefully kept her eyes averted from him, acutely aware of his nearness. In silence they finished the dishes and cleaned up the rest of the kitchen.
Daniel began to heat water for tea. "Would you like to read again tonight?"
"Sure." Sam answered briskly.
Cups of tea in hand they went and sat down on Daniel's cot. Sam crossed her legs and sat very straight, holding her tea in front of her with both hands. Daniel leaned back with the book of translations and opened it.
"You know," he said. "Once the rainy season ends I'm going to start making us some furniture so we have something besides camp stools. Everything I've seen in the other buildings is too deteriorated to use. "
"That would be really nice." Sam said, sipping her tea.
Daniel nodded, then flipped to the last page they had read.
My Queen, My Beloved,
The long months we have been apart have brought clarity to my heart. It was being parted from you that made me understand the depths of our friendship and the yearning I have felt when in your presence. I remember well the day I first saw you, the day your father's caravan arrived in my city to solidify the alliance. As the days passed as sand in an hourglass we learned to treasure our newfound friendship. In you I found someone with whom I could discuss matters of state. Your wisdom flowed like a river from Lebanon, your peace like a cool mountain spring. In your eyes I was as a young lion, strong as a spear of bronze. Your presence was as soothing as the alabaster fountains of Hamara. Your words were like precious stones to be gathered and stored in the treasure chambers of my heart. When it came time for you to depart my spirit yearned for yet one more day with your companionship, yearned to see you once more. Your messages to me as the seasons passed brought joy to me, and with the greatest joy I answered them. When I last visited your city to celebrate your coronation it was with great anticipation that I made the journey. You stole my heart with a single glance and I wish to hold you in my eyes forever. You are altogether lovely in form and in grace. Come away with me, my dove, and consent to be my bride. Let our two nations become one as we are one. Make this covenant with me and I shall want for nothing.
I read your last message with great amazement, and it was with greater amazement that I felt my heart answer your call. As the years have passed your friendship has become as a pillar to me, a cornerstone to my spirit. You are to me as Spring following the snow and the rains. You refresh me like raisins, like a fine wine. It was not until I received your message and read your words that I understood that the desire of your heart was the same as mine. For all these seasons I have thought it to be the desire of friendship, but now I know it to be much greater. You are strong, my love, and admirable among men, among the finest warriors. Your arms are like bronze, your legs like pillars of ebony set upon a base of gold. Your eyes are as onyx, shining with reflected fire. As the great King Solomon of Israel wrote, your appearance is like Lebanon, my lover, my friend. Your love is more delightful than wine. Take me away with you– let us hurry! Let the king bring me into his chambers.
Daniel's voice trailed off, and Sam drained the rest of her tea, swallowing hard. "Wow," she said. "Okay. Who wrote that?"
"No one knows." Daniel replied, touching the page gently. "Some speculate, based on the mention of King Solomon, that it was the Queen of Sheba and a nearby ruler. But there's no evidence to prove it either way. All we know is they began as friends and ended as lovers."
Sam gazed at the page, her eyes running over the picture of the original letters and the flowing script. With the words of the king and queen running through her mind she layed her head on Daniel's shoulder, her eyes taking on a faraway gaze. Without her noticing, Daniel turned his face till her hair tickled his nose, and he breathed in, closing his eyes. For a moment they stayed like this, until Sam began to relax against him and sighed happily.
"This is nice." she said. "We should read every night."
Daniel abruptly sat up straight and swung his legs from the bed, striding from the room. Sam watched him in confusion, then got up and followed when she heard the kitchen door slam open.
She found him out in the middle of the courtyard in the pouring rain. "Daniel?" she called from the doorway. "What's wrong?"
When he didn't answer she glanced up at the sky, then ran out, hugging herself. She stopped in front of him, opening her mouth to speak when he turned away from her. "Daniel," she said as she stepped around him again, not sure if she should be annoyed or concerned. "What is it?"
His jaw worked, taking on a steel-like quality she had not seen before. Eyebrows drawing together she stepped closer, and before he could move away she reached up and took hold of his face, forcing him to look at her. The light from the kitchen doorway lit his face, and the fierce blue of his eyes took her breath away. For a moment she did not move. Then instinct and emotion overrode reason and she brought her face to his and kissed him.
Daniel did not respond at first, but when her fingers entangled themselves in his wet hair he began to soften, and then to react. His arms wrapped around her and pulled her tightly against him, and he intensified the kiss with a passion that surprised her.
Finally the kiss ended, and Sam closed her eyes, her cheek cradled against his chest, her mind reeling. They stood like that for a while in the pouring rain, and when she finally looked up Daniel was gazing at her with a look she could not define.
"Wow." she whispered.
Daniel swallowed. "I'm sorry."
Sam frowned. "For what?"
He didn't answer, just turned away and lifted his face into the rain.
Sam eyed him with growing trepidation. "Daniel, what happened back there? Why did you leave?"
"Never mind about it," he said quietly. "It's not important."
"Yes, it is." Sam insisted, stepping forward. "We may be here a very, very long time, maybe permanently. We need to be honest with each other."
He sighed, his head dropping. "That letter," he said. "The king's– as I read it tonight, I realized something…"
Sam swallowed. "What?"
"That's exactly how I feel about you."
The sound of the rain and the wind suddenly faded, and all she could hear was Daniel's voice and her own heart pounding.
"I know I shouldn't," he sounded apologetic. "I know it's against regulations, and I'll… I'll be fine."
"What about me?" Sam whispered, and his back stiffened. "And since when is it against regulations for a civilian and someone in the military to fall in love?"
For a moment he seemed frozen in place, and then he turned and looked at her, water dripping from the ends of his hair and down his face.
Her stomach did a flip when she realized what she had just said– and that she meant it. Steeling her jaw she looked him in the eyes. "What if I wouldn't be fine?"
Daniel didn't answer, he just watched her.
Sam could feel it building inside her, and she turned away, hugging herself in the cold rain as she began to cry. "Daniel, we've been friends forever and… you've always been there for me …. all this time I thought it was just friendship, but now I know it's so much more." Sam paused and then began to cry harder. "This is really scary for me. I don't want to lose your friendship. Please, say something."
Daniel's arms wrapped warmly around her from behind and his face pressed into her neck. He whispered in her ear, "Are you sure about this?"
Sam gave a short laugh through her tears. "I'm a practical person and I don't cry. This is new for me." she turned in his arms and tentatively pushed the wet hair back from his face. "I've known for a while now, even when I didn't want to admit it to myself– I was so sure I had to hide it from you."
A smile broke over Daniel's face and his mouth captured hers again, silencing her. His kiss was warm and exploring, filled with a tenderness that made her knees go weak.
It took a long time for Sam to fall asleep. Thoughts rolled over and over in her mind, refusing to quiet down, and she was accutely aware of Daniel being in the very next room. She still could feel his lips on hers– they were so soft, moving over hers so gently– She felt a sudden stab of loneliness, laying in her bed, and rolled over, squeezing her eyes shut.
In the next room, Daniel lay awake staring at the ceiling, fighting the urge to go see her.
In the morning, Sam awoke before Daniel and quietly padded out to the kitchen. She hadn't been able to sleep much the night before, and when she did her dreams were full of Daniel. Quickly she made breakfast: hot tea, fried potato roots, and fruit. Setting it all on the table she went to the door of his room and knocked. There was no answer. Hesitantly she opened the door and stepped in. He was laying on his face, the blanket tangled around his legs. She smiled, then slowly knelt down by his cot.
"Daniel? Would you like a cup of tea?" Sam asked awkwardly.
"Mmmmph." Daniel groaned into his pillow.
"It's morning." Sam said.
"Ooonngh." Daniel rolled onto his back and squinched his face in the light. Then he pulled the pillow over his face.
Sam smiled and pulled the pillow away.
Daniel threw his arm over his eyes. "Too bright."
"What happened to the cheerful guy who always has tea waiting for me in the morning?"
"He didn't sleep last night." he mumbled under his arm. "He also usually has two cups of tea before he's human."
Sam chuckled. "Well, Frankenstein. Your tea awaits you and it's getting cold."
Daniel heaved himself from the cot and staggered into the kitchen, rubbing his hair until it all layed down except one point in the back. He slowly put on his glasses and sat down heavily at the table.
Sam watched him in amusement as he drank his first cup of tea, and then his second in complete silence. Once the beverage was gone he started in on the potatoes and fruit, and then looked up at her as if she has just entered the room.
He smiled. "Good morning."
Sam shook her head. "Thank heavens you found tea. What did you do when the coffee ran out and there was no coffee or tea for a few weeks?"
"I avoided people until I'd been up for a few hours."
"Ah. That's why I never saw you in the morning." Sam nodded wisely.
Once their food was finished she stood up and put her dishes on the counter. Then she turned to him. "I'm going to work on the power panels today. How about you?"
Daniel stood up and stepped closer. "I thought I'd wait and see what my options were."
Sam quirked an eyebrow and looked at him from the corner of her eye. "Well, I'm sure that two people could figure out these power systems faster than one."
Daniel nodded, then his face grew serious. "Are you okay about last night?"
Sam choked and cleared her throat. "Well–" she stopped, then started again. "What do you mean?"
"Are you okay that we crossed that line last night? Or should we just pretend it didn't happen?"
"No!" Sam's eyes widened, and she grew flustered. "I mean yes! I mean, this is what we both want, isn't it?" She frowned.
Daniel looked at her seriously. "That's– not really an answer. I told you last night how I feel and it hasn't changed. Now that you've had time to think, how do you feel?"
Sam blinked and swallowed. "I… um," her voice choked. "I'm not very good at this."
Daniel stared at her and a small smile tweaked to the corner of his mouth. "You know, it's okay to say it, even if you say it badly." his voice was soft. "Would it help if I said it first?"
Sam nodded nervously, her lips pressed tightly together.
Daniel met her eyes. "I love you." he whispered.
Sam's eyes welled up, and she swallowed again, finding her voice. "I love you too." she whispered back, her voice thick.
Daniel put his arms around her and pulled her close, holding her gently in a reassuring embrace. She could feel his relief at her words, and that knowledge sent a warm rush through her.
Reluctantly letting go of each other, they gathered their tools and Sam spent the day examining the power systems in the other buildings as Daniel went from room to room cataloguing all he found.
At dusk, they walked home in the rain. Daniel took her hand and carressed her fingers. "My leg is pretty much healed, so we should be able to start searching the mines as soon as the rain lets up."
She nodded. "I know. I just hope we can find a crystal that's big enough." she looked up. "What's for supper?"
"Well, if I'm cooking? I can do smoked fish and fruit. I can even fry potatoes. Sound okay?"
"Yeah, sounds okay." she squeezed his hand.
Later, as they finished eating, they sat down to read again. Daniel opened the book and slid his arm around Sam's waist, pulling her closer. He began to read.
Sam watched him as tales spun from the book. 'He has such a strong jawline.' she thought, letting her eyes wander over his features. A small smile touched her lips. Had it only been 24 hours since they'd admitted how they felt?
"You're a million miles away. What's up?"
Sam blushed and leaned closer. "I'm sorry. I was… thinking about us." she looked down, playing with the edge of the blanket.
Daniel gently took her face in his hand. "You know, you're not as bad at this as you think." He kissed her gently. Sam's eyes closed, and time lost its meaning for a while.
When they stopped, Daniel lifted his hand and stroked her hair back from her face. "I've always loved you." he said quietly. "I just didn't think that you would ever…"
Sam leaned closer and kissed him again, silencing his doubts.
They fell asleep that night reading, the book beside them.
The next morning, Sam became aware of Daniel's shoulder beneath her head where they'd fallen asleep the night before. She rolled over onto her stomach and kissed his jaw. "Good morning," she whispered, stroking his cheek. "It's time for tea."
One eye cracked open, and he smiled ever so slightly. "The only good thing about morning is waking up with you next to me."
Sam snuggled into his shoulder, then waited quietly as he slowly woke up enough to get up.
The days that followed were spent with Sam working on each power system, and learning how the clear tubes connected and disconnected easily from the systems; something like batteries. Daniel continued to catalog the few items in each building. When they reached the largest building nearest the Stargate, he found more than a few items. Pottery, glazed white with black geometric designs lined a shelf. A stone pedestal in the middle of the round room held a small black box with a small screen in its side. A low bowl on the pedestal held seven tubes, one still attached to a small crystal. Only the tube attached to the crystal glowed.
Daniel carefully examined each item and logged it in his field notebook. While holding the black box. he noticed a hole in one side. Studying it, he reached out and picked up the glowing tube and slid it into the opening. It clicked into place and the box's screen suddenly glowed. Pictographs mixed with an unknown script scrolled slowly over the screen while at the same time a low male voice spoke in an unusual dialect.
Daniel sat down on the floor and listened intently.
When Sam came into the room later, he was still sitting there, scribbling furiously in his notebook. The black box continued to speak and the screen scrolled by.
After standing there and watching him for ten minutes, Daniel suddenly looked up, grinned, pulled the power tube from the box and waved it at her.
"They're like batteries! They complete the circuit between the crystal and the machinery. They must store the power or convert it somehow. This box is amazing. It took me a while, but I've narrowed the language down to a variation of ancient Pueblo Indian, and these pictographs that were on the screen are Anasazi. With him talking, I've been able to start deciphering the writing and the speech. I think these people were the descendants of the Anasazi who disappeared in the 1200's or so. I think the Goa'uld brought them here to mine the crystals, and when the mine went dry, they were abandoned. The writing mentions inventions and advancements they made until they could use the Stargate and escape before the Goa'uld or evil spirits returned." his rush of words trailed off and he grinned at her like a boy.
She smiled at him. "Well, I've found some ore from the mine that has the same chemical makeup as the tubes. It must be some new element we don't know. Maybe a copper-like conductor that goes clear when purified or processed."
They smiled at each other's accomplishments and walked home to eat. After supper, they sat down to read.
"After we finish these translations, I should have the history box translated and we can read through that."
Sam lifted one eyebrow. "I don't know if that sounds like fun or just an excuse to work a little more." she smiled.
"Let's go for a walk instead." Daniel suggested, trying to look innocent.
"Fine, let's go." Sam took his hand and they walked down the worn path to the lagoon. The two moons were rising and shining off the water. They sat down on the sand and watched the waves roll softly in.
Daniel lifted her hand to his lips and kissed her fingers. Then he pulled her to him and laid back in the sand. An hour later, Daniel traced his fingertip over her lips. He was breathing hard and his finger trembled. "I love you." he whispered.
Sam nuzzled his chin and kissed him softly. Then she sat up, shaky. "I think we should swim." she leaped to her feet and ran into the lagoon.
Daniel took off his shirt and followed her into the cool water and they swam and laughed. Daniel dove under the water and tickled her suddenly. She shrieked and sank. They came up sputtering in each other's arms.
Sam laid her head against his bare chest. Daniel held her against him, his heart pounding. "I think we better go back to the house."
"Why?" she looked around the lagoon. "Is there a danger?"
She turned back to Daniel and his intense look caught her and held her. He nodded. "Yes, there's a danger. Me." he smiled.
Sam blushed. "Okay." she whispered.
They went back to the house and their separate rooms, letting go of each other reluctantly.
The following weeks of the rainy season passed by as they worked side by side, their friendship and love growing stronger. They'd almost reached the end of the book of translations. Sam was amazed again and again at Daniel's depths of knowledge about multitudes of ancient cultures and languages. After a day spent refining some of the new ore, she tossed together a quick salad of fresh greens from the garden and fruits and some cool slivered antelope. She sprinkled herbs over it and sat back. Some bread would be great, if they could just figure what to make it from. Daniel stopped translating long enought to eat, then went back to the box for the evening.
The next day, Sam decided to explore the other courtyards and examine the plants. Perhaps she'd find something else they could use. If they were lucky, a grain. She'd expected to look all day, and find little, but the main courtyard behind the largest building where they'd found the box was crowded with weeds, fruit trees, and a four foot tall grass that had large red heads bobbing in the breeze. She took samples of it, and watched the courtyard for the day, observing birds and even a monkey like animal eating the tops of the grain heads.
Taking it home, she showed it to Daniel. Then she ran some chemical analysis on it. Nothing obviously dangerous was discovered. "Okay." said Daniel, and he popped a handful into his mouth and chewed.
"Daniel, what are you doing!! That could be poisonous!!"
"You tested it, I trust you." he said after he's swallowed. "Tastes great. Something like almonds or pecans. Well, we'll just see how I do."
Sam sighed and got out the medical kit. They spent the evening restlessly, both nervous, but unwilling to talk about it.
The next morning, Sam woke up to silence. She leaped from her cot and ran to Daniel's room. There he was, sleeping quietly, his blanket on the floor with his shirt. He lay on his back, his arm thrown over his face to block the light. She knelt down on the floor next to him and studied him. His muscles were well defined and deeply tanned. His hair was bleaching to a light brown, and the small laugh crinkles around his eyes were still lighter than the rest of his face, making them stand out.
He stirred and turned toward her, his eyes opening. A slow smile touched his mouth. "Morning, beautiful." His eyes closed and he stretched.
"Hi there. How are you feeling?"
"Definitely still alive, but in dire need of tea."
Sam chuckled. She took one finger and trailed it down his cheek, then his neck, then down his chest. "Are you ticklish?"
"What?" his eyebrows scrunched together. "Is that a fair thing to threaten a guy with this early in the day?"
Sam's eyes grew big and mischievous. "Oh, so you are?" She ran her fingers over his rib cage and belly, tickling lightly.
He squirmed and turned toward her. "Don't you dare."
She grinned and then tickled him wildly. He grabbed her in self defense and they tumbled off the cot onto the floor, squirming, tickling, and Sam shrieking loudly when he tickled her. The table toppled onto them, and they stopped, breathing hard and laughing.
He studied her face. "You are so beautiful." He leaned closer and kissed her cheeks and her eyes, then claimed her mouth.
Sam slid her hand along his bare back and he pulled her closer.
The kiss ended and Daniel nuzzled his face into her neck, whispering to her. "I love you."
Sam wrapped her arms tightly around him and she could feel his heartbeat thrumming through his chest to match her own. "I love you, Daniel." she murmered into his ear.
He breathed heavily and rolled away from her, sitting up. "I better go make some tea, maybe take a dip in the lagoon." He reached out a hand and helped her up. "Unless you want me to stay?" He stepped closer, a hopeful look on his face.
His words hung in the air, filled with tension. Sam sighed shakily. "I think we better have breakfast." Her eyes met his and they reflected her struggle for control.
They both left the room and began a hard day of work, which included harvesting the new grain wherever they could find some, and preparing to replant it for another harvest.
Sam struggled with her decision all week, but realized she needed to be honest with Daniel, just as she'd asked him to be all those weeks ago.
"Daniel, can we talk?" Sam interupted him hoeing in the garden.
He squinted in the sunshine. "Sure." He stopped and came into the kitchen. It was cool inside the thick stone walls. "What is it?"
Sam looked at the man who'd become everything to her. "This is awkward, but we said we'd be honest."
Daniel began to look worried. "Yes?"
"Well, as the weeks have gone by, I've enjoyed being with you more and more. I really love you."
He smiled. "I love you too."
"That's why I think we need to do something about it."
He squinted his eyebrows. "Like what? Are you wanting to not spend as much time together? Is there something wrong?"
"No, no. Nothing like that. Just the opposite." She stopped. She had planned on saying more, but suddenly found that she couldn't.
Daniel's eyes softened as understanding dawned in them. "Do you think we should do something about making it right to spend all our time together?"
Sam suddenly blushed furiously. "Something like that."
Daniel smiled quietly and took her hand, dropping to his knees. Speaking softly he raised his face, his eyes holding hers. "Sam– Samantha, I can't think of a better way to say what I've wanted to say for weeks now, than this– You stole my heart with a single glance and I wish to hold you in my eyes forever. Come away with me, my dove, and consent to be my bride."
Sam's breath caught in her chest, and for a moment she couldn't speak. Then she nodded as the tears slid down her cheeks. "Yes, Daniel. Yes."
A few days later, Sam woke up extra early, her stomach full of butterflies. It was a sunny day, and the birds were singing their riotous spring songs in the jungles around the city.
Later that day an antelope roasted over the fire in the courtyard. Sam and Daniel wore their army fatigues, which she had washed the night before, and they had the music in their kitchen playing. They stood in the courtyard next to the wall fountain, Sam holding a handful of the flowering jasmine-like vine. They set up the video recorder in the MALP to record their wedding, then faced each other.
They'd spent the last two days writing their vows. Daniel held his notebook, and his eyes took on that endearing, shy look that Sam had grown to love.
"I, Daniel, take you Samantha Carter, to be my wife." he started. His voice was soft and quiet. "To love, cherish, and honor as long as we both shall live. I will support you and encourage you in all that you desire to do. I will be there only for you in sickness and in health, whether we're rich or poor, traveling or at home. You are my true love, and I give myself to you forever."
Sam bit her lip, her eyes welling up despite her best efforts. Once she was sure she could speak she took the notebook from Daniel's outstretched hand, and cleared her throat. "I, Samantha, take you Daniel Jackson, to be my husband." her voice shook slightly. "To love, cherish, and honor as long as we both shall live. I will support you and encourage you in all that you desire to do. I will be there only for you in sickness and in health, whether we're rich or poor, traveling or at home. You are my true love, and I give myself to you forever." She looked up, and then added with a twinkle in her eyes, "And that includes ascension or any other planes."
He laughed, and she saw a wet glimmer in his eyes. Then he stepped closer to her, and suddenly her heart was pounding so hard she couldn't hear the birds anymore. Gently taking her face in his hands Daniel leaned close, and his lips brushed hers.
Sam's eyes closed, savoring the sweetness of it. Then he started to pull back, like any other wedding kiss. Sam was having none of that. Reaching up she twined her fingers through his hair and pulled him in tighter, in a passionate, revealing kiss.
They pulled back and Daniel stood there with his eyes shut for a moment, looking dazed. Then that slow smile of his spread across his face as his eyes opened. His expression made her tremble inside.
"Should we eat?"she asked softly.
Daniel shook his head and stepped closer to her. "I don't think it's ready." he reached sideways and flipped the off switch on the Malp.
Four months later, Sam woke up exhausted, and staggered into the kitchen to make tea. She grabbed a biscuit and tentatively took a bite. Suddenly, she dashed from the room. When she returned, she sat down heavily at the table and stared at her tea cup. Her face was pale and bemused. This was not the first time this week this had happened.
Daniel entered the room, squinting in the morning light. "Everything okay?" he asked, slipping on his glasses.
"Yes, I think everything is fine." Sam sipped her tea and smiled.
"Okay." Daniel grabbed some tea and biscuits and went out to the courtyard to sit.
Sam followed, carrying her tea, and sat down next to him on the bench he'd made for them.
Daniel stretched. "The mine shaft is reinforced enough now, I think I'll start digging today."
"Okay. I'll pack some lunch for you. I'm going to take a break from chemistry and power systems and work in the garden for a day."
"Sounds good." he gave a huge yawn.
That afternoon, Sam hoed and weeded and harvested in quiet thought. She was finally sure. Now came the difficulty of finding the right way to announce it. The sun beat down on her and she became more and more tired. Finally giving up, she picked up her basket of vegetables and herbs and went into the cool kitchen. She drank a glass of water and then went into their room and sat down on the edge of their bed. Daniel had built it the first week after they'd said their vows. Exhaustion overcame her and she rolled back and fell asleep.
Hours later, Daniel walked in and looked around. There was the basket of vegetables wilting on the table. "Sam?" he called, taking his glasses off and wiping his face with his bandana. He looked into their bedroom and found her curled on her side, asleep.
He sat down on the edge of the bed and watched her.
"Sam?" he touched her shoulder. "It's late, honey. Should I make us some supper?"
Sam rolled slowly over and opened one eye. "Hi."
He smiled at her. "Tired?"
"Yeah." she stretched and then rubbed her hands through her hair. She sat up, got a funny look on her face, and leaped off the bed past Daniel and ran for the bathroom.
He watched her go with a puzzled look on his face.
She returned a few minutes later. "Sorry about that."
"Are you sure you're all right?" Daniel's eyes were concerned.
Sam held his eyes for a moment and then took a deep breath. "Why don't you go clean up first."
He frowned. "Why?"
"Well, for one thing, you're covered in dirt–"
"No; why 'first?' What's second?"
'Okay, Sam. That was not the thing to tell him to gain more time.' she scolded herself. Sitting down next to him she kept her eyes down, trying to think of how to say it. The longer she said nothing, the more tense Daniel became.
"Sam? Are you sick?"
She shook her head. Giving up on words Sam took his hands and carefully placed them on her belly. For a moment Daniel didn't understand, his frown deepening. Then, as she continued to gaze at him quietly, his eyes widened.
She nodded. The shocked look remained on his face for another moment before being replaced by sheer delight, a smile filling his face. Laughing he wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace, kissing her cheeks and hair and mouth. Sam closed her eyes, warmth spreading through her. This was so new, so perfect– she'd thought that to have her career she couldn't be a woman, but with Daniel– she could be both, and he loved her the same. Finally she pushed him back a little bit.
"Daniel, you're suffocating me and you're filthy! Now I need a shower too!"
His eyes began to twinkle. "We could go to the lagoon…"
"You need more than the lagoon, I'm afraid." Sam said, eyeing his clothes in amusement.
"Fine. I'll rinse– then the lagoon?"
"Okay." She grinned at him as she left the bed. "Make it a fast rinse."
That night as they lay in bed reading Daniel's hand strayed to her belly where he began to rub it in circles. Sam smiled to herself, laying her head on his shoulder.
"You know," she said thoughtfully when he finished reading. "We're going to need to think about clothes; there's no way I'm going to fit my army fatigues once I start to grow. And we'll need some things for the baby when it's born."
"You're right." Daniel said, resting his cheek on her head. "Although I certainly won't complain if you walk around in your white beater shirt with your belly poking out."
Sam chuckled. "Oh yes. That sounds very attractive."
"I think so." he kissed her hair, and she could feel his smile.
The next morning Sam woke up slowly, and carefully did not move. The bed was incredibly comfortable, and she wanted to enjoy it for as long as possible. Cracking open one eye she found herself face to face with the little end table Daniel had made and a plate with a plain biscuit and a cup of tea. She smiled, hearing his soft footsteps in the kitchen as he moved about. Picking up the biscuit she took a small bite and slowly chewed. 'Oh good,' she thought. 'Biscuit is fine; just no sitting up.'
Daniel's head poked around the doorway. "Hey, you're awake." he said cheerfully.
Sam squinted at him. "I see someone's had their two cups of tea."
"Three, actually." he sat down on the edge of the bed and kissed her cheek. "How are you?"
She smiled. "The biscuit is helping. Thank you."
A soft look touched his eyes. Then he sat up straight, raising the notebook he'd carried in. "I thought I'd make a list of everything we need to get done." he said.
"In general?" Sam raised one eyebrow. "A crystal the size of a football would be nice."
"Right." he shook his head, opening the notebook. "Excepting that, what do we need to get done to be ready for the baby?"
"First of all, I need bigger clothes."
Daniel chewed his lip. "So– some kind of fabric. That also means a needle and thread." He wrote on the paper.
"Some kind of cradle or crib for the baby. And baby clothes."
"Wood, some kind of mattress or padding, and more cloth and thread."
The pen paused. "Um…" his eyebrows scrunched together. "Shoot."
"Yeah. Shoot." Sam echoed. Taking another bite of biscuit she thought for a moment. "Maybe some kind of leaf– like a 'banana' leaf– with a lining? That might work– at least the leaf would be relatively leak-proof."
"Leak-proof is key." he scribbled furiously. "Also something absorbent. Very." Standing up he tucked the notebook under his arm. "Okay. Guess I'll be exploring the jungle today. Is there anything you need before I go?"
He smiled and bent down. When he left Sam settled back in her pillow, smiling.
Once she was sure her stomach was not going to mutiny on her she got up and made her way to the kitchen. Picking up a basket of grain she went to their designated grain room next door. Setting the basket on the floor she sat down and put some grain on the rock slab, and then slid the round grinding stone over the center pole. Grasping the handle she began to turn, the soft rasping filling the air. As she ground the grain she thought how lucky it was that Daniel had found a hard enough stone that they did not end up with sand or grit in their meal.
Once she had enough to make some flatbread she gathered everything up and returned to the kitchen. Mixing the flour with some water and herbs she carefully patted out four round pieces of dough and put them, two at a time, in a pan with a little grease to cook. Once they were a nice golden brown on both sides she quickly cooked the other two. Taking one of them she set it aside for her lunch, then wrapped two more up for Daniel with some fruit and dried meat and set that aside. The remaining piece of flatbread she set aside, as well– breakfast the next morning.
Three weeks later Daniel woke up to find Sam's side of the bed empty. Some mornings, despite being exhausted, she could not sleep, and so had started getting up earlier than him. Stretching long and hard he yawned, then rolled to his side and sat up, swinging his legs off the bed. Once his eyes had somewhat adjusted to the light and his body had finally conceded that yes, it was time to move, he put on his glasses and stood up, then reached for his spare shirt and pants on his small end table.
His clothes were not there.
Frowning he checked the floor on either side and behind it, then checked Sam's end table, where both her shirts and pants lay untouched. Putting his hands on his hips he stared at her clothes for a while, then turned and headed for the kitchen. Sam was by the camp stove, mixing some grain in a pot. She had on his white beater, and his pants. The cuffs of his pants were rolled up, and she had the zipper undone and the flaps tucked in, framing her growing belly.
Crossing his arms Daniel glared at her in amusement. "So what am I supposed to wear?"
Sam stared at him with wide blue eyes. "Tent canvas?"
"And how would I wear that?"
"I don't know." She smiled sweetly at him. "Or you could wash your other pair of clothes."
He raised his eyebrows. "And until they're dry?"
Her smile got bigger. "Well, you are kind of cute in nothing but boxers."
His cheeks took on a little color. "I think I'll go wash some clothes." He retreated from the kitchen.
Sam smiled and hummed to herself, watching him leave. Then she turned back to the pot and stirred the grain.
Later that day, once his clothes were dry, Daniel returned to the jungle to gather some fibrous plants to make thread. In his search he came across another kind of plant with large thorns. "Perfect." he said, cutting some off and carefully putting them in his bag. "Now I have thread and needles." Returning home he set them out and retrieved his tool kit and one of the tent canvases. Taking out a small hand drill he ever so carefully drilled a small hole in the thick end of each thorn. One of them split, but the rest turned out fine. Then he took the plants he had gathered and pounded the long leaves until he could peel the long fibers free. These he placed in a bucket of water to keep them moist and supple until he was ready to use them.
This done he spread out the tent canvas and stared at it for a while. Eventually he heaved a sigh. Picking some of the largest leaves from the trees outside the courtyard he returned to his work area and laid them on the ground. Some of the leaves were seven feet long. Taking off his pants he sat down and carefully began to pick the seams open until he could lay the different pieces out on the leaves to trace a pattern. As he carefully began cut the patterns out Sam stepped out of the kitchen, carrying a plate of food. A look of amusement was on her face.
"Decided to spend the day in your boxers?"
Facial expression not changing he looked at her from the corner of his eye, then returned to his work. Soft footsteps approached, and then she crouched down next to him and set the plate down. "Here's some lunch." she said. Then she was quiet, tilting her head to one side. "That looks good." she commented. "Sorry you had to take apart your only remaining pair of pants."
"Yeah, well, someone said they didn't mind me in boxers, so I figured: why not?"
She chuckled, kissing him on the cheek. "Call me if you need anything."
His eyes took on a dangerous twinkle, so she escaped to the kitchen as quickly as possible, claiming she had vials brewing on the camp stove that had to be watched.
That evening Sam took a turn reading while Daniel began sewing his pants back together.
Daniel stared morosely at his pile of leaves. He had been searching for an entire month, and still had found nothing absorbent enough for diapers. And his leaves had gone dry and brittle after just a few days and now lay in a cracked and crumbled pile.
Sam bent over her notes, jotting down some new information on the crystals and clear tubes.
"I give up!!!"
She looked up, tube in one hand, one eyebrow raised. Perhaps she should forego preparing lunch for a while.
Daniel stalked in, eyes glowering behind his glasses. "The kid can live in a bathtub until he's trained." He growled. "Because there's nothing else for it to wear."
"Having trouble with the diapers?" Sam asked, her voice carefully meek.
His look darkened.
Taking a deep breath, Sam offered a suggestion. "Maybe– you could look in a different part of the forest today?"
"I've– looked– everywhere."
"I know– but– maybe you could re-check some of the spots you'd visited earlier? You might find something you missed, or something new growing–"
She thought she heard him mumbling under his breath as he left, but she wasn't sure, and she wasn't going to ask.
Still muttering to himself Daniel slung a pack over his shoulder, grabbed a pair of shears from Sam's tool box, and set out for the jungle. It had rained the night before, so he had to watch his footing on the blanket of slippery leaves on the ground. Water kept dripping down from the canopy of trees, so much so that it might have still been raining, and Daniel finally gave up trying to clean his glasses. Wandering amongst the all-to-familiar trees he paused a moment, listening to the strange call of one of the larger birds. Then he continued.
Picking his way along he once again began trying to come up with an answer to his diaper problem. He saw that many berries had grown plump and red during the past month, and some new flowers had opened, their long petals curling out. Suddenly his feet slid out from under him on a patch of leaves, and he found himself tumbling head over heels down a short incline. By the time he had reached the bottom and managed to pick himself up, he was covered with slimy, sticky mud and rotting vegetation. Frowning in consternation he checked himself over to make sure nothing was injured or missing. His glasses were no where to be found.
Picking carefully through the mud and leaves, Daniel crawled up the incline where he'd fallen, spending the next hour searching for his glasses. Finally he found them, up near the top. They were not broken, but a heavy coating of mud covered them. Daniel picked them up gingerly, scraping off what he could. Then he took his canteen and carefully poured water over them, rubbing slightly, until they were clean enough for him to see through. Sliding them back onto his face Daniel muttered under his breath, his clothes starting to itch and a large chunk of time wasted.
Getting back onto his feet he continued on his way, squinting slightly through the few smears still on the lenses. Some vines caught his eyes, and he wondered if he might be able to weave a cradle or a bassinet out of them. A sweet scent suddenly drifted towards him on the breeze. Daniel sniffed and looked around, wondering what it was. It was a soft scent, reminding him of honey. Following his nose Daniel made his way towards it, the undergrowth growing thicker around him. Suddenly the scent was all around, and he turned in a circle, trying to find the source. Nothing was blooming as far as he could see. Setting his hands on his hips he glanced up, and there, slightly above him, were heavy thick vines covered in large green pods the size of footballs. Squinting and studying it more closely he discovered that some of the pods had split open, and inside was pale green fluff– reminding him of milkweed. One eye squinted more; could he? A smile crossed his face, and he headed for one of the trees the vines were attached to. Since the vines were strung between the trees, if he could just cut them at one end so that they hung to the ground, he would be able to reach the pods.
Carefully crawling up one of the grizzled, twisted trunks he reached where the vines attached to the tree. Taking his hunting knife out of his belt he reached out and began to saw at the thick, cord-like plant fibers. As each vine came loose there was a crashing sound as it fell into the undergrowth below. Once they were all down Daniel sheathed his knife and carefully crawled back to the ground. Grabbing his bag from the base of the tree he hurried over to where the vines now hung low, their ends trailing on the ground, and he knelt down. Cutting off an open pod he studied the fluffy contents and came to the happy conclusion that, once dried, it would be fairly absorbent. Quickly he filled his bag with as many open pods as he could fit in. Then he slung the bulging sack over his shoulder and prepared to make his way back home. He would come back for the remaining pods as they continued to open.
Happily sauntering into the kitchen Daniel swung the pack from his shoulder triumphantly. "We have something absorbent!" he announced.
Sam looked at him from her slump at the kitchen table. "Oh good." she said, face resting on her hand.
Daniel eyed her. "You okay?" he asked.
She sighed heavily, her eyes slightly larger than normal. "I am so hungry."
"Oh." Daniel pushed his hair back. "Well, there's some fruit and jerky. I think there's even some flatbread left over from breakfast."
Sam shook her head, her expression falling. "No."
"Okay– some vegetables? We could cook some– or you could eat them fresh–"
"How about some fish?"
Her face screwed up and she shuddered. "No!"
Daniel's eyebrows raised. "Ohh-kay." His forehead creased. "What does sound good?"
Sam's eyes grew large and filled with tears "Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream!" Her head collapsed onto her arms, and her shoulders began to shake as she cried.
Daniel stared at her for a minute, mouth open, feet frozen in place. Finally he blinked, and shoved his hands into his pockets. "I– wish there was something I could do." he said softly.
Her head nodded against her arms as she sucked in a hard breath. Then her voice came, muffled. "Fix the Stargate and go get me some!"
Eyes wide, Daniel nodded, one foot inching slowly back. "Okay–" his other foot began to follow. "I'll– just be in the shower, cleaning up."
Once his footsteps had faded Sam turned her head so she could see, and opened watery eyes, sighing heavily. She hadn't been able to eat anything at lunch, but now her stomach was threatening to mutiny if she didn't eat something. Picking herself up from the table she wiped her eyes and began to rummage through their baskets and shelves. As she searched things began to come to mind that made her mouth water. She had some fruit that tasted like mangos, and there were still some 'antelope' steaks in their stone cooler under the sink. And like Daniel had said, there were two pieces of flatbread left from breakfast– he had wrapped them in large leaves and set them in the cooler to keep them from drying out.
Soon Sam was humming to herself, cooking happily.
When Daniel came out of the shower he was met with a delicious smell coming from the kitchen. He took his shirt and pants, which he had washed in the shower with himself, out to the courtyard and hung them over their vine clothesline. Then he cautiously entered the kitchen and was pleased to find Sam in good spirits.
"Hello." she said cheerfully.
"Smells good." he said; it seemed a safe enough thing to say.
"I know; tastes good, too." she smiled, licking one of her fingers. "Had to taste-test once or twice."
He came in close to her, relieved that her mood had improved. "What are we having?"
"Well, I took some of the steaks from the 'fridge' and cubed them, and then I cut up some of this fruit, and some of this spicy, pepper-like thing you found earlier this week, and I skewered them all on these sticks and grilled them. Then I mashed some more of the mango-fruit and mixed that with some herbs, and we'll have that with the shish-kebab folded up in the pita bread."
"Wow." Daniel was impressed.
Sam grinned. "It was the only thing that sounded good to me."
"I thought it was–"
"Nope!" she waved a hand. "Don't say it! I found something that sounds good and tastes good!"
Daniel nodded, then motioned with his fingers, locking his lips. Sitting down at the table he took the filled pita bread that Sam handed him. Taking a bite he nodded, licking juice from his lips. "This is really good." he said.
Sam smiled, chewing, and lifted her hand to her mouth to lick sauce from her fingers. "I'm glad you like it," she said, her blue eyes dancing. "Because I might be making it a lot. Now," she picked up her pita again. "How in the world did you get so dirty today?"
Sam straightened up and pressed her hands to her lower back, stretching. Her seven-month belly poked out from beneath Daniel's white beater, and she absently rubbed it in slow circles. She had been studying their tools, trying to figure out how to attach small to medium crystals in such a way as to boost their power. Daniel had tried mining with them and found they were not strong enough to cut through the rock on their own. So it had fallen upon Sam to find a solution, and Daniel had gone to work on weaving a bassinet and building a wooden frame for it to rest in.
The past several months had been spent preparing clothes, two blankets, and mounds of diapers made from the seed pods Daniel had found. He had also taken a plastic tarp that used to serve as a moisture barrier for the tents and cut it into little panties, putting twine around the leg holes and waist to serve as drawstrings.
"Reusable diapers." he had told Sam. "You throw away the lining, rinse and wipe down the panty, refill with fresh lining, and voila! The baby's changed."
Sam, meanwhile– with Daniel's help getting her started– had sewn together three tunic-like shirts, and then set the remaining material aside for when they needed bigger clothes. She and Daniel had sacrificed one of their blankets– since they shared a bed and it was hot, anyway– and it had been carefully washed, folded, and set aside as a baby blanket. One night Daniel had watched as she ran down their list of things to do, her forehead crinkled, trying to think of anything they might have forgotten.
"The baby's not due for a while yet," he said, trying to soothe her 'new mother concerns.'
"I know," she had answered. "But my mother had both me and my brother a month early."
It was soon after that insight that Daniel had set about preparing vines for the bassinet.
Sitting there now, the bassinet finally finished and set in its frame, Daniel looked around at the baby's room. Everything seemed ready, as though there should already be a baby there. A strange feeling of insecurity suddenly washed over him.
"Don't be silly," he told himself. "We still have two months, and I've delivered babies before."
'Yes,' his head answered. 'but she might have the baby early. And what if something happens? Complications during birth are not unheard of.'
What would he do if he lost Sam and the baby? What if he lost Sam, and had to raise the baby himself? How would he raise it? How would he feed a newborn? He had no cow to get milk from, no instant formula–
"Stop it!" he gritted, shaking his head. He took a deep breath and stood, getting himself back under control. As he made his way to the kitchen to make himself a cup of tea he forced his worries aside. "Everything will be alright."
That night, once supper was over and the kitchen cleaned up, they went to bed. Sam had been growing more and more tired, and often fell asleep the instant her head touched the pillow. Daniel lay behind her, gazing at her, the moonlight falling through the window and casting her in a pearlish glow. Gently he reached out and tucked a stray piece of hair behind her ear. In the dark his worries returned, and this time he could not silence them. Slipping his arm around her waist he held her belly, intent on going to sleep, when there was a soft brush against the palm of his hand. His eyes opened, and then he pressed ever so slightly, and there was an answering touch. Daniel's throat constricted and tears filled his eyes. Pressing his face into his wife's hair he began to shake.
Sam stirred, something pulling her from sleep, and she became aware of a warmth pressed against her back and wrapped around her belly, and she smiled, starting to drift off again. Then she frowned; he was shaking against her. Then she heard a soft ragged breath.
"Daniel?" she rolled over in his arms to her other side, and touched his face. "What's wrong?"
There was no answer for a while, his jaw working. Sam waited, and gently brushed his bangs from his face. Finally he took a deep breath. "I couldn't stand it if I lost you too."
Her eyebrows drew together in sweet concern. "Daniel, nothing is going to go wrong." she said softly.
"What if something does? There's no hospital here, Sam– and I'm no doctor."
"You're right." Sam agreed, setting her hand to rest on his shoulder. "There are no guarantees. But," her voice grew soft and reassuring. "let's not borrow trouble. There's also no guarantee that anything will go wrong." Before Daniel could respond she leaned close and kissed him. A moment later his arms were around her, and it was not till much later that they fell asleep.
"Well Daniel, this is it." Sam said, her voice fatalistic. "Oceans will dry up, the island will sink, but I will be pregnant forever. There is no way around it." She grunted heavily as she tried to reach for a weed that was just out of her reach.
Daniel nodded in sympathy, then reached over and removed the offending weed for her. Slowly Sam stood up, wincing, and she held the small of her back. "Oh, my back hurts today." she moaned. "I've been up for one hour and I'm already tired again."
Lips in his characteristic not-quite-pursed-but-almost fashion, Daniel regarded her thoughtfully. "Why don't I finish in the garden and you go lay down." he suggested gently.
Sam nodded and sniffed, suddenly blinking rapidly. "And I never cry," she said. "Now look at me! I never seem to stop." She walked heavily into the house, one hand on her back, the other holding up her stomach.
Daniel decided, as he watched her leave, that he would stay close to the house from now on. She was in her ninth month, after all. He felt relief at that fact; they had made it through the eighth month with no mishaps or worries, and her due date was in a few days. As near as he could tell, at least.
Later that afternoon, as Daniel turned the drying fish on the smoke-rack in the courtyard, Sam suddenly appeared in the kitchen doorway, one hand clutching her belly. Her teeth were clenched.
He looked up.
His eyes widened, and he pushed his glasses up. "Are you sure?"
Sam leaned forward, breathing hard, and didn't answer. When she was finally able to straighten again and breathe normally she looked hard at him. "Yeah. I'm sure."
Quickly going to the house Daniel went to their room, carrying with him a sheet of plastic tarp, which he laid across the bed. Then he encouraged Sam to keep walking, while he grabbed the medical kit and set that on one of the end tables. While Sam walked in circles around the kitchen table, pausing for contractions, he pulled out a canteen and began cutting fruit in half, squeezing the juice into the container. During one particularly hard contraction Sam grabbed his shoulder and the table and bent over, hissing through her teeth.
"Whoa, nellie." she gritted, and gasped for air. "I don't think I can keep walking."
"Okay." he gently took her arm, and gestured towards their bedroom door. "This way, madame."
Sam smiled at him, then slowly made her way to the bedroom where she prepared herself before climbing onto the bed. Daniel came in with the canteen, a small bowl of cold water, and one of his bandanas. Setting everything on the end table he dipped the cloth in the water and wiped her face, then offered her a sip of juice.
The contractions grew harder, and closer and closer together. After a particularly hard contraction Sam tipped her head back and shook it. "I will never think that mothers are wimps again." she announced. "That one hurt as much as getting shot!"
When Sam began to get exhausted, Daniel rubbed her back and gave her more juice. "You can do this, honey. You're doing great."
Sam started to puff. "I feel like I should push, is that good?"
He pushed her damp hair back off her forehead and smiled. "It's great. It means we're almost done."
Sam grinned. "Yes."
"I want you to lean into the contraction and push as hard as you can. Try to not hold your breath so hard that you put the pressure on your eyes. You want the pressure in your diaphragm and belly."
"What…" a contraction rippled across Sam's belly and she leaned into it and pushed. "Nnnnghhh."
It came to an end and she gasped for breath. "Okay, now I know what you mean, oh…" Another contraction claimed her.
"Okay, you're doing great. Now lean into the next one, work with your body, Sam. Don't be afraid to push."
Sam leaned into the following contractions for the next ten minutes.
"Okay, great, honey, I can see the crown of the baby's head. Not much longer. Now push, but slower." Daniel guided the baby out as Sam gave one last groaning push. He quickly tied off the cord and cut it. Then he cleaned the baby's airway and a thin, high wailing filled the air.
"Sam, it's a girl!"
Sam looked at her new baby and began to cry. "Oh, oh, Daniel." She reached for her. "Hello, sweetie. Look at you! It's okay, don't cry."
Sam held the baby while she and Daniel worked to finish the birth and clean up. Then Sam leaned back and began to try and nurse the baby. She and Daniel laughed with delight at the baby's small coos and complaints until she succeeded in nursing properly.
"Look at her fuzzy blond hair." Daniel wondered. "And her tiny little fingernails. They're perfect."
Just then the baby stopped drinking and turning her head, opened her eyes and looked at Daniel. She blinked and burped, then closed her eyes again.
"Her eyes are blue!" he exclaimed.
Sam shook her head in amusement. "Yeah, well, we both have blue eyes."
Daniel looked at Sam in consternation. "We never picked a name. What do we call her?"
Sam smiled softly. "Share."
Daniel's eyes misted and he swallowed. "Share. Are you sure about that?"
Sam looked at him and nodded. "I've thought about it for months."
Daniel looked down at his firstborn. "Share." His voice caught and he gently touched Share's head, cupping it in his hand.
He looked up at Sam. "I am so proud of you." he whispered. "Thank you, Sam." he leaned forward and kissed her forhead, then both of her cheeks, and finally her mouth. Then he leaned back and pulled the blanket up around her and Share. "Why don't you rest now. I'll come back and check on you both in a while. Do you need any pain killer or anything?"
Sam smiled at him, the father of her precious daughter. "I'd like a drink, and yes, definitely some pain killers. I'm hurting in places I didn't know I had."
For the next three days Sam spent most of her time in bed, resting. Daniel watched over her and Share, checking in at regular intervals and reveling in taking care of his daughter. Several times Sam would watch as he changed Share's diaper, talking quietly to her in such a way that made Sam laugh. As Daniel told Share, the diapers weren't perfect, but they were better than spending two years in a bathtub.
At the end of the week Daniel set up the malp, and then he and Sam sat before it with their little girl in Sam's lap. "Hello," Daniel greeted the camera. "Today is October fifth, two thousand seven. It's been eleven months since our wedding, and about a year and a half since we arrived here on Kaina." He paused, then chuckled. "Oh, yeah, Jack, that seems to be the name of this place according to some records we found." He looked down and then put his arm around Sam. "We would like to introduce the newest addition to our family: Share Samantha Jackson. She was born October first."
During the next few weeks Sam was delighted to find she could move easily again, and she said hello to her feet for the first time in months. Once they had gotten used to their new schedule with the baby Sam returned to her work on the mining tools. Finally she came to Daniel triumphantly, carrying the tools, now powered with crystals, with her. The very next day Daniel returned to the mine and began to work. Sam turned her attention to her neglected garden; Daniel had been hunting and fishing and drying meat the last several weeks, and the weeds had begun to take over. Using her old air force jacket Sam made a sling that wrapped around her back and shoulders, and using this she was able to carry Share quite easily as she went about her work. Every two hours she would take a break and nurse the little girl. Some women back at Stargate Command had complained about nursing, how it was a drag and a chore and took all their time, but Sam found it restful and enjoyed it. It wouldn't last forever; Share was already growing at an alarming rate. If this kept up Sam was going to have to think about making some new tunics already.
Before Sam and Daniel knew it five months had passed. Share was rolling over and smiling at them, often cooing and sometimes chuckling when Daniel played with her in the evening. He constantly spoke different languages with her; since Sam spoke English all the time he felt no need to. Sam listened to him and shook her head; by the time Share began talking she would know at least four different languages.
One day Sam packed up a lunch, put Share in her sling, and headed for the mine. "We're going to have lunch with Daddy today." she said, her little girl looking up at her with large blue eyes, one finger in her mouth. She had the longest eyelashes Sam had ever seen. As they neared the mine there was suddenly a heavy rumble, and an enormous cloud of dust blew from the mine opening. Swinging Share and the picnic lunch to the ground Sam ran forward, her heart in her throat. "DANIEL!"
A figure stumbled out of the cloud, coughing and shaking its head. Sam threw herself at him, arms around his neck. "Oh thank goodness! Daniel, you're okay!"
He gave an explosive sneeze, and removed his glasses, putting one arm around her. "Yeah," he rasped. "I'm okay." He sneezed again, then pulled back to look at her face. His eyes, incredibly blue amidst the brown dirt and dust, were sparkling. "I found it. A whole vein of crystals. They were in the ceiling the whole time! We're going to need to put supports in so it doesn't collapse again…"
Sam shook her head, her pulse only just returning to normal. Only Daniel could almost die in a cave-in and be excited. Suddenly there was questioning babble behind them, and they turned. Share lay on the ground, sling wrapped around her, arms and legs kicking and waving, further entangling themselves. Hurrying over Sam picked her up and rescued her from the swing. Daniel followed, shaking dirt from his hair and wiping his face and glasses. Setting Share on her hip Sam glanced at him. "I think you need a shower before we eat." she said. "Or at least a dip in the lagoon."
When Daniel emerged from the shower much later Sam had lunch spread out in the courtyard, in the shade of the wall. Share was tucked in her bassinet, asleep. Daniel laid his clothes out to dry on the line, then made his way over to the picnic. Sam eyed him appreciatively.
"You should dress like that more often." she said.
Daniel smiled, sleeking his wet hair back into a ponytail. It was almost shoulder-length by now, just a little shorter than Sam's. The small box of office supplies– pencils, erasers, a stapler, etc.– had come in handy with its rubber bands.
He sat down next to her, and Sam watched him, admiring the flat planes of his stomach. Picking up a mango-fruit he began to peel and eat it. Sam picked up her own fruit and cut it into bites. Daniel watched her eat, the blue of his eyes deepening. Popping one bite into her mouth a trickle of juice made its way down her chin. Leaning forward Daniel gently swept it away with his thumb, and Sam looked up as his lips touched hers. The rest of the picnic lunch lay forgotten.
For the next month Daniel worked in the mine, creating a collection of large crystals. Once he had enough Sam came down to look at them and help him sort through and find one that might work. Once they had made their selection they set about making a harness and pulley system to lift Sam up so she could replace the crystal. After several trials and errors they finally had one that worked. The night before they were going to attempt the repair job Sam and Daniel could hardly sleep.
The next day went smoothly. Sam hung in the harness at the top of the Stargate with Daniel on the ground, working the ropes and pulley system. As she removed the damaged crystal and replaced it with the new one she noticed that it was not as big as the original. 'I hope this works.' she thought to herself. "Okay!" she called. "It's in! Let me down!"
That afternoon was spent packing and setting everything out by the Stargate. After supper Sam and Daniel once again turned on the Malp. Share sat next to them, chewing on a wooden rattle.
"General Hammond, Colonel, Teal'c," Sam said. "We're recording this message in case our repairs on the Stargate malfunction. After Colonel O'Neil and Teal'c left we were attacked by a Goa'uld mothership belonging to Hathor, and one of the crystals on the Stargate was damaged. We managed to escape, and Hathor now believes us to be dead and has not returned. Since then we've been working a crystal mine the colonel and Teal'c found. The deposit is rich, but it has been difficult finding crystals big enough to power the Stargate. We did find one, but we're still not sure if it will work. We have also discovered large deposits of a new ore– a transparent metal unique to this world. When paired with the crystals it creates a long-lasting power source and storage. The power systems in this city are over seven hundred years old and they are still functioning as good as new.
Share is now seven months old and, as you can see, sitting up. We are all in good health, and hope to see you soon."
The message recorded, Daniel and Sam took the Malp out to the Stargate, and set it so that it would send their three recordings as soon as they connected with the SGC.
Laying in bed that night Daniel held Sam. "You know," she said quietly. "As much as I want to go home, it's going to be really hard to leave."
"I know." he whispered. "I'm going to miss this place." he kissed her ear. "I'm glad we've had this time alone together."
She looked up at him, her eyes large and bright. "The best part of all of this," she said. "Is you and Share."
They woke up early the next morning and walked through their empty rooms. When they reached the courtyard Sam walked to the fountain and her flowering vine and sniffed the small white flowers one last time. When she finally came back to Daniel her eyes were moist. He took her hand and squeezed gently. Returning to their room Daniel picked a sleepy Share up, and they headed for the Stargate.
Sam turned on the Malp while Daniel went to the DHD and started to dial in Earth's address. The Stargate roaring to life was almost foreign, yet at the same time it was wonderfully familiar. Sam stood by the Malp, and the moment the Stargate flared to life, its blue surface shimmering, Sam hit the button to send the message. Daniel came and stood next to her. They waited tensely, waiting for some sort of response to indicate that the Iris had been opened and it was safe to continue. Suddenly a voice came over the Malp speakers.
"This is General Hammond. Major Carter? Doctor Jackson? Please report your status."
Laughing in relief they quickly knelt down in front of the camera. "We're here, sir." Daniel said, grinning. "We're coming home!"
"It's good to see you both." the general's voice was warm. Suddenly there was Jack's voice.
"It's about time! What took you guys so long?"
"It's a long story."
"Well hurry up!"
Quickly Sam and Daniel grabbed their packs. Sam picked up Share and Daniel grabbed the bassinet which held the baby clothes, a few crystals, some of the clear tubes, the black box, and some of the tools powered by crystals. Then they headed for the steps. Suddenly the top of the Stargate began to spark.
"Hurry!" Daniel yelled. They ran for the shimmering wall. Just as they were about to reach it there was a final shower of sparks, and the connection broke. For a moment they stood in shock, staring at where the event horizon used to be.
"NO!!!" Setting the bassinet to the side Daniel strode back and looked up at the silent gate. "NO!!!" Throwing his pack as hard as he could he began to pace back and forth like a caged animal. "I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!!" He began grabbing rocks and broken pieces of stone and hurling them at the top of the Stargate, bellowing in some other language. Sam collapsed on the steps, hugging Share to her, and began to rock back and forth, sobbing.
Eventually, emotions spent, Daniel slowly walked up the steps and sat down next to Sam, who was now crying quietly. He put his arms around her and Share and held her tight, pressing his face to her hair. "Shh." he whispered. "Don't give up. I'll keep mining– there are still plenty of large crystals down there I haven't dug out. And now they know we're alive and they're expecting us." He wiped her face. "Don't give up."
Swallowing, Sam closed her eyes and nodded.
The next few days were silent and solemn. Daniel returned to the mine with purpose, and Sam continued her daily chores and caring for Share. With the old crystal they had taken out to use for comparison, they now knew what size they needed to find, and this gave them hope.
A couple weeks later Sam stared down in dismay at her pants, which she had been been trying– unsuccessfully– to zip and button. She thought back to several weeks ago when she had felt ill in the morning, but it had only lasted two or three days so she had thought she was sick or overstressed.
Almost nine-month old Share crawled into the room, blond hair in little pigtails. "Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma…"
Sam smiled at her. "Hi, pretty girl." Then she looked back down at her belly and frowned, sighing in bewilderment. "Now what? Not that I don't want another baby," she told Share. "But couldn't this have waited until a more convenient time?"
Share looked up at her mom, her little teeth shining in her cheesy grin. Chuckling, Sam picked her up, bouncing her in the air and eliciting several high-pitched giggles. Settling Share on her hip Sam looked at her, acceptance in her eyes. "You're going to be a big sister." she said. "Why don't we go figure out how to tell Daddy?"
Taking the zat gun down to the lagoon Sam stood at the water's edge, aimed, and shot. When only small fish rose to the top Sam moved down the beach. It was handy, she thought, being able to stun them and choose which ones you wanted. Selecting a new spot she shot the water again. Several small fish floated to the top, then one long, fat one. Hooking her zat to the bag she had brought she scooped the fish up and carried it onto the beach. Share sat in the sand and clapped, mouth open wide.
"Yay!" Sam smiled at her. "Did Mommy get the big fish? Big fish!" she bent down and showed it to Share, who giggled and slapped the scales, exclaiming "Ay! Ay! A-ma-ma!"
"That's right!" Sam swung the little girl onto her hip, slipping the fish into the bag. "Yay!" Making her way up the beach and back to their home she went into the kitchen, set Share down, gave her some flatbread to chew on, and then slung the bag onto the kitchen table. After preparing the fish she cleanly cut it into two filets. Cutting up several different kinds of fruit she mixed that with some mashed grain and some spicy herbs, spreading it ontop of one of the filets and then covering it with the second, creating a sort of fish sandwich. This she covered in more herbs, and wrapped the whole things in leaves. She went out to the courtyard, placed it on the grill rack over the fire, and then returned to the kitchen. Share was gleefully pulling pans from the bottom shelf and banging on them. Saving her cookware Sam picked up the little girl who squeeled, and took her into her room, where Daniel had erected a makeshift playpen. Sitting down Sam nursed Share, who was rubbing her eyes. When she had fallen asleep Sam laid her down in her playpen with her blanket, and returned to the kitchen.
"What else to make?" she wondered out loud. Gazing at her supplies she pulled out some vegetables and cut them up. Using the largest pan Share had been drumming on she sauteed the vegetables. She glanced at how much flatbread she had left, and was pleased to see she had enough for supper. Setting dishes out on the table she then sat down to nervously await the arrival of her husband.
Thirty minutes later Sam peeked under one of the leaves at the fish, and was pleased to see that it was almost done. The aroma was mouthwatering. As she dropped the leaf back into place she heard Daniel behind her.
"That smells wonderful." he said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. "What is it?"
"Can't tell you." Sam grinned, kissing him back. "I just– caught it floating by. And thoroughly impressed Share doing so."
"Oh really?" he glanced back towards the house. "She still asleep?"
"Yes. She's in her playpen. Thank you so much for making that, by the way. Now that she can crawl she's been getting into everything– I've even had to rescue her from getting too close to the fire a few times."
"She is a handful."
"Yeah– she reminds me of someone." Sam glanced sideways at him.
He looked at her with large, innocent eyes. "I don't know what you're talking about." he said, heading back inside. "Just going to wash my hands!" he called over his shoulder.
Sam grabbed her cutting board, and using a large fork, she carefully pulled the leaf-wrapped fish onto it and carried it into the kitchen. Daniel returned and they sat down. Taking a bite of the fish he set his fork down. "This is really good." he said. "No one would guess that a year and a half ago you could barely heat up instant mac-and-cheese."
Sam shook her fork at him. "Listen, buster, I'm an astrophysicist, not Emeril."
"Really?" he took another bite and thought for a moment. "Could've fooled me."
Her cheeks went pink.
By the time they finished eating Share had woken up. Daniel got up to take care of her while Sam put away the few leftovers and cleaned the dishes. When Daniel walked back into the room Share was happily pulling his hair into his face. Then she would grab it with both hands, pull it back, and shriek wildly.
Sam laughed as she watched them. Once the game had died down a bit she got Daniel's attention. "Let's go for a walk." she suggested, wrapping up some flatbread and a little fruit for Share.
Wandering along the beach they found a spot of nice soft sand and set Share down with her food. Then Sam and Daniel headed down to the water, holding hands, and they waded a little bit. "So how did your day go?" Sam asked, kicking the water a little.
"Well, I've found a crystal that's big enough." he said. "But it's so big that I have to build ceiling supports around it to keep everything from caving in. So I'll be busy with that for a while."
"Yes; please make sure the ceiling is well-supported." Sam said. "I don't want to dig you out only to discover you've ascended yet again. What would the three of us do without you?"
Daniel frowned a moment, counting. "Don't you mean two?"
Sam studied the water as she splashed it a little with her toes. Daniel's eyes grew big behind his glasses.
Sam shook her head. "Nope."
He ran his hand through his long hair. "Wow. So soon?"
She looked up, her eyes big and a little nervous. "Actually– I'm about four months. It happened– right around the time we started feeding Share regular food during the day and I stopped nursing so much."
"Well! Now we know."
Sam looked away, staring at the water. Her toes splashed at the water a little harder and she sniffed, trying to hold her emotions in check. Daniel frowned and leaned down, trying to see her face.
"What is it?"
Sam turned her back to him, and sniffed again, crossing her arms tightly. Share sat in the sand, happily pouring sand ontop of her head.
"Sam? Did I say something wrong?"
Swallowing hard, Sam found her voice. "I'm– fine."
Warm hands took her shoulders and turned her around. "No you're not." Daniel said gently. "Now what is it?"
Her eyes welled with tears. "I just– I know it's close together– but I didn't plan this!" She sniffed again, tears rolling down her face, her nose beginning to run. "I just hoped you'd be happy about it!"
Distress filled Daniel's blue eyes. "Oh, Sam!" he said. "Sam, I didn't mean– Of course I'm happy!"
Sam nodded, then waved her hand to fan her face. "You're not– just saying that, are you?"
"No!" Daniel put his arms around her and hugged her, kissing her hair. "You're an incredible mom, and you're beautiful when you're pregnant! And of course I'm excited about having another baby! I just don't want this to be too hard on you." he looked into her eyes. "You know, with it being so soon after– I want you to be okay."
She nodded again, sniffing, and buried her face into his chest. He wrapped his arms around her and held her while Share continued to pour sand in her hair.
For the next week Daniel worked on the ceiling supports in the mine. Then he began the painstaking job of removing the large crystal from the ceiling without cracking it or dropping it. Finally, after a full day of back-breaking work, he caught it as it fell free, grunting from the weight. Taking it outside he set it on the ground and brushed some dirt from it. Then he grabbed the burnt out crystal and set it beside the new one. The sight made him slump to the ground in defeat. While being the same width the new one was at least twice as long. There was no way it would fit.
That night he and Sam discussed what to do. They did not have a tool that would cut the large crystal without damaging it, so Sam took what tools they had and set about trying to modify them. Each time she felt she might have succeeded she tested it on a smaller crystal, and every time the crystal would crack or shatter. So the large crystal remained in their storeroom, untouched. Daniel, meanwhile, continued in the mine, modifying supports and digging further in the attempt to find another large crystal.
One day Daniel arrived home for lunch, moving stiffly. Frowning in sympathy Sam set some food out for him, then had him sit down and take off his shirt. While he ate she began to massage his shoulders, and pretty soon he closed his eyes and stopped eating.
"Ah– that hurts so good." he said.
Sam smiled. "You're muscles are loosening; I can feel them." Her belly bumped the back of the chair, and she paused, then straightened up and pressed her hands to her lower back. "Oh man," she said, stretching. "I don't remember being this big with Share."
Daniel just grunted.
That night, after Share was asleep, Daniel and Sam cuddled in bed. She had pulled her shirt above her belly and Daniel had laid his cheek against one side, his hand cradling the other. Suddenly he felt movement under his cheek and his hand.
Sam looked down when Daniel jumped, lifting his head. "What is it?" she said.
Daniel did not answer, just pressed his cheek to her belly again, and once again felt movement on both sides. "Um, honey–" he said. "You're only five months right now, right? You shouldn't be feeling the baby on both sides yet– it's not big enough–" He felt her freeze.
"So why am I feeling the baby move on both sides of your belly?"
There was a pause. "You don't think– it's twins, do you?"
Daniel looked up at her and nodded. "Unless we've got the dates totally wrong… It would explain why you're so much bigger than last time."
Her eyes grew wide. He could see a million thoughts race through her mind. "Oh my." she said. "I think we're going to need another bassinet."
'And diapers.' Daniel thought. Moving up he held her in his arms. They fell asleep soon after, a small smile on Sam's face.
The next day, about mid-morning, Sam suddenly heard a heavy rumbling outside. It was the sound of a large engine.
He came running from the courtyard. Sam had already grabbed Share.
"Where do we go?"
He took her arm. "They'll know someone lived here– they'll look in the jungles. Our best bet is the tunnels."
"Do you think it's Hathor?"
His face was grim. "I don't know. Let's not stick around and find out."
Running for the closest tunnel entrance Sam suddenly stopped. Daniel pulled on her arm, but she shook her head. "Daniel, that's not Goa'uld– that's an Asgard ship."
Stopping Daniel looked up at where she was pointing. "You're right."
Hiding near the tunnel entrance they watched as the ship landed down on the beach. Holding their breath they waited. Suddenly there was a loud shout.
"Daniel? Carter? Anybody home?"
"That's Jack!" Daniel exclaimed. Together he and Sam ran for the beach, Share clutched in Sam's arms. As they neared the beach they saw Jack and Teal'c making their way from the ship, followed closely by Jonas Quinn and another soldier they did not recognize. When their teammates saw them they began to run, and Daniel and Sam soon found themselves engulfed in a huge bear hug by Jack. Teal'c smiled– an uncommon display of emotion– and laid a hand on Daniel's shoulder. He returned Sam's hug, and gently touched the soft blond hair of Share.
"She is indeed beautiful." he said in his deep, rich voice.
Daniel laughed as Jack crushed him again. "It's about time you showed up!"
Jack cracked a lopsided grin. "Spacemonkey! I knew there'd be trouble if we left you here too long!" He eyed Daniel, then turned and looked at Sam holding Share' over the top of her rounded belly. His eyebrows went up, and his mouth pursed. "I just didn't know what kind of trouble. Usually you just get fatally wounded or possessed by some alien thing."
Sam grinned and laughed. "We'll have to pack our stuff, sir. If you could give us 24 hours?"
"I've waited a few years, I can wait one more day. Go pack, kids."
"I shall assist you with your equipment, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c followed Daniel and Sam, with Jack close behind, back toward the buildings.