Summary: Sam/Daniel. SG-1 gets into trouble off-world, and it's up to Sam to save the day.
Spoilers: Children of the Gods, Emancipation (big ones), Singularity, In the Line of Duty, Holiday, Forever in a Day, Divide and Conquer
Author's notes: Italics indicates thoughts or flashbacks, bold indicates emphasis
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate or anything related to it.
Feedback: Always welcome.

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The Day of the Mission

Stepping through the wormhole onto an alien planet, SG-1 surveyed the forested land around the Stargate.

"Well, what do you know? Trees!" grumbled Colonel Jack O'Neill. "Okay kids, you two go check out those ruins you're so excited about and Teal'c and I will scout the surrounding territory. We'll meet back at the 'gate at 1800 hours."

Major Sam Carter and Daniel Jackson headed for the nearby ruins. "How much do you want to bet that Jack is on his way to that stream the UAV recorded to see what kind of fishing spots this planet has?" asked Daniel jokingly.

Sam laughed. "No way am I taking that bet." Her commanding officer had a great love for fishing. To him, actual fish weren't even a necessary part of the equation.

The two scientists continued their cheerful chatter until they reached the clearing in the forest where the ruins were, and they quickly got to work. Daniel headed directly to a pillar that had fallen to the ground, examining the writings on it, as Sam took out her equipment to begin sampling soils.

When she finished, Sam went to help Daniel take video and photos of the site. They were packing up all of their samples and equipment, getting ready to head back to the Stargate when Sam heard a noise from the forest around them. She picked up her P-90 and scanned the trees.

"Sam?" Daniel said softly.

"I heard something."

He looked around but saw nothing out of the ordinary. "Maybe it was just an animal."

"Maybe," Sam murmured, still alertly searching for the source of the sound.

A spear whizzed through the air and landed in the ground two feet from where they stood. Sam pointed her weapon in the direction from which it had been thrown.

A woman dressed in warrior's garb stepped from the trees. Sam trained her P-90 on the newcomer. Suddenly, a dozen armed women stepped into the clearing, quickly surrounding Sam and Daniel's position.

"Damn it," Sam muttered under her breath as she reluctantly lowered her gun. "Okay, no problem here," she said to the women as she lifted her hands away from her body in a gesture of surrender.

Daniel copied her gesture and took the diplomatic lead as the women continued moving closer to them. "We are travellers from far away. We have come to learn about your culture—" His words are cut off when one of the women shoved a spear toward him, stopping just inches from his face.

"Okay," he laughed nervously. "We uh, we mean you no harm."

The woman spun her spear around and struck Daniel in the face with its blunt end. He wobbled slightly and then fell when a second woman kicked his knees from behind. Daniel landed face down on the ground with a soft thud.

Sam raised her weapon again and shouted at the women to back off. In response, they shouted back at her in a language that seemed vaguely familiar to her.

Daniel tried to get up but stopped when he felt a spear press into his back. Sam watched anxiously as he spoke in the same language. The reward for his efforts was to have more women direct their spears to his back.

Sam's mind was racing, that language was familiar. French! None of the women were threatening her; all of their weapons were trained on Daniel. Strange, Sam thought, He hasn't even drawn his weapon. I'm the one who's armed and they're pretty well ignoring me.

Sam struggled to remember her high school French. "Stop!" she commanded in the language.

The women looked up at her, finally listening.

"Let him go," Sam continued in their language, gesturing them to move aside with her gun.

Slowly, the women stepped away from Daniel, although they kept their weapons trained in his direction. Sam knelt and helped him up, never taking her eyes of the women surrounding them. No men, Sam observed silently.

"Is this man yours?" one of the women asked her, stepping forward to stand directly in front of Sam.

Sam felt her entire body go tense. Not long after her first trip through the gate, her team had been asked as similar question regarding who owned her. That mission had been a complete disaster. She had never told her team mates everything that had happened after she had been kidnapped and sold to a neighbouring tribe, but she sooner die than let anything like that happen to Daniel.

"Yes, he belongs to me," she answered quickly. Out of the corner of her eye, Sam saw Daniel glance at her in surprise, but she ignored him, concentrating on the woman in front of her.

The woman looked at Daniel suspiciously. "He does not wear the required collar."

Sam resisted the urge to look at Daniel for guidance. "We are from a far away land and our customs are not exactly the same as yours. In our land, it is enough for a woman to claim a man in words." She hesitated, her mind racing. "A woman's man is faithful and devoted to her, even without the collar."

At her words, the women surrounding them finally seemed to relax, and they lowered their weapons. Sam breathed a sigh of relief and finally turned to look at Daniel. She touched his jaw lightly, turning his face to a better angle so she could see the wound on his temple. It was bleeding.

Sam frowned. "I'll need to look after that." She started to pull her med kit out of her pack.

Daniel glanced around and saw the women staring at them. "Not right now, Sam," he murmured without moving his lips.

She surveyed the group still surrounding them and realised that they were still the centre of attention. Sam glanced at Daniel briefly, wishing he could help, but it was obvious that these women didn't want to hear him speak. This cultural stuff is so not my thing, she thought. Deciding that a firm leadership role in this situation might help them get out of here, she turned back to the woman who had spoken to her before.

"I need to tend to my man. Your unprovoked attack has caused both injury and insult."

Sam practically held her breath waiting for their reaction to her bold words and was relieved when the women immediately moved aside and asked for her to follow them to their village.

After a three-hour walk down a forest path, Sam and Daniel found themselves in a large village of mud and stick huts. They were shown to one of the huts and ushered inside alone. Sam let the fabric covering the doorway fall back into place before sliding her pack off her back. The hut was empty except for a large, low bed in one corner. She motioned for Daniel to sit on the bed.

As Sam retrieved the med kit from her pack, Daniel tried to get Colonel O'Neill and Teal'c on the radio. There was no response. Sam looked at Daniel and frowned as she knelt in front of him to examine his wound.

"Maybe they're just out of range," Daniel tried to reassure her.

"I just hope they haven't come across any of the locals." With a hand on his chin, Sam gently tilted his head again so that she could better see his injury. She took out the supplies she needed from her med kit and started to clean the dried blood from his face.

As she tended his wound, Daniel asked teasingly, "So, ah, exactly how long have I been your property?"

Sam gave him an apologetic smile. "Sorry about that. My mind flashed on the Shavadai and what had happened to me after I was...sold." She shook her head. "I couldn't let that happen to you."

"You never talk about what took place between the time you were taken and when we finally found you."

"Well, it wasn't exactly something they'd put on the travel brochure."

Daniel studied her face as she applied disinfectant to his temple. Feeling his eyes on hers, she glanced at him and sighed. "Let's just say I'm glad they had that anaesthetic plant. It worked wonders."

He looked horrified and caught her hands, stopping her first aid efforts. "What did they do to you?"

Sam shrugged. "I tried to escape, but they caught me. Turghan was going to punish one of the other women for my behaviour. I couldn't let him do that, so I...convinced him to leave her alone and punish me instead."

Daniel waited for her to elaborate, but it soon became obvious that was all she was going to say about it. "I'm so sorry, Sam. If I hadn't insisted that you play anthropologist – dressing and living like the Shavadai people – you never would have had to go through any of that." Guilt filled his eyes, and he hung his head.

"Daniel, it wasn't your fault. It wasn't anyone's fault." She turned her attention back to finishing dressing his wound. "We just didn't know any better then." Sam glanced at him and winked. "Now we do. And I absolutely refuse to allow anything like that to happen to any of you guys."

Finally finished, Sam examined her medical handiwork and sat back on her heels, satisfied.

"We've missed our rendezvous time," she said, effectively changing the subject. "We need to get back to the gate to report the situation to General Hammond."

Sam glanced back at the door of their hut. "They didn't take our weapons or packs. Maybe that means we're not prisoners. Think they'll just let us leave?"

"I don't know, but you've done a great job handling them so far. I'm impressed."

She shook her head. "This is so not my thing." She sighed in frustration, verbalizing her thoughts from earlier. "Imagine what would have happened if their language wasn't so close to French! They could have killed you."

"Sam, don't torture yourself with the 'what ifs'. What really matters is that you're doing extremely well. All we have to do is find Jack and Teal'c, get to the gate and have them assemble an SG team of women to send back here. No problem." He grinned at her.

"Oh, is that all." Sam rolled her eyes. "You've been taking lessons on strategy from Colonel O'Neill, haven't you?"

Standing, she moved to the door. Sam pulled aside the fabric and moved to step outside when two strong women placed hands on her shoulders, pushing her back inside. She stumbled backwards.

"You and your man are to remain here until Spirall arrives tomorrow," said one of the women.

"Who is Spirall?" Sam asked.

"She is the leader of our tribe, our greatest warrior. She must meet with all newcomers before you are permitted to leave this hut."

Sam studied the women in front of her. "Two other men dressed in similar clothing as mine and this man's," she gestured to Daniel, "were with me. Have any members of your tribe come across them?"

"Our warriors have captured two other men without collars. They have been confined for their crimes and will remain so until Spirall decides their fate."

Sam felt a stab of fear. "What crimes?"

"They attacked us and dared to speak without permission."

"What is the punishment for these crimes?"

"Their crimes are habitually punishable by death. Spirall will decide their fate."

Sam paled. "I wish to see these men immediately."

"You are not permitted to leave this hut until you have met with Spirall."

Sam glanced back at Daniel. "The men you have confined belong to me. I demand that they be brought here."

"Until Spirall has deemed you worthy, you will not make any further demands of us." With those final words, the women turned and abruptly left the hut. Sam knew they were still standing guard outside the door.

Sam tried the radio again, but there was still no response from the rest of the team. She sighed in frustration, feeling defeated.

Daniel moved to her side and placed his hands supportively on her shoulders. "It's okay, Sam. It sounds like nothing is going to happen to anyone until this Spirall shows up. You'll just have to make your case to her tomorrow."

She hung her head. "I'm not good at this cultural stuff, Daniel. This is your thing."

"You're doing extraordinarily well, Sam. I couldn't do better."

She laughed softly. "My French is awkward. I feel like I'm struggling for every word."

"Well, I can help with that."

They sat down on the floor of the hut and practiced the language. After a few hours, a woman came in with a tray carrying food, three pale yellow stones about the size of softballs and two small pebbles, one black and one white. Sam thanked the woman, who left without a word.

"She was chatty," Sam muttered as she picked up the tray. "What do you think these are?" She looked at the stones.

Daniel picked up two of the stones and turned them over in his hands. "There are no inscriptions or anything."

He put one of the yellow stones down and picked up the white pebble. He ran his thumb over a small indentation on the yellow stone and examined the white pebble.

"Hmm..." He placed the pebble into the indentation.

The yellow stone started to glow with a soft light.

"It's beautiful," said Sam softly. She picked up one of the other yellow stones to examine it.

Daniel removed the white pebble from the glowing stone, and the stone remained lit. Placing the white pebble back into the indentation had no further effect. He picked up the black pebble and set it into the indentation. The glowing immediately stopped.

"This is amazing," said Sam. "There's no evidence of any circuitry. It must be some kind of chemical reaction within the stones and the pebbles are catalysts to start and stop the process."

"Well, I guess we have a few night-lights." Daniel grinned.

As they ate their supper, they talked about matriarchal societies. Daniel explained some possible scenarios that Sam might expect, and the best procedure for negotiating the release of Jack and Teal'c. He thought that the strategy she had adopted was a good one; a show of strength in this society was a good thing. All in all, his preparation was really helping her relax. By the end of the night, she was feeling much more comfortable both with the possible customs of these people and with her French.

Darkness fell quickly, and they lit all three yellow stones. A pleasant yellow light filled their hut. After a bit more conversation, they both started getting tired. Sam shivered in the cool air and yawned. The days on this planet were really comfortable, but it was obvious the nights were quite chilly. Daniel grabbed his pack and set it on the dirt floor, lying down next to it to rest his head on the pack.

Sam watched him and shook her head. "Daniel, it's cold. You don't have to sleep on the ground." He sneezed and she laughed. "Come on. With your allergies, you won't get any sleep in the dust, and you'll keep me awake with your sneezing too."

She patted the large bed with a smile. "We've shared sleeping quarters countless times." Granted, it was only when the whole team was present, she added silently.

Daniel looked at her warily.

"We both need to be rested for when this Spirall comes tomorrow." Sam gave him a pointed look.

He finally nodded in agreement and turned off all of the light-stones. They lay down on the low bed together, keeping a professional distance between each other. Daniel turned his head to look at Sam. "Good night, Sam."

She turned her head and smiled at him. "Night, Daniel."

To be continued...
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