Chapter Seven

Daniel woke gently without opening his eyes. Which was odd because there hadn't been a morning since Sha're was taken that he hadn't woken with a heart racing start. He didn't worry about that right now, he wasn't worrying about anything. He couldn't remember a time in his life that he'd been so comfortable.

He snuggled deeper into the feather bed like a child that had suddenly realized that it was Saturday and that they didn't have to get up and go to school. The soft comforter he found himself under was so delightfully warm. Completly at peace for the first time in years he started to drift in and out of sleep. Half dreaming he instinctively reached out and pulled the person sleeping next to him closer.

"What the Hell?!" Jack exclaimed.

"Sorry about that." Daniel apologized as he released Jack.

"Daniel, what did I say before about staying five feet from me at all times?" Jack growled dangerously.

"Relax, Jack, you know I'm not gay."

"Right now I wouldn't care if you were the very essence of heterosexuality, back off or I will kill you."

"What's going on?" Sam asked sleepily.

"Jack's freaking out because we woke up in the same bed."

Sam stretched out like a cat in the sunshine after a nap. Laying on the other side of Daniel she propped herself up on one elbow and surveyed their current situation. She chuckled at the sight of Jack fighting with the sea of blankets trying to get away from Daniel.

"I'm a little concerned about it myself." Sam admitted. "But mostly because the last thing I remember was steping through the Gate."

"Same here." Daniel added. "So how did we get here?"

"I brought you here." An unfamiliar female voice said gently.

All three sat bolt up right and looked around their new surroundings. The small room looked like it was on the inside of a hollowed out tree. Light blue orbs suspended on the wall gave off a soft natural light. Teal'c stood by the archway entrance as though he was on guard outside Buckingham Palace.

"Teal'c?" They asked in unison.

"I meant no harm by it." The voice apologized.

"Teal'c, buddy," Jack said hesitantly "I had no idea you had such a feminine side."

"I don't think that's Teal'c, Sir

"It looks like him."

"She meant the voice, Jack." Daniel corrected for Sam. "Hello? Is there someone else there."

"Hello." The voice echoed. "There are many hundreds of us here."

"Oh joy...as if it wasn't crowed enough in my skull already." Jack sighed.

"Where are you?" Daniel asked.

Teal'c suddenly turned away from them to block the archway. After a moment he gave a shallow bow and allowed the High Priestess to enter the small room. Jack finally managed to win against the covers and got to his feet. With some reluctance Sam and Daniel crawled out of the bed on the other side.

"Teal'c?" Jack asked.

Teal'c acknowledged Jack with a smile and a slight nod of his head.

"He can no longer hear you." The Priestess said.

"Why not?" Jack demanded.

"We had to break our connection with him, there is a very vile mind with in him that we were fearful of."

"Teal'c won't hurt you." Daniel said quickly.

"We know." She chuckled. "We can see that it is the creature in his belly that holds such hate, but that it does not poison his heart."

"My name's Daniel, this is Samantha, Jack, and of course Teal'c." Daniel did his usual rounds of introduction.

"It is a pleasure to be able to finally speak with you all, my name is Llandra. I would introduce you to the others, but there are so many of them."

"That's okay." Daniel chuckled.

"Why did you do this to us?" Jack snarled.

"Because it is what we thought you wanted."

"What?!"

"Jack, please, calm down." Daniel pleaded. "Give her a chance to explain, clearly they don't mean any harm."

"Thank you, Daniel." Llandra smiled. "You came here to learn from us...did you not?"

"We did." Daniel agreed.

"Well, we wanted to do the same. We were hesitant at first, it has been thousands of years since we've had strangers here. However, you appeared to be genuine and friendly. You had weapons with you, but it seemed that they were for self defense only."

"They are." Sam nodded.

"So we took a vote and decided that you were worth the risk."

"And this was the only way we could speak to one another." Daniel put the pieces together.

"Exactly."

"If you were so keen to learn from us, why did you let us leave before the whole Vulcan mind melding thing?" Jack asked.

"It was not our place to force you to stay."

"And it still isn't!" Jack snarled

"You are not captives."

"Yes, but we can't go home either." Sam pointed out. "Whatever you have done keeps us from understanding or talking to our friends."

"The necklaces you wear connect you to anyone wearing one, but unfortunately it does affect the mind in such a way that you can not understand those on the outside and your talent for words is lost. But the benefits of interconnection far out weigh the costs."

"I disagree with you one hundred percent." Jack snapped. "Take back your jewelry and let us go."

"If that is what you wish...although I get the feeling that it is not."

"Oh yes it is!" Jack exclaimed.

"You speak for all of your friends even though you are only one of them?" Llandra asked with a wry smile.

Jack looked over at Daniel and narrowed his eyes. Daniel smiled brightly in return. Jack rolled his eyes and sighed in frustration. Llandra chuckled quietly.

"Daniel...you can't seriously want to stay here."

"Just for a few days."

"You're insane."

"No," Llandra corrected "he's just curious...like us."

"Forget it!"

"Why?" Daniel asked.

"Because he doesn't trust us." Llandra answered for him.

"Damn straight I don't." Jack hissed.

"Well I do." Daniel said firmly. "If you listen quietly you can hear their intentions, Jack. They haven't harmed Teal'c, and they aren't going to hurt us. We came here to learn from them, it is pretentious of us not to share information in the other direction."

"Daniel has a point, Sir. This is an amazing opportunity."

"We are very interested in having allies." Llandra added.

"And isn't that the whole point of Gate travel?" Daniel asked. "We always say that we come in peace, but now that someone has shown us peace in returned we're afraid of them."

"Perhaps that's because we almost ended up spending the rest of our lives locked up in the local Asylum for Mimes."

"If you had not returned the necklaces would have run out of power and simply fallen off within a week."

"Why should we believe you?" Jack snarled.

"Because she can't lie." Daniel answered for her. "None of us can, not believably anyway. Jack, please, I want to stay for a little while."

"Fine!" Jack snapped. "But I want this necklace off now!"

Llandra nodded and the chain around Jack's neck broke. The tiny opal fell to the floor where it darkened. He looked over at Daniel and Sam, they smiled silent at him. Still suspicious he glared at Daniel, however, it was clear from the young archeologist's expression that he couldn't hear the derogatory comment that Jack was thinking.

"Are you unharmed?" Teal'c asked.

"I'm fine, T." Jack muttered, he turned his attention to Llandra. "Alright, let Carter go, you can keep Daniel...forever if you'd like."

"O'Neill?" Teal'c asked in alarm.

"It's alright, Teal'c. Danny-boy here wants to stay for a few days."

"For what purpose?"

"Cultural exchange."

Teal'c nodded in understanding. Jack took a step towards Sam. She glanced nervously at Daniel and then looked back at Jack with a shy smile. Jack cursed under his breath and rolled his eyes once more.

"You want to stay too...don't you?"

Sam's only reply was a musical giggle. Jack threw his hands up in the air in surrender. Sam seemed to understand that she has his approval, somewhat. She held up three fingers.

"Fine, but if you're not back in three days I'm coming back here fully armed with no intent of asking questions either before or after shooting."

Daniel and Sam looked silently at one another and then they both chuckled. Jack growled in frustration. Llandra added her laughter to the room. Jack glared at her as well for a moment. Jack took another step closer to Sam and Daniel.

"I just want to state for the record that I think you two are both nuttier than outhouse rats."

"O'Neill, I do not believe that they understand you."

"Oh they understand me...it's them I still don't get."