Title: Rules of Engagement
Rating: PG (some violence)
Spoilers: Season 10 midway
Prompt(s): cross-training; unexpected
Author's Notes: the first prompt led to the second prompt and that led to the longest fanfic I have ever written. :) There are more notes at the end, but I put them at the end to prevent any spoilers for the fic and/or creating pre-conceived notions about the characters, etc. I am a fan of sage_theory 's work, so this was really hard for me to write. I hope you enjoy it!
Meep! I forgot to thank my most excellent beta thekatebeyond! Thank you so much for helping me with this! I could never have finished it without you, love!
The secret rules of engagement are hard to endorse
When the appearance of conflict,
meet the appearance of force.
- Grace, Too by The Tragically Hip
Sam set down the small weight she held in her hand and took a long pull from her water bottle. Glancing up, she caught sight of Daniel on the treadmill and stopped to watch him as he took his light jog to a slow sprint.
He’s changed so much, she thought to herself. She marveled at the muscle tone in his arms, the way his back moved beneath his shirt. The man on that treadmill was so very different from the one she had met almost a decade ago. That man was a scientist, questioning and curious; that man was a husband, so in love with his wife he would search the universe for her.
This man was different. This Daniel was suddenly so foreign to her, and for a moment, she didn’t recognise him. This man was a soldier. No questions asked, only implied. This man was lonely, yet never alone.
"Daniel," she said. She let his name flicker across her tongue and rest again behind her teeth.
From the corner of his eyes, Daniel saw her mouth his name and he pulled the little ear buds from his ears. “Sorry, what was that, Sam?”
“Nothing. I was just thinking.”
Daniel smiled and nodded, the confusion evident on his face, yet he replaced the ear buds and returned to his running instead of inquiring any further. In a few minutes, they’d switch places and she’d be the one running, running from something.
Instead of focusing on this new revelation, she picked up another weight and continued her training.
The percussion from the blast hit his ears as he felt the heat and pressure on his back. The world was falling down around him and all he could think about was whether Sam made it through the gate in time.
Once the small debris had stopped raining down, he lifted his head to see Sam face down in the dirt a few feet in front of him as the event horizon dissipated.
Oh god, Sam.
Unable to process, unable to walk, Daniel crawled his way to Sam's prone body, so still at the base of the gate's pedestal. After checking to make sure she was still breathing, Daniel then dragged her body behind the DHD in hopes of offering them some protection from the blasts, and gently placed her head in his lap. This was how they were captured. Daniel, unable to leave behind his partner, allowed for them to both be taken. All that mattered was that she was safe in his arms. Alive for now.
"Dr. Jackson," came a hoarse whisper. Daniel raised his head to the barred window to see the young research doctor who had first alerted them to the arrival of the Prior. Sam had not yet woken, and Daniel was reluctant to leave her just yet, so he remained silent and continued to stroke Sam's hair.
"Dr. Jackson. It is I, Kimowan."
Daniel sighed, "What do you want, Kim?"
"I wanted to let you know all is not lost. Help is on its way. You and Dr. Carter will not be trapped here for much longer."
A flicker of hope. "You uncovered the gate?"
Kim hesitated. "No."
"Then all is lost, Kimowan. There is no hope to beat the Prior now. Without my team, without Sam ..." Daniel returned to gently stroking Sam's hair.
There was a rustling outside the window and a quiet voice called down, "She has not left you yet, Dr. Jackson. Please, do not despair." And then he was gone and Daniel was left alone with the sound of Sam softly breathing.
When Sam finally woke, Daniel was by her side. He smiled brightly, but faltered when he failed to see recognition in her eyes. "Sam?"
"I'm going to assume you are referring to me," she smiled wanly, yet it was apparent she still did not recognise the man in front of her.
"It's me, Daniel. We're friends."
Sam ran a hand through her tangled hair. "I ... I'm sorry. But I can't remember." She looked up into Daniel's eyes and for the first time Daniel could ever remember, Sam looked terrified. "Help me."
Daniel caught her in his arms as she passed out once again.
"GUARDS! SOMEONE HELP ME!"
Kimowan used Sam's need for a doctor as a way of smuggling the two remaining members of SG-1 from their prison. Attending to them personally, he drugged Daniel into unconsciousness as well and declared them both deceased.
When Sam awoke again in a small dark room with no windows and a single candle burning for light, it was she who rushed to Daniel's side and cradled his head in her lap until he woke.
Daniel spent the next few days trying to fill in the holes in Sam's memory. She remembered a few pieces here and there, but most of it was before her entry into the Stargate program, so it was making it difficult for Daniel to explain just how much danger they were in, and why it was so important for her to remember and to start thinking of ways out of their situation. He couldn't do it without her.
"Hm?" he responded. He was examining a map that Kimowan had given him of the small city in which they were imprisoned. The map was cleverly marked with locations of safe houses and those that sympathised with the rebel faction. If one were to simply look at the map, they would not even have realised what it what it was.
"Daniel, were we married?"
Surprised, Daniel's head shot up. "No. Why would you ask something like that?"
"So we were divorced then."
"No. We were never married. We were just friends," Daniel said with some trepidation.
"Why would you think we were ever married?"
"Because you care so much for me. And from the way you speak about our pasts, it just felt like there was something ... between us." Sam felt a deep blush rising in her cheeks as she spoke. She was very nearly whispering by the time she finished speaking.
Daniel chuckled softly. "I remember asking you the same question after I came back from ascension. I could sense how close we were. But the answer is the same for you as it was for me: we never became more than friends."
Sam nodded her head and returned to her place on the cot. "Okay. I was just wondering." If she had sounded disappointed with Daniel's response, Daniel failed to notice.
Nothing more was said between them that night.
"Dr. Jackson," came the hoarse whisper of Kimowan.
Moving quietly to the door to allow Kimowan into the room, Daniel did his best not to waken Sam from her fitful sleep. "What is it, Kimowan? Have you heard anything yet?"
"Yes," said the young scientist There is a small rebellion growing in response to the ever increasing numbers of those who have fallen ill to the Ori sickness as it sweeps the surrounding villages. I suspect the majority of people are succumbing to fear rather than actual faith."
Daniel nodded. "That's how the Ori operate. We've seen it countless times on other planets."
"Dr. Jackson, you and your team seem to have overcome the Ori before on other planets ..."
Daniel immediately sensed where Kimowan was heading. "Yes, we did. But we had far more resources than what Sam and I currently have access to. There were also four of us. That was how we worked, we used our collective resources. That's what we need to do here and now, Kimowan; we need to gather our resources."
"Yet, you do not think we will survive."
Unable to answer the question, Daniel simply laid a hand to rest on the shoulder of the young man before him.
Kimowan glanced over to the sleeping Sam as she moaned painfully in her sleep. "She is not getting better?"
"No. She's been complaining of headaches again. I thought they'd eventually get better as she healed, but it seems as though they are getting worse."
"Do not worry, Dr. Jackson."
Kimowan nodded in respect. "Daniel. I do not think she is ill as a result of her injuries. I fear she has been infected by the Ori illness. I have seen a few cases that began as headaches. Would you like me to examine her?"
The fear in Daniel's heart spread like ice through his veins. "When she wakes up. Please, stay. Sit with me in the meantime, until she does."
Kimowan sat with Daniel and Daniel told him all about the Stargate.
"Tell me about the SGC," she said as she brushed her hair from her eyes.
Her hair is getting so long, thought Daniel as he watched Sam lean over the device she had been working on. She had noted on several occasions that she always remembered the math, but she still could not recall where she'd learned it. Daniel always said she was born knowing it.
"You should get some rest, Sam. You've been working on that device all day. And you have a headache," Daniel said as he brushed back errant blond tangles from her forehead. "You're feverish too."
"The sound of your voice soothes me."
"You really need to get some sleep, Sam." Daniel sighed and gently removed the device in her hand. "Here, come lie down."
"Will you stay with me?"
"Of course. I'll always be here with you, Sam. Now go to sleep," he said gently. Sam stood at his gentle urging, and he helped her to the cot in the corner of their little hidden room.
"I want to remember though. I need to remember."
Daniel sighed and sat down next to Sam's cot as she gingerly placed her aching head on her rolled up jacket. Just as he was about to begin, Sam reached out and grasped his hand.
The Prior stood over the prostrated form of Kimowan. "You will tell me where the two travelers are concealed."
Daniel and Sam watched in horror from their vantage point on the roof of the building. Sam was sure she had never felt so helpless in her entire life.
"I will tell you nothing!" Kimowan spat.
Sam could not bear to see their friend in such a vulnerable position. "I can't watch, Daniel."
The Prior raised his hand, a position Daniel had seen a Prior take before and he felt his heart drop into this stomach. He felt fear both for his friend and for himself and Sam.
And then Kimowan did something nobody expected: in one swift motion, he pulled a knife from his cloak and cut his own throat. Death was the only thing the Ori gave freely, and never have they bestowed life.
"Thank you, my friend," Daniel whispered as he helped Sam to stand. "Thank you for giving us time."
Daniel did his best to grind the plant that the locals had given him to make bread. It was difficult and his glasses continued to slip down his nose. Sam couldn't help but watch him as he worked so tirelessly. She marveled at the muscle tone in his arms, the way his back moved beneath his shirt.
"Daniel," she said. She let his name flicker across her tongue and rest again behind her teeth.
From the corner of his eyes, Daniel saw her mouth his name and he ceased moving the heavy rock against the grains. “Sorry, what was that, Sam?”
"Nothing. I was just thinking."
"I sometimes have a difficult time believing you're a scientist, Daniel," Sam said as she raised the upper half of her body so she was leaning against the tree they had camped beneath.
Daniel smiled, but continued his work. "Why is that?"
"Because you don't look like a scientist, I guess. You look like me. A soldier."
"But you're a scientist too, Sam."
Sam shrugged. "I guess."
"You are. You're the most brilliant person I've ever met."
"How do I know you have met a lot of people?" she said with a mischievous smile draped across her lips.
Any trace of smile disappeared from Daniel's face as he moved himself closer to where Sam lay. "I have been around the universe and back with you. On every planet we've been to, you are always the smartest person there."
Sam could feel herself blushing, but was helpless to stop herself under the intensity of Daniel's gaze. "Yes, well ..."
"Let me make you something to eat, Sam. Don't worry. Wherever we are, we always return home."
Settling herself back into a more relaxed position on the tree, Sam went back to watching Daniel work.
"Yeah?" The sweat was beginning to bead on his brow and trickle down the nape of his neck.
"Why wasn't there ever anything between us?"
Again, Daniel came to a stop. He sat so still, Sam wasn't even certain he was still breathing. And then all at once, he continued grinding the grain with the rock, pausing only to add a bit of water. "Because we were only ever friends."
"Yes, I get that, but why? Why were we only ever friends?"
Daniel grimaced and leaned back a bit, rolling his stiff shoulders. "What difference does it make, Sam, whether we were only friends or not?"
Sam felt herself blushing again. She couldn't answer that question any more than she could answer any questions about her past. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you angry."
"No, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to snap. The simple answer is that it was complicated."
"But if you're feeling up to it after dinner, I'll give you the long answer. Deal?"
Sam smiled. "Deal."
Sam watched the sun set, slowly disappearing into the horizon. It was such a strange feeling. She felt so comfortable and settled here on this planet. As far as she was concerned, this was her home. With Daniel.
After Kimowan had sacrificed himself at the Prior's feet, Daniel and Sam had fled to the forests. Daniel soon came to realise that the farther they were from the Stargate, the safer they were. The Prior would not think to seek them out in the wilds of the planet; it was the opposite of what the SG-1 team had done before. Daniel wasn't sure how long they could hide like that, but he hoped it would be long enough for the SGC to send the Daedelus or an Asgard ship. Long enough to get Sam the help she needed. Prior to leaving the SGC, Dr. Lam had vaccinated the entire team using a vaccine she had helped develop based on a previous encounter with an Ori disease. Unfortunately, this specific strain seemed to be divergent enough from the source for the vaccine to be less effectual. Sam had survived this long, but Daniel was afraid that the damage the Ori illness had caused her could not be repaired.
For the moment though, Sam was content. The fevers had receded for some days now and the tightness in her chest seem to be receding as well. But it was Daniel she found that comforted her the most.
"Will you tell me about us now?"
Daniel slowly sat down next to Sam and sighed. "I suppose I could."
Without really thinking about it, Sam grasped his hand in her own and gently rested her head on his shoulder.
Taking a deep breath, Daniel squeezed Sam's hand and did his best to steel his nerves before beginning. "In the beginning, as I've told you before, it was because I was married. The Goa'uld took her as a host and that's how we met. You came to Abydos, the planet where we lived."
"I'm so sorry, Daniel." He felt her hand close tighter around his fingers. "I didn't go there to Abydos alone, though, did I?"
"No." Daniel wasn't sure if he wanted to explain the next part. But she had asked, and Daniel felt she should have the truth, no matter the consequences for himself. "You came with a friend of mine. Colonel Jack O'Neill."
Sam gasped and sat up gingerly. "Daniel! I remember him! I remember Jack! Just then, when you said his name."
"Yeah, he was the other reason there was never anything between us."
As memories of Jack came flooding back, Sam's lips pursed together in confusion. She always had this expression when something came back to her. It was both frustrating and exhilarating for Sam, to have so little come back; every time she had a new revelation, she was certain it would be the last, while the rest of her history remained lost to her.
"Jack and I ... we never ..." Sam asked with a slight gesture of her hand.
Daniel chuckled and said, "I wouldn't know, Sam. But I don't think so. Jack was your superior officer and you were his second in command."
"Yes, well, and now you have your answer and should be getting to sleep."
As Daniel rose from beside her, he felt her hand grasp his shirtsleeve. "Stay with me tonight?"
Daniel turned his gaze to her, the blue of his eyes seeming so intense. "Are you not feeling well?"
"No, I feel fine. Better." She suddenly felt panicked. "It's just ... never mind. I'll be alright."
"Yeah. Good night, Daniel."
Sam exited the tent and walked out into the busy marketplace wearing a sari-like outfit, her blond hair tucked discreetly into the colourful scarf that covered part of her head. The blue in the scarf seemed to dance off the impish glint in her eye when she saw Daniel's reaction.
"You look amazing, Sam."
"This feels familiar, Daniel."
Daniel stepped forward to face Sam and placed his hands on her shoulders, moving her out of the way of a small wagon being pulled by a small horse-like animal. Before letting go, Daniel gave a light squeeze and said, "The year we met, on one of our first missions, you were forced to wear a dress almost this color."
"Wait. The ... Shavadai?"
Daniel smiled warmly. "Yes, the Shavadai. Their leader forced you to wear a blue dress and when I saw you for the first time, you took my breath away."
Sam found herself smiling widely in return. "Thank you. You're not so bad yourself," she said with a playful wink.
Rather than respond to her comment, Daniel reached out to adjust the scarf on her head and said, "Your memory is returning much more quickly these days." If Sam hadn't known Daniel so well, hadn't spent the last few weeks solely in his company, she might have missed the melancholy tone in his voice.
"Why is that such a bad thing?"
"It isn't. It's wonderful," he said with a sad smile.
"Then why do you look like someone just stole your last piece of candy?"
"Look, Sam, it's nothing. Okay? Can we drop it for now?"
Sam sighed and responded, "For now."
As they turned to walk down the bustling market, Daniel reached for Sam's hand and she willingly grasped it.
For the third day in a row, they had waited for the sign they were told they'd be given that would initiate the plan. Sam had nearly given up when a small woman sat beside her as they ate their sandwiches in the market square.
"Enjoying your lunch, Dr. Carter?" she said without turning to face Sam.
"Yes. Nice day, isn't it?"
The small woman, her hair tied in a tight braid down the center of her back, smiled and nodded. "Yes, it is. I think the sun is setting a little farther east these days. This may be the last of the nice weather, as winter will soon arrive."
Daniel leaned forward and whispered into the ear of the woman, "You are Awasis?"
"Yes, I am Kimowan's sister. I have been sent by the rebels to warn you: the Prior is closing in on you and it may not be long before he seeks you out."
Daniel reached over and firmly enveloped Sam's hand in his own. "He's getting frustrated, being separated from his own kind. Without the power of the Ori backing him up, I suspect he is not as strong as he leads the others to believe."
Awasis nodded in agreement. "And that is the very reason the rebellion is gathering members every day. The people are becoming aware of their doubt. They see many things in common between the Ori and the Monster in the stories who once ruled us so mercilessly."
"We call them the Goa'uld," Daniel said.
"No matter their name, they were evil beings," Awasis spit out.
"How many rebels do you have with you, Awasis?" Sam asked, leaning in while doing her best to maintain a casual countenance, lest she draw attention to them.
"Many now. Enough to gain entrance to the temple."
Daniel squeezed Sam's hand, unable to contain his joy. "And that's where the weapon is located? The one in the legend, the one painted on the inside of the caves Kimowan told me about?"
"Yes," Awasis confirmed. "The very same. I will take you to the caves tomorrow night. Meet me at the southern edge of the city at the stables when the sun sets. Third one on the left."
Without another word, Awasis stood and walked away leaving Sam and Daniel to finish their meal while sitting in the crowded square.
"Hm?" she replied, lost in thought.
"Sam, are you okay?"
"Yeah, sure. Why, what's up?"
"Nothing. You just looked ... worried." Daniel motioned with his hand for her to come sit next to him on his cot.
She rose and crossed the large tent to Daniel's waiting arms, laying her body next to his. It had been a few days since she had last slept in her own cot. A few nights previous, she had had terrible fevers again, and Daniel came to her and comforted her until they passed, pressing cool compresses to her forehead most of the night. Ever since then, she had just naturally taken to sleeping in his cot.
Daniel had not yet settled his feelings on this new development. On the one hand, it was very un-Sam-like, to ask for help like that; but at the same time, her forthrightness was very much a characteristic Daniel associated with his friend. At that moment though, with her so close, Daniel did not want to question too much.
"I'm worried about tomorrow," she said.
Without really thinking about it, Daniel began to run his fingers through Sam's hair while squeezing her closer to his body. "I know, me too. I don't know what we're going to find there, if the writings are even going to say anything of relevance. I'm afraid this is a wild goose chase."
"Before we left, you told Landry that this was a solid mission. We had every reason to come here."
Daniel smiled; she remembered so much now, it was almost as if she had never lost her memory. And yet, here she was with him, in Daniel's arms. Daniel was smiling a lot these past few days.
"I know," he whispered into her hair. "But I am worried all the same."
Awasis held Sam by the wrist as Sam carefully dropped onto the ledge at the cave entrance. Once Sam was safely inside, Daniel helped lower Awasis down. As Awasis turned to follow Sam into the cave, Daniel dropped down next to her. "How did you find this entrance? You can't even see it over the canyon edge."
Pointing to the opposite ledge of the canyon, Awasis replied, "My brother saw it many years ago while studying the Healing Rings on the far side of the canyon. Kimowan believed the wheels were both healing places and markers for this cave entrance. He did his best to tell the government, but they ignored him. Nobody is interested in the old stories anymore, save a few like us, raised by grandparents who knew."
Daniel nodded and said, "It happens all the time. Many cultures on Earth lost large parts of their heritage when the written word was introduced. Oral histories are often ignored once the past is written down."
Sam turned to Awasis and asked, "What are the Healing Rings?"
"They are large circles made of many stones laid on the ground in sacred places. When the Stargate was uncovered, there was a great debate amongst my people whether they had healing powers or if they were representations of the Stargate."
The further they walked, the more uncertain Sam became as to the existence of the pictographs. "Are you sure we are in the right cave, Awasis?"
"Yes, I am certain. I suspect the drawings were done further into the cave to protect them from weathering as well as wandering eyes."
"You're probably right," Daniel said. "Ever think of becoming an archaeologist, Awasis?"
Smiling, Awasis simply shook her head and said, "There is no such profession here. But I am beginning to think there should be. Ah, here we are."
The three climbed over a low ridge and found themselves in a large cavern. The pictographs were spread across several rock walls, faded by time. Daniel ran his hand over the smooth rock face, taking in the images, deciphering them.
Sam sat down on a rock to rest, her stamina was not what it used to be, but with a little training back at the SGC, she was certain she could reclaim her former health. Taking a long, slow breath, Sam watched Daniel work. She loved the way his brow would furrow as he coaxed meaning from the images on the walls. His long fingers carefully pulled rocks obscuring lower images, and Sam found herself unable to take her eyes from them.
"Look, Sam!" Daniel said suddenly, barely able to contain the excitement in his voice. "According to these pictographs, a terrible monster came to the Nehiyawak and made slaves of them. And then, many generations later, a being came to them and a great battle for this world began that lasted several generations. Many lives were lost ..." His hands followed over the images, as he explained each one, pointing to each new portion of the story so that she could follow along. "This one here, it shows how the Great Being finally overcame the Monster. These ones over here shows the Great Being giving the Nehiyawak songs and ceremonies to honour the Great Being. If this was an Ancient, he almost sounds like one of the Ori."
Daniel ran his hands over his face in frustration.
Awasis was listening intently to Daniel as he explored the possibilities, but at this last revelation, she could not bite her tongue. "The Great Being is not an Ori." The sternness in her voice caused Daniel to pause and look at her surprised.
"I did not mean to offend you, Awasis. It was merely an observation. But I think you're right; this Great Being was not an Ori. I've come across other ascended Ancients who did not remain so because of their unwillingness to follow the rule of non-interference." An image of Myrden and his memories came flooding back into Daniel's mind as he said it. "They did it because they loved humans and could not stand to let such things happen. I believe your ceremonies and religion are reflections of that mutual love your people and the Great Being shared for one another."
Mollified for the moment, Awasis walked over to a corner of the cavern that Daniel had not yet explored. "You might want to see this part, Dr. Jackson. It is the part of this story that tells of the weapon in the temple. There is actual writing at the end. It is not our language and very different from the drawings. We noticed it as strange because it is actually carved into the stone. I believe the words may have been here before the images, which is odd because I had always thought the pictographs were the beginning of our written histories."
The surprise Daniel felt was evident on his face as he moved as quickly as he could over the rocks to the corner where Awasis motioned. Sam did her best to follow, and when Daniel saw the difficulty she was having, rushed back to help her, taking her hand and placing a steadying hand on her lower back. Once settled, Daniel leaned in as Awasis moved a few small rocks obstructing their view.
"This is written in Ancient," Daniel said with wonder, his lips moving as his eyes swept over the words.
Awasis drew back, shock blanching her face. "You mean to tell me, this is written in the hand of the Great Being?"
Sam placed a comforting hand on her friend. "Yes. Absolute proof of your Great Being."
The wonder on Awasis's beaming face made Sam smile.
"You're certain no one else knows of this place, Awasis? What's written here?"
"I am certain. As I had said previously, my brother did his best to tell others of the cave and its secret writings, but no one listened," she said with sadness creeping into her voice. "He had only deciphered the writing after seeing the notes you had shown him. Kimowan said he had wanted to tell you about them, but the Prior came and that is when ..."
Sam moved to her young friend's side and placed a comforting arm around her shoulders. "We'll make sure they understand, Awasis."
Sam watched as Daniel huddled over the rubbings he had taken of the Ancient text carved into the cave. She watched as each breath he took caused his shoulders to rise and fall, and the way the muscles in his arms and shoulders would move when he reached for his drink. Unable to stop, Sam sat and watched him work, wondering at how things had changed so much for them since coming to this planet.
"Quit staring at me, Sam."
She jumped at the sudden intrusion of his voice. She could hear the amusement in his voice. "I wasn't staring," she said indignantly.
"Yes, you were."
"I was ... thinking."
Daniel put the rubbing he was holding in his hand down and looked up at her. "About what?"
"Us," she stated simply.
"Things are different here."
Daniel carefully folded the papers and moved to take a seat next to Sam. "Yes, they are," he said softly. He took Sam's hand and enveloped it in his own. She could feel the calluses and the strength. "What's bothering you, Sam?"
"I'm just worried that when we get back ... things will be different again. I mean things will go back to the way they were."
"And ... you don't want them to?" Daniel said. Something tugged at his heart and caused him to hold his breath while awaiting Sam's answer.
"No," she said hesitantly. "I want you. I want what we have here and I'm afraid we'll lose that when we're back at the SGC with all the old influences there that kept us apart for so long."
Daniel wasn't sure how to respond to Sam's declaration. It was the first time she had said anything that suggested that there was something more than friendship between them. So Daniel did the only thing that seemed to come naturally between them these days: he held her.
Nothing more was said between them that night.
Ever since she had fallen ill, Sam had taken to sleeping long hours, but Daniel was still on military time. He would wake up near dawn and remain awake late into the night, keeping watch over their camp. Without Sam to replace him on watch during the night, Daniel sometimes napped in the afternoons, his head gently cradled in Sam's lap, his 9mm never out of arm's reach. But mornings were by far his favourite time of the day, simply because he got to see Sam, the real Sam. He loved the way she'd softly snore and seeing her smile in her sleep.
As it turns out, she was a bit of a sleep-talker, often mumbling little unintelligible words. He liked it best when she would say his name.
"Dr. Jackson," came a whisper from outside the tent. "Dr. Carter, are you there?"
Daniel raised his head and gently moved Sam's hand from his chest. "We're here, Awasis. Give me a moment," he whispered back in response. Daniel rose and dressed as quickly as he could without waking Sam. She had had another headache early in the evening and only fell asleep after drinking the tea Awasis had given her. The tea was the only thing that seemed to help her these days when the migraines would come upon her.
"Dr. Jackson, it is good to see you are well. Is Dr. Carter still sleeping?"
"Yes, thank you, Awasis. She had another headache, but she's fine now. Thank you for the tea, it has helped tremendously."
Awasis gave a barely perceptible nod and motioned for Daniel to follow her away from the tent and closer to the fire. Each took a seat on a log nearby the fire and held their hands out to the warm heat. "I take it this isn't a social visit," he said as he gently tossed a log into the fire and fanned the tiny flames.
Awasis glanced at him and shook her head. "The rebels are becoming impatient. They think I am lying about the things I have told them you said. They want to see you and Dr. Carter -"
"To see for themselves that we are real," Daniel finished for her.
"Yes, that is exactly it. I do not wish to put you or Dr. Carter in a vulnerable position by bringing you out into the open, but I am unsure of how to make them trust me."
"Don't worry, Awasis. Sam and I will think of something."
Rising from her seat, Awasis said, "You had better. I am unsure of how much longer I can keep them from disbanding."
"Before you go," he said, stopping her from walking away. "Have you heard anything about the Stargate?"
"No, I am sorry, Dr. Jackson, there has been no word. I suspect it may have been destroyed completely since the Ori Prior has not already located it and used it."
Awasis gave a curt nod as a good-bye, but Daniel reached out and grasped her hand, stopping her again. "Thank you, Awasis. Thank you for everything."
"It is the least I could do, Dr. Jackson, to thank you for believing my brother. You have shown our world that he was not the feeble minded child so many accused him of being."
"He was a brilliant man and an excellent doctor, Awasis."
A tear slid down Awasis's cheek, betraying the stony countenance she held. "Thank you." With that, she gave Daniel's hand a last squeeze, turned and walked into the night.
Daniel sat in the corner of the small room, Sam at his side, her head resting comfortably on his shoulder. The raised voices did nothing for her headache. "You doing okay?" he whispered into her hair.
She shook her head and said, "Yeah. It isn't as bad as it was earlier. I can see again."
Daniel smiled at her joke and squeezed her hand tightly in his lap.
Awasis stood to the side of the circle of men seated around the small fire burning in the pit in the center of the room. "You can't all be serious. What will happen to your families if we let the Prior take them? We have actual proof of the Great Being's existence and still you fall to the Prior's demands." The vitriol in her voice caused Sam to wince in pain.
"And what proof is that, Awasis? Some scribblings on a wall? Are you willing to sacrifice our families for them? Because you are asking us to go into battle against our own people. Because they have different religious beliefs."
"How can you claim that what our families are doing have anything to do with faith? Our people have followed the ways of the Great Being for many generations, and in a matter of weeks, they have been subjugated. Why did the Great Being fight for us? For this? For our families to be destroyed by such evil?" The anger in Awasis's voice was so intense, the men could only bow their heads in shame.
Unable to contain herself, Sam stood, despite Daniel's attempt to keep her seated. "I'm okay, Daniel," she whispered in response to his worried expression. She turned to the gathering of men in front of her and said, "Are you willing to sacrifice your families to the hatred of the Ori? Those 'scribblings' are more than your history - and yes, it is your history - they also contain a map. A map that leads us to the temple."
An older man with a long silver braid draped down the center of his back gave a light snort and said, "A map to what? What could there possibly be in the temple?"
"A weapon," Daniel said. At that, Daniel knew he and Sam had their attention.
Sam smiled as she rested her head on Daniel's bare shoulder. Daniel lightly stroked Sam's back, enjoying the silkiness of her skin. "I don't want tomorrow to come."
Daniel sighed and hugged Sam tightly. "I know."
"They're not coming back for us, are they?" she asked sleepily.
"They are. Cam wouldn't have anyone to translate Teal'C's eyebrows if he didn't come back for us. I can't see him allowing that to happen."
Sam chuckled softly. "Yeah." The fatigue in her voice was so thick, Daniel barely heard her.
"Hm?" she mumbled into his shoulder.
"I love you," he whispered and kissed her hair.
A plan was finally settled upon: At the Gathering of Nations ceremony, Daniel and Sam would don traditional regalia and do their best to blend in with crowd and await the signal. The rebels would then rush the Temple, allowing Sam and Daniel entrance, hopefully unnoticed, through the side where the guard, a friend of Awasis, would be awaiting their arrival.
Sam adjusted the belt on her outfit; the ribbons hanging from her dress drifted lightly into the sweet warm air, dancing to the beat of the distant drums. "You look beautiful, Sam," Daniel said. He reached out and tugged lightly on a stray ribbon, gently guiding Sam into his arms.
"Thank you." Sam smiled at Daniel, and he didn't miss the sadness in it, nor the fear.
"It will be okay, Sam. We've done this kind of thing before."
"I know, but before, I was healthy. I'm afraid we won't be able to pull this off."
"Then we'll rely on our famous SG-1 luck."
Sam gave Daniel a wry smile and was about to say something when Awasis walked up to them, arm in arm with a handsome young man. He was tall and slender, with long black hair and an eagle feather tied in with a single strip of leather.
"Dr. Jackson, Dr. Carter, this is my husband, Newo," she said, motioning to the man at her side. Newo held out his hand to them and seeing the shocked expression on Sam's face, Daniel reached out to grasp it. "It's nice to meet you. Your wife is a very strong woman."
Newo chuckled and said, "I know. My mother warned me that I would not be able to tame her, but in the end ..."
"Awas, husband," Awasis said. "He speaks nonsense. His mother told me that he was unstable."
Newo laughed and hugged his wife. "She speaks so well of me, and yet I continue to love her."
Awasis blushed and gently hip-checked Newo.
Finally regaining herself, Sam spoke up, "It's lovely to meet you, Newo. I hadn't even realised Awasis was married."
Raising an eyebrow at his young wife, Newo said, "I fear she is ashamed to be tied to one man. Such a wild, restless spirit she has. Yet, here I am." Awasis beamed. It was obvious that she loved him very much. "Actually, Awasis never mentioned the two of you were married."
Daniel and Sam looked at each other and then back at Newo. If the weight of the entire situation hadn't been heavy on their minds, it would have been comical. "Oh, we're not married," said Sam quickly.
Newo had the good sense to blush, but said, "I'm sorry, I thought ... the way you two were looking at each other when we walked up. I just assumed. My apologies."
"No, no. That's fine," Daniel said as he reached out to grasp Sam's hand. Sam was unsure of how to react to Newo's comment, the momentary panic evident on her face, but when Daniel reached for her hand, she relaxed.
Almost as if a cloud had passed before the sun as she tracked its location in the sky, Awasis lost her jovial countenance. "It is almost time; are you prepared?"
"Yes," replied Sam, her free hand immediately went to the beaded bag resting on her hip. She felt comforted by the weight of the gun hidden inside.
Daniel brushed aside the layers of colourful yarn on his outfit to reveal his own 9mm strapped to a thigh holster. "Don't worry, Awasis, this is what we do."
"I honestly cannot say that your words comfort me, Dr. Jackson," she said in all seriousness.
"Remember to wait for the signal. The announcer in the main booth is with us and it is from him that you will receive your signal," Newo said, equally as serious as his young bride. "Do not be distracted by what is around you."
"We won't, believe me," Sam said.
"We should be going, we must ensure that everyone is prepared for the attack," Awasis said reluctantly. "I wish you both the best of luck." Without warning, Awasis leaped forward and fiercely hugged Sam and then Daniel. "Please, be careful."
Newo smiled fondly and reached out a hand to shake, "I feel as though I know you both so well, Awasis speaks so well of you both so often."
Shaking Newo's hand, Daniel said, "I'm sorry we didn't get the opportunity to get to know each other better. You have a very wonderful and brave wife. Take care of yourselves too, and I know we'll see each other again."
Bowing slightly, the young couple walked away, arm-in-arm.
Daniel and Sam were seated on the benches that formed the circumference of the round arbour. "Daniel, you have to stop moving around so much. Relax."
"I know, I'm just anxious about Awasis and Newo. It's difficult thinking about them. So young and still so involved. It's Abydos all over again."
Sam stroked Daniel's hand in an effort to comfort him. "This isn't Abydos. Awasis is a very intelligent and capable young woman. And I'm here now."
Daniel smiled and stroked Sam's cheek. "I know," he whispered. The reverence in his voice, the timbre, awed her. In that moment, Sam wondered if she had really known Daniel at all. She'd seen him day in and day out at the SGC, fought by his side, but she'd never really seen him.
"Daniel -" she began only to be cut off suddenly by Daniel's lips meeting her own. Sam found herself closing her eyes and kissing him back, her arms wrapping around his shoulders. He's so strong, how could I have not seen this man for so long? she thought to herself. How could I not see Daniel?
"I love you, Sam." The urgency and intensity of his words both frightened and comforted Sam.
Leaning her forehead against his and placing her hands on the sides of his head, Sam said, "I love you too, Daniel."
"HOOKAH!" the announcer's voice resounded over the din of the crowd..
From a short distance away, Daniel and Sam heard the whooping shouts of the Nehiyawak war calls. Daniel squeezed Sam's hand one last time as they allowed themselves to be engulfed by the rushing, panicked crowd.
Daniel knelt at the base of the altar, the sweet pungent aroma of the burning grass the Nehiyawak used for ritual blessings surrounding him. "They must be burning the fields," Sam commented, her gun held ready.
"Hm," Daniel grunted as he did his best to pry the baseboards from the altar. "Just a little bit more ..."
"Hurry, Daniel. I think someone's coming!" Sam glanced to check on Daniel's progress, and when she looked back to the doorway, the Prior was there.
With a faint rustling of his robes, the Prior held out his hands revealing the small device Daniel had been searching for a few moments before. "I believe this is what you are searching for, is it not?" the Prior said, an empty smile curving his lips. "I would not attempt that, Dr. Carter," he said, glancing at the gun in Sam's hands; the near whiteness of his eyes betrayed his ability to see so much.
"What do you want from us?" Daniel growled.
"Your worship for the Ori," the Prior spat angrily. With that angry declaration, the Prior waved his hand and Sam's gun went flying across the room. She barely had time to recover when the Prior was holding out his hand, telepathically forcing her to a prostrated position. The memory of Kimowan flashed across his mind and Daniel instinctively knew
Sam was thinking the same thing. Her hand slowly reached into the folds of her dress.
A blinding flash of light and the concussion of gunfire filled the room and the Prior found himself alone in the Temple, his blood trickling from a bullet wound, mingling with the arterial spray of Sam's blood, marring the delicate designs stitched into his robes.
Sam was dimly aware of the shouting that now seemed inside the room with her and Daniel. "Don't ... don't let me go," she said groggily.
"Don't talk please, Sam. Oh God, Sam," he said repeatedly, pressing into the wound on Sam's neck. "Please, don't do this, please, hang on. Just hang on."
"Shhhh ... don't cry," she whispered. She tried to wipe away the tears streaming down his cheeks, but found her arm was too heavy to lift.
"Someone get a the damn medics! Dammit, Jackson! What the hell happened down there?" Cam shouted. It was the last thing Sam heard before sliding into unconsciousness.
Awasis stood momentarily still, her gaze turned upward into the sky as an enormous ship dropped to a low hover over the temple.
"Newo! Newo!" Awasis cried over the din of the battle, "They are here! They came! They came!" Awasis continued shouting despite not seeing her husband immediately. She shoved her way through the crowd of awestruck warriors, making her way through those still fighting for their lives, sidestepping the bloody bodies on the ground.
The beaming smile abruptly fell from her lips upon seeing Newo soaked in blood and laying motionless on the ground at the base of the Temple's wide staircase. "No." The denial did nothing to change the scene before her: Newo lay in a muddied pool of his own blood, the offensive spear that had pierced his abdomen lay in the dead hands of the man who had put it there.
Awasis rushed to Newo's side, her hands already ripping the sleeves from her ribbon dress and covering his wound. She could not control river of tears running from her eyes as she looked down into her husband's eyes. "Please, do not do this to me, husband. Dare not leave me, Newo. I will not abide by it," she demanded incessantly. The litany of her desperate pleas came to an abrupt halt as Newo opened his eyes. "Oh, thank the Great Being. Thank you," she cried as she gathered him in her arms.
"I love you, Awasis." His voice was so faint in the battle that still raged around them. And then he was still.
"No, Newo! NO!"
"Where the hell are the medics! We need the damn medics in here! Hang on, Sam, help is coming."
Daniel barely heard anything, his entire world had come down to her laying unconscious in his arms, bleeding to death.
The Prior watched from the doorway, watched the battle rage below him, and with a single wave of his hand, he cleared a path through the chaos, the dead and wounded flung to the side in such a careless manner.
Awasis raised her eyes to see the Prior walking stiffly past her and grabbed the spear that had mortally wounded her husband. Without thinking, allowing only her grief and instinct to guide her, she threw the spear.
There was no victory in seeing it find its purchase in his back.
"Teal'C! What's the status on those rail guns?"
"All is ready for battle, Cameron Mitchell," Teal'C replied, his voice even despite the concern in his eyes as he watched Daniel cradle Sam lovingly in his arms.
"Fire when ready!"
The Prior stood motionless, the spear wilting in his back. With a graceful single motion, the Prior removed the spear and let it fall from his slack hands into the dirt.
And then the firestorm began. Blasts of light fired through the air, slamming into the ground, spraying dirt everywhere. The Prior, in his attempt to rise to his feet again was caught in a blast.
Daniel slept on the bed next to Sam's in the infirmary. She had survived. Barely.
It had taken them hours to mend the damage to her throat, but fortunately, the Daedalus had arrived in the nick of time. If they had remained in the temple, she surely would have bled to death.
"Jackson," Mitchell whispered hoarsely into Daniel's ear.
Daniel's eyes shot opened. He had moved to a sitting position, placed his glasses back on the bridge of his nose and had began talking even before he had realised he was awake, "What? Is she okay? Sam?"
"Whoa. Settle down there, Jackson. She's alright," Mitchell said as he sat down on the bed next to Daniel. Placing a comforting hand on Daniel's shoulder, he continued, "She's gonna live. That girl, the one called Awasis, wants to talk to you."
Daniel got off the infirmary bed and walked to Sam's side. "I'll be right back, Sam," he whispered lovingly to her and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
"Hey, listen Jackson," Cam said, "before you go, I wanted to know something."
Daniel sighed heavily, impatient to have his conversation with Awasis. "What is it, Cameron?"
"That weapon ... where the hell is it?"
"I don't know," he replied, his shoulders slumping in defeat. "The last I saw, it was in the hands of the Prior."
Seeing Daniel's reaction, Cam knew immediately what Daniel was thinking, having gone through something similar himself. "Look, it wasn't a wasted mission. This isn't your fault."
Daniel cast a glance at Sam, the pain evident in his eyes. "Tell that to Sam."
Awasis stood by the fire, her solemn expression highlighting her grief.
"Why are you out here, Awasis? Wouldn't you rather be inside at the wake with your and Newo's families?" Daniel questioned as he approached the young woman.
"I did not want to increase the burden of their grief with my own. I did not want to be the widow who lost her brother only last moon and now needs their pity. He is gone, and for now, I want to be as well." Taking a long stick from the ground by her side, Awasis nudged the logs, coaxing stronger flames from the fire. "Besides, someone has to make sure that the fire continues to burn for the length of the wake."
"I'm sorry, Awasis," Daniel said softly.
"You need not be. He was a warrior," she stated simply, her voice devoid of emotion. "I am not the only wife who has lost her husband this battle. There were many. It would be cruel of me to think I am the only one who feels such grief tonight."
Unable to respond, Daniel stood at her side and raised his hands towards the fire, allowing the flames to warm him.
"Is Dr. Carter -"
"Yes, thank you. She pulled through the surgery."
"I am glad."
"Thank you." Daniel allowed the cool night to swallow his words, unable to say anything that could possibly soothe her pain.
Without warning, Awasis hugged Daniel tightly, letting her tears soak his shirt and her sorrowful sobs to shake through his body. "Shhh ... shhh ..." It was all Daniel could think to do to comfort her: gently stroke her hair and let the sorrow channel through him.
It was a few minutes before Awasis was able to control her grief. "I am sorry, Dr. Jackson."
"Don't be. I understand. I lost my wife as well, many years ago."
Awasis nodded. "Dr. Carter told me once."
Surprised, Daniel asked, "When?"
A small sad smile reached her lips, but not her eyes. "When we were preparing for the battle and I helped Dr. Carter dress for the Gathering."
"I see," he said. "What brought it up?"
"I had asked her if she loved you."
Daniel was surprised at how forthright Awasis was. He smiled and asked, "And what did she say?"
Awasis smiled back and for the first time, he saw a little joy in her eyes. "Instead of answering, she said you had been married before. When I asked why that mattered, if she was afraid of unfaithful men, she looked so horrified. She said she had not intended to imply that you were an unfaithful man, but rather that she was afraid you loved your late wife still."
For the second time during their conversation, Daniel found himself without words.
Awasis turned back to the fire and nudged the logs again. "I told her something my grandmother told me once, after my grandfather had passed on: A heart heals. You would do well to remember that, Dr. Jackson."
"As would you," Daniel said softly. "Being the one left behind ... there are other things to live for, Awasis."
"I know," she said simply, and without thinking, she placed a loving hand over her abdomen.
Daniel sat in the Daedalus' commissary watching the window. The stars raced by, reflecting streaks across the lenses of his glasses.
"Daniel Jackson, is this seat taken?" Teal'C asked as he laid his mug of steaming tea on the table next to Daniel's cold one.
Shaking his head in an attempt to clear the thoughts clouding his mind, Daniel smiled and said, "Teal'C. No, no. Please, sit."
Teal'C nodded his head in thanks. "I do not think you need to worry about Colonel Carter. She is a strong warrior, as we have both seen countless times."
"I know. I'm just ..." he said, his hand fluttering in the air, unable to pluck the words from space. "I love her, Teal'C."
"I know," Teal'C said simply.
"And not in that 'We all love each other, we're a team' kind of way either."
Teal'C smiled and said, "I know, Daniel Jackson."
Daniel gave a soft smile, and said, "Thanks."
Without another word, the two sat in the commissary, sipping their tea in comfortable silence.
Sam opened her eyes and felt the sharp spike of pain as the light hit her.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Here, let me move that for you," the nurse said as she pulled the bright lamp to the side.
Sam went to lift her hand to block the offending light, but found she could not move it. For a moment she panicked, but calmed once she realised that Daniel was holding it tightly. He was sleeping on a chair next to her bed, his head laying on the edge of the bed by her arm. Her expression immediately softened and she brought her other hand over to gently brush locks of his hair from his face. It had gotten long again during their time on the planet. Not as long as it used to be, but longer than the military style brush cut he had been wearing for some time now. It made him look young again.
The nurse returned with a caddy filled with dressings and adjusted the IV drip before saying, "You'll have to wake Dr. Jackson. I need to replace the bandages on your neck."
Sam frowned as her free hand reached to her neck and felt the gauze. The movement was enough to wake Daniel and he sat up immediately. "Shh, Sam, don't move too much."
Sam coughed lightly and rasped, "Hey, sleepyhead."
Daniel couldn't help but smile. "Hey, yourself. I was getting worried about you." He gently ran his fingers down her cheek.
Smiling in return, Sam held Daniel's hand and briefly pressed his fingers to her lips. "Don't. I'm okay now."
The culture in this story is very loosely based on my own culture. I am half Plains Cree and half Mohawk. For this story, I pulled inspiration from my Cree culture. The language and the culture and the religion are all very closely tied together, so I'm sure you can imagine that writing this story was not easy.
The names of the characters Kimowan, Awasis, and Newo all originate from Cree words. The ceremonies, the outfits, I pictured them all as modern day versions of my own culture, how I imagined the Nehiyawak (plural for Cree people) would be if we had evolved on another planet, away from Earth. Much as I'm sure the writers and creators of Stargate did when they put the Egyptians on Abydos.
The following is a list of translations and links to images that helped inspire this story, as well as a few explanations as to why I chose them:
Nehiyawak - The Cree people (plural)
Kimowan - Rain
Awasis - Child
Newo - Four
I chose these words for the simplicity of their pronunciation. Easy as that. lol I'm not a natural Cree speaker, as my first language is English, but I am doing my best to learn. Cree is very different from English and it isn't always easy to pronounce or translate. It is a very free flowing language, but it has an entirely different set of grammatical rules. To learn more about the Cree Language at Wikipedia, please CLICK HERE. Or CLICK HERE to find lessons on how to speak Cree.
The pictographs were inspired by a news story I recalled from last year about several locations across Saskatchewan (my home province) where pictographs believed to be thousands of years old were being ravaged by time. To see the pictures in specific that inspired this particular bit of culture based fantasy, please CLICK HERE.
THE HEALING RINGS
The Healing Rings are very loosely based on the Medicine Wheels. Medicine Wheels are large circular stone structures that look like wagon wheels on their sides. Some are up to 75 feet in diameter, while others are not as big. The belief is that the Medicine Wheels have healing and spiritual power. I saw a resemblance to the Stargate. I'll probably be struck down or something for it. To learn more, you can visit the Wikipedia page if you CLICK HERE.
THE GATHERING OF NATIONS
The Gathering of Nations is actually a HUGE powwow that takes place every year in April at Alberquerque, New Mexico in the United States. Annual attendance is well into the thousands. To learn more, visit the Gathering of Nations' website when you CLICK HERE.
These are not costumes. They are referred to as 'regalia' or outfits. Dance outfits can cost hundreds of dollars if you plan on paying someone else to make it for you, but if you can do it yourself, it's way cheaper. It's also way more time-consuming. Depending on the style of dance, each outfit can take weeks to prepare, and in some cases, a lifetime. Rather than explaining it all (and I'd probably get some of it wrong anyway as I'm a geek, not a dancer), CLICK HERE to learn more.
Incidentally, Sam's outfit, as described in the story, was in the style of Women's Traditional, while Daniel's was Men's Grass Dance.
I hope this helps bring the story to life for anyone willing to slog through it. :) Thank you, and pray that I won't get struck down for doing this.