Sha'uri only sings when she thinks no one is listening, because her favorite songs are ancient odes to the might of Ra, the wrath of Ra, the power of Ra. She thinks that it seems wrong to sing songs of the god who enslaved her people, the god her husband killed.
But she likes the old songs and the way they twist over her tongue; like kissing, she says, but only like Daniel's kisses, because none of the other men in the village apply themselves to the task so thoroughly as he does. None of the other men kiss with teeth and tongue, and when she points this out there's almost a scolding in her voice, but the crinkling at the corners of her eyes says that she is secretly pleased.
He asked her once whether she was basing her argument on gossip or experience. She blushed and kicked him out of the house for an entire night, but she has still never answered the question.
He teases her with it sometimes, asks her if she's been kissing other men again. She always smiles and says no, but with a certain suspicious coyness, so that he'll insist on checking to make sure her mouth doesn't taste of someone else's.
She learns to kiss with her whole mouth, like she's trying to swallow down his soul for safekeeping, and sometimes she sings the old songs into his ear.
When he asks her to sing the songs so he can write them down -- for posterity, for memory, for research papers he'll never write -- she laughs at him, and starts singing a bawdy tavern song instead, something about whores and the hobbies of men. He assumes that she learned it from Skaara, who is going through a late-teens hellraising phase, but he doesn't ask. He catches her hand as she passes by him, and pulls her in close, and kisses her shoulder, her neck. He pushes aside her robes and kisses the swell of her breast, until she stops singing the scandalous song and decides to use her mouth for other scandalous things.
For awhile, Daniel keeps track of the days. He carefully draws out a calendar and writes in the names and numbers of the days on Earth, and then he writes the Abydonian calendar into it. He calculates the cumulative effects of the longer Abydonian day, and wonders if he should use a leap year system. There are many scratched out scribbles on his calendar, where he has done the math wrong, or attributed thirty-one days to a month that has only thirty. Numbers were never his strong suit.
It's a Thursday and mid-winter when Skaara appears at the door. The sun hasn't yet risen, and it's cold in their little one-room, so Sha'uri is building a fire; she's singing very softly -- not one of the old songs, something newer and decidedly sappy -- and preparing a pot to make breakfast. Skaara enters without warning, throwing aside the hide-flap door and ducking into the room.
"Danyel," he says, unheeding of the fact that Daniel has only just woken and is wearing no clothes. "We have made discoveries in the pyramid. You will come."
Skaara speaks English perfectly well, and his phrasing is more a result of attitude than awkwardness with the language. It comes out less as an invitation and more as a command. Though Skaara will one day be a leader of his people in Kasuf's place, Daniel thinks that the change is due more to Jack O'Neill's influence than anything. Skaara stands often with his hip cocked, and scowling at nothing in particular; when Skaara is among his friends, Daniel sometimes sees them salute each other. Looking at Skaara sometimes makes Daniel's heart twist a little with something like loss.
He wonders how he can feel such a longing for the company of a man he barely knew. Mostly, he supposes that he craves contact with anyone from the world he once knew.
Later, that longing will break him. Today, the future is far away, and hidden.
He says, "What is it you've found, Skaara?" and looks around for his robe, or anything, because even under the furs it's cold, and he hasn't exactly shucked off all of his repressed western modesty yet.
Skaara says, "There is a room in the pyramid in which writings cover the walls. They are like the symbols that decorate the Stargate."
Sha'uri sings in Abydonian, "My heart bares itself instantly, at the memory of your love. It does not let me walk like a person, it has strayed from its shelter." Daniel pulls himself from the warmth of the bed and crosses the room to kiss her shoulder, just because she's there. He's still marveling at that, just a little, but mostly he's already thinking about a room covered with Gate symbols, and just what that could mean.
"Let me find my robes," he says to Skaara.
Sha'uri doesn't turn from her cooking to help him look. She sings, "It does not let me put on a dress, I cannot even wrap my scarf, no kohl can be put on my eye, I am not anointed with oil."
Daniel finds his robes and slips them on, then crouches behind Sha'uri, wraps his arms around her, buries his face in her perfumed hair. She smells like lotus and myrrh, though this world has neither. He whispers, "I'm in support of any plan that involves you not putting on a dress."
She smiles, covers his wrist with one of her hands and reaches back with the other to stroke his shaggy hair. He kisses her neck and lingers there, with her wrapped in his arms and the heat of her warming him as if from the inside. She falls into humming, loses her rhythm in a sigh of contentment, and seems to forget the song.
"I'll be back by midday," he says, with his mouth against the salty-smooth place where her shoulder meets her neck. "We can share the meal."
She says, "Don't forget you have promised Hadj your help with the well." Her fingers squeeze his wrist again, and then she returns to stirring the pot. She hums a few bars until she finds her song again.
Daniel gathers a few things he'll need -- notebook, pens, a few references. His mind has already left the room; he's thinking about what Skaara might have found. He's thinking about the Stargate, and Jack O'Neill, and how nice it would be to have central heating and coffee.
Sha'uri sings, "Don't make people say of me, 'she is a woman fallen by love.' Be firm each time you remember him; my heart, do not stray."
Daniel steps out after Skaara; he does not return at midday, and he does not come back to the city to help Hadj with the well. Skaara returns alone well after sundown, to fetch supplies; he stops by Sha'uri's house and says that they will stay the night in the pyramid.
Daniel thinks that the Stargate may connect to many worlds, Skaara tells her.
Sha'uri joins her father for the evening meal, sits quietly and watches the stars; she hums, but only in her head, and feels that something too brief is already ending. In the morning, she will go to the pyramid to fetch her husband.
Across the desert, in the pyramid, Skaara returns to find Daniel standing in front of the buried Gate, regarding it intently.
Skaara says, "Danyel? What are you doing?"
When Daniel turns, Skaara can see that the first stone is already in his hands. "Give me a hand, Skaara," he says. Daniel hasn't thought too deeply on what unburying the Gate will mean; if he did, he wouldn't be able to do it. He tosses one stone aside, and lifts another.
They spend the night shifting rocks away from the Gate. Daniel sings-hums-mutters under his breath while he works, and doesn't realize that he's singing one of the old songs, an ancient ode to the might of Ra.