Daniel wasn’t expecting to see Jack ever again. Not after the botched rebellion attempt. Not after watching his execution.
Ra had been almost thorough in erasing all traces of the “ones who would defy their god.” If Ra had erased all traces of rebellion, Daniel still wouldn’t be alive. Now, there was nothing left of Jack, Sam and Teal’c; nothing but the legacy that he was carrying on; nothing but that and the memories.
The memories were what made it so difficult. There were many times he would turn over in his bed expecting to see Jack there right beside him. Facing the empty spot left a crushing feeling inside that was incredibly hard to shake off. Katep had been worried for him. A lot of people in the camp were.
But he managed to make it through and coped by keeping the rebellion alive; after all, it was Jack’s initial idea and it was all that was left of Jack in this ancient world. Daniel was determined to make the rebellion work.
Then, out of the blue, Jack came back; and, of all days, on the anniversary of his death. And he had Sam and Teal'c in tow.
Though it wasn’t exactly Jack; it was an alternate Jack, one from a much different future, one where the SGC didn’t exist, where the stargate still wasn’t found.
This Jack had his eye on Sam.
Daniel didn’t know which was harder: knowing that his Jack was dead, or seeing this new Jack with Sam.
He was vaguely starting to wish Ra had finished him off.
Daniel never thought of himself as cynical or jealous, but he was starting to get sick and tired of Jack and Sam’s little displays of affection. They could never know it, and he knew they didn’t mean anything by it, but it was like salt on the wound.
And it was even worse now because Sam and Jack, as well Teal’c, were now living in Daniel’s tent. Katep had been very good to give them shelter while the rebellion was planned, but as it was over now and Daniel hadn’t wanted them to impose on Katep any longer; the man deserved to have his tent back without any crashers there.
Daniel tried to spend a lot of time away from the tent when he could. Once he’d taught lessons there for the day, he was wandering about the camp, helping out when he could or spending time with Haket, the stone carver, and learning from him.
Meals were the part of the day Daniel had come to dread. Jack and Sam were practically glued together at the hip and stealing glance at one another when the other wasn’t looking
He’d become quieter and more withdrawn since Jack, Sam and Teal’c had come back from the future. He’d taken great care to not sit beside Jack during meals; he didn’t need to slip and do something that would cause problems. He’d tried sitting beside Katep, who seemed to decide that dining with them was more preferable, but all the questions had made him feel irritable. His place around the fire changed every day until he started sitting beside Teal’c.
Teal’c didn’t ask the questions that just made him want to lash out. It was the companionable silence of two men lost in personal introspection but aware of one another’s presence.
Sam was of the opinion that they were the thinkers and you didn’t bother them unless you needed an answer to a question. Jack had unhelpfully supplied the comment that if Daniel and Teal’c were the thinkers, then he and she must have been the brawn. Sam had snorted with laughter. Daniel had sighed in exasperation. And then Teal’c had looked away from the fire to give Jack and Sam a reproachful look, one reserved for misbehaving children.
Jack and Sam subsided after that and Daniel was glad. When he looked over at Teal’c, he found he was being regarded thoughtfully. Then Teal’c had inclined his head slightly before turning his attention back to his meal. The silence was back and Daniel didn’t feel quite so miserable.
His appetite was still suffering. Jack and Sam might have eased up on the snarky commentary, but it was hard to sit there and be in Jack’s presence, acting like nothing had ever happened. Their relationship was a fading ghost that Daniel refused to let go of.
And that refusal to let go was slowly killing him.
“Aren’t you going to eat?”
Daniel glanced up to find Jack watching him, with the look of a concerned best friend. “I’m not really hungry.”
“You should eat you know.” Jack pressed.
“Yeah Daniel; you haven’t been eating much for a good while now.” Sam chimed in.
“You’re never hungry,” Jack added accusingly. “Eat something would ya? I don’t want her to start griping about you again.”
Daniel closed his eyes for a moment, blocking out the sound of their intimate banter. His appetite was completely gone now. He rose; ignoring their questioning looks, slid his hood on and walked off towards a faraway sand dune.
The sun was starting to set, bathing the sand in warm orange light. He sat down at the top of a dune, staring out into the vast expanse of desert before him. Twilight came and went, and night had just settled in when the crackle of fires could be heard, along with voices raised in song and dance.
It was a good bit longer before he heard the sound of feet against the sand, coming his way. Daniel didn’t bother to look back and see who it was. A few minutes later, Teal’c sat down quietly beside him. It was a few minutes before Teal’c spoke.
“You do not wish to join in the celebration?”
Daniel started to reply but paused for a split second as Sam’s delighted snort of laughter reached him. “I’d rather not.”
Teal’c didn’t say anything after that, simply making himself more comfortable. The sound of rustling came now and when Daniel glanced over, he saw a small pouch of dates on the ground between them. Teal’c nudged the bag towards him and Daniel took a few, eating them slowly.
“You missed Amhert’s formal announcement.” Teal’c stated.
“So that’s what they’re celebrating,” Daniel replied a moment later; was Teal’c trying to make small talk? “Did he finally ask for Shufi’s hand?”
“He did. She accepted.” Teal’c paused for a moment. “She was happy.”
“I imagine she would be,” Daniel said dryly. “She’s been trying to get his attention for the past two years.”
Teal’c gave a small smile for a moment. “You have been here a long time.”
“Seven years; and six of those were spent planning a rebellion.”
“It was a most impressive plan given your resources.”
“Thanks…” Daniel said slowly. “Look, don’t take this the wrong way, but… why are you so… chatty now?”
“Talking to me. This is the most you’ve ever said to me consecutively in one year.”
Teal’c didn’t say anything for a moment. “There is much we can learn from one another.”
“And?” Daniel pressed.
“We were friends in a different time. Can we not be friends now?”
That took Daniel by surprise. “It’s not the same; I don’t know you and you don’t know me.”
“Do people not become friends by learning about one another?”
Daniel chuckled softly at that. “You have me there Teal’c. Why not?”
“Thank you DanielJackson.”
Daniel looked at him sharply for a moment. Teal’c eyebrow lifted questioningly. Daniel felt a broad smile coming to his face.
“Or maybe I do know more about you than you do about me.” He finally said.
“A grievous situation that should be changed immediately.” Teal’c’s face was still perfectly sober.
For the first time in a long while, Daniel laughed. “I agree.”
Teal’c’s company was the perfect foil to Jack and Sam. When Daniel wasn’t teaching the youngsters, doing various things to help out, or spending time with Haket, he was with Teal’c. The quiet Jaffa had grown more talkative, but only around Daniel. When Jack and Sam were in the room, he lapsed back into his usual silence. Jack and Sam seemed puzzled by it but didn’t raise an argument.
Daniel wasn’t about to argue with that. He and Teal’c got along more than well. Teal’c English was becoming more relaxed and Daniel’s command of Goa’uld became much more fluent. Daniel showed Teal’c the pain-free way to ride a camel. Teal’c had then taught Daniel his morning exercise routine. It was now not uncommon for the two of them to be up before dawn doing the routine just a bit away from camp, where the ship of the Ancients had been once.
In fact, today was the day of Amhert’s union to Shufi. The entire camp was abuzz with excitement. The union was supposed to take place before sunset and then a celebration afterwards. Daniel was sitting outside Haket’s tent, watching the figure of an antelope appear from the sandstone under the man’s skilled, if not crabbed, hands. He’d started learning how to carve the soft rock as a hobby. Though, to do details, as needed for his current project, he needed to wear his glasses. When a shadow fell over him, he looked up to find Teal’c standing there.
“Hi,” Daniel lowered his glasses a bit and squinted up at Teal’c. “What have you been doing today?”
“Training the children. They requested it,” Teal’c sat down. “The parents seem to think it is a good idea.”
“It probably is,” Daniel murmured, turning his attention back to the almost finished carving in his hand. “There’s Hittites and Hysokos to the north and north east, Nubians to the south, Bedouins to that roam the desert… Egypt was always… is always a target.”
“Then I have made use of myself.”
“Everyone pulls their weight,” Daniel frowned for a moment, looking at the carving before he gently blew away some dust. “I figure it’ll be a matter of time before Jack and Sam become surrogate parents for some of the orphans.” He glanced back as Haket rose from his seat and disappeared into his tent before returning to the work in his hand; that was not odd behaviour at all for Haket.
“Do you expect her and JackO’Neill to have a union?”
Daniel hadn’t been prepared for that question and he didn’t reply for a moment. “I suppose they will. It’s only a matter of time.”
Teal’c didn’t say anything for a moment. “I have upset you.”
“No, it’s all right. I haven’t been handling it very well, that’s all.”
“You hoped to be with SamanthaCarter again?”
Daniel found himself momentarily bemused by the soft tone of disappointment in Teal’c voice.
“Oh… um…” Daniel paused for a moment. “It wasn’t her.”
There was an odd moment of comfortable awkwardness. Daniel had finally said it and it was out there. But he didn’t have the urge to flee or die of embarrassment.
“You were close?”
“Very,” Daniel replied. “Can I ask you something?”
“Did Apophis have rules about…”
Teal’c watched Daniel for a second. “Bedding males?”
“It was forbidden for unmarried men who did not serve. Men who were part of his army were allowed.”
“Why? Why that in particular?”
“One may serve on a ha’tac or be away from one’s wife for long periods of time. It is better to allow it to happen than to ban it and create problems.”
“So, as long as you were in the army, you could sleep around?”
“Yeah, sleep around. Coitus, intercourse…” Daniel paused at the blank look on Teal’c face. “Have sex.”
“It is so,” Teal’c affirmed. “If I may ask you something?”
Teal’c hesitated for a moment; he seemed a bit unsure. “My son Ry’ac…”
“He grew up to be a fine young man, just like his father,” Daniel stated quietly. “He got married… that didn’t sit too well with you at first.”
“At what age?” Teal’c asked.
“He was nineteen.”
A deep frown came to Teal'c’s face and Daniel couldn’t help but laugh.
“Yeah, that’s the expression you had when you found out.”
“That is no age for marriage.”
“Well, you two worked out your differences, though the practice union didn’t go so well. Bra’tac was glad for it afterwards.”
“That Ry’ac and I worked out our differences?”
“That there was a practice union. I think Bra’tac knew you two would work it out.” Daniel didn’t speak for a moment. “You would have been proud of him.”
Teal’c didn’t speak for a moment. “And of Drey’auc?”
“You never went into the details, but apparently you and she had a falling out of some kind.”
“But she was still alive?”
“Yes,” Daniel watched Teal’c for a moment. “Though she died eventually. Did something happen to her in your time?”
Teal’c didn’t speak for a moment, his face hardening slightly. “Her and Fro’tac… Apophis decreed adultery punishable by death.”
Daniel didn’t say anything, but placed a hand on Teal’c shoulder in a gesture of wordless sympathy and understanding.
“In your time?” Teal’c asked a few minutes later.
“When you left Apophis to join us, you were labelled shol’va,” Daniel could feel Teal’c’s muscle tense as a flinch passed through Teal’c. “She remarried Fro’tac and he ended up betraying us.”
“Perhaps there is such a thing as fate…” Teal’c mused.
“Maybe,” Daniel finally moved his hand from Teal’c shoulder, earning a momentary glance from the Jaffa. “What happened to me? I was expecting to see myself.”
“I was forced to shoot you.”
“Shoot me? Well, obviously it killed me. And at least it wasn’t Jack…” Daniel muttered. “Why?”
“Apophis implanted you with a goa’uld in order to obtain information that you would not relinquish willingly to him.”
“Are you kidding?” Daniel asked.
“I am not.” Teal’c replied, sounding vaguely puzzled.
“I really am goa’uld bait.” Daniel grumbled.
“Goa’uld bait?” Teal’c echoed.
“I think all goa’uld system lords have a thing for torturing me.”
“Surely it cannot be that bad.” Teal’c had a small smile of amusement on his face.
“Oh yes it can. You’d think I have some sort of… I don’t know, bad karma or the like.”
“Then take heart in the fact that there is no longer a goa’uld here on the planet.”
“Oh, there still is.” Daniel replied conversationally.
Daniel nodded. “Seth. Don’t worry; Sam will kill him about a thousand years from now.”
“And she will shoot him?”
“It not so much shooting as it is that she crushes him… with a ribbon device.” Daniel paused and Teal’c arched an eyebrow. “She sorta had one for a bit.”
“Sorta?” Teal’c echoed a bit sceptically.
“Long story there and it involves the Tok’ra.”
They are not just myth?”
“Oh no, they’re real; and very good at what they do.”
“There you two are!”
Daniel looked up to see Jack striding over. He glanced at Teal’c to find his seated companion studying the sculpture in his hands.
“Been looking everywhere for ya,” Jack said as he came to a halt. “Do we need to bring anything to this party after the wedding?”
“You don’t have to; most people will be presenting their gifts to the couple a few days after… once everything’s back to normal.”
“What are you bringing?” Jack asked, peering at Daniel’s hands curiously.
Daniel held it up on the palm his hand. It was a miniature elephant, trunk curled up in a playful manner. The only thing marring it was the two holes on opposing sides of its mouth.
“Yes, an elephant,” Daniel began. “They symbolise strength, fidelity and long life. Seems like an appropriate thing to give a new couple.”
“Oh,” Jack was scrutinising the elephant with a speculative look in his eyes. “Nice, but he’s missing something.”
“I know. I can’t seem to find the tusks. And I had them here a moment ago as well too. Real ivory…” Daniel frowned as he started looking around.
“I believe these are them Daniel.”
Daniel looked over to find two small carven tusks held on Teal’c palm.
“Thanks Teal’c.” Daniel gave him a warm smile.
Teal’c smiled back and inclined his head slightly. Daniel picked up on, fitting the tusk into the hole with a twist before he did the same with the other. He polished the smooth surface with the hem of his robe sleeve. Then he turned the elephant onto its back, belly facing up towards the sun. Daniel bent over it, working very carefully for a few minutes before he drew back with a satisfied expression. Teal’c looked over, an eyebrow raised slightly.
“You have misspelled your name.”
“No, I just left the vowels out of our names and put in apostrophes,” Daniel chuckled. “If they ever find this one day, they’ll go absolutely nuts. A carved elephant with English letters on the bottom from ancient Egypt.”
Teal’c smiled for a moment. “You did not need to include my name as well.”
“You helped; I’d probably be looking all over for those tusks for the rest of the afternoon.”
“Did you two want a moment alone?” Jack asked a bit sarcastically as he looked between them. “I mean, I absolutely have to stay here.”
Teal’c shot Jack a look and Daniel coughed politely.
“No, that’s all right,” Daniel placed the small elephant in a safe spot and stood up, beating the rock dust from his robes. “Was that all you want, to know if you have to bring something?”
“Sam wanted you guys,” Jack motioned with his head. “C’mon.”
Jack was already striding away when Daniel offered a hand to Teal’c. Teal’c took it, pulling himself to his feet with a quick smile. Daniel couldn’t help but smile back.
“Teal’c?” Daniel hissed into the dark.
“I am here Daniel.” Teal’c shadowy figure rose from the bed. “What is it?”
Daniel made shushing noises as Jack grunted. Sam stirred in her sleep, sniffling as she flung an arm out to land on Jack’s face. Daniel motioned for Teal’c to meet him outside. The early morning desert air was chilly and Daniel shivered a bit, crossing his arms and sticking his hands in his armpits. When a rustle came from behind him, he saw Teal’c’s large figure, bearing something draped over his arm.
“What is it that you wished me for?” Teal’c’s voice was soft.
“This way.” Daniel whispered as he started walking out of the camp.
They walked for a good bit, close to where they did their usual morning exercises. When Daniel stopped, Teal’c looked at him quizzically. Daniel pointed up at the still star-studded sky.
“See there? That blue star just beside Sirius, that really bright one?”
“I see it.”
“I think that’s Chulak.”
Teal’c looked at Daniel like he had been stung. “Chulak?”
“I think it is,” Daniel amended hastily; Teal’c had seemed a bit depressed since Amhert and Shufi’s union. “I remember looking over star charts before and I picked up a bit of astronomy from Sam. I realised if I could account for the loss of a thousand years of stellar drift, some planets just might be visible. Turns out Chulak is one of them.”
“Chulak…” Teal’c echoed. “I assume you know the address?”
Daniel didn’t reply for a moment. When he did, it was very softly. “You can’t go Teal’c. If the future is to pass, we can’t do anything but stay here.”
Teal’c didn’t say anything for a long moment before he snapped out the extra large blanket and sat down, still looking up at the sky.
“Come,” Teal’c finally said. “It is cold out.”
Daniel hurried over, slipping under the blanket gratefully. “I didn’t mean to make you more miserable,” he began. “But you looked so homesick and I hoped this would help.”
“It has made it worse,” Teal’c admitted. “But at the same time, it helps. I may not be able to go back to my planet but I can at least see it.”
Daniel nodded his head. “Sorry. I guess I should have done something else.”
“This ‘something’ is quite appropriate,” Teal’c replied in a gentle tone. “And I am very appreciative of it.”
Daniel nodded his head, pulling the blanket around him closer. “Doesn’t mean we can’t guess what’s going on there.”
“Our guesses would be very erroneous Daniel.”
“So? Do you think Apophis would be wearing that horrid gold snake head?”
Teal’c chuckled. “Indeed he would be.”
Daniel grinned and then looked up to the sky in mock horror. “Isn’t this the point where the all-knowing Apophis would strike me down for blasphemy?”
“If Ra can be destroyed, then Apophis certainly can,” Teal’c gave a wry grin. “A dead false god would have no means of retribution.”
“We ended up ticking off a lot of system lords.”
“That is a very inconsequential fact that must bring you great amusement.”
“Shows that much, huh?”
Daniel looked over at Teal’c seeing an unmistakeable glint in those brown eyes from the starlight. He couldn’t help but snicker a bit.
“Was that sarcasm?”
Teal’c gave a light shrug, but still had that same expression in his eyes that made Daniel laugh again. When he finally stopped he moved in closer, pulling the blanket in a bit more. They sat in companionable silence, looking at the blue dot that was Chulak and waiting for the sun to rise.
“Hey Daniel, you in here?”
“Yeah, come on in Jack.” Daniel called a bit absently as he looked over his new things.
Jack stepped in, looking like he had to pick his way across a minefield. “Don’t tell me you got this all when you were in Luxor.”
“All right, I didn’t,” Daniel replied as he organised his styluses and hammers.
“What’s it all for?”
“Carving, polishing –”
“Weren’t you teaching?”
“Yes, but Haket’s getting old now. His hands are pretty much crippled from arthritis. I’ve been learning from him for the past seven years. It’s about time I got my own tools instead of scavenging off his.”
“Yeah. And when Ra’s Jaffa were still here before I could bolt, it was that much easier to bend and grovel since I was already hunched over something.”
Jack frowned at that. “You seriously didn’t, did you?”
Daniel elected to not answer that. “So, why are you calling?”
“Well, Sam’s having a talk with Dasra about… girl stuff, and I figured I could talk with you.”
Daniel didn’t blame him for that. Dasra was a mother of three that Sam had become best friends with. The kids were probably off somewhere and if Jack had stayed, he would have bored out of his mind. “About?”
Jack shrugged his shoulders as he sat down. “I don’t know… something or other. I see Teal'c’s not around.”
“No, he’s teaching at the moment. Ever since that attack three weeks ago on another camp, the parents have been sending their kids to learn how to fight properly. Better safe than sorry,”
Jack nodded his head and Daniel ploughed on, still arranging his tools.
“Besides, they’re still cha’tii and are still having some trouble with the bashaak. But they’re making great progress; they’re just soaking up everything that Teal’c is teaching them.”
“You know, it‘s a good thing I’ve been picking up words,” Jack muttered to himself. “You and Teal’c have been… together a lot.”
“I enjoy his company. We had a nice discussion about the differences between Chulak and Egypt when we went to the market for trade. If I’d ask you to go with me, you’d’ve been bored out of your skull.”
“Sam might have wanted to go.” Jack stated a bit defensively.
“Dasra…” Daniel said simply.
“Right,” Jack didn’t say anything for a moment. “But you and Teal’c have been together a lot.”
Jack drawled the word in such a way that Daniel paused and looked up at jack. Jack was rubbing the back of his neck with a blasé expression. Daniel recognised this; Jack was very uncomfortable.
“Are you two…” Jack began, trailing off for a moment.
Daniel looked at him puzzled for a moment. But then the tent flaps opened once again and a scraggly thirteen year old stood there.
“Master Teal’c needs your help Master Daniel.”
“Thank you Rashwet; tell Master Teal’c,” he made his voice playful. “That I’ll be along shortly.”
Rashwet nodded his head with a quick grin and then ran off. Daniel shook his head with a chuckle.
“Well, they must really not be listening today,” Daniel rose. “Was it important, what you wanted to ask me?”
Jack rose and shook his head, leaving the tent. Daniel watched him for a moment before he quickly bundled up his tools. He paused and grabbed his own bashaak as he hurried out of the tent. When he reached the area, Teal’c was waiting, surround by a flock of students, bashaak in their hands.
“I am grateful you could come.” Teal’c inclined his head slightly.
“What can I help you with?” Daniel asked, looking around as he adjusted his grip on his bashaak.
Teal’c simply stood there looking impassive. Daniel looked at him before he looked at the students, shrugging his shoulders. The students giggled, but it was followed by a startled gasp. Daniel turned to see Teal’c coming at him, the bashaak moving in low to knock him from his feet. Daniel took a few quick hasty steps backwards, blocking and deflecting the blow. Teal’c immediately recovered, bringing the top portion down with a powerful swing. Daniel sidestepped quickly, twisting his bashaak so he caught Teal'c square across the butt before dancing away out of reach of both arm and bashaak. Teal'c straightened up amidst peals of laughter from the students, watching Daniel with an amused but vaguely peeved expression on his face. Daniel simply leaned against his bashaak, trying to not smirk.
“What did you notice about this?” Teal'c asked, looking at the students suddenly.
“Master Daniel was much faster than you, Master Teal’c,” a slight girl in the front of the crowd piped up. “And he was able to neutralise your attack.”
“Correct Maphet,” Teal'c surveyed the students. “What else?”
“You weigh many more stone than him,” Rashwet chimed in. “Weight doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win.”
“He used your momentum against you,” the boy beside Maphet added.
“Don’t think Master Daniel was supposed to smack Master Teal'c on the bottom.” Rashwet cracked.
“That’s because Master Daniel was showing off!” Maphet replied with a toss of her head. “Obviously they are both equally matched.”
“I don’t know about that,” the boy beside Maphet mused.
“Tefu, you don’t know a lot of things.” Maphet retorted.
Tefu glared at Maphet. “Better to ask questions and learn than to assume in arrogance.”
Maphet glared at him, looking ready to spit fire. However, one word from Teal'c was all that was needed.
“Enough!” Teal'c barked.
All the students jumped, turning to look at Teal'c a bit guiltily. Teal'c was wearing his most impressive frown and Daniel opted to remain silent, though he would have to keep an eye on Maphet and Tefu. Those two were just turning thirteen and it seemed like they’d fight over the smallest thing.
“You are all correct,” Teal'c began slowly as he started pacing in front of them. “On all the relevant points. This is the lesson you had trouble visualising. I believe it makes more sense when seen in action?”
The students nodded their heads in unison, with sounds of affirmation. Teal'c seemed appeased at that and he nodded his head.
“Then you may leave for the day. Tomorrow, we shall be learning about throws.”
The students started walking away, chattering excitedly. Once they were gone, Teal'c turned to look at Daniel.
“It would seem that you are implementing moves from our morning exercise.”
“I am.” Daniel had to bite his lower lip from saying anything else. That had been very amusing.
Teal'c watched him for a moment. “It does not help the lesson when you do such things.”
“All right,” Daniel conceded. “I thought it might make it more enjoyable.”
Teal'c raised an eyebrow with a slightly arch expression. “Learning is not about enjoyment.”
“But it might make things easier on you…” Daniel trailed off for a moment, thinking. “I have an idea.”
“Will this idea require radical change?” Teal'c asked a moment later, his tone somewhat wary.
“I wouldn’t really call it radical…” Daniel began.
Double lessons turned out to be a great success. Both Daniel and Teal'c taught the general lessons, including language, history and culture, as well as the fighting lessons. At the end of the day, a vast majority of the kids in the camp were babbling on about what they learned and the parents were glad to have some time completely to themselves.
Daniel and Teal'c usually spent more time together, coming up with solid lesson plans. This Daniel didn’t mind in the slightest; in fact, Jack was the very last thing on his mind. If Jack was happy with Sam, so be it; Daniel was quite happy with this new direction his life had taken. Teal'c seemed quite pleased as well, and it wasn’t uncommon for them to stay up late by the fire talking, long after Jack and Sam went in the tent to sleep.
But the one thing neither of them noticed was Jack and Sam paying discreet attention to them.
“Daniel?” Sam’s quiet voice broke into the quiet conversation that he was having with Teal'c.
“Hm? Yes?” he asked looking at her.
“Me and Jack were thinking… maybe we should get a tent of our own… you know, move out.”
“Move out? Why?” Daniel asked.
“We don’t really want to impose any more. Besides, we’re sorta…um… ready for it.”
“Oh well then,” Daniel began. “I’m sure if you talk to the chief, he’ll be more than happy to give you a hand.”
“That’s a good idea, thanks,” Sam replied with a grin. “I was thinking you’d, you know, object or something.”
“Why would I?” Daniel paused as he looked around the tent with his brow furrowing; there were two people missing from their small circle. “Where’re Jack and Katep?”
“They’re off talking about something.” Sam shrugged as she turned back to her lentils and flatbread. “I have no idea about what.”
Daniel nodded his head, still watching Sam. “Are you both sure you don’t want to stay here?”
“Yes; besides, you two are bachelors, and me and Jack are… um… er…” Sam trailed off, her face turning red.
“Together?” Teal'c supplied.
“Yes,” Sam said in a small voice. “We meant to tell you sooner, but –”
“This isn’t exactly news Sam,” Daniel interrupted.
“It isn’t?” Sam gawked at him.
“We could tell from a long time ago,” Daniel scratched his chin in innocence. “Besides… you two were in that Ancient ship for an awfully long time.”
“It is as Daniel says,” Teal'c began. “The relationship between you and JackO’Neill is quite obvious to see.”
“Oh. You weren’t… uncomfortable, were you?” Sam looked between them.
“Not at all,” Daniel replied. “It didn’t take much getting used to.”
Teal’c gave a very quiet and dry cough that had him reaching for the waterskin and cup. When Daniel glanced at him, there was a very sombre expression on his face. Daniel knew better than to believe that; Teal'c was gulping down that water much quicker than normal.
“So, what really prompted this decision to move?” Daniel asked, ignoring Teal’c’s wordless jibe.
Sam looked around for a moment before she looked back at Daniel and Teal'c. “Well, I don’t want to jinx it, but I think he might ask soon.”
Teal’c drained his cup and placed it down before speaking. “Ask?”
“Yeah, ask; just like Amhert asked Shufi!” Sam grinned at them.
“But, you’re not getting married right away, are you?” Daniel pressed.
“No. Maybe two months from now. Why?”
“Good. I’ll need time to carve your wedding present.”
“Are you going to make us an elephant?”
Daniel shrugged with an enigmatic smile. “Don’t know yet.”
Sam lapsed into silence, but sat there fidgeting with her lentils and flatbread. After a bit she rose, claiming she was going to find Jack before she practically bolted from the tent. Daniel shook his head with a chuckle as he turned his full attention back to his meal.
“You are truly undisturbed by this?” Teal'c asked a moment later.
“I am,” Daniel replied. “I think I just needed something to distract me from reminiscing too much.”
Teal'c bowed his head. “Then it is good you have moved on.”
Daniel started, hearing an odd inflection behind the words. “Moved on? What do you mean ‘moved on’?”
“That you are no longer pining over JackO’Neill,” Teal'c gave Daniel a curious look. “To what do you refer to?”
“Nothing…” Daniel replied slowly. “I wasn’t too sure what you were referring to.”
Teal'c bowed his head slightly. “I did not wish to cause confusion,” he paused for a moment. “Do you not wish to settle down once more?”
“Well, yeah, it’d be nice,” Daniel scratched the back of his head for a moment; that odd inflection in Teal'c voice was back. “I’m not exactly rushing into it though.”
“So long as you are happy Daniel. That is what matters.”
Daniel watched as Teal'c went back to his meal. That inflection was back again, and he couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. And the use of the word ‘happy’… Teal'c only used simple adjectives like that when he was concerned; he was usually much more eloquent than that. Unsure of how to reply, Daniel decided it was best to start paying full attention to his own dinner.
Once the news broke and Jack had formally asked Sam to marry him, all hell had broken loose. After all, they were part of the group responsible for driving away Ra and keeping the stargate.
The preparations were going full tilt and frequently, Daniel and Teal'c found the tent inundated with a bevy of women, aromatic oils and cloth. And they were frequently driven away from the tent amid much yelling and smacks.
So Daniel had taken to spending all his spare time at Haket’s tent, painstakingly carving a wedding present for Jack and Sam. Teal'c was with him, watching and learning as well, just as Daniel had learned from Haket himself.
But Daniel liked it best when it was just him and Teal'c, sitting in the shade and working. The quiet conversation, the jokes, the wordless stretches where they conveyed everything with looks and touches… Daniel much preferred that to the chaos that was now his tent.
Daniel and Teal'c never realised that Jack and Sam still watched them, utterly convinced that they were doing the right thing by moving out.
“Daniel, I don’t think I can do it.” Sam wheezed with her head between her knees.
“Yes, you can,” Daniel sat down beside her. “You weren’t this nervous two months ago. In fact, you were downright giddy.”
“That was two months ago… oh God…”
Daniel watched as she huffed and puffed, trying to stave off hyperventilation. He rubbed her back soothingly until she brought her head back up, gazing uneasily at the entrance to the tent.
“There’s nothing to worry about,” Daniel continued. “How is it different from any other day?”
“I’m getting married!” Sam wheezed before she rose and started pacing. “It’s still not too late… maybe I can postpone it and –”
“And crush Jack? He’s been on cloud nine since you agreed to marry him. Unless you tell him something like Ra’s back, I doubt he’ll take it well.”
“But I’m sure he’ll understand…” Sam wrung her hands, eyes flitting about and resting on the entrance frequently. “Why is it smaller in here?”
“Sam!” Daniel rose and went over to her, placing his hands on her shoulders. He also made sure to stand between her and the exit. “You don’t have to worry. You look amazing and Jack would be an idiot to stand you up.”
Sam gave a wan smile. “Thanks… but did this dress really have to be blue?”
“It suits you,” Daniel replied glibly, while fighting the urge to smirk. “You look amazing.”
Sam nodded a bit absently as she smoothed imaginary wrinkles from the cloth. “If you say so.”
“I’m sure Jack will say the same –”
Daniel was cut off as Dasra flitted into the tent.
“The chief’s almost ready now,” Dasra began. “Everything has been done?”
Daniel wandered to the tent entrance and looked out as Dasra and Sam started talking hurriedly. There was quite a crowd milling about outside, enjoying the cooling desert air. The chief stood directly in the middle between Daniel’s tent and the one Jack was preparing in. The tent that would become Jack and Sam’s new home lay directly in front of the chief, a good few paces away. That was one aspect of the ceremony that Daniel liked; the couple walked out and met each other as equals. And they walked to their new home as equals. No ‘groom waiting at the altar’, no ‘giving the bride away’; the father was there, yes, but the bride was free to choose who she wanted and so didn’t need that transference. It was very different from Western rituals where –
Just as Daniel was smacked for blocking the entrance, he noticed a flicker coming from the tent Jack was in. He turned around to find Dasra glaring at him.
“Do you wish to bring bad luck on her? She should not be late for her own union!”
Daniel didn’t even get a word in edgewise as Dasra pushed him aside and urged Sam outside. Once Sam had taken a deep breath and stepped outside, both he and Dasra followed, slipping into the crowd at different spots. Once Daniel had found a spot close to the chief, Teal'c slipped in beside him.
They watched the ceremony in silence, the chief’s words the only ones heard. And when it was all over, Jack dipped Sam for a showy kiss amid much cheering. It didn’t take much longer for the party to get into full swing. Daniel barely had a moment to give them a carved stargate before they were swept away by a crowd of celebrants. He’d found a wineskin and slipped behind a tent, breathing a sigh of relief. It was good to get away from the loud stream of voices. He’d just opened the wineskin and was tilting it back when he heard someone coming in his direction. He had half-risen from his seat when he recognised the silhouette.
“Oh, Teal'c,” Daniel sat back down and drank a bit of wine. “Trying to get a moment of peace and quiet?”
“Indeed. The celebration is most boisterous.”
“The whole camp will have a hangover in the morning,” Daniel chuckled. “And we’ll be the only two with perfectly clear heads.”
“Quite so,” Teal'c didn’t speak for a moment. “I would present you with something.”
Daniel, who had been taking another drink from the wineskin, paused before he lowered it uncertainly. “Present?”
Teal'c nodded his head as he reached into a fold of his robe. Daniel practically goggled when Teal'c brought out a carved alabaster snake, head resting on its tail and threaded on a leather thong. And when he looked up at Teal'c, there was an expression in the Jaffa’s eyes, like Jack used to get before he died.
“Teal'c?!” Daniel said hoarsely in disbelief.
“With your permission,” Teal'c finally said softly, his head bowed deeply as he rested it on Daniel’s hand. “I shall leave you to your thoughts.”
Daniel was absolutely flabbergasted as Teal'c rose and disappeared behind the corner of the tent. The alabaster snake rested on his palm, warming up with his body heat.
He knew what that short exchange had really been all about. He’d just gotten a courting present from Teal'c. From Teal'c. Teal'c.
He’d antagonised system lords, Ascended, Descended, spoke 23 languages and was a linguist.
And he honestly had no idea of what to say.
Teal'c had been awfully quiet the past few weeks. He and Daniel went through their normal routine, with no mention of Teal'c offer. In fact, if it weren’t for the alabaster snake as a reminder, Daniel would have thought it had never really happened.
He was seen frequently regarding it thoughtfully when Teal'c wasn’t around.
It took him a long while to reach a decision. After all, what if it all went wrong and blew up in his face somehow? Just what would change and how? Slipping that leather thong over head had seemed incredibly hard and nerve wracking.
It was even harder to go through the day and not be entirely self-conscious.
Teal’c had noticed it a week after he started wearing it, when they were running the students through drills. His eyes had rested on the snake, gleaming faintly in the sunlight, for a moment longer than usual. Then his attention had been called away by Maphet and Tefu’s fighting yet again.
Jack and Sam had taken to visiting them for dinner at least twice a week. And they noticed what Daniel was now wearing. Sam was hard pressed to not say something, and Jack not to gloat. They knew exactly what it meant as well.
Daniel was tired. The day was particularly hot and his patience was none existent. He’d had a horrible night’s sleep. And now, to top it all off, Maphet and Tefu seemed intent on actually killing each other today. He’d broken up one too many impromptu sparring sessions in the past week. They were running through drills now, and already he could see it starting up again. Tefu would deliberately swing his bashaak wide in an attempt to swipe Maphet’s head. Maphet would jab hers, aiming for Tefu’s soft spots. And it would continue escalating until they were fighting one another tooth and nail. Their squabbling had become so bad that it was adversely affecting the others around them. He’d had enough.
“Teal'c,” Daniel whispered softly. “Would you take the other students for a moment?”
Teal'c eyes rested on Maphet and Tefu for a split second before he nodded his head. Daniel watched as he called out a few curt instructions and the rest of the students followed after him; all but Maphet and Tefu. A few students looked back at the curiously, but kept pace. Before long it was just Daniel and the two left.
Maphet and Tefu stood close together, sullen expressions on their faces, as they pointedly didn’t look at one another. United in their animosity; it would have been vaguely amusing if Daniel was so mad at them.
“May I ask what you two have been doing?” he asked softly.
“Practicing as you and Master Teal'c instructed us to.” Tefu replied.
Maphet nodded her head vaguely and Daniel gave them a chilly look.
“You know what I mean.”
Both Maphet and Tefu remained stonily silent. Daniel pressed his lips together in anger.
“Whatever feud you two have, it ends now.”
“Master Daniel,” Maphet began.
“Don’t,” Daniel cut her off in a tight voice. “If you can’t work together in practice, what do you think will happen when you need to work together in battle? That’s not the time to wonder if you can trust one another.”
“Who says I’ll be with this one?” Maphet muttered in a nasty tone.
“Do you think I would want to?” Tefu retorted.
Maphet’s face contorted. “Mikta!”
“Hasshak!” Tefu spat.
“Enough!” Daniel roared. “Both of you, leave now!”
Maphet and Tefu look shocked by this and started protesting vigorously.
“Now!” Daniel yelled. “And don’t come back until you’ve solved this problem of yours! Because if you come back and still pull this stunt, you can bet I won’t both teaching you!”
“Master Teal'c will –” Maphet began hesitantly.
“Neither will Teal'c!”
Maphet and Tefu looked stricken at that and when Daniel pointed for them to leave, they slunk away looking cowed. Once they were gone, he sighed heavily and rubbed his face briskly. This was for the best; those two needed to solve whatever issue it was between them. He felt absolutely drained now and not really up for teaching at all. But he wasn’t about to leave Teal'c watching all those students when they had agreed to share in the work.
It took him a bit longer to compose himself and head in the direction that Teal'c had led the others. When he went to stand beside Teal'c, he could see the students trying to focus on what they were doing and trying to look at him at the same time. He could feel Teal'c looking at him, but when he glanced at Teal'c, the other man’s face was impassive.
The rest of the day seemed to drag on, filled with all the students looking at him and Teal'c questioningly. By the time Daniel stepped back into his tent, he felt weary to the bone. It was then that Teal'c finally spoke.
“You were correct in your assumption that I would not teach them again.”
“I think the whole camp knows that now,” Daniel groaned in relief as he sat down on his bed. “They could probably hear me all the way down at Abu Simbel and Khartoum.”
“Your voice did indeed carry far.” Teal'c commented as he stripped off his dusty robes.
Daniel watched as Teal'c painstakingly looked for another one, same as always. Though now, Daniel was paying more attention to the play of muscles on Teal'c back rather than his robe selection. When Teal'c was finally done, he rose slowly and pulled it on over his head. Daniel felt disappointed to see the smooth expanse of skin vanish beneath cloth.
“Daniel, did you wish to speak to me of something?”
“Hm? Oh no,” Daniel replied hastily, fingering the alabaster absently. “It’s all right.”
“Does my gift displease you?” Teal'c asked as he came over and sat down beside Daniel.
“No; it’s quite nice actually,” Daniel gave a quick smile. “I’m just… tense, that’s all.”
Teal'c seemed pleased with this response. “I would give you my second gift, if you would receive it.”
Daniel had to admit, his curiosity was now piqued. “What is it?”
“Do you accept it?” Teal'c asked.
“Yes.” Daniel found himself grinning at the slight smile that came to Teal'c face.
“Then I require that you strip.”
Both of Daniel’s eyebrows shot up. “What?”
“I require that you strip.” Teal'c repeated.
“Okay…” Daniel said slowly. “And then what?”
“You must lie down on your back,” Teal'c paused. “Are you having second thoughts Daniel?”
“No; I was just thinking… this ranks as one of the saner requests that I’ve fulfilled.”
Teal'c smiled once more and stood, heading for a small closed chest by his bed. He seemed to be taking his time with whatever it was, so Daniel quickly pulled off his robes and shoes and lay down on his back, trying to not shiver as his skin tingled in the cool air.
Teal'c rose a few minutes later but he didn’t go straight to Daniel. He went to the tent entrance and made sure the cloth was folded over and weighed down with a stone from the inside. Doing that was akin to not answering the phone and pretending to not be home; no one would be disturbing them. Daniel couldn’t stop the flutter of nervousness as Teal'c now came over, a carved stone jar of… something in his hand. When Teal'c sat down, Daniel’s stomach gave a gurgle.
“Maybe this should wait until after dinner?” Daniel suggested, feeling like it was very after the fact.
“It would be best to do this now,” Teal'c said as he poured what turned out to be oil onto his hand. “Tension is best relieved immediately.”
Daniel watched as Teal'c rubbed his hands together, his mind immediately supplying a number of scenarios and methods that equally relieved stress.
“Why am I the only one naked here?” he mused a bit plaintively.
“Would it please you if I removed an article of clothing?”
Daniel didn’t reply to that. Teal'c didn’t say anything as he picked up one of Daniel’s feet, massaging it. Daniel let out a long and low sigh as Teal'c’s hand moved in slow, powerful strokes. The tension there vanished instantly and Daniel felt himself start to relax.
Teal'c was very thorough. He started on Daniel’s feet and worked his way up the legs, concentrating on the thighs and hips, along the chest to the shoulders and neck. By this point, Daniel was breathing a bit more heavily and was beginning to feel arousal snaking it way rapidly to his groin. Once Teal'c’s hand left his body, Daniel didn’t need to be told. He rolled over onto stomach, stretching languidly. There came an odd sound from Teal'c, almost like a growl, that made Daniel look back at him; he found Teal'c studiously pouring more oil onto his hand. Once Teal'c’s hands started on the backs of his ankles, he almost started purring.
“So,” Daniel started. He felt the need to make small talk and distract himself from his growing erection. “Is the second gift usually something so… physical?”
“Indeed it is,” Teal'c had moved onto the calves with a smooth rolling motion that made Daniel’s toes want to curl. “It is so that trust may be established.”
“Trust,” Daniel echoed quietly. “Fear and indoctrination don’t make for much trust, do they?”
“No, they do not,” Teal'c murmured. “To be naked before your malshok shows great trust.”
Daniel didn’t reply for a moment. Teal'c had moved onto Daniel’s thighs and Daniel’s brain sank into a moment of pure pleasure.
“I would imagine,” he finally replied drowsily. “But doesn’t the malshok receive something similar in turn?”
Teal'c didn’t speak for a moment. “I too am deriving great pleasure from this.”
“Ooooooh.” Daniel moaned.
Teal'c’s hands had moved up to Daniel’s ass, and were moving in slow strokes that went deep. Daniel could feel his cock harden in anticipation as Teal’c’s hands worked. He couldn’t help but wonder if this was the same way that Teal'c made love. With smooth powerful strokes, as if he meant to lay claim on the very soul and never let go. The rhythmic pull and release of skin was erotic, and Daniel was starting to feel like he would burst if something didn’t happen.
When Teal'c’s hands finally made their way to his neck, Daniel rolled onto his side, erection jutting out. There was undisguised desire in Teal'c’s eyes and Daniel capitalised on it. He reached up, wrapped a hand around the back of Teal'c’s neck and pulled him in for a kiss. It was only a few minutes later that Teal'c’s robe went flying to land somewhere, forgotten for the night.
Life had become blissful. Classes were running smoothly. After two weeks, Maphet and Tefu had sorted out their little feud and were working together.
But Daniel’s absolute favourite time of day was when it was just him and Teal'c after dinner. Teal'c last layer of defence dropped completely when it was just the two of them; Daniel was the only one privy to the sight of emotions plain to see on Teal'c’s face. They spent a lot of that time talking and basking in one another’s company. Other times, they closed their tent, sometimes early, and had blistering hot sex that usually left Daniel biting on a rag to muffle his loud cries.
Jack and Sam noted this after dinner withdrawal as well. Though, they were a bit put out that four days a week, they were barred from spending time with Daniel and Teal'c.
“So Sam just walks up to the camel and then –”
“Daniel, I must speak with you.”
Daniel looked up from Jack’s tale to see Teal'c standing just inside the shaded tent entrance. He and Jack had been sitting outside, talking and enjoying the cool night air. Teal'c had gone off to do something; Daniel didn’t know what and he didn’t want to press Teal'c, as he seemed very distracted lately. He nodded his head and rose, giving Jack an apologetic look. He hurried after Teal'c, following him.
They had been together for five years now, approaching six. He and Teal'c didn’t really teach any more, and had taken up carving full time. Their students were now teaching the new brood of kids in the camp. Maphet and Tefu had married and already had one child. Even Jack and Sam had a child and were expecting number two.
Teal'c walked a good distance away from the camp before he stopped. Daniel could already tell that whatever he had to say, it wasn’t good.
“I have been conversing with the symbiote during many sessions of kelno’reem,” Teal'c began quietly.
“Has it been going well?” Daniel asked in a quiet voice.
“It has not,” Teal’c lapsed into silence for a moment. “It approaches maturity.”
Daniel felt his throat dry. “It wants to take a host.”
Teal’c nodded his head with a pensive miserable expression. “It has no desire to take me. It has not said so, but I fear it will select you.”
Daniel didn’t say anything for a long moment. It felt like his world was crumbling around him once again. There had been no warning when Jack died. They had known something bad was coming, but had no way of knowing that Ra had found out about the three of them and planned their execution.
This… Daniel didn’t know how to react to this. Teal’c would die. There was nothing that could be done about it. There were no more larval symbiotes and the one inside Teal'c was determined to take a new host. There had been a brief flare of hope at the thought of Ascension; but an innocent Jaffa with an evil goa’uld inside his belly didn’t have a chance.
“Daniel –” Teal’c began in a soft voice.
“Okay,” Daniel said, feeling numb. “How long do you think you have left?”
“A month,” Teal’c replied, looking away from Daniel. “Perhaps less.”
Daniel tried to speak but found that his throat had closed up a bit. It took him a bit longer to compose himself. “So… you want to be buried?”
The words lay heavy in the air and sounded completely odd to Daniel’s ears. Teal’c’s shoulders moved as he took a deep breath, as if steeling himself.
“I wish to be embalmed; that is the custom on Chulak.”
“For high ranking Jaffa?”
“Yes.” Teal'c finally looked back at Daniel. “Is this possible?”
Daniel wanted to say something, anything else that would just stop this scene from unfolding. He wanted something, anything to happen so he didn’t have to go through his again. He didn’t want to go through this again and didn’t think he would make it through this time.
“Daniel –” Teal'c began again.
“It is,” Daniel croaked. “When I left and was hiding from Ra… my friend in Luxor…” his voice failed after that.
“The embalmer, Helrewt.” Teal'c finished.
Daniel nodded his head as he turned away from Teal'c unable to continue looking at him. This time there would be a body. After Jack’s execution, they had cut off the head and zatted the body away. They’d done the same to Sam and Teal'c as well. But the heads were supposed to be left out on pikes as a reminder. Daniel had taken the heads and given them a proper burial. And that’s why he had to flee, to Luxor where Helrewt had incurred a life debt.
But this time, there would be a constant reminder, a tomb, not an unknown grave site. Yet again, something that he loved, cherished and held dear was taken away by the goa’uld.
“What shall we tell the others?”
“Nothing,” Daniel began hoarsely. “I can’t go through that again… the pity, the attempted compassion… and now Jack and Sam are back…” he trailed off shaking his head slowly.
He could hear the sounds of footsteps on the ground and the Teal'c’s warm presence was behind him, and those arms were wrapped around him. Daniel felt like his heart was slowly being incinerated from the inside out, and when Teal'c was gone, there would be nothing left but bitter ashes.
“Do not think Daniel,” Teal'c whispered in a fierce voice. “That I would not take the chance to grow old with you and die if I could.”
Daniel sighed as he whispered, “I know Teal'c. I know.”
Teal'c turned Daniel around. His hands came up to cup Daniel’s face and he leaned in, kissing him tenderly. Daniel closed his eyes and couldn’t stop the tears from coming. When they finally broke off, Daniel wrapped his arms tightly around Teal'c, burying his face in the Jaffa’s chest. Teal’c arms went around him again, even tighter than before. When Teal'c pulled back slightly, he looked into Daniel’s eyes.
“Tal met. Priem ta shree, tal ma.” Teal'c whispered lovingly.
“Tal mak tiak,” Daniel replied in an equally charged voice. “Tal mal arik tiak.”
Teal'c kissed him again and Daniel wanted to believe those words so much. But all that would be left of them would be memories that faded with the passage of time. Maybe legend if they were lucky enough. When Teal'c broke off this time, he pressed a kiss to Daniel’s brow before he pressed their foreheads together. They stayed like that for a long time before the chill of the desert air drove them back to their tent. Jack wasn’t there when he got back and Daniel was thankful. He had just closed the tent entrance when Teal'c fell on him again, kissing and pulling at his robes like a man possessed.
Daniel wasn’t about to start protesting this.
And during the course of the night, Teal'c whispered the same words again. All Daniel could do was give the same reply and simply hope.
Luxor was not far away now. In fact, it was only a few hours away. But Teal'c had not looked well. And so, despite thin robes and a growing wind, they made camp for the night. Darkness had fallen, Daniel had made a small fire to keep them warm for a bit. They were both huddled in front of it, Teal'c between Daniel’s legs and Daniel’s arms around him. Daniel had also brought a messenger bird with him, as a precaution, in case something like this happened. It had been sent off to Helrewt, saying to come find them outside the town in the morning along with specific instructions for afterwards.
Daniel already knew what sight would greet Helrewt. He shifted slightly, feeling the hilt of the dagger digging into his side. Teal'c had insisted Daniel bring it along as a precaution as well. They didn’t say it, but they knew what it might have to eventually do. If worst came to worst and the symbiote did take Teal'c…
“Daniel?” Teal'c groaned hoarsely.
“I’m here Teal'c, I’m here,” Daniel sat up, rubbing Teal'c chest soothingly. He could feel the tattoo of Teal'c’s heart, a bit uneven. “What is it?”
“You must remove it and kill it.”
Daniel froze at that. This was not discussed at all. “What?”
“You must kill it. I sense it growing desperate. It may take me after all.”
Daniel didn’t say anything for a moment. If that was true, then why hadn’t the symbiote just taken over? Unless Teal'c was fighting it as best he could to buy some time. Either way, the symbiote “No Teal'c, I won’t. But I’ll loosen your bandages.”
Daniel reached forward for the midsection of Teal'c robes. The bandages angered him. Teal'c had not wanted to take the chance of the symbiote attempting to possess Daniel at any point during sex. When Daniel saw that bandage, all he was reminded of was how something simple and pure had been tainted by the symbiote.
“No,” Teal'c grabbed his wrist with a shaking hand. “You must kill it.”
“I’m just going to remove your bandages,” Daniel replied, not looking into Teal'c eyes. If he looked then Teal'c would know, as would the symbiote and then it would all definitely be over.
“You must not; it will attempt to possess you.”
But even as Teal'c said the words, his hand fell away and Daniel quickly cut a slit in the robe. When Daniel went to cut the bandages, he purposely made a rough cut, not getting all the way through the fibres. There was only the crackle of the camp fire as Daniel sat back, cradling Teal'c in his arms again, lying in wait. Teal'c’s heart started beating more erratically, which just seemed to amplify Daniel’s anxiousness. Suddenly the bandages bulged, pressing the skin flaps outwards in erratic bumps as it attempted to free itself. Teal'c ground out a groan between gritted teeth, his hands gripping tightly at the sand. Daniel carefully reached forward and worked the bandages open a bit more with the tip of the dagger.
It was like seeing a twisted mockery of birth when the symbiote's head popped out from between the bandages, giving its high pitched cry of freedom and sighted prey. But its fins were caught on the bandages and it thrashed, trying to get free.
Teal'c’s eyes squeezed shut tightly and his hands clenched even harder, veins rising up. Daniel didn’t waste any more time. He seized the symbiote by the back of its head and pulled it out quickly. His other hand went to just below the symbiote’s neck and he twisted sharply. There was a soft crack sound and the symbiote sagged in his hands.
Daniel drew the dagger with a ring and quickly hacked off the head before he tossed the carcass onto the sand and buried it with a few quick kicks of his feet. Teal'c had sagged completely against him now, seeming frail and helpless. Daniel jammed the dagger back into the sheath, turning his attention back to Teal'c.
“Thank you Daniel.” Teal'c said softly.
“I didn’t hurt you did I?” Daniel asked anxiously. “You’re not in pain?”
“I am,” Teal'c’s voice started to sound laboured. “It bit its tail and poisoned me with its blood. It wanted me dead before it attempted to take you.”
Daniel didn’t reply, simply holding Teal'c tighter. If he didn’t want to leave Teal'c or let the scent of blood attract predators, he would very likely get up and stomp on the symbiote’s body until it was a bloody pulp; an entirely childish and entirely appealing impulse. Teal'c’s hand came up as he tilted his head back, petting the top of Daniel’s head with a weak hand.
“Tal met. Priem ta shree, tal ma.”
Daniel leaned in and pressed a soft kiss against Teal'c’s lips. The fire sputtered and popped as a stronger breeze kicked up. When the flames died a few seconds later, Daniel knew he wouldn’t be bothered to light it again. Already he could feel the chill settling in his body.
“Tal mal tiak,” Daniel whispered as Teal'c closed his eyes and his chest stilled, the uneven thump of his heart stopping. He laid his head to rest on Teal'c’s head, looking up at Chulak in the sky. “Tak mal arik tiak.” He finished as he closed his own eyes.