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7. Hotel

It was near 5PM when they had picked up their luggage and found transportation to the hotel Sam had booked a room at.

Since the airport was located 15 miles from downtown, and the public transportation from out there sucked badly, Sam had been forced to rent a car.

They drove the 15 miles to the city, and up to their hotel, where Sam parked the car.

"How will you return this vehicle?" Martouf wondered.

"When we go back to the airport. I rented it for the duration of the trip," Sam told him. "Come, let's grab our bags and get checked in at the hotel, then we can go find a restaurant for some dinner. How does that sound?"

"Very good. Lantash and I are quite hungry."

They exited the car and picked up all their luggage.

Inside the hotel, Martouf looked around with interest. "While not as opulent as even a minor Goa'uld palace, this is a good deal more extravagant than the style I have seen on your world otherwise. Is this common?"

"This is a fairly expensive hotel - much more so than what I would usually pick, but the others I tried were all sold out. Besides, this is actually quite close to my old High School, so there's that." Sam lowered her voice. "Please don't talk about the Goa'uld - or 'my world'. It sounds weird."

"Sorry." Martouf looked bashful.

Sam gave him a reassuring smile. "It's okay. I don't think anyone heard - just remember it, okay?"

She walked up to the reception, with Martouf following close behind her, carrying most of the luggage so she was free to talk to the receptionist.

"Hello, how may I help you?" the receptionist asked.

"Hi, I have booked a room here, for two night. It's under the name 'Samantha Carter'."

"'Samantha Carter'... just a moment while I check." The receptionist looked through the registry, taking what seemed like unusually long. Eventually he looked up. "I'm sorry, but there's been some sort of misunderstanding."

"You're not finding my reservation?" Sam asked, worried.

The receptionist took a deep breath. "I am. However, the person that accepted the reservation made an error, booking a room that is not available."

"Then can you give me a different room?" Sam said, trying her best to be patient. Getting angry at the man - who was blameless in the matter - would not help her.

"We don't have anything else." He looked through the lists. "Ah... one of our suites are available. I can give you that. Since the error was ours, you will pay the same price as you would for the room you had originally booked."

"That sounds great!" Sam said, smiling.

The receptionist worked for a few moments, and then handed Sam two keycards. "Here you go. Room 1101."

Sam took the keycards. "Thanks."

"Check-out time is at noon, and breakfast is served between 6:30AM and 11AM."

"Thank you." She considered whether she felt like going out in the city to look for a restaurant or not, and decided she did not feel like it. "Is the restaurant open for dinner right now?"

"Yes, it is. Straight ahead, then turn right." He showed her with his hand what way to go.

"Okay, great. Thanks." Sam turned to Martouf/Lantash. "Let's get our stuff to our room first." She picked up her bags.

Martouf nodded, and followed her to the nearest elevator.

"This is quite large, and fairly lavish - and there are several rooms," Martouf observed, looking around.

"Suite means that there are several rooms," Sam told him. "But yeah, it's huge - and lavish is actually a very good description." She grinned. "Seems we've been lucky!" She dropped her bags and opened the door to the next room.

"Is that the bedroom?" Martouf wondered, putting down his own bags and walking in after her.

"Yes..." Sam stared at the very large, comfortable looking bed. The single bed. "Um, I had asked for a room with two beds."

"That is a very large bed, with more than enough room for both you and I," Martouf said. He frowned. "I hope you are not concerned that I will take advantage of you. I promise you, I would never..."

"No, no," Sam said, hurriedly. "I'd never think that. You're right. There's plenty of room, and we're both adults. No reason we can't share a bed."

Martouf went to sit down on it. "It is somewhat softer than what I am used to, but I believe it is comfortable."

"I'm sure it is." Sam smiled, enjoying the sight of Martouf sitting on their shared bed. An unbidden memory from Jolinar provided her with an image of him naked, lying on a bed with a very suggestive expression on his face. She quickly pushed that thought aside. "Come on - I'm hungry."

"What would you like?" Sam asked Martouf, as they were studying the menu.

Martouf quickly looked around to ascertain that no one was nearby. "Since Lantash is not in control much on this miss... trip, we agreed that he will be picking the food most times."

Sam smiled. "Sounds reasonable. What would he like?"

"We are not well acquainted with the various dishes of your world. Would you help us choose?"

"Sure. What type of food are you interested in? I mean, there's soup, stew, roasted meat, vegetables...?"

"Lantash has a favourite dish. Roast desert fowl with some... herbs I do not know the name of in your language. Perhaps something like that?"

Sam nodded. "I remember that! I think the herbs are what we call thyme and rosemary. He likes roasted potatoes and vegetables too, right? Um, potatoes, that's, that's a kind of tuber."

"Yes, Jacob has told us that is what you call them. We call them pah'pas." He smiled. "And you are quite correct about those and the vegetables."

Sam checked the menu. "Okay, what about mushrooms? Red wine?"

"We both like those as well."

"In that case I guess you'll probably like their 'Coq Au Vin' - here, at least, that's chicken braised in red wine, with mushrooms, various vegetables, and herbs. There's thyme in it. And garlic. Not sure what else. It's served with potatoes roasted in rosemary and olive oil."

"That sounds delicious. We would very much like that."

"Great. What about a glass of wine to drink?"

He smiled. "Good idea."

The server came to their table, and Sam ordered food and wine for herself and Martouf/Lantash.

"Do you like the food?" Sam asked, when Martouf had tried the dish.

He nodded. "Yes, and so does Lantash. You made a good choice." He smiled. "How is your food?"

Sam was eating a grilled entrecôte steak with red wine sauce, steak fries, and a side salad.

"It's good." She considered the interested look he gave his food. "Do you want to taste?"

"Yes, very much. Particularly those." He pointed to the fries. "I have never seen something like that before. What is it?"

Sam smiled. "It's nothing special. It's potatoes, actually. It's quite popular here to cut them in strips or wedges, and deep-fry them." She speared one of the thick fries with her fork and held it out to him. "Careful, it's still somewhat warm."

Martouf leaned forward and took the offered food with his mouth, chewing it slowly. "It has an interesting texture," he said, when he had swallowed. "Crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. Quite different from normal potatoes, but the taste of the inner part is nonetheless the same."

She laughed. "Very thorough analysis! Did you like it?"

He nodded slowly. "I do like it, even though Lantash points out that this way of preparing it is not healthy."

"Oh, I know that. It's not something I'd usually eat, actually, but it tastes good sometimes. By the way, I'm sorry for offering you the food on my own fork."

"Why?" Martouf frowned. "I do not mind."

"It's just... we don't normally share plates or cutlery or whatever with others. At least we only do with those, um, very close to us."

"We consider you to be someone very close to us. Do you not share this sentiment?" Martouf asked, his expression guarded, clearly concerned.

"Of course I do." Sam smiled at him, then quickly picked up her glass to change the subject, and not get into precisely how close she wanted him to be. "Cheers - and thanks for coming with me."

Martouf smiled back at her and clinked his glass against hers as Jacob had shown him recently. "Cheers. I have said so already, but Lantash and I are truly grateful for this chance to see a little more of your world, and to spend time with you."

They both drank.

"Thanks. Did dad teach you about, uh, drinking cheers?" Sam cut a piece of her steak and speared it with her fork, before popping it into her mouth.

"He did, shortly after the mission to Netu. We shared a bottle of good wine from Rei'na, to celebrate, well, surviving." He sighed, clearly thinking of the mission.

"It was a hard mission. Painful." Sam reached out and touched his hand. "I'm sorry - about all of it."

"You have nothing to apologize for - nor did Jolinar." He took her hand and squeezed it.

"Are you satisfied with the food? Do you need anything else?" the server asked, surprising them both as he walked up to the table.

"Um, no, we're fine. I mean, the food is great," Sam told him.

"Yes, it is delicious," Martouf added.

"Good." The server poured more wine for them and left.

They ate in silence for a time after that.

Sam took a deep breath. "Um, so, is there anything you're wondering about? Tomorrow, I mean."

"Probably more than you can answer in the time left until then." He smiled a little. "But I believe we will be fine."

"Just remember; you're from an allied group in another country, but which one is secret, because your country doesn't acknowledge your group's right to independence."

"Or existence, if we're pretending the Goa'uld are the country and the Tok'ra the allied group," Martouf said, smiling sardonically. "But I understand what you mean, and I will keep to the story, of course."

Sam nodded and took a drink from her wine. "Good."

"Samantha, if you don't mind, would you tell us about this place, and your relation to it? The city, I mean. How long did you live here? Were you happy?"

"Oh, I don't mind. It's not the most interesting story, but sure. As you know, my dad was in the Air Force, like I am now. People like my dad tend to get sent around to different bases, and their families follow. My mom was a doctor, so she never had problems finding work wherever we went. Anyway, my dad had been stationed in the UK, and we had just returned to the US a few months before I started High School. Um, UK, that's short for the United Kingdom. It's... another country, allied with this one, the US."

Martouf nodded. "Yes, Jacob has told me some about your world."

"Well, dad got stationed at the Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, which is about 18 miles south of Kansas City, so that was why we ended up here."

"High school is between, ah, primary school and university?" Martouf asked interestedly.

"Yes, sort of. In my country there is also college, which kind of is part of university. It differs from country to country how schooling is arranged. What about you? I seem to remember that you went to some sort of university?"

"I did. We only have one type of school for 12 years, though you can pick different subjects in the later years. After that there are several options. I went on to university, and was going to study physics. However after the first year my planet, um, I mean country was attacked. Shortly after that I joined the... ah, resistance movement."

"I'm sorry your people were attacked," Sam said and caught his hand, giving it a squeeze.

"Thank you. I hope we will together succeed against our shared enemy." He caught her gaze and looked into her eyes. "Regardless, what happened also meant that I met you - and your people - something I am very grateful for."

"I'm happy for that too... and together we will succeed."

They slowly ate the rest of the food while they talked, the subjects staying lighter from then on.

"Are you any more hungry?" Sam asked. "I was thinking of getting dessert - since it's kind of a special occasion. And since they have something they call a 'Coffee-Chocolate Layer Cake with Mocha-Mascarpone Frosting'. It sounds delicious, and I'd really like to try it!

Martouf smiled. "In that case we should have dessert! Since I am not partial to coffee, I don't think that particular dessert appeals to me, but I am certain they have something else."

"Oh, they do!" Sam picked up the dessert menu which was still lying on the table. "They have a chocolate cake with fresh strawberries on top. How does that sound? Or maybe a piece of lime-cheesecake?"

"Cheese in cake sounds... unusual, but chocolate cake with strawberries sounds good."

Sam laughed. "Cheese cake doesn't usually taste like cheese - it's generally made with a type of neutrally-tasting cream cheese. It's mainly for texture."

"In that case I think I'd like to try it sometime." He smiled. "Can I have the chocolate cake with strawberries today?"

"Absolutely. I assume you don't want coffee with your dessert, so I was thinking of ordering a small glass of cognac or something for you. Would that be all right?"

"I trust you completely, you know that Samantha. Please order what you believe would be suitable."

"Great. Cognac it is, then."

When the server came to their table shortly after, Sam ordered the desserts and the drinks.

"When I return to the tunnels, I shall make sure to have some valuables transferred to you, since you are paying for everything now. The Tok'ra will refund you, of course."

"Nah, no problem. I spend most of my time on the base, when not on missions, so I use very little money normally."

"In that case, perhaps I can instead offer to take you on a... vacation trip to a place that I think you would enjoy? There are several restaurants with different kinds of food, all delicious. In my opinion, of course." He got a hopeful expression, catching her gaze and holding it.

"That sounds great! I'd like that." Sam smiled, a little embarrassed at how quickly she had agreed to a vacation on another world with Martouf. A private vacation, just the two... three of them.

Of course, they were already on such a vacation - pretending to be a couple for the reunion, no less.

She found she liked the idea. A lot.

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