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"Do you have a room for me and... my mate?" Martouf asked. "Just for tonight. It is raining outside now."

He was glad to have gotten inside. It had started to rain now, and both he and Samantha were wet.

"We do." The inn keeper looked at the still unconscious Sam, that Martouf was carrying. "Is she sick?" He gave her a worried glance.

"It is not contagious, so you need not fear. She suffers from..." Martouf tried to think of something suitable. "A type of falling sickness, which causes her to suffers fatigue, and sometimes confusion after she has had an episode. She should be well again tomorrow."

"I am sad to hear your house has been cursed with this. Have you prayed and offered gifts to Lord Khnum? Or perhaps to our great Lord Bastet?"

"Of course. We are on our way to the large temple in the city near the Ring of the Gods," Martouf said, hoping this planet was like most, in this area. "The local priests suggested this was our best hope."

The innkeeper nodded. "Indeed it is. It pleases me greatly to meet young people who respects the gods. Please, come. We have a room for you."

"Thank you. I have this necklace... will that be payment enough?" Martouf held out one of the cheapest pieces of jewelry he had brought.

The innkeeper looked pleased. "Yes. That would be most acceptable. It will pay for our best room, dinner, breakfast, and a lunch sack for you tomorrow! It is a long journey you have set out on!"

Sam yawned mightily and stretched luxuriously. Then she suddenly froze and opened her eyes. "Osiris!" She sat up in bed and looked around, frowning. "Where am I?" she said in a low voice.

The room was fairly large, with whitewashed walls and wooden furnitures. It was not luxuriously decorated, but it was clean and fresh. The light of the morning sun was streaming through the gauzy curtains drawn before the two windows.

Beside her, in the wide bed, Martouf sleepily opened his eyes. He smiled at Sam. "Good morning, Samantha. We are at an inn in a small town on the world of Ro'ahok." He gave her a searching look. "Are you feeling well, Samantha?"

Sam stared at him with her mouth slightly agape. "Martouf!" She reached out her hand and touched him on the shoulder. "You're real! How can you be real? And here?"

"It is, as Jacob would say, a long story," Martouf said. "How much do you remember from the escape?"

Sam slowly shook her head. "The last I remember... is being Osiris's prisoner." She wrinkled her brow. "I was in a holding cell... I think they gave me some sort of drug..." She nodded to herself. "Yes, they definitely did."

"That is correct. You were... confused, when we found you. You actually became unconscious almost immediately after."

"Wait... I think that I'd like to get dressed before hearing the rest, and then I'd really like to know how you can be here, alive... and in my bed."

"Of course." Martouf gave her a charming smile. "You need not be concerned, though - we have not done anything except sleeping."

Sam nodded and smiled at him. "I didn't think we had. I know you well enough... and not just from Jolinar, that I know you would never take advantage of me being drugged."

"Thank you, Samantha." Martouf looked relieved that she trusted him. "I will turn around while you get out of bed and get dressed. I do remember that the Tau'ri are more... modest, than the Tok'ra."

"Well... I don't know how much point there is in that." Sam saw that she was wearing only underwear and a thin nightgown. "It looks like you've already seen me in very little."

"It had started to rain and you were wet. I could not let you sleep in wet clothes, could I?" Martouf defended himself, an innocent smile on his face.

"Good excuse." Sam shrugged. "Not that I mind that much anyway. I'm pretty used to changing clothes around men, being a woman in the Air Force."

Martouf started explaining how he came to be alive, and be there with her, while they washed and dressed.

Sam sat down on the bed, and for a moment she just sat there in silence, and let all she had heard sink in. Then she looked up and at Martouf, who was sitting on a chair nearby.

"Wow! I don't know what to say!" She shook her head. "Regardless, thank you for saving me." She smiled at him.

"Of course, Samantha. We are very relieved we were able to do so."

Sam nodded. "Another thing... I want you to know that I am very happy you're alive and well. Both of you. I was... I thought you were dead, or would die..." She shook her head again and quickly wiped away a tear. "I honestly never thought I'd see you again."

Martouf got up from his chair and went to sit down beside Sam. He took one of her hands in one of his. "I am right here with you, Samantha. Alive and well. We both are."

She squeezed his hand. "I know." She smiled at him,wiping away another tear that threatened to fall, then looked at their joined hands. She suddenly entwined her fingers with his. "I... um, just remembered the desert. When we first met."

He nodded. "I was... confused, then. Sad, and grieving Rosha and Jolinar. Thinking about the fact that I would never see either of them again. At the same time I was grateful to you for bringing us information of what had happened to our mates. Grateful that you came to us, and even suggested your father as a host, after what had happened to you..."

"I felt guilty for bringing you such sad news," Sam told him. "And I was also confused, unsure of what was me and what was Jolinar." She sighed. "Unsure of what I felt and what I felt because of Jolinar... What I felt... feel, for you, I guess..."

Martouf made a sharp intake of breath and turned to her, and their eyes met. "Samantha?" He hesitated, then leaned towards her, with the intention of kissing her. However, before he could do so there was a knock on the door. Martouf sighed and let go of Sam's hand. "Yes? Who is it?" He got up to go and answer the door.

"We have breakfast ready for you," a voice said from outside.

Martouf opened the door. "Thank you. That is most welcome."

The woman outside, whom Martouf recognized as the innkeepers wife, smiled friendly at him and then looked past him at Sam. "Is your beautiful wife feeling better today?"

"Yes, thank you. She is much improved," Martouf said. "We will be down in a moment."

"Good, it pleases me to hear. We were worried for her. See you soon!" She left.

"Your 'wife'?" Sam wondered, when the door had closed after the woman.

Martouf got a bashful expression. "Yes, we had to explain your presence with me, and no other excuse seemed acceptable. The people of this world would not understand you travelling with me otherwise, nor let us share a room. And that seemed to be the safest choice." He gave her a charming smile. "I hope you do not think our motives were ulterior in any way."

Sam rolled her eyes at him, but she smiled. "I guess that does make sense. So I'll let you get off the hook. This time."

"It may be safest if we continue to pretend to be mates for the remainder of this journey. This planet is rather conservative in their views of interactions between men and women," Martouf said, stepping out of the door, then waiting outside for her.

Sam followed, not commenting, but thinking about how she felt about having to pretend to be Martouf and Lantash's wife for the next several days. She found she did not mind. At all.

They had left the inn some time ago, and were walking along the road in the direction of the Stargate.

The weather was quite nice after the night's rain. The sky was almost clear, and the sun was shining. It was not yet very warm, but it was also not too cold. The road was even, and they kept up a good speed. Martouf estimated it would be another six days journey or so, before they got to the Stargate.

Sometimes they chatted about this and that, and some of the time they walked in companionable silence. If it was not for the fact that they were currently stranded on a Goa'uld world, and that the situation could potentially get dangerous, then Sam would happily admit that she could not have wished for a more enjoyable way to pass the time. She was getting along great with Martouf and Lantash, and they had the opportunity to talk and learn about each other - something she had wanted for a long time.

They had taken a short break to eat some of the food from the lunch pack, and were now on their way again.

"According to what they told us at the inn, we should reach another town in maybe two or three hours. It is apparently a little larger than the two villages we have passed through, and there should be an inn or a guesthouse there. That should be a suitable place to spend the night," Martouf said.

"Hm?" Sam looked at him, from where she was walking beside him. "Sorry, I was not paying attention."

"It is of no matter. What were you thinking?"

Sam blushed. "Um... merely... that I am starting to remember something... about yesterday."

"Ah. Samantha, you have no reason for concern. You were drugged and so not yourself."

"Oh, god! What did I say - or do?" She looked horrified.

Martouf shook his head. "You did nothing wrong. You were just... confused. You very doubtful that Lantash and I were real, and not hallucinations."

Sam sighed and shook her head. "I think I do remember some of that. I'm sorry."

"As I said; think nothing of it."

"You were wearing different clothing when you freed me, right?" She looked searchingly at him. "Something Egyptian, right?"

Martouf nodded. "Yes, I did."

"Because you were pretending to be a minor Goa'uld, working for Osiris. Yes, you told me." Sam gave him a wry smile. "It looked a little strange on you, I remember that. Unusual, but I think I sort of liked it. Some of it, at least." She blushed again. "Not that what you're wearing now doesn't look good on you. Sort of... medieval hip, I guess." She grinned and admired the fairly tight leggings he was wearing, and the shirt which he had not buttoned up all the way - meaning part of his chest was visible. She enjoyed the sight.

"Thank you... I think." Martouf smiled. "I do not know what 'medieval hip' means..."

Sam laughed. "I don't think anyone does." She sobered. "But I meant it as a compliment."

Martouf nodded. He was silent for some time. "Samantha... despite the situation we're currently finding ourselves in... Lantash and I must admit we are very much enjoying spending time with you here."

"Likewise. It's really nice having time to just talk and... just relax, I guess. I mean, the weather is nice, so it's actually pleasant to walk here." Sam frowned. "Though I guess I feel a bit guilty. The others, my dad, my teammates, they all think I'm Osiris's prisoner. I'm sorry I can't somehow communicate to them that I'm safe. That we are safe."

"Unfortunately, the communications system on the Alkesh was too damaged for us to repair quickly."

"I understand." She sighed. She looked at the sky, listened to the birds singing, and then glanced to Martouf. She smiled happily.

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