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Martouf woke to Samantha caressing his chest and running her hands down over his stomach. The early morning light streamed through the window.

He smiled, then saw her serious expression. "What is it, beloved? You are not regretting what we did tonight, I hope?" He looked worriedly at her.

Sam shook her head. "No, of course not. Never!" She placed a kiss on his chest. "I was just thinking of what happened... back then, at the signing of the treaty..."

"When I turned out to be a zatarc."

"Yes." She ran her hand over his chest. "I had terrible nightmares... of shooting you. Of you lying there, dying. For a long time that was all I saw when I closed my eyes."

"I am sorry." Martouf took her hand and squeezed it. "I am here now. Lantash and I are both well. I hope that will help you forget what happened."

Sam sighed. "It helps. It also helps that there are no obvious reminders. You have no scars. There are no marks or indications of you ever being shot..." She shook her head again. "Remarkable."

"Lantash is a good healer, and he also had help. Two Tok'ra healers worked with their healing devices. As for scars? No, that is one of the gifts a symbiote bestows on its host. There are never scars. Everything heals completely."

"It's impressive!" Sam frowned. "Though... Apophis... he had scars... so did Bynarr."

Martouf nodded. "Both were the result of Sokar adding certain drugs to the wounds when he had inflicted them. It is an extra humiliation for a Goa'uld to have a damaged host. It is taken by others to mean they are too weak to heal their host properly. Regardless, in time the drug would have been neutralized, and the effect gone. Then the wounds would heal completely and the scars disappear - and Bynarr would then have been able to regrow the lost eye."

"I see. I guess that makes sense." She sighed. "I must admit I wanted any pain and humiliation possible on Bynarr. I will never forgive him."

"Nor will I. My only regret from his death is that I was not the one to kill him," Martouf said somberly.

He pulled her close and they lay there together until a knock on the door indicated breakfast was ready and it was time to get up.


After they had eaten breakfast, they bought food for the day's journey, packed their bags, and left.

"In a way, I would like to have stayed longer here. It was a nice room, and the baths were wonderful, but there are still three days journey to the Stargate and I'm sure Dad and my teammates are worried," Sam observed, as they walked along the dusty road.

"I enjoyed the stay here very much as well, especially mating with you, Samantha. I look forward to doing that again soon," Lantash said, with a naughty glint in his eyes. He sighed. "Though I suppose you are correct. Jacob and the others are worrying, and we should return as quickly as possible."

He took her hand, and entwined his fingers with hers. Like that, they continued walking along the road. The weather was still pleasant, and it was completely peaceful, with no other sounds being heard than their own foot falls and the birds in the sky singing.


"What do you say we eat lunch there?" Sam pointed. "It's a perfect spot for a picnic."

Martouf looked at the green grass under the trees, and the porling stream that ran nearby. It looked very pleasant. "I agree... assuming 'picnic' means what I think it does."

"It just means... an excursion at which a meal is eaten outdoors, I guess. With a picnic basket and a blanket. Usually in a pretty place, like this - particularly if it's a... romantic occasion." She smiled at him. "Which I suppose this may be considered to be... actually, why don't we think of it as a date? I haven't been on one of those since... I can't even remember when!"

"I do not know what 'date' is, except a specific time of the year. We do have a blanket, though no basket - and I would most certainly like to consider this a 'romantic' occasion." He smiled.

Sam grinned. "A date can have an extra meaning on Earth - as an... agreement to go out with another person. Usually someone you have a romantic interest in. It can have other meanings too, but that's the one I meant."

Martouf nodded. "I understand. Thank you for explaining. Yes, let us have a romantic picnic here." He kissed her warmly.


It was several hours later when they finally continued their journey. It had been very enjoyable to sit together and eat and drink a bottle of fruit wine Martouf had bought. Afterwards they had sat together, and then lain together and snuggled and talked and kissed.

Because of this, it was quite late when they eventually reached a town that had an inn, where they could sleep for the night.

After a simple, but filling meal, they went directly to bed.


"The weather is fortunately nice today too. I'd hate to have to walk the rest of the way soaked from rain, or something," Sam said, when they were again out on the road and walking towards the Stargate.

"I agree. It is mid-summer, I think." Martouf looked at the sky. "There are more clouds in the sky today. I do not believe it will rain today, though. We should reach the large city by the chaapa'ai by tomorrow evening. Let us hope the weather will remain pleasant until then."

"The landscape has changed somewhat. There are more trees here, and there's what looks like a mountain range over there." She pointed. "The whole terrain is getting more rocky too."

"Yes. I believe this planet has some naquadah mines, and also some gold mines. Many of the people near the chaapa'ai are working in them, though there are also agriculture. The Goa'uld vassal of this world, Khnum, probably has his palace near the chaapa'ai."

Sam got an unhappy look. "Do you think he's here? On the planet, I mean. You said you didn't think he was here all the time."

"This is a minor, unimportant planet. It will not have a Goa'uld presence except a few weeks or months of the year, at most."

"So unless we're unlucky, we won't meet any Goa'uld."

"Exactly, nor many Jaffa." He frowned. "However, given that Bastet is Khnum's overlord, there will likely be a Jaffa presence by the chaapa'ai, guarding it, all year. She is one of the more paranoid Goa'uld."

"So, how do we escape?" Sam asked.

"There are probably some traders passing by now and then. However, the safest solution is that I - or rather Lantash - pretends to be a Goa'uld, with you being my lo'tar."

"Okay. I guess you know these things better than I."


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