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4. Sam's House

Sam sighed as she looked at all the many things they had bought - groceries and clothes and other things. She could not remember the last time she had bought this much.

"Well, let's get all of this into the house, and then we can eat," she said.

"You are weary after a long day, Samantha. Please, allow me to carry our purchases into the house."

She smiled. "That's very sweet of you, but I'm not that tired. Let's help each other get the stuff inside, and then we can eat."

They quickly took everything inside, leaving the bags with clothes in the hallway and bringing the food into the kitchen.

"Where is your stasis storage?" Martouf asked.

"My what?"

"For storing the food so it won't spoil."

"Ah. We don't have stasis fields, Martouf. I have a fridge... refrigerator and a freezer. Both will keep the food cooled down - the freezer more than the refrigerator."

"Thus slowing down the spoilage of the food." He nodded. "A less than perfect solution, but with no access to stasis, I realize it is the best available."

Sam looked taken aback. "Right! We're obviously inferior to the Tok'ra!"

Martouf shook his head. "I am sorry. That was not what I meant at all. Your people have become very advanced, and you have done so on your own. It is impressive. Were your people not as advanced as you are, I would not have assumed you might have stasis technology."

Sam sighed and smiled at him. "You have nothing to apologize for. I'm just tired - and to be honest, going to this High School Reunion must have unnerved me more than I thought." She opened the refrigerator. "This refrigerator - or 'fridge' for short - is for perishable stuff that should not be frozen. Milk, butter, cold cuts, cheese - that sort of thing."

Martouf nodded. "I understand."

"Good, if you take care of putting stuff in the fridge, I'll put the rest of the stuff away. Then it won't take long before we can get to our pizzas!"

They worked quickly, and soon all the food was on the shelves, in the refrigerator, or in the freezer.

"Where do you keep your plates?" Martouf asked.

"Here." Sam opened a cupboard to show him. "But we don't need them for pizza - it's usually just eaten out of the box. With your hands."

"I see I have much to learn about proper Tau'ri behaviour. Hopefully, me accompanying you to this 'High School Reunion' will not cause problems for you."

"Don't worry, I'm sure you'll do fine." Sam smiled at him. "Do you want coke with your pizza? I know you don't like Diet, so I bought regular too."

"I only remember trying 'Diet Coke' as you call it. I do not believe I have tried 'regular Coke'," Martouf said, carefully.

"They don't taste very differently, but 'regular' is made with sugar and the other with a type of artificial sweetener." Sam grabbed the two bottles. "Why don't you just try it?"

"I will." Martouf smiled, picking up the pizza boxes. He weighed them in his hands. "This seems like a lot of food for us."

"Three pizzas - and yes, we're only going to eat some of it. I wanted you to try a couple variants. We can always save the rest for tomorrow. I like cold pizza." She grinned.

"That is good, because I believe this dish is no longer very warm."

She shrugged. "Do you want me to reheat it?"

He shook his head. "No, that will not be necessary."

"Where do you want to sit? Couch?" Sam gestured at it, across the room from her open kitchen. "Or we can sit in the dining room if you prefer?"

Martouf looked around the place with interest. "Your home is very large, and there are clearly many places to sit. Since we are eating the food without use of utensils, I see less reason for sitting upright at a table. The couch will probably be a comfortable choice."

"Great!" Sam smiled and walked over to the sofa table, with Martouf following. She put the bottles down on the table. "I'll just go grab some glasses."

Martouf put the boxes down and stepped over to the fireplace that was located in front of the couch.

He and Lantash were very fascinated by this chance to see her home, and found almost everything interesting. Curious, Martouf picked up one of the books from a shelf that was sitting above the fireplace, and opened it, then replaced it when Lantash called his attention to several framed photographs. He looked at them one at a time, then picked up one.

"Ah, that's me and my brother - and my mom and dad," Sam said, seeing what he was looking at.

Martouf nodded. "Yes. Jacob has this... photograph also, and I have seen it previously. It is a lovely picture."

Sam smiled, looking at the photo. "Thank you. I'm very fond of it. It... represents a happy time." She turned around and put the glasses down on the table. "Come - let's eat before the pizzas are completely cold."

"Of course." He smiled, a little embarrassed. "Everything here is fascinating and very different from what I am used to. I apologize if I am intruding"

"You're not. Not at all. My house isn't very large or particularly interesting, but if you want to, I can show you around when we've eaten?" Sam suggested, as she sat down in the couch.

"I would like that, thank you," Martouf said, sitting down beside her. He dipped his head, giving Lantash control.


"Lantash," Sam said, turning towards him. "Hi. It's been awhile since I talked to you."

He nodded. "Since I am not allowed to take control when we are somewhere we may be overheard by the general population of your world, Martouf and I decided that I would be in control much of the time when we are in private. Do you mind?" He looked at her, searchingly.

"Of course not!" Sam said. "I like talking to both of you."

"Good." He looked relieved.

"So - which of the pizzas would you like to try first? This one's made with seafood - shrimps and mussels." She pointed at one of the pizzas. "That one is topped with pepperoni, which is a type of slightly smoky, salty sausage. The third one is just cheese, tomato sauce, and basil. All of them have cheese and tomato sauce, by the way."

"I think I tried the one with just cheese and tomatoes for the 'team movie night'." Lantash picked up a slice from the nearest box, which happened to be the one with pepperoni. "Pizza is flat bread with cheese, tomato sauce, and various other ingredients?"

"Yeah, I guess that's a reasonable description, even though not all pizza has tomatoes. Or cheese." Sam grinned sheepishly. "So, what do you think of that one?"

Lantash took a bite of the pizza and chewed it slowly. Then he took another bite. "The sausage slices... the pepperoni, is a bit too salty for my taste, but otherwise it is good." He frowned. "The sausage also contains various chemicals which are unhealthy, Samantha."

"Well, it's not something you should eat often, but as an occasional treat it's fine, I think." She grabbed some pepperoni pizza and ate it. "A guilty pleasure, I guess."

Lantash looked puzzled for a moment, then smiled. "Ah, I understand. Yes, we all have those." He ate the rest of the slice, then picked up a piece of the one with seafood. He studied it for a moment, then took a bite.

"Good?" Sam asked.

"It is. Better than the 'pepperoni'. I like it."

"Okay, great! Try some of this too!"" Sam opened the bottle with regular cola and poured some of it into Lantash's glass, then opened the diet cola and poured that into her own glass.

Lantash picked up the glass and studied the dark, sparkling drink for a few moments before he took a tentative sip. "In many ways it resembles the drink I tried previously, the 'Diet Coke', though it does not have the strangely bitter aftertaste that one had. Still, it is a unique taste."

"Uniquely bad or uniquely good?" Sam grinned.

"Probably it is an... an acquired taste. Like coffee." He smiled.

She snorted. "Dad said that?"

He nodded. "He did, yes."

"Why am I not surprised! Well, there's some beer, and water, of course, if you don't like the Coke... Coca Cola. That's the brand name, by the way."

"I know. Daniel explained it last time, when I tried the 'Diet Coke'." He took another drink from the cola. "It is not an unpleasant taste." He decided. "Perhaps a bit too sweet, but acceptable in smaller quantities."

"What does Martouf think?" Sam asked.

"He likes it. He also likes the seafood pizza, but agrees with me on the pepperoni pizza, in case you were wondering." Lantash gave her a wry grin, then ate the rest of his slice of seafood pizza, before reaching for the cheese and tomato one, taking care to only touch the slice where there was dry crust. He bit into the food and chewed it slowly, before swallowing. "I like this one best."

"Well, I guess I get to have all the pepperoni pizza I want, then." Sam smiled. "There's a water cooler over by the kitchen - I know you don't like the chlorine taste of our tap water," she said, when she noticed Lantash had emptied his glass.

"Thank you, but I believe I would like more of the cola."

"Sure." Sam poured more for him. "Drink as much as you like. I prefer the taste of Diet Coke."

Lantash nodded. "Thank you." He drank some, then took another bite of his pizza slice before leaning back in the sofa and looking around the room. "Martouf and I are very grateful for this opportunity to see your home, Samantha." He smiled. "And in particular to spend time with you - and for once not on a dangerous mission."

"True, we have rarely been able to spend time together, talk together, outside of a mission. Which more often than not ended up including life-or-death situations. Part of our life, I guess." She looked at him, and smiled. "I'm happy that's not why we're together this time."

"If I may ask; what do you usually do in your spare time?" Lantash wondered.

"Spare time?" Sam laughed. "I don't have much of that, but when I do, I usually spend the time in my lab, studying some gadget we've found before it's shipped off to Area 51 - or working on one of my research projects. I rarely go on vacation, and the rare times I go home to my house, here, I read or watch a movie. Or work on something I brought home on my computer. Oh, and sometimes we have team nights, of course. We get together, watch a movie, eat pizza - or barbecue. Like the team night you went to."

"I see. Then your life is perhaps not so different from the one we live among the Tok'ra. We, too, work most of the time. When we do take time to relax, we spend the time with friends, playing games, talking, sometimes drinking beer or wine." He hesitated. "We have not done so as much during the last several years, as we did before, while..."

"While Jolinar was alive." Sam guessed.

"Yes," Lantash agreed, somberly. "We have started to do so again, however." He smiled, briefly. "Our friends try to get us to participate, and we have found ourselves saying yes more often."

"That's good." Sam put a hand on his knee and smiled. "I know Jolinar would want you to enjoy your life, and be happy."

"I know that too." He put his hand over hers and squeezed it softly. "But thank you for telling me. It is still nice to hear it confirmed."

Sam nodded. "Of course." They sat like that for some moments, before she slowly withdrew her hand and gestured at the table. "Would you like more to eat?"

Lantash considered it. "Yes, maybe one more slice." He took some more of the cheese-tomato pizza.

When they had eaten as much as they wanted, they put the rest of the pizza and cola away in the refrigerator.

"Let's take the stuff we bought for you to the spare bedroom, then you can see that first," Sam suggested.

"Certainly." Lantash followed her to where they had left the bags, in the corridor just inside the front door.

They grabbed a few bags each, and went to the spare bedroom Sam had.

"It's fairly small - and so is the bed," Sam told him when she opened the door and turned on the light. "And the air is a bit stuffy, so let me just open a window." She dumped the bags in an armchair that stood to the left of the bed.

Lantash looked around the room with interested while Sam opened the window. "I do not find the room small. It is not much smaller than a standard Tok'ra room - though there is usually a small bathroom attached to those."

"Well, there's one next door. It's only got a shower, not a bathtub, though. If you prefer to use that, I've got a bigger bathroom downstairs, I just usually prefer the one up here to having to walk down the stairs."

"I do enjoy having an actual bath from time to time instead of just a shower, so I may take advantage of the bathroom downstairs at some point. Thank you."

"Use whichever one you want." Sam looked around the room, then pointed at a closet. "There's towels in there, as well as extra pillows - and an extra blanket, though I doubt it will get cold enough for that. It's pretty warm outside even now."

Lantash nodded. "I agree."

"Okay, come on - let me show you the rest of the place, then."

"That's it," Sam said, when they had finished the short - or not so short, as Lantash had kept asking questions - tour of the house."

"This is your office?" Lantash asked.

"Yes. I spend most of what little time I am home in here."

"You have many books - and very many... computers," he observed. "That is the word you use for these, correct?" He touched one of the monitors.

"Well, that one is just a monitor, a display, but it's connected to a computer." She pointed to it. "You've got computers among the Tok'ra, I know you do."

"We do, but we use a different word - and unless it is a small hand held device, the display is often... holographic."

Sam nodded. "I know. We don't have that technology, at least not anywhere near the level you do. I have this many computers because I like running various simulations and models, and the computing power of one of our computers is normally not enough to do it fast enough to be useful."

"Perhaps one more thing the Tok'ra can help you with. Better computers."

"That would definitely be great." She smiled. "So, do you want to see the rooms downstairs, too?"

"There is an underground complex under the house, and not just a bathroom?" Lantash looked surprised.

Sam laughed. "Not quite. There are fewer rooms than on this floor - basically just a corridor, the bathroom, two small rooms I'm not using, and a large room that's currently a combined workshop and storage room. Oh, and there's a small room - or more like a closet with a large box - for storing firewood for my fireplaces. Which I don't really use, but they're there."

"Perhaps, if Martouf and I visit you during winter time, we could build a fire. I am certain it would be, ah, nice and cozy." He looked at her with a hopeful - and somewhat mischievous - smile.

"I..." She did not know how to respond at first, then she smiled at him. "Yes, I agree. It would. Uh, did you want to see the basement?"

"Certainly." Pleased with her response, Lantash smiled widely, and followed her.

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