[ Chapter 1: The Storm Hits | Chapter 2: Finding Shelter | Chapter 3: Safe - but Trapped | Chapter 4: The Valley | Chapter 5: Looking for Food | Chapter 6: Enjoying Each Others Company | Chapter 7: Dreams | Chapter 8: Side Effects | Chapter 9: A Way Out | Chapter 10: Going Home ]

Summary: Sam and Martouf/Lantash enjoy the pleasant evening, and each others company.

"Did we have any success?" Martouf asked, walking towards Sam, who were checking the snares.

"Yes, we captured two rabbits!" Sam held up one of the small, dead animals. "Fortunately, the snare worked as it should, so they didn't suffer. I think they were killed more or less instantly."

"The snare is supposed to work that way, yes," Martouf said. "Two rabbits... that is very lucky. We will have food for tomorrow as well."

Sam nodded. "Yes - what did you find?"

"I have picked more fruit and some more berries, all of which I have returned to the cave. I also found these tubers." He took one of them out of his bag, and held it up. "They resemble some that the Tok'ra often cook and eat."

"No kidding, they look like potatoes!" Sam exclaimed, shaking her head.

"Jacob has told me that is your word for them. We call them pah'pas. Regardless, I have tasted the tubers, and they are edible and contains nothing dangerous. I have also found some herbs, which I believe should taste good with the rabbit."

"Great!" She wrinkled her brow as she looked at the rabbit. "Since you know so much about herbs and cooking and stuff, perhaps you know how to skin a rabbit too? If I try, I'm probably just going to make a mess of it."

Martouf nodded. "I can probably do that. All Tok'ra get to take turns working in the kitchen." He smiled at her.

"Better and better." Sam smiled back at him, pleased. "I'll build a fire and find a sharp stick to use for spit roasting the rabbit, while you prepare it."

"Cooking a rabbit that way easily results in something that is dry on the outside, and nearly raw near the bones, unless you cook it very slowly, over coals. There are better ways of doing it - either wrap it in clay, or clean the hide and use it to cook it in," Martouf said, as they were walking back to the cave.

"I've heard about wrapping it in clay, but I can't see how you can cook it in the hide?" Sam wondered.

"I have seen it done. You skin the rabbit, and scrape as much hair as possible off the hide. Then you should put four sticks in the ground and attach the skin to them, making a sort of bowl. Then fill it with water. Find some small or medium sized stones, and heat them in a fire. When they're hot, you put them in the water. If you've cut the rabbit in small pieces, they will cook fairly quickly - though you have to change the stones often, of course, and picking them up with sticks is probably not easy."

"Ah, I see what you mean - I thought you wanted to hang the skin over the fire."

"No, I do not believe that would work - unless it was a large, thick hide, and completely cleaned of hair."

"So - are you going with the clay-wrapping or the boiling-in-skin method?" Sam smiled at him.

"Probably wrapping it in clay. I have only seen the other method done once, and I fear it would take me a long time to succeed," Martouf admitted.

"A pity - it sounded much more appealing!" Sam teased.

"Does that mean I would lose any hope of impressing you, if I use the other method of preparing the meat?" Martouf asked, a glint in his eyes.

"Not at all! As long as the food ends up tasting good!" Sam smiled at him.

Martouf/Lantash had found some usable clay, and after cleaning the two rabbits, they had cut small pockets in the meat and added the herbs, before wrapping the clay around them.

Meanwhile, Sam had gathered firewood, and built a good fire. She had buried the potato-like tubers in the sand under the fire, like her grandfather had once shown her. They would be ready when the rest of the food was cooked.

"It's really nice - I just wish we had a couple of beers, then it would be perfect," Sam said.

They were sitting on rocks near the campfire, waiting for the food to cook. The air was cool, but not cold, and near the fire it was nice and warm. The sun had set, and the sky was very dark, as neither of the planets moons were up right now. That meant there was a beautiful view of the stars.

With no light pollution, the sky was darker, and the stars clearer, than most places on Earth. Right now there was a fantastic view of the Milky Way, which made a glittering band across the sky. A greenish nebula was visible as well, and Sam had to admit she could not remember having seen a more beautiful sky.

"This place is indeed very pleasant," Martouf observed. "The stars and the sky are beautiful, and much like the sky on Marloon, though that one has more... shre'ai... ah, star clouds, perhaps? I do not know your word for it?"

"Nebulae, probably," Sam said.

Martouf nodded. "Rosha, Jolinar, Lantash, and I would sometimes go to the planet Marloon, when we had some time off. There is a place, just by the ocean, where you can sit in the soft sand and look down into the clear water and see beautiful, colourful sea plants and animals. Then, when the suns set, one after another, they colour the sky in yellow, green, orange, and red... then night falls, and the sky is even more beautiful... the star-band... our Galaxy... you call it the Milky Way, correct?"

"Yes, we do."

"The Milky Way is clearer than in any other place I have been. It is a sparkling, silver band across the sky. There are blue and red diffuse gas clouds, with luminous stars interspersed with fainter ones... we would sit and look at it for hours, sometimes." He smiled at her, and took her hand, squeezing it. "I would very much like to show it to you."

"That sounds... very beautiful, and very unusual. I think I would like to see it, thanks." Sam smiled back at him, and did not pull her hand away.

They fell silent, and for some time, they looked at the sky and enjoyed the peaceful, quiet evening.

Martouf sighed. "I believe our food should be cooked now."

"I'm not sure how long it has cooked, actually," Sam said. "My watch was destroyed by the river."

"I noted the location of the, ah, nebula, when we set the food to cooking. It has moved approximately 30 degrees since then. This planet has a rotation period... a day, of nearly 25 standard hours."

"So a star or a nebula would move about... 14.5... 14.4 degrees per hour. So, it's cooked a little over 2 hours. Of course, why didn't I think of that?"

Martouf nodded. "Yes. And I believe that should be quite sufficient, given the size of the rabbits, and such." He got a naughty glint in his eyes. "I am sure you would normally have thought to notice the movement of the nebula, however... perhaps I was distracting you?"

Sam blushed a little, and smiled. "Perhaps." Her stomach growled. "I'm hungry - let's go check out the food?"

"This was very good!" Sam said, with emphasis, licking her fingers after eating the rabbit meat. "Those herbs you'd found suited it perfectly - and it was really juicy."

Lantash smiled, a proud expression on his face. "Thank you, I am pleased you liked it"

"I definitely did!"

"Would you like some fruit for dessert? I found some apples which were already ripe."

Sam nodded. "Yes, why not? That sounds good."

Lantash got up and went to fetch the fruit, then returned with his hands full, carrying two apples, and a two straws threaded with wild strawberries. "Here, Samantha - take one. I also picked these strawberries. They are quite sweet and fragrant. I hoped you might want some of those as well?" He held out his hands with the apples and berries.

"That looks delicious!" Sam took one straw with strawberries, and one of the apples. "Thanks, Lantash!" Acting on an impulse, she rose and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

He smiled widely, as he sat on the rock beside her. "It was my pleasure."

Sam smiled back at him. The brief second thoughts she had gotten about kissing him, disappearing completely. She would definitely use this opportunity to learn more about Martouf and Lantash - and hopefully figure out if they were interested in her, and not just Jolinar.

Because she was definitely interested in him... both of them. A lot.

When they had finished eating, they quickly prepared for bed.

They had built a fire near the opening of the cave, and they hoped it would both keep insects and various creatures out, and also make the cool night air warmer.

They had the two thermal blankets, one of which they had placed directly on the sand, under the thick layer of hay they had gathered.

Since they only had one - fairly large - woolen blanket, they would share that. Sleeping close to each other would also help keep them warm,.

"Goodnight, Samantha," Martouf said.

"Goodnight, Martouf and Lantash."

Sam turned over on her side and tried to sleep. She had a hard time ignoring that Martouf and Lantash were lying a very short distance from her - in fact, she could not only feel the warmth from them, but if she moved even a little, she brushed against them.

Memories from Jolinar kept popping into her head - very erotic memories, and they mixed with her own thoughts and desires, which were also rather base. She took a deep breath, and forced those thoughts from her mind. She was supposed to sleep, dammit!

It took some time, but finally, Sam managed to fall asleep. Beside her, Martouf and Lantash were sleeping as well - after having been in much the same situation as Sam.

Chapter 7: Dreams