[ Chapter 1: A Mission | Chapter 2: A Shocking Revelation | Chapter 3: Explanations | Chapter 4: Shopping and Travel | Chapter 5: Tau'ri Food - and a Phone Call | Chapter 6: Picking Up the Rings | Chapter 7: The Journey Begins | Chapter 8: Playing Tourists | Chapter 9: Going to the ZOO | Chapter 10: Together | Chapter 11: Getting Drunk | Chapter 12: Decisions | Chapter 13: A Movie - and Information from Home | Chapter 14: France | Chapter 15: Rome | Chapter 16: Egypt | Chapter 17: Looking at Ruins | Chapter 18: Goa'uld Artifacts | Chapter 19: A Costume Party | Chapter 20: A Goa'uld from the Past | Chapter 21: Conspiracy | Chapter 22: Escape | Chapter 23: Home ]

6: Picking Up the Rings

Summary: Time to pick up their wedding rings, and then do the last shopping.

They spent the next several hours shopping. Aside from buying clothes, they also got a cell phone for Martouf/Lantash, and a new number for the one Sam had. Deciding it would help him learn about Earth, Sam also purchased a couple books and a laptop for him, as well as a backpack for use as his ‘carry-on’ luggage.

Sam was not normally very concerned with clothes, but now she found herself wanting to buy some that looked good on her, and Martouf and Lantash were more than willing to let her ‘model’ it, so they could see if they thought it looked good on her, before buying it. Afterwards, they insisted she do the same for them, and laughing, she had accepted.

It had turned what could have been a boring and tiresome duty, into a fun experience, one which had that brought them closer together.

They had packed their things in the suitcases, and left them in the care of the hotel, while they went to pick up the last things, before spending the afternoon relaxing.

“Let’s go get the rings, and then we could go eat a late lunch somewhere?” Sam suggested.

“That is a good idea. Lantash and I are getting hungry.” He gazed at the almost blue sky. “It’s quite a warm day, perhaps we could eat some, ah, ice cream?”

“You have had ice cream before?” Sam asked, surprised.

“Yes, once at your Stargate Command, but also sometimes home in the tunnels, or on other planets, though in the latter case almost always when we were undercover as some minor Goa’uld. It is not common among most human civilizations, due to the difficulties in freezing it.”

“No shit, I can imagine it’s only something that’s made by the rich, or on more advanced worlds. The Tok’ra eat ice cream? I didn’t know that!”

“We do, but usually we only make a few flavours. Jacob has told me you have many flavours, sometimes more than ten, at the same store.”

Sam laughed. “That’s true. Sometimes many more than that. Well, ice cream sounds like a great idea - let’s do that!”

They walked to the jewellers shop they had visited the day before, and the jeweller greeted them when they entered.

“Hi! The rings are ready to pick up. I hope you’ll be happy with the engravings. I think they worked out very well, even if I’ve never done hieroglyphics inside a ring before. Awesome idea, by the way.” He smiled.

“Hieroglyphics?” Sam looked questioningly at Martouf, who got a guilty look.

“Yes, I thought you would like the idea of writing your name in Goa... uh, with hieroglyphs also. Your name looks very pretty.”

“That’s... that’s really sweet of you to think of, dear.” Sam managed to smile. “Okay, let’s see them.”

The jeweller took the rings from a drawer beneath the desk, and held them out to them.

Sam took one of them and read the names ‘Martouf’ and ‘Lantash’ inside it, as well as the day’s date, and some text in Goa’uld, which she could not read, but assumed was Martouf and Lantash’s names in that language. She did not know if she should laugh or cry - one thing was certain, anyone looking inside the rings would know immediately they were not who they pretended to be.

She also had to admit the Goa’uld text actually did look good, and when she checked her name in his ring, the word ‘Samantha’ was really pretty in Goa’uld, just as he had said. She smiled at Martouf, then at the jeweller. “It looks great. You’ve done an awesome job.”

The jeweller beamed happily at her praise, then went to find the necklaces Martouf and Lantash had picked out the day before. Martouf had asked to have a few smaller things changed, add their names, among other things, and the jeweller had managed to do it quickly, while still doing a good job.

“That looks very nice, sir,” Martouf said, pleased. “It’s just the way I wanted it.”

Sam looked at the necklaces as well, and had to admit they were nice - and from the vague memory she had of Tok’ra joining necklaces, these were actually a good match.

They paid for the jewelry and left the store - with the happy shopkeeper congratulating them on the wedding, since Martouf had told him the day before that it would be later today.

Sam sighed, and shook her head a little at Martouf when they had left the store. “You really shouldn’t have put our real names in the rings - and especially not in Goa’uld - but I guess it doesn’t matter, since the date doesn’t match the one on the wedding certificate the SGC had made for us. We’ll just have to not let anyone look inside them, which, I suppose shouldn’t be a problem.” She smiled at him. “Don’t worry, I’m not angry - and I do agree my name looks pretty in Goa’uld, but so do yours.”

“Thank you, Samantha. Should we not put them on immediately? Since we are pretending already to be bonded... I mean, married?”

“Yeah, I suppose we should.” She looked around for some place private, and spotted a green recreational area. Not quite a park, but it had some trees and grass. “Let’s go over there.”

They found a bench partially hidden behind the plants, where they would be mostly private. Sam took out the box with the rings, and opened it, looking at them for a moment. They were actually very beautiful, and for a moment she found herself wishing she was really married to Martouf and Lantash.

“You are not supposed to put the ring on yourself,” Martouf said, as Sam was about to do so. He smiled at her confused look. “While you were bathing yesterday, I watched part of a movie on the television in the hotel room. There was a couple getting married, and they put the rings on each other,” he explained.

“Martouf...” Sam began, then just rolled her eyes. “Okay, we’ll do it your way.” She grabbed his hand, picked up his ring, and put it on him. She then held out her own hand.

Martouf smiled, and took the other ring and put it on her ring finger. Then he bowed his head and gave Lantash control.

“Please, would you give me one of the necklaces, Samantha?” Lantash said, thankfully using Martouf’s voice.

“Yeah, sure,” Sam said, finding them in her bag. “Here you go.”

“Thank you.” He opened the necklace and put it on her, closing the clasp. He looked intently at her, then at the necklace. “It looks good on you. Both the ring, and the necklace.”

“My turn?” Sam asked. As he nodded, Sam put the necklace on him. “Okay?”

“Yes.” He nodded. “There would normally be words accompanying the ceremony of putting the necklaces on, but since we are pretending to already be mated, they would not be needed.”

He took her hands, smiling at her, but also looking very serious. When Sam did not try to pull her hands away, he slowly leaned in and touched his lips to hers. The kiss was brief and light, but Sam still felt her heart beat like crazy afterwards. Lantash smiled even wider, noticing her reaction, and was obviously being pleased with it.

“Um, perhaps... perhaps we should go get that ice cream?” Sam managed, when she finally was able to find her voice again.

“Looks like they have about 30 flavours to choose from. Which ones do you want?” Sam asked.

Martouf carefully studied the selections. “I think... vanilla... and, ah, mint chocolate chip, pistachio, strawberry... that one... ah, rum and raisin, and... lemon?”

“That’s a lot of ice cream!” Sam exclaimed.

“Not at all. I’ve had other customers order even more today. It’s great weather for eating ice cream,” the friendly lady behind the desk said, smiling. “Coming right up, dear.” She busied herself arranging the ice cream in a bowl, then added a couple wafers to it. “Do you want any condiments? Chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, cream, chopped nuts, strawberries... ?”

“Yes, please,” Martouf said.

“All of it? Sure!” The woman ladled handsome helpings of each on the dessert, then handed it to Martouf, with a spoon in it. “Here you go.” She turned to Sam. “What about you? What would you like?”

“Ah, not that much, that’s for sure.” She grinned. “Okay, let’s say... blueberry ripple, strawberry... and that mint chocolate chip looks really good, so give me some of that also. No toppings - or... maybe a couple wafers.”

“Here you go.”

Sam took the ice cream and paid for both desserts, then they walked outside and found a small table where they sat down.

“You know, if you hadn’t insisted on only eating fruit for breakfast, you wouldn’t be so hungry now. That’s a lot of ice cream!” Sam said.

“Perhaps I prefer ice cream?” Martouf teased. “Actually, most of the breakfast options they were offering seemed unpalatable to me, so I decided to eat fruit and find something more appealing to eat later. This ice cream certainly qualifies!” He shoveled up a large spoonful and ate it, clearly enjoying it.

Sam giggled. “Alright, that sounds reasonable!” She ate some of her own ice cream. “This is quite good.” She looked at his dessert. “I think I’m a little envious of your ice cream - even though I wouldn’t be able to eat all that!”

“Would you like to taste any of it? The lemon is delicious.” He held out a spoonful to her.

“Ah,” She paused, then shrugged. “Yeah, why not?” She opened her mouth and allowed him to feed her the dessert. “Very good,” she agreed, when she had swallowed it.

“Can I taste the... blueberry ripple, in return?”

“Sure!” Sam smiled, and held out a generous spoonful to him, which he happily accepted.

“Your peoples method of transportation across your world, is very cumbersome, Samantha,” Martouf observed, when they had checked in, dropped off their luggage, and made it through security.

“Oh, I agree, but we wouldn’t be exactly inconspicuous if we travelled by teltac!”

“Very true.” He sighed. “I just do not look forward to spending more than 10 hours in a cramped space, aboard a flying vehicle of questionable safety.”

Sam laughed. “You’ll be fine - take a nap, that’s what most people do.” She walked over to check the timetable. “We’ve got almost two hours before our plane leaves. What do you say we get something to eat? I know you ate all that ice cream, but that’s more than 5 hours ago.”

“I would like something to eat. Perhaps we could try something typical of your culture this time?”

“Well, ice cream is pretty typical, but not unique. Most of the food we eat originate in other countries, or are at least developed from stuff that did. We’re very much a mixture of many cultures.”

“That’s actually not strange to me - many Goa’uld worlds are populated by people who come from different cultures. Sometimes a Goa’uld will abduct the population from another world, sometimes bring people from their own planets when taking over the worlds of other Goa’uld. As well, people will sometimes move to other worlds of their own behest.”

“Could you not mention the Goa’uld?” Sam said in a low voice.

Martouf nodded, looking abashed. “Of course. I apologize.”

Sam sighed. “I doubt anyone pays any attention, but just to be safe, okay?” She spotted a fast food restaurant. “Why don’t we get burgers and fries, then? It’s not something I usually eat, because it’s not exactly health food, but just for once in awhile it’s okay.”

They went into the restaurant and ordered. Sam picked a chicken burger and a small French fries, while Martouf decided he wanted to try a large cheese burger with medium size French fries.

“Jacob said he thought I would like something called a ‘milkshake’, and that it could often be purchased in a place like this. Do you think they have that?” Martouf asked.

“Milkshake?” Sam smiled, surprised at what could have possibly made Jacob suggest that to Martouf. She knew that her father did not like the beverage, so she was not even sure if he had meant it as a joke, or not. She shrugged. “Yes, they have that here.” She looked at the signs above the counter, spotting the drink listed. “Do you want vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate?”

Martouf frowned. “I am not sure. Either chocolate or strawberry. Lantash suggests chocolate.”

“I guess we’ll take one of each. I can drink the one you don’t want. It’s been a long time since I had a milkshake, and I actually like them!”

They had found a table in a corner, some distance from any other customers, so they could talk in relative privacy.

Martouf picked up the fork and knife and tried to cut into his burger, only succeeding in getting the lid to fall off. He dutifully replaced the lid and tried again - this time managing to cut a chunk off, though it meant a tomato slice escaped from the burger.

Sighing, he ate the piece he had on the fork, then carefully lifted off the lid of the bun and put back the tomato slice, before replacing the lid.

Sam studied him for a little while, then decided to help him. “You know, while it’s certainly possible to eat a burger with knife and fork, it’s way easier just to use your hands. Like this.” She grabbed her own burger with both hands and took a bite from it.

Martouf put down the utensils, and picked up the burger, eating from it that way. He chewed for a little while, swallowed, then nodded. “I agree. It is vastly easier this way. I was just uncertain of the rules here. I did not wish to offend anyone.”

“Of course. Well, there’s some food you’re allowed to eat with your fingers. Burgers are one of them, and most people eat the fries that way, too. I’ll try to remember to tell you about such customs in the future.” She looked at him for a moment, as he ate another bite. “Do you like it?”

“Yes, it is an interesting combination of flavours and textures, and I do like it. So does Lantash, however he would like me to tell you that you are correct. This food is unhealthy.” He took one of the French fries and dipped it in ketchup, as he had seen Sam do, then ate it. “So is this - even more so. However, I like the crispness on the outside, combined with the soft interior.”

Sam giggled. “You look so serious! This is ‘junk food’ - no need to analyze it like that!”

“It is different from what I have eaten before, so to me this is an experience to be relished, especially since I share it with you.” Martouf smiled at her. He took a drink from the strawberry milkshake, through the thick straw in it. “This has a very pleasing taste.”

“Try the chocolate one.”

Martouf did as she suggested. “It is also very good.” He took another drink. “They are both good, but Lantash prefers this one. Since he does not get to be in control often on this mission, we have agreed he will be the one to chose in situations such as this.”

“That’s very... thoughtful,” Sam said, not sure what else to say. “I’m sorry Lantash can’t be in control around people, but we can’t risk it. Though... if he uses your voice, I guess he can come fore sometimes?”

“He, like all Tok’ra, prefers not to impersonate his host unless it is absolutely necessary.”

“What if I’d like to spend time with both of you?”

Martouf smiled. “Then we will consider it to be necessary that he takes control, even if it means using my voice. As long as you are aware which one of us are talking, it will be acceptable.”

“I’m pretty sure I can tell. Your personalities and the way you move, talk, your expressions - are all different enough that it’s fairly easy to tell. Which means I guess it’s best you guys are careful who we talk to, if you're switching control.“

Chapter 7: The Journey Begins