Jmas Fan Fiction

Title: A Hell of a Day
Date: August 18, 2000
Status: Complete
Author: Jmas
Category: angst, h/c
Rating: PG
Email: jmasg1@bellsouth.net
Archive: Stargate Fan, Heliopolis, Belle, Place of Our Legacy
Spoilers: Jolinar's Memories, Devil You Know
Summary: In the aftermath....
Author's note: This story first appeared in volume 1 of the zine Circ Kakona, fond thanks to Tracy for permission to post it now.
Disclaimer: The characters mentioned in this story are the property of
Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa’uld and all other
characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the
names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.

A Hell of a Day
By
Jmas

Acrid smoke tore into his lungs; breathing had become a painful necessity. Even at rest, the burning sensation never ceased, a constant reminder of their current location, deep in the bowels of the nearest approximation to the universal concept of Hell Martouf had ever known. Looking at the gaunt, rather shell-shocked faces of his companions he was certain he'd never seen a more desperate looking group.

‘Might that have something to do with that aforementioned location?’ Lantash's mental tones were dry and uniquely sarcastic in a way Martouf had come to know and often appreciate, but sometimes despise. Lantash had a singular talent for cutting through the unimportant details of a given situation.

‘Hush, Lantash. I know they have good reason to look this way.’

‘No doubt 'we' don't look much better…’

‘No doubt…and what are 'we' doing about it?’

‘Working on it, Marty, working on it….’

Lantash 'voice' was filled with laughter at the nickname O'Neill had so recently applied to Martouf.
‘Don't call me that…’

The sensation of laughter became even stronger. ‘As the humans would say, "loosen up."‘
Martouf just shook his head; long experience had taught him arguments with Lantash rarely resulted in victory for him. Lantash possessed far too much knowledge concerning human motivation, especially as it concerned his host, to lose many debates.

Martouf let his attention wander away from his internal discussion to observe the others with him.
Samantha was grim-faced; eyes focused inward, her heart obviously as weary as her body. Her arms tightened occasionally around her father, reassuring herself and Jacob of their determination to survive this place. Jacob was barely holding on, his own symbiote, Selmac, injured beyond the ability to do more than keep itself alive, leaving Jacob to his own extremely depleted energies. Martouf was sure Selmac had not reached such a point easily. The Tok'ra’s eldest had become very fond of Jacob in a very short time, admiring the Tau'ri's stubborn resolve and innate sense of justice. Jacob had quickly become as respected among the Tok'ra for his own unique contributions as for his venerable symbiote. Martouf knew a blending as beneficial to both would be nearly impossible to replicate.

Colonel O'Neill was blearily attempting to focus eyesight obviously disinclined to cooperate. It seemed to Martouf the human commander had only just realized the third member of his team was missing.

"Daniel?" came the hoarse question.

"Taken by Apophis," Martouf whispered back.

O'Neill's eyes closed in confusion. "What's he want from Daniel?"

Martouf shrugged his shoulders helplessly. " Samantha seems to know, she did not share it with me."

‘And doesn't that tell you something, my friend?’ Lantash's tone was gentle, yet probing. Martouf knew his symbiote had difficulty accepting the complexity of Martouf''s feelings on the subject of Samantha Carter.

"Oh," O'Neill nodded, still not looking up. "So, has he gotten anything out of any of us?"

"Not from either of us. You?"

O'Neill started to shake his head, apparently thought better of it and sighed a negative instead.

"Daniel won't give him squat…"

Martouf wondered at the certainty in O'Neill's voice, his faith in the gentle academic. Martouf had never quite known what to think of the young scientist. Dr. Jackson had always been the unknown within the Tau'ri equation as far as the Tok'ra, and Martouf himself, were concerned.

O'Neill and Teal'c were warriors, their motivations clearly understood. Samantha was uniquely soldier and yet quite feminine female, counter-balanced by her unique bond with the Tok'ra resulting from her blending with Jolinar. But Dr. Jackson was an enigma even Jacob Carter could not explain to Martouf's satisfaction. ‘And of course you are so easily satisfied…’

Martouf pointedly ignored the mocking tones of Lantash, reminding his symbiote that Daniel Jackson was an academic, someone who had formerly dedicated his life to learning.

‘They killed his wife, Martouf…They kidnapped her, kept them apart for nearly three years, and then Teal'c had no choice but to kill her to save Jackson's life. Tell me again that you don't understand how he came to despise the Goa’uld…’

Martouf shook his head, earning him a strange look from O'Neill. The human obviously had not witnessed many Tok'ra/host conversations. Martouf raised a hand in apology. "Forgive me, Lantash was offering an opinion concerning Dr. Jackson's motivation for being a part of your team. I must admit he intrigues me."

O'Neill raised an eyebrow, leaning back against the iron bars. "I can't imagine why, Marty. Daniel is a vital member of this team. We need him to keep us balanced, to remind us to do the right thing."

Having witnessed some of Daniel's mediation techniques, Martouf understood that facet of the young scholar's personality. "He is quite intelligent, obviously, though not particularly wise to antagonize Apophis."

O'Neill smiled at the reminder of the young man's sullen effrontery in the face of Apophis' anger earlier that day. "That's not a question of wisdom, Marty. Antagonizing the Goa’uld is part of the job description.

“Is it as simple as revenge then?”

O’Neill’s head snapped up quickly, his brown eyes flashing brief anger before settling into reflection.

“No…no. There’s absolutely nothing simple about Daniel, Marty. He joined us to find his wife; there was never any question of that. He hates the Goa’uld…again, no doubts there.” O’Neill smiled sadly.

“After that…it gets complicated, or rather, more complicated. Daniel is complicated…. He thinks way, way too much. He feels way too much. Cares…more than anybody ought to for the sake of staying sane.”

O’Neill’s eyes searched the darkness beyond the bars holding them prisoner, as if he could see out of the pit and across the distance to where Apophis was no doubt ‘questioning’ his missing friend.

“He hates the Goa’uld,” O’Neill repeated softly, meeting Martouf’s eyes once again. “But he hates himself even more for feeling that way. He takes the high road on instinct…damned irritating most of the time….”

Martouf knew his confusion showed clearly on his face, O’Neill’s words sounded almost angry.

“It bothers you?”

O’Neill nodded, shifting to ease the pressure on his injured leg. “Not the way you’re thinking, but yeah, it bothers me. It bothers me to watch him tear his heart out over things that can’t be changed. It bothers me to see him change because of what we do…but don’t think for a minute I’d want him anywhere but with us. Who else would care enough to make sure that light stays alive?”

Martouf was certain he was no more enlightened than he’d been at the beginning of the conversation, but he nodded anyway, understanding somehow that O’Neill needed him to comprehend his words.
Dr. Jackson’s voice was heard then, cursing softly as he was pushed along the passageway to the door of their cell. O’Neill tried to rise, before remembering his leg wound. Martouf waved him back, rising to meet Dr. Jackson as he was pushed roughly through the cell door. Martouf took the young man’s arm gently, noting that he looked more than a little dazed and the skin along his right cheek was abraded and already bruising. Martouf carefully lowered Dr. Jackson to a sitting position opposite O' Neill.

Martouf sat on his heels beside the obviously shaken young man. Despite the fixed gaze that spoke of exposure to Sokar’s blood, or possibly deeper injury than was readily apparent, Martouf was impressed by his calm demeanor as he related the things he’d overheard while with Apophis. Even through the exhaustion, Martouf could see a slight expression of satisfaction as the academic revealed the communication device he’d managed to bring back with him.

O’Neill grinned broadly, directing a pointed glance at Martouf.

Dr. Jackson was indeed a very complicated man.
………………..

Things moved quickly after that.

Contact with Teal’c revealed much had happened in the time they’d been out of touch. More than they could have imagined as it became clear that the Tok’ra representative with him had fired a bomb into the depths of Naetu. A bomb certain to kill them all in twelve minutes in the vague hope of taking

Sokar down with the hell planet he’d created.

It was the longest twelve minutes of Martouf’s life.

Much happened quickly.

The fiery vents created by the death throes of the planet proved to be their salvation. Samantha directed them to create a cannon out of stones and dirt, an extremely effective cannon that shattered the barred door as if it were nothing.

The race to the transport rings, Martouf and Samantha supporting Jacob, Dr. Jackson helping O’Neill, went largely unnoticed by their former captors who sought vainly for a likely nonexistent escape from the certain death exploding all around them.

Martouf let Lantash take control to manually configure the smashed control device for the transport rings. So much depended on Teal’c being in the correct position to intercept the beam, a nearly impossible maneuver in the best of conditions. With Sokar’s ship hovering over the dying planet it would be more than impossible, it would be the proverbial miracle.

Martouf was not particularly inclined to believe in miracles….

‘And the choice would be to do nothing and die anyway?’

Martouf had to agree with his symbiote on that score, it was better to die in the attempt…

‘Thank you for the positive thoughts there, Marty…’

Martouf smiled to himself, framing a goodbye for his long-time companion…and dearest friend. The wave of sadness Martouf felt from Lantash was enough to tell him his symbiote felt the same. Words were unnecessary.

When everything was ready, Martouf nodded at Dr. Jackson who relayed the information to Teal’c.
Martouf watched the humans exchange wry glances, glances full of things unspoken, not requiring words, and suddenly Martouf understood many things. For so many years he and Lantash had been one another’s support. They had little need to look outside of their bond to fulfill the role of friend and comforter. But now Martouf understood that totally human entities learned to forge the same sort of bonds with one another, overcoming the barriers of flesh and formality to experience a oneness more than a little similar to that of the Tok’ra.

‘Now he understands,’ came Lantash’s gentle tones as the blue-gold light washed over them, preceding the flashing rings that would transport them to life - or death.
…………………….

Martouf was more than a little shocked to find himself standing on the deck of the cargo ship. His first real impression was of Aldwin’s voice urging Teal’c to get the ship out of there. Martouf could feel the ship’s engines shudder with the sudden acceleration, whining perceptibly under the strain. Moments seemed to lengthen and shift as they held their collective breaths, finally hearing Teal’c’s steady voice announce their escape.

By the time Teal’c set the small vessel on automatic guidance and joined them, they’d arranged themselves as comfortably on the floor as was possible. O’Neill was gratefully sipping at the water Teal’c provided. Though the human commander was still pale, Martouf could see the deep lines of stress and pain had eased into a contented smile.

“A hell of a day, kids…”

‘Kids?’ came Lantash’s query.

‘A Tau’ri term for children…or those younger than themselves.’

‘In that case, one might remind O’Neill that, between us, Selmac and I span over an eon.’

Martouf nearly laughed at the affronted tone of Lantash’s ‘voice’. ‘I believe he intends it as a term of affection.’

The mental equivalent of a ‘humph’ rippled through Martouf’s consciousness and it was all he could do not to laugh aloud, which he realized had been Lantash’s purpose.

Samantha and her father were chatting now, planning much needed time together. Martouf was pleased to see them happy, reunited despite every expectation he had held for their survival.

More of O’Neill’s ‘faith’? Perhaps there was more merit than Martouf would have believed possible in the power of human ingenuity and determination. Despite the lack of planning, despite Martouf’s very real belief that they would die on Naetu, or worse come under Sokar’s malicious attention, they had succeeded.

Speaking of which…

Martouf moved to retrieve the human’s medical supplies and returned to O’Neill’s side. Teal’c had brought blankets to allow the others to rest. Once O’Neill was bandaged and made comfortable, Martouf realized he had heard nothing from Dr. Jackson since they had come aboard the ha’tak.
On the platform above and behind them, Martouf was surprised to see Daniel was awake and looking down at him and Colonel O’Neill. In that unguarded moment, there was so much emotion…dark and deep and chilling, Martouf found himself taken aback. There was indeed much more than intelligence in those eyes…there was an ancient ‘knowing’ granted only to those few given time and experience and pain enough to see the depths of their own soul.

‘Does it really surprise you so much?’

Martouf gathered some of the medical supplies and climbed up beside the quiet academic. “We should clean your wound, Dr. Jackson. Naetu was far from sanitary.”

“Daniel…” was the quiet response.

“Daniel.” Martouf smiled and gently dabbed at the rough abrasion, ringed by blackening bruises.

Daniel sat quietly throughout, eyes on the far wall, but focused somewhere much farther away.

“Something troubles you?”

A brief shake of the head. “I’m fine…”

“Tell us another one, Daniel…”came O’Neill’s voice, muffled and yawning as he gingerly rolled over to look up at them.

“Go to sleep, Jack.” Daniel’s voice was rough, almost rude, causing Martouf to look sharply at him, but Daniel’s eyes were remarkably gentle.

O’Neill grinned broadly. “I will when you do.”

It was quite obvious to Martouf that neither man was anxious to sleep, and likely would not be for some time to come. Reflecting on his own visions under the influence of Sokar’s blood, Martouf felt a jarring wave of sympathetic understanding. Whatever horrors Apophis had orchestrated in their drugged brains were still very much alive to both men.

// Jolinar, alive before him…so very, very beautiful…begging him not to tell… //

‘You did not betray her…or us…’ Lantash. Quiet, understanding…

‘I almost did.’

‘I know.’ Just that. A statement of fact with no judgments attached. Martouf silently thanked – and not for the first time - whatever force existed in the universe that was responsible for bringing him together with Lantash. Companion, friend, confidante, and supporter; Martouf’s one constant assurance he would never be alone. Leaning back against the wall, effectively retreating from the long thoughtful gaze passing between the two Tau’ri, Martouf wondered if perhaps it was similar for them. Could two - or more - separate beings, so fundamentally different, become as close as he and Lantash?

As he watched, Daniel shrugged in seeming capitulation to some unspoken inquiry in O’Neill’s eyes then slid forward to lie down on the floor near the older man.

‘O’Neill will not rest until Daniel does. I think neither will rest, but they will maintain the illusion for the other.’

Martouf silently agreed, noting from his vantage point that O’Neill’s brown eyes rested on the back of Daniel’s head, while Daniel’s tired blue ones continued their unfathomable fascination with the wall. They probably would not sleep, but they would rest and perhaps take comfort in the closeness, the unity, beneath the surface.

‘So philosophical, my friend.’

‘It is a fitting end to this day.’

A ripple of agreement signaled Martouf was not the only one immersed in contemplation.
The Tau’ri concept of a ‘team’ was so much clearer to him now. Aldwin had told Martouf of Teal’c’s steadfast and emphatic refusal to abandon his friends to their fate. The other three had supported one another through the experience in words and deeds, in quiet presence. They had come out of Naetu’s pit on the strength of their connection, their often seemingly insane ingenuity and their amazingly tenacious will.

At their first meeting, Garwin had pronounced an alliance between the Tau’ri and the Tok’ra impossible because the humans could contribute nothing of value to the Tok’ra cause. This mission had proven the absolute fallacy of that assumption. The Tau’ri possessed much the Tok’ra had lost. Many, many generations of symbiosis and necessary isolation had protected their cause, but had also protected them, perhaps too much, from their own human halves: halves which felt one another’s pain so deeply, halves which fought so fiercely against overwhelming odds for the sake of their friends rather than sit back and accept their fate as unchangeable, halves which could reach out to another with a look or a smile or nonsensical words to lift the spirit.

Watching Jack O’Neill reach out to rest a hand on the shoulder of the now-sleeping Daniel Jackson, finally closing his own eyes as the last of his team succumbed to much needed rest, Martouf smiled at the symbolism.

Joined but not joined. Together but apart. Yet, somehow, forever linked in common purpose, affection and love.

‘Love?’ Lantash’s driest tone.

Letting his eyes roam from O’Neill’s hand on Daniel’s shoulder to Samantha Carter huddled in her father’s embrace to Teal’c’s satisfied smile as turned to check on his friends, Martouf nodded. ‘Yes.’

The hell that was Naetu had merely strengthened that which already existed between these four, tested in fires much hotter than any Sokar could imagine. Tempered and formed into an unbreakable bond Martouf frankly envied.

‘Marty…’

‘What?’

‘They are only humans, Marty.’ A wry smile was all but visible in Martouf’s head.

Martouf smiled in return. ‘Not such a bad thing, all in all.’

‘No. Not bad at all.’

‘Lantash?’

‘Yes?’

‘Don’t call me ‘Marty’…’

‘fin’

 

 

 

 

 

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