“Put on the belt,” Sam told Martouf, showing him her own seat belt.
After searching for it for a few moments, he did as she asked of him. “I am curious. How will we get to this ‘Los Angeles’? Will this vessel, ah, drive there?”
Sam laughed. “No, silly! Why do you think it’s called an airplane? We’ll fly there, of course!”
“Fly? This... airplane, does not seem safe enough for such a mode of transportation,” Martouf said, sounding cautious.
“Don’t worry! It’s perfectly safe. Airplanes almost never fall down. They’re much safer than cars.”
“As if that is going to reassure me!” Martouf grumbled, thinking of the fear both he and Lantash had felt during the drive to the airport.
“My poor Martouf and Lantash!” Sam patted his hand, then smiled again, all of a sudden feeling much happier than she had in a very long time.
Why should she not feel happy? Martouf and Lantash were alive and well, and here with her. She would be spending the next several months, perhaps even as long as a year, pretending to be on vacation with the two most gorgeous men she had ever met. Men she loved more than she had ever loved anyone before.
She really hoped the Lantash-clone’s feelings had not been affected by problems with the cloning process or anything, and that he had felt as the real Lantash and Martouf did. According to Lieutenant Elliot, who had been the cloned Lantash’s host for a short while before they both died, Lantash had loved her as much as he had loved Jolinar.
Sam hoped it was true, because she very much wanted Martouf and Lantash to love her.
The airplane started rolling along the runway, and soon took off. Martouf looked out the window, and grabbed Sam’s hand, holding on to it as the airplane rose higher in the sky.
“See? We’re safely down on the ground,” Sam said.
“This is how we are going to travel around your world?”
“Yes, some of the time - though I guess we can take trains in some parts of the world, if you’d prefer that.” She smiled. “Come, time to go find a hotel. We’ve got some things we need to take care of - like finding a place that can make us some rings quickly.”
“Rings?” Martouf asked, uncomprehending, as he followed Sam out of the airplane.
“Wedding bands. We’re pretending to be married, remember?”
“Of course I remember.” Martouf smiled. “Jacob is still wearing such a ring. He explained about it to me once. However, Tok’ra usually wear matching necklaces, when they are bonded. Could we purchase those the same place?”
“Yes, now you mention it, I do remember that. Well, we probably could get some suitable necklaces the same place as we will get the rings, but there wouldn’t be any reason for it, here on Earth.”
“Lantash and I are Tok’ra,” Martouf pointed out. “It would have meaning for us.”
“Martouf... we’re just pretending to be married, remember?” She gently reminded him.
“Of course. I know that.” He still looked crestfallen.
Sam sighed. “I suppose we can get necklaces too.”
They had taken the airport shuttle to downtown Los Angeles, which had only taken about 30 minutes.
“We are looking for a hotel now?” Martouf asked.
“Yes...” Sam frowned, noticing a store. “On the other hand,” she checked the time, “the plane was early, and there was unusually light traffic, so it’s not yet 5PM. The jewellers are still open, but probably not for long. I gather it may take a day or so to engrave the rings, so we should go take care of that immediately.”
“That sounds like a good idea, then. I agree.”
They went into the store and quickly found something suitable - they just needed simple wedding bands, so it was quite easy. The clerk guaranteed that he could engrave them so that they would be ready early afternoon the next day, which meant they could pick them up before their flight to London.
Sam’s cell phone rang when they were about to fill in the papers with names and such, and she looked at the display.
“It’s the General. I guess I better take this.” She pulled Martouf aside, quickly. “Could you please just give him names and dates, and stuff?”
“Uh, yes. What dates?” He frowned.
“The day we’re supposedly married, and our names. Yours on my ring, mine on yours. Got it?” She pushed the button on her phone to accept the call and walked over to the other end of the store.
“Yes... I understand,” Martouf said, and returned to the clerk.
About ten minutes later, Sam returned, looking very concerned. It was obvious the telephone call had not been about something pleasant. “Did you get it fixed?”
“Yes.” Martouf nodded. “He’s got our names and the date... and I also found some necklaces that I like.”
“Great,” Sam said. “When do we pick them up?”
“Tomorrow after noon,” the clerk said, looking with concern at Sam.
She smiled a little, though the smile did not reach her eyes. “Sorry, I just got a phone call about some stuff that I need to take care of. Important stuff. Work-related.”
The clerk nodded. “Of course. I hope it can be taken care of quickly, so it does not interfere with your honeymoon.”
“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Sam told him. “Are you coming?” She smiled at Martouf.
“Yes, beloved.” Martouf smiled back at her, and put his hand on the small of her back, following her out.
“Are you displeased about something? I thought, that since we’re pretending to be married, we should, ah, show affection for each other, in order not to arouse suspicion. I have observed people here on your world today, and I have noticed that people in your culture seems to show affection when in a relationship.” Martouf sounded concerned, as Sam had not said anything after they had left the jeweller, and seemed deep in thought.
She looked up. “Sorry, Martouf, yes, you’re right, we should. I was not angry with you or anything, I’m just worried about General Hammond’s call. By the way, what date did you have them put on the rings?”
“Ah.” Sam shook her head. “You were supposed to put the date they put on our wedding certificate, remember?
“I remember, but I thought it would seem strange that we wanted a date in the past engraved on them.”
“You should just have said we wanted new ones made, because the other ones had been stolen, or something!”
“I apologize, Samantha. I did not think about this. Do you wish me to go back and change it?”
“No! That would seem really strange!” She sighed. “I guess it doesn’t matter. No one's going to check them against each other, I’m sure.”
Martouf nodded. “Another thing. This ‘honeymoon’ you keep mentioning. Am I correct in assuming it is a period after the bonding, during which the newly joined spend time with each other, focused on giving and receiving pleasure?”
“Uh, yeah, that’s... that’s... more or less what it is. Yeah.” Sam blushed a little.
They walked in silence for a little while, before Martouf decided to ask about the phone call. ”What did General Hammond tell you?”
Sam pondered what to say for a moment. “I’m not sure how much I should say out here in the open, but...” She glanced around, then pulled Martouf into a smaller street, with fewer people. “My dad came to talk to General Hammond a short while ago, together with Anise - and they were bringing a partially doped Colonel O’Neill with them. He’s still host to Kanan, but... well, they think O’Neill has been made a zatarc, though his programming is of a different and somewhat lighter type. Whomever programmed him was playing on his dislike for the Tok’ra, turning it into full-blown hatred. When he then became host to Kanan, something happened, they don’t know what right now, but it affected Kanan so he took control against O’Neill’s will and attempted to escape from the Tok’ra base they were on. Dad said they wouldn’t have caught him if Anise hadn’t noticed him behaving strangely, and - with the knowledge there could be several types of zatarcs - put two and two together and had him watched. Long story short - they’re both alive, but currently in a holding cell at the SGC. Dad and Anise are staying there for the time being, trying to see if they can undo the programming.”
“I am happy they are alive, but it is deeply unfortunate and distasteful that Kanan could do something like this,” Martouf said. “Even if he is, as you say, being affected by O’Neill’s zatarc programming.” He sighed. “Are we going back to the SGC?”
“No, we continue on our journey. Hammond just wanted to inform me. He’ll keep us updated.” She checked her clock. “We should go find the hotel where they’ve booked a room for us. Then, hopefully, there’ll still be time to buy some clothes and a few other things.”
About an hour later, they had found the hotel, and checked in. Interested, Martouf checked the room out, fascinated with everything new they experienced on this world.
“I’ll take this bed, unless you have a preference?” Sam said, dumping her bag on the bed furthest from the window.
“Not at all.” Martouf shook his head, and put down his own small bag on the other bed.
*Except that we would wish we were sharing her bed!* Lantash pointed out.
*It is my hope she will agree to this soon. We certainly have a better opportunity to get close to her, and learn to know her better this way. If we are fortunate, she has developed - or will develop - feelings for us, and will agree to become our mate after this undercover mission.*
“Are you coming?” Sam asked.
“Yes, of course,” Martouf said, following her out of the room again. “We are going to buy clothing and other things, correct?”
“We are. You can’t walk around in BDUs the whole time, for instance.” She smiled. “We should get a suitcase for each also, that will make it seem more likely we’re really a couple on vacation.”
“What is a suitcase?”
“Luggage... kind of a trunk, for transporting clothing and stuff.”
Martouf nodded. “I understand.”
They had found a store near the hotel that sold luggage, so that part was quickly taken care of, and the suitcases back in their hotel room.
Sam sighed, stretching her shoulders a little, trying to relieve the pain in them. She had worked late at the computer yesterday, and the cramped space in the airplane had not exactly helped. “Well, let’s get the shopping over with. We’ll only get the most essential stuff today, then we can get the rest tomorrow.” She looked around and spotted what looked like a huge mall. “I’m sure we can get what we need in there.”
“Are you in pain?” Martouf asked, concerned.
“My shoulders and neck hurt. I’ve been working a lot at the computer lately, and I sat a bit uncomfortably on the airplane.”
“I understand. Lantash and I have some experience with massage. Would you like us to attempt to relieve some of the pain?”
“Oh, that sounds really nice, but I think a hot bath will be just fine,” Sam said, more than suspecting how she would react if he touched her like that, and she was not quite ready to jump into bed with him - not the first night. She would like to be assured they really felt the same for her as the clone of Lantash had.
After walking around the mall for some time, they located a store that had what they needed. They began by looking for clothing for Martouf/Lantash.
Since there was a sale on underwear, Sam grabbed several packs of those. She then found some socks for him as well. Martouf was feeling more than a bit overwhelmed in the store, partially because it was large and full of all kinds of clothing, but also because everything was arranged very differently to the bazaars on other planets he had been used to for many years.
Fascinated by it all, Martouf/Lantash walked around and looked at the different types of clothing, fabrics, and all the little tags on the clothes. “Why are there small labels with text on the clothing, Samantha?”
“Uh, I already explained that. It’s the prices, remember?” Sam said.
“No, not those. These...” He held out a shirt, showing her the small tag in the neck.
“Ah, it’s... well, various things, really. Descriptions of how to treat it when cleaning, list of materials that went into making it, and so on... also brand name and... stuff,” Sam explained.
Martouf nodded. “I... see.” He still looked confused. “Something else is puzzling me... look at this.” He picked up a pair of jeans with tears and wear. ”Why are they selling damaged clothing? It is not even cheaper than the rest.”
“Um, that’s... complicated. It’s fashionable, and please don’t ask me to explain Tau’ri fashion, I don’t think we understand it ourselves.” She gave him a wry smile, suddenly very much wishing Daniel was with them. He would have been able to explain it. She felt a pang of pain at her friend’s death, but at least he was not completely gone - he had apparently ascended.
Martouf frowned, looking even more confused, but he decided against asking again. “Fashion can be... incomprehensive. At least your people do not seem to share the Goa’uld fascination with excessive gold and decorations on clothing.”
“Unfortunately, some do,” Sam admitted. “But, well, let’s get on with the shopping. Did you find some shirts you liked?”
After picking out clothes for Martouf and Lantash, they went to find some for Sam as well, as she had brought almost nothing as well, having not had time to pack.
It took fairly little time, as they were going to continue next day, and only really needed to buy sleepwear and a change of clothes right now.
Martouf’s stomach growled, and Sam sent him an apologetic look, feeling guilty. She actually usually did not like shopping that much, but they had little choice. “We’re almost finished with this - I just need to get some sort of sleepwear, and we also need toiletries - then we can go get something to eat!”
“Of course, Samantha. It is not a problem.” He looked at the pyjamases, nightgowns, and other sleepwear in the store. After some prodding from Lantash, he went to pick up a beautiful - and very sexy - blue nightgown. It was made of soft silk, and was almost ankle-length. However, it had a deep vee in the back, and plunged deeply in the front as well. It also had a slit up along the left leg, all the way to the thigh. It was partially translucent, with delicate lace inserts. “Ah, Samantha... Lantash and I think this would be a good choice. This, ah... underwear , seems to go with it.” He held up a pair of matching lace g-string panties.
Sam looked at the suggested clothing. It was beautiful, and probably would look good on her, but it was also very daring. “Um, it’s beautiful, but I was looking for something more, ah, practical. A gown like that, here on Earth at least... well, it’s mostly something you’d wear in order to look, ah, sexy.”
“It is the same on most worlds.” Martouf gave her a very sweet smile - and somehow managed to simultaneously look both shy and naughty. “Since we’re pretending to be on our honeymoon, as you call it, and have just been married, would this not be the perfect nightgown? It would be what the servants would expect to find in our bed, not practical sleepwear. Am I not correct?”
Sam nodded. “You are,” she admitted. “Okay, I’ll buy it, but I’m going to buy something a little more... conventional as well.”
“Are there any other toiletries you need? Like shaving gear?” Sam wondered, as they worked their way through the aisles of a department store.
“No, Lantash controls the growth of my beard, so I do not need to shave. Perhaps something for cleaning the hair? I do not know what you call it. My hair still has some of the colour I added to it when we were undercover, and I would like it back to its normal colour.”
Sam nodded. “We call it ‘shampoo’, and I’ve already got some of that - and I’ve also got soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and some body lotion.” She looked at his hair. “You’ve already washed most of the dye out of it. It’s not much darker, only a little bit... by the way can’t Lantash control the colour?”
“He can, but it takes some time, even with accelerated hair growth, to grow out the full length of the hair. We did not have time to wait for that, since we did not know how slowly the conspirators were moving. Thus, we used a temporary dye the Tok’ra sometimes use for undercover missions.”
“Ah, makes sense,” Sam said. “So, did you want to buy anything else, or should we call it a day? I guess we’re both getting hungry.”
“Massage oil?” Martouf suggested.
“Massage oil?” Sam looked at him, surprised. “Um, no, I haven’t bought any of that. Why do you want it?”
“In case you change your mind and decide you would like me to do something about that pain in your shoulders and neck,” Martouf said, with a glint in his eyes.
“Uh... I suppose it might come in handy... if not today, then some... other day.” Sam blushed.