Sam left her hut and walked towards where the others were waiting for her. She smiled at Martouf and Lantash, who smiled back at her, clearly appreciating her appearance.
She wore a dress, made in the local style. It was constructed of thin, almost see-through material, and was a light blue in colour. The dress was fairly form-fitting at the top, and had a belt just under the breasts, but flowed freely below that. It reached almost to her feet. She wore a pair of sandals, almost identical to the ones she had been given for one of the earlier celebrations, but these were coloured a dark blue.
"Samantha... you look fetching," Martouf said. He slowly let his gaze slide over her body, lingering here and there, then returning to her face. "Very fetching..."
"Thank you. You look good too," Sam told him, looking him over from head to toe, with a very pleased expression. He wore a simple white shirt, like he - and all the other men - had done for the previous celebrations. He had been given a different vest, though. This one was a dark blue colour, with decorations in gold and pale blue. He also wore a cape, made of a soft, luxurious material, and short soft boots.
Martouf dipped his head, giving Lantash control.
"Samantha, you look beautiful. 'Fetching' is far too paltry a description."
"Thanks, Lantash." She smiled at him. "Looks like they've given you nicer clothes now, maybe because we've been here longer."
"Or because we are now 'chosen' and promised to a female."
"That's... possible too," Sam admitted.
"Are you guys going to stand there talking all night, or are you coming? The dinner is probably waiting for us, and I'm starving!" O'Neill shouted at them.
The dinner was indeed lavish. The tables were overflowing with plates and bowls full of various delicious dishes. There were soups, fresh and fried vegetables, four different kinds of fish, three dishes with fowl, whole, fried lambs and deer, various tubers, pates, fruit, berries, cheese, freshly baked bread... the list went on. To accompany the food was served a dark beer, a light fruit wine, and a strong wine.
Everyone was laughing and eating and drinking, and SG-1 and the Tok'ra were soon pulled into the festivities, and enjoyed themselves immensely.
After many, many courses they finally got to the desserts, which consisted of a large assortment of cakes and pies. This was washed down with either a sweet fruit wine, or a sparkling wine, depending on what people felt accompanied the cake or pie they ate best.
People were by now getting more than a little tipsy, but everyone was happy, and there did not seem to be any brawls breaking out.
At the end of the meal, the women were all served the 'special drink' they had gotten the other days. Neither Sam nor Freya/Anise gave it a second thought by now, and just washed it down.
Tinnok rose on unsteady legs to give a short speech. Everyone hushed, and the audience grew quiet.
"Friends! Honoured guests... who are becoming friends as well! We have now reached the height of the lights and fires. Dim the lanterns! Blow out the candles!"
People did as he ordered, and it grew dark - or it would have, were it not for the polar lights, which were now so strong that they bathed everything in a soft glow.
"Wow!" Sam said, in a low voice. "This is incredible!"
Red, green, and orange colours flickered and flowed over them, around them.
After people had looked in awe at the natural show for several moments, Tinnok continued speaking.
"As you can all see, the lights are stronger than ever. This is a fantastic sign! Together with the sign we got earlier - when some of our beloved guests were able to use the ancient device - this proves to us that happy times are ahead! Our harvest will be bountiful, in every way! The games were fantastic! Those promised to each other are now awaiting the joining eagerly, and they will not have to wait for long! Tomorrow, an hour before twilight, we will begin the ceremonies! Now, however, it is time to party, and celebrate our good luck! The music will start in a little while, and it will continue until late in the night! Yes, you can dance until dawn breaks, if you want! The drink will be plentiful, and there will be food for when you need to replenish your energy. Enjoy, all of you! But for those promised to each other, remember! The joining is not yet complete, and you may not yet consummate your unions!"
Sam rolled her eyes. "As if that was a risk!"
Martouf gave her an unhappy look. "It might be - for a great many of the couples who are celebrating tonight."
Sam nodded. "Of course."
"Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm going to get some more of that cake - and maybe some beer, if they didn't hide that away," O'Neill said.
"Beer and cake?" Sam made a face. "Well, to each their own, I guess."
The music was starting, and around them the locals were getting up and going off to dance. Some danced two and two, some three or four together, and some danced in larger groups, more in the style of the traditional dances, in lines or circles. Regardless, they seemed to be having a lot of fun.
The members of SG-1 and the Tok'ra were sitting and watching what was going on. Some of them were enjoying a glass of wine - and O'Neill enjoyed a mug of beer, which he had managed to find.
"This is fascinating to watch!" Daniel exclaimed. "Look! The circle dances are some of the oldest types of dances, and they're common in many cultures - it's meant to strengthen the community and encourage togetherness. See? Now they are moving back to..."
"Daniel! Spare us! If you find that so interesting, then watch it in silence! Or go join them!" O'Neill told him.
Daniel shrugged. "I guess it could be fun to join them, but I'm not really a dancer, and besides, I don't know the steps or the rules. Many of these traditional dances have some rules for who is allowed or expected to do what, and I don't want to insult them."
"I do not believe these dances are very strict in that manner," Anise observed. "At least not those dancing in smaller groups, or just two and two. They appear to merely dance as suits them."
Daniel nodded. "You're right. It looks that way. Fascinating! To see the combination of those types of dances at the same occasion! I mean, it's..."
"Daniel!" O'Neill warned.
"If you would like to dance, then I am amenable to join you. Then we will be able to better understand it," Anise suggested.
Daniel hesitated for a few moments, then nodded. "Sure, why not?" He got up, more than a little unstable on his legs. "Let's go dance!" He held out his hand to Anise, and she took it, smiling.
They left in the direction of the dancing area.
"Hello, I am Jina," the young woman said. "But you already know that, of course, promised one." She grabbed the hand of her sister and pulled her closer.
"Uh, hello, Jina... and..." Aldwin wrinkled his brow, as he attempted to remember the name of her twin sister.
*Miera... I think,* Gerim told him.
"...and Miera," Aldwin said.
"You remembered our names already. That is good sign." Jina smiled. "Aldwin, and Gerim. I like your names." She sat down on the bench beside him.
"Yes. So do I." Miera giggled shyly and hid her face in her hands.
Jina smiled at her, then pulled her down to whisper in her ear. "Sit on the other side of them!"
Aldwin gave them a shy look. "I feel I should inform you that I can hear you even when you whisper. Because of Gerim's abilities."
"Oh!" Jina giggled. "I understand! That is impressive!"
Miera had sat down on the other side of Aldwin and Gerim, and she now blushed. She did give them a very interested look, and suddenly she got up again and went to her sister. She whispered into her ear, lower than Jina had before. "Do you think Gerim gives him other abilities?"
"I can still hear you," Aldwin told them, a somewhat bashful expression on his face. "And yes, Gerim gives me many different kinds of abilities. Enhanced hearing, as you now know, as well as better sight, increased strength, stamina, and agility."
Jina smiled. "Uh, does the increased stamina also mean that you can... you know..." she lowered her voice, and blushed. "Mate for a longer time, or perhaps... more vigorously?"
"It... it does, yes. And my... recuperation time is also much shorter than for a normal human male."
Jina and Miera both squealed happily.
"You see... we have decided, years ago... that our first time must be, um, a shared experience." Jina looked at Miera, who nodded. "If one of us is not satisfied the first time... it will... tarnish our experience."
Aldwin nodded, grabbing his wine cup and hiding behind it. "I understand. Um, Gerim tells me to promise we will satisfy your both. Several times." He quickly emptied the cup.
Teal'c was sitting some distance from the others, observing his team mates, the Tok'ra, and the locals. As a Jaffa, he did not drink alcohol - it had no effect on him, other than making him sick - if he drank large enough amounts of it.
He turned to see who was talking to him, and saw two young women. One of them was the woman who had picked him as her second husband, Nissa, was her name. He did not recognize the other.
"Hello, Nissa." He inclined his head to her.
She giggled, but smiled happily at him, and let her gaze slide over him. It was clear she found him very attractive. "I... just wanted to say hello."
"And I am Silja - a friend of Nissa's," the other girl told Teal'c.
"Greetings, Silja," Teal'c said.
"Uh, you do not mind talking with us for a little while, do you? I thought... that we should learn something of each other, before the joining tomorrow," Nissa told him, giving him a shy smile.
Teal'c nodded. "I agree. That would be a good idea. Please, sit down with me, so that we may talk."
Nissa smiled and sat down on the bench beside Teal'c, touching his shoulder as she did so. "Thank you."
Her friend Silja sat herself on a small stool in front of them. She winked at Nissa and smiled.
Nissa blushed and looked at Teal'c. "Please, Teal'c, tell me about yourself. How many planets have you been to?"
"I do not know. Perhaps as many as one hundred, I believe."
"Wow, that is impressive!" Nissa discreetly scooted closer. She put a hand on his leg. "Would you like me to bring you a glass of wine?"
"No... thank you. Jaffa do not drink alcohol."
Nissa nodded. "That is very steadfast of you." She stroked his upper arm. "Are all Jaffa so... muscular as you are?" She blushed.
"Not all. But most are dedicated to becoming the most they can, and Jaffa are naturally stronger than humans."
"You are not human? Is it true what they say, that the symbol on your forehead is a mark of the gods?" Ninna briefly touched his golden tattoo.
"It is a symbol of slavery. To false gods. I do not speak of it."
Nissa nodded, clearly not understanding. "Very... wise." She smiled at him. "So, you do not drink alcohol. Can I bring you something else? Fruit juice, perhaps?"
"You are not my servant, so you should not serve me." His expression softened. "But yes, you may bring me a glass of fruit juice. It would please me."
Nissa smiled widely and ran off to get the glass. She returned almost immediately - just as Silja had leaned forward and spoke to Teal'c.
"Teal'c... Nissa is my very good friend, and I believe I should tell you this - so as to ensure her joining tomorrow will be a successful one. Nissa really likes strong men, and I am certain it would guarantee her pleasure if you show just how strong you are, during coupling."
"Oh, Silja!" Nissa giggled and hid her face behind her hand, as she held the glass of fruit juice out to Teal'c.
Martouf poured more of the sparkling wine in Samantha's glass, then sat back down on the bench beside her.
"Thanks." Sam smiled at him. "I really like it - the wine, I mean. It's not too sweet, very refreshing, actually."
"I agree. It is pleasant."
Sam took a drink and let the wine roll around in her mouth, tasting it slowly. She finally swallowed it. "It reminds me of something I've tried before, but I can't remember when or where..."
"The Tok'ra have a sparkling wine that tastes much like this, but I do not believe you've ever tried that," Martouf said.
Sam sighed and nodded slowly. "You're right. That's the one I remember - and you're also correct that I haven't tried it." She shook her head. "Sorry, I'm sometimes confused... by Jolinar's memories."
"There is no need to apologize. I understand completely." He smiled at her. "I shall make sure you get the opportunity to taste some Tok'ra sparkling wine when we return from this planet."
"Thanks, I'd really like that." Sam smiled, and took another drink. She was starting to get fairly drunk, and it was getting to be quite late too. She should probably call it a night and go back to her hut and get some sleep, but she was enjoying herself far too much. In particular, she was enjoying talking to Martouf and Lantash. She decided to stay a little longer. She touched her glass to his. "Cheers!"
"Cheers," Martouf said, having learned the expression from Jacob. He smiled at her. "While it was unfortunate that we became stranded here, I must admit I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with you."
Sam nodded. "Me too. We almost never have time to talk otherwise, since we're usually only together when there's some sort of grand emergency, and the fate of the Galaxy is at stake." She took another drink, then suddenly giggled. "You know, you really did a great job with that hand device - boiling the water and then throwing the vase. Boy did they look surprised!"
"Thank you, Samantha, but it was not a difficult task."
"I think it's really hard using that thing - I mean, I've only tried it a couple times, but still!"
"I would be honoured if you would let me teach you how to use it."
"Actually, that might be a good idea." Sam said. "Useful. Same as with the healing device. You offered to teach me how to use that, but I think that's even harder!"
"It does require greater skill and focus to use that, yes." He smiled at her. "I would be happy to instruct you in the use of both."
"Thanks!" Sam took his hand and squeezed it. "You're a really nice person, do you know that? And a very good friend."
Martouf smiled at her, and squeezed her hand in return. "Thank you."
Sam did not pull her hand back, but just smiled at him. "I'm..." She blushed. "I'm glad you won the contest. Really glad."
Martouf's smile grew wider. Urged on by Lantash, he scooted closer to Sam and put an arm around her. "I am also very glad that I was able to win - and save you from possibly having to mate with someone against your wish."
Sam shuddered. "I wonder what would have happened if I had just refused?"
"Fortunately, we do not have to worry about learning of the consequences of that."
"Very true." She smiled at him, and leaned her head down against his shoulder, sighing contentedly. "This is so nice! And the sky is beautiful!"
"Indeed," Martouf agreed, stroking her arm, before going back to just holding her. He smiled as he threw a quick look at her, very pleased to be sitting here with her like this.
They sat like that for several minutes, enjoying the nearness of each other, and watching the dances.
"It looks fun!" Sam observed, reaching for her glass on the table before them. She emptied her drink in one long gulp.
Lantash wanted control, and Martouf dipped his head, as they switched.
"Samantha... would you like to dance?" Lantash asked.
Sam looked surprised by his question, then smiled. "Sure - why not?" She jumped up from the bench, and nearly fell. "Oops!" She laughed. "How come you're not drunk? You've had about the same amount I have!"
Lantash rose hurriedly, and caught her. "Careful. The local wine is fairly strong. As for me not being drunk? As you point out, I have had no more to drink than you have, and quite a lot more is needed to make a Tok'ra inebriated - unless I deliberately avoid filtering out the alcohol. I have not done that, since I felt it was safest to be sober, while among people we do not know well."
"Oh, the wine's strong all right!" She giggled and grabbed his hand. "Not sure if I'm envious of you or not, but I probably will be tomorrow!" She pulled him in the direction of the dance floor. "Are you coming?"
"Of course, Samantha." He smiled happily, and followed.
"This is nice!" Sam murmured, as she leaned her head against Martouf's shoulder and closed her eyes, as they slowly swayed to the music.
"Very nice," Martouf said, smiling happily.
Except for a short break to use the facilities - and to drink another glass of the refreshing sparkling wine - they had been dancing for almost two hours.
First they had tried to mimic some of the local dance styles, but since most of those dancing two and two were not really following any of those rules, Sam and Martouf/Lantash decided they did not have to either. After that, Sam had shown Martouf/Lantash some of the more casual ways to dance on Earth.
By now it was long after midnight. Many of the villagers had gone home, but there were still many people dancing and having fun. A little while ago, the music had changed to become more quiet. This was just perfect for Sam, as this gave her an excuse to dance slow - and close to Martouf/Lantash.
Martouf had put his arms around Sam, and she had embraced him as well. They were dancing slowly, and very close to each other, following the rhythm of the music.
When they had danced like that for some time, Sam turned her head a little towards Martouf, and pressed a kiss against his cheek. He pulled back a little, and looked at her, pleasantly surprised. She looked as if she was about to apologize, and Martouf quickly smiled and pulled her to him, kissing her softly.
Sam returned the kiss, moving her lips slowly against his. After several moments, they pulled away from each, in need of air. They remained standing close, looking into each others eyes.
Martouf gave Lantash control so he also could kiss the woman they both loved, and he came fore, flashing his eyes.
Sam made a small jump of surprise, but did not pull back. Lantash smiled, and leaned in to catch her mouth with his, and Sam happily met him on the half-way. The kiss started out slow and gentle, but both soon deepened it, and the kiss grew very passionate.
They kissed until they were out of breath, then kissed again. When they finally became aware of the world around them again, they realized the music had stopped. Around them people were sitting two and two, or in small groups, talking, kissing, and sharing a glass of wine.
"Is the party over?" Sam asked, surprised.
"It is only just over an hour to dawn," Tinnok told them, walking towards them. "The musicians will be playing again tomorrow, so they need time to sleep and regain their strength. So, perhaps, should you. The first meal of the day will not be until after noon, but still." He smiled at them. "It pleases me greatly to see you are getting along so well, and are preparing yourself for the joining tomorrow. Remember, though - it is forbidden for you to mate until the marriage ceremony has been concluded tomorrow."