Clouds. Sky. An annoying insect buzzing around his head.
Those were the first things Tanith registered when his eyes opened.
The second was his surprise to be alive.
The last thing he remembered was the look of sadistic glee on that damned traitorous Jaffaís face as he fired a staff weapon directly at the glider Tanith had been piloting. Heíd been sure he was dead.
However, the aches throughout his body convinced that he was still alive, and he eventually decided that his personal force shield, which heíd activated out of sheer desperation, had actually saved his life. Attempting to sit up taught him that he had not escaped unscathed, and he quickly gave up the effort.
"Wonderful," he muttered, again staring up at the irritatingly cheerful, sunny sky. "I escape certain death only to die here because I cannot get up to feed myself or treat my wounds." He sighed heavily. It would be nice to think that Lord Anubis would send someone after him, but he knew that would never happen. If anything, if Anubis were to find him, he would kill Tanith for failing his mission. He hated to admit it, but perhaps the Tokíra, with their insipid talk of cooperation and peace, might have a better way. At least if he were still with them, someone would come looking for him.
"I hate politics," Jonas Quinn sighed to himself as he hit the chevrons for the next world on the list Major Carter had given him before he left SGC. These were worlds teams had visited and found to be safe, or cleansed of Goaíuld presence, so they were all right for him to visit when he needed to get away from the demands of his current positionósuch as now.
The stargate opened with a familiar whoosh, and Jonas stepped up to the Ďstoneí circle, settling his daypack on his shoulders before walking through the event horizon, feeling the momentary disorientation as he traveled thousands of light years in seconds.
Bright sunlight bled away the chill that gate travel always brought with it, and he shielded his eyes as he looked around the world where he was standing. This place had been the site of one of the battles with Anubisí forces, though that had happened several years ago, so much of the destruction had been blunted by natureís healing power.
He walked down the rough stairs and out onto the hard-packed dirt, surveying his surroundings, when a slight movement off to his left caught his eye. "What the..." he murmured, hurrying over to the groaning man lying on the ground, dropping to his knees and digging in his pack for his med-kit.
"Donít move," he ordered, trying to focus on the most serious injuries, noting that both legs seemed broken and possibly one arm as well. "Can you tell me your name?"
Tanith retreated slightly, not giving control up to his host but far enough that his voice would not have the telltale Goaíuld quality. "Isaiah," he said, keeping a name common to Hebronís world but not using his in case this stranger had encountered the Tauíri or Tokíra.
He winced as the newcomer checked him over, trying to be careful but of necessity jarring the broken bones. He discreetly checked the man over, trying to place his planet of origin, and Tanithís eyes narrowed as the man turned, bringing the SGC emblem on his pack into view.
"And you are?"
"Oh, sorry. Jonas Quinn, from Kelowna, not that that probably means anything to you." He finished his once over of Isaiahís injuries, then began bandaging the worst of them, wanting to get that done before risking splinting the broken bones. "So how did you get here?"
"I... am uncertain. The last I remember is a great battle between the Goaíuld who killed my people and captured me and some he called traitors," Tanith said carefully, trying to get information without giving himself away.
"That would be the Jaffa," Jonas nodded, "one of our allies. Well, the rebels are anyway, in the fight against Anubis and the other Goaíuld. So all your people are dead?" This last was asked sorrowfully.
"There might have been a few who escaped the killing, but I doubt it," Tanith replied, letting Hebron forward a bit more to allow his emotions to show. "The Goaíuld seemed intent on killing all of us. I believe I am alive only because his host was growing old and he wanted a new one." He swallowed hard.
"He wanted to use you as a host?" Jonas shuddered. "Itís a good thing..." He paused and frowned. "This makes no sense though. That battle was three years ago; how can you be here now?"
Tanithís eyes widened, and he nearly lost control of the body in his shock. "Three years? Thatís impossible. It was just moments ago! Or possibly hours," he allowed. "I am not certain how long I was unconscious."
"Well, it certainly wasnít three years, or youíd have been dead by now..." Jonas looked back at the stargate for a moment. "Perhaps... Suffice to say it has been three years. The how and why of what happened can wait for the moment; right now I need to get you somewhere you can have medical attention. SGC has better facilities than my home planet; I could send a transmission so they would open the iris..." His voice trailed off as he mulled over the options.
Tanith hoped heíd hidden his dismay. "Iíd rather go home," he said hastily, "see if anything or anyone is left." Being shot by Tealíc again was not in his plans.
"Thereís a couple of problems with that idea," Jonas answered. "First of all, you need to get fixed up, and heading to a planet where we donít even know if anyone is left isnít the way youíre going to get it. Secondly, do you even know the way back?"
Tanith frowned. "No, not really, but I donít want to go to a world of warriors." He was trying to find a reason, any reason, not to go to Earth. Perhaps pretending to a fear of a warlike people after his experiences with the Goaíuld would suffice.
"Their world is not one of warriors, but also scholars and scientists," Jonas answered, hoping to convince the injured man that this choice was the right one. "They could care for you better there than we could on my planet."
"Please no," Tanith whimpered, trying to sound piteous. "Strangers have meant nothing but pain and death in the past. Donít make me go there."
Jonas looked confused but finally nodded. "Iím going to have to go back and see if I can get a cart or something to carry you through the gate; I canít get you through this way."
"Thank you," Tanith whispered, actually meaning what he said. "Youíre very kind to a stranger."
"Iíd hope someone would do the same for me if I needed it," Jonas answered sincerely. "Iím going to leave you some water while I go back. Iíd give you some food as well, but I donít know if youíre hurt internally."
Tanith only nodded, unable to tell Jonas that as a Goaíuld he could heal most internal injuries without difficulty. A sarcophagus could assist with serious injury and hold age at bay for centuries, but a Goaíuldís own healing abilities sufficed for most injuries. He could wait for food. "Hurry," he said, surprising himself. He told himself it was simply a result of his current helplessness due to his injuries.
Jonas reached out to grip the other manís uninjured arm. "Iíll be back soon, I promise." That said, he stood and moved his pack closer to Isaiah. "I promise."
Watching Jonas walk away, Tanith felt an almost uncontrollable urge to call him back, but he restrained it. He let his head fall back to the ground and groaned softly. Of all the luck, he had to be rescued by a friend of the SGC. Then again, he hadnít expected any rescue at all, so he shouldnít complain.
He moved his hand to touch the canteen, taking comfort from it, and settled back to wait for Jonasí return.
"Isaiah?" Jonas called when he returned through the gate a short time later. Two other men followed him, carrying a stretcher and gazing around wide-eyed at the alien landscape.
Tanithís eyes fluttered open at the sound, but it took him a moment to realize that Jonas was speaking to him and to respond to the name heíd given as his. "You came back," he said, relief clear in his voice.
"Of course I did," Jonas answered, dropping to his knees beside the injured man and stroking a hand over his clammy brow. "Weíre going to get you back though the gate now, but we have to get you on the stretcher first, and that might hurt some."
"Some?" Tanith managed a pained laugh. "I rather doubt Iíll be conscious for the trip." He caught Jonasí hand in his, surprised by the comfort he drew from it. He trusted this man to help, for whatever reason.
"Iíve got some sedatives that I think might help with that," Jonas offered. "We should be enough alike in physiology that theyíll work." He reached into the med-kit, bringing out a syringe and ampoule of drugs. "Once youíre more comfortable, weíll get you on the stretcher and through the gate."
Wincing inwardly, Tanith realized there was no way he could explain that Jonasí drugs wouldnít work on him. His Goaíuld metabolism would purge them as quickly as poison, but since he wasnít supposed to be a Goaíuld, he couldnít tell Jonas that. He was going to have to pretend and hope that he would pass out from the pain. "Whenever youíre ready," he replied, trying to smile.
After administering the shot, Jonas motioned for the other two men to bring the stretcher over. "Weíre going to do this as quickly as possible," he promised, squeezing Isaiahís uninjured arm before moving to support his head.
It couldnít be quick enough for Tanith, but he managed a tight smile in response and held back his scream of agony when he was moved. He hoped no one would notice his clenched fists as he rode the waves of pain, but there was nothing he could do about it.
While the other two maneuvered the stretcher toward the stargate, Jonas scanned the area, hoping to find a clue as to what had happened, and when he came up empty, followed after the others, keying in the chevrons and waiting for the gate to open.
Once back at Kelowna, he trailed the medics to the infirmary, speeding his steps to catch up to the stretcher and look down at Isaiah. "Youíre going to be all right, I promise," he said, seeing that the other man was still conscious.
"Eventually," Tanith agreed through gritted teeth. "For now, I would be happy with stillness," he admitted, not certain how long he could pretend his pain was dulled. It distracted him from taking note of his surroundings so all he saw of this new world was that it was industrialized. More would have to wait.
"Itís not much farther." Jonas fell back as the medics wheeled the stretcher through the doors and tried to follow but found his way blocked by two of the staff.
"Weíll take care of him."
Tanithís eyes widened as Jonas was stopped, and he moaned wretchedly. One hand rose imploringly toward the other man, wanting the comfort of the only person on this world even slightly familiar to him.
"He doesnít know anyone here," Jonas protested. "Let me at least stay with him until you sedate him."
The nurse blocking the door frowned but looked over his shoulder toward the anguished patient and relented.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Jonas hurried into the infirmary and fell in beside the stretcher again. "Iím here, Isaiah," he murmured.
Tanith managed to raise his hand to catch Jonasí, his fingers clinging in an almost white-knuckled grip. "Thank you," he whispered, desperately afraid of what the future held. He refused to think about what his new friendísófirst and only friendísóreaction would be when he found out who Tanith really was.
"Youíve been through enough," Jonas murmured, rubbing his thumb over the back of Isaiahís hand. "Everythingís going to be fine, and once youíre better, weíll work on figuring out what happened and where you came from."
Though that was the last thing Tanith wanted, he let it slide, deciding he would find a way to distract Jonas when the time came. Instead he asked, "Stay with me?"
"I donít think theyíll let me go in the scanning room, but Iíll be right outside," Jonas promised.
"Youíre very kind," Tanith murmured. It was difficult to remember that this man should be his enemy, and since he could do nothing for the moment, he pushed the thought aside. He would try to be Isaiah for a time, allowing himself to heal and enjoy Jonasí company.
Jonas smiled. "You only think so because you donít know me yet."
"I think so because you dropped everything to help a stranger, and youíre still doing it. Iím sure you had other plans for today than sitting in a hospital."
"Actually, I was running away for the day; you definitely managed to help give me something other than work to think about."
Tanith chuckled painfully. "I wish I could say that I was glad to be of assistance, but that would be something of an exaggeration. Actually it would be an outright lie, but I am glad to have met you, Jonas Quinn."
Jonas smiled and gently squeezed Isaiahís hand again, maneuvering carefully as the other man was wheeled into an examination room. "I just hope you say that after theyíre done with you."
"I will be even more grateful for your presence as the only pleasant part of this hellish day after your physicians poke and prod me, increasing my pain."
"Now then, an attitude like that will just make it hurt more," the gray-haired doctor said briskly as she entered the room.
"How about you try not to let that happen?" Jonas asked.
"I donít really think it can hurt more," Tanith muttered, clinging to Jonas as the doctor advanced on him.
"So, did it?" Jonas asked some time later once all of Isaiahís injuries had been tended to. He was trying to joke, but it fell flat when he saw the pain echoed in Isaiahís eyes.
"Hurt? About what I expected," Tanith replied, shifting uncomfortably as he tried to find a more comfortable positionóor at least one that hurt less.
"Want some help?" Jonas asked, rising out of the chair to assist in whatever way he could.
Tanith thought about it and nodded. "Iíd like to sit up. I feel so... helpless like this."
Jonas nodded. "Okay." He moved closer to the bed and started to reach around Isaiah from behind. "Maybe we can scoot you back some then tilt the head of the bed up... The doctors are amazed that all you had was the broken legs and arm. I suppose it doesnít feel like Ďjustí, but they thought thereíd be internal injuries as well."
Tanith used the flurry of activity getting him resettled to avoid Jonasí eyes. He had had internal injuries, several serious ones, but by the time heíd been examined, most of them had healed. Bones, however, took longer, and his entire body was going to be a giant ache for some time to come.
"Is that any better?" Jonas asked, once heíd gotten Isaiah settled again. He reached out and pulled up the light blanket, being careful not to jar the casts on his legs.
"Much, thank you. I was starting to feel like a brekir... um, a shelled animal of my world that is helpless if flipped onto its back," Tanith explained at the blank look Jonas gave him.
"Ahh, we have those here too. Maybe once youíre up and around, Iíll take you and show you some."
"I would enjoy that, learning this world of yours. And perhaps of mine now," Tanith added, almost wishing that could be true. He did not know what he would do once healed, but remaining on a world allied with Earth was not a possibility.
Jonas smiled. "If youíd like to stay, I think I have enough pull with the government that it wonít be a problem."
"We should probably wait on that until I heal and figure out how I got where you found me. It might not be a good thing for me or your world if I were to remain. I donít know." He started to shrug but stopped as his muscles protested.
"If youíre worried about the Goaíuld coming here, donít." Jonas sighed and sat down again. "Theyíve already been here, because of me, but we managed to get rid of themówith some help."
Surprised, Tanith widened his eyes. "Because of you?"
"Yeah." Jonas fidgeted and looked down at his hands. "I was captured and...- Well, to make a long story short, Anubis used my memories to find out about a mineral here that he wanted, then he sent his troops here to take it."
Tanith swallowed hard. Had he not been trapped somewhere outside of time, he might have been in charge of that attack. He might have been responsible for the death of this man who was so selflessly assisting him. "Obviously he did not succeed," he said cautiously.
"No, thanks to our friends we survived. Itís funny; I left here to save my planet, and doing that is what brought me back."
"It sounds like you had an eventful time of it." Tanith sighed. "But you survived, and your society seems prosperous enough. How did you prevent the Goaíuld coming back?"
"With the help of SGC and the Tokíra," Jonas answered. "Donít worry, Isaiah, the Goaíuld canít get you here."
That was actually the least of Tanithís concerns, though for his continued existence he thought it best to remain out of Anubisí notice. It did not seem, however, as if there were any traps geared for Goaíuld in Kelowna, so he tried to lay his concerns aside. "That is a relief," he responded. "Perhaps I will be able to heal and try to get on with my life."
Jonas leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "What did you do before you were taken?"
Tanith sighed, delving into Hebronís memories for the story. "I was a farmer. Our world was agrarian, unaware of others or of the battles going on between the races outside our closed existence. I had a wife and a son... they were killed, along with all the rest of my family, friends, my world." Tanith felt the surge of rage from his host and fought him back, not allowing anything to slip that might arouse Jonasí suspicions.
"Isaiah..." Jonas reached out and rested his hand on the other manís. "Iím sorry. Youíve lost so much. If it helps, thereís been positive news on the fight with the Goaíuld. "
"Really?" Tanith wondered if the entire universe had been turned upside down during his unexpected sabbatical from time. "You cannot mean that the Tauíri and Jaffa are defeating the System Lords?"
"Theyíre doing a lot of it themselves but..." Jonas paused and looked at Isaiah closely. "I didnít realize you knew about the Tauíri."
Tanith laughed bitterly. "Every System Lord knows and hates them. I could not have spent an hour in captivity on the Goaíuld mother ship without hearing of them. They had done much to cause the System Lordsí power to waver when last I heard."
"Glad to hear theyíre causing the System Lords such problems," Jonas said grimly. "The universe will be a better place when each and every one of those parasites is dead."
Tanithís eyes widened slightly, and he had to fight his instinctive withdrawal. The bitterness was unexpected, though he supposed he shouldnít be surprised. "That sounded personal," he probed delicately.
"Well, it is." Jonas drew a deep breath and sat up. "Are you saying you donít wish the same thing?"
"Of course," Tanith replied hastily. "I was just surprised that you had such a strong reaction. I had not thought you felt so strongly."
"Considering what Iíve seen and heard, itís hard not to."
Tanith nodded. "I am sorry. I did not mean to belittle your experiences."
"And I didnít mean to get cranky, sorry." Jonas gave a lopsided smile, though his eyes were serious. "Youíve gone through more than I did. Maybe we should change the subject."
"Tell me... I donít know. About yourself, your world, what you like to do? Anything youíd like to talk about." Tanith relaxed slightly as more of his injuries healed and a little more of the pain faded.
"Well, Iím a scientist, what a friend of mine calls a geek, or I was until I came back here from Earth. Now Iím an ambassador for Kelownaóa government officialóand honestly, it ainít all itís cracked up to be."
Tanith tilted his head slightly as he contemplated Jonas. "I have trouble imagining that. Iíd have pictured you doing something more active. Intellectually or physically. Dealing with bureaucrats doesnít seem very... interesting."
Jonas looked around and leaned in. "Honestly, it isnít," he whispered, before grinning.
Tanith chuckled. "So why donít you do something else?"
"Because Iím about the only person the other ambassadors will talk to at times."
"In other words, youíre trapped. Maybe we should both run away through the stargate."
"I hate to tell you this, Isaiah, but I donít think youíre going to be running anywhere for a while." Jonas gave the casts on the other manís legs a significant look.
Tanith smiled ruefully. "A very good point. But eventually Iíll be able to move under my own power again." And a lot sooner than you think. "We can discuss it again then."
"That sounds good to me, and maybe by then Iíll be able to take you up on it."
"I certainly hope so. I enjoy your company very much."
Jonas chuckled. "You must if youíre asking me to run away with you!"
"Well, I wasnít proposing marriage!" Tanith laughed. "I would need to know you a little longer first."
"If youíre thinking of me and marriage in any context together, Iíd have to say youíre delirious."
Tanith frowned slightly. "I hope you mean because we just met and Iím in far from ideal shape and not because your world is intolerant of same-sex relationships?"
Jonas frowned slightly. "I thought you said you have been married?"
"I was. I had also had relationships with both men and women before I was married. The only requirement for those who chose their own sex for their life partners is that they must have one child from each parent by whomever they chose."
"That sounds like quite the progressive society, especially for one such as you describe." He tilted his head to the side, mulling over the civilization Isaiah must have come from and trying to fit it into what he knew of Earth history.
Tanith realized heíd made a mistake, describing Hebronís agrarian society and giving it such acceptance. He frantically searched his genetic memories, seeking a society that fit what heíd described, and he nearly sighed with relief when he remembered Earthís Classical Greece. Soldiers in that culture had often had relationships, and their society was accepting of it. Now, to cover his error.
"Long ago, according to the ancient legends, different tribes of my people warred, and being far from home, the warriors often sought ease with one another. Though we no longer have warriors, the acceptance of such relationships remained. We believe that to love another person is what matters, not the genders of the people involved." Without realizing it, Tanith was drawing more and more from Hebronís memories and feelings.
Jonas nodded at that. "Iíve read about societies like that. It must be much simpler, to be able to be with whomever youíre attracted to rather than worrying about the restrictions society places on you."
"Yes, I think my people were happier for it. Most people found their true mates and lived productive lives together." Hebronís wistfulness crept into Tanithís voice. "Although I cared deeply for my wife, I always hoped I would find mine, but it wasnít to be."
"Well, you never know. Youíre alive and free now, so you never know what might happen."
Tanith sighed though it was Hebron who said, "But my people are gone, and I... am not what I was." Hebron knew there was nothing anyone could do for him, so as long as Tanith did not endanger these people, he would go along with the story, and Tanith would allow him to have more awareness and control than was normal for a Goaíuld host. He knew it was only to prevent the telltale changes that would signal to anyone familiar with them that they were dealing with a Goaíuld, but he would take what he could get.
Jonas leaned forward and met Isaiahís hazel eyes. "What youíve been through has to have been hell, but it helps to talk about it, I know. We have doctors who specialize in trauma if youíd like to speak them."
Tanith smiled wryly, for a moment imagining the reactions if he told the truth. "I donít think so," he replied simply, slowly relaxing into the softness of the bed as more of the pain ebbed and his body continued to heal. "I prefer to work things through on my own... or with the help of a friend."
"Well, any time you need to talk, Iíll be glad to listen," Jonas promised before grinning slightly. "Besides, itíll probably get me out of a really boring meeting."
Tanith had to laugh. "Iíll be glad to be of assistance. I enjoy talking with you, and I look forward to learning more about you and your world. It seems I may be looking for a new home."
"Well, I for one hope that you consider Kelowna, Isaiah. Now, Iíd better let you get some rest." Jonas rose and pushed the chair back against the wall. "If you need anything, the staff has my numberóeven if that anything is just to talk, all right?"
By mid-day the following day, Tanith was bored and being driven mad by solicitous medical practitioners who wanted to assist him. Unfortunately, he had to keep them at arms length so they would not discover that he was healing far faster than normal. In desperation he called Jonas, hoping that having company would keep them away. And he would enjoy Jonasí company as well.
"Hey," Jonas called, poking his head around the doorframe and grinning. "Going to throw anything at me, or is it safe to come in?" Heíd heard tales of Isaiahís moodiness from the doctors as he entered and really couldnít blame the other man in the leastóinjured and far from home, no wonder he was short-tempered.
"Only my arms around you in gratitude for saving me from boredom and continual poking and prodding." Tanith smiled in pure relief. "Are your doctors always so persistent?"
Jonas shrugged as he entered the room, his arms full of various bags. "I think theyíre afraid of my wrath if something happened to you," he whispered, winking as he spoke. "But I managed to pick up some things that might interest you, and teach you more about Kelownaóat least until I can give you a real tour." He drew various books from one of the bags and set them on the table near Isaiahís good side.
"Ah, books." Tanith reached for them eagerly, half sitting up as he did, and he started flipping through the pile, interested to see that there was popular fiction as well as books on history and culture. "This is marvelous, thank you."
Surprised at the ease Isaiah was moving with, Jonas pulled a chair up next to the bed and smiled. "I know Iíve been stir-crazy the times Iíve been on bed rest; reading helped." He leaned forward, reaching to balance the books when they threatened to slide off Isaiahís lap. "So how are you feeling?"
"Much better than I was. I keep trying to tell your doctors that my people heal quickly, but they donít seem to believe me." Tanith sighed as he adjusted the bed to support him in a sitting position. "I am very glad you came," he said suddenly, surprised to realize that he meant it.
"Iím glad you called," Jonas answered truthfully. "I was planning on coming by when they set me free for the day, but earlier is better. And as for the doctors, part of their skepticism comes from the fact that while they know beings from other planets exist, most have never encountered any."
"Lucky me, patient and lab exhibit all in one," Tanith sighed. "Could you perhaps toss me back through the stargate?"
Jonas shook his head, laughing. "Sorry, too heavy for me, now maybe if Tealíc was here, he could do it for me..."
Tanith stiffened but disguised it by pretending to cough. When he looked at Jonas again, he wore an expression of simple curiosity. "Is that one of your friends from the Tauíri?"
"No, heís one of the Jaffa. Heís a part of the SG-1 team, but he also works with the rebels, trying to teach more of his people that the Goaíuld arenít gods, just sick despots who need to be taken down."
Tanith managed a sickly smile. "It sounds like none of you will rest until every Goaíuld is exposed."
"Well, we all have personal grudges against them as well as moral ones, so, yes, thatís the case." Jonas tilted his head to the side and looked down at Isaiah. "I would think it would be that way with you too."
"I suppose it could be, but..." He stopped as if searching for the right words. "I donít want to give them the rest of my life the way they took the first part. I want to get past it and live my life."
Jonas immediately looked contrite. "I canít blame you for that in the least. Right now all you should be concentrating on is getting better anyway."
"Which I could do much better with you keeping me company," Tanith wheedled unabashedly.
"Trying to make me feel guilty?" Jonas asked, waggling a finger in Isaiahís direction. "Iíd much rather be here than at meetings all day; want me to have them moved to the hospital?"
"Your meetings?" Tanith looked horrified. "Canít you have someone else attend while you... you study the living artifact of another civilization," he finished triumphantly.
Jonas burst into laughter. "Perhaps I should just let you take my place at them; you seem much more suited to a politicianís life than I do, my friend."
"Iíd rather break every bone in my body. Again!" Tanith held his hands up as if to thrust back the very idea. "You are a very evil man, Jonas Quinn!"
"Now youíre getting to know the real me."
Laughing, Tanith leaned back against the pillows, several of the books on his lap falling to the side. "In that case is there any chance I could convince you to break some rules and take me for a roll around this place? Thereís a wheelchair, but no one will let me out of this bed."
"Oh no! Iím not getting the staff coming after me! Youíve got a lot of broken bones, Isaiah; Iím not going to risk hurting you trying to get you in and out of that thing."
Tanith sighed. "I didnít really think so, but it was a worth a try. Iím going to exhaust you pushing me around in that thing when they do finally let me up," he threatened.
"Well then, you can push me around in it once youíre healed and Iím too tired to move," Jonas laughed, picking up another bag and delving into it. "Now then, have you been a good boy today?"
"As if I could be anything else with someone popping in here every other breath to make sure Iím all right," Tanith grumbled. "Itís a good thing Iím too sore to want to do anything because I wouldnít even have time to take care of myself!"
"Well, maybe this will cheer you up." Jonas pulled out an insulated container and two spoons. "Now this is something I developed a taste for when I was on Earth, and if you donít like it... well, thereís more for me." He popped open the container to reveal a large hot fudge sundae.
Tanith eyed it warily, though as he leaned forward curiously, he had to admit that it did smell very good. "What is it exactly?" He glanced at the spoons. "Iím guessing itís edible."
"This," Jonas said, carefully setting the container on one of the larger books on Isaiahís lap, "is called an ice cream sundae. The ice cream is the white mounds on the bottom, the dark syrup is hot fudge sauce, and the fluffy stuff on top is whipped cream." He dipped a spoon into the confection and held it out. "Care to give it a try?"
Looking from the dripping spoon to Jonasí grin, Tanith slowly leaned forward to taste. He yelped quietly when some dripped onto his chin. "I see why itís called ice cream."
Jonas tried his best not to snicker as he took a napkin and leaned in to wipe Isaiahís chin clean. "The idea is to get it in you, not on you," he teased.
"You didnít warn me it was drippy!"
"All my fault, I see. So I suppose I had best take my ice cream and leave then..."
Tanithís hand shot out to grasp Jonasí wrist firmly. "Come back here with that spoon!" Heíd gotten a taste of that first spoonful before most of it went down him, and he wanted more.
Somewhat surprised at Isaiahís strength but guessing it was tied into whatever genetic changes his people had undergone, Jonas grinned and relented, offering Isaiah the spoon.
Once he had the first full spoonful, Tanith closed his eyes to savor it. "Oh my. Thatís simply wonderful." He opened his eyes again to reach for another bite. "If this is from Earth, how did you manage to get it here?"
Reaching for the other spoon, Jonas helped himself to a bite as well, sighing at the taste. "I keep in contact with my friends there, and they send me a supply when I get low."
"Those are definitely good friends." Tanith helped himself to a bit more. "This makes up for a great deal."
Jonas nodded. "Iíll be sure to introduce them to you next time they visit. I know Daniel will be interested in hearing about your culture."
Tanith made a mental note to make sure he was off the planet or otherwise inaccessible the next time SG-1 made a visit. "Iíd be happy to meet him. He sounds a most interesting man."
"He is. The others are too, each in their own waysóof course Jack and Tealíc might want to grill you on what you saw during your time with the Goaíuld, and Sam might do the same about their technology." Jonas saw a look of almost panic reach Isaiahís eyes, and he quickly backed off. "Only if you want to, of course."
Trying to cover his reaction, Tanith laid the spoon aside carefully, folding his hands in his lap. "I would be happy to be of assistance. It is the least I can do, after all, in exchange for all your help. You quite literally saved my life."
"Isaiah," Jonas said seriously, setting his spoon down and meeting the other manís gaze, "you donít owe me anything. I know you would have done the same if you could have."
The twinge of guilty shame surprised Tanith. The host must be influencing him more than heíd thought. "Of course. But I would still like to repay my debt somehow. All this..." he gestured vaguely at the room.
"Donít worry; Iíll work it out of you once youíre better." Jonas handed Isaiah his spoon. "Iíve always wanted a houseboy."
That surprised a laugh out of Tanith. "Should I be worrying about being indentured or enslaved for life?"
"Nope, itís purely voluntary, I promise."
"In that case," Tanith allowed himself the pleasure of looking Jonas over from head to toe, his voice growing husky, "I think I could be convinced."
Jonas blinked at the blatant appraisal, flashing back to Isaiahís explanation of his peopleís culture and clearing his throat as he flushed. "Better eat your ice cream before it melts."
"Iím sorry," Tanith said, leaning back again instantly. "I didnít mean to make you uncomfortable."
"Itís not that; itís just I suppose Iím not used to thinking of another man that way." Jonas offered a smile and a shrug. "I donít want you to feel bad about it... or stop."
"Then I wonít. After all," Tanith said wryly, "itís not as if I could force anything on you just now even if I wanted to."
"As if youíd ever force anyone into anything," Jonas answered, shaking his head and smiling.
Tanithís smile slipped slightly. Why did this manís opinion matter to him when no one elseís ever had before? He hadnít hesitated to kill Shauínac, the Jaffa who had carried him to maturity and managed to communicate with him during that time. "You flatter me."
"Guess Iíll just have to make sure you donít get a swelled head from it is all."
"Good thing Iím not physically capable just now then," Tanith dared to tease, knowing he was flirting with Jonas and not caring.
Realizing what heíd just said, Jonas laughed and shook his head. "Iím going to have to watch what I say around you, arenít I?"
"I think I prefer it when you donít." Tanith leaned forward to get another spoonful of the sundae, finding that it was just as good as it melted.
"You mean when I put my foot in my mouth?"
"It didnít sound that way to me. I found it rather intriguing."
Jonas started to laugh at that. "Iím beginning to think youíre something of a trouble-maker, Isaiah."
"I enjoy a little spice in my life as well as my food."
"Well, you arenít getting any spicy food while youíre here," a nurse said as she walked into the room. "And just where did this come from?" she asked, looking at the dessert.
"I brought it," Jonas answered, deciding to use a bit of his influence to keep from being reprimanded. "It helps with the healing."
Tanith nodded. "I feel much better since trying it. More like life is going on." He used his green-hazel eyes to best effect as he smiled at the nurse.
"Well, if you say itís medicinal, Ambassador..." the nurse began.
"It is," Jonas assured her. "The people of Earth swear by its curative properties."
After the nurse left, Tanith shook his head at Jonas. "And you say you canít play the political game, Ambassador. For shame! And give me that sundae!" he added with a laugh.
"Are you sure you werenít some planetary leader?" Jonas asked, snickering as he handed the ice cream back. "That voice had me jumping to attention!"
"Just pure desire," Tanith laughed back, digging into the dessert. "I had to make sure you didnít take it away."
"Far be it from me to come between you and ice cream. I think Iíve created a monster!"
"So beware!" Tanith brandished the spoon at Jonas, laughing. "And youíre going to have to keep up the supply."
"Yes sir!" Jonas laughed, trying to salute Isaiah and dripping ice cream on his nose from his spoon as he did so.
Tanith burst into laughter, nearly dropping his own spoon. "I think you need to clean yourself up now," he hiccupped.
Jonas made a face and wiped at his nose, eyeing the ice cream on his finger before licking it off.
"I see you really like that," Tanith chuckled. "Not going to waste a single drop."
"Not a bit," Jonas laughed, sheepishly. "I like it too much. Hell, you should be honored that I shared with you."
"Oh, I am. And Iím hanging on to my share!" Tanith made a show of hugging it close, grinning.
Jonas groaned and lowered his head. "Iím doomed!"
"Oh no, as your houseboy, itís my duty to prevent your doom. Just tell me how."
"Donít eat all my ice cream!"
Bursting into laughter again, Tanith gasped out, "Get a bigger supply!"
"Iíll have to send an aid message to SGC," Jonas laughed. "Tell them to double my supply."
Still chuckling, Tanith asked, "Is that part of your ambassadorial perks?"
"No," Jonas answered, smiling, "part of having good friends is all. Iím looking forward to you meeting them."
"Iím sure Iíll like them if theyíre friends of yours," Tanith managed to say with what he hoped was a convincing smile.
"Well, I donít want to force them on you, so yell if I do, okay?"
"Iím sure it wonít be a problem, but okay. Do they visit often?" Tanith was almost afraid to hear the answer.
Jonas shook his head. "No, I go to Earth more often than they come here."
"Ahh. Well, Iím sure Iíll meet them eventually, though this," he again waved vaguely, "will keep me here for a while." And that was a huge relief to Tanith.
"And Iím not going on any trips while youíre stuck here."
"If I were unselfish, Iíd tell you to go ahead, but Iím just going to keep quiet and enjoy your company."
"Are you sure youíre comfortable?" Jonas asked for the twentieth time after the attendants had gotten Isaiah out of the ambulance and into his house. "Do you need to change chairs?"
"Jonas, you know Iím incredibly grateful for you putting me up, right? And I love spending time with you, and Iím hoping we can be more than friends eventually. But if you ask me one more time if Iím comfortable, Iím going to have to kill you!"
Jonas ducked his head and grinned sheepishly. "No, you wonít. I can run faster than you can, so you canít catch me."
"But I know where you live. Iíll lie in wait." Tanith gave him a toothy grin.
"And what? Hit my shins?"
"Yes! And then when youíre down, Iíll whack you on the head with my pillow of doom!" Tanith brandished one that he pulled out from behind his back.
"No, no! Anything but that!" Jonas laughed, pretending to quail in fear from the other man.
"Then no more comfort questions!" Tanith tried to glare at him, but he was laughing too hard. "And now that theyíre all gone..." He looked around to make sure that the attendants had all left and sighed with relief. "Free at last." He stood up, stretching luxuriously, his fingertips brushing the ceiling as he worked the stiffness out of his body.
"Are you should you should be..." Seeing the glare that earned him, Jonas backed off. "Want to have a look around?"
"That would be nice. Show me your house so I can learn all your secrets." Tanith smiled with pleasure as he looked around, looking forward to seeing all there was to know about Jonas.
"What secrets?" Jonas asked, waving a hand around. "What you see is what you get."
"I want to know everything, why you do what you do, what your favorite color is, what your favorite food is. And itís only fun if I figure it out myself from clues," Tanith added hastily, not wanting Jonas to begin asking him probing questions. Heíd come to realize that he genuinely liked Jonas, and he didnít want to have to lie to him. More.
"So, playing amateur detective now?" Jonas laughed, showing Isaiah around the ground floor of his home, trying to gauge the other manís reaction to the space by his expression. It was cluttered, an eclectic mixture of native furnishings, things from Earth and things heíd found on his travels, but Jonas liked it.
Looking around at the jumble, Tanith smiled slowly. "Itís you," he said softly, still turning as one thing after another caught his eye. "Everything out there to be seen, but so much and so rich that I can only absorb a fraction at a time and always find something new."
"Guess exploring here will give you something to do when I have to work," Jonas answered, feeling inordinately pleased at Isaiahís reaction. "Plus thereís plenty to read." He gestured at the overstuffed bookshelves that lined the walls.
Tanith nodded, feeling the hostís surge of eagerness at the sight of all the books. "They are a poor substitute for your company, but I think I can manage to occupy myself with all this," he replied almost gleefully. "So long as you promise not to quiz me on the books."
"Iíll try to restrain myself." Jonas slowed his steps as they climbed the stairs. Isaiah might have healed rapidly, but he still was far from fully recovered. "The bedrooms are up here," he said, leading the other man to the first room on the right, one that was decorated in browns and blues.
"Is this one yours?" Tanith asked, looking from the room to Jonas. He wasnít certain enough of Jonasí taste yet to be able to guess, but whether the room was Jonasí or for guests, it was very restful.
"I was thinking it would be yours, if you like it. It has an attached bath and a balcony that overlooks the back."
"You are very generous. I cannot imagine where I would be if it had been anyone but you who discovered me." Tanith found himself wishing he could honest with Jonas, but it was impossible. And as a Goaíuld he shouldnít be having such thoughts, but as he spent time with Jonas, he was starting to wonder if perhaps the knowledge he had received from the queen who bore him was wrong. If so, he had made a terrible mistake, and it was far too late for him.
Frowning, he stared out the window, momentarily forgetting Jonasí presence at his side.
"Isaiah?" Jonas asked, concerned. "Is something wrong? If you donít like the room, thereís another one."
"What?" Tanith blinked at him in surprise. "Oh, no, itís not that. Forgive me, Jonas, for a moment I was lost in thought. Have you ever wondered if youíve made the wrong decision, if perhaps your whole life is a lie?"
Jonas thought a moment before answering. "Maybe not a lie, but I did reach a point in my life where I thought everything I knew up until then was wrong. Thatís what led me to leave here. Itís not easy, coming to that realization, but, you were enslaved, Isaiah, you had no choice."
Tanith smiled painfully. "Sometimes it doesnít feel that way. It feels like there was something I could have done differently, should have done differently, and it would have made a difference."
Moving carefully, Jonas wrapped an arm around Isaiahís shoulders and hugged him. "You canít change the past, even if you wanted to. You can only worry about the present."
Tanith leaned into the embrace. "But past actions influence the present and future. We can never escape the consequences of our actions." He could feel Hebronís shock at his words, but he was not ready to discuss his feelings with the host, nor was he certain that he ever would be.
"No," Jonas sighed, thinking back to Danielís death and his part, however unintentional, in it. "But we can learn from them and try not to make the same mistakes again."
Tanith nodded slowly. "I suppose that is all anyone can do." And he could see long hours ahead of him pondering his actions and deciding how he would go on once he left Kelowna. If he did.
Shaking his head slightly, he straightened up. "Iím sorry to have been so depressing. I promise to be more cheerful from now on." He eyed Jonas with a smile. "I didnít see your stock of ice cream during our tour."
Jonas chuckled at that, shaking off his mood. "If you think Iím showing you where that is, youíre crazy!"
"Damn. Would it help if I looked more pitiful?" Tanith tried to droop, though his eyes were sparkling merrily.
"Looking pitiful will get you tucked into bed to rest."
Tanith snorted. "You play dirty!"
Jonas smirked. "I learned from the best."
Tanith eyed him, not sure whether that had been aimed at him or was a reference to Col. OíNeill, whom he wasnít supposed to know. He settled on a noncommittal murmur in response. Looking around the room again, his eyes settled on a tall dresser, and he frowned. "Iím going to need some clothes," he realized. "And some way to earn something to pay for them."
"Wardrobe is part of a houseboyís salary," Jonas teased, not wanting Isaiah to be uncomfortable with what heíd find in the dresser. "Canít have you running around the place naked."
"Iíll have you know that people have begged for the sight of me naked," Tanith retorted loftily, beginning to smile again.
"Absolutely. Iíve brought grown men to their knees and women to tears."
Jonas couldnít resist. "That bad, eh?"
Tanithís nose rose haughtily. "That spectacular."
"Do you want me to set up an appointment book for all your callers then?"
"I think I should take it easy for now, being recently injured and all." Tanith finally lost the battle against his mirth and started laughing. "Oh, you are absurd, Jonas, and very good for me."
Jonas smiled and hugged Isaiah once again before letting his arm fall away from the other manís shoulders. "Glad to hear it. Iím glad youíre here, Isaiah; no matter how you got here, Iím glad youíre here."
Tanithís smile grew wistful again, but he didnít allow the mood to darken this time. "Considering youíre keeping me, that is most fortunate. But are you also planning to feed me?"
"Yes, but not ice cream, not before dinner," Jonas chuckled. "Want to see the rest of the place or laugh at my cooking first?"
"Hmm, what a decision. See the rest first, I think. Then I can relax and give your display all the attention it deserves. But after that comment, I want to know if Iíll survive eating what you cook?"
Jonas snorted. "Do you think itíll be any worse than two weeks of hospital food?"
Tanith shuddered. "Good point. At least I should be able to identify it. Shouldnít I?"
"Hopefully." Smiling cheerily, Jonas showed Isaiah the rest of the upstairs, including his bedroom, which was similar to the guest room but done in greys and reds.
"I like your home, Jonas," Tanith said as they returned to the kitchen and he sat down. "I am grateful that youíve allowed me into it."
Jonas looked up from where he was getting out pots and pans and smiled. "I hope youíll be happy here. I know it isnít your home, but maybe it can come close."
"I donít know that I remember what itís like to have a home," Tanith admitted. The sentiment was Hebronís since Tanith himself had never actually had a home. "But I am comfortable here with you. Again, thank you."
"You can thank me by not eating all the ice cream while Iím working," Jonas grinned, straightening up and beginning to get food out.
"You mean itís somewhere close?" Tanith perked up and looked around alertly, gaze zeroing in on what appeared to be a refrigeration unit.
"Iím not telling you! Stick to healthy food, or the doctors will get you."
"But I need something to look forward to, to spur my recovery," Tanith wheedled shamelessly.
Jonas snorted and continued chopping vegetables. "As if you wonít eat every bit you can find the minute my back is turned. No, you just have to wait and have dessert at the proper time, my friend."
"Surely a little bit would just whet my appetite," Tanith suggested, edging closer to the appliance he thought might be holding it.
"Ha! Ruin your appetite more likely." Jonas paused, his expression horrified. "I sound like my mother!"
Laughing, Tanith pointed out, "Then you should get me some ice cream to prevent that. I donít think I want you to turn into your mother."
Jonas moved in front of the refrigerated unit, spatula held in a defensive pose. "Not even for that will I give up my ice cream."
Tanith eyed the spatula warily, chuckling. "Can I at least hope weíll have ice cream for dessert?" He sat back down, letting Jonas see that he was well out of reach of the appliance.
"If you eat all your vegetables." Relenting, Jonas grinned and returned to his cooking. "Think your doctors would strangle me for offering you wine, or would you rather have fruit juice?"
"Technically, wine is fruit juice," Tanith pointed out. He relaxed, watching Jonas putter around the kitchen. He found it surprisingly relaxing and wondered what Jonas would think if he knew this was completely new to Tanith. His host had memories of evenings like this, but Tanith only knew the Tokíra base and Anubisí ship. A faint, wry smile twisted his lips.
"Good point," Jonas grinned, setting aside the food to open a bottle of red wine to let it breathe. "And whatís that look for? Worried Iím going to get you drunk so you wonít notice how bad my cooking is?"
Tanith laughed quietly. "Just thinking that Iíd never expected to have another evening like this. I am very fortunate to have met you, Jonas."
"Not even with your family?"
Hebron raised sorrow-filled eyes to meet Jonasí. "My family is all dead," he replied simply.
Jonas cursed quietly. "Isaiah, Iím so sorry, I didnít think... Thatís it, I didnít think." He sighed, feeling a total fool.
Tanith reached over to place a hand on Jonasí arm. "I know you didnít mean to hurt me. My situation is fairly unique. And I am enjoying myself here with you."
"Well, Iím glad of that at least." Jonas gave a rueful smile and returned to fixing their meal. "Iím enjoying your company."
"Fortunately. Iíd hate to think I was boring as well as burdening you." Tanith quirked a smile, hazel eyes sparkling mischievously.
"Youíre no burden," Jonas answered honestly. "I know how it feels to end up on a planet where you know no one. People helped me; Iím glad to help you."
"I hadnít had much contact with other races before the Goaíuld came," Tanith said slowly. "I didnít realize that others could be compassionate as well." In fact, everything he was discovering and feeling here on Kelowna with Jonas was in direct opposition to the Ďknowledgeí his mother/queen had given him, and he was beginning to question everything.
"I think youíll find that to be more the case than not, though there are exceptions." Jonas put the food in the oven to cook and got a pair of glasses down from a shelf. "I think itís time for wine."
"Sounds good." Tanith watched as Jonas poured the wine. "And just so you know, Iím not going to sit back and have you serve me all the time. Next time I expect to help."
"Youíre still recovering, and besides, itís nice to have someone to do things for; I donít get a chance to cook much when Iím alone."
"Youíre going to spoil me so much I wonít ever want to leave," Tanith warned laughingly.
Jonas shrugged and settled in the chair across from Isaiah, sipping his wine. "Iíve got room; Iím not going to kick you out."
"Why do I think that as a child, you were one of those who constantly brought injured animals home to nurse back to health?"
"Earning the trust of an injured animal is a great feeling." Jonas admitted. "Not that Iím comparing you to an injured animal."
"Thatís a relief. For a moment there I was afraid I might have sprouted fur or feathers."
Jonas pretended to look Isaiah over carefully. "Nope, none that I can seeóunless theyíre hidden, of course."
Dark eyes rose. "And are you offering to inspect the hidden bits to be sure?"
Jonasí glass of wine stopped halfway to his lips. "I think youíre still recuperating."
"I wonít be forever." Tanith sipped his own wine, eyeing the other man over it.
"No... not the way you heal; I still canít believe that youíre up and walking around two weeks after I found you."
Tanith shrugged, really not wanting to discuss that since he could hardly tell Jonas that the host body healed due to the presence of the Goaíuld symbiote. "Iím just glad I do. I might have gone mad if Iíd been trapped in that hospital much longer."
Jonas chuckled. "And taken the staff with you. Iím not sure who was happier when you were discharged."
"Are you implying that I was a difficult patient? Iíll have you know that I was the soul of courtesy."
"You scared half of them to death!" Jonas laughed.
"I most certainly did not." Tanith looked down his nose at Jonas. "I was the ideal patient."
"By whose standards?"
"Harrumph." Tanith took another sip of his wine. "I refuse to dignify that with a response. Shouldnít you be checking on dinner?" he asked in an obvious attempt to change the subject.
Jonas chuckled and rose to do just that. "It hasnít turned to ashes yes, so weíre safe."
"If thatís how you gauge it, I donít have very high expectations for this meal!"
"Would it help if I told you I might have an idea about what happened to you on P3X116?"
"Really?" That got Tanithís attention. "What do you think happened?"
Jonas refilled both their glasses and sat down again. "Do you know how the stargates work?" he asked.
"Not really. I know that you have to dial in the coordinates, and when you step through, you have moved from one planet to another." Tanith shrugged.
"Thatís right." Jonas nodded, and continued. "The gates form a wormhole between themóa kind of shortcut around the distances involved. I think that somehow you got caught in the edge of that wormhole and trapped until I came through, when the bubble you were inside collapsed."
Thinking about that and the knowledge that he did have of how the gates worked, Tanith frowned and slowly nodded. "That makes sense, I suppose. At least itíll do until we find facts that say otherwise. Iím just very grateful that you were the one to come through."
"Donít start thanking me again, okay? Iím all thanked out."
Tanith laughed. "Sorry, I wonít do it again." He grinned into his wine as he sipped at it. "But seriously, I canít stay here with you forever. The expense..." He sighed. "I have no idea what I can do to earn my keep."
"Well, you could always consult for SGC," Jonas offered. "Iím sure theyíd appreciate more information on the Goaíuld."
"I suppose thatís a possibility, but I canít see myself doing it. From what Iíve heard, things are never quiet around the Tauíri, and I think I want some peace for a time. Perhaps I could operate a small farm?"
Rising again, Jonas took a mitt and pulled the casserole heíd made from the oven, dishing up portions for both of them onto plates. "There are farms outside the city. I can ask around and get some information about them."
"Thank you." Tanith took a bite before looking back up at him. "Can you think of anything that I might be able to do in the city? Iíd like to be able to see you sometimes."
"No arguments on that here." Jonas carried the plates over to the table and set one in front of Isaiah. "And weíll find you something to keep you busy, I promise."
"I just want some way to keep myself. I refuse to be a burden on you, no matter how much you keep insisting that Iím not." Tanith smiled wryly as he anticipated Jonasí objection.
"How about we see what happens as we go? You just got out of the hospital, Isaiah; you donít need to wear yourself out and have a relapse."
"I donít want to get too comfortable and used to relying on you either. I think it could easily become a habit I would find hard to break."
Jonas paused, eyeing the other man silently. "You arenít a burden, you know."
"What else would you call a stranger who has no means of support and is living in your home?"
Tanith sipped his wine, watching Jonas over it. "You are a very generous man, Jonas Quinn. And very unusual."
"Hmm, Iíll just take that as a compliment, though if you keep telling me Iím stupid for having you here, I might start thinking of it as an insult," Jonas grinned.
"Not stupid, extraordinarily generous. I hope not to disappoint you," Tanith replied, realizing that he meant it, much to his surprise.
Jonas sipped his wine and winked. "Youíll only do that if you eat all my ice cream, and if that happens, Iím going to sic Tealíc on you!"
Tanith winced slightly. "A fate worse than death, Iím sure," he replied, trying to laugh. "I shall have to restrain myself... and convince you to give it to me!"
Seeing the small cringe, Jonas was instantly contrite. "Iím sorry, Isaiah, no more threats, even in fun."
"No, itís all right, I just overreact sometimes," Tanith said hastily. "I know you were joking." After another sip of his wine, he eyed Jonas with amusement. "Should I be concerned that youíre planning to poison me, or will you actually eat some of your dinner at some point?"
"Hmm? Oh!" Jonas laughed, realizing he hadnít taken a bite of his own food yet. He did so, then grinned. "See? No poison and less chance of getting tipsy."
"I donít know," Tanith mused, smiling. "It might be entertaining to see you tipsy. Or even educational." He took another bite of his own dinner, savoring the blend of flavors. "Youíre a very good cook."
"Educational in what way? And thanks." Jonas ate some more, then filled both their glasses again.
"Educational in the sense of getting to know the real you. Though you are very open, despite being a politician," Tanith admitted.
Jonas shuddered. "Now thatís an insult; I may just have to toss you out on the streets for that!"
Tanith laughed. "Sorry, but anyone with the title of ambassador canít deny the truth of it."
"I was a scientist long before I became an ambassador; thatís what Iíd rather be known as."
"So youíre a man of science as well as diplomacy. Very versatile. Your people are lucky to have you represent them to other races. But do you still find time to do what you really enjoy, the scientific part of things?" Tanith asked curiously.
"Not as much as Iíd like," Jonas admitted. "What free time I have now is spent trying to help SGC in their search."
"Their search? For what?"
"Theyíre looking for the lost city of the Ancients, hoping to find information on how to defeat the Goaíuld there."
"They..." Tanith stared, fork suspended in midair halfway between his plate and his mouth. "Thatís a very ambitious plan," he finally managed to say.
"Theyíre very ambitious people," Jonas grinned.
"They certainly sound it. Do you think they might succeed?"
Jonas nodded as he ate some more. "I think theyíre close. They found the original sarcophagus and are working on translating writings to find where the Ancients hid the city."
Tanith was stunned. "Thatís... extraordinary. That could change the whole balance of power in several galaxies."
"And free a lot of people who have been kept as slaves. Exciting, isnít it?"
"Very." Tanith could feel Hebronís interest in the conversation, the first hope the host had of being freed, and he pushed the host personality down farther, not daring to let him slip free. "I think if the Goaíuld had realized what humans would become capable of, they would have continued using Unas as hosts," he finally said wryly.
"Now thatís a lovely thought." Jonas frowned and peered at Isaiah. "Are you feeling all right? You sound different..."
"Iím fine," Tanith replied, clearing his throat. "Perhaps the wine has affected me slightly," he suggested.
"Do you need to lie down?" Jonas asked instantly, half-rising from his seat.
"No, I donít need to lie down," Tanith laughed. "I just need to continue eating my dinner so I donít end up drunk on the first wine Iíve had in a while, years apparently."
"Let me get you some water then, or would you rather have juice?"
"Jonas, sit down and have your dinner," Tanith laughed with a hint of exasperation. "Iím enjoying the wine; I just need to make sure to eat as well. And I am." He raised his fork to his mouth in demonstration.
"Yes, sir." Jonas grinned and saluted as he dropped back into his chair. "See? Iím eating."
"Good boy. Now youíll be able to have some ice cream with me later."
Jonas cocked an eyebrow at his guest. "Itís my ice cream; I could have had it without having dinner if I wanted to."
"But that wouldnít be polite," Tanith pointed out.
"Whoever told you I was polite?"
"You mean you arenít? Then I could have just attacked you and demanded ice cream earlier?"
"With your two broken legs? That attack would have gone well."
"Youíre being much too practical." Tanith shook his head as he sipped at his wine.
"I thought farmers were supposed to prize practicality," Jonas laughed, finishing his meal.
"Only when it suits my purpose," Tanith admitted, grinning as he sat back in his chair after scraping up the last bits of food. "And right now, it doesnít."
"So what does it suit your purpose to be?" Jonas offered Isaiah more of the casserole.
"Hmm, pitiful, I suppose, so youíll keep feeding me," Tanith chuckled.
"Let me guessóice cream."
Tanith gave him a toothy grin.
"You want ice cream, you wash dishes," Jonas informed him as he stood to clear the table.
"Slave driver," Tanith muttered, not quite under his breath, also standing to carry his dishes to the sink.
"Iím helping, how can that be slave-driving?"
"Now youíre being logical."
Jonas laughed. "Which is a problem, how?"
"Itís inconvenient and unfair. Youíre taking advantage of my injury-dulled wits!"
"So would you rather me go back to treating you like an invalid?"
"NO!" Tanith exclaimed in horror before starting to laugh. "Iím never going to win against you, am I?"
Jonas grinned. "Depends what youíre talking about, Isaiah. I learned from the best."
"Doomed, Iím doomed," Tanith moaned laughingly. "I hope I never encounter your teacher then."
"Jack makes me seem like an infant," Jonas promised, clearing the rest of the dishes from the table.
"Jack?" Tanith asked, remembering in time that he shouldnít know SG-1. "Is that one of your co-workers?"
Jonas shook his head. "No, Jack OíNeill is the head of SG-1, one of the Tauíri teams that explore the stargates. Heís a member of the Earthís armed forces and heís... quite a character."
"He sounds it," Tanith agreed, filling the sink with water to begin washing the few dishes. "And he is your friend?"
"Yes." Jonas put the rest of the dishes into the sink. "It was hard at first. I thinkóno, I knowóthey tolerated me more than anything, but we became friends."
"Friendships that begin that way are often the most enduring," Tanith murmured, realizing again that Jonas would never be able to forgive him when he found out who Tanith really was, as he inevitably must.
Jonas smiled wryly. "Yeah, nothing like killing a guyís best friend to bring you closer together."
Tanith blinked in surprise. "What?"
"One of the members of SG-1, Daniel Jackson, died here because of radiation exposure." Jonas sighed and looked at the floor. "For a time, I took his place on the teamóit started out to save my hide, but it was also because of guilt. Heíd ascendedómoved on to a higher plane of existence, but then he returned."
"He died and came back?" Tanith repeated, not sure that he was hearing right.
"Sounds insane, I know, but thatís what happened. He didnít remember a lot of his life, but that came back with time."
"Thatís... extraordinary. So he came back, and you were left without a place and returned home?"
Jonas shook his head. "No, I was still part of the team, but when the Goaíuld invaded here, I saw where I needed to be."
"That was very brave of you, coming back to where there was danger. Though the invasion seems to have been averted."
"And hopefully it will stay that way. We arenít advanced enough to withstand a Goaíuld invasion."
"Not many worlds are. I remember their frustration with the Tauíri resistance. They couldnít understand how such an insignificant race could withstand them." Tanith washed another dish and set it in the tray, remembering his own contempt for the host race and slowly understanding his error.
"I wouldnít use those words around them," Jonas commented, reaching for the dish to dry it. "The Goaíuld must have given you the run of their ship to hear all that. When I was on one, I hardly heard anything."
"I was going to be a host, remember. The Goaíuld would come in to inspect my suitability and talk as if I were part of the furnishings." Tanith shrugged slightly. "They really donít believe any other race is their equal."
"Which will be their downfall," Jonas said grimly.
Tanith made a noncommittal sound, but he was starting to wonder if Jonas might not be right. And where did that leave him? He sighed heavily as he rinsed a wine glass and handed it to Jonas.
"Isaiah?" Jonas asked, drying the last of the dishes and putting them away. "Are you all right?"
"Iím fine, just a little tired. In a good way. Itís good to finally be out of bed and moving around again." Tanith leaned against the counter as he turned to face Jonas.
"Well, maybe ice cream will make it even better."
"I have a feeling ice cream could make just about anything better."
"Exactly!" Jonas laughed, taking two bowls from a cabinet and grinning at Isaiah. "Other room! Iím not letting you see where I keep this."
Laughing, Tanith raised his hands in surrender and went into the living room, settling into one corner of the comfortable couch as he waited for Jonas to join him. He looked around, taking in details heíd missed in his earlier quick tour of the house, and he smiled, seeing the mixture of comfort and practicality in the decor. It was very Jonas.
"Since you ate all your dinner, you get a special treat," Jonas announced as he came into the room, carrying two bowls. "Chocolate ice cream!"
"Chocolate?" Tanith asked, reaching eagerly for the bowl, momentarily surprised to see that the ice cream was brown instead of white.
Jonas nodded. "Sort of like the sauce you had on the sundae, but this is mixed in the ice cream." He sat down across from Isaiah and dug into his dessert.
Tanith tasted it tentatively, then smiled widely at the first spoonful. "Delicious!" he exclaimed. "This comes in many flavors?" Tanith asked a few moments later after making inroads into his dessert.
"Lots and lots," Jonas enthused. "If we ever get to Earth, Iíll take you to Baskin Robbins; they always have thirty-one flavors!"
"Thirty-one?" Tanith repeated in near rhapsody. "Oh, that sounds marvelous!" he spooned up another mouthful of ice cream as he stared at Jonas.
Jonas grinned. "And that isnít mentioning all the toppings they have too!"
"Toppings? Like hot fudge? Oh my!" Tanith licked his spoon absently, all his attention on Jonas.
"I think Iíve created an addict."
Tanith laughed. "And you arenít?"
Jonas smirked. "I have a supply."
"You mean you would expose me to ice cream and then abandon me?" Tanith shook his head forlornly. "A truly evil plan."
"And here you thought I was a nice person..."
"Apparently I was mistaken. I wonder what I should do about it." Tanith grinned at him.
Jonas grinned and took a big bite of ice cream. "You tell me."
Putting his empty bowl aside, Tanith suddenly lunged for Jonasí. "Help myself!" he laughed.
"Hey!" Jonas laughed, pulling his bowl away from Isaiah and scooting back along the sofa with the other man almost on top of him.
"If youíre not going to share, I have to make sure I get what I can," Tanith retorted, crawling over Jonas after the ice cream.
"You have your own bowl!" Jonas protested, holding his back over his head.
"But I finished mine. You still have some." Tanith snatched at the bowl, not quite reaching it.
"Which I want to eat!"
"The hospitable thing would be to share."
Jonas glowered. "I think I liked you better when you were worried about taking advantage of me."
"You told me to stop."
"Not at the expense of my ice cream!"
"You didnít qualify it earlier."
"You didnít ask me to!"
"Come on, Jonas, share a bit," Tanith wheedled.
"Because youíre a nice person and you like me."
Jonas groaned. "Fine, eat my ice cream."
"I donít want it all, Iím not greedy," Tanith said with dignity. "Just to share." He stuck his spoon into Jonasí bowl and helped himself to a mouthful, still stretched over the other man.
Jonas sighed. "And Iíll just lie here quietly."
Suddenly realizing their position, Tanith stilled and stared down at him, then grinned. "Doesnít say much for your expectations."
"Expectations for what?" Jonas asked, before also realizing the position they were in.
"I repeat," Tanith snickered, sitting up finally.
"You repeat what?"
"Minimal expectations. You obviously havenít had great experiences."
"With whom?" Jonas asked before staring at Isaiah, his eyes widening. "Oh, those expectations."
Laughing, Tanith leaned back. "Yes, Jonas, those expectations." He stole more ice cream while Jonas was distracted.
"So you want my ice cream more than me?"
Tanith hesitated, spoon halfway back to the bowl, and looked from the ice cream to Jonas before slowly sitting up again.
Jonas sat up as well, and offered what he hoped looked like a normal smile. "Sorry, that was a stupid thing to say."
"And here I hoped you were offering. I did make my choice, after all."
"You did?" Jonas asked, looking perplexed. "Oh, I thought..."
"You said I wanted your ice cream more than you. So I stopped stealing your ice cream. Seemed fairly obvious to me." Tanith shifted a little closer, hazel eyes never leaving Jonasí.
"I guess it does at that." Jonas gave a lopsided grin and, swallowing hard, leaned in, pressing his lips against Isaiahís in a kiss that tasted of the ice cream theyíd been eating.
Long moments later Tanith leaned back, the hazel eyes searching Jonasí again, and he smiled slowly. "Even better than ice cream."
Jonasí eyebrows rose. "Thatís quite the compliment."
"That was quite a kiss." Then Tanith smirked and stole another spoonful. "Not that Iím giving up ice cream!"
Jonas sighed. "And so my master plan is foiled."
"Hmph. Well, apparently someone thinks ice cream is better. Iíll have to try harder next time." Tanith slowly licked the ice cream off his spoon, hazel eyes fixed on Jonas.
"Once youíre better and I... get used to this feeling." Jonas added the last in an almost mutter.
"Iím feeling much better. But I know this is moving quickly," Tanith admitted, sitting back again. Heíd originally started this to bind Jonas closer to him for his protection, but he found that somewhere along the line heíd come to care for the human. He really did want to do this.
Jonas gave a half smile and his eyes flicked to Isaiahís mouth as he ate some more ice cream. "It probably doesnít feel like that to you, but meeting you has opened my eyes to things about myself I never realized."
Looking curious, Tanith leaned a little closer. "Like what?"
"Like it has me thinking about men. No, about you."
"I hope you donít expect me to apologize. Because Iím glad of it. Since Iíve been thinking of you since I stopped hurting."
"No, Iím not expecting an apology." Jonas smiled at that. "Actually, Iím sort of happy about it too; Iíd say youíre the best thing Iíve ever found going through a stargate."
"I hope your opinion never changes." Not wanting to think of Jonasí probable reaction when he found out Tanithís real identity, the Goaíuld set his bowl aside and leaned in to kiss him again.
Relaxing into the kiss a little more, Jonas sighed once they parted again. "Only way that would happen is if you donít do that again- or if you eat all my ice cream."
"Iíll have to be on my best behavior then." Tanith scooped up more ice cream and offered it to Jonas, watching him heatedly over the spoon.
Jonas nodded, even as he leaned in to eat the melting ice cream, his eyes locked with Isaiahís the whole time.
Tanith felt heat flare through him as he watched Jonas take the spoon into his mouth, the same spoon that had been in Tanithís. The hazel eyes darkened, and he swallowed hard, wishing he could just reach out and take what he wanted.
Jonas swallowed, then licked his lips before swallowing again. "Youíre dangerous, Isaiah."
"You have no idea," Tanith murmured. "Not to you," he said in a more normal tone, his eyes practically eating Jonas.
"Iíd say very much to me," Jonas countered. "Unless you have this effect on everyone you meet."
"Not that Iíve noticed. But then no one else has had this effect on me either. I think you are the dangerous one, Jonas."
"Only to your recovery if you keep looking at me like that." Jonas rose abruptly and gathered up their empty bowls, carrying them to the kitchen.
"Perhaps what Iím thinking of would aid in my recovery. Physical therapy." Following Jonas, Tanith gave him a wicked grin and crowded him against the counter.
"Or me in a cast when the doctors beat me for making you re-injure yourself."
Tanith sighed. "Youíre not going to cooperate, are you?"
"Not today." Jonasí tone was regretful. "Not until I know youíre well."
"Youíre not very good for my ego. Here I am trying to seduce you, and you keep saying no," Tanith replied, trying to tease Jonas into going along with him.
"Iíll worry about your ego later," Jonas said, shaking his head. "Right now Iím worried about your physical health, not your mental health."
"The two are tied together," Tanith pointed out even as he sighed and sat down to watch Jonas tidy the kitchen. "I never know quite how youíre going to react."
Jonas frowned and turned to lean against a counter. "How do you mean?"
"Youíre a peaceful scientist, but youíre ready to fight the Goaíuld to the death. You are interested in women, but you react to me. You seem to want me, but I never know if youíll kiss me or try to tuck me into bed. You are a mass of contradictions, despite your attempts to appear simple."
"Maybe itís because I donít know quite who I am either," Jonas admitted.
"In that case, I look forward to finding out together. I think I may have some things to learn about myself as well," Tanith replied, his gaze turning inward.
"Iíd expect that; you are on a new world after all." Jonas spread the rag heíd been holding out on the edge of the sink and walked over to the table. "Want to go sit on the deck or would you rather call it a night?"
"Iíd prefer to spend the time with you." Tanith stood up, eyes warm as he smiled. "You enjoy taking care of your home, donít you?"
Jonas nodded as they walked outside. "Yes. I suppose itís because I didnít really have one the past year; it made me appreciate this more."
"Itís lovely." Tanith settled himself on the rail around the porch, admiring the greenery and Jonas. "Do you ever regret returning to Kelowna after your time with the Tauíri? It must be much less exciting for you here."
"After everything I experienced there, a little quiet is nice."
Tanith had to think about that for a moment before slowly nodding. "I suppose I can understand that. And Iím interrupting your quiet."
"Hardly," Jonas laughed. "I donít see you trying to shoot me or take over the world."
Tanith managed a slightly strained smile. "No, I donít really want to rule the world," he said, only then realizing it was true. "I think I want to enjoy the quiet with you."
Opening the front door, Jonas dropped his jacket on a nearby chair and rubbed his back, walking toward the back of the house, guessing that Isaiah would be out on the deck. "So, how was the check up?" he asked, leaning out the door and smiling when he saw Isaiah lounging in one of the chairs, a book on his lap.
"Iím in perfect health, much to everyoneís astonishment. I can do whatever I likeówhich specifically includes sex." He gave Jonas a toothy smile as he laid his book aside.
Jonas shook his head, but he was smiling too. "Has anyone ever told you that you have a one track mind, Isaiah?"
"Often," he chuckled. "And I wanted to make sure that you couldnít argue any more, at least not for that reason. Now it all comes down to what you want to do."
"Come here and Iíll show you."
A wry smile curving his lips, Tanith stood up and took the few steps necessary to bring him within inches of Jonas. He stood there, barely a breath between them, the hazel eyes challenging yet somehow vulnerable.
Jonas smiled and slid an arm around Isaiahís waist, drawing him in for a kiss that lasted longer than any they had shared before.
Tanithís mouth opened, inviting Jonas in, and he wrapped his own arms around Jonas, drawing them closer together until not even a breath of air could have come between them.
Taking the invitation, Jonas slipped his tongue into Isaiahís mouth, groaning as the other manís taste exploded over him.
Tanithís arms tightened around Jonas, his tongue gliding over its counterpart and his body hardening as they pressed closer together. He groaned throatily, hands moving restlessly over Jonasí back and ass.
"You were right," Jonas murmured when they finally broke apart, both breathing heavily.
"Of course I was. What was I right about?" Tanith asked, nuzzling Jonasí throat, most of his attention on what he was doing rather than the conversation.
"This is better than ice cream."
"My turn to be complimented, I think." Tanith nibbled on Jonasí Adamís apple, rocking against him and groaning breathlessly.
Jonas nodded and groaned, his fingers digging into Isaiahís back through his thin shirt as they rubbed against each other.
"You feel so good," Tanith panted, fingers tugging Jonasí shirt loose so he could slide his hands under it. His fingertips kneaded the taut muscles, enjoying the sensation of warm skin, and he kissed Jonas again, tongue delving hungrily into his mouth.
Jonas groaned again in answer and took a step back away from the glass doors that led to the deck. "Maybe we should sit down or lie down or something?" he asked, his voice unsteady.
"Bed would be good," Tanith replied breathlessly, hoping he wasnít moving too fast but eager to feel Jonas against him. "I donít think this is going to last long," he admitted somewhat sheepishly, "but Iíd like to hold you too."
"Are you feeling all right?"
"Wha..." Tanith realized what Jonas was asking, and his mouth snapped shut in mid-word as he glared at Jonas. "I am fine," he growled, pulling a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and waving it under Jonasí nose. "Certified so by the doctor, in fact! It wonít last long because youíve made me wait this long and I want you too much!"
"Oh." Jonas couldnít help but scan the piece of paper before ducking his head. "I guess we should go to the bedroom then."
"You checked it. I donít believe it. Yes, I do," Tanith sighed, shaking his head with fond exasperation. "Letís go so I can prove to you that Iím fine."
Jonas grinned and shrugged his shoulders. "Hey, I care about you. I just want to make sure youíre fine." Isaiah started to speak, and Jonas kissed him. "So, your bedroom or mine for this demonstration?"
"Yours. That way you canít decide it would be better for me to sleep alone or anything equally ridiculous and try to sneak away in the middle of the night." Tanith found that he liked the idea of holding Jonas all night, something he had never in his life considered before meeting the human man.
Jonas half-glowered. "Would I do something like that to you?" he asked, beginning to walk them back toward the stairs and up to the bedrooms.
"If I sighed in my sleep and you decided I needed more room to stretch out comfortably? Yes! Admit it, Jonas," Tanith retorted, chuckling.
"Well, you might get uncomfortable..."
"Jonas!" Tanith started to laugh. "I will not be uncomfortable unless I wake up alone. Donít make me tie you to the bed!"
Jonas laughed as he pushed open his bedroom door and led Isaiah inside. "You really sound like one of the military types I know. Are you sure you were a farmer?"
"Well, I did join our militia when we were trying to fight off the Goaíuld," Hebron replied, then the hazel eyes widened as he realized that Tanith had actually given control to him. He turned to Jonas, about to beg for his help when he realized that as happened with the Tokíra, he was feeling the same emotions as the symbiote within him. He cared for Jonas Quinn, and he didnít want to lose this opportunity with him. Biting his lip, he decided to waitóand deal with Tanith at another time. And for the first time since discovering that he was host to a Goaíuld instead of a Tokíra, he had hope that there would be a later for him as himself.
"Isaiah?" Jonas asked, frowning when he saw the change in the other manís expression. He wanted to ask if Isaiah was all right but didnít want to upset him by doing that. "Maybe we should lie down?"
"Sorry," Hebron replied, smiling faintly. "That just brought back some bad memories for a moment. Help me forget again?" he murmured, pressing close again. He wondered if Tanith had ceded control to him because he was the only one of the three of them with previous experience with another man, but he didnít care. Not just then at least. He kissed Jonas, teeth catching and gently tugging his lower lip.
"Gladly," Jonas answered once Isaiah let go of his lip. "Just... tell me if I do anything wrong, will you?" As he asked this, he raised his hands to begin unbuttoning Isaiahís shirt, lowering his gaze to help him concentrate on the task.
"I canít imagine anything you do being wrong, but I promise to speak up if the impossible happens. Otherwise, I plan to enjoy you and hope youíll enjoy me." Hebron shivered as Jonasí fingers brushed his chest, his cheeks flushing with arousal as he watched the other man.
"Well, all the experience I have is with women, and Iíd say you arenít anything like them," Jonas breathed, spreading Isaiahís shirt open to look at his chest, then frowning slightly as he ran a finger down the vertical scar at the base of Isaiahís throat and raised his eyes in a questioning gaze.
Hebron distracted him with a kiss, not wanting to get into that. "Well," he said when he released the slightly dazed scientist a little later, "like women, I have a body, and I like to be touched. And to touch you." He started unfastening Jonasí shirt, wanting to see and touch him as well.
"So just touch you like I being touched?"
"Now youíve got the idea. Itís actually easier than women since we have the same parts. You know what feels good to a man." Hebron flicked a thumb over a nipple in demonstration.
Jonas moaned at the arrow of pleasure that sent though him and ran a hand over Isaiahís chest, feeling his nipples peak in response. "I know you feel good," he rasped.
"You too." Hebron bent down to suckle on one nipple, then started toward the other, stepping aside for Tanith as he did to allow the other to enjoy Jonas as well.
After only a split second hesitation Tanith continued the movement, his lips closing over the hardened nubbin, tasting Jonas hungrily.
Jonas gave a low cry and clutched at the back of Isaiahís head, his fingers sliding through the dark curls to press Isaiah closer to him. "I may be the one to fall over soon," he moaned, feeling his body sway.
"Then maybe we should move to the bed," Tanith murmured, straightening up after a final lick. "Iíd rather not have to wait for you to heal too!"
Jonas snickered at that and backed toward the bed, kicking off his shoes and letting his shirt fall to the floor as he moved. "No, I think weíve both waited enough."
"Iíve been saying that for weeks!" Tanith sounded aggrieved, but he followed Jonas eagerly, shedding his own garments so that he was nude by the time he knelt on the edge of the bed, smiling up at Jonas.
"You were hurt!" Jonas protested, though the excuse sounded weak to his own ears. He looked at Isaiahís body and swallowed hard, pausing to undo his own pants and push them down, his mind a whirl of frantic activity.
Seeing the hard curve of Jonasí erection, Hebron surged forward, hands reaching for Jonasí hips and pulling him closer until he could take the head between his lips, tasting his lover for the first time and groaning his pleasure.
Jonasí knees buckled, and he fell ungracefully to the bed, barely managing to twist his body to keep from hitting the floor. "Oh myóIsaiah, please," he begged.
"It will be my pleasure," Hebron chuckled. "But you might want to remember not to move that abruptly in future. I almost bit you, and I donít think you would enjoy that very much." He shifted to kneel between Jonasí legs, nuzzling the sac and inhaling the musky scent.
"Sorry," Jonas muttered, almost whimpering as Isaiah mouthed his groin. "Wonít next time."
Sensing that Jonas wasnít really focusing on the conversation, Hebron smirked and nibbled gently on the base of his cock, then slowly worked his way up the length of the shaft until he could lick the head with long sweeps of his tongue.
Jonas was beyond speech by this time, only able to moan and writhe on the bedspread, his legs spread wide and his hands clutching at Isaiahís head.
Taking pity on him, Hebron opened his mouth and slowly swallowed him down, pleased to find that despite the many years since heíd last done this, he hadnít lost his skill. When Jonasí balls were pressed against his chin and the sensitive head nestled in his throat, he swallowed. And waited with smug anticipation for the reaction.
Eyes flying open to stare in shock at Isaiah as he felt his shaft taken in to the root, Jonas froze, then howled and came, his hips thrusting uncontrollably as pleasure coursed through him.
Hebron hummed his pleasure as Jonas lost control and swallowed repeatedly to increase the other manís pleasure, enjoying every moment of Jonasí climax. He petted Jonasí thighs and belly, glad to finally be able to touch him.
Finally recovering enough to be able to speak, Jonas tugged weakly at Isaiah, wanting him alongside him.
Shifting to stretch out beside the now limp man, Hebron smiled smugly and rubbed his erection against Jonasí hip. "You were worth waiting for," he murmured, kissing him, lightly at first in case Jonas was repelled the taste of his own semen in Hebronís mouth.
Jonas laughed weakly after the kiss broke. "So you say nowówhat if I stink at doing what you just did?"
"Then Iíd just have to let you practice on me."
"You sound horrified by the prospect." Having recovered somewhat, Jonas ran a hand down Isaiahís chest to lightly stroke his erection.
"Oh absolutely. It would be simply dreadful." Hebron grinned, sliding aside to let Tanith enjoy Jonas in their arms as well.
"Liar," Jonas laughed, closing his fingers around Isaiahís shaft and stroking it gently.
Catching his breath, Tanith arched into Jonasí touch, eyes half-closing in pleasure. "Well, perhaps I might enjoy it just a little," he admitted with a throaty chuckle.
There was that voice change again. Ignoring it for now, Jonas concentrated on kissing Isaiah, wanting the other man to feel as out of control as he had before.
With a gasp Tanith melted into the kiss, his hips thrusting into Jonasí grasp, tiny moans escaping him.
"Tell me if..." Jonas decided it was best to shut up and kissed Isaiah, his hand speeding up at the other manís crotch.
Tanith buried his face in Jonasí neck, whimpering and then crying out as his hips thrust uncontrollably. He clung to the other man, stiffening as his climax overwhelmed him and his seed spurted over Jonasí still moving fist.
Jonas couldnít help the smile that spread over his face as he felt Isaiahís climax, and he continued stroking the other man as long as his shudders continued, kissing the now sweaty flesh near his lips as Isaiah slowly relaxed.
"Mmm, that was the best medicine for me. I feel better than I ever have. You could have cured me much earlier," Tanith murmured, nuzzling Jonasí throat again.
"Having you pass out would not have been good for your recuperation!"
"You think you can make me pass out? I look forward to it!"
"Give me a little time to practice and study and then, who knows."
"Please feel free to practice on me as often as you feel the need."
Jonas chuckled. "My country isnít going to appreciate me spending all my time here practicing."
"Tell your country to find its own lover. Iím not sharing." Tanith knew he wasnít making much sense, but what could anyone expect so soon after a mind-shattering orgasm? "I could stay here forever."
"I donít recall wanting to be my countryís lover; Iíd rather be yours."
"Good answer. Now I just need to find a way to keep you here and make you forget work, duty, and everything else." Tanith chuckled, but a part of him wished it were possible.
Jonas smiled and kissed Isaiah again. "I need to do my job, otherwise thereís no reason for me coming back here."
"Have I mentioned that I hate it when you make sense?" Tanith sighed. "But youíre right, of course. And Iím going to have to find something to do with myself soon as well. Iím starting to get restless doing nothing but sit around all day."
"What would you like to do?í Jonas asked, raising his head enough to look down at the other man. "Iíve got a lot of leeway, considering my position, so I can pretty much get you where you want to go."
"I still donít know," Tanith admitted, sighing. "All I really know is farming, but I donít want to be that far away from you. Perhaps... I know Goaíuld tactics rather too well. Maybe I could help your people design defenses?" Hearing himself speak, Tanith realized that he had truly turned his back on the System Lords and intended to make his future with Jonas. He could feel Hebronís relief and joy, and he promised himself that the next time he was alone, he would communicate with his host and work things out between them. It seemed that he might end up a Tokíra after all.
Jonas nodded slowly. "That would be good, or we could have you work with SGC; theyíre more advanced with defense systems than we are here."
"Iíd still rather keep apart from them. Iíve heard so many things..." Tanith frowned. "I just donít think I could be comfortable with them."
"If thatís what you want." Jonas stroked Isaiahís back soothingly. "I hope one day you want to meet them."
"Anything is possible," Tanith replied with a sickly smile that fortunately was hidden against Jonasí shoulder. "But for now I have enough to assimilate here in Kelowna. I donít need to add additional complications like the Tauíri to the mix."
Jonas nodded. "Of course. I know how it feels to be thrown into an alien culture, so I wonít toss you into another one until youíre ready."
"Thank you." Tanith pressed a kiss to his shoulder, somehow shifting a little closer. "As for a job, does Kelowna keep bed slaves?" He raised his head to grin down at Jonas.
"Not officially," Jonas laughed. "Though I may have to create a position like that for you."
"See, Iím already changing your world for the better."
"My life anyway."
"I have a feeling your life could use a little stirring up. At least since your return to your home world."
"Oh, as if maintaining world peace isnít enough!"
"Admit it, youíve been bored!" Tanith eyed him challengingly.
"I think I shall make it my mission to make sure youíre never bored again." Tanithís smile was wicked, and the hazel eyes gleamed.
Jonas chuckled and ran his fingers through Isaiahís hair. "Somehow I think youíll do very well at that."
"Flatterer." Tanith propped his chin on crossed wrists atop Jonasí chest. "Itíll be fun."
"And if you get bored with me?"
"You must be joking!" Tanith stared at him. "Youíre attractive, interesting, kind, sexy, intelligent. How could I possibly get bored with you?"
Jonas shrugged. "Well, you seem to know more about this whole male/male sex thing than I do.
"Which just means we get to explore together to find out what you like. Iím looking forward to it, and I hope you are too."
"I would say thatís definitely the case!"
"Then no more absurdities about me getting bored with you. I like you, Jonas."
Jonas smiled. "I like you too, Isaiah. A lot. More than a lot if you have to know."
"Iím glad." Tanith kissed him, hoping that it would be enough if and when Jonas found out who and what he really was.
"Me too." Jonas yawned and stretched out beneath Isaiah. "Because I really like this."
"And weíve only just begun exploring the possibilities."
Jonas chuckled. "Well, more possibilities are going to have to wait until later because," he yawned again, "Iím beat."
"And since Iíd prefer you awake, I think thatís our cue to get some sleep. Tomorrowís another day." Tanith settled his head comfortably on Jonasí shoulder, a possessive arm curved over him.
"Ambassador Quinn, could I show you something?"
"Sam? I need you all to come here as soon as possible."
After a long day spent trying to explain the many holes in the planetary defenses, Tanith was tired and eager to relax with Jonas when he finally let himself into what had become their home. "Jonas? Are you home?" he called.
"Yes, Iím here." Jonas raised blood-shot eyes and looked at Isaiah when he came in the living room. "We have a guest as well."
"What do you mean? Whatís wrong, Jonas, you lookó" Tanithís words came to an abrupt halt as he met a cold blue gaze, and he stopped in his tracks, swallowing hard.
"Tanith," she said coldly.
"No wonder you knew so much about Goaíuld defenses," Jonas said tiredly. "Considering you are one."
Tanith wanted to sit down, but he wasnít sure he was welcome to do so in Jonasí home any longer. Unable to meet Jonasí eyes, he stared out the window as he replied, "Iím not certain the Goaíuld would agree with that any longer. I think I would be lumped in with the Tokíra now as a renegade." He smiled bitterly. "Helping your people is rather in opposition to the System Lords. And then thereís Hebron." He sighed.
"You mean he still exists?" Sam asked.
Hearing the tell-tale echo enter Isaiahóno, Tanithísóvoice, Jonas swallowed harshly. "Good thing you found such a chump in me."
Hebron moved forward. "Not only do I still exist, but Tanith and I are beginning to work out how to deal with one another. Though he is not what he led us all to believe before we were blended, he is closer now. And for that I thank you, Jonas Quinn." He bowed slightly to the Kelownan.
Sam looked over at Jonas and, seeing his conflicted expression, took control. "Youíre going to have to come back to SGC; whether itís voluntary or not is up to you."
Hebron looked at her briefly before focusing on Jonas. "Not everything heóweósaid was a lie, Jonas. Believe that if nothing else." He eyed Jonas wistfully. "I am sorry. For a little while we hoped... Well. It appears Iím going to SGC after all." He squared his shoulders. "Should I ask what form of execution you use now? Or were you simply planning to lock me in a room with Tealíc?" That last wry comment was clearly Tanithís, as the sudden resonation in his voice proved.
"Sam..." Jonas looked over at her and rubbed his forehead. "Can I talk to him for a minute?"
"Are you sure thatís a good idea, Jonas?" When her friend just shrugged and stared back at her, Sam sighed and let her hand rest on his shoulder for a moment. "Iíll be right outside," she said warningly.
Tanith continued staring out the window, afraid to turn, waiting for Jonas to speak. He knew it was cowardly, but he couldnít force himself to do anything else.
"So. Find out everything you wanted?" Jonas asked after a prolonged silence.
"More than I wanted to." Tanith finally turned around. "Everything I told you about being on that planet was true. I never planned to come here. And I certainly never expected to meet you. You accomplished what all the Tokíra couldnít."
"Which is what? Making a fool of myself and giving up secrets?"
"No! Never that," Tanith exclaimed, taking a step toward him before Jonasí withdrawal halted him. "No, making me care, making me question the goals of the System Lords, making me wish that I really had joined the Tokíra." He smiled painfully. "You made me want you, and I knew that it would all end ifówhenóyou found out who I really was. What I was."
Jonas sighed. "Pretty words, Isaiah, but that isnít even your name, is it?"
"Not so pretty, just the reality that I found myself trapped in by my own past." Tanith sighed. "And my name is Tanith."
"And Hebron," the host added.
"I suppose Iím supposed to say Ďpleased to meet you,í but that just doesnít work, does it." Jonas smacked a hand into the wall and glared at the other man. "Wasnít it enough to lie to me? Did you have to make me need you too?"
"And Iím supposed to say Iím sorry at this point, but I canít. Iím sorry I lied to you, but Iím not sorry for anything else, not another moment of the time we spent together. Iíll never forget you, Jonas." Tanith smiled painfully. "I only wish I could have been what you deserve. I told you that once."
Jonas gave a choked laugh. "Yes, you did, didnít you; I just had no idea what you meant." He squared his shoulders and met Tanithís gaze. "Iím going to SGC also."
Tanith winced. "Want to see me pay for my crimes, do you?" He turned away again, shoulders hunched. "I never wanted to hurt you, Jonas."
"No, Iím going to tell them that while you were here, you never did anything that could be considered a threat to security here or on Earth."
Tanith stiffened. "Donít do anything to harm your relationships with your friends."
Jonas sighed. "I just want the truth to come out."
"I donít think Tealíc really cares about any truth except the one where I killed a woman he cared for very much," Tanith admitted.
"So that should let him kill someone I care about without hearing all the facts?" Jonas answered heatedly.
"I doubt any of SG-1 will think that anything I could have done since meeting you could make up for my past actions. I wish it could be otherwise, but..." Tanith shrugged, still refusing to face Jonas.
"Does Hebron think that too?"
Turning finally, Hebron stared at him. "I... Until recently I would have said yes. Now, Iím not so sure. Tanith has changed since meeting you, more than I thought possible. I think..." He stopped, biting his lip. "But it doesnít matter. I doubt the Tauíri or the Tokíra will be willing to overlook his past actions."
Jonas sighed. "Everyone has done things that they arenít proud of, and many of them have resulted in the deaths of others. People deserve second chances, Hebron, and IóIím going to do my best to see that Tanith gets one."
"Jonas, Carter and the others are your friends. Iím their enemy. Donít ruin things for yourself," Tanith said, taking a step closer to Jonas, eyes searching Jonasí. "I couldnít stand hurting you more."
"I let what others thought make my decisions for me one time; Iím not going to do it again. If it turns out that youíre lying, well then, Iíll face that when we come to it, but until then Iím going to go with my gut."
Tanith bit back the words he wanted to say, knowing this was the wrong time and it would be completely unfair. "In that case, can I hug you?" he asked wistfully.
Taking the final step that brought them flush against each other, Tanith slid his arms around Jonas, sighing with pleasure at the heat and weight of him.
"I donít even know you anymore," Jonas murmured, holding on to Tanith and taking a shuddering breath before letting go and stepping back.
Tanith closed his eyes, flinching from the words. "You still know me better than anyone else ever has. Then again, Iím only two years old," he added wryly, trying to lighten the mood.
Jonas gave a pained laugh. "Maybe they wonít charge you because youíre a minor. God, what am I saying!" He turned and leaned an arm against the wall and his head against his wrist.
"Iím sorry." Tanith didnít know what else to say. He started to reach out to place a comforting hand on Jonasí shoulder but let it fall back to his side, not certain that Jonas would accept his touch.
"I know." Jonas didnít move. "You know how I found out?"
"I hadnít really had time to think about it. But no, actually." Tanith frowned.
"I got a call from your doctors today. Theyíd found something strange in your scans and wanted to know if I had any ideas what they were seeing." He turned and looked back at Tanith. "Theyíve never seen what a symbiote inside a host looks like, you see."
Tanith winced. "Iím sorry," he repeated helplessly, imagining how Jonas must have felt when he saw that.
"I kept telling myself you were a Tokíra undercover, but it didnít make sense. Nothing makes sense any more."
Eyes closing, Tanith turned away again. There was nothing he could say that would make this better, no explanation he could give that would sound like more than an excuse.
"Iíve taken a leave; Iíll stay at SGC until this is resolved."
"Until Iím removed from Hebron, you mean." Tanith swallowed hard. "You shouldnít blame him, you know. He had almost no control. And he cares about you, too. Perhaps the two of you... Well."
Jonas winced. "Maybe... if Hebron spoke also..."
"I intend to. I am in the best position to know Tanithís true intentions. And I am not particularly eager for a procedure that stands a good chance of killing us both. But I am not certain that will matter, not in this case." He sighed. "The Tokíra hoped that Shauínac had found a way to replenish their ranks, and broken hopes are very hard to get over. And Tealíc, well, he loved her."
After a momentís hesitation, Jonas reached out and rested a hand on Tanithís shoulder. "Losing someone you love is painful."
Tanith raised sorrowful hazel eyes. "Yes, it is," he agreed, eyes drinking in Jonasí features.
"All right." Jonas held Tanithís gaze for a beat longer, then looked away. "We should go."
Nodding, Tanith looked around the room a final time before he squared his shoulders and strode toward the door, opening it abruptly enough to startle Carter.
She looked from him to Jonas and frowned. "Jonas?"
He rubbed at his forehead and managed a sickly grin. "Ready to roll, Sam."
Tanith simply fell in behind her, silently, not even attempting to speak to her. It was only a few minutes since heíd arrived, and yet everything seemed different.
"Well, at least we got through the day with no deaths," Jonas jokedóor tried to, as he sat at the table in the mess hall at SGC. He gave Daniel a strained smile. "Right?"
"Donít know how long thatíll last," Jack put in, drinking a cup of coffee. "Trying to keep Tanith alive isnít making you very popular, Jonas," he warned. "And the Tokíra representatives are coming, and theyíll be just as unfriendly."
"Well, since when was I ever really popular here?" Jonas asked. "Kill Daniel, spill all your secrets to a Goaíuld and then try to convince everyone to prove that he has changed."
"Daniel gets himself into his own messes," Jack sighed, glancing at the archeologist, "and I doubt that you gave away any secrets. I do know you better than that, Jonas. But Tanith is going to be a problem. Heís killed a lot of people, our allies and friends."
"To say that Tealíc would be happy to see him dead is an understatement," Daniel added quietly.
Jonas nodded and toyed with his food. "I know that; I read the reports, but... Is there even a point in me trying to explain?"
"Yes," Sam replied quietly. "I at least want to know what you see in him that makes you think heís worth saving. Because, Jonas, none of us have seen it."
"Itís just..." Jonas dropped his fork and took a sip of his coffee. "I know some of what he said was Hebron, but all of it couldnít have been. He seemed regretful at timesónot sad, regretful."
"So he says heís sorry, and allís forgiven and rosy?" Jack asked, eyebrows rising inquisitively. "Sorry, Jonas, I donít think so. Heís lied before and used our trust to kill. Iím not eager to trust him again."
"And I donít expect you to. I donít know what I expected," Jonas sighed.
"Weíll try to protect Hebron," Sam offered, knowing it wasnít much. "Weíve been able to extract a Goaíuld before without harming the host. Well, not us, but some of our allies."
"So itís all decided then? Why bother even talking to them then?"
"Heíll have a trial, of course," Jack answered. "But frankly, I donít see much grey area here, Jonas. Iím sorry if you have feelings for the guy, but like Carter said, Hebron should be fine. Itís the Goaíuld whoís the criminal."
"Yeah." Jonas sighed heavily and pushed back from the table, standing up. "So you say, but wasnít the first Tokíra a murderer before they figured out there was a better way?"
Watching him walk away, Sam sighed. "He really cares about Tanith, sir. I have a feeling heís in for a lot of pain."
"Heís right about the snake heads though. The Tokíra are Goaíuld that changed their ways. Thatís why they thought that Tanith might be one of them." Jack frowned into his coffee. "Maybe they were right, but it took longer for him to figure it out." He stared at the door Jonas had gone through.
"Jonas is also right about us convicting him without hearing what he has to say," Sam sighed. "Itís just so hard to believe. Weíve seen what Goaíuld do. Believing that Tanith might have reformed..."
"So, why donít we wait and see what he has to say. The Tokíra are bringing the zaítarc detector so we should know if heís telling the truth or not or if Hebron is being coerced," Daniel murmured.
"And if he is telling the truth, what are we going to do about Tealíc? I donít think heís going to care either way. The big guyís a big believer in an eye for an eye." Jack set his mug down and slumped in his chair.
"Thatís a good question," Daniel sighed. "One I suppose weíll have to deal with when the time comes."
"I donít see any way for this to end well for everyone," Jack sighed, and Sam nodded.
Looking up at a sound outside his cell, Tanith looked surprised when he saw Jonas. "You shouldnít be here."
"Why is that?" Jonas asked, pulling up a chair and sitting down outside the cell.
"Because youíre just going to hurt your credibility with your friends. I donít want to cost you your friendships." Despite his words, Tanith was drinking in the sight of the other man.
"And I donít want this to cost you your life!" Jonas replied heatedly. "I know what Goaíuld are capable of, and I have as much reason as any to hate them, but you... I canít hate you, Tanith. Maybe Iím being stupid, but I canít believe it all was a lie."
"I almost wish you did. It would be easier for you," Tanith sighed as he stood up and came to stand at the door, looking through the window in the door at Jonas, his fingers wrapped around the metal bars. "But it wasnít, and Iím glad you know that," he almost whispered.
Without thinking, Jonas reached up and covered Tanithís fingers with his own. "They say everything happens for a reason. Maybe, maybe you being trapped and me finding you was meant to be, to show you thereís more than you thought there was, that what Shauínac was trying to teach you was the right way."
"Perhaps. All I know is I was happy with you, Jonas. And I thank you for that." Tanith smiled crookedly. "I just wish we could have had more time. At least a few more nights." He tried to leer, but the sadness in his eyes made it less than successful.
"Weíll just have to make sure we do," Jonas answered, looking up at Tanith and trying to smile. "After all, I have the feeling thereís a lot we didnít get to."
Tanith nodded slightly. "You have plenty of time," he started, only to stop with a growl when he thought about Jonas experiencing those other things with someone else.
Jonas shook his head. "Considering that without you Iíd rather not experiment, itís a moot point."
"I know I should tell you that youíll find someone who appreciates you, but Iím not going to," Tanith growled. "I hate the very thought."
Surprised at the almost primitive growl, Jonas nodded slowly. "Well, itís not like Iím going out looking, or that I even want to. To quote Jack, this whole thing is fucked up, but Iím not giving up on youóor us."
Tanith stared at him searchingly. "You really mean that, donít you?" he finally said, sounding surprised. "I think I underestimated you, Jonas. I never thought you would be able to accept who I was. Used to be." He smiled wryly. "I guess that means I canít give up either?"
"You damn well better not!" Jonas snapped before taking a deep breath to calm himself. "And yeah, I canít believe Iím saying this either, but itís the truth. Maybe if I had found out before, it would be different, but I know you now, Isaió" He laughed quietly. "Itís going to take a while to break myself of that."
"Iím sorry," Tanith said again, staring out at him. "But if you prefer to call me Isaiah, I donít mind. Hebron might prefer his own name, however."
Jonas nodded. "What if I call you Tanith when I talk to you and Hebron when I talk to him? Is that all right with both of you?"
"That is how the Tokíra do it," Hebron replied, coming forward. "And much to our surprise, I suppose we must be considered Tokíra now. Or if they do not wish to claim us, which is entirely possible, we will be something entirely new. Though I see no difference between Tanith and Egeria now. Both were born Goaíuld, and both chose to turn away." He raised his voice to be heard by the group of Tokíra approaching.
"Now we just have to convince everyone else in the universe of that."
"I think it might be easier to convince the System Lords to take up the ways of peace," Tanith muttered, watching the Tokíra warily.
Jonas looked in the same direction and finally broke the silence when the Tokíra didnít speak. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"We came to see the Goaíuld who thinks he can convince us a second time of his rehabilitation," a female Tokíra sneered, looking down her nose at Tanith.
"Situations change," Jonas said quietly, standing and placing himself somewhat between the Tokíra and Tanith. "I believe once you hear all the information, you will see that this is the case here."
"I doubt it." With another angry glare, the Tokíra left without saying a single word directly to Tanith.
When they were gone, Tanith slumped onto his cot, sitting hunched over. "See what weíre facing? You really would be wiser to stay out of this, Jonas."
"Since when do houseboys tell the homeowners what to do?" Jonas tried to joke, though his voice was strained.
"Since the houseboy turned out to have a few secrets and really doesnít want the homeowner to get caught in the crossfire. These are your friends, Jonas, but theyíve hated me longer than theyíve known you."
Jonas sighed and sat again. "I suppose thereís no point in asking if you did the things they say you did," he murmured.
"Yes, I did. I killed Shauínac, who had done nothing but try to teach me to have a conscience, spied on the Tokíra, essentially imprisoned Hebron inside his own body." Tanith spared himself nothing. "I wanted nothing more than to destroy the Tauíri and advance in the ranks of the System Lords."
"And now?" Jonas asked. "What do you want now?"
Jonas managed a smile at that. "But what else? What do you want to do?"
"I want... I want to build a life, to find something I enjoy doing and that helps, to spend years learning about you and myself. I want to be what Isaiah pretended to be, what Hebron had before his world was destroyed."
"Then tell them all that. Give them a reason to see that youíve changed; let Hebron tell them what he feels as well."
"I donít know if it will be enough, Jonas. They have good reason to hate me," Tanith warned.
"We have to make it enough. Iíll talk to Jack, Sam and Daniel again, and I know a few of the Tokíra... maybe I can get them to set aside their feelings and look at the facts."
"I..." Tanith began to smile, finally daring to allow himself to hope. "As determined as you are, how can we fail then?"
Jonas allowed himself to smile. "We canít."
"I wouldnít dare, knowing that I would have to face you afterward. And someday soon, it will be without this door and these bars between us. We still have to finish what we started."
"Is it my fault we never Ďwent all the wayí? We were working up to it, right?"
"Very definitely. I dreamed of you every night. Both of us did." Tanith stared at him hungrily. "I want to go home and lie down with you in our bed and forget the outside world exists."
"What about Hebron? What does he want?"
"Much the same as Tanith," Hebron answered for himself, "though I would add the downfall of the Goaíuld to my wish list. I have had a happy life before and had it torn away from me. I want to prevent that ever happening again, to me or anyone else."
Jonas nodded. "Iíve had a synopsis of the work you did with the Kelownan defense department brought over; perhaps if Tanith could offer more... They might believe you both."
"I will tell them anything I know, but I donít know how much help I will be. I was far from a System Lord, Jonas. But Iíll do anything I can to convince them so that we can see where weíre going together."
Jonas leaned against the door and peered through the bars at Tanith, for that was who was in control of Hebronís body at the moment. "So letís start. Iíll put together the information I have and talk to people; you two decide what would be the most effective information to pass along and prioritize it."
Tanith nodded. "Sooner or later, though, Iím going to have to see Tealíc. And heís probably going to try to kill me with his bare hands."
"Iíll talk to him as well, I promise."
"No!" Tanith exclaimed, jumping to his feet to clench the bars and stare at Jonas. "Donít get in the middle of this, Jonas. This is something I have to face on my own."
"In case you havenít noticed, Iím already in the middle of this. Iím going to talk to him, and there really isnít a lot you can do to stop me."
"Jonas!" Totally frustrated, Tanith yanked on the bars fruitlessly. "Youíre just going to ruin your friendship with him!" he nearly yelled.
"Not if heís really my friend, it wonít," Jonas asserted, standing and backing up. "Donít feel guilty over this, Tanith; itís my choice."
Helplessly, Tanith stared after him, knowing there was absolutely nothing he could do.
And in the security monitoring station, Jack OíNeill sat back in his chair after watching the video feed from the holding cells. "Interesting," he murmured, hands crossed over his belly as he tilted the chair back onto its rear legs, intent gaze on Tanithís face on the screen.
Steeling himself for what he knew was going to be an arduous conversation and hoping he didnít end up in the infirmary, Jonas knocked on Tealícís door.
The door opened and the tall Jaffa stood in the entrance, staring down expressionlessly. "JonasQuinn."
"I was hoping we could talk." Jonas looked past Tealíc into his rooms. "In private."
Silently, Tealíc stepped back, allowing room for Jonas to enter. Once Jonas stepped past him, he shut the door, clasped his hands behind his back, and faced Jonas with a questioningly raised eyebrow.
Jonas swallowed hard and walked inside. "Looks like youíve changed the place some," he babbled, taking in all the lit candles.
"You have come to discuss the decor of my quarters?"
"No." Jonas turned and looked at Tealíc. "I wanted to talk to you about Hebron and Tanith."
Tealícís expressionless visage somehow grew more closed. "What is there to say of a murderous Goaíuld and his victim?"
"That perhaps they have reached an accord?"
"The Goaíuld fooled many before, JonasQuinn. There is no shame in being fooled."
"Is there shame in asking for forgiveness?" Jonas asked. "Or for an attempt at understanding?"
"I do not believe the Goaíuld capable of such."
"Then how did the Tokíra come about?"
Tealíc frowned. "All but the queen were born as Tokíra. And while she changed, she was the only Goaíuld to do so in many thousands of years. Do you truly believe that Tanith," he spat the word out like a curse, "is the second?"
"I do," Jonas said simply. "Heís been on Kelowna with access to a gate for almost three months now; why would he stay?"
Tealíc had no answer. "If he had reformed, why did he lie about his identity?" he asked instead.
Jonas shrugged and walked over to one of the low tables, squatting down to look at the candles. "I donít know. Iím not saying he was innocent when I found him, but that maybeómaybe what Shauínac showed him did change him; it just needed time to sink in."
"I find this very difficult to believe, JonasQuinn." Tealíc looked away briefly before looking back at the scientist. "But if it were true," he said slowly, "it would mean that some small part of Shauínac lives on."
Jonas straightened up again, watching Tealíc closely as he did so. "Iím not trying to force you to believe this, just to try and consider the possibility."
"I... will consider it, JonasQuinn," Tealíc replied with a slight bow of his head.
"Thank you, Tealíc," Jonas said quietly. "I appreciate that, I really do."
Tealíc nodded again and ushered Jonas out, shutting the door behind him. Only then was there a crash inside the room, as if some heavy object had been hurled against a wall.
Jonas stared at the closed door for a long moment and raised a hand to knock, then backed up and walked down the hall, his expression somber.
Tanith paced his cell like a caged animal, constantly stopping at the door and peering out for any sign of Jonas. It seemed to have been hours, though he was sure it was far less, but he was desperately afraid that Tealíc would take his anger at him out on Jonas.
"Jonas is in a meeting with the Tokíra." Daniel stopped outside the cell after having silently watched the caged Goaíuld for a time. "He asked me to tell you."
Tanithís gaze fixed on the human. "Stop him before he hurts himself," he begged.
"And how am I supposed to do that?"
Tanith sighed, slumping onto his cot again. "I donít know. That man is the most stubborn being I have ever encountered in my entire life."
"But he believes in you." Daniel leaned closer to the bars, noting the changes as the two personalities surfaced and receded. "Iíd think youíd be happy he was so stubborn."
"Not if it harms him. I do not think even Jonasí eloquence can sway the Tokíraís opinion of me, and he will hurt his standing with all of you."
"Why are you so worried about what happens to Jonas? I would think that you would be more concerned about whatís going to happen to you."
"Because I care about him!" Tanith replied wildly, getting up to pace again, ignoring Hebronís attempts to calm him.
Daniel nodded and smiled slightly. "You know, I actually believe you; thatís something I never thought I would ever tell a Goaíuld."
"I know you wonít believe this, but Iím not a Goaíuld anymore. Thanks to Jonas. I never expected..." Tanith trailed off with a sigh, and Hebron took over.
"Heís telling the truth, you know. It sounds ridiculously like some old fairy tale, but Jonas made all the difference."
"This is fascinating," Daniel murmured, pulling up the chair outside the cell and sitting down in it, resting his elbows on his knees. "What we could learn from you..."
Hebron gaped at him and started to laugh. "You are just like Jonas! It must be the scientific mind."
"I suppose it transcends all cultures, the need for knowledge."
"It also appears to transcend imminent death," Tanith retorted dryly.
Daniel grinned, almost against his will. "No one ever said brains equal common sense."
"Thatís for sure!" Jack agreed, coming up behind him. He stared into the cell at Tanith, who stared back.
"Jonas seems to think youíre rehabilitated."
"Jonas believes the best of everyone," Tanith replied blandly before Hebron shoved him aside.
"Ignore Tanith, please. He seems to have this deep-seated need to annoy people when heís nervous."
"Gee, a snake being annoying, who would have guessed it."
Daniel elbowed Jack in the leg as he straightened up, most of his attention still on the man in the cell. "Iíve never seen a Goaíuld willingly give up control to their host before," he murmured.
Jack frowned. "He fooled us before. Though I have to admit that comment sounded more like Jacob talking about Selmak than anything Tanith said the first time around."
"Thatís because Iím Hebron, not Tanith," Hebron snapped, beginning to pace, now understanding why Tanith did. "And shouldnít you be with Jonas?"
"Sam and Jacob are with him," Daniel answered. "While we may not totally believe what heóand youóare saying, we arenít going to desert him."
Hebron stared at them, wanting to curse and snarl but knowing that would only harm him and possibly Jonas as well. "Thank you for that," he said grudgingly.
"Gee, such praise," Jack said.
"Jack..." Daniel said warningly.
Hebron had to chuckle. "You sound like my wife and I used to."
Seeing Jack grin, Daniel held up a finger. "Not a word, Jack. Not a word unless itís about the situation here, understand?"
"My lips are zipped." Jack mimed sealing them. He turned his attention back to the Goaíuld, frowning. "We really have no way of knowing if youíre telling the truth or not."
Hebron shrugged. "Just imagine my perspective. I never imagined that someday Iíd be arguing in favor of the Goaíuld who took over my body. That alone should tell you that something changed."
"Or that youíre lying," Jack pointed out. "Only time will tell."
"I come bearing dinner," Jonas announced, looking over his shoulder at the guard who followed him and then at the locked door. "Mind opening this?"
Having received orders from Col. OíNeill, the airman unlocked the door and let Jonas inside, shutting and locking it behind him.
"How did you manage this?" Tanith asked in surprise. "Arenít they afraid that Iíll take you hostage or something?"
Jonas shrugged and set the tray on the cot. "Well, if you did that, it would answer their questions for them, wouldnít it?" He nodded at the tray. "Now eat. There isnít any ice cream, but I brought some bananas; theyíre another of my favorites here."
"A little cold, isnít it? I mean, donít they care if you get killed? Not that you will, but you know what I mean. And whatís a banana?"
"Thatís why the guard is out there," Jonas answered, nodding toward the airman standing outside the cell. "And this," he held up the fruit, "is a banana. You peel off the skin before you eat it."
"It looks more like something you use than eat," Tanith replied, eyeing it warily. "Is this a joke?"
"No, itís a piece of fruit," Jonas chuckled, taking the banana and peeling back the skin, then taking a bite before holding it out to Tanith.
Tanith nibbled tentatively before his brows rose and he took a bigger bite. "Thatís very good!"
"I told you so."
"You enjoy saying that much too much. Iím going to have to work on that."
Jonas grinned and peeled the second banana on the tray. "Wouldnít it be easier just to believe what I tell you?"
"But not nearly as much fun. Iím thinking of all kinds of ways to stop you talking." Tanith smirked lasciviously at him.
"Eat your meal, Tanith," Jonas laughed. "Iím betting you and Hebron are both hungry."
"Youíre right!" Hebron put in, reaching for one of the cheeseburgers. "Do they really think Iíd tunnel my way out of here or something equally ridiculous if they actually gave me food that requires a knife and fork?"
"Maybe they donít want to give you anything to threaten me with." Jonas winked as he spoke and snatched a french fry from the plate.
"You mean to protect my food from you with, donít you?" Tanith asked dryly, taking a fry before they were all gone.
Jonas stuck his tongue out at the other man. "Hebron will share with me."
"Youíre not leaving me much to share," Hebron retorted, eyeing Jonas laughingly. "As much as you eat, you should be as big as a house."
"According to Janet, I have a high metabolism," Jonas shrugged, taking another fry. "And I got you a double serving, so donít tell me youíre going to starve."
"You mean you got you a double serving and me a little bit to keep me going," Tanith teased.
"And if you donít eat, youíre not even going to get that little bit."
"I think theyíre protecting the wrong one of us," Tanith pretended to grouse, but as he reached for his food, his hand covered Jonasí.
Jonas snorted and turned his hand over to twine his fingers with Tanithís.
"So if I make it out of here, what happens next?" Tanith finally dared to ask. "Back to Kelowna?"
"I donít know," Jonas sighed. "I suppose it depends on what the Tokíra and SGC want from you. I know if I get my way, youíll be back on Kelowna."
"And if they send me somewhere else? Where will you be?" Tanith raised his gaze to meet Jonasí searchingly.
Jonas looked away. "With you whenever I can be. I canít walk away from Kelowna, no matter what my emotions tell me."
Tanithís fingers tightened over his. "Itís more than I ever dared hope for. I had no idea how lucky I was that day you found me."
"Youíre just saying that because you want me to get you more ice cream," Jonas tried to joke.
"Hmm, it might be good with the bananas," Tanith mused, going along with it. "What do you think?"
"I know itís good with bananas and hot fudge."
"I look forward to trying that. It sounds delicious." Tanith let go of his hand to pick up his burger and take another bite. "The Tauíri have a very good way with food."
"I learned all my best recipes from Emeril," Jonas grinned.
"Who?" Tanith asked blankly, licking his fingers to catch the last of the juices from his burger.
"Heís a chef, likes to throw things around and go BAM!" Jonas smacked the wall when he spoke, making the airman tighten his hand on his gun.
"His food explodes?"
Jonas burst into laughter at that. "Well, no, not really, but your mouth feels like itís on fire sometimes after trying his recipesótheyíre spicy."
"Sounds interesting. I shall look forward to trying them sometime with you. Perhaps to celebrate when we get home again?" Tanith still wasnít sure that would happen, but for Jonasí sake if not his own, he tried to act as if he did.
"With banana splits for dessert," Jonas promised, reaching out and resting his hand on Tanithís leg.
"Banana splits? Oh, that is the ice cream and bananas and hot fudge? I can think of other uses for them as well, or perhaps simply an alternate means of presentation. A second dessert." Tanith smiled wickedly.
Jonas shook his head ruefully. "Once you get out of here, Iíll get you all the banana splits you can eat."
"Or you can wear."
"If I get frostbite, you are so dead."
"I think I can take care of keeping you hot." Tanith licked his lips.
Jonas shifted and tugged at his pants, at a loss as to how to answer that.
Tanithís eyes followed the movement, and he leaned closer. "If there wasnít a guard at that door..."
"But there is and we need to concentrate on how best to prove to the others that youíre sincere."
"I suppose throwing you over the bed wouldnít help with that," Tanith sighed. "But it would certainly raise my spirits. Among other things."
"Something you never have a problem with." Jonas grinned and tightened his fingers on Tanithís leg. "Though I seem to suffer from the same malady when Iím around you."
"Am I supposed to apologize for that?" Tanith snickered. "Because neither of us will," Hebron added, grinning widely. "Weíre rather pleased to hear it.
"And as for proof, Malek might be able to help. He and Jetha knew me before I blended with Tanith. They should be able to tell if Iím really me. They were away at another base after we blended," Hebron added in explanation of how Tanith had been able to fool the Tokíra at first.
"Jetha? Is that Malekís host?" Jonas asked. "Iíve never heard his name before. But he is here. I spoke to the Tokíra before I came to see you, and Malek expressed an interest in speaking with you."
"Iím not surprised you donít know Jetha. Heís very shy around strangers, even around most of the Tokíra. He had bad experiences in the past. But he and Malek were friends. I would be pleased to speak to them again."
"Iíll see what I can do." Jonas smiled and sat back on the cot, leaning against the cell wall. "From what Iíve gathered, theyíre going to start grilling you tomorrow morning."
Tanith sighed. "Iíll be glad to get out of this cell, but I canít say that Iím looking forward to that. Facing oneís past sins is never pleasant."
"No, but once you do that, then you can move past it and get on with life."
"Assuming Iím not executed for them, you mean." Tanith held up a hand to forestall the heated response he knew would follow. "But I no longer believe that will be the case, and I am looking forward to exploring new possibilities."
Jonas grinned. "Good answer, itís healthier for the both of you, too."
"Because itís better for my morale or because it will prevent you from hitting me?"
Tanith chuckled. "I think Iím a bad influence on you."
"In what way?"
"Youíre becoming much too violent." Hebron snickered as he came forward. "And I think shaking you up a bit has been good for you."
"Violent? I think youíre both crazy." Jonas eyed the few remaining fries, then snatched most of them.
"Also greedy and a thief!" Tanith grabbed one back, literally from Jonasí hand as he raised it to his mouth. "And you did say you were willing, possibly even eager, to hit me, so yes, violent. Either that or kinky." He smirked.
"In your dreams," Jonas muttered before grinning. "And probably mine."
"If there wasnít someone right outside the door, Iíd make you demonstrate that," Tanith murmured. "As it is, Iíll keep it in mind for when I get out of here."
Jonas grinned. "Iíll remind you so you donít forget."
"Now Iím really eager to get out of here. I want to continue what we started. And without an audience."
"I doubt the airman really wants to watch us either," Jonas chuckled, glancing out of the cell at the soldier guarding Tanith.
Hearing that, the airman couldnít maintain his expressionless mien, instead making a face of disgust.
"I think you may be right," Tanith laughed. "Though I say he doesnít know what heís missing."
"If weíre being honest, neither do I!"
"Iíll do my best to fix that as soon as I can. I aim to please."
Jonas grinned. "And you do it well."
"Just wait till you experience my all." Tanith smirked at him.
"Iím looking forward to it."
"So what do I have to do to get out of here?" Tanith sighed.
"Talk to SGC and the Tokíra and..." Jonas sighed, "Tealíc. You both have to convince them."
"Who knew that convincing people of the truth would be harder than a lie."
Jonas leaned over and kissed Tanith. "Itíll get easier, I promise." The airman coughed and looked pointedly at his watch, and Jonas sighed. "Iíve got to get going. Are you going to be all right?"
Tanith shrugged slightly. "Aside from boredom and missing you? Iíll be fine. Iíll see you tomorrow." He started to raise a hand to touch Jonas but let it fall back to his side."
Jonas caught the extended hand and kissed the palm. "Try to get some rest, all right?"
Not long after Jonas left, the airman opened the door again, and Tanith saw Malek.
"Jetha!" Hebron exclaimed.
The Tokíra frowned slightly and walked over to the cell to look at the man imprisoned inside. "Hebron?"
"Yes. And Tanith, but I am speaking now. I am pleased to se you again. I have heard from Jonas that you have a mate now. Congratulations, my friend. And... I told you so." Hebron smiled quickly. "I told you that you would find one who would interest you and who wanted both you and Malek."
"Howóhow could this happen?" Jetha asked, frowning as he looked at the other man. "We thought you were lost."
"I was," Hebron replied, "but that changed recently. After we met Jonas," he admitted. "Until then, I was... sublimated. But now we share my body, as I first expected. Tanith has changed. I believe he is still changing, and it is all thanks to Jonas."
"Because I discovered what it was to love someone," Tanith answered for himself, sighing when Jetha flinched away.
"Do not worry, old friend; I will remain in control if it makes you more comfortable," Hebron said.
"I do not see how you can share yourself with a Goaíuld," Jetha said quietly.
"I did not when he was a Goaíuld. He has changed. Even as Egeria did."
"He has come to realize that the System Lords are in the wrong, that the Tauíri and other humans are deserving of their own lives and freedom. He... I enjoy speaking with him, being blended with him. And that is something I never thought I would say."
Jetha frowned. "But how did he come to this realization when all the time he spoke with Shauínac didnít prove it to him?"
Hebron smiled wryly. "He fell in love. As did I. Jonas Quinn accomplished what no one else could. And once Tanith realized that Jonas was more than a slave or potential host, he had to realize that other humans were the same. Love conquers all." He rolled his eyes slightly.
Jetha nodded slowly. "It is as Malek and I have found with Ryaíc. But have you come to an understanding with Tanith?"
"We are working on it. It is growing easier, and he seeks my counsel when he has no experience with a situation. We will adapt to one another better as time passes."
"You say this after heóhe took your body under false pretenses?"
"I would not have a few months ago. However, Tanith has changed. We have spoken about what happened, and we have reached an understanding. Much as you and Malek have. It just took us a little time to work things out."
Jetha looked down at his hands then back at Hebron. "You sound like my friend, but I am still not sure. Tanith fooled others before."
"Not anyone who knew me well, and not for long." Hebron smiled wryly. "He is very young and does not have the experience to pretend for long."
"You sound as if you... like him."
"I think I do. He has grown on me." Hebron smiled quickly. "And I have seen him through Jonasí eyes as well. That helps."
Jetha sat heavily in the chair outside the cell. "I was worried about you," he said quietly. "When I heard what had happened, I knew I had lost one of my true friends."
"Never," Hebron replied, watching him. "You will always be my friend. I hope you will be able to accept Tanith in time so that we can continue to be friends."
"I... He is Goaíuld... but Malek tells me that if no one believes that he has changed, it will not be good."
"Not for Tanith, and not for me," Hebron agreed, sighing. "We want to be able to live our life, with Jonas, and hopefully to help the Tauíri, the Tokíra and the Kelownans against the Goaíuld."
Jetha nodded though he still looked worried. "I believe you, Hebron. It is strange to say so, but I do."
"It is the truth." Hebron stared at Jetha, willing him to understand. "I hope someday you will be able to call Tanith friend as well."
"I... I cannot say," Jetha whispered. "He is Goaíuld."
"Not any more. No more than Egeria was Goaíuld after she turned away from the System Lords. But we realize it will take time for you or anyone to truly believe it."
"Will Tanith aid us in our fight?"
"Yes." Tanith replied for himself, eyes remaining fixed on Jetha. "I had already begun trying to assist the Kelownans in defending their planet. I will continue to do so."
"Will Jonas Quinn back this information up?"
Tanith chuckled. "He will. He is most determined that I not give up hope of us being together and making a difference."
Malek nodded slowly, having taken control when Tanith did. "Are you happy with him?"
"With Jonas? Yes." Tanith smiled slowly, his expression softening as he remembered moments with Jonas. "Enough that I cannot bear to think about the fact that he is neither host nor Jaffa and will live such a short time." He hunched in on himself slightly. "I am glad you are here so that I may speak of it at least this once. It is not something I will ever mention to Jonas."
"That would be difficult," Jetha said quietly. "Both Malek and I are relieved that Ryaíc will have an extended life as we do. To lose him would be..." He fell silent, and Malek rose to the fore and took control.
"We have brought a zaítarc device, and it will be used on you in the morning. Between the results of this testing and testimony by Jonas Quinn, the members of SG-1 and myself, your fate will be decided."
Tanith nodded. "And do you know if they will let me return to Kelowna afterward? I wish to be with Jonas. And I think it best if I retain my distance from the Tokíra for a time. I know I did not endear myself last time."
"I do not know," Malek admitted. "It is true that many among the Tokíra wish your death, though if indeed you have learned our ways, you may be a hope for my people." He sighed and looked down at his hands. "This is difficult for all involved as Tokíra, Tauíri, and Jaffa have all lost lives to your duplicity." He took another breath and continued. "But Jetha tells me that your host is the man he knew and for that reason will not seek your death."
"I... am sorry." Tanith forced himself not to look away. "I can never undo what I did, but I will try to make amends by helping others. It is all I can do."
Malek nodded. "Let us hope that it will be enough."
"For Jonasí sake, I hope so. I wish to live, but I know that my life may be forfeit for my past crimes." Tanith smiled wryly. "Jonas is not so accepting of that possibility."
"Depending on tomorrowís outcome, he may have to be."
"If that is so, I hope you will be there for him. I am telling the truth, but if the Councilís decision is to execute me for what I did, Jonas will need his friends. He cares about me." Tanith smiled as he said it, still awed by the fact.
"And for Hebron as well?" Jetha asked.
"I believe so. I do not think Jonas yet sees us as two separate beings but rather as an amalgam of both of us. He has spoken to each of us though," Hebron replied. "And he does understand that we are both here."
Jetha nodded. "When Ryaíc and I met, he spoke mainly with Malek, but he has come to know us both and to care for us. I hope that you..." He paused and swallowed. "You both find that with him."
"I believe that we will." Tanith smiled fondly. "He is an extraordinary man."
Jetha stood and looked at the man in the cell for a long moment. "We shall see you tomorrow," he said quietly.
"It was good to see you again, Jetha," Hebron said.
Tanith took a deep breath and squared his shoulders before stepping through the door and falling in behind his guards, another pair following him as they made their way to the conference room where his fate would be decided.
Jonas followed Tanithís entrance from his seat, trying not to squirm nervously as General Hammond, Selmak, and Master Braítac took their seats. The other Tokíra and Jaffa leaders sat around him, all looking if they had many questions for Tanith. He was relieved to see Sam, Jack, Daniel, and, finally, Tealíc come in, followed not long after by Malek.
Tanith caught Jonasí gaze and gave him a quick smile, trying to appear confident despite his nerves. He sat down where indicated and turned to face the Tokíra Council, waiting for the questioning to begin.
Hammond rose and looked around the room. "We are gathered here to determine the fate of the Goaíuld, Tanith. The Tokíra have assured me that they have the ability to remove the Goaíuld without damaging his host. First we will hear testimony from those who would speak for and against Tanith, then from the Goaíuld himself. Are there any questions?"
Jonas raised his hand. "Can you stop calling him Ďthe Goaíuldí?"
Selmak frowned slightly before speaking up. "Dr. Quinn has a point. We are here to determine whether Tanith is, in fact, a Goaíuld. Calling him such beforehand is prejudicial."
Tanith frowned slightly, shaking his head at Jonas, attempting to convey that he didnít want Jonas to get himself in trouble.
"Very well, the prisoner will be referred to by his name from now on." Braítac nodded. "Until the matter has been decided, it is best. Who shall speak first?"
Tealíc rose to his feet. "I would speak. The symbiote Tanith killed Shauínac, betrayed the Tauíri and the Tokíra, was responsible for the death and destruction of the entire Tolan race and civilization."
Jonas stood as well, wincing at the reminder of what Tanith had been. "Itís true he did that, and it isnít my intention to diminish those actions and their consequences, but heís changed, much like Egeria changed to give birth to the Tokíra."
Tealíc frowned. "He has lied and fooled us before." He glared at Tanith, who winced but did not make the mistake of trying to speak yet.
Jonas bit his lower lip, unsure how to convince Tealíc, knowing how he would feel if their situations had been reversed.
Malek rose and bowed to the leaders. "My host knew Tanithís before he was taken. We have spoken to both, and he wishes to tell his thoughts."
Selmak nodded. "As the one who knew Hebron best, Jethaís opinion carries a great deal of weight. Let him speak now." He smiled encouragingly, knowing how difficult it was for the shy host to speak up at all, let alone in front of such a crowd.
Malek nodded and closed his eyes, his body posture altering as Jetha took control. He glanced around the room nervously and reached for Ryaícís hand, squeezing it tightly. "I have spoken with Hebron," he said, his voice barely above a whisper. "And I believe that he is not being controlled or coerced by his symbiote. I have seen the tapes of when Tanith took Hebron, and Hebron was not as he is now."
He took a deep breath and darted his gaze around the room, avoiding Tanithís gaze. "I have no cause to want to believe anything positive of the Goaíuld, but I do believe that Hebron has come to an agreement with the symbiote within him and that he wishes to become a true blending."
"It is difficult to believe," Selmak said after a time when it became obvious that Jetha was done speaking. "But we asked Jetha for his opinion because we all believe that he is best qualified to know, so now we must trust his opinion.
"Does anyone else wish to speak before we hear from Tanith and Hebron?"
"I do." Jonas said, standing and nodding his thanks at Jetha, who had dropped back into his chair and was leaning against Ryaíc. "Many of you may wish to discount what I am going to say because I am emotionally involved in this situation, but I know what I know.
"Yes, Tanith concealed who he was when I found him, but over time I believe the being I dealt with and grew to care about became more of an amalgamation of his personality and Hebronís. In the three months he has been on Kelowna, Tanith has not attempted to leave the planet nor to get access to the naquida we have. He has begun working with our defense scientists to help protect the planet in the case of another attack by the Goaíuld and he..."
Jonas shrugged helplessly and gestured at the reports on the table. "My governmentís comments are all there. Itís just that heóhe likes ice cream." He shrugged helplessly and sat again, looking over at Tanith and giving a strained smile.
Jack turned to Daniel beside him and mouthed Ďice creamí with a baffled expression on his face.
Daniel shook his head and mouthed back ĎDonít startí.
General Hammond looked around. "Anyone else?"
When no one spoke up, Selmak nodded to Tanith. "You may speak on your own behalf."
After a moment where there was clearly some interior dialogue going on, Hebron said, "I will speak first. We cannot deny anything that has been said. Tanith is guilty of all the crimes of which he was accused. And four monthsóor yearsóago I would have been the first to demand that he be punished no matter what effect it had on me.
"Now... he has changed." Hebron raised his eyes to stare directly at Selmak. "If Egeria, who was born a Goaíuld, could be considered a Tokíra because she changed her beliefs, then the same criteria must be applied to Tanith. He is a Tokíra now."
"I do not expect the Tokíra to accept me now," Tanith added, "though I hope to be able to help you someday. For now, however, my only hope is to be permitted to live my life with Jonas."
"And what can you offer us in exchange for allowing this?" Braítac asked.
"Everything that I know about Anubis, my expertise in designing weapons and defensive systems. And the hope that other Goaíuld can be converted to the Tokíra cause as well."
"By using Jonasí seduction techniques?" Jack asked dryly.
Tanith glared. "No!"
Jonas glared. "Not funny, Colonel. Not in the least."
Selmak looked toward the Tokíra at the door. "Bring in the zaítarc device. The readings will either prove or disprove this testimony."
Tanith looked at Jonas, wishing to reach out to him, needing to touch him. "We will be questioning both you and Hebron," General Hammond said as Jonas met Tanithís eyes, his own filled with concern. "If you would take this seat..."
Tanith rose to his feet, slowly so as not to alarm the guards, and moved to the seat indicated. He allowed them to attach the sensors and sat calmly waiting for the questioning to begin.
Jonas sat in his seat, listening to the others question Tanith and Hebron and trying not to argue as the questions grew more in-depth and personal.
Finally, Tanith grew tired of the questions, especially since he could see Jonasí increasing discomfort. "I have answered all that you asked. I fail to see what you can learn from prying into my personal life and relationship with Jonas."
"We wish to know if Ambassador Quinn has been influenced by his prolonged contact with you."
Tanith glared. "Only physically and that is none of your business," he snapped.
"And not in the way I want to be," Jonas muttered.
Tanith heard him and grinned. "I can tell you nothing more. You must decide."
Selmak glanced at the others, and they shared a nod. "We shall discuss the zaítarc deviceís results and the testimony that has been given here, then we shall inform you of your fate.
Tanith glanced at Jonas again. "Might Jonas remain with me while we await your decision?" Though he thought the decision would be in his favor, in case it was not, he wanted to spend the last of his time with Jonas.
"You will remain under guard as well, but yes, that is possible."
Jonas breathed a sigh of relief and stood, walking over to where Tanith was sitting. "How are you both feeling?" he asked, reaching out to peel the sensor off of Tanithís forehead.
"Tired, a little frustrated, but hopeful. We might actually be home together tonight." Tanith leaned into Jonasí hand, sighing happily at his touch.
"Thereís that positive attitude I like to see," Jonas said, managing a smile.
"And then I suppose it will be time for us to talk," Tanith sighed, looking up at him. "I know we never really had a chance after you found out about me. And I imagine you have a few things to say to me."
Jonas looked away for a moment, then back to meet Tanithís hazel eyes. "Yes. Everything thatís been happening the past few days has kept us busy, but yeah, we need to talkóall three of us."
Tanith winced. "I have a feeling that Iím not going to enjoy it. And I have no one but myself to blame," he sighed. "But at least you are still speaking to me."
Jonas sighed. "Iócare about you, both of you. Thatís not something I can turn off even if I wanted to."
"I am glad of it. And I promise you that I will never lie to you again. Well, perhaps about whether I like something youíre wearing," he added, trying to lighten the moment.
Jonas gave a half-smile. "Thatís impossible; I have impeccable taste."
"Has my promise already kicked in?"
Jonas nodded wordlessly.
"Then perhaps we should change the subject."
"Thatís probably for the best." Jonas looked toward the door Hammond, Selmak, and Braítac had gone out and sighed. "I wonder how long theyíre going to take."
"I donít know if long deliberations are good or bad. At least theyíre not demanding my head," Tanith muttered, glancing over as well. He caught one of Jonasí hands in his and held it tightly. "But in case I donít get another opportunity to say this, Jonas, I love you. And I thank you for our time together."
Jonas swallowed hard and drew Tanith up into his arms. "Youíre going to get more chances to tell me, and Iím going to get chances to tell you too, because I doólove you, I mean."
Tanith smiled somewhat shakily as he hugged Jonas tightly. "I hope youíre right. I even mostly believe it. But I had to tell you." He brushed a light kiss over Jonasí lips, eyes remaining fixed on Jonasí.
Hours passed and still no word of the verdict came. The guards changed shifts, and food was delivered, but Jonas did no more than pick at his.
Once again reaching for Jonasí hand, Tanith raised his head to look at him directly. "This doesnít seem hopeful," he said carefully. "At a guess, Iíd say most are not convinced of what I said. I am sorry I got you into this, Jonas."
Jonas leaned forward and twined their fingers together. "I didnít see you forcing me to save you or to care about you, so you didnít get me into anything."
"You are an amazing man, Jonas Quinn." Tanith leaned forward slowly, giving Jonas plenty of time to stop him, and kissed him.
Jonas stiffened slightly but didnít try to break the kiss and slowly relaxed into it.
"Ahem." General Hammond cleared his throat as everyone came back into the room.
Tanith slowly straightened up, still holding on to Jonasí hand, and he faced his assembled judges. Suddenly realizing that he was forcing Jonas to face them as well, he unclasped his fingers, freeing the Kelownan to walk away.
Steeling himself, Jonas reached out again to catch Tanithís hand.
Tanith shot Jonas an incredulous look that slowly filled with gratitude, and his fingers curled over Jonasí again. Drawing strength from the contact, he faced the council and waited to hear their judgment.
"Tanith, it is our judgment that Hebron has, in fact, spoken freely and without coercion, and thus that you have achieved a true blending rather than the rape that is practiced by the Goaíuld," Selmak stated.
"However," Braítac continued, "you are still responsible for the crimes you committed previously." He frowned. "We would not have the host or Jonas Quinn be the ones to suffer, so the matter is not easy to resolve." He gave Tealíc a compassionate glance.
"Before we allow you to return to Kelowna, where the people would have little hope of surviving should you return to Goaíuld practices, therefore," Gen. Hammond concluded, "you will remain here at the SGC, providing us with what intelligence you have, until we are convinced that it is safe for Kelowna if we release you."
Tanith clenched his hand on Jonasí. It was more than he deserved but less than he had hoped for. "Might I ask... how long?" he managed, clinging desperately to Jonasí hand.
Hammondís look was steely. "That is up to you."
"General Hammond, may I speak to you when this meeting is over?" Jonas asked above the murmurs rising round him.
"Jonas," Tanith murmured, afraid that the other man would cause himself trouble.
"Hush," Jonas muttered back, giving Tanith a sidelong glance.
Tanith frowned. "Donít get yourself thrown into the next cell!" he hissed.
"That wouldnít do much for SGCís relations with Kelowna, would it?"
"To hell with interplanetary relations, youíre the one Iím worried about!" Tanith retorted, barely remembering to keep his voice down to prevent their interested audience from hearing.
Jonas rolled his eyes. "Do you trust me, Tanith?" he asked quietly.
Realizing that Jonas would always be able to get his own way by saying that or something similar, Tanith bit back a groan. "Yes," he sighed.
"Good answer." Jonasí smile held a faint hint of smugness. "After I talk to General Hammond, Iíll let you know what we say." Tanith slumped in his chair. "Fine," he muttered. "Iím sure heíll know where to find me." He wondered if he would have to stay in a holding cell the entire time he was at the SGC.
"Tanith..." Jonas squatted down by the chair and caught his hands. "Donít, please."
Raising a morose gaze to meet Jonasí, Tanith asked, "Donít what?"
"We won. Youíre alive and we can be together, you, me, and Hebron. Can you honestly tell me you thought that would happen?" He finally let some of the fear heíd felt show.
Tanith had to shake his head. "No, I must admit that I expected to be led off to my execution," he admitted. "I only hoped that Hebron would survive so that at least you might have each other."
"I would have had him, but I still would have missed you."
"It is selfish of me, but Iím glad. And gladder still that we will have a chance." Tanith sighed. "I just wanted to be able to hold you tonight."
Jonas grinned. "Let me talk to General Hammond."
"You think they will let us be together?" Tanith perked up some. "Even this would be bearable if I have your company."
"It might not be all the time; as much as I want to stay with you, I still have work to do, but Iíll be here as much as I can."
Tanith nodded. "I realize that, but if I know that you will be here sometimes, including tonight hopefully, it will make it easier. And remind me that someday I will get out of here."
"And come home," Jonas promised.
"Thatís my goal," Tanith sighed, raising a hand to cup Jonasí cheek, indifferent to their audience.
"So let me go talk to the general, and then we can make you feel a little more at home here, okay?"
"Whenever youíre ready, Mr. Quinn," Hammond put in dryly. Despite his words, he was relieved after watching Jonas and Tanith together. Unless Tanith was a much better actor than anyone gave him credit for, he truly did care for Jonas, something that had worried Jonasí friends.
Tanithís eyes darted to Hammond, and he let his hand fall back to his lap. "Go then. I donít think Iíll be going anywhere in the meantime."
Jonas grinned as he stood. "Better not."
"Iíll be waiting for you right where you left me. And the soldiers with guns have nothing to do with it."
Jonas rolled his eyes and followed General Hammond out of the room. "Sir," he said, once they were in Hammondís office. "Iíd like to ask permission to stay here at SGC tonight, and from time to time as both our situations allow."
"I rather thought you might, son," Hammond replied, sitting down and gesturing Jonas to a seat as well. "My only concern was your safety, and frankly, after what I saw out there, I donít think thatís an issue." He smiled faintly. "Though we should probably arrange to have you sleep away from anyone else if the others are going to get any sleep."
"Not tonight, sir," Jonas answered. "Tonight, Tanith, Hebron, and I have a lot to discuss, nothing more."
"Iím sure you do. Take him to one of the guest quarters. I see no need to keep the man in a cell the entire time heís here. And good luck."
"Thank you, General. IóI know your faith in him will be rewarded."
Tanith looked up when Jonas returned to the room, followed by the general, who motioned the guards out. Eyebrows rising, he turned questioningly to Jonas. "Iím not being thrown in a cell?"
Jonas shook his head. "While you are being detained, you arenít a prisoner."
"Youíll have one of the guest quarters here on the base," General Hammond put in. "Which you can share with Mr. Quinn when heís here."
Tanithís smile blossomed. "Thank you, General," he said fervently, and Hebron added, "Yes, indeed. We canít thank you enough, Gen. Hammond."
"Just donít make us regret this," Hammond warned before nodding goodbye and leaving the room.
"So..." Jonas looked around. "I know where your quarters are going to be. Shall we?"
Tanith nodded emphatically. "Please! I cannot remember the last time I had a moment unobserved. And alone with you," he added wistfully.
"Well, I canít say weíll be unobserved; the base does have security."
"Surely not in our bedroom!" Tanith exclaimed, horrified.
Jonas frowned. "I honestly canít say, but I would hope not."
"I am going to assume that we are not," Tanith stated definitely. "Otherwise there might not be anything to observe."
Leading Tanith down a hallway to the housing part of the base, Jonas nodded. "True, I donít want to think of anyone watching usónot that there will be anything to watch tonight."
Tanith winced. "I didnít really think so. Iím just hoping that now that the immediate crisis is over, you donít decide to kill me yourself."
"No." Jonas shook his head slowly. "I donít want to hurt youówell, I suppose in a way I do for lying to me... We really should wait to get into this," he sighed as they passed a couple of airmen in the hall.
Tanithís shoulders hunched, but he just nodded and followed Jonas till they reached his room. Once inside he glanced at the bed before deciding on a very uncomfortable desk chair.
"Starting your penance already?" Jonas asked wryly.
That startled a quick smile out of Tanith. "Iíd prefer to share the bed when weíre at ease with each other," he said simply.
"There are other chairs." Shaking his head, Jonas took one of them and leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees. "So?"
"Er... Iím sorry?"
Jonas shrugged. "I just wanted to hear what you had to say."
"Oh." Tanith slumped. "I... I think you know that everything they said about me was true," he said carefully. "And if I hadnít met you and been injured enough to be immobilized long enough to truly get to know you, it probably still would be."
"And thatís supposed to make me feel better?" Jonas sighed and leaned back. "I guess it should, since youíre telling me the truthóI think."
"I promised you I wouldnít lie to you again," Tanith said quietly. "I cannot change the past, but I can change what my future will be. And I hope youíll share it with me."
"Would I be there if I didnít believe the same thing? Jonas asked. "I just feel like a damn fool is all."
"Because you believed me? Jonas, you didnít even know I was a symbiote and host. I managed to fool people who knew exactly who and what I was, at least for a time. I hardly think that makes you a fool." Tanith smiled fondly. "Rather, you expect the best from people. And because of it, you often receive it."
"So youíre saying you turned Tokíra because I believed in you?"
Tanith shrugged slightly and gave him a rather sheepish smile.
"Maybe it was the ice cream."
Tanith snickered. "Maybe we should be shipping it to all the System Lords."
Jonas looked horrified. "That would mean there wasnít any for us!"
"Oh. On second thought..." Tanith trailed off as he started laughing, and Hebron took control, shaking his head. "The pair of you are insane," he observed.
"I suppose thatís why we all get along."
"Are you implying that my sanity is in question?"
Jonas smiled slightly. "No, more like mine is."
"For getting involved with us?" Hebron watched him carefully.
"Partially, but thatís not going to change my mind." Jonas looked at the floor, then up again. "Why didnít Tanith just take me over when I found you?"
Hebron blinked in surprise, then stepped aside to allow Tanith to answer for himself. "I never even considered it. How odd!" Tanith eyed him bemusedly. "I suppose I knew that I could heal the injuries, and I had already grown used to Hebron."
Jonas nodded. "I can understand that, I guess. I just... Iím trying to understand all this, but it isnít easy."
"On the plus side, you know the worst about me. Everything has to be better after this."
"I can only hope." Jonas managed a wane smile. "I already know you donít snore or steal the covers."
"Unlike you," Tanith couldnít resist retorting.
Tanith gave him an innocently inquisitive look and batted his eyelashes.
"I do not snore!"
"I did say I wouldnít lie..."
"And what does Hebron say?"
"That weíre on Earth, in the United States, so the Fifth Amendment applies," Hebron replied with a smirk.
"And how do you know so much about Earth history and government?"
"Not all the books you brought me to read while I was cooped up in the hospital were about your world, Jonas. Or didnít you realize that you had Earth books in there as well?"
Jonas shook his head. "Obviously not. I want to be angrier with youówith Tanithóbut..." He sighed and shook his head. "I canít, not after almost losing one and possibly both of you."
"For which I am grateful. I know you have a right to be angry, butóthis is all new to me, and I want to explore it with you," Tanith said.
"Iíd be lying if I didnít say I felt the same."
Tanith hesitated, then stood up from his chair and moved over to sit down on the edge of the bed. "How long can you stay?" he finally asked after staring at Jonas for long moments.
"I spoke to my government, and theyíve given me until day after tomorrow," Jonas answered, not looking away from Tanithís hazel eyes.
"So soon." Tanith frowned slightly. "I hoped... But of course you have commitments, duties."
"Iíll visit whenever I can, but Iíd like for us to have a home to go back to, and if the governments canít reach an accord, that might not happen."
Tanithís expression lightened as he listened, and he reached for Jonasí hand. "I canít complain if youíre still thinking of it as our home."
Jonas flushed. "Well, thatís what it is."
"I wasnít sure that you would still feel that way. I mean I know you said you did, but I also know you havenít really had time to think about any of this."
"I canít say it wonít hit me when Iím back on Kelowna alone, but I promise I will always come back here to see you."
"It gives new meaning to long distance romance, doesnít it?" Tanith laughed bitterly.
"Compared to what Daniel Jackson went through when his wife was taken for a host, this is nothing."
"I feel horrible for being grateful thatís one disaster that befell SG-1 that I had nothing to do with."
"At least you werenít involved in Kelownaís invasion either," Jonas murmured, finally rising and going to sit by Tanith on the bed.
"No, I was taking an unexpected three-year vacation from the universe," Tanith replied wryly, relaxing slightly now that Jonas had joined him.
"Better than the alternative, isnít it?"
"Being blown into messy little pieces and roasted? Yes, I definitely think I prefer being in your bed."
"And eating my ice cream." Jonasí smile was more genuine this time.
"Of course. I still want to try that banana split you described to me."
"Iíll make sure I have a supply of bananas to celebrate when you come home."
Tanith chuckled. "And that comment makes them sound even more like the toys I thought they were at first."
Jonas shook his head and laughed. "You have a one track mind."
"Over and above my feelings for you, Iím curious. Hebron was the one with the experience," Tanith replied a bit nervously.
"Donít your genetic memories tell you about it?"
"We get the memories passed on from the queen. Which means that the only ones I would have would be as a woman. And I donít intend to always be on the bottom!" Tanith tried to ignore Hebronís laugher at the back of his mind.
Jonas couldnít help but snicker as well. "No, I hadnít thought that would be the case, though women are what I have experience with..."
"Donít even think it!"
"We will alternate until we each know what we like best." Tanith stared at him ferociously, not that he minded the thought of Jonas taking him. On the contrary, he could feel his body stirring at the idea.
"And what does Hebron want?" Jonas asked, trying to smother his smile.
"I like it both ways," Hebron replied. "What I really want is to actually get to that point, but I donít think weíre there yet," he sighed.
Jonas sobered again. "No, not yet."
"I know. And I understand," Hebron said, turning slightly so he was facing Jonas. He raised a hand as if to place it on Jonasí shoulder, but uncertain whether the other would welcome the touch, he hesitated, his hand hovering in the air before slowly sinking back toward his lap.
Before Hebronís hand dropped to his leg, Jonas reached out and took it. "Thank you for that."
His fingers tightening around Jonasí, Hebron smiled crookedly. "This whole thing is very weird."
"You ainít kidding, and weíll get through this and figure it out together."
"Weíre probably the only people in the history of the universe to have the governments of two planets watch them try to sort out their relationship issues," Hebron sighed.
Jonas groaned. "And donít forget the Tokíra and the Jaffa," he added. "No pressure at all."
"Maybe I should have been arguing for them to kill me."
"No!" Jonas almost shouted, half-turning on the bed to stare at the other man. "How can you even say that?"
Eyes widening in surprise, Tanith half flinched away. "Sorry, it was just a joke. A bad one."
Jonas sighed and reached for Tanithís hand again. "I guess Iím just a little sensitive about all this right now."
"I think youíre allowed. Is there anything else you want to talk about? Because if not, there is nothing I would like better than to lie down and just hold you."
"I think that sounds perfect, though we may want to take off our shoes first."
"You really are a genius." Tanith pretended to be awed.
Jonas rolled his eyes. "So glad you noticed."
"Oh, take your shoes off and lie down." Tanith followed his own suggestion and settled back against the pillows waiting for him.
Chuckling, Jonas took off his shoes and his tunic and rested by Tanith, relaxing, then turning to his side and laying an arm around Tanithís waist.
"I never imagined that anything could feel this good," Tanith sighed, slowly relaxing as he drew Jonas closer.
"Being in our own bed might be a little better, but Iíll take this for now," Jonas answered.
"Itís more than I had dared hope for," Tanith admitted, kissing him lightly.
"Just be sure to tell them what they want to know so that you can dare more soon."
"With a promise like that to look forward to, I may launch an attack on the Goaíuld myself to convince them of my sincerity!"
Jonas picked up his head and looked down at Tanith. "Youíre very different than the Tokíra Iíve met before, not to mention the Goaíuld. I think you were right when you said you were something altogether new."
Tanith sighed. "That is not something likely to make anyone comfortable. But I hope that the Tokíra will come to accept me, at least the hope for the continuation of their race. I do not wish to be so accepted that they expect me to live with them."
"If they wanted that, Iíd have to lodge a formal complaint."
Chuckling, Tanith hugged him close again. "You are very good for my ego." He released Jonas and sat up long enough to shrug out of his shirt, then lay back down, his arm automatically curving over Jonas.
Jonas chuckled quietly. "I never thought that ego was a thing you lacked."
"Well, no," Tanith admitted with a smirk, "but it still enjoys being stroked. Especially by you."
"So what do you want me to tell you that will stroke your ego?"
"Oh, the endless possibilities. You could tell me what a handsome man I am, how you adore me, what a stupendous lover I am," Tanith suggested, chuckling by the time he reached the end of his list.
"Hmmm, shouldnít I be telling Hebron some of that?" Jonas asked, unable to resist.
"Yes!" Hebron said, making Tanith laugh as he reclaimed control. "Go ahead and stroke both our egos," Tanith said. "Weíll all enjoy it."
Jonas laughed quietly. "Somehow I thought that would be the case."
"See how well you know us? Weíre perfect for each other."
"Which would probably terrify me if I let myself think about it too much."
"No, it just means youíre the only person to redeem me. So now you get to keep me." Tanith smiled widely.
"Hrmmm, a puppy with a symbiote, thereís a picture."
"I am not a dog!" Hebron exclaimed, insulted. "Keep it up, and youíre going to be sleeping on the couch. And we donít have one!"
Jonas grinned. "Which kind of negates the point, right?"
"Not unless you like sleeping on the floor," Tanith growled, trying to intimidate him by staring down his nose.
"Make your eyes glow, that might scare me more," Jonas offered, smirking.
"Smart ass." Tanith suddenly started to smile wickedly. "And now that I donít have to hide what I am, Iím going to enjoy making you scream next time I have you in my mouth. That typical sound of a Goaíuld or Tokíra voice, when not damping it, is caused by vibrations in the throat."
Jonas blinked at that, and his grin died away. "Oh."
"I havenít tried it personally, of course, but the memories I have say itís rather intense for the other person. Iím looking forward to finding out."
"Umm... I can imagine."
Hebron frowned. "You donít seem too enthusiastic. Is Tanith pushing too hard again?"
"No!" Jonas shook his head to clear his mind. "That was the ĎJonas is dumbfounded at the thought of ití look, not the ĎJonas thinks itís grossí look."
"Ah. Apparently I need to make a list," Hebron chuckled before letting Tanith take over again since his intercession wasnít needed.
"And hopefully thatíll inspire you to forgive me sooner," Tanith added. "Iím perfectly willing to resort to bribery."
Jonas quirked a grin. "With what? Last I looked, I found you with just the clothes on your back, so unless you know the coordinates to some long-lost Goaíuld treasure planet, all you have to offer is you... Not that I mind that," he added.
"I was offering me," Tanith sighed. "Apparently not very well though if you didnít even notice."
"Considering I already have you, that was moot." Jonas shuddered and pulled Tanith into a hard hug, the thought that heíd almost lost a part of the man he loved making him ill.
"Sex, Jonas," Tanith replied, somewhat muffled since Jonasí hug had squeezed the breath out of him. "I was attempting to bribe you with mind-bending sex." Despite his carefree words, his arms wrapped around Jonas just as tightly, demonstrating his relief that they were still together.
"One track mind," Jonas managed to say.
"Look at the inspiration I have."
"Now itís my ego thatís getting the stroking."
"I have to keep in practice." Tanith hugged him close again before letting his arms relax comfortably. "And keep reminding myself that eventually Iíll get to stroke more of you than that. Itís a goal that keeps me focused."
Jonas chuckled quietly. "Just donít focus on it too much when youíre supposed to be discussing technology."
"You donít think they want to rediscover ancient Goaíuld sex toys?"
"That is wrong in so many ways."
"What, you donít want to know how the ancient Egyptians did it? For shame, Jonas, whereís your intellectual curiosity?"
"Iíd rather find out how I like to do it first."
Tanith smiled fondly. "And Iíll be delighted to help you with that."
"Somehow I thought that would be the case, though donít you need to learn what you like too? Tanith, I mean, not Hebron, Iím guessing you have preferences."
"I like you," Tanith replied simply. "And yes, I will enjoy exploring with you, but the body is Hebronís. What he likes, I will like. What one of us feels, both do."
Jonas nodded slowly. "That sounds amazingónow that the two of you have come to an agreement, it must be astounding."
"It is," Tanith agreed. "I never dreamed... Yet another thing to thank you for."
"Itís to my benefit too," Jonas murmured, relaxing fully against Tanithís side. "And should I suggest we get some sleep?"
Tanith was the first to awake the following morning, and his arms tightened around Jonas. Sometime during the night, the Kelownan had shifted half on top of him, his nose pressed to Tanithís throat, and Tanith thought that he could quite happily wake this way every morning for the rest of his life.
He ruthlessly tamped down the tiny thought that Jonas would not live nearly that long, instead concentrating on the pleasure of holding him and being held. He made a soft sound of contentment, his lips curving in a smile, and he could feel Hebronís joy as well.
"Mmpf..." Jonas squirmed and sighed as he woke, then pulled back enough so that his nose wasnít smashed against Tanithís neck. "Morning," he mumbled, still more than half asleep. "Howíre you doing?"
"Wonderful," Tanith replied, smiling fondly at the sleepy man. "You are much more pleasant to wake up to than my former guard."
"You mean you woke up like this with your guards? Should I be jealous?"
"Fool," Tanith chuckled. "You know thatís not what I meant. The only person I share a bed with is you."
Jonas snickered. "And Hebron."
"There would be something very wrong if Hebron and I were not together," Tanith agreed, rolling his eyes. "Youíre giddy when you wake up."
"Would you rather I be grumpy? No, donít answer that, just give me a kiss."
"If I have to..." Tanith pretended to be reluctant, his hazel eyes sparkling with mirth. He waited for the growl of outrage to start before smothering it with a deep kiss.
Once he could speak again, Jonas snorted. "Idiot," he muttered before kissing Tanith again.
"A fool and an idiot, you were meant for each other," Hebron announced, snickering, once his lips were free. "And since I love one of you and forgave the other, I fit in perfectly as well."
"I think I was better off when I kept him buried," Tanith mock-grumbled, taking back control.
"No, you werenít," Jonas muttered, biting at Tanithís throat.
Tanith moaned, the pleasure causing him to shiver. His hands slid down to cup Jonasí ass, drawing him closer.
"Tanith..." Jonas moaned, arching against the other manís thigh. "Want you."
Tanithís eyes widened. He hadnít dared hope that Jonas would be ready for them to do this so soon, but he had no intention of arguing and giving the other man a chance to change his mind. "You have me," he murmured, kissing Jonas again. He let his hands knead the firm buttocks filling his palms, his fingers slowly gliding along the crease between them, and he began to rub the tight opening tentatively, not sure how far Jonas wanted to go.
"Not yet I donít. I almost lost you, and maybe Hebron too; I want to feel you in me." Jonas shifted over fully on top of Tanith and kissed him again, grinding their bodies together so that Tanith could feel his arousal.
Tanith hardened even more at Jonasí words, his erection jumping between them, and his voice shook when he finally managed to speak. "Then I think we need to rid ourselves of the rest of our garments." He slid his hands out from under Jonasí pants, reluctantly releasing the heated flesh only so he could bare them both.
Jonas groaned at the feel of Tanithís hand on him, and he squirmed, wanting to get closer.
Tanith somehow managed to rid them both of their remaining clothing without losing contact with Jonas, and he pulled Jonas back on top of him even as he kicked their pants from the bed, not caring where they landed.
"Ahhhh," he groaned, fingers biting into Jonasí hips when their naked erections settled against each other. His hips thrust upward involuntarily, and he slid his hands back to Jonasí ass, gently pulling the cheeks apart. His fingertips stroked lightly, gently pressing against the tight opening.
Jonas whimpered and tangled his fingers in Tanithís hair. "Donít we need something?"
"Yes, but weíre not quite ready for that yet." Tanith slid out from under him, one hand stroking along Jonasí back to keep him on his belly when Jonas started to turn to face him. He moved between Jonasí legs after nudging them apart and pressed a kiss to the small of his back.
"Just what are we ready for then?" Jonas asked breathlessly as he squirmed, his erection pressing against the sheets.
Tanith trailed his tongue along Jonasí spine, slowly licking lower until he was tracing Jonasí opening with the very tip, just barely touching him.
Jonas sucked in a breath at the intimate touch, then spread his legs wider and pressed up against it, wanting more.
Tanith made a soft sound of pleasure, almost a purr, and licked harder, part of him aware that he was the first to touch Jonas this way and thrilled by it. His tongue pressed against the slowly relaxing muscle until he could work it inside his lover, and he began to fuck Jonas slowly.
"Oooo my..." Jonas moaned, pushing up farther and resting his forehead on the bed. "That feels so..."
Smiling, Tanith reached under Jonas and stroked his erection at the same as he started to hum.
Jonas bit his lower lip to keep from screaming, not wanting any SGC personnel to come running in. "Yes, yes," he whimpered, twisting his hips between Tanithís tongue and hand.
His own erection aching where it pulsed against his belly, Tanith finally reached for the nightstand, tugging the drawer open to fumble for some hand lotion. He knelt up, groaning harshly as Jonas writhed, his eyes glowing feverishly as he watched, and squeezed some of the greasy ointment into one palm so he could coat the fingers of his other hand. He easily slid one finger inside Jonas, moaning again as Jonas clenched around him.
"That feels good," Jonas whispered, managing to look back over his shoulder and shivering at the sight of Tanithís glowing eyes.
"Yes, you do," Tanith rasped, adding a second finger and stroking deeply into Jonas, almost desperate to get inside him now.
Jonas whimpered again, then gave a strangled yelp when Tanithís finger hit a spot inside him that made him see stars. "In me, now."
"Oh yes," Tanith groaned, pulling his fingers free with a faint pop and steadying Jonas as he positioned himself and pushed forward until he slid inside him. "Jonas," he moaned, hands gripping Jonasí hips hard enough to bruise as he fought to remain still when all he wanted to do was thrust forward, claiming his lover.
Giving a sharp gasp at the momentary pain, Jonas tried to relax though his breath was coming in short pants.
Tanith braced himself with one hand on the bed beside Jonas, the other stroking Jonasí side unsteadily. "All right?" he gasped, unable to prevent himself from pressing forward a fraction more. He moaned as he felt more of his shaft surrounded.
"Yeah," Jonas gasped, moving and feeling Tanith slide even deeper into him. He shifted again and moaned as the pain eased, leaving a pleasurable fullness. "More."
Tanith didnít even try to respond verbally. Instead he pushed into Jonas, not stopping this time until his balls were pressed to Jonasí ass and he couldnít go any deeper. "Love you," he panted, rocking his hips slightly but not withdrawing yet, just reveling in the sensation of finally being inside Jonas.
Jonas managed to nod and arched his back, resting his weight on one arm so that he could reach back to touch Tanith with his other hand.
Catching hold of the hand in his own, Tanith interlaced their fingers. He pressed a kiss to the nape of Jonasí neck, and he began to move, slowly pulling back only to press forward again, panting moans of pleasure escaping him with every stroke.
Tightening his fingers around Tanithís, Jonas whispered the other manís name and experimentally pushed back, at the same time clenching his ass around Tanithís erection.
Tanith cried out sharply, his whole body convulsing with the spasm of pleasure that ripped through him, and he began moving more rapidly, thrusting in and out of Jonas almost desperately.
Jonas let out a cry and braced himself on the bed to keep from being slammed into the wall.
Beyond caring whether anyone heard them or not, Tanith growled out Jonasí name, his teeth biting at the back of Jonasí neck. Wanting more, he suddenly sat up, pulling Jonas with him, and he sank even deeper into the man now seated on his lap. One hand still clutching Jonasí, the other was now free to explore his body, teasing at hard nipples before curling around Jonasí cock and pumping it.
Unable to stay quiet, Jonas howled, his whole body spasming as he was taken beyond his control. He writhed on Tanithís lap, then came, his head flung back on the other manís shoulder.
Tanith cried out again, thrusting rapidly in and out, his teeth sinking into Jonasí shoulder almost deep enough to draw blood. He gasped for breath, his body tensing, and after a short time, he yelled, the sound muffled by Jonasí shoulder, and came hard, the final thrust of his hips raising Jonas off the bed.
"Both so amazing," Jonas sighed, doubting heíd be able to move even if the Goaíuld invaded the base.
"Rather spectacular yourself," Tanith panted, still trying to catch his breath after that climax. "I am definitely going to have trouble thinking of anything else."
"Donít tell the Tokíra and General Hammond that," Jonas sighed, bringing Tanithís hand up to his lips to kiss it.
"You donít think theyíd appreciate me mooning over you when theyíre asking for information about Anubis?" Tanith chuckled.
"Doubt theyíll be asking you about him since heís dead."
Tanith blinked in surprise. "Then I donít know what they expect to learn from me. Anubis was the only Goaíuld that I had anything to do with."
Jonas shrugged and turned his head to kiss Tanithís neck. "You also have two thousand years of knowledge in your head that the Tokíra arenít aware of; think that might interest them?"
"Oh, I hadnít thought of that. I suppose it might at that." Tanith let them sink down to their sides and reluctantly separated them, kissing Jonas apologetically when he hissed in discomfort.
Jonas nodded and shifted enough to get comfortable again. "Good thing I donít have to sit on any hard chairs today."
Tanith tried not to smile smugly. "Sorry," he said in a decidedly unapologetic tone.
"Yeah, I can tell." Jonas shook his head and kissed Tanith.
Tanith slid his arms around Jonas, rolling to his back and pulling Jonas on top of him. "Weíll see how apologetic you are when itís turnabout."
Jonas made a face. "Iím very empathetic, ask anyone."
"Of course you are. You wonít be smug at all, will you?" Tanith snorted.
"Would I do that?"
"Do you really want me to answer that?"
Jonas started to speak, then thought better of his answer. "No, itís probably best that you donít," he grinned.
"Yes, it would be a shame to spoil this pleasant time together with an argument," Tanith said with a chuckle.
"We should enjoy the quiet while weíre able."
Tanith nodded. "I have a feeling itís going to be in short supply."
Jonas sighed, but echoed the nod. "At least until we can get you to Kelowna."
"Hopefully it wonít be too long. I miss our home." Tanith lazily stroked Jonasí back, never noticing that he was doing it.
"At least they have ice cream here."
"Yes, I want to try all the flavors!" Tanith said eagerly.
Jonas chuckled and kissed Tanith. "You will, with hot fudge and bananas too."
Tanithís face took on an expression of sheer ecstasy. "Heaven!"
"What? That isnít being with me?"
"Thatís also heaven," Tanith replied hastily. "It has many aspects."
"I should stop talking now, shouldnít I?"
Jonas grinned. "You could kiss me again."
Tanith slid one hand up the length of Jonasí spine to cup the back of his head and draw it down the scant few inches that separated them. His tongue licked at Jonasí lips, asking entrance.
Jonas sighed and opened his mouth, his tongue gliding against Tanithís before he sucked on it.
Groaning hoarsely, Tanith gave Jonas whatever he wanted, his arms wrapped around the man lying atop him. His hazel eyes remained open, watching Jonas, enjoying the emotions he could see in the other manís eyes.
"Mmmm, much better," Jonas whispered once their mouths broke apart. "So, think we should get cleaned up and find some breakfast?"
"I think I would do almost anything for a shower and a meal," Tanith replied fervently, shifting beneath Jonas.
"Donít say that too loud," Jonas laughed, sliding off Tanith and getting to his feet, pausing when newly stretched muscles pulled. "Oh. Ow."
Momentarily concerned, Tanith quickly realized what the problem was and had a hard time keeping a smug grin off his face. "A hot shower should help relax your muscles," he suggested.
"That and not sitting down for a week or two."
"What fun would that be?"
"The fun would be in seeing you trying not to smirk."
"It would be much better to sit on me," Tanith replied blandly.
Jonas groaned. "Which would lead to more aches." He paused and grinned wryly. "Though theyíre worth it."
Tanithís smile broke free. "I shall endeavor to make sure you always think so."
"Somehow, I knew you would say that."
"Are you telling me Iím predictable?"
"I suppose it owes to your age; perhaps you should let Hebron speak more."
Tanith gawked at him and sputtered until Hebron took control. "Be nice, Jonas," he snickered. "He is only a couple of years old after all, despite racial memories. Give him time." He ignored the continued internal sputtering.
"Of course I will," Jonas laughed.
"Fine, make fine of the one with youth on his side," Tanith sniffed while Hebron laughed in his head.
"Only because I love you."
Tanith smiled helplessly, finally managing to reply, "I love you too," his face faintly flushed.
"Good answer, now letís get that shower."
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