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27 September 2006 @ 09:28 pm
Fic: Hiding in Starlight (SG-1)  
Hiding in Starlight
by Lizardbeth

Warning: ADULT for sex.

Pairing: Sam/Malek

Summary: Sam and Malek are stranded on a world abandoned by the Furlings. But Sam must uncover his secret if they're both to survive.

Note: Written (and won) for the Tok'ra Resistance Summer Fic Contest.

It's a long story (about 14,000 words) and it wouldn't fit in one post. Link to part 2 at the bottom.






"No, don't touch it!"

Sam heard the warning too late. Her hand had already settled on the silvery panel, just as Malek's hand gripped her shoulder tightly to pull her back. Warmth rushed through her fingers into the rest of her body followed by a blinding light.

She stumbled, mentally cursing the heavy pack she carried, as she tripped over something and fell to her knees. Reaching forward for balance, she touched grass. There hadn't been any grass in the ruined building.

Nor had the sun been shining. She fumbled for her gun, while rising and turning around to take stock of her new surroundings.

Malek stood behind her. He was squinting in the sudden brightness and had one hand up, shielding his eyes, while the other rested on his zat.

They had landed in some sort of mountain meadow, all high grass and tiny yellow flowers, with some tall trees about one hundred meters in any direction, covering the hillsides. There were no obvious signs that any people had ever lived there.

She turned back to look at Malek, but he was gazing up at the planet looming large and low on the horizon, with his lips flat and a frown narrowing his eyes. The rest of her team was somewhere on that planet, probably dialing back to the SGC to report to the general that she and Malek were gone.

"Some kind of teleporter," she said, just to break the silence.

"Why did you touch it?" he demanded, turning his glare on her. "Must you humans always do what you wish, without regard to consequences or even a sense of your own safety?"

Taken back by his irritation, she answered, "I -- I didn't mean to touch it." Then she realized how young she sounded, as if he was in some sort of authority over her, and she drew in a deep breath. "We were both on that planet to explore it. Weren't we? Well, sometimes exploring means that you have to try things. We've run across so few Furling remnants --"

He cut her off. "Some things are best left alone, Colonel Carter. Now here we are, trapped on this planet, thanks to your recklessness." He said the last word with biting anger, folding his arms and staring out at the tree line as if he could pretend she wasn't there at all.

She stared at him for a minute, surprised by his sudden attitude. Malek had always been somewhat arrogant in his few dealings with the SGC, but he'd never been so scornful before. He had been one of her dad and Selmak's strongest supporters on the Tok'ra council. Though now she had to wonder if there hadn't been some other political reason for that, or if he thought her dad was different from the rest of the Tau'ri.

"I have my pack." She lowered it to the ground with a thump. "So we have some supplies. Also, we have done this before. General O'Neill went through one of these already. It shouldn't take them nearly so long to find us." She pointed upward to the large crescent of a planet above one of the mountain ranges. Or maybe it was the moon. She would need more observation to determine which was orbiting. It could be a double planet, orbiting each other, which might be more likely, considering they both had atmosphere.

Malek cut short her astronomical musings. "Yes, I remember. I was the one to dispatch the rescue team," he snapped.

"What is your problem?" she demanded, putting her hands on her hips to glare at him. "I'm sorry that I messed up your perfect little Tok'ra plan for what was supposed to happen today, but it's not the end of the world. We've got supplies, we've got weapons in case there are some dangerous animals here, and our friends are going to rescue us just as soon as they can get the Prometheus or a tel'tak out our way."

He didn't respond, staring out at the trees for a long moment, until he gave a sigh. "I know we have no ships within at least ten days of here. What of the Prometheus?" he asked in a more reasonable voice.

"I don't know," she answered. "The hyperdrive is still pretty shaky. I'm not sure where they are right now. But I'm sure General O'Neill will divert them to us, just as soon as it's possible."

He paused, perhaps speaking with his host inwardly, and then faced her. "I hope so. I apologize, Colonel Carter, for speaking so angrily at you. I did not expect to be stranded, and it is a rather daunting prospect."

She smiled at him, glad he was done being irritable. "No problem. I think SG-1 manages to get stranded about once a month so I'm an old pro at it. Our first job is survival. We'll be rescued -- we just have to wait for it."

"Right. Hopefully we'll not have to wait long." He squinted toward the sun, shielding his eyes again. "This solar radiation is strong. We should move to the shade."

She agreed. He took the pack from her, shouldering it with enviable ease, and they started hiking toward the nearest trees.

==============

They scouted the area during the afternoon and found only one thing she found disturbing. They both knelt above the two prints caught in the mud by a stream bank, about two miles from where they had first arrived in the meadow.

Sam put her hand next to the print to compare and her fingers itched for her zat. The print was bigger than her palm. It had toes and pads, like a cat or dog, not hooves.

"This is old," Malek observed. "At least a day." He flicked the dried crumbling edge of the print and sat back on his heels, acting unconcerned.

She pointed to the top of the toe prints, where there were little pits. "Claws. Big claws and big feet. That means big predator." She wished Teal'c were there. He would be able to tell more. Plus she'd feel a lot safer. Drawing a deep breath she guessed, "Something like a wolf or mountain lion with a territory of a hundred square miles. Maybe it hunts in packs." She was sorry the moment she said it, because if it were true, she and Malek were in deep trouble.

Malek lifted his brows at her, looking more amused by her worry than she thought warranted. "It may not be interested in us at all, Colonel Carter. No doubt we smell strange to it."

Right. Like they were ever that lucky, she thought with a mental snort. The only thing which gave her some hope was knowing that they both had naquadah in their bodies and an animal might find that repellent. "We'll see. We have two zats, a P90, and a string of claymores. That should be enough."

Now he was smiling. "I see that you prefer your attackers in very small pieces."

She chuckled, realizing it did sound like overkill, and they moved on.

That evening, they built a relatively large fire in a pit to encourage the creature to keep away and settled in for dinner. Sam pulled out two MRE packets. "I've got chicken and rice, or beef stew, which one do you want?"

"Neither," he answered. "We should preserve your supplies. I am Tok'ra and do not require as much food."

She frowned. "That's not what Dad said."

"We are better able to withstand a lack of food," he explained. "As long as we have water, we can last many weeks. But you should eat, Colonel Carter and keep up your strength." But his gaze was fixed on the flames and she had to wonder if he was lying.

"That's just as true for you," she protested. "You need food to keep up your strength too."

His head dipped down and when he lifted it, he opened his eyes. She smiled, a little excited, realizing that Malek's host was coming forward for the first time in her presence.

"I am Reigar," he said.

She tried not to sound too much as if she was talking to a child, but she suspected that Reigar might not come out very often because he had been traumatized by the Goa'uld. "Hi, Reigar. I'm Sam. I'm glad to meet you finally."

He didn't sound as fearful or tentative as she had expected, though. Quite the contrary, his tone was firm and strong, though his eyes didn't quite meet hers. "I sleep while Malek has control during the day," he explained.

She wanted to ask more questions, but decided it wasn't really any of her business. Perhaps he just liked the quiet. In the Tok'ra tunnels or in space, day-night was a random division anyway.

Remembering that there had been an issue before he'd come forward, she held up an MRE in each hand. "Beef or chicken?" she asked, feeling like a flight attendant.

He shook his head once. "I'll take water, but none of your food. It would be wasted on me. I tried your food at the Alpha Site -- it was unpalatable." Perhaps realizing that his words were insulting, he lifted his gaze to hers and smiled very slightly.

She couldn't look away, noticing how the firelight touched the angles of his jaw and the line of his nose and his deep, dark eyes. God, she could fall in those eyes for a long time. How had she never noticed before how strikingly attractive he was?

"I'm sorry," he continued. The sound of his voice made her realize she was staring and she forced her eyes down.

"No, no," she said quickly, feeling her cheeks warm. "That's okay. MREs aren't that yummy. I've just got used to them, I guess." She put one of the MREs down and ripped open the chicken, dumping the little bottle of Tabasco on it. For a moment it occurred to her that she should ask if he wanted a protein bar or something else from her pack, but she gave an inward shrug. Let him be picky about the food choices. MREs would start looking a lot more appetizing when he got a little hungry.

He poured a cup of water for himself out of her canteen, sipped a bit, and set the cup on the ground near the fire.

She ate most of her meal and decided to make conversation, since he certainly wasn't. "How did you know not to touch the grey panel? Did you know it would activate the transporter?"

"We know something about the Furlings," Reigar explained. "That arrangement appears often, with that panel used to activate technology."

She glanced up eagerly. "You actually know something about the Furlings? Because ever since we heard about them, and their alliance with the Nox, the Asgard, and the Ancients, we haven't found out much. Except for these short-range transporters we haven't even found their technology. What happened to them?"

He pulled up his knees and spoke more to the fire than to her. "You use their technology all the time. The Goa'uld stole it from them and destroyed them," he answered. "The remnants of their people were scattered among a hundred worlds. Their once great civilization fell to ruins."

"Didn't the rest of the alliance help them?" she asked.

He snorted and said with surprising bitterness, "What alliance? By then, the Ancients were gone." He fluttered his hand upward, meaning they Ascended. "The Asgard moved to another galaxy. The Nox hid away. They at least offered sanctuary, but at a price none wanted to pay. Some tried to hide on worlds like this, or the one O'Neill found -- accessible only by transporter or ship, not by chappa'ai. But one by one, they were found."

"Huh," she thought about that for a moment, saddened by the loss. "So what did they look like? General O'Neill thinks they were big furry teddy bears, but we've never seen one."

His lips twitched in a small smile that faded quickly. "Big furry teddy bears? No, not exactly. They can pass as human, and often do, in order to evade detection by the Goa'uld."

"How do you know all this?" she asked.

He shrugged. "It's of interest to me."

She figured he or Malek must have talked to one at some time. But his interest explained why the Tok'ra had wanted him to go with SG-1. "Well, you should tell all this to Daniel when we get back," she said, breaking into her cookies for dessert. "He'll be fascinated. He's always wanted to know more about the Furlings."

He gave a non-committal 'hm' and picked up his cup, before getting to his feet. She caught herself watching, admiring the fluid grace of his movements. "If you will excuse me." He walked away, toward the privy hole they'd dug some distance away, and she turned her back politely, while also trying to keep an ear out in case he ran into trouble.


====================

Reigar stopped beneath the last tree on the edge of the meadow, looking toward where there had been a settlement long ago. He could still feel the echo of their presence, like a distant hum in the back of his mind.

He wanted to bask in it, but he couldn't. He could appreciate the irony though, of being in a place of his people and starving to death.

*We have a problem,* Malek observed dryly.

Reigar took out the packet of small reddish crystals from the inner pocket of his brown uniform and regarded it glumly. *I had noticed. I'm not prepared for this.*

*There are a few animals here. They may be sustenance enough. Though I doubt you could kill them without Samantha's notice.*

He grimaced in disgust. He could survive on animals, but it was repellent and unsatisfying. He had too many memories of living on the fringes of civilization, living off of small rodents. And Malek was right -- it was going to be difficult to hunt without gaining Sam's attention.

Malek continued, *You were careful before, but she is a smart woman. You might wish to simply reveal your nature to her, rather than attempt subterfuge.*

He carefully rationed half the crystals and poured them into the warm water, swirling it around gently to mix it. *I would rather not be the Tau'ri's pet Furling.* He snorted, remembering Jacob's various comments. Jacob hadn't been afraid when he'd found out, but he was not shy about mocking him either. One late night at the alpha site and a portable DVD player had been enough to make him wish he could turn invisible. Or at least kill that Stoker person. *Or their Dracula, for that matter.*

Knowing O'Neill, a red cape would be just the first of the many presents he'd be getting, if the SGC found out.

*I believe she would keep your secret. Jacob has, after all. Or,* Malek hesitated and continued more tentatively, knowing how little Reigar liked the suggestion, *you could enforce her silence.*

He didn't like it, but he knew it might come to that. He'd already told Sam more than he should have for safety. *If I have to.* He sniffed the aroma, wishing it was the real thing, and then drained the cup in two swallows. The taste was thin and watery, but at least it eased his hunger.

*Let's hope the Prometheus comes quickly,* he continued to Malek. If the ship came soon enough, he wouldn't have to deal with telling her at all, and his Tok'ra friends would make sure his supplies were aboard. *I can do without a few days.*

He felt Malek's doubt, and ignored it. He could. He'd done it before. But it would get harder, that much was true.

It would help if he could touch the aura here. He shut his eyes, trying to concentrate, but it was so faint, it was like trying to touch smoke. They had been here, but they had gone or were dead, leaving only a faint imprint of their presence. Just like every other place of theirs he had found. It hurt more to stand here and feel what was lost, than keep away and stay in the Tok'ra tunnels. *Why do I keep doing this to myself, Malek? I know I won't find them.*

He turned his back on the buried refuge and headed back toward Sam.

Gently, Malek answered, *They are your people. When your parents were killed you lost your connection to the greater whole of your kind. That is a mental bond that I cannot duplicate.*

*You do what you can, and I appreciate it, my friend.*
Their mental bond wasn't the same, no, but the mutual affection and support was very real and very precious.

That night he kept watch, Sam's projectile Tau'ri weapon at his side at her insistence. He doubted there was anything on this planet that would threaten him. The large predator was not nearby and the small animals were uninterested in their two-legged visitors, but he couldn't tell her that without revealing how he knew it. So he kept watch over her sleep, and occupied himself through the long night with watching the stars and keeping the fire going. It was no hardship, since he had long grown accustomed to the peace of his own thoughts.

In the morning, as first light touched the sky and the UV strengthened, his nocturnal instincts suggested sleep. He didn't bother to resist, just nudged Malek awake and settled back in his mind to sleep in his turn.

============

Their second day at the site passed a lot like the first. Sam was a little surprised that nothing tried to attack or eat them, the weather remained pleasant, and no one's Jaffa showed up. It was such a change from her usual missions that it made her nervous that the other shoe was going to drop.

But nothing happened. She and Malek worked on finding a more permanent camp site, with fresh water in a stream that ran into a little pool for bathing. They explored the area some more, including the meadow, in case there was a way back. But as he warned her, there appeared to be nothing that could send them the way they had come.

They settled into an easy camaraderie. Sam asked about Reigar once and got the expected answer that he was asleep. "But doesn't your body need sleep? I know he was awake all last night and now you're awake..."

"As long as we rest, sleeping is really more of a necessity for the mind, not the body," he explained. "I can easily enough keep the body in good health."

She felt a little jealous. Sometimes sleeping really did seem like a waste of time. But Reigar and Malek both slept, they just took turns, so it wasn't that much of an advantage. Not really. Or so she tried to tell herself, not thinking about all the experiments and projects she'd had to interrupt and abandon just because she needed to sleep.

For dinner, Reigar emerged. It was fascinating. She'd forgotten what a change it could be between host and symbiote. The slight stiffness of Malek's movements dropped away, and now every gesture and graceful shift of position held her gaze. She watched his hands as he poured a cup of water and the way he wrapped his fingers around the little metal cup before setting it down into the coals.

"Have a good rest?" she asked, taking out her mac-n-cheese MRE.

"I did, thank you." But he shook his head when she offered the package to him.

"You have to eat something," she protested. "I'll split it with you. You have to eat at least a little. What if we run into trouble, or get attacked by that big wolf or something?"

"I appreciate your concern, Sam," he said, with a small smile as if she amused him. "But truly, I can go several days without food. I'd rather you eat. It's not as much of a sacrifice as you think."

"Well... okay," she acquiesced, watching him. He glanced across the fire at her, with the MRE on her lap, and he looked away quickly. He was hungry, that much was obvious. He was doing the noble sacrifice thing for her, relying on his Tok'ra strength to get them through this.

She wanted to object that there was no reason to starve himself for her. She was a military officer, not some fairy tale maiden needing protecting. But the words wouldn't come. Because that same military training told her that he was right. He was able to endure privation better than she could, no question about it. If the ship came soon enough, he probably wouldn't need to eat at all. She was only eating one MRE a day herself, so that, in addition to her other supplies, meant she wouldn't need to forage for a week. She remembered what O'Neill had said about the tainted pseudo-arugala and what it had done to Maybourne. She didn't want to forage until she had no other choice, and not sharing food would make it much easier.

But it still seemed cruel to eat in front of someone who wasn't, so she thought at least distraction would be welcome. "Can I ask -- how did you meet Malek and blend with him?"

Reigar gave a little smile of reminiscence, lifting his chin. Her gaze traveled down the long line of his throat to where it disappeared in the shadows of his collar and the smudged but still properly fastened brown leather jacket over the long-sleeved shirt. She wondered what, if anything, he wore underneath, and pulled her eyes up to his face, wondering what was wrong with her.

"Malek came to the planet where I was living," he murmured. His gaze seemed directed at the sky, which was full of stars now that the planet had set. "The Goa'uld laid waste to the planet, an act of retaliation between two system lords. I escaped the attack but the ruins made survival..." he paused, "... difficult. I did ... " his voice dropped to nearly inaudible over the crackling of the fire, "terrible things."

Her chest felt tight at the shame weighing his voice. She could only imagine what someone would be willing to do to survive absolute devastation.

He picked up a little twig and pulled off its bark methodically, before tossing it into the fire, not looking once, as memory shadows moved through his face. It took a moment for him to continue. "But Malek found me. He helped. When an ashrak came for him, I managed to free him from his prison but not in time to save his host. So I accepted him and he accepted me, and we have been bonded ever since."

She could sense the horror that lay behind his quiet words, in the details that he was keeping to himself. At first she wasn't sure what to say that wouldn't be empty platitudes. Eventually, she said, "So many people suffered so much because of the Goa'uld. I'm glad you escaped and lived to keep fighting them."

"I will fight them until they are all dead," he answered in a flat tone whose determination gave her chills. He hated them.

He moved his head and the reflected firelight made his eyes flicker with gold. He abruptly stood, taking his cup with him. "Excuse me," he said, with perfunctory politeness and disappeared beneath the trees.

Sam watched him go and downed the rest of her dinner in quick bites, so she could be finished by the time he returned.

==========

He drained his cup and licked the inside clean. Hunger remained as a nagging whisper in the back of his mind and ache down his spine. It wasn't enough, and it was going to get worse.

*Perhaps you could hunt now,* Malek suggested. *Sam will expect you to brood for awhile.*

He felt like brooding for awhile, since he hadn't thought about the fall of Esakia for a very long time, but Malek was right -- Sam wasn't going to expect them back immediately and they should take the chance while they had it.

Closing his eyes, he concentrated on inhaling deeply through his nose, drawing the air deep into his lungs. The scent of soil and the pine needles underfoot filled him, even as he reached outward mentally.... searching...

Malek stayed quiet and still, not interfering. He knew how long it had been since Reigar had done this. What he once could've done without conscious thought -- merely the *knowledge* of what was around him would have been enough to pull on the thread of that connection and bring his prey to him -- was now a matter of concentration and will to locate it.

There. A small creature going about its nightly business in the undergrowth to the east.

As he exhaled, his concentration wavered and he lost the connection. Trying to make his breaths slower, he again approached his prey. Ten steps and he was close enough that the creature heard him and froze. He took another breath, and reached. There. Found the creature. Fear made its tiny heart beat faster, and his instincts grabbed the thread of connection, strengthening to a rope binding him and the animal together.

He opened his eyes, his gaze fixed on the location of the creature, but not truly needing to see it to find it. Kneeling, he thrust his hand beneath the leafy scrub and grabbed sleek, stiff fur, drawing the limp body back into the open.

It looked something like the common rabbit, with powerful hind legs and long alert ears. Its trembling ceased under the pressure of his mind, until it lay in his lap, too trusting and calm of the predator above him.

For one moment, while his fingers stroked the thin, furry length gently, he remembered vermin in the ruins of Esakia and other places. Revulsion was almost enough to break the hold of the hunger.

He lifted the rabbit-thing in one hand, and with his belt knife in the other, cut its throat.

=============

The wind whispered through the pine needles, and she realized that Reigar had been gone at least half an hour. While she was sure that he wasn't far, she felt suddenly alone. Uneasy, she shifted to her knees and checked to make sure her zat was still in its holster. She didn't hear anything, but a vague anxiety stirred in her belly and tightened her chest.

Maybe he was in trouble. Maybe he was hurt. She hadn't heard anything, but that didn't mean much. If that big cat-wolf-thing had taken him by surprise, he might not have had time to yell. Besides, this was an alien planet; there could be any number of alien menaces that threatened him.

She should go check on him. She stood, P90 in hand, and followed the direction he'd gone. "Reigar?" she called. "Are you okay?" There was no answer. "Reigar? Malek?" she called again, louder. "Can you hear me?"

At first there was nothing, but then she heard a sharp cough from the east.

"Reigar?" she called and hurried toward the sound, her gun up, just in case.

The coughing turned into the sound of gagging and vomiting and she burst into a run.

Racing between two trees into a small clearing, she stumbled to a stop, unable to process what she was seeing.

There was Reigar, kneeling and bent over, throwing up convulsively.

There was an unrecognizable animal carcass in the leaves before him, and blood everywhere -- his clothes, his hands, even his face.

Had he tried to eat it? No, surely not. Maybe it had attacked him and he'd killed it.

Not that it mattered, since he was still retching, even though nothing was left to come up. "Reigar, are you okay? What happened?"

He jerked and raised his head to look at her.

She stepped back, lifting her gun. What the --

His eyes were yellow. They weren't flaring with light in the whites as the Goa'uld and Tok'ra could do -- his irises were yellow. Dark rings with golden insides, like a cat or a wolf or something else not human. She had seen eyes like that before.... some place... they were from something dangerous.

Then he blinked and his eyes were brown again.

But she wasn't tricked. She'd seen what she'd seen. "What are you?" she demanded roughly.

He opened his mouth to answer, and then abruptly folded over, holding his stomach and retching again. When the spasm passed, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve, leaving a dark bloody smear on the fabric, and inhaled a deep, shaky breath.

She found it hard to be frightened of someone puking his guts up, no matter what he was, and let go of her gun to grab her canteen. "You want some water?"

He nodded and said hoarsely, "Thank you." She held the canteen out for him warily, but he took it without looking at her. He drank a little and then dumped the rest on his face, wiping it off with his hands. He straightened and lifted his head to look at her. He looked pale and pinched. "Do not eat the plants or animals on this world. There is a high concentration of poisonous alkaloids."

She nodded her understanding, and after a moment of silence, repeated her previous question, with less hostility, "What are you? Not human."

"No," he shook his head once and glanced down at the carcass with a rueful smile, not disgust, then back up at her, as he climbed to his feet. "I suppose you need to know. I'm a Furling."

"You're a Furling? Really? A Furling?" she was astonished. When he'd said they could pass for human, she'd had no idea that she was looking at one.

"Let me clean up," he gestured to his clothes and hands, "and I will explain at camp."

"Sure." She followed him to the stream, too uncertain about him to let him out of her sight.

But he did nothing alarming, just knelt by the river and rinsed the blood off his hands and face. He took off his jacket and tunic, leaving him in a thin, sleeveless beige undershirt. The skin of his arms was as pale as hers, but the heavy outer tunic had hidden a toned upper body that she let her gaze linger on, as he wiped the leather with his shirt and then washed out the shirt.

They returned to camp and he put both over a branch to dry. Sitting by the fire, he gestured for her to sit in her now-usual place with her back to the log.

"So," she started, lifting her brows when he didn't speak. "You're really a Furling? You look human."

He lifted his head to meet hers and the color seemed to bleed out of his brown eyes until the irises were yellow again, and his outer eyelids reddened. He blinked, and it was back as it was.

"Okay, except for that," she added hastily, and he gave a little smile.

"It is an illusion, perfected over the years," he answered, smile dropping away. "So I can hide among humans away from the Goa'uld."

She frowned. "But why would they still hunt you? The Goa'uld have what they wanted, don't they?"

He shook his head once and pitched twigs into the fire one by one, watching them flare and burn. "I am more than five hundred years old. Half of that time I've been with Malek. We have never used the sarcophagus."

She nodded slowly. Long life, without using the sarcophagus, would be appealing to the Goa'uld. Five hundred years old... It was hard to believe. He didn't even look forty.

He continued, "It was not only Furling technology the Goa'uld wanted -- it was Furling hosts. But Furlings make very bad unwilling hosts, since we can fight them for control. Only Sokar kept a Furling host, and I have always wondered if it was a willing partnership."

She shut her eyes as flashes from Jolinar's torture by Sokar hit her. But the brief glimpses were enough to make her look at Reigar in surprise. "But you don't look like Sokar." But she realized as she spoke the words that wasn't true. Reigar had Sokar's eyes. That was where she had seen them before.

"I would, more so. But my parents had some changes made when I was young, and Malek helps too," he answered. He held out one pale arm. "But still, we have few natural protections against intense ultraviolet radiation."

Sunlight was what he meant. He slept during the day, he'd said. She remembered him covered in blood, with an animal carcass at his feet. The conclusion was really inescapable, no matter how impossible it seemed, and she blurted, "You're a vampire."

He grimaced. "So Jacob tells me. He forced me to sit through a Dracula movie so I would know what humans believe about my kind."

She winced in sympathy at that but couldn't help teasing, "So garlic doesn't work?"

He snorted. "Is a strong smell, but hardly poisonous. Religious symbolism is wishful thinking, I don't need an invitation to enter someone's house, and I am perfectly capable of casting a reflection and a shadow. I cannot turn into a bat or a wolf and certainly not fog, though that would be very useful."

She had to smile at his irritable list of things that were wrong. But it did to point out something that the movies and the stories all had right. "Drinking blood?"

He answered flatly, without being defensive. "Yes. We do not have the proper enzymes to digest food as you do. Furlings require high amounts of iron and copper, and over time adapted to metabolizing this need through whole blood. I now use synthetics, but I brought only one packet of mix with me and I finished it earlier."

"Malek can't help you digest food properly?"

He gave her a wry look. "Even a symbiote has a problem with resequencing DNA. Those genetic sequences simply don't exist. Malek can't create what isn't there."

She shook her head in amazement. A real live vampire. A real live Furling. She wasn't sure which impressed her more.

But then she realized what he was saying. "You don't have any food?"

His gaze turned back to the dancing flames. "I had hoped the animals would be edible. But the Goa'uld contaminated this planet. That is, no doubt, why the Furlings left this place. If the Prometheus comes quickly, I'll be fine."

She noticed he was not mentioning the very conspicuous possible food source sitting across from him. She'd seen vampire movies -- unless it was all made up, humans should work. "What about me?" she asked.

His head snapped up, his gaze wide. "No!"

She frowned, puzzled by his reaction. "Look, I've donated blood before. It's not a big deal. If that's what you need, then I'm not going to --"

He interrupted harshly, "You have no idea what you're offering." He jumped to his feet and turned his back on her, shoulders shaking. "You know nothing about me or what I need."

She looked at him for a long moment, wondering what was wrong. There was something compelling about his distress that made her want to help him. "No, obviously not," she agreed gently, "unless you tell me."

He waited, calming down, until his voice was level. "We didn't evolve with humans. That makes for some ... side-affects."

"Like what?" she asked.

"It's addictive," he admitted in a low voice. "I spent fifteen years weaning myself from humans. I won't go back," he insisted, hands tightening into fists against his legs.

Sam considered that. "You'd rather die? Because that seems to be your other choice. I'm willing --"

She didn't finish. He whirled around and sneered at her. "Willing?" he laughed bitterly. "Perhaps at first. Then you will beg me to take from you. I am not the only one who gets addicted to it. Neither of us can resist the bond, and it always turns into more than just feeding. Always."

"Oh." She watched the fire for awhile, trying to think. Apparently there was some truth to the vampire's appeal after all. She flushed, wondering just how good it could be.

God, here he was, worrying about starving to death, and all she could think about was how good in bed he might be after several hundred years. What was wrong with her? Pete hadn't been that long ago.

Across from her, he wasn't looking at her, but he smiled faintly, as if he could hear her thoughts. Which, for all she knew, he could. With some effort she dragged her mind back to the problem at hand.

"I don't want you to die," she said. "And I can't believe you would choose that either. So what else can we do about it? If you don't have any supplies, and you can't feed off the animals here, that leaves me. How about a little in a cup? Would that help?"

He shook his head back and forth in agitation. "No! I can't take it, or I want more. I don't have the others with me, I don't have their help. There's only me and Malek. That makes me unstable and dangerous, and as likely to kill you as manage to control myself. I can't take your offer, so please, for all of us, stop making it."

He fled into the shadows under the trees, and Sam didn't follow. She knew he'd be back.

============
(continued in part 2)



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Telstelscha on September 28th, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
I like this one :)
lizardbeth: Sam and Maleklizardbeth_j on September 29th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
thanks! :) (you did, er, find part 2 right? Just making sure... I backdated it so they wouldn't show up in the wrong order on people's f-lists.)

And your sunrises ficlets will be out shortly, I don't want to flood the list with another thing so fast. People might get confused.
Telstelscha on September 29th, 2006 01:40 am (UTC)
yup I found part two :) And looking forward to the sunrises ones.