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Standing in the Dark
Silence. No discernable sounds at all. Okay, gotta breathe, must breathe…breathe now! Her back arched up off of the bed as she pulled air into her lungs. She opened her eyes. Dim light filtered through the window. It was either just about dawn, or just after sunset. She tried to sit up, but when her head started spinning, she dropped it back down on the pillow behind her. She waited a few more minutes, then sat up. She looked around. She was in a small bedroom. She managed to get the heavy blankets and quilts tossed back, stood to her bare feet, the hardwood floor cold beneath them. She looked down. She was dressed in a flannel nightshirt that stopped mid thigh. She wasn't even going to bother wondering how that had happened.
The only door in the room opened to a narrow hallway. She stood in the doorway and looked around. Directly across from the room was a bathroom. That open door showed her enough to make that determination. Another door adjacent to where she stood was closed. She stepped out of the room. The hallway opened into a sitting room, and through a set of double doors she could see a dining room. The kitchen most likely lay beyond that. She shook her head. This… cottage… reminded her of the place that Daniel had rented in Scotland for their thirtieth wedding anniversary. They had spent three wonderful, relaxing weeks there.
She felt weak, and suddenly a bit dizzy. She put a hand against the wall to steady herself. "Hello?"
A wide door in the sitting room opened, to the outside she noted, and a man stepped inside, his arms full of firewood. He smiled at her.
She cocked her head to the side and studied him for a minute. Damned if he didn't look like that really cute doctor on that TV show about an emergency room…the pediatrician. She had always liked him because he was so good with kids. On the show at least. Her errant and irrelevant thoughts were pushed away as she shook her head mentally.
"Hello there. I'm glad to see that you're awake at last. You've been out for almost two days. Nergal had his surgeon inject you with a nanovirus when you revived. I had to give you a very strong poison, one that would keep you…dead…until I had time to get you away from there. I fear I gave you a larger dose than I intended. It took longer for your Quickening to deal with it."
Her eyes widened at the mention of the nanovirus. "Oh, god," she breathed. "The nanovirus… how long until it kills me?"
The smile widened. "It won't, if I give you the antidote."
"And to get the antidote, I have to do what?" she asked, her eyes full of suspicion.
He dropped the wood on the hearth, and opened a bag, took out a small vial and a syringe. "Stand still."
"You asked what you had to do to get the antidote. You have to stand still. So I can give it to you," he explained, amusement filling his eyes at the look of confusion on her face.
"You're just going to…give it to me?"
"Unless you want to become a mindless zombie." He was grinning now.
She held out her arm.
"Sorry. This has to go into your hip."
She pulled her bottom lip between her teeth, then nodded. He crossed the room to where she was standing.
"Just lean over the back of this chair," he said gently. She obeyed, and he carefully lifted the nightshirt he had put on her, to replace the torn, bloody gown she had been wearing. She jumped slightly when the needle entered her skin, but said nothing. He smoothed the nightshirt back into place, and patted her shoulder. "That's it."
"That's it? Goodbye nanovirus?"
"That's it. Your Quickening will take care of the rest," he said, putting the needle back into the case.
"Okay, who are you, where are we, how do you know about my Immortality, and how do you know English?"
"Mind if I get this fire built before I tackle all of those questions? It's starting to get cold." His eyes were full of laughter.
She shrugged. "I guess I can wait that long."
He laughed out loud. "Thanks. There are clothes in the wardrobe in the room you were in, if you wish to dress while I tend to this."
She nodded, and returned to the small room. She found two pairs of dungarees, and several sweaters. She looked through the drawers in the dresser, but found nothing that resembled underwear. She pulled on a pair of the pants and one of the sweaters. The pants were about five sizes too large for her, and the sweater swallowed her whole, it seemed. She rolled up the sleeves of the sweater, and the cuffs of the pants, and holding to the waistband, went back into the sitting room. "I don't suppose you'd have a belt somewhere?"
He looked at her and chuckled. She looked like a little girl playing dress up…in Daddy's clothes. "Wait here." He disappeared into what must be another bedroom, and came out with a wide, brown leather belt. He held it around her waist to measure her, then disappeared into what had to be the kitchen. When he finally returned there were several new holes in the belt. He handed it to her. "This should work."
She threaded the belt through the loops, tightened and fastened it. The pants were puckered around her waist, but at least she was dressed. She tugged the sweater back down; the bottom skimmed her mid-thigh. "Thank you. For everything."
The man nodded. He sat down in one of the chairs that flanked the hearth, where a cheery fire was now burning. A wave of his hand motioned her to the one across from him.
She lowered herself into the upholstered chair. She wondered why it was that she felt no fear of this man. The thought that he might have somehow drugged her into this state of…acceptance…flickered through her mind. "Okay. The fire is going. My questions?"
He gave her a wide smile. "I am Unlinkil. We are on a planet that I call home. I don't believe it has ever actually been named, although I could be wrong about that. The village down the road is known as Linkil. Let's see…oh, yes…your Immortality. I suppose you didn't feel me when you woke up? You see, I am Immortal as well. As for the language, well, we had a mutual friend."
Casey thought about this for a moment, and then her eyes widened. "Tiesha!"
"Yes. I wanted desperately to take her from there, but she continued to refuse. She told me that she knew her mind was… damaged. She feared that she would never…survive…once she left that cell."
"I'm going to kill that bastard!"
"I'm sure that you will. If your husband hasn't already."
"Oh, god, Daniel!" Her heart began to pound against her ribs. She had told him…goodbye, certain that Nergal was about to behead her. He must be…she barely suppressed a shudder. He must think that she was dead…really dead.
He smiled. "I'll go make us a nice pot of tea. And I'll see if I can't whip us up a bit of dinner. You contact The Chosen, and mend what must be a shattered heart."
"How…never mind. You can answer that one over tea," she smiled. "Um…can I tell him where I am?"
"Do you know where you are?"
"Oh, great, you're like into all that philosophical stuff, right? I'll never get a straight answer!"
The handsome man grinned. "Tell him that he has the answer in his hand. Tell him to check the notes he took of the glyphs in the…tunnel."
"He'll understand. Do you like soup?"
"Depends on what kind it is."
Unlinkil laughed. "I'll see what I can find. You can eat or not." He disappeared once again into the kitchen.
Two days, huh? Well, Daniel should be a complete basket case. Which meant he might not believe that he was really hearing her. She sighed. All she could do was keep trying until she got through to him. She closed her eyes, and reached out. Oh, god, there he was! She almost cried at how wonderful it felt. She caressed him gently. Was he sleeping? Yes, it felt as if he were. She continued to just caress him for a few minutes, taking comfort from his presence, then backed slowly away.
She stood and made her way into the kitchen. It was typical for a cottage of this size. She leaned against the hardwood worktable. He was standing in front of a wood burning stove, stirring a pot of something that smelled absolutely wonderful.
"That was certainly a short conversation. I would have thought you would have more to say to one another," Unlinkil smiled.
She smiled in return. "He was asleep. If he thinks I'm dead, has thought that for a couple of days now, this is probably the first time he's slept. I'll wait a little while, and try again."
The dark haired man nodded. He knew that Daniel was aware that she was alive. He looked at her as he stirred the soup that one of the villagers had left for him earlier in the day. "He already knows that Nergal didn't decapitate you."
She jerked. "Then he's looking for me!"
"I assume so."
"Why is he looking for you?"
She shook her head. "Why did you take me?"
"Because Nergal would have changed his mind and come back for you. Because he had his surgeon inject you with that nanovirus. Have no fear, you are cured. Because I need to know what you know about Darilla."
Her teeth tugged at her lip. "All we…I…know is that she went to P7X 411, I don't know if it has another name…anyway, she went there to try and stop Nergal from killing a small group of villagers. He raped a fourteen-year-old girl while he was there, then herded them into a box canyon and had them killed. Darilla was in disguise, she didn't want to frighten the people, Nergal didn't know it was her, and he killed her."
"How do you know this?"
She shrugged. "I…get these…feelings. Sometimes I…see…things." She decided not to tell him that they had found Darilla's scepter, and the other items of a Goa'uld System Lord in a leather bag. He was being very kind to her…but she didn't have a clue how long it would last, she certainly wasn't going to trust him with classified mission information!
He studied her for a moment, then nodded. "Thank you. I've wondered for so long. The slave that served you in the bath reported to me that you knew Darilla, or knew of her. She said that you made Nergal very angry with your words."
"Yeah, like I care if I pissed him off." She studied the man as he carefully poured soup into two bowls. He seemed…nice. Likeable. Amiable. She took the bowl he handed her, and carried it into the dining room. He put his on the table, went back into the kitchen, came out a minute or so later carrying a tray, on which was a pot of tea and two cups, as well as a loaf of fresh, crusty bread. "So why didn’t he behead me? He was going to, I know he was."
"I don't know. He probably decided that turning you into a mindless zombie would be more entertaining. Perhaps he would have given you the antidote before it was too late, after you had begged long enough, promised him whatever it was that he wanted from you. My…sources… told me he was quite enamored of you."
She rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I seem to do that to Goa'uld."
He laughed. "I'm sure you do that to a lot of men, Goa'uld or not."
The soup was delicious, the bread was absolutely mouthwatering, and she ate with a hearty appetite. "So, are you the Unlinkil of mythical legends on Terra?"
Again he laughed. "Guilty as charged."
Her eyes went wide. "My god, that means you're like…millions of years old."
His eyes crinkled as he laughed. "Not hardly. I’m just over one hundred and three thousand years old. Myths can grow quickly."
"We visited a planet where a stele told how you brought the people there through the Chappa'ai, and helped them establish their city, and helped them irrigate the fields so that they could grow food. And that when you left, you told them where they could find you. Nergal destroyed them as well."
Unlinkil's jaw worked, and he carefully laid his spoon beside his bowl. "I had hoped that by building the village so far from the Chappa'ai, that they would not be bothered. I should have known better."
"Well, it happened a long time ago," she said softly. "Why have you been hiding?"
He looked up at her. "I haven't been hiding. I've been in mourning."
"For how long? How many thousands of years?"
"As much as you love The Chosen, I loved her. For nearly ten thousand years."
She nodded. That was a long time to be with someone, love them. It would take a long time to get over the loss of that person. "Perhaps the time for mourning is over."
He smiled. "I have been…active…for the past two years now. Much has happened since I took shelter here. Nergal has many spies. Several who give me the information first. Unless someone else has told him, he has no idea that the 'mythical' Chosen has arrived." He sighed. "There are nights when I wish I had never ventured forth from this very humble, but extremely peaceful cottage."
She nodded. "There are days when I wish that Daniel wasn't The Chosen, so that we could retire from the SGC, just for awhile, until our babies are older."
"I understand. Now, I will clean this up. I suggest that you speak to Daniel. I do not think he would be upset if you woke him. I think he would be more upset if you didn't. Sit by the fire, stay warm, and speak to The Chosen."
She returned the warm smile, and went into the sitting room.
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