DISCLAIMER: I only borrowed them for a while. MGM and whoever can have them back whenever they want.
SERIES: The eighteenth in a series of vignettes from those close to Sam/Janet.
SPOILERS: Set during: Enigma, Pretense, Between Two Fires.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author

Outside Looking In:

By Celievamp

1. Sher'mau

I have a great affection for Samantha Carter. She is my sher'mau after all. She saved my life. She gave me Schroedinger. She made me see that the Tollan way was not the only way, that in cutting ourselves off from the universe we had cut ourselves off from. ourselves.

For all of these things I owe her a great deal. As I said, I have a great affection for her. She is a most beautiful woman, alive in a way I think we have forgotten to be, advanced compared to the rest of her species. In time I am sure she would understand our technology. And I would love to teach her. But that could never be. Such a relationship - even if it remained that of mentor and pupil, even if we never truly made love - would never be allowed. The Curia would never sanction such a liaison.

I did not want there to be any misunderstanding between us. I gave her the recording. I wanted her to know exactly how I felt, what I though of her, what I hoped for us. I had seen enough by then to know that the others of her race disapproved of any relationship we might have almost as much as my own people did.

Her superior officer, Colonel O'Neill looked as if he would like to commit violence against me. Her colleague Dr Jackson could not seem to do enough to help us to leave the planet. He saw us kiss, I know. I think it shocked him. The Jaffa, Teal'c said nothing, I could not read his face, but I can guess. He did not approve either. They are all very protective of her. She means much to them.

And the Doctor who lied for us. Dr Fraiser. I do not have words for the look that was in her eyes when I felt her gaze fall on me. She did not hate me, not exactly. She almost feared me. I would catch her looking at us when Samantha was explaining something to me, her face alight with her love of knowledge (one could imagine her love for me) and there was a sadness about her.

It was not until we were about to leave that I understood what I had seen. Dr Fraiser feared me because she thought I was taking Samantha from her. I wondered if I gave her the emotional recorder what the recording would have shown she was feeling. I wondered whether Samantha knew. I knew a little of their history from what Samantha had told me. If Samantha was my Sher'mau, was Dr Fraiser her Sher'mau in turn?

2. A part of you.

Two years passed. We made the new Tollana much the same as the old had been. Within a few years it looked as if we had been here for centuries. I had my work with Omoc, facilitating Curia business. I developed a curious interest in the old legends of our people collating and studying them. From what we now call the Dark Ages when superstition held sway over science. When we believed in Sher'mau. The Sher'mau do not have names in the same way that we do, but they will use a name for us that is in tune with their spirit, their vibration. This is for our benefit. They can take a form that is familiar and pleasing, hiding in plain sight.

In my dreams I saw my Sher'mau. I had programmed my home system to talk with her voice. It brought me a little closer to her.

I welcomed the opportunity to see Samantha again. Who would not? She was legend, a part of SG1. Tales of their continued exploits had reached even our ears. We had come to depend on the kindness of the Nox and the Asgard. The new Tollana was a little more open than the old. We knew that galactic affairs were in a period of flux. We did not expect to be put on the front line.

But at least it meant that I could see her again. Even as we extended the hand of neutrality to all concerned in the Triad, the Tauri remained suspicious of the Goa'uld, of their motives. We saw it as proof of their primitive nature. We should have listened. I should have listened.

When Samantha asked to meet privately with me I admit, I had hopes. But she had a higher agenda in mind than my personal gratification. She wanted to save my world again. This time from the treachery of the Goa'uld Zipcana.

She needed my help. I did not want to listen to her words as they just proved to me how different we were in our outlook. I tried to tell her that I had missed her, which was true. Having Schroedinger was wonderful but the animal was also a constant reminder of her. He was a part of her. A part of herself that she had freely given to me. But I wanted more.

I noticed in the brief time we had spent in each other's company that something about her had changed, her brightness slightly dimmed, her innocence and wonder at the world a little jaded.

"A lot has happened to me since I last saw you."

I had lost her! I presumed to the Colonel or the little doctor. Both had been visibly interested in her. "There is another?" I asked.

She was quick in denial. "No! Not in the way that you mean. You see, I was blended with a Tokra and she died to save my life. I still have her memories and her feelings."

"And she is part of you?"

"Yes. I can't have a relationship with anyone until I'm absolutely sure whose feelings I'm. feeling. Do you understand?"

I didn't, but I told her that I did to ease her mind. I let her explain her theory to me - that the Goa'uld were using the Triad to buy time so that they could prepare for an attack on Tollana. That they had tampered with our ion cannons. I thought it improbable if not impossible. The weapons are made of an impenetrable alloy and are protected by security codes.

I was more interested in considering her words about her conflicted emotions. Surely what she was saying meant that she did have feelings for me, did it not? Did this extend to her other would-be lovers, the Colonel, the Doctor? Time would tell. I could wait for her to be sure.

In my arrogance I nearly stood by and watched my world destroyed again. If it was not for the fact that the warning came from my angel, I would have. But once a sher'mau interests herself in your affairs you ignore her warning at your peril.

Our world was saved and at the same time we gave the Goa'uld adequate warning that we Tollan were more than capable of defending ourselves. We made enemies that day and there will be consequences for all of us. But at least we will live to see them.

At least we will live.

3. I just wanted you to know.

Another two years. Two more years of dreams, of waiting. Omoc battled constantly with the Curia. Things were happening, things were changing. And I would come home every night to her cat and her voice welcoming me home. My feelings for her did not change, my Samantha, my sher'mau. My feelings did not change.

I am sorry that it took the death of my closest friend, my mentor for me to see her again. He requested the presence of SG1 at his funeral, something which surprised everyone, not least I, the executor of his affairs. But the affairs and well-being of the Tauri had been on his mind a great deal before his death. A death which I now knew to be unnatural.

I had to be circumspect, passing the holo emitter to Samantha as she said goodbye to me. If what I fear is correct I could be putting us all in danger. And the invitation from the Curia to resume trade negotiations - and for weapons technology at that disturbed me greatly.

Again my attention was split - between getting to the bottom of the conspiracy festering within my government and spending time with the woman I had loved from so far away for the last four years.

She blushed when she heard her voice greet us as we entered my house. She was embarrassed and slightly uncomfortable with the idea. I had hoped to prove to her how much she meant to me, how I had remained true to her to her ideal all these years. I felt bad that she was discomforted by my gesture. I never meant to hurt her.

I shut off the voice at her request. It made the silence between us more extreme. I realised that things had changed with her again, that the emotional conflict that had tormented her the last time I had spoken to her had been resolved - and not in my favour. I had seen no change in her relationship with the Colonel so I could only presume that it was Dr Fraiser who was my rival. The small woman had certainly been a good match for my sher'mau, complementing her in both beauty and intelligence. I could not find the words to ask her and she did not say. But I sensed she was happy.

I decided to be happy for her. There is another old legend of the Tollan. That every soul is but half of something greater, that the ultimate purpose of every life is to find the other half of that soul and be complete again. Although I loved her dearly I knew now that Samantha Carter was not the other half of my soul. That person was still to be discovered. In my more maudlin moments I wondered whether it had been Omoc. But he was so caught up in the affairs of our world that he would never have considered a more personal, emotional liaison.

And I will never know. As the scale of the conspiracy becomes clear, the terrible bargain that the Curia entered into to protect Tollana at the expense of our human allies, I realise that I must act as my conscience dictates. If my people save themselves at the expense of the people of Earth it will destroy us as completely as any aerial bombardment. Our death throes will just be longer and more painful. Better to hope for a quick and honorable end.

I tell them to go. I tell her to go. I see the conflict in her eyes.

"My actions have forced my people to fight a battle we may very well lose. The least I can do is stay and fight with them."

O'Neill shakes my hand. I have gained his trust, his respect at last. She stares at me silently as if committing my face to memory. Those beautiful eyes. It is likely that I shall never see her again. I will never forget her though, my sher'mau, the path she set me on that day.

"I hope this isn't goodbye," she whispers. All I can do is tell her to go.

I watched her as long as I can, my world being destroyed around me before seeking what shelter I could, regrouping the survivors so we could make a last stand. SG1 escaped just in time - the Stargate was destroyed in the next salvo from the Goa'uld vessel.

There is time to send one last message, I hope, to let our allies know we do not die in vain. I just wanted her to know.

A terrible darkness. And then the light. She waits for me, my sher'mau and in her smile I see the truth the hope. nothing dies forever.

The End

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