Sam grimaced as she looked into Daniel's eyes. The compassion and patience that lived there were slowly dying. He had to be stronger now, seeing it his duty to defend her. She lay in the snow and mud, still not sure why Din did not go through with his threat. Maybe it was the sight of Daniel yelling at him to leave her alone; to let them prove his claims of marriage to Sam were true. She closed her eyes, not sure what that meant for their friendship. Now, he was stooped to make sure the cut above her eye was not bleeding too badly when their eyes met.

"Can you get up?" he asked gently, the fire slowly burning. He could hear the mocking and jeering just as she could.

"Yes, I'm fine," Sam said, laying a hand on his arm. "Please, just let's just get back into our room." A tear trailed down her cheek, being brushed away gently by his cut hands.

"They can't hurt you like that," he said, the fire leaping back into his eyes. He helped her up and in one smooth motion threw a punch into one of the guard's face.

He could not react fast enough and held his nose as he tried returning it. Daniel effortlessly dodged the intended blow, as well as the other man who had joined in the fight. The two now stood beside Daniel, trying to stop him from punching them. No matter what they did, they could not grab him again.

Sam's teary eyes were fixed on Daniel as she shooed the woman who had come beside her. She watched as he ducked and punched, suddenly recoiling from a punch that came from a third person. Sam stifled a cry as she watched her teammate, her defender and best friend, go down on one knee, only to be kicked fully to the ground. The two men laughed and were about to kick him again, when Din stepped in front of Daniel.

"Enough. Doctor Jackson has learned not to defend those who should not be defended," he said, turning an icy gaze to Sam. "Let him heal so he can defend his claim on Samantha."

Two other workers, Seth and Bis, scurried out to help Daniel as the guards and Din left them. They helped Daniel up, leading him past Sam as she struggled to get up without becoming too light headed. As the men laid Daniel on the single bed in the room, Sam hobbled in and gave them weak smiles. Dipping a cloth in the water basin beside the furnaces, she sat on the edge of the bed.

"That was stupid, Daniel," she chided softly. She wiped the blood away from his lip, and gingerly pushed his top up to could already see that there were bruises forming. "You better not have broken anything."

"I would break anything if it would protect you," he whispered.

"Don't let Dr. Lam hear you. She would have you hanging in a sling for ages. You know you are the entire infirmary's favorite patient," Sam smiled.

"I would break anything if it would protect you," he said again, lifting a hand to brush her hair away from her own cuts. "I know any of the guys would, but I seem to be the one always taking the punches." He chuckled slightly and quickly grimaced as he laid a hand on his side.

"I know you guys would do anything for me, and I think deep down Cam would lay down for Vala to -"

"It's a man thing."

Sam smiled. "Yes, it's a man thing. Let me see if I can find another blanket, you need to stay warm."

"And you also. Don't neglect yourself," Daniel said, his blue eyes once more filling with concern and compassion.

"Let's get another blanket, then we can talk about me," Sam said. Standing she placed the cloth in the basin, watching the blood tint the water. Taking the bowl out she closed the door, to find herself surrounded by the two men who had brought Daniel in.

"Sam-anth-a?" Bis asked uncertainly. She nodded and he asked her if "her companion" was well in Tynirese.

"He will be alright. I will be fine also," she said. Since becoming captives in the workers camp she and Daniel were becoming better in Tynirese. "I will need more water and another blanket."

"I have fresh water and some of the meal," Seth said, handing her the two bowls.

"I will bring a blanket and fresh wood," Bis supplied.

Sam nodded gratefully. She had found, no matter what Daniel hinted at with the men of the planet, those who were confined with them, were compassionate. Several had also stood up to the guards as the few women were being mistreated. A few had left the camp, only to be returned half-dead.

"We wish to hold a small meeting in your hut. We wish to talk to you and your companion," Seth said, looking at Bis who was nodding.

"Give me a few moments and we will be ready," Sam said. They nodded and walked back to their huts. She turned and walked back into the hut and placed the bowls down by the stand. "Daniel?"

"I have not moved," he said. She brought the bowl over and he looked at it. "Macaroni and cheese?"

"It's better then fried chicken with corn dressing," she said. Laughing as he wrinkled his nose, she went on, "Seth and Bis want to talk to us. Are you up to having them here?"

Sitting up further and gently taking the bowl, he nodded. "Company would be nice. Not that yours is not nice. More company is nice."

"I got it the first time." She patted his leg and got up to pour water into a cup, unlatching the door as one of the men knocked and come in. Handing the cup to Daniel, Sam gestured to the two small chairs they had fit into the room. "Thank you for all you have been doing. What did you want to talk to us about?"

"The other day Bis and I were working in the field, clearing the snow that had come down, and we came across a strange object. It was unlike the carts we use to bring the trees to the cutters. It did not have wooden wheels and was in a strange formation," Seth said.

"Go on," Daniel said, handing the rest of the meal to Sam so she could eat.

"It was shorter than a man, but had a claw on it, a strange net around it," Seth continued. "It was long, with boxes on the side. It had the letters of 's', 'g'..."

"'C'," Daniel finished. He looked over to Sam who had put the bowl away. She looked back at him. Switching to English he breathed, "You think it could have come down here?"

"I don't know. We don't even know where the Gate is compared to us. I mean it wouldn't be wise to have us so near to the Gate." Looking back at Seth, she asked, "Where did you find this?"

"If you are well tomorrow, which I doubt you will be, we will show you."

"Why don't we go tonight?" Daniel said eagerly, throwing the blanket back, only to let out a small gasp and yelp as he twisted his torso, hitting one of his bruised ribs. "Or not," he added as Sam helped him back to his side of the small bed.

"We will leave," Bis said. "We will come by in the morning and bring you another meal. You have been good to us as we have become hurt, we now can do the same."

"Thank you," Sam said, with tears in her eyes. She saw them out and watched as they crossed back to the hut they shared. Turning back to Daniel who was lying staring at the ceiling, she whispered, "You think we might be able to go home soon?"

Shifting to make room for her, he patted the now empty part of the bed. "Much sooner than we thought." As Sam slipped between the blankets, he protectively wrapped his arms around her, trying to warm her cold hands and feet with his own. "Much sooner than I thought," he whispered as he drifted to sleep.

~*~*~

Sam woke slowly, stiff and still tired. She gave a yawn and a mini stretch, feeling Daniel's arm resting comfortably in the curve of her waist. He shifted, snuggling into the back of her neck, catching her off guard as she felt his lips brush the light hairs on her neck.

"I don't want to lose you, Sam," he murmured sleepily. Sam glanced behind her, at Daniel, sure he was still asleep, but was surprised when two very blue eyes met hers. "It's too cold when you leave."

Sam let out a sigh and a smile as she turned on to her back, his arm now resting across her belly. "Afraid I will take all the warmth with me?" she asked playfully.

"Yes," he said seriously. "I fear every day that I will wake and find you gone. In that hut, hurt and ..." he paused. "I'm just glad you are here."

She smiled once more and stroked the arm that rested on her abdomen. "I have no plans on going any where. My body kind of just wants to lie here."

"Then lie with me," Daniel said, snuggling another kiss into the side of her neck.

Sam stilled. What was wrong with him? Besides being kicked, punched and cut yesterday, Sam could not remember any reason for his strange behavior. Clearing her throat he said, "I am. I'm your blanket, remember?"

"I know. But ... for you to be safe, you have to lie with me."

"What?" Sam shifted into a sitting position, very awake, and now exposed to the cooler air, quickly becoming colder. "You mean... you mean like sleep with you? More than just sharing the bed with you? I mean more than ..." Sam swallowed. "You mean have sex with you?"

Daniel looked at her. "Yes," he said slowly. "It's the only way to show that we are married."

"But we are not!"

"But we have to be."

"What? I mean why? We've been doing just fine."

"Sam, Din wanted to rape you yesterday, and then he was going to pass you around like he has done with the other women in the camp," Daniel sighed. "I did not want to tell you since, well, since I figured you would. ... It was wrong of me not to tell you."

"Raped? The other women?" Sam asked shocked. "I suspected they were, but ... but to know.... Is that why you insisted the small hut with one bed was efficient?"

"Partially. I also figured I might freeze or be lonely without you."

Sam looked back down at Daniel. He wanted to sleep with her; have sex with her. It was blowing past all dating, marrying and the general "I love you" parts she was expecting. She had never let herself entertain the thought - she was a female and he was a male, a very nice looking male. She never though that Daniel would want the same thing, have her really, for very long.

No, not the same thing, here he is protecting me, Sam thought sadly. She smiled weakly as she thought about it. She was sad he only wanted to protect her and that it was only just protection. He had already proven he would physically protect her from Din and the guards, protect her from being the next woman they violated night after night and as Sam sat still, she frowned slightly.

"We have a lot to talk about then," she said simply, clutching the blankets as she once more lay down beside Daniel. Suddenly more than just her teammate and best friend, a man who wanted to become her lover to protect her.
Does it really mean nothing to him but my own safety? Sam wondered as she lay still beside Daniel, her mind fighting all rational and irrational thought.