The Long Haul

Chapter 10: gaman

"Euwww!" Jack took a step back, as if afraid it might be catching. Then he glared at the prisoners, "Look what you've done to him, you ba..." Jack saw the princess out of the corner of his eye and hastily amended, "you barbarians! I can't believe I'm agreeing to help you." His hand moved for his zat gun.

"Jack – no!" Daniel shook his head. "They were only trying to protect their own. They couldn't afford to feel sorry for us and still do what they had to do. I can understand that."

"We're sorry for the way we treated our prisoners," Folcan looked genuinely abashed. "He's right. We couldn't allow ourselves to think of them as anything but cargo. If we thought of them as people, it would make it harder to give them up in exchange for our families."

Jack shrugged and let his hand relax. "I hope you... people... appreciate how lucky you are that Daniel is more understanding than I am."

Sam had found a sachet of powder and hastily mixed it with water. "Here Daniel, drink this."

Daniel pulled a face as he downed the concoction. Industrial strength antibiotics he knew; necessary, but foul tasting.

Sam began applying an anti-fungal treatment to his foot.

"Aarggh, Jeeze!" Daniel instinctively tried to pull his foot away, but Sam persevered.

"I know it feels slimy and horrid, but it'll soon dry out. This contains a fast acting pain reliever too."

Daniel squeezed his eyes tight shut, trying to blot out the pain and the intense itching. He hoped she was right about the relief being fast acting.

"I'm betting the other foot is just as bad," Sam hazarded.

"Let's not find out," begged Daniel. "Please, just leave the boot on 'til we get home!"

"Not a good idea, Daniel," Sam cautioned, before turning to the colonel.

"Sir, there's no way he can walk another step on these feet."

"You got a spare pair I can borrow, Sam?" Daniel asked plaintively.

"Fix him up as best you can, Carter," O'Neill ordered. "I'll go fetch the horses."

"Understood, sir," Sam acknowledged.

Jack took his torch from his backpack and set off the way they'd come.

Sam turned her attention back to Daniel.

"Now, doesn't that feel better?" she asked as she taped in place the bandage she had applied to hold the dressings firm. Then she sealed the whole foot in a plastic bag to keep the elements from introducing more contaminants.

"Yeah, thanks," Daniel admitted, biting his lip as she turned her attention to his left foot.

"This would be a lot easier if I could elevate your legs," Sam commented.

Princess Ro'Pita had been averting her eyes, but now she turned to look at him.

"We are sorry, Daniel. We had no idea your injuries were so severe." There were tears in her eyes. "Never have we witnessed such an example of gaman."

"Might I ask, what does gaman mean, Highness?" Sam asked, before Daniel had a chance.

It sounded Japanese; at least he thought so. He couldn't be sure. His head was too fuzzy. He'd not encountered anything else in her language to suggest that derivation. He'd been pretty sure that Salverit origins had been more Scandinavian.

"To endure with dignity and fortitude," Ro'Pita smiled at Daniel, and he felt himself flush again. He concentrated on the fact that he'd been right about the Japanese. Her translation confirmed it.

"Daniel's very brave," Sam agreed, embarrassing him still further.

"We wish to make amends." Ro'Pita declared. "How may we assist?"

Sam looked quizzically at Daniel, unsure about this unexpected turn of events.

"She's had an epiphany," Daniel said softly, looking down at his knees rather than hold eye contact with either woman.

"Well, if I could...uh... if Daniel could..." Sam hesitated. She never dreamed the princess could be so amenable.

Ro'Pita looked from one to the other, thinking about what Sam had said before.

"This tree stump is large. Daniel should lie down and rest his legs on our lap." She patted her legs to confirm the invitation.

"But, Highness—" Daniel began.

"Our clothes are already soiled by rain and mud. You will not sully them further." Ro'Pita insisted. "Please. We are anxious to leave this place."

Daniel couldn't help but grin. Here she was being unbelievably selfless, yet she still managed to make it sound like she was thinking only of herself.

"Thank you, Highness."

With his feet raised, Sam swiftly tended his left foot with the anti fungal cream and dressed it expertly, sealing it in a bag like it's counterpart.

When Jack returned riding one of the horses and leading the other two, Sam was just finishing packing her med kit away.

"The taxi you ordered is here, Daniel," Jack quipped. "Ready to take a ride?"

"Not alone, sir," Sam answered for him. "He can't put his feet in the stirrups, and I doubt he'll be able to hold himself up. One of us will need to support him."

Jack nodded and drew his zat gun, turning it on the captives.

"I got 'em covered Teal'c, lift him up here with me."

The muscular Jaffa had no problem taking Daniel's weight and hoisting him up onto Jack's horse. Daniel clasped his hands round Jack's waist and leaned his head on the colonel's back, his breathing erratic.

"Your turn, Princess," Jack instructed.

"With your permission, Highness," Teal'c bowed and extended his arms to lift her aloft.

"We cannot control the beast," Ro'Pita told him nervously. "We will allow Carter to ride with us."

"As you wish, Highness," Sam smiled reassuringly as she climbed up behind the Princess.

Jack briefly debated leaving the third horse with Teal'c, but Carter reminded him that they had promised all three would be returned to Ruygan.

"Besides, if we rotate them and let each rest in turn, we'll make better time," she pointed out.

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