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Cleo the Muse [dot] net - Opportunity

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Opportunity
Rating: Teen
Genre: Gen, Challenge, Episode-Related
Warnings: Adult Themes, Non-consensual Situations
Timeline: Season 05
Summary: It was forbidden, but from the moment Baal learned Apophis had broken the law, he was consumed.
Series: None
Notes: Written for my "A-to-Z Stargate" challenge; campylobacter requested a Baal/Qetesh story with the prompt "Harcesis"

Opportunity
It was forbidden, but from the moment Baal learned Apophis had broken the law, he was consumed.

A Harcesis... a child of two Goa'uld hosts, born containing the sum of all the genetic knowledge of the Goa'uld who created it. Amaunet, as one of the direct descendants of the Queen of the same name who spawned Ra, possessed knowledge Apophis himself did not, but by taking a Harcesis as host, he would gain that knowledge.

The Goa'uld Qetesh was also descended from the elder Amaunet, though less directly. She and Baal had clashed a number of times, both as allies and as enemies, but there was always some force which seemed to draw them together time and again. It was not love, for Baal believed himself to be above such a useless human emotion, but it was more than the physical attraction they felt toward one another's host forms.

Qetesh... challenged Baal, and not simply in the usual power-seeking ways the Goa'uld. She intrigued, infuriated, amused, and provoked. He had long considered making her his queen, as she was as beautiful as she was clever. Perhaps... if he could convince her the rewards out-weighed the risks...

She did not accept his proposal as presented, but he did not expect she would. Instead, Qetesh made a counter-offer of her own, which was also unacceptable. Back and forth they went, until they finally reached a mutual agreement: Qetesh would take her place at his side as his queen and co-ruler of his demesne, but maintain sovereign control over the territories she held before the start of their arrangement. Baal would sire upon her no fewer than two Harcesis children--a male and a female--to become their future hosts.

Their coupling was passionate and frenzied, heated and wild. Qetesh and Baal were warriors and long-time enemies on the battlefield, and their centuries-long war spilled over into the bedchamber. She was fierce and demanding, while he was calculated and deliberate. She was capable of drawing out the conflict to a fine thread, while he excelled at swift strikes. In the end, it did not matter which had fallen to the other first, for they were both pushed to their limits and beyond.

*     *     *


Vala woke the next morning, in complete control of her own body for the first time in dozens of moons. She was frightened and angry to discover herself naked and in bed with someone who smiled at her so cruelly, while stroking her cheek in a manner half-admiring, half-condescending. Fear, caution, something kept her from bolting from the mattress right away, and her fortitude--cowardice?--was rewarded when the man rose and crossed the room. He pulled a rope, a chime sounding distantly, and then turned around to face her again, at perfect ease with his nudity.

"I expect you must be very confused at the moment," he said, and his voice was crisply accented, fitting his sculpted body and air of regality. "No matter what your memories may be telling you at the moment, you are safe here, and will remain under my protection for as long as is necessary. If you require anything, my servant Marek will answer this summons." He gestured at the rope behind him, and there was a soft knock on the nearby door. "Enter."

The door opened, and a slender, sandy-haired man entered the room, carrying a pile of silky black fabric. "My lord," he began, bowing low, "how may I--"

"You will attend to Qetesh's host," the man said simply, taking the cloth from the servant and wrapping it around himself. Cinching the robe at his waist, he turned his cruel, knowing smile Vala's direction. "I will see you later, my love."

Vala could only stare in disbelief as the man swept from the room, leaving her naked and alone, but for the sheet across her body and the servant at the door.

*     *     *


Marek turned out to be thoughtful and attentive, and though Vala very desperately wished she could be rid of him, he was also the only person she could talk to in the whole palace. To all the other servants, she was still Qetesh, and they regarded her with the same level of fear as they did their master, Baal. As for Baal, he alternately treated her as a favorite pet, a dangerous prisoner, or a beloved companion.

It didn't take Vala long to find out why it was she was no longer under Qetesh's control, despite the parasite's continued presence in her body. It was Baal's hope--and apparently Qetesh's, as well--that Vala was with child. Qetesh would remain dormant until the baby was born, so as to not inadvertently harm the developing fetus. Vala could feel no difference in her body, but she wasn't sure whether she wanted to be pregnant--and in control of her own actions--or not.

She also learned that Marek was himself the host to a Goa'uld, but a low-ranking one who had been a war prize Baal claimed in a skirmish with Cronus. Much as Baal had spoken to her without the characteristic dual-toned voice of the Goa'uld, Marek habitually spoke to Vala in a more normal, human voice. He also called her by her name, Vala, not by any of the pet names Baal usually reserved for her.

Three weeks into Vala's captivity, while Baal was away hosting an important--and unprecedented--summit of the System Lords, Marek secured permission from the First Prime to take Vala out into the countryside for a picnic and some much-needed fresh air. They were sent along with an escort of six Jaffa soldiers for Vala's "protection", but what happened when they reached Vala's destination was a blur. There was light and sound and pain, and then there was nothing.

*     *     *


Vala woke in a darkened room, lying on a hard surface of some kind, but fully-clothed, to her relief. Within moments, Marek was at her side, helping her to sit up and apologizing for her treatment.

"We tried to get Qetesh to cooperate, but she was angry with us for forcing her to terminate the pregnancy," he was babbling. "We had actually hoped to keep the baby because there's so much we could learn from a Harcesis, but then Qetesh emerged when my companions ambushed the Jaffa and--"

"The baby's gone?" Vala asked, arms going around her middle. "But Qetesh--"

"Is also gone," Marek explained. "She refused to cooperate." He brightened. "But perhaps you could help us."

"'Us'?" Vala echoed, seeing no one else in the small room.

"The Tok'ra. Have you heard of us?" When Vala shook her head, the mousy man launched into a lengthy explanation, frequently interrupted by the parasite--symbiote, it called itself--within him. Vala's skin crawled a little at the idea that the little man willingly had one of those... things inside him, and she found herself easing away from him on her hard pallet.

Finally, when he was expounding on some sort of joint operation between the Tok'ra and somebody called the "tah-ree", Vala's stomach growled, giving her the perfect opportunity to interrupt. "Excuse me, Marek?"

"Yes?"

"That picnic and fresh air you promised? I could really, really use that about now."

Marek apologized profusely, and exited the door-less room. He spoke to someone just outside, and a few minutes later, that man returned with a covered platter. The food turned out to be just as bland and tasteless as the decor and the brown uniform the Tok’ra were wearing, but it was filling.

Once the food was gone, Marek and the silent guard escorted her down a drab gray tunnel. There were several other brown-uniformed people milling about--the prickling sensation at the back of her neck told her they were all hosts, too--plus a handful of men in green and black uniforms. Finally, they reached a room with a ring embedded in the floor, and were swept up to the surface of the planet.

Vala took a deep breath of fresh air, grateful to be out of the tunnel, out of Baal's palace, and but for her "escort", out of captivity entirely. Eyeing the zat'nik'tel at her guard's waist, she quickly made plans to remedy that iniquity soon.

As they walked, Marek resumed his story where he left off, babbling about some plan to wipe out the System Lords at their summit, how Baal would be one of those killed, and how Vala would be avenged. When he cited their new plan for Vala--become a Tok'ra host and take over Baal's territories posing as Qetesh--she didn't even have to fake a stumble.

The guard caught her as she fell, and old instincts kicked in like they'd never fallen out of practice. Vala had the guard's zat'nik'tel in hand before he'd finished steadying her, and the noise of it being primed was the only warning the two Tok'ra had before they were blasted into unconsciousness. Vala frisked them for anything useful--turning up only some sort of handheld device on Marek--then slunk into the undergrowth in the direction her instincts told her the Stargate lay.

Minutes later, the two Tok'ra guarding the Stargate were unconscious and Vala was entering the address of a place she had once visited as a little girl. The galaxy was full of opportunities, and she would be the only one determining her fate.



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