I could have had Sam have some other conversation with Nya, although I'm honestly not sure about what. Instead, I wrote about Sam having a conversation she logically must have had with the woman she logically must have had it with, because I for one do not believe that Sam said nothing when presented with, and helped into, that infamous blue dress.
ETA: Now with Nya's name right, thanks nandamai!
Moughal's wife leads Sam away to change clothes, and reveals her face at the end of the episode, but never speaks and is never named.
Gen. Sam. During "Emancipation."
1,073 words. PG. Beta thanks to iuliamentis
In which Sam Carter takes off her clothes.
She told Sam her name was Abuez. Sam just smiled and nodded and shrugged reluctantly out of her tac vest.
She thought no more of it than she did of anyone else's name; it was only later, after everything, that Daniel remarked idly that he'd never caught the name of Moughal's wife. Sam supplied it, and Daniel actually stumbled. She'd asked him what was wrong, what it meant, and then he'd told her: Abuez, mother of Abu. Once a woman had a son she was identified in no other way. Sam remembered the other women she'd met among the Shavadai, counted up how many names had ended in -ez, and realized that taking the veils off their faces wasn't even the half of it.
But she didn't know any of that on the first day. She just laid her tac vest down warily beside her MP5 and her sidearm and utility knife, unbuttoning her fatigue shirt while Abuez opened a trunk and carefully, lovingly, unfolded a series of ridiculously silky, shiny, lacy, and embroidered garments. Sam seriously hoped she was supposed to be choosing among them and not wearing all of them; it was warm here, and that looked like a smothering weight of clothes.
Sam shrugged out of her overshirt and knelt to untie her boots, and Abuez came over and knelt beside her.
"This is very fine," Abuez said, running her fingers over the sturdy fatigue shirt with bizarre delicacy. "So even! Such perfect stitches, such tiny threads. Did you make this?"
"Uh," Sam said. She'd never really thought about where uniforms got made. They came from quartermasters, that was all. God, she hoped they weren’t made in sweatshops. They couldn't be, right? Surely the Air Force bought union?
"No," Sam said. "It was given to me, for my work."
Abuez looked a little disappointed, but not especially surprised. "The color is so even, too--and not just on this garment, but all four of you. Your clothes match so perfectly; that is a master dyer's work. Tell me, do you know where this color comes from? We have nothing that matches it."
Sam shook her head. Industrial dye lots probably wouldn't mean anything to Abuez, and even then Sam's knowledge of the chemistry involved was pretty sketchy. Olive drab, for God's sake--who got excited about olive drab? It was unobtrusive, that was the whole point of it. "I... no, I'm sorry. I don't know."
Abuez gave Sam another smile, this one almost pitying, and said, "Well, you must tell the woman who made this that it is very fine work. I will put your clothes away safely, so they will not be wrinkled when it is time for you to go home."
"Thank you," Sam said, because she couldn't think of another thing to say.
Abuez laid out Sam's shirt and folded it perfectly in the time it took Sam to get her boots off. Abuez laid it gently, reverently, into the chest.
"I think this will do for you," she said, picking up and shaking out a white nightgown sort of thing--an underdress, Sam supposed.
Well, if they were starting there, she probably wouldn't have to fight to defend her own underwear. Small mercy.
"You're very tall," Abuez said, frowning a little as she held up the embroidered white gown. Sam couldn't tell whether her tone was disapproving or not, and then reminded herself that she didn't care what anyone here thought of her. Even if they were loaning her clothes to keep her from being stoned to death. Especially if.
"We spent a whole moon on this, last winter," Abuez said, and now her voice was stern--proud, and warning. Sam forced her attention to the gown, and took in all the tiny stitches. They'd all been done by hand, after the cloth had been dyed--after it had been woven--after the thread had been spun--after the fibers had been harvested...
"A month?" Sam glanced at her hands to be sure they were clean before she touched the garment. It belonged in a museum, or some boutique Sam would never dare venture into.
"A month for the embroidery." There was a note of satisfaction in Abuez' voice, and Sam wasn't sure whether it was for the work done, or the fact that Sam was finally understanding the magnitude of it. "My sisters and I did this, for my oldest niece. She's nearly as tall as you--this is her festival dress."
"Oh," Sam said helplessly. Of course these were someone's clothes, someone's best clothes, put away safely; people who lived in tents didn't just have extra clothes lying around in a range of sizes. "Thank your niece for me? And your sisters. And. Thank you."
Abuez gave Sam a smile then, definitely approving. "I was happy to do it. I have no daughter of my own to make things for--sons are sons, but they do not appreciate finery the way a woman does."
Sam remembered, suddenly, the last time her mom had taken her shopping--they'd gone without Mark, and her father had been away, as ever. They'd sorted through racks and racks of dresses, and Sam had rolled her eyes and protested when her mother followed her into the dressing room to do up zippers and argue about hemlines. She hadn't thought about that day in years--she'd lived in jeans, and then in fatigues, for so long. The excitement of dress-shopping with her mother seemed as foreign as another world, in retrospect.
"I know what you--" Sam managed, and then stopped short, her throat closing on the words. She could remember the smell of the mall, the bright lights of the dressing room, her mother's hands pulling her hair back--she'd worn it long, back then. She remembered her mother, helping her get all dressed up, and she couldn't speak.
Abuez gave her a searching look, and then touched her cheek gently.
"It is not so long since I lost my own mother," she said. "Don't worry. We'll look after you."
Sam didn't want to be looked after, and she didn’t want to go back to picking out dresses or having them picked out for her, and she didn't want sympathy from a woman who wasn't allowed to speak in public. But she put her hand over Abuez's hand on her cheek and whispered, "Thank you," and she meant it.