Chapter Five Summary: Martouf/Lantash stay to talk to Arwanna about Sam's condition. While her questions stun them, they understand how important what she is asking them is. Her questions and suggestions lead Martouf/Lantash to attempt to move physically closer to Sam. After taking Tashmar for a walk, they stay above ground and Sam realizes that she trusts them enough to try both intimacy and a disclosure of her ordeal.
"Italics” – Symbiote-Host communication
When no answer was forth coming, Arwanna tried again, “Lantash, have you, or have you not, mated with Samantha? I know she is staying with you at night. It is important or I would not ask.”
“I-I, that is, I, we,” drawing a breath and controlling the flush that tried to rise in Martouf’ s cheeks, Lantash was suddenly very busy adjusting all kinds of bodily reactions, from a hormone increase, to a sudden flushing of his skin, and a tightening of his vocal cords. Once they were stable, he took control from the somewhat stunned Martouf. While the Tok’Ra did not hide their sexual activity, neither did they usually confront each other in such an open manner.
“I am sorry; we were not expecting that question,” he finally managed to say with reasonable aplomb.
“I could have been more tactful or taken time in working up to it, but it seemed that the most direct route to the answer I need would be simply to ask. I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable,” she answered reasonably.
“I understand. Could I ask why you feel you need this information? Is it not something that should be between Samantha and myself?” He asked, almost haughtily.
“As Sam would say, stuff it, Lantash. I asked because I need the information to know what her sexual reactions have been. Is she frightened when you touch her intimately? When you kiss her? Does she approach you for caresses or kisses or does she avoid them? Does she panic if you rise above her to enter her? Does she even have sexual urges at all, or has this completely deadened her desire completely? The trauma she has undergone could result in any or all of those symptoms, or had you even given that any thought?” She asked her questions rapidly and concisely.
“I admit it had occurred to me that she might be frightened, so I have not been pressing her in any way. I thought that perhaps she would feel uncomfortable, if I made any sexual moves or placed demands upon her that she could not fulfill, so I have avoided attempting to do more than give her light caresses. Kissed her head or her hand, caressed her cheek. Simple things that would not frighten her,” Lantash said, somewhat defensively.
“Well, that explains that then,” she said, as she looked at him, obviously slightly exasperated with him. “Lantash, Samantha is feeling a great many conflicting emotions. If you attempt to mate with her, or do any of the things that generally lead up to mating, you may frighten her, perhaps badly. That is true. By not even attempting to mate with her, however, you are reinforcing her idea that she is no longer worthy of your love; that she is somehow soiled, and that you find the idea of sexual contact with her disgusting. My advice in this is that you attempt, very slowly, to move toward mating with her. If you are indeed planning on taking her as your acknowledged mate, as rumor says, waiting to attempt it is only convincing her that she is no longer desirable or lovable.”
Lantash stood with his head bowed and his eyes closed. When he opened them and looked at her, he said, “Thank you for telling me. It never once occurred to me that Samantha would think those things. I will take your place on her walk tonight. How could she…?” Shaking his head in disbelief, he could not finish the sentence.
“She believes a great many untruths about herself right now. It is our job to find out what she believes and make her see the truth. Moreover, Lantash, she may even believe conflicting things. Her body has been invaded, violated, raped, and tortured. Her mind has been, too, and it will heal much more slowly than her body. The emotions she is feeling right now are very confused. As I said, she both wants your advances to prove you still desire her, and dreads them because she knows they may cause feelings of panic, fear, and anxiety, even nausea. Believe me, if she does react that way, it is not you or Martouf she is reacting to.”
“I can personally attest that she is seeing someone else’s face and feeling someone else’s hands on her. It took time before I could accept my mate’s caresses without shuddering in revulsion, and yet I desired him at times. Moreover, each of us reacts differently. Because I panicked each Daimesh approached me, does not mean that she will. I took a very long time to get angry, but once I did, many of the other symptoms lessened. It is a complex matter that has induced complex emotions. If you find that you cannot cope, I suggest you talk to my mate, for he had a very difficult time with me.”
“It is a truly difficult situation, and nothing but patience is going to get you through it any easier or faster; however, talking to others does appear to help. Please tell Jacob and Daniel the same, for you are all welcome to come to talk to me or to talk to Daimesh,” she explained softly. “I wish you to at least attempt to initiate some intimacy into your relationship. I need to know how she reacts, so I know how to help her. We can hope that she will at least be able to accept some of your pre-mating caresses. Now, unless you have questions, I suggest you go find her and a cover of some sort, and take Tashmar for his walk.”
He nodded briefly and turned to walk slowly to the door, obviously fearful, both dreading and anticipating the upcoming meeting.
“Yes?” he asked, without turning.
“As the Tau’ri would say; good–luck.”
Smiling wryly, he answered, “I think I will need it, thank you.”
“Lantash, do you think she is correct in what she said?” Martouf asked, as he took control. He was obviously disturbed by what Arwanna told them.
“Arwanna’s circumstances were the closest to what Samantha underwent. I have to assume she knows about that which she is talking. However, I also believe she was trying to tell us that every woman and her reaction to this type of trauma is the same yet different. Moreover, I appreciate very much her reassuring us that if our Samantha rejects us, she is not rejecting us, but whoever’s face, voice, and hands she remembers and fears. I think we must keep that fact firmly in our minds,” Lantash answered, giving his own interpretation of what Arwanna told them, as well.
“You are correct. I agree and I too appreciate the bluntness and candidness with which she confronted us. I hope it will help us. Do you have any things in mind that we should do or—or say?” Martouf asked, somewhat hesitantly.
“Yes, I believe we should discuss it with her before we attempt to do anything other than a few light kisses. To do otherwise, in my opinion, would almost certainly bring forth a very bad reaction from her,” Lantash told him quietly. “I have no doubt that she will become frightened enough if she is aware we are going to…show our love for her, without us attempting to show her without telling her in advance.”
“I agree, but I know it will be difficult to stop kissing her once we start. Perhaps we should simply see how it goes? No, you are correct; we should explain and talk to her first.” Martouf was beginning to become slightly agitated.
“We are at our room, Martouf; we must go in. I will take control if you prefer. I think I can control our body’s responses better, however, it is up to you.”
“Yes, I believe that perhaps for this you may be the better one once we begin trying to, well, to seduce her for lack of a better word. I will try, though, if you wish me too.”
Lantash laughed shortly. “All right. Do you wish to talk to her? Or do you wish for me to handle that?”
“I will try and I am ready to try now. Let us go in,” Martouf said tensely.
Walking into the room, they were unprepared to see Samantha changing her clothing. Martouf swallowed convulsively, before saying, “I am sorry, Samantha, I did not realize you would be dressing. I will leave you your privacy.”
Turning rapidly at the sound of his voice, she pressed the robe to her body. She had gotten used to the Tok’Ra clothing up to a point, although she sometimes thought about asking Daniel to see if he could get them to send her some of her BDU’s. “No, no, it—it is all right. I was just putting on a fresh gown after a bath. I won’t be more than a moment, if you would just turn around,” she said, as she blushed. She had seen the desire flare in his eyes at the sight of her nakedness, and it both delighted and scared her.
As Martouf turned his back to her, she quickly wrapped the dress around her body feeling better as it floated around her until it almost reached the floor. She knew the deep blue of the gown enhanced her eyes and set off the whiteness of her skin. Taking a deep breath, she said, “All right, I am dressed. I will get out of your way,” she said nervously, “I am going to take Tash for his walk. I think he is getting fat, don’t you? I don’t think he gets enough exercise or something.” She was chattering in her nervousness, she knew, and she firmly clamped her lips shut. “If you will excuse us,” She finished, as she attempted to walk around him.
She gasped, as his hand reached out and clasped her arm firmly, but all he said was, “I was going to ask if you and Tashmar would accept my company tonight? I would enjoy an evening walk in the dunes.”
He watched as she swallowed convulsively, and said softly, “I-I would like t-that.”
He could sense the fear in her, so he said, “I am not going to hurt you or attack you, Samantha; I promise you. I cannot however, promise not to kiss you, if you will allow me to, for I have been wanting to for a very long time.”
“H-Have you?” She asked, hesitantly.
“Yes, I have. Now come, Tash is waiting at the doorway, and I am sure he is as hungry for his meal tonight as he always is.” Opening his trunk, he picked up a large rug-like article. Picking up his zat, his knife, and some water, he turned to her. “Let us go, my love.”
Nodding, Sam turned and motioned to Tashmar who obediently followed her down the hall toward the rings.
The rings deposited them on the surface, and they began to walk slowly towards the dunes that were not too far away. “Where is the best place for his hunting?” Martouf asked.
“What?” Sam gasped, then realizing what he had said, she pointed to some rocks not far away from the dunes. “He will go over there, I imagine. He seems to prefer it. There are some nice flat rocks to sit on if you want to go that way instead. If not, he will take off shortly and go on his own.” She knew she sounded breathless, but she did not seem to be able to control her reaction to him tonight. She sensed something different about him this evening. As if he had thought about something and come to a decision.
“Rocks or dunes make no difference, my love. Wherever you wish to be is where I will go,” he said, as he reached for her hand. When she left her hand resting in his as they walked, he tugged gently to bring her into the curve of his arm.
As he felt her stiffen slightly, he said to her, “Samantha, I am not going to hurt you; I simply wish to hold you as we walk. Can you allow me to do that without fear?”
“I-I think so. I would like to try anyway,” she said, her voice trembling slightly, but she did not know if it was with fear or excitement. As he made no other moves to do more than hold her against him, she found herself relaxing. After all, he held her tightly every night. She had gotten so used to it that she knew if she ever returned to the SGC that she would have trouble sleeping without him. She also realized that she was actually considering not going back, but staying here with this man and her father. Could she do that?
She thought about her team and the SGC. She thought about earth, Janet, and Cassie. Could she say good-bye to all that? Daniel, how she would miss Daniel. She gasped at the pain the thought brought, and she almost stumbled. Good heavens, she had never realized how very much Daniel meant to her. They had a bond she did not want to break, ever. Sweet, gentle Daniel.
Tears started in her eyes, and she pressed her lips together tightly. Damn it. She had thought she was getting better. The tears were getting farther and farther apart as each day passed.
She was remembering and trying to face the things that had happened to her. That and Martouf and Lantash’s obvious indifference. This was the first time, since she had come here, that he had done more than touch her hand or caress her face. Well, occasionally he kissed the top of her head as if he was her father. Was that how he saw her? Did he see her as a child he needed to care for, but not as a woman he loved and desired? No, she did not really believe that. Lantash had been very firm in his declaration of love and so had Martouf. They had time since then to think about it, though, and maybe they had decided they did not want a woman who was as soiled as she was.
“Samantha, I do not know what thoughts are going through your mind, but I have a feeling they are wrong. There is a nice large flat boulder over there. Will it be all right with you?” Martouf said softly.
“I, yes, I think that would be fine. Actually, I sometimes sit on it myself, when I come out alone, although I do not come alone often. I find I am not comfortable being alone in the dark yet. I am better, but not yet completely comfortable.” She sighed as she said, “It makes me feel like a coward, afraid of the dark.”
Martouf snorted lightly, “You are far from being a coward, my love. Trust me on that. It is just the after-effects of your ordeal, and soon, it will pass. It is better already, is it not?” He asked quietly.
“Yes, yes it is some better. At first, I could not come out alone at all. I hate to admit it, but there are still times that, if I know a man saw me come up alone, I am nervous the entire time that I am up here. Crazy I know. I am seeing threats where there are none.”
“No, I believe it is a normal response and, perhaps, a realistic one.” Martouf stated, as he spread out the rug. Climbing up onto the boulder, he held out his hand to her and helped her up. Once they settled side by side, he laid back and looked at the stars for a moment before sitting back up. “I always enjoy searching the stars regardless of where we are. I do miss the night sky of Vorash, though. We spent a lot of time there.”
They sat quietly side-by-side for a while both thinking of other times and places when they had searched the night sky. He sat with one leg bent and an arm thrown across it. Suddenly, he turned toward Samantha, and said, “I have something important I need to discuss with you. I should have told you days ago; I simply lacked the courage to say it to you.”
He paused and Sam’s breath caught in her breast. She could not breathe. He was going to tell her he had changed his mind about loving her. She knew it was coming. Why was she surprised?
“Samantha, I,” he began, only to have Sam interrupt him.
“It is okay, Martouf, you don’t have to tell me. I mean, I know it has to be hard to say it.”
“True, but I am determined to do so.”
“Please, don’t,” she whispered. “I understand your feelings about me now. You do not have to say it aloud.”
“Martouf, she thinks you are trying to tell her you no longer love her. Please reassure her. Now.”
“Samantha, will you become our mate?”
“You did not have to come out here with me just to tell me…W-what did you say?” Suddenly, Sam realized he had not said what she was expecting.
“I asked you to become our mate. Will you honor us so, my Samantha?” He asked her earnestly.
“I—I don’t know what to say. I mean, I don’t know if I can be your mate,” she answered.
“In what way do you feel you cannot be our mate? Is it because you do not love us? Martouf asked, quietly.
“No, no, I love you; I do,” she swallowed convulsively. “It is that I am afraid I will not be able to, um, to,” she sighed, as her voice trailed off.
“You are afraid that you can no longer function in a sexual way? That you will be frightened or become ill when we touch you? It would be a normal response, my love, and we are prepared to help you work through it, even if it means waiting for a long time, or for that matter, forever.”
“We would never force you, Samantha, no matter how much we want you physically. Furthermore, make no mistake; just because we have been trying to give you time to come to terms with all of your feelings that does not mean that we do not want you. We want you very much indeed.” He laughed shortly as he confessed, “There are some nights when lying beside you we are in pain for most of the night. We will survive that, though. What we will not survive is if you do not love us and wish to be our mate, by the joining ritual. If we have to wait for the physical side of our joining to take place, we will wait.”
“If you are serious and you truly want me for your mate, then—then my answer is yes, if— if I can function on a sexual level. I will become your mate when I can make love with you, er, mate with you physically.”
“Is that what your people call it, Samantha, to make love? It is a pretty way of putting it and a true one also.”
“We have a lot of words for it, but those are the ones I prefer. Martouf, would you try to kiss me, really kiss me? I—I want you too, but I don’t know what will happen, and I am afraid of my reactions.”
“Come here, my Samantha. Lie here with me, and we will slowly begin to work our way toward that which you feel is so important. However, please understand that neither Lantash, nor I, wish to wait, my heart. We want you to be our mate in the eyes of our people.”
Sam shook her head, “No, please, I need to be sure I can function as a woman. It—it is important to me that I come to you whole and able to be your mate in every way, not just in name.” Her voice was soft, but firm. Taking a deep breath, she tilted her head up to him. “Will you try to kiss me now? Really kiss me, I mean?”
“I suggest you lie down so that she must come to you and will be above us. In this way she will not feel over powered or trapped by our larger presence,” Lantash coached.
Martouf smiled, and then sobered, as he said, “I wish very much to kiss you, really kiss you. Come to me, my heart. I will try to remain very still, Samantha, and allow you to kiss me first,” he said, as he laid back on the rock and simply watched her for a moment.
“She may feel uncomfortable making the first move. You must encourage her by bringing her to us,” Again Lantash shared his thoughts on what might be a problem to overcome.
He reached out his hand as Sam hesitated; he caressed her cheek with the back of his hand and then let it trail down her neck and across her shoulder. When she did not pull away, he clasped her more firmly and urged her toward him. He saw her swallow and then gasp, but she continued to move slowly toward him, her eyes fixed first on his eyes, and then on his lips.
As Sam leaned toward Martouf, she was surprised when he pulled her firmly to lie on top of him. Her eyes went to his instantly. She saw him smile gently, before he said, “If you are on top of me, Samantha, perhaps I will not seem to be the threat that I would be leaning over you. Nor will there be a doubt in your mind as to whether or not I want you, as I am afraid that even Lantash can do nothing about its obviousness.”
Sam gasped, and then blushed, thankful that it was dark with only the moons and the stars to give them light.
Taking another steadying breath, she slowly lowered her mouth to his. As their lips met and clung, she realized how much she had wanted and needed to have him kiss her. And, for a while it was fine, until the passion burst into flame, and Martouf wrapped his arms tightly around her. The next thing he knew she was fighting him with surprising strength. Not wanting her to get hurt by falling, he tried wrapping her more tightly and talking to her, but it did not seem as if he was getting through; she was lost in a nightmare and could not seem to come back to him.
Martouf was surprised when Lantash took control and shook her sharply enough to make her cower from them. However, it also got her attention, and as she looked at them, he could tell when she realized that she was with them, and not in the stronghold of Gamtesh. She caught her breath on a sob and then asked, her voice rasping harshly in her throat, “Lantash? Oh, god, Oh, god, I thought you were…that they were…I am sorry, I am so sorry.” As she sobbed in fear and remorse, he slowly brought her forward and into his arms.
“Hush, beloved. It is all right; you are all right. Come, do not cry so, you will make yourself ill, as you did the first week. Samantha, I know what you are thinking, and you have not disappointed us in any way. We fully expected this reaction, and we will continue to expect it. You will get better and overcome it in time,” Lantash continued to murmur and soothe her with his words, as he held her lightly and continued to rub her back gently. Feeling a bump on his leg, he looked down, and then he heard Samantha give a somewhat watery gasp and chuckle. Tashmar was standing on his back legs and balancing on his tail with his front legs on Lantash. He was offering Samantha a large dead bug.
“How,” Lantash asked, with obvious laughter in his voice, “Am I supposed to compete with that? If he keeps plying you with gifts of food, you will desert me for him. He appears to be an excellent provider,” he continued, as he watched his Samantha’s face and saw her smile slightly at the somewhat incongruous sight.
He heard her sigh, softly, “He does it every time I cry or get upset. I really think he needs a mate of his own, but he does not seem to be looking for one. Do you think he might be too young?”
“I have no idea Samantha, my love, but as long as he can make you laugh, even a little, I hope he stays around. He has become quite at home in the tunnels and most of us are used to him now. The story of how you confronted and won his respect and devotion is known and loved by everyone.”
Lantash continued to distract her as he moved her around until she sat with her back against his chest. He bent his head slowly and kissed her shoulder lightly, then her neck. He felt her shiver, but it did not appear to be a shudder of distaste. He continued to hold her loosely and kiss her gently until on one of his forays up to her ear, she turned her head and moved so that instead of encountering her ear, he met her lips instead. The kiss was soft, gentle, and sweet, and he was careful not to allow his hold to tighten, no matter how badly he wished to crush her to him.
Slowly, she turned more towards him as she continued to examine his lips, and then she sat back and looked at him. “I love you. I do want you; I am just afraid that I will panic again and cause you to become disgusted by me and my inability to be a complete woman for you,” she finally whispered unsteadily.
“Samantha, I will say this now, and I will repeat it as many times as is necessary until you finally believe me. Martouf and I love you. What happened to you was not your fault, and you are in no way to blame. We do not blame you now, we did not blame you before, and we will not blame you tomorrow, the next day, or ever. You do not disgust us in any way at all. You are beautiful and wonderful. You are everything we want, need, or desire in a mate. Moreover, whether or not you are ever capable of sexual joining with us matters little to us. Do we want and desire you? Very much so, but your body and its pleasures are not why we love you; it is simply a bonus if we can show our love to you in that way.”
He sat quietly for a long moment as she sat with her head bent, gazing at her hands, and occasionally rubbing them as if they were dirty and needed to be wiped. He frowned at the unconscious signal she was sending about what she felt about herself.
“Samantha, I have asked you nothing about your capture and captivity. I have not questioned you because I respect your right to discuss these matters on your own terms, in your own time, and with whomever you wish. I have not asked Daniel, and I will not ask him what you endured, for you do not want me to know, that much is obvious. However, I feel I must say something about some of this. I believe you are keeping things from me because you have a false belief as to what I will feel about you once I know. Is that not true?” He asked, as gently and quietly as he could and have Sam still able to hear him.
He heard her sniff and saw the teardrop as it made its way down her face. “I am not sure they are false beliefs, and that is why I am so afraid to tell you. What if it really does disgust you? What if you hate me for allowing them to do those things to me? Lantash, I do not know if I will be able to tell anyone, ever. I am so ashamed,” Sam said, as she stared unseeing into the distance.
“Samantha I truly believe you have nothing of which to be ashamed, but I also think that, until you tell me, you are going to believe it will make me feel differently if I ever hear what happened to you. It will not; there is nothing I can think of in the universe that could ever make me do other than love you. I truly believe that you must tell me, so that you may see the truth of what I am saying. And, Samantha, Martouf, and I both feel this way, not only me.” His voice was deep, earnest, and sincere.
Seeing her nod, he was about to reach for her again when she asked him, “Can we walk? Maybe over to those dunes and then sit there? I think it would be a little more comfortable than this rock, and I don’t know how long it will take before I can do as you ask; if I can do as you ask.”
“Yes, love, we can,” he replied, as he stood and climbed down off the rock. After helping her down, he gathered their rug, and they walked silently together to the dunes. She watched quietly, as he spread the rug and indicated she should sit. Once seated, she sat with her legs drawn up and her arms wrapped around her knees.
She looked up at the two full moons. It was quite bright now, whereas earlier it had been a little darker. Darker would have been better, she thought. Then she could have hidden from him. She was so afraid. Would telling him this cause the look of revulsion she was dreading to see appear on his handsome face? Would it turn his eyes cold and distant? She did not know, but she knew that she could no longer hide it from him. He was the one she loved, and if this was going to keep her from being able to share his life, then he had a right to know.
As she sat contemplating the moons, and what she had to tell him, she made a startling discovery. She was ready to tell him. She needed to tell him because his reaction would indicate the direction the rest of her life would take. More than that, she suddenly realized that she wanted to know where her life was going. She had drifted long enough. Samantha Carter needed to take charge of her life again, but before she could do that and truly begin to heal, she had to know if her life would contain him and all he meant to her.
Sam looked over at them as they sat quietly. They did not appear restless or in a hurry for her to start, but they had to be tense. This was their life, too, she realized. They loved her. Her, Samantha Carter. Reaching over she took his hand in hers. It was a good hand, solid, trustworthy. It could comfort and it could kill. It had killed Gamtesh, she knew, and she had been glad, was still glad, for he had been pure evil. She clasped his hand convulsively and felt his fingers tighten in response. Then she felt him move and he clasped her loosely as he had done before. So, they were also gentle hands, understanding hands, loving hands. Hands that could make you feel safe and cared for. She settled back into his arms to begin her story.