Chapter Six Summary: Lantash comes to terms with what he has learned about Sam's ordeal. He and Daniel have a discussion about what happened and how they fell about it. Jack visits the tunnels and meets Tashmar. Sam is happier than she has been in a long time. She comes to some decisions with a little help from some very special friends.
“Italics” – Symbiote-Host communication
It was almost dawn. Lantash would have to awaken them soon to return to the tunnels. They had not been asleep for long, but he could not allow them to stay here once the sun arose. It had been a long and emotion filled night. When finally Samantha had brought herself to begin speaking of her ordeal, it was as if a damn had burst, and her words had flowed like a river. At first, the recital of what had taken place had been in a flat unemotional voice, but soon it contained all the emotions she had felt. Fear, loathing, rage, and pain were just a few of them.
Regaining consciousness in a prison surrounded by the dead and dying had been the first horror. Next had been the guards and their games to pass the time in the stinking hell- hole they had put her in. The first attack and rape had surprised and frightened her. Subsequently, she had learned how to tell when it was about to happen again.
Then after two or three days, she really did not know for sure, she was taken from the cell, bathed, perfumed, and dressed along with the other women who were still alive. Then they took them into be inspected, first by his first prime, and then those that passed his approval were taken into be inspected by Gamtesh. Samantha’s blond beauty stood out, he took one look at her, and immediately chose her for his harem.
She had believed being in the prison was the worst that could have happened; she believed wrong. The first time they had taken her, she had fought. For that, she had spent two days having her bones broken and then waking in the sarcophagus. After that, the days had run together for her. The other women were terrified, and the first time he used her as a concubine she found out why. He was into pain. And blood. Moreover, he always wanted an audience, so the guards came in to watch, or participate, depending on what he wanted done. Sam had soon become a favorite because her pale skin showed the blood so much brighter than the dusky skinned ones. In addition, she had stamina that most did not; she did not die as easily. It took her longer.
Then Taira and Serata joined the harem. It was obvious that both were extremely frightened, but the younger girl was completely terrified. Sam could not stand the thought of him torturing and raping the young girl, so she began to hide her and make herself available to the guards, so that they would choose her for their games—and his. Nevertheless, in the end, he had taken them and made them hosts for his children, and Sam had once again fought them.
Finally, Lantash knew what Daniel and his team had seen when they had found her in that room and he had to use every suppression and numbing technique he had to keep Martouf from being violently ill. At the time. After she finally cried herself to sleep in his arms, he had gently lain her down and gone far enough away that she would not hear. And then, he had raged within himself and been violently sick several times.
Furthermore, he realized that Daniel had known all along. That was why he often looked so sick when he looked at her when he thought no one was looking. He had shared this pain as if it was his own, as he and Martouf were doing now. How was she living with these memories? He did not know, but he knew that he loved her more than ever. They would join as soon as he could arrange it and get her consent. Never would she have to wonder if he loved her still.
He looked over at patient Tash, who had stayed near her during the entire time. Through all the tears, and the anger, that had finally come. Through the screaming, crying, and fighting, for she had fought with Lantash like a tiger in her anger, and all he could do was keep her from hurting herself, although he had let her hurt him. Moreover, he had cried on the inside, as she had cried on the outside.
Finally, she had cried herself to sleep. Then, he had allowed Martouf to come forward, so that he could heal his many bruises and scratches. That was when he allowed Martouf to be so violently sick for both of them. Now, he kept watch, thought, and relived—and relived and relived.
How could she survive this and heal? She was fine physically, but would she ever heal emotionally? Hearing soft steps, he quickly turned to address whoever approached. It was, of course, Daniel.
Stopping a few feet away, he nodded a greeting, his eyes going to Sam’s tear-stained face and tangled hair before he smiled slightly, walked to the rug, and sat on the edge of it.
“So, she finally told you. I am glad. She needed to be able to know that your love would remain regardless. It will remain, won’t it?” Daniel looked at Lantash, who returned his regard coolly and calmly, showing little or no emotion on the outside, despite the raging turmoil within him.
“Yes. She did. You knew,” Lantash looked at him with respect. “You knew it all, and you shared it with no one. When did she confide in you, Daniel? Or was it the attendants and the girls while we were on the Tollan world?” He asked quietly.
“I learned a great deal from Serata. They, as much as possible, as you know, protected Taira. Until she was taken as a host. The attendants told me a lot. Sam, well, Sam told me the rest the day you had the council meeting. Lya and Nafrayu came while you were gone. No one ever mentioned them, so I assumed they simply used their abilities to move themselves to us. They cannot heal the mind as they can the body, but Lya did something. It calmed Sam, and when she woke up, she was able to tell me things, things I did not already know. I think that maybe Lya moved the knowledge of my information to Sam or something, because she was brief about all the things I already knew, and talked mostly of those things of which I had no knowledge.”
“I think it helped some, as Lya knew it would, but not enough, also as Lya knew. Nevertheless, it allowed her to get to a point where she could begin to talk of at least parts of it with Arwanna. And that, in turn, led to this episode with you. She is exhausted, mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. I believe this will help her, depending, of course, on how you handle what you have learned and how you treat her. She is very fragile right now,” Daniel had explained softly, so as not to awaken her. “I sincerely hope that it has not changed your feelings for her.”
Lantash smiled, wryly and somewhat sadly, “You do not trust me, and yet I have done nothing to show myself as less than honorable.”
“That is very true, actually, but it is not “you” as in Martouf and Lantash. I think I would feel the same about any man who wanted to take Sam from us. We will miss her very much. She is very special and dear to all of us, but perhaps more so to me. She has been there for me on many occasions, and I, well, I decided a long time ago that I would also be there for her, anytime and for anything. So, you still haven’t answered my question. Has what you have heard changed your feelings for her?”
“If it is possible, I love her more now than ever. Martouf as well, only loves her more, not less. Is that what you wished to know?” Lantash asked.
“Yes. And, although I know you would wish to let her sleep, the sun will be up soon, and she would rather return to her room without an audience. Besides, Tashmar looks like he would like to go home,” Daniel said, as he smiled at Lantash. “What do you say we take them there?”
“An excellent idea, Daniel. If I carry Samantha can you get the rug?” Lantash asked.
“Yes, I think so. And Tash will follow Sam, so we don’t even have to worry about him.”
Nodding, Lantash woke Martouf, and then he bent to pick up Samantha. However, before he lifted her, he turned to Daniel, and said, “One last question. Why did you tell no one?”
“Because it wasn’t my place. I knew Sam would tell you when she was ready, and besides, everything she told me was in confidence,” Daniel said quietly.
“And yet, by sharing it, you might have shared the pain, for you felt it, did you not?” Lantash spoke his voice equally solemn. As the two men stared at one another, Lantash’s eyes widened.
“You told Jacob you would tell him, but you have not. You have told him only that which you could color lightly and keep his curiosity dampened. I thank you for that. There is no need for him to know of this. His pain as her father would be great.”
“Yes. I know. Now come on, lets get these two home and in bed. I don’t think Tash likes it out here.”
Agreeing, Lantash leaned down, lifted Samantha into his arms, and held her against his heart, as they made their way back to the tunnels. She snuggled close to him, but did not awaken.
“So, Daniel, you ready to come home yet? How much longer are you gonna stay here?” Jack O’Neill picked up a doohickey in the room they were in and looked at it closely.
“Jack, that is Anise’s equipment, and I very much doubt if she would appreciate it if you screw up her readings. As for your question, I don’t know when I will be back. I will return whenever Sam no longer needs me. It has only been a little over eight weeks, you know. Sam still has a lot of pain and anger to work through.” Daniel reached over and removed the instrument from his hands. “Freya will not be able to protect you; leave stuff alone,” he scolded him, exasperated.
Jack grinned at him before asking, “So, Daniel, is the snake still attracted to you? I mean, we know she was before, so is that a, ah, problem for you?”
“No, Jack, it is not a problem for me, and I happen to like her now that I have gotten to know her better. I like Freya, too. Especially now that they have a little better dress sense.”
“You mean she is not wearing those little,” Jack made a movement with his hands indicating his meaning.
“No. She is not, so just stop it. Like I said, Jack,” Daniel said softly, but firmly, “I have grown to really like her. She grew up in a culture that is different, but that does not make them wrong. It just so happens that we have a lot in common. Consequently, I would appreciate it if you would knock it off.”
Still grinning at him, Jack shrugged. “Okay. So, Daniel, when are you gonna tell me what really happened while Carter was a prisoner? Don’t you think I need to know? I have to know what to expect when she comes back and is part of the team again.”
“I don’t think it is my place to tell you that, Jack. You will have to ask Sam, and personally, I do not think she will tell you, and I do not think it will matter. If I were you, I think I would just drop it. Janet is happy with the progress she is making, and that is the important thing,” Daniel said. “Aren’t you going to go see her while you are here?”
“Well, yeah, I just thought I would talk to you first to see if there was anything I should know, you know, before I talked to her.”
“No, I don’t think so. Come on, I will take you over there. She is probably in the lab with Arwanna. They have become close friends, and although Arwanna is mostly a healer, she is kind of into physics and stuff. She is a very bright lady, actually. Anyway, they get along well and enjoy each other’s company, so when Arwanna is free, she joins Sam in the lab they gave her.”
As they walked down the hall, Jack turned to Daniel, to ask, “How is Jacob? Is he handling everything okay?”
“Yeah. He went to get supplies today, but they should be back before long. Hey, did I tell you that Lya and Nafrayu came to see Sam right after we got here?” Daniel asked, suddenly remembering the incident. “I guess the Tollan contacted them.”
“Good. I asked Councilor Travell if they could make contact with them and see if there was anything that they could do for Carter. Was she able to help?” Jack wanted to know.
“Really? You asked the Tollan to do that? Thanks, Jack, that was a really nice thing to do. It was nice of them to contact them for us, too. As for helping Sam, well, she could not heal her mind, but she did help her somehow. At least, Sam seemed to be better after they were here. Calmer, I guess is how I would explain it. She does not seem to have the flashbacks, although she is still having the nightmares. Lya said they would be back, but, as far as I know, they have not been,” he said. He turned into the open doorway of the lab that the Tok’Ra gave to Sam to work in and in which she tended to spend a lot of her time.
As they entered the lab, there was a sudden hissing and stomping sound. They stopped and looked across the room at Sam, while she looked down and said, “Now, Tash, what is the matter with you? It is just Daniel. Stop that.”
Suddenly, the lizard stood on his hind legs and ran straight at Jack, who quickly dodged behind the nearest table of equipment. Tash stood with his front legs on the table, his tail lashing, hissing threateningly. “What the hell is that thing, Daniel? Who ever heard of a guard lizard? Carter, call this thing off,” Jack said, as he backed up several feet from the table.
Sam sat dumbfounded at her pet’s behavior, Daniel started laughing, and Arwanna hid her smiles.
“Carter, do something,” Jack said, as the lizard got down and began to stalk him around the table. Jack moved backward and Tash advanced, tail still whipping from side to side, hissing almost constantly.
Finally finding her voice and wits, Sam told him, “Stomp, Sir.”
“What?” Jack continued to creep backwards and he didn’t dare take him eyes off the lizard to so much as glance at her.
“I said, stomp. Stomp your feet.”
So, Jack stomped and Tashmar stomped back and hissed for good measure. Daniel laughed so hard he had to hold his ribs, and tears ran down his face. Lantash walked into the room, taking in the entire situation, at a glance. Hiding his smiles, while Martouf chortled in his head, he said sternly, “Tashmar, you will come. Down. Now.” Hearing the voice he considered authority, the lizard looked at him and then back at Jack. With a final lash of his tail showing his displeasure at having his sport curtailed, he returned, obviously disgruntled, to his place at Samantha’s feet.
Jack straightened his jacket and straightened his shoulders. “Where did you get that thing, Carter? And don’t think you are bringing it back to earth with you because we can’ t have something like that attacking people all over the SGC. Although,” he added thoughtfully, “there are a few I would like to sic him on.”
“Since Samantha will not be returning anytime soon, that will not yet be a problem.” Lantash had seen the panicked look his love had sent him and smoothly changed his sentence. Nevertheless, he was concerned. Why did she not want him to announce their plans? He frowned slightly. Was she having second thoughts? She was still refusing the joining because she could not bear to go through with “making love” as she so sweetly called it. He and Martouf did not care if she could ever do so. They wanted her and, while her body would certainly be a bonus, it was not their goal. They loved her and everything about her, not just her beautiful body. Unfortunately, they could not seem to convince her that this was so.
“Stop worrying, Lantash. Samantha simply wishes to announce it in her own time and in her own way. Moreover, she is correct. Much as we would like to do it for her, it is her place to do this,” Martouf, for once, counseled Lantash.
“I am aware, Martouf. That does not mean I must like it,” Lantash replied with a sigh.
They were brought back to the conversation going on around them when Jack walked around the table, and Tash once again stood and began to stomp and hiss. Once more Lantash called him into line saying, “Tash. I told you down.” Turning to Jack he commented, mildly, “I believe, Colonel O’Neill, that perhaps you should stay back somewhat from Samantha. Tash, as you can see, is very protective of her. He has been since the very first day he adopted her and tried to feed her his breakfast.”
Seeing the joy on Carter’s face as she looked at and exchanged smiles with the Tok’Ra, Jack realized that it was not just that she would not be returning anytime soon. She would not be returning at all. He took a deep breath against the pain, and let go of a nebulous dream he had held for a long time. If the Tok’Ra made her happy, and it was patently obvious that he did, then that was what really mattered, wasn’t it? Suddenly, Tash walked over and licked his hand. Startled he looked down at the lizard now gazing up at him. Well, at least the lizard knew what he was going through and had decided to commiserate with him instead of attack him. He supposed it could be worse.
Ten weeks ago, Sam came to stay with her father, Martouf, and Lantash in the Tok’Ra Tunnels on Corlatt. She was healing, but it was very slow. Some days, she despaired of ever being well enough to physically mate with Martouf and Lantash. She wanted too; she found herself experiencing sexual feelings for them, and yet she was still unable to take it to its natural conclusion. She just could not seem to get farther than a few kisses. As soon as they broached intimacy, she froze, and every sexual feeling she had dissipated as if it was smoke. Intense and almost paralyzing fear replaced it. Sometimes the fear then morphed into panic and from there to near hysteria. It distressed her that such a small thing as a light touch to her breast could so completely un-woman her. Lantash was patience itself. His love…and Martouf’s…for her was there in everything they did for her. It was in every touch, every glance, every kiss, and every caress. Her love for them continued to grow. She just wished she could express it more physically. They insisted that it was not important to them, and that if it was not that she wanted to be able to express it in this way so badly, they would not continue to try, but instead would wait for her to heal some more. They loved her. They loved her now and they would love her, just as she was, tomorrow and every tomorrow they had together after that one.
She and Arwanna discussed her situation and her reactions to Lantash and Martouf’s advances. As they talked about Arwanna’s own experiences, Sam was both reassured and depressed. She was unable to mate with Daimesh for almost a year after a similar, but not as bad, an experience. The only light that Sam could see within her darkness was that Arwanna told her that she had become angry and started to place the blame where it belonged, much sooner than she, herself, had managed to do. Therefore, it was very possible and even probable that Sam would also come to at first accept, and then to need and enjoy, intimacy sooner than she had when it happened to her. She hoped Arwanna was correct.
Along with that, she wished she could feel clean again. Mentally, she understood why she had these feelings and that they were completely unjustified. She knew she was clean. Emotionally, she was still a long way from where she desperately wanted to be, and sometimes she had to force herself not to take more baths. A lot more baths.
Lya and Nafrayu stood beside the sleeping platform and infused their healing energy into Samantha Carter, blurring some of the worst memories, and removing the pain and disgust associated with them. Then they pulled some good memories from that time forward and made them more prominent. They enhanced the memory of her joy at seeing Martouf and Lantash, and the feel of their arms around her as they carried her toward the Stargate. The soft kisses they placed on her head and hair as they carried her. The realization that it was love that colored their voice as they spoke lowly, softly and gently to her. She had forgotten those things, but she would never do so now. Now when she thought of her time in Gamtesh’s stronghold, the things she thought of were those…rather than the time spent with him. That time became unimportant. She smiled softly at the beautiful thoughts that filled her mind, as the others faded into the background. There was no more pain associated with that time; she was healed and whole. She came awake slowly, stretched, and turned over onto her back. She frowned though because Lantash and Martouf were not there this morning as they usually were. They had mentioned nothing that they needed to do.
Sitting up, she realized that Daniel was there with her, and he was smiling. Seeing her awake, he sat down beside her. “Hi, Sam, how are you doing’?” He asked softly.
“I am fine, Daniel, but where are Martouf and Lantash? Is it morning?” She asked, somewhat confused.
“Well, it is about 01:00 hours. Martouf could not sleep, and since I was still up working on some stuff, he asked me to sit with you in case you awoke, while he went for a walk. He is on the surface. How do you feel?” He probed gently, trying to find out if she was experiencing what he was feeling.
“I feel,” Sam paused, and then looked at Daniel, “I feel clean, Daniel. I feel clean,” she gasped. “More than that I feel…at peace about what happened to me. I no longer feel the revulsion and fear when I think of that week and a half. What has happened to me?” She asked with both wonder and awe in her voice.
“Lya and Nafrayu were just here. You remember I told you they came when you were first here, and I thought they helped you?” At Sam’s nod of agreement, he continued, “Well, Lya said they worked on a healing technique for the mind. That is why she did not come back sooner. They have had no need for something like this, but because of what she saw in your mind, they worked on this, came here, and used it on us. Both of us, Sam. They helped me, too. I am finally able to let go of some of the pain I have been carrying, too. They are also going to do the same thing for the girls.”
“Oh, Daniel, I am so glad. They need the help, too. And I worry about you sometimes; I am so very glad they helped you, too,” Sam said, reaching out and caressing his face gently, while looking at him with all the love she felt for him showing in her visage.
Daniel smiled the sweet smile she loved so much, and said, “I am happy that they helped all of us, Sam, but mostly you. I think you were the one that suffered the most and it is wonderful that they were able to do something about it.” His smile grew and he changed the subject saying, “You know, if you are going to go find your mates, I think I will go back to, um, to my room and get some, um, sleep.”
Intrigued by his stuttered statement, Sam looked at him closely, and then her eyes widened, as she said, “I see. I like her now that I know her better, Daniel, and you have a lot in common. I think she, no they, will be perfect for you. Be happy, please. You deserve it more than anyone else I know or have ever known,” she told him softly.
“So do you, Sam. Now go and take a walk on the surface, and take that rug thing with you. Maybe, no, probably, you will need it. I will take Tash with me, so do not worry about him. He will be fine. He likes her, too, you know and amazingly, she has grown very fond of him. Goodnight Sam.” Daniel leaned over and kissed her softly before he left; being sure, that Tashmar followed him to his room. Sam grabbed a cloak, thinking that it might come in handy, as well as the rug.
She headed for the rings, and did not even notice the men standing guard who watched her go to the surface. It no longer seemed to matter or be very important. Once there, she headed for the dunes, one of the places he seemed to enjoy the most. She did not have far to go before she saw him. He was sitting with his knees drawn up, with his arms resting on them, and his head resting on his arms. He was so lost in thought; he did not even hear her walk up to him. She could see his face in the light of the moon and he looked both pensive and a little sad. She hoped it was not because of her, but she did not waste time thinking about it as she knew that she was about to make both of them and herself, incredibly happy.
When she softly touched his shoulder, he spun and took his attacker out so that the intruder landed on his back in the sand. He had him penned in one fluid move. “Remind me to say your name while I am still a long way away the next time I come to join you,” Sam said breathlessly. She was not sure if her lack of breath had to do with him tackling her or if it was from his nearness, but she was pretty sure it was a combination of both.
He immediately rolled off her, saying “I am so sorry, Samantha. It was purely reflex. Are you hurt, my love?”
“I am not sure. Why don’t you spread out the rug, so I can get off the sand?” she asked him.
“Of course,” he agreed at once, and taking it from where it landed when she fell, he spread it out before turning to her. “Are you all right? Do you need help?” He asked anxiously.
“Perhaps you could help me up?” she asked softly.
“It would be my pleasure, my love,” he said, as he reached down and helped her to stand. After shaking the sand from her gown and cloak, she took the cloak off and folded it to make a pillow and then lay down on the rug. It was quite warm tonight.
“Are you not going to join me, Martouf?” Sam asked him.
“Yes, of course,” he smiled at her, but she noticed that the smile did not reach his eyes, and although he sat down beside her, it was obvious that his mind was preoccupied.
As he stared out over the dunes, Sam frowned. “What is wrong, Martouf? Have I done something to upset you?” Sam asked him anxiously.
“No, it is not you, my Samantha, never you; it is me, my love. I just needed to see the stars. Sometimes I become restless and need to be above the ground.” He smiled slightly, adding, “I believe it is a need that stems from my life before I became Tok’Ra. I often rode or hiked at night and watched the stars.” He shrugged, “But then, I also sometimes arose very early and rode out before the mists had dissipated, and watched as they swirled about the hills and the trees turning the landscape into a surreal vision that was never twice the same.” He appeared to shake himself loose from those memories and looked at her saying softly, “I did not mean to awaken you, my love; I am sorry if my leaving did so.”
Sam shook her head, reassuring him, “You did not wake me. Lya and Nafrayu woke me.” Sam smiled softly. “They helped me again. Actually, they helped Daniel and I both a great deal this time.”
“Did they?” He reached out, caressed her cheek, and then trembled, as she turned to kiss the knuckles that brushed her cheek. That one little telltale shiver, told her that his being out here was not only because he needed to see the stars. He also needed to dissipate some of his tension. Tension caused by sleeping next to and holding her body next to his with no way to release that tension. That sexual tension. Well, she could do something about that now.
“Will you kiss me, Martouf?” Sam asked quietly.
Taking a shaky breath, he answered, as steadily as he could, “If you wish me to, Samantha.” Sam watched, smiling to herself, as Lantash took over control from Martouf, and she realized that it was a safety precaution they had put into place. Lantash always took over when they kissed or caressed one another. He had the control to keep from frightening her that Martouf was afraid he lacked after the first time, when he had tightened his arms around her, and she had panicked.
He had lain down and was waiting for her to raise herself above him so that she could control what happened. She did not think it was necessary anymore, but she would continue, at least for the moment.
Sam raised herself and lowered her mouth to his. Their lips met and clung and she felt his arms come around her and hold her loosely. She deepened the kiss and then began to caress him more intimately than she had done in the past. Then, curious, she reached behind him and stroked his neck where he lay beneath Martouf’s skin. She felt Lantash move slightly, a faint tremor just under the skin so she repeated the motion. Again, she got a response, but this time, he also moaned slightly, too.
“Samantha, you must stop what you are doing. I cannot be responsible for my reactions if you continue, my love. What you are doing is very sexually stimulating to me and therefore also to Martouf. Neither of us would be able to control ourselves for long,” Lantash told her, as he gently removed her hand from his neck. “I will not frighten you, again, Samantha. Why are you smiling?”
“I have something I need to ask you,” she said, without answering his question.
“You know you may ask me anything, beloved,” He assured her.
Holding his hand, she stroked it softly. “All right. Lantash,” she said softly, “Will you and Martouf marry me following the custom of my people, as I will join with you following the custom of your people?” She whispered just before her lips once again sought his.
Drawing back when he did not respond to her kiss, she looked at him quizzically. “Are you so surprised, Lantash, or is it that you have changed you minds about wishing to take me as your mate?” She asked, suddenly feeling less assured of herself.
He looked at her in wonder. “Are you saying what I think you are, my Samantha? Are you saying you will join with me, with us? Now? You no longer wish to wait?”
“Yes,” she said, as she nodded. “Yes.” Looking deeply into his eyes, she smiled slightly, as she lay down beside him. “Come to me, my love? Give me all of yourself, Lantash. I wish to be your mate, yours and Martouf's, in all ways. Now, tonight.
He tentatively reached out and caressed her throat and from there he slid his hand down to her breast. She still smiled at him, caught his hand, and firmly held it to her. Then she reached up, and began to stroke him gently but firmly, as she once more assured him that she truly meant what she said, “Show me your passion, Lantash, for my body burns for yours. Come, join with me, be one with me, for you are my beloved,” her whispered words were taken by the night wind, but not before he heard her.
“Yes, Samantha. Yes, my beloved,” he murmured his answer softly, as he lowered his lips to hers.