Chapter Eleven Summary : - While returning from an off world mission Jacob/Selmak, Martouf/Lantash, and Jocasta/Daur'rin make a startling and unwelcome discovery. Extremely painful memories of a time when he was tortured to death repeatedly at the hands of a certain System Lord are dredged up for Lantash. Jacob/Selmak, Martouf/Lantash discuss taking a three week trip to Earth, and earth bonding and joining rituals.
“Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic communication
Jacob Carter stretched out on the muddy ground watching the enemy encampment below. Unfortunately, there was no way that they could get any closer. The entire encampment and the area around it were crawling with Jaffa. Jaffa, which as far as the Tok’Ra knew, should not have been on this particular planet or anywhere near it. The naquadah that was here ran out a very long time ago, and no one had returned or bothered with it in centuries. The Tok’Ra began using it as a safe world, after the Goa’uld abandoned it, and they had used it ever since then. Until now that is. There was no reason for them to return now, either; there was no naquadah, and no slaves. Actually, Jacob corrected this thought, which was not strictly true now. It was obvious that slaves were working at building a few things like a stronghold and landing platforms. This was a very unpleasant, not to mention disturbing, discovery. Foreboding rippled down his spine. No, this was definitely not good news.
Putting his uneasiness into words, Jacob asked his symbiote, “What do you think, Sel? What is this particular System Lord doing here? What is here that they could possibly want?” Feeling Selmak’s deepening disquiet, he added, “Do you think they are doing more than simply claiming this planet as their own? Or is it something far more dangerous to us?”
“I do not believe we are going to find the answer to those questions, at this time, Jacob. We should head back to the Chaappa’ai, before they decide to put a guard on it or we are discovered,” Although Selmak answered him quietly enough, Jacob knew that he was worried about this for some reason. More worried than he would normally be to find a System Lord taking over an abandoned planet, but since it was obvious he did not want to discuss it at the moment, Jacob decided to let it go for now. They would probably discuss it more later.
“I think you are right, Sel. There is no point in staying here any longer.” Jacob motioned to Martouf and Jocasta that they should head back towards the gate. The three comrades slid backwards and out from their hiding place, after making sure there were no Jaffa anywhere near.
When Jacob, Martouf, and Jocasta gated to this world, they believed that it was uninhabited. The Tok’Ra considered it one of their safe worlds, and thus it was ideal for the evasive action they used when returning to their base.
Nothing more than pure luck had allowed them to find the encampment. When they came through the Chaappa’ai, they found the area around it deserted, as usual, but as they prepared to enter the glyphs to head back to the Tok’Ra base, the chevrons started to engage. They immediately sought cover where they could see who exited the gate, and they watched from their hiding place as a large group of Jaffa came through. It was too bad that the Chaappa’ai sat upon its pedestal on top of another rock formation. If there had been soil around the DHD instead of rock, they would have realized that the planet was in use by someone and been more cautious. Hearing the chevrons begin to engage and seeing their glow alerted them, and they were glad that the situation arose. Without that event, they would have been unaware of the danger now lurking here, and the Tok’ Ra would have continued to use the planet. It was much better that they know, and take it off the list of safe worlds.
Keeping a discreet distance behind the Jaffa, they followed to see where they were going, and they had discovered the large encampment of Jaffa a fair way from the Chaappa’ai. There were some cargo ships there, as well as the slaves, who were building what looked like a landing platform and a compound. The stronghold was, or would be, the residence of the System Lord. There was no way to determine whether she was in residence or not at this point.
Making sure they were far enough away not to be overheard, Jacob stated, “I couldn’t make out much. Did either of you notice anything that would give us some information about this?”
“I did not,” Martouf replied. “What about you, Jocasta? Did you see anything that might explain this?”
“No, I did not. There are a great many Jaffa here, yet they do not seem to be concerned about anyone coming through the Chaappa’ai. I believe that this System Lord has taken extreme measures to see to it that no one knows she is here,” Jocasta answered, her view of things the same as theirs.
“I believe that she is in residence, however. There are too many Jaffa here. There would not be this many, if she had not yet moved here,” Lantash stated firmly. “As for the Chaappa’ai being left undefended, she believes herself to be undetected. I would venture a guess that she has her ships patrolling, perhaps even skirmishing with others, so that no one will become aware of the fact that she is gone.”
“Makes sense to me and Selmak, Lantash. She must be extremely confident,” Jacob, mused. “It is either that, or she is exceedingly arrogant even for a Goa’uld.”
“She is both confident and overwhelmingly arrogant, Jacob. She is not to be taken lightly,” Lantash answered in a tone that Jacob had never heard him use. He was not even sure what it sounded like. Hatred, pure and utter contempt, mixed with a certain implacability and grimness, if he had to guess. He was about to ask either him or Selmak about it, but before he could form the question, Lantash grabbed him and Jocasta, as he hissed, “Get down; take cover.”
They espied more Jaffa heading in their direction and realized that they needed to be more careful. By mutual, though unspoken, consent, they maintained silence, and made their way quickly to the gate, which remained unguarded. Martouf came forward and swiftly entered the address for an uninhabited world. If anyone happened to see the glyphs they input here, and tried to follow, it would prove a false lead. Once on the uninhabited world, they would input the glyphs for the present Tok’Ra base. Baring anything else untoward happening, they should be back in the tunnels shortly. They would all be glad to get there.
Several hours later, Jacob, Martouf, and Jocasta were discussing the recent incidents with the Tok’Ra Councilor, Garshaw. The three of them had been on a mission for the past month and a half. While not very taxing, it only occasionally had its moments, which were interrupted all too frequently by what seemed like endless boredom. In the end, it proved worth the effort, but they all hoped they never had to go back to that particular minor System Lord again. They were ready for a little time to relax; however, if as much was going on here as it seemed, they would not be getting it. Of course, until they could get a spy in her camp, they could not know for sure why she was hiding there, so speculation was probably premature at this point.
Jacob sighed to himself. He had been looking forward to taking three weeks off to see Sam and Mark. Moreover, he wanted to be sure that Martouf went with him. He could safely leave him for Sam to entertain, while he went to spend some time with his son and grandchildren.
Martouf, Lantash, and Sam needed time together. They were a good match. Jacob and Selmak agreed that what they felt for each other was more than the remnants of Jolinar of Malk’shur. However, in order to realize it, they would have to spend time with each other. He grinned to himself. It was a good thing Selmak was handling most of this meeting. He hadn’t been paying attention.
“You certainly are not, Jacob,” Selmak remarked rather caustically.
“Sorry, Sel. I am back with you now. Although, I really do not care if I hear a recap of our month and a half in what turned out to be the System Lord Court of Endless Boredom from hell. I have never done so much of nothing and become so damned worn out. You would think we were under a mountain of stress the entire time, instead of practically driven out of our minds by what has to absolutely be the most boring Goa’uld I have ever met,” Jacob answered, still somewhat testy about the mission they just completed. “Now I understand why Lantash and Martouf whine so constantly when they have to go there. They hate being stuck there, and I can understand that completely. Mahes has to be one of the weirdest, as well as the most boring, Goa’uld in the Universe. Then to make it worse, Lantash has to act the part of that foppish artsy character. I have never seen a Goa’uld act like that, but Lantash carries it off and makes it seem real. I never knew Lantash was such a great actor. The transformation was nothing less than amazing.”
“Yes, he is quite talented in that area. Lantash has developed several different characters over the years, which have given him access to some of the System Lords that we could not infiltrate in the normal way. His information has often proved to be invaluable. However, I believe the meeting is about to come around to us once again, as Garshaw has finished hearing Jocasta’s impressions of our time with Mahes. We are just now getting to the incident on the safe planet, Martmont.”
Jacob and Selmak turned their attention back to Garshaw, as she asked, “What exactly occurred, Selmak?”
“We gated to Martmont using the usual procedures. Before we could leave, the Chaappa’ ai activated. We retreated to a wooded area that was quite close by and waited to see who was coming through to an uninhabited world. There was the chance it was some other Tok’Ra using it, as a decoy, but that seemed unlikely and so it proved to be. A rather large group of Jaffa stepped through the event horizon and, since this seemed an unusual occurrence, we followed them to see if we could glean any information as to their purpose. We were not able to determine anything specific. It will take actual infiltration, in my opinion, to determine anything,” Selmak kept his report succinct and to the point.
“Which System Lord is it?” Garshaw put the question to Selmak, but Lantash answered her, tersely biting out his words, “It is Bastet.” His voice held contempt, disgust, and loathing. Jacob had no trouble reading his emotions this time. Something about Bastet really set him off.
“She has brought slaves and a great many supplies. It is obvious she believes no one knows she is there. I believe this is a very serious situation, Garshaw.” Lantash paused, and then continued, “She has done this type of thing before, and it almost lost us a great many of our people. As you are aware, it was only through swift intervention by some others, that our base was evacuated, and our people taken to safety,” Lantash spoke harshly, with ice in his tone, and his eyes flashing brightly, something he rarely allowed to happen. That he could not control it showed just how intensely he felt about the situation.
“It appeared that she was having landing platforms built, as well as a residence. The residence appears to be almost finished, and the sheer number of Jaffa there leads us to believe she is already in residence. We need to find out why. It is my belief she is hiding from the other System Lords. If that is true, then we need to know what, exactly, she is planning,” Jocasta added her thoughts on the situation.
“I would like to be the one to infiltrate her stronghold,” Lantash volunteered quickly, as Garshaw nodded her agreement with Jocasta.
“I do not think that would be wise, Lantash,” Garshaw said decisively.
“I am the most familiar with her habits, her thinking. That makes me the most and best qualified to do this infiltration,” Lantash insisted, his voice hard and tight. “None of the other operatives have the knowledge about her that I possess.”
“I believe that is true; however, there is a distinct possibility that she could recognize you,” Garshaw responded, choosing to attempt to reason with him before having to issue an order.
“She believes that I am dead,” Lantash said flatly.
“If she discovered who you are, then you would be in extreme danger. Danger from which we could not extract you. I am sorry, Lantash, nonetheless, I cannot, in good conscience, allow you to undertake this. I know you want revenge, but in this, you must bow to cooler heads. Please.” Knowing how intensely Lantash felt about this, she again tried giving a softer answer than she normally would.
Selmak stepped in to add his opinion. “She is correct, Lantash. It would be foolish for us to put you in that particular danger, when we can send someone else,” he told him firmly. I understand your feelings in this. I know it is important to you; however, you must let logic win over emotion. Rational thought is best in this situation,” Selmak added.
Lantash was not happy with their decision, but for now, he would argue no more. If he waited, perhaps he could bring it up again later. Selmak’s statement was paramount to an order. He bowed his head in acquiescence. “As you wish,” he responded his voice still hard, tight…and chillingly cold.
Almost visibly sighing in relief at his capitulation, Garshaw quickly changed the direction of the conversation by bringing up the next subject for discussion. “There is another matter we need to discuss, and it involves the Tau’ri,” Garshaw said.
“Is something wrong?” Jacob immediately asked.
“I do not believe so, Jacob,” she replied calmly. “They contacted us almost three weeks ago and requested that you, Jacob, come to discuss something of mutual interest. When we informed them that you were on a mission and not expected back for three more weeks, they replied that the wait was of no problem. They seemed completely undismayed by the wait, and there was no hint of urgency in their request. They are expecting you in three days time.”
“Does it concern my daughter?” Jacob asked, frowning in thought. What in the world would make the SGC contact them for him to come, yet not be the least upset at the delay? Evidently, nothing was wrong, or they would not have reacted that way to the disclosure of his absence and the delay in his arrival there.
“There was no mention of Major Carter, Jacob, and I truly do not believe that it is in any way related to her. They simply requested a meeting, as I said, on a matter of mutual interest, and although they gave no hint as to what it was about, my impression was not of something pressing or urgent. Since there appears to be no hurry, I suggest you rest and prepare for your trip. I do not know how long you will be required to remain, as they made no mention as to how long they needed you to stay,” Garshaw concluded her explanation.
Jacob nodded, saying, “Martouf and I were going to take three weeks and go to Earth anyway. “I’d like to visit my grandkids. Of course, if this thing with Bastet should turn into something that we are needed for…” With a shrug of his shoulders he let the statement hang, unfinished yet understood, then continued speaking, to ask, “Will you decide who to send to infiltrate Bastet’s compound? Do we need to hang around for that to take place?”
“Yes, I will take care of that, and there is no need for you to delay your departure. I will give it some thought before the next scheduled council meeting, which will not take place for seven spans. You will both be gone to the Tau’ri by then; however, Jocasta can give the report. We know very little at this point, so there is nothing that Jocasta would be unable to answer any more than you would.”
She paused for a moment, as she looked around the council table at each of them. Evidently coming to a decision, she said quietly, “After giving it some thought, it is my opinion that we should say nothing of Bastet to anyone outside of this room. For the time being, I prefer that we be the only ones aware of her most recent machinations. We are all very much aware that her plotting and scheming does not bode well for the Tok’Ra in the normal course of events, so I consider it unwise for us to discuss her, or her possible plans, with anyone. We are all aware that she has vowed to wipe out the Tok’Ra and has striven mightily to do so on more than one occasion. While these are facts, still I see no point in causing concern amongst the others, until we must disclose what little we know.”
Selmak nodded, saying, “I agree, Garshaw. I, too, feel that this should not become common knowledge at this time. I have a very uneasy feeling about the situation, as I am sure we all do, and until we know more keeping the information to ourselves is probably the wisest course to take.”
Lantash and Jocasta both gave their agreement to keep their information to themselves. They would just as soon not think about her, let alone talk about her.
Garshaw nodded decisively, as she replied. “Very well, so it shall be. We are in accord and all do agree to this course of action. I hereby adjourn this meeting. Jacob, Selmak, I am sure I will see you before you leave, but in the event that I do not; I will wish you a pleasant time with your family. Martouf, I hope you and Lantash enjoy your time with the Tau’ri. It will be pleasant for you to see something of the first world. You must come back with many stories. I am sure it will be, ah, enlightening.”
“At least it won’t be boring,” Jacob muttered under his breath. Selmak smiled at him, sending his wholehearted agreement.
“Jocasta, if you could remain please? I will not keep you long.” The dismissal was obvious, and the two men took immediate advantage of the release.
Jacob gave Garshaw a nod, remarking, “Great, sounds good to me. In that case, I think that Martouf and I will get some rest, but perhaps a bath first. We ended up lying in the mud on Martmont.”
Martouf managed to grin at him, “Most decidedly a bath.”
With a final wave to Garshaw and Jocasta, the two men left the chamber together.
As they walked down the tunnel, Lantash prodded, “Ask him, Martouf.”
“Why?” Martouf asked before saying, as soothingly as he could, “I am sure he will tell us when he wishes to, Lantash. I have no doubt that it will be very soon.”
“You are as curious as I am to know why he would want us to go with him to the Tau’ri for such an extended period of time. If you do not ask, then I will take control and do so myself,” Lantash replied, his voice was colored by his obvious agitation.
“All right. Calm down,” Martouf agreed quickly, although, he was becoming concerned about Lantash. It was a very unusual circumstance in which to find his normally calm and imperturbable, symbiote. Occasionally, Lantash flared into a raging anger, but it subsided as quickly as it came, and he was passionate in his beliefs; however, this type of anxiety, in Martouf’s experience, was unprecedented. It simply did not happen. Ever. That it was occurring now, over a situation that, while worrying, could in no way be construed as an immediate danger, was a significant indication that something was terribly wrong.
“I am calm. You are the one who is trying to break out into a sweat. I have been having a difficult time preventing you from doing so,” Lantash said, the edge not usually found in his cool, confident voice very much in evidence.
There was no doubt in Martouf's mind that accidentally stumbling upon Bastet’s forces had unsettled and disturbed his Lantash to a very great degree. More than he had ever known or seen him to be before. Therefore, in an effort to relieve some of his anxiety by disposing of at least one cause of it, Martouf cleared his throat. “Ah, Jacob, I am wondering—” he began, but he was interrupted before he could complete his sentence.
“You want to know why I was planning a three week trip to Earth with you as a traveling companion,” Jacob stated, amusement apparent in his voice.
“Well, actually, yes,” Martouf responded bluntly.
“Do you want a platitude—or the truth?” Jacob responded, just as plainly.
“I believe the truth would serve us best,” Martouf answered in his usual placid way. “I see no point in dealing with half-truths and innuendo. I consider us good enough friends that we can be open with one another, can we not?”
Jacob looked over at him. “I would agree with that assessment. Let’s go to my chamber where we can at least be a little more comfortable. Besides, I prefer what little extra privacy it gives us. You people should seriously consider some type of doorway covering, you know.”
“As you wish,” Martouf agreed. Since the comments about doors were an oft-repeated complaint, he answered with his normally parroted response, “We do not feel the need for doors. We have nothing to hide from one another, Jacob.”
Jacob sniffed in derision. “That,” He told Martouf coolly, “Is very much a matter of opinion and perspective. Furthermore, that being so, mine do not agree with yours or anyone else's.”
Martouf almost smiled, but using great restraint, he managed not to. “Yes, I believe you have mentioned this circumstance before. Often.”
This time Jacob snorted.
“What do you suspect Jacob’s reason is for wanting us to go with him to the Tau’ri, Lantash?” Martouf questioned him. “It seems a strange thing for him to do, does it not?” Martouf frowned as he gave the matter more thought.
“I am not sure why he wishes us to go with him, Martouf. I agree it does seem a little strange; however, until we know his reason, we cannot know that absolutely, either.” Lantash sighed deeply before bringing up his own suspicions, “Although I do not know the reason, it is likely that it has to do with Samantha,” Lantash answered, sounding much less anxious than he was previously.
“He is going to tell us to stay away from his daughter,” Martouf stated with a tinge of anxiety. The thought of staying away from Samantha, or only seeing her from a distance, was extremely distressing.
It was Lantash’s turn to calm and reassure his mate. “Even though that is possible, it is also highly unlikely, Martouf. He would hardly be taking us with him for several weeks, if that were the case,” Lantash answered in an attempt to halt Martouf’s runaway imagination. While not many matters upset Martouf’s normally calm demeanor, Samantha Carter was one of those few things.
“That is true, of course. Thank you for pointing out the obvious to me, dear one.” Martouf sighed, as they approached Jacob’s quarters. “We must assume that he will inform us of his intent now that we are at his chambers. We should know momentarily.”
Sensing that Martouf was still slightly apprehensive, Lantash asked him, “Do you wish me to take over, Martouf? I will do so; if you would rather I take control.”
“Not yet, thank you, Lantash. If things go badly, you can step in, if the need arises,” Martouf answered.
“Wonderful,” Lantash replied with sardonic, yet gentle, amusement.
“After giving it some thought, I no longer believe it has anything to do with Samantha. Therefore, I am reasonably sure that I will be able to take care of whatever comes from this discussion, if that is, the conversation ever begins,” Martouf replied calmly enough, but Lantash picked up his growing trepidation as the silence in the room lengthened.
“I truly do not believe we will be told anything upsetting, Martouf. It will be something simple that he wishes us along to help with or something of that nature,” Lantash said, attempting to calm Martouf who was becoming visibly nervous. He sent out some calming chemicals and stilled his nervous movements.
After they entered his quarters, Jacob turned to face them, but he did not say anything. Lantash watched him curiously; as his strange silence lengthened enough that, it was definitely making Martouf rather nervous.
“I think you are making him nervous, Jacob,” Selmak observed as both he and Jacob watched Martouf fidget slightly. “I do not see a point in this behavior on your part,” he stated calmly. “There is no need for it.”
“Isn’t that what fathers are for?” Jacob shot back.
“We have discussed this before, Jacob. Samantha is a grown woman. You must let her lead her life as she sees fit. That includes staying out of her love life and any sort of sexual mating that may occur between her, Martouf, and Lantash,” Selmak again pointed out this fact, for what felt to him like the ten thousandth time. They agreed previously on all of these points; unfortunately, Jacob was having some acceptance, or as Jacob called them, Tau’ri daddy issues.
Personally, he found them incomprehensible. There was nothing about sexual mating to cause such distress. In fact, he found it a very pleasant occupation and had enjoyed it for many centuries. Getting Jacob over his Tau’ri “hang ups,” as he called them, sometimes seemed as if it would be an impossible task. He refused to give up though. Eventually, Jacob would become more open and comfortable. Would he not? Selmak was pulled from his ruminations by Jacob answering his earlier remark about sex and Samantha. He gave him his full attention.
He felt Jacob cringe away from his previous statements. “Must you bring that up?” He snapped to Selmak. Selmak’s long suffering sigh in response did nothing to appease him.
“It is a problem you must get over. I feel confident that if we take Martouf and Lantash to the Tau’ri for three weeks, he, they, and Samantha will very likely sleep together. Sleeping will not be all they do while in the bed. It would not surprise me if they became bonded. We have discussed this at length, and you agreed it was only fair to give them the chance to see if they are meant to be mated,” Selmak patiently repeated their conclusions from earlier conversations.
“I know, Sel, and I do agree. It is just really hard for a father to think of his little girl “doing that” with some man, you know?” Jacob almost, but not quite, whined his answer. It was the same answer and the same manner with which he always replied.
Deciding that perhaps he needed a new tactic, Selmak brought out a slightly bigger gun, stating calmly and reasonably, “It is probably no harder for you to think of her “doing that” with a man, than it is for her to imagine you “doing that” with some woman.”
Jacob blinked. “Whoa, she wouldn’t think about something like that, would she?”
Selmak gave the symbiote equivalent of a shrug, before responding, “I see no reason why she would not. If she were to see you and Jocasta together, she would soon notice your intimacy. There is no doubt the question of sex, you, us, Jocasta, and Daur’rin would arise in her mind. I would suspect that Samantha has a vivid imagination, so her speculation would probably be close to correct. I still do not understand the Tau’ri obsession about sexual matters,” Selmak said, obviously exasperated. “Jacob, stop stalling. Martouf is waiting.”
After long moments of tense silence, Martouf spoke up, and sounding distinctly edgy, asked him, “Jacob? You wished to speak to us?” Jacob blinked and looked at him for a very long minute. Selmak’s statement had both startled and appalled him. Deciding he could not deal with that scenario right now, he tried to bring his attention back to an increasingly puzzled, Martouf. The more his puzzlement grew the less trepidation he felt. He was beginning to wonder if he should perhaps ask to speak to Selmak, but decided to try once again to speak with Jacob.
Martouf cleared his throat, before again attempting to garner Jacob’s obviously wandering attention. “Jacob, you were about to speak to Lantash and I about your wish for us to accompany you to Earth for several weeks.”
Jacob shook his head and took a deep breath, “Sorry, I was talking to Sel. Look, this is a little difficult for me, so I am just going to lay my cards on the table.” He paused, considering how to broach the subject. Perhaps going straight into it would be best. Just, cut to the chase, that is all he had to do.
Martouf frowned as he glanced around the chamber, before he asked, “I am sorry, Jacob, to which, um, cards, do you refer?”
Martouf’s question broke the tension in Jacob, and he chuckled, “It is just a figure of Tau'ri speech, Martouf. It means getting everything out in the open so everyone will know exactly what you mean.”
“I see,” Martouf said slowly. “In that case, what is it that you wish to tell us that you require us to be sure to understand? I assume it is your reason for wanting us to accompany you to the Tau’ri.”
Jacob plunged into what he wanted to say, “It concerns you, well, you and Lantash, but I am using “you” to mean both, and Sam. I believe that you would like to spend time with her. I also believe the same is true for her. That she would like to spend some time with the two of you, that is. I want you to go with me, because I believe that you and Sam deserve the time to find out if what you feel for each other goes deeper than just remnants of feelings left over from Jolinar. I think they do. For all three of you.”
Martouf sent Jacob a look of surprise, “Really? You think she cares for us? For—for both of us?” Martouf blinked a few times in a startled manner, before he began to smile.
“Yeah, I do,” Jacob rolled his eyes. “Now, how about you tell me what you and Lantash feel for my daughter?”
Martouf’s smile grew wider for a moment at just the thought of being with Samantha for a few weeks. Then remembering that Jacob had asked him a question he must answer, he became resolute and earnest, “I love Samantha, Jacob. I have wanted to spend some time alone with her so that perhaps she could begin to separate her feelings for me, for us, from that of Jolinar’s. If she will agree to be my mate, I will cherish her and honor her always,” Martouf said, in a very solemn and sincere voice.
Jacob nodded his acceptance of Martouf’s statements. “What do you have to say to all of this, Lantash? Jolinar was your mate, too,” Jacob asked him.
“I feel the same way, Jacob. In fact, I believe that Samantha may be the strongest love I have ever felt for anyone. I believe that I will love her deeply forever.”
Jacob nodded, satisfied that Lantash and Martouf were sincere, but then he frowned, “Are you sure that Sam is the love of your life, Lantash? I’m getting some odd vibes from Selmak.” Jacob watched Lantash closely, waiting almost tensely for his answer.
Lantash sighed, “There are some things that happened long ago. They do not change how I feel about Samantha. The truth is that…I had a Heartmate. I have not seen her in over one hundred and fifteen years, Jacob. My Heartmate was my mate before Jolinar. When we parted, we agreed that if it was not possible for her to return to us, then we would not remain without love, if it came to us. As you know, we found a new mate for which we could care, and I did love her truly. It was several years after we parted when I met Jolinar and Rosha, and I loved them for almost one hundred of your years.” Lantash seemed lost in the distant past, for a moment, before he firmly returned to the present to tell Jacob, “As I said, it does not change what I feel for Samantha.”
Jacob looked thoughtful, “Selmak says that is a condensed version, but that the facts are there, and they are completely true. I would like to see my Sam happy, and I think you and Martouf can do that. In other words, you have my blessing. I will even try to help, hence the three week trip to Earth.”
He smiled at them, lightening the atmosphere by saying, “Come on. Let’s get that bath and some rest. Something tells me we have a busy time ahead. I don’t know why, but I have a feeling this thing at the SGC is going to prove to be important.”
Lantash nodded, but he was frowning as he said, “I agree, Jacob. They do not contact us without good reason. And yet, I find it strange that they seemed so agreeable to awaiting your return to such a degree that they even gave Garshaw the impression it was nothing important at all. That does not fit in with the feeling we both have that what we are going there for will prove to be important.”
“Yeah, I know. But Selmak is on edge and so am I every time I think about it.” He shrugged. “There is nothing to be done about it for now, so I am not going to let it bug me for three days. We will find out when we reach the SGC.”
After a thoughtful silence, Lantash responded, “A very practical and much less wearying approach.”
Very much in accord with each other, they headed for the bathing pools. They would know soon enough, yet for Martouf and Lantash, these next three days would pass far too slowly. “I hope you will at least attempt to remain calm, Martouf. There is little reason to become tense and anxious,” Lantash gently chided him.”
“I am calm, Lantash,” Martouf replied
“Of course, you are. That is why I have to work constantly to keep your hormones in balance,” Lantash admonished him.
“The emotions that are coming from you are not exactly placid,” Martouf pointed out.
“No,” he sighed, “they are not. I am extremely anxious to leave for the Tau’ri. I am quite willing to admit it.” Lantash seemed to quiver with anticipation.
“I am sensing something else, Lantash. Some emotions I cannot quite understand. They began when we first encountered Bastet’s forces. You became extremely agitated and that increased in the Council Chamber. You became very agitated again, when you were discussing your ‘Heartmate’. I have no knowledge of her. I think we need to discuss some things.”
“Later,” Lantash sent a very definite refusal to discuss it and withdrew giving Martouf control.
Jacob seemed relaxed. It had been a long time since they had been able to enjoy the comforts of the bathing pools. He looked at Martouf.
“I am planning on going to visit my son while we are on Earth. I will speak to the General about assigning Sam to escort you off base, and then I will see if I can get her to take some time off to spend with you. After that, it is all up to you. You are going to have to handle your own courtship.”
“I sincerely hope it will not prove to be as difficult as yours was with her mother.”
Jacob laughed. He remembered telling Martouf about how he met and eventually married his late wife, Sam’s mother. It had been a rocky path, but in the end, it had been worth every bit of insecurity and anxiety she had put him through. She had been a wonderful woman. Thinking of her still brought pain and sadness to him for what he had lost, but it also brought happy memories of what they’d had together. Jacob hoped she would find the happiness he had found with her mother. “Sam is like her in many ways, but she is also very much my daughter. Could go either way,” was his somewhat heartless reply.
Martouf smiled at him, saying, “Lantash and I will do our very best.” He sighed loudly, and then moaned, as he continued, “I think if I stay in the pool much longer, I will fall asleep. I believe I should go get something to eat and then get some rest.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Jacob agreed as he yawned widely and decided that he, too, should get something to eat and then sleep. By mutual consent, they left the pools and headed back to their chambers to change. Then, food was the next order of business.
“We are in our chamber and alone, Lantash. It is later,” Martouf announced as soon as they gained their room.
Lantash groaned, saying, “I do not think we should discuss this now, Martouf. We are both very tired. This would be better left until a later time, when we are both feeling more rested.”
“I, too, am tired, Lantash, but I feel we should get this out in the open. I wish to know about this. I believe I should know about it. I need to know why you have hidden these memories, and what your connection is to Bastet,” Martouf insisted.
Lantash sighed and gave in. Martouf, although a gentle man in many ways, could be extremely stubborn when he wished to be. Lantash knew he would not let up on this until he was satisfied. “You have no knowledge of her because I have kept her in my private thoughts. You cannot comprehend the emotions, because I am trying to keep them under control and concealed from you.”
“Why have you kept these memories of her locked away? Why are you attempting to conceal them?” Martouf asked, his irritation apparent.
“She is a memory from my past, Martouf. Something long past that I have buried deep within my mind. Memories of things that passed before you and I blended. There is no reason to cause you suffering from remembering them, if I can prevent it.” Martouf was aware that Lantash was becoming very anxious.
“Are these memories so very unpleasant?” Martouf was puzzled by Lantash’s reactions to his questions.
“The memories of her are not. They are wonderful. However, the others are almost unbearable. Let us talk of something else, Martouf,” Lantash answered patiently, but he was becoming increasingly distraught and on edge.
“Why have you never once mentioned her to me or shown me what she looked like? What of Bastet?” Martouf persisted.
The waves of strong emotion Lantash had been trying so desperately to suppress and keep to himself suddenly broke through. Martouf gasped as they encompassed him in wave after wave; rage, hatred, contempt, fear, revulsion, despair, and hopelessness were mixed together with unbelievably agonizing physical pain, so incredibly intense that Martouf could not breathe. There was no doubt that Bastet was the cause.
As the feelings slowly eased and passed they were suddenly replaced by a new deluge of emotions: all encompassing love, tenderness, excitement, joy, enchantment, and a passion that was like a fire in his blood, a passion such as he had never known, even with Rosha and Jolinar. This was the Heartmate, Martouf felt, but he could not hold on to an image or name other than adored one.
Once again, the emotions slowly passed to be replaced by new feelings. They seemed to be drowning him. They engulfed him, an immense sense of loss, anguish, desperation, and an agony of mind and spirit so immense that Martouf sank to his knees. This desolation, this grief, was so intense, so all encompassing, he could neither cry nor cry out. All he could do was survive until it passed, and pray to the Goddess to deliver him from this seemingly endless well of deep, dark, despair. A despair so dark and so deep, he feared he would never find a way out, back to the light of hope. After what felt like an eternity of pain, the emotions slowly ebbed away; Martouf struggled to his feet and made his way to their sleeping platform. Once there, he moaned and collapsed onto it.
After several minutes passed, and both of them became calmer, Lantash approached Martouf. “I am sorry, Martouf. It was not done deliberately. I would never have exposed you to those emotions, if I could have kept them controlled and prevented it,” Lantash said remorsefully.
“I brought it upon myself, Lantash. In my own stubbornness, I would not let you drop the subject, as you wanted to do. Therefore, I apologize to you. I understand what is causing your reactions now, though, so perhaps, as agonizing as it was, still, it was for the best. Martouf felt remorse for pushing Lantash past his limits. After living through those emotional storms, he completely understood Lantash’s desire to bury them away and never take them out.
“Perhaps you are correct. We were both at fault to some degree.” Lantash hesitated, but it became apparent that he was determined to say this to Martouf, “One good thing has come from this. Now, you will know why I am sure Samantha is our Heartmate and I believe it is possible that she is very much more.”
“I do not understand. What do those emotions have to do with Samantha?”
“I believe we would feel the same if we lost Samantha, Martouf. We would both be utterly devastated. My previous mate was my Heartmate. What you felt were the feelings I had with and for her. The joy of loving her; the despair of losing her. That same passion, wonder, enchantment, and joy, every one of those emotions are the same ones we feel for and with Samantha. Our emotions, our feelings, for Samantha, are as intense now as those I had for my former mate whom I was with for eighty years. Given time, I believe they will become even more intense. I believe that we will find that she is our Soulmate, Martouf,” Lantash said with a deep conviction in his voice.
Martouf thought about Lantash’s words. They were true, he realized. Losing Samantha would cause the same overwhelming sense of loss and desolation he had just experienced. “I agree. She is. Now, we must convince her.
“I believe she already knows it, but is afraid that it is Jolinar’s feelings and not her own. We must convince her otherwise. We must succeed in this,” Lantash said firmly.
“Yes. We must succeed,” Martouf agreed, but he was not sure of their success.
Lantash sent approval. “Then I suggest we start by getting ready to go to the Tau’ri. It might help to calm some of your agitation to be doing something constructive toward that end,” Lantash suggested the first thing he could think of to occupy their minds.
“All right. We should begin to gather together the belongings we wish to take.” Martouf sent extreme indecision. “Should we take the necklace and the, what was it Jacob said such things were called?” Martouf questioned Lantash.
“You are talking about the ring; the one that Jacob told us about when he recounted the story of how he asked Samantha’s mother to bond with him. I believe he called the ring he gave her at that time a betrothal ring,” Lantash told him.
“Yes, that is it. Should we take it?” Martouf wanted to know.
“Yes, I believe we should. If we cannot convince Samantha to be bonded and mated to us, while we are there, perhaps we could ask her to become ‘betrothed’ to us. All we can do is attempt to do so.” Lantash was determined to at least try to form an attachment of some type, even if it was not a full bonding. If the Tau’ri went through a betrothal before they took a mate, then they would agree to do so, too.
“Three days seems like a very long time.” Martouf ached with longing and almost trembled with trepidation. Would she respond in her usual detached way, or would she this time welcome them as more than her former symbiote’s mate?
Lantash tried to comfort Martouf. “If we stay busy, the time will pass quickly. Moreover, stop dwelling on what Samantha might or might not do. It will only make the waiting worse,” Lantash counseled him.
Martouf sighed and continued to think about the packing that needed to be done. “Our clothing will not be appropriate for a stay on earth,” he pointed out.
“We have the Tau’ri uniforms we used before, when we were on assignment with SG-1. We will ask Jacob what to do about other pieces of apparel.” Lantash was relieved that Martouf seemed to be relaxing a little.
“Good idea, Lantash.” As Martouf wandered around the room gathering the few things he thought were appropriate to take to the Tau’ri, he suddenly realized how tired he was. He murmured to Lantash, “We have three days in which to do this. I am going to bed. I am very tired.”
“You are right. We could both use some rest,” Lantash said, relieved that Martouf was finally giving in to his exhaustion and was going to get some rest.
Following his usual nightly routine, Martouf was soon in bed. He was asleep almost immediately. Lantash was active a little longer, thinking about Samantha. He held her image in his mind as he, too, finally succumbed and slipped into slumber.
Several hours later, Lantash awoke with a start. What had awakened him? Martouf groaned deep in his throat, and Lantash immediately became aware of his emotions.
He was dreaming. Lantash let Martouf’s thoughts and feelings wash over and through him, as he let them take control of their shared body. He moaned quietly to himself, but did not awaken Martouf.
Martouf watched Samantha, as she slowly and seductively removed the remainder of her clothing. She was so beautiful. Her body was sleek, long-limbed, and graceful. Her breasts, firm and high. He moaned his need for her.
As she joined him on the bed, he became aware of her hands on him. She was touching his body softly, yet quickly, never staying in one place for long. Her mouth followed her hands, breathing fire onto his skin. She slipped him into her mouth, and he caught his breath, but she did not stay long enough to cause him to lose control, only long enough to send his desires burning higher.
His body ached for her. He tried to bring her hands back to him, her mouth back to him, to still them around his hardened shaft; however, she would not pause in her sensual exploration of his body long enough to give him the release he needed.
She stretched out next to him, lying full length beside him, inviting him to touch her body. His hands touched her face, her neck, her breasts. They slid down her body and softly stroked her. Soon his lips followed, his breath hot and moist, panting in his need to kiss and caress her everywhere at once. As his lips found her breasts, and he took first one nipple, and then the other, into his mouth, he began to rock his hips against her. He was on fire, and she was the cause of the flame that, he hoped, would soon burn out of control.
His hands trembled as he slid them lightly up her thigh towards the center of her womanhood. She was so hot, so very hot and wet. As his fingers entered her, he could feel her clenching them, wanting more, wanting him.
She was ready for him, looking up at him, begging him with her eyes to come to her. Whispering with her lips against his skin that she needed him, wanted him. Now, now. He moaned deep in his throat, and leaving her breasts rosy and shining from his suckling, he took her lips in a soul-searing kiss, as he plunged deep inside her.
Once there, he lost all control; he fleetingly wondered why Lantash was not helping him control his need, but the thought was lost in his desire for this woman, and the heated passion that was her body. Their ride was fast and hard, and she was with him as he exploded deep inside her.
Martouf woke himself with his strangled cry of Samantha’s name. He lay face down on his bed, gasping for breath, his muscles still tense from the intensity of his sexual release.
He rolled over onto his back. “Lantash,” Martouf sounded a little cross.
“Yes, Martouf?” Lantash answered in an innocent tone of voice.
“Why did you not awaken me?” Martouf still panted slightly.
“Did you not enjoy it?” Lantash almost smirked.
“Enjoy it? Lantash, I have not had a wet dream since I was an adolescent,” Martouf answered in a huff.
“You did it very well for being out of practice for so long. I enjoyed every minute. When we are truly mating with Samantha, and are enjoying the real thing, we will make it last much longer. I promise you,” Lantash vowed solemnly.
Martouf sighed. He did feel better. Sort of. He slowly dragged himself from the bed and over to his chambers’ washing facilities. He gazed in the reflective surface, not seeing himself, but seeing Samantha, as she had looked in his dream. She had been wanton, willing, and wild in his arms. Her body heated in the fires of their passion. He bowed his head. Lantash noticed his distress and knew that he was not going to be much help. Even as he tried to calm their shared body, flashes of their shared dream entered his thoughts, too. Their shaft was already hard again.
He did not know if they could survive another night like this. The next two days were going to last forever. For both of them.