Chapter Eighteen Summary: Lantash and Kataya discuss their situation and their past in an emotional confrontation. Sam and Daniel draw comfort from one another and while they are doing so Jacob walks in on them. Tension begins to grow between Lantash and Daniel.
Pairings: Samantha/Martouf/Lantash - Sam/Daniel - Lantash/Other - Daniel/Other Caruswyn – My Dear, My Dearest Amat Wyn – My Love Adorata Coeurawyn – Adored of My Heart Sevesh Lok Twin – A Rite to Release a Blood or Aural Entwining. Adorata Wyn –My Adored One Sevesh’en, Sevesh – Rite of either Joining, Entwining, or Release, depending on usage, context, and spelling. Coeurawyn – My Heart “Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic Communications
As Daniel and Sam entered her lab, he took her in his arms, and she felt the tension ebb away as she relaxed. They stood holding each other, giving one another silent comfort, and as Daniel rested his cheek on the top of Sam’s head, his thoughts flew to Kataya and Lantash. What must it be like to find a lover after one hundred years? One that you still loved. He had no doubt about that. Kataya loved Lantash just as passionately as she had a hundred years ago. He had heard it in her voice.
What would it be like he wondered, to love two people so much? Because Kataya did love him, Daniel. Momentary doubts aside, he knew that. She loved him more deeply and passionately than she loved Lantash. That would not make it easier though, it would make it worse. Her heart had to be breaking in two, and he did not know what to do for her. He drew a shaky breath, thinking about what she must be going through, what both of them must be going through. Looking down at Sam, he revised his thoughts again. What all of them were going through.
He tightened his arms around Sam. He and Sam had almost become passionate Heartmates. They had come very close to taking that step. If they had, then they would be in a similar position to the one that Kataya and Lantash were in now. It would have been easy to become Sam’s passionate Heartmate. What, he asked himself, would it be like to have to choose between Sam and Kataya? He knew whom he would choose, and yet, just the thought of that choosing made him ache. He would not want to live without Kataya, but the thought of losing Sam made him catch his breath. God, it hurt.
Sam closed her eyes and relaxed into Daniel’s body. He felt so strong and safe. Familiar. What if they had become passionate Heartmates? What if she was to be asked to give up this man and his sweet love of her? What if she lost this? What if she had to choose between these two men that she loved so much? She was surprised by the ache that thought created in her heart.
She and Daniel were only Heartmates on a platonic level, and the thought caused pain. How much worse to be bonded mates and have to make this choice? She would not want to live without Martouf and Lantash, but the thought of losing Daniel made her catch her breath. God, it hurt.
As his thoughts caused his heart to ache, Daniel buried his face in Sam’s hair, breathed in her scent, and his arms tightened convulsively.
“Daniel? Are you all right?” Sam asked softly.
“No. No, I am not, Sam. I was imagining what it would be like if I had to choose between you and Kataya. The pain I felt surprised me, that is all. If I feel that way about you and her, how much more painful must this be for them? I mean, I know they will not actually lose each other, but in a way, they will, and they will never have it back. I think that would be very hard to do. On the other hand, I could not give up Kataya. That would truly end my world.”
“I know, Daniel. I have been having similar thoughts. If I had to choose between you, I would be heartbroken. Just the thought of losing you hurt, physically hurt. I would not want to live without Martouf and Lantash, but I would be inconsolable if I lost you, too.”
“We will all make it through this, Sam. I know we will. It may be hard, but we can do it. We have each other, and they have us. It may not seem like that is important, but it is.” As tears found their way down her cheeks, he slowly caressed her back, and she quieted. Backing slowly toward the desk, he snatched a tissue. He was getting good at this tissue grabbing stuff, he thought wryly.
“I am sorry, Daniel. I know crying is pointless, but sometimes it just seems like that is the only reasonable response.” She smiled a little, “Even if it is not reasonable at all,” she said sadly. “Daniel?” She paused for a moment, and then continued, “Kataya said she and Lantash were entwined mates. She explained to me what the difference between entwined and joined was, but she did not explain what happens in each ceremony. Do you know?”
“I wish I could remember, but that is one memory I can’t seem to find. I have a feeling, though, that it has something to do with their auras. And for some reason whenever I think of it, I get the impression of blood.”
Sam nodded her agreement. “Daniel, I am not sure either, but I agree that they have more than an emotional bond. I think they have a physical bond, and I think it is a very painful process to break it.”
“What makes you say that, Sam?” Daniel frowned as he contemplated her words.
“I, um, can see things in a mirror,” Sam told him, with just the slightest hesitation. She watched his face go blank.
Daniel stared at her, dumbfounded. “In a mirror,” he repeated. “You see “things” in a mirror.” He continued to look at her for a long moment before he asked, “Um, Sam, where is this mirror? What, what kind of mirror are you talking about? You see things in a mirror. Like, like…future things?” His brain was assimilating this information, but not at its normal light speed rate.
She nodded. “I don’t think it is a secret or anything. It is called the Mirror of the Mysts. Kataya and Merdwin have the ability to see things in several mediums, but the only one they have had me attempt is the Mirror. They…they have seen some, some…things…recently. She stopped, swallowed hard, and then whispered, “And so have I.”
“Oookaay. So, I take it you have…seen something…in this mirror that leads you to say what you did about the physical link?” Daniel asked, almost hesitantly. Then, before she could answer that question, he continued speaking quietly, but his voice was strained, “These, these…things that you have seen, Sam. Are they, well, are they bad things? Are they things that have to do with the mission to take out Bastet?” His last question came out in a rush, as if he had to say it quickly, or he would not ask at all.
Sam nodded her head. “The first question you asked the one about the physical link between Lantash and Kataya? The answer is yes. I, we, that is, Kataya and I both see it. She is bleeding, and you and Lantash are arguing. She sees Merdwin in it at that time, but I don’t. It worries me a lot, I guess. The other questions about Bastet are harder to answer. In fact, I do not think that I can. What I mean is that, when you look into the Mirror, some events, well, they are really clear and you can see everything in detail. Others, well, they are very out of focus, or they sort of wave in and out. Kat says that the more indistinct they are the farther into the future they usually are.” Sam shrugged and spread her hands as she explained what she knew and what she did not.
“How bad is she bleeding, Sam?” Daniel immediately asked about Kataya, not really sure he wanted to know, but realizing that he needed to be aware of this, if it was likely to happen. He did not even respond to her remarks about the battle. He also realized that he had gone from skeptic to believer. Sam did not lie to him.
She paused, wishing she did not have to say the next words, but knew that, if she did not tell him now, she would have to tell him later. Leaving him in ignorance about this was not even an option. She tried to swallow but her mouth felt dry. Finally, she managed to whisper, “My first impression, when I saw it, was that she was dying.” As she felt him tense, she hurried to continue, “Daniel, she says that it is, um, a substantial amount of blood, but that she will not die because Merdwin is there with her. She explained about Merdwin then and, I really believe that if he is there, she will be all right.”
Daniel closed his eyes. “Does everything that you see always happen, Sam? Is there any way to change it?”
“Kataya says that they do not always happen, no. She says events and their outcomes can change things, at least to some degree,” she tried to reassure him. “You know what I mean; if this were to take place instead of that, then the outcome would change from one scenario to another one.”
“Then we will just have to see to it that it does not happen,” Daniel said quietly. “I have just found her, Sam. I truly do not know if I could survive if I lost her so soon.” He took a deep breath. “That is not true. I would survive because she would expect that of me,” he told her. There was resignation in his voice as he said it though.
Sam gave her agreement and then, as her thoughts once more returned to Lantash and Kataya, she changed the subject and added, “I just wish there was something we could do for them, Daniel. I know that Lantash is hurting so much and Kataya, too. I just feel so useless.” Sam sounded disconsolate.
“I think the only thing we can give them are our love and support, Sam. They need to know we are there for them, and that we will help them in any way that we can.”
He hesitated for a moment, then continued, “After she told us about Dominic, and you all left, she told me that sometimes she can’t face what she is, what she sometimes has to do. Nevertheless, as much as she despises what she is, she will not stop. Deep down she knows there is a greater purpose, and she buries the pain. Like Jack and Teal’c. You too, Sam. You are all Warriors, and you all do things that you hate, but you do them anyway because you know that is how it has to be. All the rest of us can do is love you and accept you for the wonderful beings you are.”
Sam smiled at him, as she leaned back in his arms, then wrapped him in a tight hug, and gave him a brief kiss. Neither heard the door open, but they both heard the voice. “No wonder neither of you seem too upset over this thing. What in the Hell is going on?” If Jacob had the hair, he would have been raking his hands through it, there was no doubt, Daniel thought as he saw the tension and distress on the older man’s face. He sighed deeply yet again. At least he was getting a lot of extra oxygen, he thought wryly. He turned his attention back to Sam.
Sam gasped, as Daniel murmured to her, “Did your horoscope today say anything at all about not getting out of bed? Because if it did not, it should have, and so should mine.”
He slowly allowed his arms to drop from Sam, and just as slowly turned around to face Jacob Carter. “Don’t worry, Jacob. It is not what it looks like.” He sighed yet again. “Well, I guess my quarters are the only place that Sam or I can stand to be in without being swamped emotionally, so we will all go there. Okay, Sam?”
She nodded tiredly. “Come on, Dad. We will see if we can explain all this so that your volt- o–meter is not pegging every five minutes. What is Selmak doing anyway? Why isn’t he keeping you on a more even keel?” She asked curiously.
Jacob looked at the floor, and then up to his daughter’s face. “We had an argument,” he mumbled.
Sam smiled at him, and said, almost cheerfully, “Of course, you did. I guess you should have read your horoscope this morning, too.” Jacob gave his daughter a quizzical look, and she winked at Daniel. “Well, that is Daniel’s latest theory, anyway. Come on, Daniel and I will tell you what we can about what is going on.” Putting an arm around each of these two men in her life, they started down the hall.
“Yes, Kat? Are you all right?”
“I am fine. I need you to do something. Please link to the others on SG-1, and tell them not to repeat the story I told you of Dominic’s death. I would not have told you had I known this situation would arise. I have never told anyone else, and I cannot tell them. Merdwin does not know, either. And Samantha, Lantash never knew and he must not know. Please do not tell him.”
She heard Sam gasp in surprise. “Kat? Why?”
“I cannot explain now. Ask me later, please, and I will explain what happened.”
She felt Kataya shut down the link, and she proceeded to open one to the remainder of SG-1, including Daniel, as he walked beside her. She did not know the reason, but she would do as Kat asked. After all, what she had told them was very personal. If she did not want anyone else to know, then Sam would take care of it. She would have to find out if the Colonel had told the General, and if so, tell him to take care it went no farther.
Lantash lifted his hand and softly brushed it across her cheek. It had been so many years since last he had touched this woman. He shuddered as the familiar feelings touching her had always invoked coursed through him. He felt as if his heart was breaking; he did not know what to do, what to say. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, but it was Kataya who spoke.
“I believe we should sit down. I have many things to tell you; we might as well be as comfortable as we can.” They seated themselves at the conference table.
Once they were settled in chairs close to each another, Lantash took her hands in his. His thumbs caressed her hands gently. “I never thought I would ever see you again, Adorata Wyn. I was afraid you had fallen in battle and had not chosen to be reborn,” he finally said, his voice soft and tender, but with an edge that proclaimed the emotions roiling just under the surface.
Pushing her own emotions away, she replied, “I have not fallen in over five hundred years now, Lantash, nor have I been anywhere near to doing so.” She shook her head. “I had the war in the Pegacian System in my hands. I did not see as much battle as I was used to do.” More an evasion than an outright lie, she thought, but he did not need to know right now how often she had been in tight situations.
Gripping her hands tightly, a harsh note in his voice, he said, “That is not a true statement, Kataya. You came very close to falling in battle during the conflict with Bastet. However, it was I that almost ended your life, not an enemy warrior. I have never forgotten. Never.”
“You should have done so. It was a long time ago. Moreover, it was a battle I chose and a choice I made. Had I fallen, it would have been my choice, Lantash. Furthermore, it was as much an enemy Warrior as if they had been standing there. Bastet was the cause, not you. When will you stop blaming yourself for something that did not even happen?”
“When I find out why they feared for you; why they could not or would not explain to me what was wrong or why it was happening,” he offered his answer.
“There was nothing to know. I was distraught over what had been done to you and Dominic. Nothing more. This is a futile discussion. We did not resolve it in thirteen years, and we will not resolve it now. Would you not rather speak of something that is much more interesting and important than an event that is long past and which was concluded many years ago?” Do you not wish for news of your children, Lantash?” She asked, turning the conversation to a safer, although perhaps as emotional, a topic.
Lantash was well acquainted with this woman; she would not tell him. “Yes, I do. Tell me of them. Have they become the Warriors we always thought they would become? I—I have thought of them often.” He stopped, swallowed, and took a shaky breath, “I apologize. I have often wondered if they were alive and well, or if something had happened to them, to you. There were many times when I…” Again, he stopped unable to go on. He shook his head as he looked at their tightly clasped hands, “Tell me of my son and daughter, Adorata Coeurawyn. Tell me, show me?”
With their joined hands as the link, Kataya began to tell him of the son and daughter he had known for only thirty years. She told him of their first years in training, how they had been with Artereos and learned all from the great warrior. How Merdwin had always been kind to them, contrary to what he had feared. How they had gone to the Ancients for several years and the years they had spent with the Nox. How they loved to be with Thor, how they would tease him, and how much they enjoyed going out with him on the Beliskner.
She told him of their years at Avilion, the Sanctuary, and how it was there that they had found their place and laid the foundation for what would become their life quest. He could see it all through her eyes. He watched how they had matured and grown. Although not common, a Furling at thirty could still go through some physical changes and, while it could occur in any of them, it was a more common phenomena in Furling/other matings. His children had grown strong and beautiful. He smiled through the tears that fell upon their joined hands, as she showed him the son so like his beloved Dominic.
Except that, the eyes had changed over the years. They were no longer Dominic’s. They were his. He gasped, as he opened his eyes and looked at Kataya. “Lanwin and Taesha both have your skin texture, your eye color, much of your personality, and the charm which you possess to such a great extent, but rarely allow to show, Adorato coeurawyn.” She showed him his daughter, and he saw how she was a beautiful female version of his beloved Dominic, with eyes of liquid amber and a smile that would make you think you were hearing laughter.
Finally, she finished with them as she had last seen them; laughing as they left for the Cardwellan sector on the Furling flagship, the DuxBellorum, the Leader in Battles, ready for the adventures all youth craved. “They will be here as soon as Taesha has recovered. She was captured in battle not long ago. I have not seen her, but Merdwin tells me that she will be ready for the battle with Bastet. She and Lanwin will truly be overjoyed to see you, Tash. They have never forgotten you for one moment and have always hoped to find you again.” She paused for a moment before telling him, “Actually, it is my belief, that not only have they hoped to find you; they have long planned to actively look for you, as soon as they could. They have missed you very much, you see, and you have always dwelled within their hearts.”
“They wish to join the Tok’Ra and work with their father’s people against the Goa’uld. As I mentioned earlier, it has been their wish since their time at Avilion, and I will support them in this. They have been waiting only until they have attained their rank and joined the Table. That will happen when they come here to the Tau’ri. You and I will knight them shortly after they arrive, long before the battle. They shall enter this fight as full Katteri-enti, no longer squires. I am glad that you will be here, Lantash, Adorato Coeurawyn. It will mean much to them,” she told him sincerely, her voice deep with emotion.
Smoothly, she changed the subject to work around to what must be said between them. “Merdwin,” she watched him frown at the name of the man who had once been his rival, “has found his Soulmate, here among the Tau’ri. We are all very happy for him.” The grip on her hands tightened. “I also have found my Soulmate, just as you have found yours.”
Still he refused, or perhaps could not, say anything. She took a deep breath and continued in a soft, gentle voice that held her love for him, “Lantash, we must go through the rite of Sevesh Lok Twin as soon as possible. It will only become more painful for both of us if we do not. We can have Merdwin perform the rite, or if you prefer we…”
“No,” Lantash answered before Kataya could even finish her sentence. His voice was flat and determined.
“Lantash, please, do not,” she whispered, her voice revealing the agony she was feeling at the thought of parting from him. His first negative response did not surprise her. She had expected it. It would take a little time for him to come to the realization that it was something they needed to do, time for him to become accustomed to the idea of severing their blood tie. Lantash almost never broke a vow once made, and getting him to revoke those he made to her would be an uphill battle, that she had known. She did not completely despair, though. He was also logical and practical. He would eventually see reason. She hoped she had the time to allow him to reach the obvious conclusions.
“No, Kataya, I will not break our bond. We are Heartmates. We will always be Heartmates. It is allowed to have a Heartmate as well as a Soulmate. You know this,” his answer was implacable with no cracks to be seen in it.
“Not an unaccepted passionate Heartmate, Lantash. As you are aware. Do you honestly think you can be near me and not feel the pull of our entwining? It is there. We feel it even now, and our love is too deep and strong for one another, to deny it for long.” She sighed deeply. “I am not asking you to break our bond completely, Tash, Adorato Wyn. Only the entwining of our blood. We must break it, Lantash, or it will destroy us,” she said, as she pulled her hands from his clasp, got up, and walked across the room.
Turning back to him, she stated firmly, “Daniel is Samantha’s Heartmate, Lantash. They have a close and loving relationship, but they are not lovers. We could have the same, if you will allow it. We will always love each other. Nothing, nothing, in this Universe will ever change that, but I will not hurt Daniel, or Samantha, by remaining your passionate Heartmate without their consent. It is not fair to them, and you must believe me that to attempt to do so would ultimately destroy us.”
“I made vows to you, Kataya. How can I, in honor, break them?” He asked her, his voice strained, almost harsh.
“How can you, in honor, not?” She questioned him gently in return.
Standing and pacing a few steps, he stopped and raked his fingers through his hair, before turning to her and speaking intensely, “When I look at you, when I am near you, I want to love you forever. I want to hear you moan my name and see you wild in my arms again,” His voice held the longing of the years they had been apart. The memories were there in his words and the yearning hunger of his tone. Their feelings threatened to swamp them both.
Kataya was the first to break free of the spell his words had woven around them, and she asked, “And Samantha? What do you want and see when you are with her, Lantash? Do you not also feel the same for her even more intensely than you feel for me?” She threw her questions at him, knowing she had to break through the haze of confusion and emotion he was feeling, if she was to reach his practical, logical mind.
If she could do nothing else, she must plant some seeds of doubt. She had to do something that would force him to examine the situation more closely and dispassionately. Gentleness was not working, perhaps forcing him to face what was happening would. In addition, if that did not work, she would use his anger against him. It was all she could do. They must sever their blood tie…and soon. Lantash could be so stubborn. As the silence continued to lengthen, she looked at him, her tone grim as she asked, “Well? Tell me, Lantash. Tell me that you do not feel more for Samantha than you do for me and I will allow that you have cause for your decision…however, that will not happen will it, for you cannot in all honesty tell me that…can you? Can you, Lantash?” Her voice hard and cold, she demanded once more, “Do you not feel more for Samantha than you do for me?”
He flung himself across the room away from her before turning back and approaching her. “Yes,” he ground out, “Yes, damn you.” He stopped his pacing in front of her before he answered. “Do you realize what you are doing to me?” He asked, the anguish he was feeling evident in his voice. His pain reached out and washed through her in wave upon wave. She steeled herself against his torment and remained firm in her goal.
“Tell me, Tash. Tell me, so I can understand how you can even consider hurting Samantha so,” her voice said plainly how she felt about doing that. It was simply unacceptable.
“We are talking about us, Kataya, not Samantha,” His answer was true as far as it went, but he was as aware as she was that he was rationalizing the situation.
“We cannot talk about one without the other,” she pointed out, adamantly. “They are irrevocably tied together in this matter, Tash, just as you and Daniel are tied together in any discussion of emotions in regards to me.”
Once again he walked across the floor away from her, only to return to stand once more before her. “Please,” she thought, “please do not touch me, Adorato Coeurawyn, for I am only so strong.”
As he stood there, he suddenly burst out, asking angrily, “Do you have any idea what it was like after you left? I wanted to die. I did not care what happened to us as a blended pair. I took the most dangerous missions available to me. I almost got Justin killed, Kataya, because I was in such agony that I did not care. But, I was saved. Both Malek and Justin continued to protect and save me again and yet again. Why I do not know, for there was nothing of me there worth saving during that time.” He laughed harshly, and continued, “You were all I could think about. All I dreamed about. I heard your voice, your footsteps, and I could not stop expecting to see you come though our doorway, laughing at something, or singing some chant as you tried a new energy spell.”
He stared at her bleakly, and his voice was hoarse with suffering, as he said, “It was as if all the color in the world was gone. There were no suns, no stars in the sky. The waters of the oceans were gray and so were the grass, the trees, and the sand. It was as if my heart had been taken, and in its place, there was nothing—nothing. I have never felt such utter desolation in all of my thousands of years. You were the light in my life, Kataya, Adorata Coeurawyn. When you left, the light of my life went out, and my days were dark. My nights were indescribably cold and empty, my heart, and I cannot simply let you go again. I think it would truly break my heart this time,” as he uttered his last sentence his voice dropped to a whisper of despair and grief.
“Ah, do not cry, do not cry, my love.” As he tried to take her in his arms, she raised her tear-stained face to his and growled as she attempted to shove him away from her.
Quivering with anger and heartbreak, her voice dropped to a low cold whisper as she answered him, “Do you think you were the only one to suffer from our parting? Do you think the hours of the days were any less bleak and lonely for me than they were for you? Do you think that I did not miss you every minute of every hour of every day?” She gasped, as she finally pulled herself free from the grip he had on her arms and walked several steps away before turning and throwing her words at him, “I was so alone I thought I would die of it. The place my mind went was dark and terrifying. Like you, I took the most dangerous missions I could.”
She laughed, almost hysterically. “I am the most feared Katteri-enti Warrior in the Pegacian system, Lantash. As long as there was some justification, I killed with impunity. I became implacable and relentless. Many accused me of being heartless, and I could have told them that they were correct, for my heart remained with you, and it took me a very long time to rebuild a new one.”
She leaned against the wall and twisted her head from side to side, as if to deny the words she was saying. As the tears washed her violet eyes, she looked at him and whispered, “It was as if I had died inside, Lantash, as if there was nothing left to live for. I went through the motions, but they were meaningless to me. I did what I had to do, because it was expected of me, but on the inside, there was nothing—nothing but a desolate desert of emptiness.”
She pushed herself away from the wall and wiped the tears from her face. As she walked away from him, she gathered herself for what she was going to try to do. She turned and looked at him, as she said, “Then I met the first of my lovers. Soon, I realized that you were just another lover to me, that one lover was much like another, when all was said and done. I no longer pined for you or worried about you as I had for so long.”
“I was happy for you when I heard you had found a Heartmate and bonded. I felt much less guilty about our parting. I lost track of you and never bothered to try to find you. In fact,” she shrugged, “I assumed you were either happily bonded, or dead, and either was fine with me. My lovers kept me very happy, Lantash.”
“So, if you need a day or so to get used to the idea of breaking our binding, that is fine, but I think it would be best if we performed the Sevesh as soon as possible.” She turned her back to him again, so he could not see her face. Taking a short fast breath, she turned to him with a slight smile. “I really do not want to upset my present lover. He is most responsive and passionate, and I wish to keep him happy, at least for now.”
Lantash was looking bewildered, as he said to her, “I thought you said he was your Soulmate.”
Again, she shrugged negligently, as she said in a somewhat bored voice, “Well, he thinks he is. Maybe he will be, at least until I become bored with him.”
“I cannot believe you are saying these things. This is not you talking, Kataya. You have never...”
She cut into his statement, her voice sharp, “Perhaps you never really knew me, Lantash. Or, perhaps I have simply changed. Either way, the truth is that I do not care for you that way anymore. It was the shock of seeing you after all this time, of remembering what it was like at the time that caused my emotional outburst, nothing more. It was a terrible time for me, but that is over now, and I prefer not to remember it, for it was as terrifying for me as I told you it was.” She gestured nonchalantly before continuing, her voice still slightly bored, “That was then, Lantash and this is now. I have moved on with my life, and so have you. It is time to draw that part of our lives to an end. It will be pleasant to have another loose end tidied up.”
Once more, she turned her back on him, saying over her shoulder, dismissively, “Now, if you do not mind, I still have several things to do before I can go to Daniel, and I would like to get them finished. I suggest you go find Samantha. Moreover, be very glad you have her now instead of me. Samantha will never distress you by taking a lover. I am not the woman I was, Lantash, and I would only hurt you once again.”
Ignoring him, she sauntered over to the table to pick up the folder that was hers. She heard him pick his up and storm out the door. Her legs refused to hold her up, and she collapsed onto the chair. Putting her head down onto her folded arms, she cried as if her heart would break.
“I do not think I have ever heard so many falsehoods come out of your mouth, my dear. Do you not think you went a little far?”
“Merdwin,” she gasped. She looked at him with tear filled eyes. He held out his arms, and she went into them, as she released the pent up anguish that was in her heart. This man was her friend, the one person, besides her father, that truly understood how much she would do, how far she would go to assure that the right thing was done. As she sobbed in his arms, he softly stroked her hair and murmured words of comfort, much as he had when she was a child.
Eventually, he said to her, “You are going to make yourself ill, Caruswyn. Moreover, you must think of Daniel, too. He is hurting just knowing how you feel about Lantash; do not make it worse by also allowing him to realize how deep your own pain is. I assume the bleeding has started.”
She began to calm down, and the tears slowed to a trickle. She pulled herself from his arms and smiled at him. “I am very much afraid that I have soaked your shirt.”
“Yes, but it will dry. You did not answer me, Kataya.” He waited, patiently.
“It started soon after I entered the room and realized who he was...and that he had bonded with his Soulmate. Their bonding will shorten my time, as you know, Merdwin. It is unfortunate that I was unaware of who Sam’s prospective mate was. I only heard the host’s name. Had I known, I might have convinced her to wait before they bonded so completely. A sexual bond would not have been as debilitating for me. At least Lantash will have a much more muted response than I will. That is something for which we can be thankful. This way he may not realize what is happening to me.”
“No doubt this has caused it to increase.”
“Perhaps, but not by much,” She agreed.
“You will tell me if it begins to worsen. My suspicions and speculations left me inclined to presume that he would be recalcitrant. He was always very careful never to break a vow or a promise if it was at all possible.” He reached out and caressed her face, as he contemplated what and how best to say what needed to be said. Since no great insight came to him, he stated it plainly, “Kataya, it could come to a point where you have no choice except to tell him what is happening to you.” He placed his fingers gently upon her lips to forestall her response. “I am confident that you will not wish to tell him. I am also cognizant of the fact that you do not wish for me to inform him. I will not do so, unless your health begins to deteriorate so quickly, so drastically that your refusal to inform him is endangering your life. At that point in time, then as the Tau’ri would say, “all bets are off.” I will not allow you to leave us over this, Coeurawyn.”
“I will not force his compliance in this matter, Merdwin. You know what the consequences of that would be as well as I do. I will not have that on my conscience, too. No, no, I will not nor will I allow anyone else to inform him of my physical state.” Closing her eyes, Kataya reached up and rubbed at her temples for a few moments before looking back up at Merdwin. “I cannot, I will not do that to him. He has suffered enough at my hands; he will suffer from them no more, if I can possibly circumvent it.”
“I believe that he will agree given time, Merdwin. He is a very logical being, and I am hopeful that his love of Samantha will soon begin to cause deterioration in his determination to remain true to his vows. His contrition at hurting her, and knowing that the full culpability of doing so is his to bear, will have a very salutary effect. He will not be able to live with that for long, and the only way for him to alleviate it will be to break asunder his blood-bond with me. In the meantime, I will do my best to convince him that we must release one another. Hopefully, he will do some thinking now that he has left me,” She gave Merdwin a brief, tired smile as she concluded explaining her ideas.
Merdwin nodded his agreement and acceptance of her statements, before saying softly, “He was angry just now, but once he stops to think, he will know you were lying to him. He always knew when you lied to him. It will not take him long to figure it out, Amat Wyn. You do not appear ready for another confrontation with him again today, so if you do not want another emotional scene tonight, I suggest you go to your room. I will find Daniel and send him to you. Will that be acceptable? No, do not argue, Kataya. I believe you need Daniel’s comfort and support at this time.”
Merdwin watched her closely, studying her for clues as to what was going on within her. He frowned to himself when he realized that she was successfully blocking any probing from him that was deeper than a surface scan. She was much too skilled at blocking him, and it left him feeling slightly disgruntled.
Reaching up and stroking his face gently, she said, “You have always been a good friend to me, Merdwin. I am truly happy for you and Janet. You know that, do you not?”
“Yes, I know that you are. You have spent enough years telling me that I would someday find her and assuring me that you would find it a joyful event. I know how you feel about it, Kataya, and I thank you. I am truly happy you and Daniel will finally be together again, as you should be. Because you will be; I hope you know that,” he said seriously.
“We shall see,” she said bleakly, as she stared down at the floor, giving nothing of her thoughts away through her eyes. Glancing back up at Merdwin, she smiled slightly at him again, as she agreed to do as he wished, “I think I will go to my room. I shall be all fine, though, so do not bother Daniel. I believe I will rest, for I must talk to Samantha. It is very important, as you, I am sure, have already perceived.”
Merdwin caressed her cheek, saying, “Kataya, Lantash needs her right now, and you need Daniel. Your talk with Samantha is important, but it can wait until tomorrow. The consequences of waiting another eighteen hours or so will be negligible. Please, Amat Wyn. You need to rest, especially now. Allow yourself to recover from one emotional upheaval, before you seek out the next one. Leave it until later,” he counseled her.
She searched his face wondering if he still had not perceived what was coming. No, that was not possible. He knew; he had to have knowledge of it. She spoke quietly, “Merdwin, she is the one. I must tell her who she is…what she is. It is imperative that we ascertain if she is willing to accept the devoir. If she is willing and accepts it, then we must bond soon.” Kataya rubbed her forehead, before finding and donning her circlet. She needed the energy right now. “We will need to go to Avilion for the bonding, if she agrees.”
“I know. Nevertheless, it can wait one more day, Coeurawyn. Go to your room. I will find both Daniel and Samantha and send them to their respective mates. You need the rest. Now go,” Merdwin told her tenderly.
Giving up arguing with him, she nodded, picked up her papers, and left the room. As he so often proved to be, Merdwin was correct. She was tired, so very tired and yet she had done little. Emotional scenes would do that to you she supposed. She hoped she did not meet Lantash and Martouf on her way to her room. She did not believe that she could endure another encounter with him right now.
Merdwin remained standing it the middle of the room for a few minutes, as he considered various actions and the inevitable reactions to them, which would culminate in various outcomes. Not liking most of what he could discern, he sighed. It was going to be a long week, as the Tau’ri said. It was time to become more proactive. Turning, he left the room, plans forming even as he walked down the hall. He had much to do.
“Lantash, we have been here in Samantha’s chamber for a half an hour, and you are still as furious as you were when we left the briefing room. You must calm yourself, or you will upset Samantha.” Martouf remained quiet during the entire conversation with Kataya, suffering the emotional storms as best he could without complaint, but he would not be silent and allow Lantash to cause Samantha any more pain than she was already enduring because of him.
“I am calm,” was the obviously false reply.
“Then why are you grinding our teeth and pacing the room in this manner?” Martouf snapped, his patience with his mate beginning to wear thin.
“I am not angry. I simply have excess energy to work off,” Lantash responded tightly. “We did very little today and I am restless from lack of exercise, I am sure.”
“You should not try to lie to me, even if you are lying to yourself. Lying to me is impossible for you to do. You know that you cannot do it. I always know when you are trying to lie to me, just as you know when I am attempting to lie to you,” Martouf replied knowingly.
“I am a fool; a stupid, idiotic, moronic, gullible, fool.” Lantash suddenly stopped pacing the floor, sat on the edge of the bed, and stared unseeing at the opposite wall.
“Well, yes, I know, so I will not disagree with you, but I think you should tell me why you have suddenly come to this realization.” He awaited Lantash’s caustic reply, but it never materialized. Martouf frowned to himself. His remark should have elicited a biting or sarcastic rejoinder. That he did not reply in any manner was not at all like Lantash.
Before he could begin to question him, Lantash turned his attention back to him, explaining, “It is exactly what you said, Martouf. She was lying. Blatantly, brazenly lying. I always knew when she was lying, always; why did I miss it this time? How could I possibly have missed it? All of the signs were there, had I just looked for them.”
“What was she lying about? And how can you be so sure?” Martouf responded promptly. At least Lantash had stopped his seemingly unending pacing of the room.
Lantash gave the equivalent of a snort of disgust. “I was mated to the woman for eighty years. I always knew. Whenever she lies, she turns her back on me. As soon as she started talking about lovers and not caring for Daniel, or me, she started turning her back. I knew it was not like her to say those things. I should have recognized that she was lying.”
“Why would she lie to you, Lantash? That does not make sense,” Martouf sounded confused.
“She wants us to break our bond, Martouf. She was trying to convince me she no longer cares for me.” He frowned at that thought, knowing it was true.
“If she went to that much trouble to convince you, perhaps you should consider it,” Martouf replied gently.
Lantash was quiet for quite some time before saying, “You wish me to break the bond. I understand. You have no feelings for her. I am sorry.”
“That is not exactly true, Lantash. I am feeling everything you are feeling. You have been unable to shield me; these emotions are too strong. Therefore, I do care for her. Which is a very odd sensation, I must admit, and it must be very much like what Samantha felt when she was left with Jolinar’s feelings. A love for someone she did not know.”
Lantash was quiet, and then said, “Perhaps we were not as patient with Samantha as we should have been. I wonder how she finally came to the conclusion that she loved us?” Lantash contemplated this rather puzzling thought for a moment before Martouf reclaimed his attention.
“We should ask her when she comes. I wonder where she is?” Martouf was becoming anxious. He assumed control.
“She is with Daniel. Perhaps in her lab.” Martouf headed out the door. He wanted to see Samantha. She was their love. The feelings he had for her were stronger than those others were, and he needed her, he needed to see her, and hold her, and hear her voice.
“Martouf. My feelings for Kataya do not diminish what I feel for Samantha. I love both of them. This is very hard for me to explain. I am sorry.”
Martouf sighed. “I understand, Lantash. I love them both, as well. However, I love Samantha more, and I want to be sure she knows that. Even if we are not going through with breaking our bond right away, I want her to know that she is the one I want to be with forever.” They had reached the lab, but Samantha was not there, and neither was Daniel. They stood still, puzzled. Samantha had said she was taking Daniel to her lab. "Where could they have gone, Lantash?"
“Perhaps they went to their eating facility,” Lantash suggested.
“Possibly.” He left the lab and started down the hall, spotting Samantha and Daniel walking toward them. They had their arms around each other, seeming very comfortable and content together. What was it Kataya had said? Daniel and Samantha are platonic Heartmates. They are very close and love each other very much. Martouf felt his heart constrict. This was what Kataya was offering them. This closeness. He hoped Lantash could accept it. It looked comforting. He wondered if Daniel had ever kissed his Samantha. He shook his head and then smiled as they came up to them.
“Daniel, Samantha. Lantash and I were looking for you,” Martouf said.
“Where is Kataya?” Daniel asked. He looked at Martouf with a question in his eyes. Martouf avoided that question, but told him where she had been, “When we left she was still in the briefing room. I saw Merdwin in the hallway, so perhaps he entered to talk to her.”
Sensing his distress, Sam turned to Daniel. “I think I should take Martouf and Lantash and relax this evening. I am taking him home with me. How about you?”
“As soon as I can find Kataya, I will see what she wants to do. I will take her wherever she wants to go. But, didn’t you say you had to meet with her, Sam?”
“Yes, I forgot.” Sam sighed, as she considered her options. “Kataya said it was really important. We have to meet.” She nodded to Merdwin, who was coming toward them down the hall.
“Merdwin, have you seen, Kat?” She asked when he was close enough to hear her.
“I believe she was going to her quarters. Did you need her for something?”
Sam nodded. “We were supposed to get together to go over some things. I will find her through the link.”
“No, please do not, Samantha,” Merdwin said, quietly. “I convinced her that your talk could wait until tomorrow. She is in a great deal of emotional distress, as I am sure you and Daniel are aware being Heartmates yourselves. The situation with Bastet is stressful for all of us, even more so for the five of you due to the other situation that has arisen. Give yourselves some time to come to terms and assimilate what has occurred. I am sure that there are many things for you to talk and think about.”
Whereas before Merdwin was talking to all of them, he directed his next comment to Sam, “I suggest you take Martouf and Lantash somewhere quiet, so that you can have some private time together.”
Then he turned to Daniel and advised him, “I think Kataya needs you, Daniel. Perhaps if you remain with her, she will be content to simply relax and enjoy your company.”
“According to Kataya, he is nothing more than a toy, Merdwin,” Lantash bit out. “So, why would she need him more than you? You were her lover, also, were you not?” Lantash’s roiling, conflicting emotions turned his normal ability to control both his temper and his mouth to mush. Consequently, he had little control, even less sense, and he found himself saying things that in the normal course of events would never cross his lips.
“We are all aware of what my feelings for Kataya are. However, they no longer claim the center of my heart, as they have in the past. My mate has taken that place and she shall remain there. That is possibly something about which you should give some very serious thought. What is more, you are quite aware that you are lying about what she feels for Daniel. I never knew you to be petty, Lantash,” Merdwin rebuked him none to gently.
Lantash looked taken aback for a moment and then he had the grace to look ashamed. “You are correct, of course. I apologize, Daniel. I am still surprised and disgruntled that Kataya managed to lie to me.”
“What was she lying about? That does not sound like Kataya,” Daniel said, obviously upset at something that he considered very much out of character for his mate. Frowning at Lantash for a long moment, he suddenly made one of his sudden intuitive leaps and accused, hotly, “You argued with her and refused to sever your bond, to go through the Sevesh, didn’t you?”
Lantash was uncomfortable, and it showed. Martouf was letting him wallow in the mess he had made. Clearing his throat, he finally said, “As for what induced her to make such statements, I believe you should ask her, Daniel. Her words were not true, as I should have suspected. My own anger caused my remark to you, and I should have known better than to ever utter it. As I have stated, it was not true. I apologize for that. As for the other…I,” he stopped, and cleared his throat, before bringing himself to tell him the truth, “I did not agree, Daniel, you are correct in your assumption. I, I wish to give the situation some thought rather than do anything hastily. I have had this information for less than three hours. I trust you will understand that I cannot agree to break my vows without giving the, the proposition some deeply serious thought.”
Taking a calming breath, Daniel jerked his head in an approximation of a nod of agreement, before announcing evenly, “I am going to go find her. Take care, Sam,” he said, as he kissed her cheek. Nodding sharply to Lantash and Martouf again, he headed down the hall, and Merdwin joined him.
Lantash and Samantha looked at one another. “Have you been to your quarters yet?” She asked, softly. It was obvious to her that Lantash was in a very precarious state of mind. He needed time and space and she could arrange both.
“No. No, I have not. Do you know where they are? I do not believe that anyone notified us that they were prepared.”
“This way. It is just down from mine actually. We will get your stuff and head out for my place. Does that sound okay with you two?”
Martouf sighed in relief, as Lantash said, “Yes, it sounds very okay, Samantha. I am looking forward to spending some time with you, as you know.” As they entered the room he had been allotted, he put his hand on her arm and gently pulled her to him. He enfolded her in his arms and laid his cheek against the top of her head. “I am so sorry, Samantha. I do not know exactly where to start, but I think we should talk. I do not want you to think I love you any less than I said I did. You are my mate, and I love you very much indeed.”
Sam laid her fingers on his lips. “I know. We will talk all you want, but not until we arrive at home and relax. All right?”
“Yes, that sounds like a very good idea. It looks like they have put my trunk over there,” he said, as he picked it up and turned toward her. “I am ready, my love.”
“Well, not quite. I think you should put on the BDU’s that should be in the drawers. We will stop at the mall and get you some jeans. If you are going to be staying here, you will need something besides what you have on to wear.” Maybe doing something as mundane as shopping would calm them both somewhat.
Martouf took over as they dressed, and Lantash stepped back to try to recover from the tumultuous emotional tempest they had so recently experienced. Within minutes, they were on their way to the surface. Neither was sure how this evening was going to end, but they both had hopes of a specific ending. Sam grinned. It was a good thing she didn’t have her bike today. The car would probably be bad enough. As she took him over to the little sports car she was driving today, she nodded to the other side.
“Pull up to open the door and then go ahead and get inside.”
Following her instructions, he opened the door and then looked around with interest before saying, “You wish us to enter this? What is it?” Even as he asked, he entered the car and once again looked around him.
“It is my car, my automobile. Please fasten your seatbelt.”
“Seatbelt?” He asked. As she reached across him and showed him how to connect it, he frowned and asked, “What is this for Samantha?” Why are you securing us to this, ah, car?”
Sam smiled at him and fastened her own seatbelt. As she pushed the key into the ignition, she replied, “Well, it is actually a safety precaution. If I get hit by another car, hit some other car myself, or miss a curve and we wreck, it will help prevent you from being hurt too badly.” She sent him another wide bright smile before putting the car into gear.
“Do these accidents happen often? I do not think you should be in this car, if it is not safe. Perhaps we should stay on the base tonight, Samantha,” Martouf said nervously, beginning to feel as if the car was encasing him in a metal embrace.
Sam let out the clutch abruptly jerking Martouf backward against the seat. Sam smiled an evil little smile. Mountain driving in a sports car was fun, and, she justified herself, the view was spectacular.
Martouf was leaving indentations in the leather of the seat where he was clutching it with fingers that, had the seat been breakable, would have shattered it into a thousand pieces.