Chapter Forty-three Summary: Daniel, Martouf and Lantash regain their strength quickly and soon leave the infirmary. As they begin to put their lives back together, Daniel and Martouf realize that Lantash was not doing as well with his grief as they were with theirs, but they don't know what to do about it. Lantash comes up with his own ideas on curing his depression. Martouf is appalled. The Tok'Ra have returned to their base and Jacob often remembers the day Sam died. However, as he goes over all of the events, he realizes something that no one else has picked up on. He feels better after that. Selmak agrees with him.
Sevesh’en twine Coeurata’irs - The Rite of Brother-ship “Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic Communications
When Janet ran into the room, both men were sitting up, and she was in time to hear Daniel quietly ask, “Were there any other casualties besides, well, besides Kataya and Sam?”
“Not that we know of, Daniel. The Katteri didn’t come back with us, but they all looked to be fine,” Jack answered. “Janet could give you more information on the wounded.”
“There were numerous injuries, Daniel, but they are all pretty much up and going. The Tok’Ra helped a lot by using the healing device on the ones that wanted it, and the rest we were able to take care of; they just healed a little slower. You, Martouf, and Lantash were the only ones we had any reason to be concerned over,” Janet explained briefly.
Daniel flushed, as he looked down at the comforter that he realized was one that Kataya brought through for their bed here on base. He could still smell the rose and musk scent faintly, and it made him catch his breath at the pain before he firmly pushed it away. He smoothed the cloth slowly with his hand, and then looked up at the people surrounding them.
Thinking of all the pain these people had been through for them, he said quietly, “Yes, and I am very sorry we caused all of you so much worry. We did hear you, and it called us back many times. Thank you all. Without your voices, I am not sure what would have happened,” he finished, as he sent Janet the smile that Sam had always loved to see.
It tugged sharply on Janet’s heartstrings, for this was a smile that Sam would never see again. She was just thankful that they were seeing it. Janet could not stop herself; she walked to the side of the bed and wrapped her arms around him giving him a warm hug. Her voice was husky, as she said, “I am so glad you, Martouf, and Lantash are home, Daniel. We are all glad to have you back, all of you.”
As she pulled back from the embrace, Daniel smiled at her and deciding he should lighten the atmosphere, he asked her for something to eat.
“We, also, would be very appreciative of some type of nourishment,” Martouf said, from the other bed. “I believe I am quite hungry and thirsty.”
“I will order you both something. You should try to eat just a little at first. If you can tolerate something mild and are still hungry, then we will go from there, okay?” Janet asked Martouf.
Nodding his head in agreement, he sent her a shy smile. The one that tended to make most females want to shelter and care for him whether he needed it or not. Janet smiled back, even as she felt the same pain she had at Daniel’s special smile. Sighing to herself, she wondered how long it would take the pain to stop, knowing it was a pointless question. It would take a very long time.
When something mild and small arrived for the two of them, they finally needed their other hands, and they reached over, together, and unbound their wrists. There was no trace of a cut, nothing to show that someone sliced their wrists open.
As word spread that they had awakened, their room became busy with people wanting to say hello, and to see for themselves that they were indeed conscious, talking, and evidently fine. Martouf and Lantash were amazed at how many of the SGC personnel, after talking to Daniel came over and engaged them in conversation. All made it very obvious that they were very glad to see both of them awake and aware.
When Janet suggested that they sleep and rest for a while, they looked at her, and then at each other, before turning back and pointing out that they had just spent three weeks and three days in a sleep-like state. They really were not sleepy; however, what they would really appreciate, Daniel said, was a shower.
Janet did not think that was a good idea, until Jack, Teal’c, Malek, and Jacob had assured her that they would see to it they did not get hurt. Therefore, they got their shower and took some short walks. Their strength returned quickly, and within a few days, they were at Jack’s house along with Jacob, Malek, and Teal’c.
A week later and they were on their own and spending time in their own homes. Six weeks after the battle, they were slowly picking up the threads of their lives. They were working in Daniel’s office. Martouf and Lantash’s knowledge of the Goa’uld and everything pertaining to them, as well as their grasp of many languages, was proving to be an asset. Soon, they would be doing off-world missions. No one mentioned Martouf and Lantash leaving. It was accepted that they belonged on earth now and for the foreseeable future.
They were not happy, but neither were they in constant agony. It was difficult for them to talk about Sam and Kataya, and yet, they found they needed to talk about them. Jack, Teal’c, Jacob, and Malek told them about Artereos’ visit and the star he showed them; a star that was born as twilight fell on the day of the Great Battle, and that Artereos said the All named it after Sam and Kataya; they insisted on going and seeing it, as soon as night fell. After that, they had a place to go to find at least a semblance of peace.
Many nights found them on the mountain, talking softly and gazing at the star that hung near to the earth shining brightly. At least, it shone brightly most of the time. However, they agreed that some nights, it was not so bright. An oddity they could not explain and did not even try to understand. Here on the mountain they could release their grief with one another and know that it would go no further. The conversations that lasted long into the night, as they remembered their mates, were not something they would ever share with anyone else. All the tears, all the rage, all the emotions that tore through them, would stay on the mountain; the only witnesses were each other and the stars.
Now that they were on their own, they found comfort in being together. They did not have to hide their pain when it was just the two of them. Only, it should not have been just the two of them. Lantash appeared more and more withdrawn, and neither Daniel nor Martouf, knew what to do for him. Both were becoming extremely worried, though, for he was not even taking umbrage at Jack and his sometimes-sarcastic comments. He simply replied politely or ignored them and everything else that was going on around them.
Jacob, Jocasta, and Malek stayed on earth for several weeks after they awoke, but when it looked as if Martouf and Lantash were settling in, and received clearance for off world work, they returned to the Tok’Ra base. They came back to see how they were and spent the day three months after the battle just to keep in touch, and let them both know that they were thought about and missed.
When Lantash refused to say more than a word or two in response to direct comments, Daniel and Martouf knew that something was very wrong and that some kind of emotional storm was on its way. Martouf was having more and more trouble sleeping, as Lantash was restless all night, and slept very little. Often, Martouf was subject to waves of agony over the loss of Samantha, and it was becoming harder for him to continue to try to pick up his life. He knew that Lantash was wrestling with something, but he did not know what until, they sat down and talked after their visitors left.
While waiting for Daniel to come back to his office, Lantash finally decided to tell Martouf what actions he was considering taking, “Martouf, I believe that I have a solution to the problem we are having.”
“What problem is that, Lantash?” Martouf asked quietly.
“The problem of you being subjected to my inability to get past the loss we have suffered. I do not think I can go on much longer this way, causing you so much pain. I believe that perhaps we should be unblended,” Lantash said firmly.
Martouf sat in shock for a moment, before saying bluntly, “No. I will not allow it. I will not lose you, as well as Samantha and Kataya. I could not survive that.”
“You and Daniel have become very close, Martouf. I believe he can take my place. He is being much help to you in adjusting to our loss, and I think you would heal faster, if you did not have my constantly depressing thoughts to deal with.”
“I. Said. No, Lantash. 'As Daniel would no doubt say to you, “Just what part of no did you not understand'?” I will not even consider it, so you might as well forget that you ever contemplated it for so much as a moment,” Martouf stated again, if possible even more forcefully, anger beginning to simmer.
Lantash quivered and appeared to move his body deliberately in a way that caused a deep burning sensation to travel downward along Martouf’s spine. “I do not need your permission to un-blend, Martouf,” Lantash snapped. “All I need to do is tear my way out of your body in the same way I could have entered. However, I do not wish to put you through that pain, so I would prefer to let the Tok’Ra do it,” he stated grimly.
Gasping, as the pain found its way back up his spine to his neck, and into his head, he still managed to refuse, “I will not agree, Lantash. Never,” Martouf gasped and then gritted his teeth, as the pain intensified for a moment, before easing somewhat. As the pain lessened, his anger increased and he snarled at his mate, “Tear away, because it is the only way you and I will part. You are a part of me and I will not give you up. Not now, not ever. Have I made myself plain enough for you to understand the no this time, Lantash?” He paused to gain a semblance of control over his anger, before continuing, “Much as I care for him, Daniel could never take your place. My answer is no, and you can inflict as much pain on me as you wish, I will not agree. I have lost one of the beings I loved more than my own life; I will not allow you to take the other one from me,” he spat his frustration as his rage once more gained a hold on his fragile emotions.
Martouf’s answer, along with his emotional response, obviously unnerved Lantash somewhat, for his answer sounded as if he was attempting to be more accommodating, “I will not force the un-blending right away; I will give you time to become adjusted to the idea, so that it will be easier on both of us.”
Martouf did not respond; he simply got up as Daniel came in, and said, “Shall we go to your home? I do not wish to be alone tonight, Daniel, if you do not mind.”
Sending him a speculative look, Daniel agreed, “Sure, let’s go.” It was no hardship to him, as he preferred to have the company, too. They rode the elevator to the top in silence, and then they made their way to Daniel’s vehicle. As he unlocked it to get in, he said, “Do you want to eat Italian or Chinese?” When he received no answer, he looked over at Martouf and realized that he was bending over the hood of the jeep, his head on his fisted hands.
“Martouf? What is it? What is wrong?” He asked, as he swiftly rounded the front of the SUV and touched Martouf’s shoulder. There was very little light in this part of the parking lot, and it was dark, so he could not really see Martouf’s face, but he heard him moan, and then grind out, harshly and emphatically, “No, I will not. I will not.”
“Martouf? What do you need? Tell me what to do,” Daniel said, softly.
“Bring back my Samantha, Daniel, so that this agony will stop burning me to my soul,” he gasped, as he once more clenched his hands into fists and took a hissing breath, fighting to get his emotions under control once again.
“Do you not see, Martouf? I am causing you unnecessary pain. We must do something to stop this for you,” Lantash said, softly.
Furious now, Martouf threw at him, “The only thing that will stop it for me is when you begin to share our pain instead of hiding it and then having it become overwhelming.” Pausing he attempted to tamp his anger down before finishing his thought. “Not once have you let yourself mourn with us, all you do is bury the feelings until something triggers them, and then they cause both of us an almost unbearable wave of pain,” he continued angrily having failed at his attempt to calm himself. “There will be no un-blending.”
“I am sorry, Daniel. I am all right now. It was the mention of Italian food. The second night we spent at Samantha’s, no, our home, we had Italian. It is number eight on the phone,” he said hoarsely. Then shaking his head, he continued, “It is strange how something as simple as that can bring back the pain in almost unbearable waves.”
“No,” Daniel answered, “It is not strange at all, and you know it. It happens to me all the time; it is all I can do to remain upright when it hits me. Sometimes, when I am alone, I just sink to the floor, and I think my head and chest will explode. I miss her so damn much. The other day, I found a book she was reading, still marked on the page she was on, and I could not breath, it hurt so badly. I changed the sheets on the bed the other day, and the ones I picked out smelled of roses and musk, and I thought I would never make it out of the room the pain was so intense. So you see, I do understand and sympathize. However, I also know that it will get better. We are survivors, all three of us; we have been through this type of pain before and made it. It will just take time, that is all,” Daniel did his best to reassure not only Martouf and Lantash, but also himself.
Dragging in a shaky breath, Daniel threw a half smile at Martouf, “Come on, let’s go. We will decide what to eat later if you like.”
Shaking his head, Martouf answered firmly, “That will not be necessary, Daniel. I believe I would like Italian.”
Getting in the car, Daniel leaned forward to insert the key, then stopped and looked at his friend. “We will live through this, you know. All three of us. I know I am repeating myself, but it is the truth; it is just going to take time, and we have to expect these flashes of heartache. It has only been three months. It will get better; I give you my word,” Nodding decisively, as he made his declaration, he then started the car and headed for home.
Jacob Carter watched the light bounce off the crystals walls of his room as he lay on the sleeping platform. Jocasta would be joining him soon, but for now, he was alone. He missed his daughter. He could not believe it had been three months now that she had been gone. He caught his breath at the pain that pierced his chest; the pain had lessened very little since the day she died.
Well, they assume she had died. All Artereos and Merdwin had told them the day they had suddenly shown up at the SGC was that they were in the All, but that they were not with Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel, although their spirits, too, were in the All. That had been before the three of them had finally awakened.
Jacob had been to see Lantash and Martouf today. They were comfortable on Earth now, and they were living in Sam’s house, since they recovered from their wounds. The government finally gave him his papers, and Daniel signed the house over to him. Sam had set everything up before the battle, so that if anything happened to her, as she had known it very probably would, they would have it, although officially it was Daniel’s house, until he signed it over.
Now that the U.S. Government had officially recognized Martouf, it was his, as Sam wanted it to be. He was living in it. Sort of. From what Martouf and Daniel said today, he had the impression that they spent several days a week at Daniel’s house, since Martouf did not drive yet. Then they spent a couple of days at Martouf's house. Although, he had the impression that Daniel went home most nights, and they were trying to keep from becoming too dependent on one another. Jacob had told them to stop worrying about it, and spend time together if they needed to. They had each other and many special memories. Those would help them make it through the hard parts. Still, they were so lost within themselves; it often seemed as if only a shell stood where there used to be two vibrant people.
Although Martouf and Daniel had become almost inseparable from the day they awoke from the coma, or whatever it was they had been in, they had not given up their other friendships. They still spent time with Jack and Teal’c. A lot of time from the way it sounded. Jack and Daniel’s friendship was stronger than ever, but they did not share the tie that he and Martouf did. Jack could not share his emotions with Daniel in the same way, so it was natural that Daniel and Martouf stayed close to one another.
It was just that the bond between Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel was very strong; they supported each other and understood one another with almost no words. The love they shared for the two women that were mates to them both had forged a bond that was deep. The tying of their blood had cemented it into a solid entity. They were brothers in every way, as far as they were concerned.
Furthermore, Jacob knew that Martouf had been glad to see Malek and him. He had the distinct impression that he missed them quite a bit, actually. Lantash though, had said almost nothing all day. That was a worry, but Jacob could do nothing about it from here.
Damn, would the visions of the battle and its aftermath ever stop replaying themselves in these flashes? Jacob knew he might as well let them come all at once when they started doing this. If he did not, they would just keep popping up all evening long.
Closing his eyes, he relived the day of the Great Battle, and the pain of losing his daughter. He watched again, as Sam changed from a beautiful woman into the stunning, but deadly, creature she was at her death. He saw again the iridescent scales and the silver girding, the sword and shield, the ribbons devices and circlet that had appeared and become a part of her. He watched again, as she had fought in perfect harmony with Kataya even before they joined their power and became so attuned that it was as if they were performing a deadly ballet. Neither missed a step; they were in perfect harmony.
He watched as Kataya began to amass the powers of nature as well as the universe, and to glow ever brighter, as Sam kept Bastet engaged. Earlier Sam had stopped Kataya from doing just that, so they knew Kataya must have convinced her that there was no other way, or she would not have helped her.
He relived the moment Daniel had realized what she was going to do and screamed, “No!” He felt again the waves of love she had sent Daniel, before she had released the power she had amassed and finally destroyed the evil that had been Morgasha/Bastet. Later, he realized that wave of love was so deep and so intense that they all felt it.
The line from the legend they had repeated over and over to Lantash, Martouf, and Daniel came into his mind. He would never forget it, for it felt as if someone had branded it onto his brain. For there is no greater love in the universe than that of a Dragon Slayer for its mates. Well, they could all attest to that, for each and every man and woman in that compound had been bathed in it, as it made its way to Daniel’s heart. It was the same love that had radiated outward from his daughter to Martouf and Lantash as she lay dying.”
As the scenes continued their trek across his mind’s eye, he watched as the Furling with the Goa’uld within her had taken every bit of power she still held and released it at Kataya, who was now almost defenseless. Still, Kataya had been smiling...for vengeance had indeed been hers. As if in slow motion, he saw his daughter attempt to share her shield. He watched again, as it killed both of them.
He watched Kataya set the blood of the dragons alight and perform, they had all later realized, the last act that the prophecy called for; And the blood of the Dragons shall be shed upon the soil, and from the fire, we shall rise again and shine. He saw the way Sam and Kataya’s hands had melded together. He recalled the flash that had indicated that Thor had taken her and Kataya, as well as the priestesses. They realized slightly later, that Thor took Morgasha/Bastet as well. Never again would she be free to terrorize and torture them, or anyone else.
Only then had anyone realized that Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash’s wounds were very probably life-threatening. They had been the only two on the far side of the compound. From there, they had been able to watch at least some of the battle and keep an eye on any Jaffa that were trying to make their way in from that way.
Moreover, a few of the Jaffa had tried to enter that way, and they now knew that Daniel had sustained his knife wound soon after taking up his position. He had won, but the Jaffa had knifed him first, and that wound had made all of them fear for his life. He had lost a lot of blood, and it had done some internal damage. They also now knew that as the Furling had said, the emotional wounds were the more serious of the two.
They figured that Martouf and Lantash had sustained their injury at the end when the fighting became even more intense and bolts of energy were flying at every angle, contacting obstacles, and splintering, throwing shafts of energy and stone in all directions. Although Lanwin had warned them that they were leaving the protection of the shield, they decided to cover that area anyway, and so they stayed there, completely exposed. He and Daniel had less cover in the area of the compound they had been in than the rest of them, and he must have taken a blast from a fractured energy bolt. Thank whatever powers that be, it had not been a full blast; he would have been dead on the spot. Jacob almost moaned at the thought of what it would have been like to have lost not only Sam, but Martouf and Lantash as well.
Of course, considering what happened, Martouf would have preferred that, except that Sam would have died without him there, and Jacob was so very thankful that had not happened. Jacob knew Martouf realized that it would have broken her heart, to die knowing that he did not survive, so he was at least thankful that he had been there for her.
They even discussed it one time, and he told Jacob that much as he did not wish to go on without his Samantha, he was so very glad that he had been there to tell her good-bye and reassure her that he would go on for her. He only wished that they had not been so badly injured that Lantash could not also tell her, for Martouf believed it was worrying him greatly that he had not been able to speak to her himself. However, he was guessing, he had said, because Lantash refused to speak of it at all.
As flashes of the trek back to the gate began to assert themselves, he remembered how Lantash’s son and daughter had sustained Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel, and how they had given explicit instructions on how they were to be treated. The two of them kept them alive on the walk to the gate and in reality, by insisting they follow their instructions, they probably kept them from dying, too. Though Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel healed physically, they refused to awaken, and for three long weeks, they were in coma-like states.
Someone was with them twenty-four/seven, and every person that sat with them through the long weeks repeated their promises to their mates, tirelessly. They had each talked to them endlessly of Sam and Kataya, and when they finally awoke, they both admitted that the voices had kept calling them back, even though they had not wanted to return. They thanked everyone that sat with them and helped to hold them here, so that they could keep their promises to their mates.
Therefore, Lanwin and Taesha accomplished their special assignment, the one the Tau’ri and the Tok’Ra were not even aware they had, just as the Priestesses attempted to accomplish their special, but unknown assignment. It became obvious later that there were many different things going on behind the scenes of which they were completely unaware. There was a conspiracy of silence surrounding his daughter, Kataya, and their battle with Bastet. It became very apparent, after the fact, that the priestesses Kataya insisted on were there specifically for her and Sam, for they had immediately surrounded them and began to attempt to keep them alive. It was not their fault that they failed.
And as Teal’c had pointed out, the silence surrounding the two women and the battle they were about to engage in, had allowed all of them to have happy memories of the final weeks, rather than sorrow and pain at the knowledge of what was about to take place. He realized, too, that even if they had informed anyone of what was about to occur, it would have changed nothing. They would have insisted on going into the battle, even knowing the most likely outcome. It was pointless to tell anyone what was about to happen; therefore, they did not do so.
Jacob felt the tears streak his face and left them there. Tears were something he rarely allowed himself. Having his daughter in the service in the position she was in, he was very cognizant of the fact that K.I.A. was a very real possibility; however, the actuality of it was harder to live with than the abstract thought was. He sighed and finally wiped his cheeks as the tears ceased and his mind returned to the weeks following the battle. The weeks that Martouf and Daniel had been in the infirmary beds, healed except that they refused to awaken. He could still hear Janet Fraiser’s voice as she told them her theory.
“In my professional opinion, there is no physical reason they are still in this condition. However, in my personal opinion, I believe that, though their bodies have healed, their minds are trying to adjust before they return to consciousness. I believe they will wake up, when and if, they can come to terms with their present realities and the expectations of those around them. We all know what those are. They are that they pick up the threads of their lives and continue the fight against the Goa’uld without their mates by their sides. When they can finally accept that reality, then they will come back to us. I also believe that the constant reiteration of their promises is the only thing keeping them alive at this point in time. If their minds give up, then their hearts will follow, and in my opinion, the cause of death would be heart failure, because they would simply stop. Professionally, I can’t say that, as it would not happen, but in my personal opinion, I think it would.”
They all sat and tried to accept what they all knew in their hearts and what Janet finally put into words. The two men were close to dying of something that supposedly did not ever really happen. That was at the end of week two. The next week had seen them working even harder to recall the two men. There had been an air of urgency in the room; a sense that a crisis was coming, but no one knew what to do about it.
Then three weeks to the day after the Great Battle, a wormhole formed and the iris remained open with no way to close it down. No one was surprised to see a group of Katteri Warriors come through, Lanwin and Taesha among them, and stand in a defensive protective formation. Then Merdwin arrived, tall, handsome, elegant, yet commanding, much as usual, and behind him, emerging from the event horizon strode a man they had all heard talked off, but only a few had actually met; nonetheless, those who had neither seen nor met him knew him immediately.
Artereos of Cadwaellon was indeed an impressive sight as he stepped from the shimmering blue of the event horizon, the black cape of his Katteri uniform billowing out and then swirling around him as he stood at the top of the ramp. Magnificent was a word many had used to describe this man, and it was well deserved. Over six feet in height and broad of shoulder, the power emanating from him was obviously real and not an illusion. His heavy white hair waved to his shoulders and slightly beyond, his deep dark green eyes, so startlingly like the sister that Sam helped to kill, took in every detail in one swift perceptive glance, and his personality could be felt throughout the Gateroom and into the control room. No doubt, an extremely handsome man in his youth, he was still so to this day, with the added bonus of being distinguished looking as well. His appearance of being an older gentleman was belied by many things, if one took the time to look. During their stay at Avilion, it had not taken long for all of them to recognize it for the illusion it was.
That Kataya was his daughter there was no doubt; except for the height, the much bulkier musculature, and the eyes, her resemblance to him was very apparent, from the golden tone of her skin to the beautifully sculpted lips and cheekbones, and on to the winged brows and patrician nose. Hers was the feminine version of his strong chin and jaw. The same firm, quiet confidence in their abilities emanated from them. There would be no denying the paternity of Kataya the Warrior once one saw Artereos the Warrior. None at all. And their Sam carried threads of this man’s soul. No wonder she had unshakable determination once set upon a course.
His voice was deep and beguiling, exactly as Jacob remembered it, as he gave the order for the Katteri to be at ease, and such was his air of command that the SGC personnel followed his order as well. Looking to the control room, he smiled, and bowed deeply before saying, “I am pleased to finally be able to meet you in person, General Hammond of the Tau’ri.”
“We are pleased to have you here as well, Artereos of Cadwaellon,” General Hammond greeted him and then added, “We will be right down.” Jacob and Malek happened to be with him in the control room that day, and he was so very glad they were both there. Jack and Teal’c joined them as they left the control room. When they reached him and Merdwin, Artereos clasped the General’s forearm in a warrior’s greeting and smiled readily, something they had not seen much around the SGC for the last three weeks.
His next words surprised no one, “I apologize for my precipitate arrival. I would, of course, normally have made arrangements, so that you would know when we would arrive, however, I have been given a,” he paused as if looking for the correct word, before arriving at one that suited him, saying, “task, I suppose you would say. The All insisted that this…devoir…be undertaken at once; therefore, we had no time to alert you to our arrival. I must be honest, however, and admit that I agreed that it was imperative that Merdwin and I discover the reason for the problem right away. Therefore, I have come to see to my sons.” At the blank looks that he received, he clarified for them, saying quietly, “My sons, Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel.”
After making eye contact with each of them, he expanded his statement, explaining to them, “The All tells me that my sons are refusing to leave the Mysts, and that, in fact, they are simply drifting ever deeper into them. We must deal with this, for they each have a life-force that is very determined, and it must be allowed to come forth for them. You have all done an excellent job in reminding them of their promises to their mates; nevertheless, it is now time to stop. The All has determined that they have accepted what has occurred, and thus it has decided that it is time for them to return to their lives…or not. Whether they choose to live, or die, will now be up to them.”
He sighed, as he said softly, with understanding, knowing this would shock all those there, “It is time for them to prove themselves worthy to be the Dragon’s Mates. They must complete their journey, and it is one that only the three of them can take and only with one another. My sons have the courage, the strength of purpose, and the determined life-force, which they need. Now we must see if they also have unwavering faith in their mates and the promises their mates made to them. Do not despair, for they will help one another. Take me to them, please.”
Thus, they all went to the room where their friends were sitting with and the nurses were taking care of, Daniel, Lantash, and Martouf. Once in the room, Artereos swiftly appraised the situation and then he turned to Janet Fraiser, saying, “You must disconnect your monitoring and life giving measures, for they are no longer needed. Their bodies have healed, as you, I am quite convinced, already know.”
He then reached out and touched Janet lightly, as the ring on his finger began to glow with a deep green light. “You are a healer of much strength of purpose and ability. You have done well, child, but the time has come for them to live, or die, on their own. These measures, while needed before, now are only making it easier for them to drift farther away, and thus refuse to complete their journey. You were correct in your opinion that they would have died, had you not helped them with their physical wounds, as well as those to their hearts, but now their hearts must find both the strength to heal, and the determination to find their way home. I hope you understand, and I assure you that Samantha and Kataya do.”
“I will return after you have finished,” he told her; his deep voice was laced with sympathy at what her heart was telling her was a great risk. To allow these two to live, or die, without her intervention was asking a great deal. She also knew that he was correct; there was no physical reason they should die.
Janet finally nodded her acceptance, and turned with her nurses to disconnect the tubes that were both nourishing and emptying their physical bodies. It took very little time to do. When Janet approached them where they stood in the hall exchanging conversation on nothing in particular, she nodded to Artereos, stating, “They are off all support now; at this point there was not much anyway.” He smiled at her once more and placed his hand on her shoulder, “It is well, my dear. Please, do not worry so. It is now up to them, and it is their decision to make, not ours. The group of them returned to the room to find the two men covered by comforters from Daniel and Sam’s on-base quarters. They looked as if they were asleep.
Moving to the far side of Daniel’s bed, as Merdwin moved to Martouf’s, the two Furlings pushed the beds so close together that Artereos could barely walk between them. Once the beds were in position, he walked to them and took a hand of each of them. He frowned, as he held those hands for a few moments, then unclasping them, he turned to Merdwin, inquiring, “You did the Sevesh’en twine Coeurata’irs, the rite of brother-ship, before the battle, did you not?”
Merdwin sighed, and shook his head, “We discussed it, because they wished to have it done, but we could not seem to find a time to do it. We did an aural binding, but the days before the battle became hectic, and somehow, we never got around to the blood tie. I should have realized myself that was the problem. I am sincerely sorry we did not make the time to perform it before the battle, and I apologize for not discerning that the problem was arising from that lack, Artereos. I will do it now. Do you wish your dagger to be used or mine?”
“You have had much to occupy your thoughts and time, Merdwin, do not permit it to worry you. The aural binding has kept them from drifting to far apart. They are even now entwining their aura’s, so they have done well,” he said, kindly. “As for which implement to use, I believe that as my sons, they should have my dagger used on them,” Artereos continued, as he handed the beautifully crafted weapon to Merdwin.
Stepping back, he watched as Merdwin took his place between the two men and started to chant. Those present in the room that were also at Avilion, during the different rituals that took place there, were so accustomed to the pagan aspects of the Furling rites that they did not so much as blink when Merdwin slit first Martouf’s and then Daniel’s throat. Nor did they make any protest at all when he sliced open their wrists. Jacob smiled slightly to himself, remembering how they all stood quietly by as the blood floated from those wounds in the form of mist. It sought its brother, discovered it, and entwined with it, only then turning into a solid column of blood. They all stood silently as Merdwin once again began to chant in his quite beautiful voice encouraging the blood to break apart, and swirl together, mixing until there was no way to ascertain which part was Martouf and Lantash’s and which part was Daniel’s, before returning to mist, and disappearing back into the wounds.
The looks on the faces of the nursing staff, none of which had ever witnessed a Furling blood rite, had been priceless. Merdwin had healed the wounds on their necks with nothing more than a touch of the dagger. At this point, the nurses appeared to be in shock. Mer left their wrists bound to each other and unhealed. Seeing their questioning looks, he explained gently, “It is to facilitate and strengthen their bond, until it is no longer needed. If they decide to live, their wrists will heal; when a need to use both hands develops, they will untie the binding themselves.
Merdwin bowed to Artereos returning the gorgeous dagger to him. Artereos then took his place, and the energy, power, and peace that filled that room as he had clasped his hands around their bound ones had been unbelievable. Recently, it seemed there were many unbelievable things happening. Only…they were no longer unbelievable.
Afterwards, Artereos had taken them and shown them the new star that was born, he said, at the end of the Battle. The All named it Kata’Csilla Bellawynara. Star of beauty and great strength. Jacob swallowed hard, and thought about the nights since then that he had gone to the surface to look for that star, even though he knew he could not see it from here.
Before leaving that day, Artereos told them not to be concerned, as he felt certain the men would soon return. He had found and felt their spirits, and although confused and terribly saddened, they were not ready to traverse a new path. They were aware that they still needed to follow their present one, for it was not yet completed. The lack of the blood tie was the cause of the problem. He felt that three more days, four at most and they would return to them.
Before they left that day, Artereos had also said they would be back when the time was right. Jacob again sighed. It had now been three months since the battle, and they had seen none of the Furling, not even Merdwin or Gwennetha. Merdwin did send a message to Janet to tell her not to worry, and Gwennetha sent one to Malek telling him that it could still be quite some time before they returned, as there were many tasks that were not completed. Both notes said that there was still much to do, and Merdwin’s told Janet that he simply could not be gone for very long at a time from the Mysts. He promised that he, too, would be returning soon, though. Of course, who knew what soon was to a race like the Furling? It could be centuries for all they knew; however, they all believed that it would be much sooner than that.
They stopped the constant reiteration of their promises, but someone still sat and talked to Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel. In addition, they all still worried, although Artereos’s visit gave them more hope than they had felt since the two men received their injuries.
Three days after Artereos came to the SGC the three of them awakened as if they had simply been asleep. When they awoke, Daniel turned to Jack and Teal'c and Martouf turned to Jacob and Malek. How long, they wanted to know, had they been “gone”? They did not say unconscious, out, in a coma, or asleep, they said “gone”. Once told, they simply nodded and asked how things were going and how many injured were there after the battle. Were there any casualties? They were relieved to hear the almost unbelievable statistics.
As far as he knew, they never discussed what took place while they were “gone”, or what happened after Artereos and Merdwin finished their bonding, with anyone. The only thing they said about it was that it was the voices talking to them that continued to hold them here, and they had thanked everyone for seeing to it that they did what their mates expected of them.
It was obvious from the time they awakened and were not surprised to find their wrists bound that they were aware of what Artereos and Merdwin did. It was also quite evident that they formed a truly sustaining and lifelong bond. At first, just as Merdwin assured them, they did not even unbind their wrists. It was not until they wished to eat, and they needed that hand that they untied it. They reached for and undid the loosely tied binding. The cuts in their wrists were no longer there.
After they awoke, and gained some strength, they told them about the star. Martouf and Daniel spent hours on the mountain looking at it and talking, though no one knew what they found to discuss. Whatever it was, it seemed to help them, for they always seemed more at peace when they returned to the SGC hallways within the mountain. The cold night air finally drove them into going to Daniel’s and looking at it from the turret room roof or through the windows.
At first, although there was no joy in their eyes, neither had there been sorrow. For a day or so. Now, they were living and doing any assignment given to them, but it was as if their spirits were missing. Jacob sighed, and felt Jocasta stoke his arm.
Opening his eyes, he smiled at her, “Hi, sweetheart; I am glad you are here.” Reaching up, he drew her head down for a long kiss, and then sighed as the warmth of her flowed into him. “You give me so much peace, Jocasta, you and Daur’rin. I don’t know what I would do without you as my mate. I only wish I had the courage to ask you and take you as my mate before Sam died. She would have loved seeing us together in this way.”
“Perhaps if she is indeed in the All, she knows that we are bonded,” Daur’rin came forward to tell him in her gentle voice.
“Sel is reminding me to tell you we love you,” he whispered softly against her lips, before kissing her one more time.
When it ended, she pulled away slightly. “You have been remembering again,” she said softly. “I wish I knew what to do for you to help you.”
“There is nothing you can do; time alone can take care of it. I believe you know that, too.”
“Yes,” she said. Changing the subject she stated, “It is so odd that neither we, nor the Tau'ri, can get the Chaappa’ai to lock on Avilion.”
Jacob shook his head, “No, I don’t think it is. It is a sanctuary, and we don’t need it right now. I have a feeling that if we did, it would suddenly become available to us.”
Daur’rin released control to Jocasta who gave his statement some thought before agreeing, “You are correct, of course.” Looking at him with her feelings plainly showing in her eyes, she said, “I feel so useless for both of you.”
“I can assure you, Jocasta, that you and Daur’rin have been a blessing for Sel and me. I don’t think I could have stood the pain without you there beside me. Thank you for that.”
“I wanted to help you then, Jacob, and I still do. Now though, I also wish I could do something for Martouf and Lantash. I understand from O’Neill that Lantash almost never takes over from Martouf, and when he does, it is only to say something polite, unlike his usual self, I gather.”
Jacob sighed, again. “I know, and I don’t know why. I mean it is not like him to leave Martouf to struggle with everything. Of course, we should not judge. It could be that he is being internally supportive.”
“I am not sure he is, for I noticed today that Martouf had the look of listening only once. I am sure he and Lantash were conversing, but it did not last long.”
“I noticed too, Jocasta. It almost breaks my heart all over again, every time I look into Martouf’s eyes. Sometimes they look blank; as if there is nothing there, at others, he just looks lost. So lost—and so alone.”
“I saw the same things. Malek stopped me in the hall a while ago. I am glad he was able to go with us today. He finds the lack of response from Lantash very upsetting. He would barely talk to him, and he feels that Lantash is leaving Martouf to mourn and struggle on his own just as we suspect.”
“Malek said he is thinking about spending some time on Earth with him soon, hoping to be able to have some time to talk to him one on one. He is very worried for he says it is very much as he was after Kataya had to return to her home-world. He told me that at that time, Lantash did not care if he lived or died, and it was very hard to get him to be careful of himself and his host. He is concerned for both Martouf and Lantash.”
“Malek looks haunted, Jacob, as if he is reliving some terrible memories. I believe, too, that he does not understand Gwennetha’s silence. I asked him to please remember that Artereos and Merdwin both said they would return soon, and I also reminded him what Teal’c revealed to us about Morgasha’s soul being bound and how his impression, from what he overheard from Lanwin and Taesha, was that this was a very important and difficult undertaking.”
“Perhaps I should not have, but I told him that as a High Priestess, it was entirely possible that Gwennetha’s duties at this time, could be difficult and time-consuming in the extreme, and that he should not automatically assume she was slighting him in any way. I also pointed out that she had just lost her mother and that, perhaps, she was in mourning and struggling with her own grief. I hope I did the right thing,” she finished, a little uneasy with what she had said to Malek.
“I think what you did wasn’t only extremely kind, Jocasta, but also very likely true. Sel says that Gwennetha would be in the thick of anything going on since she is her mother’s heir. She has Kataya’s governmental office to take care of as well as her other duties, so I think you did a good thing for Malek. I just hope he believes you. They declared to one another, as is the custom of the Furling, and their bonding is so new that Malek has not had enough time to learn very much about the Furling. Even though it is an eternal bond, I am sure he does not understand what is happening and why she has not contacted him. You did a good thing, love,” Jacob said, as he caressed her cheek gently. She was such a good person, and in some ways, very sweet. Between her and gentle Daur’ rin, he and Selmak were wrapped in love constantly, and it had done a great deal to help them with their pain.
Smiling slightly, Jocasta replied, “Well, he looked somewhat relieved, if not exactly cheerful, so I think it may have helped. He did tell me that she had told him in the only message she sent to him, that she could possibly be gone for quite some time, but that she would return to him. I think reminding him of all of her duties will help to reinforce her message to him. If you see him, you should tell him that she is also taking her mother’s place in the government, in case he is not aware of those duties. Although she may have mentioned it to him, it would not hurt to remind him.”
“There is some good news that he just heard and passed on to me. The killing of Bastet has left a void that the other System Lords are scrambling to fill. The fighting amongst them is fierce, and we have been able to eliminate several during the infighting, and blame it on someone else. We have truly made some progress this time,” Jocasta spoke quietly. “Perhaps this is the beginning of the end of the System Lords, which is a thing we have all long looked forward to. I believe that many of us would wish to share that day with our Tau’ri allies, now that we have come to know them better.”
“I think that the prophecy of the All foretold a better understanding between the three races. The Tok’Ra and the Furling have had good understanding for a very long time, but the prophecy spoke of the three races coming together to defeat the Dragon of the Blood, who had joined with a small dragon. I would like to think that part of the prophecy was also saying that the three races would become even greater allies and work to defeat the “small dragons” together,” Jacob said slowly, as he examined the thoughts he was having, and told them to Jocasta.
“It could very well have been doing so, Jacob. After the initial, ah, integration problems were…er, resolved, there was certainly unprecedented cooperation between the races; it seems to me that since then, the tie between the Tok’Ra, and the Tau’ri has become stronger. Perhaps Samantha once again has helped to bring our two peoples together. I just wish the price had not been so high,” she finished sadly.
“So do I, Jocasta, so do I,” was Jacob’s heartfelt reply. He closed his eyes and held out his arms to her. She snuggled down next to him on the sleeping platform. He needed the warmth of her tonight. Maybe he would sleep the night through.
Suddenly, his eyes flew open, and he sat up. “They are not dead. I finally figured out what it was that Artereos said, that I thought was so strange, something that sounded odd to me,” Jacob exclaimed.
“What was it, Jacob? Please do not get your hopes up. We saw them die, Jacob,” Jocasta said, being cautious.
Jacob Carter shook his head. “I don’t care what we thought we saw; I know what Artereos said that day at the SGC. When he talked to Janet he said, and I quote, ‘I hope you can understand, and I assure you that Samantha and Kataya do.’ Not would have understood, but do understand. Present tense. You mark my words, Jocasta. One day, and I admit I don’t know when, but one day, my daughter and Kataya are going to walk through the gate and into the SGC. And actually, I think I do know when it will happen,” he said firmly.
“When is that Jacob? She asked softly.
“When Daniel, Martouf, and Lantash have picked up the pieces and started living again. We can’t tell them what we suspect, Jocasta. I think this is all part of that legend thing. Remember Artereos also said that “it is time they proved themselves worthy to be the Dragon’s Mates.” Not only that but the legend also said, “Damn it, what was it? Lanwin told me; let me think.”
“I believe you are searching for this statement Jacob. ~ The Dragon’s mate must have great courage, unwavering faith, strength of purpose, and a determined life-force, for they will be called to make great sacrifices, at which their hearts will cry out, but which they shall do just the same,” Selmak said, aloud, taking control and smiling at Jocasta.
“Yes, that is it. Thank you, Sel.”
“You are welcome, Jacob, and for what it is worth, I believe you are correct. I, too, believe that the day will come that we will reunite with our daughter. I am not sure that they are alive as we think of it, at this moment in time, though. I did not want to bring it up before, but Samantha did tell Martouf that she would return to him. I think she meant it quite literally. I would also venture a guess that she and Kataya had a journey to complete, and that they are not in a form we would recognize as living at this time,” He continued to speak aloud, so that both Jacob and Jocasta would know what he said.
Selmak kissed Jocasta lightly and then returned control to Jacob who said, “I think they will return as soon as Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel take up the threads of their lives, stop just existing, and truly start to live. I also agree, though, that if Sam and Kataya have a journey to complete together that it will not be until after that. I am tellin’ ya, they are coming home,” Jacob said, as he lay back down beside her on the sleeping platform.
Tomorrow was a new day, and as Jocasta said, it was not, after all, so very long since it happened. He had to believe that Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel would be all right, as Artereos had seemed to believe they would. Jacob did not believe that he meant only that they would awaken; he meant they would begin to live again. It might take a little time, but it would happen. His daughter was coming home, and he believed that it would be sooner rather than later, when she and Kataya returned to them. All they had to do now was have patience and wait for them. Yup. He could do that. He could definitely do that.