Chapter Forty-four Summary: Daniel gets Lantash to come forward and talk about some things and they discuss their promise to Sam and Kataya. They decide that they will try to do as they asked. Daniel remembers something that Kataya said and that makes all the difference to all three of them.
Coeurawyn – My Heart “Italics” – Symbiote-Host or Telepathic Communications
Martouf sat quietly and looked at the image of the ancient writing. Lantash was helping him to translate it for Daniel, but Martouf was not responding to him other than to write down whatever Lantash told him. He had stopped talking to Lantash three days ago.
That Lantash had told him he wished to un-blend, and then tried to intimidate him by causing him pain, showing him what it would be like if he simply left his body, instead of allowing the Tok’Ra to do the procedure, had angered Martouf beyond words. He was still so furious, and hurt, that he could not bring himself to talk to him about anything other than work. The only other thing that had hurt this much was Samantha’s death. Even the loss of Jolinar and Rosha had not hurt this much. He felt as if he was drowning in a pool of pain, and he could not find the way to the surface. He was afraid that soon he would stop trying.
Lantash had apologized several times, but had finally given up, knowing that Martouf would have to lose some of the anger raging in him before he would hear his apology. They had this happen only one or two times in the century-plus they had been together, and then the anger usually only lasted a day or at most two. Lantash knew that although Martouf was a gentle, loving man, he was also an exceptionally strong willed one. He could be stubborn, and determined, but he had never before been this intensely furious. Lantash was afraid that only time would allow it to fade. While he was feeling extreme guilt for being the cause of this new pain, he still believed he should leave Martouf. In fact, if anything, after having caused this extra pain, he was more determined than ever that it was the only way to stop the pain for Martouf.
Hearing Lantash’s thoughts, Martouf shot back an answering thought for the first time in the three days, “I will never be un-blended from you. You and I are bonded mates, just as we are Samantha’s mates, and I will not break our ties.Not now, not ever. Forget you ever thought it, Lantash; because it will not happen until the day I die, so unless you are planning on killing me, and I am well aware that you can, then you are stuck with me.”
“You are being unreasonable, Martouf. It will stop at least some of the pain of our parting from Samantha. You cannot continue to live with the waves of pain over Samantha that I am putting you through,” Lantash tried, again, to reason with him now that he was speaking to him again.
“I am not truly speaking with you. I am simply stating a fact,” Martouf responded to the thought. “I will not trade the pain you feel over Samantha, for the devastation that would be left behind if you also were gone from me. No. I will never agree to a parting from you so, as Jacob would say, give it up. The answer is no.”
“Martouf, you must be reasonable about this.”
“No, I do not have to be reasonable if reasonable means breaking our blending. I suggest you go back to the torture tactic, Lantash, it is more likely to work; however, I would not hold out much hope if I was you,” Martouf said, belligerently.
“I have apologized several times for that, Martouf. I should not have let my anger affect my body in that way. I did not, despite what you believe, mean to be so aggressive in what I did.”
“Yeah, right,” Martouf spat another piece of slang he had picked up. “I am sure your anger just got a little out of control. Strange, it has never happened before, in over one hundred years of being your host. And that is really all I am, is it not? I am simply the body you can control whenever you choose and do whatever you like with,” Martouf almost choked, as he said the hurtful words.
“That is not true, and you are aware that it is not. Martouf, you know you are not just a body for me to control. I cannot believe you would accuse me of feeling that way, when you know how much I care for you,” Lantash gasped, as the words hurt him deeply.
“I hope,” Martouf said, his voice shaking, “that my words hurt you, as deeply as your wishing to leave me, has hurt me. Now leave me alone, I do not wish to converse with you anymore. I am too infuriated.”
“Martouf, please, do not be so angry. I have told you, I am sorry. I truly never meant to cause you that kind of pain. Please, try to understand how I am feeling. I am failing you, as I have failed Samantha; I cannot live with the pain I am causing you,” Lantash pleaded softly.
“Well, that is just too damned bad because you have no choice. What difference does it make if it is me, or another host, that feels the pain of losing Samantha? Your next host would also have to deal with the pain, would they not?” Martouf bit out harshly.
Getting no response from Lantash, he demanded again, “Would they not, Lantash?” Still receiving no answer, he threw the image down and stood up, only to immediately sit back down as the answer came to him in a blinding flash. Enraged all over again, Martouf said, his voice low and coldly implacable, “I will Never, never, allow you to leave me and die. You will not do that to me, or to Samantha. If you ever, ever, do that, then I will allow myself to die, also, do I make myself clear, Lantash? If you leave my body to take your own life, I too will die. And, if you do not believe me, then just try it, for you will live long enough to see me die before you.”
Lantash’s lack of response was enough to confirm his suspicions. Lying to one another was not something either had ever been able to do with any success, so Lantash had either to admit his intentions or remain quiet.
Incensed, his temper lividly inflamed now that he realized what Lantash was contemplating, Martouf stood up, leaving the image of the writing, and began to pace the small room. Wanting to break something, but knowing that he could not continue in this highly enraged state, he forced himself to take some deep calming breaths. Remembering what he was doing before he made his most recent discovery, he walked to Daniel’s desk, to see if there were any more of the images with the writing they had been working on. Moving some papers, he found himself staring down at an image of the four of them, taken on the day they and Samantha were married. Daniel was looking at Kataya; he and Lantash were gazing at Samantha. The two women were looking back at them, and it was so obvious they were very much in love with the men who stood by their sides.
Picking it up, he looked at it closely. You could see so much love in this image. He did not remember seeing it before when he had seen the other wedding images. Images he had put away for now, unable to look at them. His breath stopped, as the familiar pain tore through his chest. Hearing a noise, he looked up to see Daniel standing in the doorway watching him.
Pushing himself off the doorframe, Daniel unfolded his arms as he advanced into the room, “Janet had them made for us from some pictures she took. There is one for you, too. I was not sure,” he paused, “I didn’t know if you would be ready for it yet, but I was going to show it to you later today. I forgot I left it on the desk. I am sorry you found it like that.”
Martouf shook his head, “No, that is all right, Daniel. I—I put away all of the wedding pictures. I could not look at them, but I think I would like to have one or more of them now. Perhaps I will find another one I like and find a frame for it. I believe I would like to have one with me and, perhaps, have one for beside the bed, so I will see it when I awaken in the mornings. I believe it will begin to give me comfort soon.”
Clearing his throat, he continued, “It is the love. It is so obvious in this picture that they love us. You can see the love shining in their eyes. I think that is one of the things I miss the most,” he whispered, “seeing her looking at me with such pure love for both Lantash and myself, as if we were the most important things in her world, more precious, more important, than anything else.” Martouf paused, before adding, “Except Bastet, and even her love for us, could not stop her from doing that.”
“Would you have wanted it to?” Daniel asked, his tone quietly curious. “Would you really have wanted her to have refused to fight Bastet?”
He watched, as Martouf slowly shook his head. “No. No, neither Lantash nor I would have wished her to make any other decision. Much as we loved her, and Kataya, for that matter, we would not have chosen that they refuse the battle.” He said sadly, “Do you not remember the legend, Daniel? 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.” I would say we have made the great sacrifice, and our hearts are crying out, but because it is for the better good, we would do it all over again, would we not?” He demanded.
“Yes, Martouf, we would do it all again. Just as they would. You know, there is something in that line from the legend that we keep missing, and maybe we should be looking at it a little closer,” Daniel said, obviously thinking.
“What is that, Daniel?” Martouf asked.
“I am not sure. Let me think about it, and we will talk about it later, okay? We are going to my house, right?”
“Yes. I am afraid I am causing back-stepping on our decision to be alone more. I am sorry,” Martouf, said, his voice desolate with sadness.
“It is, um, backsliding or backtracking, not back-stepping,” Daniel corrected gently, and then continued, saying. “I gave our decision to spend time alone some more thought, after we talked to Jacob the other day. I think he may be right. He said that as long as we need each other’s company and it gives us comfort, we should not deny that to ourselves. He said that the grief we are going through would be much easier to bear if we share it, and I think he is right. I have given it a lot of thought, and I don’t intend to deny myself the comfort that being with you gives to me. I don’t think you should either. What do you say? Do we turn over a new leaf, and do our best to be there for each other for the time being, until we really feel like we want to be alone because we really do feel like it, not because we think we should feel like it?”
Martouf looked relieved, as he said, “Yes, Daniel, I think I would prefer that, also. Thank you.”
“No, thank Jacob for making us see the light.” Walking to a cabinet, he opened it and drew out the picture that matched the one in Martouf’s hands. “Now we can both look and remember how much love we had. It is something worth remembering, don’t you think?” He asked softly.
“Yes. Yes, I do think it is something worth remembering,” Martouf said, sadness coloring his tones. Taking the picture over to the desk that he used when he was helping Daniel, he set it down where he could look up and see it when he was sitting there. Turning back to Daniel he said, “I was looking to see if there were any more images to go with the one you gave to me earlier. I am afraid I stopped looking, when I came across the picture of us with our mates.”
“Yeah, there are some more here somewhere. Give me a minute or so to dig a little deeper; I am sure I can find them,” Daniel answered as he began to shuffle and move papers, magazines, notebooks, and coffee cups. A few minutes later, a sound of triumph came to Martouf where he was standing and gazing at the picture Daniel had given him.
Turning toward the sound, he asked, “You have found them, Daniel?”
“Yes. They are here,” Daniel replied, as he gathered them and found an empty folder in which to put them. “They are numbered in sequence as they were on the wall they were on. Once we figure out what it says, we may know if we need to dig deeper on that planet. They found this in an underground chamber directly below the main part of the temple. It may not be important, but you never know,” he said, as he handed the folder to Martouf.
“Thank you, I will get started on them,” Martouf said, quietly. He really did not feel like talking to Lantash about anything, at the moment, not even the translations. Giving it some thought, he realized it was not just that he did not want to talk to Lantash right now; it was that he could not talk to him. Turning to Daniel, he said, “I think that first I will go to the mess hall and have something to eat. Are you hungry, Daniel?” He asked.
“That is unusual; normally you don’t snack a lot.” Shrugging, he continued, “However, since you brought it up, I would not mind having a piece of pie or something. Sure, why not? Let’s go.”
As they walked down the hall, Martouf asked, “Do you know much about the planet where the chamber was found? Was there anything else found?”
“No, that is one of the odd things about the temple and the chamber under it. There were not a lot of markings or writings anywhere else. I am sure we will figure it out. It is not a priority, actually, it is just one more thing that needs doing, but I can’t seem to get around to it. With us starting to go on off world missions starting tomorrow, we may not get to it for a while, but if we don’t that is okay. We will eventually.”
Arriving at the mess, Daniel asked, “What do you want? Chocolate cake and coffee?”
“Yes, that would be fine, thank you, Daniel,” Martouf said.
As they sat down to enjoy their cake and coffee, Daniel was frowning. “Is something wrong, Daniel?” Martouf asked.
“What? Oh, no, actually, I was just thinking about that line from the Legend. Something about it is nagging me.”
“I am afraid I will not be much help with figuring it out, but if you wish, I will try,” Martouf offered.
“No, that is okay. I am just going to let it sit and simmer, so to speak, in the back of my mind. Maybe I will have an epiphany,” Daniel said, sending Martouf a lopsided smile.
“What is this epiphany, Daniel?”
“Oh, well, it means, um, a sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something; or a perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization. At least, that is the way I was using it. It has other meanings, but they are not relevant to this,” Daniel explained.
“I see. Well I hope your epiphany comes soon and helps us, for I think we need it. We need it very much,” Martouf, sighed.
“I know, Martouf. I will do my best, and in the meantime, we have each other, and we can do this. I know we can, and they knew it, too. We do have the strength, all three of us.”
“I hope you are right, Daniel,” Martouf’s voice was bleak and laced with despair. “I hope you are right.”
Daniel looked at him and nodded. There was no doubt in his mind that Martouf’s response, and tone of voice, had something to do with Lantash. They were going to have to draw him out of his self-imposed isolation, soon, or they might lose him altogether.
He turned to Martouf, and said, “Listen, do you want to just head on home after we finish our coffee? It is after four. We could pickup something to eat, and then head to my place. What do you say?”
“Yes. Yes, I think I am ready to go, and we do have an off-world mission tomorrow.” The two sat and quietly finished their coffee. They would stop and pick up something to eat, heat it up when they got hungry, and eat when they wished to. They would give each other the support and comfort they each needed. Martouf needed something to soothe him, and he hoped Daniel could help. If not, he did not know what he would do.
A few hours later, they had finished their meal, cleaned up, and were sitting in front of the fireplace, relaxing and talking in a desultory way, when Martouf looked up at the painting above them, and said, “It is a beautiful portrait of her, Daniel. It almost looks as if she could step out of it and come to us. I think the same thing, every time I see it. The gown is very like the one she wore the day we entwined our auras, so the portrait always reminds me of that day,” Martouf sighed remembering the gentle comforting love he had shared with Kataya, and feeling the piercing pain enter his heart for its loss.
“Artereos sent us one of Samantha that he must have had made while she was there training. She is so very beautiful in it, and it has this same feeling of aliveness. It arrived yesterday evening, after you left. Someone from the base brought it as soon as it arrived. It was very kind of them,” Martouf’s voice was soft, as he gazed at the portrait of Kataya.
The two men sat in comfortable silence, for the moment, giving unspoken support to one another. Martouf had not learned to drive, so on the nights they ate at Daniel’s, he stayed the night. Sometimes, Daniel would stay at his home, but since he did drive, and they were trying to learn to be alone, often Daniel went home. When he did, he missed Martouf and Lantash. The bond they had formed was a tight one. Daniel was glad they had decided this afternoon that it was too soon to break it, and they were going to go back to spending their time together, instead of alone. It was a relief, since he really did not like being alone here yet. He knew that someday the memories would be welcome, but for now, picturing her in their bed or picking up the cup she used in the kitchen, brought such a sharp pain, he sometimes wondered if he would survive until it passed.
He sighed as he leaned back in the chair and looked at the portrait they were discussing. Taking a drink of the wine Martouf had picked out, he realized it was one of his and Sam’s favorites. The familiar pain slicing into his chest interrupted his breathing for a moment.
Remembering how long the pain had lasted after Sha’uri had died; he knew that this pain would stay a very, very long time, for he was mourning the loss of not one love, but two, as were Martouf and Lantash. Thinking of that, he turned to ask, “Martouf, how is Lantash doing? Is he any better today?”
Martouf paused, and then looking at Daniel, pain in his eyes, he shook his head, “He is not doing well at all, Daniel, and I do not know what to do to help him. He feels so strongly that he failed Samantha and Kataya, because he allowed you and I to waver near death for so long, when he had promised them both that he would take care of us. I cannot seem to get him to realize that he did everything he could for us during that time. Moreover, he feels he is failing me because he cannot shield me from his grief over losing her. He buries and denies it, until it becomes overwhelming, and then it washes over both of us in great waves of pain.”
Swallowing convulsively, he continued, “He is talking of undoing our blending. I cannot seem to convince him that I do not think I could survive without him. He feels that you could take his place, but while it is true that we have become very close, it would not be the same. I cannot make him realize that though. I have refused to un-blend, and I will continue to do so, but the emotional stress this is putting both of us under, is not good for either of us. I—I just cannot lose him, too, Daniel, I just cannot, I love him too much. I had no choice when it came to Samantha. I have a choice when it comes to Lantash, and I have no intention of giving our blending up,” he said fiercely.
“The truth is, that I have been so angry at him, that I have not spoken to him in several days, and this afternoon, when I finally did talk to him a little, we said some very hurtful things. I do not know what to do, Daniel,” he whispered, his added heartbreak apparent. “I believe he wishes to end our blending, and that he does not intend to blend with a new host. I think he will choose to die. I have told him that if he does that, I too, will die, and that I will make very sure he witnesses it. I cannot, I cannot lose him as well as Samantha, Daniel. I really believe I would rather die. Losing Samantha has left me wandering in a world that is dark and desolate, but at least I have him. If he was gone, too, I do not think I could survive,” Martouf said, his sincerity obvious.
Daniel stared at him, and then said, “Well, if he cares no more for your welfare than that, then perhaps he should leave, but you should find another Tok’Ra with which to blend. One that would truly appreciate the wonderful person you are. I am sorry, Martouf, but I don’t think that Lantash cares much for us, or Sam and Kataya, otherwise he would not even consider doing that to us, or to them. It makes me wonder if you are anything other than a body for him to use, and it brings into doubt in my mind the love he said he had for Sam. Perhaps he is more like the Goa’uld than we realize.”
Daniel watched, as Lantash rose to the bait and came to the fore to say, “That is not true, Daniel, I am not Goa’uld, and Martouf is much more than just a body to me. You are very aware that I love him, that I love you both. You are our brother now, how could you say that I do not care for either of you or accuse me of those things? Can you not see that I am trying to save Martouf from living through this agony I am feeling over Samantha?”
“If you love Martouf and I, and you truly loved Sam and Kataya, then you wouldn’t be threatening to cause him the amount of pain your leaving him would cause. You have been together over a hundred years. How could you possibly think that the pain he would feel at your loss would be less than the pain he is sharing with you over Sam? And, do not try to tell me that you are not aware of the pain you are causing him, because I know better. I was bound to you loosely in the All within our auras for three weeks, and for three days, we were inseparable. I know exactly what the bond between you is. I think it is time all three of us begin to do the things we promised Kataya and Sam we would do. Leaving Martouf to mourn both Sam and you was not one of them,” Daniel pointed out bluntly, in a sharp voice.
Softening his voice, he said, “I think there is more to this than you are admitting to Martouf and me. Perhaps, you are not even admitting it to yourself. I think there is something that Martouf and I have overlooked, and you will not bring it up in case it upsets me. You are mourning Kataya, and not just as your Heartmate, as I am Sam. Kataya is the mother of your children, and you were with her for a very long time. We have talked about our loss of our mates. But, we have not really acknowledged that we are all mourning the loss of not just the mate of our soul, but the mate of our hearts.”
“Well, I will admit it, so that it comes out in the open. Sometimes, as a moment ago when I took a drink of the wine and remembered it was one of Sam’s favorites, it is as if someone stuck a knife into my chest and twisted it, the pain is so sharp. Sometimes, just walking by her lab at work, I want to go in and just touch things that were hers, and then curl up in the corner because the pain is so intense. When I see someone else touching her things, I want to go in, take them away, scream at them to get out and never touch her things again. Instead, I go find somewhere to be alone, until I can get past the pain and begin to function again.”
“I found the shorts and t-shirt Sam used to wear to sleep in the other day. They are in a drawer in the chest in the guest room that you use. They were still there from when she would come over, we would stay up talking and drinking wine, and it would not be safe for her to drive home. I could not bear to touch them, so they are still there, and they will be, until I can handle touching them without wanting to scream in pain.”
“Sam and I shared a lot of stuff. Our areas of expertise are different, but we came closer to understanding each other than anyone else on base. I miss having her to go to with a new discovery. I miss having her come in to tell me about the latest piece of technology she is exploring. I miss her, Lantash, so badly at times that I cannot breathe. I don’t know if I can make it through another day knowing I will not be looking up to see her coming in the door to talk to me. I will not be walking through the gate with her to go discover something new, and I will never look across a campfire and see her smile at me over something Jack or Teal’c said or did.”
“Now you know, Lantash. You do not have the market cornered on pain for both your wife and your Heartmate. I loved both, I am mourning both, and I hate every minute that they have been gone. I have to fight to make myself get up and face another day without them. I want this desolation and anguish to go away, just as much as you do.”
“And some days I am so angry about what happened, I feel like I am losing control of myself and my life, and I am afraid I am going to shatter into a million pieces. I am ready to go back to what I am on this earth to do. I want to avenge their deaths, as I said I would. Their deaths, Sha’uri’s death, all the innocents they have killed, all the Tok’Ra.”
Seeing the pain and recognition of truth his words had brought, he let them sink in deeply, before saying quietly and with warmth, “I think there is one other thing that is causing you a great deal of anguish that Martouf and I don’t share, but that you have refused to talk about. So I am going to bring it up, so that Martouf and I can share that pain with you, too.”
Daniel paused very briefly, as if considering his words. “Sam knew you were injured and unable to say good-bye, Lantash,” he said, softly and gently. “I am very sure that she was aware that you were sustaining Martouf. She knew how much you loved her, whether you were capable of telling her, or not. Kataya was aware that I had been injured and attempted to heal me. If I wished too, I could blame myself for her death, since she used the last of her strength on me, but she would have gone to the All, regardless, and she would not wish me to feel that way.”
“Sam would not want you to feel you failed Martouf, or me, simply because you were too injured yourself to sustain him, or help me once we were in the All, until you were starting to heal yourself. Once you were able, you did keep us together each time we started to drift apart, and you know you did. You used your life-force for us. Of all of us, you came the nearest to fulfilling your promise to Sam and Kataya, for although you would not go to the light, you would not allow us to cease to exist. You were diligent in recalling us, Lantash; over and over you called to us.”
“Only after the blood tie and our insistence that we were ready to return, did you agree to rest and finally begin to gain strength, instead of expending it on us. Yes, us, Lantash. I am a great many things, but stupid is not usually one of them. You used a great deal of your own strength keeping me from leaving you in the first week and a half or so, if I have figured the timeline out correctly.”
“If you don’t remember it, let me assure you that I remember, and I know that besides those sitting with us constantly, it was your voice that brought me back many times.”
As Daniel finished speaking, Lantash sat quietly, obviously mulling over his words. When he finally spoke, he returned to the first point that Daniel had brought up. “I am sorry. I have been very selfish in my sorrow and pain. I did not consider how much you were missing Samantha, even though I was missing Kataya. Furthermore, you are correct in thinking I was unable to share it because I did not want to upset you. I should have told you long ago that I was in a great deal of pain over her, as well as Samantha, and realized that you, also, were mourning both.”
“That still does not help me to deal with what I am inflicting on Martouf. He is in so much pain himself that I cannot share my pain and grief with him. I am afraid it is going to cause him so much pain, he will not be able to function.”
“Well, I think that refusing to share it with him is harder on him. He needs you to share it with him, Lantash. He wants you to share it. You should listen to what he is telling you with your heart, not your intellect. He does not want you to isolate yourself, he wants to take your pain and share it, just as he is willing to share his pain with you. You should at least give it a try before doing something as drastic as undoing the blending,” Daniel said.
“Do you truly believe that Samantha understood that I could not come forward to tell her good-bye?” Lantash asked, quietly.
“Yes. I do. In fact, I think they knew we were going to be injured, and that is why they made us promise to go on without them. They knew we would be in a position where we could easily give up and leave this time and space, and they did not wish us to, for whatever reason,” Daniel said, his voice firm with conviction.
“Why do you believe that? What has led you to that conclusion, for you sound very sure of it,” Lantash wanted to know.
“I heard a couple of the nurses talking the other day. They were discussing the day of the Battle and what had happened after we all left.” Daniel looked up at the portrait of Kataya, and he would have sworn she was looking at him with encouragement. “Merdwin took Janet aside, just before Thor took him, and told her that the mirror showed that there would be a lot of injuries coming through, but that he wished for her to leave them to others, and to wait for you and I to be brought through, because we would be badly hurt. He didn’t tell her about Sam and Kataya, and she was very upset about that.”
“Anyway, the point is that if Merdwin saw that, then chances are very good that Sam and Kataya did, too. I know they cannot always see things clearly, but I believe they probably did see our injuries and know they would be bad, but that we could determine if we lived or died. I also think they could not warn us for fear of changing the outcome of the battle. It had to be very hard on them, knowing, yet unable to do anything other than ask for our promises after the fact,” Daniel finished, quietly.
“I see, and I agree with you. They would have known, and perhaps that is why,” he paused, then continued determinedly, “We stayed up all night together, Daniel, and it was,” he stopped talking and just shook his head, unable to continue.
“I know, we did, too,” was the reply, barely above a whisper, as the night in question once more entered his mind, too. Suddenly, he smiled slightly at Lantash, “No doubt you will think that I am crazy, but I believe they are watching us, and so far I think that perhaps they would not be completely pleased, but neither would they be completely disappointed. For the most part anyway. I have to tell you though, that if you are really considering leaving Martouf to mourn alone, well, let’s just say that I think that Sam would be extremely disappointed in you, and so would Kataya. In fact, I think they would be furious with you, since you would have caused his death.”
“He would not die during the un-blending.”
“No, he would die afterwards, but you would see it happen. I believe him, Lantash. He truly loves you, and if you leave him now, when he needs you so badly, he will not wish to live at all. Sometimes, I think the only reason he is alive today is because of you. So if you want him to die, then go ahead and part from him. But, do not expect Sam to be very happy when she sees you.”
“You speak as if you expect her back anytime, Daniel,” Lantash said.
Daniel shrugged. “They are Furling, Lantash. They could be back anytime. Do I expect them? No, I don’t expect them, but I believe that we will see them again someday, and if you do what you are threatening, then I would not want to be there when Sam finds out.”
Daniel watched the emotions play across Lantash’s face. As Sam had learned to do, Daniel never mistook one of them for the other. He did not know how he always knew which one was in control, but he did, and right now Lantash was continuing to be the one, for which Daniel was grateful. This was the longest that Lantash had come forward, since the day they had awoken and began to exist again on this plane. It was also the most he had spoken about his grief and pain.
Daniel believed that his threat to Martouf had been a cry for help. He had known it would upset Martouf so much that he would have to face his feelings and come to terms with them. Well, whether intentional or not, it had worked. Now, if they could just get him to admit that he needed them, and that he realized that they needed him.
Lantash sat and looked at the portrait of Kataya for long minutes, before saying. “You are correct, and she would not be happy with me and the job I am doing in helping Martouf. Moreover, my Samantha is probably furious with me. I must begin to share my grief and sorrow, or it is going to destroy me. I agree with you about that.
Turning once more to Daniel, he said, “I will not be leaving Martouf. I do not know if I really could ever have done so, no matter what I said. Our bond is much too strong, and I do care too much to leave him alone to deal with this by himself. It will be difficult for me, so you may have to force me to talk to you both about my feelings, but I will try to do better.”
Lantash looked again at the portrait of Kataya, before saying, “The grief I lived through when Kataya had to leave was a terrible wasteland of pain and sorrow. This is worse because I am, as you are, mourning both of them. All I see is darkness, Daniel, there is no light making its way in. I find this desolation almost frightening in its intensity. Perhaps that is why I am fighting it so much. I am afraid of what it will do to me and to Martouf.”
“I know. I am afraid of it sometimes myself, but we have each other, and we have friends. We can do this as long as we all stay together. We have to stay together.” Daniel said softly.
Lantash nodded, and said, more firmly, “You are also correct in that it is time we began to live and not merely exist. I will try to take a more active role from now on, which should make O’Neill ecstatic.”
Daniel gave a short, rather rusty-sounding laugh; it was obvious he had not used it for a while. “Oh, yeah, I am sure he will be.” Lantash smiled back at him. Perhaps, they were correct and between the three of them, things could get better.
Internally, he said to Martouf, “I apologize, Martouf. I was wallowing in self-pity, and that is not the way to do as our mate asked us to do. I hope you will forgive me. I know that we still have a long way to go before we heal, but I will try to be there for you from now on. I know you do not believe me, but I truly did not intend to cause you that much pain. I am sorry I gave in to my anger and allowed myself to inflict any pain at all on you. I hope that some day you will forgive me.”
“I believe I will be able to do so. I will not try to lie to you and tell you it did not matter because it matters very much, but I do not wish to remain angry and estranged from you, Lantash. I would prefer that we try to set the last three days aside and come together for each other, and Daniel, as we promised Samantha we would. Perhaps, perhaps someday, we will discuss what occurred between us, when this pain over Samantha and Kataya has lessened, and we can look at the entire incident in a cooler light than we could do now. For now, I think we are both in too much pain to be able to think clearly, and that is probably what caused the entire incident. I would like to forget it ever happened, at least for now, if that is acceptable to you,” Martouf said, his relief evident.
“I have little choice in the matter, Martouf. I am the one at fault, and if you wish simply to put the matter aside for now, then I will not attempt to deny you that. Moreover, I believe you may be correct in your assessment. Perhaps it would be better to put the incident aside for the moment and try to go forward as Samantha wished us to. Drink your wine and relax. I will attempt to refrain from filtering all of it out of you, so it should relax you somewhat soon, and a full night of sleep would be welcome, though I doubt it will go that far. However, we do have an off-world trip tomorrow. We should at least try to rest,” Lantash, reminded him.
As if reading his mind, Daniel said, “Are you looking forward to going off world again tomorrow? I know our trips are not what you are used to, but you seem to be adjusting.”
“Yes,” Lantash looked startled to realize that what he was saying was true. “Yes, I am looking forward to the trip off world tomorrow, and I believe I will eventually enjoy the exploring of the different worlds. I do not believe I have ever been to the world we are going to tomorrow.”
“Yeah, we sent a MALP through, and a UAV, and both indicated there are some really interesting ruins. I have not actually been able to tell anything from the images they have sent to us, but I am beginning to look forward to seeing them.”
“I, too, am finding myself looking forward to tomorrow’s mission, Daniel. It will be good to have something to do that will perhaps keep our minds busy.”
Daniel nodded his agreement, and the two men sat for a while in a companionable silence. Almost dozing, Daniel suddenly sat up and said, “Unwavering faith.”
“I am sorry, Daniel, I do not understand what you are saying,” Lantash said, as he looked at Daniel, as if wondering if, despite his words earlier, he had succumbed to his grief and was beginning to lose his mind.
“What?” Daniel looked at him, as if surprised to see him, before saying, “Oh, yeah, sorry, I was thinking about the sentence from the legend. That is the part of the sentence from the legend that does not make sense, does not fit.”
“What do you mean, Daniel? Why does it not fit or make sense?” Lantash wanted to know.
“I mean that those words, unwavering faith, don’t fit into that sentence. The sentence goes: ‘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.’ Well, courage, strength of purpose, and a determined life-force all make sense. Unwavering faith does not. Unwavering faith about what? For what?” Daniel frowned and then added, “But there is something else, right on the edge of my consciousness, that I can’t grasp. It almost feels as if it is something I was supposed to remember, but can’t,” he said, as he sighed deeply.
“Is this the epiphany, Daniel?” Lantash asked, showing that he had been listening to Martouf and him earlier when they had talked.
Daniel grinned slightly, saying, “Well, yeah, I guess so. At least maybe it is the beginning of it. I know now what has been nagging at the back of my mind. I still don’t know what it means, but now I know what to think about.”
Lantash smiled sadly, as he looked at Daniel. Clearing his throat, he said, “Samantha loved your mind. She told me how, there were times that it was as if your minds would feed off one another, and come to conclusions very quickly. Then there were other times, that you simply thought so far “outside of the box”, that even she could not follow you. She told me she loved to listen to you when you did that. It was very exciting to her. It made her think, to stretch, she said. She loved you very much.”
“I—that is one of the things I miss the most. I miss having Sam there to throw theories around and bounce ideas off,” Daniel whispered, his voice laden with emotion. He looked at Lantash closely, before clearing his throat and saying, “Thank you for telling me. I do not think we will ever stop missing some things, you know? But, I think that in time, we will be glad we have each other to talk to about all the things we remember about them.”
“Yes. I am beginning to believe you are correct, Daniel. Moreover, perhaps, it will be sooner than we think if we truly try to do as they asked and begin to live again. I believe I am willing to try, anyway.”
“So am I, Lantash, so am I,” Daniel said, softly. Sighing, he added, “I think I am about ready for bed. We have to be up early.”
“I agree, but I think I will finish my wine before going to bed. I am allowing the wine to affect Martouf, hoping it will help him to sleep.”
“And what of you, Lantash, will you be able to sleep, also?” Daniel asked.
At first automatically shaking his head, he then changed his mind as he said, “I believe, that perhaps, I will sleep a little better this night. Our discussion has given me a sense of peace that I have not felt for quite some time now.” Pausing for a moment, he then continued, “Daniel, I wish to thank you for forcing me to face up to what I was doing to Martouf, myself, and you. Just the act of voicing some of my feelings has helped, I believe. I do not know if it will last, but now I feel that if it becomes overwhelming again, I will feel that I can say what I need to, in order to find some comfort.”
Nodding, Daniel sent him a smile, and said, “I am glad it helped.” He sat looking up at the portrait of Kataya, for several minutes, before turning back to Lantash, and saying, “I think I will go to bed. I will see you in the morning. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Daniel. I will wish you pleasant dreams, and for once, I believe that it is a true possibility rather than only a wish.”
As Lantash relaxed and looked up at the portrait of Kataya, he could almost hear her telling him he would be all right, that they would all be all right now.
“I am feeling quite mellow, Lantash,” Martouf told him, shortly after Daniel had gone to bed. “Are you any closer to feeling ready to go to sleep?”
Standing and walking to the window, Lantash looked up at their star before saying, “Yes, beloved, I am ready now. We promised Samantha, and now we will keep our promise. Let us go to sleep, for tomorrow is the beginning of a new life for us. For all three of us. One we must build together, do you not agree?”
“Yes, Lantash, I do. Come, let us go to bed now, for tomorrow is a new day, and we have much to do to build our new life.”
Turning, they made their way down the hall to the guestroom, and soon they were in bed. Martouf fell asleep almost at once, and Lantash, the weeks of guilt and tension released, soon followed him into slumber.
He did not know what had awakened him, but it was not the usual, memories of Samantha and the pain of her loss. Curious, he got out of bed and headed toward the living room.
“What is wrong, Lantash? Can you not sleep again tonight?” Martouf asked sleepily, only partially awake.
“I was asleep, but something woke me. I do not know what it was, but I thought that perhaps I should at least check, to see if I could ascertain the cause,” Lantash said, as he entered the living room.
He stopped, as he realized that Daniel was standing in front of the fireplace, looking at the portrait of Kataya. He turned as he heard Lantash enter the room, and Lantash could see that there was a slight smile on his lips, even though there were tears on his face as well.
“Daniel.” Lantash spoke softly, as he walked farther into the room. “I did not mean to intrude, I am sorry.”
Daniel shook his head and sighed, as he turned and sat in the chair he had been in earlier. “You are not intruding. It woke me up,” he said softly. “The epiphany. I have remembered what it was that Kataya told me to remember.”
“And what was it Daniel?” He asked as he sat in the other chair.
“She gave me the portrait the night before the battle. When she gave it to me, she told me it was the gift of her promise to join with me as my mate again, and she wanted me to have it early, since it was ready.”
He stopped speaking, and looked up at the portrait once more, before turning back to Lantash, and saying, “But, I believe there was more to it than that. I think she gave it to me to remind me that she would be back. That both of them would be back. She did not just tell me it was the gift of her promise, she also said, ‘Now, you will have me with you always, Dayillon, even if I am not in this room with you. It will remind you always of my promise to return to you soon, whether from the next room or across the galaxy.”
Daniel paused, and then continued, “But, the most important thing she said was, ‘you will know that I am watching over you, and you will remember to have unwavering faith in our love and my promise.’ That is the unwavering faith in the legend. Then she said, ‘promise me you will remember, Daniel.’ But, I didn’t remember until just now,” he said, sounding puzzled.
“Lantash, did Sam say anything about returning? Either before the battle, or, well, after it? Do you remember?” Daniel wanted to know.
“Yes, but I did not, we did not, really think she meant what she said. We thought she was trying to comfort us,” Lantash said sadly.
“What did she say?”
“Let me think a moment, Daniel. I was in a great deal of pain, at that time, and it is hard to remember her exact words,” Lantash said, as he sat quietly and allowed his mind drift back to that time.
“She said she would return when she could, Lantash. I remember that, but I also thought she was simply trying to comfort us.”
“I know. But, there was more,” Lantash said, as he closed his eyes and continued to allow the scene to play through his mind again, as it had happened that day. Suddenly it was there, and he could hear Samantha’s voice, soft and full of love.
Opening his eyes, he turned to Daniel, “She said, ‘In time, I will return to you, I promise, but you must go on until I can come back to you. You must have unwavering faith in my promise and my love of you. You must survive, and you must take care of and help Daniel, for he will feel the loss of Kataya perhaps more deeply than ever before. You must help each other.’ I believe those are her exact words, and Martouf agrees with me,” he said.
Daniel closed his eyes and allowed his head to rest on the back of the chair. As Lantash watched a tear once again made its way down his face, but his lips smiled slightly. Quietly, he said, “Before I went to bed tonight, as I sat here looking at her portrait, I promised her that tomorrow was the start of a new life, and the three of us were going to build it together. I don’t suppose you made a similar statement to Sam?” He asked.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I walked to the window and looked at our star for a short while, and then I told Martouf that we had promised Samantha, and now we would keep our promise. I told him that tomorrow would be the beginning of a new life for us. For all three of us, and that we would build it together. He agreed, and we went to bed and fell asleep almost at once,” Lantash stated.
Daniel nodded, as Lantash confirmed his guess. “I suggest we go back to bed and get some more sleep,” he said softly. “I think they are a lot happier with us now than they have been for a while.”
“What do you believe it means, Daniel?” Martouf came forward, to ask quietly. “Lantash is unsure of how to try to interpret what we have discovered.”
Daniel shook his head, before saying, “I still don’t think we will see them anytime soon, but I have no doubt at all, now, that they will return to us. I just don’t know if it will be in this lifetime. Something could happen to us, you know. We are in a line of work that kind of puts us at risk. The thing is we need to get on with our lives and make them count, as we said we would. Come on; let’s get some sleep. We have an off-world mission tomorrow.”
“I agree, Daniel,” Martouf said, as they turned to walk down the hall. Seeing Daniel once again gazing at the portrait, he said softly, “Good-night, we will see you in the morning.”
“Yes,” Daniel said, his voice a promise, “Tomorrow. Good-night.” Then looking at her portrait once again he whispered, “Tomorrow, Coeurawyn, I promise, no, we promise. The three of us will start our lives for you and Sam. Wherever you are, know that my faith in the two of you will be unwavering from now on, as will Martouf and Lantash’s. We promise.
Blood of My Heart, Beloved of My Soul is Book I in The Tok’Ra Legacy Series. Book II of the series is Malek’s Story Book III of the series is Daughters of the Queen Book IV, Legacy of the Queen, is still under construction….So to speak.