Chapter Three Summary: Martouf/Lantash meet with Daniel in his office and begin the process of elimination to see if they can figure out where Sam has gone. Then Daniel makes a startling suggestion and they decide it would be a good idea to take him up on it.
"Italics" - Symbiote-Host communications
Martouf walked briskly down the hall toward Daniel’s office. Reaching it, he stood staring at the door making no move to knock.
“We are here, Lantash,” he finally stated quietly.
“Yes, we are, Martouf. What are we waiting for? Knock on the door. He is expecting us,” Lantash replied.
“I know. It is just that, now that we are here, I am afraid he will not tell us anything.” Lantash could hear the barely controlled fear in the quiver of Martouf’s voice. His emotions were roiling, his calm gone for the moment.
“Perhaps he will not today, but he will not let us be in this much pain for long, Martouf. I believe our…our friends are correct about that. Daniel is much too sensitive to put us through that, if he can help us. Now, knock on the door, or I will take over if you prefer,” Lantash soothed them both with his encouraging words.
“Yes. Yes, please do so.” Martouf paused and then as Lantash took over and lifted his hand to knock, he said, “Wait! Wait. Before we go in there, I want to tell you something.”
“What do you need, dear one?” Lantash asked him softly. He knew how very vulnerable they both were right now. It was imperative they give each other support.
“That. Just that. I needed to hear your caring, and I need to tell you how much I appreciate the care you give to me, but I also need to tell you that I love you. I very much appreciate your strength of character. I know I can always depend on that strength, and I know it is not fair to you that I lean so heavily upon you. So, I at least wanted you to know how very much I care for you and appreciate what you do for me,” Martouf said, giving Lantash the unconditional love and support he needed as well.
He felt Lantash embrace and caress him from within as he whispered words of love to him. He assured him that they were indeed mated souls. He only hoped they found the part of their dual soul that had disappeared through the Chaappa’ai. Gathering their resolve, Lantash knocked on the door and opened it when Daniel called for them to enter. Perhaps their joined hearts would receive some healing here.
“Come on in and have a seat, Lantash. I will pour you some coffee,” Daniel said quietly, as he looked up from the document he was reading.
They realized that Daniel always seemed to know which of them he was talking with, just as Samantha did. Teal’c, too, they had noticed, seemed able to tell them apart. Sometime, he would spend an evening with these two very different men and tell them how glad he was to call them both his friends. However, not now. Now, he needed to know what Daniel meant to do, and if he knew anything about where their Samantha could have gone.
Lantash sat in a chair near the desk and handed the letter to Daniel since he had requested that he bring it with him. He watched as he laid it to one side and went to pour the promised coffee.
While it was not his favorite beverage, he had become accustomed to it. It was such an integral part of the life-style here under the mountain that it would seem strange now not to have it. Sometimes he thought that Daniel lived on the bitter brew. He knew he did not of course, but it sometimes seemed as if he did.
From what he had been told, Samantha drank more of it before she became pregnant than she now did. She had gotten out of the habit during their stay in the tunnels, as had Daniel, but where Daniel had returned to the habit, because of her pregnancy and her morning sickness, Samantha had not. She was able to drink it now again, and they often had a cup together in the mornings, but she tended to drink more water than coffee now.
When they returned to the tunnels, he would have to take some with him. He would actually miss it and the tea that he and Samantha had in the evenings. Earl Grey. A strange name for a tea. He would need to take a curtain for their doorway, also, as Samantha would be uncomfortable with the open doorway. He felt the sharpness of loss at the thought of their morning cups of coffee, their evening tea, the feel of her body next to his at night, and the fact that she was no longer there to share that with him.
Of course, they had decided they must stop having sex with her so…he felt despair make its way through his consciousness. Evidently, even yet, he had learned nothing.
Samantha might not agree with them about that, and she would know if it was still safe. They must begin to trust her to know her own mind and body. He closed his eyes in anguish. Dear universe, if only he could wake up and find he was simply having a particularly terrifying night terror. That would not happen, though, for he was having this night terror, while he was awake, during the day; it was not going to end anytime soon. They must find her. They must.
He realized that Daniel had picked up the letter and opened it, but was watching him as he gazed into his coffee. Sighing he took a sip and then placed it on the desk.
“You said that you had some questions to ask us, Daniel. What do you wish to know?” He asked bringing up the subject they had come to discuss. “I am afraid that I am still not able to think very clearly, therefore, I have no idea of where she would have gone. I keep asking myself where she would hide, and I continue finding no answer. My mind is simply running in circles. I am hoping you can help me to focus my thoughts.”
“Well, for one thing, I do not think she is hiding. I think she is simply looking for breathing space; for time away from being hovered over by all of us, not just you and Martouf. And, I think she told you where she was going. So, I think we need to go over some of your conversations for clues. Have you re-read the letter?”
“We read it several times when I first opened it. I feel sure I know what it says, but if you think I need to re-read it, I will do so.”
Daniel shook his head, saying, “No, not at the moment, but I am sure you will read it again later, after the first shock wears off. Sometimes reading something like that at a later time, when we are thinking more clearly, allows something to register that did not the first few times through it. It may trigger something later.”
“I agree, and I will try, Daniel, but I truly do not believe she told us where she was going. We did not even know she was contemplating doing this. If she had mentioned leaving for somewhere, we would remember it, I am sure, for we would have immediately told her she must not go. As you see,” he said bitterly, “I am well aware of what our response would have been, and I fully understand that it is that attitude that has caused this.”
Daniel shook his head. “Do not take all the blame on yourselves, Lantash. You and Martouf were not the only unreasonable people in this situation. The rest of us didn’t help matters either. I am just as guilty as the rest, if not more so. I should have realized we were smothering Sam. I know her very well, and I should have seen this coming.”
“As for her telling you where she went, I don’t mean she came right out and told you. I mean she might have mentioned some place, or someone recently that would mean she had them on her mind. If she has been thinking of anyone in particular, then that could be a clue that she was considering going there, and she is hoping you will remember that she mentioned them, maybe that she would like to see them again.
Lantash frowned as he tried to remember any of their recent conversations in which she had mentioned someone by name. The only place she had mentioned that she wanted to go to was the Tok’Ra, and that was out of the question. She would expect him to contact them at once, so if she wanted him to come to terms with his actions she would not go there, where he would no doubt find her at once. No, there must be some other place she had mentioned.
“It doesn’t even have to have been recent, Lantash. She has been planning this for quite some time, so think very carefully about anyone or any place she has mentioned.”
“She mentioned Kynthia and Argos not long after the wedding. She mentioned that she hoped something developed between the Colonel and Kynthia, but if not her, then perhaps Laira. Surely, she would not have gone to either of those planets, Daniel? They are very primitive compared to earth or the Tok’Ra. There would be no medical help available if something went wrong. I do not believe she would go where she would endanger herself or the child.”
Daniel shook his head as Lantash continued to become more distraught. “She is not planning on being gone so long that it would be a problem, but I don’t think she would have gone there. Although she might have gone to check on the two girls that we placed on Argos, I suppose, and she did enjoy it there. She liked Kynthia, Alekos and his wife. I suppose it would give her a place where she would be accepted unconditionally. It just doesn’t seem right, though,” he murmured, as he again shook his head and looked at Lantash as he made his statement.
Sensing that they were still feeling overwhelmed, he said, “I really do not believe she is planning on being gone for very long, Lantash. I believe she expects you to come to terms with this and find her before too much time passes. Look at it this way, Sam loves you, she trusts you to face your fears and overcome them, and then come for her. She knows you can do it, or she would not have done this, in this way. Trust her and trust in yourself.”
Lantash nodded that he understood what Daniel was saying, and forced his mind back to the topic at hand. “She has discussed the civilization you came across where their children were injected with nanobots to accelerate their ability to learn and also the planet where the virus caused you all to regress. I do not believe she would choose to go to the latter, but the first seemed to be advanced and fairly safe. Would she have gone there?”
“The girl she bonded with was called Merrin. I doubt she would have gone there. We have stayed in contact with them, but our worlds are not close, and there were no adults there that Sam knows well enough that she could just go for a visit.”
“All right, what of the Tollan? You are still on friendly terms with them, are you not? Moreover, she and Narim were…attracted at one time. Is it possible that she would have gone there?”
Daniel shrugged, as he tried to lead Lantash to reach the only possible conclusion. “They are a possibility. They have very advanced technology, so she would be well cared for physically. Nevertheless, the only one she really connected with was Narim. Do you think she would have gone to him?”
After giving his idea some thought and listening to input from Martouf, he replied, “It seems unlikely, as you say, but she did become very close to the two young women, and since Narim has asked Serata to become his life-partner, she might have gone to them.”
Daniel acknowledged that information as being true. “I think she would have gone to see Serata, before she would have gone to Narim, and since Serata is staying on Argos until their life-partner ceremony, I can’t bring myself to believe she would have gone there.” He simply did not believe it, but he dropped it for the moment. He had planted the doubts and their quick minds would do the rest.
Lantash was not ready to abandon the topic yet, though, as another thought was brought to him by Martouf, “What of the Nox, Lantash? The Tollan know how to contact the Nox.”
Taking Martouf’s suggestion, he turned his attention back outwards, and said to Daniel, “All right, so we know that she might have gone to the Tollan, but we do not think it likely. However, we did not consider the Nox. She could not get to the Nox world, unless she went there from Tollana. We know that the Tollan contacted them for her before, and that she is very attached to Lya and Nafrayu.”
He paused in thought before asking, “Would she perhaps have tried to make her way to their world, Daniel? If the Tollan contacted Lya and Nafrayu and she requested sanctuary from them, would they not grant it to her?” Lantash asked as his mind followed the logical trail from the Tollan to the Nox. “They would give her all the space she needs and it would no doubt be a safe, as well as a peaceful place. And they would take great care of her, I believe. So, it is the most logical place for her to have gone.” Watching them carefully, Daniel could see them convincing themselves that Sam could be with the Nox. He was going to allow them to think it was a possibility, although he did not think so. Nor did he think it would really take very long for them to realize it was impractical. The reality was that even though Daniel could probably answer most of their questions, if they could not come up with answers themselves, then they would never be ready to let Sam breathe.
Right on cue, Lantash asked, “But, how did she expect me to find her there? Why would she tell me to come for her knowing I could not do so? Would she expect me to go to the Tollan? Is that where I need to go, Daniel?” He asked, sounding almost bewildered.
Daniel shook his head. “I think we could keep it as a possibility if you think it is logical and something Sam might do, but we should not rush right out and go to the Tollan just yet. I think both of us doubt it was her destination. Let’s see if you can think of any other places first.”
Sighing tiredly, Lantash agreed, before asking, “Could she have tried to contact the Asgard, Daniel? Their medical knowledge is very advanced. She would feel the child was cared for there. I really do not believe that Samantha would go anywhere that she felt was not medically able to care for her if something did happen. I truly believe that she would have thought of that, if for no other reason than knowing how upset it would make Martouf and me to think she was somewhere that medical care could not be given. Perhaps I am fooling myself with these thoughts, but both Teal’c and Colonel O’Neill reminded me of this before I left the briefing room.”
“While what you say is true, the Asgard have their hands full right now, so I doubt they could come after her, and how else would she get there? She could not dial it from here because there is not enough power.”
Lantash sighed again, discouraged.
“Of course, she could have gone somewhere and signaled them, but planets that would allow her to do that are more primitive medically than we are, so she would not consider them safe. Either she would be stuck there, or she would have to go on to another more advanced culture, if she could not reach the Asgard.
Which reminds me, does anyone know if she took a GDO? Can she even get back to us?” Seeing the fear flare in their eyes and their body grow more tense, Daniel wished he had kept his thoughts to himself. Reaching out he grabbed the phone and quickly called the general. The answer was yes. Sam had been her normal efficient self. She had her GDO.
Hanging up he told them and watched the fear fade and the tension again ease. Damn it, they were both strung so tight they could snap at any time. Not snap and become destructive, but snap and fall apart or into despair so black, they would be lucky to see light ever again. Daniel could not let that happen. He also hoped to the gods nothing had happened to Sam. He did not know if Lantash and Martouf could survive that. She was the light in their life; without her, their very survival would be a struggle.
“I can think of no other possibilities, Daniel. My mind is simply refusing to wrap itself around this. I can think of no other places she has mentioned. I am sorry.”
“Maybe you are trying too hard, Lantash, you and Martouf. If you stop actively thinking about it, some other information may just suddenly surface. Try to relax and just let your mind wander, hard as that might be,” Daniel replied before sighing to himself again. They needed something to do that would occupy them, yet still let them think; something that would allow them to calm down and not feel pressured. He doubted he could get them to go chasing all over the universe on a whim. Besides, doing that would not be relaxing, but just the opposite, and they were too intelligent not to realize he was doing it simply to keep them busy. He stopped for a moment. That was it, of course. He would simply tell them the truth; it was busy work to keep them occupied, allow them time to think, and stop them from going nuts.
There was a planet chock full of temples and ruins that he and Anise were planning to take some time to study. He would take Martouf and Lantash there. There were more than enough ruins for two trips. It was a beautiful world, too. Mild weather, flowers, trees, a lovely lake that reflected the really magnificent sunrises and sunsets they saw when they were there. Maybe they would make it a two or three day trip, if he could keep them there that long. He would go talk to the General about a little later, and they would leave early tomorrow morning.
They needed to be able to allow Sam the space she needed. Not only that, but if they could not come to terms with this fear they had for her, it was never going to work. He did not like seeing them like this; nevertheless, he could not allow them to go to Sam too soon. He was damned if he did and damned if he did not, was that not how that saying went? He was almost angry with Sam, for putting him in this position, until he remembered that some of his own actions had helped to precipitate this very situation.
If he had not agreed with the others on the need to watch over and guard Sam twenty- four/seven, then she would have had someone she could at least talk to about the entire thing. Unfortunately, he had let her down. He had promised to always be there for her. He assured her they would never loose their special bond, but he had failed her as surely as everyone else had. He should have listened to her, not his own fears for her. Nor should he have listened to Janet’s or Jack’s or Lantash’s or Martouf’s fears. He had no reason to be angry, unless it was at himself. So, he would do what he could to help her now that he had been jerked face to face with his own failure.
All right, so, he could not let Sam down. On the other hand, he did not think he could allow Lantash and Martouf to fall apart. In the months, they had been thrown together, first in the tunnels and then here on earth, he had come to have a deep liking and respect for both of them. He really enjoyed Lantash’s sharp mind and extensive knowledge. He admired Martouf for his quick mind, his diplomatic skills, and for never wavering in his belief that the Tok’Ra would eventually win against the system lords somehow, someday. Then there was the last reason…he just plain liked them both.
He also cared about both of them because they cared so very much for his Sam. They would die for her; they would give her the sun, the stars, and the moons of a dozen worlds, if they could, but most of all they gave her all the love they had in them to give. And that was an awful lot of love. He was not sure he could even comprehend the depths of the love they held in their hearts for her. It was unfortunate that counter balancing that love was a depth of fear for her that matched it. And that was what they had to overcome. He hoped it was not an impossible task.
All right, just as he could not betray Sam, neither could he allow his two friends to suffer for long. He had to see to it that they came to terms with what could happen to Sam, the child, or even to them, and learn to live with it. Soon. Very, very, soon. He was almost sure he knew where she was. And knowing that, well, safe was a relative word. He would not bring that up either now or later. She was probably as safe medically there as she was here. Her personal safety though, well, that is where the relative came in. After all, they had been attacked in different ways here at the SGC, so it was not as if they were “safe” here either. So he came back to the beginning of his thought process; safe was a relative word, and it depended on where you were standing just which side of the line it fell on.
Watching him closely, Daniel finally said, “Lantash, you know where Sam is. I am quite sure of it. I really believe that when you have learned to trust her, understand her needs as well as your own, and come to terms with them and the fear you carry for them, you will know exactly where she is. Really, trust yourself; trust Martouf, trust Sam, and the answer will come to you.”
Taking a deep breath he added, “That said, before anything else, you have to learn to let go of the fear for her that is so deeply embedded within the two of you. You have to come to terms with the fact that something could happen to Sam…but that it could be you and Martouf just as easily. In fact, it is very probable and much more likely that you and Martouf will come to harm long before Sam will. Lantash, think about this—every fear for her that you and Martouf feel for her, she feels twice for you. If you think for one minute that she does not feel terror every time you leave through the Gate, then think again, because she does.” He waved his hand as if brushing something aside before saying, “I am talking just about Sam, not the baby. That adds an entire new dimension to your fear…and hers. The fears you have are not a one-way street. Just…think about it. When you come to terms with it, you will know where she is, and you will be ready to go to her. I am absolutely sure of that.”
“Then you do know where she is, do you not, Daniel? You would not be so sure that we knew, unless you knew. This also answers the question of her being with the Nox. You do not believe she is there.” Lantash answered. “At least, you are not yet willing to tell us, if that is where she is. Nor, if that is not where she is, are you willing to tell us where you believe her to be, and I cannot blame you,” he stated, his voice clouded with his emotional weariness and stress.
Hearing it, Daniel felt his heart hurt more for him, but he knew that telling him would help neither him nor Sam, so he said, “Yes, I do think I know where she is, and yes, I do think you need to come to terms with some things before you go after her. I will tell you that I am fairly sure she is safe. I also believe that when you are able to know where she is that you will be ready to allow her the breathing space she needs, be it here or in the Tunnels.”
Lantash looked at him bleakly before nodding tiredly. “I know you are correct, Daniel. I realized before you ever left the General’s office that you were fairly sure you knew where she was. I had hoped you would simply trust me enough to tell me, but I can understand your hesitance.”
“I trust you, Lantash. I really do not believe you would rush right out and go get her. It is not that; I assure you that is not the reason I am not telling you. The reason is that I sincerely do believe that once you can admit to yourself where she is, then you will really have begun to accept that you have to stop being so overly protective. We all have to stop being so overly protective. As I said earlier, you are not alone in the fault here, Lantash, you and Martouf. Please do not think you are. We have all been over the top on this, and we all have to take some of the blame.”
“The thing is that, while we are all overly concerned, you and Martouf are the ones that are most ruled by your fear of what could happen to her and the baby. So let’s give it a day or so, see if you can come to terms with it, and then tell me where she is. Once you trust yourself to let go of her and allow her room to breathe, you will know it, I have no doubt whatsoever.”
Lantash breathed deeply and finally agreed, “If you can assure me that she chose a safe place. One where she could get medical attention should she need it. Daniel, she is almost seven months pregnant. If any thing should happen to her or the baby...” He clamped his lips shut on the words and his mind shut on his panic. This was what Daniel was talking about, this unreasoning fear and panic. “You are correct. I am in no condition to go for her now, nor can I think clearly enough to know where she is. I will attempt to meditate and perhaps put Martouf into a sleep state later tonight, so that he will rest.”
“I think that is a very good idea. But, I have a proposition to make to you. I know your first gut reaction is going to be to say no. It will be your instinct to answer my suggestion that way, so please do not answer now, all right? At least, give it some real thought and consideration first,” Daniel told him quietly.
Lantash nodded his agreement and knew he needed to keep an open mind. Daniel would not suggest something that would not help him, he knew.
“There are some temples on PX4-883 that Anise and I were going to take a week or so and go study. There are many Goa’uld inscriptions there on the walls, but they are very old and no one, as far as we can tell, has been on the planet in hundreds of years. I would like for you to go with me for a few days, and take a look at them. We can spend some time just camping out there and working on the translations. You would be away from here, away from prying questions, sympathy, and unhelpful suggestions. It would be harder for you to go after Sam, and it would give your mind something it could concentrate on, yet not so difficult a task that your mind could not drift off and do some thinking if you wanted to. I really do believe it would be helpful to you, or I would not suggest it.”
“You and Anise were going to go there after your joining. It was to be just the two of you doing what you both enjoy. It was to be your honeymoon. I do not wish to spoil it for the two of you, Daniel,” Lantash said, after thinking about it for a moment or two.
Daniel shook his head. “As I said, Lantash there are temples. Plural. We couldn’t begin to get through them in a week, so if you and I spent a couple of days there it would not spoil anything for us, I assure you. And it is a very soothing place considering that it belonged to a Goa’uld.”
“Besides, this way I would have a chance to scout the place out and find the best place for us to set up camp when we go, so we would not have to waste time looking for a suitable place to camp, and cook, and all those kinds of things. We will be able to start out doing exactly what we want to instead. It will give me a chance to take a closer look at the temples, learn what is there to some extent, and have an idea of where everything is instead of going in with what little information we have now.”
“Do you truly believe that it would allow me to come to terms with my fears, Daniel? That it would help me to begin to trust her, and myself, so that we can find my Samantha and take her home, wherever she may feel home is? Do you feel that it would also help Martouf, for he is as upset and confused as I am. He is as unable to control his fear as I am. Neither of us are able to stop the fear we feel when we think about all of the things that could happen to her.”
“Yes, I do. I think it would help both of you to find that you can function, even though you do not know exactly where Sam is, what she is doing, or if she is safe. That you cannot be sure she is protected and safe all the time, but that you can still function, and that you have no choice but to trust her to take care of herself. Because that is where it has to start. It has to start with you trusting her to care for herself and the baby. It has to start with you accepting that you cannot be with her every minute of every day, but that it is okay, and you can survive it. Both Martouf and you can do it and survive it. Sam trusts you to do it, and I believe you can do it; now all you have to do is realize it yourselves.”
Lantash sat for quite some time, and it was obvious he was talking to Martouf. When he looked back up at Daniel, he said quietly, “If the General will allow it, then we accept your offer. Moreover, you are correct in what you say, Daniel. As difficult as it will be for us, we must come to terms with her needs. We have pushed her needs aside for our own, for much too long, and it is time to face facts. Thank you for thinking of this and for wishing to help us through this. It is very much appreciated.”
“You are welcome. I will talk to the General in a little while, but I am sure he will agree, and I know you realize that, too,” Daniel told him, softly. Then, becoming more brisk, he continued, “In the meantime, I have some things here that need translated from Goa’uld into English. I would appreciate the help, and you could use the distraction. What do you say to spending some time in here with me this afternoon and evening and working on them with me?”
Being with Daniel and doing some mundane chores would perhaps help to ground them. It would do them both good to have something to occupy their minds. He would go to the desk he used when he was helping Daniel, and he would force himself to think of something besides Samantha and where she might be. At least, he would attempt to.
He held out his hand for the tablet that Daniel was holding. “I will start on it now. Martouf and I will need to keep our minds occupied, as you say.”
“And, Daniel, while I sincerely thank you for everything you are doing for Martouf and I, most of all I must thank you for being Samantha’s friend. I know you are walking a fine line between your loyalty to her and your friendship with us. We will not ask you to betray her trust in you, I promise you. And, we do sincerely thank you for what you are doing for all of us.”
Daniel clasped his hand and giving him a pure Daniel smile he said softly, “But Lantash, that is what friends do, it is what they are for; to be there when you need them. If the time ever comes, you will be there for me, Anise and Freya. That is just the way it works.”
Squeezing the hand he was grasping, he smiled slightly, “Yes. Yes, Daniel, of that, you may rest assured. Should any of you ever need anything, we will be there; I give you my word, for as you say, that is what friends are for.” Clearing his throat from the sudden lump that grew there, he released Daniel’s hand, and said, “I must get to work, now.”
“Yeah,” Daniel cleared his throat as well, and turned to retrieve the letter and give it to them. “Yeah, me too. I think I will just go talk to the General now rather than later and get things squared away for tomorrow.”
Lantash nodded his agreement and took the letter Daniel held out to him. Standing, he took his cup and refilled it, as he headed for the desk and Daniel headed for the General’s office. He would not forget the friendship Daniel had shown to both them and Samantha so many times. Tomorrow was just one more sign of that friendship. It was time to start as they meant to go on. Pushing the anxiety and fear that continued to try to surface aside, he bent his head and began to translate the tablet.