Chapter Eight Summary: Daniel refuses to tell Sam what Martouf wants to ask her. When Martouf returns from talking to Jore, he makes the mistake of ignoring Lantash’s advice and of telling Sam how things will be done from now on when it pertains to their “family”. He also tells her that she is to stop acting so childishly. Her response is not exactly what he was expecting…and Lantash must now attempt to calm the troubled waters. When he does, he discovers that he is much more than a comforter to Sam. In fact, his kisses leave her breathless.
Ketra’kesh’cor - Four bound by the heart – a threesome containing three humans and one symbiote, or two and two “Italics” – Symbiote-Host communications
Martouf could hear them squabbling as he left to tell Jore Samantha’s answer, and when he returned ten minutes later they were still there, Sam badgering Daniel to tell her what Martouf wanted to talk to her about, and Daniel telling her that Martouf would tell her. They were very close to arguing like small children.
Leaning against the doorframe and watching them, he smiled, realizing how full their lives would be, if only Samantha could be convinced to take this another step and become their mate in truth. He watched them for several minutes, before he entered the room. Then he took up a position between them, saying, “Can I not leave the two of you alone for a few minutes, without you squabbling like a couple of children? After all, Samantha, Daniel had no reason to tell you about a subject that he talked about with me. Now, I will tell you.”
Sam’s eyes narrowed as she looked at him, but she said nothing in response. Lantash noticed it, though. He had also noticed that the tone of voice that Samantha was using in her “badgering” had an unusual edge to it. It had not sounded in the least childish. This was a woman’s voice. One who was very upset. He could not tell if the edge was anger, hurt, or bitterness. He frowned realizing it could be shades of all three. This would definitely bear watching.
Feeling disquiet over the situation, Lantash stated quietly, “At the moment, I would be very careful what you say to our Samantha, Martouf. She is very close to walking out on all of us right now. Do not forget that she has had a very emotionally trying day so far, and it is still a very long way from being over.”
“She appears fine to me, Lantash,” Martouf answered briefly, obviously not catching the tones in Samantha’s voice that Lantash heard. Lantash did not reply, but he settled in to watch closely, even if he was remaining silent.
“Go away, Daniel. Since you wouldn’t even give me a hint what it was about, you can’t stay and take part in the discussion, either,” Sam said, her tone adamant. She was definitely in an unusual mood about something. It was almost, but not quite, petulant. There was too much adult anger there, for petulance, and it remained buried unless you were watching—and listening—as carefully, as Lantash was. Martouf could feel Lantash shifting uneasily in his mind.
This was a side of Samantha they had never seen. This was the emotionally strung out, tense young woman that wanted nothing so much as to be taken onto someone’s lap to be coddled until she felt better. However, she would resent anyone knowing that, so one would have to do it very carefully. His smile did not last though. Martouf felt it change to uneasiness. Lantash was worried about something, but Martouf felt that he was right in his first thought, and she was simply being childish.
Sensing quicksand in front of Martouf, Lantash tried again to warn him, “I believe you would be well-served to step with caution, Martouf. There is that in her voice which tells us…”
In his exasperation, Martouf did not allow Lantash to finish his statement, instead cutting him off to say, “I believe she is simply a little strung out and tired, as you probably are, Lantash. You have been up for quite some time now without rest, and I believe you may be seeing and hearing things that, to be frank, just are not there. Why do you not rest for a while? I will handle this. Truly. I am worried about you.”
Lantash sighed. He was not wrong. He knew it in his own heart, but Martouf had convinced himself otherwise. The only thing that would change his mind was if the very thing he was trying to prevent happened. So be it. Perhaps it was time to allow Martouf to make some mistakes and perhaps learn from them…particularly when it came to human women. After all, he was still very young. He told him quietly, “Very well, Martouf. I assume you will ask for my assistance should you require it.”
“Yes, of course I would. Rest now,” Martouf agreed quite happily. After all, he was not a child. He was sure he could handle this satisfactorily.
“Actually, Samantha, I have a rather important subject to discuss with you, and I wish for Daniel to remain. I asked him about this matter earlier, and he admitted to ignorance, but suggested that you would know how I should proceed. I believe that if our household is to remain intact, we should share our discussions, so I have decided that Daniel will remain, while we talk. Now, stop fussing about Daniel not telling you, and come tell us what you know. We cannot have you always trying to get information out of one of us all the time, when we need to be together to discuss family business.”
Martouf felt Lantash’s negative response at the same time that Samantha began to speak. He also saw Daniel’s negative head shake, but it was too late.
Sam’s eye’s narrowed as she contemplated both him and her answer, before she said firmly, “Well, it’s not like it’s going to be a permanent arrangement, after we leave here in three days. Well, two days, now. Once we get this stupid sham ceremony out of the way and get our treaty, we go home and things get back to normal. This entire thing becomes some kind of—of nightmare. Yes, exactly, a nightmare.”
Sam nodded her head for emphasis, then looked from Martouf to Daniel and back again with something very like disdain on her face, before saying, “Listen, you two, I really don’t care what you want to know. It’s not my concern, nor does it really matter to me. I’m not the one with the burning question that needs an answer, which apparently only someone else may know. I am going for a walk, probably a long one. Ask Daniel again, he knows everything, is allowed to know everything, and is included in everything, so he can just answer your damn question for you, too. Maybe this time," Mr. I won’t tell you" will have an answer for "Mr. I have decided how it will be".”
Martouf blinked at the spot where Sam had been standing a few seconds before, and Daniel was pinching the bridge of his nose and sighing. Lantash was howling in his head giving him a headache. “Lantash, will you shut up? I see nothing amusing in this situation,” Martouf finally ground out aloud, as he sometimes did when under stress, and his symbiote was being especially annoying.
“No, I do not believe I will. You two handled that well. I salute you both. You will make excellent mates. In fact, you will make such excellent mates that your mate to be just walked out on both of you. I did try to curb your tongue, if you will take the time to be honest and remember.”
“Lantash that is enough,” Martouf appeared to speak between clenched teeth in his answer to Lantash’s, “I told you so”.
Lantash sighed. Perhaps he should not have left him to make this particular mistake on his own. Well, he did, so he should probably allow him to learn the lesson, and he might as well see if he could clean up the aftermath of the mistake. He supposed he needed to answer him, as well, so he informed him, “You are correct, it is. There is no point in talking to an idiot, so I will simply begin to give commands instead. Surely, if they are simple enough, you will be able to follow them. Now, go out the door and turn left. Then follow her around the corner.”
“Daniel, I will be back in a, in a—I do not know when. Lantash is insisting I follow Samantha, for all the good it will do.”
Daniel smiled. “You might be surprised, Martouf. Go on. I’ll just sit here and relax. Contemplate the mysteries of the universe, and the mysteries of women. No, on second thought, I think I’ll stick with the mysteries of the universe. I might have a chance at solving those.”
“Oh, and Martouf? In case you are wondering what happened? On Earth we call it screwing up big time with the woman in your life. Start preparing yourself to learn the fine art of groveling. It’s an art, not a science. The men of Earth become quite adept at it. It looks to me like you may need some intensive courses in it really soon, too.” With that, Daniel plopped himself down on the bed and appeared to be attempting to make some sort of speech.
Opening one eye, he looked at Martouf as he continued to stand in the middle of the room. “The longer she has to sit and stew about it the deeper the pain becomes before the apology arrives. The longer the time between the apology and the making up become the longer and more abject the groveling will have to be in order to get from the apology to the making up. It is exponential. I suggest you leave and find her ASAP.”
Muttering under his breath about incomprehensible soon-mates, irritating symbiotes, and ambiguous, cryptic mate-brothers, Martouf jerked open the door, and stomped out of the cottage. He turned left and then left again. He followed where Lantash told him to turn until he found himself on a wide corner where Lantash stopped him and told him to enter the mass of vines and leaves to his left.
He could see nothing, but he wove his way through and was surprised to soon find himself in front of a beautiful little gazebo. It was completely private. No one could see in, nor could any one come upon you, without your knowledge. He saw a very dejected and disconsolate Samantha sitting within the small building and made his way into her.
He was completely surprised to see the tears running slowly down her face. It was not as if she was, or had been, crying. She wasn’t. It was just that every so often one tear would slip over and find its way down her cheek. She looked so sad it broke his heart. As he was about to reach for her, he found himself firmly planted in the backseat with Lantash taking over the controls.
With practiced ease, Lantash reached out and smoothed the tear away, sitting quietly with her, neither asking anything of her, nor pushing anything on her. Finally, he heard her sigh, as she laid her head on her folded arms, upon the back of the seat.
“I keep forgetting this is just a fantasy that I’ve given myself permission to indulge in, just like you and Daniel have allowed yourselves to play your parts. It’s the easiest way not to make mistakes, we all know that. If it’s real to us, then we’ll do it right. For these three days, I’m your and Daniel’s mate, so I should expect scenes like that. Of course, they would stick together and close me out. I shouldn’t have been so snippy with them. They didn’t mean anything. And Martouf probably really didn’t mean it the way it sounded.”
She laughed, but it was only a sad little sound, “It was like my worst nightmare come to life, you know? I think one of the reasons I refused, for so long, to admit that I loved Daniel was because of this very thing. If we were lovers, then I’d lose my best friend. I didn’t want to lose that, to lose him. It was just so scary suddenly losing my best friend and having no one.” She whispered the end of her sentence, as if afraid to admit aloud how much it had hurt her, before she looked down and sniffed, not an elegant sound, but a heartbreaking one.
“Lantash, please, you must let me speak to our mate. Please, I must speak to Samantha. Let me out, damn you,” Martouf’s responses moved rapidly from pleading to demanding, showing that his hold on his own emotions was shaky at best.
Lantash answered with the bare truth, “Quiet, Martouf, she is not ready to talk to you yet. Trust me to straighten out this, er, situation. If I allow you to come forward now, you will simply dig your hole deeper. Is that what you wish?”
“No, of course not, but she is so sad and...” Remorse was the overriding feeling in his reply.
This time, Lantash was even more bluntly stark, as he told him, “And you are to blame. It is your fault, and you wish to atone by being abjectly apologetic, so that you can feel better, whether she does or not. However, at this moment, the chances are that you will only make matters worse, by saying something foolish, even though you mean well. Please, allow me to attend to our mate instead for now.”
“Of course, Lantash, I am sorry. I will try to be patient.”
“They are both very young, my Samantha. Martouf, especially, for all his years, is occasionally still naïve, when it comes to knowing what to say to a woman. He does not always see through their eyes, as they see through his. I hope you will forgive his heavy handedness. Daniel is much more adept at knowing what to say and do, but Daniel has an extremely sensitive heart, one that is attuned to you, as well as many others around him.”
Martouf sputtered in his outrage at Lantash’s words, “Young? I am over one hundred years old, as you are well aware. I am not a child. Nor am I insensitive. Well, perhaps I take things too literally sometimes, but I am working on that. I am not naïve. I have been around the universe, and I am as up to what’s going on as the next person.”
“He simply miscalculated your fragileness today that is all. I believe that Daniel realizes what occurred and regrets his part in it. I am quite sure that he has already seen through your eyes and knows exactly what you saw and heard during the exchange. He will be very sorry, and you know that. Martouf is the one of which you are not sure. He is the one that you do not know if you can trust with your heart now. I can assure you that he will see it also.”
Once more Martouf found himself sputtering his response to Lantash’s comments, “Of course, she can trust me with her heart. Why could she not trust me with it? I love her as much as Daniel and you do. Yes, I will see it. Of course, I will see it. She can trust me.”
“There is not a woman alive who is not born older than every man who has ever lived, and you know it as well as I do. This is why women forgive men so much more easily and with so much less cause. They realize that most men really have little, or no, idea of what they have even done that is wrong, but if you will forgive them, they will promise never to do it again. They must trust to providence that they never do it again, for even as they promise, they are as unaware of their transgression, as they were at the beginning, unless the woman has taken pity on them and explained their error. Some women are kind hearted enough to do that, but others enjoy watching their beloved continue to trip himself up repeatedly. I do not believe you are one of those.”
“What they wished to talk to you about was not a secret, my Samantha, and there was no reason to tease you with it, other than that is what young boys do to get the little girl’s attention and keep it centered on them. They probably did not even realize themselves that was the reason they were doing it.”
“Unfortunately for all of us, they have forgotten that their little girl is no longer little and has enough to tease her at the moment, without them doing so, also. I will begin to step in more often when I realize that they are…annoying you. I saw what was happening and should have stepped in this time, so in that respect, I am as guilty as they are. I do most sincerely apologize for letting them take it so far that they succeeded in hurting you. I am sorry, my Samantha, for I am old enough to have known better than to have allowed them to continue with what they were doing.”
Outraged over Lantash’s comments, he berated him, “Annoying her? Annoying her? Lantash, how dare you talk about Daniel and I like this? Who do you think you are? What do you think you are doing? You will stop this at once. How dare you speak of us, as if we are small wayward boys, who do not know enough to take care of ourselves.”
Having heard enough from Martouf at the moment, Lantash, asked him, “Do you want Samantha to speak to you and Daniel anytime soon, Martouf? Because if you do, you will allow me to pull all of us out of this morass, even if it is over the deceased carcasses of you and Daniel, and be glad that at least one of us is still able to talk to her.”
Now, he was truly bewildered, “But—but, what did we do?”
Lantash sighed deeply, before explaining, slightly more gently, but still somewhat exasperated and incredulous, “Martouf, she is strung as tight as a bow, and you leave her to be teased about a question that Daniel refuses to answer. Then you insist, in your god- like superiority, that Daniel should be part of the discussion, regardless of her wishes, because in the future all of our family discussions will be this way, without, I might add, asking her opinion. And you have to ask what you did wrong?”
“Come now. She is so strung out that looking at her wrong could cause her to fly apart, and you are challenging her and her right to self-determination. Her world is changing around her, and you are taking away her ability to guide what little she can still control. She feels she has lost her best friend because he sided with you, in her eyes, against her, something that he would not normally do. To her that is a sign that she no longer has her friend. You have her friend.”
“Oh,” Lantash mimicked. “Now, if you will remain quietly in the background, I will attempt to pull you and Daniel out of this quagmire and, from here on, you will become much more aware of what you are saying and doing to our mate. And you will tell Daniel the same thing.”
“Samantha, Martouf wished to talk to you about Janet Fraiser and Per’sus. It seems that…”
“Is that all? Why didn’t he just say so? I can tell him whatever he wants to know. I just talked to her last night, and I have all the latest news on their romance. It’s going very well, but if he wants details, I’m not going into it here. Besides, Daniel will want to know as well. Not,” She stopped and frowned, then continued, her demeanor haughty and her voice cool, “that I’ll agree to tell him anything.”
Lantash smiled softly, took her hand, and drew her along the bench toward him. “My Samantha, I do not blame you for being aggravated by the two of them. I would probably be more so than you are in your position, however, I believe that they are both ready with abject apologies. In fact, it is my belief that Daniel was composing his as we left to find you.”
“However, be that as it may, I am afraid that I now have other things which are taking precedence over the two of them. I realize that this is changing the subject, but I do not seem to be able to stop myself. You know, it seems the only time I get to kiss you is at times when we have to stop for some reason.”
Sam smiled at him, quite content to leave the other subject for now. “We don’t have to stop now, Lantash. I—I’d like for you to kiss me without stopping because someone interrupts us, or Martouf thinks you should stop. This time, this time, tell Martouf to be quiet, Lantash, so that I can kiss you. Because I don’t know of any reason we have to stop, unless we want to. Not one reason. No one can see us.”
“No, we do not have to stop, do we,” was the last thing he said, before his lips met hers in a searing, claiming kiss. It was a kiss that had her melting onto his chest and grasping the back of his head to hold him as close as possible. She felt his hand slide down her side and brush the side of her breast, and she caught her breath as it stopped and returned to explore its weight and shape, the contours of it as it met her ribs and the hardness of the nipple as it beaded for him. She couldn’t stop the moan that tore through her, or the sob of need that followed it.
As her hands caressed the hard planes of his chest, his muscles contracted everywhere she touched him, needing more. Slowly she pushed him backward onto the bench until he was lying on his back with one foot on the floor and one on the bench, with Samantha cradled between his thighs and on top of the hardness that reached high across his abdomen for an impressive distance. The fact registered and she filed it away for contemplation later, while one of her hands sought to find and measure it in the age-old way of women, so to add tactile information to the file.
As she lowered her mouth to his again, she ground out his name like a prayer. Rocking lightly on his hips, she was so close to losing herself that she tore away from him with a desperate cry, thrusting herself into a sitting position, to sit shaking, hands clenched to keep from touching him again.
Lantash sat up, hands shaking, and pulled her into his arms for one more of those kisses and that desperate, drugging sensation that came with them. Finally pulling loose from his kiss, she threw her head back and looked into his startled eyes. “You don’t even realize do you, Lantash? You have no clue what you do to me. None. You think it’s all Martouf and Daniel, don’t you? That it’s only them that I want that way. My god, I think you may be as young, or younger, than they are when it comes to human women.”
“Don’t you understand, Lantash? You are the one that makes me feel this wild passion. I feel passion for Daniel and Martouf, too, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I feel a lot of passion for them. They burn me too. But it’s not like this one. Not like the passion you can raise in me.” She shuddered. “It burns me alive; I could easily lose all control. You do that. You do that to me. Just your kiss leaves me breathless.” Neither of them spoke for a moment. Still watching him and seeing the wonder in his eyes, Sam whispered softly, “Kiss me breathless, Lantash, kiss me breathless.”
(Warning: The following contains some sexual play that is somewhat, though not terribly, graphic. I would call it very Mildly graphic. For those that wish to skip this, I will insert this*****where it ends so that you can continue with the remainder of the chapter.)
Slowly he reached for her and drew her back into his arms. This time he laid her down and followed her. He was cradled in her thighs as he continued with one drugging kiss after another. His mouth left hers to leave a trail of molten fire along her throat and down to her shoulder. Within the space of a heartbeat he had a breast uncovered and she was moaning his name in a litany as they rocked together, joined yet not joined, melded, yet not melded.
Without conscious thought she clasped the back of his neck and massaged where she knew that Lantash would be. She didn’t know if he could feel it, but she wanted the feeling that she was touching him as she made love to him.
Her robe slid farther up and the musky feminine scent of her reached Lantash’s extra sensitive senses and he drew it in and savored it. His hand slid up her leg to the apex of her thighs. Moving slightly he brought his hand to her mound and cupped it feeling the warmth. He heard her moan, as first one finger and then two slipped easily inside. She whimpered as the added sensation forced her higher. It would be so easy, so very easy. The only thing between them now was his robe. He plunged his fingers in again and she gasped. He could raise his robe easily enough and his shaft would be where his fingers were now. One more time his fingers made their way into her channel. He was not going to be able to stop. Never before had a woman brought him to this wild a passion. He could not stop.
“My Samantha, please, you must stop me, for I cannot stop myself.”
“No, I don’t want to stop you.”
“Please, my Samantha, help me. I cannot do this; we cannot do this, now.”
Moaning her denial, nonetheless she did as he desired and forced her hands to move from holding him to pushing him away. It took every bit of strength she had, and she couldn’t force herself to tell him no, but it was the resistance that he needed to begin to pull back from her.
With one last taste of her breast he left it, covering her as his lips returned to hers for one last passion filled kiss. Then slowly, as if each inch he moved was a physical pain, he sat up and away from her, before pulling her up as well.
(End of Section*****)
They sat quietly for some time, as their breathing slowed, forcing themselves to think of other things. “I am sorry, my Samantha. I should not have lost control of myself to that extent. I will endeavor to see that it does not happen again.”
Sam laughed slightly, suddenly feeling better. She scooted over until they were touching and she forced his arm up and around her. “If you do, then I’ll never forgive you. I loved that, Lantash, seeing you out of control that way. I just wish we could have finished what we started. Actually, we could have, but I think you would have beaten yourself up over it because Martouf is probably being a butthead about joining first. I remember how he was about Rosha and Jolinar. It drove the three of us, er, you that is, crazy. Much as I love him, sometimes I wish he would just loosen up a little.”
Martouf gasped, before he asked, “Lantash, did she just call me a, a butthead? A butthead? What is a butthead? It is an insult, is it not?”
Lantash laughed at his response, but with a great deal of affection, “I do believe it is, Martouf, but it was said with a great deal of love and affection in her voice. I do not believe she meant it in a bad, or derogatory, way. Sometimes, the Tau’ri will use terms that can be used as insults in ways that are not actually insulting. It is very confusing. Furthermore, you must admit that you are somewhat blind on this subject, and you do refuse to consider the other people involved or their wishes.”
Lantash felt Martouf hesitate. “I do? But, but…you all agreed to wait, Lantash. I thought it was a mutual decision.”
Lantash sighed. “It was a much discussed mutual decision, Martouf. You wished to wait. It was quite obviously important to you. You were young and, well, you were young. We knew it bothered you a great deal, so we agreed to wait. It was a mutual decision.”
Martouf answered quietly, as he became aware of these facts for the first time, “Nevertheless, it was not one you all wished to make. None of you felt that way. You all would have chosen not to wait. Why did none of you tell me? I would have agreed to what the majority wanted, Lantash.”
His voice loving, Lantash told him, “Which is why we did not tell you, dear one. You would have agreed, although it would have tainted something special for you. I would not do that to you. Not then. I must admit that I would not have held back this time, I am afraid. I am sorry.”
“You should have continued. I have matured and grown, Lantash, and I would have enjoyed it very much. There might have been a small regret, perhaps, but it would have faded in the heat of desire. I am not the—the boy I was a hundred years ago. I am no longer the somewhat idealistic young man that I once was. We are all adults, no longer children, and it is not as if any of us will come to our bonding bed untouched. No, my only true concern was that we not do something, which Samantha would later regret. Well, there was that, as well as the thought of Daniel. I feel that perhaps the first time we should all be together.”
Lantash paused, sending Martouf a slight smile, “In that thought you are very much correct. It would have been unforgivable of us. We should definitely all be together our first time of mating. You are correct, and I thank you for thinking of it.”
“You are welcome. I believe you should return to Samantha. She seems to be looking at you somewhat quizzically.”
“Yes, I believe that you are correct; therefore, I will do so.”
Lantash turned his attention from Martouf to Sam, explaining, “Actually, it seems that Martouf’s thoughts were not so much concerned with anticipating the bonds, for as he pointed out he is no longer a young and somewhat idealistic young man, as they were with the fact that Daniel was not with us. I must agree with him, and I should have thought of it myself. Our first time together should begin to forge our bond of the Ketra’kesh’cor. We should attempt at least the first time or two; to be sure we are all together.”
Sam’s eyes widened. “You’re right of course. Tell him thank you for thinking of Daniel. We all should have. The fire you light in me doesn’t allow for much rational thought, though. I guess now we both have a little better idea of what we do to one another.”
Feeling that the shaking had finally abated, she stood and looked down into his eyes. “I’m going back. When you recover completely, come back, and I’ll tell you all I know about Janet and Per’sus, all right?” She smiled, and then she laughed aloud at the look on his face. Leaning down she took his lips in a very brief, but very hard kiss. Then she walked away.
Suddenly, things looked a whole lot better. Knowing she could do that to Lantash had finally helped her put it in perspective. They all loved her and she loved all of them. That was enough to know for now. They would worry about the details later. Moreover, from what these guys had been telling her, they’d pretty much tied that up, too. All they were doing was waiting for a yes from her. She smiled. Maybe she could do that. It was looking a lot more possible.
“So. The only thing you have going for you is your ability to comfort her, Lantash? I do not believe, from what Samantha just said to you, that the only thing she sees in you is your comforting ability,” Martouf sounded extremely smug.
Lantash made no response and Martouf gave him a mental poke. “Lantash. I am talking to you. Did you not hear me?”
“Hm? Wh-what Martouf? Did you want something, dear one?”
“Lantash, I asked you about the passion Samantha just showed for you. You cannot deny that she said it was only for you. You are held in her heart as more than just a comfort giver.”
Lantash smiled in Martouf’s mind. “Yes, yes, I am, am I not?” Lantash was allowing himself to indulge in some daydreams, a pastime he rarely indulged in. Humming, he left the gazebo and followed his Samantha back to the cottage, visions of the passions to come dancing wildly in his head while, Martouf groaned loudly at the pain in their groin. Why did his friend have to discover this propensity for daydreaming now? Why did he not stop replaying the entire scene? The entire extremely erotic scene. Did he not realize that they were in pain and would remain that way unless something drastic was done soon? Like cutting off the blood supply to a certain section of their shared body?
“Lantash? Lantash? Lantash, stop singing and listen to me. Lantash. Lantash, stop thinking of those things, please. Lantash, please, stop. Lantash! Stop singing at once. Lantash we are almost back at the cottage, and you must help me to control the reaction of our body to the erotic visions you are showing us. Yes, yes that does look as if it would be interesting, but we should stop now and attend to Samantha. Stop humming and singing. She will need us. Lantash...”
Daniel looked up as Sam walked through the door and walked into her room. He sighed. Okay, so he was going to have to go to her. He still didn’t know for sure what he had done, but it must have been pretty bad for her to have walked out. He wasn’t being completely honest either. He had an idea of what he’d done. Or what she thought he’d done anyway and if that was it, he’d hurt her. Badly.
“How much longer do you think it will be before they come for us, Daniel?”
“Um, I don’t know, Sam. Listen, Sam about earlier, I-”
“I’m sorry, Daniel, I shouldn’t have acted like a child. It was silly to get all upset over something so stupid. Let’s just forget it, okay? We’ll pretend I never made such a pain of myself.”
“Sam, I’m sorry, too. I’m not sure what I did, but whatever it was I’m really sorry.”
“Daniel, according to Lantash, we were guilty of treating Samantha as if she had no say in our relationship, and we should not have withheld the information about what we wished to talk to her about. It was a childish ploy on our part to keep her undivided attention on us. It succeeded, but in an unpleasant way.”
“Therefore, I, too, wish to add my apologies to Daniel’s, Samantha. We did not treat you as an equal member of our household. It will not happen again.” Martouf paused and looked at the floor, before looking back up at her and saying very quietly, “I can only hope that you will reconsider your words about our relationship in the future. I have no wish to return to the way we were before we came here.”
Sam flushed, and looked at her hands. She cleared her throat, “I, um, don’t remember what I said, actually. I was too upset to know what I was saying. I was just trying to hurt you both because you were hurting me. So, you can probably disregard whatever it was that I said. I guess.”
The looks of relief that bloomed on their faces showed just how much her speech had bothered them. Now they could breathe easier.
Martouf looked outside and realized that the sun was at last hanging lower in the sky. “I suspect that they will come for us within the next couple of hours, possibly less, Samantha.”
“So, if you do not mind, I would like to discuss the question I have to ask you. I will make this very quick. Please come sit here with us.” He watched as she walked over to join them, but as she went to sit on the couch between them, he changed his mind and swung her up into his arms.
“Let us go and get comfortable on the large bed. I do not think anyone will come in and even if they do you are clothed. He smiled down at her as she lie in his arms. Sam found herself lying on their bed, propped up on one side of the bed, facing Martouf and Lantash on the other side with Daniel stretched out beside him, nearer to her but closer to Martouf.
She watched them and realized that the two men look completely comfortable to be lying there like that. Daniel’s head would not quite reach Martouf’s shoulder; they could speak to each other easily, and see each other easily. More than that, their faces were close enough together that Sam wouldn’t have to keep swinging her head from one end of the bed to the other. And they were truly comfortable, even talking a little and laughing. Sam had the first feeling of peace move through her that she’d had for a while, and she wondered if it could always be this way.
As they were all getting comfortable she saw Martouf lay his hand on Daniel shoulder in an affectionate gesture and was surprised, but pleased, to see it. Daniel smiled back at him and said something more, at which Martouf pushed him slightly, and Daniel returned the gesture. It was an interesting moment. Not exactly intimate, yet not exactly casual. Friendly. Companionable.
It was—nice. “All right, so what is it that was so important about Janet and Per’sus that you couldn’t just say, “We want to know what’s going on with Janet and Per’sus, do you know?”
Two contrite faces looked up at her from across the bed. Both were pleading with their eyes for her to forgive them. They were, the look on their faces and in their eyes said, only men and sometimes they just didn’t get it right. Forgive them this one time, and maybe it wouldn’t happen again, at least until next time. Shaking her head and looking up at the ceiling she tried not to see those eyes and that look. What would she do if they learned that it only took that to get their way? Nope, could not happen. There had to be more to it than pleading eyes and sad looks.
She looked back at them and raised an eyebrow. Daniel having seen it before groaned, “Oh, come on, Sam, please don’t do this.”
She continued to stare at him and the other brow joined the first one. She waited quietly while Martouf watched fascinated. “Come on, Sam, please don’t do this.” Daniel frowned. “This isn’t fair to Martouf. You can’t expect one friend to carry tales on another. It isn’t ethical.”
“Did he tell you specifically not to tell me what it was about, Daniel? Well, did he?”
“Not in so many words, no, but I knew that he wanted to talk to you about it, and there was no point in you telling it twice, so I was really just saving you from having to repeat it. Really, Sam, that’s all it was.”
Daniel looked back up to see the beautiful blue eyes of his friend looking at him with such sadness and hurt that he couldn’t stand it. He was up and had her in his arms in less than a heartbeat. “Don’t, Sam. Don’t look at me that way. I’ll promise if it will help you. Really.”
“Really, Daniel? You promise?”
“Yes, I promise, Sam. Never again.”
Sam frowned. “What are you promising, Daniel?”
Daniel sat back on his heels and dropped his head. Then he threw his head back and looked at the ceiling. “Why do I always do this? Why? I fall for it every time.” Looking back at Sam and seeing her confused look at his questions he sighed, “I promise I will never again, not tell you something because it is something that Martouf wants to know, unless he has made me promise not to tell. Cross my heart and hope to die,” his voice lowered as he said the last of his promise and crossed his heart.
Then as if he couldn’t stop himself he leaned in and took her lips in a soft sweet kiss. Breaking it, he whispered, “I promise, even if you did manipulate me into doing it. Because I love you, Samantha Carter, and I always will. And that, you can take to the bank.”
Sam smiled and leaned forward for another one of those wonderful sweet kisses. “Thank you. I love you, too. Always. Forever and a day.”
As they sat looking into each other’s eyes reading what they needed to know there, they both realized that there was still Martouf with which to deal. Daniel sighed and turned back to his friend. “Your turn.”
“This is the Tau’ri ritual that is called “making up?” Martouf asked hesitantly.
“Not exactly, Martouf. You have to go through hell and purgatory first. Then you get to “make up”.” Daniel said cheerfully.
Martouf looked from the solemn Samantha to the smiling Daniel, who was obviously now back in her good graces, and asked him quickly, “You will guide me through this ritual, Daniel? I do not know the correct sequence or what to do.” Martouf said, still hesitant.
Daniel nodded. “It’s simple really. It goes like this. You were wrong. It doesn’t matter if you really were or not. Believe me, trust me, you were wrong. Depending on whether or not you were really wrong, or just wrong, that tells you how hard it is going to be to get the ritual finished. In this particular case, you were really wrong. So, it will be harder, but this wasn’t a major screw up, like maybe getting caught with another woman. That is a big time one, and if it ever happens do not even ask me because I’ve never known a man yet that really survives that one without paying for it for the rest of his natural life.”
“Anyway, this one, like I said is just modestly serious, you were wrong, so you only have to be abject and sincere in your apology. Then you have to promise not to ever, ever again do whatever it was that got you into being wrong in the first place. In some circles it’s called groveling, but I prefer to refer to it as the exploration of the different aspects of interpersonal relationships between a man and a woman.”
Martouf still looked confused. “I still do not understand exactly what I am expected to say and do to win back Samantha’s affections. Are there specific words?”
Sam’s head snapped around from Daniel to Martouf and she scowled at him, “Martouf, this has absolutely nothing to do with my affection for you. I can be angry with you and still love you. Don’t ever equate my feelings for you with the actions that are expected. I mean, I will never withhold my love because you refuse to do something, or you do something I would rather you did not. Love doesn’t come with conditions. Now, I suppose, if you were a psychotic killer or something that statement would be revised, but we aren’t talking about that. What Daniel is talking about has nothing to do with whether or not you have lost my love, all right? Do you understand?”
Martouf looked at her for a moment and then nodded. “Yes, I understand. You will love me regardless. You may not be happy with me, but the love remains.” He nodded and turned back to Daniel, “What ritual must I perform to bring back my Samantha’s smiles, then?”
Daniel smiled, “Okay, I’ll coach you this one time. Next time, you are on your own. I think you’ll catch on yourself pretty quick anyway. Try…Samantha, I love you and I am sorry that I upset you. I didn’t understand. I promise I will never again leave you wondering what I want over such a silly thing, and I will never again treat you as if you have no voice in our family. I promise.”
Moving over to her, Martouf looked into her sad blue eyes and all the words Daniel had just told him left him. Instead of saying all of them, he gathered her to him and said, “I am sorry. I will never do it again. I will never do anything you do not like again, but please do not look at me with such sad eyes, for you are breaking my heart, my love. I promise you, I will never do anything at all that you do not like, ever. Please, Samantha, forgive me for being such a Jack.”
“Jerk, Martouf, the word is jerk,” Daniel coached from behind him.
“Yes, of course, that is what I meant. A jerk. I will endeavor to not be so again, if you will return your smile to me.”
Sam smiled at him. For a first timer, he had done pretty well. “I think I can do that. “And you know what? I’m sorry for acting like a female jerk and walking away from you. That wasn’t nice of me, and I’ll try not to do it again. I’m sorry for acting like a child. I hope you’ll forgive me.”
Martouf looked at her as if he didn’t understand her words and Daniel, grinned at him. “That’s that best part of groveling. At least with Sam. She always feels bad after she makes us do it, so then we get a nicely worded apology even if it really was our fault to begin with. It’s kind of nice to have a friend to share the blame with. So we don’t mind too much. And she usually makes up for it by going out with us or something. However, this time she’s going to tell us a story about a lady named Janet and a Tok’Ra named Per’ sus. Isn’t she Sam?”
Sam wrinkled her nose at him and stuck out her tongue. “Yes, I suppose I’ll have to. It’s a great story, though, so sit back and relax and I’ll tell you what I know.”
Martouf frowned. This had not ended as Daniel’s had. Perhaps he should have tried harder to use his words? He must find out what he had done wrong, so that he would not make the same mistake the next time.
“Daniel, what did I do wrong? I do not understand.”
Daniel frowned. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Martouf, what do you mean?”
“From what little I have been able to analyze about your society, when one “makes up” there should be more than this. You, at least, got the kiss. I was under the impression that “making up” involved more, um, physical exercise than this.”
Sam laughed. “That’s for joined couples, Martouf. The most you would expect is the kiss, and you are correct, I did owe you one or two of those.”
She slid her arms up and around his neck. She heard Martouf moan as his lips found hers. It lasted until she thought she’d never come up for air, but with a final caress, Sam broke the kiss. She nibbled on his bottom lip, and sucked on it gently before breaking the kiss completely. Smiling dreamily, she looked up into eyes clouded with passion.
“I think we better stop playing with fire. Now we’ve completed “making up”, Martouf. I think we need to talk about something neutral, like, Janet and Per’sus. So, you and Daniel go over there and relax and I’ll relax right here. And, we’ll get straight to the point. Sam looked up and into Martouf’s eyes, but she would have sworn that it was Lantash’s eyes, filled with laughter that she was looking into.