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.”  

“Thank you.”

“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.”  

“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.


TBC




                  Chapter 7                        Home                         Chapter 9                      

                                                           
 Table of Contents
Chains of Gold

Chapter Eight

Kiss Me Breathless