Chapter Fourteen Summary: Teal'c and Jack have a talk and Teal'c reassures Jack that the joining between Daniel, Sam, Martouf and Lantash will be long and loving. Finally accepting that Teal'c is usually correct in these types of things, he becomes reconciled to the joining. He talks to Martouf and Lantash and for the first time, sees them for who and what they are. He realizes that both of them…and Daniel…love Sam very much…just as she loves them. They have asked him to speak during the reception and he gives a very nice speech, as does Teal'c.
“Italics” – Symbiote-Host communications
Jack O’Neill stood at the podium and looked out over the expectant faces. How did he get himself into these messes? One minute he was sitting with a few nice looking, friendly, attentive young women, and the next thing he knows, he’s standing at a podium addressing an audience of people that can’t understand him on a subject he knows nothing about.
“Teal’c, what am I supposed to say? I can never do this stuff. I never know what to say. I mean I can’t very well say that Carter’s a good soldier and an excellent officer. I suppose I can tell them that she’s brilliant and he’s brilliant so together they should be so brilliant you shouldn’t be able to look at them without being blinded. They’d get it at the SGC, I don’t think it would go over good here. And Marty and the sna, er, Tok’Ra? What in the entire Universe am I supposed to say about them?”
“Say what you feel in your heart, O’Neill. Not the one that is telling you that you think this is crazy, and that it is not real, but the one that is pushed under the one that you allow to guide you most of the time. The one that knows that the four of them belong together.”
“Daniel doesn’t have enough sense. Lantash will chew him up and spit him out. He’ll have him for breakfast. Daniel will be miserable.”
“I do not believe that to be the case, O’Neill. I believe that Lantash will care for and protect him much as he does Martouf, to a lesser extent only because he cannot be in both of them at once.”
“You really think that’s true don’t you, Teal’c? You really believe that Lantash will protect Daniel as much as he can and you really, really believe that Carter can be happy with two, er, three husbands.”
“Yeah? Then what about Daniel? I can’t see him in a, well, with a…I just can’t see it, okay? Damn it, Teal’c, Daniel is not gay.” Teal’c cocked his eyebrow at O’Neill. “It means, you know.” As Teal’c continued to stare at him, he leaned forward and whispered into his ear.
“I am well aware of the meaning, and he is most certainly not, O’Neill. What would make you think such a thing?”
“Well, he’s gonna be in bed with another man, isn’t he? Naked?”
“Whether Daniel Jackson is in bed with another man, naked or clothed has nothing to do with his sexuality, O’Neill. He and Martouf will form a bond, certainly, but it will be a bond through Major Carter and their love of her, first. Then it shall grow into a love like that of brothers.”
“Sex between the two of them will not enter into it in any way, and I am surprised that you have not seen that for yourself. There will no doubt be an open and unashamed affection between them. Because of their intimacy, they will not have the reservations others might about touching one another, but it will not be in any sexual way. No. That I will never believe.”
“Have you perhaps been so blinded by your fear of losing him that you have failed to see what is before your eyes? Daniel Jackson has loved Major Cater for a long time. Deeply and passionately. You heard their vows to one another. They did not have to say those things. No one would have known what they vowed. They said them because they meant them. All of them meant them.”
“You have never trusted the Tok’Ra Martouf and Lantash. Yet they have done nothing to you. Nothing, but threaten your bond with Major Cater. They, too, love her deeply, and passionately, more passionately than Daniel, for Major Carter and Daniel have a different bond. Martouf and Lantash will care for her and cherish her. There will not be a day the sun rises or the sun sets that she will not know that she is loved and held as the most precious thing in this or any other world, by these three men. Why would you wish to deny her a love such as that?”
“I, for one, am happy for them and hope that this marriage does not mean that they will have to leave the SGC. They will leave if they attempt to break them apart and put them on different teams or annul the marriage. The Tok’Ra, will recognize it as valid as long as one or the other of them does not repudiate it.”
Jack O’Neill looked at the man he had befriended several years ago and thanked the powers that be again that he had done so. He could put things into perspective when Jack just couldn’t get a handle on it.
“Teal’c not long ago there was a set of government policies drawn up in referral to Earth- Off-world relations that ended in a bunch of presidential orders. One of them reads that all off world marriages are to be deemed legal and sanctioned under US government policy # 6996 as of March 01/ 2001. They are married Teal’c, in the eyes of our government. Even the fact that it’s polygamy is overlooked because it was an off-world marriage following the customs and beliefs of the culture in which they married and therefore follows their traditions, not ours. I just don’t know how many of them know it for sure. I’ m betting Daniel does and Cater doesn’t. She reads her memo’s, but she doesn’t always read those things. I’m also betting that Lantash and Martouf know the Tok’Ra will sanction theirs.”
“Indeed, O’Neill. I very much hope that you are correct. We will have a celebration when we return to the SGC. Perhaps, someone will bring cake.”
He shouldn’t let his mind be swayed. But what if Teal’c was right? What if everything he said was true? Teal’c was usually right when it came to this stuff, but he rarely said much. Which meant that when he did expound, you tended to listen.
So, maybe he should let his mind be swayed. Teal’c had given him his out. He’d pretend to let the cake sway him like he usually did. Made him look like an idiot, but better to be seen as an idiot than an emotional wimp. “Really? You think so? Cake? Weddings usually do have cake, don’t they? I like cake.”
Jack glanced around and saw Jore and the missing group coming their way. They didn’t look happy. Well, why would they? Every time I’ve looked at them, I’ve probably looked ready to kill them all.
I can do jovial. I can. “Would you guys hurry it up? I’m hungry and the food is waiting on you. I understand you’re going to translate, but you need to find out what it is he wants me to say. I have no idea, Daniel, help me out here.”
Daniel looked at him in surprise. There didn’t appear to be any anger in his eyes, and he was relaxed. Daniel wondered if they had plied him with the anesthetic before bringing him up here. “Sure, Jack, just let me talk to him, for a minute or two, to find out what they usually say at these things.”
“No rush, Daniel, I’m fine.” Jack turned and found Martouf. Carter was talking to Teal'c; Daniel was occupied. Good. This was it.
“Martouf.” Jack found that was as far as he could get with what he wanted to say.
Martouf looked at him oddly, but answered him quietly, “Good evening, Colonel. I hope you have not been too bored today. How are your burns? I meant to inquire earlier, but…things became somewhat hectic for us, as you know.”
Jack looked at the floor and rubbed the back of his neck. Crap, he was no good at this. This was Daniel’s job. He sighed, deciding he could do this. He looked into Martouf’s eyes. “Yeah, about that. Look, I don’t have much of a clue as to what is going on with you, Lantash, Daniel, and Carter. I want them happy. They are my team and my team is my family. If either of you hurt them, I will kill you.” He shook his head. “That wasn’t what I meant to say.”
Lantash took control and smiled, “It is perhaps the first honest thing you have ever said to us, O’Neill. We love her. We will care for her. We cannot guarantee her life, anymore than you can, and you know that. Daniel is not our mate, if that has been a worry to you. Very few Tok’Ra take same sex partners. I’m sure that surprises you, but it is true. A ménage, however, is more common. I have been in a few over the years. I believe that the others shall all pale before this one.”
“We will form a deep and loving bond with Daniel, but it will be nothing like the one he has with you. Nothing will shake the bond he has with you; it cannot be superseded or supplanted. It is unique to you and Daniel. No one will ever take your place in is heart. Just as no one will ever take our place in his heart.”
“The heart is a vast place and it can hold many loves and many lovers, from friends to the woman or man that you would give your life for.”
“No matter how many loves we have, there is always room for one more. I know you have resented us and felt that you were losing Samantha to us. She will always remain attached to you. Moreover, you hold a special place in her heart, and we are aware of that. It is a bond unique to the two of you, as is your bond with Daniel. We will not attempt to change, or corrupt it in any way; you may rest assured of that.”
“However, if your interest in her was romantic, I am sorry, but whether you believe it, or not, she was not meant to be with you. She was meant for Daniel, Martouf, and I, just as we were meant for her. The ceremony tonight proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
“Not to me. I have no idea what went on, other than Teal’c had to hold me in my seat because I was ready to come over the railing and jerk you guys out of their hands. What in the hell happened to the three of you?”
“You have seen many unbelievable things, yes?”
“Then please bear with me as I explain. The cake which you saw is called the Chains of Gold. The bakers attempt to bake it for each joining, but for some it will not even form. Daniel and I had not agreed to have the chains attached to us when the cake was baked earlier today, and yet it formed perfectly, absolutely perfectly.”
Lantash motioned an attendant over and showed O’Neill the nipple rings and chain across his chest before continuing. Unbeknownst to us, Samantha, we believe, following our very foolish pleadings with her to agree to whatever they asked of her, agreed to allow them to perform a ceremony on us. This is why the challenge was given. Daniel and I could accept the rings and chains and become joined to my Samantha, or we could refuse and the joining was off.
“When I fed my Samantha the cake, what you saw was me being burned by melting gold. Somehow, it dissolved, except for one small part, and became the first strand on this bracelet. Martouf’s was the second. Daniel’s was the third. The remaining gold became these rings, when she fed us the cake.” Lantash pulled the two chains aside. If you look carefully you will see where the first two chains left behind a golden imprint on Martouf’s skin.”
Jack shook his head. “Why didn’t it just stay chains?”
“We are not sure, but we have speculated that because the Tok’Ra sometimes give bracelets, and the Tau’ri give rings, that the chains gave to us the symbols that were needed, for our home-worlds, or cultures, to prove that we had become joined, bonded, married, whichever word you choose. It has happened, and there will be no going back for me. The Tok’Ra will accept that I am joined to Samantha and that in my eyes she is my mate unless I “divorce” her.”
“Well, it looks like you’re well and truly tied then, because our government has started recognizing off-world marriages, even polygamous ones as long as it was considered legal on the world where the ceremony was performed. Looks like Carter’s got herself two, er, three husbands. Should be interesting.”
“She is worried about the team. She does not wish to see it broken up. I assured her that it would not be. Neither I, nor Daniel, are in her military, and therefore we are not in her chain of command. Furthermore, she and Daniel have been working together and making life and death decisions for four years. I doubt this will change her attitudes as a soldier.”
Jack looked back at him for a long minute before nodding. “I think you’re right. It will be my recommendation anyway. You’ve worked together before and haven’t lost it over each other. There’s no reason to think anything has changed.”
“Say, Lantash, how are you at playing pool?”
He heard Martouf moan in his head and quickly flipped through his memories. He almost told him he knew nothing, but something held him back. He put his hand on Jack’s shoulder, a gesture that did not go unnoticed by the others, “I must be honest with you, since we are teammates. I would not be so truthful, if you were a member from an unsuspecting team, but you are not. I retain all of Martouf’s memories right down to how it feels to play the game. I will be every bit as good he is, and probably better. It irritates him when I say those things, though, so he will be sputtering when he comes back because I have covered his ears. I am sure it is very frustrating that I can maneuver his fine motor nerves better than he can.” Jack laughed aloud.
Jack clasped him on the shoulder and realized he was still unclothed to his waist on one side. Lantash nodded to the attendant and they rewrapped the robes. “So the, uh, first pair, they, uh, melted, huh? Ouch.”
“Yes, it was somewhat painful, as I believe you saw for yourself.”
“Why’d they replace them then? For that matter, why did Carter tell them to do it in the first place?”
“We are not exactly sure. We believe they requested permission to perform a ceremony and she agreed. She knew about the rings so somehow they must have told her. She did not know about the chains.”
“But, why do they even do it at all? I mean, what’s the point?”
“It is ornamental and symbolical. You could not understand the speeches except perhaps the sex education class. I do not believe one needed to know the language to understand that.”
“The laws behind the symbols are very real, but the symbols are no longer used as implements of control, if they ever were. Almost everyone believes that they have always been a token given by the men to prove that they are sincere, and they continue to do it to this day.”
Seeing Jack’s confusion, Lantash continued, “This is a matriarchy, Colonel. My Samantha, is our Queen-mate, Martouf and I are mate to her and Daniel is other-mate. The ceremony was the official relinquishing, by the three of us, of our “first will”, and handing it over to my Samantha. In the society here, the woman’s idea is always tried first, whether it will work, or not, if she insists. The man’s is used second. In the ceremony the woman gives her “second will” to the mate. After that, if there is a third mate then, of course, it goes to him, unless he has helped with second will. After that they work on the problem together.”
“As you can see, there was very much more going on during the ceremony than you could understand. Had we refused to have the piercing it would have reflected badly on us, and the Tau’ri. Samantha is the only one that would have been untouched by it.”
“Is there anything else that was going on that I need to know about? Why are you all chained together? What’s the point of that? I mean why is she chained to you? I thought you said she was the queen thing.”
“Queen-mate. During the ceremony, you may not remember but the chain of gold was handed to Martouf and I. It was another symbolic handing over of our will to her. We first attached the chain to our collar and from there we attached our collar to her. She is the one with the will, not Daniel and I. The entire ceremony is to emphasize that over and over. Daniel can tell you the story behind how it came to be this way sometime. It is very short, I assure you.”
Jack grinned. “So that’s it? You’re sure?”
Lantash shook his head. “No, O’Neill, I am not sure at all. It has been a long and stress filled day. We are all tired and hungry. If I do remember anything further though, I will inform you at once.”
“Okay, thanks.” Jack turned and walked over to Sam.
“Do I get to kiss the bride, Sam?”
Sam looked at her husbands all of which shrugged, as if they couldn’t care less, so she looked back at Jack O’Neill. His eyes were laughing. He was going to kiss her. “Sure, Colonel, why not?” Then Jack O’Neill’s lips descended on hers in an expert kiss. Sensual, perfected, classic, a melt your shoes kiss. When he let her up for air, she smiled cheerfully. “Wow, Colonel, you should give lessons. You kiss great. You hold the part next to the nose a little too long, I almost ran out of air, but other than that it was really excellent.”
Jack exploded, “Carter! Do have to dismantle everything, see how it works, and try to make it better?”
Before she could stop herself her eyes flew to where Martouf stood with a rapidly growing tent pole under his robe. She licked her lips and then jerked her eyes back to Jacks. “Well, no, not “everything”, sir.” She thought she heard a snicker behind her, but that would be Teal’c and surely Teal’c wouldn’t laugh aloud, would he? She felt a tap on the shoulder.
“I believe that I, too, should claim a kiss from the bride.” She smiled at Teal’c. Then she was lost in soft lips and a gentle caress, as one of the sweetest kisses she’d ever known was shared with her. When she came up that time she was smiling, but it was a small intimate smile.
“Thank you, Teal’c, that was wonderful”
“You are welcome Major…by what name do you wish to go? Will you retain your name, or take Daniel Jackson’s?”
She looked over at Daniel, her eyes full of panic. “We don’t know yet, Teal’c. We can worry about all of that stuff later. We have lots of time for that.” He saw her relax and turned to Jack.”
“Jack, Jore said, just make a toast, or whatever you want to say. It can be very short if you want it to be.”
“Okay, then let’s get this moving, so we can eat.”
Jack looked out over the sea of faces and reminded himself that they couldn’t understand him, and Daniel would never translate what he said verbatim, so it didn’t really matter. Taking a deep breath, he stepped to the podium and began... “I’ve known these people a long time. I’ve known Daniel Jackson the longest. The first time I met him, he took a staff blast meant for me and died.”
“The Goa’uld of the mission was extremely perverted, as they all are, so he brought him back to life, so he could make him kill the rest of us. Didn’t work that way, but you know the overdressed megalomaniacs, they’ll do anything for attention, and he was making a big deal out of it. He never expected Daniel to turn the staff weapon on them, instead of us. We left Daniel behind that time, at his request. A year later, we went back and got him, and I’ve never regretted it. Not once, no matter how mad he makes me. Never.”
“Anyway, Sam Carter is next. I’ve know her a little longer than Teal’c. Like by a few days. She’s a damn fine soldier and an excellent officer. She’s brilliant. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that Daniel is also brilliant. Between the two of them they could probably light Time’s Square on New Year’s Eve. Ah, never mind. So both of them are geniuses. We’ll have baby geniuses, running around, hopefully soon.”
“Besides that she’s a good person, and I want her to be happy. I think there’s a good chance that these three guys can do that for her, so I’m all for her trying to make it work. They’ll cherish her as she should be cherished and treat her like a lady when she’s not being a soldier. That’s good because there’s nothing saying she can’t be a woman, and a damn fine soldier at the same time. She’s both.”
“Next up, there’s Teal’c our resident Jaffa. We met him when Apophis was going to kill us all. He rescued us from him, and that made his life worth less than nothing, so then we returned the favor, and took him home with us. He’s been there ever since and we’ve never regretted that either. At that point we were even, because we’d saved each other.”
“But, we’ll never really be even because he’s brought knowledge and intel to us that we could never have gotten any other way. He’s saved our butts lots of times, just because he knows the Goa’uld. He’s a great guy, and we’re glad he’s part of our family. We count on him for lots of stuff when it comes to knowing things and people, but one of the things we count on him for is insight. He knows a lot of good things and he shares them. It wouldn’ t be the same without him.”
“The newest member of our family is Martouf and Lantash of the Tok’Ra. We’ve only had them with us for a couple of months and already they are helping us make more intimate friends.” Jack glanced over at Martouf and knew at once that Lantash was there and laughing at the dig Jack had just sent his way.”
“Actually, we have known Martouf and Lantash for a couple of years. We met because Major Carter was accidentally joined with a Tok’Ra during an attack on a planet we were on. Jolinar, the Tok’Ra, thought that Carter was offering to be her host, when all Carter was doing was giving a form of emergency aid. The two things are very similar in actions.”
“Unfortunately, an ashrak found her, before we discovered she was not Goa’uld. We had only been out into the universe a short time and had never heard of the Tok’Ra. To us, they were all the same. But Jolinar died keeping Carter alive, and she left enough memories in Carter to lead us to them, so that we could become allies. Which, as you can see, we did. Very firm allies.”
“Although, we’ve known them, for a long while, we’ve only had them on our team a short time. They’ve been able to steer us in the right direction, when we would have made a different choice, a wrong choice. We’re happy and privileged to have them with us. And we are especially lucky today because Lantash is now back with us full time after recovering from a recent mishap.”
“When my family first brought up the idea of the four of them joining, bonding, we call it marrying, I was against it. I thought it would make them less as soldiers, less as my family members. I thought it would break our family up. I was wrong, and I think that was proven today. They do belong together, and it will make them better soldiers. They will not be less attentive; they will be more so. They have even more to lose now. I believe that we will all grow even closer together now, because the tension that was between us over this very thing, that was causing the rift is now gone. We are already more comfortable with each other.”
“Martouf, Lantash, and Daniel will form a strong, healthy bond that’s based on a mutual liking and respect that will eventually turn to a love between brothers. Daniel and Martouf share an interest in history, ruins, and all things old and dead, so it seems to me they should get along fine, if they don’t drive Lantash and I crazy first. The love they share for Samantha Carter will help to form their bond. Sam will love all three of them, and she’ll be the glue that melds them into, not something held together, but one whole new sculpture born from the fires that burn within the four of them.”
“I’ll close with some old Irish blessings:
There are four things you must never do: lie, steal, cheat, or drink. But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. If you must steal, steal away from bad company. If you must cheat, cheat death. And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.
May you live as long as you want, And never want as long as you live.
May the blessings of each day Be the blessings you need most.
May you have warm words on a cold evening, A full moon on a dark night, And the road downhill all the way to your door.
I wish you all the best of luck.”
With those final words, Jonathan “Jack” O’Neill inclined his head to the audience, who appeared to love him. He took Daniel in a hard embrace, before turning and clasping Martouf’s arm and hand, and then giving Sam a light kiss. He waved once more and walked back to his seat.
Teal’c speech was brief and to the point. Bowing to them he told the people gathered what he felt about the newly joined couples, “I, too, consider these my adopted family, since I left my home-world to fight against the Goa’uld. They took me in when I turned against Apophis and helped me to assimilate and understand their world, which was so very different than mine. They have helped me through crises with my family, have, in fact, gone to great lengths to do so.”
“They are excellent soldiers and through the years we have saved each others lives so many times that we no longer know who owes who we simply know that everyone of us owes every other teammate more than we could ever repay.”
“Therefore, I consider it a great honor to be able to wish them well as they start a new phase of their lives together; their lives as a joined, mated and bonded group, which will bloom in love for one another more each day as the years pass. I have felt for a long time that the four of them should be together. Now I am sure of it.”
“May you always have the eye of the gods turned from you that you may have a blessed day. I wish you all the good fortune and happiness that your heart’s desire.”
He, too, bowed, clasped the men’s hands with a hard embrace included, and kissed Major Carter sweetly one more time. Inclining his head one last time, he too returned to his seat.
Daniel and Martouf had translated, and the group of people were very pleased with the speeches. They were very nice. The joined pairs had a nice family. Yes. This was good. Now they would eat. And eat they did. Sam was sure the second course was chicken. Daniel insisted it was the same animal they had on Abydos that tasted like chicken.
Daniel had a theory. All food that was of unknown origin tasted like chicken. It was a universal law. He truly believed this to be true. How else could MRE’s be explained? They, too, were of unknown origin, and they, too, tasted like chicken. Most edible food, of unknown origin, that they encountered on missions tasted like chicken. Therefore, all food of unknown origin tasted like chicken.
Martouf, Lantash, and Sam all laughed at him, but ate it with gusto. It was very good chicken flavored whatever it was.
The evening wore on and the twilight deepened, but never made it to dark. Soon the sky would begin to slowly lighten. Soon this would all be over and everyone would retire for what was left of the night. Tomorrow could wait for now. Sleeping would come first and if people ran late for things, well what did it matter; they had a very long day in which to accomplish whatever needed to be accomplished for that day. It would get done in good time.
Sam sat between the two men, and neither of them realized how quiet she was becoming. Sam was tired. No longer hungry her fatigue was weighing on her, and her wedding night was looming in front of her. The two men, understanding the people, were constantly being talked to and congratulated. Sam was smiled and nodded at a lot. She smiled and nodded back. They had removed the last of the plates in front of her and the spot was clean. She could just rest her head there, for just a minute. Only one minute. That was all. On the other side of her, she didn’t see or hear Jack slip into the chair next to Daniel.
“Jack” Daniel answered back in their usual manner when one of them had something to say, but weren’t really sure how to begin. Since it had started out “Daniel” this time, instead of “Jack” it meant that Jack was the one with something to say. Daniel cocked his head and looked at his friend. This must be something really uncomfortable because Jack looked really uncomfortable. He’d better help him get it started.
“Did you want to talk to me about something in particular, Jack or is this strictly a social call?”
Jack looked exasperated. “Have you read any of the latest presidential orders that have come down?” He finally blurted out.
Daniel glanced behind him and seeing Sam’s head down on the table, he smiled and motioned for Jack to move down some. There was room for him to move his chair over so Daniel could move farther away from Sam. That accomplished, he said, very quietly, “If you are asking if I am aware that I am really married to Sam, unless we both repudiate it, then yes, I know that I am now a married man. And before you ask, no, I don’t think Sam is aware of it and yes, I plan on telling her, maybe tomorrow.”
“You could get it annulled if you tell her tonight.”
“No, we can’t get it annulled, Jack. Not now.”
Jack stared uncomprehendingly at him for a minute before his meaning sank in. “You just got joined for crizesake. When did you have time for that?” Daniel stared at him, his lips sealed. Jack’s eyes widened. “That’s where you guy’s were? Taking a quickie?
Still looking at an unresponsive Daniel, he continued, “In the john? You had a quickie in the john? That’s what brides do with the best man, Daniel. Or the groom does with the bridesmaid. Or the best-man does with the bridesmaid. Not the bride and the groom, er, grooms.” Daniel continued to stare at him stoically, his arms crossed.
“Jeez, Carter will be able to say she’s the only bride that had a quickie with three guys in the john on her wedding day and didn’t cheat on her husband.” At last Daniel cracked. It was obvious why the three were such good friends. That all three of them had a similar thought at some point showed how their minds eventually came to a meeting place. Daniel’s eye sparkled, but he tried to get his solemn demeanor back.
“I don’t kiss and tell, Jack.”
“That’s okay, I’ll ask Lantash sometime. Listen, that wasn’t what I came over here to say, anyway. I came to say that, ah, hell, Daniel.”
Clearing his throat, he looked down and picked a piece of imaginary lint off his robe. “I want you to be happy, Daniel. I didn’t even know for sure that you were in love with Carter. I mean, I knew you really liked her a lot, but I kind of thought it was more a mind thing, you know? Two geniuses enjoying being able to talk to someone else that understands them. Anyway. I just wanted you to know that I am happy for you. I realize now that the two of you do belong together. Things change, but it doesn’t have to be for the worse. Sometimes it’s for the better.”
“Thanks, Jack. That means a lot to me. I’ve loved Sam for a long time, but for a long time, I thought there might be something between the two of you. Then Martouf and Lantash came along, and I knew then that anything between you was not that kind of romantic thing. You care about each other, but you use each other as a shield. You can’t have each other so you are perfect for each other. Neither of you could get involved and hurt. You especially.”
“Sam, well, Sam’s been lying to herself about Martouf, Lantash, and me for a long time. Today, she faced it and it shocked her for a while. She had to think, and then she didn’t know what to do because she knew she could never choose between us. Which left Martouf, Lantash, and me with a choice.”
“The woman we loved, loved us back. Times three. So we made the only decision we could. We chose to become one unit. I know you don’t approve of it, Jack.”
“But, if it meant having Sam, or not having Sam, there was no other choice for me, or for them. They’ve done it before, and they say it can work out quite well. I trust them. They wouldn’t tell me that if it didn’t. If anything, they would tell me the opposite hoping I would back out, or she would be forced to choose and choose them. But they didn’t.”
“You are right about one thing about Sam and me. We did connect on some deep level. It happened the moment we met.” Daniel shrugged. “Souls, Minds, something made contact and locked. We have a bond that goes beyond the love we have. We believe it will last forever. We do love each other, but Martouf and Lantash probably love her more passionately than I do. I have a heart love for her though, Jack, don’t think I don’t, it just isn’t as intense as theirs is. Our connection tends to be on the metal level more than theirs does.”
“In our situation, that is a good thing. It allows us all to function without jealousy arising, as it would if we all thought one of us was loved, or loved, more than the other. We know that Martouf and Lantash love Sam more and that her passion for them is stronger. They know the bond she has with me calls as much to our minds as it does to our hearts, and that there will be times that our minds will win over our hearts. They don’t understand it, but they accept it.”
“As for our souls, well, there I think we probably all meet together on some level, and that in time all of our souls may even meet somewhere in different ways. But that is for well in the future. Martouf, Lantash, and I seem to be able to talk about things, so that will be a help.”
“So, you think you’ll be all right then? I’m just worried that you’ll get hurt, Daniel, and I don’t want to see that happen. I just don’t.” Jack’s voice was rough, telling Daniel more than the words ever could.
“I don’t think I will, Jack, but if I do, hey, at least I gave it a shot. I won’t have to spend one second wondering how it might have been. I’ll be all right, either way.” Daniel smiled at him, and then moaned as he saw Jore over Jack’s shoulder. And behind him were the bakers. They had that cake. Sort of. The one that caused intense pain. This one was bigger than the one they had sliced. In fact, it looked like this was the remainder of the one they had during the ceremony. It, too, was perfectly formed. Now what did they have to do?
Jack’s eyes followed to where Daniel looked and saw them bringing in the cake that had caused so much pain to his friends.
Turning back around to speak to Daniel, he took in his wide-eyed look. He looked beyond to Martouf and the frown on his face. Sam was sitting up and blinking, something obviously alerting her to danger.
“Daniel, so help me, if they expect you to get burned by melting gold again, we are out of here, plant or no plant. Got that? No way, no how are you three going through anything else. Understood?”
Jack stood. Daniel stood. Martouf stood. Sam, finally, slowly, stood, and frowned. They all frowned at the cake. Jore looked at them and stopped. Why did his friends seem unhappy? Well, they would soon see. Everything would be so wonderful after the last ceremony.
For the Non NC-17 version of the ending of the story go to the Chapter entitled Chains of Gold - Chapter Fifteen - Sixteen - PG-13. Otherwise, for the NC-17 version go to Chains of Gold - Chapter Fifteen.