Chapter Eight Summary: Being with Martouf and Lantash again has thrown Sam into lun'ak mat, the Furling mating cycle. Since none of them knew about it or expected it, it runs rampant between them until Lantash finally recognizes the scents and symptoms. Damage control is needed...immediately...if they are to keep the remainder of the people there unaffected. Jacob is a little testy when he realizes that something is wrong with Sam, but is brought to realize that something must be done for her and he can't do it.
Pher’ak’tel - The Essence given off by the Female during the Furling Mating Ritual. Only used for Conception Lun’ak’mat - Furling Mating Cycle Matak’lun’ek – A Potion used to Control the Heat Cycle in young Furling Females until they learn to control them for themselves. Adorato Wyn – My Adored One Siesht’tat’mate – Furling Coffee… Very Aromatic and Invigorating. Caruswyn – Dear One, Dearest One Carusawyn – My Dear One, My Dearest One Amat Wyn – My Love
“I suggest a shield over Teal’c and Colonel O’Neill’s doors. Also, Jacob and Jocasta’s, Brialek’s, and Ellen Stevenson’s.”
Merdwin’s nostrils flared and his eyes flashed, but he said nothing for a few moments. When he did, it was not helpful at all, so he might as well have said nothing, “Why did Gwennetha not come prepared for this? Did she not realize that once reunited with her mate, it could cause her to come into heat?”
“I would guess that she has her Matak’lun’ek with her, but did not realize that she needed to take extra. If Samantha had not come into heat, the chances are that she would have recognized the signs, as they would have been gradual and obvious to her. She, then, could have taken the steps to correct it, if she so chose.”
“We do not know if this was deliberate on her part. Perhaps she, Malek, and Dev decided that they wanted kits now. If so, she may very well be the one that threw Sam into it. I doubt that scenario, though, since I believe that Samantha succumbed first. Therefore, Gwennetha could not have known, any more than we did, that she would be exposed to a very potent form of Pher’ak’tel. Gwennetha would, however, be much more sensitive to it than we would, as I am sure you know, Caruswyn,” Kataya reminded him gently, but reprovingly.
Sighing, she continued, “Merdwin, the hows and whys can be sorted out later. For now, we have a house full of men and women that we need to protect. Particularly the men, although I can assure you that the pheromones are also having some affect on the females, if my reaction is anything to go by. And Samantha is very deeply drugged herself,” Kataya said, as she watched Janet.
She sighed again. Evidently, Merdwin had not thought to shield Janet. She could do that for him, as long as she stayed close to her. Seeing the amusing side of this entire incident, her lips slipped into a wry smile. All they needed was Jacob Carter to come roaring out of his room, demanding to know what was going on out here in the hall at this time of night. When he found out his daughter was ‘in heat’ he would probably come unglued.
Right on cue, two doors opened. Jacob Carter came out of one, and Jack O’Neill and Teal’ c exited the other.
“What’s goin’ on, Mer? Why are you all in the hall in the middle of the night? Is something wrong?” Jack O’Neill demanded.
“Not exactly, Jack. There is no threat, at any rate. I need you to go back into your rooms and stay there, please.”
Merdwin looked to Kataya, and after giving it some thought, she said, “I believe that would be sufficient if you put a barrier on the door, as I suggested. They can open the balcony doors to allow fresh air into the room. Where are Lieutenant Stevenson and Brialek?”
“They have watch. They should be outside.” Jack said, looking in confusion from Kataya to Merdwin.
“Contact them and tell them that under no circumstances are they to come inside until we tell them that it is alright. Jacob, you need to go into your room and open the door to the balcony. Do not come back out into the hall until we let you know that it is cleared. Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c, please do the same, and Merdwin, you need to contact Valynara. I cannot work on both Gwennetha and Samantha at the same time,” Kataya said, laying out a plan of action. “Janet, you must stop caressing Merdwin and come with me. You are already affected somewhat, and I do not want to leave you alone with Jack and Teal’c.”
Realizing what she was doing, and understanding what Kataya and Merdwin had been talking about, she flushed as she jerked her hand back from Merdwin’s arm and cleared her throat. “I’m sorry. Of course, I’ll do whatever I can to help.”
The door to Sam and Martouf’s room opened, and Lantash stood sagging against the doorframe. “Kataya? You must do something, as I cannot get her to calm down, and I believe I am weakening and will succumb to her pleading soon.”
“I am sorry, Lantash, we should not have left you alone with her in that condition. I will come,” Kataya, told him as she headed toward the man leaning so tiredly against the frame.
“What’s goin’ on?” Jacob demanded forcefully. “Is something wrong with Sam? Is that why you are all out here?” His suspicions raised, he headed for the room, only to have Merdwin block his way. Kataya had reached Lantash’s side and slid her arm around him to help him to stand.
“You cannot go in there, Jacob. Please do as I ask and go into your room. Better yet, go with Jack and Teal’c for an hour or so. I can shield all of you in there quite easily,” Merdwin started to explain.
“I want to see my daughter, and I want to see her now,” Jacob bit out curtly.
“No! Ah, no, you cannot, Jacob, not right now,” Lantash said uneasily.
“What have you done to her? I demand to see her. If you’ve hurt her, I’ll-,” Jacob started to say, only to have Kataya interrupt him in mid speech.
“Jacob, Lantash has not harmed Samantha. I promise you, she will be fine,” she said quietly.
“Then tell me what’s wrong with her. This is my daughter we are talking about here, and I think that I deserve an explanation. This obviously concerns her, and there is something wrong or you wouldn’t -,” again, he was stopped in mid-sentence, this time by Valynara’s arrival.
“Oh, my, it is quite strong here in the hall. If it is this strong here, their rooms must reek of it. You will definitely need to get it aired out as soon as possible. What do you need me to do, Kataya, Merdwin?” She asked at once, realizing that there was a multitude of complications in the situation where a woman’s skills would work best. She and Kataya would no doubt help the two women involved while Merdwin and Daniel took care of Martouf, Lantash, Malek, and Devlin. Furthermore, Merdwin needed to get the other men into rooms and guard them against the quite obvious abundance of pheromones the women were still producing.
“Thank you for coming so promptly, Val. I believe the problem would dissipate in a few hours on its own; however, I believe we may need to help it along by attempting to lessen it now, rather than wait. Samantha has no control over hers, and I suspect that Gwennetha is in the same condition. I do not believe that either of them did this deliberately, and therefore, I think that they have been caught completely unprepared.”
“If you would not mind, please help Gwennetha to reduce the level of her pheromones, and I will do what I can for Samantha. I believe Merdwin will have his hands full with the males here, as well as caring for Malek. Martouf, as far as I know, is still unconscious?” she added, an upward inflection to her statement, as she looked at Lantash.
He shook his head tiredly, “That is part of the problem. He is awake and very amorous. I do not like forcing him, Kataya. We share the body and I dislike forcing my control on him. He is being very vocal about that, and he is berating me for letting Samantha suffer. In truth, I believe she is beginning to suffer, Kataya, but I do not know what to do for her other than, um, never mind,” he stopped speaking, after seeing Jacob staring at him.
Merdwin turned and strode into the bedroom, only to return almost immediately, saying, “He is correct, Kataya, you must do something right away, even if it is something as primitive as a cold shower.”
Nodding, Kataya said, “Actually, that is probably a very sound idea, Merdwin. For all four of them. You get the others into their rooms and secured, and then go help Val with Gwennetha and Malek. I will have Daniel give Lantash and Martouf a cold shower, and Janet and I will see to it that Samantha also has one.”
“I’m still waiting for an explanation, and I am not going into my room until someone gives me one. Do I make myself clear?” Jacob bit out in his best ‘I am the General, you will listen to me’ voice.
Jocasta had joined him. They stood looking at Lantash and finally, Merdwin said, “Jacob. Samantha has come into heat. It is a Furling trait, and we did not realize that she would have it. Neither she nor Martouf and Lantash had any idea of what it was, or how to control it. She is infecting everyone with her pheromones, and if you do not all go into that room and open the balcony doors to let in fresh air, allow me to strengthen the shield around you by having you all together, and doing as we say, you are all going to find yourselves acting in variously embarrassing ways, very shortly.” As Jacob’s jaw dropped, Jack’s eyes widened and Teal’c’s eyebrow rose alarmingly, Lantash, who had left Kataya’s arm in favor of the wall, began a very slow slide toward the floor as his legs gave out. Moaning, he allowed his head to fall back and rest against the wall that was supporting him.
Watching as he finally attained a seated position without any indecent displays, Merdwin turned back to Jacob. “Do you have any more questions?”
“Are you saying that my daughter is in some kind of – of animal heat? And that it can affect the rest of us and make us, well, uh, you know?”
“Yes, I am,” Merdwin replied solemnly, but his lips twitched treacherously.
Jacob rubbed his face before muttering, “I don’t believe this. This can’t be happening. I’ m standing in a hall in the middle of the night, listening to an alien tell me that my daughter is in heat like a damn cat. I’m dreaming, right? This isn’t really happening.”
Jack reached over and pinched him. As Jacob yelped and jerked his arm back, he said, “Well, if you’re dreaming, I’m in your dream, too, cause I’m hearing the same things being said.”
Scowling, Jacob said, belligerently, “Well, I don’t believe it. I don’t feel any different. And how do you know this, Merdwin? I mean, how can you know it and we don’t? And if it’s not affecting us, then maybe we should be the ones to take care of her.”
“I shielded you, Jacob.” Realizing that Jacob was not going to believe him, Merdwin gestured with his left hand and waited, watching the man that faced them.
Suddenly, Jacob threw his head back and frowned, “What’s that smell? I didn’t notice it a minute ago.” He turned to Jocasta, “Do you smell that?”
“I cannot smell anything, Jacob. I believe that Merdwin is allowing you to experience what he is telling you, to convince you that he is telling you the truth.” She said softly, her eyes looking at him with gentleness.
Whipping back around to Merdwin and Kataya, he demanded, “Are you telling me that Sam is causing that scent?” He took several steps toward the open bedroom door, stopped, and turned wide eyes on Merdwin. “My God. How often do Furling females do this?” he asked, awed, as Merdwin replaced his shielding.
“Rarely, Jacob. It is only used to conceive kits,” Merdwin replied.
“Well, that’s good, I’d hate to think that, - W-W-What? Conceive? As in Babies?” Jacob’s voice increased in volume with every word.
“Well, it is a little premature, Jacob, but I imagine that we will be offering our congratulations to you on your pending grandfather-hood by this time tomorrow. Although, there is no guarantee that Samantha conceived, so it is not certain that she did so. And if what we suspect happened took place, Kataya, Daniel, Janet and I will be looking forward to becoming grandparents, also.”
Looking stunned, Jacob turned back towards the room where Sam was. He looked at Lantash as he slumped against the wall, a look of pain on his face, his hands clenched in white-knuckled fists. “What exactly is wrong with Lantash and Martouf?” He wanted to know.
“They are still under the influence of the pheromones, Jacob, and Lantash is resisting them. You must understand. The female drugs both herself and the male. I am not going to go into the details tonight, but if you wish to discuss it with me tomorrow, I will explain. For tonight, all you need to know is that Martouf is still drugged enough that he wishes to continue mating with Samantha, a most unwise action at this point. Lantash is attempting to stop them and he is exhausted by, well, you do not want the particulars, just believe me when I tell you he is exhausted. Jacob, please, we need to be taking care of them, not making explanations that could very well wait until later.”
Nodding as he finally realized that his daughter needed care that he was not qualified to give her, he said, “You’ll take care of them? They’ll be okay, right? I mean, this isn’t going to cause some kind of setback or anything?” He questioned, as the ramifications started to come into his mind.
“We will take very good care of them, Jacob, I promise you. There should be no adverse affects to this. It should not cause any setbacks. She will be fine,” Kataya assured him softly.
Looking into her eyes, he realized that she was telling him the truth. They would take care of them and they would be all right. Giving her a slight smile of acceptance, he turned to Jack and taking Jocasta’s arm, said, “Got any cards Jack? It looks like we’ve got an hour or so to kill.”
“Yeah, I do. You up for some five card stud? Er, well, maybe not, how about some Blackjack?” Jack said, as they walked toward the door to the bedroom.
Merdwin turned to Kataya. “Valynara and I will care for Gwennetha and Malek. I will open the windows and air the hall out.”
Kataya agreed and she and Janet stepped over to Lantash. “Come, Lantash. We will care for you and Samantha now. I am going to check on Daniel. Come with me, please, while Janet goes in to start talking to Sam,” Kataya said to him gently, as she helped him to stand. Looking toward Janet, she said, “Try to get her into a cold shower, Janet. It is primitive, but could be somewhat effective as a short-term control. If they have conceived, the pheromones should begin to dissipate on their own before long, and the cold will hurry it along. I will use my ribbon to determine if conception did take place, and if so, I will attempt to manipulate her hormones so that they will cease at once. Valynara will no doubt do the same for Gwennetha.”
“And if they haven’t conceived?” Janet asked. “What then? Won’t they continue to do this until they do?” She inquired, with just a trace of awe in her voice at the thought of the single-mindedness of the Furling female’s bodies.
“If they have not conceived, we will give them Matak’lun’ek. It is an effective birth control method; it keeps the heat cycle from occurring. It is quite safe, and, eventually, as they get older, they will be able to regulate it themselves without help. Once we are fully mature, we only have heat cycles when we wish to bear kits. Only young Furling females cannot fully control their bodies’ functions in this way. We do not know why, but it is probably not coincidence that, even in very young Furling, they gain control of it after having kits. Otherwise, it can take millennia to learn to control it,” She finished her short explanation, hoping that it would answer the questions she knew Janet had, at least for now. She dreaded explaining to Janet about the Furling mating rituals in order to conceive. Janet would no doubt be appalled, but she was not Furling, and so need not be concerned about it.
Lantash had gotten slowly to his feet and stood next to her, swaying slightly. As she urged him forward, he followed her to her bedroom door. It was all he could do to stop himself from reaching for her. Dear Universe, would this never leave his system? She closed the door behind them, and this time he was cognizant enough that he realized at once that the scent was much less in this room.
As Kataya pushed him down onto the bed, he closed his eyes and moaned, gripping his hands to keep from reaching for her. He felt her kneel in front of him and opened his eyes. Pleading with his eyes, he said, his voice husky with need, “I do not know how much more I can take of this, Kataya. Martouf is, he does not understand what is happening yet, and his urging is almost more than I can resist. You know as well as I that if we were with Samantha, we would be,” he sighed deeply, then drew in a deep breath. “As I am not with her, it is all I can do to keep my hands from you, but I am sure you realize that.”
Sympathy in her face and voice she said, “I am aware, Adorato Wyn, and I understand. I will leave you as soon as I can. However, I must know, Lantash, if you have healed yourself. You need to take the time to do that, or I can use the ribbon on you to heal you. I do not think that you would wish me to do this thing for you, but I wished you to know that I am willing to heal you, if you need me to.”
He shook his head, saying, “I have taken care of that much, Kataya. I took the opportunity to take care of it before Martouf regained consciousness. Kataya? I do not want O’Neill saying one word to my Samantha about this. If she realizes what happened and that everyone knows, she will be extremely embarrassed.”
“He will say nothing, Lantash, I promise you. Not to you and not to Samantha. If he does not listen to me, he will to Merdwin, and we will see to it that Samantha does not realize that he is aware of what happened. If I have to, I will block his memories of the last two hours.”
“You cannot do that, Kataya.”
She smiled into his eyes and said quietly, “You would be surprised at what I am capable of doing to protect those that I love, Lantash. And, you know how much I love you, Martouf, and Samantha. Stop worrying about it, Amat Wyn, for between Merdwin and myself, it will be taken care of before the sun rises on the morrow, this I promise you. I am going to awaken Daniel and have him give you a cold shower.”
“Does it have to be cold, Kataya? I hate cold water.”
“I remember and I am sorry, dear one, but yes, it must be.” Standing, she walked to the open balcony door and smiled down at Daniel, where he lay in a lounge type chair, fast asleep. Reaching down, she shook him gently.
He awoke immediately, for once, not the least bit groggy. He had expected her to come for him to help in some way, and had been halfway listening for it, even though asleep.
“Daniel, I need you to help Lantash to take a cold shower. I am sorry, but it must be cold and you may have to help him. I do not think Martouf is going to want to do this, and while Lantash can always force him, he will not wish to do so. You will probably have to explain to Martouf. He may listen to you more so than Lantash in this instance. Once he is calmed down and cold, you will need to put him to bed and get in with him. Cover him well, for he must not remain chilled. You will need to give him body heat from yourself. He cannot go back to Samantha’s bed yet, possibly not at all tonight. If I know you are caring for him, then I can assure Sam that he is all right. He said he healed himself, but if he did not, then you must let me know and I will have to do it. I imagine he did, but he is under a great deal of stress right now.”
At Daniel’s raised eyebrows, she shook her head and said, “I will explain tomorrow. For now, I need to go help Janet with Sam. If she conceived, the pheromones should be lessening. And either way, I will do my best to stop them, now.”
“Okay. You go ahead.” Looking past her to Lantash, sitting on the bed and obviously having an internal conversation that did not appear to be going well, he said, “I’ll go take care of this half.” Giving her a swift kiss, he sent her back into the room and followed her in. Watching her pick up her ribbon device and leave the room, he knew that one thing was certain. The next hour or so was going to be trying for all of them.
“Lantash? Martouf?” Daniel questioned as he crouched down in front of them.
“Yes, Daniel,” Lantash answered, “we are both here. I am trying to convince Martouf that we must get into the shower. I have tried to explain to him what has happened, but I believe he is still quite drugged.”
Knowing just from the sound of his voice that Lantash was close to exhaustion from fighting to control Martouf by persuasion rather than physically forcing him, he leaned toward them and laid his hand on his shoulder. The scent that reached him, as he got closer to Lantash made his eyes open wide and rocked him back on his heels. Whoa, that stuff was so very, very potent. For a moment, he had been tempted to … no, surely not. He’d never had those kinds of thoughts about Martouf or Lantash before. Or, any other man, for that matter. It had to be the pheromones or hormones or whatever it was, perhaps even the combination of them all. He had to get them into that shower and try to wash some of it off him. It was mixing with the smell of, well, of sex, too, and it was proving to be a heady mixture.
Coming back toward Lantash again, he found himself looking into smoldering blue-gray eyes darkened with desire. As he felt the answering desire curl within himself, his eyes widened and his lips parted slightly. Dear Universe, he wanted his friend, his brother by the blood rite, in that way. In perfect accord, they leaned toward one another and their lips met, tentatively exploring. Leaning into the kiss, they reached for one another, neither sure exactly what they needed, but willing to find out. As the kiss deepened, Lantash moaned deep in his throat, and their embrace tightened, Daniel’s hand weaving its way into Lantash’s hair. A door slammed down the hall and they jerked apart, staring wildly at one another, breathing heavily.
Martouf came fore and said, his voice husky with tamped down desire, “I believe that Lantash is indeed correct, Daniel. This proves the truth of what he has been trying to explain to me. You must get us into the cold water as soon as possible, please.” He looked into Daniel’s eyes, his own stricken and awash with conflicting emotions, “I am so sorry, Daniel, Lantash, and I both. I can only apologize to you for what just happened and assure--”
Daniel placed his fingers over Martouf's lips to stop his apology before it could go any farther, telling him quietly, “I think we both know that we love each other. I think we also know that until tonight, there hasn’t been a sexual overtone, or any sexual aspects, to our relationship. Please don’t apologize for something that we had no control over. It caught us off guard because we didn’t realize the pheromones worked that way between two people of the same sex. We can’t forget it happened, but we can put it into context.”
Lantash came forward and shook his head, “I do not believe it does work that way between two people of the same sex, Daniel, or Kataya would have warned us.” He frowned, staring at nothing for a moment, obviously trying to think about what could have caused the unusual feelings and behavior. They both looked up as Kataya opened the door and walked into the room. Daniel started guiltily and jumped to his feet, stepping away from Lantash, a flush rising in his cheeks.
Looking from one of them to the other, she said slowly, “I thought that I should let you know that while the pheromones in the air would not have odd effects on you, the scent that is left from their couplings, and ours, could affect the two of you. I think that perhaps I am a little late, so all I can say is that it is not nearly as potent this way, and you should have little trouble denying the urges once you are aware of what is causing them to occur. These are normal urges when caused by the combination of, well, you know. Please do not think that you have suddenly discovered some sexual preference of which you were unaware. After the shower, once the scent is gone, you will not feel it again and you will both wonder where it came from. Accept it as the natural expression of love between you and move on.”
“Kataya. What made you suddenly remember this?”
“I started feeling them myself while I was helping Sam, and I realized that Janet, too, was fighting her urges, and that she was quite upset by them. After I explained to her and we got Sam in the shower, I realized I should probably come to you and discuss this or at least warn you, in case it occurred.”
Lantash groaned and then his lips twitched as he took in the expanding circles of this crisis. “I hope that this is not affecting Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c? They are shielded, are they not?” he asked quietly.
Daniel and Kataya stared at him as the mental picture his question brought to mind left them both slightly stunned. Shaking herself free of the vivid image, she said, “No. It would not, even if Merdwin had not shielded them. They would be exposed to only the pheromones, not the, ah, scent of the mating,” she said, as delicately as she could.
“In that case, Adorato Wyn, I believe you can safely leave Daniel and I to get on with this cold shower. On the bright side, it convinced Martouf that there actually was something more going on than he knew, and he began to believe my insistence that we were drugged and must take a cold shower. He hates them as much as I do.”
Feeling the tension ease as Lantash spoke with more confidence and ease about the incident, Daniel smiled at him saying, “Well, now that we know we haven’t suddenly lost our minds, I agree, we need to get you two into that shower. Thank you for telling us, Amat Wyn. Now, go and finish with Sam, while I help Martouf and Lantash.”
She nodded and then said, “Once you get him in the shower, while he is there, you should change the sheets. The scent on those,” she said, as she nodded towards the tousled bed linens, “will trigger the same response as long as the pheromones are still in the air and the hall is not cleared of it yet. Every time we open the doors, some goes out. Although not as potent, it is still there. We have changed the sheets in Lantash and Martouf's room.”
“Remember what I said about body heat, Daniel, and keeping them warm. You must leave the windows open which means they could become chilled. Once you take them out of the cold shower, put them into bed. You will have to get in with them. Another reason that I thought I should tell you all of this.”
Nodding his understanding, Daniel turned to Martouf, “Ready?”
“Will I not be returning to Samantha’s side?”
“Not tonight, Martouf. I am sorry. I do not think it would cause a recurrence, but I do not want to take that chance. Merdwin and I agree. Valynara will stay with Gwennetha, Malek will stay with Merdwin, you and Lantash, with Daniel, and Janet and I with Samantha.”
“Malek and Gwennetha?” Martouf questioned faintly.
“Yes. It, um, seems that Samantha coming into heat so strongly overrode Gwennetha’s precautions and she also came into heat. So it looks as if there will be two sets of kits soon. Now, go with Daniel, and we will talk later, if you wish. I will give Samantha your love as soon as she is capable of remembering it, I promise.”
Martouf looked alarmed, “Is she alright, Kataya? I did not hurt her badly, did I? Please, I must see her, see if she is alright.”
“Martouf, calm down. Samantha is fine. She is just very tired and more than a little confused. Please remember that she did not do this deliberately. As far as we can tell, she remembers very little after the first time you made love. I imagine your memories are as spotty as hers are. You will recall more of what occurred after you have rested. There is nothing wrong with her, please believe me.”
Martouf closed his eyes. “There was blood. I remember seeing blood. What did I do to her?”
“You nipped her neck and shoulders once or twice. Most of the blood was yours, Martouf. If you ask Lantash about it, and I am sure that he will explain. I must get back to helping Janet.”
“I am sorry to keep you away from her. Please, do go, Kataya, and I will let Lantash fill me in on what he can remember. And thank you for all you and everyone have done.”
“You are welcome. Daniel, the shower, please, fifteen to twenty minutes minimum, preferably as long as he can stand.”
Nodding, Daniel looked down into the appalled gaze of his friend, grasped his him by the waist, and helped him to stand. “The shower. Okay, here we go.”
“I ‘hate’ cold showers, Daniel,” Lantash came fore to grumble, almost petulantly. “They drop my body temperature too far and I shiver, which then makes Martouf even colder. It is a vicious circle.”
“I know,” Daniel, said, his voice laced with sympathy, “but Kataya and Merdwin both agree that it is the fastest way to clear the pheromones and hormones out of your system. Evidently, they don’t like cold either. If I understood what Kataya showed me, warm or hot water would intensify them, so we’ll go for as cold as we can get.”
Reaching the bathroom, he guided them to the shower. It certainly couldn’t be called a stall. As large as a small bathroom itself, it was made of various sizes of sandstones and the water came from numerous outlets around the walls and ceiling. Each section could be shut down separately, but Daniel made sure they were all on.
Turning back to Martouf and Lantash, he was not surprised to see them sagging tiredly against the wall. Gritting his teeth, determination in the lines of his face, he reached out and undressed Martouf and then himself. He had no choice but to personally take him in there. He hated cold showers, but somehow he knew he would never get them in there unless he went, too. He hoped the cold water would revive them enough that he would be able to leave them alone long enough to change the sheets and get the bed ready. Somehow, he thought it would.
Standing Martouf and Lantash in the very center of the shower, swaying slightly, but standing without assistance, Daniel leaned over and turned the cold water on as hard as it would go.
At their bellow of outrage and surprise, he grabbed them and began to laugh as they sputtered under the multiple showers of cold water. There was nowhere in the entire shower to get away from the water.
“Daniel, this will not do. I cannot, I will not allow this,” Lantash said firmly.
Grabbing him and holding him tightly, he looked into his eyes and said softly, “You’re doing this for yourself, Martouf, and Sam. You do want to make both of them better, don’t you?”
Moaning loudly, he looked around frantically for a moment and then acquiesced, admitting, “You are correct, of course. Moreover, if I must do so, then I may as well take advantage of it to clean our body. Where are the cleaning implements and solutions? Is there some cleaning fluid in here?” he asked quietly.
Daniel nodded to a shelf cut into the wall behind him. “Shampoo, body cleanser, shaving cream and razor. I think I’d wait on hot water for the shave though. Do your best, Lantash. Kataya said twenty minutes. I checked my watch when we stepped in. Can you manage on your own, or do you need me to help you?”
“I believe I can manage, Daniel, thank you, and there are seats built into the corners, unfortunately, not out of the water’s spray.”
Daniel nodded and grabbing one of several washcloths, he quickly soaped, washed, and rinsed himself, as Lantash began to do the same in a much slower manner. Daniel could see him beginning to shiver. He washed and rinsed his hair quickly, stepped out and grabbed a large bath towel. “I’m going to go change the sheets and get rid of the others, Lantash, if you think you and Martouf will be alright for a while.”
“If we do not freeze to death first, we will be fine,” Lantash responded morosely, as his teeth began to chatter. “Please do go and attend to the bed, for I believe we will be more than ready to climb beneath the covers and attempt to raise our body temperature.”
Grinning at Lantash’s grumpiness, Daniel headed into the other room, but spun around and stuck his head back into the bathroom in time to catch Lantash attempting to leave the shower. “And no cheating. Get back in there and stay there until I tell you that your time is up. If you don’t stop cheating, I’ll make you stay an extra ten minutes,” he threatened, only half in jest. Lantash had to stay in there for the allotted time, and if it took him ten minutes to change the bed and he couldn’t trust him, then they would stay for the extra time in the water.
Glaring at his friend, Lantash returned to the cold water, muttering imprecations under his breath. Daniel watched as he stood for a moment under the shower and then shivering, sank down to sit on the stone floor. Good. That was a safer place for him, anyway. He left to finish with the bed and each time he checked, Lantash was sitting miserably in the middle of the shower, obviously having a conversation with Martouf. Neither of them appeared happy.
He finished the bed and heard a knock on the door. Opening it, he found Merdwin standing outside, holding a tray with a large carafe of hot chocolate and a pot of Siesht'tat'mate, the Furling equivalent of coffee. “Kataya felt this might help to take the chill off. She knows how much Lantash hates to be cold,” he smiled as he handed the tray to Daniel.
“The pheromones are almost gone from the hall. We have released the others to their own rooms, and both Malek and Gwennetha are sleeping soundly. Neither of them were in as drugged a condition as Samantha, Martouf, and Lantash. The pheromones that reached their room were not strong at first, so it took a while for the chemicals to seep into their systems. The rest of us would not have noticed them because they were so faint, but Gwennetha’s hold on her cycle was tenuous at best, and it took very little to throw her into her heat. She did not realize what was happening until it was too late to stop it.”
He smiled wryly, “So it looks like we will be grandparents. I hope you enjoy the experience. I would imagine you and Kataya will have kits soon yourselves, so all of them will grow up together.”
Daniel shook his head, “No, we won’t have any soon, Merdwin. Other things must come first.”
Merdwin frowned at him, but realizing Daniel did not wish to discuss it, simply acknowledged his statement, and said quietly, “Well, I will wish you goodnight. I must return to Malek, in case he should wake up and decide that he is in the wrong bed. Goodnight, Daniel.”
“Goodnight, Merdwin. Thank you for the hot chocolate and coffee.”
Closing the door, Daniel set the tray by the bed and headed into the shower to get Martouf and Lantash.
“Daniel? Is the time not up yet? It must be long enough. I am freezing to death,” Lantash grumbled, still complaining.
“I’m coming, Carusawyn. Just a moment.” Daniel grabbed a towel and turned the water off. Looking at Lantash, he frowned. Good grief, the man was almost blue with the cold. Kataya couldn’t have meant that cold, could she? He was shivering uncontrollably. “Come on, I’m getting you to bed.”
“Yes, please, Daniel,” Lantash said, almost stumbling, between being cold and exhausted.
Standing him by the bed, Daniel took the large towel and rubbed him vigorously to help stimulate his circulation. He rubbed briskly up and down his spine to try to help Lantash and heard him moan his relief. As soon as he was dry, he wrapped him in a clean robe. The other robes had the scent on them, and were already long gone, along with the bedding. New sheets and blankets had appeared, so he had wondered if robes had also turned up. He had checked and they were in the wardrobe. Someone had been in, while they were in the shower, and left the linens, and, he suspected, these as well. Kataya had contacted him via the link to tell him to set all of the bed linens and the robes outside the door. When Merdwin had brought the chocolate, he had noticed they were already gone. It was almost like there were little elves or something running around doing things while your back was turned.
Looking in the bureau drawers, he found some pants that looked similar to pajama bottoms. Both of them would feel more comfortable with at least some clothing on, once they were in bed. Kataya had been correct about the incident, though. Now that the scent was gone, he had to admit that the odd urge to kiss Martouf and Lantash was completely gone. And, although he didn’t particularly want to do it again, he wasn’t embarrassed about it, either. It had been an expression of the love that they felt for one another, transferred into aberrant behavior due to outside influences. It was over and best accepted.
Bringing the pajama bottoms back to the bed, he helped the still-shivering man to pull the bottoms on. When they had accomplished that, he helped him into the bed, and then tucked the blankets up around him, leaving his arms free. He handed him the hot chocolate and was rewarded with a slight smile.
“Drink that and then if you want more, as you can see, there’s a whole carafe here of hot chocolate and a pot of coffee. Even some cinnamon rolls, if you want one.”
Martouf came forward to say, almost shyly, “Thank you, Daniel, I believe that I am hungry.”
Smiling smugly, Daniel answered, sotto voce, “I imagine you expended a great amount of energy. I’d be hungry, too.”
Martouf gasped, his eyes widening, before laughing softly, “Mm, yes, from what Lantash has been able to recall, I believe we did. Give me another roll, please.” After he swallowed, he looked at Daniel, his look pensive, before he brought himself to say, “We are sorry about what happened earlier, Daniel. We want you to know that it will not happen again. I, we, would dislike it very much if you felt uncomfortable with us.”
Daniel smiled at him. “I don’t and please don’t apologize. I’ve never kissed a man before like that, but it wasn’t unpleasant. I don’t think I would go out of my way to look for it, but I refuse to be embarrassed or uncomfortable in the presence of someone that I love because of it. So you have no need to apologize to me, but,” he paused, “perhaps you and Lantash would feel more comfortable if I apologized to you?”
Martouf shook his head, “No, no, I do not believe so, Daniel. As you say, it was not unpleasant, but neither is it something we will seek out. We do not really regret it either.” He finished decisively.
Daniel looked at them calmly, trying to measure their true emotions before saying, “We expressed the love that we feel for one another. That love was transferred into unusual behavior because of outside influences. Personally, I’d like to accept it for what it was and go on. I’m not embarrassed, nor do I want to do it again. I can accept that.”
Martouf nodded, saying, “Lantash and I agree completely, Daniel. You put our feelings into words very well. We, too, can accept it for what it was.”
“Good. Now, finish your chocolate. You’re still shivering.”
“I am sorry, Daniel, but I am still very cold.”
“I know.” Taking the tray, Daniel set it outside the door, knowing that it would be gone when they got up. Going back into the room, he went first to the balcony door and then the window to close the shutters so that the air could still circulate, but the morning light would not wake them.
Then moving to the bed, he took off his robe, pulled on his set of pajama bottoms, and climbed in. Removing Martouf's robe, he indicated he should lie down, and then he pulled up the covers. “Roll over with your back to me, Martouf,” he instructed softly. Feeling Daniel’s skin against his back was a shock at first, as was the arm that came across his chest to pull him close. “Our body heat will warm Lantash faster than anything else. Once he’s warm, we can move apart, but this is what Kataya said we should try if he was chilled.”
He felt Martouf relax as he gave his matter-of-fact explanation. Neither of them moved away from the other. They were both sound asleep within minutes. Lantash was the only one of the three still awake, and he was enjoying the blissful feeling of the heat seeping into and warming his cold body, and the knowledge of the love that surrounded him. It didn’t take long for him to follow them into slumber.