Chapter Sixteen Summary: Martouf and Lantash worry about Sam going on the mission to Coreegadon that is scheduled for the next day. Gwennetha returns from Avilion and reconciles with Malek/Devlin. Kataya, Daniel, and Valynara make plans for the mission.
Amat - Love Carusawyn – My Dearest One Coeurawyn – My Heart Amat(s) Wyn – My Love(s) Pher’ak’tel - The Scent Given off by the Female During the Lun’ak’mat. It is an Aphrodisiac and Causes the Couple to Mate Repeatedly to Insure Conception. Lun’ak’mat – The Heat or Breeding Cycle of the Furling.
Martouf stood on the balcony and looked out across the valley towards the temple that had given them such hope for the Tok’Ra. They had not found much more information yet, but as Daniel said, they had also barely begun sorting through all the material that they had available. Moreover, tomorrow, they were going to Coreegadon.
In the week since they found the legend and remembered the poems and songs, Malek had recovered and was now up and around, helping out with the sorting.
They whisked Gwennetha to Avilion when she began to lose the kits due to the stress under which she was living. Malek was striving not to fall into a state of depression, but it was not easy, since he knew himself to be the cause of her stress. She had refused to talk to them, and Merdwin had counseled them to be patient. Kataya was with her and Gwennetha would listen to her, he had told them, of that, he was sure.
Lantash and Martouf had insisted on seeing him the day after the something had happened. Malek had given them a thorough version of their responsibility and culpability in the present state of affairs.
He had talked to Lantash for quite some time, and only they knew how distraught he was. He was barely sleeping, as far as they could tell, and he was eating very little. His condition was deteriorating, though he was attempting to put on a good front. He joined in conversations about everyday events, but one could tell that it was an effort, and that he had no real interest in what anyone was saying.
On the other hand, as he worked on the scrolls, translations, and Tok’Ra history with them every day, and joined in the conversations and speculations surrounding it, there was no doubt that he was really interested and excited about it. He was going with them to Coreegadon tomorrow, and there was an air of expectation about him any time that they discussed the expedition. The future of the Tok’Ra and finding the Queens was the one thing that could raise him out of his misery and consume his thoughts, other than Gwennetha.
Nevertheless, if Gwennetha did not forgive them soon, he and Lantash were not sure what Malek and Devlin would do. It would be a severe blow to them, one from which they would have difficulty recovering. There was no doubt that they loved her. They would never doubt their feelings or her again. Their love for her and their culpability in what occurred struck home starkly, burned into their hearts, souls, and minds forever.
He was beginning to think that perhaps the All should have shown Gwennetha as well as Devlin and Malek, so that she would have known what was in store for them. Sighing, knowing that he could not solve their problems, he turned toward the open doorway just as Samantha walked out of the room.
“Martouf, I’ve been looking for you. Gwennetha’s back and she is talking to Dev and Malek. I hope that things will be okay between them. I know that it’s been a really stressful time for all of them.”
“The kits? How are they? She did not lose them, did she?”
“No, she didn’t, but she came pretty close to it. If they hadn’t taken her to Avilion, she probably would have. I’m sure that Kataya talked to her a lot about the situation. I think that she told her something important because as soon as they arrived, she went straight to Malek and Dev. They looked pretty stunned, but it didn’t take long for them to recover and pull her close into their arms. The last I saw of them, they were headed for their room,” Sam told him, obviously happy at the thought of them making up their differences. She knew how hard it had been when Martouf was angry at her, for those few hours. She couldn’t imagine living with that for a week as Gwennetha had.
“I am extremely pleased, Samantha. I was becoming afraid for Malek and Dev. They, too, were feeling the stress of the situation. The fact that she refused to let them go with her to Avilion was a deep blow to them. I do not think that she could have used a worse punishment, or better revenge, if she had deliberately thought it out. They are truly sorry for the way they responded and want to make it up to her in any way that they can. Malek was quite candid with us. He was very blunt about what had occurred, as you know.”
“Yes, love, I know. Moreover, I think that Kataya told Gwennetha more, as well. But that wasn’t all I came to tell you.”
“Was it not, my Samantha? Then impart this news that you wished to tell me.”
Sam laughed up at him, and as they strolled inside, she began to tell him the latest news. “Lanwin and Taesha are still immersed in training with the SGC. Merdwin’s still there as well. We don’t know when he’ll be back, but it’s possible that he’ll be here for tomorrow’s mission. Colonel O’Neill, Teal’c, and Lieutenant Stevenson are joining us for the mission tomorrow, too. I take it that Artereos suggested it, since we aren’t sure exactly what we may find when we get to Coreegadon. He and Merdwin both think that the planet is deserted, but they aren’t positive. So, we go in well armed, and at our full contingent.”
“Oh, and Brialek will be here as well. It seems that Artereos suggested to Garshaw that she send him an ambassador for a while.” Sam smiled as she thought of the man she had come to care so deeply for. Taesha had been correct when she told Samantha how wonderful her grandfather was, and that she would come to love him. She had come to love him almost as much as he loved her own father, and she had a great deal of respect for him. He was an amazing and charismatic man.
“You will stay here with Valynara tomorrow, Samantha. I will not allow you to come into harm’s way. You are carrying a very special gift, and I do not wish to take a chance on it being opened before it is time.”
“I discussed it with Kataya and Artereos because I suspected you were going to, ah, suggest that. They both agree that there is no reason for me to stay here. We’re pretty sure that there is no threat there. If there is, then we will retreat immediately. I won’t be left behind, Martouf.”
Martouf groaned, and looked at her beseechingly, “Samantha, please, do not do this to us. We will worry about you the entire time that we are there.”
She sighed and shook her head as she looked at them with love in her eyes. “I’ll be fine. You have to get used to me being in danger, Martouf. You can’t live with this constant anxiety. I think that it will be a good exercise in not being so overprotective. Consider it on-site therapy.”
She watched as Lantash came forward, probably to try to make her see reason. “Samantha, is it truly necessary for you to go? Why would you wish to risk yourself and the kits by going on a mission? Why is it so important to you?”
She took his face in her hands and leaned toward him, giving him a soft kiss full of love. “You can’t protect me from everything, Lantash. I could slip in the shower, get run over by a car, or fall down the stairs. There are no guarantees. If this was likely to be a dangerous mission, I would stay behind, for your sake and Martouf’s, not because I don’t think that I would be perfectly all right. I’m still able to point and shoot a weapon.”
“Please try to understand. This might be the only mission that I can go on. The next mission could be dangerous and I wouldn’t be able to go, Amat Wyn; what if they all are? I won’t have the same thrill that the rest of you will get to experience when you find a queen, or a clutch of mature symbiotes. Maybe you will find a stasis tank with younger ones in it. I want to share this with you at least this one time. I promise to take care and stay close to you. Will that help?”
Lantash smiled down at her wryly, “I think that it will have to. Your arguments are logical, sensible, and they have Artereos’s blessing. He would not allow you to go if he felt that it was dangerous. All right, my Samantha, we will try not to panic tomorrow, and you will stay close to us.”
Leaning forward, he brushed a kiss onto her forehead. “Come Amat, we have a couple of hours to ourselves today, while Valynara, Daniel, and Kataya go over the lists of people that are wishing to blend. There are thousands of them. How they will choose, I do not know.”
“They finally decided that Kataya and Valynara will try to enter the symbiotes’ minds, as well as the prospective hosts’, if it looks like it’s needed. Valynara thinks that the symbiotes are able to sense compatibility to a certain extent. I know that you’ve mentioned something about that, as well, Lantash, though from what you’ve told me, it’s more a feeling of either liking or disliking on meeting, much as humans, so I don’t know how deep it really goes.”
“Anyway, they’re hoping that once the symbiote chooses a person to blend with, the extra precaution in matching them up through a mind link might help in the compatibility factor and lead to fewer failures in the blendings. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Of course, that will take time away from the hunt, but with Brialek here now, as well as Malek and Gwennetha, we’ll have more people going through the information, so maybe it won’t make that much difference.”
Lantash agreed, and they turned to go back inside. He would talk to Artereos himself, if he got a chance. He knew that he was planning to be here tomorrow. Perhaps he would have time to question him then. Soon, they would have to go back to the library, and the scrolls, books, and Tok’Ra history, but not just yet. He wished that they could remember other songs, or text, that would lead them to another site. He was sure they would eventually, but it seemed to be going too slowly.
He placed his hand lightly on Samantha’s back as they walked toward their room. He smiled slightly. All it took was a touch, sometimes only a look, for him to want to make love to her again. He would be able to spend eternity with this woman and never become tired or bored with her.
She completed the two of them on such a deep level that they could not begin to find the beginnings of it. He and Martouf had talked privately of it often. Even while they had thought her gone from them forever, they had felt so connected to her still that it had often comforted them. As if she would remain a part of their very soul, until the end of time, if it came, or on into eternity, if it did not.
“There will never be another woman for us, Carusawyn. Never will there be one to seep into the crevices of our soul and heal them. No other has ever seen the tears in our heart that she sees. Only she can smooth and soothe them, then covering them with a piece of her own heart, layering and melding them together, so delicately that they are completely whole, with not even a scar to be seen. I do not believe that she ever truly left us, Lantash. No other love we’ve had has ever been loved as we love her,” Martouf felt his words within his heart and soul, and so did Lantash, as he sent his silent agreement back to him.
“Her physical body left us, Martouf, and we mourned that loss. However, her essence entwines and lives too deeply within us ever to leave us. I believe that we have both realized that now. It is as we have been shown and told; we are the recipients of a boundless eternal love, and it will never really leave us. It will stay within us forever. It grows in us, just as our seed is growing visibly in her. It is the most precious gift she will ever give to us, this part of her body and ours. We will not fail her in the loving and nurturing of these tiny seedlings with which she is honoring us,” Lantash told him, not for the first time.
“No, we will not. Moreover, we will do our best to protect them. I will not say that we will protect them completely, for no one can do so. Even Artereos could not protect his daughters when the time came, and fate decreed otherwise. Nonetheless, we will do so to the best of our ability,” Martouf, too, reiterated his promises and feelings.
“Which, I believe, the Tau’ri would declare is not too shabby,” Lantash stated, smiling slightly, as they entered the bedroom. His smile became brighter. What was it, that Samantha called this kind of interlude? Ah, yes. Afternoon Delight. It certainly was.
When Gwennetha stepped from the transport area, the first thing that she saw was Malek and Devlin. They stood across the room and watched her as she stepped forward. Dear Universe, they looked terrible, as if they were eating and sleeping very little. She felt a rush of guilt. She had refused to see them before she left for Avilion, where her mother insisted that she go, when it looked as if she would lose the kits. She had known that she was right and agreed with little fuss. She felt that she needed to get away, anyway. The Sanctuary was always a very healing place. Perhaps it would heal her heart. She knew that it would not, of course, for her mother’s heart never truly healed. It had been soothed, though; she knew that much was true.
He mother told her that, while her refusal to see or talk to them was very hard on them, her refusal to allow them to go with her to Avilion devastated them. She admitted to her mother that she did not really believe it. Nor did she understand why they revoked the charges that they placed against her. They were, after all, legitimate charges. She had not told them, or asked their opinion and permission, before it happened.
Once they arrived at Avilion, were settled in, and the kits were no longer in danger, her mother had taken her severely to task, for her attitude. She reminded her again that Malek’s response was exactly as they had expected, except that due to his extreme sensitivity to the hormones, it became much, much worse than they thought it would be. She had explained her own father’s exasperating, wounded, and accusatory behavior towards herself. Why would she expect that Malek and Dev would be any different? They had anticipated that Malek would react even worse than her father had, and that expectation had been borne out. More bizarrely than they had expected, but he had recovered his equilibrium, and he wished to make his peace with her. His true feelings for her had never changed; he had only thought they had because of his extreme sensitivity to the hormones, and then, when you added the guilt he was feeling about Devlin on top of that you were looking at a disaster of monumental proportions.
Furthermore, Devlin had never wavered at all; he had simply been trying to stay calm and, in that manner, wait out Malek’s frantic emotional storms, until he could reason with him. It had been a mistake, and he now realized that. It would not happen again.
She went on to explain a little about the host/symbiote relationship that Gwennetha had not realized. Malek felt as if he had failed to protect his host, and that was not acceptable. The symbiote always takes care of the host to the best of their ability. Malek, in his eyes, failed to do so. He felt as if he had betrayed Devlin, and his own mate was the cause of his lapse.
Beyond that, she had added, not protecting Devlin was not the only thing that was bearing down on Malek. Malek, her mother had stated, was a very proud being, sometimes arrogant and, unless captured and a prisoner, always in control of what was going on around him, or happening to them. Even when Devlin was in control of his body, Malek always knew that he could take control, if he needed to. During Lun’ak’mat, because of the Pher’ak’tel, Malek lost control of Devlin’s body and his own. He was out of control. He could not control what happened and had not even wanted to at the time.
When he became aware of everything the next day, he felt assaulted. Even though it was not something that she could do anything about, he did not yet understand that, and in his eyes, she took away his free will as well as Devlin's free will. In addition to that, it appeared that you attacked them physically. Malek simply could not come to terms with his so-called failure, or what he believed, at the time, was a deception on your part along with a physical attack upon their body.
When you added in the fact that he could not control their response to the hormones that you released into their system through the scrapes that you inflicted, it was a disaster in the making. That was, no doubt, the final pebble that started the landslide, and took him rushing down the mountain, whether he wanted to go or not. His emotions swamped him and he had no control over them. Moreover, do not forget one of the ultimate humiliations; at least, it was as far as Malek was concerned. He begged to die. It was beyond both his comprehension and his control. Truly, one could not really blame Malek for his response. His exceptional sensitivity to the hormones, his “failure” to protect Devlin, her “attack” upon their person, the drugging that took away both his and Devlin's free will, and his final humiliation…No, Coeurawyn, one could not blame Malek completely. Nor could one blame Devlin for attempting to wait until he was more stable to talk to him. It was time to forgive and go forward.
Then, Kataya told her softly, there was Devlin's past to consider. Devlin hid some very painful things in his past, and Malek rescued him from a terrible situation that had gone on for at least ten years. It was the basis for Devlin’s loyalty to Malek. Because of his loyalty, he felt that he could not go against him in this. Therefore, they both had legitimate excuses for the way that they acted. Kataya went on to tell her that as much as she loved them, she should forgive them and apologize to them. Now that she was calmer, she agreed with her mother. After all, they revoked the charges that Malek placed before the all, and they were asking to see her. It was time to put this behind them and start over. Her mother was correct…as she usually was.
Therefore, after she stepped out of the transport area, she didn’t stop walking or take her eyes off them as she crossed the floor to them. When she reached them, she put her arms around them and started to cry. Malek wrapped their arms around her and looked over her head at Kataya, his expression showing both dismay and panic. He did not know what to do. She indicated that they should take her to their room, and Malek wasted no time in scooping her up high against his chest and striding quickly toward the transport area. Kataya was right. He needed to take her somewhere that they could be alone and talk. He wished them to be alone, so that he and Devlin could start trying to win her back to them.
“Do you think that she is crying because she has decided that she can no longer live with us, or trust us, and doesn’t know how to tell us?” Dev managed to ask Malek, his fear very apparent in his voice. “She sounds as if she is heartbroken.”
“I do not know. I sincerely hope that it is not. I believe that many women cry for various reasons, not all of which make sense to me. However, I do not believe that this type of crying is that variety. This seems to be a much more serious, and probably more specific, crying, not some random thing that has upset her,” Malek’s tone was almost grim, as all of the many reasons for Gwennetha’s tears raced through his mind.
“Do you think that Artereos did not tell us the truth about the kits, as well as our Gwennetha being fine and back to normal?” The thread of fear in Dev’s voice grew deeper as he questioned Malek.
“No. I can tell you that with certainty. I do not believe that Artereos would lie to us. He would have told us if something had gone wrong again. And I do not believe that he would have sounded as cheerful as he did, if he had just lost his unborn grandchildren,” Malek reassured him.
“I had not thought of that, but you are right, Malek. Artereos is thrilled about the kits, both Gwennetha’s and Samantha’s. If something had happened, he would have told us, and his mood would not have been as it was,” Devlin’s answer was somewhat relieved.
Reaching their room, Malek managed to open the door without putting Gwennetha down. Kicking the door shut behind them with one foot, he strode quickly to the bed, and then set her down gently on the edge of it. Not knowing exactly what to do, he grabbed a container of tissues that were similar to the ones that they had seen on Earth and put some of them into her hand, before rushing to the facilities room to grab a cloth, which he soaked in cold water.
He knelt on the floor in front of her, taking her free hand in his. He was still at a loss as to what to do next.
“Hush, Amat Wyn, please, do not cry so. Please, Gwennetha, we cannot bear to hear you weep so. You are breaking our hearts,” he murmured softly.
She pulled on his hand, which he took to mean that she wanted him to sit next to her.
Malek sat on the edge of the bed, took her into their arms, and cradled her there. She was crying as if she would never stop, and he was afraid that she would begin to lose the kits again. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any idea of how to calm her down. She was murmuring as she cried, her face, now that he was sitting beside her, buried in his shoulder and throat. Not only could he barely hear her through her sobs, but also part of what he heard, he could not understand. She was speaking in a combination of Furling and Goa’uld, so of the words that he could make out, he only understood about half. He was not fluent in Furling, and what he knew did not extend to cover something like this.
“Pull her as close to our body as you can, Malek, and then rock her in our arms, and rub her back in soft circles. Many cultures find those to be soothing gestures, and I believe that the Furling are such. I remember Kataya rubbing circles on my back, as well as long, gentle stokes up and down. It was very comforting,” Devlin did his best to explain to Malek what he remembered seeing and feeling at times similar to this.
“Yes. I remember that she also did it the evening that we found out about what I had done. I think that you are correct, and I will try anything to stop her. She must stop soon, or she will make herself ill again,” Malek responded, obviously highly distressed by her actions. His bewilderment and unease were growing, as well. He was at a complete loss in this situation. He began to try once again to stop her, adding Devlin’s suggestions. It seemed like hours, but they knew that it was probably only minutes before her sobs lessened. They both breathed a sigh of relief, since neither of them knew how to cope with this other than as they were doing.
It took only a few minutes more before they could make out her words and when they understood them, Malek leaned back from her abruptly, simply staring at her. He then took her by the shoulders and shook her just enough to surprise her into giving him her attention.
“No, Gwennetha, you will not tell us that you are sorry for what you did. You did nothing wrong. We did. I—I did. Not you. Never you.”
“Malek, do not say that, I know…”
“No. No. No. You owe us nothing. We, however, do owe you. We owe you more than an apology. We owe you our love and our faith. I did not give you that, even though I promised to do so. You have every right to deny me anything you wish, and it would be no more than I deserve. I will do whatever you want me to do, but please do not blame Devlin. There are reasons…”
“I know. I know that there are reasons. I do not know what they are, nor do you have to tell me. My mother told me.” She shook her head and lifted her fingers to his lips to stop him from interrupting, as she continued, “Not what the reasons are, only that they are legitimate. I know that there are things that have made Devlin very loyal to you, Malek, and that he has reason to be.”
“That is enough for me, for my mother would not lie to me. I know that she is helping Devlin with the pain of whatever happened. For her to be doing that, it must be something that is terribly painful. If it was not, then she would do it all at once. She can absorb and diffuse a great deal of emotional as well as physical pain, Malek. The fact that she is not doing it in one session would tell me that it is a very painful thing, even if she had said nothing.”
“That is true, and I assure you that it is a very painful thing. After Kataya has finished with the sessions, then we will tell you, when the pain is less, I promise you. Devlin and I have talked about it and agreed that you should know. We are willing to tell you now, if you want us to.” Malek looked at her closely as he made his promise.
“No. No, I do not need that,” she assured him softly.
“Then Gwennetha, tell me what you do need, so that we can begin to rebuild our relationship. We know it will take time, and that you will not trust me. I cannot blame you for that, and I know that only time will prove that it will not happen again. But, I will prove it someday.”
“The only thing that you and Devlin need to show me is that you still love me, and that you have forgiven me for what happened. I know that you probably do not want to have kits,” she swallowed hard before she could continue, and her voice slipped into a whisper, “but, I will love them.”
“We, all three of us, will love them fiercely, Gwennetha. They are a part of us. Devlin has been ecstatic from the moment that we found out. I am afraid that I took longer to realize what a special and wonderful gift you are giving to us, but I am very aware of it now. It is something that I never thought to have happen. It seems quite wonderful to me now that it has happened, and I have finally opened my eyes to what it is.”
“We have been so worried this past week. If Artereos had not kept us updated on what was happening, I think that we would have lost our minds. We do love you so much.”
“I know,” she still whispered. “I love both of you more than anything else. Moreover, you are both wrong about what I owe to you. I owed you the benefit of the doubt. I should have realized what was making you so upset. Furthermore, it was my responsibility to tell you what our mating for breeding entailed before we bonded. I am truly sorry that I did not.”
As he once again began to protest, she again stopped him with her fingers. “Let us begin again, Malek. We were both wrong in what we did and did not do. Let us put it behind us and go forward from this day. Please. You wished to know what I want from you. That is what I want; a new beginning, learning, and growing together, for the three of us.”
Looking deeply into her eyes, he nodded. “All right. If that is truly, what you want, then I will not deny you. Nevertheless, we will not forget what we did, or how very wrong it was of us, myself, in particular. There are so many ways that I was wrong, Amat Wyn, that I do not know if I will ever feel free of guilt. We love you more than ever, Gwennetha, and I…I am sorry; Coeurawyn, I must say something about it. It is a very important thing for me that I wish you to know. Please, do not deny me.”
Gwennetha sighed, and then nodded her head, before adding slowly, as if she was thinking her words through, “All right, Malek. Perhaps you are correct. I feel that I have said what I needed to say. It is not fair of me to deny you what you feel you need to say to me. So, please do and I promise that I will listen.”
He accepted her statement and then added his own, “Gwennetha, I no longer feel the way I did when it first happened. I do not know why, but I did not truly understand that you had no control over what happened.” He held up his hand to stop her from commenting. He wanted to say this, as he felt it was very important to his peace of mind that she know his feelings about it.
Much as she did, he began speaking, somewhat slowly at first, as if testing his words, “Looking back, once my mind began to clear, and I finally listened to Devlin, as well as the others who tried to help us, I realize that…for you, the Furling breeding cycle was a fact of life. Had you mated with a Furling or a race familiar with your cycle, you would not have even thought to mention it. Why should you, after all? One does not explain a fact of one's life. It is not your fault that Devlin and I were so very ignorant about the Furling. Furthermore, I feel sure, now that I can think more clearly, that you would have explained had you realized what was happening to us, and you would either have left us, or asked our permission after explaining what was occurring.”
Once more, he stopped her from speaking before continuing, “When we became mated, you had a great many other things on your mind. They were things that were much more important than telling us about the Furling mating cycle. We were facing a devastating battle; a battle made more so for you, because you knew that you would lose your mother, and you could not even share that with us.” He shook his head, “No, my dearest love, you have nothing about which to apologize to us. I am absolutely sure that in your place, I would not have thought to tell you, either.”
“Last, but certainly not least, Gwennetha, I promised you unwavering faith, both in you, and in the fact that you would never knowingly hurt us. I did not remember my vow to you. Had I done so, I would have realized that you did not do any of it deliberately to hurt Devlin or me. I am truly sorry that I broke that vow. I will never do so again, I promise you…for what it is worth. I realize it is not worth very much at the moment, but someday, I hope that it will be. I will do my very best to see to it that it does.”
“Therefore, as you requested, we will now put it behind us and start anew, if…if you will allow us to do so, and permit us to show you how very much we truly love you.”
All Gwennetha could do over the lump in her throat was nod at first, but finally she managed to whisper to them, “I agree. I will allow us all to put it behind us and begin anew. I will also permit you to show me how much you love me, as I will show you how very much I love you. Those things being true; Come to me, Amates Wyn, and show me your passions.”
Malek smiled for the first time in what felt like weeks. “I will. We will. However, can you—can you mate with us? Will we hurt the kits, Gwennetha? We do not want anything to happen to the kits.”
“Yes, I can mate, or as Samantha calls it, make love to you. I have a clean bill of health. It is why they kept me for an entire week, so that I would be well enough to make love with you fully. Now, come to me. It is time to heal our hearts and soothe our bodies. Make sweet passionate love to me, my loves, make love to me.”
Malek laughed softly as the gladness welled within both his and Devlin's hearts. “It is a true way to say it, Coeurawyn. Make love to my mate, our mate. We wish to make love to our mate.”
She smiled back at him. “It is my wish as well,” her voice was husky with desire as she watched his lips descend toward hers. She felt Devlin come forward after Malek had thoroughly kissed her, to kiss her just as well. She knew that Devlin had let Malek talk to her, for his sake. Malek felt very guilty, she knew. However, he would eventually forgive himself, once he realized that she had already done so.
They might still have some rough spots to go through, but they would survive them and come out the stronger for them. She felt their lips caressing her throat and their fingers working on the fasteners to her gown. Yes, there was no doubt in her mind. She was back where she belonged. Just being in their arms was making this afternoon a sweet delight.
“Well, I guess that about does it. Therefore, we have the first few thousand names. How many more are there, Valynara?” Daniel leaned back in his chair and arched his back, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand and the small of his back with the other.
He was sore from head to foot today, but the reason brought a smile to his face. Kataya had come home from Avilion two days ago. They had spent the last two nights loving as if they were new mates. Some of the positions that they had tried had left a kink in his back. It had been worth it. He forced his mind to leave their bedroom gymnastics and concentrate on what Valynara was saying.
“I really do not know, Daniel, but the adult population is quite large. I would guess that there are literally thousands. We stopped taking names when we reached the three thousand mark. In addition, all those on our list were eligible, so we should have many for others that we find. That, of course, is assuming that there are not several thousand symbiotes on Coreegadon. Which, you know, the more I consider it, we should not discount. It is very possible.”
“I have not mentioned it to the others so as not to disappoint them, if it proved otherwise, but I believe that Egeria had a special world that she left a great many of her children on. I do not know why, but something leads me to think it may be Coreegadon. I feel that I am missing something, but what it is, I cannot say. I have learned not to discount my feelings, as most Furling do for they inevitably mean something. We are not all seers, as some, but we all have some sense of “other”.”
“I do know that if this is the world, then I shall ask Artereos to help me to shield the Star Portal as ours here is. Not because there will be symbiotes there any longer, but because the Goa’uld must never find any remaining sign of her there. And if the Temple is hers, I do not want it destroyed, but kept for her children.”
“If we are lucky enough to find more symbiotes than we have hosts ready, it will be a simple matter to request the next group. Even though we only have these, they are still cataloguing names in the villages, towns, and cities, as well as all over the countryside. They will also have sent out messages to the other continents, so those living farther away, will also begin to make their lists. There will be a great many available hosts, Daniel, so do not frown so. As soon as the outlying continents can do so they will send representatives along with the first of their groups of hosts.”
“Our people here have flourished, and had large families, anticipating the day that they would be needed and wanted by the Children of their Egeria. Now that the day has come, they are eager to become hosts and serve. You must understand the honor it is to have a symbiote in your family. Only those who do not have a symbiote within their family group may claim one, until each family who wishes one has one. Perhaps, soon, they will all be able to claim a descendant of Egeria.” Valynara smiled happily at them.
“If we ever find the next clutch,” Daniel sighed resignedly. “Finding these worlds is proving even harder than I thought it would be. At one time, I thought that it would be fairly easy, but it seems to be getting harder, not easier.”
“We will find them, Daniel. I know that you can do it. You are not one to give up, and it will take both patience and persistence, which you have in abundance.”
Daniel grinned at her, saying, “Kataya says the same thing.”
“I do not believe that she was talking about your dedication to your work when she mentioned it, though.” Valynara watched the color spring into his cheeks. She laughed lightly, and then she stopped teasing him to return to the job at hand.
“Some of these people I know quite well, but others not at all. I trust Alys’yiat’s mother and father, though. They know everyone in their town very well. Her father is the mayor, and her mother and grandmother are the local healers. Her grandmother’s symbiote is to pass to Alys’yiat upon her grandmother’s death. She is almost four hundred years old now, and soon it will be time. Alys’yiat and her symbiote will mourn her passing together, as families here have been doing for centuries.”
“All very fascinating, I am sure,” Valynara grinned at Daniel, “but, I believe that I was telling you something else and became side tracked. Ah, yes, now I remember. As I was saying, Alys’yiat’s parents and grandmother know many in this first group. Some of them are from a different village very close to their town, but here again; the mayor and local healer knew them.”
“This list has already been gone over by Alys’yiat’s parents, as well as her grandmother, and all of them were approved. Even Evalinia Callendaut, who was a rival of Alys’yiat’s mother’s, and Joncast Tevinson, who was a rival of her father’s. They have feuded for years, but as you can see, they are on the list. Personal prejudice will play no part in the choices. Even though they do not like them, in all honesty, they will admit that there is no reason not to allow them on the list, and therefore they allowed them on as acceptable.”
“The only ones that will not be allowed on the lists are known criminals. Their names will be on a separate list. They wish to discuss them with the Tok’Ra first, to see if it might be a way to control the criminal. Not that the symbiote would control the host completely, but perhaps it would, shall we say, prevent undesirable actions and behavior. That is, if a Tok’Ra would even take one. Then it will be considered,” Valynara, explained.
“Yes, I can see their reasoning, but that, as you say, should be discussed with the Tok’Ra. Selmak might be a good one to give advice on that,” Daniel remarked after giving it a little thought. He nodded his understanding, and then pressed on to the next topic. “The only thing we need to decide, then, is how to do the blendings. Do we attempt to take the people to them or bring them to the people?”
“What would you think of the team going through first and checking everything out? If they are there, and we can get them to come to the water’s edge, then perhaps I can set a link and find out if they are one of Egeria’s clutches. The truth is that until we go and do some reconnaissance, we do not know what we need or how we can do the blendings. We will not know if we need to take both a transport container and a few of the new hosts, or not. We could blend a few of them there at the Coreegadon Temple and the rest in the Temple of the Twylight Nights. The other alternative would be to ask the host and symbiote where they would prefer to blend. Perhaps they would have a preference. How does that sound?” Kataya questioned, as she entered the room and sat down next to Daniel and Valynara.
“I would have no objection to doing it either way.” Valynara turned to Daniel. “What is your opinion, Daniel?”
“It makes sense to have a few blend at the site, just to be sure that we’re definitely on the right track. I am pretty sure, though, that if you and Kataya can get a link, we will know from that. It still might be a good idea to do a few of them there, though. It might take some of the uncertainty out of it, if there are some symbiotes that are leery of whether we are Goa’uld sympathizers.”
“Once blended, Kataya can set a link for a three-way so that they can be reassured by the first few brave souls, that blend that we really are not associated with the Goa’uld. I think that it might be easier to blend from the lake than in the Twilight Temple, but I really suppose it should be up to the host and symbiote.”
“That sounds reasonable to me, Daniel. A sensible plan, which is wonderful to have and will probably be all for naught, once you get there and find out how matters really are.” Valynara nodded.
Daniel grinned at her, obviously agreeing with her statement, before turning to Kataya and asking, “How did it go with Malek and Gwennetha, Coeurawyn? Will she forgive them?”
“I am hopeful that she will and that they will. Malek and Devlin look terrible, and I have given Gwennetha a great deal to think about during the past week. I reminded her that both of them acted as we expected and why. She knows that we would not tell her to forgive them, if we did not think that they deserved it. She was crying, and Malek was panicking when I left. I indicated to him that he should take her upstairs and begin repairing the damage that has been wrought.”
“You’re sure that there’s no more danger to the kits?” Daniel asked her quietly, his worry evident.
“Yes, I am quite sure. They kept her until they could release her to do whatever she pleases. I am sure that will please Malek and Devlin as well.”
Daniel smiled at her. “Yes, I’m sure that it will.”
Valynara was looking over the list one more time, “We should choose a handful of people to go. They will wait at the Twilight Temple until you come back for them. It will be the first time through the gate for most of them. Only a very few have ever ventured beyond this world. I will contact Alys’yiat’s mother and father through a link, if we are successful in finding adult symbiotes. They will gather the remainder of the group that will be receiving symbiotes.”
“Of course, as excited as the people are, they may very well come with us as far as the Temple, and then wait there to hear what we do, or do not, find. It would save us time, if we do find symbiotes there. Either way, it will not take them long to arrive there, if they are summoned after we find the symbiotes and deduce that they are indeed Tok’Ra.”
“When are Colonel O’Neill and his team due to arrive?” She wanted to know.
“They will be here by around eight o’clock this world’s time, which is actually a little later than Earth time.” Kataya said absently, as she looked over some papers.
“All right, we should all be here and ready when they arrive. Is it just the three of them?” Daniel watched Kat shuffle papers and look at her watch. She wanted to get this finished. He grinned to himself, knowing why she wanted to finish it, and it wasn’t to take a walk.
“I am not sure. They may have added a fourth person to the team, but if that is so, I have not heard.” Kat shrugged.
“Jack isn’t real, ah, happy when they add new members to the team. I think that he will wait for Sam to come back. I hate to tell him, but she may not now. I hope that she does, though. It wouldn’t be the same without her.” Daniel knew Jack better than any other person on the team knew him.
“You are right, Carusawyn, it would not. However, she may choose not to continue off- world missions. Once the kits are here, she will make her choice. If she decides to continue, then we will find a good nursery maid. It will not be difficult. I continued after my kits were born. It was a wrench at first, but we all soon became accustomed to it, and it became a fact of their life and mine. It is a fact that has remained in our lives ever since then. It never made my love for them any less nor did it affect theirs for me,” Kataya pointed out quietly.
“I never even thought about the kits part. I was thinking about Lantash and Martouf. What if they decide to rejoin the Tok’Ra?” Daniel questioned.
Kataya nodded somberly. “Yes, at that point, she would have to make a decision. However, I do not believe they will return to them. They enjoy the Tau'ri world and their life there. Then, too, I fully believe that there will soon be many, many Tok’Ra, and it will not be so very important that they are all working within the Tok’Ra. One of their operatives living on the Tau'ri world will hardly be noticed…if we are correct, and we do find a significant amount of symbiotes.”
“I guess you’re right. It just feels so weird to think about there being a lot of Tok’Ra. I mean, it feels great to know they are safe as a species, but it feels weird to know that there could actually be so many of them.”
“I know, my love, but what is it your poets, or authors, said? This, too, shall pass. And, of course, it will, as all things do.”
Pulling them back from what looked to become a long and involved conversation, Valynara let them know that she was leaving, “I really do have to run, my dears. If you think of anything else before tomorrow, just touch me through the link. I will either answer, or tell you that I will get back to you later, if that is acceptable?”
“That’ll be fine, Val. We’ll be as near as the link, as you know. I have my doubts that anyone will do much work the remainder of this afternoon, actually. Malek, Dev, and Gwennetha probably won’t surface until time to embark on the mission in the morning. I saw Martouf and Sam heading upstairs not long ago, as well. Since our helpers seem to have deserted us, I believe that my lady and I may just play least in sight for a few hours ourselves this afternoon, and very possibly, on into the night.” Daniel smiled mysteriously, as his look slid to Kataya.
“In that case, I will bid you goodbye, for now.”
“We will see you in the morning, Val,” Kataya answered, before turning to Daniel. “What is it that you wish to do this afternoon, Amat Wyn? Do you believe that playing hooky for a day would be good for all of us? I believe that you are correct.”
“And “I believe” that I am in the mood to make love to my Soul’s mate, while we dance in the fire, to the very heights that the fire can take us. It feels like it’s been forever since we’ ve done that, Kataya, and though I still don’t have that many firm memories, my gut tells me that we used to dance in the fire during, ah, those times, pretty often. Right?”
“Yes, Daniel, as a matter of fact, we did. We both loved the sensation, and it never bothered us, no matter how often we, ah, played, in it, which it does to some. I would love to do so with you, my love. Shall we take a bed fur and surrender to the dance just as twilight falls in the Temple of the Twilight Nights?”
“I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be on such a delightful afternoon than with you, Kataya. Tomorrow will be soon enough to face the future and whatever it holds for all of us.”