Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners.  The
original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners,
creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

Series Summary: Several months ago, the SGC was taken over and many of the personnel captured and
tortured.  They are freed, but are living with the Tok'Ra, and most are back to taking on missions, even though
there are some lingering effects from their captivity.  But now, someone is trying to kill Sam.  Who?  And Why?
These are Adult stories that follow Sam as she initially suffers from a case of memory loss, then is the object of
several more attacks.  Along the way, she collects multiple mates.  Most of the stories can be read as stand-
alone.  Almost all are NC-17.  I would call them PWP's but there is a plot and story line that carries forward from
one to the next, so I am simply saying they are adult in nature.  

Story Summary:  Lantash and Martouf's mission is going well, but they are anxious to
return to the base.  Sam is slowly getting better, but her concern and worry about Malek
and Devlin lead her to a small setback.  Daniel helps by stepping in and taking over for
Malek/Devlin.  An attempt is made on Malek and Devlin's lives, one that would also have
killed Samantha.  The murderer is becoming more desperate.

Prinekh – Another Name for the Lifemate; A Term of Endearment.
Ann’wyld - Beloved
Arashi-porestet – Corn/Potato like Vegetables Cooked Together.  One of Malek’s Favorite
Epithedra - Antidote for Arsyniqar…Brings the Symbiote and Host out of a Drug Induced
Arsyniqar – One of the Few Substances that will put the Symbiote to Sleep
Mae’tek Tari’esk – Mate Brother
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek - Third Mate

Lantash walked swiftly down the hallway.  There would be little to celebrate tonight.  His
dear Wannette was still lost to him and until she returned to her rightful place next to
him and in his arms, he was inconsolable.  He would at least try to enjoy and appreciate
the entertainment his host would no doubt provide.  He would probably offer a few
concubines of his own to see if Lantash would be willing to take a new one, and therefore,
simply forget he lost the other one.  He would not, of course.  Mahes must believe his love
for the lovely “Wannette” was as deep as the love he felt for his lover.  He must also
believe that she returned it and that the lovely woman would try to make her way back to
him as soon as she could escape.  If she could that is.  

“We will hope that our ‘Dear Wannette’ returns to us soon, so that we will be able to leave
tomorrow, Lantash.  I am more than ready to go,”
Martouf moaned his longing for the
Tunnels and what awaited them there.   

“True, but we were ready to return home before we ever reached our destination.”  He
laughed softly at his Lifemate.
 “We would both prefer to be there and in Samantha’s arms,
Martouf, and we will be just as soon as we can finish this mission, which I devoutly hope
will be very soon.”  
Lantash reminded him and Martouf nodded his agreement

“If things go as planned, we should be there no later than the day after tomorrow, and we
will be richer the price of the artwork, as well as another valuable, though distressingly
gaudy, piece.”  
Martouf commented on their latest transaction.  “Much as I have to abhor
the man’s taste in furnishings, art, sculpture, and clothing, the other piece we are receiving
in compensation for our inconvenience will bring a good price.  In fact, it is in such good
taste that I wonder where he came by it, as well as why he would purchase something so
far from his normal style.  However, it does not matter when all is said and done.  The
second piece will most certainly bring us a very substantial profit.  Although, the truth is
that, we have many times more than enough for our needs, so it really is irrelevant.”  

“Yes that much is true, and thankfully, we do not have to look at his first gift.  I placed it
so that it is facing the back wall.  The second painting is actually quite lovely.  If Mahes is
to be believed, and I have no reason to disbelieve him, he was given it to replace a painting
that was ruined during an, ah, orgy.  I am very grateful that there will be no party for us.  
Wannette’s disappearance is weighing too heavily upon my mind for me to enjoy myself,”
R'hett told him.    

Lantash dropped the role he was playing and addressed Martouf in his normal tone of
voice, stating,
“I would rather that we leave today than wait for one or two more days.  We
should have had Arwanna continue on with Korra and Aldwin and met up with them there.  
It is too bad that this particular System Lord believes in love and expects us to be bereft at
the loss of Wannette.  Leaving before they find her, or she returns, is truly not an option.  
However, it also means that he will believe she escaped in order to return to us, which I
must admit is a very convenient thing for him to believe, for it also means there is no way
he can suspect us of releasing his prisoners.”  
Lantash was justifiably proud of the
success of the mission so far.  Now, if only nothing occurred to disrupt their plans, they
would soon be on their way.  

“Do not forget, Lantash, that as things are now, he is hunting for his escaped prisoners
and our “Wannette”, so that we will not leave here with an unfavorable impression of him.  
Knowing we may next be going to Hes’inbett, he wishes to be sure we have nothing
unfavorable to say of him.  He will “leave no stone unturned” in his search for our missing
concubine, who is so very dear to us that we are completely devastated by her loss and
worried about her treatment at the hands of the sholva Tok’Ra.  It is also encouraging that
they are looking in the opposite direction from where we know them to be.”  

“Yes, the information he received today as to where they are looking was very good.  
Knowing they are well hidden from the Jaffa is a weight lifted from us.”  
Lantash always
worried until he knew that the prisoners he released would be able to evade capture
again and find a safe place on one of the planets they used for refugees.  When it was one
of their operatives that he freed, he would be strung as tightly as an Elvish Bow until he
knew them to be safe.  He knew that he should be able to stop his concern at this point,
but as usual, he could not.  

“I believe that Arwanna will return by the day after tomorrow at the latest.  Korra was in
considerable pain and was very weak, but they were safely away, and Arwanna will have
him up and around within one or two days.  It would not surprise me to see her tomorrow
rather than the next day.  Furthermore, once we are on our way back to base it will take
very little time.  It is a very short hop from here.”  
Lantash reminded him and then
 “Which is a very good thing for I still have the feeling of urgency whenever I think
about returning to the tunnels, and I have sensed you having it as well.  I imagine it is
because Samantha was ill with her cold when we left, but still, I wish to return as soon as

Martouf agreed completely, “Yes, I am still feeling it, and I hope we are correct in our

“As for the mission, it is a good thing we brought extra serum with us to cloak the
symbiotes in the others.  We could not have him sensing them.  Especially in the
concubines.  That one or two of our male servants have symbiotes is not so unusual, but if
all the concubines had them, as well, it would be suspicious.”  

“Yes, you are correct, and I want him to believe that Wannette is my human lover, so that
he will feel a connection with me over that.  I have to agree about the extra serum.  We had
no idea the mission would drag out for so many days, so it is very lucky that Arwanna
brought extra.  Now that my paranoia is keeping the remainder of my concubines locked in
my ship that helps.  They don’t have to take it now, and as long as I keep them
sequestered, it will not be necessary.”  
He stopped before the door they needed to enter.  

Martouf embraced him and gave him the encouragement he needed to face the remainder
of the day.  Taking a deep breath, Lantash assumed his almost effeminate demeanor and
his melancholy air before entering the room where Mahes would be awaiting him.

“My Lord R’hett, I hope this evening finds you in better spirits.  I sent you word that my
Jaffa believe they may have picked up their trail on Loroall.  It was delivered, was it not?”  

Lantash smiled sadly, “Yes, yes, your servant was most pleasant and delivered your
message, as I was beginning to believe I must lie down to attempt to hold the pain in my
head at bay.  I did tell you that since the poisoning attempt that I have tremendous head
pains that I have trouble controlling, did I not?  Of course, I did.  I was sure I had for you
are always so encouraging about my health, as well as, tempting my poor digestion with
such succulent food stuffs.”   

“Most simply tell me to change hosts, but you seem to understand that when one has
become accustomed to how one looks, and your lover loves how you look, it is not such an
easy thing to simply go and get another host.  I would need one that looks very much like
I do now, and to be quite frank with you, I doubt I would ever find one that suits me half
so well.  He is exactly what I wanted in my host in
“all” ways.  I am quite sure that you
know exactly what I am saying do you not?  Yes, yes,
of course, you do, and I am always
so thankful and enjoy being in your company so much because we share many of the
same beliefs.  No, no, I cannot believe you would wish me to change my host over
something as minor as a head pain or a stomach upset.”  

Lantash finally finished speaking and allowed his mood to slip once more into the more
morose side, as if he was thinking of his poor
Wannette.  He sighed and looked extremely

“No, I would not advise you to do so.  As you say, you have become accustomed to your
body, and I am quite sure that you would be loath to leave it for another that you might
not care for nearly as well.  I feel much the same way.  My lovely Jasmine is very fond of
this body, and I would not change hosts unless there was simply no other choice, no other
choice at all.  Therefore, I do understand your hesitance.  Moreover, the poisoning was
fairly recent, so it could still dissipate completely.  Did you not tell me that the side affects
were lessening?”  

“Yes, my Lord Mahes, yes, indeed, they are lessening.  Not as quickly as I had hoped, but
then one must be patient, for some things do take time.  If only they had not taken my
Wannette, I would probably not be having many symptoms at all.  She always makes me
feel so much better when she is here to soothe me.”
 He sighed once again, looking bereft.  

“If it was not for this bazaar, I would not even be contemplating leaving without her, you
know.  Unfortunately, Lord Hes’inbett wants some urns and matching mirrors in a
particular shade of purple that is very hard to find; yes, yes,
exactly so, very hard to find.  
I do believe that, if I could arrive at the bazaar before they place them on display, I could
get them for him.  I know they are to be there, for I have almost bought them several
times thinking that they were unusual enough that someone would no doubt want
something like them.  Now my suspicions have proven to be true, and it is obvious that I
should have followed my instinct.  If I had, I would not be worried now about leaving
before my Wannette is found.”  

“It will take so long to arrive there even at top speed.  I cannot, I simply cannot stay longer
than the day after tomorrow, for I will never make it in time.  As it is now, I have two and
a half days left to get there if I stay the extra day, since I have stayed extra days looking
for my dear Wannette already.”   

“Hes’inbett wants the urns, but Wannette means a great deal to me.  My dear Mahes, you
do understand, do you not?  Yes, of course you do, for you have a love of your heart, as
well.  I am heartbroken.  Simply heartbroken.”
 He sighed yet again and then looked up
at Mahes and smiled one of his most charming smiles.  “Perhaps, since they have found a
trail, she will be found before I need to leave.  If not, then, then perhaps I will not
purchase the purple urns.  Wannette is worth it, is she not?  Yes, of course she is.”  

“You are quite correct, Lord R’hett.  She is indeed worth it.”  

The two sat in companionable silence each busy with thoughts of their own.
 “Thank the
Goddess we will be away from here within the next day or so Lantash.  He is a wearying,
boring man.”  
Martouf grinned, “But then, we are not the most enjoyable of companions at
the moment, and you know as well as I do that “Lord R’hett” is one of the most annoying
men in the Universe.  Lord Mahes is not the only one who will be glad to see us leaving.  I
am quite sure that he is as bored and anxious for us to leave,
as we are to go.

Lantash took a quick glance at the System Lord as he sat staring into space much as he
himself was doing.  
“I do not think there is any doubt of that, Martouf.  He has no
inclination for us to stay any longer than we must.  He is probably hoping that his Jaffa
will find Wannette, whether they find the Tok’Ra or not, simply because it will mean we will
be leaving.  I do not believe that we will have a problem taking our leave of him or saying
our good-byes, when the time comes.  He will be more than ready to see us leave.”  

“How many more hours of this must we endure tonight, Lantash?  He is looking at his
timekeeper quite often.”  
Lantash smiled.  “I believe he wishes to visit his lover.  Perhaps our stay in purgatory
tonight will be short lived.”  

Lantash raised his head as if he was just coming out of a reverie and back to the present.  
Looking at the timekeeper, he exclaimed, “My dear, dear Lord Mahes.  Why did you not
tell me it was so late?  I am quite, quite, sure that you wish to spend this evening with
your Jasmine, do you not?  Yes, yes,
of course you do.  I remember you telling me when
we arrived that you go to her almost every night, and I know that you have been with me
almost every evening, since I arrived.  We cannot let this continue.  You do not wish her to
believe you no longer care for her.  No, indeed, you must go at once.”  

“But, Lord R’hett, I cannot leave you to spend an evening alone.  If you had been
interested in one of my—but you were not.”  

Lantash shook his head at his
'friend' and said, “My dear, Lord Mahes, we have known
one another for many years.  If one friend cannot give to another, then I do not know what
the universe is coming to.  I will be quite all right here alone, for I will not truly
be alone.  
Do not forget that I have my other concubines sequestered here, and I am very much
afraid that I have been neglecting them.  Perhaps they will be able to lift my mood.  They
are always so
very sympathetic, when I do not feel well.  Yes, yes, I will spend some time
with them this night, so that they do not think I blame
them for my missing Wannette.  I
should take care of them, do you not agree?  I was hesitant to leave you alone before, but I
realize that you have not seen your Jasmine.  You
must, you simply must go to her.”  

Lord Mahes looked as if he was about to refuse, but seeing the stubborn look on Lord
R'hett’s face he capitulated.
 “What you say is true, and I have neglected her, since you
have been here.  She understood, but still, I am sure she would be pleased to see me.  If
you are sure you do not mind...?”  
Lantash stood.  “Absolutely not, my dear man, of course, I do not mind.  I do not mind in
the least, I
assure you.  You must go to her at once.  I will retire and take care of my other
concubines.  Yes, what an
excellent idea you have had.  I have been neglecting them, as
you say, and I will take your advice and spend some time with them tonight.  Thank you,
so much for suggesting it.  You will not mind that I leave you?  No, no, of course, you will
not, for you shall go to your lovely Jasmine.”
 Lantash beamed at him, as Martouf
snickered in his mind.  R’hett was one of Martouf’s favorite aliases, as it was so very
foreign to Lantash's true personality and behavior.  It always made him laugh.

Lord Mahes stood at once and took Lantash’s arm.
 “If you are sure then I believe I will
return, er, tomorrow morning.”  

“Wonderful.  I shall wish you a most pleasant evening, yes, yes, a most pleasant evening,

Lord Mahes bowed, as they came to the hallway in which Lantash’s chambers were
located, and with a murmured goodbye, he was on his way to his lover.  Lantash sighed in
relief and turned to their rooms.  Reaching their allotted chambers, all signs of Lord R’hett
fell away as if they did not exist.  He sighed tiredly, moaning to his Prinekh,
“Only two
more days at most, Martouf, and we will be free of him.  We must keep that in mind and do
our best not to strangle him to save someone else from such unmitigated boredom.  We will
simply repeat over and over…two more days, two more days, and we will once more be with
our Ann’wyld.”  

Martouf laughed and hugged his friend.  “I keep telling myself that, Lantash.  Only two
more days, and we will be in Samantha’s arms once again.  Only two more days."  

“Yes, thank the stars.”  

Martouf nodded.  Two more days.  The thought of Samantha’s arms and lips made them
both sigh.  Two more days.  They would survive them.  Somehow.

Malek slowly ran his hand up Samantha’s leg, teasing her by almost touching her
womanhood only to pull away once again.  It was just as well that he had used the robe
ties again and actually tied them a little tighter this time.  She was definitely aroused and
wanting him.  If she could get to him, he would be lost.  He was about to be, anyway.  He
bent down to lave her one more time and pulled in the female scent of her.  It never failed
to arouse him, or as in this case, arouse him more.  

He had given her numerous climaxes already, but not a really strong one.  Not until this
one, and this one would take her on a trip to the stars.  If he kept this up much longer, he
would be going with her, because he was so aroused himself that he felt as if he would
explode.  He wanted her badly.  

The tingle at the base of his spine and the ache that was beginning in his balls were
telling him to take her.  Take her now.  However, he did not want to do that just yet.  As
he continued to lave her bud, first licking, and stroking, with his tongue, and then
suckling, he could feel her strain against the bonds.  He was determined to give her a
climax that would rid her of a larger amount of the poison, rather than these small
increments they were achieving each time they mated.  She was still far too ill, and it had
been four days.  She should have been better by now, sleeping longer than an hour and
forty-five minutes.  

She was chanting his name, crying out to him.  He would have to give her relief soon, for
she was going beyond arousal to frustration, and that was not his intent.  Watching her
body in the soft night lighting, he swirled his tongue around the nub that could bring her
over the edge and into the vortex.  She was beautiful in her desire and lust.  He could not
hold out much longer.  

He bit down gently and flicked rapidly on her bud before pressing down slightly.  Feeling
her climax begin, he let up, leaving her hanging once again, but this time he moved up
her body, laving, sucking, nibbling, kissing, and loving her.  He kissed her abdomen just
above her mound and from there to her hips.  Then onward toward the indentation in her
body where he swirled his tongue once again.  As his lips and tongue slowly moved their
way up her body, he slid to the side of her and cupped her mound, before entering her
with first one finger and then two.  

He set up a rhythm that was slow and easy.  It matched his slow, lazy trek up her body.  
Her body was thrashing, as much as her bonds would allow it to.  He continued on his
way, stopping at her breasts to love them, at first gently and then with increasing
intensity.  Soon, he was suckling and kneading them in time to her moans and his fingers
had picked up a faster rhythm, though not yet fast enough to send her over.  He lightly bit
one hardened peak, using his tongue in an imitation of the movements he had used
earlier on her womanhood.  

He wished he could continue forever, but he realized that he was getting tired.  They were
all so exhausted that it did not really surprise him, and he knew that if he was this tired
then Samantha must be in even greater need of sleep.  He would bring this to a close and
hope it allowed her to sleep a little longer this time.  

The decision made, he stretched down and untied her ankles, before lying completely on
top of her and rubbing his entire body against hers, as he loosened her wrists.  

With a sob of relief, Sam’s hands dove into his hair and brought his mouth to hers in one
frantic kiss after another, still moaning his name, as she asked for his body to join with
hers.  He had to agree that his body wanted the same thing, and breaking away only far
enough to maneuver into position, he found the opening of her channel and plunged as
deeply as he could in one hard thrust.  Fully seated, he stopped, panting, and allowed her
body to both greet and accommodate his.  

Sam thrust her hips up and into his letting him know that, she was ready, willing, and
eager for his penetration.  He began to move in a nice slow rhythm, but she took him by
surprise, when she flipped him over and began to ride him hard and fast, still panting
and sobbing his name.  It took no time at all to convince him that he was exactly where he
wanted to be.  His hands grasped her waist and helped her to increase the pace.  

“Samantha, I am not going to be able to hold off.  I am sorry, my love.”  

“No, don’t be.  I am ready now; I am waiting on you.  Take us over Malek, please, love,
take us over now.”  

Not waiting for another entreaty, Malek flipped them back and pulled Sam’s legs up and
over his shoulders.  She cried out as he penetrated her deeper than he ever had before,
but he could not stop.  Realizing that, rather than complaining, her hips were coming up
to meet his, he looked down at his mate, for a moment, before lowering his head and
kissing her deeply.  “Now, Samantha.”  Along with his whispered words, he plunged into
her two more times before locking them together and pumping his seed into the depths of
her womb.  He felt the strong contractions of her channel around him, and heard her
sobbing with the intensity of her release, before he collapsed onto her.

His breathing ragged, his skin covered with sweat, he was an exact match for Sam as she
did the same.  He rolled to the side of her as he softened and left her body, but not before
kissing her deeply.  “I love you, my Sam.  Your body never ceases to give me ecstasy.  
Thank you.”  

“Mm.  I love you, too, and believe me; your body does the same for me.  But I have to
admit to being very sleepy, now.”  

“I understand.  I am very tired as well.”  

Malek rolled out of bed and gathered her up to take her into the facilities this time, so he
could wash them both at once.  All of a sudden, he felt exhausted and so sleepy he was
afraid he would fall asleep standing up.  

Making a very quick job of it, he carried Sam back to bed, not surprised to see her looking
sleepy, as well.  He laid her down on the bed and climbed in beside her.  The last thing he
remembered was hearing her tell him she loved him.  He smiled as sleep claimed him.  

Sam frowned, realizing how tired he must be to go to sleep before she did.  Malek had to
get more rest soon.  She did not think he realized how exhausted he was becoming.  
Sighing, and knowing there was nothing she could do at the moment, she snuggled up to
him and wrapped her arm around him.  Kissing him gently before laying her head on his
shoulder, she yawned tiredly, and enjoying the feel of him pressed close beside her, she
passed into slumber herself.

Slap, Slap, Slap, Slap.  What was that sound?  It sounded like the footfalls of someone
jogging in the tunnels, but if so, they were about to fall down.  Daniel’s brow furrowed.  No
one was supposed to be in this tunnel, but Gava, Malek, Sam, and him.  So, who was
jogging in the hallway?  Daniel climbed off the sleeping platform, pulled his briefs on, and
walked cautiously toward his doorway, not wanting to startle whoever it was.  The
footsteps stopped, and he could hear the sound of harsh breathing.  He stepped outside
and looked down the hallway.  He sighed.  As he had suspected, it was Sam.  

He watched her slide slowly down the wall to the floor as he walked toward her.  “Sam?  
Sam, what are you doing?”  

Her head jerked up and then fell forward again onto her knees.  “I am sexercising, er,
exercising, Daniel.  Can’t you see what I am doing?”  

“Well, yes, but at the moment you don’t seem to be doing too much exercising, and you
don’t look like you’re feeling very well.”  He sat down on the floor with her.  “Come on,
Sam.  What’s wrong?  Why are you out here instead of in bed where you belong?  Does
Malek know where you are?”  

Sam sighed.  “They’re asleep, Daniel.  I woke up and I was woozy, but I wanted them to
get more sleep.  So anyway, to make a long story short, I took their leggings and one of
their shirts and started jogging.  It worked for a while, but I’m too tired to keep jogging.  In
fact, I think I’m just gonna lie down here and take a nap.  All right, Daniel?  You’ll let
them know I’m here and fine, won’t you?”  

Daniel reached out his hand and placed it on her forehead.  She was burning up.  Well,
at least it felt that way to him.  He sighed at her loving, reckless foolishness, and stood,
going back into his room.  Picking up the com that Gava left with him, he contacted her as
he walked back to Sam.   

“Gava?  Daniel.  Sam is out in the hall down here.  Yeah, she was jogging so that she
wouldn’t have to wake Malek and Devlin, but she just laid down in the hall and went to
sleep.  Can I what?  Just a sec and I’ll see.”  

“Sam?  Sam, wake up.”  Daniel frowned and shook her getting no response.  “Gava, she’s
not waking up; what do I do?  Yeah, I can do that.  I’m on my way.  Then what?  Huh?  
But—she’s unconscious!  Do it anyway.”  Daniel listened intently to what Gava was telling
him.  “You’re sure she can feel it, and that it’s the only way at this point?  All right, I can
do that.”  

“Malek and Devlin?  Evidently, they didn’t wake up when she left them.  I’m not sure how
long she’s been out here, but I’d guess it’s been a while.  She said it worked at first, but
she got tired.”  

“Yeah, me too, Gava, but if Malek won’t give in and let me take over while he rests, I can’t
very well force him.  For one thing, even as exhausted as he is, he could probably beat the
crap out of me, so physical force is not an option, unless you want me to zat him and tie
him up somewhere.  Preferably, at the other end of the universe, on a world with no
Stargate, and a ship that will have to travel very, very slowly to get back.”  

“All right, is there anything else you can tell me?  Her throat is very sensitive, but don’t
leave any love bites because of Per’sus.  Got it.  She’ll be ready for me because of the
aphrodisiac properties of the plant, right, got that already.  That’s a blessing, at least, and
I do remember Malek telling me that.”

“Oh, so you are coming down here?  Good.  I think someone needs to leave a message for
Malek letting him know where she is, so if you’re coming anyway, would you mind leaving
him one?  Thanks.  See you soon then.  Bye.”

Daniel shoved the com into the pocket of the robe he’d grabbed.  All he had on was briefs,
and he still wasn’t comfortable walking around the tunnels almost naked.  Besides, he
needed the pockets.  Turning back to his room again, he found his own stash of aspirin;
she would need that as well as water to drink when they could finally get it down her.  
Once he reached her, he knelt down, picked her up, and carried her into the pool area
and over to the pre-cooled one.  He stripped himself and Sam before entering the water;
then picking her up, he lowered her into the pool.  

Gava said that she needed sex even when she was unconscious.  He really didn’t want to
do that with her unconscious, but short of waking Malek and Devlin, there was not much
else he could do.  Waking them would upset her, he was sure, and they did agree on him
stepping in if needed.  It appeared to him that the need was there.  

He kissed her throat, murmuring softly to her, “Sam, I’m going to make love to you.  It will
be making love, Sam.  I’ve always loved you and this is just one of many ways to tell you
and show you.  I think I’ll love you even more after today.  What happens here is between
us, and it will go no farther, you have my word.  I’ll love you as both a friend and a lover.”  
“We didn’t really discuss it, but I have a feeling that you’ll feel really guilty for making love
with me, so I am going to make it easier for you to accept.  We discussed the mate thing
earlier, so I’m going to bind myself to you as your
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek, your third mate.  That
way you’ll not have cheated on anyone, since Malek accepted me.”  

“So, well, here goes…Sam, I promise I will always cherish you and your feelings for me; I
will love you, care for you, honor, and respect you in all ways.  Um, I’m not sure what else
I’m supposed to say.  I guess I’ll just promise to take care of you to the best of my ability,
always.  I hope that makes me your
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek and Mae’tek Tari’esk to the four of
them, even if it is your wish and your mate’s wish that it is only temporary.  Since I know
that you agreed a few hours ago, I guess that is it.”  

Moving her from lying across his arms, Daniel turned Sam so that she was facing him,
“Now to slide you down onto me,” he mumbled under his breath.  Daniel shook his head.  
How could he be so damned hard in these circumstances?  It was a good thing; however,
it was just…amazing to him.  He held his breath as he penetrated her.  It was an
enlightening moment.  There was no doubt now that he had hidden his emotions about
Sam from everyone, including himself.
 All right, so live with it, Jackson.  He no longer
had to wonder how he could maintain his erection.

He shook his head impatiently, dismissing those thoughts.  There were other much more
important things to do right now.  The good thing was that there would be no dearth of
love, at least on his side, and that was what mattered.  He didn’t want Sam thinking it
didn’t mean anything to him.  When this was over and she was well again, they would
have to talk.  Still, that too, was for later.  For now, her life was the important thing.  

Good grief, they really meant what they said; she was ready.  He could feel her muscles
tighten down on him.  “Okay, Sam, we are now completely bound; at least, I hope I did it
right, and we are bound to one another.  I hope it was good enough.”

“It will more than suffice, Daniel, and I am witness to it, so I can attest to the fact that you
bound yourself to her, as her mate, before you mated with her.”  Daniel looked up in
relief, as Gava left the doorway where she had listened to his vows to Sam, and then
waited until he had joined with her physically, before striding swiftly to pool.  

Daniel nodded, blushing because Gava caught him locked so intimately with Sam.  He
turned to her and quietly said, “Malek said it is a legitimate bonding.  Was he telling me
the truth, Gava, or was he trying to put Sam’s mind to rest?”  

“It is very legitimate, Daniel, though a somewhat rarer pairing.  As a matter of fact,” she
said softly, her eyes shining, “at one time, many years ago, Markesh, who is my mate, was
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek.  My other two mates were lost during an escape, when the Goa’uld
found our base and attacked us there.  So, as I said, rarer, true, but still within the
bounds of our joinings.”  

“I’m truly sorry you lost your other mates, Gava, but I’m very glad that Markesh survived
for you.  I’m also relieved to know that it was not something Malek made up on the spur of
the moment but a true bonding.  Of course,” he said as nonchalantly as he could, “It will
only be temporary.  I doubt that Lantash and Martouf would be willing to add me to their

“You might be surprised, Daniel.  If you love her, and she agrees, well, you have Malek’s
agreement, and he is a mate, also, so it is within his rights to agree to you, although I will
admit that it is normally a joint decision.  Nor do I believe it is necessarily a given that
Lantash and Martouf will disagree with him.”  

“These pairings have been with us from the first, Daniel, for a very good reason.  There
are usually more males than females in the tunnels.  At times, the ratio is as many as
three or four to one.  It came about naturally, so it is an accepted part of our society and
has been, as I stated, since the very beginning of the Tok’Ra.  You are no doubt aware by
now that we are very sexual beings.”  

She smiled slightly before she reminded them both of other matters.  “But unfortunately,
at the moment, as important as these things are to Samantha and you, they are still the
lesser of our concerns.”     

Daniel nodded his agreement and Gava immediately scanned Sam to check her
temperature.  “Her temperature is just under one hundred five again, Daniel, and it has
not been that high now for over twenty-four hours.  That is not a good sign.”  

“I thought she has been spiking temperatures all along.”  

Gava nodded her head before stopping and answering in more detail.  “Yes, she has been
spiking fevers.  However, once she stays under a certain point, which now was slightly
over one hundred and four, for at least twenty-fours, she only rarely goes over it again,
but if she does, it is a minor amount.  This time she is almost a full degree higher.”  

“What was she doing in the tunnel?  Never mind, I remember now.  She was jogging and
at a guess, knowing Samantha as I am beginning too, I would say she was experimenting
with different types of exercise, to see if they would work to keep the poison at bay, so that
she could allow Malek and Devlin to sleep longer.”

Daniel nodded.  “Of course, she has been studying it,” Daniel muttered to himself.  “Even
in a life and death situation, Sam, the scientist, will make some headway into the
mysteries of whatever it is she needs to find out about.”  

Gava grinned slightly at his muttered words, but was immediately somber again, and
obviously unsure if she should say anything more or not.  She was biting her bottom lip,
an action unlike a symbiote.  Normally, they were very decisive.  

“What are you thinking, Gava?  We all need to be very upfront and open with each other
during this, or we could make a whole lot of mistakes and have unexpressed emotions
causing all kinds of havoc with our friendships.  Possibly, considering everything, buried
emotions and thoughts could cause a real problem between the five of them.  We can’t
allow that to happen, so say your piece, please.”  

She nodded in open relief, and it was easy to see that she agreed with him.  “I know that
they are becoming ever more exhausted.  The fact that Samantha was able to leave their
room, without them being aware this time, tells its own story.  They have not done that
since the first time it happened, when Delek was able to get to her.”  

“I believe that Malek’s refusal to release Samantha to you is endangering her life at this
point.  I realize why he is doing it.  He fears hurting Martouf and Lantash anymore than
he assumes they already will be.  He is aware, as I am sure you are, that while he knows
that they will eventually come to terms with what has happened between the three of
them, he wishes to mitigate the emotional distress, as much as possible, by not having to
allow you to take over for him.  I think he also feels that he should be able to do it all
himself, and he fears that they will feel the same.”  

“I believe that is nonsense, just as his fear that they will feel emotional pain from your
mating with Samantha is, also, unfounded.  Therefore, if Malek was not so tired, but was
thinking more clearly, he would realize it, too.  Unfortunately, he is obsessed with his
misconception, and he “is” too tired to think clearly enough to know the difference.  I hope
you will not take their hesitance in allowing you to take over for them as indicating that
they do not trust you, or that they cannot, after all, allow you to become her mate.  I really
do not think that enters into their refusal to give in to their exhaustion, so please, do not
take it in that way.”

“However, as the present situation is showing us, Samantha is too worried about them,
and their welfare, to consider her own first.  So, I am very relieved that I came in while
you were bonding with her because I believe you should take over for them, Daniel, at
least for several hours.  If there is a problem afterwards,” she stopped and drew a rather
deep breath, before smiling wryly and continuing, “the blame will rest with me.  As
Samantha, Malek, and Devlin’s healer and medical caretaker, I am ordering Malek and
Devlin to rest for at least eight more hours, and in order for them to do that someone must
see to Samantha.”  

“Eight hours will put us into the morning, yet leave enough time before Per’sus arrives for
them to be up, around, and awake.  I am telling you, as her healer, that even had you not
bound yourself to her, I would still ask that you take over for them.  Therefore, you are
following my orders, as well as your own inclination.”  

Daniel looked down at Sam.  Gava was right; Malek and Dev were simply too exhausted to
go on without upsetting Sam, and she did not need that on top of this.  He looked back at
Gava, saying, “That will not be a problem.  I have every intention of taking over for them,
as of now, and I will continue, until they have caught up on their rest, as you said, for at
least eight hours,” he shrugged, “or longer, if need be.  I also realize their feelings about
the situation.  Sam’s guilt also weighs with them.  They want to save her from that, but I
don’t believe that will really happen either.”  
“Sam is logical and practical.  She may not have wanted to make love to someone other
than her mates, but she also knows that if she wants to be alive when they arrive home,
she has to do whatever it takes to keep her that way.  Besides that, in her heart she
knows that they won’t blame her, or us.  So, please, don’t worry that I don’t understand,
or that I’m worried about what will happen.  The worst would be if Delek gets to Martouf
and Lantash and twists things around.  It will hurt them until they learn the truth, which
won’t be long after they arrive here.  Now, is there anything more you can tell me that
might help her?”  

“I already told you that her throat is very sensitive, did I not?  I am sure that there are
other areas of her body that are also sensitive, but with her being submerged in water to
her throat, they might be difficult to, ah, activate, in some of the more, er, pleasurable
ways.  You are aware that she will be aroused already, so there is no need to hesitate.  
From what I remember her telling me as we discussed her findings, the Evernight causes,
even during unconsciousness, more than sufficient arousal to begin immediately.”  

“Extreme arousal will push the poison back, but not as far as climaxes will.  The climax
overpowers the poison for varying amounts of time, while also weakening it.  She also
made note that the plant makes climaxes very easy to achieve, but the more intense the
climax, the longer she stays alert and lucid.  Or else, the longer she can sleep, if that is
what she needs most at the time.  All of which is logical, and what we both felt she would

“She is aware of what is happening, even though she appears to be completely
unconscious.  I cannot stress that enough.  Therefore, you must be aware that, while her
body appears incapable of responding, her sexual responses are burning brightly, and
Samantha stated this emphatically, they are set on high.  On a scale of one to ten, her
body’s responses are at one hundred.  They are her words, Daniel, so you may take it as
true.  Her explanation was that it is as if, when she is so ill from it, that it shuts down all
of her senses so that all her energy and feeling is in her sexual center.”  

“When her fever is so high, Malek usually sits on the shelf and allows her to mount him
there with her legs settled comfortably, no doubt.  I would suggest that you begin there
and of course on her throat.  I will leave the sensor here.  When she begins to have
climaxes, you should see her temperature begin to fall.  While it responds fairly quickly, it
is not so fast as to be drastic, so do not expect a few climaxes to be all it will take.  Once
she is unconscious, it takes many of them to begin to bring the fever down.”  

Daniel moved to the shelf and sat down placing Sam’s legs around him.  Her head rested
on his shoulder.  He nodded to Gava.  “Thank you for the information.  At what point do I
take her out of the water?”  
“By the time it is under one hundred and three, you will be able to take her to your room
if you wish.  Once it is on its way down, it appears to continue to lessen as long as you
continue.  At some point, she will be ready to sleep, and she needs as much as she can
safely acquire.  Awaken her at any point past one hour if you notice her fever beginning to
go up again.  She and I both noticed, too, that when she gains ground it tends to happen
all at once.  If it happens while she is with you, you will recognize it.  She will sleep longer
without her fever going up, and she will feel better when she is awake for a longer period
before the poison causes the return of her symptoms.”  

“If you have no other questions, I believe it is time for me to take care of Malek and
Devlin.  If you hear ranting and raving, simply ignore it.  It is very probable that he will
not agree with me easily.”  

“I understand.  Thank you again, Gava.  We appreciate all you have done for Sam.”  

“You are very welcome.  Samantha is very easy to do things for, Daniel; she is very simply
a lovely person and one finds oneself wishing to help her.  Now then, I will check back
with you later.  In the meantime, if you need anything, you know to com me.  Oh, and as
soon as she is capable of doing so, see to it that she has the aspirin, please.”  

“I will.  Don’t worry about Sam for now; go ahead and take care of Malek and Devlin.”  

Gava looked at him almost mischievously, “What is it that the Tau’ri do in dangerous
situations?  Ah, yes, luck.  Wish me luck, Daniel.  Moreover, if Malek turns up, send him
back to bed, and if he refuses to leave, com me.”

She waved, as she headed out the door.  Daniel was glad it was her facing them at the
moment and not him.  Of course, that could still happen.  Malek could come and attempt
to take Sam, he supposed.  He just hoped he didn’t.  Sam was too vulnerable right now for
them to be at odds with one another, instead of working together to help her to recover.  
That would be his best argument against them.  If they continued to refuse to allow him to
take over, it would upset Sam.

Sam moaned slightly, and Daniel leaned over to kiss her forehead.  “Sam.  Sam, can you
hear me?”  

A slight nod was all the answer he received.  Daniel began to move in her gently, feeling
her muscles clench around him.  “I’m going to make love to you, Sam.  Gava went to talk
to Malek and tell him that he has to allow me to take over for a while.  He is just too tired
to continue.”  

He was surprised when Sam managed to nod her head slightly.  Of course, her whole
focus was on getting them the rest that they needed.  He kissed her temple and the top of
her head before moving farther down to her throat.  The more he touched her, the more
he wanted to touch her.  He arranged her body in a way that he felt would be more
comfortable for her before beginning to stroke gently.  Between the kisses on her throat
and the stroking, something must have helped some, because she moaned more, and
then she turned her head to give him better access to her throat.  

“Come on, Sam, come back to us,” Daniel murmured to her softly.  He continued to
murmur to her, as he caressed her, nibbling on her throat and her lips, all the while
assuring her that she would be all right.  They would take care of her and see to it that
she got better.  As his hands stroked her, he could not stop himself from admiring her
body.  It was truly worth taking the time to caress and enjoy.  She was quite beautiful.  

Daniel took a deep breath, but there was a hitch in it.  There was no doubt in his mind
that he could make love to Sam.  It would not be a problem for him.  No, no problem at
all, except to his heart.  That might just get broken.  

He loved Sam.  He had always known that, though, if he was honest with himself.  He had
loved her for a long time, though, not in this way, but as a friend.  This proved what he
had always suspected—that it had taken very little to push that love into something
more.  Whether or not that was a good thing, he had not determined yet.  He would cause
her no problems, though, as he assured her a short time ago.  He would let her go when
this was over.  He had done it for years, so he could continue to do so.  

In the meantime, however, he would make love to this incredible woman and he would
enjoy every minute of it.  After all, it could be all the memories he would ever have of her
and her sweet love.  

“Sam, I do love you.  Don’t ever doubt that.  More than that, I’m going to take that love,
wrap you in it, and keep you safe…for all of us.  So, prepare to come apart in my arms,
Sam of my heart, because I’m going to take you to the precipice and take that leap into
magic with you.  Come for me, Sam; share your climax with me.”  

Daniel laved the pulse point he found in her throat and kissed her gently, breathing his
love of her onto her skin and whispering it into her heart by way of the shell of her ear.  
Such pretty ears, they called him back to taste them gently.  He started nibbling there
and continued on down her throat.

He allowed her to lean backwards against his hand as it cradled her head and held her
steady.  His other hand slowly caressed her from her oh-so-sensitive throat, across her
collarbone, and on to her breast; he stroked her slowly and gently.  Cupping her breast
and rubbing across the tightened peak awaiting him, he raised both of them far enough
above the water to take it into his mouth and suckle, before scraping it lightly with his
teeth and then laving it.  Sam moaned her approval which in turn urged Daniel on to give
her even more of the sensual treatment, moving from one breast to the other and loving
them both.

His free hand made its way to the jointure of their joined bodies and sought out the nub
waiting anxiously for his caress.  It pulsed beneath his fingers at once, sending a
shuddering release through her.  Daniel blinked in surprise.  She was in need; there was
no doubt of that.  When he returned to it to give it more attention, she rewarded him with
a slight turning of her head and another approving, needy moan.

She gasped as his lips scorched her from her breast to her throat and from there to her
lips.  Hers clung to his this time, as they mated, and he kissed her deeply in return, with
all the love he held for her.  She responded as well as she could, and it was enough to let
him know that she wanted and needed him.  He teased her lips to open for him again,
and when they did, he delved deeply inside the warmth of her mouth with his tongue, as
his shaft continued to delve deeply into her body.  

Now that he had set a rhythm and was using his fingers on her center, he could feel the
shocks go through her, some so quickly after the one before that at first he could hardly
believe they were real.  It did not take him long to realize that, while they were very real,
they were not extremely strong.  She needed stronger ones in order to push the poison
back more speedily.  

He changed his tactics and began to build her toward the apex without allowing her to
reach the edge.  Soon, the arousal alone pushed some of the poison back to the point that
she could move more and interact with him much better.  When she was able to lift her
hands to his head and clasp him to her breast, he knew they were slowly winning the
battle this time.  With a sigh of relief, he found himself becoming as aroused as Sam was.  

He felt her forehead and realized that her temperature was coming down some, so he was
more comfortable in lifting her out of the water and turning her so that her back was
against the wall of the pool.  Pinning her there, he began to thrust in and out of her
channel with much more intensity than he had been able to with her on his lap.  

Leaning into her, he once again began seducing her with kisses and caresses, as his
thrusts became ever faster and harder.  The arousal finally overcoming the poison enough
to allow Sam to talk, she moaned, “Oh, god, Daniel, yes.  That is so good.  Come with me
this time.  Gather me in your arms, and take us over the edge.”  

He was very happy to comply with her request.  When her fever was down enough,
assuming it was before Malek was better, he would make love to her in a bed with all the
softness and love that he could show to her.  While this was a loving coming together, it in
no way compared to what a complete, sensual, joining would be.  He was sure of it, as
sure as he had ever been of anything.  
She collapsed forward onto his chest and managed to tighten her arms around him
slightly.  With a soft sigh, she slipped into sleep, exhausted.  However, Daniel could tell
the difference in the sleep she was in now; compared to the one she had fallen into
earlier.  There was no doubt in the difference between the state she had been in when he
brought her in here and her state now.  Lifting her gently, he turned around and sat
down on the shelf, stroking her hair and loving her as she slept.

Gava stood in the doorway and looked into the room.  It seemed ridiculous to awaken
them to tell them that they were to go to sleep and rest for the next eight hours, but if she
did not and they awoke on their own, it could be a very bad scenario.  Furthermore, much
as she wished to be helpful, she refused to sit and await their awakening; she wanted to
sleep some tonight as well, so she would have to see to it herself.  

She walked up to the sleeping platform and sat down next to Malek.  As she suspected, he
did not even move.  No Tok’Ra should sleep so heavily if not in a dormant state, and she
knew he would not have done that unless Devlin was awake enough to stay with
Samantha.  He must truly be exhausted.  As that thought crossed her mind, she realized
that he should not be that exhausted.  He just had five hours of dormancy not all that
long ago and, even with the lack of sleep and excess of energy he was expending, that
should have given him many hours of wakefulness before he fell into this deep a sleep.

She had a sudden sinking sensation.  Something here was not as it should be.  Reaching
out, she shook him gently as she called to him, “Malek, wake up.  Malek.  Wake up.”  
Gava’s frown deepened.  Even exhausted, he should have awakened.  His breathing
appeared to be a bit shallow as well.  Her forehead remained creased as she stood and
headed back to the med bay for her medical scanner.  She was quite sure now; not only
was something not right with the situation, it was very much wrong.
She had a suspicion, and she really hoped she was wrong.  If Delek had gotten to Malek
and Devlin, then the guards would need to be increased.  The question was—how did he
do it?  Over and above that, could it also be affecting Sam?  Did he get to both of them?  
Even more important, was Delek the only one, or was there an entire group or faction of

Entering the medical bay, she went immediately to one of the storage areas.  Her lips
firmed and her eyes snapped.  They had obtained
Arsyniqar, one of the few substances
that could cause a Tok’Ra symbiote to go to sleep.  At least one vial was missing, so she
had no way of knowing how much he had ingested.  Odorless and tasteless, both his food
and his drink could have contained it, and he would not be aware that it was there.

That, in turn, added another question.  Did they mean it for Malek, Samantha, or both of
them?  Furthermore, how did they administer it?  They had to place it in their food or
their drinks; there was no other way.  More importantly, who had done it, and when did
they add it?  Did that mean there was someone connected with the food preparation
helping Delek?  She had no answers, but she did have a patient to bring out of an
unnatural sleep.  There was every possibility that there were two of them, if Samantha
was not unconscious, but was instead in an unnaturally heavy drug induced sleep.  

There was enough in a vial that it could kill both the host and the symbiote, but it would
take longer in them.  Samantha, on the other hand, did not have a symbiote to help filter
it.  If she had received the entire vial, she would be in danger.  Luckily, Malek seemed to
have ingested the larger dose.  Large enough to make him completely incapable of
awakening, so if Samantha had received any at all, it would probably have been a much
lesser amount.  Of course, that was also assuming that it was only one vial that was
missing and at this point, that was the assumption by which she was gauging this.  

She knew that if Malek had received an entire vial, he would have been in respiratory
distress by now.  As for Samantha, if she had received any significant amount, she would
not have awakened and attempted to control the poison herself.  That question settled to
her satisfaction she continued her ruminations on Malek’s condition.  Malek would not be
so completely under its influence unless he ingested at least two-thirds of the vial himself,
which meant that Samantha could have no more than a third.

She would check with Daniel to see how Samantha was doing and check her with her
scanner, but having given the situation this much thought she now realized that
Samantha had to have received a very small amount or none at all.  It was the only way
she could have awakened and managed to do the things that she did before Daniel found
her in the hallway.  

She did not want to leave the medical bay unattended again.  She would send one of the
tunnel guards to keep watch there, and also have one of them contact Zarest for her.  She
had to help Malek and Devlin before she did anything else, but she wanted the guards as
soon as Zarest could get them here.  Decisions made, she gathered what she would need
to remedy the situation.  Several vials of
Epithedra, in case they all needed it, her med
scanner and her medical tote in her hand, she left the medical bay and headed back to
Sam and Malek.  

Stopping by the guards at the tunnel entrance, she requested one of them take up a post
at the medical bay.  No one was to enter while she was away.  No one and that included
the council members.  Only those who were obviously injured or ill could enter and then
the guard was to stay with them.  Anyone who insisted on entering, without good reason,
was to be zatted, and then sent to a holding cell until she was free to talk to them.  She
also left her instructions for contacting Zarest.  They assured her that they would take
care of it, and she walked swiftly down the tunnel toward the pools.  
She hoped she would not embarrass Daniel when she entered and interrupted their
mating.  The Tau’ri were very inhibited when it came to nudity and sex, at least in public.  
Evidently, when they were alone with their mates it was an entirely different matter.  She
had become quite close to Samantha over the past week, and during their sessions when
they were discussing the plant and its effects, Sam had become quite candid, knowing
that this was not the time for false modesty.  Gava had found the glimpse into the Tau’ri
culture and mores fascinating.
She stopped in the open entrance to the pool area and sighed in relief.  Daniel was in the
process of trying to get the aspirin bottle open, so Sam must be coming around.  That was
good news as it proved her theory that she had been given little or none of the
She strode forward into the room making enough noise to alert Daniel that she was
“How is she, Daniel?  Has she become conscious yet?”  

“Yes, and she slept a very much more natural sleep for a little bit after we, um, that is
when we managed to, er, suppress the poison.  She went to sleep so quickly before that I
didn’t get the aspirin in her, but I think she is finally awake enough to take the aspirin as
soon as I manage to get it for her.”  

“I will get it, Daniel.  Is she responding to you now, then?”  

Sam’s lips quirked, her eyes opened, and she nodded her head where it lay on Daniel’s
shoulder, as she murmured quietly, “Yes, some.”  That seemed to wear her out, and she
closed her eyes again.  

“As you can see, Gava, we must be doing something right.”  

Sam lifted her head and took the proffered aspirin and water.  She drank the entire
bottle, and Gava drew two more bottles of water from her medical tote and set them on the
ledge.  “Here is some more water, Daniel.  It is good that you are drinking, Sam.  Once
you start doing that, you seem to come around faster.”  

She plunged into what she had to say, “Sam, can you answer a couple of questions for
At first, Sam just nodded, but then she opened her eyes to look at her.  It was easier to
have them closed, but she needed to see Gava as they talked, so that Gava would know
she understood what she was asking her.  “Did Malek seem more sleepy than usual after
your last time of mating?  Did you notice any difference?”  

Sam frowned trying to think back to what had happened.  They had eaten and then made
love again.  When they were both sated, he had taken her to the facilities, and they had
freshened up before returning to the bed.  “He fell asleep before I did,” Sam finally
whispered.  “I didn’t think it odd at the time, but now that you mention it, he did seem to
go to sleep quickly.  Why?  What has happened?”  Sam’s eye widened with realization,
and her voice held a note of panic as she answered Gava.

Gava wished she could get away without answering that, but knew that she could not.  
Besides, they needed to know about it, so that they would become even more alert.  
“Someone drugged his food or drink, Samantha.  I have not yet had time to question the
guards, but as soon as I do, I will let you know if I find out anything.  I have called in
more guards from Malek’s base.  Someone entered the medical bay and took some

one of the few substances that will put a symbiote to sleep.  I have moved one
of the tunnel guards to the med bay, until the others arrive to take his place.”  

“I am on my way now to give Malek the antidote, Sam, and I assure you that he will be
fine, as it is very easy to bring someone out from under the sedation.  However, I wanted
to check on you first to see how you were.  It is quite obvious that if you ingested any at
all, it was very little.  Was Malek’s food different this evening?  I know he asked for a few
new things, but I assumed they were for both of you.”  

Sam shook her head a little.  “No.  He asked for some
arashi-porestet, that, well, we would
call it a corn-potato casserole that he likes so well, with his meal if they had it, and they
did.  I had a bite of it, but even though it was good, I wasn’t really hungry after eating my
own meal, so that was all I had of it.”  

“It is well known that Malek likes that particular dish.  Since there was only one serving
of it, whoever did this would have known it was for him.  The question is—were they
trying to kill him, or you?  If he went to sleep, and you had no one to meet your needs,
you would have succumbed to the poison.  Perhaps by drugging him, they thought they
could take care of two problems at once.  Malek fell asleep from exhaustion, and you
slipped into unconsciousness and died.”  

She frowned again as her thoughts took her farther down that path.  “If it killed him, too,
that would have been difficult to explain, however, I feel sure that someone would bring
up the idea of suicide because he allowed you to pass from us.  Not extremely logical, but
it could have been accepted by some.  And even if it was not believed, finding the person
that did it would be difficult.”  

Leaving that subject as something they would probably never know, she changed the topic
to how well Sam was doing.  “I am glad to see that you are so much improved already,
Samantha.  You must not have been as deeply into an unconscious state as you have
been before.”  

Sam nodded.  “I was never unconscious, only unable to respond to you.”  Not willing to
close the previous subject just yet, she said, “Now, Gava, tell me the truth about their
condition.  I’m worried about them.”

Gava smiled reassuringly at her.  “As I said the antidote to the sleeping draught works
fairly quickly.  I am sure that they will be fine, Samantha, and I will certainly let you
know, so that you will not worry.  Do not expect me to return quickly, though, for the
antidote can make the patient somewhat, er, disgruntled and, ah, I believe you would say,
cranky, or perhaps, irritable.  I will no doubt have a long and somewhat unreasonable
conversation with Malek.  Fortunately, it does not appear to affect the host in the same
way, so they are much more, er, obliging.”  

“However, you need not worry about that.  I have handled base commanders for a very
long time now.  They make the worst patients in the entire universe, but I have had much
experience with them and I assure you that I will prevail eventually.  You concentrate on
getting yourself well.  We will worry about and care for Malek and Devlin.  I would not lie
to you about your mate’s condition, Samantha.  All right?”  

At Sam’s nod of agreement, she continued, “I felt that you should know about this, so you
would be even more on guard against an attack.  It appears he is becoming bolder with
each attempt.”   

Sam nodded in answer, again, and Daniel spoke for the first time, “Thank you for warning
us, Gava.  I’ll take care that nothing happens to her.”  

“I do not think he will make it past the guards and get down here, but just in case, I have
something for you.”  She reached into her med tote and drew out a zat, laying it on the
ledge within Daniel’s reach.  “As I said, this is just in case.  You do know who we are, er,
watching, do you not, Daniel?”

“Yes.  Delek.  Are we suspicious of anyone else, Gava?”   

She sighed.  “I do not know.  Before this last incident, I would have said no, but since the
attack on Malek, I have begun to wonder if it is a faction, or a group, rather than just
Delek.  Whether it is one or more, Daniel, anyone coming near to you that should not be
in this tunnel should be suspect, including the council members, less Per’sus.  I do not
believe he is involved, and he is coming in the morning, so...”  Her voice trailed off as she
contemplated the many different avenues that could very well be entwined and twisted
into the situation.

Daniel nodded his agreement and wrapped his arms around Sam a little tighter.  Kissing
the top of her head, he then laid his cheek on it as he studied and thought about what
they were learning.  “We’ll be on the alert and careful, Gava.  As soon as Sam’s fever is
down, we’ll return to my room.  It has a much smaller doorway than this area, which is
fairly open.  Don’t worry about us.  You need to see to Malek and Devlin now.”  

Straightening from where she had been leaning against the side of the pool, she agreed.  
“Yes, and I should do it now.  He may be very hard to control when he first finds out.  As I
mentioned, the
Epithedra, tends to leave a symbiote, ah, disgruntled at the very least, for
a short time after they awaken.  I can only hope his usual calm and orderly thinking
reasserts itself fairly quickly, and he looks on this as another instance of evidence, instead
of going off and confronting Delek.  That would do no good, and it could even cause
irreparable harm, if Delek learns that we suspect him.”  

“Gava,” Sam whispered, “check to see if your new guards are here.  Take one with you.  
Zat him if he tries to get to Delek.  We cannot allow him to do that.  Per’sus will come

Gava frowned as she thought over Sam’s suggestion.  Finally, she nodded, saying, “I will
talk to the guards that are here.  I will not take one with me, but I will leave instructions
to stop him, if he attempts to leave this tunnel.”  She smiled slightly.  “I am quite sure I
will hear about it, if they have to zat him, but at least he will do nothing to harm our
chances of catching Delek.”  

“Do not dwell on it, Samantha, for there is no point in worrying about it for now.  I will
take care of it, and I promise to let you know how he is, and how he takes the news.  Both
pieces of news, actually.  He is now on medical leave and that someone is attempting to
end his life, as well as his mate’s life.  I will see both of you later.”  With that, she
shouldered her med bag and left, heading back towards the tunnel entrance.  

Behind her, Daniel calmed and soothed Sam’s fears.  Gava would take care of Malek,
while Sam helped him care for her, so that she would be ready to see Malek, once he was
up and around again.  
Sam nodded her agreement as he nipped her throat before kissing it gently.  Sam knew
that Daniel was correct; Gava was very efficient, and she would see to it that Malek and
Devlin were all right.  It didn’t take him long to convince her to continue where they had
left off not so very long ago.  

Gava strode quickly down the hall and into Malek’s room.  The guards were on alert and
understood that Malek could not leave this tunnel due to an adverse reaction to a
medication he had been given.  At the moment, he was not thinking clearly, and she
would alert them when the side effects had worn off.  Therefore, should he come this way,
no matter how alert and in control he appeared, they were not to allow him passage until
she verified him back to normal.  
Turning into the room where Malek and Devlin lie sleeping, she sighed.  He had not
moved so much as a muscle, and his breathing was shallower than before.  

Opening the vial of
Epithedra, she inserted it into the application device, turned Devlin’s
head to the side, applied it to the back of his neck, and injected it directly into Malek.  
The second half of the vial, she applied to the side of Devlin’s throat and injected it into
him.  Now all she had to do was wait for them to awaken and wonder what was going on.  
Epithedra was fairly quick working, so she would not have long to wait.  She was not
looking forward to telling him the news, though.  Either part of it.  

As she waited for them to awaken, her mind wandered back to what Samantha told her a
few days ago.  Malek had gone to confer with Zarest, and Gava had stayed with Sam.  As
they always seemed to do when they were together, they began discussing the information
that she had gathered about the Evernight plant.  At one point during the discussion, she
had dropped some very interesting information.  Sam had told her about the symbiote
climax.  She had never heard anyone speak of it before, and the concept intrigued her.  
She had pressed for details, and once Sam had overcome her natural reticence to talking
so freely about something that, for her, was so private, she had been very thorough about
the phenomenon.  

She had gone into detail, giving her all of the particulars.  How it happened, when it
happened, what it entailed, and what one must do to get one’s partner to achieve it.  She
had explained how to attune the symbiotes body to begin to recognize the beginnings, the
“foreplay” as she called it, so that their body immediately began to respond in such a way
that it began to build the tension needed to accomplish the sexual release.  

“Climax”, as Gava had begun to call it to herself, had turned out to be everything that
Sam said it was.  She had tried it on Markesh, and the results had been breathtakingly
incredible...according to her mate.  It overwhelmed and overcame him, just as Samantha
had said it would at first.  It had been astounding and wonderful.  It had truly enthralled
her—and her partner.  In fact, the entire experience stunned him, but once she explained
how it worked, he was more than willing to begin the process of attuning his body to the
sensations of the event.  He was ready and eager.

Afterwards, he slept for almost forty-five minutes.  Sam had assured her that as they
became used to having them, they stopped passing into sleep afterward.  It took a while,
but each time you achieved it, the shorter the sleeping period after it.  Thank goodness, or
it would make them very vulnerable.  Still, it was pleasant to know that one could bring
one’s mate such immense pleasure that they would pass out from it.

Watching Malek and Devlin as they slept, Gava smiled as she imagined the usually stoic
and stern base commander flying apart in Samantha’s hands.  Of course, during this last
week, Gava had observed a side of Malek that she had never seen before…well, at least
not for a very, very long time.  Centuries in fact, not since he was quite young.  Therefore,
while he was still grave and responsible, he was also very much in love and not shy about
showing it.  She was glad to have it so, for he needed something to take him out of his
immersion in the base and its workings, at least once in a while.  His mate had died many
years ago, and it was time he mated again.

She grinned.  If Samantha was training his body to respond to the paradox of the
symbiote Climax,” no doubt he would have that something that would take him away from
his heavy responsibilities occasionally.  She was glad, as it was obvious to all of the
medical staff that his involvement in running his base left him little energy to look after
his own health.  That would soon come to a stop.  When Lantash become his second in
command, and he had Samantha to care for, he would get more rest, recreation, and

He, no they, for Devlin was as bad as Malek, deserved to have some happiness, and
Samantha could give them that.  They would be back with their mate-brother, as well,
and that also would be a benefit to them all.  Luckily, Zarest would rather not be second
in command, so Lantash taking over that position would be a relief to him, rather than
something to have hard feelings over.  In fact, it was very possible that he would transfer
to this tunnel group since he had started to see Astar, one of the operatives based here.  

She sighed.  Yes, if they could make it through this crisis, it would, indeed, be a pleasant
and beneficial event for all of them—even Daniel Jackson—though he did not believe so.  
She was fairly sure that Samantha loved him, and he loved her.  There was no doubt of
that.  Lantash, Martouf, Malek, and Devlin would all realize it as well and, unless she was
very wrong, they would welcome him into their family group.  They would make a
comfortable and loving group.  It was a goodness, this grouping.  She could see it and so
would the men involved.  As would Samantha.  It would not surprise her if they
eventually brought in another female mate; although, as besotted, as both Malek and
Lantash were, it probably would not be through them.  Perhaps through Daniel, but that
would take time.

However, enough of that, Malek was becoming restless; she could see him moving slightly
even through Devlin’s skin.  Devlin, too, would awaken soon.  She sat up straighter and
smiled grimly, as she perceived the movements of both bodies.  Here was the next hurdle
to overcome.  She really hoped he would recover and become rational quickly.  Since the
antidote did not affect the host in the same way, if the symbiote allowed it, they could
think for both of them until the symbiote’s system recovered and began to function
normally again.

She watched as a frown formed on Devlin’s face.  His eyes opened and the glow told her
that Malek was in control.  “Gava?  What are you doing here?”  

“Malek, Samantha is gone,” Devlin’s voice was urgent in his sudden fear.

“What?”  Malek’s was startled and held that same edge of fear within it.

Gava watched him sit up swiftly and swing around to look for Samantha.  “She is with
Daniel, Malek.  Furthermore, although I know that you do not wish to hear it, she will
stay with him for the next eight hours.  As your healer, I am ordering you to rest for those
hours.  Preferably, you will become dormant for most of that time, so that you will be
ready to take over from Daniel in the morning before Per’sus arrives,” Gava’s tone was
gentle, but with an underlying hint of steel, as she spoke firmly to both of them.

“You have not answered my question, Gava.  Why are you even here?”  Malek’s voice was
harsh with suppressed emotion.  It was quite apparent that he did not care for her
rearrangement of, and meddling in, their lives.  Too, bad.  It would be this way for a while

“Before I answer that, I will tell you that your guards have orders from me to zat you on
sight, if you attempt to leave the tunnel.”  
Malek stared at her, unsure if he had heard her correctly.  “What?  I do not believe you,
Gava, and my men would not shoot me—on sight or otherwise.”  

“Attempt to leave this tunnel before Per’sus arrives tomorrow and you will find out

His lips firmed and his eyes narrowed.  “Where and when do you believe you were given
the authority to order my guards to do anything?”  

“Well, that is an interesting story.  I will tell it to you, as soon as I have your word and
Devlin’s, that you will not attempt to leave the tunnel.”  

“Do not be ridiculous, Gava.  I have no intention of agreeing to such a stipulation.”  

Gava shrugged and stood.  “In that case, I have nothing more to say to you.  You will
listen to reason, and do as I have arranged, or you will be shot, and then I will administer
whatever sedative is necessary to keep you quiescent until Per’sus arrives.”  

Malek stared at her as if she was losing her mind; or perhaps, he was losing his.  

Devlin took control while Malek was still stunned by Gava’s pronouncement.  “What has
happened, Gava?  I will not allow Malek to do anything foolish.”  

Gava smiled grimly.  “And how will you keep him from doing anything foolish, Devlin?”  

“I will refuse him control, of course.  Malek will not force me to relinquish it; you should
know that.”  

“Yes, I suppose in the normal course of events he would not.  However, I need more
assurance than that.  I want Malek’s word as well, Devlin, please.”  

She watched as an obviously heated discussion took place between the two mates.  
Finally, Malek came forward to stare stoically at Gava.  His extreme anger still in
evidence, he said tersely, “Since Devlin insists on my word being given, as well as his, an
act which I believe to be both unwise and treacherous on his part, I must agree, if I wish
to find out what has happened to Samantha, why she is with Daniel, and why you are
here.  You will tell me what has occurred at once, or I will leave and go to find Samantha
myself.  I do not know what has made you believe you can hide Samantha from me and
turn my own guards against me, but they will not disobey my orders, Gava.”  

Gava sighed and debated letting him stew a little longer.  The worst part of caring for a
base commander was their extreme stubbornness and unwillingness to accede to others
orders.  Well, it could not be helped.  He would abide by her orders or be put to sleep
again.  The irony of that thought was not lost on her.  

“Actually, they will disregard your orders, Malek.  They believe you to be suffering from a
deranged mind, the results of an adverse reaction to some medication I gave you.  Since
you are not in your right mind, they will pay no attention to your statements, until I
assure them that the reactions have passed.  Therefore, I am awaiting your word that you
will not attempt to leave the tunnel, and that you will rest preferably in a dormant state,
until Per’sus arrives tomorrow morning.  

“You told my guards that I am not in my right mind?  Have you lost yours?  I can have you
brought up on charges.  I can have you sanctioned and I—.”  He stopped abruptly,
turning inward to listen to his host once again.  If possible, he scowled even more, before
his lips tightened and he ground out, against his will there was no doubt, “Fine.  I will not
attempt to leave the tunnels at this time, but if anything has or does happen to Samantha
because of your actions, you will be brought before the council, I promise you.”  

Gava grinned at his threats, an action that seemed to frustrate him even more.  “Malek, if
I truly believed you meant that, after the last seven days, then I would walk out, take
Daniel and Samantha somewhere safe, and leave you to your own devices.  And it is not
my actions that are endangering Samantha; it is yours.”  She held up a hand to stop his
next tirade, and his lips almost disappeared as he clamped down on the words he wished
to throw at her head in rebuttal.  It was obvious that Devlin was admonishing him to keep
his temper in check; at least until they knew what had happened to cause these unusual

Gava continued as he forced himself under control, “However, since I am fairly sure your
foul mood is because of the medication I just gave to you, I will not.  Instead, I will tell you
of the events that have led up to these decisions on my part, and the anger and
frustration on yours.”  She looked at both of them somberly and reseated herself on the
edge of the sleeping platform.  

“Samantha awoke and was in need of you, but you did not awaken when she left the bed
or the room.  Because she has become so worried about you, she made her way out into
the tunnel, with your clothes, and proceeded to go jogging to keep the poison at bay.  Her
running awoke Daniel, who found her collapsed against the tunnel wall.  He called me,
and I arrived in time to hear him bind himself to her as her
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek.  Her
temperature was back up to almost one hundred and five.  He has her in the pool now,
and she is awake and better.  Her fever is coming down.”  

Malek frowned.  “But, why did he not awaken us, Gava?  We did not wish for Daniel to
take over unless we could no longer care for her.”  

“Exactly, Malek, and by sleeping through her getting up, leaving, and then exercising out
in the hall, you proved that you were no longer capable of doing so.  Therefore, I assigned
Daniel to take over for the next eight hours.”  

She sighed.  “The reality is that even had they come to you, they would not have been
able to awaken you or Devlin, Malek.  There is no easy way to tell you this, so I will be
blunt.  Someone drugged your food.  I had to give you the antidote to
Arsyniqar, or you
would not be talking to me at all.”  

“I am not absolutely sure of the consequences, of course, but I am fairly sure that if
Samantha had not awakened, then the chances are very good that neither of you would
have.  There is at least one vial of the
Arsyniqar missing from the storage area in the med
bay, perhaps more; I cannot be sure.  I do not know if it was meant for you or not, but I
suspect that you were indeed the target.  If you slept, and Samantha did not awaken,
then you would both have died.”  

Devlin’s eyes flared as Malek’s fury rose.  Keeping himself under a rigid control, he said in
a coldly calm and thus very dangerous voice, “He is the one that is deranged, Gava.  To
attempt to murder Samantha showed him to be unstable or worse, but to attempt the
murder of a base commander…”  Even Malek’s voice failed him at the enormity of Delek’s
perfidy.  The frigid implacability continued, “I will kill him with my bare hands for
endangering Samantha and for proving himself to be other than Tok’Ra by his betrayal of
our cause and our rules of conduct as set down by Egeria.”   

Gava said nothing allowing him the time he needed to assimilate what she had told him
and to come to terms with what had happened.  The room was quiet for some time before
he spoke again.  “Perhaps he is insane.  Much as I would simply like to execute him, we
should test him to see if it is a medical problem.  You may need to have him sedated, so
that you may examine him.  Perhaps there is some mental or physical aberration that is
causing his bizarre behavior because, even for Delek, this behavior is bizarre.  If that is
not the answer, then, indeed he is an aberration amongst the Tok’Ra.”  

Gava nodded and sighed, before asking, “Assuming it is not a medical condition, do you
think it could be more than Delek, Malek?  Could there be an entire faction, a group of
them?  I did send for more guards from your base.  They are now guarding the medical
bay, and if someone asks questions, I will say that some drugs have come up missing.  I
do not believe we should tell anyone, but Per’sus, of the attempt on your life.”  
Obviously deep in thought, Malek stared at the wall opposite him, before saying quietly,
“No, tell no one.  Let him wonder what happened.  He will realize, of course, that we foiled
his plan again when he sees the guard on the med bay.  In fact, have my guards take up
their posts within it, not outside of it.  The fewer that realize they are there the better.  If
anyone inquires as to why there are extra guards, you will say that I brought them in after
some drugs came up missing.  I felt that my guard could in no way be involved therefore,
they would be better as guards there.  As for the possibility that there is more than Delek,
I suppose there could be.  Anything is possible, but in truth, I have no idea at the
moment.  Ask again after you talk to the guards that took the food.”  

She nodded her agreement, “All right.  I do not think there is anything more you can do
tonight, Malek.  I suggest that you attempt to get some more sleep.”  

Malek shook his head.  “No, Gava, I must go to Samantha.  I will not allow her to make
love to Daniel, as long as I am capable of caring for her.  She would feel much too guilty.”  

Gava stopped him as he readied himself to get out of his bed.  “No, Malek, you will
take her from Daniel.  I explained to you what my orders for you are.  I meant what I
said.  I will sedate you again if I must.  Samantha and Daniel are doing fine.  Besides, you
cannot stop her from mating with Daniel.  They have already mated at least once, if not
many more times.  She will be fine, Malek.  She assured me and wished me to tell you
that you are to rest and not worry about anything.  She and Daniel are bonded and you
gave your consent.  That is all that was needed to stop her guilt.”  

At the stubborn look on Malek’s face, she let out an exasperated exclamation,
“Stars of
Malek, will you not see reason?  You are endangering Samantha by refusing to give
in to your fatigue.  If there was no one else to take your place it would be different, but
there is someone.  Furthermore, it is someone who cares for her very much and for whom
she cares very much in return.”  

“Malek, she left you asleep and attempted to keep the poison at bay by herself because
she is becoming so worried about you and Devlin.  Can you not understand that your
refusal to allow Daniel to care for her, while you rest, could very well have caused us to
lose the battle with the poison?  You are not thinking in your usual astute and logical
way.  You must face the fact that you cannot do it all alone.”

“I disagree.  Without the interference of the drugs, I would have awakened.  You know
that, as well as I do.  It was Delek’s last bit of treachery that put her at risk, not my
abilities as a mate.”  

Gava sighed.  There was part of the problem.  Malek was so afraid that Lantash and
Martouf would blame him for not being able to care for her alone that he was not allowing
common sense, or logic, to hold sway of him.  He wanted so much to keep them from
being hurt.  Well, he needed to face the truth.  

Organizing her thoughts, she said quietly, “Malek, if you had not been exhausted, you
would have been aware that something was not as it should be with you.  You would have
grown increasingly disoriented.  As that happened, not realizing you ingested something
to cause you to sleep, you would have realized something was not right and told
Samantha.  As it was, you skipped that stage and simply went to sleep.  You are
endangering her; you must rest.  Tomorrow morning she will be back with you, but for
tonight, you will allow Daniel to take over for you, as you agreed.”  

Malek looked stricken as he took in Gava’s words and realized the truth in them.  He
the one that was endangering Samantha.  Even Devlin had urged him to allow Daniel to
take over.  It was his stubbornness that had refused to be logical and practical.  Coming to
terms with the truth of what Gava said to him, he drew in a deep breath.  He nodded, his
movements jerky, as he faced the facts.  “You are correct, of course.  I would like to talk to
her, if she is awake, though, before I lie down and put both Dev and myself to sleep

“Of course, Malek, I assumed you would.  Why do you not get up and do that, while I go
question the guard about your meal and who delivered it.  I may have to contact your
base unless that particular guard is staying here?  He is?  Good.  And, Malek, we will see
to it that you are awake in plenty of time to be ready to talk to Per’sus, I promise you.”  

“Thank you, Gava.”  He looked extremely uncomfortable for a moment before clearing his
throat, and saying, “As for what I said to you earlier about, well, about having you, er, well
that is to say, I really did not mean to…I would not truly have done any of the things that
I, um, threatened to, ah…”  His disjointed attempts at an apology stuttered to a stop, and
he looked at her miserably.  “What I am trying to say, is that I am sorry for doubting you
and your intentions.  I should have listened first before I, well, before I became…”  

Finally taking pity on him, Gava laughed gently at him and shook her head, cutting into
his badly disjointed speech to her.  “Malek, I understand.  You are under a great deal of
stress.  Besides that, the antidote, as I told you, can sometimes cause odd behavior in the
symbiote when one first comes around.  I am not angry, and it was actually not as bad as
Samantha and I believed it would be.  I am glad that Samantha’s suggestion of having
you shot did not have to come to pass, though.”  

“Be that as it may, in case I have not said it before, I do thank you.  We all thank you.  
Without your help, this entire ordeal could have had a tragic outcome.  I will owe you a
great deal if we all survive it.”  He paused, and then his eyes widened slightly, before he
asked, “Samantha?  
Samantha suggested that my own guards should shoot me?  How
could she do that to me?  Why would she?”  He looked at her, his gaze both indignant and

Gava patted his cheek.  “How and why, Malek?  How she could do it to you is easy.  She
wanted you safe and here to care for her, not out chasing Delek.  Why?  She suggested it
because she loves you and did not want you to endanger either yourself or Devlin.  Nor
did she want you to lose sight of the most important part.  Catching Delek.  We have no
proof he put drugs in your food or drink, so it would be your word against his.  That is not
the way to win our case against him.  So, that is both how and why she would tell me to
have your guards shoot you.”  

Malek was closer to looking embarrassed than she had ever seen him, as he quietly said,
“You were both correct.  I might well have done something foolish in the extreme.  I will
thank you, now, and Samantha later.  If there is ever anything you need, you will let me

“I will take a, what is it that Jacob says?  An I.O.U.  And the day may come when I collect
on it, too.”  
“We will be more than willing to help you at any time, Gava.  Only say that you need us.”  

She smiled at him, nodded, and stood.  “You should go and see Samantha now.  Daniel
has orders to com me if you refuse to return to your room to sleep.  He will do so, I am
quite sure.”  

Malek nodded.  “I will do as you desire, Gava.  You are, as usual, correct in what Devlin
and I need.  Now, go ahead so that you can return to your mate.  I am quite sure he will
be relieved when this is over, and you can remain beside him for an entire night.”  

“Markesh is aware of what is happening, Malek.  I have withheld nothing from him, as I
trust him implicitly.  He understands that this is not something we can let go, and he has
been keeping Delek under surveillance, watching to see who he is meeting when, and if
possible getting close enough to hear what is passing between them without appearing
suspicious and, also, when he can, without being seen.  I am hoping he will discover
something for us, and so is he.”

She sighed again, “We must find the answers to why this is happening.  He knows that.  I
am sure that he will be as upset, as I am, about someone attempting to kill you, as well as
Samantha.  For one thing, he is beginning to wonder when Delek will decide to target me,
since I have been instrumental in some of his plans failing, just as you have been.  When
he hears about what has happened tonight, he will be even more on guard at night while
I sleep.  He has been sleeping some during the early evening, so that he can stay more
alert at night.  He may even move us into this tunnel, now.”  

Malek frowned at her.  “You should not delay moving until later.  Tell Markesh to move
your things down this hall now.  It is ours for now, so they will place no one else down
here.  I would feel better knowing you are in this hall, since the guards are there.  I am
also glad you will have the guards in the medical bay with you.  Please, do this for me,
Gava, for even if Lantash and Martouf arrive soon, the pressure is obviously getting to
Delek.  When they do arrive, it may make it even worse.  I would feel better knowing that
you have the extra protection of the guards as well as Markesh.”  

Gava looked at him thoughtfully for a long moment before nodding her head.  “I will talk
to him as soon as I can and then finish the other things that I wish to complete.  Yes.  Yes,
I think I agree with you, Malek; this becomes more involved and dangerous as time
passes.  When he finds out that neither you nor Samantha is dead, or even ill, he will
become that much more desperate.”

Malek pursed his lips, his brow furrowed in thought, before asking her, “Gava, is it
possible that he did not intend to kill me?  That perhaps he meant to see to it that I was
so deeply asleep that Samantha would either not awaken, or would be so disoriented that
she would not think to come to you, if she could not awaken me?”  

“Possibly.  It is always possible that he believed you would share the food with Samantha,
thereby making sure that she died, although you would not.”

Then Gava shook her head.  “However, I do not think so, Malek.  I believe you were given
the entire vial in a food that you are known to be partial to.  If you had been at your full
strength and rested, you might have survived it.  Run down and exhausted as you are,
well, as I said earlier, I cannot know absolutely that you would have died, but if Daniel
had not heard Samantha, I
believe you would have been dead by morning.”  

He nodded.  “I see.  Is it possible he did not know that?  That perhaps he thought the
normal dosage was one vial?”  

Gava looked thoughtful before replying, “That is a possibility, I suppose, but there are
very few symbiotes that have not taken
Arsyniqar at one time or another over the last two
thousand years.  We also warn the young symbiotes not to take too much.  Therefore, I
would think that everyone knows how much to take to put them to sleep.  No, I am sorry,
Malek, but I do not believe it could be an accident.  Do you not know yourself, Malek?”  

It was Malek’s turn to sigh.  “Yes, I do.  One-half vial, no more.  Correct?”  

“Yes.  That is correct.  I doubt that anyone would forget that, if you still remember it after
all these years.”  

“You are correct, and I should stop thinking about it, when I am so tired and instead go
talk to Samantha and Daniel.  I will see you in the morning.  Good-night for now.”  
“Yes, but as always, com me if the need arises.”  She paused, and added, “You have thirty
minutes.  If I return, and you have stayed awake with Daniel and Samantha, I will sedate
you, I promise.”    

“I understand.  I will not.  We thank you.  Good-night, Gava.”  He watched as she waved
on her way out the doorway.  Sighing again, he climbed out of bed and found his robe.  It
would suffice for now.  He would get clean clothes out tomorrow before Per’sus came.  He
started out the door, but turned back to grab the carry all that had their cleaning
implements and fluids in it.  He hoped a bath would make him feel better about
everything.  Sometimes a good soak could do that.  He would try it anyway.  

Daniel looked up in surprise as he heard Malek’s voice from the doorway where he stood,
as if afraid to come closer.  “Has she responded to you at all, Daniel?”  

Daniel motioned him over toward him and he came, it seemed, reluctantly.  Softly, he told
him, “Yes, Sam's doing fine.  She's taking a nap at the moment.  She's been able to talk to
both Gava and me.  She knows that Gava was talking to you about me taking over for you,
as well as the latest attempt on her life and now yours as well.  She's very unhappy about

you into this situation.”  

“She wanted me to take over for you.  She was trying to take care of herself by jogging in
the hall, Malek.  She's very worried about you and Devlin,” Daniel told him, continuing to
speak softly.

Malek nodded, and sighed.  “Yes, I am aware.  I did not intend to go to sleep.  I believe I
am more tired than even I realized.  If I had not been, I would have realized that the sleep
that was overcoming me was more than just the aftereffects of our lovemaking.”  

“True, but the important thing for you to remember is that she knew how very exhausted
you and Devlin are, Malek, and she was trying to protect you and see to it that you
rested.  Do you know how much sleep you and Devlin managed to get altogether?  Will the
fact that it was a sedation type of sleep mean that it won't be as beneficial to you both?”  

“It was sleep and, therefore, it helped, although, perhaps not as much as a natural, un-
induced sleep would have.  We slept over an hour and a half.  I will be all right for quite
some time now, so if you wish to, you may safely turn her back over to Devlin and me.”  

Daniel frowned at him and sighed to himself.  Malek was feeling guilty about allowing
Daniel to take over for him.  They were going to have to talk, but not just yet.  “Malek, you
said that you would be able to make it through the next twenty-four hours, only a few
hours ago.  From what Gava told me, you are under orders to get some more sleep.  I'll
take care of Sam, I promise you.  She'll be quite safe with me.”  

“Yes, I did say that, but I have now slept, Daniel.  While not as restful as dormancy, it will
get me through the next twelve hours or so.  Devlin has fallen back into sleep.  I believe
that he will awaken in a few hours, and when he does, he will be quite rested.  He was
much better the last time he awakened.  I want him to sleep as long as he can, so that he
will be even more so, and then he will be able to take over.  Truly, Daniel, Samantha is
worrying when she should not be.  Martouf and Lantash should be back by tomorrow
night, at the latest.  We have so few hours left to go.”  

Daniel nodded.  “I understand; I agree that if you could have made it, then it would have
been better.  But, and it's a big but, if she's going to continue to do foolish things, then it
may not be worth it in the end.”  

“Malek, I think I understand why you're loath to relinquish her to me, but please, try to
understand that you are endangering all three of you.  Don’t you think that Sam deserves
to have you at your best, being the strong leader and the intelligent, responsible, logical
man that I know you are?  Don’t you think that Martouf and Lantash deserve for you to do
your best to care for our mate in their absence, even if your best is allowing someone to
take over for you?  And last, but assuredly not the least, don’t you think she deserves to
have you at your strongest in case you have to physically protect her?”  

Daniel shook his head in exasperation, before continuing, “It's pretty obvious that as
strong and as good a soldier as Sam is, she couldn't fight her way out of a wet paper bag
at the moment.”  Seeing the confusion on Malek’s face, he grinned, saying.  “Ah, wet
paper tears extremely easily.  It's a saying that shows that someone's very weak.  

Malek’s confusion left his face, but his anguished and disgusted look did not, even as he
finally nodded, accepting that he deserved Daniel’s chastisement.  Daniel was correct and
Malek was endangering Samantha by refusing to let Daniel make love to her for him.  “I
promise I will talk to her and tell her that, if it happens again, she is to go to you.”  

Daniel ran the sensor over Sam’s forehead.  Her temperature was just at one hundred
and three.  They had made passionate love again not long ago.  Daniel shook his head,
“No, Malek, I'll take over now, as you no doubt agreed when Gava told you that you were
to rest.  You and Devlin will do as Gava told you to, but possibly you and I will talk first.  I
think there are some things that need said between us.  I'll clear it with Gava”  

He noticed the cleaning fluids and '
washing sponges'.  Go and take your pool time,
Malek.  I'll still be here when you're finished.”  
Malek said quietly, “Daniel, she was distraught thinking that she had made love to me
before we were bound.  I am afraid…”  

Daniel’s eyes flashed and his lips firmed, as he broke into what Malek was saying, “I
refuse to discuss it at the moment.  Go bathe.  If Sam’s temperature continues its
downward trek, and Gava clears it, I'll allow you to come to my room with us, so that you
and I can talk, while she sleeps.”  

Malek looked at Daniel in surprise.  He had never heard that tone from the normally easy
going and undemanding man.  He sighed again.  It seemed that Daniel was now in
charge, and he had Gava behind him.  Should he go against them both, he would not put
it beyond the realm of possibility that Daniel would zat him.  He had the weapon lying
close enough to him that even with Samantha in his arms, he would reach it and shoot
before Malek got near to him.  Seeing no way out of doing as Daniel suggested, if he hoped
to get Samantha back tonight, he nodded meekly, a gesture that surprised both himself
and Daniel, and went to one of the bathing pools.  

It would not take long to bathe.  He relaxed against the side of the pool and almost
moaned aloud as the extremely warm water surrounded him.  Stars of Fire, the water felt
good.  His eyes closed, and he began to relax for the first time in what seemed like, and
probably was, days.  Another moan and this time it escaped him, but was to low and quiet
for Daniel to hear, which was good because if he heard it, he would never believe him
able to take over with Samantha.  

“It matters little whether Daniel heard you or not, dear one, for we will not regain Samantha
tonight, nor should we.”

“Devlin?  I thought that you were asleep.”  Malek was obviously upset that he had not
realized Devlin had awakened, but he was even more concerned with the situation it
appeared they were going to discuss.  
“How can you say that?  We should not allow
Samantha to be burdened with guilt over this, and you know she will be.  She was
distraught thinking that she had made love to us before we were bound to each other.
Nothing has changed; she will see this in the same light.”

“No, I do not know it, or believe that she will be.  In fact, I doubt very much that she will
feel any guilt, whatsoever, because everything has changed, Malek.  At that time,
Samantha did not realize how very ill and near death, she was.  Nor was she aware that
the person who had been trying to kill her was getting desperate.”  

Devlin caressed Malek gently before he continued, “She is now very aware that Delek will
stop at nothing.  She wishes us all to survive, and as Daniel pointed out, if we do not rest,
and we must take on Delek, or perhaps some others, in a physical confrontation to defend
her, we would be unable to do so.  She realizes this even if you do not.  I, also, am
beginning to understand just how precarious her situation and ours has become.  He tried
to “
kill us”, Malek, as well as Samantha.  There is no doubt that he is becoming ever more
desperate with each failure.”     

“Stop and truly think about the situation.  Daniel is watching over and making love to our
mate, now his mate as well, with a zat’nik’tel within reach because safeguarding her is no
longer simply keeping her from dying from the poison.  Safeguarding her now means
guarding her from outside threats, in addition to fighting the poison.  We cannot do both of
those things if we remain exhausted.  Daniel, Gava, and Samantha are correct.  We must
use our intelligence and abilities as a commander, a warrior, and a mate.”

“Lantash and Martouf will arrive sometime tomorrow, as far as we know.  I wish to have a
mate that is alive and, if not well, at least on the way to being so.  Please, listen to what
we are all trying to tell you, Malek.  Lantash and Martouf will not hold us accountable for
not being able to go without rest for a week.  They will hold us accountable if they come
back and Samantha is dead because we failed to realize that we had become not a
bulwark against her foes, but a danger to her through our own stubbornness.”   

The silence stretched between Devlin and his soul’s mate, but not for long.  Sounding
much subdued, Malek said,
“You are correct, Devlin, and I am being a fool.  Samantha
deserves better than me.  I realize this now, but it changes nothing in my feelings for her.  
She will have to make do with the imperfect being that I am, for I love her too much to
withdraw from our request for siest’kesh’cor.  I will try to do better.  Between you and
Daniel, I feel quite sure that I will be able to do so.”  

Knowing that Malek tended to take the complete blame for things, if he was not curbed
and stopped from doing so, Devlin smiled at him as cheerfully as he could, before saying,
“No, my dear one, you will not take the entire blame for this situation.  I, too, am guilty of
not realizing what was happening.  Samantha and Daniel do not wish for either of us to
waste our time and energy in remorse or guilt, but rather to spend it wisely by taking care
of her and solving the mystery of what is truly occurring.  They are depending on us to find
out why Delek is attempting to murder Samantha.  We cannot focus on that if we are eaten
up with remorse and guilt, especially when it is totally uncalled for.”  

Malek nodded his agreement, and Devlin felt the easing of the guilt and regret to tiny
pinpricks of emotion.  They were now things that could be pushed aside to allow the more
important issues to take the center of their thoughts; their minds, their reasoning, their
logic, and they could now put their deductive abilities to use, as they should be and as the
others expected them to do and to be.  

Malek was very astute and after being a commander for so many years, it was second
nature for him to begin to study the situation from all angles.  Devlin smiled contentedly
to himself, as Malek began to analyze what little information they had.  

Now that he had him on the correct path, Devlin felt that he could once again go to sleep.  
“If you do not mind, Malek, I believe the situation would be best served by me getting more
sleep.  If you find something that you wish to discuss with me, wake me at once, for I have
caught up on a great deal of my sleep, as it is, and I can function now without feeling that I
will fall asleep in the middle of whatever I am doing.”   

“Of course, Dev, and I can tell you are much more alert.  I will awaken you if I feel the need,
I promise you.  Goodnight.”  

“Goodnight, my mate.”

Almost twenty minutes later, Malek sighed deeply and then groaned, as he forced himself
to leave the soothing waters of the pool.  He owed Daniel both an explanation and an
apology.  He had been unreasonable and incredibly shortsighted.  Actually, he owed
Samantha an apology for endangering her as he had.  

Drying himself on one of the large bathing blankets, he watched as Daniel gently brushed
the hair from Sam’s forehead and placed a kiss there.  He caught his breath at the raw
emotion on the man’s face.  He stood in shock for a long moment, not moving, as he
assimilated the information.  Daniel loved Samantha.  Not as a brother or a teammate,
but as a women.  How had he missed this?  On the other hand, had Daniel himself not
realized it until he had brought him into this situation?  

Moreover, what of Samantha?  How did she feel about Daniel?  He had been the only one
that she felt she could make love to.  What did that say?  He frowned to himself, as he
thought it through.  She loved him as well.  His guess was that neither had realized it was
more than their very close friendship, until he had drawn them together in this way.  He
was responsible for awakening the feelings they had buried.  

What could he possibly say to this man that he had brought to this?  Nothing.  However,
he could accept him as Samantha’s
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek and not just temporarily, but for
always.  As it should be.  He would tell him as soon as they talked.  Daniel belonged with
Samantha as much as he or Martouf and Lantash did, if she loved him; he was fairly
certain he would find that she did.   

Drawing a deep breath, he finished drying himself, pulled his robe on, and walked toward
the pool where Daniel was still cradling Samantha.  “Daniel, has she been asleep all of
this time?”  

Daniel nodded and smiled slightly.  “Yes, she's sleeping very well and her temperature is
down to one hundred two and a half.  It'll be time to take her to a more comfortable place

Malek nodded and walked over to gather a few bath blankets and bring them over to
him.  “I will help you to get her comfortable before I go to bed.  I have given all of these
things a great deal of thought.”  He paused before saying, “You are all correct.  I am too
tired at this point to protect Samantha, and I must rest.”  

“You, in particular, were correct.  Samantha deserves more than I could give her at the
moment.  She deserves my protection.  I am not at my best now, and thus I am not able to
protect her to the best of my ability.  Now that I have looked at the situation more
rationally, I realize that you can help me to protect her, both by allowing me to rest, and
by being very alert.  If a threat comes, you will be more ready for it than I am, at this

“We assume that Martouf and Lantash will arrive sometime tomorrow, but we have no
certainty of that.  If it does not happen, then neither Devlin, I, nor for that matter, you,
should allow ourselves to become overextended.  With the three of us caring for her, there
is no reason for that to happen.”    

“I agree.  Do you want to wait until tomorrow to talk, Malek?  I'm perfectly amenable to
waiting, if you would rather do so.”  

“No, I would rather we talk tonight.  I will feel more at ease, and I believe I will rest better,
once I say what must be said.”  

Daniel looked at him closely and then nodded.  No doubt, it would be better to clear the
air tonight.  He would assure him that he had no intention of interfering with their
bonding.  He wouldn't give them any trouble, or expect them to include him in their

They looked away from one another and turned toward the door, as they heard Gava
enter the room.  She shook her head.  “Why did I know that I would find you here instead
of in bed, Malek?  Is at least Devlin asleep?”  

Malek nodded.  “Yes, he returned to slumber, as soon as we relaxed in the pool.  I am not
planning to attempt to take Samantha, Gava.  I have come to the conclusion that you are
all correct, and I am simply too tired to function well.”  

“I am glad to hear it, Malek.  It relieves my mind, so, perhaps I can acquire some sleep
myself, after we finish moving our belongings.  You will be glad to hear that Markesh will
be watching this tunnel as well from now on at night.  That means that we can all rest
just slightly better, since he will be one more layer of security that they will have to
overcome to reach Samantha and the two of you.  I hope that they will not realize that
Daniel has also become her mate and that they will have to eliminate him as well.  Of
course, if they are targeting all of the Tau’ri, then he is already a target and in danger.”  

Malek agreed, saying, “I believe that having Markesh here will be an asset and a great
help for us, Gava.  He is an excellent operative, and he will keep a good watch on all of us,
but more especially on you.  That will then become one worry that I will not have any
longer; at least, it will not be as much of a worry as it is now.”  

“You need not worry for me at all, Malek.  Markesh and I will take care of us.  You and
Daniel must concentrate on taking care of Samantha.”  

“I assure you that we will.”

As their conversation appeared over, Daniel took the opportunity offered, and said quietly,
“Gava, if you don't mind, I believe that Malek and I have some things to discuss, before he
retires for the night.  I promise he'll go to bed, as soon as we finish.”   

Gava looked from Daniel to Malek and then at Samantha.  She nodded.  “All right, but
you can have no more than an hour at the very most, Daniel, and preferably, much,
much less.  I really would like for Malek to manage to acquire a full eight hours of
undisturbed dormancy.  Understood?”  

Daniel grinned at her.  “Yes, ma’am,” he stated solemnly.  Too solemnly; she could see the
amusement in his eyes.   

She looked thoughtful before she asked, “When is Per’sus due to arrive?”  

“Not until late morning, Gava, a good ten hours from now,” Daniel answered her.  She
nodded her acknowledgement of his answer.

She turned to leave and then turned back.  “I will be up for quite some time moving into
this tunnel.  I am quite sure I will still be awake in an hour.  Remember what I told you,
Malek.  I will see to it that you sleep; I would prefer not to have to make my actions a

Malek looked as if he would protest her words, but then he shook his head.  Why fight
what he had already determined was the best course to follow?  “I have no intention of
staying awake once Daniel and I have discussed a few domestic issues.  You will not need
to sedate me to attain my compliance.”  

Daniel swung his gaze from Gava to Malek.  She was going to sedate him?  After just
waking him up from a drugged sleep?  

“Yes, Daniel,” Gava read his face and new what he was thinking.  “I, too, see the irony of
that statement and act.”  

Malek frowned.  Daniel grinned.  Gava laughed lightly and left the room.  

Daniel turned his attention to Malek.  “Should we try to get Sam to bed now, Malek?”  He
ran the sensor over her and was satisfied that she was doing well, as her body
temperature was now down another four tenths of a degree.  He looked up and smiled at
the man waiting anxiously to find out how their mate was doing.  “It's down a little more.  
I think we can safely take her to bed now.  If you'll open the bath blanket, I'll hand her
over to you so you can take her to my room.  I'll follow as soon as I'm out and dry.”  

Malek nodded and did as Daniel instructed.  He watched as his newest brother laid their
mate into his arms and covered her with the sides of the blanket, setting the other ones
on top of her, so they would have dry ones when they reached the room.  Malek bent
down and kissed her forehead, much as Daniel had done earlier.  

Daniel was correct.  They could and they would work this out.  He turned and headed out
the door only to stop once he was in the hall.  He had turned toward his room.  Although
that was the correct direction, it was not where he was going.  He stopped at the first
doorway.  Daniel’s room.  He searched his heart and drew a breath of relief.  He had
accepted Daniel’s love of their mate, as he had suspected he could when he and Sam had
spoken of who to ask to help them.  He smiled slightly, and kissed the top of her bright
golden head.  He felt much more at peace than he had for the last few days.  He was
finally sharing the responsibility.  It felt…good.  

Daniel watched Malek leave as he dried himself.  There was a crease on his forehead as
he thought of the change in Malek’s attitude.  It was almost as if he had made some
fateful discovery that had changed everything.  Well, he would know as soon as they
managed to get Sam settled and have their talk.  He was just glad that he had realized he
needed to rest.  He had a great deal of respect for Malek.  He was a top-notch base
commander.  Calm, cool, decisive and not given to panic.  He'd never seen him anything
but rational and logical.  

The last two days had shown him another side of him, though.  When he functioned as a
base commander, his entire focus was on his base and his people.  He took rotten care of
himself, unless the healers and food personnel caught him and forced him to do what
needed to be done for himself.  

However, this was a much less cool and controlled man.  This was a man deeply in love
and, though, he would never admit it, afraid that something was going to take his love
away from him.  He was beginning to believe that one of the reasons Malek hadn't wanted
to give Sam up was because he was frightened to let her out of his sight.  Daniel almost
slapped himself up the side of the head.  
“Well, d’uh, Dimwit, of course, he is afraid to let
her out of his site.  The last time he did that she was poisoned again.”
 He shook his
head.  There was a question in his mind whether or not Malek even realized that this was
the deep-seated reason behind his reluctance to turn Sam over to him.
 “Well, that
mystery is solved, now if I could just find the answers to the others.  You should stop
talking to yourself, Jackson.”  

He threw the bath blanket into the bin and donning his robe, he made his way to his
room, only to stop in the inner doorway to take in the scene in front of him.  That Malek
had not heard him coming said a lot about his state of mind.  The anguish on his face
said the rest.  “We'll take care of her between us, Malek.  I promise you that nothing will
happen to Sam.  Not if there's anyway in the universe to prevent it,” Daniel spoke softly,
but firmly, conveying his belief in both himself and them.   

Malek’s head jerked up, and he gazed at Daniel, before nodding slightly.  He got up from
the sleeping platform and moved to the small table like area where there were seats.  
Daniel made himself a cup of instant coffee, but when Malek indicated he would have one
as well, Daniel hesitated.  “You do realize that caffeine will keep your host awake, don’t
you?  I'm not sure what it does to the symbiote.”  

A reflective look came into Malek’s eyes.  “I believe it affects us in somewhat the same
manner, Daniel, which is probably one of the reasons I enjoy it so much, now that you
point it out.  I believe I can negate that effect, however.”  
Daniel nodded and got another cup and the jar of coffee crystals.  “I’ll be glad when your
people come up with someway to plug in a coffee pot or an espresso machine.  Then we
can have real coffee.  Here you go.  Do you like anything in yours?  Sugar or creamer?”  

“Creamer if you have some.  I do not suppose you have any that is the flavor of Irish
Cream?”  He asked hopefully.  One of the Tau’ri habits that Malek had picked up was
coffee, and he had taken an instant liking to the Irish Cream flavored creamer that one
could add to it.  He actually liked the Irish Cream flavor with a little coffee.  He had them
bring it back from Earth by the case now that it was well-known throughout the base.  He
was not the only symbiote, or host, that had become addicted to it.  When Daniel grinned
and brought out a very large jar of the instant creamer flavored like Irish Cream, Malek
smiled the first real smile he had given to Daniel for a while.

After making their coffee, they sat in silence drinking it, neither knowing quite where to
start.  A few minutes passed quietly, and oddly enough, companionably, before Daniel
finally began the discussion he knew they needed to have.  “Malek, I think I understand
why you were so loath to give Sam over to my care.  I'm not insulted or upset by it.  I
understand it.  However, at this point, Sam’s life, and now yours, is more important than
your reasons.”   

He was surprised when Malek nodded in agreement, before he started speaking, calmly
explaining his reactions.  Speaking softly and quietly, Malek said, “Daniel, Samantha was
distraught thinking that she had made love to me, before we were bonded.  I was afraid
that she would feel very guilty over joining with you physically, before you were bound to
her as her
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek.”  Seeing Daniel about to speak, he held up his hand
requesting, “Please, let me finish, and then we can discuss it if you wish.  I owe you this
explanation, and I feel I must give it to you.”   

At Daniel’s nod of assent, he continued, “That is the main reason that I did not wish to
release her into your keeping yet.”  He sighed, as he stared into his coffee and
contemplated his next words.  “As I said, that was a main reason, but there were others,
as well.  I believe that Lantash and Martouf will have enough pain to bear over this entire
situation without my adding to it.  They will already be pained by our mating, before the
formal joining, though they will understand the necessity.”  

“Unfortunately, Delek will no doubt manage to get to them, before they hear the real
truth.  It would not surprise me, if they come for me intending to, ah, I believe your Tau’ri
phrase would be
“beat the crap out of me” and in their anger and my illogical guilt, I will
allow them to do so, at least for a short time.  No doubt, Samantha will stop it, and insist
that they listen to the entire story, but that will not stop the initial pain they will feel over
this.  I did not wish to involve you in their pain, unless it was absolutely necessary.”   

“There is also the fact that I feel I have failed not only Samantha, but Lantash and
Martouf, by not being able to see to her needs myself.  That, of course, is a personal guilt
of mine, and I had no right to throw it onto you."  

“I realize now that I was wrong to keep these thoughts from you, just as I was wrong in not
allowing you to take care of Samantha.  She accepted you as a mate, Daniel, and I
requested that you become her
Kaf’kesh Mae’tek.  I had no right, after accepting your love
for her, and hers for you, to keep you from our mate.  I do most sincerely apologize for
that, and I can only claim my exhaustion and unclear thinking, for my reprehensible
behavior.  I am sorry; it will not happen again.  As my
Mae’tek Tari’esk, I owed you the
respect and honor that designation gives to you.  I am sorry that I failed to do so.  I tell
you once more, and it is a vow; it
will not happen again.”

Daniel sat in stunned silence.  He hadn't expected this at all.  He'd expected to have to
argue his beliefs to get Malek to let go and instead, he was being given the status of Sam’s
mate and Malek’s mate-brother.  He cleared his throat and decided that he should tackle
each reason individually, but first he would acknowledge his apologies.  

“There's no need to apologize, Malek, but I'll gladly accept them in the spirit in which they
were given.  There's no need for anything else to be said on that score, if you please.”  

He waited for Malek’s nod of agreement before continuing, “You don’t need to worry about
Sam feeling guilty anymore.  I bound myself to her as her mate, and then we
consummated it.  When she was finally able to talk to me, we discussed it, and it turned
out that she did hear me bind myself to her.  Gava was witness to my binding, too, and
Sam, in turn, bound herself to me.  Even if it doesn’t continue beyond this time, for now,
she's safe in our bond, and she's aware and accepts that as a truth.”  
“She assures me that she's fine with what we are doing.  I don’t see it as a problem.  
Furthermore, from what she said to me, while she feels better about the entire situation
because we did the joining, she wouldn't have felt the guilt we both expected, even if we
hadn't done it.”  

“Sam told me she realizes that, if Martouf and Lantash want her to be here to greet them
when they return, then she can’t let outdated mores control her.  She has to do this to
survive.  She knows it is a fact, and she believes that they will understand and not be
upset at all.  Not with her, not with you and Devlin, nor with me.  She thinks that once
they actually realize that she is being stalked by someone trying to kill her, that they will
get the picture of what has taken place very quickly.  Her biggest fear is that Lantash will
simply kill Delek, before you can find out, not only why, but if there are any others
involved, or if anyone else is due to be targeted, after they dispose of her.”  

“So, that takes care of your first two concerns.  The third, about the mate-brother and
mate thing, well, I understand that you don’t wish this to be a permanent arrangement,
and I knew that going into it.  I won’t cause you problems, or speak about this to anyone, I
promise you.”   

“Now, going back to one of your main concerns, I’d like to elaborate.  Malek, I know that
hurting Martouf and Lantash is worrying you, but I agree with Sam.  I don’t think they’ll
care how we kept Sam alive; all they’ll care about is the reality that we did what had to be
done, and that’s the only reason why she’s still alive.”  

“I really don’t believe that either of us should give it anymore thought.  Yes, they may be
hurt at first, but I doubt very much if that will last.  I do expect the anger at first, just as
you do, but I think that will be fueled by fear, not distrust of Sam or us.  Even if they don't
realize it, deep down they'll know that something is very wrong and that will make the
fear, and therefore the anger, worse, but they'll get over that quickly, too.  I think that
both of them are smart enough to know that you wouldn’t betray them, any more than
Sam would betray them with you.  In addition, if Delek somehow finds out that Sam's
taken me as a mate, too, then they'll know that something is definitely not as it appears.  
Adding me to their household, will probably seem bizarre enough to let them know
something is very wrong.  So, again, I’m saying we give it little or no more thought.  We'll
deal with whatever happens, when it happens, instead of borrowing trouble.  Our main
concern should be protecting Sam, as much as we can, which won't be easy.”  He sighed.  
“We know they'll get angry, then Sam will be hurt; we can't stop either event, so we'll just
pick up the pieces and mop up the mess.  It's all we can do.”  

“Then there's your comment about you being able to handle it by yourself.  The truth is
that you probably could have if Delek, or whoever, hadn’t drugged you.  You wouldn’t
have been at your best, but you would have managed.  So, stop beating yourself up, and
realize that asking for help, far from being a flaw, is actually an asset.  It means you can
see when you need outside help to solve a problem, and that’s a good thing.  Being a
macho persona could get someone, or several someones, killed.”   

Malek contemplated Daniel, for a short time, after he finished speaking, before he replied,
“I believe your statements are very true, Daniel.  I will no longer be
“beating myself up”
over this situation.  In a way, allowing it to do so was allowing Delek at least a partial
victory.  However, that is over.  From now on, my main concern will be Samantha and
dealing with her health, not the reactions of others, even Lantash and Martouf.”  

“Good.  Then I have one more thing to say about all of this.  I believe that there may be
one more very deep-seated reason you didn’t want Sam out of your sight, but I doubt very
much if you can see it.”  

Malek looked puzzled.  “What is that, Daniel?”  

“Well, the last time Sam was away from you and out of your sight, she was poisoned
again.  I think that you are, in some way, blaming yourself for the second poisoning.  You
should forget it.  Let it go.  You weren’t to blame for that, anymore than you were to blame
for any of the other attempts that he’s made on Sam’s life.  So, if you can find your deeply
buried thoughts on that, pull them out and rip them up.”  

Malek let out a long held breath after examining Daniel’s statements.  He was correct.  He
had been blaming himself for that incident, and he had refused to give Sam up because
in that way, he both punished himself and Devlin and offered atonement for his
negligence.  Somehow, he realized, Daniel had again been exactly on the center of the
problem.  He could let it go.  In a way, he would always feel responsible, but it could have
happened yesterday, just as fast.  What if Delek had the poison on his hands as he
confronted her yesterday?  Malek shuddered.  Thank the Gods; that had not happened.  

“You are correct, Daniel, I have been blaming myself and punishing myself for it, as well
as seeking atonement.  I should have listened to Sam when she pointed out that I really
could not have stopped her without force that evening.  She was feeling quite well, and
she had not yet realized that Delek was stalking her within the tunnels, as well as when
she was away from them.  The Goddess has been careful for us, Daniel.  Otherwise, she
would be gone from us, perhaps forever.  Thank you for pointing that out.”  

“Now, I will point something out to you.  As far as I am concerned, and I have a feeling
that Samantha will feel the same, I have no desire for you to leave our bond-group.  You
have always been very special to Samantha, and I believe that she loves you as a woman
loves a man.  I do not think I am wrong in believing that you love Samantha in the way of
a man and a woman.  I believe that you should wait and talk to her, before making plans
to leave us.  For me, your addition to our bond is permanent.  Please make no plans or
firm commitments to leave before you have talked to her and to Martouf and Lantash.”  

It was Daniel’s turn to look stunned.  He sat staring at Malek.  Finally, realizing he had to
say or do something, he nodded, before actually forming any words in order to respond.  
When the words finally came to him, he said dazedly, “All right.  I, well, I, I won’t then.  
Make any plans, that is.  Not—not yet.”  

“That is all I can ask for, Daniel.  I do not wish to see Samantha hurt by your refusal to
stay with her, and I truly believe that if you leave her, it will hurt her very much.  So, just
think about it first,” Malek stood, as he finished his sentence and his coffee.  “It is time for
me to go to bed before Gava comes in looking for me with one of her sedatives.  Should
anything happen and you need me, com me just as you would Gava, all right?”  

Daniel nodded, as Malek reached out and clasped his arm.  “Do not look so worried,
Daniel.  It will all work out in the end.  Martouf and Lantash are due back tomorrow.  
Samantha is sleeping longer and better, as well as feeling better when she is awake.  
Soon we will have Delek in a containment cell, unless we uncover some other information
that frees him from culpability, which I do not expect to see happen.”   

“Go and take care of Samantha for us.  Devlin and I will see you in the morning.  Things
will work out for the best, and Samantha will no longer be in danger.  Between Gava,
Markesh, the guards, and the three of us, we will keep her safe.”

Daniel smiled at him.  “I believe that you're right, Malek.  The next thing we know the rest
of our household will return and things will go much more smoothly.  Goodnight, Malek.”  

Saying goodnight and nodding one last time, Malek returned to his own room.  Daniel was
correct and so was he.  It would work out fine.  There would be much to do to finish
clearing up all of the loose ends, but the culprit was plain, and they had their evidence.  
He lay down on his sleeping platform and closed his eyes.  Morning would come soon
enough, and they would all greet a brand new day; a day they hoped would see their
family back together at last, exactly as it was meant to be.
The End

Story Six                    Home                    Story Eight

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Gather Me in Your Arms

Seventh in the Fever Series