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 Twelve Part I Summary: Delek slowly regains consciousness. At first, he doesn’t remember anything. Not even, where he is or how they arrived there. Each time he slips in and out though, he remembers more. Soon, he understands where he is and what he has done. Sam is almost over her poisoning, so Malek and Lantash have gone to see if they can talk to Delek yet. Daniel stays behind with Sam and it is a good thing he did as someone else with evil intentions enters her room.
Za’rask Quel’tarc - A Drug that gives the person that Administers it control of the person it was administered to. Gareevles – A Wormlike bug that can infest bread on the world of Mordacia. Psha’krevays – Similar to Bastards Se’Frinds shel’lec’dak - Two Friends Sharing Flesh. Mer Cory’esh Mae’tek – My Lifemate Cyfial – Close or Intimate Friend, Not a Lover Cor’s Trel’li Mae’tek – Heart’s Tearmate, Someone with whom one has Shared a Deep Grief Se’kesh Mae’tek – Second-mate Kaf’kesh Mae’tek – Third-mate Mer Ann’wyld – My Beloved Shek’vla – Something on the order of lowlife, slime, piece of filth, etc… Mer Prinekh – My Lifemate as A Term that denotes Deep Affection.
"Italics" - Symbiote-Host Communication
Delek was lying on a Tok’Ra healing platform, but he did not know that. In fact, he did not appear to know much of anything other than who he was, and he was finding that disturbing. He lie quietly, not wishing to alert anyone and let them know that he was awake, at least, not until he could figure out where he was and why he was there. Besides, the pain he was enduring did not encourage him to move, anyway.
“Connal? Connal—Connal, are you awake, Mer Cory’esh Mae’tek?” His host was not answering him. Probing gently, he found that he was deeply unconscious. He had been hurt very badly. Unto death, badly, according to what he was finding. What in the universe had happened to them? Had he been on a mission and been discovered by a System Lord?
They had been tortured, there was no doubt about that, for one of the injuries he found in his host’s mind could only be from a ribbon device,—the others, yes, more than one, were from blows to the head. The rest of their body, also, was in very bad condition. There was severe damage to many of their vital organs as well. They were lucky they were still alive and capable of thought at all. He assumed they were lucky, but when he considered their injuries, if and when he remembered what had occurred, he might not be so willing to believe that to be true.
He could hear sounds around him, but no one was speaking, although, he could sense other symbiotes. He must trust that they were Goa’uld and remain quiet. There appeared to be light wherever he was because he could see it, even without opening his eyes. Muted light, true, but it was definitely there. They were not in a sarcophagus; however, other than that, he was not sure of anything.
It also appeared that their eyes were swollen shut, for he could not force them open no matter how hard he tried, and it was obvious to him that the swelling was keeping them from opening. He tried again to remember the events that had taken place to bring them to this condition, and where they might be, but nothing came to mind; he had no clue, nothing at all returned to him.
He did not have to try to move to realize that they were restraining him in some manner. Not tightly, but there was no doubt that, even if he could have opened his eyes or arisen, he was going nowhere. Just by the feel of the bindings, he would guess that while they were not restraining him completely, he could not move about freely either. Therefore, he was still a prisoner of whomever had done this to them. So far, though, all he could remember were his name and his host’s name. That was something, anyway. He could only hope that the remainder would return. On the other hand, maybe, if he was lucky, it would not; therefore, the torture would gain the System Lord nothing at all.
He frowned to himself. Now, he thought he could hear voices, but they sounded familiar, and that could not be. He had conjured voices before when he was being tortured as a way to keep the torture from breaking him and his host. He must be doing it again. Yes, he was definitely hallucinating for he believed that not only could he feel the soft warmth of a healing device, but also that he could hear the voices of sweet Calise and her new host. However, that, too, would be in his fevered imagination.
He should attempt to heal his host, although from what he had found, he truly believed that it was beyond his capabilities. If they did not put him into a sarcophagus soon, he and his host would both die. Of course, the System Lord in question, whoever he might be, was probably awaiting that very thing, so that he could be very sure that his prisoners experienced every last shaft of pain before they passed. Then he would simply put them in the sarcophagus and begin again.
Ah, here came the blackness, so he would once again find his way to oblivion. For a short time, there would be blessed relief from this pain that racked his host’s body as well as his own.
Arwanna watched Calise as she continued to use the healing device on the damage done to both Delek and Connal. It was significant, but they were beginning to feel that he would survive, if they continued to use the healing devices on them. Amek’tel kek’ma’tel was still a possibility though, so healing the brain tissue in them both was of paramount importance. They could only hope that they had the ability to heal the damage.
Calise looked upset, but she had said nothing. It appeared to Arwanna to be more than the worry the remainder of the Tok’Ra were feeling over Delek and Connal. She would have to say, if asked anyway, that Calise’s feelings were more personally involved than most of them.
She cleared her throat and asked quietly, so that the guard nearby would not overhear them, “Calise, are you all right? You seem—disturbed.”
Calise looked up at her in surprise. Was she so transparent then? Was she showing her emotions on her face? She had not realized she was doing so, and she attempted to mask her true feelings. “I am fine, Arwanna. Why do you ask?”
Arwanna shook her head, saying, “I do not know. I just have a feeling that you are very upset by this. You are not, not…” her voice faded as she found her question hard to pose. She tried again, rushing her words out, “You are not upset because of Malek, are you? I am sorry. I know it is none of my business, but we are friends, as well as fellow healers, and I do not wish to see you get hurt. You do know that he has mated with Samantha Carter and become her Se’kesh Mae’tek, do you not?”
The stunned look that appeared upon Calise’s face did not give her any reassurance. Was she, after all, in love with Malek? No, the stunned look was not because she was in love with Malek, but because Arwanna could have considered that she might be. That was good. Then, what was going on? Delek? Was she in love with Delek? Oh, this was, as Samantha might say, so not good, if it was indeed true.
“No, I am not at all upset over Malek, Arwanna. I know there have been rumors about us because we are close friends, and I do love him, but not in the way of a lover. We are cyfials. He has helped me in the past, and he is Cor’s Trel’li Mae’tek to me, in case you had forgotten, but other than that, no. I do not love him in the manner you mean. To be perfectly honest, I am thrilled that he has found a mate to love and cherish.”
“He has spoken to me often of Samantha, since the day he carried her into the tunnels, when they rescued them. You are aware that they were captured and tortured by a rogue group on the Tau'ri world, for you were with them that day, were you not? He has loved her since that time, and his feelings have only deepened, not lessened.”
She paused for a moment before saying, even more softly, “I do not believe I have ever seen him or Lantash so anguished over someone. That she would have died if they had not attempted the rescue that day has haunted Malek from that day until this one, for at one point they considered waiting yet one more day. He told me that he found internal bleeding that would have killed her before they ever reached her, had they waited.”
“Gava told me that he has pushed himself beyond what he should have before he allowed her Kaf’kesh Mae’tek to take over for him during her more recent illness. No, I do not love him in that way, Arwanna; I am very happy that he has at last found a mate to love, and I only hope that we can keep her alive for him.”
She sighed deeply and decided that of all of the Tok’Ra, Arwanna was the one she could probably talk to about this. Maybe she should. It might help her to get over it. Yeah, right. The Tau’ri certainly had some useful phrases.
Who would have believed that having the Tau’ri here would bring them so many new hosts? For there were several that had taken new symbiotes from the lost ones, since they had been living among them, and some, as her new host attested to, had taken symbiotes whose hosts were either injured to the point of death, or were at the end of their life- spans.
She frowned. Some of the council members believed that there were too many Tau’ri hosts and wanted it stopped. She did not believe that would be a good thing. The Tau’ri had a fire and spirit that the Tok’Ra needed. No, stopping it would not be a good thing at all. Unfortunately, she was beginning to believe that the rumors were true, and there were those that were actively plotting against the Tau’ri—and somehow—Delek had become a part of that.
She looked down at the man lying on the healing table. If the whispers that were starting were true, he had been attempting to ruin the Tok’Ra-Tau’ri alliance. It was something that she simply did not want to believe. But then, she had fallen in love with him quite some time ago. She did not understand why, and neither did her new host, but she was doing her best to try to understand what had caused it to happen.
Talisa was doing her best to see the good in him, but she was having great difficulty. She complained that she found it odd to find herself feeling love for a man who, for the most part, she held in contempt. Calise had shown her another side to him that had helped her to understand, but she had also pointed out to Calise that she had not seen the man she had shown to her for several years now. Since around the time they met the Tau'ri, in fact.
Nor was she happy about Delek’s host. One never saw Connal in control. It was disconcerting. Surely, Delek was not keeping him prisoner of his own body as Talisa feared? She sighed. Since her host brought it to her attention, she had to admit that it was very possible that, in fact, he was. She shuddered, thinking of what that said about Delek. Could he be more Goa’uld than Tok’Ra? Dear Goddess, please, do not let that be true.
She did not understand, but she had not understood for a long time now. She almost wished her feelings for him would simply go away. If it turned out that he was truly as vile as his suspected actions would show him to be, if they truly were his actions, then perhaps she would be able to forget the man he used to be and lose these feelings for him.
Closing her eyes, she thought back over the years. Delek was never like this before. What had happened to him? Why was he working against the Tau’ri so diligently? Surely, he was not a, a traitor, a sholva?
Daniel yawned and snuggled down closer to the body lying next to his. Sam felt so good first thing in the…wait. Sam did not have a hairy chest. Not only was it not hairy, it had soft mounds on it that this one did not have. Nor did she have the kind of anatomy that was lying, rigid, under his leg. Oh, no. Please, please, no. “Daniel, please, stay calm. We are doing nothing wrong.”
“Brandel? How can you say that? I am lying here, snuggled up to a man, and I have a hard-on. Something about this picture is certainly not right,” Daniel’s tone was definitely indignant.
Brandel answered him patiently and with practical good sense, saying, “It is time for you to awaken, Daniel. You always have a ‘hard-on’, as you call it, when you awaken, whether you are snuggling Samantha, Malek, or a pillow. Is there something inherently less ‘wrong’ about getting a hard-on because you are holding a pillow than because you are holding Malek? Ah, and Samantha’s breast, I might add?”
“I’m holding Sam’s boob? Really?” Brandel cracked his eyes open and he gazed across the chest his arm was lying across and saw his hand holding a portion of Sam’s anatomy. Brandel was right, he was.
“Even if you were not, it would not matter, you know. You do not have this physical problem because you are holding Malek. You have this physical problem because you have it every morning, and besides, you were dreaming a dream that was quite, er, erotic. Stop worrying about it, please,” he counseled softly.
As he came farther awake and his mind cleared, Daniel went over their conversation again. Brandel was right. What was the difference who or what he was snuggled up to? His response would be the same, regardless. Furthermore, the dream he had been having had not featured Malek except in a partnership type of way. They had both been making love to Sam in Cor’kesh’lek’dak, hearts bound through flesh. He wondered when, or even if, Sam would agree to go through that with them. She had done it for Martouf, Lantash, Malek, and Devlin, but that was very different as far as he was concerned. They were her ‘true’ mates. He was just a—a what?
“You are her Kaf’kesh Mae’tek, her third mate, as you are well aware. You bonded to her in a legitimate joining amongst the Tok’Ra, of which you are now one. Stop reverting to your hidebound Tau'ri beliefs. They no longer apply. In addition, if you continue to stroke her breast in that manner, you will awaken both Sam and Malek—not that I would mind, you understand; however, if you are wishing her to rest, then you should, in all probability, stop. If you do not, then there is no doubt that she will soon awaken and want to mate with us,” Brandel pointed out the obvious consequences to what he was doing to Sam.
“I know I’m her mate, Brand, but it’ll take some time for me to adjust. It’s not that easy on earth. I mean, it’s easy to decide to marry, but getting that done takes more than the couple declaring to one another, witness or not,” Daniel explained firmly.
“Well, from your memories, you did declare in front of a witness, and that is more than is required. You really do not even have to have the witness, as your word would be enough for acceptance by the Tok’Ra that you have bonded by declaring to one another, if that was how you chose to do it, and you both stated that you bonded by declaration. I do not believe that Samantha intends to repudiate you, or hopefully, me, as your mate. Perhaps you should be more concerned that she will not accept me, rather than you, Daniel. After all, I was not a part of her life before now.”
Daniel felt the shock go through him. Brand was right. Should he get up and leave the bed? What should he do?
“I believe that the best course of events, Daniel, would be to allow Samantha to come to know me before I come fore during mating, er, that is lovemaking. She will tell us when or if she is ever comfortable with me as a mating partner. I will not come fore at this time, as that would not be fair to Samantha, and I realize that. Do not let it worry you, Daniel,” he assured him quietly.
“All right, Brand. I’ll probably discuss it with her at some point so that she’ll know that you’ re not, ah, actively participating. She may not even have thought of it yet. There’s been too much going on, and she’s too exhausted to have had time to think about it.”
“Very true. Now, after settling that, I should tell you that Lantash has not been asleep for very long. I awoke about thirty minutes ago, and he agreed to turn the vigil over to me. I believe that she, Lantash, and Martouf took some time to themselves earlier in the night when they went into the other room together. I am sure that they needed that time alone, and she has slept since then without awakening. It is good that she is finally able to sleep without worry. It will do a great deal to help her.”
“I was very upset over what I saw in your memories about what has been taking place, Daniel. That Delek would so lose control of himself, I find almost impossible to believe. I have known him quite well for a very long time, and he was never this way before. I do not know what has happened to him, but whatever it is, must have been terrible for it to change him so much.”
“I admit I have not been around him overmuch in the past ten or fifteen years, but I remember him as a young symbiote full of life and liveliness, whose main fault was a love of women and, although odd in a symbiote, strong spirits. He would refuse to filter it and become quite, er, adventuresome in more ways than one. We used to find a great deal to laugh about together a few hundred years ago. I even had a brief affaire of the flesh with him at one time when I had a female host, and he a male. I truly would like to know what changed him so. I should not have lost touch with him.”
“Are you telling me that it seems out of character for him, Brand? That these aren’t the kinds of things he would do if he hated someone or a race of people?”
“Yes, that is what I am saying. Certainly, Delek is capable of deep hatred. He hates the Goa’uld deeply. Nevertheless, for him to attempt to murder a woman simply because she is a certain race is very much out of character. I do not understand what has happened to him, for you have the proof that he is the one that has attempted it. Not only once, but many times in many different ways.”
“Furthermore, for him to attempt to kill Malek is almost beyond my comprehension. He, Malek, Lantash, Cordesh, Thelon, oh, a group of them when they were much, much younger, were very often in trouble over one thing or another, but it was nothing but high spirits and youth. They were still close at one time many years ago, before Malek became a base commander and became so much more solemn and weighted down with responsibility.”
He frowned as he gave the situation more thought. “Before Jolinar and Rosha became Martouf and Lantash’s mates as well. I believe that there is more to this than simply his hatred of the Tau'ri. Something is wrong, very wrong. If Malek and Lantash can be brought to think about it, without allowing Samantha’s near deaths to color their thinking, I believe that they, also, will begin to see that something is not as it should be in this.”
Daniel frowned. “All right, if you really believe that, then I will back you up, and I will try to talk to them about it. They like and respect you, Brand. Maybe we can get them to listen.” He paused as his mind raced. “Actually, we will talk to Sam about it. If she asks it of them, they will be more likely to listen.”
“That is a very true statement and a very good idea, as well, Daniel. Thank you.”
“You are welcome.”
Brand watched Sam for a short time before saying, “Samantha may awaken before too long, and, though she has been fine, I believe that she will want us soon. She is beginning to move around somewhat.”
“Yes, I know, you have my eyes open, and I can see her. How can you open my eyes but not control my hands?” Daniel wanted to know as he made a concerted effort to stop caressing her breast.
“It is a way of sharing the body, Daniel. It takes a great many years of practice, but most symbiotes can master it, at least partially, if they try hard enough.”
“It is like a dual control thing then?”
“Not exactly, but very similar. It is mostly useful when you wish for the host to be able to talk, but at the same time, the symbiote needs to use his hands. As I said, it is more difficult than full sharing and many do not use it because it can tire us out much more quickly than full control by either does.”
Daniel nodded his understanding and continued to watch Sam as she slept. She looked a hundred percent better now that Lantash and Martouf had returned, and she had managed to get some undisturbed sleep. Or, well, if not exactly undisturbed, at least she had awakened when she wanted to this time, not when someone woke her and insisted on sex with her. Not that she didn’t want it; she did. Her body had screamed for it, in fact. However, she was so very tired that most of the time she just passed back into sleep as soon as it was over.
It was still hard to believe that the poison from the Evernight plant could only be overcome by extremely frequent and fully satisfying sexual releases. At first, very frequent. From what Malek had told him, frequent to the point of almost immediately one on top of another to less than twenty minutes between them, for the first eighteen to twenty-four hours if the poisoning was acute, as it had been in Sam’s case. Now, several days after her most severe poisoning, she was finally to a point where she dictated when she would agree with her body and have sex; her body was no longer dictating to her.
When Daniel had first heard the story, he had been in denial. How could she possibly want sex that often? They had to be exaggerating this. Gava had soon disabused him of that idea. She had pointed out that some peoples used Evernight as a form of execution. People died from exposure to it. Many worlds also used it as an aphrodisiac during festivals and, of course, during fertility rights. It was truly deadly, and it had earned its name, for it truly brought on the time of never-ending night, or as they called it…Evernight.
The thing that he should remember about it that was unique unto it, as far as they knew, was that even though it could kill, it also gave the one it was killing exactly what they needed to survive it—a voracious hunger for sexual arousal and climax. It was an extremely potent aphrodisiac; it drove its victim to seek out sex: the only antidote known to work on the poisoning it originally induced.
The problem, of course, was that you could become too poisoned—if your partner could not stay viable—then you would slip into the fever and coma it induced and die, thus again…Evernight.
Why didn’t the partner expose themselves too it as well? They usually did during the festivals; everyone did. Most of the time, out in the open as they were, it did not overpower anyone, even though it was inhaled through smoke as the plant was burned, which appeared to make it a little more potent. Since most festivals were out in the open, for it to work as expected, they needed the extra potency. In an enclosed space on the other hand, burning it was a death sentence and that was one of the ways they used it in executions.
However, even in the rituals of the festivals, it was possible for one to become overwhelmed and poisoned by it. And, coming back to the original question, if the partner misjudged and was poisoned as deeply, then both would probably die, since both would eventually become unconscious in-between matings. If neither awoke, then both would die. Daniel realized that Gava was correct. Of course, the symbiote could filter it, but if an unblended human male had tried to use its aphrodisiac properties to help him out, he would probably have succumbed and died as well. Not a viable solution, then.
What was more, Daniel finally, after hearing the same things reiterated by Treea, realized that they were not exaggerating. Malek had been making love to Sam, at less than two- hour intervals, for seven days straight, without a break. No wonder he looked so exhausted, and Devlin was not even coming fore unless he had too. He was probably sleeping constantly whenever Malek was awake. He could not blame him for that.
Still, Sam was the one that was really suffering from exhaustion. She did not have anyone to give her a break from the constant need for arousal and sex. He had spent one night with her, and it had shown him that, as great a fantasy as it might be, the reality showed it to be something you would not want to have to live through. He just hoped that Delek got what was coming to him for the hell Sam had lived through because of him. Over and above that, if there were others, he hoped they were caught and suffered for it, too.
Listening to his thoughts, Brandel said softly, “Looking at our mate, and seeing the exhaustion still sketched upon her features, I find that I must agree with you. I know, from your memories, that she looks much better now than she did even a few hours ago, and yet, she still looks so very tired. However, I also must still say that I believe that Delek’s actions are not in his character. Even so, if he is indeed at fault, then I, too, will insist that they apply the heaviest penalty. I also hope that we find all of those responsible, and that they, too, will pay for their perfidy.”
Daniel watched Sam’s lashes flutter, as she began to come awake. “So do I, Brand, so do I.”
Sam was aware of warm flesh beneath her cheek and a hand on her breast. Every once in a while, it would caress her gently. She sighed, enjoying the feeling, and yet still half asleep and not awake enough to respond. She was beginning to feel an answering tug in her sex, though, and with each stroke, she came a little more awake.
Finally giving in to the feel of the heat building low in her abdomen and the twinges in the hub of her sex, she opened her eyes and looked into a pair of wonderfully blue eyes looking back at her. She smiled at him. “Is it morning yet, Daniel? I’m getting hungry— but not for food just yet.”
Daniel smiled back at her as he again started to stroke her breast. Her hand found its way back across Malek’s chest and onto Daniel’s side where it had rested earlier. She began to caress him gently.
“We should get up and go into the other room, Daniel, so we don’t wake Devlin or Malek. Or, for that matter, Lantash or Martouf. I know they must still need their sleep.”
“I am quite awake, Samantha, and so is Devlin. We slept quite well, except for a short time when we dreamed that someone tied us quite firmly to the bed. We awoke to find ourselves surrounded, but once we knew what it was, we were able to return to our slumber.”
“I’m glad, Malek. I’d hate to think that Daniel and I using you for a pillow kept you awake all night.”
Malek laughed quietly. “Had that been the case, I would have slipped from under you and moved to the other side of Daniel or you, my Sam. Do not worry about us getting enough sleep now. We will have more than enough, I assure you.”
“Since you’re awake in, ah, more ways than one from the feel of it, maybe we should all move to the other room and bed,” Sam continued to whisper so that they wouldn’t awaken Lantash and Martouf.
“You do not need to whisper, Samantha, we too are awake and more than willing to give you anything you are in need of. You are in need, are you not?”
Sam blushed; although, she didn’t know how she could after everything she’d been through. Still, she was blushing, so she buried her face in Malek’s chest, mumbling her answer, “Yes, of course I am. It’s been what, four hours?”
Martouf smiled and spooned against her, as she lay curled against Malek. He stroked her back and kissed the back of her neck. “It has actually been almost five hours, Samantha. Lantash and I are more than ready to make-love to you again. You know what you mean to us, to all of us. Never shall we grow tired of the feel of your body next to ours. Never, so do not be embarrassed by your need of us. Whether it is the Evernight or simply your own need is unimportant. You need and want us. That is the only thing that is important. It is the only thing we need to know.”
Arwanna and Calise were again taking their turn at working on Delek and Connal. Some of his injuries were healed, and the risk of Amek’tel kek’ma’tel had lessened. They felt somewhat more confident now that he would probably survive. However, would he survive only to be sentenced to death or indefinite stasis? Calise shivered in the coolness of the room, but the temperature had nothing to do with it. It was an emotional response, not a physical one.
Arwanna stood patiently across from her using the healing device on his injuries, just as Calise was. He might awaken before much longer. What would happen then was anyone's guess. Everyone living within the tunnels knew that an attack on Samantha Carter and Daniel Jackson occurred at the Chaappa’ai just this past morning, not twenty minutes after they managed to bring Delek through it.
Why had Delek become a target if he was part of whatever was occurring? Why? What had he done? Moreover, why did whoever did this to Delek try to implicate Malek as the perpetrator? Rumor said it was to separate him from Samantha. That seemed likely. Nevertheless, someone also tried to kill Malek. None of this really made sense. Other rumors said that Delek also attempted to kill Samantha Carter. Possibly more than once.
Dear Goddess, if it was true, then Lantash would see him dead. There was no doubt of that, for Lantash was lethal when in a rage…or without one, truth be told. No one would attack his mate and live to tell of it. Malek as well. That was just the way it was. Not just Lantash, either. That was the way it was throughout the Tok’Ra. You did not attempt to murder another Tok’Ra or their mate. Never. It simply was not done. If Delek was behind this, and they could prove it, he was as good as dead. No doubt, the only reason they were healing him was to interrogate him.
Looking over at Arwanna, she said softly, “Do you remember Delek as he used to be, Arwanna? Several years ago? I wonder what happened to change him. Why is he so different than he was then?”
Arwanna shook her head. “Calise, is this what has been on your mind? Wondering what changed him?”
“Yes. I remember him when he was much kinder and more cheerful. While it was true that he was always chasing different women, he never led them on and hurt them. If he had an affaire, he did not treat it lightly, and those he mated with knew in the beginning that it was only Se’Frinds shel’lec’dak, two friends sharing flesh. He never led them to believe it would ever be more. Then, he became a sub-council member. Remember? It was around the time that we discovered that Rosha and Jolinar had died, and that Cordesh had been killed by a Goa’uld, who then impersonated him.” She watched Arwanna and realized that she knew something about this situation and Delek’s behavior.
“What? What do you know about this, Arwanna?”
Arwanna swallowed, wondering if she should say anything. Still, the anguish Calise was feeling was very real, that much she could read in her face. Furthermore, she was a healer, as well, so technically, if she told her it would not actually be telling someone she should not. “Did you know Cordesh and Delek well then, Calise?”
Calise shook her head. “No, not really. I became better acquainted with Delek and Connal about a year before that happened. It is the first time we have ever been on the same base for any length of time. We, well, we never became Se’Frinds shel’lec’dak, as my host at the time was much too old to interest him, and to be honest; she did not care for him much, as far as I could tell. We never discussed him; however, so it was only my impressions from her emotions.”
“There was a history between my last mate and Delek, but he would never share with me what it was. My last mate and I were very good friends, but we were never as much in love as our hosts were. I miss him, but not in the way I have missed the mate I considered my Soulmate. He has been gone a very long time now, and I am just beginning to feel again. Malek—Malek became my tearmate when the Goa’uld killed him. I was devastated for a very long time, and he helped me very much. I will always feel very close to him and very loved whenever I am around him, but not in the way you feared.” She smiled gently and it was obvious that she spoke the truth. Malek was special to her, but not in the way of a lover.
“I see. Then you are not aware…” Arwanna stopped; still unsure of whether she should explain to her what she believed had happened. She decided she should. Very few knew of it. She was one of those very few.
“What I will tell you is not known by many. In fact, I am not sure that I am not the only one who remains with the information, so I must ask for your word that you will not repeat what I am about to say.”
Calise nodded. “All right. I will promise you that I will tell no one what you impart to me.”
“Very well. Delek was in love with Jolinar and Rosha before they fell in love with Lantash and Martouf. He has resented Lantash and Martouf ever since then because of that. He felt that they stole them from him. He loved them until the day they died and beyond.”
She sighed heavily, before continuing, “At the same time we learned of their deaths, Cordesh became dead to us as well. At one time, Delek and Cordesh were mates. In fact, they were mates for a very long time, and they remained lovers even after the first time Cordesh took a male host. Their joining lasted for some time then, as well, but eventually the sexual side of their love died, as neither of them truly enjoyed the sexual act between males and—they parted and found female sexual companionship, which they both preferred, but their emotional bond never left them.”
“So, even though he loved Jolinar and Rosha, he also had a deep and abiding love of Cordesh. The day the Tau’ri arrived with the news of Jolinar and Rosha’s demise, was also the day that they, the Tau’ri, discovered that Cordesh was no more, and in his place was a Goa’uld spy. That was a double blow to him, and the Tau’ri delivered both of them on the same day. At the same time that they told us of Jolinar and Rosha and discovered the truth of Cordesh, they also admitted to blowing up two of Apophis’ motherships. Motherships on which one of his Se’Frinds was an operative—and therefore, where she died. They were not especially close, but nonetheless, she was his lover at that time.”
“I believe that those events are what began the change we have seen in him, and I also believe that in some twisted way, he blamed the Tau'ri for all of their deaths, and it has caused him to hate the Tau’ri. It is an irrational hatred with no real basis in fact. I believe that his mind became so burdened with grief when he heard the news that it twisted the way in which he viewed them. They were the messengers; they became the sacrifice.”
“Perhaps Jolinar would have survived if the Tau’ri had allowed her to leave, but one cannot blame them for not believing her. They had never heard of the Tok’Ra, and unfortunately, she did some things that made them suspicious of her. Then, before they could come to terms with one another, the Ashrak found Jolinar and killed her. She saved Samantha Carter, thereby making amends for any trespass she may or may not have made.”
“Samantha now believes that Jolinar believed that she was offering herself. That is not what we are discussing though, so I will return to this topic later if you wish.”
“Samantha offered her father, since he and Saroosh were both dying, but that did not appease Delek. In his mind, the Tau'ri were to blame for every Tok’Ra death from then on, in one manner or another.”
“Therefore, in Delek’s mind, the Tau'ri have killed everyone he has loved since we met and began forming an alliance with them. To make matters worse, though he has blamed Samantha Carter for Jolinar’s death, he has also been attracted to her. He has both hated and loved her, but it did not matter which he did, because again, a woman he wanted for his own, as more than a Se’Frind, chose Martouf and Lantash over him.”
Calise stared at Arwanna in shock. “Dear Goddess, Arwanna, no wonder he hates the Tau'ri so. I am not saying he is correct to do so, but I can see how, in his mind, they are a scourge to the Tok’Ra. No wonder he was so adamantly against an alliance with them. You realize that the council should have been made aware of these things. Perhaps they could have sent him to us for some help. We could have tried some of our therapies on him and perhaps we could have avoided this final confrontation.”
Arwanna shook her head. “I am sorry, Calise, but I tried many times to talk to Delek and persuade him to try some of the therapies. Unfortunately, he refused, saying that he was one of the few that saw the Tau'ri for the danger to the Tok’Ra that they were. Still, I tried, and so did Driamel before he died. We could not go to the council, as what we knew was between Delek and us.”
“I feel now, that I should have broken that code. I believe there are times when it is necessary and this was obviously one where I did not, when I should have. He has kept this information to himself, which is why you have heard none of it before. Only those of us attempting to treat him knew of everything that had happened. I believe that Lantash suspects some of it, but he has never questioned me, probably assuming I could not break that confidence, and because I never felt that Delek was a danger to anyone before now, I never felt there was a need to be careful. Things have changed.”
“So, you believe that his bitterness and—and hatred of the Tau’ri have developed to the point that he is willing to—to kill them? Even though you say that he cares for Samantha Carter?”
Arwanna nodded her head. “I do not know for sure, but I believe it is very possible. I only hope that it will not continue until there is no hope for him at all. He may yet be able to redeem himself. Perhaps they will not kill him if he cooperates, but…” she stopped. There was nothing more to say. They both knew that the chances of them allowing him to live were small indeed. Lantash’s, and now Malek’s, anger alone could be enough to see him dead unless cooler minds held sway. There was only one person who could save him, and she had absolutely no reason to do so and every reason not to. Only Samantha Carter held the power to hold Lantash and Malek in check. It seemed unlikely that she would prove willing to do so.
“Perhaps we can step in as his healers and testify that he has not been in his right mind for quite some time now, but that it is only now that he has become dangerous? That we feel he needs therapy, not—not death? After all, we do not ‘know’, for a fact, that he tried to kill Samantha. Do we even know what happened to her? We have been gone for the last eight days, Arwanna. All we have are rumors and innuendo. Perhaps we should find out more before we do anything for or against him.”
Arwanna stared at her. It was obvious that Gava had not told her. Everyone was going on nothing but rumor, some of which appeared to be very close to the truth. Now what did she do?
Delek awoke again and realized that he felt somewhat better. Suddenly, he remembered where he was—he thought. Moreover, he was sure he remembered what had occurred. He knew what had happened to him to cause his injuries, and it was not a System Lord. At least, it was not one of which the Tok’Ra were aware, or who even admitted to being one.
Therefore, he was dead. They had made very sure that he would be dead. The bastards. It was too bad he was dead because if he was not, he would turn them all in. Every last one of them and to hell with what they would do to him. He would not care, if only he could see to it that they received what was their due.
He no longer cared that they would try to drag him down with them. He no longer cared that he would lose his status as a sub-council member. That was amusing, really. He had managed to do a great deal more than lose his place as a sub-council member; he had managed to lose his life. Even had he lived, still his life would be forfeit, not just his council seat. If only he had a second chance, he would gladly accept his own death as punishment, if it meant seeing them taken down and rendered harmless, as well.
Unfortunately, second chances were not something one was given. He was dead, and it would no doubt soon be time for his judgment. He did not have to wonder how that would go, for he knew how very lacking he was. His biggest regret, though, would be leaving them behind to carry on their destruction of all that he should have then, and did now, (when it was much too late) hold so dear.
He frowned again to himself. He kept thinking he was hearing a voice, and it seemed to be a healer from Malek’s base. Malek’s base? If he was where he believed, then he was not hearing a healer from Malek’s base. He could not be because he was dead.
Possibly, he should try to open his eyes and see what the afterlife looked like. He managed to crack them enough to realize that he was not in the afterlife. The voice he had heard was indeed one of Malek’s healers. Moreover, she was tending to him.
Searching quickly, he realized that some of his injuries were well on their way to healing. His eyes were no longer swollen completely shut. He could think and remember almost everything, thank the Goddess. He almost sighed, but that would have given away the fact that he was awake and listening. He hoped to find out why he was not dead before allowing them to know he was awake.
Had Malek somehow overcome the Arsyniqar, then? He had given him less than a quarter of a vial. What if they had lied and they did not put any into his food? If they had not, then Malek should not have fallen asleep at all.
His mind worked feverishly. Of course. They had lied to him even at the end. They had begun to suspect that their drug was no longer completely working on him, and that he did not put the Arsyniqar in Malek’s food, as they had programmed him to do.
What was it he had heard them discussing as they left him to die? Think Delek, what was it? Yes, that was it. They were going to frame Malek to take the blame for his death. If they incarcerated Malek pending an investigation, then they could get to and kill Samantha Carter, if she did not die on her own without him, as soon as he was away from her. Malek was the only thing standing between them and her, and he would then be completely out of the way. He could only hope that Malek did not fall asleep and allow Samantha Carter to die. He had only given him a small amount, so surely he had not. However, that would have allowed them to blame him for his beating and death.
They had planned it well. Knowing that he would not put the Arsyniqar in Malek’s food, they had set Malek up to take the blame for his death. Even to having Delek attack Samantha in daylight in front of Malek, so that Malek would threaten him. They had even managed to have a ‘witness’ overhear the conversation.
Still, perhaps something went wrong with their plan. For one thing, he had to die for it to work. If he survived, the plot had failed. Well, maybe it did not fail completely. No, wait; Samantha would not have died, because Malek would not have fallen asleep, so they must still be alive. If he did not die, then they could not have incarcerated Malek because he was still living. If they did not incarcerate Malek, then Samantha did not die because he was there to protect her. It finally truly reached his consciousness. He, Delek of the Tok’ Ra, was still alive. Alive. He was alive! Their plot had failed then! Thank the Goddess.
What had happened? Had someone found him? Did they catch them? He wanted to ask questions; he wanted answers. He must talk to Malek right away, and Per'sus. However, not on Garshaw’s base for they could get to Per'sus if he went there. He must come here to Malek’s base. No, no—please—not yet. He could not fall back into unconsciousness without telling them about—he had to tell them the—he was not going to be allowed to do so. He could feel his body shutting down again, slipping into unconsciousness.
Conceivably, he was still dying. If so, he must be about to do so, and he would never get to tell them what he knew. Still, he was on Malek’s base, so their plan to kill Samantha had failed. More importantly, Malek and Per'sus were now aware that there was more to this than just him trying to kill Samantha Carter. Thank the Goddess; none of his attempts had been successful. That, at least, was the one good thing that had happened.
He tried again to speak, but knew he would not succeed, no matter how badly he wished to. Darkness enveloped him as he drifted back into oblivion.
Sam moaned as Daniel nudged her legs farther open. She watched them as they knelt between them, feasting on her body. She could feel all of them. Lantash and Martouf were behind her, almost under her. They were caressing her from her shoulder to her hip and back again in soft, easy strokes. She had missed their touch so much. Malek and Devlin feasted on her breasts and between the six of them, they were slowly driving her wild with need and lust. They all felt so good. So damn good. Daniel was feathering kisses from her knees to her womanhood and back again before returning to her center and beginning to lave her gently and rhythmically, before beginning the trip once again.
“Samantha, my love, we wish to mate with Daniel this time. Then our binding will be completed and only you, Malek, Devlin, and Daniel will still need to bind.” All Sam could answer with was a moan. She was beyond words. Every caress, every kiss, every nip and nibble and every sweep of a hand on her body drove her higher.
What was Daniel doing now? He was—he was, oh, there was no way she would survive this. His tongue was so, so talented, and he seemed to know exactly what she needed, what she wanted. She ran her fingers into his hair to hold him to her body, but he did not need any encouragement. Then he slipped away from her hands and his fingers took over. He was talking to her. “You taste wonderful, Sam, and you look beautiful when you're aroused like this. You are looking at us with such desire and love for all of us. Come for me, Sam. Give me the first climax of your day. That’s a girl, you are almost there.” Daniel stopped talking again and replaced his fingers with his tongue.
Lantash sucked gently, before increasing the tugging on the side of her throat, helping to stoke the fire that was already raging inside of her. Malek took her lips in a long, deep kiss before leaving them to return to her breasts. He could not seem to get enough of her. It amazed him, to think how quickly he had recovered. One of her hands found the velvet length of him and he gasped as she worked on him in rhythm with what Daniel was doing to her.
Her first climax slammed through her, and she cried out as she bucked against Daniel, holding him with one hand and Malek with the other, as Lantash encouraged her to let herself go. She did, and it was wonderful, but they did not let up or slow down.
If anything, their lovemaking became more intense. “We love you, our Samantha. All of us love you more than anything or anyone in all of the worlds. You are so very precious to us. It would be so very hard to continue without you, if you had not survived what happened to you while we were gone. We would not have wished to go on living without you.” Martouf claimed her lips as his fingers entwined in her hair. She opened for his tongue savoring the taste of him. “Will you accept Brandel, Daniel, Lantash and I in Cor'kesh’lek’dak, Samantha? Will you allow our bodies to bind our hearts together? Will you become the force that binds our lives to Daniel and Brandel and them to us, our Samantha? Will you join with us, our love?”
Sam moaned again, nodding her head before managing to whisper, “Yes, yes, I want you. I want to be joined with you and to join you together with me. I love you. I love you all, so much.”
Lantash came forward and smiled into her eyes. “As we love you, Samantha, as we all love you. Come to us, our heart and make us whole within you.”
And then she was lost to sensation again as they began the same sweet torment they had used on her the day before, until she could no longer think, all she could do was feel. Their hands, their lips, their bodies. She lost track of everything but the burning need to be loved by her lovers, her mates. She wanted them fiercely, passionately, just as she loved and adored them.
There was no doubt that they adored her as well. It was in their touches, their eyes, their voices, their words. She was drowning in a sea of love, and they were her lifelines, they were all she knew, all she could feel, all she wanted, and all she needed.
Then, before she even realized what they were doing, they were there, within her, surrounding her with their love. It wove around her and through her, and it seemed to have no beginning and no end, it was simply a constant circuit between them. She heard Daniel gasp and Martouf moan. She could feel them moving together, in unison, all on the same stroke, the same breath, the same heartbeat. They were lost in the moment, lost in their love, lost to the world around them. Malek caught his breath as their passion sent them racing toward the shore’s edge, and then they were leaping together into the tidal wave as their climaxes broke over them. They came together and stayed together as they floated there, enraptured by the love surrounding them.
Brandel moaned. Daniel smiled at him, saying, “I think Sam accepted you as a mate, Brand. I didn’t hear her say no, anyway.” Brandel moaned again, and Daniel hugged his new Lifemate gently. “We will discuss it more a little later.”
“An excellent idea, Daniel. She is exquisite, I must tell you that now, though.”
“Yes. Yes, Brand, she is.”
Sam felt soft lips pressed to her shoulder and she realized that she had passed beyond conscious thought for a short time. Lantash and Martouf cuddled up behind her and Daniel was facing her, kissing her forehead and brushing her hair from her face. Malek was above her head in much the same position that Daniel had been in yesterday when Malek had been the one making love to her in Cor’kesh’lek’dak. She loosened her hand from around him so that he could become more comfortable. He caressed her and smiled at her softly.
Her eyes were growing heavy. Obviously, she had not caught up on her sleep yet. She dozed, awakening only when they performed me etarakr et cor renek qua, my heart and hands honor you, showing Daniel the ritual. She tried to stay awake and listen to what they were saying, but her body was simply too tired.
“Samantha, can you hear me?” Lantash tried to wake her gently.
She blinked up at him and nodded, wondering why they were not returning to bed. She frowned. They were all dressed. “My love, we must go and take care of some base business this morning. We will return shortly. Daniel will remain with you, unless you do not mind if we leave you alone. Do you wish someone to stay with you? There are guards right outside the door, Mer Ann’wyld.”
Sam tried to think, but found that her mind did not want to function, all she wanted to do was go back to sleep. Watching her, Daniel realized that she was having trouble even making sense of what they were saying to her. The lovemaking had thoroughly relaxed her, and she was only barely awake.
“How about if I stay with you, Sam? I don’t really have anything I need to do. I won’t bother you, but I’ll be here just in case you wake up and need something.”
“You don’t have to, Daniel. I’ll be all right. I don’t think they can get to me through the guards, do you?”
Lantash heard the thread of fear that was a barely discernable undertone in her voice. “No, my love, they cannot, however, I would feel better if I knew that Daniel was also here with you. It would put my heart and mind at ease if you would allow him to stay with you, please.”
Sam searched his eyes, but could find nothing to tell her he was not being truthful, and she was so tired; she really didn’t feel like she could function for much longer. She felt guilty. She didn’t need them with her all the time now, so she should be able to let them all go.
“I feel the same way, Sam. I really don’t want to leave you alone yet. It just doesn’t feel right to me. I think we would all feel better, if you let me stay with you, and I really don’t need to be anywhere today. Malek, Devlin, Martouf, and Lantash have base business to take care of, but I don’t.”
Finally, Sam nodded, admitting to herself, if not to them, that she would feel better if one of them stayed with her, too. She felt Daniel lie down beside her, and then she was asleep. She did not hear anything else that they said. If she had, she would have been indignant that they didn’t trust her to take care of herself.
“Go on. I'm happy to stay with her, and we did discuss this last night. I’ll stay for now and if you need me, then com me, and I’ll join you. You need to find out if anything is going on and catch up on if anything else is happening. Besides, this is the perfect opportunity, since they don’t know she took me as a mate as well.”
Malek nodded. “Very well, Daniel, thank you. I truly don’t feel comfortable yet leaving her alone. I know it makes no sense, as I have guards posted, however, I will simply feel better if one of us is with her at all times for a while yet. Moreover, as you say this will be an opportunity for them.”
“I agree. We need to see how things are going around the base, and then check on Delek. We will return as soon as we can, and if you need us, you can always com us, as well. Our plans are in place and that is what is the most important thing,” Lantash agreed with his two mate-brothers.
Martouf hesitated but then asked Lantash, “Are you sure that Daniel will be enough…”
“Yes, Mer Prinekh, I believe he is just as competent as any other; he proved that yesterday. It will be all right, Martouf,” Lantash reassured his Lifemate.
Martouf indicated his acceptance, and then he gave his attention back to Daniel, as he began talking to them.
Daniel nodded. “All right. Go ahead and go. The sooner you leave, the sooner you will return. As we said, our plans are in place in case something should occur. We’ll be fine, and we’ll see you later.”
“Very well. We will see you after we have taken care of whatever needs done and checked on Delek,” Malek agreed, as he and Lantash headed out the door. Daniel took off his shirt, lie down beside Sam, and smiled as she snuggled down into her pillow, completely unaware that he was beside her, as she continued to sleep.
Delek awoke to the warmth of the healing devices and the realization that he was almost completely healed. He had no trouble remembering anything this time. He knew exactly where he was and what was in store for him. He was very aware of what he brought onto himself through his own idiocy. His thoughts flew to recent events. Dear Goddess, how many mistakes had he made in the past several years? The recent ones were only the very last in a long line of them.
How had he allowed his prejudice to blind him so? Why had he become so prejudiced in the first place? When had he become so bitter and alone that those traitorous Psha'krevays, those gareevles, could use him to such an extent? When had he become so weak-willed that he could fall prey to such a drug? Well, he supposed he could not blame himself for that part, but that was the only place he was not culpable.
Thank the Goddess; something in the drug they gave him eventually made Connal immune to it. It had to have been that or something in his genetic make-up. Whichever it was did not really matter right now. What mattered was that Connal had become immune to its effects.
Then, he had battered at Delek over and over, warning him that they were drugging and programming him to do despicable things. When he, himself, had finally begun to build up a tolerance for it, he began to believe Connal—and to fight its effects. Unfortunately, it was only that last evening, the one where he was supposed to kill Malek that he had been able to overcome at least part of their programming and only give him a very small amount of the Arsyniqar instead of the entire vial as he was supposed to do. Connal had helped him then as well. Not once had he deserted him even when he was loathsome to him. Never would he be able to thank him enough for that.
Still, even if the actions he had taken against Samantha Carter were not his fault, he would never have fallen in with that group to begin with if he had not hated the Tau'ri and wanted to work against the Tok’Ra-Tau'ri alliance. He had talked to those in the NID about trying to disrupt the alliance and had agreed to help if he could. Of course, that had led him to the sholva Tok’Ra with whom he ended up involved. It all came back to his act of treason. There was no excuse, no way out of that. Murder might never have been a part of his plans; nevertheless, it had come to that, and willing or not, his was the hand that had attempted it.
He had done it, and that is all any of them would see. That was all that any of them should see. He was guilty; he had tried to kill Samantha Carter; one of the few human women he had ever really desired—no—loved. Because he had loved her. Her, Jolinar, and Rosha, and all of them had chosen Lantash and Martouf. Envy, jealousy, spite, anger, resentment, all had led to hatred, and that had allowed those psha’krevays to lead him down this path to the evil he had done; now he would pay for those bitter and, he realized, deadly emotions.
Of course, the most ironic part was that the word "had" was so significant. He ‘had’ loved Samantha Carter, Jolinar, and Rosha—in the past. However, he did not anymore. Actually, looking back, he wondered if he had ever really loved any of them. He had been attracted to them, certainly, but real love? Not if the way he felt about another Tok’Ra he now knew was anything to go by. Not that it mattered because the pair that drew him now would never look twice at him before this happened. Now, she would probably be the one to put him into indefinite stasis, or inject him with an overdose of arsyniqar. More irony. How wonderful.
Why was she here tending to him? As much as he liked the idea of her caring for him, he still wished that she and Talisa were not here. To have to confess to attempted murder was going to be bad enough. To confess it in front of her, of all people, would be the worst thing he had ever had to do.
There was nothing he could do about it. Whatever would be, would be. He had no choice, and in fact, although he would hate doing it, still, he would do it because, more than anything else, he wanted those responsible to pay for what they had done and were trying to do. He shuddered, thinking about their plans. He was not dead. He had a second chance, a chance to stop them. Thank the Goddess for that, at least. After—well, after— they would put him to death, move him to indefinite stasis, or, he shuddered at the thought; they would put him into a tank for an indefinite time. One of them would be his fate; he was sure. He deserved it but, so did they, and if at all possible, he would do his best to see that they got exactly what was coming to them. He hoped they allowed him to die last that he might see them go before him.
Why had he allowed himself to join this conspiracy? Stupid. Goddess, he had been so stupid, when he had chosen to ally himself with that group. And so gullible, so almost laughably gullible. He had allowed his raging emotions, his spite, and feelings of inferiority, his jealousy and envy, to lead him into one of the most unintelligent things he had ever done.
Why, why had he not listened to his host? For that matter, when had he completely stopped listening to him? When, until the last few days, was the last time he had even spoken to him with anything in his voice other than contempt and disdain? For that matter, when had he started to treat him that way? And why? He had always liked his host. Connal was a quiet young man who had lived through a traumatic episode as a Goa'uld slave and host. When had he allowed Connal’s natural wish to remain in the background become his reason for never giving him control of his own body? He shuddered. Too long ago, that is when. Too damn long ago, as Jacob would say. Jacob. Another mistake. Another person he had allowed his bitterness, hatred, and jealousy to make into an enemy. He sighed.
He hoped that someday Connal would know how much he regretted his actions. How truly sorry he was for the way he had treated him. He did not even have an excuse for his actions; he had simply done as he wished to do and to Netu with anyone else or what they wanted or felt. At least, he now recognized himself as a piece of Shek’vla and could be glad that Connal would be able to have a real life, once he was gone from him.
Perhaps he should simply leave him and allow himself to die? He could, but he needed Connal’s body long enough to explain who he knew for a fact was behind this menace to the Tau'ri, as well as who he suspected was also involved. He had never met the ringleader. Nevertheless, he was sure he knew who it was, and that information would be going directly to Lantash and Malek as soon as he could give it to them.
“You may use my body as long as you wish, Delek. My feelings for you have not changed. I have felt your emotions through the years and there is nothing to forgive. Do not forget that you saved me from an intolerable situation. You gave me a life that I would otherwise never have had. While it is true that I no longer have control of my body, I have lived your life with you. Even at your angriest, you were never deliberately cruel to me, nor did you inflict pain on me as the Goa’uld do,” Connal assured him softly, his voice still as loving as it always had been.
Still more gently, he reminded Delek of their oneness within their duality, saying, “I have mourned with you, and I have loved with you. I have felt all of your pain and what very little joy you have had. You are lying to yourself about Jolinar, Rosha, and Samantha Carter, as well. You did love them. Perhaps not as deeply as we loved Cordesh, or as we now love, but the love we felt was truly love, not a lesser emotion. You owe me nothing, Delek, and I will be more than happy to die with you. I certainly do not wish to go on living without you.”
Delek almost gasped aloud, but caught it before he gave them away to those standing around them. He attempted to control his emotions when he heard his Lifemate’s words. Finally under control again, he answered him swiftly, “Connal? You will not die with me. If you still wish to remain Tok’Ra, after all the things I have subjected you to, then they will find you a new young symbiote that will love and cherish you, as I should have loved and cherished you. I will not allow you to die along with me. The least I can do is to leave you with a new and much better Lifemate.”
His mate laughed tenderly, before replying, “If I cannot have you, then I wish for no other. I will die with you. I have decided, and it is my choice, not yours. They can send us both upon the next step of the journey together. We have been mated too long to change now. That is how I feel, and there is nothing you can do but allow me to determine my own fate.”
“I certainly can do something else. You do not have to die with me. You had nothing to do with this, and I will not see you suffer for my folly,” Delek declared firmly.
Connal sighed deeply, before pointing out, “You have been lost and alone for several years now, Delek. I will not desert and leave you, too. Cordesh had no choice, and Jolinar and Rosha could not control the fact that they loved Martouf and Lantash. That is the direction their hearts went, as did Samantha Carter’s heart. Mine has been within you from the day you took me as your host and made me your home and your Lifemate. I will not leave you lost and alone; not now and not ever,” Connal’s responses was just as firm as Delek’s was.
Delek sighed again. He had forgotten how stubborn Connal could be when he set his mind to it. “We will speak no more about it now, but I can tell you that the council will insist on removing me, for you had nothing to do with my actions, and your life will not be allowed to be dependent on mine.”
“Then I shall take my own life, but I will die with you,” Connal passed beyond stubborn to immovable.
“Connal, please, do not do this to me. I feel enough guilt without this added burden.” He felt his Lifemate pause and frown, as he thought of that. Finally, he had found the correct way to force him to allow them to part. Connal would not give Delek more pain, and if his dying with him would cause him pain, instead of giving him comfort, then he would do as Delek asked. Eventually. He hoped. He was lost to tomorrow; he would not allow Connal to be the same.
Arwanna and Calise were continuing to heal the many superficial bruises that they had earlier ignored in favor of the deeper and more life threatening injuries. They were sure now that he would survive; they healed the life-threatening injuries several hours ago, now, and all that remained were a few minor bruises and cuts. He should awaken soon.
“Do you believe the rumors? Do you believe that he tried to kill Samantha?” Calise knew that Arwanna would give her a straight, honest answer, even if it might not be what she wanted to hear. She needed to know; it was very important.
Arwanna looked at Calise and sighed. This was the second time she had questioned her. She would have to tell her the truth. Making sure her voice was a gentle as possible, she quietly told her the truth, “I thought you knew, Calise. There is no doubt. Gava took me aside and told me of it last night. The information must go no farther than you, though. I should not be telling you, either, but I believe that you should know, for a variety of reasons. He has tried to kill Samantha on more than one occasion, and her illness this last week was due to poisoning—poisoning that he induced in her with Evernight.”
“He also attempted to kill Malek. If Samantha had not awakened and roused Daniel Jackson, Malek would have died from an overdose of Arsyniqar. As far as we can tell, Delek put it into his food, and there is no doubt that it had to have been almost a complete vial. Gava had to administer the antidote; she could not awaken him at all. It could have been quite tragic.”
Delek’s eyes flew open and he looked into Arwanna’s startled ones. “I have done a great many stupid, foolish, ignorant, and evil things recently, but attempting to kill Malek is not one of them, Arwanna. I did not put that much arsyniqar in his food. I barely put in a quarter of a vial. I poured the remainder down my boot, so that it would appear that I had given it to him, as per my instructions, but I did not do so.”
He was startled at the activity his voice brought forth. Guards he had not even realized were anywhere near them were suddenly standing much closer to him and their zats were leveled at him. What they thought he could do, restrained as he was he did not know, so he simply shook his head and said dryly, “I will not be attempting to escape. I am well aware that I am in custody, and that I am being held on attempted murder charges.” The centurions did not lower their weapons but they did step back out of the healer’s way once again.
“Could I possibly have a drink of water, or is my host being punished for my offenses? I should tell you that he has had nothing at all to do with any of this. He has been trying to reason with me for years and to warn me of what was happening here for months. Only now am I beginning to see that he was correct, and I was the one that was wrong. I wish to make that very, very clear.”
He looked over at Arwanna as she brought him some water. He drank it gratefully as she held it to his lips, and then said to her, “You were correct, Arwanna. I wish now that I had listened to you and allowed you to see if you could help me. I am sorry for not believing that you knew about that which you were talking. I was so very sure that I was seeing the universe correctly, and everyone else was wrong. It matters not now, but still, I feel I should apologize for doubting you.”
A masculine voice answered before Arwanna could do so, saying, “It is a shame you did not realize that several years ago, Delek. Perhaps then you would not be facing the charges and penalties you are now facing.”
Delek’s lips twisted wryly. “You are telling me nothing I do not already know, Malek. I have finally, during the last however many hours I have been here, figured out a great many things during my moments of lucidity, sparse though they have been. It did not matter that they were few and far between, for once I began looking for answers, it truly did not take long for me to come to the correct conclusions. The important thing, though, is that you and Samantha Carter are alive, if not exactly well. I will tell you that I do truly hope that she is recovering, Malek. I never wished to kill her. I am very glad I failed in all of my attempts.”
Delek glanced at Calise as she gasped, and he was surprised at how very pale she became as he flatly stated the truth of his many attempts on Samantha Carter’s life. At that moment, he knew exactly what he had lost with his spite and jealousy. There was no doubt that she cared for him. How very, very ironic. Irony, it seemed, was now ruling his life as well as ripping what was left of his heart in two.
He closed his eyes and turned his face from her. Finding out now that she loved him was just too much for him to cope with. Envy, jealousy, spite, and love—his life had been full of the first three—but love had eluded him after Cordesh became male. Until now, that is. Now, when it was much, much too late. He felt Connal’s love surround him.
He heard Calise sigh. “He is telling the truth about the Arsyniqar, Malek. If you will remember, Devlin has a rather severe intolerance for it. Even a very small amount puts him to sleep and in your exhausted state, it would have taken very little for it to put you both into a state where only the antidote would bring you out of it. You are lucky it only took one dose of it for you to come around considering your condition at the time. You always have very bad reactions to the antidote, as well, and are quite belligerent and confrontational until Devlin takes over. Much more so than most symbiotes are at any rate, although all react in a similar manner. Not, however, to the point that you do. I hope you apologized to Gava for your poor manners and boorish behavior.”
Malek frowned, as Devlin spoke to him, “She is correct, Malek. We have both forgotten, for it has been many years now since we have taken it. Do you not remember how stupid it made us? It was as if we were very drunk, and only Calise’s fast thinking kept us from falling into a stupor and dying. Furthermore, you did become extremely unruly and combative with her, as you came out from under it.”
Malek nodded as the incident Devlin was speaking of came back to him. He looked at those watching him. “She is correct. I am afraid that it has been so long since it was used on us that we have both forgotten about our reactions. And while that may free him from the charge of attempting to murder myself and Devlin, it does nothing to free him of the charges surrounding the attempts on our mate,” he bit out angrily. “If anything, it is admittance to at least one of the attempts, for if Samantha had not awakened, she and I both would have died.”
Unexpectedly, Connal came fore, something none of them had seen for a very long time. “I am sorry for what Delek has attempted to do, Malek. However, I believe that once you hear the entire story, you will find that it is not exactly all Delek’s fault. While his initial transgression should be punished as stringently as you wish, I do not believe, once you hear what is happening, that you will find him guilty of attempted murder. Unless, of course, you believe that those under the influence of Za’rask Quel’tarc are responsible for deeds committed while under its influence?”
“Za’rask Quel’tarc has been banned from use for centuries. It is lethal to both host and symbiote over time.”
Connal smiled grimly as he told him, “Not with one certain component taken out of it. We only received this information, as they attempted to kill us. They were quite cheerful about using it on us and that their leader controlled us completely. Fortunately, for us anyway, the one component that they removed, along with the other changes they made in it, did something else that they did not foresee. I believe that the absence of it allowed me to become immune to it and therefore, leave me unaffected. I also think that it allowed Delek to build up a tolerance to it. Unfortunately, it took a long time for it to do those things, and it was only on the night you were given the Arsyniqar that Delek gained enough control to be able to resist the programming enough to only perform a part of the orders. That is the reason they attempted to kill him, and it also gave them the opening to attempt to pin his death on you. They had begun to suspect that he was having more and more control over his own actions, and that the drug was no longer working as it should on him.”
Malek and Lantash both sat down. “Are you telling us that there are Tok’Ra using Za’rask against their own people? Even the Goa’uld will not use it because of its side effects. They abandoned it after it repeatedly killed off the very individuals they wished to use. One of the Tok’Ra has perfected it to the point that it can be used without killing?”
“It will kill an unblended human immediately, but all of the long-term effects to the symbiote’s body were overcome. And, of course, the symbiote can prevent it from killing his host. Yes, that is what I am telling you.”
“Dear Goddess,” Malek breathed. “Not Anise?”
Connal looked at him blankly for a moment or two, and then smiled slightly. “No, Malek, not Anise; although, I believe the theft of her data pad, several years ago, led to the development of the Za’rask in its present form. She is hardly to blame for that.”
“No, of course not, but then who?”
The man stood quietly near the bed watching the couple sleeping there. This was entirely too good to be true. It had also been so very easy. Messages from Malek telling the guards to go and help immediately in the Tau'ri section of the tunnels, and he walked, unquestioned and undeterred, into the chamber once so well guarded. He would be able to kill two of the Tau'ri at once. Both Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter lie sleeping in the bed.
He frowned as he sensed the symbiote within Daniel Jackson. Damn the Stars, he had blended with a Tok’Ra. The injection would not kill him, then. His lips twisted into a sneer. Perhaps not, but he would be programmable. There was enough of the drug to do that to him if he gave it all to him instead of half to her. How poetic. He would program Daniel Jackson to kill Samantha Carter, and he could even choose to watch as he did it if he wished to. He did not have to do it himself after all; her new mate would do it for him. It was all so amusing he almost laughed aloud. Almost.
The symbiote did not appear to be aware of him. No doubt, he was exhausted from healing Daniel Jackson and making love to his mate. That was a good thing. He could inject him before he even knew what happened, and then when he awakened, he would program him. He could also have Daniel kill Delek for them; there was no doubt that he would have access to him. Their leader would be very pleased. He liked things to be done as neatly as possible.
He frowned. Should he have Daniel kill his mate now? They were questioning Delek, much good it would do them to do so. Delek did not even know who the true leader of their group was. He could implicate the rest of them, but their leader would see to their rescue, if he did. Still, perhaps it would be better to have him dispose of Delek first, as soon as possible, and then his mate. No doubt, that would be best. Oh, yes, it would all work out very well indeed.
He stepped up to the bed and reached toward Daniel’s shoulder.
Before he knew what happened, Daniel grasped his wrist and quite efficiently snapped it. He screamed in pain going to his knees just before a fist slammed into his face knocking him backwards. Recovering slightly and deadening the pain, he jerked his broken wrist from Daniel’s grip and grabbed his zat’nik’tel with his free, uninjured hand, as he brought his falling body back under control. Swinging back to face Daniel, he stopped abruptly as he came face to face with both a zat’nik’tel and a very impressive-looking handgun, both of which were aimed at his head. He dropped his zat to the floor and froze in place.
“Wise move—Councilor. How very obliging of you to stop by to check up on Sam and me. We are fine, as you can see.”
Daniel momentarily swung his gaze to the man with the gun and grinned at him briefly. Then he murmured, with a laugh, “Good to see you, too, Jack. Just dropping by for a little target practice?”
Jack O’Neill laughed, but he never took his cold, menacing eyes from his prisoner, who was wise enough to remain completely still.