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Summary: After being sent to the surface of a planet, which the System Lord they are "serving" is destroying, Malek and his host realize that they have been compromised and their only recourse is to escape through the Chaappa'ai. Unfortunately, his host is fatally wounded shortly after they arrive on the surface and he is dying. Roavan wants to find Malek a new host and when they stumble upon a young man chained in a room, he takes the opportunity that has fallen to them. This is the story of how Malek and Devlin (his current host) met and blended.
Characters: Malek/Roavan, Malek/Devlin
Pairing: Malek/Roavan, Malek/Devlin - NOT SLASH - These are host/symbiote pairings
Rating: R for discussion of violence and allusions to sexual slavery and captivity. Warning: OC Character Death.
The young man stood at the window, one hand pressed against the glass as he stared at the throughway below and the carnage that was everywhere upon it. Tears rolled silently down his cheeks, but he neither sobbed nor cried aloud.
The bars on the outside of the window kept him from breaking the glass to escape, true, but even more so, the golden collar around his neck and the long chain attached to it would stop him even if the bars were gone. Of course, if the bars were gone, he could break the glass and jump, strangling himself. What a relief that would be; to finally end this dismal thing called life.
He continued staring out the window as evening approached. The shadows lengthened, and he could no longer see the bodies of his children lying where they had been killed by the Jaffa. His throat closed on the anguished cry trying to escape, as he thought about those two precious beings. They and they alone, had made his life bearable.
A sex slave, he wished that the Jaffa had found and given him the same release that his children had been given. At least, they would not be slaves of the Goa’uld, and his son would not grow up to become the possession of a father-in-law. That in itself was something to be grateful for, just as he should be grateful that sweet Marisa would not grow up to be married to a man she neither knew nor loved, to be used to give birth to children that could be used as bargaining chips by their grandfathers.
He remembered his own parents. How very different their lives had been from what he now endured and his children had faced as their future. His eyes were desolate, but no more tears fell. With the addition of the memories of his parents to that of the loss of his children, his grief became too deep for tears. They had been preparing to leave this world, Spartania, and return to their own home world, when the man who was now his father-in-law struck.
He had known that the man wanted something from him; though at the time he did not know what or why. All he had really known was that the man stared at him and made him uncomfortable. He had told his father about his feelings and the man that was always staring at him. His father had believed him and made arrangements to return to their own home world.
However, he had not told his son why. It might have been better if he had. At least, when his parents were killed, he would not have trusted any of the men who said they were there to help him. Moreover, when he was given to that man, he might have known what to expect.
He knew he would have attempted to flee before he was taken to anyone’s home. In pain over the loss of his parents, and alone for the first time in his life, he had been devastated and lost. However, fate had stepped in, and at a very young age, past puberty, but only just, he had learned what treachery truly was.
The man he now had as a father-in-law had arranged that his parents would go home, but in a different way than expected. They went as corpses and the third body sent, badly mutilated, was supposedly him. Proof of identity had been sent with that body, and as far as he knew, no one had ever come to check. His father-in-law, he would not let his name even enter his mind, had taken great satisfaction explaining in detail exactly how he had arranged their deaths. He had also explained how, after they had drugged him, they had taken samples of flesh, saliva, and blood, to prove that the body was indeed Devlin.
How different his life had been with his parents. He remembered them clearly, although ten years had passed. His mother was beautiful with softly curling, glorious brown hair, shot through with gold and red, and brown eyes that laughed and reflected the sun, their golden lights shining forth with love for him and his father. Her voice, he could still hear it, soft and low as she sang a love song for them. She had loved him so, the only child she had been granted.
He remembered his father, too. Tall and slender, but strong, he had been very well proportioned. He had always assured Devlin that he would grow into his arms, his legs, and his mind. That the children at school, that made fun of him now, when he was all arms and legs and clumsiness, would someday look at him with respect and honor him for his mind and abilities. He had been exactly as his son, he said, when he was that age.
Besides that, he was a handsome boy even though he had yet to grow into his height and fill out. In fact, he looked like one of the pictures of the princely warriors that the local historian was always going on about. His father had even shown him a picture of one of them, one of the Warriors of the Light.
He did not think he looked like that, but his mother and father both told him that he was the image of the handsome man depicted there. “Someday you, too, will become a Warrior of the Light and fight the darkness that abounds in the universe.” He did not believe he was handsome, and he did not believe he would become one of the great Warriors of the Light, but it had warmed him that his parents loved him so much that they believed he was and would.
His father had laughed a great deal, as had his mother. They had been happy together; laughing and singing was always heard in their home. He had often wished for the kind of love that his parents had known.
His father had taught him to have a sense of humor, to be able to laugh at himself, to be honorable, honest, dependable, kind, and to love women. He had taught him that to enjoy and honor a woman was one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, he had never found out if that was true, for his life had changed drastically the day his parents had been murdered, and he had been stolen away from everything he had ever known.
He sighed now, knowing that he had never had the opportunity to truly love and worship a woman with his heart and his body. It was one of the most painful regrets he had. His mother had reveled in his father’s love of her. Looking back, he could see that their lives had been very beautiful.
His own wife hated him because her father had chosen him for her. On the other hand, she hated her father as well. That he could understand, but he was as much, or more, a prisoner of her father’s than she was. At least, she could leave whenever she wished to once the children were born.
She was vain and selfish, of that, there was no doubt, and he had disliked her from the start. She had disparaged both his intellect and his body. He had come close to hating her, except that he realized she was a product of their twisted society. In a society where the father-in-law owned and used the son-in-law as a sex slave until he died and the women were mere incubators, what else could one expect? At least she was not chained and stripped of both clothing and freedom.
He had been chained for ten years. Ten very long, very lonely years. No matter how many times he escaped, he was always caught. He never quite made it to the Portal. He had tried though. He had tried. He had been forced to wed the daughter and get her with child. After that, he stopped trying to escape; he also stopped fighting his father-in-laws sexual demands. As long as he cooperated, he was given free access to his children.
`He had spent hour after hour with them in this room. It was the only time he was ever clothed and unchained. However, he was held hostage by their well-being. It had been hinted that if he did not cooperate that there was no reason to keep the girl. Sweet Marisa would have been sold at once and she would have been placed as a breeder as soon as she was capable of bearing children. He would not allow that to happen.
Now, they were gone. Just—gone. This very morning they came to his rooms and spent hours with him. They had laughed and played. And, he had watched them and played with them. The anguish ripped through him again. He leaned his head against the glass, seeing them laughing in his mind’s eye. They faded and he turned back to the room.
He listened for any sounds from the level below his. The Jaffa had come earlier and he had heard the screams echoing through the house. He had waited for them to come for him, but as far as he could tell, they had never left the lower floor. If his children had been with him, instead of visiting their mother, they would be alive now. Why, on this of all days, the woman had insisted on seeing them, when she never had asked for them before, he would never know. Moreover, it was too late to wonder now, for they had run from the house and been killed in the thoroughfare below.
He thought that Marisa had screamed for him, but over the other noises, he could not be sure. He would always believe that it had been for him, though. Until his dying day, he would see them cut down by the Jaffa as he stood and watched, completely helpless and unable to do anything. He could not even be there to die with them.
The anger that roared into life and suddenly swept through him, took him by surprise. He would do anything to be able to fight the Goa’uld, to repay them for the loss of his children. He did not care what it was, or what it took; he would sell his soul to the Gods of the Underworld, if he thought he could get revenge for his children’s blood. However, the plea he sent was not to them, but to the Goddess of goodness and light, his mother’s favorite, asking her to allow fate to step in and help him in his goal. Asking that she place the chance to fight the Goa’uld before him. He vowed to pick it up and go on in her name, as well as Marisa and Jamison’s. He would fight them until either he or they were dead, if only she would please grant him this one boon.
He walked to where his chain was fastened and began to pull on it. No longer caring if anyone could hear him attempt to break it loose, he worked as hard as he could on freeing himself. He looked around for anything to help him work on freeing himself, but as it had always been, there was nothing there. All he had was his hands so that was what he would use. He would work on it until they came for him. At least it was something to occupy his mind and blot out the visions of his children dying.
He might never get it loose, but at least he was no longer standing and waiting for the Jaffa to find and kill him. He did not even notice when the blood from his hands began to cover the links. He continued to try. He wanted revenge.
He looked around the room once again and then had an idea. If he could get one of the posts on the bed to break, perhaps, he could use that as a lever or a hammer. Something to use other than his hands, which were only becoming bloodier and, therefore, slicker and less useful each time he tried to pull on the chain. He could no longer grip it without his hands sliding. He looked around again and then ripped the casing from the bolster on the bed, wiping his bloodied hands on it.
Looking again at the bedposts, it did not take him long to realize that the top of the wooden posts had spindles on them that held the canopy frame in place. Climbing onto the bed he quickly took one of them off. Why had he never realized this before? The canopy frame and spindles were metal.
He began to work on the chain fastening in earnest, cursing, swearing, prying, and pounding. He did not care if anyone heard. It no longer mattered. The way he looked at it, if he did not burn or starve, then the Jaffa would come back. He had three ways to die and only one to live. He would try to survive.
The perfect solution was to become free and find somewhere in the galaxy, someone in the galaxy, that was fighting the System Lords, the Goa’uld. He would swear allegiance in less than a heartbeat, if he could only become a warrior. He would never be the warrior prince his parents had shown to him, but he would do what he could to help rid the galaxy of the plague that were the Goa’uld. That was something that would have made his parents proud of him. Prouder of him, for he had never doubted the pride they felt in him and his accomplishments when they were alive.
He could do it; he was sure he could, if he only had a way to free himself. He would work and work until he had the strength he needed to fight, and he would practice whatever was needed to learn to fight. If only he could find a way to break his bonds, and find a band of resistance fighters, he would join them. Perhaps then, his life would again have meaning.
“Malek, we must find you a new host. You will not be able to save me. We will slowly die together, and that must not happen. We have too much intelligence that needs to be given to the Tok’Ra. Our findings must be relayed to them, for Am-Heh is truly a student of Anubis. You are the only one that can do it, for I will soon be lost to you.”
Malek embraced his host, murmuring softly, “While our information is important, so are you, my dearest friend and mate. If I must die, then I would die with you, for we have had many long years together. Besides, Roavan, look around you. Where would we find a host amongst the dead and dying? No one we have seen so far is any better off than we are. Am-Heh’s Jaffa do not leave survivors unless they miss them entirely. You know this as well as I.”
“And you know, Malek, as do I, that Am-Heh sent us down to the world’s surface because something, or someone, has made him suspicious of us. We are meant to die here; he does not expect our return, nor would I return in any event.”
“We know what he is, and we have learned what we needed to learn. He is as bad as Anubis is. You must not allow him to win. The other System Lords do not realize what is in their midst, and it may well be too late by the time they find out and banish him as they did Anubis. The information we hold must leave here. "Devourer of Millions” is a truly representative name for he is most assuredly the most disgusting, vile, and evil System Lord I have ever encountered. I am glad to be away from him, even if it means I must die to be so.”
“We escaped his Jaffa once, and they are hunting us even now, you know this. We were very lucky, Malek, that we only met with the one, and you were able to disintegrate him. It is unfortunate that he wounded us first.
“I am sorry I did not remove us from sight quickly enough when we encountered the Jaffa, Roavan.”
Malek paused and then said, “None of this makes sense. Why send us here and tell his Jaffa to kill us? Since he suspects that we are sholva, why did he not simply torture us when he had us? Why send us here, knowing there was a chance we would realize he was suspicious of us and use this as a chance to get away?”
“I do not think he was thinking at all, Malek. Perhaps, he was setting this up as a hunt with you and I as the hunted. It is the type of thing that he would do. He may even have hidden something in our clothing or weapon that would guide his Jaffa to us after a certain amount of time, when he was ready for the hunt to start. Perhaps we should look and see, for if there is, I believe that they will find and revive us. That must not happen.”
Roavan was quiet for a moment, deep in thought. Finally, he continued, “I do not believe he expected us to find out so quickly. He will want the world subdued first, and then he will no doubt start his little game. Although I said they were hunting us, after thinking about it, I do not believe that Jaffa was doing so. I believe that he happened to stumble upon us. He looked surprised before he shot us, as if he did not expect to see us there."
Malek was thoughtful for a moment and then said quietly, “I agree. If that is so, then our best hope is that he will not consider that we would leave here by gate and thus put guards on it. He has never before disabled the Chaappa’ai; however, that does not mean he will not this time. I believe, from what we know of him, that he will assume, in his arrogance, that none of the people here will know what it is, other than the way the Gods appear. He is not aware that the people here are in contact with others through the Chaappa’ai. He will not believe that any of them know how to work it, even if they do know what it is. He will also believe that we are unaware of his intentions. His excuse for sending us was plausible, unless we suspected his motives, which we do.”
“We must hope that he will be as involved in what is happening here as he was when he destroyed the other worlds. It is as if he is in a fever when his Jaffa are destroying a world, and he can think of nothing else. Hopefully, he will continue to do so, until we can leave, Roavan.”
Suddenly, Malek made a small sound of triumph. You were correct and we were indeed being tracked. Here it is. That house over there is just beginning to burn.” Malek made his way across the thoroughfare and entered the home. He took the tiny sensor and planted it in a room that would soon be cut off from the exit by flames.
“If the Jaffa follow it soon, then it will appear that we perished in the fire after seeking refuge here. If they do not find it soon, then it will no doubt stop working and they will not know where to look for us. It is a risk we must take, for if he realizes it is no longer functioning, he could then decide to disable the gate. Am-Heh is so arrogant that it would not occur to him that we would find and remove his tracer. Now we will continue down this walkway until we find a place to rest and gather our strength.”
Malek continued to talk to his mate to try to distract him from the pain he was experiencing. “I know little of this world myself, but I do know that it is more advanced than many. Perhaps some of its people will make their way to the Chaappa’ai. We must hope that they will and we must somehow make our way to the Chaappa’ai, as well. From there we will travel to the Tok’ Ra, Roavan. I will get us home from here.”
Roavan gasped, as the pain from their injuries intensified. Malek was doing his best to block it but the injury was not only fatal, it was very painful. He only hoped they would live long enough to find Malek a new host. His death would not be quick, so he still had hope of finding one. He knew as well as Malek did that he would never see the tunnels again.
“No, Malek, I cannot make it as far as the Chaappa’ai. I do not know how far it is, but it must be some distance for the resonance of the Naquadah is not as strong as it would be if it was close.”
“You are correct; it is still some distance away. Unfortunately, I could not choose where to be set down. Fortunately, we are in the main city. I assumed the Chaappa’ai would be here, and I am glad to find that it is near, even though we started on the opposite end of the city from it.” Malek replied to his host. "Come, the Jaffa seem to have left this area of the town. At least that house, the large one, is not on fire. It is stone, but even those can be set ablaze inside. We will go there, and see if there is a place where we can lie down to rest.”
“Malek, please do not. We must find you a host. Please,” Roavan pleaded with him.
“Perhaps, if I can get the pain under control, so that you are more comfortable, I will search for one. Later though, after we have rested,” Malek compromised with his mate.
He knew what Malek meant. He would find them a comfortable place in which to die. He did not want that. It was not that he really minded dying, for his life had been long, as well as rich and full in love. He and Malek had fought the Goa’uld together for many, many long years. The only way Malek would leave him was if they found him a new host, and he was not going to look for one.
He sighed. Hoping against hope, he agreed, “Give me control of my body, and I will attempt to find a place for us to rest, while you control our pain. I believe that the shakiness from the wound has disappeared now, and I should be able to keep my legs from buckling.”
“I will be sure to catch us if we should start to fall. There is bound to be somewhere to lie down in this house. It is quite large and ornate, or it was, before Am-Heh’s Jaffa arrived. I am surprised they left it without setting it ablaze.”
There was carnage everywhere, inside and out. Am’Heh insisted that his Jaffa be as brutal as he, and they were taught to be so. They had been here, of that, there was no doubt, fire or not. The servant’s bodies lay in pieces where they had been murdered. What looked to be the “Lady” of the house had obviously been used hard before being butchered where she lie, her eyes staring sightlessly. Malek took control back from Roavan and averted their eyes, but Roavan had already shut the sights out, as he had learned to do many years ago. “Malek, perhaps if we went upstairs; It appears from here that they went no farther than the first floor, possibly assuming that anyone on the upper levels would burn to death.” He frowned. “But then why did they not set it ablaze?”
Malek made no answer, as he had none to give. He went up the stairway toward the second floor. When they reached it, Roavan took control again and walked slowly down one of the long hallways, their injuries making quick movement beyond them. They could hear someone cursing and pounding on something and curious as to how this person had survived the carnage below, they stopped in the doorway to look and see what it was that was causing the swearing.
A beautiful young man, almost naked and chained by the neck with a long golden chain was the only occupant. He was attempting to free the chain from the floor where it was fastened, but it was obvious that he would not attain his goal. The chain, though small, was more than human strength would be able to break. As they quietly watched, he stopped trying to use whatever he had in his hands and attempted once more to pull the chain loose. After a moment, he leaned against the wall, which was not far from the ring embedded in the floor, and slid down to a sitting position, his head bowed. His hands were bloody from fighting the chain.
Roavan spoke to him, “May I come in?”
Devlin looked up and gasped, as he realized that someone was standing in the now completely open door. He had been so lost in his endeavor to free himself that he had not heard the door open or this man enter it.
“Yes, of course.” Watching as the man entered the room, he exclaimed, “You are hurt.”
Roavan laughed shortly before moaning against the pain it caused. “No, my dear young man, I am not hurt; I am dying. I will try not to do so here though, as I doubt that you would like spending your time with a corpse.”
Devlin shrugged, saying, “It will not matter, for I, too, will be one soon enough. I cannot get free, and from the sounds from below, there is no one left alive in the house. If the Jaffa come back, they will probably search the entire house this time. They will find me and then I, too, will die. At least we will be together. Please,” he continued, “come lie down on the sleeping surface. It is quite comfortable.”
He helped the older man to lie down on the sumptuous bedding, before he asked, “How do you come to be here injured as you are? You are not one of the invaders, are you?”
Roavan smiled as he realized what they had found. This was Malek’s new host. He could feel it inside. They had been led here.
“No, Roavan, he is not. He will not accept me, as you well know. It takes time for a person to believe they can live with a symbiote within them. Unless they are dying themselves, it is very hard to convince them, and I do not want, nor will I take, an unwilling host.”
“We shall see, my Malek. We shall see.”
He watched the young man as he moved back to the window that looked out upon the carnage in the roadway below. He also saw the pain pass over his features, but Roavan did not think it was for what little of the scene below him could be seen. This was a much more personal sorrow and pain, something close to his heart. Whatever it was or had been, with dusk closing in, he doubted he could actually see anything clearly now.
Roavan avoided answering the younger man’s question and asked one of his own, “Tell me, what is your name? I can hardly continue to call you, young man, although there is no doubt that you are. How many years do you claim?”
The younger man turned back to the man that lie dying on his bed. He smiled wryly, “I am called Devlin, and I can claim some five and twenty years. And you, sir? May I not know how you are called, as well? And the number of years you may lay claim to?”
“My name is Roavan, and I can claim four hundred and twenty-nine years. I would die within the next half century anyway, so it is no great loss to me, though I hate to leave the mate of my soul. I have seen much, learned much, and lived a full, productive, and interesting life.”
Devlin blinked at him somewhat dazed. He stared at him until he decided he was teasing him. People did not live that long, did they? “That is a goodly number, Roavan. How comes it that your race is so long lived?”
“For my race one hundred and twenty is not unheard of, but rarely does one live beyond one hundred forty. I am as old as I am because I carry a Tok’Ra symbiote within me. They give long life and knowledge, strength and perfect health. Had my injuries not been so severe, he would have healed me, and we would look forward to that next half century together. However, though many wounds are not a problem, ones that are as severe as mine are beyond their abilities to heal.”
“I have never heard of a race that lives that long, unless they are Goa’uld, and they say that they live forever.” He was quiet for a moment before looking once more out the window. “I wish that I could kill them all. I would do anything; even sell my soul, if only I could fight them.” His voice held a world of pain, hate, and fury. “Instead I am locked here with no way to retaliate for what they have done to my ch—” he stopped speaking abruptly and shook his head, saying with self-derision, “As if I could fight them at all, weak and untrained as I am.”
Roavan made to sit up and realizing what he meant to do, Devlin rushed to his side to help him. “What are you doing? Should you not lie down, so that perhaps your—your symbiote can work on your injuries? If you are quiet and rest, perhaps, he can do more for you. Where are you hurt? Perhaps I can do something to help him.”
Roavan shook is head. “The damage is too extensive. Believe me; if my Malek cannot repair it, then it is beyond repair, for he would never allow me to die, else. All he can do for me is keep the pain at bay and try to make me as comfortable as possible. However, I do have some short time left, and I should be leaving here, since I now feel rested. I must attempt to find my Malek a—host so that he will not perish with me. That would be my one regret in this life; that I cannot give him to a new mate, knowing he will be cared for and loved.”
Devlin looked at him with narrowed eyes. “A host? But, do not Goa’uld need hosts?”
“Yes, and Malek, in a way, is Goa’uld. However, he is not as they are, and his race is called Tok’Ra. Against Ra, for they are a resistance group that have been fighting the Goa’uld for two thousand years. I cannot allow him to die with me. He must be allowed to continue the fight against them, to stop these kinds of atrocities.”
“So, you were here fighting against them? Is that how you were injured?”
Roavan shook his head. “No, actually, we were spies on this System Lord’s ship, but we believe he found out about us, hence our presence here. Moreover, our injury was from a Jaffa, so it is very probable that he alerted them to find us, capture or kill us, and return us to him for interrogation. A polite euphemism for torture. We were hoping to reach the Chaappa’ai. I do not believe we will make it. So, I must try to find a host for my Malek, although he tells me that he is content to die with me.”
Devlin gave a twisted smile. “Yes, I suppose you must at least try. I would offer myself, but as you can see,” He pulled on his chain, “I am staked out for the next wave of Jaffa to find, so coming to me would be pointless.”
Roavan smiled. “My dear, Devlin, Malek can break that chain with no problem whatsoever. Unfortunately, he cannot at this point give me the strength to do it, or I would see to it that you were freed. I am sorry that I am unable to do so. Should I find a host for him, he will return to free you…Unless you are serious about becoming his host? It would not, I promise you, be a pact with the Gods of the Underworld.”
Devlin looked at him, his eyes widening. It was easy to see the thoughts running quickly through his mind. Almost whispering, he said, “She has placed you here, as I asked. All I must do is allow myself to agree. Perhaps I deserve my end; I do not know. You and Malek, however, do not. If what you say is true, then I will become his host for you. I would be allowed to fight the Goa’uld, correct? That would become my mission in life? To destroy them?”
“Yes, that is what it would mean. If you are serious, then I will tell you what to expect.”
“To, to expect?” Devlin hesitated, but a moment, before nodding, “All right, what should I expect?”
Roavan lie back down on the sumptuous bedding, before beginning to speak, “Once Malek enters you, he will—blend with your mind. From there he can communicate with you. You will gain all of his memories, his knowledge, his healing power, his strength, in fact everything that he can give you, will be given.”
“In return, you will allow him the use of your body part of the time. It is a partnership, but you have final say as to who uses it and when, unless you are on a mission and then you must be guided by Malek, for his knowledge is immense. It is very simple to share it and not unpleasant in any way. The Tok’Ra, unlike the Goa’uld, do not force their hosts to do anything, short of letting them get killed. Never will he allow you to be killed, unless, like now, he could not prevent it.”
He paused to catch his breath. His time was growing closer. “You will always have a friend with you, someone to help care for you and protect you as much as he can. Over time, a very special, intimate bond will form between the two of you. In all my years, I have never experienced anything remotely like it, for the Tok’Ra love deeply and forever. You will know what I mean when you blend with him, for you will inherit his love and mourning for me, as well as the love he has felt for all of his other hosts down through the past two millennia.”
Roavan stopped talking, obviously worn out by the conversation. It was now also obvious to Devlin, as well as to himself, that he had little time left. He would never find another host for his “friend”. If Devlin did not take his—his symbiote, then it, too, would die. He could not allow a warrior fighting the Goa’uld to die. This man was the answer to the plea he made earlier to the Goddess. It was her light that had led this man and his friend here, and allowed them to come upon him in his need. This was what he wanted, needed, to do. She had sent the strength he had requested, and now, he would be free.
Roavan could see the hope begin to lighten his eyes, but then a shadow crossed over them. “You say that your memories are shared? Must they all be shared?”
Roavan looked more closely at him and seeing the fear and loathing in his eyes and on his face, told him gently, “Malek will be able to tell which memories you do not wish to share or reveal to him. He will respect your wishes. However, in the same way, you must respect his, for he, too, may have memories that he does not wish to share.”
“Over time, once the trust and love have deepened, you may find that those memories no longer need to be kept from him, but if that never happens, then he will never intrude. Malek will set aside a private place for you and your thoughts that are not for him, just as he will set aside an area for himself that is private from you. Only by deliberately probing, would you be able to see into it just as he could yours. But, neither of you will without permission, I promise you.”
“It will take a little time to adjust, but you will learn. Soon, you will not know how you survived without him, nor would you want to.”
Devlin nodded decisively. “If he will promise me, that he will never look into my memories of the last ten years of my life, or question me about them, ever, and if he will promise to teach me what I need to know to fight the Goa’uld, then I will gladly become his host.”
Roavan took one of Devlin’s bloodied hands into his and squeezed it weakly, whispering, “We must say our goodbyes,” before closing his eyes and turning inward.
He smiled softly and embraced Malek, saying, “I can feel my life leaving me, Malek. He is willing; you must go on for me, and for every other host who has loved you and helped to carry on the battle against the Goa’uld. You must continue. He is young, and with you, he will be strong. I believe that he has spent the last ten years as someone’s sex slave, and he does not wish you to see that part of his life. He is probably afraid you will regard him as a weak person, for whatever untrue reason he has in his head. It is an easy enough stipulation.”
“I am not so sure that he is truly willing. I think he is more desperate. He will wish me to leave after I free him. I cannot do that, Roavan, my mate. You know that it would be too dangerous to do right away.”
Malek paused, as he caressed his mate before saying, “However, I can feel in your heart how much you want me to live. I can also tell how important it is to you that I finish our mission and return to the tunnels with our information. Therefore, I will go now, but later, I will find a host that truly wishes to have me. I will do as you wish to put your heart at peace.”
Roavan returned the caresses, smiling softly, “Thank you, Malek, my mate. You will not regret it. I believe he does want you, and he will come to love you as much as I do. We have had many good years together. Our memories are many and wonderful despite all of the horror we have seen and lived. Do not mourn for me, as you did your last mate. Know that I am at peace and watching over you. I carry you in my heart to the other side, and there I will rejoin all of our fallen comrades and our mates of the heart. Go with a full heart, my Malek, my mate. Remember me with all of the love I held for you.”
Devlin took the time, while Roavan said his goodbye to Malek, to wash the blood from his hands, thereby giving them privacy. He then rejoined him on the bed, and stretched out next to him gazing at him with both anxiety and nervousness. Opening his eyes, Roavan looked into the beautiful, but anxious golden brown eyes watching him. He tipped his lips in a serene smile. “We have said our goodbyes. I am fading quickly, so you must take him now.”
He took Roavan’s hand in his. “How—how do I do that?” Devlin’s heart began to beat more quickly, and he realized it was from both fear and excitement. He would be free at last, free to leave this horror he had lived for the last ten years. Free to leave this place, which had given him so much pain. Again, he asked, “What must I do?”
The other man smiled. “Kiss me, Devlin, and my heart shall pass unto yours.”
Devlin did not hesitate at all, but leaned over and joined his lips to Roavan’s. He felt as if he was suffocating for a moment or two and then he felt something take over his mind and body and focus their eyes on the figure beside them. “Goodbye, my dearest Roavan.” He heard himself say, just before the first wave of intense sorrow hit him.
He gasped at the emotional pain that coursed through him. This being had loved this man more than Devlin had thought it possible to love anyone. Would he ever feel that way about him? Looking into the serene face of the other man, he realized that he, too, had felt this overwhelming love for this being. Malek. His new…new. He did not know what to call him. What had Roavan said? His heart. A thought floated into his mind. His soul’s mate. Roavan had been Malek’s soul’s mate. And Malek had been his.
He heard his new mate’s voice for the first time, talking to him, explaining what they must do now. He felt his body stand and walk to a mirror to examine the golden collar and chain. “It appears to be real gold, although it is probably mixed with some other metal to strengthen it. We will keep the collar. The chain, however, can be dispensed with. It is not something we need, as it is not gold. Pure gold is soft enough to bend and it would have mashed with you pounding on it.”
Devlin liked his voice. It was deep and had a resonance that reminded him of humming or, perhaps, purring. It was very soothing. He watched in the mirror as the chain, for so long his captor, broke as if it was nothing. He swallowed quickly. Roavan had not lied. He was quite strong now. Next, he watched as Malek examined the collar. “We may have to leave this until we reach the tunnels. This is much too thick to break without hurting us, since I am fairly sure that other metals were added to give it strength. From the feel of it, however, I would guess that it still contains a high content of gold.”
“We will take Roavan’s cloak, for I do not believe you would wish to walk around with no more clothing on than you are wearing, and besides, it is white and would draw attention to us, even in the shadows. Unfortunately, none of the clothing we were wearing is fit to wear, as it is blood-covered. Perhaps, we will find something else as we journey toward the Chaappa’ai.” After donning the cloak, Malek took his ribbon device and his zat’ni’ktel from its pocket.
Malek stopped and looked down at the older man. Devlin now realized, as the newly risen moon’s light streamed across his face that he looked quite a bit older than he had thought he was, when he entered the room. He also saw the look of peace upon his face. He almost envied him that, and hoped that in a few hundred years, when it was his turn to pass his heart onto another host that he would be able to do it with such serenity.
“We would have had another fifty or sixty years together. I will miss him.” It was simply said, but the emotion that coursed through them was anything but simple. It was devastating. Malek touched Roavan’s face one more time, before he raised the zat’ni’ktel sending three charges into his body and disintegrating it. He then turned resolutely toward the door. Roavan had wished him to live to fight another day, and he would see to it that his last wish was granted. He would live to fight another day and another after that.
However, they must still arrive at the Chaappa’ai before being spotted by the Jaffa. They would not recognize him now, but that would not matter. All life was to be destroyed here as the people had refused the offer of life for slavery. He had sent his Jaffa to gather some of the people for work slaves, some for possible concubines, and others as breeders. The rest were to be slaughtered. Every man, woman, and child.
They needed to find the Chaappa’ai, and if it was still operational, which he suspected at this point it was, they would go home to the tunnels. Devlin saw them in his mind and smiled at the feeling of home they gave him. He had not had a home since he was fifteen. He was looking forward to arriving at these tunnels. They took the stairs down to the first floor.
Once there, Devlin looked through his eyes at the scene that Malek was walking through. Malek realized that the “Lady” of the house had been Devlin’s mate. He felt nothing for her as Devlin recognized her. Not even pity. As they turned to move to the door to leave, a man who was only slightly shorter than Devlin stopped them.
“Where do you think you are going, and where did you get that cloak? You will take it off immediately.”
Malek felt Devlin’s overwhelming fear, loathing, and despair. The man lifted the whip he held in his hand and threatened Devlin with it, but that was as far as he progressed. The emotions swamping Devlin upon seeing this man justified Malek’s decision and subsequent actions. Before the man could do anything at all, Malek reached out with Devlin’s hands and, swiftly and efficiently, broke his neck. There was a look of dismayed surprise on the man’s face as he died. Devlin’s emotions, from relief to joy to satisfaction, all raced through him. Then he began to laugh hysterically, as he remembered the look on his father-in-law’s face as he died. He was jubilant, but Malek asked no questions about the incident. This, he knew, was one of the subjects that Devlin wished to keep to himself. Feeling the quick rise of hysteria in Devlin, though, Malek quietly asked, “Devlin, are you all right?”
When Devlin managed to gain some control over his emotions, he answered him, saying, "I have never been better. Do not worry about killing him, Malek. Moreover, if you think it is bothering me, you could not be more wrong. I am quite content,” he paused briefly, before continuing, “no, that is too mild a description. In all honesty, I am extremely thrilled to have him dead, and to have it done by my hands was absolutely perfect.” Then, becoming completely solemn with all traces of his near hysteria now non-existent, he stated earnestly, “He received far less than what he deserved, and I swear to the truth of that statement. Believe me on this; I will cherish that moment forever.”
“I do, Devlin, I do. We will be all right, I promise you. Now, we must find the Chaappa’ai so that we may begin the journey to our base.”
“We should change into his clothes first. The cloak we took from Roavan is not large and I am taller than he was. You must also look for the key to the collar. It is always on him.”
Malek looked at the man on the floor. Devlin was correct, and he was closer to him in size than Roavan had been. Besides that, all they really had on was the cloak and the loin cloth. It was barely enough to cover them, and the last thing they needed or wanted was to draw attention to themselves. They needed something darker and more practical, and this man was wearing a very long dark cloak over some very ornate, but dark colored, robes and leggings. Yes, his clothes would do nicely.
“I believe you are correct, Devlin. I will change us quickly, so that we may be on our way.” Malek felt Devlin smile when he found the key and unlocked the collar. He pocketed both the collar and the key.
Very shortly thereafter, they walked out the door, and Malek felt the hesitance as Devlin looked down the throughway. He felt his hosts wish to go there, for a moment, before that feeling was squashed. There is nothing there, was the thought he gathered. He had given him control once they were dressed, and now he was not surprised when he turned from whatever called to him and faced the direction of the Chaappa’ai. Whatever Devlin had lived through, it had made him a very strong willed man. One that was not afraid to take on hard tasks and, though he may not know it yet, he was also not one to give up easily. Malek was already seeing traits in his host that were exact matches for his own personality. They would have a very close blending. Roavan had been correct.
Devlin started forward and slipped into a deserted alleyway, telling him, “It is this way, Malek. Although I was only there once, I know exactly where it is, for I escaped and tried to reach it many times. I always failed, and as I grew older I—stopped trying. There were other factors that kept me here, then.”
Malek answered, saying, “Lead the way, Devlin, and do not worry, for as you control the body, I will be able to monitor the area around us without having to also navigate. You will soon become used to us sharing your body. I know it must be uncomfortable and strange at first, though, and I will do my best to mitigate any problems we seem to have if any appear.”
“It is all right, Malek. I have not had real control of my body for ten years. Your handling and managing of it is much preferred, and I will be most happy to give over control to you any time you wish it. It is the least I can do for you in return for setting me free. I mean this truly, Malek; you may use it whenever you wish in any way you wish. Just being able to walk somewhere, without a leash and collar on, is a wonderful feeling. Well, I mean, I know I have no choice in where we go, but if I wanted to walk on the other side of the street I could do so— do you understand?” Devlin asked a little anxiously, hoping that Malek could and would understand exactly how important that ability was to him.
“Yes, Devlin, I believe I do," Malek assured him, but then paused before reluctantly changing the subject. "However, there are things about the Tok’Ra that you must know. Roavan was not completely honest with you, and I could not bring myself to disappoint him by not going to you. Although we deny it, physiologically the Tok’Ra are Goa’uld. However, our Queen, Egeria, disagreed with the other Goa’uld and their treatment of their hosts. She believed that we should share the body, not control it without permission. She would not use a sarcophagus, and she warned us against using them as well, for she believed they drained the goodness from our hearts. She changed hosts more often rather than use one. So, that is one way in which we differ from the Goa’uld.”
“Her feelings, and therefore ours, through our genetic memory, are that, although we do give many gifts to the host, it is still a fair trade, for without the host we cannot survive for long out of water. We cannot see well, we have no hands and feet, and we cannot talk. Those are the things that the host gives to us in exchange.”
Continuing to speak candidly, Malek said in his forthright way, “As you saw, even when you are not in control, you can still feel, see, talk to me, and experience the world around you. I could shut you out completely, cause you intense pain, do any or all, of the horrors that the Goa’uld inflict upon their hosts, but it is not our way. Part of what the agreement we made entails is that I protect you to the best of my ability, that I take your pain or block it when I can, and that I see to it that your body is in excellent health. I agree to give you free access to the majority of my memories, but like you, I also have some personal memories that I choose not to share. That is perfectly acceptable to us, unlike the Goa’uld who rape their host’s minds. I will agree to become dormant when you wish for total privacy.”
After a short pause to gather his thoughts, Malek continued,“There are many things that you will have to learn, but it will take little time, for already our minds are mingling, and you are assimilating more and more of what the partnership is like. There is one other thing I must tell you. I cannot leave you now for some space of time. Changing hosts is not easy, and Roavan should have mentioned that we could both die during the blending. We call it blending because we feel that is what we do. We blend our two beings into one. However, I digress. I will be able, after some time has passed, to change hosts. If you feel at that time that we are not compatible and that you cannot live with me in your mind, then I will look for another host. You will not have to live the remainder of your life this way, if it becomes abhorrent to you, and that I promise you.”
Devlin did not answer for a few minutes, as they continued stealthily toward the Chaappa’ai, but after giving it some thought, he replied, “I cannot tell you how I will feel in the future, but I can tell you how I feel about you now. I like you. I realize what you are and, still, I trust you to do as you have told me you will. I will be your home, for as long as you wish to remain with me, Malek, and I believe that I will come to love you as all of your other hosts have done. I have seen into your mind and heart, and I can feel the love and respect you have had for all of them. Some more than others it is true, but none of them did less than love you, and I can see no reason that I would not follow their lead and come to love you, as well.”
"Thank you," Malek answered quietly.
“We must turn down the alley here, I think.” He paused. “Malek what is that odd, almost humming, or well, I am not sure exactly how to describe it, but it is becoming stronger. Do you feel it as well? Stupid question, of course you do, we both feel it.”
Malek laughed softly and sent a gentle caress to his new host, who was surprised at the gesture and the fact that he could feel it as a true sensation of the body, not only of the mind. “That feeling of me touching you is called tactile emotion, where you feel a sensation associated with an emotion as if it was really being done. It is another thing that is given to the host. Most come to enjoy it. As for the other feeling, the humming within us, it is the reaction of the Naquadah in our blood. You are “feeling” the Chaappa’ai. We are drawing near to it. We must hope that they have yet to put a guard on it,” Malek answered the unspoken question, as he also responded to Devlin’s comment and explained his own worry about the Chaappa'ai.
“So far, the streets have been deserted, except for the bodies. I have not even seen a Jaffa,” Devlin commented as he continued carefully making his way through the streets and alleys.
“They will be busy gathering more people to use as slaves and concubines. They will be raping and killing as they go. I suspect that they are very busy, but we know that some of them are looking for us, that is, they will be hunting Roavan and myself,” Malek stated somewhat starkly, pain evident in his voice.
Finally, they were close enough to see the Chaappa’ai. Malek frowned, as they drew ever nearer to it, before saying, “Devlin, I believe that I should take control, if you do not mind.”
“Not at all. I will be content to watch and learn,” Devlin quickly assured him.
Malek surveyed the scene as he took control. While there were no guards watching it, there were people milling around everywhere. In addition, there were more arriving by the minute. No doubt, guards would soon follow and unfortunately, either they could not decide where to go, or no one here knew how to operate it. He walked confidently towards the dialing device. He might as well see if it was in operating order, or if they did not know how to use it.
Reaching the device, they heard the group arguing about where to go. The more people, the more confusion there would be and the crowd was growing larger rather quickly.
He walked up to what appeared to be the two main opponents and listened. They were debating the possible worlds to which they could go. He looked around and realized that many had possessions with them. He turned to the two men. “I do not wish to interfere, but Jaffa guards will soon be posted here. If you intend to survive, you must go somewhere, and then argue the final destination from there. The longer you tarry here, the more likely the gate will be disabled by the System Lord that is attacking your world.”
Both men looked at him as if they did not understand him. He waited for them to say something, but when they did not, he stepped around them and began to dial the address of a “safe” world. The Tok'Ra used it as a stopping point as they hid their true destination from prying eyes. It was a nice world, comfortable climates and abundant plant and animal life. The only thing keeping it from being overtaken by the Goa’uld was its lack of naquadah, or anything else of value other than its climate and abundant food.
He turned back to them and the other people that had gathered as he dialed the gate before he input the last glyph. “Any of you are welcome to follow me. The world is unpopulated, and so would be an admirable place to continue your discussion about where to go, away from prying eyes and possible retaliation.” With those words, he pressed in the last glyph and pushed the center. The Chaappa'ai activated and Malek turned, mounted the steps, and walked into the event horizon. He could feel Devlin’s tension and read his thoughts as he walked toward the shimmering blue pool. He would not be comfortable until they were off this world.
No sooner said, than done. They emerged into the balmy weather and sunny day of Kwern. He had little time to wait before the others began following him through. Now they would have to wait until they were all through the event horizon before they could go on, but that was all right. At least some of the people of Spartania would survive. He found a comfortable place to sit under a shady tree.
People arrived for quite some time before the Chaappa'ai shut down. The two men that had been arguing were not here. “Is this everyone?” Malek asked a woman who was standing and staring at the Chaappa’ai as if she was lost. She probably was for that matter.
She nodded, as she answered, “Yes, except for the two who were arguing.”
Malek nodded and input the glyphs for the next “safe” world. “Thank you. There is no point in going through to the next world I am going to, for there is nothing there. However, you should consider going to another world. If they do reopen the Chaappa'ai to here, there is a danger that the Jaffa will see the address as people are going through, or that they will follow them through. Do not tarry here for long.” Malek gave her the address for a world that he knew took in refugees. “They are kind and will help you find a place to go.”
The woman smiled slightly and nodded. Then her smile widened. “I just realized that I am free. Instead of making slaves of us, they actually freed some of us. Thank you for the gate address.”
“You are welcome. Please do not let anyone follow me. It would not be safe for you, or for them, where I am going.”
She nodded, and Malek turned and entered the event horizon. Stepping out on the other side he watched as the gate shut down. One more safe world and then they would return to the Tunnels.
“We will be home soon, Devlin, I promise you,” Malek assured him.
“Yes, I know. I believe you,” Devlin replied, his voice full of the trust he already felt for his new mate.
Malek smiled at him. He was going to like his new mate. He mourned the one he had lost, but tried to keep that pain from affecting Devlin as much as possible. He felt a very deep well of anguish in his new mate’s heart that was caused by something in his private place.
He could not undo what had caused it, but he could make sure that in his new experiences there would be some joy. They could both use some of that, and they would find it in their future. Of that, he was very sure.
He hugged Devlin and feeling the pain of whatever had happened beginning to close in on them, he released some calming chemicals to soothe him. It would take time for both of them to recover from what they had lost. Until then, he would cradle him with his internal embrace.
He felt Devlin return his caress and whisper into their joined minds, “We will survive this pain together.”
“Yes, we will. We are almost home, Devlin. This is the address of our current home- world.”
Malek felt the excitement begin to rise and banish the shadows. He pressed the center of the dialing device. The Chaappa'ai blossomed and when it settled, he and Devlin walked up to it. He gave control to his new mate, and Devlin reached out and touched the fluctuating blue pool first with his fingertips and then with his palm. Drawing a deep breath, he stepped into their future.