Chapter 13 summary: Sam and Martouf/Lantash spend the journey back to the Stargate thinking and talking about their possible future together.


[ Chapter 1: Pain, Sorrow, and Joy | Chapter 2: Escape and Rescue | Chapter 3: A Pleasant Surprise | Chapter 4: Escaping Together | Chapter 5: Waiting for News | Chapter 6: Lurking Danger | Chapter 7: Hallucinations | Chapter 8: Uncontrollable Emotions | Chapter 9: Happier Times | Chapter 10: They are not Gods | Chapter 11: The Trees of the Forest | Chapter 12: Collision Course | Chapter 13: Travel | Chapter 14: Enemies at the Gate and Land of the Light | Chapter 15: Another Option | Chapter 16: Undercover | Chapter 17: Going Home ]

Daniel sighed. "I sure hope we get there in time."

"We should. There's still more than eight days left." O'Neill yawned. "McKay..." He grimaced. "...says we should be there in time. Just."

"We'll have to hope the scientists back home made the right calculations - that we'll actually be able to deflect the asteroid with this bomb."

"It will work. The equivalent of one billion tons of TNT, they said."

"I still wish Sam was here. They barely got this cargo ship repaired and in the air, and it's shaking and making weird noises," Daniel complained.

"I wish that too." O'Neill looked unhappy. "At least she won't risk being flattened along with the rest of us, if this fails. The people being evacuated to the Alpha site can certainly use her."

"If she's even still alive. What if Zipacna's captured both her and Martouf? We haven't heard anything from the Tok'ra."

"Stop that! They will be okay," O'Neill said with conviction, as much to reassure himself as Daniel.

The forest was getting more open, with more space between the trees. Sam and Martouf/Lantash had not seen any tikvi trees at all today, and they hoped to soon be outside their domain completely. According to Dinna and Willat, the trees could not live in the thin soil of the mountainous terrain, so as soon as they reached that, they would be safe.

Sam was getting more quiet now they would soon be going home. after having thought about it some more, she was now very unsure of how things would go with her and Martouf/Lantash. She loved him, and she did believe they loved her, but the closer she got to returning to her 'normal' life, the less sure she was it would be possible to get things to work out between them.

What if the Tok'ra Council would not let Martouf and Lantash go to Earth? They had lost a lot of Tok'ra during the attack on Revanna. Then, what about the SGC? To be perfectly honest, people there were not the most Tok'ra friendly, and even her own team mates often seemed to think of the Tok'ra as untrustworthy and barely better than the Goa'uld.

Would Martouf and Lantash be allowed to stay at the SGC? Would they be allowed to do anything interesting? Would they even be allowed to go outside the base? The SGC might not be the most pleasant place for a Tok'ra, and perhaps it would not be very kind of her to accept Martouf and Lantash's offer.

Then, could she live in the Tok'ra tunnels? Was she ready to leave Earth? She was not sure - and if she did, would she be expected to become a host? Yes, they would accept a no, but how would they feel when someone died because no new host could be found in time - and she was right there? How would she feel?

Perhaps it would be better if she just accepted that it was not to be. She felt a stab of pain in her heart at the thought of giving up on her love. Could she even do that? She had thought them dead, and now they had been brought back to her, alive and well. She closed her eyes for a moment. Why did her life have to be this difficult?

She had always been good at suppressing her feelings. She was not so sure it would work this time, though.

They were walking through the lower parts of the mountain range, following the river that was winding its way through them. The terrain was relatively open, except for bushes and small hardy trees. This was a problem, as there was little to hide under.

One deathglider had passed over the area while they had walked here, and they had only just managed to reach an out-cropping of rock to hide under. They had not been seen - or so they hoped - but they would have to find cover somewhere tonight. Any deathgliders sent out during nighttime would be equipped with infrared scanners.

"There." Lantash pointed. "An opening, possibly a cave."

Sam looked in the direction he indicated. It was some distance away, and hard to see in the dusk. "Yes...I see it. We should investigate it and see if we can use it. Hopefully, it will be deep enough to cover us completely. It would just suck getting caught by Jaffa when we've managed to get through a forest full of murderous trees!"

They climbed the slope, taking care not to stumble and fall. Reaching the opening to the cave, they saw that it was quite deep - enough so that they could not see the far wall.

"It is unfortunate that we do not have a flashlight." Lantash sighed, as he searched the area nearby for a branch that could be used as a torch. "We will have to make do with more primitive means. I do not hear any deathgliders, so hopefully none are close enough to discover the light and extra heat. In any case, I will quickly go inside the cave, and they will not have long to detect it."

He lighted a thick, dry branch he had found, and entered the cave, walking carefully and with the hand device on his left hand raised and ready. Sam followed, her zat'nik'tel armed. There could very well be dangerous animals in the cave.

"Seems okay," Sam said, looking around as well.

"Yes...." Lantash checked for a moment longer, walking along the whole perimeter of the cave. The opening itself was only a few feet high, but the cave itself was relatively large, and most of it was hidden from outside view, as the larger part of it turned away from the opening. It was maybe thirty feet deep, all together. "We are fortunate the weather is still warm, or a great many kinds of animals might have hidden in here - large mountain cats perhaps, or other predators. There could still be snakes or lizards, but hopefully none that are venomous." He pounded his feet hard against the rock, trying to scare out whatever critters were hiding.

"Relax, we'll be fine. This isn't the first time I've slept in a cave." Sam smiled. He was cute when he was so obviously worried for her safety.

Lantash nodded, somewhat reluctantly. "We should still keep a guard tonight. Even if there are no dangerous animals, there are still the Jaffa. I do not believe we were discovered by that deathglider earlier today, but..."

Sam sighed. "I agree. Better safe than sorry. I'll go take a look now, then we should get something to eat. I'm starving."

"Martouf and I are hungry as well. I will prepare dinner for us while you look outside." He quickly stepped up beside her and pulled her into a hug, kissing her deeply. "Be careful, my beloved." He smiled at her, his eyes shining.

Sam was dazed from the kiss for a moment, before she regained herself. She smiled back at him. "Always." She went outside, fantasizing about what she would like to do with Martouf and Lantash when they got to safety.

The night was uneventful, if somewhat colder than it had been in the forest. It was near morning when Martouf - who had the current watch - saw a deathglider streak across the reddening sky. It did not come closer, so he decided against waking up either Sam or Lantash, who had fallen asleep as well.

He waited until the first rays of the sun hit the mountain behind him, before he woke up Lantash. He agreed the deathglider had probably just been on patrol, and that it was nothing to be concerned about. They went to prepare breakfast and wake Samantha, so they could get an early start on the day's journey. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow they would be at the chaapa'ai.

*Samantha has been very quiet since we left the hut. I do not think she regrets mating with us, but I fear she is trying to convince herself it would be better for all of us not to be mates,* Lantash observed, while they were putting the rest of the food into the backpacks and preparing to leave.

*I am aware of that.* Martouf sighed. *I do not know what we can do. I suspect she has decided it will not work, and that neither the Council nor Stargate Command will accept our relationship.*

*I care not what either of them say!* Lantash scoffed. *She loves us - and we love her. We have already wasted far too much time being afraid of our emotions and of what someone might think! We almost died! I am not going to permit this second chance to make Samantha our mate, to fail. We must succeed.*

Martouf agreed, looking towards Sam, walking quite fast a few steps ahead of them, clearly deep in thought. *Soon we will be back in the tunnels or on the Tau'ri. There we will not have as good opportunities to talk to Samantha about this. Worse, unless I am very much mistaken, she will not wish to show what she feels in front of her team mates. She has always been very guarded about showing emotion.*

*True. We must discuss it with her before we leave this planet. We should arrive at the chaapa'ai tomorrow morning, very early. It gives us somewhat less than a day to talk to her.*

*Do you wish control, or should I approach her about this?* Martouf wondered.

*I still think she is more comfortable around you - and this subject is sensitive enough that we do not want to disturb her further. You talk to her.*

*Lantash, I do not agree she is uncomfortable around you - and if she is to become our mate, she must accept us both equally. I will not have it any other way.*

*Thank you.* Lantash sent warm feelings to his host.

Martouf sighed and walked a little faster, catching up to Sam.

"Samantha...may I speak with you?"

"Of course, Martouf." She looked up and slowed her steps. "What is it?"

"Have you had time to think more about what we talked of some days ago? Of becoming our mate?"

Sam gave him a quick look. "Ah, yes, well...Martouf, it's only been a few days..."

He nodded. "That is true. However, Lantash and I will soon be returning to the tunnels, and you will go to the Tau'ri. Even with the best intentions, it will be difficult to meet often." He smiled, a little shyly.

"Listen, we'll see how it goes - and try to meet as often as possible, but this is one of the major reasons why it might not be so easy to get things to work out. Even if I do love you...and I do." Sam smiled at him, a little sadly.

"We have offered to move to the Tau'ri. We will talk to the Council as soon as we return to the tunnels."

"Yes...and it's very sweet of you, but I can't ask you to do that. Even if they - and the SGC - says yes, it might not be good for you to live on Earth." Sam sighed. "You know as well as I do that there is some tension between my people and yours. I'm afraid there might be some who wouldn't treat you nicely - and I very much doubt they'd even allow you to leave the base. I can't do that to you!"

"You are not asking me - I am offering. Samantha, do not be concerned. We will make the Council - and Stargate Command - see reason. And Lantash and I can take care of ourselves."

Sam nodded, not looking convinced. "I still think we should wait and see how everything goes."

Martouf sighed. "We will give you the time you need to make your decision, of course. We told you that before. However, please do not decide it will not work without even giving it a chance. You are much too hard on yourself. You have the right to some happiness. We all do."

He pulled her to him, kissing her. Sam returned the kiss almost immediately, embracing him. The kiss was not long, but it was full of love - and some sadness. When they let go of each other, Sam sighed, caressing his cheek with a hand.

"I really do hope this works out..." Sam whispered in a low voice as she stepped away from him, "...or I'm very much afraid my heart will break."

They walked for the rest of the day with few breaks, and continued through most of the night as well, only allowing themselves a few hours of sleep. The sky had not yet started to lighten when they left the mountainous terrain. After a short walk through an area with trees and bushes scattered sparsely about, they had entered a thick jungle.

"We are almost at the Stargate. I think I remember from Jolinar that there's a lush forest surrounding it," Sam said.

"Correct. If you concentrate, you should be able to sense the signal from it much clearer now. It is very strong."

Sam was quiet for a moment, mentally searching for the energy signature from the naquadah. Soon, she felt the resonance in her blood, like she had done the first time he told her to try, only the signal was much stronger now. It was obvious it was nearby.

Of course, there was one signal that almost drowned out all others for her when she felt for them; the energy signature from a symbiote. Lantash. Oh, so very familiar. She had realised it before, but now it was even clearer to her. It was obvious to her that it would be possible to recognize a symbiote this way, if it was one that you were intimately familiar with.

The image of them together, making love, popped into her mind. The stab of lust was so strong she gasped, before she quickly forced her thoughts away from the subject. She took a deep breath and looked around her.

The air was heavy with the scents of flowers and greenery. The sky had just started to redden, and the animals of the forest were waking up. Now and then a strange bird could be heard, calling out. Otherwise, it was peaceful. She had a moment of strong desire to go to Martouf and Lantash, throw her arms around them and kiss them senseless.

Right now she never wanted to leave this place, but she knew they had to get away. It was not safe here, despite how peaceful it seemed, and they had information for the Tok'ra and Earth. She sighed and walked on.

Chapter 14: Enemies at the Gate and Land of the Light