*I know.* Jolinar 'hugged' her warmly. *I feel the same. I had very much been looking forward to holding Nemura and Lantash again, as you know, it was what kept both of us going for the last part of this cursed mission. Now Nemura...* She swallowed. *...is dead, but...I am grateful one of our mates is still alive. I do not know what I would have done if we had lost both.*
*True. I am grateful to the young man who volunteered. Very much so. I just...worry, Jolinar...I hope we can come to love him. I cannot bear the thought of giving up Lantash!*
They hesitated for a moment outside the door to the quarters they had shared with their mates for so long. Taking a deep breath they entered, as ready as they could be to meet Lantash's new host. On the bed sat a very young man, only barely an adult.
*He is so different. Paler. His hair is light brown...and he is so young...almost a child...* Rosha observed, unhappily.
The man looked up and saw them, pale blue-grey eyes staring at them, his mouth slightly agape at the sight of them. Quickly closing it, he blushed and looked down, a worried expression crossing his handsome face.
*Be kind. He is obviously very nervous we will reject him...*
*He quite obviously appreciates the way we look, and he does little to hide it.* Rosha complained. She was not sure how she felt about this man appraising her. He was a stranger...but he was host to Lantash, their mate...
*I think he is cute - and you must admit he is good looking...though I, too, have great difficulties accepting Nemura is no more. Come, we must talk to Lantash - and to this young man. Our mate is alive, and we have missed him - and surely he has missed us as well.*
*What will he think of us? This new host...* Rosha still felt very worried.
*He is blended with Lantash. Has been for close to a year already. He loves us, despite not having met us before. You know this.*
They continued standing in the doorway for several more moments, feeling unsure, lost, and sad. Seeing the young man dip his head, they knew Lantash had taken over to greet them.
"Rosha? Jolinar? It is I, Lantash..." he got up from where he had been sitting on the bed and took a few steps towards them, looking as nervous as they felt.
Jolinar walked over to Lantash, her heart beating rapidly. She slowly looked at him from his shoes to the top of his head, then back to his face. She gently touched his face, letting her fingers trace every curve. "Lantash...beloved..."
He closed his eyes briefly and leaned into her caress, then sighed and opened his eyes. "I'm so sorry I couldn't save Nemura...he was too badly wounded..." He looked very sad, and Jolinar felt as if her heart would break.
*Rosha...please? Take over. I do not wish to cry - not when Lantash needs our strength.*
Rosha took over, sending warmth and comfort to her symbiote, trying to be the strong one despite not feeling it.
"We know you did your best - both of us know. We are very grateful you survived. For that we thank your new host, who volunteered to save your life...I think Aldwin called him Martouf?"
"Yes. Please forgive him for not greeting you, but he is a bit shy and understandably...worried about what you might think of him."
Rosha nodded. "We both understand."
She put her arms around Lantash, who immediately reciprocated. Relieved, he hugged them, holding them hard, as if his life depended on it. For a long time they just stood there, embracing each other as closely as possible and drawing strength from each other.
They were mourning Nemura, but grateful the three of them were still alive, still had each other. That they could depend on each other to get through this time. This, too, was part of being Tok'ra. A reminder of the danger they lived in every day.
They would get through this - the three...four of them. Together.