The first time Lantis sees Torren, he is barely a few hours old. He is the first child born to one of her people, and she is instantly fascinated. Of course there have been Refugees with children before residing within her walls. But with most of them she doesn't interact at all. She can't interact directly with Teyla either. But Teyla is part of the gate team of JohnColonel and McKayDoctorRodney, and she interacts with them on a daily basis. Lantis knows her quite well, she thinks. She thinks of her as one of her own, and that makes Torren one of her own as well.
Torren is so tiny! He and Teyla are exhausted when they arrive. They go to the infirmary, where the doctors give them both check ups and make sure everything is alright. They go to sleep very soon after.
It has been a very long time since children were born in her city. In the days before her people left, children had become rarer and rarer. The Anquietas had been at war with the Wraith, concentrating on survival or Ascension. Having or raising children had been very low on their list of priorities.
Lantis silently vows to protect Torren from all outside threats, the same as she does with all her people.
The first time Lantis sees Torren with the eyes of her android body, her unit is barely a few hours old.
She is in the mess hall with JackGeneral and DanielDoctorJackson, getting her first taste of food.
She chose the shape of a girl of about eight years, which has the unintended side effect that she is about the same age as Torren is.
When he smiles at her, and invites her to go water sliding with him and his friends, Lantis senses a warm and happy feeling spread through her that she can't name yet. But she likes it rather a lot.
The first time Lantis sees her city from the highest point of the Ferris Wheel on the East Pier, Torren is right next to her in the gondola.
She gasps in wonder, and he takes her hand.
“It's beautiful, isn't it?”
Lantis nods vehemently. “It is. We are so glad there are people living here again. It was a lonely time on the ocean floor.”
Most of her systems were powered down during that time, but some monitoring still went on to maintain the Shield and other survival mechanisms. Now that Lantis has experienced what sleep feels like, she likens the thousands of years under the sea to a very long sleep.
Torren squeezes her hand. “I’m glad to live here too. Mama told me about the life before, when we lived in fear of the Wraith. It must have been so hard.”
Lantis nods. “Yes, we think so too. But you are safe now.”
Torren’s smile is blinding, and it warms Lantis right through.
On her first day of school, Lantis is very excited, but also a little apprehensive.
She comes to class very early, so not all other children are there yet.
But Torren is. He looks to her when she enters the room, and his face lights up.
“Hey, Lantis! I reserved a seat for you!”
Lantis feels better already. She gives JackGeneralDad and DanielDoctorJacksonDad a hug goodbye, and then happily skips over to Torren. He hugs her, too, and Lantis notices that warm feeling spread through her again.
She has learned different names for feelings over time, and this one can be described as happiness, friendship, or even love, depending on context.
With her friend Torren right next to her, school is going to be great.
The first time Lantis sees Torren today, they are in the mess hall. It’s the weekend, so they didn’t have school this morning. Lantis has been helping out the engineering department (who, according to JackGeneralDad, don’t know the meaning of leisure time). Lantis has just come inside, and she sees Torren already seated at a table with some of their friends. Next to him is a girl called Violette who recently moved to the city from Earth with her parents. Violette is apparently telling something funny, because Torren laughs about it. Violette smiles brightly at him, and puts her hand on his shoulder.
Lantis feels a stab of a feeling she has never felt before. For some reason it bothers her that Violette is joking with Torren, and touching him in such a familiar way.
Lantis has not experienced this feeling herself before, but she knows it from others. McKayDoctorRodney feels like that when a beautiful lady is flirting with JohnColonel.
We are jealous.
She turns around on the spot, and flees the mess hall, running straight to the office of DanielDoctorJacksonDad. She knows he is alone at this time of the day.
She bursts through his office door, and he looks up in alarm, and then opens his arms wide. She buries herself in his hug, and he helps her settle on his lap. With her 13 years her android body has gotten considerably taller than it was at first. But she still loves the comfort of being hugged by one of her dads, especially when she is feeling upset like today.
DanielDoctorJacksonDad rocks her gently, and just keeps silent for as long as she needs. Lantis really appreciates that. It takes her a while to calm down.
At long last she sits up, and DanielDoctorJacksonDad smiles at her.
“Hey hon. You wanna talk?”
Lantis shrugs, feeling a bit at a loss.
“You don't have to. But I’m here to listen.”
“You want to check my translation in the meantime?”
Lantis perks up at that, because translating is always fun with DanielDoctorJacksonDad.
He is working on a piece of a database they got off a captured Wraith hive ship. The Wraith language was derived from Alteran, but it evolved quite a bit since then, so it’s a nice challenge. It certainly helps her get her mind off the complicated mess her feelings for Torren turned out to be.
They are still discussing different possibilities to translate a certain sentence depending on the context when JackGeneralDad comes by to pick them up for dinner. The growling of her stomach reminds Lantis that she never actually got to eat lunch today.
JackGeneralDad raises his eyebrows at the sound, and Lantis blushes.
“Can we eat in our apartment tonight?”
“Sure we can, kiddo. You want to start explaining what made you miss lunch?”
Lantis looks at him a bit helplessly, she still isn’t sure she can bring her feelings into any sense of order.
JackGeneralDad comes over to them, and gives her a hug.
“It’s all right, Lantis. We can talk after we actually got some food into you.”
While they walk towards their apartment, JackGeneralDad asks “You happen to know where those brothers of yours are?”
Lantis smiles. “Sure we do!” She gestures to a formerly blank patch of corridor wall. The projectors in the ceiling beam a three dimensional map of the city onto it, then zoom in on one of the towers, and further to a single room. The life signs they know from the scanners show up here too, and Lantis points to two that are helpfully turning green at her motion.
“Here they are. It's the room with the jungle gym.”
“Great. Let's fetch them and then we can start on dinner.”
Japhat spots them when they walk into the door, and waves with a smile. Elon shouts with joy, and throws himself into JackGeneralDad’s arms from his perch 3 meters up, giggling madly.
JackGeneralDad gives him a kiss to the cheek, and whirls him around.
“Hey, little monkey. Have a good day?”
“That's what I like to hear. We are cooking tonight, any ideas?”
Elon throws his hands in the air, and cheers “Spaghetti!”
JackGeneralDad rolls his eyes. “We have corrupted you.”
Japhat has strolled over in the meantime, and gives Lantis a hug. “Hey, karinda. You seem bummed out?”
Lantis sighs. “We’ll tell you after dinner.”
Japh ruffles her hair, an annoying trait he learned from JackGeneralDad. Lantis pokes out her tongue at him, but she does feel better.
Lantis is quieter than usual at dinner, but Elon more than makes up for it by telling their dads all about his day.
After he is in bed, the parents and the teenagers of the family settle in their living room. JackGeneralDad gives Lantis a serious look.
It all comes finally tumbling out of Lantis. How she saw Torren joking with Violette, how Violette touched him, and how Lantis felt a stab of jealousy. How she freaked out because she never planned to fall in love, what if Torren doesn’t feel the same, what if he does feel the same, how would that even work, how do humans even function with all of these feelings...
At that point, JackGeneralDad simply lifts her onto his lap, and gives her a hug. Lantis is happy to stop talking, and just relax against him.
Japh is smiling very warmly at her, and pats her knee. “Congratulations, karinda. You have your very first crush.”
Lantis feels the vibrations in JackGeneralDad’s chest as he chuckles.
DanielDoctorJacksonDad is smiling too, and Lantis feels a little reassured. None of them seen overly concerned, perhaps this is going to be not too bad.
“Lantis, I’d say Torren is at least as fond of you as you are of him. I wouldn’t be too surprised if he asked permission to court you sometime in the not too distant future.”
JackGeneralDad sighs, and Lantis turns to him curiously. He gives her a wry smile.
“Normally I would totally do my best to scare anyone who wants to date you so that they treat you right. But Torren is such a well mannered boy I know he’ll be a perfect gentleman.”
Japh laughs. “You didn’t try to scare Celeste when we started going out!”
DanielDoctorJacksonDad grins. “Yes, Jack, what’s up with that? Kinda sexist, don’t you think?”
JackGeneralDad mock growls, and Lantis feels infinitely better with her family being so confident they are joking about the matter.
“You really think Torren loves us in a romantic sense, too?” she asks shyly.
JackGeneralDad gives her a squeeze.
“I really think so, yes. Why don't you talk to him tomorrow, hm?”
Lantis smiles at him with a twinkle in her eyes. “Or we could talk to him tonight!”
JackGeneralDad taps her nose. “Nice try, kiddo. Shower, and then bed for you.”
Lantis gives him a hug, and then hugs DanielDoctorJacksonDad and Japhat too.
“Good night, family.”
“Good night, Lantis!”
The first time Lantis sees Torren the next morning, it is when he comes to her apartment around breakfast time.
He looks a little worried, and Lantis ushers him inside at once.
“Hey Torren! You look worried?”
He gives her a hug, and Lantis feels better at once.
“Hello Lantis. I didn’t see you at all yesterday, but Aileen said you were in the mess hall briefly and then left in a hurry. Is everything okay?”
Lantis feels relief spread through her. Torren is worried about her. Maybe her family is right. “It's better now that you are here. You want some breakfast? JackGeneralDad made waffles.”
Torren's eyes light up, and he accepts graciously. The family welcomes him with real joy, and Lantis happily puts another setting next to hers. During breakfast, the part of Lantis' consciousness that resides outside of her body, analyses the interactions of her android unit and her family with Torren. He really seems like a part of the family as well. That is no surprise, as he is one of the first friends Lantis made in this body. Torren and Lantis are guests in each other's homes so often their respective parents treat them like their other children.
Lantis realizes she likes this rather a lot. Except she doesn't just love Torren like she loves her brothers. That thought makes her smile, and blush, and Torren leans over to whisper “What?” in her ear.
She whispers back, “We'll tell you later”, and Torren smiles.
After breakfast, Lantis and Torren take a long walk around one beautiful, and deserted top of a spire.
They are silent for a good part of it, and Lantis is happy that they have that, that they can be silent together without it being uncomfortable. She is aware of Torren next to her like she hasn't been before. She notices that his features are aesthetically pleasant. She notices that his scent reminds her of home and family and something that is just uniquely him. She notices that there are lots of things she loves doing, but all of them are more fun if he is with her.
They stop at a balustrade, and look out over the city, and the ocean.
Torren turns to her, and takes her hand with a smile.
“What did you want to tell me, Lantis?”
Lantis looks at him for a minute, feeling a little shy. But at the same time she knows this is Torren, her best friend, and she can tell him anything.
“We have realized that our feelings for you are more than just platonic, Torren. We love you like a brother, but more than that we also love you in a romantic way.”
Torren's eyes light up, and he comes a step nearer.
“Well. That's fortunate. It so happens that I also love you in a romantic way.”
Lantis feels that by now familiar and very welcome warm feeling spread through her. “That really is fortunate. Say, there is this human custom we have observed many times, called kissing. Do you think we could try that out?”
Torren laughs, and cups her face. “With pleasure.”
Kissing is indeed a really nice custom.
Oh, of course Lantis has received kisses by her family and friends before. To the cheek or to the forehead, or something like that. Never like this though.
The part of her consciousness outside of her android unit is fascinated by her body's reaction, releasing endorphins, speeding up the rate of heart and breathing. The part of her consciousness that is residing within her body is too occupied for such observations. It's awesome.
Torren walks her back home a few hours later, after quite a bit more kissing, and walking, and talking.
JackGeneralDad takes one look at them holding hands, and knows. He claps Torren on the shoulder.
“Congratulations, son. If you want to court our Lantis, you're very welcome to, though I think I should warn you that Daniel is going to want all details. Possibly with video footage.”
Torren laughs. “That's fine. It's gonna be a long courtship anyway, we'll have time for that. And thank you, Jack.”
He gives Lantis a last kiss goodbye, and then takes his leave. “See you in school tomorrow!”
Lantis waves from their doorway, with a big smile. “Until then!”
When he's out of sight, Lantis turns to JackGeneralDad with a big smile. “You were right!”
JackGeneralDad holds out his arms for a hug, and she runs to him laughing.
“I'm glad your talk went so well, and I'm glad you're happy. Congratulations, Lantis.”
“Thanks! Ohhh, can we bake a cake for school tomorrow to announce it?”
JackGeneralDad laughs. “Sure we can. You want your brothers in on this?”
“All right, I'll tell them, you wash your hands.”
Lantis skips towards the kitchen happily. JackGeneralDad looks after her with a fond look in his eye. His little girl, growing up fast.
The next morning, Torren comes by to pick her up for school, which Lantis likes rather a lot.
Elon cheers when he sees him and gives him a big hug. “Hi Torren! It's great that you and Lantis are courting, because we made cake!”
Torren laughs. “You did?”
Lantis grins, and tows him to the kitchen. They made two cakes, actually. One for their friends at school, which is still intact, and a smaller one for the family, which has been all but demolished last night. A tiny rest is still on the breakfast table.
Torren gapes at Lantis for a second, and then grins. “Wow. That is a great cake! Shouldn't I be the one to bring you gifts of food though?”
Lantis laughs. “We can both bring each other food and other nice gifts. More fun to go around!”
Torren leans forward for a kiss. “True.”
DanielDoctorJacksonDad comes over from the table with his coffee mug, and gives Torren a one-armed hug. “Hey kiddo. Congrats! I already told Lantis to record the whole courtship, just so you know. I gather you are going to incorporate new elements into the traditional Athosian courtship rituals?”
Torren laughs. “I don't have detailed plans yet, Doc. You'll just have to wait and see.”
DanielDoctorJacksonDad nods with a smile. “I'm good at that.”
Lantis has to giggle at that, because DanielDoctorJacksonDad has many strong suits, but patience is not one of them.
Soon Lantis, Torren, and Elon are on their way to school. Japh has already finished school and is an apprenticeship. Lantis is carefully carrying the cake in an opaque container, and Torren is carrying her backpack for her. Apart from her school books she also has a stack of plastic plates and forks in it. Elon is happily skipping ahead, telling Torren how much fun they had baking.
Their friends are very curious what is in the container, and Lantis has a hard time keeping the secret until the breakfast break. But she and Torren agreed to surprise their friends.
Once the break comes around, Torren and Lantis stand up. Torren gives her a smile, and she nods to him.
“You were wondering what is in this container, now is the time to reveal it!”
All their friends gather around, and Lantis opens the lid of the container, revealing the cake. It has a big heart on it, and the words “We are courting! Lantis & Torren”.
A chorus of “Ohhh” and “I knew it!” and “Finally!” arises, and they both are congratulated and hugged by everyone.
The cake is a huge success too, of course.
While everyone is munching and chatting happily, Torren draws Lantis close for a hug, and a kiss, which makes their friends cheer and whistle.
That by now very familiar warm feeling spreads through Lantis once again. She looks at Torren, and sees all the joy and love she has for him reflected in his eyes. This is going to be awesome.
You can find a picture of the cake here: