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 The Return of the Gray-haired Avengers



Daniel walked into his den. He had a few ideas about the latest discovery by SG-19, and wanted to get his thoughts down before dinner. He stopped abruptly in the doorway. Damn it! She's done it again!

He picked up a group of carefully stacked folders. Tossed them back onto the desk. When was Casey going to learn to just leave his stuff alone? His gaze went to the top of the nearest filing cabinet. She'd even organized the books and folders that had been laying there. While he would admit…albeit reluctantly…that it certainly looked better than the jumbled heap it had been, and he could see the titles of the volumes that were stored there - something that hadn't been possible before…damn it, this was his office. His space. "Casey!" he bellowed.


"Get your butt in here."

Oh, he did not just say that, Casey fumed, looking up from where she sat on the bed, folding clean laundry. "Excuse me?"

"Get in here."

She rolled her eyes. Might as well get it over with. She'd known that he would be in a snit because she hadn't been able to take the mess in the den any longer. She'd been very careful as she'd cleaned, arranged, and organized; making certain that everything he needed or could possibly want was within reach, and visible. She stomped into the den, arms wrapped tightly around her waist. "What?"

He waved his hand toward the desk. "You cleaned it."

"Brilliant deduction, Sherlock," she retorted.

"This is my den," he said firmly.

"Yes, I do believe we established that fact when we moved in. You've pointed it out several times since."

"Stop messing with my stuff!"

"I was trying to make it easier for you to work in here! It wasn't even possible to find the top of the desk, let alone any particular file or stack of notes! I'll have you know I spent two hours sorting those notes, arranging them in those folders," Casey responded hotly.

"I don't need your help," Daniel spat. "I had everything where I could find it, thank you very much!"

"Fine. Pile papers and notes to the ceiling for all I care! Just keep the damned doors closed so I don't have to see the freaking disaster, and don't call me to help you find something in your mess!" She spun on her heel and stalked toward the door. Stopped, and whirled around. "Since you have the den, the bedroom is mine. If you don't like it, stuff it."

"I sleep there, too," he argued.

"Keep this shit up and you won't," she fired back.

Daniel's eyes narrowed slightly. "And just what do you mean by that?"

"You know exactly what I mean! Keep acting like this, and you'll be spending your nights on the sofa!"

"Is that a threat?"

"Take it any way you want, Sparky." She flexed her shoulders. She hated fighting. Hated being angry at Daniel. Hated even more when he was angry with her. The need to flee the tension that filled the house was overwhelming. With a suppressed sigh, she gave in to that need. "I'm going out for awhile."

He ran his hands over his face as she disappeared into the hallway. Grimaced when the front door slammed behind her. It was bad enough that she and Beth Meyers had ganged up on him at the SGC…sorting and filing all of the notes and reports that had been stacking up on every flat surface in his office for years…

That thought brought him up short. He was accustomed to just stacking folders, or piling his notes on his desk, or the work table, or the bookshelves, because he'd always been too busy to actually file the work away. Now that the archaeological department was fully staffed, others often needed to reference work he'd done years before. He was still far too busy to stop just to search for any relevant piece of paper one of the archaeologists or anthropologists needed. It had taken the two women nearly two weeks to file everything. The filing cabinets were in the closest storeroom to his office, and he knew for a fact that one of the 'crew' utilized those files at least once a day.

Dropping down into his chair, he looked around the room again. This was his space. But if he were honest with himself, as much as it might irritate him to admit, Casey had no such place in the house to call her own. Other than the bedroom. What she might want to do in there to make it hers was a complete mystery. Yet, he slept there as well. Shouldn't he at least get a say in any decorating matters?

For the third time his gaze drifted over the den. Neat. Orderly. It would be easier to work now…Casey had marked every folder carefully, he could tell with just a glance what notes were inside each. "She's got OCD on top of that damned perfectionism gene she inherited," he grumbled, noting that the tabs on the folders had been color-coordinated to the books he'd need to reference.

He settled back and folded his hands behind his head. Casey was very much her father's daughter. He'd witnessed Gary's perfectionist ways when the new monitoring computer system, courtesy of Franklin Enterprises, was brought in and set up for Dennis Ballard. The man had been obsessed with every little detail. Just like Casey, he thought. Everything in the house had been put into place with careful consideration. Casey had agonized over the placement of each and every dish and knick-knack in the china cabinet. It had taken her nearly a month to get the kitchen organized. Daniel was aware that he could be a stickler for details. That was just part of being an archaeologist…every detail was important for reconstructing the mysteries of the past. He wasn't, he assured himself, as nit-picky as his Wife and father-in-law were proving to be.

She'd always had a penchant for demanding…well, maybe not demanding, he didn't think Casey had demanded anything in her life…but she certainly insisted on every detail being attended to, no matter what those details concerned. Whether it was arranging the furniture in the living room, or working on the database, nothing less than 'perfect' was acceptable. A frown knitted his brow as Daniel realized, perhaps for the first time consciously, that of late it was Casey's perfectionism - and not that cursed low self esteem that she continued to struggle with - that caused her so much distress when she was unable to 'see' every little detail for every mission, and every person in the SGC. She not only took her position as the SGC seer very seriously, her personality…the very essence of who she was, facets of which continued to emerge - blossom, as Sam said…wouldn't allow her to do less than a 'perfect' job. A 'perfect' job apparently meant seeing every detail for every person for every mission. Was it any wonder she struggled with frustration so often? That she struggled with a sense of failure where none existed? Yep, Casey is just that stubborn, he thought, with a mental nod.

He heaved a sigh as he pushed himself to his feet. After making sure his keys were in his pocket, and all of the doors were locked, Daniel hurried out the front door. As pissed as she was, Casey was no doubt walking fast. He turned west at the end of the sidewalk, jogged toward the corner. "It's my den," he muttered.

He slowed down when she was about half a block in front of him. Watching that heart-shaped fanny was always enjoyable. She was damned near jogging, no doubt her feet keeping in time with her own thoughts. His thoughts continued to berate him for his reaction to finding his den cleaned and organized. Daniel shoved his hands into his pockets. Casey had made strides in overcoming the low self-esteem that thirteen years of abuse had left on her heart and soul. There were still times she struggled with it. But it seemed that lately…and the thought made him smile…her actions, or reactions, were a result of the burgeoning personality traits that she'd buried as a child. She's a perfectionist, just like Gary, he thought, yet again. It was amazing…and interesting…that Casey was so much like her father…at least when it came to her personality. She was, Gary had told him, a carbon copy of her mother in looks.

He had no doubt that what Casey had done, she'd done in love, trying to help him. Her sense of order would make it seem impossible for him to work with his notes and folders piled helter-skelter around the room. Her independent streak - and that recently discovered sense of wanting things in order - were all that she'd escaped that house of horrors with. He'd be damned if he'd let anyone take them from her. He'd deal with the frustration of having her organizing his den when she couldn't take the mess any longer. Every damned time, he sighed mentally. Every time he was pissed at her, his heart and mind would point out the obvious, making it impossible to remain angry. He started to jog again.




Casey strode along the sidewalk. Trying to remain as angry at Daniel as she had been when she'd left the house…refusing to admit that she should have at least discussed what she'd done with him, before she'd done it. It was his den, after all. She'd be nine kinds of pissed off if he decided to rearrange the living room without talking to her first. She had everything exactly where she wanted it… She rolled her eyes. "I hate it when he's right," she grumbled beneath her breath.

When she'd looked at the den, the piles of notes and papers and legal pads and folders, all tossed haphazardly on any surface that would hold them, she'd been overcome by a sense of absolute disgust. The room had looked so cluttered and unkept that she knew she had to do something. Memories had filled her mind of all the times had he called to her - searching for this folder, or that book, because he couldn't find it in the cluttered mess of his office. (Usually it was accompanied by the demand to know what she had done with said folder or book, certain that she had moved it, rather than admitting that he had piled so much on top of the items that they were 'invisible' to him.) In that moment, she'd made her decision.

She'd carefully sorted notes. Put them into folders to keep the sheets of legal-pad paper, the sticky notes, and the notes scrawled on notebook paper together. Sorted by mission or relevancy. The books were all in place on the bookshelves, the volumes he used the most often within reach on the filing cabinet beside the desk. The room looked neat and organized, which satisfied her need for order; and would certainly allow Daniel to be more productive. He wouldn't have spend half his time looking for whatever it was he needed.

The sound of footfalls behind her had her moving to the edge of the sidewalk. There were several joggers in the neighborhood…


She started slightly. Looked up when Daniel fell into step beside her.

"I'm sorry."

"You should be," she replied.

He bristled slightly. His temper might have cooled, but he wasn't beyond taking offence at her tone. "If you'd at least ask first-"

She rolled her eyes. "Ask to clean my own house? Oh, wait. Sorry, it's your den."

"Yes, it is!"

She shook her head. "I know it's your den, Daniel. It's just…" She paused, then shook her head again. "When it looks like it could be declared a national disaster area, it drives me nuts."

Daniel smiled. "I know."

"And you spend half your time looking for things…or yelling at me for moving something-"

"I don't yell at you," he argued.

She looked up at him, raised one eyebrow slightly. "Really? What would you call it?"

Hands in his pockets, an attempt to keep from reaching for her, knowing that at the moment she was still as prickly as a porcupine, Daniel shrugged slightly. "I'll admit I get a bit…short…when I can't find a book or notes where I left them."

"They're always where you left them," she replied. "You just can't find them because of everything you've piled on top of them."

He refused to respond, mostly because he'd have to admit she was right if he did.

"It wasn't just because I couldn't take the mess any longer, I really did…do," she corrected herself, "I really do think working in a cluttered area can hamper your productivity. Look how much more is being accomplished at the SGC, now that all of your notes and reports are properly filed."

Again, Daniel remained quiet. Sometimes, it was just damned annoying when she was right!

Casey took a deep breath. "I promise, from now on, no matter how much it drives me crazy, I'll leave your den alone. I meant it, though - keep the doors closed so I don't have to look at your disaster zone."

"What about the bedroom?" he asked.

Slender shoulders moved up and down. "It's our room, not mine," she said softly.

Once again the thought that Casey had nowhere in the house to call her own, no corner that could be declared her own 'personal space' poked at him. Daniel cleared his throat. "Is there something special you'd like to do in the bedroom?"

"No," she sighed. "The bedroom is just fine the way it is. It's exactly the way I want it."

"You're sure?"

She smiled. "I'm sure."

"I'm sorry," he repeated, certain that she was ready to accept his apology.

"Apology accepted. I'm sorry, too," she said, slipping her arm through his.

"Apology accepted," he smiled. "I'll try to keep the den…neater."

Casey began to giggle. "Hope you have more luck than I do with the bathroom counter!"

Daniel chuckled. While he teased her about the jumble of items that covered the marble countertop, everything from the assortment of bottles, tubes, and jars to the combs, brushes, hair dryer and other sundry feminine beauty accessories had come to mean one important thing to him: Casey was home and safe. It was the only place in the house where her compulsion for neatness had no affect.

"Next time the den is a mess, we'll clean it together," Casey promised.

"I can live with that," he agreed.

He slipped his arm around her shoulders. Grinned when he felt hers go around his waist. "So what's for dinner?"

She glanced up at him, a playful smile tugging at her lips. "I dunno. Where are you taking me for dinner?"

"How come I have to take you to dinner…you're the one who cleaned my den."

"And you're the one who got snarky about it," she replied.

His grin went wider. "Whatever you want, Angel."

Her heart gave a happy sigh. The weight of his arm around her shoulders assured her that the fight was truly over. Their tempers had flared, they'd vented their feelings…and had talked out the problem. She tightened her arm around his waist. All was well in her world.


A  A  A  A  A  A


The light on the answering machine for the landline was blinking when they returned home from dinner. Casey put the leftovers…fettuccini and lasagna from her "Tour of Italy" from Olive Garden…into the refrigerator.

Jack's voice filled the room when Daniel hit the play button.

"Just wanted to let you know, I got a call from Agent Hutchins. It seems that Michelson committed suicide. Since there wasn't anything in his cell for him to use, questions are being asked about the belt he somehow managed to get his hands on. The good news is, Michelson sang like a bird after we left the other night. Hutchins is making sure that little bit of info is staying under wraps for now. Talk to you tomorrow."

"Can't say I'm surprised," Daniel sighed.

"Me, either," Casey replied. "I am surprised that no one in the Pentagon seems the least bit interested in why Marshall suddenly resigned as the Director of the NID."

"Well, Kinsey held the post for a couple of years. Simmons was Director for just over a year. Marshall had already been in the office for over a year and a half. I guess they figured it was just time for the Director to move on," Daniel shrugged.

"I just hope that General Bauer won't disappoint us," she sighed.

"You and me, both," Daniel agreed. "I can't say I liked the man. The fact that the first thing he did was to break up SG-1 probably has a lot to do with that. He had Sam working on some damned nuclear bomb, had taken me completely off the roster for going off world, sent Jack on leave…I really think he was trying to come up with a way to force him to retire. If Jack hadn't managed to expose the blackmail scheme…" He shook his head.

"Let's not talk about the NID, or General Bauer, or what almost happened at the SGC," Casey suggested softly, wrapping her arms around his neck.

"What shall we talk about?" he asked playfully, holding her tightly.

"Oh, I dunno. Maybe how much you enjoy it when I go down on you," she whispered, her eyes twinkling with mirth…and desire.

"I do enjoy that," he replied. "Very much."



"I suppose you'd enjoy it if I did that right now," she suggested impishly, wiggling her eyebrows.

"I certainly wouldn't turn down the offer," he smiled.

"Didn't figure you would."

"Let's go to bed, Angel," he said, just before his lips captured hers.

Breath of life…Coherent thought was pushed aside as she gave herself over to his kiss and the sensations it evoked. The warmth of his body as he held her so close; the taste of his lips and mouth…just a hint of coffee coupled with his own unique flavor; the sensations of pure bliss that raced from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. The ache that began to build in the very core of her being, the physical result of his kiss.

She sighed into his mouth; he swallowed her happiness. He sought to know every tiny place in her mouth, every centimeter of her lips. Assured himself that the tension that had built between them earlier in the day was completely gone. And promised her, through the movement of his lips against hers - as he had with every kiss since Monday - that he'd never allow anyone to take her again, not if there was any possible way to prevent such a thing from happening. He silently begged her forgiveness for all the times he'd failed to protect her…failed to bring her home safely.

"Bed," she murmured, pulling away only far enough to speak, then diving into another kiss. Closer…I need closer…

As if reading her mind, Daniel tugged her against him, the curves of her body fitting snuggly against the hard planes of his own. Her fingers were curled in his hair, and god, how he loved when she did that! His knees nearly gave out when her tongue began to stroke his gently. The sensations exploded in his brain, racing down his spine to lodge in his aching balls…reflected in the turgid erection that strained against the zipper of his jeans.

Not breaking the kiss, he scooped her into his arms, carried her to the bedroom, stopped walking when his knees hit the side of the bed. He put her on her feet, making certain she was standing firmly before letting go, and finally pulling his lips from hers. "I love you," he whispered, pulling his clothes off.

"I love you," she responded in kind, stripping quickly, then jerking the blankets back and out of the way. "Let me show you," she said softly, reaching for him as she climbed onto the bed.

With a shiver of anticipation, he laid down beside her. Brushed a lock of hair from her face, tucking it behind her ear. "Do it," he said, commanding…begging.

Every journey of discovery started with a kiss. She gently pressed her lips against his. Traced his full lower lip with the tip of her tongue…teasing him…begging entrance to his mouth. He acquiesced, and she slipped inside, once again tasting him…touching him.

Her hands weren't idle as she kissed him. Her fingertips moved gently over the skin of his chest, stopping to toy with hard, flat nipples. She settled beside him, making herself comfortable in preparation of the journey of love she was about to embark upon.

Every time she touched him…kissed him…made love to him, Daniel was certain that he'd never been loved as well, as gently…as beautifully…as Casey made love to him. He continued to rejoice in the good fortune that had brought her into his life, and into his arms.

Raising his chin slightly when her lips moved from his and began a soft, tender descent, he smiled at the ceiling. Every time they made love it was special…incredible. This time would be no different. The fingers of pleasure already moving through his body were proof of that fact.

Casey took her time, moving from one side of his throat to the other, leaving not one inch of skin untasted. Left her mark on his shoulder, secretly delighted when he shivered his approval. The soft moan that filled the air when she began to tease his nipples with her tongue pleased her. It made her all the more determined to give him the most pleasure possible. She wrapped her hand around his throbbing manhood, stroking him slowly, gently. Took her time kissing her way to the rigid shaft, leaving a trail of damp skin in her wake.

"Oh, god, yes!" he groaned, when her mouth slid down, enveloping him in warmth.

One hand cradled his balls, fingertips gently massaging them. The other was wrapped around the base of his swollen member, stroking what she could never quite take into her mouth. It only took a minute or so to find the rhythm that had his entire body rocking, his hips rising up slightly to greet her each time she moved down on him.

"That feels so good," he said breathlessly, his hands caressing her - one wound in her hair, cupping the back of her head, the other moving up and down the arm that she rested against his belly.

She looked up at him, winked…thrilled when he grinned in return. She watched him, their gazes locked as she continued to make love to him.

Far too soon that special feeling had built up, the tingling in the back of his head signaling that the end of this particular ride was coming to an end. He held his breath, waiting for her to pull away…change the way she held him…slow her pace…anything to prevent him from falling before she was ready.

He was throbbing hard and fast. His scrotum had tightened, pulling the spheres within closer to his body. He was on the brink. Tonight was about pleasing him. Her way of making tangible the apology she had offered earlier in the day. There would be no teasing, no taking him to the edge again and again. She shifted, rising up on her knees. Took as much of him as she could, and as always, attempting to take just a bit more. Both hands were stroking what she couldn't swallow, moving hard and fast.

"Sweet Jesus!" he cried out, his shoulders coming up off the bed as he took flight into the heavens. He could feel his body pulse all the way to his toes.

She took everything he gave her, sucking gently to make certain nothing that she'd worked so diligently for remained. Then tenderly licked at him, leaving not one trace of his orgasm on his skin. She kissed her way back to his lips, accepted his gratitude there, then pulled away, sighed with contentment, and settled beside him, her head on his shoulder. "Better?"

"Unbelievable," he replied with a smile. He looked down at her, traced one still trembling fingertip over her jaw. "Sore?"

"Not at all. Never is."

He wasn't sure how she could take his girth and not get a serious case of lock-jaw. Particularly when she never stopped until he was spinning among the stars, no matter how long it took. His awe of her love quickly turned to passion…and the need to send her spiraling on her own flight. He rolled slightly, putting her completely on her back beside him. "I love you," he whispered, repeating the declaration he'd made earlier.

"I love you, too." His lips touched hers so tenderly, moved so gently that it brought tears of joy to her eyes. His tongue traced her lips, and when she gasped from pleasure, he plunged into her mouth, stroking her…touching her…tasting her. Increasing the heat that continued to build in her core…that burning need for him. She felt as if she were about to burst into flames.

There wasn't even a hint of himself as he searched her mouth. She never wasted a drop, he thought, awe moving over him again. Melded with love so deep, so warm, so amazing that he thought his heart would swell and burst trying to contain it all.

Soft as satin…as sweet as ambrosia, he thought, when he finally tore himself away from her intoxicating lips, and began his journey of discovery. When his mouth reached her throat, his hands automatically reached for her breasts, gently molding the soft curves with his palms. She was arching into his caresses, a reaction to his touch that never failed to delight him. One hand was on his head, her fingers curled in his hair. The fingertips of her other hand painted designs on the skin of his shoulder that set him on fire for her all over again.

He settled over her, couldn't help but smile against her breast when she wrapped her legs around his hips. One slender foot was moving over the back of his thigh, making his rock hard shaft throb. It never ceased to amaze him…she could suck his balls dry, and minutes later he was up and ready for her, needy for her.

Both hands found their way into his hair as he began to suckle. She closed her eyes, savoring the sensations that shot through her like tentacles of molten lava. When he shifted slightly, she could feel the tip of his erection poking against her inner thigh. She felt that secret place between her thighs throb in response…in need.

It was impossible not to moan when he left his mark between her breasts. The errant thought…a memory…moved forward, and brought a smile to her lips. The day that she and Sam had been showering after a particularly muddy mission. Two other women from the SGC were in the locker room at the time. And all three remarked upon, and then teased her about, the purple bruise between her breasts. It seemed to be an almost permanent mark on her, Daniel left one so often.

Her moan let him know she approved of his attention to her breasts. The orbs and their pink nipples were absolutely perfect in his eyes. It also let him know that she was experiencing as much pleasure from his attention as he was. The fact that her hips were beginning to press up against his belly was further evidence of her need. His mouth watered and his body thrummed in anticipation. He could smell her arousal…hot and sweet and flavored with that unique vanilla scent. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs with her, even as he lapped her skin, and teased the hard, pointed nipples on the tips of her breasts.

When one soft hand moved to his shoulder, applied barely there pressure, he smiled against her skin for the second time. His angel was burning, she was on fire…and it was a fire he had created. Only he could quench the fire in her. Facts that had his head spinning and his heart pounding his love against his ribs. He slid down, taking the time to greet her belly button, tugging gently on the platinum ring that rested there, pleased with the way her flat abdomen undulated as a result. When he arrived at the juncture of her thighs, her legs opened completely to him, that beautiful specimen of womanhood pointed upward in eager expectation. He dipped his head, ran the tip of his tongue from the top of that warm, wet slit to the bottom, and back again.


Her fingers were beginning to tug on his hair. That turned him on…urged him on. He slipped a finger inside her while his tongue moved up and down against her, flicking that hardened pearl whenever it was within reach. He pressed his other hand against the swell of her mons, the fine, carefully trimmed curls there tickling his palm. Just one little poem, he thought, searching his memory carefully. He began to write his love against her skin, her swollen nether lips his parchment, his tongue the stylus he used to carefully create each letter.

"Oh, goddess!" The man had the most talented tongue in the universe. Regardless of the fact that Daniel was the only man she'd ever made love to…made love with…she had no doubt that there wasn't another man alive who could do to her what he did, each and every time he worshipped her…his beautiful description of making love to her orally. He'd often proclaimed that she…her body…was the only altar where he worshipped. How beautiful…how amazing…is that?

Vibrating beneath his hands and his tongue, her body was at the edge…she was ready to take flight. He looked up at her, never changing the rhythm he'd set for her. Slid three fingers deep into her well at the same moment he began to suckle that hard little nub. He watched her eyes darken…how she pressed the tip of her tongue against her top lip…how her head dropped back as her pleasure took her higher. Listened to the soft sound of her song of love as it built up, becoming an aria of sweet release.


His heart fluttered in his chest as his name left her lips, her body palpitating around his fingers as she took flight. Unable to wait any longer, the need to be inside her overwhelming, he moved up, sheathed his throbbing shaft in her still pulsing well. He closed his eyes when her legs wrapped around his waist, her arms around his shoulders, tugging him closer.

She could taste herself on his lips when he began to kiss her. Arched toward him when the long, slender fingers of one strong hand wrapped around her breast. Moaned softly when he began to thrust his tongue into her mouth in time with the thrusts of his hips.

The sensation of her fingers digging into his shoulders served to send the flames higher, had his hips moving faster…deeper…harder with each thrust. Her hips met him every step of the dance of love he led her through. Soft little sounds of love filled her throat, matched the grunts that he couldn't hold back.

"Harder…faster…oh, goddess…take me!"

Her sweet command burned through his brain. Had him rising up on outstretched arms, pounding into her in an attempt to please her.

"Don't stop don't stop don't stop don't stop…" she panted, her hands clenched around his biceps as much as she was able.

"Give it to me," he begged, panting as well - so close to his release that he feared he'd not be able to hold back until she came.

"Don't stop…oh goddess…Nngg…"

Her sweet aria filled the air once more, and with a cry of relief…a shout of joy, he followed her into the waves of pure bliss, and rode the crest of pleasure beside her.

She wrapped her arms around his shoulders once again, when his quaking arms gave out and he dropped onto her, breathing hard, trembling against her own quivering body.

With a groan, he rolled to his back, his arm beneath her hips guaranteeing that he remained sheathed in her warm body.

Casey crossed her arms on his shoulders, resting her chin on her wrist. Gave him a sleepy, satisfied smile.

"Penny for them," he said softly, his hands moving up and down the satiny expanse of her back.

"Just thinking that we finally have the NID under control," she replied.

"For now."

"Well, as long as General Bauer is there…what did you think of the email he sent?" she asked, referring to the email that had arrived in the e-box of every SG team member, as well as every member of the command staff.

"To be honest, it makes me wonder what he's up to."

"I think it's his way of acknowledging that he screwed up, and that he's going to see to it that it doesn't happen again."

Daniel snorted. "The man is a pompous ass. Gung-ho military to the core."

"I hear you used to say the same thing about Jack," she smiled.

"Yeah, well, Jack changed," he said.

"Or…maybe you got to know Jack well enough to see other facets of his personality…things that overshadow his pompous ass-iness, and his gung-ho military style."

"Nah. Jack mellowed. He learned to look at things from other perspectives," Daniel argued.

"Maybe Bauer's experience here changed him…humbled him a bit," Casey suggested.

"Don't hold your breath on that. Once a pompous general, always a pompous general," Daniel declared.

"I'm so gonna remind you of that when something happens to prove otherwise."

Both eyebrows went up. "Casey? Are you seeing something?"

"Nope. But it could happen."

He smiled, hugged her tightly. "That's my Angel. Always seeing the best in people."

"You do the same thing," she countered.

"Not always. Sometimes experience makes that impossible."

She sighed. She knew that Daniel had faced so much, being a member of SG-1. Being on the frontlines of the battle against the Goa'uld had definitely left its mark on him. But he was still the kindest, most generous, most decent man she'd ever met. A yawn suddenly overtook her, cutting off any comment she'd been about to make, derailing her train of thought completely.

"Sleep, Angel," Daniel whispered.

She snuggled closer. Closed her eyes. Drifted into contented slumber immediately.

He smiled, kissed the top of her head when he felt her relax completely. Her breathing was slow and steady. He frowned slightly as his thoughts continued, even as he began to yawn as well. He didn't trust Bauer. Not after what had happened in the SGC. It would take a lot to prove to him that the general had indeed learned from the experience.

Not trusting the Director of the NID made the idea of another entity, a civilian group desperate to gain control of the SGC in general, and the Stargate in particular, downright terrifying. This 'Trust' could be worse than any enemy they'd ever come up against. And that was an enemy in their own backyard…right where they didn't need the trouble. Dealing with the Goa'uld was bad enough. Toss in local bad guys, and the job just became all the more difficult.


"You deal with what's out there. We'll take care of the problems here."


Gary's words echoed in his mind. At least SG-1 had backup. That was always a good thing.

Daniel turned his thoughts to the woman in his arms. He'd do whatever he had to do in order to protect her - no matter where that threat might come from. That determination on his mind, he slipped into the arms of Morpheus. He dreamed of being the knight in shining armor that Casey continued to declare him to be.


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