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Christmas, Malls, and Jaffa

Chapter 2

She smiled. "Ever considered getting pierced?"

One eyebrow went up. "I have not."

"I have my ears pierced...but I saw photos of this beautiful model once, she had her navel pierced. It looked so...sexy. In the interview, she said it made her more...sensitive... there." She shivered imperceptibly, thinking about Daniel and his mouth and lips and tongue on her belly...being more sensitive to those amazing caresses. "I've thought about it ever since. I just never had the courage to do it."

"If you wish to have this done, you should do so," Teal'c said.

She grinned up at him. "I'll do it if you will."

"If I will what?"

"I'll get my navel pierced if you get your ear pierced."

"Why would I wish to do such a thing?"

"Because it's sexy. Because you can. Because it would drive Jack nuts."

His cheek twitched. Casey Jackson took as much delight in torturing O'Neill as she did in teasing him. It was most gratifying, and always entertaining to watch her do so.

"Of course, if you're afraid, that's okay. I won't think any less of you," she said slyly, her eyes dancing with mirth.

"I am not afraid."

"Good! Let's do it!"

Teal'c hesitated. "Are there not rules concerning the piercing of the body for members of the United States military?"

"You're not technically in the military here. It's your body, Teal'c, what are they going to do, take away your birthday?"

"I do not believe that to be possible."

"Exactly. Look, it will hurt a hell of a lot more to get my navel pierced than it will for you to get an ear pierced. One ear. Not even both ears. Piece of cake."

"O'Neill has used that phrase quite often. He is usually wrong."

Her giggle filled the air. "Usually. But I promise, this won't be anything. If you could survive getting your tattoo, this will be nothing, I promise." She shuddered inwardly, thinking about the procedure that the Jaffa had endured to be marked as Apophis' First Prime.

Just mentioning that ritual brought forth every excruciating moment of his 'branding'. He smiled at the slender blonde. "Then I shall, if you will."

"You're on!" She tugged his arm, pulled him into the narrow shop.

"Seasons Greetings," a woman with multiple piercings, and half a dozen tattoos greeted them.

"Hi," Casey smiled.

"Can I help you?"

"Do you do navel piercings?"

The woman smiled. "Yes, we do."

"Good. I want a navel piercing. The big guy wants his ear pierced."

"Right or left?"

"Left," Casey smiled. "There might not be any 'real' rule, but the 'idea' is there."

The woman smiled.

"I do not understand, Casey Jackson," Teal'c said quietly.

She leaned closer to the large man. "There's an old urban legend, that if a man has his ear pierced, it should be in the left ear if he's straight, right ear if he's gay. It's just an urban legend, but there are people who believe it."

Teal'c had lived on Earth long enough to understand the terminology of 'gay' and 'straight'. And he was most certainly 'straight'. He gave a nod.

"Well, come on into the back." The woman pulled aside a beaded curtain, and led the two into another narrow room that appeared to be as sterile as any hospital operating room.

"Do you use a gun or needle?"

The woman, Joanie, according to her nametag, smiled. "Needles. They're less painful, heal faster, and there's a much lower chance of infection. Okay, who's first?"

Casey looked over at her friend. "I'll go first." Joanie motioned toward a stainless steel table. She climbed up on it. laid back, her head on the pillow that the woman had placed there. Tugged at her tunic, unsnapped her jeans, exposing her flat belly and inny belly button. She glanced at the Jaffa. "Maybe you could hold my hand?"

Teal'c smiled. Stepped next to the table, and wrapped his large fingers around her slender hand. Said nothing when he felt the tremors that moved through the cool fingers.

"Do you want a ring or a bar?" Joanie pulled on latex gloves.

"Ring, please. Just a small one," Casey replied. "White gold or platinum, if you have it."

"Platinum it is. Okay, it will sting for a minute." The woman gathered the tools she needed. Swabbed Casey's stomach with alcohol. "Ready?"

"As I'll ever be."

Teal'c watched the woman trying to take hold of Casey's flat belly. She managed to grab a bit of skin just above the navel. In one swift movement, the needle entered and pierced the skin. A bright dot of blood appeared, just as Casey let out a gasp of surprise...and pain. He could see in her eyes, and on her face, that it was not deep pain. But it was pain. A small ring was pushed through the still bleeding hole, and clipped into place. The area was wiped with antiseptic, and a bandage was placed over the new piercing and the ring, to prevent blood from staining her tunic.

Casey listened carefully as the woman listed the care of her new piercing, and the do's and don'ts, telling her it would be at least six months before the piercing healed completely. She smiled up at Teal'c. No doubt it would take significantly less time than that for her.

After the table was meticulously sprayed and cleaned, the needle carefully disposed of, and the woman had washed her hands and put on clean gloves, she picked up the stud that Casey had picked out, and approached the dark skinned man. "This will be simple," she smiled at Teal'c.

He remained stoic as his earlobe was swabbed. The sensation was nothing like he expected. A bit of a sting, then nothing. Casey had insisted that he should have a 'stud'. She chose a simple gold ball, and insisted on paying for it, and the piercing as well. Part of his Christmas, she said.

"Too cool. Very sexy," Casey giggled.

He examined the new jewelry in the mirror. It was not...offensive. In fact, it looked rather good. Yes. He liked this 'piercing'.

They stepped out of the shop just behind a group of shoppers, four of whom they'd have recognized had they been close enough.

"Let's see," Casey said, stopping at a mall directory. "Oh, look, the Gap! I wanted to get a sweater for Daniel from them."

"Let us go there. Wilson's Leather is also in that direction," Teal'c noted.

"Yes, it is. That's a good deal." Slipping her arm through his, she let him lead the way through the throng of holiday shoppers. They stopped to watch a few of the children sit on Santa's knee...commenting on the excited little faces. Teal'c agreed that it was a very special event to observe.

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

"I don't see them anywhere," Janet groused.

"Me, either," Sam said, standing on tip-toe to see over a group of men. "Look, let's just go ahead and do our shopping. We'll probably have a better chance of seeing them if we do."

"Daniel and I will keep looking," Jack said. "I swear, if she tries to take him into some frilly foo-foo boutique..."

Daniel snorted. "Jack, if Casey wanted Teal'c to fly to the moon, he'd do it for her."

"True. But he shouldn't' be subjected to frilly foo-foo places because of a misplaced sense of guilt-" Remorse flashed over his face. He was angry with himself before the words had completely left his mouth.

"I think you and I are feeling the same way," Daniel said softly. "It's okay, Jack. It happened. Teal'c brought her home. She's okay. We don't have to tip-toe around the subject."

A terse nod was the only reply. Hell yes, he was dealing with his own sense of guilt over the entire ordeal! It didn't matter if Casey was convinced that her abduction happened for a reason. Nothing was worth what she...and Daniel...had suffered. Nothing!

 

A  A  A  A  A  A

 

A kiosk set up in the middle of the wide walkway between the stores was selling tee shirts, offering to print whatever the purchaser wished on the front. Casey stopped. "I should get one for Daniel."

"And what do you wish it to say?"

"Hmm. How about 'Chicks Dig Archaeologists'? Sort of a play on the digging thing."

His cheek twitched. "I believe Daniel Jackson would find the tee shirt most...amusing."

"I hope so," she grinned. And made the purchase.

The stop in the Gap was uneventful, although Casey found a hooded sweater that she was sure Daniel would like. At Wilson's Leather, it took her nearly an thirty minutes to decide on a vest for Sam, and Teal'c was no help at all when she stopped to look at the leather mini-skirts. Her single comment had been that Daniel might like it on her. Teal'c was certain that he would. She protested that she wouldn't really have anywhere to wear it. He insisted that she could wear it when the team met at O'Malley's. She sighed over the price. He pointed out that it was thirty-five percent off. She caved.

"I need baskets for the 'personal' gifts for Janet, Sam and Cassie. And I need to find something for General Hammond. Do you think giving the guys of the teams that...well...that were so willing...do you think boxes of chocolates would be all right?"

It was typical of her to want to do something tangible in way of a thank you to the men of SG-2, and SG-3, SG-12 and SG-6, and SG-7, all of whom had been willing to sacrifice their lives to rescue her from Ba'al's clutches. "I believe each of them would be pleased to receive such a gift," he replied.

"Then we'll need to make a stop at the See's Candy Store. I heard one just opened here in the mall," she said. "Oh, I need to go to Penney's. There was a sweater that Cassie wanted."

"That particular store is just ahead," Teal'c said.

 

 

 

Daniel ducked into Borders Bookstore, yanking Jack with him, just seconds before Casey and Teal'c walked past them, deep in a discussion. He caught the words 'Ferretti' and 'chocolate nut clusters'. He grinned. She must be doing what she'd planned...buying boxes of chocolates for the men who'd attempted to rescue her. "That was close."

"I'm impressed," Jack said.

"Why?"

"You're alert. Must be because there aren't any rocks around," Jack teased. "And the fact that our 'quarry' just happens to be your wife."

Daniel's grin was his only response.

 

 

 

Casey glanced at the bags in her hands, and those in Teal'c's. "I'm not overloading you, am I?"

He smiled. The packages were, in fact, quite easy to carry. "You are not."

"Good. Because there's more to come. Although," she sighed, "we can always take this stuff out to the Jeep."

"If it becomes too awkward to carry the bags, we will do so," Teal'c replied easily.

"Deal. Oh! You said you wanted to do some shopping, too!"

"I will do so, after you have completed your shopping."

"Teal'c, if there's somewhere you want to stop, just let me know. I don't mind."

He gave her a thoughtful look, then nodded. He would not need to worry about keeping her preoccupied to buy her gift, what he intended to give her wasn't even made on Earth. They went back to the bookstore, where Teal'c managed to find a book on Ancient Egypt that he was certain Daniel Jackson would enjoy. Camelot Music had a wide selection of videos, including the first two seasons of 'The Simpsons'. Casey agreed that it was the perfect gift for Jack.

The Hallmark Gift store found the two carefully selecting cards for their friends. Casey found a lovely paperweight that would be a thoughtful gift for General Hammond, and Teal'c purchased the pen set that matched. The manager of See's Candy was floored when Casey purchased thirty one pound boxes of candy.

Agreeing that they were nearly overloaded at this point, Teal'c and Casey took their purchases to the Jeep. Not knowing that two men watched carefully, at first believing that the couple was preparing to leave.

Teal'c had spotted another gift store, and was hoping to find gifts for Sam and Janet. He was asking Casey's opinion on a lovely print when they heard a familiar voice.

"Just what are you two doing in here?"

Casey hurriedly tucked the bag with the baskets she'd just purchased behind her. "Shopping. What are you doing here?"

"Shopping," Janet said, her own bag going behind her legs.

"We've been here at the mall since just after ten," Casey said.

Sam and Janet exchanged looks. "Really?" Sam said. Hoping that her eyes, and face, weren't giving away her amusement.

"Really."

Janet cleared her throat, an attempt not to giggle out loud as Teal'c continued to hide whatever he'd been looking at behind his back. "Well, we'll just move on."

"Good. I mean, that's cool," Casey said quickly.

Giggling, Sam and Janet gave a wiggle of their fingers, and disappeared to the other side of the store.

"Is it possible that they have seen what we were examining?" Teal'c asked.

"I don't think so."

"Good. You believe that Major Carter would like this?"

Casey examined the print. It had been done by a local artist. The detail of the motorcycle, which just happened to be an Indian Chief Deluxe, the same bike that Sam had so lovingly restored, was incredible. "I think she'll love it," she said softly.

"Good." After twenty minutes of searching, and a discussion about the number of times the opening of the door of Janet's office sent papers fluttering to the floor, and he picked out a paperweight with a small yellow rose in the center. Satisfied with his finds, the purchases were made.

The crowds in Penney's were unbelievable. It took nearly twenty minutes just to get to the section of the Junior Miss department where the sweater that Casey wanted to look at, and hopefully buy, was displayed.

She found two, both in Cassie's size, one in deep teal, the other in a burnt cinnamon. She'd laid both out, side by side. "So what do you...hey! That's mine!" Casey exclaimed, as a thin woman with short black hair grabbed the cinnamon-colored sweater.

"It was laying here," the woman retorted.

"With my hand on it!" Casey replied.

"Hey, you put it down, honey. You snooze, you lose!" The woman tried to pull the sweater away.

"I don't think so!"

"Listen, you little bitch, this sweater was laying on top of the others!" the woman hissed.

"And it was obvious to even a blind man and women as obtuse as you that I was comparing the two!" Casey said hotly.

The woman pushed against Casey, forcing the slender blonde to stumble against Teal'c.

"I believe that you are behaving inappropriately," Teal'c said quietly.

"Just who the hell are you?"

"I am the friend of the woman you just assaulted."

"I did not assault her!"

"You did. You pushed her. I suggest that you leave this area at once." There was no doubt that the Jaffa was angry. His face was calm, but his dark eyes flashed with fire.

The woman gave a sniff, then turned to walk away. With a careful glance over her shoulder, she grabbed the nearest sweater, dropped it into the bag at Casey's feet, then hurried toward the customer service counter.

"Thanks, Teal'c," Casey said softly. She was shaking from the encounter, her uncharacteristic comments an automatic response to the anger that had poured off of the woman.

"You are welcome."

"I think the teal color, don't you? Much...happier color than the other." She carefully folded the cinnamon sweater, and replaced it on the stack.

The purchase made, they were on their way to the door when two security officers stopped them. "We have a report that you assaulted another shopper," the older of the two men said sternly, looking at Casey.

"What? I was the one on the receiving end of the shove!" she declared, her eyes going wide.

"Not according to the victim and two witnesses."

"I was present at the altercation," Teal'c said, in his calm manner. "This woman was shoved. She touched no one."

"Well, the victim claims you threatened her," the older man said, looking up at the large black man. "We're going to have to ask you to come with us."

By now a crowd had gathered, watching and whispering and pointing. At the edge of the group was the dark haired woman, and two other women. Friends, obviously, and no doubt the 'witnesses' to an event that hadn't happened. At least, not the way she'd told it!

Casey was mortified. Cheeks blazing, she took Teal'c's hand and followed the two security officers, well aware that three more had fallen into step behind them. As they stepped into the mall corridor, an alarm began to wail. She looked around. Realized that she and Teal'c were the only shoppers who'd stepped out of Penney's.

One of the officers behind her grabbed her bags from her hand. Began to search through them. Found the black sweater in the bag with the baskets.

"I didn't put that there!" Casey gasped, shocked that the sweater had been pulled from the bag.

"Right. Maybe your boyfriend did."

"He's my best friend. And he didn't put it there, either!" she insisted.

"Put your hands behind your back," the older man said, having hurried back to where the group stood.

"Excuse me?" Casey asked, her green eyes wide.

"Put your hands behind your back."

"Look, this has all got to be a misunderstanding! I have never stolen anything in my life!" Casey exclaimed. "Why would I start now? And why a sweater, when I just purchased one?"

"Lady, I don't try to figure out shoplifters. I just deal with them. Hands behind your back."

"I believe that it would be best to cooperate," Teal'c said softly. "We will then find a solution to this dilemma." He calmly put his hands behind his back, allowed the younger man to click the handcuffs around his wrists. He'd endured much worse. He'd also been falsely accused before. It was never pleasant. But it had been his experience that with patience, and keeping a cool head, the truth always came out in the end. 

With a nod, Casey slowly put her hands behind her back. And tried to ignore the crowds of gawking people. "My things?"

One of the younger men swept the bags into his hands. "We'll have to check all of the receipts, of course."

"Of course," she said numbly.

"I believe that it is customary that the accuser be brought as well?" Teal'c said, his eyes boring into those of the black haired woman. She stepped back uncomfortably.

"Yes, she'll have to fill out a report," the older man said. He motioned for the woman to join him. "You and your friends will have to come along as well."

"But...I...I need to finish my shopping," the woman stammered. She refused to look at the slender blonde or that giant of a black man.

"Ma'am, you'll need to fill out a complaint if you want to press charges of assault against this woman."

For one moment the woman's eyes glittered with anger. With a toss of her head, she finally agreed. She made certain to walk with the security officers, hoping that it was plain to see that she was the victim.

Jack and Daniel watched the commotion. "What the hell?" Jack whispered.

"I don't know. But I do know that Casey and Teal'c aren't guilty of anything," Daniel replied.  He started to step forward, ready to rush to his wife's side.

Jack's hand held the young man back. "Let's just wait until they call. And they will. It'll throw the rent-a-cops off when we can arrive so damned soon," he said.

Casey wanted to die. She didn't think she'd ever be able to shop in this mall again. It would be too humiliating. She knew that the woman and her friends were just behind her. What on earth would possess the woman to do such a thing? She had no doubt that the black haired bitch had been the one to slip the sweater into her bag. She just had no idea why.


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