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Chapter 4

They were sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, facing one another. Even though it was too warm for a fire now...spring was in full bloom in Silver Springs, it was the one place, other than their bed, where they chose to have serious conversations. Just as they had done when he’d returned from his ‘death’, being marooned on a far away planet, they recognized the need to discuss what had happened. Daniel was a man for whom words were important. He used them to examine, and come to terms with, everything that happened to him...whether it was written in his journal, or discussed with his Wife.

"At first I was just pissed off," Casey said. "I mean, everything had been going so well, which I suppose should have been a friggin’ clue that it was all about to go tits up. But when that bastard grabbed me, and started dragging me away-" She shuddered slightly, taking comfort from the gentle squeeze of his fingers against her own.

"I was fighting an equal measure of rage and terror," Daniel admitted. "And I was worried that you’d piss him off, make him so angry that he’d kill you."

"I wanted to wring his damned neck. And then, he threw me into that room...and...I know how Jack felt when he saw Mini-me," she said softly. "It was the most surreal thing I’ve ever experienced. She loved him...she adored him. I could see it in her eyes. And when he-" She broke off, tears forming in her eyes.

"When he what, Angel?" Daniel asked gently.

"He wanted me ‘dressed’ for him. I guess he’s not into BDUs," she joked half-heartedly, earning a small smile from her Husband. "He ordered his personal guard to take ‘it’...he called her ‘it’!...below and ‘destroyed’. The look in her eyes...the absolute devastation...goddess, I wanted to kill him with my bare hands!"

"They dragged me into one of the ‘interrogation rooms’," Daniel said. "I think it was Jack they took into one of the others. Got hit a couple of times, then the First Prime came in for me." He paused. Stared at marble tiles of the hearth. "They took me into that hangar bay. The Jaffa were setting up the altar. I was stripped...I...I...uh...I knew what was going to happen. Well, not for certain, but I had a pretty good idea. And then when the priest came in, carrying that jar-" His body shook as he shuddered from the memory.

Tears rolled down her cheeks. "I was so scared, and so angry...my heart was breaking. I wanted to get to you, to save you. You’ve saved me so many times-"

He tried to smile. Name once, Angel. I dare you to name one time I was there for you...

"- and when that jar was opened, and that..." She took a deep breath. "I couldn’t believe it was happening. I kept waiting for someone to step forward, to stop the priest...to pick that damned thing up and kill it...I was waiting for Ba’al to listen, to agree to free you. You were in so much pain, and I couldn’t do anything to help you. I’m so sorry," she whispered.

Daniel cupped her face with his hands, wiped the tears from her cheeks with his thumbs. "No reason for you to be sorry, Case. It was a lousy situation, and there wasn’t anything we could have done."

"How long before you knew that you were going to be okay?" she asked, her breath shaky.

He closed his eyes. "I passed out...I don’t know if Rihat-"

"Rihat...that was the name of the symbiote?"

He nodded. "I don’t know if he secreted something that knocked me out while he took over my body or not. Maybe it was just from the pain." She gasped, and fresh tears began to fall. Brilliant move, dumbass. Could have left that part out! "I’m pretty sure it was something the symbiote secreted, to prevent me from moving, or trying to fight against it," he added quickly. "When I came to...it was terrifying...that’s the only way to describe it. I was moving...my body was moving, but I wasn’t in control. I could hear you crying, calling out to me, but it was Rihat who turned to you. And I could hear everything you said. I could see you, the pain in your eyes..." He caressed her cheek again, wiping away the fresh tears.

"I swore in that moment that I wasn’t going to stop until that damned snake was dead, and you were home and safe," she said softly.

"Rihat was trying to learn everything he could about me...about us. About the Tau’ri. I have no clue how I did it, or even what exactly it was I did. But I know I managed to hide everything important, everything recent, from him. Everything about you...I hid it all."

"I’m glad," she whispered. "I’m glad that your secrets...our secrets...are safe."

He managed to smile. "He actually got a bit pissy because there wasn’t much for him to ‘find’. There was one memory he managed to access...when Jack was asking me what "The One" meant. He latched onto that. Seems that Nergal knows about The One. Or at least knows the myths. So, Rihat thought he’d won the Goa’uld lottery, and was about to become the Supreme System Lord."

"What happened?"

"I’m not really sure. I could...sense...that something was wrong. Or rather, that he thought something was wrong. Apparently the ‘heat’ that I feel affected him as well. He didn’t know what it was, couldn’t counter it. At one point, I reached up to scratch my shoulder..." Daniel paused. "I have no idea if I should have been able to feel that itch or not," he mused.

"That had to have freaked him out," Casey smiled.

"It did. He ran back into the bathroom-" He broke off. The first time the Goa’uld had gone into that room, it had been to examine ‘his’ new body. That particular memory brought a shudder of revulsion. "He was filling the tub with water, convinced that I had been poisoned, and that he was being poisoned as well. He was going to escape, by leaving my body. Guess he figured he’d swim around in the bathtub until someone came along that he could infest."

"What a turn of events...the snake being the panicked one!"

His smile was wider. "At one point, he was so weak he couldn’t even lift his...my head. I was fine though. I mean, I could feel...sense...that my body...that I was fine. So, being in the pissy mood I was in, I taunted him a bit. Raised my hand and patted myself on the head."

Casey burst into giggles. The mental image had those giggles morphing into a full throated laugh. "Oh, that’s priceless!"

"Yeah, it was," Daniel chuckled. "I remember thinking you’d have been rolling on the floor laughing if you could have seen and heard what was going on. That was when he...that was a slipup on my part. He heard that thought."

"It’s okay," she said immediately, pressing her face against his palm.

"At first, he was frantic to get out of my body. I knew...somehow...that I couldn’t let that happen. I still don’t know if I prevented him from escaping or if he was just too weak to be able to do so. I’m guessing that my Immortality was attacking him, like it would any other virus or bacteria."

"Makes sense," Casey nodded.

"Then he wanted to make a deal. He’d help me, I’d help him, we’d rule the universe, he said. Promised to get you away from Ba’al."

"I hope you refused."

"Told him no way in hell was I helping him."


He couldn’t not chuckle at the look of satisfaction on her face. "That’s when I realized he was dying. I was a bit worried...when Jolinar was dying, Sam almost died as well. Jolinar sacrificed herself to save Sam. I knew that wouldn’t be happening if I started getting ill. And I sure as hell didn’t want Ba’al to find out I’m Immortal. Or doing something to my body that I couldn’t return from."

"Apparently this was different than when Jolinar blended with Sam. Maybe because she and Sam were blended for longer than a few hours...and Sam wasn’t Immortal at the time, her body couldn’t defend itself against Jolinar," Casey suggested.

"Good points. I’d theorize that it was probably a combination of those things. Anyway, I just sat back and waited for it to be over." He pulled his hands away from her face, locked his fingers together, his hands between his knees. "We had a bit of a conversation. Rihat...he tried to make it sound as if the Goa’uld are as much prisoners as the host. Granted, they can’t survive without a host, but they’re in control. If anything, they’re more like the guards of the prison than the prisoners." He examined all that he had learned. Until he was able to come to terms with what Rihat had said, he wasn’t sure he could share what the Goa’uld had revealed to him.

"And then you just played the part until you could get away," Casey said, intuitively knowing there was more, but that Daniel wasn’t able to talk about it...not yet.

"Well, I had to send Gemeti to get the tac vests. I swear someone was helping me, because she brought mine," Daniel said. "I know that she suspected something weird was going on...I didn’t have that whole voice thing happening until after she brought the vest."

"I guess that would have been while we were making our escape. She...the clone...had a group of very dedicated Jaffa. The two who had been ordered to kill her...didn’t. One of them came to spring me from Ba’al’s quarters - she was going to take my place. We were sneaking through the vents..." Casey paused, tilted her head slightly, a frown pulling at her brows. "I never would have revealed that! No way in hell! But...it’s as if...I’m not sure, but I think I knew he wouldn’t survive...I must have picked up on that subconsciously...must have realized that him knowing how we sneak around wasn’t a threat," she said softly. "Anyway, miracle of miracles, I met up with Jack, Sam, and Teal’c in the access shaft. Gemeti had lowered the force field so they could escape from the holding cell."

"I met the clone when I was on my way to the pel’tak to meet with Ba’al. I mean, I was out wandering around, I was going to see how far I could get, was hoping to get to the detention level. Met up with a patrol...not sure if they’d been sent for me, or if they were just doing their duty to take me to Ba’al as soon as I was...ready...to speak to him."

"One of her Jaffa got us to the transport rings. We managed to get to the Daedalus, and we were going to come right back for you...but about a dozen snakes were slithering into the area, and Colonel Mitchell had to bug out...I almost died, watching that ship disappear from sight, knowing you were still on it, infested with a Goa’uld," she said softly.

"It was obvious that she wasn’t you," Daniel said. "You would have been hell bent to get to me, talk to me. She tried to pretend...but she just didn’t have your fire."

"I wonder if she was able to convince Ba’al that she was me," Casey murmured softly.

"She did if she followed my advice. I told her to give him the silent treatment," he grinned.

"Gemeti told me that she...the clone...sent you and the rebel Jaffa to the Stargate. And that she fought Ba’al. When the clone was shot, she was hit by a zat at the same time, and she knew it. The Jaffa she was with...she trusted him, Gemeti said. Just before the Jaffa shot her, Ba’al had been holding her...the clone shoved him away. In spite of everything, deep down inside, she still loved him. She protected him, even though he’d ordered her killed."

"Well, with luck, he went up with that ha’tak," Daniel said.

"Here’s hoping. From what I’ve read in mission reports, thought, those damned snakes are almost impossible to kill," Casey grumbled.

"Or they don’t stay dead," Daniel added. He stretched out. Smiled when she shifted to lay beside him, her head on his shoulder. "I’m know I’m the luckiest man breathing. I was made host to a Goa’uld, and four hours later...I think that’s about how long it was...I was snake free."

She watched the tightening of his jaw. Couldn’t see his eyes, but recognized the movement that let her know he was frowning. "Daniel, is there anything else you need...or want...to talk about?"

He was tempted to say no. Wasn’t sure exactly why it bothered him so. Or maybe, he thought, Yu’s face flashing through his memory, he did understand the repugnance of what he’d experienced. "When Rihat first got to the room, he went into the bathroom. There was a full length mirror. He took off the robe, and was...when he was checking out my tattoo, he had the audacity to think that he deserved falcon wings, or something like that," Daniel said softly. One hand was absently moving over his chest. "He was inspecting his new body, I guess. Seemed pleased-" He broke off, feeling the heat in his cheeks.

"Impressed with the anaconda, was he?" Casey asked gently.

"I guess so. He was...he...his hand...my hand..." He shook his head.

Casey sat up. "He was holding you?"

Unable to look in her eyes, he nodded slightly. "It wasn’t erotic or anything like that."

"It disgusted you."

His eyes focused on hers. "Yeah, pretty much."

Without saying a word, Casey stood to her feet, took off the jeans and tee shirt she was wearing. She'd opted to go braless, but the tiny bikini panties hit the floor as well. She knelt back down beside him. "Trust me?"

He nodded. He trusted her implicitly.

She unfastened and unzipped his jeans, slipped her hand inside, began to fondle him gently. As soon as she could feel him harden, she pulled her hand away. "Come with me, Stud Muffin."

He followed her into the bathroom. Watched as she closed the door. As she sat down on the floor in front of it.

"Take your clothes off," she said softly.

With an uneasy glance at the full length mirror on the door, he complied.

"Now, I want you to watch me," she said. "I want you to touch yourself at the same time. Wrap your hand around the anaconda...do it just like...just like Rihat did on Ba’al’s ship."

For a moment, he didn’t think he could do it. Finally managed to wrap his fingers around his cock.

"Watch me, Daniel. Just watch me," she whispered. Her fingers moved over her breasts, tugged at her nipples. She ran her hands up and down her arms, then her legs...then cupped and caressed her breasts. "Do you like watching me do this?"

"Yes," he whispered.

"Good. It’s okay, Daniel. Stroke yourself. Make yourself hard for me."

Even though he was watching her, his gaze focused on slender fingers that were now moving between her thighs, it was impossible not to see himself in his peripheral vision.

She noticed that his eyes had flickered upwards twice...now three times. "You are so beautiful, Daniel. Your body is magnificent. You have every right to be proud. You’ve worked hard for that physique. When the God and Goddess created you, they blessed you. I love how you look, standing there aroused, your anaconda hard and throbbing. You’re beautiful, Stud Muffin."

"In your eyes," he replied, smiling at her.

"Look at yourself. That’s you. Just you. In that incredible body of yours," she said softly.

He obeyed. The reflection of the back of her head, her slender shoulders in the mirror, countered the feeling of standing in that bathroom, no longer in control of his body. He poked around in his mind, just to make certain he was alone...that Daniel Jackson was the only inhabitant.

When his eyes moved back down to her, she resumed her ministrations. Watched his eyes darken with desire. His hand was moving over his swollen flesh. That was such a turn-on! "Daniel?"


"I’d really like to feel you inside me," she said softly, almost shyly.

"C’mere, Angel."

She rose to her feet, moved to stand in front of him. Gasped softly when he picked her up, sat her on the edge of the counter. The marble was cold beneath her bare rear-end. His hands were warm as he held her hips.

"A little help?"

She reached down, guided him between her swollen nether lips...closed her eyes and moaned with appreciation when he filled her completely. Her arms went around his shoulders, her legs around his hips, drawing him close to her body as he began to move gently, slowly.

He buried his face against her shoulder. She’d given him back complete ownership of his body. Had given him back the dignity the Goa’uld had stolen from him.

"I love you, Daniel," she whispered.

"I love you, too, Casey," he whispered in reply.

Within minutes their bodies demanded more than the gentle thrusts he’d been making. It didn’t take long until they were crying out their completion, holding to one another’s shaking bodies as they returned from their dance among the stars.




Showered and redressed, they were lounging on the sofa, debating their viewing options as Daniel flipped through the channels, when the doorbell rang.

"They need to make sure you’re okay, too," Casey said, a soft smile on her face when he rolled his eyes.

"At least they waited," he said, smiling in return. He pulled himself to his feet, was halfway to the door when the doorbell echoed again.

"We brought pizza," Jack announced, as soon as the door opened.

Daniel grinned. "Isn’t there a saying about being wary of those bearing gifts, who show up on your doorstep on your day off?"

"Nah. If there was, you’d already be spouting it off," Jack retorted, brushing past the younger man. "I suppose you’re out of beer."

"Only if you drank it all the last time you were here," Casey replied cheekily, having followed her husband to the door.

Sam and Teal’c grinned as they followed their CO into the house.

Jack put the pizza boxes on the island, turned to look at his best friend. "You okay?"

His gaze moved to his Wife. Thanks to his Angel, all that he had suffered had been dealt with...the memories of what he’d endured stored in the back of his mind with all of the other memories of pain and torture. "I’m fine," Daniel replied.

"So, did the snake leave you with a bunch of freaky memories?"

"A few," Daniel admitted. He’d sorted through them while he’d eaten a meal, waiting for Gemeti to return with his tac vest. He’d not examined them thoroughly...at least, not yet.

"Well, ya know what I think? I think ya just bored the damned thing to death. Seriously. All of that...stuff...you know, about rocks and words and myths and all...just bored it right to death. It was probably stiff as a board before it fizzled away," Jack announced.

"Dissolved," Daniel corrected. And wondered briefly if the thought that the symbiote had literally dissolved in his body should bother him more than it did.

"Fizzle, dissolve, whatever," Jack retorted easily. "Now, if I’d been unfortunate enough to have been on that altar-" No one said a word when his voice broke, and he turned to look out the French doors behind the dining room table. He swallowed convulsively several times, then cleared this throat. "I’m guessing it would have taken me a bit longer to have gotten rid of it."

"Doubtful," Daniel responded immediately. "The sheer lack of anything in that brain of yours would have convinced the snake there was something wrong, and it would have fled in sheer terror of premature death."

Casey giggled, slapped her hands over her mouth when Jack tossed a frown in her direction.

"Don’t encourage him, Radar," Jack warned.

"I am relieved that you are safe, Daniel Jackson," Teal’c said, his voice low. His eyes were suspiciously shiny.

"Me, too," Sam said. Her tears were more obvious, and she hugged her friend tightly.

"So, did Radar give you the lowdown on what we did?"

"Just the highlights of your escape from the ship," Daniel admitted.

"Well, let me tell you about it," Jack said. He picked up a pizza box, carried it to the table and dropped into one of the chairs. "We managed to get out of that holding cell, and were looking for a way to get to the armory. Figured all of our gear was there."

"We were going to get Casey, and then you," Sam added, reaching for a piece of the pizza.

"We’d already decided to knock your ass out...less chance of the snake fighting us that way. If we’d known you were already snake free, we’d have headed straight for you," Jack added.

Daniel grinned. Didn’t bother pointing out the fact that they hadn’t had a clue where he was. "Sounds like a reasonable plan."

"Very reasonable," Jack agreed. "Met up with Radar in the access shafts. Met her Mini-me. You know, that just proves Ba’al is batshit crazy."

Four pairs of eyes moved toward him. "How?" Casey demanded, passing out napkins and bottles of beer.

"A clone of you? All that attitude? That snake is masochistic. Can’t understand the attraction, myself."

Casey smacked Jack’s shoulder. "You’re annoying."

"That’s the best ya got? Gonna have to try harder, I guess," Jack grinned cheekily.

"Just wait until the next mission. I hope there are zillions of trees everywhere, and you have to count and catalog them," Casey tossed back.

"Har-dee-har-har," Jack said. ‘If that happens, I’m making you my assistant."

"Only because you’d run out of fingers and toes for counting."

"That’s insubordination, Jackson."

"That’s humor, colonel."

"Daniel, your wife is a smartass," Jack complained.

"You don’t say?" Daniel quipped. "I hadn’t noticed."

Laughter filled the air again as Jack rolled his eyes. "Anyway," Jack continued, tossing a warning glance at Casey when she opened her mouth to speak. Ignored her giggle. "We got back to the Daedalus, with plans to get some backup, and then hit Ba’al’s ship and spring you from his clutches."

"Casey specifically mentioned Ferretti and Anderson," Sam said, plopping a second slice onto her plate before relinquishing the box to Teal’c. "So we knew that at least those two teams had to come with us."

Daniel nodded as he took a bite. "Had to be a reason," he said, around a mouthful of pepperoni pizza.

"That’s what we figured. What we didn’t expect was for Radar to be arrested damned near as soon as we hit the ramp."

His eyes went wide, his gaze moved to his Wife. She hadn’t mentioned one word about being arrested! He swallowed. "Say what?"

"Well, there had been a message from the Tok’ra. Seems they wanted us to do a little work for them, but didn’t want us to know that’s what we were doing," Jack explained. "The general had recalled all teams, and was letting everyone know that there wouldn’t be any rescue missions for you."

"There was no way in hell I was going to sit back and let the Tok’ra attempt to pull off an SG-1 type stunt, not with your life at stake," Casey said firmly.

"What in the hell did you do to get arrested?" Daniel demanded to know.

"She snagged Ferretti’s nine mil, and was threatening Walter," Jack informed the archaeologist.

"I wasn’t really going to shoot! I didn’t even flip the safety off!" Casey protested, rolling her eyes. "I believed the general wasn’t going to let me go," she added stubbornly. "Besides, it was all a set up anyway, we did exactly what the president and the general wanted us to do."

"I had her out of the brig probably ten...maybe fifteen...minutes after Ferretti took her in," Jack told his best friend. "And she’s right, it was a set-up. But...the general couldn’t let her get by with threatening anyone; discipline in the ranks and all."

Daniel stared at his wife. The full import of what she'd done settled in his mind. She had stood up to the military authority on the base, namely General Hammond; had threatened bodily harm to Walter Harriman, probably the least likely person to ever cause trouble, all because she was hell bent to rescue him. That, Danny-boy, is love! Not completely convinced his voice wouldn’t give him away as he contemplated the possible ramifications of her actions, had the situation been different, he remained silent. Reached for her hand, lifted her fingers to his lips, held them there for a moment, reveling in the warmth...and the strength...of her love.

"I’d do it again in a heartbeat, without the safety on, if Daniel’s life was in danger," Casey said quietly, running her fingertip over Daniel’s full lower lip. Not one of her teammates doubted her sincerity.

As an Air Force colonel, a military team leader, and 2IC of the SGC, Jack pretended he didn't hear that flagrant disregard for procedure. Ignored that fact that he knew, in the same circumstances, he’d do the same. It was, whether he ever admitted it or not, one of those 'do as I say, not as I do' type things. He cleared his throat, then grinned. "We gathered a few teams, a few rounds of ammo, and headed back to the Daedalus. We ringed onto the ship-"

"You know, Ba’al’s Jaffa had to have figured out something was up by the third group that had ringed over," Sam mused, just before she took a sip of beer.

"Yeah, but experience has taught them not to mess with us," Jack retorted.

"That’s right," Casey agreed. "Every time we go there, Jaffa end up dead. So much for their ‘god’ being able to protect them."

"I believe the determination of Casey Jackson, which was visible in her eyes and on her face, was enough to prevent any Jaffa from daring to confront her," Teal’c said in his quiet, no nonsense manner. Although his teammates were certain he was laughing silently.

"A bit pissy were you, Angel?" Daniel chuckled.

"A bit? Oh, I was more than a bit pissy. Ba’al is just lucky he didn’t run into me," she said, licking pizza sauce from her finger. "I’d have blasted his ass on the spot. With a zat. Three times!"

Laughter moved around the table. "Must have been his sense of self-preservation that kept him running in the other direction," Jack grinned.

"Probably. Cowardly rat bastard," she muttered, the comment eliciting more laughter from her friends.

Daniel sat back in his chair, his arm draped over the top of Casey’s. Couldn’t help but smile. SG-1 was home. All of them...safe and sound and snake free. And this...these moments of laughter, the feeling of peace...was what sent them through the Stargate, again and again. To make certain that they...and every other citizen of the planet...would be able to enjoy many more such moments.

The team sat and devoured the pizza. Continued to discuss the day they had endured...and survived. Relished their triumphs as they relived those moments; debated the importance of the interference from higher levels of existence that they suspected had occurred. Joked and teased and bantered back and forth, the familiarity of the routine as healing to their souls as any balm to an open wound.

They were SG-1. They were the good guys. And the good guys always won.


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