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 Fragile Balance of Politics

 

Chapter 4

The apartment was the top floor of what had once been a mansion. Red brick, stately white columns and neat, white-trimmed windows created a feeling of elegance and luxury. No doubt the original owner of the home had been one of Sacramento's most prestigious citizens.

Daniel rang the bell on the intercom beside the door.

"Yes?" The voice was female, and held only a trace of an accent.

"Yes, I'm Doctor Daniel Jackson. I spoke with Professor Wu on the phone this morning. I would like very much to speak with him." There was silence for a moment, then the sound of a buzzer filled the air. He reached for the door handle, found that it opened for him. He ushered Casey and Teal'c inside; followed them up the wide, winding staircase that led to the door on the third floor. The walls were decorated with maple wainscoting and light, floral wallpaper. The carved handrail and balusters added to the feeling of warmth and refinement that the old mansion exuded.

Casey looked around curiously, noting that the woodwork was exquisitely detailed. As beautiful as it was to look at, she couldn't help but think it would be a pain-in-the-ass to polish. As someone obviously did. The foyer and staircase were well maintained. At least the former owners could rest peacefully knowing that their sumptuous home was being well cared for. "Interesting place for a Chinese professor to live," she said softly.

Daniel smiled. "It's only a few blocks from the campus. I'll bet Professor Wu either walks or bicycles to his classes."

"What does this man teach?" Teal'c asked, as they approached a wide door with an intricately painted transom window above it. The window was open just a few inches.

"Biotechnology," Daniel replied.

"That's vague," Casey complained.

He smiled. "He leads a team of researchers who are working on two new drugs that might cure cancer."

"Wow...impressive. I suppose this is info you found from the Air Force archives?"

"Nope. Looked him up on Google," Daniel replied cheekily. He raised his hand, rapped lightly on the door.

When the door swung open, a small Chinese woman smiled shyly at them. "I am Susan Wu, Professor Wu's daughter. He told me of your call, and your desire to speak to him."

"I appreciate his willingness to do so on such short notice," Daniel replied, smiling at the tiny woman. He offered his hand, bowing slightly at the same time. "I'm Doctor Daniel Jackson." As soon as the woman had released his hand, he put his arm around Casey's shoulders. "My Wife, Casey, and my...associate...um...Murray Teal'c."

Casey bit back her giggle. Somewhere along the line, Jack's nickname for Teal'c had become a part of the name used when outside of the SGC. It was certainly more 'believable' than just 'Teal'c from Mozambique'. She smiled and accepted the Chinese woman's hand. Noted that Teal'c inclined his head, a greeting that was returned by the young woman.

"You represent the Air Force?" Susan Wu asked.

"Yes, I do. I'd like to speak to Professor Wu about his...um...experience."

The young woman frowned. "I do not understand."

A soft voice spoke from the doorway beside them. The dialect was one that Daniel didn't recognize immediately. The man, not much taller than his daughter, his hair still dark in spite of the age that showed on his face, stepped into the entry. "I am Professor Wu." The man obviously understood English well enough, but apparently didn't speak it as fluently.

Daniel shook hands with the man. "Thank you for seeing me...us."

The professor gave a small bow of acknowledgement. He looked at his daughter, spoke quickly.

"My father asks that I translate for him. He says it is...more efficient," Susan said.

"That's perfectly acceptable," Daniel replied. No doubt this would be an emotional conversation for the man, and speaking in his native tongue would be soothing. Often a person under stress slipped back into 'comfortable' speech patterns. While there were certain dialects of Mandarin that he understood, at least a few basic words and phrases, what the professor had spoken wasn't one of them. It had, in fact, sounded like Cantonese, although he couldn't be certain. And that was one language he had yet to conquer.

Susan extended her arm, indicating that the three visitors should enter the living room.

Daniel led the way, settled onto the sofa, Casey beside him, Teal'c on the other side of her. The Wu's settled into the two armchairs opposite of them. "I know that what the professor experienced happened many years ago..."

The professor's eyes closed, he frowned slightly. Spoke softly.

"He says that some things do not fade with the passage of time," Susan translated.

With nod, Daniel continued. "What we'd like to know is if he can recall any specific details."

Susan nodded, glanced at her father.

The professor began to speak; slowly at first, his voice soft.

"He says that he was asleep, when a bright flash of light woke him," Susan said. It was obvious from her reaction that she had never been told about her father's alleged abduction.

Daniel nodded his encouragement.

The professor spoke again, his daughter nodding her understanding, then turning back to Daniel. "He was surrounded by a white mist, and was taken upwards. He says at first he didn't believe he was seeing a silver craft hovering above the ground...about twenty meters...then he was just suddenly inside."

The professor's voice became more animated, his hands moved in circles as he spoke.

"He said that four green globes surrounded and flew around him for several minutes...like insects. That he was unable to move at all."

Again, the professor spoke, his eyes boring into Daniel's, as if to beg simultaneously for the younger man to believe him, and to demand an explanation as to what had happened to him.

"He was left alone for a long while," Susan said.

Once again the professor spoke, his eyes closing, a slight shudder moving over his body.

"He said that a voice spoke to him, telling him not be afraid and that he would soon be safe again."

"Did you see who was speaking to you?" Daniel asked the professor.

Professor Wu nodded. He stood, walked to a beautiful cabinet of polished teak. He withdrew a spiral notebook, the edges battered and frayed. He clutched it tightly as he walked toward Daniel. "This is what my eyes saw," he said slowly.

Daniel accepted the book. Opened the cover, and stared at the drawing of an Asgard face. He showed it to Casey and Teal'c. "Is there anything else - did the Being say anything else to you?"

The professor shook his head. Spoke to his daughter.

"He says that after he saw...the creature...he went to sleep. When he awoke, he was in his bed."

Holding up his index finger, the professor spoke again.

"He says that three days had passed. He was a student at the time. He believed that he had been so weary from studying that he had dreamed what he had seen, and had simply slept due to exhaustion," Susan translated.

"What made him change his mind about that?" Daniel asked.

The professor put his foot on the coffee table, pulled up the leg of his dark trousers. On the outside of his calf was a perfect red circle, no larger than the tip of a pencil eraser. He pointed to the scar, spoke rapidly.

"He says when he awoke, and showered, he found this mark. The wound grew feverish, and a few days later, his father pulled a piece of glass from the wound."

There had not been anything like this in the other reports, Daniel thought, frowning slightly. Nor had Jack said anything about unusual marks on his body. Professor Wu had been the last person abducted in what had been assumed to be a related string of abductions that had spanned a three month period in 1961. Could the Asgard involved have planned to monitor this particular 'victim', and if so...why?

Teal'c jerked slightly. "Glass? Does the professor still have this item?"

A sharp nod of his head, and the professor went back to the cabinet. He pulled out a small wooden box. Trembling fingers handed it to Daniel.

He took the lid off, barely able to stifle his gasp. If that isn't a miniature data crystal, I'll eat my boonie, Daniel thought. "May I keep this?"

The professor nodded. "You will prove my story true?"

The same question had been asked, almost word for word, by another abductee. How difficult was it to live with such a memory...wondering if what had happened had only been a nightmare...the result of a trauma recognized, or not recognized. Daniel wanted so badly to assure the man that he could do so. "I can only say that it will provide us with enough...information...to continue our...research."

The professor studied the archaeologist for several minutes, then nodded. He glanced at his daughter, speaking as softly as he had when they had first arrived.

Susan stood to her feet. "Father says that you must be a man alone in your search. And that this...thing...will help you to convince the Air Force that we are not alone in the universe. He also wishes you well in your continued quest for the truth."

And that, Daniel thought, was a polite way of telling them that the interview was over. He rose to his feet, offered his hand to the professor. "Thank you."

Professor Wu bowed slightly. "You are most welcome."

Susan Wu escorted the three visitors to the door. "What will happen now?"

"I don't know," Daniel replied honestly. "I'll write my report, and hope that something will come of it."

She gave a sad smile. "There are those who will refuse to see the truth, even when it stares back at them."

"The best we can do is to continue shining a light on the truth, so that eventually those not blinded by prejudices will recognize it," Daniel replied.

"I agree."

"Thank you again. Goodbye, Miss Wu," Daniel said, slipping his arm around Casey's waist.

"Goodbye, Doctor Jackson," Susan replied. She closed the door quietly behind them as they stepped into the hallway.

"That's identical to what Mr. Werner told us," Casey said softly.

"Indeed. It also resembles what O'Neill experienced," Teal'c said.

"Well, the tag thing is different," Casey pointed out.

Daniel jerked slightly. "Tag?"

"What else would you call it?" she asked, giving a slight shrug.

"So, we've managed to prove we're dealing with the Asgard...an Asgard," Daniel corrected himself with a slight frown. He simply didn't believe that whoever this unnamed Asgard was, could be acting with the knowledge and approval of the High Council.

"I say we call Sam, so she can send another message to Thor," Casey suggested.

"I concur," Teal'c said.

With a nod, Daniel pulled his cell phone from his pocket. "We'll grab a bite to eat, then head to the hotel."

"We're staying in Sacramento?" Casey asked.

"I didn't know how long this would take," Daniel replied as they walked down the final flight of stairs. "I figured it would be late enough that driving back to Yuba City wouldn't be in our best interest."

"What time is our flight from Beale?"

"Eight. Gets us back to the base just after lunch," Daniel replied.

Swell, she thought. There was a freaking six am wakeup call in her future. She hated six am wake up calls. Refused to acknowledge that on most weekdays, she and Daniel were up and in the shower shortly after six-thirty. Someday, she was going to find a way to get on the second or third shift.

Daniel called Sam's cell phone, not certain whether she'd still be at the base or not. Spoke briefly with her; the good news, he told her, was that Jack's story had definitely been corroborated. Agreed that given what they knew, Thor would be contacted directly...and immediately. Now that they had physical proof of an Asgard's interference, they were hoping that Thor would respond as quickly as possible. Hopefully with a solution to Jack's current problem.

 

A A A A A A

 

It was a small bistro just around the corner from the hotel where they were staying. The concierge had recommended it. Tucked into a corner, the three teammates perused the menu, while watching those around them with quiet amusement. The establishment seemed to be a favorite for young couples...theirs was the only table with more than two occupants.

Casey glanced around. "Well, one of us is the third wheel here," she grinned.

Daniel chuckled. "Sorry, Teal'c, that would be you."

"Indeed." He smiled. "Perhaps I am merely a body guard."

"Oooo...I like that idea," Casey responded immediately. "Here to protect my virtue."

"It is possible that I am here to protect Daniel Jackson's reputation," the Jaffa fired back.

"True," Casey admitted with a cheeky grin.

The waiter chose that moment to approach the table. He recited the evening's specials, suggested a wine to accompany their meal, waited patiently while the three guests made their selections, then hurried to the kitchen with their order.

"It seems we're dealing with the same Asgard who conducted the...earlier...abductions," Daniel said quietly, broaching the subject that was on all three minds.

"So it would appear. The accounts of the two men matched O'Neill's," Teal'c agreed.

"All but the age regression thing," Casey sighed. She toyed with her wine glass. "And Jack wasn't tagged. It seems that Professor Wu was the only one who experienced that. Or was the only one who reported it."

That he recognized the frown knitting her brows together was a due to the fact that he had seen it before. Had seen it too often, of late. "Casey?" Daniel reached over and wrapped his fingers around hers.

"Where was the warning about this?" she asked softly, the guilt in her eyes making the hearts of the two men at the table ache for her. "I should have seen this coming!"

"Not necessarily," Daniel objected. "You don't...you can't...see everything that's going to happen to everyone at the SGC."

"Daniel Jackson is correct," Teal'c said. "You are not a god, not even an Ascended being, with the ability to 'see' what the future holds. Your gift serves you, and us, as it is meant to do."

She shook her head stubbornly. "I haven't been able to see more than...generalities...in months. Hell, just common sense and experience with the-" She broke off, glanced around. "Anyone could make the 'predictions' I have."

He was torn between anger - that she would not listen to reason - and concern; knowing that she was carrying a burden of guilt that wasn't even hers to bear, and that her tender heart was breaking over what she viewed as her 'failures'. "You have never let any of us down, Angel," Daniel said softly.

"Doesn't feel that way," she muttered.

The two men exchanged exasperated glances. "The only problem with your gift," Daniel said slowly, gently, "is that you don't believe in you as much as we do."

One slender shoulder moved up and then back down. "Maybe. A bit hard to believe in myself when I feel so damned...useless." She grabbed the strap of her purse. "Excuse me," she said. She left the table so abruptly that neither of her companions were able to rise all the way before she was nearly across the room.

Daniel watched as she disappeared into the narrow hallway, above which the sign for the restrooms was discreetly hung. He shook his head as he settled back into his seat. "I feel like I'm trying to talk to a brick wall," he sighed.

"It is not unusual for Casey Jackson to feel responsible when something unexpected occurs," Teal'c replied.

That was true enough. Although, for the most part, after she was over the 'surprise' of the unexpected event, she was able to move forward; and again, for the most part, she was able to accept that her gift worked in its own way, as it was meant to work.

"However, I believe that this self-recrimination is extreme, even for her," Teal'c continued.

He looked up, frowned slightly. "Maybe it's connected to the nightmares she's been having. She said the emotions are overwhelming."

The Jaffa nodded. "It is possible that her emotions are in such turmoil because she has not yet identified the danger that you are in."

"I suppose that's as good a theory as any," Daniel admitted.

"For now, we have no choice but to continue to reassure her. Eventually this will pass, and she will recognize her worth."

"I hope so." He sighed again.

 

 

 

She stared at her reflection in the mirror. Listening to those men...Mr. Werner and Professor Wu...as they had described the ordeal of being abducted, had left her feeling angry and confused. There was no reason for Jack to have endured that! No reason for him to be suffering from the 'mini-Jack syndrome' that had left him in the body of a fifteen year old boy. And what the hell was up with that, anyway? Why had Jack been physically altered? Tears filled her eyes. She was supposed to be the damned SGC seer! "Where the hell was the warning about this?" she hissed.

There was little doubt that Daniel loved her. That love was obscuring the fact that at best her gift had become 'sporadic'. At worst, completely unreliable. She felt...useless. Utterly useless. Without her gift of sight, just what could she offer SG-1...or the SGC? Not one damned thing. Even her work on the database had been so intermittent that she hadn't made any significant progress in several days. Jonas had actually accomplished more than she had lately. It seemed that her contributions to the SGC were deteriorating at every level on a daily basis.

Her mind made up, she composed the letter in her mind. Short, sweet, and to the point. She'd hand deliver it, as soon as she had returned to Colorado Springs. She knew that he'd be upset. But it was for the best.

Heavy-hearted, determined to make the best of the time she had left, Casey took a deep breath, splashed a bit of cold water on her face to wash away the tracks of the tears that had fallen. She freshened her makeup, not wanting Daniel to know that she'd been crying. Prayed that she'd be able to eat enough to keep him from worrying about her.

Another deep breath. She pasted what she hoped would pass for a happy smile on her face, and walked out of the room.

 

 

 

If either of her companions noticed the fact that she was quiet, her conversation consisting of one or two word responses to any questions or comments directed at her, or the fact that her cheeks were pale beneath the carefully applied blush, or that her ever expressive eyes held such sadness that both men longed to comfort her; they chose to keep their concerns to themselves.

 

A A A A A A

 

The hotel was near the freeway that would take them directly back to Yuba City. Reservations guaranteed that two rooms were ready and waiting for the three teammates. Daniel and Casey bid Teal'c a pleasant good night, his room just down the hall from their own.

Casey dropped her duffel onto the low dresser. Was glad she'd decided to bring her little red 'teddy'. It was really nothing more than a bit of lace and a bit of satin string. The last time she'd worn it, Daniel's eyes had nearly popped out of his head. It would help set the mood...help to banish the stresses of the day. With luck, she'd be so worn out afterwards that the nightmare wouldn't wake her. She yearned to have just one night without the damnable thing haunting her.

She washed up, applied more lotion, and brushed out her long hair. When she'd pulled the lingerie over her slender frame, she managed a genuine smile. This would certainly give Daniel something other than the current crisis to think about. He deserved...he needed...a break. His brilliant mind would be more apt to find a solution to the problem if he just stopped thinking about it for awhile. Even an hour or so. Longer, if she were very lucky. Given Daniel's libido, she was usually exceptionally lucky!

Daniel had turned down the bed, was stripped and waiting for her. He was going to hold her, make love to her until that sadness left her eyes. No matter how long it took, he'd see to it that she let go of the guilt he knew she was carrying. She'd never doubted her gift, never doubted herself when her gift was involved, until those damned daemons had interfered. He was flooded by a rush of anger so hot that his fingertips began to burn. The entire situation had been allowed to happen by the one group charged with preventing the very problems which had occurred. In the deepest recesses of his heart, he raged at the Ascended Committee...wanted those Beings to suffer as much as his Wife. In that moment, he wished that he had the ability to travel to the astral plane as easily as Casey. Had he been able to do so, he would have had no qualms over attacking the arrogant Beings.

He pushed his anger away. It served no purpose, for the moment. He needed to focus his thoughts, and his energy, on helping Casey. Offering comfort to his Guide. Protecting the most precious thing in his life...the woman he loved with all of his heart.

When the door to the bathroom opened, Daniel sat up, his body going hard at the sight he beheld. Walking toward him, with the most seductive smile he'd ever seen on her face, was his beautiful Wife, wearing that tiny little scrap of red lace. The lacy cups of the bra barely covered her nipples, and he could just make out the hint of her pink areolas beneath the sheer material. A ribbon of red silk crisscrossed her flat belly, made its way down to a triangle of red lace that disappeared between her slender thighs. Thin silk straps over her shoulders held the top in place, a narrow silk string wound around her hips to connect with the back of the thong. She was as breathtaking in it now as she had been the first time he'd seen that little teddy. "Sweet Jesus!" he murmured.

Casey couldn't help but smile. The first time she'd worn this for him, he'd been busy working in his den. When he'd finally looked up at her, his mouth had dropped open, and he'd been temporarily speechless. She walked slowly toward the bed, delighted that his response this time was the same as it had been that night. "I thought you needed something to distract you for awhile."

"Uh huh."

"Then your brilliant mind can come up with the answers we need, so that we can help Jack."

His eyes were moving over her, from the top of her head to her toes and back again, stopping to admire her breasts and the treasures hidden between her thighs. "Right. Answers."

"I thought relaxing would help you," she continued.

"Relax. Right. Too hard to relax," he retorted breathlessly.

There was no holding back the satisfied giggle that filled her throat. The anaconda was standing proudly, already waving at her. "I'll say," she grinned.

He scooted towards the middle of the bed, watched as she knelt beside him. "You are so beautiful," he sighed, reaching out to draw his finger just above the lacy cups of the bra. Could see how her nipples tightened into hard buds from his touch.

She pulled his glasses from his face, kissed the tip of his nose just before putting the them on the night table. Shivered slightly as the tip of his index finger continued to move over her breasts. Her hand cupped his cheek, thrilled to the core when he closed his eyes and pressed his face against her palm. "Whatever you want from me, whatever you need from me, it's yours," she whispered.

He groaned softly, her words setting his body, heart, his very soul aflame with desire. "You, Casey...I need you. All of you."

"Then take all of me," she murmured. Still on her knees, which put her slightly above him as he reclined onto the pillows he'd stacked against the headboard, Casey lowered her head and captured his lips in a kiss. She nibbled his full lower lip, teased it with the tip of her tongue. Traced the outline of his mouth again and again, until he moaned a second time, cupped the back of her head with one hand, and took complete control, working the combination that opened her lips to him.

He dove into her mouth, his tongue dancing with hers, seeking to know every corner. Kissing her as if he'd never done so before, and would never be allowed to do so again. His heart battered his ribs when she sighed softly; he swallowed her contentment. He held her steady, drinking from the warmth of her mouth in desperation, trying to fill the need that continued to build within him.

Already trembling from the desire that flooded her senses, she stretched out on the bed beside him. His lips never left hers as they shifted positions. He continued to take from her, to give back to her. Every stroke of his tongue against her own was full of love. The fingers that caressed her cheek, her throat, repeated that message. Her hands moved over his shoulders, one stopping on the back of his neck, the warmth of his skin telegraphing to her mind that he was real. The other hand continued to move upwards, until her fingers were combing through his sandy-blonde locks.

The sensation of the lace against his skin as he shifted over her, preparing to begin his journey of discovery, had his body quivering in response. He felt his nipples harden as one grazed against the lace of her teddy when he lowered himself slowly, gently. Her legs were already wrapped around his hips, holding him as close to her body as she could. Just more incredible tactile input to add to those already bombarding his senses.

He decorated her cheek and jaw with tiny kisses, making his way to the elegant throat he so enjoyed making love to. The tremors in her body increased as he left not one inch of that fragrant skin unadorned. When he nibbled her earlobe, he could feel the fingers in his hair begin to curl. The reaction brought a satisfied smile to his face.

Every kiss was a caress he offered, meant to arouse her...please her. He was a master at the art of seduction. A virtuoso capable of bringing out every note of pleasure...her body the instrument he played upon. A single touch from his hand could make her breath catch in her throat, that secret place between her thighs begin to pulse with desire. His undivided attention set her very soul on fire as the heat in her body continued to rise, a pool of molten desire centering in her belly, flowing down into the very core of her being.

Soft kisses just above the lace of her bra made her nipples ache to be in the warmth of his mouth. She wiggled slightly when it seemed that he was quite content to simply drag his tongue back and forth over the exposed tops of her breasts.

His body throbbed in response to her movements. His heart thrilled to know that she was enjoying his ministrations...and that she was ready for more. The ribbon that connected the bra to the tiny thong was tied in a bow between her breasts. He looked at her, winked playfully. Grabbed one end of the bow with his teeth. Pulled his head back, untying the ribbon that held the entire outfit together.

He slid down just a bit, kissing the skin exposed between the ribbon crisscrossed over her belly, tugging the silk strands, unlacing the sexy little garment that adorned his Wife's luscious body. Wasn't he a lucky man, to have such a beautiful woman in his life...in his bed. One who thrilled at driving him out of his mind. "I love this little number. But it has to go," he said softly.

Sitting up, she pulled the straps down, pushed the bra to her waist. Lifted her hips so that Daniel could tug it free from her body. Smiled when he tossed it over his shoulder with absolute glee.

"My sweet beauties," he sighed, settling back over her, his hands going to her breasts.

She sighed with equal amounts of relief and pleasure when his lips wrapped around an aching nipple, his tongue teasing her until she moaned in response. Her body arched toward his touch, the warmth of his hands, as he wrapped them around the curves of her breasts, her back leaving the mattress as she strained into his caresses.

Her hips were pressing up against his chest each time he tugged on the sweet nipple in his mouth. The taste, the smell, the softness of her skin urged him on, drove him to seek more, to taste more, touch more. The fact that she was damned near off the bed filled him with no small measure of pride. Only his caresses, only his attention to his beauties could evoke that response. Her body responded to him, and to him alone. He was suddenly flooded with such deep love that he shook from its force as it moved from his brain to his heart and back again, dropping long enough to make his engorged manhood even harder.

Hands caressing her hips, Daniel slid down again, eager to satisfy his craving, to silence the need his addiction had awakened, to worship at the altar of true love. To give her as much pleasure as he knew she would give him...as soon as she had teased and tormented him until he was nearly out of his mind. He smiled when she opened willingly. His hands moved over the soft skin of her thighs. His fingertips traced the letters of her tattoos. 'Daniel's Property'. Damned straight, he thought happily. He anointed each tattoo with a kiss. Breathed deeply of the sweet, heavenly scent that was unique to his Wife. Began to write his love on the swollen nether lips of her womanhood.

The man had the most incredible tongue in the universe, she thought, writhing as he teased her, sensations of pleasure racing up and down her spine. The more he touched her, the more her body demanded. Her hands were in his hair, fingers clenched around the soft, short locks. She tossed her head to the side, waiting for the intimate kiss that would give her the relief that she needed.

Pushing his tongue into her warm well, drinking the nectar that she created for him, his body shivered yet again. Her soft moan quickened his pulse. Made him determined to hear her other sounds of love...sounds that she made when the pleasure he offered overwhelmed her. Moved her toward that sweet song of ecstasy she would sing when he sent her spiraling among the stars.

With his thirst satiated for the moment, he returned to writing love poems against her skin. The tip of his tongue punctuated each stanza with a flick against the hard pearl nestled at the top of her folds, peeking out at him as a result of his attention...and her resulting arousal.

"Nngg! Yes! There!"

That's right! Talk to me, babe, he crooned silently. He slid two fingers into her warm well, began to stroke her, finding her rhythm immediately. Finished with the poem, actually an old Gaelic love song, he began to flicker his tongue over her, drawing that nub into his mouth and sucking gently.

"Goddess...yes!" Colors appeared behind her closed eyelids, began to spin, even as lights flashed like fireworks.

A third slender finger joined the assault on her senses, plunging deep and hard, her hips pushing back each time his hand moved. It was time to send her over the edge. Closing his eyes, concentrating on giving her the most pleasure possible, his tongue began to dance over her clit. Her hips were in continual motion now, moving up and down against his face, seeking more of the stimulation he offered. There was a gasp, and then the whimper that heralded that sweet aria of love. As she sang her love, he took every drop of sweet nectar he could find, licked her clean; and then slowly kissed his way to her breasts, which were still heaving as she gasped for breath. "How was that?" he asked, his lips against her skin.

"It was incredible," she replied. Her body was still twitching from the aftershocks of her orgasm.

He kissed her, accepted her gratitude in the flickering of her tongue over his. Dropped to the bed beside her, a smug smile on his face. "Good."

Casey maneuvered to her side, rested her head on her upturned palm. The other hand began to move up and down his chest. "You're an amazing man, Daniel Jackson," she said softly.

"In your eyes," he replied.

She shook her head in disagreement, but said nothing.

There was something in the depths of her green eyes, something that concerned him, because he didn't recognize it. He had learned her moods...knew what bothered her, what annoyed her. But this...probably had to do with that damned nightmare, he thought. "Casey?"

"Hmm?"

"What's wrong?"

Everything. Nothing. She sighed mentally. Opted for the answer that would prevent any long, intense discussions. She wanted to make love, not talk. "Not a thing."

"You're sure?"

She leaned over to kiss him gently. "I'm sure."

"If there's anything you want...or need...to talk about, I'm here," he said gently.

"I know." Her archaeologist was the most determined man she'd ever met. If she wanted to avoid a conversation, she'd better do something to distract him. Daniel was far too good at getting around her defenses, finding the hidden paths to her thoughts. Even better at getting her to open up to him about what worried her, or frightened her, or angered her. Or hurt her. Her decision had been made, and until the deed had actually been done, she couldn't afford for him to find out about it. He would try to stop her, and goddess forgive her, she wouldn't have the strength to resist. The result would mean more mistakes made...and lives put into danger. No, she had to keep the secret of her impending departure from the SGC until there was no chance for him to convince her to do otherwise.

Every journey began, and ended, with a kiss. When she began to kiss him, so sweetly offering whatever he wanted...whatever he needed...in the gentle movement of her lips against his, Daniel knew that his own flight to the stars was soon to begin. She was trying to distract him, he knew that, too. For now, he'd give in, allow her to have her way. He'd find out what was wrong...he always did.

Every guilt filled thought, the doubts that plagued her, the fears that haunted her...all fled as she began to make love to him. The taste of his skin, the rapid beating of his heart as she rested her hand on his chest...the way his breath became faster, shallower as her lips moved over his jaw, to his throat...all served to focus her attention on the man who moaned softly beside her as she suckled on the muscle below his ear. Nothing could intrude when they made love, especially when she was on the journey of discovery. Doing her best to make him feel as good...as special...as he always made her feel.

Her lips branded him as she showered kisses on his skin, from his throat to his shoulders to his chest. He was already shaking with anticipation, knowing the heights she could send him to, would send him to. His breath hissed from his lips when she began to suckle on a nipple every bit as hard as hers, and every bit as sensitive. Her fingers tugged on one while her tongue teased the other. Back and forth, minutes ticking away, until he was ready to scream from need; beg her to offer the kisses, the caresses, that he craved most.

She slid over him, positioned herself so that her breasts would rub against his throbbing manhood. She continued her attention to his chest, gave a secret smile when she felt him press up against her, seeking the relief that he needed. Felt his rigid shaft throb against her skin. Just how long would it take before he begged...and what language would he beg in?

Having issued the challenge to herself, she rose to the occasion. She took his hand, locked her eyes with his, watched them darken, listened to the catch in his breath when she gently began to suck on his fingertips.

The little minx was trying to kill him, he thought. Part of him was amused at her attempts to drive him out of his mind, part of him desperate for her intimate kisses. She moved, intentionally he was certain, rubbing the curves of her breasts against his aching flesh. The tantalizing sensations only served to make his need that much stronger...hotter.

She finished with one hand, took the other to repeat her teasing. Watched with increasing satisfaction as his frustration mounted. His eyes were pleading with her, begging her to move on.

The moment her lips went back to his chest, he groaned in sheer agony. He couldn't take much more! As it was, the moment she touched him, he was going to blow!

Her fingers trailed over his belly. Through the soft, wiry hair that surrounded his turgid erection. Down to cup his heavy balls. Over the skin of his thighs.

"Oh god, please! Suck me!" The words were out of his mouth, echoing in the air around them before he was aware of speaking. Hadn't actually thought that he'd be able to speak, he was so near the edge of insanity.

That's what I'm talking about! she crowed with silent delight. "Watch me," she whispered. Wrapped her lips around the swollen tip of his shaft and moved downward, enveloping all that she could in the warmth of her mouth, her hand wrapping around what she was never able to take.

Blue eyes locked with green. He could see her glee, the satisfaction of having made him beg. Loved her all the more for her willingness to do what she was doing...and doing so damned well.

Given that she'd already teased him, she wouldn't hold back the release she knew he needed. She rose to her knees, her mouth never leaving his body, both hands wrapped around him, stroking steadily.

A moan rose from his belly, forced its way passed his lips even as he tried to drag more air into his lungs. He was so close that he could see lights starting to flash when he closed his eyes.

Relaxing her throat, she took just a bit more of his length, began to swallow. Up and down, up and down, swallowing as soon as she had him as deep as she could take him.

"Oh god," he groaned. His hands were around her head, his hips were moving up to meet her every downward stroke. His toes were curling... Her hands began to move faster, the wet sounds of her mouth adding to the stimulation she was giving him...so close...so close..."Casey!"

Her name bounced off the walls as she took down that precious essence as he came. She continued to kiss and lick him until the throbbing stopped. She left no trace of his orgasm on his skin, then moved up to kiss his belly...his chest...his throat...his lips.

He locked his arms around her. "Sweet Jesus," he breathed, his eyes still closed, his body still quivering.

"I take it that you feel better?" she teased lightly.

"Like you wouldn't believe," he replied.

Knowing that it would be a few minutes before he was ready for the next 'round', she began to playfully kiss and nip at his shoulders. "I made you beg," she giggled.

"You damned near killed me," he countered.

"You weren't complaining." She planted kisses along the muscle that connected his neck to his shoulder.

"Didn't have the breath."

She giggled again, then began to nibble on the skin behind his ear. When he jumped slightly, his body shivering beneath her, she repeated the caress, nipped again at his skin. Felt him shiver a second time.

Rolling over, putting her on her back, his mouth captured the lips that had been tormenting him. Took the love she offered. Gave his in return. She was wrapped around him, her arms around his shoulders, her legs around his waist...her love around his heart.

There was nothing in the world like kissing him. His kisses were the succor for her soul, the breath of life for her. His kisses could comfort her. Arouse her. Please her. Demand from her. She gave all that he asked for, offered more. Felt his love flow into her very soul as he kissed her.

It never ceased to amaze him...she could suck his balls dry, and what felt like seconds later have him hard and aching for her all over again. He pushed his hips against her, felt her belly ripple beneath him, making his throbbing shaft jerk in response. He inhaled sharply when she snaked a hand between them, stroked him gently, then guided him toward paradise.

"I need to feel you inside me," she whispered.

Never able to deny her what she wanted, thrilled that her need was as great as his own, he pushed into the warmth of her well, felt her body close around him like a welcoming handshake. "So good," he murmured.

"So good," she agreed.

Their dance of love began slowly, gently. Hips rocked, moving in perfect harmony. His lips sought hers. Her hands were filled with his hair as she clung to him, following where he led. Pleasure, as sweet and pure as their love, moved over them as they continued to climb toward the heavens.

He closed his eyes, buried his face against her throat. Felt her arms tighten around his shoulders. Her nipples were hard and pointed, and grazed his chest as he moved on top of her.

She reveled in the safety she felt...the utter bliss that surrounded her. In Daniel's arms, nothing could hurt her. There were no battles to be fought, no demons to defeat, no fears to overcome. Only happiness. Complete happiness. She sighed softly.

Step by step they moved closer to the pinnacle. Their dance sped up, became more intense as the needs of their bodies demanded to be met. He ground his hips against hers, rubbing back and forth with each downward thrust. She met him, pushing against him, seeking more of the stimulation she craved.

The ride was almost complete. He rose up on outstretched arms, began to drive into her with more force. She welcomed him, begged for more with the arching of her back, the returning thrust of her hips, the soft moans that she made.

More, oh goddess she needed more...harder...faster....

When her hands slid down his back, grabbed his ass, he couldn't help but grin. She was a passionate woman, his Wife. And she was about to lose control. God, he loved it when that happened. He pushed his hips against hers, remained still for a moment. His grin widened when she pushed back, and continued to move against him.

She was riding him, hard and fast, obeying her body, seeking the climax that glimmered just out of reach. She was so close...almost there...

His mouth moved to her throat...she could go from zero to one-sixty with just a bit of attention to that elegant expanse of creamy skin. She moaned again, moving beneath him with total abandon. "Take it, Angel," he whispered against her skin. He pushed himself deeper, continued to remain still, letting her take what she needed; the stimulation her undulating body offered shoving him toward the edge of the precipice.

"Nngg...take me! Hard...fast...please!"

With a groan of compliance, he obeyed, his hips slapping against hers. He continued to rub against her each time he buried himself. That beautiful whimper filled her throat...he was past the point of no return...almost there...When her aria of love filled his ears, he let go, and followed her over the cliff into the crashing waves of oblivion.

Lights flashed, colors whirled, and her body shivered as she spun among the stars. He was flying beside her, his body shaking above hers. She could feel the intense throbbing that indicated that he was emptying himself into her. His cry of release brought tears of joy to her eyes. That he could find pleasure in her arms was a miracle she would always treasure.

Gasping as he tried to fill his lungs with much needed oxygen, his arms gave out, and he collapsed on top of her. Relished the way she tightened her arms and legs around him. "Love you," he whispered breathlessly.

"Love you, too," she replied in kind, her lips beside his ear.

With a groan, he rolled them over, kept her close to his body. His hands moved up and down her back as they basked in the warm afterglow of their lovemaking.

"That was amazing," she said softly.

He smiled. She never failed to tell him, with her actions and her words, that he pleased her. What a precious gift that was...to know that his efforts to show his love with his body were successful, and so appreciated.

"Did you leave a message for a wakeup call?" she asked sleepily.

"Mmmhmm."

"Okay."

He pressed a kiss to the back of her head as she settled against him, her cheek on his shoulder. He could feel the warmth of her breath against his skin, knew that she was drifting to sleep. He closed his eyes, and followed her into the arms of Morpheus.


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