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Hell to Pay
She opened her eyes slowly. Bit back the scream of terror that filled her throat. Ba'al was sitting across the room, watching her. Oh, goddess, not again! He looked as smug as ever. Which made her palms itch to just slap the shit out of him! She ran one shaking hand through her hair, the action alerting her to the fact that she wasn't tied down.
"Welcome, Beautiful One," he said softly. He stood, walked to a nearby table, poured water from a pitcher that looked as if it were made of gold into a chalice that was gold, and decorated with what looked like emeralds and pearls. "Here, sip slowly. You've been unconscious for almost two hours."
Casey sat up. Realized she was in the middle of a very large, very soft, very comfortable bed...with satin coverlets and silk covered pillows. No doubt silk sheets lay beneath the crimson quilt. "What's going on?"
"In Goa'uld, my love. I know you speak it."
'My love'? Had Ba'al flipped his snakey lid? "Fine. What the hell is going on?"
"You have passed the tests that were put before you. Proven yourself to be a worthy Consort for a god. I have seen fit to bless you, and take you as my own." Ba'al was already believing his own propaganda...having heard the priests declaring to the people of Babylonia that their god had chosen she who would sit at his side. Not declaring her as queen, not yet, even though technically being his consort afforded her that position automatically. She didn't know that, however. But he was prepared to offer that position, anything to see that she agreed to remain at his side. Things would be much more...pleasant...if she were willing.
She rolled her eyes. "News flash, snakeface. I don't want to be your consort. I happen to be married to and crazy in love with the most wonderful man in the universe. Who, by the way, is going to rip you out of that host body as soon as he finds out you've taken me. He'll snap you into pieces with his bare hands!"
"Insolence!" he roared. He reached out, his hand impacting roughly against her cheek.
"Call it whatever you want," she hissed, raising fingers to her bruised skin, "it's the truth!"
He took a deep breath, forced himself to calm down. "All that was your life is now over, Casey. I am your god. I have chosen you as my Consort. You above all women have been blessed. Be grateful that I do not demand that you fall to your knees to show your gratitude!"
"You're nothing but a parasite...an ugly creature unable to exist without the body of a human host! You're nothing! And Daniel will destroy you!" And it'll be a cold day in hell before I fall to my knees to you, asshole, she screamed silently.
Ba'al smiled. Such fire! Her eyes blazed with anger, with hatred. Her slender body shook from those emotions. Taking her to his bed would be most pleasing. He held the chalice towards her. "Drink."
"You may fight me all you want, the result will be the same. The Purification Ceremony will occur. I, myself...your god...will wash you, symbolically erasing your past. Making you pure and chaste and ready to come to me. Which you will do. You are mine, Casey. No one will take you from me this time!"
Considering that it was a very real possibility that Daniel and the rest of the team didn't even know she was missing made her situation all the more alarming. She had no delusions. She would be unable to prevent her rape again, especially once he began using the ker'nish'ta on her. And this time, it seemed that Ba'al himself was going to molest her. She began to shake with fear, with dread...with terror. "Daniel!" she whispered.
Hearing the name of the Tau'ri on her lips fueled his temper. He strode to the door, opened it. Beckoned to the Jaffa who waited just outside. "Destroy the village below," he ordered. He was certain that she didn't know that his ship was behind the second moon that circled the planet that rotated slowly above them. This was nothing more than a ploy on his part. If she called his bluff, he would be forced to risk the Asgard weapon to rain destruction on the villages the ship's sensors had detected. "Leave nothing standing. There are to be no survivors!"
"No! Oh, god no!" she cried out in alarm. Daniel, and Jack and Sam and Teal'c, were still in that village! "Please...spare them...I'll..." she closed her eyes.
"You'll what, Casey?"
"I'll...I'll drink the water," she managed to say, unwilling to make any other promises, suspecting that her first dose of the ker'nish'ta was in the water.
He hesitated. It was a small thing. But breaking her had always been a series of small steps. Never before had he encountered such fire. "Leave the village. See to it that we are underway for Babylonia," he said absently, waving the Jaffa away. The door closed behind the armored men.
When he held the cup toward her the second time, trembling hands wrapped around it. She stared at the contents as if it were poison, then hurriedly downed the liquid. Waited for the disorientation to claim her. Frowned when she remained lucid.
She had suspected the water to be drugged. He smiled. Took the chalice from her shaking hands, filled it again from the same pitcher. And drank the cool, sweet water.
Casey's eyes went wide. "You didn't..." she shook her head. "There wasn't anything in the water?"
"No, Beautiful One. I have no need to drug you. You have already proven your worthiness. Now you must further earn your position as my Consort by gaining my trust."
This could work to her advantage...if she was very careful. She wrapped her arms around her waist, hugged herself tightly.
"There is no need to fear me," Ba'al said softly. He sat down on the edge of the bed. Noted that she didn't move away, although her eyes told him she desperately wanted to.
"You're a Goa'uld. That's all the reason in the world," she replied. Cursed that damned smartass attitude that sprang to life when she was afraid or nervous.
"I won't hurt you, Beloved." His voice was still soft. He reached out to touch her cheek, caress the still red imprint his hand had left. Didn't let the fact that she cringed, pulled away from his hand, deter him. Gently his fingers caressed her skin. "You are beautiful. Full of fire..."
She remained perfectly still, waiting for the tender touch to become a brutal strike. Her eyes reflected her fear.
"You will never be harmed, not by my hand. Nor the hand of any around us," he promised.
Curiosity had the better of her. "Why?" she asked.
Ba'al smiled. "Because I love you, Casey," he replied simply.
Well hells bells! This is a new twist! She studied his face. Shocked at what she could see in the depths of his brown eyes. Good lord, he did love her! No! Goa'uld are incapable of love! She frowned slightly. That wasn't technically correct, she thought. Sam had told her of Jolinar, the Tok'ra who had taken her unawares, and had sacrificed herself so that the Tau'ri major would live. And of the love that Jolinar and Lantesh, another Tok'ra symbiote, had shared. How deep and abiding it had been. She pulled her lip between her teeth. This could work to her advantage. But how far would she have to go to earn Ba'al's trust? What would be enough to enable her to move about the ship, to get off of the damned ship?
"Have you nothing to say to me?"
"Not really," she replied. Everything she wanted to say to this bastard would more than likely get her killed. Not an option.
"You are...surprised," he said.
Ya think? she groused mentally. Absently noted that she was sounding as much like Jack as Sam and Daniel often did. Daniel would say that their CO had been a bad influence on her. "You could say that. The other times you've captured me, turning me into a mindless slave was your goal, as I recall."
He shook his head slightly. "Merely a test. To determine your worthiness."
"Right." You keep telling yourself that, cupcake. While I work on a way to get out of here. Movement near a door on the opposite side of the room caught her attention. The young slave...what was her name?...watched, the surprise on her face a reflection of her own feelings at the moment.
Ba'al saw her eyes focus on something behind him, widen slightly. He turned to look. "She is no threat, Beloved. Shanda is my lo'taur. Perhaps you wish to keep her as your personal slave?"
Casey could see what his words, his offer, did to the young slave. "No, I don't think so. I like my throat just the way it is," she said dryly.
"I do not understand," Ba'al frowned.
"She loves you, Ba'al. And she'd just as soon slit my throat as look at me."
The frown deepened. "Of course she loves me," he said. "I am her god."
She shook her head. "She's in love with you. You're a man. She's a woman. Get it?"
"I am a god!"
"Right, and I'm the Easter Bunny. Be that as it may, she loves you. Actually, if you want someone to fall all over you with gratitude, make Shanda your consort."
"She is a slave!"
"Yeah? So? If you're a god, you can do whatever you want," Casey countered flippantly.
Ba'al's fingers were moving through Casey's long hair. "You have a very compassionate heart, Beloved. One of the many things I adore about you."
"You don't even know me!"
"I know far more than you realize," he replied.
Oh, shit! Could he know...no, it wasn't possible. There was no way that he could know that she was Immortal.
"If you believe I am unaware of your secret, know that I am not," he said softly.
Her heart was pounding against her ribs, she struggled to remain impassive. Lowered her eyes lest he see her fear. "Secret?"
"Your powers as a seer," he said.
She smiled, almost giddy with relief. "Yeah, right. Highly exaggerated I'm sure."
He studied her for a moment. "I do not believe so. Shanda!"
The slave entered the room. Her face was a heartbreaking picture of abject misery. "Yes, My Lord?"
"You are to serve my Beloved. Her safety I place in your hands," he said, holding the young slave with a stare. If any harm befell the blonde, the lo'taur would be held personally responsible, and the young slave's eyes reflected her understanding of that fact. "Whatever her wishes, you will comply."
"Yes, My Lord," Shanda mumbled. Her heart was breaking into pieces. Why, oh why hadn't she killed this h'as when she'd had the chance?
"I must see that we are on course for our home," Ba'al said, standing to his feet. "I will return soon."
"Take your time," Casey replied.
Ba'al smiled. "Soon, you will beg me not to leave your side."
"Don't hold your breath on that, cupcake," the slender blonde spat. She was totally unprepared to hear him chuckle loudly. Nor was she at all prepared when he leaned over and kissed the top of her head.
"You are free to do as you please."
"Good. I'll just send a message to my Husband to come and get me."
Brown eyes hardened for just a moment. "Within reason."
"Ah. Right. So I suppose ordering the nearest Jaffa to blow your ass to kingdom come is out, too."
Another chuckle. "Such fire! You delight me, Beloved."
"Don't call me that! I will never be that! I love Daniel Jackson. I belong to him, and him alone! That will never change!"
The Goa'uld took note of the trembling lips, the stubborn jut of her chin. Ridding the universe of that annoyance would serve more than one purpose. Seeing him broken, a mere slave, would change her mind quickly, he thought. If she pushed his patience, she would be witness to the Tau'ri's execution. He would send out orders that the members of SG-1 be captured immediately. Most especially Daniel Jackson. "Do no be so certain," he said softly, after a moment.
She didn't like the calculating look that crept into his eyes. The bastard was up to something. She just had to figure out what it was...and stop him.
A A A A A A
Selmak frowned. It had been seven hours, and still there had been no reply from the spy among Ba'al's Jaffa. She didn't dare have Jacob send another message. The thought that perhaps the spy had been compromised, or even killed, flittered through her mind. She pushed it firmly away.
'You're worried,' Jacob said. He had acquiesced control of his body to the symbiote. Who was pacing the room nervously.
'If the spy has been found, then we have no way of learning where Ba'al is. Or where he intends to take Casey.'
'If he has Casey,' Jacob replied.
Aldwin entered the room, his face pale. "I sent the message to the SGC. It seems that our warning arrived too late. Casey Jackson is once again missing."
Jacob groaned out loud. Selmak was too stunned to respond. "I suppose the Tok'ra are being blamed?"
The younger man shook his head. "General Hammond responded that he understood that we had nothing to do with this, that Sarah was acting on her own. He wished us good luck in dealing with her."
"His way of telling us to get rid of her," Jacob mused. "What about Doctor Jackson?"
"SG-1 was already on the planet Sarah sent Ba'al the coordinates to. It seems that during the time I struggled to decipher the message, the Goa'uld arrived and kidnapped Mrs. Jackson. I can only assume that his anger is as great as it was before," the young man said sadly.
"Don't blame yourself, Aldwin," Jacob said kindly, putting his hand on the young man's shoulder. "Sarah Gardner alone bears the responsibility of what has happened."
"We should alert the Council," Aldwin said.
"Yes, we should. And we should offer to join in the search. If we can find Casey, it might prevent more hard feelings from cropping up," Jacob replied.
"I will tell Ren Au."
"Well, hell," Jacob muttered once he was alone again.
'I agree,' Selmak sighed.
'Wasn't there a report about interesting activity at Ba'al's main temple on Babalonia?' Jacob asked.
Selmak 'frowned'. 'I believe there was. And that an announcement had been made...a ceremony of some sort. All of Ba'al's followers were to attend.'
'Maybe we should check this out.'
'I agree. But we shouldn't go alone.'
Jacob hurried down the corridor. The Tok'ra benefited from Casey Jackson's talents as a seer, and from SG-1's willingness to work with them. The team had received the highest commendations that the Tok'ra could bestow. Those five people should be treated as the heroes that they were.
A A A A A A
"...Gandalf says the merchants were certain that the traders that came to Bodoborg were the ones who took Casey. None of them saw any Jaffa," Daniel finished. His gaze wandered past Jack's shoulder, through the tent opening behind the older man. The sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon. By all estimations, Casey had been missing for a total of ten hours. If she was in the hands of slave traders, and that was what they suspected, it was hard telling what she was enduring. There was the chance that the traders knew of Ba'al's interest in her, and would beat a path to his door in order to make their profit.
"Intel from three other missions has garnered a list of known trading planets," Sam said quietly. She turned to General Hammond. "Sir, I suggest we send teams to those planets as soon as possible. If the traders haven't shown up there yet, there's always a chance that they will."
General Hammond nodded. "I agree, Major. Let's return to the SGC. I'll send a mining team through as soon as possible. Doctor Jackson, I'll leave it to you to explain that to the local leaders."
"Yes, sir," Daniel replied.
"As soon as the teams involved in the search have rested, you will be assigned a trading planet to 'gate to."
"Sir, if we wait, we could miss them," Daniel objected.
"Doctor Jackson, I'm aware of your anxiety. But you and the others need to rest. It's been twenty-four hours since any of you have slept. Going out in your present condition increases your risk of making a fatal mistake. You will sleep, and then you'll continue the search," the general replied firmly.
He shook his head. His body was tired. Even if his mind wouldn't shut down, and his heart wouldn't stop aching.
It only took a few minutes to explain to Gandalf what was about to happen...that all of the teams, including SG-1, would return to the SGC, and that within a few hours those who would set up the mining camp would arrive. He had written up notes that he would give to whoever was in charge...hopefully they would help to pave the way for the Tau'ri and the Vikings to continue to become friends. He was also suggesting that someone familiar with the language be assigned to the mining team.
A A A A A A
When SG-1 shuffled through the door of the infirmary, exhausted and heartsick, Janet hurried to Daniel's side. She injected him immediately. "Plenty more where that came from, until you can have the real thing," she whispered.
Daniel forced a smile. "Thanks."
The petite doctor gave him an appraising look. "You need to eat something, then get some sleep."
"I'm not hungry."
"Maybe not, but you have to keep your strength up. She needs you strong and healthy," Janet replied.
The smile, although still small, became genuine. "Good point."
"You'll find her. She's your Destiny, and you're hers. Not even the Goa'uld can change that, or interfere with it."
"Fate certainly seems determined to try," he groused. There was going to be hell to pay when he got his hands on Ba'al. And he had every intention of exacting his pound of flesh from Sarah, as well.
"You'll find her," Janet repeated confidently.
General Hammond entered the infirmary, glanced around warily. Seeing that only three nurses and two orderlies were present, he nodded toward his premier team. Watched as Sam, Jack, and Teal'c hurried to Daniel's side. Janet remained where she stood.
"What's up, sir?" Jack asked, knowing from the look on the his face that something was on the general's mind.
"Just before you left, when I spoke to Casey in my office, she said two things. That she had to protect Daniel, although she didn't know when or how. And then..." General Hammond shook his head slightly. "She thanked me...for everything, she said. As if...as if she were saying goodbye."
Daniel closed his eyes. She'd known! She'd known that something was going to happen, but she hadn't said one blessed word! Why?
"It seems that Casey Jackson cannot foresee danger to herself," Teal'c said quietly. "She may suspect, or sense danger of some sort, but she's unable to see enough to prevent whatever is to happen."
"Or she knew it had to happen," Sam added. "She's seen things before that weren't clear, only to realize that it had to happen."
"What would she have to protect Daniel from?" Jack asked.
"Perhaps we should ask Miss Eloise," Teal'c said.
Five pairs of eyes swung toward the Jaffa, stared at him. "And just how are we supposed to do that?" Jack asked. "Casey's the one who does that astro-turf thing." His teammates and commanding officer automatically 'translated' his intentional misquote.
"I believe it was Miss Eloise who guided me when I was searching in that castle for Casey Jackson," Teal'c replied firmly.
"It's worth a try," Sam said softly.
"I'll let you deal with this," General Hammond said. He understood that the unique relationship between the members of SG-1 excluded anyone else. Even if he and Janet Fraiser were now Immortal, they were not a part of the team, not a part of that very special entity known as SG-1.
"Let's go," Jack said. He didn't believe in mumbo-jumbo. Didn't think the meditating thing did much more than make his ass go to sleep. Oh, his kids seemed to find comfort from it, and he wasn't about to deny them that. But at this particular moment, he'd pray to the Tooth Fairy if it might help.
"Daniel, perhaps you should be the one to...um...call Miss Eloise," Sam suggested, once she and her teammates were sitting cross-legged on the floor of Teal'c's quarters.
"You're her husband."
With a nod of understanding, he closed his eyes. Fought down the surge of pain. The fear that this time there wouldn't be a miracle that would return Casey to his side. The wave of agony at the very thought of trying to exist...there would be nothing more than that without her...alone once again. "Miss Eloise?"
Eyes closed, each heart cried out for answers...for a direction...to understand why Casey had been taken again...what it was that she believed she had to do...what danger lay ahead for Daniel.
"Please, I have to know that she's all right," he whispered. "I have to know that she'll come home to me."
Miss Eloise watched, listened, tears streaming down her cheeks. She ached to offer comfort to the young man. Wanted desperately to help those who were the guardians of the Chosen.
The old woman turned when she felt the presence of her mentor and friend. "He suffers so," she said quietly.
"I know," was the quiet reply. "Events have already been set into motion that we cannot stop. What will happen, must happen. So that The One can defeat the evil that would destroy him, and those with him."
"They should have been stopped...been punished...long before now."
"Perhaps that lesson is the greatest of all that will come of this."
First watched anxiously.
"Why doesn't she answer?" Second asked, her own lovely face creased with worry.
"It is forbidden," First replied.
"If only we could offer comfort," the younger of the three said.
Third smiled. "If he asks, we will do so."
"If he asks," First said.
"I can't do it," Daniel said, after thirty minutes of trying. If the old woman was going to respond, she would have done so by now.
"Do not believe that the lack of a physical answer means that you will not receive a reply," Teal'c said.
"I don't understand," Daniel said. He took his glasses off, wiped the tears from his eyes.
"You must search your heart for the answers you seek."
Jack shifted uncomfortably. His ass was definitely numb. "Let's get some sleep. Then we can get back out there and keep looking." He didn't say out loud what all of them knew. If Ba'al didn't have Casey at the moment, he soon would. The best they could actually hope for was to find out when Ba'al had gotten his hands on her, and where he had taken her.
Daniel ran his hands over his face. Put his glasses back on. "They say that the third time is the charm," he said quietly.
"Don't you dare give me that shit!" Jack growled. "We'll get her back, Daniel. We have every other time. This one won't be any different."
Three times. Ba'al had taken his wife three times. The first time, the Goa'uld was on a planet, looking for the hidden fleet of ships belonging to another snake. The second time was on a joint mission with the Tok'ra. They'd been able to follow his al'kesh and ring over to bring Casey back. It had been dicey for a bit, but that SG-1 luck had seen them through. Now, they knew only that three traders had shown up in Bodoborg, and had taken her. And that Ba'al was looking for Casey, wanted her. Right now, they had no idea where the Goa'uld was. Which meant they had no idea where Casey was...or would be.
"Jack's right," Sam said softly, scooting closer to her best friend. "She'll get word to us just as soon as she can, to let us know where she is."
"That will be damned hard to do if her memory is erased with the ker'nish'ta," Daniel replied hoarsely. Oh, god, what's she going through? Is he hurting her? Beating her? Raping her?
"Do not lose faith, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said. "I do not believe that Ba'al wishes to make Casey Jackson a slave."
Three heads turned sharply. "What makes you say that?" Jack asked.
"If Ba'al merely wanted her as a slave, he would not have called Tieel Mogba to capture her."
"How do you know that's who the trader was?" the team CO pressed.
"From the description of him. He is a man missing one eye, with a crippled hand," Teal'c replied. "Tieel Mogba specializes in returning runaway wives and lovers to Goa'uld. He does not bother with mere slaves."
Daniel frowned. "If he's not going to make her a slave..." He moaned softly. Understood from the look on Teal'c's face just exactly what the Goa'uld had in mind for his Wife.
"Harem?" Jack asked Teal'c.
"I do not believe so," Teal'c replied. "I believe Ba'al has every intention of making Casey Jackson his consort."
"Over my dead body!" Daniel declared.
"That is exactly what Ba'al will wish," Teal'c said. "It will be the only way to break Casey," he added softly.
"We should see if the Tok'ra have any intelligence on Ba'al," Sam suggested.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Like they're going to tell us anything," he grumbled. What SG-1 was about to learn from the Tok'ra would send the team, and the SGC, into a race against time that might never be won.
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