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 Heroes Memorandum

 

Chapter 10

For whatever reason, most probably pressure from the president, Hammond had reversed the order preventing him from returning to Cheyenne Mountain. Bregman decided he didn't care what or whom had changed the general's mind. He was satisfied with the fact that he would be finishing what he'd started. Colonel Rundell had shown up at hotel room where he'd been waiting…pacing…smoking too much. Watching the tapes of the interviews that he'd managed to get; trying to figure out how he was going to make a documentary with so little. For some reason, one he couldn't explain to himself, he'd not viewed the tape that he'd demanded the president order Doctor Jackson to relinquish. He'd told Hayes that the footage would undoubtedly provide visual proof of the dangers faced by the SG teams as they battled against the Goa'uld. He truly believed that. But he couldn't bring himself to actually look at those images.

Hammond had also agreed that the Airmen who had been working with the journalist, Sgt. James and Sr. Airman Wickenhouse, would continue to do so. Colonel Rundell had been just as surprised as Bregman when he'd been given a copy of the mission report, and told it had been 'declassified' so that he could read it.

The only stipulation on his continued presence at the SGC was that he was completely confined to the VIP quarters set up as his office 'temporarily'. If he so much as stuck his nose out of the room, he'd be escorted to the surface by armed MPs. Rundell had been quite specific about that.

No, he didn't know the reason that Hammond had reversed his order. He was, however, grateful that he was going to be given the chance to finish what he'd started. Now…if he could just get the personnel of the SGC to cooperate…

 

A A A A A A

 

It was early evening by the time Rundell had called him again, requesting that they meet in the 'waiting room' on level two. Even though he suspected that something had been going on, Bregman had managed to refrain from calling every hour to learn just when he was going to be allowed to return to the SGC.

Now that he was here, he found himself sitting in the VIP room, staring at what he'd come to think of as The Tape. He was waiting for Shep and James to join him, certain that he really didn't want to watch alone. "I got it," he said, holding the cassette up with two fingers when the airmen arrived. "Here, put it on."

The two airmen exchanged a look. James took the tape, inserted it into the playback machine. "Okay, ready," he said. Not certain he was actually prepared to see what had transpired. The first image came up on the monitor screen…

 

Airman Well's pain filled face filled the entire frame.

Daniel Jackson's voice could be heard clearly. "Okay, you can tell her yourself."

Wells focused on the camera, his eyes filled with pain and tears. "I'm so sorry about this," he cried. "AH! Oh hell…" He closed his eyes, the gritting of his teeth clear to the observers. "I love you so much! God, I…I just…I just wanted-"

 

Bregman dropped the pen he'd picked up for taking notes. Shep and James went pale, their eyes wide.

 

The camera began shaking, the picture moving erratically as Wells began to scream in agony, writhing on the ground.

"Oh, god," Wells cried. "God! Shut it off! Shut it off! I don't want her to see me die! Please! God!"

The camera shifted again, this time focusing on Janet Fraiser. She was looking directly at Wells, brushing the hair from his face. "Simon! Simon! Look at me!"

Once again the camera focused on the airman…recorded the fear that was as obvious as the pain in the young man's eyes…the camera swung back…

Janet's face filled the frame now. "You're not going to die, okay!"

When the camera focused back on Wells, he had managed to calm down. He was still in pain, it was etched on his face. But his breathing had stopped being so fast and shallow.

"I did not come all the way out here for nothing," Janet's voice declared. "Now, I've stemmed the bleeding. We're going to get you on a stretcher, okay? We'll get you home and to your family in no time. Okay? Now you hang in there, Airman!"

"Yes, ma'am," Well's voice responded. His voice hitched slightly, but the hysteria of the prior moments was gone.

Suddenly the camera was knocked askew. It was possible to see figures moving in the trees several yards away. An arm, no one in the room was sure who it belonged to, reached forward into the frame, and forcefully tossed Doctor Fraiser to the ground. She was stunned, and laid motionless for just a moment.

There was a flash of light, a scream of pain…and then a body dropped on top of the shocked doctor.

"Oh, god," Wells murmured.

Doctor Cameron Balinsky's blue eyes stared unseeing at the camera, an expression of surprise frozen on his face. The sounds of battle continued to rage around the camera…

"I got him!" Bosworth called.

"Janet?" Daniel's voice asked shakily.

Brown eyes much too large for the pale face looked up. "Oh, god," she murmured.

"Cam?" Daniel's voice asked. "Oh, god, Cam! Help! We need help here! Janet are you hit?"

"N-n-n-no," the petite doctor stammered, still trapped beneath the body of the dead man.

"Oh, god, Cam." The sound of fabric moving against fabric was heard, then Daniel called for help again…"Oh, god! Medic! I need a medic here!"

 

The anguish in Daniel's voice brought tears to the eyes of the men watching. The camera suddenly seemed to tumble…images of the trees…the ground…trees…the sky…all whirling in a sickening kaleidoscope of gray.

The hum of the machine, indicating it had reached the end of the tape went unheeded for several long minutes.

Bregman wiped his hands over his face, attempting to clear away his tears. "I had lunch with him," he said softly. "I had lunch with him." Nearly an hour passed before he spoke again.

James and Shep sat silently as Bregman continued to stare at the blank screen. They'd been trained…had seen brutal images like they'd witnessed in several of their training courses. It wasn't easy to watch…to see death…in such a way. There was no training that could prepare one for the death of a friend…or even an acquaintance. "Sir?"

The journalist didn't respond.

"Uh…Mr. Bregman?" Shep asked.

Shaking himself mentally, the results physical, Bregman looked around.

"Are you okay?"

He started to nod. Then shook his head. "No. Can you do me a favor? Could you take a message to General Hammond for me?"

The two young men shared a look, then both nodded. "Sure," James said.

"Tell him…tell him that if he'll allow it, I'd like to speak with as many of the people here as will talk to me. Tell him…tell him that I'd like a chance to show the world what incredible men and women are here at the SGC," Bregman said quietly. "That the world needs to see the caliber of men and women who are protecting them. They need to know the dangers that are out there."

"We'll tell him, Mr. Bregman."

"Emmett," he said automatically. "Oh, and tell him I'd like to speak to Doctor Jackson as well. Whenever it's convenient for the doctor."

Neither of the airmen believed that it was the first time Emmett Bregman had ever witnessed something so horrific. Or the first time he'd witnessed a death. Both were certain he'd never before known the deceased. Hadn't known…even peripherally…any of the people involved in whatever horrors he filmed. "We'll tell him, Emmett," Shep promised.

Rundell chose that moment to tap on the door, then peek into the room. Bregman didn't seem to notice him.

"Uh…we got a tape that Doctor Jackson had made during…" Shep paused, then shook his head.

Rundell was stunned…he'd heard about the tape. Had figured that there wasn't any way in hell Doctor Jackson would let anyone see it. The only way Bregman would have that tape, he surmised, was if Doctor Jackson had been ordered to give it up.

"So, we know that Balinsky is dead. What about Wells? And was O'Neill really hit?" James asked.

"Wells is going to recover," Rundell said. "The general took a staff blast to the chest, but he's going to be just fine. Apparently that polymer shield we saw Doctor Lee demonstrate really works. According to my sources, the scientists are going to be working non-stop to create enough of the plates for the front, back, and sides of tac vests, enough for every member of every SG team."

"That's good," Shep murmured.

"Mr. Bregman?" Rundell asked, his voice low.

"What? Oh…hi, Tom," Bregman replied, apparently just realizing that the liaison officer was present.

"Dinner is being served in the commissary. Would you care for something to eat, Mr. Bregman?" Rundell asked.

Bregman shook his head, wiped his hands over his face yet again. "No, thanks. Maybe…uh…maybe later. I have to think about this. I have to decide exactly how I want to present this film." He waved toward the video equipment. "Except…that."

"I thought you knew what you wanted to do," Rundell said.

Bregman gave sad smile. "So did I."

 

A A A A A A

 

Safe. When she walked through the door into her home, she was safe. As safe as she was in Daniel's arms. With a soft sigh of contentment, Casey hurried to the bedroom to drop her purse on the chair that sat between the closet doors, and to pull off her boots.

Daniel smiled as he watched her. Like he always did. And, just as she always gave a contented, happy little sigh every time they walked in the door, his heart pounded with love. And a little smug pride that he'd been able to make his Wife happy, providing her with a home she so obviously enjoyed. He looked around the Great Room. Home. A haven of safety. The only place in the universe for him and her alone. Their own little piece of paradise. Right here.

The smile faded as he considered the fact that he'd planned to be home before now…it was nearly five-thirty. After the 'interviews', however, the team had sat in his office for nearly two hours, discussing Woolsey's accusations, for that was certainly what they'd been. They also hashed over every moment of the mission that had gone so wrong for SG-13, trying to figure out if anything could have…or should have…been handled differently. Casey continued to castigate herself for not seeing the events that had unfolded; but she seemed resigned to the fact that for some reason, she'd not been meant to warn General Hammond, or Cam, of the danger. In spite of that reluctant understanding, he knew that his Wife could continue to blame herself for Cam's death for months to come.

"Daniel?"

His smile returned. She'd pulled on an old tee shirt and faded blue jeans, and as always, her slender feet were bare. "Hmm?"

"What do you want for dinner?" Casey walked to the freezer and opened it, checking the tags on the half dozen or so casseroles that waited on the shelves. "There's a sausage and ziti pasta casserole, chicken-pot pie, beef stew…" She closed the door. "You know what sounds good?"

"What?"

"Spaghetti."

"I could eat spaghetti," he agreed.

With a nod, she began to gather the ingredients for Grandma Rose's favorite pasta sauce. She took the time to start a pot of coffee before beginning preparations of the rich, red sauce. Watched Daniel as he sat at the breakfast bar, staring into space. "Stud Muffin?"

It had been two of the longest, lousiest days of his life. He'd lost a damned good friend yesterday. What had hurt the most, however, was watching Casey blaming herself for his death. She'd been so overwrought that sedation had been necessary…that was never an easy thing to deal with - watching his Wife being sedated. Janet had insisted that they both remain on the base for the night. The petite doctor had been more than a bit upset at Casey's 'escape'…especially considering the fact that Casey had pulled the I.V. from her hand. After finding them in his office, preparing to leave for the night, she'd ordered both of them to eat, and then get some sleep - in their quarters. Which they had reluctantly agreed to do.

Looking over at her, the beautiful woman who made life worth living, he was amazed…and impressed…that she had reached out to the one source of comfort, the one being who could help her. The conversation with Oakey had certainly helped, of that he was certain. He noticed her head tilted to one side slightly. Damn it, whatever it is, it can wait!

Then…there was the problem with how quickly the NID learned about the mission that had gone bad. The leak wasn't in the SGC...Casey was positive that there weren't any NID agents or other Pentagon spies in the mountain. She suspected that the leak was somewhere around the president. Or maybe in the Pentagon. Daniel snorted silently. There was a surprise. Not. He realized that she was watching him…that she'd said something. "What?"

She walked around the counter, sat down beside him, and took his hand between both of hers. "You've been so worried about me…are you okay?"

"I'm fine," he said, smiling.

Casey studied his eyes. "Are you sure?"

His gaze dropped to the granite of the breakfast bar. "I will be," he murmured.

She continued to watch him…playing back the events of the past days…what she'd heard over the radio while on that planet…comments that had filtered through to her as she lay in the infirmary. Only now did she put the pieces together. "Oh, goddess!"

"What's wrong?" he asked immediately, fearful that her grief…and that damned guilt…were about to wrap around her tender heart again.

"You saw…it happened…you were right there…" Both hands went to her mouth. Just before she jumped to her feet, leaned over and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "Oh, Daniel! I'm so sorry! Please forgive me for being so damned selfish! I'm so sorry!"

Rising to his feet, he took the time to wipe away the tears that had spilled onto her cheeks. "No need to apologize," he said softly.

"I have every reason to apologize," she replied firmly. "I was so busy feeling sorry for myself, blaming myself…and instead of being able to deal with losing your friend…seeing it happen…you had to try to hold me together. Oh, Daniel, I'm so sorry!" she repeated.

"Casey, stop it," he said, gripping her shoulders tightly. "Don't you ever apologize for feeling as deeply as you do…for caring so much. I was taking care of you because that's my job…because I love you." And because it meant I didn't have to face my own demons.

When he frowned slightly, Casey tentatively touched his cheek. "Daniel?"

"I was using you," he whispered hoarsely. "As long as you were grieving…as long as you were blaming yourself, I didn't…I didn't have to think about anything. Didn't have to-" He pulled her close. "Just let me hold you," he whispered.

Her arms locked around his neck. "As long as you need," she whispered in reply

Pressing his face against her hair, he breathed deeply of her sweet scent. To obliterate the smell of mud, and gunpowder…the ozone smell created by staff weapon blasts…the coppery smell of blood. The acrid smell of burnt flesh. "Oh, god," he said softly. "I didn't see the Jaffa…I was busy talking to Wells, trying to keep him calm while Janet worked on him…he was in so much pain, and so scared."

Casey said nothing, simply tightened her arms around his shoulders, and stepped closer to him, molding her body against his.

"Bosworth and…what's his name…um…Bernstein, Lieutenant Bernstein, had climbed up on the ridge…Cam was right behind us, offering flanking cover. The medics had been pinned down, they hadn't made it through yet," Daniel continued. "I…I didn't see the Jaffa," he repeated.

"But Cam did," Casey said softly.

"Yeah. He tossed Janet to the ground…it happened so fast…he pushed her so hard it knocked the wind out of her…then…"

She could feel his body trembling. "Come with me, Stud Muffin."

Daniel followed her to the bedroom, her fingers laced with his own. Watched as she stretched out on the bed, then held her arms open.

"C'mere."

There was no need for her to repeat the invitation. He had every intention of taking her into his arms. Instead, he found her arms around his shoulders, pulling him close. One hand guiding his head to her shoulder. He wrapped one arm around her waist, tugging her close.

"Was…did…" She took a deep breath. "Did Cam suffer?"

"No," Daniel replied. "It was…he died instantly. The staff blast hit him in the middle of the chest."

She remained silent. Ran the fingers of one hand through his hair, the other arm tight around his shoulders.

Tears filled his eyes. "It's not like I haven't-" His voice broke. He swallowed twice, gulped air until he was certain he could speak without sobbing. "It's not like I haven't seen death before. Or seen someone die from a staff blast like that."

"Cam was your friend."

He was certain he should be more freaked out about the fact that death was such an integral part of his life. That seeing people killed was something that not only happened far too often for his liking, but was a regular occurrence…that he'd been witness to the wholesale slaughter of innocent people at the hands of Jaffa, obeying the orders of their 'gods'. He'd seen Jack and Sam and Teal'c wounded. Had been with other teams when missions had gone to hell. Oh, god, Cam. You saved Janet. You saved us…but I never would have asked you to die. You shouldn't have had to die!

His shoulders began to shake. His first sob was quiet. She could feel the warmth of his tears as he pressed his face against her throat. Her own tears began to fall. Together, wrapped tightly in one another's embrace, they began to weep…grieving for the friend they had lost.

When it seemed that the tears had finally stopped, that they were ready to take a deep breath and move on, Daniel looked up into green eyes filled with sadness, but lacking the nearly hysterical grief that had been there earlier. Gone was the guilt that had been so plain to see, much to his relief. "I didn't get a shower today…" he paused. "Let's take a shower."

"I think that's a wonderful idea," Casey replied softly. "Then I'll start dinner."

"How about we just order something?"

Even as the protest began to form on her lips, she knew that cooking was really the last thing she wanted to do. "Chinese or Italian?"

"Either one," Daniel replied.

"Let's get Chinese."

With a nod, Daniel started to sit up. Grinned when her arms refused to let him move. "Can't order food if you won't let me up."

"Are you all right?" she asked softly.

"It will take time to heal from this. But, yeah, I'm all right," Daniel replied. "What about you? Are you all right?"

"Better than I was. Not as good as I'll be in a week or so," she admitted.

"You do understand that you had nothing to do with what happened?"

She shrugged. "Part of me will always feel responsible, simply because it's my job to see trouble like this. That I didn't…" Her slender shoulders moved up and down a second time. "I need to have a long talk with whoever it is who sends the downloads."

Daniel smiled. Her 'long talk' would no doubt consist of her mostly shouting her displeasure over being unable to see all that she believed she should see. And more shouting, demanding that all of the information she needed be 'sent' immediately and without interference. He wondered if the being in charge of her 'downloads' had any idea how…succinct…Casey could be when she was pissed off. Hoped that he could be there to watch, if it happened.

 

A A A A A A

 

The warm water washed away the residual stress of the day. They quietly shared their memories of Cam as they gently bathed one another. Each smile, each giggle, each chuckle, soothing their aching hearts like a healing balm.

Daniel had barely pulled his sweats over his hips when the phone rang. He grabbed it, sending up a prayer that it wasn't bad news.

"He's gone," Janet's voice said immediately.

"Huh? He who? Gone where?" Daniel asked, more confused than alarmed. And sounding frighteningly like Jack, he noted absently.

"Cam…at least…his body. I went down to the morgue, I was going to do an examination, and clean…" She paused. "Clean him up. But, he's not where we left him."

"That doesn't make sense! Who would steal his body?" Daniel asked incredulously.

"No one stole it, Daniel. Cam's dog tags are still on the table. Right beneath the blue infirmary sheet that was covering him."

"Clothes?" Daniel asked hoarsely.

"All right there, as if someone had laid them out," Janet reported.

"Ascended," Daniel whispered.

"What?"

"He ascended!"

"I thought that had to happen before death, and that the body…" Janet broke off. "He was dead at the scene! I checked his vitals myself! This doesn't make any sense."

Daniel shook his head. "No it, doesn't. But either Cam did ascend somehow, or someone wants us to think he ascended."

"How many people even know about that?" Janet asked.

"Not many, I don't think. We've kept most of the information we got from Annika's reality out of all the official reports."

"Well, I just…I guess I thought that you might know what was going on," Janet admitted.

"Not really," Daniel replied.

"I'll tell General Hammond."

"Tell him that I suggest we keep this tidbit of info to ourselves. We don't need anyone outside of the SGC snooping around, and we sure as hell don't want to let Bregman know about ascension!"

"Right," Janet said, considerably calmer than she'd been at the beginning of the conversation. "How's Casey?"

Daniel grinned. "She's fine. She had a little chat with Oakey."

"Oakey?"

"Seventh Level Being from Annika's reality," Daniel explained.

"Right, I remember. I take it Oakey was able to get through to her?"

"Apparently."

"Good. Tell her I want her butt in this infirmary first thing in the morning," Janet said. "So I can do my final check on her, since she didn't bother showing up today."

"I'll tell her," Daniel chuckled.

"Talk to you later, Daniel. And…thanks."

"You're welcome." With another chuckle, Daniel gently lowered the receiver to the cradle. Turned around to see Casey studying him.

"So, Cam's body is missing?"

"Seems to be," Daniel replied.

Casey nodded. "I could go-"

He reached out, pulled her close. "No," he said gently. "Not tonight." The last thing he needed was for her to believe that Cam had ascended, which seemed to be helping her to deal with his death, only to learn that he hadn't, or that something else was going on. The mystery could be dealt with later. After they'd dealt with their grief. At the moment the only fact that mattered was that Cam Balinsky had died. One step at a time, he thought. "Let's order dinner, shall we?"

"You order, I'll put this stuff away," she said, nodding at the few things she'd gathered before their need to deal with their grief overrode all else.

"Deal."

Casey waited until Daniel had called and given their 'usual' order to the staff at Mi Ling's Chinese Restaurant before asking the question that had begun to poke at her. "Daniel?"

"Hmm?"

"Do you think it would be okay if I wrote a poem for Cam…to Cam…to put under his picture in the Memorial Room?"

A sharp stab of pain made him rub his chest absently as he considered the fact that his friend was now among the SGC's 'Fallen Heroes'. "I think it would be very okay. I'm certain he'd like it, too," Daniel said gently.

"Good. He's a good-" She broke off, turned her head and blinked back tears. "He was a good friend. I want to do something…special…for him."

"He'll appreciate it," Daniel told her.

 

A A A A A A

 

Dinner had been eaten. Neither of them were particularly hungry, but Daniel knew that Casey could ill afford to skip a meal. They managed to eat the majority of the chicken chow mien, and Casey ate an entire egg roll. The leftovers had been dealt with. Nighttime routines had been completed.

Casey slid into bed, watched Daniel shed the sweat pants, and felt her desire flare. She smiled at him, reached for him when he laid down beside her. "Is it wrong for me to want to make love?"

"No! Why would it be wrong?" He raised one hand and brushed her hair behind her shoulder.

"I guess…I dunno," she shrugged. "I guess it just seems like going on with our lives, even though Cam is gone."

"Angel, we do have to move on with our lives. We can't just stop living because someone we care about dies."

"Depends," she retorted. "If anything happens to you, they can lock me up in a nice padded room because I wouldn't even be able to exist without you. I know, I tried it once."

He took her hand, lifted her fingers to his lips. "Do you remember the discussion we had…about needing to hold each other, after we've been through a rough mission?"

She nodded. "I remember."

"I don't just want to hold you, Casey, and god knows I want to make love to you. But I need to. I have to feel you breathe, feel your body move with mine as we make love. I need to know…to confirm…that you're safe and alive, and in my arms."

"Me, too," she whispered. "I was so scared! At first…at first I thought you'd been hit…" She shook her head. "I need you, Daniel."

"I’m right here, Angel." He lowered his head, watching her eyes flutter closed as his lips touched hers. The soft touch of her lips against his own sent a jolt of pleasure up and down his spine.

Her hand moved up, over his whisker-stubbled jaw. Breath of life. Daniel's kisses were the breath of life. He could offer comfort, or arouse her, or tease her with his kisses. His lips moved softly against hers, his tongue caressing her, making her gasp with pleasure, just as he always did.

The soft little sigh she gave when he deepened the kiss had his heart fluttering against his ribs. The fingers of one hand continued to stroke his jaw, setting his skin on fire, the fingers of the other hand moving through his hair. He settled onto his back, pulling her along, holding her against his body as he continued to gently stroke her, every little wiggle she made fanning the flames of desire that were already burning.

So much had happened…the stress of having the film crew at the SGC…the mission that had gone bad…Cam's death…the very suspicious and immediate response of the NID, and the appearance of Woolsey…the accusations…the days had blended together into one long nightmare. Only now could she finally, completely let go of everything…the guilt, the grief, the anger, the frustration, the fear…all of the emotions that had flooded her senses over and over. In that moment, in his arms, feelings of happiness, joy, contentment, satisfaction, safety…pleasure…all moved over her and through her, gently softening the hard edges of her emotions.

She could feel his erection pressing against her belly, growing harder as they continued to kiss, to taste each other…to fully examine one another. She ran the tip of her tongue over his lower lip and felt the shiver in his body as a result.

When her tongue began to flutter against his, he knew she was ready to move on. Before he could roll over, put her on her back beneath him, begin the journey of discovery, her lips moved from his…over his jaw, down to nibble on his ear…then to his throat. He tilted his head back, offering himself to her, letting her take the lead.

"I love you," she whispered against his skin, just before suckling the strong muscle that connected his neck to his shoulder.

"I love you, too," he whispered in reply, shivering as sensations of pleasure raced through him, stopping to tingle in his toes.

His skin was warm, his scent surrounded her. The taste of his skin against her tongue had her shivering in appreciation…and anticipation. She moved from his throat to his shoulders, covering every inch of that tanned expanse with her kisses. She slid down, making certain that his throbbing flesh was cradled between her breasts as she began to lick his nipples. When she began to suckle he gasped out loud, his arms tightened around her, and his hips pushed up against her. Her fingers plucked at one brown nub while she teased the other with her lips and tongue, then switched to give its twin the same passionate treatment.

It seemed that she was determined to drive him out of his mind with her loving attention. He was certain his nipples couldn't be any harder…not for lack of trying on her part. When he put subtle pressure on her shoulders, trying to move her downward, so that hot, eager mouth would be right where he wanted it, she giggled. "Smartass," he murmured, grinning at the ceiling.

She smiled up at him as she slid down and wrapped one hand around his turgid manhood. Her gaze locked with his when she began to lick around the girth of his shaft.

"That's it," he whispered. "Just like that."

Up, down, around…she continued to lick until he was breathing hard and fast, his hips pressing upward, trying to force himself into her mouth. She shifted her body, kneeling between his outstretched legs. She watched his body tense, waiting for her to finally give him what he wanted…

He held his breath; watched the glee that flashed through her heart-stealing green eyes as she lowered her head…"Sweet Jesus!"

She'd taken him in hard and fast, sucking him as deeply as she could. There would be no teasing tonight…no taking him to the edge of the precipice, only to prolong his wait to fly again and again. In minutes his entire body was rocking with the rhythm she'd established, her hands working in concert with her mouth and tongue.

His fingers wove themselves through her hair, holding her steady as he began to thrust upwards. He could feel the love in every caress of her hand, every flicker of her tongue. Only Casey could give him such pleasure…only her love could send him soaring so high. So close…he was so close…

Let go, Stud Muffin…let go… She relaxed her throat, took him in until she could feel him touching the back of her throat. She began to swallow…

"Oh, god! Casey!"

Triumphant, congratulating herself on making him cry out his pleasure, she took down the creamy white love he gave so willingly. Licked him clean, and then kissed and nibbled her way back to his lips.

"I’m alive," he whispered.

"You're sure?" she asked mischievously.

"Without a doubt. Can't feel that incredible and be dead!" he grinned.

She smiled. "Good."

He rolled them over, looked down at her and smiled. "I'm gonna make you fly, Angel."

"I know," she whispered. She wrapped her hands around his face, pulling him down for a kiss.

Best kisser in the world, he thought, taking his time…moving gently…slowly. He searched her mouth, but found only the barest traces of himself there. His body was still quivering from pleasure, tiny 'after-shocks' that had his now spent member twitching. He swallowed her sigh of contentment; smiled mentally when she moaned softly in response to him deepening the kiss. He was very much alive…because his need for her sweet honey, the addiction that prevented him from being without her sweetness for more than forty-eight hours, was making itself known.

His lips moved gently from hers, whispered 'I love you' before he began to torment her with kisses and nibbles and gentle bites on her neck. "Mmm…" she moaned softly. Her body was on fire, and still he stoked the flames of her desire.

His heart pounding with pride…with love…to hear the soft sounds of pleasure she made. Sounds that only his touch could elicit. Responses that only his touch could bring out in her. "Like that, huh?" he asked softly against her skin.

"Mmm-hmm."

He concentrated on the spot behind her ear, her body shivering each time he suckled gently on the soft skin there. Her sweet scent surrounded him…spring flowers and vanilla. Arousing. Intoxicating. He breathed deeply, then kissed his way to her breasts. "My beauties," he sighed, kissing each pink tip.

"You're a strange man," she teased.

"You love me anyway," was the smiling reply.

"With all my heart." She gasped when he began to tease her already stiff nipples, flickering his tongue over them before gently biting…just enough for her to feel his teeth.

Round, firm, soft, warm…perfect. Her breasts fit the palms of his hands perfectly. He curled the fingers of one hand over the soft curves of her breast while he toyed with the nipple of the other with his mouth. Always a turn-on for him, making love to her breasts would have her completely ready for him in only a matter of minutes. He lavished his attention first on her left breast, then the right. Stopping long enough to leave a purple bruise in the valley between those luscious orbs. When she wiggled in response, he grinned against her skin. He loved making her feel good…making it impossible for her to lay passively beneath him. Not that she'd ever done that. She made love to him with unbridled vivacity, and was just as enthusiastic when he made love to her…every time.

Just when she was convinced she was going to have to beg for the release her body was straining toward, the crescendo he was so skillfully composing, she felt him shift lower, his mouth moving over her belly. She gasped, then giggled, when he teased her navel, toying with the tiny platinum ring that glittered. Moaned softly when he began to kiss her hips, nuzzling the curls on her mons.

Her body was arched off the bed. "Easy," he whispered, kissing the soft, neatly trimmed curls that pointed to paradise.

It was almost impossible to relax, waiting for his first intimate kisses…but she did her best. Knowing that he'd continue to tease her…torment her, until he was certain she could take no more. When he reached up, his hands around her waist, and gently pushed so that she was lying flat again, she struggled to remain in place.

My love. My kisses. I make her crazy with need -with desire….Only I can make her that needy. The thoughts bounced around his head, making him grin all the more. His heart battered his ribs with delight. His ego was sailing among the stars. She'd never been with a man before she'd met him. She'd never allowed another man to touch her like he touched her. She'd never given any man what she so sweetly gave him. They made love almost every day. Yet every time their bodies came together, every time they made love, it was as beautiful, as special, and sacred, as the first time.

She didn't know that her thoughts mirrored those of her Husband as he settled between her thighs. All she knew was Daniel…his touch…his love. She'd never felt love like she had since meeting him. Never felt as loved as he made her feel. She'd never known the pleasures of two bodies coming together as one, until Daniel had come into her life. She knew, instinctively, without a doubt, that only Daniel could orchestrate the symphonies of love that her body danced to. Only Daniel's touch could send her spiraling into the heavens. Only in his arms could she find that secret garden…that beautiful place meant just for them, for the entity they became when their bodies were melded together. She reached down to run her fingers through his hair. Safe…warm…alive… All was well in her private world.

The moan that echoed when he began to lick her soft womanly flesh from stem to stern had his heart pounding. She was always turned on…completely aroused…when she finished making love to him orally. That fact never ceased to amaze him, even as his own body stirred to painful awareness as he made love to her. The tip of his tongue became his stylus, her body the parchment on which he wrote his deepest feelings of love. Every symbol of love that came to mind was carefully drawn against her skin. By the time he was finished, her body was vibrating with need.

"Please," she whispered.

"Time to fly," he whispered in return. He slid two fingers into her hot, wet well at the same time his lips closed around that erect bundle of nerves at the top of her folds.

"Nngg!"

That's it, talk to me. He increased the pressure and tempo of his tongue, slid another finger into her, stroking hard and deep, her hips rising up and down in time with the movement of his hand. That soft moan had turned into an aria of love, just before she cried out his name, her well pulsing around his still slowly moving digits.

Lights flashed, colors twirled, cymbals crashed…and she was flying, pirouetting among the stars. The peak tossed her higher, leaving her gasping for breath. "Daniel!"

His body was making demands…he rose up slowly, kissing her hips…her belly…kisses for her breasts… He needed to be inside her. Needed to feel her body wrapped around him, holding him. Needed to feel her warmth and the heat that the responses of her body always created.

She wrapped her arms and legs around him, pulling him close. Felt the rigid length of his burgeoning shaft against her inner thigh. Shifting slightly, she reached between them, stroked the throbbing organ for a moment, then guided him to the very core of her being. Sighed when he pushed gently, filling her completely. "So good," she sighed.

"So good," he agreed.

Their dance of love began slowly. They took the time to kiss…caress…touch…to feel the warmth of skin, the soft breaths they took, bodies alive and shivering with desire…need. Minutes passed as they made love…moving together in perfect harmony. Need became stronger…intense…they began to thrust and grind in delirious, frantic passion…seeking ultimate gratification. Their voices cried out almost in unison as their bodies throbbed and pulsed together. He collapsed on her, his energy sapped. Her hands caressed him gently as he caught his breath.

With a groan, Daniel rolled to his back, maintaining their intimate connection. "Life affirming," he said drowsily.

"Definitely," she agreed, yawning.

"Sleep, Angel."

"Love you.

"Love you, too."

Warm…safe…sated…their bodies still one, his arms holding her tightly, they fell asleep. Their love protected them from the trials of the day.

 

A A A A A A

 

Daniel walked into the infirmary. Three other SG team members had been wounded during the battle to rescue SG-13. Nothing serious, two men had suffered cuts from rocks exploding near them, the third had slipped and banged up his knee on the way to the Stargate.

Simon Wells was in a bed in the corner. The presence of a monitoring machine and I.V. stand were indications of his much more serious wounds. He looked up, smiling hesitantly when the archaeologist approached his bed. "Doctor Jackson."

"Hey. Please, just…uh…call me Daniel," he smiled. "So, I hear you're going to make a full recovery."

"That's what they say," Wells replied. He tried to smile, instead turned his head and looked at the wall for a moment.

"You…uh…you talk to your wife?" Daniel asked.

Looking back at Daniel, Wells nodded. "Yeah."

"Everything's okay?"

Again the young airman nodded. "Yeah."

"You know, I never asked you when the baby is due," Daniel said. Trying to help the young man to relax a bit.

"Couple of weeks," Wells said. "Doctor Fraiser said I should be out of here by then."

"That's great," Daniel smiled.

"Yeah."

"I…I just…uh…I wanted to see how you were doing, so…uh…" Daniel groaned mentally at how idiotic he sounded. He'd never been good at small talk.

Wells closed his eyes. "Cam is dead because of me."

How many people around here are going to lay claim to that guilt? Daniel wondered briefly. 'No. No, Cam is dead because a Jaffa shot him. He was doing his job. Same as you were when a Jaffa shot you."

"I can't make it feel right," Wells replied.

Daniel shook his head. "It wasn't right. Nothing about it was right. But, it also wasn't your fault."

Wells studied the expression on Daniel's face for a moment. Could see the understanding, the belief that what had happened sucked…but it had happened. It was part of life. Part of dealing with life as a member of the SGC. Part of facing Goa'uld and their Jaffa, who were determined to win at all costs. He gave a nod.

Daniel watched the acceptance that slowly filled the airman's eyes. He didn't like it. Hell, the truth was usually the most bitter pill to swallow. But it was still the truth. He nodded in return, then shoved his hands into his pockets. With a smile, he turned and left the infirmary. Casey should be finished with the new MALP reports by now, he thought. He'd head to level twenty-seven, see if she wanted to slip out for lunch.


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