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His Father's Eyes
Daniel led Casey up the steps of the courthouse, pausing as she stopped to adjust the strap of her high-heeled shoe. "We don't want to be late," he said, grinning at her.
"We have five minutes," Casey retorted, resuming the climb. "I just wish Beth had been willing to wait for a real wedding."
It was difficult to stop the laughter he could feel welling up. Casey was determined to be part of a 'real' wedding among her friends. If she had to pay for the wedding herself. Which is exactly what she'd offered Beth. "Well, the reception is going to be fun."
"True." Everyone on the base was assembling even as they spoke, making Warehouse Number 2 as festive as possible before the newlyweds and their group of witnesses returned. Major Whitmore had created a wedding cake that had wowed everyone on the base…four layers of chocolate cake, covered with delicate roses and vines in white butter cream frosting.
Jack and Sam were standing to one side of the wide hallway. Janet and Teal'c were with them. "I was starting to worry," Jack said.
"I wouldn't miss this for the world," Casey replied.
"Is the happy couple here?" Daniel asked.
Jack looked at his watch and tapped the face lightly. "Not yet. You don't think they changed their minds, do you?"
"Maybe they eloped," Casey suggested.
"Or, perhaps they were detained by traffic," Teal'c offered.
"Let's hope they make it soon. Their appointment with the judge is in three minutes," Jack sighed.
"Well, everyone is here it seems," a voice boomed from the opposite end of the corridor. General Hammond and Beth Meyers hurried toward the waiting group. Behind them were Abbey and both girls, and Walter Harriman.
"General," Jack said, nodding and smiling.
"General." Hammond turned to look at Casey. "Young lady, you
have done more for the SGC, and for me, than I can ever thank you for."
"Yes, you. You're very special person, Casey," the general said gently. "And I for one will be eternally thankful for your arrival at the SGC, and in my life."
Casey blushed and lowered her gaze. The general had said the same thing several times since her arrival. But this time…perhaps it was because he was about to be married to the woman the Fates had chosen for him, the general's words seemed all the more kind. Sweet. Heartwarming. Ego boosting. "Thank you, sir."
The door nearby opened. A gray-haired woman stepped into the hallway, glancing at the clipboard in her hand. "General Hammond and Doctor Meyers?"
"Yes," Hammond said, stepping forward. Beth was clinging to his hand.
"Will you and your party please follow me," she said, giving the group a smile.
"Hope this office is big enough for all of us," Jack murmured.
"Me, too," Casey replied. "It could be uncomfortable if it's not."
To their relief, there was more than enough room for all of them in the judge's chambers. The room was actually spacious. A large desk and executive chair were tucked into one corner, beside a wall that had three floor-to-ceiling windows, which offered a stunning view of the cityscape. The adjacent and opposite walls were covered with mahogany bookcases, which were filled with books, mostly volumes about the law. But a few best sellers were perched on one of the shelves. A couch, coffee table, and two chairs sat in the corner created by the bookcases.
Standing in front of one of the windows was a heavy-set man, his thick hands wrapped around a file filled with papers. His glasses were perched near the end of his nose, and he pushed them up absently when he turned toward the newcomers. "Ah, yes. The wedding party." He put the folder on the desk, and ran his hand over the thinning white hair on his head. He reached for the robe that had been tossed over the back of the executive chair, and pulled it on, checking to make certain his cuffs were in place. "Will the bride and groom step forward?"
Casey bit back her smile when the judge's gaze stopped on her, then went to Daniel. She glanced up at her Husband's face, to see that he was equally amused.
General Hammond and Beth stepped forward.
"Ah, yes," the judge said, smiling at the couple, only momentarily taken aback.
"My gran'pa is gettin' married!" Kayla announced excitedly.
"Shh!" Abby pulled the little girl closer. "Sorry, Your Honor."
The judge only smiled. He looked down at the little girl. "Would you like to stand beside your grandpa?"
Kayla nodded eagerly. Tessa looked beseechingly at her mother, who sighed and allowed her to stand on the other side of the general.
Beth smiled at both girls. "We're ready," she said.
The judge, the Honorable Charles Burke, according to the nameplate on his desk, cleared his throat. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together to witness the marriage of General George Hammond and Doctor Beth Meyers. Do both parties come to this marriage in full consent?"
The general glanced at Beth, and grinned. "We do."
"Definitely," Beth answered.
Judge Burke smiled again. "Good. I see we have plenty of witnesses."
"Yes, we do," Hammond smiled, turning to look at the group gathered behind him.
"Well, let's get this done. Do you, George Hammond, take Beth Meyers as your lawfully wedded wife; to take her with all of her faults and strengths, as you offer yourself with all of your faults and strengths? Will you help her when she needs your help, and turn to her when you need help? Do you take her as the person with whom you will spend the rest of your life? If you agree, signify by saying 'I do'."
"I do," the general replied.
"Do you, Beth Meyers, take George Hammond as your lawfully wedded husband; to take him with all of his faults and strengths, as you offer yourself with all of your faults and strengths? Will you help him when he needs your help, and turn to him when you need help? Do you take him as the person with whom you will spend the rest of your life? If you agree, signify by saying 'I do'."
Beth looked up at Hammond a smile on her lips, and tears in her eyes. "I do."
"Will you be exchanging rings?"
"We will, Your Honor," General Hammond said. He smiled at Beth, and put the wedding bands, which they'd chosen together just the day before, into the judge's outstretched hand.
"General Hammond, if you'll place your bride's ring on her fourth finger of her left hand, please," Judge Burke instructed, handing the smaller of the two rings back to the general. "And as you do so, please say, 'this ring signifies my vow to you'."
Taking her hand gently, Hammond eased the ring over her knuckle. "This ring signifies my vow to you."
"Doctor Meyers, if you'll take your groom's ring, and place it on the fourth finger of his left hand," the judge continued. "And as you do so, please say, 'this ring signifies my vow to you'."
Beth wiped a tear from her cheek, then carefully slid the band onto George's finger. She looked up at him, her love reflected in her eyes. "This ring signifies my vow to you."
"By the taking of vows and exchanging of rings in the company of these witnesses, you have satisfied the requirements of the marriage ceremony. By the power vested in me by the state of Colorado, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride," Judge Burke smiled.
Hammond turned to Beth, wreathed her face with his hands, and kissed her gently. He smiled against his new wife's lips at the quiet applause that broke out behind them.
"Congratulations," the judge said. "If you'll just follow Carol, she'll help you deal with the paperwork."
"Thank you, Your Honor," Hammond said.
"You're very welcome, general." The judge continued to smile until the room was empty. With a sigh, he picked up the folder he'd been studying earlier. A murder trial. He hated those. The few moments of peace, the joy of marrying a couple so obviously in love would buoy him through the remainder of the day. How lovely that an older couple had managed to find love. Perhaps for the second time. Sometimes, it was the marriage ceremonies and adoption orders that were the only thing that kept him from retiring.
"Congratulations, general," Daniel said, patting the older man on the back.
"Thank you, Daniel. In more ways that one."
Daniel smiled his understanding. "You're welcome."
"I'm going to take the girls to Maddie's house. I'll see you all at the warehouse," Abby said, trying to get both girls to follow her.
"Remember, as soon as we're finished, we're all going to the movie theater," Beth said, leaning down to kiss both girls.
"An' we get to choose the movie!" Tessa said excitedly.
"Absolutely," Beth chuckled.
Kayla studied the woman for a moment. "If you married my gran'pa, does that mean you're my gran'ma?"
"Kayla!" Abby protested.
Beth held up a hand, her eyes filled with tears. "I suppose it does."
"Then can I call you gran'ma?"
The tears spilled over, and onto her cheeks. Beth grinned broadly. "Absolutely you can call me gran'ma!"
Kayla nodded solemnly. "Okay, gran'ma, I'll talk to you later."
"You have fun at Maddie's," Beth said.
"I will." Kayla hesitated for only a moment, then threw her arms around Beth's waist. Then repeated the gesture with General Hammond. "Bye!" she called, following her mother and sister down the sidewalk.
Hammond chuckled. "Well, gran'ma, shall we go to our reception now?"
"I think that sounds like a wonderful idea, gran'pa," Beth said. She wiped the tears from her face, smiling apologetically. "I don’t think I've ever been so emotional."
"You've never gotten married and become a gran'ma in the space of twenty minutes," Casey pointed out.
"So I believe a little emotion is acceptable."
"Thank you," Beth chuckled.
"Especially all the warm, snuggly emotions," Casey continued.
"I'm certainly filled with those!" Beth declared.
"We'll meet you there, sir," Jack said, leading Sam toward his truck.
"Very well. And general-" Hammond shook his head. "Jack. Thank you. All of you. Having you with us made this occasion just perfect."
"I agree. We couldn't have done this without you," Beth added.
Casey smiled, and leaned up, kissing the general's cheek. "We wouldn't have missed it for the world," she said softly.
"Warehouse," Jack said firmly.
"On our way, Jack," Daniel grinned. He tugged Casey closer, put his arm around her shoulders, and led her toward the jeep. Teal'c and Janet were already walking toward his truck.
"I'm so happy for them," Casey sighed, as Daniel eased the jeep into traffic.
"According to Miss Eloise, it was imperative that the general find the right woman and marry her. And her become Immortal, too."
"Really?" Daniel frowned. "Why?"
"Can you imagine the pain, the absolute devastation of being alone when Abby passes away…hopefully from old age. What about watching Kayla and Tessa age, and get older and older, until they're gone. Then, watching us together…you and me, Jack and Sam, Janet and Teal'c…and facing eternity alone?"
"It would be unbearable," Daniel said softly.
"Probably drive him a bit crazy, and certainly it would be enough to make him bitter," Casey said, remembering what Miss Eloise had told her.
"So, this is good in more than one way," Casey sighed.
"So it would seem."
"Beth said that she and the general are going to Denver for a few days. I wonder if they'll stay at the Brown Hotel, and if they do, if they'll get the honeymoon suite," Casey mused.
Daniel grinned. He and Casey had spent an incredible night in the honeymoon suite at the Brown Hotel in Denver. Just before they'd flown to Jamaica for their honeymoon. "Probably."
Casey frowned. "It's sort of difficult to think about Beth and the general…you know…"
"I'd rather not think about it, actually," Daniel said.
"Still, it's nice that even at their age, they can find pleasure in and with one another."
"That is true."
"I know this is a horrible thing to say…but I'm glad we won't get older," Casey confided.
"I dunno, sex and old people…just sort of freaks me out. Even if I were the old person."
He couldn't hold back the laughter. "Can't say I ever thought about it, but you might have a point."
"We'll never have to worry about being too old for our favorite positions," Casey continued.
"That's a good thing," Daniel agree, still chuckling.
"The good thing for the general and Beth…they aren't going to age, either. They'll never get older. So, they'll be happy forever, too."
"Also a good thing."
"I'm glad we didn't have a civil marriage ceremony. The wedding was so much better," Casey said softly.
"I'm glad, too. I never realized how impersonal a civil ceremony is," Daniel admitted.
"Well, we wrote our own vows," Casey pointed out.
"Yep, a wedding is much better."
"And you're going to remind Janet of that, right?"
"You bet I am. Somebody I know is gonna have a real wedding I can be a part of," Casey declared.
Daniel laughed again. "No doubt."
The warehouse was in sight. The parking lot was full to overflowing. Several cars were parked along the side of the road that led to the building. Daniel found a spot near the entrance of the parking lot, and slid the jeep in beside a minivan. "Let's go, Angel. Time to celebrate."
Celebrations happened far too rarely for those who worked within the rock and concrete walls of the SGC. But when they did occur, everyone celebrated whole-heartedly. Casey couldn't wait to get inside. To dance with her husband. Hopefully she'd be able to dance with General Hammond, to tell him how happy she was for him. How much she appreciated everything he did for the SGC, and for SG-1. To laugh and joke and be silly with her friends…those people she'd come to know and love. That she'd fought side by side with.
Tomorrow, the team returned to the roster. For the moment, the Goa'uld could be forgotten. It was time to celebrate.
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