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He looked around with interest as he followed the MP into the lounge. Typical military. White walls. Functional and uncomfortable furniture. He was wearing the 'Visitor' ID badge that the guard at the front gate had given him, which had seen him past three more checkpoints, so far.
"Just wait here, sir. Your escort is on the way."
"Thank you, Airman," Gary replied.
With a nod, the young man returned to his duty post. Casey bounced into the room a not more than a minute later. "Hi!"
"Hello." He took note of the fact that she was dressed in a BDU. Her hair was braided as well.
"Ready to meet the general?"
"You'll like him. He's a great guy. He escorted me..." she paused, looked up at Gary's face, worry plainly visible in her green eyes.
"It's okay, Casey," Gary said softly. Even though the pain that stabbed him was nearly unbearable. Another man had escorted his daughter down the aisle on the most important day of her life. Just one more thing lost to him. He pushed it down. Today. Focus on today.
"Tonight, we'll watch the DVD," she promised. "It was a fairytale wedding...it was perfect. I never dreamed..." she shook her head. "Daniel manages to make every dream I've ever had come true."
She smiled up at him. "Ready to take that red pill?"
He chuckled. "Lead on, Neo."
"Actually, it was Morpheus who gave the pill to Neo."
"Has anyone told you that you can be a smartass?"
She burst into giggles. "Daily. C'mon."
He noted that there were twenty eight sub-levels. They were going to sub-level twenty-seven. "So, is there a reason you're dressed like the rest of the help?"
"Not going to tell me, are you?"
"You're enjoying this way too much."
"Hey, this time I get to watch the newbie. Rather than be the newbie." The elevator doors opened. "Welcome to the Matrix. Or, the rabbit hole, whichever you prefer."
"Should I be on the lookout for the Queen of Hearts?"
"And the Cheshire Cat," Casey grinned. She followed the corridor, remembering the first time she'd walked this hallway. And her certainty that she'd never learn her way through the maze of rooms, labs, and passageways. She tapped on the door of the general's office.
"Casey! Come in!"
She returned the warm smile of welcome that greeted her. "General Hammond, I'd like you to meet my Dad, Gary Franklin. Dad, this is General Hammond."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Franklin," General Hammond said, offering his hand.
Gary accepted and shook hands with the base CO. "My pleasure, sir."
"Please, be seated. I had intended for Casey to give you the nickel tour. Unfortunately, that's not going to be possible."
The general opened a folder. Slid three pages across the desk. "These are non-disclosure forms. Until you've signed them, I'm afraid we won't be able to discuss much but the weather."
Gary accepted the pen, and signed his name.
"Aren't you going to read them?" Casey asked, surprised that he'd sign so willingly.
"No need. I've had to sign forms like this before. And if you're involved in this, I want to know everything I can about it," Gary replied easily.
"Great. Just what I need. Another freaking overprotective male in my life!" Casey muttered. She gave a small smile when General Hammond chuckled loudly.
"Okay, tell me about this place."
"Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away," Casey intoned.
Gary glanced at the general. "Is she always such a smartass?"
"Not always. Sometimes she's actually useful."
Casey stared open-mouthed at the general. She knew he had a great sense of humor. She'd never seen it revealed so openly. "I think I'll leave now. I have a mission to get ready for."
General Hammond's face went serious in the blink of an eye. "Anything I should know about before you leave?"
She shook her head. "I'm still not seeing anything...other than all of that...well, it's like electricity, I guess. Sam and Janet think it could be affecting my sight, something about brain waves and electrical brain impulses."
The Texan nodded. "If you sense anything, let the colonel know immediately."
"Very well. 'Gate room in twenty minutes."
With a nod, Casey tossed a smile at her father, then left the room.
"She always seems to be running, as well," Hammond noted, watching Gary as he stared after his daughter. "She's a very valuable asset to us."
"I'll bet," Gary murmured.
"Now, about what the SGC really is. Stargate Command. That's what the acronym stands for. In twenty minutes, you'll see the Stargate, and what it can do. In 1928, archaeologists uncovered what they thought was a monument..."
When the general had finished speaking, Gary sat staring at him. "You're making this up!"
General Hammond grinned. "I'm afraid not." Klaxons began to wail, the red beacons flashing their warning against the walls of the corridors. "If you'll come with me, you can see your daughter off on a mission."
He followed the general out of the room, down a set of stairs into what was obviously a command center. Through a large window he saw it...the monument...the Stargate. That his son-in-law had learned the secrets of, in just two weeks' time. When the event horizon opened, he felt his heart began to pound with excitement...with fear.
"SG-1, you have a go. Godspeed," Hammond said into the microphone.
Jack looked up, gave a sloppy salute, and the team walked up the ramp, disappeared into the shimmering blue surface.
He stood shocked when the 'gate hissed to a close. "Where are they?"
The general looked at Walter.
"P8X 412," the chief sergeant replied.
"Which is where?"
"A planet in the Draco constellation," Walter explained.
Gary swallowed. "That far, huh?"
Hammond chuckled. "That far. I know, it's hard to believe. Until you're standing on another planet, looking up at stars that aren't your own."
"You've done that?"
"Yes, I have. It's...unbelievable."
Gary turned back to stare at the huge, round monument. "She's okay?"
"Yes, she is. Unless they run into trouble."
"With the Goa'uld."
"They aren't the only threat out there. One of my biggest concerns with SG-1 is the price on their heads. In our currency, together they're worth a couple of million dollars. There are bounty hunters who'd like nothing more than to capture the infamous SG-1 of the Tau'ri," Hammond admitted.
"They'd better pray they never cross paths. If anything happens to her, I'll be through that thing and looking for her!"
"You and every other team in this mountain."
Gary studied the general. "That's happened, hasn't it?"
"She'll never tell me. I need to know."
"Let's go back to my office," the general said. Gary Franklin would need to be sitting when he learned the truth about what his daughter had endured...survived. He wouldn't mention the team's immortality. That was something that the fewer people who knew about it, the better. Especially a very newly found father.
A A A A A A
Jack looked around. The MALP was right where the telemetry said it was, on its side, about twenty yards from the 'gate. "So what happened?"
Sam was examining the machine. "From the marks on the side, I'd say a very large animal."
"Maybe it thought the MALP was a new blow up doll or something," Casey quipped. Her teammates burst into laughter.
"Casey!" Sam exclaimed, still giggling.
"Hey, I could be right!"
Shaking his head, a grin on his face, Jack wandered off to the side of the clearing. "The thing of it is, if you're right, we could have some honkin' big love-sick...thing...out there. One that won't take kindly to us messing with its new love interest."
"Got your back, boss," Casey replied. "If something that big and nasty comes after us, I'll be moving so fast I'll create my own wormhole. You're welcome to come along on the ride."
He chuckled loudly. "Thanks, Radar. Eyes open campers. Carter, is that thing salvageable?"
"Yes, sir," Sam replied. "We just need to get it back on its treads."
With a wave of his hand, Jack signaled for Daniel and Teal'c to join him. The three men put the vehicle right side up, and left Sam to do any repairs to get the machine to function long enough to get it back into the 'gate room.
Something cold and clammy poked at her. Casey whirled to face the Stargate. "We need to hide...now!"
"Radar?" Jack asked.
Nothing more needed to be said. Sam managed to get the MALP into a group of low bushes, then dove behind it. Her teammates were hiding nearby. The wait for the enemy wasn't long. When the inner ring began to spin, five hearts beat harder; pulses raced faster with each chevron that locked into place. Fingers caressed the stocks of P90's, trembled on the trigger.
Oh, hell, Casey thought moodily. She'd recognize that face anywhere. Ryk'teal! She reached for Daniel, felt the comforting warmth of his fingers against hers. Returned the tender squeeze, then put her hand back on her weapon.
Daniel watched carefully. If Ba'al walked through that 'gate, he was a dead man. And nothing...absolutely nothing would be able to save him...or his sadistic First Prime!
Jack glanced at his 'kids'. Knew from the looks on the faces of his archaeologist and seer who the Jaffa belonged to. He also knew that if the snakehead in charge walked through that 'gate, Daniel would kill him.
Teal'c tightened his grip on the P90 in his hands. He'd see to it that Daniel Jackson had a clear path to the false god Ba'al, should he deign to appear.
Sam watched carefully. The Jaffa had noticed the tread marks. Would they see the faint trail that led to the bushes? She shook her head mentally. Of course they would! Like her companions, she tightened her grip on her weapon, waiting for the inevitable.
The Jaffa squinted against the sun. The Tau'ri had indeed been here, there was evidence of the machine that they used...although he was uncertain of its exact function. He looked around carefully. If they were still here, then the machine would be waiting beside the Chappa'ai. It was not, so it seemed that they would not face the rebels today.
"Come. We must locate the temple of our god, so that he might visit it, in order to bless it once again," Ryk'teal said loudly. Not one of his men would point out that since the return of their god, the First Prime found it necessary to speak as if he were addressing troops in the field. Or that he seemed to believe that doing so made him more...important.
"Oh, puh-leeze!" Casey muttered under her breath.
Jack flashed a look of annoyance. To which the young seer blushed and lowered her eyes for a moment. Long enough to miss the grin on his face. Her hatred of Ba'al and the First Prime was nearly as deep and dark as Daniel's.
When the sound of the Jaffa armor could no longer be heard, Jack signaled for the team to head for the 'gate. Teal'c assisted Sam in getting the MALP to the steps, Jack and Casey offered cover, and Daniel dialed the DHD.
When the 'gate opened with its customary splendor, shouts echoed around them. "Go!" Jack yelled, looking at Sam.
She nodded, pushed the MALP up the steps and into the event horizon, diving after it.
Teal'c had run down the steps, stood between Jack and Casey as they fired blindly into the shadows of the forest that lay beyond the clearing, hoping to keep the enemy pinned down long enough to get away.
"Casey, Daniel, go!"
The two raced up the steps and through the shimmering surface. Jack and Teal'c were behind them, still firing. Two Jaffa entered the clearing, firing staff weapons at the same time the two disappeared.
A A A A A A
Gary stood, began to tremble when Major Carter tumbled head over heels down the ramp behind some sort of robot. Casey and Daniel came next, then Jack and the man he now knew was not from Mozambique. Two explosions left black marks on the wall just above their heads.
"Close the iris!" General Hammond shouted.
The metal shield covered the center of the Stargate.
"Some of Ba'al's men came through the 'gate. Radar gave us a heads up, we were able to find a place to hide before they got there. Waited until they left. Guess we should have waited a few more minutes," Jack reported.
Hammond eyed the MALP. "Is the vehicle damaged?"
"A bit, nothing that can't be fixed," Sam replied.
"Good job, people. Write it up, on my desk before you leave tonight." He turned to Gary. "Shall we finish our tour?"
He gave a weak smile. "Sure, why not?" Gary watched his daughter and her teammates walk out of the room. "I take it that this is a common occurrence?"
"And this...Ba'al, he's the one who..." he paused. Couldn't even put into words what that bastard had wanted to do to his daughter.
"Yes. Had the Goa'uld been there, you can trust me when I tell you that he wouldn't have lived," Hammond said quietly.
Gary nodded. He didn't need to hear the words to understand that Daniel would have killed this Goa'uld. "You were going to introduce me to Dennis Ballard, I believe."
"This way, Mr. Franklin," General Hammond said.
He looked over his shoulder. What these people did was damned important. He had no doubt of that. It was also damned dangerous. And that scared the hell out of him. He'd just found his daughter. He didn't want her taken from him!
She turned to see Tiesha jogging toward her. "Go on, I'll meet you in the commissary," she told her friends.
Sam nodded her understanding. Tugged at Daniel's sleeve. "Come on, Daniel."
The archaeologist looked at his wife. He was no seer. But he knew she was up to something!
Recognizing the look on his face, Sam sighed. "Daniel, trust her."
She sighed, shook her head, and yanked the man toward the elevator. "Give the woman some space."
The comment brought a frown to his face. "Has Casey said something? Am I...uh...smothering her?"
With a giggle, Sam shook her head again. "No, Daniel, nothing like that. Just take a look at the calendar."
Calendar? Why did it seem that women had to speak in riddles all the damned time? It was June twenty-sixth...what did that have to do with anything...oh. He began to grin. His birthday was quickly approaching. No doubt his Wife was planning something for him. Again. "Right."
Tiesha stopped in front of the seer. "I found them! The perfect wings! Found them online, one of the businesses that advertise on Ebay. They're soft and feathery, and I found a gold circlet that will be a perfect halo. I can 'erase' the wire that will hold up the halo, and the straps that will hold the wings on your shoulders. When do you want to do this?"
She could feel the butterflies in her stomach. "I think I can get away for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon...Sam will cover for me. Will that be long enough?"
"It should be. I can get everything set up tonight," the SF replied.
"Where are we going to do this?" Casey asked.
"Is my place all right? I have a spare bedroom we can use as a studio."
"That's fine with me. Leave a note with the address on my locker. I'll be there sometime after lunch tomorrow."
"It's a date."
"You're so welcome, Casey!"
The two women parted ways, both of them anticipating the photography session. The results, they were certain, would be well worth the effort.
A A A A A A
Gary stood nervously in front of the door. This was the first time that he and Casey would be interacting in such a setting. This was her home, her personal space. It hit him that he was becoming a part of her life; she was already a part of his, in his thoughts, in his heart constantly. He rang the doorbell.
Daniel answered, dressed casually in jeans, and a black tee shirt that proclaimed 'Chicks Dig Archaeologists'. "Hi. Come in."
"Thanks," Gary replied. "Nice shirt."
The younger man laughed. "Christmas gift from Casey. She had it made especially for me."
"I'll believe it," he smiled. He followed his son-in-law down a hallway, glanced curiously at the rooms on either side...den, bathroom and bedroom.
Casey was standing beside the wide island, putting the finishing touches on a peach crumble that would go into the oven with the lasagna that was thawing in the microwave.
Gary noted that she was dressed in jeans and a tee shirt as well, her slender feet bare. Brenda had liked being barefoot.
"Hi." He couldn't help but grin. It seemed that Casey called him that at every given chance. Did she do it because she understood how much he needed to hear it? Or because she needed to say it? He shrugged mentally. It didn't matter why...only that she did.
"I hope you like peaches."
"Me, too!" she beamed. "Anyway, I didn't have a chance to stop by the grocery store, and all I had on hand were a couple of cans of peaches. It's only a peach crumble, but it will do."
"It sounds good," Gary replied.
"Coffee?" Daniel offered. "We have wine, or I can make a drink...I have bourbon, vodka, and tequila."
"Coffee is fine," Gary said. He took the opportunity to look around the room while the two were busy. Light, bright, warm, inviting. This was without a doubt his daughter's home. He saw the wedding photos on the mantle. Was across the room and standing in front of them before he was actually aware of moving.
Stunning. Breathtaking. Casey had been a beautiful bride. Brenda would have looked like that, he thought briefly.
"We can watch the wedding DVD after dinner," a voice beside him said softly. She sighed. "I love watching it."
He grinned. "I'll bet you do. Your home is lovely, Casey."
He sat down in one of the armchairs, accepted the cup of coffee from Daniel with a smile, watched as Daniel sat down on the sofa, Casey settling beside him, her feet tucked beneath her, one hand on his thigh. "How often do you come back under fire?"
She smiled. "Not as often as you might think."
"To be honest most of our missions are pretty routine," Daniel said.
Yeah, routine for you, Gary thought. Alien planets, meeting people whose ancestors had been taken from Earth thousands of years earlier, fighting a parasitic enemy that seemed to be the source of most of the myths and civilization advances that had been made by early man.
"I know," she said softly. "It was hard to wrap my mind around, too. Want to hear something that will really short-circuit your neurons?"
Gary grinned. "What?"
"Daniel flew to Tacoma to find me," she said. "Because he and the rest of the team were tossed sideways into another, future reality. He met...himself...and that Daniel's wife, Casey. She gave him a letter to give to me. He knocked on the door, introduced himself, handed me the letter..."
"Fell in love with her the minute those green eyes focused on me," Daniel added playfully.
"I knew when I looked at him...I could hear the goddess whispering to me that here was my Destiny. I read that letter...and then...when he kissed me..."
"Kissed you?" How damned fast had the kid worked, anyway?
Daniel's cheeks flushed slightly, he gave a shrug. "Couldn't help myself."
Casey giggled. "If he hadn't kissed me, I'd have kissed him!" she declared. "We've been together ever since."
"So what you're saying is that you...from another reality, sent him in search of...you."
She laughed out loud. "Told you it'd fry your neurons!"
Gary shook his head. "Yes, you did."
"So, is Franklin Enterprises going to take the job?"
He grinned. "I called the crew today. They'll be here tomorrow. They sign the forms, get the tour, and then we have a powwow about it."
Casey nodded her understanding. "They're good people. They'll understand. You can keep a much closer eye on the NID. And any other groups that are getting too nosy about the SGC."
She'd never met the people he worked with...his friends...his family. Yet she spoke as if she knew them well. "They're the best," he said softly.
When they sat down for dinner, both men sniffed appreciatively. Gary was more than impressed with his daughter's culinary talents, listened with rapt attention as she told him about her Grandma Rose. Laughed at mental images of her dressed in her Wonder Woman costume, running around the yard, climbing trees.
They ate their dessert in the living room, watching the engagement party and wedding DVD's.
It was nearly midnight when Casey walked him to his rental car. "I've had a wonderful time tonight," he said softly.
"Me, too. I'm so glad you're in my life."
"I'm glad you're in my life, honey," he replied. He opened his arms, she immediately moved forward to hug him. He kissed the side of her head. "I'm so proud of you," he whispered.
"Thanks. I'm proud of you, too."
He smiled. "Thank you. See you tomorrow."
"I'll be there."
She watched until she could no longer see the red of the taillights. When she turned, she saw Daniel standing on the porch, his fingers in the pockets of his jeans. "Hey."
"Hey," he said softly.
"Ready for bed?"
Casey refused to go to sleep until Daniel had made love to her. Their time together was precious, and she knew all too well how quickly they could find themselves in a situation where they'd be unable to be together. She'd make love to him, with him, every chance she had.
He held her in the sweet afterglow of their lovemaking, her body pressed against his, her head on his shoulder. Her fingers were drawing patterns against the skin of his sides. "Angel?"
"How totally blessed I am."
He smiled into the darkness. Tightened his arms around her. "Almost as blessed as I am."
"Do you think I'll ever meet you grandfather?"
"I don't know, Angel."
She sighed. "It'd be nice if he'd come for a visit. He could go back to the Giant Aliens, but...a visit would be nice."
Since making his peace with Nicholas Ballard, Daniel had thought often of his grandfather. "Yeah, it would be. Sleep, Angel. We have a lot of translating to do."
She snuggled closer. "Love you."
"Love you, too."
On silent feet, sleep crept into the room, surrounded them gently, and led them to the land of slumber.
A A A A A A
The clock on the wall was displaying ten-thirty...zero ten-thirty hours for the military personnel, when Casey was called to General Hammond's office. Gary's 'crew' had arrived, and he had two mission MALP reports for her to view. The general pushed back the idea that he just wanted to show off her amazing talent when he asked her to take a quick look before taking her father and his friends on a tour of the facility.
"Um...does Sam have any information about the metal ores on this planet?" Casey asked, her eyes closed, a frown on her face.
"I don't believe so," the general replied.
"Whatever it is, it's...orange. Heavy. I don't know if that's physically...or heavy element," Casey admitted. "I think it might be useful."
"Anything we should be worried about?"
"Give me a minute," Casey said. She felt herself 'move' toward the place where Miss Eloise awaited.
"Hi, Miss Eloise."
"Look, Casey," the old seer said softly.
The area around the Stargate was lush...warm...beautiful. She wandered for a few minutes, just taking in the beauty of the flowers, the sweet scent on the air...
"Strawberries!" She leaned down, picked one, popped it into her mouth. It was warm and juicy and delicious. Someone had to have brought these plants from Earth, she thought idly. She moved farther from the 'gate. There were ruins, so old that they were barely recognizable. She didn't see any hieroglyphs or cuneiform, or runes. A trained archaeologist would no doubt be able to discern a few facts, just from the layout of the ruins...and there'd probably be hints of everyday life buried beneath the heavy ground cover.
"It's a nice place," she told the old woman when she 'returned'. "And there's nothing there to cause anyone any type of trouble."
"Well, that's nice to hear."
"Yes it is." Casey smiled.
"Go tell your general," Miss Eloise instructed. She patted the young woman's arm, then gently moved away.
"Make sure someone goes through to get some of those strawberries...they're delicious!" Casey exclaimed, as soon as she opened her eyes. She made her report, looked at the second mission folder, again, an easy survey expedition.
Gary watched proudly, chuckled silently at the looks on the faces of his friends. "Okay, Hot Shot, let's show my team what this place is about."
With a grin, Casey glanced at the general. Received a chuckled 'dismissed'. "First on the tour, the 'gate room." She led the group into the silo that had once housed a Titan Missile, but was now the home of the Stargate.
"Holy shit," Lucky muttered.
"Oh, it gets better," Casey smiled. She looked over her shoulder. "Is it about time for that check-in from SG-7?"
"Yes it is," Walter replied.
Right on cue, the 'gate activated. Klaxons roared to life. Lights flashed. And when the seventh chevron locked into place, all of the people beside her jumped back, the force of the event horizon opening startling them.
"SGC, this is SG-7 reporting," a voice said, echoing through the speakers above their heads.
"Go ahead, Major," General Hammond replied.
"Looks like the natives here are gone. Couldn't have been more than a few days, the food in the huts hasn't started rotting yet." Major Andrews reported.
"Any clues to what happened?"
"No, sir. They're just gone. I've got two of my people doing a five mile sweep. They're reporting in every fifteen...nothing so far."
Casey's lip went between her teeth...she cocked her head sideways. "General, bring them home...now!"
"Major, return to SGC immediately. I repeat, return to base immediately!" the general ordered.
"Understood, sir. It's going to be awhile, not leaving without all of my team."
General Hammond looked down at the young woman on the floor below. "How long?"
"An hour, at the most."
"Major, you have forty-five minutes."
The event horizon hissed closed. "Casey, what can you tell me?" General Hammond asked.
"I'm not sure who it is, possibly the group who came through before...not Jaffa, and I'm not sensing any Goa'uld...but...there's something..." She closed her eyes. "Slave traders!"
"Is there a chance that following these traders could result in freeing those they've taken?"
She reached out. Shook her head sadly. "All I can see is our teams being taken as well. These men are...brutal...I'm sorry," she said softly. It broke her heart to know that there was nothing that could be done to help the people who'd been taken from their homes...any attempts to save them would result in the same for the SG teams who tried. So much sadness...so many things that were wrong. Things that no matter how much she might want to, there was nothing that she, or her teammates, or any of the other teams of the SGC could do to change them. "I'm so sorry," she whispered.
Gary could see the pain...the guilt...on her face. He reached for her automatically, drew her in for a hug. "We change what we can, honey. And learn to live with what we can't change."
"It's not fair!"
"I know. It never is," he said softly.
Taking a shuddering breath, Casey pulled away from the comfort of his embrace. "Guess we should finish that tour now."
When the group stepped out on level eighteen, they were nearly ran over by two SF's who were carrying storage crates. "Hey, Mrs. J," one of the young men called as he hurried by.
"Hi, Tommy. More tablets from the storage room?" Casey asked.
"Yes, ma'am. Doc has Balinsky working on these," the airman replied.
"Good." She turned to her father and his friends. "This is basically the archaeological level. All of the artifacts that are uncovered on missions off-world are brought here for examination, and if need be, translation. Daniel is the head of the department," she said proudly. "Although he still seems to think he's the only person working on this level."
"I heard that," a familiar voice called from the nearest storage room. Daniel stepped into the corridor. "There are two tablets on the work table for you, sweet 'ums."
She wrinkled her nose at him. "Sorry. Busy. General's orders."
Lucky chuckled. Held out a meaty black hand. "I'm betting that you're the Doctor Daniel Jackson that the Boss has mentioned a time or two."
Daniel smiled, shook the proffered hand. "I think you'd win that bet. I just hope that my name and shot guns aren't being used in the same sentence."
The men around Gary hooted with laughter. "I do think there was a mention of 'the little shit working fast'," Jess grinned.
"Hey, when I see what I want, I don't waste time," Daniel replied easily. His arm went around Casey's shoulders. "Ready for lunch?"
"You made me drink that shake. We had breakfast not more than three hours ago-"
"And I'm starving. We've been humping crates all morning, woman," Daniel said.
One eyebrow went up. "And I should eat because you're hungry?"
She shook her head. "I put on another pound last week," she argued softly.
"Which means you have six to go," Daniel replied just as softly.
Charley listened to the exchange. "Gary told us what happened," she said quietly. Then raised one hand. "I know, he wasn't supposed to. But he knew we'd all sign the forms, and believe me, we understand about...discretion." She looked at Casey. "I could use a bit of lunch myself," she said quietly.
Jess cleared his throat. "I'm a bit hungry."
"Me, too," Dancer said.
"Count me in," Lucky added.
Casey narrowed her eyes, poked her finger into Gary's chest. "If I find out you put them up to this, I will so make you pay!"
Charley burst into giggles. "He's your father, Casey. Need I say more?"
Green eyes went from one face to the next. "You're all going to be annoyingly protective, I suppose."
Dancer grinned from ear to ear. "Yep. That's what happens when you're the Boss's daughter."
She threw her hands up in defeat. "I can't win! I'm surrounded by annoying, overprotective men! I'm going to lose my mind. One of these days, I'm going to go running through the corridors with my basha'ak, and beat the crap out of all of you!"
"With your what?" Jess asked.
"Jaffa training staff," Daniel explained. "Teal'c is training Casey. He says she'll be a formidable Jaffa one day."
"Soon. One day very soon," Casey added.
Daniel grinned. "Let's go eat, Angel."
"I'm not hungry!"
"No, but we are," Gary replied. "You can at least sit and drink a cup of coffee with us while we eat."
She rolled her eyes. "And have to sample everything."
Charley grinned. "Think about it this way, sweetie...I'll bet you're the only woman within miles of this place who has to worry about putting on weight, rather than taking it off!"
The thought made her pause. How many times did she hear the other women complaining in the locker room about needing to shed a pound or two or five? Their frustration in doing so. "I guess you're right," she admitted. She looked up at Daniel. "I'm still not hungry."
"Maybe you will be by the time we get there."
"Four levels, Daniel. Three minutes in the elevator. I don't think I'm going to work up an appetite between here and there," she said dryly.
"Bet I could help you work up one," he whispered in her ear. "There are a few supply closets between here and the commissary." Grinned when she blushed so prettily.
She knew he was only teasing. At least she was fairly certain he was teasing. There were those who occasionally slipped away for a little rendezvous in supply closets, although Daniel had never seemed interested in doing so. She glanced at her watch. Well, Sam would be able to find her more easily if she was sitting somewhere. "Okay, fine," she said, relenting to the pressure of her companions.
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